Monday, February 28, 2011

And the nominations for Best Hosts are . . .

I watched the Oscars tonight with my mom and my sisters - that's been our tradition for a while now. We show up at my mom's with snacks, order pizza, and watch the show together. It's a lot of fun to watch the Oscars with my family because 1) we're all pretty vocal about stuff and 2) my mom and sisters are funny so they keep it entertaining.

Which is something that Anne Hathaway and James Franco did NOT do tonight . . .

Poor Anne and James - it was such an add pairing, don't you think? And Anne was trying her darndest to make it work while James, it appeared, was trying his darndest to stay high. There were some funny moments but there were also lots of awkward moments that definitely overshadowed anything good. From some of Anne Hathaway's comments, I gathered that they had been asked to host because they appealed to a younger demographic. And that's when I had what I think is the best idea EVER: My family should host the Oscars.

Now hear me out - this is a better idea than you might think. This is my proposal: put family's annual Oscars-watching party on stage. Put some mics on my mom and my sisters and I, put us on couches on-stage in our jeans and t-shirts, let us eat the snacks we brought with us, and listen to us comment and discuss as we watch the show. What would this format bring to the table? Well, it would give the viewers at home something to relate to. I mean, we don't all have sparkly gowns and rented jewelry that come with bodyguards. But we DO all have opinions and comments about the show, the fashion, and the speeches. I think it could be hilarious.

And if we'd done it this year, we'd have been able to share these priceless moments with you:

1. When Melissa Leo dropped the F-bomb the whole world could have seen my mom knitting her eyebrows, putting her hand over her heart, and asking loudly "what'd she say???" as my sisters and I tried to act like we hadn't CLEARLY read Melissa's lips. And then the viewing audience would be treated to my mom shaking her head for a good 10 minutes after that and saying things like "Well, I don't like HER anymore. I wish she hadn't won it now. What a tramp." for the next hour. Put a mic on my mom and you'd seriously reduce the amount of profanity on the stage throughout the evening . . .

2. When they played the old scores from some of the old movies, the viewers at home could have played along with my mom and sisters and I as we tried to guess which movies the songs came from. They could have yelled out "Gone With the Wind!" or "Star Wars!" or "ET!" right along with us. Of course, when my mom, who is historically bad at remembering movie names, yelled out "3rd Encounters of a Different Kind!" she'd have been on her own. But the viewing public needs to be treated to classic Nora moments like that, don't you think?

3. When James Franco made an inappropriate comment about movie titles being offensive and then named "Winter's Bone," "Rabbit Hole," and "How to Train Your Dragon," the camera could have cut to my family on-stage so that everyone could see my mom shaking her head and my sisters and I sitting perfectly straight with eyes forward and butts clenched, trying not to make eye contact with her.

4. Viewers could have heard first-hand my mom asking questions like "So . . . does it go Iron Man and THEN Iron Man 2?" I mean, how are you NOT supposed to answer that sarcastically?

5. Put mics on us and you definitely would have heard a standard Oscar-party tradition: trying to guess the winners before they're announced. I mean, how awesome would that be to hear some famous person saying "And the Oscar goes to . . ." only to be interrupted by my mom and sisters shouting out our guesses from stage left and trying to make sure that we blurt it out before the actual winner is announced?

6. Viewers at home could have seen my sisters and I curled in the fetal position during Kirk Douglas's appearance. And I daresay they would have all related to us in that moment . . .

7. My mom's mic would have picked up her saying "That's stupid." after ALMOST every speech that was given. Now maybe that would be a little harsh to broadcast in some cases. But, let's be honest, some of these people need to know that their speeches are stupid. Nothing like a dose of Nora to keep them grounded.

I know we need to iron out some of the details but I think it's a winner idea overall. I mean, I enjoy watching the Oscars but, let's be honest, it could use an infusion of reality, don't you think? A little reminder that there are actual people watching this at home in their jeans and t-shirts, eating pizza rolls, and fast-forwarding through boring acceptance speeches. I think having immediate feedback on-stage from normal people like us would be a good thing.

