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

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Do Laundry

Below is a list of the Top TEN THINGS my Mother Never Taught Me  *FAIL*
It's a JOKE mom, calm down...Love You!! lol
10) How in the WORLD do you fold a fitted bed sheet into a nice flat square like when you first bought it?!?! It’s like the bedding manufacturers sit there and TRY to think of ways to make my life difficult on a laundry day. And don’t EVEN get me started on how hard it is to get the fitted sheet on an extra plush pillow-top mattress!

9)  How to speak Tagalog (her native Filipino language). I just know those hens are in the other room just chattin’ up a storm about me. Because let’s face it…what would be a more interesting topic than ME? (Good thing I picked up a few cuss words from my grandmother along the way while she was taking care of us. At least I know when they are using those.)

8)  How to sew. Although, this one may not count since she herself couldn’t sew to save her life. I recall a hole in the crotch of a pair of pants that she attempted to sew and the resulting hem looked more like the Rio Grande

7)  How to properly iron a pair of slacks. I know, right? So simple, but for me…NOT! I had to buy a dryer with a “wrinkle release” setting just to keep my son from looking like a prune for church. Too bad the dryer can’t make those pretty creases.

*yes…I believe there is a pattern of “laundry lessons” existing within this list…curious…this may explain why my mom has enough clothes to wear a different outfit every day for 5 years without doing laundry…she’s allergic to laundry!!! Maybe I am, too! Oh the suffering we mothers endure!

6)  How to take a good power nap. This is one of my mother’s super powers. The woman can nap anytime…anywhere, and be recharged in 20 minutes or less. I, on the other hand, could not even sleep during daylight if I were medicated. Maybe this one isn’t her fault either…maybe it’s a gene that I did not inherit. Or maybe she doesn’t have a super power, and she’s just narcoleptic.

5)  How to make ANYTHING look delicious! OMG, have you ever had a snack at this woman’s house? She can serve you sauerkraut and anchovies on a Ritz cracker and make you drool while she is preparing it. She gets out these little hors d’ oeuvres plates, advertises each ingredient as she places it on the snack and then serves it with garnish and a sprinkle of Pecorino cheese (because, as mom would say “Pecorino makes everything taste wonderful”)

4)  How to look FABULOUS for only $9.99! This woman can REALLY sniff out a deal when it comes to clothing. I can’t even tell you all of her tricks-of-the-trade. All I can say is, she’s still bragging about the fact that her dress for my sister’s wedding was only $30 on sale at JCP online with free shipping, and the rest of us spent at least $250 for ours.

3)  How to pick things up with her toes. She may kill me for mentioning this one, but my mom has the most FREAKISH AMAZING ability to pick things up with her feet. Dirty clothes, writing utensils, skittles…nothing is a match for her super cleaning abilities

2)  How to work out in 3 inch heels. Yeah…you read that correctly. She works out in her heels…she’s ALWAYS wearing heels (except when she's picking things up with her toes). She likes the heels because they make her feel taller (she’s 5 feet tall on a good day). And she doesn’t just do yoga or Pilates…I’m talking treadmill, elliptical, jazzercise action. Dr. Scholl’s would be disappointed to say the least.

1)  How to keep the kids from sneak peeks under the Christmas tree. So my mom every year (and still to this day) wraps gifts and puts them under the tree…without gift tags. So no one ever knows who each wrapped gift is for on Christmas day…including my mother…she forgets. So we all sit around the tree and hold up a gift and we’re like, “Hey mom, who’s is THIS?” And she’s all, “Ummm, I can’t remember, open it and let’s find out.” Then I open the gift and I’m all, “Gold Bond foot cream?” And she’s all, “Oh wait! That’s for your dad…here Daddy! Okay maybe this one is for you.” Christmas mystery gift ROCKS!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Squirrely Bird Always Gets the Worm

I believe we all have that one screwy neighbor…you know the one I’m talking about.  The soccer mom  who does 5 point turns in her driveway to park her enormous SUV just right; that guy who paces his back yard after digging shallow graves spraying insect killer sporadically in the air and creating his own exterminator version of Swan Lake; the old woman who cuts the grass along her stepping stones with craft scissors while humming “Tinny Bubbles” by  Don Ho and who visits only to bring you bagged specimens of dog poo collected from her yard to inquire as to whether or not your dog made it.  Okay well maybe that last one was just an isolated case in which my aunt and uncle were living next door to a lunatic, but you get the point.

