Monday, December 31, 2007

Coming to a close...

I leave for work in a few. The evening shift, don't ya know.

I've never been wrapped up in retail on New Year's eve before. Adventures abound surely.

I look forward to coming home this evening. I'll arrive moments before the new year rings in.

My house no doubt will be filled with sound and laughter.

...because the party is here this year.

I love that a party can be held at Britches Central, without Ms. Britches herself.

As I breeze in at the stroke of midnight, someone will have a glass of champagne and a kiss at the ready.

...what a way to start aught eight.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Coming down...

I'm sitting in a moment of quiet.

The men of the house are off in different rooms occupying themselves with PSP, XBOX 360, and football.

Yes, Santy was good to them. The extra job allowed for generosity this year, although it was stressed strenuously if there was to be quality the quantity would suffer.

They were agreeable.

Me? I am hastily spending an iTunes gift card as I type.

It bears repeating, I do love my iPod.

So as we go to our separate corners this evening, I'm catching up on my blog, others' blogs, and buying music to take me into the new year.

I'm a happy camper.

The clan Britches spend some time in the hills. We hung out in a log cabin, ate too much food, drank too much wine, and in general, engaged in all sorts of unhealthy debauchery.

...and that was just the kids.

Big Daddy and I did manage to take time out for a 2 hour hike. Afterwards we immediately made up for all the exercise by spending the evening drinking Guinness and Wheat and being entertained by a man too talented to be kept a secret in our little corner of the world.

People come back year after year to this tiny little downstairs bar to laugh (and by that, I don't mean a polite twitter or a giggle, I mean belly laughs-the kind that leave you exhausted and giddy when you are done), and sing, and feel a sense of community.

So even though I am in all ways content, I must admit I get depressed coming off of vacation.

I've decided it has nothing to do with the dread of going back to work, because I like my job.
It has nothing to do with having to leave a place I love, because I know I'll go back.
It has nothing to do with leaving people I love, because I get to take them with me.

I'm a creature of habit. My body and spirit crave a schedule, even if my heart doesn't want one. I don't understand it and I don't like it, but there it is.

I liken it to when a baby gets off his schedule. He gets cranky.

So, I am a happy camper with a little rain cloud over the top of my head.

As for you, if you found yourself melancholy during the holidays (as many people do), I hope there was something or someone close by to bring you comfort.

I hope your holidays were joyous and funny and poignant-as mine were.

I look forward to reading all about them.

...right now.


Friday, December 28, 2007

The Prodigal Returns

Coming back from four idyllic days in the hills of the Ozarks leaves me melancholy.

Thanks to Montgomery for a touching guest post. It took me two days to quit tearing up every time I thought of it.

I'll share more of our adventures soon.

I need to start a load of laundry and get a fire started.

Monday, December 24, 2007

The Post in Which Monty-The Belligerent Cynic- Contributes to the Blog of Pants in Her Time of Need

Hello all, Montgomery Jack Farnsbooth here.

I have kidnapped Miss Sugar, and will be posting for her in my own classy way... MWAHAHAHA!!!

Anyways! I haven't really kidnapped her but she is busy working and has decided to have someone else keep things up and running...

So I'm Blog-sitting... And it better damn well pay....

So, the Christmas days are coming, and the controversies, old clay-mation cartoon specials, and bonuses (i wish!) with it.

A snow covered town, hot Wasil (yes, this is spelt right, pronounced wah-sil[as in baby noise and a window sill]), and cookie S'mores cooked over iron pot fires. This is Christmas for the Britches family.In a previous post Pants mentioned Silver Dollar City. Well I'm here to give an in detail description of the wondrous times that are spent there at Christmas time._________________________________________________________________

The gates are in sight!!! The two triangle billboards are crystal clear in the flurried night. The trip to the heavily wooded parking lot holds us in its frosty anticipation, as we slowly mount the climbing winding hill.We search for a spot and are victorious in our venture and we all pile out.

Immediately the trunk is popped and all of our winter wear is grabbed until it's hard to discern one from the other except by the color jacket we wear. We slowly run to the round-about to wait for the open air tram to shuttle us to the city on the coldest ride in the park.

We sit in electric anticipation of the wonders that await us on the other side of the tree line, though we have been raised on the sight, at winter it's remodeled in our minds, the memories of years past refurbished, and the congregation of the mass emotion hits us all as we smile, sigh, then run like maniacs to the turn-stile so the ole gaffers, all decked out in suits and top hats, await to grant us entrance to the kingdom of the Ozarks, with it's fires smoking away keeping the streets warm, trade shops of all sorts lit merrily as we stroll down the lane, with soft whispers of caroling in the trees.

As we huddle together in the warmth of family, in the way only an over-mind of years of tradition can, we stroll subconsciously to the first and most important stop of the night....IT'S SANTA!!!!!!!! Amongst all the tiny tot's and toddlers who await with baited breath to see the man of all their Christmas dreams, they're are two teenagers with their eager mother, as she claps her hands together in rapid fashion, in a way only a mother who has had years of practice can, shudders and yells "YAAAAAY!!! IT’S SANTA!!!!!!" And the two young men(As she HATES being told that they are) roll their eyes, look at each other and smile, knowing that there is no other place in the world that is quite like Silver Dollar City in the winter.

The two of them mount the stage and sit on the air over Santa's lap, trying not to break the poor old man, because, as I said, these two young men do weigh just a bit more than they look, being corn fed and all. They sit with aching thighs as the minutes tick by as Santa tells you nice things jolly old men are supposed to say, such as, the joy of Christmas may never be forgotten, as long as it lives forever in your hearts, and the hearts of all those you meet, and they just wish that they would take the blasted photograph before their legs will fall off their da...~FLASH~ The picture is taken! And we slowly and proudly leave, having saved another Santa from a destroyed lap, and improving the fortress of memories our mother has in the delicate snowflake ornaments, containing pictures dating back since Little was born of her two little boys and Santa.

We make our way through the children, hugging our mother as she fondles her sons, and go to the next stop in our agenda to pick up yet another hardy token of the Ozarkian City of Lights. Down the winding lanes and trees, and through allies and shops of warmth and homeliness, we make our way to the Smithy to receive the reward for our faithful attendance to every festival, the pewter ornament of a building in the city in its entire holiday garb! “OOH!"Our dear matriarch exclaims " They cast this years after the tree on the square!" meaning of coarse the giant 5-story Christmas tree that sings and dances with it's spectacular show of songs that is enough to make any man with his family cry.

"Well, we can go home now..." says our father with a smirk on his face as he turns towards hill street(Cardiac hill, heart attack hill, cardiac street, hardy cardy heart attack hill and all other names given the steepest hill in the city)

"SAYS YOU!" say me and my brother in the best manners possible, then promptly turn our backs on them and flea to the Christmas tree to see the show, because it has just started, and is' playing the carol of the bell's, our favorite one!

The tree erupts in a display , with it's multi colored lights chasing each other over the tier's of candles lighting the sections, the angels proclaiming joyous refrains, and the familiar ghosts and spirits of past, present, and future, meld together into one bountiful creature of holiday festivity and shout into the heavens it's most merry greeting “MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! AND MAY GOD BLESS US! EVERY ONE”!

As I run, I turn back to see my dad chuckling as he turns and looks around at the trees and lights in a place that time has forgot and will never remember, at the place that he worked and toiled for more than a wage, and slowly turns and gives his last tender gaze towards the beautiful girl that he caught so many years ago, and soundly kisses her, amid the lights, sounds, and smells in the one place that love will never be forgotten, as long as there is one piece of popcorn (or one popcorn seller) to be swept up.___________________________________________________________________

And such is a Christmas tale from Monty, to Britches and all her readers. Merry Christmas Y'all!

And as I sit here in my Vicodin induced euphoria in the early morning of Christmas Eve, I hear the clangor of a wood stove burning up fuel, I remember presents needing to be wrapped, and I anticipate, with Silent mouth, to hear the sleigh bells on the sleigh of the jolly old man of Christmas dreams.

And so I leave you, with but an echo of Christmas cheer in the lofts.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

I'll See You Anon.

I'm busty.

Oops. I meant busy.

Work has me swamped. I'm trying to prepare for Christmas, and sleep, and uphold obligations. I may be absent for a few days.

...but check in. Monty's lurking in the lofts.

Tooth update...

The wisdom teeth were extracted successfully yesterday.

After a Vicoden and a long nap, Big was ready for bear. He went to a party last night. So, obviously the horror stories he was subjected to at school did not come to pass.

I went in with him yesterday very blase' about the whole matter. People get this done everyday.

Then they started hooking him up to an EKG and preparing the I.V..


Ah, I think I've changed our minds. Is this really necessary?

I don't know what I was (and wasn't) thinking. I mean, it is called oral surgery.

It's just having your child hooked up to machinery and poked and prodded just didn't set well with me.

