Sunday, July 31, 2011

You toucha my plate - I KEEL YOU!!!

Did you notice how this cute little poochie looks like he could rip off the hand that's going for his plate of food? That's how I react when someone tries to take food off of my plate. I hate it. You try to take my food and I'll stab you with a fork. I'll growl and hover over my plate if I'm dining with someone who I know will "sample" what I'm having. It's OK to take some of my food if I've offered it to you, but to just reach over and help yourself will most surely land you in the hospital. I'm not kidding.

I'm normally a very sharing type of girl but when it comes to mealtime I am like Dr's. Jekyll and Hyde. I wasn't always like this but my stinky brothers warped me. When we were young, mealtime was a time for family bonding. And food warfare. Our Mom didn't mind how many helpings we had but by golly, we had to eat what we put on our plate. The boys could inhale a meal in 5 minutes flat if Mom had let them. Instead, each of us had to put one hand in our lap and slowly chew our food. Shovelling was not allowed. We had to eat like civilized people. Being a female, my food intake was less than that of the boys, and I didn't eat like a savage either.

I took time to enjoy my meal while I imagine the boys didn't even taste theirs. They were too worried that the food would be gone before they were full. One of their nasty ploys was to ask me for a taste of whatever it was I was eating. Here's how it went: "Lizzie, gimme a bite of your sandwich. I want to see what it tastes like." Being the sweet people pleaser that I was, I'd hand over my sandwich expecting them to take a small nibble. Instead, they would cram as much of my sandwich into their mouth as they could fit! I'd be left with a corner of crust. Then, to add insult to injury they more often than not would say "that was AWFUL! Go make another and let me tell you if that one is better." This happened over and over again.

I learned to NEVER let them have a drink of whatever I had. Instead of taking a sip, they'd down the whole glass or bottle or 10 gallon drum. If they were sipping my root beer float, the same response would ensue that had occurred with the sandwich. "That was AWFUL! I hate it! Go make another!!!"  That sentence was one I heard at least 72,569 times as a kid.

That's why I hate people getting near my food or drink. I don't want to be left with a corner crust or backwash. I want my own food. I want my own drink. And if you're nice, I'll share some with you. Just don't try to take it without asking first. I'll stab you with a fork then I'll KILL YOU.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Stop doing aerobics while you're dancing!

I used to go dancing all the time. I loved it and thought I was pretty darn good. I also used to take aerobics classes. To me, aerobics was just glorified dancing and vice versa. My hubby used to get on to me when we'd go dancing because we'd be out there cutting a rug and he'd notice I was using all my aerobics moves. Step ball change with a little hip shimmy thrown in. I didn't even realize that I was doing it!

My dancing consists of spastic movements. I try to look sexy and cool, but I'm probably grimacing and it's probably obvious that I'm trying really hard not to fall down. I have fallen down while dancing before. My feet get so happy I can't keep up with them.

I used to hang out at a local dive bar where the music was always great. The place was pretty grungy and the flooring left a lot to be desired. There wasn't any flooring per se, it only had the concrete foundation. Where the dance floor was located, there must have been some excavating done at some time because the concrete was missing some fairly substantial chunks which made dancing a bit challenging. High heels made the whole exercise perilous because one misstep would result in an ankle twist or fall. The fact that I am a total clod only made matters worse. I don't really need an excuse for falling... it's just something my natural abilities enable me to do.

I don't get to dance much any more. #1, my Mr. Wonderful doesn't dance, #2, I haven't recovered from some back surgery I had, so the pain overrules the bliss and #3, every time I DO try to dance, paramedics always seem to show up at my side and try to strap me to a gurney! Not sure what' up with that.

I won't quit dancing. You can't make me. I'm just going to keep on "ah, ah, ah, ah, stayin' alive, stayin' alive" (oops, I just fell down).

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Jaws Wired SHUT

Twice when I was young, I had to have my jaws wired shut. I had a joint problem called TMJ. My face was assymetrical and I experienced lots of jaw pain. This was in the years before TMJ was a commonly known malady so the doctors weren't sure how to correct the problem. I had braces in high school for 4 years and the orthodontist thought that they would help. They got my teeth straight, but didn't help the problem. My Mom suffered from the same thing and she was going through multiple doctor visits trying to find out what was wrong. By the time she had her surgery, she could barely fit a kernel of corn through her front teeth! It's a really rotten problem to have. Anyway, after my Mom finally found a doctor that could help I started on my journey.

By the time I had my surgery, I had been out of braces for a few years but I had to have them put back on because my surgery required that my jaws be broken and then wired shut for 6 weeks. I knew I was in for a rough ride but luckily, I didn't know just how rough it would be. I am told that when I was wheeled out of surgery my Dad saw me and broke down in tears. My eyes were swollen shut, my lips were so swollen they were curled inside out and I had a bandage the size of a helmet around my entire head. I loked pretty dang bad. My face was black and blue and I looked like a sad sap but things seemed really sad when I started speaking. Because my jaws were wired completely shut enunciating words was quite a challenge. "B"s sounded like "p"s, "d"s were really muffled, the "sh" sound was pretty messy and it always seemed like I was drooling and spitting a lot. Going out to places that were noisy was a challenge. Since I couldn't open my mouth, I couldn't talk very loudly. I had to get right close to the ear of the person I was trying to talk to so they ended up having to decipher what I was saying while dealing with spit dripping off their ear! Sweet, huh?

When your mouth is wired shut, you can't eat normal food. Everything you ingest has to be able to pass through a straw. This got really, really old. I don't really like soup all that much so finding something satisfying was a huge challenge. One day I was totally desperate for food that wasn't liquid so I got the idea to try and blend lasagne. I wasn't sure what to mix it with to make it soupy so I decided on milk because it was healthy. I blended up a nice pink sludge that looked horrendous. But I was so hungry I didn't care. You can't imagine the anticipation of having something tasty. After sucking that stuff through the straw for all I was worth, the sludge finally hit my tastebuds. Hip, hip......blecch! Pink, milky lasagne isn't as good as it's cracked up to be. I did get to feel tiny chunks of meat on my tounge and it was sort of warm but it just didn't quite cut it. I wanted to like it so badly. I tried to drink it but in the end I just couldn't stomach pink, chunky, milky lasagne. Boo hoo.

The surgery was sort of a success. The side of my jaw that the doctor worked on was doing well, but the side he left alone was still causing lots of problems. After a year or two of trying to hold out and grin and bear it, I knew that I was going to have to go under the knife again. It was really hard to do because I knew that I was going to have to go through having my jaws wired shut again. And this time, I was NOT going to try and drink lasagne through a straw. Nuh, uh, no way.

The second surgery happened pretty much as I expected it. Again my jaws were wired shut and agin, I was desperate for food. Solid food. My doctor warned me about drinking too much alcohol because if I were to become nausious and toss my (liquid) cookies, there wouldn't be any good way to rid myself of it if you know what I mean. I was given a pair of wire cutters when I went home so if I did indeed get sick, I could snip the wires holding my mouth shut and could avoid choking. Being a hard headed 20-something, I did not want the fact that I couldn't open my mouth stop me from going out and having a good time. And sure enough, I managed to consume too much beer and guess what happened? Yep, I got sick. Seeing as how I was a master hard-head, there was no way in heck-fire I was going to snip the wires and have to go through having my jaws rewired. I caused the problem and I'd deal with it.

