Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Aftermath

Christmas is over for another year. Thank goodness. Yep, I am a Scrooge. I totally lack the decorator gene, the shopping gene, the cooking gene and the hostess gene, so for me the holidays are like a six week long colonic.

So what do I like about the holiday season? The feelings associated with it; warmth and happiness and a lightness in the heart. I love seeing family, hanging out with friends, feeling kind and nostalgic and generous. I love driving around and looking at decorations. But all of that is blurred by a miasma of constantly thinking I haven't done enough. Not enough presents, not enough entertaining, not enough decking the halls, not enough baking (confirmed by my husband and sister as they spent Christmas night bemoaning the lack of baked goods...yeah, like you can't find your way to Harris-Teeter, dudes? Two words: Sara Lee.).

If I could have an ideal Christmas it would first and foremost require that nobody buy gifts for anyone. Being together would be a gift. Showing kindness would be a gift. Laughing would be a gift. An afternoon nap under a fluffy blanket would be a gift. Having someone play Scrabble with me and not start the game with the word "FOX" would be a gift. (Yeah, I'm talking to you, oh spouse with two masters degrees.)

Santa did well this year, thank goodness. Mac got a nice acoustic guitar. Lessons start next month. Rob was thrilled with the Wii and has been playing non-stop. Spouse is sporting a sore elbow from playing the bowling game. Rob's friend James got one also and his dad is addicted to the tennis game. In fact, they are having a small New Years party with a game theme. Wii upstairs for kids, Wii downstairs for adults. Spades in the kitchen, Blokus in the dining room. Should be interesting to see how Wii and alcohol mix. I think I'll stay more than an arm's length away.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Wii Wii Wii All the Way Home

This is the first time I've ever gone out on (intoning deep, ominous voice) Blaaaack Friiiiday. But Rob wants a Wii for Xmas and they are difficult (read: impossible) to find, even though they came out this time last year. My neighbor called the local Game Stop and was told that they would have some Friday. So off I went, at 6:45am, knowing that I would probably be too late, since the store opened at 7:00.

Sure enough, there was a line already, but only about 20 people, not hundreds like there were at Best Buy. My neighbor's husband, Kevin, was in the first dozen or so. I decided to take my chances. I got in line, then called Kevin on his cell phone and asked, "Why do you have a coffee cup in your back pocket?" It was fun to watch him spin around like the target in a spy thriller movie. He laughed and replied, "It has always been my dream to watch the sun come up over Wal-Mart." (Game Stop is in the same strip mall).

So the Game Stop dude comes out and he's all like, "We're going to have two cashiers. Pick a line and we'll get your stuff." Someone shouted out, asking how many Wiis (Wii's?) they had. Mr. Game Stop, being all secretive and feeling important replied, "We can't tell you. Security reasons." Like what security reasons? Did he think we were going to storm the counter? Take the employees hostage? Fight over video game systems? Rob them? Cut the line?

Anyway, the doors opened and in we went. I chose a line and waited. And waited. A woman in the other line kept yelling out, asking how many Wii's they had. Finally the Game Stop dude said they had received in the "upper teens." At that time, I was eleventh in my line. Oy. Things not looking good. In the corner was a closed-circuit TV which showed what was behind the counter and I could see the stacks of Wii's dwindling.

My line was not moving at all because the first people to the counter had questions. Now, please, could they have not asked questions the day before? Or the month before? No. They have to ask questions NOW. Lots of questions. Finally my lined moved...slowly. The lady asked again, "How many?" Mr. Game Stop said seven left. I was still pretty far back in my line.

Finally I was third in my line. The guy at the counter? The electronic strip on his credit card didn't work. OMG are you kidding me? Mr. Game Stop had to go find the slips and machine to make a manual impression of the card. While that was going on, the other Game Stop dude yelled that there was ONE WII LEFT. And I was second in my line.

The guy in the other line was cashing out. I looked at at the youngish man in front of me and said, "I guess that one's yours." He replied, "I'm not here for a Wii. Do you want to get in front of me?" At that point I fainted and the rescue squad had to be called. No, at that point I kissed him and he slapped me. No, really, at that point I jumped on the counter and danced.

Actually, I got in front of the very nice man and told my cashier that I wanted that Wii, and the Wii Sports game, and two of the thingies that attach to the end. He didn't know where the attachment thingies were so I was pointing them out, on a rack behind the other line. He went over to get them and left my Wii on the floor behind the counter. I leaned across to the other register, where the man was cashing out and said sternly, "Forget your PIN."

The other cashier picked up my Wii, at which point I leaped over the counter and bit his hand. No, actually I grabbed his hair, jerked his head back and said, "Do. Not. Even. Think. About. It." Really I just said, "You're not giving that to someone else are you?" (See how aggressive I am in tense situations? A tiger, I tell ya) He said no, he was just bagging it. So, in summation I got the LAST Wii.
Whew!

The end.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Breakfast of Champions

Because I love the internet - really - I wanted to share this indulgence.

There I was, post-Halloween, looking at a BIG-assed bag of candy. Rob collected fifteen pounds of candy. FIFTEEN. POUNDS. He weighed it. I double-checked. We divided it into two big bowls: chocolate, and not chocolate. Since I'm a librarian I'm really good at developing precise and efficient organizational systems.

From the chocolate bucket I immediately extracted all the Almond Joys. Hey, they aren't called JOY for nothing. So here is the amazing thing I discovered.

Take one nice, firm banana (stop that. you have a dirty mind.) and your kid's Halloween bucket filch three fun-size Almond Joys. (since when is 2 bites considered fun? fun would be an Almond Joy that weighs 2 pounds) Open the Almond Joys and lay them on their wrappers. Now lay them end to end and celebrate how much JOY that is. Now try to stack them. Oooo! You can't! The almond makes them fall over.

Take a bite of that banana. (again with the dirty mind? your mother would be ashamed.) Now a bite of an Almond Joy. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat until all gone.

And if you don't like Almond Joy, e-mail me. I'll send you my address.

Foot in Mouth?

Rob has this game he likes to play in the car. I'm all about playing word and/or math games while driving somewhere. Cuts down on bloodshed and headaches. Anyway, this new game is called "Would You Rather?" I hope you get the gist of it from the title. If not, drink some coffee, then try again.

So on Saturday, while we were running an errand, Rob turns to his friend James in the back seat and announces game on. Rob throws out the first, thought provoking query...

Rob: Would you rather go to jail or eat your own foot?

James: (thinking) Could I cook it?

Rob: (considering) Yes.

James: I'd eat my foot.

For whatever reason (because I have a slightly warped mind, perhaps?) I found this hysterical. Later James throws out this zinger...

James: Would you rather have no parents or never have a home in your life?

Rob: Well, I love my parents. But it would be hard to live without a home. (thinking...thinking... realizes his mother is DRIVING THE CAR...) I'll keep my parents!

Smart boy. And cute too!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Furballs

My older son, Mac, is FRESH. That is, he is a freshman in high school this year. To ease the transition to this whole new world, we encouraged him to get involved in clubs and/or sports. He settled on ultimate Frisbee team and bowling. Since he is neither large nor particularly athletic, these are actually good choices.

