Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Idol Re-Cap: 10 Female Finalists

I thought I was going to be TV superwoman tonight and cover AI and The Amazing Race before I went to bed, but that is THREE and ONE HALF HOURS of television, so the Race will have to wait until tomorrow.

By the way, I'm blogging as I watch AI - I love me a laptop.

Katharine McPhee - Gorgeous, rich voice...but I think she needs to do something more up-tempo. This week was too much like last week's "Since I Fell For You." What I do like so much about her is that she's subtle...not trying to win a screaming contest. Most puzzling? Her wardrobe - pedal pushers and a maternity-ish top.
Kinnik Sky - Odd choice of a Gretchen Wilson song - plus, she still sounds like a Miss Florida contestant. I think the most telling detail is that she'd been singing for about 30 seconds when I asked David, "What's her name again?" She just looked like someone who was out for a night at the karaoke bar. Excellent call by Simon that it was "a theme park performance."
Lisa Tucker - Gosh she's poised for a 16 year old. I guess my problem is that I can't stand the kind of song she sang (I am not, in general, a fan of R&B unless Ike and Tina are involved). In terms of performance, she seemed decidedly average.
Melissa McGhee - Much to my surprise, though she's not great, she's the best of the first four tonight. I think the sassy Reba tune suited her. (I'm listening to Randy right now, who seems to agree with me). All that being said, she seems more like a lounge singer than a star. (By the way, David and I are sick of Paula interrupting Simon all the time. It's rude.)
Heather Cox - Mariah Carey's "Hero." Her performance would be perfect for the end-of-year show choir showcase at your local high school. I'm a little puzzled as to why she's even in this competition. She's not a very, um, strong singer. Next to go, I predict. (Hey, they've split up Paula and Simon - literally changed Paula's seat.)
Brenna Gether - I hate hate hate the song "Last Dance." HATE IT. Couple that with the fact that the person singing it tonight is terribly unlikeable (but yet seems to think she's funny), and I'm bored before she even starts to sing. She does sound better than last week, but she's just so incredibly unpleasant that I'm ready for her to leave.
Paris Bennett - "Wind Beneath My Wings"?!?!? So very Beaches of her. Y'all, this song is not just tired - it's exhausted, and someone needs to put it out of its misery. So I really don't care how Paris sounds (which is just "aight," for the record), because I DESPISE THIS SONG WITH EVERYTHING IN ME. WHY OH WHY would someone voluntarily sing it? (As it turns out, because her great-grandmother likes it - which speaks volumes. Volumes.)
Ayla Brown - Okay, she's a little too earnest for me. She's singing some Celine Dion song, but I don't care, because once again - SHOW CHOIR. The song is called "I Want You To Need Me" - and David just said it best: "Well, we don't, Ayla."
Kellie (Dawn) Pickler - "Let's Give Them Something To Talk About" - perfect song for her. Sort of country, lots of attitude. First person all night who has made my foot tap a little bit. I said it last week - she's just so easy to like that it makes you root for her. She's about THIS big - adorable. Her hair is really cute, too. I like her. I've decided that she's a Southern Elle Woods. "Pick Pickler," y'all. "Pick Pickler!"
Mandisa - "Cry" by Faith Hill - and girl, she gave it some ATT-I-TUDE. I love that it doesn't sound like Faith's version - it sounds sassier and earthier. Best of the night - no doubt about it. I LOVE HER.

All in all - a disappointing night. I felt like I was watching a talent show on a cruise ship - nobody came across as a legitimate performer, except maybe Mandisa. Hope the guys fare better tomorrow night.

Should go:
Heather Cox and Brenna Gether
Will go: Heather Cox and Kinnik Sky
Wednesday night: Guys' top 10 - go, Taylor!


Without a doubt - lamest title ever. I do hope you'll read this anyway.

Tonight marks the season premiere for one of our household's very favorite shows in the history of all television: The Amazing Race.


It's just a matter of priorities, really. And two TiVo's.

I'm particularly excited about this season because it marks a return to the regular, two-person-per-team format. Back in the fall, CBS experimented with a family format, and it was a disaster. I gave up, in fact, after the second episode - it was just too hard to try to keep all the people straight and to listen to all four family members talk at once. Plus, since there were small children involved, they restricted the race to North America, and basically, well, it stunk. If I'm going to watch people race around the globe, I don't want to hear little Kaitlyn whine about how her feet hurt and she wants a juice box. I want COMPETITION. Not to mention that when you take away jet lag and subsequent attempts to navigate foreign countries' rail systems and airports, you take away half the fun.

I have contended for some time that my sister would be the Best. Race. Contestant. Ever. She is a savvy traveler, never intimidated by her surroundings, and always up for an adventure. I have several friends who have tried out for TAR and not made the cut, but I do think that if my mother-in-law and I tried out together, we would immediately be selected because of her tendency to say everything in threes.

Just picture Martha in India: "Now, sugar, where DID you get that burkha? Oh, honey, it is ADORABLE. Cute. Cute. Cute. Did you SEE that? Oh, S., did you SEE that? Did you SEE that? I have GOT to get Mother one. That color will be so PRETTY with her eyes. Pretty. Pretty. Pretty. "

And then I'd say, "Martha, you do NOT need a burkha. Sissie is NINETY-FIVE. SHE does not need a burkha."

And she'd say, "Oh, I have to have one. We can't get these in Meridian. You know, we don't have anywhere to shop there. I mean, we have a Dillard's and a McRae's, but I think they just send the leftovers from all the other stores there because one time, Rubena and I were looking for suits, and I wanted a sort of periwinkle one and it had a darling collar because the button came up right under my collarbone, and Rubena found her size, because they have lots of her size, since she's bigger than I am, but of course they didn't have my size and you know I have to get the sleeves taken up on EVERYTHING..."

And then the camera would cut to me, with my eyes rolling back into my brain, banging my head against the side of some poor Indian man's kiosk, while Martha continued to tell the man, who doesn't speak her language, about the deficiencies of the Susan Bristol section at the McRae's department store in Meridian, Mississippi.

Because he would of course be terribly interested.

It would make for some mighty good television, I'm telling you.

Anyway, I know we have Idol tonight - and I'll be watching that, too - but if you are technologically able, find a way to see both.

It'll be double the bloggy fun for all of us.

Monday, February 27, 2006

God Bless Him - OH, God Bless Him

Well, color me surprised.

Dr. McHottie (better, Daph?) picked Sarah, the sweet girl from Nashville. The nice girl finished first.

I have to say, I sensed a little chemistry between them tonight. They didn't start off hot and heavy, but I think their friendship honestly grew into something deeper, and well, I could sort of relate to that. :-) I also very much appreciated that his mind was made up long before he handed out the final rose - it gave me some faith in his character.

Y'all, she's SWEET. She's genuine. She's Southern.

And I actually got a little teary-eyed when he was talking about Sarah right before she got out of the limo. I think he respects her, which is very refreshing in this age of hoochie-mamas. His smile was HUUUUUGE when he saw her.

I'm so proud that he picked up on the signs of t-r-o-u-b-l-e with Moana. And can we talk about the breakdown in the back of the limousine? The word "unstable" comes to mind. I loved his brother-in-law's perspective: "it's not a matter of who has fallen hard for you - it's a matter of who you want to be with."

Moana's parting remarks? "You'll always have a piece of me that I can't ever get back." Did you hear the music in the background? It was like something from a psychological thriller, where the spurned woman is sitting outside her ex's house, waiting to ram her car into his when he gets near the driveway. It had the faint sound of knives being sharpened in the background. I'm telling y'all - Travis Stork better get an unlisted number ASAP and leave NO forwarding address when he leaves Nashville. Because Moana? She will hunt him down.

But last thing. Ring on a necklace? CHEESY. I believe that Carrie Bradshaw and Aidan broke up over this very issue. Either say, "I want to date," or "I want to get married," but not "With this ring, I thee commit to getting to know you better."

Sister, would you get your sources to ride by his house tomorrow and see if Sarah's there? I need LOTS of details.

Moana, She Is Troubled

Okay - I'm only about 45 minutes in to The Bachelor - and I wonder: why does Moana seem to feel like love is a weakness? Why does she think it's "intense" for someone to ask her what she sees in a man who she has this "unbelievable connection" with? I don't understand. I mean, Travis' sister said, "What is so special about my brother?" And Moana said, "It's not in my character to answer something like that."



BooMama: All Science, All The Time

Today I had the unexpected opportunity to hear Dr. John Lennox speak. Excuse my limited vocabulary, but he is, well, realllly smart. A professor of mathematics at Oxford (in England, not Mississippi). A world-respected scientist. A textbook writer. And above all these things, a believer.

The theme was the universe and God's role in it. Now you tell me - what are the odds of me, Science Doofus of the Free World, a person who would never knowingly go into any lecture that involved scientific concepts, hearing two talks on science and God within five days? And being interested?

Anyway, I looked up Dr. Lennox after I heard him speak, and I happened to run across something from All Saints Church in Chevy Chase, Maryland, where the priest actually used some of Dr. Lennox's remarks as a springboard for his sermon. I dig it, so I'll share it (just an excerpt):

"When you ask the question of how will God come, you are told of the central expectation of Christianity, that Jesus Christ Himself will come, He who loved us, He who freed us from our sins. He is coming. Jesus Christ Himself will come.

And you say, 'You’re a mathematician.' That’s right. Or, 'You’re a scientist from Oxford.' That’s right. 'Do you seriously mean to tell me that in the 21st Century that Jesus Christ will one day come?' I do, ladies and gentlemen. I do.

