A glimpse into the love, lives and laughter that make my world go 'round!

Friday, July 30, 2010

Open Mouth...Insert Cowgirl Boot

I love the Houston Livestock Show & Rodeo. Oh. Yes. I. Do. I especially love it when hot young hunky men are singing, dancing, and strutting their goods up on stage for my friends and I to ogle at. It's like Santa just delivered a belated Christmas gift to me in mid-March. A really, really great gift if it happens to Keith Urban. Just give me a drool bib and turn your head in the other direction if you can't hang.

Oh wait...that's not the point of this installment. Focus, focus, FOCUS. The point is that sometimes when you are making fun conversation, and you are overcome with your own hilarity, SOMETIMES your wise cracks fall a little to close to home for your listener. Grab a seat cowpoke and hang on to your boots!

Setting: yours truly is sitting in the hairdresser's chair

Mood: fun and chatty

Characters: Moi and the hairdresser, we'll call her "STAR"

The curtain raises....

Star is seen cutting my hair with the speed and ferocity of Edward Scissorhands, and talking at the same speed. She's talking so fast that I have to ask her repeat herself numerous times. I don't know if she's on crack, or just lives on fast forward, but I feel like it's a match up of the tortoise and the hare. So there I sit....hair flying....we're chatting up a storm....and she mentions that she's going to the HLS&R.

Camera zooms in to catch the conversation....

Star: I have a date tomorrow night and we are going to the roooodeo. I haven't ever been to the rodeo in Houston before, so it'll be my first time, and I don't know what to wear. It's so weird.

Me: Oh my gauuu, I love going to the rodeo! Used to hate it, but my sister always gets the best seats and takes me with her. Good seats, plus free tickets? Yeah, you learn to love the rodeo really quickly. Who's playing tomorrow night?

Star: Brad Paisley. I don't listen to country at all, but I have heard that he's really good. I just don't know if I want to go the rodeo, though. Kinda weird place to take a date.

Me: BP will be really good. Haven't ever seen him before but heard that he puts on a good show. The RODEO part is really great to watch too. (insert description of events, my favorite parts of the rodeo, etc, etc) And besides, even if you aren't really a fan of the rodeo it's a GREAT place to people watch.

Star: Oh damn, that's my favorite sport!

Me: Well, then you will love it for sure! It's like someone took one of those trashy Walmart's from one of those back-woodsy, deep East Texas towns like Cut-N-Shoot, you know, where brothers and sisters marry each other, and just dumped it out!

Star: I grew up in Cut-N-Shoot. (BTW, Cut-N-Shoot is a real honest to goodness town here in Texas)

Me: *GULP* Wait. Whaaat?

Star: I grew up there. I hated it so much that I had my Daddy transfer me to ****** High School and drove me every morning, but that's where all of my growing up years were spent.

Me: *awkward silence* Well, you'll have a good time anyway. *subject change*

Camera zooms out. Curtain closes.

True story. No exaggerations. Star just kinda laughed the conversation off and let it go that day. Luckily, when I went back to see her it was evident that she still didn't hold a grudge and she didn't scalp me. Either that, or the fumes from all the chemicals have fried the "Tacky Things That Idiot Clients Have Said To Me" portion of her brain. WHEW!


mingle mondays button

Thursday, July 29, 2010

She's Got CATtitude

Mirror, mirror on the wall

Whose the most ornery cat of all?

She has grey fur, green eyes captivating

Be on your toes, wicked presence awaiting.

No love does she want, independance is better,

By herself, she loves best, obscurement she'd rather.

I love her, I do, she's my favorite cat,

I hold her and squeeeeeeze her, my playful attack.

She swats and she hisses

No sweet kitty kisses

She's sassy and moody

Aloof, dark and broody.

But when least expected, we're blessed with her presence

Her hiding place voided, she makes an appearance.

She finds me and loves me, so sweet and so cuddly

My Phoebe, my darling, my best napping buddy.

Mama Kat's Writers Workshop:

Prompt #2 - Write a poem for your furry friend.
BTW....follow me and I'll follow you! Thanks for visiting & leaving a comment.


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Change In Your Pocket? Or Change For Good?

