Monday, March 31, 2008


Hey Ladies.

Go to this blog and read the Country Doctor's Wife post today. It looks like you'll have to scroll down to the second post, because she's added something since I first saw it. It's in the post about the anniversary. You might also want to scroll through her archives. She'll have you falling off your chair laughing. But first check out how you can donate to the cause she talks about.

I'm going to donate right after I send my check to Scott for Relay for Life.

So many worthy few checks in the check book.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


Except, well, I did.

For the past 17 years, I have been fortunate to be a stay at home mom. Well, for most of that time. This means that I get to do my grocery shopping (and my recreational shopping) during the week when the stores and malls are not very crowded. I have become so accustomed to shopping during the week that, on the rare occasion we shop on weekends, the crowds make me pretty jittery and I don't enjoy it. NOT. ONE. BIT.

As the kids were growing up, if they asked to go to Wal-Mart for anything on a weekend, I woud always say "We do not go to Wal-Mart on Saturday, because we can go through the week, and I am not fighting that crowd on weekends if I don't have to." I know. I'm a really mean mom.

Seriously, the thought of shopping at Wal-Mart, or any grocery store, on Saturdy has always made me feel a little...well...a little scared. Because I don't like crowds. And I also lose my patience real easily when people don't follow basic shopping cart etiquette. And when the stores are very crowded you are sure to run into many people who don't follow basic shopping cart etiquette. We'll discuss Basic Shopping Cart Etiquette at a later date.

So late last week when we were out of lots of stuff, I kept thinking I'd wait until Monday to go to the store. Plus payday isn't until Monday, so that made a little bit of sense too. When my daughter would say "Mother, when will we have oranges again? When, mother? When will there be broccoli in the house again? Please, mother, please may we have fresh produce again soon?" or something like that; I'd say "Soon dear one. But we must not enter the gates of the all powerful evil mega mart on a weekend. For surely doom and gloom await us there, if we enter those gates on this, the final day of the week." Or something like that.

But Saturday evening came and I was craving an orange and my poor pitiful daughter was growing weak from lack of fresh produce so I said "Surely I can do this. Surely if I am brave, I can enter the gates of the all powerful mega mart and buy some food stuffs for my suffering children. For I am a mother. I am strong and selfless." Actually, I said "What the heck, I got nothin' better to do." I must add that it had been three, maybe four, weeks, since I actually did a full grocery trip. We went away on vacation a couple weeks ago and during the week leading up to that, I kept telling the kids "I'm not buying many groceries this week because we're leaving and we don't need food sitting in the house spoiling." So we really needed lots of stuff. I'll also add that my husband is out of the country right now, so when I say I had nothing better to do, I really mean I had nothing better to do.

So I started at Sam's club, figuring most people would be eating supper at that time so it wouldn't be that crowded. Turns out I was right. It wasn't bad. The worst part was running into my friend who has seven children and noticing that I had about four times the amount of groceries in my cart as she did. "I CANNOT BELIEVE I have more crap in my cart than the woman with seven kids," I told her. And she confessed that she had already spent two hours at Wal-Mart so I shouldn't worry.

Not only did I forget milk at Sam's; I forgot to even check how much milk we had at home, because we keep our extra milk in the basement refrigerator, and I simply could not trouble myself to go down those stairs. So while I was going into Wal-Mart for a few things that I needed in small quantities, I picked up three gallons of milk. I usually buy four at a time, and since I couldn't remember the last time I bought milk, I thought three would be a safe number.

Did any of you stick some milk in my fridge?

'Cause turns out, I had three whole gallons already in there. Now I have SIX - yes that's half a dozen - gallons of skim milk in my refrigerator. Thankfully their expiration dates are more than a week apart. It looks like I will need to bake some cookies because that's the only way I'll be able to work my way through my share of SIX gallons of skim milk.

And, since I couldn't bother to go down the basement stairs to take inventory before I went shopping (because we keep our overstock in the cabinets down there) I also bought a few other things I didn't need.

Like peanut butter. I now have FOUR 40 ounce jars of Jif peanut butter.

And 100 calorie pack chips for Kayla's lunch. I have, well, I didn't count, but I have lots of those.

And jelly. I have THREE 32 ounce jars of grape jelly.

And Gatorade. I now have a whole case plus about two thirds of a case of the small Gatorade bottles.

I am thinking of opening a homeless shelter.

I do NOT, however, have enough garbage bags to get through the week 'cause I totally forgot those. Nor do I have spaghetti sauce, and that's a major staple in this house. Ditto with noodles.

But we have oranges, strawberries, apples, pineapple, bananas and fresh broccoli, so my daughter is beginning to have a spring in her step again. Plus I bought some oatmeal cream pies and she totally loves those.

What is the point of this long, ever important post?

The point is...there is no point. I sit here typing so I don't have to do laundry and mop my kitchen floor.

And I can't think of a better reason to blog.

Saturday, March 29, 2008


Dear Husband,

I do miss you and hope you're trip across the pond is going well.

When you called just a little while ago, did I seem a bit distracted? Because I was. See, it was nearly 7:30 p.m. here and I had not eaten supper yet, and for lunch I had eaten only half a sandwich and a fruit and yogurt parfait. And those fruit and yogurt parfaits have gotten quite small.

I had just walked in after getting groceries from Sam's AND from Wal-Mart, on a Saturday evening no less. Being alone on a Saturday night will make you do crazy things. On my way out of the Wal-Mart mega plex, I had driven through Burger King and bought myself a Whopper Jr. (no cheese, thank you very much) and a small root beer. And there that Whopper Jr. was sitting on the counter smelling all greasy and delicious and tantalizing me to the point of being distracted from even my dearly beloved. So while I am thrilled you arrived in London safely, and always weak with relief to hear your voice, I kept staring at that fast food sack and thinking "It's getting's getting cold...."

I know. Some might think this makes me a horrible wife.

But, come on.

You have traveled for most of our nearly twenty one years of marriage so, while having you gone is something I will NEVER get used to, life must still go on while you are away.


