Friday, December 31, 2010

Literally . . .

Have you ever seen The Rachel Zoe Project on Bravo? It's a show that follows a celebrity stylist who, among other things, LOVES to use the word "literally" - and you know how I feel about that word, friends. Well, some awesome person out there put together this video montage and I think it is quite possibly the best video montage EVER created . . .

A little piece of my soul just died.


Monday, December 27, 2010

Two Nora-isms for you . . .

My mom has had some good Nora-isms lately so I thought I'd go ahead and update you all so that you can add them to your list of Nora translations in case you ever run into her and find yourself having to translate something that she's saying to you. One of these days I really am going to make a Pocket Nora Thesaurus for you to carry with you for just that type of occasion . . .

On Christmas Eve, my brother-in-law Matt was telling my mom about how much fun he had at JazzFest this past May. Luckily, we were all sitting around listening to the conversation . . . so we got treated to this little exchange:

Matt: It was so much fun. I got to hang out with two of my high school buddies AND I got to see my favorite band of all time.
Tammy: Who's your favorite band?
Mom: DON'T TELL ME! I know it. I'm working on it . . .
Matt: This should be good.
Mom: Raisins are coming to mind.
Matt: Awesome.
Tammy: What letter does it start with?
Matt: "P."
Mom: Poluca!
Matt: Ummmm . . .
Erin: Oooooooooor Poluca Raisin . . .

And then the other day, she was talking about going to Freebird's (a local restaurant) to buy a gift certificate for someone. "Freebird's" . . . not too difficult to remember, right? Well, it is for my mom:

Mom: [to Erin] I need to run over to Red Baron's to get a gift certificate.
Catherine: [to Erin] Let me help you out with that one . . . that's "Freebird's."
Erin: Wow. [pause to process that one] Wow.
Mom: Whatever.
[then 10 minutes later . . .]
Mom: Okay - let's run over to . . . to . . . Deer Something.
Me and Erin: [blank looks]
Mom: Or Something Deer . . .?
Me: Freebird's?
Mom: Yeah - let's go. [pause] Stop laughing . . .

You know, it's a miracle we're even able to communicate with her at all . . .

Friday, December 24, 2010

Nora: The Owner's Manual (Holiday Addendum)

Yay!!!!! It's Christmas Eve!! This is my favorite day of the year, by far. Why? Because I get to open all my presents tonight, silly! Oh - and because I get to hang out with my family and treasure the time that I get to spend with them blah blah blah . . .

But Christmas Eve is not only special because I get to open presents. No - there's another reason that it's so special: IT'S MY MOM'S BIRTHDAY!!! So, in honor of her and her special day, I thought I would update my owner's manual with special holiday tips and advice that you can use if you happen to rent my mom for one of your holiday parties. I hope that some of this helps you to get to most out of your Nora experience during the holiday season . . .

Christmas Dinner . . .
If you invite my mom over to your Christmas dinner, there are a couple of things you should know. First of all, she doesn't believe in eating your Christmas dinner in shorts and flip flops. If you come downstairs wearing such attire, she will handle it directly and not at all passive aggressively by putting her hand over her heart, knitting her eyebrows, and asking you "Is THAT what you're wearing to the TABLE?" So just save yourself the trouble and make sure you show up to the table wearing something a little more presentable - jeans and a nice shirt will be just fine . . .

If you ask her to contribute something to your meal (there will be an extra charge for that, of course . . .), you should also know that she is never happy with whatever she has cooked. We have turkey and dressing every Thanksgiving and Christmas and it's the best stuff you'll EVER eat. Yeah, yeah, yeah - I'm sure yours is great, too. But my mom's is the BEST. It's actually a recipe that my dad's mom used to make but I've only ever had my mom's version so it's hers in my book. Anyway, every year my mom spends about 10 minutes of our Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner critiquing her turkey and dressing. One year she was convinced that the celery was too crunchy - we didn't agree but she wouldn't listen to us. So the next year, she decided to steam the celery before she put it in the dressing so that it wouldn't be so crunchy. She was so proud of herself for thinking of that idea and she kept talking about how she hoped it helped. That's when my sisters and I decided to play a trick on her: we each got a piece of raw celery in our hands just before we sat down for dinner and we planned to all crunch down on our raw celery at the same time so it would make a big crunch sound. Then we were going to all look at my mom and say that the celery seemed a little crunchy still. It was hilarious . . . in our heads.

So we sat down at the table and got ready for what would surely be the most hilarious holiday prank EVER. We each got our serving of turkey and dressing, discreetly popped our raw celery in our mouths, and crunched down at the same time. My mom heard the big "CRUNCH" and snapped her head up and looked at us with an "Oh no!" face. We were all staring back at her with big eyes and hands over our mouths and were JUST about to really sell it with little comments like "I don't think the steaming worked" or "No, I don't think the celery is too crunchy at all, Mom." But we never got to do that because my mom burst into tears. ACTUAL tears. Who knew celery was such an emotionally-charged vegetable?

We all felt HORRIBLE and tripped all over ourselves trying to show her our raw celery so that she'd see it was just a joke - a terrible, terrible joke. She finally re-gained her composure . . . but she did NOT tell us how hilarious we were. So the moral of this story is: if you invite my mom over for dinner, be prepared for her to offer an exhaustive critique of everything she didn't do right with her recipe and remember that celery is no laughing matter . . .

Christmas Eve . . .
We open our Christmas presents on Christmas Eve in my family so, if you happen to stop by for a visit after about 6ish on Christmas Eve, you'll find us knee deep in gift wrap. Of course, you'd be welcome to stay and hang out with us - in fact, we'd insist on it. Unfortunately, there wouldn't be any gifts under the tree for you . . . uuuuuuuuunless you had mentioned to my mom that you might stop by. In that case, my mom will have at least 4 or 5 gifts for you to open. They might be something as random as a funny little stocking-stuffer that she saw or a Sam's-size box of your favorite candy bars. So do me a favor and tell her you're going to stop by, even if you're not. And tell her that you really love Swiss Cake Rolls . . .

Cheese popcorn . . .

In the event you decide to invite my mom to one of your holiday parties, you should know that she gets cheese popcorn for Christmas every year . . . and she eats the heck out of it. "Why does this affect my Christmas party, Catherine?" you ask. Well, I'll tell you: for about 2 weeks after Christmas, her fingers and fingernails are stained orange from the the "cheese" on the popcorn. And it doesnt' come off - I'm pretty sure even bleach would have to admit defeat. It's SUPER classy. So if you wanted to, say, introduce her to your boss at your party, you might want to rent a sand blaster or buy her a pair of gloves for the evening. Or you may want to have an explanation prepared, like "This is Nora. She was recently diagnosed with jaundice in the fingers on her right hand - it's a very rare condition." Something like that. Or you can just wait and invite her to your Valentine's party - they should be a normal flesh-color again by that time . . .

Christmas Presents . . .
If you and my mom decide you are going to exchange gifts, you should know that she is a very generous gift-giver. Every Christmas, past and present, the presents are piled so high that they violate a handful of OSHA regulations. It's so awesome. She always says she's going to cut back but she never does . . . and that's even MORE awesome. When we were kids, it seemed like EVERY year she'd strike fear in our hearts by saying something like "This Christmas is going to be different - it's going to be a smaller Christmas. We don't need so many presents - it's ridiculous." But every year, despite her threats, the pile of presents was bigger than the last year. Try as she may to stick to her guns, she just couldn't help herself - she and my dad loved spoiling their girls too much. And we did NOT have a problem with that.

But, on the other hand, if you and my mom decide that you will NOT exchange Christmas presents, you should know that my mom will, in fact, NOT buy you a present. So if you find yourself thinking "I better get something for Nora because she will probably go ahead and get something for me, that silly girl," you should know that you are quite wrong. There were MANY years that my mom and dad said that they were not going to get each other presents so that they could make our Christmas bigger or buy something for the house - something like that. And every year, my mom stuck to the deal and my dad didn't. So my mom would open presents from my dad, laughing and saying "Oh my gosh!! Charlie! We said we weren't going to get each other anything!!" She always acted so surprised that he didn't stick to the agreement, which never made much sense to me. And he didn't just buy her a few little things, either. I remember one year he made her close her eyes and wheeled in a treadmill - a freakin' TREADMILL - and, when she opened her eyes, she laughed and exclaimed "CHARLIE!! We said we weren't getting each other anything this year!" We kids always saw through it - it was the quite the racket she had going. So just be aware of that. I'd hate for you to sit there awkwardly awaiting a return gift, only to be disappointed. You're welcome.

Christmas decorating . . .
Everyone needs help with putting up their Christmas decorations, right? Well, I am now offering a special "Christmas decorating" rental rate so that you can rent my mom to help you get everything up and lit. But you should know that she is pretty particular about a few things, especially the lights on the Christmas tree. When we were kids, she used to have us put the lights on the tree while she stood back saying things like "No, it needs to glow from the inside out" or "It's not glowing from the inside, Catherine." I used to want to start throwing ornaments at her face but I restrained myself because she's my mom and that sort of thing is apparently frowned upon. But it was so annoying! I vowed that when I had my own Christmas tree, I was NOT going to be so high-maintenance about the stinkin' lights - I mean, who really cares about that? Aaaaaaaaaaaand now I find myself standing back telling my roommates "It's not glowing from the inside - we need more lights over there." But they're not my kids so I really do have to dodge the ornaments that they throw at my face . . .

