Sunday, November 28, 2010

This Is What Too Much Turkey Will Do To You

At last count, this video had a total of 152,262 views. I think I may be responsible for at least 148,211 of them. Okay, maybe more.
And I still laugh. Every. Single. Time.
Oh my cats, I probably need to get out more.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Sibling Rivalry

Sibling rivalry takes on an entirely new level tonight. UGA plays GaTech, and our house is divided right down the middle. Two kids cheer for Georgia. Two kids cheer for GaTech. It's a high stakes game for family state pride and a battle for a year's worth of ribbing and bragging rights.
So in the interest of fairness, I will remain neutral. . . sort of.*

But it's an exciting day no matter who you cheer for, and I got a taste of the pregame giddiness as our two college girls were getting ready to go. One girl is dressed in Georgia Bulldawg red. The other is rocking her Ramblin' Reck yellow. And both are as cute as can be!
In a side note, I asked our oldest girl if she was planning to take a blanket to the chilly night game. She looked at me like I was from Planet Dork and said, "Not cool, Mom. I may as well bring a Snuggie. Gah!"

I guess being warm is so old school. :)

*Go Dawgs

Thursday, November 25, 2010

We Have a Winner

You may be like me and think, "I never win anything." One of the few raffles our family ever won involved a turkey. My kids attended a carnival at school many years ago, and each guessed the number of jellybeans in a jar to win a free turkey. Wow, a free turkey! At 50 cents a pop, I thought it was money well spent, since our family does eat occasionally, and the money raised was going to support the school; plus it kept each kid engrossed in the counting for several minutes. (Mothers with four small children will pay big money to have 5 minutes of sanity.) Soon it was on to funnel cakes and face painting, and the jelly bean turkey raffle was quickly forgotten. Monday rolled around and my oldest jumped off the bus carrying some sort of wood and chicken-wire box. "What on earth have they been doing in art class these days?" I wondered as my son ran to the car and proudly announced that HE was the lucky raffle grand prize winner. Well, technically, he didn't win, but all of the other "winners'" moms wouldn't let them take home the prize. Somehow I missed that memo, because this "grand prize" just happened to still be covered in feathers and was staring at me. . . . and gobbling. I would have been happier with second prize, which was a jar and 1253 jelly beans.

P.S. In case you're wondering, our turkey received a name, and a full presidential pardon. Have a blessed Thanksgiving!

[Originally posted in 2007]

Friday, November 19, 2010

Adventure is Out There (And Also, Knitting)

My middlest kid* went sky diving last Saturday. And I found out after the fact, which is probably a win/win situation. Win #1 -- she didn't tell me before she went, so I wasn't worried. Win #2 -- she made it back on solid ground, safely. When she called me from the airfield to share her exciting news, I was mildly shocked, and I told her she was a little "stinker." A wise friend was a little less poetic when he told her that there are only two things that fall from the sky: bird poop and fools.

In retrospect, I should have known that something was up when my girl hinted a few weeks ago that she was considering jumping out of plane. That seems to have been a rather obvious clue. When she asked me what I thought about the possibility of her going sky diving, I was a bit surprised and told her not to tell me if she ever did. Then I chalked it up to a college dare which would never be fulfilled, and promptly filed that little bit of conversation in the Scarlett O'Hara part of my brain labeled, "I'll Think About That Tomorrow." After all, this was the same kid who practically stayed glued to my hip for her entire infancy and the better part of her toddler years. This was the kid who waited until she was 14 months old to start walking (not because she didn't want to walk, but because, with two older siblings and an overly affectionate and clumsy Labrador, it was just safer to stay near the ground.) This is also the kid who, unlike her other siblings, never once thought about climbing out of her crib. Ever. This is the same kid who was terrified of an over-active pre-school classmate named Jimmie Lee. Jimmie Lee wasn't really a bad kid, but his rough and tumble, all-boy antics terrified my shy little girl. She kept a safe distance far away from his boisterous ways for most of the year, until one day when she had an epiphany. When I came to her classroom to pick her up from preschool Middlest ran to me and excitedly proclaimed, "Mama!! Guess what! I'm not afraid of Jimmie Lee anymore!!" It was a pivotal moment in her young life.

So the recent news that Middlest was even considering sky diving, and then the revelation that she had actually taken such a daring plunge may have surprised me, but it also made me smile. Truthfully, the mama hen in me would like to keep those apron strings firmly tied.....just a little longer; to have my girl stay on the ground, to go the safe route. I would have steered her toward learning a new language, or trying her hand at knitting --something in which gravity played a minimal role in the ultimate outcome. But the mother hen in me also admired her moxie. I was excited and proud that she had stepped out of her comfort zone [quite literally!] and that she had discovered something new that she wasn't afraid of, a different kind of "Jimmie Lee." Middlest wrote about her adventure on her blog and posted a quote by Henry David Thoreau, “How vain is it to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live?”
And then, do you know what that stinker did? She had the nerve to invite me to go with her the next time she goes sky diving. With her?! Next time?! Oh Mylanta! I'm all for "standing up to live," but jumping out of planes?? No, thank you! Everyone knows that mother hens don't fly, and they certainly don't jump out of planes!
I think I'll take up knitting, merci beaucoup.

* I call her the "middlest" because she's the third of four kids, the middle of the middle-- sandwiched between her older and younger sisters.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Friday, November 12, 2010

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Guest Post

The following is an article my dad wrote recently for a local newspaper. It is just too precious not to share. Enjoy! ~cn


A special Halloween, no thanks to me

About 20 years ago Matthew and I went trick or treating. We joined the several young spookers knocking on doors. But we were a bit different from the preschool and elementary school-age spooks up and down the neighborhood.

