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Showing posts from 2011

Snickerdoodles and Headless Ducks

       Christmas cookies have a special meaning for my family. My mother begins preparations for the holiday season by stocking up on enough baking goods to make about 4000 cookies. She whips up batches of Snickerdoodles, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Mexican Wedding Cakes (note - As I type this, I realize that might be a politically incorrect term), and many more.  Great care goes into making sure each cookie is perfectly shaped, packaged and safely delivered to loves ones around town. We laugh that the larger the cookie tin, the better the friendship.        I'm not actually part of this cookie making machine because of lack of time to participate, but I do try to keep up the family tradition of making the Sour Cream Cut Out Cookies.  This is a recipe handed down from my great grandmother, Grammie. She gave her cookie cutters to my grandmother, Nana, who, in turn, gave them to my mom.  I have enjoyed forty-seven Christmases, all with cut out reindeer and tiny angels.  My favorite is

Aren't I A Fun Driver

       Of all the Christmas presents under our tree, this one was the most difficult to wrap.   While Allie was thrilled with her new Christmas ride, I don't think anyone expected her dog Jodi to be quite as excited as she was.   All day long we could hear a continuous whirrrr outside the window as Allie and Jodi traveled up and down the street.  Jodi was the envy of every dog.      This Barbie style golf cart comes with street glow lighting, cell phone holder and a series of mirrors, none of which actually face the road or oncoming obstacles, but are strategically positioned so that Allie can view herself as she flies down the road.   She took me for a ride around the neighborhood and we flew over speed bumps and rounded corners while Jodi maintained perfect balance and I struggled to hang on.  We flew down a side street and crashed though rain puddles with Allie and Jodi smiling the whole time. I was frozen from the damp cold air and the occasional string of dog slobber that

When You Call Me Big Papa

My son has the new iPhone 4s that comes with a personal assistant named Siri.  I was unaware that Siri learns about the phone owner and uses that information at later times.  When issuing commands or requests to this new apple product, Siri will respond by calling you by name.  While driving through the city tonight, I heard my son, who was sitting in the passenger seat, inform Siri that he liked it when she called him Big Papa.  I instantly found this both odd and creepy, but even more peculiar was Siri's response...."Okay Master Brodnax, from now on I will refer to you as Big Papa."  I wondered just how bizarre this could get and then decided it was best to let sleeping dogs lie. I had not noticed that my son was going by the name Master Brodnax and had also failed to recognize that somewhere along the line he picked up the phrase Big Papa.   Little did I know this was an internet fad and people around the globe were asking Siri to call them Big Papa.  Big Papa conjures

Chips, Salsa and An Ice-Pack

      I make it a practice to try to return all of my children's friends home safely to their mothers without a trip to the Emergency Room or an intrarcranial hematoma.    This particular day, my daughter brought along a new friend whose mother trusted me with her daughter's safety. We stopped in Chili's for lunch and I walked into the restroom at the exact moment that my two girls discovered that one should not use their head as a door stop and that the other had the power of a freight train.   The Red Cross First Aid steps ran through my head (Check, Call Care) as this baseball size knot began growing on this poor child's head and I realized that these simple steps were only good when giving first aid to a mannequin named Red Cross Annie in a classroom setting.    I checked her head, called for the waitress to hold the appetizers and just bring an ice pack and care was evident as Abby posed for the kids to snap photos to quickly upload to Facebook.  I knew I had to

The Making of Nerds and Other School Projects

    It is normally close to bedtime when we discover that our kids have forgotten to make that scaled model of DNA or an interactive mobile of the planets aligning in preparation for some magnetic shift certain to change the world as we know it.  Because of this, I keep a supply of poster board, hot glue and assorted candy that I can quickly craft into chromosomes, solar systems and  working models of pulley and lever systems should I need to do so in a moment’s notice.    I also keep an assortment of costumes on hand for Book Parade day so we can dress as just about any Newberry Award winning character should we need to.           It was an exceptionally long day, recently, when my daughter informed me that tomorrow was “Nerd Day” at school and we would need a complete Nerd wardrobe.  Since this is the child with 42 pairs of shoes and a closet full of designer jeans, this was going to be a more difficult project.   Thanks to a 24 hour Wal-Mart and items from my Book parade collectio