Bowling must be a popular activity at his school; the club consists of a dozen teams of four kids each. On the computer screens at the alley, the teams are indicated as "Team 1," Team 2," etc. But my son's group decided to give themselves a name instead. To stand out, ya know. Somehow they settled on The Balls of Fury. I don't even want to know what discussion process led four boys to decide on this gem.

Today I was able to go watch Mac bowl. I looked at the screen and noticed that the entire team name didn't fit. So the name, proudly displayed, was THE BALLS OF FUR.

Yeahhhh, chalk one up for puberty!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Yard Sale Queen

I lurrve me a yard sale. Name brand clothes for $1 or less? A Fire King mixing bowl for $0.50? I am so there. Since I am kind of known for my "sale-ing" prowess, my family and neighbors tell me what they need and I keep a mental list. My sister, a fabulous knitter, once asked me to look for a knitting machine. Yeah, sure, I'm going to find one of those at a yard sale. The next Saturday I went out...a knitting machine. For $25. Booo-ya! Neighbor wanted a trike bike for her mom. Found it within a month. La la la...look at me! I have a superpower!

This weekend I snagged a brand new pair of Chanel sunglasses for $40, complete with protective pouch, case, box, certificate, and even the Chanel bag. Seller said he works for the company that makes them. A neighbor who actually bought a pair at a store looked them over and confirmed that they are the real deal. Serial number on the ear piece and all. Going to be a nice birthday prezzie for my sister.

So, what is the point of this post? Bragging? Nope. I want to encourage others to grab a fistful of ones and some quarters and get out there one fine Saturday morning. Maybe you'll find a replacement for that Pyrex lid you broke four years ago. Or a paper grocery bag filled to the top with real wood Lincoln Logs for $4 (another one of my finds). And if you are the person who bought the tractor seat garden cart for $5, I WANTED THAT.

I've heard people say they aren't comfortable negotiating prices at yard sales. Well, I usually don't, unless it is a big ticket item like that knitting machine (I got the seller to throw in a free skateboard). I figure people have a right to set their price and if I don't want to pay, fine, no biggie. If the seller wants to get rid of stuff (rather than make money) they are quick to say, "Make me an offer!" or "How about fifty cents?" Another common issue is getting "used" items. I yard sale in some pretty nice neighborhoods, so I assume they have washing machines. And showers. If the clothes are dirty or the people look like they have cooties, I steer clear.

I also avoid what I call "permanent yard sales." Have you seen one of these? They leave the sawhorses and plywood tables up all week and drag the same ole' crapola out of a ramshackle shed on Friday afternoon. Or, worse, the stuff is on the porch and they carry it out to the tables. Worst of all, they leave the stuff on the tables and cover everything with a mangy plastic sheet or a tarp. Sorry, but, ICK.

Ick aside, yard sale-ing is fun. In fact, this weekend is my neighborhood's annual yard sale. Y'all come now, ya hear? I have some niiiiice Christmas tins you'll be wanting for only twenty-five cents each.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Letter to My Cat

Dear Ash -

We need to talk. Yeah, I know you can't talk - or read - so just sit there and look fuzzy while I talk. Look, I want you to know that I do love you. Seven years ago, when Rob's babysitter asked me to take you in, I said yes. Because I just had "SUCKER" tattooed across my forehead.

I've never considered myself a cat person, mainly because that whole litterbox thing creeps me out. Crapping in a pile of sand in my house? Uhhh, no. Nasty. The fact that the dogs will gladly clean the litterbox does not make the situation any more acceptable, actually.

But there you were, new to the house, hiding behind the washing machine all day. Eventually you began exploring the rest of the house....after we had gone to sleep. It was so sweet, the way you would sit and yowl in the hallway right outside our bedroom. Rob enjoyed that, since he was only a year old at the time and needed just one more reason to scream and not sleep. That endeared you to me from the start.

So here we are, older and grayer. Wait! You've always been gray! Anyway, you are now my favorite pet. And apparently I am yours. Don't think I haven't realized that you follow me around. Yeah, I'm sure in your super-cool cat mind it is totally a coincidence that after I enter any room you just happen to come in and settle yourself where you can see me. I understand that you want to be close to me. Buuuuuuut...

Is it really necessary to show your love by cleaning out my ears and nose with your sandpaper tongue? All the while doing the paw massage thing on my throat with your needle-sharp claws. At 1:18am. And 3:34am. And 17 minutes before my alarm goes off in the morning. Really, must you? Also, the spouse is tired of looking at your butthole when you get between us in the bed. I'm kind of OK with that, but thought I'd mention it on his behalf.

Now, the cereal thing. Perhaps it is some kind of cat magic that enables you to know when anyone in the family is eating a bowl of cereal. If I eat some tabouli, no cat. Guacamole? No cat. Chicken noodle soup? No cat. Raisin bran? CAT! Cat on the arm of the sofa! Cat in my face! Hungry, dying, tortured cat who must have miiiiiiiilk.

Obviously you are psychic, so I have a proposition: you give me the lottery numbers it is organic milk for you every day, baby. Just a thought. I'd leave you lots of money in my will, like crazy Leona Helmsley did for her dog. Sure I will. (we've already established that you can't read)

Well, I'd better close before I get too mushy. Speaking of mushy, the next time you barf during the night could you please do so on a solid surface floor? I see no reason to do that on the carpet. Where I walk. Barefoot.

Love,
Mom

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Because I'm not Normal

I find THIS very funny. Kid and workplace safe. Just don't click "Play" if you have liquid in your mouth. And if you spit iced tea all over your keyboard...well, I warned you.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Muggy Mind

Yesterday in the car, out of nowhere (which is were all great comments come from, isn't it?), Rob asks, "Mom, have you ever been mugged?"

Mom: "No, dear, I haven't. Why do you ask?"

Rob: "Because people in New York get mugged." (we're in North Carolina?)

Mom: "Well then let's call Aunt A, she lives in New York." (snicker, snicker...I'm 40 years old [shut up, Lisa] and I still like to tease my older sisters)

(dialing phone)

Rob: "Hello? Aunt Lisa?" (which is funny because he was talking to Aunt A and he always gets them mixed up, driving them crazy and making me laugh) "Have you ever been mugged?"

(listens to response)

Rob: "Because you live in New York and people get mugged in Central Park all the time."

OK, geography lesson. My sister lives a good five HOURS away from New York City. In a town where the worst crime might be some man going stir crazy due to the eleventy-seven feet of snow they get in the winter and throwing his wife out the second story window. Of course she would land in the snowbank just below the window ledge, climb back in and proceed to beat her husband about the head and shoulders with a stale loaf of Italian bread.

Where do kids come up with this stuff? Really, my kids ask me the most amazing questions, then stare at me, fully expecting that I have the answers. I don't know whether to be flattered or to take them to therapy. Of course, being a librarian, my brain is a repository of all kinds of archaic information (such as the definition of words like "repository" and "archaic"), but come on. Do I REALLY look like I know how fast a human would melt if they stood on the surface of the sun?

Actually, the answer to that is about 2% slower than the rate at which my brain is becoming atrophied due to age. Divided by pi. Or pie. As Rob so eloquently stated a couple of days ago, "I love pie!"

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Good Taste, Southern Style

I just went to the refrigerator to gather the goods to make a nice sammich. I had some tomatoes that I snatched out of my neighbor's garden this morning. Without permission. They're on vacation and I am feeding their dogs, which I figure gaves me full rights to anything that strikes my fancy. Like fresh produce. And swimming in their pool.

