Tuesday, January 31, 2006

The Playground: An Emotional Case Study

Contrary to Alex's expression, we were not in fact headed for the Evil Playground of Doom. All I can figure is that in his spare time Alex visits playgrounds with half-made-up clowns and one-armed carnies and children who go to the top of the spiral slide but never. come. down. That's the level of screaming and protest I listened to on our four-minute drive.

But he quickly changed his tune. At this moment, I was the Best Mama In The Whole Universe, the one who provides all the parky / playground fun.

It was only a 30-minute reign. When I told Alex we had to leave, I had to surrender my BMITWU title, for the leaving was so painful that he could scarcely bear the sight of me.

And now I'm the happy one.

What A Refreshing and Delightful Treat

Last night around 10:15 I made an announcement to my husband, who was completely engrossed in my TiVo'd Oprah epsiode (it was about some guys who were shocked to learn that their father was secretly a bank robber, and we all know that the male gender is incapable of turning away from stories about bank robbery, fire, high-speed chases, or fugitives being brought to justice).

"I'm going to bed," I said, as if a completely novel idea had occurred to me, this notion that I could get in bed before midnight.

"At TEN?!?!"

"Yes. I'm going to bed."

And I did, y'all. I did.

You can imagine my surprise, when I woke up at dark o'clock this morning, to find that I was rested. Refreshed, in fact. Ready to conquer whatever the day had in store.

I've always been a night owl. I've programmed myself not to be so much of one out of sheer necessity, but given my druthers (does anyone know what "druthers" are, by the way? I throw that phrase around like I know exactly what it means, but for all I know what I'm really saying is "given my flags" or "given my peanuts" or "given my churns"), I'd stay up until 2 or 3 and sleep until 10 or 11. Every single day.

My brother-in-law loves to tell a story from one of my annual summer visits with him and my sister in Nashville. However, I should preface this story with a critical bit of information. When I arrived in Nashville for this particular visit, I was greeted by a large grocery sack filled with paperback books. A co-worker of my sister's had cleaned out her bookshelves, apparently, and my sister was the beneficiary. Because I have always been a reader, that paper sack might as well have been filled with, as we like to say in the South, cash money. It was a treasure trove, that's what it was. And I started reading the books about - oh, roughly? - 11 or 12 minutes after my arrival in Music City, USA.

Over the course of the week, I'd stayed up later and later, reading one book right after another, which is characteristic of that enjoyable OCD part of me that can't do anything in increments. If I'm going to read a book, I want to sit down and finish it, even if it means ignoring, you know, "childcare" and "responsibilities" and "appointments." By the same token, if I'm going to start a project, I need a block of time to devote my entire life to painting that wall or chopping that wood (and I cannot tell you how many times wood chopping has been the order of the day). My point is, there's no happy medium with me. At all. (Side note: I like to claim that I'm a "laid-back" person, but whenever I say that David gets this quizzical look on his face and then he points at me and laughs dementedly. So maybe "laid-back" isn't the best adjective to describe my personality. Perhaps "high strung" is slightly more accurate).

Anyway, imagine Barry's surprise when he returned home from work one summer Thursday - at approximately 5 in the afternoon, mind you - and discovered that I had just stumbled out of bed. Only moments before, in fact. And the only reason I got out of bed was because I heard his car coming down the driveway; otherwise I would've racked out until 6 or 7, at least. Oh, I tried to fake it like I had been up and productive for HOURS, but he didn't fall for my sneaky scheme. Something about my slitted eyes and wrinkled pajamas gave me away.

Which brings me back to my startling announcement last night. Since I started this blog(o-rama!), I have stayed awake, on a regular basis, until the wee hours of the morning. Check out the times I've posted some of this stuff. For some reason, it's like the creative juices don't start to flow (and I HATE that metaphor, by the way, but I can't think of another one) until at least 10 or 11 at night. But last night, interweb friends, I forsook you for some precious extra sleep. It was delightful.

The best part? I'm so rested and refreshed that, tonight, I'll be able to stay up late again! And the vicious sleep cycle continues....

Monday, January 30, 2006

J. Walter Weatherman Is Alive, Well, and Living in Mississippi

A bit of back story: my friends Buddy, Andy and Jim are some of the funniest people I've ever known. When we were at State, you would often find them surrounded by large crowds of people who would listen intently and then fall to the floor and roll with laughter. I could devote a lengthy post - and I just may - to Buddy's mastery of the prank phone call in pre-caller ID days, but for the time being let's just say that dorms filled with international students were his target audience.

When it became very clear to me that I was going to have to include some of their antics in this little interweb forum, I asked them if they wanted aliases to protect their identities since they're all high-powered businessmen who control a great deal of the world's oil reserves as well as the legislative branch of the US government. After much discussion, I can now announce that the humorous stylings of B-Diddy, G-Master Detail and Diamonds will be making occasional guest appearances on this blog. I keep telling the three of them that they need a blog, but they don't listen. They never did.

And since I told you their real names before I introduced the aliases, I guess the whole alias deal is sort of a moot point, but it does add a certain gangsta flava. We're all about the gangsta flava here in the suburbs of Birmingham, you know.

Anyway, they talk much good-natured trash via email (B-Diddy likes to point out that, in his spare time, G-Master likes to do "delicate charcoal drawings of Ron Polk"), and they sometimes include me in their fun because, well, they pity me.

Today I was grateful for the pity, because this little gem from G-Master made its way to my inbox. Enjoy, everyone. It's an instant classic.

"The following has not been independently confirmed, and is solely the testimony of my sister:

Yesterday, my sister was sitting in the First Presbyterian Church in Loveland, Colorado, reading the weekly church bulletin when she was shocked to see in the announcements section that Bob Johnson of Hernando, Mississippi (our father) had passed away in his sleep on the weekend of January 22nd. She immediately phoned home, and kept calling until my mother answered at about 1:00PM CST. Upon hearing Julie's voice, my mother's first words were "wow, the lengths I have to go to just to get a phone call."

You see...last week, my mother was apparently quite frustrated with my sister due to the fact that Julie had not called home to speak with my mother in about 2 weeks. Having reached a breaking point, my mother apparently contacted the main office of my sister's church and asked that the church bulletin committee include, in this week's announcements, the death of my father.

Note 1: My father is alive and well.
Note 2: My mother still lives with my father and is well aware of Note 1.

Again, this story has not been confirmed, but my sister says she will mail a copy of the church bulletin to me very soon.

I can't make this up, people. Have a nice day.

'G-Master Detail'"

Like I told Andy, that's a story for the ages. I can just picture Andy one day, with his children surrounding him, saying, "Okay, kids, now I want to tell you about the time that Mamaw faked Papaw's death. Oh, it is a sweet memory...."

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Would You Like Fries With That?

Alex and Maggie are now Best Friends Forever after the former took it upon himself to feed the latter this morning. Everytime Maggie would finish the teaspoon's worth of food Alex put in the bowl, A. would scream, "Hold on JUST a minute, Maggie! I'll be right back!" And he'd go get her another teaspoon's worth of food, and Maggie looked at Alex with such love and adoration that I thought her little doggie heart might explode.

Apparently all the "pull your tail like a leash" and "ride you like a horse" incidents have been forgiven and forgotten. They're thick as thieves, these two. Thick as thieves.

Oh, You Silly, Silly Man

Tonight while D. and I were reading our Sunday School lesson, and by Sunday School lesson I really mean watching the last two TiVo'd epsiodes of The Bachelor:Paris, he asked me if girls really think that desperation will land them a man, that all manner of plotting and scheming will actually attract their soulmate and enable them to live happily ever after.

To which I replied, "Ummm...yeah!"

It is obvious that my husband has never lived in a sorority house. And for that we're actually all quite thankful. But he's clueless - CLUELESS, I say unto you - about the level of plotting and scheming a girl will go to in order to convince a man that she is his soulmate and he cannot live without her.

Part of the fun - at least when you're young - is the drama of it all. The chase. Once you get a few years past college, the chase isn't as big a deal...at that point it's sort of like, "Yeah, yeah, yeah I'm running I'm running hey you caught me YAY the end and I do." But in college? OH, the drama was oftentimes the best part.

One of you who may or may not read this blog once went on a date that may or may not have been with someone from what may or may not have been a Large Religious Organization on campus that may or may not have been BSU.

The time leading up to the date was filled with Much Planning. What to wear, how to fix the hair, what the second date would be like for there was sure to be one, what it would be like when he went home to meet the parents - I'm telling you, the boy was on the fast track to the altar and he had no idea.

But, you see, things did not go as planned. If it had been part of The Bachelor, there would have been promos for weeks telling all of America to tune in for the most dramatic. Bachelor. moment. EVER.

Because as I'm sure my sweet, level-headed, even-keeled, Proverbs 31 friend remembers, when she found out that BSU boy was interested in someone else, she SLAMMED THE DOOR, KICKED IT, FLUNG HERSELF TO THE GROUND and started to sob. No, sob is too weak a verb. She started to WAIL.

And we were all, "What the..." and she was all, "I just thought he really liked me," and we were all, "Ummm...missy, you've had ONE DATE," and she was all, "Yes, but I thought he was God's will for my life! I decided that he was God's will for my life!"

Please don't misunderstand. There were lots of guys who would have loved to be The One for my sweet friend. She's exactly the "type," for lack of a better stereotypical word, that many guys hope to marry. But for her, it was just the pressure of the whole thing - she was ready to meet That Guy, date That Guy, and marry That Guy. She was ready to check "Soul Mate" off of the list and get on to the next thing so that the pressure would be gone. I think a lot of girls felt that kind of pressure.

