Saturday, July 30, 2011


Mr. Handsome B.D. and I have been married 28 years today.  It was wicked hot on the day we got married and geez, it's still hot.  Har, har, har.

Many years ago, we invited some old neighbors over for dinner.  For whatever reason, it felt awkward to me and hard to make conversation.  After about thirty minutes, Big Daddy blows in from work and sorry I'm late,  I've missed you guys in the hood, how's the new place, everybody got something to drink, the cement business treating you well, da Bears are killing me this year...........

I  remember that night vividly for many reasons.  I knew I married a guy who loved the company of other people, who got the party started the second he walked in the door and was the perfect compliment to my often shy self.  Since that first blind date at Denny's, to marriage, to three kids born in three different states, to ups and downs, he has always felt like home to me.

Source: via Kyle on Pinterest

Thursday, July 28, 2011


I'm kind of afraid of birds.  They creep me out.  The Big Daddy, he loves 'em.  Sometimes, I think we have absolutely nothing in common except gin.  When my brother, Tom, was younger he got attacked by a bird right outside the front door.  "Gull damn blue jays", my mom said.  To this day, if she hears a bunch of birds squawking, she'll say, "It's those gull damn blue jays."  I was about 40 before I knew that she was saying "goddamn" instead of naming a species of the blue jay.

The Big Daddy and I are headed out with the Chillens on a road trip to a family wedding.  From here to Iowa to Illinois, he will point out every hawk he sees along the way.  On wires, fence posts, along the road.  Hawk.  Hawk.  Kath, a Hawk.  This is what I do in the car on a road trip.  Read, nap, eat Skittles.  Sometimes I yell at The Big Daddy, "For chrissakes watch the road and not the hawks or you're gonna get us killed."  Then I go back to snacking on my Skittles because I've got low blood sugar.  Or maybe it's high blood sugar.  I can't remember which ailment I have, but it's the one that needs sugar in order to stay alert in case the gull damn birds start attacking.

Source: None via Brandi on Pinterest

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Sniff Test

It was recently reported that men use "the sniff test" to determine their clothing choices and will sometimes wear their whitey tighties 2 -3 times before changing them.

Oh. My. God.

This is new information to me and I was raised with three brothers.  I know men are slobs.  I know they drink milk out of the carton, scratch their butts, pride themselves on making fart sounds with their armpits and don't give much thought to their appearance most days.  I know I have to tell The Big Daddy that the hair on his ears needs to be shaved because he's looking a little too Thriller.  The BD, on the other hand, doesn't have to point out any chinnies I have because I maintain that area like a Master Gardener at the Arboretum.  I stay on top of my grossness.  That's the way chicks roll.  With one exception.

I wear the same bra for several days before washing it.  How many days I don't keep track of.  With this heat wave the number of times I can wear the same bra is limited, so I did the sniff test.

If I wore that thing one more day, I would qualify to be a guy.  Alarming?  I tried to scream but terror took the sound before I could make it.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Moving On

I met Brenda a few years ago when I got a job at a clothing boutique in my neighborhood.  I loved the store, I loved my coworkers, I loved the owner, I loved our retail neighbors.  I loved that place.  That place employed many women and each of us would arrive for work in our fashionable attire, accessorized with a trendy tote of the baggage we all carry that comes with living.  Brenda's bag contained a painful divorce after 30+ years of marriage, and many a time when business was slow, we'd talk over the jewelry counter about her troubles.   She was trying to adjust to a very different life than the one she'd known for so long and it ebbed and flowed daily.  She ended up leaving the store for full-time employment elsewhere, and when this recession started forming, the store that was so beloved by so many became one of its earliest casualties.

The friendships I made working with all of those people remains one of the loveliest surprises of my life.  Like the good mom of three kids, Brenda made sure we all stayed in contact and we'd get together occasionally to catch up.  Now, Brenda is leaving her life here to take a job managing a store in San Francisco.  After all those years of carrying that tote and all its baggage, she gets to start anew, rewrite her story and be in charge of the narration.

