Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Christmas She is So BAAAAD for Meeeeee!

If you want to see my favorite dessert of this holiday season, visit my friend Julie's blog and see the positively sinfully stuffed full of fatty fat deliciously dark creamy chocolatey melt all over your tongue and slide on down to the tummy goodness of Deep Dark Chocolate Cheesecake she made for her Christmas party. Oh my. I could not properly enjoy and appreciate it the night of the party, because me hads too many tastings of the wine offerings (it was a contest, okay?), and too many other delicious snacky things, and the brilliance of the dessert was someone diminished by my altered state. However, Jules had the foresight to send a LARGE portion home with us, and on Monday night, my wine-free taste buds did a happy dance at the first bite. Much better also having been chilled in the fridge so that the chocolate was nice and chewy. I likes my ice cream chewy too.

Now, today, what am I having for lunch? Why, the leftovers of my wonderful cheese ball (which was also at the party, but did not get eaten and so got to come home with me), on lovely Toppers crackers which are all buttery and oval and have a little lip to keep the cheesy goodness from falling off. Yep, that's my lunch. Yummy. Healthy, not so much.

Oh well. Only two more gatherings to go. One at my MIL's house, where we have just lots of snacky finger foods. And Christmas morning brunch at my house where I will make the wonderful breakfast casserole, again with the cheese, along with sausage and eggs. And of course some pumpkin bread and some kind of other cinnamon roll thing because Andy and Jay won't eat the pumpkin items). Not so slimming, no. But you know, it is CHRISTMAS. The season of joy and happiness and eating things you only get once a year.

Why is it, by the way, that we only make these wonderful concoctions on Christmas? Could make them anytime really, but we seem to save them for the holidays. Maybe we wouldn't gorge so much if they were not so few and far between . . .

Saturday, December 01, 2007

Sam Strikes Again . . .

First, you need to be familiar with The Princess Bride. Next, you need to know that it is one of our very favorite movies, and that we recently introduced Sam (age 4) to it, at about the same age Andy discovered the adventures of Westley (or as Sam says it, Wesseley), Buttercup, Inigo Montoya, Vizzini, and the rest. He has taken the movie home, and has been watching it - a LOT.

Last night we were keeping Sam and Jillian, and I decided to put on Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (the classic Rankin-Bass version from 1964), another family favorite. At the beginning, as you know, the snowman, who bears an eerie resemblance to Burl Ives (if you know who Burl Ives is, you are OLD like me), narrates the story, and his name is Sam.

Me: Hey Sam, did you know the snowman's name is Sam too?

Sam: We have the same name? You mean there are two Sams?

Me: That's right.

Pause for a few beats. . .


I'm not sure if he actually understands that word and so used it in a proper context, or if he was just parroting Vizzini, but it was sure darn funny!

Friday, November 30, 2007

Chronicles of Sam, Some More . . .

Cuz I can't remember which part I'm on. . .

I know I'm waaaaay behind on blogging some things I want to blog about, but here's a quick one that happened yesterday in my car, as I was in the car with both grandkids:

Sam: It smells like gum in here.

Me: Oh, that's my lip balm that I just put on. It has peppermint in it.

Silence. . .

A couple of minutes later. . .

Sam: Now it smells like gas in here.

Me: (Sniffing, wondering who was the culprit. Then I glanced out the window and noticed we were next to a big rig truck.) Oooohhhh, that's the smell of the fuel of that big truck next to us.

Whew. I thought maybe I really WAS getting old - you know, old as in don't even realize you've passed gas . . .

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Ooooo, Baby I Love Your Way . . .

I'm in crush . . . serious crush. Tim Daly . . . on Private Practice. Yummity yum-yum. You can have your McDreamy - THIS man has got it goin on.

Here's just a sample of the lines that make me wuv him:

"I'm gonna kiss you now. I'm gonna kiss you with tongue. I'm gonna kiss you so you feel it." Oooookaaaaayyy . . .

"Do you need me to kiss you again?" Yes please.

"I like my women real. Real skin. Real breasts. Real lines around their eyes that let me know they've really lived. Felt pain. Show me that woman, and I'm interested." Yeaaaaahhhh.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Chronicles of Sam, Redux

Sam had a girlfriend named Gracie. Sweet girl, very curly hair. So cute together. He recently announced to his mother that Gracyn (a different girl, also very cute, but younger . . . she just turned 3 ) was his girlfriend. She said, trying not to laugh, I thought Gracie was your girlfriend. He matter-of-factly said "I switched girls."

Yeah. He's gonna be a playa. He's got big dimples, gorgeous blue eyes, great hair, and his daddy's impish, charming and very funny personality. Look out girls.

A Plate of Crazy for Lunch

Okay, haven't blogged in a while and I've been piling up little chunks of things I want to blog about,so I am going to just jump all over the map here.

First of all, my blog title today is from a line I heard on Sex and the City that made me laugh out loud. I will proceed with the story as though you watch the show . . . Carrie was talking about getting Mr. Big (her old love) and Aidan (her current man) together so they could get to know each other and stop being jealous. Miranda looked at her and said "What, did you have a big plate of crazy for lunch?" Now THAT, my friends, is a very useful little line. Just think how you could say that to your friends and they will think you are clever and funny and won't be OF-FEND-ED while you are telling them they are about to do something STOOPID.

We went to hear the Dallas Symphony play Mahler's 9th Symphony the other night. I felt so cultured . . . so classy. It was very enjoyable, but I realized that I wish I knew more about classical music. The guest conductor had long, lion' mane hair like those conductor guys in the cartoons I watched as a kid, and he was wearing tails and was SOOOO animated he conducted with his whole body, jumping around and holding his left hand in a claw-like position, shaking and quivering, I kid you NOT, JUST like the cartoon conductors. He's very gifted I'm sure, but I just couldn't help making the comparison. But, the Meyerson is quite a sight to see, and there were moments in the music where I just closed my eyes and made an observation that I just think God created music as another way for Him to touch our souls in a way that transcends words. When you get those goosebumps and that lump in your throat that sometimes happens when you hear a particular passage of music, not just classical but any music that speaks to you, well I believe that is a little moment of God's spirit flowing through you, caressing your heart.

