This Is All I Gots

Biggy decided to get a jump on his New Year's Resolutions and clean out his closet today. Daisy thinks he's packing to go somewhere, hence the miserable expression.

Stella couldn't care less.

All the kids are gone, so no one's around for me to exploit except the dogs. Our dinner reservations aren't until 10 pm. Yaaaaaaaaaaaaaawn...........


Call Me 'Reverend Lady' For Short

My Peculiar Aristocratic Title is:
Entirely Miss Reverend Lady Tania Rochelle the Nimble of Kirkby Overblow
Get your Peculiar Aristocratic Title


Tagged By Debbie Millman


It's hard for me to think of five things I haven't mentioned before, so forgive me if I repeat myself:

1. When I was a kid, dreaming of my first pogo stick, I thought you could ride them everywhere--like a scooter.

2. The summer after fifth grade, I went to Camp Safety Patrol in Cordele, where I won the Bicycle Rodeo. When I received my award, I was wearing my favorite black and white checked smock top.

3. I was fifteen years old, standing in the band room at school, when I learned Elvis died.

4. I really do LOVE Tuna Helper.

5. Biggy and I met 11 years ago this February at the Star Bar. I was wearing my friend Kathy's black babydoll dress made of that thermal underwear material, with black tights and maryjane platforms, and a big pewter Mark Edge cross necklace that my friend Tracy had given me for Christmas. I lost the cross that night.


By The Way, I've Gotta Bone to Pick With Santa.

What I asked for:

What I got:

Gratuitous Family Shots

Here are some shots of Christmas Eve and Christmas morning. I was sick on the 25th, so Biggy caught the Santa events on video, but I wanted to include in the blog--just in case I get hit by that bus--how happy I was to have everyone there.

I'd also like to apologize to my grandmother, who was such a good sport when we all finished eating and cleared the table around her while she tried to finish her own dinner. Looking back on it, what was our rush? When I'm 80, everyone had better damn well sit with me if it takes all night.

Biggy shares his pie with Lo.

Yoda & Luke


Sadie & George

The East Cobb Geek Squad

Sadie hearts Lola.

Mamoo & Granny

Lo woke us around 7:30, and then she had to wait for her brother and sisters to join her on the stairs before the procession to Santaland. Poor Jack got a lot happier when he saw his PS3.

Lo's Santa stash. No sense even showing the others.


News Flash

This message from MF today, proving that she's just as big a baby as I am about comments.


Garey Scores Big Points

Christmas gift from Georgia's fella, someone who knows what really matters.

Chronicles Continued

Everyone has accused of making up the first bad-date story, so I hesitate to tell the next one, which tops it. But I'm going to, anyway, which means I'm skipping right over two other professor stories and a few miscellaneous tales of dud.

This too occurred while I was a UGA student in Athens. The man was a regular customer at the Gyro Wrap, where I waited tables. He was in his thirties, divorced. We went out for pizza a time or two, and he was nice enough. Then he made dinner for me one night at his little farmhouse in nearby Winterville, where I met his five-year-old son I didn't know he had. While Dad assembled the salads, the kid played twenty thousand questions with me, ending with, "Are you gonna spend the night?" (The answer was no.) After he put his son to bed, he sat me in front of the fireplace and read to me from T.S. Eliot. Now, you guys might think that would be my idea of a perfect time, but I was 19. On the inside, I was rolling my eyes and wishing up a cab. Really, I'm not sure I would like a man reading to me, even now.

That didn't stop me from letting him take me home to Atlanta the next weekend (I didn't have a car). The plan was, we'd go out and then he'd drop me at my mother's. Unfortunately, after several hours at Backstreet and the Limelight, I was rendered incapable of giving him directions, or even an address. I guess I passed out in his car.

When I woke up the next morning, I was in a strange bed, facing a sky-blue wall. I turned over and there he was, still sleeping. I looked down and was relieved to see I was still wearing my sweater and drawers. My jeans were folded on the dresser. I had to pee, so I ventured out in search of the bathroom. I walked into a den or living room, where a woman who looked to be in her thirties sat on the couch. She panned me up and down, taking in my bare legs and feet, no expression on her face. I told her I was looking for the toilet, and she pointed left. When I walked through again, an older couple had joined her. No one spoke as I hurried past on my way back to my pants.

Turns out, he had taken me to his ex-wife's parents' house. The woman on the couch had been his ex.


Dud Chronicles

So my little Mystery Date post yesterday got me thinking about my own history of bad dates. For someone who's been in a commited relationship or married for 24 of the 28 years since I had my first date, it is sad that I could have had so many rock-bottom experiences in that arena. Granted, I was complicit in most of these, not only in that I agreed to go out with the losers, but also in that I was predictably intoxicated, which was pretty much the only way I socialized with men at all from the time I was 16 until I quit that at 41.

In any case, I figured it might be fun to tell a few of the stories in the next couple a days and challenge you to top them on your own blogs. You know you want to.

I'm going to start with the professors.


