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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Indulge me here


Since tonight is traditionally the biggest party and drunk fest of the year, please do me a favor and do it at home and DO NOT DRIVE. Even if you don't plan on getting smashed, it happens. And everybody always thinks they can drive just fine. Memo to self: ya can't, so don't. If you are even thinking about it, run down to any major hospital ER and ask them to tell you some war stories about past New Years Eve's. And get ready to lose your lunch.

OK.....'Nuf said. Happy New Year to all and may 2010 rock all of our socks off--in a safe happy & healthy way!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Herdin' cats


I got a call last night from one of my son's who was out at the Ranch deer hunting. It seems he's taking some friends up to the Farm on New Years Day, and is frustrated since he can't seem to get everybody on the same page. His comment was "this is just like trying to herd cats..." and I had to agree. The funniest part is, we've had this same conversation about ten times now. I have gently pointed out that doing the same thing over and over again, DOES NOT generate different results, and he gets that--intellectually. It's the self awareness and actual changing (him) part that has him stumped. I listened until I thought my ear was going to fall off and then finally said "wellll.....you could do something different, ya know". And that's when the "yes, buts" started. All the reasons they needed to do it his way. And when I nicely pointed that out, we both were laughing. Welllll, yes, there is that.

I swear my kids keep me royally entertained. I'm sure that's probably not what he called to talk about--maybe it was since he knows I'll try to listen if he needs to talk. I reminded him not to stand in the middle of a cold rushing stream and try to force it to flow the other way, just because he thinks it should flow the other way. Reality check here: you're going to get real cold and miserable, not to mention exhausted, if you try it. (Ditto trying to herd those cats.) Accept that's just how this river flows and go do something else. Go be of service. Help an old lady with her groceries. Clean out your closet and give your old clothes to a homeless shelter. Go pester your Uncle John since he's out there with you and deserves it.
Sounds like a plan.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Blogstipation

Definition: oh, please...you can figure it out. I simply cannot think of a thing to blog about that's worth reading. I could do one on the worst behavior of 2009 but there are just too many to cull through and we already know who'd win. Tiger for being the biggest cheat and John Edwards for being the most political cheatin' son of a gun to cheat while on the campaign trail, and while his wife is terminal. See...that was easy.

Or, I considered briefly blogging on New Years Considerations. You know what I'm talking about...the stuff we all think about doing for the New Year. Some people call them "Resolutions" but to me, that's just a total set up for failure. And to then tell anyone that's what I plan to do is just verbal dynamite. Now, a consideration is different....I'm still thinking about it. No commitment, no failure. No harm, no foul. I can start "considering" at any time during the next 12 months, changes I might want/need to make, and then do them if/when I decide I'm ready. Hey....sounds loads better than a resolution, doesn't it, and I like the wiggle room.

Monday, December 28, 2009

She's here!


Avery has all her fingers--she's just gnawing on the middle one and acting all hungry. She weighed 7 lbs, 9 oz. and I have yet to find out how long she is--no one seems to know yet. And her hair is darker than Hudson's or Hadley's.
She was born at 12:34 pm and is adorable and no that's not me--that's my sister, Gretchen, or Go-Go, as her grand kids call her. Bruce and I are going to see her tonight, after dinner. I can't wait to unwrap this little enchilada!

2009 Buh bye

2009?? Not... going... to... miss... it... at... all, thank you very much. This year has not been easy for anyone and you can include me on that list. But it's also been one of incredible learning experiences so here's what I now know, cumulatively from the last 56 years. There won't be enough room for everything since I am really smart, so just go with me here.
Today I know that when my youngest son is trying to stuff everything he and his black belt shopper GF have collected, into her car, to drive back to Nashville, that it is not to the time to offer suggestions or opinions. Especially when you can feel his temperature rising, and the trunk won't close. Instead, I know to wander aimlessly back into the house and pour another cup of coffee and to take my time doing it. Since I will not be riding in the car for the next 9+ hours, this is not my business. I DO NOT HAVE AN OPINION HERE. (Or at least not one anybody wants to hear.) Opinions are like eye brows--every body's got them but nobody really cares about mine except me. Take note here. This is a vital lesson I have learned.

Next on my list is, just because I think it doesn't mean I have to say it or that it's even true. Especially if it's an opinion (or critical comment). Opinions aren't facts, contrary to what a lot of people think. And feelings aren't facts either. Both facts and opinions can change, if your mind is open to knew information. Note the word "if".
Today I know talking with my sons is a lot harder than it used to be....questions are a no-no. Statements are better. The less questions I ask them, the more likely they are to share with me. And if I want them to feel safe sharing with me, there better not be any judgement or criticism of what they say. I have learned to say the word the word "Hmmmmm" as I nod my head, indicating they have my full attention. It can also be accompanied by a flash elevation of one or both eyebrows, to indicate "wow...I'm still listening", if necessary. Once when I went for a long period with out giving any opinions I was told to "quit saying hmmmm and just tell me what you think". How refreshing is that...one of them actually wanted my opinion.

And in order to be safe for my sons to share with , I have to be willing to not repeat things they tell me, I have to remember they are adults with adult lives of their own, and while they used to be my little boys, they are now grown men. You'd think this would be easy--it's not.
Otherwise, I'm just an embarrassing mom....the kind they roll their eyes about. I have to constantly be on guard for where my life ends and theirs begins. There's no overlap anymore like there was when they were little. If I want them to want to be around me, I have to learn the rules and use them. Respect them and treat them just like I would a friend.
Wow...big stuff. For me, anyway.

P. S. Welcome, Anna...glad you outed yourself!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Avery Caroline Groth

Avery will c-section her way into the world right around lunch time today and I can hardly wait to see her, especially since none of us thought she'd stay in the hopper this long. She's bound to have tacked on a little extra weight which is a good thing for a newborn. ( Not so great for a great aunt of a certain age but I guess there's always Jenny Craig for that.) Since she's a c/s, her head will be all nice and round and not all cone headed so she should be camera ready at delivery.

As I am hopelessly un-hip, I just now found out about the Santa app. for iPhone users that has Santa call your kids/grand kids....or whoevers children you really want to mess with. And his picture shows up on the iPhone. Man....just think of the mileage you could get out of that....the possibilities for good kid behaviour are just endless.

This year sparked a new category for Christmas gift wrap at our house. No, it was not the no box, last minute watcha gonna do wrap, exactly. This was the "white business envelope category"...yep, it was a new one for me, too. But here's the clincher.....it was all decorated with a winter scene drawing, in ink, with Santa and his tiny sleigh flying away, up in the left hand corner, and mountains and snow covered trees. And it was hilarious. Since I had not had more than half a cup of coffee, I was a little bit rough (OK...maybe a lot rough) opening it, otherwise a picture of it would be posted here. This entry has set an all new parameter for gift wrap around our house. We are w-a-y past trash bag wraps, folks. This was high art.
I'll post a pic of Avery as soon as I have one for all the baby lovers. All 4 of you all who are followers. To any Lurkers, come on and join the followers--they won't bite.

I want it...and I want it NOW


Oh, man...I've got it bad for a Big Green Egg. I soooo wanna be an Egghead. I just can't help myself. But I've made it almost three weeks since I heard about them so my Big Egg detox program must be working. For anyone not in the know, a Big Green Egg is a ceramic grill, smoker, outdoor cooker extraordinaire, that literally does it all. You can even bake a pie on the damn thing.
I've researched them on the internet and tasted smoked chicken cooked on it so now I just need to rob a 7-Eleven in order to pay for one of these babies.
For the price, though, you at least ought to be able to sleep in it or drive it or something...and naturally, I want the package--the whole samoa, baby. None of this piecing it together stuff. Oh, no. And then I'm going to thaw half of the freezer contents, fire it up (it only takes ten minutes) , pile it on, and go watch a movie.
There's just one little problem....someone around here who technically would be directly benefiting from my Egg, has not volunteered to buy it for me. And that's a problem. For him.
Now, yes, I could spring for this myself.....but that wouldn't be any fun, would it?

Saturday, December 26, 2009

This could work



I have a solution to the surge needed for Afghanistan and Iraq. How about we round up all the after Christmas shoppers--the mall crazies--and ship them over to fight. Clearly these people have the fighting mentality....hey, they're at the mall fighting for bargains. All we'd have to do is retrain them--credit card vs gun. Both are weapons. And then we could do a little land mine, IED, and weaponry training and voila' ....instant army. Shoot....they're already used to carrying bags of heavy stuff so they're practically combat ready.
Attire might be a problem, however. I'm not thinking those baggy camo wanna be suits are going to be a big seller with the mall crowd but maybe a designer could work on that...... and the boots....well, right now there's nothing hotter than boots so that parts easy. Boot style could be an issue but once they're over there, what are they going to say....."I don't like my boots".... and who do you think is gonna listen? That would be nobody.
I'm thinking we could get our government to start a few Starbucks over there....sort of a nice comfort measure and we're thinking of you type gesture for the shoppers turned snipers. I know caffeine is totally verboten to both cultures but hey, these are American mall shoppers. They're gonna need lots of caffeine, and that familiar paper cup with the plastic lid that just says home (mall).

