Feb 26, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes. . .

I work in an elementary school. I'm the librarian. I love my job. This week the kids were extra entertaining, so I thought I'd share what they said with you.

I was at a district library meeting last week and missed seeing one of the kindergarten classes in the library. As the kinder cubs filed in on Tuesday one of the kids asked me where I had been the previous week. I told her I had been at a meeting. She asked where. I said at an office not being too specific -she is only 5- and I didn't want to bog her down with details. Another little boy stood up and announced in a matter-of-fact manner, "She was with her boyfriend."

I think that kid is going to work on the show "Cheater's" when he grows up.

Today I was busy showing another kindergarten girl where the princess books were located. She asked me to choose one for her. I picked a couple books off the shelf and as I was showing her some of the books another student came up and said, "Where's the 'f' word?" I looked at the book I was holding in my hand wondering if someone had scribbled the "f" word on the book and his eagle eye had found it before me. I asked him to repeat himself to make sure I understood. He repeated himself. It was exactly what he said the first time. I told him I wasn't exactly sure what he meant. He insisted that he was looking for the "f" word. I told him that it was checked out... It's a standard thing I say whenever a kid asks me for something we don't have and is persistent.

One minute I'm in my happy place, looking at pretty princesses in a Disney book and the next minute I've got a little guy throwing "f" word questions at me. I was a little surprised. As I headed back to the library counter the little guy followed behind me and kept insisting that he wanted the "f" word. I gave him an "A" for effort...but I couldn't give him the "F" he wanted. I almost made it to my safety zone, which is the area behind the library counter where children are not allowed, when he made one last ditch effort to stop me. He tapped my on the thigh and said, "It looks like this." I was almost afraid to turn around and see his little finger sticking up in the air...but it wasn't ... he was pointing at a shelf marker displaying the letter "W" that is used to identify the last name of the author in that section. He wanted me to show him where the books were by authors with the last name beginning with the letter "F". I wiped the sweat from my brow -- renewed my faith in children the world over -- and showed him the shelf he was looking for with a fresh smile on my face. Another disaster diverted for today.

And last but not least...a student wanted a certain book. I checked on the computer and told him it was out. I looked a little further to see when it would be returned and found that it had been marked as lost. I told the student. His quick response was, " My brother lost it." His brother is in 5th grade and wouldn't be caught dead checking out "Pinocchio." Next time I see this kid's brother I'm going to tell him to sleep with one eye open.

Feb 18, 2009

Make some tonight!. . .

I've been sick and today is the first day I have felt better, so I decided to make some good old-fashioned brownies tonight. I went into my pantry and pulled out a box mix from Ghirardelli -the delectable double chocolate kind - and decided I would have a look at their website to see if I could fancy them up a little.

My sister calls it my "polka dot" gene. I can never just make something in its regular - - run of the mill -- boring fashion...I always have to add something to "polka dot it up".... I can't stop myself...I have no control over my desire to make something better...or worse in my case. I should learn to control that...after this last batch of brownies I will work on it. Or not.

Considering that I also have a really short attention span...I clicked around and out of Ghirardelli's website and somehow I ended up somewhere else with suggestions for brownie recipes that made me smile. The two that stick in my mind were, "Brownie Surprise!"...I bet! And the other was "Brownie Balls!" ...oh boy!

I asked my husband whether he would prefer "Brownie Surprise" or "Brownie Balls" for dessert tonight. He told me he wanted nothing that had the words -Brownie, Surprise, and Balls in the same sentence. I guess he's right. I don't think we will ever see either of those recipes winning first prize in the next bake-off contest. Never say never...

Well, I'm off to make "Chocolate Marshmallow Cream Bars"...minus the brownie mix. I'll save that for another night when my husband has long forgotten about the two recipes I found tonight. One day I'll combine both recipes and present him with "Brownie Balls Surprise!" I can't wait!

Feb 17, 2009

Livin' for the weekend...

It was an interesting weekend.

On Friday I went to a surprise birthday party. Everyone there was a cop or related to one, except me. All of the conversations consisted of police codes. For example: " I had a 321 come at me with a 642-718 and I pulled a 949'er and booked him on a 502." After the first hour I felt fairly confident and decided to throw in my own two cents after one of the guests was telling a particularly long story using code after code after code. I wasn't satisfied with just standing there holding a drink in my hand and minding my own business which would have saved me a lot of trouble and embarrassment for what followed. Instead I threw out a code of my own....deafening silence ensued... and quicker than I could run from the room, grab my purse and leave...the birthday girl arrived to save the day. It was a surprise party after all...and boy did I surprise them. I bet they are all going through their code books wondering what I was talking about. Hopefully I didn't say something like, "I'm on the most wanted list."

