Tuesday, February 28, 2006

in the heart of a child

we all have memories from our childhood - well at least most of us do. and thanks to my parents, the scrapbook of my youth is almost picture perfect.
but do you have memories of your childhood feelings and emotions? i don't know how i would have answered that question before this week. i know now.

i do. and some of these feelings and emotions have been, for lack of a better word, simply overwhelming.

i have wri
tten about my childhood sweetheart several times throughout this blog. i knew him in 3rd, 4th and 5th grades. for him it was 4th, 5th and 6th.

his family moved to our small town from Canada. his dad was the local doctor. i was a hypochondriac - induced by my mother. our parents became friendly and spent a considerable amount of time together socializing. we even took a summer vacation to the beach together. as you might imagine, this worked out pretty good for our puppy love affair.

my very first memory of him is when he played the lead role in the 4th grade play, Mary Poppins. He was Bert, Dick Van Dyke's character in the movie version.
i was smitten when he walked onstage. (obviously my affinity for performers and artist started at a young age.)
i walked around singing supercalifragilisticexpialidocious for weeks afterwards.

i don't remember exactly when it was decided we would be boyfriend-girlfriend. or whose idea it was. or how it all really got started. for all i know, and considering how bossy i have always been, i might have just approached him one day and TOLD him he was to be my boyfriend.
however it came to be, i do remember being thrilled about it.

he was smart - really smart. and cute ~swoon~ and talented. had a groovy accent - though he did enjoy pointing out how stupid mine sounded... *roll eyes* he was cool - which was very important back then because The Fonz was all the rage.

he and his brother talked a lot abut 'jugs' and i remember that just cracked me up. i don't recall having 'jugs' at that age but quickly realized they were important to boys and immediately begin wishing for some of my own. note to self: be careful what you wish for.

i told you about holding his hand at the first Star Wars movie. (and for the record, i am sitting here with a really stupid grin on my face as i reminisce and write...)

a group of families i grew up with vacationed every summer in florida. moms, kids and
babysitters for a week in a rented two story beach house. (this one =>) the gulf of mexico out the back door and sand dunes on each side. my sweetheart's family joined us at least one summer. luckily, i was still at that age where it didn't bother me if a boy saw me in a swimsuit. i remember sitting alone with him in those dunes. talking. joking. writing our names in the sand. trying to flirt and not really knowing how. we sat in this big chair together out on the balcony - innocently watching the tide and the people and the world go by.

i remember walking along the beach with him late one afternoon. holding hands. and talking. keep in mind that most of our in-depth conversations - when he wasn't explaining to me how canadians were superior to americans - went something like this...
"do you like me?"
"yes. i like you. do you like me?"
"yes. i like you too. are you sure you really like me?"
"yes. i really like you. but don't tell anyone!"
"okay. i won't"

of course i told everyone i knew...
who are we kidding?

and as a matter of events, our first big fight was over something of that nature. he left me once, by choice, for another woman. i hate her to this day. almost broke my little heart. the ONLY saving grace in all of it was that his younger brother, whom i always adored, pulled me aside one day and told me matter of factly that he liked me way better than his brother's current girlfriend. somehow, that made it all okay...

but we made up. again, i don't remember the details. just that we did. shortly thereafter, he left me again. not by choice. his dad moved their family to oregon to start a practice there.

i remember my emotion when i found out they were moving. shock. disbelief. grief. the deepest pain i had ever experienced in my young life.

the last time we were ever together as children was when his family came to our home for dinner. all of us kids played hide and seek in the basement. of course my sweetheart and i hid together in the dark dank completely unromantic barren bathroom. there, in the dim light, surrounded by the sweet smell of mold and mildew, i was certain i was about to get my first real live on-the-lips kiss. i think my eyelids were shaking i was so nervous. i wanted to kiss him. i wanted him to kiss me. i wanted him to WANT to kiss me. and i think he did. want to kiss me.

.D.R.A.M.A.T.I.C. .P.A.U.S.E.

but he didn't. we didn't. we never kissed. not even once. ever.
about that time a voice from above yelled it was time for his family to leave. so they left for the evening and then they moved. he was gone and this time, it did break my little heart. completely.

told you about writing him letters. and never getting a response.
i slowly began to believe that he didn't really like me after all.
that he had forgotten all about me.

fast forward to college. early 1987. a song by amy grant.
was one of her first mainstream hits and it got a lot of air time. the lyrics and melody taunted me.
it reminded me of him.

Long time since I've seen your smile,
But when I close my eyes,
I remember
You were no more than a child,
But then so was I,
Young and tender.

Time carries on;
I guess it always will,
But deep inside my heart
Time stands still.

Stay for awhile.
Well, it's good to see your smile,
And I love your company.
Stay for awhile.
And remember the days gone by;
For a moment it can seem
Just the way it used to be.

Snowfalls, phone calls, broken hearts,
Clear summer days,
Warm and lazy;
Long walks, long talks, after dark;
We vowed we'd never forget.
Now it's hazy.

Time takes its toll,
And time alters our view.
It would be nice to
Spend some time with you

i finally confessed to my dad i was thinking about trying to get in touch with my sweetheart. would it be okay with him? he agreed to the plan.

i made a few phone calls and finally got a number. HIS number. he was back in Canada.
i dialed. my hands shaking. it rang. heart in my throat. he answered. think i might faint.

this is the exact conversation...

"may I speak with 'Sweetheart' please?"
"This is he."
"Sweetheart, do you know who this is?"
"it's t-cole."

he did remember me.
he had never forgotten.
we talked. laughed and joked. it was comfortable. he was charming.

i went to the calgary olympics in winter of 1988. no expectations other than to reconnect with some old friends and enjoy the games. i stayed with his younger brother. i met sweetheart's then girlfriend. i wanted to hate her. i planned to hate her. he was, after all, mine first. but there was no way. she was wonderful. it was quickly evident that she made him very happy and that he loved her deeply. how can you hate that??

so after the games, i went home. back to college. we kept up for awhile and once again life took us in different directions. he married his girlfriend and the last thing i heard - 13 years ago through a mutual friend - was they had their first baby and all was well.

and i got married. started a family. living a grown-up's life. then this valentine's my hubby took me to the star wars concert. the music brought back a flood of memories and emotions and led me to
write about my first quasi-date with my sweetheart. NoWhereGirl suggested i send a copy of the entry to my old sweetheart. got me to thinking. of course i had no idea how to get in touch with him. i asked our one mutual friend if she had any contact with them. no, not for 10 years.