Food could be our biggest obstacle....mall food is just not going to be do-able over there but I bet they'd get used to those MRE's (meals ready to eat) eventually, and if they're on base, they get military cuisine--whatever that is. Jello, powdered eggs, whatever.
Folks, this could work.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Yahoo..it's over!


Halleluiah!! Christmas 2009 is in the can. 364 more days until we get to/have to do this again. And I couldn't be more thrilled since it just seems like Christmas and the ensuing build up to Christmas, lasts too dang long. I'm talking months here. Seems like it starts right around Halloween... and somehow we just leap frog right over Thanksgiving, and hit the gas for Dec. 25th. After Health Care gets handled maybe we can propose a bill to slow down Christmas and limit it to just 2 or 3 weeks. I could do that.......and oh, baby.....what a relief. I'm not humbugging here....just keepin' it real.

Christmas around our house was great....I went to let one of the dogs out this morning only to find a pellet gun right beside the front door. Gee....nothing says Christmas like a gun by the door.
We've opened, eaten, watched, slept, eaten, eaten and eaten some more. I am exhausted.
Merry Kwanza to all and Felix Navidad.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Roll update

I'm still not so sure about the yeast I used though I did check to see if maybe it was Rapid Rise. It wasn't. I made up a pan of rolls for my favorite nephews on Bruce's side. FYI: they are the only other boys besides ours so they can be my favorites with no hurt feelings. I plopped said pan high atop the freezer for it's four house snooze. Around 4pm I preheated the oven and checked the rolls. Goooooood night....they rose up to touch the foil covering them so, off came the foil and into the 350 degree oven they went. I don't remember having rolls rise like that before but whatever.
I don't know what it is but these just looked different, too. And they took a tad bit longer to cook--to get that nice even lovely light brown color that just flat says "pass the butter". Anyway, since I wasn't sure how they'd taste, I was forced to try one. You can't send weird rolls to your nephews. And that's when the trouble started. I slathered butter on the first one--hot and slightly crusty around the edges and soft and tender in the middle. Since I still wasn't 100% positive, I offered one to my yardman who'd come in for a glass of water. (And, yes, we are still blowing up leaves at our house.) I was assured that perhaps at least one or more more roll(s) should be further tested with the required slathering of butter, just to be sure these rolls were OK to give away.
Suffice it to say, the rolls never made it to my nephews. We ate some (oh, yeah), I gave some to my elderly neighbor, still hot from the oven, and then ran some to my mom, a few block away. Poof. Gone.
Sorry guys. Maybe next round.

Alien in my refrigerator

Holy smokes....I opened the refrigerator to grab the Fat Free cream for my coffee and my annual roll dough had come to life. When I made it yesterday afternoon, I decided to t-r-y putting it in a little bit smaller bowl than I usually use, for space saving sake. Last night I noticed it was pushing against the foil covering but I figured Heavy Duty foil was just that--heavy duty--so I'd be OK.
Well, no. The yeast I used must be on steroids since it not only pushed up the foil, but crept over the side, and down the edge of the bowl. It's a miracle it didn't eat one of the dogs.
I have since tamed that beast--I pulled out the old favorite giant yellow bowl that I snitched from mom thirty years ago when I moved into my first place. You know the kind I'm talking about--the set of nesting bowls that are each a different color and every family in America is required to have. Sort of like a birth certificate. You have to have these. Anyway, my dough is now resting quietly in a lightly greased familiar bowl, waiting to be turned into homemade rolls later today.

This is another one of those once a year things I just have to do---and when I got my Kitchen Aid Artisan mixer a few years ago, I was about to stroke to use that dough hook. I don't know why...probably the novelty of it but it just had to happen. And it was worth it just to see what it does. Now I use both the paddle (first to mix more evenly) and then the hook to finish off the dough. Oh, I do love cooking toys.
So, late today my plan is to get out my favorite wooden bread dough board, turn on the Christmas music, grab some flour and the tins for the rolls and let it rip. Ahhhhh, nirvana. Nothing like rolling out that dough, cutting it, dipping it in melted butter, and plopping it folded in half, into the tin with it's brother rolls. Then it's either covered, tagged, & gifted with instructions on how to let it rise, or it gets loosely covered and placed on top of my freezer in the Utility room, to go nite-nite and rise. Four hours later, into a 350 degree oven until cooked. Oh, yeah..... And did I mention the smell.....of hot cooking yeast rolls?? Oh, Lordy.

For those of you who enjoy a visual--here it is. Part of my annual roll making is all about my attire, and, no, I'm not wearing an ugly Christmas sweater, although that might be deemed an improvement. Instead, I am in my most favorite cooking ensemble: my scrubs & clogs. Quite a look, I admit. It's sort of hard to decide if I look like I'm cooking or resuscitating something.

The human tsunami (Benji) just rolled in from a night on the town ( sleeping elsewhere--like there was any sleep, please) so maybe I will be resuscitating someone--with breakfast.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Judson..Judson...Judson

Brian (Crashman, my oldest son) has a good buddy named Judson. Suffice it to say, Judson can cook the best smoked pulled pork in Dallas County. And, no, he is not from Texas. (He could also talk the paint off a wall but that's another story.) Judson also makes this incredible smoky flavored mustard that is just flat to die for. You could put it on ice cream and it would taste good. I have offered to supply the beer if he will teach me how to do the pork and the mustard. He did not bite. So, I toned down the offer...how about just the mustard since that's what I really wanted anyway. His response: " I'll make you some but I can't give you the recipe. I may open my own restaurant some day." Oh, man......those are fightin' words. You have a recipe and you don't share it???? We'll just see about that. And what does he think old momma Harris is gonna do, sell the mustard recipe?? Start her own restaurant?? Please.
Crashman delivered the above harsh news Sunday night after he and Judson returned from the Ranch. Ha. Gottcha, Judson. Crashman and I have decided to sit back and apply the slow squeeze to our mustard friend. Brian said "I'm gonna scoreboard him, mom". Brian, if I know him well, will now use every possible opportunity to mention to Judson, in front of a crowd, all the trips to the Farm, the Ranch, and times Judson's cooked over at their house. Not to mention the recent "decon" Brian and pals did to Judson's apartment that would otherwise have had him condemned by the Health Department. Apparently, Judson likes cats. Use your imagination. No wonder he cooks somewhere else. Gag.

Poor Judson...he has no idea what being tag teamed by the Harris's can be like.....but he's about to find out. I can probably figure out the mustard recipe but that'd take all the fun out of this.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Christmas Prep--I'm on it

I have popped the clutch on my Christmas prep. The dog's beds and blankets have been washed, one dog has been bathed, ears cleaned and....well...I won't mention the rest. But Wiggles (15 yr. old male chocolate/tan dachshund) is ready for Christmas. At 15, maybe he needs to be. Now, Sister (7 yr. old black/tan female) is simply a different story because she is as heavy as a boat anchor and to lift her up to my farmhouse sink in the kitchen is worse than 50 push ups, so she becomes Bruce's job. I don't mind bathing her--even if she is a whale--I just then have to "decon/de-dog" the sink. Since they are "Big Love", I'll leave that to the two of them. Sis thinks that because Bruce shoots the squirrels that taunt her (pellet gun) , he is George Clooney. Mr. Clooney then lets her carry the squirrel to the trash where quite often she won't "drop it" when told to. Just another female who doesn't do what she's told...nothing new there. Since Muffin (15 yr. old Egyptian Mau cat) got a bath for Thanksgiving, he's done as far as I'm concerned. He fights like an Al Quaida terrorist when you bathe him so he's clean enough for Santa in my book. He also turns on his plumbing to gross you out but that's a whole other story.