On Saturday I went to the movies with my Valentine. We saw "Defiance"...and was that ever romantic. We had to sit in the 5th row seeing as how so many other romantic couples chose the same movie. Love is in the air... I tell you. Anyway, halfway through the movie there is a scene involving lots of gunfire and explosions. As I was sitting there minding my own business and wishing I was watching a chick flick - a piece of dirt flew in my eye. I swear it came straight out of the movie...just like Sensurround. I slowly crawled over 10 people and then ran to the ladies room where I could remove my eyeball and wash the boulder stuck in its place. I washed out the offending speck and ran back to the theater with my one good eye guiding me in a zig-zag fashion through the popcorn toting, diet Coke lugging crowd. The movie ended and we came home. End of Saturday excitement.

On Sunday nothing unusual happened. The police didn't arrive at my door because of my Friday indiscretion and after my Saturday debacle, I can see out of both eyes again. All was calm. Looking forward to the weekend again...

Feb 12, 2009

Love is in the air. . .

Still looking for those pictures. I think I burned most of them, but I'll keep looking. I have to wade through all the Miss America pictures first and the Prom Queen pictures and the Most Talented, Most Popular and Most Likely to Succeed photographs before I reach the ones I have hidden from the world. I put them in such a good hiding place even I can't find them.

In the meantime, and in honor of Valentine's Day, I'll post some answers to a few questions about me and the hubby.

What are your middle names? I don't have one. My mom ran out of names after the first two daughters and had just enough energy to give me a first name. The hubby on the other hand has not just one middle name, but a whole slew of them. His mom couldn't stop once she started, and to be fair, she gave all 3 sons the same middle names. Whenever she was upset with them it took her half an hour to call them by their full name.

How long have you been together? My answer, not long enough...hubby's answer, since Adam ate the apple.

How long did you know each other before you started dating? A full second.

Who asked who out? I think we did "rock, paper, scissors" to determine that.

How old were each of you when you met? We were Spring chickens.

How old are each of you now? Two old goats.

How tall are each of you? I am 5'8" and hubby is 5'10" without heels.

Whose siblings do you see the most? The ones we like the most.

Did you go to the same school? Same university.

Are you from the same hometown? No. I'm from the States and hubby fought his way out of the the Rain Forests of Central America with a machete to get to me.

Who is the most sensitive? Me, I use sensitive skin cleanser daily.

Where is the furthest you two have traveled together as a couple? Back to the rain forest where he came from.

Who hogs the bed? Our bed is so small we have to orchestrate synchronized turns at night so one of us doesn't fall off the bed.

Who wakes up earlier? Last one up makes the bed, so I jump out of bed the minute I see even the hint of a flutter in his eyelashes.

Who has the bigger family? The hubby's family. They are part rabbit.

How do you spend the holidays? Having fun.

Do you have little pet names for each other? "Hey, you" and "What's his name."

How long did it take to get serious? Still waiting.

Who sings better? Hubby -- sings like a canary.

Who’s older? Hubby, by 40 days. We call him, "The Wise One."

Who snores? Depends on who's awake.

Who’s better with the computer? I'm better at finding stuff...hubby is better at fixing it.

Who drives when you are together? Me...most of the time...I'm married to Mario Andretti on a rain slicked crash course with his eyes closed.

Who is the first to admit when they're wrong? We draw straws...

Who kissed who first? We met in the middle at the count of three.

Who eats more sweets? Me... my nickname is, "Sugar Lips."

Feb 11, 2009

I'm looking...

I've been asked to show some pictures to go with my hair history post below. I'm looking for them and will post as soon as I find them. You will all be sorry you asked...or maybe I'll be sorry I posted them. Either way it's not going to be pretty. I'm off to search the photo boxes in the hall closet. Wish me luck.

Feb 6, 2009

It's all about the hair . . .

My astrological sign is Leo and for us Leo's it's always all about the hair. Like a lions mane. I have lots of it. Every hairdresser I have ever been to will attest to that.

Over the years I have had many different hairstyles. As a kid I had the bowl cut. Tiny bangs that made my face look freakishly long and a straight cut hanging just below my ears and around the back. My dad cut my hair. There was no rhyme or reason to why he would get it just right sometimes and not others. My guess is the amount of beer he had ingested throughout the day would determine whether I spent the next few weeks with bangs that looked like they had been cut with pinking sheers or whether I had the perfect snip.