I'll be kind and spare you the gory details. You're smart enough to figure things out. I will issue some very good warnings that anyone who has this surgery should heed. Don't overindulge. Drink soup not liquid lasagne. If you go out to a noisy place, bring a bullhorn - that way, your friends won't have spit dripping off their ears. Know that the doctor gives you guidelines to follow for a reason. He's not just talking to hear his own voice. Carry your wire cutters. Hopefully, you won't have to use them.

Laugh at me and with me.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Oh Snap! It's a snake, spider, bug!

By now, you might be aware that I'm a true city girl who married a country boy. Yes, I grew up for 4 or 5 years in the country (middle of nowhere), but I was pretty young. My teen years were spent in the big city and those were the years when I developed my awesome style and preferences. OK, I don't have style, but I developed a preference for the city.

When I started dating Mr. Wonderful, I had to get reacquainted with things that live in the country like spiders, bugs, critters and snakes. Yes, those things live in the city, too but you don't see them as much as you do out in the country.Now,  I'm not a total chicken. If I see a spider, I calmly move at least 6 feet away from it. I don't scream. I do have a pretty strong aversion to daddy long leg spiders though. At our place in the country we have a large garage/work area that we call the shop. I love to hang out there and goof around. In the winter, we light the pot bellied stove and it gets warm enough to walk around in short sleeves even if it's 20 degrees outside. Like any living being, when it's cold outside, animals and bugs prefer to be where it's warm. So during the winter there are lots of daddy long legs roaming around the shop. That's all well and good, but I am so creeped out by this type of spider I have to sweep the floors to make sure there aren't any long legs crawling around. I also check under the table and chairs, around the yard tools, around the stove, under the car, on the walls, behind get the idea.
I know that that type of spider has such a tiny mouth, there's no way I'll get bitten but the legs are so creepy! It gives me the hiney cringes just thinking about them. UGH!!! yuck   ewwwwwwwww

One evening Mr. Wonderful and I were piddlin' around in the shop and I had a fairly tall ladder set up because I wanted to look at something up high. I happened to look on the floor and saw a rogue long legs creeping across the floor in it's creepy, bouncy way. First my stomach took a big lurch, then I made it up to the top of that ladder in about .5 seconds. I stayed up there until Manchild got rid of it. And even then, I didn't want to come down. But I did because I'm a brave citified country girl now.

 I prefer to look at critters from a fair distance because they might be bloodthirsty and I don't want to tease them. I'm only thinking of their needs. Snakes are wonderful for removing small rodents. I know that they are keeping the mice from invading our little house in the woods but I don't want to see them. Not even from 25 miles away. When I see a snake slithering along, I almost have the same physical reaction as I do to worms. I feel the contents of my stomach rising up my esophagus at lightning speed, but the need to run at least a 40 yard dash in record time competes with that. I usually run away while covering my mouth in an attempt to keep from throwing up. It's a funny sight I guess.

Mornings at our little love nest are very peaceful. The birds are flitting about, bees are slowly buzzing around the flowers, the sun is slowly rising... It's just lovely. I like to go out on the front porch and sit in the rocking chair and watch the world wake up while sipping my coffee. One morning I was going to do just that but when I opened the front door the unexpected happened. Right next to the front door was the largest, most malevolent killer snake I've ever seen. It had to be at least 65 feet long with dripping fangs 5 inches long. It's eyes spit blood and it growled at me! I was so scared, all I could do was squeak out half of the word "help." Thankfully I found my voice and according to my man, I sounded like my arms were being ripped off or something. Besides saying his name 285 times I was also shouting out a whole litany of "eewwwwwwww"s, and "holeycrikeyit'sakillersnake" and "holy mother of a sum' bitch" (sorry for the foul language, but I wanted you to get a real feeling for how I was shouting). I'm not sure what all I said because the whole affair was so traumatic, I think I was trying to live in a parallel universe or something.

Do you know what Mr. Wonderful did????? First, he started laughing at me. Then he walked right over and picked up that anaconda! He calmly carried it over to the woods and let it go. I was still in the throes of an epileptic fit and he was walking around carrying a killer snake! My man was obviously out of his ever lovin' mind. He tried to tell me that it was just a rat snake or a chicken snake or a city girl eating snake...I don't know; I just know that my man picked up a snake and took it for a walk. How crazy is that? And he says people from the city are crazy. Sheesh!

I promise that no matter how long I spend time in the country, I will not - no way, no how, pick up a snake. And if I see another one on the the front porch, I'm going to scream and cry and pull my hair and throw my cup of coffee at it. And then I'll thank it for keeping the mice away. From 25 feet away of course.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Dang it's hot!!

When you live in the south, it's just common knowledge that it's going to get hot in the summertime. Usually it's hot enough that sweat starts forming on your upper lip about 20 seconds after you've stepped outside. Depending on where you live, humidity can be a factor, too. In this case sweat isn't the first reaction because, it's so dang humid the air is wet enough to make you feel like you're sweating. Even if you aren't. It's hard to stay fresh in these conditions. Ironed clothes wilt, hair falls flat, makeup slides off, stains appear under your arms - even if you're wearing deodorant. It's just plain yucky.

It's no secret that most of the U.S. is experiencing a rather harsh heat wave. We Texans have ourselves a good chuckle when we hear that it's 95 degrees up north. Heck, that's a cool day for us! It hasn't been 95 in over a month! Even at 10:00 at night, it's at least 95! Did I mention that it's just plain yucky?

I have the privilege of working at a building that has a parking garage. This means that I don't have to arrive at my car after a long day of work, and wait for 15 minutes for the hot air to escape. Heck no, my car is a crisp cool 85 or so degrees. It only takes a few minutes for the air conditioner to do it's job. I'm spoiled.
When I am out and about and have to park in the sun, I employ one of those shiny window shade thingies and keep my windows slightly cracked. This usually lowers the internal temperature by a few degrees, so when I put my bare skin on the seat I only get 2nd degree burns instead of 3rd. Thank gosh for that.

I am not lucky enough to have a swimming pool. I have a water hose and sprinkler though. So when I have to do yard work, I tend to do it with the sprinkler running. And I slowly walk through it - quite often. If a northerner were to drive down my street and see me working in the yard, they might think I was having my own wet
t-shirt contest but I'm not. I'm just trying to keep my flesh from frying.

Swimming pools are great. It's so nice to throw yourself into after you've mowed the lawn in 104 degree temperatures. It's kind of the equivalent of rolling in snow after sitting in the hot tub. That 90 degree water just takes your breath away. Very refreshing. People who own pools complain that the water is like bath water since they get to jump in the thing all the time and feel it when it's really cool. But when you've only got a hose and a sprinkler, a tepid pool is just about as good as sweet tea in the shade.

Thank gosh for water. Not the humid type, mind you, just pool or sprinkler water. Oh, and nice cool showers. They're nice, too.