So I nominate my family for the job. And if the Academy likes this idea and calls me up to offer us the hosting gig, I promise I'll keep my acceptance speech short.

Otherwise my mom will think it's stupid.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Should we be concerned?

I'm in trial this week and wasn't planning on posting anything until after my trial is over. BUT my mom sent me a picture that she took today that I thought I'd share real quick:

This is either very poorly-worded marketing OR there's a serial killer out there who doesn't think he's getting enough attention.

And, frankly, I'm not sure which is worse.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Avery's lesson

My sister Erin was driving the other day with her 5-year-old daughter, Avery. As they were chatting, Avery gave my sister this little lesson . . .

Avery: Mommy, Emma doesn't like Red Robin!
Erin: She doesn't?
Avery: No! That is SO weird.
Erin: It IS.
Avery: She's like un-American.
Erin: Oh??
Avery: Yeah.
Erin: Well, if she's un-American, what is she?
Avery: [thinking this through] She's like . . . a Mexico.
Erin: "A Mexico?"
Avery: Yeah.
Erin: Well, what if someone from Mexico doesn't like Red Robin? What would THEY be?
Avery: I guess they would be . . . un-Amexico . . .

Well, I don't like Red Robin so I guess I'm "a Mexico." And that's alright by me because it gets me THAT much closer to Gustavo . . .

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Think I'll pass . . .

My friends and I went to lunch today at a new taco place in Huntsville. On our way there, I saw a sign advertising a new barbecue stand - or at least one I'd never seen before. Since I'm a huge barbecue fan, this sign caught my eye. AND since we've exhausted all the interesting places to eat in Huntsville, I got pretty excited about this new potential lunch destination - we are always looking for another place to throw into the weekly rotation. But my excitement quickly died down when I looked more closely and saw the signage on the place . . .

And I found myself wondering: "What's a frickin' frisket?"

Whatever it is, I think I'll pass.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

How will I know?

As the day dawned on Valentine's Day this year, I found myself thinking -

Wait - who am I kidding? I haven't seen dawn in a LONG time. Let me try this again . . .

As my alarm went off for the 10th time on Valentine's Day this year, I found myself pondering three distinct and equally important thoughts:

1) You can never have too many pink or red shirts in your closet.
2) Candy-centric holidays make me proud to be an American.
3) Why does cupid have to use an arrow? It seems so needlessly violent.

After I spent a fair amount of time dwelling on these things, my attention turned predictably to the obvious topic of the day: LOVE.

As a single person, I get lots of advice on love from friends of mine who are married or who have otherwise found their Valentines. These friends want nothing more than to see me find someone special so they try to help by offering instructive guidance like "be yourself" or "love comes when you least expect it" or "try hiring an escort" . . . things like that. But the one piece of advice that I most often hear from my friends? "When you find the right person, you'll know."

I'll know.

Are you sure?

You see, "knowing" is the part that I think is the most stressful in this crazy search for love. How will I know? I mean, I don't want - Excuse me . . . I need to take a quick break here to sing the Whitney Houston song that just popped in my head. You can join me if you want to . . .

Okay - I'm back. As I was saying . . . How will I know? I don't want to marry just ANYONE, you know? I mean, I don't want to make the mistake of marrying a guy just because he's super hot with rock-hard abs, stands to inherit a vast fortune, and feeds the homeless on the weekends. Well . . . actually, yes I do. But other than THAT guy, I don't want to marry just ANYONE. So I decided to spend some time this Valentine's Day thinking of some things that would help me KNOW if I've found the right guy - you know, traits or personality characteristics to look for as I search for the love of my life. And after spending a good, long 10 minutes in deep thought, I came up with this list of 10 tell-tale signs of true love to help me know when I've found "the one" . . .

