Saturday, November 20, 2010

Moving On...

I am just about to get my many, many sites and blogs all in order again.  Like Purpose Driven Mom, I've moved this site to Wordpress too. 

You can find this blog now at

As for my other sites, they are:
and soon, to tie it all together, past and present,

See ya on the flip side!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Observations of Youth – 20 years later…

This is the weekend of my high school reunion. Twenty years have flown by and now we are all adults with jobs, mortgages, and actual responsibilities. And if we had only known then what we know now…

Dom and I went to the Viking Homecoming football game. Aaron went with us. Neither of my men had ever had the experience of a high school football game on a balmy Friday night, so I was thrilled to share with them what was such a prominent part of my teenage experience.

Various scenes throughout the evening made me smile with complete satisfaction that high school is still a bubble all to itself. And other scenes reminded me of the ups and downs inside that bubble. Here is what I observed:

High school football does not discriminate your age at the gate. You will pay full price whether you are 8 or 80. $21 later, we were granted entrance. (I have never before in my life paid for entrance into a game - one of the perks of being in the band!)

I had buried deep in my memory the smell of the stadium at night. There is excitement under the stadium lights, just as the sun is dropping into the horizon. And the announcer’s voice has the ability to alter time – at least for me.

We saw my nephew, Jacob, now a Freshman at Airline. He was four months old at our wedding, which you know was juuuuuust yesterday. I was struck by how much he fit in with the crowd – handsome and carefree – and I marveled at how he had grown. Then I realized Aaron will be a Freshman in four short years, and I had to wipe my eyes.

Confession: I used to not like kids. Yeah, I know it sounds like a stupid thing to say, but bear with me. I really didn’t like kids – until I had kids of my own. And then, I noticed that my tolerance of kids grew with their age-progression. I liked all children younger than mine – consistently. I have never cared for teenagers that I didn’t know personally. I think, in my Peter Pan way of refusing to admit that I’m getting older, I still felt too “close” in age to them. (Seriously, until very recently I still felt 25.) But for the first time this weekend, I began to see teenagers as a mother sees them rather than as a peer sees them. As I observed the students in the stands Friday night, I could imagine Aaron and Victoria in their places, and I know that will be my reality all too soon.

I observed that high school girls can still be cruel. And high school boys can still be perfect gentlemen.

We hadn’t really thought about it before last night, but it occurred to us as we watched hoards of students texting and snapping iPhone pics, that even our parents didn’t have cell phones when we were in high school. I swear, at the moment of that realization I felt another hair turn gray.

As we left the game shortly after half-time (Aaron was dog-tired) I looked into the empty end-zone near the exit. For a brief moment, I saw myself standing just past that end-zone with my friends where the lights don’t shine as bright, waiting in preparation for the half-time show. I remembered the nervousness I would feel each half-time, the bounce of the grass, the sound of the drums, and the faces that surrounded me – some I will never see again. That end-zone didn’t look as large and overwhelming as it once did, but it still looked like home – the home of my nerdy, na├»ve teenage past. That quiet, proud little dark-haired girl I used to be probably still roams the halls and haunts the practice field with a thousand other ghosts, reveling in what proves for most to be the last bastion of innocence and the premier experience of loyalty.

Twenty years…

Go Vikes!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Happy Birthday, Mason!

Today our furry first-born turns 11 years old! Even though I did not celebrate Mabel quite so much on her birthday, plenty of blog posts have been dedicated to her notoriety, so I don’t feel bad doting on Monkey for an entire post on his “77th” birthday!

But he’s just so darn cute, pictures are the only way to do this right. So here they are, snippets of the Yella Dog photo album:

6-weeks old, November 1999

New Year's Snow, January 1, 2000

Just One of the Boys, 2001

Wearing Daddy’s shirt, 2001

“This babysitting gig is tough!” 2003

“Did somebody say McDawnowd’s?!!” 2004

The Things We Do For The Kids, 2007

Peace, Love, Monkey, May 2008

“What the heck did you bring home?!!” November 2008

After surgery for ruptured ear vessels, 2009.

“You go on to work. I’ll be right here when you get back!” 2010

Eleven years of Monkey love is enough to make us overlook the fur on the sofa, the scratches on the door, and the memories of chewed-up shoes, sofas and remote controls. He’s a genuinely happy guy, and we love him for all the smiles, hugs and wags we get every day.

Happy Birthday, Monk. You’re the Best Yella Dog EVER!!

Sunday, October 03, 2010

Mabel Label: Bless Her Little Heart!!

