Best. T-shirt. Ever.

Courtesy of Minus-Five.

Let's Go Shopping!

Tagged Again

Tracie tagged me this time. The rules are self explanatory. Elaborate on the word(s) below.

Accent – A cross between Scarlett O'Hara and Roseanne.

I Don't Drink - anything with calories. Why would I want to drink my calories?

Chore I Hate – Unloading the dishwasher. I hate it once or twice a day.

Pets – Biggy, Sadie, Georgia, Jack, Lola, Daisy, Stella, Fay, Pepa, Timmy, and Roxy

Essential Electronic – I once disowned a friend for dropping my laptop.

Perfume/Cologne – classic retro: Chanel no. 5, White Shoulders, Shalimar

Gold or silver – The best of both worlds: white gold

Insomnia – My biggest fear

Job Title – Writer, Teacher, Moooooooooooommm!!!!

My Most Admired Trait – I can actually listen.

Kids – having them is like being pecked by chickens. (I read that on a sign once. Truest thing I ever heard.)

Religion – A good way to avoid God.

Siblings – one sister, in rock-n-roll heaven.

Time I wake up -6:30 a.m. I'd be a lot nicer if I could sleep till 7.

Unusual talent/skill – I can nurse a baby and buy groceries at the same time. Well, usetocould.

Vegetable I refuse to eat – I'd rather be chopped up and put in the guacamole myself than eat an onion.

Worst habit –stacking stuff into little piles and calling that 'cleaning up.'

X-rays – Child's play. Try having a mammogram.

My favorite meal – Pizza. No onions.

Let the tagging continue. I tag A/OK and Jennifer.


Bizarro Tania

Remember this episode of Seinfeld, The Bizarro Jerry, where Elaine meets a group of friends who are the polite version of the Seinfeld crew?

Well, on a recent Saturday morning, upon returning home from picking Jack up from a friend's house, I found myself in my own alternate universe:

**Turned out, the kids were my neighbors' niece and nephew. I still have no idea how they charmed my dogs.

Michael Vick

Maybe the thing I can't stand most in the world is when people are sorry as a last resort--when they do what they do, and lie and lie, and then do it some more--when they admit their misdeeds, confess to their crimes, only when there's no way out, when they've been caught and can't escape.

That's not sorry. It's damage control. Add a little Jesus for good measure.

Michael Vick says he was "immature." He "used poor judgment." Well, TP'ing your neighbor's house is "immature." Getting a blowjob from your secretary is "poor judgment" (unless you're married, in which case it's adultery).

Stronger words are in order here: criminal, sadistic, corrupt, monstrous, despicable.

Those are just a start.

Click here to see Michael Vick's definition of "immature." Warning: extremely graphic.


Hey, What's That Fay's Chewing On?!

The Power of Suggestion

Everyone knows I love to talk. And I especially enjoy hearing the intimate details of your lives that you might not share with your mothers. So tell me anything. Tell me everything.


Those of you over 35, spare me, please, the little aging-related gems whose mere suggestions seem to trigger my own physical degeneration.

Honestly. My friend Josie is the biggest culprit. When we were just days into thirty, she casually asked if I'd noticed my heels cracking, because hers were cracking and bleeding like her mom's. According to Josie, this was a normal part of leaving your twenties, and she was prepared to inform me all about pumices and foot creams.

My own heels were, until that very moment, as smooth as Bill Clinton. By the next morning, though, I could feel the thickening of skin, along with the tug and sting of the first crack. So when a couple of years later, Josie asked me if I was having trouble reading the small print on things like Tylenol bottles, I feared it would only be a matter of hours before I'd be shopping for DebSpecs, and it was true. Now I remind my friend to think before she speaks.

Unfortunately, it sounds rude to tell co-workers and newer friends to watch what they say regarding gray hair, irregularity, varicose veins, and liver spots. So I have Dianna to thank for the early-onset hot flashes, Claire for the skin tags, and Regenia for the sudden thickening of my middle that's making me feel like a soup can with legs.