1) An Australian accent. This may sound a bit shallow but, let's be honest, I'd marry a total jerk if he punctuated his jerky comments to me with the word "mate." For instance . . . if a guy said to me "You're waste of space," I'd totally dump him. But if he said "You're a waste of space, mate" I'd swoon and giggle and start craving a Bloomin' Onion. I'm a sucker for that accent. And for fried onions.

2) A dual-allergy to cats and seafood. I'll tell you right now, if I ever meet a man with this combination of allergies, I'd declare him to be my soulmate and marry him on the spot. I honestly don't know that I could ever love a man enough to clean a litter box for him. Or be within 10 feet of him after he eats shrimp. So a life without cats and seafood would be delightful, thankyouverymuch.

3) Says the words "You know, I wish you'd put on a little more weight." I think the Heavens would part, a light would shine upon him, and the Hallelujah Chorus would rain down from on-high. I'd kiss him and then and there declare my undying love for him. And then I'd suggest a snack-run to Taco Bell to be followed by a Blizzard-run to Dairy Queen.

4) He's Mike Rowe. I love that man. Seriously.

5) Has never used the words "I" and "boo-hooed" together in any sentence. Do I really need to elaborate here?

6) Thinks it's sexy when a girl snorts when she laughs. I'm not sure this man actually exists but, if he does, I call dibs, okay?

7) Thinks it's sexy when a girl has no lips. Look - we can't all be Angelina Jolie, you know? Some of us are called upon to balance out the universe. But at least I haven't resorted to collagen - that's worth something, isn't it? I mean, they're 100% natural. They're just not 100% there . . .

8) His name is Gustavo and he mows my yard. Bestill mi beating corazon! I just hope I never have to choose between Gustavo and Mike Rowe . . .

9) Sends me a dozen Swiss Cake Rolls instead of a dozen roses. I seriously would not be able to adequately express my love for a man who did that. I would spend the rest of my life trying but I would fail miserably - I mean, there would just be no words to convey my feelings. In fact, I'm getting a little choked up just thinking about it . . .

10) Not frightened by a random chin hair. Look - I hate to admit it but I get the random chin hair now and again. It's not my most attractive quality but, hey - there it is. My friend Alana told me once that she'd read a quote by a lady named Janette Barber who said: "I refuse to think of them as chin hairs - I think of them as stray eyebrows." I like her way of thinking and have tried to adopt it but the fact of the matter is that they're NOT stray eyebrows - they're freakin' chin hairs. I try to stay a step ahead of them and pluck them when I see them but, at least once a month, I look in my review mirror and see one that a) I somehow missed and b) is so long that I could actually string some beads on it and wear it as an accessory. It's quite distressing. So distressing, in fact, that my best friend and I have actually made a pact that if either of us goes into a coma of some sort, the other one will make sure that no chin hairs go unplucked - these are the bonds of true friendship. So if I ever meet a man who can accidentally see a random chin hair on me and not be alarmed at the sight of it, I shall 1) run quickly to go pluck said random chin hair and 2) declare him to be the love of my life.

It's true that the search for love can be a bit scary and unnerving. But I think that, with the help of this list, my own search will be more focused and a little less daunting. I won't find myself worrying about whether I'm making the right choice. And that'll free me up to worry a little more about more important things . . .

Seriously - does cupid HAVE to use arrows?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Irony in a nutshell.

What a week! I had another trial this week and have spent the last few days being a lawyer instead of a writer . . . hope you missed me lots!!

After my trial was over, I met my mom, Erin, and Erin's girls at Toys R Us, where they were looking for some . . . well . . . toys. We were over in the doll/Barbie section when my mom called Savannah and Avery over to show them a Justin Bieber doll and a Taylor Swift doll that she had spotted.

Mom [on the next aisle]: That's a Justin Bieber doll! Oh and look! That one's Loretta Swift or whatever her name is!
[a few seconds later, Savannah comes over to my aisle . . .]
Savannah: [confused look on her face] Catchy, Dearsie just said "There's Justin Bieber. And there's "Luluella Swift" or something like that.