And sometimes that means letting things like, oh, hunger pains and junk food distract us from what really counts.

So, please forgive me. Although, since you assure me quite frequently that it is impossible to hurt your feelings because you have NO feelings (your words, not mine) perhaps I am worrying over nothing. But, if it is any consolation, I am expecting to have an upset stomach tonight from that greasy burger. So perhaps I will receive my just rewards for being distracted while on the phone with you.

Enjoy your time with the Brits. And the French. And the Germans.

Cheerio, Au revoir, and Aufweiderzehn.

Love you,

Thursday, March 27, 2008


We visited a plantation while in Nashville; the Belle Meade Plantation to be exact.

Belle Meade means "Beautiful Meadow," just in case you were wondering.

When we bought our tickets for the tour, we were given a little map of the grounds. The map showed the dairy house, the garden house, the mansion (of course), the carriage house, and the Enslaved African American Workers Dwelling. Seriously. That's what they called it.

Um....isn't that going a little far with the euphemism? ENSLAVED AFRICAN AMERICAN WORKERS DWELLING? Are you kidding me? Don't they mean SLAVE CABIN?

Strangely enough, this had left me pretty much without words until the next week when I found the brochure from the plantation in my purse and read it for the first time.

The brochure starts out like this:

Belle Meade, meaning Beautiful Meadow, was founded in 1807 by John Harding and his wife Susannah. Through their hard work and determination the farm grew from a log cabin and 250 acres of land into a massive operation that at one time covered 5,400 acres....

Are you kidding me again? Through THEIR hard work and determination? Don't they mean through the back breaking work of human beings captured like animals from their own country and brought across the ocean like freight, the farm grew blah, blah, blah? Don't they mean through placing other human beings in shackles, ripping families apart, and often keeping them at the mercy of a leather whip the farm grew blah, blah, blah...?

Un. Be. Lievable.

When I read that I went on a mini rant in the mini van and then calmly said "I'm afraid I'm going to have to blog about this..."

This is not an indictment against the South. I have seen in my kids' own history books, up here in the North, slavery described as "an essential tool in helping the economy in the Southern states to thrive...." or some such nonsense. And when I read THAT I went on a mini rant that went something like " essential tool in helping the economy to thrive?? The North managed to make their economy thrive with their new factories and businesses. They managed without slavery." Of course there WAS the whole sweat shop thing, and the garment district was a hot house of horrible child labor practices, as were many other industries. So the North wasn't exactly innocent in the realm of human rights during those years either. But slavery?


I just cannot wrap my mind around any words that try to soften it or make it seem less of an obscenity than it was.

Ironically, our guide on the tour was a young African American man who was working toward his PhD in history. He did tell us his friends give him quite a hard time for working at the plantation.

I imagine so.

The tour did allow our family to have some interesting conversations in the van as we drove back to the hotel, taking one of Daddy's um...short cuts...which always seem to take a really long time.

Like, what must it have been like for Christians who owned slaves? Did they truly believe it was ordained by God that they be slave owners? Did they ever feel any guilt over owning slaves? How did they reconcile being slave owners with their faith?

I was not as impressed with the mansion as I thought I'd be. Partly because all the stuff was really gaudy and, well, ugly; but mostly because I couldn't help but think how this family had "earned" their wealth. Also, there were a few photos of slaves that had actually been owned by the family. A couple of them had been given to John and Susannah Harding as wedding presents.


So, all in all, our visit to the Belle Meade Plantation made me sad.

Monday, March 24, 2008


Does anybody know where I can buy a tube top?

'Cause I'm gonna get one of those glamour portraits done and I want to wear a tube top, frayed Daisy Duke shorts, cowboy boots and hat, and big ole hoop earrings the size of saucers.


I'd never wear a cowboy hat.

Seriously, I want a tube top so Kayla can wear it under one of the THREE dresses I bought her in Nashville. It has a v-neck. A REEEEEEALLLLLY V-ish V neck. So I thought a tube top would solve the problem without my having to take the dress to the seamstress. The seamstress is very good, but frankly, I'm a little scared of her. We'll talk about that later.

So, yeah. I bought my daughter THREE dresses in Nashville. But it was at an outlet mall. And the prices were really good. And we have two weddings, a retirement ceremony, 8th grade graduation, and a spring dance to dress for. Normally I'd add "plus church," but since our church is very casual she probably won't wear them to church.

Anyway we got these dresses at a store called The Body Center. Or Body Central. Or something questionable like that. I was offended immediately upon coming to the entrance because they had failed to dress one of the mannequins. And that's just wrong. But we went in anyway.

And found all sorts of cute dresses for her to try on. I kept yelling through the dressing room door "I'll be right back. I see another one you need to try." And yes I had to yell, because the music was ridiculously loud.

I could not get away from loud music on that trip. Is that why they call Nashville "Music City?"

But, I digress. I had to convince my daughter to let me buy her three dresses. She kept saying, "But I don't think I need three and I don't want you to spend the money." And I kept saying, "The prices are great, and we have all sorts of events this spring. Let's just get 'em." Of course I had to have a similar conversation with her father when we met up with the boys, but he's a good sport.

So other than the extreme v-neck issue and the need for a shrug or two, and some brown shoes for one of the dresses, and a little brown clutch bag, and the proper jewelry for each dress, we're all set.

Good thing it was an outlet mall.

Saturday, March 22, 2008


*just a brief departure from the ever exciting Nashville series to ask this all important question:

What is your signature bagel?

My husband hurt my feelings this morning when he said "....but nobody likes the French Toast bagels." And I said, with great maturity and sophistication "Uh....*I* like the French Toast bagels. How can you NOT know my signature bagel??? I know YOUR signature bagel....Cinnamon crunch. I mean, how many times have you heard me say 'get me a French Toast bagel, that's my favorite?'" I mean knowing your spouse's favorite bagel is, like, REALLY, important, don't ya think?