I know he's damn near a grown man. ...and it doesn't matter a whit.

Fear clenched me in the belly for a second-the what ifs.

I quickly flicked them aside and went on with it. ...or at least Big went on with it.

He slept and dreamed of milkshakes.

I sat in the waiting room and fretted.

He got the better end of the deal.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

This is my 100th post

...and that's all I have to say about that.

Tooth and Nail

What’s the fascination we Americans have with teeth?

They need to be blindingly white and perfectly straight to be accepted in today's society.


Is it a health issue?

The reason I ask is because I did some figuring. The money I have spent/will spend on straightening my sons’ teeth would purchase a new car. …A fekkin’ nice new car.

I don’t begrudge my children dental hygiene and dazzling smiles, but why do I feel it so necessary?

It’s because I do what I’m told and the media tells me that if I ever hope to have my sons marry and become successful they have to have perfect teeth.

I never went to a dentist as a child. Not once. I was pregnant with Big the first time I darkened the door. Prissy didn’t believe in dentists. She feared them and wouldn’t hear of us going unless we were in pain. Therefore we brushed like maniacs twice a day.

I was fortunate. My first visit to the dentist I was told I had the mouth of a twelve year old. (I’m still not sure what he meant by that.) A few fillings and a root scaling was all that was required.

I guess that started me down the wayward path. By God, my kids would visit the dentist regularly. …and they do. We all do.

But the orthodontist is a different animal. I understand that there are times when orthodontia is needed for more than just cosmetic reasons. And some people’s teeth are so bad that it causes issues in their communication and health. But has anyone ever died because their teeth were crooked?

When I took Big for his first evaluation, I had one done also. I’ve always been a little self-conscious about my mouth. I have some crowding on the bottom, but the real problem is my ability to eat corn through a picket fence. Both of my sons have inherited this unfortunate affliction as well.

I also hate having my picture taken. Not because I’m unattractive. I happen to be devastatingly beautiful. (You should see me.) But because when I smile, all you see is my upper gums. This tragedy marred my face and destroyed my budding modeling career. (Was it that or my fat ass? …I forget.)

I was told my jaw would have to be broken and reset and then braces for three years. I decided at that point that my family would probably need to eat a few times over the next few years, so financially this probably wasn’t in my best interest. That and why would anyone have their jaw broken on purpose?

Big is out of his braces. He gets his wisdom teeth cut out Friday-as to not ruin the orthodontia. Little will get his braces, fingers crossed and enough extra hours at the 2nd job, this summer.

So, I’m doing as I’m told. I want to assure my sons grown up to marry fashion models, become presidents of successful dot com companies, and vacation in Tuscany.

…I am nothing if not obedient.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Found Tonight

One bottle of hot sauce. with the panties.

I spent the rest of the night humming this little ditty.

Muy Caliente!

Monday, December 17, 2007

In the City

Last night I got to spend some time with the men in my life.

With me working extra hours and Big assembling tacos in his spare time, it’s a rarity the four of us are together to go somewhere.

This is where we went.

In know. I know. A theme park?


An 1880’s Ozarks mining town. Complete with thrill rides and overpriced, fatty-albeit fantastic-food. …and it’s Christmas time, when The City is at its best.


Of course.

That’s part of its ample charm and I will love this park till the day I die. It’s one of my favorite places in life. It’s special for a couple of reasons:

It was my first job. It combined my love of the theatrical with my need for gas money. It was theatrical because I got to play dress up everyday and get paid for it. It was and still is about 30 miles from home and it became my little corner of the world. It was a place where no one knew me and didn’t find me awkward or weird. I met interesting people and enjoyed my work. I fell in like a couple of times and in love once. Two summers belonged to The City and I treasure the time I spent there.

I met Big Daddy.

I was working the popcorn wagon one day and there he was-sweeping the streets. I got that curl in my belly. You know-the one you get when you see someone special. …and there was indeed something sexy-special about the dark-haired, bearded young man walking my way. He stopped to sweep up the popcorn that had fallen under the wagon. We started a conversation and he went about his way.

The next day I saw him again. But alas, there was no popcorn under my wagon to be swept away. So I put some there. Not much, just a couple of handfuls thrown out the window when no one was looking. Of course he was obligated to come clean it away.

Every day after, there would be popcorn under my wagon. I would complain loudly about how messy people were and apologize profusely that he had to stop and sweep everyday.

He said it was no great hardship.

So I chased him until he caught me.

The boys roll their eyes when I drag this little jewel out for others to hear. But most people don’t mind hearing how BD cleaned the popcorn out from under my wagon.

I’ve got a story about bar-b-que sauce, too. ...but that one I’m not tellin’.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

People are...

pigs and thieves.

I'm beyond tired.

My feet hurt.

I have a blister on my big toe.

I have a headache.

I have to piddle around for at least an hour because I can't sleep right away when I get off work this late.

I'm cranky.

So everyone else went to bed to let me stew in my sour mood.

Good call, Ya'll.

Why are people pigs?


They prowl through the clothing and, when they are done, they throw it on the floor or discard it in the produce aisle.

I realize fully that my job is to pick up after people and refold 7000 shirts a night. I have no problem with this and I am not too proud to pick up after people. But still-a little common courtesy would be nice.

This evening a woman handled a shirt. (as women we can't just look. We have to feel it, hold it up against us, look at it frontwards and backwards ask anyone near us if they think it would make our ass look fat) It was on a table I was refolding. When she was done, she looked right at me, and threw it down.

...and walked away.

Thank you for shopping with us, Ma'am.

Why do I call people thieves?

...because. We'll take anything and hide the packaging in the socks.

Working the unmentionables department I have found torn and empty packaging for:

hearing aid batteries,
lip liner,
cell phone holders,
candy wrappers,
earring cards
wallets (where's the irony there?)

One night I found two empty memory card packages hidden in with the thong underwear.

What does that mean?

I think in everyone's best interest I'm going to try the warm milk thing tonight.

...or maybe just some Advil with a vodka chaser.

Yeah. I think I like that better.

What do you think?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Remotely Interesting

Primal wrote about giving up TV Tuesday and it made me think of my own viewing habits.

I shared that I actually watch quite a bit of network programming online sans the commercials and on my timetable. It’s a great alternative. This whole writers’ strike business may put the kibosh on that soon however.

When I was eight or so, I got an old hand me down black and white for my bedroom. That’s right folks. I had my own TV.

I was popular for a good week and a half.

To my own children, this story is not a big deal. They’ve never even seen a black and white TV and-the spoiled brats-they’ve always had one in their room.

I guess this is proof in the pudding that we as Americans are an overindulged and lazy lot. I wonder how many TV sets the average American have in their home? I guess I could look it up, but I’m disinclined being lazy and overindulged and all.

The big thing here is that there was no remote. We didn’t even know what a remote was since they hadn’t been invented yet. As a matter of fact, Bubby and I were the remote control. Any time a parental unit would want the channel changed or the volume turned up, we would get our little fannies off the couch and do it for them. And we had to be quick about it. If Dad missed something because we didn’t get up fast enough there would be hell to pay.

Changing the channel also required grabbing a knob and turning. There was a satisfying ‘Chunk, Chunk’ noise that went with changing the channel. You couldn’t change the channel too fast or you’d get yelled at.

Don’t turn that knob so fast- you’ll break it!

So we had to very slowly and carefully turn the knob. Then we had to adjust the volume until it was just perfect for the folks. This could take several passes. While you were there it was often necessary to adjust the vertical or horizontal lines that would blip across the screen. This would require using yet another knob or perhaps a little wheel across the bottom of the panel.

The rabbit ears also need adjusting and sometimes we would have to stand by the TV holding the foil covered antennae. This was usually at a crucial point in the news or Little House on the Prairie. If we moved, the picture would go fuzzy and there would be that aforementioned hell to pay.

We were always tempted to sit very close to the TV. This wasn’t because we couldn’t see or couldn't hear. It was simply a matter of logistics. We didn’t have far to travel if our channel changing skills were called upon. This however didn’t fly with Prissy, because sitting that close to the TV was obviously bad for your eyes and we’d go blind. And when the color TV finally came around, it could explode and kill us if we sat that close. (Much the same as eating Pop Rocks and drinking Coke simultaneously would cause certain death.)

When turning off the TV, you’d have a high-pitched whining noise that continued for several minutes after you turned the thing off. This was a sure sign it was cooling off. The whining was often accompanied by cracks and pops. Then. Finally. That little dot in the center of the screen would fade and disappear.

There were only three stations available back in the day-four if you were in an area that got PBS. Then you could watch educational programming. I learned to count to ten in Spanish by watching Sesame Street and I did not take up smoking by watching Alistair Cookie smoke a cookie pipe and then eat it.

This is a sad reflection on today’s society.

