Friday, April 30, 2010

Points Anyone?

If it has the words "carrots", "cheese"*, "wheat"**, and "eggs" in the ingredients list, can I add a side of fruit and call it lunch?

According to the group that likes to watch my weight go up and down, I might be able to:

Veggie? Check
Dairy? Check
Wheat? Starch. Check.
Eggs? Protein/Medium-Fat Meat. Check.

So, if I count the 1/2 cup of cantaloupe and large slice of carrot cake as lunch today, will anybody buy that I am not actually cheating?

I didn't think so.

*Of the "cream" family of cheese. As in, the type you smear on a bagel.

**Not cooked. Raw. Flour, to be exact.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Play on Words

When I was dating Mike we passed by the OXY building at the intersection of LBJ Freeway and the Tollway. I looked up at the big "OXY" and said the following:

"I think a bunch of morons work there."

Now, my love, thinking I was being a bit judgmental and overly critical said, "Honey. How do you know that? I'm sure there are lot of smart people who work there."

I should have known, at that very moment in time, that there was this chasm of sarcasm between us. I was in overload mode. He was in a state of utter ignorance of who uses, how and why they use it, and when it is appropriate to use acrimony.

I replied, "I wasn't being critical. I was simply pointing out the fact that, obviously, within that building there MUST be some people who aren't the sharpest crayon in the pack because, otherwise, they wouldn't be called oxymorons."

And, thus, the world of sarcasm and occasional wit entered my future husband's life.

Poor guy.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Is this a TEXAS thing?

I'm guessing, since I never saw this in Michigan, that the little decoration I spotted today, dangling from the hitch on the back of a truck, is something Red Necks think is cute*.

Now, this isn't my first spotting of such a thing. And I'm positive it won't be my last, given I have kind of bought into the theory that Texas is the best state next to sliced bread and all.

But, honestly? Each truck I pass with a hardened plastic set of male balls swaying back and forth from a hitch? The driver's Momma should just whack him upside the head. More than once.

Today's set was green. Who thought of that? Kermit the Frog?

About the only case for color I can think of is blue. And that's only if you are married and your wife has been in a persistent vegetative state for, like, 25 years. Then you are somewhat entitled to a color. And then it becomes your own political statement and everyone who passes your car says "Oh. Poor guy." And we aren't quite as grossed out.

Other than that, I think we stick with neutral/beige or just nothing dangling at all.

Then again, I wonder why we should even be subjected to such a thing at all. You don't see women all over America breaking out their plastic ovaries and hanging them on the back of their minivans.

OOPS. Probably shouldn't have said that.

Now look what I started.

*Though, honestly, I don't think they'd use the term cute. They'd probably say this is "manly" or "tough". Me? I just think it is strange.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

This is Dedicated to the One I Love

Mike. Mike. Mike. KSA. Birthday Boy. Forty year old birthday boy.

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.

1. I love that the biggest rebellion I can recall in our marriage is when you eat potato chips with salsa instead of using tortilla chips.

2. I love that you coach the kids in soccer and that kids from the teams you used to coach still want you back.

3. I love that you take care of the pool because you know that I would pour concrete in the hole if that became my duty.

4. I love that you are a committed Christian and my wing-man in Sunday School, even though you could be enjoying donuts and adult conversation in another classroom.

5. I love that you are the employee all your old bosses try to hire away from your newest boss. And I love that you are such a great employee that you don't run from company to company.

6. I love that you are confident enough in your own skills that you formed your own company.

7. I love that you still play soccer and that you give me play-by-play results when you get home from games.

8. I love that you say "I love you" to me and the boys several times a day.

9. I love that you are the best dancer I've ever met and that it surprises women who've known you for years when they see you on the dance floor.

10. I love that you are a committed Christian and that we pray together for our family.

11. I love that you are addicted to video games, especially Tumble Bugs.

12. I love that, when you see a Dairy Queen sign, you feel compelled to get a dip cone.

13. I love that you are addicted to BBQ sauce and eat it with everything.

14. I love that you hate liver & onions and fish but don't care if I make it for myself and the boys and prepare a different meal for you.

15. I love that, even though you sometimes feel a heavy burden as the man of the house, you do a superb job of being that man.

16. I love that you love movies, especially anything by M. Night Shyamalan (except that heinous movie "The Happening".)

17. I love that you could run circles around most people in math but that you ask me to calculate the tip when we got out for dinner.

18. I love that you have a great relationship with your Dad and Mom and that you still have weekly, and sometimes bi-daily, conversations with them.

19. I love that you were so nervous looking at engagement rings that you felt sick. And I love that you picked out the perfect one for me, anyway.

20. I love that you eat broccoli, even though you hate it, and chase every single bite with copious amounts of water.

21. I love that you are confident enough in your manhood that you'll eat quiche and fancy salad.

22. I love that you don't freak out every time I order my meat cooked medium-rare, even though you would never plate anything that was less than medium-well.

23. I love that you eat the fruit I consider under-ripe and leave the over-ripe stuff for me.

24. I love the way you are so easy-going and friendly and can carry on a conversation with just about anybody.

25. I love the fact that you care enough about our financial future that you watch how you spend money but don't think twice about the occasional haircuts and manicures I schedule.

26. I love that you are in charge of the big picture when it comes to our money and that you aren't offended that I feel our long-term money will only earn 8% when you see a sunny 12% on the horizon.

