Tuesday, June 21, 2011


I'll be on vacation with the Meems and Kelly (my 17 year old niece - Kathy's daughter) until July 2!  Until then, I leave you with an annoying little hula dancing toy.  Hopefully...well, most assuredly...I'll have some great video of Mimi hula dancing on stage with some Hawaiian beauties.  Oh, how the blogs will flow after a week in Maui with my 85 year old precious little mother!

Until we "meet" again...aloha!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Falling Superhero Underwear

Reed's eyes were red, and he was hiccuping the last of his tears.  His preschool teacher stood with him in the hall holding his hand.  

"Reed, baby!  What's wrong?!" I gasped rushing to his side as my mind raced through the possibilities.  I didn't see any blood or bruises.  I didn't see a weeping accomplice holding his teacher's other hand.  Nor did I see a shamefaced bully standing facing the wall.  

"We had a little accident in the big room," his teacher began.

The "big room" was the gathering place for the throng of wild munchkins at the end of the long day of preschool.  On Sundays, it was called the "fellowship hall."  On Monday, Wednesday and Friday mornings once the chorus "Clean up...clean up...everybody clean up" was sung 35 times as toys and books were tucked away, each class filed down the hall for ready for a hearty rumpus in what was then called the "big room."  Entering the room the kids tossed their backpacks on the floor along the wall ready to be retrieved as each mom came to the door.  "Suuuuuuuuzie!  Grab your backpack!!  Your mommy's here!"

"A little accident?" I replied with pooched lips and a wrinkled brow meant to communicate compassion to my whimpering "big boy."

"Yes," she continued, "Reed got upset because he thought that his underwear fell off, and the kids laughed at him."

Biting my lip to hold back a guffaw, I looked Reed over to verify that he was still wearing his Mervyn's blue denim "easy pants" - the pants that he preferred for preschool because they were the easiest to pull down when he had to go to the bathroom.  I was confused.  He had definitely not changed into a kilt after I dropped him off that morning.  He was still sporting his easy pants.  How could his underwear have snaked out of his pants and onto the big room floor, for Pete's sake!

"I think that what happened was that his backpack was unzipped when he ran over and threw it on the floor.  Somehow, his extra pair of underwear (some of his favorite 'emergency' Power Ranger briefs) fell out of his bag and got caught on his 'tennie' shoes.  When he ran out into the middle of the room, the underwear went with him, and one of the boys started pointing and yelling, "Reed!!  Your underwear fell off!!!"

By now, I was biting my tongue in half in an effort to suppress the guffaws that were tickling my midsection.  Reed's teary eyes and little runny nose tugged at my heartstrings. I had to hold it together!  I didn't want to totally scar him for life by laughing in the face of his tragedy.

"So, I ran over to Reed who was crying hysterically, and told him that there was no way on earth that his underwear could have fallen off because he was still wearing his pants.  But, he was inconsolable what with the kids pointing and laughing and all.  I ended up taking him to the bathroom so that he could go in a stall, pull down his pants, and see that his underwear was still right where it should be.  He's been pretty upset!  I'm glad you're here!" 

I hugged my little weeping tiger tightly and exchanged silent laughs with his teacher.  "Oh, baby, I'm so sorry!  You're OK now!  Your underwear did not fall off."  Scooping him up into my arms, he buried his face on my shoulder.  My happy-go-lucky, monkey-grinning child melted into my body as his arms wrapped tightly around my neck.  "Schweet, schweet baby, let's go home and call Daddy."  Call Daddy.  Comforting words to a child who loved his daddy real bad.  Daddy would have the right words for a boy traumatized by falling underwear.  

Come to think of it, I love that Daddy real bad, too.  I would totally call him if I ever thought that my underwear had fallen off in public.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Die, Madam Butterfly, Die!

Just a quick post to tell you about our evening.  We took my mom, Leonard, and my mother-in-law, Mary, to the movie to see a live broadcast of Madame Butterfly at the Metropolitan Opera which, by the way, was an a-mazing way to see an opera!!!  Anyhoo.  Alan bought the tickets a couple of weeks ago.  We've been talking to Mom about it since he bought the tickets.  It's pretty simple...movie theatre...live broadcast...Madame Butterfly.



"What time are you going to pick up Leonard and me tonight?"

"6:00 sharp."

"OK.  Where is the opera going to be?"

"Remember...it's going to be at the movie theatre."

"Oh, yeah.  I forgot.  It's showing at the movie theatre.  When did they make the opera into a movie?"

"It's a live broadcast of the actual opera from the Met in New York."

"Oh.  That's nice."

Walking into the theatre at 6:15.

"Now, what movie are we going to go see?"

"Madame Butterfly."

"Oh.  I didn't know they made that into a movie."

After Act 1 of the "movie opera."

