Wrapped Up Like A Douche

I love to make fun of others for their mondegreens, especially Biggy. One memorable one I caught him singing was "That deaf, dumb, and black kid, sure plays a mean pinball." There was almost no convincing him it was 'blind.' Georgia's friend Mary Katherine thought the Stones' "Angie" was "I inject." Jack sang the Cranberries' "Linger" as "get it later" instead of "let it linger." (He also thought a sneeze required "Bleshu" until he was seven and that it was "lactose and tolerant" until about two minutes ago). I myself confused the usual song lyrics growing up but prided myself on having outgrown such things until recently. A couple of weeks ago, I was jogging, listening to a random mix on my Shuffle, when the old Aerosmith song came on, and I started singing along, "Sing women, sing for the years, sing for the laughter, sing for the tears,"--as I've sung it for--what--about thirty years. It was only as I paused to catch my breath for a moment, that I noted the actual words of the song.


Working at Home

Squatter's Rights

Daisy refuses to remove her fat arse from Fay's bed.

Boys Being Boys

So JackMan went camping by the Chattahoochee last Saturday with some others of the drumline, the older guys being kind enough to take a few of the younger for a night of faux-survival male bonding. Of course this is something I'd have never allowed the girls to do--go spend the night in the woods, unchaperoned. A terrible double standard, especially since the girls wouldn't have been searching every cabinet and drawer in the house for aerosol cans and matches to pack.

And I'd never have allowed Jack to go, either, if it weren't for Biggy constantly checking me, reminding me that if I had my way, Jack would be a Golden Girl. I wouldn't put any stock in this at all but for the fact that when Jack was three--and there was no male living in the house and I had no idea about such things--my friend Josie (who had brothers) happened to be walking down the hall and witnessed Jack "dabbing" with TP as he stood at the potty. She ran back to the kitchen horrified, asking where he'd learned that.

I told her I'd taught him--that I thought everyone did it--that no one wanted a pee spot on their pants--at which time she informed me that boys "shake it" instead. I'd made it a point never to watch a man pee (as I'm not a big fan of bodily fluids in general), so how was I to know? The point of this being that I leave these guy-things up to my husband, the Potato Gun King.

When I picked Jack up at the ringleader's house late Sunday morning, he looked like he'd been dragged behind a horse.

JackMan: We didn't go to sleep until 6 a.m. and got up at 10.

TR: What were you doing till 6 o'clock in the morning?!

JackMan: Well, we made a trip to WalMart and bought some towels and wire and diesel fuel--

TR: Whoa! Don't say anything else. I'm sorry I asked.


Family Dynamics

Stop barking, or I'll give you something to bark about!

A True Patriot

On the way to drop Lo off at Y Camp today, my youngest whined and cried about how she didn't want to go. Lola would prefer to lie on the couch and watch Spongebob all day (much like her brother).

Lo: I hate camp. It's the same as going to school.

TR: How's that? You don't have to sit and do math problems.

Lo: But we have to go for five days, just like school. And we have to start out every day with Flag.

TR: What does that last--like two minutes?

Lo: NO!! It's at least ten. We have to sing all these stupid songs.

TR: That's pretty rough.

Lo: But the worst part is when they take it down. All we do then is stare at it. We don't sing songs or anything. We just stare.


It's a Small World

This is my new favorite small-world story.

About ten years ago, I wrote the poem below:


Mother says a good thing about getting older
is you don’t have to shave as much, which must be
right up there with flossing at the table,
something she and her friends do after dinner,
their teeth now more important than decorum.
Mother tells me this like she expects me to get excited,
the way Georgia does when her dad calls,
because she can’t wait to spell “consolation” for him.
Apparently, turning fifty you acquire the desire
for wearable art. Gold lame’ moves into your closet,
gives birth to matching shoes. I yell at Mother
because she spills coffee on the stairs, a drop
on each step as if from an incontinent bladder,
and she always leaves the oven on.
You need to buy toilet paper, she counters, or The laundry’s
piling up
, or Why don’t you get a haircut?
Then she wriggles into something metallic,
takes off in a fog of White Linen
to eat wings with Judy and Judy. Never mind Sadie,
nine, embarrassed by my breathing,
because I sang in the car in front of her friends,
bawling face-down on the floor. I’m reading
the note from Mr. Stark that informs me she was
laughing during oral presentations. Sadie says
that Timmy Nummy said when he grows up
he’s going to invent a new motorcycle
and call it the Nummster, how could she not laugh,
asks me to wear pants, not a short skirt, to the conference.
Well, nobody wears pants in this family--
not since her father walked out in his Easy Riders.
Even five-year-old Jack prefers a pastel floral print
that twirls above his knees when he spins.
Jack, the sugar-dusted prize Y in a cracker-box of Xs,
never dreams of motorcycles, but might
one day design his sisters’ serial wedding gowns.
Oh, I can see myself now: rhinestone-studded
mother-of-the-bride’s dress, silver mules,
searching my handbag for floss, and Jack beside me
whispering, Did you turn the oven off?

