Thursday, July 30, 2009

My mom . . . God bless 'er.

I know I've blogged about my mom before but, God love 'er, she just gives me so much material to work with. Like, for example, tonight she was saying that my niece was dancing like "Miss Gaga." My sister Erin looked at her and said "like WHOM???" My mom knew she had messed up so she thought for a second, smiled when she realized her mistake, and triumphantly stated "MADAME Gaga."

It was then that I decided that it had been too long since I had blogged about Nora.

My mom is terrible with cars. I mean, I've really never seen anything like it. I used to drive a black Mustang and she was ALWAYS getting it confused with other cars. I picked her up for lunch one day in said Mustang and I parked it toward the back of the parking lot. After lunch, we walked back toward my car - Correction: I walked back toward my car. My mom, on the other hand, walked toward every black car in the parking lot. First, she started heading toward a black Grand Am until I said "No, Mom - that's not mine." Then she walked toward a black Camaro until I said "Nope." After that, she walked toward a gray Honda Civic with the entire back end smashed in so I said "Still not it" and started laughing at her. She shook her head and said "You kids - you think it's so easy." I very kindly pointed out to her that that one SHOULD have been easy since she hadn't heard me talking about getting rear-ended lately. But she just ignored me and followed me to my car. I handled it very maturely by calling my sisters and Jill and laughing with them while my mom sat in my passenger seat, shaking her head and saying "You kids . . ."

That Mustang really threw her off when I had it. After I bought my house, my mom was following me to my new place. She had only been there a couple of times and isn't great with directions . . . but that's a whole other blog, friends. So I knew if I lost her, she wouldn't be able to find my house. I looked back in my rearview mirror and saw her behind me. A few minutes later, I looked for her again and she was gone. I was so confused. It was pretty late at night and there were very few people on the road so I had no idea how I could have lost her. I slowed down thinking she had just dropped too far behind me but she never re-appeared. Unfortunately, she had left her cell phone at home so I couldn't call her up to see where the heck she was. It was all very strange.

I decided to just go on to my house to wait for her, hoping that she'd find her way there. But she never showed up. Instead, about 45 minutes later she called me to tell me that she was back home. I asked her where she had gone and she told me that she had been following me and was wondering why I was taking such a circuitous route to my house. She thought it seemed strange that I was going through a bunch of different neighborhoods and wondered why none of it seemed familiar. And then "I" pulled into a driveway and got out of "my" car. That's when my mom realized that she had been following a man driving a black Honda Accord. And then she realized that she had no idea where she was or how the heck to get back home. The guy got out of his car and looked at my mom, who was sitting at the foot of his driveway. She rolled down her window and said "Ummmm . . . excuse me. I thought you were my daughter. But CLEARLY you're not. I've been following you and now I have no idea where I am . . ." He proved to be a good stand-in for me because he laughed and laughed and THEN gave her directions back home. I couldn't have done better if I'd been there myself.

You would think after getting made fun of so much on this topic, she would have spent the last few years improving her knowledge about cars. Not so much. The other day, she stopped by my house to pick something up while I was at work. There was a car in the driveway that she didn't recognize so she called me and said "Catherine, there's a Sonata Hyundai in the driveway." I heard her clearly but I just wanted her to say it again so I said "A what?" She answered innocently "A black Sonata Hyundai." I assured her that it was my roommate's car and resisted the temptation to ask her about her "Impala Chevy" or my "Mustang Ford." Instead, I just decided that I'd blog about her total ignorance when it comes to cars.

Cuz I'm sweet like that.

Oh, Nora . . . what would I do without you?

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

More to Dread

Clearly the lineup of shows this summer is designed to make me uncomfortable. The producers from all the different networks got together and said "You know that Catherine chick? Let's make her sweat bullets." And let me tell ya, friends - they're accomplishing that goal. We already talked about "Dating in The Dark" which had me in the fetal position for most of last night. I honestly thought that no other show could make me want to crawl under a table quite like that one.

And then I watched "More to Love." OH . . . MY . . . GOSH.

PLEASE tell me you watched it. PLEASE tell me that you have set it to record every week so that you won't miss an episode. In case you missed it, let me sum it up for you: it's "The Bachelor" for "full-figured" people . . . hence "More to Love." Get it? At first I thought it was a great idea and was totally ready to love it. I mean, who WOULDN'T love a show about some NORMAL looking people for once, right?? But after watching the first episode tonight, I'm not really sure about the whole thing. I thought the show was going to be about how these girls are a little on the heavy side but no big deal. Instead, the focus of the show appears to be how hard love has been for them because of their weight. It's not the direction I thought they were going so I have to adjust my expectations, I guess. But regardless of where they go with it, I'm gonna be tuned in every week hating that I love it.

So let me tell you what I love and hate about it so far . . .

LOVE . . . Some of the girls were actually talking about Spanx. How funny is that?? When have you ever seen a show where the "leading ladies" talk about wearing Spanx? Awesome.

HATE . . . You know how on reality shows, they generally put the name, age, hometown, and occupation of a contestant on the screen when that contestant is talking to the camera? Like, if Shelly is talking about how excited she is to be here blah blah blah, the producers put "Shelly; Austin, TX; 29; Receptionist" on the screen. Well, on this show, THEY PUT THEIR FREAKIN' WEIGHT. Are you kidding me??? So poor Shelly's information now reads "Shelly; Austin, TX; 29; Receptionist; 5' 5", 227 lbs." And that goes up on the screen EVERY TIME SHE TALKS. Why?? Why do we need this?? We can SEE she is full-figured so why do we need her weight to remind us. Poor girls!!

There's no way I'd let them put my weight up there repeatedly throughout the season. I remember telling my mom once that if I ever went missing and she decided to put Missing Person ads out, she better not put my weight down. I told her if she did, I'd never come home. She would, effectively, be driving me into the arms of my captors and they would become my new family. So why anyone would sign up for a show where your weight becomes public knowledge over and over and over again is beyond me. My armpits are sweating just typing about it.

LOVE . . . I think it's hilarious that there's more cleavage on this show than on all the other reality shows combined. And it's not like "I'm trying to be sexy" cleavage, it's more like "my weight goes straight to my boobs" cleavage. Love it!

HATE . . . on the previews for upcoming episodes, they show the girls going to Prom with Luke (the Husky Bachelor . . . oh! that would be a good name for the show!) and there's a bunch of drama. I'm already dreading that episode because I KNOW they're going to milk the whole "I didn't get to go to prom" thing and it's gonna make me feel so awkward and insulted for them. They better not make a joke of these poor girls!!! BUT I will say that if the DJ at the "Re-Prom" plays Baby Got Back, I'm gonna laugh my butt off. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand then I'll cringe at the awkward dancing scenes that will no doubt ensue.

LOVE . . . the girls were standing around talking to Luke about food. I thought that was hilarious. Normally, you'd hear the bachelorettes talking to the Bachelor about his hobbies, his interests, his work-out schedule, or his job. But THESE girls are getting straight to the important stuff and getting the 411 on his favorite dessert. That's my love language, too, girls.

HATE . . . I hate the fact that I'm gonna be completely drawn in by this one and that I'm probably gonna cry for these girls every week. And I hate that it's going to be yet another hour of my week that I'm going to have to spend in the fetal position.

Oh well . . . it's who I am, people.

Love me through it.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

My own personal Hell . . .

I just saw my worst nightmare - it's a show called "Dating in the Dark." Have you seen it?? It's my own personal Hell . . . it makes me uncomfortable and nervous . . . it makes me feel insecure for perfect strangers . . . it makes me want to curl up into the fetal position and suck my thumb . . . I LOVE IT. Allow me to tell you about it . . .

The show brings three men and three women together in a house but doesn't let the two sexes see each other; rather, the men stay together and the women stay together in separate parts of the house. The purpose of the show is to see if any of these men and women are compatible with one another before they ever see what each other looks like. It's a great idea. First, they all six meet together in the dark and start to learn each other's personalities. Then the show pairs them all up according to their level of compatibility. Once they are paired up, each couple goes back in the dark room to have a date. In the dark . . . the pitch black. We are watching the interactions with the help of night-vision cameras and we are treated to many awkward scenes. Want some examples? Ok . . .