Me: Oh my goodness. That Dearsie - she's so crazy, isn't she?
Savannah: Yeah. [shrugging her shoulders] She just always says it wrong.
Erin: Yep. That's Dearsie in a . . . in a . . . [puzzled look on her face] . . . a . . . [looking at me for help] . . . a box?
Me: Ummmm . . . try "nutshell."
Erin: Yeah - that's it.
Me: No - that's IRONY.

My family never lets me down!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

The most worst grammar . . .

My sister Tammy sent me a text the other day with the following message and picture:

"Forget gratuitous violence - video games are bad for GRAMMAR!!"

Seriously, Wii?? Seriously??

Friday, February 4, 2011

My Mexican adventures.

I spent some time tonight looking at some pictures from the cruise my family and I took this Christmas and it made me realize that I never finished telling y'all about our time there. I mean, I told you about all the grammar and spelling mistakes I found on the trip (after all, that was the most important information to relate to you immediately upon my return . . .) but I never told you about what we did when we were in Mexico. So allow me to rectify that . . .

Our first trip off the boat and into Mexico was at a town called Progresso. Nothing too exciting there but we DID go into Merida, which is the capital city of the Yucatan. On our drive to and from Merida, we saw some signs that were a little alarming at first . . .

But, once we were able to stop giggling long enough, we figured out that this is the Mexican way of letting you know that you're coming up to a speed bump.

Guess they have C-cup speed bumps in Mexico . . . ?

As we were driving through the city, we saw that there were lots of police officers standing around holding machine guns. It was really disconcerting and very strange. Later, our tour guide explained to us that there was really no violence in Merida at all. My mom took the SUPER non-confrontational approach with him and said "Well, if you don't have any violence, why are there police standing around with machine guns?" Because I was unsure about whether our tour guide was affiliated with any drug cartels, I began trying to distance myself from my mom by talking to other passengers in a loud voice, saying things like "Who is that crazy lady who's asking all the questions?" or " I think SOMEONE might be a little loca, riiiiiiiiiiiiight?" or "¿Cómo se dice 'drug lords rule' en español?" Things like that. And I think it worked . . .

The next day we went to Cozumel and spent the day at the beach. The weather TRIED to cooperate with us but it was still just a tad on the cool side because the sun kept hiding behind the clouds. But it was really a beautiful day to spend on a beautiful beach. They had a trampoline in the water and some inflatable slides so the kids had a blast running in and out of the water and playing on the equipment. But the water was too cold for me. So, instead, I went parasailing.

Yep. Parasailing.

It was pretty cool to be floating above the ocean, getting a bird's-eye view of the world. But I was too scared to let go of the parachute straps long enough to really take any pictures. So, consequently, the best shot I got was this:

But, as I was up there longer, I started to feel more and more comfortable and safe - I mean, it was just a nice, relaxing ride. That's all - nothing too dangerous or scary. Just nice and relaxing. Aaaaaaaaand just as I was getting my courage up to let go of the straps and totally relax, I happened to read the warning label on my harness:

I mean, I appreciate the need for a warning label. But starting it off with "We are compelled to warn all who use this product that by so doing life and limb are endangered" seems like a bit much, don't you think? And then, as if to mock me as I float hundreds of feet in the air, it tells me to consult the owner's manual. CONSULT THE OWNER'S MANUAL? Is that sarcasm? Are they trying to be funny?? Dang lawyers . . .

I think my favorite part of parasailing is the fact that, when I came back down, my mom was waiting for me on the pier and had decided that SHE wanted to try it, too.

My mom.


