Thursday, December 31, 2009

Hysterical Lyrical Mess

You know your child has most definitely grown up in Texas when the following words issue from his mouth:

Pair a Jocka
Pair a Jocka
I Kung Fu
I Kung Fu

There is some poor, dead Frenchman shaking his head in disgust, saying "Merde! Ignorant enfant."

I believe in singing loud and proud, even if you don't really have the voice to pull it off. BUT, if you don't know the words, you really should keep your pie hole shut.

I blame Mike for this. He makes up lyrics with astounding inaccuracy and frequency. There have been many times in our married life I have looked at him with complete disgust as he was screwing up words to my beloved 80's songs.

Let's just hope this is a learned behavior and not a genetic defect.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Revolution of the Resolution

I generally despise New Year's Resolutions. I start strong and end weak. More appropriately, WEEK. Specifically, week three, of January. That's my end point.

Take, for example, weight loss.

January is generally a great time to lose weight. I've consumed at least five pounds of sugar and am sick of all the feasting. Lightning up the food load actually not only makes sense, it also feels good. So, strong starts in this department are easy.

My biggest problem comes around the end of the month/beginning of February. It's called "Super Bowl Party".

Even if I've managed to make it through January to this huge excuse for pigging out, I KNOW I am going to blow it during the football game. The smorgasbord of bad food is just epic. It has to be when you ask people to bring a dish to pass. Because everybody thinks the exact, same thing as they figure out what to bring "What have I been avoiding, on my diet, all month, that I am CRAVING?" Then, they MAKE IT and BRING IT.

So you have junk like chips and queso, mini-cupcakes, little smoked sausages covered with gelatinous* sauce, bundt cake with Kahlua drizzle, crescent roll pinwheels with cream cheese/Parmesan filling, and cookies, cookies, cookies.

The list is endless. It is delicious. And it is completely fattening.

And the beer? Did I mention the assortment of beer? Apparently, those who gave up drinking for New Year's think everyone wants to fall off the wagon with them.

Now, there have been years that, for various reasons, we haven't attended a Super Bowl party. You'd think that would help. But, actually, that's worse. Because my family then thinks we should have all the accouterments from the party we aren't attending right here at ground zero. And quantities shouldn't be limited.

And that means leftovers. Which get eaten over the course of several days, instead of one huge gluttony-fest and then back to normalcy.

So, I head into January fully aware of the big, fat obstacle looming in the distance. And I'm going to have to decide which choice is the lesser of two evils: party at home and deal with leftovers or attend a party and eat my weight in cheese products.

Or, maybe, instead of the lesser of two evils, which creates the lesser of my thighs?

*Yet, oh so tasty!!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Accidentally Accidental

Today I think I ran headlong into the "future" of medicine. I now have a headache to prove it.

Instead of the usual "This is Dr. Soandso's office calling to confirm your appointment on this inconvenient day at this inconvenient time", I received "In order to confirm your appointment and keep unneccessary delays from occuring*, please log onto and click on the patient portal**."

Knowing how much I enjoy pap smears and breast manipulation techniques, I simply couldn't WAIT to follow the instructions.

After a few minor*** issues with the website, I finally got in. Then the REAL fun began. This wasn't any sissy survey of my health. It was completely exhaustive.

My favorite page was the "Health History" section, where you had to click "yes" or "no" on several issues. Stuff like "Diabetes?", "Mental Illness?", "Hysterectomy?" The usual suspects.

Of course, when I got to "Adopted?", I checked "yes". Then I looked at the next question. For what seemed like a long time. Then I took a swig of coffee, hoping the combination of caffeine, heat, and gingerbread creamer would help my brain understand what the heck this question was really asking.

It said "Accident".

Now, this wasn't a drop-down box, implying "Adoption? Accident?" But, it still puzzled me.

Were they referring to "regular" pregnancies where little Johnny, ten years younger than his older brother, comes on the scene? And why, in Sam Hill, would THAT matter? Does your Dr. need to know "Yes. I like sex. Yes. We weren't protected. Yes. We thought we were past reproductive years." Can't he just read the chart, see the gap in years, and, with all his years of doctor knowledge KNOW Johnny wasn't "planned"?

Maybe they were talking about a car crash? A run-in with a saw? Slipping in the shower? The possibilities were endless.

And I still wasn't sure if they were referring to the whole adoption thing. But answering "no" would seem daft. Basically, you don't end up pregnant with the intention of giving your child up for adoption. Unless you are a paid womb, in which case, it has another name and lots of zeroes after it. And there ain't NOTHING accidental about that many zeroes.

Typically, I'm anal enough to feel the need to check every box, even if it appears to be written by someone smoking crack. This time? No. I figure if enough people are as confused as me and leave this particular box mysteriously blank, they'll get the hint.

And I'm saying a little prayer that the server that this chunk of information is stored on never decides to go down and purge my information.

My forehead doesn't need another huge crease and the neurons in my brain don't need another workout like the one caused by the whole adoption vs. accident debate.

*Read: We'll cancel your appointment and bill you for the pleasure of not doing business with us in the way we told you we would do business with you. It's like the dang mafia.

**When you click here, make sounds like blasting off from Star Trek and you can be beamed to other planets to meet very strange little green people. Or not.

