Friday, October 29, 2010


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

For example . . .

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

It's crazy.

And it's a problem.

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

And I'm on speed dial . . .

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A magical apology?

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

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

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

Monday, October 25, 2010

Your To-Do List

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

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

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

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

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

Go on! What are you waiting for?

Do it.


I'm waaaaaaaaaiting.

Seriously - why are you still here?

Okay, this is just getting awkward . . .

Friday, October 22, 2010

Somebody needs to be fired.

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

A hairdon't.

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

Why, God?


Tuesday, October 19, 2010


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

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

It was all just so . . . CUTE!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I mean, was she BLIND??

Friday, October 15, 2010

How to Determine When to Clean Your House

When I was a kid, my mom went back to school and took some classes at the local community college. While she was a student there, she wrote an article and submitted it to the school newspaper - The Richland Chronicle. When she turned it in, they told her not to get her hopes up because it might be several weeks before they would publish it. But it turns out that they loved it so much that they published it the very next week!

My mom has been going through some old papers and ran across a copy of the newspaper in which her article was published. So I thought I'd share it with y'all so that y'all could get a glimpse into the mind of the woman who raised me! It's no wonder I love writing!

So without further ado . . . enjoy this article from the November 7, 1983 edition of The Richland Chronicle!!

"Creative people are seldom good housekeepers." This is not as official as the Ten Commandments, but it should be. If you have ever felt guilty because your home isn't perfect; if you have ever thought you could never "dig out" or catch up, just relax and listen. I am going to tell you how to determine when things need to be done so that you can clean your bedrooms, living room, kitchen and bathroom once a month whether they need it or not. It will enable you to change from being a nervous slob without aim to a relaxed slob with a definite goal.

The biggest mistake you can make is judging your home's cleanliness by the standards of other people. Start by setting your own standards and sticking to them. Cleanliness is a continuum. At one end of the spectrum is the cold, unnatural sterility of a museum. At the other end is being "shut down" by the health department. Somewhere in between should be your starting point.

Now we are ready to discuss the bedroom. First, you should purchase a rural flood gauge. They are used by the highway department to determine flood levels and are usually about 5 ft. high. After you install one in each bedroom, take some red paint and mark a warning zone so that when the debris reaches the "red zone" you will know you need to clean. If you have very young children, or at least very short children, you need to lower your red warning line accordingly! After all, you can explain to a teacher that your child is wearing slippers because you can't find her school shoes, but you can't take her school shoes up there and explain to the teacher that you can't find the occupant!

Some people cannot stand anything lying around on the floor. Other people would wallow in 3 ft. of clothes before taking action. Remember, you are to determine for yourself where you fit in between these extremes. Hint: Measure your shortest child's height and subtract 5 to 6 inches for breathing space. If somehow your warning mark gets covered up, there are other important signals that can act as a "back up system." If, after you tell your kids it is time for bed, you go in later to kiss them good night and they are asleep on top of a dresser they mistook for a bed - clean immediately. If their sweet little voices chime, "I love you, Mommy" and you kiss a pile of clothes good night - take action.

Now let's proceed to the living room. The biggest problem with any living room is table trash. Find a decorative way to mark your table lamps. (Maybe contrasting rickrack.) determine ahead of time that when the debris on the table rises to that level you will clean it. If you don't think you can remember to check the rickrack level, just watch the general lighting in the room. If it seems unusually dark, even though both lamps have 300 watt bulbs, check the rickrack! A two-foot-high pile of last week's magazines, newspapers, mail, Coke cans, coffee cups and stale hamburger buns will obstruct even the strongest light beams.

By now, all clothes that you have evacuated from the bedrooms should be on the living room floor waiting to be sorted. (If you didn't have any trouble finding the floor, you probably don't need to read this.) If, while sorting the clothes according to color, you throw a striped shirt onto a pile and it gets up and staggers, give it a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and open the front door.

If you are not able to remember anything I've told you about how to determine when your living room needs cleaning, just remember the simple statement: If you have to fall off the floor to sit on the couch - you definitely need to clean!

