Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The dangers of swimming.

This Fall, my mom had a pool put in her backyard. This was a big deal because my parents have always been afraid of having a pool since neither of them ever learned how to swim. So, while the pool has been a great source of fun for the rest of us, it has been a source of fear for my mom. She worries that she'll walk out there and see all the children in the neighborhood drowning in her pool at once and has convinced herself that she would get disoriented and drown if she jumped in to save them.

Her worries have entertained us almost as much as the pool has.

This weekend, the subject of drowning children came up again (it's a favorite and recurrent topic since the installation of the pool) and we got to hear about another one of my mom's fears:

Mom: I'm just saying that if a kid were drowning at the bottom of the pool, I wouldn't be able to reach them.
Erin: Yes you would. You would have to just go under the water and grab them.
Mom: I can't.
Erin: Why not?
Mom: Because I can't put my face in the water - I'd breathe it in.
Erin: You'd breathe in water?
Mom: Yeah.
Erin: No you wouldn't.
Mom: Yes I would.
Catherine: No, Mom - it's instinctual. Your body wouldn't let you just breathe in water unless you just absolutely couldn't hold your breath anymore.
Erin: It's like when you take a shower and you put your face in the water.
Mom: I never do that. I always keep my face away from the water because I don't want to breathe it in.
Erin: Oh good God . . .

We told her we'd show her how to hold her breath on Sunday when we all came over to swim. We thought we'd start with just making her put her face in the water so that she could see that she wouldn't aspirate half the pool in the process. So, when Sunday arrived, we all got in the pool and my mom surprised us by swimming about 2 feet with her face under water. It was quite a big deal - apparently, Emma and Ben (9 and 6 years old) had worked with her the day before and taught her all she needed to know about swimming. It was quite the accomplishment and Emma and Ben are impressive teachers.

So, with the whole face-under-water dilemma out of the way, we thought we'd work on what I like to call "Save the Drowning Kid" drills - that's the kind of frolicking Spring fun we Palmores have. For these drills, we threw a blue ball into the water and let it sink to the bottom of the shallow end of the pool which is only about 3 feet deep. Once the ball hit the bottom, my mom had to retrieve it. This was WAY more entertaining than I could have ever dreamed because she had some trouble propelling herself down to the ball. So the result was that she would just sort of flail around on the surface of the water while reaching toward the ball with everything she had. My 5 year old niece Avery could NOT understand the problem and just kept saying "Like THIS, Dearsie" and then she'd dive down and get the ball in less than 3 seconds. My mom, spurred on by Avery's challenges, would get a determined look in her eye, put her face in the water, and commence to flailing again. It was awesome.

At one point, she was able to stretch out and reach the ball so her head was probably about a foot under water. She came up and we cheered for her. Then we had this conversation:

Mom: My right eye is hurting me a little.
Catherine: Yeah - it's the chlorine. Takes a while to get used to.
Mom: No - I think it's the pressure from being so far under water.
Catherine: What?
Mom: I think it's from the pressure. You know how that happens.
Erin: Mom - you were like a foot under water.
Mom: Yeah, I know. [nodding like Erin was agreeing with her]
Erin: [going along with it] Yeah - it probably made your eyes bug out. Mine do it all the time when I stick my head under water. You have to be careful - they'll pop right out on ya. One of the dangers of owning a pool.
Catherine: Mom, it's just the chlorine.
Mom: Yeah [again nodding like I've just agreed with her] - I think it's from the decompression.
Erin and Catherine: [laughing and wiping tears from our eyes]
[Tammy walks back out from inside the house and walks over to us]
Catherine: Well . . . apparently, Mom's got "the Bends."

And to think . . . we have a whole summer of this material ahead of us.

It's just too good to be true!!

Friday, March 26, 2010

Nora and The Caller

One of my favorite stories about my mom happened a few years ago when she was working as a receptionist at the real estate sales office of a local neighborhood and she got a call from an obscene caller. But the beauty of it - and the reason this story is legend in our family - is that she didn't know it was an obscene phone call . . . she thought it was my cousin David calling to chat. And the result?


