December 26, 2010
You've Got Mail
Monty Python and the Holy Grail
The Lion King
The Sound of Music
Men in Black
2. Name a movie that you’ve seen multiple times in the theater.
(3 times each)
The Lion King
3. Name an actor/actress that would make you more inclined to see a movie.
Tommy Lee Jones
4. Name an actor/actress that would make you less likely to see a movie.
Will Ferrell (excepting "Stranger Than Fiction")
5. Name a movie that you can and do quote from.
(These are more quotes that I use in real life on a regular basis.)
America's Sweethearts ("She's on Prozac?! " "If ONLY . . . the dog.")
Airplane ("I am serious . . . and don't call me Shirley"!)
Lion King ("You have NO idea.")
Princess Bride (“Inconceivable!”)
Twister (“I gotta go Julia! WE GOT COWS!!!”)
Monty Python & the Holy Grail (“It's only a flesh wound")
Ferris Bueller's Day Off ("Anyone? Anyone?)
Men In Black ("A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky, dangerous animals, and you know it.)
Apollo 13 ("Houston, we have a problem.")
Psycho ("Mother . . . isn't quite herself today.")
Goodbye Girl ("I AM decent. I also happen to be naked.")
Kindergarten Cop ("It's not a TUMAH")
Pirates of the Caribbean ("Where's the RUM???")
When Harry Met Sally ("I'll have what SHE'S having.")
6. Name a movie musical that you know all of the lyrics to all of the songs
The Lion King
The Sound of Music
The Little Mermaid
7. Name a movie that you have been known to sing along with
Raiders of the Lost Ark - "dun da dun daaaa, dun da daaaaa, dun da dun daaaa, dun da da da da" Sing with me!!!
8. Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see.
To inspire or change you:
The Blind Side
Fairly recent fun movies:
9. Name a movie that you own.
Any movie previously mentioned and available on dvd . . . plus a myriad of chick flicks, most Harrison Ford movies (Indiana Jones, Jack Ryan, Star Wars, etc.), King Kong, the library of Pixar & Disney, some Stephen King, some John Grisham, some M. Night Shyamalan, some Coen Brothers, some Alfred Hitchcock, and pretty much any disaster movie threatening the end of the world as we know it. Oh, and about 10 dozen others.
10. Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops.
Will Smith. No contest.
11. Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven’t yet gotten around to.
12. Ever walked out of a movie?
So far, all of them.
13. Name a movie that made you cry in the theater.
Rarely. I LOVE it, but I can't justify paying $6 for something I can pop at home for 75c. And, NO butter.
15. How often do you go to the movies?
Average: once every 6 weeks.
16. What’s the last movie you saw in the theater?
True Grit. Love those Coen Boys.
17. What’s your favorite/preferred genre of movie?
I gave this a bit of thought. I don't think I have one. A good movie is a good movie. For me, it MUST have, and I cannot emphasize the importance of this enough, it MUST have great dialogue.
18. What’s the first movie you remember seeing in the theater?
The Jungle Book, though it was actually at the drive-in
19. What movie do you wish you had never seen?
Hmmmm . . . if I had to pick just one movie, I would say, "The Hours." I wish I had "the hours" back that I spent watching it. Dreadful.
20. What is the weirdest movie you enjoyed?
I tried to enjoy "Inglorious Basterds", I really did. I wanted to. But I just couldn't make it past the gore to appreciate the humor. So . . . weirdest movie I've enjoyed? Fargo. Or Supergator. They're both so similar . . . :)
21. What is the scariest movie you’ve seen?
The Shining. Silence of the Lambs. The Ring. None so scary now.
22. What is the funniest movie you’ve seen?
I rarely like comedies that are JUST comedies . . . i.e., most anything starring a Saturday Night Live alum. I like movies with action or a story that also happen to BE funny. BUT, for strictly giggles, the movie that makes me laugh hysterically no matter how many times I see it . . . Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Hands down.
23. Great books that were also great movies?
For me . . . Hamlet, Little Women, and several John Grisham's.
24. Great books that were not-so-great movies?
Most of the movies based on Stephen King stories seriously do NOT do him justice. (There are a FEW exceptions.)
December 19, 2010
But on this particular day, she was quiet. Really quiet. And at first you, as a parent, don't notice 'quiet'. It's peaceful. That's why they call it "peace and quiet". But then suddenly 'quiet' screams at you like an airhorn: SHE IS TOO QUIET. WHAT IS SHE DOING? IS SHE BREATHING? HAS SHE FALLEN INTO THE TOILET HEAD FIRST? Of course, all these thoughts go through your head in less time than it takes you to gasp.
On my way up the stairs, I called out frantically, "Kacey?"
(Sigh of relief. Panic subsided. Heart rate returned to normal.)
"What are you doing?"
"I play wif da soap."
Whew. Play with the soap. Good. Wait. Play with the soap? What soap? The only soap upstairs is in the bathtub, and she can't reach it. Investigation became urgent.
At the door of my room I found her sitting in the middle of the bed. It took a second or two to assess what I was seeing. In the middle of my very 1980's peach comforter was a reddish stain the size of a large Rorschach ink blot. Was it blood? No, too purple. Finger paint? No, there's no finger paint upstairs . . . OHHHH, but there IS paint for FINGERS upstairs.
Kacey, wearing nothing but her big girl panties, swiveled around to reveal a bottle of nail polish in one hand, a very decorated Winnie-the-Pooh in the other hand, and a tummy covered with "soap".
It was clear (unfortunately the nail polish was not), that the comforter was ruined. As was Pooh Bear, her favorite "baby". But how could I be upset at something that stinkin' cute? I couldn't. I said, "Honey, don't move. Mommy will be right back!" And I ran to get the camera.
The comforter became history. Kacey's tummy stayed "pretty" for several days until the polish wore off in the bath, 'cause there was no way I was rubbing my baby down with acetone. And the mauve-painted Pooh was discreetly replaced by a new, clean Pooh.
I just realized it's not often you get to say "new clean Pooh" in a blog. Or in real life, for that matter.
