Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It was a graveyard smash...

Thank you Bobby Boris Picket.

Halloween is here, and I'm going to be off to TFYO's "Fall Fling Party" at school today. You can't say Halloween at school anymore, because it could be offensive. Which is fine. But everyone is dressing up in costumes, and the room will be decorated with jack o'lanterns and cartoony monsters. Nope. Not Halloween at all.

Here are the cupcakes, with before and after decoration shots. TFYO helped with the sprinkles, can you tell?

I still need to carve our pumpkins. That is my job every year, and I love it. I love to toast the pumpkin seeds, too. Last year, I did half with just salt and olive oil, and half with Chinese Five Spice. This year, I might do some brown sugar-cayenne seeds.

I will post pictures through the day as we go. I'll have pictures of the jack o'lanterns, TFYO etc. She's going as a cat this year, which (witch?) made me happy because it's the easiest costume I've had to make thus far.

Happy Halloween!

I found this video while searching for "Monster Mash" on YouTube. It's very clever and has good editing, too, filled with bits of old campy movies. It also includes clips from one of my fave Mel Brooks films, too. See if you can catch it. And of course, it's got the song. Props to someone named soulrocket for their work.

Picture update!!

Here are some pictures from this afternoon and this evening. Obviously I'm not going to post pictures of TFYO's classmates, since I don't have their parents permission. But I saw everything from a dragon, to Batman, to three Spidermans, and a couple of princesses for good measure. My daughter was the only non-gender specific character, and that made me very happy.

And some pictures from tonight, yes I did her make-up:

And yes, I carved these pumpkins. I'm the only person in my family with no artistic talent. At least, not visual arts.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

How's about cooking somethin' up with me?

Good heavens, if I'd known death would have driven you all away...

With thanks to Hank Williams, Sr., who is also dead.

My poor husband doesn't know what to do with me.

I have a problem.

I can't stop baking.

That's right. The last few weeks, I've been very busy in the kitchen. Ray says I'm nesting, and I'm inclined to agree. During my last pregnancy, I stuck mostly to cookies. This time, I seem to be branching out.

It started with cake. The one to the left. I suddenly got the urge to bake one. It turned out to be a chocolate fudge layer cake, with raspberry filling, covered with cream cheese frosting. And I only ate one piece. Once I got done baking it, I didn't want to eat it anymore. Ray was okay with that, he ate most of it.

From there, I moved on to cookies. Chocolate chip, although I think I may do some oatmeal raisin next week.

We've also made banana bread (just to use up the bananas, I swear!), and brownies. Today, I'm baking cupcakes for the TFYO's Halloween party tomorrow. They'll be white cake swirled with black and orange, topped with little black and orange sprinkles, and non-pareil pumpkins.

I even went and got the stuff to bake a pumpkin pie, and we're still weeks away from Thanksgiving.

I'm out of control.

I think I may have an ulterior motive. I think my subconscious is trying to get my husband to gain weight with me. You see, I don't really eat much of what I make. I had only the tiniest piece of that cake, only one slice of the banana bread, and so far, only one brownie out of that whole pan. Maybe I secretly want Ray to get as big as I'm going to be.

Hmmm. Perhaps I should start working on a fudge recipe.

Monday, October 29, 2007

They'll all come to see me in the shade of that old oak tree

In honour of Porter Wagoner (1927-2007). He will be missed.

While I was at work yesterday, surfing the web of course, I came across an interesting article about the new trend in "green" funerals. You can read it here.

Now, after reading through it, what struck me is that there's nothing really new about it at all. People were burying their dead this way for a long time before the funeral industry came about. Most Amish communities still lay their dead out in the parlor and bury them in plain pine boxes without embalming. And I like the idea. I mean, you'd need some dry ice for me if I kicked off in the summer, of course. And you couldn't leave me out for more than a couple of days. But then, I don't really want a bunch of people looking at me after I'm dead, anyhow.

Of course, laying me out in my own house would never work. The way things are here, if you laid me out horizontally on a couple of saw horses, I'd be covered with junk mail, a briefcase, a couple jackets and a cat or two within a day or so. You wouldn't be able to find me under all the clutter.

Ray's Paw-Paw (that's a Grandpa to all you northern folks, his maternal grandfather) actually worked as a mortician. But Ray's mom also notes that right up until Ray was a boy, there were still families who laid their dead out in their homes. She told me about going to viewings when she was a girl, and that it was the norm back then to keep your family members at home until a graveside service. Ray's Paw-Paw would often just help deliver the bodies home rather than to a funeral chapel.

I think I might like best to be cremated. Partly it's because it's cheap. The average funeral now runs something like ten thousand dollars. I figure if someone's going to spend that much on my death, it better be for a kick-ass party. Why spend all that money on a silk pillow and a vacuum-sealed casket that I'm not going to appreciate anyway? Nah, cremate me, scatter my ashes in a few different places that people might want to visit, and throw a huge party. The other reason I'd like to be cremated, is that I don't want anyone digging me up. Having been trained in archaeology, and walked down rows and rows of bones stored up in boxes for study, I've decided I really don't want to be on someone's shelf or used in a demonstration three hundred years from now in a classroom. That's just me.