Christmas wrapping . . .
You should also know that my mom doesn't look kindly on bad wrapping jobs. If you don't know how to wrap but you did your best, she will love it. But if, like me, you make the mistake of showing up one year with a few presents sans bows, she will look at them and ask you non-passive-aggressive questions like "Did you run out of bows?" or "Oh - do you need to borrow some bows?" But if you look at her presents, you'll understand her condescension - she always decorates each present with a pretty bow that she made herself or some other little special decoration that she comes up with. She's really creative with that kind of stuff and likes to make Christmas special in that way. I like to make Christmas special with peel-and-stick bows and I think that it kills a part of her soul each year when I do that. I mean, she'll accept my little pre-made, stick-on bows but she definitely looks down on them. I think she'd be happier if I showed up with a tattoo on my forehead than if I show up with my peel-and-sticks. But if you find yourself in this situation with my mom and you see her staring judgmentally at your store-bought bows disapprovingly, just do what I do and stare judgmentally back at her orange popcorn fingers. And then you'll be even . . .

Well, I hope this helps you to know how to best utilize your Nora rental period this holiday season. Make your reservations soon - we're booking up fast!

I hope you all have a VERY merry Christmas!! Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand . . .


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Aunt of the Year.

The other day, Erin decided to run out to the grocery store with the girls so they jumped in the car and headed to Kroger's. When Savannah realized where they were going, she had this conversation with Erin . . .

Savannah: [excitedly] Are we going to see the civilition sunny??
Erin: The what?
Savannah: The civilition sunny.
Erin: What is that?
Savannah: You know - [slowly, to help Erin understand] the civilition sunny.
Erin: I'm not sure what that is, baby. Can you point it out to me when you see it?
Savannah: [disappointed] Okay . . .
[Later, walking into Wal-Mart, they approach a man ringing a bell for the Salvation Army]
Savannah: MOMMY! There it is!! The Civilition Sunny!!
Erin: Oooooooooh!!! THAT'S what you were saying! Now I get it! That's the Salvation Army, baby.
Savannah: Oh. The Salvation Army?
Erin: Yeah.
Savannah: Oh geez - don't tell Catchy I said that . . .

Apparently, Erin heard that a lot that night - every time Savannah and Avery would mispronounce something or say something unintentionally funny, they would follow it up with "Don't tell Catchy." At one point, Savannah even said "Pretty much mine and Avery's favorite word these days is 'Don't tell Catchy.'"

And that's not the first time this has happened. One time Tammy was trying to tell me about something that Ben had done. He did NOT want her to tell me but he finally gave in and said that she could. But, before she said anything, he came over to me and put a hand on either side of my face, looked me square in the eye and said "But, Catchy - promise me you won't blog about it."

Good Lord . . . what kind of horrible aunt am I??? I'm pretty much scarring them for life.

And yet, here I am blogging about them again.

You know, I think it's time I admit that I may have a problem . . .

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Fa la law la law la law law law!

What is there NOT to love at Christmastime?? The colors, the lights, the fun wrapping papers, the decorations, the food, the Christmas cheer . . . it's all so wonderful. But I have to say that my favorite part about this time of year is the music. I love - L.O.V.E. - love Christmas music. Like to an annoying degree. If you ever happen to be standing next to me when Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You" comes on, you'll see what I mean. And if there happens to be a brush in the vicinity that I can use as a microphone, forget it . . .

But I've discovered something interesting about Christmas music. As you grow up, you start actually paying attention to and understanding the words that you're singing. And that can open your eyes and change the way you feel about the songs that you've loved all your life. Take "The Twelve Days of Christmas," for example. I grew up singing that song with gusto - especially the "fiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiive golden rings" part. But now that I'm older, I can't help but think to myself "that guy is the WORST 'true love' EVER." Seriously. I mean, if I had been his girlfriend, that song would be called "The first day of Christmas" because I would have left with my partridge in a pear tree and cut my losses. I have no idea why that girl stuck around for the 12 pipers piping. She's either a better woman than I or does not know about eharmony.

Then, to make matters worse, I went to law school. See - law school ruins your brain and changes the way you see the world. You hardly know it's happening, but happen it does. One day you're driving down the road and you see a car accident and you think to yourself "Oh, I hope that no one's hurt." And the next day, you're driving down the road and you see an accident and you throw your business card out the window. That's how it works. Subtly but surely, law school changes you so that, without even thinking about it, you're spotting potential legal issues that pop up around you. It's a gift and curse. But at Christmastime - with my beloved Christmas music - it's a curse . . .

I'll Be Home For Christmas . . .

I'll be home for Christmas
You can count on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents under the tree
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light beams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams

This is a textbook breach of contract case - will he or will he NOT be home for Christmas? I mean, he clearly committed because he says he's coming home and we count on him. He even goes so far as to require us to prepare for his homecoming by getting snow (a difficult and, I would imagine, expensive feat), mistletoe, and placing presents under the tree. Then, after we have relied upon his representation and incurred these expenses, he inexplicably backpedals and says he'll be home, even if it's only in his dreams. Well, that wasn't the deal buddy. Be home for Christmas or you'll be hearing from my lawyer.

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus . . .

I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus
Underneath the mistletoe last night
She didn't see me creep
Down the stairs to have a peep
She thought that I was tucked up
In my bedroom, fast asleep

Then I saw Mommy tickle Santa (tickle, tickle, Santa Claus) Claus
Underneath his beard so snowy white
Oh, what a laugh it would have been
If Daddy had only seen
Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night

Some people call this a Christmas song. I call it "Exhibit A" in "Daddy's" subsequent divorce and custody proceeding . . .

Santa Claus Is Coming to Town . . .

You better watch out
You better not cry
Better not pout
I'm telling you why
Santa Claus is coming to town
He's making a list
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out Who's naughty and nice
Santa Claus is coming to town
He sees you when you're sleeping
He knows when you're awake
He knows if you've been bad or good
So be good for goodness sake!

I know that these lyrics help kids walk the straight and narrow each year around Christmastime, I do. I get it. But, seriously - it's a little creepy, isn't it? And I believe that it qualifies as a stalking offense in Texas. I mean, maybe there are no laws about watching people when they're sleeping in the North Pole, but we do things a little differently down here, my friend. So keep your peepers to yourself or you'll get your Miranda warnings when you DO come to town . . .

We Wish You a Merry Christmas . . .

We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas
We wish you a merry Christmas
And a happy New Year.
Glad tidings we bring
To you and your kin;
Glad tidings for Christmas
And a happy New Year!

So bring us some figgy pudding
So bring us some figgy pudding
So bring us some figgy pudding
Please bring it right here!
Glad tidings we bring
To you and your kin;
Glad tidings for Christmas
And a happy New Year!

We won't go until we get some
We won't go until we get some
We won't go until we get some
So bring it out here!
Glad tidings we bring
To you and your kin;
Glad tidings for Christmas
And a happy New Year!

These are either the worst Christmas guests ever or they are burglarizing your home. I think it may be the latter. First, they earn your trust and gain entry into your home by wishing you a Merry Christmas - who wouldn't be disarmed by such a congenial act of well-wishing? Then, as soon as you drop your guard, BAM! they start demanding some of your figgy pudding. And before you can even respond to their rude manners, BAM! they're extorting you by refusing to leave until you meet their demands. It's a Christmas crime that is not entirely uncommon. But don't worry - we'll get these guys and file trespassing and extortion charges against them. Let's just hope there's some DNA evidence in that figgy pudding . . .

Baby It's Cold Outside . . .

I simply must go - Baby, it's cold outside
The answer is no - Ooh baby, it's cold outside
This welcome has been - I'm lucky that you dropped in
So nice and warm -- Look out the window at that storm
My sister will be suspicious - Man, your lips look so delicious
My brother will be there at the door - Waves upon a tropical shore
My maiden aunt's mind is vicious - Gosh your lips look delicious
Well maybe just a half a drink more - Never such a blizzard before

I've got to go home - Oh, baby, you'll freeze out there
Say, lend me your comb - It's up to your knees out there
You've really been grand - Your eyes are like starlight now
But don't you see - How can you do this thing to me
There's bound to be talk tomorrow - Making my life long sorrow
At least there will be plenty implied - If you caught pneumonia and died
I really can't stay - Get over that old out
Ahh, but it's cold outside

Okay - let me say at the outset that this is one of my favorite songs, especially the version from Elf. But, let's be honest - this song is just a verse and a chorus away from a date rape . . .

So there you have it - that's what law school has done to me. Sometimes I wish I could stop the law school curse and re-live those carefree days of singing without analyzing and issue-spotting. But, alas, I cannot. But don't worry, I still find lots of joy in singing along with every Christmas song I hear during the season.

Especially "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer" . . .

Monday, December 20, 2010

Defining the relationship . . .

I'm in trial this week so won't be posting until Wednesday . . . stop crying, Punkin'. You'll be okay without me until then . . .

BUT, since we're here together right now, let's have a DTR talk.

