Friday, December 21, 2012

The Bed Sitting Room

[Author's note:  The title of this blog is inspired, heck, copied from a movie mentioned below.  It was just so weird, I couldn't resist.  It's like a song sung off key or chalkboard being played by fingernails.  Or, like the whole Mayan calendar thing.  The off-kilter nature of the title has nothing and everything to do with the point made below.] 

This morning I turned on my favorite channel - Turner Classic Movies - eager to sing "White Christmas" along with Bing and Rosemary.  (I sound really, really good in my kitchen harmonizing with Bing and Rosemary.)  Oh!  Oh!  Oh!  OR, to wink with Jimmy Stuart when Clarence gets his wings.  I hungered for the old movies from our forefathers that would provide the perfect accompaniment to the icing of cookies and wrapping of last minute gifts.  

Where the treetops glisten!  Wink-wink!  
To my brother, George Bailey!  The richest man in town!!!
 (Your eyes just got misty.  Yes, they did.  My picture on the left of your screen has a tiny camera.  I can see you.  Shouldn't you be working right now?  And, uhhhh, some of you need to get dressed!)

Today's lineup on the TCM channel looks like this:
The Satan Bug It's sumthin 'bout a mad millionaire and some deadly virus.
Last Man on Earth Vincent Price.  Zombies.
The Bed Sitting Room And I quote, "A pregnant woman searches for LOVE amidst the RUINS of nuclear war." (TCM)  It brings the old SNL skit called "Lowered Expectations" to mind.  "Lowered Ex-pect-ta-a-tions!"  (Is it just me or did should she just be trying to locate her babydaddy?  And, what's up with that movie title?  Did the person not have a good command of the English language or did the sensors "clean it up.")
Five Survivors of a nuclear war, blah, blah, blah...
Alert Today, Alive Tomorrow See Dick run!  Run, Dick, run!  Jane!  Jane!  What happened to Jane?!  Jaaaaaaaaaaaaane!
(Source Unknown)
Oh, yeah.  I almost forgot.  According to either the Mayans or the Oreo, there was no here's-what's-happening-in-your-neck-of-the-woods weather forecast for today.  Just another Friday here on Planet Apocalypse.

Turning off the TV, I decided that I should fill the house with music.  Sweet, sweet, music.  A song came to mind.  It is one of my all-time favorite songs.  I love kickin' it old style with a full-on megachoir.  Sit back in your desk chair and CRANK UP THE VOLUME.  This song sings sweetest at the top of its lungs.  Let it wash over your body.  Let it blow your hair back in a gentle breeze.  Smell it.  Feel it. See it.  The Holy City.

Love the very end.  Ho-ZAHN-uh in the HIGH-ESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSST!
(wait for it...wait for it comes...tears are springing into my eyes!)
Ho-ZAHN-nu-uh for-EV-ERRRRRRRRRR moooooooooooooore!

chill.  bumps.

But of that day and hour no one knows, 
not even the angels of heaven, 
nor the Son, 
but the Father alone.
Matthew 24:36

Bring it, Mayans.  Bring. It.  I ain't skeered.  I gots me a Holy City in my future.  Have a blessed day!  Now, go hug somebody for Pete's sake.

I love you.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thankspinning!

As an alternative to the extensive preparation for the Thanksgiving meal, I am going to institute a new tradition for the Lackey family.  It's a little thing I like to call Thankspinning.

We will all gather 'round in the living room during the halftime of the Redskins VS Cowboys game (RG3!  RG3!  RG3!) with laptops and iPads.  I'll light a "Baking Turkey" scented candle.  Alan will say a blessing.  Then, we'll dig into our  deli turkey sandwiches served up on lap trays.

During the half time feast, we'll all navigate to the Pinterest site on our personal computing devices, search "Thanksgiving," then start pinning what our virtual Thanksgiving meal could look like.

It'll go like this...

Reed Lackey onto My Mom is Making Me Pin Thanksgiving
Reed Lackey  i want these

Carolyn Lackey  Super cute!  I'll have 3 right now!

Alan Lackey  WW points?

Jonathan Lackey  ugh

Bryce Lackey this is freakin' stupid

Bryce Lackey onto This is Freakin' Stupid
Bryce Lackey these would be great with little Indians made of Poptarts
Reed Lackey id rather have ice cream
Jonathan Lackey ugh...get it?  ugh.
Alan Lackey  humor your mother.  play nice.
Reed Lackey is being humorous the same thing as humoring?
Carolyn Lackey no comment
Jonathan Lackey  it doesn't make sense to post a comment that says
"no comment"
Carolyn Lackey onto Thankful for Thankspinning

Carolyn Lackey Bryce, you sit next to Mimi.  Reed and Jonathan 
sit over there next to Leonard.  Nana, sit next to me.  Alan, please 
serve up that bottle of wine.

