A memoir of musings, allegories and adventures covering my inspired life...

Monday, December 26, 2011

Santa Got Lost In Translation

Ahh family tradition…a few years ago my mother inadvertently began a new sort of Christmas family tradition by gifting my father a little gem of sorts. It was a t-shirt. And, harmless as it may seem, the long-term ramifications of this gift could not possibly been foreseen. As usual, along with Christmas activities came the annual sporting of the t-shirt…and thus, the memories and laughter begin…

My mother did not move to the states until adulthood, and although throughout my lifetime she has adapted to American culture and terminology, she sometimes gets a little lost in translation. Case in point, the Christmas family celebration of 2006.

Mom was effortlessly making her way through the piles of wrapped gifts when she announced the “super sale” she found while shopping a novelty store in New Orleans that season. She was like, “I found the cutest store full of coffee cups, t-shirts, and hand towels and EVERYTHING was on clearance! I bought a TON of them and now I can give them to everyone!” Dad unwrapped his new treasure and as he examined the bright red t-shirt, his eyes lit up and a roar of laughter welled from within. Mom was all, “Isn’t that the cutest little Santa?! I got such a good deal!” It was then that my father turned the shirt for my sisters and I to see. Immediately we were in tears laughing.

Mom: I know! Isn’t the Santa so funny?!
Me: I don’t think it’s the Santa that’s so funny, mom.
Annie: Oh My Gosh! Three Hos are better than One!! Bahahahahahahahaha
Mom: Yeah, like Ho Ho Ho! Because it’s Santa…get it?
Annie: Oh, we GET it! Do YOU get it.
Dad: (in tears now gasping for breath) THAT is a good shirt, Momma, Ima put it on RIGHT now.
Me: Dad, you can’t wear that today! Everyone will be over later for dinner!
Dad: It’s my new Christmas shirt your momma got me and Ima wear it.
Mom: Okay Annie, this one’s for you. Here, open it…
It’s been five Christmases since the revealing of this “dirty Santa”, and every year my dad pulls out the shirt and wears it. Sometimes visitors will mention how great it is and my mom will chime in with, “I have another one in the closet if you want it!” I still am not sure if anyone told her exactly what the shirt implied. Either way, it brings fun to the family Christmas every year.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

There's a United Nations Meeting In My Belly

So my thankful week of gut busting is over and I find myself left with two things to show for it, leftover pie for breakfast and this little post to bring insight into the “melting pot” of a feast that my family calls Thanksgiving.  Okay…in all actuality, if it were my mom talking, she would put a slight Filipino accent spin on it and say Thanksgibbing.  My dad would abbreviate it with that southern drawl and call it Thanksgivin’.  Either way, you’ll be full when it’s over.

I was the host this year for the evening meal, so we DID actually have a traditional American meal, but my parents did not want to pass on the opportunity to host a few friends (and myself, of course) for their own “traditional” occasion during the lunch hour.   It was an eclectic mix of friends and food.  
It was a Melting Pot of Goodness...MmmmmMmmmm
So here you are…the menu at my parents Cajun Asian Turkey Day:

-Seafood Gumbo
-Cornbread Dressing
-Potato Salad
-Turkey (purposely not listed first because it is more obligatory than anything else)
-Spring Rolls
-Fruit and Vegtable fusion salad with sesame ginger dressing
-Miscellaneous assortment of store bought pies (whatever ones were on sale that day)
-left over Sinigang (Filipino broth-based soup with pork, radishes, green vegetables, etc.)

Was there gravy?  No.  Dad forgot and mom began her anti-gravy coalition when I was around 5 years old.  Mash potatoes?  No.  But there was a fresh pot of jasmine rice available.  Is that a giant bag of popcorn in the background?  Yes it is.  That’s what is known as the random “WOW factor” food item of the feast.  You never know what you’re gonna get.  And this year…we got popcorn.  You’re welcome.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Honeymoon Is OVER!

Okay, so a few posts back I introduced that adorable little fur ball of fun, Benny. Everything about this new member of our family is charming...irresistably darling. We have forgiven him for chewing on our toes, leaving puppy chow crumbs on the floor, or leaving a puddle behind for us to step in…all at the bat of those big brown eyes. But yesterday…oh yesterday…Benny just went a little too far…

Check out my pretty new “We’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto” shoes. Don’t you just L-O-V-E them? Well I do! I got them last week. I woke with anticipation to wear them for the first time yesterday. I carefully selected an outfit to pair with my new shoes because, well, you KNOW that it’s ALL about getting a great pair of shoes and then putting an entire outfit together to compliment them. I get dressed and pull out the pièce de résistance…and that’s when I lost it.

“BENNNNYYYYYYYY you ROTTEN little ball of TERROR!!!!!! Where is he?!?! I’m going to BEAT him with my new shoe!!” He slowly rounds the corner into the hallway and we meet face-to-face, like a stand-off in the old country westerns. He, with his rotten cuteness and I with my damaged Gianni Bini red patent leather mary jane pump. SOMEONE was not going to make it out alive…SOMEONE with four stubby little legs and a bark that mimics a squeaky toy. He took his first shot… cocked his little floppy ears up, tilted his head to the side and gazed at me with the innocence of a newborn child. I was determined not to waiver. I marched toward him with the shoe in my hand, prepared to teach him a proper lesson, and then…he lost his balance and fell over like a little piece of freshly chopped timber.

My heart welled up and I began to giggle, which only made him roll over on his back and shoot those eyes at me from the upside-down cute angle. I was defeated. He had won. How could I stay mad at this little guy? Lesson learned. I can’t compete with that action. He owns me, and I should have known better than to leave my closet door ajar. Well played Benny Bop…well played.

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

You Betta Check Yo-Self!

Ahhh the conveniences of the modern age…how did we ever do without? God knew better than to create me during the 18th century. I’m a modern girl and I EMBRACE anything that makes my life easier and saves time during menial daily chores…well, almost anything.

