Tuesday, December 30, 2008


It has been the Weekend from Hell. Literally.

It all started Christmas Eve. I know that was on Thursday, just... bear with me.

Christmas Eve, the Impossible Son started throwing up around 5:30 p.m. or so. My best friend and her family were due to come over at 6, and I figured they were already on the road, so I didn't call them. In retrospect, I should have, whether or not they were on the way, but it had been so long since I had last seen her...

The Husbandly One was doing most of the food prep (I had made baked beans earlier in the day, so he only had to take them out), so I handled Mr. Manzie and washed my hands constantly and touched no one if I could help it.

The Impossible Son was feeling much better by the time they were ready to leave. It had lasted only five hours for him.

Christmas day, we were due to go to Houston to have Christmas dinner with the Blonde Sister and the rest of the family, and my mother would come back with us to stay until Sunday, which I was thrilled about. She even brought her little dog, Katie. But, by Christmas night, the Impertinent Daughter was throwing up, and had escalated things by running a fever as well. As close to 103 as you can get. Friday morning, I called our doctor, who turned out to be on vacation until Monday. Great. So I took her to the local walk-in clinic. And waited two hours. The Impertinent Daughter was miserable and finally turned to me and said, "Mom, I need to go home. I just... I just can't sit here any more."

I said, "Let's wait just fifteen more minutes, sweetie."

She said, "Mom, now."

She was so pale. And I could tell she was at the end of her endurance, so I went up to the receptionist and told her not to bother, that we were leaving. She looked up from her computer and I started grinding my teeth. She was only just then starting on our paperwork. After two friggin' hours!

We went home.

The daughter went to bed, and I contemplated a nap. Everyone was tired. You could call this the calm before the storm. The daughter improved, and Saturday, we contemplated taking Mom to San Marcos or maybe to Austin. But we didn't, because the Impertinent One was still not up to it. In the meantime, Mom and Katie both were astonishing me by being far more active than I'd seen either of them in a long while. Katie is a little Corgie mix... I think. Actually, she looks like a miniature German Shepherd with short legs. Anyhow, she's 13 years old, and very stiff, and when my mom lets her out at home, she only wanders in a very specified small circle in the backyard. Here, she astonished us by wandering through the entire backyard, and actually running from time to time. She became rather playful, too, to my mom's delight.

I wish it could have lasted.

Saturday night, Mom felt like she had indigestion, and asked if we had anything for it. Well... we don't get indigestion much, so we pretty much only have Tums on hand. Which wasn't what she wanted or needed. I asked if she wanted me to run to the store and she said no, she was okay, and she went to bed.

I was pretty tired. I hadn't slept very well, and I woke up early, and it was close to midnight, so when I got settled on the couch (we had given Mom our room), it was a relief. I was just drifting so sleep when I heard Mom say, "Jo? I'm not feeling very well. I think something's wrong."

I sat up and found my mom standing in the doorway, trembling and shuddering in her pajamas. I was up instantly, and wrapped my arm around her to help her back to bed. I thought she was going to collapse on me twice. She was shuddering so hard, and shaking, and when I finally got her to the bed, she nearly slipped out! Once I got her settled, I went and got THO, who was cuddling the Impossible Son to sleep and had fallen asleep himself. And after that... oh geez, y'all.

Mom was so sick. She's always had the hardest time throwing up, and this was no different. She couldn't stand to have either myself or THO out of her sight, and when I had to go empty the slop bowl, she'd whimper, "Where's Jo?" and THO would say, "She's just in the bathroom, Mom, she'll be right back."

By this time, my hands were raw from so much hand-washing.

She got bad enough that I said, "Mom, do you want me to call 911?" Because she was getting very dehydrated, very fast.

We called 911. She was so dehydrated, the EMT had a hard time finding a vein just so he could hook up an I.V. and give her a little Phenargin for nausea to give her a little break during her ambulance ride. After they left, I gave THO a list of family phone numbers to call, but advised him to call the Blonde Sister and let her spread the news, and drove after the ambulance to the hospital in San Marcos.

It was around 3 a.m. by this time. And I sat in that emergency room with Mom with nothing but a chair to sit next to her. I was so sleep-deprived by this point that nothing seemed real. I helped the nurses turn Mom to treat her, to clean her, to change her bedclothes, because she had diarrhea at this point, and I called them when she needed help. I spoke to two doctors coherently, how I don't know, but I did, and finally got her into a room well after 10 a.m. I remember several times staring longingly at the floor, wondering if anyone would notice if I just curled up on it and went to sleep.

Mom kept staring at me when she was lucid and saying, "You're staying here with me. You're such a good girl, Jo." When she wasn't lucid, she said things like, "They're testing me by making me cook vegetables in the microwave to make sure I cook them all the way through."


I love my mom, even when she's out of her head.

So, we got her into a room, the doctor came to tell me that she was dangerously dehydrated, that this same virus that my kids got over so quickly was dangerous in a person Mom's age (81), and she'd probably be there for 24 hours.


Introduce guilt here.

I comforted Mom, got her settled, and promised to be back later that evening after I'd gotten some rest. I left, stopped to get some caffeine to keep me awake on the long drive home, and stupidly picked up some french fries to nibble as well (if I never see another french fry in my life, I shall die happy). Got home a little after noon, told THO everything so he could report to the Blonde Sister, and went to bed to crash.

And woke up five hours later, asking the Impertinent Daughter for a 7-Up (something we keep in the house when there's lots of throwing up, because it's soothing) and promptly lost my cookies.

I had it.

Needless to say, I did not keep my promise to my mother. And I spent the next 12 hours not really coherent, tossing my cookies and getting dehydrated from vomiting and diarrhea, but not enough for THO to call 911. I'm only just now getting the strength to sit up. THO had his own bout this morning, but he only got the diarrhea. The poor man has had his hands full, I am telling you!

The doctor at the hospital diagnosed this as acute gastroenteritis with dehydration, which really covers a multitude of sins. All I know is, this is apparently making the rounds and we are merely the latest victims. Oh, and my best friend's son got it, and one of my nieces got it.

Mom is still in hospital, still throwing up at the last report I got from my sisters, who drove in to check on her, and that they suspect she may have pneumonia. If she doesn't, she'll be released this evening. If she does, they'll be keeping her.

I hope I'll be able to drive in to see her later this afternoon. Her little dog has been wandering around the house, looking for her. My kids have been petting her and making much of her, trying to comfort her.

Okay, I have to go lay down again. I just... wanted y'all to know, I'm still alive.

Saturday, December 27, 2008


My mom is visiting!!

I'm so glad to have her here, and you know, she's been more active since she's been here than I've seen her in an age.

Not even the fact that Miss Priss is sick and was throwing up her toenails, along with a fever, can get me down!

The Impertinent Daughter is feeling much better today, by the way.

Anyway, my access will be a bit sporadic for a couple of days, so forgive me for not being around much, because... I'm hanging out with my mom!!


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

"Rockin' around the Christmas tree..."

You know what sucks worse than having cold flashes?

Having cold flashes when you're standing outside, it's 34, and the windchill is 25, and you couldn't find your thermal underwear, so you're bundled up as best you can , but you had to give your hat to your son because his ears are the only part of him that are cold, so you're in your jacket, your scarf wrapped around your neck, and your gloves are on your hands... and then you get a cold flash.

We went to see a lighted display in Wimberley, one of those ones you walk through, and it was pretty cool. But I was freezing my butt off, I tell you true! Thank heavens, I found the wool socks I was issued way back when in boot camp, and I think my feet were the warmest part of me!! Most of it was pretty sheltered from the wind, and I was okay, but then... a cold flash hit me.

You know, most women my age get HOT flashes. No, not Jo. It starts on my back and I start shivering. Then my arms start crawling, and the next thing I know, I'm FREEZING!!

And this is even when I'm sitting in a warm room! So you can imagine what it was like for me last night!

My kids TAUNTED me, I swear. Miss Priss was wearing a light jacket (the same one she wore for Halloween) and a hooded sweater over that. And that's it. She wasn't even wearing socks under her boots!!