But the topic here is the TV itself. I very rarely make a statement that is remotely (ah, no pun intended) political or controversial. I’m not that blogger.

...and I won’t start now. So what is viewed isn’t my topic as much as the device itself.

Nowadays the television comes in forms and sizes galore. You can HDTV yourself into a stupor-surround yourself with surround sound. Record what you what when you want it.

You don’t have to wait for The Wizard of Oz to come around once a year and mesmerize you in black and white. You can watch it anytime. In color. You can adjust the volume from across the house and stop and start the action at will.

…without getting up.

My boys sit across the room and several feet from the TV.

This is good. You never know when that thing might blow.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Over the Beer Barrel

When did the accordion make its comeback?

Well, if not a comeback, when did it become acceptable in modern society?

As a (small) child of the 70's, this instrument was the subject of ridicule. Being a sensitive child, I remember distinctly in the 4th grade Karl Howser bringing in his accordion for show and tell. He played his little nine year old heart out and I sat there hands folded in my lap embarrassed for him. Its a feeling I recalled years later watching David Brent in The Office. I hate that feeling!

But I also have a warm spot for the accordion. A nostalgic feeling as I pay homage to my Polish heritage and I conjure up summers sneaking into the tavern. I remember the smell of beer and sweat and cigarette smoke. I see the knees of excited adults polka-ing passed me in a great circle around the room.

My point being-the accordion is an old people instrument

Until now.

Last Christmas my music loving eldest son declared his interest in learning to play the accordion.

"What?" I said. "The accordion?" I then collapsed into a fit of laughter enjoying my son's dry sense of humor.

"Son," I said. "I really would like you to have sex someday and I don't think accordion skills will be a conduit."

"No, really." he said.

"Well!" Big Daddy barked. "I think it's cool!"

So, thanks to BD's open mind and Ebay, Big got an accordion for Christmas last year.

He then proceeded to take it to school and show it off. I started sweating. Images of Karl Howser popped into my brain. Big would be ridiculed, mocked, chastised. He'd get swirlies in the men's room.

However, arriving home that night, he was the bell of the ball. Everyone thought his accordion was the coolest thing ever.


Had the accordion never really left? Had I been blind?

Earlier this year I went to a rock concert. During the acoustic portion of the show, the keyboard player brought out an accordion. I started to giggle. I just knew the comedy portion of the show was coming up.

I was wrong. Instead they played the entire set with the accordion instead of the keys. And get was freakin' fantastic!

Then... I got hooked on Arcade Fire. When would this accordion madness end?

In a fit of apoplexy, I had an epiphany.

I was a snob. An accordion snob.

Why shouldn't I embrace this noble instrument? Why wasn't I?

What's next for my reformation? The melodica? The glockenspiel? The Hurdy-Gurdy?

I had shamed myself.

I immediately begged Big to forgive my bigotry.

This Friday night Big makes his debut.

He'll play accompaniment on the accordion, music he has composed, to a choir piece called Noche' de Lluvia.

It is beautiful.

The only regret I have now is that Flogging Molly has their accordion player back full time.

My hopes for Big are dashed.

Hey! Maybe he can start his own band! He can feature his brother on the Tuba.


I really wanted grand kids.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

The Places I Think

This was fun. Sad, but fun. There are still so many places to go-and to think. (Thanks, Dr. Seuss)

My map looks like I jumped from North America landed on a trampoline in England and bounced to India.

I sat on the runway in Shannon while the plane refueled, but I never disembarked. So- it doesn’t count. Had I actually stepped foot on Irish soil, I would have included it.


Here’s the link. It’s great fun.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Hot Damn!

Yeah, I’m playing with my avatar again.

I don’t know why I find fiddling with that thing so dang much fun! I think it reminds me of paper dolls when I was a kid.

My new whatzit there on the side features Ms. Britches enjoying a hot beverage in front of a roaring fire. I enjoy this pastime immensely and hopefully during the hustle and bustle of the next few weeks, I’ll get the opportunity to do it often.

But our weather here is fickle. A fire needed in the morning can quickly change to the AC wanted in the afternoon.

This past Sunday showcased a typical Missouri change of weather. We started the morning in the freakishly high 60’s. I walked out on my back deck with my coffee and it just felt wrong. I kept thinking, “Something wicked this way comes.”

A few hours later a straight line wind blew through and knocked the temperature down by 30 degrees.

In the morning I was in bare feet in my back yard. By two in the afternoon we shivered watching Little march with his sexy tuba in the Christmas parade.

But I digress. (from what I don’t know, but nonetheless…)

Ah, yes. Hot beverages.

I enjoy many kinds, but here is list for those of you who are still reading.

Coffee- Every morning. Boon says I drink ‘truck stop’ coffee because it’s always so strong. I like dark, rich brews. Kona is one of my favorites. I drink it with half and half and NO SUGAR EVER.

Tea-I am an occasional tea drinker. And it’s always in the winter. I go in spurts. I’ll have tea every day for two weeks and then I won’t touch it the rest of the year. Prissy has collected tea pots forever. Now I have a storage-shed full and no earthly idea what to do with them. They should be displayed. But, where? I think I’d like to make one pot in each before I decide. My own little homage to the after-nap pot of tea Prissy would serve when I was a tot. She had this odd little cozy fashioned after a milk maid. I do like sugar in hot tea and a bit of milk. Half and half seems too heavy for tea. Huh.

Cranberry tea- This really isn’t tea at all. I think it is called such because you actually steep the cranberries. In the end, it’s a mixture of fresh cranberry juice, orange juice, pineapple juice and cinnamon. It’s hot yummy goodness that makes the whole house smell like a party whiles it’s simmering. Adding a shot of cinnamon schnapps to the final product pushes me over the edge to dang near nirvana.

Hot Chocolate- Adding a touch of cinnamon schnapps to the final product pushes me over the edge to dang near nirvana. (Did I say that already?) This combination is a thermos must-have for standing along the parade route.

Mulled Wine-
I love to make a batch of this when I’m snowed or iced in. It’s altogether lovely to be trapped inside a cozy house watching Mother Nature run rampant. This has to be drunk from my crystal mug with etching on the side.

Snobby, ain’t I?

Baileys Coffee-MMM, Baileys. This is the only time I like sweet coffee. I have a recipe to make my own Irish cream. Eagle Brand and Irish Whiskey are the two main ingredients.

What won’t I drink?

Let’s see.

Pre-fab cappuccinos- I’m not a fan. The kind you get at convenience stores are so sickeningly sweet I’m gagging half way through.

Warm milk-I’ve never tried it. Does it really help you sleep?

Maybe I’ll give it a go after an evening shift at Wal-Mart.

I wonder how it would be with cinnamon schnapps.


Saturday, December 1, 2007

Silly Boys

I got off work a few hours ago. I spent the day putting out winter coats, ladies' bras, and long underwear.

I thought I'd come home, drink some wine, eat a little supper-let Big Daddy wait on me. You know-make the day seemed way worse than it really was to garner a little sympathy.

Instead I have three teenage boys in my living room giggling like little girls.

Let's play Scrabble!

No way. Cranium!

I hate Cranium.

Then run next door and get Clue.


Oh, look! It's Jack Black on TV.

More giggles and no board games.

Lots more Jack Black.

Go get Clue. You'll be the one to disappoint Mom if you don't.

No way.

Ah, Yeah.

Still no Clue.

Me: It's OK, Guys. really.

More laughter.

More noise.

...lots more wine.

Did I mention I'm in Heaven?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Grammar School

I drove to Branson Tuesday to teach a class on Business Grammar.

Business Grammar?


I usually teach it in conjunction with a class on email etiquette because most business is conducted there these days-and where most mistakes are made.

People tend to think of email as a less formal mode of communication and this assumption causes mistakes.

It also makes for very interesting questions.

Do I have to capitalize sentences when I write emails?

That was my favorite.

I've also seen the following written in an email. Someone was questioning inventory on an item and this was the response given.

I'm sorry to inform you that we don't got none of those left.

I'm not a grammar snob, but shouldn't a manager in a multi-billion dollar company know better? Yes-a manager.

I used that sentence in class as an example of what not to write.

This comment came from the back of the room.

But, shouldn't he write that way if that's the way he talks?


Here's the deal.

I'm the queen of colloquialism, Ya'll. I hillbilly it up with the best of them. I sprinkle it in my writing, I pepper it in my speech lest anybody forget I'm from the Ozarks.


I can and do speak and write in Standard English in a professional setting. I refuse to embarrass myself by sounding like an inbred, uneducated fool. (I embarrass myself in ways that have nothing to do with my communication skills. We won't bring up algebra, kay?)

I really don't mind that the rest of the world thinks we walk around barefoot swillin' shine from a jug.

...because some of us do.