27. I love that you recognize my passion for picking worthy charities and sending them money and that you wholeheartedly support me in that endeavor.

28. I love that you laugh with me and, on occasion, cry with me. Ditto regarding the kids.

29. I love that, when you work late and you know I'm tired, you are extra careful not to wake me up when you come to bed.

30. I love that you want to run The Amazing Race with me.

31. I love that you wanted to meet my birth family and insisted on accompanying me on the trip. And I love that they loved you almost more than they loved me!

32. I love that you knew you loved me almost right from the start and that you were the first to say it!

33. I love that you were on board with having another baby when I was 39.

34. I love that you tease me about being a High School Senior when you were still in Junior High.

35. I love that you bring me flowers for no reason other than that you know I love them.

36. I love that you know that buying new cars is a ridiculous waste of money but that we continue to do it as a big "splurge" every few years because I really want new cars.

37. I love that you would have let me get cats, instead of dogs, if I had insisted.

38. I love that you aren't a heavy drinker, smoker, or cusser.

39. I love that you have fallen madly in love with the families who were in my life when you came along. It makes me smile that they consider you as much part of their family as they do me.

40. I love you so much more than words can say and I look forward to 40 more years of loving wonderful, kind, amazing you!

Have a great birthday, sweetheart!!!


Monday, April 26, 2010

A Weighty Update

Since I told you I was working to reduce my weight but haven't blogged about it since the weather was frosty, I thought I'd let you know that I am down, officially, 4.8 pounds since March 1st.

No, this isn't weight loss a'la Weight Watchers or Jenny Craig or starvation, but it is on line with how I've decided to do it: interject moments of sanity with times of complete and utter abandon.

Take, for example, the last several days. Momma hasn't been at her best, with Aunt Flo knocking on the door and all, so I've been a little into beans. Not the good-for-you kind like Lima, or Kidney, or Garbanzo*. Not even the Java bean has been my fix. Only the Cacao bean would do the trick.

Chocolate ice cream, chocolate covered almonds, chocolate chips. I'd eat chocolate covered ants right now, if they were presented to me.

But this, too, shall pass. I will overcome. I will get back to the point where I am in control, instead of feeling overwhelmed by chocolate desires**.

Then again, maybe I DON'T want this to pass....

*Up there with questions to ask God: cockroaches, raw oysters, garbanzo beans? REALLY?

**If some advertising maven for a company that produces chocolate reads this, they may have a new slogan.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Be Good for Reading Sake

I suck. As a person. And by association, as a Mother.

That is, according to my youngest.*

Tonight I listened as The Babe cried. And cried. And cried. Because I wouldn't read him his "favorite" book that I gave him for Easter.

See, I hit rock bottom with the kids at anytime after 8pm. I expect, no, I DEMAND, that they follow instructions and complete tasks efficiently at this hour. I had been working since 7:40 to get them showered, pj'd and orally hygiened. It was approaching 8:05. Mike wasn't here. And I was ready to hit the bed.

So, I started trying to move them faster than the pace of tree sloths. They were having none of that business.

I told the boys that I would gladly read to them if they would move at a quicker pace. They were having none of that, either.

Finally, when The Babe took his brother's toothbrush, already over-pasted and ready for action, and threw it at the sink, I about lost my mind.

I didn't scream. I didn't pout. I didn't even yell.** I just, very calmly, stated that The Babe had just lost the privilege of reading a book with me because he was not following instructions.

Have you ever heard the lonely, low moaning of a whale in the ocean as recorded by the likes of Jacques Cousteau? It's haunting. Somehow, The Babe managed to recreate that sound, just to whip me emotionally.

Then the tears started. Then the pleading. Then the wailing.

This must have lasted for about 20 minutes total. About fifteen in, I almost caved when, during a talk about why he was in this predicament, his bottom lip quivered as he tried not to cry.

But, I held firm.

I just hope the psychiatry bills for this and other atrocities I have committed, like refusing five servings of potato chips ten minutes before dinner, don't cost a bazillion dollars.

*Who didn't actually say "You suck" because a) he doesn't know that phrasology and b) he likes to be able to sit comfortably on his bottom, without having to adjust, side-to-side, to avoid the place Mommy spanked him.

**MIRACLES still occur.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Resistence is Futile

Once again: Not my work but too cute not to pass along....

A frog goes into a bank and approaches the teller. He can see from her nameplate that her name is Patricia Whack.

"Miss Whack, I'd like to get a $30,000 loan to take a holiday."

Patty looks at the frog in disbelief and asks his name. The frog says his name is Kermit Jagger, his dad is Mick Jagger, and that it's okay, he knows the bank manager.

Patty explains that he will need to secure the loan with some collateral.

The frog says, "Sure. I have this," and produces a tiny porcelain elephant, about an inch tall, bright pink and perfectly formed.

Very confused, Patty explains that she'll have to consult with the bank manager and disappears into a back office.

She finds the manager and says, "There's a frog called Kermit Jagger out there who claims to know you and wants to borrow $30,000, and he wants to use this as collateral."

She holds up the tiny pink elephant. "I mean, what in the world is this?"

The bank manager looks back at her and says...

"It's a knickknack, Patty Whack. Give the frog a loan. His old man's a Rolling Stone."

Friday, April 23, 2010

Thank You. Thank You Very Much.

I recently got the following reactions from my husband:

"WOW!" (Complete surprise.)

