Bite Me

I started off my Wednesday by leading an hour-and-a-half poetry workshop with Lo's class this morning, after which I should have been allowed to call it a day. Hats off to Ms. C, for whom a whole new classification of pharmaceuticals should be created. Then it was off to work until 5. After that, straight to Lo's 6 o'clock game, where that little bunch of losers, the Pink Peppers, fell to the Green Dragons, who might as well be called the Green Giants, even though they're actually Liliputian-sized. Once I was home again, Lo reminded me that she had to fill out her "planning sheet" for her home-made bubble blower project for school, and that all the supplies were due tomorrow as well. Which meant a trip to Walgreens for string and straws. It also meant I didn't get to jog or go to the Y and, now, at 9:45, I can feel my ass creeping toward the outer perimeter of my blogging chair.

All of this to say, I'm too tired to actually write anything. I think I'll just sit here and watch this over and over.


The Bookends, Sunday Morning

Sadie was in town to celebrate JackMan's b-day.


Saturday Things You Might Not Know (About)

I happened across this site yesterday when I was doing some research for a presentation: The Barbie antidote.


Friday Nostalgia

The classic scene, When Harry Met Sally, 1989.

I'm It. Tagged Again.

So I've been tagged by my friend John at Everything's Jake.

The charge:

1. Pick up the nearest book.

2. Open to page 123.

3. Find the fifth sentence.

4. Post the next three sentences.

5. Tag five people, and acknowledge who tagged you.

This is from Melissa Delbridge's memoir, FAMILY BIBLE, which is sitting by my laptop:

Her mother wept into a soaked-through Kleenex at the funeral reception and blamed it on the way Reba's face broke out. "It just worried her so bad," she sobbed. I remember Mr. Fain, the way he'd stand glitter-eyed and licking his lips when girls got on the bus during the church choir tour.

I think Melissa is my third-cousin-twice-removed on my father's side.

I hereby tag Mary, Jennifer, Button, Lola, and Debbie.

Jack at the Doc's

I had to take Jack to the doctor on Wednesday because his tonsils looked like Nepal and Tibet. At first, he was pretty happy to be missing his indoor drumline performance at the local middle school, where he feared the 12-year-olds might cast dispersions on him, but as we drove the 40 minutes to Cobb Pediatrics, where Mamoo has been the office manager for about 30 years, he started thinking about the trade-off.

Jack: This had better only be about my tonsils.

TR: What do you mean?

Jack: I MEAN Mamoo had better not have scheduled a check-up or shots or something.

TR: Are you due shots?

Jack: Remember I didn't get the one last time? They said I could get it later...

TR: Huh. Well, I dunno, if Mamoo looked at your chart--

Jack: Seriously, no shots today. They just need to look at my throat.

Well, Mamoo was out whooping it up at some medical professionals' conference downtown, but she had indeed scheduled a special visit for her grandson: A full physical. They gave him some forms, which he handed off to me to fill out, and Carla, the pretty little nurse, pushed and dragged him back to be weighed and measured.

Jack: I can't BELIEVE this!

TR: Please, you predicted it.

Jack: I'm going to kill Mamoo.

TR: You can't kill your grandmother. Your birthday is next week.
(Looking at the forms) Have you been sleeping ok?

Jack: FINE.

TR: Are your periods light or heavy?

Jack: A heavy flow.

Carla: Do you have cramps?

Jack: Nothing Midol can't take care of.

TR: Do you ever feel hopeless or depressed?

Jack: NOW!

Carla: Oh Jack, it's not going to be bad. Just a few shots...let's see...tetanus...hep A,...chicken pox booster...meningitis...

Jack: You've GOT to be kidding!

Carla: ...and a tiny finger prick.

Lola: Ha-ha, Jack.

Next, we shoved him down the hall and into the exam room, where he met with the doctor proper, who looked at Jack's throat and informed us that it was too late to treat his tonsils at this point--that they were healing up on their own and that Jack should just take Tylenol. I wish you could have seen the look on Jack's face when he realized he'd come for nothing but was getting something.

And I really wish you could have seen the look on his face when Carla returned with this and told him she'd put all his shots in one syringe so he'd only have to be stuck once:

Immunizations: $377

Hemoglobin: $18

Check-up: $149

Finding out the nurse was kidding: Priceless.



A Poem by Kazim Ali

After reading the William Stafford poem Mary posted, which so simply and elegantly sums up the miracle we live every day, I was reminded of this one, which I read on Poetry Daily back in 2000 and have always touched back to when my own faith wanes.


your ribs are thick ridges
but you do not eat.

your eyes are so tired
but you do not sleep.

you say you want to feel belief
but you do not pray.