The first couple comes into the room and the guy has a bowl of melted chocolate. His idea is for them to put their fingers in the chocolate and then put chocolate on some spot they want kissed. So the girl puts some chocolate on her neck and the guy goes in for the kiss. But they're in the dark, you see, so this is extremely awkward to watch. He bumps clumsily into her jaw, then her cheek, then her chin but doesn't find the chocolate. And she's COMPLETELY uncomfortable the whole time which makes ME uncomfortable, too. But I can't stop watching the horror. It's like I want to run from my tv and hug it all at the same time.

The second couple comes in and we see that the girl is carrying a football. She has decided that they are going to play football. Since it's completely dark in the room, they have to keep a hand on each other so that they know where they are. Understandably, this makes it difficult to play football so they end up doing this really awkward wrestling match, instead. I realize that this is a more terrible idea than the chocolate.

The third couple comes in and their date involves a "surfboard" which is really just a skateboard. The guy makes the girl get on it and then he takes the opportunity to feel around her waist to try to figure out if she's his "type" and, clueless, she just giggles away. That's when I start to hate that guy.

Then each guy prepares dinner for his girl and the girl prepares to give him a massage. I watched one of the guys trying to feed his girl in the dark and I found myself trying to direct him to her mouth. Rather than focusing on their chemistry, I'm more concerned about her getting jabbed in the nostril with the fork. This show is stressing me out. And then comes the massage part and I realize I've never known awkward before. I watch these guys lay down on their stomachs and then the girls straddle their backs and try to find the massage lotion. I mean, call me prude, but it would be awkward to massage some random guy on the second date anyway. But the thought of giving a massage to a guy I've never met in the pitch black kinda makes me want to throw up. I can hear myself now asking nervously "Oh wait - that's not your deltoid, is it?"

Yeah, no freakin' way.

After these dates, they get to see each other in the light. Each couple goes back into the room and a light shines upon the guy so that the girl can see what he looks like. Then the light goes off and another light shines upon the girl. So they don't get to see the other person's reaction - they just have to stand there in the spotlight smiling. If I was unsure before, this was the point that confirmed for me that I would be a HORRIBLE contestant on this show because I would totally start sobbing when the light was shining on me and I had no abililty to read his reaction. I mean, I was just sitting on my couch WATCHING it and I was feeling insecure. No way could I do that. I would rather go on Biggest Loser and wear spandex in front of all of America.

Then comes the worst part. If they liked what they saw, they can choose to go out onto a balcony to pursue the relationship or they can choose to walk out the front door of the house and leave the other person behind. I begin biting my nails. So the first girl (chocolate date) comes out on the balcony and waits to see if the guy is going to come out on the balcony, too. But she can also see the front door so she'll be able to see if he decides to ditch her. ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? My armpits are sweating profusely at this point and I'm quite sure I'm starting to hyperventilate. Luckily, the guy walks out and I release the death grip I have on my dog. The next girl (football date) comes out on the balcony and waits for her guy. She is a SUPER cute girl and has written him a card to thank him for letting her be herself. This seems strange to me but to each his own. I wasn't nervous about this one because these two were obviously attracted to each other. She's standing on the balcony waiting for him and then she sees him walk out the front door. He's ditching her. WHAT??? My chest starts itching and I realize I'm breaking out into hives. Poor thing pulls the card out from her back pocket and walks back inside. It was horrible. Then the last couple (surfboard/skateboard) meets out on the balcony and walk off happily ever after and that makes me feel worse for the poor girl who got rejected.

I swear I'll never watch this show again. And then I set my DVR to record it every week.

See, I don't want a guy to get to know me in the dark and then decide if he likes the way I look. That fills me with WAY too much anxiety and makes every one of my insecurities bubble to the surface. I want to start low and work up. If I were ever on a show where strangers had to get to know each other in unorthodox ways, this is what I'd want to do:

First date: Walking my dog on the bike path in the morning when I still have a little bedhead, my hair is dirty, and I have mascara under my eyes. If he can get past that and my morning voice, he gets a second date.

Second date: I meet him at a restaurant on a stormy night. I come in drenched - not the sexy wet look, though, but the "a car just drove threw a puddle and splashed it all over me" look - with my hair matted, mascara running down my face, and dirty water kicked up on the back of my legs. If he can see past that, I could fall in love with him.

Third date: Eating Mexican food. If he isn't intimidated by my unnatural love for fajitas, then he is the guy for me.

Then - and only then - will I massage his deltoids . . .

Monday, July 27, 2009

A Palmore Vacation

Friday in DC was a lot of fun - we squeezed as much in as we could AND enjoyed an awkward moment or two. Because, let's face it - no Palmore vacation is complete without a few awkward moments . . .

On Friday morning we went to Mt. Vernon, George Washington's homestead - what a cool place that was to visit!! I've always loved learning about the American Revolution and I've recently discovered that I love learning about our Founding Fathers, in particular, so I really liked being there. We watched a brief introductory video about the ORIGINAL G Dub and then headed over to tour the mansion. We were waiting in a long line outside the house when we had our first awkward moment of the day.

As we were standing in line, a lady walked out wearing a tiara and a beauty pageant sash that read "Ms. Senior America" or something to that effect.

She walked past us and we found ourselves caught in an uncomfortable eye contact with her and forcing ourselves to smile as if we gave a crud that Ms. Senior America was among us. And then she did it - she did the pageant wave. It was so embarrassing. For her.

We headed back to the city so that we could hit the Smithsonian before it closed. We decided to start at the National Museum of American History and then try to get over to the Air and Space Museum. My mom was pretty determined to get through the exhibits quickly so that, in her words, "we can get to the Aerosmith one before it closes." That's "Air and Space", friends. We blew through exhibit after exhibit and stopped to admire Mary Lincoln's gown, the Ruby Slippers from the Wizard of Oz, and a poster of Stephen Colbert. Did you just do a double-take at that one? So did we. Not sure how he made it into the Smithsonian but he did . . .

We wrapped up at the National Museum of American History and decided to forgo the "Aerosmith" one because we were all tired and it was pretty late. So, instead, we headed over to a restaurant that had been recommended to Tammy. I forget now what it was called - Old Ebbert Grill or something to that effect. We had to wait a while for our seat and we were SO glad when they finally called our name and led us to our booth. Until we saw what we'd be eating by . . .

WHAT THE . . . Seriously - do I just ATTRACT bad art?? How can you enjoy your meal with this hanging over you? So many Health Department considerations just pop into your mind to distract you. Then you find yourself staring at it like it's a bad wreck and then looking away, wanting to assure everyone around you that you're not a pervert. But when you stand up in middle of the restaurant to take a picture of it, those assurances fall on deaf ears. It was definitely another awkward moment for us . . . thanks, for taking one for the team on that one, Erin.

Then we grabbed a cab back to the hotel.

I've decided that I could never be a cab driver because you have to be ok with awkward silences. And, as you all know, awkward silences kill my soul bit by bit. My mom and sisters are the same way so we like to ask our cab drivers lots of questions. Sometimes we got talkative cab drivers and we LOVED them - we had one who was a gardener and talked to us a lot about flowers and kinda wanted to take him home with us. And we had another who was chatty and imitated other people's voices by using his best Pee Wee Hermann bubble-in-your-throat voice. A bit awkward, yes. But we loved him, too, so we got through it.

Our cab driver from the restaurant that night was not very talkative and gave us yet another awkward moment. He was middle-eastern, pretty quiet, and not really sure what to do with a cab full of Palmores. My mom and sisters were in the back seat talking about Christmas and my mom, in an effort to draw him into the conversation, asked him what kinds of things he got for Christmas when he was a kid. I sunk down into my seat, incredulous that my mom had just asked a Muslim about his favorite Christmas present, and prayed that he would not declare Jihad on us. My butt clenched like it's never clenched before. But he handled it well and said "toys." My butt unclenched and I breathed a sigh of relief.

Saturday morning arrived and it was time for us to head home. We packed up and we headed downstairs to catch our cab to the airport. Our cab driver was GREAT - he was a Hispanic man named Rudy and we loved him. He gave us a bit of a tour of the area on the way to Reagan National and entertained us with stories about some of his previous passengers; he had driven "Chelseas" Clinton to the airport and said that she was a really nice girl and he had also driven a rich Texan who had given him a $700 tip for driving him to the airport.