"Way to go, honey!" (Genuinely congratulating me.)

"Wow." (A little shocked.)

"What possessed you to do that?" (Concerned that we were about to have company. Or that I had been diagnosed with some strange, flesh-eating bacteria that had bore into my brain and was now controlling my very core.)

"That's great." (Totally resolved that I have, obviously, embraced my status as a TRUE stay-at-home Mom. One who takes a daily trip to Whole Foods just for the face time with the kind employees. Who walks the dogs to get out from the maize yellow walls that are closing in on me in the dining room. The one who doesn't have a bottle of wine in the house.)

What did I do to deserve all the adulation?

I mopped.*

*I told you I'm not Suzy Homemaker. Do you believe me NOW?

Thursday, April 22, 2010


An article, from today's "Briefing", thrown by the Dallas Morning News to convince us we NEED a daily paper:

"Charge dropped after serial pruner spends nine hours in jail for thinning thickets in city park"

I would LOVE to meet this lady, based on the following quote about her arrest and time in jail:

Ms. Sandra McFeeley, a 67-year-old attorney, said "I met some neat people. I'd never been in a perp walk before. It was cool."

Now that's my kind of senior citizen!! Totally embracing her racy, criminal pruning ways.*

It seems this woman has a little OCD with trimming bushes and left the confines of her yard and began grooming the greenbelt.

Can't you hear the astonishment from the city park maintenance manager at Ms. McFeeley's obvious, law breaking scheme?

"She was going out to the greenbelt area and trimming it as she saw fit. We asked her to stop because she didn't have a work agreement with the city."

GASP. No work permit? Forty years ago this was called BEING NEIGHBORLY and TAKING CARE OF THE NEIGHBORHOOD. Now it's a crime.

Another person in this story whose hand I'd love to shake is neighbor Mary Ann Jenkins. She shows her penchant for good, old fashioned sarcasm with this gem:

"It's hard enough to keep that neighborhood nice without having the police haul people off for felonious gardening."

HA. Felonious gardening. PLEASE, we beg you, come do some felonious gardening in OUR YARD. PLEASE.

The police incident report alleges $4500 worth of property damage for "vegetation" and "clean up/removal".

Um, isn't that EXACTLY what the hell we pay you to do ANYWAY, park department people? Shouldn't you be writing her a check for her illegal work?

The biggest chuckle in the whole article was in the two final paragraphs. It was the government doing what they do best: talking out of both sides of their mouth.

Assistant park director Dave Strueber said the park department never intended to have Ms. McFeeley arrested. The next sentence says "A park department employee accompanied the arresting officers."

Then, surprise, surprise, the article ends with this news: it turns out that the park department is "no longer pressing the case".

If you happen to know Ms. McFeeley, will you please.please.please send her number our way?

We need a good outlaw to keep our lawn looking tip-top.

*Unlike the rest of her totally uncool crowd of friends around the same age who only know how to use prune juice.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Good Question!

I'm just wondering...when was the last time Alex Trebek aged?

"Alex. I'll take the name of your plastic surgeon for $200."

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Going on FIVE

The Babe is a scant three weeks away from turning five. And I realized, recently, that I'm sure going to miss having a little guy around the house.

I think it is partially because his older brother, the HOO man, has decided that lip-to-lip contact with me is icky. Biggest brother, the DOO man, put the kabash on that several years ago. Delightfully, since spending more time with me recently, he's instigated a couple of quick pecks.

But back to The Babe. He is still in that nirvana-land of talking where he hasn't quite picked up on the sounds in words and hasn't quite mastered definitions, so he doesn't quite always get it right. For example, he "weally, weally" would like me to "wite in wed cwayon" sometimes.

He "achoos" instead of sneezes.

He wears "gobbles" in the pool to keep his eyes from stinging.*

He "frizzies" the frisbee instead of throwing it.

There isn't anything much better than love from your kids. They didn't pick you, they aren't obligated to love you, and they are the object of your constant correction. Yet, they love you as if you hung the moon and the stars. Even when you don't.

I'm going to die an unceremonious death the day The Babe decides "Skidamarink" before prayers is no longer kosher. I may have to enlist Doug or Tex to howl along with me as I sing it.

If you are within earshot of him before he decides this song is uncool, have him sing it with/to you. It will melt your heart.

Cross mine.

*Turkeys everywhere are pausing to take notice and wondering why we're doing something to them off the Thanksgiving schedule.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Type "A" Personality

Here are a few things about me that I loathe. While they may come in handy, at times, mostly they are just an enormous energy suck:

1. I can not leave the house for an extended period of time (for example, a weekend) without everything being straightened up. I like to come home to a relatively tidy place, with the only chore being unpacking.

Conversely, our house is, on any given day of the week, the victim of a Nowell tornado. It is rarely straight. The floors are strewn with clothing, toys, and unidentified "special" items from nature.*

2. I am, by nature, a "piler"** and I have managed to delude myself into thinking this is organization. I can stack and stack and shove stuff together and make some beautiful pile art. And, if anyone asks, I can tell them which pile, how far down, and what color the receipt is they are looking for.

Yet, I routinely lose my purse, keys and check book.

I mostly find them in *SURPRISE* a pile.

3. I rinse dishes better than most people hand wash them. Truly, if I just added soap whilst rinsing, we would always have clean dishes.

