Monday, April 30, 2007


Yeah. I'm annoyed today. Everything is annoying me. Do you have days like that? Sure you do. A little empathy here. Thanks. And a hug. Thanks. You are such a good friend.

I need a BB gun. Or maybe a shotgun. I need to kill a bird. There is a bird. A bird from hell. Sent straight from hell to drive me crazy. He perches in the tree right outside my window and chirps. Starting at about 4:00 a.m. It sounds like he is standing on my pillow on his little, stick-like yellow legs, leaning forward and shrieking right in my ear. Literally. He sounds that close. I want to KILL him. OK, get a grip. He's a beautiful songbird, flitting through the air with his lovely wings...nope. I still want to kill him. Blow his freakishly loud little head off. I'm not really going to do it. I do love animals. I wouldn't really kill him. Besides, I don't have a gun.

Then, after staggering out of bed incredibly early because of the bird from hell, I get to school and get ready to show a Power Point presentation to the entire school with inspirational messages from the mayor, etc. and realize. I created it on a computer with a newer version of Power Point and the other computer can't open it from the network because it was created with a newer version of Power Point and the entire school will be ready to watch in, like, 10 minutes and I'm running across the hall from one room to the other trying to get the old Power Point to open the new Power Point presentation because it has .wav files and pictures and I can't possibly duplicate it in, like, 8 minutes when the entire school will be watching and then, once I am sweating down the sides of my new summer top, I realize I can save it as a Power Point presentation instead of a Power Point show and the old program will recognize it so I do that and run across the hall and open it and she makes the announcement to watch and I show it. And then I have a stroke. OK. Not really.

And then it's afternoon and I have a fifth grade class that has been playing outside on this warm spring day, running and playing and dodging and jumping and laughing...and sweating. There are many unpleasant odors. Shrimp shells left in a trashcan in the hot sun. Fresh cow manure. Dead fish left by the withdrawing tide. But there is no other smell that will make you literally jerk your head back in reflex to get your nostrils as far as possible from the offending smell. As the smell of 25 hot, sweaty, smelly, stinky fifth graders who come straight to the library from recess.

What a glorious day. What a lovely, wonderful, fabulous day. Why do I say that? After all the annoyances of my day?

Because another teacher just told me the ice machine is fixed. And I can have a cold Diet Pepsi over ice. Over ICE. Life is good. I can handle anything. The bird. The computer program. Stinky kids.

I have ice. And life is good.

Friday, April 27, 2007

This Is War!

There is no problem that cannot be solved by the use of high explosives.
- Bumper Sticker

Apparently, my kitchen appliances have decided to stage a coup. Needless to say, since they have rather limited mobility, this will involve guerrilla warfare rather than an all-out attack on all fronts. I can only assume that, after Tom and I go to bed, they have whispered conferences something like this.

Dishwasher: Pssst. Hey, you guys? Can you believe she didn't load me after dinner. Look at those dishes sitting there. What a complete pig!

Oven: You! What about me? Look at these crumbs. She didn't even wipe me off. Lazy slut. Too busy in there watching tv to take care of us.

Refrigerator: What are you talking about? Have you SEEN the inside of my vegetable bin? Do you KNOW how long it's been since she has cleaned it out? And don't even get me started on the leftovers in here. I think some of them have been in here since the 80's.

Dishwasher: We have to do something. We have to fight back, I tell you! This means war!

Oven: What do you suggest?

Refrigerator: Well, I can clog up the ice maker pretty well. You know how she loves ice.

Dishwasher: Hah! I can beat that. The next time she opens the door, I'll just snap off the catch for the soap dispenser so she can't wash dishes.

Oven: How about if I fix the clock timer so it will only work if she bangs on the side of me? How would that be?

Refrigerator: That sounds great! OK, men. We have only one life to give for Whirlpool....Shhhhh, I think she's up. Here she comes.

What's wrong with this freaking ice maker? And what happened to the clock timer? Sigh. Well, at least I can clean up a little and load the dishwasher before I leave for work. Augh!!!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Fair Game

Someone left a couple of big packages of chips in the teacher's lounge.

Unless you are a teacher, I don't think you can fully appreciate our obsession with food in the lounge. When someone brings food for us...well, can you picture a bunch of hyenas tearing into a zebra? Snarling and snapping, gorging and slavering, slinking back to the cave, tummies tight. Yeah, that's us.

Maybe it's because our stress level is high. Maybe it's because we feel so much pressure to make our students successful. Maybe it's because we work such long hours with few breaks for food or even the bathroom. Or maybe it's because we are just a bunch of hogs.

People bring us food for teacher appreciation week, several groups of teachers often bring snacks, and groups will put leftovers in the lounge when they have an event. So, food in the lounge is considered fair game. We are not sure who left the chips in there. They haven't been opened because we just weren't sure. We discussed it yesterday. But we left them alone for one more day.

