Monday, November 30, 2009

Wait - that's not what I meant . . .

So the Thanksgiving weekend is over and I am officially pumpkin-pied out. Well, not really. I'm just saying that so that you won't judge me. The truth is that I could eat pumpkin pie for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the rest of my life and I'd be just fine.

ANYWAY, the weekend was great. I had lots of great family time, lots of down-time for reading, and saw lots of movies. Well, I actually only saw 4 but that's a lot for me these days - I've been in a little bit of a movie drought.

One of the movies I saw this weekend was "Precious." Have you seen it? It's about a girl from Harlem who has a HORRIBLE childhood - sexually assaulted by her mother and father, verbally, emotionally, and physically abused by her mother, and just utterly alone in this world. Very sad. Very depressing. And VERY uncomfortable to watch with your mom sitting next to you the whole time saying "WHAT did she just say?" There are certain things a girl should never have to repeat for her mother . . .

My friend Christina (who is also my trial partner at work) came out to see "Precious" with my mom and my sister Erin. Before the movie, Christina and I ran out to get everyone's drinks and popcorn and whatnot. As we were leaving to head back to our little theater with our arms full of everyone's goodies, I saw a friend of mine who was waiting in the line next to us. I introduced him to Christina and this was the exchange that followed:

Me: This is my trial partner Christina.
Friend: Your trial partner?
Me: Yes. We're both in the perv court.
Friend: The perv court?
Me: Yeah. You know, the sexually violent predator court in Montgomery County.
Friend: Oh yeah!
Me: And Christina is my trial partner.
Friend: So not your permanent partner?

This is where the conversation went terribly wrong. He was trying to be funny by saying "permanent" as opposed to "trial" partner as if to insinuate that I was trying Christina out on a trial basis as my partner at work. Just an innocent play on words.

I thought he was asking if she was my LIFE partner . . .

I didn't know how to fix the apparent miscommunication and HE didn't realize that I wasn't getting his joke. So we kept talking to each other while having two very different conversations. The result was an awkward mess:

Friend: So not your permanent partner? [looking at me expectantly, waiting for me to get his joke]
Me: [HUH?? Oh crap. How do I fix this without it getting awkward?] No . . . no . . . ummmm . . . my trial partner. For work. We're lawyers.
Friend: Ahhhhh - not your PERMANENT partner.
Me: [What the . . . NOOOOOOO!! Act casual.] Nope! Just friends from work . . .
Friend: [probably thinking "she's not getting my joke . . ."] Still trying it out . . .
Me: [Oh for the love of . . . ] Ummmmm . . .? [Should I shout "I like boys!" right now? Would that be too awkward?]
Friend: Not permanent . . . [looking at me knowingly - trying to make me understand his joke.]
Me: Nope. [I need to abandon this conversation NOW.] You can't make that too clear these days! [What does THAT mean?? Uh oh . . . here comes the verbal diarrhea . . .] Yep! We're here with my mom and my sisters. Not by ourselves. [SHUT UP, CATHERINE.]

Before I knew it, I had beads of sweat on my forehead and I was trying to remember if I had put my deodorant on that morning. I had a sudden urge to start talking about how hot all the guys in the concession line were. Or to go grab a random guy's butt just to set the record straight. But I fought the urge. Then, as I walked off, his joke finally dawned on me. I was mortified then at my responses - how immature my reaction was!! But I had to smile at myself.

And say "Man, that guy's HOT!" loud enough for him to hear - just for good measure . . .

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving thanks.

Ahhhhhhhh Thanksgiving. A time for giving thanks . . . and consuming my weight in pumpkin pie. Although it will NEVER supersede Christmas in my eyes, Thanksgiving is a darn good holiday. I love it for the family time, the latest centerpiece on my mom's dining room table, the turkey and dressing, and the pumpkin pie.

And I love the reminder that we should give thanks.

At some point during our dinner today, we will go around the table and say what we're thankful for. We did this one year and my sisters hated it. So then I started bringing it up year after year just to get on their nerves. I love to see them glare at me when I say "Oh wait! We haven't gone around the table to say what we're thankful for yet!" Immature, yes. But I do love it.

Each year, I give thanks for the same things: my family, my relationship with the Lord, my friends. And I mean it when I do. These are the most important things in my life - the most amazing blessings a girl could ask for. But there are other things that I'm thankful for that I don't specifically mention by name at the table on Thanksgiving because, if I did, everyone would realize instantly how utterly shallow I am. And I try to hide that from everyone as much as possible.

But not today. Today I'd like to take a moment to make my appreciation of these other things known . . .

1. Kraft Macaroni & Cheese. Seriously - whoever would have imagined that powdered cheese could be so good?? It's such a comfort food for me. And please don't insult me by serving me the Velveeta version. It's an abomination and I'll never forgive you for it. Look, I told you I was shallow . . .

2. Little Debbie. I don't know if you know this about me but I'm quite fond of my little Deb. She brought Oatmeal Creme Pies and Swiss Cake Rolls into my life and I am forever thankful. If I could meet her and hug her, my life would be complete.

3. The color black. It's a nice, slimming color that helps hide my flaws when I wear it. Aaaaaaaand it comes in handy after a dinner of Kraft Macaroni & Cheese and Swiss Cake Rolls.

4. My DVR. This is simultaneously the greatest and worst thing that has ever happened to me. I have never watched so much television in my life. It used to be that my busy life kept me from all the good shows that were on in the evening. It kinda stunk but at least I didn't spend that much time sitting in front of the television. But now I have my normal busy schedule AND have to somehow watch 8 hours of television every night. It's killing me. And it's glorious.

5. Dirty Jobs. I love that show and I'm so thankful that Mike Rowe exists . . . he gives my salivary glands a reason to live.

6. The word "smidge." It's a great word and it really rolls off the tongue. I try to use it at least once a day: "Can you move over a smidge?" or "Can you turn the TV up a smidge?" or "Can I have a smidge more Macaroni & Cheese?" It's the greatest. You should try using it more . . . I guarantee you'll be giving thanks for it next year, too.