So I'm at the fridge. Here we have the remains of the fat chicken I baked last night. Some honey mustard? Sure, why not. Now I need my mayonnaise. Where is my mayonnaise? WTF is this jar with a blue top? OMG. This is my husband's fault. The man has no tastebuds.

There are only a few items about which I am brand specific. Mayo pretty much tops the list. Lots of people have preferences about foods, but people tend to have issues about mayo. Aren't you particular about your mayo? If not, you're a freak.

Moving on. There are the Hellman's people. The Kraft people. And, bless them, the (whispering) Miracle Whip people. I'm none of these. A good Southern girl, I am a DUKE'S girl. No substitutions allowed.

Once when we were at my grandmother's, I made a sandwich for my sister Lisa, who is a worse mayo snob than I. She took one bite and declared, "This is NOT Duke's!" But since she had a mouthful of sandwich, which she was refusing to chew, it sounded like "Vif if OT ooks!" Did I mention that she can make a disgusted face better than anyone I know? The entire effect was as comical as I intended. See, I'd found an inferior bread spread in Grandma's fridge and thought I'd test Lisa. I was young at the time, and somewhat mean.

Sad I am for the people who live "away" and do not have access to either Duke's or the only acceptable substitute, my Aunt Bernice's homemade mayo. Since Aunt Bernice (pronounced "Burn-us" not "Bur-niece") died last year at the age of 102, I'm afraid she's out of the mayo-making business. So Duke's it is. Forever.

(pulls fresh jar from fridge and licks up the side in a display of true adoration)

Monday, July 02, 2007

Flora and Fauna (and fungi)

Some pictures I took this weekend at the cabin.

Looks like a coral reef, doesn't it? Very neat. If you appreciate spongy, parasitic fungi.
In a couple more months, I'm going to pick these blackberries and make a cobbler. Then I will lock myself in the bathroom and eat the entire thing myself. With ice cream.

Apparently there has been a lot of wild frog sex going on recently. These tiny baby frogs were everywhere.
Rob noticed something hanging down from a tree. It was the tail end of thisssssss.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Cabin Fever

We're going to build a new cabin! So far it looks like this....Can't you just see it? Stay tuned.

UPDATE, 06/23/07: When we went to the mountains and actually walked around this big hole, we realized that the location was not going to work. The edge of the cabin would be about 10 feet from the road. Uhhhh, no. This realization was accompanied by a seriously sick feeling in the stomach, caused by thinking about the money spent to dig this hole, and the trees that are now gone. Big trees. Old trees.

We picked a new spot, and now The spouse is going to get his garage. yippee.

Valium, Please

The spouse had back surgery this week. As far as being a patient goes, he is NOT patient.

Here is a prime example of how the spouse appreciates limitations being placed on his activity level. We get home from the hospital and pull into the garage. I am in the yard talking to my sister on the cell. Hear a noise behind me. The spouse is taking off down the driveway in the golf cart, still in his hospital gown and booties. OK, fine, he was in regular clothes, but is that as good a visual? No, it isn't.

Did he not get the part about no driving for two weeks? There was not a footnote that said, "Except golf carts." You've had surgery on your spine, dear. That might affect your ability to sit upright comfortably. Or to apply the brake. Both of which are important in operating a motor vehicle, I believe. Yes, a golf cart is considered a motor vehicle.

I finally get him inside and head to the pharmacy to pick up sixty percocet and sixty valium. Are you kidding me? SIXTY of EACH? (I think the valium is for me, actually.) As I walk out the door, the spouse asks me to stop at the grocery and get some beer. Sure, when I go to pick up your percocet and valium I will stop at the grocery and get you some BEER. Mixing heavy narcotics and alcohol is highly recommended within five hours of surgery. By the way, where is the life insurance policy?

One of us may die soon. Place your bets. And please pass the valium.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Turbo Puberty

The spouse had to go to a meeting today that happened to be in the town where my alma mater is located, so Rob and I rode along. Figured I'd start indoctrinating him early. Will you just LOOK what happened when we visited the student store?* Day-um, boy, I'm looking forward to you going to college, but could you ease off on the facial hair?

On the way to pick up the spouse, Rob made up this complicated story that he was sure would convince his dad that this was his real moustache. (clears throat, stares incredulously from under eyebrows and prepares to tell the story...)

We were walking on campus and there were these mad scientists students who had invented a moustache gun. This is, after all, a research university so of course there are people working on weapons of mass hirsute-osity. These brilliant students were looking for people upon which to test their invention. Carefully designed clinical trials can be so tedious, dontchaknow. Much better to hang around outside the library and approach children.

Rob naturally wished to participate in this test, because what eight year old wouldn't? His mother, who is not at all protective of her youngest, instantly agreed. Wholehearted approval. YES! And so the students shot Rob with the moustache gun. Instant facial hair! Not only that, but as a bonus, every moustache included a wire in each side so it can be contorted into various nose and chin tickling shapes. Now Rob can try out for a barbershop quartet! Get a job on a remake of the Magnum P.I. series for Nickelodeon! Make info-mercials for hair growth simulators! This one encounter has changed his life and led to a whole new career!

This was the story he told his dad. Minus the barbershop quartet and Magnum P.I. stuff. He's too young to know what either of those are. The story would be totally believable but for ONE tiny detail. Anyone? Anyone? Yeah, the kid is blond. His moustache should sooooo be red.


*WHY does the student store stock fake moustaches? And the googly eyes on springs. We got those too. Together they make for a fabulous look. I'm sure the frat boys buy this stuff.
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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

You Suck (A book review...really!)

OK, I know this is going to some as a MAJOR SHOCK, but I love to read. I remember learning to read in Mrs. Robinson's first grade class. (Here's to you, Mrs. Robinson...) It was nearly a religious conversion. As a kid, I would read anything. At breakfast I read the cereal box. At school I hid library books behind my textbooks, which caused embarrassment more than once (screw you, fifth grade teacher whose name I have blotted from my memory). In the car, I read a book, then barfed in the floorboard, then read some more. Rinse and repeat. I spent more time reading than old people spend talking about their bowel movements.

On a Saturday I was allowed to ride my bike about three miles each way to the public library, where I would spend many happy hours, breaking for lunch at the McDonald's next door. Did I mention three miles on busy two-lane roads with no bike lanes? And crossing a six-lane road? When I was about ten? Anyway, let's not get started on criticisms of my upbringing, because behind that door there be dragons. And this isn't about dragons, it is about vampires.

When summer rolls around I can only read light stuff. Chick lit, mostly. Recently I picked up a book just for the title: You Suck. I don't really do sci fi, but I used to read a lot of horror. Then I grew up, had two kids and two husbands (one at a time, thank you very much), and realized the real world is scary enough. Even so, the cover and the title tickled me, and I checked it out. I didn't realize until later that You Suck is the sequel to Bloodsucking Fiends, but no worries, it reads fine by itself.

Can I just say PEE IN MY PANTS funny? I was reading this while waiting for my son Mac at the orthodontist's office and people were staring at me because I was laughing so hard. One of those staring was a student at my school. She probably thinks I drink during the day. And I do: iced tea.