December 17, 2010
I arrived to a rundown diner, now accompanied by someone else. I asked my boss - a petite, 60ish woman - if my friend could join us. The friend also asked if she was welcome, and the boss replied, “You will always be welcome, as long as you have not had any contact with live, warm animals.”
Looking around the kitchen, there were about 15 people. I assumed we were about to start serving food in the diner, when my boss said, “Stephanie, you’re first.” So I got a metal tray, like from a prison cafeteria, took it over to her, and she sprinkled an assortment of food onto it - pieces of a fried egg, what looked to be chunks of chicken-fried steak, and some green vegetables. They were just scattered across the tray and not compartmentalized into groups. The boss lady then said, “Go to your pod and eat.” I realized then that the food was being rationed and this was my portion. I walked out to the parking lot to find my car. The parking lot was grown up with weeds. Boxes and piles of junk were littered throughout, almost like an old salvage yard. I walked back to my car, the 1983 white Chevy S-10 blazer I had years ago, intending to get inside to sit down. When reaching the car, however, I realized the floorboards had been filled with soil, and we were growing vegetables inside. I remember thinking this was 2023.
Then my cell phone alarm went off and I woke up. I fully intended to blog about socks today, but this takes precedence because I don’t want it to slip away as dreams often do.
I’m usually good with interpretation, but this SyFy weirdness has me stumped.
December 14, 2010
I did not feed my children sugar until they were 2. Even then, they were more likely to get it from other sources than from me. My theory: why give it to them when they don't even know what they're missing? Anyway, the Christmas when Kevin was 11 months old, Kacey (7) wanted to decorate the tree with a whole red and white candy-cane motif. We hung shrink-wrapped candy canes, strung peppermint garland and made a huge bow for the top from red & white striped ribbon. It turned out really cute!
Kevin, (having never had a nursery, nor a crib because we're "family bed" people) was, what I call, a "wandering baby". You never knew where he was going to be when you woke up. One particular morning during the holiday season (I believe it was "8 Maids a-Milking" day), I woke to funny little noises coming from the living room. Upon further inspection, those funny little noises turned out to be my barely-steady-on-his-feet baby boy, standing as high on tiptoes as his footie pajamas would allow, neck outstretched like a Serengeti giraffe, nursing the end of a peppermint stick. Apparently he had sucked the plastic wrap off the end, then continued to lick and slurp it to a sharp point. The funny little noises were his grunts and groans as he neared the end of his height range in relation to the dwindling candy cane. The look on his little face told me what his lack of verbal communication could not: "Me like sugar."
As a wandering baby he did many other funny little things like sleepwalk, pee on his sister (well, almost!), and sleep in the kitchen cabinet. Oh, other stories for other days!
December 07, 2010
2. Favorite Holiday Song - “O Holy Night” - 'Fall on your knees' gives me cold chills every single time I hear it. Although Harry Connick Jr.’s “Santa Claus is Comin’ to Town” works for me too. :o) (**I also highly enjoy my Charlie Brown Christmas cd that Kacey bought me, and Mikey’s “Candlelight Processional Disney Massed Choir” cd he recorded when he was in high school.)
3. Favorite Holiday Cartoon - How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the animated version!)
4. Favorite Holiday Movie - Die Hard! But I’m also a sucker for “It’s a Wonderful Life”.
5. Wrapping Paper or Gift bags? Both. I like the looks of wrapping paper better, and I LOVE big bows, but I hate the thought of 3 trees in Oregon giving their lives just so we can rip it up and throw it away . . . so gift bags or gift boxes would be more honest.
6. Real tree or artificial? Fake, baby! Although I LOVE the smell of pine, I again hate the thought of a tree withering away in my den when it could be thriving outdoors. Besides, the last time we cut a real tree, some critter hatched out in the house and we were bug-infested the entire season. Ick!
7. When do you put up the tree? Thanksgiving weekend. Usually. This year was later because when I went to get the tree out of the utility room, there was no tree. Apparently I got rid of it last year when I was feeling scroogey, so I had to go buy another tree.
8. More importantly, when do you take down the tree? New Year’s Day. I’m firm on this one. When the season is over, doggone it, turn off your giant inflatable penguins and take down the garland. I will give you about a one-week grace period on this one, and then I will be yelling at your house from my car, “CHRISTMAS IS OVER!!!! TURN OFF THE LIGHTS!!!”
9. Favorite Gift? Hmmmm . . . the funniest one was a GIGANTIC can of ravioli my parents thought would be good for a laugh. It was. The most creative was from my boyfriend who did a “12 days of Christmas” thing that included a lot of sweet and fun things like matchbox cars and fur coat charms and a diamond necklace. I’ll have to blog about that sometime . . .
10. Hardest person to buy for? Dad. What to get dad? I never do know.
11. Easiest person to buy for? I used to say Kacey or mom, because they both like what I like! But really, it's the cowboy. He writes out a VERY detailed Christmas list about a mile long containing several thousand dollars worth of items he can't live without. I take the list to the nearest Saddle Boy store, ask them what I can get off this list of x-amount of dollars, have them put it in a burlap feed sack with a green bow and call it good.
12. Greeting cards? Nope. Sorry, just don’t do them. Again, I don't see sacrificing trees just to say "Merry Christmas", but I’m happy to open yours as long as you don't include one of those "this is how wonderful my family is" newsletters!
13. Nativity Scene? Uh uh . . . I don’t even have family pictures displayed in my house, so this is not a big surprise. Jesus is in my heart, but not on top of my entertainment center. Sorry to disappoint.
14. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? SUSHI!!! HaHa. Okay, truthfully it's grandmama’s oyster dressing. Yum!
15. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer? Yeah, Grumpy, Sleepy, Dopey and Fred.
16. Angel on top of the tree? Sticks and twigs and berrys and spirally things that stick out everywhere. Love it. When the kids were little we usually topped the tree with a Santa hat.
17. Open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas morning? One present only on Christmas eve, the rest on Christmas morning, or whenever daughter-face and son-in-law and baby girl come in.