And the Impossible Son was wearing a jacket, but... the only real concession to cold that he made was that his ears were cold. So... in a fit of motherly sacrifice... I gave him my hat.


There was a really cool section where a series of pipes of different sizes had been set up for kids to bang on and make music. Mallets had been made with old golf balls on dowels, and the kids had a fine old time making music. There was also a group of different sizes of wooden planks strung up, marimba-style, that were surprisingly musical and in scale, too! And another wall of different sizes of tire rims that made a steel drum sort of sound. It reminded me of how my dad used to make wind chimes out of old bits of metal pipe and tubing he had around the garage and hang them in the back hard with ringers made of nuts, bolts, and bits of wood. They were unexpectedly sweet sounding, and his favorite way of recycling those bits from his projects that he couldn't otherwise use.

Right now, I'm contemplating what gifts I need to finish making (if the kids will let me), which I might take pictures of and show you later. Well... some of them at least.

I am also thinking what I housecleaning I need to finish. My mother is coming to stay for a few days after Christmas, which I am looking forward to. It's lonely for her in that house alone, so my sisters and I are trying to be sure to have her come visit as much as possible. However, she's not ready to leave her house yet, and I do completely understand. It's where her memories are, and she and Dad spent most of their married lives in that house. They moved there in 1950 or 1951, I think. They were married for 61 years, which I find all kinds of amazing. So, you could say she's grieving, and she's dealing with it best by staying where her memories are.

I have to say this for my mom. She is not the sort to walk into your house and judge you because it's messy, especially if you have kids. She used to say, "No one ever died from having a messy house. As long as your kitchen and bathroom are clean, what's a few scattered books and toys?" She's also said, "You can have a clean house, or happy kids. You can't have both, unless you're lucky enough to have a maid. In which case, I want to come live with you."

*dimples* See why I love my mom?

She KNOWS... she's BEEN THERE!

Well, I'd better get busy. Soon as I get over my cold flash. Don't worry, the doctor assured me it's my thyroid, and it should improve as we get my dosage adjusted. I'm already doing a lot better energy wise!!

In case I don't get to post again, Merry Christmas, and for my fellow pagans, even though it's already past, Happy Solstice!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

"I met a girl there and she almost knocked me dead..."

But Mom, it's not ALL black!

Punk Rock Girl, give me a chance
Punk Rock Girl, let's go slam dance
We'll dress like Minnie Pearl
Just you and me, Punk Rock Girl...


The Impertinent Daughter certainly has her own sense of style, doesn't she? That's Yuki under her arm, and Muta has his back to the camera!''

She said innocently, "But, Mom... it's not all black, so... it's okay! They can't send me home or anything!"

Pre-teen logic, gotta love it!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What do you do...

The Impertinent Daughter has gone with the Husbandly One to a referee clinic in San Marcos today. She is officially old enough now to serve as a referee for the U6, U8, U10, and U12 groups, and even up to U18 (but for now, we'll stick to the younger leagues). Since she's trying out for her school's soccer team this spring, she's decided not to play rec-league soccer, so, she'll referee instead. This should be fun, especially with the U6 group. The youngest group plays three on three, with no goalies, and no score is kept, but it's so much fun to watch! Mostly because at that age level, it's all about getting them to run in the right direction, remember to actually kick the ball, and not get distracted by passing butterflies.

Sometimes, you end up with six little kids in a tangled circle, all of them kicking the ball at the same time, their little faces scrunched up with determination, and someone, usually the coaches, has to go in and rescue the ball by separating the players. Oh, that's right, the coaches are on the field, helping to direct the game. They can't kick the ball or touch it, they can only direct their players ("Keep kicking the ball! Keep kicking the ball! No, don't stop running, no, run and kick the ball, YES! There you go!!). It can be convulsively funny, and I can't tell you how many times I have had to hide my face in a jacket or a shirt to hide the fact that I was laughing myself silly!

I'm looking forward to watching Miss Priss trying to sort all this out. It should be interesting!

In the meantime, while they are off gallivanting through the FIFA rulebook, the Impossible Son and I will be having a special day all to ourselves. A "Mama and Impossible Son" day, if you will. He wants to go to China Palace for lunch, and then we will go see "Bolt," since he has been wanting to see that for some time now. The last time we had a day to ourselves like this, we went to see "Ratatouille" which was surprisingly good (I actually hadn't expected much from it). I am hoping "Bolt" will also surprise me in a good way. It's funny how something I'll anticipate as being good will suck, and something I'll wince at seeing, and have to be dragged to will actually turn out well.

After that, I guess we'll either go window shopping, or hit one of the parks, or some such. Hmmmm... a trip to the local state park (since we have free passes) for a bit of kid-sized hiking would probably not be a bad idea. Or maybe we'll get some ice cream. We both love ice cream.


This, of course, is if I don't poop out on him (which is entirely possible). Guess I'll be ingesting mass quantities of caffeine so I can keep up with him!

Oh, and before I forget, happy birthday to ! I hope it's a good one without too much drama!!

Monday, December 8, 2008

"Because the world is suspended in her tiny hands..."

Sometimes, I find my daughter to be a most astonishing person. Truly, I do.

She drives me nuts at time, especially when she gets hormonal, and her brother can seemingly do nothing right, and I have to intervene before World War Three and the gushing of blood begins.

And then sometimes... she blows me away.

Y'all know she wants to be a manga artist, and she is constantly drawing, and she now has at least three manga she's working on at this time, right? I haven't been able to scan them, because of a software issue between my Mac and my HP printer/scanner, but now I'm motivated to fix it because... omg, y'all, her current project is just...

*is nearly speechless*

Let me put it this way. It left me in tears. Because while the artwork is still a bit rough, it is light years from what I last posted from her sketchbook. There's this one panel that I just stared at, and it was just a three quarter side view of a clock, but it was executed so well! She must have sat and pressed her face against the wall to get that angle right...

And another, a sequence where she has a winged character landing. You see the shadow of the character with moonlight behind it, you see the wings spread and back-winging to slow the descent... then you see one foot touching down, a rather worn, ratty sneaker, and... a circular puff of dust pushing away from around the tip of the shoe. I know where the influence came from, I know the specific scene in Kiki's Delivery Service but... she pulls it off in a 2-dimensional setting in freaking pencil and... she's only twelve!!!


You guys, I swear... I have no doubt my daughter is going to be published by the time she's fifteen.


And all I can think of is those years I spent, lying on the floor with her when the crayons were nearly bigger than she was, a big 18 X 24 inch pad left over from my days as at art student at UH opened in front of us, coloring and drawing whatever she wanted me to draw, and guiding her hand to help her draw circles, squares, loops, cats, dogs...

... and here we are now.

She is going to be something, I really, truly do believe that!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Just when I thought all hope was gone...

She calls him, "Little Bother."

She yells at him a lot, sometimes she's mean to him. She ignores him, or pretends that the things he likes are incredibly boring and not worth her time.

And then this morning, she disappears into the backyard, then comes into the house and harasses and bullies him into getting dressed, then drags him out into the backyard...

... where she has raked up a pile of leaves... just for him to jump into.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Look Out, It's the Impertinent Daughter!!

Here is a Cause and Effect assignment the Impertinent Daughter did in her English class which I found hilariously funny...

How I Lost My Math Homework...

Because I lost my math homework, some Chinese guy found it.

Because some Chinese guy found it, everyone in China knows my name.

Because everyone in China knows my name, I was on the cover of several Chinese magazines.

Because I was on the cover of several Chinese magazines, I had to be sneaky to get my homework.

Because I had to be sneaky to get my homework, I became a ninja (even if they're Japanese).

Because I became a ninja (even if they're Japanese), no one knew who I was.

Because no one knew who I was, they thought I was a thief.

Because they thought I was a thief, I had to run away.

Because I had to run away, I still don't have my homework.

Because I still don't have my homework, I ended up failing my class!!

That's some mighty convoluted reasoning, but hey, it made a great story!!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

"Fish heads, fish heads, roly poly fish heads..."

My son has been driving me up the wall today.