Everyone, my mother included, needs to stop "preparing" me for what's to come (Thanks to Mamoo's observations about older men, I'm really looking forward to sex in my fifties--NOT). We don't talk to our young daughters about stretch marks, cystitis or vibrators until they already have them or feel the need to ask. I beg for the same courtesy; let me rock on in my blissful ignorance to discover these things in their natural course.

If I'm lucky, I'll be sixty before I get my first bunion.


Vote For Fay

Tracie has opened up voting for next Friday's rap request. Fay has her own guard dog. Michael Vick never will.

Saturday Things You Might Not Know

Add this to the list of diseases and conditions you pray you'll never get:

From www.medterms.com:

Alien hand syndrome: The feeling that one's hand is possessed by a force outside of ones control. The syndrome typically arises after trauma to the brain, after brain surgery or after a stroke or an infection of the brain. A person with the alien hand syndrome can feel sensation in the affected hand but thinks that the hand is not part of their body and that they have no control over its movement, that it belongs to an alien.

Different types of brain injuries cause different subtypes alien hand syndrome. For example, take an injury to the corpus callosum (the area of the brain which connects the two cerebral hemispheres, the two halves of the brain). Such an injury in a right-handed person can give rise to purposeful movements of the left hand, while injury to the brain's frontal lobe of the brain can trigger grasping and other purposeful movements in the dominant right hand. More complex hand movements such as unbuttoning or tearing of clothes are usually associated with brain tumors, aneurysms or strokes.

There is currently no treatment for alien hand. All a patient can do to control the problem is to keep the hand busy by having it hold an object.

Here is an interesting article about it.


Just For Fun

For seminar yesterday at school, we had Matt Smith, an Associate Creative Director for Tribal DDB. This was one of their projects:

Friday Nostalgia

This 1932 classic, Freaks, filled my childhood nights with 'mares.


West Cherry

George's move-in:
Where IS that Xanax?

That's her roomie's side, on the left. The company she ordered her loft from was supposed to have it assembled and ready before she arrived, but they sent an email saying the order got held up until next week. Now they'll have to build it while she's there. Big Mistake, Guys..

Group hug.

Biggy's trying not to look too happy that her dorm, West Mary, is called Chastity Castle.

Is that Christian Rock I hear?

Of course, Lo got swag.

Perhaps It's Time To Call Dr. Judy

I'm trying to cut myself some slack--what with all the emotional transitions that come with children leaving home--but this morning, when Fay started finding and eating all the rock candy Lo spilled on the bathroom floor and didn't clean up, and I shut the puppy out, at which time she began whimpering and clawing relentlessly at the bathroom door, I actually caught myself saying,

"I know you think you're entitled to be in here, but you're not..."


Two Down

Sadie left for Costa Rica on Saturday; Georgia left for college this morning. And, yes, I am a mess.

by Angela Shaw

They don’t wade in so much as they are taken.
Deep in the day, in the deep of the field,
every current in the grasses whispers hurry
hurry, every yellow spreads its perfume
like a rumor, impelling them further on.
It is the way of girls. It is the sway
of their dresses in the summer trance-
light, their bare calves already far-gone
in green. What songs will they follow?
Whatever the wood warbles, whatever storm
or harm the border promises, whatever
calm. Let them go. Let them go traceless
through the high grass and into the willow-
blur, traceless across the lean blue glint
of the river, to the long dark bodies
of the conifers, and over the welcoming
threshold of nightfall.


Thank God For Small Favors (0.5 mg)

Tomorrow, Georgia has to go back to the dermatologist to remove more of the area where her biopsy was. Turns out, she had some “atypical” cells-- something that could possibly turn bad in ten years, so they wanted to be safe and get it now. I’ve already had to cancel the procedure once, because George pussed out, and when I told her I’d rescheduled, she swore she was going to cancel it again.