18. Best part of the holidays? Playing games. Especially ones that I win. Like Boggle. Or Trivial Pursuit. Or Scrabble. I will seriously kick your tail at Scrabble.
19. Worst part of Christmas? Missing people who should be sharing the holiday with me. That, and taking down the tree and getting used to seeing the house look “naked” again.
20. Weirdest Christmas memory? Asking for a doll that looked like me, and getting a Raggedy Ann doll. Not a great self-esteem booster, though now that I see her again . . . round face, pale skin, thick ankles, unruly red hair . . .
21. Colored lights or white? White, LOTS OF THEM, but NO BLINKING!
22. Ever been Christmas caroling? Yes, but it's been a LONG while! Mostly I just Christmas Carol to myself in the car . . .
23. Ever been ice skating? Once, in Alaska, while pushing Kacey in a stroller. Cold, but FUN!
24. Candy Canes or Gingerbread? Gingerbread, but star-shaped sugar cookies with colored sugar sprinkles are even better!
25. Christmas quirk? When the kids were little, I wouldn't let them see the presents under the tree or open their stockings until everybody was awake and their hair was brushed. (It's a photographer thing. Or a control-freak thing. Who, me?) :o)
December 01, 2010
2. When his mother finds him, he is thousands of miles from her.
3. His 5-year-old sister saves her coins, one at a time, to help save her little brother.
4. Legal red tape keeps them apart for months upon months.
5. His parents scrimp and save and pray every day for their son who, halfway around the world, doesn't even know they miss him.
6. After a long, long time, the precious little boy hears that his family has found him and is coming to get him as soon as they possibly can.
7. You buy a t-shirt.
Okay, so it's not a movie. At least not yet. It's the story of my amazing friends, Philip & Sara, who are adopting a little boy with special needs from an orphanage in west Africa. The legal work is nearly finished, their son DOES know they are coming to bring him home, and you CAN help write the end.
They need to raise $15,000 dollars to finish this journey.
Sound like a lot of money?
How much are your children worth?
Go. Seek. Love.
Seriously, go seek love. As in
http://www.goseeklove.com/ and buy a t-shirt. Or buy 2 t-shirts. Or buy t-shirts for your whole family. If you do it before December 13, this sweet family gets the proceeds donated to their adoption fund.
You are likely to spend hundreds, even thousands of dollars this season to spoil your children, indulge your appetite, take a vacation, and deck your halls with boughs of Hallmark . . . while this little boy waits in an orphanage for his dad and mom and sister and brother, who are already crazy-in-love with him, to come get him and bring him home.
Come on, if that doesn't tug at your heartstrings, your name must be Ebeneezer.
"God bless us, one and all." Now buy a t-shirt. Please.
(If you would simply like to make a tax-deductible donation, please email me - firstname.lastname@example.org and I would be privileged to help you do so. Also, you can click HERE to read about their adoption journey. Merry Christmas to you all.)
November 30, 2010
Sally: Which one am I?
Harry: You're the worst kind; you're high maintenance but you think you're low maintenance.
Sally: I don't see that.
Harry: You don't see that? "Waiter, I'll begin with a house salad, but I don't want the regular dressing. I'll have the balsamic vinegar and oil, but on the side. And then the salmon with the mustard sauce, but I want the mustard sauce on the side."
"On the side" is a very big thing for you.
Sally: Well, I just want it the way I want it.
Harry: I know; high maintenance.
The last time the kids and I went for sushi, we ordered several of our favorite rolls loaded with things like raw tuna, tobiko (flying fish roe), wasabi, seaweed and the likes. Besides Kevin's aversion to all things avacado, we love every oversized bite, and are happy to eat it exactly as the chef creates it. Low maintenance, right?
Server: "What can I get you to drink?"
Kevin: "Ice water please."
Kevin: "No thanks."
Kacey: "I'll have a water too."
Server: "Lemon for you?"
Kacey: "Yes, and can I also have the lemon my brother didn't want?"
Me: "I'd like a water too, please, but can I have it without ice?"
Server: "You don't want ice in your ice water?"
Me: "Right. I don't want ice water, I just want water."
Me: "Yes, but on the side."
Server: "So three waters. One with no lemon. One with lemon and an extra lemon. And one with no ice and a lemon on the side."
"Exactly. And can we have forks as well as chopsticks, three additional small plates, and instead of the regular soy sauce, will you bring us the low-sodium soy sauce? Oh, yeah, and a little spicy mango sauce . . . on the side?"
High maintenance? Nah. I just want it the way I want it.
I leave a great tip. I promise.
November 21, 2010
The other night, one of his friends commented that with his unkempt red hair and bristly little chin whiskers, he looks decidedly like Shaggy from Scooby-Doo.
"Cool," he replied, "I LOVE Scooby-Doo!"
Now, I may not care so much about his appearance, but his entertainment viewing is whole 'nuther ballgame. After all, I raised him and I have a reputation to uphold.
"How can you love Scooby-Doo?" I questioned. "I mean, I get watching it once or twice, but after that it's the same identical plot every single episode!"
My son, as witty as he is scruffy, simply replied,
"You watch 'House', don't you?"
*Ginger: According to South Park, Gingers are children with red hair, light skin, and freckles. All Gingers are born with a disease called "Gingervitus", which occurs because Gingers "have no souls." Due to their light skin, Ginger Kids must avoid the sun -- not unlike vampires.
P.S. - For you brainiacs who also happen to love Scooby-Doo, enjoy this little quiz from "Mental Floss": http://www.mentalfloss.com/quiz/quiz.php?q=94
November 17, 2010
Better late than never, right? After all, if I weren't a procrastinator, my fridge would be all Fly Lady sparkly and organized and I wouldn't have found myself donning the yellow rubber gloves to tackle this job, would I?
