Monday, June 30, 2008
My brother, sisters and I grew up in Port Arthur, Texas and attended Travis Elementary. At Travis, when you were in the 4th grade, everyone took band class. In 4th grade, however, we weren't worthy of actual instruments. Everyone played the Tonette. If you played the Tonette good enough, you were allowed to get a real instrument in 5th grade. I played clarinet in 5th and 6th grades and I kicked ass.
As a person who can't sing a melody to save my soul, I was fascinated that I could play a song exactly the way it actually sounded just by reading and following the sheet music. It's not that I'm tone deaf. One test we were given before joining the actual instrument playing band (as opposed to the Tonette playing band) was to determine if we could name a note by hearing it played on the piano. I recall doing very well on that test. So, I hear music, I know when notes are off key, but there's a disconnect between my brain and my mouth.
The reason I never became a famous jazz clarinetist is a pitiful tale indeed. In 7th grade it was required that everyone be in the marching band as well as the concert band. Marching was not my obstacle. Throwing up in the 100 degree summer heat during summer marching practice, however, was a definite deal breaker. Also, in those days the band hall wasn't air conditioned. So, playing an instrument...a WIND instrument...in the stuffy band hall wasn't much better than marching in the heat. I didn't throw up, but I stayed pretty damn dizzy.
I've always thought it was unfortunate that my kick ass clarinet playing was thwarted by Mr. Britain and his everyone must march rule and my own Laurie must throw up rule. Of course, by not being in the band I learned lots of other things: sewing, cooking, speaking French, typing. I hardly ever throw up when I do any of those things. So, I've got that going for me.
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Vote for the New Orleans Lakefront Lighthouse
I love lighthouses. Here's an e-mail my mom sent me:
"Our lighthouse on Lake Pontchartrain in New Orleans was destroyed by Katrina. Built in the 1890s, the lighthouse has been a lakefront landmark for years, guiding boats in and out of the Orleans Marina and the Municipal Yacht Harbor. Some of the original materials were salvaged and they're trying to rebuild it but of course it takes money the city doesn't have right now. There is a company that restores lighthouses and has a contest going on right now to donate new windows and doors for a lighthouse in need of restoration, and the Canal lighthouse is on the list! Click here to vote: www.jeld-wen.com/lighthouse"
An old Tennessee mountain woman went to the doctor and was told to go home and come back in a couple of days with a specimen. When she got home she asked her husband, "What is a specimen?"
He replied. "Darned if I know. Go next door and ask Edith. She's a nurse."
The woman went next door and came back in about twenty minutes with her clothes all torn and with multiple cuts and bruises on her face and body.
"What in the world happened?" asked her husband"
"Darned if I know," she replies. "I asked Edith what a specimen was and she told me to go piss in a bottle. I told her to go fart in a jug and then all hell broke loose."
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Well, I'm not a rock star, yet. I'm more of a pebble starlet. Guitar Hero on Tour for Nintendo DS went on sale June 22, 2008 and I knew if I was ever in the vicinity of Best Buy I wouldn't be able to resist popping in and buying one. I had to pass Best Buy twice yesterday afternoon, so we all know what happened. I also bought a "leather" case. Rock and roll!!
I'm not quite kicking Guitar Hero ass, though I already can do a pretty mean Spiderwebs. I'm not so great on Twisted Sister though. By the way, my DS is pink...of course.
Regarding "Grandma Honey":
All of my nieces and nephews call me "Aunt Honey" which began when the first nephew came along about 25 years ago. Without realizing it, I would always say, "Hi, Honey!" when I saw him. As soon as he started making identifiable sounds, I just knew he was calling me "Honey." Somehow it caught on...because I'm soooooooooooo sweet. Yeah, you heard me. Sweet. Wanna make something of it?
So, Aunt Honey will also be Grandma Honey when Ava gets around to calling me anything other than "Guh." Unless, she wants to call me something else. Grandma Slash would be cool.
Monday, June 23, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Friday, June 20, 2008
I was talking to a friend the other day and he was telling me that his daughter was taking a course her freshman year in college called "The History of Rock and Roll." We decided that was a pretty cool course for a university to offer.
Then, I said, "Actually, if you think about it, that's a lot of history. Rock and roll really took off in the early '50s. That's more than fifty years ago."
My friend looked at me with an expression that said, regardless of the truth of my statement, he wasn't totally convinced that 1954 was over fifty years ago.
I went on to say, "Think of it this way. We graduated from high school in 1974 so, assuming our freshman year of college was 1974, your daughter studying the origins of rock and roll is the same as if we had taken a class studying the origins of movies with sound."
"Yeah," I said, "You know what else? The '80s were twenty years ago."
I sometimes wonder why people talk to me at all.