7. Stupid people. You can't really specifically give thanks for stupid people when you're sitting around the dinner table on Thanksgiving telling everyone what you're thankful for. It's not a very nice thing to say and it makes you sound like kind of a jerk. But let's be honest - I love stupid people. And I'm thankful for their existence because they make life so much more entertaining. Aaaaaaaaand they give me something to write about.

8. And last but not least . . . YOU. I have no idea why you continue to read my posts but I'm so thankful that you do!! You have made this whole blogging experience so much fun and I love you for it!! You are DEFINITELY not stupid people . . . :)

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Never say never.

So I just finished reading the Twilight Saga. I'm sure you've heard of it but, just in case any of you haven't . . . it's a love story about a vampire named Edward and a human named Bella, to sum it up succinctly. I had heard it described as a pure love story - a Pride and Prejudice for vampires. This made me angry, of course, because nothing should be compared so lightly to my precious Pride & Prejudice. Nothing. Anyway, the saga comprises four books: Twilight, New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn - in that order. And I had no interest in reading them. I had SWORN that I wasn't going to read them and get caught up in the craze that appears to have swept the country.

But I just couldn't help myself.

And I really don't know why I resisted so much. I mean, it's not because I am averse to blindly following pop culture phenomena - I AM still in love with the New Kids on the Block, after all. And it's not like I don't love to read. Because I really do. I think it's because I'm not that into the whole fantasy genre thing and a vampire love story just smacks of "fantasy," does it not?

Ahhhhhh. How foolish and misguided I was . . .

6 months ago at lunch with my sister Erin:

Erin: Hey!
Me: Hey! Ummmm . . . are you ACTUALLY wearing a Twilight t-shirt?
Erin: Uh huh.
Me: In public?
Erin: Yep!
Me: Wow.
Erin: [smiling proudly]
Me: You're 32.
Erin: [smiling bigger]
Me: And married.
Erin: [still smiling]
Me: And a mother of two.
Erin: Don't judge me.
Me: You know, your reputation is your own business but when we meet in public, you can't bring me down with you like this. I've got a reputation to uphold. And I'm not married yet so looking cool is still kinda important to me. I can't afford to be seen with uncool people . . . like a grown woman in a Twilight t-shirt - it affects my odds.
Erin: Edward wouldn't care . . .

Fast forward two months. I'm meeting my sister at the mall . . .

Erin: What's up?!
Me: Nothing mu- . . . does your shirt say "Team Edward"?
Erin: Yep!
Me: That's embarrassing.
Erin: Shut up. Don't judge me.

Fast forward a month and half. I come home and my roomie Melissa and a friend are watching Twilight. I roll my eyes. I sit down in the living room with them and get my laptop out so that I can check my email real quick and get to bed. With absolutely no intention of watching the movie. 2 hours later, my email remains unanswered and I'm totally sucked in to the movie.


The next day, I go to my niece's birthday party and confess to my sister:

Me: Sooooooooooooo . . . I need to tell you something.
Erin: What???
Me: I watched Twilight last night.
Erin: [gasps, opens eyes in horror, and then screams . . .] Without meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee???
[children look up frightened and run to their mothers]
Me: Yeah. Sorry. It was good, though. But now I have a bunch of questions.
Erin: Hold on. [gets phone out and dials her husband] Matt? Can you bring my copy of Twilight with you? It's on the Edward shrine in the bedroom. [Ok - she didn't really say that part. Her Edward shrine is in her living room . . .] Ok. Matt's bringing it. You have to hurry up and read it and New Moon because the movie for New Moon comes out in two weeks!!
Me: Two weeks?? Are you crazy?? Erin, there is no WAY I'll read them that fast. I mean, I just don't read books as quickly as you do. Plus, I have trial next week so I'll be working on that. So . . . it's probably not gonna happen . . .

Fast forward two weeks. I've read all four books, am totally in love with Edward, have now added "Must growl or hiss at anyone who tries to hurt me" to my list of must-haves in a husband, and am standing in line for the 9:40 showing of New Moon:

Erin: This is so exciting!
Me: I know! I can't wait!
Random man in front of us: Are y'all actually wearing Edward t-shirts??

Don't judge me.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Adventures on a Tornado Tour - Part 6

Here's my report from the six day of my tornado tour! Don't forget to watch Storm Chasers this Sunday night on the Discovery Channel!!!

* * * * *

April 25, 2009

Ok, today was sooooooooooooooooooo fun . . . well, after I hauled myself out of bed after only 3 hours sleep! We stayed in Wichita last night and had to head to Southwest Oklahoma or the Texas Panhandle so we had to get a pretty early start. We hit the road and drove like the wind to Erick, Oklahoma. We pulled into a gas station and saw the T.I.V. 2 (Tornado Intercept Vehicle). The TIV is the brainchild of this director named Shawn Casey who was on both seasons of Stormchasers. He's super strange and kinda bugs on the show and his vehicle is notoriously unreliable, breaking down all the time. It was kind of cool to see it in person.

Reed, Chris, and Joel pulled into the parking lot, too, and then it was time for the intercept vehicle show down! They parked next to each other and checked out each other's vehicles and chatted for a while. You can tell that Shawn doesn't like the SRV - I couldn't hear what he was saying but I could tell from the body language! Can't wait to see the show to hear what he was saying.

The TIV is built around a chassis of an old truck (I think) and it's really heavy and totally impracticable. Plus, the chassis is the only part of the original vehicle remaining under the structure of the TIV. The SRV, on the other hand, is basically just an armor-covered Tahoe. That's really simplified but the point is that it drives like a Tahoe and is much a much better-designed vehicle. In fact, 10 minutes after the TIV left the parking lot, it broke down and they are having to get another vehicle. Shawn is gonna hate the SRV running circles around him! It should be an interesting season!! :)

So then we left the parking lot and started our chase. Shane encouraged Eric by telling him that he has nuts that clank. Man, I'm so glad I'm not a guy. Shane also said that he has never been on a roadtrip with so many people he doesn't know. Thank GOD his victim pool is so limited!! It was an interesting day with him, actually. Within the same day, he was the most intolerable he's been yet and then, an hour later, the most enjoyable he's been so far. But every time he opens his mouth, my butt clenches.