Ummmmmm . . . [gulp] . . . this is awkward. [deep breath] Okay - I'll just say it . . . I think it's high-time you became a follower of my blog. Don't you? I mean, we've been through so much together and I've shared all my deepest, darkest secrets with you, ya know? When you tell someone that you have a fear of automatic staplers or that you have a crush on your yard guy or that it's quite possible that you love fajitas more than you love your family, you sort of expect the relationship to go to the next level.

[awkward silence]

Right? [wringing hands]


I mean, you can just click on the follower section to the right or you can . . . or you can become a fan on facebook . . . it's really pretty easy, I promise! [nervous giggling]

[awkward silence]

Say something.



Okay, well . . . I guess I'll see you on Wednesday.

It's not gonna be weird between us now, is it?

Friday, December 17, 2010

Friday Night Flaws

My best friend was watching television the other night and saw something that she knew would make my skin crawl. So, being a concerned friend and wanting to protect me from things that physically hurt me and kill my soul, she paused her TV, took a picture, and texted it to me . . .

And then, to further show how much she loves and cares for me, she zoomed in so that I would be sure to see it . . .

Rent-A-Center should hire a proof-reader next time, don't you think? And they should give that "i" a penalty for being offsides . . .

Get it??

Cuz it's a football show . . . ??

I'm hilarious.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Deep thoughts . . .

Sometimes I'm glad that no one can see or hear my innermost thoughts - not because they're inappropriate or anything, but because they are so inane. I've somehow managed to fool people into thinking that I am halfway intelligent but the reality is that I spend an inordinate amount of time thinking about the most ridiculous topics that intelligent people don't spend time thinking about. Do I while away the hours brainstorming ways to fix the economy? No. Do I spend my drive to work pondering the great literary works of all time? Absolutely not. I wish I were that type of person - I really do.

But I'm not.

Don't believe me? Well, let me share with you some of my deepest thoughts from this week . . .

Every morning this week, I have stared in the mirror trying to figure out if I'm going to have a good eyelash day. Yes - I said eyelash. The lashes on my right eye have been doing this weird separation thing and I can't figure out why. It is causing me much more distress than is reasonable or acceptable for a mature adult. You may think it strange to spend so much time on a topic like this - not in my world, friend. There have been lots of times when I have called my best friend on the way into work and we have talked for 30 minutes about what kind of eyelash day we're each having - this is why she's my best friend . . .

I've also spent some time thinking this week about what toy I'd want to be in charge of making if I were an elf in Santa's Workshop. And when I say "some time" I mean "way more time than a 35 year old woman should spend thinking about such things." I go back and forth between the Sit and Spin or the Easy Bake Oven. I mean, on one hand, who WOULDN'T want to put their name on a fabulous product like the Sit and Spin, right? But, on the other hand, how cool would it be to build a contraption that can cook a 4 inch cake with a freakin' lightbulb?? So I go back and forth between those two and JUST when I think I'm about to make up mind, I think about how cool it would be to build a Lite Brite. And then I'm back to square one . . . [sigh].

And speaking of Santa - I've spent a lot of time lately looking at my fireplace, thinking about how little it is. Which, of course, leads me to spend way too much time thinking about how there's no way Santa could ever get in my house that way. And that, in turn, leads me to think a great deal about how fireplaces must have been bigger in the old days when Santa first started coming around. Judge if you must, but these are important issues that must be pondered, people.

And on the topic of important issues . . . On my way home from work today, I spent about 30 minutes wondering why the Reese's Peanut Butter Christmas Trees (or the Reese's Eggs at Easter) taste so much better than the regular Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. I mean, the ingredients are the same . . . but the results are so DIFFERENT. Seriously - if you let yourself, you can waste a LOT of time thinking about it, too.

When I got home, I had to give my dog some antihistamines because he keeps scratching a lot. Every time I give him one of his pills, I have to use peanut butter so that he'll swallow the pills without knowing that they were even there. That gets me thinking that next time I have take any sort of pill I'm going to try it with peanut butter. I might like it. He seems to . . .

This evening, I spent about 10 minutes wondering if Shaun T would ban me from doing his Hip Hop Abs video if he knew that I make up little raps to sing to my dog while doing his workout. If you've ever heard me rap, you'd wonder that, too. Then, about 15 minutes into my workout - as I was considering the very real possibility of dying while doing the Booty Pop - I spent about 20 minutes wondering if my family would honor me by making up a less embarrassing story about my death. I do not want to be known as the girl who died doing the Booty Pop.

Another super-deep thought of mine tonight happened when I stopped by Target to pick up some wrapping paper and Christmas candy. While I was walking around, I looked up at the wall and saw an advertisement with a picture of a guy doing push-ups. And I ACTUALLY looked for a wedding ring on the guy . . .

Which reminds me - the other day I felt a sinus headache coming on and it reminded me that I needed to do my sinus rinse. I don't know if you're familiar with this process but it's not pretty. I have a bottle that I have to fill up with water and then dissolve a salt solution in. Once that is ready to go, I have to squirt the bottle up one nostril until it drains out of the other nostril. Then I switch nostrils and repeat. It's similar to a Neti Pot in that they are both designed to irrigate the sinuses and reduce sinus problems . . . and they are both SUPER unattractive. As I was doing my sinus rinse, I spent several minutes thinking about how irresistible I would be to the men of the world if they could only see me in that moment - a bottle up one nostril and a stream of salty solution flowing from the other. Combine that with my bed head? Wow. It's unfair for one person to possess THAT much sex appeal . . .

So there you have it - a look into my soul. No doubt my Mensa invitation is in the mail, right? Oh well - if Mensa doesn't want me, I say it's their loss. I would be a great asset to their group.

ESPECIALLY when I'm having a good eyelash day . . .

Monday, December 13, 2010

A SOMETHING scene . . .

Savannah and Avery spent the night with me on Friday night because Erin and Matt had a Christmas party to attend. I decided that it would be fun to drive around looking at Christmas lights with the girls so we jumped in the car and started driving around in search of brightly-lit streets. We found a neighborhood with lots of streets and lots of decorated houses so we rolled the windows down and started admiring all the fun decorations. As we were driving, I saw few nativity scenes so, since we're all word people in my family and love learning new words, I thought I'd teach the girls that phrase . . .

Me: Oh look! It's a nativity scene! Do y'all know what a nativity scene is?
Savannah: No . . .
Me: Whenever you see a little scene with Mary and Joseph and baby Jesus and the manger, that's a nativity scene.
Savannah: Oh - that's what it's called?
Me: Yep! And sometimes there are animals in the nativity scene . . . or the three wise men . . . or shepherds . . . lots of different things. Let's see if we can spot all the nativity scenes out here.
Savannah: Okay . . .
[turning down the next street]
Me: What kind of decoration is your favorite to see in someone's front yard?
Avery: Ummmm . . . I don't know.
Savannah: I like the Santas.
Me: Me, too! And I like the -
Savannah: [spotting a nativity scene and pointing to it] CATCHY! A CRIME SCENE!!!!
Me: Good! You found one! But it's called a NATIVITY scene - not a crime scene. [butt clenched, saying a little prayer for her soul and hoping the Lord didn't strike my car with lightning . . .]
Savannah: Oh.
Avery: Yeah - it's not a CRIME scene, Savannah.
Me: But good eye on that one! You found it!
[turning down next street]
Savannah: [pointing] CATCHY! AN IMPROVETY SCENE!!
Me: Good!! A NATIVITY scene - good eye again, Savannah!
Savannah: [practicing under her breath] Improvety scene . . .
Me: Oh look - there's a little sleigh with a-
Savannah: [pointing] LOOK! AN IMPROVETY SCENE!!!
Avery: Savannah! It's NOT an improvety scene! It's a . . . a . . .
Me: A Nativity-
Avery: [then jumping in on the easy part] Scene.
[turning down next street]
Me: Ooooo - there are LOTS of lights down here. Oh look! There's Santa on a helicopter. That's silly! Santa doesn't drive a -
Savannah: [pointing] A CRIME SCENE!!!
Avery: SAVANNAH! It's not a CRIME scene!! It's a NEDUCATION scene!!
Me: [laughing too hard to correct either of them]
Savannah: [pointing] LOOK! AN INTENEVY SCENE!!
Avery: Savannah, you are making me so mad . . .

It was so hilarious. Poor Savannah was really trying but she just couldn't get it - and that was surprisingly frustrating to Avery. But I am happy to report that, the next morning - after Erin had picked them up - I got a phone call from Savannah telling me: "There are two NATIVITY scenes on my street!!!!" She was so excited and proud of herself that she finally got it right.

And I was excited that she'd stopped calling it a freaking crime scene . . .

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Christmas Gift Ideas!!

I had to fly to Brownsville today for a hearing and my goal for the day was simple: do not get my throat slit by any drug cartels. I'm happy to report that I accomplished that goal and am safely seated in my living room, where my biggest danger is the rockin' gas that my dog has tonight.

On the flight home this afternoon - once I was sure no one would try to abduct me or force me to be a drug mule for them - I decided to look through the SkyMall magazine for some Christmas gift ideas. I didn't really find anything that would work for anyone on my list but, in the interest of helping you get YOUR shopping done, I thought I'd tell you about some of the more interesting items that I found.

