Monday, October 10, 2016

Tickets are selling fast for the 5th Annual Charity Boo Bash

Have Fun - Win Prizes - Help Kids with Chronic Illnesses! 
  •  Date:  Saturday, October 29, 2016
  •  Time:  6:00 pm – 10:00 pm
  •  Place:  Constellation Field – Insperity Club, 1 Stadium Drive, Sugarland
We never grow up, do we?  Remember the fun you had as a kid around Halloween?  A time to dress up in whatever outrageous, crazy costume you wanted and go out at night with your friends, in search of treats?  Now that you're all grown up, the fun doesn't have to end.  The annual Charity Boo Bash gives you an excuse to dress up and go out at night with friends and play fun games, win cool prizes and it's all for a good cause.  You are in for a scary good time!
Don’t miss the best time you’ll have in a costume.  The 5th Annual Charity Boo Bash promises to be a Halloween soiree like no other.  Tickets for the Boo Bash are on sale now at www.MiksHiddenHearts.org.  Admission is $55 and includes dinner, a welcome bag of goodies, and a spooky good time.  Sponsorships for the event are also available.

Nick Bourdoumis and Mikaela Aschoff at Boo Bash 2015

The party will feature a delicious gourmet dinner with dessert, drinks, casino games, prizes, a photo booth, costume contests and DJ Johnny Bravo.  Boo Bash 2016 will be held at Constellation Field, home of the Sugar Land Skeeters, in the Insperity Club, a unique party space behind home plate on the deluxe skybox level.  All proceeds benefit Mik’s Hidden Hearts Alliance (MHHA), a charity for teens and young adults with Dysautonomia and other debilitating illnesses. 
The Boo Bash provides ample opportunities for party-goers to win prizes, both big and small.  There will be silent and live auctions with a variety of items including a Destin Florida Condo get-away and round-trip airfare for two to any location in the continental US.  Raffle tickets will be available with prizes of date-nights for a year, a year of gourmet coffee or a family movie-night out.  Costume contests offer cash prizes for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners.  There will be plenty of other chances to win including a prize pull and a 50/50 cash drawing. 
With the Boo Bash growing in popularity every year, it is becoming the social event of the season.  In previous years, the event has been held at various locations in Katy.  Keri Aschoff, President of MHHA, said, “Boo Bash has sold out for the last three years straight, we moved to a bigger location to accommodate more guests.”  The Insperity Club features large windows overlooking the field and a fun, inviting banquet space for up to 300 people.  “Having our special 5th Annual Boo Bash there will not only allow us to have more guests,” Aschoff said, “it also lets us go bigger and better with decorations and entertainment.  Boo Bash is a can’t-miss event for all adults in our community who want to have a great time and help out a very good cause!” 
The venue at Constellation Field also provides a separate lounge/party space to accommodate the special needs of the chronically ill teens that MHHA serves.  Aschoff said, “it’s a way for them to socialize with others who understand their world.”
MHHA is a non-profit organization dedicated to outreach to homebound and hospitalized teens with dysautonomia and other hidden, life changing illnesses. MHHA was founded in 2011 by Mikaela Aschoff, after she fell ill with dysautonomia in her freshman year of high school. The organization provides gifts, hope kits, and monthly socials for these chronically ill young people as well as the annual Anti-PROM, a formal dinner and casino-night party for teens affected by hidden illnesses. MHHA also works to spread awareness of Dysautonomia.
Dysautonomia is considered a “hidden illness” because the sufferers often look healthy to the casual observer. It is, however, a complex condition caused by a dysfunction of the autonomic nervous system and can affect the cardiovascular, endocrine, metabolic and gastrointestinal systems. Dysautonomia can cause very painful and debilitating symptoms. For more information, visit www.mikshiddenhearts.org.
If you are interested in donating an auction item or would like information about becoming an event sponsor, please contact Lisa Marlowe at lisamarlowe37@hotmail.com or call 713-261-8727. 

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Help MADD fight drunk driving at Walk Like MADD October 15


READ THE LABEL: Local deputy warns that certain medications can impair driving

Help MADD fight drunk and drugged driving at Walk Like MADD October 15

Mothers Against Drunk Driving wants to educate drivers about the consequences of driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Many people don’t realize that this includes a number of prescription medications. It’s important to be aware of the effects of any drug before getting behind the wheel.

Montgomery County Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Bartoskewitz has had many roadside conversations with drivers who did not realize that prescription drugs had impaired their driving. “Prescription medications absolutely can affect driving ability,” Bartoskewitz said. “Anti-depressants, pain relievers, blood pressure medications, and even cough suppressants are capable of dangerously impairing your driving ability.”

Montgomery County Sheriff's Deputy, Brandon Baroskewitz

When taking prescription drugs, it’s important to heed the warning labels. “If the medication states that it could cause drowsiness or dizziness, could cause changes in sleep patterns, or warns against operating heavy machinery,” Bartoskewitz said, “cars are very heavy machines – you should absolutely not drive until you are sure of the effects the medication has on you.”

Bartoskewitz advised that over-the-counter – or OTC – medicines are generally safe if taken according to package directions. He warns against combining OTC medications with prescription drugs and with alcohol. “Taking any prescriptions or OTC medications outside of the package’s specifications or in combination with other drugs, alcohol, or illicit drugs can cause dangerous effects,” Bartoskewitz said, “not only for driving but for your personal health.”

The consequences of driving under the influence of drugs, whether prescribed by a doctor or OTC medications, are the same as driving impaired by alcohol or any other substance. “The first offense is up to six months in jail, a $2,000 fine, license suspension, probation, and other potential sanctions,” Bartoskewitz said. In the event of an injury, the sentence is more severe. “If someone is seriously injured, the penalty goes to 2-10 years in prison with up to a $10,000 fine,” Bartoskewitz said, “and if someone is killed, the penalty is 2-20 years in prison with up to a $10,000 fine. It’s absolutely not worth it.”

