Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Facebook addiction

A couple of weeks ago, some old college friends came into town to deliver their son to our alma mater. A big group of us met for dinner and had a wonderful time revisiting our wild and crazy college days. The biggest topic of discussion was Facebook and how much fun it was to network and reconnect.

So, over the last 3 or 4 weeks, I've been absolutely obsessed with Facebook. I checked out Facebook for Dummies from my local library and learned how to use it fairly well. Even put up some family photos. Then, last week, the whole thing was updated to a new version and I am utterly lost again. So frustrating! It was finally feeling familiar.

Still, it's as much fun as ever and a total time-waster. Random comments and discussions, status updates, photo posting -- it can eat a huge chunk of time. And I'm loving every minute of it.

Friday, August 01, 2008

Revisiting the past

Some movies have a special place in my heart.

I'm not big on film ownership, but SO is, so we have a significant collection. We recently revisited a film from the Eighties, one that I think on fondly. Apparently, there's a scene in Andy Samberg's "Hot Rod" that rips off a scene from Footloose, and the boys wanted to see the original version.

Come to find out, it's not a great idea to watch a fondly-cherised film from your college days with a couple of smart-mouthed kids. I think they prefer the Andy Samberg version, which I thought was juvenile. Footloose is pretty juvenile, too, but I loved it then and I love it now. It really does encapsulate the 80s for me. I went to see it with a bunch of college pals in one of those old theaters -- the kind that only played one film and had an enormous lobby. After it was over, we all danced down the aisle to the credits and continued our dancing out in the lobby. Most of us were Nazarene kids who had grown up being told of the evils of dancing, so few of us had any kind of moves, but it was a blast. That's why the movie was so great. It felt like our story.

Come to think of it, it still feels like our story. Oklahoma feels strangely similar to that creepy little town. Weirdly, I just googled the thing and Wikipedia states that it was loosely based on events that took place in the farming community of Elmore City, Oklahoma.

No wonder it felt (and still feels) so familiar.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Professional jealousy

I'm reading the newest book by David Sedaris and have been greatly entertained by it. I'm a little more than halfway through it, and, as is usually the case, I'm feeling less and less amused. Instead, I find myself being more and more critical, deconstructing paragraphs and muttering little asides under my breath. "Oh, really?" "Come on!" "No way."

Professional jealousy is an ugly thing.

How does he do it? How can so many quirky and unusual things happen to a person?

I know he's prone to embellishment. All writers are prone to embellishment. Just ask my co-workers and they'll tell you not a day goes by that I don't try to add a little color to (sometimes) factual accounts of both the news and my life. I take every opportunity to jazz up a story.

Whatever happened to Shannon Miller, the famed Edmond gymnast?
She's currently recovering from a broken back. But she's going to be just fine.

How did X and Y ever get together?
They just don't match. I know, it's weird, but even weirder is the fact that Y is a mail-order bride.

Why is Z wearing that arm brace? He had some minor surgery. No big deal, they just removed some hair and teeth that belonged to his subcutaneous twin.

Okay, so it's small potatoes next to the David's mastery of embellishment and exaggeration. He says that he keeps a little notebook in his pocket, jotting down up to 10 things a day that might give him inspiration later: things like giving an adult skeleton as a present, the bizarre character sketch of his neighbor Helen, and the creepy babysitter who made him and his siblings scratch her back with a plastic wand "no bigger than a monkey's paw".

I think I might be able to wring some amusement out of a descriptive posting on SO's favorite pair of pseudo-shorts -- a bit of pale green cloth that once proudly served its host as an article of clothing but is now shapelessly held together by a thin elastic band and a prayer. But no, I just can't do it. I've got to get back to the book.

Maybe tomorrow, if I'm not paralyzed by envy.

Thursday, July 10, 2008


Sport's best friend has moved back to California. Luis was a great kid and his family practically adopted Sport, teaching him to love homemade flour tortillas, professional wrestling, and a desire to learn Spanish.

"Why can't I roll my r's like Luis?" he asked me.

"It takes practice," I told him. "You've got to start when you're really little and develop a technique."