Google to the rescue. seriously. 15 minutes and i had a potential email addy.
i wrote - "is this the same 'sweetheart' that spent part of his childhood in south mississippi? if so, guess what, it's t_cole!"

much to my surprise and overwhelming delight - it was him. it is him. he sent pictures of himself, his three beautiful kids and the girlfriend - now wife - that i so wanted to hate- who looks like she hasn't aged a day since i met her 16 years go. who DOES she think she is?!?!
i digress. exhale. deep breath...
i emailed him back and told him about the blog entry and why i contacted him. gave him the link. sent him my IM id.

later that night, we went live on IM. he told me he read the blog entry and that it brought tears to his eyes. that it took him back to being 11 years old in the theater and having those feelings of being excited and terrified at the same time. of course that made me cry.
we had a great talk. chatted about the old days. our collective memories were given a real workout. talked about the beach. the talks. the walks. he told me that he remembered thinking in his own 11 year old way that this is what love must be. we laughed. i cried some more. he is STILL smart - really smart. and cute ~swoon~ and talented and cool. check out this pic.

and we have been chatting via email and im for several days now. he said it is bizarre. how we now have the opportunity to be the friends we never could be before.

and before your little bloggie minds get to cranking... his wife knows we are chatting. my hubby knows. they will ALL probably read this. so keep it clean. i'm serious. the only suspicious accusation we've had so far was from HIS wife. she accused him of talking with a southern accent the other night when he started telling her about chatting with me.

what's that's all about, ehh?

thanks for allowing me to write about this.
from you, i first learned about the joys of love and the sorrow of loss. i am choosing to remember the joys. i hope you do too.
you are precious and cherished. kind, gentle and generous.
you are right, it is divine intervention that allowed our paths to cross once again.
this time, let's get this friendship thing right.
oh, and one last thing - here's that kiss...

Monday, February 27, 2006

TAGGED - my fives list for big pissy...

What were you doing 10 years ago?
February 1996. hmmmm... been married a little over a year. had just started a new job. was in the beginning stages of a software implementation.

What were you doing 1 year ago?
February 2005. my son had just turned a year old and was not walking or crawling so i was stressing out about that. he runs now. pretends he's a horse. climbs on top of the kitchen table. amazing what a difference a year can make.

Five snacks I enjoy (and by my definition - a 'snack' cannot be good for you)

Really fresh hot buttery popcorn
Dark Chocolate
BBQ chips and Barq's rootbeer
my Dad's homemade beef jerky
chocolate covered anything

Five songs to which I know all the lyrics

the Barney I Love You song - i am not proud of this
Mississippi Girl by Faith Hill - my personal anthem
If You're Not The One by Daniel Bedingfield - great for slow dancing
Out of My Mind by James Blunt - where i live most of the time
Brown Eyed Girl by Van Morrison - my theme song - they play this whenever i walk out onto the stage of my life. (in my dreams)

Five things I'd do if I were a millionaire

travel more (get a time share at the beach and in the mountains)

set up college funds for my kids, nieces and nephews

buy one of every style in every color of Cole Hahn shoes in my size

plastic surgery - boob lift and tummy tuck, maybe some lipo here and there...

have my hair and nails and toes done every single week

Five bad habits

talk too much

eat too much

bitch too much

curse too much

that's only four - and other than these, i am perfect. (okay, that's #5, think too highly of myself...)

Five things I like doing

riding in a convertible with the top down on a clear blue day

hanging out with my kids when they are not ill, cranky or whining.

riding horses in the mountains

downhill snow skiing through fresh powder

traveling anywhere i've never been

Five things I would never wear, buy or get new again

would never buy another Barney VHS tape or DVD - because i already own every one ever made.would never EVER wear anything purple

will never again buy or wear a nursing bra or maternity pants

will never EVER again for the rest of my life wear a t-shirt that says "Baby on Board" with an arrow pointing down

will never again buy or wear maternity pantyhose again - i do believe i am detecting a pattern here...

Five favorite toys

my first one is literally a toy. my daughter got a new truck. it thumps and rocks and plays "We Will Rock You" by Queen. we all love it. had to go buy my son one. (Target)

New massaging desk chair

my laptop and wireless internet. i know i should get out more - but i think it is the coolest thing to sit in front of the tv, watch american idol and blog at the same time.

my new wine bottle opener - one of those rabbit things that just 'swishes' the cork out.

??? i have run out of toys... do the kids count?

there ya go pissy. hope you enjoyed. t'was fun.

..gotta.get.a.life. .gotta.get.a.life. .gotta.get.a.life..

is it tuesday yet? we both know it isn't. AARRRGGGHHHH!

my name is t_cole and i am an addict.


i am pathetic! i am pitiful! i didn't start out this way!

season 1 - i only watched the very last episode when Kelly beat Justin.

season 2 - i only watched the top 12 - none of the tryouts. clay was robbed, btw

season 3 - hubby kept dragging me in to watch parts of the tryouts. he picked fantasia to win at the beginning. he was right and i have not heard the end of it yet.

season 4 - watched all the tryouts, every episode - including the one when my guy constantine got cut, i sobbed and swore off american idol for the rest of my life. was back, front and center for the next episode. i am weak.

season 5 - sucked in once again. we recorded both nights last week - girls and guys. i have seen each one at least 3 times. once on my own, once with hubby and once (or twice) with my kids. kids love it too but have a 7PM bedtime and CANNOT stay up late on school nights. Mean Mommy, yes, I know. whatever!

so here are my two top picks. for the girls, Katharine McPhee. i just like her. GREAT voice. fabulous stage presence. GORGEOUS! and fun-loving personality. she's my first pick for the gals. my second choice would be Paris Bennett.

for the guys - i am torn. there are several i like. but i must go with Ace Young. first off, he is yummy. i know that is not the best criteria for selecting the next american idol, but it's a good start. he can actually sing. he appears to be relatively unaffected. and the song he did last week, Father Figure, had a line in it about being warm and naked by my side. (yes, he was too talking to me!) woohoo.

i think it was the wise and beautiful Dolly Parton that once said, "I'm old enuf to be that boy's lover."

i always did think Dolly was well spoken...

pathetic, i tell ya...