I began with the top shelf, a shelf useful only for items under five inches tall. Hummus, sour cream, cottage cheese, jams & jellies, and yogurt, because as much as I hate yogurt, I seem to be unable to stop buying it. So, I checked the printed expiration date on the sides of each one, because yogurt tastes exactly the same before, after, and even WAY after it has "gone bad". The top shelf also contained seven - SEVEN jars of jalapenos. Why? Apparently to keep the 8 jars of salsa from getting lonely. I must have been planning a Cinco de Mayo party back in June when I discovered my mistake. Anyway . . . I combined the half-empty jars, the mostly empty jars, and the one that seemed to have been saved for the juice alone, reducing the jalapeno count to three, but all of the salsas had crusty residue under the lids, so they had to go.
I discovered something on the middle shelf that required a Haz-Mat Team. I'm pretty certain, at one time, that toxic Tupperware actually contained a half-eaten block of sweetened Philadelphia Cream Cheese surrounded by blackberries. Today, all covered in enough fuzz to be president of the Hair Club for Men, it looked more like Dead Possum in a Snap-n-Seal.
At some point, an Olive Garden take-home box dripping with butter had been shoved onto the bottom shelf, and had collided with an 18-count carton of brown eggs, cracking one of the eggs, and overturning some heavy cream and a not-quite-closed jar of grated parmesan. The result was a petrified Alfredo Sauce strong enough to cement styrofoam containers to plexiglass.
Finally, in the crisper drawers, I saw my first UFO (Unidentified Fermenting Object), which appeared to be both a solid and a liquid in one gelatinous blob, and something that could, quite possibly, be a shrunken head from the Huambisa tribe in the Amazon Basin. Or an old plum. Hard to tell.
After utilizing an entire bottle of vinegar (because I'm trying to be "green"), an entire roll of paper towel (because I'm not THAT "green"), the shop-vac and the air compressor, the job was complete.
I'm so relieved "National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day" only comes around once a year. I'd hate to have to do this every week.
November 13, 2010
We are, of course, on Eastern Time.
November 10, 2010
I have been waking every morning for a couple of weeks now at 5:38 a.m. No alarms, no reason, just waking and glancing at my cell phone to see the time. Sometimes I go back to sleep, sometimes not.
I don't always look to see the time, but when I do, for the last few weeks, it's always 5:38. I haven't checked since last week, but today, as soon as I woke, I glanced at my phone - 4:38.
FOUR-thirty-eight? Oh yeah, time change.
When I wake early, I always assume God is waking me so we can talk. So I pray, and listen. But why THAT specific time? Any ideas?
November 05, 2010
November 03, 2010
We were lucky enough to own both such farm critters.
When Kacey was a baby, we did the whole nursery thing: crib, rocking chair, changing table, toy chest, etc. After investing several hundred dollars in this set-up, I discovered I didn't like the changing table AND that we were "family bed" people, meaning the only time we got crib use was when I wanted to clean house during her nap time . . . like, say, once a month or so.
On one such day when Kacey was about 7 months old, she fell asleep and, feeling an inexplicable need to vacuum, I took her upstairs, put her in the crib with some of her "babies", covered her with a blanket, and pulled the nursery door closed, leaving her to snooze peacefully for a couple of hours. I would check on her from time to time, as Kacey was such a good-natured baby that she almost never cried. When she woke, she would just wait quietly, staring at her toes or making mouth bubbles or whatever else 7-month-old babies do. On this day, however, she woke SCREAMING. Not the "I'm hungry" cry, or the "Where are you, I'm all alone" whimper, not even the "I HAVE DIAPER RASH AND MY TUSHY BURNS!!!!" wail. This was a full-blown scream of terror.
I flew up the stairs (as all super-moms do), rushed into her room to find her flailing in one corner of her crib, blanket entagled around her feet as she frantically attempted to escape it. Poor kid. I picked her up, checked her out, and soothed her mini-freak-out. She was fine. Once I had her quieted down, I heard a tiny little recurring "mooooo" from under the blanket that had been twisted around her feet. I turned off the little cow she must have inadvertantly kicked on in her sleep, and we went off to play.
A few days later we were sitting in the floor of her room reading books and playing with blocks, when I set the cow between us and flipped him on. He started to waddle and before he could "moo", Kacey was in full-blown screaming freak-out mode.
Seems when she kicked on our little bovine friend, his electronic noises woke her, and not being able to escape from under the blanket that imprisoned them both, she experienced her first panic attack.
She never could play with the cow again.
Though, every now and again, for my own sadistic entertainment, I would flip it on in front of her and laugh. Seems Super-Mom has a dark side.
October 29, 2010
To pee or not to pee
That is the question. Many, many moons ago I tagged along on an overnight retreat to this island in the middle of the lake, armed with nothing but a few coolers, fewer tents, and a fishing boat. I knew what the sleeping arrangements were, but it never occurred to me to ask what the facilities arrangements were. Turns out, the facilities arrangements were not. We were completely sans potty, not even a respectable wooden outhouse. So, "to pee or not to pee?" The answer is no. Not to pee. Not once. I managed to "hold it" for 36 hours. Yes, I did. Might be my greatest accomplishment to date.
The lady doth protest too much, methinks
I needed sleep. I was 7 months pregnant with my firstborn and this was critical stretch-mark timing. I did not want to be tossing and turning and straining . . . and stretch-marking. We camped on the beach with our sweet friends, Shawn and Pam on our way to The End of the Road in Homer, Alaska. Pam and I got the tent. I don't know where the boys slept, but, in retrospect, I suspect they shared a king-sized air mattress under the stars, while Pam and I were left to sleep on rocks. Not sand. Not dirt. Rocks. And while there were no resulting stretch marks, the pitting from 7 hours on the rocks lasted a good week. I'm just sayin'.
To sleep, perchance to dream
Two years after "tent on the rocks", I spent a couple of weeks at summer camp as the activities director. Kacey was two and tagged along easily, as 50% of this camp was comprised of teenage girls who refused to let her walk. One night, at 7, Kacey fell sound asleep during the hour-long devotional time. When we got to the tent around 9, mommy was sleepy, as I had been awake since 4:30 a.m., but Kacey was WIDE awake. Anyway, being the good mommy that I am, I couldn't just go to sleep until she did. So I rocked her and scratched her little back and sang her songs. Lots of songs. Repetitive songs. Annoying songs. Old MacDonald's Farm turned into a zoo, Found a Peanut took me from "It was rotten" all the way to playing a harp in hell, dear Liza nagged on and on about The Hole in her Bucket, and The Wheels on the Bus went round and round and round and round and . . .