We felt a BIT awkward tipping him $15 after that . . .

So that was our trip. We got on the plane and got back to Texas safely - primarily because my mom read the directions on what to do if the plane crashed into water . . .
Oh, Nora . . . I don't know what's funnier - the fact that you spent time reading this or the fact that you actually think you'd remember any of it if the plane crashed. You're so entertaining.

Ah, I do love traveling with my fam!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A day in the life . . .

I've never been so worn out in my LIFE!! Well, that might not be true. But I AM worn out!! We spent a lot of time walking today but it was fun and we got to see lots of stuff. So I thought I'd share our day with you . . .

We're staying at a hotel called the Gaylord National. I know about 10 of you who will giggle at that name. Ironically, there is picture behind the front desk that I'm pretty sure is a drag queen:
The manly jaw and the football player's neck were my first indications. I think if I had been allowed to get closer, I would have seen an Adam's apple. Your thoughts?

ANYWAY, we have lovely rooms that overlook the Atrium of the hotel like so:

It's a bit like a small city! We've gotten lost a couple of times.

So back to our day . . . this morning, we left the Gaylord and the drag queen and went into town. We decided to take the Metro into the District and let me tell you, friends, you've never seen chaos until you've seen the 4 Palmore women trying to figure out the Metro system. But we did it and made some friends in the process, of course. In order to get over to the Metro stop, we had to take a shuttle from our hotel. By the time we got on the bus, it was full so we had to stand. I could tell we weren't in Texas anymore because none of the men stood up to allow us to sit down. I mean, I understand letting my sisters and me stand but someone should have let my mom sit, don't you think? But no such luck. I stood in the aisle and held onto the bar above my head and my armpit was dangerously close to the head of the man who was sitting in the seat next to where I was standing. At first I was concerned that he might not appreciate me airing out my pits so close to his face. Then I remembered that he wasn't being chivalrous so I made sure to get as close to him as possible and used my other hand to waft the air in his direction. But I'm not bitter or anything. :)

We figured out the Metro and took it to Union Station where we bought tickets for a double decker, hop-on hop-off, sight-seeing bus. We hopped ON one of the buses and were excited to see the city. Until we realized that the bus stopped LITERALLY every 15 feet. It was CRAZY!! It would stop at one museum and then go the next museum that was right next door and stop again. So we hopped the heck OFF of that thing and just started walking.

We had to fight the rain all day so we didn't get to spend as much time outside as we thought we would. But we did get to see a lot of the sights. We went to the Jefferson Memorial where my mom had some trouble going down the steps . . .

So Erin tried to help her . . .

Then we thought if she was going to fall, we might as well stage it in an area that would give us a good lawsuit.
We're always thinkin', you know.

We left the Jefferson Memorial and decided to make Tammy get up in a pretty tree that we saw. Somehow that turned into a senior year photo shoot.
Eat your heart out, Ray Sakers!

After that, we got to see the Lincoln Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the Vietnam War Memorial, the World War II Memorial, the Washington Monument, and a crazy guy who kept walking past us talking into his hand like it was a cell phone. He was my favorite part . . . I do love a good crazy guy.

Then we decided to try to get to the White House visitors' center before it closed so my sisters could get some gifts for the kiddos. On the way there, walking down Constitution, we saw the White House. And even though we were so far away, it was clear that there was a little black dog on the lawn and so we knew that was Bo - the First dog. Or "Bobama," as Erin calls him. Erin also swore she saw President Obama on the lawn. Since Erin somehow turned into a dang liberal during the last election, we had to double-time it so we could get close enough to allow Erin to try to kiss him. As we were walking, Erin's "Obama sighting" got more and more elaborate. It started out as "It was a tall, thin guy" and evolved into "He was wearing like a white shirt and nice black pants" and then turned into "And I think I saw him waving." Then she started sprinting - stinkin' Democrats. :)

"Obama" turned out to be a police officer with the uniformed division of the Secret Service. And I feel quite certain that he never waved. But we DID see Bobama . . .

But the crazy guy was still my highlight.

We came back to the hotel and the skies just absolutely opened up. We had a great view of the lightning out the atrium of the hotel and the thunder was INTENSE. The hotel lost power a couple of times and when it did, the four of responded very maturely by squealing and running to the balcony so that we could see the people trapped in the elevators. I have a new love for glass elevators!! But the hotel would fix the power issue within a few minutes each time so we never got to see anyone panic - not ONE person started screaming and pounding on the glass. It was quite a disappointment.

HOWEVER, the trapped elevator people DID beat out the crazy guy for my favorite part of the day. I'm not really sure what that says about me . . .

So that was our day. Tomorrow we are hoping for better weather during the day so that we can do our tours, bad weather at night so we can eat pizza on the balcony and laugh at claustrophobics stuck in the elevator, and at least one crazy guy to entertain us.

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh . . . God bless America!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Charlie Palmore Award

My dad was a pretty cool guy. He was, without question, the perfect dad. But he was also a great businessman who was well-respected in his field. Throughout his career, he earned accolades and honors from the companies he worked for. For example, when he died, he was working for a company called AFFLINK and they have an award called the Global Accounts Manager of the Year. Each year that my dad worked with AFFLINK he won that award. No one even had a chance!! Like I said, he was a pretty cool guy.

Since my dad died, his boss has informally called that award the Charlie Palmore award but this year, they wanted to officially change its name to "The Charlie Palmore Award" and they asked us to come to their meeting here in DC to help present it. They wanted all the new folks who never had a chance to meet my dad to understand what an honor it is to receive an award named after him. So I spoke a little about my dad and was so touched by the emotion of all those who knew him and even the ones who didn't. We heard lots of funny stories about him and heard lots of folks tell us about how he had impacted their lives in one way or another. It was a GREAT night of memories, laughter and tears . . .

So I thought in honor of my dad's new award, I would post my speech from tonight so that you all could reminisce or learn about my dad (whichever the case may be) and could join us in feeling proud for him this weekend!

Here you go . . .

My name is Catherine Palmore and I am Charlie Palmore’s middle daughter. I want to take a second here at the outset to thank AFFLINK for inviting us to join y’all this evening and for naming this award after my dad. My mom and sisters and I are all here tonight and are so excited to be here as you honor him in this way. It means more to us than I could ever express. I know that my dad would be so touched by this and if he were here, he’d probably get up and humbly say: “Well, it’s about time . . .” But he’d say it with perfect comedic timing and a twinkle in his eye that would make everyone in this room laugh. And he might not say much more than that – he had a talent for the succinct. Unfortunately for you all, I’m the one up here and not my dad and I do NOT have that talent. I’m a lawyer with a microphone and a captive audience so get comfortable.

I think it’s so cool that there’s an award named after my dad. I think about people winning it and getting a plaque with my dad’s name on it and then hanging it on their walls. And that makes me so proud. But then I start to wonder if the name “Charlie Palmore” will mean anything to those who win the award. Some of you knew my dad so it would have special meaning to you. But I think most of you never worked with or met my dad. I hate to think that someone might have this award hanging on his or her wall and not know or appreciate all the wonderful qualities and attributes that are contained in the name CHARLIE PALMORE. So, if you’ll humor me for a few minutes, I’d like to tell you about my dad so that he’ll be more to you than just a random name on a plaque on your wall . . .

My dad was not the kind of man who waited around for orders or to see how things would unfold. He was the kind who would get up in the morning, get to work, and MAKE things happen. I remember a picture that he had in his office of two vultures talking to one another. One vulture is saying to the other: “Patience, Hell! I’m gonna kill something.” He loved that picture because he was not a believer in waiting around. If something had to be done, he just got out there and did it. No questions asked. I think that’s what made him so successful in his industry.

My dad was as dependable as the sun. He got everywhere early . . . church, the airport, the movies – it didn’t matter where he was going, he got there before everyone else did. Every morning throughout my childhood and adolescence, my dad would come upstairs to give my sisters and me a kiss before he left for work. I’d wake up when he came into my room and I was always aware of how dark it was outside. I honestly don’t think the sun ever beat him to work. And we always got the best seat at the movies . . .