Mom: Carlton Woods, this is Nora, how can I help you?
Guy: Hi, Nora.
Mom: Hi! [cheerfully] Who's this?
Guy: Who do you THINK it is?
Mom: [thinking . . .] David?
Guy: [pauses] . . . YEAH. [probably gearing up to do his best heavy breathing but . . .]
Mom: Hi!! How are you?
Guy: [pauses] . . . I'm good.
Mom: Are you still living in Dallas?
Guy: . . . Yeah . . . [about to begin heavy breathing but then . . .]
Mom: How are the girls?
Guy: The girls? . . . They're great!
Mom: Oh that's good to hear. Do you get to see them much?
Guy: Not as much as I'd like to.
Mom: I know that must be hard. So when are you going to come down to see us?
Guy: Well . . . I was thinking about coming soon.
Mom: Are you in Houston now??
Guy: [pauses, perhaps thinking "this is the easiest call I've ever made"] Yep!
Mom: Oh! Well, Charlie's out of town! And I'm at work. But Catherine's home from law school. And I think Tammy might be at the house. She's sick.
Guy: Well, I'm not sure I'm gonna be able to stop by today. I was just calling to tell you that I'm dating someone.
Mom: You are?
Guy: Yep.
Mom: Great! How's it going?
Guy: Pretty good. She's pretty different. She's not like other girls I've dated.
Mom: In what way?
Guy: Well, she likes to try new things . . .
Mom: Oh. Like what? . . . [Warning, Mom! Warning! Get out of there!!]
Guy: Well . . . how old is Catherine now?
Mom: 27.
Guy: 27? Wow. She grew up fast, huh?
Mom: I know.
Guy: Do you think she'd be up for a three-way?
Mom: [frowning and quickly sitting up straight] What?
Guy: A three-way. Do you think Catherine would be up for a three-way?
Mom: [stunned silence, mouth agape]
Guy: She's so pretty. I think it would be pretty hot.
Mom: David, I'm pretty disappointed in you right now. I think I better hang up now.

My poor mom. She hung up the phone still convinced that my cousin David had gone off the deep end she just kept thinking "Charlie is gonna be so mad when he hears how David was talking to me!" Then she happened to share the story with some of the guys she worked with and, after they finished with their fits of hysterical laughter, they told her that it sounded like it was a prank call. And that's when it hit her.

Then she started hyperventilating.

When she got home, she just cried and cried because she had come THIS close to asking him if he wanted directions to the house. She couldn't believe that she had given the guy all the information that he had needed to make it the easiest obscene call of his life. She felt horrified, humiliated, and distraught.

And the rest of us felt sore from laughing so hard.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Hip and with it . . .

I've told you all before that I don't have much street cred. I mean, I listen to country and contemporary Christian stations so I'm not really up on today's Top 40 music scene. I have no idea what Jay-Z looks like, am more than slightly afraid of Snoop Dog, and say sentences like "I don't mind a song with 'some raps' in it." My friends at work decided that they needed to intervene so that I don't keep embarrassing them with my ignorance so they gave me a list of stations that I had to begin listening to immediately. Since then I've been listening to Top 40 stations every day and have to admit that I feel cooler already. Plus, as a bonus, I've found some songs that I really like.

I've also found some songs that make me laugh out loud in my car. Seriously - some of the lyrics in these songs are RIDICULOUS. For instance . . .

Tik Tok - Ke$ha (please note how hip-and-with-it I am for remembering that she spells her name with a $ . . .):
Now, the dudes are lining up cause they hear we got swagger
But we kick ‘em to the curb unless they look like Mick Jagger

Wait. Really? Don't you mean "We kick 'em to the curb IF they look like Mick Jagger?" I mean, have you SEEN him? Can I have your rejects?

Nothin' on You - B.O.B.
baby you the whole package
plus you pay your taxes

Well, that was a stretch. Seems like he could've come up with something better than that. But, hey - looks like he has his priorities in order . . .?

Bedrock - Young Money:
My room is the G-Spot
Call me Mr. Flintstone - I can make your Bedrock.

Wow. I just . . . - I don't . . . - Did he . . . - wow.

Sexy Bitch - David Guetta:
She's nothing like a girl you've ever seen before
Nothing you can compare to your neighborhood whore
I'm trynna find the words to describe this girl without being disrespectful

[Well . . . you could start by not using the word "whore" in a song about her. But that's okay. Rookie mistake - anyone could make it. Keep going . . .]

The way, that booty movin' - I can't take no more
Have to stop what I'm doin', so I can pull up her close
I'm tryinna find the words to describe this girl without being disrespectful

Damn Girl!!!
Damn, you's a sexy bitch, sexy bitch!
Damn, you's a sexy bitch!

Damn Girl!!!
Damn, you's a sexy bitch, sexy bitch!
Damn, you's a sexy bitch!

Damn Girl!!

Oh boy. Okay. Ummmmm . . . maybe we should get on the same page about what you mean by "disrespectful" . . .

Please - please, for the love of God - GIVE ME MY GEORGE STRAIT BACK.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

BIG news?

I read a series of articles the other day about how some designers used "curvy" models on their runways during the recent Paris and Milan Fashion Weeks. As I love a good Swiss Cake Roll and the way "Can I add bacon to that?" rolls off the tongue, I was intrigued by the headlines. I clicked on the articles and read about how some forward-thinking designers are switching to the use of "curvier" models because they are finally realizing that the anorexic-heroin-addict look hasn't really caught on like they thought it would. For a moment, I really admired the fashion industry for finally accepting that the rest of the world has some meat on its bones.

Then I saw the picture of the "curvy" models:

Really? You know, one good rule of thumb to keep in mind is that, in general, if your knee bone is wider than your thigh, you are not "curvy."

And another rule to remember is that putting on a XXXL robe doesn't get you into the "curvy" club, either.