Friday, February 24, 2006

i don't care how old you are...

when your mom and dad call you first thing in the morning, sing Happy Birthday to you, remind you for the 38th year in a row of the snow and ice and how cold it was in Mississippi the morning you were born - it's a good day. a very good day.

and i don't care how it sounds, i still love it when my momma tells me, "i love you sweet baby."
i still love it when my dad reminds me of the childhood story he's always told me about finding me at the hospital in this big box. like i was a gift.

i love it when my hubby and kids bring me chocolate cake, candles, wine, a bubble bath and give me a new massaging desk chair. (woohoo!)

i am loved. i am spoiled. i am needed and wanted.
it's how everyone should feel on their birthday.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

it's my blog and i'll rant if i want to

this rant is motivated by a recent entry i read on another blog. i will not name names or give you a link as i do not wish to give their obvious ignorance and blatant prejudices another second of air time.
but here's what i have to say...
i was born, raised and educated in South Mississippi. as such - i saw/experienced/lived FIRST HAND bigotry, racism, hatred and prejudice. i remember days at school when the white parents were told to keep their kids at home because the black kids were going to "start trouble."
Charles Mack Parker, a black man, was taken from a jail cell in my home town by a gang of white men - lynched and thrown off a bridge into the Pearl River. I wasn't born when this happened, but this story was very much alive when i grew up. i even went to church on Sundays with men that were complicit in this event.
in all this - i was one of the lucky ones. kids are NOT born hating others. they learn it. my parents never taught me hate. never. they never taught me prejudice. fortunately, the parents of most of my friends felt the same way. My Jr. year in High school - 1985 - was the first year we had an integrated prom. a group of white seniors decided they only wanted to socialize with their kind. so they threw their own "Spring Dance" - by invitation only. i don't recall getting an invitation to that event. thankfully. my Sr. year was the first year we had only one prom - and everyone attended.
i asked my mom once why they raised me as they did. her response went something like this...
"you know i grew up in a childrens' home. we were the poor kids. we were the kids that no one wanted to play with. i knew what it was like to be prejudiced against and i never wanted you to make anyone feel that way."
whatta mom!
in college, i was an RA (resident assistant) in the dorm. one night a bunch of us got together and watched Mississippi Burning. i knew the story but had never seen the film. i sobbed through the entire thing. some of the girls i went with that night were black. they were my friends. they laughed at me for a week b/c every time i saw them, i cried, hugged them and apologized for the idiocy that was...
i moved to vail, colorado after college. my manager was from Manhattan. apparently i was the first person from mississippi she had ever met. first chance she got, she pulled me to the side and asked me in a hushed whisper, "Are you prejudiced?" i whispered back, "No. is that a problem?"
Why do i tell you all this? not to degrade my home state because you KNOW how much I love Mississippi and her people. for every 1 bigoted idiot in Mississippi, there are 100 beautiful, intelligent souls. apparently the same is true in the blogosphere. the vast majority of the blogs i read regularly and even the ones i drop in on occasionally are well written, funny, informative and mostly uplifting. and while everyone is entitled to their own preconceptions, stupidity and their right to express such, SO AM I.
i tell you all this because i feel i am uniquely qualified to recognize ignorance and prejudice when it is thinly veiled as an futile attempt at humor - as it was in this blog. before i even read the entry comments, which got heated and nasty, the hairs on the back of my neck were standing up. the writer sincerely thought she was being funny - making fun of someone's cultural music choice and describing the type of restaurant it would usually be heard in. nope, sorry hon, not funny at all.
it's one thing for me to make fun of rednecks. i r one. CP can poke fun at the idiosyncrasies of being jewish - she r one. and pissy, if she wishes, can diss latinas. she r one. oprah can talk about the challenges of black women's hair on national tv. you will NEVER EVER hear jane pauley do that. everyone knows it's okay to talk about your own family - but never acceptable to rag on someone else's.
you know who you are. you crossed a line. your profile states that you hate stupid people. that must create a certain level of self loathing in your life.
you offended someone i adore. you offended me. and while it is your right to do so, it is also my right to call you on it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Thank God I'm a Country Girl

yes, i live on a farm. 7 acres, a barn, a horse, a longhorn, 1 chicken, a dog (still not house-trained), a gaggle of cats and kittens, a dried up pond and my neighbor's small herd of long horn cattle graze our pasture.
all the longhorns have names and my girls and i know just about every one of them by the correct name. one moma cow, who has an especially bad nature and the sharpest horns on the block is name B*tch. my neighbor, God bless her, is thoughtful enuf to tell my kids her name is 'witch.'
it took some adjusting when we moved to the country from the city. and while i grew up in a small town - i was a small town 'city girl.' after marriage, hubby and i resided in one of the largest burbs of dallas. found out we were prego with #2. needed a bigger home. wanted a little space. and we found it - waaaaaayyyyyyy out yonder ways. i drive 25 minutes one way to the nearest Wal-Mart. no joke. no street lights on our DIRT road.
eventually, i adjusted to the peace and quiet, clean air, no traffic sounds and actually being able to see the stars at night. met the neighbors, made some friends, fell into a country living routine. learned to expect the unexpected. like the time i was convinced a cat was stuck in the vent for my oven. went outside to find my neighbor's peacocks on my roof. once found a swarm of bees in a tree in my front yard. i have a neighbor down the road that is straight out of steel magnolias. (not the sally field character, the shirley mcclain one) saw a tarantula crossing the paved road near my home. called the county agent immediately when i got home to ask if there was any chance i was hallucinating. he patiently assured me that no, i was not seeing things. that tarantulas are indeed indigenous to my area. he further tried to calm me by saying, " i can assure you 'mam, they are much more scared of you than you are of them." I quickly and quietly told him there was no such way he could assure me of such a thing. he may be intimately acquainted with all the texas tarantulas but he and i had never met and i was MORTIFIED of the hairy little critters.
anywho, one christmas morning - when the girls were still pretty little, they were working their way into the kitchen after opening presents. shrill little girl - horror film in training screams - flew from their mouths...
there, grazing in our back yard was the biggest most beautiful mare you have ever laid eyes on.
i looked at hubby, who looked at me to find me looking back at him...
what the .... ? ! ? !
this was the first of many times Sassy came to visit us. she actually belonged to our neighbor across the street. she likes to sneak off and visit the neighbors (us) when her mommy's not looking.
so when the neighbor came to retrieve sassy, i explained to her that my girls STILL think her horse is a gift from Santa. would it be too much to ask for her to bring Sassy back one day so the girls can have a quick ride?
and thus began our on-going relationship with and fondness for our new found neighbors and their sassy.
well folks, meet sassy's new baby and our newest neighbor. She was born monday night and i took these tuesday morning. mommy and baby are doing fine.