After all, it stands to logic that if Jesus Christ, the Son of God, is risen from the dead, how is it that we think we have heard the last of him? The one who invented the atom, the human brain, who painted every color there is…how is it that we have heard the last of him? [emphasis mine because I love that]

There is another world and it’s real. This world is not the only world there is, and the issue that confronts us today is not which world do we live in. That’s obvious. We live in this one. The issue is which world do I live for?

...Imagine I were to come to your home for lunch and you put there a beautiful steak and I eat it and you try to talk to me and I don’t say a word. It would be difficult after awhile. I’m enjoying it, you’re talking and I’m eating. You go into the kitchen and you bring apple strudel (which I love by the way,) and then you put it on the plate and I eat it. You put on my favorite CD and I still don’t talk to you. Finally, at the end, angry, you say, ‘Don’t you see I’m here?’ and I turn to you and say, ‘The music is wonderful. The food is beautiful, but as for you, I’m not interested in you. In fact, it doesn’t matter to me whether you exist or not.’

There are millions of people in our world today who are exactly there. When it comes to God, He stands. He stands at the door and he knocks. The handle is on the inside, on my side. I can invite him in to eat with me and he with me, and enter the relationship of life that has sustained my life, my marriage, for the past 40 years. Or, I can live for the by-products of life and end up disastrously missing the goal. These are the biggest things in life."

As Elise says..."if that don't light your fire, your wood's wet."

The man who has arranged Dr. Lennox's speaking tour said that when they were in the car this morning, Dr. Lennox mentioned off-handedly that C.S. Lewis was one of his professors in college. The guy nearly slammed on his brakes. Dr. Lennox looked at him and said, "Oh. Do you think that might be of some interest to the audience?"

And the guy said, "Um. Yeah. I think I'd mention that if I were you."

Can y'all imagine?

(In the irony department, despite all my theological talk of the last few days, come 8:00 tonight BooMama will return - at least temporarily - to its All-Bachelor, All The Time format. I don't want to beat the theological horse to death, after all.)

I Told You So

Remember the part of my post about Emma Kate when I said that she usually encourages me with examples from the Old Testament and I can hardly pronounce the names?

As proof, I give you a portion of today's email from her:

"I believe that during college, and also now, you and I were like Aaron and Hur when they were helping Moses hold up his arms so the Amalekites would be defeated. Joshua was fighting hard, but the battle would only be won if Aaron and Hur helped Moses when he became fatigued. Our faith walks are full of wonderful ups and downs. It is during the latter that it is so important to lift one another up and bridge the gap."

Now did I tell y'all the truth or what?

Broke the mold after He made her, He did.

Thanks, EK.

"O" Is For Obsessed

Alex seems to be taking in information at a rapid pace these days, and I find myself thinking, "WAIT - how in the world do you know THAT?" And please know that this is not one of those "oh, my child is so smart" write-ups, because I have no idea if Alex is smart or not, but if I had to wager a guess right now, I'd probably say, um, huh? I think he'll be capable, and I think he'll have some common sense, but smart? I just can't tell. He's TWO, you know?

I recognize that my friend NK's older daughter is smart because she can pretty much factor algebraic equations at age 3 1/2, and I knew that Merritt's little boy was smart when he quoted Astounding Facts About Dinosaurs when he was only 4, but Alex, not so much. It seems to me that what Alex is doing right now is taking the fast track around the Catch-Up Curve. I'm pretty low-key about Alex's academic future, really, because I never want to be one of those parents with unrealistic expectations...I figure it's better to expect average, and then anything above and beyond is a happy surprise.

Mother Of The Year, ladies and gentlemen! Spurring my child on to greatness!

So anyway, Alex is currently obsessed with five things. No, six: 1) trains 2) Blue's Clues 3) Cheetos 4) planets 5) letters and 6) numbers.

I've talked about the train thing a little - nothing to tell, really, because as best I can figure it's just watching a little car go around a track or pushing a little car around a track and I'm bored with it in, like, six seconds and looking around his room for a book or magazine or something. Alex and his daddy can watch / play for hours, however. I don't get it.

As far as Blue's Clues goes, he seems to prefer the ones with Joe, not Steve, and that's fine with us, because Steve, especially in his later episodes, gives off a distinctive air of OH SWEET MERCY I HATE MY LIFE SOMEBODY PLEASE OH PLEASE GET ME OUT OF THIS ANIMATED NIGHTMARE. So probably better for Steve that he moved on to bigger pastures and a brighter future.

Cheetos - well, I don't think I even have to explain that one, especially considering the sheer volume of Cheetos I ate when pregnant. They're in the child's DNA - he can't escape his Cheetos-eating destiny.

The planets thing seems pretty routine. Once or twice a day he insists that we put this puzzle together:

And then he screams - SCREAMS, I tell you - the names of all the planets while he points at them and jumps up and down. This exercise usually results in my having to put the dogs outside because they get so disturbed by the high volume of the toddler voice. Sometimes I want to go outside, too, but I can't really do that without the authorities getting involved - something about "abandonment" or "negligence" or some such nonsense. So I just cover my ears.

Which brings us to numbers and letters, and the part where he's scaring me a little.

As far as letters go, we're just now pioneering that frontier. Last week he got fascinated with this letter board that Janie gave him...it has pictures of objects on one side, and the first letter of the object on the other. And all the pieces spin, as an added bonus. He's caught on pretty quickly, but now EVERY TIME he sees a word, we have to go through the whole thing: "That's an A, Mama! That's a P!" and by the time we get to the "E" in "apple" and I've encouraged appropriately after each letter discovery, I know beyond a shadow of a doubt why I am not an elementary school teacher. It IS a very sweet time, though, to see how excited he gets over an "H" or an "R" - especially since Clueless Wonder Mama here didn't know that he'd be able to do that before he turned 7. As a result, my den usually has some assortment of these on the floor:

And trust me when I tell you that we cover every. single. letter. Every. single. day.

Then the numbers. A few weeks ago he started counting everything: lemons, pens, shirts, letters on shirts, candy, sippy cups, and I did encourage the counting by pulling out all the books that have to do with numbers so that he could count up a storm. He's been saying his numbers up to 20 for about a year, I guess, and really, I thought that was all he would do until, I don't know, kindergarten? Honestly, I never knew or expected that children could count objects until they were in some form of math class (did I mention that I'm up for Mother of the Year?). Best I can figure, his Mother's Day Out teachers have taught him some counting tricks. So hoorah for them. Money well spent.

For the last couple of weeks he's been recognizing numbers when they're in print - "that's a 2, Mama," or "hey, that's a 5," and I thought that was a good developmental milestone. But Saturday, he ventured into unexpected territory. We were in the car, listening to a CD of Veggie Tales songs, and he said, "Hey, Mama, I wanna hear 6."

I sort of shook my head a second - "What, baby? You want to hear what?"

"I want to hear 6."

OKAY. Why did none of you "friend" people warn me about this day, this day when he would suddenly associate the number on the CD player display with an actual song? I didn't know he could do such a thing, and I thought I had at least three more years of peace in this area (is it painfully obvious that I have no child development background whatsoever? Merritt, would you like to chime in about this?).

I guess I've been running the occasional scam, because while A. has been requesting specific songs for a year and a half, if I couldn't bear to hear "God Is Bigger Than The Boogie Man" one more time, I could say, "Oh, it's not on this CD. How about [fill in blank with name of something that won't make me drive my car off the side of Double Oak Mountain]?"

But the jig, it is up. He gets the CD numbering system. Now he'll ask for 8, then 15, then 4, then 7, and the requests, they will never stop. And I can't get around them anymore because he can "read" the numbers - he can see them on the little LCD screen with his very own eyes, and I can't say, "there's not a 2," because he understands how numbers work.

In conclusion, I would like to say that learning, it is overrated, and I will be emphasizing sports and social skills from this day forward.

And y'all know I'm kidding, but...help?!?!

At Which Point Maggie Longed For Ye Olden Days

What you can't hear is Maggie going, "GRRRRR! GRRRRR!"

The picture may look sweet and all, but the love? Totally one-sided.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

He's Pretty High On My List, Too

This morning Alex and I were sitting on the bed watching Blue's Clues, and he tilted his head, looked me straight in the eyes, said, "Mama, you're my favorite," and then he threw his arms around my neck and buried his head beneath my chin.

And I'm not positive, but I'm pretty sure that my heart exploded right there on the spot.

I should probably point out that he didn't specify what kind of favorite I am - favorite mama? favorite friend? favorite co-watcher of Blue's Clues? favorite person wearing a blue shirt? favorite person sitting on the bed? - but the whole thing is much sweeter if I pretend that he meant Favorite. Period.

Think he's in the next room telling his daddy the same thing right now?

Probably. :-)

Because We're All About The Science Here At BooMama

Yeah, whatever. But I did want to up the science ante a little bit today.

I've mentioned, oh, 647 times that D. and I saw a great concert this past Thursday night. Around the middle of the show, Louie Giglio talked for 45 minutes or so (I wasn't timing him with my stopwatch or anything - that's just a guess) about what "God of the universe" really means. He addressed how we tend to see God as just a wee bit larger than life, but if you look at the scope of the universe, the vastness of His creation, you can't help but be awed. There is no way for simple-minded me to do his message justice...I just want to share one little part of it with y'all (and since the tour is over, odds are you won't get to see him deliver the message in person).

Now I have NEVER been a fan of science. Physical science, biology, chemistry - didn't like any of it. I liked physics a little bit more, but it was math, really - it actually made trigonometry seem useful, and I didn't think, when I was in high school, that trig could EVER be useful.

