Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Dream a little dream.

I had such a strange dream the other day. I dreamed that I got shot in the head at point-blank range and that it was right before a party that I was throwing at a friend's house. I was so put-out with the fact that I had just been shot (like "of ALL the days to get shot in the head . . .") and my friends and I were trying to decide if we really needed to call 911 because we didn't want to interrupt the party. In the end, we decided to call but, when the ambulance arrived, it was messing up the parking for the party and my friends had to ask the paramedics to move the ambulance so that the guests could park their cars. Like I said . . . STRANGE.

I was telling some of my friends about this dream and they said that I should look it up to see what the dream means. I didn't really feel that was necessary because I thought it seemed pretty clear that my dream means that my friends care more about their party than me getting shot in the head. BUT I decided to look it up for fun on an online dream dictionary just to see what it said. I didn't find anything particularly enlightening about THAT dream but I spent some time looking at interpretations of other types of dreams and found some particularly interesting ones.

For instance, there are the "people really dream about that?" dreams:

"To dream that a preacher shoots you, signifies that you will be annoyed by some friend advancing views condemnatory to those entertained by yourself." Aaaaaaaaaaaaaactually, I think it signifies that you should change churches . . .

"If you dream of a silkworm, you will engage in a very profitable work, which will also place you in a prominent position." Dreaming of silkworms? Seriously? I don't even know what a silkworm LOOKS like. Do people really DREAM about them?

"To dream of hissing persons, is an omen that you will be displeased beyond endurance at the discourteous treatment shown you while among newly made acquaintances." Either that or you just read the Twilight saga and you're dreaming about your vampire boyfriend hissing and growling at people who are trying to hurt you. Not that I've had that dream or anything . . .

"To put money on the eyes of a corpse in your dreams, denotes that you will see unscrupulous enemies robbing you while you are powerless to resent injury. If you only put it on one eye you will be able to recover lost property after an almost hopeless struggle. For a young woman this dream denotes distress and loss by unfortunately giving her confidence to designing persons." If you're dreaming about putting money in the eyes of corpses, don't tell anyone but a licensed professional . . .

* * * * *

And then there are the dreams about things that I've never heard about. I call these the "You're too smart for your own dreams" dreams:

"To imagine while dreaming that you are a somnambulist, portends that you will unwittingly consent to some agreement of plans which will bring you anxiety or ill fortune." Seriously - can't you just say "sleepwalker?" Do you have to be pretentious in your dreams, too??

"To dream of gaiters, foretells pleasant amusements and rivalries." Clearly we're not talking about "gators." So yeah, this dream is too smart for me.

"To dream that you are the subject of calumny, denotes that your interests will suffer at the hands of evil-minded gossips." A what-y?

"To dream of suffering with chilblains, denotes that you will be driven into some bad dealing through over anxiety of a friend or partner. This dream also portends your own illness or an accident." Okay. Thanks. Good to know. Note to self: look up "chilblains."

"To see a jackdaw, denotes ill health and quarrels." Will it be wearing a name tag that says "Hello. My name is Jackdaw"? Because, if not, I don't think I'm gonna spot it . . .

* * * * *

And, of course, there were the "Dreams that I can relate to":

"To dream of wearing a girdle, and it presses you, denotes that you will be influenced by designing people." Of course, I haven't actually DREAMED of wearing a girdle but I have THOUGHT about wearing a girdle. Does that count?

"For a young woman to dream of being in a military camp she will marry the first time she has a chance." If I had a dime . . .

* * * * *

And then the "Well, I coulda told you THAT" dreams:

"To dream of crabs . . . portends to lovers a long and difficult courtship." Well, of COURSE it does . . .

* * * * *

And then there are the "Wow. That is SPECIFIC" dreams:

"For a young woman to glide in a canoe across a canal, denotes a chaste life and an adoring husband. If she crossed the canal on a bridge over clear water and gathers ferns and other greens on the banks, she will enjoy a life of ceaseless rounds of pleasure and attain to high social distinction. But if the water be turbid she will often find herself tangled in meshes of perplexity and will be the victim of nervous troubles." Well, that's pretty specific but, okay - maybe lots of people can relate . . .?

"To pass down an avenue of white chrysanthemums, with here and there a yellow one showing among the white, foretells a strange sense of loss and sadness, from which the sensibilities will expand and take on new powers. While looking on these white flowers as you pass, and you suddenly feel your spirit leave your body and a voice shouts aloud “Glory to God, my Creator,” foretells that a crisis is pending in your near future. If some of your friends pass out, and others take up true ideas in connection with spiritual and earthly needs, you will enjoy life in its deepest meaning. Often death is near you in these dreams." I think some marijuana might be near you, too . . .

"For a young woman to dream that a friend rides behind her on a horse, denotes that she will be foremost in the favors of many prominent and successful men. [Nice. Gonna shoot for that dream tonight . . .] If she was frightened, she is likely to stir up jealous sensations. [Makes sense . . .] If after she alights from the horse it turns into a pig, [Wow. Didn't see that one coming. But okaaaaaaay . . .] she will carelessly pass by honorable offers of marriage, preferring freedom until her chances of a desirable marriage are lost. If afterward she sees the pig sliding gracefully along the telegraph wire, [I'm sorry . . . what?] she will by intriguing advance her position." The disturbing thing is that someone actually HAD that dream. Doesn't get much weirder than that, folks . . .