Well in my child “hood”, that one neighbor was a doozy.  A hoarder of sorts, she would chase her two rambunctious boys around the junkyard known as her lawn with frying pans or ping pong paddles threatening to beat some sense into them.  When you knocked on her door, she would answer by cracking it just enough to catch a glimpse of her hair net and lazy eye.  But all of that probably would have gone unnoticed amongst the neighborhood cast of characters if it hadn’t been for the fact that she would come and go in her dented, busted –up old truck at least 30 times a day.

Our living room had several windows facing the street, so day and night we would see her leave, then return, then leave, and return.  My dad would yell out, “Look kids!  There goes SQUIRRELY BIRD again!” And we would run into the room to giggle and make up stories about where she was headed THIS time.  I’m not sure where my dad got the nickname “squirrely bird”.  It could possibly be another of his famous coonass terms like fiddly-fartin’ or old as the hills or T-totally ugly.  But at age 10, I pictured the squirrely bird to be something like this.

"Git back here you spawn of the devil!"
And sometimes I would defend the squirrely bird by suggesting “normal” reasons for her comings and goings.  Things like, “She’s probably just getting groceries.” Or “Maybe she’s secretly a superhero who has to fight crime.”
Heeeere I come to save the DAAAAAY!
My dad would be like, “Nah, she’s just squirrely.”

My neighborhood now is peppered with squirrely birds.  But at least there aren’t any peepers.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Monkey see, Monkey do WHAT?!

So I want to talk a little about this photo.
We Are Awesome!
It has been on the front of my fridge for about 4 years, so yes, I’ve glanced at it hundreds of times. So why did I never notice before today that my son is giving HIMSELF rabbit ears?! Really? So basically he took a moment to consider his options, and the best candidate ended up being HIMSELF?! Knowing my son, it sort of makes sense…but still.

There’s one in every group, but since when is it this child of mine?

About 3 weeks ago, my friend Laura was visiting from out of town (her kid is the one front and center) and we were discussing how this photo captures perfectly the personalities of this group of neighborhood kids back in the day. Jonathan (Laura’s son) front and center, taking charge and challenging the photographer to dictate his next move, Brandon (far right) relinquishing the attention, doing his own thing in his own little world, but still making futile attempts to earn a smile, Ryan (second from left) flailing around like a monkey on meth, and most likely singing the Pokemon theme song as loud and repetitiously as possible in order to clown his way into the spotlight, and Tyler (far left) the quiet, unsupervised country boy from down the street who stares in awe at the other three thinking…”Hey ya’ll quit posing and let’s go blow up a bull frog in the ditch behind the house and build a fort in the woods.”

These little monkeys have since grown apart and gone their separate paths into their teen years…it’s probably a good thing. Maybe Brandon won’t be THAT one in his next group, but then again…I sure love that kid.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Laughter is the Best Medicine, Just make sure you identify the pill before you swallow it

For real! All of the following ACTUALLY occurred within the last 5 days. At least I’m well practiced in laughing at myself.

Top TEN Reasons I need another VACATION!

10) Passed up my own driveway and pulled into the neighbor’s garage before realizing I was at the wrong house.

9) Pulled too hard when opening a mini bag of pretzels and ended up with salt in my hair…and pretzels in my bra.

8) Was in my car in the bank parking lot talking on my cell phone to my friend Marci and (after dumping my whole purse out on the floor board) I was like, “Awe maaaaan! I must have left my cell at the office. Now I have to go allllll the way back just to get it. Ugh!” and she was all, “Aren’t we talking on your cell phone now?”

7) Was sore from a hard core workout with my trainer and went to sit on the toilet. Misjudged the height, sore muscles gave out, my butt was on the floor, hair clip was in the toilet. I just left it there.

6) Was leaving a house warming party and took off my shoes to walk through the muddy yard on my way to my car. Stepped to the left to avoid a mud puddle, sunk my foot into some poo instead. They don’t have any pets! I don’t even wanna think about whose poo it was.

5) Was leaving a voicemail for a friend and left the wrong name. Luckily she recognized my voice and called me back to pick on me for not remembering my own name.

4) Was on my cell phone with the pizza place ordering dinner while frantically looking through my purse for my “lost” cell phone (yes, I DID do this twice in one week. Don’t judge people!)

3) Was going through the normal morning routine, went to take my vitamin and dropped it on the floor. I picked it up (because the 5 second rule applies for vitamins too), dusted it off and swallowed it. Later, while getting ready for bed, I found my vitamin on the floor. So what in the WORLD did I swallow?!?!