My point is this. Girls are conditioned from an early age to be on the lookout for The One. How do you know he's The One? Is he The One? Oh, I think he's The One. If he's not The One, I don't know what I'll do. I'm just ready to find The One and settle down. And then, in the tradition of The Bachelor: Oh, BACK OFF, Sistah - he's not The One for you, he's The One for me. And then, the saddest: I thought he was The One, but I was wrong.

I think the root of all the drama is that so many women look to someone else to validate who they are. Guys tend to let their jobs do this...but many - not all, but many - women look to men. So I wonder if these "desperate" girls who disturbed D. so much are really wanting Cute Doctor Bachelor Guy - or if they just want someone, anyone to deem them worthy of being wanted. Does that make sense?

If we're going to condition girls / women / whathaveyou to always be on the lookout for the handsome prince, to think that their lives won't be complete until they find him, then people like My Husband Who Has Obviously Been In A Cave need not be surprised when girls pull out all the stops to win the prince's heart.

And then fling themselves to the floor when he's not so interested.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Saturday Afternoon Post, Larry King Style

These are random. Bear with me.

1. I spent a chunk of the morning reading this blogger. I learned from my reading that she's a Christian. A funny Christian. We need more of 'em. Even though her views might not necessarily match up with mine and her topics might not necessarily be proclaimed from the pulpit in your local house of worship, oh, she does amuse me. But, if reading a bit of foul language causes you to go into a Tourette-ish tirade OR if it creates a "stumbling block" in your Christian walk, then I implore you: just don't look at her web page. Even though she's got a way with them thar words, her writing might not be for you. And that is O-KAY.

So now that the disclaimers are out of the way (WHEW)...

I feel a certain kinship with her because of her sarcasm and because she waited until her honeymoon to have, ahem, "relations." I think some of y'all will also relate to her pre-marital chastity (among other things) and some of you can pretend to relate to it, JUST LIKE YOU DID IN COLLEGE.

Oh, don't be so sensitive. I kid because I love.

She was also dooced, which should be a reminder to us all to never, ever discuss an employer on the interweb...odds are it won't work out well. However, I couldn't help but think - as I read her story of losing her job and then eventually deciding to stay home with her little girl - that losing that job was probably the best thing that ever happened to her. God often has creative ways of getting us from Point A to Point B...and I'm sure she would appreciate my insights into her life since we're such, you know, STRANGERS.

2. I saw the list of the Top 5 songs in the country this morning, and y'all, I couldn't hum a single one of them if you had a gun to my head. However, I'm hoping it won't come to that. Here's the list, by the way:

Check On It - Beyonce Featuring Slim Thug
Grillz - Nelly Featuring Paul Wall, Ali & Gipp
Run It! - Chris Brown
Be Without You - Mary J. Blige
Stickwitu - The Pussycat Dolls

Feeling sufficiently out of touch now? Except for you, Elise. I bet you know every single one of these songs and sing them loudly in the car with your boys. 'Cause you're hip like that.

3. If you are not watching Drew Lachey on Dancing With The Stars every week, you are doing a huge disservice to yourself and to your family. OH MY WORD the young man is a hard worker, what with mastering the paso doble, jive, and quick step. Now all I'm waiting for is the obligatory People magazine feature story with the following headline: "98 Degrees - and SMOKIN'."

4. For those of you who went to college with me: do you remember that time we were waiting to go into supper and I was imitating some cheerleading move that involved me bending my leg back toward my behind and then hitting that foot with the opposite hand, but I somehow hit it at a weird angle and jammed my finger really, really badly and then Wendi and Marion had to take me to the Student Health Center? I hadn't thought about that in years...but I got very tickled when I remembered it the other night.

5. My baseboards are screaming at me to PUT THAT VACUUM BRUSH ATTACHMENT TO SOME USE, ALREADY.

6. If I only had to hear four words for the rest of my life, "I love you, Mama" would get my vote. Second place goes to "I'll clean for you" with "I'll cook for you" coming in a close third.

7. David got the '06 version of iLife yesterday, and I find myself intrigued. By a computer program! Seriously! It has a feature called iWeb that enables you to design your own blog and then post it to the internet, and I plan to investigate. My biggest complaint about this current BooMama format is that I really need for it to do more. As the posts increase, I need a way to file them, sort them, manage them, etc., and I can see how two or three months down the line it's going to be a little unruly. Also, since I've added Sister's FAVORITE part, the recipes deal, that creates an even greater need for alphabetizing, filing and whatnot. I'd love to have a page just for Boo stuff so that those of you who are understandably nauseated by the volumes of information about him can skip it altogether. So we'll see. If there's one thing I've learned about web stuff, it's that I love me and need me a template, so the whole iWeb thing will be a moot point if it's anything other than mind-numbingly simple.

8. The more I think about it, the more I'm convinced that this is one of my best ideas ever.

9. If you people don't start commenting, I am going to scream. So here's a little commenting update. I initially started the HaloScan commenting to "make it easier," but since that time I've realized that I can make it just as easy with the Blogger commenting set-up PLUS there won't be any ads. Anyway, you'll probably see a change in that regard...and I'm pretty sure that, in the switchover, I'll lose all the previous comments. But since only about 4 of you have bothered to SPEAK UP, I think we'll all live through the transition.

10. As soon as Alex wakes up from his nap, we're heading to Walmart - which means I'll have LOADS of stories for y'all when I come home.

Happy Saturday, y'all.

Eat Him Up, I Could

I don't really have anything coherent to say, so indulge me as I post some recent photos of The Cute One With All The Cheeks.

Quick question: does the removal of clothes and diaper in order to use the bathroom on the floor indicate a certain readiness for potty training? I'm kind of thinking yes.

Friday, January 27, 2006

But Wait, There's More!

I've just been a-copyin' and a-pastin':

Delicious Bloggity Goodness

I wish there were a filing method...but I don't know how to tackle that yet.

I'll add more in the next few days.

Brandie and Elon, I did it for you. :-)

Thursday, January 26, 2006

The Accident Report

One time, when I was in graduate school, my mama invited her extended family over to the house for dinner. I can't remember the holiday. I do remember that after supper we all ended up in what Mama called "the blue den," and there was much talking and laughing and carrying on.

At some point someone asked about Mrs. So-And-So. My aunt started to give the update, and she mentioned that the woman was recently widowed.

There were many "Oh, NO"s and "You don't MEAN"s and general expressions of dismay that Mrs. So-And-So's life had met with such misfortune. You know how we are with misfortune in the South...one part of us can't bear to hear it, and another part of us slides just a little bit closer to the person telling the story, because we don't want to miss a single detail.

Mama was sort of sitting to the side, smiling sweetly, sipping coffee, not saying much.

Things got very quiet, and one of Mama's cousins said, "Oh, that is just horrible! How did Mr. So-and-So die?"

Now I think most of us took that question to mean "what specifically was the cause of death? Cancer? Heart attack? Please do tell us more about his unexpected passing."

But Mama, unbeknownst to us, knew that the man had been in a car accident. So she took the question to a much more specific level than the rest of us expected when she answered it, because here is what she said, without missing a beat, with a smile on her face, with that pinky finger perfectly extended from her coffee cup:

"Head on."

And y'all, there was this pause, and it felt like it lasted for a full five minutes, though I know it was probably 15 or 20 seconds, and we just sat there, not knowing what to do, because poor Mr. So-and-So, he's dead and all, but HAVE MERCY Mama's delivery and timing were just pitch perfect, not to mention that she took a sip of coffee immediately after she said it, like she was Carol Brady standing in the kitchen with Alice, reminding Jan not to forget her lunch. I mean, how in the world do you respond to that?

In our case, you respond with gales of laughter. GALES, I tell you. We laughed. And laughed. We hooted, in fact.

Finally, when the laughter died down, my aunt looked at my mama and said, "I can't believe you said that!"

"Well," Mama matter-of-factly replied, "that's what happened. Mr. So-and-So never knew what hit him."

Couldn't make it up. Not even if I wanted to.

And As A Lovely Parting Gift...

I got an email this morning from one of the pastors at our church asking if I'd cook for an event in March. For those of you who don't know, I have, at some point in the last two years, morphed into my mama in that I enjoy cooking large quantities of food for large quantities of people. It's a fairly insane thing for me to enjoy because it takes a lot of time - and in my life, at least lately, the phrase "spare time" has become an oxymoron - but it's fun to me. I don't know how else to explain it.

The event at church is for adoptive parents and people who are considering adoption. Our church has a really active ministry in this area, finding homes for kids from Guatemala, Ukraine, etc., and this "gathering" in March will give people a chance to learn more about the process and hear from people who have actually navigated all the red tape that's involved.

A couple of nights ago David mentioned that he'd love to have another child if he or she could enter the world at age three. I pointed out the relative impossibility of such a wish, but I'm sort of on board with him because, you know, I'm old. If I got pregnant now, I would be 37 when the second child came along, and while I would love for Alex to have a sibling, I can't figure out how we'd handle the logistics. I especially can't figure out how David and I could tote the new baby around while using our CANES and WALKERS. Because we're OLD.

And I know, I know, that we can trust God to work out all the details if we do have another child, but my word, people, have you not heard me talk about how bone-crushingly TIRED I am? And don't tell me that if I'm so tired then I shouldn't be cooking for 50-75 people, because said cooking gives me precious zone-out time that is actually quite therapeutic and refreshing. I'm weird like that, and I've never contended otherwise.

Anyway, I emailed David to see if the date of the dinner worked for him - because if I cook, then he will have to babysit that night. He wrote me back and said sure, fine with him, but what did I think?