Like . . .

The "Snore Terminator" . . . which is a gift that will no doubt result in an awkward conversation that begins with "Wait - do I snore???" The Snore Terminator is a little bracelet that you wear on your wrist at night. The bracelet has a tiny microphone which "detects snoring and sends safe electronic impulses (2 intensity levels) that cause you to change position without disrupting your sleep." Sounds like NOTHING could go wrong with that one . . .

The "Spy Text Reader" . . . This sweet little device lets you recover deleted text messages from a person's cell phone. The advertisement contained a picture of a cell phone with the message "Hurry up - she just left. Come over! :)" So this is the PERFECT gift for that happy couple on your list!

The "Relaxing Magic Showerhead" . . . This item promises to create a spa-like environment in your very own shower through the magic of LED technology. Apparently the showerhead lights up in brilliant colors like so:
And the best part of this showerhead is that the lights change colors every few seconds. So this gift is PERFECT for the person on your list who is so accustomed to being overstimulated that he needs a professional light show during his shower. You might want to consider Ritalin as a stocking stuffer for him, as well.

The "Wish Wrap" . . . This is a great option for that perpetually chilly person on your list:
Apparently, it is "just what you wished for - a cozy wrap you can wear around the house or around town." But please don't ACTUALLY wear it around town. Please . . .

The "SkyRest Pillow" . . . If you have someone on your list who travels a lot, you can give him or her this inconspicuous travel pillow:
I'm surprised I've never sat next to this guy on the plane . . .

"Peeing Boy Fountain" . . . Like its charming name suggests, this is a fountain designed around a statue of a boy peeing. Like so . . .
SUPER classy, right? Apparently it's a replica of a famous Tuscan fountain . . . those crazy Tuscans! [nervous laugh] But you know what? This isn't Tuscany, fool. Don't buy this fountain . . .

"Basho the Sumo Wrestler Table" . . . This is, by far, my favorite item that I found today. It's a table unlike any you've ever seen before:
I think this would be a lovely conversation piece in any living room. The catalog states: "Our table is topped with a 3/8"-thick, pencil-edged, 27" diameter tempered glass top for views from any angle." Interesting - they say that like that's a GOOD thing . . .

So I didn't have any luck finding any Christmas presents for the people on my list today. But I know that I'll run across more ideas as the month goes by - and I'll make sure to keep you in the loop as I do. Because you never know . . . I might find the perfect give for you to give that special someone this year! Just promise me one thing: if you buy that sumo wrestler table for someone, will you let me come over, stand behind it, and giggle uncontrollably like a 15 year old?

Because that would be gift enough for me . . .

Wednesday, December 8, 2010


I was out for lunch the other day in Huntsville and I saw a lady painting a Christmas scene on her store window. I was pretty impressed with her artistry so I sat there for a second and admired each part of her little wintry mural.

Aaaaaaand then I saw what I THINK is a snow woman . . .

But that is NOT a carrot . . .

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Honest Ave

My mom had one of her famous conversations with the kids the other day that made me laugh. So I thought I'd share it with you . . .

Mom: [talking to Ben and Avery while coloring with them] Wanna know what my favorite thing is?
Ben (6 years old): What?
Mom: When you all run to me and give me a hug and kiss when you come to my house. I love it!
Avery (5 years old): Dearsie . . .
Mom: I do!! Ben, how old do you think you'll be when you stop running to me to give me a hug and a kiss when you come to my house?
Ben: Ummmm . . . 500. [and then thinking it through a bit more] Oooooor when you're dead.
Mom: Yeah - it would be hard to give me a hug then . . .
Ben: Yeah.
Mom: [encouraged by Ben's answer and ready to hear what sweet answer Avery comes up with] Avery, what about you? How old do you think you'll be when you sto-
Avery: 10.
Mom: Okaaaaaaay . . .

Clearly, Avery comes from the "Rip-the-BandAid-off-Quickly" School of Brutal Honesty . . .

Friday, December 3, 2010

Oh, the weather outside is frightful . . .

When my niece Emma was about 4ish, I inadvertently started a tradition with her and the rest of my sisters' kids. Tammy and Brian were over at my parents' house with Emma and they were getting ready to head home for the night. Emma was sitting in my dad's chair and she asked me to carry her out to the car. It was a really cold night so I bundled her up in a blanket and went out the front door of my parents' house. As soon as I crossed the threshold and the cold air hit us, I started singing "Let it Snow!" to Emma and sort of slowly danced my way to the car. For some reason, she absolutely loved it so, from that night on, she asked me to sing "Oh The Weather Outside is Frightful" to her every time she had to get in the car to go home. It was so cute.

Soon afterward, Savannah started asking for me to sing "Oh The Weather Outside is Frightful" to her, as well. But she took it to the next level by asking me to sing that to her even when I was carrying her to her car in the middle of August . . . she's serious about her traditions, people. And now Avery is following in Emma's and Savannah's footsteps and asking me to sing it to her every time. Even Ben has asked me to do it occasionally. So there are times when I have to take all the kids out to their respective cars one at a time, singing the song to each one as we go. They actually form a line inside my mom's house and I just go back and forth until they are all buckled in their seats. I'm like their very own carnival ride.

And I LOVE it.

Today, Erin was driving with Savannah and Avery in her car and they were listening to Christmas music on the radio. At one point, "Let it Snow!" came on and, when Avery heard "Oh the weather outside is frightful . . ." she gasped and exclaimed, "MOMMY!!! CATCHY'S FAMOUS!!!"

Isn't that so cute? I guess she thinks that song is a Catchy original. And, thankfully, Erin didn't correct her. I'm so glad that she didn't tell Avery the truth because I have to take advantage of this time when they still think that I hung the moon and that I'm the coolest aunt ever.

Because, eventually, they're going to discover my mullet pictures. And then it will be all over for me . . .

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Like mother, like daughter . . .

My mom always keeps us (and you) entertained with her inability to remember the names of things. Whenever she says something like "Happy Acres" instead of "Jolly Ranchers," we just laugh and laugh, text our friends, update our facebook statuses with the latest Nora quote, and call each other to laugh and laugh some more. It's all fun and games.

Until it happens to you . . .

My sister Erin and her husband were talking about selling a car and were wondering what they could get for it if they traded it in. That's when Erin had this wonderful Nora moment:

Matt: I wonder what we could get for it.
Erin: I don't know. Maybe we could see what Kelsey's Green Book says.
Matt: Ummmm . . . what?
Erin: Let's look it up in Kelsey's Green Book.
Matt: Wow. Okay - I don't know where to begin. First of all . . . who's Kelsey??

Well, at least my mom will have someone to relate with now. And my blog material just doubled. So it's a win-win situation for everyone.

Except Kelsey.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Creepy commercial

Sometimes I see commercials and I wonder what the marketing people were thinking when they approved them. Like pretty much all the Burger King commercials - someone needs to take the hallucinogens away from the writers of those things . . .

Anyway, I saw a commercial tonight that I'm sure you've all seen. It's a Kay Jewelers commercial and, every time I see it, I think for a second that it's a trailer for a new slasher film. This guy is hands-down the creepiest boyfriend EVER . . .

How did the entire Kay Jewelers marketing department not get fired for this?? And why didn't the director pull that guy aside and say "Can you give me a little more 'I'll love you til the day I die' and a little less 'there's no one around for miles so there's no use screaming?'"

I guess it's a good thing he wasn't proposing to her because she wouldn't have been able to call anyone to tell them the good news. You know, what with the phone lines being cut and all . . .

Monday, November 29, 2010

A family that laughs together . . .

Holidays in my family have always been lots of fun - I have one of the funniest families I know so, as you can imagine, we laugh LOTS when we're all together. In fact, it's not uncommon for me and my mom and sisters to spend an evening like Thanksgiving laughing so hard that we cry all our mascara off. You'd think that, after all these years, we'd have learned to just wear waterproof mascara to family functions.

But I digress . . .

This year, our weekend started out pretty normally: we got together at my mom and dad's house on Thursday and ate until we had to unbutton our pants (or undo the ponytail-holder-rigged button in some cases . . .). But after we ate, I had the brilliant idea of starting a new tradition of playing Truth or Dare with my sisters and their kids. If you've never played that game with young kids, you need to do so immediately - it's hilarious. But you should be warned that, if you find yourself playing with a 5, 6, 8, and 9 year old like I did, asking for a dare may prove to be a dangerous choice. You may end up, like me, having to drink a mixture of milk, water, and pickle juice, or having to run around the cul-de-sac yelling "Who farted?" And you'll probably sink to new levels of immaturity like my sister did when she dared my nephew to run around the cul-de-sac yelling "I farted." But, believe me . . . regardless of the new depths you sink to, you will laugh off your first 5 slices of pumpkin pie in the process. Not that ANYONE would eat 5 pieces of pumpkin pie in one day. That would be shameful and disgusting, of course . . .

Quit judging me.