2) Was posting a top ten list...copy and paste is obviously too complicated for me right now so I duplicated one of the list items and now I'm correcting it...anyhoo item number two SHOULD have read as follows:  Poured muscle milk in my coffee instead of half and half...drank it anyway.

1) I was reading an article online about Sasquatch Festival, when all of a sudden office phone rang, and instead of the normal greeting, I read aloud, “Sasquatch Sweepstakes” OMG “I mean Tudor Law Office, can I help you?” *thankfully I knew the person on the line and after a good laugh, we just discussed why we should go to the Sasquatch Fest next time around. Just sayin’
Haha Check out the kid covering her ears in fear
while her parents are all, "Sasquatch Rocks Man!!"

BTW...Just so you know, I totally got confused at least 3 times doing this top ten because I kept forgetting the numbers were SUPPOSED to be counting DOWN and I was correcting them line by line.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Momma said KNOCK you OUT

I’m a half-blood of sorts, part Cajun-part Asian…Filipino to be exact, so there are distinct traits, preferences, and tolerances that I have acquired over the years surviving growing up in that sort of “mixed” culture environment.

One thing that I’ve learned about my mom and her Filipino friends is that they have a passion of sorts for gardening, or live plants in general. They treat their plants like trophies on display, giving tours of the “fruits of their labor” to house guests. They take pride in their ability to grow and multiply different plants, both decorative, and consumable. They even babysit each other’s plants in their absence.

I just want to state for the record…I did not inherit the “Zen gardener” part of my Asian heritage. I find no peace, solitude, relaxation nor joy in the act of raising flora. As a matter of fact, I have quite a list of homicides under my belt in my futile attempts to “bring life” to my home by adding indoor plants or by planting a garden. I have successfully killed at least 30 different varieties of flowers and ferns, not to mention the not-so-lucky bamboo and one very unfortunate cactus named Bernie (R.I.P. Bernie Boo). Yes…I killed a cactus. Don’t judge.

So my mom, who regularly nags me about having a desolate and bare lawn encourages me to beautify my property, decided to surprise me by planting not one, but SIX “Knock Out” rose bushes right in front of my home. I love my mom. So willing to work to make things more beautiful, so inspired by the natural beauty of a HOT PINK rose bush that she wanted to plant them all over my yard, so willing to remind me of how EASY it is to maintain said roses, so obsessed with saying “knock out roses” that she litters her conversations with the phrase time and time again. Did I mention the knock outs are hot pink? I thought so. Did I mention that my home has outdated reddish-maroon wood siding on the front of it? Yep, it sure does. And so my mom was all, “Look Abby! Its pink flowers are sooo bright and beautiful! And they match perfectly with your house because pink matches with red!” No it doesn’t.

Anyway, I am really appreciative for what my mom did, even though now my knock outs are a constant source of stress. “Soooo easy.” Uh-huh. “Just water them once a week, and clip off the dead blooms.” Yeah. So riddle me this mom...why do my knock outs look like KNOCKED OUTS?

HELP! Save Us!!
For the record, this is what everyone else’s knock outs look like.
I'm too sexy for your garden.
Another one bites the dust...

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Only skin deep? I think not.

I was Googling yesterday evening in my attempt to find a vintage summer dress for an upcoming party, and I stumbled upon some links related to Audrey Hepburn. So of course, being as focused as I was at the time, I ran off on a tangent to explore these links and learned of a poem by Sam Levenson which was Hepburn's favorite and which she quoted often. I was so moved, I had to share. Why hadn’t I read this sooner?

Time Tested Beauty Tips

For attractive lips, Speak words of kindness.

For lovely eyes, Seek out the good in people.

For a slim figure, Share your food with the hungry.

For beautiful hair, Let a child run his or her fingers through it once a day.

For poise, Walk with the knowledge you'll never walk alone.

People, even more than things, have to be restored, renewed, revived, reclaimed, and redeemed; Never throw out anybody.

Remember, If you ever need a helping hand, you'll find one at the end of your arm. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands, one for helping yourself, the other for helping others.

The beauty of a woman is not in the clothes she wears, the figure that she carries, or the way she combs her hair.  The beauty of a woman must be seen from in her eyes, because that is the doorway to her heart, the place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman is not in a facial mole, but true beauty in a woman is reflected in her soul.
It is the caring that she lovingly gives, the passion that she shows, and the beauty of a woman with passing years-only grows!