Now to the kitchen. First, take a spatula and scrape all left-over food from the counter tops. If you haven't used it already this month, it is probably too late now. (Scientists say that leaving food out attracts and feeds roaches. A more reasonable theory would be that if you leave the same food out long enough, the roaches will die of food poisoning.) After you have finished your counter tops, you need to determine what foods need to be cleaned out of the refrigerator. Here are the rules: If it is furry - throw it away. It if is green - throw it away. (Better to accidentally throw away an innocent head of lettuce than to try and explain to doctors at the Emergency Room how your kids got hold of a bowl of left-over Thanksgiving dressing in the middle of July.) If it moves - throw it out immediately. Don't hold it up for scrutiny, or smell it or feel it. It is especially dangerous to taste it. After all, you are probably the one who cooked it in the first place, and if your cooking is as bad as your housekeeping, you could kill yourself!

The bathroom is the simplest. If your children are more frightened of suffocating in the clothes and debris on the bathroom floor than they are of deep water in the tub, it is time to clean. If the various organisms lurking in the bathroom have grown large enough to demand a toll upon admittance, don't clean - move out!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

IM = Instant Mayhem?

I was sitting at home tonight, wondering what I should blog about - I just had absolutely no ideas. I decided that the best thing to do was to be proactive about it, soooooooooo I spent a few minutes staring at the wall and seeing how long I could stay in a daze. Surprisingly, that yielded no new blog ideas. I was just about to give up.

And then it happened.

Almost as if by divine intervention, my cell phone rang and I saw it was my mom. I said a quick prayer for blog material and then answered the phone:

Me: Hey, Mom! What's up?
Mom: [a bit breathless] Oh good! You answered! I was so afraid that you wouldn't answer!
Me: Why? What's going on?
Mom: Well, I need your help because something happened and I don't know what to do!
Me: Okay - what happened?
Mom: Well, I was sitting here at my computer and I heard a noise and then a little box popped up and it was a message from Pam.
Me: [awkward silence] Okaaaaaaaaay . . .
Mom: [getting a panicked tone in her voice and speaking very quickly] And I wrote her back but I can't figure out how to make it go to her. It's just sitting there and I don't want her to think I didn't write her back.
Me: [Don't laugh, Catherine. Don't laugh.] You just hit the "Return" button.
Mom: Like the one that says "Enter Return?"
Me: Yes. On your keyboard.
Mom: Well, I just did that and it didn't work!
Me: [Wow - is she about to hyperventilate?]
Mom: It's not working!
Me: You're on facebook, right?
Mom: Yes.
Me: Well, that should have worked. That's all you hav-
Mom: IT WORKED!! Oh my goodness - it worked! Oh good! I was so WOOOOOOOOOORRIED!!
Me: Well, that seems a little-
Mom: Oh I'm SO glad you answered your phone! I was worried that you'd still be at church and that you wouldn't answer and then I had no idea what I was going to DOOOOOOOOO. [catching her breath.]
Me: Well, now you'll know how to do it the next time it happens.
Mom: Yeah, I guess so. What a relief!
Me: Yeeeeeeeaaaaah [not really sure what else to say here, Mom . . .]
Mom: My goodness - my neck is hurting me now. That was so stressful! It's like having someone stare at you and you can't answer them!
Me: Yeah - something like that . . .
Mom: I feel like I need to take a valium.
Me: Think YOU do . . .
Mom: You know, in fairness . . . if someone sends you a message like that, they should tell you how to respond to them.
Me: Oh my gosh. [laughing] Mom, I think everyone just assumes that we all know how to IM. It's really not that hard.
Mom: No seriously - they should. They should say "Hi! How are you? If you want to respond to me, just type in that little box below and then hit return."
Me: Wow.
[slight pause]
Mom: So are you blogging tonight?
Me: Ummmmmm . . . now I am.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Genetic Drama Queen

I wish I could say that I am 100% drama-free, I really do. I've always wanted to be one of those girls who just never has a dramatic moment. But the truth is that I have an undeniable inner drama queen. Now, luckily, she stays in hiding most of the time but every once in a while she comes out and reveals herself in a big way . . .