Sweets to the Sweet
I want to preface the rest of this story by saying we opted NOT to give our children sugar, in any form, for as long as we could manage it. And we had managed it to this point. No soft drinks, no cookies, no M&M's, just a healthy little girl who was very happy to eat fruit and veggies. So, the Wheels on the Bus went round and round and round and mommy fell asleep . . . and woke the next morning to find my daughter face down on the floor of the tent, deep in a self-induced sugar coma, her little body encircled by a rainbow of wrappers from eating an entire BAG of Starburst she found in the suitcase. An ENTIRE bag. She liked sugar.
Friends, Romans, countrymen, lend me your ears and your washer
In 1993, we went to Gatlinburg on the absolute cheapest vacation we could plan. Well, maybe not THE cheapest, because we could have gone to visit my parents, who would have fed us and babied us and entertained the kids, but we wanted an adventure. We planned to tent-camp, fish, cook our own meals and sleep in the two-and-a-half-person tent . . . all four of us. It was the cheapest vacation we could plan . . . because we had no money. I mean, we had NO money. If we had, you KNOW I would have been tracking down the nearest Hyatt Place, but there was NO wiggle room in the travel budget.
The cowboy didn't want to make reservations. After all, we were just tent-camping, we would just "wing it" and camp when we found a place that suited us. The internal organizer in me tried to protest. She screamed inside my head, "NO!!! We have children and I'm a bit neurotic about spontaneity if it's not scheduled in advance! But I decided to play along. We went in June. I mentioned Gatlinburg, right? In June? And the fact that we had no reservations? Well, I had reservations alright, but not the kind that held a place for us to pitch our tent. So at 5 p.m. we started looking for a place to camp . . . and finally found ONE open site just after 11 p.m.
Out, Out Danged Spot!
The spot we got was on the trail to the bathhouse, so every person who walked by us woke Kevin up and Kevin, being only WEEKS old, only knew how to do one thing when he woke up: scream. Which he did. Continuously. All night. And Kacey, age 6, was forced to sleep at a 90-degree angle with her head above ours and her feet in my kidneys. Did I mention Kacey is a kicker? The next night, our car broke down, and I was left on the side of the road for 2 hours with two hungry kids, Kevin being the only one able to use me as a vending machine, while Gregory dealt with mechanics and tow-trucks. Paying to get the car fixed meant the travel budget was now seriously overdrawn. We caught no fish. Kacey got a tick the size of Luxembourg embedded in her skull. By the time we left our spot and headed home, we didn't even have enough money to do our laundry. So when we hit Nashville, instead of taking I-40 home to Jackson, we took I-24 straight to Mom & Dad's house. When we arrived, I put my son, still in his carseat, on the front porch with a note that said, "My family is destitute. Will you please take us in, feed us, and let us wash our dirty laundry?" I did a "Ding Dong Ditch" and ran back to the car.
By the time we went home the next day, we were frustrated, broke, and Kacey had a lymphatic infection. But our clothes were spotless.
October 23, 2010
Fifteen Reasons I Can Never Be a Cowgirl:
1. I do not have a cowboy, or in my case, a cowgirl hat.
2. I do not wear boots, well not cowboy boots. (Pretty sure those thigh-high red leather boots in the back of my closet don't count.)
3. The only cow I care to ever rope better be served medium rare with a baked potato.
4. My jeans are flared, not boot cut, and with these hips I don't need a belt, making it impossible to display a belt buckle the size of Rhode Island.
5. I have never seen National Velvet, My Friend Flicka, The Black Stallion, or even Disney's Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron.
6. I do not wear flannel . . . except for my footie pajamas.
7. I was disappointed to discover that burros are not deep-fried, chocolate-dipped burrito/churro combinations.
8. I do not walk outside, breathe deeply and say, "I love the smell of horse manure in the morning!"
9. I do not have visible studs or rhinestones on any of my clothing. Visible.
10. I don't smoke. That's not to say, however, that I'm not smokin'.
11. I never wanted a pony as a child, not even for my Barbies. All I wanted was a blond, tan Ken doll (the one in the Hawaiian shirt) and the Barbie Winnebago.
12. Salad dressing is the only ranch I am interested in. And even then I prefer a nice raspberry vinagrette.
13. I'm deathly allergic to country-western music. Seriously. I hear it and my ears start to bleed.
14. I have no idea what cantering is. However, if it has anything to do with people bringing me hors d'oeuvres, I like it . . . oh wait, that's not cantering, that's catering. Never mind.
15. Based on the fact that my vehicle was the ONLY mini-van in the Coliseum's four enormous parking lots here at the Saddle Boy Competition, I have to assume it is illegal to pull a stock trailer with a Honda Odyssey.
I also learned that cowgirls get a bit testy when you ask them why they aren't more appropriately called horsegirls. And I learned when wishing a cowperson "Good Luck", you should never, ever say, "Break a Leg!"
October 18, 2010
It could be my favorite because it starred a very young Kevin Bacon at the beginning of his career. Or it could be because it takes place at a summer camp in 1980 - and who doesn't have amazing memories of summer camp 1980? Or it could be because the scary Crystal Lake forest noises sound a bit like Lamaze breathing.
Whatever the reason, this little slash-and-stalk flick has a kitschy quality for me. It has great heckling properties. The acting is atrocious. The dozen not-too-bright camp counselors spend their pre-death scenes running around in their underwear, alone in a midnight thunderstorm just begging to be killed. The dialogue consists of each character, in turn, saying, "I'll be right back", which of course, turns out to never be true. And, as is the case with most horror movies, the dumber and sluttier you are, the sooner you come to a quick and violent and bloody demise. Much too much for me to stomach nowadays.