So in one of the most shocking turn of events of the trip, my mom went off in a boat, strapped herself to a parachute, and flew over Cozumel. If you know anything about my mom, you'd understand that this was a big stinkin' deal. I mean, first of all, she can't swim and is afraid of the water. This is the woman who is convinced that she'd drown if she fell into her 5 foot pool because she'd get disoriented as to which way was up and which was down and, consequently, wouldn't know which way to swim. So flying over the ocean was a big deal for her. And, second, she's usually so focused on all the ways any given activity could end in a tragic death. So I was shocked that, rather than shaking her head and denouncing it as a death trap, she actually WANTED to do it at all.

And then I was shocked that she did it.

She decided to take Erin with her so they rode tandem. One of my favorite lines of the trip came from Erin after she and my mom got back from their parasailing adventure:

Mom: Weren't you scared that we were going to drop into the water?
Erin: No - not at all.
Mom: You weren't?? I was. I kept thinking that if we dropped, I'd have to figure out how to get the parachute off of me so it wouldn't pull me under.
Erin: Oh no - I wasn't worried about that. I was just thinking how I'd have to get the parachute off so that I could swim after you and tell you which way to swim . . .

But as fun as it was to have my mom parasailing in Mexico, I have to admit that it shook the very foundation of my world a little bit. And when we got back home, I felt myself really struggling with it. I mean, if I can't count on my mom to rattle off three tragic parasailing death stories as I strap on a parachute and take off in a boat, what CAN I count on?? Has my whole life been a lie? Has HER whole life been a lie?? Is she going to take up scuba diving or skydiving or bull riding next?

I was sitting in my living room pondering these life-altering questions when my phone rang:

Me: Hey, mom!
Mom: Catchy - I've just been googling . . .
Me: Yeah?
Mom: And we could have DIED parasailing. I mean, it's VERY dangerous. I'll never do that again. There was a story on here about a man who was killed when his parachute went in the water. Listen to this . . .

And so I listened. With my eyes closed and a smile on my face, knowing that all was right with the world again . . .

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Is that the brest you can do?

I went to Kroger's tonight to get some groceries and saw this sign:

Methinks this was not written by a boob man . . .

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


It was COLD outside today!! Last night an arctic front came through Texas so the temperature dropped WAY down and just kept dropping all day long. But even though it was so cold and so windy, it was kinda fun . . . I mean, how often do you hear the words "Arctic" and "Texas" in the same sentence?? We have to take advantage of it when we can! And I know my relatives in Chicago will laugh at me for acting like 30 degrees is noteworthy but I don't care who you are - that's COLD!! And even a Chicagoan can't argue with that - I mean it was LITERALLY freezing . . . so by definition it was cold!

The front came in during the night or very early morning - I don't know because I was sleeping like a baby. BUT I did wake up to the sound of the winds blowing like crazy around 5 am so I know it was here by then for sure. I laid there in bed, snuggled under my blankets and happy to be in my warm house. As I drifted back to sleep (after all - I'm not one of those crazy people who wakes up at 5 am . . .), I knew I would eventually have to get out in it so I decided to make it my goal today to stay warm and stay out of the blustery winds that were whipping around out there. As much as possible, that is. But, as is so often the case, life had different plans . . .

First, I woke up to the sound of the garbage truck on the next street and suddenly realized that I hadn't put my trash can at the end of the driveway. So I ran downstairs to rectify the situation as quickly as I could, hoping to beat the truck to my driveway. But since I was in a hurry, I didn't dress properly for the task: I ran outside in my short-sleeve shirt, thin pants, and no shoes and put the trash out. It took me a full 10 minutes to defrost my feet when I got back inside . . .

Then, after I had thawed out, I got ready for work. I had gotten up a little earlier than usual and had gotten ready for work a little more quickly than usual so I was running a little early today, which is very UNusual for me. I hit the road to head to work feeling pretty good about my early start. I cranked up my heat and started to feel my hands defrost when BAM! I got rear-ended. Whiiiiiiiiiich meant that I had to go stand outside and exchange information with the other driver and then stand outside some more while we waited for the police officer to finish writing the accident report - we were outside for over 30 minutes. This was my reward for being early. It couldn't have happened last week in the 60 degree weather or in the Spring when the weather is lovely. Oh no - it had to happen on the morning that a freakin' ARCTIC BLAST was coming through town. I swear the temperature dropped at least 10 degrees while we were standing out there. By the time I got back in my car my face was numb . . . aaaaaaand an interesting color of maroon.

