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Thursday, December 31, 2015

Ain't Nothing Wrong With Me


Resolutions? Well I don't do well with those. In the past I've made them only for them to dissipate by March. Then later I feel defeated for not completing them.

A week ago, I felt the need to change my eating...again. Even though the New Year was around the corner, I decided I could start early. You know, be an overachiever! And I was tired of feeling yucky and bloated after meals. Hanging out on Twitter reading great tips about eating better from MindBodyGreen also helped.

"That's it!" I proclaimed! "I'm eating better starting today!"

No verbal responses from my family. But a few looks and shakes of the head. Nonbelievers!


"Clean your room!" I told the youngest. Had to take it out on someone and he was the closest. He looked confused. I think his room was already clean.

Humming, I made my list of groceries and skipped out the door. No one asked to go with me.

I always have the hardest time with eliminating sugar/sweets! Was doing well until I read that it was okay to fall off. That, and I was near a new bakery I'd been wanting to try while out running errands. Personification is something because I did hear the chocolate calling my name. I got two just in case one fell out the bag and onto the floor of my vehicle on the way home. You know how that goes.

Of course I could not let the family see me eat it. What kind of example would I be setting for them? They wouldn't understand. Besides, they weren't supportive when I made my announcement. Daddy was watching a game and the kids were in their rooms. So I took my sin dessert to the guest room. They know that I go there sometimes to write.

Midway through the second dessert-I HAD TO- the youngest comes to the door. "Momma?" he said.

Not to be caught, I inhaled the rest of it and coughed while I stuffed the paper under the mattress of the guest bed.

Well, as fate would have it, for a few days after, I noticed that every time commercials about women's panties or Depends came on, the family would snicker and look over at me. I felt like the elephant dessert in the room. And the commercials came on quite a bit. As if they were calling and requesting the commercials.

"What's so funny?" I'd ask.

To my chagrin, one of them found a chocolate stain on the guest bed. But they didn't know it was a CHOCOLATE stain. I ran to get my proof- the discarded bakery bag still in between the mattresses.

"See! Ain't Nothing wrong with me!" I showed them the paper and fessed up!

At least THAT ain't what was wrong.


Sunday, December 27, 2015

A Little Christmas Etiquette


I love holidays! Especially Christmas! Enjoy giving gifts and putting a smile one someone's face. I get more joy out of giving than receiving.

There is one little thing that's always a little uneasy for me: food. Eating other folks' food.

I will admit it. I am one of those employees at the staff's Christmas party who wants to know, "Who fixed the broccoli casserole?"
Yep, I am smiling but inside I'm flashing back to see if I've witnessed the cook wash her hands in the employee bathroom. And fortunately churches have come a long way with communion. Growing up in the Baptist church, in the South, we had those teeny communion cups and broken up Saltines. Those communion cups were reused and who broke up the crackers? I know Jesus turned water into wine and multiplied the amount of bread but the people handling the communion did not resemble Jesus.

Well, I love my family but I am also fair. I am not gonna eat something just because it's family. No ma'am! I'm shaking my head as I type this just thinking about some family members.

Like one of my uncles. He's deceased now but whenever he'd cook, I could not eat. It was the cigarette! I can see him now. Left hand on the spatula. He's telling some exaggerated story and... had that Newport in the other hand! Quite talented with it. I swear it clung to his lip, while he was talking- hand free- and it never fell! I'd be tempted to hold an ash tray under the cigarette to catch the ashes but they would never fall.

I realize there were a lot of things that went on in kitchens, back then, that would have generated a C or D but I'm grown now. I've got options.


Being behind the scenes is not always good.

You canNOT stir a drink, that is for everyone to partake in, bring the spoon to your mouth to slurp and taste it...then put it back in to stir. I don't care how many times you have brushed your teeth, gums, swished mouthwash, or flossed. I ain't drinking it.

Then two huge No-No's with the turkey: if you are going to cut it and pull the meat off with your BARE hands, I'm gonna need to see some hand washing prior to. The person cutting cannot have sweat rolling of her face while standing over the turkey. Sweat is clear! You have to look really hard to see if it rolled off onto the meat or not. At almost 44, my vision is not that great anymore.

So needless to say I was thirsty and without turkey this Christmas and for good reason.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Brow Raising Experience


I have to replace my brow technician. Yes, the place is two stoplights and a railroad track away but it's time.

Now I have to take some responsibility for this situation.

About a month ago when I went in, I felt like she ripped too much hair off but I figured I'd just wait a little longer to go in next time. Give my brows time to thicken up.

I wasn't quite ready- well my brows weren't ready yet, but I needed to take my daughter in for a lip wax. After fussing at her, on the way there-

"You know in the winter time, the hair is easily visible! I shouldn't be the one to tell YOU that it's time for a wax! I fussed right up to the door-

"You didn't see it was time? What were you wa' Hey! How ya'll doing today?" I smiled as I went to the counter to sign in.

The owner startled me as she yawned and stretched among the magazines. WHERE THE CUSTOMERS SIT.

"What you get today?" asked the masked lady giving a manicure on the other side.

I politely informed her that I didn't need a service. "It's for her. She needs a lip wax."

After stretching again and sticking her feet in what I think were sandals, the owner sized me up and said, "No eyebrow wax today?"

"Nope. Last time you took a little too much off. I will be back in another week. But thanks!"
My daughter dropped her head. She seemed embarrassed for some reason. She didn't lose any hairs.

She said something in her first language and all the technicians employed there, looked at me.

Didn't appreciate not knowing what was said. But it was obvious it was about me. One lady getting her nails dried, smiled and giggled.

Since they were looking, I raised my brows.

After their two minute, secret conversation, one technician told my daughter to come on back for her wax.

"Who do you brow last time?" the owner asked. Well that would be tough to identify who it was for two good reasons: I didn't want to hurt anyone's feelings and I couldn't tell who was who with masks on!

I shrugged. The shrug was symbolic because my shoulders were saying, I don't know, but that is exactly how I looked the last time my brows were done- like my brows were saying I don't know! All the time!

Here's where I messed up. The owner came over and looked at my brows. She offered to do them. Were they that bad?

