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.]

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sunday Dinner

On Sunday evenings, we have Alan's mom, my mom, and Leonard (Mom's best friend at Raider Ranch) over for supper.  The conversation is lively, convoluted, confusing, and humorous.  By the time everyone heads home, my brain is tired.

My mother-in-law, Mary, usually arrives a few minutes before Alan gets back from picking up Meems and Leonard from the Ranch.  We have a bit of quiet conversation before the party gets started.  Once Meems and Leonard enter, the house starts to really rock.

The red lettering represents the things we've heard my mother say at least 7,346 times during Sunday Night Suppers.

Me:  Hey, Leonard!  Hey Mom!  (Hugs all around.)

Leonard:  We are so happy to see you, and don't you look beautiful! (I have on no makeup and I'm wearing gym shorts with an old t-shirt.)  Just look how pretty your legs are!  (Turns to Meems.)  You certainly have a beautiful daughter!

Meems:  Yes, I do. (then turns to me abruptly) Do you know what you get when you add 2 odd numbers together?  (She and Leonard watch Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader just before Alan picks them up.)

Me (adding 7 + 7 in my head):  An even number!
Meems (looking at me in awe):  I didn't think you would know that because you're so bad in math!  Did you add 2 numbers in your head to figure it out?!

Me:  No...I'm just really smart like that.  Dinner!  What would everyone like to drink?!

Once seated at the table - Leonard with his root beer, Mary with her water, and Meems with the beer she split with Alan - Leonard says the blessing.  

It usually begins like this:  "Everyone grab hands, close your eyes, and bow your heads."

After all of the food has been passed, salted and peppered, the fun begins.

Meems:  Do you know which president never married?

Me:  James Buchanan!!  I win!!

Meems (looking at me like I'd just shouted out the cure for all cancers):  How did you know that?!  (I resist telling her the real reason - see red lettering)

Me:  I'm just really smart like that!

Alan and I begin to tell everyone about our fun visit to see Jonathan in Chicago.

Alan:  We went to the Cubs game on Saturday afternoon.

Leonard:  Who won?

Alan:  The Pirates.

Leonard:  Did you get to meet any of the players or the manager of the team?

Alan:  Nope.  We just ate peanuts and watched the game.

Leonard:  I see.  Did you get to meet the mayor of Chicago while you were there?  (Wherever you go.  Whatever you do.  Leonard will quiz you about which muckety-mucks you met.)

Alan:  Uh, no.

Mom:  I dated three men named Bill in college, and two of them asked me to marry them!

Alan:  We also took a really fun food tour around a couple of Chicago neighborhoods.

Me:  It was great!  We got to taste Chicago hot dogs...

Leonard:  Did they have relish on them?

Me:  No.  They had tomato wedges, a pickle spear, little peppers, and...

Leonard:  No relish?!

Me:  Nope.  No relish.

Mom:  We had chicken cordon bleu bites at Happy Hour on Friday night.  They are my favorite!

Me:  That sounds good!  We also got to taste some pizza and some falafel sandwiches...

Leonard:  Was it pepperoni pizza?

Me:  Nooooo.  It was mostly just cheese.

Leonard:  Pepperoni is my favorite.

Mom:  I don't have another check up until February.  Carolyn, when is your next check up?

Me:  February.  And, we got to taste this ice cream that was made while-you-wait with liquid nitrogen!  It was really fun to watch!

Leonard:  Was it vanilla?

Me (getting weary):  I'm not sure what flavor it was, but it was really good.

Leonard:  So you're sure it wasn't vanilla?

Alan:  It wasn't vanilla.

Mom:  Living at Raider Ranch is like living at a resort hotel!  Even if I had a house here in Lubbock, I'd rather live there!  Oh, Carolyn, do you know what you get when you add 2 odd numbers?

Me:  An even number.  Who wants ice cream?  Alan, tell them about all the toppings we have...  (I stand and begin to clear the dishes.)

Mom:  I can't answer most of the questions on Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader, can you?  (question thrown in my direction.)

Me:  I taught 5th grade for 3 years, and I can't answer all of the questions!  Do you want chocolate sauce or...hey!...we have root you want a root beer float?

Mom:  That would be nice.

Leonard:  Have you heard from the president of Baylor University lately?

Judge Starr came to Lubbock for the Baylor Women's Council Scholarship Dinner last April.  I had the fine honor of introducing him before he spoke.  Leonard thinks that Judge Starr and I are BFFs.

Me:  No, Leonard.  Judge Starr is a busy man.  Do you want plain ice cream?  (I already know the answer.  No matter what we have for dessert - chocolate cake, banana pudding, strawberry shortcake - Leonard generally requests 2 scoops of vanilla ice cream.)

Leonard:  Yes, I do.  When is the last time you heard from Judge Starr?

Me:  April.  Mary, what about you?

Mary is very quiet by nature.  At these Sunday Suppers, she says very little.  OK.  Truth be told, she can't get a word in edgewise.

Mom:  Can you believe that they don't have any paid dancers on cruise ships any more?  They used to have paid dancers who would dance with all the single ladies.

Alan and I exchange glances because we can't quit singing that song since my 10-21-12 post.  "All the single ladies!  All the single ladies!"

The conversation continues its dips and dives and jumps and leaps until I happily notice the time.

Me:  Oh, Mom!  It's almost 8:00!!  It's almost time for you to head to bed!

Mom:  Oh!  I do need to head to bed!  I sleep until 10:30 or 11:00 every morning!  Sometimes I don't even get up 'til noon!

Leftovers are packaged and divided between our guests.  Hugs are exchanged.  Alan tucks Mom and Leonard into his car while Mary drives away in hers.  I stand on the sidewalk listening to a flock of birds hidden in a tree just down the block.  They are screeching and squawking.  Probably they are those lovely black grackles.  I turn and head back into the house.  The quiet is indescribably delicious.  I grab what's left of my supper iced tea and head to my favorite chair in the living room and turn the TV.  Ahhhh.  It's the Real Housewives of New Jersey at their rotten finest.  All I have to do is sit, listen, and roll my eyes. 


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...