He was the most disciplined person I’ve ever known. For the last few years of his life, he worked for AFFLINK out of his house. He had an office upstairs where he would conduct all of his business unless, of course, he was traveling. I was always amazed at the discipline he had. I used to always think if I had to work at home, I’d do my work in my pajamas and probably wouldn’t start until after lunch. But not my dad – he never let his comfortable or casual surroundings interfere with his job. He was up and at ‘em early in the morning. He’d shower, shave, get dressed, make his coffee, and then head upstairs. I can still see him standing at the foot of the stairs with his coffee mug, saying “Well, I better head to work so I can beat the traffic.” He could have slept in late, worked in his robe, or taken naps and no one at AFFLINK would have been the wiser. But my dad knew he was accountable to AFFLINK for his time and he was not going to let anyone down.

My dad was a man of character - he had such integrity. He wasn’t the type to blow smoke - you could take him at his word and that goes a long way with people. If he said he was going to do something, he meant it. If he said something was true, it was. Well, except when he told me that he got that scar on his lip from a bar fight, or from a prison break, or when he was sailing with his friend Chris on a boat called the Santa Maria. But other than THAT, he told the truth. He earned people’s trust in that way and I imagine that he earned a lot of business that way. His word was gold and people knew that about him. He earned their trust with every promise kept and, in the process, earned their respect.

He was the kind of man who took pride in what he did and what he represented and he instilled that pride in me and my sisters. No matter how difficult something seemed, my dad would be right there to encourage us by saying “You can do it because you’re a Palmore.” When my sisters or I scraped our knee and came in crying, he would take care of our injury and then he’d say “You’ll be ok. Why will you be ok?” And that was our cue to say “Because I’m a Palmore!” My younger sister’s last name is now Pemberton and she wants so badly to pass this “pride in your last name” thing on to her kids. But she can’t bring herself to say “Because you’re a Pemberton.” She tries but when the moment comes she always ends up saying “You can do it because . . . your mom was a Palmore!” I think my dad would be proud of that. He instilled in us a pride in our name and a desire to represent our family well. That’s really rare nowadays. But it was a way of life for my dad - we saw it displayed in him every day. Not only did he take pride in our family name, he took pride in working for AFFLINK. He was always wearing AFFLINK shirts, hats, jackets or pins and if you ever want to dredge the water hazards in various golf courses around the country, you’ll find most of his AFFLINK golf balls. He loved working for this company. In fact, when he and my mom were planning out his funeral arrangements, he specifically requested that he be buried with his AFFLINK pin on his lapel. And as you can see we’re all wearing ours today. What a statement that is about the company and my dad’s love for it.

My dad had an amazing work ethic and was a successful businessman. But I think the thing that always impressed me the most about him was how he never compromised who he was while pursuing success. Every morning, as we were getting ready for school, my dad would call us just to sing “I just called to say I love you” to us and tell us to have a great day at school. I look back at that now and think how amazing that was. And I picture him, an executive, sitting in his office and singing a Stevie Wonder song just to make us smile.

No matter his position in a company, he always had time for his family. I remember calling him sometimes when I’d get home from school just to give him some bit of unimportant news: a good grade on a quiz, a funny joke I’d heard, a question I thought he could answer – things of this nature. I’d call him up and I was ALWAYS put through to his office without question. He’d answer his phone and I’d say “Dad, are you busy?” and the answer was always “I’m never too busy for you, Darlin’.” I remember once asking him if he had anyone in his office with him and he said “Yes, but that’s ok.” And then he let me go on and on about some bit of unimportant news from my day at school. I think it’s so amazing that he was the kind of successful businessman who put his family first.

And my dad knew that life and success were more enjoyable if you can have fun along the way. He really loved everyone he worked with at AFFLINK. And people genuinely liked him and seemed to flock to him – they were drawn to his magnetic personality and that twinkle he always had in his eye. At company functions, there was always a crowd around him laughing at his jokes and enjoying his company. On the golf course, he was a much sought-after partner despite the fact that he was not the best golfer in the group. People enjoyed spending the day in his company and appreciated that he never took himself too seriously so a day on the course with him was always fun. On one particular golf outing with friends, my dad shot a ridiculously high number on a single whole. But he never lost his patience or his temper. On the next hole, he shot a bogie and calmly said “See? There’s nothing to this game.” Then he stood there with that twinkle in his eye while his friends just laughed. He always had a line like that that would crack everyone up. It’s one of the things that endeared him to those around him.

Not only did his co-workers and friends love him, his customers loved him as well. Many of his customers attended his funeral and cried along with family members at the loss of their friend. It was a testament to the kind of man my dad was – he earned their business by getting the job done and he earned their friendship by being the man he was.

I’ve always known what a remarkable man my dad was but his funeral was the most amazing reminder of that. People came from all over the country to pay their respects: co-workers, customers, bosses, friends, family – so many people who had loved my dad. It was literally “standing room only” in a fairly large chapel. I sat there and listened to person after person talk about what a wonderful man he was. And one thing that became so clear to everyone there was that his daughters, his in-laws, his friends, his relatives, and his co-workers all had the same things to say about him. He was the same man no matter where he was. What a legacy to leave.
I look like my dad. I’ve had people look at me, not knowing who I was, and say “You’ve GOT to be Charlie Palmore’s daughter.” I always was proud in those moments - I love looking like him so I take it as a compliment. But I want to resemble him in more than looks. I hope that, as I live my life, people can look at my actions, my character, and my way of living life and say “You’ve GOT to be Charlie Palmore’s daughter.” That would be the HIGHEST compliment they could pay me.

So, call me biased, but I think this award is the highest compliment this company could give you because of the name that is attached to it. My wish for you is that in your career, people will see your work ethic, your integrity, your ambition, and your fun personality and say “You know what - you remind me of Charlie Palmore.”

And I hope you cherish all that that means.

Vacation! I'm so excited, I could DIE . . .

So I'm getting ready to head out of town tomorrow and have lots to do. You know how it goes . . . laundry, packing, cleaning the house - all the usuals. I would venture to say that MOST people like to clean their houses before they head out of town because they like to come home to a nice clean house after a tiring day of traveling. Right? Now that I'm an adult, that's why I clean my house before I leave town. But when I was a kid, we did it for a very different reason.

See, my mom's two favorite topics in life are death and diabetes. If she meets a new person, you can bet money that within 10 minutes she'll be talking about a tragic death she read about in the paper or how low her blood sugar dropped last night. And if she can talk to you about a tragic death caused by diabetes, she gets a special twinkle in her eye. So when other women were teaching their kids about the rewards of coming home to a clean house, my mom was teaching us about the importance of cleaning so that if we all died tragically on our vacation, we wouldn't be embarrassed by our grieving loved ones coming in to a messy house.

Recently, she's added a new super-uplifting thought to our vacation planning. We made reservations for my mom, my sisters, and I on a plane to DC and started getting excited about the trip. Then my mom starts talking about how we shouldn't all travel on one plane because if it crashed, the kids would be left with none of us and my brothers-in-law wouldn't have any help from us. She follows it up by saying that's why LOTS of couples travel separately. Ummmmm - have YOU heard of couples who travel separately so that only one of them will die tragically? I haven't. We handled her comment the way we always do - we laughed and laughed at her until our bellies hurt. We all agreed it was her most ridiculous idea yet.

Then my sisters changed their plane reservations so that we'd be traveling in two groups.


So my mom and I are traveling together EARLY tomorrow morning. Which means that I need to get back to cleaning my house - I still need to make sure that my underwear drawer is presentable and that my will is easy to find. Because that's what she's gonna wanna talk about tomorrow.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand I need to Google stories about double diabetic amputees to entertain her with on the plane ride.

Better run . . .

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Guest blogging . . .

Hey, friends!

I am guest blogging today for my friend Lincee. She writes a recap of The Bachelor and The Bachelorette and needed me to fill in for her this week. Soooooooooooooo, I didn't get a chance to write my OWN blog!! If you watch The Bachelorette and are interested, check out the recap at (It might not be posted until later this morning so be patient . . .) Lincee's blog is hilarious and she does more than just recap that show so you should check it out and add it to your faves!!