It's raining again today. Grey. Overcast. And change is in the air. It's almost tangible. The big question on my mind; Is it just ME that's changing, is it the people around me, or a combination of both? Hmmm.....I say "YES" to all of the above.

Lately I find myself on pins and needles waiting to see if a friend is actually going to follow through on making plans that we've discussed. It's increasingly frustrating when my questions, comments, or messages aren't returned or acknowledged. And mostly, I'm more aware that things are going on around me where I'm not included, or finding myself wishing that I had been included. Honestly, who wouldn't want to have fun 'ol me around anyway, right?!? ~hardy~har~har~

For the past several years I have been working my part time J-O-B a few days a week, and then making plans with my cohorts on the remaining days. I like going out to lunch, meet for a pedicure, run errands, go shopping. Basically, I am up for whatever sounds like fun and is the most indulgent option available.

The fly in the ointment, has been adjusting to the varying rolls that each of my friends play in their respective households...if they work, volunteer umpteen hours at the school, go to school themselves, still have children at home, have groups and clubs that they belong to...the list is endless. We are all going 90mph, in different directions, with a to-do list a mile long, and soundly equipped with the desire to TRY and meet the needs of each of our kids and hubs...in the space of time between sun-up and sun-down. Our lives are hectic across the board.

Personally speaking, this feeling of sulkiness and the need for self examination makes me wonder if there might even be an underlying need to expand MY OWN horizons. Could it be that while my kids have been growing up, making friends, and learning about the world around them, I have become so consumed with managing the day-to-day operations of LIFE, that I have overlooked some of my own needs? This is highly possible.

I feel alone, but I know that I am not. There are millions of other women (and men) who I'm sure find themselves in a lull with seemingly no one around them who they feel would really "get it". That isn't the case either. We each have value, and contribute in our own way to the bigger picture.

SOOOO, today I am resolving to find a new passion. ~No, sicko, not that kind of passion.~ I am going to find a new passion that is for my own personal development and benefit. Something that adds a new facet to who I am and what I have to offer.

Once I figure it out, I'll let you know!


Monday, July 26, 2010

Diagnosis: Swimmers Ear

Today, in an answer to my deepest desire to hear from my son, I got a call from Kamp. It seems that the man-cub has swimmers ear. He's six hundred miles away, and just like any other red-blooded male I know, he's finally made his way to the infirmary because "it really hurts" and can no longer just be ignored.


Conner told *Nurse Betty* that his ear was bothering him a couple of weeks ago, but he never mentioned anything related to aches or pains to yours truly. And so, in addition to the aching down deep in my soul that my son is so far away and hurting, I also had the honor of sounding like an obtuse mother who wasn't paying attention to my son's anguish before shipping his butt off to Kamp. That's what any good mother would do, right?

Well, thank goodness that there was no hint of judgement from *Nurse Betty*. She clearly exhibits the savvy compassion required to treat the teenage population, while also soothing the nerves and fears of the mothers/fathers who miss their teenagers. THE GIRL GOT SKILLZ!! She advised that Conner has orders to stay out of the lake, the pool, and away from the water slide until she "clears" him. At dinner tonight she will track him down again and evaluate how he's doing.

Having the full, undivided attention of one of the staff, I took the liberty of asking *Nurse Betty* to kindly mention to C that his mother would LOVE to hear from him, and misses him terribly. This gave us each a good (on the edge of freaking emotional) giggle, because she also has kids at Kamp but they're not at the same location with her. She, like me, scours the Kamp website every evening looking for pictures of her kids...wishing for a letter...wondering what wonderful things they are doing on any given day....the same song and dance.

If I could see Conner for just five minutes, I would hug him FIERCELY. Then I would bend him over my knee and spank him like a naughty two-year-old for not writting me yet! LOL Obviously this is an exaggeration, but I am certainly not above a good-humored pop or two, for emphasis. :)


Friday, July 23, 2010

What do get when you combine GAS and SLUSHES?

On Tuesday we stopped to get gas on our way back home from dropping Conner off in Missouri. (We didn't do a local summer camp this year.) Anyway, we decided to stop and address several issues at the same time...a bathroom break, fill up on gas, stretch our legs for a minute, AND to get a Sonic slush. As we were pulling into the station (a combo Shell/Sonic) the back seat conversation went down like this:

Lucas: "Hey Abb, what kind of slush are you gonna get?"