We have kind of started a habit of buying a box of bagels from Panera every week or two. You get 13 in a box and it's nice to have them on hand for a quick breakfast or snack.

The trick is finding the precise balance of bagels, flavor-wise, so that everybody gets what they like. I, being the ever astute and attentive wife and mother that I am, pride myself in knowing everybody's favorite bagel

Dad likes cinnamon crunch.

Kayla likes cinnamon crunch; although she used to be a plain bagel gal. She is a new convert.

Blake likes blueberry.

Mom likes French toast.

Except. Sometime in the middle of the last bucket-o-bagels, Blake snatched one of my French Toast bagels and decided he liked those as well. And, to further complicate matters, I ate part of a blueberry one that we had pulled from the freezer, just yesterday morning, and decided it was pretty good. See? Things around here are oh so complicated.

So yesterday while we were on our Saturday afternoon date, i.e. running to Sam's and Walgreen's, I decided to run into Panera and buy a bucket-o-bagels for the upcoming weekend.

I bought 7 cinnamon crunch, 3 blueberry, and 3 French Toast. I did not really expect the bagels to last much longer than tonight because there was an extra teenage boy in the house and would probably be a spare girl in and out as well.

So this morning, when Paul and I returned from our walk Blake said to us "Hey guys, I ate one of those things that's like a bagel but doesn't have a hole in it. And it was covered with all this crunchy cinnamon stuff. Is that a bagel?" And I said "Yes, it is a cinnamon crunch bagel." And he said "Dude! That was awesome. I'm eating those from now on." So I said "Ok. Let me get this straight. You used to like blueberry. Then you snatched my French Toast bagels. Now you're telling me that you like Cinnamon Crunch?" And he said "Uh, yeah." So I immediately started calculating how many cinnamon crunch I'd need to order the next time I went to Panera.

See? My life is extraordinarily complicated.

It is really hard to be me.

THEN. I poured myself a cup of coffee and went about picking up all the things that didn't belong in the kitchen. I heard the beep, beep, beep of the microwave, and looked up to see Blake putting TWO French Toast bagels in to warm them up. TWO WHOLE FRENCH TOAST BAGELS. After he had just finished a Cinnamon Crunch bagel. So I whispered to Paul and told him that our son was eating TWO MORE bagels. AAAAAANNNND. They were MY bagels.

Where have we gone wrong?

So, what is your signature bagel?

Friday, March 21, 2008


We, the W family, visited a plantation while in Nashville. I just didn't feel like I could go to the South and not see a real plantation, so I subjected my family to it. I understand my husband and son had a talk at some point before we left because when I said something to Blake about him "tolerating" the plantation visit he said "I know. Dad and I have talked." Hmmmm...

He actually did really well. In fact, as we got in the van after our tour, he said something like "Dude, I made it through the plantation visit without griping one time." Ahhh, how he's growing up. He did however, express quiet disgust several times over the slavery issue and mirrored my own concerns when he asked "are we, like, justifying this whole way of life by paying to take a tour of this place?" Pretty insightful for a sullen teenage boy.

Anyway, before we toured the mansion and the "Enslaved African American Workers' Homes," we ate in the plantation restaurant.

I was a little disappointed because I expected to see people in period costume giving us a real taste of what a meal would be like on a rich Southern plantation - you know the mistress of the mansion serving us up some corn pone and ham slices with some biscuits dripping in molasses. I seriously love that kind of stuff.

Instead we were seated in a nice little dining room and served by young college kids dressed in all black. Our menu selections were things like chicken salad sandwiches, crustless quiche, and Greek pasta salad.


So we were seated at our table and very quickly one of the young servers came by and whisked away my white cloth napkin and the silverware it contained and replaced it with a black one, saying "here's a black napkin for you, ma'am."

Wait, what?

At first I was a little panicked. Is there some sort of Southern napkin etiquette I don't know about? Could they tell I was over 40 and therefore should only use a black napkin? Did I appear to be in mourning? Was I being marked for some reason, like in that horrible story we read in High School literature where the whole town draws lots once a year and whoever gets the black dot gets stoned to death? Was I going to get a pie thrown in my face?

Speaking of pie...could it be that my black napkin marked me as the recipient of some special prize? Like maybe a rich decadent Southern dessert? Now I was getting excited. If that black napkin meant I was going to get something sweet at the end of my meal - FOR FREE - then it would indeed be a happy day. Please, please, please let it mean a special dessert!!!

There were confused looks all around our table as we all stared at my black napkin, standing out like a sore thumb amongst the other white napkins.

We, in all of our Northern sophistication and dignity were uttering: "What the heck's this here black napkin all about?" We, the W family were all atwitter.

So, I said to our hip young server "Um....I don't understand why my white napkin was replaced with a black one." And I said it as though I was confessing to my calculus teacher that I did not understand that first problem on the board.

And she said "Cause you're wearing black pants," as though that was all the explanation that was necessary.


No free dessert?

The only thing I can come up with is that perhaps a white napkin would leave little white specks on my black pants.....? Which I've never seen happen before; but what other explanation is there?

I am an educated person. I have been to my share of "upscale" events. I don't usually enjoy them, but I've been to them. I like to think I won't usually embarrass myself or my husband when we go to said upscale events. I want my kids to be comfortable at upscale events so they can relax and enjoy them when they are in that phase of life.

So, somebody please help me. What is this mystery of the black napkin? What have I missed?
Have any of you ever been given a black napkin because you were wearing black slacks? Is this a Southern thing I've never heard about? Because I went to college in the South and my roommate was most definitely Southern and SHE never taught me anything about the black napkin rule.

I truly do not need this added stress in my life - worrying about the black napkin rule.

So come on, my ones of readers, educate me.

Thursday, March 20, 2008


We were fortunate enough to get to stay at the Opryland hotel while in Nashville.

It's a big hotel.

Really, really, big.