Of course, there's a new method of body disposal that the Swedes have come up with. Apparently cremating people with certain kinds of dental fillings causes mercury emissions (who knew?). So, what they do here, is dip you in liquid nitrogen, and then shake the body until it crumbles into dust. Then they just sift out anything non-organic, like fillings or other prosthetics, using a magnetic field. Kind of ingenious really. But I don't have any fillings, so I'm not that worried about it.

I suppose I've never been really comfortable at traditional funerals, especially viewings. I know sometimes you need to say goodbye, but I think I'd rather remember someone as they were alive, rather than drained, painted and waxed in a box. I'd never even been to an open casket funeral until we moved to the US. My boyfriend at the time asked me to go with him to the viewing of his grandmother. It was an odd affair. A lot of time was spent discussing how nice it was that she was laid out in her favourite wig, but one of his aunts was not happy with how it was styled. So she got out a comb and a little bottle of hair spray and fixed it. Someone else had taken issue with her lipstick. It was the wrong shade. So, they got out a tube of their own and fixed it, right there. Then they all started talking about how this lovely woman wanted to be buried wearing pants. But how would we know? The bottom half of the casket was closed. Well, there was only one way to fix that. They popped open the casket to make sure she was wearing her favourite pair of black pants. Thankfully she was. I'm not sure what they would have done if she'd been there in her bloomers.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Friday Five

In-laws are coming through town today, (which always is a reason for smiles), have a cold, have to work a full shift and all weekend (which is a reason to be pissy). What better time than now to think about food that makes me happy?

Five Favourite Desserts

If I found out (some sort of deity forbid) that I was going to die in a couple of days, these are the desserts I would fill up on.

1. Red Velvet Cake

Ray and I had red velvet cake for our wedding cake, and yes that is a picture of it. It's best with cream cheese frosting (we had cream cheese filling in ours, since the cake was covered in fondant). We had a lovely reception in the restaurant. Did anyone talk about the marvelous crab cakes? Or the saffron rice? Nope. Everybody raved about the cake. Now some folks go a little crazy with the red food colouring. Originally, the red colour came from dutch process cocoa. I like a little food colouring, and a lot of cocoa in my cake.

2. Pie

There's just something wrong with you if you don't like pie. I'm specifically referring to fruit pies here, not cream pies, which are completely different. I personally favour apple, peach and pumpkin. Awesome with a good strong cup of coffee. I confess to sometimes eating leftover pie for breakfast. I love mine with whipped cream, not ice cream. I save the ice cream for...

3. Crisps

The easiest and cheapest of all desserts to make. It's a marvelous comfort food. I like mine with either apples or pears. Just take your fruit, peel, core and slice and toss it with some flour sugar and your choice of spices. I like cinnamon and a little allspice for apples, a little ginger and nutmeg for pears. Then the topping. All it is, is flour, brown sugar, butter and rolled oats cut together until it's crumbly. Sprinkle over the fruit and bake it. How easy is that? We ate this dessert a lot when I was a kid.

4. Tiramisu

I could easily live on tiramisu. I'd be hugely fat, but I would be so content in my marscarpone cheese, I probably wouldn't care. I like tiramisu when it's done right. Not with cake, but with ladyfingers. Not with mostly whipped cream, but marscarpone cheese. Not with instant coffee crystals, but espresso. Not deconstructed, and in a heap, but beautifully layered, and light, and just for me.

5. Brownies

I prefer mine a little cakey to fudgy, and I like mine with nuts. There's just something about the smell of a pan of brownies baking in the over that makes me swoon. Which is probably why my husband likes to make them often. Chocolate is an aphrodisiac, right? Obviously they are best still warm from the oven. Heaven.

Okay, that's my five, can't wait to see yours. Have a great weekend, y'all!

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Oh, the mother and child reunion... only a motion away. Thanks to Paul Simon.

So things are fine in baby-land, for those of you just dying to know. My appointment Tuesday was probably the quickest one I've ever had. I walked in, peed in the cup, checked my weight and BP, laid down on the table while they looked for the baby's heartbeat with the Doppler thingy, asked how I was feeling, and done.

Of course, finding the baby's heartbeat took a little doing. I had a Physician's Assistant in Training on Tuesday. She's training with my doctor, Dr. W, and that morning was doing the rounds with the nurse practitioner, Nurse C. I've said it before, Nurse C is awesome. She's no-nonsense, and very earthy. I love her.

Well, the PAIT started looking. And looking and looking and looking, until pretty much my whole abdomen was covered with that jelly stuff they put on you to make the Doppler wand move more easily.

"Um, trouble?" I asked.

"No, I know the baby's in there, I can see it, it just doesn't seem to want to hold still for me to catch the heartbeat. I'm catching echoes, but I want to make sure it's not your heartbeat I'm reading."

At that point Nurse C walked in. We both waited while the PAIT kept looking. I started to get a little nervous.

"All right!" said Nurse C, "My turn!" She pushed a lot harder with the wand than the PAIT. It took a couple of minutes, but there was the heartbeat, loud and clear and strong.

"There! Heartbeat in the 160's, just like we like it. Mobile little rascal," she said.

"Great, it's just like my first one: won't sit still, and pig-headed, too. Swell." Nurse C. looked at me with an eyebrow raised.

"You were worried, weren't you?"

And then I went on to explain the food poisoning, and the weight loss, and how my husband was worried. What I didn't tell her was I was worried. I've known so many people in the last year who've lost their pregnancies just before week 12. But of course, I put it off on Ray. Let him be the one to worry.