Abby: "I don't know. Prob'ly watermelon. What are you gonna get?"

Lucas: "Hey Abb, we're gonna get gas AND slushes." (he forgot to answer what flavor as soon as the crude, silly humor was triggered in his brain)

Abby: "Slushes and GAS?" *snicker*

Lucas: "GASSY SLUSHES!!!" *giggle*

Abby: "Slushes that GIVE US GAS!!!" *roaring laughter*

The chuckling and silly comments continued until we were separated by the Men's and Women's restrooms, respectively. I could even hear Lucas lauging to himself while he was taking care of business and I was outside the door! HAHAHAHA!!

Random kid humor is goooood stuff!


Thursday, July 22, 2010

Mr. Smoochy Cries "FOUL!"

Being the mother of a 15 yr old male is an interesting roller coaster. Any preconceived notions or rigid agendas should be left at the door...along with your sanity. I've had "the talk" with Conner too many times to count. We've talked about almost every subject under the sun, in meticulous detail...some conversations more awkward than others. But we've managed to address all of his inquiries honestly and directly. Along with the importance of sexual health, I also try to impart the personal values that we feel Conner should have for himself as a growing young man. The world that he lives in is MUCH more liberal and in-your-face than the world his father and I knew during our growing up years. The word SCARY would be a good place to start.

I have often wondered if these sporadic dialogues ever sink in. If they give him pause for thought as he navigates the wonders of teen hood. Does he ever take my words seriously, or am I just full of hot air? Am I an over exaggerator who takes things waaay too seriously? Hmmm....let's examine this a little further, shall we?

It's 2010, school's out for summer (sing the song if you must), and Conner has a new girlfriend. Not a shocker. As soon as I learn one girlfriend's name, the wind changes and he has a new one. It's been this way since 6th grade. ANYWAY, *sweetie* was the new honey and he was really excited about her. They talked on the phone, texted, saw eachother at the neighborhood pool - pretty tame stuff. As his birthday came around the two of them started cooking up a plan to go do something together, so we agreed to let him go to the local water park with *sweetie* and her family for the day. They had a great time, it was fun, blah blah blah.

Move forward about two days.

Conner's phone has started blowing up with text messages. He couldn't fire off one text without another one chiming in while he was typing - complete insanity! Not only was the texting about to put me over the edge, but he seemed to be on a pretty short fuse that day as well. I finally had to put my foot down and tell him to turn it off and hand the phone over. I am an admitted text-a-holic myself, but his phone was rolling in texts like a slot machine?!? Enough is enough. As we started digging into the cause of the commotion, Conner was really honest about it all, and said that he had broken up with *sweetie* because "all she wants to do is make out, and I want to do other things with my time besides just that".


I couldn't believe my ears! After all of our talks about making good choices, respecting girls even if they happen to be saying "YES", the whole kit-n-caboodle...HE SAID NO?!? I was sooooo proud!...still am! Apparently he has been listening, and made a really honorable choice even though it wasn't the "popular" thing to do.

I love this boy so much. He definitely drives me crazy. He knows precisely how to push my buttons when the mood strikes him. But when he looks at me with that quirky smug grin, my heart clenches up into my throat and the tears start to sting. Just once I wish that he could get a glimpse of the crazy mad love that I have for him.

Mama Kat's Writers Workshop:

Prompt#3 - We talk about mother's guilt a lot...who needs it? Describe a good mom moment!


Thursday, July 15, 2010

25 Things I Love About Richard...

Richard and I have been married almost 18 years - which sounds like forever when I hear myself say it outloud. (Maybe I really am older than I feel?) Anyway...life gets busy. The time seems to slip away from days, to weeks, to months, etc., and there are a lot of times that I forget to tell him just how much he means to me. So here it is in writing. He can take it to the bank. A sampling of the things that make my heart go pitter patter, and the fire....well, you know the rest.

  1. I love it that he doesn't pressure me to be more than I am.

  2. He thought I was beautiful when I was pregnant, bald, and had only one breast. *sniffle, sniffle, snort*

  3. Richard is always trying to be the best dad that he can be.

  4. He makes breakfast...every time. TRUE. LOVE.

  5. White Chocolate Raspberry Truffle Cheesecake from The Cheesecake Factory is always on the way home when it needs to be.