One way to help spread the word about the dangers of drunk and drugged driving is to join Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) this year at the 6th annual Walk Like MADD and MADD Dash in The Woodlands on Saturday, October 15 from 8:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. at Northshore Park. This is the major fundraising event for MADD. Walk Like MADD is a 5K walk and MADD Dash is a family-friendly 5K run to raise awareness and funds to eliminate drunk driving and keep families and communities safe.

Corporate walking teams are a good way for companies to get involved. “It’s not too late to get together a corporate team,” said Heather Smith, Special Events Manager for MADD Southeast Texas Affiliate. Participation can create visibility for a company. “It shows the community that you care about the issues affecting them and their children,” Smith said.

Smith said, “Companies that participate in Walk Like MADD benefit in a variety of ways, including an award of recognition for the top corporate team at the walk.” Other benefits include:
  • ·         Volunteering fosters teamwork, creativity and leadership
  • ·         Customers are more likely to buy form companies perceived as good corporate citizens
  • ·         Your company is positioned as a leader in the corporate community
  • ·         Your involvement increases awareness on drunk driving and underage drinking
  • ·         It’s a way to honor and memorialize the victims of drunk driving crashes
  • ·         Your company and employees raise funds to support the lifesaving work of MADD

Smith encourages corporate teams and individuals to register now for Walk Like MADD and MADD Dash. “Join us in the fight against drunk driving and play a key role in keeping our roads safe,” Smith said. To form a corporate team, register at www.walklikemadd.org/thewoodlands.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Cool Feelings - Summer Edition

So, back in the day - 104 KRBE had a morning guy, Psycho Robbie, who did a segment called, Cool Feelings.  It was very subtle humor and I loved it.  Here's one I remember:
  • When you're at a party, and you set your glass down and walk away, then when you come back, you can't remember which one is your glass - that's a cool feeling.
The cool feelings were neither negative nor positive.  They were just kind of meh.  Those moments when something slightly interesting happens or when things don't quite go your way.  Little ironies. For the record - none of them actually make you feel cooler in any sense of the word, especially not in the way iced tea would.

The beach in Gulfport Mississippi - shown here to indicate Summertime 

So, I've come up with a few Cool Feelings of my own:
  • When people tell you that you used to look cute - that's a cool feeling
  • When you drop your book in the pool - that's a cool feeling
  • When you nag everyone to wear sunscreen, then you're the one who gets a sunburn - that's a cool feeling
  • When you're half way through unloading the dishwasher before you realize, nobody ran the dishwasher and you've just put a bunch of dirty dishes away - that's a cool feeling
  • When you see the first Back To School sale at Target - that's a cool feeling
  • When it's so hot outside that you're glad to see an overcast day - that's a cool feeling (even though it's hot)
  • When you see egrets on the side of the road - that's a cool feeling
  • When people forget to complain - that's a cool feeling
  • When the phone rings, but you can't get to it before it goes to voice mail - that's a cool feeling.
  • When the waitress refills your iced tea, but she pours out of the side of the pitcher so you get ice up to the top of the glass and only about two gulps worth of tea - that's a cool feeling.

Cissy and I saw this Egret by the road.  We named  him Gerald.

Maybe some of mine are a tiny bit negative.  Little, miniscule complaints that aren't worth bothering about.

What are some of your cool feelings?



Saturday, July 30, 2016

The Perils of the Pool - Vacation Ailments to Avoid

Vacation is over and I'm back at work again.  How I long for those lazy days of last week.



We were a little dubious about visiting Galveston, Texas amid reports of beach lice, shark attacks and the flesh eating virus.  So, we stayed out of the water - the ocean water that is.  We did have a few walks on the beach to collect sea shells and we did sit on the balcony of our condo and gaze out at the ocean, enjoying the sound of the waves - and the sound of the cars whizzing by on San Luis Pass behind us.  Our condo was on the beach, past the seawall.  It's a great place with a big pool, two jacuzzis and even a kiddie pool for the very young.  We spent most of our time in the jacuzzi or in the pool with a couple of forays into Galveston's Historic District.

I managed to avoid the perils of the ocean but I did not take into account the perils of the pool.
  • Ear Infection - you can call it swimmer's ear if you like but once I got home, the hurt got worse.  One expensive trip to Urgent Care revealed an infection in both ears, requiring a tiny bottle of prescription ear drops that retails for $250.  Thank you insurance.  
  • Sun Burn - Honey Bunch and I both discovered the hard way that the can of spray-on sunscreen from last year just doesn't cut it in the blazing mid-day sun.
Add to that the following, little-known conditions you can pick up at any Gulf Coast vacation destination.  Beware of these ailments, there is no known cure.  
  • Redneck-itis - Part of relaxing for me is not having to talk to people.  I just want to sit quietly and enjoy the rushing water, or read my book.  We met one young woman that was bound and determined to be our friend, whether we liked it or not.  Honey Bunch and I are too polite for our own good.  In under five minutes I knew where this woman lived, several personal details of her family life, all about her debilitating calcium deficiency, her television viewing preferences, her religious affiliation, her favorite songs, her family's plans for the next few days and where her Aunt worked.  All of this before she even told me her name.  Yep, TMI.
    It's okay though.  She was a nice girl (I say girl because she was 24-years-old) and we were able to break away after awhile.  Plus, it gave me something to complain about, which is always a bonus.
  • Redneck Noise Virus - This is probably worse than over-friendly rednecks.  This is all the loud hooting and hollering and carrying on that rednecks do when you get two or more of them together and add alcohol.  Or, sometimes no alcohol is required.  Once the sun dips below the rooftops and it starts to get pleasantly cool by the pool, the redneck teens and pre-teens begin a raucous game of Marco-Polo.  What, I ask is the age limit for hollering out, "Marco!"  I think it should be 10.  
  • Tattoo Putty Affliction - Every day at the pool was like an art show I didn't want to attend.  I can't un-see those tattoos.  Plenty of people have too many tattoos.  Tattoo Putty Affliction is worse than that.  Imagine the old commercial for silly putty.  Remember when the kid presses it on the comics page in the newspaper and the image gets on the silly putty.  Then the kid stretches the image out a little, making it look weirdly misshapen.  So, like that, only the silly putty is somebody's back or stomach and it's a leathery reddish, brown and the image isn't Dick Tracy, it's something like a dragon or a demon that used to be an angel.  Am I the only person on the planet that doesn't have tattoos?  I know I sound like an old lady, but I do not get it.  For what people spend on tattoos, they could get some really nice jewelry, which they can take off when they get tired of it.  
  • Little Kid Infestation - They gather at the steps, making it impossible to use the steps for getting in and out of the pool.  They swim into you while you are standing in your corner of the pool, minding your own business.  Worst of all, they are unaware of your presence and will jump in right next to you, splashing water all over your paperback.  (yes, I read in the pool, doesn't everybody?)  But, I suppose if I didn't want to get wet, I wouldn't be in the pool.
  • Wet Paperback Malady - Splashing aside, most of the damage came to my paperback when I dropped it into the jacuzzi my own self.  It's okay, the words were still intact.