Thursday, June 19, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Monday, June 16, 2008
It's sort of like the chicken and the egg thing. Which came first? Who the hell knows. The difference between the chicken and the egg thing and the smiling thing is that when you feel good you smile AND when you smile you feel good.
Supposedly smiling lowers your blood pressure and boosts your immune system. Here's another smiling fact that's not so funny:
- The average pre-schooler laughs or smiles 400 times a day. That number drops to only 15 times a day by the time people reach age 35.
Of course, none of this changes the fact that I hate it when people tell me to smile. I'll smile when I'm good and damn ready and, probably, not when you're looking at me you smile demanding asshole.
Sunday, June 15, 2008
My son Cory and daughter-in-law Jamie's friends Will and Lindsay have 6 month old twin daughters. When Jamie was in labor, Will and Lindsay came into the labor room to check on Jamie. Jamie told Will and Lindsay she was fine, but wanted to know how their appointment had gone with the doctor to find out if their in-vitro fertilization had worked.
Lindsay said, "We're having twins."
Then, everybody cried.
In today's Beaumont Enterprise on the front of the Lifestyle section, there is a letter from Lindsay to Will as a Father's Day tribute. Get out your Kleenex, folks.
(Photos by Lora Waller)
As this Father's Day approaches, I am reminded where we were a year ago today.
The road has been long, and this letter is my way of honoring you for who you are, and for all you do.
William and I were married in 2005. We began trying for a baby, but month after month brought only failure.
Just prior to Fathers Day 2007, two years after praying for a baby, Will came home from a friend's (expecting father) daddy diaper party, saddened to be in a room surrounded by dads and dads-to-be.
After dozens of tests, we decided to move on to the big league of reproduction - in-vitro fertilization.
Two months after that daddy diaper party, we began the lengthy process. At $20,000 or so a try, this was both a scary and exciting time.
Five days before Fathers Day, 2007, our tiny embryos were conceived by talented embryologists in a sterile dish.
That Father's Day morning, the doctors slipped two embryos into my uterus through a tiny catheter.
I looked over at my husband, who was holding my hand, and whispered "Happy Father's Day."
We had to wait two weeks to see if they implanted.
My husband was a sport at delivering the hormones and medications through the entire process. Who wouldn't want to stick a two-inch needle into the hip of a woman full of hormones?
Before we knew it, two weeks had passed and we got the call.
"You are pregnant."
At the routine six-week ultrasound, we were ready to see our baby's heartbeat for the first time.
The ultrasound technician turned the screen toward us.
"This is the sac, and this is the baby," she said. "This is the other sac, and this is the other baby."
Our eyes filled with tears. We were expecting twins!
The pregnancy did not progress smoothly. Pregnancy-induced hypertension led to light bed rest.
My darling Will was there every step of the way, so proud to have twins on the way.
The due date was the first of March, but on a mid-December night, I woke Will to frightening news. My water had broken. They rushed us by ambulance to Texas Women's Hospital in Houston.
Despite all their efforts, they could not stop my contractions. An emergency c-section was performed on Dec. 16, 2007.
At 1:35 p.m. and 1:36 p.m. our tiny daughters entered the world, born at 28 weeks - more than 11 weeks early. Grace Laurel was born first at 2 pounds 4 ounces, and Isabelle Lane at 2 pounds 12 ounces.
Will was now a dad.
Both girls needed help breathing and were in for a fight for their lives. Will and I battled the ups and downs that any parent faces in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. Every day was harder than the next. Our babies looked so frail and helpless.
Were they going to come home?
The girls were dependent on oxygen and a feeding tube for more than a month, but they progressed well.
I remember the first time we held them. Will never looked more proud. Despite the tubes and wires, he thought they were so beautiful. He could not wait to bring his baby girls home.
Seven and a half weeks later our prayers were answered. At 4 and 4½ pounds, our tiny angels were reunited in a single bassinet, and rolled down to our car.
It was the proudest walk of my husband's life. A true glowing father.
Thank goodness Will was the one to drive home from Houston with these tiny babies in the car. I stared at them the entire way.
They both came home on apnea monitors, which they outgrew only a few weeks ago.
How are Daddy and his girls now?
Well Daddy is great. A little exhausted, but that is true of any hands-on-dad, especially one with twins.
Our girls will turn 6 months old tomorrow. They are perfectly healthy and super chunky. We feel blessed every day.
Both weigh in at more than 15 pounds now, and are full of personality and spunk. Grace is curious and nosy, while Isabelle is animated and silly. Both melt their Daddy's heart with big smiles and sweet coos.
Will continues to be an amazing father. He truly was meant to be a dad, and a wonderful husband.
Dreams really do come true.
Happy Father's Day, Will.
I love you.
©The Beaumont Enterprise 2008
Saturday, June 14, 2008
Sunday on WE - I love watching these psycho bitches.