We have successfully introduced Sam to The Princess Bride. He protested watching it the other day, proclaiming NOOOOOO, I want to watch a SUPERHERO movie!!! But I persisted, and within 15 minutes he was captivated, as I knew he would be. He of course was "Weselly" as he says it. Andy used to be Westly when he was about Sam's age. Ah, the circle of life. Wonder how long it will be before he's quoting the lines with the rest of the family?

YAAAAHOOOOOOO, the new Fall TV season starts this WEEK!!!!! WHEEEEEEEE. Guess where I'LL be all WEEK. I'm so excited for new episodes of all my favorite shows (except, sniff, the ones that ended last year - RIP Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars). I am going to post my reviews periodically if a show is particularly good, just cuz I secretly want to be a TV or movie critic, so I can be on my own blog. So there. I don't really have time to add any new shows to my list. BUT. There are some really great-sounding shows that are new this year, so I MUST at least watch them once or twice to see if they are worth adding. I constantly feel the need to defend the large amount of time I spend watching TV, but I rarely watch just to surf and waste time. I almost always watch because there's something worth seeing. And believe me, there is some GREAT stuff on TV these days. High quality acting and writing and storytelling and production values. And it's so much FUN to dissect your favorite shows with friends who watch the same shows. Mike and Lindsay have been catching up on the first season of Heroes this summer and they are HOOKED, as I knew they would be. Andy and I were hooked after the first episode. Now I just have to get Lindsay watching Ugly Betty. I KNOW she will fall in love with it just like I did.

Oh, and when the heck is Brad Pitt's new movie, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (LOVE that title) going to open around here? I about squeed when I saw that it opened on Friday, only to discover that it's in "limited release" and apparently the DFW area is not hi-falutin enough to merit a showing yet. Anway. Brad Pitt. Western. What more could I want . . .

I want to post on my recent trip to Wyoming, but that's a whole post in itself. I know I have other things I wanted to blog about, but . . . well the ole brain can't remember them right now. We are doing something special for Andy's birthday; a great idea that has now become really complicated, and that will be another post for another day.

And finally, I want to learn to do this. Or at least I wish I could afford to buy this. This is the site if you want to see more of this most amazing art form. GAWD to have a gift like that. Sigh.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Comfort for My Ears and Soul

A couple of days ago I went to the library to turn in a recorded book I had just finished and hopefully find a new one. My new car does not have a tape player, so I am limited to the books on CD, which number many less than the selection on tape. Anyway, I was excited to find a new offering by Tony Hillerman, who writes a series of mysteries involving two Navajo tribal policemen.

I've listened to nearly all of them and really enjoy a good mystery. They are simple, no complicated metaphors or deep thoughts, just a good mystery involving recurring characters. But the main recurring character is the wonder that is the Four Corners area of the U.S., the area where New Mexico, Arizona, Utah and Colorado meet. I have been in all four of those states, though never actually visited the Four Corners area, but if you know me, you know that New Mexico is one of my favorite places on earth. There is something mystical and spiritual about the high desert country around Santa Fe and Taos that just literally feeds my soul. I'd live there in a beautiful adobe house in a perfect world. But I digress.

Hillerman weaves into these mysteries much detail about the culture and religion of the Navajo people, their history, their customs, their struggles. I have found it fascinating and have a tremendous respect for their dignity and their peaceful way of coexisting with the Earth. And though these books are not particularly world-changing and I don't have revelations about the meaning of life, I am transported to my favorite place and I have read so many I feel like I know these characters. And really, that's what reading is all about, you know? A way to feed your soul and mind, to entertain, and to escape for a little while.

I worked in Dallas for six years and listening to recorded books was my sanity-saver during all that time in traffic. I developed a preference for books by Recorded Books, Inc. and have my favorite narrators among their stable of performers. Well, my very, very favorite is George Guidall, who happens to narrate all the Hillerman books. I have not listened to one in quite a while. When I popped the first CD in, and his deep, warm voice came on, in the particular tone and speech pattern that he uses to evoke Lt. Joe Leaphorn (the main character of most of the books), I just felt like I had a warm, cozy blanket of comfort and familiarity wrapped around me. I actually smiled and sighed audibly, it was such a pleasure. Like coming home to a warm fire and a cup of hot coffee and a cozy couch.

That sort of feeling is the reason I got so hooked on recorded books. The added pleasure of a theatrically-trained, really talented narrator "acting" the book for you, while at the same time you still exercise your imagination on what the story "looks" like, is the best of both worlds for me between books and movies. I get totally lost in the story, much more than I do when I sit and read a book. I know many friends who don't enjoy recorded books, but for me, a well-acted recorded book is just a huge treat. Great narrators don't just read the book aloud, they inhabit the characters, creating different voices for each one, voices that you begin to recognize even when they are not immediately identified as to which character is speaking. It's like having a professional theater actor act out the story right in the privacy of your own mind.

I used to struggle with feeling like if I listened to a recorded book, I couldn't really say I "read" such and such book. But it really is my favorite way of digesting a novel, and I find that I remember the story much more clearly that way. I suspect it is because I am an auditory learner, but I am no longer apologetic for being a "lazy" reader. I just don't have as much time in the car to listen anymore, but I have begun listening while I walk. Great incentive to walk, as I get to hear more of the story, so it gets me out the door. See, I'm NOT lazy . . . I'm multitasking.

Monday, September 03, 2007


I am in love with ABC Online! They have an HD online player for their most popular TV shows, and I can watch on my computer in HD, which I don't have on my TV, with only about three commercials. It's awesome! There's something kind of intimate about watching on a little screen right in my lap, like I'm having my own personal little TV show just for me. I have watched some things online from other networks, but none of them have the high quality player that ABC has. Fortunately, most of my favorite shows are on that network. I can even plug in the headphones and watch on the couch while everyone else is watching something else on the big TV. So cool. I'm so easily amused by technology.