All that aside, we had a very fun time.  Mom and Dad came and took us out for lunch, we played some board games when it got too hot to be outside and I finished reading the entire book!!  (the aforementioned paperback)  Granted, it was an old Agatha Christie novel with less than 300 pages, but still.  For me, having time to read is a precious thing.  And I would gladly trade in my working week for another week at the condo...  once my ear heals up that is.  


Wicked Awesome!

So, we went to see Wicked at the Hobby Center and it was - Ah May Zing!!  Buffy and I went with our friends Ginger and MaryAnn.  We had a blast.  My face hurt from smiling so much.



First let me say that I love the Hobby Center and their Access Team.  If anybody in your group has mobility issues, these wonderful volunteers in yellow shirts - they've got you.  They can provide a wheel chair and a volunteer to whisk you away to your seat - no problemo.  No charge either.  Without them, my arthritic knees and I would have had a tough time navigating the steps and crowds.

Anyhoo - back to Wicked.  It was truly awesome!  The production was stunning - visually a sight to behold.  The sets had a turn of the century industrial look, lots of gears and clockwork.  (Note:  I mean the turn of the Century from 1899 to 1900, not the year 2000).  The costumes were similarly Steam Punkish but with a bit of a Hunger Games Capital City vibe.  Amidst all that, the Emerald City did not miss out on the Art Deco feel of the classic Wizard of Oz movie.  All these styles combined to make the magical world of Oz come to life.

But what really brought it life was the performances.  The two leads were perfect in their roles.  Emily Koch as Elphaba has a powerful singing voice and gave an equally intense performance as everybody's favorite green witch.  She brought an inner strength to Elphaba, making her more complex than just a nervous college freshman who didn't fit in.

Glinda, or Gah-Linda with a Gah, as she kept correcting everyone, was adorable and funny but no less complex.  Expertly played by Amanda Jane Cooper, Glinda transformed from a "popular" blonde college cutie to a government official dealing with a myriad of contradictions.  She is a friend to Elphaba but also has a public persona in opposition to the "Wicked" witch.

Madam Morrible was delightfully horrible.  She looked like the original illustration in Alice in Wonderland of the Duchess.  This formidable villain was played by Wendy Worthington.  Jake Boyd played the dashing, handsome Fiyero, the subject of the main love triangle in the play.

Yes, there's a love triangle, actually two if you count Boq and Nessarose.  There's lots of other excitement, magic and flying monkeys - but the underlying theme is the unlikely friendship of these two powerful women, which grows stronger as the story unfolds.

Years ago I did read the book that this play is very loosely based on, Wicked:  The Life and Times of the Wicked Witch of the West by Gregory Maguire.  Let me just say, the Musical is better.  The plot is very different from book to play, a lot was changed.

Go see Wicked - it's in Houston through August 14.  You'll be glad you did.

PS - Prior to the start of the play, a voice will come over the sound system, advising you to turn off your phones etc.  You will also be given a verbal warning to unwrap your candy prior to the start of the performance.  I always get a kick out of these warnings.  I never realized that people unwrapping their candy during a play was such an annoyance for others.  If you were at the Alley Theatre - you would receive a written warning at the bottom of the program - like this:

Monday, July 11, 2016

Summer Vacation - it's not for the faint of heart

What should you do on your Summer vacation?  GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!!!!

When I said "Get out of the house" I meant it like the end of a ghost story told around a campfire - very intense, almost yelling - "GET OUT OF THE HOUSE!!!!" Because, ya know ... The call is coming from inside the house!!!!

The word vacation starts with "vacate," which means to LEAVE!  This means, no staycations, no working vacations.  Leave.  Tell everyone that you will be unavailable and then MEAN IT.  Don't check email, don't return phone calls from work.  You are on vacation - dammit!



Here is my name, written in the sand at the beach

Go, somewhere.  Anywhere.  Even if it's just the Holiday Inn Express in the next town.  Get out of your own house before you blow your entire vacation cleaning house and making repairs and laying around watching Netflix.  See new things, try new restaurants, take photos of your family posed in front of landmarks.  But, most of all, buy kitschy souvenirs and t-shirts.

So, having said that, we are planning a little family get-away of our own.  We were thinking a Texas beach, something not too expensive.  So, we shopped around on-line for a condo and made a decision that's not too far from home.  It's a nice, relaxing little condo where we have been before a few times.

No sooner had we put down our non-refundable deposit, than we began to hear news reports of a troubling nature.  Guess which one is a lie and which ones are true:
  • Beach Lice
  • Fatal Shark Attack
  • Flesh Eating Bacteria
It's a trick question.  They're all true.  So, now what do we do?  We can't walk on the beach.  Not without Hazmat suits.  And don't even think about getting in the water.  Did I mention the deposit is NON-REFUNDABLE.  Yeah, they're sticking to that policy.  

At least there's a pool and a jacuzzi at this condo.  (heavy sigh)  Chances are we will have it all to ourselves.

Maybe that staycation wasn't such a bad idea after all.  