Anywho, I've also just finished making my favorite cookies that I only make once a year, Viennese Crescents. I got the recipe from a friend of Bruce's who is an incredible cook. Peggy could cook the phone book and make it taste good. And she's got all the cooking toys, too. She doesn't have just one torch to caramelize sugar--oh, no. She has three or four, in differing sizes. I don't know if welders have that many. Anyway, her cookies are supposed to be shaped in half moons, if you are that crazy. Peggy said one of her son's used to painstakingly shape the "moon cookies" every year from the time he was little until he went to cooking school and became a chef. (Peggy has since decided that blows and just rolls her's in logs, cuts slices, and then makes little balls. Oh, hell yeah, Peggy.)
So, after my first cookie sheet of balls, I decided to try half moons. Wrong, Mary Lou. At first I thought it was just my technique, or lack there of. Nope. They still looked like old ladies toes--all old and gnarly looking. I patted, I rolled. Nothing. Even a good podiatrist couldn't have helped these. So I just put them in the oven. What came out was arthritic looking swollen fingers. Egad.... I figured rolling them in the powdered sugar might help disguise them a little bit....and a little bit was right. But, boy, they tasted good. No...make that great.
Next will be my annual fudge, better known around our house as "ferdge". The back story on "ferdge" involved a little boy named Phillip, a "ferdgesicle", and a wonderful black housekeeper who was hilarious. To this day, I can look at my sister and say "ferdge", and she will LOL. Guaranteed. Every time.
Some traditions are still worth the hassle if they make you laugh and remember.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Had and Hud update

Today I am delivering all things Christmas to the piglets. For those of you not in the know, Hudson and Hadley are my sister's current two grandchildren--we have one in the starting gate waiting for the bell, as we speak. Avery just missed her chance at sharing my birthday Tuesday--despite everything I tried to coax her out, she was not budging. Good for her. Every girl need her own birthday. I just hope she doesn't arrive on Christmas. Yikes....talk about sharing.....eeesh.

Anyway, Hudson is getting a "crushed velvet looking" batman cape that's machine washable. That boy is gonna fly in style. And I especially like the machine washable feature--you never know when a boy may crash and burn. Believe me...I know. We used to have one Superman cape and two boys. Do you even need to guess who was always Robin....ummm....that would be Benji. Until Bruce's mom made a Batman cape for them--and then it was cape du jour. They flew everywhere--off the rope swing, off the climbing thingy in the front yard, across their beds--you name it. So, I think I'm pretty safe in guessing Hudson may like his. If not, I know his sidekick, Hadley, will. My read on her, so far, is she'll be the one, later on, in the fabulous ball gown with her cowboy boots underneath. My kind of gal.

Right now, at almost three, she's into all things girl (and boy). So, with that as my main objective, Had is getting a soft cotton "girly" purse, with a dog in it. And a book about "Where's the Dog". The dog is obviously part of the purse thing but you sure could have fooled me. They(the dogs) were actually kind of ugly but what do I know. I tried to swap out a dog for a nicer looking one, but they were sewn in. Oh, I get it...the old ugly purse/cute dog or vice versa routine. According to the lady at Toy's Unique, all the "littles" want these and I guess they must--she had a display full of them.

And the best part?? They actually wrap the gifts for you. Now, admittedly, the wraps weren't beautiful but they were perfect for little people--right down to the blue Christmas paper for boys and the red Christmas paper for girls. And even a sticker for the To: From: part. Man....I know who's getting my business from now on.

Woo hoo!

I am thrilled to say I now have three whole followers, the third of which is definitely one of the funniest men alive-- none other than Mr. Steve Massanelli of I Need More Coffee fame. (I just hope I can handle all the pressure of three followers.) Anyway, Steve's blog is w-a-y hilarious and he's all fancy--he can add pictures and lots of other interesting stuff. Me? Let's just say I'm a work in progress. But I am working on it. Just not that hard.

I borrowed a book on blogs from one of Bruce's cousins and it might as well be pig Latin....even though it has a glossary of all things blog. Swell. I know what some of them are--just not a clue how to do some of them. The book says" adding images and sidebar information is pretty simple".....well, thank you for that confidence booster. Now just tell me, in the King's English, how the heck to do it.

Blog terms you may already know that I was clueless about: Doppleblogger (someone who plagiarizes other blogs), Lurker (someone who never comments and takes an occasional look), or a Blogebrity (famous blogger--that would be Steve M. above). And there are a gabillion more most of which are so techie they give me a headache.

And you should see some of these blogs--they are beeee-u-ti-ful and oh, soooo creative. These people look like they must be set designers or stylist. Maybe that's what I need....a blog stylist.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Internet Purchase

Welllllll....damn it. My first ever Internet purchase that arrived, and didn't work. Puuuuulease. I did some cost comparisons and searches for a new flat screen TV for my kitchen. My old TV, and I stress the word old, had developed an annoying habit of emitting a heinous high pitched squeal that dogs one street over could probably hear. Bruce's solution: just whack the TV real hard on both sides and while this worked for a little while, it was clearly not a long term solution. So my search ensued.

I found one I liked, but the real question with a smaller TV these days is sound--little TV equals little speakers. Think tin can quality sound and munchkin like voices. Whoa. The one I found seemed to be the best of the lot after several visits to local TV emporiums. Trying to listen to the sound quality of a TV in Best Buy is just a no- go so don't even try it. (You will have your ear on the TV screen in order to hear and you will elicit lots of stares. Trust me on this.) I did go to Ed Kellum, though, and while I could have bought a Prada bag for their price, at least I could hear the damn TV. So, I hopped on the Internet, bought one and saved tons of dough, only to have it arrive, be hooked up, and have no picture. Sound was great-----picture....not so much. Probably just fine if you are blind but thankfully, I am not.

To make matter worse, the guy I used to like so much that lives here, too, shows me after a quick Internet search, that this TV has been noted as having this particular problem quite a bit. Wellllll......thank you for that bit of news, Mr. Smarty Pants.

Today my mission is to pack up the TV I previously liked, and mail that sucker back. Woo hoo. Can you even think of a more fun activity that going to the post office or the UPS store, right now, with everyone else in the free world who is trying to mail last minute gifts for Christmas? I can hardly wait. I may take a folding chair with me. And lunch.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

This just in....

I did not win the Mega Millions Lottery last night. Again. And I had such plans for that $73.8 mil (cash value).
In fact, I'm such a sorry player, I only had one number out of 5 quick pic's. How sad is that. Now, I do understand that winning is supposed to actually be a bad thing for a lot of people--people you didn't even know you knew ('cause you really don't) come out of the woodwork, looking for a hand out. Relatives descend thinking somehow they won something, and the hard feelings machine starts to roll.

Just ask my best friend, Oprah. She can tell you what a nightmare it's been to have her bundle, even though she earned hers. She has indicated you will never see a bigger pack of vultures than those around a stack of money. The lies, the back stabbing, the entitlement of people who think the world owes them a living based on who they think they are.

So actually, maybe not winning isn't such a bad thing. I really DO have everything I need today in God's world. And then some. And then some more.

OK. Fine. But I'm still going to play the Lottery.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Health Care Debate

OMG....the more I listen, the crazier I feel. Clearly we have to do something and unless your crystal ball works better than mine, no one has a perfect solution, despite all the blustering and grousing.

Are we going to get a message from on high telling us which path to take....duh, no. But instead of fighting, why not put our heads together and, collectively, see what we can come up with. I see so many ego's at work and not for the better--of anyone anywhere---while the clock continues to tick.

Why not ditch the egos, the party bias, the finger pointing, and the endless nattering and work together? Collaboration, anyone?

Does anyone in Congress even remember what that means....I don't think so.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Crashman update

Since a lot of people have been asking how Crashman is, I decided to go ahead and post here--that way Bruce and Charlotte (my 2 followers) will know. Brian is now walking without crutches or a cane and has been for several weeks, and has been driving since around Halloween. I think I had remarked on here earlier that the first time he walked in to the TV room where I was on the computer, unaided, I like to d-i-e-d. For this mom, that moment stood still in time and will remain so in my memory. The accompanying tennis ball in my throat feeling rushes back the second I think back about it. Whoa....big stuff.

Brian says that he can tell his TBI (traumatic brain injury) though mild, makes him more irritable, more easily. I personally can attest to that and it's going to just be a function of time for his brain to heal. He knows that also but it's not terribly comforting when you feel a real pisser coming on. He's a little more forgetful and sometimes I think that's a little scary for him. As he applies for jobs, irritability and forgetfulness do make you worry about your job performance. He said he can feel the irritability coming--he just can't throw the brakes on it yet.

He has three more PT sessions before they reevaluate him for more and he has a knee MRI scheduled for after Christmas to see if he might need any additional knee surgery. Sometimes his knee just feels a little "flimsy" but that may also be muscle related. We'll see. Then the first week of January he goes back to have his eyesight reevaluated. Since his head hit the pavement so hard even with a helmet, he has some slight vision loss in his right eye. He's already told me he's "not wearing glasses". Fine, dude. Wear contacts. Just see clearly.