***If my tongue was in my cheek any harder it might bust through to the other side. This whole thing was a beatdown of proportions that words can not describe. Other than cuss words, which cost me a quarter a pop starting in just two days, so I'll refrain.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Birthday Awesomeness

I will rarely plug any business or product on this blog because I just don't think you need that junk in your life, but I do have to give a GREAT BIG shout out to my flying friends at Southwest for this little bit of awesome greatness we experienced on our trip out to CA:

On our flight out, it was one little guy's eighth birthday day. We were basically spending the entire day in airports, rental car lines, and driving to hotels, so there wasn't much time for actual celebrating.

As a neurotic Mom who thrives on celebration of events, none of this was sitting right with me. We should have been throwing a party or blowing out candles or stuffing ourselves full of cakey deliciousness, not salivating over bags of peanuts that wouldn't fill up a small gnat.

So I took action. Starting with the lovely woman who gave us our boarding passes, I started telling everyone who was wearing Southwest garb or who LOOKED like they could have possibly worked for the airline at anytime in their life that it was my son's eighth birthday.

I struck gold while waiting for the ticket agent to come up that thingy that attaches the building to the plane* because the pilot decided to check the passenger load.** He was very kind when I asked if he would announce son's birthday over the speakers mid-flight. He said he be delighted to do this but that I should let the flight attendant know so his pilot brain wouldn't forget.***

The gold rush continued when we boarded the plane and the flight attendant already knew about the birthday boy and immediately whisked all three Nowell kids into the cockpit! The two younger guys were lifted into pilot's seats and the oldest took over as king of "Don't touch that". The pictures I managed to get show the crazy amount of excitement in the boy's eyes. And touchy-feely-OOPSY-hands.

About 3/4 of the way through the flight, we heard birthday wishes over the speaker system and the flight attendant presented our boy with a gift. No, not plastic pilot wings or a deck of cards. PEANUTS!!! And not just a few packages, but the big plastic bag they hoist on board to feed about half the passengers. A BIG HUGE bunch of peanuts.****

In a couple of days we are going to have a proper eighth birthday party here at the house. On New Year's Eve. With eleven boys.***** No matter how much energy I put into that celebration, I don't think I'll be able to top the "party" Southwest threw last weekend.

Southwest? You had me at "Hello".

*Technical definition eludes me here. You get my point, I hope.

**Completely full plane plus one dog. Yes, a dog. Southwest has found a way to bilk $75/one-way out of over-attached dog and cat owners who feel bad about leaving kitty/fido in the kennel WHERE THEY BELONG WHEN HUMANS GO ON VACATION.

***Apparently, multi-tasking isn't in this dude's DNA. But, if you saw the cockpit, you, like me, would get really worried about this. There are like ten-thousand buttons and levers and cup holders in there. What if he accidentally hit the "eject" button trying to announce birthday wishes and ended up parachuting into Des Moines?

****Mike was channeling the entire family when he announced "If I never see another honey-roasted peanut in my life I'll be happy."

*****Please call 911 if there isn't a post on January second.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Oh, Holy Night

With all apologies to whomever wrote this and whomever put it to music*.

I also feel the need to tell Baby Jesus "No offense, dude. The lyrics to the song are WAY better when they are actually about you.".

Oh, Holy Night
The Nowells are back in Dallas
And the kids are off schedule in spades.

Long lay the snow in back of the house
Where it landed while we were afar.

The thrill of hope, of fruit and veggies waiting
To eat properly, a goal of mine for now.

Falling on my knees. And crawling to the bedroom.
Collapsing on the bed.
And sleeping for many hours.

Oh night. Divine.
Oh night. We landed on time.

Oh night. DIVINE.
The night we arrived back home!

*I'm too tired to even Google this.

Friday, December 18, 2009

And now THIS, from our Sponsor

It's 9pm. In the morning, 13 hours from now, the entire Nowell clan is supposed to board a plane to California. That's the good news.

The bad news? I'm only partially packed. I need to update the budget. The house could use a good once-over by the maid. But, WAIT! We don't HAVE A MAID.

It's all coming back to me now*.

So, I'm somewhere between heart-attack-waiting-to-happen mode and start-drinking-now-and-in-thirty-minutes-you'll-give-a-crap-less zone.

I'm kind of strung-out on Christmas parties, late night gift wrapping for teachers, and way too much cane sugar and highly-processed white flour. If I laid down right now or even leaned a little too forward, I fear I might fall asleep and wake up somewhere beyond January 31st*.

Coffee's brewing. Washer's moving. MommaJ is cruising.

California HERE WE COME!!

*Meat Loaf. Sounds good during cold weather but as a singer?

**Or Over The Rainbow. Then I'd have to deal with those dang monkies. Remain upright at all costs. Do NOT lie down. Just keep moving.....

Thursday, December 17, 2009

I'm Thinking, Again....

I read today that there are 2.2 billion children in the world.

If you pull data on the averages for children per family around the world, you find about half of the countries have less than one child in their house. About another quarter of the households have two to three children and fewer have above four.

Then you throw in the Duggar family and all my calculations get thrown out the window. But, I digress.

So, say an average of two younguns per house and that equates to 1.1 billion stops Santa makes every year.

If he is really conservative and only eats one bite of cookie off the platter at each house*, and each bite has 10 calories in it, he eats the equivalent of 11,000,000,000 calories.

Since each pound is equivalent to 3500 calories, the net weight gain, not accounting for the butt load** of activity caused by stopping at 1.1 billion houses, is an astounding 3,142,857.143 pounds.

So the real question is: How can I spend all week running from hither to yon and surviving on mostly caffeinated coffee and sarcasm yet still feel like I gained the same amount of weight as the jolly old elf?

Ponder this. While I eat a cookie.