Sunday, June 26, 2016

Breakroom 101

Cross Referenced Under:
  • Breakroom Rules 
  • Didn't your Momma teach you anything?
  • What is wrong with you people?

It appears that some of us need a refresher course in how to act in the workplace so, here are some basic rules for the breakroom.  Why this is not just common sense, I really don't know.
  1. Items in the Fridge are not up for grabs - Do not take anything out of the refrigerator unless you brought it yourself. 
  2. Items on the counter are up for grabs - If you have leftover cake after a party, put it on the breakroom counter.  It will be gone in under an hour.
  3. If you take the last of the coffee, brew some more - This rule is in effect until 10am.  After that, you may take the last of the coffee without starting another pot.
  4. Clean up after yourself - This should be a no-brainer but it bears repeating.  Also, the following details need to be addressed:  
    1. If your food explodes in the microwave, you have to thoroughly clean the inside of the microwave.  
    2. Do not pour the remains of your soup (or whatever) into the sink and just leave it there.  Corn, peas, rice or whatever.  Wash it down and use the disposal.  If there is no disposal - DO NOT DUMP YOUR FOOD IN THE SINK
    3. Don't leave dirty dishes in the sink.
    4. Don't leave your stinky leftovers in the refrigerator for weeks on end.  
Now we need to talk about pot-lucks.  Anytime there is food for everyone, whether it's a potluck, a catered buffet, birthday cake or breakfast tacos - Do not be greedy, do not push your way to the front of the line and do not take more than your fair share of the food.
It is unacceptable to pile your plate high but, worse than that is to pack up any portion of the food to take home to your kids.  NO - NOT EVER.  Your kids, or family, or dog - they do not work in that office, they do not get cake!!!  It isn't fair for you to pack up some of the food when there are co-workers in line behind you patiently waiting for their piece of cake.  
If, at the end of the day, there is still food left and nobody else wants it, then and only then may you take some home to the kids.

You are not an animal.  You do not have to forage for food.  If you want to bring home cake, stop by the HEB on your way home and buy some cake with the money they pay you.  

Thank you for your time.


Monday, June 20, 2016

Random Stuff

Cat Lady decal on back of car -I am endlessly entertained by the weird stick figure families on the back of people's cars.  I've seen these decals depicting zombie families, star wars families and more.  I was just telling my daughter Cissy that I would like to see a decal of a single woman with about six cats.  Then we saw this:  One woman, one cat.  However, she must have a child in band somewhere, as evidenced by the sticker above her head.  Also, she is a native Texan.  I'm not sure why the band kid is not included in the decal family - I don't judge, I don't know her life.  I am merely here to observe and report.



I'm here - Every morning at the salt mine where I work - one of my co-workers comes in about an hour after I do - his shift is later.  I chirp, "Good morning, how are you?"
His reply is always, "I'm here."
It's not an enthusiastic, roll-call type of "I'm here."  It's more of a beleaguered, down-trodden, sigh.  It's as if he's saying, "despite great hardship and bitter personal struggles, I have managed to drag my sorry carcass to work today."  Every single morning.  Why?  Is he in such dire straits that coming to work on a daily basis is never a certainty?  I mean, he's full time.  He's supposed to be "here" every day at that time.
Cissy said maybe he means, "How am I doing?  Well I'm here in this awful place so I can't be doing that well, now can I?"  or perhaps, "I am here - in the present moment.  I am living in the now!  Isn't that great?"  But that's not my interpretation.
This guy is not the only one who says this.  I've heard other people say it, somewhat sarcastically.  "I'm here, I managed to show up today, I would rather be anywhere else but here, but I gotta pay the bills so, here I am."
Yeah - well Good Morning to you too.

I don't know if - Occasionally people call the salt mine and they have questions.  It's my job to get them to the right person who can answer their questions.
Some of them say what they want right up front - these people are efficient.  I love them.  Who do you want to talk to?  Bob.  Thank you, I will transfer you to Bob.
Maybe they don't know Bob's name.  Maybe they say, "I need to talk to someone in the Delivery Department."  Great.  Thanks.  I'll transfer you to Bob.
Then there are the "I don't know if" people.  These people drive me crazy.  Here's how their phone call typically goes.
Me:  Thank you for calling the Salt Mines - this is Cherry - how may I transfer you to someone who can actually help you, such as probably Bob?
Them:  Hi Sherry - My name is Gwendolyn Felicity Quakersnort.  (not her real name).  Maybe you can help me.  (No - I can't).  I have a question about the salt mines because I need to get some salt and I don't know if you sell salt or if you sell salt and pepper or if you deliver salt or if I've been using too much salt.  And I don't know if there's salt in my recipe and I don't know how salt works and I don't know if you guys are located in my home town or if you are somewhere else and I don't know if there's a location near me where I can get salt and I don't know how much you charge and I don't know if you take checks and I don't know if you take credit cards and I don't know if.....
They never pause, they never let me get a word in edgewise.  If they did I could say:
If you're going to list all the things you don't know - we will be here until next Tuesday.  I realize you don't know - guess what - we have someone here who DOES know.  His name is Bob.  Please hold while I transfer you.

Short story writing - I am attempting to write a short story.  It is a piece of fiction and it's supposed to only be about 10 pages long.  I have not gotten past the idea stage.  Here's why:
Every day I come up with what I think is a great idea.  I write a brief synopsis of my idea during my lunch break.  Then it's "time's up, back to the salt mines" and off I go back to work.  That is the only writing time I have in my day.  It is also my only time for facebook, texting friends (yes, I do have some friends), and listening to my voice mails from Walgreens.
Anyhoo - the next day I reread my brilliant idea and decide that it's' crap.  Delete, delete, delete - rewrite - then back to the salt mines.  Lather, rinse, repeat.  Every day this week.
Tomorrow is Saturday and I am determined to push on through this - whether my idea is a good one or not, this story is going to get written!
I told Honey Bunch one of my ideas and his response was, "and I would have gotten away with it if it hadn't been for you meddling kids."  (note to millennials - that's a reference to Scooby Doo - Google it).