"I just clean up fo you. Not take much. You not need much off," she assured me.

As we walked back. It seemed like- through my eyes and problematic brows- the other technicians were giving me the "You Gone Learn Today" look.

"Momma. I thought you weren't getting yours done today," my daughter said, through a contorted mouth. I waved her off. I'm grown! I got this!

"Not a lot o customer here today. I fall asleep," the owner laughed.

Now is not the time to be laughing. This is not reversible. I ain't a Chia Pet..

After doing the first brow pretty quickly I eased up on the sweating.

She finished the second one. Took a little longer.

Hear the scary music? I didn't scream but I wanted to.

Too much off. Again!

Shoulda known better! Needed my brows to grow back in like two days! By the time I went back to work.

No radio on in the car. Flipped mirror up. No need for reminders Needed time to reflect. The sun was out so I could see, even though she was looking out of her window, that she was smiling hard.






Sunday, December 06, 2015

Vocabulary Lessons


Earlier this year one of my students, who has been in the country less than a year, innocently asked, "What is A Deez Nuts?" Three things were clear: I need to teach the proper use of the articles A and An, subject-verb agreement and obviously he is paying attention and socializing- language acquisition is moving along! As the other students snickered, I calmly wiped the Caramel Brulee latte I projected onto my desk.

Students haven't always been so innocent when they ask about words. Like when they can barely ask you about a word because they are choking back the laughter. Nonetheless, I guess I should just assume they really don't know and stay calm.

Well that didn't happen recently. I went from zero to ten real quick!

It was the last period of the day. I just finished helping a student with an assignment for another class. Students began packing up.

"What's a hooker?"

Everything stopped. In my mind anyway.

How dare she attempt to be amusing in front of the others! They weren't laughing but still.

"Why did you ask me about that word? Where did you see that word?" I asked her.

Before she could answer I continued with the interrogation. "Why would you WANT to know about a hooker!"

She tried to play confused and innocent. But I knew better!

By this time, the other students were curious. Getting in a little closer to us.

"I don't understand why you would ask about that word! Just out of the blue?" I asked, not really expecting her to answer. "I mean it's not like you see a word like that around this classroom do you?" I scoffed.

She pointed to one of my blue pocket charts near the board.

There it was.

"I said HUNKER," she clearly and softly told me.

Hunker was one of the week's vocabulary words for eighth graders.

Students waited for me to respond.

"So what is a hooker?" one of the other students asked. Of course they wanted to know now after my conclusion jumping.

Too cool to be embarrassed I replied, "Oh my Gosh! Look! It's obvious what hunker means- I've got a perfect visual right beside it! Don't you all see the person squatting- hunkering!"

Announcements and bell never late but today it would be.

Tuesday, December 01, 2015

But They're So Cute!

I think I may be having a close to mid-life crisis. Well, close because I'm just three months shy of 44. The older I get the more I seem to revert back to my younger days.
For example, when I was a preteen I did some things that, I just can't explain. Well I can't say WHY I did them. Coerced a close friend or two to follow in my craziness too. One may be reading this.

Not sure of my age but I remember putting the silver foil-like wrapper which covered the Big Red and Wrigkey's gum over the top row of my teeth. And I'd walk around like that. Until my mom slapped it out. Shaking my head at this as I type.

I also did those ridiculous breast exercises that Margaret did in that book by Judy Blume. If God was there for Me he was laughing. Added a twist to it but you'll have to read that earlier post.

So now that I gave a little background maybe my recent stint at 43 may not seem too weird.

Well, I'm pretty sure I need glasses. Thought nothing more than Readers but guess I will let someone trained diagnose me. So I lost the pair of Readers I had so I rushed to purchase a new pair on my way to chaperone my son's field trip. Usually there's nothing really appealing about them and they're cheap BUT this time I found a pair I really liked so I spent a few more minutes than usual at the small carousel of cheap spectacles. Well, they weren't the right number. But there wasn't another pair like them. I did what I had to do- I bought them anyway. I mean what's more important, seeing 100% correctly or seeing maybe 70%, give or take, OR looking cute? Exactky!

Drove to the school. A little slower and with my head tilted down a bit but I got there and parked really close to the curb. I'm releived that no one accused me of being inebriated when I think about the ordeal. I stepped up into the building higher than needed and went down the wrong hall, until my son called me.
"Mama? Why were you going that way," he asked. Looking at me peculiarly.

I took the glasses off and cleaned them intensely with the end of my shirt. No use. Couldn't change them. Finally connected with the class and other parents and walked slowly with the blobs to the cars.

My son ran up to me as I neared "the car" and begged me to just take the darn things off. I knew I had to when I realized that I was trying to unlock another white car. 'What's wrong with this stupid remote!" But those glasses were so cute! Any other irrational 43-year-old woman would've agreed.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Blind Sex


While cooking and watching The Voice the other night with the family, our youngest was awed by one of the contestants. He commented, "Wow! That's cool! They have a blind person who sings!" The contestant talked about being ready to start a family.

Our son was confused. "How can he start a family? He can't do that."

"Blind people do a lot of things," I informed him while starting my pasta sauce. "Remember, Stevie Wonder is blind. He's been around for years and he has a family-"

"WHAT? He has a family? Like CHILDREN?" he interrupted.

"Of course!" I laughed.

Quiet

"So blind people have SEX too?"

Stirring the pasta sauce.

Not thinking, Daddy adds to the mix. "They don't have to SEE to have sex. Duh!" he laughed and obviously not thinking.

Being wise, I honed in on my sauce.

"They don't? But how are they gonna know where to-" our son started.

"Daddy. YOU WANNA TRY THIS SAUCE?" I interrupted.

Missing the attempted rescue, he replied, "Naw. They just need to know where to-"

"This sauce is really good!" I put a hot spoonful to his mouth. "TASTE THE SAUCE!"

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Remembering EVERYone During Prayer

WE try to drop little nuggets on the kids as much as possible. There is always something to be grateful for.

Sometimes the nuggets turn out a little undone or overcooked.

When our kids were much younger, we told them that other kids did not have as good as they did- that there were some kids who went to bed hungry.

"They would love to eat those vegetables you are trying to leave on your plate!" I said.