Kazim, listen:

fruit out of dirt
is your proof.

folding into sleep
is the miracle.

quiet your voice & listen
to the silence.

in the sound
of its absence

you will hear belief.



Can't Think of a Title for This One

I saw a billboard for this on my way to work today. The headline said, "Attractive people make more money."

Setting a Good Example

Jenna Bush was on the Today Show this morning, promoting her new children's book. She went on and on about how her parents were always reading when she was growing up.


Gotta Dance!

Lo and I were in the garage, looking for a book, and I found this instead.


Poor Jack, #Chumpteen

Yesterday, as I was driving Jack over to his friend Nick's house, he informed me that he planned to stay home from school today, because the indoor drumline was expected to play at the pep rally, and he wasn't about to be humiliated that way.

After a little probing, I learned that they weren't going to be in uniform and they weren't actually marching the drill; they would simply stand there and play. Sans the pink floor and space suits, I figured there was no reason for embarrassment and responded that everyone would love the show and wish they were drummers too.

But Jack disagreed.

Jack: No one thinks it's cool, Mom. They'll be laughing at us.

TR: They'll be jealous on the inside.

Jack: I'm not going.

TR: You are going. You'll lose Incentive* if you miss another day of school.

Jack: I WON'T lose incentive. I've only missed one day, except for Good Friday, which was excused for religious reasons.

TR: Yeah, thanks to Greg's bogus note. He had to look up the word 'Liturgical.' I should've made you go see a Passion Play. Trust me, you'd rather go to school.

Jack: ANYWAY, I still have a day.

TR: Yeah, and you could get that flesh-eating disease tomorrow.

Jack: Mom!

TR: Worse yet, you could have a really bad hair day.

Jack: I'm not going. It doesn't matter what you say.

TR: That's fine. You won't be getting your license this month.

Jack. I'd rather not get my license than perform at that pep rally.

TR: Your choice.

(At this point, my son gets out of the car and barely squeezes out a 'bye' between clenched teeth before the door slams. I go to Lola's softball game and then back to Nick's to pick him up.)

Jack: (sarcastic, two-syllabled) Ha-ay.

TR: (sweetly) Hey.

Jack: I'm sorry I slammed the door.

TR: And didn't give me a proper good-bye?

Jack: I did say good-bye. Even though I was mad.

TR: I'm going to drop you off and go to Publix. Do you need anything?


TR: Regular old pencils?

Jack: (with a look that says he's getting ready to stick it to me) No, you can buy me mechanical pencils.

*(Incentive: If a student doesn't miss more than two days, they're exempt from a couple of finals that might hurt their grades.)

Friday Nostalgia

When I was growing up, we had to crank a handle to roll the car window up, pull our ice from a metal tray, and pen our "texts" on a piece of paper that had to be passed from person to person until it reached its intended reader.

And our wrestlers looked like this:


Give That Man a Kleenex

Biggy's had the sniffles for the past two days, ever since one of these showed up in The Family Down the Street's driveway. He claims it's just a cold.



I thought I'd share Biggy's dessert plate from Saturday night at Grove Park Inn's Blue Ridge Grill. He opted for the buffet and tried real hard to get his 32 dollars' worth. I had the stuffed trout off the menu.

I don't do troughs.


More Prize Reporting From The AJC

Poor Brian Feagans must have drawn the short straw when he got assigned this remarkable piece. I wonder if they're planning to do a series: Georgian Recalls Riding the Escalator With Tiger Woods, Atlantan Recalls Waiting in the DMV line With Colin Powell. The two women featured (a mother/daughter team with dreams of meeting Matt Lauer and Oprah, no doubt) are middle-aged Catherine, who once was assigned to a dorm room with Michelle Obama at Princeton, and the elder Driving Miss Alice, who immediately demanded a room change for her child. Eventually, Catherine came out as a lesbian and learned what it feels to be marginalized, and Alice figured out that her prejudice may have lost her a ticket to the White House.

The writing itself is horrific; I wouldn't know where to begin. But what's worse is the entire premise, along with the literal length(s) it goes to to make its point(lessness). And by the end of the article, I certainly don't have the impression anyone has learned anything at all. They made the enormous leap from:

"I was horrified," recalled Brown, who had driven her daughter up from New Orleans. Brown stormed down to the campus housing office and demanded Donnelly be moved to another room.