Burn on

Monday, July 25, 2011

I wish I could make pretty cakes

My daughter's birthday is rapidly approaching and I want her to have a special cake. See, she's really into guitars and after watching shows like the Ace of Cakes, and Cake Boss I know that cool cakes can be obtained. I bet those guys could make me a awesome guitar cake.

In an effort to save some money (after finding out that I'd have to pay at least $150.00 for a professional) I thought I might just be my own cake boss. Maybe I could make a guitar cake! But then I started remembering some of the cakes I've made in the past. I'm not too good at the decoration part. Mine tend to come out looking like these:

I can't take credit for these. They came from the website - Aren't they pretty? I can assure you, MY cakes don't look like these. They are worse. I wouldn't dare try to stack two cakes on top of one another. It would probably come out looking like the leaning tower of Pisa.  I have good intentions of applying the frosting perfectly but in reality, it looks like a blind Chihuahua did it.

I watched a video on how to make a guitar cake and it doesn't look too hard. I just need a template in the shape of a guitar so I can lay it on the cooked cake and cut out the shape. And I need a serrated edge knife so I can make the cuts cleanly. And I will need some fondant. Guess I'll have to make that, too. Then it's simply a matter of keeping a steady hand and being patient.

Now because I'm practical and am not in the least little bit impulsive (OK, I choked a little bit while trying to get that out with a straight face), I need to go over my list of needs to make sure I can do this. Here goes:

Obtain guitar shaped template: Ummmmm, I bet Google has that
Serrated edge knife for clean cuts: Yeah, I think I have that
Fondant: Never seen the stuff live and in person, but there's a first for everything
Make fondant: Not quite sure what some of the ingredients are, but I can substitute
Steady hand: That's a tricky one...I shake like a Quaker
Patience: Aw heck, forget it! It's taking too dang long just to make this stinkin' list! I'll just go by Albertsons and get a Sarah Lee and tape a Polaroid of a guitar to it!

My intentions are so, so good, and I really want to make a cool cake for my Lil' Rocker Chick but I don't want to embarrass her for the rest of her life. Maybe I'll do a trial run and make one first, before the big day. That way, I'll save people the discomfort of having to come up with an excuse as to why they won't eat any of my baby's cake on her big day.

Bon appetit!!!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Did you take a bath?

Why do adolescents dread taking a bath so much? I have to nag my kidlet to death to get her to get in the shower. My little brother used to go to the trouble of running the water and hiding out in the bathroom for a 1/2 hour and he'd never get clean! Why go to all of that trouble and never get in? Silly boy.

My Mom told me a story about one of my brothers and Mr. Wonderful back when they were teens. Apparently they showed up at the house smelling particularly stinky so Mom told them to take a shower. Those two knuckleheads ran the water and steamed up the bathroom, and they wet their hair a little bit and told Mom that they were clean. Of course, she could smell them a block away so she made them turn right back around and go "take another shower."  It sounds like a lot of trouble to me.

We had another friend who wasn't fond of bathing and Mom had to make him shower, too. He's the one who didn't have such a good home life. Poor guy. He kept a clean change of clothes at our house so after he showered, he'd have something clean to put on. Mom didn't have to check him after he "showered" to see if he really did clean himself. Maybe he didn't have hot water at his house and ours did, so it felt really good to him. He always emerged the bathroom squeaky clean.

There's nothing I like more than getting clean after working outside. I envision the yuck draining away. Sometimes, I don' even have to do manual labor to enjoy a good scrubbing. When I was pregnant, I took multiple baths a day. I was always worried that I smelled bad for some reason. (That was TMI, wasn't it?) Now, I just do it because it feels so good. And I have some really yummy smelling soap which makes the whole experience even better.

All this talk of yummy soap, hot water and baths makes me want to go home right now and take one. I won't fake it. No way. Thank gosh I'm not a goofy boy.

Saturday, July 23, 2011


I work for a wonderful company that treats the employees very well. Very very well. If you haven't heard of Mary Kay before, it's a direct selling cosmetics company. The whole premise is to enrich women's lives by offering them a livelihood so they can be self sufficient. But this isn't a sales pitch about the company. Just a little background for your reading pleasure.

I call the place where I work the pink palace because the building has pink granite, we have a slogan - Pink Changing Lives, our packaging uses pink, there's just pink everywhere. Because we are in the cosmetics business, females outnumber the males by about 20 to 1. Having so many ladies in the house means that there are lots of baby announcements. In my department alone, 3 people had babies over the last 24 hours. That's a lot of babies!

Thank goodness I'm "fixed" because if I weren't, I wouldn't drink the water! I know it's just fact that when you work around a lot of ladies, there are going to be babies, but I just think that 3 in 24 hours is remarkable. This isn't to say that I don't like babies. I do! I think they smell so yummy and are so kissable and cuddly. And I love their tiny little toes. It's just that I'm glad I'm done having babies.

It's remarkable how you can love someone so intensely when you've only just come face to face. Sure, you carried your child and felt it kick and wiggle, but you don't really know him/her. It's remarkable that all it takes is one look at your new baby and you're totally, helplessly, head over heels in love. It's such an amazing feeling. My babies are 11 and 17 and I still remember that first look and touch.

I am very happy for my friends who have just met their babies. I think it's really sweet that they'll get to experience the heart-swell and giddiness. It's the beginning of a wonderful journey and I wish them all the best.

Three cheers for the wonderful scent of babies and their luscious little baby toes!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Mangling our English

When little kids start talking it's so cute when they get words mixed up/ wrong. I let my kidlet call Friday "Friderday" until she started school and found out she was saying it incorrectly. Heck, I still call Friday - Friderday!

I come from a family of kooks.  My dad used to call my friends by the wrong name just to watch them squirm. Instead of calling me by my name, he used two favorite nicknames; Francine (who knows where that came from) and Poodlebeth.

All of my family members use words incorrectly. On purpose. Just like that...rather than saying on purpose, we'd all say on porpoise. Hamburgers are referred to as hamburglers. In my family, we don't put fuel in our cars. We use fruel. You get the idea.

I have an aunt who is always getting phrases mixed up (not on purpose). Here are a few just to entertain you.
Instead of saying that she was madder than a wet hen, she'd say she was madder than a wolf.
If something was bothering her terribly, instead of saying she was psychotic, she'd say she had a psycus.
The word "cholesterol" was pronounced "klosterol."

I was visiting with friends the other day and as usual I was using my mangled vocabulary. I didn't even think about other people not knowing I do this on porpoise. I wondered why they kept looking at me strangely. It didn't phase me though. I just offered them a hamburgular.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gibson's Parking Lot

When you live in a small town, there's not always a lot to do. The town where I spent some of my teen years was pretty boring so for fun, I spent many hours riding around. The town had a main street called 7th Avenue and that's where all the kids hung out. Riding around consisted of cruising 7th Avenue on a 2 mile stretch. Back and forth. Over and over and over. There was a Gibson's variety store which had a huge parking lot and the kids would park there and talk when they weren't going back and forth on 7th. This gathering spot was affectionately known as "Gibson's parking lot." I'll bet every small town has a version of Gibson's parking lot where the teenagers gather.

