When we returned home from the in-laws' house in SC, I found my son had already gotten back from his trip to Augusta:

TR: Jack, why are you wearing my socks?!

JackMan: Because they're warm and fluffy.

*For the full effect, click to enlarge image.


C-c-c-case In Point

Biggy is back and doing yard work:

But where is he, you wonder...

When Couples With ADD Argue

Yesterday, when I got ready to leave work, I found a thoughtful note on my car window informing me that my right front tire was flat. I mean flat. So I called Georgia, who was watching Lola, to tell her that I'd be later getting home, while someone here was kind enough to put my spare on. That someone also pointed out that the flat was so bald it had split. "Why were you driving around on that, anyway?" he asked.


So once I was on the road, my cell phone rang. It was my husband, who had just picked up his rental car in Boca Raton, where he was about to make a presentation for work. At that time, he was driving around, looking for an OfficeMax:

Biggy: Someone put your spare on?

TR: YES! How did you know I had a flat?

Biggy: I called Georgia.

TR: Why did you call Georgia? You were supposed to call me when your flight landed.

Biggy: Georgia called me first. I was calling her back.

TR: Well, I thought about calling you to complain about my tire, but I decided not to bother you.

Biggy: I appreciate that. And now it's taken care of, and you're on your way home.

TR: No, now it's half an hour later, which means it's going to get dark, and I'll probably get pulled over for having a headlight out! You know I'm a cop magnet.

Biggy: Maybe if we bought a smaller house that was easier to maintain and got rid of the 25 pets, I'd have more time to change the bulb.

TR: Considering I take care of the pets--BY THE WAY, that tire was balder than Howie Mandel! It actually split. And building little bonfires of raked leaves in the front yard is not what I call home maintenance. Why would you want me driving around on bald tires?!

Biggy: I'm going to hang up now before I get really upset.

TR: Well, I'm ALREADY upset--if you haven't noticed.

Biggy: Oooooh, look at that! One day I'm going to own a Porsche like that. It's a work of art.

TR: I'll bet it has safe tires and working headlights too. Why are you going to Office Max?

Biggy: I need some project boards to mount my presentation.

TR: What are you--in third grade?! Why don't they send you with a laptop?

Biggy: Because then I'd need a projector and---

TR: --which any office should have--

Biggy: But this meeting is at a rec hall. The last time we had to break up a canasta game. No...it was pinochle.

TR: A bunch of old snowbirds, huh? I'll bet the men changed the oil in the cars on schedule and made sure their wives' tires were rotated...

Biggy: And I'll bet those men didn't get old by eating tuna helper and Papa John's pizza.

TR: When will you be home?

Biggy: Around noon tomorrow.

TR: You going clubbing tonight?

Biggy: No, I have twin hookers coming to my hotel room.

TR: Rock on.


So Tonight I Dropped By Mamoo's...

You know, I've got another 18 years to reach my mother's level of --um, whatever it is.

But look who's just getting started--George and her dog Mannie:



Friday Nostalgia

The original cougars:

The Graduate

Summer of '42



This morning, Biggy and I were watching a news report about the Grandma Bandit, who's robbed a Bank of America in California twice this year. While my thoughts were hopping from, 'Wow--she must be really desperate' to 'She needs a visit from Family Services,' my husband was thinking some thoughts of his own:

Biggy: I'm gonna rob a bank when I get old.

TR: Yeah?

Biggy: Sure. What would they do to you? 75...80 years old...never been in trouble with the law...They wouldn't throw you in jail. You could just claim dementia.

TR: Sounds like a plan.

Biggy: Oh, I'm gonna do a lot of things when I get old. I can't WAIT!

TR: Do tell.

Biggy: Like crap my pants at the mall and call Georgia to come pick me up.



In my fantasy alternate universe, I'm a costume designer.


Rules For the Gym

I've belonged to our local Y since 1993, when I was a married single parent and their nursery was the only thing standing between me and stretch pants. Over the fifteen years or so of my membership, the facility has been renovated, oh...I'd guess...about fifteen times, during which they shut down chunks of it, so that everyone is crammed into, say, the circuit training area while the free weights are out of commission, or we're forced to ride the stationary bikes in tandem. This will go on for a couple of months until there's a new playscape where the basketball courts used to be and everyone is doing Zumba instead of kickboxing.

Now, they've configured the cardio area so that the circuit actually circuits it, which means I'm subjected to all the politics that occur when someone circles in the wrong direction or refuses to let another "work in" between sets. And the free weights are against the back (mirrored) wall, so I have to witness the macho strutting and preening that happens between the bench press and the squat machine, as well as a beastly amount of back hair and butt sweat.