My nickname when I was little was Barb Wire Head. My hair had a mind of its own. It swirled like looking into the eye of a hurricane on one side and stood straight up in the air at attention on the other. This made it hard to control. My mother gave up after going through a jar of "Dippity Do" and my hair still wouldn't lay flat. She put a school beanie on my head and called it a day. I got so used to wearing it I felt naked if I didn't wear it. I also spent a lot of time with my hands on either side of my head trying to mold my hair to my head or at least hold it down.

That didn't work.

So... one day my mom took me to the barber and told him to give me the works. He chopped off my hair and gave me what was called a Pixie. A cute name for what was actually a boys haircut. My hair stood up in the back like Dennis the Menace. I decided to go with it and created a whale spout on the top of my head with a mini pony tail. My name changed to Pineapple Head. Something my sister still calls me to this day. It was lovely. I would comb up a perfect square patch on the top of my head and secure it with a rubber band from the Sunday newspaper and curl it overnight with three pink sponge curlers. In the morning I would take out the curlers and hope for the best. It looked like a poodle exploded on my head, but only in a 4 inch radius smack dab on the top of my noggin. The rest had a mind of its own. I had that hair for years. Most of my grade school pictures were taken with that style.

I needed a change when I was about 12. I wanted to have girly hair. My mother told me I was on my own if I decided to grow out that "mop of whatever " sprouting from my head. Those were fightin' words to me so I grew out my hair...partly out of spite and partly because I was tired of being called a cute little boy with a penchant for corkscrew curls.

For a couple years I had pretty normal hair. Until I went to high school. I opted for a bi-level cut.


I am convinced that a women hating male hairdresser invented that one.

I left the bi-level/mullet behind and graduated to the ever popular Dorothy Hamill cut.


So perfect that I wore it like that all through high school and into my second year of college. It worked for me. I had the perfect hair for it. My hair didn't move for years. It stayed in place with the help of Super Hold Aqua Net. I loved that stuff. Then I decided to grow it out again.

I met my future husband and wanted to be sexy. Sexy for my conservative self ended up being an angled Vidal Sassoon bob. Short in the back and long in the front. That cut lasted for the rest of my college years. I woke up early every single day to wash, dry and style my hair to perfection. It was worth it.

Then I got married.

I had a baby.

My hair grew to Rapunzel lengths. I didn't have time to cut it. I didn't have time to style it. It was long and straight and pretty. Then I got a little post baby crazy when my son was a year old and decided to get a perm. I was going for low maintenance. What I ended up with was an afro. A giant afro that took up 3 feet of space. It was propped up by my shoulders. The perm took a wrong turn fast...somewhere between the actual curling process and the setting lotion. My brother-in-law took one look at me and asked me if I was wearing a wig. There was no hope for my hair. I had to cut it off. All of it. The perm had burned my hair beyond salvation. I went to another hairdresser and he turned my chair away from the mirror so I couldn't see and started chopping away ala Edward Scissorhands. My head felt really light. The lightest it had felt in years. He spun the chair around and I got my first look at the one piece of hair left on my head. It was so short I couldn't even run my fingers through it. I couldn't even comb it. I looked like G.I.Jane but worse. My husband was a little freaked out. We looked more like brothers than husband and wife. It was hideous. It lasted for about a year until it grew into the crew cut stage and I could no longer see my scalp. My husband had me sign a waiver saying that I would never ever get another perm as long as I lived. I signed on the dotted line. If perms ever become popular again I am so screwed.

Since then I have had cute short hair and stylish long hair. I've had the Rachel cut and a layered cut. I've moved from dramatic haircuts to coloring my hair over the last 10 years. I have been a blond, a redhead, a brunette and even gone black. Right now I have normal hair that is the closest to my natural color in years. I'm getting a little restless with it. It's time for a change.

Maybe I'll go back to the pink sponge curlers? Remember those? You never knew what your hair was going to look like when you took out those curlers. All the hair would turn out perfectly with all the curls coiled in little pretty ringlets and then you pulled out that last curler and it would spring the other way, like a crazy corkscrew gone mad, and no matter how much you tried to tug the curl and get it to move in the direction of all the others you couldn't.

Who knows what I'll do next...Only my hairdresser knows for sure...

Feb 5, 2009

About me...

Ages ago I skipped over doing the 100 things about me post when I reached a 100 posts. I'll post some random stuff today.