Like when I had to clean my Beta fish's tank for the first time. I had gotten this fish for my birthday and he lived in a pitcher of water on my bar. When I could no longer see him through the haze that had built up in the water, I thought it might be time to clean his little tank out. But this petrified me to no end. I was convinced that he was going to jump out of the tank and attack my neck - like a scene right out of some bad B movie. And I knew it was an irrational fear but I just couldn't help it - I was paralyzed with fear. So I called my friend Tracy and made her stay on the phone with me while I cleaned the tank . . . you know - in case she needed to call 911 to help get little Finnegan off of my jugular. ANYWAY, I cleaned the tank but screamed LITERALLY every 2 minutes and Tracy stayed on the phone with me the entire time, laughing hysterically at me. But, hey, she can laugh all she wants - those fish are SCARY . . .

Or there's the time that my mom and sisters and I were all in the living room and my mom kept asking me to do stuff for her, even though my sisters were sitting right there, too . . . and, in some cases, they were in a more convenient position to do whatever task was being requested. I was getting so frustrated because CLEARLY I was being picked on because I was the middle child - am I right, middle children?? Are you with me on this one?? ANYWAY, at one point my mom asked me to turn the air up even though Tammy was RIGHT next to the thermostat and I was clear across the room. Well, that was the straw that broke the camel's back for me. I stood up and, in my best stage voice, yelled: "Catherine, get me some water! Catherine, get me a blanket! Catherine, turn the air up! THROW ANOTHER LOG ON THE FIRE, CINDERELLA!!" Dramatic? Yes. But, seriously . . . Tammy was RIGHT THERE.

Look - I really do wish I weren't so dramatic at times. But I realized a long time ago that, as much as I'd like to get rid of my inner drama queen, I can't. Because it's genetic. Case in point . . .

My mom used to bring us breakfast in bed on cold mornings when we were in school because she didn't want us to have to come downstairs and freeze are tootsies off - yes, she IS the greatest mom EVER. Well one morning, after I had finished my cereal and and was finished getting ready for school, I started down the stairs with my cereal bowl in hand, being careful to not slosh the left-over milk all over the place. But, unfortunately, when I was about halfway down the stairs I slipped. Well, actually, "slipped" sounds a little too dainty. What really happened is that my feet flew out from under me, I flew up in the air, my cereal bowl flew out of my hands, I came crashing down onto the stairs, and my cereal bowl crashed against the wall on the landing at the bottom of the stairs. Milk and Cinnamon Toast Crunch bits began dripping down the wall and, before I even had time to assess myself for injuries, my mom came running over to the stairs screaming hysterically because she thought that the milk and cereal on the wall were my brains.

My brains . . . seriously.

I was so dumbfounded at her reaction that I just looked at her with a confused expression and, with as much compassion as I could muster, I asked "HOW DOES CINNAMON TOAST CRUNCH EVEN REMOTELY LOOK LIKE BRAINS??"

Now, in an effort to cover up the fact that she mistook cereal for brains, she tries to tell everyone that it was oatmeal on the wall. But don't believe her . . .

And then there was the time when I came home from school and found a water leak in the house that my mom had somehow missed. I can easily see how she could have missed it, what with the huge water spot on the ceiling downstairs and the water standing on a downstairs cabinet. Once I pointed it out to her, she completely lost her head. She had us all go outside because she was convinced that the house was going to blow up . . . because . . . well . . . I guess because . . . no - I still don't know why she thought a water leak would lead to an exploding house. But she did. And the best part was that she kept having ME go inside to call my dad or the plumber . . . whiiiiiiiiiiiile she stood outside, safely distancing HERSELF from the blast zone.

But, hey - at least she brought us breakfast in bed, right??

The reason I'm writing about all this tonight is that I saw my mom's inner drama queen again last night. We were at my sister Tammy's, having a lovely dinner that my niece Emma prepared for us and my mom was telling us that one of her nails had broken. She was really hoping to get it repaired at her nail place the next day but she needed to protect it in the meantime so that the break didn't get any worse. Her solution for a slightly broken nail?