Spinning Reindeer and Mountainous Treks

      It was 1975 and as I walked out of elementary school for the last time, my grandparents were waiting for me in the parking lot in a Midnight Blue Lincoln Continental with a full size Airstream trailer hitched to the back.  It was summer and we were off to see America.  My cousin Ramonna, who is several years younger than I am, sat in the oversized back seat with me, as our feet stuck straight out in front of us and we headed West.   The car smelled of new leather, Old Spice and expensive perfume.    I was young enough that many of the memories have since faded, but I can still clearly see the wild storms in Kansas and the never ending highway that carried us to Colorado.     We landed at Garden of the Gods Campground in mid June only to be met by an unseasonable snowfall.  We jumped in the big car, with trailer still attached, and headed to K-Mart where my grandparents bought us all winter clothes to replace the suitcase full of summer wear we had packed.  Hoping now that i

Apocalyptic Skies of Doom or Just Silly Rain Clouds

The year 2012 quickly approaches and with it comes more and more television shows about the proverbial end of the world.   Forced to the couch, while fighting a round of strep throat, I watched my share of documentaries and have gained new skills to help plan for this event. With lessons learned from "Extreme Couponing" I know how I can easily get eleven years worth of fabric softener, fourteen dozen bottles of body wash and 212 containers of Tic Tacs for around $20.   These items would certainly be handy when the last of us our parading around in total chaos and destruction. "Man vs Wild" has taught me that it is important to stay dry and how to kill a wild antelope should one ever come running through my neighborhood during these times of trouble ahead.  I also understand that underground shelter may become a hot commodity.  They are very expensive and I'm not sure I really like the idea of being crowded underground with 8 - 12 other people waiting to see who

Homey and His Internet Gal Pal

   This brings new meaning to Skyping!   Nothing more really needs to be said.  

No Campaign is Complete Without Glitter

My daughter proudly announced that she was running for President of the Student Council.    I was so proud.  With no second thought or worry, she told me how she would have to speak in front of the entire student body.  She seemed oddly comfortable with this.  She had already lined up marker wielding campaign staff who were gluing and glittering at mock speed to deliver campaign posters to the school for her support.   Her campaign slogan was fitting of a Southern beauty queen and was obviously born out of years of experience in front of a microphone stating her contestant number and decree that she was ..."your Junior Miss, 2007" or 8, 9, 10, or 11.    The slogan was pure political brilliance..... "Vote for me (insert perfect photo-shopped head shot)  Luv ya!"   Nothing more needed to be said.  A beautiful girl professing her love for anyone willing to support her dream of being President.   She mapped out what she would wear to deliver her speech, which side of

Angiogram or Wine Flight

    One hot summer day, when the temperature rose to 105 degrees Fahrenheit, my retired husband grew tired of watching the "End of Days" marathon and "Alien Invasion" shows on the Discovery Channel and decided it was the right time to cut down a few trees on our property.  I was unclear if he was preparing for the Apocalypse or just getting an early start on stacking firewood for the winter.   I felt that his motivation was mixed somewhere between the two.   "Shark Week"  and "Nostradamus Predictions" had just ended the week prior and that left me with a swimming pool that was especially crystal clear and predator free.   I don't question what drives this man and have learned to simply look for the benefits in it.   The "End of Days" program always leaves my pantry stocked with food for at least ninety days.  Why would I complain? Unfortunately,  this summer has brought record heating temperatures (surely predicted thousands of year

Everyone Knows Top Lockers Are The Best

    It should have been a pretty good sign to me that something was seriously wrong with my priorities as my daughter and I rolled up into the school parking lot on a Saturday in August to carpet and wallpaper her locker.  I was comforted to know I wasn't the only mom there rigging up lighting and shelving systems.  I knew we had crossed a line somewhere, but the smiles on our daughter's faces made it all worthwhile.   There is some kind of social status associated with having a top locker and my 4' 5" child had managed to win the luck of the draw.  It was difficult installing the tiny motion sensor lamp at the top of the locker and a set of scaffolding would have come in quite handy, but I knew that might have labeled me as "the mom who went too far."  I settled for standing on top of a stack of copy paper while we measured, papered, and completed our interior decorating.  I'm not sure that my first apartment looked quite as good!   Half way into the pr