For now, I thought I'd post a recap of LAST YEAR'S New Kids concert that I wrote for Lincee's blog back in October. Thought it was a timely subject and that my fellow New Kids fans would appreciate spending a little more time talking about our favorite boys . . . :)

1989: Getting ready for a New Kids on the Block concert was a big deal for this 14 year old girl. Always in the back of my mind was the possiblity that they would shine a spotlight on me while I sang along to "Please Don't Go Girl" and Joe would see me and fall madly in love with me. He'd stop singing because, you know, he'd become breathless upon seeing me. His unusually large bodyguard, Biscuit, would come get me from my seat and I'd be escorted backstage and into a life of marital bliss with Joe. So getting ready for such an event was a big deal. I picked my best pair of acid-washed jean shorts, my favorite Joe t-shirt, and pinned one of my over-sized Joe buttons onto my shirt. I curled half my bangs back and half forward and then teased them to perfection. Half a bottle of hairspray later, and I was ready for the concert . . . after dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, of course. We arrived at the concert, stood in line for an hour to get our favorite concert t-shirt (hoping that they hadn't sold out of mediums), and then we found our seats. The lights went down, the screaming started, my parents put their earplugs in, and we waited for the big moment. One of the New Kids asked "Are you READY??" "YES!!!" we screamed. And when the New Kids came out on the stage, we screamed, hugged each other, jumped around, and cried like babies.

2008: Things were a little different this time. As a 33 year old woman, I knew that there was no possibility that a spotlight would shine on me and reveal Joe's true love to him. So getting ready was less stressful. I picked the jeans that actually fit me right now, a long-sleeved t-shirt (purple, because that's the big color this Fall), and pinned my favorite over-sized Joe button on. I don't wear bangs anymore and don't even own hairspray so I just brushed my hair and headed out. We ate Mexican food instead of Hard Rock Cafe because Margaritas were in order for such a big night (didn't have THOSE when we were 14). And then it was just like old times . . . we arrived at the concert, stood in line for an hour to get our favorite concert t-shirt (hoping they hadn't sold out of extra larges), and then we found our seats. The lights went down and the screaming started. One of the New Kids asked "Any ladies out there SINGLE???" and then spotlights started going all over the place. "Holy CRAP," I thought, "maybe the freakin' spotlight WILL shine on me!!!" And when the New Kids came out on the stage, we screamed, hugged each other, jumped around, and, I'm not afraid to admit it . . . cried like babies.

The concert was AWESOME . . . the New Kids still definitely know how to entertain their fans!! I was afraid that they would try to focus on their new music and downplay their past. But they DEFINITELY didn't do that. They started off with Single which is one of their new songs and then went into such classics as Favorite Girl and Valentine. We heard Please Don't Girl, The Right Stuff, Tonight, Cover Girl, Didn't I Blow Your Mind This Time, Baby I Believe in You, and If You Go Away. They did all their old choreography and got LOTS of cheers when they did their old "Right Stuff" dance. They played video clips of some their old videos as they sang - that was such a great touch. Joe and Jordan did their songs they did as solo artists and, of course, the group did several of their new songs, all with old-school choreography. Fun times. There were several costume changes, one that included Joe's old leather jacket with the yellow smiley face on the back. Their last costume change put them all in white and then they sang I'll Be Loving You (Forever) to end the concert. Of course, we knew they couldn't be done YET because they hadn't played Step By Step or Hangin' Tough. So we screamed and screamed and then they raised up out of the stage and sang Step By Step. It was so freakin' awesome . . . sorry, I feel like I'm there again! And then the lights went down and we screamed and screamed until they came back out in Boston Celtics jerseys and sang Hangin' Tough. It was so fun. And I can't tell you what a cool feeling it was to look around the Toyota Center and see so many 30-something women throwing their arms back and forth and singing along. It really was just like old times.

Of course, there were many differences. They had some female dancers on stage with them (which we did NOT appreciate) and we were, of course, obliged to glare at them and call them names when they danced too close to Joe or Jordan. One of the women was dancing on a piano during their new song "Dirty Dancing". I think she was supposed to be dancing dirty but I think she was actually having a seizure. It was strange and, again, I was forced to call her a name. Danny's break-dancing was a bit rusty but God bless him for doing it for us. In the stands, we noticed a few differences in ourselves. First, we all had indigestion which I don't think is something we had to deal with as teenagers. We all burped up our Mexican food while we sang along - our row smelled like a strange combination of fajitas and enchiladas. Another difference is that, at times, I was wishing I had my parents' earplugs with me - I was wincing like my mom does when the surround sound is too loud at the movie theater. Also, since our last NKOTB concert, my sister Erin has had two kiddos so things were a little different for her, too, because everytime she screamed and jumped, she peed on herself. But that didn't stop her from letting it all out (literally) and screaming "I'm not okay . . . I'm NOT okay" when Jordan was singing "Baby I Believe in You."

It was a fun night for New Kids fans, that's for sure!! And there was definitely a feeling of solidarity among us all. When we were kids, there was an unspoken animosity among fans who liked the same Kid. If I saw another girl wearing a Joe pin, I had to automatically consider her my sworn enemy. That's just how it was. This time, however, everyone was laughing together in line and in the stands. People chatted in the t-shirt line about old concerts and our favorite Kids and teased each other about the competition for Jordan or Joe or Donnie's undying love (not Danny or Jon, though, poor guys . . .). Erin saw someone walking in an old-school t-shirt and she stopped the girl to say "I hate you that you can still wear your old shirts!!" Then the girl laughed and told her it was an old nightgown so we loved her again. Lots of women had pulled out their old-school stuff and other fans really got a kick out of that. It was like we were one big, happy family and we were all just excited to be taking this walk down memory lane together.

So Joe has blown through Houston again without falling in love with me. Oh well, it's ok. All that matters is that I had a blast and I hope that they come back soon!! And in the meantime, I have GOT to get a hold of the guy who runs the spotlight . . .

Monday, July 20, 2009

Ahhhhhhhhh memories . . .

I went to the New Kids on The Block concert this weekend.

Yes, I said the New Kids on The Block. Don't judge me.

When I was in 8th and 9th grade, I was IN LOVE with the New Kids on The Block. Yes, I said 9th grade. You can re-join us when you quit laughing. ANYWAY, I lived for the next New Kids poster, tape, or concert. My room was covered in posters of Joe McIntyre and pictures of him that I had torn from The Big Bopper or Teen Beat. Life was good. Until they started saying "Hell" and singing songs called "Dirty Dawg" (they were sooooooooooooooo edgy) and then fell off the face of the Earth. It was a very dark time in my life.

Stop laughing.

Last year the New Kids returned to the stage after a hiatus of 20 years. We went in October when they came to Houston and we went this weekend when they came to The Woodlands. And I had a blast both times. It was such a stroll down memory lane and I loved every minute of it. It's an interesting stroll, too, because on one hand you see so many changes that can come in 20 years and, on the other hand, you see that somethings are the exact same.

For example . . .

SAME: When you go to a New Kids concert, you can spot the girls who are hoping to hook up with one of the New Kids after the show. They are usually wearing skin-tight mini dresses that are at least a size too small, 4 inch heels, and no smiles on their faces. Rather, they don their best Posh Spice face lest they look "cute" instead of "sexy." These girls are entertaining to watch because they have NO idea how silly they look. It's awesome.

CHANGE: Although I never dressed in a skin-tight mini (you're welcome) when I was 14, I did dress in the hopes that Joe McIntyre would see me and fall in love with me. And my outfit of choice to achieve that end? Why, acid wash jean shorts and a Joe t-shirt, of course. But 19 years changes you. Now I'm 33 and know that Joe is not going to see me and fall in love with me. And I don't have acid wash jean shorts anymore. So, since it was July and we were going to be in an outdoor venue, I was really just dressing to minimize butt sweat this time around.

Now THAT'S sexy.

SAME: Joe McIntyre is still hot.

CHANGE: Joe McIntyre is now married. Dangit. Her acid wash jean shorts were better than mine.

SAME: I still scream like a 14 year old girl when I see Joe on stage. I can't help it. At one point, the New Kids went backstage and the band played music while pictures of Michael Jackson were displayed on the screens. We all sang along to an MJ song and waited for the New Kids to come back out. No disrespect to Michael. Then, without warning, Donnie popped up on a platform about 20 feet away from me to my right. I looked to see if Joe was with him and wondered how the rest of the Kids would fit on the platform. Jill was hitting my shoulder and I thought she was doing it out of excitement at the whole platform thing. I just nodded, shouted happily "I know! It's so cool!" and kept watching Donnie's back. Then she started hitting my face since the whole shoulder thing was apparently not working. She's very nurturing like that. ANYWAY, in response to her subtle cues, I turned to my left and saw that JOE FREAKIN' MCINTYRE was 20 feet away to my left. 20 FREAKIN' FEET!! I completely lost control of myself. He was so close I could CLEARLY see his face. And, let me tell you, it was CUTE. I doubled over, screamed like a little girl, and started jumping around. I mean, I'm pretty sure we made EYE CONTACT!! Where oh where were my acid wash jean shorts??

