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Showing posts from 2013

Smooth Journeys Into the Past

    You never really know how bumpy a road is until you travel it with a pot of chili in your trunk. Suddenly, every bump and turn becomes an obstacle certain to sling deep red sauce across the interior of your car. While most of my adult life has been spent driving sport utility vehicles, a truly gentle ride has been out of the question, until now.     My dream car, you see, had always been a deep red Cadillac because I remember the smooth ride of my childhood when perched in the backseat of my grandparents Cadi'.  We would sail down Highway 31 with my grandmother behind the wheel.  She was dressed impeccably and wore her leather gloves that matched the leather interior of the Cadillac.  All of five feet tall, she handled that car like a race car driver who owned the road. We flew through traffic like a laser beam splitting atoms, with everyone moving out of the way of the tiny woman in the big car.  With my feet sticking straight out in front of me, I sat in the large ba

Homey Cat

Homey A smooth talking cat who says nothing at all Yet tells the whole tale with a swat of a claw. A testy old thing with a patch on his side Where an ill-tempered fox took a bite of his hide. A Siamese kitten, now aged in years Rules the roost like a king whom everyone fears. Homey, the cat, with blue eyes so deep Picks the most inconvenient places to sleep. His favorite one being the top of my head Once I snuggle down deep in my comfortable bed. I wake in the night to a soft, rhythmic purr Of my sweet, sleeping cat who's missing some fur. With the swoosh of a tail and a paw on my chin His tail bats my face each time he breaths in. In a half conscious manner, I hold down that tail But it just keeps on swooshing ‘til I finally yell And disrupt his dreaming of mice and great things And up from my head, Homey cat springs. With one eye half open and an indignant shrug He gives me a look that is hateful and smug. Tossed fr

Black Friday

  The Black Friday madness is on and I have to admit that I love every minute of it.  From mapping out quick exit strategies to determining who has the best electronics, it is a treasure hunt that I simply can't resist.  While I have no need for a 50 inch tv or a waffle maker, I find joy knowing they could be mine if I'm willing to wake in the pre-dawn hours and stand in long lines.  I've met some of my closest friends while sitting on the floor at Wal-Mart waiting for the iPads to be distributed from the pharmacy like some kind of controlled substance.   Social Media has added a new element to this game as we upload and compare "selfies" of each other holding oversized electronics or laying across the last Dyson vacuum cleaner in the store.  My friends and I can instantly message one another about inventory updates and alternate travel routes that will get us where we need to be long before we need to be there.   While my husband sits in a deer stand in

Snuggling and Buggling

Picture (c) Charles Schultz   Since my children were little, we would pile up on the couch under a mountain of blankets, snuggled up like puppies.  It was not uncommon to have a foot in your face or have a hand come crashing against your head from a sleeping child shifting their position.  Snuggling and Buggling is what we did.  My mother had taught me, early in life, that there is nothing more magical than a good blanket.  Yesterday, as I folded the last of the blankets in the living room, I thought, "Man, we have a lot of magic."   I admit that I am a sucker for a soft blanket and have them readily available from the bedroom to the living room to the trunk of my car.  One should always be prepared for instant comfort.  While I consider myself a collector of fleecy goodness, my son shattered my delusion by informing me, years after the fact, that I had failed in providing him with a proper blanket and pillow when he was in Kindergarten, leaving him to stretch out on

Make a Joyful Noise

My father in the 1940's  When my son left for college he took the sounds of our home with him.  The constant singing, humming, giggling between siblings and simple sounds of youth slipped out the door with him. My daughter and I tried our hands at the guitar and ukulele and realized that stringed instruments were just not our thing. I was thankful for her endless energy and took refuge in her tumbling and leaping down the hallways that, too, was a constant in our world.   I longed to hear the sounds of the guitar strumming in the middle of the night or the mumble of singing coming down the hall.  I missed the kids creating videos and recording songs. Allie had been the star of every video ever made in our house and then suddenly the set was closed.  The cameras had stopped.  The songs didn't play and life was simply different.  It wasn't bad, it was just different.  We found our way around in this quieter world and accepted what was.    And then when the silenc