ANYWAY . . . although Thursday's Truth or Dare game was my favorite part of the weekend, Friday provided another awesome moment. We were sitting in the living room at my mom and dad's house when Tammy spotted a lizard on my mom's mantel, above the fireplace. Unfortunately, Ben was the only male in the house and, since he is only 6 and shorter than everyone but my youngest niece, he was not able to help get the lizard out of the house. We were, therefore, faced with a choice: grab the pumpkin pie and put my mom's house up for sale immediately without looking back, or get the lizard out ourselves. What ensued was the most hilarious scene and, by the time I had the idea to video it, I had missed most of the screaming and pandemonium. But, for what it's worth, here is a glimpse into what life with my family is like . . .

Ah . . . good times. Good times.

I am truly thankful for these crazy people the Lord gave me for a family . . . they make my sides hurt, keep my snort well-practiced, and make my dimples earn their keep. What would I do without them? Well, actually . . . without them, there'd be more pumpkin pie for ME, wouldn't there?

You know, maybe laughing is a bit overrated . . .

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Yesterday's soundbites . . . today.

When we were growing up, my mom had many expressions to correct us or to teach us something. Some were just normal things that every mother says like "You better wipe that look off your face right now, young lady" or "As long as you're living under MY roof . . ." - you know, things like that. But some of her expressions or sayings were a little more uniquely Nora. And they are like little Nora soundbites that are burned into my memory. Like . . .

When she used to point to something that we had left on the stairs and say (just a BIT sarcastically), "Okay - let's play Sesame Street. What's wrong with this picture?" I always wanted to respond by saying "I don't know - what's wrong with your FACE?" but I never did. Because, when it came down to it, I liked being alive too much to risk it . . .

Or when she'd yell for us to come downstairs and we'd yell down "Okay - wait just a second!" and then she'd yell up "No . . . I don't wait - YOU wait." Yeah - that NEVER got annoying . . .

Or anytime the dryer buzzer went off, she'd yell "GRAB 'EM!!!!" from wherever she was in the house. She might be buried in the back of her closet but we'd hear a muffled "GRAB 'EM!!!" and we'd have to jump into action, like firefighters responding to a 5 alarm fire. I'm actually surprised she never installed a fireman's pole for us. We'd run from wherever we were in the house to help get the clothes out of the dryer and laid out onto the couch before they wrinkled, all the while listening to her say "Hurry! Grab 'em! Lay 'em out!" It was as if a wrinkle in a shirt caused irreparable damage to the fabric. To this day, the sound of a dryer buzzer going off makes me a little jumpy.

Another one of her favorite things to do was to interrupt us with "Where did you go?" if we ever said "I go" instead of "I said." This particular soundbite had the potential to get you so frustrated that you completely forgot what you were trying to say. Let me give you an example . . .

Me: And then I go "Y'all should come -"
Mom: [with mock concern] Where did you go??
Me: What?
Mom: [still with the mock concern . . .] Well, you just left in the middle of the conversation. That seems a little rude.
Me: [catching on . . .] Oh. Then I SAID "Y'all should come sit over here with us." And she went "No - I'm -"
Mom: Where did SHE go?
Me: What?
Mom: She just walked away?
Me: Well, I don't know about her but I'M walking away from THIS conversation . . .

You're jealous that you didn't grow up in our household, aren't you?

One of my mom's favorite expressions, though, was (and, actually, still is) "We're having Christian fellowship." My parents were great believers in spending family time together. We always had dinner together as a family around the dining room table and we always had conversations as a family. My parents didn't just talk to each other - we all talked. Even if my dad was telling us about his day at work, we kids were involved in the discussion, asking questions and making comments and jokes. This is what my mom called "Christian fellowship" - enjoying each others' company without distraction. So it was common in our house for my mom to say things like "Turn the television off, we're having Christian fellowship" or "Put the New Kids on the Block magazine down, we're having Christian fellowship" or "Stop looking at your bangs in the mirror, Catherine. We're having Christian fellowship." Hey - I couldn't help it. I had ROCKIN' bangs and the mirror was RIGHT . . . THERE . . .

What's funny to me is that many of the expressions that used to annoy us as kids, my sisters are now using with THEIR kids. It's funny how that happens. In fact, just the other day, I met my mom and sisters and their kiddos for lunch after church. The kids were at one end of the table and Savannah was playing with Erin's phone while Emma and Ben looked over her shoulder at the game she was playing. Avery came over to me and asked if she could play with my phone so I said yes. I am, after all, the world's greatest aunt. A few minutes later, we had this conversation:

Erin: [to Savannah] Okay, Savannah - let me have my phone back. Y'all should be having Christian fellowship.
Savannah: [gives the phone to Erin] Mommy, Avery still has Catchy's phone.
Erin: Avery, put the phone down and visit.
Me: Ummmm . . . that's MY phone and she just got it, thankyouverymuch. I think I'm in charge of MY phone, don't yoooooooooooooouuuuuuuuuuu? [Hey - never said I was the world's greatest sister . . .]
Erin: [smiling and shaking her head] Okaaaaaaaaaaaay . . .
[2 minutes pass by . . .]
Savannah: [fully feeling the injustice of the situation . . .] Mommy, Avery STILL has Catchy's phoooooooooone.
Erin: [glaring at me] Well, Catchy said she could play with it for a few more minutes.
Savannah: [to Avery] Avery. Put the phone down.
Avery: [ignoring her]
Savannah: AVERY. Put the phone down. [then, thoroughly frustrated and through almost-gritted teeth . . .] WE'RE HAVING CHRISTIAN FELLOWSHIP!!

Oh the joy of seeing a good family tradition being passed on to the next generation! I just pray that they don't carry on the "GRAB 'EM!!!" tradition.

No child deserves that . . .

Monday, November 22, 2010

Everything? Really?

As y'all know, I feel personally called to eradicate the abuse and overuse of the word "literally." The environment, the ozone, the economy - these are not my concerns. If my kids and grandkids are going to inherit a world with a hole in the ozone, I at least want it to be a world where no one says "The hole in the ozone is LITERALLY ruining my life." That is my pledge to the children of the future.

So you can imagine my dismay when I saw this spice as I was shopping this weekend:

This may very well be a losing fight . . .

Friday, November 19, 2010

Ben's Solution

The other day, my mom was driving around with Ben (my 6 year-old nephew) and she decided to try to have a deep conversation with him - to really figure out what makes him tick. I love it when my mom tries to have these types of conversations with the kids because they invariably result in something hilarious. And this conversation with Ben was no exception . . .

Mom: Ben, what makes you happy?
Ben: [shrugs his shoulders] I dunno.
Mom: Well, think about it. What makes you REALLY happy?
Ben: Ummmmm . . . I don't know.
Mom: Does it make you happy when -
Ben: Oh! I know what makes me happy!
Mom: Oh good! Tell me! [prepares for deep answer]
Ben: Chocolate.
Mom: Okaaaaaaaaaay. Good to know. [thinking how she can dig a little deeper] Well, what makes you SAD?
Ben: I don't know.
Mom: You don't know?
Ben: No. I don't know. [pauses to think] I know what makes YOU sad, Dearsie.
Mom: You do? What do you think?
Ben: You wanna be with Grandpa.
Mom: [well, you can't get any deeper than that . . .] Yes - that does make me sad. But that would be a little hard for me to do right now.
Ben: No it wouldn't.
Mom: [surprised] It wouldn't?
Ben: No . . . I can just shoot you.
Mom: [stunned silence]
Ben: [as if to help her connect the dots . . .] Aaaaaaaaaaaand then you can be with Grandpa.

Well, he's a problem solver - you gotta give him that!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Out of the mouths of babes . . .

I was out with my sister Erin and her kiddos the other night and we were being helped by a really nice man who also happened to be really cute. Erin, in her usual fashion, decided that I should marry him. So, after he walked away, we had this discussion:

Erin: Catherine! He is super presh.
Me: Yeah, he is.
Erin: I need you to marry him.
Me: Okay.
Erin: Catherine, I'm SERIOUS.
Me: Oh, I know.
Erin: Savannah, don't you think that Catchy should marry that guy?
Savannah (8 yrs old): [giggling nervously] Yeaaaaaaaaaaaah.
Erin: Don't you think he's so presh?
Savannah: Yeah - he IS presh, Catchy.
Erin: What do YOU think Avery? Should Catchy marry that man?
Avery (5 yrs old): [looks up uninterested and shrugs her shoulders] He's probably married . . .
Me: Preach it, girl.

Great. My love life has caused my 5 year old niece to become jaded.


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A new level of awkward.

There was a time in my life - a beautiful, carefree time - when I thought that the most awkward thing I could ever do was work out to Hip Hop Abs. Oh to relive those days of blissful ignorance! But, alas, that time is no more. I have seen the truth and there is no turning back. For I have attempted Hip Hop Abs 2.




I'm actually still blushing from embarrassment and my workout ended 2 hours ago. But I can't help it - it was THAT bad. It started out okay - just a few jumping jacks and some hops. Nothing I can't handle because I'm super-ripped, of course. But then before I knew it we were doing the booty pop. You know, as in Beyonce's signature move.

The booty pop, y'all. THE FREAKIN' BOOTY POP.