My simple routine is designed to spare me as much of this bother as possible, meaning I beeline into the Big Room, ignoring the pesky posters reminding me to stretch or encouraging me to spend more time with my children; brace myself for the chicken-soup-and-pickles smell that belies the spa-esque color palette; find myself a functional elliptical machine with a working TV; do my time; and dash back out to the parking lot before any of the folks trying to figure out where they recognize me from remember I'm the person who chastised them for bringing their kids to Publix during the holidays or for paying with cash during the gas crisis. Anything else I need to do, toning for instance, can be accomplished at home with dumb bells, while Lola and I watch Beach Patrol.

But no matter how I streamline the experience or pep-talk myself into a kinder, gentler attitude, I still leave that necessary evil--more often than not--as annoyed as if I'd stood in line for an hour at the DMV, behind an ogling nose-picker with a hacking cough.

So yesterday, while ellipticaling and crying over Something's Gotta Give, I compiled a few simple rules, suggestions if you will, to improve everyone's experience:

1. First, if you know you're going to the gym, forgo the beans and cabbage. Do not make your own special contribution to the already moist and fetid air.

2. Brush your teeth before you go. (See above)

3. Make sure your work-out clothes fit properly and cover your lady- or man-parts. I do not need a shot of your moneymaker while you're on the hip abductor machine.

4. Turn your cell phone off. Unless you've got a surefire stock tip or a way to erase Sarah Palin from our memory, no one wants to hear your conversation.

5. When choosing a treadmill, stairmaster, etc., leave as much space as you can between you and the next person. In other words, if there are a dozen machines in the row and I am the only one working out, do not take the machine right beside me. Seriously.

6. If, however, it is so crowded that you must occupy a machine next to another person, do not turn your TV to Bill O'Reilly. It is impossible to avoid looking over at his smug face when his lips are flapping so fast.

7. Do not let your children play on the machines. The Y already has rules against this, but many parents are under the impression that their own children are the exception. They're the same parents who let their kids wheel the grocery cart into your heels at Publix and let them peer at you under the restroom stall at Target.

8. Do not repeatedly flex and pose in the mirrors. You look exactly the same as you did before you benched those fifty pounds.

9. Do NOT wipe the machines down when you're finished using them. You're not paying over $600 a year to do custodial work. If we all refuse to comply, they'll make one of those teenagers writing poetry at the front desk do it.

10. And, finally, if you are exceptionally fit and beautiful, do the rest of us a favor and work out early in the morning--before class, or in the early-afternoon off hours, before your shift at Hooters.



Stupid Parents Today Show

Biggy and I saw the clip of the kid falling yesterday and after I commented about what a great photo op--your toddler leaning against a rickety post at the edge of a hundred-and-fifty-foot cliff overlooking a violent, rocky surf--I joked, "Matt Lauer will have those dummies on the set tomorrow for an interview." Sure enough! Seems the consolation prize for the Darwin Awards is fifteen minutes of fame--Matt & Co. asking, "Were you afraid?"

And who was holding the video cam? Whoever it was never stopped filming.

I read an article, which quoted the mom:

Alaina’s mother Charlotte said she is upset with the Oregon Parks service for leaving such a large gap between the fence rails near such a dangerous spot.

"I guess the more I thought about it, the angrier I got at the state parks because there's just no excuse for that," Charlotte Pitton said.

Hmmm....large gap between the fence rails...dangerous spot...

I wonder if she ever got angry at herself?!

It Doesn't Take Much to Make Them Happy

Biggy and JackMan are thrilled with the new trick they taught Daisy.


Thumbs Up

I LOVE this commercial! It captures perfectly the low-grade insanity induced by motherhood--and that very measured, restrained SNAP so necessary for preventing the full-blown breakdown that could lead to poisoning the pot roast.


Dear Santa

Please bring me one of these:

I have a big yard. He can sleep at the foot of the bed.



Don't Get Caught Watching This at Work

It's pretty addictive.

Conference Souvenirs

The FLAC conference was really wonderful--gorgeous weather in a town radiating history, the Flagler College campus exquisite in its spirit and architecture. The conference is scheduled for St. Augustine again next year, and I recommend you liter(sc)ary folks plan to attend--unless you disdain events less pompous, posturing, and political than, say, AWP. This conference is far more laid-back and democratic.

I was happy to be introduced to some writers I'd never read before, among them tiny but powerful poet Julia Levine, barely-legal novelist Tony D'Souza, and voodoo-dark poet Sheryl St. Germain.