"To see a horse in human flesh, descending on a hammock through the air, and as it nears your house is metamorphosed into a man, and he approaches your door and throws something at you which seems to be rubber but turns into great bees, denotes miscarriage of hopes and useless endeavors to regain lost valuables." Well, looky there. I stand corrected . . .

Makes me feel a lot better about my own dreams, that's for sure.

Well, better get to bed. There's a military camp out there that's not gonna dream itself . . .

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Making the world a better place . . .

I've decided that it is my calling in life to make the world a better place. How will I do this, you ask? By helping to rid the world of bad grammar, abusive punctuation, and annoying expressions, of course.

Oh, and by praying for world peace and all that stuff, too, I guess.

But first - the annoying stuff . . .

Stop saying it. Just stop. There is no "EX" in ESpecially. If you say it that way, please take a moment to slap your hand for me. Okay, now slap yourself in the face. Go ahead. I'll wait.

Done? Okay. Listen - you don't say EXsther or EXsential or EXspionage, do you? Then why are you treating ESpecially unfairly? It never asked to be treated any differently than its fellow ES words so stop it. Repeat after me: "I will not put an X in especially and, if I do, I will exslap myself in the face."

Try it with me now . . . Esssssssssssssssspecially. Now isn't that liberating?

By definition.
This expression has been subject to gross overuse and misuse in modern usage. People say sentences like "Flowers are, by definition, an excellent gift idea" or "Spanish is, by definition, very difficult to learn." Really? Is that actually in the definition of "Spanish?" I didn't realize that. I think people think it makes them sound smart and authoritative to throw that out there every so often. But it doesn't. So please stop using it. It is, by definition, annoying . . .

Should of.
I think you "should of" paid better attention to your grammar lessons because it's "should HAVE." It's understandable that you somehow turned "should've" into "should of" but it must stop. For the sake of all that is Holy, it must stop. But chin up - the nice thing about learning this one correctly is that you get a three for one special . . . now you know "could HAVE" and "would HAVE," too! Look at that - we're making the world a better place already!!

It's not a word. Now don't give me that look . . . it's not. The sooner you start to accept this, the sooner you'll be able to start the recovery process. Soon you'll be using the word "regardless" and marveling at the ease with which it rolls off your tongue without that extra syllable weighing it down at the beginning. But you will have to avoid the temptation of finding a new home for the extracted "ir" . . . don't start saying things like "we're in an irrecession" or "give me one irreason I can't go." You must avoid that at all costs. Because you would just sound irridiculous.

So are you with me? Will you agree to help make this world a better place one bad habit at a time? I really hope so. Because I'm not sure I can do it without you.

And the world, by definition, needs our help.

Monday, January 25, 2010

When you google your gurgle . . .

About a month after I started blogging last year, my mom found a website called that will monitor your website and keep track of your stats for you. It's really cool - it tells me how many hits I get a day, what parts of the world my readers come from, and what search terms people are using to land on my blog. Sometimes I like to go read the search terms because I always find them interesting. Of course, I see lots of searches for "beaver nuggets" and feel an automatic kinship to those people because of their love for and curiosity about those little bits of heaven.

But some terms are just, well, mind-boggling. I look at them and I don't know how those search terms brought them to my blog. And I don't think that they found the answers they were looking for on my site. So I thought maybe I'd try to help these folks out.

Here are the search terms and my attempts to provide the necessary information . . .

"Gurgling gagging" - Ummmmmm . . . call 911.

"Cat makes gurgling noises when purring" - Wow. The cat, too? Call the vet STAT.

"Dog heaving gurgling" - Seriously. What's going on in your house?? I think you and your pets are getting gassed or something . . .

"Embalming fluid in ice cream" - Might wanna check the recall notices on that. Could explain the gurgling . . .

"Blood pressure rises thinking of lover" - I feel dirty. Stop looking at my blog. At least until your blood pressure goes down.

"How to get the tooth fairy to write a letter back without a tooth" - Oh boy. Ummmmm . . . I'm not really sure how exactly to break this to you but . . . well . . . you know, maybe you should sit down for this . . .

I hope this helps.

And I hope the gurgling has stopped.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

You. Me. Outside. Now.

I'm not a violent person, I promise. I really have a long fuse - it takes a long time for me to get mad about stuff. Spill red wine on my carpet? No problem - that doesn't bother me a bit. Back into my car? That okay! That's why we have insurance. Break something valuable of mine on accident? No worries - quit beating yourself up about it.

I really don't get my feathers ruffled that easily.

But there are some people who make me want to beat them up. Make me want to lose my ever-loving mind and pummel their faces in. They evoke the most irrational responses from me and I don't know why. But I DO know that it's not my fault - it's theirs.

I'm sure you find them as maddening as I do . . .

1. People who get on the highway going 30 mph. Seriously? Is this a joke? Are you trying to get me killed by that 18-wheeler that's driving up my butt right now? Why are you getting on the highway at all?? You are clearly not up to the challenge. Stay on the service road, friend. Or get ready for a beat-down.

2. The person who invented the water faucet that requires you to push the knob down every 10 seconds to keep the water flowing. This is the WORST product design EVER. Who approved the patent for that thing?? You can't wash your hands without getting soap and water all over the place and it really ticks me off. I'd like to meet the inventor in a dark alley and have a word.

3. The person who made the decision to replace paper towel dispensers with the hand dryers in the bathroom at my movie theater. They are USELESS. When my hands are still dripping after 10 minutes, I give up and wipe my hands on my jeans. When I leave the bathroom with wet hand prints on my pants, I take it personally. And want to hunt somebody down.