I replied that I'd like to do it, shouldn't be too hard, etc., and then I had a thought:

MAYBE THEY'LL GIVE US A BABY!!!! For cooking all the food!!!!

Y'all - it would be perfect.

No morning sickness, no feet the size of shoe boxes, no hip that throbs with the force of all nature.

Even better, we could fulfill David's desire for a ready-made three year old.

Oh, I believe it to be a delightful idea. I'll cook up some Asian pork tenderloin with delicious sides for the dinner, serve it with a smile, and little Guadalupe will come home with us afterwards.

I'm kidding, of course.

I think.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Blog Blah Blah Blah Blah

I've mentioned to some of y'all that BooMama is the result of David begging and pleading with me to start writing again or find a hobby so that, basically, he could have more time to play Xbox. Oh, he pretended like he had my "best interests at heart" and all that. But make no mistake. There were aliens to capture and rogue armies to conquer, and I was in the way.

However, I don't think I would've chosen to do the exceedingly average writing that is really the heart and soul of BooMama if I weren't such an avid reader of blogs myself. The internet is an intricate little web (yes, I got the pun), and I've discovered lots of little bloggy treasures along the way. Major mixing of metaphors there, but you'll forgive, of course, because you love.

So how did I discover the blogs, you ask? Why, I'd be delighted to explain.

You see, I had a baby. And one of the things the books do not tell you is that the first few months of motherhood are like swimming through Jello. There are happy moments, of course - and I had more than my fair share. But it was hard, and I just stumbled through as best I could. If I managed to shower AND put on regular clothes, it was a banner day. You might think that just reeks of pathetic, but somehow doing those two things made me feel like a real-live person.

It seemed like whenever I would start to feel pretty confident about handling the whole baby routine, hormones would rear their hateful heads and I would turn into a blubbering idiot because something would happen like the candy, why is there candy on the countertop, the countertop is cluttered enough as it is and I don't want acrylic containers of candy on my countertop and oh my Lord please help me because I can't handle ALL THE CANDY.

The biggest problem for me was that when I had a chance to sleep for more than 20 minutes, I ran into a huge wall of insomnia. The words "teetering on the brink of exhaustion" come to mind. All I knew to do was to trust that there were easier days and nights ahead. Which brings us back to blogs (you can sing that line like Julie Andrews, if you like. Go ahead).

One fine May evening in 2003, I tossed and turned until I finally gave up the notion of sleeping ever again in my whole life ever and picked up a book called In Her Shoes by Jennifer Weiner. I read it cover-to-cover in one sitting. Couldn't put it down. At the end of the book I was wide awake, still, and on the back cover I noticed an address for her website, which led me to her blog.

As it turned out, she had just had a baby, too, and as I sat up that night - tired, weepy, feeling vaguely angry though I couldn't explain why - I was comforted by knowing that there was somebody who was dealing with the same stuff. I'm not saying that Jennifer Weiner changed my life. Not at all. I'm just saying that on that night, at that time, her writing helped a little. Even now, when I see a copy of In Her Shoes or an ad for the movie, it reminds me of when Alex was a baby, and I was exhausted, and Jennifer Weiner made me laugh.

Now, three years later, there are six or seven blogs that I read daily, from mamas who chronicle every aspect of their lives to pastors who are starting new churches to lawyers who dissect, among other things, the latest episode of Project Runway. Like Charlene on Designing Women, "I love knowledge; in fact I yearn for it," so I get a kick out of reading other people's opinions and seeing how they put all them words together right purty-like. I don't get why some bloggers use "all that foul language," as Mama would say (in some cases it just comes across like so much sixth grade note-passing - LOOK! a bad word! LOOK!) - BUT, I get that it might be someone else's style, and if I'm really bothered by it, you know what? I can click off of that page in less than one second.

As for BooMama, it is completely off the blog radar except for the tens of you who read it - no "pro bloggers" even know it exists - and I'm not sure if my little Southern life is something to which they could or would relate. I SO enjoy the blogs that I read, but I'm puzzled by the fact that there's not much of a Southern sensibility on the web. Southern women in general and Southern mamas in particular are way under-represented in the blogosphere...I guess it's because we just sit around and shuck corn in our bare feet when we're not birthin' our cousins' babies. Whatever would Ms. Welty say?

I do like to think that if some my favorite blog writers happened to stop by BooMama, they would be open-minded enough to see that while our backgrounds and beliefs might be different, the bottom line is that funny is funny is funny, and humor is the fastest way to common ground. If a woman passes gas in her sister's face, it should crack you up whether you're Christian, Jewish, Muslim, Mormon, undecided or indifferent. If it doesn't crack you up, then there are deep-seeded issues that you need to address in your life, with the first one being to LOOSEN UP, ALREADY.

So consider this post a little public service announcement for blogging. Read some different ones. Start one of your own. Enjoy all the great writing that's out there on the www. Or stay here with me and enjoy some exceptionally mediocre offerings!

And if you run across a good blog, send me the link.

I'll quit the barefoot corn shuckin' long enough to read it. I promise.

Sinner Saved By Grace, Y'all

I just ran down to our favorite grocery store to grab a quick salad for lunch. I was in a bit of a hurry what with time constraints and all, but I got a little excited when I remembered that they have this delicious antipasto stuff (say it like "anti" in "anti-drug," because that's what the guy behind the counter did, but I didn't correct him because he was real sweet and all).

So in line ahead of me is this sweet elderly gentleman who wanted to fix some salad for his wife. He asked the guy behind the counter all kinds of questions, while I'm standing there trying to be patient but thinking about how much more quickly the process could be moving along.

Once Sweet Elderly Gentleman decided on a type of salad, he took the BIG HUGE COMMERCIAL SPOON and scooped out his wife's lunch in little. tiny. teaspoonfuls.

Because I have a dark, sinful, selfish, impatient heart, and if not by God's grace and the power of the Holy Spirit I would violate traffic laws, especially where school buses are concerned, every single day of my life, all the while yelling at people who hold up lines digging for change in their purses or, heaven forbid, writing checks, here is what I wanted to say:


Here is what I actually said:

Nothing. But ohhhhh I wanted to.

I just smiled politely.

And the antipasto was delicious.

Buck Wild

Since Mama is still with us, BooDaddy and I took the opportunity to have a little date night last night. We went to see Syriana, and despite the fact that all I've heard is how confusing it is and that there's no way to understand it, I actually enjoyed it and followed along quite nicely, thank you very much. However, the more I've thought about it today, the more I've wondered if there was some big Message that I missed altogether, given my propensity for overlooking the obvious. Regardless, it gets two thumbs up from us (disclaimer: Sister, you will HATE IT with the fury of a thousand suns, so please do not watch it / rent it / remotely consider it. You will think that it's a bunch of morally compromised people who make bad decisions and shouldn't be surprised when life doesn't turn out like they'd hoped. So STAY AWAY).

Anyway, I called Mama to check on Boo in between the movie and dinner, and here was the update:
- He took his clothes off. Twice. Both times he removed his diaper, and one time he tee-tee'd on the floor.
- He figured out how to dismantle the childproof things on the doorknobs, and at one point, she looked up to find the back door wide open and Alex on the deck. But he was clothed.
- He remembered where David put the clicky-stick that we used to light the birthday candles, and the next thing Mama knew, he was at the counter, trying to ignite the candles on the birthday cake with said lighting device. I do believe child-proofing features would have prevented him from doing undue damage, although look what he did to the doorknobs, so said lighting device is now far, far out of reach.
- He wanted to go for a walk (no surprise there), so he showed Mama around the neighborhood. She said it was the most she'd walked "in years." That child would walk to Tuscaloosa if I would only turn him loose.
- He shouted and waved at every single car that passed.
- Once they got back home and he got a bath, he walked downstairs and proceeded to take off his pajamas. The diaper, however, remained intact.
- He ran, constantly, from the den to the kitchen to the den to the kitchen, all the while shouting something indecipherable.

Alex's Mother's Day Out teacher told me about a month ago that his personality was changing...I guess that means he moved from being extroverted to WAY OFF THE CHARTS extroverted, because he's always been a little people person. He has gotten considerably louder in the last month...all kinds of new noises and EXCLAMATIONS and "OH MY GOODNESS MAMA I CANNOT BELIEVE IT." So his behavior yesterday didn't seem all that out of line - it just sounded like he was more wound up than usual.

And why do you think that was? Could it possibly, maybe, have had something to do with what he had to eat yesterday? You be the judge.

But first, another disclaimer: I'm not complaining at all - my personal belief is that a grandparent has complete rights and entitlements to feed a grandchild whatever he or she desires, barring allergies or health issues, because grandparents are not in the business of being bad guys. Mama was quick to tell me that Alex "kept saying he was hungry." I personally think the young lad saw an opportunity and capitalized on it.

Anyway, here's the list:

- (2) Shipley's donuts (BooDaddy stopped there on his way back from the surgeon's office Monday in a fit of no-surgery glee)
- pancakes - with syrup, of course
- Cheetos - the canister is now empty, my friends
- hot dogs
- (2) 20 oz. bottles of Sprite
- Juicy Juice - I'm not sure of how much but I know there's not a drop left
- birthday cake with chocolate icing

This information, I feel, offers some insight into all the shouting and nudity.

He was aped up on sugar. LOTS of sugar.

Which means, unfortunately for him, one thing and one thing only.

When Mama goes home tomorrow, he starts detox.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

I Kneed To Proof Betr

This post will make no sense at all if you haven't read this earlier one, so you may want to click on the link or scroll down so that you're up-to-speed. As if it's all so linear and beautifully crafted that it actually requires a frame of reference. But anyway.