I took him to the doctor today, because he's had a really juicy cough the last few days, and it's gotten worse. So... the doctor listens to his lungs (which sound remarkably good, but I've had him on the nebulizer for two days), and then peers into his throat and says, "Well, his throat's not red, but since the Impertinent Daughter had strep, I'll have him swabbed anyway."

Guess what? It was positive for strep.


That's not why he's driving me crazy, though. He was a little hyper before, because his temperature started shooting up after I left the doctor's office. But after we got home, and I'd given him his antibiotic... well, thirty minutes later, he was off the charts!!

I had also given him Benadryl, with the doctor's suggestion that it might make him rest.

There is something that the Benadryl and the antibiotic have in common that I had forgotten about entirely.


The Impossible Son goes ballistically hyper when he's had certain dyes. No, really, I mean, he is completely uncontrollable, and literally vibrates he gets so hyper. He can't have popsicles (unless they're made with natural fruit juices and no dyes) or Skittles, or fruit chews, or any candies that have dyes, etc. I had forgotten about the dyes in Benadryl, and it looks like I will either have to ask for a dye free version of liquid Azithromax, or ask the doctor to prescribe the tablets, since they don't have the dye in them.

Thank goodness it's only for four more days!

I have to admit, my patience is rather short at the moment. All the stress of the last two weeks has decided to manifest itself as a migraine, so... I'm dealing with my hyper-maniac son while also trying to deal with my need to SLEEP off the migraine. Lovely.

Sad thing is, he knows it, and he wants to take care of me, but his version of "taking care of Mama" when he's like this is to pat my forehead (it's rather like having a mini-jackhammer on my skull) and ask me the first things that pop into his mind. "Mom? Mom! Mom? Mom? Mama! Mama? Which Pokemon do you like best, Charzar or oh, wait a minute, Total Drama Island, can we watch it? I like to watch it, but first, can I listen to the He's turtle-crazy, he's turtle mad song? And can I have some chicken nuggets? But first, can I have some of my Halloween candy, and can I have TWO pieces this time instead of one? When is Miss Priss coming home? Is it time to get her yet? Can I go outside and play? Oh yeah, everybody else is at school. Can I have some candy? Oh, right, no, but wait, can I play a game on Nick.com? Oh, I want some tea, no, wait, I want some Koolaid... um... Mom? Why is your face getting all twisty and funny?"

Because Mama is on Full Sensory Overload, kiddo! AAAAAAAUGH!!!

The funny thing is, THO and I were afraid he wouldn't slow down, because he was still rarin' to go at 9:30, and then we finally got him in the tub, and then into bed, and I was reading... or trying to read Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix to him. He was asking questions every five seconds, "Why was Umbridge in the fire? Why did she think Sirius was in the fireplace? Why didn't the fire burn her? Do you think Sirius looked funny when he was in the fire? Why couldn't Ron silence his raven, Mama? What do ravens look like? Do we have ravens here? Can you help me find one? Wait, what were you reading again?"

And then, I realized I had actually managed to read an entire sentence without interruption, and looked up... only to find him completely passed out.


I am dreading giving him the antibiotic tomorrow. THO said I should send him to school, but I'm thinking I'll be getting a frantic phone call from his teacher if I do. You know, "OMG, what's the matter with him, he's uncontrollable, and he's normally so sweet and attentive!"

It's tempting. But... I happen to like his teacher! Oh well!

I think I shall go soak in a hot tub and attempt to un-frazzle!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

"With each new day that passes, I'm in need of thicker glasses..."

Hello my dears, I'm back.

You know, it's funny, no matter how much you know a dreaded event is coming, no matter now much you think you're prepared, that you've cried yourself out dry... when it comes, it is still a shock, and it still hurts an unbelievable amount, and you will say and do things as you blunder about in your grief, trying to force your brain to keep functioning, that will make you blush with embarrassment later.

I wasn't alone when I got the call, for which I am grateful. My mother had called much earlier in the day to let me know that Dad wasn't doing well, and she thought it might be that day, and I remember sitting in a stupor for some time before getting up and trying to do something to distract myself, like... washing dishes, cleaning the living room, and so on. Then I got another call telling me I'd better call THO and speed toward Houston, because Dad was failing. So, I called him and started ticking off things in my head that needed to be done. Arrange to have someone pick up the kids and keep them overnight (I wasn't exactly thinking straight), how long would it take us to get to Houston, etc... and I called our friend, E, who said quite sensibly, "Would you like me to come over and help you get some things together for the kids, in case you have to stay for a few days?"

I almost said no. I am absolutely terrible at accepting help, I really am. I always say, "No, no, I've got it, but thank you for offering, I really appreciate it," and I do! I do appreciate it, but I never take it, and I have no idea why! I was already running over a list of people in my head to call, and I really really wanted to call my best friend, but... I didn't want to disturb her at work (yes, that is absolutely stupid, and I know it, but there it is). But, I was very aware of her presence, and of THO's, standing next to me and both of them poking me and saying, "Say YES, you dunce!"

So I did.

And I am very, very, very glad I did, let me just say that now!

It took E some time to get here, and thus I had a chance to grab a shower, and feed the cats before the phone rang again, and it was my mom, and she was crying, and she said, "Your daddy is trying so hard to hang on long enough for you to get here, Jo, he really is, but I don't think he can do it. He keeps saying it, 'I won't leave until Jo gets here, I'll wait for Jo,' but it's so hard for him, it's so hard..."

So I said the only thing I could. "Mom, you tell him to stop. Tell him that I said to let go. Tell him that Jo said it's okay for him to let go, that I understand. Tell him I love him, and it's okay."

And I hung up, and sat down, and bawled.

By the time E got here, I was up and frantically busy. You see, as long as I was busy, I didn't have to think about it. THO was already racing home, but it takes 45 minutes to an hour to get home from where he works at the best of times. E held me and let me drip tears all over her, and fill her in on what was going on, and then, just when I'd gotten my composure back... the phone rang.

And I knew. I just knew. And I said, "Oh, I don't want to answer that, but I have to."

E said gently, "Do you want me to answer it for you?"

I said, "No. I already know what it is. I'll answer it."

And it was my oldest sister, very calm, very peaceful. She didn't even say hello. Just, "He's gone."

I don't really remember a lot after that, beyond howling with grief. I do know E tucked me in bed and started making phone calls for me, calling THO, and Char, and the school, but not a lot beyond that.

As it was, we didn't leave for Houston until Friday, because after I'd recovered a bit, and the kids had come home from school, we noticed Miss Priss was flushed, headachy, and sore-throaty, so I got her in to see the doctor pronto and hello Strep!

Didn't that just make our day?

So, the weekend has basically been full of spending time with my mother and sisters, making phone calls, looking through old photo albums and telling funny stories, having the oddest things happen, and all that goes with it. THO, the kids, and I stayed with my mom, looking after her without her noticing. Instead of urging her to eat, we'd simply prepare food and let her follow her nose into the kitchen, offering her a plate when she came in licking her lips. Instead of urging her to sleep, I'd just chatter on about nothing at all until her eyes drooped, and then let her lean on me as I walked her to bed and tucked her in. No, "Please, Mother, eat something," or "Mom, go to bed, you're about to drop in your tracks." Because she'd dig her heels in and refuse. I just... let her figure it out for herself. She got three full nights sleep... without medication... because we didn't make her nervous and worried before her own fatigue knocked her out.

One of the WEIRDEST things to happen, though, nearly sent my mother into hysterics. She and my dad haven't gone to church in yonks. Not since... well, geez, I must have been about seventeen or eighteen. The minister at their church had left and the guy who replaced him made Dad nauseous with his beliefs. And I admit, the guy creeped me out, big time. My parents could have gone back to the downtown church they'd belonged to before, but by that time, I think both of my parents were a bit burned out on it. So, when the funeral home asked who would officiate, Mom automatically said, oh, whoever's pastor of First Methodist Church downtown, because my dad, who had been raised Southern Baptist, was adamant that he did NOT want a Baptist minister to do his eulogy.

Well, First Methodist turned them down.

So Mom asked if there was a Methodist minister available through the funeral home.

There wasn't. There was a Baptist minister, who was rather moderate, if Mom wanted to just talk to him...?