Yep - I come by my dramatic streak honestly, don't you think?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Happy Columbus Day!!!

Thank goodness for Christopher Columbus, riiiiiiiiiight? I'm so glad that he discovered America so that I could one day be born here AND, as an added bonus, get a day off of work. I sure do love that guy! But, you know what? If I'm being totally honest with y'all, I'd have to admit that sometimes I get a little jealous that he gets all these accolades and has places named after him and has his own holiday and blah blah blah. I mean, it's not like he's the ONLY one who has discovered things. I've discovered a lot of cool things in my life but you don't see Catchy Day on your calendar, do you?

And I don't think that's fair.

Sure - it's true that I have not discovered a new country but that doesn't mean that my discoveries aren't equally important to mankind . . .

For instance, I recently had a midnight snack moment that changed my life. I was watching TV late at night and suddenly started craving something sweet and salty. I rummaged around in my pantry but all I could find was a bag of pretzels. I ate a few pretzels but they just weren't cutting it for me - I needed a sweet element. So I opened the freezer and saw a pint of Dulce de Leche ice cream that someone had brought over. I opened up the pint and decided to use a pretzel as my spoon. That's when the life-altering moment occurred for me - the Earth stopped spinning, a light shone upon me and the hallelujah chorus rang out in my kitchen. Dulce de Leche ice cream and pretzels together?? I bet Christopher Columbus never thought of THAT.

"Catherine, a mind-blowing snack creation does not compete with the discovery of the Americas," you say. Fine. But that's not the only discovery that I have made in my lifetime - I also discovered that if I hold my elbows out in JUST the right position in my car, I can get the A/C to blow right up the sleeves of my shirt so that my whole shirt billows out and cools me down on a hot day. That was a HUGE discovery, especially for someone who has to endure summers in Houston. And there are days in July when I'm driving down the highway with my elbows out and my shirt billowing around me that I think "I bet this is how Christopher Columbus felt when he spotted land."

But I think my biggest discovery was an alternative use for ponytail holders. I have short hair so I never need to use them for their actual intended purpose but that hasn't stopped me from using them. Oh no, my friends - I have found a new use for them: to help button your jeans when you've had too many pretzels and dulce de leche ice cream.

Don't judge me.

Seriously - it's a beautiful thing. Once you loop the ponytail holder into the buttonhole, you can get another good inch to an inch and a half in the waist of your jeans. And you'd be surprised how often this comes in handy. Jeans shrunk too much in the dryer? No prob - here's a ponytail holder. Post-Thanksgiving dinner belly bulge? Take your ponytail down and put that holder to good use, girl. It's the most amazing discovery of my lifetime. Granted, it's not the same as discovering a new unsettled land, but it could have helped the Indians eradicate the muffin top.

And, still - no holiday named after ME??

What a rip off.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Define "older" . . .

My sister Tammy recently decided to start taking piano lessons. It's something that she's always wanted to do so, since her kids are learning different musical instruments, she figured she'd jump in there with them and learn the piano. Since she's an adult, she was told to buy a book geared toward older beginners. In fact, it even says that on the cover . . .

So she was pretty excited to get started with her new OLDER BEGINNERS piano book. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand then she saw her first assignment . . .

So she borrowed crayons from her kids and completed her first big girl piano assignment. She thought it seemed a bit strange to have such a juvenile assignment but she figured that the rest of the book would be a little more geared to her age. So she turned the page to do her second assignment . . .

And her third . . .

I don't know what's funnier - the fact that these assignments are in her Older Beginners book or the fact that she's actually DOING them . . . crayons and all. That's just hilarious to me. But what's even more hilarious is that when I asked her about why she's actually doing these little assignments, she said: "Well, I have to get my sticker!"

Yes you do, Tammy. Yes you do!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Save me!!

I told you all last week about how I've decided to venture out into the world of online dating. And I have to tell you that it's a funny little world. I mean, if you were to meet a single guy at, say, a bar or the gym or the grocery store or a wedding or a funeral (don't judge me), you would expect to have some nice small talk with him, some fun flirting, and you'd size each other up and figure out if you're interested. That's how it's supposed to be. That's the natural order of things.