We saw lots of awesome storms today and saw some funnel clouds that dissipated before anything came of them. It was lots of driving like the freakin' wind and hearing Matt freak out when he saw something significant. It was a REALLY fun day - I'm so glad that I came on this trip!! Tomorrow should be an awesome day for us - Matt and Dave said it could be the best day for chasing in the last three years. There should be LOTS of tornadoes and even some strong ones.

I'm so excited . . . wish me luck!!!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The joys of working out . . .

I really prefer to work out at my house - I've always been that way. The thought of going to the gym and working out in front of a bunch of people in spandex who are all there to judge me (that IS why they're there . . .) makes my arm pits sweat. And if you START your work out with sweaty pits, it's all downhill from there.

Yeah, the gym is a nightmare to me. You know, walking on the treadmill next to the girl who appears to be training for some sort of sprinting contest. Or holding on to the side of the elliptical machine, gasping for air, and hoping that the guy next to me won't see that I've only been on it for 2 minutes and 9 seconds. Or having to get the 10 lb weights in front of the guy who just benched 250 . . . aaaaaaaaaand then having to go back and get the 8 lb weights because 10 lbs was just a BIT too ambitious. These are all scenes out of a nightmare for me. A horror movie. My own personal Hell.

Until recently, I thought that was the worst possible way to work out. And then I met a friend of mine for breakfast in a little area called Market Street (lots of shops and some restaurants) and saw something way worse . . . I shall call it "Mommy and Me Boot Camp" because all the women in the class had a stroller with a matching toddler. And the strollers seemed to be utilized as part of the class, as if the class were designed around that concept:

I felt awkward just walking BY them - there is no WAY I could do that in front of all those people walking around Market Street shopping. My heart is racing a bit right now just THINKING about it. It's the one time in my life that I found myself grateful that I didn't have kids and, therefore, did not have to think of a clever excuse to give in answer to the question "Hey - do you want to try this new Mommy and Me Boot Camp tomorrow?"

So no 24 Hour Fitness for me. No Gold's Gym or Bally's. And certainly no public shopping areas. Nope - I leave gym scene to my slightly exhibitionist friends and work out in my living room instead.

I recently switched from Hip Hop Abs to a new workout program called P90X. Have you heard of it? It's this really hard, super-intense 90 day program with lots of impossible moves and with the type of people who like to say "Bring It" and have push-up contests. You know the type . . .

Anyway, this new video is tough. And it makes me feel just as ridiculous as Hip Hop Abs did, but in a very different way: now I find myself yelling "WHAT?" and "How the HECK are you doing that??" and "I HATE YOU!" a lot at the television . . . it's really quite a difficult workout. For instance, for one of the moves you have to do a traditional push-up (i.e. no knees . . . i.e. impossible for me) and then, when you've done the push up, you lock your ankles together and roll to one side, making your body perpendicular to the floor and supporting yourself with your feet and one arm still in push-up mode. Having trouble understanding? Yeah - me, too. Here's a visual for you:

The first time I did this, I collapsed instantly and then actually heard my arm laughing at me. But I've improved each week and now when I collapse, my arm just cusses at me. So I think that's progress. You should try it sometime . . . someday when you're feeling really good about yourself and you think "You know what? I need a healthy dose of humility. I need to feel like a fool IMMEDIATELY."

Another thing you should do when you need a good dose of humility is get my mom to come sit in your living room and watch you while you work out. I had that honor the other day when she came over to watch Dancing With The Stars with me and got to my house while I was still working out. She just sat down in one of my chairs and played on my laptop while I kept plugging along with my DVD. I thought that she was otherwise occupied with email and various websites until I was suddenly treated to a running commentary: "Get your butt down. Your butt's too high. Look at him - his butt's down. Your arm should be coming up a little more. They're bringing their arms higher than that. No. No. Look at them - they're twisting their arms more than that. See? Twist. Twist. See?"

I tried to ignore her at first. Then I thought about saying something mature like "If you think you're so good, why don't YOU get down here and try it?" Then I thought about hitting her with my hand weights to make her quiet down. But I decided against that because, in the event she was seriously injured by my attack, I didn't want Exhibit A in my subsequent trial to be a set of 3 lb weights. That would just be embarrassing.

So I just decided that my best option would be for me to just get my workout done before she comes over to watch TV with me.

Or borrow a baby and a stroller and go work out at Market Street . . .

Monday, November 16, 2009

Deal Breakers

My roommate Melissa and I were just chatting tonight about being single. She was saying how she'd been listening to a radio talk show on her way home and that they were discussing singledom. Apparently the ladies on the show were saying that your best chance to find a mate is when you're in your 20s and that, after that, the odds of finding someone go down.

That made us feel all warm and fuzzy inside . . .

So Melissa and I, after a healthy dose of trash-talking about the talk-show ladies and their mothers, decided that we are going to be better about getting out there on the dating scene. You know, rather than sitting home on the weekend talking about radio talk shows about being single . . .

To help us in our quest for the future Mr. Catherine and Mr. Melissa, we decided we needed to identify our deal breakers. You know - to help us weed out the MANY suitors who will no doubt be beating down our door. This is the list we have so far - we'd love to know your thoughts and/or additions . . .

1. If you have a sticker on your car that depicts Calvin peeing on ANYTHING, we would prefer if you'd ask someone else out. I don't care what he's peeing on, either. The Chevy symbol, the University of Texas logo, or even Osama Bin Laden - it's a deal breaker.

2. In that same vein, if you have . . . ummmmmm . . . how do I say this . . . ummmmmm . . . "Buccee's Balls" (aka "TruckNutz") hanging from the tow hitch of your truck, you're out. And if one of my nieces or nephews ever points yours out to me and asks "Catchy, what is THAT?", you're dead.

3. If you own a Hooter's t-shirt . . . seriously?

4. If a middle-aged guy invites you on a date and then brings his mom and middle-aged sister along and THEN explains that they are also his roommates, that's probably a deal breaker. It might seemed far-fetched, but it DID happen to Melissa. Hmmmmmm . . . I wonder why she's staring off into space muttering "Never again. Never again."