What made this book so funny for me were the bits "written" by the vampires' 16yo minion, a goth girl named Abby Normal. I know this kid. She goes to my high school. A half-dozen of her. Not all are goth, but the attitude? Spot-on.

So next time you're at the public library, give it a try. If you like it, send me a dollar. Just kidding. Kind of. If you don't like it, then...you suck! HA! Just kidding again. Kinda. Christopher Moore has a bunch of other books and I'm in the process of reading them all. So far they are fun, but none have made me laugh like You Suck did.

Yoga Cat


Is he kidding? What pose is this? Pussycat Pretzel? Shorthair Sun Salute? Do his vertebrae have a 360 degree swivel? And why is he doing this on my treadmill?

Frankendog

You think you've had a bad day? Look at my dog's butt. That's it there, shaved and sporting more stitches than I care to count. (OK, after I typed that I had to stop and count. Looks like 17 stitches, but each one consists of four punctures in an X shape. So is each one actually two stitches?) This sweet dog had a ginormous growth on his back at the base of his tail. We had taken to calling him The Camel. The growth was removed yesterday.

Tyke's nails were trimmed while he was unconscious, since he isn't fond of the procedure. Would this not be a great add-on for human surgeries? You have some medical problem that is worrisome. You go under the knife and wake up with a painful incision BUT you've had a nice pedicure and your feet look great. It might take your mind off the catheter. I should shop this idea around.

See on the very edge of that picture? That is my other dog, Pepper, sniffing Tyke's butt. Because everyone needs that kind of attention after surgery.

For the very curious, Tyke is a Boykin spaniel, which is the state dog of South Carolina.

Makes Me Laugh

My sister refers to an Aerobed as a "crack sack." She said sleeping on one gives her bad dreams.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Tramps and Pimps in Training

Seen at the local fast food joint... (that I won't name here since they probably have bots searching the Internet for idiots like me who use the corporate name in vain because I hate this place and only go there to let the kids run wild in the air-conditioned play area after paying the admission price of a kid's meal)

...a family of two adults and four children. First of all, neither of the "adults" looks old enough to have four children. Unless they started their reproductive lives during middle school. Actually... (tapping finger against chin and looking upwards, deep in thought) hmmmm...this may be the case.

Dad sports at least six tattoos that I can see. I have nothing against tattoos. Been thinking about getting one myself since I turned 40. A turtle, I think, right here (taps front of right hip). That way I can hide it if I want. Or I can flash cute guys in the juice aisle at Kroger.

Dad is whip thin in that chic, meth addict way. Closely shaved head, goatee, several earrings in each ear. T-shirt with the sleeves cut out to display those wiry arms and tasty pit hair dontchaknow. Denim shorts. Wallet on a chain. Couldn't he have used some of that tattoo money on clothes? Or a rehab program?

As soon as Mom covers the table with fat and grease healthy foods for their clan, she slumps into a chair and doesn't move anything except her arm and her mouth. I have to give dad props for being interactive with the kids in the play area.

There is a girl child who looks to be maybe 2. She has curly brown hair and big eyes. Her natural beauty is enhanced by fake tattoos wrapping around both ankles. Whaaa? My children have had temp tattoos: a pirate or heart on the bicep, a spider on the cheek at Halloween. Wash off after a couple of days since they become flaky quickly, right? This little girl's tattoos were so realistic that I openly stared for a long time before deciding that they had to be fake. Because who would tattoo a toddler?

I don't know, maybe the same people who pierced the ears of her two brothers? Of the three boy children, one is a cousin (I know this because eavesdropping is a hobby of mine). The other two are boys aged around nine and five. Both sport earrings. Nice, tasteful, giant fake CZ studs. I'm bedazzled.

OK, I am very much a live-and-let-live kind of person. I try not to be judgmental and all that. But sometimes I just want to grab parents and ask, "WHAT do you want for your children? Life in a trailer park? A career making minimum wage? Bad teeth? An '82 Trans Am with cracked vinyl seats?"

Friday, June 08, 2007

Channeling Alice Cooper

Everybody, sing along with me...

(makes rock 'n roll hand sign)

...schooooool's out for summer...

Rob started his vacation by hurling a quart of chunky barf into the bathroom sink at 4:00am. Guess I should be glad it wasn't on the floor so that when I run in to see if he's OK, I step in it. Yep, that has happened. He made it to the toilet for the second geyser at 8:30am.

He still managed to spend a good part of the day swimming and hanging out with his buddy in the treehouse. We like to share our viruses.


Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Truth or Dare

This is about that great high school tradition, the yearbook. Or the annual. Whatever. Anybody know where yours are? All of mine are in a box in the attic. After I received my senior yearbook I collected autographs as if it was a judgment on my popularity. What a coup it was to get the cutest guy in my class to sign. Despite the fact that the alopecia fairy visited him sometime between then and now, I think most women in the 35 and up range would still find him hot.

So now the kids at my school are experiencing this sacred rite of passage. They have received their yearbooks and some have asked me to sign them. Do I DARE tell the TRUTH? Let's see...

Student 1, what I write:

Dear Nice Girl,

It has been so nice getting to know you these past three years. Your great sense of style and gentle nature are endearing. As you move forward, beyond high school, you will achieve great things. Keep reading!

Sincerely,
Librarian to the Stars

Student 1, what I want to write:

Dear Emo Limp Dishrag,

For three years I've watched you slither around like an earthworm, as if the world is just too much for you. Good god, child, can you not get your medications balanced so that you can actually attend an entire week of school? Have you noticed that your classmates are all high on energy drinks? Try one. It might boost your energy level, which is about equal to the sofa cushions you lie on every time you're in the library.

And as for the very strange outfits you wear, I applaud you. You can carry it off right now, but when you're my age everyone will cross the street to avoid you and that rusty shopping cart full of castoffs you call a closet. Get your shit together now. I have one word for you: Garanimals.

Sincerely,
The Queen of Helpful Advice

Student 2, what I write:

Dear Pretty Girl,

I have enjoyed having you visit the library every day. Your determination and independent spirit will serve you well as you move beyond high school and take on the "real" world. I wish you all the best.

Sincerely,
Nice Librarian

Student 2, what I want to write:

Dear Conceited, Don't-Talk-To-Me Girl,

I can't believe you're letting me write in here in PEN. So often our encounters have been negative. I have to tell you to stop eating, to get off e-mail, and to put on a jacket since you're violating the dress code as usual. And when I remind you again of the very few, very basic rules in the library, you pull that angry princess bitch face on me, huffing like you're having an asthma attack. Let me tell you what the future holds for you, my dear.

Keep eating all that junk food. When you hit 30 and your metabolism starts slowing down, you're going to puff up like a toad frog. And have bad teeth. Yep, I hate the fact that you subsist on chips and soda and are still like a size two with no hips at all. Get back to me after you've birthed a couple of ten pound babies. I earned these hips.

Those guys you're e-mailing are probably retired fartheads sitting in their single-wides in Florida, yanking their crank while they look at those pictures you are posting. But you are smart and you'd be able to tell if they weren't the hot guys you think they are. I'll see you on the evening news.