4. People who park so close to me that I can't open my door when I get back to my car. I've actually had to crawl over into the driver's seat from the passenger's side because of someone like that. Unbelievable. I think I should be allowed to run my front bumper along the side of their car as I'm backing out. I think it's only fair. If that were the law, there would be a lot more people thinking twice before leaving a bad park job.

5. People who don't say thank you when you hold the door open for them. Man that really gets me mad. And sometimes it's whole families that stroll through without so much as a smile or even EYE CONTACT. Rational people might just find themselves a little put out by the lack of gratitude. Or perhaps they might say quietly, but sarcastically, "You're welcome." Not me. I want to follow them, yelling "Excuse me - I wasn't aware that I was made your servant. When I woke this morning, I wasn't aware that I had been indentured overnight. My apologies. Please, can I open your car door for you? Or get you something to drink? Perhaps pick your cleaning up for you? You stupid son of a . . ."

But I digress . . .

Clearly I have some issues to work through here. But I know you agree with me. Sure maybe you're not as irrational about it. Maybe you aren't driven to the point of homicidal insanity by it. Maybe you don't have violent gut reactions that should possibly be reported to the authorities. But you agree that these people are a maddening bunch. Right? Oh - before you answer, I should tell you about my sixth group . . .

6. People who don't agree with me on this.

I'm sorry . . . were you about to say something?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Carbon Copy.

I'm pretty sure that my four-year-old niece Avery is my daughter. I think that my family drugged me to make me forget that I was ever pregnant and then gave Avery to my sister Erin to raise. I mean, judge for yourself . . .

She has my dimples:

And my bedhead:

And she takes her bagels very seriously:

PLUS, she loves to sing. I asked her once to sing me a song while she was sitting in my lap and she responded by getting off my lap and walking away. I said in my best hurt voice: "You're not gonna sing for me???" She spun around with a look of utter surprise and said with an exasperated tone "Well, I HAVE to get my microphone!" I knew in that moment that she MUST be my daughter.

Today she did something that confirmed that suspicion further.

See, when I was a kid, the big joke in my family was that if there was a reflective surface around, I would find a way to look at myself in it. At dinner, I would talk to my sister across the table but I wasn't looking at her - I was looking at myself in the reflection in the sliding glass door behind her. In the bathroom, I would stand there talking to my sister while we brushed our teeth but I never once looked at her - I was too busy watching myself talk. I was my own biggest fan. It was obnoxious but, hey - SOMEONE needed to admire the way the back part of mullet cascaded down my shoulder while I talked. Geez, people - can you blame me??

Well, today my sister texted me to tell me that Avery had just come into her living room and said: "Mommy. I just went into the bathroom to see if I look pretty. I didn't think I was going to but OH MY GOSH I look soooooooooo pretty."


And soooooooooooo my child.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Not so "out of character" . . .

My sister Erin had a conversation with my mom this weekend that I thought you all would enjoy:

Erin: Hey, mom! Whatchya doin'?
Mom: Oh, just getting ready to go to the movies with Vicki.
Erin: Oh, really? What are y'all going to see?
Mom: Out of Character.
Erin: "Out of Character"?
Mom: Yeah. I've been REALLY wanting to see it.
Erin: [silence] "Out of Character"?
Mom: Yeah.
Erin: [silence] Ummmmm . . .
Mom: Should be good.
Erin: Do you mean "It's Complicated?"
Mom: Yeah.
Erin: Wow.

So that's it - just thought I'd kick-start your week with a little dose of Nora . . .

Friday, January 15, 2010

A Rear View.

Today I was standing in line at Schlotzky's in Huntsville looking at the paintings on the wall when something caught my eye . . .

I call it "Good LORD That Woman's Butt is Huge!"

Seriously . . . what's happening here? Is she smuggling a small a child out of the market? This the worst body shape I have EVER seen. Hands. Down. When she says "No, I can't have that piece of cake - it'll go straight to my butt" she REALLY means it. So don't pressure her to eat the cake, for goodness sake - we don't know how much further that thing can expand.

I feel sorry for her, too, because she looks a little self conscious about it. Like she's hoping the flesh-colored top is minimizing in just the right places. And, honestly, why is she still messing with the lettuce there? That's a losing fight, toots.

Just give in and get the Swiss Cake Rolls . . .

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I had trial this week and, as is common during our trials, I had to talk about body parts and bodily functions that I don't usually discuss at all, much less in front of a courtroom of people. That is one of the more challenging aspects of my job but I manage to do it by reminding myself that I am a mature 34 year old woman and I can handle it.

But that's a lie.

I'm totally immature. Sure, I look down my nose at people who think farting or mooning is funny but that does not a mature person make. No - when it comes down to it, I am junior high student in the body of a grown-up. And I think you should know this about me. Allow me to give you specifics . . .

1. I have to try hard not to smile when people talk about Shi Tzus. Seriously, I could never own one because if people asked me "What kind of dog is that?" I would say "Shi Tzu" and then awkwardly stifle a laugh.

2. On that same note . . . When I first saw the words "shiitake mushroom" on a menu, I thought it said "shitcake mushroom." I wasn't sure what kind of mushroom that was, exactly, but I thought it seemed like they could come up with a better name than "shitcake." I mean, really ANYTHING would be better than that. I soon realized my mistake but, to this day, I giggle when I see them on a menu. And I can't eat them . . .