So, Mom said, okay, have him call me.

I was starting a load of towels in the washing machine when the phone rang and turned to watch Mom answer it. She looked at the Caller I.D. and went absolutely white. Her mouth fell open, her hands flew to her mouth, and she gave a tiny scream before grabbing the phone shakily as I hurried up. She lifted it to her ear and said shakily, "Hello?"

I looked at the Caller I.D. It was my DAD'S name. Spelled exactly the same way, full first name, middle initial, last name, just the way my dad has always used it. Different phone number, but the same name.

It was the Baptist minister. He had the same name as my dad, though he went by his first name, where my dad always went by his middle name. And what's even creepier? When Mom handed the phone to me, the man's voice was just the way I remember my dad's sounding when I was a kid!!

We were all rather nervous about having him do the service, because of having to sit through many other funerals, with Southern Baptist ministers officiating, and getting varied versions of what we all started calling the "Fire and Brimstone/Convert the Family and Get Them All to Belong to My Church" speech. It was always less about offering comfort to us, the bereaved family, and more about letting us all know we were going to hell unless we were all baptized in this particular preacher's church. It was always more frenzied when the minister realized half the people in the room were Catholics.

This time, though, the minister with my dad's name actually seemed to realize we were all grieving and could really care less about whether or not we were going to hell. Though we were rather worried about whether or not Dad was going to sit up in that coffin and start yelling at us for disobeying him and having a damned Baptist giving his eulogy after he'd TOLD us specifically NOT to!

My sense of humor just can't stop asserting itself, can it?

Dad was a World War II veteran, so he had full military honors at his funeral, with a flag draped over his coffin, and 3 Marines there to do him honor in full dress uniforms. While "Taps" was played in the distance, his flag was lifted and reverentially folded...

... the wrong way.

I watched this, as did several others in my family who are familiar with the proceedings, with raised eyebrows. I even caught the poor private's eye and helpfully gestured with a jerk of my head how to fix it, but the poor thing was too terrified, and his gunny just muttered, "Keep going, we'll fix it later."

I leaned toward Mom, who was clinging to my arm, and whispered, "Daddy would have started growling and muttering at this point,"

She blinked, then leaned back and whispered, "How do you know he isn't now?"

It was folded, then presented her with appropriate words, and then, with a voice choked with emotion, the Gunny informed my mother that my dad was being buried on the birthday of the Marine Corps.

Daddy would have loved it. And you know, I'm not sure the stinker didn't plan it that way.

Of course, after the funeral, the Marines gently took the flag from my mom and folded it properly, and I'd like to thank Gunnery Sergeant Hernandez for keeping everything smooth, steady, and calm, and for giving Mom that little tidbit about the Marine Corps birthday. It made her smile on what was otherwise a very trying day.

And so we are all home now. My kids handled hearing about Grand-Daddy's death fairly well, and handled the funeral beautifully. They weren't as close to Grand-Daddy as they are to Grandma, and they were more worried about how Grandma was handling it than they were about anything else. She got a lot of hugs, and cuddling from her grandkids, which I think helped her more than anything else. She's tired, but she's relieved he's no longer suffering, or in pain. And even though she's grieving, by Monday, she was looking much better than she had on Friday, when we arrived.

So, while we're all a little worse for the wear, I like to think that we left her a little better off than when we'd arrived. Because life goes on, and no matter how much you wish time would stop, it doesn't.

Thursday, November 6, 2008


My dad passed away a little after 2 p.m. today.

I am numb, and lost, and... numb.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

"Starting up a brand new day..."

Isn't it amazing how gas prices went down so dramatically just before the election? My, my, what an amazing coincidence!! I paid $2.18 a gallon this morning to fill up the minivan, spending a whopping $24.85! Man, I haven't paid that little in, what, two years?? Of course, I was at a quarter of a tank, but STILL!!

Too bad it didn't help! I think the Republican party severely underestimated both our anger... and our intelligence. After all, to their way of thinking, we were stupid enough to vote for the Shrub twice, right?

Over 136.6 million voters said, "Oh, HELL, no!!"

And we didn't let them steal it, either.

I wonder how many voters insisted on paper ballots rather than the electronic voting machines? I know that when I went to vote last night, I chose paper and sat down to do my thing, and heard a couple come in behind me who opted for the touch screens, and within seconds I heard, "Ma'am? Ma'am, excuse me but the machine's not working right!"

A poll worker bustles over and says, "What's the problem, sir?"

"I voted straight Democratic, and the damn thing just switched all my votes over to the Republicans!"

So, the poll worker gets him to move aside and she clears it and resets it and says, "There you go! Try it again, sir," and starts to walk off.

"Dad blast it, the damn thing did it again!!" he nearly shouts before she gets two steps away.

So she comes back, clears it and resets it. They do this two more times before he turns to her and says, "Can you just give me a damn paper ballot so I can vote and get out of here??"

They gave him a paper ballot!

*snorts with laughter*

You know, when I watched McCain's concession speech last night, I turned to the Husbandly One and said, "I said this about Hilary Clinton, and I'll say it about McCain now. If he had shown us this through his entire campaign, things might have been different. I still think Obama would have won, but it would have been a lot closer."

I was disappointed to hear all the booing and rudeness while he tried to speak, though I wasn't surprised. It is what he has encouraged through the majority of his campaign, and he only started backing off when he realized what his vitriol was arousing in his supporters. The Husbandly One said something interesting, though. He said, 'You know, I've been following his campaign, just to get a feel for what was going on, and watching videos of his rallies, and you know, the people who were the worst, the ones who would bring stuffed monkeys with the word 'Obama' written on them, and so on, were older people, you know, in their sixties, seventies, and up. "

And he's right. I started to say, "You know, those are people who really should know better," and then I stopped. Because I remembered my dad and his attitudes when I was growing up. He's a Mississippi country boy who had grown up during the Depression, and fought in World War II, and was raised a hard core Southern Baptist, and he had all the attitudes of a typical Southern boy of his time. He was racist.

BUT... he knew that attitude was wrong, and needed to change, and he also knew his children could not share his attitude and beliefs. So, he worked hard to conceal his prejudices from us, though they slipped out from time to time, and made sure we didn't share them. I didn't even know he thought that way until I was in my twenties, and man, talk about a big let-down!

Thing is, a lot of folks from his generation, those people born in the twenties, thirties, and early forties, shared his attitudes and beliefs, and a lot of them never gave them up, or found them hard to change. And for some of those people, McCain's campaign brought those attitudes and fears boiling right back up to the surface. Which is incredibly sad.

Obama's speech... y'all, I was in tears. It was... a wonderful moment. We let the Impertinent Daughter stay up to watch the results, and I hope she remembers last night for the rest of her life. It was a huge moment, wasn't it? You have to admit, the man is a superb orator. We haven't had one of those in the Oval Office in a very long time, and oh, isn't it wonderful?

Okay, I'm babbling, but I think I'm entitled to a bit of babbling! It's relief, sheer relief!

How much y'all want to bet oil prices start climbing way up again?

*is too happy to care!*

Monday, November 3, 2008

Silly things...

Overheard this morning as I rushed to throw clothes on before taking the kids to school...

Impertinent Daughter: "Raaaargh! I'm the evil princess, and I'm coming to get yoooouuuuu!!!!"

Impossible Son: "Back! I have BACON! And I'm not afraid to use it!"

Impertinent Daughter: "AAAAAAH!! Run away! Run away! Evil fighting BACON!!"

Monday, October 27, 2008


I know I have said this before, but I think this bears repeating.

Election Day is coming up on Tuesday, November 4th. This, more than any other election, is so very, very important. We are standing on the edge, my friends. We are standing on the edge of a very big precipice, and what we do on Election Day will determine whether we plunge over the edge, or survive to teeter on it before being able to step back and heave a sigh of relief.

I hope to heavens that those of you old enough have registered to vote. And that you will vote. That you won't sit at home thinking, "Well, someone else is going to vote opposite of the way I vote and that will cancel me out."

Because that is just plain stupid. That isn't the way it works. Trust me. Every single vote COUNTS.