I think it is vital for people to embrace their culture. We have a rich history and our speech patterns are evidence of such. However, it just makes me cringe when I hear professional people use poor grammar, ignore their spell check and hold usage errors in disdain.

I also got this comment-same jerk from the back of the room.

Well you know what I'm saying, don't you?-Insinuating that it didn't matter how he wrote it as long as he got his point across, and insinuating I was a snob.

God knows I'm not perfect. I never met a comma splice I didn't like. In fact I love the comma. So I cheat and use dashes so I don't use so many commas. I proofread myself into hysteria when I write my blog-and there are only seven people out there reading the silly thing. I labor over comments I leave in someone else's blog.

Can you imagine what I go through when writing for the professional masses?

Oh alright!

I am a snob.

...or just crazy as a shit-house rat.

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Yeah, I know. Thanksgiving was Thursday.

But I'm commenting today, because I just spent time with my chosen family. And for that I am truly thankful.

Today, after ringing up toilet paper and Christmas wrapping for the good people of Southwest Missouri, I went to my second feast of the week-late, but in time to clean up leftovers.

I want you to meet them.

The Matriarch. She reminds me repeatedly that my hair has gotten too long and I need to wear it short again. I'm also told I'm going a little gray. I also took on too much by offering to bring the mashed potatoes and the gravy and the stuffing. I'm working two jobs-I don't have time for all that.

'Chelle-Daughter 1. She brought the burnt pies and set up the craft table. No one wanted to build foam snowmen, but we did anyway because we love her. She also spent the majority of the time griping because, "Mom can't get her shit together! We were supposed to eat at two and it was after three before we even got started." Husband showed up late after he got off at the garage. He had to stop home first and get The Incredibles for the girls. Did I mention the gingerbread man making?

Joy-Daughter 2 and my BFF- "Quit yer bitchin! All of yuz!" She's single and will be everybody's aunt for the rest of her life. She's got a huge loyal heart. She'd like a mate. But she honestly believes that no one could live with her and then sets out to prove it by lashing out at men before they get the opportunity to spurn her. It's a pity really because she's stacked. ...and from what I hear men like that sort of thing.

Pauline-Daughter 3- She and husband live up Kansas City way. We've had the opportunity to spend time with them there and when they come here to visit the matriarch. Those cute little girls belong to them. As we were leaving tonight, Pauline and Husband were screaming at each other over an erased tape in the camcorder. They always keep the party lively. I think heirloom dishes were broken this evening.

Fin-Only son and Big Daddy's BFF. Fin and wife are the picture of stability. When not turning into a hermit in the wilds of SW MO, he can be found lifting his leg and farting on his sisters (of which I have now been christened). He's 42. Of course I could try to convince you that this type of behaviour is eschewed. But it makes us laugh like idiots every single time even as we run through the house to escape it. Is there really something funny about farting or is it a redneck thing?

(Personal aside here. I will belch like my belly's exploded and nary blush a wit, but I WILL NOT fart in front of anyone if I can help it. In fact, I've convinced myself I don't fart at all. It's a comfort to me. Even though the aforementioned BFF reminds me that a belch is just a fart from the mouth.)

The patriarch has passed. Pauline's husband's mother joined us today as did Fin's wife's parents.

'Chelle's boy and Fin's girl are both 18 and were born a day apart. Both were present for the festivites which gets harder to do the older they get. Big and Little were both there too. Though the minute I arrived, Big took the car in order to get to Taco Bell for his 5-12pm shift. They all pitched in though to help the little girls make those beautifully ugly gingerbread men. We've got photgraphic evidence.

How do the Britches fit into this lot?

The usual. We met at work and spent the next 20 years becoming a family-of which there are many types:

The one you are born into who will be there for you through thick and thin....or not.

The one you marry into that sees you as angel or devil depending on the direction of the wind.

The one you create-the sons and daughters you bring into this world. Remember when you looked at your children for the first time and saw them as real people with thoughts of their own? When they were no longer just your babies. Remember the awe?

The one you choose. The friends that become more than friends and yet more also than family.

What defines this grouping?

I don't know. I just know that on this day, in the year of our Lord 2007, I sat in the middle of this mayhem and thanked my God for these people. That I have the honor and privilege of knowing them and loving them.

...and being their family.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Work Stuff

What do we talk about today?

I’m a little fuzzy with my extra job and all. You’re lucking you’re getting to hear from me.

…or unlucky depending on your outlook.

What kind of idiot signs up for a retail job this close to the holidays?
Who in their right mind gets trained on the register two days before Thanksgiving?

Oh, yeah. Me. Heh, heh.

Last night was my first out on the sales floor. The night before I had my ample butt glued to a chair for 5 hours doing ‘computer based learning’.

Yeah, I know. I know. I write that crap for a living with my day job, but writing and producing it and being on the receiving end of it are two completely different things!

But, thank Jesus, I can now clean up a soda spill properly using the correct 'personal protection equipment found at the nearest spill station’. And God forbid, if somebody breaks a bottle of bleach I know to put the leftover product, not in the trash, but in the 'properly color-coded barrel for disposal’. (after of course you soak up the remaining product, put it in a chemical bag, and then a bag liner)

An old boy came through the line last night. His cart loaded to the gills with household stuff-mop, broom, bed sheets, cutlery tray, dishes etc.

Setting up housekeeping, huh?

My wife left me.

Gulp. Oh, so sorry.

Yeah. Some women just aren’t happy unless you come see them every month and a half or so.

We can be demanding like that, can’t we?

While I was in Africa, she cleaned out the house.

OK, I’ll bite. Africa? What were you doing in Africa?

Oh, I’ve been all over-Africa, China. I’m an airline pilot.

Oh, I see.
(He still had a lot of stuff in his cart) commercial or private?

Oh I don’t fly commercial anymore, I have my own business.

That’s interesting.

Thank God we didn’t have any kids.

That is indeed a blessing.

I almost adopted her daughter. Cute kid-love her to death, but what are you going to do?


Are you married?

Yes I am.

Do you see your husband every day?

Yes- and he sees me.

Does that work out okay?

We’ve been married 20 years. I think we’ve caught on to something.

Yeah, I suppose.

Will that be all, Sir?

For this trip. I don’t know how I’m going to get all this stuff in my Escalade. I’ll have to come back later for more stuff.

Your total is $545.76, Sir.

At this point, he made a HUGE production of flipping out 100-dollar bills (from a wad of them in his wallet). Trying to be polite, I looked away. While making change, he said-loudly,

Did I give you six or seven one-hundred dollar bills? I didn’t pay that close attention.

You gave me six.

Thought so. Well, Girls- (my trainer and I) I’ll see you in a few.

Have a good night, sir. Oh-you forgot this bag.

I handed it to him. It held a bottle of Jack and a 2 liter of Diet Coke.

That would have been a bummer

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Drug Test

I’m guessing my urine sample came back clean as a whistle. I have orientation today. Tuesday evening after the second interview, I went round to give my sample. I waited 20 minutes in an empty clinic, until a pleasant male nurse came to fetch me.

Here you go, Sugar. Fill the cup to the line. You may close the door but don’t lock it. When you are finished, don’t flush, don’t wash, just open the door and give me the sample.

Do I get dinner and a movie first?

If I did that for everyone I’d go broke, Honey.

‘Tis life.
I close the door.

At this point I was really wishing I hadn’t peed before the interview. I took the quart size container and try and strain as I may, it took me forever to get what felt like 2 tablespoons of urine in that odd looking cup.

I opened the door.

Here ya’ go. And, ah, sorry. I kind of made a mess.

He takes it.

Without gloves.

Ew. You’re not wearing gloves.

Well from the looks of you I thought you’d have better aim.

You can tell by looking?

I could until now.

Yeah, well. That type of performance requires a talent I don’t posses. Guys must be a whole lot better at this than girls.

Oh no. Guys make much bigger messes.

Can I wash now?

Yep. ‘Cause you can bet the minute I get through with this I’m going to.

What now?

Sit down in front of that PC there. I’m going to bring you your specimen and I need you to initial and date it. I’ll bring you a pair of gloves.

Oh, don’t bother. You already cleaned it up and after all it was my pee. I’m OK with my own pee, it’s other people’s pee I stay clear from. And I’m not too fond of having strangers come it contact with mine.

What do you mean? We’re hardly strangers. I touched your pee.


Now when the next screen comes up sign your name with the electronic pen like you would if you were signing a credit card.

You mean you’re testing it right now? It doesn’t have to be sent off to the lab?

We only send it if it comes back positive. Then that doesn’t mean you tested positive for illegal drugs. Other things can show up. You could also be the odd quality assurance check.

What are we testing for?

You know the usual. Pot, Meth, Opiates-your general garden variety dope.


You’d be surprised how many people make it back here and say, “You know a month ago I smoked dope.” I tell ‘em, “Well then guess what, Dummy? You’re going to fail.”