Take, for instance, the self-checkout line…a dream come true for the impatient shopper right? More like a NIGHTMARE! Yes…apparently I am self-checkout impaired. What can I say? It just wasn’t my calling to excel in the checkout line. Had you asked the 8 year old me I would have whole-heartedly agreed that I was the checkout QUEEN…no wait…checkout PRINCESS (because the princess is ALWAYS more beautiful than the queen…Disney taught me that).

One of my favorite toys of all time was our cash register that had the three color coins and a cash drawer that dinged when it opened to provide the change. Oh how I loved the sound of that bell! It was the indication of sweet reward at the end of a transaction. It spawned a chemical reaction in my brain sending me to heights of anticipation rivaling the result of Pavlov’s dog experiment. Alysson and I would fight daily over who was the glamorous cashier and who was the lowly grocery shopper. I always won the role of cashier…it was my right as the oldest. Surely with all that checkout experience this new technology would be like putty in my hands…a world of convenience at my fingertips!

My arms were full of “quick trip” items and I was juggling to keep them from falling to the ground. “Who needs a basket, “I thought, “It’s really only a couple of items.” I approached the checkout area only to be greeted with line after line of people who apparently had all day to grocery shop with their coupons, their price checks on aisle three and their cell phone conversations. But wait…what was that in the distance? An oasis of time-saving technology, apparently known as the “Self-Checkout Lane”! Jiminy Cricket, THIS was for ME! And there was no one in line! It was like winning the lottery! Probably everyone else was too intimidated by change or technology or anything good for them. That’s okay…I’ll show them how it’s done!

Step-by-step instructions for use of the machine? No thank you, I got this!

SCO: Welcome! Please scan the first item.

Me: Well don’t mind if I do.

SCO: (after I scanned the first item and placed it in the plastic bag) Please scan the first item

Me: Wha? I already did.

So I removed the item from the bag, and proceeded to scan it again, because obviously my scanning skills were too ninja quick for this machine to process.

SCO: Please return item to the bagging area.

Me: Well make up your mind lady! Do you want me to scan it or return the item to the bag?

SCO: Please return item to the bagging area!

Me: OKAAAAY! No need to yell. Jeez!

SCO: Please return item to the bagging area!

Me: I already did! Can’t you see it there?!

SCO: Error…please wait for assistance. Error….

Just then I looked up, only to find a red light similar to those found on the rooftop of an AMBULANCE flashing as the machine repeated “Error…please wait for assistance…” Yes folks…for your red light special entertainment of the day we have Abby, the cashiering FAILURE. Was I being arrested for removing my item from the bagging area? This machine totally thought I was stealing the item I know it! She was out to frame me for this and I was NOT going down without a fight! I started frantically pushing the cancel button, then scanning another item. But that didn’t work so I tried putting all my items in the bag. Maybe if I gave her more stuff she would be satisfied…maybe not.

The old lady in line behind me rolled her eyes and moved to the next lane. Apparently I was holding her up from more important things. It took the store manager an eternity to get over to my station and turn off the alarms, reset the machine, and then “self-checkout” my five items for me as I watched. Then, par for course, my cash was not of acceptable quality to be received as payment by the machine, so I had to follow the manager to an open register where she accepted my payment.

All in all I’m pretty sure I would have saved time by waiting in line and letting a professional handle my purchase. Also, I’m pretty sure self-checkouts are of the devil!

Monday, October 31, 2011

He’s Got Electric Boots and a Mohair Suit

Our family dynamic has taken an interesting turn into retro cuteness with our newest addition…Benny “the Jet”. He’s an adopted eclectic mixture of terriers and other small breeds with a personality that packs a punch! Mischievous, playful, inquisitive, and full of spunk, this little guy has owned our house…and our hearts since the day we brought him home.

The name, you ask? Well, his name was initially Elvis Aaron Presley (because there is a little hound dog in all of us). So we were on the long drive home when the radio chimed in with Elton John’s classic tune, and wouldn’t you know…little “Elvis” sat up, cocked his ears, and started howling. It was the funniest thing ever. The song ended and he quieted instantly. I began to tease him saying things like, “Elvis? Do you like Benny and the Jets?” And every time he heard the word Benny, his little head turned and his ears stood at attention. Needless to say, Elvis had left the building and Benny was here to stay.

I know, right? Benny “the Jet” Miller. It sounds a little mafia. But you don’t know the half of it. Yesterday I brought him home a bone and he was chewing it and using the blunt end as a teaser toy for our other dog Maggie. At some point my cousin Del looks over and was all, “O-M-G that bone looks like a cigar in his mouth!” Yes people…Benny “the Jet” Miller went all gangsta, and earned his street cred. This little guy means business.
For Halloween, Benny surprised us with this uncanny impression of George Burns.  You're Welcome.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Halloweaster Bunny

I’m not a big Halloween person; maybe because my parents barely acknowledged the holiday throughout my childhood. And also there was the fact that we lived in a more rural area so our annual trick-or-treat visitors would total somewhere along the lines of two neighborhood kids…three if Michael Hickman wasn’t in trouble that night. The four acre distance between homes was a pretty good deterrent for parents becoming motivated to walk the kids from house to house; not to mention the idea of children wandering the streets after dark dressed like hooligans and begging for food like paupers only to come home and fight a battle over how much chocolate is too much before bedtime.
Muahahaha!  I vant to suck your Cadbury mini eggs!
I do recall one particular Halloween, however, where my mother made an extra effort to put her own spin on celebrate the occasion. You should know that my mother is a well-educated woman who sometimes falls victim to culture shock. She moved to the United States as an adult, so while she does understand the concepts of all American holidays and the meaning behind them, she sometimes gets “lost in translation” when it comes to the actual traditions. Case in point:

Halloween night, 2003. I was an adult; however, my 6 year old son was excited and filled with anticipation for special Halloween with his maw maw. I was excited for a night out with friends and a free babysitter. I got to my mother’s house and walked inside where she whisked him away and promptly returned with a bright orange foam pumpkin sporting arms and legs and bearing an uncanny resemblance to my son. Her witch hat didn’t quite go with the hospital scrubs she wore to work that day, but mom ALWAYS had a way of making things work in her favor. “Hellooooo Brandon! I am Glenda the good nurse-witch! And we are gonna have soooo much fun hunting for Halloween candy! Peter Cottontail has visited and there are candies and surprises hidden alllll around us!” She grabbed his little hands and started bouncing around with her 70’s disco moves singing "Here comes Peter Cottontail. Hoppin’ down the bunny trail…"

Wait…what? I was lost. Peter Cottontail? Please tell me my dad was not about to jump out of the hall closet wearing cover-alls, bunny ears and his Sunday church shoes. (He didn’t by the way…BIG relief) So I was all, “Mom, Peter Cottontail? That's an Easter thing.  Aren't you going trick-or-treating tonight?” And she was like, “Of course! We are gonna trick-or-treat right here to find all the goodies, right Brandon!?!” And of course Brandon was practically jumping up and down and screaming “Let’s go maw maw!! Bye mom! Let’s go!”

Apparently, after work, my mom bought a few bags of Halloween candy and hid the pieces of candy all around her house for Brandon to find.  And yes, in the end there was a "golden prize egg".  Because a hunt wouldn't be the same without one!  My mom always had a way of making things exciting for little kids. Her enthusiasm is contagious to say the least. To this day I have a theory that my son enjoys going over to their house strictly for the possibility of finding candy in the least expected places.  Kind of like a modern day Hansel and Gretel effect.  Maybe there was something to this whole Halloweaster bunny concept.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

I DO...Everything You Say From Now On

So another family wedding coming up this weekend and my cousin is the beautiful bossy blushing bride. Kidding, she’s far from the bridezilla type, but a little conversation she shared with me today had me questioning it for a moment.
The other day my cousin, the bride, was going over the last minute details of the wedding events for this weekend, and she says to her fiancé, “Okay babe, so Friday you need to meet me at the church to help decorate for the wedding.”

And he was like, “No wait, I already made plans to go hunting on Friday so I won’t be there.”

And she was all, “Well you NEED to be there because I need your help getting everything set up.”

And he was like, “But I talked to my mom about it and she said I didn’t need to be there for that part.”

And she was all, “Oh…okay, but just so you know, once we are married Saturday, I’M the boss of you, NOT your mom. Got it? Love you! Have fun hunting!”

I love this girl…she’s so right…and he can’t say there wasn’t fair warning.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Snap, Crackle, POP Culture Overload

Recently my family traveled from all over the world to gather in New Orleans for my sister’s wedding.  One of the great things about a destination wedding is that the guests can treat the weekend as a vacation as well as support the bride and groom.  It’s pretty much a win-win situation. 

My family members are all pretty much reluctant to hang around each other for extended periods of time independent, so we all branched off and did our own things around the French Quarter during our down time between scheduled wedding festivities.  On one of the days I met up for lunch with my sister, Joyce, and her husband, Ted, who were visiting from their home in New York.  Ted was giving me a run-down on that day’s events, which included several historical building tours.

Ted: It was pretty neat.  The ceilings and walls were covered with beautiful paintings, you know, like that artist guy, Leonard Da…what’s that guy’s name again?  Leonardo Da…

Me: Caprio?


Joyce: Isn’t that the guy from Titanic?

Me: Oh yeah…ooops.

Ted: Vinci!  Da Vinci.  Yeah… him.  Beautiful paintings.

It was then that I realized I probably needed to scale back my pop culture magazine consumption and visit a few high culture art exhibits before my brain turns to mush and I go all “Jersey Shore” intelligence on people.

Yeah, we’re a cultured bunch.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Won't YOU be my Neighbor?

So the other day my "special" dog Maggie decided to bolt through the front door into the neighborhood. It was trash day and there was a smorgasbord of rotten people food displayed at everyone’s curbside and ripe for the taking. My arms were full of shopping bags and I did not have time to act quickly enough to stop her escape. There she was, eyes widened with excitement, tongue waving in the wind, smiling from ear-to-ear as she rounded the front corner of the house and disappeared from my view.
I yell, “Steele!!! Maggie just took off! Hurry, run and catch her before she becomes road kill!” From the opposite end of the house I hear the quickening pace of bare feet thumping on our hardwood floors, then the front door slams, and silence.

Can you tell we have this drill pretty much under control? Yep, it happens every couple of months, and sporadically enough to warrant letting our guard down and trusting that her “wild” days are long past, only to be disappointed time and time again.

I take a deep breath and begin putting away my things, confident that my son will prevail in the battle of wit and dexterity that is no doubt occurring on my front lawn at this very moment. And, as expected, about five minutes later Steele walks in, Maggie cradled in his arms panting and licking him between grunts.

So I tell him, “Great job as usual, babe.” And he’s all, “Well, I met the new neighbors!”

Me: New neighbors?

Steele: Apparently there’s a new Arabic family moving in down the block. You know, the really conservative dressers with all the robes to cover everything but half their face?

Me: Yeah, how did you meet them? Were they walking around the block?

Steele: Not exactly. I was so caught up in catching Maggie, I didn’t notice where I was running. Maggie would stop running just long enough for me to get like two inches from her and then she would bolt in the other direction. So I finally outsmarted her and grabbed her and I was like, “Aha! Gotcha ya little stinker!” And then I looked up and I was pretty much face-to-face with our new neighbors. I was in their garage...while they were moving their things in...standing between them and their front door.

Me: Well, did you say ‘Hello, welcome to the neighborhood?’

Steele: Not exactly, I kinda just said “Sorry.  Excuse me. I was trying to catch my dog.”