But as Louie (Mr. Giglio? Dr. Giglio? LG? I don't know what to call him, seeing as how we're not, you know, buds) talked the other night, I was fascinated. It was so logical but so creative at the same time. He took us through various points of the universe and managed to put it all in perspective through some creative analogies (I didn't feel like my head was going to explode or anything, which is to the great credit of my pal Louie's teaching techniques).

Alex loves planets - loves to name them all, loves to see pictures of them, loves to talk about them. So that may be one reason why this topic resonated with me...because I knew that I could show these pictures to A. and talk to him about God's creation. Even as I showed him some of the pics this morning, he was shouting, "It's Uranus, Mama! Uranus!" and I hear y'all giggling, so just stop it right now. He's TWO - he doesn't get the joke quite yet.

ANYHOO, at the end of the sermon? talk? speech? (words are failing me today), we saw this example. It's 28 million light years away from earth, which, as best as I could understand, is, um, really far away (he actually had an example to help us realize exactly how far away it is, but I can't remember it right now). So here's the Whirlpool Galaxy (photos courtesy of www.hubblesite.org/gallery/):

My homes Louie (really, I have no idea what to call him) said that scientists were blown away by the discovery of this galaxy, and while initially they thought it might consume the separate galaxy that you see to the right, they actually are millions of miles apart. So they're pretty much huge. All those little red dots you see are stars waiting to be born (billions of them, in fact), and while there were all other sorts of nifty science factoids about this galaxy, I think you'll be most interested in what's at its core.

The Hubble telescope is apparently a pretty handy piece of machinery, because it was actually able to take photos of the very center of the whirlpool. Here's what it found (and you can link directly to this photo here):

Pretty cool, huh?

Scientists call this discovery "The X Structure" - but, um, freaky, isn't it? A friendly little reminder from God, maybe? Personally, I think it's a big ole "HEY PEOPLE, I MADE ALL OF THIS!"

Just thought I'd share. Since Alex was interested, I figured some of y'all (and your young'uns) might be, too. If you have any questions, please direct them to, you know, a scientist, or to Louie Giglio, because I will be of no help at all.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

At Which Point Ally Longed For Ye Olden Days

Because really, for her, life was so much simpler before we had The Toddler:

Enough About Me, Part IV

I write this one with the disclaimer that I'm going to have to take a break from these "friend posts"...I still have four or five more people I want to write about eventually, but 1) I don't want to burn y'all out with the "You shoulda been there" stuff and 2) I have a TiVo full of programming that's begging for my attention (it takes me a long time to write these posts - which is pretty pitiful considering, you know, the results). David said just a second ago that I'm so far behind on all my shows that I just need to give up on TV and wait for next season, but I am NOT a quitter, oh no I'm not.

All that being said, here goes:

7) Emma Kate - Now EK would tell you that the fact that she's #7 is significant what with it being a holy number and all. By the way, David and I have had many laughs about what practical jokes I could play on EK when I finally wrote about her, with my favorite being his suggestion to say, "EK - y'all already know how sweet she is, so I don't need to say anything else," and then we would count the minutes until my phone rang and I heard EK saying, "Now, Missy, I'm not sure exactly what you have up your sleeve, but I'm not particularly fond of this little joke you've cooked up on the blog, and I suggest that you just head right back to the computer and try again."

Because EK, you see, is SASSY. OH, she may fool some of y'all who mainly see her sweet side (which is very real and genuine), but Miss Thing is increasingly confident not only in her opinions but in her willingness to share them. After she had the twins she went through a year where she basically had no opinions and I got a little frustrated because it was hard to have a conversation with her. However, one day in April of '03, she called me and said, "I haven't been myself for the last year or so, but I'm back, and I want everyone to know it." And the opinions, well, they've been a-flowin' ever since.

EK and I met when we were freshmen in college - I have a vague memory of being at JC Garcia's with her and our Chi O big sisters, but we didn't really get to know each other until we were sophomores and were sort of thrown together as roommates second semester. I loved her to death before we lived together, but I didn't really know her...I just knew that she was a really strong Christian, had very deep faith, and had never touched even a drop of alcohol in her life. I hadn't, um, either, um, of course (ahem. a-HEM).

Most of you know that I grew up very, very Methodist, and EK grew up very, very Baptist. So while I had all these touchy-feely notions of God being all about grace and hope and peace and mercy, EK had a foundation of Bible drills, altar calls, and All-Powerful God (side note: growing up, I never heard the devil mentioned in a single sermon that I can recall. There was no talk of him in my hometown church, so to me the devil was sort of "the devil" - you know, the bad guy with horns, a pitchfork, and tail - but no kind of threat, really, because didn't you hear the part about all the grace and hope and peace and mercy?). Anyway, I'll never forget that EK and I talked on the phone over Christmas break, right before we were going to be roommates in January, and she told me this long story about a high school friend of hers who had an experience with some spiritual warfare and whatnot, and when I hung up the phone, I thought, "Okay, so that's a WHOLE different perspective than what I'm used to...this living situation is going to be an eye-opener for me."

I can honestly say that since that rainy January day when we moved into the Chi O house, the main thing that has been "eye-opening" is that EK has loved me unconditionally and selflessly. It caught me off-guard how openly EK encouraged me and looked after me and pretty much thought I was the cat's pajamas...she would laugh at every thing I said, compliment me for no reason at all, and basically tell me how wonderful I was just because I liked to change my sheets every Monday. I'm a tad sarcastic, as most of you know, so EK's pure encouragement - with no motive behind it at all, no hint of cynicism or irony - was a revelation to me.

EK, as long as I've known her, has never waivered in her faith. The verse in the Bible about "hold[ing] unswervingly to the faith you profess"? That's EK. She has never, ever compromised. When we were roommates, she had a verse on the bulletin board above her bed that said, "For me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain," and I used to wrestle with that verse a lot in my head (keep in mind that I didn't have a very strong theological background). I just didn't get it - I thought that the sentence structure was confusing - I mean, couldn't Paul have been a little more clear? How were the Philippians ever supposed to know what he meant?

About two years ago, the meaning of that verse finally clicked with me (yes, we're talking about ten years later, but I've never professed to be a wizard, people). For Christ to be really evident in our lives, we have to die to our selfish needs (um, DUH, you're thinking, but I am SLOW, I tell you - SLOW). And as I thought back on EK's example during college and the years that followed, that's exactly what she did. There must have been a thousand times when she watched me and thought, "YOU STUPID, STUPID GIRL" - but she never said a word. She died to her need to say her piece (I have a much harder time with that, as y'all know)...she died to her need to set me straight or tell me a thing or nine...she died to her need for being out with the girls and never compromised by experimenting with the "fire water" :-) ...she died to herself over and over again so that God would be glorified through her actions. I did NOT have that kind of spiritual maturity in college - but I was so blessed to live with someone who did. EK took care of the praying and let God take care of the convicting - and I'm still experiencing the harvest of that, almost 15 years later.

EK and I have propped each other up on many occasions...you name it, we've covered it. If I'm dealing with something that I can't really talk about because the details are too private or because sharing those details might betray someone's confidence, EK never presses...she just says, "I know this is hard for you" and manages to find something uplifting in the situation. She typically relates the situation to something from the Bible - usually a person in the Old Testament whose name I couldn't pronounce if I had to - and she always, always sees the things that I'm missing.

It's surprisingly hard for me to write about EK, because so much of what she and I talk about is not exactly stuff I can discuss on the interweb. We've had our share of goofy moments, for sure, but mostly we talk about Serious Things. EK is my "iron sharpens iron" friend, so we don't spend a lot of time on trivial stuff - we generally jump into the Issues Pool and try to wade out of it together. There have been circumstances in her life, health-wise and otherwise, that have created some difficult situations over the last couple of years. In true EK fashion, though, her faith has only gotten stronger. She praises God regardless - and she continues to encourage me every step of the way.

Bottom line: EK is a forever friend. She's the person you want sitting beside you when life is shaky. She's the person you want praying for you when you don't know what to do. It's not that she has some magical, direct line to God - it's just that she's faithful. SO faithful. I've said before that "everybody needs an Emma Kate" - somebody who will love you and encourage you (and above all else, she will have the very best shoes and purses, and she won't share them with you, so don't even ask, because while she's generous beyond measure with her prayers, she'll snap your head right off if you mess with the merchandise).

I can't wait to tell her children about...the time at the end of our senior year at State, when EK came back from a weekend visit to Centrifuge, and she looked at me and said, "I met the man I'm going to marry." Lo and behold, just a little over a year later, she did. And he is wonderful. Wonderful. Also, David wants me to include one other little detail: for the longest time, EK believed that the lyrics to the theme song from The Love Boat were, "I said of course for adventure, your mind on a new romance," and that is classic EK.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Do Y'all Think She Heard This Word From Les?

An excerpt from an email I got from Merritt last night:

"Well, I'll be watching Survivor tonight at 7. Now that's MY kinda show. The kids and S. love it, too. I've also been watching Survivor All-Stars reruns marathon on the OLN. Oh, I've been enjoying that every night for several hours. That was the whole Amber/Rob love affair fantango [emphasis mine]. They did end up getting married. Of course they'll divorce as soon as the money runs out. I wish I could be on that show, but you know I"m not much into camping or doing without plumbing and food."

And that is why I love her.

Reprinted without permission - I guess she'll just have to sue me. Oh well. The laugh was worth it.