Alan Lackey red wine with turkey?
Reed Lackey since I'll be 21 in February...

Carolyn Lackey uh, no.
Bryce Lackey no coment
Bryce Lackey *comment*
Jonathan Lackey no comment
Alan Lackey onto C'mon Boys.  Make Mom Happy.

Alan Lackey who wants white meat

Carolyn Lackey me!  me!  me!

Reed Lackey no comment

Bryce Lackey no coment

Bryce Lackey *comment*

Jonathan Lackey no comment

Reed Lackey onto My Mom is Making Me Pin Thanksgiving
Reed Lackey that's what i'm talkin about
Carolyn Lackey shut up and eat your sandwich

Carolyn Lackey onto Thankful for Thankspinning
Carolyn Lackey who wants pie!?
Alan Lackey WW pts?
Reed Lackey no comment
Bryce Lackey no coment
Bryce Lackey *comment*
Jonathan Lackey no comment

Reed Lackey onto My Mom is Making Me Pin Thanksgiving

Reed Lackey meow meOW meow meow

Alan Lackey soft kitty warm kitty little ball of fuuuuuur

Bryce Lackey happy kitty sleepy kitty

Jonathan Lackey purr purr purr

Carolyn Lackey no comment.  i'm just going to give you 

"the look." \:-(
Jonathan Lackey onto Ugh

Jonathan Lackey thankspinning music?

Bryce Lackey sweet!

Reed Lackey sweet!

Carolyn Lackey THAT IS NOT SWEET!

Alan Lackey half time is over!

Jonathan Lackey thankful
Bryce Lackey lol me too
Reed Lackey are we gonna have a Pinmas dinner

One last pin from me to you...

Happy, happy Thanksgiving.  I am thankful for your friendship.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Becoming Meems: Psychedelic Dreams

The Meems has always had a very active dream life that she just LOVES to talk about each and every morning.  Picture me, young me, with 2 hungry toddlers underfoot clamoring for pancakes.  There I'd be mixing up some Bisquick while a griddle heated on the stove.  Three-year-old Jonathan would be pulling a kitchen chair to the pantry on a wild hunt for maple syrup while two-year-old Bryce squeaked, "Mommy, izzit gonna be much longa?!"  Then, RING...RING...RING!!!  With my third hand I'd answer the phone because there was no caller ID to politely warn me.

Me [sounding distracted and, perhaps, a bit irritable with the corded receiver balanced precariously between my chin and shoulder]:  Hello!

Meems:  Guess what I dreamed last night!  I bet you'll never guess!

Me [sounding more distracted and, perhaps, a bit more irritable with the corded receiver balanced precariously between my chin and shoulder]:  Uhhh, I'm kinda busy making pancakes.  Can you hear the boys?  They are really hungry.

Meems:  Oh!  Well...I won't be but a minute.  I dreamed that everywhere I went people kept giving me babies [baby themes recur in her dreams with great regularity].  I was wearing a new dress, and I didn't want to get it dirty.  But, they kept handing me babies.

Me:  That sounds interesting.  Did the babies want pancakes?  Cause I'm living that dream right now.

Meems:  No.  They just all wanted me to hold them.  And, I really liked my new dress.  It was pink with a green belt.  My shoes and purse were green, too.  I got them on sale at a really nice store! I sure didn't want to get baby spit-up on that dress!  Well, that's all!  Bye!

Me:  Uh, bye!

For most of my life, I haven't been able to recall many of my dreams.  Oh, I've had some doozies. Mostly about flying.  In a pickle if I was being chased by neighborhood ruffians, all I had to do was run at a full tilt boogie while flapping my little arms, and off I'd go into the air flying just above the evil-doers.  "Ha HA!  I may be seven, but I can fly!!  I can FLY!"  I'd soar free as a bird - weightless and peaceful.  I just love flying.

This morning as I was showering, I recalled my vivid dream from the early morning hours just after Alan kissed me before heading out the door to work.  It was one of those technicolor, fantastical dreams that looks reality in the face and scoffs, "Ha!  I've got her in the palm of my hand!  She thinks that this mansion with it's tunnels and turrets and talking monkeys is where she lives when she's not flapping her arms across the ocean to meet a movie star for lunch in Paris!"

Today's early morning dream combined three recurring themes:  Flying, mansions, and...well...peeing.  And, oh, was it real.

Alan took Mom and me for a ride on his new inflatable airplane that looked very much like an extra large pool float.  We all sat atop it's slippery vinyl fuselage with Alan in front somehow controlling the thing.  I was in the middle riding side-saddle with bits of the plane pinched tightly between my fingertips and my legs dangling precariously over the sides.  Mom was in back with her arms wrapped around me in a industrial-strength vise grip.  My hair was whipping against my face stinging my cheeks.  Mom was yammering loudly in my ear about being ready to head back to Raider Ranch.