I don't get it. I mean, I get that these models actually have figures but why all the hype? They don't look THAT different. Nope - I just don't get it.

And, incidentally, I don't get why all these women appear to have put their hair back in the "I'm about to wash my face" hairstyle. But I guess that's why I'm not a fashion designer.

All joking aside, I do appreciate that they really are using models who have waists and busts and who don't suddenly make me feel like I need to give to the "Feed the Children" campaign. So I'll give kudos for that. But they would choke on their cigarettes and uppers if they knew my definition of "curvy."

Some designers looked like they got the "Let's use curvy models this year" memo AFTER they had already tailored their clothes for the malnourished models:

I don't really know what's happening here. And I don't think she does, either.

Seriously? Why are they doing this to this poor girl? Is this like model hazing or something? Are they trying to make an example of her?

Wow. If this wasn't the "When 'Spanx' Go Wrong" part of Fashion Week, I really don't know what to tell ya.

Honestly, I don't know how her underwear hasn't cut off the feeling in her legs yet.

Ah the fashion industry - always good for a laugh.

These Fashion Week articles reminded me of another article I read a while back - it was about an Olympic athlete who had recently put on 10 pounds and how the additional weight was making her a better athlete. But the article made me roll my eyes by saying things like how we wouldn't even recognize her as the person she was before and how the new weight had turned her into a completely different person.

Seriously? 10 pounds? 10 pounds usually just makes me cuss - it doesn't turn me into a different person. If it did, I'd have multiple personalities by now.

And I don't.

Yes, you do.

No, I don't.

Shut up.

No, YOU shut up.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Little orphan Catchy?

I love that I live so close to my sisters and that I get to have such a close relationship with my nieces and nephew. I love that I get to have them over for slumber parties, that they know that when their mommies so no, Catchy will say yes, and that I've had the opportunity to brainwash them into thinking that I am the best aunt that ever lived.

No but, seriously - I am.

I love watching them and listening to them but sometimes I wonder what they observe about ME. What will they remember about me from their childhoods? Do they think that I'm a good person? Do they see me treating people well? Am I good role model for them? Am I someone they look up to? These are important things to think about when you're the greatest aunt that ever lived - I want to be a good influence in their lives and I hope that I'm the type of person they would want to be.

This weekend, I got a little insight into what they observe about me when my sister Tammy told me about a funny conversation that she had with my 6 year old nephew, Ben:

Ben: Mommy . . . when I grow up, I don't wanna get married.
Tammy: Why not?
Ben: Because I wanna be like Catchy - I wanna be an orphan.

Hilarious. And I think it's the first time in history that the phrase "I wanna be an orphan" wasn't followed immediately by a CPS investigation . . .

So it looks like we might need to have a little vocabulary lesson with Ben. But, in the meantime . . . looks like I'm making the single life look good!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

The greatest Nora translation of all time.

We have an Irish pub in our town called Goose's Acre and it's really a great place to eat. We call it a pub but, in reality, it's more like a restaurant with a pub feel so it's a popular place for lunch and dinner. It's located on our Waterway here in town and we love to go up there for lunch on pretty days and sit at a table on the Waterway. You really can't beat it.

As you know, today was St. Patrick's Day and, not surprisingly, half the town celebrates it at Goose's Acre because it's . . . well . . . Irish so naturally it's the first place that pops into everyone's mind. Including my mom's. But the difference between my mom and everyone else is that they remember the name of it . . .

Mom: Do you want meet for lunch today?
Erin: Sure!
Mom: I was thinking it would be fun to meet up at Lazy Oaks.
Erin: Lazy Oaks?
Mom: Yeah!
Erin: [racking her brain to figure out the translation from Nora-ese to English]
Mom: [Totally unaware that she wasn't even CLOSE to getting the name right] We could get a table on the river!
Erin: [eyebrows furrowed, concentrating on a spot on the floor, still thinking . . .]
Mom: You know - since it's such a nice day.
Erin: [closing eyes and rubbing forehead, still thinking and muttering as if something will come to her . . .] Lazy Oaks . . . Lazy Oaks . . . Lazy Oaks . . .
Mom: I think it would be fun!
Erin: Lazy Oaks . . . Lazy - . . . GOOSE'S ACRE??
Mom: [As if that's what she'd said all along . . .] Yeah! Don't you think that would be fun?
Erin: Wow. You were pretty close, Mom . . .

MAJOR props to Erin for figuring that one out. I mean, she had NOTHING to work with. Normally there's some kind of connection, you know? Like we were able to figure out that "Killing Sergeant Somebody" was Nora-ese for "Saving Private Ryan" because there was at least a military reference. But Lazy Oaks has NOTHING to do with Goose's Acre. There's no connection whatsoever . . . I have no idea how she did it. That has to be one of the greatest translation feats of all time.

Bravo, Erin. Bravo.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Happy St. Patrick's Day!!!!