CHANGE: Now I notice how ear-piercing it is when thousands of women are screaming. It's really loud, in case you're wondering. And you might be tempted to plug your ears (yes, Tracy, I'm talking about you . . .) but you can't give in to that because that's admitting that you're old (yes, Tracy, I'm talking about you . . .).

SAME: I suddenly became 14 again and sang all their songs at the top of my lungs.

CHANGE: I suddenly became my mom and found myself saying "What did he say?" a LOT.

SAME: Like a teenager, I hung onto every word they spoke.

CHANGE: Like my mom, I shook my head when they unexpectedly dropped the F-bomb 4 different times and I found myself getting my Nora on by putting my hand on my heart and saying "Now why would they say that?"

SAME: New Kids concerts are the best concerts EVER!!!

So my stroll down memory lane was fun and nostalgic. I loved looking around at all the women waving their arms in the air singing Hangin' Tough, I loved hearing all of us lose ourselves in the moment and just scream like little girls, and I loved hearing songs that instantly took me back to a really fun time in my life.

Good times, people. Good times.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I'm still alive!!

I promise I'm not dead! My trial is lasting a little longer than we thought it would but I WILL be back!

In the meantime, I hope you're missing me LOTS!!!!

Monday, July 13, 2009

Foxy Lady

I'm in trial this week so my posts will be kinda short - I hope you all will forgive me!!

The other day, I stopped by my sister Erin's house real quick to pick something up. As I was leaving - like halfway in my car - my niece Savannah stopped me and said "Catchy, can I ask you a question I've always wanted to know?" I said sure and then she scrunched up her face in a really confused look and said "How come you're not married?" Erin let out a groan of mortification, dropped into the fetal position, and began sucking her thumb. I answered Savannah by saying "I don't know! Don't you think I should be??" She said yes, much to her mother's relief. And mine. Then I told her that I needed to have a boyfriend first and that if she met anyone she thought might be good for me to let me know.

I'm not proud of asking my 6 year-old niece to pimp for me. It was a moment of weakness.

Quit judging me.

But her question got me thinking. Why AM I not married? It just doesn't make sense - I have a history of great hair, make a mean Baked Ziti, can do Hip Hop abs with the best of 'em, and love buying electronics. What man wouldn't love a girl who would bless his purchase of electronics?? Oh, and don't forget about my sex appeal. I mean, who wouldn't want to wake up next to THIS for the rest of his life?

Seriously . . . why has no one snatched me up?

I'm as puzzled as you are.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Feelin' hot hot hot!

I think this is the hottest summer we've ever had. Granted, I say that every year, but I think it's REALLY true this time. It's miserable outside! I've noticed a lot about the heat this year that I've never noticed before and I wonder if you are experiencing some of the same things . . .

1. My forehead is freakishly oily. I haven't had this problem since puberty. I'm THIS close to rubbing my forehead on a squeaky door hinge to see if it would fix the squeaking.
2. I have an inexplicable willingness to don my bathing suit and jump in a pool regardless of who's around. I mean, I've avoided that thing for YEARS and now suddenly, when someone mentions swimming, I'm like Wonder Woman - changing into my suit in the blink of an eye. Actually, the Wonder Woman comment just gave me an idea - maybe if I wear shiny wrist bands and knee boots with my suit, it will draw everyone's attention away from my rear. Hmmmmmmm . . .
3. I've gotten second degree burns from my car seat. Seriously. My shirt will raise up in the back just enough to expose a bit of skin so that when I sit down, I feel a searing pain. Involuntarily, I'll sit straight up and start doing Lamaze breathing techniques just to get through it.
4. My steering wheel has NEVER been so hot. I seriously have to drive with the heels of my hands and, even then, I can only touch the wheel for approximately 1.3 seconds at a time. And I have to do the Lamaze breathing again, too.
5. I actually contemplated jumping into a creek the other day just to cool off. I stood there telling myself that stagnant water would be refreshing and that the odds of finding water moccasins in there was pretty low. I couldn't muster up the courage, though, and cursed myself for not being a risk taker.
6. I find myself driving with my elbows up to shoulder level so that the vents will blow A/C up my shirt sleeves and into my armpits. I'm not proud of this.
7. When the restaurant hostess asks me if I want sit inside or outside, I stare coldly at her and tell her to use her freakin' head. Then I wipe some oil off of my forehead and sit down until my table is ready.
8. Just the THOUGHT of wearing jeans makes me sweat.
9. And speaking of sweat . . . I have never sweat so much. When I stand up, I have to subtly try to peel my pants off of my butt and thighs without anyone seeing. And it seems like every time I'm outside, I have sweat running down my back. The first time this happened, I freaked out because I thought there were bugs under my shirt. When I went to swat them, I realized that it was sweat. I think I might have preferred to find a bug infestation back there instead. I mean, let me tell ya, people . . . when you're single, you don't really need a case of excessive back sweat. It's SUPER attractive.

I hate to be a complainer but it's just HORRIBLE. Please tell me you feel the same! It's only July and I'm already counting down the days until the Fall arrives. I can't wait until the first cool front moves in, bringing with it the perfect excuse to wear jeans and jackets.

You know, so I can start complaining about the COLD weather.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Where do they find these people??

Subway has the worst customer service EVER. Have you ever noticed this? I'm convinced that they scour the community for the high school kids with the sourest attitudes and the worst social skills. I think McDonald's actually gets more animated workers than Subway does. And that's pretty sad - I mean, have you ever seen an animated McDonald's employee? Yeah - that's my point. I'm just gonna say it: Subway customer service sucks.

So why do I keep going? It's simple . . . I love the sandwich that I get there: 6 inch turkey and swiss on wheat, extra swiss, extra bacon, lettuce, regular mustard, salt and pepper, extra pepper. YUM!!! I really think it's the bacon that makes it. You should try it sometime. It's good stuff . . .

But good sandwich or not, they STINK when it comes to training their employees in the art of customer service. I went to a Subway close to my house a while back and when I walked in I noticed that the girl working there was on the phone. She stood up and shuffled toward the bread end of the line, still talking, and put her phone between her cheek and her shoulder. Without stopping her conversation, she looked at me as if to say "Well. Whadya want?" Suddenly, I found myself whispering my order . . . like I was the one being rude! And the girl made my sandwich and took my money without ever putting the phone down or interrupting her conversation. And I never raised my voice above a whisper. I had to laugh, then, when I saw this sign:
At the Subway in Huntsville, the customer service isn't much better. The sandwich makers are rude and hurried and rarely have a smile or a courteous word for you. Plus, they do the most annoying thing . . . they yell your extras down to the cashier. So there's no ordering extras anonymously. For some reason, they don't trust you to report your order honestly when you get down to the cashier. I haven't seen anything like that in any other Subway - it's no doubt the idea of a very unhappy person working at the Huntsville Subway. This is how it goes for me every time I'm at the Subway:

Sandwich maker: What type of Bread?
me: Hi! How are ya?
Sandwich maker: [staring at me blankly]
me: Ummmm . . . wheat, please - 6 inch.
SM: [hacking at bread] Meat?
me: Turkey, please.
SM: cheese?
me: Swiss. And can I get extra swiss, please?
SM: [yelling down to the cashier] SARAH! HEY! SARAH! THIS ONE HAS EXTRA SWISS ON IT.
me: [hiding my face and sucking my stomach in case people are judging me for the extra swiss]
SM: [slaps the extra swiss on and starts to slide my sandwich down to the next person]
me: oh, can I get some bacon on there, too?
SM: SARAH! HEY - SARAH! THIS ONE HAS DOUBLE CHEESE AND ADD BACON! [pulls out two pieces of bacon]
me: [putting my sunglasses on to conceal my identity] Actually, can I get extra bacon?
me: [doing a quick ring-check scan around the place to ensure that I'm not scaring off any single would-be suitors with my love of bacon] Ummmm . . . lettuce. Extra mustard. Salt and pepper. Extra pepper.
SM: [passes my sandwich to cashier and goes back to make more sandwiches]
me: [loudly, so everyone can here . . .] Do you all have BAKED Cheetos?