When I wrote the post earlier this afternoon, I thought it would be a quick little deal because part of the "writing" was copying and pasting from an email. So imagine my surprise when, in the first five minutes after I posted it, I edited it at least 10 times and re-posted the "newer, better" version each time.

I don't understand what has happened to me. I used to be error-free right out of the gate. Now not only do I make mistakes, I do a really poor job of catching them. That simple little post about Sister's trip? It's now in its, I don't know, 142nd round of revisions, and I still see stuff I want to change. It should be "pulls down books," not "pulls books down," but I messed it up in the original email, and with all the James Frey stuff, you just can't be too careful about changing these
things. :-) So I should probably go ahead and cop to the fact that I deleted the name of one of Alex's little friends that I originally had in the email because she was very well-behaved at Books-A-Million and didn't pull down any books at all. Nor did she run furiously. Just covering my bases in case one of y'all runs to The Smoking Gun and says, "She's a fraud! A FRAUD! She changed the facts to suit her purposes!"

Do you see my problem? (you're thinking, OH YEAH, MISSY - I COMPLETELY get that there's a problem). Seriously, I have this odd perfection thing when it comes to writing - pretty ironic when you consider the limited scope of my abilities - and it's driving me a little cuckoo. It should not take a person over two hours to construct a post on pageant memories, of all things. But for me, it does. It takes me FOREVER. I work and work and edit and edit, and then I post it and see 15 things I want to change, so I change them, and then I see an errant apostrophe or a "know" instead of "no," and thus starts the vicious cycle of editing and re-publishing and editing and re-publishing, and I finally just have to throw up my hands and say ENOUGH ALREADY, it's going to have to be what it is...then I walk away, leave it alone, and think about it until I fall asleep.

Oh, it's good to be me. The OCD wheels, they are a-turnin'.

Please Tell Me You Saw This

Did anyone see Rhonda Jones from Greensboro, North Carolina tonight on "American Idol"?

The girl who talked in the squeaky voice and stood outside of her open car door in the parking garage and said, "American Idol, here I come" and slammed the car door REAL hard and then said, "WHOOOO!"?

Because David and I have watched it at least six times and we laugh harder each time and now we're both sort of wheezing.

I'm crying right now. From sheer joy.

My Exotic Christmas Vacation

Right after Christmas, my sister and her hubby went on a FAAAABulous ski trip, as they do almost every year. I should explain that they are two of the nicest people alive, so you can’t help but be happy for them as they travel hither, there and yon. They love to travel, they travel often, and they travel well. Very, very well.

Before each trip, Sister always sends us an itinerary with their flight numbers, daily schedule, hotel addresses and phone numbers, etc. I always file them away In Case of Emergency and all that.

This fabulous ski trip itinerary, though, really reminded me of the contrast between our life and their life. They have season passes for professional hockey games, whereas we have a season pass for “Jack’s Big Music Show” on our TiVo. They go to Keystone. We go to Cold Stone Creamery. They are rested, refreshed and ready for whatever life has to offer, like a couple in a Mentos ad or something. David and I, on the other hand, are exhausted and desperate for a getaway (this thing you call "relaxing." Now, what is that, exactly? It does sound fascinating. We might like to try it).

Opposite ends-o-the-spectrum, we are. :-)

So this was my reply to Sister's itinerary for her fabu ski trip:

My Itinerary
Thursday 12/29/05

Brook Highland Shopping Center, Birmingham
Children's Section, Thomas the Train display
Re-stocking of shelves as Alex pulls books down, then runs furiously.

Mexicali Restaurant
Brook Highland Shopping Center, Birmingham
Choppy conversation with NK interspersed with:
"Want some chips?"
"Don't take the straw out of the cup!"
and finally, "SIT DOWN, Alex - you have to SIT DOWN."

My House, Greater Birmingham
Try not to go into comatose stupor from repetition of Veggie Tales' "Lord of the Beans" and Sesame Street's "Elmo: Babies, Dogs and More."
Trip over toys walking from any given point to any other point.
Cocoon on sofa at 8:00 pm with multiple episodes of "House Hunters" and "Paula's Home Cooking."

Paradise. :-)

Monday, January 23, 2006

Happy Birthday, Indeed

Update: David had his consultation with the surgeon today, and the good doctor - wonder of wonders - doesn't think taking out D's gallbladder is necessary. I won't bore you with details, but the surgeon thinks D. had an infection and that the antibiotics knocked it out. He encouraged D. to get back on his normal diet - albeit a low-fat version - and then shout him a holla if the symptoms come up again.

Okay. He didn't really say to shout him a holla. But it would've been funny if he had.

Anyway, we're both relieved...and hoping that the upper rib fat cancer doesn't return. :-) Seriously, we're very grateful for God's provisions over the last week and a half...and we've been reminded yet again of the beauty of comprehensive medical coverage. Have mercy.

Birthday cake for everyone!

Happy Birthday Party!

BooDaddy's 36th gave us some sweet little memories. Here's one of them.

BooDaddy's Special Day

Alex likes this one episode of "Blue's Clues" where Joe celebrates his birthday. He watches it and screams "HAPPY BIRTHDAY PARTY" at the television - he loves seeing the presents, the cake, the balloons, the whole shebang. I'll stop for a moment while you sing the Ricky Martin song that no doubt popped in your head as a result of the last word in the previous sentence.

Give it your best William Hung, my friends.

Anyway, I think today is going to be particularly exciting for Alex, because we have a little celebrating to do at our house. You see, thirty-six years ago today, my babydaddy was born.

This birthday is going to be especially memorable because David is spending the afternoon with his surgeon! For his gallbladder surgery consultation! Oh, the joy he must feel...joy that is doubled by the fact that he can't eat cake. Or icing. Or those donuts from The Donut Hole in Destin that he's been talking about for four days straight (no kidding - FOUR DAYS).

I feel very blessed that, 8 1/2 years into our marriage, D. and I still like each other. We've worked hard to keep it that way. OH LORD have we worked to keep it that way. :-) It might not sound like much of an accomplishment, but all you married peeps know that the liking is, most of the time, waaaaay more difficult than the loving.

There are some couples who claim that marriage is an effortless, breezy adventure filled with only sunshine and rainbows. We are not one of those couples. But somehow, when problems come along, we hunker down, we argue, we talk it out, and we work through it. Then we laugh. That's the one constant - the laughing. And God. Sorry, God - you should definitely get credit before laughter. You did invent it, after all.

I'm really proud of David. He will cringe when he reads that - he will beg me to delete it - but it's staying and he can't change it because he doesn't know the BooMama password. :-) There are lots of reasons why I'm so proud, most of them too personal to talk about, especially on a blog called BooMama, because that title just reeks of thoughtful prose, doesn't it? But one thing I must mention is that David is an unbelievable father...he gives Alex his time and his heart and his wisdom...and they adore each other. Right now Alex doesn't understand how blessed he is to have the father he has, but one day he will - and he will be beyond grateful to have David in his life.

I know I am.

Happy Birthday, BooDaddy!

We love you.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

"AL...A..BAMA and Alaska Arizona Arkansas"

I watched Miss America today, and I'm telling you...I had no more gotten through Miss Alabama's opening shout-out when I started remembering some of my favorite pageant moments. Guys (say that like Bill Curry does when he's calling a game on ESPN2...don't ever say I don't offer a little something for both of the sexes here on BooMama), you'll have to bear with me on this one, because I doubt you'll recognize any of these memories.

But girls, let's take a trip down memory lane, why don't we?

#5 - Miss America, 1989-ish. Miss Texas did a moving dance routine to Elvis' "My Tribute." And right about the time the King started to sing, "HIS TRUTH IS MARCHING ON," Miss Texas bent over, braced herself with her arms, kicked her left leg up in the air so she was doing sort of an inverted split...and her arms gave way.

#4 - Miss America, 1991. Miss Louisiana CLOGGED HER HEART OUT.

#3 - Miss Mississippi, 1992(?). Honey East...a baton...some steps that got in the way. Honey took a tumble. You know, I've never seen anyone fall down and get back up with such grace. Honey kept those knees together the whole time and never lost her poise.

#2 - Miss Mississippi, 1989-1991. Dana Collins and her puppets. 'Nuf said.

#1 - Miss America. 1988. Marleesa Ball: "Good evening, ladies and gentlemen, I'm Marleesa Ball, a SEN-IOR at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. I also enjoy flying aer-o-planes. However, lately I've learned I can fly higher when singing than I ever could in an aer-o-plane!"

It's also worth pointing out that Merritt's impersonations of #s 1 and 2 are pure. entertainment. gold.

If you have your own pageant memories to add, holla in the comments.

Saturday, January 21, 2006

Oh, It's Because The Trees Block The VIEW Of The Forest

Since Sister was kind enough to point out that the Un Clebens misunderstanding was not exactly - ahem - unusual for me, I guess I'll just go ahead and point out the myriad other ways I unintentionally perpetuate stereotypes of people with my hair color. Well, my hair color back in the day, really. There aren't exactly loads of stereotypes for people with dark blonde hair, although after this post I may inspire a few.

Before I completely humiliate myself, I do feel that I need to remind y'all that I was an English major. Remember? The major where you spend four years looking for all sorts of symbolism and subtext and hidden meaning? And I can do that all day long if I have a poem or novel in front of me. You give me a quote from To Kill A Mockingbird about Scout being on "the treadmill of the Maycomb County School System," and I'll analyze the state of education in Depression-era South and tie it all into the treadmill metaphor. You give me a novel set in Georgia with a main character who lives in an antebellum home, and I can write Lengthy Essays on how the rotting 2 x 4's that are standing in place of porch columns signify the imminent collapse of 1880's Southern culture in general and the main character's family in particular.