We figured 24 hours is the absolute longest length of time food should be left alone in there. After then, it's fair game for the hyenas. We think that's perfectly fair.

Don't you?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Just A Glass of Ice, Please

I really don't think it's too much to ask for. I like ice. Lots of ice. A glass full of ice. Often, when I order iced tea in a restaurant, I will ask for a glass of ice. I like to add it to my iced tea when the ice melts slightly. It's a Southern thing, I think. It has to do with the heat and humidity. We are a people who like lazy summers in a porch swing and a tall glass of fresh lemonade packed with ice.

So it is somewhat disconcerting that I can't get ice lately. I have an ice bucket at school which I normally fill with ice every morning. If I get a hankering (did you forget I was Southern) for some iced water, iced tea or a Diet Pepsi with some ice, there you go. I had all I needed. The other day I went to fill my ice bucket and the cafeteria lady informed me the ice machine was broken. I went back the next morning and she informed me it was still broken. By the third day, I was a desperate woman. I was drinking cold Diet Pepsi straight from the can. From the can, I tell you. Is there anything worse?

Unfortunately, there is. The ice machine won't be fixed by the end of the school year. They may have to buy a new one. I thought that was absolutely the worst news.

Then I got home the other night. The icemaker on our refrigerator is broken. It's not filling with water. Must be some kind of clog or something. Who knows. The refrigerator repairman can't come until Tuesday. A whole weekend without ice. I just had some popcorn and a Diet Pepsi, swigged straight from the can. This is not the life for a Southern woman. Something has to give. We may just have to eat dinner out every night. So I can have some freakin' ice.

Hey...things are looking up.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

I Have a Little Problem

Yes. I do.

I have a little addiction problem. What? Drugs, alcohol? Pshaw. You can have those silly little things. Oh, and then perhaps it occurred to you - clothes, shoes, earrings? No, no, no. Although...those might be considered MINOR addictions. But, no. I'm talking beach addiction.

I need it. I must have it regularly. Otherwise I get jittery. Nervous. Unhappy. Moody. When Tom announced that we really shouldn't (in other words, couldn't...and, in all fairness, he is right) take big vacations for the next couple of years until we retire, I felt a little twinge of withdrawal. No beach for a couple of years. But it wasn't until just lately that really became real and I realized...two or three years with no beach. NOOOOOOOO.

So, we had a discussion the other night, out on a terrace at a local seafood restaurant overlooking a lagoon with ducks and geese. It was cool and lovely and we were just enjoying ourselves so much. So, I thought it an opportune time to broach the subject of couldn't we just take a mini, teeny-tiny long weekend vacation to the beach? If I work and slave on EBay and pay for it all by myself. (and do ya have any extra chores, like milking or mucking out the stalls for me, Ma?) And, even though he really thinks we should save our money and even though he really doesn't even LIKE the beach and much prefers cold weather, because he loves me SO MUCH, he agreed.

So, now I begin what I consider ALMOST as much fun as the vacation itself - the planning. And you get to help me! What lucky, lucky Internet readers are you! I think we will stay at an all-inclusive resort somewhere in Mexico. Mainly because we can get there in just a few hours and because we really like all-inclusive resorts. We have stayed at the Moon Palace in Cancun and Liz and I have stayed at the Punta Cana Princess (site of the infamous topless bathing incident) and we just really like the whole idea of paying one price and having your room and all the food and drink you can cram in your mouth for four days.
I'm choosing Mexico over the Dominican Republic, which both have lovely beaches and are within easy travelling distance, because I was a little careless while at the Punta Cana Princess and BRUSHED MY TEETH WITH THE TAP WATER. Luckily, the bacteria didn't really blossom until I got home or we would have had to get a hotel room in Florida on our way home so I could have died peacefully. They provided us with plenty of bottled water, but I forgot one time and paid the price. I just don't like staying somewhere that I will suffer agonizing pain if I forget and brush my teeth with tap water. Just doesn't seem right to punish me like that.

We also really like Vacation Express because we have been very impressed with their service and their professionalism. Liz and I were all alone in a strange country and I liked the way the Vacation Express employees were always accessible to us. So I will probably book with them again for our getaway in October.

So, the planning begins. I have just begun looking at the various locations and resorts but I'm leaning towards Puerto Vallarta. We have been there before, but just for a day on one of our cruises, and it was beautiful. We toured the rain forest and had lunch on a patio overlooking the jungle with monkeys screeching and rainbow parrots flying overhead. So, we would like to do some other things while we are there.