In celebration of the feast day of St. Francis of Assisi tomorrow, our church had a Blessing of the Pets today, complete with low-cost vaccinations provided by Southern Hills Animal Hospital. While we have never been to a Blessing of the Pets, due to our certain embarrassment by our furry children, we have always wanted to go. Now that Mabel was due her Parvo booster, and this was a perk of participating, we were sure to attend. We debated on bringing the bunnies, then what about Mason, and Dom finally put his foot down and declared, “If you want to take all the animals, take them, but I’m only taking Mabel.”

Oh. Ok.

We did fear that the bunnies would somehow escape, and not knowing what to expect from the ceremony, and sure that Mabel would cause us some embarrassment anyway, we all agreed to only take Mabel to be blessed. I joked that a blessing might not be enough…for her, we should request a full-blown exorcism.

We put on her training collar and headed to the church. Now, are you ready for this? Are you sitting down?

Mabel was an absolute ANGEL. Halo and all.

I know, I know…we were amazed too. In fact, while Mabel sat her “pretty sit” right at Dom’s feet and gingerly observed all the other animals, Dom and I repeatedly picked our jaws up off of the ground. Our sweet Franciscan priests read passages from the Bible that related to animals, and then offered a general blessing to all pets in attendance. They further offered that anyone wanting a special personal blessing for their pet was welcome to come forward.

Hey, let’s get everything we can while we’re here, right? Dom and I walked up with Mabel where Father Francis gave her a special blessing and sprinkled her with the holy water.

As my mom said, “And it didn’t sizzle?” No, it really didn’t, much to my surprise.

And Mabel didn’t freak, either. She took everything in stride – from the plethora of tiny dogs yipping and running around to the shot in her hip, she was so sweet and gentle and GOOD. Really, really GOOD. We were even asked if she hunts… THAT’S how well behaved she was being!

So, for all the times I wrote about the wrongs of Mabel’s youth - for all the food she has stolen, clothes she has eaten, and yes, even for the call to Animal Poison Control – today she shined like the stars.

Way to go, Mabelline! Kisses to you!! (and an extra Milk-Bone!)

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Happy Birthday, Dominic!!!

Today Dom finally catches up with me. Those 8 months between my birthday in February and his in October seem to last an eternity, what with him and the kids reminding me that I am, in fact, “older.” For the next four months I will revel in the fact that we are once again “the same age,” if only temporarily. In celebration of the most wonderful man I know, here are the top 38 reasons he makes my world smiley:

(Drum roll, please…)

38. When I switched all household, personal care and food products to natural and organic, he didn’t complain one bit. He willingly accepted the natural shave gel, shampoo and toothpaste I imposed on him.

37. He kindly offers to go to the grocery store for me. However, he also understands my controlling and cost-comparing nature, bids me bon voyage, and is always there to help unload when I finally come home from four stores.

36. He is an awesome dad!

35. He is the kid-approved Accelerated Math double-checker.

34. He voluntarily does dishes and floors.

33. He tolerates my home-improvement projects, participates, and acknowledges the success when the project is over.

32. He willingly crawled through attic insulation in the dead heat of summer, scraping skin and smashing his head on wooden beams, all so that I could have separate fan and light switches for a new ceiling fan.

31. He is willing to let me dig up 60 square feet of our back yard for a vegetable garden.

30. When I told him I wanted beneficial nematodes (parasitic bugs) to kill some termites in our flowerbed, he laughed out loud, but let me order them anyway.

29. He has started to take a liking to the bunny rabbits. And even though the bunnies were never his idea or preference, he gently guides the kids in taking care of the rabbits.

28. Despite the fact that he always said, “No dogs on the furniture!” he was the one who first invited Mason up into the bed.

27. He always looks great in a pair of Ray-Bans.

26. He agreed to be the King of Hearts in a joint Halloween costume when we were in college. Who wouldn’t love a man for that?!

25. He lets Mabel lay across his feet at night, even though it is incredibly uncomfortable, because he knows that’s where she’s happiest.

24. He gets tickets for us to see Trans-Siberian Orchestra every year.

23. When I am stressed, worried, or otherwise out of sorts, he sends me to my Mom. He does all he can for me first, and then recognizes when there are things only a mother can fix.