He also has an EMG set up for his left leg after Christmas to determine to what point his peroneal nerve may have healed, and what part is left. This is the really fun test where they stick needles in you , wiggle them around, and then shoot electric current through the needles to not only stimulate the nerve, but track it. Forget water boarding--just use an EMG for terrorist who won't cooperate. I watched him have his arm EMG and it was truly not so fun.

His arms, hands, and fingers all work so well you'd never know he'd been injured unless you saw his scars on the inside of his forearms and at least they match. He is still a walking miracle in my book and I think about that all the time.

Not a day goes by that I don't think about Brian's crash. WOW. What a life altering event.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Curve ball

Yesterday was all about being a grown up--today I get to put it into practice, on a small scale. My wonderful Maria just called and is clearly sick. She has never been sick in all the time she has worked for me. EVER. So today, I am my own housekeeper. Is this what I had planned for today? Well, no. Can I clean my own house? Of course. I don't do near as good a job as Maria, that's for sure, but clean it I can. It occurred to be as I was starting a load of laundry just now, how this is really an opportunity to spend time reflecting today on how grateful I am for Maria--for being able to have a Maria--and all the other blessings in my life. If this is my biggest "problem" today, I've got some really high class problems, no?

I've decided to take a few shortcuts--I'm going to clean my shower while I'm in it. Seems like a reasonable idea and a green one at that. I'm not going to mop (at least at this point) unless it snows pink today. That will be the only sign I'll accept that the floors can't wait until next week. Another green idea and a water saver also. Vacuuming? Yep...I can do that (or my "assistant" can do it when he gets home). His bathroom? Welllllll....if I can find my HazMat gear, I'll give it a shot. If not, he can clean it while he's in it. More eco-green.

But the real thing here for me is, I am blessed that I am home and not working, my house is not large, I am able bodied, and I can take a break whenever I want to. Hey...I'm my own boss. And I get to spend the time being grateful. And burn a few calories. Not a bad deal.

What seemed like a disaster is now an opportunity. It's all in how you look at it.


Thursday, December 10, 2009

Growing up

I think it's finally happened or is happening. I'm getting it. Instead of dwelling on things that didn't turn out my way or the way I think they should have, I can let it go and move on. I can forgive and not forget--because that's where the lesson is in the not forgetting part. If I forget, I'm liable to make the same mistake again. I can forgive and not have to "judge" someone else, although I must admit, that's one I still have to work on daily. I don't have to like something to accept it--but the acceptance of things just the way they are is where my freedom lies.

I don't want to drag around old baggage, keeping score and a tally of who done me wrong. Geeze, that takes a lot of energy, never feels good, and nothing positive ever results from it. That's just too heavy a load for this girl.

Where I used to get confused is not in the forgiving part, but the part where people want you to be OK with behavior (theirs) that for me, is unacceptable. A lot of times, the expectation is, "well, yeah...it was wrong but that's just who I am and that's just how I roll". My perspective: ""yeah..it was wrong all right and if that's who you are and how you roll, I'm going to believe you, and adios." I just don't want to be around people who play like that and if that's your game, you won't be seeing me. Looking back over old relationships, I now see how it was truly expected by some to just accept that's who they were, and that I was the bad guy if I didn't "understand" those were the rules. Their rules. And horror of horrors....if I walked away and said "see ya...that doesn't work for me", I was branded "pariah, maverick, difficult" etc.

The good news: today being a maverick is my most favorite thing about myself. Hell....I've always been one and today I'm proud of that fact. I didn't say I've always been graceful about it--hardly--but I no longer "pretend" something is OK with me, when it's not. I don't throw a major fit --I just "disappear" quietly, and don't say anything I'll have to apologize for later. And this goes for family, too. Sometimes it's just easier to love someone at a distance. Being a grown up is all about making choices for myself. What works--what doesn't.

What freedom.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tiger, Tiger, Tiger....

OK...I don't get this. How could Tiger have been either having affairs or even just one night stands with ten women (so far), and someone not blabbed about it before now? How do you juggle that many women and not get outed to the media, much less have your wife not be on to you? Even if all your transgressions take place out of town, didn't anybody else see what was going on? Tiger in bars, Tiger in casinos. You know they did. But why the silence?? Did all these women think they were the only one doing it with Tiger? If he'll do it with you, he'll do it to you, sweetie. W-a-k-e up.

And these women he's been with....good Lord, ladies. You knew who he was, and being a public figure, you had to know he was married. When I read somewhere that one of them (Rachel Uchitel) was mad that Tiger "cheated on her", I wanted to throw up. Hello, Rachel.....what do you think you were doing to Tiger's wife, Elin?

When I woke up this morning and Bruce told me the count was up to ten women and that someone from Tiger's home had been taken to the hospital (Elin's mom), that just did it for me. Bruce also mentioned that Elin had moved out, according to Bruce's favorite "guy" radio show, The Ticket. I hope to heck she has. YOU GO, GIRL, and keep on going. Take those kids, head for the bank and clean Tiger out, and then head for Sweden.

Tiger's only hope now is to get treatment for his sex addiction some place like Hazleden or Sierra Tucson and try to move on with his life. I believe his sponsors will stick with him because 1) they never thought to put a morals clause in a Tiger Woods contract 2) if he gets help and then goes on Oprah with his story, all will be forgiven by the public 3) guys really don't care what other guys do and when someone with a reputation as previously spotless as Tiger's, takes a fall, they all kind of secretly enjoy it--and the joke mill it provides.

Wow...addiction comes in a shapes and sizes, doesn't it???

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Guys

This morning I was in the kitchen watching my favorite Sunday morning show, CBS News Sunday Morning. I have to give credit where credit is due--Bruce did turn me on to this show --and I especially love the quiet nature shot at the end. Anyway, this morning they had a story on High School Glee clubs and they showed one particular group on TV, that was the "Stage club" or something like that. All that means is that they are supposed to be able sing and dance. And that's where I lost it...the guys were soooo freaking uncoordinated and goofy looking trying to m-o-v-e to the music, and sing, that it was just painful to watch. And these were the best that high school had to offer. And their facial expressions were so weird--they didn't match the movement or the song. A stroke maybe, but not a dance.
What is it about most guys that they just can't sing and move at the same time, without looking like the Tin Man?

I remember several trips to OU for We Sing where the fraternities and sororities were matched up, and had to write and perform a musical skit. Bruce and I would about choke to death trying to smother our laughter. You never knew whose parents you might be sitting next to so we tried to behave, but a few of those those big crowd dance numbers where the whole cast has to do a choreographed dance?? Nuh, huh....I was laughing into my purse as I struggled for breath.

And what about gift wrapping.....have you seen what guys can do to a simple box? Three rolls of tape later, and a horrendous gimped up "sorta" bow, and I am rolling on the floor howling. And they always say the same thing..."whaaaaat...it doesn't look that bad..." to which I scream out laughing, again. And so do they. It's almost become a contest at our house to see what they can do although sadly, they have lately taken the typical guy shortcut of gift cards and just put them on the tree. Hey...no fair...we wanna see the wrap job. What's still my most favorite is the last minute, no box, watchagonna do "wrap". That's when almost all the paper is gone and there's not much ribbon left, either. I wish I had video footage of some of the stuff my guys have done. I could easily win America's Funniest Video.

Maybe this needs to be a new category in the Winter Olympics. We'd have to test for performance enhancing substances, though, so you know what that means--no duct tape.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Club houses...beware

Last night was rough-especially for our 15 year old cat, Muffin. Muff is usually a pretty easy going guy if you factor in his advanced age and that he has very few teeth. And did I mention he's skinny...OK maybe scrawny is more like it. I bet he has the (body) fat content of a rice cake. Thin though he is, he still has his Egyptian Mau good looks and charcoal polka dots. He was wearing eye liner w-a-y before it was cool and the skin on the bottom of his pads can only be compared to expensive leather--buttery soft and smooth. He's just the best, asthma and all.

Muff waits on the bed every morning until I get up and then the yowling to be fed begins. He likes to get a yowl going and hold one note as... long... as... he... can. Sort of like toddlers who hold their breath--it's all about control--and he can hold one note for cat eternity.
He's been known to try to whisker me awake in the morning to speed things along but knows that's not a real smart idea. Or, he runs back and forth across the upper part of my pillow while my head is still on it, to "encourage" me to get up. Funny guy.