It's All About Family

Family roots are important to me and for the past year I have spent $19.99 a month on ancestry.com tracing our lineage back to the year 254 A.D.  It was exciting to find that I am the 23rd great-granddaughter of Dagobert, King of the Franks. Unfortunately I discovered that I am not the granddaughter of the Queen of Franks, but rather the King's mistress that lived down the way. I have my grandfather's eyes, but not his wife's. As I dug deeper, I found that I have roots tying back to the Visigoths that challenged the Roman Empire. It goes without saying that they were not successful. That would be like Fiji declaring war on the United States.  Not a wise strategic move. My 53rd fur wearing, sword swinging, great grandpappy was replaced by a boy king from the same tribe, probably one night over roasted boar at the community table.  "Really Aoric, could you not see that we were outnumbered? Let's get Mikey to rule...   He'll do it."    I guess bloodline wasn&

Sweet Cheeks and Petunias

    Our latest edition, that came to be with us for a very short time, was a tiny bunny who lost his mother.  He was very weak upon arrival to our house and we placed him in a warm and cozy hamster cage.  He wasn't any bigger than a mouse.  My daughter, who keeps a supply of excellent pet names ready for use, promptly, without any second thought, named him Sweet Cheeks.  I prepared her for the possibility that Sweet Cheeks may not make it, but we gave it our best shot.   We lined his cage with grass, gave him goat milk from a bottle (because I'm the only one in the neighborhood who has a goat milk dealer on speed dial) and made him comfy.   As nighttime fell, Sweet Cheeks left this world.  A small funeral is planned for today. This won't be our first and won't be our last of backyard services.  I  should probably start making where all of these past critters have been buried before we dig in the wrong spot one day.   Somewhere out there are a series of cats, dogs, hamst

The Puppy Bus -Part II

Under cloak of darkness, we gathered in the back yard to transfer Midnight, the last of our puppies, from our yard to the back of an SUV that would take him to The Puppy Bus.  The bus would leave at 7:00 a.m. and we were an hour away from the bus stop.  We wanted to make sure he got a good seat as he traveled all the way to New England. Nobody wants the seat behind the lady with the big hat for 16 hours.   Hopefully all of his traveling companions would be laying down enjoying their ride, rather than sporting a tall hat.   Although images of Dr. Suess's "Go Dogs Go" make me think otherwise.   The bus is clean and and organized.  It is heated and cooled for the comfort of the orphaned dogs that have been rescued and are now ready for adoption.  A foster family awaits the arrival of these puppies and hopefully will find them loving homes.   I hated to see Midnight go, but I hated to see him stay.     He needs someone that can give love to this energetic little puppy that on

The Puppy Bus

The term "Puppy Bus" conjures up awful thoughts of a large worn out bus traveling at ridiculous speeds, full of unwanted puppies, headed for the island of misfit toys or someplace worse.  I have to admit, though, that it is anything but that.  The first time I heard this term was when I asked my neighbor to help me find a home for a puppy I had.  It was never my intention to raise puppies but after a pregnant dog was abandoned at our our home, puppies found their way into our hearts. The puppy bus was a good mechanism for the last puppy to make his way home. We had given shelter to a friend who was down on his luck.  He arrived with his suitcase and his dog.  Unfortunately, our friend left, but the dog didn't.   She stayed with us as we all hoped her master would return for her.  Nobody knew she was pregnant until the day we came home to discover seven puppies in the yard.  "Were we blind?" I had to think to myself.  How did we miss this????  We are now dow

Let Sleeping Dogs Lie - Unless They Have Deep Sleep Disorder

    You should not let sleeping dogs lie when they choose inappropriate places to do their napping.  Our latest edition, Riley, a small puppy, turned out by its mother, has come to know the comforts and security of being cared for like a newborn baby.  He was bottle fed and sleeps on a bed of plush cotton with a tiny stuffed animal that looks just like his mother. When Riley sleeps, he enters some kind of deep R.E.M. sleep that nothing can wake him from.  You can poke him, pick him up, even dress him in tiny Build-A-Bear clothing and he will never wake.  When he finally does come to, he loves to be outdoors running and playing. The problem is, Riley is the runt of the litter and tires easily.  After a few minutes of terrorizing the cats and scratching around in the flower beds, he finds a cool place to nap.... usually behind my tires and enters his deep comatose like sleep.     Before I drive, I always honk the horn several times, alerting the cats sleeping inside my engine and any s