I don't know if my booty was "popping" so much as it was apologizing. I could actually hear it giggling nervously and muttering things like "Oh my gosh - I'm sooooooooo sorry!" and "In all fairness, I'm really more into country music . . ." I'm pretty sure that I owe Beyonce some sort of monetary damages for what I did to that move. It was bad. My booty is just NOT meant to move that way . . .

So, as you can imagine, I was glad when the booty pop was over and we moved on to other moves. I convinced myself that I had seen the worst - that the rest of the workout would be a breeze. I mean, WHAT could Shaun T. throw at me that would be worse than the booty pop? Aaaaaaaand that's when we moved into the Double Dutch jump-roping section of the workout.

Okay - the joke's on me, Shaun T. Joke's on me . . .

In this part of the workout you do moves as if you were jumping double dutch. Sounds easy enough, right. I mean, there's no actual JUMP ROPE so it should be a breeze, right? Not so much. I mean, have you ever SEEN me try to jump double-dutch? It's You-Tube worthy, friends. And I'm here to tell you tonight that taking the jump rope out of the picture doesn't make it any better.

Just when I was about to give up, Shaun T. told us that we were going to be doing a move called the Washing Machine. "Finally!" I thought. "A move I'll be able to do! I know how to run a washing machine so this should be my shining moment! If only people were here to see how I dominate this move!" I was so excited. And then they started doing the Washing Machine . . . whiiiiiiiiiiile I stood motionless in my living room, staring at the TV with a confused expression, trying to figure how they were moving their hips that way without herniating their L-5s. Apparently there is a LOT of gyrating that takes place in your washing machine when you're not looking . . .

I thought about giving up after that but then I determined that I would see it through to the end. There was no way to make me feel more inadequate than I already did so what was the harm? That's when Shaun T. brought the tempo down for us to do the Ghetto Stomp.

Wow. I stand corrected. My inadequacy is limitless.

It was at that point that I threw my head back, shook my fist at the sky, and cursed my parents for not raising us in ghetto. How could they have been so selfish? But, unable to do anything about my childhood, I pushed on. I did my best to do the move but, in the end, I'm pretty sure I did a Master-planned Community Stomp. And I'm really not sure that's what Sean T. was shooting for . . .

And so begins the next phase of my workout regime. I'm really looking forward to finishing it so that I can move on to other programs with moves that are just a BIT less awkward for me. You know - something like Yoga Booty Ballet or Shakira's Belly Dance Workout.

Those sound promising . . .

Friday, November 12, 2010

Veterinarian's Day . . .

I had dinner with Erin and her kiddos tonight at Cheesecake Factory for our weekly Girls' Night. Normally, Tammy and my mom are there with us but, tonight, Tammy was sick and my mom was visiting a friend of ours so it was just me and Erin. We missed them, of course, but then Savannah (my 8-year old niece) started telling us about what she learned at school today about Veteran's Day and, suddenly, it was like my mom was right there with us . . .

Savannah: I almost CRIED at school today, Mommy.
Erin: Why??
Savannah: Because Mrs. Duvall told us every little detail about Veterinarian's Day.
Erin: Oh she did?
Savannah: Yes. EVERY little detail.
Me: What did she tell you about it?
Savannah: She just told us every little detail about EVERY war.
Me: Oh - was it really sad?
Savannah: Yes. SO many people were crying and she just kept telling us about more sad stuff.
Erin: Sounds like Mrs. Duvall and Dearsie would get along well . . .
Me: Seriously . . .
Savannah: I didn't cry but I ALMOST did.
Me: Well, which wars did you learn about?
Savannah: Ummmmm . . . the Several War . . .
[Suddenly, the competition was on. It was like Erin and I were sitting with my mom trying to interpret her movie titles or restaurant names . . .]
Me and Erin: [trying to guess the right name before the other one does . . .] The Civil War?!
Savannah: Yeah.
Me: [to Erin] That was a tie.
Erin: What else did you learn about?
Savannah: Ummmmm . . . the World War. The FIRST World War and the SECOND World War.
Me: Wow - you learned a lot! Any others?
Savannah: Yes - we learned about the Rindleberry War.
Me: Okay - I'm out on that one.
Erin: The Revolutionary War . . . good! What else?
Savannah: The Kemah War.
Erin: [head down, focusing, determined to figure it out before me]
Me: Iwo Jima?
Erin: Nice . . .
Savannah: No - the KEMAH War.
Erin: Oh - that wasn't it? I'm still in it? [head back down, new look of determination in her eyes]
Me: Oh - KOREA.
Erin: Dangit.
Savannah: No, Catchy - the KOREAN War.
Erin: Yeah, Catchy - the KOREAN War.
Me: Oh - I was WAY off . . .
Erin: What else did you learn about?
Savannah: The TeamTom war.
Me: TeamTom??
Erin: Vietnam?
Savannah: Yeah.
Me: Wow. You win.

Well, frankly, I think she won after Rindleberry but TeamTom pretty much sealed the deal . . .

I'm so thankful that I live in a country where I can meet my sister and nieces for a fun dinner whenever I want. I'm so thankful that I live in a country where little girls can go to school and learn about our country's history. I'm so thankful that I live in a country where my biggest worry is whether or not I'll beat my sister at guessing what my mom or my niece are talking about. And I'm so thankful for all the veterans who have served near and far - and apparently right here in Kemah - to keep it that kind of country. Thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Happy Veterinarian's Day!! :)

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ouch - that's a bit harsh, don't you think?

I sent an email out today to a list of young lawyers in the area. Almost immediately, two of the emails were kicked back to me as bad email addresses. That's nothing new - I get those "mailer daemon" or "mail delivery system" emails every time I send an email to a bad address. I usually just delete them but, for some reason, I actually read one of them today. And I have to say that it was a bit harsh . . . does not like recipient.
Remote host said: 550 5.7.1 Recipient rejected (R7)
Giving up on

Seriously - did they hire a group of high school girls to write their email codes? I mean, all that's missing is "O . . .M . . .G . . . - Recipient is like a MAJOR loser . . . I mean, did you SEE her outfit today?"

Oh great - now I feel like I need to seek out "recipient" and become friends with her so that she won't feel rejected . . .

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The day I've been waiting for . . .

Well, it's finally happened. My biggest dream has come true.

No, the New Kids on the Block have NOT finally asked me to be their opening act.

No, I have NOT invented an adult-sized Sit & Spin.

And no, Mike Rowe has NOT proposed to me, despite my repeated efforts to seduce him through my television screen.

No - I'm talking about something bigger. Something more unbelievable. Something - well, I'm just gonna say it - miraculous. You see, friends, the research I've been waiting for all my life has finally been released. All my struggles are over. And my life may never be the same. "What is this life-changing research, Catherine??? We're dying to know!!" you exclaim. Okay, okay. I'll tell you. Wait, no - I'll let you read the article that my friend Ellen forwarded to me today. You read it and judge for yourselves if it's not the most exciting thing you've ever heard.

I daresay that you, like me, shall LITERALLY jump for joy:


(CNN) -- Twinkies. Nutty bars. Powdered donuts.

For 10 weeks, Mark Haub, a professor of human nutrition at Kansas State University, ate one of these sugary cakelets every three hours, instead of meals. [So, wait - OTHER people do that, too?? I think he might be my soulmate.] To add variety in his steady stream of Hostess and Little Debbie snacks, Haub munched on Doritos chips, sugary cereals and Oreos, too. [Mmmmmmm . . . yes, please . . .]

His premise: That in weight loss, pure calorie counting is what matters most -- not the nutritional value of the food. [I like where this is going . . .]

The premise held up: On his "convenience store diet," he shed 27 pounds in two months. [Wait - what? . . . What? . . . WHAT??? This is . . . I never thought I'd . . . so it really . . . breathe, Catherine . . . breathe . . .]

For a class project, Haub limited himself to less than 1,800 calories a day. A man of Haub's pre-dieting size usually consumes about 2,600 calories daily. So he followed a basic principle of weight loss: He consumed significantly fewer calories than he burned. [Wait - let me get a pen a paper so I can take some notes.]

His body mass index went from 28.8, considered overweight, to 24.9, which is normal. He now weighs 174 pounds. [I'm crying. I'm ACTUALLY crying.]

But you might expect other indicators of health would have suffered. Not so. [gulp]

Haub's "bad" cholesterol, or LDL, dropped 20 percent and his "good" cholesterol, or HDL, increased by 20 percent. He reduced the level of triglycerides, which are a form of fat, by 39 percent. [Blah blah blah . . . get to the important stuff - did he LOVE the Swiss Cake Rolls or WHAT??]

"That's where the head scratching comes," Haub said. "What does that mean? Does that mean I'm healthier? Or does it mean how we define health from a biology standpoint, that we're missing something?"[Ummmmm . . . it means I'm having Swiss Cake Rolls for dinner and no one can judge me!!]

Despite his temporary success, Haub does not recommend replicating his snack-centric diet. [Oh, oooooooooookay. Wink wink, riiiiiiiiight?]

"I'm not geared to say this is a good thing to do," [I am. I am DEFINITELY geared to do that.] he said. "I'm stuck in the middle. I guess that's the frustrating part. I can't give a concrete answer. There's not enough information to do that."