Riiight. Am I done?

Yeah. You can wait on the results if you want. They could be anywhere from 2 to 20 minutes.

That’s OK. I’m pretty confident.

The little gal at the desk teased. “Did we get another fail?”

“Yup” he said. “I could tell by looking…at least I could until now”

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Growing Pains

Little is in ISS for three days.

He made a remark to a buddy they both thought was funny.

It turned out not to be so funny. The substitute teacher reported it and, Voila! In school suspension-solitary confinement for the most part with breaks for bathroom and lunch.

This means he can’t participate in basketball or band competition for 14 days.

This is a bummer.

We respect the school’s decision and although I feel the punishment far outweighs the crime, we’ll all abide by the rules. He owned up to his misdeed and we are chalking this up to a lesson hard learned.

I am coming to my point. I promise.

Little is the basketball manager. He uses Coach’s keys to the buildings. He keeps stats. He gathers uniforms. In general, he keeps things running. It's a position of responsiblity.

Through this ordeal. (and in Junior High, it is indeed an ordeal) the one worry he harbors is whether or not Coach C will ever trust him again.

He hates missing basketball practice, he'll miss all-district band (A huge honor!) this Saturday. He'll have to make up school work.

...and the one thing that bothers him is losing the trust of a man he respects.

At 14 years old, my son is a man of integrity.

I am blessed.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I’ve been gone awhile.

Didn’t notice, did you?

I’ve been fielding issues belonging to friends, family (mother), and finances.

It’s ironic that I can’t write when I ought. The words won’t come when I need to purge the poisons. I keep them. I cling to them and even though they want to come out I won’t let them. They are like a dark blanket that stays wrapped around me. I need to throw it off me because I’m smothering, on the other hand I find strange comfort in its weight.

I’m cleaning out a storage space of Prissy’s belongings. Just a few boxes at a time mind you, but a venture nonetheless.

I found her journals. Depressing bits of business they are. My mother wasn’t and isn’t a happy woman. I had to stop reading. I already had a blanket draped over me and didn’t think it prudent to lie under another one. I kept them though. Journals need to be kept if only to be unearthed in another time.

My mother liked to write.

Her mother still does.

So does Big’s mother.

…so does Big.

He blogs about and posts his work on his own pages. But, I’m showing them here on mine. I never had a bent for poetry. I admire this in him.

All poems were entered into the local language arts fair. His theme was the Trojan War.

Ladies and Gentlemen: I give you Big Britches.

Trimmed trees in the air
Metal flashing, sunlight glints
Country against state
Ships form a most dire plot
Love, truly is left to blame.

Autumn red leaves soar
Clashing against bending grass
The winds of war blow

Walls tumble down
Fields raped-empty and bare
Fires low, embers bright as morn

The widow’s last prize
Raining red upon the ground
Most valiant fall.

At the end of his post he says, “And so I leave you, but with an echo in the lofts”.

Isn’t he the coolest?

Monday, November 12, 2007

Part 2 of Part-Timing

I’m waiting for a second interview.


I was articulate.
I had Altoids at the ready.
I came up with eloquent, appropriate responses to the following scenarios. (And working full time in HR currently, I know from whence I speak.)

Tell me about a time you had to assist someone who was upset with the level of service they were receiving.
Describe a situation where you had to use team work.
Tell me about a time when you had to finish an assignment ahead of schedule.

“Ms. Britches, are you sure you want to run a register?”

“I’ll work wherever I am needed.”

“Well, this position is in soft lines.”

“That would be fine, I’ll work wherever I am needed.”

“I wish you where applying for register, but technically I’m interviewing you for softlines. So you have to interview with them before I can offer you a position.”

“Terrific. I’ll work wherever I am needed.”

“Well, I’ll just tell George tomorrow we want you for the register.”

“Wonderful! Do you have all my phone numbers?”

“Yes. We’ll give you a call tomorrow or the next day.”

I’m still waiting a week later.

My interview was done by a 12 year old. She could barely read the scenarios off of the page in front of her. She stumbled over her words. She was disheveled and chewed gum through the entire interview. When it was over she immediately forgot about me and started flirting with her 14-year-old boyfriend who was waiting impatiently outside the office.

I’m sounding pissy.
I’m acting above my raising.
I’m a little too proud of myself.

I know this.

But, Damn! How is it possible I can’t get a second interview and this little girl was in charge (in charge!) of initial screenings?


Tuesday, November 6, 2007


I have a job interview this evening. I’ll actually be out of the interview before you read this but since I haven’t had it yet, I can’t write about it in time for this post now can I?

I need a part time job. The job that goes above and beyond your full-time job. The kind that gets you through the holidays and helps pay for the nickel and dime-ing of raising kids.

I want to live beyond my means. So…I need more means.

I’m headed to my local Wal-Mart to acquire a job running a register-ringing up sundries in a timely and efficient manner. To be pleasant without driving patrons to distraction with overly bright and perky, yet forced, conversation.

I hope not to be avoided

And we all know the ‘checkers’ to avoid:

-The old retired gentleman that talks too much and takes a year to total your groceries.

-The teenager who pops gum the entire time and grunts when asked a question.

-The lady with the kind face who changes her mind constantly when bagging. She takes things out of one bag and puts them in another and then back again until they are just so.

-The trainee who has to call for help when he can’t figure out the code for purple cabbage vs. green.

-The underage checker. She has to have someone else ring up liquor. And let’s face it, who can take a trip to Sam’s place without a drop before…and after?

…maybe my means are just fine after all.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Granny 3

Hi, Granny.

Hi, Babe. How's your Mommy?

She was in a great mood today!

Oh, good. That makes me worry less.

How are you?

Better than I was.

Have you been sick?

Well, Hon. I've been constipated. I haven't had a good BM in 10 days.

Ew! That's no good.

I know. But I just now got some relief, so I'm feeling better.

Well that is good to hear.

Well you know on top of that, I've got me a case of the hemorrhoids.

Oh, Granny. I've never had that problem.

Well, you thank the sweet Lord for that Honey, cuz it hurts like the devil. The doctor gave me some medicine, but only Preparation H works for me.

Well, I'm glad something does.

You know your poor old Grandpa used to call it 'Precious H'.

Well, I can see how he would see it that way. What's new Granny?

Your Uncle Hippy went out on the truck last week.

Oh, he did. How is he? Does he still drive with 'Uncle' Terry?

Oh, yeah. He also picks up with your 'Uncle' Mike. All three of 'em went out last week together. Do you remember Teri? 'Uncle' Mike's wife?

Oh, Gosh yeah. You're talking about 'little' Teri?

Well, she ain't little no more. She's 300 pounds if she's an ounce.


Yes! She came by last week and told me she'd gotten a boob job.

'Little Teri'? What on God's earth for?

I guess she wanted to take the attention away from her ass. She's lost some weight, but I'll swan it ain't enough to count. How's the weather up your way?

Huh? What? Oh, yeah. Um, well I'm looking at my car thermometer right now and it says 76 degrees and the trees are all orange and gold.

You know me and you poor old Grandpa used to take a walk out on the trail every Fall. We loved to look at the trees. Yep, every Fall and every Spring.

You miss him don't you , Granny?

You don't know how much, Babe. I've gotta go. You tell your Mommy to call me. I love you, Babe.

...I love you too, Granny.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Thursday, May 23, 1997

The last day in Bombay I got to spend with Sunita and I loved it!

She took me shopping first off. Who wouldn't love that? We went to a place called Cottage Industries. It kind of reminded me of a two story flea market in Branson, but with actual bargains and truly awesome stuff. This is were I bought all of my souvenirs. They weren't tacky stuff like what you'd normally find. Or maybe they were and I just didn't know it.

After that was my favorite time in this city. We went sari shopping at the bazaars. Sunita took me to the best sari man in town and, to put it mildly, it wasn't what I expected. It was better! The shops were set up outdoors and (I hate to use this analogy again) like a flea market. Instead of being a store it was more like a booth. The proprietor sat cross legged in the floor and had saris stacked to the ceiling (tent top) on shelves. He had a helper that would shimmy up the shelves to retrieve and then refolded and put away. The owner was there strictly to barter and collect money. He never stood up the entire time I was there.

I showed Sunita what I wanted and she bartered her ass off. Those two were just going at it. When she was satisfied, she nodded. I got some of the most beautiful fabrics I've ever seen in my life and got it for a song. Next, Sunita said I needed petticoats and a protective binder to protect and create a hem for my fabric. I ended up getting those, yards and yards of silk, and five packages of bindis for about 27 American dollars. Unbelievable.

After that she took me to get some sugar cane juice. There was a cart set up and long stalks of sugar cane laying around. To make the juice, the vendor took stalks of the cane and put it through a press. Juice would come out the end and into a cup. Then he halved a lemon and squeezed the juice into my cup. It was very mild-not nearly as sweet as I anticipated.