It was at this moment that my son put Maggie down on the ground and I realized what had just transpired down the block. My 14 year old son, in his haste to save my dog from her own stupidity, ran out of the front door wearing nothing but Looney tunes lounge shorts and a look of determination.

Me: Well, did you say anything else?

Steele: The lady was trying not to laugh at me. I couldn’t blame her. It’s not every day you‘re welcomed to the neighborhood by a half-naked teenager chasing a retarded dog in circles in your front yard. But she was nice, she said ‘Nice to meet you.’ And I told her it was nice meeting her too. Then I left as fast as I could.

Me: Hmmm, maybe we should make them cookies one day soon.

Steele: Or maybe we should just avoid them from now on.

Welcome to the neighborhood!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Don, A Girl's Best Friend?

Last week my sister Annie, her husband Mitch, my brother Chris, Steele and I met at my parents’ house for dinner. It was just casual home-cooked meal accompanied by conversation about upcoming family events and the latest work drama. When out of the blue my mom looks across the table at Annie’s hand and she’s all, “Annie! That ring is BEAUTIFUL! Where did you get it?” And Annie was like, “I got it at Don’s Pharmasave. Same place I get my medication.”

Her response was met with brief silence broken by my uncontrolled laughter. Now THAT is a ONE-STOP-SHOP!

I'll take that ring, a box of Cracker Jacks, and a refill on my Valium prescription, please!

Monday, September 26, 2011


My sister Alysson is FINALLY getting married this weekend, and I was forced asked to participate in the ceremony as her bridesmaid, along with our other sister Annie. It’s really a no-brainer. I mean, of COURSE I’ll be there to support my favorite sister on her special day as she freaks out and murders everyone in a bridezilla rampage joins in matrimony with that poor sucker the love of her life, Miah.
The bride was blissfully unaware that her bridesmaids
had already abandoned her for a sale on designer shoes.
So last night, the bride and I were discussing last minute details for this weekend…on speakerphone so her fiance’ was included in the conversation:

Me: Okay, so things are falling into place now. Annie went yesterday and got her tan and I have an appointment to get my nails done on Tuesday. Did you confirm our appointments with the hair stylist for Friday? I’m a little worried about Annie’s bridesmaid dress fitting properly, but just in case, I’m packing a necessities bag to bring to New Orleans this weekend. You know, important things we may need like bobby pins in case Annie or I need them for our hair, safety pins in case our dresses malfunction, duct tape…well, we won’t talk about what the duct tape is for...

Bride: WAIT! What exactly are you packing for ME? Helloo! You’re supposed to be making sure that I’m taken care of the day of my wedding. Thank goodness I have a new sister-in-law, my only sister who actually CARES about what MY needs are.

Me: Oh! Well, I guess we just assumed you had it all together on your end. We all know Annie can be a hot mess sometimes. Hahaha

Bride: I’m gonna need snacks, drinks, a fan, all kinds of things and I’m going to count on you guys to make sure I’m eating and getting enough water and not sweating too much and that kind of stuff.

Me: Well then what kind of snacks do I need to pack for you? Don’t you like those chewy chips ahoy cookies?

Bride: No

Me: the crunchy ones?

Bride: No. I want Oreos, I like Oreos. And anything with peanut butter or chocolate would be good.

Me: Oreos? Um…no, they will turn your teeth black on your wedding day. I’m banning the Oreos. See? I got yo back gurl!

Bride: Then just get the blonde ones.

Me: Ooooooooh the GOLDEN Oreos. I really like those! They are soooo yummy!

Groom a/k/a Peanut Gallery: Great, now she’s gonna eat all your Oreos, too.

FAIL. Okay, so I’m not the best bridesmaid in the world. Realistically, we were BOUND to find SOMETHING I couldn’t do perfectly right? And hey, at least I’m not the worst! I’m pretty sure my other sister will prove to be the worst.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Well, THAT was an Easy "A"

So, our little family is adapting to our new environment for the school year. Not only is this Steele’s first year of high school, it’s his first year in public school, and there are tons of new things to learn. For instance…correct wording is important!

I submit to you Exhibit “A”, our conversation yesterday evening…

Me: So how was school today? Anything new and exciting?

Steele: Well, I aced a drug test.

Me: a WHAT?

Steele: Today I experienced my first drug test ever. It was pretty cool.

Me: What? What do you mean drug test? Surely they can’t drug test minors without the consent of the parents. That seems a little odd. (Let me interject here that my concern was not for whether or not my child would PASS a drug test, but for what reason they were doing so without notifying parents)

Steele: Well, they did, and I aced it of course. So can I get a little extra video game time tonight as a reward?

Me: Hold on. Are you telling me they had each student pee in a cup under supervision at school today? Was it random, or was everyone chosen?

Steele: They checked every…wait, did you say “pee in a cup”? Why would they make us do that?

Me: For the drug test

Steele: Noooo, they just brought in these really awesome drug-sniffing dogs and walked around all of our desks and backpacks. Why would they make us pee in a cup?

Me: That’s what you DO for a drug test, son. What they did today was a drug SEARCH, not a drug TEST. OMG

Steele: Well, whatever it was, I ACED it!

And yet another small piece of the innocence is lost. Not so much because he was part of a random drug search, but because he expected ample reward for passing a “drug test”. Like an ex-con at a parole hearing. Pray for my sanity people! Amen.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Dangling Chad of Vending

Yesterday was a long day at work, extended an extra couple of hours beyond the normal 5pm by a real estate closing. I decided to keep a positive attitude about the whole working-late-to-accommodate-clients thing, and treat myself to the yummy goodness that can only be found in a bag of Peanut M&Ms.

I climbed 2 flights of stairs to the vending machine instead of taking the elevator, in order to justify the extra calories.  But let’s face it, I really didn’t need to do this because we ALL know that Peanut M&Ms are a solid source of protein, and that makes them health food. BONUS!