We've Come A Long Way From Petra, People

Last night David and I got to spend a little time with Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, and Louie Giglio. I think the title of the tour says it better than I ever could:

To be honest, when it was finally time for the concert, we were exhausted (planning, cooking and serving three meals at a church without a kitchen in the main building can be a little, er, challenging). David was such a trooper...he took care of cleaning up after breakfast and serving lunch so that I could concentrate on getting everything ready for supper. Everything turned out great...and all the people involved - musicians, crew members, promoters, etc. - were really gracious and humble and appreciative.

I really can't even wrap my head around their lifestyle...last night was their 21st show in 28 days, and they were leaving our church and heading straight to Tyler, Texas, where they'll perform tonight. Yesterday I kept thinking about how exhausted they must be, how it must take everything they have just to get on that stage and sing / play / speak day after day after day. No comforts of home...no set schedule...no real way to distinguish one town from the next. I mean, I'm thrown off if I have to drive more than 3 hours over the course of a weekend...I can't imagine living on the road.

All that to say: we saw an incredible concert last night. INCREDIBLE. It's hard to even put into words, and you know me - I'm wordy.

D. and I love so much of the music we heard...we are pretty much contemporary Christian music geekazoids, so a Chris Tomlin show is right up our musical alley, and OH, did we ever sing along. Matt Redman was great, too (I had no idea that he had written so many songs that I love), and Louie Giglio gave a great, fresh perspective on what "God of the universe" really means...how massive, how powerful, how HUGE God really is. I won't say much more than that because I just can't do his message justice...but if you have a chance to hear him in person, GO.

The concert was sold out, so there were about 2,000 lively people there - and I can't imagine that a single one left disappointed. While we were there, I was trying to think of adjectives that would describe the experience, and I kept coming back to one: Spirit-filled. Now, I know a lot of y'all like a more traditional worship style than I do (several times I tried to picture my brother in that setting, but I couldn't even imagine it, aside from him saying, "Why do all these people have their hands in the air? They need to put them down. I can't SEE!"). BUT, I don't know how anyone who is a Christian could have stayed in his or her seat last night. You just had to move, to clap, to sing, to jump, to SOMETHING - there was, as Mama would say, "a Presence," and it was palpable. Awesome.

All in all, these guys weren't performing as much as they were leading worship, and they were so careful to keep the audience focused on God and not them. The end of the show was no exception...the last song was "How Great Thou Art," and as the audience was singing along, the musicians very quietly put away their instruments, walked off the stage, and left the audience with nothing but an empty screen and some a capella singing.

And then, after about a minute, the screen went black, and these words emerged in white:

"Thank you, Birmingham.
His love endures forever.
His love endures forever.
His loves endures forever."


Thursday, February 23, 2006

Maybe Spackle Would Do The Trick

The bags under my eyes are so big right now that I could pack them and head to Europe for a good two weeks. Huge black circles...ever-so-attractive. I tried to use concealer on them this morning, but the concealer, it laughed at me and said, "I can do a lot, sister, but I can't cover THOSE." I have my glasses on so that hopefully others will not shriek and then grasp their chests in fear when they see my monstrous visage. It's borderline comical. And yet horrific. I'm so versatile!

Anyhoo, I'll be out of pocket for the rest of the day...cooking this afternoon and then going to a concert tonight (we're so young and hip. Aren't we young and hip? I think if I have to ask the answer is probably no and no). Very excited nonetheless about a chance to relax with The Husband and listen to some good music.

Details tomorrow...

Idol Re-Cap: 12 Male Finalists

My two cents, with a little help from Bubba:

Patrick Hall – I can’t even remember what he sang because David and I were so puzzled when the camera showed his friends in the audience after his performance. We had to pause the TiVo for a very long time as we tried to determine if the friend on the right was a man or a woman, and we finally decided that it was a man, albeit a man in drag, and the sheer volume of Restalyne and collagen in his / her lips was staggering. So I really have no memory at all of Patrick’s performance except that it wasn’t offensive. Bubba says he is reminiscent of Clay Aiken and “boring.”
David Radford – For the record, I am SO OVER these “crooners” who basically seem to be doing nothing more than an imitation of what they think a Rat Pack singer would sound like. I just felt like he was acting more than he was singing. Bubba says that he was “jumpy” and “shaky” like Paris.
Bucky Covington – Lynrd Skynrd (don't know or care if I spelled that correctly) is not my thing. But I could’ve gotten past the song choice if he had been, you know, good. Bubba says, “Please somebody wash and cut his hair!”
Will Makar – The judges (and Bubba) think that he looks like Peter Brady. I think he looks like Fred Savage. Regardless, I think he’ll go far. I love “I Want You Back,” and while his version wasn’t original, he was entertaining. Cute little suburban boy – teenage girls will vote for him by the millions.
Jose “Sway” Penala – First of all, I object to any performer who has a nickname in quotation marks on pure principle. Pick a name and stick with it. Anyway, David and I SO did not get him. But the judges, save Simon, loved him. I agreed with Simon’s assessment that he was too “pimpy.” Bubba says that the only reason Paula liked him is because she wanted his hat.
Chris Daughtry – David and I like him a LOT. I just appreciate that he’s different and distinctive and talented. When I heard that he was singing Bon Jovi’s “Wanted: Dead or Alive,” I thought, “OH NO – that’s really unfortunate.” But it was good, actually. Bubba says it was a “three note” song (picky, picky). :-)
Gedeon McKinney – I just don’t think “Shout” is the way to go if you’re trying to establish yourself as a Serious Vocalist…it’s been done to death, you know? David and I didn’t really get it. It was, well, eh. Bubba likes him because he’s a Memphis boy. We’re all entitled to root for the home team, I reckon.
Kevin Covais – I watched his version of “One Last Cry” again this morning because it is truly one of the more bizarre performances I have ever seen. He never moved, just stood there glued to the stage and sang in his oddly-strong-but-nasal voice. I loved seeing his parents – they seem so proud of him, as well they should be. But I don’t think he’ll make it much longer. Bubba’s assessment: “Bless his heart.”
Elliott Yamin – Last night David and I didn’t really get him, but this morning I thought that maybe I was just sidetracked by All The Bacon. I watched him again, and I got it. Totally got it. He’s talented. He’ll make the finals for sure.
Bobby Bennett – Oh, Bobby. Oh, Bobby Bobby Bobby. See, if you make it to the round of 24 in AI, you really, really shouldn’t sing “Copacabana.” And you really, really shouldn’t wear a cheesy tuxedo. All I could think of was, “Ladies and gentlemen, Carnival Cruise Lines is proud to present the vocal stylings of Bobby Bennett!” I felt a little bit sorry for him. T-Riels emailed me this morning and said, “Two words: BOBBY BENNETT. What the…?????” Bubba’s comment: “Copa-ca-go-away!” I think he will.
Ace Cannon – He is handsome almost to the point of distraction, in my humble opinion. I was wary of him covering George Michael’s “Father Figure,” but it wasn't bad at all. Like I told David, I’m curious to see if he can do anything beyond “smoldering" - if he’ll be able to cut it when other musical genres come into the picture. He’s in it for the long haul, though.
Taylor Hicks – How much do I love him? How much do I think he’s probably one of the nicest people in the universe? I was so nervous for him that I really couldn’t appreciate his performance of “Levon” the first time around (and I’m not sure it was the best song for him), but I’ve watched it a couple of times since, and good grief he’s talented. The judges loved him, too. Bubba hit the nail on the head re: Taylor’s only negative: “every time they showed him moving around on stage, all I could think of was Elaine dancing on Seinfeld.”

Should go: David Radford and Bobby Bennett
Will go: Bucky Covington and Bobby Bennett
Tonight: We find out who makes it to the round of 20.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Train Up A Child

Okay, I had really high hopes for all the posting I was going to get done tonight, but Alex had a bit of a run-in with a chair as he was trying to escape a bit of a run-in with the dog, and his forehead is now sporting a lovely blue-ish goose egg with a bright red center. I am sure most of you heard All The Screaming, as I am certain that people in some parts of Canada wondered, "Why do I hear a young child yelling at the top of his lungs? Could that be Alex in Alabama?"

Let me put it this way: he was so upset that I let him have a blueberry PopTart, Cheetos, and Sprite for supper. Grief-stricken, that's what he was.

The next step in his recovery process was for Mama to play trains. I haven't talked about Alex's deep and abiding love of trains, but he is what you might call obsessed. So we went upstairs, and apparently getting down at eye level with the track made him feel much, much better.

Then we had some fun.

And if you look closely on the left side of his forehead, you will see the Frankenstein-ish bump that completely altered my evening plans. God love him.

After he finally went to bed, I fried lots of bacon for tomorrow and watched "American Idol," and I have LOTS to say about that (AI, not bacon).