But, do I do this? NNNOOOOO. After rinsing, they sit on the counter, waiting for me to unload the dishwasher, for a very, very, very long time.***

Every time I rinse, I figure that today will be the day I have victory in this department and I'll manage to unload and reload the dishwasher before I'm interrupted. So far, in our marriage, my record is something like 2,345 to 1.

Today, I heard an ad that said dishwashing saves something like $40 on your annual electric bill IF you don't "over rinse". My face flushed and I looked around to see if anybody was pointing at me. I felt so outed. And on public radio!!!

I am completely positive that those of you who know me well enough could add copiously to this list. Even those of you who know me casually could do it, I'm sure.

Let's just say I'm attempting to win the battle by starting at the bottom of the ladder, with my weaknesses first. Ever so slowly, I'll be moving upward to improve those things that are my strengths.

I can assure you I'll be winded before I get off the first rung.

*All three of my boys use the word "special" to mean "GET YOUR HANDS OFF THIS THING." Cicada shell from Fall 2009? Special. Bee wing? Special. Broken piece of glass from a beer bottle thrown on the street by a passerby? Special.

**I'm positive piles don't constitute anything being tidy. But, thankfully, Mike acquired the piling gene. Two pilers in one house makes for some honkin' big, bonfire size, stacks of paper. Yet, it also makes for two people who can't gripe at the other about the piles. That, kemosabe, makes for a peaceful marriage.

***Let me just admit that the dishes from last night's dinner hit the dishwasher sub-8am this morning. And I'm staring at lunch dishes from today. It's well past 3:30pm and I hear a little voice telling me it's time to start planning dinner.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Tax Week Musings

Infernal Revenue Service
Inherently Ridiculous Servants
Incredibly Random Suckage
Inferior Relationship Scumsuckers

Just me, rambling on, about how much I LOVE the IRS.

Yes, it took a few days for the "We paid HOW MUCH last year?" to kick in. But the IRS is now at the top of my "Groups that Satan himself applauds".

Here are a few other things I would rather do than ever pay/deal with the IRS:
1. A quadruple root canal. Minus the pain reliever.
2. Step in a red ant pile, in the midst of an evening devoid of a moon, while wearing blue jeans and being a wee bit tipsy.*
3. Eat raw oysters. While sober. Or even after several drinks.

Viva la flat tax!

*I have actually done this. It is extremely unpleasant not only while it is happening, but for days after, while the pustules heal. Especially if you are wearing a polyester, skin tight, pantsuit for your job at Burger King. It gives a new definition to the word "rub".

Friday, April 16, 2010

Laughter is Good Medicine

Some moments are just meant to be captured on DVR and replayed over and over again until you laugh so hard you wet the bed. --Momma J

We recently discovered the show "Modern Family". To say the writers are comedic geniuses wouldn't even be giving enough credit where it is totally due.

The episode we watched last night featured the typical "I'm embarrassed by my Mom" teenage girl (Alex). She kept ditching dear Mom (Claire) to be with friends and telling Claire she'd meet her at the car.

Claire, as you can imagine, wasn't handling this well. Babies you gave birth to aren't supposed to reject you, right?

Moments after becoming upset, Mom got pissed. In a big way. A little orchestrated comeuppance was in order. So, when Alex finally made it LATE, LATE, LATE to the car, Claire was like a rattlesnake, all coiled up and cool.

She let Alex apologize. Then Alex, obviously brainfried from going through puberty, followed the apology with a request for money, so she could join her snobby friends for a quick bite. Mom complied, even giving her DOUBLE the money daughter requested. This is when the rattle started to shake. Violently.

Then Mom's fangs came out, as she yelled to Alex, who was now standing with her friends:

"Alex, honey, when you're out shopping, you might want to pick yourself up a training bra. I know you don't need one now but your little boobies are going to come in soon. Mommy loves you, kitten!"

And as Claire drove off? "That'll teach her to screw with me!"

Laughing. Crying. Trying not to pee.


Which is why God completely crossed Motherhood of a female-type off my list.

But, I'm sure happy to watch, at a distance, as the hilarity commences between these two.

Check it out: Modern Family, Wednesdays at 8pm CST.

And, if you wet your pants or the bed? You've been warned......

School Days

I'm home schooling now. I am, by profession, a teacher. This should be a piece of cake.

Emphasis here on the words "should" and "be".

Here's the part that was left out of the "HOME SCHOOLING FOR DUMMIES" manual that I, conveniently, never received, but imagine exists somewhere:*

1. You are dealing with your own child, not some kid from outer space. You know his buttons, he knows yours. A day without bloodshed and tears is a complete victory.

2. It is super, duper, pooper-scooper easy to lose track of, waste, forget, and ignore time when you are home schooling.** Truly, minutes feel like hours, some times.

3. It is best to try to stand up every 45 minutes and pinch yourself so you remember that you are still alive and you will, eventually, have a life outside of the dining room-cum-classroom. Just not today. Or tomorrow.

4. Lunch should be a solid hour in home school cultures. By this critical time in your day, you've downed two pots of coffee. It will take a good fifteen of the sixty minutes you set aside for lunching to rid your bladder of its intake.

5. Chairs that are uncomfortable for the duration of a dinner party are exponentially more so with the addition of hours of math, reading and science added on to them. Magically, spelling seems to harden the wood of the seats.