Monday on MTV - Insane drama club types all living together and cat fighting for the same job.
Tuesday on Fox - This is my first season to watch this one. I didn't think I could handle Gordon Ramsey's yelling...until I "met" the contestants. Ramsey's right. They're all a bunch of donkeys.
Wednesday on SciFi - Still one of my favorites. Did I mention I'm going ghost hunting with these guys in November at The Stanley Hotel in Colorado? Oh, yeah.
Thursday on CBS - I found the first episode a little heavy handed with the '70s music, but the second episode got me hooked. Plus, there's a teenage girl named Laurie who is skinny, has long straight brown hair, is a "brain" and is the same age I was in the years this program is set. That part's a little surreal for me. Then, there's the fabulous Molly Parker who was so magnificent in one of my other favorite programs Deadwood. What's not to like?
Friday on E! - Catch up on all the entertainment crap that happened during the week.
Friday on VH-1 - Catch up on more entertainment crap that happened during the week.
Saturday on Food Network - Alton Brown...food...motorcycles, this show is great. Alton and a small film crew travel the highways to prove there's still "fast" food out there made by real people and not by the same chain restaurants you find in every town.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
- Note good things to come - write yourself a note about something good that's going to happen the next day and put it by your alarm clock.
Why it won't work for me:My lunch plans will not make me one bit happier about having to get out of bed.
- Keep a cool bedroom.
Why it won't work for me:
Already do it. Still not happy about getting out of bed. What else you got?
- Surround yourself with color.
Why it won't work for me:
How do bright colors help my mood through tightly shut lids?
- Put flowers by your bedside.
Why it won't work for me:
Smelling flowers all night will make me have bad dreams about funerals and tragic '70s teen dances wearing huge sickeningly sweet smelling corsages.
- Don't hit the snooze button.
Why it won't work for me:
Don't hit the snooze button? Bite me. The snooze button is one of God's greatest inventions.
- Visualize your day.
Why it won't work for me:
Isn't visualizing my day the main reason I don't want to get out of bed?
- Drink a big glass of water.
Why it won't work for me:
Okay, this one might work because I'll have to get up to pee...eventually.
- Let the light in.
Why it won't work for me:
Light? Please, I could sleep on the sun. Light. Hah!
- Rub yourself awake - massage your face.
Why it won't work for me:
Wouldn't I have to be awake to massage my own face?
- Have sex.
Why it won't work for me:
Never, never, never wake me for sex. Never wake me for anything. In fact, if the house is on fire, gently take me by the hand and lead me outside. Do not, under any circumstances, actually speak to me. I'll wake up...eventually.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
Hearing Consumer Concerns Commissioner Staples Gives Green Light To Posting Gas Station Violations Online
AUSTIN - With gasoline prices hovering around $3 a gallon, Texas drivers want to make sure they are receiving exactly what they are paying for. Now, keeping an eye on their local gas station is as easy as logging on to the Internet.
Agriculture Commissioner Todd Staples announced today the Texas Department of Agriculture is now posting results of gas station inspections on its Web site, so consumers can see which stations around the state failed their recent gas pump inspections.
"The Texas Department of Agriculture is committed to consumer protection. We want Texans to know our inspectors are on the frontlines ensuring they are receiving what they are paying for," Commissioner Staples said. "By visiting the TDA Web site, drivers will have the information they need at their fingertips to know where gas pumps have been found out of compliance."
TDA has 72 weights and measures inspectors throughout the state checking more than 65,000 fuel pumps a year. An inspector will place an "out of order" tag on any pump not dispensing the correct amount of fuel within the allowable tolerance.
The station owner or operator is responsible for having a pump repaired by a service company licensed through TDA before the pump can be further used to sell fuel. A TDA inspector will then place a new seal on the pump after it has been tested and found to be operating properly. TDA recently increased penalties for any fuel pump found out of tolerance in the state. This was the first increase in fines since 1996.
To check out the new online reports go to the Texas Department of Agriculture's Web site at http://www.tda.state.tx.us/ and click on "public information reports." Besides gas pump inspection reports consumers can also review weights and measures enforcement action reports to find out how much gas stations owners had to pay for the out of order violations.
Source: Texas Department of Agriculture
I've had a busy year and I'm behind on my movie watching. I only recently watched Knocked Up and absolutely loved it. I cried a lot more than I expected and fell in love with the soundtrack which I immediately ordered from my best friend Amazon.
The CD "Strange Weirdos" isn't really a soundtrack. It's a CD by Loudon Wainwright, III who wrote several songs for the movie and did the score. The CD is musically and lyrically amazing. I like music that is touching with a sharp edge and all of these songs have that. I highly recommend it.