In the late 70s, it was a popular trend to raise the back of cars up higher than the front. Guys who had pickup trucks could really jack up the back. I always thought it looked funny to have the back end way higher than the front. It looked like the car was going to tip over! Glass packs were another fad. It had something to do with the exhaust and it made the car sound rumbly. Sometimes it was loud, too. So when cruising 7th Avenue in my glory days the tippy, rumbly cars were everywhere. If they weren't rumbling down the street, they were on display in Gibson's parking lot. And if they weren't there, they'd be driving through the Sonic store. If you've ever been to Sonic, you know that the driveway is horseshoe shaped and it's hard to go fast because as soon as you get up a little speed it's time to make a u-turn and head back out. The guys who had glass packs always revved their engines and tried to peel out a little bit before it was time to shut it down and make the treacherous turn.

It's been 30+ years since I've cruised 7th Avenue but whenever I pass through that small town, there are still kids cruising on it. And Gibson's has been gone for almost 30 years but people still call the parking lot "Gibson's parking lot."  I bet the kids that park there don't even know what a Gibson's is! Oh, and yeah, guys still try to peel out on the Sonic driveway, too.

In talking with friends the other day, I mentioned Gibson's and they piped up and said that their town had a Gibson's where the kids hung out. They came from a small town two states away but the mere mention of Gibson's brought out many funny stories from our youth. We had a good ol' time walking down memory lane. Or should I say "cruising" down memory lane. All things change with time but some pastimes will probably always remain the same. And thank gosh for that!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Smoke is good

Last night friends were over at my house and I was grilling hamburgers. Man it smelled good! We were all seated at the patio table and the grill was about 3 feet away from us. Don't ask me why I didn't move the grill a little farther away but I didn't so we were surrounded in burger smoke.

In Texas in July, it's about 700 degrees during the day but the nights are a little better. They usually range from 600 to 700 degrees. Because it was so hot outside I got out my trusty shop fan and aimed it right at us so our flesh didn't start bubbling and making sounds like frying bacon. As hamburgers are prone to do when they are cooking, they were smoking quite a bit. And since I was cooking 19 patties, it sort of looked like the house was on fire from all of the smoke boiling out of the back yard. We were having a grand old time visiting while being in the vortex of an extremely dense cloud of burger smoke thanks to the shop fan. I looked out across my back yard and tried to see the neighbors house, but the smoke was so dense, it was hard to make out. Excellent!

I must admit that I am a pyromaniac. I love fires. The bigger the better. In the grill, in the chimenea, in the fire pit. I collect sticks from the yard so I'll have something to burn. Mr. Wonderful and I have have a little place in the country and our house is surrounded on 3 sides by the woods. This makes me very happy because I have an inexhaustable supply of wood. I can make a fire burn 20 feet high and not run out of wood. It's a pyro's nirvana. See my friend's coat? All that white stuff is ashes. We burn lots of cedar which makes lots of floaty ashes. See how the ground looks like it snowed? It didn't.  It's just of ashes. And the fire in the picture? That's a little one. Do I need to mention that it gets pretty smoky? Sometimes the smoke floats down low, filling the creek bottom and the yard. It looks really cool in a horror movie sort of way. You sort of expect to see a zombie crawling around or something.

Anybody who has been around me more than once knows that I love fires. If you're going to come to my house, you're probably going to leave smelling like smoke. It's just a fact of life. When the temperatures outside are cool, there will be a fire in the chimenea. Since it's so stinkin' hot right now, I'm biding my time because I don't want to add heat to the inferno, but I can grill. And grills use fire. Guess that'll have to do for now.  Don't worry about showering before you come over because you'll probably want to when you get home so your house doesn't smell like smoke. And you might be ashy, too.

Peace, Love and Fire

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Stingin' Lizards

Today I'm writing in red because the subject just makes me mad.

In Texas we call scorpions "stingin' lizards." You've got to get the slang just right. There is no "G" on the end of stinging. That's why I wrote it the way I did.

Before my family could move from the big city to the country, we had to have a place to live. So my parents got together with a home builder and had him make us a really nice house. It was in what used to be a field, so all of the varmints and bugs and snakes got displaced. In the evenings, Dad used to take us outside to the side of the house and we'd search for scorpions crawling up the wall. One of us kids would hold the flashlight so we could see and Dad would use his pocket knife and when he'd find a stingin' lizard, he'd cut that suckers tail off! You see, the tail is the deadly part. It's got a really nasty stinger on the end of it and if you get stung you'll know it. It hurts like holy crikey! He chopped lots -o- tails at that house.

Sometimes the stingin' lizards would get into the house. It was always a wise idea to check the floor and your bed to make sure there wasn't one of them waiting to sting you. In our house we had a fairly large game room. As a kid it looked to be at least the size of a football field! One day, I was in the game room and I noticed a stingin' lizard in the doorway. I was a good 100 yards away but the sight of it made me freeze. Like a dummy, I stood rooted to that spot, unable to move or breathe or cry for help and I didn't move until that dang ol' stingin' lizard made it all the way across the floor and under my foot! Of course, as soon as it was right below my arch (a really soft, tender part of your foot in case you didn't know,) I moved and sure enough I got stung.
RUDE BUG!!! Owee hurt so much!

I had lots of stings over the years but the one I watched coming right at me was the dumbest one. On a side note, my brother who always said he hated me and wanted me to die, got stung too. Apparently, that particular stingin' lizard wanted a good nights sleep so it crawled up in his bed and stung him right in his ear. HA HA I'm glad it stung him. He was a meanie to me.

To this day, I cringe when I see a stingin' lizard. I hate them. They're mean.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Siggie Freud was right!

Can you tell which guy is my Mr. Wonderful and which one was my original Mr. Wonderful? No? It's sometimes hard for me, too.
I think it was Sigmund Freud who pointed out that girls marry their daddies and guys marry their mamas.

I never gave it much thought until Manchild and I started dating. Suddenly, I'd look into his eyes and see my dad's eyes! And they had the same bald head! They were the same height! They had the same hands and feet! What the heck is up with that???

Here are more scary facts: they are both neat and clean. They are both very particular about their belongings - they take good care of them. Manchild doesn't have colored outlines around all of his tools hanging on the pegboard, but he does have some cushiony material in the toolbox to keep them from banging around. They both know how to fix stuff. They are both particular about how their yard is mowed. They both love and spoil their pets. They both like me.

Go figure...who knows. Ok, I married my dad.
No, that just sounds too strange. Wonder what Sigmund would say?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Ruby, Porkchop and Schwayze

I love kitties. They're so soft and fuzzy, sweet, goofy, aloof, loving and so on, and so on, and so on. I have three cats. Actually, I have two and my daughter brought another home, but I always end up taking care of him, so I consider him mine.

I've had lots of cats over the years. Twinkle, Cranston, W, Rufus T Buckwheat, Margaret Ann Manarovich...they were all dear friends and I miss them. When I was 6 months pregnant with my second child, my cat Margaret finally wore out and passed away. I had her for 19 1/2 years. That's a long time for a cat to live! She witnessed me growing from a young lady to a young adult, and from a young adult to a 30-something woman. She was with me through thick and thin and I loved her with all of my heart. She was my 3rd gray cat. I have a thing for gray cats. Not sure why. They just speak to me. When she died, my hubby was kind enough to make a very nice, respectable grave for her complete with a headstone. He is a sort of closed off type of guy, so when he saw me crying with snot running down my face, pulling my hair, wailing at the moon, I think it unnerved him a bit. But he was really cool about it. I thank him to this day for being so kind.