I am currently catching up on the unaired episodes of The Nine, which was a fantastic show that started last fall and ended up getting cancelled by the idiots at the network (hey I love their player but not always their programming choices). It's about nine people who were hostages in a bank robbery, and then they get out and the story slowly unfolds about each of their lives and about what really happened in there. The plot reminds me a bit of the movie Inside Man, though not exactly. It's really gripping and has a lot of great acting, including Tim (sigh) Daly, yummity yum yum (he will be on Private Practice, the Grey's Anatomy spinoff, this fall - reason enough to watch) and lots of others. ABC decided to burn off the unaired episodes this summer, and I forgot to watch at first, not used to having new stuff in the summer, so I missed two episodes, and then they decided NOT to show them but just put them online. So, online there are four episodes there, but the two I missed are NOT there, so I have a few plot holes. I have searched the Net trying to find them somewhere to no avail, dang it. I even emailed ABC about it, but just got a canned email response.

Online TV is great for things that you wanted to watch but missed or forgot, etc. I'm trying to also catch up on Saving Grace because I just keep missing it on TV. I REALLY want to watch Mad Men on AMC, but I no longer HAVE AMC due to a brilliant decision by my cable company to shift around what I get without digital cable (which I don't want to pay extra for), but AMC is not showing it online, so I'll have to wait until it comes out on DVD and rent it. I have heard a ton about how good it is, and would seriously watch it, but, well . . .

I have noticed that the new trend is to have really high quality, short run series for the summer now. This is a great idea, but I have always breathed a sigh of relief in the summer that I could take a break from keeping up with my regular shows. I LOVE my shows, don't get me wrong, but it's nice to have a period of time where there is no Must See TV. Now, blast those TV writers, they have come up with all these really great-sounding new shows that just run in the summer. I've missed most of them this year because I've been busy and just didn't want to invest in more shows, but now I'm thinking I missed out on some really good stuff. If this is the pattern to come, I'm gonna have to start watching next summer, or hope they put them all online . . . love me some good TV writing! It's like a book only they act it out for you. I was watching Shakespeare in Love last night, and Violet was explaining why she loves plays so much and it was just how I feel about good TV. Ha. TV is not just for the uncultured, so there.

Now I'm going back to Episode 11 of The Nine.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Long Time Gone

Well, needless to say I've been very delinquent in my blogging these days. I have a lot to blog about, but never seem to be inspired to actually sit down and write it. I enjoy reading others' blogs a lot, so I think it's just laziness about putting my thoughts into some sort of coherent, yet witty and hilarious, form. I read a blog by Joshilyn Jackson, an author, and she is so freakin' hilarious and I SO want to BE her and write clever little tricksey blogs (yes, that's the kind of stuff she writes and it really seems clever, not trite, when she does it), but then my bestest friend Jules will call me out on imitating someone else instead of being ME. Bah. ME is not nearly as funny and interesting to ME as others.

Anyway, I ramble incessantly. I am going to try to catch up on my blogging, and as is my usual habit, I will spew forth a number of blogs in a row here in the next few days. I keep a little list of topics, and sadly I looked at it this morning and at least one entry had me muttering "what the heck was that about?" Guess I need better notes. I have been working through The Artist's Way book, and I am supposed to write three pages in longhand every morning to jump start my writing bug. I find it torturous, to put it mildly. Don't like writing in longhand - I'm deeply involved with my laptop. I have decided that I will try blogging every morning as an alternative. It won't be the stream of concsiousness writing the book intends, but it's better than not writing at all, right? Right?

So stay tuned, more fascinating fodder from my exciting life coming up soon . . . (bwaaaahhhhaaaa, I really didn't SAY anything of value in this post, and yet it IS a post. Hehe.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

More Chronicles of Sam

A couple of new gems from my constant source of entertainment and blogfodder . . .

Sam and Jillian were happily playing in a large cardboard box laid on its side, crawling in and out. At one point, Sam was about to crawl back in alone, and, being the grandmother who encourages imagination and pretend play, I said "Sam, is that your Batcave?" He looked at me with the kind of disdain only a precocious preschooler and a sullen teenager can muster, and said "It's not a CAVE, it's a BOX!" Properly scolded, I just chuckled to myself. He continued making his way inside the box, closed the flaps, and I heard a very small voice say, to himself, not to me, "Yeah . . . it's a CAVE . . . it's a BATcave . . ."

Recently we had a few friends over for dinner, and Mike and Lindsay and the kids were there as well. A few of us were sitting out on the deck enjoying the early summer evening, and one of the guys was smoking a cigar. He's not a smoker, but enjoys a cigar now and then, as do several of our friends. Sam came wandering outside and walked over to me and said quietly "I smell smoke." I told him that our friend was smoking a cigar. He looked at me and said "That's not good . . ." He crawled up in my lap and sat there regarding our friend for a few minutes, and then said, very solemnly, "Smoking is not good for you, remember?" I struggled mightily to suppress my laughter (which happens often when Sam is around) as I knew he was clearly passing on wisdom handed down by his mother. Our friend sheepishly put away the cigar, and as soon as Sam went in the house, we all dissolved in laughter.

I can't wait to hear the kind of things he is going to blurt out in a few years. Out of the mouths of babes . . .

Friday, June 15, 2007

Chronicles of Sam

Yesterday, my 3 1/2 year old grandson Sam provided me with these wonderful nuggets:

After coming over to swim and being forced by his mother to eat lunch first (the very IDEA!), Sam was gazing out the window at the pool. He announced "I'm CRANKY!" I asked why, and he replied, "I'm CRANKY because it's RAINING!" I looked outside and sure enough . . . rain. No swimming, at least until later.

He did actually get to swim later, and then when it was time to go home, he did not want to leave, EVER, according to him. He was having a little meltdown, and I said "Hey, stop throwing a COW!" to which he replied, in mid-sob, "It's not a COW, it's a FIT!"

Nothing like being self-aware . . .