Dr. Childs was was my history professor at UGA, a scraggly-bearded man you couldn't pin an accurate age on because he had the pinched face and growth-stunted body of one of those guys who started smoking when they were 11. You know the kind--their 28/30 Wranglers scrunch all the way up their slightly bowed legs. In any event, he would have been between 35 and 50, I guess. For reasons best left to a future blog (involving domestic violence, a restraining order, court), I missed the final exam for his class. When I went in to talk to him about it, to see about getting an Incomplete, etc., he kindly offered to let me take the test the next day. While I was busy feeling grateful and relieved, he asked me if I'd like to go to a party with him the coming weekend.

I said ok, duh.

The party was, oddly, mostly students my age (18-19), maybe the history club or something. I don't remember. But I do remember everyone being surprised to see him with me and him acting like we were "a couple." As usual, I consumed many strong beverages to survive the evening and woke up at his place the next day (fully clothed!). All I could think about was how fast I could get out of there politely, but he had already planned out our afternoon. He fixed me breakfast and asked me to go with him to look at apartments--said he was moving at the end of the month and would like to have a second opinion on the rentals.

Go with him I did, and by the time we looked at door #3, with him holding my hand like a million dollar bill, and me finding no escape route, I suggested the place was nicer than the other two, that maybe he would enjoy living there, what with the on-premises laundromat and the highway so convenient to the back yard. At that point, he asked if I would enjoy living in that same apartment, because, really, he was looking for a place for US to live.

Date over.

What We've All Been Waiting For

Yes, this is what Bianca looks like. But even better, Jennifer started her own blog today. Please show her some love.


Friday Nostalgia

We spent many a day playing this game on the carport.

Isn't every date a mystery date?


In The Car With Lo

Last night, coming home from guitar lessons:

Lo: Mom, I can go two hours without talking.

TR: Really?!

Lo: I'm not gonna do it tonight, though.


Just an Ordinary Woman

When I saw Debbie Millman's post today, it reminded me of this beautiful Sharon Olds poem.

The Death of Marilyn Monroe

The ambulance men touched her cold
body, lifted it, heavy as iron,
onto the stretcher, tried to close the
mouth, closed the eyes, tied the
arms to the sides, moved a caught
strand of hair, as if it mattered,
saw the shape of her breasts, flattened by
gravity, under the sheet
carried her, as if it were she,
down the steps.
These men were never the same. They went out
afterwards, as they always did,
for a drink or two, but they could not meet
each other's eyes.
Their lives took
a turn--one had nightmares, strange
pains, impotence, depression. One did not
like his work, his wife looked
different, his kids. Even death
seemed different to him--a place where she
would be waiting,
and one found himself standing at night
in the doorway to a room of sleep, listening to a
woman breathing, just an ordinary



In the upstairs hallway, Sadie (who was in town for a concert) and Lola.

Lo: Can I put my tongue in your nose?

Sadie: No.

Lo: C'mon, Sadie. I brushed my teeth.

History Repeats Itself

During Lo's b-day party on Saturday, I kept thinking how excessive it was. The moon jump was too large; there were too many kids, too many gifts. Too much much. I thought it would be funny to get out the old pictures of Jack's moon jump party from about 7 years ago to compare. I was pretty surprised to see there wasn't that much difference:




By The Way

During the birthday festivities, someone threw two large pizza boxes on top of the trash can (another pet peeve of mine), and when I removed them, this.


When The Force is Against You

So Saturday, Garey dropped by Lo's party to make more boyfriend points. While sitting on the deck, I overheard him and JackMan engaged in a deep and rather lengthy conversation about Star Wars--something about how Anakin Skywalker was digitally placed into episode blah blah...They were so excited. Finally, I said, "Wow, you guys really are nerds." Garey responded, "Well, at least we don't have a blog," a comment Jack readily--and laughingly--agreed with, and for which I warned they'd both be sorry.



Daisy and Stella seemed exhausted after Lo's birthday party today. But evidently it was all a ruse, just part of their elaborate scheme to make me think I'm going nuts. I've suspected for years, but now I have proof. I took these pics because I thought it was funny that both had fallen asleep on the fish pillows.

Then I went upstairs to take Lo and the post-party stragglers some popcorn. I swear I wasn't gone three minutes. When I came back down, this:


Friday Nostalgia

I was about seven when Soul Train aired in Atlanta. I couldn't let my father catch me watching.

Dear Santa,

No doubt you’ve been hard at work gathering the items on my Christmas list—the pink Honda Metropolitan, a small press anxious to publish my new book, plastic surgeries, trip to Europe…But I’ve been doing some thinking, and I’ve decided I need one thing more than any of those others.

All I want for Christmas is a maid, Santa, preferably a live-in. Better yet, make it a housekeeper/nanny/valet. And she can’t be just any old maid, either. We’re not so easy, my family. We’re loud—voices, guitars, drums, keyboard, karaoke machine. We’re messy and don’t have good manners.

There are the dogs to contend with—their preference for wet food in the morning, full bowls of dry all day. Stella's nails always need clipping and Daisy needs cortisone shots. Then there's the narcissistic parakeet, the gimp goldfish, and the special-needs turtle, with his heater that has to be checked and his artificial sunlight.