I'm not stupid. That's all I'm sayin'.

There have just been a few instances in my life where the obvious has gotten a little sidetracked on its way to my brain.

Case in point: Target. It was only about a year and a half ago when I looked at the Target logo in a Sunday circular and thought, "Oh, I see! It's a target!"

When I off-handedly mentioned my newfound understanding to David - because it was such a revelation to me that I felt like I'd happened upon some information that the rest of the world had simply missed - he promptly stared, shook his head, and hid behind the newspaper. I don't know if he was secretly laughing but didn't want to hurt my feelings or if he simply couldn't bare to look at One So Scatterbrained As I.

But wait! There's more!

When David and I had been married about six months, we were traveling - from Shreveport to Baton Rouge, I think - and in a fit of boredom I pulled out the atlas as David drove. I flipped around, refreshing my memory of state capitals and whatnot, and at some point I came across an illustration of Mississippi and its western border states, Arkansas and Louisiana. I studied it for a minute, and I promise you that a lightbulb went on in my head.

"WOW! The entire western border of Mississippi is the River! It runs all the way down the side!" said the TWENTY EIGHT YEAR-OLD WITH A MASTER'S DEGREE.

D. was floored. All he could manage to say was, "You're kidding, right?" (and by "right," what he really meant was "please please I beg you to be kidding so I can go to sleep tonight with some assurance that I haven't married the dumbest woman alive").

But you see, I wasn't kidding. It had just never occurred to me. Even tonight, as I looked at the map, I stared, for just a second, filled with wonder that the river is the border.

So, just for grins and giggles, here are some more examples of knowledge that required a disturbingly lengthy processing time for me:

The Empire State Building? As it turns out, it's called that because New York is known as the Empire State! I had THAT revelation at age thirty four.

You know The Summit? Here in Birmingham? You may not have realized it, but it's called that because it's at the TOP of a really big hill in addition to the fact that it's the "peak" of shopping! It's true!

Our local CBS affiliate had this deal where they spent the first 5 minutes of each broadcast giving a one-minute update on local news, sports, weather, etc. Their slogan was "It's about time!" I spent four years thinking that it meant "It's about time that someone figured out this clever format." Only this past summer did I get the pun: it's about time, you see, because they give you so much news so quickly!

Get it?

Obviously, I don't.

Nice To Meet You

Earlier today I ran in a convenience store to get a diet Mountain Dew and some pork rinds (NO GRIEF about the pork rinds, you hear me? They are a delicious, crunchy, low-carb treat. Sister's got my back on that one if any of y'all try to make fun).

I walked up to the counter to pay, and while the clerk was ringing up my stuff, she started a conversation.

"I can't eat this kind," she said, pointing at my Golden Flake BBQ pork rinds.


"Naw. They're too greasy."

"Oh. Okay."

I couldn't help but wonder why she seemed so astonished that pork rinds are "greasy," because they are in fact A PRODUCT MADE FROM PIGS, but I let it go.

"Tell you what I do like, though. I like them salt and vinegar ones. I can eat them."


"Aw, yeah. They got a little less sodium, too. I really do watch that sodium."

I thought about pointing out the ironies of watching your sodium and eating SALT and vinegar pork rinds, but not having compared the per serving sodium content of the various pork rind brands, I figured I'd keep my mouth shut and take her word for it.

At this point she was putting my stuff in a bag, and I was just about to walk away from the cash register with my tasty snack treats when she gave me way more information than I needed:

"See, I retain LOTS of water. Have a REAL hard time getting rid of it. You have a good day, hon!"

And now, even two hours later, all I can picture is that woman, sitting behind the counter at the Chevron, retaining more and more water by the second while she eats pork rinds and smokes greasy Virginia Slims.

Happy Saturday, everyone!

Friday, January 20, 2006

Guess Who's Coming To Dinner

Because D. is under the weather, and because I have a HUGE ENORMOUS TON of work to do this weekend - work that I can't do from home - Alex and I are about to head to T'loosa to meet Mama and Daddy and then bring Mama back here to B'ham for a couple of days.

This visit was a complete desperation cry on my part. When I started to think about the deadlines I have next week, and the fact that D. isn't in prime babysitting shape, and the fact that OH SWEET GOODNESS THERE'S NOT ENOUGH TIME THERE WILL NEVER EVER BE ENOUGH TIME, I called Mama to see if she was free for the weekend. Thankfully, she is, so Alex is in for a big weekend-o-fun.

I may even see if she wants to write a guest post. If she does, it will be A Moment For The Ages, because computers and Mama are not, as it were, "tight."

About a year ago David and and my brother-in-law (affectionately known as "Barro") would often meet up on XBox Live and play Halo. Oh, the fun they had. Anyway, one night I was talking to Mama on the phone, and she said, "Well, what's David doing?"

"He's in the basement playing XBox with Barro," I replied.

[Excitedly] "Oh, I didn't know Barry was there for a visit!"

"No, Mama, he's in Nashville. They just have this thing where they can play video games with each other over the internet."




Finally..."NOW, I can't even wrap my head around that. They're playing video games? Over the internet? From separate cities? I just can't believe that. And here I sit, not even knowing how to turn on the email."

You can see why Mama doing a little blog-posting might be outside her comfort zone.

So I'm sure we'll have updates at some point this weekend.

But you know one thing we won't have?


Thursday, January 19, 2006

Miguel, Patron Saint of Three Year Olds

Tonight I went to a dinner for my friend NK, who's expecting her second child in the not-so-distant future. I know that it's mostly my college friends who read this blog thing, so I realize that you don't know NK - but she is our kind of girl. If she had been at State, she would have been our friend, and I daresay we would've run her for homecoming queen. :-) She would have won, too, because she's just that sweet and lovable.

I should also mention that NK is the Cutest. Pregnant. Person. Ever.

But I love her anyway. I'm not even bitter about how cute she is when she's pregnant, despite the fact that I was not cute at ALL when I was expecting Alex. I was, however, very swollen, and I had to use so much BenGay on my aching hip that by month nine David finally banished me to the guest room upstairs, where I would groan about said aching hip and hardly sleep at all, but when I did sleep, I had some MAJOR sleep apnea that no doubt caused our neighbors to awaken in the middle of the night with a great deal of certainty that the killer hogs, they were a-comin'. In my defense, my newborn weighed 10 lbs., 7 oz., so don't you judge me. I was carrying a three-month old.

We planned a little dinner for NK a few weeks ago, long before the words "gallbladder sludge" became a part of our household's daily existence. Over the last 10 or 12 days, NK has probably been the most aware of how David's being under the weather has created a bit of a juggling act for our little family. Nothing major, but chasing a toddler hasn't been very high on D.'s to-do list...because he literally cannot do it.

This past Sunday night NK mentioned that, in a fit of goodwill and questionable judgment, her destined-for-sainthood husband, Michael, offered to sub for D. and keep Alex tonight during the dinner. Alex AND AC, their 3 1/2 year old little girl, whom A. loves very, very deeply.

To sum up, here is what Michael offered to do:

1. Serve supper to a 3 1/2 year old and a nearly-3 year old.
2. Engage in activities with said toddlers.
3. Maintain a reasonable amount of order for the toddlers.
4. Refrain from running into the street screaming "HELP ME, HELP ME, I CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE."
5. Perform all these tasks during the absolute worst time of the parenting day: 5:30 pm until 8:30 pm.

I've got to tell you - Michael did an awesome job. He and the kids played, they colored pictures, they used scissors, they listened to music, they watched movies, they went outside...he really pulled out all the stops. Alex had a blast.

Here are Alex and AC after we got back from dinner (by the way, that's Michael's cool video-game playing chair that AC is in. NK and I were laughing before supper that if David and Michael were in charge of our respective home decors, there would be lots of black plastic and foam employed in the decorative "scheme").

Here's what they did while we were gone. :-) I should probably point out that AC made the orderly, architecturally-pleasing castle of blocks. Alex, on the other hand, pulled out all the books and DVDs into a large, disorderly pile.

Big fun for all.

And Miguel - muchas, muchas gracias. You are, without a doubt, a saint among men.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Welcome to Booma Ma

Tonight I opened the pantry (that seems to be a recurring theme these days), noticed a web address off the back of a box, read it, and had the following conversation with myself:

"Un Clebens? Un Clebens?

What in the name of peace is Un Clebens?"

Pause. Much thought ensued. Looked at box again.

"OH MY WORD - I have lost my mind.


Y'all. Seriously.

Sweet Dreams

Prayers, from Alex, at bedtime:

"Dear God -
Thank you for water
Thank you for milk
Thank you for Beck and Houston
Thank you for stroll
Thank you for house
Thank you for family
Thank you for Cheetos
Thank you for walk
Thank you for cheese
Thank you for Maggie Ally
Thank you for GeoTrax
Thank you for God's heart
Thank you for Daddy
In Jesus' Name -

Aw, We Rollin'

A photo update from yet another daily adventure with The Child Who Enjoys All The Nature.

Strolling is apparently much more enjoyable if you twist your body in such a fashion that you can watch your mama the entire time. And when you're not looking up at your mama through the clear plastic panel, it's also very enjoyable to say things like, "THIS WAY THIS WAY WANNA GO THIS WAY" and "NO WANT TO STROLL, MAMA" and "EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE" and then some noise that's not translatable into letters or words but that sounds sort of like a rooster who has smoked for many, many years.