the only beef i have with my neighbor is this - she told my then 6 and 4 year old daughters about this impending foal way back before Christmas - like september. nary a day has gone by when one of my two girls has not asked me when sassy's baby would be here. it was like the "are we there yet?" for six months straight. nonstop. thanks neighbor... =)

to sassy's beautiful baby - I am sooooooo glad you are here. you really have no idea. get ready, i imagine we're going to be regulars at your place...

Monday, February 20, 2006

gratuitous birthday pics for grandparents and menu details for kc and pixie

see next entry for lead-in story...

due to inclement weather, we ended up with only 14 in attendance. mostly hubby's family.
fred and wilma (of moab fame) were with us too. they came early and we had a blast preparing all the goods. mother in law had cleaned my house by the time i finally got home from nashville. i so owe her.

all in all, it was a very nice, mostly relaxing dinner with dear friends and family.

i am not going to caption all these pics.
daughter #1 (Sam) is in pink with pigtail
daughter #2 (Savvy) is the curly headed blonde
birthday boy (Smith) is in yellow John Deere t-shirt he got from his Mississippi grandparents for his birthday.
hubby in long sleeve grey shirt.
I still do not have on makeup (see previous post) - and am hiding as best i can when i see the lens aimed my way...
other kids are cousins. big kids are aunts, uncles, fred and wilma.

that's 'fred' teaching my son all about 4-wheeling in moab...

ok, menu information. here's how you do it when you have had the week i have...

mind you, i can do all this homemade with my eyes closed and one arm tied behind my back. seriously, i can. however, i am smart and knew that if i tried to do the entire meal from scratch after traveling and having the kids all day, it would be an emotional disaster and i would gain no enjoyment from it at all. and quite frankly, i had just worked too darn hard to get home for my son to not enjoy it...

with that said,

i made hot wings from scratch - buy the wingettes - not the wings. makes a difference. use ONLY Franks Hot Wing sauce. do not bother with any other. trust me on this or pay the price. recipe is on bottle of Frank's sauce. is stupid easy.

served with side of celery sticks and carrots - crisped in bowl of ice water - served with Ken's Steak House Blue Cheese dressing. again, BE BRAND LOYAL on this item.

then bought two bags of romaine lettuce - washed and chopped - tossed with shredded (not grated) parmesan cheese, croutons and Ken's Steak House Caesar.

one loaf french bread and one loaf sourdough - both fresh from the bakery.

this next dish will get you a marriage proposal from any man. i guarantee it. four cans WHOLE green beans - not the generic brand. Wishbone Fat Free Italian dressing - no other will do. if you don't use FF, the dish will be one big oil slick. one package of cheap, thin bacon. don't get the spensive thick stuff.

drain beans - pour in large mixing bowl. spray 13 X 9 pan with Pam (or such). Cut bacon in half.

on cutting board, take one half piece of bacon, get about 8 beans, lay across bacon and wrap the bacon around the beans. place in pan. repeat till all beans and bacon are used. should fill a pan nicely. you can squeeze them in tightly if need be as they will shrink a bit when cooking. cover the beans and bacon with bottle of salad dressing. if there are any broken small pieces of beans left, i throw them in too.

bake in preheated oven at 350 degrees for an hour. serve and wait for proposal. i am famous for this dish and it is stupid easy.

finally the entree - Stouffer's frozen lasagna. micro, bake and serve. it's as good as any i could make.

of course desert is cake and ice cream.

so this was an easy one. hope you enjoyed - we sure did. i have one other recipe i am famous for and although i did not serve it the other night, i have to share it with you. but be warned, if you ever make this and take it to a covered dish affair, you WILL BE ASKED TO BRING IT AGAIN and again and again. and it's not cheap to make. so think twice before sharing it with others...

two bags prewashed salad greens - or two heads of lettuce- whatever you prefer works.

package of strawberries, washed and quartered

package of blueberries and/or raspberries

bag of apricots, diced - cut each into about 6 pieces

bag of Craisins - the original ones

bag of sliced roasted honey glazed almonds

small container (about 6 oz) of Blue Cheese crumbles

bottle of poppyseed dressing - i usually buy fat free and it is just as good to me - your preference.

toss everything but strawberries, blueberries and raspberries very well. when it is mixed, gently toss in remaining fruit. i just sprinkle the raspberries on top as they are so delicate.

serve immediately.

bon appetite...

Saturday, February 18, 2006

there's a reason...

why i tell you it's never dull around here...

must be brief. must be brief. must be brief.
(yeah, right - sit back and get comfy..)


Demo went very well - yeah,
the one i got up at 3am to finish the prep work on. the one i scripted out to the n'th degree. with a software demo - you leave NOTHING to chance. all data is defined perfectly. transactions set up. processes run ahead of time. you want your product to be showcased PERFECTLY in front of your client.