Stay tuned. Another friends post coming up in the next couple of days, too. Oh, EK.... :-)

Idol Re-Cap: 12 Female Finalists

Ayla Brown – She didn’t do a bad job with her Christina Aguilera song, but she has this odd absence of personality. No charisma whatsoever. She's not horrible, but she's better suited to school plays and show choir, I think.
Becky O’Donohue – She completely confirmed what I had suspected all along. She made it to the semi-finals because of her looks. When she started to sing, David looked at me and said, “She sounds like she’s from Czechoslovakia and is being forced to sing a song in a language that’s not her own.” But oh, did she ever try to sell it. I ain’t buyin’.
Brenna Gethers – Anyone with that much sass should have loads of talent to back it up. She doesn’t. She brings out extreme feelings of hate and rage in my husband.
Heather Cox – Who? Might be the most unmemorable AI contestant yet.
Katharine McPhee – LOVED HER. She sang one of my favorite songs, “Since I Fell For You,” and her performance, for me at least, was the best of the lot. She’s a natural. Didn’t overwork it, didn’t seem scared to death – perfect.
Kellie (Dawn) Pickler – She’s cute as a bug, and she’s really unaffected. She didn’t butcher Martina’s “How Far,” but she fell into what I like to call “hollering territory” every now and again. She’s not the most talented…but she is really, really likeable.
Kinnik Sky – I love Oleta Adams, and I love “Get Here,” but all I could think of when she was singing was, “Ladies and gentlemen, Miss Georgia, Kinnik Sky!” Total pageant performance.
Lisa Tucker – She’s 16?!?! She’s talented, for sure, and the audience seemed to love her, but she sang “I’m Changing” – and David got a weird look on his face and said, “She’s CHANGING? She’s 16!” The song was a little old for her, but she’ll go far because teenagers will vote for her.
Mandisa – I hated her song choice (I despise any Heart song with every fiber of my being), but she can SANG. Love her.
Melissa McGhee – Um, I don't get her.
Paris Bennett – It would’ve been a great performance if she had just BEEN STILL. My word she jumped and gestured and, on the part of “Midnight Train To Georgia” where the back-up singers say, “WHOO WHOO,” she made that motion we all made when we wanted truckers to blow their horns on the interstate. I loved listening to her, but I didn’t like watching her. I imagine she’ll settle down over the next few weeks.
Stevie Smith – Liv Tyler look alike or no, she butchered that Josh Groban song. One of the more bizarre performances I’ve ever seen.

Should go: Brenna Gethers and Stevie Smith
Will go: Stevie Smith and Heather Cox
Tonight: the guys! Say a little prayer for Taylor Hicks….

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Enough About Me, Part III

Our third installment (and every day these get longer - I think I'm getting sort of wound up - I may have to go back and add to the others: :-)

5) Tracey - My first memory of Tracey is walking by her dorm room and seeing her sitting on her bed, crying, talking to her (now ex-) boyfriend on the phone and trying to make sense of college algebra. It was a pitiful sight. But we were fast friends. Tracey was also in my sorority pledge class, and now that I say that for the third time I'm starting to realize that as far as sorority experiences go, I sort of hit the jackpot.

Tracey is the girl you want with you when you need free things, like the last of the chicken at Popeye's or the last of the donuts at Shipley's. She could talk her way into the Oval Office - I believe that with everything in me. If you happen to find a tape of the 1992 Liberty Bowl, you will see Tracey and me on the sidelines, not because we were serving in any official university capacity, but because she convinced the security guard that we were the cheerleading coaches. See what I mean? She has this all-American look about her that guys love - but because she's so unaware of herself, women love her, too. For those reasons, she is always - and I do mean ALWAYS - the life of the party. You give T. a band and and just one other person to keep her company, and she will SHUT 'ER DOWN. EVERY TIME. Our girl has some moves. ;-) Tracey was a cheerleader at State, and besides the fun of seeing her on the sidelines or on television, there was an added bonus in that she taught us all the cheers. I can't tell you how many nights you would find two or three of us practicing "Go State," "Bulldog Blitz," etc., and T. and I always ended our sessions with a double stunt. I was the base, of course. Tracey is also - and I mean this with nothing but sincere admiration - the world's most enthusiastic bad singer. She's a TAD tone deaf, but that doesn't stop her from rousing renditions of "Time and Tide" (which I am proud to have on video), "I Am A Promise" (she worked on that rendition for four years), and a medley of Chi O rush songs.

But there's so much more to her than the fact that she is utterly entertaining...she is one of the most tender-hearted people I know. If she sees you with even the teensiest frown on your face, she will walk up to you, put her arm around your neck, pat you on the head, and say, "What's wrong, baby?" Right after she had her first child, I called to check on her, and she said, "Hey - seriously - you have to do this baby thing. He or she will be the love of your life." She probably doesn't even remember saying it - but I so remember hearing it - and T., you weren't kidding. Not one little bit. She now has three of those young'uns (who are as gorgeous as their mama and their daddy), and while I know she has to be exhausted about 95% of the time, I know her babies adore her. I sure do.

I can't wait to tell her children about...all the times their mama and I went riding around, "spying" on certain people who needed to be spied upon. I have actually held their mama's foot in my interlaced fingers and boosted her up so that she could see into a window. Oh yes I have. And I have peeled away from the scene, to boot. When her kids get much, much older, I will tell them about the time we did donuts behind the Sigma Chi house and drew a small crowd, but I will not tell them that until long after their college days (I'd hate for that particular practice to be continued by the next generation).

6) Elise - I think it's telling that the first big memory that I have of Elise is when I wandered up to the dorm room that she shared with T. (for the record, all the same pledge class info applies to E., too) and she was FOLDING CLOTHES. Those of you who know E. know that the only thing that would've been more appropriate is if she had been wiping down her kitchen counters, because the girl? She can CLEAN. I always love it when she comes to my house because when she picks up framed pictures, she always wipes any dust off of the glass, and she always makes the bed JUST LIKE I LIKE IT.

Elise is the den mama. When we were in college, she was the person with Band-Aids, safety pins, and she was an expert in stain removal. She has a laugh that I could identify out of a line-up of 100 people, and we have always cracked each other up. She's one of the most honest, up-front, and outspoken people I have ever known. If you don't want to know, don't ask her - because she will flat-out tell you what she thinks. But with E., you lay it all out on the table, get everything in the open, work it out, and move on. I LOVE that. I could not talk to Elise for two years, call her out of the blue, and when she heard my voice, she would say, "So anyway, you remember so-and-so? I was at lunch with her sister the other day, and their cousin, who grew up in Indianola, went to Ole Miss for a couple of years but then graduated from State, well...." You know the whole six degrees of separation theory? With Elise it's more like four. And if you're operating within the confines of the state of Mississippi, you can take it down to two. If I could trade skin tones with anyone, it would be her...she has this gorgeous olive toned complexion, and she can tan like nobody's business. She always puts herself down when she discusses her looks, but she is one hot mama - she just has no idea.

E. and her hubby started dating our freshman year, and while I like to think that David and I don't have any secrets, we've got NOTHING on these two...they are hysterical. T. and I have often said that if E. and P-dub don't make it, there's no hope for the rest of us - because they are as committed and devoted to each other as anyone I've ever known. Elise was the first one of our "crew" to get married, and she was my first friend to have a child. I remember talking to her the night P. was born - and I cried. It caught me so off guard - hit me out of nowhere - but there was something so right about the person who had mothered all of us finally having a baby of her own. She has three boys now, and I mean to tell you that she has poured her heart and soul into them. If I'm ever trapped on an island, E. is one of the people I would want with me...because she would make mugs out of coconut shells, create a sassy outfit for herself out of palm fronds and assorted foliage, devise a recipe for a fruity beverage, catch and cook a slew of fish for us to eat while we watched the sunset and simultaneously constructed a radio out of plans she sketched out with a stick on the sand. When tough times come, she's someone you want - and need - in your corner.

I can't wait to tell her children about...a certain incident behind McKee Dorm involving my 1984 Buick Regal, Elise behind the wheel, a large cloud of smoke from the tailpipe, and a resulting inability to put the car in reverse. And that's all I'll say about that.

Por Favor

Okay - I'm turning comments back on. I actually had to delete a couple of comments last night, not because they were intentionally malicious or anything like that, but because they were unknowingly hurtful to some of my long-time friends. So if you would, please be mindful that there are real people (granted, only about 40 of them, but people nonetheless) who read what you write. In the midst my diverse little group of friends there are all kinds of issues and hurts and struggles, so thanks in advance for being considerate of that.

Monday, February 20, 2006


Hey sweet friends and family -

Comments will be off for a little while. I'm not sure exactly when they'll be on again, so please email early and often in the meantime.

Love y'all -

Enough About Me, Part II

Two more BooMama Who's Who entries while Alex is napping (he's being cooperative with the blogging today, isn't he?).

3) Merritt - Merritt and I also met in junior high (junior high was good to me). She doesn't seem to remember me at all from the 7th grade, but I remember her because she won Best Actress in the school play. She played a grandmother, if memory serves. Anyway, Merritt and I got to be much better friends in high school because we went to the same youth group, but we really became inseparable in college.

We pledged the same sorority, and we lived near each other, but the main component of our college friendship was that Merritt is hysterical. I don't think she could brush her teeth without making me laugh. What was so fun for me in college was seeing everyone start to appreciate the parts of Merritt that people like Liz and I had loved for so long: the goofy dances, the crazy imitations, the silly songs. You might meet Merritt and initially think, "Oh, what a gentle soul," and you'd be right, KIND OF, but the thing I think we all love most about her is that she is a SPITFIRE. She's one of the most loyal people I know and one of the first people I would call on in a crisis. There's such a sweet maternal side to her, and seeing how Merritt loved her babies is one of the main reasons I started to think about having a baby of my own. On top of all that, Merritt is beautiful, and that's not just my subjective assessment; judges have confirmed it (she was selected as a beauty when we were at State). Even now her skin is incredible, so much so that it makes me a tad envious, because she has no visibile pores or wrinkles on her face. Gorgeous gorgeous gorgeous.