I love St. Patrick's Day. I love all the green decorations. I love all the shamrocks. I love all the bad Irish accent imitations. And I love that it's the one day a year that people can pinch each other without legal ramifications. I mean, how can you beat THAT??

So in honor of St. Paddy's Day, I thought I'd share one of my favorite Irish moments with you . . .

I got my first trip to Ireland as a high school graduation present. I was really excited to go but was a little nervous at the prospect of traveling in Europe alone. The next day at school, I had this conversation with my best friend:

Me: Guess what my parents gave me for graduation?
Jill: What???
Me: A trip to England and Ireland!
Jill: Oh my gosh, Catherine! I'm sooooooo coming with you!
Me: I wish you would - that would be SO fun! I think it would be way better if I had someone with me!
Jill: No, you don't understand. My mom works for Continental so I can get a free ticket . . . I AM coming with you.

So we saved up our spending money and went to Europe for 6 weeks during the summer after our freshman year in college. After 2 weeks in England with two families I knew there, we went to Ireland to spend 4 weeks with my extended Irish family in a little village called Summerhill in the County of Meath. Since my grandpa was the only one of his seven brothers and sisters to move to America from Ireland, we have LOTS of family still there. And even though none of them had ever laid eyes on me until that visit, they treated me and Jill as if we had lived there all along. We just fell in love with everyone. And with Ireland.

My uncle Paddy and his wife Mairead still live at Oldtown, which is the name of the old family homeplace in Summerhill. It's a beautiful dairy farm that was started by my great-grandfather back in the early 1900s and is currently run by my cousin Terry. To me, it is quintessential Ireland because it's off of a small country road, has a beautiful view of green fields, and is within 2 minutes of a classic Irish pub. I love that Jill and I got to stay there and experience life on an Irish farm because, to me, it makes for the perfect Irish experience.

We loved our visit so much that we went back two years later, after our junior year in college. During that visit, we city girls jumped into the farm life and "helped" my cousin Terry load some bales of hay onto a trailer bed so that he could deliver them to another field. When I say "helped" I mean that we stood on the trailer and just climbed up on the hay each time he added another layer to the stack that he was hauling. This is how it worked: we stood on the empty trailer while he used a pitchfork to load a few bales on. When he had almost filled the trailer with one layer of hay, we climbed up onto the bales that he had loaded and then he finished filling the trailer with that first layer of bales. Then he started the second layer and we climbed up onto those bales so that we would be out of his way while he finished loading that layer. We repeated this several times - layer after layer - until we were finally sitting high on top of a trailer full of hay. Then Terry fired up the tractor and began the slow drive to the neighboring field where the bales had to be unloaded. It was so much fun to be on top of all the hay - we were so high up in the air! It was like the mother of all hay rides. The whole thing rocked back and forth with every bump in the road but we were having too much fun to worry about falling to our bloody deaths or anything. We just sat there talking and enjoying the beautiful weather and the gorgeous Irish scenery around us. It was the perfect Irish moment. At one point, we were so lost in our conversation that we failed to realize that we were headed right for some low-hanging tree branches. One minute we were chatting about something and then then next minute we're being mauled by a tree. We screamed and swatted at the branches like they were a bunch of bees attacking us. But it was over as soon as it had started and we emerged from the attacking branches. We looked around bewildered, our sunglasses hanging off of our faces and leaves sticking out of our hair. Then we spent about 10 minutes laughing . . . and paying more attention to approaching trees.

When we got to the neighboring field, Terry unloaded the bales one layer at a time and we climbed down as each layer was unloaded. After Terry had finished all the hard work and Jill and I had picked all the leaves out of our hair, it was time to head back to Oldtown. Instead of all cramming into the tractor, Jill and I decided that we would just ride on the now-empty trailer. Now you should know that riding on the empty trailer was a bit of a challenge because there was no floor to it - it was just a bunch of slats. And the sides were open so there was really nothing to hold onto except for the front end of the trailer that was right by the hitch, in between the two big rear wheels of the tractor. So we had to balance on the slats and hold onto the hitch on the ride back to the farm. No biggie, right?

We hopped on, grabbed on to the bar, and Terry started the drive back to the family farm. Jill and I just chatted and enjoyed the weather and the view. Again, the perfect Irish moment. Then Terry started to go a little faster and I felt something hit my leg. I casually looked down to see what it was and, to my horror, I saw that it was cow poop. COW. POOP. That's when we realized that the tires were covered in cow manure and they were flinging it all back at us. And that's when all hell broke loose. Suddenly, we were under heavy fire and kept having to duck and block poop shots left and right. We couldn't get away from it because we had to hold onto the bar that was above the hitch so that we didn't fall off the side or between the slats. So we were trapped in the poop zone and screaming our heads off - you know, the way you expect girls to scream when they're being pelted by cow manure. Terry looked back at us but, because we were also laughing hysterically as we screamed, he thought we were just being silly and so he kept on going. He got faster and faster and the poop just kept on coming - sometimes in little flecks, sometimes in big, horrifying, airborne clumps. At one point, I put my hand in my hair to pull my bangs out of my face so that I could see oncoming poop shrapnel and a big piece of poop landed on my hand. When I saw the greenish brownish splatter on the back of my hand, my eyes bugged out and I screamed something like "THAT ALMOST LANDED IN MY HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!" Jill and I both screamed as the very real possibility of poop clumps in our hair began to sink in. And that's when it occurred to us that, if we kept screaming, poop might fly into our mouths so we started just scream-grunting with tight lips and bugged out eyes while we dodged clump after clump. It was horrible.