After a great while, Alan landed the plane next to a huge mansion in Mexico.  In the pool.  Our clothes got soaking wet and became very, very heavy.  The senora of the house invited us in so that we might put on dry clothes.  She gave Alan and Mom clothes very similar to those they had been wearing.  Then, she turned to me and said, "I have nothing for you other than this lace tablecloth.  Perhaps you can fashion it into a dress."

So, there I was.  Standing buck nekked in the middle of a Mexican mansion holding a lace tablecloth around myself like a beach towel.  All of a sudden, I realized that I really, really needed to pee.  So, I wandered through the corridors in search of a powder room.  I opened a door that lead into a huge industrial-looking warehouse-type room [like the one I saw in last night's rerun of Extreme Homes on HGTV - the guy lived in an abandoned military silo - below ground].  There in the center of this cavernous space guessed it...a toilet.

My bladder was rupturing within my abdomen as I stared at that toilet.  For the life of me, I couldn't make myself pee in such a wide open space.  I spent several long moments shifting from foot to foot considering my options (one of which was heading back to the pool, and I'm not too proud to admit it).  I just had to make the toilet area more, well, private.  So, I did what I had to do.  I parked four cars around it creating my own private powder room.  I can't even begin to describe the relief I felt when I finally took a seat and "relaxed."  Ahhhhhhhhhh.  Then, I heard someone thunking around on one of my "walls."  On top of the car parked behind me stood Brad Pitt.  The Legends of the Fall Brad Pitt (before he went kind of crazy).   "Hey, what's happening down there?!" he asked.  "Just peeing," I replied hoping that he could not see my belly fat through the lace tablecloth.

It was then that I woke up.  Like...BOOM!  AWAKE!!  And, I needed to pee.  But what did I do?  I first felt the sheets to make sure that I hadn't "lived my dream."  That's what we early morning pee dreamers do.  We feel the sheets.  And, every single time we're surprised to find that they are still warm and dry.

Here's the part where Meems would insert an "And, to think! You dreamed about flying and peeing, and didn't wet the bed!"  Well, bully for me, Meems.  Bully for me.  

I was actually kinda glad to see Legends of the Fall Brad Pitt.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Channeling My Inner Gigi

At the ripe old age of 55, a couple of things are troubling:
  1. I can't remember squat.  
  2. I'm very uncoordinated.  
Before you suggest that I may have had a stroke, let me explain it in relative terms.  I grew up dancing.  As a child I took "modern dance" from Miss Rhea in Carthage.  I was a drill team girl in high school.  I took ballet and tap during my college years.  I'm tellin' ya.  This girl could dance.    I am no stranger to the step-ball-change.  Now, I trip over both of my left feet.

I came up with the idea that I would be less coordinated if I started doing Zumba.  To exercise the body is to exercise the mind!  My general apathy about fitness steers me from gyms with their weights and power classes.  I needed something fun and inspiring.  There is NO WAY I would participate in a public Zumba class.  No.  Way.  So, I went in search of fun fitness on none other than YouTube.  That's where I found Gigi.  Zumba Gigi.

Gigi, from Boca Raton, has thick long black locks and wears a black fedora.  I would describe her style as urban hip-hop with a 6 pack of chiseled abs thrown in.  In this video she appears at 00:09 wearing a white hoodie trimmed with white fur and a black fedora.   All I could think about was whether or not she would sweat like a pig or simply glisten like a princess.  She glistened.

I stood this morning in my living room between two chairs and the couch wearing Nike shorts and the t-shirt I wore yesterday that was still on the floor of the bathroom this morning.  My hair was and still is wild and sleepy.  This was my 3rd "class" with Gigi.  During the first session, I was transfixed by Gigi's smooth moves - the subtle, relaxed movements of her arms, the effortless wiggle of her hips, the way she gracefully arranges her fedora with the tips of her fingers.

Gigi doesn't bellow out cues like "Grapevine!!" and "Punching Bag!"  She gracefully gestures with one hand signaling go this way or that.  During the class, she moves around the dancers pulling this lady and that up to the front to show off their Samba moves or Bollywood hip thrusts.  Gigi dances like she's at a Joy Festival Street Dance.  I want that.  I want to dance at Gigi's Joy Festival Street Dance.

Last Monday, I set a goal.  I'm going to learn all of the dance steps of Gigi's 49:47 workout. C'mon, Carolyn!  You can do it!  Isn't most of it just combinations of box steps and step-ball-changes?  How hard can this be?  Remember how you danced the Bump in high school and moved with the groove of the Electric Slide?!  You got this!