The reason: One of her roommates was black.

"I told them we weren't used to living with black people — Catherine is from the South," Brown said. "They probably thought I was crazy."


Society changed, and Donnelly has seen her mother nudged along with it. Says Brown: "It's become politically incorrect to talk about black people in a negative way. It's like smoking."

Brown quit smoking in 1996. She's still working on the other.

Brown says she wouldn't mind if her child or grandchild roomed with a black person today. But she's far from colorblind. "Where I draw the line is interracial marriage," Brown says. "That I can't quite deal with."

She holds firm to the belief that African-Americans don't take enough responsibility. "Bill Cosby says the same thing," she says. "Get off your rear end and work hard and improve yourself."

I haven't read anything this self-indulgent since that AJC obit I wrote about a few months ago. When it was all over, I couldn't figure out if Feagans was serious, or if he was deviously making fun of the women and giving his editors the invisible finger. If the former, wow. If the latter, what a puss.


Dear Tania #3

dear tania,

i need some help. i try to be the best.mother.ever but apparently i'm
doing something wrong. i am a youthful, energetic, fun-loving woman
who is a pleasure to be around. i am usually the life of any party.
i keep all opinions to myself and would never dream of interfering.
although i think my daughter married beneath her station i still try
to be supportive of the marriage. my problem is this...why would she
go on a camping, bike riding, kayaking, child free vacation without me?



Dear Anonymous,

I believe this question is best answered with a picture.



Brevard, NC

Here's a small picture sample of the first three days of our trip.

Most mountain bikers don't wear mullet helmets, but I'm fond of mine.

It was a nice climb to the top here, but the real challenge was yet to come...

We actually rode this!

And down this.

Home sweet home.

Biggy's camping fashion.

This kind of scenery is everywhere.

A few snippets of conversation as we got accustomed to being alone together:

(Arriving at the campground.)

TR: Look at sweet little Airstream over there! I'd love to have that.

Biggy: Why can't you be just be happy with the pop-up?

TR: I am happy with the pop-up. I'm happy with you, too, but that doesn't mean I don't fantasize about Clive Owen every once in a while.

(Leaving one chilly night to walk a few campsites over, where there was live music.)

Biggy: Are you really gonna wear that blanket?

TR: Are you really gonna wear socks with those?

(Driving up a remote forest service road deep, deep into the woods.)

Biggy: This would be a great place to hide a body.

(Same drive)

Biggy: Wouldn't you like to have a cabin back in here?

TR: Who am I--Nell?

(At the Pisgah trout hatchery, where we had to park to do one of the trails.)

Biggy: What IS that smell?

TR: You mean like fish?


Saturday Things You Might Not Know

I bring you this blog from my room at the Grove Park Inn, where I've just returned from my aromatherapy massage with the lovely massage therapist, Serenity, I shit you not. Lovely Serenity, whose sweet, chin-length bob hung like chestnut-colored curtains around her lineless face. But more about the spa later on.

Shout out to E! for guesting. (Lots of comments!) And for taking care of my babies.

I have MUCH to blog about--and pics--when I return.

So now for that Saturday Thang...

Having spent the past three nights in a pop-up camper, I was curious to know who invented the contraption:

The original pop-up camper developed by Clyde Grambsch in 1954 is displayed in the RV/MH Heritage Foundation Museum in Elkart, Indiana. It is pictured above.


Friday Nostalgia-Housesitting Blues

So I invited some friends over to jam out!


I think I have edited the last post about seven times. The reason: I am so afraid of spelling and grammatical errors appearing on T's blog. That is why I hardly ever comment. I think she going to kick me out of the house as soon as she reads what I've posted. With every word I type, I think, Is this the correct verb tense? Is 'edited' spelled correctly? Right now, I am wondering if I am using the correct punctuation.

There is so much pressure that comes along with guest blogging.


Animal Cruelty

Everyone knows that Tania loves her animals...all 10 of them! Count 'em...the turtle, the gecko, the bird, two dwarf hamsters, two guinea pigs and the three dogs, Fay Fay, Stella, and Daisy. She feeds them and gives them treats and lovin'. And every time I am left with the duties of watching the animals, Biggy always thinks that I treat Daisy (his favorite) horribly, and this is so not true! I let her snuggle in bed with me. I play with her and the other dogs. But there is one thing I won't let her do...

This is what I call cruel:

Letting the dogs lick my mouth....GROSS!

Guest Blogger!!!