Tonight, while flipping channels during the Yankees/Rangers game because the score had been 2-0 since the first inning, I ran across "Friday the 13th" on AMC. AMC? You know what that means? That means the boobies and blood have been edited out. YES! Score! I can watch this little gem without averting my eyes or losing my turkey sandwich! So, that's what I do. I watch.
But watch what? Turns out, there is no story line in this 90-minute screamer. "Friday the 13th", when you edit out all the nudity and violence and sex and gore, is just 12 minutes of a bunch of dumb people walking around in the dark.
October 16, 2010
I could write about my current life's excitement, but last night I watched "Assault of the Sasquatch" on Chiller, and it was so bad I couldn't even heckle it, so I spent 2 hours stalking people on Facebook instead. This morning, I am sitting on the couch watching another movie and using a pile of unfolded laundry as a blanket because my hair is wet and I'm freezing and I don't want to get up and get dressed because I might miss the part where Stanley Tucci sucks his housekeeper's toes. It's quite disturbing. Using the laundry as a blanket, I mean. Stanley Tucci sucking on toes is a riot. (If you share my sense of humor, the movie "Big Trouble" is a must-see. Mike, this does not apply you.)
What I really should do, according to my mother, is write a book. At least 3 of you keep telling me I'm Erma Bombeck-ie, who was quite the best-seller back in the 70's. The rest of you, of course, have no idea who Erma Bombeck is, but she was hysterical, and wrote newspaper columns and multiple books ("If Life is a Bowl of Cherries, What am I Doing in the Pits?" and "I Lost Everything in the Post-Natal Depression") She shared the difficulties of being a stay-at-home mother and housewife. I, however, haven't been a stay-at-home mom in nearly 7 years, and my only difficulty as a housewife is figuring out how I'm going to afford a maid to clean my house once my son goes to college next year and I can't use him as free slave labor.
I'm now to the part of the movie where the guy who plays Kronk is running naked through the airport, Tim the Tool-Man Taylor is attempting to throw a nuclear bomb off a charter plane to the Bahamas, and the spirit of Martha Stewart is barking "Arugula!". In the meantime, though my toes are warm under the pile of towels, my wet hair has turned into icy dreadlocks.
Seriously, I have nothing to blog about.
October 14, 2010
October 06, 2010
I have always been a moderately-picky mom when it comes to movie "appropriateness" (LOOK IT UP. It's Scrabble-acceptable.) Just because a movie is rated "PG" does NOT mean I would allow it, nor does an "R" rating mean it is automatically banned. I am much more apt to allow violence than I am sex, more apt to allow language if it is in context and not superfluous. Anyway . . .
I was telling my husband the other day about an "action/adventure" movie my mom suggested for us to watch when Kacey was about 12. We rented this movie based on her recommendation, and it turned out to be on the verge of pornographic . . . seems my mom only managed to see the "adventure" part of this movie and had slept through the 20 minutes of "action". Anyway . . .
As I was telling him about it, I was describing how this was back when we were first beginning to branch out into "adult-themed" movies. Then, feeling the need to clarify what could be misconstrued, I said, "Not as in 'ADULT, adult-themed, just that she was 12 and we were coming right out of watching movies like 'Free Willy'."
"Well," he replied, "Isn't THAT adult-themed???"
September 30, 2010
not to mention the $13.24 I made from advertising
The best part of blogging? Having a journal of my life. Oh, that's so not true. The best part of blogging is when you people tell me I'm funny. It's good for my ego. But the journal thing comes in at a not-too-distant second.
Why does she always push me to be a better person?
Last month, when the girls made the 5-hour drive to Indy with me, we did a lot of talking to pass the time. When the conversation lagged, we would look to Sara D. for new topics. She suggested we each come up with a list of 30 things to accomplish in the next 12 months. Jessica served as our secretary and wrote them all down, but in the excitement that was "becoming a grandmother", I forgot about the list. Jess gave it to me this week. I won't post the list, but I will say, that in the 30 days since making it, the only thing I have been successful at is "Choose a Grandmother Name". Call me an overachiever.
My son just texted to say he has arrived in Indianapolis safe and sound (he made the drive all by his big-boy self). His sister just texted to say she is feeding him the Baked Ziti I made and froze while I was there. Hahaha. Gotta love the irony that Kevin had to drive 5 hours to get a homecooked meal from his mother.
September 26, 2010
The first superpower can be quite useful, at least personally. For other people, not so much . . . mostly because of a lack of trust. "Do you know what time it is?" they ask. "Yep. About 4:20!" is my response. They will inevitably dismiss my answer when they realize I don't have a clock and go in search of someone with a cell phone or watch or other timepiece, only to find the actual time is 4:21. So, the superpower remains useful only to me. I mean, if nobody else is willing to hold onto my cape when I take off, then it's not my fault they don't get to fly.
The second superpower is more a skill than an innate gift. I can tell, almost always, the exact year of a song, movie, political event, fashion trend, or pop culture fad. Even skill is the wrong word. It's more a by-product of a mobile life and a brain for details.
This morning in church, Wayne asked about the song, "Celebrate" and I responded with "Kool and the Gang, 1980". I know, because the first time I heard that song, it was a fall morning, and I was listening to WKYX as I was getting ready for school. I liked the song instantly, ("it had a good beat and you could dance to it). I remember thinking it was going to be a big hit . . . it became our prom theme that next spring.
St. Elmo's Fire? 1985. I know, because I had a suit almost identical to the one Ally Sheedy wore, but I couldn't wear it the next year, because I had been pregnant and it no longer fit.
Los Angeles Riots? 1992. It happened just days before I found out I was expecting Kevin.
9 to 5? Christmas 1980. I know, because I saw it with my best friend on New Year's Day and it was the first thing I recorded in the 1981 "Miss Piggy" Calendar he gave me for Christmas. Oh, yeah.
Whitney Houston's "I Wanna Dance with Somebody"? 1987. I know, because MTV was about the only channel worth watching in Anchorage, Alaska in the middle of the night when I was awake with my firstborn for 2 a.m. feedings. It was a very different MTV then.