Two-thirds of his total intake came from junk food. [Seriously, I want to kiss this guy.] He also took a multivitamin pill and drank a protein shake daily. And he ate vegetables, typically a can of green beans or three to four celery stalks. [Ah now that's just a sign of weakness, man. If you can't commit 100% to Little Deb, just go home.]

Families who live in food deserts have limited access to fresh fruits and vegetables, so they often rely on the kind of food Haub was eating. [Note to self: find a "food desert" and research real estate prices there.]

"These foods are consumed by lots of people," he said. "It may be an issue of portion size and moderation rather than total removal. I just think it's unrealistic to expect people to totally drop these foods for vegetables and fruits. It may be healthy, but not realistic." [Preach it, brotha!!]

Haub's body fat dropped from 33.4 to 24.9 percent. This posed the question: What matters more for weight loss, the quantity or quality of calories? [Why are we talking about this? Who cares? IT'S A DIET OF LITTLE DEBBIES!!!!]

His success is probably a result of caloric reduction, said Dawn Jackson Blatner, a dietitian based in Atlanta, Georgia. [Oh great - who invited the dietitian to the party?]

"It's a great reminder for weight loss that calories count," she said. "Is that the bottom line to being healthy? That's another story."

Blatner, a spokeswoman for the American Dietetic Association, said she's not surprised to hear Haub's health markers improved even when he loaded up on processed snack cakes.

Being overweight is the central problem that leads to complications like high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, she said. [Buzz kill . . .]

"When you lose weight, regardless of how you're doing it -- even if it's with packaged foods, generally you will see these markers improve when weight loss has improved," she said.

Before jumping on the Ding Dong bandwagon, Blatner warned of health concerns. [Ooooooof course she did. Dang dietitians. They are so annoy- wait . . . did they say Ding Dongs? Mmmmmm . . . ding dongs . . .]

"There are things we can't measure," said Blatner, questioning how the lack of fruits and vegetables could affect long-term health. "How much does that affect the risk for cancer? We can't measure how diet changes affect our health." [(fingers in ears) LALALALALALA I CAN'T HEEEEEEEAR YOOOOOOOU!!! LALALALALALA]

On August 25, Haub, 41, started his cake diet focusing on portion control.

"I'm eating to the point of need and pushing the plate or wrapper away," he said. [What? Pushing the plate away? What is this strange concept about which you speak??]

He intended the trial to last a month as a teaching tool for his class. As he lost weight, Haub continued the diet until he reached a normal body mass index.

Before his Twinkie diet, he tried to eat a healthy diet that included whole grains, dietary fiber, berries and bananas, vegetables and occasional treats like pizza. [Never again, my friend. Never again.]

"There seems to be a disconnect between eating healthy and being healthy," Haub said. "It may not be the same. I was eating healthier, but I wasn't healthy. I was eating too much."

He maintained the same level of moderate physical activity as before going on the diet. (Haub does not have any ties to the snack cake companies.)

To avoid setting a bad example for his kids, Haub ate vegetables in front of his family. Away from the dinner table, he usually unwrapped his meals. [For the first time in my life, I'm thankful I don't have kids.]

Haub monitored his body composition, blood pressure, cholesterol and glucose, and updated his progress on his Facebook page, Professor Haub's diet experiment.

To curb calories, he avoided meat, whole grains and fruits. Once he started adding meat into the diet four weeks ago, his cholesterol level increased.

Haub plans to add about 300 calories to his daily intake now that he's done with the diet. But he's not ditching snack cakes altogether. Despite his weight loss, Haub feels ambivalence.

"I wish I could say the outcomes are unhealthy. I wish I could say it's healthy. I'm not confident enough in doing that. That frustrates a lot of people. One side says it's irresponsible. It is unhealthy, but the data doesn't say that." [Trust the data, my friend. Trust the data.]


Aaaaaaand cue the Hallelujah Chorus . . .

Monday, November 8, 2010


My mom loves going to movies so she'll often ask me and my sisters if we want to go see a particular movie with her. As I've mentioned before, though, this can be tricky because she can never remember the name movies. So, out of necessity, my sisters and I have become expert Nora translators:

Mom: There are couple of movies that out that I really want to see if anyone wants to go.
Me: Sure - which ones do you want to see.
Mom: Well, that one that Brian was just telling me about. Ummmm . . .[thinking of the name]
Bro-in-law Brian: [helping her out] Inside Job.
Mom: Yeah, that one.
Me: Huh. I haven't even heard of that one.
Tammy: I want to see Conviction SO bad.
Mom: Yeah - I'd see that one, too. And I REALLY want to see that faceplace one.
Me: The faceplace one?
Mom: Yeah. The one about faceplace.
Me: You mean The Social Network?
Mom: Yeah - that one.
Me: About faceBOOK.
Mom: Whatever.

I'm gonna be like that one day, too, aren't I?

I hope my kids don't blog . . .

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Now where did you learn THAT??

My sister Erin was out shopping with her kids the other day and, just as they were leaving the store, Savannah (7) unwrapped a candy bar and threw the wrapper in a shopping cart that she was walking past. Erin couldn't believe what she had seen - she does NOT want her kids to be disrespectful like that or to be litterbugs. So she stopped the kids . . . and decided to have a teaching moment:

Erin: Ummmm . . . Savannah - you can't do that.
Savannah: What?
Erin: [pointing to the shopping cart] You can't mess with Texas.
Savannah: Mommy - I didn't mess with Texas. I messed with a shopping cart.
Erin: It doesn't matter - you can't do that. It's littering. [Deciding to pull out the big guns . . .] You can go to jail for that.
Savannah: No I won't, Mommy. They won't put me in jail.
Erin: Yes, they would.
Savannah: No, I wouldn't go to JAIL, Mommy. I'd just go to JUVIE.

And who says kids don't learn anything good in public schools??

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

My superhero counterpart.

I was driving home from the grocery store the other day when my phone rang. I saw that it was Jill so I answered it - not that I wouldn't have answered it if it was YOU . . . I mean, I always answer the phone when YOU call . . . it's just that . . . what I meant was . . . you see I just . . . [gulp] is it hot in here??

ANYWAY - I answered the phone and Jill greeted me with the words I've been waiting to hear all my life:

Me: Hey, Jilly!
Jill: Catherine - you're a superhero.
Me: I am?
Jill: Yes. An actual superhero.
Me: You mean to tell me that my application was finally accepted?
Jill: What?
Me: Wait - what?
Jill: [awkward pause] You're a superhero on PBS. And your name is Word Girl.
Me: There's a superhero named Word Girl??
Jill: Yes!!
Me: Oh my gosh!! I love her already!!
Jill: I know! Me, too!! And she's just like you!
Me: [getting carried away with excitement] She is??
Jill: [getting carried away with excitement, too] Yes!
Me: Perfect and precious with a butt that won't quit??!!??!!
Jill: Yes!!! And she even has a little brown bob like you! Aaaaaaaand she goes around fighting bad guys and correcting grammar and word choices!!
Me: That IS like me!! Does she eat Little Debbies for power??
Jill: I don't know!!
Me: [seriously] No doubt she does, Jill. No doubt she does.

Oh my gosh - I was so excited. I came right home and googled her and found this little clip that I wanted to share with you. Check out my newest favorite superhero:

God love PBS . . .

Friday, October 29, 2010


My younger sister, Erin, is one of the most obsessive people I know - once she learns about something, she can't stop until she knows everything about it. She's really like my mom in that sense.

For example . . .

After we saw the movie 300, she stayed up until 4 am reading stuff on the internet until she became the resident expert on Sparta. And she recently started watching the Showtime series "The Tudors" so now, after a few nights of late-night googling a few trips to the optometrist for eye fatigue, she knows everything there is to know about Henry VIII. When she read "The Help," she spent a week researching Medgar Evers . . . and added Ghosts of Mississippi to her Netflix queue. And don't even get me started about what she did after watching "My Left Foot" . . .

It's crazy.

And it's a problem.

So I knew I was in for trouble when she started watching Food, Inc., which is an expose about the alarming state of food production in the United States. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand, unfortunately for me, she had her phone next to her.

And I'm on speed dial . . .

Me: Hey, Erin!
Erin: Catherine, I want to kill myself.
Me: Why? Did you scratch your Twilight DVD?
Erin: That's not funny - don't joke about that. No - it's because I'm watching Food, Inc., Catherine. It's horrible.
Me: Oh really?
Erin: Catherine - 1 in 3 Americans born after 2000 will get early onset diabetes! 1 in 3!!
Me: Yikes.
Erin: Worst. Movie. EVER.
Me: Sounds like it.
Erin: But there's a man on here and he needs someone to be a true friend because he has MONSTER nose hairs. It's distracting me from this crisis.
Me: Oh - I wish you'd never told me that . . .
Erin: Okay - I have to go. It's like watching a train wreck.

Me: Hey, Erin!
Erin: The chicks are real sad, Catherine. They're real sad.
Me: Why?
Erin: Because they just throw them on conveyor belts and they're little legs are flailing and it's sooooo sad [getting choked up].
Me: You're a lunatic.
Erin: Shut up. Gotta go.