"I really want to help those kids and give them these little trees Mama," our son told me one day.

Well...

The other week, prior to praying, I talked about the importance of praying for others and not always asking for things for ourselves.

"God really likes that and will definitely give you the desires of your heart when you think of others before yourself; even people you may not get along with."

Well...

Our son volunteered to pray that night.

I think he prayed for every family member, extended family member, all students in his school, all teachers, the crossing guards, neighbors and even prayed for the nice people who work at the convenience store, where we frequent often.

His sister almost went to sleep by the time he finished.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Crunchy Collards?


I'm learning that just because I decide to eat healthier doesn't mean the whole family is on board.

This summer it's been much easier to eat better. I'm out for the summer so that means I am less stressed and I have time to actually take the time to cook! I also have had time to read about healthy recipes and better ways to prepare foods.

So...

I have been feeling better by eliminating sugars, drinking more water and trying to do the "clean eating"!

So...

Thought I'd try to get everyone on board but wanted to start with the other adult in the house: husband.
Things WERE going well until I decided to steam collard greens. We are both from the South and both grew up on collards. It's a staple or at least it should be.

Prep time: 20 minutes while he watched ESPN
"You know the way we grew up on collards was different. I know it was considered good eatin' but we now know that they weren't seasoned the best or healthiest way. We don't wanna overcook them. We want to keep the beneficial vitamins," I began.

Now over the years since we've been married I have been able to cook them differently, electing to use turkey or chicken broth and spices. No problem consuming them that way.

Cook time: 15-20 minutes So I seasoned and steamed them while he was still glued to ESPN. Good outlook for the Cowboys so I knew he was in a good mood. But I knew that cooking collards in such a short time period may not be great. I tasted a few, AND washed the fork I ate from. I know people still double-dip in the kitchen when folks aren't looking and that is nasty.

They were a little crunchy but hey, here's to good health I thought. Worried that he may not like them I did what anyone else would do...I added some cayenne pepper. This would at least, prayerfully, distract from the crunch. I put a little vinegar on them and Voila Wa-lah!

The flavor was so foreign, that he had to stand up! "These are greens? But they're crunchy! I've never heard of crunch greens!"

"Well. You know I told you I was cooking them in a healthier way. Remember?" I offered, as I chewed through my forkful.

"Wooh! And they are really hot!" he almost screamed. Well, he did. I guess from the shock and "Awe!"

"So I'm thinking it's a no on steamed collards?" I said, as I blinked through the tears that sprung up from the over powering cayenne pepper I'd just swallowed.

I think he thought I was trying to kill him.

Thursday, August 06, 2015

Sweating it Out!


Our oldest will be transitioning to high school, later this month. Where did the time go?

So, she plans to go out for volleyball at her school. Workouts begin this week. She will have a difficult time with the uniforms. Thankfully, she doesn't like to wear anything too short, tight or low-cut shirts! I'm hoping that doesn't change. I guess, if she makes the team, we will maybe try to get the shorts in a larger size? Maybe they will fit a little bigger or looser for her.

"Can I wear leggings under the shorts?" she asked as I drove to a local sporting goods store for knee pads. Almost crossing the line, into the opposite lane, I maturely answered, "What kind of sense would that make? How would that look?"

I delighted at her conscious effort not to show too much when dressing. Over the years we had conversations-easy conversations about it.

I'm fortunate and grateful that she is different from the younger me. She is more interested in reading, drawing and singing than shopping, dressing and hanging out.

When I was her age, not only did I love shopping for clothes and shoes, I lied to get more of them. Junior high was that time when your look became really important. My parents bought me plenty of clothes and shoes- and name brand. But it wasn't enough sometimes. Not sure how I came up with it but it worked.

"I have to speak in front of the whole school next week," I'd tell my mom. "I don't want to wear the same ole stuff I've been wearing, in front of everybody," I added. Somehow we'd end up at Belk or Dillards. That one worked a few times.

I was tall and skinny then too. I never wore things that were too short but I wanted to be noticed by boys in junior high. I got the brilliant idea, after being teased relentlessly by boys in the neighborhood, to make myself look a little more plump. I wore shorts under my pants or several pairs of thick tights. I guess those were our leggings back then. And when Margaret's exercises (from the Judy Blume book-earlier post) to increase busts didn't work, I just got padded bras in a bigger size. Had great posture when wearing those things.

Wearing layers of clothes under my pants was short-lived. Caused lots of itching and sweating in the warmer months. Seventh grade language arts class was the last straw. Mrs. McKenzie was very strict. I'd already been to the bathroom after lunch. I had on thick tights and shorts under my Vidal Sassoon jeans. I was itching and hot. Couldn't sit still. Only one sweating. I felt like my eyes were crossing and I was going to pass out. Didn't want anyone to see me but they could hear me. Well my desk. I was moving around so much my desk was knocking the desks on both sides of me. She'd pause in between conjugating verbs and glare at me. Sweat was a good verb she could've conjugated. After a few minutes I was getting delirious and the other students were now staring at me. She got the class started with an assignment, then came over and gave me a hall pass. I was a mess in that bathroom. Took the tights off and slammed them in the trash can. Needless to say I never did that again.

Saturday, August 01, 2015

Booze


I love home remedies and natural cures! I have found numerous online.

Daddy should be happy about my interest because I've saved us a lot of money. Made my own natural conditioners and pedicure solutions. I mean not all are completely successful but it hasn't cost me much to buy and make. I did try to make my own body scrub and although it broke me out I should have tested an area first because I have sensitive skin and allergies, in the end it only cost me about a week or so of itching and a copay for a trip to an allergy specialist but hey...could have been worse.

And there was that one time I tried onion juice for my hair. Read that it was great, topically, for itchy scalp and thinning. This was an easy one to try- we always have onions! Definitely no loss there. Easily made the juice and patted it on my scalp. Not long later, son comes in from outside and got excited, but wrong, about dinner, "Yes! We're having subs!" Washed that out.