~Sam Levenson

Monday, July 11, 2011

A Classy Place to Poo

This past weekend included a 6 hour road trip to Austin, Texas to drop Brandon off at camp for the next two weeks. For fun, I brought along my sister Annie and a friend whose identity will be kept anonymous to protect the reputation of the ashamed innocent.

A few hours into our trip, somewhere near Huntsville, we collectively decided there was a need for a pit stop. I was asking where we should stop in this small town and my friend chimes in with, “I don’t know I just need to poo.” So I’m all, “Okay look, there’s a Shell station. We can stop there.” And she emphatically rejects my suggestion by yelling, “No! The gas station is disgusting! I need a classy place to poo. “, So I’m like, “A CLASSY place to poo?” And she’s all, “You know, somewhere clean and spacious. Where I can relax and concentrate.”

Realizing now that she was absolutely serious, the other occupants of the car are throwing out suggestions through their laughter.

Annie: “How about that Golden Corral?”

Classy Poo: “That’s no good. It’s a restaurant. People are eating and they might smell it when you come out. It would ruin their meal.”

Brandon: “There’s an office building right there, they would have a bathroom.”

Classy Poo: “Oooooo Brookshires, that looks like a nice place.”

Me: “No, that is a grocery store…they probably don’t specialize in classy bathrooms or feng shui atmosphere.”

Classy Poo: “Oh okay, well just stop at that McDonalds on the left. We can go there.”

So we all file inside so my friend could take a dump for rest and relaxation, and as everyone gathered back at the car, Brandon comes out and says “I don’t know about ya’ll, but my classy bathroom had KKK scratched into the toilet lid.”

That's one classy gal on the door!
On the road again...

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My street cred is dead ya'll

So every Wednesday night, I serve at my church as a youth leader for our Deeper Youth (the high school and college age kids). We have our own worship and church service independent of the adult service that night of the week in the family life center. As usual, the teens file into the gym before service in small clicks and make their way to their preferred places, and I made my way into the gym this evening for supervising and socializing with the teens. My son, of course, was in the auditorium dominating the ping pong tables. I try to give him as much space as possible when he’s with friends…a luxury I apparently deny the teens of other parents.

So I’m standing there, having little conversations with groups of girls giggling on the sidelines as the athletes of the crowd parade around the basketball court doing their best to mimic the NBA All Stars in a half-court game and catch the eye of female onlookers. And the longer I stood there, the more impressed I became with the skills of some of these boys. They were pretty good. I watched them spin, dunk, fake out their opponent, shoot from half court…nuthin’ but net, baby! Immediately I had my favorites…and then…and then…there he was…the underdog…a little tiny thing, who hadn’t yet hit his growth spurt. He was at least 2 feet shorter than all of the other players, but the kid was a great ball player. He faked to the left…faked to the right…they were all over him…he lost his balance, and in mid fall he shoots…swish.

I jumped to my feet like a proud mama at the ballpark. “Great shot! Woohoo! You rock!” Clapping my hands wildly, grinning ear to ear…and then time stopped, or so it seemed. Silence filled the room. The basketball bounced un-rebounded into the corner. It was then that I noticed all eyes were on me…the crazy mom. Who was she and why was she cheering like a banshee on parade? They all had that look, you know, that “What’chu talkin’ bout Willis?” look. (Although THEY wouldn't know that either because they weren't BORN yet when that show was out)
I sat down quietly…playin’ like nothing just happened. But definitely sure that I just lost some cool points. I probably lost cool points for thinking about it in terms of cool points. I don’t guess they do cool points anymore. Is it street cred, or is that over, too?

Apparently there is an age where composure is cool…not fanatical whimsy. Oh well, they’re just gonna have to get over it and deal with this oddity that is me.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Top 10 Things THIS mom wants…

As a single mother of a now 14 year old boy, there are some luxuries in life which I have yet to experience.  Since every motivational coach in the world says you must write down what you want out of life in order to achieve it, I will make my declarations here in my blog…but only the ones that relate to parenting for now…and in a top ten format because it makes a tidy little list.

Top 10 Things THIS mom wants…
10.  A chauffeur…for my son.  This would probably free up 2 hours a day for me.  Just sayin’

9.    To go to the restroom with reading material…and NOT be immediately startled by pounding on the door and the words “It’s really important!” or, “I need to ask you something real quick.”