When Margaret died, and Lloyd had made her such a nice grave, my little girl who was 5 at the time seemed to relish over pointing the grave out to visitors. In her tiny cute little girl voice she'd say 'this is where my mom's dead cat is.' Lloyd would sort of cringe and I'd start crying all over again. I can laugh about it now, thank goodness.

Four years later, I decided I needed another cat. My period of mourning had come to an end. So I went to the SPCA and found a gray cat. Unfortunately, that particular cat hissed and spit at me and I had the distinct feeling that we were not going to be friends. But when I passed another cage on my way out the door, a cute little gray paw poked out through the bars and the kitty meowed at me as if to say 'hey, you need me!" And she was right. I took her home and that's how Ruby came to be our newest family member.

A few years later after a painful divorce I decided that my girls and I needed a kitty to mark the beginning of a new/different life. Again we went to the SPCA and looked at cats. There weren't any solid gray ones, but there was one with a gray mask and lots of gray spots. She'd have to do. We were trying to decide upon a name (which could NOT be in any way normal) when my oldest girlie-pie came up with the name Pork Chop. It just seemed to fit. Porkie must have had a rough life before we got her because she was a real scaredy cat. She flinches if you make a move towards her too quickly. If you stand up really fast, she'll make a beeline for under the bed. Poor little girl.

Pork Chop has lots of hair. I've never seen a cat with so much hair! It just sort of falls out as she walks. When you pet her, you come away with a Pork Chop glove. That goes all the way to your elbows. I've brushed her before and gotten 15 brush-fulls of fur. And when I did it again 30 minutes later, I got 15 more! I don't like having so much hair everywhere but I figure if she had to deal with whatever it was before we got her, the least we could do is treat her like a queen and let her shed by the ton as she saw fit. Hey, I've got an idea...if you can make sweaters out of angora fur which really isn't that long, maybe I could make one out of Pork Chop fur! I'd make a mint! If I knew how to spin fur then weave it, I could probably produce 10-12 sweaters a week. I'll get right on that.

Schwayze came to us as a teeny weeny kitten. She was so darn cute but I tried to put my foot down and say that we didn't need another dang cat. Two was plenty. My daughter is a softy like me so when I told her to take her back, screaming and tears ensued. Needless to say, Schwayze is here to stay. Every living being in this house is a girl with the exception of Mr. Wonderful - that's why we call it the cat pad. Get it? 5 cats and one dog. Yes, we're strange. Anyway, when daughter #1 brought Schwayze home, we thought she was a she. None of us wanted a "he." Everything was going great until Mr. Wonderful, who knows a lot about a lot of stuff, told us that she was actually a he. Us city girls weren't schooled in the identifying markers of male cats. But Mr. Wonderful being a country boy and all knew the signs right away. Since it had been at least 15 minutes since we accepted Schwayze into our hearts, we were already hooked and there was no stinkin' way we were going to get rid of him. So now my beloved manchild has another male to bond with.

Pork Chop sticks to herself most of the time. She doesn't want to make friends or be lovey dovey with the other cats. Ruby is slightly tolerant of Pork Chop and a bit wary of Schwayze. Schwayze is oblivious to the fact that he really isn't welcome in the house of cats. He tries to play with everyone. He gets the crud knocked out of him by Pork Chop but Ruby has softened and will play with him now. He is so goofy (probably because he's a guy, and all guys are goofy) he can make his own fun. He likes to chase wadded up pieces of paper, and play with empty toilet paper rolls. He goes spastic fairly often and tries to run up the door frame. Not sure what that's all about. I guess he just wants to go up.

It's nice having cats. They greet me at the door, try to shred my sofa, leave fur all over the place, hiss and spit at one another and cause mayhem. But when bed time rolls around, one is laying next to me, one is on the floor guarding me and one is wrapped around my head, sucking my hair, purring to beat the band. I wouldn't have it any other way.

Friday, July 15, 2011

I Wanna be a Cheerleader!

Football is a religion in Texas. This means that cheerleading is a religion for girls in Texas. Because you can't have football without cheerleaders. Girls start out cheering when they're really little, like at peewee games. It's funny because the little guys playing football don't have much of a clue. They're more busy studying butterflies and practicing ninja kicks than they are making the perfect play. The little girls cheering have a little bit more of a clue, but not much. They are all dolled up in their cute little cheer outfits and do a good job of watching the moms show them what to do. So really, the footballers have two cheering squads. The little girls copying their moms and the moms reliving their past dreams of cheering.

Back in the day I wanted to be a cheerleader really badly. I'd practice in the backyard for hours. Our kitchen had a window overlooking the back yard and while mom tried to cook, I'd practice and yell for her to watch every 15 seconds. Every day. For over a year. Thanks Mom, for being so patient.

When I got into middle school the opportunity arose for anyone who wanted to be a cheerleader to try out. My friend Julie Foley tried out and she nailed it. I was so jealous! I wanted to be a cheerleader! The only problem was that I was too chicken to try out. Back in those days (the stone ages) if you wanted to be a cheerleader, you had to try out in front of the whole school. Usually what you'd do is go around to all of your friends and ask them to vote for you. Then, even if you were bad at cheering you'd still get voted in because all of your friends would vote for you.

The second year of middle school I got brave and decided to go for it. Mom sewed me a cheer skirt for the big day. She wasn't a seamstress so my skirt was a little crooked and didn't really look a lot like a real cheer skirt (sorry Mom) but I was still ready. My classmates were assembled in the gym and we all got a turn to show our mad cheering skills. When I did my jumps it sounded like an elephant hitting the floor. When I tried to do a high kick, my leg would only go up about 1/2 way. I couldn't do any cool stuff and I definitely couldn't do the splits (which were really important) so I was stuck having to do 1/2 splits which weren't cool at all.

My friends said they'd vote for me and I'm sure they did, but I failed miserably. I bet I wasn't even in the top 100 applicants - and there were only about 20 girls trying out! I decided then and there that I would never be a cheerleader. Or majorette. Or drill team girl. I'd just be a plain old girl because I didn't want the humiliation of trying out in front of talented people again.

On a lighter note, my oldest daughter tried out for cheer and made it. For 3 years until she got tired of it. She didn't have to copy my moves from the sideline. I tried to copy hers. For some reason the crowd around me moved to another section of the stadium. Not sure why.

Rah rah, sis boom bah!

Music is so...painful?

Music is so awesome. When I grow up I want to be a rock star. I really, really want to get up on stage and wow the crowd. I've got the passion. I've got the drive. I've got the looks. Check out the awesome shoes I found. See? I'm even thrifty (see the BOGO sign?). There's just one little problem........I'm not talented. I can't play an instrument well, I don't have a great singing voice and I don't have a band. So I guess I'll let that dream ride for a while. After all, I'm not a grown up yet, so I still have time.