  6. My kids adore their daddy because he lets them know that he would move mountains for them...and he backs it up.

  7. He is a hard worker and he brings home the bacon. Woot! Woot!

  8. Richard is a reeeeally good cook.

  9. His sense of adventure gets me out of my comfort zone with routine.

  10. He does laundry.

  11. He encourages me to get out of town, go out with my friends, and take a break.

  12. He is really good at his job, and is most happy when he knows he has helped someone and made a difference.

  13. Richard is patient....and I require patience on a regular basis.

  14. He gives people the benefit of the doubt - sometimes to a fault.

  15. When I am immersed in stitching, a book, blogging, etc. he lets me hide away in my void of time and responsibility.

  16. Richard built me a "shoe house" (that's what the kids call it) for all of my shoes to go in and keep them organized. He loves organization and order, too.

  17. If he can't do something, he takes the time to figure it out and learn how.

  18. My sons will be good husbands and fathers if they follow his example.

  19. Richard is a safe driver. I never worry about safety when he is behind the wheel.

  20. He is a people person.

  21. Richard doesn't pretend to be something that he's not.

  22. Richard is a sentimental soul who loves tradition.

  23. He is already preparing ways and methods to torture the boys that come calling on his precious daughter. It's gonna be brutal!

  24. Whether he's at work or in the middle of a project, his kids and I come first. ALWAYS.

  25. He understands who I am, what my motivations are, and shares my dreams for the future...our future. Awww!

So, in case I haven't told you yet today - and I'm sure i did at least once - I love you, Richard!!!


From Pound Puppy To Precious Pet

While browsing the Today Show website I came across a blurb about pound puppies "going glam". More specifically, it discussed how the larger breed shelter dogs are typically not as quickly adopted out as the smaller breeds. This was the premis behind Today getting several of these dogs spiffed up to show them off for hopeful adoptions, etc, etc. The report also drew my attention because it's also how we found my favorite canine sidekick, Zeek!

In the years that Richard and I have been married, we have purchased, been given, and adopted a number of dogs. Most of our dogs have been a perfect-family-match, but others...not so much. Regardless, adopting is a "gamble" just like any other method of aquiring/accepting ownership of a new pet, and a decision to be taken seriously. One of the benefits of adopting a pet, is that we get to "shop" for characteristics and a temperment that most compliments the lifestyle of our family. Choosing an animal that needs a loving home and meets our criteria is a win-win solution!

We found Zeek as we were checking out a local pet adoption event outside one of the pet supercenters. And although we were just browsing, he was certainly a handsome boxer, seriously underweight, and in need of love and attention. Even better, he even met all of the requirements on our "Must Have" list - house trained, loved children, good with other animals, and already neutered...a perfect match!

There were growing pains, of course. Days when we shook our heads and wondered what possessed us to bring this mangy beast home with us. And then there have been the hundreds upon hundreds of other days when I look at his dopey little schmushy face, and know that it was one of the best decisions we've made!

Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop

Prompt #1. Chose a headline from The Today Show website and write up an opinion post based on the story you chose.


Tuesday, July 6, 2010

"Soooo Out Of The Loop, Mom"

Richard and I are officially living in the stone age as far as Conner is concerned. Our ability to relate to what's current and relevant must have unknowingly passed us by.

He's been throwing out the names of music groups that I don't even recognize lately....and it's not even the name of ONE group, it's like a WHOLE LIST! To boot, the the names of the groups are just bizarre. Seriously strange. He plays the music on his pod, sings the lyrics, talks about the bands. He will even hand over his ear buds for me to listen to the songs that he thinks are really "beast", but as much as I try to keep up, I'm just not there.