I find these ideas everywhere: Pinterest, Facebook, and more recently Twitter! I get these Google Facts on Twitter. There was one about the benefits of Vodka. Only things I knew about Vodka was what I drank saw in college. But according to a March 2015 tweet from googlefacts@twitter.com "Applying vodka on your face cleanses the skin, tightens pores and can prevent acne breakouts."

Well... I was all in! Even though I'm approaching mid-40's, I still have oily skin, and large pores so I get breakouts. So I did what anyone in my skin would do...I set out to go to the ABC store to get vodka!

Now the last time I drank purchased it was probably two decades ago.

I was in a nearby, smaller city, where I didn't know many people. Funny because I felt like I was doing something illegal. I quickly prepped the kids as I drove by the store, for the third time.
"For your face Mama?" our son questioned. He and his sister snickered. I didn't have to explain anything to them. "Yes! And I'm grown!"

As I finally turned into the parking lot, my heart started racing. I wasn't going to rob the place. The kids' snickering came to a halt. "Mommy, are you really going in to buy BOOZE?" daughter asked. Referring to it that way, really put me on edge. "It's not BOOZE! I'm getting vodka but not to drink it!" I yelled. I sat in the car for a few minutes. Looked around and watched a few people come out. They all seemed to be staring at me.

I almost fell trying to lock the kids in the car and sprint in quickly. I jumped when someone said, "Hello!" It felt really hot in there too. I just had to grab the booze, I mean vodka, any vodka and go. And no one came over to help me. I guess I looked like a regular. My behavior probably made me look like I was inebriated already. AND...the guy barely looked at my ID. So he thought I looked old. Finally, got back to my car. Dropped the keys like the victims do in the scary movies. The kids were huddled together. "Did you get the booze Mama?" son whispered. I sped off.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Culture


So the kids and I were in a store and I see a former coworker. I tell them to go on and find two items.

"Just two items!" I told them as the former coworker walks closer to me. "DON'T COME BACK WITH MORE THAN TWO EITHER!" I added for show purposes. The kids looked back at me perplexed.

I chat with her for a few minutes and our son walks up. After saying Excuse Me, he shows me what he has: ear buds and a soccer book. Each five dollars or less. "Your son plays soccer?" coworker asked. "Yes ma'am," he answered before I could. She seemed shocked and informed me that her son, same age, played football and basketball. I told her that our son played football before. Not using skills I'd taught him, our son jumps in and said, "Mama that was three years ago and it was flag."

Raising my eyebrows at him I changed the subject, "Where's your sister?" He looked around the store. I could do that, I thought. "Go get her and tell her to come on!" As I finished our conversation, our daughter appeared.

"Mommy, look what I found!" she said, and over-the-toply showed me a book. A book about the Beatles.

"Okay," I told her but unable to relish with her in her excitement. Her brother walked up, shaking his head. "Mama they had other books over there. She coulda got the Supremes or Jackson Five."

"They didn't have that!" she said, flipping through the book. "I would've gotten Dr. Who if they had it but I didn't see any," she added.

"Dr. Who?" former coworker asked, perplexed again. Daughter was happy to tell her all about him but I cut that short.

"Girl we gotta run. Ya'll bring your stuff up to the register." Coworker waved goodbye and started her shopping.

On the way to the car, son continued the conversation about the choice in purchases. "But if they did have one of those books you wouldn't have gotten them. You don't even know who they are!"

"I do know who the Supremes are. Diana Ross sang with them." I wanted to feel proud but that was an easy one. Jackson Five would've been easy too. "Just get in the car," I told them, exhausted from our deficiently cultured ordeal.

I managed to start the car and get out of the parking lot before he said something else, with his nostrils flared, "You don't know where they from!" Staring out the window, without flinching she sarcastically answered, "The United States."

Wailing around in his seat, with too much confidence he scoffed,"See Mama. See! She don't know her history. They from the mother country, Africa like you are!"

He was the only one in the car so hyped up...and wrong.

"You do know that Africa is a continent and not a country. AND...I was born in a hospital in a CITY in NORTH CAROLINA...a STATE!"

It was quiet the whole 15 minutes home. No radio and no more Egos.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Shaking My Head


Saturday is cleaning day in our house! A little ritual I took from my mom. No getting up to watch Smurfs or Super Friends, before I did my chores on Saturdays.

So everyone is busy in some part of the house- cleaning something. Not the everyday things like making your bed and straightening your room but the things you don't do throughout the week: vacuuming, dusting, etc.

I heard my name but it wasn't really clear. Actually it was but I really didn't feel like leaving what I was doing to see what the person wanted.

"Mama, Daddy needs you!" one of the kids yelled.

Again, I really didn't feel like leaving what I was doing.


I yelled down, "What is it? He can't come up here?"

"Mama, Daddy needs you to come downstairs!" our daughter yelled. "He said he thinks he needs to go in!" Go in meant to the Emergency Room...it was Saturday.

WHAT?

Raced downstairs to find him on the floor holding his face and head and rolling back-and-forth. Squinting, he said "I think it's my sinuses again!"

I grabbed an ice pack from the fridge, moved one of his hands and put it on his head. I called a friend who is a nurse. When I couldn't get her I did what I usually do...

"Where is my cell phone?" I yelled to the kids, while I held his head.

Now he's visibly and clearly in pain- moaning, groaning and still rocking back-and-forth. Oh and again, he's ON THE FLOOR!

Our daughter strolls down the stairs with the phone. Stops to mess around with something on the steps. Not in a hurry at all.

I snatch the phone and do what I usually do... I Google "What to do for sinus issues". I mean all the answers are there. A trip to the Emergency room would be fiscally foolish. If he started having breathing issues I was prepared to help with that too. I could do it using videos online.I mean Tracy Ellis Ross performed a tracheotomy on Deon Cole (Charlie) right there on her kitchen table with a straw from a Juice Box, on an episode of Blackish so couldn't be too difficult.

Couldn't believe what was going on while I was trying to Google information to save their father. Our daughter continued, just a few feet away, to clean the stairs and she was SINGING!! Finally her brother came downstairs.

"MamaDaddy, look what I found in the computer room." Before I could say anything he answered his own question. "It's an electronic Spanish and English translator."