Today, I shortened my short term goal.  I'm going to try to just master the footwork of each dance.  I'm going to pause and rewind until I get it right.  What I really wish is that you could come over and "Gigi" with me.  Arms and legs would be flailing.  We'd crash into each other grapevine-ing around the ottoman.  Our belly dance moves would have our bellies wiggling long after Gigi moved on to a Samba.  It would be a great ab workout because we would be rolling on the floor laughing until our stomach muscles cried "Uncle!"

I wish that we could watch Gigi's class together in my living room with Classic Cokes and a big barrel of buttered popcorn.  I would love to have an ear to bend with my color commentary.  There's Amazing-Shiny-Short-Hair Girl [38:50] whose hair has a life of its own.  I've named her Casey because she reminds me of my friend named Casey.  I swear that her lustrous tresses get a better workout than I do.  Swing!  Swing, Swiiiiiish!  Oh, see the lady in the blue yoga pants and yellow top there in the back?  She's my girl!  Cindy is her name.  My short term goal is to dance at least as well as her.  In one of the many Gigi youtube videos is my favorite girl, Meloyde, joyous, enthusiatic, Meloyde.  Pronounced "me-loyd."  [My XO "Go Purple" sisters will know who she reminds me of!]  Meloyde is the master of the walk and wiggle [22:22]. 

I must run to the hip-hop store at the mall to find some of those pants that have ribbons dangling down from the hip pockets and knees and a little hot pink yoga bra.  The right clothes will bring me one step closer to becoming Gigi.  I may even invest in a long, black wig and a fedora.  I WILL learn how to walk and wiggle.  Whatever it takes.  Whatever it takes.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Becoming Meems: The Supper Table

My mom loves a good supper table.  Back in the day, there were always cloth napkins, placemats, a meat with 2 sides, bread, and tall glasses of iced tea.  No matter how tight our finances were, she managed to invite people to share our supper table several times a month.  Her invitations were simple and seductive.  "We're having meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and sweet peas on Thursday night!  If you'd like to join us, I'll make my chocolate meringue pie!"

I hadn't thought about the parade of people who passed peas at our table until this fall when a friend from our Baylor Days published a book called Keeping the Feast:  Metaphors for the Meal.  The author, Milton Cunningham is a pastor, a chef, and a gifted wordsmith.  The book is filled with stories and poetry about his life experiences with recipes tucked in between here and there.  Reading Milton's words reminded me of the importance of sitting around a supper table with friends and family.

In the world of Let's Meet at Chili's, Alan and I tend to opt for the easiest solution - meet friends at local eateries.  No mess.  No fuss.  In and out.  Sharing a supper table seems to be a thing of the past. As I remembered the hearty laughter and enjoyable conversation of the meals of my youth, I decided to revive the Feast of the Supper Table in honor of Meems, the Queen of the Feast.  In order to do this, I had to break through all the barriers that kept me from opening my home and table to friends.

Barriers that Kept Me From Opening My Home and Table to Friends

Barrier One:  The dining table.  This sounds so silly, but I usually have some sort of elaborate seasonal, oversized arrangement displayed on the dining table.  To move all of that hoo-da and come up with some other more modest decor seems like more trouble than it's worth.  Also, I don't really like eating in the dining room.  The atmosphere is a bit more stilted.  I much prefer a kitchen supper.  

Barrier Two:  Martha Stewart.   This barrier needs no explanation.

Barrier Three:  The carpet.  Our old, tired carpet that I detest represents an even bigger issue - getting the house "company clean."  Argh.

Barrier Four:  Scheduling.  Finding a Friday or Saturday night that is open for both the invitees and us is not easy.  Also, Friday or Saturday nights seem to raise the bar of expectation for all parties involved.  No pun intended.  Those nights are reserved for more festive activities than your run-of-the-mill weeknight.

Barrier Five:  Second Guessing.  Who really wants to sit in my kitchen having supper on any given night when Chuy's just opened here in Lubbock?

Solutions that Helped Me Open My Home and Table to Friends
(following my mother's example)

Solution One:  Eat in the kitchen, for Pete's sake!  Dining rooms across the nation go unused because people don't like moving large seasonal centerpieces and breaking out the "good dishes."  Eat in the kitchen, people!

Solution Two:  She ain't comin'.

Solution Three:  Nobody really cares about my carpet, and the house should always be "company clean" now that we are empty nesters.  Company clean feels so good.

Solution Four:  Invite people over for a casual Thursday night supper.  Or, Tuesday.  Or, Wednesday.  Don't ask me why, but weeknights seem to be more casual.

Solution Five:  Seriously, Carolyn, you are WAY over-thinking this.

Guess what!  Alan and I have enjoyed guests at our supper table several times this month!  And, we've enjoyed it more than eating in restaurants with all the noise and interruptions!  