We have bad habits. My husband leaves his coat hangers on the towel rack in the bathroom, where they breed. I collect mismatched socks, stained t-shirts, and the Tic-Tacs from Jack’s jeans pockets into a laundry basket on top of the dryer, always meaning to deal with them later.

The kids leave ice cream cartons under the beds and scorched instant potatoes on the eye of the stove. There’s always some kind of weird mold growing around Stella’s crate, crawling across the carpet toward the heat vent. We have a hole in the kitchen ceiling and three-month-old chili in the fridge.

Yes, it will have to be an extraordinary someone who could live and work in our home. In order to ensure the best possible fit, she should possess the following credentials: She must be as plump and motherly as Aunt Bea, as detail-oriented as Mr. French, as resourceful as Hazel, as good with kids as Alice, as sassy as Florence, as tireless as Rosie, as laid-back as Tony Micelli, and as loyal as Tattoo.

Oh, and if she could fly like Mary Poppins, so much the better.

Thanks & Love,

Ps. I’ve been really good.


Running Into Old Friends

Before the concert last weekend, Biggy and I ate dinner at the trendy midtown restaurant Ecco. For this rare treat, my husband had bought me a cute little burgundy velvet strappy dress, which I wore with black boots (at his request). I'd had my hair trimmed and blown out straight and put it up in a cute loose chignon--if anyone still knows what that means.

I share the details of my attire so that you'll understand that when I ran into my old friend and hair stylist, whom I hadn't seen in about five years, I did not look like I do when I go to Publix wearing flannel pants and Greg's old Gators sweatshirt. No one wants to be seen with me in Publix. If I run into someone I know who's just come from Fat Camp for Ugly People, someone wearing sprung spandex shorts and sweating through their jock strap, they'll try their hardest to get away so's not to be seen with me. I understand this--respect it even. But this wasn't the case Saturday night.

As soon as we were seated in the dining room, I spotted him, presiding over a long table full of beautiful young hair designers--the kind who work at places with names like Keylime Pie and Halo rather than Wanda's Curl Up-n-Dye. The kind who have tasteful tattoos and beautiful hair that looks like a bowl of cherries in a certain light. You know. These were his employees or--as I'd later consider them--his minions.

The last time I'd seen him, he was about to move his salon to a new location. He was freshly divorced after a long marriage, deep into therapy to figure out his life, dating a sweet nurse he seemed to adore. He was successful already--owned a new Jag AND a Boxster--and still climbing. He was funny, though, down-to-earth, searching for greater meaning.

I'd married again, myself, reproduced as is my habit, and could no longer afford his swanky services. He understood this and kindly offered to make me his charity case. But I didn't want to take advantage. Besides, I knew that soon enough I wouldn't fit in. I was making the transition from Erno Laszlo to Cover Girl and figured I was better suited to The Parlour in the Kroger shopping strip. I’d enjoyed my days of complimentary chardonnay and aromatherapy. Now it was back to Tab from the vending machine in the corner.

We’d been more than stylist and client, he and I. We’d been friends from the time we met--when a mutual buddy recommended him to fix a hair disaster inflicted on me by a Marietta shop called Hair Pizazz. I'd left Pizazz in shock, to pick Georgia up from preschool. I knew it was bad, but when the three-year-old cried, “WHO DID THAT TO YOU?” as I eased up in the carpool line, I started making phone calls.

He was waiting at the door when I first pulled into the parking lot of his upscale salon. I got out of my Pathfinder wearing a baseball cap, checking to see if the coast was clear. I didn’t want anyone to see me. He and his receptionist waved me in like a Nascar pit crew and went to work as quickly. As he tenderly handled my pink scalp and added color back to hair that had been “highlighted” to complete transparency, he and I developed a rapport.

Within a few months, we were going to dinner after my appointments. We jogged together at the river. He helped me through the domestic war of my own divorce, and even when the stress and lack of sleep left me looking like Freddie Krueger on a bad day, he made sure my hair looked good.

After Greg and I were married and had traded in the Virginia-Highlands playground of his apartment for my East Cobb split level, I had no excuse to visit the old neighborhood, no reason to just drop in to say hi. So we fell out of touch, my jogging partner and I, both of our lives gaining momentum.

But I have this thing, see. I can take up where I left off. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since I’ve seen an old pal, I can instantly slip into the old rhythm and banter. When I grabbed the sleeve of his coat Saturday night, I expected him to say I needed more lipstick. I thought he might tell me a dirty joke. But all I can recall of the actual exchange was an absence of inflection in his voice, and that he used the word “fabulous” over and over, flatly stating it in response to everything I offered: “Do you remember my husband, Greg?” Fabulous to see you again…Business is fabulous…Life? Fabulous…He scanned the room, and it felt like Publix.

When it was over, Greg said, “I don’t remember his being English.”

“He’s NOT,” I snapped. “He’s from Philly.”

“Well, he was definitely speaking with a British accent.”

Thank God we ran into Pam and Eric at the concert! We hadn’t seen them in about five years either, but I got the impression that Pam might have swapped gum if I’d asked her to. And that’s the way it should be.

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Writer, teacher, student, mom.

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