The Reason for the Race ....The Future of Every Girl in the World

Amelia the Flyer

  Meet Amelia!  Amelia joined us for a short time when her first flight from the nest proved to be unsuccessful.  She and her brother PePe were found on the pool deck and were whisked away to the intensive care unit, also known as the laundry room bathroom. Much like a triage team, we went about gathering eye droppers, a heating pad, and a recipe for home made saline solution certain to provide energy.     While my daughter welcomed our new house guests with loads of love, the cats were even more excited about who was living in the laundry room.  Needless to say, they were temporarily banned from the house. Their intentions were quite obvious and less than desirable.    Pepe was not long for this world and left Amelia in our care. His fall had been hard and was too much to overcome.  While I'm certain it was my imagination, the tiny she-squirrel appeared to reach out to me anytime we were near.  She took comfort in my hand and I didn't want to let her down

Halloween Express

  Fall has arrived and that means caramel apples, sweater weather and the greatest joy of all.. the arrival of the Halloween Express Costume Catalog!  It ranks right up there with the Sears Christmas catalog and brings sheer joy to my family.  I have always been drawn to the Power Ranger costumes for my son and the cute witch costumes for my daughter.  Unfortunately, they have long since outgrown such, but I can still see them dressed in their festive costumes.     For nineteen years, I have found great enjoyment dressing my kids as Flintstones characters, superheroes, zombies, and more. For those same nineteen years, I have tried in vain to dress as a sexy pirate.  I'm never quite successful with this look as somewhere during the process of getting children dressed, dying their hair blue, mining in the attic for plastic swords and plastic pumpkins,  donning outerwear that is reflective, trying to get the blue off of my fingers, and chasing down the dog who is chasi

Fish On

    My husband has dreams of family outings that simply don’t play out the way he envisions them.  Once a year, the kids and I gather round and participate in some outdoor expedition sure to bring happiness to “Dad.”  It only takes one trip to steer him off of this insane pursuit of unrealistic family adventures.  This year’s annual attempt at family fun was a fishing trip in the dead of winter.     When we woke that morning to rain, I should have said "No!"  When I demanded that we take sacks of groceries, extra clothes in case anyone gets wet, an assortment of ointments for everything from contact dermatitis to cobra bites and enough camera gear to look like a tourist, my husband should have said "No!"  Instead, we loaded the gear, text our children to rise from their beds and get into the truck, and headed off to the lake.  Note that I consider myself a professional angler with my Snoopy rod and reel and can cast a plastic lure across our backyard

The One Footed Sock Thief

Kabbaz-Kelly Photo   I pay $40 a month for a security system that tells me if any doors or windows are being opened in my home for would-be thieves or wandering neighbors coming home to the wrong house.  It is supposed to protect us from crime and yet, each week, dozens of socks disappear from our home, leaving their mates to pile up in the laundry room.  Surely a one footed sock thief must be living amongst us as there is no other explanation for this loss of property.   I've done the math and it simply doesn't add up.  Four pairs of socks go into the washer and only three have mates when they come out.  I've devised systems to ensure input equals output, but my systems fail somewhere during the cleaning process.  Someone thought it would be a good idea for me to safety pin each pair of dirty socks together before I put them in the washer.  This person obviously has no appreciation of my time and would prefer mated socks over a home cooked meal or other niceties tha

Leaving Home

  The day had arrived and it was time to travel north to carry my son off to college.  We had prepared for months and loaded the back of my husband's truck with boxes and bins full of things from home that I was certain my child would need.  We passed cars on the highway that were obviously carrying their children to college and I feared we may have actually overpacked as we passed a Prius with a student, her suitcase and a laundry basket.  We had a small refrigerator, half of the Apple store, clothing for every type of weather event, pictures, whoozits and whatnots.  As we approached the college with our bed of goods, I prepared myself to announce proudly that I was checking two students into school.  It was the only explanation I could come up with.  It was about that time when the giant Penske truck rolled in and quickly diverted attention away from us and we were no longer "that family" who overpacked.  There are people, out there, far worse than I.  By the time

The Smiley Face Button for New Drivers

  My daughter has earned her driver's permit which means we must spend every waking moment driving the streets of town together.  She fully understands that any use of her phone while driving will result in loss of driving privileges and long lectures from both parents.  Our real concern is not texting and driving but is more a fear of gregarious driving.  My child believes it is important to wave at everyone she knows and make sure that she is seen behind the wheel of the car.  This is a highly coveted place of honor only held by those who have already had their 14th birthday and passed the State Police Driver's test, so it's important to let the world see you.   Just last weekend, as we turned off the highway onto a side street, we passed an SUV full of her friends.  She immediately began waving with uncontrollable excitement.  As her hand stretched to the left, the car veered to the right and we were headed straight for the ditch.  I grabbed the wheel and snatc