I tried everything to change her mind. I guilted her, explaining how I’d have to spend the last dwindling days of my youthful middle age worrying about it constantly, how I’d be reminded every time I saw the letter C or ate a raisin. I warned her she could lose her leg, and reminded her she’s far too clumsy to jog with a prosthetic. No matter what I said, though, I got the same answer: NOT going.

When I finally gave up and called to say I was canceling again, she said very casually, “Yeah, I’m going.”

So today, I called the doctor’s office anyway:

TR: Hello. My daughter Georgia has a 10 o’clock appointment in the morning for minor surgery. I don’t know if y’all keep notes or anything, but Laurel can tell you that this girl is the biggest crybaby that ever had a freckle. This is the second time the surgery has been scheduled, and I’m only about six percent sure she’ll actually show up.

If she does show, it would be best not to keep her in the waiting room with the other patients and to make sure she’s in the most remote part of the building when they cut her—unless your rooms are sound proof. Also, I suggest removing all surgical instruments and syringes—especially syringes--from view until she’s safely tied down.

OR you guys could just prescribe some Xanax or Ativan, and save us all a lot of trouble.

Nurse Dottie: Oh, I don’t think you understand. This is a very minor procedure. We’ll numb the area and put a little ice on it; I promise, she won’t feel a thing.

TR: No, Ma’am, I don’t think you understand. This is a big girl, 18, who acts like a three-year-old at naptime. Can you imagine chasing and holding down a hundred-and-twenty-pound toddler? Go ask Laurel, the PA who worked on her before.

Nurse Dottie: Hold for just a moment, please.

(James Taylor)

(Botox commercial)

(Dionne Warwick)

Nurse Dottie: Ma’am?

TR: I'm here.

Nurse Dottie: We’ve called in Xanax. Have her take one tonight, another tablet two hours before arriving in the morning, and there’ll be a couple of extra if she’s still upset tomorrow afternoon.

TR: That's what I figured.

Getting Tracie Up To Speed

Dear Tracie,

These are my four children, L-R: Jack-15, Georgia-18, Lola-7, and Sadie (20 on the 27th) on the far right. The photo was taken this past April, in Costa Rica.



A Gift To Me

Tonight, Biggy and I were driving aimlessly, trying to decide which gastrointestinal distress we'd rather deal with--Moe's or Ted's, when I thought I'd run an idea by him:

TR: I was thinking about emailing Mr. Jackson at the middle school and asking if he has any students who'd like to be in band but can't afford an instrument. We could donate JackMan's starter drums and bells. Whaddaya think?

Biggy: What?! Charity begins at home, Sweetheart. I'm gonna put those suckers on Craigslist.

TR: I think we were asking $75 at the garage sale. We paid over $500 for them. We might as well give them away.

Biggy: The only way I'd donate something like that is if they put up a plaque in my honor. Or named a wing of the school after me.

Saturday Things You Might Not Know

John Robinson, the first online dating serial killer.

Let this be a warning, girls.


A Typical Conversation with my Husband

This morning, on his way to work, Biggy called to make sure I'd put Lo's homework in her bookbag. Then the conversation drifted to other mundane topics:

Biggy: Did you know your mom had to buy three window units because her central air is broken?

TR: Yeah, it's gonna cost around $4000 to replace it, so she's waiting until next year. Can you believe PeeWee's Playhouse was 20 years ago?

Biggy: Weird....NO, I'M NOT LETTING YOU IN, MUTHAFUKKA. Sonofabitch!!!! I HATE taxis.

TR: Yup, 1986...

Biggy: OH, NO YOU DIDN'T, DICKMEAT. UUUUGH!!!! That taxi just cut me off. One day, I'm going to get a big-ass piece o' shit truck, strap bumpers all around it, and just start going to town. Ooooh, I'm sorry, Officer, but he cut me off, and I couldn't stop...

TR: I think you need to join a support group.

Biggy: This Dave Matthews cd is awesome, listen. (Turns it up. He knows I can't stand Dave Matthews.)

TR: I've gotta go see what the dogs are barking at.


TR: Bye.

Friday Nostalgia

I used to set my alarm on Saturday mornings.