6. There is never, ever, ever a good enough excuse for not pausing a lesson to retrieve a pillow from some random bed close to your "school room". Run, don't walk, to find that all-important cushion for your backside. You can think of practically nothing else when you realize you've purchased the most heinously painful chairs in the history of dining sets.

But, do you know the greatest part? In the last week, I've spent more time with my little guy really talking, sometimes laughing, definitely smiling, and enjoying each other's company. It has been great. And I wouldn't give it back for the world.

Now those dining room chairs? I'd light the match if someone would build a backyard bonfire with them.....

*Frankly, even if it did exist, I'd have no time to read it anyway, so I guess it really doesn't matter.

**If I had a choice, we'd become the Emerald City ISD and "Get up at noon and start to work at one. Take a hour for lunch and then at two we're done". Jolly Good Fun.***

***Yes, another Wizard of Oz reference. One of the last remaining munchkins died this week and it's got me waxing nostalgic.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Observations of an Off-Balance Woman

As I'm polishing off the tasty, seventy carb Taco Bueno burrito, I'm people watching in the parking lot of Whole Foods.*

I always knew I was shopping with some pretty odd folks. This five-minute observation just bore that out. In droves.

My favorite sighting had to be the Dad/son combo. They arrived in a rather sad looking four-door sedan and starting unloading five gallon plastic water bottles.

Several minutes later they were poised to walk their two bottle-full shopping carts into the market. To refill their blue plastic beauties with "wholesome", oxygen-enriched, reverse osmosis, hoity-toity, water.

And this is where it got good. As they were walking, Dad lit up a big, honking cigarette. About 100 feet from the entrance to the store. I almost choked on my saturated fat burrito of a dinner.

Really. I got that what I was eating was, potentially, creating a ticking time bomb in my body.

But I KNEW what he was smoking was WAY WORSE than what I was chewing.

(Let me take a short pause here to remove the plank from my eye. That is, before I continue talking about the speck in Mr. Smokerman's.)

I guess this is as much an observation about what I consider "bad" as it is anything else.

I grew up in the seventies, when the public schools were scaring the life out of elementary kids so we wouldn't smoke. So, instead we drank.

The kid's who grew up in the eighties and nineties had the tar scared out of them about alcohol and drugs. So, they had sex.

With Jamie Oliver opening up a can of whoop ass on the American diet here recently, this generation of kids is going to be all "Food Police" on us. They may not eat brie when they are in the thirties, but I bet they enjoy a good stoggie every once in a while.

And isn't that really what it's all about? Moderation?

I mean, come on! As long as you don't burn down the house while smoking in bed, eating your burrito, and having sex, it's all good.


*I hope they didn't catch me on surveillance camera. I'd hate to be banned from the store for have non-organic, contraband food near the premises.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Dinner Choices

I do kind of see the irony of going to the "nutrition" tab on the Taco Bueno site. AFTER polishing off my dinner.

But, hey. That's how I roll.

And, apparently, roll is exactly what I am going to get from my "smart" choice.

I drove up to get a big old stack of steak nachos but saw an ad for their new Black Bean Burrito. With cilantro sauce. And grated jalapeno Jack cheese. YUM.

I have just recently realized the joy of the black bean. And cilantro? I could eat it by the bushel with a pitchfork. Need I even mention that I am patiently waiting for someone to name a cheese after me?*

But what really put this choice over the top was the little blurb in the upper-right corner of the plastic ad board that said "Perfect Lenten choice!" How could I pass up what, obviously, was THE Christian dinner on the menu?** I think God would have frowned if I had gone for the nachos at that point.

So, here's what I ate, along with what my brain was thinking as I read the stats:

Calories: 490 (semi-bad)

Fat: 15 grams (UGH. I can feel the saturated fats settling. As I type.)

Sodium: 730 grams (I'm sure this still doesn't beat Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup, but it won't matter to my body when it wakes up in the morning bloated like a week old armadillo, belly-up by the roadside.)

Carbs: 70 grams (SEVENTY. That must be a typo. Dr. Atkins is rolling over in his grave right now.)

Fiber: 9 grams (OK. This almost saves it for me. At least I'll be regular come morning.)

Sugar: 2 grams (I'm confused, Mr. Bueno. How is there ANY SUGAR in my BURRITO?)

Protein: 18 grams (YES! A small victory for my dinner choice. At least I've been vindicated by the protein. Of course, we are talking beans here. So, the vindication may last awhile.)

This was a really, really tasty burrito. And I'm glad I enjoyed it before I looked up the goods, because that happens to be the first and last Black Bean Burrito I'm going to get sucked into eating.

However. I did notice the cheesecake chimichangas, golden fried and gooey in the middle.

I wonder if those were "Lent" approved, too???

Let me just tab over here and see.....

*How many tons of the stuff did Jack have to eat to get a chunk named after him? Whatever that number? I've eaten DOUBLE that. It's time for Monterey Jill, people.

**Even though we're well past Lent, Easter, and practically at Summer??

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Insanity on a Stick

Spring, for most people, is a joyous time of the year. The weather is warmer, the sun seems to shine brighter, and everything is blooming.

For me? All I can think of is tornadoes. Twisters. Dorothy and her little dog.

So, the other night, I'm watching this crazy show on these two friends who were storm chasers. Let's just say, should Webster's Dictionary be looking for poster children for the word "geeks"? I was watching them.

I've seen some crazy jobs in my life, but people who chase tornadoes take the cake.