The dress code? Yeah, it's the same one for grades K through 12. You're a senior but you haven't realized yet that shirts with spaghetti straps and a plunging neckline are verbotten? OK, fine, you win this round. Go ahead and display those grapefruits while they are still round and wedged up under your chin. In no time at all you'll be sporting a couple of overly ripe bananas, tucking them into the top of your size 16 underpants every morning when you get dressed and waddle to the bathroom to brush your one tooth.

Love Always,
The Mean One

By the way, a yearbook now costs $60 or more. Oy!

Disclaimer: Just in case by some miracle a student or students wander onto this blog (as IF - since I'm ancient and clueless and couldn't have a blog, right?) I want to say that neither of these "students" is a specific individual, but represents a composite of the traits several students. Because I'm really not quite that mean, and I do in fact genuinely like most of the kids at my school. The vast majority are, if not respectful and nice, at least capable of holding their teen disdain and superiority in check.

Or maaaaaybe each is one of these entries is really a student. Me to know and you to find out! Pffffttt!!!

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Just to Prove I Know of What I Speak

Regarding the previous post, if you think I'm just guessing about what 'nads look like, then you are wrong. I had this dog named Goober. As a puppy, he looked for all the world like a possum. A cute possum, of course. I found him beside a neighbor's mailbox when he was maybe 8 or 9 weeks old and he followed me home. The fact that I stopped every three feet, calling, "Come on, puppy. Come on." had nothing to do with it, I'm sure.

I did not realize I had brought destructo-dog into my home. That pup would chew up anything. He chewed the arms of the sofa, the coffee table legs, and half a rocker off a chair I got from my grandma. Which means I am truly off my rocker. (groan - bad pun). For some reason, Goober was particularly attracted to the heels of shoes...countless pairs of shoes. He sealed his fate when he destroyed my favorite lizard and patent leather pumps (this was 1991, the shoes were cool then, I swear!).

Thinking this puppy was just a bit to enthusiastic, I dragged Goober to the vet to have his love lumps removed. Being the curious type (remember that A in biology?) I told the vet I wanted to see Goober's goobers after they were removed. When I picked him up, the vet had the nuggets (How many different words will she use in one post to describe manparts? Stay tuned.) in a jar of formalin. She was very considerate and took time to explain to me what each bit was and how it worked. Yummy. I took the jar of cocktail onions home.

And then what? What do you do with pickled dog oysters? Thinking I might have a daughter some day, I kept them. How great would that be? My daughter starts dating and a real winner shows up to take her to the Sonic for a #1 meal with tater tots and a lime slush. Mom puts the jar on the coffee table. Without any explanation, the boy knows exactly what he is looking at. He feels an involuntary clenching in his boxers. Mom says, "About the last boy who dated my daughter..."

Alas I had no daughter. Somewhere in a move, the Goober seed pods went in the trash. But Goober himself lives on. He is deaf, nearly blind, and can hardly walk. He just stumbles around in his quiet, dark world, looking for his walnuts. Or some shoes.

(I lost custody of Goober in a divorce, hence the use of the past tense early in the story.)

Friday, June 01, 2007

A Pain in the Neck

Literally.

See the back of Rob's throat? You don't? Really? Well neither do I. That's because his tonsils are bigger than his 'nads. They are HUGE. Poor kid. I had my tonsils ripped from my throat when I was five. Ah, yes, I remember it well. My mother told me that after the surgery I could have all the ice cream I wanted. What nobody told me is that I WOULDN'T WANT ANY. Because it hurt too bad to swallow. Trickery! Treachery!

And then...and THEN, I told the nurse in the recovery room that I had to tinkle. She brought me a bedpan. Welllll OK-alrighty then. I don't think so. Even at age five I wasn't big on public urination. I crawled from my deathbed and started walking the halls, looking for a bathroom. What did I find? A men's room. Apparently my shyness did not extend to cross-gender issues.

So, back to the boy with golf balls in his mouth. I thought that he might be able to keep them since he hadn't experienced the constant problems I did. But at his last check-up the doctor was all, "Holy crap on a stick! This boy has 'NADS at the back of his throat! It is double-nad disease! I've only read about cases like this!" Then she asked if he snored (yes, bad), said he also has a deviated septum, and wrote out a referral for an ENT. That stands for Extra Nasty Tonsils. Or maybe Each Nostril is Tiny.

Since I have not yet taken him to the ENT, the gods frowned upon my parental slackitudeness and now Rob has strep throat. At least he handles it well. He still played baseball tonight. I didn't tell the five coaches or any of the players that he hasn't yet started taking antibiotics. Ooops.

When I get strep I feel like I have the King Mack Daddy of all hangovers, which causes me to roll up into a ball and cry for days. My kid? He went to the game. They lost, but he played hard. Because he's Super 'Nad Neck.

Footnote: The silver line on Rob's teeth is his new retainer. Which cost an extra $150 after he lost the first one. At least they got the color right this time: green with glitter. Fancy.

An Ode to Silence

Exams have begun! Exams have begun!

(the librarian spins in circles of joy, shelving books in a counter-clockwise direction)

Yeah, the students aren't too happy about it. Poor kids (snark). But me? The QUIET. Lovely, lovely quiet.

Perhaps you went to your high school library once or twice? Yes? And there was a mean librarian there who insisted on all kinds of restrictive rules, right? There was in mine. His name was Mr. Litchfield and he had really looooong eyebrows. That he brushed straight up. And they met his hairline. No, I am not kidding. It made him look like a werewolf. A werewolf who had been cursed for all eternity to guard books, scare teenagers, and refuse to be helpful at all costs.

Not so here. We are all OPEN, man. My library (oh, let me be all PC - my media center) is a social center before school, during lunch and after school. Which is nice, because we enjoy getting to know the kids, and for the most part they are great. But they are also like a litter of golden retrievers: all bouncy and stumbly and barking.

Now they are trapped in the sticky web of EXAM WEEK and we have have quiet. *sigh*
Thank you LOLDOGS on flickr.com for the above image, which belongs to rockcreek.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Shopping with a Caterpillar

I have this....this...thing living in my house. Usually I can him Mac, but today let's call him Caterpillar. See, he is a newly minted teenager. All of 13 years old and soon to complete the eighth grade. You know what that means? Next year he is in HIGH SCHOOL. I am way too young for this.

So why is he a caterpillar? Because he is somewhere between an egg and a butterfly. Once he was small and easy to control, and someday (please) he'll be really nice to be around. Still waiting for him to go into a cocoon, though. That would be cool. I could just lean his cottony pod in a corner somewhere; let him gather dust. Maybe decorate him for Christmas with a festive strand of colored lights and that silver tinsel that takes me right back to childhood.

The best part of this scenario? Cocoons can't talk. This boy? He has a MOUTH on him. Truly I have no idea where he gets it. It's crazy. Anyway, the mouth. Constantly in motion, usually spilling words laced with sarcasm or disgust at all things familial. His baby brother is a bacterium. His stepfather is an ogre. His mother is a prison guard with a cattle prod. Sucks to be him. Of course, I cannot relate at all. Because I was never 13. Ever. I was born when I was 30. Pissed my mother off, me being so big and all.

Back to the issue of shopping with a caterpillar. Since caterpillars are in a state of transition, shopping is not just difficult, it is amazingly, painfully, horribly impossible. Today we set out with a mission: find pants, shirt, shoes for the upcoming eighth grade end-of-year dance. He needs to look hot for all the wimmins. They are attracted by the shininess of his braces, and that sweep of hair that completely covers one eye.