So mortifying.

But one bite of my sandwich and I forgive the poor customer service. And before I know it, I'm returning to the Subway in a day or two to repeat the whole embarrassing process. But it's all worth it.

Man, I really do love bacon . . .

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Please, no more tortillas.

After church on Sunday, my friends and I went to lunch at a Mexican restaurant called Casa Rico's over there by The Egg & I. I think it's owned by the same people who own the Rico's where the Creepy Little Village was so I was excited to see if they had any good artwork there. I walked in and saw two murals on the walls in the entry and was disappointed to see that they were pretty good. Bummer. I had had such high hopes!!

But then . . .

Shortly after we sat down, I excused myself to go the restroom. As I was walking toward the ladies' room, I had my head down. When I got to the door and started to push it open, I looked up and was greeted by this:

Holy cross dresser!! Someone get me a pair of tweezers STAT! I haven't seen a unibrow like that since . . . since . . . well, I've NEVER seen one like that! I actually stepped back to make sure I wasn't at the men's room by mistake.

Then I looked over at the men's room, wondering if they had an equally disturbing image. I was not disappointed:
What the heck is that?? How is ANYone supposed to be able to go the restroom after seeing that thing?? I know I couldn't . . .

After my unsuccessful trip to the restroom, I returned to the table. On my way back there, I noticed a picture of a mariachi band. I have decided to call this one Mi Guitarra Muy Grande:

How is he holding that thing up?? And check out his left hand - it's freakishly small. Poor guy's gonna get a hand cramp trying to play that thing. Clearly this artist is at least RELATED to the one who drew the likes of Slopey Shoulders boy and the Young Amputee. Right?

Then I saw the little girls making tortillas and I KNEW they had to be related to the creepy villagers:
I mean, it's bad enough to be born with no elbows OR no neck OR a large head. But to have all three at one time?? That's unfortunate. Add to that a lop-sided face and shoulders attached to your chest and you have a very sad situation. It's hard to enjoy your tortillas when she's looking at you so sadly like that as if she's trying to say "Please, no more tortillas. Every time you order more, I have to make them. With no elbows." And what's going on with the other little girl's foot? Is she related to pig hoof guy? Yes, these two are DEFINITELY refugees from the Creepy Little Village genocide.

Finally, the coup de gras . . .
I really don't know what to say about this one. I mean, did Jesus get that picture of Mary screen-printed on his garment? And since when did Jesus start wearing the open-shouldered Flashdance look?? This is quite disturbing. And a bit sacrilegious, I think . . .

The other pictures in the restaurant are actually pretty good drawings so this was all I could get. Granted, they aren't as good (and by "good" I mean "bad") as the original ones over at the Rico's in Alden Bridge BUT they are an entertaining substitute, aren't they?

And I don't know about you, but I appreciate my tweezers and my elbows A LOT more now . . .

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Stay tuned . . .

Hey, friends! I'm having a HORRIBLE back spasm today and can't sit up long enough to type a post for today. But I'm getting a massage this morning so hopefully I'll be back in business tomorrow!

So stay tuned . . . :)

Monday, July 6, 2009

Sooooooo out of my element . . .

At work the other day, I had to ask someone about huffing paint and as soon as those words came out of my mouth, I was struck by how strange they sounded coming from me. I really can't pull it off. I try to keep a straight face when I have to say something like that but I don't think I'm fooling anyone. I mean, I might as well start rapping - it would sound about as natural coming from me.

When you grow up in the suburbs, it's pretty easy to find yourself out of your element as soon as you step out into the world because there are a lot of situations out there that a sheltered upbringing just doesn't prepare you for.

I remember back in 2003, my firm sent me to Louisville, Kentucky for a couple of depositions. I had only been a lawyer for a few months and felt pretty proud of myself for getting to go. Of course, the only reason they had me go was the fact that I was the only single lawyer who wouldn't have to spend a night away from her family but that's neither here nor there. I was staying at a nice hotel in the city and I felt pretty grown-up. Granted, I was 27 years old so I SHOULD have felt grown-up but you get my point.

On the day of the depositions, we had about a 2 hour break in the middle of the day. I didn't want to just go sit in my room so I asked the desk clerk if there was anything interesting within walking distance. He told me that there was a mall down the street and warned me not to stray too far from the hotel because the neighboring areas were not good ones. I walked over to the mall, looked around, and headed back to the hotel. On my walk back, I came to an intersection and had to stop until the "do not walk" light went off. While I was standing there, I heard a conversation between two men behind me. This is how it went:

Man 1: SHE got a little booty.
Man 2: Man! White girl ain't go no ass.
Man 1: Well, she got a LITTLE booty.
Man 2: Man! White girl ain't go NOOOOOO ass.

I stiffened up when I heard them and realized that they were talking about me. I had never been in a situation where anyone was talking about my rear so openly and didn't know what to do. So I stood there, facing forward with my eyes widened. And with very good posture for some reason. I felt simultaneously offended and flattered and didn't know who I should be rooting for in this argument. Did I want a little booty or not? I had such competing emotions: on one hand I wanted to turn around and slap them and on the other hand I wanted to pull my jacket up a bit so they could get a better look before they made their final determinations. Thankfully, the light turned green so I was just able to walk away. And call everyone I ever knew.

Later, when I was in law school, I went to Memphis with my roommate and we spent the weekend hanging out with some of her friends. They decided to take us salsa dancing so we piled in the car and headed to a club that they liked. We pulled up to this place and I quickly realized that this was an AUTHENTIC salsa club - not like a wannabe that you'd find in the suburbs. This was the real deal. So we got in line to head in and then I saw that the bouncer was frisking people before they went in. My eyes got wide, my heart sped up, and I could feel my dad watching me all the way from Texas. You don't have to know me for very long before you'd know that I have never frequented a club where they frisk their patrons. This was definitely a first for me!

I stood there in line and, again, I had conflicting emotions. On one hand, I was horrified at the thought of someone frisking me but on the other hand I was kind of excited about it! When it was my turn, I walked up to the bouncer, stood with my feet apart, and lifted my arms straight out to the side. I let the air out of my lungs, closed my eyes, and scrunched up my face as if to say "Go ahead. Let's get it over with." Nothing happened. So I opened one eye and looked at the bouncer who was just looking at me and smirking. When he saw me open my eye, he said "We don't frisk, women. Go on in." I must admit - I was one disappointed little Gringa.

Sometimes I wish I had a little more street cred, know what I'm sayin'?

Yeah . . . I can't pull that off either, can I??

Friday, July 3, 2009

Happy Fourth!!!!

One of the MANY things I love about my family is that everything always turns into a story. Bad things, good things, even mundane things that happen to us somehow turn into a funny story that we can tell and laugh about. Growing up in a family like that is such a blessing . . . and really develops your story-telling abilities!

As Fourth of July approaches, I can't help but think of one story in particular. This story is Palmore family legend and I think it's the perfect way to celebrate Independence Day with you all.

We moved from Garland, Texas to The Woodlands in the summer of 1983. It took a while for The Woodlands to grow on me because I had left all my friends behind and really missed them. Luckily, I was in the third grade and making friends was easy at that age. Don't get me wrong - I still had to prove myself to them and show them that I was cool but I felt like I had made a good impression with my classmates.

Summer 1984 came along and I got my Permullet - things were really looking up for me. And the best thing was that 4th of July was coming up. And that meant that it was PARADE time . . . we LOVED the 4th of July parade! We would get up early, get our chairs in the car, get our buckets for all the candy we were bound to catch, and we'd head out to get a good spot on the parade route. It was always an exciting day. Back then, The Woodlands didn't have its 4th of July parade on the actual 4th unless the 4th fell on a weekend. If the 4th fell during the week, the parade would be on the preceding weekend. Follow me?