"It takes a lot to unseat a healthy pregnancy," she said. "And you're about as healthy as they come. Your blood pressure is great, your blood work was perfect, and whether you know it or not, you're glowing. You can tell your husband, that you are just fine and so is that baby."

So, I went to work all happy, and went home just as happy.

TFYO asked about my appointment that night, and I told her everything was fine.

"Where is the baby, mommy?"

"Well, honey, we've talked about this, the baby is growing right here in my tummy."

At that point she grabbed the front of my t-shirt and hauled it down to my navel.

"I don't see the baby! When can I see it!"

This isn't the first time she's tried to undress me, of course. When she was about three or so, she was sitting on my lap on the floor one evening, just before bed. She had her head on my chest.

"Mom, your chest sure is lumpy. Hey! What've you got down there!" I happened to be wearing a very loose shirt, and she yanked the front of it down. At that point, Ray, who had been standing behind the couch, fell to the floor and had to crawl from the room because he was laughing so hard.

"Well, those are breasts. Most grown-up women have them," I told her, trying not to die laughing my self. I pulled my shirt back up, but she took another peek.

"They sure are huge, Mommy."

I'm just so glad she's never done this in public. She has started saying goodbye to my belly at school every morning now. She seems to think my belly button is some sort of pre-natal intercom.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

But Georgia never had a sweeter peach...

That's not a song about a meme, but Mame. It's a stretch. I ripped it off from Willowtree.

A blog meme with no real rules. Amazing. I didn't think they existed. Usually, they have all these convoluted rules, where you have to tag three other people who were born during a full moon, but only on a Tuesday and not in fall. And then you have to answer questions like "If you were a candy, what kind would you be?" For the record, I'd be Mounds.

This is a meme about...well, me, I suppose. I was tagged by Rotten Correspondent, one of my oldest and dearest bloggy buddies. She was tagged by Laurie, who wrote a wonderful condensed version of the rules:

it's a very ancient meem, apparently, because it comes with no instructions; i guess they have been lost to the mists of time. i traced it back as far as i could, looking for guidance from the elves or druids or whoever it was who started the meem. i clicked from swearing mother to the person who meemed her--manic mother of five (va-voom! a hottie!), and from her i clicked back to self-employed mum (how did i get on this meem list, i wonder? i have no children), and from her blog i clicked back to my favorite autistic, and from her to identity crisis, but nowhere could i find instructions for this meem...and then a wizard appeared, in one of those tall pointy hats, and he pointed his long wand at me and he intoned, 'JUST MAKE IT UP, DAMMIT.'

So, I shall do that, too.

Although, I probably already told you all everything there is to know about me. For God's sake, I've even shared what colour underwear I sport most days!

So, here is a refresher course for those just joining:

  • I'm a Canadian living in the United States.

  • I moved to the States when I was fifteen.

  • It was hellish.

  • I still carry a Green Card because getting citizenship is a pain in the butt.

  • I moved to the South from Michigan in 1996.

  • I've been bouncing around the southeast ever since.

  • I married a guy from North Georgia, who has no southern accent

  • I met him at work, and he was my boss.

  • I work in radio, and have been a traffic reporter, a news anchor/reporter, a production assistant, a programming assistant, and a DJ (we call them "jocks").

  • I have one child, and one on the way.

  • I had two cats who travelled the country with me, who died last year.

  • I have two new cats, adopted over the summer, named Zoe and Chloe.

  • They are sisters.

  • My child has a mild form of Asperger's Syndrome, which is an autism spectrum disorder.

  • She is four, and is referred to here as The Four Year Old, or TFYO, because I'm too lazy to type that over and over.

  • I've known my best friend, Jill (aka Auntie Jill) since I was fourteen, and she's still my friend.

  • I'm terrified of spiders, tornadoes and fire, all of which I seem to run into with alarming frequency

  • I'm agnostic, having once been a Comparative Religion studies minor.

  • But I love the diversity that comes from everyone else's religion of choice.

  • Irises are my favourite flower and were in my wedding bouquet.

  • I speak very bad French.

  • But I cook really good French food.

  • When I'm pregnant, I get an urge to bake...there is a post on that coming soon.

I can't think of anything else, but if you have questions you want answered, or things you'd like to see me blog about, feel free to leave it in the comments section. A little inspiration, no matter how silly, is good for me.

Oh, and the reason why I blog? All of you, of course.

I'm not good in a crowd. I don't like talking to a lot of people face to face, which is why I work in radio. No one ever sees me, so I can talk all day, as long as I keep telling my self I'm only talking to one person. I suppose if I had a huge audience with lots of comments like Willowtree or Rotten Correspondent, I might go into hiding. I like the size of my blog just fine. I can write how I want, when I want, and the comments that I do get (with the exception of yesterday's Phil bashing) are generally ego-enhancing. Who wouldn't want that?

And of course, I've met some really interesting people all over the world. A British journalist living in France. A mom in England, who's married to a guy in a band, and who has also held all kinds of cool jobs. A nurse in Kansas who makes me laugh almost every day. A weird Canadian guy who writes random thoughts and writes code for a living. An Aussie who's coached baseball and who's one of the most lovable curmudgeons I know. A pagan who lives in South Carolina. A guy in California who's both a metal worker and a teacher (whether he knows it or not). A teacher from Indiana, who is both proud of her faith, and knows how to make science fun. Just to name a few.