Thinking he somehow just missed what was going on on the floor, directly below him, I asked, "DO YOU NOT SEE THAT YOUR DADDY IS IN PAIN ON THE FLOOR?" He managed to look away for a few seconds and without moving he said something- "Daddy you aight?"

"Hey let me see that!" his sister said. I tried to give her the phone, thankful that someone would help me. "Where did you so call find this? It's mine. Daddy gave it to me when I was in fifth grade!" she told him, trying to snatch it from her brother.

They were about to argue over it. Just a few feet from us. "Daddy? Daddy? Tell him that you gave this to me!" She actually waited for Daddy to look up. Shaking my head.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Where is Louise?


It was quite obvious, the other day, that our son wasn't fully cognizant of what Alzheimer's disease is.

After misspelling a word he rubbed his head and in a melancholy voice he said, "I think I have Alltimer's."

"No. You just forgot how to spell the word. Look at it again. I'll bet you wrote it too fast," I assured him.

Sure enough, he looked at it and saw the mistake.

"So I don't have Alltimer's?" he asked. "What is it?"

First I had to say the word slowly and tell him that he was saying that word incorrectly. And I have heard some folks over the age of 12 say it the same way.

I gave him some information about it and suggested he look it up, online, and get more.

"Do you know anybody who has it?" he asked before I could leave the room.

My maternal grandmother had dementia but I'd never heard anyone mention the word until my adult years when we reminisced about her. She passed away when I was in sixth grade. When I was told, later, that she had it I easily pulled up vivid memories of my time with her and I could see glimpses of it but as a child I would never have known anything was wrong. I just loved her deeply.

My first encounter with Alzheimer's was probably in 1990. I'd just graduated high school and found a cool job for the summer as a nanny/sitter! After speaking with the owner of the agency by phone (landline) we agreed to meet at her home. I arrived and rang the doorbell. The friendly owner let me in and asked me to wait in the foyer while she ended a call in another room.

"This is my mother," she said, pointing to the lady, dressed to leave, who was leaning on the wall near the stairs.

I smiled and said hello.

"Hey baby, how are you?" she responded. We exchanged pleasantries and then she asked me if I could let her out.

I looked at her. She was, as I said, dressed to leave. She had on a coat, hat, shoes and a purse with a short handle that made me giggle because it looked like the one Esther had on Sanford & Son. Sure she was close to the door and could walk on her own but I didn't think much about it.

Not wanting to be disrespectful but helpful I obliged and went to open the door. Another first- had never seen doors where you had to unlock the door from the inside with a key. The key was still there so I easily turned it and held the door open for her. Wasn't I sweet! Points for me...I was definitely getting the job now.

Made sure she got down the two steps outside the door, waved bye and went back in to wait.

The owner came in about two minutes later to apologize for the wait. Before she could finish her sentence she yelled out,

"Louise!" then waited for a response. I did too. Wasn't sure who Louise was.

After looking around for her she asked if I'd seen Louise. I told her I'd never met a Louise. "Louise is my mother," she informed me. "She has Alzheimer's"

"Oh! She was ready to go so I let her out," I told her.

She ran upstairs yelling for someone else. Her husband.

I knew things were bad because he came downstairs with shaving cream on one side of his face, razor in hand, boxers and those brown slippers everyone bought their uncles for Christmas.

They both ran out! She ran back in and asked me to wait in case Louise came back.

I felt so bad but I didn't know. Sure there were clues: she had on a coat and hat in summer; why couldn't she get out on her own, etc.

To sum it up and this post, they were able to catch her walking, two blocks down the road in the neighborhood.

Glad she didn't swing that purse, like Aunt Esther.

Still got the job!

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Chicken Wing Agreement


"I thought we talked about this," I leaned in from across the table and whispered to my husband.

He pulled the bone from his mouth.

There wasn't anything, I mean anything left on the bone!

"Oh my God! Look at your plate. You left all that meat on the bones," he countered.

We've had these conversations before. The agreement was that we he would NOT clean the bones when we were out in public. Family gatherings and at home, we he could eat the whole bone if he deemed it necessary.

Some people have a real talent for wing eating- they can put the whole wing in their mouths and pull it back out, completely bare, and you never see them chew. That's amazing! Maybe enough to be on America's Got Talent or something.

He added the bone to the others on a separate plate. Our plates always look totally different.

Now he was pouring Blue Cheese dressing over the remaining wings. Pushed his sleeves back before the attack.
As he raised the wing to his mouth, I looked around the restaurant and slouched in the booth.

Blue cheese all around his mouth and fingers. I held my breath, hoping some meat would be left on the bone when it came out.

No such luck. Meat, skin, and marrow was gone!

I couldn't take it. I excused myself to the bathroom.

When I came back I just kept my head down until he finished. I knew it would get ugly if I looked up to see the devastation.

Finally, the server came over.

"Whoa! You crushed those wings! You must've been hungry. Oh my God! You even ate the bone!" This is my interpretation of the look the server had when she brought the check.

"How was everything?" is what she really said.

"See how she looked at your plate?" I whispered.

"No. She shook her head at your plate because you wasted food," he laughed.

He surveyed my plate. "You got a lot of meat left," he added.

In desperation and fear that I would have to watch it all over again, I touched all of the wings and put my napkin on top of the plate.




What's Good for the Goose is NOT always Good for the Gander


The kids think it's lame. "It's for old people Mama," is what the youngest told me. But I love Twitter! I've had an account for about three years but just started actually using or engaging regularly, last year. I'll admit that I get excited when celebrities actually reply to one of my tweets. I love to let the kids know when this happens. They aren't usually too impressed.

One time I got a notification that I had a new follower!

"Oh so y'all think it's lame. Okay...look who is following me!"

I ran into our daughter's room. Her brother ran in behind.

"That's not Selena Gomez! It's her fan page!" they scoffed.
I didn't understand why she would have followed me anyway.

Well, recently I saw an author on Twitter, who I absolutely had to start following: Judy Blume!
The mere sight of her name took me back to my elementary days. I fell in love with reading because of her books!
Blubber, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Sheila the Great! But my favorite one and the one that affected me the most was Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret.

It was the "coming of age" book for girls. I remember when our daughter brought home her first Judy Blume book! The nostalgia, the glee, giggles and...the worry. Background music starting with happy music then moving to Jaws theme music.