I love going out to hear live music and have made lots of great, talented friends who I can live vicariously through.
While I was out jamming one night, I noticed something about the musicians. They all have their own special music faces. When they're hitting the perfect note, or are singing the hardest hitting lyric, their face transforms into something...different. Here are some of my friends and their music faces.



Please allow me to thank the following:
Brandon Katona, Austin Young, Alex Dowidchuk, Kerrie Lepai, Sparky Montoya,
Tommy Katona, Lance Lopez, Texas Slim and Travis Montoya. While I may have given a "wink wink, nudge nudge" at your playing faces I still think each of you are remarkably talented artists and I have the highest regard for you. I can't wait until I get to hear you play again. I love you all!

Peace, Love, Blues and Music Faces!!!!!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Losing Friends

I haven't had very many people I'm close to pass away. For that I am grateful. I've lost my grandparents but they had lived a full life and I got 30 years with them. My immediate family are all still living. I am NOT ready to experience that type of pain. But I did lose a close friend and my favorite cousin in the whole wide world this year. Those losses really, really hurt.

The first loss was a friend of mine everyone called The President. He was such a great guy; he had hundreds and hundreds of friends. There were always tons of people at his house and when he went out to our neighborhood club, everyone knew him by name. He had a knack of always making you feel like the prettiest person even if you were scuzzed out, looking like a dog. He always called me pretty girl. But then again, he called every female pretty girl.

One day he was driving home and got lost. It took him 7 hours to get back to his neighborhood and when he did, he was found in the middle of a golf course. When he went to the doctor they discovered that he had some tumors in his brain the size of golf balls. No wonder he got lost!!! The night before his surgery to remove them, his hospital room was totally full. Standing room only. For hours. So many people wanted to be near him and wish him well. The nurses commented on the amazing number of friends he had. To wish him well, I found a picture that looked like an x-ray of Homer Simpson's head with a teeny weeny brain floating around in there. I labeled that x-ray "before." After his surgery I brought another picture of Homer's x-ray only this time, I added some items to the brain cavity. I put in a power drill, motorcycle sprocket, chain saw, watch and some other junk that had accidentally been left behind. He got a big laugh out of that.

We all thought he would get better but just a month later, more tumors were found. They tried to take those out, too. He spent a while in rehab and you can bet that his room was always full of well wishers. He finally got to go home but Prez wasn't his usual bubbly self. We all knew that things weren't good. He kept a stiff upper lip and would always joke about things like he didn't have a care in the world. But I could tell that he knew his days were numbered. There were fund raisers and birthdays for him and hundreds of people showed up. The last get together was somber. Prez was there, but he barely spoke and didn't seem to be with it. A week or two later he died. He didn't want a funeral so the day that he died, people just started showing up at his house. There were over 100 people that stopped by that day and everyone hoisted a beer in his name. Some of the people got drunk, some cried, some laughed and told funny stories. I hope that it was a day that he would have liked.

I also lost my beloved cousin, Scott to ALS this year. He lasted over a year from the date of his diagnosis. It all started when he noticed that his foot was dragging a little and he was feeling sort of weak. His brother, a doctor, suspected that he had ALS but didn't come right out and say it until it was proven. What a horrible thing to carry around. Scott was a worker bee. He worked lots of long hours and was really good at his job. For a while, he tried to hide the illness but eventually he needed to use a cane. Then a walker. Then a wheelchair. He kept working until it got to the point where he couldn't move his hands.

He was my most favorite relative of all time (besides Mom and my kids). While my horrid brothers and cousins and their friends picked on me, he was always kind. He took time to talk to me and actually listen to what I had to say. At times when I thought I couldn't stand things any more, he was always the one who made me feel better. He didn't have to do any grandiose gestures. He was just himself. The kindest, most gentle, beautiful person to ever walk the earth. I was with him the night he breathed his last breath. He was unresponsive and I tried yelling into his ear, tickling him, shaking him, begging and pleading for him to wake up one more time. I held his unresponsive hand and even in that most horrible moment, I was comforted by the warmth of him. I am grateful to have had the chance to sit with him and say my goodbyes. I miss him every single day and will forever. I can't wait to see him again when my days end.

My daughter's friend has a boyfriend who had a stroke that has rendered him totally unresponsive. His organs are starting to shut down. How terrible that must be for his poor family. I feel their pain and I hope a miracle happens to bring their son, brother, boyfriend back. It just goes to show that when your time is up, it's up.

I was explaining to my youngest kidlet how these days, it's common for friends to hug one another. 20 years ago it wasn't as common. I'm really glad that it's P.C. to hug and show affection. I tell all of my friends and family how much I love them. It's not embarrasing in the least because I know that in the blink of an eye the person standing right in front of you can be gone. And life is way too short to be embarrased to show something that is fact. Hug your friends, call your grandma, let your ultra special person know that they're da bomb. It only takes a second and it feel great.

I love you all!

Zoe's First Love

My youngest daughter has her first real crush. It's so dang sweet. I remember
my first crush. I was in love with a musician, too. But this about her not me.

Here's how it all started: Mr. Wonderful and I are huge fans of a local Stevie Ray Vaughn tribute band called Voodoo Blue. These guys are awesome.
The lead guitarist is a Hungarian guy who is totally obsessed with SRV. His name is Tommy Katona. He's the sweetest, most humble, most talented guitarist I think I've ever heard. One night, Mr. Wonderful and I decided to take Zoe along with us to hear them play. I think at first, she was a little blown away by all the noise but once she got a good look at Tommy, she was hooked.

She really likes the fact that we are friends with the band members, so we get to talk to them a lot and they sit with us during their breaks. All three of the guys are super nice and they always make a fuss over Zoe. She gets hugs and guitar picks and sometimes, they even dedicate songs to her. Pretty dang good for a 11 year old, don't you think?

At first, Zoe would simply stare at Tommy and would not say a word. If he spoke to her, she'd duck her head and blush furiously. When he gave her a hug, she'd instantly turn into a statue and not move a single muscle. When we'd listen to music, Mr. Wonderful and I would be bobbing our heads and tapping our feet and screaming praise when the songs ended. Zoe on the other hand, sat stock still. There wasn't a blink or muscle twitch and she'd barely applaud. It's like she was transfixed in a suspended state of animation. If we tapped her shoulder or asked her if she was having fun, she'd scold us and tell us to behave.

We finally got to the point where he had to have a chat with her and let her know that it was rude not to show any appreciation. We showed her how to bob her head so it looked like she was actually listening - not posing for a portrait. Her first attempt at "getting into it" consisted of her barely tapping her foot. We pointed out that it was dark in the venue, so she'd have to be a little more animated. After 3 or 4 outings, the girl actually bobbed her head! Mind you, it was only by a fraction of a centimeter, but I saw it. After the show, Mr. Wonderful and I got to listen to Zoe tell us how she really rocked it and was getting into it like a crazy banshee. We couldn't see it, but in her mind she was a wild woman.