Accessories Sold Separately

My 16-year-old son, Andy, is at a Jazz Double Bass Camp at University of North Texas this week. In case you didn't know, UNT is one of the premiere universities around for studying jazz, and is home of the renowned One O'Clock Lab Band, among others. He is in a very small group studying under Lynn Seeton, who is the bass professor at UNT. A double bass is the upright bass that you might see in an orchestra or a jazz band. (He also plays bass guitar, but that's not what this camp is for). He's pretty pumped and from the text messages we've exchanged, he is learning a lot. (I've discovered that the easiest way to get your teen to respond when gone to camp is a TEXT message, NOT a voicemail. I don't think they even listen to those.)

We are going to pick him up this evening and hear a concert by the students as well as the professor. Andy's take on it is "Wait until you hear Lynn rip the bass. He's awesome." Should be a good time. I love jazz of any sort.

So, in preparation to taking him up to UNT on Sunday, I called to find out if he needed to bring bedding and towels, etc. I was told "No, they have linens." Now, you might think "linens" would include such important items as a PILLOW, wouldn't you? WELL, YOU WOULD BE WRONG. As we discovered when we entered his room and saw a neat pile of sheets and a thin blanket and even thinner towels, and NO PILLOW. One would think that if this important item was not included, they might have MENTIONED it in the phone call where I was inquiring about BEDDING. Of course that would be MY logic, but apparently not someone else's.

On the way back downstairs to try to score a pillow, we encountered THREE other moms toting PILLOWS in WalMart bags. I laughed out loud and exclaimed that I was apparently not the only one who made the foolish assumption that "linens" included a pillow. They kindly told us the location of the nearby WalMart, and advised us to also purchase a towel as the ones provided were not large enough to go around a teenage boy.

We made a quick run and got the needed items, no less, no more. Son was apparently very antsy and in no mood to get any snacks or anything extra. I was not sure whether it was his nerves at the prospect of being left at a college dorm full of strangers (he didn't know anyone there), or if he just wanted to be shed of the "parents" hanging around. In any event, we unloaded the stuff, he declined my offer to make up his bed, and kind of gave us the bum's rush out the door.

As we went through the exit door he was walking up to a group of young men on a sofa in the hallway to introduce himself. He's pretty comfortable meeting new people, and from all reports the week was great. It felt weird leaving him there alone, most likely a foreshadowing of things to come, since UNT is the college of choice at the moment.

Sigh. I really don't want my last child to be nearly grown and thinking of college . . . but I'm sure proud of him. Why does it have to be so bittersweet when they grow up?

Friday, May 11, 2007

That's My Boy . . .

Don't really have a new post here, per se, but I have added my 16-year-old son Andy's "deep thoughts" blog to my favorites (see link to the right for "Here's the Lowdown").

That's some good readin' right there, I don't care who you are.

My baby boy is growing up. I'm proud of who he is becoming.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

School Daze

I picked up Jack (my friend Tiffany's first grader) from school today. He talks pretty much nonstop on the way home, probably a release after having to be quiet in class all day. Most statements end with "And guess what?" or "I need to tell you something." or "Guess why I'm so excited?"

I asked him what he learned in school today, and he said, "Oh nothing. We didn't learn anything today. We were too busy, so we didn't learn anything."

Out of the mouths of babes . . .

More thoughts on Virginia Tech . . .

I wonder if anyone has done studies about why it seems that boys who grow into mass or serial killers are often found to have a history of being bullied, and yet girls get bullied just as much in their own way, and they don't seem to end up as mass or serial killers. I don't know the statistics but I know that only a very small percentage of these kinds of killers are female.

What's the difference? Is in how our brains are wired, because we know from observation and science has demonstrated through research that we ARE in fact wired VERY differently. Or is it our environment, our nurturing or lack thereof? Why do girls respond so differently to the same kind of emotional abuse?

Just pondering . . . feel free to post your theories.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Art as Worship

This is the coolest thing I've ever seen. Nuff said.

MILF Redux

I posted a blog entry a while back about the whole subject of MILFs, so you all know how I feel about the subject of "Hot Moms."

This morning, I saw a commercial for a weight loss product, and THIS is their sales pitch. The woman in the commercial had lost a lot of weight (over 50 pounds), and was exclaiming, ever so proudly, that she is 45 . . . but she doesn't FEEL 45! Sooooo, this 45 year old woman was proudly proclaiming that, thanks to this MAGICAL weight loss wonder product . . . NOW, as a mom of a 17 YEAR OLD GIRL, I can wear short skirts, tiny tank tops, PRETTY MUCH ANYTHING A 17 YEAR OLD CAN WEAR!!!!!

Oh.my.Lord. Lady, if you are over 30, YOU DON'T NEED TO BE SHOPPING at FOREVER freakin' 21! A 45 year old woman, I don't care how slim she is (and this woman had a nice figure, but again, she's 45 and she LOOKS it), CANNOT wear short skirts and dress like a teenager. It just comes off looking pathetic, or trashy, or both. And what 17 year old girl actually WANTS her mom to borrow her clothes and dress like her? Not to mention how a teenage BOY would feel about his mom dressing like his girlfriend. EWWWWWWWW. Kids want a MOM, not a best friend (the best friend part comes when they are grown and married). A COOL mom, for sure, a HIP mom, sometimes, but NOT a HOT MOM.

You know,I don't feel 53 either, but I KNOW that I am, and the MIRROR DON'T LIE. I try really hard to find the balance between dressing modern and dressing inappropriate for my age. I have always told my daughter to just put me away if I start dressing frumpy, but there are certain places you just don't go, fashion-wise, if you are of a CERTAIN AGE. And 45 is definitely in the CERTAIN AGE bracket.


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Sticks and Stones - Mullings on Virginia Tech

I have read a number of blog posts and comments about the Virginia Tech tragedy of last week. I want to throw in my two cents, but my thoughts are from a different perspective.

I have read and watched a number of news stories about the gunman (though I, like many others, have tried to avoid the photos and videos - do we really need to see that?), and it seems that he was a target of teasing by other young people in high school and even at Virginia Tech. Granted, he seems to have been quite odd and from what I have read, pretty unwilling to form relationships with his peers. And at least some of his fellow college students had tried to reach out to him and had been rebuffed. And who knows what demons tormented this young man that would make him so filled with hatred and rage. Even his family is baffled and confused by his actions.