Now, continuing the story. In 2003, when I won Snake Nation Press's book prize, I got a little money award, and I bought Biggy and myself each a kayak, which we used about three times because the kid at Dick's neglected to tell us they weren't intended for whitewater. Since my husband deplores any sport that involves physical endurance without great risk of bodily harm, they have mostly been collecting dust in the garage.

This past Saturday, Biggy had one of his infamous million-dollar yard sales, the kind that I inspire when I've cleaned out our closets and collected a few bags to take to Goodwill, and he says, "Hell no, I could get a dollar for those parachute pants."

Said kayaks were among the offerings. As I sat in a camping chair, cooing to Fay, a woman approached me to tell me how beautiful my puppy was (duh), and I mentioned that I'd gotten her to replace Georgia, who had just graduated and left home. She responded that she too had a recent Walton graduate, and told me her daughter's name. Then she said she'd called her son, who was coming to look at the kayaks. I can't tell you how excited I was to hear this.

Next thing, Son shows up and they buy both kayaks.

"So who was the son?" you ask.




Saturday Things You Might Not Know

Reading Perez Hilton this morning, I came across a photo of Jocelyn Wildenstein. I remember reading about her years ago, when she was just a fledgling freak. She's become quite accomplished in the interim. Do read about her. It will give you something to talk about at Mahjong.

(MAKE SURE you click on the youtube video at the bottom of the wikipedia entry.)


Sic Kip

Of all her chew toys, Fay likes him best.

One More, Right Where it Hurts: Your Friday Nostalgia

The 1976 film Lipstick is one of the worst movies ever made, and oh how I loved it when I was young (My own history and all). I refer to it all the time, but no one ever gets the reference. Now you will. By the way, the actor on the other end of the shotgun is Chris Sarandon, Susan's first hubby.

I must include the blurb from the guy who posted it on Youtube, seanarther, who sums it up so well:

"The shlockiest, most poorly-directed drama in the history of film. Supermodel Margeaux is raped by Mariel's music teacher and following a tasteless, very public trial during which Margeaux is victimized for a second time (endlessly), the guy gets off. He then decides to go after young Mariel and after raping her, Margeaux takes her bloody revenge by abruptly leaving a Francesco Scavullo photo shoot, grabbing a shotgun and blowing the dude away in a parking lot. She does all of this in a spectacular Dior gown. Unbelievably awesome."


More Mother-Daughter Moments

Yesterday morning, Georgia had an appointment at Peachtree Dermatology to check the little birthmark on her ankle that appeared to have changed slightly. She'd been home since Sunday and was heading back to her father's, so we scheduled it early to get her on the road. Monday night, she asked if I was going with her to the doctor. I had assumed that, her being 18 and all, she wouldn't want me there, so I had NOT planned to go. I realize now how stupid that was. Oh, I was going, all right. The question wasn't really a question anyway. "What if I have cancer?" she said, all annoyed, "Would you make me hear that by myself?"

Egads, that had ALSO not occurred to me, which isn't like me at all. When they first pulled the girl from my guts and whisked her away to work on her sub-par lungs, I just knew she was dead; when they put her on a heart monitor the first few weeks because they suspected tachycardia, I imagined the long list of transplant recipients we'd be stuck behind; when she had to have tubes put in her ears when she was eight, I researched schools for the deaf; and when, year before last, she had to have an MRI because one eye kept dilating more than the other, I had a near-nervous-breakdown--so sure was I that it was a tumor. This time, though, I didn't consider the possibilities. Chalk it up to my medication.

Or the new puppy.

I followed George to the Borghese building on Northside drive, planning to go straight to work after. I take Fay to school with me, you know, so I was pretty jammed up about having to leave her in the car in the parking garage (It was nice and cool--it wasn't that). I knew she'd be upset and cry the whole time, which was hard for me to bear. I put her in her carrier, locked the door and informed the garage monitor that the red Beetle over there had a tiny puppy in it that might whine a lot but not to let anyone NEAR my car--please, thank you.