8.    To not discover a lingering pair of underwear or dirty socks in the room after being reassured that ALL of the dirty clothes had been collected.  Or better yet, to not find clean clothes in the laundry hamper (still on hangers mind you) because it’s easier to add them to the dirty pile than to hang them in the closet.  Or better still, to pull a clean load out of the dryer and not discover candy, change, super bouncy balls or dried up lizards.  Don’t even get me started…I have a laundry list of laundry issues to deal with.

7.    To be able to leave my house without ever EVER having to ask the following questions again:
       -Did you feed the dogs?  Did you give them fresh water?
       -Did you brush your teeth?
       -Did you put on deodorant?
       -Did you change your underwear?

6.    A closed refrigerator door, a bread bag tied closed after use, a toilet seat that’s dry when people sit, an area in the front room clear of boys shoes, ripstick, school bag and the like (I know, I cheated a little here by combining multiple items into one, but can you blame me?  This list is looong baby!)

5.   A new discovery by the government revealing that video games are hazardous to your mom’s mental health, and therefore there shall be a mandated ban enforced immediately.

4.    To make it through a checkout line at the store without being solicited for impulse items

3.    To make a valid point without receiving a conspicuous (and original) eye roll in response

2.    To have a phone conversation sans the peanut gallery interrupting me to offer its two cents

1.   “Dear Ms. Miller, We are pleased to inform you that, through due diligence, hard work, and an impeccable high school transcript, your brilliant son Brandon has earned a full scholarship to our prestigious university for as many years as necessary to complete his post graduate degree.  We would also like to present you with a lifetime supply of chocolate and coffee to express our appreciation for allowing us the privilege and honor of furthering your son’s education.”
Brandon pretending he doesn't want to hug me...but he really does...
he better if he knows what's good for him. :o)

Friday, July 1, 2011

Kickin' It Old Skool

I’ve always been enthusiastic about all kinds of music spanning the genres and styles as they evolve over the decades, a self-proclaimed music aficionado if you will. But in recent years my car radio stays primarily on KLOVE because the music lifts my soul and prevents daily bouts of road rage between destinations. But that local station broadcast has been on the blink lately, so I made a temporary switch to a popular “hits” station to fill the musical void.
Um…have I really been out of it that long? Who ARE these people? And why do all of the songs sound the same? It’s like I’m trapped in some Jersey Shore beach club that plays house techno on a never-ending loop until I vomit or pass out from the monotony. Don’t get me wrong, I can appreciate a good beat and some synthesizers (I AM a product of the 80’s music generation after all, yo!) But puhleeeeeze! What ever happened to variety, authenticity, that one-of-a-kind talent that could be mistaken for none other?

And then this morning I was listing to my regular morning news broadcast while I got dressed for work, and the featured summer concert performer being announced was so HUGE in the current market that there were at least 10 blocks of revelers packed like sardines and screaming like frightened girls waiting for his show to begin. They announced his name over and over again, and I had NO CLUE who he was.

So I walk into the living room where a friend of mine, Laura, was sipping her coffee (she’s visiting from out of town), and I was like, “Laura, there is some guy performing on the morning show who is MAJOR popular right now apparently and I don’t know who he IS! Am I THAT behind the times?” And Laura’s like, “Who is it?” And I’m all, “Some guy named Bulldog who is performing with Neyo.” (Yes…I DID actually know who Neyo was…sort of) And she’s all, “Uh, I think you mean Pitbull, not bulldog.”  So I’m like, “Yeah, that’s it, Pitbull. But what’s the deal with all these “hot” artists who basically just talk into a microphone with house music beats playing in the background? What ever happened to REAL musicians who had REAL talent?  Artists who could play 4 or 5 instruments and melt your heart with their voice? Where are the Santanas, the Eric Claptons, the Jewels?!”  

And then I stopped myself…I think I just became one of THOSE people…my parents. I was staking my claim in “oldies” land by repeating, in not so many words, the same things my parents would say about MY music. “Boy rock-n-roll sure isn’t what it used to be.” or, “When I was young, people actually had talent, they used their music to inspire, not just bop around in weird costumes.”
It’s okay…I’ll come to terms with it soon. And then I’ll just sit back and enjoy kickin’ it “Old Skool” cuz it is what it is, right?

Newer skool than me

I found this link to a sample from a popular 69 year old DJ named Mamy Rock (shown in photo above). DJ MaMyRock 

This lady is way more hip to the times than I am.