*This also accounts for houses that don't leave treats. Those houses are upgraded to "black balled" status for the coming year. To these houses, Santa delivers toys which have pieces the size of ants, with tabs that say "A" and "B", and take about eighteen hours to put together.

Don't screw with the Big Guy, people. He's got the power.

**Yes, it's a pun. Go ahead. Laugh.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's the Holiday Season

A good friend of mine sends me the following commentary: "I have come to the conclusion that I need to buy a new belt. A new belt that's a little bit longer. I am sort of OK with that."

I feel her pain. I've worked hard to gain the weight I've put on in the last three months. Cripe. I've EARNED it.

As soon as I finish reading my friend's message, I sprint out the door. Carpool time!

As I am backing out, I notice the gate opener is not in its usual place. I search the other visor, the console and the passenger seat. No controller.

I jam the car into "Park", run back into the house and shout "MIKE! Do you know where the gate opener is?"

His response: "In the seat?!" The answer is more than laced with sarcasm.

Not one to back down in the sarcasm-response department I yell back: "So you mean to tell me my butt* has gotten so big that I couldn't feel the remote when I sat on it?" My voice creates a nervous, pseudo-laugh as I yell this.

Response from somewhere in the bowels of the house: "YUP."

I don't have time to argue the point about him thinking my butt is big, given his response.

Now back in the car, remote returned to its upright and locked position, I listen to a news report. I hear that a man has been arrested for pinching the butt of a lady in line ahead of him. Problem is, the posterior he chose to squeeze is attached to a female cop. IN UNIFORM. Um, DUH?!?!

To this very odd little person who needs an education on uniforms I say: Mister? If you feel the need to pinch a little arse, you really should pick someone like me.

Someone whose bottom is so buried in fat that it has surpassed the ability to feel the remote I just sat on.

To my belt-challenged friend: I salute you, sister of the traveling Oreo ball! I feel your pain during this calorie-laden, fat-inducing season. And I'm 100% behind** any ideas we might come up with at lunch tomorrow*** to get control of our wayward bodies in 2010.

But we must be quick--BEFORE someone decides to get all fresh with me and my larger-than-life hiney.

*Not the word I used. I'm attempting to tame the cussing beast and am starting with the written word. Before it costs me quarters. Starting in a measly 15 days.

**Pun only partially intended.

***Dessert not optional. It's Christmastime, by golly!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Doggone it, Part Dos

I'm one of those "mean" pet owners who think that dogs actually have a place. And that place is on the floor. In my house, that means, if you want to lie in comfort and luxury, away from the cold, harsh reality of tile or hardwoods, you get to park your paws on one of two rugs or in one of your two cages.*

If you aren't tracking me here, what I'm specifically opposed to is dogs who THINK and ACT like we purchased a bed, mattress, box springs, sheets and bedding JUST FOR THEM.

These two dogs o' ours like to get on top of the master bed and crush, like little tomatoes in a spaghetti-sauce-making-plant, the snot out of my decorative pillows. Every time I see my pillows reduced to the size of pancakes, I know at least one, if not both, of the dogs are to blame. And I remember the astounding amount of money Linens and Things wanted for these throw pillows. And that they wouldn't take my coupon because it was Nautica bedding.** And, reliving that incident just makes me mad.

So today I hear Doug growling and thrashing around. I figure he and Tex are at it again and dismiss this argument as something they'll work out with teeth and noise.***

But then Tex comes around the corner and Doug is still making pissed off sounds. And is growling. And is nowhere to be found.

Now this was not right.

Considering I found a baby squirrel in the bottom of middle son's backpack long about last Fall****, I figure we've got another adventurous animal in the house. And I silently pray our new abode isn't in the 'hood that breeds baby skunks.

When I follow the sound, I find myself in the biggest boy's room. Typically, when a dog has managed to get on a bed without me in sight, when they DO spot me, they jump off the bed with the speed of a cheetah.

Not Doug. Not this time.

He had managed to get himself tangled underneath not only the sheets, but also the white blanket. And he was thrashing around like a blue marlin being reeled into the tourist boat by the guy who is five shades too red and three beers past drunk.

Incidentally, if you've ever watched a baby move in a very pregnant belly, it also looked like that.

I get within about 3 inches of his thrashing body and I just wait for him to stop. Then I yell "What are you doing on the bed?"

This only caused him to momentarily thrash harder then stop completely. He realized, in that very moment, "I am so in trouble".

And in the very same space of time I realized "I'm the world's stupidest pet owner. If I scare the poo out of Doug, he'll probably release it right here, in the middle of the bed!"

Thank goodness, for once, Doug had good bowel control.

I untangled the covers from around him, he sprang off the bed, and ran like a bull released from its cage at the Mesquite Rodeo. Just without a rider.

I remade the bed, threw Doug outside to, hopefully, use the grass, and ventured back to my bedroom. As I rounded the corner, I heard the thud of whippet feet hitting the hardwoods and beginning to run.

You guessed it. Tex had been assaulting the throw pillows on the bed.

For shame, dog boys. For shame.

*Each cage comes equipped with a special doggy bed. One even smells like cedar. Spoiled, I tell you.

**Well, ladeeda. Exclude the designer stuff, huh? Well, I complained high and low about this travesty and look what happened: you closed down! Good riddance, LNT. Truth is, I always liked Bed, Bath and Beyond better and they ALWAYS accept my coupons.