Right, so I'm supposed to tag a few people. How about...Pixelpi over at Motes. And also...Bellevelma at Running with Books. Just because. And since there are not rules, you guys don't have to do this! Sweet!

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Off to the baby doctor

Not a song lyric, just a note.

I'm off to the OBGYN today first thing, so I'll try to post later after I make it home from work.


In the meantime, a musical interlude from a great album.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I'll stop reading my favorite books

Lyric courtesy of Alanis Morrisette, and my new favourite lyrics page.

I know you've all heard me talk about how TFYO loves to read. Matter of fact, you're probably sick of me talking about it, but that's just too bad.

We recently found out that she's reading on a fourth grade reading level, which is great, but it's also posing some problems for us that we just never anticipated.

It all started a few weeks ago. I was reading an article online about the millions of women left single in Britain after WWI. It was really a fascinating article about how at a time when women were expected to get married and produce children, some six million women never had that option because so many men of their generation had been killed or so horribly wounded that they couldn't (or wouldn't) marry.

The title of the article was "6 Million Virgins".

Little did I know, but TFYO had crept up behind me and was reading over my shoulder.

"6 Million Ver-gins," she said. "Mommy, what's a ver-gin?" She pronounced it with a hard "G" sound.

"Uh, well, um, this case it refers to a woman who has never gotten married."

"Has Auntie Jill ever been married?" I didn't like where this was going.

"No, she hasn't."

"Is she a ver-gin?"

"Um, it's pronounced 'virgin', and I think you should just forget about it for now."

Thankfully, she's still at an age where she will drop things if you distract her. But I can't wait for the next time Auntie Jill comes to visit. Hey girl, you've been warned.

I've also discovered that I have to hide some of my more... adult books. Not that I've got a collection of erotica or anything, just books that have cursing, sexual situations, violence. We recently got a copy of Ken Burns' The War, as a companion to the TV documentary he did. That book is filled with pictures and descriptions of violence that she's not ready for. But when she saw the book, she homed in on it like pigeon, and howled like a wounded animal when I took it from her.

One day I found her reading Bob Novak's biography "Prince of Darkness". Ray was supposed to be interviewing him, and had left a preview copy laying on the table. when I found TFYO, she was reading me all the captions from the pictures!

I knew when she was little we'd have to monitor her television watching, but I never dreamed I'd have to start putting the grown-up books on high shelves just yet. She's already decided my Harry Potter books are hers now, and she keeps asking when she can read them. When I tell her she needs to be a bit older, she says she'll wait until she's five.

I love this and I'm terrified by this.

Any advice?

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Five

Having spent the better part of yesterday getting a sunburn with sixteen four-year-olds, today's Friday Five will be both brief and appropriate.

Five Things I've Learned from Four-Year-Olds

1. Don't hold a grudge.

My daughter's reaction when someone hits her goes like this:

"Ouch, hey stop it!"

"I don't want to play with you anymore!"

"Oh, it's okay. I know you didn't really mean to bite me."

"Let's go play on the see-saw."

She gets over things quickly, and so do her classmates. And she seems happier for it.

2. Behold the power of Play-Doh.

It's true. Take a group of crabby, stressed out kids and give 'em a few cans of Play-Doh. Not only do they all shut up, they all relax, and do some wonderfully creative things. I think I need more Play-Doh in my life.

3. Naps can be good.

This does not apply to my daughter, because she never sleeps during the day. However, she does sit in the corner during nap time and read quietly. We all need quiet time during the day. It keeps us from getting too cranky.

4. Enjoy little things.

We spent three hours wandering around a "Native American Festival" with these kids. The didn't give a damn about the captive bison, the tee-pee, or the dancing. They wanted to pick up sticks, play in the dirt and go feed the ducks. Dirt is captivating. There's lots of interesting things in it. Sometimes life is less about the big show than it is about just playing in the sand.

5. Sometimes it's okay to rely on someone bigger than you when you're scared.

During an animal demonstration involving a very large snake and a caged bobcat, I had six of my daughter's classmates, plus her, all vying for space on my lap. Those that didn't fit on my lap, leaned on my shoulders, hugged me, or just grabbed a fistful of my shirt. Just that little bit of contact made them feel safer and better. It's okay to go hug someone else when you're not feeling strong.

Okay, that's it. Have a good weekend. I'm off in search of some aloe vera for my neck, and maybe grab a nap before I have to head off to work.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

"Give her a feather, she's a Cherokee"

Lyrics courtesy of Mary Dean who wrote the song for Cher.

Short post today as I have been, volunteered to be a parent chaperon for my daughter's field trip today. I wasn't originally going to go, but the school was unable to secure a bus for the class, and now parents and teachers will be driving the children for an hour to the Lake Mayer Indian Festival (sorry no link). Since I didn't want someone I didn't know driving my child, I opted to just do it myself.

So now I'm driving my child and two other kids. Ray is going to meet us there, since I have to be at work at 2 p.m. He gets the pleasure of driving the kids back to the school. Lucky for him, they'll probably all sleep on the way home.