1. I like to make people laugh. It makes me happy to know I have made someone else happy.
2. I love the idea of making something crafty.
3. I'm not so great at the actual making of it.
4. The best things I ever made were my kids.
5. My husband helped a little.
6. Due to his help...the kids look exactly like him.
7. I'm glad.
8. I love the color blue.
9. I try to like other colors but it just doesn't work like that for me.
10. I always go back to blue.
11. I don't get blue very often.
12. I suck it up and move on.
13. One foot in front of the other.
14. Never say die.
15. It makes me persistent.
16. I don't give up easily.
17. Even when I probably should.
18. That might mean I'm a little pesky too.
19. You'd have to ask my sister about that.
20. She's my best friend as well as my sister.
21. She is incredibly creative and artistic.
22. I love everything she does.
23. It is amazing.
24. I'm her #1 fan.
25. I make her laugh.
26. It brings me joy.
27. I have a dry wit.
28. She gets it.
29. I love to bake.
30. My lemon squares are my signature dish.
31. I live to perfect the chocolate chip cookie.
32. I'm pretty close to doing that.
33. I think I like eggs, but I don't.
34. I think I like popcorn, but I don't.
35. The first couple pieces go down easy and then one kernel gets stuck in my teeth and I wish I brought floss with me to the movies. That kernel bugs me for the entire movie.
36. I can be obsessive.
37. If I like something I learn everything I can about it.
38. As proof you can ask me anything you like about Princess Diana.
39. Or the Regency Era
40. Or my family and things they have said.
41. I have an excellent memory.
42. Most of the time.
43. I love to read.
44. Voraciously
45. I average a few books a week.
46. I am writing a book.
47. It's a romance novel.
48. Set in Regency times.
49. I am halfway through writing it.
50. Sometimes I think it's great.
51. Sometimes I think it's crap.
52. My sister is my biggest fan and encourages me to continue.
53. I will persevere.
54. I have two friends from high school days.
55. I love them both dearly.
56. - 62. The awkward years...
63. I can't say the "F" word.
64. It seems really crude and ugly and unladylike.
65. My husband doesn't swear.
66. I like that about him.
67. Sometimes he will swear to be funny, but just with me.
68. I don't like to fly.
69. I get motion sickness.
70. It sucks.
71. The last time I flew was 2 years ago.
72. I got sick.
73. I swore it was my last flight.
74. I feel like a loser because I don't fly.
75. I could go anywhere I like if I did fly.
76. I wish I could just beam myself to another place in an instant.
77. I think about it a lot.
78. It makes me feel like I'm not cultured enough.
79. The last time I was out of the country was 10 years ago.
80. I went to Costa Rica.
81. My husband is from there.
82. It was beautiful.
83. My kids and husband go back often.
84. I don't speak Spanish.
85. My husband does.
86. My kids do.
87. I understand it completely.
88. I sound like I am speaking Pig Latin whenever I try to say anything.
89. Most of my conversations with my mother-in-law have been mimed and mute with a lot of facial expressions, wide eyes and lots of exaggerated eyebrow movement.
90. She loves me.
91. I don't argue with her.
92. I can't.
93. I have never seen it snow.
94. I want to be a published author.
95. I listen to talk radio. Music brings out too much emotion for me.
96. I could live in a bookstore.
97. I am fascinated by people from the past.
98. Right now it's the Lennox family.
99. They have an interesting history.
100. So do I.

Anything else you'd like to know about me?

Here comes the bride . . .

In honor of Valentine's Day, I thought I would share a little story about my middle sister's wedding.

Things you might need to know before I tell this story.

I come from a "cast of characters" family. I had a grandfather who wore a large diamond earring in his ear long before it was fashionable. He was incredibly cool. He had a pet squirrel that he rescued from his yard and kept in his pocket. He loved to surprise people with that squirrel, at dinner parties, at church, in line at the grocery store - basically just about anywhere inappropriate. He would put the squirrel in one of the pant pockets of his jumpsuit (another fashion statement of his) and put a peanut in the breast pocket of his jumpsuit. He would make a clicking sound and the squirrel, I think his name was Chipper, would pop out of one pocket and run up his shirt and jump into the chest pocket, grab the peanut, and run up to his shoulder and eat it. He got two reactions when he did this. Usually the first reaction was an ear piercing shriek. Especially if it was a lady. The second reaction was usually fear. Fear that the squirrel was going to jump on them. Fear that it was rabid and wild. Fear that they were standing next to a guy with a screw loose. My grandpa lived for those reactions. He got a kick out of shocking people with his crazy antics.