And before you shrug, roll your eyes, and scroll past this entry to look at something far more interesting, I want you to consider three dates.

February 3, 1870.

August 26, 1920.

June 2, 1924.

And what is the significance of these three dates, you may all wonder?

February 3, 1870 is the date the Fifteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution was ratified. And in case you don't understand its significance, read this:

"Section 1. The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any State on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.
Section 2. The Congress shall have power to enforce this article by appropriate legislation."

This is the amendment that gave African Americans the right to vote following the Civil War and led to African Americans being voted into state legislatures and Congress in never before seen numbers. Of course, it didn't last, because whites found a way to stop them. The "Literacy Laws" were one way. One had to be able to read to vote, and many former slaves were illiterate. However, if one's grandfather had voted, then one was exempt from the test. Of course, very, very few slaves had a grandfather who had voted. Another method was the "Poll Tax" that many states used to keep African Americans from voting. You had to pay a fee to vote. Of course, this also shut a lot of poor whites out of the voting booth, too. It took the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960's to remove the last of the barriers that kept African Americans from voting.

August 26, 1920 was the day women in the United States were granted the right to vote by the Nineteenth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. That was only 88 years ago, my dears. My grandmother was in her forties the first time she was legally allowed to vote. Try imagining that, ladies. Imagine listening to your husband, your brothers, uncles, friends, all discussing an upcoming election, and knowing that you have no say in it. Unless you could convince them to vote your way. Which you most likely couldn't. They probably would have patted your shoulder and told you not to worry your pretty little head over it. Imagine not being able to vote NOW. Horrifying, isn't it?

And the last date, June 2, 1924. This was the day the Indian Citizenship Act, also known as the Snyder Act, was signed into law by President Calvin Coolidge. This act finally finally gave citizenship to all Native Americans born in the United States, and thus allowed them the right to vote. Not that they all got it right away. Some states, even as late as 1948, still banned Native Americans from voting. In 1948, it took a Native American World War II veteran to file a lawsuit that went to the state Supreme Court in Arizona to allow Native Americans in that state to vote. In 1956, Utah was the last state to grant Native Americans living in their state the right to vote.

Hundreds of people have gone before you, fighting, protesting, being arrested, harrassed, killed to get you that right to vote. They have been hosed, attacked by police dogs, hit with truncheons, been taken away from their families, shamed, and humiliated... all in the name of getting the right to vote, not for themselves, but for their children, and their children's children. You. You, sitting there in your chair, staring at this screen, thinking maybe you will, but then, maybe you won't, maybe it's not worth the bother. Look into their eyes and tell them that. Tell your grandmother, and your great-grandmother that you're going to be too busy to vote. Or taking an extra nap. Or cleaning out the garage. Tell your great great grandfather, who spent hours huddled over a Bible by the light of a candle stump, teaching himself to read so he could pass the literacy test his state had enacted, in order to vote. So that his son and his grandson would be able to vote later. Tell that to your great great aunt who spent three nights in jail without food, being taunted by guards and other prisoners after protesting for a woman's right to vote, knowing that her husband refused to pay her bail to "teach her a lesson."

It isn't so easy now, is it?

There are a lot of people who say patriotism means "My country right or wrong."

They're wrong.

Patriotism means, "My country right or wrong. When she's right, she's great and I love her. But when she's wrong, I want her fixed, and dammit, if I have to, I will roll up my sleeves and do it myself! Who's with me?"

It doesn't mean following our leaders blindly. It means taking responsibility, and knowing when things have to change. It means getting off your butt and going out to vote. It means getting up at the crack of dawn, because the nearest precinct is a two and a half hour drive away. It means sitting down and doing some research, actually taking time to read the voters guides, then going on to check up on it yourself, checking facts, making notes, and voting for the person you think is best suited to do the job, regardless of party affiliation. There are many ways to serve your country. This is just the most basic of them.

Go out and vote. You've got time now to do your research. Not just about the national elections, but your local elections as well. Educate yourself. Be an informed voter. And remember all those people who have gone before you. They're looking over your shoulder, waiting for you to make their sacrifices worthwhile.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Kid Stuff

Is it me or is it all kinds of wrong that on the way home from school, the Impossible Son and I were bouncing along in the car, singing, "Dooooooon't ask me whyyyyyyyyy... the girlshapedlovedrug messes with my miiiiiind..."

Yeah... that's kinda what I thought!

*merry laughter*

Monday, October 20, 2008

"Doesn't take a genius to realize sometimes life is hard..."

I wanted to post last night, but I was just too wiped out. We made an unexpected trip to Houston yesterday.

It was an emotional roller coaster we were on yesterday. My dad was suddenly much worse, so we dropped everything to go to Houston, even forgetting to call the friend whom we had arranged would keep the kids if we had to suddenly leave.

You know, we should have sent the Impossible Son in to see him the moment we got there. Because Dad was semi-conscious and barely lucid. I got him to open his eyes and to look at me when I came in, talking to him and stroking his face. He answered me, though it was an effort. He's got pneumonia again, and I know how that feels. About forty-five minutes or maybe an hour after we arrived, my mom finally sent the Impertinent Daughter and the Impossible Son in to see him. He opened his eyes for Miss Priss, responded to her when she told him she loved him. But... when Mr. Impossible came up and piped, "Hi Grand-Daddy! I love you. I wish you were awake so I could talk to you. Okay, bye," and he skipped out of the room.

It was like someone had flipped a switch. Dad's eyes popped open, and moved, looking around. He looked surprised and mumbled exhaustedly, "Was that the Impossible Son?"

"Yes," said my mother, looking greatly surprised and with tears in her eyes. "Do you want to see him?"

"Yeah," he said, and tried to turn on his side.

So, we called the Impossible Son in, and my dad saw him and reached for his hand, and they stood there and chatted for a bit. Well, the Impossible Son chattered, and Dad just smiled, nodded, occasionally trying to answer him though it was clear it was a huge effort. But he was making it, for Mr. Manzie. Then my very sneaky son said, "I was eating some of your Push-Pops, Grand-Daddy. If you don't eat one, I might not leave you any."

"You can have all the grape ones, " my dad said with a grimace. "Don't like 'em."

"No," said my son, "I'll eat the orange ones."

"You will not... those're... mine," my dad said, getting a little color in his cheeks.

Nothing like arguing with a seven year old over frozen treats to give someone the will to live, I guess.

Dad had his orange treat, and he and my son discussed the little cars Mr. Manzie had brought along. My son didn't stay in there long. He'd leave for a while, then come back with something else to show Grand-Daddy, or a question to ask, and it kept Dad animated for a while.

I'm glad Dad was able to pull out of it for a bit, but you know, he's getting so... well, he's too weak to get out of bed now. He spends most of his time sleeping, or staring out the windows, looking into the backyard he loves so much. He won't watch TV or listen to music. He hears other music now that we can't hear. When everyone bustled off to grab towels, or to check on the kids, or to get more water, etc, and we were alone, he'd look at me and smile, squeezing my hand as best he could, but sometimes, his eyes would go distant, and I knew he wasn't really with me anymore, and that's... well, that's just part of the journey he's on. He's letting go. He's not really here with us so much as he just comes back for brief visits. Like he did yesterday with my son.

He actually livened up enough to play with the Impossible Son. The Husbandly One blew up a couple of rubber gloves and tied knots in the end, and Mr. Impossible would bat one to Grand-Daddy, who would catch it as best he could, or would wait until his grandson handed it to him, and then he'd snap it back to Mr. Impossible with his fingers. I had to leave the room, because I knew it would exhaust him, but the sheer enjoyment in his eyes, and how happy my son was to be playing with him... I know he's going to remember it for the rest of his life. So, I had to leave the room to resist the urge to put a stop to it, to tell Daddy to save his strength. Because I realized... what would he be saving it for, if not for moments like these?

When we left, and I leaned over to kiss his forehead, I said, "You know, a simple, 'would you come visit, I miss you,' would have sufficed. You didn't have to scare Mom and the girls half to death to get me here. We were coming next weekend, you know."

He smiled. "Practice run." He was already sleepy.