5. If you have more than 5 pictures of yourself striking the "rocker" pose on facebook, we think you might get annoying. You know the pose I'm talking about - eyes squinted, tongue out Gene-Simmons style, and hands in the "Rock On" sign that I can never seem to get quite right and end up flashing the "Hang Loose" sign or the "Hook 'em Horns" sign or saying "I love you" in sign language. So maybe that's really why it's a deal breaker - we don't that embarrassing moment of miscommunication where we think that you've just declared your undying love for us in sign language. With your tongue out . . .

6. If you use "supposably" or "expecially" in a sentence, you won't want to go out with me anyway because I'll spend most of the evening banging my head into the corner of the table to make the pain stop. And that will just get annoying to you.

7. If you use "we was" in a sentence, I can't handle it. I can't even TRY to handle it. I will simply call you up and say nicely "Well, we WAS gonna go on a date, but now we's NOT."

8. If you don't get my family's sense of humor, then I will need to check for a pulse because I'll be convinced that you are a lobotomized zombie who has somehow infiltrated our ranks. Once I have verified that you are actually alive and just sadly devoid of humor, I'll ask you to leave. So that my family and I can talk bad about you.

9. If you prefer chin-ups over fajitas, you'll never speak my love language. So we might as well just end it now.

10. If you cry harder than we do in sad movies, we think we'll just keep looking. You know, for a GUY . . .

So that's what we have so far. I think we're being reasonable, though, don't you?? I mean, it's not too picky to have SOME standards, is it? I don't think so. But you never know - God could teach me to not be so picky and have me fall in love with a wonderful man who has a sticker of Calvin peeing on a grammar book.

No - God wouldn't do that to me . . .

Would He?

Friday, November 13, 2009

Adventures on a Tornado Tour - Part 5

Here's my report from Day 5 of my tornado tour from this Spring. Don't forget to DVR Storm Chasers on the Discovery Channel this SUNDAY!!

* * * * *

April 24, 2009

Today was lots of fun. We met downstairs in the lounge at 11 and we had to wait around a little for Reed and Chris. It's really interesting watching the Discovery people filming them because it's pretty staged. For example, both Reed and Chris were outside talking to us and then, when the production crew gave them the high sign, they went back in with their bags just so that they could walk back out and get in the car for the cameras while having a staged conversation about the chase plans for the day:

Then they pulled out of the parking lot while the crew filmed but came right back in the parking lot and waited around for another 15 minutes or so while the production crew loaded up their truck. Then we went and ate breakfast at a local restaurant. Reed and Chris were sitting at a table right next to ours and the production crew had to film them talking about their game plan for the day:

It's so weird to see how staged it really is!!! I mean, the chasing is real but the conversations? Not so much . . .

We left from breakfast before Reed and Chris did and we hit the road to catch some storms that were going to be happening up north. We stopped in a town in Nebraska (now I've forgotten which one) and waited to see what the storms were doing. It was cool to watch the clouds just pop up. I've never noticed it before but you can actually watch the clouds develop - they just start popping up like popcorn! They started like this:

And developed into this:

We were stopped for about 30 minutes, just hanging out and stretching our legs. Matt decided it was time to head North so we piled in and drove to Southwestern Iowa. On the way, we met up with Reed and Chris and joined the convoy of the SRV, the production vehicle, and the mechanics. We pulled over on the side of the road to look at the clouds forming (which was actually way more interesting than it sounds!) and, you guessed it, stage some shots for Discovery:

We decided to break off from Reed at that point and chase on to Iowa because we figured we'd go a little faster without the Discovery crew tagging along.

Unfortunately, all the storms we chased just evaporated as soon as we got there. Reed and Chris went a little further south from us but the same thing happened to them. We got a little rain but no hail. But we DID get some awesome lightning shows. I'm sure it's no different from any lightning I've ever seen BUT out there in the WIDE open with no trees or buildings to obstruct your view, it is AMAZING!! You can see the lightning connect with the horizon and then just pulse over and over. It was downright blinding at times!!! So that was cool.

We have to head to the Texas panhandle tomorrow so we needed to get to Wichita, KS for tonight. So we hit the road. Along the way, we took a heretofore unprecedented "fart" stop for Shane which added to his ever-growing charm. He had made the announcement/fart-stop request by saying: "I'm just telling y'all right now that I'm building up something big here and I'm gonna have to relieve myself. I'm cramping up bigtime."

Seriously, Lord . . . WHY?

So now we are in Wichita and will be heading Southwest tomorrow. They are still saying that tomorrow is gonna be HUGE and Matt said that there's almost a guarantee that there will be tornadoes - we just have to pick the right storm.

Aaaaaaaaaand make sure that we make the appropriate number of . . . ummmmm . . . stops for Shane.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Take your caps off and enjoy the weather!

What a glorious day it was today! The temperature was perfect, the skies were blue, and I had JUST enough excuses to avoid working out . . . all the ingredients for the perfect day. It's days like this that make me glad that I have a convertible.

I think that buying a convertible is one of the best things I've ever done. My nieces and nephew love riding in it, too, so it makes me feel good that they think I'm cooler than my sisters. Petty? Yes. Do I care? No. I took the kids recently to pick out their own pair of sunglasses to keep in my car so that they have some shades waiting for them when we are riding with the top down on sunny days like today. After all, we must all look as cool as we possibly can, right? Of course, the Hannah Montana soundtrack blaring probably counters any coolness we get with our cute shades but we try . . .

ANYWAY, I love it. Granted, I only get to fully utilize it for probably four months out of the year. But those four months are WONDERFUL. I get to feel the wind in my hair, feel the sun on my skin . . . aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand I get to hear my mom's various names for the convertible top. One of my favorites came out about this time LAST year when my mom and I were running over to my sister's house in my car. As she was approaching the passenger-side door to get in, she looked at me across the top with an excited look and had this conversation with me:

Mom: Are you going to take your hat off?
Me: My hat? [feeling my head to confirm that I, in fact, was not wearing a hat]
Mom: Yeah. Are you going to take your hat off?
Me: You mean "Put the top back?"
Mom: Yeah.
Me: Yep.

I'm so glad I speak Nora.