I can't wait to tell her children about...1) the time I "highlighted" her hair and turned it a lovely shade of orange and 2) (they'll actually get to see this on video) when their mama was leaving her wedding reception, running toward the car in all her post-nuptial excitement, hair perfectly coiffed atop her head, train of her dress blowing in the breeze, and BAM! she ran straight into a street sign. Cracks me up just thinking about it. The funniest part is that on the video, you can hear Merritt go "OH" at the shock of it all, but she never quit moving toward the car. Grace under pressure, as always.

4) Daph - Daph and I met our freshman year of college, but I honestly can't remember exactly when. It was like I showed up in Starkville, saw her, and had known her forever. We were in the same sorority, and if any two people on earth have the exact same funny bone, it's the two of us. We lived together for part of our sophomore year (until I had to move into the sorority house), and all I remember about it is that neither of us was particularly fond of doing our laundry, and we laughed all. the. time. I have no idea about what - but we would get so tickled that my sides would hurt the next day. We are both night owls, so we would be awake long after everyone else went to sleep, and we did some mighty good philosophizing in the wee hours of the morning. Just for the record, my mother thinks Daphne is the most beautiful girl on the planet. Even now, if I mention Daph's name, Mama says, "OH! She is so pretty - you know I've always thought she was so pretty since the first time she came home with you - she has the most beautiful smile."

Like so many of my friends, Daph is fiercely loyal, and woe be unto you if you hurt someone she loves, for you will be required to answer for your actions in the Court of Daphne. In fact, I don't think the Delta Gammas were ever the same after Daph confronted them on some questionable Homecoming Queen campaigning practices. ;-) Daph has had a really successful career doing work that she loves, but I know deep down in my soul that one day she's going to quit her office job altogether and write the book that she's threatened to write for the last twenty years. She has this intricate little world inside her head - imagination for days - and at some point she's got to share that with the rest of us. I love seeing how much Daph loves her husband (and vice versa) - they just adore each other, and her boys are so fortunate to have that kind of love modeled in front of them each and every day.

I can't wait to tell her children about the time...we went to see the Indigo Girls in Jackson. We sang all the way over there, and once we got in the auditorium, we looked around a bit and said, "Gosh, there sure are a lot of women here." After a few songs we looked at each other and said, "Gosh, why do you think there are so many women here? Some of them even look like they're couples. Do you think???" We were puzzled, but we stayed all the way through the concert, enjoyed ourselves immensely, and didn't think much more of the high percentage of females in attendance. Finally, when we got back out to Daph's car and started the trek to Starkville, I thought about all the women we'd seen and I said, "Daph, do you think the Indigo Girls are...lesbians?" And to prove just how naive we were, Daph said, "Oh no, I don't think that at all!" And we sang Indigo Girls songs the whole way home.

Enough About Me, Part I

Most of y'all have known me for a long time and know that I'm a private person. It's strange that I have voluntarily decided to document my family's life in a public way - 1) because my life is pretty boring 2) because I'm typically more of a listener than a talker and 3) because I've never really shared what I've written with other people, so sharing it with the interweb feels a little odd.

In light of all that, in light of my dislike of being "front and center" at basically any point in time, I think it's only fair that we turn the tables a bit.

Let's do a little BooMama Who's Who, why don't we? I'll start from childhood and work my way forward...let's see if I can get two of these done before Alex gets out of the tub (side note: about 10 minutes ago, around 12:30, Alex looked at me and said, "Mama, I want to get in the tub." I have no idea why, but I'll take it. Maybe he had that not-so-fresh feeling). For the time being I'll focus on friends, not family - in the interest of brevity, of course. If you see typos just ignore them - I'M ON A DEADLINE, PEOPLE - that water can't stay warm forever!

1) Laura - Laura and I have literally known each other since we were babies. I'm six months older, and those are the only six months during which we have not been in each other's company. Because I was a grade ahead, I always took on the "older and wiser" role, because really, when you're in sixth grade, there is LOTS that you can teach the people in fifth grade. But Lou got married first, had babies first, and she's been teaching me a thing or two ever since.

She and her hubby are about to move into a be-yoooo-tee-ful new home in their Lovely Planned Residential Suburban Community, and she is the least stressed-out person I've ever seen in an about-to-move situation. She's also smart as a whip - graduated from undergraduate and graduate school with a 4.0. (We will not be discussing my GPA in this blog. Ever.) It's always encouraging for me to talk to Laura (as I do at least twice a week) because she is one of the most upbeat people I know in terms of "spurring me on" to being a godly wife and mama. She worked for a year after her first child was born but has had the opportunity to stay home ever since, and I have never heard her complain - not even one time - about the frustrations that can arise when you're home with young'uns all day, every day. She loves her current line of work - teaching and training her two sweet children - and she does a mighty fine job at it, I might add.

I cannot wait to tell her children about...the time she was 11 and decided, when her mother got out of the car to open the garage door, to help her mother by pulling the car into the garage, and as a result pinned her mother between the car and the garage door. This story is made even more entertaining by the fact that when Laura's mother, understandably shaken from the experience, sat down to have a glass of wine to calm her nerves, Laura's daddy went to the store and bought Laura a new purse - he felt that sorry for her. Laura's mother remarked that if Laura had done away with her altogether, she most certainly would have received a Polo shirt.

2) Liz - I met Liz in junior high school, but I didn't really get to know her until we much more mature and sophisticated tenth graders. We have the same sense of humor...we spent many high school afternoons watching tapes of "Moonlighting" and "The Sweeney Sisters" from SNL. Liz shares my love of Southern fiction, and since we were both English majors (in undergrad and graduate school), we always had lots of interesting literature to discuss. Usually, though, we just talked about tv.

I think that Liz is the least judgmental person I've ever known (and by that I don't mean that the rest of y'all just sit around and JUDGE JUDGE JUDGE). But those of you know Liz understand what I mean. She's not a "live and let live" person at all - she has a strong, deep sense of right and wrong - but she's incredibly respectful of other people's decisions, of the idea that other people's views might not match up with hers. When David and I left the Episcopal church a few years ago, I was a little worried about telling Liz because she's Episcopalian, and I didn't want her to think that we were on some crazy religious trip. Anyway, I finally told her, and I'll never forget what she said: "Isn't it great that there are churches out there for everyone? Isn't it great that y'all have found a place where you feel at home?" It makes me teary-eyed even thinking about it right now. David and I had agonized so much over what to do, over what people would think, and at that particular point in time, Liz's words were, for me, God's grace in action. I will never forget that.

I cannot wait to tell her children about...when Liz (who is a great mother, in all seriousness) was desperate to come over here for a girls' weekend about two years ago, but she couldn't find a babysitter for Friday afternoon. She called all her regular people, but no one could help her, so finally Merritt got involved and said, "Hey, I know someone." Liz called that girl, who couldn't babysit, but the girl said, "You know, my friend might be able to help you." So Liz called the friend's friend, who she didn't know from Adam's housecat, and when the COMPLETE STRANGER said, "Yes ma'am, I can babysit," Liz said, "GREAT! Let me give you directions." She was in Birmingham by 4 that afternoon.

Bath time is over...to be continued...and you may be next. :-)

Sunday, February 19, 2006


I have loved magazines as long as I can remember. Until I die, I will have subscriptions to Vanity Fair and Southern Living (by the way, when Bubba's house was featured in Southern Living a little over a year ago, I tried to explain to him that as far as my girlfriends and I were concerned, he would never achieve anything more meaningful in his whole life ever, but I don't think he understood how deeply I meant it. Girls, do chime in on the significance of such an honor). And while reading VF inevitably raises my blood pressure because there's a good bit of political content that opposes my own views, the articles are long, well-written, and require some degree of thinking on my part. Thinking is good.

I decided at the beginning of this year that I was going to give up all my weekly magazines: Us, InTouch, People. Now, I did fall off the wagon last weekend because I was out of town and nothing says "RELAXING TREAT" to me like going into Walgreens and loading up on magazines, but surprisingly, I wasn't as interested as I anticipated - I found that I had little patience for Katie Holmes' ever-expanding belly and Ben Affleck's ever-present Starbucks cup.

I realized when David and I were having 2006 "budget discussions" that I had spent approximately $500 on magazines over the course of 2005. $500. It made me sick to my stomach. It's not as indulgent as it sounds...figure $10/week, more or less, over the course of a year, and there you have it. But once I had the cold hard figure in front of me, I told David that I was going to give them up - we could be doing so much more with that money, like putting it toward "gambling" or "pyramid schemes."


Seriously, I was tired of Paris' outrageous outfits, tired of seeing Britney waste her life with that ne'er-do-well she married, tired of seeing the Olsen twins cover themselves with seven layers of clothing in the middle of summer (it's called "FAT," Mary Kate and Ashley, and it insulates your body - you should try it. Really. Completely eliminates the need to wear scarves in July).

I guess last weekend I thought that since it had been a couple of months since I'd read Us or InTouch, I would spend hours catching up on all the latest celebrity gossip. Instead, here is what I learned:
  • Jessica and Nick are still separated (and her daddy, in my humble opinion, is still creepy)
  • Brad and Angelina are still together, she's still pregnant, and they're still in a different country each week
  • Nicole Richie still needs a cheeseburger or nine - and fast
  • Tom Cruise still doesn't get that people really aren't interested in Scientology (voodoo!) and really do think he's just a teensy bit insane
  • Lindsay Lohan is still having "accidents" that "aren't related" to "alcohol"
  • Nicole Kidman still isn't admitting she's engaged to Keith Urban (Sister, would you like to clarify?)
  • Jennifer Aniston is still dating Vince Vaughn, and "sources close to her" are still worried that she's on the rebound
  • Paris Hilton is still famous for no discernable reason
Consider yourself up-to-speed on all the latest celebrity news, my friends. I just saved you $10.