***Kind of like my kids do sometimes.....

****I touched the bottom of his pack and it MOVED. And there wasn't, according to the owner of the backpack, a stuffed animal in there for show and tell. I don't know who was more traumatized: me or the squirrel.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Lessons from a First Grader

I am invariably amazed when my kids learn something that I think they are too young to know. Now matter how much we try to shelter them from direct exposure, in the form of movies, TV, radio, etc, there will always be someone in their class at school who can educate them on the "finer" points of life.

This classroom education always comes from an expert. You know the type: a cute first grader with a brother who is sixteen. A teenager with a mean streak who thinks it is hysterical to teach the little guy how to fart with just his hand and armpit. Or who teaches cuss words in anticipation of a Sunday morning trip to join Great-Grammy Cooper at the Southern Baptist Church of Podunk.

Yeah, that type of kid ALWAYS seems drawn to my kid. And my kid thinks buddies of this ilk are geniuses in seven-year-old skin. In kid-speak, a genius is someone who knows way cooler stuff than their parents.

Tonight, ironically on the way home from the Christmas pageant, the latest educational revelation becomes the topic of discussion after the following off-the-cuff comment: "I hope I never have an 'oops' baby."

Mike: "What do you mean?"*
Mike: "Why don't you tell me?"
Bro: "Mom, do you know what an oops baby is?"
Me: "I think so. But why don't you tell us?"
Bro: "Well. It's kinda hard to explain.*** But, it's like when you have three kids and you don't want four but around Thanksgiving**** you end up with another baby. That's the 'oops' baby."

Mike and I just looked at each other, both mentally clearing sweat from our brows. Both knowing, if we'd answered that question, we'd have ended up dumber than the sixteen year old who taught his first grade brother about oops babies in the first place.

If I've learned one thing about parenting it's that you should rarely, if ever, answer a question straight out once your kid hits about four. Starting at that age, they are just looking to trap you. And they're crafty little trappers.

But score one for the parentage on this issue: we didn't make an OOPS.

Har, har.

*Shooting a sidewards glance at me which indicates "What are you teaching that child?"

**His brain is thinking "GEEZ you are old? How did you get so old and not know this?"

***Yes. We, the parents, are the imbeciles in this situation. Our son is thinking "I'll try to distill the explanation down to your level but it is going to be AWFULLY hard."

****Why Thanksgiving? Why not Halloween or Saint Patrick's Day or Kwanzaa???

A Recent Exchange

So here's the ride home with The Babe from Preschool...

Me: "How was your day?"
TB: "Good."
Me: "What did you do?"*
TB: "Nothing."
Me: "Really? Didn't you do SOMETHING?"
TB: "We didn't do ANYTHING."
Me: "NOTHING at all?"
TB: "Nope."
Me: "So you mean to tell me you got there and sat around the classroom and just stared at all the other kids all morning long?"
TB: "MOOMMMM. No. We talked."
Me: "About...."
TB: "Nothing."
Me: "So you sat around, said nothing and didn't talk about anything?"***
TB: "We talked about stuff."
Me: "Did you talk about letters or numbers or the calendar?"
TB: "No. The weather."****
Me: "What did you decide about the weather?"
TB: "The snowman had to wear his coat because it was cold outside."
Me: "Well that was smart."*****
TB: "Yeah. Oh. And we didn't go to the playground."
Me: "What did you do instead?"
TB: "Nothing."

Me (thinking): "Didn't this freakin' conversation START with the word 'nothing'? And, if that's the case, maybe I should just let this go."

But, apparently the second NOTHING in a conversation with a four-year-old is the magical key that unlocks their little tongues because for the next FIFTEEN MINUTES I hear: "BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH, BLAH."

All the sudden he's a fountain of information! It's like the last rock holding Hoover Dam together suddently burst from its position and the whole dang thing started spewing. That was my child. Spewing. On and on. About Legos and Star Wars and a friend from Preschool.

Which got me wondering "If the key to turn on is two 'nothings', where's the magic off switch?"

I still haven't figured that one out. I figure further that it's tied up in someting about nothing.

Or something like that.

*Yes, I should know better than to ask this lame question, especially after three kids. And, doubly especially, because they are all boys.

**Does this comment stink like bait or what? It's waht I would expect to smell if I boarded a boat looking to caputre a great white shark and they stuck my head in the chum bucket.

***Ten points if you can guess "who's on first?"

****HOW LAME IS THAT? Really. At four you can't come up with anything better to talk about than the stinkin' weather? GEEZ. At your age, kid, we had long conversations about Barbie and Ken getting married and how cute puppies and kitties are and how Santa was bringing the Barbie house. The weather.....?

*****All logic aside, we'd hate to have the SNOWMAN from Dallas get too cold because he didn't wear his coat.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Problem with Suffering

"Dandruff sufferers".

I actually read this direct quote today. It struck me as quite comical and sad all at the same time.

When I think of suffering, things like starvation and enslavement and torture come to my mind.

Only in America, land of the whiner, could you possibly "suffer" with dandruff. And you will only suffer as long as the marketing arm of a big shampoo company with a "solution" to your "suffering" is able to convince you you have a big, huge, hairy* problem that you shouldn't feel obligated to suffer with anymore.

I have several REAL American problems we suffer with: apathy, laziness, greed, gluttony, idolism, starvation, homelessness, infidelity, lack of morals, lack of values. I'll stop there before anybody gets too worked up.**

In the land that is more interested in who did what to Tiger Woods than in what our government is trying to include in the health care bill, we have a lot of growing up to do.

Can't we please put our over-dry, snowflake-ridden heads together and try to come up with something we can cure that involves TRUE suffering?


*Pun completely, totally, and utterly intended.