Aren't you glad you're learning the language, too?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Soup Expose

My mom and sisters surprised me today by coming out to have lunch with me in Huntsville. It was quite a sacrifice for them - they had to make the 45 minute drive just for lunch and they had to eat lunch in HUNTSVILLE . . . where Chili's is the fancy restaurant in town. Anyway, when they got there, we tried to figure out where to eat - should we go to the place we always go to or try something new? It was a big decision but we ultimately opted for a place that none of us had every been to: The Junction.

The Junction is a "steakhouse" that's located in an old historical home off Highway 30 in Huntsville. It sits back from the road and looks quite regal - almost like an exclusive club. My mom had seen it from the road the last time she was up there to eat lunch with me and wanted to give it a shot. As we walked up to the door of the place, we started thinking that perhaps this wasn't such a good idea. But, not listening to our guts, we walked in and were seated immediately.

The hostess took us to a small room in the house/restaurant and tried to seat us right next to the only other diners in the place. Why do people do that?? The restaurant is WIDE OPEN and they want us to sit right on top of each other? Don't they know that we plan to talk bad about the place the whole time and want some privacy in which to do that?? Geez, people!

We sat down at the table and looked at the menu. Nothing looked all that great but we each found something that we thought we'd give a shot. Each of our meals came with our choice of soup or salad so, when our waitress came back to take our orders, I asked her what soups they had and she told me that the Soup of the Day today was Vegetable. So my mom and I ordered the Vegetable soup and my sisters each ordered salads. When our soup came, it was immediately apparent to me that it was Campbell's Vegetable soup. This is the conversation that followed:

Me: [after waitress leaves our table] Huh. This is just Campbell's soup.
Mom: Nooooooooooo. I think it's homemade.
Me: Ummmmmmm, mom . . . look at these perfect little potato cubes. You don't see that in homemade soups - you see it in canned soup. This is definitely Campbell's.
Tammy: Yeah, I think I'm gonna have to agree with Catherine.
Mom: Noooooooooo. They wouldn't use canned soup here. I think it's homemade.
Me: Mom. These potatoes are unnatural - they don't occur this way in nature. These are fake Campbell's soup potatoes.
Mom: Well, I think you're wrong.
Me: And they didn't even use the Campbell's Chunky Soup.
Mom: No. You're wrong. I'm gonna ask the waitress.
Me: NO!! How embarrassing!

[Waitress comes back to refill our water]

Mom: We were wondering if this is canned soup or homemade.
Waitress: Oh, reallyyyyyyyyyyyyy . . .
Mom: Yeah. It's really good. Do you know if they make it here.
Waitress: Ummmmmmmmm . . . [nervously hemming and hawing] . . . I uh . . . ummmmmmmm . . . I uh actually don't know . . . honestly.
Mom: Would you mind asking for us?
Tammy: We just want to know if we can buy it somewhere because we really like it.
Me: [In my head: Yeah. We really like these fake potatoes and MUST know where you found them.]
Waitress: Ummmmm . . . sure.

[Waitress leaves to go ask the "chef."]

Me: I think that's your answer right there, Mom.
Mom: What do you mean?
Me: Don't you think she knows if it's homemade. She would HAVE to know that - she's back in the kitchen all the time. She didn't want to tell us because she knows it's just canned soup.
Mom: Not necessarily.

[Waitress comes back}

Waitress: It's Campbell's.
Me: No way! I had no idea!!

Ok, seriously. This place has been written up in magazines as a great dining establishment. AND THEY'RE SERVING CAMPBELL'S SOUP?? I mean, don't get me wrong, I like a nice bowl of Campbell's soup. But at a restaurant?? As a "Soup of the Day???" I don't know about you all, but when I order "Soup of the Day," I picture a steaming pot of goodness back in the kitchen that was so time-consuming to make from scratch that they could only make one type and, thus, the solitary "Soup of the Day." I do NOT picture the waitress back in the kitchen whipping out her can opener, dumping the can of soup into a bowl, filling the can with water and adding that to the bowl, and then popping it the microwave while muttering "Let's heat this bad boy up." After the whole soup incident/undercover expose, I wanted to re-inspect the menu to see if I could find a Hungry Man TV dinner and a Sonic Burger on there.

I ate the soup and the little fake potatoes and then our meals came. Erin's meal looked like a frozen meal that was heated up and served over rice and I'm quite convinced that's what it was - one of those frozen bag meals you can buy and just heat up in a skillet. In eating their food, Erin and Tammy each said something that no restaurant owner would want to hear:

Erin: Well, the chicken's really chewy but it's ok - I kinda like it that way.
Tammy: [regarding the fact that her Hawaiian Chicken was NOT yummy . . .] If I just eat the chicken with the pineapple, I can power through it.

Not exactly ringing endorsements . . .

But, by far, the best part was when my mom went to mash up her baked potato and it broke her fork:
I don't know if this is a commentary on the baked potato or the quality of the utensils, but it's not good either way . . .

But it wasn't a wasted day. At the very least, now we know what that restaurant is like and we can cross it off our list. And, you know, maybe we caught them on a bad day. Maybe the chef had just quit and a 10 year old was back there trying to wing it. It's possible - right? Anyway, maybe I should give it another try before I make my final judgment.

And, who knows? Maybe the next time I go, the Soup of the Day will be Chicken and Stars.

Here's hoping . . .

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

I guess it runs in the genes . . .

I'm getting a little bit of a late start tonight. Why? you ask. Well, because I sat down to blog and decided that I should have a piece of a pumpkin roll first. After all, it IS the holiday season. The HARVEST season, in fact. So I'm culturally obligated to consume as many pumpkin products as I can from now until New Years Day. Right? Anyway, I finished my piece of cake and decided that I should really have another small piece. Look, I take my cultural responsibilities as an American very seriously.

Ok, fine - it wasn't a small piece. Stop judging me.

After I ate my cake, it was about 11:00 so I thought it imperative that I get to blogging so that I could go to bed at a decent hour. So I hopped on my computer and spent some time "creepin' on" some people on facebook (thank you, Julia, for my new hip vocabulary word . . .) and then my friend Alana IM'd me. She told me that she and her sister-in-law Ashley were on the phone talking about me at that very moment. I noticed that Ashley was online, as well, so I IM'd her to say hey. So then the three of us IM'd while the two of them continued to talk on the phone. It was a true 21st century moment.

This IS the 21st century, right? That's always tripped me up . . .