It has several restaurants, boutiques, garden walkways, and goody shops, including Godiva Chocolates and Haagen Dazs. Kayla and I enjoyed walking around browsing in the shops and watching people. We even got to spy on a wedding reception that was being held in one of the little garden atriums.

One of the restaurants was the Jack Daniels Saloon. Paul and the kids ate there on our first evening in Nashville. I was fighting a head cold and didn't have an appetite, so I stayed in the room.

Anyway, it was pretty close to our room, so they weren't gone very long.

And when I say it was pretty close to our room, I mean so close that when the live band began playing at 9 o'clock that night we could hear EVERY WORD OF EVERY SONG. We could not just hear the thump, thump, thump, of the bass, or the applause after each song. We could hear EVERY WORD OF EVERY SONG. In fact I was quite surprised when they started singing "Nine to Five." I was even more surprised when I started singing along with it at 12:45 a.m. We could hear the musicians introduce the next song. We could hear individual voices as the crowd mingled. And we got to hear all of that until one in the morning.

Every. Night. That. We. Were. There. Even Monday night, which is a school and work night.

And, as Blake said, "They're not even that good....tomorrow I'm going down to look at them so I can get a visual of what a lousy band looks like."

We were not happy.

Why didn't we call and ask for another suite?

Well, when you travel with kids, of any ages, you have lots of stuff. You have food that's already been unloaded into the little refrigerator. You have clothes that have already been thrown on the floor. You have earphones, and chargers, and game cartridges, and books, and magazines, and coats, and sacks from the shopping you've already done.

You have the laptop that dad brought and the extra pillows that mom has to bring with her.

So you have to really weigh the inconvenience of moving against the inconvenience of being kept awake until one in the morning.

Plus, we had already made a couple of calls to the front desk because our suite did not have the couch we were promised, there were no extra blankets in the closet, one of the televisions didn't work, and the refrigerator wasn't working. And frankly, we weren't thrilled with the less-than-warm response we got from those calls.

Thankfully, our kids are teenagers and they were not really bothered by the loud noise. (In fact, I think we were called "too old fashioned" a couple of times for being appalled at the noise.) Also, we did not have to get up early any of the mornings, so we knew we could sleep in once we were finally able to drift off.

So we decided to put up with it; even though we were paying good money for this hotel experience.

But, come on!!

Shouldn't an upscale hotel like that be more aware of where they are placing their guests? There were many, many families with young children in that hotel, who were sure to have been bothered by that loud music like we were. I kept saying "We CANNOT be the only family that is upset by this...." To which Paul would reply "I'm already drafting my complaint letter in my head...."

We actually came home a day early, partly because of the hotel experience.

Couldn't the booking people tell their guests "Now, this room is above a saloon, where there will be loud music ALL NIGHT LONG, are you into that? Because if not, we can move you a mile or two away where you won't hear it." 'Cause the hotel is that big.

So, the e-mail has been sent telling them of our disappointment. It was sent in response to the "guest survey" they sent us upon our arrival home. They may be sorry they asked us how our stay was.

So, tell me, my ones of readers. How would you have handled it?

Tune in next time for.....THE MYSTERY OF THE BLACK NAPKIN.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008


So we, the W family, made a trip to Nashville for a few days as kind of a celebration of the kids' first week-long spring break... EVER!!

There are a few things I'd like to share with you on this here blog about our trip, including but not limited to:
- the Jack Daniels Saloon live band
- the mystery of the black napkin
- the Belle Meade Plantation and its "Enslaved African American Workers." Uh huh. That's what they called them.
- I Am Legend
- Three dresses

But first I'm going to talk about traveling with teenagers.

Because it's my blog and I can.

About halfway through our trip TO Nashville, I glanced in the backseat and noticed Kayla reading her book while listening to her MP3 player. I commented to Paul that traveling these days was SO much easier than traveling when the kids were little. So I decided to share my SECRETS OF SUCCESSFUL TEENAGE TRAVEL with my ones of readers.

Here they are in no particular order.

* SEPARATE 'EM. Give each kid his/her own space - in the vehicle and in the hotel room. Kayla usually gets the backseat while Blake gets the WAY backseat. In the hotel, each will stake out his/her own spot. Do not, under any circumstances invade said teenager's territory. This is true especially of the male variety.

* FEED 'EM. Teenagers are like infants. They must eat at regular and frequent intervals or there could be much wailing and holding of breath. This is true especially of the male variety. Pack plenty of good stuff in the car - fruit, granola bars, crackers, Gatorade, juice, skittles. Also pack plenty of one dollar bills so they can buy more junk in each gas station at which you stop. But no matter how much food you pack, or what is available at your hotel, what do you do when your teenage daughter suddenly announces "I really want some fresh veggies, especially broccoli."? You try offering her one of the oranges you brought along. You try offering to take her to the Haagen-Dazs ice cream shop that's right there in the hotel. But she wants broccoli?
There was no wailing or holding of breath for that, but still. Whatta ya' do?
I got nothin' for you on that one. But I'll do some research and get back to you.

SLEEP 'EM. Make sure your teenagers get to sleep as much as they want - in the car and in the hotel. It is their vacation after all. This is one good reason to give them their own space. It helps when one of the teenagers, usually the female variety, is quick to volunteer to sleep on the floor, when your suite does NOT have a couch as promised. Tell said teenager she once again wins the "Golden Traveler Award," which in all actuality means she receives absolutely nothing. But keep saying it anyway, not only to praise her selflessness but to also to make her brother feel a little bit guilty. He WON'T feel guilty, but you can keep trying.