Then at lunchtime, after my co-workers and I had eaten, we decided to go to Starbucks for some coffee to help warm up our insides. The Starbucks by our office has a drive-thru so we didn't have to get out of our cars, luckily. But we DID have to roll down the driver's-side window so that we could place our order. We were kind of dreading it because the wind was so strong and we knew it would blow right in and make us cold in the car. But we figured that we'd just place our order quickly so as to minimize the amount of time that we were exposed to the elements. It was a good plan. So my friend Erin (not my sister - different Erin) rolled down her window and attempted to QUICKLY place our order. Unfortunately, the young girl who was taking the drive-thru orders was 1) apparently new, 2) a little valley-girlish AAAAAND 3) nice and warm inside and NOT in any hurry . . .

Girl: Welcome to Starbucks!! How may I help you?
Erin: Hi. [no time for pleasantries . . .] I'd like one grande green tea. And-
Girl: Okay - one grande green teeeeeeeeeeea?
Erin: Yes, and -
Girl: Do you want the lemooooooon . . . or the miiiiiiiiint . . . or do you just want the regulaaaaaaar?
Erin: Just the regular. And -
Girl: Just the regulaaaaaaar?
Erin: Yes. And -
Girl: Okaaaaaay. Would you like anything else todaaaaaay?
Erin: [pauses to take deep breath] Yes. I'd also like a grande skinny latte with no foam and with 1 Sweet & Low and cinnamon on top.
Girl: Okaaaaay. So that's one grandeeeee skinny latteeee with . . . with . . . ummmm . . . did you say no foooooooam?
Erin: Right. No foam. And with 1 Sweet & Low and cinnamon on top. And then I want -
Girl: Okaaaaaay. How many Sweet & Looooooow?
Erin: [gripping steering wheel] Just one.
Girl: One Sweet & Looooooow?
Erin: YES.
Girl: And some cinnamon sprinkled on toooooop?
Erin: Yes.
Girl: Okay - anything else?
Erin: Yes. I need another grande latte with one shot of espresso, 2 Splendas, and cinnamon on top.
Girl: Okay - so another grande latteeeeeeee?
Erin: With just one shot of espresso.
Girl: Okaaaaay. [pause] And so you just want one shot of espresso?
Erin: [eyes bugged out, looking at me as if to say "SHOOT ME NOW."] Yes. And with 2 Splendas.
Girl: Okaaaaay. How many Splendas?
Erin: TWO.
Girl: And 2 Splendaaaaaaas?
Erin: [shaking fist at the speaker] Yes. And cinnamon on top. And then -
Girl: So with cinnamon on top of that one, toooooo?
Erin: [eyes closed in silent prayer for patience] Yes. And then I need another grande latte just like that one.
Girl: Okaaaay - just like that one?
Erin: Yes. [DEAR GOD, YES.] And that's all.
Girl: Okaaaaaay . . . can I get you anything else today?
Erin: NO.

I think it took us a full 10 minutes to order our drinks. By the time Erin was able to roll up her window, we were all chattering and rubbing her hands together in a desperate attempt to regain feeling in them. But the coffee definitely helped and I was warmed back up, from the inside out.

Until my gas light came on while I was driving home and I had to stop and get gas. I thought to myself "No problem - I'll just start it, lock the nozzle so that it fills up without me, and get back in the warm car." But, alas, the nozzle lock didn't work and, after 10 failed attempts to lock it, I eventually gave up and stood there filling up my tank and freezing my rear off.

Just my luck.

So I've decided that tomorrow I will attempt to trick fate by vowing to spend as much time outside as I possibly can.

And I will also vow to never leave early for work again . . .