ANYWAY, that doesn't leave me much time to blog. So I thought I'd just tell you this little story that my mom told me tonight.

My mom picked my youngest niece, Avery, up from school today and, on their way back to the house, my mom offered Avery a cookie. That's when it became clear that Avery is DEFINITELY my mom's granddaughter. Here is the conversation they had:

Mom: Do you want a cookie, Avery?

Avery: What kind is it?

Mom: Oatmeal. [hands it back to her]

Avery: [looking at it carefully] Does this have raisins in it?

Mom: Yep! Do you like raisins?

Avery: Uh huh. [still looking at the cookie . . .] this reminds me of suave. [pronounced "sua-vay" as in "Rico Suave"].

Mom: It reminds you of what?

Avery: Suave.

Mom: Suave?

Avery: Yeah. Suave.

Mom: Huh. I don't know what that is. What is Suave?

Avery: It's where we get a cookie.

Mom: Okay. What's it near?

Avery: It's near that one place.

Mom: Oh. Of course. How could I be so -

Avery: And we get a cookie there . . .

Mom: Okaaaaaaaaaaaay . . .

Avery: Suave. [looking confused and then pronouncing it really slowly . . .] Suaaaaaaaaaavaaaaaaaaay. Suave. Suave? Suabe? Sbobay? [suddenly the light goes on . . .] SUBWAY!!

I'm actually kinda surprised that my mom didn't immediately get it since Avery was speaking her language. Well, except that she didn't end it by shaking her head and saying "You girls . . ."

But I'm proud of Avery for pushing through and sticking with it until she got it right. She's such a cute little punkin'.

Mmmmmm. That reminds me - maybe I should have another piece of that pumpkin roll . . .

Monday, November 9, 2009

The latest Noraism

I love my mom. I love the way she takes care of us when we're sick. I love how fun she is to travel with. I love how incredibly generous she is. And you'd love her, too, if you knew her. You'd love her wittiness and her sense of humor (and, yes, those are two different things. Believe me.) You'd love her love of vocabulary words that no one else in the world knows.

But, most importantly, you'd love her Noraisms.

Noraism (Nor - uh - iz - um) noun: A uniquely "Nora" way of wording things. Most often done unintentionally. Always entertaining.

For example . . .

Recently I was leaving my mom's house at the same time she was and we thought we'd both be back at her house later. These were our parting words:
Mom: Maybe I'll see you at the flip flop!
Me: Ok! [enter into brief state of confusion and trying not to smile because she's so proud of herself]
Mom: Remember that from Daddy's CB? Remember when you'd hear those guys say that? "See you at the flip flop!"
Me: Yep!
[awkward pause]
Me: Wasn't it "Catch you on the flip side"?
Mom: Oh shut up. You girls . . .

Restaurant names are often the subject of Noraisms. For instance, a few months ago we were planning to meet some friends out for dinner. This led to this little gem:

Mom: I just talked to them. We're still meeting them at Traildusters.
Me: Traildusters?
Mom: Yeah . . . right?
Me: You mean Texas Roadhouse?
Mom: [shaking her head at me] You're gonna call Tammy and Erin now, aren't you?
Me: Yep . . .

But I think one of my favorite Noraisms to date happened this weekend. Our friends, Jim, Deborah, and Matthew, came in from Plano to visit us. On their way into town, they went through Madisonville. And what's in Madisonville, friends? Why, a Buccee's, of course! Remember how much I love Beaver Nuggets?? Well, my mom remembers . . . but she can't ever seem to get the name "Beaver Nuggets" right. So, with all the best intentions, my mom told Jim that I like "Buccee's Balls."

How embarrassing.

So Jim goes into Buccee's and asks one of the cashiers where Buccee's Balls are because one of his friends really likes them.

How embarrassing.

Luckily, the cashier knew that he meant Beaver Nuggets. Otherwise, that could have been a mortifying miscommunication that could have possibly resulted in the confused paging of someone of named "Bucky." That would have been horrible.

Jim was telling me about this latest sure-to-be-a-classic Noraism and my mom overheard it. She scrunched up her face very seriously and said, quite disapprovingly, "That sounds dirty."

Ya think, Mom?

Just think how Buccee must feel . . .

Friday, November 6, 2009

Adventures on a Tornado Tour - Part 4

Don't forget to set your DVRs to record Storm Chasers on The Discovery Channel this Sunday night!!! But first, read about my fourth day on my storm-chasing tour with one of the teams from the show . . .

* * * * *

April 23, 2009

Well today started off on an interesting note. I told you yesterday that we were staying in the Quality "Not-so-Quality-in-fact" Inn in Norman. Well, it turns out my bedbugs were not the best story of our stay there. Apparently, Cara was in her bathroom about to get in the shower this morning when she heard a noise. She figured it was nothing so she went ahead and got in the shower. She got out 15 minutes later, wrapped a towel around herself, and stepped out of the bathroom only to be greeted by a man with a shopping cart in her room. Now, you may assume, as I did, that this was a homeless man who had somehow worked his way into her room. No. It was housekeeping.


There are so many problems with this!! First, what the heck are they doing waiting in her room when it is clear she is in the shower??? Second, WHY THE HECK DO THEY HAVE SHOPPING CARTS INSTEAD OF MAID CARTS??? Apparently, this happened to 2 others of our group. Then at breakfast, they noticed that some of the yogurt was 2 weeks expired. They pointed this out to one of the employees and she solved it by sticking the expired ones back in the refrigeration unit and getting some non-expired ones out. Crazy!!

Matt (one of 0ur tour guides) was REALLY mad when he heard about what shall now be called "The Great Shopping Cart Room Invasions of 2009" and he went to speak with the manager. After a less-than-productive talk with the manager, Matt asked him what his name was and he told him his name was Randy. But then he had to think about to spell "Randy" and THEN, when he was trying to spell it for Matt, he had to stop and count the letters. Sooooooooooooooo we're thinking that probably was NOT his real name . . .

It was time to hit the road so Rick went into the bathroom real quick. As he walked into the restroom, he was encouraged by Shane who shouted "DO 'EM RIGHT, RICK!!" Aaaaaaaaaaaand then we were off.

Seriously - where did they find that guy??