**Anybody = me.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Annoyances Anyone?

Wanna know how to break the silence in a house, pre-7 a.m., and annoy the Mother so much that she about has a nervous breakdown before she can get a coffee fix?

Channel the early 80's, start singing "I'm All Out of Love" by Air Supply, and repeat ONLY the refrain because you are ten and you don't know any more of the words.

I really had hoped Air Supply would die when we celebrated New Year's 1986. I would have gladly ponied up good coin to throw them a decent funeral.

Truth is, they actually published their GREATEST HITS as late as 2004. And is your brain making the connection here? That means PEOPLE STILL LIKE THEM.


I'd HONESTLY take Milli Vanilli over Air Supply. Even though they were total frauds and all, at least they weren't all mushy and in need of testosterone.

It didn't take me long to figure out that there is only one way the lyrics could be any more disconcerting. And that would be if the second most annoying force in the universe teamed up with Air Supply to use this song in their latest movie.

Yes, Alvin and the Chipmunks are back, Christmas 2009. You, too, can overpay to hear their helium-filled, potty-joking, insanity-producing little tails.

If you haven't had the pleasure of hearing the trailers for the movie, let me just encapsulate: Add helium to Air Supply, shake liberally, insert potty-words and actions into chipmunk's mouth, and serve.

Prozac, anyone?

One thing is for sure. The Nowell house has become an "Air Supply/Alvin and the Chipmunks Free Zone". I told my son I NEVER, under any circumstances, wanted to hear that song again.

And if he ever sucks helium out of a balloon AND sings Air Supply? I have a list of military-style boarding schools at the ready.

Considering the frequency at which I delivered the message*, I don't think this will be an issue.

I just hope his ears stopped bleeding by the time he got to school.

*Which was somewhere North of Ella Fitzgerald's High C.

Friday, December 11, 2009

I've Been Outed!

So, for 157 posts, I've lived in the lives of eight people who claim to like what I write SO MUCH that they actually have this drivel sent to their email accounts each and every day. To all of you: thanks for the love. I think you are hysterically crazy to tune in each and every day, but that must prove something about my life is wacky enough to like.

Commencing today, with post 158, it's going to get a bit more crowded around here, though, because I've been outed to the masses! To an entire Christmas list, nonetheless. I think I might just throw up.

I immediately began to wonder if the last two posts, which were lightly peppered with obscenities*, are going to offend someone.

Then I thought "Well, self. You really write this post for people who know you OR who need to say "GOD BLESS YOU"** to someone else."

So, if I offend with my occasional slip o' the fingers, please know I have a New Year's Resolution to contribute a quarter to a charity for each and every instance of cursing or "thought cursing" that issues forth from this mouth or brain.***

My next brain surge was "I've taken GREAT pains to avoid people reading my post." I don't share my blog address unless I KNOW they know me well enough to separate the poo from the shinola.****

Now, HOW RIDICULOUS IS THAT? Really, what is the point of writing if you aren't going to allow others to read it? It's like baking without sharing.*****

Deep down, I'm afraid of the criticism. That's the bottom line. And, it's a ridiculous habit that has kept me from making plenty of good decisions throughout my entire life. Sounds like the beginning of another resolution, doesn't it?

OH! And in case the person who "outed" me is worried even a bit about this: STOP. I love you more than you'll ever know and I really do think this is a great occurrence. God has been knocking on my heart to write for a long time now and if I am going to honor His request, I need to be prepared to share what I've written to help others. And, GULP, accept criticism. Thank you for thinking enough of this blog to want to spread the insanity.

Well, readers. Have a fantastic, wonderful, safe Friday.

And don't forget to tune in tomorrow for another adventure from life on planet Nowell.

*HEY NEWBIES TO THIS POST! Stop trying to figure out how to go backward to the last two days and focus on TODAY!!

**This is a very genteel, Southern way of saying "THANK GOODNESS I'M NOT YOU!!!"

***By the end of January, someone will be casting a bronze bust of me to put in the large wing of a hospital that will be paid for by my "cuss fund".

****Point for me! Didn't type the cuss word. Quarter for the jar: thought of the REAL quote.

*****Unless it's chocolate and then I don't share quite so well.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Super Heroes in My Midst

I never believed in reincarnation. Until tonight.

I looked up the term "banshee" for another post and discovered that Marvel Comics had created this character, whose alter-ego is Sean Cassidy*, back in the late 60's.

BANSHEE'S abilities were noted as

1. Superhuman hearing
2. Sonic screams
3. Flight
4. Concussive blasts
5. Sonic energy lances
6. Ability to cause nausea, disorientation, or unconsciousness

Holy cats! They've encapsulated my children and given them a superhero name!

I could fart in Columbus and they'd hear it. But, if I whisper two inches from their ears, they act deaf.

Sonic screams? Have you heard The Babe? I really think the child could shatter crystal with his screaming. Let's just say that hearing aids need to get much more discreet or better looking in the next few years because, at this rate, I'll need on by the time I'm 50.

Flight is part of the Nowell DNA. Someone is off the ground in this family at every moment, of any day. Up a tree, jumping off a couch, climbing on the counter in the kitchen, hurtling their body toward a sibling. The list is exhaustive. I fully expect a Nowell child to complete his dissertation with a discussion of "A Case for Gravity: The Falsehood of Flying without Actual Wings."

Concussive blasts? Did I mention The Babe's uncanny ability to cause stock in hearing aid companies to shoot sky-high? That's not to mention the several times a day I wonder, sometimes aloud, "What was THAT?" as I stand in one room and hear what sounds like a hurricane and tornado learning how to break dance in another room.