I can't even think about her not being around to meet for a cup of coffee, a bottle of wine or sampling some of her cooking without it making me cry. She has been a dear friend to me and my family as well as many others, but her time to shine has arrived.  Like watching a bird who's broken wing has been mended, our Brenda is about to fly.

Monday, July 25, 2011


The Big Daddy is a farmer in his off hours and very proud of his bounty.  He's grown lettuce, tomatoes, raspberries, rhubarb, onions, beans, zucchini and eggplant.  On harvest days, he carefully carries in his veggies like they're little newborn babies.

The baby lettuce he birthed had a slight problem.  At times it tended to taste bitter and once (and only once) I made the mistake of crack-a-lackin on his kid.  The other day I made a salad with blackened chicken and picked some of the lettuce.  We ate it and everybody loved the chicken, but on the down low, Mallie Bee said to me, "The lettuce is bitter."  I whispered back, "I know but eat it anyway or you-know-who will get mad at us."  We grimaced our way through it and never let on to The Big Daddy Farmer in the Dell that we weren't a fan of the produce part of the meal.  He chomped away like it was the best thing he's ever tasted, the "b" word was never spoken out loud and never could I have guessed that the seemingly harmless lettuce leaf would be the elephant in the room.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cracking the Code

The Big Daddy started biking ten years ago in order to get in better shape.  He rode back and forth to work, which was ten miles round-trip.  When a few years had gone by, he got asked to join a bike team forming at our church that would ultimately ride the MS150 every September.  When this happened, the biking got serious.  Through these last many years, I have lived with this passion of his and picked up some of the terminology and what it means.  For those of you not familiar with it, I will decipher it for you:

  • I have a training ride.  I will be gone the entire day and won't be worth squat when I get back.

  • We had a man go down.  Somebody fell off their bike and went wee, wee, wee all the way home.

  • Pete's got this thing on his bike..........  I want Pete's bike.

  • I'm doing a charity ride this Saturday.  I'm paying more than retail for a cool new jersey and by the way, I won't be worth squat when I get home.

  • Joe's got this new bike............  I want Joe's bike.

  • I got dropped.  The cool kids took off without me.

  • Gary got a new bike that has..............  I want Gary's bike.

  • He's bailed for tomorrow.  His wife started chasing him with a butcher knife when he told her he was going out biking with the boys again so he reconsidered the idea.

  • These bikes now have electronic shifters.  I want a new bike.

  •  Touched base with my BSG.  Bike store guy, like a BFF, only better.

  • Riding a century tomorrow.  I'm spending all day riding 100 miles and will not be worth squat upon return.     

  •  The guy bonked.  He saw dead people.

  • I was in this peloton and we were cooking.  A bunch of bikers rode real close and real fast and it was glory days, baby, glory days.

  • You should see the bike John just got.  Oh please, oh please, oh please.

There's plenty more, but in an effort to neither bore nor overwhelm, I'll save it for another time.  And believe me, there is always another time.

  • Ya have to admit, I don't ride that much compared to other guys.  I'm full of crap, tightly contained in this handsome Spandex.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Anal Retentive

A few years ago, I was at Ikea (just a moment here while I bow my head in a moment of silence to show my respect) and found a laundry sorter.  It was THE BOMB.  A single hamper where you could sort your clothes into dark, medium or whites and when you're ready to wash, BOOM A LACKA BOOM, you're good to go.  I showed it to the kids and the Pre-Teacher Girl said, "Ya mean we can't just throw it down the stairs anymore."  Well, no because this makes it so easy to SORT and then I'll just have to throw the loads in.   "But we like throwing it down the stairs.  This means we'll have to go down the stairs and sort it ourselves.  Yes, that is the point.   It turned out I was the only one that actually used this and within a few months it was donated to The Land Where Lazy Children Do Not Live.

The other day, I was cleaning the fridge.  The godawful fridge that makes me crazy.  I got the brilliant idea to sort things on the door by category - condiments, salad dressing, wines for slushies......  Lookie here, kids, you just put it away by its category and then we'll always know where it is when we're looking for it.  Two days later, there was Italian dressing next to the Pinot Grigio and one of these things is not like the other, unless you know of a way to get a buzz from Wishbone Italian.