PLUG 'EM IN. Bring all the electronic devices you can possibly fit into your vehicle. Since most gadgets and gizmos are the size of a mousetrap, this should not be difficult. This includes MP3 players, PSP machine and games, portable DVD players (although we left ours at home this time -ahh, they are growing up) and of course, the ever important life sustaining cell phone. Do NOT under any circumstances forget the cell phone chargers. You absolutely do NOT want your teenager's cell phone to lose power while they are away from their friends. Contact with their friends, while on vacation with parents, is the absolute only thing that gets a teenager through such a horrible ordeal. We fortunately have NEVER made the deadly mistake of losing cell phone power. My mind cannot even wrap itself around the horrible consequences of such a mistake. Please, please, please, if you do not remember anything else, remember this tip about the cell phones. It is for your mental well being. Also, it doesn't hurt to let each teenager have a little bit of computer time, if your husband happens to bring his laptop. Again it is their vacation, and it's what they like,so why not let them log on for a little bit each evening? Besides Mom and Dad enjoy a little e-time each day also.

PRAISE 'EM. Everybody, regardless of age, likes to receive praise. Tell them you appreciate their willingness to be flexible when things don't go as planned. Thank them for their willingness to compromise. And when they thank YOU at the end of the trip, eat it up like it was one of those Haagen Dazs sundaes you DIDN'T have.

SOAK 'EM UP. They're teenagers. Time with them is rare. Soak up every moment. Remember everything you all said and did on the trip and etch it into your memory, because, if you have teenagers, you already know how quickly time is rushing by. And if it happens to be a trip to visit a college for your older child?
Well, that's another one of those things I can't wrap my mind around yet.

Let's just say part of my heart is still back there in Nashville....

Friday, March 14, 2008


Edited to add: Boomer (the sick bloody cat) is in pretty bad shape. He had developed a severe infection in his back teeth which worked itself up his jaw bone into his eye socket, causing his eye to bleed profusely. After four days on antibiotics he will have his back teeth extracted. The vet assured me that with a cat so young (5 years old) I would never be expected to predict something like this. It is very rare for a cat this age to have such problems. This reassurance came after I repeatedly said I felt so bad for allowing this to happen. It is frightening and astounding how quickly this infection became so severe. Here's the amazing thing: this sweet young vet offered to take Boomer to her home and care for him while we are gone and until his surgery is over. By the time I got back to pick him up today, she had already called her husband and he was preparing their spare bedroom for him. She is charging me a daily fee, but it is so worth it. I was speechless with gratitude at her offer. God does indeed answer prayers. Now I can go on vacation with my family and rest easy.
Of course we can't make our mortgage payment next month.....

So I'm standing in the exam room at the vet HOSPITAL while they examine my cat's swollen bloody eye. I am near tears because my cat looks as though he's had his head shut in a car door, and he's suffering. We are leaving town tomorrow for 5 days and I have absolutely no idea who will take care of my cat while we're gone.

So I ask the vet "Do you do any sort of medical boarding?" and she says "No. We don't board at all." And I glanced up at the big sign on the wall that says PET HOSPITAL and I wanted to scream "Then how can you call yourselves a hospital if you don't keep your furry little patients overnight!!!" But I didn't because I was upset enough. Instead I asked if she had any suggestions for his care since we were leaving town and she said to wait and see what the results of his x-rays show. Somehow I don't think waiting will provide the answer.

Plus I looked really dumb because I was standing there in my prescription sunglasses because I had left my regular glasses in the van because my cat weighs 25 pounds and I couldn't carry him, his carrier and my purse at the same time. And I think the fact that I was in sunglasses interfered with my comprehension because I could not understand one thing she was saying. I don't know what she said is probably wrong with my cat and why his condition has worsened so much since she saw him 3 days ago. All I know is he is a bloody mess, he's in pain, and we are leaving town tomorrow and I don't know who in the world I can ask to come and administer medicine to a sick bloody cat.

THEN. My cell phone rang and it was my daughter's school. The secretary said "Hi, I'm calling to check on Kayla....she's absent today?" And I screeched "Kayla's not in school?!!! Because she left with her brother at 7:40." And in my mind I'm screaming "OH MY GOD OH MY GOD OH MY GOD...." So she put me on hold and found out that the substitute teacher didn't realize that student council was meeting this morning. She double checked with the student council advisor and Kayla was with them. She apologized Profusely for "making me answer the worst phone call a parent can receive....." By then my heart had worked it's way onto the vet's floor.

My house is a wreck. I need to pack. I need to do laundry. And run to the store. And run a key to the neighbor girl who agreed to feed the cats (that is, before one became so ill) I need to have lunch with my two friends. I need to pick the cat up after lunch. I need to figure out who's going to take care of this sick bloody cat. I need to figure out how they can call themselves a PET HOSPITAL if they don't board pets. I need to figure out how to avoid spending our whole stimulus check on cat care.

And I need to open a bottle of tequila.

Thursday, March 13, 2008


....for plucking that fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil and taking a big ole' bite out of it; leaving women for the remainder of time to experience the "greatly increased pains of childbirth..." which evidently includes pain during our periods as well. I mean, what were you thinking!?!

Sorry guys, but this is life on this here blog....

I suffer from dysmenorrhea, or painful periods. I also suffer from mittelschmerz, which is painful ovulation, so basically half of every month pretty much stinks for me. I am SO ready for menopause!

Anyway, let's get back to Eve.

Do you think during her first cycle after eating "The Fruit" she regretted taking that first bite? Do you think she sat in her little hut....shack....tent...rocking back and forth with mind numbing cramps wishing pharmacies had been invented so she could send Adam out for some Midol? Do you think she ever thought to herself "Well, shoot! If only chocolate had been discovered by now, I would whip up a pan of brownies and sit in the corner eating every last bite.?" Do you think she wanted to cut the heads off of every serpent she could get her hands on? Do you think she wanted to smack Adam on his forehead every time she merely heard his voice?

'Cause I can kinda relate,...

Except, she brought it on herself.

Yeah, thanks a lot for that Eve. I hope that fruit was REEEEEALLLLY good!


I had talked to my doctor several times about my extremely painful cramps. He first started me on some prescription strength anti-inflammatory drugs. They giving my an ulcer. So I stopped taking any kind of pain relief. All along he kept saying, "when you're ready, I can start you on a narcotic. A lot of my patients take them for painful periods."