3. I could never live in Phuket, Thailand. Unless I could call it "Phreakit, Thailand." Otherwise, I would be too embarrassed to tell anyone where I lived. I'd end up having conversations like this:

Me: You should come visit me sometime!
Friend: Oh, I'd love to! Where exactly are you living these days?
Me: [Oh crap.] Ummmm . . . in Thailand.
Friend: Oh, really? Where in Thailand.
Me: Just in Thailand.
Friend: But like what city?
Me: [What if I just spell it for him?] Ummmm . . . P-H . . . You know it's not really a great place to visit.
Friend: Oh really? Where is it?
Me: [Wow. He's a relentless son of a . . .] I think I'm about to move - you should come visit me AFTER the move, instead.
Friend: Okay. But where are you now?
Me: Who are you? Columbo? Why do you keep pressing me to tell you where I live? This is creepy. When did you become such a stalker?

So, you see, living there would just make me lose friends. And what if they have a traditional song that goes: "Oh Phuket, Oh Phuket . . ."? I couldn't sing it. I'm not mature enough.

(and, yes - I know that's not how you really pronounce it but STILL . . .)

4. I love Cheetos and it breaks my heart when I eat them in public and can't suck all the cheese off my fingers. I mean, that's the best part. Wiping my cheesy Cheetos fingers on a napkin is straight up sacrilege. But I have to do it so that people won't think I'm white trash. Or 5.

5. The other day I was at a store and a midget was running the register. As he rang me up, I was sweaty and dry-mouthed because I was so afraid I'd say something like "Oh, I'll use my debit card because I'm a little short on change." or "Wow, that's a tall order to fill." I wouldn't do it intentionally, of course - it would just happen. Then I'd be tripping all over myself to try to not be awkward about it which would, no doubt, result in me blurting out something like: "Well, I gotta go! I'm a little short on time!" I'm giggling nervously now just THINKING about it. That's not mature.

6. When I'm drinking a Diet Dr. Pepper, I'll call one of my nieces or nephews over under the pretense of wanting to tell them a secret. And then, instead of telling them the promised secret, I burp in their ears. You know you're immature when an 8 year old gives you a disapproving look and says "Caaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaatchy . . ."

7. When kids want me to color with them, I gladly do it. But when they lose interest after 5 minutes and run off to play, I stay there on the floor coloring away. Like for a good 45 minutes. Then I sign my artwork so that no one gives one of the kids credit for my perfect coloring job.

8. I know the right way to pull the tickets out of the Skee Ball machine so that you get WAY more tickets than you really won. And I do it every time. There's a real skill to it - you have to apply JUST the right amount of pressure in JUST the right spot and pull at JUST the right angle or you mess it up. I think at some point you're supposed to grow out of that behavior but I haven't. I do it and then run to tell my sisters "I got EIGHT extra tickets outta that machine!"

9. I buy electronics based on how pretty they are. My TV? Couldn't tell you any of the specs, just that it's pretty. My camera? No idea what features it has but it was the prettiest one in all of Best Buy. I'm really too old to do that. But I can't help it - they're so preeeeeeeeeeeeeeetty . . .

10. If someone falls or trips in front of me, I can't help but laugh. I want to be the concerned passerby who can aid them with a straight face but, try as I may to be that person, I just get reduced to giggles. One minute I'm a mature person having a conversation about the state of the economy and the next, I'm giggling uncontrollably. I'll try to stop but I'll just keep replaying the whole scene in my head and it will just get funnier and funnier until I'm hysterical with laughter and doing the pee pee dance.

So there you have it - my confession. I hope that you won't judge me too much now that you have these insights into my soul. And now that you know this about me, I have just one question for you . . .

Wanna go eat Cheetos and watch people fall at the ice rink with me????

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hi-YA! Take THAT, bad guy!!

We've had a rash of assaults in The Woodlands area in the last month or so. I heard about them the other night when I told my mom that I was going to Barnes & Noble at 8:30 in the evening to buy a book that I wanted. She said "At NIGHT??" with that mock-surprise tone that only mothers can get away with. Then she proceeded to run down the list of all the bad things that have happened lately in our town: the shooting at an apartment complex, the mugging at a local pizza place, and a mugging at one of the nearby Starbucks. She told the story of each crime beautifully with passion and conviction - she really shines when relaying any type of tragic or foreboding news. When she finished, she looked at me with a triumphant expression - as if she knew that she had convinced me of the dangers of going to get a book at night - and said "So, Catherine - don't you think that hits a little too close to home?" I said "Yep . . . But it doesn't hit too close to Barnes & Noble so I think I'm safe."

What my mom fails to give me credit for is that I know self defense and, in fact, used to teach it. I'm not saying that makes me invincible - it just makes me not terrified to run up to the book store even though it's nighttime. One thing that we taught the people who took our self defense class is that criminals have a script in their head and the best thing you can do is to change it up on them. For instance, someone who is going to abduct you has it all planned out in his head: "I'm going to go up to her and yell 'Get in the blankety blank car!' and she's gonna get in." (This criminal doesn't like to cuss . . .). So, in that instance, if you do something other than what he's planning on (like yell your ever-loving head off), it makes him panic and bail on the attack. Now, I know it's not fool-proof but it's a place to start, right?