I brought you back one of Sheryl's poems:

In memory of my brother, Jay St. Germain, 1958-1981

The truth is I loved it,
the whole ritual of it,
the way he would fist up his arm, then
hold it out so trusting and bare,
the vein pushed up all blue and throbbing
and wanting to be pierced,
his opposite hand gripped tight as death
around the upper arm,

the way I would try to enter the vein,
almost parallel to the arm,
push lightly but firmly, not
too deep,
you don't want to go through
the vein, just in,
then pull back until you see
blood, then

hold the needle very still, slowly
shoot him with it.
Like that I would enter him,
slowly, slowly, very still,
don't move,
then he would let the fist out,
loosen his grip on the upper arm--

and oh, the movement of his lips
when he asked that I open my arms.
How careful,
how good he was, sliding
the needle silver and slender
so easily into me, as though
my skin and veins were made for it,
and when he had finished, pulled
it out, I would be coming
in my fingers, hands, my ear lobes
were coming, heart, thighs,
tongue, eyes and brain were coming,
thick and brilliant as the last thin match
against a homeless bitter cold.

I even loved the pin-sized bruises,
I would finger them alone in my room
like marks of passion;
by the time they turned yellow,
my dreams were full of needles.

We both took lovers who loved
this entering and being entered,
but when he brought over the
pale-faced girl so full of needle holes
he had to lay her on her back
like a corpse and stick the needle
over and over in her ankle veins
to find one that wasn't weary
of all that joy, I became sick
with it, but

you know, it still stalks my dreams,
and deaths make no difference:
there is only the body's huge wanting.

When I think of my brother
all spilled out on the floor
I say nothing to anyone.
I know what it's like to want joy
at any cost.

Sheryl St. Germain


Just Because

I listened to a couple of country stations on the road yesterday and heard this song for the first time. I have to say, I LOVE me a good, clever country song.


Traveling is Such an Adventure

The reason for my trip to St. Augustine is the FLAC (Florida Literary Arts Council) conference. I'm reading tomorrow with my friend Marty Williams. It's a morning event, which means we'll probably be reading to the coffee and donuts set-up crew, but whatever.

I'm looking forward to visiting with some folks I haven't seen in a while--and to hearing the various panels, etc. tomorrow and Saturday, but after driving for six-plus hours, I could NOT talk myself into attending the opening festivities. It was dark when I got here, and I'm disoriented. I hate walking into social gatherings alone. I might as well be 13 with headgear.

So I've got an eggplant parmesan sub from a shop down the road and a big bottle of...Pelligrino. Grey's Anatomy's on in a few.

Don't hate me because I'm exciting.

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Harping

Yesterday afternoon, when I picked Lola up from school, she came through the double doors with The Look on her face that let me know I'd committed some offense. Since I hadn't even see her since 7 a.m., she'd had about nine hours to stew about it and practice that expression, so I can assure you, it was not pretty. I braced myself:


TR: What happened?

Lo: Well, to start with, YOU forgot to pack my Target binder!

TR: Crap! I was thinking today was Tuesday...

Lo: It's WEDNESDAY, Mom! And you're lucky we had a sub...

TR: So you didn't get in trouble?

Lo: NO, but that's another thing--we had a sub! I hate subs. And now my book bag is FULL of papers that need to go in my binder. FULL OF THEM! And at lunch today, I dropped my hamburger--which was on a HOTDOG BUN anyway. And they didn't have honey mustard for my fries.

TR: I'm sorry.

Lo: So I'm STARVING. What are we having for dinner?

TR: Tuna Helper.

Lo: You have GOT to be kidding!

TR: No, that's what I planned to have...

Lo: Why are you turning here?

TR: We have to go to PetSmart to get crickets.

Lo: This day just gets worse and worse. Can't you wait and get them tomorrow?

TR: I can't. I'm going out of town.

Lo: WHAT!? Where are you going?

TR: To a writing conference in St. Augustine.


TR: Until Sunday.

Lo: I have to stay with DAD?

TR: Yeah.

Lo: He doesn't even know how to sign my school planner. He won't let me have Pop-Tarts for my snack! Don't go!

TR: I have to go.

Lo: FIrst you don't pack my binder, I drop my hamburger, and there's no honey mustard for my fries. Now, we're having Tuna Helper and we have to go to PetSmart to buy crickets, but I'm sure you won't let me get a rabbit. Then you're going out of town, and I have to stay with DAD and JACK!

TR: Oh, and Dad's taking you to the doctor tomorrow.


Deep Thoughts

Biggy on not feeling well: "I just wish I had one more orifice to blow stuff out of."

About Me

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Writer, teacher, student, mom.

Fresh Flowers Delivered