Really. You drive TOWARD the danger, get within 1/4 mile of it, film until you feel "threatened" and then drive like a bat out of Hell, hoping you can outrun it?

Once you are a "safe" distance away? You are so excited you whoop and holler like a bunch of monkeys eyeing the zookeeper as he distributes copious bunches of bananas.

And because the conditions are right for tornadoes to pop up close by? You keep the radio tuned to local news to see where the next storm is brewing. You actually get your jollys when the announcer says "Head for cover". And you drive straight to the place where everyone else is, sensibly, trying to save their hides.

And the pay for this job? UM. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

I've seen some crazy things in my life and this "profession" is right up there with the craziest.

But what's even odder than that is that The National Weather Service sponsors workshops in the Spring to teach people to do this.

I, for one, sleep just fine at night allowing the government to sponsor the gathering of weather data with my tax money. But, the minute the NWS gets sued by a storm chaser who was "trained" by them and, "HOW THE HELL DID THAT HAPPEN?", got INJURED? I'm going to march on Washington.

And I won't leave until I have one of those crazy, adrenaline-junkie, lawsuit-instigating idiots in the trunk of my car.

You know where we're going? The flattest part of Iowa, in mid-April, during a thunderstorm.

I'm going to tie that dude up, like a scarecrow on a stick, and wait for the "right" conditions. Then I'm going to drive away, speakers blaring AC/DC, head-banging back and forth like the lead singer of a band named "Bad Ass Mommas". And I'm going to watch the frantic scarecrow panic.*

My intention? To teach a little lesson about taking advantage of the American people by suing over the idiocy of wanting to learn how to commit suicide by chasing wind tunnels. And actually following through with it and being injured. AS IF THAT KIND OF CRAZY SHOULD SOMEHOW BE COVERED BY MY TAX MONEY.

Somehow, I don't think my little charade would cure him of the storm chasing. He'd survive (somehow these guys always do) and he'd be back on his proverbial horse next time the clouds gathered, wringing his hands, wondering "Which way do I go? Which way do I go?"

But, hey. Stupid is as stupid does. All I can do is continue to point out the lunacy, hope like heck these guys develop brain cells, and be on the lookout for rogue, lawsuit happy, tornado-chasing people.

Happy Tornado Season, everyone!

*In case you have a short-term memory problem like moi, remember that I'm deathly afraid of this kind of weather. I would be acting this way because, frankly, I'd be beyond cranked up on something to calm my nerves.

Monday, April 12, 2010

The Truth About Analogies


Sorry. For you.

Me? Glad to be among the land of the living, home of the semi-free.

I've been in "What have I gone and done?" mode now for going on five days. What, I'm sure you are wondering, did I go and do THIS TIME?

I pulled the most unimaginable stunt ever: I agreed with Mike to withdraw one of the kids from school. With seven full weeks of classes left. And I'm home schooling.

(Cue music from the shower scene in Psycho. Less all the blood. At least for the moment.)

I'm not going into details here*, but sufficeth to say, this wasn't an easy decision and it was only undertaken when tons of prayer yielded this as the only answer to a difficult situation.

So, here we are. Day one. Of thirty-five.**

We're all spread out on the dining room table, adjacent to Mike's office, talking about analogies.

I'm back to my roots as English teacher and

Young apprentice English major? Wishing we were talking quantum physics, revisionist history, ANYTHING but analogies.

Mike? SUPPOSEDLY working. Until the following takes place:

ME: "What is the difference between 'annoyed' and 'furious'?"***

YOUNG STUDENT: "I dunno." (With the energy of a pet rock.)

ME: "Well. Would you expect me to be yelling if I was annoyed?"

YOUNG STUDENT (without inhaling a particle of air, hesitating a millisecond, or creasing his eyebrow): "Yeah."

MIKE (from his office, breaks into gales of laughter. Gut busting laughter. Sarcasm dripping off his perfect nose.): "OK. THAT'S FUNNY! AND TRUE."

ME (more than slightly annoyed): "NO. I wouldn't be yelling if I was annoyed." (voice approaching yelling)

YOUNG STUDENT (just stares at me, with a large crease in his forehead, as if I just announced I am an alien and I'm going to eat him if he doesn't stop making eye contact. NOW.)

MIKE (still laughing from his office): "OOOOHHHHH." He can't even speak he's so captivated by the "honesty". He's reduced to a noise made by birds in backwoods regions of Kentucky. At least THEY can blame the whiskey. Mike? Hasn't got a prayer.

So I did the only "proper" thing a wife could do in this situation: shot him the bird from behind young student's back.

Just then, young student realizes he's made a funny and created laughter. So he looks at his Dad through the glass-paned door and gives a thumbs-up. Then they both start laughing.

The bottom line? If you don't have tolerance for the truth about yourself, don't home school a kid who can punch you in the gut using an analogy.

And don't marry a guy who thinks your obvious shortcomings are oh-so-charming. And yet, simultaneously, downright hysterical.

*Because every one of you who is curious enough to ask will owe me the privilege of being chauffeured (read between the lines: You. Designated Driver.) to a place that serves adult beverages and food so I can retell the tale. That's really all I ask: a pass out of this house for a few measly hours. Not too much, eh?

**No. I'm not counting. That's just factually correct.

***I'm practically salivating that I get to teach this. SO MUCH FRIGGIN' FUN!!!!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


To the tune "These are a Few of my Favorite Things" from The Sound of Music.