Tania and Biggy left this morning for their vacay of hardcore mountain biking and camping in North Cackalacka. I have been given the honor to guest blog for The Stone's Colossal Dream to fulfill T's commitment to Blog365. I will be documenting what goes on here at the house while they are away, as well as continuing Friday Nostalgia and Saturday Things You Might Not Know.


And This!

Evidently, Georgia came home while we were at work, did a little baking, and left us with nothing but the sweet, lingering aroma of chocolate cake.

Google Gone Wild

When I posted that video of the girl with the guinea pig and titled it what I did, my google hits tripled. Who knew so many people liked it "soft."

By posting this episode of The Midwest Teen Sex Show and actually typing the title here, I'm bound to increase my hits exponentially. No doubt, I'll draw pervs from coast to coast.

But there was a piece about this sex ed podcast on Gawker.com, as my husband so generously shared, and I'm pretty impressed with the candor, humor, and lack of condescension these folks are using to give kids valuable information. I've even learned some things, myself.


Happy Birthday, Blaise!


Kid-Free Zone

We have no children this week, since Jack is at the beach with a friend's family and Lo is at her grandparents' in SC. Yesterday, Biggy wanted to celebrate by eating wings at Suburban Tap and then walking around the house in his underwear. I can't remember the last time I saw him so excited.


Help Me Help Myself

It used to be, I'd go to the Y, get on the elliptical machine, and read. It took some practice--learning to position the book just right in the little plastic tabs that are never the right size, training myself not to bounce so I wouldn't get carsick, turning the pages without falling off. But I mastered the technique.

I annotated many a book of poetry during grad school while burning 600 calories an hour. I read Life of Pi, Middlesex, and While I Was Gone. I read every "Can This Marriage be Saved?" in the outdated Ladies Home Journals in the gym's magazine racks. I even revised a manuscript.

How prudent is that--exercising mind and body together? It was my badge of honor.

But over the holidays, our Y was renovated. They closed down the cardio room, so we were relegated to fighting over two squeaky Stairmasters and a stationary bike. They moved the free weights into one of the raquetball courts, where maybe 30 guys, from puberty to enlarged prostates, crowded into that small enclosed space with no ventilation. It was a BO-halitosis-fart sauna, and Biggy doesn't like to share.

We spent three months complaining, threatening to quit, lusting over the rows and rows of machines in the big storefront window at LA Fitness. Finally, though, the re-do was complete, and we were stunned by the results. Disney World colors, clean carpet, and a room the size of an aiplane hangar full of sparkling new machines. EACH with its own TV!!!

My first time in, I figured I'd try the TV thing and took my headset. I was only going to do it that once. Of course, Law & Order SVU was on, because it's on some channel no matter what time of day you search. It was the episode with Mare Winningham, where she plays a woman who's faking multiple personalities to get away with murdering her parents. The hour flew by.

The next morning, I brought my copy of A New Earth but noticed that the girl next to me was watching a Spin City rerun. I could never pass up a show whose cast includes alumni from Rocky Horror, Ferris Bueller, Family Ties, AND Melrose Place!

That was the end of February, and I haven't taken a book or magazine since.


Saturday Things You Might Not Know

Here's where you can sign (your best friends) up for the Richard Simmons newlsetter.


Dear Tania: Letter #3

Dear Tania

Why does my mother insist upon signing me up for random fan clubs and newsletters of late 80's, early 90's pop icons? Is it because she secretly wishes to join them herself?
New Kid's No.1 Fan

Dear Fan,

Does she secretly wish to join them herself? What makes you think she hasn't? Who wouldn't want to get free newsletters from Richard Simmons, Fabio, and David Hasselhoff? If only the Burt Reynolds fan club would go ahead and launch!

Your mother sounds incredibly thoughtful, and you really should be more grateful. You might also consider yourself lucky that she likes you so much. I know a mother who has a special list of people she signs up for the Promise Keepers and Largefriends.com.

Yes, not only does your mom sound thoughtful, but I'll bet she has a fantastic imagination. Does she, by chance, work in a creative field? Does she spend a lot of time on the computer? Does she complain that she can only work on a branding speech or an article about paper dresses for so long before she has to take a break and google bumper bangs?

And is she constantly seeking inspiration as though her very livelihood and your weekly college allowance depended on it?

I thought so.

Why don't you just consider these occasional e-gifts like fruit cakes: kind of nutty and a little stale-- but even if you don't want 'em, they're still sweet.