My San Antonio childhood gave me a chance to roll my r's every now and then, but I've not used the ability in a very long time. I can give a nice twist to "carne asada" but it takes a while to get back in the swing of things. I showed Sport how to do it and he's been practicing. A lot.

The weird thing is, those r's get rolled about two octaves higher than his normal voice. It sounds oddly like a crow cawing.

"If Sport does that one more time, I'm going to kill him," growled Lego. We were taking a 5-mile bike ride and his brother continued to caw those r's for most of the trip.

I think he's hoping that Luis will come back and he'll stun him with his amazing new technique.

UPDATE: It worked! Luis has been gone for a couple of months now, but he showed up on our doorstep Sunday night. Sport was beside himself with joy. Rrrrrrrrrr!

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Bike freedom

Nothing takes me back to my childhood more instantly than a bike ride. Last summer my bike had a warped rim and a flat and we never got around to fixing it. This summer, I set a goal to get that thing fixed. And SO, God bless him, got around to it this week. And so, tonight we took an exhilarating ride along the east shore of the lake.

Lots of people were out and about. I saw a scissortail flycatcher and a poor old mama dog. (I hate seeing strays. I want to rescue them but am stopped by the thought of SO's face. He only just tolerates the dog we've got.) I tried to hang back with Sport, who has a much smaller bike and shorter legs, but I couldn't do it. Soon I was racing Lego for the lead. I let him win. Got to give him a little confidence. (Umm, okay, I didn't "let" him.)

My first capitalistic enterprise involved a bike. Mine was ancient and blue, with a kind of metal flap on the back one might use to secure a notebook. It was a perfect perch for a passenger. One Saturday, I took that bike ("Old Blue" as I creatively called it) up to an apartment complex and started charging kids for a trip around the facilities. My memory is a penny a ride. It might have been a nickel. Anyway, I wasn't going to get rich off of it and I only had a single customer -- a little red-headed girl with a bank full of change. Eventually, the apartment manager chased me off, but I was a quarter richer, so take that old man!

Like most every kid, I thought I was something special on that bike. In my mind, I could do any trick in the book: no hands, side saddle, legs on the handlebars, balance on the bike seat with legs splayed, heck, I could stand on that seat while the thing was in motion if pressed. Whether or not I could really do those things was beside the point. I believed I could do them, therefore, I was amazing. I would win any bike rodeo (yes, we had bike rodeos in those days) if only I deigned to compete (which I didn't do, because I didn't need a trophy or a blue ribbon to prove my point). I was that good.

Old Blue and I went everywhere. We explored "The Trails" (an undeveloped subdivision), the "Gravel Pit" (a gravel pit) and the ruins (abandoned pool where some kid was rumored to have died by breaking his neck after jumping off the diving board). I knew every nook and cranny of the neighborhood sidewalks, each bumpy and gravelly part of the street. That bike gave me absolute freedom, or the illusion of freedom.

I'd give anything to have Old Blue back. (It would also be nice to be about 30 years younger.)

Friday, June 20, 2008

"Passed 3 graves"

My current read is Best of Covered Wagon Women, a collection of diaries and letters of women traveling the overland trail to California. In between daily reports of terrain, weather, and run-ins with Indians is the stark notation of grave sightings.

"Passed 3 graves" writes Parthenia Blank. Some burials are only days old. Some have been there longer; many have been dug up by wolves and coyotes. Other than taking note of the graves, the women don't spend much time wondering about the occupants. It must have been frightening seeing so many reminders of death and dying: not just women and their children but young men as well.

I love the descriptions of the west before European settlement. I can't imagine the difficulties of undertaking such a journey in a covered wagon. Amazing women.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


Like my dear friend QueenBee, I am through the roof with excitement over Barack Obama's nomination. I don't think I could say it any better than she did over at her blog, so read it here and I second the emotion.

I heard today that Millennials tend to be gender- and race-neutral, which gives me another great infusion of hope for the future. Although I've (barely) tried to respond to my Republican father about Obama, I often come up against a brick wall of bigotry. It's sad to see people inour country so twisted by fear about the color of someone's skin -- the amount of melanin programmed into their genetic code.