I felt suddenly very scared, and very five years old. "Don't go anywhere just yet, " I said lightly.

"I can't even get to the bathroom," he said, then smiled to show he understood what I was really saying. "I'll try, but... they're waiting for me, you know," and he didn't have to say who. Because I knew.

So I just kissed the top of his head again, listened to my daughter tell him a joke, "Why did the chicken cross the road? EEEEEEEEEEERRRRRRK->BANG<... we may never know," which made him snort and laugh weakly, and then he waved, his eyes already drifting closed... and we left.

So, I'm exhausted. I'm worn. I'm frazzled. And I feel like I'm in suspension, sometimes. This will happen in its own time, I know that. I am reassured, too, that he isn't in a great deal of pain, and that for the most part, he's comfortable. In the meantime, though, it's like having my emotions wrung out on a regular basis, and the stress is getting to me. And my stress is getting to my husband and my children.

I think... I think I will go work in the garden. Maybe getting my hands dirty will help me restore my sense of balance. Because, I feel so very out of kilter, lately.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Home again, home again, jiggity-jog...

Well, it's been a very long and tiring birthday. THO woke me up... the BEST way (and what that was never you mind!), and then let me find my present, which was a new iPod shuffle to replace the OLD iPod shuffle. YAY!!

Then, after a bout of nerves, we got everybody cleaned up, dressed, and loaded into the minivan for the trip to Houston.

First thing I have to say about THO when going on a road trip is... he hates to make "unscheduled" stops (meaning any stop that isn't on his mental road trip plan), which makes me alternately want to laugh, or grab him by the throat and shake him. Because, really, dude, when you have kids, frequent stops is a reality, especially if you have a little boy who has apparently inherited his Grand-Daddy's small bladder.

I will say the Buckees just outside of Luling is astonishing. The women's restroom is HUGE and... I dunno why, but for some reason, it made me think of a living room. *is puzzled and disturbed*

Anyhow, we only made it as far as Flatonia before THO decided we needed to eat, then after that, we made pretty good time. THO managed to get past the Impossible Son's asking, "Where are we?" and "Are we there yet?" by getting him to read the mileage signs every single time they popped up. "Look, Little Man, what does that sign say?"

"Ummmm... Houston... 95 miles!"

Twenty minutes later. "There's another one, Bubba, what does it say?"

Impossible Son, getting a little annoyed: "It says Houston, 91 miles. And I don't want to read those signs any more, Papa."

Twenty minutes later. "Hey look, Mr. Manzie! What does that sign say?"

Frowning. "It SAYS Houston 84 miles... can I stop reading the signs now?"

(by the way, the miles and timespans are guesstimates off the top of my sleepy head)

THO made him read them ALL!! And you can just bet the trip home was MUCH quieter! At least on that aspect!

Houston was... interesting. Lots of broken trees, patched windows, tile stripped off roofs, etc. What really hit me was when we got past downtown Houston and were heading south on I-45, especially as we got close to the University of Houston. I kept frowning at the concrete barriers that line the freeway there, thinking maybe my glasses were dirty or something. But when I took them off, the smudgy, spotty marks were still on the barriers and it dawned on me what they were. The barriers are a little taller than normal in that section, and the bridges there that lead to the contraflow lanes, as well as exits to the University, etc, all make the freeway narrower and almost tunnel-like in places. The marks I saw were... SCOUR marks, where the hurricane force winds had picked up sand and grit, and in the wind tunnel created by the bridges and barriers, had SCOURED the finish off the concrete barriers, as well a portion of the road we were on. Stunning, no?

My folk's neighborhood lost a lot of trees, and there were some really big, really old trees there. My mom looked good, though tired. Bets looked drained, but. they both looked more cheerful than I had expected, and I soon found out why. Dad went in for a procedure on Friday where the doctors basically went in and treated the nerves leading to the areas where he was hurting the most and chemically blocked them off. In other words, they can't fire off pain signals to his brain anymore. It should last for two or three months, at which time they can do it again. He's feeling so much better! And was much perkier and alert than I've seen him in a long time. That was almost as good as a birthday present right there!!

He has lost a great deal of weight, though. He's about 138 pounds, which is the thinnest I've ever seen him. And I have to confess, when I went to his room to wake him up, I had to stand there for a moment as I looked down at him, and fight for my composure. He looks so... frail, so...light around the edges.

It was a good visit with everyone. I did some hand-sewing and repair for Mom that she can't do for herself, while THO joined the other husbands to trim back broken branches, retrieve lawn furniture and broken pots, and then climbed up on the roof to seal some leaks.

You know, it didn't occur to me until just now that I didn't get a birthday cake. Oh well.

*yawns* Sleepytime, over and out!

Friday, September 26, 2008


My husband is so sharp, it's a wonder he doesn't cut himself...

Two weeks ago, he said, "You know, hon, I'm thinking... I'm thinking we need to switch banks. I'm thinking... let's use the credit union here in town. They have better rates, and if we end up having to trade in one of our cars, we'll get a better deal."

I said, "What are you thinking and why are you mentioning this now?"

And he said, "Well, our bank's stock has plummeted. I think it's going to fail, and I've been thinking that we should bank locally anyway. Only thing is, our mortgages are there, but that'll be protected, so I don't think we have anything to worry about. But I do think we should move our checking account and consider moving our savings, as well."

I said, "Okay, sure..." So, last weekend, we opened an account at the credit union.

And this morning, Washington Mutual failed.

Monday, September 22, 2008

"You can have my isolation..."

Dear Mr. Reznor,

Thank you for sending me your survey. I really appreciate your making me feel extremely UN-hip and tragically UN-cool. Thanks to your survey, I am now uncomfortably aware of the fact that it has been three years since I last bought a new CD (I bought a CD last year, a reissue of Pablo Casals at the Marlborough Festival, conducting "Eine Kleine Nachtmusik" somewhere in the early seventies), four years since I last bought a current, non-kid related DVD ("Monty Python and the Holy Grail" isn't exactly current, is it?), and well over twelve years since I saw live music. In fact, the last live show I saw was the Chieftains at the Cynthia Woods Pavilion in the Woodlands. Wanna know who opened for them? Sarah MacLachlan. Yeah. Sarah MacLachlan opened for the Chieftains. It was just before Fumbling Towards Ecstasy hit it big. I realized I was pregnant with the Impertinent One that night when walking into a TGI Friday's nearly made my stomach turn itself inside out. I spent that entire night in a happy, if somewhat nauseated, daze.

Still, I feel I must raise my voice in querulous complaint and say, you made me feel OLD. Yes. Old. And the truly sad thing is? You are barely a year and a half younger than me!!! STOP DOING THAT!

somewhat unhappily,


And speaking of un-coolness, evidence of how rough the game on Saturday was.


Blatant tripping. Dude, seriously, if you're going to trip a player that obviously, make sure the ball is in FRONT of you, so you can at least pretend you were going for the ball, and not the opposing player's legs!!

Well, he's young, he's still learning... and yes, the ref saw it and called it!

In news from Houston, Dad is eating, the generator is hooked up and running, so they have power as long as they can get gasoline to run it, Bets is staying with them to help with the grunt work, and to make sure the generator stays in trim, and Mom sounds very, very relieved. The city did call, and said it may be some weeks before they get to the neighborhood where Mom and Dad live. So the generator is a timely arrival! Mom and Dad are much more comfortable, just in time for the hot weather to return.

Autumn in Texas... sweat, sweat, sweat...

Sunday, September 14, 2008


You know, it's one thing to see the devastation when it first happens, to see it on television with a little emotional distance as they pan over random scenes.

It's completely different to open the newspaper the next day, and see places you hung out as a kid, or went to as a college student, or someplace you went every day for years ... and it's gone. Or it's... destroyed. Or...

My family is safe and well. I'm grateful. Their homes are intact, or repairable. No one is lost, or injured, or forced to seek new lodging.

But to see what has happened in my hometown...

It can be rebuilt, repaired, redone... but... it still hurts.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Phone Solicitors... BEWARE!!!