But, unfortunately, that's not how it works for most people online.

What I'm finding is that many of the guys out there jump right past that initial phase of small talk and flirting and they go straight to their best "We were destined for each other" commercial. It's so strange. In fact, I got an email the other day from a guy who did that:

"I'm definitely ready to commit into a loving lifelong relahionship with a beautiful educated woman like yourself. The times of mounting a horse to go find one and fighting windmills are no more there! I know i will be a great partner. So, let me be the one to have the privilidge to your friendship and love."

Okay, let me break this down for you . . .

1. You should never use the word "mounting" in any initial communication on a dating website.
2. I can't be in a relationship with anyone who doesn't know how to SPELL relationship. Or privilege.
3. Why is he already asking for my love? He doesn't know anything about me. He's seen my picture and read a few sentences about me - does he really have enough information to make that determination. I mean, don't get me wrong - I'm freakin' AWESOME. (Seriously . . . have you SEEN my butt?) But, STILL - he doesn't know that. (Note to self: put a picture of my butt on my online profile . . .)
4. If I guy walked up to me at the gym and said that to me as his opening introduction, I think I'd ask security to escort me to my car.
5. SAVE ME!!!

For the first time in my life, the idea of hanging out at a bar to meet a guy is sounding appealing. I'm sure I could find someone THERE who could earn the privilidge to my love and friendship . . .

Shoot me.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Nora: The Owner's Manual (Part Three)

So I wrote a while ago about how I've decided to rent my mom out for parties. I must say that the idea has been met with much enthusiasm from you all - several of you have already approached me about pricing and scheduling. I think my sisters and I will be able to retire off of this venture! But before I can rent her out, I have to finish compiling my list of instructions on what to expect and how to handle certain situations that might arise with my mom. So, to supplement the FIRST and SECOND parts of the Nora Owner's Manual, here are a few more instructions for you to keep in mind when you rent my mom:

Death and Diabetes
These are my mom's two favorite subjects and she will always bring the conversation around to one of these two topics. And she can do it seamlessly, regardless of the original topic . . . I have no idea how she does it. It's like her spiritual gift. Talking about bowling? No problem - she'll have a story about how someone was killed at the bowling alley near our house. Talking about ice cream? No problem - she'll tell you how it makes her blood sugar spike. Talking about how nice the weather is? She can turn that into a story about a murder suicide before you even know what hit you. And if you give her an opportunity to talk about someone who DIED from DIABETES, that's the ultimate achievement for her. By the time she leaves your party, you'll know about every tragic death that has occurred within a 100 mile radius of your home. But don't worry - you can always read the obituaries to cheer yourself up . . .

If you and my mom really hit it off, she might start to feel like you are like one of the family. In that case, you might get calls from her occasionally while she's out driving around. These usually involve some type of navigational question. For instance, my mom goes to Chick-Fil-A at least once a week. It's less than 5 miles from her house in a shopping center but, for some reason, she can never remember how to get there. This led to lots of calls like this:

Me: Hey, mamasita!
Mom: Hey, Catchy! I need your help.
Me: Okay - what's up?
Mom: Well, I'm trying to find Chick-Fil-A and I have no idea where it is in relation to where I am.
Me: Okay - well, where are you now?
Mom: I'm in the World Market parking lot.
Me: World Market?
Mom: Yeah.
Me: Okay. Get out of your car.
Mom: Get out of my car?
Me: Yep.
Mom: Okaaaaaay. [pause] Okay - I'm out.
Me: Are you facing World Market?
Mom: Yep.
Me: Okay - turn around.
Mom: Okaaaaaay . . .
Me: Do you see Chick-Fil-A?
Mom: Oh my goodness! There it is! It's right THERE!!
Me: Crazy how that happens, huh?
Mom: Well, it sure is!

After that I programmed the Chick-Fil-A into her navigation system . . .