Anyway, when we made it back to our street, Boo experienced the most thrilling part of his day.

Yes, he visited his good friend Manhole Cover. However, he did take a moment from his jumping to carefully examine the grass. He is pointing out some of the more fascinating aspects of photosynthesis in action, as you can well imagine. The wonders of photosynthesis only held his attention for, oh, 10 seconds, so we moved on to our next stop.

This is the house behind ours. It's been under construction - no kidding - for over two years. I can't even begin to describe it - that's another post altogether - but for the time being, Alex loves to walk through all the big empty rooms and scream loudly. He is but a small speck in the photo because he got so far ahead of me in his mad dash to go inside. After several laps around the outside and trips through the inside, it was almost time to come home.

But not before the dogs walked over and built Alex a campfire. Oh, that Maggie and Ally - they are SO industrious. Even sang some campfire songs. You would not BELIEVE how Ally can harmonize on "Kum Ba Yah." I'm telling you - chills.

I'll spare y'all the pictures I could take if I continued to chronicle our evening: The Changing of the Diaper, The Screaming at the Bedtime, and The Collapsing of the Parents.

But he's a cute little thing, isn't he? :-)

Tuesday, January 17, 2006


I mentioned earlier that I had broken the internet. For some reason, I can't access the site meter...the thing that shows me the map of the US with the pretty red dots that indicate someone in or around a certain city has read something. It also shows what internet providers have accessed the site, but that means about as much to me as &*#O#IHJ#Y@*O does. In other words, nothing at all.

I cannot tell you the level of the anxiety I am feeling. Reading the blog is your connection to me - but the site meter is my connection to you. It's almost like all my friends are meeting somewhere, and I know they're there, but I can't get to them because I'm stuck in traffic. Kind of like the time Merritt and family came to B'ham, and we were going to meet them at PF Chang's, but it took us almost an hour to drive 1/2 mile on 280, and I had to call and tell her that we couldn't make it. Not because we had other plans, but because we literally couldn't get from point A to point B. Only this time point A is BooMama, and point B is the site meter, and instead of 280 it's this internet information superhighway that we all know Al Gore invented. :-)


My reaction to this site meter thing makes me feel like in about a month, I'm going to walk in the door, and David and several friends and family members will sit me down, take the computer away from me, and say, "It's about time you face the facts: you have a problem, and we're here to help you get better."

Is there a site meter detox facility? Can I make crafts and ride horses while I'm there? Can I put on a play like Sandra Bullock did in "28 Days"?

Off to drown my troubles in "American Idol."

Bad singing never, ever disappoints. Even when the site meter has failed you.

Kickin' It With The Stars

I was a part of an email "conversation" today about the State of Television. Several of us (David, Buddy, Andy, Jim) are big fans of "Arrested Development," and we've been a little anxious about whether or not FOX is really going to go through with cancelling it. Jim sent out an email today that indicates the show is nearing its completion - at least on FOX - and there was much grieving and bellyaching as a result. Andy made the sarcastic comment that we could all rest easy because FOX is now showing "Skating with the Stars," and while I pictured the other emailers rolling their eyes and guffawing at the ABSURD notion of watching such programming, I was sitting and thinking, "Yeah, I'd watch it."

So I made a little confession to my "AD" buddies: I TiVo "Dancing with the Stars." I KNOW it's low-brow television. I know that. Andy told me that I am contributing to the overall problem of "[Active Verb]ing with the Stars" television, and he's exactly right (by the way, Andy also suggested that networks consider "Shooting the Stars" or "Will Celebrities Bounce?" as possible new-programming options). But I LOVE me some "Dancing with the Stars."

It's a combination of lots of things, really. The costumes remind me of when I was little and would watch "Lawrence Welk" - except the "Lawrence Welk" girls weren't quite as - ahem - "provocative" as the DWTS contestants. But I love seeing the pretty sparkles and flowy skirts. The guys' costumes are absurd, but I can ignore them because I'm so hypnotized by all the "pretty pretties," as my mother-in-law would say.

And then you have your former-boy-band-member-turned-DWTS-contestant, with a real-life scandal-plagued brother cheering from the sidelines. l'll say no more, except that a small tear came to my eye when I saw Nick Lachey, what with his recent marital troubles and all, standing and clapping for his brother. God love him.

Finally, as I mentioned to Andy, if you were to actually sit in front of the television and watch Master P do the cha-cha, you would set a TiVo Season Pass so quickly that it would make your head spin. I feel a little "connection" to Master P because he lived in Baton Rouge when we did, and it's kind of sweet to see him be really, extraordinarily bad at something like the quick-step or the waltz - but see that he really wants to get better. At BALLROOM DANCING, of all things. I will not go into the things he ALLEGEDLY wanted to get better at when we lived in Baton Rouge, because a great many of those things were illegal. Just rumors, of course. No hatin'. Just appreciatin'. Big ups, P.

Anyway, because God loves me and wants for me to be happy, "American Idol" comes on tonight, and I will watch it in my continued attempts to sustain and support contrived reality television. Today Buddy said, "I personally think reality TV will not bottom out until we see 'Unsweetened Tea or Diet Coke: What Will Buddy Have With Dinner?' debut."

I don't know about you, but I'd watch it.

I Do Believe I've Broken The Internet

I'm having a devil of a time getting links, etc. into today's post. It's a little frustrating because I don't UNDERSTAND any of this stuff...I just click where they tell me to click and hope for the best (and by "they," I mean the little men inside my computer - you do realize that this whole computer thing is in fact controlled by hostile elves, don't you?). Everything is running slow as molasses, but I'm trying to get it all straightened out (those elves are gonna have to PICK UP THE PACE). I would be more specific except for the fact that I don't know the right terms to use, and I would say something like, "I think it's just a matter of getting the HTML code to correspond with the RAM interface," and y'all would laugh at me because I am really. painfully. stupid. when it comes to technical matters.

Thank you for your patience and your patronage. :-)

Monday, January 16, 2006

Roll Call, Sha-Boom, Sha-Sha-Sha Boom

I have to admit that I was a little anxious about letting people - even if it's just family and friends and Buddy - know about this blog thing. It wasn't that anything was so terribly personal - but when you write stuff down and let people read it, you make yourself vulnerable. There's a little tiny part of me that pictured people reading it and then getting on the phone and saying, "Can you BELIEVE she said that? Well, I've never in my life. I've a good mind to call her up and give her a PIECE OF MY MIND." :-)

On the other hand, several (and by "several," I mean "three") of y'all have called and said, "Gosh, it's like reading your diary." But it's soooo not like reading my diary because 1) I do not have a diary, and 2) if I did, do you really think I would put it on the WIDE WORLD INTERWEB?

I guess I think of diaries as being so personal that you hide them from everyone, and, as my friend NK said last night, you "don't know whether to save them or burn them." The stuff I write about here is stuff I would talk to my friends about anyway. If you were ever in my living room during one of our girls' weekends, you would hear conversations on pretty much these same topics. Marriage. Kids. Church. TV. Basketball (at least for Daph and me).

But the really personal stuff - the stuff that you might only tell one other person in the world and then you would tell it with your eyes closed while you curled into a really tight ball - that's diary stuff. That's the heavy-duty stuff. The I'm-not-sure-I'm-happy stuff. The I-can't-believe-someone-did-that-to-me stuff. And that stuff, at least in my mind, is off limits. So if I'm privy to one of your Deep Dark Secrets - have no fear. Your secret is still safe with me.

So maybe the interesting - and I realize that "interesting" is a very, very strong word - thing about the blog, for y'all, is seeing what's going on with us. For me, the initial anxiety has been replaced with a deep fascination - bordering on obsession - to know who's reading it.

What I did not know when I first started the blog is that I could pull up a list of who's looking at it. I can't see your names, mind you - but I can see general locations on a little map of the world. In other words, I get just enough information to be curious, but not enough to know anything specific. I just know that someone in [insert name of town] has read something. Except for the ones of you who have implemented all sorts of privacy features on your computer so that you're the Stealth bomber of the internet and completely unidentifiable.

This morning Alex and I were out for a stroll, and I was thinking about all the cities that have popped up on my site meter. Wait - that's misleading. I was thinking about the SEVENs of cities that have popped up on my site meter, and Greater Jackson, you win. I have no prize to offer, so you'll have to consider it a moral victory. I think I can attribute the abundance of Jackson hits to the fact that E. can't walk past her computer without checking her email and then checking the blog to see if I'm talking about her. Plus, that's probably where the greatest concentration of my college friends are.

But aside from Jackson, the rest of the places are a real Southern hodge-podge. Memphis, Nashville, Tupelo, Birmingham, Meridian - you get the idea. And what I was thinking about when I was walking today was that each one of those places has an emotional component for me. It's not just a random city looking at a random blog. It's my friends - or my friends' friends - caring enough to stay connected, even if it's just for a couple of minutes while you're drinking a cup of coffee and trying not to scream at your children. :-) For me, that's oddly touching. *tear*

So when I see Pennsylvania, it makes me wish LM weren't so far away - and I know she wishes that, too. When I see Louisiana, it makes me wish B and B would go ahead and move back here already. When I see a city in northern Alabama, I know that it's Daph, and it makes me want to call her and see how the freelancing thing is going. When I see a city outside of Columbus, MS, I think "Is that Beth? I bet that's Beth" - but I don't know for sure. What I do know for sure is that it makes me want to know how Beth is doing.

The blog has also taught me that you people are a BUNCH OF LURKERS!!!!! You lurk in the corners of my blog universe and never say a word. See that little "comment" link at the bottom of the post? That's so YOU CAN TALK BACK TO ME. It won't hurt a bit. I promise.