Last night, we had a blast at our supper table with four of our adopted Tech girls!

In true Mimi tradition, I set the table the night before.  [She set her Thanksgiving table at least a week before the feast just so that she could savor the Setting of the Table.]

I, too, savor the Setting of the Table.
Yesterday, I threw together a big pot of chili to go with cornbread muffins and pumpkin pie.   (Martha would NOT have been impressed.)  Then, in honor of Meems and all of the Baylor girls that she adopted, I made little sussies for each guest.

I cannot even begin to tell you how much Alan and I enjoyed sharing a meal with these four delightful ladies who are interesting and funny and so full of life!

Thanks so much Meems and Milton.  Your influence has blessed me to no end.

Friday, October 26, 2012


A thought popped into my  head yesterday as I was having my quiet time.  In preparation to bask in God's presence, I gathered up my Bible, my devotional book du jour, my calendar, and my phone.  Why the calendar and phone, you ask?  Invariably while I'm studying and praying, God puts someone on my heart who needs to be "loved on."  Sometimes, loving on someone means taking a meal or simply spending uninterrupted time with them.  When this happens, I turn to my calendar's to-do list and jot it down.

Yesterday, I was lifting up several people in prayer.  I was so moved by one friend's situation that I picked up my phone mid-prayer and sent a text to him.  I basically sent him a little ha-ha "warning" that I prayed that God would plop some DE-light in his path during the day.  I felt like he needed to know that his friends are still here praying him through his season of deep, deep grief.

Afterwards, I was thinking of all the ways God can use social media and technology.  Then, a word popped into my head about this loud...


It dawned on me that no matter where I am on the planet (depending on the cell service), I can reach out to someone God puts on my heart by sending a "blessing" via a text message.  Blexting.  It can a quick "I'm here.  I'm praying." or a little "Lifting you up!  This is going to be a great day!" or maybe a simple "Lo, He is with you always!" to a friend who is having a 911 day.

So, I am challenging you to add this word to your lexicon...

blext \blekst\, noun 
1. a divinely inspired text message sent to someone who needs a little sumthin-sumthin to make it through a particularly tough or, perhaps, joyous day: I sent a blext to Suzie just before she was wheeled to the OR for brain surgery. 

verb: blexted, blexting I blexted Violet to let her know that I was praying for her on her wedding day.  Hang on a minute - I'm in the middle of blexting a quick prayer to Bryce to let him know that God will be with him as he takes his oral test in Swahili.

Reach out and blext someone today.  Your words of encouragement or blessing will make a huge difference in their perspective as they face whatever is in their path today.  Just tell 'em God sent you.

Have a blessed day of blexting!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Momma's Still Got it Goin' On

Yesterday I went to Old Navy to exchange a shirt.  Let me set the scene.  I stuffed the shirt and receipt into what I thought was an Old Navy bag.  As I was getting the bag out of the car, I realized that it was actually a Bed, Bath and Beyond sack.  A way big sack.  Somehow seeing that sack made me feel like a little old lady.  I can't explain it.  Carrying that oversized wrong-store-sack with the little shirt in it made me feel, well, dated.

I was actually looking relatively great in my skinny jeans, cowboy boots, a denim tunic shirt (meaning it's long and covers up a world of sins), and the required bangles.  So, I held my head up high, and headed into the store wagging my B, B, and B way big sack.  

Just as I rounded the corner fumbling to get my keys tucked away in my purse on the way to the register, I heard a sound that I haven't heard in yeeeeeeears.  A duet of clear, high-pitched wolf whistles.  I mean...who does that nowadays?!

wolf call?  cat call? either way.

I snapped to attention and looked up to see who was meriting the whistles.  Just across the way were two high school boys who were grinning like monkeys looking MY WAY.

Three Second Thought Process:  "Oh my gosh!  Are those boys whistling at ME?  Well...they are looking at me AND smiling soooooo.  [I quickly glanced down to see to inventory my outfit - cute top, skinny jeans, cowboy boots, required bangles - check, check, check, check.]  This IS a cute outfit, but can they not see that I'm probably older than their  own beloved mothers?!"

During my Three Second Thought Process, the boys' eyes got really big and they began laughing uncomfortably behind their grins.  I turned around and, sure enough, there was a cute little high school girl bopping around the corner behind me.  She was definitely wolf-whistle-worthy.  She too, was smiling.

I decided to savor the moment.  "You guys meant that for me, didn't you?!"  Uncomfortable laughter behind awkward grins.  "Well, thanks!  You made my day!"  And, off I went to the check out line wagging my Bed, Bath and Beyond bag still riding high on the good feeling from the accidental "compliment."

