Monday, January 31, 2011

Awesom. Just awesom.

My friend Vicki was in Nacogdoches this weekend and saw a local restaurant in desperate need of an editor . . .

Seriously?? How did no one catch this??

And, as Vicki said to me in her text, "No, the 'E' did not fall off . . ."

You know, if you don't have spellcheck available to you when you're picking a name for your new restaurant, you should spend the money to invest in a nice dictionary. Consider it part of your start-up costs - you won't regret it. BUT if you can't get a dictionary either before the big naming day arrives, I think a good rule of thumb would be to stick with easy, one-syllable words that you KNOW you can spell. For instance, in this case, they could have gone with "Good Burger" or "Great Burger" or even "Meat Burger" . . . and a senseless spelling error could have been avoided. But when you throw in extra syllables things can get a little hairy.

The moral of the story, then, is: Check your spelling before you name your business . . . it's an awesom responsibility.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Answer me this . . .

I'm in trial this week so I won't be able to post again until Friday . . . but don't cry for me, Argentina . . .

In the meantime, you can do me a HUGE favor by helping me to answer two burning questions so that I can devote all my time and attention to my trial:

First, was I driving behind Sloth from the Goonies the other day?

And, second - did Princess Leia get reincarnated as a dress at Dillards?

Any thoughts?

See ya Friday!

Monday, January 24, 2011

A new twist on Charades.


It's a game we've all played before. Some of us are good at it. Some us - not so much. I've always felt like I'm a pretty good player, myself. I mean, I can act out words pretty well but where I REALLY shine is in the guessing part - that's always been my forte, if you don't mind me saying so. [smiles proudly]

Until I played with my 5-year-old niece, Avery.

She and Savannah came over to my house this weekend while my sister Erin ran to get her nails done. While Erin was gone, the girls and I decided to play charades. But, since there were only three of us playing, we didn't write down things to charade - we just let each person act out whatever they wanted to act out. I chose to act out things like popping popcorn, planting flowers, and tripping. Savannah acted out things like eating, tying her shoes, and fainting. Avery, on the other hand, chose very complicated and specific things to charade. I daresay even YOU would have a tough time guessing correctly.

For instance, there was THIS one . . .

In case you didn't catch that one, the answer was "playing on my phone, giving it to my kid so she can play on it, and going to the potty and she throws it in there and I had to get a new one."


We finally stopped because, frankly, she was crushing my charade self esteem and I couldn't take it.

And if she ever asks to play Pictionary, I'm saying NO . . .

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Emma saves the tigers

I told you yesterday that my niece Emma just celebrated her 10th birthday but what I DIDN'T tell you is that she specifically asked that no one bring her any presents. When I first heard that, I thought that maybe she was delirious or, perhaps, had become a communist. But then I learned the reason for the request and I thought it was just so sweet . . .

Tammy: Emma does not want presents this year for her birthday.
Me: What?? What's the matter with her?
Tammy: She's decided that she wants people to make donations to save the tigers.
Erin: What the HELL??
Tammy: Yeah - she wants to raise money to save some extinct tiger.
Me: Extinct?? Sounds like she's too late. Either that or that website is ripping her off.
Tammy: I mean "endangered!" There's some tiger that's endangered and she wants to raise $1000 to save it.
Erin: Well, ummmm . . . can I have her presents?

My mom, the animal lover and all-around encourager of altruistic endeavors, later discussed this whole concept with Emma:

Mom: Why are you wasting your birthday presents on a tiger? [see what I mean about the encouragement?] I mean, why not save a child?
Emma: Because I love tigers and I want to save them so that they won't be extinct, Dearsie.
Mom: Yeah, but who cares about TIGERS?
Emma: Dearsiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiie . . .
Mom: Well, what about your birthday presents? Don't you think you'll miss them?
Emma: No. You know, Dearsie - I got everything I wanted for Christmas this year. So I don't need any more stuff. I'd rather help the tigers . . .