And hilarious.

It's one of my favorite memories from that trip. And it was educational, too - I learned five important things that day:

1) Never ride backwards on a really tall hay ride.
2) The treads of tractor tires are REALLY deep and can hold a LOT of manure.
3) Even if they moo with a cool accent, Irish cow poop is as disgusting as American cow poop.
4) My favorite Irish curse word is "shite."
5) Until you've shouted "Shite!" while dodging . . . well . . . shite, you haven't lived.

Happy St. Paddy's Day, everyone!!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

TFI . . . Too Funny, Isn't it?

I always love my mom's interpretations of common phrases, expressions, and names. Like the other day, I mentioned that I was about to watch 24, which is one of my favorite television shows. She called me later and said "Are you still watching 29?" These are the little gems that make conversations with my mom so entertaining.

And she never lets me down.

My mom, my sister Erin, my Aunt Maureen, and I got into a conversation this past weekend with a really sweet waiter who gave us WAY more information about his relationship history than we probably needed to know. He told us how he is dating a girl who was in a long-term relationship with another girl . . . then added that she's not a lesbian or anything. He told us how she lived with her girlfriend for 3 years . . . then assured us that it wasn't sexual or anything. It just got more and more personal every time he opened his mouth. And I just had to concentrate on two things: 1) not allowing my eyes to bug out and 2) not making eye contact with any member of my family because I knew I would lose it if I did.

After we left the restaurant, we walked back to our cars and had this conversation along the way.

Erin: Wow.
Me: Seriously! I was really scared I was going to make eye contact with you and that would have been it for me.
Erin: I know! Every time he opened his mouth I thought "Wow - didn't see THAT coming."
Me: Me, too!
Mom: I just kept thinking "Uhhhhh . . . TFI!"
Erin and I: [stopped dead in our tracks and bent over laughing]
Erin: It's T-M-I, Mom. As in too M-M-M-M-MUCH information . . .
Mom: Oh whatever.

Oh, Mom. I can always count on you!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Fine? Really?

I had to drive to Dallas a couple of weeks ago for a deposition. On our way back to Houston, my trial partner and I decided to stop for dinner at a Mexican restaurant that's about halfway between Houston and Dallas in a little town called Fairfield, Texas. I've been to Gilberto's before and thought it was pretty good - especially when you consider that it's located in a small town. But I've never noticed this sign before:

I have to tell you that, as much as I like the place, I take issue with the use of the word "fine" . . . unless they're using it as a synonym for "okay" or "acceptable" or "passes health department inspection." I mean, I don't think a restaurant can be considered "fine dining" if they use store-bought flour tortillas for their tacos. Right? I don't think it can be considered "fine" if the napkins are paper. And I certainly don't think it can pass as fine dining if it has a drive thru:

Yep. I'm pretty sure that once you throw a window and a neon sign on your restaurant, you have to be honest with yourself and stop pretending to be something you're not. Just embrace what you are and edit your sign to read something more honest like: "Gilberto's - Better than gas station food." Or "Gilberto's - It won't make you throw up." Or even "Gilberto's - It's pretty much the only option you have for the next 100 miles."

In the meantime, if you find yourself between Dallas and Houston and your stomach starts growling, stop by Gilberto's . . . It's fine.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Somebody in Wonderland

My sister Erin and I took her kids and Tammy's kids to see Alice in Wonderland this weekend. I was a little nervous that it would be too Tim Burton-y for my taste but it was really good. As expected, Johnny Depp was amazing as the Mad Hatter (or the "Hat Man" as my nephew Ben calls him). And Helena Bonham-Carter was HILARIOUS as the Red Queen. We all loved the movie and the kids went so far as to universally declare it to be their favorite movie of all time. EVER. That's quite an endorsement, folks!

My favorite part of the movie, though, was Ben, my 5 year old nephew. As I've said before, Ben has no concept of the "inside voice" - he just talks at the top of his lungs regardless of where he is or what's going on around him. He was a little nervous that the movie might be scary so, about 10 minutes into it he says:

Ben: Catchy? Since this is a new movie, I might need you to hold my hand if it gets a little scary.
Me: Okay, bud. Just let me know when you get scared, okay?
Ben: Okay.
[Alice falls into a hole and lands in a room with a table and a bunch of locked doors.]
Ben: [Transfixed with hot dog frozen mid-air in his right hand] Oh . . .
[Alice begins trying to open the doors around the perimeter of the room.]
Ben: [Louder and nervously. Hot dog hasn't moved.] Oh . . .?
[Alice sees a key on the table.]
Ben: OH!
[Alice runs to the table, grabs the key, and begins trying to unlock the doors.]
Ben: [Thrusting his left hand up into the air and, without taking his eyes off the screen, says firmly and urgently, yet with some calmness about him] MY HAAAAND!! MY HAAAAND!!