I let out a big irritated sigh and The Big Daddy did what he always does when my plans for an ordered home get thwarted.  He put his arm around me and said, "How 'bout you go wipe your ass and you'll feel much better.  In fact, all of us would feel better if you did that."   It's like he's a mind reader.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


For a couple of years, I worked at a lighting shop.  We were the go to place in town for many things, especially lighting parts.  You'd be surprised at the hundreds of pieces of hardware and glassware that go into lighting and we carried them all.  When a customer asked for a specific piece, we'd bring them back to look at the inventory because two people digging through all those little bins would usually result in a successful find.

One day, an older man came in with his son, Buddy.  Buddy was an adult, at least 6' tall and mentally handicapped.  He had broke the glass cover on a ceiling fixture and his dad came in with some of the pieces to try and find a match.  We all stood in front of a shelving unit that was top to bottom glass covers.  The dad said we had to do this fast before Buddy lost control and caused some damage in the store so we searched while the dad said, "C'mon, Buddy, show me how you can clap.  That's a good boy.  Keep going.  Buddy, you're the best clapper ever."  Every time Buddy would get distracted for a second his dad would remind him to keep clapping and show these nice ladies what a good clapper you are.  "There you go, Buddy, you keep doing it just like that because these ladies love clapping." 

We found a close enough match and Buddy and his dad left the store with Buddy clapping all the way to the car parked in front.  The way that man loved his son made me cry, and I wondered what would happen to Buddy when his dad wasn't around anymore to encourage him to clap his way through the glass.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Blame Game

Last year I took the dog into the vet for his annual shots.  Henry's a big boy and it takes two to lift him up on the table for the exam.  The doctor looked him over and weighed him.  89#.  That's too heavy, she said, how much do you feed him?   I told her and then said, you know, I've got three kids and they tend to give him a bone just for looking cute.  The vet's assistant says, "Sounds to me like you have a discipline problem in your house."  What did you just say?  "Maybe you should make sure bones aren't being passed out all day."    

Everyone kept going about their business like nothing happened and I hadn't just been bitch slapped by somebody who smells like dog.  Hellooooo.....customer here.  Me and my fat dog can take our business elsewhere.  I came home and told everyone I knew that story and they went all Jerry Springer and said, Girl, She Did Not Say That.  Oh yes, she didShe dissed my parenting.

This year I took Henry back to Cruella DeVille's House of Dog and when they put him on the scale he weighed 80#.  A nine pound weight loss, thank you very much.  Wow, I say, that's great and everybody goes about their business like I'm not the next Jenny Craig.  He needs his teeth cleaned and Pretend Vet says he may have an infected tooth and didn't we talk about this last year?

Did we?  I can't remember, but I've got a whole year to lift weights and inject testosterone, cuz next time me and My Fat Friend go in for shots, I'm taking her down.

Monday, July 18, 2011


Right before bed, I went downstairs to take my medicine.  Three spoonfuls of vanilla ice cream right out of the carton.  The Lion King was standing dead still looking out the back door.  Staring right back at him on the other side of the door was a RACCOON.....on the screened-in porch, snacking from the metal container of dog food that he pried open with his raccoon fingers.  I called BD to come rescue the homestead from this varmint assault.  First, though, I put away the medicine cuz we're both supposed to be eating better.  Everybody in the house came running for an up close and personal look at The Dog Food Bandit, but he skedaddled before anyone else saw him.

The next afternoon, deposited on the mat on the screened-in porch was a dead chipmunk, courtesy of the Lion King.  Oh geez, that kind of stuff makes me barfy so I got the Boy Child to take away the remains and left to go to J. Jill for some retail therapy for my jittery nerves.  It was too early to take my medicine.