Isn't that so sweet? And so mature? When I was 10, giving up my birthday presents was the LAST thing on my mind. I was too busy playing with my friends and running my pick through my permed mullet to think about tigers, endangered or otherwise. So I think it's a pretty remarkable thing that she did and I was very proud of her.

But, for the record, I still think she's crazy for giving up her birthday presents. And I'm not altogether convinced she's out of the woods on the communism thing . . .

* * * * *

I would be remiss if I didn't give you Emma's website so that you could help save the tigers, too, if you so desire. You can just click on the link below to donate and, before you know it, you'll be a tiger lover like Emma!

Just don't tell my mom . . . :)

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Nora Get Your Gun

You know, I don't really ask for much from my weekend: some time to relax, dinner out with friends or family, maybe a movie . . . not too much, really. So why must my weekend be an overachiever and give me more excitement than I can handle?

My niece Emma had her 10th birthday party on Saturday and she wanted all party goers to come dressed in their favorite color. Party themes are a big deal in my family and we go all out, usually competing with each other for an unofficial "best costume" award - we're very competitive. So I spent pretty much all Saturday morning trying to figure out just what combination of pink and red I was going to wear. In the end, I decided on a pair of red pants, a pink shirt, a pink scarf, a red hat, and red and white slippers . . . don't judge me. ANYWAY, once I decided on what I was going to wear, I laid it out on my bed and jumped in the shower to get ready.

Fast forward 30 minutes . . .

After I finished drying my hair, I got my make-up out and was JUST about to start putting it on when I heard my dog barking like crazy downstairs. I hadn't heard anyone knocking but I knew by the way he was barking that someone was at my front door. I wasn't fully dressed so I just sneaked from my bedroom door to my balcony and looked down at the front door to see if I could tell who was at the door - I had thought that maybe it was my mom or Jill or one of my sisters. But all I could see from my vantage point was that the person was wearing blue pants and white tennis shoes and that I didn't recognize his or her hair.

Then, to my horror, the person tried to open the door.

I was frozen for a second and then I jumped into action. My first order of business: get dressed. I ran to my room and looked at my outfit that I had set out for my niece's party. I quickly thought to myself "I am NOT getting murdered in red pants and a pink scarf, thankyouverymuch." I had brief visions of the prosecutor in the subsequent murder trial displaying crime scene photos and trying to explain my peculiar fashion sense to the confused jury. So I quickly grabbed some jeans and a shirt. Then I grabbed my phone and went back to the balcony. I still couldn't see the person's face but I could tell that he or she was looking in through the window and still trying to open the front door. Then the person walked away.

I ran to a different window in my house that afforded a better view of my retreating would-be burglar and I saw that it was a SHE - an older woman who looked like she might either be crazy or drunk. I called the police and explained to them what happened. They came right out and, when they got there, the crazy lady was walking up someone else's driveway to try it again. The deputy talked to her for a minute and then put her in the back of her car. My neighbors and I were standing outside, waiting for word from the deputy but all she did was put her finger up to her temple to indicate that the lady wasn't quite all there. Poor thing.

Of course I had to tell everyone at Emma's party about what had happened. And because we are all good Texans, this led to a discussion of the benefits of having a gun in your house for protection against intruders [pause for some of my friends and family members to groan . . .]. But, trust me, whether you are for or against guns, you would enjoy having a conversation about guns with my mom like the one we had on Saturday:

Mom: I think I need a shotgun.
Tammy: Uh - no you don't.
Erin: Mom - that would hurt your shoulder. I mean, you can't even handle it if one of the kids hits your arm. How are you going to handle the recoil of a shotgun?
Mom: I wouldn't hold it against my shoulder - I'd just hold it out. Like this. [holding and imaginary shotgun WAY out from her body]
Erin: Oh yeah - that would be real intimidating to a burglar. He'd take one look at you and go back to stealing your stuff.
Mom: Shut up. [turning to me] And we could go to some sort of range and shoot . . . ummmmm . . . what's the word I'm looking for . . . ummmmmm . . . we could shoot . . . I know it's not "skanks."
Me: Oh, geez - I hope not.
Tammy: Yeah. You could just drive down Westheimer yelling "PULL!"?
Me and Erin and Tammy: [cracking up]
Me: I really don't think that shooting skanks is legal . . .
Mom: What's the word I'm thinking of?
Me: Skeet?
Mom: Yeah . . . that. We could shoot that.