Rule #2 - broken 24 minutes and 45 seconds into tediously prepared demo...

had to be done - sincerely - as the big dog in the room wanted to see something else. and for the record, i did fabulous. i have worked with this product for 10+ years and can fly by the seat of my pants with the best of 'em. but about 10 minutes after getting off script, i got the giggles. it occurred to me that i could have slept till 6am - if i had known we weren't going to use a script...
i squashed the giggles - only my partner saw me screw up my face at the irony - but DANG! i do love my sleep...

anyway - we pulled it off beautifully. i went shopping a bit that afternoon and then headed to the airport early for my 7pm flight - thought there might be a remote possibility i could go standby on an earlier flight. not only did i not go standby, they cancelled my flight from nashville to dallas. no joke. an ice storm was due into big d last night.

i figure there has to be another airline - some way they can get me close to dallas. oklahoma city. houston, amarillo.

and in case you haven't guessed, i am not one to take NO for an answer. so i say to the lady, "ticket counter lady - i don't think you understand. my precious angel baby son turns two tomorrow and i have 20 people coming over for dinner. i HAVE to go home tonight." ~ best sweet southern belle smile ~

she tells me that she has been working with over 200 people for the past 2 hours and there are no flights going anywhere near dallas out of nashville. methinks i am hearing 'no.'

i tell her that if she had given me this news on any other day of the year, it would be a blessing - another 24 hours away from home with nothing to do except sit around and rest - would be HEAVEN! but i HAD to be home for my little boy.
no dice she politely informs me.

she then tells me they have rebooked me on a flight that will get me back to my house tonight (SATURDAY) after 8pm. no, No, NO i say - that will never work.

ok. Plan B. how about a flight out of atlanta in the morning??? can you put me on one of those?

YES! finally a yes. of course there are no seats available to atlanta from Nashville... but i am a resourceful girl. book the flight from atlanta, i tell her. i then run down and get a (another!) rental car and DRIVE 4 hours to Atlanta. on three hours sleep. stopped twice to buy one of those 'natural' energy drinks that cost about $8 ea. (mild exaggeration). i don't know how they can call them 'natural' when they make your pee glow in the dark for two days. seriously. but they work.

Big Pissy missed out on untold redneck sightings in those two stops. you gotta wonder if they actually pay these people to hang out at quick stops along the highway in southern towns to add ambiance to the experience... Holy Crap!

there ain't one decent radio station between nashville and atlanta. not one.
spent 80% of the trip on my cell phone. can you say ROAMING CHARGES?!?!

got a room at the atlanta airport marriott. there was a pre-teen cheerleader convention going on. again, not kidding. you can't make this stuff up. i begged the lady at the front desk to put me as far away from the hyper little darlings as possible. and bless her, she did.

got to my room. and it was there i encountered the most beautiful and comfortable bed i have seen in years. grant you, it could have had dirty linens on it and pine needles in it, and it would have still been the most beautiful and comfortable bed i had seen in years...

so i slept for what seemed like 5 minutes, showered - only because my hair looked like a matted mess, threw a tad of gel in my hair, brushed my teeth, jumped in my clothes and shot out to catch my flight. late. no makeup. no lipstick. no contacts. same socks for three days now. i actually thought about this because the above actions caused me to break at least seven cardinal sins from the southern belle code of conduct for public dressing. i rationalized my decision by thinking NO ONE would be at the airport at 5AM on a Saturday. i was so wrong. so very, very wrong.

missed the turn for the rental car return. flew through the terminal drop off, back around, slowed down at avis, jumped out and dove onto waiting bus for short trip to terminal. construction at the airport meant i had to run/walk from one end of the main terminal at Hartsfield to the OTHER end. and if you have never had the fortune to go to hartsfield, let it be known that it spans half the great state of georgia. it has been said that you can put your back at Hartsfield, drive away and you will drive back into the airport. it's that d*mn big. not kidding. and not crowded? more people here than at the Daytona 500 on opening race day. stood in line 10 minutes to check in with a stinking computer that didn't have my travel record.

another 25 minutes to go through security. disadvantage to traveling on a saturday morning - no business travelers. families with kids. they don't know how to efficiently go through a security checkpoint. 10 minutes before it was my turn to go through, i already had my laptop out, shoes off, jewelry tucked away (yes, i did have my jewels on - i do have some standards...) and had stripped down to my bra and panties. they matched too, btw. (again, southern belle code of conduct)

ran through the x-ray thing, grabbed my shoes, purse, laptop and bag and run the 50 feet to the gate. once they scanned my boarding pass, i stop and get redressed. was one of the last ones on the plane. FULL FLIGHT. again, me, no makeup or lipstick, hair askew and now i STINK from running through the biggest airport in the SEC.


slept the whole way home - right after i told the 14 year old beside me to elbow me if i happened to snore or drool.

what went right - demo. shopping. bed at marriott. not seeing anyone i knew at the airport. bulkhead seat. arrival gate in dallas right by my van. having my two youngest kids safe and happy with a girlfriend i would trust with my life - sincerely. my mother in law with the oldest child - and CLEANING MY HOUSE! dinner party (KC and pixie - details to follow on this later, promise)

what REALLY went right - picking up my kids at my friends house. she opens the door. steps to the side. "Smith, look who's here to get you..."

he sees me. GLOWS! and runs into my open arms and gives me big boy hugs and kisses. i know it was worth every bit of heartache and trouble to get home to him on his birthday.





Mommy would move heaven and earth for you.

and has...

Friday, February 17, 2006

pass the expresso and under eye concealer

hello from nashville, tn.
must be brief - big demo for customer this morning
thought i would get to play in town yesterday afternoon. had to take early flight.
no play - all work. still not done. don't tell my boss...
went to sleep at 9pm - dog dead beat tired. pulled pork bbq from corky's has narcotic effect on my body. couldn't sleep - tossed and turned. people next door had much more fun than i. creeps.
woke at 3am. back to the grind - i mean laptop. almost done with prep now.

nerves will set in soon. guy i am traveling with does not let me have coffee before demos - says i have enuf natural nervous energy. little does he know, i have a six pack of diet coke in my room. i am on #3 right now. ~evil laugh~

have a late flight home today. will get back to my own bed around midnight. then have kids on my own tomorrow as it is hubby's saturday to work. promised kids i'd take them to chuck e cheese in the morning - out of guilt for leaving them overnight (for work.) have to run through the grocery store AND walmart - with all three kids. (note to self - BUY WINE) family and friends over tomorrow night for son's birthday dinner.

so let's sum this up - i have all three screaming kids all by myself tomorrow - after no sleep for two days and must clean house, retain sanity and prepare for dinner party.

someone just shoot me now...