Once back in the car I sat still for a moment swiggin' on my sweet tea laughing at myself.  "Seriously, Carolyn.  Did you really get a thrill from the whistles of a strangers who were basically jail bait?  How pitiful is that?!"  I guess that even at the ripe old age of 55, poochy belly, 1.5 readers, gray roots and all, it still feels good to have your "beauty" validated.  

Thanks, boys.  You gave me a snicker (self-deprecating though it may have been), a moment of unexpected delight, and a confessional blog.  The gift that keeps on giving.

{FYI to Alan:  Apparently my newest Love Language includes complimentary whistling.}
Momma's still got it goin' on.

I just had a thought that was simultaneously funny and horrifying.  What a parallel universe, one of those teen boys has a blog?!  

Would it read...
Me n Taylor was hangin' at Old Navy yesterday waitin' for Chelsea to show up.  She came around the corner and me n Taylor whistled cause, I mean, she's HOT.  A pudgy old lady posing in skinny jeans and a big-ass shirt thought we was whistlin' at HER.  GROSSSSSS!  As if!  Dream on, Big Momma.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Rituals Performed for a Feline Named Lily

Lily hardly weighs 5 pounds.  She sleeps most of the day, and we don't ask about her nocturnal gad-abouts.  We live a peaceful, copacetic existence - Lily, Alan and I.  She jumps in our laps, we pet her.   We get up from the computer chair, she claims it.  She hops up on our bed and pats us with her paw, we get up and let her out.  The "letting her out" part gets kind of tricky.  We have to explain it to house-guests.  They have to be indoctrinated.  "This is what Lily wants."

I'll try to indoctrinate you using grainy iphone pictures that I just took in the garage.  Scenario - Lily came into the kitchen meowing rather insistently.  "Lily, do you want me to love on you?" I dutifully inquired picking her up and running my fingers down her spine.  She shuddered appreciatively but continued to yammer.  I set her back down on the floor to see if she would begin walking in the right direction.  "Lily, do you want to go out?  Are you hungry?"  [We keep all cat boxes and bowls out in the garage in an effort to distinguish between the humans and the animals.  We get it.  They don't.]

As Lily continued to meow, I walked to the door to the garage and opened it.  Lily sauntered into the the laundry room behind me keeping her distance.  "Lily, go eat some breakfast!  Aren't you hungry?"  She shot me a "Well, Duh" withering look that only a cat can give.  I heard her loud and clear:  "You know how this works.  Get with it."  So, I began the "Are You Hungry" ritual.

An Explanation of the Super-Sized Bowl

We have 2 cats and one huge bowl of food.  The huge bowl originated several years ago when we were going to be out of town.  Instead of worrying about whether or not our teenaged "cat sitter" would remember to stop by and fill a small bowl, we calmed our fears by switching to an impossibly large dog bowl filled with cat food.

An Explanation of Lily's Idiosyncrasy Where the Cat Bowl is Concerned

This grainy picture does not "do justice to" the tiny peaks and valleys created by little cat mouths daintily munching on Meow Mix.  Trust me.  They are there.  According to Lily they are unacceptable Rocky Mountain Ranges and Grand Canyons in her sustenance.  She likes more of a Llano Estacado arrangement.  Flat as a fritter as far as the eye can see.  Alan and I have tried to analyze the situation.  One theory is that she doesn't like to bend her neck any lower or higher than she has to when she enjoys her meals.  The other theory has to do with  a battle of control that only Cat People can understand...or not understand as the case may be.

An Explanation of How the Food Bowl Ritual Goes Down

I go look at her food bowl while she sits patiently in the laundry room waiting for me to perform the ritual.  "Oh, no, Lily!  I'm so sorry!  I can see how inconvenient it must be for you to have to raise and lower your little head while you eat!  Let me fix it!"  At this point, I do one of three things that seem to appease Princess Lily.

Three Things That Seem To Appease Princess Lily
  1. I shake the cat bowl leveling the food properly to make the meal aesthetically pleasing to She-Who-Waits-And-Watches.
  2. I make a big show of going to the bin of cat food and shoveling up a big Cinemark Movie Theatre red plastic cup full of Meow Mix.  Then, I carefully fill the nooks and crannies of the "blighted" food.
  3. I pretend to fill the big Cinemark Movie Theatre red plastic cup with Meow Mix because I don't like to be manipulated by a small furry animal.  It's my passive-aggressive attempt to show the cat who is boss.  I take the empty cup and scoop up some of the food in her bowl and then sprinkle it back on the pile while shaking the bowl to level the food all the while feeling smug, smart, successful and superior.
Thing One works some of the time.  Thing Two works all of the time.  Thing Three has mixed results.  I'm going to think that when I perform Thing Three Lily is not really hungry and simply prefers sitting in the laundry room for some quiet time of meditation.  I have to pin my hopes on this theory in an effort to prove to myself that I'm not becoming a Weird Cat Lady.