Is it a coincidence that NRA almost spells NORA?

I think not . . .

Friday, January 14, 2011

When you can't ignore the signs . . .

The week of Christmas was an unbelievably busy week for me - I had a trial, had to finish my Christmas shopping, had to shop and pack for the cruise, and had to get all my presents wrapped. I really felt like I was operating on adrenaline alone and I was WORN OUT. So when we got on the cruise ship on Christmas Day, I was so excited that all the running around and taking care of business was officially behind me and that I was finally going to have a chance to relax. I wasn't going to be able to make or receive phone calls and I wasn't going to have access to the internet so I had no responsibilities, no work to do - nothing. I was going to have NO choice but to just enjoy my vacation. In theory, it was the perfect escape - all I had to do was breathe in the ocean air and relax.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand then I saw this sign:

You know, I'm not sure if they knew what "incovenience" they were apologizing to me for at that point. I mean, here I was ready to relax and throw away my cares for the next five days and then BAM! my inner editor gets called to duty. For a moment, I thought about going up to the top deck and just giving myself up to the strong winds. But I soon realized that was an irrational response to a minor spelling error. I just needed to take a deep breath and give the cruise people a break. I mean, surely, that was just anomaly - an unfortunate oversight that I could forgive. I'm sure there would be no others . . .

Then I saw a pretty cool gingerbread replica of the terminal in Galveston that had been built and was on display on the main deck:

And then I made the mistake of looking a little closer:

I cussed silently and shook my fists to the sky. But then I reminded myself that most of the crew members on our ship are from different countries so maybe the problem is that the people who are having to write these signs are not writing in their native languages. That's when I decided to cut them a little slack. I mean, it's not like these signs are coming from Carnival's corporate office or anything. Because I'm sure THOSE would be correctly spelled.

So you can understand my disappointment when we got off the boat in Mexico and I saw:

Curse you, Carnival Cruises Lines. Curse you.

But how could I be upset for long? I mean, I was finally in Mexico! It was time for me to speak some Spanish and find a Mexican man to bring home in my backpack to make Gustavo jealous so that he would finally break down and declare is love for me. You know - the normal stuff you do in Mexico. So I told my little inner editor to give it a rest and go to sleep for a while. I assured her that we were in Mexico and that most of the signs would be in Spanish anyway so she didn't have to worry about any gross abuse of the English language. Once I had convinced her sufficiently, I boarded our bus to Progreso, Mexico. I looked around, excited for our first adventure.

Aaaaaaaaaand then I saw this:

Why, God? Why?

I just closed my eyes and concentrated on my breathing for a few minutes and then I was over it. I told myself that no one asked me to be the designated proof-reader so stop it. And somehow that worked. I let it go and enjoyed seeing and exploring the market in Progreso, some Mayan ruins, and Merida, the capital city of the Yucatan. And then the next day, I hung out on the beach in Cozumel, shopped the little shops, and never once thought about any signs posted around me. It was so liberating. And I was so sad when we had to wrap up our time in Cozumel and head back to the ship. Luckily, there was a HUGE line that we had to wait in to get back onto the pier so it helped up postpone our departure from this wonderful world of Gustavos. I stood in the line, creeping along an inch at a time toward the pier, listening to the little band that was playing Cielito Lindo for us as we all headed back toward the ship. They really had a great sound and I kept thinking how it was the perfect way to end our time in Mexico. And as we moved forward in the line, we got closer and closer to the little band until we were right next to them.

And their sign:

Son of a . . .