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

the odd couple

no, i'm not talking about me and the hubby.

year before last, shortly after i found out i was prego with #3, my two young daughters and i packed our bags and moved to Mississippi - in with my parents. not because of marital distress but so that our oldest daughter could attend a specialized speech program at the university of southern mississippi. at the time, there were no programs that met her needs for education AND speech therapy in the great state of texas. for an explanation of her challenges, click here.

so off we went - and it was a long, llllooooonnnnngggggg school year that year.

imagine moving back in with your parents. uh huh. ok.

now imagine moving back in with your parents with two small children. yep, that too.

finally, imagine moving back in with your parents, two small children and hormonal mood swings from hell because you are pregnant with your third child at the ripe age of 36!

now you kinda have the full picture - as long as i point out that hubby stayed here in texas to work, avoid me pregnant and to hold down the fort. he traveled to mississippi about twice a month to visit and calm me down.

and let me state for the record - MY PARENTS ARE SAINTS. i would never have put up with me and my prego, hormonal boil-the-bunny psycho bullsh*t. NEVER! i was a living, walking nightmare. TRUST me. i am not sugarcoating this. i am indebted to them for the rest of my life. and of course being the saints they are, they act like it was nothing. crazy people.

it was worth it. the program was fabulous and sam made measurable progress. a new pilot program was started at a private school here in dallas so we were able to move back home after that school year. THANK GOD!

but there were several things I learned and am thankful for from that school year...
1. i already mentioned - my parents are saints. my dad - every day, faithfully, drove sam to and from school. 45 minutes one way. he had a horrible time understanding her speech on those rides. it frustrated him. it frustrated her. but they stuck it out and forged a strong bond between granddaddy and granddaughter.

2. my grandmother died that year - while we were home. and since i was local, i got to spend more time with her before she passed as well as be with her at the end.

3. i learned that my mother gets smarter as she gets older. or perhaps i recognize it more as i get older. it's prolly me. i'd be willing to bet she's been brilliant my whole life and i have been in denial.

4. i learned that it is never, ever a good idea for a 3 yr old and a 5 year old to share a bedroom.

5. i learned that sending a 3 yr old and a 5 yr old to their room does not prevent them from going outside to play. especially when there is a window available for them to crawl out of. i am not kidding.

6. i learned that you can not gain a single pound for 6 months in a pregnancy but when they open a new Krispy Kreme doughnuts across from your Dr's office, 20 pounds jumps out and attacks you. my son's first word was 'doughnut' - he was 3 hours old...

7. finally, i learned that a husband, bored to tears in the absence of his family, will do just about anything to entertain himself. i have proof.

while we were gone, hubby became attached to one of our chickens. the kids named her Mama Chicken. we call her Mama for short. he fed her by hand. she hung out in the garage with him when he worked. followed him around the farm. by the time we moved back home, he had this chicken convinced she was a cat. much to my amazement, she let the girls pick her up and tote her around like a cat. they even put her in their swimming pool with them - before i could intervene - and while she did not enjoy it in the least, she did not scratch their little eyes out.

so now, Moma is the only chicken we have left now. she pretty much lives on the back porch. with our real cats. sometimes she sits at the kitchen window and watches us go about our lives. which is fine - unless i am cooking chicken and then i can't look her in the eye.

and we do feed her chicken food. regularly. but i noticed the strangest thing the other day. had to grab my camera. bloggie love and all...

Happy Valentine's Day folks!

from Moma and me........

Friday, February 10, 2006

LUUUUKE ~ raspy exhale ~ I Am Your Conductor

so i am a star wars fan. i was 10 years old in 1978 when the first movie was released. that's 28 years of my life - a fan of luke skywalker, han solo, princess leia, et al.

i am also a fan of composer John Williams. he did the scores for star wars (of course), superman, the indiana jones movies, schindler's list, close encounters and tons more. we played a few of his pieces when i was in high school concert band and that just solidified my connection to his work.

so for an early valentine present, my husband surprised - well tried to surprise - me with tickets to the Dallas Symphony Orchestra's presentation of The Star Wars Concert. and i say tried to surprise me because they mailed the tickets to the house - when they were supposed to be Will Call at the door. and then he begged me not to look it up on-line - what the program would be - so i didn't. (seriously, i didn't peek even once.) but while waiting at his house last night - before leaving, his dad asked me if we are going to see star wars with hubby's brother or not.

ah ha! so it IS john williams we are going to enjoy!

and it was really cool. the actor, Anthony Daniels - he played the droid C-3PO - was the narrator for the evening. when he came on stage in a gold lame jacket shuffling in a C-3PO-ish manner, i liked him immediately. he was hugely entertaining and added so much to the overall experience. at one point, his wireless mike went out. the consummate professional, he reached for the back up mike, explained to us - the audience - the dark side was at work all around us. he then explained how he would have to start over at the beginning and proceeded to use a Jedi mind trick on us by telling us "you won't remember any of this. you will not remember the technical difficulty." the audience roared our approval. he continued to keep us on the edge of our seats.

and every time his script would mention C-3PO, he would always over indulge in self aggrandizement - much to the conductor's faux protests. by the end of the evening - to hear him tell it - C-3PO was the larger than life, handsome, intelligent unsung hero in all six films.