Sunita lives in a 'joint family with my in-laws and brother and co sister-in-law'. She has a three year old son that loves lions. We sat and swapped family stories and even though we live across the world from each other it was amazing how similar her life was to mine. She was my age, had a job similar to mine and kids the same age. I just didn't feel that different from her-other than the physical. She kept lamenting the fact the only thing I would see of India was Bombay. 'I wish you could come to my home. There the air is pure and we are surrounded by great beauty'. I'm kind of bummed too. But I wouldn't trade this experience for anything.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Hallowe'en-after the tricks

I know when the Irish, bless 'em, gave us Halloween they never intended this. But, by gum. How cute can you get?

He'd pulled of the mask by this time. The whole proceeding had become tiresome.

Who are you, Buster?
I'm Sah-pyda may-an!

Halloween is here.

I could blog about candy choices, but I’ve already made my preferences about candy known here. So, let’s talk about the second best part of the evening-the costumes.

Prissy usually made my Halloween costumes. Because of finances, you got what you got and were grateful. I knew we couldn't buy a costume from the store.

But, oh how I wanted one!

I remember wandering through Kmart circa the 1970’s. Costumes came in boxes then. They were small cardboard affairs that had a clear window on the top so you could clearly see the mask. You picked the costume based on the mask. Always.

I wanted to be Wonder Woman. I just knew I would look like Linda Carter in the little plastic one piece outfit that reached down to my knees and was large enough to wear over jeans and coat. And the mask… I could feel the condensation forming on my face as I dreamed of putting that plastic mask on.

But, alas it was never to be. (Here is a link to a great site. Even thought Wonder Woman isn’t represented, you get the idea. Check out the Donny Osmond costume!)


I was always a hobo (Dad’s flannel shirt, jeans and a piece of cloth tied around a stick) or a ghost (faded flowery print sheets with eye holes cut out never really scared anyone) or my favorite-the statue of liberty. This also involved an old sheet draped strategically around you. Prissy then made a head piece and torch out of cardboard and tinfoil. My arm got sore holding the torch up during the parade. After that we’d have the class party. Then that night-with excitement bubbling over-we’d get ready to trick or treat.

Of course we had to choke down dinner first which always sucked.

It’s a shame kids don’t get the same experience. I mean they still trick or treat (at least mine did) and the aisles of the stores are crammed with merchandise. But in this part of the country you don’t have Halloween parties at school anymore. You have ‘Fall Festivals’. And no one comes to school in their costumes.

We live smack in the middle of the Bible belt and every church in the tri-state area has some kind of festival Wednesday night to counteract Halloween and make you feel like you have to sneak to trick or treat.

I am a Christian. (Is it telling that I almost didn’t reveal that in my post because I’m so embarrassed at how some in my faith behave?) But I don’t think for one minute that my kids are going to take up Satan worship because I dressed them up in costumes and went house to house for candy.

It is a sad world indeed, when kiddies (and their parents) are made to feel evil for taking part in what should be a night filled with chocolate, pennies and popcorn balls-and innocence.

I’m sure someone, somewhere will lament this same issue much more eloquently than I, but I’m closing for now. My nephew is coming over to trick or treat me this evening.

He’s coming as Spiderman.

…in a really nifty store bought costume.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

S*#t Happens

Big and I are on our own this weekend.

Big Daddy and Little are in the woods in search of the wily and illusive North American white-tail deer. A call not 30 minutes ago informed me they were still searching-which is part of the fun. Still it would be Little's first deer and I would love to get an excited call from him.

Big has the night off and is going to a Halloween party at friendgirl's house. I don't know whether or not he wants her to be a girlfriend, but I think she would like that of him.

Sorry, Big. I just do.

That leaves Sugar to her own devices. I think the BFF and I will head down Branson Landing way and check out the soft opening of the White River Fish House. We'll then head to Waxy's for a pint or 7. Maybe. We'll see how the spirit moves us. And how long the cash holds out.

Because the point of the post is shite does indeed happen.

My washing machine went out. The water won't drain. I have a load of sheets soaking in a sea of water.

So? You ask.

Well, its one of those things that you don't plan for and piss you off when they happen because you never have funds set aside to assist in such an emergency and it sends you into a panic of where is the money going to come from? And Christmas is coming and property taxes are due and there are school trip payments to make and oral surgery to pay for and braces to buy. And self-sufficient though I am, repair is one of the things I leave up to Big Daddy to look into.

...and he's in the deer woods.

So instead of keeping my mouth shut, when he called a while ago to check in, I immediately told him about it. Now instead of enjoying his weekend with Little, he's going to worry about the washer.


Where is my brain?

Friday, October 26, 2007

Wednesday, May 21, 1997 Part 2

We had dinner at the residence this evening. Anup’s wife, Lima, served us a traditional Goanese dinner. We had Pomfred (which is a fish found only in this part of the world) in an orange sauce, prawns (really big shrimp), roti(flat bread) and a casserole-type dish with baby corn, carrots and mushrooms in a cream sauce. It had a spicy flavor I wasn’t used to.

Ah, of course, curry.

Lima told me she couldn’t cook if her life depended on it, but with the four servants bustling around I don’t think she worried about it much. She is a gorgeous woman- lithe, dark skinned and her English is better than mine. She didn’t have a very thick accent like everyone else. I learned she was educated in London, which seems to be common here.

Their home likens to a two-story condo with a small walled-in garden out back. Like everything else here, it needed a paint job. I’m thinking maybe only we Americans are obsessed with cleanliness and paint.

Or maybe it’s just me.

It was very neat and tidy, but looked very dated. I guess I harp on this because Anup’s home was that of a very wealthy man. My little house at home seemed more modern and I know full well I don’t have his bank account. It just seemed incongruent to be in a 2 million dollar home where the bidet didn’t flush. (I wouldn’t have known how to use it anyway!)

After dinner, Lima asked me what I wanted to do while I had some free time. I told her I wanted to buy a sari and a salwar kameez. She swept me to her bedroom and proceeded to give me two sets of salwar kameez complete with matching dupatta.

The first was brand new from one of the finest shops in Bombay. She said after she got it home, it just never suited her fancy. The second set she had worn once. She kept apologizing over and over again for giving me a used garment.

Is she kidding? I am ecstatic! I guess they don’t have yard sales in this part of the world.

She said she preferred western dress, but her mother gives her a hard time when she’s not dressed traditionally. So, she has several outfits to put on when she needs to appease her Mom.

We stopped for paan again on the way home. I’m getting to where I like that stuff!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Brighton is showing off a new piece of jewelry today. It was given to her by her favorite man and created by her second favorite man-David Yurman.


That’s not a sigh of envy. It’s a sigh of apathy.

I’m just not that into jewelry.

Shocking I know.

That’s not to say I don’t have pieces that I treasure. My wedding set, my mother’s ring, and the Journey necklace Big Daddy got me for our 20th anniversary will never leave my possession this side of Heaven. There is a Black Hills gold wedding band that Big and Little fished out of the lake when they were snorkeling. (They were little bitty guys and I’ll never forget how proud they were when they gave it to me) There’s my high school and college rings.

The jewelry I treasure has sentimental value. It’s the sentimental quality of what I have that is important not the designer name.

That being said, let me also say I do love all the trappings of being female. I like the make-up, shoes, clothes-and jewelry. I love spending a full day at the salon. I just don’t feel the overwhelming urge to have 75 pairs of shoes, 45 overpriced, over-hyped handbags, and a collection of jewelry so large I couldn’t possibly wear it all.

I’d rather take all that money and spend it on gadgets!

Last year for my birthday, Big Daddy got me a video iPod. I swooned. This year he got me a docking station for it. I melted. I’m pining away for a laptop. I use a Blackberry. I’d love a new home computer with all the latest bells and whistles. What’s it like using a Mac vs. a PC? How long should I wait before I investigate the iPhone in all its glory?

Brighton doesn’t understand this about me. We are on different pages when it comes to what we shop for. I say ‘meh’ to her new piece and she couldn’t care less about my need for new ear buds.

One thing though. It drives me crazy that she doesn’t use an ATM/debit card. She still writes a check for cash…and for her David Yurman.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Facial Hair, Part 2

I commented previously that I like facial hair. I have examples today of what to do and what not to do. Since somehow I’ve decided I’m an expert in this area.

This is sexy. (however a neck trim wouldn’t be out of line.)

This is not.

One Word

You know those surveys that get emailed around all the time? The ones that ask you questions like “What are listening to right now?” and “What’s your favorite movie?”

I think in the blog world these are called memes.

I dread getting them.

Not because I don’t like talking about myself, because we all know I live for that. (I have a blog, don’t I?) It’s because they are the same old questions, and they are always sent by the same people. I guess they forget to save the responses and have to send it again and again-and again.