Sometimes I wonder what would be the best way to throw a bad guy off his script. Sure, I could just yell and call attention to the situation so that they opt for bailing rather than getting caught, but where's the fun in that? What if I'm feeling particularly creative one day and happen to get mugged? Is there some law that says I can't think outside the box when responding to my attacker? Absolutely not. So I came up with a few unconventional ways to throw off a potential attacker:

The Boogie Man:
If a man approaches me in a parking lot and threatens me, I think it would be a good idea to put my finger in my nose and pull out the biggest booger I can find and then hold it out towards him. No one - I repeat, NO ONE - wants to have a booger wiped on him. Including any would-be assailants. It's disgusting. I daresay I could chase the bad guy around the parking lot with my arm reached out and booger locked and loaded. The beauty of this defense is that it not only changes the script up on him, but it turns the predator into the prey. And that would be victory.

The Ol' Heave Ho:
One particularly creative way to scare off a bad guy is to get a mad case of the dry heaves immediately upon being assailed. No one wants to be around when someone else throws up - you smell it, you hear it, you start having sympathy heaves . . . it's just bad. So I think it would be good to use that against a bad guy. Plus, you'd really get to use your acting skills because you'd have to seriously sell it. I imagine the attack proceeding like so:

Attacker Joe: Hey, lady - give me the keys to your effing car. [again, this is an attacker who doesn't like to cuss . . .]
Me: Okay, I ju-[HEAVE]-st have to f-[HEAVE]-ind them in my pur-[HEAVE]-se.
Joe: [backing up and hesitating] You have . . . you have 30 seconds lady.
Me: I'm try-[HEAVE]-ing. But there's a lot of stu-[HEAVE]-ff in here.
Joe: Are you gonna throw up?
Me: I think s-[HEAVE]-o. I just had Mexican and it's n-[HEAVE]-ot sitting well . . .
Joe: Well, just hurry.
Me: Oh, n-[HEAVE]-o. Here it comes . . . [hand over mouth in pre-vomit position and lurching toward bad guy].
Joe: Nooooo-[GAG]-ooooooo!

And then he'd run off.

I think it would work.

I Spy:
Another way to throw an attacker off while simultaneously having some fun with acting is to try to make him believe he just inadvertently became a part of a covert and potentially deadly meeting between two spies. Again, you'd have to sell it - you'd really have to play the part of the spy. It would go something like this:

Joe: Hey, lady - give me your effing purse.
Me: [speaking frantically and in a hushed voice] What the HELL are you doing? Put that gun away. [looking around in a paranoid fashion] You told me you'd be wearing a red shirt but you DIDN'T say you'd be acting like a mad man. If you had, I'd never have agreed to meet you in such a public place. [looking up on the the roofs of buildings and behind cars]. Do you know how many federal agents are watching us right now??
Joe: What the - what are you talk-
Me: Shut up! We don't know if any of these cars are bugged! What is your PROBLEM? You're acting like you've never done this before. "Raven" said you were EXPERIENCED and here you are acting like you're just some dumb run-of-the-mill mugger.
Joe: Well, actually . . .
Me: I mean, do you know how many years at Leavenworth we're looking at for this? Do you know what they DO to people like us in Leavenworth? Keep your freakin' head in the game. Now, let's get over here out of earshot of all these people. We have strict orders that if anyone not connected to this transaction gets wind of it, we're to eliminate them immediately, no questions asked.

And then he should run off.

Cat Scratch Fever:
At any given time, I have 10 secret and deadly weapons at my disposal: my toenails. I don't know why but they grow really fast and are lethal when long. I used to imagine that if anyone broke into our house when I was growing up, my family would pick me up in battering-ram fashion so that my feet would be in the intruder's face and then chase the guy around the house while I tried to gouge his eyeballs out with my toes. Even if I didn't manage to get the eyes out of the sockets, I figured I could inflict some pretty significant facial scarring. Maybe even scratch a big Z on the bad guy's face for fun - just as an inside joke for me and my family that we could talk about for years to come: "Remember that time you scratched the Z in that guy's face like Zorro? That was HILARIOUS."

So see? My mom has nothing to worry about. As long as I've got my toenails, boogers, and my mad acting skills I'm gonna be JUST FINE . . .

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

A disorienting discussion.

My mom recently had a pool put in her backyard for my nieces and nephew to enjoy. Even though she taught us all how to swim when we were kids, my mom can't swim and constantly worries about the kids drowning in her new pool. So when she was designing her pool, she decided that she didn't want it to be any deeper than 5 feet so that, in the event she needed to jump in and save all the kids, she could do so standing up. These are the kinds of things my mom spends time thinking about. And, since she loves anything morbid, this is a favorite conversation topic of hers.

This weekend, my mom, sisters, brother-in-law, and I had lunch with Jill and her mom at The Cheesecake factory. While we were eating, Jill told us about how one of our friends (Bryan Leuenberger) fell into his pool this weekend while he was trying to reach for something. The problem was that he fell in on the coldest morning we've had so far - the temperature was in the 20s - so it was a bad situation. He ran into the house but, because their pipes had burst during the freeze, he had no hot water to help warm him up so he just had to bundle up to try to get his body temperature back down. It was, as you can imagine, a pretty miserable experience and quite a scare. As we were talking about this, my mom piped in:

Mom: You know what would have happened to me if I had fallen into my pool like that?
Jill: What?
Mom: I would drown.
[chuckles all around waiting for the punchline . . .]
Me: No you wouldn't - your pool is like 3 feet deep.
Mom: But I don't know how to swim.
Me: Well, you wouldn't need to swim. You would just stand up.
Mom: No - I would be disoriented and I wouldn't know which way was up or down.
Me: Mom. Even if you fell in at the deep end, you'd be in only 5 feet of water. All you would have to do is stand up. You're like 5'8". You're not gonna get disoriented in 5 feet of water.
Mom: Yes, I would. Because I wouldn't want to open my eyes under water so I wouldn't know where up was.
Me: Well, then you'd deserve to die. And I would blog about it and call my post "Nora's Final Joke."
Erin: Mom, you're saying you'd get DISORIENTED in 3 feet of water?
Mom: You laugh but it happens to people all the time.
Erin: Ummmmm . . . no it doesn't.
Jill: It happens to people when they are out swimming the middle of the SEA at NIGHT and they are under water and can't tell which way is up and which way is down because there's no sun to help them.
Mom: No. It's not just in those kinds of cases. You're telling me people don't get disoriented if they fall into a pool?
Me: Not if they haven't been hit over the head with a crowbar immediately beforehand . . .
Mom: Well, it happened to John Kennedy.
Erin: Well, he got shot in the face. I'd be disoriented, too - "Am I up? Am I down? Where's the back of my head?"
Mom: No - I mean John, Jr.
Me: Oh my gosh. Seriously? He was flying at night and went into a spin so he couldn't see or feel if he was flying up or down. Again, no sun to guide him. And not in a 5 foot pool.
Mom: Look, I'm just saying that I'd fall in and I would just thrash around. And I wouldn't know what to do. And then I'd drown.
Tammy: No, you'd thrash around and your feet would hit the bottom and you'd stand up.
Me: Or you'd start swimming down and hit the cement floor in .4 seconds - you know, because it's FIIIIIIIVE FEEEEEET - and then you'd know that you needed to go in the opposite direction.
Jill: Or you'd just look to see where the sun was . . .
Mom: But I wouldn't open my eyes under water.
Me: If your life depended on it, you wouldn't open your eyes under water??
Mom: [looking at US like WE'RE all crazy] No way.
Me: Well, I think we should just go put a blind fold on you, spin you around 40 times and then throw you in and see how you do . . .
Mom: Look - if I fell in, it would be a shock to my system and my heaaaaaaaaaaaart would slow down and my braaaaaaaaaaaain would slow down and -

And then we were all shouting out our best slow brain one-liners and cracking each other up.

Tonight, my mom and I had dinner with a friend of ours named Vicki. My mom wanted me to tell Vicki the story about how Bryan Leuenberger had fallen into his pool this weekend. So, in true Nora fashion, she said "Tell Vicki what happened to Shaughnessy . . ."

This is what I deal with . . .

Friday, January 8, 2010

This is a man's job.

Tonight I discovered Reason #456 why I need to get married: covering pipes in freezing temperatures.

Look, I'm an independent woman - I am. I think women can do anything they want to. I can move my own furniture, kill my own bugs, and even replace a broken toilet handle. [pause for ooooooooos and aaaaaaaaaaaaaaahs]. And you should see me with a drill . . . it's a pretty red one. But that's not important. What's important is that there are some things that I do not WANT to do. I CAN do them. I just don't WANT to.

Like traipse outside in the freezing weather to cover my pipes.

I mean, it's COLD out there, people! It's LITERALLY freezing (please note the correct usage of the word "literally" . . .). You have to understand that I grew up with a dad who would go start my mom's car on cold mornings so that she wouldn't have to get into a cold car. If she had to get out in the cold, he didn't want her to have to freeze her butt off in the process. And he did that for me, too, when I lived at home. So, as you can imagine, I certainly didn't grow up having to do outdoor chores in this weather. And I did NOT want to have to start doing them today.

But I did. I went out there to take care of my pipes even though I had absolutely NO idea what I was doing. None. Zero. (see above paragraph). And I discovered that I'm embarrassingly bad at it. Let me show you.

Here is my neighbor's pipe:
Nice and pretty. It's like he had a designer design a pipe cover for him. Or maybe he picked one up from the Martha Stewart line at Home Depot? Either way - it's snazzy. Classy. And looks like it was a cinch to put on.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand then here's mine:
Stop laughing.

Look - it was dark. I was cold. I could barely see. I could tell I'd done a bad job but, believe me, I was as shocked as you are when my camera's flash showed me the extent of what I'd done.

As I stood out there in the cold tonight looking at my handiwork, I had to swallow my pride and admit something to myself . . . I have a little white trash in me. I was fairly horrified by this epiphany. I don't know why it took me by surprise, given my past:

But it did.

So covering pipes is another reason for needing a man in the house. Not the kind of man I don't KNOW is in the house until he jumps out of my closet - that's not the kind of man I'm talking about (although, beggars can't be choosers, right? Wink wink, nudge nudge . . .). No, I need the kind of man who knows things like "We can just get a Martha Stewart pipe cover." That would be so helpful.

But that's just reason #456. What are the other reasons, you ask?

Well #345 is "Getting the butts of broken light bulbs out of the light socket." That terrifies me. #198 is "Catching lizards that find their way into my house." I'm not touching anything that can make its skin change colors. #86 is "Going up in the attic." Sometimes I hear squirrels up in my attic so I don't ever go up there. There's no way I'm going head first into a place where a wild animal might fly at me in full-on attack mode.