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Cruisin' with Nora

For Christmas this year, my mom gave us all a trip - a family cruise to Mexico that set sail on Christmas Day. My sisters and brothers-in-law and I have known about it since this summer but we kept it a surprise for the kids, who found out about it on Christmas Eve and screamed for about 5 minutes when my mom told them. Even as young as they are, they know what I know - a cruise would be fun . . . but a cruise with OUR family would be a BLAST.

I've told you before about how my mom can turn any conversation into a conversation about death or diabetes. And she can inform you of any tragic death that has occurred within a 50 mile radius of any given point. It's like her spiritual gift. And she loves to inform me and my sisters about the various ways that something bad might happen to us. For instance, I could be talking to her on the phone at, say, 10:30 at night and she'll say "What's that noise? Are you taking your trash out right now? You shouldn't do that so late! You don't know WHO is out at this time of night. Someone could grab you and drag you into the trees and we'd never see you again." This is her unique way of parenting . . .

ANYWAY . . . given my mom's predilection for morbid topics of conversation, I was surprised that she chose to go on a cruise to Mexico, of all places, given current unrest down there. I mean, I just MENTIONED traveling to Mexico last summer with some of my friends and she lost no time in launching Operation: Save Catherine's Life, forwarding me online articles of every bloody death that had occurred in Mexico in the last 5 years. This is how her brain works. But, strangely, she never even mentioned any concern about traveling to Mexico before we left for the cruise. I didn't really get it. And then something strange happened: since SHE wasn't informing us about all the possible manners of death that awaited us on our vacation, I found mySELF obsessing about it

First, there was the danger that we'd be boarded by Somalian pirates. Yeah, yeah, yeah - I know our ship was never going to leave the Gulf but that means nothing to me. And I daresay it means even less to the Somalian pirates. I worried that these pirates, being the entrepreneurial types, might decide to expand their territory one day and I did NOT want to be on cruise ship that marked the beginning of their expansion.

Second, I was concerned that I might fall overboard and be eaten alive by sharks. I even went so far as to google what types of sharks are commonly found in the Gulf. I was glad to see that no Great Whites are in the Gulf, though I wasn't sure what kind of comfort that might bring me as I was being eaten alive by Bull Sharks. But it set my mind at ease for a while. And it made me realize that perhaps I've watched too many seasons of Shark Week.

Finally, I was most worried about our time in Mexico. I mean, there's no worse way to end your family cruise than to have one of your family members kidnapped for ransom by drug cartels, you know? It would really put a damper on things. And no one wants that . . .

But, thankfully, once we got on the ship, my mom's true colors came out. And that meant that the natural order of things had been restored and I could stop obsessing about getting kidnapped by cartels and such. In fact, one afternoon she and I were standing on the balcony of our room, looking at the water. I was admiring the color of the water way out there in the Gulf - it's this deep sapphire blue and it's beautiful. I just stood there, soaking in the view. My mom was standing next to me and I thought that she was admiring it, as well - it was a cool moment. Aaaaaaaaaaaaand that's when she spoke up:

Mom: You know - when you look at the water from this perspective [pause, making me think she's going to say something profound], it's just . . . death.
Me: Wait - what??
Mom: It's just DEATH.
Me: [stunned silence]
Mom: I mean, you think if you fell over you'd be able to swim. But you couldn't. If you fell in there, you'd just be dead.
Me: Wow . . .
Mom: It's just DEATH.

Then, later, we decided to take our books up to the Veranda deck to enjoy the beautiful weather and get a little reading done. We found a couple of lounge chairs that were right next to the railing so that, as we read, we were looking out onto the ocean. We read for a while and then I stopped to watch the sunset. I, again, found myself just admiring the view - really taking it in and enjoying it. The fresh air, the sun setting, the blue blue water - it was all just so beautiful. That's when my mom piped up:

Mom: You know, looking out at the water like this . . .
Me: Mm hm?
Mom: I just can't help but think about all the sailors who died at sea during World War II.
Mom: Yeah - it's so sad.
Me: How can you look out at that view and think it's sad?
Mom: Because! All those poor sailors . . .
Me: Oh . . . my . . . GOSH.