Today, it was Thing Two that did the trick.  

If you look very, very closely at both pictures, you may be able to see the subtle differences in the food elevations of each bowl.  Please tell me that you can see the subtle differences in the food elevations of each bowl.  Please.  I need to feel like I won this.

I'll end here.  My turn in the computer chair has ended.  Lily just manipulatively purred in my ear, "Carolyn?  Are you still in your PJs?  Don't you think it's time you showered and dressed?  You're beginning to look like an Old Unkempt Cat Lady."  Gets me every time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Slumber Party with Meems

Last week I asked Mom if I could spend the night with her on the 15th because Alan would be out of town on business.  She got all excited about having a slumber party.  At least 3 times she called to let me know that I could come eat with her on slumber party night so that I wouldn't have to cook my own dinner.  

Here is her nightly routine which begins at 4:30PM:
4:30   Turn the heat in her apartment up to 80 so that the bathroom will be warm when    
         she takes her nightly shower.  For some reason, Raider Ranch does not have 
         bathroom heaters which in Mom's opinion is an egregious oversight.  I'm with you,      
4:32   Toddle down to the dining room and call dibs on a table for 4.  Octogenarians save
         seats for each other just like elementary kids do in the school cafeteria.
5:00   Dinner complete with lively discussion regarding Medicare benefits and which 
         resident took the latest ambulance ride.  There is a moment of silence if a broken
         hip was the cause of the ride.
6:00   Call it a night and slowly mosey back to her apartment.
6:10   Enter the tropical climate of her apartment and begin her nightly ablutions in the   
         now toasty warm bathroom.
7:00   All fresh from the shower and in a clean nightgown, she calls Leonard, as promised,
         to let him know that she didn't fall in the shower.  Nighty night, Leonard.
7:02   Settle in for some good TV watching:  Dancing with the Stars or Antiques
8:00   Yawn and head for bed.

Knowing this nightly slow-paced regimen, I decided that I would stay home and "cook" my own dinner.  I secretly splurged calories on some chicken livers and fried okra from Chicken Express and patted myself on the back for saving half of the livers for lunch the next day.  I had consumed most of the okra on the ride home from Chicken Express.  I headed over to Mom's at about 7:45.

I knocked on her patio door and waited for her to tippy-toe to the door to let me in.    She peeked through the blinds to make sure that it was me and not some "bad stranger" before she began the process of letting me in.  Like a New York apartment, there are 3 locks on her door - 2 deadbolts and the doorknob lock.  Click. [long pause] Clack. [long pause] Swoosh. [long pause] The door slowly swung open.

Me:  I'm here!!!  Ready to PAR-TAY!

Mom [grinning from ear to ear]:  I'm glad you're here!

Me:  Have you planned any slumber party games?  Are we going to give each other pedicures?  Will there be a seance?

Mom [with a feeble giggle]:  I'm watching Antiques Roadshow.  I haven't seen David yet.

David Lackey is my husband's brother.  He's kind of a Rock Star in the world of antiques.  He appears occasionally on the Roadshow, thus the "watch for David."  So, we watch.  No David.

Mom:  I had a really good supper tonight.  I had Salisbury steak, beans, fruit - I always bring the fruit back to my apartment so I can have it with my breakfast - and peach cobbler with ice cream.

Me:  That sounds delicious!

Mom:  Are you hungry?  Do you want my fruit?

Seriously?  Who on earth would take a styrofoam container of fruit from a sweet grandmother who has planned ahead so carefully?!

Me:  I'm fine!  Thanks, though!

Which brings us to 9:00.

Mom:  How late are we going to stay up?

Me:  I think that the rules of the Slumber Party dictate that we watch the sunrise together while we finish up some Fritos and a can of bean dip.

Mom [again with the feeble giggling]:  I can't stay up all night.

Me:  Me either.  Let's just go to bed now.  [I brought along my book and a couple of magazines.]

She tippy-toed to the thermostat and whacked it down to about 65 degrees then turned on the ceiling fan because she likes to "sleep cold."  By 9:10, Meems was breathing softly and the corners of her mouth were turned down signaling the early onset of delicious REM sleep leaving me in the sweet silence of her cozy apartment re-reading the last 2 pages of the book that I fell asleep reading the night before.  Sleeping Meems had pulled the covers over her ears so that she won't "get an ear ache" from the wind of the ceiling fan.

I drank in the peace that I've always felt at home.  My childhood home.  Meems' soft decorating touch with pinks, pale blues, yellows and her sweet feminine furniture lulled me to my happy place.  I could feel the warmth of her tiny body in the double bed that we shared.  The 3" memory foam mattress topper that always keeps the fitted sheet from staying neatly tucked in place memorized my body and enticed me to relax.  I surrendered without a fight and asked myself why I was just now taking the time to have a slumber party with my sweet little mother.