Tied Up in Knots

  Upon turning 49, I had a terrible realization that I only had one year left before I was 50.  I'm not sure what great difference there is in being 49 and being 50, but that voice in my head was screaming, "Hurry up and do something before it's too late!"  Turning 29 had the same effect on me and left me scrambling to enjoy ever last minute of a decade that would soon be gone. So, as I sat here last night, perusing my birthday gifts of perfume, blinged out slippers, a jar of cash and a bottle of tequila, something hit me.  I want to enter my fifties as if I was 29 again and not be some sloth on the couch overwhelmed from work, heat, bills and other weights of the world.  Renewed with a goal, I donned my shiny slippers and got my body in motion.   Suddenly a woman on a mission, I tore open the entertainment cabinet and dug out the old Deepak Chopra tapes and unopened Zumba DVDs purchased during a late night binge of cookies, milk and infomercials.  Then I fo

Burning the Candle at Both Ends

  Apparently, you can burn a candle at both ends.  I know this because I found a very good deal on candles and bought 144 votives for $5.  I never thought to pick one up and see why it was such a good deal.  Since they simply will not sit properly in a candle holder, I will stash them away in my "Emergency/End of Days/Alien Invasion/Someone Didn't Pay the Light Bill" kit. They will be safe among the ammunition, junk silver, jars of dried beans and Family Pack of Twizzlers.  Should I find myself in the dark, I will be twice as prepared.

Once Around the Bend

    We are not a canoeing family.  While I like to think that we are, nothing could be further from the truth.  My children have not properly been exposed to manually operated watercraft other than the deluxe inflatable pool lounge with cup holder that floats about our pool.  There's a reason for this and has nothing to do with the fear of open waterways.  My husband and I have different visions of floating down a river.  Mine involves a leisurely four hour float to a tastefully decorated cabin where steaks are sizzling on the grill.  My husband's plan for a water adventure involves entering the river where normal people take out, a 23 mile trek through a canyon with no cell phone signal and catching, cleaning, and preparing our own food along the way.  If I have to strap a knife to my leg to ensure an outing is successful, I tend to avoid it. So, for eighteen years, we've been unable to merge our visions of floating down the rivers of the South and stick to watercra

Spam Isn't Just for Breakfast Anymore

  I have developed an interesting new hobby that fills my time while I wait in doctor's offices or at airports with nothing to do.  I have discovered the fun that exists in my Spam folder.  I always knew it was there, filtering out the messages sure to deliver viruses, empty promises and mail order brides.  My friends in Spam are many.   Andre Ouedraogo has written on multiple occasions and has been waiting for my response for weeks. While I don't want to be his business partner and receive $11.2 million dollars, I do have a strange desire to play Scrabble with this man of many vowels. Bento Desmond has some pictures he wants to share with me and unless they are digital images of my dog from the Wal-Mart photo department, I'm going to have to look the other way. Michael Osei, who suggests that we are dear friends, is a manager of a financial institution and needs me to care for an orphaned child from a country I'm not sure exists. In exchange for taking this child i

The Not So Easy Chair

  Archie Bunker had a chair.  It was a good chair that he came home to each night after a long day at work.  After a nice dinner, he relocated to his chair where he enjoyed watching television and rested until bed time.   As I headed to work yesterday,  I realized that I do not have a chair like his and wondered where our lives took different paths.   When I come home from work, I've already received numerous phone calls and text messages from my family demanding to know answers to important questions such as, "When is my eyebrow appointment" and "Where are my socks?"   Upon arrival to the house, the dog greets me only because she wants to make sure I don't know that she has been lounging on my couch or nosing through my pantry.  My husband is perched by the pool, donning a red bandanna, dripping in sweat, because he somehow chooses the hottest days of the year to split wood or relocate fencing, both things nobody does in the 104 degree heat. When I enter

On The Radio

The world grows smaller every day as youth around the world become friends through social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter.  Friends are made across borders and oceans and a friend of a friend of a friend just may be somebody you want to talk to.  As my kids upload photos, videos and songs for the world to see, their virtual footprint expands across the globe.  Just yesterday, I was, oddly, not surprised by the message from my son that he was being played on Lebanese radio.  It made me stop what I was doing and smile.  I had to ask the obvious question, "How?" It appears that one of his many Instagram followers has made a friend in Canada who is residing there while she is temporarily away from Lebanon.  I'm not sure what the means exactly, but the kids believe her to  be Lebanese royalty on the run.  (Da do ron ron)  She liked a song that my son has on Sound Cloud and shared it with her friend who is a Disc Jockey in Lebanon where he supposedly played it