Anyway, due to his scrawniness, he gets cold summer or winter. I have taught him to go under the bed covers to "the club house" to get warm and when he will, he gets toasty and goes right to sleep. For you club house novices, a club house is the tent your knees make when you bend them underneath the sheets and when a fur bearing animal scoots up close to your legs, it rapidly becomes a sauna. Welllllll....that's how we went to sleep but I did put my legs down, over beside him. I don't care if he is 15--I'm not sleeping in a jack knife position all night.

And that's when the trouble started. Our alarm system went off for some unknown reason in the middle of the night, I woke up Bruce, then sat up, Muffin snoozily stretched, and he fell off the bed--into the cold dark. He... didn't... come... back... for... hours... and when he finally did, no club house for him....ohhhhh, no. He was barely speaking to me.
Tonight I think the club house is gonna be a really tough sell. Maybe it's time to make him his own little cat bed, on the bed. Knowing him, he'll hate it.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Holiday sadness...in case it hits you

To those who encounter some seasonal holiday dysfunction, loss, sickness, or other devastation, please take care of yourself and get help. I don't care where you go or to whom--and if you need help finding someone, call me or email me or even comment on this blog, and I'll help you find someone. Just do it. Do whatever it takes to take care of yourself in a healthy way instead of suffering along, alone. Ditch the booze or pills as a stress reliever if that's your deal. Ditto food--except chocolate--in reasonable amounts. Wait a minute...there's no such thing as a reasonable amount of chocolate. Pffff.

This time of year can be just a bear for some people--lots of people--who otherwise you'd never know were struggling. Instead of getting all caught up in the frenzy, give yourself permission to nap, kick back, do less--instead of more. I guarantee your body will feel the difference and so will your family. Even if you are single, don't apply societies "norms" to yourself where you always come out on the short end of the stick. Nope. Not gonna do it. Instead, do something meaningful and kind for yourself. Like what? OK...what do you enjoy? If it's cooking, do it and then share it with others. Or better still, watch the cooking shows and lie on the couch. No muss--no fuss. If it's reading, head to Half Price books and let yourself go wild on a few well chosen reads. Heck...get a chair massage and a coffee while you're there. Whatever it is you enjoy, do it. Just be kind and gentle to yourself. Have fun. Alone if necessary. No stress.

Build yourself a family if you want--one you choose. Anybody can be a member as long as you want them. These are the people who in a time of crisis, just show up to do the heavy lifting. Quietly. No medals required. They "get it", accept you right where you are, and if you're really lucky, make you laugh so hard you cry. Or, they're the people you feel safe with no matter what it is you need to say or do. They don't have to agree with you--they just support whatever choice you make. Where do you find these people? Keep your eyes open, watch and listen. They come in all shapes and sizes and they don't always look like you expect they might. Angels never do.



Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Whew....

Thank you, Tiger, for manning up and admitting you screwed up royally. Now...let's move on. I frankly know more than I ever wanted or needed to about the Wood's personal life. Best of luck, dude...your going to need it.

Here's my question: Are you a great gift giver? Because I'm not. I love to give gifts--I'm just not that original or clever. Some people are truly black belt gifters. They remember everything you've ever said you liked and gift you with it later. Or, they know what you enjoy and then some how pull it together in a cool gift. And it's always something you'd love to have but would just never buy for yourself.

I think the real deal here is, I don't really like to shop. I know that's heresy...no woman is ever supposed to utter those words, but it's the truth. Unless it for cars, I'm not really all that interested. And not just any cars--good cars. If it's just some sorry old Pinto, count me out. There's just something about cars that really revs my engine. And flowers. Oh, yeah...another biggie. And jewelry. GOOD jewelry. Common denominator here? Expense. Ooops.
Everybody whose surprised, raise your hand.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

I am just pissed

Why is it guy's have to think with their **** instead of with their brain? I am so hacked at Tiger Woods for his alleged "dalliance" with that hooker looking wanna be, I could just scream. Gee, Tiger....have you looked at your wife lately....she's not exactly a hag and what about your two precious children? Could you not keep it zipped for them even if you can't for you wife?

Now, I admit I don't know anything about the Wood's personal life and I don't want to. I do appreciate that Tiger has refused to discuss it since "it ain't nun o' my bidness anyway", not to mention the rest of the worlds'. But, c'mon, dude....grow up....this isn't high school....when you choose to be a public figure it doesn't give you a free pass in the stupid department. Why is it guys ego rest squarely below their waist, above their knees ??

As for Tiger's wife, good for you, sweetie, that you didn't kill him with that sand wedge 'cause I sure might have. From the news reports, sounds like old Elin got her point across without even cracking his skull. Now that's what I call a lady.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

My own version of The Help

This is a shameless plug for my new favorite book, The Help. It took me straight back to my childhood of Arvela Gaston and Eva Lou Sims--the two black ladies who raised me. Actually, Arvela really raised me--Eva Lou was just there in the beginning. They were both my white starched uniform world and I loved them more than anything or anybody. As I was number three, I spent a lot of time with them and Arvela taught me everything I know about cooking. I would stand on a chair up next to the "stove", as she called it, and my job was to stir whatever it was she was making--whether it needed it or not. Unless it was hot grease for fried chicken and then this baby chile wasn't allowed anywhere near that stove or I'd get pretend "whupped" with a wooden spoon. Law...she would have killed herself "if something had happen to her baby white chile".

Eva Lou was the one who fixed our hair in the tightest pony tail God ever created. That was back in the rubber band era and it hurt like hell to have that rubber band pulled out so I used to beg for Eva Lou to just cut it. She'd pull my hair so tight I swear I looked like I'd had one of those Miracle Lifts on TV--my face was literally s-t-r-e-t-c-h-ed. Arvela made the droopiest pony tail but it didn't hurt--it didn't stay up--but it didn't kill ya either.

I only remember Arvela bathing me probably because I was afraid Eva Lou might hold me under water. I remember being toweled dry with those gnarly brown hands and then powdered up with bath powder before she put on my nightgown. I even remember the step stool we had in our bathroom so I could brush my teeth, and our bathroom was that 1950's yellow tile.

Eva Lou scared me to death after she held me over the washing machine while it was going. Conveniently, I've forgotten what I did to make her that mad but Arvela saved me--that much I do remember. When I told my mom on Eva Lou, mom either didn't believe me or just figured so what...she had three children under four years of age so unless she wanted to be maid hunting, as long as Eva Lou didn't put me in the washer, no harm was done. Thank God when Eva Lou quit to go to Nursing School. Maybe she was just a tad under challenged with us. Or just flat mean. Either way, gone was good.

Arvela could fry chicken you will only ever taste again in heaven and taught me to make potato salad that I still make to this day. It's just never as good as her's. I remember loving to watch her iron...spritz with water...hit it with the iron....sizzle....stroke......ahhhh...smooth fresh clean cotton. This was w-a-y before spray starch so her starch came out of the box and went in to the final rinse. Lawsie...no clothes ever smelled so good.

You never forget the people who raise you, no matter who they are or what color their skin is. I can still hear Arvela's laugh to this day and boy, do I miss her chicken.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

I am Thankful...

....that my jeans still zip even after lunch today
....that gravy is a food group
....that Paula Deen's sweet potato recipe is published and has no marshmallows
....that the weather was purrrrfect to sit outside around our fire pit all afternoon, smoke poufing
....that chocolate meringue pie was ever invented--God bless whoever came up with it
....that robes don't have a waist and are "adjustable"
....that great books and fun reads still happen
....that fat wood sticks exist--makes fire starting so easy without gas
....that I got to be with my family and extended family today and everyone was healthy
....that I have good health, a roof over my head, food, and electricity

I am truly blessed and count my blessings daily. Happy Turkey Day.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Near disaster avoided

Holy smokes.....my cornbread dressing for tomorrow was almost dead on arrival. My recipe calls for 3 boxes of corn bread mix, made according to the directions. No problem. I got that done a few days ago and put it in a zip lock in the fridge. Feeling all "cooking show", I pre-chopped my onions and celery so I could saute' with minimal hassle when ready to assemble. I browned my sage pork sausage and sauteed my onions and celery in the remaining fat, per the recipe. Oh, baby, I was all over it. I dumped in the seasonings, cornbread, sausage, and onion and celery mix.
Clearly I was in the home stretch and feeling pretty cocky. I started dousing it all with chicken stock, stirring, dousing, stirring dousing. Moment of truth: I checked for seasoning to see what it might need.
As God as my witness, I almost hurled....what in the hell....it tasted like some sort of "funk" you'd step over if you saw it in the alley. I salted, I peppered, I stirred--- all to no avail. I tried to put perfume on that pig but it was still a pig and it tasted sweet and just nasty. No amount of CPR was going to save this beast.