Jessi Colter's "I'm Not Lisa, My Name is Julie"? 1975. Barry Manilow's "I Write the Songs"? 1975. "Rock and Roll All Night" by Kiss? 1975. I know, because for my 12th birthday, my parents let me have their stereo (complete with a totally awesome turntable) and, because they didn't have a clue what kind of music I would like, they bought me the #1 record in all three genres: country, rock, and pop. (This was in the pre-8-track and really pre-rap days.)
Ronald Reagan's shooting? Spring 1981. I was in Mr. Wilson's English class.
Toe Socks? (Originally) 1975. I gave them as Christmas gifts to all my best friends in the 7th grade. They were so cool, and so ridiculously uncomfortable.
The last time the Chicago Bears won the Super Bowl? 1986. I know, because I recorded it as a major event in Kacey's baby book.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid? 1969. Easy. That one was released on my 6th birthday. I watched it from the back of our station wagon at the drive-in while wearing footie pajamas.
Nixon defeats McGovern. 1972. It was the only thing on tv the night my sister and I had a boy for a babysitter at our apartment in Texas. He was boring. So was the election. At least to a 4th grader.
Okay, I've probably made my point. Yeah, my memory is pretty good. At least with the long-term stuff. But mostly, because I moved 24 times in the first 24 years of my life, I have a frame of reference for everything. If I can remember WHERE I was, then I automatically know WHEN it was. It's not exactly rocket science, but sometimes it makes me look smart. And I can use all the help I can get.
September 24, 2010
Only a couple of short years ago, my daughter informed me of two things: 1) she would not be having children this side of 2013, (if she had them AT ALL) and 2) she was NOT like me when it came to the whole "crazy natural childbirth" stuff.
Now I found myself massaging my daughter's lower back, watching her handle early labor like a pro, with her very supportive husband labor-coaching like a producer for "The Business of Being Born", and awaiting the midwife's arrival for my granddaughter's grand entrance via a non-invasive, non-medicated homebirth.
The midwife arrived at 8:30 and asked if we wanted to know how far she was dilated. We debated for a minute, preparing for the distinct possibility of only being at 2 centimeters. When the midwife announced "7 centimeters!", Kacey was forced to admit, for the first time all day, that she was, in fact, in labor.
She compliantly continued to breathe and squat and kneel and rock and walk and do all the right things to keep labor progressing. Even at the height of transition, after one of her most difficult contractions, she stated, "I can do this. This is not so hard." Then her water broke and the pushing phase began.
Because the names in my blog have not been changed to protect the innocent, we shall suffice it to say that my beautiful grandchild was trying to exit eyebrows first, but with a conehead Jane Curtin would have envied. Needless to say, pushing was NOT a relief. It was nothing short of excruciating . . . for Kacey and for me. Nathan and I held her and encouraged her, and when she cried and said she couldn't do it anymore, Nathan whispered sweet things into her ear . . . and Mom left the room and sobbed. As I said in a previous blog, parents are not wired to watch their children in pain.
I pulled myself together and went back into the bedroom in time to see the baby crown, in time to see Kacey's relief at the realization that her daughter's birth was close, in time to photograph things I can never share with you, or anybody else, without fear of serious retribution . . .
and in time to witness two parents fall instantly in love with their child.
September 16, 2010
"I feel pretty, oh so pretty . . . " or why you should insert your tongue into your cheek before reading this post
Only a few minutes after my granddaughter made her amphibious move from water to land, we had our picture taken together. I immediately uploaded it and posted it on my blog and on facebook, even before the midwife left. Once posted, I received shocked comments like:
"You don't look like the grannies I remember!"
"She is lovely to look at, just like you!"
"Two beautiful dolls."
"Stephanie, you look so beautiful!"
"She is GORGEOUS, and so is granny."
"Yeah, I am joining others in asking how you look so BEAUTIFUL at 2 am after helping birth someone?!?!? It's just wrong, you know?!?!?!!?"
In response to these comments, I have developed my:
And the Number One Reason I Looked Gorgeous at 2 a.m.
1. Do you KNOW me??? Why WOULDN'T I look gorgeous at 2 a.m.???
September 11, 2010
I spent 10 days here in Indianapolis before the baby was born. We cleaned house, we stocked up on groceries, we cooked several meals and froze them for later, we did laundry, we organized the nursery, we made a trip to visit the midwife, we went to an Indians baseball game, we went to the Children's Museum, we went to the Art Theater, we ate at Buca di Beppo's (Italian) and On the Border (Mexican) and Machu Picchu (Peruvian) and Abyssinia (Ethiopian) and Hirosaki (Japanese) and we all three still managed to get work done as well.
But that was NOTHING compared to the grind of the last four days. Since the baby has been born we have:
Stared at the Baby.
I am SO not kidding.
It's amazing how much time you can spend just looking at the baby. See the baby. Oh, the baby is lifting her head! Oh, the baby is sucking her thumb! Oh, the baby smiled! Did you see her smile? The baby is hungry. Oh, wouldn't the baby look cute in the polka-dot outfit? Oh, the baby opened her eyes! Doesn't she have pretty eyes? The baby needs her diaper changed. Oh, the baby is squeaking . . . listen! Oh, isn't that just the most precious noise you have ever heard? Oh, I think she must be the MOST beautiful baby EVER (next to her mom, of course, who actually WAS the Most Beautiful Baby Ever). Okay, maybe it's a tie.
Anyway, you can see why I haven't gotten any blogging done. It's been quite strenuous.
Next blog post: I will address the shock and awe over my incredible beauty that is plaguing so many after assisting with a 14-hour labor and delivery. . . stay tuned. Oh, I think I may have dangled a participle in that previous sentence, but I don't have time to deal with it now . . . the baby needs me to look at her.
September 07, 2010
Her name is Mayah Taylor. Mayah is Hebrew for "Close to God". Taylor was a last-minute surprise. It is her uncle Kevin's middle name.
As you know, I have stressed and wrestled with a name for myself. I'm not in favor of the name change. I just want to be me. ME. So, I'm just going to be M.E. (Pronounce the initials, like "Emmy"). I think it suits me.