This gives me flashbacks to when I was about 12ish. I had spent $.50 on a no-frills AM/FM radio from a garage sale that had probably just been discovered on someone's "junk" shelf in their garage. It was a skanky, dirty mess, but I cleaned it up and it worked like a charm. Along with the right to choose what station I wanted to listen to, I also realized that there was really great music out there! Music that I had never heard before!!! My virgin ears tasted Madonna, Foreigner, Chicago, Duran Duran, Tears for Fears, Bryan Adams....THE HAIR BANDS!!! Oh my goodness!! It was like a spiritual awakening of sorts! There was a bigger world out there that I had never known existed. A land where Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Dolly Parton, The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkle, etc. were inspirations...NOT the major players. It was awesome!

So here we sit, *crickets chirping* watching our son discover a whole new world of music. A world where the groups that I have listened to and loved all these years are ancient and archaic. We do still share some of the same "likes" but I am going to need to invest a little more time in broadening my music horizons.

It's scary having kids. Even scarier when you see the replay of events in your own growing up years, and remember what you thought about your parents. Scary.


Friday, July 2, 2010

Remote Location Youngster

At the beginning of the school year we had our hands FULL with the teenager. Every stinkin' time that I would see the school's phone number come up on my caller ID, catch my breath and grooooaaaan. It just made me crazy....okay, A LOT crazy. And it was only slightly comforting when I would hear that other mom's were experiencing the same CRAP with their boys. I got calls saying -

Conner has a major project that was due two days ago.

Conner isn't staying on task again.

Conner was shooting spit wads on the ceiling.

Conner gave the substitute teacher the finger. (a personal favorite)

Conner was caught skipping class.

Conner was kissing his girlfriend. (Seriously? We're happy that this is ALL that he's doing w/ girls at this age, lady!)

O-M-G!!!! So we decided to look around and see what was out there for teenagers. We wanted to find something that would force him to be responsible for himself. Something that would encourage him to examine himself on different levels. And finally, I wanted him to be away from home long enough that I could start to miss him and want him to come home. I'm just being honest.

Then, during a conversation sharing my woeful existence of being the mother of an idiot teenager, my BFF from Missouri suggested sending him to summer camp. Meh. I wasn't quite sure that camp was necessarily what I was looking for, but I listened to her, googled, researched, and found my solution. As a family, we decided to forgo our annual family vacation and send Conner to camp this summer instead. We will drop him off at camp in mid-July and he will be there for 25 days. Yes. TWENTY. FIVE. DAYS. Of course, since making final payment in February he's been an absolute angel - well, at least MOSTLY.

The reality of our upcoming separation is starting to set in now. In two weeks we will begin the drive to northern Arkansas to drop him off. I will hand the "keys" over to the camp counselors and drive away. He will be parent-less teen for 25 days. He will get to be his own person. He will do really fun things that I won't get to see (or take pictures of). No phone calls from home to check on him. No phone calls FROM him to let me know that he's having a swell time. He will be a remote location youngster.

I know that I will miss him....and the seed of longing is already awakening.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Happiness is...

When I am in a funk, have a rough day at the office, or things just aren't going my way, there are a few things that are SURE to turn my frown upside-down:
  1. Walking into a spruced and straightened house can lift my spirits IMMEDIATELY! Especially when the tidiness is laced with the fragrance of Pine-Sol. Ahhhhh....

  2. Dinner time at the kitchen table. Hearing about how everyone's day went, funny stories, and talking with eachother, helps me to loosen the stranglehold of my own worries or frustrations.

  3. A new gadget, app, or supplies for a crafty project....J-O-Y!!

  4. Retail therapy is always on the list, of course. I love new purses, jewelry, clothes, organizational supplies, a new book, nail pollish...the list is endless.

  5. Getting a phone call from a good friend, or sitting with my friends while the kids play in cul-de-sac. The blessing of friends who share the humor in life is inmeasurable.

  6. A new pair of flip flops. DUH!!

  7. It makes me feel really good when Richard, the kids, or anyone for that matter, pays me a sincere compliment.

  8. A lunch date or dinner out with my girlfriends. Much like #5, but without children...BONUS!

  9. When I come home and my dog Zeek "greets" me at the door. He jumps around, turns in circles, "talks" to me, and makes me laugh!! I love my furry boy. :)

  10. Getting a good report on one of my kidlets is a biggie, too. A phone call or email from a teacher or fellow parent is amazing! Even better, is watching them burst through the door at the end of the day yelling, "MOM! Guess what?..." Now THAT's the good stuff.