Love always,


Friday Nostalgia

Weird Science, 1985


Dear Tania: Letter #2

Dear Tania -

I am a middle-aged straight male who can't stop defending men whenever women (usually women but not always) start hammering some poor guy simply because he's letting his wing-ding make decisions for him. Hey, evolution is slow (news flash). Do people think crustaceans just started jitter-bugging on the beach one day? Poor men. We're saddled with our biological imperitive to, um, . . . seek out *strange* . . . . same as wise men followed that star, same as dung beetles roll you-know-what, same as George Clinton says, "Why must i be like that? Why must I chase the cat? Must be the Dog in me . . . " (cue synth riff) . . . and poor G Clinton ended up with a mug shot in the bargain . . . and I must say your blog just loves to see us "tied to the whipping post" - so what's the deal - do I peacefully enter the re-education camps and become a stepford-neutered new-agey bozo, or do I resist, go to the hills, viva la revolution?

semi-recovered Self-hating Dude in Sonoma

ps - you know you don't want a world with goody-goody men . . . that would be a worse Hell.

Dearest Dude,

I'm all for you letting your wing-ding make decisions for you. Let it lead you around like a seeing eye dog.

I wholly support your right to let your life be divined by your wing-ding. Find whatever effluvia you want with it.

The same way I'll defend your prerogative to build beer can pyramids and eat Captain Crunch for dinner, I'll support you in your quest to bang your secretary on Monday and your barista on Tuesday.

I'll even hose you off when you roll in shit--or bandage your scratches when you catch that pussy George Clinton speaks of. And I'll be thankful you can jitterbug.

Indeed, have sex with a bicycle, a lamp post, or a picnic table, for all I care. I'll still be your friend.

Just don't get married. Don't be a liar.

Love always,

Dear Tania: Letter #1

Dear Tania,

I am 27 year old gay man living in New York. As a passionate supporter
of Obama, I feel compelled to plead with my
pseudo-conservative/senior-citizen parents to support him as well.
(They are supposedly independent but voted for Bush and not too
confident about Obama) Considering all of the obvious issues, like,
uh, the war, foreign policy, the future of their children, global
warming, gay rights...etc. I think it would be irresponsible and
insulting for them to support John McCain. However, I don't know how
to go about this discussion or potential confrontation without getting
emotional and/or pointing out that they are old and should not be so
ignorant of the world's existence after they are gone. I am a younger
voter and new to politics. Isn't this one of those issues that can
divide a family? But is this point in time too pivotal to overlook
such a critical decision?

Obama Drama Queen

Dear Queen,

When Bush won the last election, I blubbered-and-snotted all the way to Richard's Five & Dime and bought myself a W punching bag and enough "A Village in Texas is Missing its Idiot" buttons to last me and 50 of my closest friends four years. I put the punching bag in my office, where its assassination commenced and was accomplished by lunchtime.

Big whoop. It was like (Jack, are you listening?) blowing off Algebra II and sleeping through the SAT, then crying because you have to go to Chattahoochee Tech. I'll keep thinking of a better analogy, but this one will have to do for now.

I drove home that day, ashamed of myself for my silence during the election. What had I done, besides merely cast my vote, to try to prevent this disaster? I'd never discussed politics with my friends and family, because I'm lazy and didn't want to cause a row. I'd purposely kept the subject out of my classroom, because I didn't want to be accused of using what little influence I might have inappropriately. I had taken the path of least resistance, rendered myself impotent.

I promised the steering wheel I'd do better next time.

I won't pretend I write big checks to the Democratic Party or volunteer to stuff envelopes or bake cookies, but I do make my own position clear when I have an opportunity. I try to do it respectfully and with the attitude that everyone is entitled to disagree. I do it hoping that by simply opening up the conversation rather than shutting it down--by allowing an exchange of ideas--someone might walk away from the conversation slightly changed or willing to entertain another opinion. Sometimes I'm the one entertaining it, and I'm forced to look further to make or break my own argument.

Don't be afraid of the drama, Queen! Tell your parents why and how you'd feel insulted. Make it personal. It could make a difference. Or maybe not. Get emotional. Remind them that they're old. They like to deny this. Let them cry or rant right back. And if they still vow to vote for McCain, love them anyway, and let them know you expect the same from them.

Then sit down and eat some chicken together.

Love always,


Third-Grade Hit Men

Be SURE to watch the entire video.

Every one of those kids had a trampoline and knew how to subtract the cost of a six-pack and two lotto tickets from a satellite rebate check.

About Me

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Writer, teacher, student, mom.

Fresh Flowers Delivered