I would love input and suggestions from ya'll. Has anyone else been to Punta Cana? Where did you stay? What did you do? Thanks. I knew I could count on you.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Flatulence Forces Plane to Land

News Story: Tuesday, December 5, 2006 NASHVILLE, Tenn. - It is considered polite to light a match after passing gas. Not while on a plane.
An American Airlines flight was forced to make an emergency landing Monday morning after a passenger lit a match to disguise the scent of flatulence, authorities said.
The Dallas-bound flight was diverted to Nashville after several passengers reported smelling burning sulfur from the matches, said Lynne Lowrance, spokeswoman for the Nashville International Airport Authority. All 99 passengers and five crew members were taken off and screened while the plane was searched and luggage was screened.
The FBI questioned a passenger who admitted she struck the matches in an attempt to conceal a "body odor," Lowrance said. She had an unspecified medical condition, authorities said.
"It's humorous in a way but you feel sorry for the individual, as well," she said. "It's unusual that someone would go to those measures to cover it up."
The flight took off again, but the woman was not allowed back on the plane. The woman, who was not identified, was not charged in the incident.

Uh...yeah. I should have lit a match, I guess. I highly recommend the spicy black bean burgers from Morning Star Farms. Also the new Fiber One bars from General Mills. They are both delicious. But what I do NOT recommend is having the burger for lunch, with a Fiber One bar for dessert. Then, getting a little peckish and having another Fiber One bar in the afternoon for a snack. This, apparently, is just a LITTLE too much fiber for one set of intestines to digest without producing can I say this politely...flatulence.

Luckily, it didn't really set in until I arrived at home. Lucky for me, not for Tom. Having to explain the uncontrollable gurgles from my stomach and the other indescribably unpleasant sounds emanating from another area would have been difficult with my kindergarten students.

As we sat viewing television at home and a ridiculous number of trumpets, wheezes, whistles, and blats kept emerging from my area of the family room, Tom turned around and raised an eyebrow. "Do we have some intestinal difficulty this evening?" he inquired.

Uh, YEAH. Yeah, we do.

Friday, April 20, 2007

"Tonight, Thou Shalt Have Cramps!"

The above quote is from Shakespeare, a fellow who was around a little while before I started having menstrual cramps. But not much before.

From the time I got my period, I suffered monthly, agonizing, debilitating cramps. They impacted my social life, my job, any plans I might make, vacations (we had to leave the beach one time when I was in pain); actually, just my entire life. That's all. If I started my period at school, my mother had to come get me. There was no way I could make it through the day. I couldn't even stand up straight.

I will never forget one time when I started in the middle of a class in high school. Being shy and quiet (those of you who know me now, shut UP), there was no way I was going to raise my hand and ask to leave the room. I just sat there in silent agony, screaming in my mind and watching the hand of the clock creep slowly around until it was time for everyone to leave. It was the single most agonizing experience of my life. Including childbirth. Because I had to sit there and act normal while my stomach felt like a rabid gopher was trying to claw his way out. By the time class was over, I had been sitting in such a cramped and contorted position, they had to get the school nurse to help me up. I literally could not stand up.

My mother did her best. She made me hot drinks, gave me aspirin, put on a heating pad. Nothing helped in the slightest. She even took me to the doctor but this was back in the late 60's when most doctors were men and they told me to EXERCISE. Please. Like that would help. I was slim, healthy and athletic. I just needed some pain medication. They didn't do that kind of thing for cramps back then.

It wasn't until I got to college and one of my sorority sisters offered me a pill from her bottle of prescription Equagesic that I experienced any relief. And I can't believe that I can remember the name of that medicine over 30 years later. It was like a miracle drug for me. I immediately got a prescription and years of suffering were over. Then, after having my children, I had no more cramps. One of the many blessings they brought me.

When I think about the days and days and days that were wasted suffering in pain, it infuriates me. I will never forget walking up the aisle as a bridesmaid for my best friend's wedding in excruciating pain. I don't think she ever knew that.

They had flag twirler tryouts at band camp when I was a sophomore in high school. I didn't go to band camp because I had cramps. I couldn't try out, so I wasn't a flag twirler that year when all my friends made it. They stayed friends with me. I made it the next year. But it's more than thirty years later and it still bothers me.

It's more than the memory of the cramps. What really bothers me is the memory of what they stole from me.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

"Beautiful, Glorious Earrings"

I am wearing some absolutely darling coral slides this morning. I would take a picture, but I think that might just send Tom over the edge. To take another picture of my foot. They are gathered over my toes in a little knot and have a platform heel. They are darling. Darling, I tell you.

But this post is not about shoes. I've already done that. This is about earrings.

"I want them.
I need them.
I love them.
I say earrings!
Beautiful earrings.
Glorious earrings.
Beautiful, glorious earrings for pierced ears."*

When I laid out my clothes last night - my camel slacks, my new coral and camel sweater (what? I told you I needed more new clothes.) and my darling coral shoes, I was annoyed to discover I had no coral colored earrings.