Biggy's Iron Fist

So yesterday evening, as I was in my room, gathering up my guitar and music to head to my lessons, I could hear this exchange going on down in the kitchen:

Lo: Dad, PLEASE!!! Take me to the sports store.

Biggy: Lola, you don't need a mouthguard. If you play softball, I'll get you one.

Lo: I'm not playing softball this year.

Biggy: Well, there you go. Like I said, you don't need a mouthguard. I need to go to Target; let's go there.

Lo: I don't want to go to Target. I NEED a mouthguard.

(When I was halfway out the front door, sneaking out so's not to get dragged into it, I heard)
Biggy: For the last time, I'm not getting you a mouth guard.

When I got home, Lo was already in bed, waiting for her kiss goodnight.


Rest in Peace

In Doggie Cage Fighting, There Are No Rules

They do their training underneath me while I drink my coffee in the morning. Note Daisy's awesome drag-'em-by-the-collar maneuver around 2:40. Skip to the last ten seconds to see it better executed.


By Request

Spence wanted me to write about my first time on the mountain bike, which I've already done. She also asked if I've considered getting a road bike or doing a triathlon. I used to have a road bike, when I was at school in Athens, where knocking off bikers isn't a sport. Here in Atlanta, you have to enjoy the competition of bike vs. SUV, and I do not. As I mentioned before, I ran a few marathons in my youth, so it follows that I thought about doing a triathlon.

I did, in fact, train for the one in Callaway Gardens. This was back in '83. I was running about 50 miles a week, riding my bike, and working out with weights. This, in addition to classes and the two or three restaurant jobs I always juggled. My weakness was swimming, since the only swimming I'd ever done was during Marco Polo. Oh, I could keep myself afloat; I could swim over to the poolside tiki bar, but I'd never swum for sport or exercise.

So I started going to Stegman, UGA's big athletic facility, in the evenings to swim laps. And I was pretty pleased with myself that from the get-go I could swim a mile with no problems. I set a goal to work up to a relaxed two miles and then start working on speed. I showed up at the same time every night, all by my lonely, did my laps, and went on my way, satisfied with my progress.

After a couple of weeks, I started noticing the other "regulars" at the pool. These included some members of the UGA swim team, of course, all shoulders and thighs, and their coach, a middle-aged man I'd catch pacing over me at the end of my lane, a man who apparently wanted to say something but couldn't.

I assumed he was impressed with my endurance. Maybe he wanted me on the team. He didn't have a lecherous look in his eye, so I didn't suspect he was like most of the thirty-to-sixty-year-old men I encountered in that candy store of a college town. Eventually, his expression changed from restraint to a combination of worried, frustrated, and slightly appalled. One night, he finally broke down:

"Hey, what are you doing?" he asked me.

"I'm training for a triathlon. I'm up to two miles." I was bragging, about to launch into my weekly regimen, etc., but he was on a roll.

"Well, you look like a tractor in the water," he said, "and I can't stand it anymore."

I was a tiny pillar of fitness. I weighed all of 104 and prided myself on being able to fit into a girls' 14 Speedo. Tractor?!

He offered, "Let me give you swimming lessons. It won't cost you anything. It will spare me the agony of watching you do what you're doing."

Wow. That really smarted. I mean, I didn't have many illusions about myself. I knew I had no coordination. I was clumsy--not cut out for tennis, or basketball, or golf. Which is why I chose sports like distance running and biking, where I relied more on strenth of will, my ability to hang in there. I figured it was the same with swimming--just do the distance. But here I was, offending someone with my lack of grace. I was suddenly sure everyone in the facility had been laughing at me all along, joking about buying me some floaties.

I met him for only one lesson. I felt like a four-year-old. I imagined everyone was watching us. The likelihood of my synchronizing my strokes, kicks, and breathing was the same as my sinking a three-pointer. He had taken all the fun out of my training. After, I thanked him, dried off, and went to change. I left my suit hanging in the locker room.

I never went back. I never did the triathlon. My kids always ask me why I won't get in the water.