He held my hand for about 20 minutes and then he was fine. He watched the rest of the movie with no problem, even turning to me during the most frightening part of the whole thing to yell - yes, yell - "This is a fun movie!" Then afterward, he kept imitating the "Hat Man" by doing a dance that the Mad Hatter does at the end of the movie. This led to more impressions by the other kids of THEIR favorite characters:

Savannah: Look! I'm the Red Queen! [uses best mean voice] "Off with their heads!"
Avery: Look! Look! I'm the White Queen! [Walks around daintily with her arms out.]
Ben: I'm the Hat Man [dances like the Mad Hatter]
Emma: I'm Alice -
Ben: What? [looking at Emma like she's crazy] Who's ALICE??

Sooooooooo, apparently, we need to work on attention to detail . . .

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

One girl's appendectomy is another girl's blog.

My sister Tammy had her appendix removed last week so I spent a good part of Thursday at the hospital with her. Unfortunately, the first nurse she had when she got into her room was not friendly at all. She barely spoke to Tammy, wouldn't use more than a grunt to answer any of her questions, and, instead of telling Tammy her name, she just wrote in on a dry erase board and then walked out of the room. It was so unbelievable.

My mom brought Tammy's kids up to see her in the afternoon and, being the mature adults we are, Tammy and I told them all about how mean the nurse was. Just as we were finished telling them about all the rude things she had done, she walked into the room. She was smiling - sort of - and my mom said "Oh, good - she's smiling." OUT LOUD. Immediately my butt clenched. (Sorry, Mom - I know you hate that expression but that's what you get for . . . well . . . making my butt clench.) I sat there with perfect posture, smiling and trying to not look like the one who had ratted her out. That's when Ben - who has absolutely NO concept of the "inside voice" - leans over to my mom and says in a stage whisper "IS THAT THE MEAN NURSE??"

That's when my butt muscles started to cramp.

After that, I stepped out of Tammy's room to make a phone call - and stretch my butt out - and, while I was out there, I overheard a nurse talking to another nurse and saying in a strong redneck accent: "I talked to Debbie today and she say-ed that they found her Dad day-ed in the bay-ed. 'Parently he'd ha-ed a heart attay-ack. Didn't appear to have suffered a'tall. They did an uh-TOP-sy on 'im and 'parently he'd ha-ed five or six of 'em."

I had two immediate thoughts upon hearing her: 1) this is hardly the conversation one wants to overhear while in a hospital and 2) ummmmmmm . . . did she just say uh-TOP-sy?

Shouldn't correct pronunciation of certain medical words and procedures be prerequisite to receiving your nursing degree? Or working in the medical field in any capacity? Incorrect pronunciation of such fundamental words can really shake your confidence in someone's intelligence. Would you hand your baby over to a doctor who said she was going to cut its umBIBlical cord? Or would you let a nurse near you if she said that she was going to remove your cathEEter? I think not. She'd remove that cathEEter from me over my day-ed body.

You know - right before the uh-TOP-sy . . .

Monday, March 8, 2010

Mom - you Rascal . . .

I went to my mom's house tonight to watch the Oscars with her, my sister Erin, and my aunt Maureen, who is visiting from Chicago. My aunt suggested that we let the Oscars record a while and watch an episode of CSI that she had recorded first. This, she suggested, would do two things: allow her to clear the recorded program from the DVR and allow us to watch the Oscars sans commercials. We agreed that it was a good idea so we started watching CSI.

My mom and aunt had specifically saved this particular episode of CSI for me because it had a guest appearance by one of my favorite bands - Rascal Flatts. Have you heard of them? It's a country band made up of three guys named Gary, Joe Don, and Jay. I really love their sound and my mom knew that so she wanted me to be able to see the episode. It was really sweet of her.

And it was REALLY sweet of her to give me more material for my blog tonight:

Mom: Aren't you excited?? It's Rascal Flatts! You really like him, don't you?
Me: Yeah, I do. I love their music.
Mom: [looking at lead singer] Now is that Rascal?
Erin: Oh, that's embarrassing . . .
Me: Well, the whole band is called Rascal Flatts. That's not HIS name. It's the BAND'S name. I think HIS name is Gary.
Mom: [looking at TV, giving no indication of whether she heard me . . .]
[show continues. a few minutes pass.]
Mom: [looking at bass player] Okay - is THAT one Rascal?
Me: [Okaaaaaaaaaaaaay. Guess she didn't hear me . . .] No - No, Mom. That's the name of the BAND. The BAND. There's no one named Rascal in the band. At all.
Mom: That's not him?
Erin: Catherine - I can't take it anymore.
Mom: Why are y'all laughing?
[show continues. a few minutes pass again. the band is playing a song.]
Mom: Now is this one of his real songs?
Me: It's not a "him" - it's -
Erin: [laughing] Catherine - just stop. You're as much to blame for this now as she is.
[show ends.]
Mom: Wasn't that fun? I knew he was one of your favorites!
Me: Okay. I give up.
Erin: [shaking her head] Well, thank goodness the MONKEES weren't guest-starring . . .