"Did she kill herself yet?"

"No, Mom.  The opera isn't over.  That was the end of Act 1.  She's still got a good hour to live."

"Oh.  I thought she already killed herself.  Pardon my breath.  I had onions on my salad at dinner."

"Yes.  You did."

After Act 2 of the "movie opera."

"Did she kill herself yet?"

"Nope.  That was the end of Act 2.  She's still alive."

"Oh.  I thought she already killed herself."

During Act 3 of the "movie opera."

"Tell me when she starts to kill herself."


"Has he come back to see her yet?"

"She's waiting for him.  She stayed up all night watching for him.  Oh...there he is!"

"Is that a woman with him?"


A bit later...

"OK, Mom.  It's coming.  She's holding the knife."

"Is she dead yet?"

My, oh, my.  I had no idea that my little mother was so fixated on death scenes.  I will not be watching Romeo and Juliet with her anytime in the near future.

I just figured out that it was the "encore" of a live broadcast of Madame Butterfly.  I guess that means that Madame Butterfly actually died about a year ago.  Like mother.  Like daughter.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Lalapalooza Garage Sale

Some ambled slowly as they carefully eyed every detail of each item.  Others briskly power-walked looking for specifics.  Some grabbed up odds and ends without second guessing the cost.  Others scrutinized the price tag trying to decide if a dollar was an atrocious amount to pay for a used alarm clock labeled "still works."

Oh, how I loved watching people shop at my "Lallapalooza Garage Sale" (as advertised) last Saturday!  They were tall.  They were short.  They were black, brown, white, and kind of beige-y.  Some were serious and determined in search of specific items.  "Do you have any tools?"  "Are you selling that freezer?"  Others were simply out hunting for treasure on a beautiful blue-sky morning.  "Look, Sue!  I used to have one of these back in high school!"  They were the ones that I loved the most.  They had stories to tell.


"I hate the way they have dumbed-down elementary school readers these days," she said shaking her head.  Thumbing through some vintage reading books (from the 40's) she told me that her parents and grandparents had passed down some of their old school books.  

"They were written on almost a high school level!" she informed me.  

"Don't I know it!" I agreed.  I have a strict policy against arguing with paying customers.  
"Didn't kids used to learn to read using the King James Bible?" I continued. 

"Yes, they did!  There was none of that 'See Jane run.  Run, Jane, Run' business," she said getting more and more worked up about the idiocy of our elementary readers.

"Mm.  Mm.  Mm," I said implying agreement as I shook my head and sauntered off towards the garage sale housewares department.  I am a big fan of Dick, Jane, Tip, and Mitten.  Run, Carolyn, run!


"These probably won't fit me!" she exclaimed handing me 3 bucks for my mint condition white cotton crop pants.

"Well..." I responded smiling.  It was all I could say.  By the looks of her girth, she was definitely NOT going to fit into them.   I wanted to say, "I'm celebrating the fact that they are too big for me now."  I mentally filtered the remark down to silence after factoring in two knowns: 1.) I didn't want to offend her, and 2.) a sale is a sale is a sale.  The pants were only $3.  They will become her Incentive Crop Pants.  If they had been $5, I would have tried to let her down gently.


I didn't have a chance to speak with the lady who walked away bearing my mom's cheesy monkey-climbing-a-palm-tree candlestick.  I fought the urge to run after her to ask what drew her to it.  Why not the plain brass candlesticks marked "$1.00 for both?"  For her dollar, all she got was that one quirky candlestick.  Thoughts raced through my mind at lightening speed.  Was she buying it as a gag gift that would imply disrespect to my mother's taste...I mean...I can make fun of the thing, but a total stranger?!  Did she collect monkeys?  Palm trees?  Was it a rare find because it was the combination of a monkey AND a palm tree?  As she rounded the fence out of sight, I felt a lump in my throat.  Last August, I pried it from Mom's fingers assuring her that there was simply no place in her Raider Ranch apartment that would do justice to the monkey-climbing-a-palm-tree candlestick.  Saturday, I was sad to see it go.


I will not soon forget the smiling man who thanked me ten times for selling the Nikon 35mm film camera to him for $30.  We chatted for a moment about whether or not film could still be purchased.  I honestly didn't know.  He said that he wanted to teach his daughter how to "pull focus," a term that was new to me, and to develop film in a dark room, a skill new to him.  "This will be our thing to do together!  A father-daughter hobby," said he beaming at the prospect of bonding with his little girl.  I was touched by his longing to be a great dad.  What a lucky girl is his daughter, indeed.