Actually, this is the dark side of our trip, which didn't interfere with us having a great time together. It just made us throw-up a little in our mouths.

We used a lot of Listerine.....

Tatoos on boobies and throw-up in alleys
Skirts cut from poly that didn't fit Esther.
Serial smoking and cheap booze and wine
These are a few things from Vegas "divine".

Girls being sold for an hour by illegals
Sixty ounce drinks sipped from plastic guitars*.
Brown paper packages filled with who-knows-what
Behavior that makes you feel punched in the gut!**

When the cussing starts, when the tempers flair***
When we're feeling sad
We simply remember we're a few steps away****
and then we don't feel SO BAD.

*No, not us. We just witnessed this ridiculousness.

**Know the worst combination of things? People drinking out of HUGE cans of beer while maneuvering two-year-olds in strollers down the strip. Makes you wonder what they put in those kid's sippy cups.

***NO. NOT US. We didn't have a single nasty word or fight the entire trip. It was all the drunk yahoos on the strip, silly.

****That we're not back at the good smelling VDARA spa and hotel...truly an oasis-like sanctuary in the middle of the cess pool called VEGAS. If we EVER go back (and remember, ever is a very long time) then we'll just blindfold ourselves upon landing, be led to a windowless limo, and be driven straight to the hotel, which we won't leave for the duration of the trip.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Workout Buddies ROCK!

It pays to have a good friend who knows

1. I am fat. And I need to exercise because the little voices in my head are actually Little Debbie Nutty Buddies trying to seduce me. And they are sexy and powerful.

2. I have the dangerous ability to stay in my pj's until carpool at 2pm. I like comfort. And I buy into the theory that cotton is the "fabric of my life". What can I say?

So, given our close relationship, here was my message to her tonight:

Gym. Tomorrow. 9:15am CST until my ass is flat or I'm below 125 pounds. Or I die.

I'm really into options these days.


No, I really don't believe my bubble butt will ever be flat. And that number? Covers only a portion of the area between my belly button and my breasts.

And, no, this isn't a cry for help. I'm not suicidal. I just worry, ever-so-slightly, that taxing my body by doing any sort of exercise, in my state of flabbiness, could cause me to need nitroglycerin. By the case.

Please just know that, if I do pass away on the eliptical machine, it won't be because my workout buddy didn't try to revive me. It will probably gross her out trying and afterward she'll have to use enough Listerine to flood a small town.

But if I know one thing, I know she's got my back. Cellulite and all.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Kids Today Have NO IDEA

DEAREST READERS: The following was NOT written by me. It was simply edited by yours truly because! this! person! liked! exclamation! points! and! it! was! getting! on! my! nerves! So I edited them out. Along with some cussing. Otherwise, kisses to the person who wrote this...oh so true.


When I was a kid, adults used to bore me to tears with their tedious diatribes about how hard things were. When they were growing up, what with walking twenty-five miles to school every morning.... Uphill... Barefoot... BOTH ways. Yadda, yadda, yadda

And I remember promising myself that when I grew up, there was no way I was going to lay a bunch of junk like that on my kids--about how hard I had it and how easy they've got it.

But now that I'm over the ripe old age of thirty*, I can't help but look around and notice the youth of today. You've got it so easy! I mean, compared to my childhood, you live in Utopia!

I mean, when I was a kid we didn't have the Internet. If we wanted to know something, we had to go to the library and look it up ourselves, in the card catalog.

There was no email!! We had to actually write somebody a letter - with a pen. Then you had to walk all the way across the street and put it in the mailbox, and it would take like a week to get there. Stamps were 10 cents.

Child Protective Services didn't care if our parents beat us. As a matter of fact, the parents of all my friends also had permission to kick our butts! Nowhere was safe!

There were no MP3's or Napsters or iTunes. If you wanted to steal music, you had to hitchhike to the record store and shoplift it yourself.

Or you had to wait around all day to tape it off the radio, and the DJ would usually talk over the beginning and mess it all up. There were no CD players. We had tape decks in our car. We'd play our favorite tape and "eject" it when finished, and then the tape would come undone rendering it useless. Cause, hey, that's how we rolled, Baby! Dig?

We didn't have fancy stuff like Call Waiting. If you were on the phone and somebody else called, they got a busy signal, that's it.

There weren't any freakin' cell phones either. If you left the house, you just didn't make a call or receive one. You actually had to be out of touch with your "friends". OH MY GOODNESS!!! Think of the horror... not being in touch with someone 24/7!!! And then there's TEXTING. You kids have no idea how annoying you are.

And we didn't have fancy Caller ID either. When the phone rang, you had no idea who it was. It could be your school, your parents, your boss, your bookie, your drug dealer, the collection agent... you just didn't know. You had to pick it up and take your chances, mister.

We didn't have any fancy PlayStation or Xbox video games with high-resolution 3-D graphics. We had the Atari 2600. With games like 'Space Invaders' and 'Asteroids'. Your screen guy was a little square. You actually had to use your imagination!!! And there were no multiple levels or screens, it was just one screen... Forever. And you could never win. The game just kept getting harder and harder and faster and faster until you died. Just like LIFE!

You had to use a little book called a TV Guide to find out what was on. You were screwed when it came to channel surfing. You had to get off your butt and walk over to the TV to change the channel. NO REMOTES!!!