It's been over a year that we've been going to hear the band and Zoe has really loosened up. She hugs the band members, taps her feet and bobs her head a lot. To top it off, Tommy is giving her guitar lessons. She wasn't able to speak during her first lesson, but I'm sure that with time, she will calm down and say a word or two. Maybe some day she will get to get up on stage and play with her heroes. If so, she'll probably tap her foot and bob her head. A little.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Traveling with Ty

If you've read any of my posts, you'll know that I'm a big ol' scaredy cat. When I was younger, it was even worse. I was one of those types of people who wore a watch and checked it constantly - even if I didn't have to be anywhere. I arrived everywhere at least 15 minutes early, just in case I had to fight off ninjas who were trying to cause trouble. If I was going on a trip somewhere, I'd have the entire map planned out. With contingency routes. I tried to leave absolutely nothing to chance.

Thankfully, that all changed in the early 80s when I took a road trip with my middle brother, Ty. We decided to drive out to California taking back roads all the way. We had 3 weeks and wanted to make the most of it. On the day of our departure, I made sure my watch was in good working order, that my travelers checks were safely stowed (because you know, someone might steal my wallet) and that I had about a dozen road maps at the ready. We drove all the way to the western edge of Texas before stopping for the night, and I must have consulted our route on the map(s) at least 50 times. I even marked how far we had traveled with a highlighter! About every 20 miles. You get the idea.

Now, Ty is the type of guy who doesn't worry about a thing. His philosophy is "I'll get there when I get there", and "Why not go down a road I've never gone down? I might find something cool." He's cool as a dang ol' cucumber. Just the way I'd like to be. We didn't have a planned stop for the night so I was starting to get a little uncomfortable when the sun started going down and we didn't have a fully furnished campsite with a hot meal already cooking. I was rapidly scanning the map in an attempt to find the perfect place to stop. We ended up at a really cool place called Bottomless Lakes State Park. And you know what? We managed to pitch our tent in the near darkness and round up some grub to eat and still have time to explore the lakes! Whew, we dodged a bullet on that one.

For the next week or so, we crisscrossed our way across the U.S. and saw some awesome scenery. Sometime during the trip, I had a moment of insanity and I took off my watch and put it in the glove box. It was sort of liberating in a anxiety-riddled way. Some evenings, we'd misread the sunset and end up having to pitch our tent in the dark. Other evenings, we would not be able to round up enough firewood to actually cook a meal so we ate some pretty gross stuff.

Speaking of gross food, one memorable night I had planned to cook some chicken breasts. I found some wood and started the fire, only the wood wouldn't burn too well. And it smelled funny. The fire put out some really horrible black, oily smoke and it was making the chicken turn funny colors so I got the bright idea to fry it in a pan. I figured I couldn't put bare breasts in a dry pan so I added some corn oil. Only, I lost my balance when I was pouring it and ended up sloshing about a cup & 1/2 of the stuff in the pan. At this point, my stomach was growling pretty loudly and I was getting really grumpy so I decided to heck with it, we'd eat whatever would cook. Our dinner ended up being black, sooty, oily, fried chicken and chips. It was really gross. Oh, and by the way, the wood I was cooking on????? It was cedar. Anyone who knows how to grill knows that cedar is NOT the type of wood you want to cook over. Ever.

Half way through our trip we landed in San Francisco. At this point I was feeling pretty smug because I was a laid back world traveler without (many) worries. We didn't have a hotel picked out beforehand, so we drove around and found one to our liking. We stopped on the side of the road and I waited while Ty went in to reserve our rooms. While I was waiting, I was looking at another car parked by us and suddenly all holy hell broke loose. A HUGE dude came storming out of the hotel lobby and went up to that other car and started screaming at the driver to move. He reached in through the window and grabbed that poor driver by the neck and practically yanked him out of the window! Apparently, that other car was in a loading zone and the "bouncer" wanted him out of the way. Since this is a PG site, I won't use the words that best describe how scared I was. Suffice it to say it was something like "scared sitless". Anyway, I didn't get yanked out of the window by my neck and was allowed to proceed to my room.

Later we went to the airport to get the hubster and friend and that's when the second event happened. Before going down the concourse to claim our peeps, Ty decided to respond to the call of nature. I waited for him to come out. For about 65 hours or so it seemed. My psychotic mind started thinking that maybe, he had exited the restroom and took off without me. OH NO!!! I was stranded in the San Francisco airport all alone!!!! How would I ever get home? Alone? O.  M.  G. life was over. Just to be sure that I had indeed been abandoned, I decided to yell into the bathroom to see if Ty was still in there. I called his name once, twice, three times to no avail. By this time, I was walking around in circles, crying a little bit and pulling my hair. I had myself worked into a good little tizzy. Of course, he came strolling out shortly afterwords and gave me a good talking down to. He pointed out that even if he did walk off and leave me and head down the concourse, he still had to walk back out! And I'd see him then. That was a life changing moment. I realized what a stupid scaredy cat I was and how much time I was wasting, worrying about stuff I couldn't change. It was like a light bulb went off over my head.

For the rest of the trip, we had a great time travelling unplanned routes, sometimes pitching our tent in the dark, going hungry a few times and facing challenges as they happened. I'll have you know, I haven't worn a watch since that trip over 20 years ago. And I like nothing more than going down roads, not knowing where they lead just because I can. And I have never purchased another travelers check since then.

Amen and hallelujah!

Gypsies, Mud and a Broken Elbow

When I was a kid, my parents were really involved in our local Methodist church. They were youth leaders of a really great group of young people. One summer everyone decided to have a carnival in a field beside the church. There was a greased pole climb, a gypsy fortune teller (my mom), games and snacks, and a mud pit for the tug of war that was to occur at the end of the day. I think the whole affair was a success up until the end of the day and the deadly tug of war.

The mud pit was glorious! You could practically see it bubbling and steaming it was so nasty. Each side paired up and began the tug of war. It was a close game I’m sure. And as all tug of wars end; we were all in the muck and grime having a good old time. At one point my stinky brother Kyle, picked me up by one leg and one arm and flung me through the air towards the mud. The only problem was that when I hit the side of the pit, arms outstretched, I heard a loud snap. I tried to crawl out of the mud but my arm wasn’t working correctly. That’s about the time the pain set in.

I knew something was really wrong and I didn’t want to get thrown back into the mud for fear of something else snapping so I started hollering as loudly as I could. Then I started screaming. Well, screeching actually. I guess it worked because before I knew it my dad was checking me out to see what was wrong. I guess from the way my elbow was bending the wrong direction he figured it out pretty quickly.

Before we could get into the car for the ride to the hospital, I had to be hosed off. I was caked head to toe and all points in between with mud! I’m sure dad got muddy too, so he had to rinse off. So there we were, wet, still sort of muddy – definitely gritty, hauling buns to the medical center. My mom was with us also. Did I mention that she was playing the part of a gypsy fortune teller at the carnival? She was looking very exotic.

Once at the hospital, we all piled into the emergency room looking like a bunch of circus freaks. I was all muddy, Dad was fairly muddy, Mom was a gypsy and everyone in there is looking at us like we were crazy. I had to get an X-ray of my elbow, so I shared some of my mud in that room, too. It turned out that I had some bad type of break so I had to have surgery. On top of that, I got to cut in line in front of all the other people waiting to be treated. I remember getting a shot of some wonder juice then being wheeled down the hallway; trying to apologize to the people I was cutting in front of.