I was actually offended by the people who walked quickly through my garage with its neatly arranged tables stacked with both colorful and interesting what-nots leaving just as quickly with empty hands.  "I don't see anything.  Do you?" met with the response "Me neither" caught me cold.  I thought that I had exchanged knowing looks with the hip, cool 20-something couple who commented on the paint-by-number puppy paintings marked a measly $5 each.  When they walked out bearing only Reed's stinky, frazzled old Tom's (didn't the 50 cent tag tip you off...), I felt that I had been dissed by Martha Stewart.  Hmm!  I guess that you can't judge a seemingly cool couple by their vintage clothing and spiky hair.

There were many judgement calls made in the wink of an eye.  "Will you take less for this?"  Hmm.  Will I?  Good question.  It's only 9:00AM.  You are probably the only person on the planet who sees the value of this item.  But, there is a certain glint in your eye that is shouting, "Sucker!  I can double my money back on ebay!"  "Come back at 3:00, and we'll wheel and deal!" was my reply.  "Mommy!  Look!  It's a sword that is also a bubble wand!  It's only a quarter!"  The twinkle in the young child's eye.  The tired single-mother with a toddler on her hip.  "Hey, Sweetie!  You win the prize for cutest thing I've ever seen!  The prize?  A sword that's also a bubble wand!" I said wishing I could also throw in the child's college tuition.  "Really?!  Free?!  For me?!  Mommy, the lady said I could have it!!!  Is that OK?!"  Smiling, she and I exchange a look.  I was raised by a single mother who counted her pennies.  I get it.

At 5:00 on Saturday, I declared emphatically that I would NEVER, EVER HAVE ANOTHER GARAGE SALE.  Today as I remember the people, the stories, I am thinking that in another 5 years or so, I may need to go through the rest of the stuff in the attic.  When it comes to garage sales, the treasure is the parade of people.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

River Monsters & Mimi

Mimi didn't wake up until I called her at noon yesterday to see if she wanted to go water sock shopping at Academy.  I've been told that foot protection is a good idea in the surf of Maui.  She sleepily told me that she would hop out of bed and be ready in an hour.

I called her at 1:15 to tell her that I was running late and asked, "Did you have your breakfast?"

"Oh, yes!  I had a bowl of Kashi mixed with Special K.  I like 'em mixed because Kashi has those big dried strawberries in it.  I'm having LUNCH now!" she informed me.

"Lunch, too?" I asked.

"Yes, now I'm having blueberry yogurt with some walnuts.  Since we'll be gone for a while, I didn't want to miss it."

"Of course not!  You're so smart!" I agreed.

During the drive to Academy, I asked her why she slept so late.  She usually sleeps until 10:00 or 10:30.  

"I stayed up late watching a show about fish."


"Yes, this man was talking about piranhas in some river somewhere.  They're not actually piranhas.  They're like piranhas.  They like to eat people."

"Uh-huh," I mumbled absently.

"They are particularly fond of eating men's genitals," she continued.

"What?!  Did you just say 'men's genitals?!'" I exclaimed pulling the conversation into full focus.

"Yes.  They like to eat men's genitals.  I guess it's because they look like worms," she explained in an off-hand, matter of fact manner.

I kid you not.

"What else did the man say, Mom?"

"He said that those fish won't eat you if you keep perfectly still in the water.  If you start flailing around, they will eat you up," she declared as the resident expert on male-genitalia-eating fish.

"So, how do you get away from them if you can't move your arms and your legs?" I asked feeling like Art Linkletter holding a mike up to a 4 year old expectantly.

"I guess you just have to wait for them to leave."

"I see.  I guess you can only hope that a naked, flailing male dives into the water downstream," I grinned.

With a big grin and her sweet little giggle, she said, "That's right.  A naked, flailing man."

What had she been watching until well past her 8:30 bedtime?

River Monsters.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Swimsuit Shopping with Mimi

Eighty-five-year-old Mimi has been after me for about a month to take her swimsuit shopping for the following reasons.
  1. She has "outgrown" her swimsuits because "the food is so good at Raider Ranch."
  2. Her other bathing suits predate the new millenium.
  3. She, my niece (Kelly), and I are going to Maui in a few weeks.  (Seeing "Huh-Y-Yuh" is on Mom's bucket list.)
  4. She fully intends to go to water aerobics at "The Ranch" once she gets a cute swimsuit and swim cap.
This afternoon we ventured to Dillard's in search of flattering bathing suits.  I'm sure that Mom wouldn't mind my sharing that she now weighs around 120 pounds soaking wet, and that the new 10 pounds has settled around her midsection.  She's been sharing her weight and the fact that she's outgrown all of her clothes with her dinner table companions at Raider Ranch for months.  All these years that I've been blaming Grandma Kinzbach for my poochy belly, Mom has been holding out on me.  Apparently, she holds some of the blame for my ever present 6-months-pregnant belly.