Then George and I went in and sat in the lovely waiting room filled with Buckhead's Botoxed and Restylaned:

TR: Maybe I should go wait in the car with Fay until they take you back. You can call me when they do.

George: Nope.

TR: I know she's really nervous.

George: I'm nervous.

TR: Well, she's my little baby.

George: I'm your baby.

(They called her name and a pretty lady wearing pink scrubs and with a flawless complexion led us to an exam room. It wasn't long before Laurel, the PA, came in. She looked about 28 the first time I saw her a few years ago, and she looks younger each time. Georgia wasn't too thrilled to hear a 14-year-old tell her she needed to CUT OUT the spot. Suddenly, Georgia was 3. Everyone in the room was getting younger but me.)

George: You've GOT to be kidding. CUT IT OUT?

Laurel: It will only take a minute. You'll have one little stitch.

George: STITCH?

Laurel: We'll numb the area first.

George: And how will you do THAT?

TR: George, it's just a little shot. No big deal.

Laurel: I'm going to go get everything ready.

George: Don't expect me to be here when you get back.

TR (thinking about Fay in the car): C'mon, George. This is nothing. You want to see my C-section scar?

Laurel (thinking fast): We can put a numbing cream on the area first. Then you won't even feel the shot.

TR: Hey, y'all never did that for me!

George: (No words, glaring)

Laurel: We'll put the cream on, I'll see the next patient while it takes effect, and you can think about it.

TR: Um, there's not going to be any thinking about it. (My puppy's in the car.) Georgia, now, grow up. After this, you'll never have to worry about that birthmark again.

George: I like my birthmark.

TR: Feel your loss, embrace the pain, cry for a week, get on with your life.

(With that, Laurel and co. exited, leaving Georgia with a blob of gel on her ankle.)

George: I can't fucking believe this. I never imagined this would happen.

TR: What did you think they were going to do?

George: Tell me it was fine.

TR: You knew it wasn't fine. You're the one who noticed the change.

George: YOU KNEW! You knew they were going to do this, didn't you?

TR: No, I didn't! But I should have. It makes sense. (Remember, I hadn't thought about it at all.)

George: You're lying. You did know.

TR: Not so. Here, let me take your picture with my phone so I can blog about this.

George: I HATE YOU!

(Laurel and Pink enter before she has a chance to throttle me.)

Laurel (noting tears in Georgia's eyes): I have an idea. Let's go across the hall. We have a machine that blows ice-cold air, which will numb the area even more. Trust me--you won't feel anything.

(Now we have numbing cream and numbing air so she won't feel the numbing shot that keeps her from feeling the actual procedure. I'm taking notes for next time they need to cut on me.

I held my big ol' daughter so she couldn't see as Laurel used what looked like a miniature post hole digger to punch around the spot, then used a scalpel to slice it off, then gracefully stitched and knotted the wound. It was all pretty fascinating, but I wished she would stop being so artistic so I could get back to the car.)

Laurel: All done. See?

George: I think I'm going to throw up. (Looking at me) I still hate you.

TR: Let's go. Fay's waiting.



JackMan adores Fay--it's a mutual admiration society--but he doesn't like it when I leave the house and ask him to babysit her. I know she's safe with Jack, because my son is like Gladys Kravitz, Aunt Bea, and Richie Cunningham rolled into one--a nosey worrier with a guilt complex the size of Blueberry Hill. He's so much so, in fact, that watching Fay wears him out and he usually naps for two or three hours upon my return.

Yesterday, I was only gone for about 40 minutes, jogging in the neighborhood. When I got back, he handed the puppy over and dragged me to the desk where he'd assembled a small collection of random tiny objects--a gemstone, a couple of pebbles, a small plastic tube of unknown origin, a scrap of plastic wrap, and a hang-tag whatchamajig: "These," he said, "are all the things I had to pry out of her mouth while you were gone."

Then he kicked his shoes off, went into his room, and shut the door.


Have You Seen My Brain?