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Thanks Dad


Today is Father's Day - so on this day, I would like to say Happy Father's Day to all the Dads out there and especially my Dad.  Hey, Daddy, I drew you a picture.  Do ya wanna see?






We don't often tell our Dads how much we love and appreciate them.  They do so much for us kids - even as adult kids.  They work hard, provide for the family, fix things around the house, and so much more.

Here are some random things I learned from my Dad:

1.  Go to Church - don't just show up, get involved.
2.  Change the oil in your car
3.  Drive your car until it falls apart - literally.  Then get it fixed and keep driving it.  A car should last a long, long time.
4.  Root for the Aggies
5.  Take lots of pictures
6.  Two is better than one - ask Dad how many he wants and he will hold up two fingers and proclaim, "bring me dos of them babies."
7.  If you don't know the answer, make something up.  If you say it with confidence, people will believe you.  No matter how outrageous the story is.  
8.  Sing out loud, sing out strong.
9.  Never stop going places - Dad has traveled all over the world and is still exploring the far reaches of the globe.

I know there are a lot more things I learned from my Dad.  Sadly, algebra is not one of them, but not for lack of trying.  Thanks Dad.

So, here, in no particular order, is a list of things I want to thank my Dad for:

1.  Thanks for brushing the knots in my hair when I was little until the brush handle actually broke off
2.  Thanks for helping me with my homework, despite the mediocre results in algebra
3.  Thanks for fixing my car countless times
4.  Thanks for all the home repairs and improvements
5.  Thanks for attending every game, every performance, every concert that my daughters were part of.  And taking pictures.  And clapping loudly.
6.  Thanks for all the fabulous Summer trips with all of us or with just the girls - road trips all over the country from Florida to Yellowstone and even California!  And taking pictures.

When my daughters Buffy and Cissy were little (there is no Jody) - they would go to their PawPaw (my Dad) for advice.  Who knows why, maybe their sister wasn't cooperating or they couldn't get Barbie's outfit on properly.  My Dad would say to them, "Well, when I was a little girl..."  Then he would offer sage advice.  At the time, they were too young to question this statement.  So thanks, Dad, for your wit and humor.  I love you.

PS - Coming soon to Cherri's Jubilee - Long overdue Mother's Day blog listing things I appreciate about my Mom (insert big smiley face here)


Sunday, June 5, 2016

Complaints Dept. File #142 - Weekends are too Short!

It's a pretty thick file - cross referenced to "I don't like Mondays," and "Why me, God?"



Here at the Complaints Department, we hear this just about every Monday morning.  It usually goes along these lines.

Coworker #1:  How was your weekend?

Coworker #2:  Not long enough.  (Yuk, Yuk, Yuk)

And the conversation goes downhill form there.  But the truth is, the lamenting of the too-short weekend begins on Sunday late afternoon, early evening.  That's about the time you realize you have to do some laundry so you'll have clothes to wear for the week.  Then you realize there's no food in the house, unless you want to have a stale box of Triscuits for your entire sack lunch and expired Campbell's soup for dinner every night.  (Why do we have clam chowder?  Who's going to eat that?)

Laundry and grocery shopping are not fun.  Continuing your Cut Throat Kitchen watch-a-thon is fun. And this illustrates the conundrum I face every weekend.

Because I am at work for nine hours every day and commute for 2+ hours every day, my weekdays are basically shot as far as getting anything done.  (Yeah, I know cry me a river... but don't, seriously, because there's enough standing water around here.)

The chores and errands stack up and by Friday night, there's a great big to-do list all ready for the weekend.  On top of that, the weekend is the only time to get together with friends and family, maybe take a little trip, and relax from the hard week you've had (assuming you've had a hard week - and lets face it, you work hard so you deserve a little R & R).

You start off Friday night feeling optimistic.  Maybe you make a little to-do list thinking tomorrow I will run these errands:

  1. Work out at the Y
  2. Shopping
  3. Pick up dry cleaning
  4. Go to the bank
  5. Return the library books
  6. Take the car in for an oil change
  7. etc. etc. etc.
Then you remember that there are a lot of things to do around the house too.  Such as:
  1. Clean house
  2. Organize the china cabinet
  3. Wash the dog
  4. Fix the laptop computer
  5. Clean out the closet, or the garage, or the scary space under the bed
  6. Sort the growing pile of socks in the laundry room
  7. Wax the ceiling
  8. etc. etc. etc.
Then you think of all the fun things you want to do, but never have time for:
  1. Visit a bookstore and waste an hour browsing
  2. Go to the movies 
  3. Arts and crafts with the kids
  4. A stroll through the park (never mind, it's way too hot for that and it's probably raining)
  5. Lunch, or coffee with a friend
  6. Date night with the Honey Bunch
  7. Curling up with a good book (this is sooo never gonna happen)
And, even though it's obvious that there's no way you can get all this stuff done in one 48 hour period, you are still optimistic.  You have that happy, excited, Friday outlook on life - you believe you have unlimited time stretched out ahead of you.  

Chances are, you will stay optimistic until the threat of Monday morning slaps you in the face like a wet fish.  (I'm thinking Monty Python fish dance - and no, it doesn't make sense)

The solution?  ....There is no solution.  But thank you for filing a complaint.  Have a nice weekend!


Saturday, June 4, 2016

Let's Form a Club

There are a few new experiences I find myself a part of now.  I think I've got several friends who can relate so, we might as well form some clubs.  Or is it support groups?  Here are a few suggestions for clubs I could join, if someone else would organize it, because...  ya know....  I'm busy.



1.  Silver Streak Club - for women who now have to color their hair once a month.  You'll know it's time to cover your gray when a shining silver streak becomes visible in the part in your hair.

2.  Alternate Route Club - for Houston commuters who have to find new and creative routes to work almost every morning as more and more roads are closed (and re-closed) due to continued flooding.  Also, don't forget to check which bridges have washed out.