If "sonic energy lances" cause "sonic screams" and "concussive blasts", we qualify. Hourly. NFL referees could learn a thing or two about "off side" calls just by watching the boys execute their "lancing" on one another. They just can't seem to keep their cotton-pickin' hands to themselves.

I'm a Mom. Part of my job description, since I originally got pregnant 11 years ago, is to live in a state of nausea, disorientation, or unconciousness. What I pray for is that the three never meet in a state of confluence.

If that ever actually happens, just call State Farm, 911, and whichever set of Granparents or Aunts/Uncles is still standing. You'll find me and Mike somewhere in the rubble.

The kids? They'll be marveling at their newly created excavation site, with nary a worry in the world.


*Which brought to mind Shaun Cassidy, 70's heart throb, which made me Goggle SEAN Cassidy and brought up a picture of some hunk of cheese that can only be described as "the perfect body".
Sadly, for me, when I corrected the spelling of the first name, I ended up with the REAL Shaun, who hasn't exactly aged gracefully. I think my childhood dream has officially been stomped into the ground and rendered DOA.

Thank goodness Donny Osmond still looks FINE. Even though he's a freakin' Grandfather.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Airline Trips

When I was a wee-bit younger, somewhere around 3rd or 4th grade, my parents took me and my brother on a trip to Disneyworld.

Since Michigan and Florida aren't exactly spitting distance from one another, we flew. It was a trip of firsts: first time on a plane, first time "cutting class"*, and the first time my brother experienced flight sickness and I learned about "barf bags".

Since that time, much in the airline industry has changed. One of the biggest changes is the clientele.

Thanks to competition, one can afford to jump a plane with only three weeks notice**. And it seems many people have embraced this concept and are using it with gusto.

Mike reminded me tonight, post-flight, of his "favorite" reasons for flying these days. I took the ball and ran with it, like a cat on fire.

So, for your entertainment, I present...


1. Being seated next to someone who reeks. It doesn't matter of what. Cigarettes, cologne, alcohol, day-old Jewish sandwich, or hand sanitizer.

If you stink like something, we don't want to be within 50 feet o' your gnarly ass.

2. Finding body parts oozing over the arm rest.

If you can't control your body, I WILL. I carry duct tape, jerkoid, so keep your stuff within the confines of your own friggin' seat.

3. Hearing hacking that sounds like a kid with croup.

If you are so sick you sound sick, you really shouldn't be 30,000 feet above the Earth, in a tube of tin with recirculated air. Do you think your germs are better than my immune system? Well, I DON'T WANT TO FIND OUT ON MY VACATION.

4. Discovering the middle seat is occupied by someone who needs you to "coach" them through landing or take-off.

I actually read a story not so long ago about a 30-something Father who panic-screamed like a teenage girl going up and coming back down. To his Wife, I ask "Does he have balls in those tidy whities?"

Please, people. Get over your fear the old-fashioned way and take a tequila shot at the TGIFriday's BEFORE you get on the plane.

5. Learning your in-flight, next door neighbor, feels the need to evangelize you, even though you are wearing a Twyla Paris concert T-shirt, a ithicus ring, and a diamond-encrusted cross around your neck.

You should join the screaming banshee at Friday's and take a shot beforehand.

6. Winning the "last seat on the plane" lottery and having the dude who looks like a human pincushion, with Hepatitis C issues, plop down next to you.

Response to the flight attendant when asked about anything to eat or drink? "No. Thank you. But, I'll take an industrial-size-vat of germicide and a face mask, please."

7. Finding the person next to the window making a small collection of "little bottles" and reaching for the barf bag.

Drunks should stay on terra firma. That sense of comfort you feel in your own bathroom when you hang your head over the toilet and let 'er rip? Non-existent on a plane. Plus, what's that blue stuff at the bottom of the airplane commode? Do you really want to stick your head in there to find out? EEEEWW.

Of course, we're off to California in a few weeks and I guarantee there will be a story or two coming from those plane rides.

Shoot, with ONE kid you have a great chance of a funny story. But with THREE? The stories practically write themselves.

Happy Flying.

*Not to worry: I had a packet of duplicated copies of "homework" I remember completing on the plane. Never too much edumacation.

**Just without any actual baggage. Unless you count the emotional baggage you carry on board from that time your Great-Grandmother actually said to you, in your first meeting in a couple of years, "My! You've gotten fat." Bitty.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Goodie Goodness

There is only one time of the year that I care about The Dallas Morning News. It's when the food section publishes the annual winners of the Christmas goodies contest.

Last year, I snagged a recipe that looked so simple I figured it couldn't compete with the likes of the highly-esteemed bourbon ball. I assumed that I'd make these things once and we'd all go "OK. They're OK." Then, I'd purge the recipe from my memory and we'd move on to someone else's recipe.

I was wrong.

I had a grasp on a piece of newspaper history that would become contender for my second favorite Christmas cookie. Who knew?

Like the bourbon ball, which still is my BCFFL*, this thing isn't "technically" a cookie. It's more a cracker sandwich cleverly disguised as a cookie.

I think this treat probably has issues similar to guys who think they are girls but who have a penis so they are technically dudes. They're all topsy-turvy. So's my cookie-thingy.

The recipe is deceptively simple: smear a cracker with peanut butter, slap another cracker on top, chill for a bit, then completely cover with chocolate. If you can resist trying them, allow them to set for a bit before munching down.