Juxtaposed against a story I saw about a group of Floridians flying a gigantic Confederate flag, I'm thinking that over time, that kind of racism is going to die out and be replaced by the more realistic approach to things espoused by Generation Y. My own children don't seem to view Obama as a black man. He's an inspirational figure who happens to be bi-racial.

I'm not saying they don't have playmates who are prejudiced. Sport asked me for an information sheet debunking myths about Obama and his "hidden Muslim agenda" so he could read it to his friends at school. I was stunned that even 10-year-olds are talking about him. And Lego quickly corrects his friends when they call Obama "Osama." Such ignorance can only be addressed one person at a time. But I think a lot of that is coming from things they hear their parents say.

It's times like this that I'm proud to be a librarian! When my kid asks me for a fact sheet, that's a power trip, baby!

UPDATE: My sister feels I indirectly accused my mother of being racist, which I did not intend to do. I apologize for that. I have had issues with some of the things my father has said in the past and I make allowances because I feel it is a direct result of the way he grew up. And they did not raise us to be prejudiced.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Our little corner of Hell

Arriving on Monday, I knew we were in trouble when I saw the duct tape on the toilet seat. There was a hole in the ceiling in the kitchen. The refrigerator had been turned off, so it was going to take hours for it to get cool enough to transfer our food from the ice chest. The cabin was full of sand and roly-polys.

Oh yeah, and I forgot to pack cups, plates, or cutlery.

Oh, and one more thing -- the forecast for Tuesday was 107 and windy.

Welcome to Quartz Mountain Resort in southwestern Oklahoma. It's got a unique beauty. We learned that it is the second oldest mountain range in the United States. (The oldest are the Appalachian Mountains.) The pinkish-red rock that colors the mountains is granite. Granite holds a lot of heat. Climbing the Quartz Mountains during a freakish heat wave can give you second degree burns and a heat rash. We decided against doing this when we were halfway up Mount Baldy and a gust of wind nearly toppled Sport over.

Settling instead for a nature walk, we listened as SO read about indigenous plants and the ways Native Americans put them to good use. The boys wanted to swim in the lake, which seemed like a really good idea until we were blasted with sand from winds that had to be gusting up to 50 miles an hour or more. Seriously, the lake waves resembled crashing ocean waves. If we'd had some boards, we could have done some surfing.

At one point, we watched a water moccasin slither near the shore and into a nearby rock formation. One of the beach Bubba's, clutching a Pabst Blue Ribbon in one hand and a fist-sized rock in the other, ambled over to search for the little critter. I wondered if he was drunk enough to actually feel around in the rocks for the snake. Turns out he wasn't.

Trying to grill up some hamburgers in this kind of weather is an exercise in frustration. After numerous attempts to light the charcoal, they finally got done. They were a little crunchy, but if the Egyptians could eat bread seasoned with sand then we could eat burgers with only a light dusting.

The wind never let up the entire time we were there. Temperatures soared. We went out on a paddle boat and were nearly roasted alive. The only relief came when we were in the lake water.

I think my entire body underwent an involuntary exfoliation. Perhaps I'll look 5 years younger when I get back to work.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


A series of unfortunate events led to the grounding of the boys last Thursday. Their punishment? No screens: no tv, no computer, no Xbox. Nothing. After the expected weeping and gnashing of teeth, a calm came upon our house.

Saturday was fabulous! Knowing they could not turn on the screens, the boys planned out their day. First, a game of Army men. Then, a bike ride. They played soccer outside. Went for a long walk with the dog. Ran some laps. Sport colored a picture. Lego reorganized his collection of military collectibles. I was left alone to garden. I was not called upon to negotiate any of the complex treaties that go along with obtainig screen time.

It was heavenly.

Today the screen ban will be lifted. After school, the boys will break their 6-day hiatus with a viewing of the UEFA cup final. And Saturday I will undoubtably be bombarded with pleas: "Can I play the Xbox?" "Can I watch the Military Channel?" "How long can I get on YouTube?"

I can't wait until we can ground them again.