Now, I realize in a world where drought and hunger are an everyday way of life for some people, except those Angelina seems to be continually adopting, this may seem like a minor annoyance.

Well, OK, it is a minor annoyance.

But this is my blog and I get to write about my minor annoyances.

I have a thing for shoes. We all know this. I admit it. But what is little known is that I also have a thing for earrings. I looooove them. I have tons of them. I have many, many colors. Many. Many. I honestly had to buy a wooden chest to hold my earrings. I'm not talking about some teeny tiny chest that sits on a table top - oh, no, this is an actual, rather large piece of furniture. I have large hoops and small hoops, hoops of every color, dangling ones and ones that perch right on your ear, like a lovely, tropical butterfly. And many colors. Again, in case you didn't grasp it, many. But, apparently, no coral ones. I have some LIGHT coral ones. Almost salmon. But my sweater and shoes are a DARK coral. The LIGHT coral ones were quite simply, unacceptable. Obviously.

Sigh. I had to wear gold hoops. They look nice. They look pretty. But they are not coral. I NEED coral. I think a shopping trip is in order, don't you? I knew you would agree. We are so simpatico.

And I'll tell you something else. If anyone ever comes to my school looking for the person who has matching underwear, darling shoes and earrings which coordinate with her outfits? They will give me some really great prize. The likelihood is slim, I grant you. But I am ready. Just in case.

And then won't you be jealous.

One of my friends just came in and commented on my cute shoes. I puffed up with pride and then she said idly "And your toes! They match perfectly!". Uh, EXCUSE ME. My toes are ORANGE. They coordinate beautifully. But they do not MATCH. They are not CORAL. Of course, I didn't say anything. My mama didn't raise no rude girl.

God. Some people. Can you believe it?

*Quote is from "Earrings", by Judith Viorst

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Me:Jane, You:Tarzan

OK, climbing a waterfall is HAAAAARD, ya'll.

Ten years ago when we went on our first cruise...whoa, I just realized when I typed that, that means it was a decade ago. I was in my forties. Man, I am so old.

When I began planning the trip and examining all the choices for shore excursions at the different tropical locales we would be visiting, I noticed there was an option to climb a waterfall in Jamaica. Could anything possibly sound any cooler? I envisioned us holding hands, stepping gently up the broad, flat rocks over the trickling stream to the top of the waterfall where we would sit in a bed of tropical flowers drinking a frozen Margarita and gazing over the azure waters of the coast. Sigh. How romantic. How lovely. How stupid I was.

We took the bus (or motor coach as they call it in the brochures - much classier. Still a bus.) to Dunn's River Falls where we were decanted along with dozens of other tourists with sunburns and cameras slung around their fat, American necks. (We were also sunburned but without the fat necks.) When we walked out on the beach and actually saw the waterfall, my heart almost stopped. This was no small, gently strooooll up through the trickling water, waterfall. This sucker was huge. Man, when they said CLIMB, they meant CLIMB. At this point, of course, we were much too proud to say, shove this and just give me my Margarita now. I'll drink it on the beach and watch these other fools climb that thing. Oh, no. Much too proud.

The guide instructed us on to climb the waterfall. We would all hold hands and snake up the rocks together, holding on and supporting each other. We all had worn sneakers, per instructions. So we began climbing. The first thing I noticed was that the rocks were really slippery. The next thing I noticed was that the water, when you fell on your butt, was extremely cold. Not that I did that. Oh, of course I did.

At one point, I was between Tom and another big, husky guy. Both were holding my hands tightly. That was the most comfortable I felt all day. I was afraid to look down to the beach. If there was a tourist down there, dead and spread-eagled on the beach from the climb, I didn't want to know about it. Blissful ignorance, that's my motto.

We climbed for days. OK, it may not have been that long. And, honestly, most of the climb was not that bad. The view was incredible. Everything was lush and absolutely gorgeous. There were flowers in splendid colors as big as my head. When we got to the top, there was a lovely, green pool that stretched across the top of the waterfall. The tradition, apparently, was to fall backwards in it when you completed the climb. We held hands. We stood on the side. We fell backwards into the cool, refreshing water. We laughed like maniacs. We kissed. We had survived.

I recommend it.

Tom insisted I add an addendum to this blog post which told everyone that I did not actually CLIMB a waterfall at all, but was dragged up by my noble, self-sacrificing husband. Picture me gazing down shame-faced, admitting this. It's so true.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Just Not Quite Right

I looked over my blog posts last night to see which one I wanted to put up today. Shoes, clothes, earrings, trips, stories that make me look good? Stories that make me look bad? But in a way others can share. And maybe have a laugh with me. I hadn't quite decided.