Okay, so after a very irritating two days of cleaning and scraping calcium deposits out of my dishwasher (trust me, you REALLY don't want to know), I was elbow deep in hot soapy water, washing a backload of dishes while trying to convince the Impossible Son that the project due tomorrow is actually homework and therefore, no, he can't go play with his buddies until he's got at least half of it done, as well as trying to keep an ear out for the Impertinent One, who is in her room for some reason, the door closed and all sorts of mysterious thumping and thunking noises going on.

Then the phone rang.

I automatically answer it now, because the Caller ID strip on our phone is burned out, and it might be my family, right? So, I answer and I hear this bright, chirpy female voice say, "Hello, my name is Veronica, and I'm with American Direct. We're opening a store in your area and if you apply for membership, we're offering you a chance to win a free gas card and a brand new truck..."

"What's the time limit on the free gas card?" I asked the second she paused to draw in a breath.


"How long will I be able to get free gas with the gas card?" I persisted.

"Um... one month," she said slowly.

"I see," I said in my starchiest, most disapproving tones. "And what's the mileage on the truck?"

"I... what?"

"How many miles per gallon?" I asked sternly (can you tell I was enjoying this thoroughly?).

"Oh... um... about 18 to 20 gallons per mile..."

"Uh-huh. So... what you're offering me is an exorbitantly high rate to join your buying club, and in return, you're offering me a very slim chance to none at all at winning a truck that only gets 18 miles per gallon, and free gas for a month. With gas at $3.53 a gallon right now."

"It's a really cool truck," she offered timidly.

"If you're going to try to scam me," I drawled scathingly, "you should at least try to make it worth my while!!"

Do you know... she hung up on ME?? Huh... I wonder why?

*smiles innocently at you all*

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day Blues

Today was the first day of school for my kids. Poor Miss Priss. She wanted to wear a dress today, something she doesn't normally do. She's so active, and let's face it, dresses are not exactly designed for active girls. That's not to say you can't run in them, but face it, you have to be so darned careful!

She managed about ten minutes before nerves, and first day jitters did her in. I left the room to make the Impossible Son some cinnamon toast, and returned to find my daughter in jeans and a rather faded shirt I'd gotten back when I was about seventeen during a trip to Padre Island. I started to open my mouth to suggest something different, maybe less beat up, then I realized, oh... comfort clothes.

She was decidedly green when we left the house, and for a moment, I thought we'd have to turn back home. It passed however, and by the time we got to her school, though her nerves returned in full force, she managed to open the door and get out. "You'll be fine," I said, smiling encouragingly at her. "As soon as you see someone you know, you'll be right as rain."

"I love you!" shouted the Impossible Son from the back seat. "You're going to have fun today!!"

I'm not sure she heard all of it, but she did smile half-heartedly, and closed the door, waving as she turned for the school. I was worried, until one of her friends came running up, and the Impertinent One brightened visibly. I stopped worrying.

Mr. Manzie couldn't have been more different. He was excited to be going to school, couldn't wait to get there and see what was what! If he hadn't had school supplies to carry in, I'm sure he would have been perfectly happy to go in without me, but alas, he had to have Mom along.

The school's enrollment has grown to the point now that four classroom aren't enough for the second grade. They now have five teachers, and had to convert the room they were using for "enrichment" purposes to a regular classroom. He's thrilled! It was a lot of fun watching him trot into his new classroom to drop off his things, and blush for his teacher. This is going to be an interesting year!

Now I'm trying to get used to how quiet the house is. My migraine is much better (yes, I still have hair), and hopefully it will be gone soon. Perhaps a day of quiet and not having to answer thirty questions in fifteen seconds will help!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Danger, Wil Robinson

I have the migraine from hell, I'm beyond cranky, and I feel very sorry for the Husbandly One when he gets home.

I think I'll go shave all my hair off now.

I have spoken.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Left to right... right to left... oh... WHATEVER!!!

So now that I have my handy-dandy new glasses and can SEE again, I'm working my way through our Neil Gaiman graphic novel collection. One of the drawbacks to reading manga is the fact that you read it right to left. This makes reading American comics and graphic novels problematic for me, especially if I've been reading a lot of manga, mainly because of the Impertinent One. You know, "Oh, Mom, you have to read this! It's Yotsubsa, and it's so funny!!" or "Mom, Mom, look what happened to Naruto in this issue of Shonen Jump!" etc.

So, when I opened A Game of You, I opened it from the back out of habit and started reading it and thought, wait, this makes absolutely no sense to me whatsoever.

Then I thought, oh, duh, you idiot, and opened it from the front to read it properly, except... I was still reading it right to left. Took a few shakes of the head to re-set my brain.

I'm trying to work on Extraordinary Girl, but somehow, another project keeps poking its little head out at me. Something darker, and much more sensual, though it won't let me get a full look at it yet. I really shouldn't, even think of anything else while I have EG to work on, and "Ted's," as well as needing to do editing on the novel I finished.

This other project keeps rumbling things like strong rough hands, and the whisper of silky soft ropes with twists of itchy hemp mixed in, shivers, and hot breath. I wish it would give me a better look. Oh well, it will percolate away in the back of my brain until it's ready to reveal itself.

And now, time for Auntie to turn in. Sleepy-time, over and out!

Sunday, August 10, 2008


The Impertinent Daughter and I were on JBox.com, looking at T-shirts, and saw one with a picture of a bottle of Ramune on it. Curious, we did a Google search, and found out it was a soft drink, then watched several hilarious YouTube videos on "How to Open a Bottle of Ramune." Because it's not like just flipping a cap off.

Then, Miss Priss suddenly realized, the "soda pop" her characters drink in her Pokemon Diamond version game was... Ramune! You can even see the little, teeny-tiny marble in it!!

*dies laughing*

Learn something new everyday, we do!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Helloooooooo, baby!

You know how when I get laryngitis, I say I sound like Louis Armstrong in Hell?

Well, this time, I have this deep, rumbling basso which will probably scare THO half to death when he gets home.

Dear Merlin in the Summerland, y'all. I sound like... Barry White.

This from a person who normally sounds like a thirteen year old girl.

I'd scream, but... I don't think Barry White would sound all that great, screaming.


I am sicker than a dog, y'all.

My throat's been sore the past couple of days, but I just figured it was (1) sinus drainage and (2) the fact they had a generic rather than Zyrtec-D at the pharmacy last time I went to buy more, and the generic just ain't doin' the job.

Then last night, it got worse, and I started losing my voice a bit, so I asked the Husbandly One to make me a hot toddy. Now, I have a very, very low alcohol tolerance, so THO is always rather careful when he makes toddies for me. I can always tell when he wants me to sleep because he'll make them a little stronger than usual, and we're both a little sleep deprived at the moment. So when I started feeling whoozy, I thought, okay, either he made this a little stronger than usual, or my tolerance level has dropped, because it's been a while since I've had anything alcoholic.

Finally, I woke him up and made him take the Impossible Son to his bed a lot earlier than I usually do, because I literally could not stay up any longer. He did, and decided to take an opportunity to get on the computer while I went to sleep. Next thing I know, I'm shivering under the covers and it feels like someone's been beating me all over with a bat. I had a FEVER!! After Advil, and a hot shower to relieve my body aches, I crawled back into bed to pass out for the rest of the night.

Now, my glands are HUGE, my throat is red and swollen, and while I have no fever at present (thanks to the Advil, again), I feel like crap. I suspect Strep.

Think I'm going to beg THO for a slushy. Because my throat HUUUUUURTS!!!

*whimpers and curls back up under the quilt*

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Hearing Glitch Strikes Again!!

So, I was making cinnamon toast for the kids, and the Impossible Son dances into the kitchen.

"Mama! Mama! Mama! On TV, it said, steers... come back... alive!" he says in dramatically appropriate tones.

I blinked. "Um... what was that? And look into my face so I can read your lips, sweetie."

His face screwed up with concentration, he said, very carefully, "Steers... come back... alive!"

Er... what??? Is this some sort of... cartoon horror movie, involving cows? Maybe like that killer psycho sheep movie from New Zealand? "One more time, Mr. Manzie?"