Monday, May 12, 2008

I sing of pianos and plumbers

I have two reasons to be happy this morning. Sport participated in Guild on Saturday and did very well. In fact, he almost did too well. Let me explain.

The last six weeks have been a nightmare with this child. Ever since he started taking piano, he has wanted to compete for the best scores, the biggest medals, the largest trophies. Since his teacher is a member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers, she expects all of her students to participate in Guild each year. At the age of 6, he started off with memorizing ten pieces in order to go for a gold medal. This year, it was again 10 pieces. As he gets better, the music becomes increasingly difficult.

As of Friday, he was still memorizing the last piece in order to perform on Saturday. I was literally chewing my knuckes. I told SO, "If he pulls this off, it will be a miracle."

Well, cue the choir of angels. He did it, scoring a 98 out of 99 points and earning a top talent award, plus that damned gold medal he wanted. Wednesday, he'll be getting a whole new batch of music. I don't know if I can do this another year.

On the bright side, the Abbott and Costello of plumbers who have been driving us crazy for the last 11 days finally unclogged our bathroom pipes. We now have a working tub and sink! The only problem is the stains left behind by 5 inches of clay-filled water. SO scrubbed the tub for hours. Alas, it looks like we are to have a constant reminder of our plumbing woes.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Sunday morning with Sport

Lego had a migraine this morning, so that left me with Sport while we got ready for church. It's always a challenge to be alone with Sport. For one thing, he's full of questions. Here's what I got hit with at breakfast and on the way to church:

1. Do serial killers chop people up?
2. Can ants swim?
3. What is Flag Day?
4. If I get in a car crash, couldn't you identify me by these two scars and my teeth?
5. Can I start the car?
6. Can I pull the car out?
7. Do ants hibernate?
8. What happens if the polar ice caps melt?
9. Did you know there's only 13 more days of school left?

It's no wonder I find the weekends so exhausting. But I do it to myself. I find it hard to sit still when there seems to be so much work to do. I used the afternoon to clean off the back porch and get it all set up for spring. By summer, it's just too hot to sit out there, but I like to clean off all the furniture and rinse out my tabletop fountain. When I find the time, I can sit in one of the cushioned chairs and listen to the water running. Usually the boys are fixated on either the TV or the computer, so they don't miss me.

Another busy week lies ahead. With only 13 more days of school left, the next 3 weeks are filled with activities.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Take me to your leader

I have been chosen to participate in a program for upcoming leaders here at work, thus, all my free time has been eaten up by readings, meetings, departmental visits, etc. My goal to put up a new blog entry has been pushed to the backburner, but since I'm down to 2 faithful readers, I think you guys will understand!

Also, looks like I'm going to be the proud author of a new book! Yes, it's been about 2 years in the making, but it went to press this week. Check out the website if you dare. And I'm expecting you'll buy several copies for family members, nieces, nephews, and random strangers on the street.

Tommorow I will be going out to get Sport another pair of glasses. He had 2 pairs; one broke several months ago and the other gave up the ghost the day before his eye appointment. I'm going to get plastic frames this time. Those metal ones are too delicate for an athletic kid. He wants to get red glasses. Since he's gotten all A's the last 2 semesters, I think I can splurge for a little color.

Lego has one more science project to work on. He's actually got a game plan this time (although he came up with it after we forbade computer games and the X-box until he had something written down on paper). He's still so laid back, he's practically lying on the floor. I guess it's great not to get stressed out about the little things (like finishing a project worth 1/3 of his entire grade) but it makes me crazy!

Believe it or not, we'll be getting a new roof for the house next week. The hailstorm a couple weeks back finally pushed us to take the money from the savings and just do it. SO doesn't like to see the bank account shrink, but I'm tired of the drab condition of that roof. Next year, we'll have the paint the house. That won't be fun.

Volunteers, anyone?

Friday, March 28, 2008

The Old Man and the Stump

It seemed like a daunting task. When our beautiful Bradford Pear tree was shattered in the ice storm, we weren't sure what to do with the stump. It was expensive to have a tree service come out and grind it down. For a while, we thought about disguising it as a bird bath, just putting a container on top and letting it be.