Then kids died at Virginia Tech. Just going about their lives. Planning to grab a burger for lunch. To meet a friend to study later. To call mom when they got back to the dorm and wish her a happy birthday.

And none of my posts seemed quite...right. Quite...respectful.

I think I'll just meditate instead on my family and my friends. How much I love them. How lucky I am to have them. How life can change catastrophically in an instant, from one heartbeat to the next. From one indrawn breath to the next. I'll just take a moment.

How about if we take one together?

Monday, April 16, 2007

I Simply Can't Believe I Did That

Well, I have had a horrifying experience this morning. HORRIFYING, I tell you.

I laid out my clothes last night - stretchy black turtleneck, black and white jacket, jeans and closed toe black slides. Suddenly, it's Winter again around here. I have several pairs of these same shoes in different colors. But, of course, you knew that.

I was walking in to school this morning, looked down and realized, in the dimness of the closet, I had accidentally picked out the navy pair, instead of the black. The NAVY pair instead of the BLACK. I was appalled. I can't believe it. My day is ruined.

Although,'s hard to tell they are navy. Maybe nobody will notice.

But, of course, since I just told the world, it might be hard to keep the secret.

And, incidentally, it could be worse. My niece Jennifer also has some shoes that are the same and she looked down one day and realized she had worn two shoes to school that WERE DIFFERENT COLORS.

At least mine are the same color. Things could always be worse.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Make a Difference

Life is so strange, isn't it? It's full of mysteries, happy chances and coincidences. Remember the post I wrote about my neglected little student?

A friend of mine sent this movie to me today. When I commented that it was considerate of her to send that after reading my blog post, she told me she had not read my blog post yet. Mysteries, happy chances and coincidences.

I'll try harder to make a difference today.

Maybe we all can. I hope so.

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Great Day in the Morning!

I have a new outfit on today. It's a turquoise and white Linen pant suit and I look pretty fabulous. I laid it out on my bed yesterday and carefully matched my little turquoise silk slides and turquoise earrings I bought in Mexico. I look fabulous. Oh. I already said that. But I do. Several people have complimented me today. I need compliments to feel COMPLETELY fabulous.

I love having a new outfit to wear. I had no problem at all getting up today. When the alarm went off, I thought Grrrrumph. Ya know? Then I thought, Hey, I have a new outfit to wear today. And I jumped right out of bed. It's a great feeling. A happy feeling. I love new clothes. When people say they don't like shopping (!), I just stand there in amazement, completely perplexed. I LOVE shopping. I love trying on clothes, buying clothes, planning my outfits, and then wearing them! It's just so fabulous. Apparently, that is the word of the day.

I've always loved clothes. My mom was always really very well dressed and well groomed when I was young (and now!) and took me shopping, taught me how to shop and how to wear clothes beautifully. We used to go to the mall and have lunch in one of the fancy department stores. Do you remember that? All the big department stores had their own little restaurants or tea shops. It was so cool to go shopping and then go to lunch at, say, Bambergers. They don't have those any more. Just food courts. Not nearly as classy.

I bought several things when I bought my turquoise and white outfit. I'm going to space them out and wear something new each week. It will help me get going in the morning.

We have 7 weeks until summer vacation.

I think I need some more new clothes.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Benign Neglect

Benign Neglect: A policy or attitude of ignoring a situation instead of assuming responsibility for managing or improving it.

I had a problem with a student this morning. It was not his fault. In fact, he was completely blameless. The class sat down to view a video about using atlases and he sat in the back. He was too old to be sucking his thumb, but it was buried in his mouth anyway. I set my chair in the back beside him, so I could keep an eye on the class and I immediately noticed an odor. I leaned closer to him and realized it was coming from his unwashed little body and hair. I don't think he had been bathed during the entire week we had been off school.

I hesitated. There was no other place for me to sit. I didn't want to make him move. It would seem like a punishment and he had done nothing wrong. So I went and got some of my scented hand sanitizer and drenched my hands. Then, sat there with one hand by my nose and mouth so I could smell that clean smell rather than the overpowering smell of him. And he wouldn't be punished for being an innocent victim.

His hair was ruffled and obviously dirty. His black sweat pants had a small hole. And this big, ten year old kid was busily sucking on his thumb. He was not obviously abused, although that sometimes is not obvious. He was just neglected. Nobody had brushed his hair, cut his nails, bathed him, checked to make sure his clothes had no holes.

We do our best with these kids. We try to help them. I told the Guidance Counselor who sighed sadly and said she was aware. We offer parenting classes, change the kid's clothes when we can, give money to help with overwhelming bills at home. Teachers visit homes and do their best to help those who want and need help.