Today, in honor of Biggy Day, we went "to town" and had brunchupper at the American Roadhouse and then waddled out and headed to Fernbank for the Lizards and Snakes Alive exhibit. The reptiles were lovely, but every time I go to Fernbank I'm as disappointed as I remember from before. The re-creations of ecosystems, etc. are no more exciting than the diorama we made for Lo's school project. I'd rather stay home and watch Meercat Manor than see a stuffed raccoon mounted to an artificial tree. It all seems like a seriously glorified sideshow--without the fun of Lobster Boy or a two-headed cow.

Before we left, we browsed around in the gift shop, where Jack bought Brain Quest, one of those little decks of cards with about a thousand questions to make you the life of the party. This particular deck contained 850 questions "celebrating our history, people, and culture," for ages 9 and up, and Biggy and I fell all over each other in the car, trying to answer the questions first--or at least before Lola. We did ok with the first few: What does the DC stand for in Washington DC? ...Salsa, sushi, polka, pie: which one is both a food and a kind of music? But then the questions got tricky.

JackMan: Who said, “I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country”?

Biggy & TR (simultaneously): John Kennedy!

JackMan: No, Nathan Hale.

TR: Didn't he play the skipper on Gilligan's Island?

JackMan (ignoring me): Which U.S. president also served as Chief Justice of the Supreme Court?

TR: (Silence)

Biggy: (Silence)

JackMan: William H. Taft

TR: I'd have never gotten that.

Biggy: Nope.

TR: I wouldn't get it again tomorrow, too.

Happy Father's Day, Biggy


From the living room window,
I see my three-year-old Lola,
coming up the road on her father’s shoulders.
It’s late June, raining hard,
and she’s wearing Santa pajamas.
Only, she’s taken off the shirt,
and her skin’s a white flag
against the dark clouds that douse
her fiery curls. She’s wrapped
the shirt around his head
like a blindfold, and she steers
him--right, left, straight--
as he lurches one way, then another, arms
extended into this implausible world
of theirs, where I’d be welcome
if I knew the language, if
I weren’t dumbstruck—
stuck in this cool, far-flung
silence, while in some nameless city
my own father curses under an umbrella,
still trying to keep his wingtips dry.


Saturday Things You Might Not Know

About your dog's mani-pedi.

Angels Among Us

K.D. Lang sang Leonard Cohen's Hallelujah last night. I'd only heard Jeff Buckley's version and thought Buckley had written it until Lang introduced the song. This morning I youtubed it. No one can write like Cohen, but no one can sing like Lang. So here are both versions. Cohen's has a beautiful chorus of young voices behind him, an interesting contrast. Don't deny yourselves.

Baby's First Concert

Lyle at Chastain, yeah.

My first concert was Elvis at the Omni. I was twelve. We couldn't give Lo that, but this was pretty close. Atlanta's own Francine Reed was back-up-awesome, as usual. K.D Lang opened, and I regret we didn't get pictures of her. I'd never seen her live--was blown away.


Camera Phone Memories

Remember the At Work pic on Wednesday?

Well, here's Thursday...

and Friday...

Friday Nostalgia

Someone mentioned bundt cake the other day, which got me thinking about how you don't see them or hear much about them these days. Back in the 70's, when Pillsbury launched their line of Bundt cake mixes, the Bundt was ubiquitous, featured at every cake walk, PTA meeting, and Bridge game in the country (or maybe it was just the South?). If it was a really special occasion--say, a dance recital or a church lock-in--there'd be bundt cake with a tunnel of pudding in the center.

If you're interested in retro food, I found this site while doing research for today: Retro Recipe Challenge. I plan to spend a good portion of my weekend there.


When You're Happy to See a Good Ol' Boy

This morning, while I was on the home stretch of my jog--enjoying a little Ray LaMongtagne on my Shuffle, oblivious to pretty much everything around me--a pit bull came out of nowhere and lunged across the street at me. I screamed and covered my face just as a Dodge Ram pick-up, bigger than life, skidded up right in front of Cujo, scaring him back into the yard from whence he came. The guy at the wheel was wearing a straw cowboy hat and dark sunglasses. I had no doubt he had a shotgun behind the seat. He rolled his window down:

TR: Thank god you drove up.

GOB: I saw the whole thing. Pretty scary. I have little kids, so I don't appreciate folks letting their dogs run loose. You ok?

TR: I nodded and thanked him, keeping my eye on Killer.

And then he waited, and watched the dog, who was still drooling at me, until I was long out of sight, making me sorry for every bad thing I've ever said about men with trucks and belt buckles the size of license plates. If I saw him again, I'd buy him a six-pack of Bud.