In 1984, my family had been in The Woodlands for about a year and we were ready for our first July 4th parade in our new town. That year, the 4th fell on a weekday so the parade was scheduled for the weekend before. We woke up early Saturday morning and piled all of our stuff in the car. Being Nora, my mom decided to bring a chaise lounge lawn chair with us. Do you remember those things? They were the long lawn chairs with the plastic, green and white strips that your butt would always jut through? And you could fold it up by folding the top and bottom up to the middle and then folding down the legs? And you'd use them to lay out in the back yard? Do you remember those? Yeah, my mom brought one of those with her that day for the parade.

We girls got our candy buckets and hopped into the car. We drove out to Woodlands Parkway (that's where the parade was back then) and we parked on the grass on the side of the road. The five of us piled out of the car and unloaded all of our stuff: four chairs, a chaise lounge, three buckets for candy, visors, sports thermoses loaded up with water, sunscreen, and little flags to wave (the Palmore family doesn't wait for someone to pass flags out at a parade . . .). We were decked out in our best July 4th wear - white shorts, red shirts, sunglasses, big blue bows in our hair - things of this nature.

We sat on the side of the road and looked around. No one else was out yet. We congratulated ourselves on beating the rest of The Woodlands out to the parade route. We waited for a while, my sisters and I in prime candy-getting position with buckets ready. We started to comment on how strange it was that the street was still so busy - it seemed like they should have started shutting down the parade route by that point. But no matter . . . we brushed it off and just high-fived each other for getting out there before ANYone else did.

Another 10 minutes passed and we thought it was so strange that more people weren't coming out for the parade. Cars were screaming past us on Woodlands Parkway, the breeze blowing through my Permullet. Something just didn't feel right. We were still feeling pretty proud of ourselves but that feeling was becoming slightly overshadowed by our growing confusion. Eventually, one of our friends drove past and somehow recognized us. He pulled over and hopped out of his truck to ask us what we were doing. We told him that we were waiting for the parade, of course. That's when he informed us that the parade wasn't until the next day. Sunday.


I still remember that moment - looking around panicked, feeling exposed. I began praying that no fourth graders had seen me out there. Surely they wouldn't recognize me! Then I remembered my Permullet and realized that you could spot that thing from a mile away. I silently cursed my beautiful hair, shaking my fist to the heavens.

Oh, man - we must have been such a sight. I mean, we weren't just sitting on the side of the road, people. We were CAMPED OUT and raring to go, we girls waving our flags and my mom lounging back on her chaise lounge. So horrifying. And yet . . . so Palmore.

But at least we got a good story out of it . . .

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Another blah-g . . .

Well, I couldn't figure out what to blog about - nothing blogworthy has happened in the last few days! So I was thinking that I would just tell you about some random thoughts and happenings from the the last week or so . . .

I was driving back from the Hill Country and stopped to fill up my tank. As I was pumping my gas, I noticed a reflection in a piece of glass that was waist-level. What I saw there startled me: there was a HUGE protrusion at my waist! Like a big hump coming straight out. I was seriously horrified. I thought to myself "I KNEW I shouldn't have eaten those Beaver Nuggets!" I tried sucking it in but didn't notice any difference in the reflection. I was just about to fall to my knees shouting "whyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy????" when I realized that the glass was apparently at an angle and it was my chest that was reflecting and not my waist. Is it wrong that I felt proud of the "huge protusion" at that moment?

On the drive home, I saw an old clunker truck with a sticker on the back window that read "Bad Ass Boys Drive Bad Ass Toys." This made me laugh. And made me want to ask him his definition of "Bad Ass."

I stopped by Burger King to pick up dinner for me and my mom. I pulled forward to the second window and paid but my order was not ready. The kid taking my money asked me to pull forward and they would bring me my food when it was ready. Not unusual, right? What was weird about it was that there was no one behind me so I didn't really understand why I couldn't just wait at the window for my order to be ready. I found myself feeling quite rejected and pulled away saying quietly, "Fine. I didn't want to look at you, either." And then I realized that I'm too immature to be driving a car.

I went to my 5 year old nephew's hip hop class today and thought it would be so cute to watch. All the dance studios there have big windows that people can watch through so we all piled around to watch little Ben do his thing. I sat there watching him trying to learn the steps (and getting only about every fourth step) and I realized that I would NOT be able to do the dance he was learning. It looked way too hard! It has taken me 2 months to get to a point where I can do Hip Hop abs without becoming nervous that someone might see me. And here is my nephew dancing every fourth step of a hip hop routine with all of us staring at him through a window. I suddenly became more impressed with Ben and thought about asking him to teach me some moves. I'm not proud that my 5 year old, whiter-than-white nephew has more groove than I do.

Then my sister started talking with the owner of the studio and I realized that my sisters had signed me (and themselves) up for a jazz/hip hop class. And it starts next week.

Excuse me . . . WHAT??????? WITH A WINDOW WHERE EVERYONE CAN WATCH ME??? Friends, that is my own personal Hell.

Something tells me that I will DEFINITELY have something to blog about then . . .

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Catherine is typing.

I love facebook. I heard someone call it the "virtual neighborhood" once and I love that description - when I check my homepage, it really is like running into some neighbors outside and hearing the latest news from their day. It's so fun. Plus, I'm keeping up with people I haven't seen in years. It's so great!

My mom is on facebook now and that has provided me with endless entertainment. One of my favorite things to do is to watch her when an IM pops up. It completely unnerves her and she starts saying things like "Oh noooooooooooooooooooo. What do I do nooooooooooooow??" She finally had to disable her chat because her nerves just could not take it. I was recently over at her house doing a facebook tutorial (these are the things we do in my family . . .) and we were tackling the idea of the status update. Once we got past the stress of picking the RIGHT thing to type, she posted her first status.

If you aren't familiar with facebook, let me explain the status to you. Facebook allows you to tell people what you're doing at any given moment. You just type in your status and then it appears on your friends' facebook pages so that they can be kept abreast of what's going on in your day or in your life. I'll get on my homepage and see that some of my friends are on vacation or home sick or just found out they are expecting a baby. It's a great way to stay up with the latest in everyone's lives.

The longer you're on facebook, the more you see that different people have different ways of using the status update. Here are just a few of them:

The play-by-play.
Some people use the status feature to really keep us posted about everything they're doing throughout the day. For instance, you'll pull up your homepage and see successive updates like so:

Catherine is going to copy some documents.
Catherine is frustrated because someone is already using the copier.
Catherine is FINALLY copying her documents.
Catherine is wondering when this copy job will ever be finished!!
Catherine hates paper jams!!
Catherine finally cleared the paper jam and is almost done!
Catherine is back at her desk and glad to be done with the copier.

These people take the idea of "status update" quite literally.

The teasers:
Others like to tease us with just enough information to get us asking questions. You know who you are. Here is how the teaser works:

Catherine is wondering when the pain will go away . . .
Catherine wonders if she'll ever get over what just happened.
Catherine wants all the drama in her life to just go away.
Catherine is not sure how much longer she can hold on . . .
Catherine just can't take it anymore.

These status updates inevitably get comments like "What's going on??" or "I'm praying for you." or "Suck it up and quit whining." Ok, not the last one. But you know you've wanted to write that a time or two.

The incorrect-use-of-is updates:
God bless 'em, some people just don't know how to use the "is" properly in the status update so you get lots of these types of statuses:

Catherine is oh my gosh I'm so tired.
Catherine is can you believe this weather??
Catherine is wow my neighbors are loud.

It's ok - "is" has tripped many people up so don't feel bad. It's a tough concept to grasp. Chin up, friends. Chin up.

The you-should-not-be-on-facebook-right-now updates:
I'm sure you've seen this type of update, too. It looks something like this:

Catherine is trying to outrun a rabid dog.
Catherine just shot a nail into her hand.
Catherine is about to rear-end the car in front of her.
Catherine can't figure out where all the blood is coming from.
Catherine thinks someone is trying to break into her house.

WHY ARE YOU ON FACEBOOK RIGHT NOW??? Put your iPhone down and concentrate on what you're doing!!

Aaaaaaah - I do love facebook! Where else can you find out that your friend from second grade got a sunburn at the beach or that the girl you sat next to in 10th grade English just saw something that scared her? I get to "see" these people everyday and get to keep up with their lives . . . what a great idea! And I hope to see YOU around the virtual neighborhood soon. But for now . . .

Catherine is thinks she's done with this post.