Today, however, I got a new meme. It asked me to describe the sender of the email in one word.

Wow. I never use one word for anything. Let alone, describing someone.

In this instance, it was surprisingly easy. I answered right back.

The other side to this activity was to reciprocate and have others describe me in one word.

I don't think so.

I enjoyed this game very much when it was to describe someone else. But I had no desire whatsoever to have anyone else describe me. I’m not a masochist!

So of course I did it.

Here is what came back.


Three people responded back. I sent out eight or so.

This means:

I’m indescribable in one word.
Only three people had kind/neutral words to say. (If you can’t say something nice…)
Three people felt duty bound.
The others were afraid of this game also and just didn’t respond.
The others saw immediately it was a time waster and deleted.

Of the three ‘one words’ sent to me here is my reaction.

I believe the first person-she’s my best friend.
The second one could only think of something superficial.
The third word came from a man who continually surprises me.

I thought he’d come back with something cute and suggestive. He likes the word ‘lush’ a lot. (the adjective, not the noun) The word ‘generous’ though threw me, and gave me a lump in my throat because somehow I know he wasn’t describing my ass. He was describing me. In one word.

The third word came from the man who knows and loves me best in the world.

…and that’s the only person who counts.

Thursday, October 18, 2007


...but equal.

Big just left Sweeney Todd paused in the DVD player to go to rehearsal at the high school. He will sing the heck out of "Modern Major General" when they present Pirates of Penzance in November.

Any minute Little will be home from turning in his football uniform for the year. Next week he picks up basketball manager duties.

And they both make me laugh out loud.

Wednesday, May 21, 1997

I’m watching Bewitched dubbed in Hindi. TV over here is a hoot. Everything is so over-the-top and well, kind of campy. Funny stuff.

As I look out the window, there are the most beautiful flowery trees and shrubs growing up and out of the piles of garbage. I hate to keep harping on the trash, but being a small town girl and all, I’m not used to it. There are orange mimosa trees and some really hot pink bushes that are quite fragrant.

Little kids are running through the streets without any clothes on. The naked boys bother me. They crack me up though. They’re giggling! If you think about it, it is really practical of their mothers not to bother with clothes in all this heat. They outgrow them so fast anyway. I saw a little boy yesterday taking a bath in the street. He just soaped up along side the road.

There are no sidewalks by the way. Everything just goes from store front to street.

They are constantly doing road construction here. They don’t have a lot of time saving modern machinery. I was told they don’t want to take employment away from the masses.

They are having a wedding at the hotel tonight. The lower courtyard was filled with Christmas lights. I ‘clicked a snap’ but I don’t think it will come out.

Chuck and I traveled by rickshaw back to the office today. It wasn’t nearly as fun as I envisioned. The exhaust fumes were awful. There was thick black smoke everywhere. It’s actually the first time I’ve been outside in the streets.

When we finished up at the office and had Rasheesh drive us back, we thought it would be a great idea to walk down to the beach. I had never seen black sand before and I wanted some to take home. We went through the pool area. We thought it was odd that the gate was locked. We realized then that the lock was to keep people from the beach coming into the hotel. I had three Indian boys leer at me. (The slutty American woman in shorts, you know) There was an old woman begging for rupees.

Now we are bored. We want to explore, but were told it wasn’t in our best interest to go out into the city ‘unescorted’. So, we have to wait until Bob and Anup get here from the office. We’re going to ‘the residence’ for dinner tonight.

We figured out how to get the door open between our rooms. That was exciting. So we watched a cricket tournament followed with a rugby chaser.

Now I know what those flat bat things are that all the boys are carrying around.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I Got Nothin'

No, no. Hang on a minute...

No. Still nothing.

I guess I could go to You Tube and dig up something cute and relevant to post. But from reading other blogs this is considered a cheat. Something you do when you can't think of anything to blog about.

Kinda like this post, no?

I reckon I'll finish my posts on India.

Then what?

What do you do when you got nothin'? Do you work to get your groove back?

...or just let it go?

Friday, October 12, 2007

I Love a Parade

All that talk of Fall festivals left me thinking about the parades that go along with.

A parade must begin with a police car and end with a fire truck-unless of course it’s the Christmas parade and then Santa comes last-sometimes in the fire truck. It’s always best if these vehicles have the lights flashing and sirens blaring. This is very exciting to all concerned and children love it. Unless of course you have very small children and then they scream and put their hands over their ears. Parents are then forced to walk back to their car and watch from there or stick it out until the candy starts flying and then most kids’ ears stopping hurting immediately and the tears miraculously dry up.

The success of any parade is directly related to the number of marching bands performing and how much they actually play vs. just marching and whether or not they have their uniforms on or just jeans and the official band t-shirt. Bands definitely score higher if they have the uniforms on. It’s also important that they play several times throughout the route and not just in front of the judges.

I love Marching bands. I think I’ll post about them next. I know you await that post with bated breath. You need something to read while you sit on the pot anyway. You’ve already read the Enquirer.

If you’re a politician, yes I’ll take your flyer, but don’t try to talk to me because I’m busy. The Shriners are coming through with their classic Mustangs and little motorcycles and I can’t be bothered with your promises to get trash day moved to Tuesday.

If you are riding on a float in the parade, do not pummel me with the candy. Toss it. Give it a gentle underhanded lob. If you blacken my eye with a peppermint, I’ll kick you ‘till your dead. Not just because of the black eye, but because you’re throwing crappy-ass peppermints at a parade. It’s like Halloween. Nobody wants old-people candy at a parade. Look at the road when it’s over. What’s leftover littering the streets? So leave them at home along with orange slices and circus peanuts.

Along the way, the Grand Marshall will pass by. Usually this is a town elder or other such civil servant. My uncle Fred was the Grand Marshall of the Christmas Parade one year. He never quite got the wave perfected.

Why are the radio station vans always directly behind or in front of the marching bands? They have the radio station blaring away and it drowns out the band’s performance. But then again, the radio stations usually throw good candy.

I love the classic cars. They pass for days it seems. But does your Camaro all done up in gray primer really count? I mean, shouldn't you have a paint job to be able to line up in the parade queue?

But, I'm quibbling. I'll stand in the rain and snow to watch the neighbors and friends pass by. I've been in a parade on several occasions. I can take it or leave it. I like standing on the sidelines cheering on Sarah the flute player. She grins when I yell at her. I like waving at Jimmy on the choir float. I see Kent who lives just down the road from where I'm standing. I don't take the time to visit with him like I should. Is that Maria? No way! She's grown at least a foot since I've seen her last.

It's goofy, I know. But I love the sense of community I feel when the flags go by and a faithful few get busy cleaning up after the horses.

...and throw chocolate, People. Always throw chocolate.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


If you want to experience small town America, go to a festival.

Around these parts -usually in the Spring or Fall-there is a festival heralding the virtues of the town in question. Not only is there the requisite number of food vendors, musicians, and politickin’, there are arts and crafts. Usually this is light on the art and heavy on the crafts-meaning you’ll find a lot of crocheted doll clothes, homemade whirly gigs, and lots of denim with lace sewn on it. But then again, who’s to say its not art?

Now don’t think for a minute I’m looking down my nose at these activities. They are the backbone of our society-eliciting town pride and allowing chance meetings with friends and relatives you haven’t seen since, well, last year at the same event. I am first in line to road trip to various festivals wandering in and out of booths, munching on fresh kettle corn and sampling just made jams and pumpkin butters.

In the Spring, my own hometown has Sucker Day. Lest you confuse that for a lollipop, let me set you straight. A sucker is a fish. It’s an ugly, but tasty fish that used to run plentiful in the rivers of these parts. The whole town gets together on Saturday for a huge fish fry. Back in the day, kids got Friday before Sucker Day out of school and everyone went sucker grabbin’.

Nowadays the sucker is few and far between and the kids no longer get Friday off (mainly because they don’t want to go grab suckers) but we still fry fish, set up booths, listen to music, and play games.

But the Friday night before-what I look forward to most-is the parade. With the Sucker queen and her court gracefully passing by in her Daddy’s convertible.

Along with all the other trappings of these small town gatherings another vital ingredient is the parade. That will be the subject of my next post. That or marching bands. I can't decide.

I love me a parade.

And, yes, I own a doll with crocheted clothes. You doubted it?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


Listen to this nonsense:

Silberling directing Ferrell's Land of the LostBrad Silberling (Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events) will direct Land of the Lost, Universal's movie adaptation of Sid and Marty Krofft's 1970s live-action Saturday morning series. Will Ferrell will star as a disgraced paleontologist who, along with his enthusiastic assistant and macho tour guide, finds himself in a strange world inhabited by dinosaurs, monkey-people, and evil reptilian Sleestaks following a disastrous expedition. Universal has approved a March start date following a reported tweak in the budget, which is now set at $100 million. Silberling's most recent movie is 10 Items or Less. His past work also includes City of Angels and Casper. (Hollywood Reporter)

No good can come of this. How can you improve on perfection? I mean no Will? No Holly?