The thing I want to remark on here is that a common thread in so many of these sorts of tragedies, of serial killers, mass killers, hostage situations, etc., is that the perpetrator, almost always a male, has a history of being taunted, teased, mocked, and being made to feel somehow inferior during his school days. I am certainly not saying that this treatment was the only reason for a person going over the edge and committing murder, but I have to stop and wonder if we really underestimate the effect of emotional cruelty by peers can have on a young person's psyche.

What is it that makes our children feel the need to hurt others so with their words and behavior? I know it's not a new problem, but it seems to me that it the level and the means of inflicting hurt and pain on other kids has really burgeoned in the last 5 or 6 years. MySpace and other similar "personal diary" tools give opportunity for kids to say things to one another that they might never say in person (though many of them do). There seems to be a mentality that in order to feel good about yourself, you have to find someone that you can humiliate so that they seem dumber, uglier, nerdier, sluttier, poorer, and so on.

The "mean girls" culture, which doesn't just extend to girls by the way, is frightening to me, and it is beginning earlier and earlier - as early as preschool in some instances. I have a number of friends with preschool age children, and I see a lot of young kids interacting at my church, and I can see inklings of that sort of thinking even in kids as young as 4 and 5 years old. I don't think at that age they even understand the effects of the things they say and do, but it's there. Are we teaching it to our kids without realizing it? Are they learning it from their peers or from TV? Or is it a hardwired part of who we are as humans - of our instinct to preserve ourselves at any cost?

I look at my own children, two grown and one a teen, and I see very little of this sort of behavior and thinking, and I wonder, what did I do right? With my teen, who is a boy, we have a lot of dialogue about this very issue, when we see something happen among his friends, or watch something on TV. We talk about why it is wrong and how hard it is to understand why others want to hurt each other. He has a very compassionate heart and I sincerely believe that he tries to be kind to everyone, no matter who they are. He's not perfect, but I believe that's his heart. My middle child, a girl, was the brunt of much teasing and cruelty in adolescence because she was "chubby," and so she has a particularly sensitive heart about unkindness to others. Not to say she never has her moments, but generally speaking, she tries to think the best of others and always have something nice to say, because she learned the hard way how hurtful words can be. She tends to want to champion the underdog and speak up for anyone whom others speak ill about, sometimes with a righteous spirit that can be a little off-putting. But her heart is in the right place. My oldest, a boy (well a man now), is quiet, and truthfully I don't know his mindset as much now as he lives away and I don't see him as often. But as a teen, he had only a few friends but seemed to be nice to most everyone. He never had conflicts with school friends, and I never heard him make rude comments about others. What is the difference in their attitudes and what I observe in kids on TV, at my son's school, and even sometimes at my church? I know it sounds like I'm bragging that my kids are great and never do anything wrong, and that's certainly NOT the case. But I think anyone who knows them well would agree with me about their character.

I wish I could say that I am as kindhearted as my children, but the truth is I am not. I try not to be unkind about others, but I judge and criticize and I know that I categorize people in my heart, if not out loud. It's hard to confess that, but it's the truth. But I like to think that I would never deliberately try to make someone look bad to make me feel better about myself.

I think we must take a hard look at the culture our young people are living in, a culture where it is acceptable to completely tear apart a person, to humiliate and destroy who they are, simply based on the fact that they are different from themselves. The fact that it is such a common thread in people who end up on the news for completely snapping and committing such horrific acts should be enough to give us pause to think. Sticks and stones indeed.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

So much to say, so little time. . .

Okay, so I haven't posted in a while. Not that anyone reads this anyway, but . . . I am making a resolution to post at least once a week. I have to just post something, not necessarily a long, IMPORTANT essay or a brilliantly HILARIOUS and witty story. Though those can be fun. EDIT: Just noticed that I had 46 posts in 2005 (my first year), a pathetic 12 in 2006 (what the heck was I DOING?) and I already have 14 this year, so I'm on an uphill swing . . .)

So, today. . . well, what the heck is it with this weather? Every freaking Friday and Saturday! WHY, OH WHY can't it rain on Tuesday, or Wednesday? We have only one day each week that we can seriously work in our yard, and that would be . . . SATURDAY. So when it rains, or for that matter SNOWS, or is in the winter coat temps, it is not very conducive to an attractive yard. Our yard is FAR from attractive, we just have aspirations to make it presentable enough that our neighbors don't start a petition to have us forcibly removed from the area. So today, we are going to venture out to see if it's even tolerable. If not, we will stay indoors and work on organizing and cleaning up our office so I can go back to working in there instead of on the couch in the living room. Last Saturday during the Big Blizzard of Ought Seven, we stayed on our butts and watched three movies. A delightful afternoon, to be sure, but not particularly productive. I guess we all need those kind of days though, and if a snowstorm on the the day before Easter isn't an occasion, well I don't know what is.

But today . . . well, it would just be lazy, wouldn't it . . .

Thursday, March 08, 2007


If you have not seen this, go here: http://www.doveproage.com/default.asp.

I am switching all my products to Dove. I totally support their Campaign for Real Beauty, and I applaud them for their vision and courage. I hope they can make a difference in how we view women and what really is "real beauty."

This is the ad I was talking about - the one I told Andy about (my 16 year old son) and his response was "That's really COOL!" He's also the one that believes curvy girls are just as pretty as skinny ones, and remarks on them on TV all the time. Did I mention he ROCKS?

Hahaha, I KNEW my gray hair and fluffy body were beeeeeyyyyyuuuuutteeeefullll!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Sweet Baby Gwel

Jilly is now saying "hi" and "dye-dye". Not sure why it's not "bye-bye" since I know she can say "b" since she says "Bubba." Anyway, "hi" is accompanied by an open-handed wave and a smile that lights up her whole face, and "dye-dye" comes with a bend-at-the-wrist twisty kind of wave. She also claps her hands and says "Yay!"