So at my last checkup I asked him "Um....what is Butalbital?" And he said "It's a highly addictive barbiturate; and yes, it's in your migraine medicine." And I said "I know it's in my migraine medicine, but it doesn't work for my cramps."

And he laid his forehead in his palm and started shaking his head back and forth, mumbling through his laughter about how I shouldn't take medicines for things for which they aren't prescribed. So I said "Don't tell my doctor or anything, but I tried it and it didn't work."

But, come on! Desperate times call for desperate measures.

So he prescribed Darvocet for my cramps.

That's right. My cramps are so severe, that I take a narcotic for them. But I have to be very careful when I take it because it makes me a little loopy. So I can only really take it at night, or if I have absolutely nothing to do through the day -which is like, never. It is so hard to be me.

And I blame Eve.

I also blame Eve for the fact that this afternoon I was SO TOTALLY in need of anything containing peanut butter and chocolate that I was afraid I would start taking hostages. The only thing I could find was Kayla's box of Peanut Butter Patties Girl Scout Cookies, on which she had written on one side "GET YOUR HANDS OFF. MY COOKIES." On the other side she had written "KAYLA'S ONLY....OR ELSE."

I ate three. I am so sorry, Kayla. I am a BAAAAAAD mom. (hanging my head in shame)

But I wanted to eat them all, and I didn't because, really, I knew that our family did not need a war going on between an adolescent girl and her perimenopausal mother.

Plus, I knew she could totally kick my butt.

So I fished out these chocolate graham cookies we found at the Dollar Tree, and the Jif peanut butter and spread the peanut butter on the cookie.

And, Lord have mercy!! Were they ever good.

So, despite my very healthy eating habits over the last several days, I succumbed to this horrible chocolate-peanut butter temptation - for the good of the people around me, of course.

Yeah, I'm pretty selfless like that.

But, Eve? If we happen to meet in Heaven....let's talk, girlfriend.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008


....for bringing morning television to yet another all-time low.

This morning The Today show was doing a segment on "High Priced Call Girls." I did not feel like vomiting up my Slim Fast bar, so I switched to Good Morning America, which was doing a segment on "High Priced Call Girls."

Un. Be. Lievable.

Even more unbelievable was that I chose to stand and watch The Today Show's version of "High Priced Call Girls." I know. I know. Disgusting.

But what was REALLY disgusting was the perky little blonde "High Priced Call Girl" who told the interviewer "The beauty of America is that I can have a business of my own where I can make so much money and provide a service to men where they can talk and express themselves...."


Of course she lived in Nevada where her "small business" is legal.

Um. Lady? Don't wave your tainted brand of patriotism in my face while you proclaim the virtues of your business which allows you to trade sex for money. You can wrap yourself in the American flag and talk all you want about how great it is that living in America has allowed you to become so successful. You can talk all you want about the wonderful "services" you provide to these poor lonely, misunderstood men. The bottom line is, you are still a tramp. You may have better shoes than I have, but're still a tramp.

I don't mean to be catty or anything....I'm just sayin'.

Saturday, March 08, 2008


Don't you hate it when you are sitting at the kitchen counter on a Saturday morning, eating a healthy breakfast...okay a girl scout cookie...and reading the paper, the house is quiet because your husband has taken the kids to the state basketball tournament for the day, and you are all relaxed and feeling pretty good and still in your jammies and a Matt Damon movie is on the little kitchen tv and the doorbell rings and you look up and see your neighbor standing at the door?

Don't you hate it when you have to answer the door on a Saturday morning in your jammies with your hair going three different directions and you just know you have a little smudge of mascara under one or both eyes?

Don't you hate it when said neighbor smiles expectantly at you and hands you a garage door opener, and you have to say " guess Kayla is taking care of your cats this week...?" And he says "Yeah, I talked to Paul; did he not tell you." And you get all hostile inside and decide your ARE NOT going to cover for this inconsiderate lapse on Paul's part, so you say sweetly and with a fake little chuckle "Um... No. No. He did not tell me." And then you go over the dates with him and take the little garage door opener and say goodbye and on your way back to the kitchen make a detour past a mirror - just to reassure yourself that you do, indeed look like death warmed over.

Don't you hate it when the mirror is SO PAINFULLY HONEST and does, in fact, reassure you that you MOST DEFINITELY look like death warmed over, with your hair going in all different directions, a little mascara remaining under your eyes, AAAAAAND a tiny dot of dried blood on your chin from the pimple you picked before bed last night? Don't you hate it when you're afraid to look at your teeth in the mirror for fear that you will have greeted your neighbor at the door, not only with the hair thing and the mascara thing and the blood thing, but with food in your teeth too? I mean there's just so much humiliation a person can take in one morning.

Don't you hate it when you have to call your husband on his cell and with a sweetness dripping in venom say "I guess Kayla's taking care of our neighbor's cats next week..." and he's all like apologetic and explains that the neighbor talked to him while he was shoveling snow ANNND he has the gall to ask if you covered for him and pretended he had told you and you have to say "Tuh. NO I did NOT cover for you" and then you have to go for the kill and ask "well, does Kayla know about this?" and he's all like "No, I forgot to tell her too...." and then you have to get just a tiny bit sarcastic and say like three times "well, you might want to tell her that she has a job next week. It would be nice for the person DOING THE JOB to know about the job"?

Don't you just hate when your Saturday starts like that?

Not that I'm irritated by it or anything. I'm just sayin'.....

Friday, March 07, 2008


When our kids were little we attended a church that had several young couples right around our age. We were very blessed to have a circle of friends with children the same age as ours, going through the same parenting stages at the same time.

In fact, the year Kayla was born, there were five other women at church expecting a baby too. It was an incredible time for me -going through pregnancy, childbirth, and infancy with these close friends. Plus most of them had a child about Blake's age as well, which was about two and a half.

We traded babysitting with these other couples, even for weekend getaways. We moms spent many lunch times at McDonald's play lands with our toddlers, usually after Ladies Bible classes.
As the kids got older we even ventured into sit down restaurants with our little circus of preschoolers taking up a couple of large tables and ordering countless kids chicken fingers meals.