And #275 is "Opening difficult packages." Not sure what I mean by that? Okay - let me explain. Tonight I wanted to open up a fancy schmancy HD SD card that my mom got me for my new camera. It looks like this:

There is no opening in the package for you to get the card out: no perforated section in the back that allows you to pop the card out, no opening on the sides where you can pull the front and back apart, not even a "tear here" like my ketchup packages give me. So I just started to try to rip into it:
No luck. But I didn't give up. I kept trying, telling myself with a patient tone: "It'll come apart if I just keep at it." But it didn't. That's when I got angry and the ripping, shredding, and cussing under my breath started:

Still no luck. So then I got the scissors and, with a crazed look in my eye, attacked the packaging until I finally (and not EASILY) got the dang card out.

So see? I need a man in the house.

Well, I'm off to bed (which, incidentally, is the #1 reason I need a man in the house . . .) and am hoping that I can sleep through the night without being awakened by the sounds of my pipes bursting or my neighbor laughing at my wrap job when he leaves for work.

Wish me luck!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thai-riffic art!

I had lunch with my friend Amy today at a place in The Woodlands called Thai Cottage. Our friend Zach had seen some interesting art over there so we thought we'd go check it out for ourselves. We were NOT disappointed.

When you walk in the doors of the Thai Cottage you are struck by how nice the place seems - it's not some little hole-in-the-wall dive. The furniture is very nice, the sushi bar looks really cool, and the menu is good. Plus, the entry way is decorated with some fine art pieces that scream "Welcome! We hope you enjoy our Thai food!":

At first when I saw this, I thought "Well, if this is what happens when you eat Thai food, sign me up!" I mean, sure the alignment is off but the perkiness is pretty impressive. And yeah, the weird neck rolls and the strange chin would be inconvenient but did I mention that the perkiness would be impressive? But then I saw the other pictures in the entry:

And then I realized that it has nothing to do with Thai food. Rather, it has everything to do with the fact that this artist is 1) using his compass from his high school geometry class to draw boobs and 2) related to the artists from Mama Juanita's and the Grotto. Holy boob obsession!

Then we walked into the restaurant where we saw a couple of these guys around:

Yeah. I could make a few comments about this guy. I could question what kind of . . . ummmmm . . . instrument he's playing. I could draw attention to the look of admiration and love on his face. Or I could make some sort of off-color joke with a punch line like "You call THAT an egg roll" . . . or something like that. But I won't. I'm above that. I'm not touching it with a 10 foot . . . ummmmm . . . pole.

While waiting for my lunch to arrive, I decided to run to the restroom real quick. On my way there, I noticed this sign:
It seemed a tad out of place, mainly because it clearly belongs in a Mexican restaurant circa 1970. But also because it wasn't in the bathroom area. But who am I to judge?

So I walked into the little hallway where the doors to the men's and women's rooms are located. Rather than a sign that spelled it out for you, each door had a picture to help you discern which was the men's room and which was the ladies' room. Easy enough, right?

Then I looked at one:
Is this a riddle? Is Thai Cottage testing me? I mean, this person has a fu manchu mustache so it's clearly a man, right? But it is also wearing lavender yoga capris so it's clearly a woman, right? I don't know what's happening in this picture. And what's he doing with his legs? It's like he's intentionally hiding the definitive evidence that would help us decide which restroom this is. And then, seeing where we're looking, he's wagging his finger at us coyly as if to say "Tsk tsk. No cheating." Honestly, if you decide it's the men's room, the next question is "How bad do I REALLY have to go?"

To help me with the riddle, I looked over at the other door and found a much more helpful picture:
You know, I'm not really sure that the "hair pulled back" look is the right one for her - she could really use some help to cover that forehead and her shockingly large temple area. But I AM impressed that she can get her hair up that perfectly with just one arm . . . But you know, although she is clearly a SHE (which was helpful, I admit), the look on her face gives me an uneasy feeling. It's as if she's saying "You think this is the women's room? Are you suuuuuuuuuure?"


No, I'm not.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


I don't know what to write about tonight. I've been sitting around for hours trying to think of something and I just can't come up with a single topic worthy of exploration.

I thought that maybe I'd write about how I drive around thinking things like, of all the words in the English vocabulary, the one word I'd never want anyone to use to describe me is "husky." That's a horrible word. Horrible, horrible, horrible. Call me homely, call me annoying, call me an idiot and I might excuse myself to go have a good cry in the bathroom. But call me husky and I'll stuff you in my trunk and then go drive off a cliff. I know it's rash but that's a hateful word and must be met with swift consequences.

But I don't want to alarm people by threatening them with an untimely death in my trunk so I kept brainstorming. I considered writing about how I don't understand the expression "happy as a clam." My sister Tammy used it today and I realized that I don't really know what that means. I mean, are clams supposed to be happy? Has this been verified? Is this the best example of happiness in nature that we can come up with? What about "happy as butterflies?" They seem happy - always flitting about and whatnot. But a clam? It just lies there in a slimy heap. I don't get it.

And I could even write about how driving around thinking about the expression "happy as a clam" made me think about the expression "I'm gonna rip you a new one" and how that doesn't really make any sense to me, either. It seems an odd threat to make and one that would be hard to achieve. I mean "I'm gonna break your jaw" - that's easily accomplished. "I'm gonna re-arrange your face" - totally believable and easily done. But "ripping me a new one" seems like it might be harder to do - it would require some maneuvering, some fine motor skills, and, frankly, some unpleasant moments for the ripper. And, in the end (no pun intended), are you really punishing me or just making things more efficient for me? It's something to think about.