After last rites over the trash, I realized I had gotten cornbread muffin mix-- not cornbread mix--- and it had sugar in it. Gag....no wonder. I'm happy to report my dressing is now made, again, and tastes great. I won't make that mistake again. And I'm going to be especially thankful tomorrow, with all the Harris clan and other guests assembled at the Farm, that I tasted that first recipe of dressing. I'd have never heard the end of it.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Hunger....up close and personal

Last year around the holidays, I had an eye opening conversation with Maria Martinez, who has been a part of our family and my personal shrink for years. There's no subject we haven't covered and none too tabu to tackle. She's one of my closest friends and I look forward to hearing her key in the lock on Tuesdays.

We were talking about our childhoods around Christmastime and things we remembered. I told her about my job every year of having to decorate the Christmas tree with our yardman--a task my mother assigned me--until I was old enough (and strong enough) to say hell no. I hate decorating trees to this day, though I loved our yardman. He would always try to make me laugh but it just wasn't exactly a warm fuzzy for me. I thought I had the best sob story until Maria told me about her childhood in Mexico.

It seems her dad was a bit of a drinker, skirt chaser, and though he made decent money, being faithful to Maria's mom was just not part of the deal. One year he took off permanently with the latest girlfriend, and left Maria's mom with eight children and zero pesos. Maria watched as her mom tried to scrape together enough money for food--never mind presents. Tears ran down her cheeks as she told me about the tiny tea set her mom got her baby sister, and the candy she made for the older children. She said it's a tradition in Mexico to make tamales for Christmas and her mom, being a proud, strong woman was not about to beg for money to make them for her children. And her dad, with all his money, did absolutely nothing to help out financially. He was too busy drinking and partying to even consider his children might be hungry. The staples for the tamales wasn't the hard part to come up with--it was the meat to go in the tamales that was the b-i-g problem. No money for food-- much less meat.

Christmas Eve came and suddenly out came all of the needed supplies for the tamales--including meat. Maria could not imagine how her mom could have come up with the meat. Into the kitchen they went, as a family, to make the tamales. The look in Maria's eyes, as she describes those tamales made me tear up. She was so proud of her mom and her ability to provide for her children--her work ethic, quiet strength, and her humility. Her kindness to all.

It was only a few years later that Maria realized where her mom had gotten the tamale meat. Around the same time of the need for the tamale meat, their family dog had "disappeared". Maria's mom told the children it must have run away.
For someone who has never missed a meal except by choice, the reality of hunger and a mother's love knocked the wind out of me. I had to sit down. I wondered if I could have done something that tough. I pray I never have to find out.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Hud and Had

I just realized the other day after I verbally let old Sarah Palin have it for having daughter Bristol in the audience at the Oprah interview, that it wasn't Bristol--it was her sister, Willow. OK...my bad. It doesn't make me like Palin any better---I just feel a huge sense of relief for Bristol.
My testosterone free zone continues since the guys are still gone but a huge cloud of it is headed my way. Benji is on the highway from Nashville headed home and Bruce and Brian are en route from the Ranch. They are headed to Kuby's for processing of Bruce's buck so I have a little more time to enjoy my girldom.

Yesterday I was finally able to record the The Night Before Christmas (Hallmark) book I had gotten for my sister's two grandchildren. I never thought I'd throw myself under the Hallmark bus, but I did. Once I saw it on a commercial, I had to have one. Since I don't have any grand kids, I borrow hers and get to do all the fun stuff with them. We bake cookies, we go on walks, we read books, we just piddle. I've spent the night with Hudson as a newborn and he spent the weekend with me so his parents could attend a wedding. I have been strongly cautioned by both sons not to use it all up on Aunt Gretchen's grand kids. Whatever.
Hudson is three, almost four, and Hadley is two, almost three and they are the funniest children I know. (Avery Caroline is still in the hopper and will make her first appearance right after Christmas.) OK, back to the book. It wasn't hard to do but I did cuss a couple of times when I screwed up so I had to re-record. Nothing new there.

I ran by yesterday and dropped off the book for the kids in the mailbox, since no one was home. Later in the afternoon, I got a hilarious thank you call from Hadley being coached by her mom in the background. At the end of some gibberish, she screamed THANK YOU and hung up. Welllll....that was wonderful but now I had to talk to Hudson. When I called, he heard his mom say AC (Aunt Caroline) which is what they call me, and he headed over to the phone. First he wanted to know "how did you make that book have your voice?" I tried to explain it was a special book that could do that. No good. "But how did your voice say that book?......And why did you give me that book with your voice in it"? OK, now I'm really laughing and so is his mom. I told him I wanted him to have a Christmas book that he and Hadley could share and hear a Christmas story, with me reading to them, anytime they wanted to. Here's his three year old response: "Why didn't you just come over"?

Kids....they're just the greatest.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Ahhhh...sweet freedom

As of this morning, I am existing in a testosterone free home for the next twenty four hours. Bruce and Brian are deer hunting in Throckmorton, Texas, and Benji's not here yet for Thanksgiving. It's quiet, there are no hunting shows or football on TV--in fact, right now it's totally silent except for my keyboard pecking. Even the dogs are quiet.

So far I have cooked a little, read the paper & had coffee, run a few errands, picked out some beee-u-tiful flowers to send friends as a thank you, and had a facial. Ahhh....being a girl sooo rocks. I spent a good twenty minutes, unhurried, picking out the flowers & looking for just the right container since a) I LOVE flowers and b) so does my friend c) there was a fat sleeping cat in the store that I love named "Sofa". Flowers and a cat? How good does it get?

We went with neighbors last night to the Screen Door for dinner and then to see Billy Crystal at the new Windspear Opera House. He was hilarious and it made me wish that gentiles had the same relationship with each other that the Jewish seem to have. His Jewish humor was for everyone but you could just tell those in the audience that were Jewish, really got it.
I was not overly impressed with the new Winspear. Give me the Mort Myerson anyday. And as it has already been pointed out in the press, they need lots more or larger capacity "facilities", for the ladies. Guys? Who cares about them...they don't even wash their hands and can group pee in a trough for all I care.

Ahhh, being female is bliss.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Parkland ....you've gotta love it

Yesterday was the check donation drop off to Parkland. It went off without a hitch. And Parkland is still Parkland. Here's what went down: Brian and I were to meet in the hospital lobby. I was stuck in traffic so I called to tell him to go on up, and I'd be right behind him. As it worked out, I beat him there and made it to 8E only a few minutes late. NO Brian. Finally, old one crutch shows up.

Moment of truth: they want to snap a photo of Brian and me with Parkland Leadership Team and Brian is giving me the noooooooo look ...not now...not ever, hairy eyeball. I'd rather wear Sarah Palin's ugly shoes than be photographed. Ditto Brian. So it was a war of "the look" between us. You know the kind...the big stare down. The one who blinks first has to do it. Since Brian has direct Harris mule genes, I knew I was not going to win this one. Brian could out wait a rock. I caved.

Once snapped, I said my good bye's and took off. Truthfully, I was disappointed not to see a few of my favorite staff people but reminded my ginormous ego that Webb, Charlotte, Joyce, Tanya, etc. do actually have jobs to do and to just get over myself.

I was almost home when Brian called me asking "where are you"? Huh? Whaaaat? I'm on my way home, remember? It seems there was a small gathering downstairs by Physical Therapy on the first floor, where staff had gathered to say thank you, only no one had told Brian or me about it. As much as I would have loved to see everyone again, I loved it that Brian was the only one there to accept the thank you's.

The last and final funny? Cindy Scott, the Foundation officer I'd been working with gave me a small token from Parkland, in a little white box with a purple bow. Very kind. She stressed it was just a token. I forgot about it until this morning. Want to guess what was in it?
Nothing. It was empty, and I just about spit coffee all over the kitchen, laughing. You gotta love Parkland.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

It just wasn't what I expected.....

Monday's Oprah interview with Sarah Palin just was not what I expected at all. As most people probably know, Oprah was a huge Obama supporter and that had to make Palin just a tad uncomfortable. Don't we all pretty much want to be first choice? I know I do, as toddler as that sounds. But as "civilized" as it was, it just didn't "feel" honest, to me. I'm a big "feeler"--- I rely on my intuition and the "sense" I get of things to determine what's real and what's not.