3.  We Used to be Friends Club - for all the people with whom I used to enjoy hanging out, but now that our kids are older, we don't get together anymore.  Former friends from girl scouts, soccer-mom friends, fellow dance moms, former orchestra teachers etc.  It's a sad fact of life when your kids get older, graduate, go to college and then leave you with no social life.

4.  We Used to be Co-Workers Club - for everyone with whom I used to work and enjoyed chatting with but they moved on to other jobs, or I did.  Who's to say.  I know I'm still facebook friends with these people, but it's not the same as an in-person conversation on a regular basis.

5.  Enablers Club - for my friends who love to get together and eat out.  Then we all wait to see what everyone else is ordering to determine if we're going to be "good" and "just get a salad" or if we have permission to go off our diets "just this once."

6.  Complaints Department Club - for those of us who occasionally want to vent to someone who will just listen and nod their head.  A club for griping, commiserating and not judging.  The rules are, you must not try to solve problems or cheer people up and you must give everyone equal time - ie don't dominate the conversation.

7.  Prayer Group for a Third Party - For everyone who cannot bring themselves to vote for either of the Presidential candidates this year.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

Having your cake and eating it too

Today we have a guest blogger!  My brilliant and talented daughter Buffy.  She is so much funnier than I am.
Buffy is my youngest daughter - she's a teenager and I don't know where she gets her sarcasm from?  (cough - her father) What?  Did you hear something?

So here is Buffy's Guest Blog Post:





Phrases I Hate - by Buffy

1.  You can't have your cake and eat it too
     What do you mean by "having cake" if not eating said cake?  When you throw a party and you announce that it's time to have cake, you don't just stand around looking at the cake, reminding yourself and your guests how lucky you are to possess cake.  Having cake means eating cake and that's final.

2.  Comparing apples and oranges
     Whoever coined this phrase had a very limited frame of reference.  Apples and oranges are both fruits and so are therefore comparable.  There are also many instances in which you would actually need to compare apples and oranges, such as deciding what juice to buy or what fruits to eat.  If the point is to suggest a comparison of two un-like things, then those things should be more dissimilar.  How about, "comparing apples and the '27 Yankees," or, "comparing the use of mythological creatures in 19th Century literature and your mother-in-law." These are both, I think, better examples of pointless comparisons.

3.  You can't judge a book by it's cover
     Yes, you can and yes, you should.  If you like action/spy books and you pick up a book called He Came with the Storm and it has a shirtless man in the wind on the cover, you should not feel obligated to read it.  It is not for you.  In a real world application, people should not feel ashamed of stereotyping.  Everyone does it.  You can almost always determine your future opinions of and relationship to a person within an hour of meeting them.  Sometimes there is obviously not a connection and it is okay not to want to pursue a friendship based on this.

4.  You'll never know if you don't try
     First of all, Shut Up!  Who are you to judge me?  Similar to number 3, sometimes you don't need to try something to know it is not for you.  I do not like seafood, can't stand it actually.  So when someone offers me sushi or caviar, I do not need to try it to know that I will not like it.  If a person is obviously uncomfortable around a certain food or experience, do not insistently pressure them to try it because they will only hate it more and they will resent you for inflicting such torture upon them.

5.  Bringing home the bacon
     This phrase is supposed to fit traditional gender roles with the men earning all the money and therefore bringing home food.  But, if this gender role is to apply, then the stereotype of women doing all the shopping must also be applied.  This would make the women the people who literally bring bacon home.  This phrase is not only outdated but foolish.






Thursday, May 19, 2016

Pack Rat Confessions: Marzipan Pig

I have been sorting through a bunch of crap that we have shoved into the sitting room to get it out of the dining room - I know, long story.  I have found a number of items we should have thrown out long ago including lots of expired medications.

I also found this disturbingly well preserved Marzipan Pig, pictured here for your enjoyment.  And the answer is - NO, I did not eat it!  Sheeesh!



The frustrating thing is, no matter how many boxes and bags I sort through and throw stuff away and put stuff away - the pile doesn't seem to be getting any smaller.  It's like that vault in Harry Potter where every time you touch a golden goblet, another 20 or so more golden goblets appear.  Only this isn't gold, it's old files, paperwork, old school work, family photos, documents that are important, documents that are not important, and literally anything and everything.  I know, I only have myself to blame.  .....Or do I?

I could blame my family for assisting in the not throwing anything away ever.  After all, it's not all my stuff.  For example, this is not my Marzipan Pig.  

I could blame my day-job for taking up all my time.  Imagine if I had all day every day free to clean house.  ...on second thought, scratch that.  I think it was Freud that said, "be careful what you wish for, you might get it."

I could blame the internet for distracting me from my tedious task with the promise of cute cat videos and shopping for books on Audible and playing Words with Friends.

I could blame my 2+ hour daily commute for the loss of .... time..... hope...... sanity

But no - playing the blame game never got me anywhere.  Instead I shall press on and dream of another room found in the Harry Potter books, the Room of Requirement.  It would be perfect!  I could have a huge room of unlimited storage and, when I require a lovely parlor or dining room for entertaining, there it would be.  When I require a quiet space to retreat and read, there it would be.

(Sigh) - if only magic were real.


Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Bad at Crafts - Surgical Glove Elephants!


Bad at Crafts - Surgical Glove Elephants

Let's just say - I was going for the Participant's Ribbon in this sculpture competition.  Sadly, I did not even win that - no ribbon, no certificate, no bragging rights, and no respect and admiration from my peers.  My elephants look pretty pathetic.  They are even ashamed of themselves as evidenced by their downcast eyes




Here is how to achieve mediocre at-best elephants with minimal effort, in 9 easy steps.

1.  Blow up some surgical gloves like balloons, let most of the air out

2.  Tie off the opening

3.  Draw eyes on with a sharpie

4.  Cut out some ear shaped pieces of whatever  paper you have lying around.  Two ears per elephant.  I just happened to have paper that was the same color as the gloves.