Me: Hey!
Erin: Catherine, I can't take it.
Me: What?
Erin: They hang the cows upside down before they kill them!
Me: Oh that's sad.
Erin: And they have to stand in their own feces at the feed farms. So by the time that they go to the butcher they're completely covered in their own feces! I can't take it!
Me: Well, turn it off!
Erin: I've gotta go . . .
Me: [looking at my phone] Okaaaaaay . . .

Me: Hey!
Erin: The pigs scream, Catherine! THEY SCREAM!!
Me: Think THEY do . . .
Erin: This is horrible.
Me: So let me get this straight. You couldn't stay up past 9:30 last night to hang out with your SISTER but throw some screaming pigs in the picture and you're suddenly a night owl?
Erin: And the chicks! They grabbed me right away, Catch. If you come to my house with kegs and arms flailing on a conveyer belt, you'd get my attention, too.
Me: Kegs?
Erin: I meant legs.
Me: Yeah - cuz kegs would be a little harder to flail.
Erin: But you could do a keg stand - THAT would get my attention.
Me: I can't do handstands for more than 2 seconds so I'd need a little help. Maaaaaaaaaybe someone could hang me upside down like the cows . . .
Erin: You hateful, hateful bit- gotta go . . . the nosehair guy's on again . . .

Me: Seriously?
Erin: Just FYI, in case you ever want something fun to talk about at parties - THEY CLEANSE OUR MEAT WITH AMMONIA. THE MEAT TURNS WHITE!!
Me: That doesn't sound good.
Erin: Freakin' AMMONIA, Catherine.
Me: Hmmmmmm . . .
Erin: I seriously want to kill myself right now.
Me: I know how you feel . . .
Erin: We are NOT eating meat anymore. I'm done with it. [Then to her husband] Matt - we are NOT eating meat . . . for at LEAST like two weeks.
Matt: Okay - I'm ordering the pizza. What kind do you want?
Erin: Meatlovers. [Back to me] Anyway, Catherine - where was I?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A magical apology?

My mom was talking to my six-year-old nephew, Ben, today about how he is going to be Merlin the Magician for Halloween. As is the case with most conversations between my mom and Ben, this one proved to be a bit of magic itself:

Ben: [seriously] You know, Dearsie - if you snap your fingers really hard, you CAN make things disappear.
Mom: Just by snapping real hard?
Ben: Yes - that's what magicians do.
Mom: Well - if you snap YOUR fingers real hard, can YOU make stuff disappear?
Ben: No - but real magicians can.
Mom: Oh. Well, magicians also cut people in half. You know - where you put the girl in the box and then you saw her in half and you pull the two sides of the box apart and her head goes with one side and her feet go with the other?
Ben: Yeah. I could do that. [Gets very serious] But . . . I'd be afraid I'd mess up.
Mom: What do you mean?
Ben: [very seriously] Well, I'd be afraid that I'd be sawing and sawing and then, all of a sudden, there would just be blood EVERYWHERE.
Mom: Oh. Yeah - that would not be good . . .
Ben: I know. People would get REALLY upset.
Mom: Yeah - I think you're right. They really would. And what would you say to the poor girl's mommy?
Ben: Or her daddy?! Or her brother?!
Mom: Yeah - what would you say to all of them?
Ben: [thinking very hard and then very seriously says] Well . . . I guess I'd just say [shrugs his shoulders and puts on his best "ooops - my bad" face] "Sorryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!!"

And I'm sure they'd understand, Ben. I'm sure they would.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Your To-Do List

Well, I'm in trial this week so I won't be posting again until Tuesday night. You know - so I can actually do my job and all. Employers are so demanding like that.

So check back in on Wednesday for the next post, m'kaaaaaaaay?

But in the meantime, here are three things for you to do:

1) Check out the new Mixed Metaphor in the right margin!
2) Become a follower of my blog if you haven't already done that!
3) Become a fan of The Catherine Chronicles on facebook!

Notice how I put exclamation points after each one. That's so that you'll see how exciting it is for you to do that stuff. You know you want to . . .

Go on! What are you waiting for?

Do it.


I'm waaaaaaaaaiting.

Seriously - why are you still here?

Okay, this is just getting awkward . . .

Friday, October 22, 2010

Somebody needs to be fired.

A friend of mine saw a business card the other day that she thought I might appreciate so she scanned it in and emailed it to me today. I opened up the attachment to her email, read the business card, aaaaaaaaand immediately fell into convulsions . . .
It hurts. It actually hurts. I thought I was going to open up a funny picture and have a good laugh but, before I know it, BAM! I'm getting slapped in the face with spelling mistakes and poked in the eye with an errant apostrophe. I think my right eye is ACTUALLY bleeding.

Seriously . . . NObody thought to spell-check this? Not one single person? Nobody at the printing company caught this?? DON'T THEY KNOW WHAT THIS STUFF DOES TO ME???

Well, I don't care who they are or what kind of athority they are, I will NOT be making an appointmnt with them . . .

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A hairdon't.

My sister Erin and I were standing in the security line at the San Diego airport on Sunday afternoon, ready to get on our flight back to Houston. There was a couple in front of us who looked very distinguished together, like they might be professors on sabbatical. The wife had salt and pepper hair that was styled in a VERY short haircut . . . and I'm talking SHORT. Like, she probably uses clippers. But she pulled it off somehow and looked great. Being the people watchers that we are, Erin and I discussed this at length and talked in great detail about how we could never pull that hairdo off. We were just about to award her MAJOR props . . . aaaaaaaaaaaand then she turned around:

Why, God?


Tuesday, October 19, 2010


I went to San Diego this weekend with my sister Erin, my nephew Ben (6), and my niece Avery (5). As I was packing for my trip, I spent a good amount of time trying to decide what to wear on the plane. This is a big decision for a single girl because you never know when you might find yourself in the middle of a romantic comedy plot, seated next to a single doctor who worked his way through medical school as a mechanic and who helps you pass the time on the flight with his incredibly witty banter. Has this ever happened to me? No, of course not. I usually get seated next to a kid, a woman, a married couple or, one time, a man who watched a video of the Dalai Lama for the entire flight and cringed if my arm brushed his. But we must keep the dream alive, friends. Must . . . keep . . . dream . . . alive.

Now on this particular flight, I knew that I'd be sitting next the cutest 5 and 6 year old on the planet but, still, I had to look cute just in case. So I chose to wear a pair of trouser jeans (cute yet comfy), a purple long-sleeved shirt with this cute little ruffle on the front, a cute pair of black wedges and my SUPER cute new travel purse that I just bought from Charming Charlie. Wanna see it? Okay!
[Pause to allow you sufficient time to ooooooooh and aaaaaaaaaah . . .]

It was all just so . . . CUTE!!

We went to the airport, checked our bags, and headed to the security line. As we were waiting in for our turn, I discussed my new purse with my sister and we talked in great detail about how cute it was and how everyone in San Diego would be so jealous of it. I was feeling pretty good about myself and spent a minute or two daydreaming about how the California paparazzi would mistake me for someone famous because of my cute new purse.

And that's when the security people mistook me for a terrorist.

I guess that terrorists are wearing precious ruffly shirts with super cute purses these days? Beeeeeeeeeecause I apparently fit the profile. I get it - I looked SUPER threatening.

I was informed that I had been selected to undergo a special security screening - she almost made it sound like a prize or like a very selective process that I should be proud I got through. She made me stand to the side while I watched my sister and the kiddos go through their REGULAR security screening. People were looking at me and, just to make me feel THAT much more special, the lady who had stopped me kept getting on her walkie talkie saying things like "I need a female security check up here. Female security check." I started smiling nervously at passersby and found myself loudly humming some gospel-sounding version of "America the Beautiful" with my eyes closed and my hand on my heart.

Finally, a new security agent came to escort me to the front of the line so that I could have my bags scanned. While those were scanning, she had me stand over to the side, under the close supervision of another security agent who was approximately 8 feet tall and very intimidating. Then she came to get me and took me to her little search station. That's when she explained the procedure to me in that monotone that Federal employees do so well:

Lady: Okay. I'm going to perform a full body search.
Me: [gulp]
Lady: I am going to touch everything from your hair to your feet.
Lady: When I get to sensitive areas like your breasts, buttocks and groin, I will use the back of my hand.
Me: Are you at least going to buy me dinner first?
Lady: Would you like a private screening?
Me: [Oh dear God - this lady means business.]

So then she performed the full body search on me in front of God and everyone. Luckily, she didn't have to search any body cavities but she might as well have. About midway through this traumatic experience, I looked up to see my sister and the kids coming through security. I was so glad to see them - some familiar faces to help me through my time of need. But did they give me sympathetic looks? No. Did they smile encouragingly? No. Did they yell "Let our Catchy go!!" No, of course not. Not my family. They stood there laughing while my sister took pictures of the whole thing on her phone:

So after she finished taking advantage of me, she declared that I was, in fact, not a terrorist and let me go. I asked her if she was at least going to offer me a cigarette but she didn't get it. So I just left before they decided to search my various cavities after all.

After all that, you know what the most frustrating part of the whole experience was for me? It wasn't the inconvenience of it. It wasn't the near strip-search in front of everyone. It wasn't even the fact that it almost made us late for our flight. No - the most frustrating part was that, after all that time searching my new purse, she NEVER said it was cute.

I mean, was she BLIND??