By the way, "gwel" is how Sam used to say "girl." Now, to me, "gwel" is much harder to pronounce than girl. It kind of sounds like Old English or something. There are some words that toddlers say that are just so darn cute, and you KNOW they are going to stop saying it that way at some point, but it's just so CUTE. Like how Sam used to say "Hupmits" for Muppets. And "Beggie" Tales. So CUTE. But alas, he is growing up and using big words, like "Minnesota Cuke." BUT he does say it "Minn-a-so-da" very deliberately. SO CUTE.

Andy used to say "w" for "r." Our pastor's sons were "Cwaig" and "Wobin." CUUUUTTTTEEE.

Okay, now I'm rambling . . .

Thursday, February 15, 2007

How to Save a Life

Okay, Grey's Anatomy is officially the best show on television right now. And I watch a LOT of TV, as those of you who know me can attest. Every single week as I watch, I find myself holding my breath or biting on my hand, and then a few minutes later I'm laughing out loud. I have watched a lot of TV in my life, did I remember to say A LOT, and I have only seen a few shows in my many years that had writing this consistently excellent. I care about these people - I WANT them to be happy - I WANT them to heal their patients. Along with excellent writing and great performances - with one of the finest ensemble casts anywhere around today - this show makes excellent use of music that sets the mood and weaves seamlessly into the storylines.

And of course I'm at the end of Part 2 of a three part episode, and OF COURSE they aren't going to show if Meredith survives until Part 3. I know she must, since the show's named after her, but it's a testament to the writing that I even wonder just a little bit, because the show is just so real and so raw sometimes.

A few weeks ago the father of George, one of the interns, was dying and the family had to decide to end life support. They were gathered around his bed, and I was weeping because it was so eerily like the scene at my own father's death a few years ago. We . . . no really it was me, I had to make that decision, and our whole family was gathered around him as he died peacefully. But I didn't really cry much at the time, I was so full of adrenaline from the stress of calling the paramedics in the middle of the night, and being in the emergency room all night and all the next day and dealing with all of this (I'm an only child, and I do have other family, but it was really up to me since my mother and stepmother were already gone). So when I watched that Grey's episode, it was like I was weeping for my own father's passing. It was sad and yet a relief at the same time - a burden lifted. And those of you who don't watch much television probably think this is really pathetic and that people who get caught up in TV characters are just lacking in their own personal relationships. But that's what good TV is all about - it tells the truth in such a way that we feel a personal connection with something in our own life.

Grey's. Good stuff. Every time.


I was searching for some Sara Groves lyrics and came across this quote from her (if you've never listened to a Sara Groves CD, you must - she writes the most meaningful lyrics - she reminds me of Rich Mullins in her storytelling and depth):

Imagine how thick the air would be if every word from our mouths flew up toward the sky and hung there, like a cloud. Like the dialog in cartoon strips, only floating free above our heads, without a bubble to contain them. Now imagine the shock of seeing the words we think, but never say, gathered there as well. Our pride, our anger, our doubts, our fears all spelled out and undeniable. How could we live like that?
Wow, that's some serious thinkin' there. Just ponder that for a few minutes. Read it over a few times and let it roll around in your brain.

Happy V-Day to Me

Well, my Valentine's Day started out rather interestingly. I was sleeping soundly when my dogs began to make a ruckus (that's such a FUN word), so I grudgingly decided to get up, since I had oodles of work to do. As I opened the bedroom door (which opens into the front entryway - so charming), I heard what sounded like someone turning the lock or the doorknob. Now, at 8 in the morning I am generally the only one here besides my pet entourage, so I was a bit alarmed. Well, as alarmed as one can be when one still only has one eye open. I shuffled to the other side of the house to look out the office window (not a long trip, I assure you), and didn't see anyone on the porch. I noticed a vehicle in the driveway, next to my car, but from the angle of the window you can only see part of the vehicle parked on that side of the driveway. In my state of half-eyed sleepiness, it looked to me like a minivan. Don't ask me why, but it did. So I stood there for a few seconds wondering WHO would be visiting me at 8 in the FREAKING MORNING in a MINIVAN, and where were they anyway? Then the vehicle began backing out and I realized it was Jay in his truck. So, again, in my state of not-fully-alert, fuzzy-brained and fuzzy-eyed. . . ness, I wondered, why is he just now leaving, I thought he left a long time ago to take Andy to school. I shrugged off this mystery and shuffled into the kitchen, where, LO AND BEHOLD, a BEAUTIFUL vase of LOVELY VALENTINE FLOWERS was sitting next to my coffee pot. Does my man know me or what? That's my first stop after the potty, and really, who'd want to find flowers sitting on the potty? Not too romantic.

So of course this causes me to remember that the card I'd bought for said man THREE WEEKS AGO, along with the candy I bought for him on Tuesday, were still in the closet, because I had forgotten to set them out for his enjoyment when he got up in the morning. I called to thank him profusely for the sweet gesture, and to confess that I DID in fact have a reciprocal Valentine for him, but I had . . . ahem . . . FORGOTTEN to put it out. I signed the card, put it with the candy next to his sink in the bathroom, since that is the first place he goes when he gets home from work . . . BUT, when I returned home from church, he was unloading groceries and then made some cheese dip and several other things, and after about an hour, I finally said "Did you ever even GO in the bathroom?" To which he replied, "Well, no, I didn't need to go . . . " Guess I should have clarified why I was asking. So I sent him in there to "discover" his suprise LATE Valentine. We are nothing if not clever and romantic in our gestures, are we not?