5.  Affix the ears to the sides with scotch tape.

6.  There is no step six.

7.  Realize that your elephants are just going to lay there unless you prop them up somehow.

8.  Poke pencils through some dessert sized paper plates.

9.  Scotch tape the elephants to the pencils

And viola - you have just done the bare minimum.  These are the kind of elephants that don't like talking about their flair.

My elephants were feeling okay about themselves until this group of monsters stampeded their way into the sculpture competition.





Just look at them, acting all superior with their robust elephant figures, their big elephant smiles and batting their sharpie drawn elephant eyelashes.  This was not an amateur competition after all.  
These elephants think they're all that - but they're not.


Sunday, May 15, 2016

Christmas in May

Pack Rat Confessions Part 76 (or is it 5?...  I don't know anymore)

We were looking for a set of dishes which I was sure could be found in the attic. Cissy took some of our plates to college with her and now there aren't enough plates to go around so, we thought we would break out the dishes we got second-hand from a relative, whose name happens to be REDACTED.  We shall call this person Red, for short.  

Red didn't have space in his or her attic or garage anymore so he or she offered the dishes to us.  "Of course," we said, and promptly stored them for someday.  Only now, someday is here and the dishes are so well stored that we can not find them.  

No, we did not find a box of dishes in the attic.  What we did find was a box labeled "Binders," in big friendly lettering.  It's my handwriting.  So, I thought I knew what was in there.  I thought that Red had also given us several perfectly good binders that he or she just didn't need anymore.  I remember the offer of binders.  And I, being the pack-rat that I am thought, I will squirrel away these binders until I have a big enough hoard of loose paper to put in them.  And so, I did.





Honey Bunch said, "There's a box of binders up here."

I said, "Binders?  We don't need no stinkin' binders.  Lets donate them to Goodwill."  (I have since come to the realization that I will not have a bunch of loose papers that need bindering.)

So, the box was brought down from the attic and opened.  Lo and behold, it did not contain binders at all.  It contained several Christmas decorations which I have been searching for for the past four years.

You can see the box, pictured above, with a lovely poinsettia platter peeking out the top.  A platter which my own mother lovingly painted and fired in her kiln.

You can see the top of a lighthouse which has been missing from my Christmas village for so long, I'm sure many little Christmas sailors have perished in shipwrecks caused by the lack of it's blinking beacon.

There were Christmas mugs and even a set of wooden letters, which you can see below.  We like to get Christmas messages and then switch the letters around to spell something weird.  It's a Christmas tradition at our house.  What?  Doesn't everybody do that?  Can you guess the Christmas message?




So, why the word Binders on the side of the box?  I expect that I removed the binders and donated them to Good Will.  Then, I packed up some Christmas items and was so exhausted from all that effort that I could not possibly be expected to re-label the box.  Or perhaps I could not find a magic marker.  Who's to say?








Saturday, May 7, 2016

None of Your Business

People Magazine wants you to share your size!  Literally.  They want you to write your size on a piece of paper and hold it up while someone snaps a picture.  Maybe, if you're lucky - your photo will be in People Magazine!

So, let me get this straight.  You're not judging me about my size, but you want to know my size?

Oh Hell No!



The thing is, I just don't get it.  How does putting your size front and center prove that size doesn't matter?  It's...  I don't even know the words for it - ironically wrong, incongruous, Epic Fail?

The blurb about this campaign is on page 26 of the May 9th issue of People Magazine, the one with Prince on the cover.  In it are four pictures of women (are men excluded from this voluntary public display?) ranging from a size 2 to a size 18.  All of them proudly holding up a sign with their size and showing off their bodies.  Yeah, that proves that size doesn't matter.  Two of them are hot blondes in bikinis.

Okay ladies, I'm glad that you're all young and fit and proud of yourselves but the truth is, you are doing the exact opposite of what you say you are doing.  If size doesn't matter, then why are you focusing on size?  For the four pictured, I'm sure it's because you are proud of your size and glad to have the opportunity to be in People Magazine.

But, for those of us who are overweight, forget it.  I'm not sharing my size with you or anybody.  It's none of your business.

So, I'm starting a "None of Your Business" campaign to prove that if size doesn't matter then stop focusing on it, for real.  Stop asking women about their size, or their weight, or to put on a bikini and take a picture.  Just don't.  How about sharing your GPA, or your IQ, or your number of volunteer hours?  Those are some numbers I could get behind.

But, I'm sure People will have tons (over 2000 pounds) of smiling women, happily revealing the thing that is just a number and doesn't define them.  I wonder what other personal information People could get folks to reveal, just for the chance to be in the magazine?  Maybe their salaries or their STDs or their regrettable tattoos.

If you want to enter People Magazine's "contest" to "Share Your Size" then email a picture to shareyoursize@people.com.  They will also want a description of the photo, contact info and some biographical information.  The photo has to be 340x490 pixels and the deadline is May 13.

I sent them the picture above.  I would love it if more people sent them a "None of your business," photo to let them know that at least some of us are not focusing on size.




Sunday, May 1, 2016

What Moms really want for Mother's Day

Mother's Day is fast approaching, so before you go out and buy another scarf, blender or coupon book for free hugs, let's take a minute to find out what Mom really wants.  



Flowers are always nice


I did a highly scientific survey recently, okay I asked my facebook friends.  The thing that struck me is that lots of Moms wanted some time to themselves, while lots of other Moms wanted to spend time with their kids.  Two things that seem, on the surface to be diametrically opposed but, let's take a closer look shall we?