Oh, and if anyone is wondering, the picture is of Iron Eyes Cody, the actor who portrayed the "Crying Indian" in that pollution PSA all those years ago. No, he wasn't Native American. He was a second generation Italian American, who just told everyone he was part Cherokee.

Friday Five tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

But I've seen it all in a small town...

Lyric courtesy of John Mellencamp.

I love living in the small-town south, because you just never know what you're going to find next.

For example, a herd of chihuahuas standing in the middle of the road.

I was on my way home from taking TFYO to school. She goes to school in "Historic Guyton", as opposed to "middle of nowhere Guyton", which is where I live. It's a very quaint little town, still has it's old water tower, and more churches than you can shake a stick at.

I was driving down Church Street, when I noticed the herd. I'm not really sure how many chihuahuas it takes to make a herd, but there were six standing in the road right in front of my car.

I stopped.

I honked the horn.

And then one of the little buggers barked at me and started biting my front tire.

Being the kind and conscientious person I am, I decided to put on my four-way flashers and get out to assist the dogs out of the road. That's when the black one, who was mostly grey from age, flopped over onto the road. I thought I'd killed him.

And that's when this sweet little old lady with a walker came out of the brick bungalow to my right and started calling for her dogs. Four of the six went running to her. The black one, who was thankfully not dead, kept laying in the road. And the one that was biting my tire, kept biting my tire.

"Oh, I'm so sorry about this! They don't usually run out in the street, and I'm just not strong enough to chase them down anymore," said the lady. I imagine she wasn't, as she was coming down from her porch on a walker.

"Oh, it's no problem," I replied, as casually as I could, with the other four chihuahuas deciding to come running back. At that moment, another car pulled up behind me.

"Y'all alright?" It was some guy in a pick up truck.

"Uh, yeah, just trying to corral some little dogs." So he got out and helped me herd the four back into this lady's house. I picked up the old dog and he crawled up to my shoulder, licking my ear. I then grabbed The Biter, and he immediately whimpered and went limp. I left my car running, and carted this lady's "babies" back into her house. As I was getting ready to leave, she hugged me.

"I just love living in my town,"she said. "The people in the south are always so friendly. Not like all those people from up north moving down here. They won't give you the time of day. Always speeding through here like they own the place."

I was going to tell her that I was from up north. I really was. But I was so touched that she thought I was from here, I just didn't have the heart to tell her. I did tell her she might want to think about a fence.

I went back outside, my car was still running, and nothing was gone.

Only in my town.


Oh, and I have picked up another award, two actually. These are from the delusionally delightful Jo Beaufoix.

Jo says on her blog:

The Community Blog Award celebrates people who reach out and makes the blogger
community a better one.

I'm honoured that she thinks that about me. I really am.

About the other award, Jo says she lurves me, but not in a rude way. I'm not entirely sure what that means, but I'll take it as a compliment.

What all of this really means, however, is that I need to have another awards presentation. I promise. I will. Really.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Hello My Ragtime Gal!

We are truly terrible people. Dare I say it, we may be shunned by some of our friends who belong to PETA.

We are murderers.

But it was an accident, swear! I had no idea. Really, I didn't.

Saturday evening, Ray and TFYO ran out to grab us some dinner, because we were all too tuckered from work and play to cook. Ray had a personal appearance that day, and TFYO went with him to the "Healthy Savannah Festival". She tried to hula hoop, but it's not going to happen until she grows some hips.

So, back they came with our food in boxes, there was much commotion with cats running every which way, and the front door was summarily slammed shut.

Later on, I was on the couch as we went through the bedtime ritual of TFYO begging for one more book before bed, when I noticed Zoe.

She was sitting by the front door looking up, but I couldn't quite see what she was looking at. Then I noticed there was something long and spindly sticking out of the door frame. Zoe seemed to want it very badly. I thought it was either a bit of leaf or pine straw mulch at first. Then I thought it might be part of a very large bug.

So, I called for Sir Ray, killer of Black Widow spiders, destroyer of ant colonies, bleacher of maggoty trash cans, and I told him to check it out. Because, of course, I am a coward.

He got close and looked.

"Is that a bug leg?" I asked. He peered a little closer. And then a horrible thought dawned on me.

"Oh, my god, is that... is that a FROG leg?"

Sir Ray gingerly opened the door, and peeked around at the door frame. The look on his face as he turned around told me everything I needed to know.

And then, even though he kind of looked like he wanted to throw up, he started to laugh. And I felt awful, and I told him he was awful for laughing. And then I started to laugh, too, because it was just terribly macabre.

"Well, it looks like it was pretty quick for him," Ray said, "He's very...flat." So, Ray went off to fetch a paper towel. And it took him five minutes to peel the poor little guy off of the door frame. And then for some inexplicable reason, Ray started to come back in the house with those flattened amphibian remains!

"What are you doing?" I screeched.

'Well, what do you want me to do with it?" he demanded.

"Take it outside, bury it, fling it to the buzzards, toss it in the trash can! I don't know, just don't bring it in here!"

So, Brave Sir Ray, killer of Black Widow Spiders, destroyer of ant colonies, and now, disposer of flat frogs, took it outside, and chucked it in the trash.

Thank goodness today is trash day.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Friday Five

Good heavens, is it Friday again? Already?