I side-eyed her a few times when she brought home Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. I watched her movements and the refrigerator!

Okay. That book was, as I said, the "coming of age" book for girls when I was younger. I was all caught up in the game. I believed in it with all my heart; definitely my mind.

So I was this skinny, obviously confused, little girl who thought I could change my body by doing what the main character, Margaret did. Not thinking rationally that I wasn't supposed to have big breasts at that time.

Just as the main character, Margaret, did, I would pump my arms and repeat, "I must! I must! I must increase my bust!" I did it whenever I was alone: in the tub, splashing the Palmolive bubbles and sometime Tide all around the tub, in the kitchen while eating Sugar Smacks when adults weren't around, even on my knees while saying my prayers in my too small, faded pink Onesie.

But that wasn't enough. When the bust didn't increase I modified the exercise.

Again. I wasn't thinking rationally.

Not sure where I got the idea but...

And this is what got me in trouble.

I got the crazy idea to add something to accelerate the process.

I didn't have mental health issues either.

Needed something from the refrigerator.

My mom caught me!

Standing in the refrigerator.

Nine-years-young.

Onesie partially zipped open.

Eyes closed, arms pumping back-and-forth, chanting, "I must! I must! I must increase my bust!"

"WHAT THE HELL!" My mom yelled. "Git outta that refrigerator!" she yelled. "Who told you to put butter- GO TO BED!"

So I was so glad I never saw our daughter pumping her arms nor standing in the refrigerator late at night.

My mom and I never spoke of this. Ever.




Monday, April 06, 2015

A Knife and a Box of Bones

When I was younger I did some ridiculous things!

As a toddler I told my daycare driver that my mom did NOT want him to pick me up anymore. Not sure why he fell for it but he did. His name was Mr. Burns. Next day I sat in the window waved bye to my mom as she rushed to work and smiled. No daycare van! I frolicked to my grandma's room. She didn't drive then so...

My elementary years? What didn't I do. Wrapped my leg in toilet paper and sealed it with scotch tape. Walked out in view of the bus stop. When the bus came my friends yelled, "Come on! The bus is here!"
"I can't!" I yelled back, and pointed to my Charmin bandage, which was unraveling in the wind.

Wasn't allowed to eat in my room. I'd sneak. One day, as a teen, I got home before my parents. With my food box. I took it to my room to eat. Parents came home just as I finished my last wing. I did the commonsense thing... I put the box of bones in my dresser drawer.

I forgot about it. Few days later mom was putting clothes in my drawer- would be that very drawer- and discovered the box.

Not to be outdone, I told her it was for a science project. Needless to say she was offended.

So, when we found a knife under our daughter's bed and she nonchalantly told us why it was there, I wasn't so surprised. This was after we panicked and jumped to myriad conclusions: Was she still scared of "The Boogie Man"? Does she feel unsafe in her own home? Did she want to harm herself? and why? And yes we did take it serious nonetheless.

While Daddy talked I noticed the cardboard with jagged edges, on the floor near her bed. She's definitely an artist. I also saw a pair of MY socks too.

So when she confessed that she'd used the knife for something she was making...I believed her. Thought about my crazy days.
"I didn't feel like taking it back downstairs," she said.

As Daddy scratched his head, I told her to buy some good scissors or ask Daddy to cut it for her.

Should've shared my science project story.



Monday, March 30, 2015

Losing It

Okay. I've officially lost it.

In an effort to prepare our two for "the real world" I periodically give them tasks. Tasks that will show them how to be independent. And at times, I just do it because I don't feel like getting out of the car.

So I drove to our neighborhood grocery. Purposely gave them a certain amount of money and told them to get TWO things.
"Get a small pack of ground beef for tacos. Look for a pack that is about $6 or less and you can get that Cookies and Cream ice cream."

Again, I gave them a certain amount ($10) to get what I said. I was being nice, letting them get the ice cream. This would show them how to shop on a budget; put those math skills to use! I surely wasn't going to give them my credit card. If they went over the amount then they'd get embarrassed and learn a lesson. I worry about the youngest. Our son tries to count his chickens before they hatch when it comes to money and purchases. That's another post.

So, they come out with the bag! YES!

"Here you go Mama!" They were so proud and they even had money left over!

I started the car and we began driving out of the parking lot.

"Look Mama! We got these." They were showing me two small boxes of candy.

"These were only one dollar," the youngest informed me. "And we got you something too and it was only thirty-five cents."

They continued talking but I couldn't make out the words. I went off!

"WHAT? Are you kidding me?" I yelled. "I was nice enough to let you get ice cream but no- you had to get extra stuff without even asking
first!"

"But Mama we-"

One of them had the nerve to try to say something.

"There are little kids who don't get to get ice cream. There are kids who aren't even gonna eat tonight! But ya'll take it upon yourselves
to use money that's not yours and get extra junk food!" I couldn't believe this.

"Mama. We didn't get the ice cream. We got something cheaper and got you something because it was cheaper. It saved you money," our daughter said.

Still caught up in what I wanted to say I continued.

"Now do you think it was fair to just get extra stuff with MY money?" I asked them.

They were confused.
I stopped for a minute. Processed things.

"So ya'll didn't get the ice cream?" I asked.

"No. That's what we were trying to tell you."

But I was too cool to be embarrassed so I turned it down a notch but continued with my lecture.

"Oh. So ya'll were trying to save money?" I asked. "Well I appreciate that but you did not stick to the plan. I told ya'll ground beef and
ice cream. Ground beef and ice cream was the plan."

It was silent for a minute.

"Well, how much was the ground beef?" I yelled.

"It was only four dollars," they answered.

"Well good!" I replied.

Friday, January 23, 2015

No Swabs, No Sweat, No Service!

The more things change, the more they stay the same!

Our son may be getting older (11 now) but not wiser.

After complaining of sore throat, weakness and body aches, I took him in to see his pediatrician yesterday. It was quiet for the first half of the drive, and he did say his throat was sore, BUT-

"Are they gonna give me a shot?" he asked.

"Naw." I assured him. "They don't give shots for a cold."