But SO couldn't stand the unsightly stump. Plus, it reminded him of the tree we'd lost, a tree we'd loved, a tree that had protected us from the harsh rays of the summer sun.

"I'm taking it out!" he declared.

He and the boys, armed with shovels and hand spades, attacked the base of that old stump. They dug for days (well, he did -- the boys gave up after about an hour) and finally exposed all the roots. Then, SO started hacking and sawing at the roots.

For such a young tree, it sure did have an intricate root system. I can't imagine what the root systems are like on some of the trees in our neighborhood that have to be at least 60 or 70 years old.

One evening after a rain, SO stood in the gaping hole in our front lawn, ankle deep in cold mud. He worked with an axe until the sun went down. When he finally climbed out of that hole, he almost fell over. His toes were blue and numb from the cold. But he had done it! It was ready to go.

Thanks to a kind neighbor, the stump was ripped from the ground via a chain attached to a truck. All that hard work had paid off. Now, we've just got to carve out some time to re-sod the lawn.

Or let the weeds take over.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Wedding bells

My 3-year-old niece got married on Sunday.

Okay, she's in her early 20s now, but when I look at her, I see the toddler I adored when I was dating SO. She was precocious, red-headed, and full of personality. Now she's self-absorbed, beautiful, and the most talkative person I know. I'm hoping her new husband will handle her (with kid gloves) and be a loving stepfather to her 4-year-old son. I'm hoping he's a keeper.

The most disconcerting moment of the whole weekend was when the ladies were pulled into one room and shown the lingerie my niece got at her personal shower. After looking at all that lace and see-through nylon, I had to turn away.

"Where's the flannel footie pajamas?" I asked.

She looked at me with pity. I guess I did sound pathetic. And old.


Monday, March 10, 2008

Have a Bud Light, and don't throw the chocolates!

Enjoyed a rare Saturday night out when I participated in a fundraiser for Special Olympics. I signed up to be a member of a Trivia Team, and competed against 63 other teams. Our ragtage group assembled by 7 o'clock, and each of us were afraid we'd be the fatal flaw. Mel, our fearless leader, gave us an encouraging talk.

The first round of questions stumped us, and we only got 5 right, but the second round focused on Harry Potter books and we cleaned up on that. Okay, we missed two, but how obsessed do you have to be to know Harry Potter's birthday and the shape of Hermione's patronus?

We managed to do rather well the rest of the night, but the first round handicapped us. Other categories were Sports (I took that opportunity to run to the bathroom), TV Moms, Food, and Movies. I was disappointed in some of the categories. I was really hoping for History, Current Events, or Astronomy. Sadly, I couldn't put those parts of my brain to good use.

Group dynamics are interesting. Invariably, we came up with a number of answers for each question, and sometimes the right answer was discarded in favor of one that seemed correct but wasn't. No one played the role of bossy know-it-all, which was nice. I've known too many people like that when serving on library committees.

After 10 rounds and lots of donated beer, some of the tables were getting unruly. Our emcee had to chastize some of the Trivia Teams for throwing chocolate candies. It was like a scene from a high school cafeteria.

"Don't throw the chocolates! People are being hit in the face! They can be seriously hurt by the chocolates!"

Just about everyone at our table won a door prize. (No, not me. Of course not me!) A teammate -- a big woman -- won a tiny t-shirt. Seriously, it was probably made for a 2-year-old. Emblazened across the front was "Bud Light." We laughed so hard over that t-shirt. Can you imagine giving that to your baby grandchild to wear?

"Here you go, sweetheart. Have a Bud Light."

Monday, March 03, 2008

Just eat your apple pan dowdy

Another strange case of serendipitous reading. I was in the library staff lounge during my lunch break, and saw that someone had baked and left a generous serving of "apple pan dowdy" for us to enjoy.

Apple pan dowdy? What the hell is that? I'd never heard of it. It wasn't something my generation made for Superbowl parties or other get-togethers.

I picked at it with a fork and took a bite. Definitely not for me.

So, I sat down to eat my lunch and read my book, Free for all, by Dan Borchert, and when I turned the page, I came across the phrase "apple pan dowdy." Apparently, someone had baked one for the author and delivered it to his library via cab for the staff to enjoy.

