Saturday, July 31, 2010

Paula Deen is not the devil

We're in line at Walmart and I hear the kid chuckle. I know it's because there's a Paula Deen magazine close by. Our most recent conversation went like this:

"Daddy says Paula Deen is the devil."

Ha. Ha.

"Paula Deen is not the devil," I explain.

"Well, she looks creepy. Look at those eyes."

"You mean her crystal blue eyes that look like they'd give you the shirt off her back if you needed it? Those blue eyes that have had their share of sadness and now reflect the joy of successful business and a fulfilling personal life?"

Okay. I admit that's a little deep for a 7 year old. She somehow made her eyes look blank, then flashed a wide toothy smile that can best be described as a :D in keyboard language.

"That's my Paula Deen face," she said.


So in the car on the way home, I explain to Sydney that Paula Deen had a rough time many years ago. She suffered from a disorder known as agoraphobia, the fear of getting out in public. It was probably hard for her to go to a parent-teacher conference or to a toy store.

And not that she could afford to go to a toy store. She was a single mother for a while and probably didn't have enough money to get luxuries like toys. That's when she started her first food business.

I glanced in the rear view mirror and noticed I was getting through. The no-money-for-toys bit always hits home with the kiddo. So I continued.

She made lunches to sell to people in businesses so they wouldn't have to leave their offices. But, remember, she couldn't make herself leave the house to go in public, so she sent her kids to sell the lunches for her. Eventually she asked a local restaurant if she could use their kitchen and they said yes. Over time her business grew and grew and so did her confidence. She was finally able to overcome her agoraphobia and has built a successful business that she and her whole family can enjoy.

"And now she has enough money?"

"Oh, yes. Now she's doing fine."

So that afternoon when Jim got home, Syd met him at the door. "Daddy, did you know that Paula Deen used to not have enough money for food and toys and she was afraid to go anywhere so she made her kids sell sandwiches. Now, she's famous and happy."

He looked at me and raised an eyebrow. He and Syd can both do the eyebrow thing. Then he looked at her and said, "Yes, honey. She's happy because she sold her soul to the devil in exchange for fame and fortune."

They both laughed maniacally. I give up.

Monday, July 26, 2010

What's in a name?

We don't get too creative with naming the creatures that show up in our yard. We do spend a little more time and effort on our indoor pets. We have two min pins, Roman Ross Pennington and Candy Alamolicious Pennington (she came from Alamo, Tennessee). We put some thought into those. But we don't exactly get out the baby name book for the squirrels and the cats and kittens that find our way into the yard.

Take, for instance, Tuesday. Tuesday is a cat that showed up one night as I came home from work. Guess what day of the week that occurred? We weren't really sure that she was a "she" until batch one of kittens came along.

The first batch of kittens resulted in one with siamese-esque markings -- Tip (due to the marks on its ears). The next was fluffy, so his name was ...Fluffy. And the gray kitty was aptly named Gray.

Batch two came along. Another siamesey kitten was named Bingo. The striped kitty was named Tiger. And the one that looked like its mother was named Sunday -- the day of the week on which he was discovered.

If we thought we could capture Tuesday and get her to the vet, there wouldn't have been another batch. However, she is a stray. She allows us to pick her up and take a few steps, but not very far. Her contact with us is limited. But she always brings her kittens to us.

Batch three brought another three kittens. Another one marked like a siamese was named Cupcake pretty much because we'd just made cupcakes to take to a school party. The first kitty we found that looked like Tuesday was named Monday, because we discovered her on that day. A kink in our system occurred Monday night, though, when a second kitty appeared that looked like Tuesday. So, we called it Nighty.

Nighty and Cupcake have been missing for a while. Monday is the only one left. But Monday has been renamed by Jim. And it's a name that really fits.

Whenever the cat catches a glimpse of us, it's mouth opens. We can hear it faintly from indoors. As soon as the door opens, you can hear him soooo loud.

So now we've call him Screaming John.

No offense to any of the Johns in the world. It's just the name that popped out and it stuck.

Screaming John screams constantly. He screams to be fed. He screams when he's fed. He screams to be petted. He screams when he is petted. He's certainly a vocal little fella and one who is finally appropriately named.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

No Tea for these Eyes

I started writing this blog for my daughter. She's only 7 now, but I'm an older mom and Alzheimer's runs in my mom's family.