85 cents for a bag of M&Ms?!?! OMG since WHEN are M&Ms a high priced commodity? I remember when you could get a bag of M&Ms for…oh wait, we just won’t go there. I fork up the dough and put in the code and then WHAT?! So disappointed…I was trapped in some parallel universe where my every happiness for the next 2 hours was driven by the outcome of a scandal equivalent to a “dangling chad” of vending!

Isn't it amazing how even the most non-violent of people can so quickly become the incredible hulk against an inanimate object witholding sweet treasures? Why?  Why?!
 So I did what any other rational human being would do. I Googled for an answer to my problem. Needless to say, the answer was less than desirable. And yes, there were many articles offering advise on how to properly dislodge candy from a  rigged rebellious machine.   I thought I was gonna get some kind of insider information like secret codes to punch in, or the location of a hidden rest button that would refund my money.  I was left slightly disappointed with the advise that I found.  You can read one here ~ How to Free a Stuck Item from a Vending Machine

Oh REALLY? You mean if I pay an extra 85 cents and purchase ANOTHER bag of M&Ms it will inevitably push out the first one? Well why didn’t I think of that? Oh what’s that you say? It may NOT work? So another viable option would be to find someone with a key to the vending machine for assistance? Really? What a revelation!

Despite my sarcastic mutterings in response to the advise-for-people-with-no-common-sense-whatsoever, I chose to follow that advise, and I purchased a second bag of candy. Today as I snack on these unwanted M&Ms, I cannot help but be left with a somewhat bittersweet taste in my mouth. No, not because of the combination of chocolate coated by a candy shell encompassing a rotten peanut, but because I did not choose this second bag of M&Ms…it chose me. And I can’t help but question its motive.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

My Comment Has More Likes Than Yours

Does anyone else find that Facebook has literally changed the way our generation interacts with one another? Sure, it has its good points, but what about the bad ones? And then there’s those “grey area” issues. I’d like to refer to these as the “ugly” because you really never know how that person will react to finding out what you did.  It's probably all a big conspiracy by large corporations to keep us all preoccupied with the minutiae of everyday life so that we don't recognize the diminishing quality of service and product they provide while the price point increases annually.  Especially tv sitcom production companies.  I mean, what's up with that people?  But I digress...here are my personal Facebook observations...

This picture makes me hungry for breakfast...I should Facebook about it.
The Good : Catch up with old friends from school The Bad: Meet up with said friends and discover you no longer have ANYTHING in common The Ugly: When you are talking to them in person, you have to be careful not to talk about something they didn’t actually tell you, but that you learned from Facebook stalking their profile.

The Good : Self Esteem boost from hundreds of birthday greetings The Bad: Feeling guilty for not logging on to FB on one of your friends birthdays and wishing them a happy birthday on the right day The Ugly: Facebooking a happy birthday remark that is a little more detailed than most of their wall comments instead of actually calling your cousin on their special day

The Good : The ability to sound more community and politically minded or “in the know” by copying repost statuses The Bad: Offending half of your friends by posting something a little edgy The Ugly: Finding out you reposted a hoax or propaganda

The Good : Keeping up with all of your “real life” friends The Bad: reading every insignificant detail of their daily life The Ugly: Having a conversation about every single insignificant detail because by the time you see each other, there’s nothing left to talk about

The Good : Being able to communicate effectively with a group of friends about your party, group meeting, or grand opening events The Bad: Someone shows up to the event whom you barely know or recognize and you have to pretend you are long lost friends The Ugly: Someone you actually KNOW sees the event info between mutual friend statuses and wonders why they were not invited to join

The Good : You can keep a great conversation going without interrupting your regular schedule The Bad: Any mutual friend can offer their two cents whenever they like The Ugly: You don’t really know how to wrap the convo up, so you just comment with “lol”

The Good : You don’t have to wait for your friend to get you the double prints of photos from your trip because once you are tagged, you have your copies The Bad: You do not get to prescreen the photos and weed out the uglies before you are tagged The Ugly: people tag you in photos completely unrelated to you so if you don’t catch it and your friends are looking through your photos, they find some chick who either looks like a porn star, phsyco or just a photo of a random planking monkey

The Good : An opportunistic outlet to speak your mind or rant about how you were wronged The Bad: Everyone who sees your rant quietly thinks you need to update your prescription and get over it The Ugly: You misspell half the words in your rant about how much smarter you are than the person who wronged you.

The Good : You always know what’s going on around town The Bad: you see your friend or sibling check in at the mall after turning down your request to help you with a project because they are at too sick to leave home The Ugly: You comment on their check in to ask about the new doctor’s office in the mall

I’d love to continue this all day, but I gotta go check my Facebook.  It seems that I have been looped in to a 3 month long Poke war with a friend who just doesn't know how to give up!!  No really, we don't know how to end it...it just keeps going!  So help a girl out and continue my list in comments below.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Lobsters, Shared Toilets and Stairs – Oh My!

So my parents recently returned from a trip to New England, Portsmouth to be exact. I stopped by their house on Monday morning to get a free cup of coffee visit for a while. Up until that day, the only news I had received from their trip was my mom’s random calls from New Hampshire.

Me: Hello?

Mom: Abby! You HAVE to see this BEAUTIFUL car we rented! It’s a Crown Vic. We are riding in style girl! The scenery is so beautiful here! And the Crown Vic has leather, and lots of cup holders, GPS…

Me: So I take it you arrived safely?

Mom: And it has the climate control too! Such a nice car. Crown VIC.

Me: Okay, have fun mom! I gotta go! Love you!

Mom: Oh, Abby, I wanted to ask you something…ummm..what was it I was gonna ask you?

Me: I don't know, mom.

Dad: (barely audible in the background) Joji, get off that phone and tell me where the next turn is on that map there!

Mom: Charles! Just listen to the GPS

Dad: I can’t understand what that thing is talking about! Just look at the map!