All in all, it's been a fine time so far. I don't know that I'll continue to post as much as I have the last few days, because at some point D. will be cured of his upper rib fat cancer and we will leave the house again. I also have to, you know, work. But I have no doubt that I will continue to multi-task during my television viewing - you might not realize that it's possible to watch "24" and compose a blog entry at the same time, but I can assure you that it is. It is also possible to write and pull an almost-three year old off of the kitchen counter while simultaneously wiping peanut butter off his mouth.

It not, however, possible to write when the almost-three year old is holding a train up to your ear while the train is loudly playing the Thomas theme song. So on that note, I'm done. For now, at least.

Later, internets.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Well, I'm Six Hours Away From A Master's in TiVo

Today I was bemoaning the state of my pantry, and I mentioned that I needed to reorganize it. David reminded me of a little funny from a couple of years ago.

When Alex was born, Mama stayed with us for a couple of weeks. She was a huge help to both of us, and after the first week of helping us settle into the whole baby routine, she turned her attention to housekeeping matters.

This is a good time to mention that if Mama comes to our house without my daddy, she is unable to sit still. And David and I know that we'd better have a large supply of the following on hand:

1. Gain detergent
2. Gain fabric softener
3. Bounty paper towels
4. garbage bags
5. Kleenex

We need #s 1 and 2 because my mama makes laundry whereas mere mortals might see only clean clothes surrounding them. She, however, will spy a stray washcloth or pillowcase that are apparently begging to be made clean again.

We need #3 because she rips a paper towel off of the holder at the rate of one every two minutes.

We need #4 because she makes garbage even more quickly than she makes laundry.

We need #5 because she has never, ever, over the course of my entire life, been without one in her hand.

Anyway, during her new baby stay with us, she apparently did all she could do with numbers 1 - 5, and she was bored out of her mind. So she looked at David and said, "You know, I'd really like to get a hold of that pantry."

He gave her his blessing, and I headed upstairs with Alex to take a much-needed nap.

When I walked in the kitchen a couple of hours later, that pantry was pristine. It was organized logically, it was functional, and it was so attractive-looking that I almost wanted to leave the door open so that visitors could see it.

In short, it rocked.

So David and I bragged and bragged on Mama, thanked her profusely, and basically bowed before her and coronated her as Pantry Queen 2003.

After a few minutes David said, "Mama Ouida, how do you know how to organize something like that?"

Mama replied, "Well, first of all, I love doing it..."

Here's the best part.

"...and second of all, I minored in food storage."

I Know I'm Preaching To The Choir

Alex and I stayed home from church this morning because he has a rotten cold and I didn't want him to share the love with all the other two year olds. Somehow not being at church has made me think about it even more - a sure sign of age, if you ask me. :-) But what I thought about the most is how, for a lot of people, church is the last place in the world they'd want to be on a Sunday morning. And that makes wonder: why are so many people are turned off by churches in general and Christians in particular?

Probably the first answer most people would give is that Christians can be judgmental and intolerant. There's not world enough and time for me to get into that in a blog entry, so I'll address those two things by saying Yes. And Yes.

Personally, I think that part of the problem is that some Christians seem to lock themselves in a vacuum and only come out of said vacuum when they want to completely suck the air out of a room with their complete. inability. to. relate. I know that Christians aren't supposed to be "of the world," but honestly, some people come across like they're not even in it. It seems like pastors struggle with this syndrome as much as anyone. Or maybe I feel that way because they're so visible.

When we lived in Baton Rouge, there was an associate pastor on staff at our church who was obviously very intelligent. And he was a really, really nice guy. But when it was his turn to preach - oh, the agony. It was almost like he came out of his Sealed Chambers of Books to preach, and anytime he tried to relate his message to real life, it came out sounding all stilted and awkward and almost like he didn't understand the words he was saying.

One time he tried to work in a reference about "stopping by a local video store, where one can rent and even purchase films that you don't see in the movie theatres" and I thought I would roll right off of that pew onto the cold, marble floor and have myself a little siesta with my head resting on comfy, quilted kneelers.

Unfortunately, that's the kind of stuff that comes from the pulpit when pastors get out of touch with their parishioners. I don't think it's because they necessarily want it to be that way...it might just be a personality thing. Or a lack of personality thing. Sometimes it's probably because coming out of that nicely appointed pastor's office means they have to deal with all the backbiting and politics that seem to permeate a lot of churches...so they survey the landscape, see what's in store, and walk right back in that study. Where The People can't get to them.

And then there's a problem on the opposite end of the spectrum: pastors who are utterly charming and relatable and approachable but who don't say anything.

There's a very popular pastor who's on television quite a bit, and the first few times I saw him, I was impressed. His delivery was great, he was funny, and he seemed really down-to-earth. The more I watched and listened, though, the more I realized that his sermons had lots of flash but not so much substance. Scripture seemed sort of "tacked on" - almost like an afterthought. And every message focused on some variation of Being Your Best Self. Succeeding in Life. Discovering Your Potential.

His defense for his approach is that his messages are geared to the unchurched. That may be true. But when you're preaching to a room filled with 20,000 people, odds are that there are some "churched" folks in there looking for something to chew on.

Or maybe not. Maybe that's the problem. Maybe we're the problem. Maybe we've settled for watered-down theology and teaching for so long that we can't really gripe about the message or the messenger. Maybe we're just getting what we've asked for.

We have some sweet friends who are leaving their church. Their decision is the result of a lot of prayer, a lot of godly counsel, and a lot of tears. What's been heartbreaking, from our perspective at least, is to see how hard they have tried to make their current situation work. They have been on an emotional rollercoaster...filled with hope that things would get better, filled with sadness when things didn't change.

I wonder if their situation would have turned out differently if their pastor had stripped away the veneer of being "a fine Christian" (and I'm sure he does love the Lord - I don't think that issue has ever been in question) and let his congregation see the real man with real struggles and real problems. Because isn't that really the greatest testimony? To open your life and your heart...to let people see your imperfections...and then let them see that God uses you anyway? That He's actually able to use you BECAUSE of those things?

I think that kind of authenticity is what bridges the pastoral / congregant divide. I think that kind of authenticity is what attracts people to churches. I am so grateful that there are people like that in the ministry. I won't name names *cough* Kevin Wood *cough* :-) - but let's just say that we need more of them.

I usually cringe a little bit when people start the whole "What Would Jesus Do/Drive/Say" discussion because all too often it just reeks of self-righteousness. However, I do trust that most of you know my heart pretty well and understand that "holier than thou" just ain't my thing. So bear with me for just a minute, because really, in a discussion about churches being out of touch, Jesus is sort of the only place to finish it.:-)

Jesus walked with people. All of them. Whosoever. He met them right where they were. He showed them His heart. He taught them Truth. He loved them unconditionally.

Today's churches, I think, would do well to do the same.

Saturday, January 14, 2006

If He Asks For Hot Tea, I'll Know For Sure

I would like to take this opportunity to report what David has had to eat today.

4 teaspoons of coffee with 1/8 teaspoon of skim milk
3/4 of a piece of sugar-free whole wheat toast (that was breakfast)
1/2 cup lima beans (that was lunch)
1 apple
1 piece of baked fish
1 baked potato with mere pats of butter and sour cream
2 tablespoons of English peas
several sips of various juice and / or soda products

At this rate, he'll be 104 lbs. by the beginning of March, and we'll have to stage some sort of intervention because "shhhhh! he's not eating! shhhhh! but he thinks he looks great! shhhhh!"

I know he's in pain, and I know this whole "gallbladder thing" makes it difficult to eat. The "enormous" supper he ate caused him more than just a little discomfort.

But he's making Mary Kate Olsen look like a pure-D hog.

He also read an entire mystery in one sitting, was extremely cold while he read and stayed wrapped in a down throw, and kept his reading glasses perched on his nose for the better part of the day.

Based on all these events, I have come to one conclusion.

Aliens have abducted my husband and replaced him with an elderly British gentleman.

Cheerio. :-)

Mama and The Fish Camp

Before Christmas D. and I went to our hometown to celebrate the holidays with his family. Since their family fiesta was on a Saturday, we went to dinner that Friday night with my mama and daddy. My aunt and uncle were along for the ride, too.

For some reason, when we were trying to decide where to go, it became very clear that we had to have fried catfish, and that means, at least in parts of Mississippi, that you head to "the fish camp."

But the fish camp isn't really the story here. Yes, it took forever to get there, and yes, the fish was delicious, and yes, they served us sweet tea in glasses that held AT LEAST 48 oz. of liquid. There were a few too many cats on the premises for my comfort, because I think the only reason a restaurant would have so many cats around would be to CATCH ALL THE RATS, but other than that, a fine time was had by all on hand.

We had a fairly uneventful ride home; it was mostly filled with updates on people in Meridian. But when we got back to my aunt's house - oh, did the fun ever start then.

I will stop here to offer some critical background information.

My mama is a Terribly Southern woman. She does not go to the grocery store without having her hair fixed, her make-up done, and a well-coordinated ensemble on her back. I was nineteen before I saw her sit down for any extended period of time. For most of my life, she has been on her feet, cooking and cleaning and basically creating a lovely home for her husband and children. If she heard that your third cousin's nephew had a death in his wife's family, she would bake them a pound cake.

But as she's gotten into her seventh decade, she's loosened up a bit, as well she should. She naps - sometimes for hours - in her chair, she'll stay in her (matching) pajamas for an entire day, and she's way more relaxed than she used to be. I think you're going to be really, exceedingly grateful for that last change when you read the rest of the story.