22. He stepped out of his comfort zone so that we could become Eucharistic Ministers together at our church.

21. He calls me at work during the day just to say hi.

20. Even the butterflies love him.

19. He will watch all 6 hours of Lonesome Dove with me anytime I ask. He’s my Gus, and I’m his Lori-Darlin’.

18. He knows the lines from my favorite chic flicks. When I was in my own little world one day in the kitchen talking about a new cookbook I had and making reference to cooking something that “freezes beautifully” I trailed off into quoting the script of Steel Magnolias, finally ending with “Sammy Dewayne Desoto, WHAT is this in my Frigidaire?” From the den, I heard Dom in a southern drawl correctly reply, “Beer.”

17. It was Dom’s idea to go back to school for Accounting credits, and I am grateful that he convinced me to go back with him.

16. He respects nature and enjoys simple beauty.

15. He gladly does all the fun-parent things that I am too scared to do, like riding water-soaked roller coasters.

14. He’s always up for family pictures, even when I’m not.

13. He saves all cards that the kids and I give him.

12. He told me just this week that he buys Coors Light in bottles because he knows that’s the only beer I’ll drink.

11. When we travel, he likes to take extra time to do the fun and unique stuff. He’s willing to rent a car and drive umpteen miles to a winery so we can wander around cluelessly and buy wine that we can’t fly home with. He also will help me drink all the wine before we go home, so the money is not wasted.

10. He has never complained about a single thing I have cooked. If he doesn’t like something, he gently says, “This was okay, but you don’t have to make it again anytime soon.” And if he does like something, he grins and says, “That doesn’t suck!”

9. In a moment of mortal clarity in talking about our wills, I shared with him that I don’t believe I would survive if some cruel twist of fate were to take him from me, and that they would just have to dig his grave big enough for both of us. I’ll never forget the moment…he was reaching into the cabinet for his keys, and he said, “No. If I go first, then you still have work to do. Just know that I’ll be waiting for you.” At any rate, he doesn’t think I’m creepy for planning our funerals.

8. He bought a riding lawn mower. Even though I made fun of it in the beginning, it has proven to be one of the best investments EVER.

7. As Phoebe explained in an episode of Friends, he’s my lobster.

6. He wants me to hunt with him. He has prepared a deer stand this season so that we can sit comfortably together.

5. Moments like this…

4. He plays Chess with the kids, and he kicks my butt in Monopoly.

3. He dances with me in the bar of Ernest’s.

2. He likes my ideas (generally), listens to me talk, and when I wake him up to argue a point, he doesn’t run me out on a rail. He reads my blogs, listens to my music, and supports every wish I’ve ever had for myself. When he disagrees with me, he does so respectfully. He has never said anything to intentionally hurt my feelings, and his gentleness has taught me much about how to treat other people.

1. Even though I know better, he still says he’s the Lucky One.

It is as true today as the first time I said it, Dom: I love you more than life. Happy Birthday!!

Happy Birthday, Jessica!!!

I am completely remiss in not having posted this yesterday. I spent half the day trying to remember to text Jessica to wish her a Happy Birthday while she parties down at Disney World. Alas, I did not send the text before the day was done, so I am now sending a great big global wish to say Happy Birthday to the sweetest 26-year old I know!!

Here in traditional fashion are the Top Ten Reasons Jessica rocks:

1. She is a terrifically awesome magazine editor.

2. We share a fear of clowns, masks, and creepy faces.

3. She totally supports my natural and organic changes, and we share our experiences with all kinds of products.

4. Jessica said her dog Bonnie doesn’t like new people. Bonnie likes me. I felt like family.

5. We went to see the Goo Goo Dolls together this summer when they came to Shreveport. We had good seats, but Jessica still went right up to the stage and got some amazing pictures. I would never be brave enough to do that.

6. She introduced me to Thai and Vietnamese cuisine.

7. She is always willing coo with me over puppy pictures.

8. She studied in England and has some really cool stories.

9. She’s expecting her first child this spring, and I couldn’t be happier for her!!

10. She is sincerely kind and devastatingly beautiful.

Jess, I hope the Disney crew helped you and Mark celebrate right! See you Monday.

p.s. There will be cake of some sort at the office on Monday. If I have any control over the situation at all, it will be organic. ;) Love ya!!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

The Anti-Midas Touch

Yesterday and today have been a bit clumsy. It seems everything I try to do somehow causes injury to myself or others.