So anyway...back to the coffee conversation.  I asked my dad how his trip went and he began describing basically the parts that were important to him.

Dad: Your mom must’ve ate lobster for every single meal. She can EAT some lobster. She put them things away like they was crawfish. We was at this one restaurant where they had them 1.5 pound lobsters. An your momma tells the waiter, ‘Ooooooo the lobster is only $12?! I’ll have TWO!’ They looked at her like she had T-total lost her mind, ya know. Cuz normally people only eat one.

Me: Yeah I know. So besides eating lobster, what all did you guys do?

Dad: Well, your momma wanted to stay at one of them bread and breakfasts.

Me: I’m pretty sure it’s called a BED and breakfast, Dad.

Dad: Well, whatever it is, them things ain’t nice at all. First of all, they have these narrow, steep old staircases. An’ you have to haul ALL your luggage to the 3rd floor. But worse than that, they only got ONE BATHROOM for three guest rooms. You have to knock on the door to make sure nobody is in there. An’ lemme tell ya, you can FORGET going to the bathroom in your underwear in the middle of the night. You have to get fully dressed just to take a piss in the middle of the night! Now that’s just ridiculous! I wouldn’t stay in one uh them bread and breakfasts again for all the tea in china. They’re for suckers.

Me: Is that it?

Dad: Yeah, pretty much. We mostly just drove around lookin’ for more lobster.

Yeah, my parents will not be writing for travel book companies any time soon.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Say My Name, Say My Name

Okay, so I will begin by sharing this article from my local newspaper several weeks ago…Don’t worry, it’s short, sweet, and sure to draw a giggle or two.

“What's in a name? That very question made for an interesting segment on CNN on a recent Saturday morning titled, "What not to name your kids." I came across it skimming through Facebook while eating my breakfast.

The thread was about the segment, which I had just missed. I started reading the thread and some of the names that people actually put on their children and I could not stop laughing.

Some of them were just downright unbelievable. Two of them, although pronounced differently, are unprintable. (Hint: One starts with an "s," pronounced "shyteed"; the other starts with an "a," pronounced "a-sho-lay." Draw your own conclusions.)

There were names listed like Congratulashayla, Peppermint Koolaid, Crucifixio, Timber Rattler, Infiniti Alize, Chlamydia, Syphillis (pronounced Sah-phill-is) and Gonorheaa (pronounced Ga-nor-ia) (twins, and yes, the STDs), Cocaine and Marijuana (twins), ABCED (pronounced Absidee), Heaven Lee Roach, Swiss, Cheddar, Velveeta, Phurious (Furious), Nimrod, Lucifer, Porntip, Pimptarius, Ureal Lucky, Courvoisier, Vagina (pronounced Va-Gina), Clitours, Demon, Darealyst, Metallica, Shadynasty (pronounced Sha-Die-ness-tee), Myown, Earth Angel (a male), Female (pronounced Fem-molle), Violence, Militant, Tellis Zeelotus, Redd Ball, Left and Wright (twins), Man and Woman (brother and sister), Crown, Tequila, Pink Brown (a male), Zucchini, Tia-Jauna, Pepsi Nicola, Thunder Shadow, Nike Da'Pimp and Fila Da'Playa (brother and sister) and Candy Barr.

I know people want to give their children unique names, but there should be a point where common sense needs to really take hold.

Your children are stuck with these names until they are old enough to change them, if they so desire. Some of these children are going to have a rough enough life, why make it even harder?

Yeah, that name may be cute on a baby, but remember, that child does grow up. Just remember this comment one of my co-workers told me, that a friend told her: "You're not naming a child; you are naming an adult."

And in case some of you are wondering, the simple, classic names do still abide. Here are the top 10 baby names for 2010 from the Social Security Administration website: Girls, in order of ranking: Isabella, Sophia, Emma, Olivia, Ava, Emily, Abigail, Madison, Chloe and Mia. Boys, also in order of ranking: Jacob, Ethan, Michael, Jayden, William, Alexander, Noah, Daniel, Aiden and Anthony.

What's in a name? Depends on who named you. ---LeCrete Robinson is features editor of The Town Talk and www.thetowntalk.com.”

You may also see the full article here ~~> What's in a name? For some, it's 'what were they thinking?
Oh lord how I love this article! People! A name can make or break a person’s level of success in life. Don’t believe me? Just think about it a minute. Could you REALISTICALLY imagine the first female President of the United States having a name like Pepsi Nicola? Congratulashayla mom, you have just ruined your kid’s social life right from the start. And well done mom on the name Shadynasty (sha DIE nuh stee) it’s just so…well…ummm…shady nasty.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Communicato NOT-oh Mr. Roberto

So yesterday was my ladies’ life group meeting and every meeting each person is designated a food item to bring based on that week’s chosen theme. Last night was Mexican Delight! I was assigned the chips and queso. Easy, right? WRONG.

I decided to save time by going to a local Mexican restaurant to pick up my contribution for that evening’s dinner instead of making it myself. So I walk into the restaurant and greet the man at the counter, for the sake of this story, we will call him…Roberto. So enthusiastically I greet him by saying, “Hola! I would like to order chips and queso for 10 people please.” And he’s all, “Cheeps ahn kehsoh?” And I’m like, “Yes please, for ten people.” So Roberto is like, “You spek Spahneesh?” I get asked that A LOT, so I’m all, “No only Eeengles.” Don’t ask me why I was speaking English with a Hispanic accent at this point. I guess it was my attempt to communicate in the grey area of our nationalities. And at this point I’m thinking…Man, I shouldn’t have said ‘hola’, it gave him the wrong impression.