While I was gone, Sylvester and Tweety had an altercation.  Three adults in the house and nobody notices there's a bar fight with feathers flying everywhere on the porch but me.  It's like the Wild Kingdom out there this summer and every time I open the door, I have no idea what I'm going to find.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Vacuum

I love vacuuming.  It's instant gratification and the prescribed medicine for my fits of OCD.   Since the Boy Child is moving into an apartment soon, I have been perusing garage and estate sales for things to set him up.  When my neighbor had a sale, I found an old Hoover vacuum cleaner for $5.00.  I know, that's crazy.  Those old vacuums are like Sherman tanks, not the plastic crappy things that are sold these days.

Before it got put with the other things he was taking to school, I thought I'd give it a test run.  Geez, the thing was heavy to push, but it worked like a charm and I considered keeping it for myself.  For a week I kept that vacuum motor humming and told everybody about it, like I'd bought myself a new car instead of a five buck castoff from a garage sale.

Sherman and I broke up when I ran right into him and smashed my toe so bad I fell on the floor, saying shit in a hundred different ways.  I thought I broke my toe, but it was only bruised and the next day it was fat and purple and went wah, wah, wah all day long.   I found out those old vacuum cleaners can be dangerous and take you out if you're not careful, so for now I'll keep my plastic piece of crap.  In the meantime, I put the old Hoover to use........just like a treadmill but without all the guilt.

Friday, July 15, 2011


If you've never been to Savers, you don't know what you're missing.  It's a mega-thrift store, organized to the max.  In fact, I went to Target the other day and then Savers and guess which one was cleaner?  Hey, Target, spend a few bucks and clean up the place.

The Boy Child went with me and wahoo, he loves the place as much as me.  This time we joined the Savers Club.  Because $6.99 for a vintage camel-hair coat without a coupon is way too much to pay.  Now we'll get advance notice of special events and I told BC that if anyone ever told him he wasn't good enough to join the club, he should show them his Savers card.

The girls don't appreciate the thrift store.  I thought they were snobs until Boy Child said that Mallie Bee told him that half the stuff in there came from our house so why should she waste her time looking at it again.

This is more or less true and I should be irritated by the snark, but instead I believe I'm reaping what I've sown.

Big Daddy: The Early Years

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Tour

The Big Daddy loves the Tour De France.  I think he fancies himself to have been one of those guys in his younger days, but now that he's older he's had to settle into being an observer of those fit, young cyclists vying for the yellow jersey.  As with past years, there was a spectacular crash involving a car, a cyclist and a bouncing trip down the side of a mountain.  Good stuff if you're full of testosterone.  Ya gotta come in here and see this, BD said to me over and over.  Each time was a false alarm with no replay, so instead of getting up and down, I plopped next to him on the bed to wait for footage of the crash. 

The announcer doing the play-by-play said that he could tell that the current leader was really kicking it into gear and going all out because his trademark tongue was hanging out.  And I quote, "He's got the longest tongue in the Tour."  BD, did he just say that guy's got the longest tongue on the Tour?  Yes he did.  He seriously just said that?  He did.  I'd rather see a replay of that cute Spaniard with the tongue than some crash.   BD said, hey now, let's not take this down into the gutter, but he forgot for a minute who he's married to, and how she goes through most days with one foot planted in the gutter.  And he forgot that was the attraction.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Dear Abby

Mallie Bee is in a crossroad with her dance classes.  Her long-time instructors are moving on and if she wants to pursue this as a career, we need to get her in another place.  We made a visit to a new studio with tougher requirements and expectations.  I was impressed.  However, I dance like this..........

That leaves me to be of little help.  I also am not the one who will be taking the lessons.

I was discussing all of this with Teacher Girl, telling her I needed to keep my advice to a minimum because if I push too hard in any direction it will backfire.  Teacher Girl said, "That's crazy.  I ask you for advice all the time.  You always give me good advice."