But I don't want to write about all the random thoughts I have while I'm driving around because that might scare people who might later see me on the road and wonder if I'm paying attention to what I'm doing or if I'm thinking about things like how I want to try to use the word "chillax" more. They might not understand that I can easily pay attention to the traffic around me while pondering whether I'm too old to pull off sentences like "Chillaaaaaaaaaax - it's aaaaaaaaalll goooooood." And if people will find that hard to understand, then I probably shouldn't write about it.

So I guess I just won't write about anything.

Monday, January 4, 2010

A full-bodied blog with a hint of sarcasm and black pepper.

Over the holidays, I went to a party over at a friend's house. Before heading over, I asked my friend if there was anything I could bring with me and he said that, yes, I could bring some wine with me if that wouldn't be too much trouble. "Sure! No problem!" I said and headed over to the store to buy a couple of bottles for the party.

Now, I'm not a wine drinker and have no idea what kinds of wine are good and what kinds will make wine drinkers look down on me for buying. Normally, I would just have the person I'm buying for tell me EXACTLY what to get so that there is no question that I will show up with a bottle that everyone will find acceptable. But I forgot to ask my friend this important question and didn't want to call him back and reveal my ignorance and lack of wine-choosing confidence when he had put so much faith in me. So I would do this on my own.

I marched confidently into the store and over to the wine section, determined to pick the best bottle of wine that anyone ever brought to a party. But I soon found myself rooted to the ground, dry-mouthed, and trembling slightly in front of the aisles upon aisles of wine bottles from floor to ceiling. I had no idea where to begin. I looked up at the signs that read "Spain" and "France" and "California" and wondered if that was someone's idea of being helpful. Were they mocking me??? I began to sweat - how on EARTH was I supposed to know which one to choose? Then I had a brilliant idea - I would call a friend of mine who likes wine so that she could just tell me a good bottle to get. I dialed her number and, to my relief, she answered. I explained my predicament and she quickly named off a few brands that she knew were good ones. But, alas, as is my luck, I could not find the wines she suggested. So she gave me a tip: just read the labels and buy what sounds good.

Makes sense.

I could do that. What's so hard about that? I hung up the phone with my friend, squared my shoulders, and picked up a bottle to read its description: "This is a classic expression of Burgundian Pinot Noir, with a refined, aromatic nose of ripe red berries and toasty, earthy nuances leading into an elegant palate of delicately structured tannins and a clean finish."

Okay. I can do this. I'll just paraphrase. That'll help. It's classic . . . ummmm . . . Ber . . . Bergun . . . it's refined, aaaaaaand it smells like ripe red berries and . . . dirt? . . . and it's elegant and . . . delicate . . . [gulp] and . . . clean . . .?

That's when I got angry.

Burgundian? Toasty, earthy nuances? What does that mean?? How does that help me? I became aware of my face: it was screwed up in a half confused/half irritated look that was bound to give me away as a wine moron. I nonchalantly put the bottle back on the shelf and looked around to see if anyone was watching me. I muttered "Mmmmm. That sounds delicious. I love earthy nuances. But not right for toniiiiiiiiiiiiight . . ." and then sighed sadly.

I picked up another bottle and read: "This Cabernet Sauvignon has aromas of cedar wood and caramel with soft notes of violets and lavender. Ripe black cherries are on the palate with hints of herbs de Provence, cocoa, tobacco, and oak framed by moderate tannins." For the first time in my life, I felt like I might need blood pressure medication. I mean, what does "soft notes of violets and lavender" even mean? And tobacco? Herbs de Provence? Seriously?

And thus began one of the most frustrating experiences of my life. I looked at wine bottle after wine bottle and found the descriptions to be less and less helpful. For instance . . .

Sometimes the wines were described as if they were an opera or a symphony: "opens with aromas of dark cocoa" or "enters the mouth with subtlety and then builds in silky texture, concentration, and power."

At other times, they were described the way someone would describe a blind date to you: "a polished and approachable Syrah" or "a striking and complex wine" or "fleshly, luscious and decadent." Fleshy? Really?

And still others made me blush: "a luscious expressive wine with a supple mouthfeel and soft finish."

I read label after label, wondering if a "blend of chocolate and oak" was supposed to be a good thing and what "coherent complexity" really meant. I was just about to give up when I ran across one that gave me hope:

"This Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits enticing aromas of toffee, black cherry, and currant." Finally! This is a wine I can relate to! I started to get excited and read on: "Balanced tannins underscore core flavors of black cherry, black berry, and currant . . ." Okay! Getting better! I love black berries! I read on: ". . . interlaced with roasted coffee bean . . ." Huh. Okaaaaaaaaaaaaaay . . .? ". . . and hints of black pepper."

WHAT . . . THE . . .

I gave up at that point. I realized then that I would never be a wine connoisseur. Especially because I can't spell "connoisseur" without using spell check. And, frankly, I don't think even wine connoisseurs know what half these descriptions mean. I think they just stand around and make stuff like "soft notes of violet" and "coherent complexity" up to sound fancy and like they MUST know what they're talking about. I think I could create my own line of wines and write made-up descriptions like "soft hints of grass and sun-kissed lilacs caress the tongue before giving way to the stronger flavors of pine needles and mud" and people would buy it. And then they'd stand around at parties and say "Mmmmmmm . . . I can really taste the pine needles now." I think I'd call my brand of wine "Puh-leeeeze" . . .

In the end I went with this one . . .
. . . because it had a fire-breathing bear on it and that was pretty awesome to me.

And this one . . .
. . . because the little guy on it was waving and saying "Pick me! Pick me!" And that was the most help I'd had all night.

And then I went and had a Margarita . . .