By The Numbers

  • Members of our household who went to church this AM: 1
  • Members of our household who have a messy cold: 1
  • Age of said cold sufferer: 2
  • "Blue's Clues" episodes watched by cold sufferer: 4
  • Pounds of cheese grated for Thursday's meals: 8 (homemade pimento and cheese and homemade potato soup are two of the dishes at lunch; homemade macaroni and cheese is one of the sides at supper, and we all wonder: "Will Chris Tomlin's digestive tract ever recover?")
  • Old-fashioned cheese graters used: 0
  • Times Lord was thanked and praised for food processor grater attachment: 96
  • Pounds of pork tenderloin in my refrigerator: 15
  • Members of household currently asleep on couch: 1 (the church-goer)
  • Dogs fed Cheetos by two year-old: 2
  • Minutes until two year-old's nap: 26
  • Mama who will be very, very happy in 26 minutes: 1
Update: 2:05 pm
  • Minutes actually slept during "nap": 18
  • Coughs during 18 minutes: 582 (approximately)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Hail, Dear Old State

Thanks, Bulldogs. We needed that.

Mississippi State - 84
Mississippi - 55

More game info here.

Dry Cleaning Might Have Been A Better Option

Y'all may have noticed some remarks from Bubba in the comments. Those of you who know him were no doubt shocked and amazed that he actually 1) turned on the computer 2) took the time to click on a link to this page and 3) commented after reading a post. Technology, as they say, just ain't his thing, so I am very proud of his recent bloggy progress.

Bubba and I have been friends for almost twenty years, as hard as that is to believe - and we have laughed at just about every step along the way. Now that he's a Terribly Successful Businessman and travels to all sorts of far-flung places, we don't get to talk as much, but I know deep in my soul that if I called him tomorrow and said, "I need you here RIGHT NOW," he would drop everything, find a flight, rent a car, and I was about to say "take a bus," but then I giggled at the mental image, for he would never, ever Go Greyhound, and that's part of the reason our friendship has lasted for this long, so let's just say that he would secure clean, comfortable transportation and do whatever he could to help ANYONE in my family, and that extends to my husband, my child, my parents, my siblings and their spouses. He loves us, and we love him.

Anyway, Bubba reminded me today of a funny from our college days.

Our sophomore year Bubba shared an apartment with three other guys: Brian, Bryan, and John. They were a funny mix, those four: Brian was the serious architecture student, Bryan was the date king, John was the dry-witted country boy, and Bubba was the preppy frat boy. Sounds like a sitcom, right? And seriously, now that I look back on that time with a parent's perspective, I am grateful for how nice they all were. They were polite, respectful, funny - just great guys all the way around - and Bubba and Bryan especially were really protective of me. My daddy should be grateful.

Anyway, one spring afternoon I dropped in for a visit. At the time Bubba and I loved to ride around the backroads of Oktibbeha County, where we would philosophize and laugh but mostly sing. OH we have performed many-a-musical in each other's company, but our favorite at the time was Phantom of the Opera. I can't sing but Bubba can, so he really had to carry the whole show because, well, my singing voice doesn't do much of anything except summon neighborhood canines OR give some added depth to the tenor section of a choir (I was actually named Most Improved Tenor in my high school choir - I didn't know whether to be proud or insulted).

When I got to Bubba's apartment that afternoon, Brian was in a bit of a panic because he couldn't find his kitten. I can't remember how old the kitten was, but I know she was fairly young because everyone was just calling her "Kitty" until Brian came up with a suitable name. Even though I wasn't what you would call a cat lover, I felt sorry for Brian, and since Bubba wasn't home yet, our road company Phantom show was going to be delayed, anyway, so I had plenty of time for a little sideline animal rescue work.

Bryan with a "y" and I looked through all the bedrooms, in piles of clothes, in the bathrooms, even outside. After about 10 minutes of searching, there were no leads. We decided that Kitty would return, in typical feline fashion, when she decided it was time, and just as we were about to give up, Bryan and I heard something. At the same time. And we looked at each other, bug-eyed, like "NO. NO WAY it's that. NO WAY that Kitty is THERE."

By this time Brian with an "i" was in the room with us, and somehow he picked up on our telepathy, because suddenly he got the same idea that we had, and we all became very aware of The Noise, and we were very certain, at the very same time, of Kitty's whereabouts.

We moved quickly to rescue her, for time was of the essence.

I don't know if any of y'all have ever seen a kitten that has accidentally found its way into an electric clothes dryer, but the expression "wall-eyed" comes to mind. As soon as Brian got the door open and found Kitty in the midst of the spinning towels, he looked to make sure she was alive, and thankfully she was. But OH was she disoriented. She was also very warm, and she smelled of Bounce.

We decided that a trip to the vet was in order, as Kitty was breathing but not terribly responsive. Since Brian was beside himself with guilt and worry, and since for some reason Bryan was without a vehicle, my car was the logical (read: only) choice for transport.

At the time I was driving a 1984 Buick Regal, a fine piece of American-made machinery that was only slightly more reliable than a Yugo. In fact, I believe there were some reliability studies where the Yugo might have ranked slightly higher. In this particular season of the Regal's life, it was wary of the entire deceleration process, and as soon as I took my foot off the accelerator the car would begin to sputter and lurch. Driving with two feet was essential if I was to make it from any given point A to any given point B.

As I drove Brian, his punch-drunk kitten, and Bryan away from the apartment, I became very conscious of the fact that my car and Kitty were on fairly equal footing in terms of making it to the vet, in that neither stood a very good chance at all. Kitty was wrapped in a towel, trying to meow but only managing something like "me" and then sort of a pre-vomit stomach gurgling, and the car, well, it was gurgling, too. As long as I had the accelerator completely mashed to the floor - which I believe is the method that law-enforcement officials encourage for in-town driving - we were fine. But if I let up on that accelerator even a centimeter, we started to jerk and lunge. It's like the car was caught in some form of violent spitting seizure, and the kitten, well, she wasn't much better.

Finally I figured out that if I mashed the brake with my left foot but kept the accelerator completely depressed with my right, the car would slow down enough to "stop" but wouldn't break down altogether. The unreliability of my vehicle seemed to add to Brian's stress, because everytime the car would lurch he would eyeball me with a look of borderline disgust and murmur, "OH, Kitty - I hope we make it," but there was nothing I could do, as everyone in my immediate family has paid the price time and time again for my father's blind loyalty to the American car industry. Bryan, meanwhile, was in the back seat, trying to be supportive, but every so often I'd catch a glimpse of him in the rear-view mirror, and I'm fairly certain that he was chewing the inside of his cheek to keep from laughing. I mean, sick animal or no, the whole scene was pretty funny.

After what seemed like four hours but was probably more like four minutes, we got to the vet. Brian rushed the kitten to the back, where she was immediately iced down and put on fluids. Fortunately, she seemed okay, and since Brian wanted to stay with Kitty, he gave Bryan and me the okay to leave. We returned to the apartment and waited on Bubba, now at home, who very literally rolled on the floor and cried from laughter. Kitty, in the end, was no worse for the (wash and) wear, which is probably one of the worst puns I've ever made in my life. Bubba and I were able to ride around and sing after all.

As it turns out, Brian now lives here in Birmingham, and while I haven't seen him, I've met a lot of people who are either members of his church or part of his extended family. When his name comes up in conversation, I always mention that we knew each other in college. A couple of our mutual friends have mentioned me to him, and in both cases, he has said the same thing: "I don't remember her."

WHAT? HE DOESN'T REMEMBER ME? I helped him pull a cat from a clothes dryer! I drove him and said cat to the vet! In a car that would barely run! And when it did run it sputtered! And he doesn't remember me?

It must have been such a traumatic turn of events, what with his cat nearly spinning to death, that he's blocked all of it out. Including me.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Do You Think Colin Cowie Is Available?

For the last couple of days we've been trying to iron out plans for Alex's birthday, which is about three weeks away. I’m always a little conflicted when it comes to planning his birthday parties...because he is an only child, I’m very mindful of making sure he knows that he is not the center of the universe. I want to make sure that he knows he is treasured and loved, of course, but I also want him to know that life is not All Alex, All The Time.

Don't get me wrong. I think birthday parties are great, and certainly we want to celebrate Alex’s, but I have a need to keep it simple. I can’t make sense of throwing a three-year old in a room with 35 children and 60 parents and saying, “Okay, honey, we’re celebrating you!” Because it seems to me – and this is just my opinion and it oughta be yours – that when toddler birthday parties get that big, all that’s being celebrated is the parents’ ability to throw a top-tier shin-dig. And the Joneses and me – well, we don’t hang so much, as I hate, despise, and abhor the whole notion of “keeping up.” I feel very strongly about this. You might have noticed.

As a result, Alex has had birthday parties reminiscent of Ye Olde Amish celebrations, minus the horse and the buggy and, well, the Amish. His first birthday party consisted of his parents, his grandparents, and him. It was a rowdy affair, as you can imagine. For his second birthday party, we went all out. We had lunch for three (count ‘em, THREE) of Alex’s friends, his grandparents, our next door neighbors, our sweet friends NK and Michael, and my friend Pattie. There were THIRTEEN people there, y’all. Madness!

This year I initially planned to invite the same group of people, maybe even moving up to FOUR friends because I’m crazy like that. Crazy! But the place where we wanted to have his party charges $150 for, essentially, 10 juice boxes and ¼ sheet cake. No outside food. I can be cheap, as you know, and I was shocked, then plain insulted, by the price. I mean, if that’s the going rate for a child’s birthday party, then I’ll add the words “For Hire” behind the title at top of this web page, rent me a clown suit, learn how to transform balloons into animals and head out on the party circuit. For $100 an hour? I’m not proud.