We spent most of the day on the road. We left Norman, OK (which is about 15 miles south of Oklahoma City) at about 10:30, stopped in Wichita, Kansas for lunch, and then ended our travels in York, Nebraska. The trip was pretty uneventful. I told Matt and Dave about my tradition of honking the horn and cheering each time I cross a state line so they have been doing that on this trip. It's pretty funny. I had my eyes closed at one point and Mike grabbed my foot and said "We're almost to the state line!" and then Matt honked the horn and the whole car erupted into cheers! We did that over the Oklahoma/Kansas line and the Kansas/Nebraska line. Pretty funny - and I think it's cute that they didn't want me to sleep through the state line crossing. It really is a great group - I'm really enjoying these new friendships.

We are staging ourselves in York because the storms could be in this area of Nebraska or in Western Iowa tomorrow. Matt and Dave got out their laptop tonight and looked at the new weather models for this weekend, which apparently looked amazing and promise a jam-packed weekend of storm-chasing fun. How do I know this? Because Matt and Dave looked at the laptop and started freaking out. And by "freaking out" I mean high-fiving each other and cussing excitedly. This happens a lot and when it does, I just sit back and hope it's a good sign. Then they start exclaiming things like "Check out the cape!!" and "Did you see that shear??" and "Holy sh#$!! Can you believe that vorticity??" Again, I just sit back and hope it's a good sign. I know eventually they'll interpret their excitement and explain it to me with words I can understand like "tornado" and "rain" and "oatmeal creme pies" and then I'll be excited, too.

And hopefully eating an oatmeal creme pie . . .

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Dogs v. Cats . . . is there really any question?

Last night, my dog and I got into bed and settled in for the night. He was all snuggled up to the pillow on the "reserved" side of the bed and we were both drifting off when we were awakened by what sounded like a cat massacre. First, we heard a cat that sounded as if it was crawling somewhere to die a noisy death, then we heard a screeching cat fight, then silence, and then the sequence repeated itself. Over and over and over. My dog, of course, was up on all fours and trying to look out the window through my headboard. I, on the other hand, covered my head with a pillow and congratulated myself on being smart enough to hate cats.

Seriously - why does anyone own a cat?? I know I'm going to alienate myself from some of y'all but I'm sorry - you might as well know the truth about me sooner rather than later: I'm a dog person. Through and through.

Allow me to review some of the MANY reasons why dogs are better than cats . . .

Dogs don't hiss.
Hissing is by far the most terrifying thing any animal could do. More terrifying than a lion's roar. More terrifying than a wolf's howl. Even more terrifying than a cobra posturing to strike. Every once in a while, I decide that I'm going to get over my hatred of cats - bury the hatchet, if you will - and try to make friends with a cat or two. So I'll go to pet one and, sure enough, it hisses at me. I can't describe the physical reaction my body has at that point. My hand whips back with surprising speed, I lean back at an impressive angle in order to get as far away from the cat as possible without actually moving my feet, my shoulders come up, my chin goes down, and I simultaneously yelp and hold my breath.

And then I usually say a bad word under my breath. Judge me if you must . . .

Dogs don't arch their backs.
I hate it when cats arch their backs. Especially if it's done in conjunction with a hiss . . . that's a terrifying combination. And it paralyzes me. I used to cat sit for a friend of mine and her cat was particularly fond of the back arch. Each morning, I would try to get downstairs quickly before the cat did. Why did I want to beat him to the punch? you ask. Well, you see, if I didn't he would run in front of me, get a few stairs ahead of me, and then he'd stop and arch his back until I pet him. I would stop cold and every muscle in my body would tense up as I sat down to pet him, sweating and holding my breath as if I were petting him at the command of a terrorist who had a gun to my head. I'd put my hand out timidly and he'd arch and hiss and then bat my hand away with his paw. I would try to move down a step and he'd stop me. And then the attempts at petting would begin again. So in addition to being terrifying, it was humiliating - I was thirty years old and being bullied by a cat.

Not a proud moment for me.

Dogs don't have retractable claws.
Do I really need to elaborate on this? Retractable claws??? Terrifying.

Dogs don't purr.
Purring is such an interesting phenomenon. My sister used to cat sit for one of her friends when we were in college and that cat was fond of sleeping on my head. I have no idea why but it was. Every morning I'd wake up with this dang cat purring on my head or my neck.

Have you ever heard a purr? It's like the cat has a piece of machinery in its body. It really doesn't sound like something that originated in the animal kingdom. We think of purring as this really sweet sound that a cat makes but I think it's unnatural and I prefer the good ol' fashioned snoring of my dog. I used to dog sit for a friend of mine who had a great Boxer who LOVED to cuddle up next to me at night. He would put his head on my neck and fall asleep. Of course, then I couldn't fall asleep because I'm not used to trying to sleep with heavy breathing on my neck but that's neither here nor there. The point is that THAT was cute. Weird, mechanical, unnatural purring? Not so much . . .

Dogs can't jump onto counters.
Cats are way too nimble for me and they just appear on counter tops or the backs of couches without a sound. You're sitting there watching television and BAM! there's a cat peeking over your shoulder. It's startling and makes you swear. Again - judge me if you must. When I was in high school, I babysat for a family that had three Siamese cats.

Little tip: if you don't like cats, you should NOT be in a house alone with three Siamese cats.

It was horrible. I tried to be calm, I really did. I sat on the couch to watch TV and take my mind off of the cats staring at and conspiring against me. I started talking to myself: "It's okay, Catherine. Just breathe." and then BAM! two cats appeared on the back of the couch on either side of my head. I let out a stifled scream (after all, the baby I was sitting for was sleeping) and ran to the kitchen. I just needed a moment to think. I needed to just calm down and breathe. I leaned against the island in the middle and tried to gather myself and then BAM! two cats appeared on the island. This time my scream wasn't so stifled. I began to cry - actually CRY - and then did what is hands-down my most dramatic move to date: I put my hands in my hair, put my back against the wall, and slid down. Like a scene out of a horror movie - you know, like where the protagonist has reached her breaking point and she slides down the wall shaking and bawling and begging for the bad guy to just leave her alone. Yep - that was me. And then I called my dad crying and made him talk to me until the parents got home. Another proud moment for me.