Chaka: Hurry, Rill! Hurry, Horry!

If you are not familiar with this show, then something is lacking in your education. Go here immediately and get up to speed.

Go on. I’ll wait.

Land of the Lost (paired with a big bowl of Life cereal) was a staple of my Saturday morning youth. It was a perfect, cheesy, campy adventure. Bubby and I would cringe at the Sleestak. (If you think Darth Vader has a scary raspy breathy thing going on, you have never been trapped on the couch by the sound of an approaching Sleestak!) We would wonder at the power of the crystals. We’d marvel at the special effects. (How did they make a T-Rex look so life-like? How did they make the family go over the waterfall like that?)

The seventies had the best cartoons and Saturday morning programming. I learned so much from School House Rock. To this day I can sing the words to Conjunction Junction. (Sad, but true)

And can anything really be better than pre-Scrappy Scooby-Doo? (Captain Caveman comes close, but trust me, he’s a distant second.)

However, nostalgia abounds when I think of Land of the Lost. It was never the same after Uncle Jack showed up, but Will Ferrell?

He’s a great Ricky Bobby, but I know Rick Marshall. And he, Readers, is no Rick Marshall!

Will Ferrell?

I’m devastated. I feel like Grumpy after having a log jammed down his throat.

Monday, October 8, 2007

A Storm

It's coming.

Even in the office, I can hear the rumble. I actually feel the walls vibrate with the thunder.

Now that the rain is actually falling, I hear it pummeling the roof.

Okay, that’s it. I can sit here no longer. I have to go look. It’s a compulsion. I can’t stop myself.

Ah, there it is. It is what I thought. A gully washer…Oops! There’s more thunder. I’m standing in the vestibule and the rain is lashing the sidewalk so hard it’s bouncing back up to the sky. It’s falling off the curbs like water pouring out a pitcher…or piss out of a boot if you’re from around here.

Uh-Oh. Here comes Sherry from accounting. Her umbrella is useless against this barrage. The wind is catching it and I‘m afraid it’s going to…yep there it goes! She breaks into a run and I grab the door open for her and get sprayed in the face for my trouble. Bless her heart. I can hear her shoes squishing against the tile floor as she trudges to her cube.

It’s about over now. This will blow by any minute and we’ll be left with overflowing runoffs and cool, damp air.

There is so much power in a storm, yet I also feel a soothing in the black clouds. They cocoon me. I feel comforted, invigorated, and awestruck all at once. God reveals himself to me in this way- if you don’t mind me waxing philosophical.

I feel better.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Tuesday, May 20, 1997

I didn’t write yesterday because the lag caught up with me. I went to bed. But, the day went something like this.

Rasheesh came around with the car about 11:00. Jimmy said I could wear shorts over here since its so hot, but I was the only woman in Mumbai showing her legs. I stick out enough being so white. I didn’t need that to contend with, but it was too late.

On the way to the office we stopped buy Anup’s new building. He’s building a flat for himself and his wife. The furniture is being made and the cabinets and woodwork is being put in. It’s a tiny little thing, but it has three bedrooms with each one having it’s own bath. It‘s got marble flooring and a great kitchen. Bob asked me what I thought. He had a weird glint in his eye. I told him I thought it was nice, but I’d seen bigger places back home. The glint in his eye was the price tag. One. Million. Dollars. I was floored.

The offices were just as dirty as everything else I’d seen. I feel like such a snob, but if I had a bucket and soap, I’d have gladly scrubbed the place. We worked there for a couple of hours and then Chuck and I moved to the factory.

The drive out wasn’t as devastating as I thought it would be. There were slums upon slums of people-some were just camped on the side of the road and this is the middle of the city! There were kids running everywhere. At stoplights we would have an old woman begging for food-or a child. They would always point to their mouth. When they saw we where white they would get even more excited. Anup said not to give them anything because they would just take it back to their pimp. People sold stuff at the lights-magazines, garland, strings of fragrant flowers for women to weave in their hair. Some of them had handicaps or limbs missing. We were told this was done intentionally. People would sometimes maim themselves to obtain more value as a beggar.


One little kid kept asking me for chocolate.

Chuck and I saw an Indian family in the car beside us. There were five or six kids in the back seat. They had this long pink stick that they kept poking at us through the window. Their Mom finally took it away from them and gave them a universal chewing. That was fun.

Have I mention the people drive crazy here? Well guess what? Men don’t care where they pee either.

We got to the factory and it was the cleanest building I’d seen yet. It looked like any 'cut and sew' I’d seen in America. It was ungodly hot, but so is a garment factory in mid-July in Arkansas. Did they straighten up because they knew we were coming? I honestly don't think so. Call me naive. We talked UPC’s and packing and headed back to the office after a quick tour. We’ll come back tomorrow and get to work.

We went to China Garden for supper after having China Gate for lunch. We passed by the China Camp and China Valley. Lordy, these people love their Chinese. So far, it all they’ve wanted to feed us.

I’m so glad I’m not driving in this country.

We had something called Paan tonight. It’s a digestive served on a betel leaf. Don’t ask me what’s in it-I’m not sure I want to know. They made two triangles of it and you put it between your cheek and gum or you can chew it. Yeah, kinda like you would Skoal. In fact it had tobacco in it. I’m told what we ate were held together with pear and I could taste coconut and ginger. Whatever else was in it, I got a buzz.


I’m trying to get Anup to teach me to curse in Hindi, but so far I’m getting nothing out of him.

If you’re ever in Bombay-try the Mango ice cream. It’s killer.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Paying Attention

Little plays football: ‘A’ team, first string, defensive lineman.

Fortunately for him, I’m more the artsy-fartsy Mom, so Big Daddy has to take over the bulk of sporting conversation. I go to his games, cheer him on, and pass out cold hamburgers at the booster meetings, but I just don’t ‘get it’ like Big Daddy does.

And this is a good thing.

Boys need their Daddy for football conversation and their Momma for advice on how to counteract the acne outbreak from the chin strap.

This is the first year he has played consistently and since his first game a month ago I have been waiting for his name to be called over the loud speaker after making a momentous play.

Cut to last night.

There we are sitting in the bleachers in a torrential down pour, huddled under an umbrella watching Little play football.

‘He’s gotta keep his hands on the ball!” Says Big Daddy.
“He couldn’t get his arm around it much tighter. It’s so wet.” Says Me.
“When you’ve got three men tackling you, you have to keep both hands on the ball!” Says Big Daddy.
“Well, then why don’t you get out there then if you know so much.” Says, well, uh, Me.

It went down hill from there.

Granted he wasn’t talking about Little, but Big Daddy and I aren’t on the same page when it comes to watching sporting events. He sits quietly studying every move and muttering/commenting to himself.

After awhile, I get distracted by other things-the smell of the food and the dumb cheers that are being led by seemingly six year old girls. I watch people pass by. I go visit. I get up to get a Coke. I go pee. I get up again to get some nachos. Last night, trapped under the umbrella, I commented on the poor sound quality of the PA system.

While I was commenting, (or had my head up my ass, as I like to translate) I missed an important announcement:

“And the tackle is made by number 54, Little Britches!”

I have to pause here and admit that his pseudonym totally sucks for this post. Somehow his real name shouted over a loud speaker for the whole stadium to hear is much cooler. Or it would have been if I’d bothered to shut my pie-hole and pay attention!

Next week I’m going to sit my butt down and stay there. I’m going to lose ten pounds by ignoring the call of the concession stand. I’m going to eschew my visiting friends. I’m going to watch attentively and listen to every sound coming out of the PA.

I will not be moved!

Yeah and monkeys might fly out my ass. (When I get up to go pee)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Bacon-It’s What’s for Breakfast

Yesterday morning I had a bacon sandwich.

Now this seems like a simple thing. A bacon sandwich-breakfast of the Gods, but in actuality there is a process involved.

First off the bacon has to be crisp. Not cooked to the point of crumbling, but just to the point you get a nice satisfying crunch when you bite down. Three slices is perfect.

Secondly, the bread needs to be whole wheat and it is never ever to be toasted. I use one slice of honey wheat which has just a hint of sweetness. The bread needs to be ultra fresh so the doughy goodness gets caught behind your front teeth when you bite down.

I put the three slices of bacon on one slice of bread and fold it over.

Condiments aren’t necessary or appreciated.

Now then, this could lead to a discussion of bacon’s virtues and other mouth-watering applications, such as a BLT, the use of bacon on a burger, running it around your plate to sop up the yummy, runny egg yolk, and putting salt pork in your brown beans, but this would just muddy the waters.

The perfect use of bacon is on a sandwich, Kids.

It’s good for the soul.