There were approximately 1000 swimsuits at Dillards.  From itsy bitsy bikinis to big girl swim dresses, the place was a swirl of animal prints, polka dots, and wild orchids.  With years of experience in outfitting my own poochy belly in swimsuits, I tried to advise Mom on what she might want to try.  "Steer clear of the pucker-y one piece suits that make empty promises!" I advised as off she went, thumbing through racks and eyeing swimsuit fabrics an inch from her nose with one eye squeezed shut due to her macular degeneration. 

We both lit up when we saw a rack of Miraclesuit swimsuits - "lose 10 pound in 10 seconds!" I pulled out a loose-fitting top that had colors that Mom liked and held it out for her to inspect.  

"That's cute!  How much is it?!" she cooed.  

"Let me see..." I dug around in the suit looking for the tag.  "It's $84."

"EIGHTY FOUR DOLLARS!  For a bathing suit?!" she blurted in astonishment.

"Uhhh, Mom.  The price of swimsuits has gone up a bit since the '90s," I tried to calm her.

"Hmm!" she muttered in disbelief.

A few minutes later as I was looking for the right size matching bottom for the dreaded $84 top, I was shocked to see that they were priced separately.  And, the bottoms were also 80-ish bucks.  There was no miracle on the planet the suit could do in 10 minutes, let alone 10 seconds, that could justify spending that much on a swimsuit.  I quietly returned the cute top and coordinating bottom to the rack without bothering to relay the info to Mom who had moved on to "cheaper" suits.

I held up swimsuit after swimsuit trying to steer her towards flattering, age-appropriate models.  They were "too flowery," "too black," "too old-looking," and "meh."  ("Meh" is my son, Reed's, word for blah.)  After about 30 minutes of holding up suggestions, I steered her towards the dressing room where we both began trying on suits.  

"This makes my stomach look big!" she proclaimed standing sideways looking in the mirror.

"Yep.  That's why I never go for those pucker-y one piece suits.  There isn't enough spandex on the planet to make my stomach look flat in them either," I commiserated.  

She tried on swimsuit after swimsuit throwing the "definite no's" on the floor of the dressing room like wadded trash.  Then, she eyed a suit that I tried on and said, "I want to try on that one, too!  It's really cute!"  I kind of chuckled thinking that she was joking.  "Can you get the salesgirl to get me that suit in my size?" she asked.

Now, I love my little mother.  I will take her to Dillards and tediously shop with her for swimsuits.  But, with God as my witness, I will not be seen on side by side lounge chairs on the beach in Maui in matching "big girl" bathing suits!  There is ab-so-lute-ta-men-tay no way that is ever going to happen in my lifetime.

"Uh, Mom.  I think that we're a bit old to be wearing matching swimsuits.  Besides, this suit isn't exactly 'age-appropriate' for you," I explained.  Heck, it was barely age appropriate for me.  But, it was flattering and somewhat youthful looking, so I fully prepared to pay retail for it.  When it comes to flattering and somewhat youthful looking swimsuits, past experience has convinced me that money is no object.  Except for those darned Miraclesuits.  No bathing suit bottom is worth 80-plus dollars.  I'd rather sew up the mysterious hole in the crouch of a pair of Spanx and wear them for swimsuit bottoms.  

At last, after trying it on three times - the initial try on, the "rule out" try on, and the verification try on - Mom settled on a billowing black and white suit that was flattering, age-appropriate, and did not match the suit I selected.  So, while she slowly changed back into her clothes, I slid out of the dressing room and found the salesgirl.

"Come quick!" I hissed over the racks.  "I want to go ahead and get her suit paid for before she thinks to ask me how much it cost!" I explained to the salesgirl who smiled in collusion.

By the time Mom came strolling out of the dressing room, both suits had been purchased and bagged.  "How much was that suit...about $80?" she asked.  "'Bout like that," I replied. It was $89.  Plus tax.  Which made it soar into the $90 range.  Heaven help us all.

"Let's head home," I said taking Mom's elbow.

"What about a swimsuit cover up?" Mom chirped.

Chanting "serenity now," I led her to a rack with cover ups.

We found one that would look cute, but Mom turned up her nose at the $50 price tag.  "I'm going to get out my old cover up and see if it looks good with my new suit," she sniffed.

Again I took her elbow and said, "Let's head home!"  Slowly she began to head out of the swimsuit department.  Then, she broke away and began to browse through another rack of suits.  "What the heck!?" I yelped.  

"I know.  I know," she said quietly, "but...a lady in the dressing room next to mine had a really cute suit hanging on her door that might look good on me..."

I gave her The Look, firmly took her elbow, and  quickly headed towards freedom.

Huh-Y-Yuh here we come!


Meems had a very special visitor this weekend.  Our friend, Laura Ard, flew down from DC to spend time with her.  Laura lived next door t...