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Safety first

[Side note: Sooooooooo out of nowhere, my comment feature stopped working. And I can't STAND going without comments from y'all so thanks for the texts and emails in the interim! I think I've fixed it now so comment away!! Now back your scheduled programming, already in progress . . .]

I was driving on the highway the other day and got a text from a friend. I don't like to text while I'm driving so I called her to answer her question rather than trying to text a response. She answered the phone and so I explained to her that I was calling because I was trying to be safe. And then I changed lanes and saw that the truck I was following was apparently being driven by the headless horseman:

And then I drove 70 miles an hour while trying to take a picture of it.

But at least I didn't send it as a picture text . . .

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Mirrow mirrow on the wall . . .

We all know someone who pronounces at least one word strangely. You can probably think of ten people who say "chester drawers" instead of "chest o' drawers" or "Illinoissssse" instead of "Ill-i-noy." And then there's always the person in your life who says "All-timer's" or "Old-timer's" instead of "Alz-hei-mer's." Or maybe YOU'RE the one mispronouncing those words. In that case . . . please stop.

Anyway . . . have you ever known anyone who pronounces "mirror" as "mirrow?" Well, you would if you visited this store in San Antonio:

And poor things had a little trouble with "armoires," too:

You would think that SOMEONE would have caught those before they were painted. Aaaaaaaaand outlined. But I'm so glad that spelling is not their forte because it made me laugh. And it made me wish that that this store weren't in San Antonio because I'd drive by it every day just for a laugh if it were in Euston.

I mean Houston.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Rough and tumble

I've never considered myself a klutz. I mean, I'm not someone who falls a lot or runs into things frequently - I'm really fairly coordinated. But lately I've had some trouble on the steps in my house. I don't know why this is happening but it's troublesome. It's not like it's unfamiliar terrain or anything - I walk on these steps all the time. I know the ins and outs of them. I have no excuse.

I have a staircase that leads down to a foyer. If you're coming down the stairs, you would step down into the foyer, take a few steps forward, and then take two steps down into the dining room or living room. It looks like this:

It's really fairly easy to navigate.

A few months ago, I was walking downstairs and my roommate Melissa was sitting at the dining room table, working on her computer. As I was walking, a funny thought occurred to me so I made some loud announcement to call attention to myself like "So . . . I just had a funny idea . . ." and, she looked up at me so that I could continue with my hilariousness. I don't remember what ground-breakingly funny thing I was going to say but I know that the timing of it all just could NOT have been worse. JUST as she looked up, I missed a step and went tumbling down the remaining five stairs and spilled out onto the foyer. But I didn't stop there. I had gathered quite a bit of momentum as I tumbled so, when I hit the foyer floor, I kept rolling and then rolled down the foyer steps into the dining room. It felt like I was falling for a good five minutes. Seriously. I just kept going and going - like a brunette indoor snowball. Melissa must have yelled "Oh! Catherine!" five times in the time it took me to finally come to rest on the dining room floor. Luckily, nothing was broken so we just laughed and laughed.

I would so much like to report that it was an isolated incident. But, unfortunately . . .

The other day I came home and no one was here but my dog. He was sitting on the dining room floor looking up at me in the foyer as I walked from the front door toward the dining room. Just as I reached the edge of the steps that lead down into the dining room, I slipped ever so slightly. Not much, mind you. But enough. Just enough. Somehow the slip caused both of my feet to fold over the first step down from the foyer. I had heels on so they caught on the edge of the step and acted like hinges, keeping my feet locked onto the first step as the rest of me went flying forward. I felt like everything went into slow motion. My arms were flailing, my eyes were bugged out, and I was yelling "Crapcrapcrapcrapcrapcrap!" as my dog scrambled out the way. I felt the toes on my right foot pop and then my left ankle popped and then my knees hit the dining room floor. My upper body fell forward and I landed face-down by my dining room table. I laid there for a second, barely moving and convinced that I had broken something because I had a lot of pain in my ankle. I wasn't really sure what I was going to do if I had indeed broken my ankle but I began to imagine myself having to do an army crawl out to my car so that I could drive myself to the hospital. It would have made for an awesome story. One that I could tell for generations to come. But then the pain subsided and I moved my ankles and could tell that nothing was broken. That was a relief - I'm really terrible at army crawling.