Freakin' cats.

Dogs don't cough up hairballs.
The hairball is hands-down the most disgusting thing an animal could do.

Hands. Down.

When we were in college, Erin was cat sitting her friend's cat over the weekend and we had to take her home with us. We didn't have a carrier so she just roamed around the car while we drove. At one point, she came and stood on the arm rest between Erin and me while we drove down Highway 105 toward home. She seemed quite content and, for a moment, I actually thought she was cute. Then something terrible started happening: she started heaving and gagging on something and making this horrible gurgling/gagging sound. With each heave she arched her back, craned her neck forward, and opened her mouth with what can only be described as unhinged jaws. Erin and I began screaming and pushing our bodies against our respective doors. I thought she was perhaps birthing an alien. I had to keep an eye on the road (you know, because I was driving 70 mph) but I couldn't keep my eyes off the gagging, heaving horror show happening on my arm rest. Finally, she had one last long gag and out came this . . . this . . . slimy, hairy, disgusting ball of goop. Erin and I let out blood-curdling screams and began shrieking "WHAT IS THAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT???? WHAT IS THAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAT??? [gag] WHAT IS [gag] THAAAAAAAAAAAAAT???" while we each tried to claw our way out of our windows. One of us finally snapped to the fact that it was a hairball (which didn't really make the situation any better) so then we had to figure out what to do with it. Luckily, Erin and I had a filthy car so we picked it up with an old, dirty sock from the back seat and put it in an old McDonald's bag we found under the front seat. Then we vowed to never cat sit again.

I have since had a child's dirty diaper leak all over me and have been the target of projectile vomiting. But the hairball experience is hands down the most disgusting.

Hands. Down.

Seriously . . . why does ANYone own a cat??

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Keep on creepin' on . . .

I was so tired tonight and so ready to go to bed by like 9 o'clock so I knew that I needed to sit down and knock out my blog quickly. That, of course, led to a two hour internet search for a new Thanksgiving background for my page.

This is how I work, people.

So this blog post will be short and sweet. I have two things to say . . .

FIRST . . . I learned a new expression today from my friend Julia. She told me that she was on Google "creeping on" a guy. As she is a senior in high school and MUCH cooler than I am, I made her stop and tell me what that meant. It sounded like something I needed to know. ANYWAY, she explained that when you look at people's facebook conversations or cyber-stalk them, you are "creeping on" them. Isn't that the greatest? I love it mainly because I "creep on" people a lot and like the sound of saying "I was creeping on him" better than "I was stalking him within an inch of a temporary restraining order." It sounds MUCH more hip and a little less scary.

And I'm gonna use it in my next deposition to see if these prisoners know THAT one. I'll have more lingo than THEM for once.

SECOND . . . I have added a "Mixed Metaphor of the Week" block in right margin of my blog because I LOVE when people mix expressions or just get an expression completely wrong. Since they always crack ME up, I want to share them with YOU! I'm going to try to update this every Monday so make sure you check it out!!

Ok - I'm off to bed!!

Well, after I creep on a few of y'all . . .

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Please stop.

So I have been having the HARDEST time coming up with things to blog about. Apparently when you sit around and watch hours of TV everyday, you run out of interesting experiences to write about. I thought about writing about how I shadowed a terrorist and then had to shoot him in the basement of my boss. But then I realized that that was from an episode of NCIS and not actually from my own life. My own life, it turns out, is fairly boring these days and offers no blogging material. It's very irritating.

As I was pondering blogging ideas for tonight and getting more and more irritated that all the best ideas have been taken by all the shows I DVR, I got a text from my friend Hannah who was letting me know that she was watching the Kate Gosselin interview on TV tonight and she was thinking of me because Kate kept asking questions and answering them herself. You know what I'm talking about: "Am I sad that it ended this way. Of course. Will I pick up the pieces and carry on? Without a doubt. Will be difficult? Absolutely." Hannah lived with me for two years and knows how irritating I find this particular method of conversing. And I've blogged about that and other pet peeves before so I know YOU all know how I feel about it, too. But Hannah's text got me thinking about other pet peeves that I need to discuss.

So can I share some more with you? Trust me, it will make us closer . . .

Apostrophe's . . . apostrophes' . . . apostrophes . . .
Can we just get on the same page here? Apostrophes are not used to make something plural.


Not here . . .

Not here . . .

And not here . . .

So stop doing it.

You are not celebrating Thanksgiving with the Palmore's, you are celebrating it with the Palmores. Please learn this distinction.

Or find somewhere else to go for Thanksgiving.

It is what it is.
What does that mean? People say this ALL THE TIME as if they are making some profound commentary about life. And, frankly, I never know what they mean when they say it. Don't get me wrong, I play along - I nod in agreement and say something like "Yep!" or "I hear ya!" or "Well, it sure ain't what it ain't." - but the truth is that I don't get it. I can say "I don't really understand why she acted that way when we were talking to her" and the person I'm talking to will say "Well, it is what it is." Really? Okay. Weeeeeeeeeelllllllll, that doesn't really help . . .

One of my goals in life is to destroy this expression. And if I can take down skinny jeans while I'm at it, that's just a bonus.

Honestly, I shouldn't have to write about this one. We should all know it. If we didn't learn about it in grammar class, if we didn't just "sound it out" and realize there's no "b" in the word, then we SURELY learned about it by watching Friends. You know what scene I'm talking about - the one where Chandler says that he hopes he hasn't met the love of his life and then dumped her because she pronounced it "supposably" and then the scene ends with Joey alone in the room trying to figure out what's wrong with that pronunciation: "Supposably. Supposably. Did they go to the zoo? Supposably . . ."

But if you somehow missed it, let's sound it out together: SUH - POSE - ED - LEE.

See? No B. Anywhere.

You don't say "admittably" instead of "admittedly", do you? So why the unfair treatment of "supposedly." Please work on this, friends. You know who you are . . .

But, hey - at the end of the day, I still love you. Even if you u'se apostrophe's incorrectly' or say supposably with pride, I'll love you through it. And, who knows, maybe one day you can get past these grammatical hurdles and make the world a better place. But even if you don't . . .

It is what it is.