This is how moms lose their minds.  They go through middle school, high school and beyond suppressing every reaction to every hare-brained idea their kid comes up with.  You want to date him?  You do know that working at Forever 21 requires you to hang up clothes?  Your friend is selling what car?   Just when you think you've mastered that, your kid grows up and acknowledges that maybe you aren't a moron after all, and sometimes when you come across a kettle of crazy, it's best not to stir it.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Squirrel Hunting

The Big Daddy is in full squirrel mode, setting the trap every morning before he goes to work.  He just loves him some squirrel in a cage to transport to the Beverly Hills part of town where they can eat someone else's tomatoes.  The other day he came home to a trap with no bait and no squirrel.  Sonafabitch, he says, how did they get in there to eat my food and not get trapped?  I do not know.  Was it like this all day?  I do not know.  Weren't you paying attention to it?  No, I wasn't.  Well, ya gotta keep an eye on this thing.  No, I don't.  

We were having this conversation in the driveway with The Big Daddy pacing around in his biking spandex and clickety clacking in his biking tap shoes, and then a squirrel, as if to mock him, runs right in front of us. Ya better run ya bastard, cuz I'm coming to get ya, he shouts.  And when it ran up a tree and turned around, he yelled after it, "Oh, you're gonna look at me, huh?  Go ahead and it'll be the last day ya ever look at me."

A cute, young couple out for a nice, evening walk and pushing a stroller with a cute, little baby inside slowed down to hear what was going on.  I hate these goddamn squirrels, he tells them and they nod and smile like o.k., buddy, why don't you go in the house now and take your meds.  I wanted to tell them that it wasn't always like this, that at one time we were just like them pushing our babies and being normal.  I don't know when the train jumped the track and our new normal was standing in the front yard bullying squirrels, but I knew it was pointless to explain because even I didn't believe me. 

Sunday, July 10, 2011

How Green Thou Art

My neighbor, like me, is a scavenger.  She doesn't go to the lengths that I do to get a good piece of curbside love, but she occasionally brings home the goods.  If she can't use it and thinks I'd like it, she'll leave it on my driveway.  Some are hits, others are misses and become my problem to get rid of.  A few months ago, she picked up this on the curb.  She mulled it over a few hours and decided she wasn't going to keep it and told me it was on her driveway if I was interested.

When I pulled up in front of her house, I couldn't get out fast enough and then by myself hauled this baby to my car before she changed her mind.  I sanded the peeling paint and put on a coat of wax and thanked the Junk Gods for this green beauty.  It's been moved about five different times since then, but I think I've settled on this place and oh me, oh my, it makes me wonder what life was like in some dark garage until it could come to a home that appreciated all of its beat-up glory.

Thursday, July 7, 2011


Last March I called Nancy up and said let's talk.  I hated my job, I hated having my creative spirit shot down and I desperately needed to get to a better place.  I've known Nancy for years and loved her style, and when she was over to my house for a dinner party for a mutual friend, the wheels of change started turning.  She was looking for the same thing and that's when our Prairie Girls Market got off the ground.

Nancy and I work well together.  There's no drama, no bitchiness, no hurt feelings.  Two creative souls who love digging for old stuff with a good story.  The best of this partnership, though, is that spiritually we are of like minds.  We want to make enough to give back and make our circle bigger and while it's been in frustratingly small baby steps, there isn't another person I'd rather do this with.

In January when I started writing this blog, Nancy was its biggest cheerleader.  She understood who my audience was and has told more people to read this than anyone else.  On those many days that I wobbled and waffled, when over the course of a day nine people had read my blog and I said maybe this was a dumb idea after all, she propped me up and said DO NO STOP WRITING.

I'm not sure where this will lead, but I do know that ever since I decided to chuck it all and go broke, it's been o.k.  That's not to say I don't lay awake at nite and worry about money because I do, but I am much happier than I was.  I do not take for granted that I hit the jackpot at that first meeting Nancy and I had, because while planning a future, I found a friend and a partner who manages to cheer long and loud during those times when my inner cheer is adrift.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011


Teacher Girl and I went up to Macy's to try on swimsuits.  She's going to a friend's lake house for the weekend and my suit is a thousand years old.  I pride myself on knowing how to shop for everything, but a bathing suit?  Is your clothes size your swimsuit size?  I thought so until I held it up and knew for sure that thing wasn't going to fit so I went up a size.  Maybe two.  O.k.,  I'm not gonna lie.  It was three.