Anyone care to guess how many stores we went to before we found pants that fit? This boy got his mother's long legs and short waist, so pants with a normal "rise" tend to go halfway up the ribcage. Not a good look on me; not a good look on him. And shopping for pants in late May? Not so easy. Old Navy? No luck. Marshalls? As if. TJ Maxx (oooo, the jewelry counter...snap out of it, mom!). Forget it. Goodwill? (yes, I tried there) Not a chance. Finally, pants at Belk. Forty percent off, no less. The shirt was easier - 75% off at Dillard's. Woot!

Here comes the tricky bit. Shoes. The caterpillar is in the early stages of puberty, so right now he is about 5 feet tall, but he wears a men's 8 1/2 shoe. Since September his feet have grown THREE sizes. Put a black dress shoe that big on a boy that short and the result is...not comical, exactly. (thinking, thinking...) Well, it just looks wrong. As if he might be part hobbit. Although he liked a couple of pairs of regular leather slip-ons, they resembled snowshoes on his feet. I had to move into the next aisle so I wouldn't laugh at him. Caterpillars are very touchy. And if you step on them, that green goo comes out. Nasty.

Finally I convinced him to buy a pair of solid black Chuck Taylor high tops. At least he can wear them again. And if he doesn't, I will.

Pictures. Isn't he cute? Kind of like Cousin It: The Middle School Years. Or a cyclops.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Yes, I'm a Hussy

A different blog asked for submissions of the worst scheduling nightmare ever. I shared mine there, then thought I'd copy it here. Because I crave humiliation.

So here it is. This happened years ago. I am old now. The shame lingers.

As a recent college graduate, I was lovin’ life. Had my own apartment, a decent -albeit boring- job, a nice boyfriend. But there was this other guy. For me, this other guy was just a friend. I was up front with him and he understood that although I would go out with him on occasion, we were not dating. He said he was fine with that. Still, I knew he had a horrible, huge crush on me.

So one Tuesday evening my boyfriend arrives at the apartment at 7:00. We are just hanging out with my roommate and her boyfriend, playing cards and discussing where we want to go for dinner. I’m uneasy for some reason I can’t identify. The doorbell rings. 7:30. Suddenly my feelings of unease intensify and my stomach falls through the floor.

(Yeah, you see it don’t you? You know who is at the door.)

It is the other guy. No, he wasn’t there on the wrong night. I had set up two dates for the same night. Totally, 100% my fault.

I go to the door, open it one inch, and slither out (like the slimeball snot-covered slug that I was). With a cold sweat breaking through my deodorant and a face afire, I tell guy-friend that I have another date. Then I walk him to his car. And sit with him. While he CRIES.

This bit I didn't put in the other blog because it shows how truly shallow I was at the time.
It was all I could do to not tell this guy that his orange car clashed with his red hair and he should consider trading it for something green or blue. Hopefully I'm a bit more mature now. And as poetic justice would have it, my hair increasingly matches my silver car.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Don't tell PETA!



Get a load of my summer boarder. His name is Chico and he is my stepdaughter's chinchilla. He is cute and soft . Did I say soft? I meant SOFT. SOFT! I sooooo understand why people make coats out of these things. Come to think of it, I'd rather have a chinchilla blanket. That way I could roll up in it while I watch TV shows that cause my husband to make strange noises and leave the room.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Root Canal

I had my first root canal today. Hooray. I made it to the ripe old age of 41 before enduring this fabulous experience. I am falling apart one bit at a time, yet according to my calculations I'm not even middle aged. The women in my family tend to be long-lived, with most making it well into their 90s and a few passing 100. The men don't fare so well: their hearts tend to give out in their early 70s. (mental note to take out a larger life insurance policy on husband)

Anyhoo, back to my root canal since I know my molars are of interest to simply everyone (hey, initially I typed "toot canal" but that is something else entirely...snicker...junior high humor). My paternal grandmother died with all her teeth; my maternal grandmother with none. I want to keep my teeth. This one (points to offending tooth), was iffy. After finishing the root canal, the dentist thinks that with a crown it will be fine.

ASIDE: Yeah, a crown makes everything better. I know because I have three of them. Crowns. Well, actually tiaras. Shiny and sparkly. I like to wear them on road trips. Or when I clean the house. Nobody can be bored or depressed when wearing a tiara.

But we aren't talking about that kind of crown, are we? Words like "crown" and "root canal" make me feel old. I am dealing with the normal vagaries of age: cellulite, less skin elasticity, losing my ability to eat an entire box of Twinkies at one sitting without a single ounce being added to a frame once referred to as "skinny." But the possibility of losing a tooth? Old. Old and pitiful. Soon I'll be a crotchety crone, chasing children out of my yard while screaming at them in a drooly slur because my lips have sunken in around my two remaining fangs.

Bleacher Butt

Yes, boys and girls, it is BASEBALL season! I loooove Little League. There, I said it. I love watching little tiny boys in baseball pants trying their hardest to learn the great American sport. So with a sigh of contentment I settle on the dusty aluminum bleacher on a warm spring evening.

Around age 10 or so, Mac threw down his glove and refused to play any longer. Truthfully, it was probably the best decision for him. The other kids were sprouting up like weeds and, thanks to the genetic crapshoot of life, Mac is a late bloomer like his mom. Additionally, group sports just aren't his thing; he is much more an individualist. He prefers art, writing, skateboarding, riding his shiny new bike with trick pegs on the wheels, and making small electrical devices out of miscellaneous hardware he finds in the incredibly cluttered garage (that garage will be the topic of another post, I'm sure). As irritating as he is much of the time, I want to respect the person he is, not the person I think he should be.

Rob is a bit different. He is a people person. Seriously. He likes to have people around ALL THE EFFING TIME. This means there are constantly little boys in my yard. Stealing popsicles out of my freezer. Missing the toilet. Running around the house and screaming. Playing dodgeball with my yoga ball (which is the only use it gets). As a result of his sociability, Rob enjoys sports if for no other reason that that he is with a dozen or so of his peeps.

I love the fact that Rob's pants, handed down from Mac, have holes in the knees from sliding into base, even when not necessary. Because sliding is fun, of course. And because he knows how much I enjoy doing laundry. (the pants are double thick at the knee, so don't be thinking that my child is wearing holey pants) Did I mention that the baseball field is red dirt and pants must be white? Why doesn't the town athletic association just switch to black pants and save me some time? My son is going to grow up thinking that you have to yell "Daaaammnit!" several times whenever you wash clothes.

I love the way Rob refers to his...ummm...cup and jockstrap as his "special underwear." I love that when the boys are in the field, I can't pick out my son unless they turn around so I see the jersey numbers. OK, maybe I don't like that part. I've been known to cheer for the wrong kid. More than once. In the same game. I love buying sunflower seeds in the shell from the snack bar because eating them eases the tension of a tight game and keeps me from throwing full bottles of Gatorade at the other team's coaches.