I was about 60 and Matthew was about 20.

Matthew was a special patient of mine and a special person as well. Matthew had a rare in-born malady that resulted in very poor lung function, a weak heart and significant developmental delay. Children with his syndrome usually die before age 13.

Mostly because of his parent’s exceptional care, Matthew was alive at 20. He and his parents had dropped by our house for a short visit that Halloween.

I suggested I take Matthew around our neighborhood for his share of the spoils of the evening. As we set out on our rounds, I instructed Matthew. “When someone answers the door say, ‘Trick or treat,’ and hold out your bag. Then say, ‘Thank you.”

At the first house I rang the doorbell and when the door opened Matthew remained mute. After a minute or two he held out his bag and the owner rewarded him with candy. No “Thank you” was evident.

As we left I reminded Matthew, “Remember. Say, ‘Trick or treat’ and hold out your bag and say, ‘Thank you.’” At the next house he forgot his lines again but held out his bag.

At every house the same thing. No words. A bag produced. Candy. No “Thank you.”

Toward the end of our block Matthew became bolder and entered a few houses uninvited and shook hands with everyone there. (Matthew was very big on hand shakes.)

We finished our rounds with a bag full of candy and not a single “Trick or treat” or ”Thank you” uttered.

The next day at church services, Matthew and his parents walked past us as we sat in our accustomed pew. Matthew leaned over toward me and said softly, “Trick or treat.”

Retired pediatrician Bill now spends his days working with wood (“mostly making sawdust”), fishing (“but not very well”), puttering around his garden and writing.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Our Cat: Con Artist/Escape Artist, Extraordinaire

It was chilly and wet outside yesterday. Friendly -- who is an outside cat, but chooses not to believe that about himself -- sat on the ledge outside our kitchen window, looking especially mournful and needy and soggy. So Youngest Kid and I decided he needed some TLC, and we sneaked him inside the house, past our dog, Jude The Cat Hater.

Okay, let me rewind just a bit, and provide a little background information:

If you remember, Friendly was a stray cat who "found" us and conned my husband into bringing him home by pretending to be friendly. The truth is that Friendly wasn't really friendly at all; he was just hungry and desperate and saw an opportunity for a free meal when he stumbled upon my husband and our kids cleaning out a warehouse near our home. The kids gave their new "friend" a couple of hot dogs and decided that this was THE friendliest cat they'd ever met. The deal was sealed and Friendly left the warehouse with a full tummy, a new name, and a new home.

Until a couple of years ago Friendly was in charge of things around our home, and was accustomed to inviting himself inside our house on a regular, almost daily basis. He often crouched at the back door, poised and ready to gain entrance when an unsuspecting patsy might open the door. In an orange, furry flash Friendly would bolt inside and disappear upstairs, looking for a comfortable place to take a long winter nap. Friendly ruled the roost. He was the "lord of his castle, the sovereign, the liege."* He was what you might call, "Top Dog."

However, Friendly's world was turned upside-down with the arrival of his arch nemesis, Jude. You might also remember our fun-loving dog Jude, who came to live with us after he and our son graduated from college. Our son went off to conquer the world and Jude came to the farm to conquer our house. Which he did. Jude is a canine version of Will Rogers and he loves almost everyone and every thing he meets. However, for some reason Jude has decided that he does not like cats. At all. In fact, Jude takes his role as the #1 He-Man Cat Hater very seriously. He's even appointed himself the unofficial border patrol and vigilantly guards the back door against any and all covert feline invasions. As a result, Friendly has had to suffer the indignity of being a full-time outside cat. His inner "inside kitty" has been forced to once again take a back seat, and regular lazy afternoon naps inside a warm house are a thing of the past.

Now, back to yesterday:

After we sneaked Friendly inside the house and past the pooch patrol, my Youngest Kid quietly carried him upstairs and closed the door. Jude never even suspected a thing! Friendly quickly found his old favorite sleeping spot, which happens to be inside one of the drawers of Youngest Kid's dresser. Yes, Friendly insists that she pull the drawer partway open so he can stretch out on top of her clothes. We let Friendly stay inside the house for most of the afternoon, but as nightfall approached I decided it was time to put him out before Jude became suspicious. Youngest Kid went upstairs to get him, but the elusive feline was nowhere to be found. The door upstairs had been shut all day, so we knew he had to be there somewhere. Youngest kid looked all over. I looked all over. We looked in the closets. We looked in the bathroom. We looked under the beds. We looked behind the dresser. We looked inside the dresser. Friendly was just not there. NOWHERE. Dumbfounded, the kid and I came downstairs (again, closing the upstairs door) thinking Friendly must have somehow found a way out. But Friendly wasn't anywhere, and we literally had no idea where he could be.

In order to protect the peace in the house, we knew we had to find that cat before #1 He-man Cat Hater did, so Youngest Kid and I decided to check one more time upstairs. We went into Youngest Kid's room, and whaddaya know, there was Friendly, in her room, laying contentedly in his favorite spot, looking at us with that disgusted-Friendly-look, just like he'd been there the entire time!! It was crazy! I still have no idea where he'd been and the best conclusion we could come up with for his "now you see him, now you don't" moment, is that Friendly is some sort of a feline Houdini. The only thing he lacks is a little cat cape and a cat-sized top hat. :)

*[Bonus points if you can name the movie where I got that quote.]

Monday, November 1, 2010