As the class was leaving, I put my hand on his shoulder and told him what a good job he had done. What a good role model he was for the other students. So quiet and well-behaved. He smiled around his thumb.

But his hair was unwashed. His clothes were torn. He was neglected. What will become of him?

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Cab Drivers are Maniacs

We used to be intimidated by the idea of catching a cab. Now we are simply terrified to ride in one. When we went to New York, we knew that we would probably have to ride in a cab. We would need to get from our hotel to restaurants, to Broadway for the show we were attending, to catch our tour bus, to the pier to board our cruise ship. We were a little nervous about it.

The first time we tried to catch a cab, Tom stepped to the curb, held up his arm - and a cab pulled over. We exchanged glances. Nobody could tell we were hicks from Kentucky. We were cool. We were suave. We were sophisticated. We could hail a cab. I have to interject here how indispensable my husband was to me on this trip. Not only was he a funny and loving companion, he could find his way around, like, anywhere. We were in the middle of Central Park. We had wandered around and I was totally lost. We would still be there now if it weren't for Tom. He gently turned me around when I headed in the wrong direction and unerringly led us back to the hotel. I was super impressed. Since I can't find my way out of a paper bag, he was handy to have along. He could also find his way around the cruise ship and had the entire ship layout memorized in roughly 3 minutes. I could never find the pool. I went back to the room to get my sunglasses from the pool one time and he didn't see me again for an hour.

Anyway. We could hail a cab. But riding in one was quite another matter. The drivers are completely and totally insane. They drive approximately 341 miles an hour, and don't stop for anyone or anything. We also, incorrectly, assumed they would know their way around New York. I don't know where we got THAT idea. We got in a cab that night and told him the name of the restaurant we wanted. "Where is that?", he asked. We didn't know. We thought he would know. We did figure it out and managed to get there. But not without holding on for dear life to each other and praying we would survive the trip.

We found out later the cab drivers drive this fast because they rent the cabs, so the more money they can make in the least amount of time, is crucial to their income. But I still think they are maniacs. On one of our last nights, we walked from the hotel to a restaurant close by for dinner. A cab swerved to the curb, some guy leaped out (probably scared green by the cabbie's speed) and took off down the sidewalk at a dead run. The cabbie leaped out and pursued him. The guy sped past us, we stepped aside and the cab driver yelled "Stop him!" Uh, yeah, right. We may be hicks from Kentucky but we know when to stay out of a fight.

We just kept on walking as he dashed by.

Monday, April 9, 2007

My Whole Life Changed When...

I just read an interesting blog post from a blogger I stumbled on while reserving books online at the Public Library. She is an author and a blogger, and her post was about the topic "My Whole Life Changed When". It got me to thinking. When did my whole life change? And has it? I tried hard to come up with one life-changing event and couldn't do it. I was a little disappointed in myself. These people had changed their lives overnight when something important happened to them or someone they knew. And then I realized.

There was no life-changing event for me. There were dozens.

When I met my husband. We have been together for thirty years. There have been ups and downs, but he is a better man now than he was then. I like to think I had something to do with that. There is no one else in the world who can make me laugh so hard, without fail or who has so many shared memories with me. He is always there for me. I can count on him. I had a boyfriend in college who absolutely hated it when I interrupted him when he was talking. This is a common failing in my family - we are so knowledgeable, so smart, so full of information - we just have to interrupt each other to get it all out. When we are together, we are constantly talking over each other. Tom never minds. He just waits patiently, then continues with what he was saying. What if I had married that boy from school? I would have had to change my whole personality. Tom likes me just the way I am.

When my children were born. Some people hesitate about having children. Never me. I always knew I wanted children. I loved them from the time they were newborns to their present state as adults who are wonderful, funny and close to their family. What would my life be like without them? Just Tom and I. Sort of lonely.

When I went back to school to get my education degree as an adult. In hindsight, I often wish I had done this the first time I went to college - I would certainly have a lot more years to count for retirement! But then I realize all the experiences I have had in every other job prepared me for this job. To experience it, to appreciate it, to be the mature adult who could handle it.

When my grandson was born. I had almost forgotten the joy of making a child laugh. His guttural belly laugh just makes my day. And he likes books. He brings them to us to read to him. Maybe that came from me. Some reading gene passed down through the ages. His great-grandmother likes to read as well. So when we are gone, something of us, some small part, will survive. And maybe he will share books with his children.

We all have these experiences. Some of you may have had a life-changing event. I would be interested to hear about it. But most of us probably have had the same experience of several life-changing events.

I took Wes out for ice cream yesterday. He had tasted ice cream, but never sat and shared a whole cup with someone. It was chocolate, my favorite. Maybe his. He hasn't had enough yet to form an opinion. He knows he likes chocolate. We sat outside on a beautiful spring day, me on a bench and him in his stroller. We watched people passing by and shared bites of ice cream. He smiled at me. I smiled at him.