Okay. Back to it.

My aunt (C.) has an SUV with a third seat in the back, and that's where she and Mama were sitting. When we got back to C.'s house, we all filed out of the SUV, and D. stayed nearby so he could help with the unloading process.

So Mama and C. were getting out of the truck, which required squeezing between seats and then ducking down low enough to step out. Mama was first, and C. was right behind her.

Mama got tickled because she sort of got wedged in between the seat and the door with her behind way up in the air, and while D. was grabbing her hand, he laughingly said, "Are you gonna make it? Don't toot!" and Mama got so tickled and D. was tickled and C. was tickled and I was tickled, but D. continued to pull on her arm to help her out of the truck.

And y'all, my mama tooted. She did. Right in her sister's face.

Not like a little "polite" one. It was something akin to the sound of a freight train, warning you to Please Get Out Of The Way before it comes barrelling through your home.

It was almost like David called it into being.

I literally wet my pants. David had to sit down on C.'s retaining wall, and I thought he was going to quit breathing altogether - that's how hard he was gasping for air. C. understandably scooted away from Mama and found a perch at the end of the seat, holding her side while she tried to catch her breath.

Mama fell back on her end of the car seat and said, "WHEW! Oh, David, I've been holding that in the whole ride home!"

Even as I type this, I am crying from laughing so hard.

About ten minutes later, when we finally composed ourselves, D. and I were driving about a block over to pick up Alex from my mother-in-law's house. D. could hardly drive - he was still CONVULSING with laughter.

And when I could pick up the words that were muffled beneath the laughter, here is what I heard:

"Thank you, God, for that. Oh, Lord, I needed that. Oh, God, thank you." He wasn't just being funny - it was completely sincere thanks and gratitude to his Lord and Savior for blessing him with such a Special Gift during such a Special Season.

You should know that before I posted this entry, I called Mama to get her permission. I mean, Lord knows we all have gas skeletons in our closets, and I really don't want to embarrass my mama.

When I asked her if she minded me sharing the story, she died laughing and said, "No, I don't mind - I mean, I was just in such an awkward position trying to get out of that truck and I had been holding it and I just needed some RELIEF! That should tell you how comfortable I am around David. But oh, I think about that night all the time. All the time!"

So do I, Mama. So do I.

Friday, January 13, 2006

New and Improved, for the Twos of You Who Read This Thing

To make commenting a little more user-friendly, I've added commenting to the blog. I'm hoping that now Elise and Tracey and Merritt will speak up and say something. But keep it clean, ladies - this is a family-friendly site. :-)

I have no idea what Trackback is, but it was part of the package. I'm sure it's a terribly useful feature, though.

P.S. from Tracey

Yesterday I mentioned some of the things I overheard while I sat in a hospital waiting room this week. My friend Tracey emailed me with a story of her own - and it cracks me up.

We were visiting Sis’ dad in the hospital and we went downstairs to get something to eat. As we were sitting there eating our dinner, we overheard a woman talking to her family on the phone saying, “you just aren’t going to believe this - Daddy ain’t dead, daddy ain’t dead he has been revised by the respirator - praise god he ain’t dead!!”

The Gallbladder Did Not Occur To Me

After two days of clutching his side and cursing his condition, D. decided to consult a professional in hopes of tracing the origins of his mysterious pain. I wrote in this post about how D. and I put the scientific method through all sorts of rigorous trials to try to figure out the cause of his discomfort.

And since a pulled muscle typically doesn't present (see? I told y'all that I was ON TOP OF THINGS when it comes to medicine...well, actually I've just heard EK and Katy use that term when they talk about Medical Things) with sharp, stabbing pains, it seemed wise to let a more "qualified" person analyze the situation. Maybe even a "doctor."

As it turns out, David's gallbladder has gone into slacker mode and is only half as efficient as it should be. He had some tests done on Wednesday, and Thursday we found out that surgery will probably be his best option. I instantly named about 5 or 6 people we know who have had the surgery (when will you believe me? My mind is a STEEL TRAP filled with statistics, procedures, warning signs, and worst case scenarios). After doing a little bit of his own research, David realized that it's actually a pretty safe procedure that is also incredibly common.

But here is why I love my husband. The thought of someone slicing open his stomach, inserting a tube, slicing open his stomach in another place, inserting a light, and then using the tube to PULL OUT HIS GALLBLADDER doesn't bother him. Not the least little bit (keep in mind that this is the same person who watched my c-section as if it were the 1999 Egg Bowl. While I was in the recovery room, D. went all play-by-play on me, basically re-hashing how the doctors pulled out various innards and organs, laid them on a table, and then "they just shoved it all back in there!" Which did not inspire any confidence at all that I would ever be normal again).

No, what bothers him is the list of foods he'll no longer be able to eat.

The list goes something like this: no more cold foods, white flour, white sugar, acidic foods, fried foods, or caffeine.

D. looked at me after reading the list and said, "WHAT ELSE IS THERE?"

"Well," I replied, "there's grilled meat, whole wheat flour, Splenda, caffeine free diet Pepsi - there will be stuff that you can eat."

"Mmmmm...a cake made with WHOLE WHEAT FLOUR and SPLENDA - doesn't that sound DELICIOUS?"

When he had his initial doctor's appointment, the nurse asked him if he had been following a low-cholesterol diet.

"Not exactly," he replied.

When she tried to dig a little deeper about his eating habits, he finally confessed, "I like things like country fried steak and rice with a pan of homemade gravy."

But no more.

Until the surgery, it'll be broth and Jello for all! And after the surgery it will be foods that aren't cold, sugared, caffeinated, floured or fried.

With a pan of gravy on the side, of course.

Thursday, January 12, 2006

We Do The Best We Can, People

Your child would look like this, too, if you left the house this morning with the new box of diapers in the back of your car (the box of diapers that should have been in the house because the previous box is, you know, empty), and your husband, who has upper rib fat cancer and is in a great deal of pain and has no intention, no intention at all of leaving the house, finds something, anything to take the place of a diaper.

I'm actually very relieved that D. found the Swimmers. I had visions of him having to take a towel and secure it around A.'s waist with rope or something. Like ye olden days.

A. has no clothes on because the first Swimmer had a bit of a leaking problem, and D., due to pain from upper rib fat cancer, just didn't have it in him to dress the child one more time.

Apparently, however, a life with no clothes and a faux diaper suits the young lad...he actually fell asleep on the couch in the middle of the day.

And he had a brand new box of diapers waiting on him when he got up from his nap.

Clothes, too.

'Cause we're fancy like that.

All That's Missing Is Moonshine

You may think I'm kidding, but this is an actual picture from an actual article in today's Meridian Star. The article next to the picture informs the reader that the couple in the center had "a mock shotgun wedding" on December 22, 2005. And they took it to a whole new level by having the father of the bride actually HOLD A SHOTGUN in the picture.

I can't tell if the bride is expecting or not, but since they admitted before God and everyone - in the newspaper, no less - that they had a shotgun wedding, well...I'm just sayin'.

Those of you who know me understand that I'm not being catty or judgmental when I analyze this picture. I love these people. I'm fascinated by these people. I want for them to invite me to dinner and tell me their stories, and I want, more than anything, to attend their weddings.

This picture is yet another reminder that there is a completely separate South from the one in which I live. I love to visit The Other South from time to time - but, truth be told, I forget about it here in the land of soccer moms.

The Other South is the one news reporters like to feature after tornadoes and other natural disasters (I'm thinking of Elise and Tracey's story of a man talking about seeking shelter in a culvert and consequently losing his leg). And honestly, I think if I were a reporter I'd interview people from The Other South, too - because they're just much more entertaining than the rest of us.

A few years ago, after a series of tornadoes here in the Birmingham area, one of the local news stations interviewed a woman who lost her home. They inquired about the well-being of her relatives, and she mentioned that her mother had passed away during the storm. Very sad. And then they asked if she had found her brother, and she said, "Oh, yeah, I found him."

"Where?" asked the compassionate reporter.

Gesturing with her head, she matter-of-factly said, "Dead, over yonder in that ravine."

I know. It's sad. But gosh dog it's funny.

It's not funny that she lost her brother. It's funny that she felt no need to sugarcoat the issue, no need to beat around the bush. THAT's the part of The Other South that I adore.

Yesterday D. and I were at a hospital here in B'ham because he was having some tests done, which basically means that I sat in a waiting room for three hours and listened to other people's conversations.

I had forgotten how hospitals really attract an almost surreal cross-section of the human condition. Because we live in suburbia, I am sometimes a little culture-shocked when I see Real Alabama in action. Culture-shocked, but totally, 100% entertained.

Here's what I learned yesterday at the hospital, because these were the things people were talking about in LOUD voices, ACROSS rooms, while anyone who wanted to hear could just tune right in:

1. One elderly woman had twins "and they died" because she has a blood vessel wrapped around her kidney.

2. Another woman, from Talladega (and it's pronounced "Tal-ah-deeeeega," not "Tal-a-day-ga"), was there with a friend who is "eat up" with cancer and was "having some fluid drained."

3. The woman who is "eat up" with cancer couldn't in fact have fluid drained because "I just had a cup of fluid in my side, and that's not enough."

4. The woman from Talladega doesn't like her grandchildren and hopes her children don't move nearby because she "ain't gone keep 'em."

5. They should've done a PET scan (I don't even know what that is) on the cancer victim from Talladega because "them CAT scans don't catch nothin'" - but "them PET scans will flat find some cancer."

The Other South, my friends, is alive and well.

I wouldn't have it any other way.