Isn't that a sad story?


Oh Yeah, It Was Also Jack's First Day of School

This morning:

Georgia: Who's Jack's homeroom teacher?

TR: Um...I dunno.

George: If you were involved in his school work, you'd know these things.

TR: Who do you think printed out the Sparknotes this weekend for his summer reading?

First Day, Second Grade

September, The First Day Of School
by Howard Nemerov


My child and I hold hands on the way to school,
And when I leave him at the first-grade door
He cries a little but is brave; he does
Let go. My selfish tears remind me how
I cried before that door a life ago.
I may have had a hard time letting go.

Each fall the children must endure together
What every child also endures alone:
Learning the alphabet, the integers,
Three dozen bits and pieces of a stuff
So arbitrary, so peremptory,
That worlds invisible and visible

Bow down before it, as in Joseph's dream
The sheaves bowed down and then the stars bowed down
Before the dreaming of a little boy.
That dream got him such hatred of his brothers
As cost the greater part of life to mend,
And yet great kindness came of it in the end.


A school is where they grind the grain of thought,
And grind the children who must mind the thought.
It may be those two grindings are but one,
As from the alphabet come Shakespeare's Plays,
As from the integers comes Euler's Law,
As from the whole, inseperably, the lives,

The shrunken lives that have not been set free
By law or by poetic phantasy.
But may they be. My child has disappeared
Behind the schoolroom door. And should I live
To see his coming forth, a life away,
I know my hope, but do not know its form

Nor hope to know it. May the fathers he finds
Among his teachers have a care of him
More than his father could. How that will look
I do not know, I do not need to know.
Even our tears belong to ritual.
But may great kindness come of it in the end.


We Can Do Anything

For the past couple of years, since I first heard about it/saw it, I've been fascinated by parkour. Really, I'm fascinated by all extreme sports and what they say about us. They prove again and again that our limitations are all in our minds.




Yesterday, when I picked Lo up from camp, she was excited to show me the award she'd won. Only four dog tags per group were bestowed, honoring them for embodying the qualities of RESPECT, RESPONSIBILITY, CARING, and HONESTY.

I oohed and aahed over her prize, all the while wondering how in the world... I mean, seriously, the big joke around here is all the ways we have of identifying when the child is lying--how she pushes the inside of her cheek with her tongue or looks at our ears when she's talking to us.

Later, at home, I was in the kitchen, unloading the dishwasher as always, and she was watching cartoons in the sunroom, where I could hear but not see her, and this conversation took place:

TR: Hey, do you mind coming with me to run a few errands? [I know she's tired after being at camp all day, hence the special consideration.]

Lo: What kind of errands?

TR: I want to take Fay to PetSmart to get her nails clipped and then go to the bike store to exchange the shoes your dad bought me.

Lo: Weren't they a present?

TR: Yeah.

Lo: Why are you exchanging them?

TR: They don't fit.

Lo: So you're just going to get another size?

TR: No, the smaller size was too small and the larger size was too large, so I'm going to try on some different ones. But to tell you the truth, they're not the kind I wanted anyway. I want the kind that look more like hiking shoes--that I can walk around in.

Lo: Aren't you afraid that will hurt Dad's feelings?

TR: I don't think it will. Besides, he doesn't have to know that, since the ones he bought don't fit anyway. Just don't say anything.




Lo: Mom.

TR: What?

Lo: I was with Dad when he bought those shoes. I pretty much picked them out.

TR: [Suddenly feeling like crap] Well, Lo, I didn't know that. Did I just hurt your feelings?


TR: Lo?

Lo: Yeah, I wasn't really with him.

Saturday Things You Might Not Know

In keeping with this past week's main theme, and to keep Jennifer happy, I bring news of a product you might not have heard of:
You can thank me later.


Biggy vs. Fay

To retard his decrepitude, Biggy's chiropractor makes him lie flat on the floor for ten minutes every evening. It's supposed to help his back.