Hitchhiker Beware

  After a particular challenging day at work, I was glad to escape to my car so I could head towards home where I could collapse on my couch under the cool breeze of a ceiling fan.   As I sat in my car that had baked to a nice 104 degrees in the middle of the asphalt parking lot, I rested with my head on the air-conditioner vents praying for cooler temperatures.  While certain it has nothing to do with age, I've recently begun experiencing sudden onset hot flashes. They come on quick, without warning, and according to my family, my mood changes instantly, as well.  In my defense, I would imagine anyone's mood would change when they are about to spontaneously combust.  I've seen those pictures of the tiny pile of ashes sitting on the pile of clothes where an unsuspecting victim once stood.  Of course, if I were to suddenly burst into flames, my ashes would be found sitting next to a pile of laundry waiting to be folded and nobody would ever notice.  They would shake the t

Squeeze Bottom Road

                          When a container truck and a horse trailer collided on Interstate 40 near Cuba Landing, it shut down traffic in the East bound lane.  After three hours in the car, sitting in the same spot on the highway, it became apparent that some of my choices were probably not good ones.  For instance, providing the family with extra large caffeinated beverages and a sack of candy might have been a poor choice had I known there would be no bathroom available for hours and that we would all be stuck in a small space, wedged between semi trucks, for a prolonged period of time.  As we entered the fourth hour on the highway and the lady in front of us urinated in her car and poured it on the ground, I knew we were witnessing the loss of civility and decided it was time for drastic measures. Over the course of our wait on the highway, we would occasionally notice the adventurous law breaker who had broken from the ranks and was then driving down the side of the road in

Gilbert's Journey

It is a small world, even to turtles.   On a lazy summer day in 2012, one Allie Brodnax found a box turtle and a discarded can of enamel paint.   She quickly painted her initials and date on the turtle’s shell and enjoyed his company for a short time.   We have a rule that no one is allowed to keep a lizard, turtle or other wild creature more than three days.   At that time, the visitor is returned to the wild.   Gilbert, as this highly decorated turtle was named, bid farewell and headed off towards the woods.   A year later, on the other side of town, across two highways and several major intersections, Gilbert made his way into the yard of a young boy who discovered Gilbert’s faded message on his back.   A picture was taken and Gilbert made his debut on Instagram.   Four hours north of here in the land of Wal-Mart executives, a distant friend saw the post and recognized the letters “AB” on the back of Gilbert’s shell.   She quickly posted to all that the faded message said “AB 2

Ambersweet Joy

  A couple of years ago, I took my daughter Mother's Day shopping.  She had saved $20 dollars and it was burning a hole in her pocket.  Unable to pass the candy store, and having no understanding of the dollar per pound candy ratio, she instantly dropped five dollars on sour blue goodness and chocolaty delight.  Her shopping money dwindled down to $15 and there is not much that one can buy for $15 dollars at the mall these days.  She normally makes me a gift such as a painting or a card. I prefer these because they last forever, but... the money was speaking to her and it had to be spent. She was determined to find the perfect gift. We wandered in and out of stores discovering that everything she wanted to buy for me would take about six more months of her savings. Sensing her frustration, I spied the fancy soap collection in Hallmark and guided her in that direction. There was an ambersweet orange soap for $13 that was in her budget.  You must know that I'm the economy p

Late night photo shoot

After a very long week of activities, some down-time is much needed..... Silly pics with Al Cat.

Turn the Page

      (Not for re-print in paper) Graduation time is upon us and as I made preparations to begin the task of sending out graduation announcements I felt a melancholy mood wash over me.  It was one of those milestones in life where you look back and smile at all the good memories. After my son and I "googled" where you put that little piece of onion paper inside the announcement and actually pieced together one complete graduation announcement that would make Emily Post proud, I reached for the address book to begin addressing the outer envelopes.  I remember making the next realization some time back, but I must have walked away from it and moved on to happier thoughts...   Most of the people in my address book have slanted lines marking them out of existence.  One or two is to be expected, but when most every page is crossed out like a Bingo card, my melancholy mood turned to sadness.  The first name I happened onto was Ronnie B. who died in his 40's of a b