A Day Off - Many of the Moms that participated in my informal survey said they want some peace and quiet, a day to themselves or just some uninterrupted sleep.  ie - some time off from the responsibilities of mothering.  Mostly, but not exclusively, these responses came from mothers of small children.  
That makes sense.  Mothers of small children are always "on" making sure their little ones are clean and fed and above all SAFE.  Following the toddler around all day making sure they don't get hurt or fall down a well or put something disgusting in their mouths. that alone can be exhausting.  Not to mention the chores these Moms have to deal with - laundry, dishes, meal prep, diapers, picking up toys, bath-time and bed-time.  After that, it's time to put pictures of the kid on social media so, it's an all-day and all-night kind of a thing. One Mom of a 3-year-old said she wanted a full day alone to go to a bookstore, see a movie and have a nice dinner out - all by herself so she would not have to entertain anyone or share anything.  Sounds great!
Moms of school-age children have a lot to deal with too, such as the aforementioned laundry, dishes, meal-prep, picking up toys, bath-time and bed-time.  Hopefully no more diapers though.  And usually school aged children can be trusted to keep themselves out of harms way for longer periods of time - say half an hour or so.  But then there's the homework, the school lunches, the driving to activities and making sure all the forms are filled out and the uniforms are clean and ready to go for any sports etc.  So I get that these Mom's would like a little "me time."
Moms of teenagers - it's a mixed bag.  You want some quality time with your teens but sometimes, they can be ...  well, I just call it teenagery - attitudinal, bickering, emotional, but then again frequently they are awesome.  So, it could go either way.  
The bottom line is - Mom wants some time off from the chores and responsibilities so, any kids who are old enough should clean house for Mom.  Take her out to eat or make a nice meal for Mom (though breakfast in bed is iffy) and let Mom do what she wants, take a nap, get a pedicure, be alone or whatever.

Time with the Family - A lot of Moms did say they wanted a fun outing with the family.  The suggested activities were varied:  a picnic, going to Church together, a trip to the movies, a walk in the park or even a knife skills class.  (That's a new one on me.)  I would also like to throw in an afternoon of board games like Apples to Apples or Clue.  I have been told that Cards Against Humanity is not approved for Moms so, looks like we'll have to skip that one. 

Handmade Gifts - These are still a popular item however, I would skip the coupon book for free hugs if you are over the age of 10.  Seriously, it's not cute anymore.

Breakfast in Bed - One of the Moms in my survey asked for breakfast in bed.  In my experience, it is a recipe for disaster.  When my girls were little, they made me breakfast in bed which was a bowl of cereal with milk poured up to the rim of the bowl and sloshing everywhere.  But they were so cute, I loved it anyway.  
My friend Red (short for Redacted) had this to say about breakfast in bed:
     My kids tried to make me breakfast in bed two years ago.  I was woken up by my daughter knocking on the bedroom door.  Her words EXACTLY, "Mom? Did you hear the fire alarm?"
I answered, "No."
She chirped back, "Okay, breakfast is ready!"










Thursday, April 21, 2016

Hoarder Confessions: Antique Obsession

We went to an antique store in New Braunfels, Texas a few weeks back.  I admit it, I am obsessed with antiques.  Going to an antique store is like going to a museum, except you get to touch things and even take them home if the price is right.  
On top of that, anything and everything can be an antique.  It's not just furniture.  It's jewelry, toys, tools, office equipment, clothes, books, comic books, records, posters, common household objects and even trash like old bottles and tins.  I love old bottles.  Why?  I don't know.  Maybe it's Freudian.  Maybe it's just charmingly old-timey.  Antique stores are a hoarders dream!



In the lower left corner of the above picture is stereoscope, a device for viewing pictures, which could date all the way back to the 1860s.  I think of it as a predecessor to the view master - which was a toy when I was a child and could also be considered an antique now.  



Here we have a collection of antique bottles.  I have seen medicine bottles that still contain medicine from a century ago.  Fascinating.  Also, I wonder if it's safe to sell that kind of thing?  Talk about expired medications.  


This box of Cherry Cordials is empty.  I checked.


Record albums, in all the colors of the rainbow.  As a kid, I used to go to a record store that was the size of a supermarket.  That was back in the 70s.  It was called Craig's Record Factory and it had row upon row of record albums.  It was groovy (get it?)  Music was so much more tactile then.  You didn't make a playlist, you made a mix tape, and it took hours! 


This is just a conglomeration of stuff.  I love being in an antique store and looking at everything. 


Old tools.  I'm not sure who would buy these or why?  Maybe they want to decorate the walls of a Bennigan's in the 90s.  

Usually, I don't buy anything.  Sometimes I buy something small and cheap like a bottle or an old bandaid tin.  It bothers me that bandaids no longer come in tins.  This time, I bought an old yellow phone that looks like it could have come from the 1960s.  My plan is to create a display on an old desk that looks like an office from the 60s.  Why?  I don't know?  Maybe it's Freudian.  Maybe it's just my way of not forgetting the past.  

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Bad at Crafts - Painted Bottles

Here's an easy craft project for the lazy people, the too busy people and the artistically challenged among us.  It also provides a workable excuse for hoarding bottles.

The bottles pictured here were painted several years ago.  As you can see, some of the paint has chipped away.  I think that makes them look even more interesting, but that's just me.





It's so easy that not even I could mess it up.  Also, I love bright colors so this is right up my alley.

Painted Bottles in Nine Easy Steps!

Step One - Hoard several glass bottles.

Step Two - Clean them out and let them dry for several days or weeks  (It's okay to carry on with the rest of your life while you're waiting).

Step Three - Gather up the bottles, lots of different colors of tempera paint, and some red solo cups.  (only use red for this, other colors will just screw it up.  Store brand red cups are okay though)

Step Four - There is no step four.

Step Five - Work with one bottle at a time.  Pour a dollop of paint into a bottle and swirl it around to coat the inside of the bottle.  If it's not enough paint, add more.

Step Six - Turn the bottle upside down inside a red plastic cup so the paint can drain out.

Step Seven - Repeat the process using a different color for each bottle.

Step Eight - Leave the overturned bottles to drain for about a day (carry on with your normal activities during this time)  It's best to leave the overturned bottles on the kitchen table and don't let anyone eat at the table until they are done.  Shout at anyone who tries to have their meals there.

Step Nine - Turn the bottles upright and throw away the red plastic cups.

Viola!  Now you have a lovely collection of colored bottles to place on a shelf.

Variation:  Use two colors in the same bottle for a swirly effect.

Uses:   Bud vases, gifts, centerpieces,

Warning:  Do not drink out of these bottles.