I spent a lot of time laying on the couch at the beginning of the week, and I spent quite a bit of time with the television. It reminded me a lot of when I was a kid and I'd be home sick from school, wrapped in blankets with the TV on. So, today's Friday Five is sort of inspired by that.

Five 80s Movies I Love

Okay, and I'm not talking about Chariots of Fire, or Gandhi or even Amadeus. Those are Oscar winning beauties, cinematic works of art. I'm talking about fluffy, cheesy movies that make you smile and cringe all at the same time. That kind of 80's movie.

1. Top Gun

It's the only movie I ever liked Tom Cruise in, and really, I liked Anthony Edwards in this more. Great action movie, nice eye candy, you could root for the good guys and feel okay about it. Goose dies, so there's some good crying, and there's a really steamy sex scene. Well, it was steamy to a twelve year old. And I still get shivers every time I hear "Take My Breath Away".

2. Pretty in Pink

This was one of the films I got to watch during my recovery. It's always been one of my favourite "brat pack" films. I was so in love with Ducky, and I could never understand how Andie liked Blaine better. He was so bland, and so easily influenced by his loser, rich friends. Ducky had character, and really great hair. And he loved Andie so much. Who wouldn't want to be loved that way? Annie Potts was also in this film, and her ever changing wardrobe was awesome.

3. Short Circuit

Steve Guttenberg was just everywhere in the 80's wasn't he? I, like millions of other girls, swooned over his everyman-ness. This was a great 80's film because it had it all: moderately hot girl (Ally Sheedy), cute nerdy science guy (Steve Guttenberg), bad racial stereotype ramped up for comedy (Fisher Stevens as an Indian???), and a talking machine. It was 80's bliss. It even spawned a catchy tune, which I had on cassette.

4. Johnny Dangerously

This film is on here because it was the first AA/A-14 film I ever got into without my parents. And I was only twelve. In Canada, Adult Accompaniment, meant that if you were under fourteen, they wouldn't let you in without a parent. Like PG-13 here in the states, but a little stricter. This would-be gangster movie is full of tasteless penis jokes and risque humour. Perfect for a twelve year old who thought she was pulling the wool over the establishment's eyes. It also features Michael Keaton, before he was Beetlejuice or Batman. The great Peter Boyle is in here as well.

5. The Breakfast Club

King of all Brat Pack films, directed by John Hughes, it's filled with enough teen angst to sink the Titanic, but still has a happy ending. Again, one of those perfect 80's films, covering every high school stereotype, to make sure that no matter who you were you could identify with someone. I wanted to Molly Ringwald, but I was more a cross between Ally Sheedy's character and Anthony Michael Hall.

Okay, so that's my five. If you weren't a child of the 1980's, feel free to substitute your decade of choice. But there are no serious films allowed here. Only good-time, fluffy, films.

As my friend Mya said last Friday, have a Bon Weekend, Y'all!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

It's Aliiiive!

Well, mostly.

I'm eating solid food ( I had my first real meal Tuesday night), and I can get up and move around without falling down. I lost a total of three pounds, and can you believe it? Just living on chicken broth, rice, Gatorade and Ensure, I managed to gain back a pound already. I apparently had some kind of food poisoning. Which is a shame because I think it came from one of my favourite restaurants. Yech.

At any rate, I am alive, and we all seem fine here.

I do need to acknowledge another award I got, again from Rotten Correspondent. I love her, but somehow I'm just going to have to design my own damn award so I can get around to giving her one.

RC thinks I'm Intellectually Stimulating. I'm not sure what this says about what she does in her spare time if she thinks I tickle her grey matter, but, hey, to each their own, and I get another shiny piece of stuff for my sidebar. Here is the award:

And here is the nice thing she said:
Jen has given me a real education of radio production, song lyrics and the healing properties of Duke's Mayonnaise. She also provides a fresh look at Life In The South, which I've been too close to to really appreciate.
Duke's is an elixir, just not when you have food poisoning. Remember that, kids.

Tomorrow, we will have a Friday Five, and then I need to get caught up on all your blogs, and the happenings around here, plus I've got some writing to do!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Lions and Tigers and Bears, Oh, My!

It was a horrible weekend. I've been sick. Really sick. Whoever coined the term morning sickness should be thrown up against a wall and shot. Then revived and shot again.

Sorry for not posting yesterday, and this post will be short, too.

I'm too busy sipping Gatorade, trying to stop this spinning in my head.

I lost two pounds over the weekend, which would normally have me jumping for joy. But of course, I'm supposed to be gaining weight, not losing it.

Yes, the doctor is giving me a prescription for Phenergan. I should have taken it when it was offered to me two weeks ago, but I thought I was tough. That's me. Tough as a bag of cotton balls.


So, if you don't hear from me or see me around for a couple of days, it's because I, indisposed. I promise to catch up as soon as I can keep my intestines inside of me.

Saturday, October 6, 2007

Baby Let's Play House

Sung by Elvis, written by Arthur Gunter. It's a Youtube clip. As you can see, as much as I like Arthur Gunter, there aren't a whole lot of lyrics, besides "baby".

Some housekeeping time!

Some of you who read here know that I belong to a new site Some of you, including Jo Beaufoix and The Rotten Correspondent, are also members there.

Right now it's just in the beta stages but it's going public in a big way tomorrow (Sunday).