Valentine's Day is a wild card with this man anyway - some years I get flowers, some years I get flowers and a card, some years I get an actual gift and a card, some years I JUST get a card, and then there are those years where I get zipadeedoodah because he "didn't get a chance to go to the store." Now I'm sorry, but most women would rather hear "I forgot" than "I didn't get a chance to go to the store." But in his defense, that hasn't happened in a long time. And it sure keeps me on my toes - I never know what's coming so I have NO expectations, which means on years like this one, I am so sweetly surprised by the gesture that it means a whole lot to me. He's definitely on the good list right now, since he also gave me a wonderful surprise Christmas gift and another one just a week later for our 20th anniversary. Yep, he's a suitor . . . he's bona fide.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Peace Out, Anna Anna Anna Anna Anna Nicole

What a sad, tragic mess that woman was. She has been unglued since the death of her son, which I think was under very fishy circumstances. But in spite of all that, what a sad end for anyone. That poor baby girl - what will become of her? Even when they determine who her real daddy is, are either of them fit to raise her? The lawyer/lover seems very shady to me, and I have my suspicions of his part in Daniel Smith's death, and that perhaps that may be one reason Anna "married" him, and also the fact that she was pretty much always with him and always drugged up since it happened. And the actor/model guy, well who knows if he's any better. And now I hear Anna's mother, who from what I've seen of her in interviews is pretty much trailer trashy and dumb, is wanting custody. That poor baby girl - I just pray that God will protect her and perhaps she can end up with a normal family who can raise her out of the public eye. Tragic. Sometimes fame is toxic.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Silly Andy . . .

Recently Sam was over to visit, and he was in the gameroom playing with Andy. Andy has a life-sized cardboard standup of Batman in one corner of the room. It has been there ever since we built the gameroom, but I guess Sam just noticed it on this day.

He came into the living room with a very serious expression and announced, "I don't like Batman." I replied "You don't? Why not?" He solemnly said, "I want Batman to go away." I thought for a minute, and decided that perhaps Andy was teasing him and pretending. So I told him that was not REALLY Batman, but just a cardboard PICTURE of Batman.

He turned around, marched into the gameroom and said, in a laughing tone of voice, "Andy, that's not REALLY Batman, it's just a cardboard PICTURE of Batman!"

Silly Andy. Don't be afraid - Sam's here to protect you.

An Ode to Flannel Sheets

Ahhhh, flannel sheets. So cozy, so warm. So hard to part from on a cold winter's morn, with the dogs snuggled up around me, kindly resting patiently until I am ready to crawl out of my warm nest. Yes, flannel sheets are a beautiful thing.

Except when you get the "flannel-board effect," an annoying phenomenon that happens when one is wearing flannel pajamas and one attempts to roll over in bed. There are velcro-like properties when two pieces of flannel are put together, and they seem reluctant to release so that a smooth roll can be accomplished. The result is a fair amount of scooching, rustling, and grunting, sometimes accompanied by the inadvertent - I SWEAR it's inadvertent, dear - pulling of the covers off of your partner in the flannel sandwich of coziness.

Small price to pay for the pleasure of warm, cozy, softness that is flannel sheets in the winter . . .

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Have it your way . . .

I just saw a commercial for a new show at the Nokia Theater called AetheriA. The lineup was -drumroll please - the Fort Worth Symphony (we're okay so far), the Dallas Black Dance Theater (still good), Willie Nelson (whaaaa????), and . . . wait for it . . . JESSICA SIMPSON.

Now that's what I call an eclectic (or is that word too classy?) lineup. WHO IN THE WORLD came up with the idea to put together a show with those particular acts, all in one place? One has to wonder exactly what crowd would enjoy all of those in one place together. Guess there's something for everyone . . . something classic; something exotic; something stoned; and something . . . that sounds like you are strangling your cat . . . yeeeeaaaaah, what's not to like?

Monday, January 29, 2007

Flashin Back to the Oldies . . .

Okay, I'm officially old. I'm watching a Time-Life informercial on the "Classic Soft Rock Collection," pretty much songs from the 70s and early 80s. Geez, I know EVERY SINGLE SONG, and ALL THE WORDS TO EVERY SINGLE SONG they have played so far. They are showing clips of the original videos, and I'm having a serious flashback. But seriously . . . in the 70s (aaahhh, a Doobie Brothers song . . .), there weren't nearly as many different genres of music played on the radio, and Top 40 music was what most people listened to. It was the early days of FM radio, which meant they played a lot of music and very few commercials - those were the days - and pretty much everyone in your general age group knew and loved the same songs and artists. Yeah, we bought albums by our favorite artists - for me, Three Dog Night, Linda Ronstadt, Chicago, Fleetwood Mac, Doobie Brothers, Cat Stevens, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Boz Scaggs, Kenny Loggins/Loggins & Messina, and Gino Vanelli, and tons of others I'm sure. But there were lots of one hit wonders that had really great songs and then disappeared from the music scene. They are just playing one great song after another (ahhhh, Waiting by Foreigner is on). The Cars, Phil Collins, the hits just keep on coming . . . along with the BIG hair and spandex and leather. Hee hee.

Now the weird thing about this infomercial - aside from the obvious - is that most of the people they have talking about how great it is (you know, those generic couples that are supposed to look like they are really loving the music) are WAAAAAYYYYY too young to remember any of this music from the 70s. Lord, I was a teenager then, and these folks look not even 40. Maybe it's botox . . .

My point is, a lot of this music is just so great, and you don't hear it much any more, except on American Idol where it may be mangled beyond recognition. Or on the Oldies station. It's amazing how a song can transport you back to a particular time in your life, sometimes to a particular day or event. Music is a very powerful thing, a tangible piece of memory that gets ingrained in your soul. (Ahhhhh, Bread - Baby I'ma Want You - a classic.) See what I mean? I can remember exactly what was happening in my life, exactly where I lived, where I worked, who I was in love with, etc., when that song was on the radio (I actually had an eight track of Bread - but that's another issue altogether).

With the eclectic, often weird varieties of music out there today, I wonder what this generation of teenagers and young adults will flash back to when they hear their own "oldies?" So much of it is sad, angry, unpleasant, misogynistic, and just plain raunchy . . . I'm not sure I'd want to walk down that memory lane.

Don't get me wrong, I like a lot of the music out today, and I listen to a much wider range of stuff these days, from classical to alternative to blues to jazz, and so on. But a lot of it just makes me uncomfortable - or bored. And it's hard to sing along with in the car. I mean, where's your modern day Bohemian Rhapsody? Singing along in the car used to be a bonding experience - or a way to practice your skills where no one could hear you.