Rob's team played their fourth game this week. They lost, 19-15, but who - tell me - WHO was the star of the game? Yeah, you saw him make that awesome play at third, didn't you? And that second awesome play at third? And that third awesome play at third? That was number 11, my boy. See him in the picture at left, demonstrating what his coach calls the "sit on your toilet!" position. Probably not a Cal Ripkin-in-training, but maybe he'll hang with it a bit longer. Because sitting on the bleachers all spring does great things for the width of my behind.

UPDATE: We won our last game 21-16. So far this season: 2 wins, 1 tie and 1 loss. Not too shabby.

UPDATE, Take 2: Things are getting shabby.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Pet Peeves (Not Pet Peeve's)

Working in a high school provides ample opportunities for this English major to be tortured by bad grammar. Truly, I worry about some of these kids. Not that I am Miss Perfect Grammar Queen 2007, but I hope I have a grasp of most basic concepts related to the written word.

My pet peeve of the day: the overuse and misuse of possessive apostrophes. Is it really so difficult to understand the concept of possession? Not Linda Blair, head spinning around, spewing pea soup possession, but the simple act of indicating ownership.

You're riding down the road, enjoying a fine day and there it is. Stupidity on Display. Hanging from a rusty mailbox is a lovely wooden sign, carefully carved, which reads, "The Smith's." The Smith's WHAT? The Smith's house? The Smith's mailbox? The Smith's grammatically incorrect sign? In order to save what little sanity I have left, I mentally insert a final word in order to complete the phrase. Say, maybe, The Smith's Hacienda. Or, if I'm feeling particularly snarky, something more like, The Smith's tacky concrete donkey holding brightly colored plastic flowers in its saddlebags.

Notice that I didn't type "it's saddlebags." Because its/it's is the tricky one. Maybe I should say, it's the tricky one. This is the case where you don't use an apostrophe to indicate possession. Only when indicating a contraction of "it is" or "it has." Not fair, creator of English grammar. Not fair at all. How can you expect me to love you when you are so inconsistent and unpredictable?

Apparently the possessive apostrophe bothers other people, too. My sister recently e-mailed me about a sign on the bathroom at the beauty salon she frequents. It reads, "Employee's Only." She said next time she goes, she will take along some Wite-Out. Maybe this particular peeve is genetic, but I don't think so.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

I Like Them...Too Much

This isn't a food blog, but when I find something that I lllloooove, it is incumbent upon me to share. These cookies qualify. Recently the PTSA (Parent-Teacher-Student Association) provided a potato bar for us, and these morsels were offered for dessert. They must have been made by angels.

Yesterday the PTSA had an end-of-year luau. Don't even get me started about all the food. They fed us shrimp that would have jumped from the ocean voluntarily onto the grill had they known they would taste so good and make so many so happy. There were these fancy salads wrapped in long, thin sections of cucumber. And, again, there were these cookies. I had a brief urge to grab the tray and lick them all to prevent others from having any. Unfortunately, rationality reigned and I only ate my share. And maybe someone else's, but just one person's, truly. What exactly would be a fair number per person? Hmmmm....


COCONUT MERINGUE MACAROONS
2 egg whites
Dash salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/3 cups flaked coconut (bag or can)

Beat egg whites with salt and vanilla until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff. Fold in coconut.

Drop by rounded teaspoon onto greased cookie sheet (or line pan with non-stick Reynolds Wrap). Bake in slow oven (325 degrees) about 20 minutes or until light brown. Makes about 1 1/2 dozen.

Bring them to my house.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I'LL show you a cute dog...

OK, I know that there is this blogger who is famous. I love her blog and read it. And yes, her dog is cool and will balance things on his head. But CUTE? I wanna show you a CUTE dog. With no further ado, I present Pepper Coyote Half-Ear, sassiest terrier mix on the East coast.

Sometimes I go to the animal shelter just to look around. People are like, "How can you do that? Go there and look at those animals?" Because I like to torture myself, maybe. Or perhaps I think that stooping down to pet a dog or cat makes their day a tad brighter. So I do, I go to the animal shelter when I have no intention of adding to my home zoo.

On a nice July afternoon, my niece and I cruise the animal shelter in my parents' hometown. And there is this thing; this thing in cage number one. I see a butt. I can't tell the size, breed or color. All I see is what I assume to be dogbutt. She has turned away from the world, because the world turned away from her. I go to the desk and say, "I'd like to see the dog in cage one, please." Without looking up from her computer, the kind and gentle public servant growls (Working with dogs a bit too long, dear? You growl and bark rather than speaking?) "Is there an 'A' on the door?" I am perplexed. "A what?" Bark, "An A!"

I wander over and look. Yes, there is an A. Does it stand for "adoptable"? I don't know and I'm not going to ask the growly lady. She huffs, and slowly prises her behind from the desk chair, where apparently it has fused with the stained canvas. She goes into the dog room - visitors must look through the glass at the dogs, like a hospital nursery - and gets the dogbutt.

We are handed the world's ugliest dog. She shivers. Her bald body resembles that of a hog, with a few wild, bristling hairs scattered on black and grey speckled skin. What fur she has is no definable color: individual hairs are randomly part black, part grey, part tan. Her ears are squared off at the top and heavily scabbed, a result of biting flies the animal control meanie says (and the vet later confirms). She is sickly thin, yet proceeds to vomit all over the floor. Twice. And she smells horrible. Far, far beyond "dirty dog" and into the realm of "pork chops left in the sun for a week in August."

It is, of course, love at first sight. My mother gene kicks in. Or my rescue complex. Or maybe I just want the animal control meanie to know that she did not rise from the chair in vain. My sister arrives and names this miserable beast "Pepper" because of the speckled skin. We later add "Coyote" because she looks like a wild animal. And "Half-Ear" because...you figure it out. Luckily the fur on her ears grows past the chewed off tips and this particular abnormality is no longer obvious.

I sign the papers, pay $95 ($75 is refundable if the vet determines that the dog is already spayed - she is), and ask if I can PLEASE wash the dog before leaving. If I take her in my car the way she is, the smell will work its way into the upholstery and make me gag forever. Suddenly the animal control meanie is the animal control angel. She gets two different kinds of doggie shampoo, a couple of towels, and tells me the dog's life story.

Pepper's life story is thus: a deputy found her on the road and brought her in. That's it. That's all we know. Pepper's body tells the rest of the story. She is spayed so someone once cared for her. She is in horrible condition, so she hasn't been loved in a long time. She is desperate for affection, so she still has hope. We take her home.

For months she is skittish. We move slowly around her. Touching her side or trying to pick her up usually results in a nasty reaction and sometimes a bite. It may be that she was injured during her vagabond time; possibly there were some cracked ribs. One afternoon she bites Rob badly on the leg and almost gets a ticket back to the slammer for that.

Our patience eventually is rewarded. Pepper is still a bitch, but she doesn't bite at all. She is bossy and loud and we love her. The kids like to form the wiry hair on her head into various wild styles and Pepper puts up with it. Sometimes she chases the cat and he plays along like he is really scared of a dog that weighs less than he does. She is prancy and proud and proof that the best dogs in the world are the ones that find US.


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Monday, May 07, 2007

Gritting My Teeth

Two months ago Mac got braces. Yippee! Happy teenager! He has braces! Yeah, I'm not kidding, he was excited to get braces. Already the change has been dramatic. They wires could come off today and we'd all be happy. But then the orthodontist wouldn't get to charge me a bajillion dollars and might even have to refund 42 cents.