It was not a life-changing event. But it was good. Very good.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Mutant Growth Hormone

Dude. The dandelions.

This happens every year. They spring up OVERNIGHT and they are everywhere. This is my front yard. Overnight, I'm telling you.

Tom used to be obsessive about our lawn. He fertilized, killed the weeds and mowed. Now, he mows. And complains about that. Our lives have changed and other things have become more important to him. Playing video games, for instance.

When I went to get the mail and saw the dandelions, it got me to thinking. If they came up overnight, why can't other plants do that? Wouldn't it be cool to plant a tomato plant, then have fresh, sliced tomatoes for lunch the very next day? That would be so great. But...I'm thinking about those science fiction movies with the giant bugs now...there is always a price to pay for things like mutant growth hormones. Like the tomatoes would probably cause us to grow a third ear in the back of our head or something.

So, I guess I'll wait until I can get fresh tomatoes at the farmer's market this summer. 'Cause those grocery store tomatoes? Might as well eat a piece of plastic fruit.

But, I still think...wouldn't it be cool?

Thursday, April 5, 2007

Why We Share

I wrote kind of a silly, but fun blog post yesterday about breaking my ankle bracelet. And then I was thinking about how I wanted to post that right after it happened. Why we blog. Why we post. Why we share.

This is why we blog. Why we post. Why we share. To make us think about things. To make other people think about things. And then I was wondering, what might people have thought who read that particular blog post?

1. I can't believe she is writing about breaking her ankle bracelet when there are people starving in the world. SHE IS SO SHALLOW.

2. Wow, that exact thing happened to me. It's such a small world.

3. I'm glad someone else is that klutzy. I thought it was just me.

4. Ooooooh, I need an ankle bracelet.

5. Bare legs. Boy, I need to shave mine.

6. Bare feet. Man, I need a pedicure.

7. It's nice that she is so close to her family. I'm glad my family is that close too.

8. It's nice that she is so close to her family. I would give anything to have a family like that.

9. She really loves her husband. I am so very lucky to have mine. I need to go tell him.

10. She really loves her husband. I wish I could find someone to love. This gives me hope.

11. She really loves her husband. Mine died last year. But this makes me appreciate him even more.

12. She really loves her daughter. Maybe I should call Rebecca and apologize. I miss her.

13. If she can write about something like this, maybe I can write too. I think I'll try.

So, what are you thinking?

Wednesday, April 4, 2007

The Things We Do For Love

I can't believe what I just did. I was sitting at my computer at home in my bare feet and rolled the chair forward slightly with one foot wrapped around the chair leg. The roller on the leg caught on my ankle bracelet, snapped it off and shot it so hard it hit the back of the desk. I had to get on my hands and knees to find it. Is that a fluke accident or what?

I'm so annoyed. I can't believe I broke this silly thing again. I broke it two summers ago by catching it with my thumb as I pulled off a sock.

Tom loves this ankle bracelet. For some reason, it's just something he just really likes. A bare leg, bare foot and that gold ankle bracelet. When it broke the first time, we had to take it to a jewelry store and get it fixed. We went together to pick it up and he urged me to put it on right there. I had to sit down in the mall and fasten it around my ankle. He smiled when he saw it on my ankle.

I guess I'll have to get it fixed again. At this point, it might be cheaper to get another ankle bracelet. But I like this one. I bought it one time in Destin when Liz and I were shopping together. We both got one but hers stretched out for some reason. I still have mine. It was before she was married and had Wesley. It was just the two of us on a hot Florida day, shopping and having fun. I like to remember that day so I keep and wear the ankle bracelet.

And Tom loves it. So, I guess I'm heading to the jewelry store this afternoon to get it fixed. I hope they can do it pretty fast. I wouldn't want him to miss out on a day of me wearing the ankle bracelet. It's the simple things. The things we do for love.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007

I Am Woman; Hear Me Roar

I cut my bangs this morning. They were getting a little shaggy and just starting that catch-my-eyelashes-when-I-blink annoying thing they do. So I brushed them down, took the manicure scissors and trimmed them to right below my eyebrows. Because I have learned from painful experience that they draw up when they dry and will expose half of my painfully shiny forehead if I'm not careful.

I would never have cut my own bangs when I was in high school. For one thing, I can't cut straight. I know better than to trim a photograph to go in a frame. I'll end up with a picture of someone's eye and half their nose. For another, I would not have had the confidence to start hacking on my hair. Now, I think nothing of it. They may be a little shaggy and slightly crooked - that's fine. It goes with my spiky, short blondish/reddish hair. I don't stress about it.