Yep, I'm old. But I still like my music loud . . .

I left my mind . . . somewhere

Does it mean I'm getting senile if I ran the dryer for a full 60 minute cycle with NOTHING IN IT?

In my defense, my habit while doing laundry is to take a load out of the dryer, move the basket (the one that always has those few things that you must was SEPARATELY or they will BLEED on everything else or they are DELICATE and must be washed by fairy wings) that normally sits on the washer over to the top of the dryer, open the washer and put in the next load, close the lid and start said washer, move said SPECIAL basket back on top of washer, and then start the dryer. This system has worked for me lo these many years without a hitch - well, except for a few times when I forgot the "start the dryer" step.

Well, last night I had put a load in the dryer before bed - a load I had washed in the afternoon but forgot to put in the dryer. Okay, well my defense isn't going too well here . . . but let me continue. This morning, when I got ready to do laundry, I took the dry load out, but there was no wet load to put in the dryer, as I had not started another load before bed AFTER I took the forgotten load out and put it in the dryer. I know you are on the edge of your seat here, but just stay with me.

Sooooo, I put a load on to wash this morning, in my usual and time-tested fashion, and then proceeded to start the dryer in the usual said fashion and go about my work. Some time later (about 60 minutes, actually), I heard the little "beep beep beep" signaling that my load was dry. I got up, went to the laundry closet (it's too small to really earn the name "laundry room"), opened the dryer . . . and just stood there staring at it for a good minute, trying to process WHO TOOK MY LAUNDRY? Why is there no freshly dried, sweet-smelling and toasty warm load waiting for me to gather it in my arms, breathe deeply and feel that little surge of joy I weirdly get from my favorite smell in the world? Did I suddenly acquire domestic help of which I was unaware?

Of course, the truth finally dawned on me. I felt pretty silly, to be sure. I continued on with my laundry system, which I swear to you works MOST OF THE TIME, content in the knowledge that this little "incident" had given me fresh fodder for my goal of blogging several times a week.

So to my massive reading audience, though this may not be the most interesting blog I've ever posted, I am a confessional writer and so there you go - every time I do something dumb, if it is fit to print, you'll read it here first. If I remember to write it . . .

P.S. It has been brought to my attention that when I refer to a ". . . sweet smelling, toasty warm load . . . breathe deeply . . . favorite smell in the world" that SOME people with JUNIOR HIGH sensibilities (you know who you are) might MISCONSTRUE the word "load" to refer to a different sort of fragrant, uh, item. So let me be clear - my favorite smell in the world is CLEAN LAUNDRY. (Thanks TT for the heads up!) :-)

Sunday, January 28, 2007

If I say, they will play . . .

The other day, Sam, my 3-year old grandson, was visiting us. He was in the game room with Andy (my 16-year old son), and I heard him talking to himself as he walked from the game room into the living room where I was sitting with Lindsay (my daughter/his mom), saying "I can't wait to show this to my GiGi (his nickname for me)!" He was carrying the new Monopoly game we had received for Christmas, still wrapped in cellophane, and asked "Can we play this?" I told him that it was a "big people" game and that we couldn't play right now. He said nothing, turned and headed back toward the game room. He said, again to himself, "I can 't wait to show this to Andy!" I chuckled to myself but made no comment to Lindsay.

In a few minutes, he came walking back from the game room, again speaking to himself, "I can't wait to show this to my mom!" He walked up to Lindsay, asked if we could play the game, and received the same response as from me and I'm certain the same as he received from Andy. He was determined to find a willing partner to play this game, and he was having no luck at all.

Of course, the funniest part of all was that each of the three times, he said the same thing in EXACTLY the same inflection, as if saying would make it so. It almost sounded like he was rehearsing his lines. He had to go home shortly after that, but next time he comes over, maybe we'll break out Monopoly and learn about counting money . . .

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

When the Levees Broke

I tried to think of a clever title for this post, but anything I came up with seemed too frivolous, so I'll just stick with the title of the documentary I want to talk about.

I spent last week watching "When the Levees Broke," a documentary about Hurricane Katrina and New Orleans by Spike Lee. I have not been so mesmerized and moved by a piece of film in a long time. As most of you know, I spent a few days in New Orleans last summer preparing for our youth mission trip, and got fairly familiar with the layout of the city, including driving down to the Lower Ninth Ward a couple of times. THAT was an experience I will never forget. As I watched this program, I saw footage and still photos of places I'd driven by, and saw interviews with a wide variety of individuals who lived in various parts of the Crescent City. It was eerie to see the footage during and immediately post-Katrina compared to what I had seen nine months later, but I was really glad that I was familiar enough to have an appreciation of what I was seeing.

This is not a feel-good documentary, but I came away with a sense of hope and inspiration after seeing the amazing resilience of the residents of New Orleans, their refusal to give up and their immense pride in their hometown and the great history and heritage of the city. Some of the interviews were done immediately after the hurricane on location, and then others were done in a studio at various times. Interviews ran the gamut from devastated and displaced residents to politicians, radio hosts, historians, meteorologists, government workers, news anchors, and Sean Penn, who had seen some footage and felt compelled to take action and use his celebrity to do some good.

Some of the footage is hard to watch, but I could not look away. Bloated and rotting bodies, weeping mothers, rubble and devastation everywhere. Angry people, angry and sometimes foul language, but understandable under the circumstances. You need to prepare yourself to have your heart broken and your conscience challenged.

On another note, the soundtrack, by Terence Blanchard, is haunting, melancholy, and will get in your head and live there. I wish I could buy it, but because the program was an HBO special, it seems that the music is not available.

I think every American citizen should see this program. I don't care if you are a supporter of Bush or if you aren't, if you are a Democrat or a Republican, if you are a liberal or a conservative, if you are black, white, or somewhere in between. This is an important piece of film history and we all need to see the reality that America is already forgetting. New Orleans is coming back, slowly, but it's a long way from being the city it once was. But the people there have an indomitable spirit and I pray that they will continue to get the support they need to rebuild this amazing city.

I challenge you to invest the several hours it will require and see this film. It will change you forever.