It's purpose is just what the site name says: to create a buzz. About what? Well, about your blog. If you're just starting out small, and you're looking at your lonely Hit Counter and only your Mom is coming to visit you, sign up at Cre8buzz, and let other people see who you are and what you're writing!

Or maybe you got hundreds of hits everyday, but you're greedy. You want more. You want thirty comments a day to hundred. This is good for that, too.

Now, the link I have below to sign up for the beta today is for the Women category. However, I'd like to stress there are other categories you can join, including Art and Artists, Games, Religion, Politics, or pretty much whatever takes your fancy. You can visit whoever you want in whatever category you want. It's a social networking site for your blog.

Come on by and give it a shot. I can't wait to see what you avatar will be.

Also, I've received a couple of awards, and I've been remiss in thanking those people, who, while deluded, really are nice.

My first came from Willowtree, and it's even tasteful enough to put in my sidebar. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, go over to his blog at look at the Dingo Award. I love you , Willowtree, but I hope never to receive it. By the way, Willowtree is my blogging hero. I know his ego is big enough, and doesn't need help from me, but I love reading his posts. Even if half of them are videos of his dogs. This is the award he gave me:

It's actually not so strange that he gave me this award, as it is an award for giving him an award (see what I mean about the ego?). But he's also very talented in the graphics department, and it is a lovely award, so it is proudly displayed right at the top. I shall stop now before Willowtree's head explodes and I get a bill for the clean-up.

I also received an award from Rotten Correspondent, which seems to be getting to be a habit on her part. I would really just once love to give her an award. I think I gave her a thoughtful blogger award, once, maybe. But if she's going to keep piling these little gems of pixel joy on me, how can I refuse? I don't have quite as many readers as RC, but I always love it when she brings them with here. It's the best gift she good give me weak and fragile ego. This is the award she has given me:

An award she won herself, and certainly deserved it. It's an award for someone just starting to generate buzz among bloggers. I'm not sure if I qualify, but I do have someone picked out to receive it, and I will give it out with much fanfare later in the week, when I can't think of anything else to write *grin*

I'm off to work now, but please do take a moment to visit the sites mentioned here. You know, if you've got the time!

Friday, October 5, 2007

Friday Five

I've picked up a couple of awards, which you may have noticed in the sidebar. I promise to give them the proper fanfare they deserve, and that will happen tomorrow. Honestly. But my newspaper and a fresh mug of tea are waiting for me, so we're going to rush through the Friday Five.

Five Foods I Can't Live Without in My Kitchen

1. Tea

Gotta have it, especially since I'm not supposed to be drinking coffee right now. Yes, I know. Tea has caffeine, too, but not quite so much. And it's soothing. I can drink it before bed, and it doesn't keep me up. On top of that, I had a great-grandmother who was convinced that every sorrow in the world could be cured with a good cup of tea. I have many days when I think she's right. Oh, and that is not a box of tea purchased down here. My best friend, Jillian, carted that down from Canada for me.

2. Hot Sauce

Hot sauce is good on everything: eggs, hash browns, weak beef stew, greens, chicken potpie. I think it can improve on most foods (try chocolate brownies with just a hint of cayenne, so good1). Just ask any soldier about that little bottle of Tabasco in his MRE. If nothing else, hot sauce will kill the taste of anything you don't like.

3. Rice

I lived off rice after I first moved to Alabama. It's cheap, it's fortified with B-vitamins, and it's much better for you than Ramen noodles. Mix it with some frozen veg and hot sauce and it's almost a meal. It's also easy to cook, and tastes great with just butter and salt. Or maybe that's just me. Some of the best rice in America is grown in Arkansas, by the way.

4. Olive Oil

This is my good extra virgin I use for salads and stuff. But I use regular olive oil in everyday cooking, too. It's even a heart healthy fat. My mom started using olive oil long before it was fashionable to do so, and the Italians and Greeks have been using it forever. It's also really good for dry feet, too. Seriously.

5. Onions

I love onions. Milder than garlic, it still adds a great bite to most savory foods. They're great on sandwiches (okay, I admit to eating cheese and onion sandwiches, sue me!), add flavour to soups, stews, and just about everything else. I also just found out that they're a good source of vitamin C! How cool is that?

Okay, that's my five. This list really could have been longer, and I suppose it could be expanded to include non-food things, too. What five things in your kitchen can you not live without?

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Thanks for the memories...

So, today is a little party all about your worst OBGYN stories, being hosted by:

Brillig, over at Twas Brillig and Amy from The Butrfly Garden. The whole point being that we share our most horrific stories about the people who we need, but don't always get along with. Go over to their sites, and you can sign up if you wish to participate today. I'm a little late to the party, but I usually am.

Thankfully, I don't have too many horror stories about OBGYNs, but there is one guy who sticks out in my mind.

It was late in my last pregnancy, I was close to bursting, when I began to have a little spotting, and what I thought were contractions.

So, off to the hospital we go for a quick check. My OBGYN, a lovely lady, said to just let the doctor on call do the check-up, and if I needed her, she was only a phone call away.

The doctor on call that day looked like he was about a decade past retirement. Nice enough guy, southern drawl, white hair, but stooped over and shuffling. It never occurred to me at the time the stooping might be from bending over to peer inside various female cavities over the hundred years or so he seemed to be practicing.

There was very little fanfare...