Yeah. Don't doubt it. It's that simple. And, OH SO DELISH.

I don't even quite know what to call them. I've long since lost the actual piece of paper the recipe was on. And they are hard to describe.

"Chocolate-covered-peanut-butter-sandwiches" calls to mind those heinous pb crackers that can be found in vending machines from the Jersey shores to Vancouver. I think, along with Twinkies, they have a half-life of a cockroach. In fact, I think cockroaches have been around a shorter period of time than some of the vended PB crackers I've eaten.

"Peanut-butter-crackers-covered-in-choclate" is just too much to say.

"A-little-slice-of-Heaven" sounds too Paula Deen. She's a cutie. But, good gracious, everyone would think I incorporated a full stick of butter. Paula, honey? Please be a little less Southern. For just a cotton-pickin' minute. God Bless You.

So, for now, I'll continue describing them as "They taste like a good Peanut Butter Twix. Not the kind actually made by the Mars Corporation**."

And, if you have a brilliant idea, let me know.

I'll gladly put my thing-a-majiggy down, lick the chocolate off my fingers, and write down your suggestion.

*Best Cookie Friend For Life. You should get one, too.

**Which suck. Don't take my word for it. Pony up 75 cents and try a taste test. My funky Christmas recipe will eat that Twix for LUNCH, I tell you.

Monday, December 7, 2009

The New Meaning of RSVP

I've come to realize that RSVP is no longer grounded in the original French words: répondez s'il vous plaît. Anyone who has a Momma who cares knows this means "Please respond." And anyone who has a Momma who has hosted parties knows this means "Pick up the damn phone, take five minutes, and let your hostess know if you are coming or not."

Mommas of the past two generations know that today's meaning has shifted to "Really Show? Very Possibly".

Note the aromatic stench of BS in that response. If you caught the implication that "I'll show if my sorry butt feels like it" you are correct.

And our Grandmas? Rolling over in their graves.

Truly, people of this time don't seem to give a whit about how much time, effort or money you've spent when you extend invitation to entertain them. Emphasis here on the THEM. Generally, when you extend an invitation, you are going out of your way to do something nice for someone else, not yourself. That's the point.

Nothing, and I mean NOTHING, drives me more nuts than a "maybe" response. Either you are unable to read your calendar or you are really mamsy-pamsy when it comes to making decisions.

I like people who respond early and definitively. People who immediately figure out what they are doing the day of the party, decide how they are going to contact you*, and let you know pronto. And then, on the day of the party, actually SHOW UP.

In 2010, I resolve to be that person. I will earn points for being quickest to call. I will remember how much effort my host and hostess put out. I'll even leave the house a little early to be on-time.

I'm hopeful RSVP isn't completely dead. I'm going on the assumption it isn't.

Let's just hope I can remember how to perform CPR.

*Considering it is now possible to respond by regular mail, email, text, in-person, telegram, fax, papyrus, and pigeon, there is NO excuse.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Bourbon Balls

One of my favorite memories of Christmas is the bourbon balls Mom would make every year. To this day, I carry on the tradition and eat my weight in them pre-Christmas. Then, around Christmas day when we visit my parents, I enjoy the b.b's Mom made for her cookie platter. I, basically, would not think to pass up the opportunity.

The ingredients are simple: ground pecans and vanilla wafers, confectioner's sugar, and a half cup of whiskey. Mix, shape into balls, add a generous coating of MORE confectioner's sugar and, walah, a bourbon ball is born.

UMMMMM. Sugar, cookies and liquor all in one place. The pecans? Strangely added. Probably by some thoughtful German who reasoned that the little protein kick would be good for the hangover you'd develop if you ate too many of them*.

I started eating bourbon balls about the time I could really enunciate "ball" and had the lung capacity to scream for several minutes if they weren't proffered. I don't remember anybody in my family telling me I couldn't have them. Today, people would be calling CPS and screaming child abuse. Thank GOODNESS I am not a child of the 00's.

Yet, interestingly, last night at our party, where these little jewels were served, I found myself discouraging the under ten set from eating them. None of the quite respectful children in my house asked "Why not?". But, if they had, I would have cleverly told them they were made with "fire water" and they wouldn't like them. Truthfully, I just don't want to waste a single one on younguns would can't appreciate a true delicacy.

Christmas has arrived here. In the form of a lowly bourbon ball. OH, the joy.

*I speak from experience. Sad, sad experience.

Saturday, December 5, 2009


In the car* this week The Babe announces he is not going to have any children when he grows up. He adds "I'm only going to have dogs." And he is EXCITED about this prospect.

My heart sinks about as low as it can get. My babies are supposed to have copious amounts of sex with their future wives and produce tons of loud, screaming, obnoxious grandchildren that Mike and I can spoil until they stink.

And, at four, The Babe is bowing out of this plan.

I had to ask why. And his response? "Just because."

So I let it lie through the red light. For me, there was a palpable sadness in the car. For him? Probably contemplating what he's going to name our granddogs.

After the light changes I ask "So are you happy or sad you aren't going to have kids?"

"Oh. Happy!" was the quick response.

I figure there is no time too early to impress upon my children that they WILL produce heirs to the Nowell name. This isn't in question. And the heirs will not have anal glands that have to be expressed. Dang it.

"How do you know this?" I ask, more than a little bewildered.

And his response was as straight-faced as a man facing execution. There was no hint of BS or let-me-see-if-I-can-get-Mom's-goat "Well. Jesus just didn't make any children for me."

I guess that settles it.