The Worm Has Turned

Someone is tired of having her picture taken.


When you're helping put together a major presentation for the school president to deliver to about 500 designers from all over the globe, and it includes an image like this, you've just gotta love your job!



Biggy: Hey Jack, you wanna go with me to the dump?

JackMan: Can I drive?

Biggy: Yeah.

JackMan: OK--let me wash my hair real quick.


Saturday Things You Might Not Know

The "heads" side of the Nobel Peace Prize medal, no surprises:

But the "tails" side, representing "a group of three men forming a fraternal bond," is more dangly than one might expect:

First Days With Fay

Biggy doesn't like her at all.

Less room for Biggy

Mommy sandwich (Look closely--Stella's in her usual spot)

Pocket pup

It doesn't occur to her to go under things.

Makeshift snugli

In my lap:

Friday Nostalgia

Yeah, I know it's late. It's hard with the new baby and all.


Meet Fay Wray

Thanks Biggy!

Lonely Walk

Last night, I was out walking--not jogging, because Georgia, who hates cats and all their sleazy rituals, wasn't there to call me a pussy--and I noticed the usual tabbies and half-breeds were out in the warm evening, skulking through the grass, preening on the window sills. As always, when I came across the inevitable amorous couple, already "engaged," playing out their brief romance at the end of a driveway, I said very loudly, "Get a room."

But it just wasn't any fun without George.


Lunchtime Phone Conversation

Biggy: How many people under 35 do you think have tattoos today? I mean, percentage-wise.

TR: I dunno. It's not something I really think about.

Biggy: There's this girl jogging by the office who has a big one across her back and another on her leg. Other than that, she just looks like an ordinary girl. She could be Georgia.

TR: Hmmm...

Biggy: I have a feeling people are going to make a lot of money doing laser removals in about 20 years.

TR: Probably. Seems like there was something I needed to ask you before I go---Oh yeah, can I have a puppy?

Biggy: Why don't you just get a tattoo of a puppy. It would be the same thing, really. It would sit on you; you could take it everywhere you go.

TR: Why don't you get a tattoo of a wife?

Not Hers

When I let Stella out to pee, she goes straight to her labradoodle friend Hobart's house to see if he's left anything lying around.


The Treasure Mine that is the Internets

Today, while researching 'ganglion cyst' in order to determine whether the beebee-sized lump on the joint of my right thumb is that rather than the tumor I'm certain will require amputation of my entire arm (or, rather, armputation, as I like to say in protest to the use of 'cremains,' which I consider an appalling coinage), I came across this intriguing article in eMedicineHealth,
a real tearjerker entitled "Paltry Penis Perception Plagues Many Normal Men." Did you know about small-penis syndrome? Seems it's a genuine condition, when men with average-sized equipment have anxiety that they don't measure up. It's not to be confused with the condition that means such anxiety is warranted: micropenis.

Besides the fascinating statistics on size, the most interesting part of this piece was the last two paragraphs:

Similarly, the researchers note that plastic surgeons have been touting their ability to make a man's flaccid or erect penis larger. Again, they note, these techniques are unproven except for cases of true deformity. And they warn that serious complications may ensue.

Wylie and Eardley recommend that urologists take men's concerns seriously. If education and counseling doesn't do the trick, they advise psychotherapy for men whose obsession over penis size is interfering with their lives.

Aw, gosh--all those poor men out there feeling like vienna sausages in a world of kielbasa.

His Bike Didn't Fare Too Well Either

Biggy called from Sope Creek to ask if we had any peroxide.


Getting Real With Myself

The other day, I was unloading the dishwasher (how I spend most of my time at home), trying to find room for the assorted water glasses, coffee mugs, and ice cream bowls, when it occurred to me that an awful lot of space was taken up by stemware. Considering that I’ll have been sober 3 years in August, I started wondering why I keep those things around.

In my heart, though, I know the reason. I’ve always had this fantasy that I’d “entertain.” I imagine cars lined up along the curb and candlelight dinner parties on the deck. We’d play Ray LaMontagne and some would get a little tipsy and slow dance. I’d enjoy their buzz vicariously, enjoy the praise, “Oh, Tania, the frito pie is exquisite!”

But it’s time to smell the Sanka. I’d never invite anyone to my house that hasn’t seen me in my pajamas. You certainly don’t invite your boss or your daughter’s boyfriend’s parents over when you live like this:

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Writer, teacher, student, mom.

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