"Okay girl, off with your pants!"
"Um, do I at least get one of those paper towels?"


"Do I at least get something to cover me up?"

"Why would you need that? It's not like I haven't seen the female anatomy before!"

He shouted. A lot. Mostly because he couldn't hear himself, I'm pretty sure. So, I hopped up on the table and the nurse gave me a weak smile, as if she really didn't want to be there, and handed me the giant paper towel to drape over my legs.

"Alright, now, young lady, I've been keeping this speculum in the freezer, just for you!" He let out a wheezy laugh. Apparently, I was supposed to find the idea of a frozen speculum amusing. Then I got a glimpse of it, and it was huge.

Girls, here is something I've learned. Speculums, like men, actually come in different sizes. So, if the one being inserted in you is uncomfortable to the point of shouting "Get that thing out of me!", you do have options. And you should ask.

At the time, though, I didn't have this handy piece of information. And I was not happy. Ray looked concerned at the contortions my face was going through.

"Um, is it supposed to hurt her this much?"

"Hurt? Why no, son, she's just uncomfortable! It's a woman thing. I don't think you'd understand."

It took forever, and I was starting to wonder if he was mining for precious metals underneath the sheet of paper.

And then I heard it.

It was faint at first, and I looked over at Ray to see if he heard it too. I was met with a look of puzzlement.

It was humming. I could hear humming. And it was the Bob Hope classic "Thanks for the Memories". It got louder, and louder, until finally Doctor Geriatric emerged from under the sheet in full blown song.

"Thaaaaaaanks for the memories!"

I knew then I'd have a memory to last forever.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Do the funky chicken...

With thanks to Rufus Thomas.

One of the things I like best about going to see Ray's family are the new stories I get to hear. Of course, I often get to hear the old ones repeated a few times, but it's always worth it to get new material.

Ray's sister, Ms. B, is a first year elementary teacher, and she had me in tears with some of the stories she was telling me about her students.

She teaches fourth grade, and she's ended up with most of the students that need extra help or a little intervention. Unfortunately, she doesn't get a para-professional to help her manage the class. She gets to do it all on her own, and I admire her fiercely for it. I also admire how she doesn't completely lose it when the bizarre happens, which appears to happen frequently.

Take for example, young Mr. J. He's a good kid, but he still has trouble writing his name, and he seems to go off on his own little tangents occasionally.

The other day, the kids were all working in groups, with Ms. B walking from table to table to supervise. It was then that she noticed Mr. J inching toward the door, holding his jacket balled up in his hands.

"Mr. J, where are you going without permission?"

"Um, I...well, I was going to the bathroom."

"May I ask why you are taking your jacket with you, since the bathroom is indoors?"

"Um, well, you see, I thought, mostly, you know, I might...get...cold?"

At this point, Ms. B, has walked over to Mr. J and taken his jacket, which is when something fell on the floor.

It was a rubber chicken.

Not a matchbox car, not an action figure, not a comic book. A rubber chicken.

Ms. B told him it would be confiscated if she saw it again.

Two days later, the kids were all working on their spelling. She set Mr. J to his list, and things seemed to be going fine. Until she looked over at Mr. J and noticed that the pencil was not in his hand, but clasped in the beak of the rubber chicken, and the chicken was doing the "writing".

As Ms. B was trying to talk to Mr. J about his latex poultry, Mr. J began making very quiet clucking sounds, and the rubber chicken started to peck at Ms. B's shoulder. I give her credit for not grabbing the thing and chucking it out the window. Although she did confess to having to step outside her class for a moment.

But this young lad's obsession with G. gallus doesn't end there.

The following week, the kids were working on math problems. Ms. B noticed that Mr J wasn't doing a whole lot of work.

"Mr. J, are you working on your math problems?

"Um, well, no."

"May I ask what you are working on?"

"My chicken."

And sure enough, instead of arithmetic, he had drawn a lovely chicken. Ms. B said it could have been a Rhode Island Red, but she doesn't know much about chickens.

Except that the rubber ones do bounce if you throw them against a wall.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Be it ever so humble...

Ahhh, it's good to be back home.

But I always like going to visit the in-laws. Firstly, it was nice to be in some drier air. Granted, they're in the middle of an ongoing drought in North Georgia, so it's kind of selfish of me to be revelling in it, but its still nice. Secondly, it's nice to have someone else make breakfast, and watch my child. Again, I know it's selfish, but it's nice to sit out on the porch reading a book, knowing that your child is safe inside, if a little over-indulged.

Whenever we go there, Ray and I always start asking ourselves if maybe we should move there to be closer to his family. To see his Nana more often, to spend more time with his parents, to have a baby sitter who wouldn't mind dropping by the house on a Saturday afternoon. We talk about the mountains, and the scenery, how great it looks in the fall.

And then I start looking at houses on-line, and marvel at the low house prices, and the giant lots, and I keep telling myself it's really a very short drive to Chattanooga.

And then I start perusing the job sites.

And then reality creeps in and reminds me that we'd probably already be living there if there were jobs to be had in our field. Oops.

Living in the Chattanooga area would put us closer to my family, too, but at the moment there's just no way to make it work.

When we moved in to this house, I told myself, "This is it." I didn't want to make another long distance move. I didn't want to uproot my child anymore.

But I have to say, if an offer came from a radio station up that way, I would be open to it.