Shark Boy

If something amazing and truly worthy of a photo opportunity occurs, I am usually the one who has just turned their head for a split second, missing everything, only to hear the "oohs" and "aaahhhs" of my family reveling in what they just witnessed. I've missed goals, perfect landings, certificates of award from the President printed on colored card stock, and a series of other special events moms are supposed to be clicking their cameras on.  My timing is off by just a millisecond and the world can change in that tiny moment of time.  I'm certain if an alien invasion ever occurs, I will be head down, rifling through a box of popcorn or digging under my chair for someone's lost shoe.   I will miss the introduction to the new life form and have to ask them to kindly recreate the scene so I can capture it on my Handycam. While at the beach this week, Shark boy, in the above photo, was moving in on my territory with his cute smile, foreign accent and eye

Leaves Falling

Click on MP3 Player Below  Click on small Play Button (arrow) above to start play Written by Jana Klemke and Julie Poss  (Jana - Email me or get in contact with me.  I need to talk to you.-M)

Pre-Driving Protocol for Busy Moms

If there was a survey that could be done and ever was... I would like to know just how many people have been sailing down the highway oblivious to the bag of meat that was on top of their car.  I'm certain I am one of those elite few.  You must know that there are two bad things about having a bag of raw meat on top of your vehicle... 1.  It would be hard to explain to the trucker behind you why meat products flew off your car onto his windshield at seventy miles and hour and ....2.  If you do stop to retrieve the meat, what do you do with it then???  It's not like you want a Ziploc baggie of beef tips dripping onto your floorboard.  Of course, all this being considered, you have to wonder why one would have this item on top of their car in the first place.   I suppose it's just part of being a Brodnax.  Some things simply have no answer.  While traveling from my mother's house to our house, a distance of about fifty feet, my husband is known to place things on top of m

Smiling Eggs are Harder To Eat

It's hard to make egg salad when your eggs are staring at you with warm smiles and all have names.  These are the post Easter eggs that fill my fridge. I always have plenty of them because half of the neighborhood kids arrive about the time I drop the first Paas dye tablet into its glass of white vinegar. I don't know if they hear the gently fizzing tabs calling their names or if the smell of vinegar and eggs wafts down the street calling them to my kitchen. That wouldn’t be an appetizing smell, but it does scream of fun at the Brodnax house.  Before the smell can dissipate,  we have dozens of wacky, colorful eggs in the fridge, pastel fingerprints permanently stained on the counter, and someone teary eyed because their last egg to dye had a big crack in it.   All of this is part of Easter tradition at our house and I am thankful that this Easter season was not  torn apart by shattered beliefs and disappointment.   Let me explain.... It was a year ago at Easter when my daug

Laughter Is Good Medicine

  They say that laughter is the best medicine.  While laying in the Emergency Room of the local hospital getting updrafts and steroids to open my lungs, my son was somewhere else in the hospital shooting bizarre photos of my family members and sending them to my phone.   This obviously failed brain transplant photo did more for me than the meds being pumped into my veins. My daughter's picture soon arrived and carried the look of "Will she ever get home... This is taking forever." This is a genetically inherited look of frustration and tells those around her that one eye is about to pop from the socket and fly into orbit around her head if somebody doesn't do something to rescue her.  I wear this exact same look at tax time, when standing in line at a Wal-Mart store and when I learn at ten o'clock on Sunday night that my daughter has to write twenty poems before Wednesday and I'm boarding a plane at 6:00  a.m.  the next morning. Unless I want to be writing

Are Four Cans of Tuna Enough When Packing for The End of Days

   Yesterday, while in a meeting preparing for the possible shutdown of the government, I received a text message from my son wanting to know if I still had a job.   I also received a message from my daughter telling me how cute her shoes were. It was followed with "Luv ya" and three emoticons, all too tiny to see.  Both children should have been heavily involved in mathematics or history and were obviously secretly packing cell phones while in school.  I assured my son that we would be fine.  The thought did cross my mind, however, about what would happen if I suddenly found myself without a paycheck.   The twelve pack of soda and assorted baby bottle pops in the back of my car wouldn't carry our family far.  That night, while we were all gathered around the kitchen counter discussing the end of days as we knew them and life without Netflix or "Words with Friends", the power abruptly shut down without notice or advance flickering. We were thrown into a sudden