This morning, I snuck out to get her a fresh gallon of milk checking the expiration date carefully.  She always tells me to get the one with the "longest life."  I crept back into her sanctuary and slipped the milk into her refrigerator next to the gallon that expired 2 days ago.

When I went to tell her goodbye and give her a kiss, I told her about the fresh milk.  

Me:  Do you want me to go ahead and dump out the expired milk?

Mom [yawning and stretching]:  No!  It stays fresh for a few days after the expiration date.

I think that there's a lesson to be learned from the expired milk.  Meems make look expired, but her heart is still fresh and sweet.  Out of respect for her and the tired milk, I left the enough-for-a-bowl-of-cereal gallon in the frig and prayed that her taste buds will warn her when the old milk officially turns sour.

I left her cozily abed where she will dream wild dreams of pet elephants* and one hundred babies crawling down the street howling for clean diapers.  She and the questionable milk will see each other around noon.  Oh, and the fruit.

*During her groggy goodbye she told me that she dreamed that an unidentifiable friend had a pet elephant.  "They tried to put it to sleep, but it didn't die.  I don't know why they were trying to put it to sleep.  But, it just wouldn't die."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Breakfast for Lunch

The Meems and I went for mani-pedis this morning.  I like to get to "Luxury Nails" when it opens at 9:00 to cut down on the wait time.  Poor Meems.  She usually sleeps until about 11.  Today she had to roll out of bed at 7AM so that she would have time to dress and eat a bowl of cereal.  That's all.  No makeup.  No messin' with her hair (at least it wasn't obvious that she had touched her hair).  I picked her up at 8:55.  You do the math.

The minute we walk into the nail "spa," the conversation ALWAYS goes like this. 

Mom:  "I want 'Cotton Candy' nail polish on my toenails and fingernails."  

I commence to sorting through about 200 bottles of polish praying that "Cotton Candy" is still in production.  Today the first bottle of polish I picked up was Cotton Candy!  I wondered if this might be a good day to take Meems to buy a lottery ticket.  I hand the polish to Mom.

Mom:  "Is this Cotton Candy?"

I quickly sort through a variety of responses that are on the tip of my tongue:

  1. "No, but it's just as good.  It's called The White Part of Candy Corn."
  2. "They renamed it.  It's now called Pink-a-Doodle-Do."
  3. "Wait a minute.  Sometimes you can't remember the names of your 3 brothers.  How is it you can remember the name of this nail polish?!"
  4. "Why are you even asking the question?!  You asked for Cotton Candy!  Yes, it's Cotton Candy!  Golly bum, woman!  Do you think I would try to trick you or something?"
  5. "Yes, it is, indeed, Cotton Candy!"
I think of Jesus and choose response #5.

After our beautification comes another predictable conversation.

Mom:  "I'll take you out to eat!  You pick the place!"

Me:  "Hmmm.  Let me think..."  

I am not thinking.  I already know the answer.  It's her answer.

Mom:  "Can you think of a good place that serves breakfast?"  

I am looking at it.  It's right across the street.  I decide to cut to the chase.

Me:  "I know!  Let's go to Cracker Barrel!  You can have the Old Timer's breakfast with 2 eggs over easy, 3 pieces of bacon, 2 pieces of toast with jelly, grits, and hash browns!"

Mom:  That sounds GOOD!

We go.  We order.  I finish my meal about 20 minutes before Mom.  She eats every single bite of the Old Timer's Feast.  I'm not sure that I could eat that much in one sitting even if manager of Cracker Barrel himself promised me an "I Feasted on the Old Timer" t-shirt for my efforts.  My little 4'11" mother who doesn't weigh more than about 130 pounds can pack it in!

I usually take a picture of Meems and the Old Timer's Breakfast
to send to the boys.  They loves them some Mimi.
Just when I think that she can't possibly put another single morsel in her mouth, she asks me if there is more toast.  I gag.

Me:  Aren't you about to pop!?

Mom:  They make really good toast.  [She signals a passing waitress.]  I need more toast!  [More toast magically appears.]

Me [laughing]:  I'm texting the boys to tell them that you're on your third piece of toast!

Wait for it.  Wait for it.

Mom:  Is this what they call binge eating?

Me:  I think that the Old Timer plus an extra piece of toast would come close to qualifying.  If you're thinking about purging, please don't purge until you get back to Raider Ranch!!

She laughs with me.  That's what I love the absolute most about my little mother.  She laughs at herself all the time.  She laughs.  I laugh.  We laugh.

I'm with you, boys.  I loves me some Mimi.

[We're going to have a slumber party next Monday night.  I'll get back whicha on that.]


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...