Mac's mouth is now worth more than my car. Couldn't they have just melted down my 1992 Honda and made the braces from the scrap metal and wires to save me a little bit?

The scary thing is that his brother also was referred to the orthodontist. His eight year old brother. Apprently the fact that Rob's top tooth (the only one he has so far, which allows a nice gap for spitting and holding chopsticks) hits the bottom tooth directly is a problem. A problem that could result in either or both cracking and having to be pulled. And me, being the great mom that I am, didn't notice that this alignment already has caused the top and bottom teeth to wear at an angle. Significantly. *sigh*

Since these are permanent teeth and I don't want to consign Rob to a life as a redneck at such a young age (despite the genetic predisposition - he already has a lifetime hunting license), off to the orthodontist we went. When Dr. C reviewed Rob's panoramic X-ray I could almost hear the cash register "CHA-CHING!" sound bouncing around in her head. The film looked like a handful of Scrabble tiles dropped on a table . Rob apparently is slow to lose teeth and therefore has all kinds of big boy teeth jumbled up in his gums, just waiting for their chance to shine (and get cavities, no doubt). For now he has a retainer, and Dr. C wants him to have 6 (six...SIX) teeth pulled after school gets out. Did I mention SIX? TEETH? PULLED? Oy vey. Two of them are loose, but they could be loose for months because he is not the obsessive-tooth-wiggler his mother was.

By the way, he has already lost his first retainer by utilizing the classic "put it on your lunch tray and then toss it in the trash" trick. I really enjoyed spending that additional $150. This one I will superglue in place. But, really, why bother? Because I may be putting a Mercedes in this boy's mouth before he is old enough to drive.

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Saturday, May 05, 2007

Really Good Diet Food

Here is a very easy recipe that is yummy and doesn't involve fat or sugar, my two best friends that I can't hang with anymore. Because they were bad for me. You know how some friends seem great, but are really going behind your back and screwing up your life? Well, that's what fat and sugar have done to me. They've gone behind my back...and settled on my ass and thighs. So they are verbotten. Except for that tiny, tiny sliver of coconut pie I ate last night.

Corn and Black Bean Salad

2 cans black beans, drained and rinsed (Because that gooky stuff in the can is GROSS. What *is* that? Looks like what I have to wash out from between Rob's toes after a baseball game.)

1 bag frozen corn, thawed or microwaved and cooled

1 large jar of chunk salsa, whatever hotness level you so desire. Me? I'm mild. Ask anyone.

1 medium onion, diced. Vidalia or another sweet onion is super yummy.

Fresh cilantro. I'm thinking about a tablespoon. But this stuff smells so good I can't stop chopping it. I like to rub a bit behind my ears.

Powered garlic - as much as you'd like. I like it. Come over here and smell my breath.

Some cumin if you want. I want.

Salt.


Mix, refrigerate, eat. Serve to your friends and they will rant and rave and not believe that this is soooooo easy.

Zoo Trip

OK, here is a quiz for you. Two pictures at left. Which one is an ape who is likely to spit at you and throw his poo? Which one is a pubescent teeanger who hides in his room, refuses to cut his hair, and rolls his eyes?

Friday was a teacher workday. Boy howdy did I need the break. The kids at school are really getting antsy as the end of the year approaches, and I have exhausted my ten month supply of patience for high school drama and backtalk.

So, teacher workday = I ain't working today. Off to the zoo with the neighbor and our collection of boys. Weather was overcast and quite cool, which is actually great zoo weather. There is so much walking involved that it can be miserable on a hot day. The animals were all mellow; the kids were all wild.

My favorite animal of the day was this, the Red River Hog. I'm trying to drop 15 pounds, so being this close to bacon was just exciting for me.

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Thursday, May 03, 2007

New Trend - Gerbil on a String

Is this a dog? My sister thinks it is. Nevermind that it weighs less than my plate at dinner last night. Nevermind that it doesn't bark, it squeaks. I present Maggie May, a gerbil on a string. Have to say, though, as cute as this thing is, gerbils on strings may be the next big thing. Like the pet rock I had in fifth grade.

Or the marble I named Glory because it was red, white and blue. Glory and I went to the mall all day one Saturday. I walked around, nudging Glory with my toe and having a lovely time. Until Glory rolled under the ice cream cooler at Baskin Robin. Yeah, I was heartbroken. Maybe if my mother had let us keep pets I wouldn't have needed to develop bizarre anthropomorphic relationships. Or maybe, as I am often told, I am just weird and have too vivid an imagination.
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Monday, April 16, 2007

Shrimp and Grits

I know, I know, shrimp and grits sounds disgusting. Really. Truly. Gross. Grits are breakfast, right? Well, they are if you're Southern. And if you are not Southern, then, gosh, I'm sorry. Better luck in your next life.

OK, apologies to my Yankee nieces and nephews. But since you are only one generation removed, and 75% of you have moved South, then we will let it slide. I love you anyway. Even if you talk funny.

So try this. It is fabbity-fab-fab, I swear. On my hamster's life. A word of caution: with the pepperjack cheese and the canned tomato/green chile combo, this is spicy. I use 1/2 as much pepperjack as the recipe calls for and Monterey Jack for the other half. And I use mild Rotel.

Cheesy Shrimp-and-Grits Casserole

4 cups chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup regular grits
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded sharp cheddar cheese, divided
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded pepperjack cheese
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
6 green onions, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 pound small fresh shrimp, peeled and cooked
1 (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, drained
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Bring 4 cups chicken broth and 1/2 teaspoon salt to aboil in a large saucepan; stir in grits. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes.

Stir together grits, 3/4 cup cheddar cheese, and pepperjack cheese.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat; add green onions, bell pepper, and garlic. Sauté 5 minutes or until tender.

Stir together green onion mixture, grits mixture, shrimp, and next 3 ingredients.

Pour into a lightlygreased 2-quart baking dish. Sprinkle top with remaining 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese.

Bake at 350° for 30 to 45 minutes.

Yield: Makes 10 to 12 servings

Southern Living, JANUARY 2003

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Spring Break

Here we have two examples of a rare species usually only seen in south Flordia during a brief week in April. Yes, they are the winterus overus verywhiteus flying boys. Notice that one is of the subspieces teenus needus ahaircutus.

The water was warm and clear enough that I even got in. And the (heated) pool was a divine 87 degrees. And the weather? Perfect.


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Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

OMG!!! This is slap-your-grandma good!!! But the recipe makes enough to feed about a dozen people. I halved it and it fed three big eaters for two days.

Shrimp and Corn Chowder

2 tablespoons kosher salt
6 cups frozen corn kernels
¼ cup unsalted butter
2 large sweet onions, finely chopped
½ cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon Old Bay seasoning
10 cups chicken broth
1 ½ pounds potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup half and half
½ pound shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 ½ - 2 pounds shrimp, peeled and deveined


*Melt butter in large stockpot over medium high heat and sauté onions 10 minutes or until tender. Stir in flour, salt, pepper and Old Bay and continue to stir 3 minutes.

*Add chicken broth and potatoes. Bring to a boil and cook 15 – 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

*Stir in corn, half and half, cheese and shrimp. Cook 10 additional minutes or until shrimp are pink.