While Fishing For Fay

Lo: Mom, I've got something in my eye. It's been bothering me for about ten minutes--I keep having to squeeze it like this--

TR: Get your fingers away from your eye!

Lo: It hurts!

TR: Blink a lot and try to work up some tears to wash it out.

Lo: Go get Dad. Tell him to come in here and yell at me.

Friday Nostalgia

Back in '75, this page of the Sears catalog kept me and my 12 year-old-buddies fascinated for days. I don't remember how we found out about it--if one of us noticed it while perusing the men's underwear section, or if we overheard our parents talking, but we sure spent a lot of time trying to determine if it truly was what it appeared to be.


Another Case In Point

From George Bilgere's (one of my favorite poets) book, The Good Kiss,
Winner of the Akron Poetry Award
(through the Akron State University Press)


I step naked into the back yard
Under a full moon
And piss on the rich soil
At the edge of the flower bed,

Feeling both Whitmanesque and dog-like,
Mystical and silly.

When I was a kid my friends and I
Would pee together, crossing
Our yellow swords,
Seeing who could go longest and farthest.

And over the years
Three or four women have asked shyly
If they could watch
What might have seemed to them
The essential male act; brutish
And comic, complexly hydraulic,
Full of archaic territoriality,

The one act of the penis
Over which we have more control
Than they do.

Maybe that’s why,
When I walked home a little buzzed
From a Denver bar one winter night
With a girl I hardly knew
And desperately needing a convenient tree

She took me in her cold hand
And wrote her own name in the snow.

Phone Call From A Little Old Lady

Phone call from JackMan around noon:

JackMan: Hey Mom, who’s taking me to practice today?

TR: I am. What time do you need to be there?

JackMan: 6:00. You’re not going to bring Fay are you?

TR: I’m not even going to answer that.

JackMan: You know, I’m still at Tyler’s and I don’t have a way to get home. I can take a shower over here, though.

TR: So I just need to bring your drumsticks?

JackMan: Both bags of sticks. And a change of clothes.


JackMan: Bring a white T-shirt. Yeah, bring my YES t-shirt, the one with the tie-dyed YES on it.

TR: Why does it have to be white?

JackMan: Because it reflects sunlight. And grab a pair of my Docker’s shorts, but check to be sure they have a button. Don’t bring the ones without a button. And don’t forget socks and my running shoes. Sunscreen...bugspray...Band-Aids...

TR: All right, all right!

JackMan: I’ll call you again in a little while to remind you.

***Follow-up call, 4:58 pm:

TR: (answering cell phone) Yes, Jack?

JackMan: Are you on your way home?

TR: I'm turning into the neighborhood now.

JackMan: I need to be there a little early, since it takes a while to put the drumstick bags on.

TR: OK, I was just going to grab your stuff and come on over.

JackMan: Do you remember what to bring?

TR: Of course.

JackMan: What?

TR: What do you mean, What?

JackMan: Tell me what you're supposed to bring.

TR: You seriously want me to list it for you?

JackMan: Yup.

TR: Both bags of sticks, YES t-shirt, shorts with button, socks, shoes, sunscreen, bugspray--

JackMan: That's good.

TR: Band-Aids, Gold Bond powder, Geritol--

JackMan: Mom!

TR: moth balls, hair pins, Dentu-Creme...



Here's a Poll For Ya

I've wanted to write about this since last week, but I had to wait to get permission from the guy who shared the story with me. He was fine with it, as long as I wasn't naming any names. So I'm going to take some liberty with the details, something I NEVER do, of course, but know that the simple narrative line here is true, even if the setting, props, and costumes have been changed to protect the guilty.

All right, Guy went to Scranton--make that Newark--to visit some old friends. His very sweet wife couldn't go because she had volunteered to work at the Sisters of Mercy homeless shelter all weekend, but she blessed the trip. He and these friends were going to to hear John Fogerty, Wes Borland, and Sammy Hagar at an outdoor concert. They were drinking a little beer, needless to say, and by the time he dragged himself away from the music to hit the port-a-potty, that little bit felt like a keg sitting in his bladder.