There was no Cartoon Network either. You could only get cartoons on Saturday Morning. Do you hear what I'm saying? We had to wait ALL WEEK for cartoons.

And we didn't have microwaves. If we wanted to heat something up, we had to use the stove. Imagine that!

And our parents told us to stay outside and play... all day long. Oh, and no electronics to soothe and comfort. And if you came back inside... you were doing chores.

And car seats - oh, please! Mom threw you in the back seat and you hung on. If you were lucky, you got the "safety arm" across the chest at the last moment if she had to stop suddenly, and if your head hit the dashboard, well that was your fault for calling "shot gun" in the first place.

See. That's exactly what I'm talking about. You kids today have got it too easy. You guys wouldn't have lasted five minutes back in 1980 or any time before that.

*Complete disclosure would indicate that I am actually over 40. And fabulous. Thank you.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Doggie Pills

So I visited the vet this week to load up on doggie vit-a-mens.*

Seems my vet has decided to close his doors after something like a 40 year run. Just when he and I were hitting a groove in our dog owner/dog doctor relationship.**/***

This vet is as guy as they get. I can see him cleaning his guns, just for grins, on Saturday nights. Yet not quite getting the irony that they are Saturday Night Specials.

Anyway. When he asked if I wanted to buy an entire year's worth of meds, I looked at him kind of funny like "WHY? I mean, these dogs are great and all. But who knows what tomorrow will bring? They could get hit by the Red Vette from down the street and be gone. THEN what would I do with these things?"

He seemed to (1) understand my dilemma or (2) remembered I won the neighborhood frugal award as a freshman on the street because he went on to explain that the day after health care was passed, all his major pharmaceutical companies raised their prices. Exponentially.

For example, a pill he was getting for $2 before health care? Now $20. Why? Because the same folks that bring you Nexium also have branches that create dog/cat junk and they are being hit by accounting losses to compensate for national health care. He recommended I buy the annual dosage just to avoid the cost increase that was about to be passed along the next time a vet ordered for me.

After I picked my chin up off the counter and removed an errant hair from my bottom lip, I was able to think again. It never occurred to me that it would cost more to have a dog after health care passed. I mean, I've never purchased pet insurance, because I always thought it was for "those kind" of pet owners.****

Turns out, after the new law? Those kind of pet owners have got it going on in the upstairs department.

I'm finally keeping track of the boy's expenses in their own column and I'm discovering they ain't cheap. I mean rawhide, collars, tags, anal gland expressions? These things cost money, people. And I'm beginning to wonder if pet insurance wouldn't be a great idea.*****

But, in the long scheme of my life, I'm not overly worried because I had THE TALK with both the boys before the adoption process was complete. It went like this:

"Your lifespan, according to the AKC records I have looked up, is 15 years. That coincides with my youngest boy's High School graduation. After the ceremony and obligatory dinner, my husband and I have a stretch goal to land on every continent at least once before we are too old or weak to enjoy the scenery."

"You, my dears, are NOT going with us. So, unless you favor lots and LOTS of time in kennels with other dogs, you should start thinking about retiring to Doggie Heaven about that time. K?"

I took the silent stares, wagging tails, and ever moving tongues as indications that both dogs were on board with this plan.

Either that, or they were calculating the amount of time between my diatribe and their car ride. During which they would both attempt to leave presents of the "bad dog" kind.

The retaliation for my lousy attitude was flat ugly and stinky.

But it sure beats the pants off sky high pet meds.

*For those of you who only speak Americanese, walk with me to England. They don't say vy-ta-mins. It's vit-a-mens. Even their freakin' pills sound snotty and ultra cool.

**Meaning he knows I like my dogs, sometimes will even admit to loving them, but I still don't think their tongues belong anywhere remotely near my mouth. Or vice versa, for that matter.

***WAIT A COTTON PICKIN' MINUTE. We met shortly ago and now he's quitting for good? Do I smell correlation? Or is that dog poo?

****People who love their animals more than their parents, children, in-laws, and psychiatrists. Who buy overpriced coffee mugs with pictures of their "babies". Last time I checked, "Whippet" and "What the Hell is That?" don't have their own coffee mugs.

*****But when you are short-sighted, you come in just when the rates quadruple. Which is exactly where the rates will be if I make a phone call to DOGS IS US Insurance Co. in the morning.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Great News!

We just couldn't wait to announce this to all our friends and family and figured this would be an excellent way to let everyone know quickly: WE'RE PREGNANT!

Yes, this is as much of a shock to us as it probably is to you. I'm about to turn 44 and Mike has had a vasectomy.

As I've jokingly told Mike over the years, "I'm a Mom. I run three carpools, cook three squares a day, semi-clean the house, occasionally do laundry, and get a shower when I start to reek. In that shower, I shave my legs and pits about once a quarter. I have absolutely NO TIME to have an affair. And, by gosh, no energy."

In other words, this is most definitely a product of Mike and Jill Nowell.

We hope to welcome our bundle of joy into this world around February next year. I'm praying that s/he doesn't clock in at 9 pounds, 13 ounces like his/her older brother, The Babe.

And, if you've bought this line of cock and bull, need I remind you that the only baby being born to us any time soon is the one screamed from my mouth, near the slots in Vegas. As in: "YEAH, BABY! I just hit the jackpot."

Happy April Fool's Day everyone.