I have almost as many funny stories about these other children as I do my own; and I'm sure our friends can remember the goofy things our kids said and did.

Now when I see my kids with these families, especially THEIR kids, I feel a gentle tug at my heart, knowing that they have known my children since infancy, and I have known THEIR children since infancy.

And it is the only thing that makes me miss that church.

But there is something about those early stages of parenting that is still a little painful for me.

Along with the young families to whom we became so close at church, there were a couple of older women who were already grandparents that were very vocal with their criticism of how we "young moms raise our kids."

And I mean VERY. VOCAL.

No matter what the topic was in Bible class, one of these ladies often found a way to make some parenting point about how lax "young parents today are with their kids." If we were studying the book of Revelation, she'd make a comment and somehow segue into parenting and launch her attack on "young parents in church today." We didn't make our kids stand up to sing. We didn't make them hold a song book. We took them out too often. We didn't take them out often enough. We didn't carry Kleenex with us. We didn't make our eight year old boys wear ties. We didn't teach them to speak to the elder members. BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH....

Another lady launched an attack one time on our diaper bags. Yes, our DIAPER BAGS!

"I've never seen so many bags in all my life, they way you girls carry diaper bags to church."


We have an infant and a two year old and we shouldn't carry a diaper bag?

It was relentless; it was not a couple of passing comments. It was a near constant barrage of verbal bullets. And we young moms spent much of our time together licking our wounds, and trying to figure out why we bugged these women so much.

Because, come on!

Shouldn't we have been able to go to church, a safe haven, and be loved and encouraged? Shouldn't we have been able to go to church and feel like this older generation was glad to see us making the effort with our little ones? Especially since we all got our little ones to church THREE TIMES A WEEK? Four, if you count Ladies Bible Class?

I never had the courage to say what I wanted to say, which was A) "Do you REALLY remember? Were your kids REALLY that perfect? Because, surely you had struggles too while you were raising little ones." and B) "Please don't judge us yet, because our work has just started. Please wait until our kids are grown and you can see the final product. Because judging from some of your kids (and you know who you are) you haven't done such a fine job."

But I never did.

I did, however, notice one older lady who had already raised her children (and grandchildren actually) who never uttered a criticism about us. If parenting came up she would make quiet comments that started with "What worked for us was...." and then she went on to explain how she found success as a parent. She never said "I NEVER..." or "Young moms today should..." She simply said "What worked for us was..."

And I appreciated it so much.

I appreciated it so much, that I have tried to follow her example now that I am in the "been there - done that" phase. Now that my kids are past the magical yet exhausting baby, toddler and preschool phase; now that I have a little bit of experience under my belt, I try to be an encourager to those around me who are in the throes of parenting little ones.

Because, really, it is a hard job. And as in any job, we can all use a little encouragement, an occasional "atta girl," a little reminder that we're doing something right.

And, since I love all kinds of bags, I will just say that I LOVE all the diaper bags "these young moms" carry today.

Thursday, March 06, 2008


Let's talk about The Gift Registry, shall we?

The gift registry makes me nervous. Very nervous.

First off, I will admit that I have never registered for gifts. Never ever ever. When we were engaged it just wasn't something our families did. When we were having our first child, it wasn't even very common to see a baby gift registry. I don't think any of our friends did a baby gift registry either. I personally like the surprise of an unregistered shower. I definitely like shopping better for an unregistered gift. Perhaps that makes me a renegade. I'm also a little uncomfortable with The Gift Registry because the recipient knows how much you spent.

On the other hand, I know The Gift Registry is a very convenient thing. It allows the guest of honor to let people know what she wants and needs; and it makes it easy for the giver to be sure they are giving something that will be enjoyed and appreciated.

Anyway, yesterday I had to buy a bridal shower gift.

So I went to the bridal registry computer screen and risked a migraine because it was real blurry and flashy and the words kept blinking in and out. So things did not start out well.
But after I got the print out and headed to the housewares department, I said to myself "This can't take long. I'll buy something in my price range that's easy to wrap and be home in no time, eating my lean cuisine."

Yeah, right.

The sheet set was exactly in my price range. The bride wanted "Queen sized/Ivory," and wouldn't ya know? They only had "Queen sized/white." So I stood there debating whether to get her the white in the EXACT BRAND she had specified on her registry, or get her THE COLOR she wanted in a different brand.

See? If I had just heard by word of mouth "oh, the bride and groom need sheets - queen," I could have picked up a nice neutral set of queen sized sheets. But because of the registry, I felt I had to get THE EXACT ones she had picked out.

The pressure was increasing by the minute.

I moved on to the dishes and bake ware. I though I'd get her the "Oval Platter/white" but it didn't come in a box. Neither did the "Cake Plate/white." And I like things that come in neat boxes so I can wrap them easily.

Slight increase in pressure.

So I found the dishes she wanted which, like most dishes today are packed separately - four bowls in one box, four plates in one box, etc. Looking at the registry I guessed she was hoping for service for twelve. I noticed somebody had already bought 2 boxes of SMALL bowls, and she wanted three. But nobody had bought LARGE bowls yet, and she wanted three of those also. I could not calculate how to get her the quantity she wanted of one or both sizes of bowls, while still staying within my budget.

More pressure.

I could only afford TWO boxes of large bowls, so that's what I got, leaving one box for somebody else to buy. And now I feel guilty because I only bought two boxes of bowls, when she wanted three boxes of bowls. I feel like I'm giving an incomplete gift. And the bride is going to have to go out after the wedding and try to complete her set of dishes.

The pressure is very intense by now.

What if the store quits carrying them by then, and she doesn't have the same number of each piece? What if she ends up with four salad plates, eight dinner plates, 12 mugs, eight small bowls? What if she can never ever ever find the rest of her dishes to complete her set?

I will have played a part in creating kitchen chaos at the beginning of her marriage. And I'm not sure I can live with myself.