Grandpa had 3 sons. The oldest was my dad. He was a pretty normal guy...for the most part...if you compare him to his 2 other brothers and the rest of the family. The middle brother was my favorite uncle. He called everybody "Baby"...men, women, children, and pets. It didn't matter who you were or how old you were...you were "Baby" to him. If he met the Pope, I bet he would have called him "Baby." I loved that guy. He was the ultimate playboy. Women loved him. He was charming, funny, and cool. He was very fashionable too. He wore turtlenecks and sport coats with plaid pants and demi-boots when they were the height of fashion in the late 60's, early 70's. He always had a cigarette and a glass of scotch in his hand. It was a different time way back when. Uncle J loved frogs. He collected anything that had to do with frogs. He especially liked being given frogs doing naughty things. In compromising positions. We were not allowed to visit Uncle J's office whenever we went to see our father at work (all the brothers and my grandfather worked together in a family business) because he kept his collection there. We went into his office anyway. None of us understood what was going on. We were kids. We didn't care. We just thought the frogs were friendly.

Uncle N was the youngest. Uncle N liked being married. He liked it so much he married 7 times. My grandfather suggested he become a preacher and then he could attend as many weddings as he liked without all the legal mumbo jumbo and steep alimony payments to follow, but there was something about my uncle that made him want to marry every woman on the planet.

There are many more characters in our family tree that put my grandfather and uncles to shame, but these three men are the key players for my middle sister's wedding story I am about to tell.

My middle sister was the first to get married in our family. I think she got tired of sharing a bathroom with the rest of us. Or maybe she was tired of me borrowing her clothes and returning them to her closet reeking of my Ciara perfume. I loved that perfume. I think they sell it at Walmart now. It's right next to Brute and Old Spice. Anyway, my sister is what my mom used to call a "Nervous Nelly"...she worried about everything and freaked out over the most minor incidents. Her wedding was the culmination of all her fears. Her husband-to-be's family was going to meet our family. Everyone would be together in one special place...church and the reception. My sister wasn't so worried about the church part. Not much could go wrong there as long as the groom showed up as well as the priest and the ring bearer...a couple witnesses and a few lookie loos. She was more concerned with the reception.

We all convened at the church on the given day. A warm December afternoon. The sun was shining, the bride was nervous, the groom was nervous and my dad was crying because his first daughter was getting married. We still aren't sure if they were tears of joy at giving away the bride with - one down and two to go - or if they were tears from the bills sitting on the counter at home for the dress, flowers, reception, limo and everything else that goes with a wedding. Who knows. Well, the wedding march began and my sister and I walked down the aisle in our polyester poinsettia red dresses with big white floppy hats and white ballet slippers that went with the Christmas theme. Our sister followed with our dad. She was a beautiful bride, except for the blotchy cheeks and red eyes from crying all morning. Other than that she looked great.

Her soon to be husband met her at the altar and they stood before God and man to say their vows, but before the vows they had to go through a few other little rituals. It was a Catholic service which lasted a little over an hour. During that hour my sister had to take flowers to the altar of Mary, and then there were readings to be done and a gospel to be read and a few hosts to suck on. The readings were where we ran into a little problem. My sister and her husband had chosen a few verses from the bible which held meaning for them. The bible verse they chose was also a popular song at the time. It was The Byrds version titled - Turn! Turn! Turn! Someone up above had a sense of humor because just as the best man was about to read the verse the wind blew in from an open side door and turned the pages of the bible. Not being Catholic, the best man didn't know what to do, so he just put his finger on the page and started reading wherever it landed. He was also a "Nervous Nelly" who didn't enjoy public speaking.

With a shaky voice he began. He read slowly so as not to make a mistake. He read puposefully so he could appear confident even though his knees were knocking together. He had a loud voice. It rang out throughout the church and into the rafters. Problem was...he was reading about fornication. At a wedding. And not the good kind. It was the go directly to hell sinners kind of fornication verse. Is there any other kind?

My two uncles and my grandfather who were sitting up front looked at one another. My grandpa laughed out loud. My uncles looked askance at one another and then at my dad. The priest coughed a couple times and cleared his throat trying to get the best man's attention. Then my uncle who was quite the ladies man stood up and blurted out...."Hey Baby, is that for me?" There was silence. I turned around in the church pew and whispered to my grandpa, "You don't happen to have the squirrel with you by any chance? Because now would be a good time to break it out." My grandpa looked at me and said, "He's in the car. I'm saving it for the reception."

In the end they were married. It was a few years before I tied the knot in a small affair. A civil ceremony without bible verses. Immediate family only. No squirrels invited.

the end...

ps...The sushi cake a couple posts down has caused a few of my friends to say it grossed them out. Look carefully at the picture and you will see that the sushi is made of candy. My sister is so talented she made it look real. But it's not. She's a talented gal...the clever one in the family. The one with lots and lots of patience to mold fruit roll ups to look like seaweed and rice krispy treats to look like sushi rice and mango to look like salmon.