Of course, Jesus may still change his mind between now and the time he reaches the age of fathering. But, for now, I can count on more dogs in my future.


*All great kid revelations come whilst we are in the car. Discussions regarding the birds and bees, who goes to Heaven, where did dogs go when they die--all hashed out during carpool, rush hour, or road trips.

Friday, December 4, 2009


Conversation between me and The Babe in church, during pre-Communion prayers*:

The Babe: "Mom? Can I do this up there?" (Cupping his hands in front of him and pointing to the altar rail.)

Me: "No, honey. You need to do this." (Folding my arms across my chest.)

The Babe: "WHY???" (Clearly frustrated.)

Me: "Because you haven't been baptized yet. You have to wait until then."

The Babe: "Well, I'm going to do this (cupping) anyway."

Me: Don't know what to do, so I put my finger to my mouth then point to the priest, signaling "It's time to pay attention."


The Babe kneels to the left of me and cups his hands. Father Whatshisname** gives me a wafer and starts to give one to The Babe.

I swoop in like an NFL line judge signaling an incomplete pass. Except I only have my left hand available. Father Whatshisname immediately changes tactics, after audibly saying "OH!", and blesses the child. The Babe, in turn, immediatley turns to me and gives me a really stinky stink-eye***.

As we are returning to our pew, I can feel the stink-eye continuing. If we had been playing a game of "Blink first, you lose", he'd have won. He was doing his level best to maintain eye contact and I was doing my best to ignore his eye-based hatred.

When we sit back down, he's STILL staring at me, all crazy-eyed. So I ask "Honey, why did you want the wafer?" The Babe: "Just because."

Now, honestly, I was hoping for some huge revelation about him asking Jesus if he could eat the wafer or something equally as "Godly". No dice.

Me: "Well, OK. If you want to tell me you can."

I kneel and look straight ahead. Then The Babe blows my mind by tapping me on the shoulder. When I look at him, he has tears in his eyes. I feel like crap on a stick.

"I wanted to taste the pancake."

It was all I could do not to laugh. My kid is righteously indignant because of a communion wafer that he thinks is a pancake?

I hugged his little body and promised him I'd get him a "pancake" sometime soon.

And, during Sunday School hour, I talked with Father Reallytall and he agreed to get me an unconsecrated wafer, after laughing with me about our heavenly pancakes.

In fact, Father Reallytall is getting the biggest pancake he can find. He said we could enjoy it for dessert after dinner one night.

In just a few days, when we get that "pancake", I'm afraid The Babe is in for a let down of gigantic proportions.

Upon tasting the wafer, and realizing it tastes about like wet cardboard, I think our little issue is going to be solved.

But now I'm wondering if the next hurtle will be convincing The Babe that the cup doesn't contain syrup?

*Props to The Babe. He's gotten better at cupping his hand around my ear and only slightly rendering me deaf with his "whispering".

**I know his name, just don't want to out him on this one.

***Two things here: have you noticed how much stink-eye we give each other in this family? It's our favorite, non-verbal form of communication. Second, I have a sneaking suspicion that the blessing The Babe was just given didn't take, if he's going all crazy-eyed on me immediately after the blessing was pronounced.....

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Channeling a Snowflake

You never know what the combination of coffee and snow is going to do to my brain. So, in case you wonder or care, here's a HAPPY DECEMBER from yours truly. Warped gray matter and all.

If snowflakes had brains, would they think:

1. Hey! Where's my parachute?
2. (In the sky, whirling around) MOM! It's cold. Do you know where my coat and gloves are?*
3. (Hitting the ground in Dallas). I'm melting. Melting. Oh, what a world.**
4. (As they pile up on the ground) GET OFF ME. I mean it. I'm calling Mom if you don't get off me.
5. Look at me. I'm totally unique. No two ever the same. That is SO COOL.
6. Rain, rain, go away. You're killing me. Literally.

*Hint to snowflakes and children alike: We Moms have NO CLUE where any of your stuff is. We don't use/wear it. It should be a hint to you that I find your gym shorts on top of the TV credenza when we move furniture. Who puts their gym shorts 8 feet off the ground, on top of a piece of furniture, if they actually want to USE them? Really.

**Try your best imitation of the Wicked Witch of the West when you say this.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

I'm Thinking...

I just defined oxymoron last night when I was eating strawberry cheesecake and derby pie covered with caramel/chocolate sauce and walnuts while simultaneously watching an episode of THE BIGGEST LOSER.

I'm hoping I burned some calories lifting the fork to and from my mouth.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Christmas and Partridges Do Not Mix

"On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, a partridge in a pear tree."

SSSSSCCCCCRRRREEEEEEEEEEECCCCCHHHHHHH. Those are the tires of love going from 150mph to zero in .75 seconds. HELLO? A partridge in a pear tree? REALLY?

Never, in all my years of dating and/or being married, have I thought "GEE, self. Wouldn't it be the most romantic of gestures to receive an inedible, completely worthless bird in a fruit tree?"


How about this? "On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me, a diamond in a black box."

Yes. That has a nice ring to it. Non-specific. Could be a bracelet, a necklace, or a belly button ring. It could be 10 carats or .5 carats. Yes. That's better.

I think I'll just rest a little bit better if we recreate the song so men all over the world don't get any ideas.

Because there is no way on God's green Earth that I want Twelve Drummers Drumming on the front lawn of anybody's house on this street.

With my luck, the boys would discover a new-found talent and feel the need to join a drum corps.

Sorry, boys. There is not enough chocolate and wine or a powerful enough hearing aid to overcome that prospect.