You may also get phone calls about issues she's having with her car. She's actually really good about figuring that type of stuff out for herself but EVERY once in a while she can come up with a doozie for ya. So, if you're REALLY lucky and play your cards right, perhaps you can get a call like this, too:

Me: Hey, mom! Are you on your way to Dallas?
Mom: Yeah. But I'm so frustrated.
Me: Why?
Mom: Because my cruise control isn't working.
Me: It's not?? Are you sure? It was working the other day when I used your car.
Mom: Well, it's not now. I keep going up to 70 and then taking my foot off the pedal but then the car just slows down.
Me: Okaaaaaaay . . . this is awkward . . . ummmmm . . . did you turn the cruise control on?
Me: Well . . . yeah.
Mom: Oh. Well . . . I have no idea how to do THAT.
Me: Okay. Well, there's a button on your turn signal. Do you see that?
Mom: Yeah.
Me: Okay, turn it to "On."
Mom: Okaaaaaaay . . .
Me: Now go up to 70 mph.
Mom: Okay.
Me: And then there's a button that you can push that's at the very tip of your turn signal. Push that.
Mom: Okaaaaaaay . . .
Me: Now take your foot off the gas pedal.
Mom: Well, sure enough! It's working!
Me: Yay!
Mom: You fixed it!
Me: Well, not real-
Mom: Oh I'm so relieved! My leg was getting soooooooo tired.
Me: Really? How far are you?
Mom: I'm in Willis.
Me: [pause while I laugh hysterically] Mom - you've only been on the road 20 minutes! How on EARTH is your leg tired already?
Mom: [ignoring me] Now I wish there was some way I could get my car to steer itself. My arm is REALLY tired . . .
Me: Oh good Lord . . .

The good news, though, is we pay YOU to field this type of call . . .

I'm doing this for you, friends. Because I want you to get the most out of your Nora Rental experience. I want you to have all the information you need when she shows up on your doorstep for your big party.

Of course, I'm gonna need your address well in advance so that I can get it programmed into her navigation system for her. And also because she'll want to do some research on recent deaths in your neighborhood so that she can come prepared with some light conversation material.

It's just one of the many services we offer . . .

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

A little too much detail . . .

I've been a little troubled by how anatomically correct mannequins have become. Have you noticed this? I certainly have . . . it's gotten so bad that now I feel like a bit of a pervert when I window shop. I find myself looking at the mannequins and self-consciously justifying my glances by saying things aloud like "Wow - I really like that shirt! I think I might get it! Especially now that I know what it'll look like on me if it's a bit chilly outside . . ."

Seriously - is it THAT important to be THAT anatomically correct?? Can we not leave some details to the imagination? I just don't get it - it's yet another reason I don't fully understand the fashion industry.

But as of this weekend, I think I might not understand the food industry, either. And, even worse, I might not fully understand my very own Lupe Tortilla. And that cuts me to the core.

Now most of you know by now that I love Lupe Tortilla. Whoever Lupe is - whereEVER she is - she is my soul mate. And, no - I don't need to meet her first before I make that decision . . . I have met her beef fajitas and that was good enough for me. They complete me, friends.

Don't judge me.

This weekend, I ate lunch there with my friend Diana. We were sitting by the kitchen in a corner on the left-hand side of the restaurant and we noticed that there was a statue of a bull on a ledge just above us as we ate. Its head was facing me and its hind quarters were facing Diana and, as we were eating, Diana happened to look up at the statue, only to discover something a bit disconcerting . . . the bull was a little TOO anatomically correct:

Seriously?? Why is this necessary? Why is this detail important? And why did the restaurant decide to stick this giant bull and his giant . . . well . . . pooper . . . out among people who are eating? I don't care who you are, you can't see this and maintain your pre-pooper-sighting appetite. It's disturbing.

Lucky for me I was on the front end of this little masterpiece so I didn't have to stare at his dung hole while I ate my fajitas. But something tells me I would have pushed through even if I had been. Because I love those fajitas so much.

And nothing - not even bull sphincters - can stop that kind of love.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Attention to detail . . .

I was driving home from work the other day and saw this sign:

How ironic: the Detail "Pro's" missed a detail. Well, I guess I can't complain too much . . . at least they didn't call themselves the Punctuation Pros.

Editors, people. EDITORS!!

Or should I say "Editor's?"