I can do a lot of stuff now. Stuff I never would have thought I could do when I was young. I wouldn't even pick up the phone and make an appointment to get my hair cut. I was too shy. Too painfully shy. They might ask me a question I couldn't answer. NOOOOOO. So, my mom did it for me.

Now, I make plans for trips across the planet. I book airline tickets, make hotel reservations, buy tickets online for Broadway shows, reserve cabins on cruise ships, plan excursions on float planes, find my way around strange airports. I have climbed a waterfall in Jamaica, flown over a glacier in Alaska, snorkeled in the Cayman Islands, trekked in a rain forest in Belize. I have flown to California all by myself, rented a car, then driven around Monterey figuring out where everything was located. When I went back the next year with my sister-in-law, we got in the rental car and I drove downtown to a restaurant I wanted to share with her. No problem. She was suitably impressed. If you had told me when I was younger that I would travel to strange places and be responsible for the planning, I would have cried at the responsibility. But I can do it now.

I have gone back to school in my thirties and gotten a degree in Education so I could teach; something I had always wanted to do. If you had told me when I was younger that I would present at professional conferences, standing up in front of a large audience with confidence and poise, I would have cried at the exposure. But I can do it now.

I have mentored other librarians who were working on obtaining their National Board for Professional Teaching Standards certification, because I already have mine. If you had told me when I was younger that I would be this honored, I would have cried at the thought of failure. But I can do it now.

So, I can cut my bangs.

And it kind of makes me wonder.

What else can I do?

Monday, April 2, 2007

Wild Kingdom

A variety of interesting wildlife visited our house this weekend. They were all encased in the shape of a little blond boy with huge blue eyes and a gap-toothed smile that can melt your heart in an instant. Our grandson. Or, as he is more commonly known, super pancake boy.

You know those river otters that eat 20% of their weight in food every day? Well, I'm proud to say we have our own little river otter. That boy can eat more pancakes than I can. And if I don't keep 'em coming, he emits an ear-piercing howl like a wild hyena. HURRY UP! I'M STARVING HERE! When he finishes breakfast, his belly is as tight and smooth as an African drum. An African drum that is full of pancakes.

Liz brought him over a little earlier than planned for his overnight visit and I was out of town, having lunch and shopping with my mom. So, grandaddy had to take over. He is not used to keeping him when I am not there, but he stepped up to the plate and did an annoyingly great job. Except for the one diaper incident. He had it fastened on perfectly and tightly - backward. I kind of thought when I arrived, he would be weeping and have his hands buried in his hair, going "Oh, my God, woman, thank the good Lord you have arrived. I just can't manage him without you. HOW DO YOU DO IT?" But I got no such satisfaction. When I arrived, he was sitting in the middle of the floor, in the midst of pandemonium, looking just a little bit tired. Wes had every toy he owned strewn in the family room and kitchen and was happily playing with the kitchen towels, draping them on his head, like a happy little chimpanzee.

The birds arrived in the night. He went to bed and to sleep beautifully, but at about 10:00 while we were downstairs watching tv, the nursery monitor began to broadcast a sound not unlike that of a loon. Aaaa-ooooohhhh. Aaaaa-ooohhh. And this was obviously coming from between teeth clenched around a pacifier. It didn't stop so we got him up, changed his diaper and rocked him a little bit. This is one of the very few times where he is actually relaxed, curled in your arms, head on your shoulder like a furry little marmoset. It's lovely.

He went back to bed and we slept very well until about 4:30. When the nursery monitor in the bedroom indicated there was an owl in his room. Hoo. Hoo. Hoo. Hoo. Hooooooooooo. Again, the sound came through clenched teeth. The last time he slept over, I actually got him up at 4:30 when he woke up because, well, I'm his Mimi and I thought he was ready to get up. And because, basically, he rules our lives. I admit it. I am not ashamed. This time, I decided to wait it out. He never really cried. Just hooted for a few minutes. Then went back to sleep until 7:00 when we both got up with no problem.

I have a mobile over his crib, hanging from the ceiling so he can't reach it. It's bright colored stars and moons made of ceramic. He never seems to notice it until I pick him up, then he wants to touch it and make it move. Like a raven attracted to something bright and shiny, he insists on touching it when he is picked up. And I let him. Why not? He likes it. Refer to above paragraph to explain why.

He's asleep now, taking a morning nap after a morning spent ransacking the place like a rampaging tiger. I just checked on him. He's completely relaxed, his hair ruffled from play, cheeks pink, lips slightly parted. He's an angel. Or maybe a hibernating bear cub. I expect he will wake up at any time and demand a huge snack, like the aforementioned bear waking up from a long winter's sleep.

The menagerie is a lot of work. But we enjoy the menagerie. They can come over any time.