Here are some of the the things I noticed: While Palin wasn't awful, both ladies shoes sure were. Oprah's were gold sequin peep toe and just wrong no matter how much they cost and Palin's were black with a platform that made them look like one of those "special shoes"--an orthotic one---only when you checked the other foot, it was just the same. I call that "double ugly". I also noticed when Oprah would ask Palin a question, Palin never seemed to need air, as if she thought maybe she could control the interview, by talking on and on, and maybe running the show out of time. Her responses sounded a little pat but I can promise you if the Big O was interviewing me, I'd have practised, too. A LOT. I was impressed that Oprah didn't resort to interrupting Palin, though towards the end, when Palin slowed down a little & Oprah craftily slid in another question, you could tell Oprah was tired of Palin's yabber. I sure was. And her repetitions. And just Palin in general.

Another thing was both women's body language (and no, I don't read body "language" as much the "feeling" I get from looking at each one of them). Palin was clearly on alert and nervous but didn't fidget or give anything away facially. But, boy she sure did with her voice on the Thanksgiving Levi question and whether he was invited. She glossed over it pretty well until Oprah pinned her down and you knew, despite her smile, that HELL WOULD FREEZE FIRST. Oprah could afford to be comfortable--it's her show--but I only noticed a few times when you could see in Oprah's eyes that she wasn't buying Palin's load of fertilizer, no matter how much Palin tried to wrap it in red, white and blue. The rest of the time, Oprah appeared on the outside "professionally neutral"--no matter how hard she was screaming on the inside. I'd guess that's why she's Oprah.

I also noticed when Palin's daughter's Bristol and Piper were shown sitting in the audience, neither looked comfortable at all. Given the embarrassment that Bristol has already been through with her unplanned pregnancy splashed all over the world and teary phone calls to mom during the campaign, why in this world would Palin have her come sit.... in..... the.......audience? As a show of support for mom? What.... about..... Bristol? Don't you think that was embarrassing and humiliating for her, all over again? Oh, yeah....I forgot....this is all about Sarah.

My belief? Palin is tough and ruthless. She's not above using her own daughters to make her look good and to possibly deter Oprah from asking any really tough questions. Can you say manipulation? I can.

And that's just how I see it.....

Stuff in my head

Lately, I've become all to aware that sometimes I just can't follow directions. Doesn't matter what what they're for, I just have to throw a curve ball. Example: White Chicken Chili recipe--it says to chop the tomatillos and I did, the first time. Now?......hell, no. I throw them in the blender or food processor. Is the texture different? Well, yeah. Do I care? Hell, no.
If a recipe says to add a teaspoon of X, and I like the flavor of X, you can bet the farm I'm going to add more X. If it says add a little, well, on any given day that could happen, but it also might not. If I like X, well... there's going to plenty of it. I know cooking is all about chemistry, (which I did NOT "ace" in high school but I did OK,) and so far, I've managed to sneak around any really serious disasters.

And what's really weird is that in other areas of my life, I've spent 55 years a total Rules Girl. Boy, howdy, if an invitation said to be there at noon, I was there at noon or five minutes before noon. Or if an invitation said black tie, I was out scouring the city for something "black tie" to wear. What did I think they would do...ask me to leave because my outfit was close, but just not quite black tie enough? Did I think there was a black tie meter or something, that would go off if I was "under dressed"? I think back about all the time I have wasted following rules I didn't even like or understand--just blind allegiance---and laugh out loud. And here's the scary part--I thought it was important. Isn't that what all of our parents taught us? That we simply h-a-d to conform. Hell, yeah.

Remember the "no white shoes after Labor Day" thing?? Or what? You'd be arrested by the fashion police? What dufus decided that? Was there a vote on it or did someone just issue it down as " fashion law"? And why in the world, as intelligent(?) women, did our mother's teach us that nonsense?

One word? Fear. We simply had to measure up to someone else's pre-determined idea of what was OK. Wow....how many people had their creativity and potential stifled by such tight restrictions? How many kids went into careers they weren't even interested in because it was the accepted norm of the time and because their parent's would be pleased?

What if we'd all been free to follow our own paths, with unconditional parental emotional support? I wonder if we'd have as many drug addicts, murderers, serial killers? Maybe. Maybe not. I wonder.....

Lastly, to those of you who were just sure I'd be rippin' on old Sarah Palin today, stay tuned. I'm still cogitating on that. Heh, heh, heh.....

Monday, November 16, 2009

I think I have a probelm.....

I think I have Multiple Personality Disorder....you know...that condition where you are several different people or personalities. For example, I'd love to live in England and be English....but then there's also France. I feel more English and I hope I don't act French--although looking French would kill. I'd l-o-v-e that.

Then there's my list of interests: interior design, cooking, writing, reading, gardening, antique silver and china, jewelry, --the list is endless. Maybe I'm just a Martha wannabe. Everything but the prison/felon part. No jumpsuits for me, thanks.

I also want to be Oprah....I don't want to struggle with some of her issues but I think she's an extraordinary woman and so interesting. Not to mention an empire builder and "creator". I also love her honesty around fear--I'm thinking a billionaire bank account makes that a lot easier but still the pressure to succeed must be enormous. And I'm loving her admission that she has 150 million dollars set aside in her "Bag Lady " fund. She said she's afraid of living without modern luxuries such as running water the way she had to as a child. After our recent leak repair, I get that.

And what about Julia Child, Alice Waters, Ina Garten, and all the other great chefs of the world...how cool would that be to know you have those skills and abilities. I like to cook but these ladies are..... off the chart. I couldn't even be one of their prep people...my knife skills need too much work.

The good news?? Today I get to just be me......whatever that looks like. I'm not famous and don't need to be. I have the freedom to do whatever feels right to me, on any given day. Can't put a price tag on that.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Woo hoo...the check is here

We got a call late Friday afternoon that the check was ready for Parkland. I am about to "bust wide open". I've put a call in to Cindy Scott, the Foundation Development officer, to set up a time maybe on Wednesday, for "the drop". Sounds like a drug deal.

Brian goes to Parkland on Wednesday and Friday for Physical Therapy so it just seemed like one stop shopping. I also asked Cindy for a copy of the Wish List for 8 East and I can hardly wait to see what's on it. If I were Mona and her staff, I'd have made two lists--a real one and a fake one. The fake one would have said stuff like pool table, chef for 8 East, margarita machine for the staff lounge....you know.....the kind of stuff that would fry.... people's.... eyeballs. Then I'd slip them the real one. And if I did this, I better have my purse with me and my office packed up 'cause Security is going to be called to walk me to the door. Buh, bye. See ya. It would be hilarious, though...sort of like the show "Punk'd".

I should hear back from Cindy on Monday so check back later. Since one of my pals will be having surgery right around the time of the check drop off, we're hoping to send some really good healing, surgery Karma Woo Woo her way.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Oh, I can hardly wait

I was just reading about the latest from the Sarah Palin--Levi Johnson war of words. Sarah will be on the Big O's show on Monday, and you can bet the farm I'll be watching. They've already leaked probably the best parts--will the Palin's be inviting Levi to Thanksgiving dinner, and did Palin mention Levi in her book, but I'll watch anyway. It just gases me no end to watch people
try to look honest when they are only telling half of the story. I do applaud Palin for admitting she and her husband were devastated when they found out Bristol was pregnant. Let's face it.....none of us would want that for any of our kids.

I just can't wait to hear some of Ms. O's questions....I thought the Thanksgiving one and Levi was hilarious. OMG....can you say awkward?? What nineteen year old guy would want to walk into an armed camp like that, even without a baby involved? And you know he's not invited. I do think Levi could tone it down bit and stop dumping gasoline on a four alarm blaze but for some reason, it's Palin I'm enjoying watching. You can tell she's used to dishing it out and having people/staff/family do what she says, without question. And.... then..... there's..... Levi.

It's bad enough that Levi and Bristol got pregnant together. Let's remember, it does take two. But the Palin media loves to make it sound like Bristol wasn't even there--that it was all Levi. Hello....I think she was. But the corker for me, has been the Levi, naked with only his stick....ok...sorry, I meant hockey stick..... Playgirl pictures. Talk about a one-two punch.....he's getting paid and "givin' it" to Sarah Plain, at the same time. You gotta love the guy. He's Palin's worst nightmare. You can see in his eyes he's having a pretty good time knowing old Sarah is twisting, politically and personally. He knows he can put her political career on life support, if he wants. Talk about "Going Rogue"......that should have been the title for Levi's book.

Humor aside, I hope that Palin is smart enough to get out of her daughter's business and let Levi and Bristol work out their issues--parenting and otherwise. They all need to act like adults and do what's in the best interest of the baby. My belief?? If the Palin's will get out of the way, that might just happen.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Update

For a nurse, I am a lousy patient. I hate feeling bad so I tend to whine a little....ok, maybe a lot. Whatever this bug is, it sucks. I keep thinking that because it came on so quickly, it'll leave the same way. Uh, not....... yet.........