AND they had 'characters' from the films available to take pictures with. the kids were eating it up. i may have been the only grownup standing in line to have my pic made with a storm trooper. who cares? i knew it was for you guys. the things we do for bloggie love...

but back to real reason we were there - the music of John Williams. it felt like i was listening to the soundtrack of my childhood when they got to the music of the original three films. the dallas symphony orchestra nailed the performance. the acoustics in the myerson are flawless. we had fabulous seats - when i closed my eyes, i felt like i was inside the music.

there is a saying that goes something like this...

every fragment of a song holds a past memory for someone.

and i believe that to be true - even before last night. you can be listening to the radio and hear a song and instantly be transported to a place in your past - good or bad. all from the sound of music. that happened to me last night with amazing clarity.

i have written about my childhood sweetheart a few times on this blog. i realized last night i was 10 when i went on my first quasi-date. he would have been 11. an older man. we went to see star wars - the first one. at the small home-town theater. one screen. it always smelled like old tennis shoes and stale popcorn. my mom would give me $2. $1 to get in and $1 for popcorn and a coke. our baby sitters sat in the back of the theater. we sat about half way down. he was on my right.

last night when they played princess leia's theme, my husband took my hand. i was sucked through time and space - to my ten year old memory. that song was when my sweetheart took my right hand in his right hand and put his left arm around my shoulder. it was the first time in my life a boy had ever touched me romantically. i got butterflies the size of cows in my stomach. they stayed there for a week. i remember my hand sweating in his. up until then, i never even knew a hand could perspire...

here i am, 28 years later, a grown women with kids, a job, a husband and a mortgage. and i close my eyes, listen to the music and can feel a ten year old's heart beating in my chest. pounding. butterflies too. i can almost smell the stale popcorn ground into the carpet. my hand is sweating. again.

thank you honey, it was a wonderful valentine's gift.

thank you mr. williams - for the music and the memories

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

i'm not dead

nor have i been abducted by little green men - although the thought does sound appealing right now.

my work is crazy busy. going to nashville next week on an overnighter for work and have three major deadlines between now and then - in addition to prepping for the nashville trip.

my kids are crazy. recuperating from birthday party at chuck e cheese. another birthday next week. son turns two. and getting ready for Valentine parties. hallmark would be proud.

i am crazy - what's new?

miss you too.

working on a new blog entry - for two days now. soon, i promise.

just didn't want you to go 'round thinking i had fallen off the face of the earth.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

WOMAN on board: handle with care

i have wanted to write up the following for quite awhile and since there seems to be a lull in the action around here (knock on wood) i am going to seize the opportunity and run with it...

in an attempt to find an activity my hubby and i both enjoy we discovered 4-wheeling early last year. in a jeep. not an atv. i like being out in nature - the woods, rocks, hills, trees, streams. he likes the testosterony rush of pushing a vehicle to it's limits - up and over the rocks, hills and trees. we have joined a small select group of experienced, hugely entertaining 4-wheelers and have made several highly enjoyable trips with them.

one such trip was this past summer. Our BIG trip. to the 4-wheeler's mecca.

Moab, Utah.

This is our little group - Day 1.

From L to R (all names have been changed to protect the NOT SO INNOCENT) 'Ernie' in his Suzuki samurai (aka Sammy), then my hubby and his Jeep Wrangler (aka the Mall Jeep), next is 'Fred' and his custom-built from the ground up MONSTER Jeep (aka The Rockatron) and finally, 'Bert' in his beat up 1970-ish Ford Bronco that looks the worst and sounds the worst and performs better than all the other rigs in our group.

Fred's wife, 'Wilma' is my female partner in crime for this trip. We rode shotgun, sunned, shopped, cooked, bitched, shopped some more, mixed the cocktails, packed the lunches, made merry, got into trouble for making merry and just generally kept the boys in line...

Bert and Ernie - perhaps wisely - left their lovely wives at home.

so day 1, Gemini Bridges. Scenic but easy trail to start off the week.

after that, over to Metal Masher. not nearly as tough a trail as the name would imply.

day 1 ends without any serious damage or mishaps. we breath a collective sigh of relief. if you've ever been 4-wheeling, you know that a day on the trail is great - a day on the trail when no one breaks an axle, loses a belt, pops a tire or a plethora of other potential mechanical mishaps is nothing short of miraculous. but we had all week to go. we were pacing ourselves. or so i thought...

you should know - that for the most part - this moab trip was fred's 4-wheeling Dream Vaca. (i was just thrilled to get away from the house and kids for a few days - take me anywhere.) but fred had been talking about and planning this trip to moab for as long as i have known him. so fred has this library of moab books and maps. he was decidedly the 'moab expert' in our group and we all pretty much deferred to his judgment on what trails to do when. mistake #1.

another thing you should know - all the guys on this trip are 'car guys.' between the four of them, there ain't a vehicle made on this planet they couldn't strip down to bare metal and put back together - likely in better shape than it started. seriously - they are that good individually - so as a group, they are nothing less than phenom extrodinaire. and while it pains me to say this - b/c they will likely read this and none of them need the ego strokes - i want it to be clear i was not going into the big utah wilderness with a bunch of automotive buffoons.

so not only do they know how to fix our rigs should the need arise - three of our four drivers have yeeaarrrsss of 4-wheeling experience. our guys make it look easy. really easy. and it is not easy - i have seen enuf idiots to know that this activity takes skill and experience. so fred knows our rigs, our drivers and their combined abilities. again we (or I at least) deferred to his judgment on which trails our drivers were capable of navigating. mistake #2.

day 2. off to Pritchett Canyon. the name sounds innocuous enuf. i wasn't alarmed. didn't sound near as threatening as Helldorado or devil's Revenge or IM.GONNA.EAT.YOUR.RIG.FOR.LUNCH alley. i was calm. gonna be a great day. mistake #3

should have known it was not going to be a walk in the park when we got to the trail head, stopped to regroup and had to send someone back to the local Napa for parts to fix something or other mechanical - i can't remember what - not that i care or would even be able to spell it if i knew.

so Wilma and i got to hang out - in the four square inches of shade available to us and wait. and wait. we cut up. talked about the nekkid guy wilma and fred spied along the river as we were driving in. we made small talk with this red-faced sweaty family of four from the UK coming in from a bike ride. decided we were glad to be 4-wheeling instead of biking.

two hours later - ready to go. two hours. it was almost lunch time. kinda late to be starting off on a trail you've never been on. mistake #4

the canyon scenery was breathtaking. like nothing i have seen before. the trail was the most difficult i have ever wheeled. and i have a rule. when the obstacle is so great it presents a greater than 50% chance of mortality (mine), i get out and walk/hike/climb to the next flat ground. my three kids need at least one parent. and, since it's my rule - i get to determine when the 50% risk factor is met. i did a considerable amount of walking/hiking/climbing/huffing/puffing and cussing this day. more than once i confirmed with my darling husband (DH) that his life insurance is paid up.