So now I’m realizing that Roberto doesn’t understand what I am trying to order. He’s all, “Okeh, Cheeps ahn kehsoh?” And I’m like, “Yes, for TEN people.” He still looks confused, so a VERY obnoxious helpful elderly woman behind me yells, “She means for several people…like a PARTY! Chips and cheese for a PARTY!” Apparently she believes that by speaking louder, he will suddenly learn English and have a better understanding. So Roberto replies, “Diez?” And I’m like, “Oh yeah! Diez people!” And he’s all, “No problem…Fife meenutes.” I breathe a sigh of relief. We did it! We communicated. My order is on its way!

A couple of minutes later a petite Mexican server walks over to me with FOUR LARGE BAGS of tortilla chips and a separate large bag filled with containers of queso. He says, “Ten orders of chips and queso?” FAIL

It was enough to feed 40 people...literally.
I explain to the man (who spoke English) that it was for ten people, not ten orders. He apologized for the miscommunication and allowed me to take what they had prepared but only charged me for what I had ordered. When I got to life group, the girls were laughing at me for bringing enough chips and queso to serve the entire Mexican armed forces. But you KNOW they ate it all up anyway!!! Just kidding, we had 3 bags left.
I had one of the girls take this photo so you could see the queso containers were nearly the same size as my head.
I should have listened to my parents as a teenager when they suggested I take Spanish instead of three years of French. Cheeps and Kehsoh anyone?

Monday, August 22, 2011

My Bank Is Conspiring Against Me

I needed to make a bank deposit this morning after running carpool. Having just rolled out of bed and walking out the door in my pjs with bed head and sleep still clinging to the corners of my eyes, I was not dressed appropriately for public viewing. I thought, No biggie…I’ll just go through the drive-thru.

Apparently my bank has a new “watch dog” of sorts. A GIANT locust was waiting for me near the receptacle. He was probably the leader of the locust plague in the bible. He sat there guarding the drive-thru receptacle…staring me down…inviting me to make my next move. What I saw was this:
I risked life and limb to get this photo.  You SEE?!  He's bigger than that lady's head in the car next to me!
What I pictured in my mind was more like this:

Clearly I needed to use proper caution
Where AM I?! Is this thing LOST or something? Why is it sitting there taunting me…laughing at my fear? I tried honking my horn to scare it away. He didn’t even flinch! Oh yeah…he was a professional alright. It was time to bring out the big guns…my loose change. I cracked my car window juuust a tad and began hurling pennies at the beast. (Just so you know, it’s pretty hard to properly aim your pennies through a one inch crack in the window when the lady in the black car next to me is giving me dirty looks.) So distracting!  I wasn't throwing the coins at HER!

Needless to say my deposit was not made this morning. Maybe my banker is jealous of all that moola I keep depositing into my account, or maybe it’s just all a part of a larger conspiracy.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Tough Guys Don't Cry...They Grunt

I'd like to discuss briefly this little nugget I stumbled upon in my Facebook news feed yesterday.  The names have been censored to protect the manlihood of those involved...

I'd like you all to pay particular attention to the two bottom responses offered by Dan's fellow bros.  Thank you, old high school buddies, for proving what I always knew...that guys like to sit around talking about their feelings, too.  It's just so...touching. *grunt*

P.S. Tom you rock!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Breaking all the “Cool Mom” Rules

First day of school! First day of school!  So here are the gratuitous shots I got this morning through my sleep-filled eyes…
This was his reaction to my instruction to "look more enthusiastic about your photo being taken"
The only somewhat normal photo I got

This was him telling me he was done with photos for the day

The progressive "eye roll" shot.  I tried to tell him that the proper eye roll is done CLOCKWISE...not counter-clockwise!
Have I mentioned that I LOVE my Canon 40D and it's ability to shoot several frames per second?  Okay, back to the story.

I was filled with pride today as my only son walked toward Bolton High School (Go Bears!) for the beginning of his freshman year. Then suddenly…a thought…THIS, my friends, is a Kodak moment!!!

So I whip out my Blackberry and frantically press the buttons to open the camera app. My heart was racing. What was I doing?!?! My next move could make or break his reputation for years to come. What would he say when he found out?? How could something be sooo wrong when it felt sooo right? So I did it. I threw caution to the wind and snapped a photo of my baby bear walking up to the school. Oh yes I did. Right in front of everyone! I paused for a moment and gazed at my new photographic treasure as the narration ran through my mind. After 14 years of inconspicuous and expert maneuvers, Abby’s efforts were amply rewarded with the coveted cell phone camera shot of the elusive bear cub approaching his new den.

Steele Wilson...freshman bear cub
The line of carpoolers piling up behind me was my cue to flee the scene before being discovered.  I'd like to think that those parents were not annoyed, but beaming with pride at the new frontier I had reached.  The car horns honking behind me led me to believe otherwise.

Oh yeah…I’m THAT mom!

I could have spared his ego this one time…but sometimes it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than to ask permission.

Monday, August 15, 2011

A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words...Some Should Be Left Unspoken

As far as random hobbies go, photography is my first love.  I try my best to use my camera to share the emotion of every moment.  Those who are photogs themselves are aware that sometimes this emotion is staged...and a LOT of the time, the beauty in the picture could NEVER SPEAK of the reality of the moment during the shoot.

The "behind the scenes" moments, are what keep me from venturing into photography as a full time career.  It's not all kittens and roses here people!  Let's take a look back at some of my more memorable shoots...well, memorable for ME at least...

Ahhh the love between a mother and her first born child...you would never know that while taking this photo, I backed my left foot straight into a soft cow patty.  The field we were in was littered with them.  It was a sea of landmines, and since my eyes were fixed through the lens, I didn't stand a chance.
I know what you're thinking...my parents, exiting the wedding ceremony...all aglow with happiness surrounding my youngest sisters nuptials...no, sorry...they were laughing because my dad forgot his suspenders and the trousers of his rented tux were falling to his knees as he walked in front of over a hundred guests.  You can see him holding them up.
Happy baby all smiles for his mommy??? NOT, immediately after the shutter captured this moment, the poor unstable infant fell over like newly harvested timber.  He hadn't quite mastered sitting up alone for more than a split second, and we all spent the next few moments regaining composure.
Oh how we all love to gaze upon the fresh and dewey blushing bride.  You couldn't even IMAGINE that right before this photo she was yelling for someone to get her some paper towels so she could wipe the sweat from her armpits.  Ya gotta love this girl! lol
"I don't WANT to be a princess!"  she screamed through her tears as countless bridesmaids attempted to get her on her feet and smiling for the camera.