Any way, since this blog is technically memories and notes for her I MUST write this advice for her:


I have bags and circles under my eyes that are just horrible due to a little heredity and a lot of allergy. My 25 yr reunion is coming up this weekend so on Sunday, I had a little down time and thought I'd try the tea bag remedy.

I'll admit that I went into the whole thing as a skeptic. My biggest fear was that I'd have tea-stained skin and would somehow have to tea-stain the rest of my body to match. I'm so pasty white this summer that I figure tea staining might actually be an asset. At least I'd have a little color.

I got a little color all right.

The tea bags were so icy that they were tough to keep on my face. But I managed somehow. And like I always do when I sit still for more than 5 minutes, I dozed off. I woke up in the recliner an hour later, certain that the puffy eyes were gone for good. I was a little concerned with the tingling sensation I felt around my cheeks, but the anticipation of getting to that mirror took my mind off the pain.

Then, the mirror.

That's where the color comes in. Never sleep for an hour with tea-bag-ice cubes on the tender area under your eye. You get contact freezer burn.

And with that comes big red patches that nicely draw attention to the dark circles and puffy bags.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Before treats came in a box

Sydney's really into "rollbacks."

She spies an end cap of Rice Krispie treats at Walmart the other day.

"Look! They're on rollback! Can we get 'em? Can we?"


As she put a box in the cart, I said, "You know, when I was a kid, we had to make our own Rice Krispie treats. You couldn't buy them already made.

Her big, brown eyes welled with tears. "You poor thing," she said.

I didn't laugh at her much as I wanted to.

Then, I realized I was sounding like my mother. I didn't even go into the fact that when I was a kid, Nabisco expected us to spread our own peanut butter on their Ritz crackers.

That might have been too much for her to handle.

Curly cords

I enjoy sharing music from my youth with Sydney. The pop music I listened to in high school isn't much different than the pop music she hears today. When I noticed she kept replaying "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" on our Wii "Just Dance" game, I knew it was my chance to enlighten my 7 year old by introducing her to the music video.

That's not all I had to introduce her to.

As I Googled the song title, I explained to Sydney that when I was in high school, when "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun" was brand new, we used to watch it on music videos. I explained they were short videos of the band performing the song. Lots of them were very creative. I found the video and pushed play.

"Will you start it again and go full screen?" That meant that she likes Cindy Lauper and somehow, at age 7, understands the magnitude of this song to my generation. Maybe, we were bonding...all due to this song.

Okay,I take motherhood and my responsibility to teach and share too seriously. Truthfully, she just likes the song. That's fine with me.

Then the video gets to the point where all the girls are calling each other and bopping their heads back and forth.

"What are those things?" she asked.

"What things?"

"Go back. The things they have in their hands."

I was confused. Surely she was seeing something I wasn't.

"The telephone?" I asked.

"What's a telephone?"

Nuh-uh. My kid didn't just ask me what a telephone is. Oops. Yes she did. Then I realized, she's only seen cordless phones in her lifetime.

"When we say 'phone,' it's short for telephone," I explained.

"But what's that?" I paused the video again and looked where she was pointing.

The curly cord.

So we had a lesson in phones, tele and otherwise.

"When I was a kid, my dad bought me a longer curly cord so I could move all over my room to talk on the phone. When I got a longer line to plug into my wall, I could even take my phone into other rooms," I said.

"And you couldn't just use your cell phone?"

"We didn't have cell phones back then. As a matter of fact, I remember where there was only one kind of phone you got from the phone company and it was either black or beige."

"Wow. The old days were lame. Can we watch that song movie again?"

Made me start thinking about all the times I went with my mom to our phone office to pay our bill. It was nice to be able to walk in to a local phone office and pay the bill for your black or beige phone. People you knew waited on you. They told you to have a nice day. While it wasn't an exciting day, it did teach me the concept of paying bills...and it was a nice experience.

Most of our stuff today is auto withdrawal or paid online. Other than the water bill, Sydney doesn't see me pay anything. We can't pay our gas, electric, or phone bills locally any more.

If you ask me, that's what's really lame.