It felt great to not lie to him.

"Are they gonna swish my throat?" he asked.

Again, I answered truthfully. "No. They can't swish your throat." I laughed.

"Mama. You know what I mean. Are they gonna take that thing like a Q-tip and poke the back of my throat?"

Here we go.

"I don't know if they will or not. Maybe they can just look down your throat if you open wide when they tell you to," I suggested.

He flared his nostrils.

"Can you tell them not to do that?"

"I can't tell the nurse and doctor what to do," I giggled.

We didn't have to wait long. I'm sure he didn't appreciate that but I certainly did after a long day at work.

So the nurse did the usual: checked his temperature (101), weighed him, then sat him down and went over his symptoms.

"What hurts?"

"My throat is sore," he told her.

She opened a drawer and pulled out the long, packaged cotton swab and placed it on the counter...next to him.

He looked around her and glared at me. She asked if anything else bothered him. He reluctantly told her about his body aches.

This time she pulled out a smaller package. I knew what it was. He asked.

"This is how we tell if you have the flu." she informed him.

"Can I see it," he asked as he stood up to confront check it out.

The questions continued to come just as fast as him getting sick in the past two days.

"It may burn just a little," the nurse told him after he asked about it.

I reminded him that he'd had his tonsils swabbed and he'd had the flu test before. Didn't need to remind him how crazy he got when they did it. (Check an earlier post on my blog, I wrote, "Walked in But Limped Out!".

"See!" the nurse rejoiced (briefly). "You'e done this before."

Nostrils flared, he told her, "I kicked the doctor."

Rolling back her sleeves, like she was telling him to bring it, she replied, "But you are gonna be a big boy today, right?"

She and I both laughed but I was thinking, "It's about to go down!"

He didn't answer.

So, finally she proceeds to swab his tonsils. I discreetly hit record on my phone. After all, telling it is one thing but a visual is always better. I can't make this stuff up!
After they played Slaps (is that a game?) she tried to get more serious. Trying to coerce him into sticking his tongue out and opening wide.
Like Hall & Oates said, "No can do!"

She finally stopped and said she thought she had enough.

Then it was time for the smaller yet deadly weapon. The one for his nose. Now that one is bad. I had to get that done once, years ago when our daughter was in the room with me. She laughed like Elmo was tickling her. I was hanging off the table with that white paper in my hand like a comfort object while she was laughing herself out of her seat. SHE WAS FIVE!

So I didn't know what to tell him to make it better. It didn't matter anyway. He wasn't listening to reason. It didn't help that she told him it would burn a little. I guess that's disclosure. Him in that chair cornered by the nurse trying to get up his nose was a sight. It looked like they were practicing choreography for an old karate movie.

After several rounds, she said she thought she had enough to do the test for the flu, and his nose was bleeding a bit.

"Mama!" he pointed to his nose and glared at her.

She now had bangs and was sweating. She looked like she'd been in a sauna to shed a few pounds to make weight before the fight.

Her back was to me but she said, "I will see if I got enough. It will take a few minutes for the results of the test."

I wanted to give her a hug and a towel. Not a minute later, Daddy walked in. I was laughing so hard, I was crying.

"What's wrong with the nurse?" he asked. "And what's up with your nose?" he added.


"

Monday, January 19, 2015

The youngest was bent out of shape over a birthday card.
We remembered to get his friend a gift card for his birthday but forgot to get an actual birthday card. While packing his things in preparation for a sleepover with the friend, he mentioned it.

"I don't have a card for him," he said.

We apologized but reminded him that the most important part was the actual gift (card).

After his un-oscar worthy reaction I remembered something. I'd purchased a box of birthday cards a few months prior.

"Yes! I have cards. Go look in the office," I told him.

Problem solved.

So I thought.

After shuffling through the cards he said, "I can't give him one of these cards."

"Why? What's wrong with those cards?" Daddy responded.

I didn't remember what was on the cards. Just figured they'd be great generic cards to have on hand in times like these. Perfect!

"These have stuff about the Bible," he complained

"WHAT?" I yelled. "You are embarrassed about the Bible?" I asked even though I wasn't really looking for an answer. It was more of an, "I know good and well you aren't embarrassed about the Bible!"

He sat there for a minute reading the cards again.

"Well, I don't know if he's atheist or if he goes to church or what," he said.

Daddy and I both started talking at the same time. In the same tone.

"So you are ashamed of the Gospel?" I asked.

"I mean, he's just an eleven-year-old boy like me. We don't have birthday cards with scriptures like ya'll," he informed me.

At this point I went from shock to thinking how funny it was. The look and worry on his face. Classic.

So I did what any other mother, who finds humor in many things, would do.

I had my phone, so I secretly started recording his reaction.

"I really don't think it would be a big deal if you gave him one of those cards. It's either one of those or nothing because we aren't going back out tonight to get a birthday card." I told him.

He began reading the cards. "See! It has long verses from the Bible. Too many and too long."

Then he got an idea. He ran out and came back in with a stack of birthday cards he'd been given for his birthday.

"Maybe I can just cross out these names of people who gave me these," he said, while looking through a few of them.

I told him how ridiculous it was an how sloppy it would look to do that.

He found one from Evan. "Yes this would work because I have an E in my name and it's the only one with a short name on it."

We told him it was getting late and he needed to go on and hit the sack. "Just give him the gift card rather than do all that."

He packed up his stuff and went to his room. Five minutes later he came running to show us something.

"Look at this! This is a card from him that he gave me last year and it has something about having a blessed birthday!"

Monday, January 05, 2015

By Any Means Necessary! Oh-wee-oh-wee-oh!


If anyone reading this was out on I-40 West of Greensboro, NC around 5:30 this evening and saw, what looked like a crazy driver...it may have been me. I'm sure there are many drivers trying to get home after work on a Monday, in NC.

Let me explain before you call the police!

The past two weeks we have been spoiled. We were on winter break! So lots of staying up late, therefore sleeping late, so our schedules are all out of whack.

I was 10 minutes away from home, still doing the speed limit but trying to keep the two people under 14 awake.

"Don't go to sleep!" I told them. "If you go to sleep now then you won't be able to go to sleep at your regular time!" I shouted.