"Sleers... gumback... lanai!!!"

Still not getting it.

At this point, the Impertinent Daughter walks in and says, "No, no, no, it was 'Sears... don't just come back... arrive!' Get it right, dork!"

I blinked again, and the Impossible Son laughed and said, "Yeah! That's what I said!"


When he had danced back into the living room, Miss Priss turned to me and said, "What did you think he said?" Then died laughing when I told her.

"What was he actually saying?" I asked, dying of curiosity.

"Sears! Come back! Arrive!"


And before anyone asks, I have asked about hearing aids. They won't help me hear better, because I actually hear just fine. All they would do is help me misunderstand you... louder.

I'm still contemplating a horror movie about zombie castrated bulls.

*merry laughter*

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Ahhhhhh.... better now...

The Husbandly One is a wise, wise man.

I was washing dishes when he came home. He walked in, fended off the kids, came straight into the kitchen, grabbed a paper plate (a wise move when your wife is washing dishes), hunched over a mysterious box he'd set on the counter, then came up behind me and wafted the most perfect, mouth-watering slice of chocolate cheesecake under my nose.

And helped me eat it, because there is no way I can finish a slice of chocolate cheesecake by myself without my brain exploding from migraine.

I am in a much, MUCH better mood now.

I know some of you will laugh, but chocolate is my sole addiction, and when I crave it, that's it. I have to have it. I was getting to the "put the chocolate down and nobody'll get hurt" stage.

*sighs happily*

I love, I love that man o' mine!

Chocolate. NOW!!!!

My kids are driving me bananas.

Yesterday, they were arguing over who got to use the vacuum cleaner while cleaning the living room, and who had to clean under the big couch and who had to clean under the little couch (this involved crawling under said couches and pulling out the items that had disappeared under there. I am sure we will find Jimmy Hoffa at some point).

Yes. They were arguing over CLEANING.

*tears out hair*

Lest you think this is every mom's dream, let me say not much cleaning actually got done, and both miscreants got sent to their rooms, their computers turned OFF and their Nintendos in my pocket.

Today, it's constant arguing, and fussing, and I need chocolate in the worst way. As in enough to put me in a coma for the next two weeks, so when I wake up it's a whole new world. Preferably the day before school starts.

Think it's too late for me to sign them up for a military boarding school?

*grumbling and snarling*


Saturday, July 12, 2008

Little did I know...

A bit of green

This photo, which I took during our trip to Washington, is my desktop right now, and the Impertinent Daughter was gazing at it and said, "Wow, Mom, you took a picture of Hogwarts."

"I did?" I said, looking up from my reading.

"See?" and she pointed to the buildings on the right. "That's Hogwarts Castle."

"Okay," I said, squinting.

"And that tree there... is the Whomping Willow."

"I see."

"And those purple plants are... poisonous or something..."

"If you get too close to them," I said, getting into the game with her, "they belch out clouds of purple pollen which make you gag and throw up."

"Right," she said eagerly. "And they're there to protect those... big green bushy things..."

"Professor Sprout's valuable Flutterby Bushes, which have to be grown outside," I said, trying not to laugh.

"Yeah!" she said enthusiastically. "And those little bird houses are for the Golden Snidgets, which eat the pests who like to eat the Flutterby's flowers, and the purple plants protect them both! Because the Snidget is endangered!"

And I had no idea!! Imagine that!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Caught in the Act...

Okay, so... the Husbandly One came home from work early today, because tomorrow (July 4th), is a national holiday.

THO coming home early always gets Jo randy.

The kids and I were watching our DVD of "The Incredibles", and he sat down to join us, and we watched, and chatted, and as soon as it was over, I decided to go to the bedroom to check email and decide what to do with my er... extra energy until such time as the kids were, say, playing at a neighbors, or... otherwise occupied.

After a while, THO came into the bedroom to chat, and I was showing him some funny things I had found, and we were talking, and he laid back on the bed to "rest" his eyes, and I suddenly realized... the kids were occupied. Miss Priss was in her room, drawing while listening to music, while the Impossible Son was playing Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets on his computer.

And I couldn't stand it anymore. About this point, THO sat up and started asking me about a party we are going to tomorrow, that I am expected to bake an apple pie for, and what kind of apples did I need, and suddenly found himself with a lapful of very amorous, very demanding wife.

It was wonderful!!!

I pushed him down on the bed, latched onto his mouth, kissing, we were rubbing most enthusiastically together, I could feel how much he was enjoying this, and somewhere in my lust-fogged brain, I was thinking, maybe we should close the door... when I heard it.


The sound of velcro.

Neither of us was wearing velcro.

We both froze and slowly turned our heads to see the Impossible Son standing by THO's closet, dressed in his Dash Impossible costume, both hands clamped firmly over his eyes. You could practically HEAR him screaming frantically inside his head, "Must bleach brain! Must bleach brain!!"

For one wild nano-second, I was horrified. Then my sense of the ridiculous hit me, and I burst out into hearty laughter, followed by the Husbandly One, and we rolled apart on the bed in tears, gripping our sides, because really, Mr. Manzie's expression when he peeked out tentatively from between his fingers was... hilarious, a perfect mix of oh-no-are-they-still-doing-it?, curiosity, and disgust. You know, like, "Ew, blech,kissing!!"

"Are you done now?" he said in a resigned voice.

That sent us right back into helpless laughter.

"What were you guys doing anyway?" he asked, walking slowly to the bed. "Kissing??"

"Yes," said THO. "It's something grownups do when they love each other, and they're feeling happy and silly."

"Yes," I said, trying not to fall apart again. "Very silly. It's for growing closer."

"Oh!" he said, nodding wisely. "Growing closer is good."

"Yes, very good!" THO said, and Mr. Manzie was completely happy with that.

Next time Jo is feeling amorous and randy, however, she will remember to close and lock the door!!

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

A Welcome Break...

It's Raining, It's Pouring

It's raining, it's pouring,
The old Bear is snoring,
He rubbed his shoulder
On a great, big boulder
And wouldn't get up in the morning...

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

It's The Little Things...

This is the kind of banter that goes on between myself and the Impertinent One. This is the kind of skewed humor we have.

So, I'm driving her to school while the Impossible Son is trying to wake up in the back seat. The radio is on, and I'm complaining about how much my head hurts ("It feels like someone's been scrubbing the inside of my skull with a Brillo pad, for reals!" "Aw, poor Mom!"), and we've just started frantically stabbing at the radio buttons because the station we were listening to has decided to start TALKING and we want MUSIC!! The big, giant, county-sized SUV in front of us starts weaving, and we slow down. Now, it's early, we're on a very straight, non-busy street, yet this person is driving as if there are... elephants... sitting at intervals on the side of the road. Miss Priss and I look at each other and she says, "Um... maybe they're avoiding the bumps??"

Except... this road is flat, no bumps yet.

"I suspect the person in front of us is experiencing an alternate reality at the moment, honey," I said, and then I grin.

She sees it and says, "Uh-oh."

"Perhaps they're avoiding Orcs," I say.

She blinks, then says, "Well, you know, hitting Orcs with your car is the worst. I mean, the mess it makes."

"Yeah," I said. "All over your hood, your tires, it's disgusting!"

"Entrails everywhere!" she says, and snorts, trying not to laugh. "And when it dries, it's like, virtually impossible to get off, it ruins your paintjob..."

"And then there's the smell," I said, my face hurting because I'm struggling not to crack a big grin.

"You practically have to use a hammer and chisel to get them off," she offers. "Clang, clang, clang!!"

"Yeah, and man, you have to hope you don't crack your windshield."

"I KNOW!" she says. "And then, the arms get tangled in the windshield wipers every single time!! It takes forever to get them out!! You turn them on and it's like your car is waving ugly arms at people..."

"True," I said, "But you know what the worst part is?"

"What?" she asked breathlessly, eyes sparkling because she knows it's coming.

I look at her, struggling not to laugh, and manage to keep my face straight, but just barely. "The squealing."

She died laughing. "Good one, Mom!!"

The the Impossible Son, finally waking up from the back seat, chirps, "What Orcs??"

I love my kids!!!