What to make of this bizarre coincidence?

Friday, February 22, 2008


Our city is in the throes of a nasty trio of disease: the flu, an upper respiratory thingy, and a stomach virus.

Sport had the stomach virus yesterday. He threw up all morning and was as weak as a kitten for the rest of the day. But this morning he hopped out of bed without being prodded eight different times. "I'm just happy to be alive!"

Our best pals were laid out by sickness and walking pneumonia for more than a week. I got a call from one friend who said her husband was sick -- again. Another friend emailed with a hilarious account of his illness:

"...a combination of the flu and a lack of will to live that may or may not have been related. I choose to think they were because when I was in the depths of the illness I wanted to be neither asleep nor awake and was uncomfortable in whatever position I found myself. It was truly an existential crisis."

I work in a library. SO works at the airport. We are both exposed to the general public every day. We live in dread of exposure, which has led to the development of an OCD-like obsession with handwashing. If I could get away with it, I'd wear a face mask or even an epidemiology body suit like they get at the CDC.

Oh yeah, remember the roof repair? Well, the torrential rain we got on Saturday opened up a leak and took out a patch of ceiling in our department. Three computers were destroyed. We are now dealing with a nasty stink and a roof that has yet to be fixed. When I come to work, I get nauseous. But no one will remove the carpet until the leak is fixed. When will that be? I don't know.

Ahhh, bureaucracy.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Tarred and bothered

I don't have a significant head injury story to share, but I am slightly nauseous. Our aged building is getting a new roof, and the smell of freshly melted tar is wafting through the office. It's like the La Brea tar pits out there, but I doubt there are any mammoth fossils to be discovered. Most likely a cigarette butt or too have been unearthed while scraping away the old tar paper. The roofing crew don't even wear masks. The smoke coming off of that tar machine is really thick, but they seem impervious to the fumes.

This morning, due to high winds, patches of insulation went flying over the side of the building and landed near the entrance. A couple of stray pieces fell onto a customer's car. The stuff looked exactly like plywood and I was afraid it was going to conk somebody right on the head, opening us up to a lawsuit, so I went running down to find the security guard. He was standing by the front window, watching the insulation fall.

"You need to tell the roofing crew to keep this stuff from falling off the building," I said. "It's going to hurt someone."

"Yeah, I was going to go out there at 9 and tell them."

Our security guard was watching it happen, actually saw a customer go and remove it from the hood of her car, yet stayed inside, transfixed by the sight. Unbelievable. He's more of a bystander than a security guard, if you ask me. It's enough to make me want to go and learn how to shoot a gun, maybe even get a conceal and carry license so I can protect myself and my co-workers. It's obvious if something really big goes down, our guard will be the first casualty. Probably his gun flap is rusted shut or something. Sheesh.

I guess there's a very real chance I could end up with a significant head injury by the time this roof is finished. Pray for me.

Friday, February 01, 2008


I've never been cool.

I accepted the fact that I wasn't cool long before I could really even define what cool was. There was no way I could be cool -- not by wearing clothes out of the church donation box or, later, those found in discount stores. In high school, I loved being a band nerd. At least I had plenty of band nerd friends with whom to congregate. Safety in numbers.

My boys, however, strive to be cool. They aren't yet asking for the expensive tennis shoes or blue jeans, but they certainly want to blend in with the crowd: hairstyles, attitude, and mismatched socks.

Apparently, it's not "cool" to wear a warm coat. Even though it was 15 degrees outside this morning, neither child would don anything heavier than a hoody. If the bus should break down or the family van run out of gas, those two would freeze their tushes off. They don't know the meaning of the word "preparedness."

Lego could style his hair to accentuate the curls he was born with, but he prefers to slick it down over his forehead. Sport has a closet full of nice clothes, but he wears the same ratty t-shirts to school every week. When we do our Saturday running-around, they invariably leave their coats at home, counting on the van heater to keep them warm.