As luck would have it, the lines for the johns were as long as Rainbow's guitar solo at the Viper Room. Everyone was suffering. After several minutes of wiggling and wishing, he noticed that folks were going in as couples, males and females together, like Noah's Ark. And many of the couples didn't seem to know each other at all. See, because each unit had both a urinal and a toilet, it was simply a matter of convenience to pair up, as they saw it. Necessity even.

So, this gal behind him, a blond in cut-off jeans and a halter top...no, a redhead wearing a yellow sundress...rather, a brunette in skinny jeans and a white linen shirt...(Does it matter?) asked him if he'd mind if she went in with him. She really needed to "go" and he'd sure be helping her out. She made him promise he wouldn't look, blah, blah, blah.

He consented to the plan.

Later that night, when he called his wife, he told her all about it, assuming she'd think it was as funny as he did.

He was wrong about that.

As Guy related all of this to me last week, I found myself stunned by his stupidity and said as much. I figured the only reason he went along with Toilet Girl was he'd had too much to drink. But when I offered that up, he confessed that he hadn't been drunk at all--that had his wife not shown him the error of his ways, he'd have done it again under similar circumstances. He truly didn't think there was anything wrong with being crammed ass-naked in a three-foot space with a woman not his spouse.

Well, I saved the story from Wednesday until Friday night, when Biggy and I went out for pizza. I knew it would be good for at least ten minutes of conversation, even if all Biggy did was feign shock and pretend to agree with me. My husband, however, wasn't even smart enough to do that. The only thing we agreed on was that Guy shouldn't have mentioned it to his wife, and our reasons for that were different. To my mind, Guy should have recognized his mistake, considered it a no harm/no foul, and resolved to use better judgment in all things forevermore. Then he should have bought her a tennis bracelet and taken the secret to his grave.

Biggy believes rubbing asses with a stranger in a closet in order to move the line is no biggy. He also believes there's no reason to bother your wife about it.

Won't you all weigh in?

What the Heck?!

That's the title of this image I stole from the site of Reuben Demanuele. You should check out his work.

So yesterday I had a record number of hits on my blog and yet only 4 comments--one of those from my mother. I'm wondering if my subjects bore you. If you're not inspired to say SOMETHING, even if it's only "I use toilet paper!" then I'm doing something wrong.

Today, I'm giving you an opportunity to suggest what you'd like for me to write about. Ask me a question. Throw out a topic. And if nothing, I'll see you again in a few days.


The Great Toilet Paper Conspiracy

When I was growing up, it was routine around our house to hear our father yelling from behind the bathroom door for Mom to bring him some toilet paper. My sister and I knew that whenever we saw our father head down the hall with the Marietta Daily Journal under his arm, we’d have about an hour before the shouting commenced. We’d finish watching whatever episode of Daktari or Flipper was on and then head over to Ricky Railey’s to help him hunt for snakes.

Often, our father would have to sit there, with nothing left to read but the Richway circular, while Mom drove over to Big Apple. And inevitably—eventually--she’d come back with a big roll of Scott tissue. For some reason, the self-righteous tirades she had to endure never prevented my mother from repeating the offense.

Interestingly enough, once my mom was divorced and living on her own, she never ran out of TP. She prided herself on it. She bought it in bulk at Sam’s, even though it was just her and her Schnauzer Jigs in the house. And years later, after my own divorce, when I bought Scott because it was on sale, my mother, who was living with me and the kids at the time, suggested I save that shit for sanding furniture and offered to pay for Charmin.

Having been raised to associate running out of toilet paper with passive aggression, I really try to keep plenty of tissue on hand. I’m better suited for pure aggression, anyway--for dumping an armload of dirt and mulch in the front seat of Biggy’s car, for instance. Besides, anything that requires my making a special trip to Publix is more likely to punish me than him.