Midwives are getting ready to leave, Mayah and her parents are bonding, and being a doula for my daughter was 100x more difficult than I anticipated. Parents are not wired to watch their children in pain, as some of my dearest friends know all too well.
It has been a very memorable LABOR Day.
The best part is . . . Kevin was WRONG, and I was (what?) RIGHT!
Well, okay, maybe that was the second best part.
September 05, 2010
Nathan & Kacey's puppies lay in the floor and lick each other's tongues. For a long time. Not gonna lie, kinda grosses me out. It's like a doggie make-out session.
The last time my son came up here to Indy to visit, he talked about how many burgundy vans he saw. We have church friends who drive a full-size burgundy van, and one of them is from Indianapolis. Kevin thought somehow there must be a connection. I laughed at him. I shouldn't have laughed. In the 9 days I have been here, I have seen about 75 full-size burgundy vans. Not mini-vans. Not white vans. Full-size burgundy vans. It's like the birthplace of "If this van's a rockin', don't come a knockin'." Makes me laugh. Then again, I'm easily entertained.
Nathan did a fantasy football draft with the guys tonight, so while he is debating between the "Underhanded Assassins" and the "Baby Daddies" for his fantasy team name, Kacey and I went to dinner, bought some doggie treats (not in the same location), made a pre-breakfast stop for Cinnamon Crunch bagels (THIS WILL BE MY FIRST ONE SINCE I GOT HERE, DON'T JUDGE ME!!!), then went by a friend's house to water plants and feed her cat. Her power was out, so we did this chore in the dark. When we got back, the power was out here too. Apparently 23,000 homes on the west side of Indy are without power. Plus, my phone is dead. Kacey and I lit a couple of candles and discussed giving birth in the dark. Turns out, power or no, with a home birth nothing really changes . . . well, except that the view of the Holy of Holies will be more obscure. (When Kacey reads this later, she will roll her eyes and give me a, "Thanks for THAT, Mom!" So, daughter-face, there is no need to say it now. Though, if you DON'T say it, it won't be true, so go ahead and say it. You know you want to.)
Now, I came prepared to stay here until the baby is born or until New Year's (whichever comes first), but it's already been 9 days plus the week I plan to stay following the birth, and she's not even here yet. So, if somebody will kindly notify my granddaughter that tomorrow is LABOR DAY, her mother and I will be happy campers.
But until then, the countdown continues . . .
September 04, 2010
At breakfast, nobody else was out of bed, so I ate a frosted blueberry muffin pop-tart all by myself. And, I'm not in my own house, so I have to wear my pajamas, and I HATE my pajamas, and the dogs keep licking my toes.
I think I'll move to Australia.
At noon, Kacey and I took the car with no air-conditioning across town to the zoo. When we got there, the zoo was full, and they had closed the entrance gate, so not only was I glistening, I also didn't get to see the dolphins.
At Target, they were out of my St. Ives apricot scrub, and we tried to get command strips, but for the longest time, all we could find were sticky strips. I don't want plain 'ol sticky strips. They can put them on sale, but they can't make me buy them.
I could tell it was going to be a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
I could tell because nobody texted me, and nobody sent me an inbox, and nobody commented on my blog. I don't even know where my boy is today. I hope he's not in Australia.
There was a piece of Chocolate Cheesecake leftover in the fridge last night. It wasn't there this morning.
Kacey won at Slug Bug 12 to 1. I said the sun was in my eyes. I said the sun in my eyes was making me sneeze. I said, "If you slug me one more time, I'm going to punch you dead in the face!" She just laughed at me.
I was having a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
My debit card expired. I spilled queso on my shirt. I found a new patch of gray hairs, and I had to ride the "down" escalator and I HATE riding the "down" escalator.
Nathan and Kacey left me all alone for the night, and I was going to relax for awhile in the giant bathtub. But the bath wasn't hot, I got soap in my eyes, and I cut myself shaving.
My computer froze up. I couldn't check email, the hairdryer overheated and I broke my favorite fingernail.
It WAS a terrible, horrible, no good very bad day.
The dogs kept treating me like the Indy 500 finish line, I couldn't find Rocco's collar to let him outside, and he peed in the floor.
The tv wouldn't turn on because there are 3 separate remotes and even with my glasses on, I couldn't read the tiny letters, so I stared at a 46" black screen and felt sorry for myself.
The baby doesn't seem to want to come out, not even to see her M.E. ("Emmy"), so the countdown continues . . .
It has been a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.
Some days are like that . . . even in Australia.
September 03, 2010
Not really in a blogging mood, so I'm going to pray and go to bed. Goodnight.
The countdown continues . . .
September 02, 2010
The original plan was to go to the zoo this morning, but it was still nearly 90 today, and tomorrow it's supposed to cool down considerably, so we just decided to do nothing . . . until I looked at my "Indy To Do" list and realized that tonight was Family Free Night at the Children's Museum. SOOOO off we went!
Yep. That says B. B. King. Lucille is pretty.
I drew this to show you there is a big difference between CREATIVE and ARTISTIC. I am creative. Sometimes.
We had a wee bit o' trouble getting the camera to behave in the
Jurassic thunderstorm, but you get the idea.
And I have to admit, I was a bit starstruck to see the star of my favorite Saturday morning SyFy movie, SuperGator.
We had a GREAT time. Even more so, since it cost us NOTHING, as opposed to the $45 it would have cost us on any other day. Yea! After we finished the museum, we took in a planetarium show, then grabbed JalApeno Burgers and seasoned Fries. Amazing.
Meanwhile, back at the homeplace, my son got a "tardy" for being late to class because a teacher stopped him in the hallway to talk, made him miss the bell, then wrote him up. HAHAHA.
The cowboy has gone to Missouri. As you may recall, he went last year to get a quarterhorse because, you know, we didn't have one, and while he was gone the cow got out. Well, he has gone back to get ANOTHER quarterhorse, because, you know, we don't have two. Hope the cow stays put.
Hope your day was as wonderful as mine.