The youngest was out of my reach. Head slumped and mouth open.

So I started singing loudly.

Scanned the radio stations for something they weren't familiar with and blasted it! It was a good old school song, so it was on!

Morris Day and the Time!

They giggled and tried to sleep again.

I pressed the buttons for the two back windows to go down. Up and down. Up and down. It's was about 35 degrees outside.

I was desperate, so I started swerving a little. You know... to the beat of the song I was singing yelling.

I-40. Back windows going up-and-down. Morris Day and the Time playing loudly and I'm singing backup!

"Ten and two Mama. Ten and two!" our daughter said, looking at my hands on the steering wheel.

Well... ten minutes later I pulled into the garage on two wheels, it felt like and they didn't go to sleep in the car!

If you wanna report me... be my guest. My number is 777-9311.

Friday, January 02, 2015

My Pinky!


The more we try to change... the more we, sometimes, stay the same.

It's a new year and while I am making some modifications, I realize my work may be an uphill battle.

Maybe I can blame it on what I see and hear on television. Maybe it's worry from what I have seen and heard about at middle schools. And it could be rooted in what I saw growing up. A combination of all these things and simply a mom's concern, brought me to a place of...foolishness and defeat.

I posted a similar story back in September 10, 2007: "She just Isn't a Fighter...Right Now". I should have added, "And Neither Am I" to the title.

Not really sure what prompted it but we were hanging out in our favorite are of the house, the dining room, and our son, who is now 11, mistakenly mentioned that another student said something offensive to him.

Everything stopped. Daddy dropped his head and had the usual, "brace yourselves" look.

"So what did you say back to him?" I asked.

"I just ignored him," he replied.

Daddy shook his head in confirmation. "Good job buddy!" Then tried to keep me on track. Bringing up old stuff was his attempt to keep me subdued.

"Yes honey. Remember you've always told both of them, that they can't control people's mouths and to be the bigger person. Remember?" he smiled.

Didn't work.

I went on to tell him how he had to stand up for himself and not let people push him around. "You gotta pick and choose your battles," I went on.

"That's what I did Mamma."

I was at the point of no return foolishness.

"What if someone puts their hands on you? That's what I am worried about," I told him.

"You gotta stand your ground. Not telling you to start a fight but you gotta be prepared to protect yourself."

I went on to tell him how I had to defend myself when I was younger. All exaggerated but I was doing what I was trying to inspire him.

And I did. Maybe.

So I commenced to showing him how to protect himself!

I started circling him. Then went further and bumped him.
"Now what are you gonna do?" I asked, almost out of breath now. YES FROM JUST WALKING AROUND HIM!
He didn't move.
"See. You don't want to just stand there and let someone push you around," I said as I got closer to him.

His sister pulled up a chair and solemnly sat down. I thought her look said, "Oh no! Come on little brother." But later I realized her look was more like, "Oh my God! Help my Mama."

"Now see if I walk up on you what should you do to protect yourself?" This was a question!!!

All of a sudden all of the Takekwondo lessons sprung up! He got in a stance and kicked. He actually had the nerve to kick.

"Okay! Okay! That is what you do. Keep the person back!" I said.

"Mama. Your breathing..." Daddy walked toward me to try to get me to settle down. I think he was worried that I would hurt our little one.

I winked at him and continued on. "Now see if you kick like that I would just-"

The plan was to block his kick. I did but my pinky got in the way and I found myself cringing near the dining room table holding my pinky.

"Come on Mama. Let me see it," Daddy offered. He came over, bent down and whispered, "What in the world are you doin'? Look at you!" he said while trying to look at my pinky. "Now you get it together and don't let him see that he whooped you!" he added as he helped me stand up.

I wouldn't say he "whooped" me. Not an appropriate word to describe it. Taking it a little far.



Thursday, January 01, 2015

Resolutions, Modifications, Attitudes and Denial. Oh My!

Happy New Year! While many are thinking of resolutions for 2015, I am not. Being the curious one that I am, I looked up the history of this thing we do each year and found some interesting information, BUT that is not what this post is about so if you are interested... http://www.history.com/topics/holidays/new-years

Even though I ultimately, know what what word means, I got the definition of the word "resolutions". The first definition: a firm decision to do or not to do something and the second: the action of solving a problem, dispute, or contentious matter

Another word I like and use a lot at work as an English as a Second Language teacher is MODIFY/MODIFICATION: make partial or minor changes to (something), typically so as to improve it or to make it less extreme.

So, I am going to modify or make partial changes to some decisions! I am also going to take partial action to solving some problems.

I want to apologize to our oldest, our 13-year-old daughter. While gathering together the night before Christmas, watching movies, we began discussing when she and her brother discovered there wasn't really a Santa. While our 11-year-old son did tell us when he realized it, part of me questions his story. I think the little dude still believes in him. Next time he does anything I don't like, I just might sneak and put that on his Instagram page.

"Well I knew there wasn't a Santa when I was five!" our daughter told us. With an attitude. Her arms were crossed; legs crossed almost to the point of being twisted and she wasn't smiling.

This was bad. The people in the movie stopped and looked at us.

Daddy really blew this one. I just shook my head and rolled my eyes.

"Who told you?" I asked while peering at Dude.

"Remember Mama. You and Daddy picked me up from school early and we drove to Greenville (NC) to shop at Toys R Us?"

We lived in a smaller city and many residents drove about 45 minutes to shop at the bigger stores like Toys R Us.

I cut in and said what any Mama in denial would say, "First of all, YOU didn't drive anywhere if you were five and why did you say YOU and Daddy? Why did you put me first?"

As if what I'd just said wasn't important, she continued with her whining.

"You told me to pick out toys I liked and Daddy picked out toys for Myles while he was at daycare."

There she was with the "YOU" again.

"You told me that you were helping Santa because he was tied up. It was the same toys we opened on Christmas."

"But technically, I never told you that there wasn't a Santa," I came back. "And Dude- I mean Daddy- was in on it too, right?"

Couldn't go down alone.

So I resolve to fix that by not doing it again.

Working out and eating healthier will definitely be modified and that will be a later post.