While listening to the CD, for some reason I was constantly reminded of Al Stewart. Loudon's voice is still clear and beautiful like Al's and all of the songs have incredible lyrics which invoke specific images of emotion, time and place. When I checked with my other good friend Wikipedia, I found that Mr. Wainwright was born on September 5. Guess who else was born on September 5...Al Stewart...and ME!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
My son and his wife and my Grand-Fabulous-Daughter Ava will be moving back to Beaumont soon. Even though they only lived about two hours away from me, that was much too far for pop-ins.
Yes, boys and girls, there will be Grand-Fabulous-Mother pop-ins and Grand-Fabulous-Daughter spur of the moment field trips and Grand-Fabulous afternoon walks for no reason at all.
(Oh, and I get the Grand-Fabulous-Puppy Oakley for a while until they get all settled in. Oh, happy Puppy day!)
Monday, June 09, 2008
I just went for a walk and after thirty minutes, I'm right back where I started.
I want to live somewhere that when a person leaves their house and walks for thirty minutes, they end up somewhere. In the evening, they might end up at a restaurant, a coffee shop or a bar that has a live band. During the day, they might arrive at a museum or an aquarium or a market.
I used to think I wanted to live at the beach, but I found out I'm not a loner after all. I like crowds and chaos and people with tattoos sitting on benches beside children holding balloons. I want to be in a dark funky bar listening to music with old barflies and young hipsters. I want street performers!
I want the French Quarter.
Or, Vegas. Vegas would work.
I've never been to New York City. Yeah, New York.
Sunday, June 08, 2008
The first year, I was an intersection person. However, last year I was given the task of organizing the rest stop. We shall all assume that my management of the previously mentioned intersection (click the links above) had nothing at all to do with my being moved to the position of Rest Stop Czar. This year we had a winter wonderland theme with a snow cone machine and everything. Several people have told me we were a hit which makes me very happy.
With the exception of trying to remove the snowman decoration from one of the portable potty doors WHILE SOMEONE WAS STILL IN THERE, I think I did a pretty good job as Czar-ina. As I was noisily tearing tape and pulling on the potty's door, I felt something pull from the other side. The guy told me, as he carefully opened the door to leave the porta-outhouse, "I thought Santa Clause was coming to town."
Here's a slideshow...
Notes to Friends:
- My friend Dick played at Antone's for the free spaghetti dinner and we got there so late, we only got to hear a couple of songs. Here's a link to Dick's band's MySpace page.
- Jen and Becca! Sorry I missed you guys Saturday night. I kept falling asleep on the couch. Next time, for sure.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
My New Favorite Chinese Restaurant
First things first. There's a new Chinese restaurant in town and it delivers. When we called in our order from the office, they said, "Twenty minutes." We had about five orders and we're way across town from the restaurant, so we were doubtful. Sure enough, twenty minutes later, we had some of the best Chinese food I've ever eaten.
Tonight, I called and placed an order and they said, "Twenty minutes." I always give additional instructions to food delivery people because my townhouse is hard to find. Delivery guys and girls always have to call me because they can't find my house. The lady who took my order, however didn't speak English very well and I could hear someone in the background telling her what questions to ask. So, I decided I would wait for the inevitable call from whoever was sent out with my Mongolian Three Delight and House Special Egg Foo Young.
About twenty minutes later, I thought I heard my gate. I got up to look out the front window to see if anyone was there and I heard the delivery guy standing at my front door shouting, "Hello! Hello!" I was amazed that someone who was not fluent in English and didn't know how to work a doorbell had found my house so quickly.
Who's the Dumbass Now?
I paid the guy and closed the door and thought, "Man, I can't wait to blog that a guy was standing at my door shouting instead of ringing the doorbell." Then, I thought, "I bet the battery in the doorbell button is dead." Sure enough, no juice going to the doorbell. My apologies to the Asian guy who delivered my dinner for thinking you were a dumbass.
So, I walked to my battery place, grabbed a tiny battery and put it in the doorbell button contraption. Still no juice. Crap. I pulled the battery out and there was some green stuff on the connections. I cleaned that off, put the battery back in and thought, "Now, where did I put the top?" I searched for the damn top all over my kitchen...under paper towels...under dish towels...on the floor...on the island...nothing. After lots of cussing and hell raising, I realized that I had the top in my hand.
Again, I apologize to the Asian guy who delivered my dinner. I am the dumbass.
Jo Jo's China Bistro (same strip as the new Kroger and Buffalo Wild Wings)
3939 Dowlen Road, Suite 16
Beaumont, Texas 77706
All Day Delivery ($15 minimum)
Friday, June 06, 2008
NYKNYC Weighted Walk Vest
Stud Finder *
* I didn't even know they made such a thing as a stud finder! This is going to come in really handy when I meet my friends out at Crockett Street Saturday night. I wonder if I can specify height, hair color, etc. Huh? What? Not that kind of stud?