I'm not sure if she even saw that the sun was setting. Because if she had, I'm sure she would have mentioned something about the number of people who have drowned at sunset.

Ahhhhhh . . . I DO love cruising with Nora!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Artists . . . God love 'em.

A friend of mine sent me an email tonight and attached to it was a picture of an ad he had seen on Pandora:

I think someone might need some more instuction in spelling, don't you think?

And you know, I know that they're artists and all and maybe spelling isn't their forte (CLEARLY), but there really should be a law against anyone opening a school of any type if they can't, in fact, SPELL THE FREAKIN' WORD.

That is SO not coool.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Nora on football injuries.

On Saturday, I celebrated New Year's with my family. We started a new tradition a couple of years ago that I really love: instead of making a big New Year's dinner (since it's just a week after our big Christmas dinner) we get together for a New Year's brunch. We all meet at my house, wear our pajamas, and just hang out all day playing games or relaxing - it's just a great day to lounge around in your jammies and hang out and I love it. You'd love it, too - you should TOTALLY hang out with us next year!

This year, my brother-in-law Matt turned on the Rose Bowl and had that playing on the television on mute while we were sitting around chatting after brunch. Eventually, he and my other brother-in-law, Brian, left to go watch football at home but they left the bowl game still playing on mute on my TV. After they left, my mom, sisters, two of my nieces, and I set up a card table in my living room to play some games. None of us has bothered turning off the TV so the game was still on and, as we were playing, my mom looked up and saw a player get injured. That's when we had this exchange:

Mom: Oh man - he looks pretty hurt.
Tammy: Oh yeah, he does - he's not moving at all.
[watching until player stands up and hops to sidelines]
Mom: Looks like he hurt his Achilles Hip.
Me: Awesome . . .
Erin: Man - Achilles Hip, huh? Yikes. That's a season-ender for sure.
Mom: Yeah.
Erin: Possibly even a career-ender.
Mom: Mmmmm . . . very sad.
[watching replay]
Mom: [shaking her head] Yep - that's definitely what it was . . .

That's when I decided that football games would probably be a LOT more interesting if you left them on mute and let my mom do the commentary.

Aaaaaaaaaaaand now I know what my Super Bowl plans will be . . .

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Watch where you click . . .

My best friend was surfing the internet the other day and found this interesting instruction on a website that she ran across:

I don't know what's more inappropriate, instructing people to click a tittle or instructing them to click and tell. And I can't, of course, speak for all tittles but I feel like I need to make sure everyone knows that, in general, if you click a tittle you're NOT going to get a home decor tutorial . . .

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Unorthodox advice . . .

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope that 2011 has been good to you so far! MY 2011 has started off with an awesome case of Bronchitis, complete with a super-attractive phlegm-y cough . . . don't be jealous. I was on a cruise last week and have been DYING to tell you all about it but, alas, I must wait yet one more day - hopefully by then I will be feeling better and a little more up to writing. BUT, in the meantime, I thought I'd tell you a quick funny little story from Christmas Eve with my family.

We all met over at my mom's on Christmas Eve to open our presents and celebrate my mom's birthday. Shortly after arriving at the house, my 9 year-old niece got the hiccups and they would NOT go away. Nothing too exciting about that, right? Well, normally I'd agree with you. But, as usual, a normal topic in the hands of my sisters' kids becomes hilarious . . .

Avery (5 years old): Do you STILL have the hiccups?
Emma: Yes. And I'm SO irritated because they will NOT go away. I tried drinking water and that didn't help. I tried holding my breath and that didn't help. Ugh!
Avery: You should go poop.
Emma: What?
Avery: [matter of factly] Go poop.
Emma: [Blank stare]
Avery: [shrugs] That's what I always do when I have the hiccups.

Well, I guess we have to give her kudos for thinking outside the box . . .