My first clue that I was meant to stay in bed came immediately after I put my makeup on, when I emerged into the bedroom in the dark and walked across the floor to my closet. In an instant, I was tripping on something terribly painful and it was biting me! Could a jellyfish possibly survive on my bedroom floor this far from the coast???? I limped to the closet and turned on the light. I had tripped on Mabel’s chew bone. Hard, jagged, lethal…

The drama continued at work. In a public ladies’ room I always flush with my foot. But on this particular occasion, as I reached with my foot, my sandal got caught on the handle and I lost my balance. The shoe wasn’t about to turn loose from the toilet or my foot, and I toppled forward, slamming my head into the bathroom wall. FOOT STILL ATTACHED TO THE TOILET.

During the lunch hour, I decided to go bra shopping. You may feel this is TMI, and I would generally agree. However, this information is pertinent to the story. Any time you try on a bra you have to see how it is going to look under clothing. So, I had grabbed a tank top from the rack for this purpose. The bra had a huge theft deterrent device attached to the back of the strap and the tank top had a dangling tag at the back. As I tried to remove the tank, the hangy-tag got caught on the theft device on the way up. I couldn’t get the tank top off of my body! It was wrapped around my head, the strain forcing the theft device to imbed into my shoulder blade. Amid pain and confusion, I wiggled and struggled until I could see out from under the neck of the tank, and caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. Remember those cartoons where someone gets a frying pan smashed over the head, their neck disappears, and they wobble around bouncing off of walls until they spin and crash into the floor? That was me.

Then, last night when Dom and the kids came home I could hear Victoria crying. She immediately sought me out at the computer, and I could tell something was terribly wrong. Barely understandable, she cried out, “I busted my lip on Lucas’s head!!!” Sure enough, her top lip was swollen so that she resembled a duck-billed platypus. I reached for her and she threw herself into my arms. She was still standing by my chair when I decided to reposition myself in order to comfort her better. So I moved my chair and ROLLED ACROSS HER BARE TOE.

Bad mommy. Bad, bad mommy!

And the touch continues this morning. I was carrying a load of freshly folded towels up the stairs to where the kids were putting away clean clothes. The basket was piled high with my cushy clean towels, and I could barely see over the top of it. I definitely could not see the gate at the top of the stairs which was inappropriately closed. When I struck the gate with my legs, the basket of towels and the top half of my body tumbled over the top. Towels went everywhere. Fussing and growling, I opened the gate and stepped over all my strewn towels.

Then my offspring rescued me and broke the spell. Aaron and Victoria scooped down and began re-folding the towels. All the while, Aaron was explaining to me, “It’s okay, mommy. See, whenever something seems too big for you to do, we will always be there to help you. We may not be great folders, but you will never have to do it alone!”

Man, I love my kids!!

Thursday, September 02, 2010

You Have GOT to be Kidding Me!

You know, sometimes people just really get under my skin.

My sweet friend Jessica had run-ins with little old ladies this week, and while I laughed until my side hurt on the story about the mole, I came home to find I had my own beef with an old lady.

Actually, this lady might not be so old. Her children are probably younger than me, but her granddaughter is Victoria’s age. Here’s why my ears are steaming:

The granddaughter (we’ll call her Susie for the sake of protecting the innocent) is a friend of Victoria’s. Susie lives with her grandmother and her uncle. Vic made painstaking efforts to telephone Susie over the summer, at the cost of being yelled at by Susie’s uncle. Once, when she asked him why Susie wasn’t at home, the uncle growled at Victoria, “CHILD, you are not the BOSS of me!!”

Did I mention this dude is an adult? I forbade Victoria to ever dial that number again. I did NOT forbid her to play with Susie. I’ve had my misgivings about the adults in Susie’s life, and for that reason did not feel the need to converse with them at Back to School night. Perhaps I could have taken the higher road and wished them a good evening, but I was tired and it had been a long day and I just frankly didn’t feel like being kind if it meant being fake.

Today I picked Victoria up from school and she felt bad. Tummy trouble. Figuring some upset (pardon the pun) must have been the trigger, we began to discuss her day. We talked about the boys who bother her (I’m sure she gives as much as she takes!) and how she was sad today because of Susie.

(Sigh) “What happened with Susie?”

“Susie told me that I’m not allowed to play with her anymore. She said her grandma doesn’t want me anywhere near her. Her grandma thinks I’m irresponsible.”

“Why on earth would she think that?”

“None of the adults in her family like me. Her uncle REALLY doesn’t like me. And I was nice every time I called.”

I reassured her that her politeness had no impact on these people because they were obviously unhappy with themselves. I further explained that this was no great loss in my opinion, because Victoria had done nothing wrong.

“But her whole family HATES me!”

“Speaking of her whole family, where are Susie’s mom and dad?”

“They’re on parole.”