Brian came by last night to pick up some muffins I'd gotten him Tuesday at Highland Park Cafeteria , better known at our house as the "Geezer-a-teria". He came in using his crutches while I was on the phone. The next thing I knew, he limped into the TV room, sans crutches, but walking. Unaided. Whoa....I got a HUGE "muffin" in my throat and had to put the phone down for a second. Geeze....stuff like that just hits me sometimes and I am rendered speechless. I just want to take it all in--sort of freeze frame it--so I can experience that feeling over and over again. And the look on his face was a total flashback moment for me. He looked exactly the same way as a toddler when he first got walking all together, and knew he could do it. Alone. All by himself. Wellllllll....looookie heah.....Mr. Brian is all growed up---again.

He said Donna, the PT lady he works with, wants him to wait two more weeks before going to a cane, for a while --his leg is just not quite strong enough yet and they don't want him to fall and re-injure himself. Wellllll....yeah....there is that.

No news on the Parkland check yet and I'm sort of glad. I don't want to miss seeing Brian give it to them and they sure don't need my germs down there. They have signs posted all over that no kids under 12 can visit on patient floors and if you are sick, not to visit patients. I kinda thought that last part was a no brainer but you'd be surprised.
I'll let you all know when the check happens and will give you the 411 here. I can hardly wait. Shoooooweeeee.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Be careful when you go to sleep

Last night I went to sleep as a woman, but woke up a man--at least that's how my voice sounded. I knew I'd been coughing a little bit yesterday and that my throat felt sort of weird--like when a sinus infection heads down your throat-- but no pain like I usually have with pharyngitis. Not until now. Now, I feel like I'm going through puberty again---only this time as a guy. My voice cracks, totally disappears, and hurts. The only thing I don't have (yet?) is the giant Adam's apple guys get....oh, please Lord, No.

Since Brian had a follow up Parkland appointment early this morning, I had said I'd take him. (Translation: I'd pay for it. Hey, if you want to be able to ask questions, you have to grease some wheels.) Anyway, when he got here this morning and heard my voice, he hooted out laughing. All this from a guy on crutches.

I'm wondering what tomorrow morning will bring.......probably no voice, a hot steamy shower, a boat load of hot tea with lemon and honey, and maybe a Z-pack. Borrrrrrrring. But it'll be worth it to sound (and feel) like a female again. This voice thing is creepy.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Cellphones

I swear I think I spend more time charging mine than I do actually using it. What is up with that? And I hate the "call of the dying cellphone"....that insistent duh-da-duh...duh-dad-duh. On an irritation scale of 1-10, it's a 15, in my book.
And what about cellphone etiquette.... or more like the lack there of? Why do people think they are entitled to talk on their phones anywhere they want? I saw two guys nearly get into a fist fight at the movie when one guy would not stop talking on his phone. Hello? Do you really think we all want to listen to you, dude? We didn't buy a ticket to your phone call-- we bought one to the movie.
Ever been out to dinner and had to listen, ad nauseum, to someone else's one sided phone call? And worse still, what about when it's someone at your table? Even the stink eye doesn't work. They just keep on talking. If it's at another table, at least you can complain to your waiter (like that'll really help). On an airplane, you might as well just go ahead and stroke 'cause you are trapped and likely to hear w-a-y more information than you really want to know. What will we do if they start letting people talk in the air, too.......damn, I'll either have to wear those Bose noise reduction headphones or hunting earplugs. Won't that be a fashion statement.
Have you seen those ladies out for a cardio walk on a beautiful day, jabbering on their phones, completely oblivious to everything going on in the world: the leaves changing, the puppy in the next yard, the flowers on the bush they just blew past? Ladies, are you solving World Hunger? Are you ending the War? Are you discussing the solution to World Peace?
If not, hang up already.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

A different kind of Thanksgiving....

I was thinking in the shower (where I do my best work) how this Thanksgiving will be different from other years. In previous years, my thoughts were generally around where we were going, what I was cooking, to brine or not to brine the turkey, etc. This year will be different. Way different. This year, I'll be grateful for so many things that I just glossed over in the past or just never really understood in the way I do now.

My kids and Bruce? Always a given. But this year, I now really "get it" on a different level. Brian could so easily have died back in July. All he needed was to have been hit by a car after the crash or a big fat complication while in the hospital, and he'd have been g-o-n-e. Tomorrow he turns 28.

This year I'll think about Bruce's steadfast help taking care of Brian at 3am or bathing Brian in the solar shower outside in 100+ degree temperature. I'll think about the vacation he gave up that he was soooo looking forward to, to sit daily with Brian at Parkland. It's beyond what I can even wrap my brain around. I'll think about Benji's calls to check on Brian and his honest admission that "mom...I'm almost glad I'm not there....I don't think I could handle seeing Brian like that". Friends and family that came out of the woodwork to help.....I'll never see that the same way again.

I'll think about the surgeon who removed Brian's ex-fix and how scared I was since we'd never met him until 20 minutes before surgery, knew zilch about him, and was saying the exact opposite of what the other surgeon, we had met, had told us. Turns out later, I found out he is one of the best, in the world. People come from all over to have him operate on them. Whoa.

I'll think about the donation from the Draggert Foundation that 8 East will be receiving shortly. Brian is going to go down to Parkland (on his crutches) to give Mona Frazier, the Nurse Manager of 8 East, the check. I'll be a fly on the wall but I'll be there just to witness it.

It's going to be a different kind of Thanksgiving for me this year....

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

I admit it

I love to cuss. I know some people find it offensive and I get that. But for me, it's just a necessary evil and a damn fun one. I try to be mindful of what I say around other people and if I really give a hoot, my language is acceptable. But on those occasions when I'm hangin' with my pals, kicked back and havin' fun, you can bet I'm not going to watch my language. To me, there is an art form to cussing. You can't just say the words--you have to arrange them cleverly so they sound funny while painting a picture at the same time. This takes practice. You really have to pay attention and think.

I heard someone say that cussing was the result of an inferior intellect and limited vocabulary. B******t. Translation? Nuh uh. I figure lettin' it rip once in awhile is good for the soul. As long as it's not pointed at anyone, and out of earshot of anyone who'd be offended, who exactly does it hurt? I'm not thinking the walls or furniture are gonna get their feelings hurt. And sarcasm is o-u-t. Just good, clean cussing. There's a relief in lettin' it fly that's w-a-y- better than chocolate, and if done well, ends up making me LOL.

It's a beeeee-u-tiful day outside and I may just have to go out and cuss a little.

Monday, November 2, 2009

The annual Halloween Party

Saturday was my most favorite Fall event hosted annually by a wacky neighbor down the block. She's single, middle aged, and just "different". But, man, her Halloween bash for our block is just the most anticipated event every year. She has this cool Gypsy wagon that she has delivered to her driveway that you can actually climb up inside, and every year, she hires a magician or buttonholes a neighbor, to do magic tricks. The wagon is all painted--inside and out--with "gypsy colors", is all lit up with those hanging pots that look like fire, lights inside, and a wooden step so the kids can go in and get up close and personal with the magician.

Then there are the tables in her front yard, decorated with pumpkins, candy,& votive lights so you can sit down with your plate, after the buffet. Did I mention food? One year she went Thai with all kinds of satay and stuff on skewers. Another year it was Wild About Harry's Chili dogs and then cinnamon ice cream. And for the last few years, it's been Mexican food--flautas, tamales, salsas, guacamole, rice, beans & chips, bunuelos or soft serve ice cream. Yeah, baby. There's beer, a frozen margarita machine, Cokes, waters, etc. in the coolers. She must have a generator stashed somewhere to power all that stuff. And thank heaven for the outside lights so that you can actually see neighbors, as you visit. Sometimes this is about the only time I see the "end of the block" bunch--especially the old ones.

But this year, someone was missing. Her giant dog, Teddy. He had been declining in past years so earlier this year, he caught the train. Yeah....that one. You know the one I'm talking about.

She used to have birthday parties for Teddy and invite all the dogs on the block. She'd drop invitations in your mailbox and there were goodies for pets and their owners, paper hats, cake, and she held it outside on the yard at the church down the block, so all the dogs could run around. But Teddy's Halloween costumes were the best. One year he was a pirate, and wore the whole costume, cape, and hat. And for a couple of years, he was a ballerina, in a pink net tutu, clearly miserable but always a great sport. One year he was a pink "something", and wore large pink wings on his back. When he'd sit down, which was often because he was old, his wings would flop over in the grass. Other dogs would have chewed those babies off. Not Teddy. He had the best disposition of any dog I know--especially a cross dressing one.