I laid there for about 10 minutes and then decided that I should stand up to make sure that my ankle felt okay with some weight on it. That's when I saw this:

It had ripped the heels off of my shoes. BOTH SHOES. I'm telling you - this fall was epic.

But I think that the most important part of the whole thing was what I learned about myself through the first thoughts that popped into my head as I landed like a sack of potatoes in the dining room. I mean, don't you think you can learn a lot by thoughts that involuntarily pop into your head in moments like that? I do. I think they can reveal a lot about your character and your priorities. My very first thought in that moment wasn't "Thank you, Lord, for not letting me land on my dog" or "Thank you, Lord, for not letting me hit my head." Nope. My first thought was "Oh good - now I don't have to work out." Aaaaaaaaaaand that thought was immediately followed by "I should make some movement so that if anyone was watching me through a window, they'll know that I'm okay."

So I'm a clumsy, lazy narcissist, apparently.

Just thought you should know that about me . . .

Monday, March 1, 2010

Olympics Overview

MAN I love the Olympics!!! Can you believe that they're already over?? I could watch them every day. Oh wait . . . I DID watch them every day.

I thought that today, in honor of the closing of the 2010 Olympics, I would give my final thoughts on some of the sports and happenings that I didn't really get to talk about with y'all over the last two weeks. So here you go . . .

Alpine skiing:

I have two things to say about the Alpine events.

First, I am so glad that I don't have to hear Lindsay Vonn talking about her injuries anymore. I mean, I know she was injured but come ON. Aren't athletes of a certain caliber supposed to grit their teeth and fight through it without complaint? Like Keri Strug did? And I've never heard of an Olympian who is so stinkin' accident prone. C'mon, Lindsay . . .

Second, is there some reason that the Olympic committee decided to use mug shots for all the skiers in their profile shots:

I mean, couldn't someone have given them the heads up that these pictures would be shown on international television? How embarrassing.


I don't know what's worse: seeing that the bobsledding uniforms leave absolutely NOTHING to the imagination . . . or having your mother point that out to you.

Speed Skating:

I already blogged about the back of the Canadian speed skating uniform. I didn't think it could get any worse than that.

Until I saw the front of it:

Seriously, Canada - this is a family show.

Good Lord . . . I feel like the Olympics have a made a woman out of me.

Ice dancing:

I have to say that the first two nights of Ice Dancing made me want to bash my head into the wall - it was so boring. And I just found myself getting mad that I was watching an Olympic event with a move called a "Twizzle." Seriously? But then came the free skate and I ended up loving it.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaand added "Must be able to pick me up and spin with me on his shoulders" to my list of must-haves in a husband.


I didn't get to watch any curling but I really wanted to. Something about this sport fascinates me and I want to understand it. Mainly because I want to understand why they need alternates on their team. I mean, really - what kind of injuries do these players really sustain? Broom burn? I want to know it all.

Snow boarding:

Four words: Marry me, Seth Wescott.

I think we'd make a perfect couple. We have so much in common. For instance, he looked awesome in the new denim ski pants for the snow board cross and I enjoyed rewinding my DVR to admire him in them. He lives in Sugarloaf, Maine and, although I don't know what it is, I'm pretty sure I'd like to eat a sugarloaf. He likes competing in winter sports and I have a winter complexion.

See? Match made in Heaven.

Call me, Seth!

Double luge:

Did anyone see this? There is no more awkward sport in the Olympics. You take the normal luge aaaaaaaaaaaaand you put another guy on top of the first guy. Like so:

You have to be secure in your masculinity to compete in this sport. And you have to be more mature than I to watch it.


I think that the bad economy has the NBC Statisticians sweating because they were working overtime during this Olympics. They were absolutely pelting us with stats this year. The most decorated Winter Olympian. The most decorated U.S. Male skier. The first World Champion to win Gold at the Olympics since Scott Hamilton. More medals by the age of 25 than any other female speed skater. And they just kept on going. And they'd get really specific - I half-expected them to say something like "She now has the most medals of any brunette female winter olympian with a Russian coach."

You go NBC Stats guy. Way to create job security!

Favorite mess ups:

You know my summary of the Olympics wouldn't be complete without me criticizing the way people worded things. Here are a few of my favorites:

"They LITERALLY started on the same second just two seconds apart." That is LITERALLY impossible, buddy.

"This is unprecedented since Torino." Well, then it's not unprecedented, now is it?

"This is a dream coming to come happen." Ummmmmmm . . . what? Why don't we let you catch your breath before we interview you . . .

"Trohpy Stats." These are apparently not spelling bee trophies . . .

And so they're over. Just like that. I can feel myself spiraling into a deep depression slowly but surely. My life will not be the same without 10 hours of exciting competition to watch every night. Without Bob Costas. Without my steady obsession over clearing space on my DVR every night so that I don't miss anything the next day. Without crying at Visa commercials and great Olympic moment montages. What will I do?? How will I live??

I guess I just have to go back to "having a social life" and "not living vicariously through other people" and "conversing with human beings."

Until London in 2012!!