If we do end up with a flat tire, I'm not giving my coat to anyone. Unlike the boys, I don't strive for coolness. I'd much rather be comfortable. And nerdy.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mental health break

How many 5-year-olds could you take on in a fight? I took the test and I could take down 15 of the little rugrats. Check it out:

Be brutal. They'll fight dirty if given the chance.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Mix and match

I've seen it all.

While waiting for the incredibly inept pharmacy assistant to train the excrutiatingly slow cashier how to download and print a digital passport photo for me, I passed the time by watching shoppers amble up and down the aisles at Walgreens. Entertaining me while comparing prices for a variety of cold medicines was a woman clad in sweatpants and a real fur coat.

It was real, I'm telling you. The luxurious pelts swayed gently as their owner squatted to look at the ingredients in Tylenol Cold & Flu.

I'm not big on fur anyway, although I wouldn't harrass anyone and I certainly wouldn't waste a perfectly good bucket of red paint by tossing it at a hapless flu victim, but I did turn down my mother when she tried to pass on her mink coat to me. It's just not cold enough here, I reasoned. Plus, I don't know a single person my age who wears furs. Wearing one would really make me feel out of place. And I'd never mix and match it with a worn pair of sweat pants.

But who am I to make fashion judgements. I have been known to throw on my purple sweats, a pink shirt, and my husband's oversized red coat. Not exactly color-wheel friendly.

When I finally got my passport photo handed to me, I looked like I just got out of rehab. Perfect.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Hand over the chocolate...

It made national headlines: our mayor put the entire city on a diet. Our family, without his prompting, had already decided to cut out the junk we'd been grazing on throughout December, substituting fruit and low-fat snacks.

Everyone is starting to get cranky.

I bought a bag of chocolate chips over the weekend and have been doling them out -- one chip at a time -- after dinner.

"It's not worth it," SO protested, eyeballing the tiny nub of chocolate. I made a motion to put it back in the bag. He stopped me by popping it in his mouth.

"Let it melt and you'll get a satisfying taste of chocolate."

"I'd find the whole bag satisfying," he retorted.

When my back is turned, I find the kids raiding the fridge, desperate for something that isn't healthy. They want that bag of chocolate chips.

I've hidden it, but it won't be long until they find it and finish it up. Their willpower is waning in the wake of grapes, yogurt and energy bars.

We are the 15th fattest city in the country. I know this is true. When I'm shopping at Target or one of the grocery stores, I inevitably see people wedged into those motorized grocery carts. These people aren't handicapped. They are just extremely obese. In fact, I can't remember the last time I saw someone in one of those things who had some kind of physical challenge, other than carrying around way too many pounds.

I really hate those motorized carts. They always block the aisles when I'm trying to load up on bags of chocolate chips.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Champagne and bean dip

New Year's Eve has never been a big celebration in our family. Growing up evangelical, santimonious, and holy, we rather looked down on those revellers who needed alcohol to get high. We were already high on Jesus -- what more did one need? So we always stayed in, watched a little Dick Clark on TV, then went to bed.

For one, I don't like being cold. The idea of getting out in 20 degree temperatures, with the added benefit of a cutting Oklahoma wind, just doesn't appeal to me. A couple of my very young friends drove down to Dallas to go to a bar they like. So while I salute their energy and enthusiasm, I kept to the time-honored tradition of warm pajamas, a can of bean dip, and Dick Clark (bless his heart, still soldiering on despite a stroke.) Weakened by endless commercials, we cheered feebly when the newly refurbished Times Square ball (it's eco-friendly!) came down to usher in the New Year.

SO and I toasted with a glass of bitter, dry champagne, while the boys drank their sparkling cider. I eyeballed my flute glasses nervously when they insisted on clinking them together.


Lego begged to try a sip of alcohol.

I, of course, refused.

"There's alcoholism in your genes. One sip, mister, and you could be in for at least 36 years of hard core addicition, a couple of divorces, loss of a limb, and the repossession of your home." Lego rolled his eyes, a typical response to my overly-imaginative ramblings, then staggered into the kitchen, perfectly imitating a drunken man. That kid can act, I'm telling you.

The next day, Sport checked the calendar.

"Is it 2008?"

"All year."

He sighed. "I really miss 2007."