Anyway, once we decided that paying $10 for a container of juice was a little too rich for our blood, we bandied about several party ideas. The park? It might rain. McDonald’s? I’m a germ-a-phobe – can’t take that many sticky little hands on playground equipment. Our house? The easiest option, for sure, but there’s been much discussion about All Our Stairs and David’s grandmother’s age and, bottom line, coming over here is a really hard trip for her. Not to mention that Alex is OBSESSED with his great-uncle Joe and talked all last night about having “Chox! And JOE!” at his birthday party.

For all these reasons, it looks like we'll be heading to Meridian for Alex's Big 0-3. We'll have most of our family there, which means that 80% of Alex's favorite people in the whole wide world will be in attendance. The more David and I have talked about it, the more we realize how perfect it will be for this stage of his life, where the coolest people in his universe are the people in his family. Better capitalize on that while it lasts.

So we’ve come full circle, it seems, for I also had my third birthday party at Mama and Daddy’s house…sitting on top of the table to blow out my candles on the 1-2-3-4 cake that Mama made from scratch.

Looks like the little man will get to do the same.

I'm Partial To "Lord Lubricate My Bones"

You know that I adore a funny Christian. You know that I contend we need more of 'em.

Well, here's a blogger after my own heart. I laughed my head off. Sad thing is, given Daddy's old album collection, some of these looked a little, um, familiar.

Enjoy, y'all.

And thanks, Sister, for the link.

Third Time's The Charm

This first time I wrote this post it was a bit of a rant, because yesterday was a HUMDINGER. Then I revised it, and the second post was much longer, much more introspective, much more thoughtful...but then I decided it was whiny, that people don't come here for thoughtful, and I needed to get over myself already. Just for the record: I am over myself.

The bottom line of version 2.0 was this: I don't write this blog for me. Ultimately, it's for Alex, and not just because I hate a scrapbook and because the whole scrapbooking phenomenon makes me angry (sorry, EK)...all that cutting with special scissors and buying special papers and designing themes for displaying pictures from Billy's 4th birthday - it is so not me on any level. Alex's half-finished baby book is proof. But this blog is my digital scrapbook for Alex. He'll be able to look at it one day and see what his parents are really like and that they actually have, you know, personalities. He'll see comments from my childhood friends, high school friends, college friends, babymama friends - so he'll know what y'all are like, too, and hopefully he'll like you anyway. Oh, I'm kidding. You know I think you are, as Mama says, "the berries," and while I don't know what that means, exactly, I'm sure it's positive.

He'll see comments from his aunts and uncles and cousins...he'll have a hunk of his family history right here in this little ole blog. He'll have pictures, stories, details of our lives before and after his arrival, and all of that, to me, outweighs any short-term strains I'm feeling on my end. When he gets older, I can print each and every one of these entries, bind them together, and give him, essentially, a book of his life (not to be confused with The Book of Life, which is slightly better written and has far greater long-term benefits). I just think the whole concept is, in a word, cool. And even when I get a little tired or overwhelmed or bogged down, is the time this blog thing takes worth it? Yeah, it is. For lots of reasons.

So bear with me over the next few weeks. We have a whole lot going on in our neck of the woods. David is swamped with his work, and I'm swamped with my work, but at the same time we're grateful to have work that we love. I'm cooking for some people who are performing at church next Thursday night, so there is much grocery shopping and prepping and chopping and baking to be done (THAT will be heaven on earth for me - pure therapy). Then there's another meal to cook the next week (the one where they're going to give us a baby). There's also a little boy who's turning three very soon, and I need to get on the ball with all the plans for that. In the midst of all the activity, blogging is going to have to take a backseat. I'll still be around, of course, but probably just once a day. We'll see how it goes.

Unfortunately, I am not in fact a robot, and I do require what the humans call "rest" and "sleep." Go figure.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Amazing Grace

Last night Alex and I were upstairs, playing with trains in his room. Every so often A. would come over to where I was lying on the floor, climb on my back, and jump off. Big fun for him. Big fun for me, too, because every once in a while he would hit a vertebrae just right and my back would pop, which I love. Anyway, on about the fifth go-round, Alex stood on my back, jumped, lost his balance, and fell on top of his train set. The bridge collapsed, the tracks popped apart, the trains flipped, and Alex was sprawled over it all. He was fine ("I'm OKAY, Mama! I'm okay!"), but as I re-assembled the train, I pondered what the poor boy's life is going to be like, as he has descended from a mama who is Queen of the Klutzes.

Oh, we pretend to be graceful in my family. Mama always likes to point out her degree in health and physical education (don't forget the minor in food storage), her years of teaching yoga. I took dancing for twelve years and even managed to prance around in toe shoes for six of those years. But your day-to-day activities? We fall. We run into things. We drop things. And occasionally, we break things. Like vases. And glasses. And bones.

Mama at least manages to land gracefully when she falls. Only a few weeks ago she was in my basement, slipped on something, tried to regain her balance, and then landed on the floor in a full split. You may not have realized that a 73 year-old woman could do the splits, but, as she quickly reminded me, all those years of teaching ladies' exercise at church really paid off what with keeping her limber and all.

About a year and a half ago, Mama took a tumble down our stairs. It was terrifying, to say the least. We couldn't tell at first if she was really hurt or in shock - because she wasn't saying much. My aunt Chox and cousin Paige were at our house at the time, and Paige kept saying, "Ouida, are you okay? Are you okay?" Finally, Mama collected her thoughts enough to say, "Oh. I. Oh. I just. I. Oh. I have. Oh. OH, I have gas!"

To which Chox replied, "Well let it out, Ouida! Let it out!"

So I'll just say that she did and leave it at that. But as it turned out she did fracture her arm. And our trip to the emergency room is definitely a blog entry in and of itself.

I admit wholeheartedly that I'm the worst of the lot. Sister and Stacy have had their share of injuries, but in general they've fared far better than I. Daddy broke his wrist when he fell off a ladder a few years ago, but that was a freak accident, not recklessness, because Daddy is never, ever reckless. It just doesn't make good sense.

My long list of injuries started early on, with a couple of falls and cuts that required stitches. When I was five, I tried to imitate a back somersault I saw on Sesame Street, got my thumb caught in a loop in the hooked rug, and promptly broke my first bone. Even now, I remember it vividly, including that the doctor set it without giving me any sort of pain medicine, a fact that makes Mama angry to this very day.

There were all sort of minor injuries after that: a sprained arm thanks to a back walk-over gone awry in gymnastics class; jammed fingers when I tried to make like Tarzan and swing on a big rope during a youth group activity (for some reason when I got out over the water, I panicked, thinking, "OH MY WORD I'M HANGING FROM A ROPE OVER WATER," let go, fell in, and landed so hard that my fingers hit the mud at about 60 miles per hour); a sprained ankle when my feet flew out from under me on some wooden stairs; a burned palm from when I took a skillet out the oven, set it down, and then tried to move it without the oven mitt; and then, one of my personal favorites, elbows skinned down to the bone and a grass-stained white eyelet dress - from when I tripped walking Sister and Barry's dog and was promptly dragged across a substantial portion of their backyard because while many ideas went through my mind, letting go of the leash did not.

The pinnacle of my clumsiness - at least I hope it's the pinnacle, as I have no desire to top it - was about five years ago when I was getting ready to leave the house on some errands. I'm still not sure exactly what happened, though in retrospect I believe that I was trying to elude a very hyper yellow lab who wanted to leave with me, but what I do remember is stepping down onto our first basement stair, losing my balance, watching my knees buckle, and then falling for what seemed like fourteen or forty-five minutes. About half-way down the stairs I catapulted from my knees to my right shoulder, and apparently the movement propelled my feet straight up in the air, for afterwards there was a long black mark on the wall above the stairs that, according to forensic evidence, perfectly matched the height of my legs and the arc of my fall. The whole way down the stairs the only thought running through my mind was "I'm going to die. I'm going to die," but when I finally hit the hard wooden landing, I thought, "Okay, I didn't die. But YEEEEOWWWW that hurts!"

At the time of my fall, David was upstairs in his office, on the phone with a client. He said that he clearly heard, "BUMP! CRASH! BUMP! BUMPDEBUMPITYBUMPBUMPBUMPBUMPITYCRASHBUMP," then "OWWWWWWW," then loud, guttural sobbing. He came running down from his office, and when he finally got to me, well, I was in shambles.

The crazy thing is that I didn't immediately go to the hospital. I didn't feel like anything was broken, and I was so upset by the whole ordeal that I just wanted to sit in David's office in the recliner and watch DVD's. That's exactly what I did. But the next day I was black and blue (and yellow and green and purple), and when I walked down to the mailbox, I thought, "Gosh, my leg, um, sort of, ow!, smarts a bit."

I called Sister later that afternoon, and when I told her about all the bruising, she said, "You might want to get to a doctor - did you ever hear of a thing called a blood clot?" Needless to say, I got on the phone, got an appointment, and discovered the next day that I had in fact broken my leg. Not a bad break - but a break nonetheless.

So as for young Alex? I'm not sure how to handle his inevitable clumsiness. I guess I could get him a padded suit or we could move to a one-story house on a nice, flat lot because really, the idea of any child with my clumsy gene being in a house on the top of a hill with not just one but two flights of stairs is just silly.

Not to mention a safety hazard. For both of us.