One six-roll pack used to last this family two weeks—this was back when Jack ate prunes and Sadie stuffed her bra. And before Lola learned the fold-over. Suddenly, we’re going through a roll a day per bathroom, which means three rolls a day. There hasn’t been any surge in usage. We haven’t switched to whole grains. Each of us eats enough cheese to stop up a storm grate. So the only explanation I have is this: THEY are putting less paper on a roll. They’re also using fewer fibers per square and winding it looser. I can't keep up now.

It’s the same thing that happened to coffee about ten years ago. Rather than raising the price, they started putting 13 ounces in a can instead of a pound. Now, it comes in 12 ounce bags. Pretty soon, Maxwell House will come in a bag the size of a sachet, with a little star on the label that says,” Same price since 1962!”

It'll have a peel-off coupon for a roll of Scott tissue on the back.


And Then He Bit Her

Yeah, I know I'm terrible, but I'd already told her ten times that he'd probably had enough, and I was still holding the camera with the video feature...

Spousal Abuse

When Biggy informed me he'd signed me up for a women's mountain biking clinic this past Saturday at Blankets Creek, he failed to mention that it was an ADVANCED class. So I showed up on my cheapo North Face bike, wearing my Keen sandals and dorky mullet helmet, only to find myself surrounded by adventure racers riding Cannondale Lefties (um, like Biggy's bike), who were clad head to toe in Pearl Izumi. I felt like like Jane Hathaway in the secretarial pool.

So already at a self-esteem disadvantage, I had to tackle difficult obstacles, steep climbs, and treacherous descents in front of these gals. Oh, and while they were sucking water from their 80-dollar Camelbacks, I was stopping to unscrew the cap from my small bottle of Asanti crammed into the drink cage of my bike. This, for four hours in 100 degree weather.

The first thing we had to do was ride over a log about a foot in diameter. We were instructed to approach it slowly, crouch over the handlebars and then PICK UP on the front wheel. I tried it twice, and both times it was like hitting a brick wall. There were only three ladies of the twenty or so who actually accomplished this feat, despite the 500 years of experience among them.

Later, we attempted to climb a root-laden hill I couldn't have managed on foot. This little exercise was met with success by only about four of the riders and resulted in my almost breaking my ankle and splitting my heel open. I'm happy to report, however, that I did descend, without injury, the hill, which was actually like falling into a pit.

Alas, I didn't fare as well in the s-curve rock garden, even though it was one I've navigated before with no problem at all. There's just something about being watched...

By Saturday evening, I felt like I'd been in a car wreck. And not until then did I notice the drawer where Biggy keeps our life insurance policies was slighly ajar.

It looks smaller than it is:

rock garden:

These are just the bangs and bruises I can show you:


left inner thigh

right inner thigh



What Boys Dream About

Yesterday, I had to take Lo and her friend A to Party City in order to end the week-long campaign to buy her some hairspraypaint. I squeezed the errand in between having my emissions tested, picking Jack up from drumline practice, and getting myself to workso that I could legitimately demand the child hurry up. Otherwise, she'd have spent 45 minutes in the Mardi Gras aisle before moving on to Luaus.

Back in the car, we were sitting at the red light across from where yet another strip mall is being constructed, when this exchange took place:

JackMan: I can't wait till that Target is finished.

TR: Me too.

JackMan: By then, I'll probably have my license.

TR: That's what you're looking forward to doing when you get your driver's license--going to the new Target?

JackMan: It's a Super Target.

Friday Nostalgia

Nazareth, 1976. Still true.


Dear Anne, I Beg to Differ

This morning, I was looking at Anne's blog, which was prompted by her students' current interest in all things 80's, and I felt bad for her. She hated the 80's. But had she been just a sweet few years older, past the acne and of legal drinking age, (which was 18 at the time), she might feel differently about it. So, Dear Students, don't let Ms. Elser color your nostalgic notions. The 80's were as much fun as you imagine--wild, colorful, and ridiculous. Girls really did just wanna have fun. *And Anne, before you turn 40, ya better learn how to spell it.

A peek into my college photo album:

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Writer, teacher, student, mom.

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