So calm, peaceful, passionate...I was hardly feeling it at the time as I was standing in the middle of the street, dodging oncoming traffic.  I risked my LIFE for this shot people!  Well, not really, but I sure did annoy some Sunday drivers.
Children of the corn?  Well, that's not what I was going for in this photo, but I was tripping and falling over newly harvested corn cobs and broken stalks...not to mention the looming fear of critters of the corn.
Such a sweet family moment....immediately followed by me knocking over a couple of decorative items with my behind, bruising my shin on the corner of the chest of drawers and tripping over the dog on the way out of the room.

Thanks to all my friends and family for opening your cherished moments to me, so that I can grow as a photographer...and learn where not to step in a corn field or cow pasture.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Little Miss Magoo in her Myopia Utopia

So recently I purchased a new pair of glasses, something I hadn’t bothered with in the last ten years since I primarily wear contacts.  I was chatting with my sister, Alysson, later that day and I was telling her how blind I felt when I could not even see my own face in the mirror 3 feet away without corrective lenses.  Alysson quickly reminded me that she is far worse off than I in that department, being as her prescription is so strong that she is considered legally blind.  Then she reminded me of the “driver’s licensing exam dilemma” which I am more than happy to share with you today.

It was finally Alysson’s turn to get her ticket to freedom by becoming licensed to drive in the State of Louisiana.  Alysson was anxious about her driver’s licensing exam that day and my dad used the drive to the local department of motor vehicles as an opportunity to give her a few pointers.  Dad was like, “The best thing to do is take your eye exam WITHOUT your eye glasses.  That’s what I do.  That way you don’t get any restrictions put on your license.”  (Dad always gets a kick out of “stickin’ it to the man”)

Being the obedient child that she was, my sister who has the sight capacity of Mr. Magoo tucked her glasses away in her purse and walked to the counter for her sight test.  She gazed in the direction of the eye chart and quickly and confidently rattled off the letters.  “oh PEE oh PEE, pee pee oh PEE!” And the DMV lady was all, “Ma’am, its numbers not letters,” so Alysson was like, “Oh okay…zero…” and the DMV lady was all, “Um, no.”  So Alysson was like, “Okay let me just get out my glasses.”  FAIL

Sometimes we see what we WANT to see, not what’s really there.  It’s always better to recognize your weaknesses and take measures to overcome rather than hide them.  One of Alysson’s greatest attributes is her ability to recognize her strengths as well as her weaknesses, and use both to make a difference in the lives of others.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Rotten Eggs

Thanks to my best friend and sister, Alysson, whose friendship keeps me grounded in the roots of our carefree childhood.

So my sister and her fiancé, Miah, were playing tennis in the park recently.  To the right was a child’s modest birthday party centered around a picnic table filled with treats.  To the left, in juxtaposition, was another child’s birthday party, literally bouncing with the excitement of a bold and brightly colored space jumper.  While lobbing the ball back and forth, Alysson and Miah were becoming more and more aware of the void their court created; a void which separated the children of peaceful budget bondage, from the party of screaming chaotic excitement.
Then it happened…a defector.  The leader in a soon-to-follow pack of children starved for freedom bolted out across the tennis court in pursuit of a better life the jumper.  He didn’t care what the consequences of his betrayal may be.  All he knew was that that bounce house was HIS.  He was in a total body sprint, running full on with his head thrown back, knees to the chest, arms pumping and chest heaving with every breath as he yelled, “Last one there is a ROTTEN EEEEEEGG!”
Thirty to forty-five seconds behind him trailed a little runt of a child, moving with half-effort and waddling along granny-run style.  In his determination to not be defeated he yells, “First one has to EAT IT!!”

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Me No Speaka de Engrish

In my opinion, the following words should pretty much be deleted from English altogether.

My highschool English teacher is probably
rolling over in her grave...if she's dead.
 Top Ten Words That Make Me Throw Up In My Mouth a Little

10. swinged – Yep, this is a word…there has to be a better way people

9. drawer – I feel like I have never actually pronounced this word properly

8. supple - *shiver* It’s supposed to be a positive word, but it just feels creepy rolling off my tongue

7. heinous – the definition of the word pretty much says it all

6. rural – I have to use this word often at work and frankly, it makes me feel as though I have a speech impediment

5. teat – I feel like this is just a nasty word that has not yet been completed

4. goiter – as if the thing it’s describing is not already disgusting enough! We have to give it a name that brings MORE attention to the thing!

3. squat – I really don’t think I need to explain this one…say it out loud…go ahead…just say it

2. puberty – That’s it! Kick ‘em while their down and feeling self-conscious about their pimply-faced, hairy, smelly awkward bodies. Tell them it’s just PUBERTY!

1. MOIST – OMG I HATE this word! I cringe every time someone uses it, especially when it’s used in conjunction with number 8.

Notice I did not include “ain’t” in that list. It is because I am of the strict position that “ain’t” is not a word. No Brandon, I don’t CARE if it has been added to Webster’s Dictionary. I feel that Webster is soft and was probably persuaded by a Texas politician to do so. As for my house…that word is FORBIDDEN!

And on a further note…I’ve noticed lately that some of my peers have shut off the proper English portions of their brains for the summer. Friends? Why am I hearing things coming out of your mouths such as “…here in Looosiana,” and, “Let’s do lunch next Toosdee,”?

And on Facebook?!?! Why are so many of you replacing the word “quiet” with “quite,” or “sense” with “since”?!?!

That just doesn’t make any since.