I remember waking up later that evening in my hospital room. Of course my arm hurt but what was more bothersome was the grit in my bed. I guess they cleaned my arm off enough to operate but left the rest of me the way I came in.

The brother that broke my arm came to visit and brought me a big bottle of Dr. Pepper. Man, he really felt horrible. I mean, he was still in his phase where he loved to torture me, so to bring a gift and not pick on me one little bit was a big deal. One of my other brothers stood just outside of my room. He was mad because I was hurt. He wouldn’t come in (maybe he was afraid he’d be tempted to tell me how much he hated me and wished I’d die) so I had to take my parents’ word that he had “visited” me.

One good thing to come out of that episode was that the boys held off on picking on me for a while. I’m sure I had peace and quiet for at least 2 or 3 days. Or until I got home from the hospital.

If you ever get to meet my brother Kyle, be sure to say something to the effect of ‘Oh, you’re the one who shattered Lizzie's elbow – I’ve heard about you.’ 


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

5000 ways to torture me.

I've already mentioned that I grew up around a bunch of boys. Two of the worst were my brothers, Kyle and Ty. I'm going to tell you a little story of the ways they used to have fun. Unfortunately, at my expense.

My oldest brother had a really bad habit of mocking me. He would do something to make me mad, or cry and then he'd mock me. It used to make me so mad I wanted to kill him. No really, I wanted the boy dead, 6 feet under, cold, embalmed so there was no chance of him ever returning.

Here's how it would play out; I'd be playing in my room with my stuffed animals which I loved more than life itself. Kyle would enter my room and begin speaking to me normally. Then he'd start gesturing with one of my critters. Something about the sight of their ears jiggling or their legs flopping would somehow get him all excited and the next thing I knew, I was screaming at him to be nice and stop hurting my friends. This would only add fuel to the fire and he would proceed to punch my stuffed animals in the face and choke them and slam them onto the floor like he had just scored a touchdown. In turn, I would start crying because my poor bunny couldn't possibly survive such a terrible beating. That's when Kyle would start mocking me. He'd repeat whatever I was saying in a really annoying baby voice and make it sound like he was crying.
My eyes would turn red and steam would be shooting out of my ears and I'd try to claw him to death but he was always faster and could get out of the way just in the nick of time. That made me even madder.

Another trick the guys would use was during treat time. I was always trying to do sweet things for them so they'd be nice to me. We had treat time where everyone could have a root beer float or a snack. I'd make the worlds greatest float or bake them a splendid cake in my easy bake oven and the guys would inhale whatever it was in about 15 seconds. Then they would tell me that whatever I had lovingly made was terrible and to go try again and make another. I never caught on that they liked what I had made and wanted another. They just let me believe that it was yucky.

My other brother, Ty had one sentiment for me that I heard for many years. It went like this: 'I hate you, I wish you would die.' If I heard it once I heard it a million times. My mom would tell him that he didn't really mean to say something so awful, but he always said it was exactly what he meant.

Out on the farm we used to take turns pulling each other around on a wooden pallet behind our riding lawn mower. Hey, when you're in the middle of nowhere, with nothing to do you get inventive. Anyway, when it was my turn to ride, my brothers situated the back wheel of the mower right on top of a big wet, juicy cow patty. When they popped the clutch, guess who was yelling and who got a taste of cow patty? They loved to do that kind of thing to me.

When they went away to college I was understandably releived. I missed them, but at least I wasn't being tortured. A strange thing happened when they returned home. They acted like human beings! They didn't immediately start in on picking on me. Ty actually gave me a hug! Once the paramedics finished shocking me back to life, I actually got to sit down with my brother and have a nice conversation. He was interested in what I was doing. How strange....but nice. Kyle took me shopping and bought me treats!

After about 15 more years, I decided to trust them and started enjoying their company. Now we have a great time together. If anyone else is with us when we go out on the town, they're pretty much left to their own devices because we are too busy hootin' and hollerin' to notice they're there. We're just like the three stooges except we quit hitting one another a long time ago. 
It's nice.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Mr. Squeegee

Mr. Squeegee
Don’t you think that weekends are a time for rest and relaxation? Isn’t it ok to sleep past 6 am if you so desire? I do too.
My dear old dad doesn’t work that way. He’s hardwired to work, work, and work. He can’t sit still. Even when he’s sick, which is very rare, he finds some work to do. It’s served him well because at 70+ years old, he can do more in one day than I can do in one week! He’ll call me up just to chat and tell me about how he just finished hauling 9 tons of rock. By hand. Or how he manicured the grass with cuticle clippers – all 6 acres of it. In one hour.
But you ought to see his place. It’s pristine, perfect, and gorgeous. This brings me to the story of the squeegee.
As I’ve said before, I spent some time growing up in the country. When you live in the country and are surrounded by pastures with cows and other varmints, and boys riding dirt bikes stirring up the dust, your windows tend to get a bit grimy. Dad is super neat and clean and is the type to put up his tools in specifically marked spaces after using them. They have little lines around the shape of the tool marking their place. Like a body chalk line only they are inanimate objects. It actually looks kinda nice.
Anyway, I remember trying to sleep in as a kid and being in that wonderful state of rest where you’re not quite awake and you don’t want to even think yet, and you just want to enjoy that nice, floaty, resting feeling. And suddenly, you are hearing the most god awful sound known to man. From the corners of my consciousness, a sound which at first sounded far, far away became louder and louder until my hair started to kink, and my eardrums vibrated in a not so pleasant way, and I become enraged at the injustice of having to hear something so awful. What was it you ask? It was dad cleaning the windows. That in itself wasn’t so bad because there were the gentle sounds of water cascading down the glass, and a light buffing, swooshy sound which wasn’t at all unpleasant. But then, he’d have to go and ruin it all by drying off the glass with a squeegee! The dang thing made a sound that was a cross between a mama cow bawling for her calf, and a moose sending out love sounds. And we had big windows, so one or two swipes didn’t cut it. Nooooo, it took at least 6 swipes! And this was all done at some ungodly hour of the morning before the sun was even up! Talk about mad! I’d get FURIOUS. I’d get my bony little body untangled from my Strawberry Shortcake pajamas, and stand up on the bed and glare through the window and try to make dad feel the pain of the poison little girl anger darts my eyes were firing off at him at warp speed. Of course, he wouldn’t notice because he was enjoying having something to clean. He was working, man! That was FUN!
Does anyone find this amusing? Well, now that I’ve had about 38 years to calm down I can laugh at it. I can understand why he’d destroy any chance of anyone sleeping because he didn’t want the sun to shine on and streak the windows. I can understand why he’d want clean windows. I can even understand using a squeegee to get the job done. But I can’t understand having fun doing constant, never ending work. No matter how hot or cold it was, no matter if he’d worked hard all day long and was tired, no matter if anyone was trying to sleep or not, the man worked! He’s a Superman worker. And it suits him just fine. I think I’m going to get him a red cape as a joke for Christmas. Captain Squeegee, The Squeeginator, Squeegarama, Super Squeegee! Hoorah!