An interesting side note. Several years ago, we were invited to a 25th wedding anniversary party. The couple had registered for gifts.

Have any of you ever heard of registering for gifts FOR AN ANNIVERSARY?

'Cause we thought it was kinda tacky.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008


The other night after supper, Blake initiated his nightly wrestling match with his dad.

This usually entails him going up to his dad and trying to put him in some wrestling hold, causing Dad to say "Don't. I'm not in the mood." So Blake does some dancing around and some more faux moves, and Dad says "I'm not kidding, Blake. I don't want to fight." Then Blake bends at the waist and pretends to thrust his head into Dad's stomach, causing Dad to say "Alright, but I'm gonna hurt you."

Then I say something like "Paul, don't hurt him, okay." And then Paul says to Blake "Someday when I get you away from your mother, I'm gonna hurt you bad."

And then they wrestle for a few minutes, and Blake tries to teach his dad some real moves and I end up yelling something like "If you guys pull my dining room drapes down, you're both in trouble!"

During this particular match, Blake decided to teach his dad how to do some defensive wrestling. You know? In case he's ever mugged or somebody tries to kidnap him.

So I said, "That's the kind of move I've been telling you to teach your sister."

At that point, Blake stood up straight and made a sweeping triangular motion starting at his waistband and encompassing the groin area. And he said "This is all she needs to know. Right here. She just needs to remember to aim for this triangle right here and down we go."

So then I asked him if he and his buddies would be willing to pad themselves up really good and let Kayla and her friends use them as self defense dummies.

He didn't answer me, though.

The look he gave me said it all.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008


Dear Man Who Runs Our Local Wal-Mart,

I do not profess to know much about running a giant superstore with millions of locations that serve to ruin small business owners everywhere.

I do, however, know quite a bit about shopping in said giant superstore; although I've earned that knowledge quite reluctantly, being drawn in like so many other helpless shoppers by your lower prices.

I also possess a fair amount of common sense.

And that is why I just have to ask you this question.


What were you thinking yesterday when you decided to have nearly every aisle in your store blocked by store personnel stocking shelves, rearranging items, and yes, even just standing around talking about the weather?

In some aisles, though, there was no dedicated staff member working on the shelves. No, there was just a pallet of boxes, parked across the aisle causing traffic jam after traffic jam.

This was a poor plan, for a few different reasons, and I, being the helpful person that I am, would like to point these reasons out to you so that you can learn from your mistake and move forward in your quest to please your customers. You ARE on a quest to please your customers, aren't you?

First, yesterday was the first Monday of the month. Most people had received a paycheck over the weekend, either from their jobs or from the government. That means the store was going to be crowded. You really should have known that. One look at the calendar and you should have been able to predict a fairly large crowd of shoppers. One look at the calendar and you should have said to yourself "HMMMM...It's the first Monday of the month. That means we will be busy. Maybe we won't stock shelves this morning. Let's wait until the crowd thins."

Second, there was a snow storm brewing. Surely, you know that when a snow storm is predicted, people come out in droves to buy bread and milk. Anybody who has lived here for any length of time knows that. It doesn't matter if we don't need bread or milk; if snow is coming, we go out and buy more bread and milk. And maybe eggs. Do not try to understand this. Just accept it. Again, this prediction of inclement weather should have made you say to yourself "HMMM...winter weather is coming. That means we will be very busy today. Maybe we won't stock shelves this morning. Let's wait until the crowd thins."

Third, the shelves did not appear to be in need of stocking. In each of the aisles where I was actually able to squeeze in and pick up a couple of things, it looked as though your staff was having to make room for the things they were pulling out of the boxes. As I stated before, I don't know much about running this kind of operation; but that seemed like a lot of wasted effort.

Fourth, your crowded, sloppy aisles prevented me from spending more money at your store. Yes, I grew weary and left the store before buying several items I knew I needed. Because I did not want to battle your boxes and pallets any longer, I came home without ziploc bags, string cheese, napkins, and pine-sol. See? If your store was easier to navigate, people would stay longer and spend more money.

I will not threaten a boycott of your store because we both know I would never follow through.

But, come on!!

Things are getting a little ridiculous in your aisles there. Let's try to improve things just a little.


I'm certain you will read this letter and act immediately to improve things; and I will be glad to help you any time I can when I notice further shortcomings.


Saturday, March 01, 2008

The Bucket

Any of you have cats?

Cats will take over any horizontal surface in the house. Cats will lie down on a post-it paper in the middle of the living room carpet - just to prove it is theirs.

My husband is like a cat. He tends to take over any horizontal surface in the house with all of his stuff; not that he actually "lies down" on any horizontal surfaces, but he likes to "mark" said surfaces with all of his stuff. He likes to take up all of the horizontal space in our house with his keys, wallet, Blackberry, watch - whatever is in his pocket as he comes in from work each evening.

Kayla and I have tried to convince him to buy a man purse, but he is not going for it. Not even after we told him that Joey on Friends used one for a while.

Go figure.

So I tried a different tactic. A couple of years ago, I gave my husband a priceless, oriental ceramic bowl that had been handed down for five generations in my family.

OK. I bought it at TJ Maxx, but it's really pretty.

Anyway, I placed this bowl on the table in our entry way and I said "Honey, this is your bowl. This bowl is for your stuff. When you come in after work, you can put all of your oh-so-important things in this bowl. That way, all of your stuff will be in one place, and not lying around on various horizontal surfaces in the house. See how neat it is? It will hold your keys, wallet, Blackberry, and your watch. It's your own special bowl."

He started calling it his "bucket," and I started looking forward to the familiar "clank" of his stuff going into the bucket as he walked in after work each evening.

It seemed like a simple solution had at last been found. All of his stuff was contained discreetly and conveniently in his very own space, and I got to display my really neat bowl from TJ Maxx.

Except, now, he seems to be getting carried away and I am starting to feel my eye twitch with his over-dependence on his "bucket....."

Somebody send help.