i mean we would turn a corner and there would be rocks bigger than my van. some as big as a house. straight up. no bypass. i'm like "IN THE NAME OF ALL THAT IS SACRED AND HOLY - THERE AIN'T NO WAY YOU ARE GIT'N ME TO RIDE UP THAT THANG RAT THAR!" (the redneck 'dialect' really comes out when my physical safety is threatened.) and off i'd go - climbing and hiking again...

our boys (no longer 'guys') are so pleased with themselves and the progress they are making - they're like teething puppies in a room full of beef flavored chew toys.

and then the trail got harder. oh yes it did. and then KA-BOOM! yep, that's the exact sound a transfer case makes when it's been shot dead. the really bad news - the sound came from my ride. that just ain't cool. not cool at all.

we have no real idea how far in we are on the trail. are we almost to the end? we suspected we were. mistake #5.

since we assume we are near the end of the trail and our jeep can still kind of travel - though not well - we continue onward. yep, you guessed it, mistake #6.

our group had to wench and tow our jeep up and over every single pebble, crevice, ledge, mound of gravel, etc. which basically doubled our travel time to the end of the trail. and note - the trail did NOT get any easier after our rig blew. as luck would have it - it got more difficult. seriously.

so we make it to the top - but not before suffering another automotive casualty. Fred's Rockatron threw a belt. and in all our auto supplies - we had ONE belt. we knew it was a crap shoot with this one last belt because some pulley thingamajig was bent and putting undue stress on the replacement belt.

if there was another living creature in a 20 mile radius, they would've heard a audible exhale as we reached the trail end and started the literal downhill climb into the canyon. one jeep crippled. another limping. but we had made it. phew! all we had to do now was go through the canyon and back to the main road. in hindsight - idiot thoughts.

it's nearing twilight as we hit the actual canyon floor. smooth dusty roads for a bit. then we head out on the trail fred has designated as the exit. it starts easy and quickly becomes quite the challenge. we turn around. back to the smooth dusty roads. watch the sun set on the horizon. try a second trail. it turns into a hiking path. turn around. back to smooth dusty roads. other trail. dead end. turn around. yep, smooth and dusty...

and we had GPS. we had maps. we had FRED. the moab expert. i can't remember the exact details - am sure i will be reminded when the boys read this - but for some reason, they either didn't know how to work the GPS, the batteries were dead or didn't have coordinates on our map.

did i forget to mention that the replacement belt on fred's jeep had long ago been ripped to shreds. since we didn't have any pantyhose hanging around and i refused to sacrifice my bra, we were using the next best thing - shoestrings. nope, i'm not kidding. s h o e s t r i n g s.

so it's dark. as dark as i have ever seen it. we discuss splitting up. i protest. we are NOT splitting up. so instead we all load up in the two fully operational rigs. wilma and i hop in with ernie. fred and dh end up with bert in the bronco. we go 'round is circles a bit more. it gets darker. as if that's possible. we stop. the boys get together and strategize. wilma and i calmly discuss what we are going to eat for dinner when we get home. and who gets the shower first.

ernie returns. he tells us that they have one more trail to look at and if it doesn't get us out, we might - there is the possibility - albeit small - there is the possibility - that MAYBE we might camp out in the canyon over night and head out in the morning light. i recognize immediately that wilma and i are being handled. i also realize that the boys have already made up their minds - we are camping out. note: both husbands send ernie to break the news to the wives.

but i'm thinking "cool! adventure! real life grownup adventure that doesn't involve a trip to the er with a sick child!" how often does that happen?

ernie continues to handle us. wilma and i play along. he tells us how he has a two man tent and IF we have to stay over night, us girls can have the tent. and IF we have to stay over night -the boys will build us a fire, circle the rigs and take shifts sleeping through the night. that all the cb's are tuned to the emergency channel - just in case. everything's going to be just fine. yeah, right. w.h.a.t.e.v.e.r.

i think it's all pretty exciting - but dutifully assume the role of the weaker sex. i ain't stupid - i want that d*mn tent...

i'm not worried. the kid in me is saying, "COOL! Camp-out!" the teenager in me is saying "Dang! why didn't i pack the beer?!" the mother in me reminds myself to check with everyone in our group when we set up camp to make sure no one has any medical conditions or will die if they don't take meds in 24 hours. the mother in me is just no fun sometimes...

so yeah, we camped in pritchett canyon overnight. wilma and i got the tent. fred even took the seat covers out of his rig so we wouldn't have to sleep directly on the hard, lumpy ground. they lit a fire and kept it going for us all night. they told us it was "nothing" when we heard some creature howling in the not too distant dark. they - the boys - froze their tail-ends off in the cold wind - cause we didn't have sleeping bags, jackets, blankets or any clothing other than what we had on our backs. i had little sympathy for them at the time. even less now.

first light in pritchett canyon, we were up.

it was decided the best thing to do was to go out the way we came in. and that sounds logical. truly it does. 'cept that we barely got in to begin with. and going back - half of our rigs were virtually disabled. but we did it. had to stop every five minutes to either sacrifice another shoe string for the Rockatron or charge the battery. you could smell the testosterone all the way back - or maybe that was body odor from being on the trail 24+ hours. don't know - don't care.

we made it back to the trail head. it's also a camp site. luckily - empty of campers. each hookup site had a water spigot. we lined up down the path - all six of us - each at a spigot and soaked ourselves. my first and last wet t-shirt contest and the boys were too exhausted to even appreciate it...

our guys and their rigs at the end of the adventure...

so fred is planning a 4-wheeling trip to North Carolina later this year. he is telling me and wilma about this spa nearby - how he and hubby will pay for us to go for the entire day. the full treatment. and the shopping - there is a great shopping area right up the road. and dinner on the lake. privately catered.

oh my, i fear we are being 'handled' again. i'm gonna go with it. i LOVE spas, shopping and catered meals...