Teacher Girl is a size 0.  That was me thirty years ago.  These days, not so much.  She went in ahead of me so by the time I got in the dressing room, she already had a suit on.  Oh my, she looked cute in her little bikini.  I tried on a tankini and the first one was too big.  Yeah!!!  This bathing suit trying on is so much fun.  The 2nd suit seemed a little tight going on but I persevered thinking it was the swimsuit version of Spanx, which would really be slimming, but I had a problem.  Fat girl in a little suit.  Uh huh, I was stuck in the thing.  I couldn't pull it up and I sure couldn't pull it down.  Oh, I was in a real tizzy and then a hottie hits.  Just like that I'm sweating like crazy and now the stuck suit is plastered to my sweaty skin with me yanking and tugging and my face is beet red.  I tried to calm my frantic, sweaty ass down and figure out what to do so I looked in the mirror, and seeing your fifty year old body stuck in a too small suit in a full-length mirror under fluorescent lights in Macy's is.....hmmm, what's the word?   The word would be shocking.

Teacher Girl got her suit and was as happy as could be to have something cute to wear for her weekend getaway.  I went home empty handed and I will go to the beach next month in my suit from the Dark Ages.  I did, however, manage to leave Macy's in my own clothes and that was one biggety accomplishment.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011


I am a loyal person.  Same bank, same hairdresser, same house, same Big Daddy and a vintage pair of Jockey French Cut underwear in a jolly red and white strip.   If they went any higher, I could skip the bra.  I hang on to things that are important to me.   I have no explanation for the undies.

Awhile back, a friend of mine told me about someone at our church who made an insulting remark to her in front of some other people.  I did not know this woman and she never offended me, but in a fit of loyalty to my friend, I gave her the stinkeye whenever I saw her.  Like, hey, I know what you said to my friend and if you piss her off, you piss me off.  It took some work on my part because sometimes I'd forget and then have to backtrack to look at her to deliver the stinkeye.

Recently, I was at a church meeting and she rose to speak.  I delivered the stinkeye and she proceeded to be funny and smart and charming.  Not only that, I agreed with everything she said and it occurred to me that I'd been delivering the stinkeye to an older version of myself.  This put me in a predicament and called for some prayer.  Um, yeah, Jesus, I've kind of made an ass of myself here lately and a little guidance would be extremely helpful and I sure appreciate the fact that you're the forgiving type.

Did Jesus answer?   He didn't need to.  I already know that when my day of reckoning comes, I'm gonna have some 'esplainin to do.

Monday, July 4, 2011


When I was growing up, my dad fixed everything.  He did plumbing, electrical and auto repair.  When he and my mom needed more space in our small house, he added on a family room, kitchen and bedroom.  It was my impression that all men could fix things, until I married the Big Daddy.  He's never embraced the home repair part of owning a home.

Recently, the toilet tank wasn't filling completely with water, so I passed that info on to him.  Many times.  The Fam was due in for a visit and just before D-Day, he got to work on it.  "I'm going in," he says, like he's on the SWAT team going after a guy who's barricaded himself in the house with his grandma and a shitload of explosives.  When I offer to help, he says hell no, I don't want you anywhere near me.  That, kids, is what makes a happy marriage.

On that lazy Sunday afternoon, I got engrossed in Marley and Me.  Oh, how that movie makes me cry especially since my own Marley is getting old.  In the family move from Florida, the kids growing up and Marley slowing down, I forgot about the drama unfolding in the next room with the plumbing repairs.  Fifteen minutes later, THE BIG DADDY HERO comes out of the bathroom with one repaired toilet, one cuss-free plumbing job and confidence out the wazzoo, like he's just taken down the perp and saved the hostages. 

It is done, he says.  And that, kids, is what ya call a turning point.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Summer Part Two

Don't let it slip away without some of these..................