Happy birthday, my friends!!
Oh, wait - it's MY birthday, not yours. Silly me.
I know that you are wondering today what my birthday can do for you. But to that question, I would respond: ask not what my birthday can do for you. Ask what YOU can do for my birthday.
Seriously. Ask that question.
[pause to listen for your voices]
What can you do for my birthday? I'm so glad you asked.
I've been thinking about it for a while and I've had some different ideas. At first I thought I could ask for you all to each give me the name and number of your favorite cute, tall, funny, single guy who is looking for a brunette to share his trust fund. But that's fraught with potential problems - what if he's funnier than me? I couldn't handle that. Then I thought about asking you all to each give me a hug. But then I just started laughing hysterically, slapped my knee and said "good one!" Then it dawned on me. There is one thing that I want that y'all could help me with - something that I could accomplish with some sort of concerted effort on the part of my friends: For once in my life, I want to contract some sort of illness whose primary symptom is "unexplained loss of weight."
Is that too much to ask?
Whenever I get sick, it's a sinus infection. Do you know what the symptoms of a sinus infection are? Debilitating headaches and green snot. A LOT of green snot. It's SUPER attractive. And when it's all over, and I've blown through my box of Kleenex and a box of Tylenol Sinus, I have gained 5 pounds. And my nose is twice its normal size. Is that fair?
My sinus infections usually turn into bronchitis. Primary symptom of bronchitis? All-consuming, body-racking coughs. And I'm talking about the kind of coughs that make you cross your legs so that you don't lose control of your bladder. It's not glamorous.
And usually a good bout of bronchitis will have me coughing so hard that I get muscle spasms in my back. So then I spend a week walking like an 80-year old woman who just had hip replacement surgery. And I'm not gonna snag my own cute, tall, mildy-funny, single guy walking around like that.
Sooooo . . . I figure that you all could help me catch the RIGHT illness. Something that will help me lose 30 pounds in the coming year. You can come over to my house and sneeze on me. Have me drink after you. I'll even come to your house if you would prefer that. Although, this is technically your birthday gift for me so that would be sort of a jerk move on your part. But whatever. As long as I can go to my doctor and say something like "I just canNOT stop losing weight, doctor!" or "I'm concerned, doctor - I'm just wasting away." or "Don't these jeans look AMAZING on me?"
So do your part, friends. Give me your germs.
Or you can just give me a hug.
Hahahahahahaha. Man, I crack myself up.
Have your cute, tall, "funny" single guy beat THAT.
Monday, September 24, 2012
Happy birthday, my friends!!
Posted by Catherine at 12:00 AM
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
This past weekend I went to a local Wine and Music Festival with some friends of mine in a town called Montgomery. It was a lot of fun. We sat around and listened to live music, tasted different kinds of wine, ate kettle corn, and watched a cooking demonstration. Oh and I signed up to receive a quote from Liberty Mutual. Not because that's what people normally do at a wine festival but because I can't say no to people who are working booths at events like that. It's a problem.
After we watched the cooking demonstration, we walked around downtown Montgomery and went into a few of the local shops. One of the stores we went into had a lot of interesting, eclectic things that I had fun looking at. At one point when I was in that store, I was standing by a woman and her husband and it quickly became obvious to me that she had had too many "samples" of wine. I silently judged her, wondering how someone gets that drunk off of wine samples in the middle of the afternoon. Why couldn't she be more like me and my friends, slowly sipping on her wine, enjoying the day, not overdoing it. I was feeling pretty self-righteous.
That's when I looked up and saw this:
Aaaaaaaand then I pulled out my phone to sign myself up for the next Alcoholics Anonymous group. Because clearly I was having some sort of alcohol-induced hallucination. That was the only possible explanation.
So I took a picture and hoped that later, when I looked at my phone, I would find that I had actually taken a picture of a nice drawing or piece of art and that I had imagined/hallucinated the strange baby king door doll. So you can imagine my horror when I pulled my phone out and BAM!
THERE IT WAS AGAIN.
This is positively disturbing. I just don't understand it. I know that art is open to interpretation but I think the only interpretation for this one is psychotic personality disorder. And I wonder if there is really a market for this type of thing. I can't see it. I mean, I CAN see someone starting off a conversation with "You know what would be great on that big wall in my living room?" But I CAN'T see them finishing that with "A distressed door with a horror-movie-type doll wearing wings, a crown, one sock and keys around her shoulders. How perfect would THAT be in my living room??"
Well, I guess to each his own. But promise me this: if you buy this and put it on your wall in your living room, give me a heads up. Because that thing could give me a heart attack if it catches me off guard. And that would NOT be good.
Not until I get my insurance quote back from the guy at the festival . . .
Posted by Catherine at 12:19 AM
Monday, September 17, 2012
My friend, Dustin, recently had a freak accident with his kitchen table.
Yes, apparently kitchen tables can be instruments of freak accidents.
Anyway, while trying to take the leaf out of his kitchen table, he dropped the leaf on his big toe and the table leaf - that seemingly innocuous thing that you have sitting in YOUR kitchen, too - severed his big toe. Popped that sucker right off. Well, half of it at least. And because it was a rounded-dull-edged-table kind of accident and not a sharp machete kind of accident that severed his toe, they were not able to reattach it. So now he has half a toe. All because he tried to clean up after an evening with dinner guests.
This is EXACTLY why I don't like housework - it can LITERALLY amputate parts of your body. Who needs THAT? You ever see a hoarder with a partially amputated toe? No. They have it figured out.
ANYWAY, none of this has anything to do with my blog today. Not really. But Dustin and his wife Alana are faithful readers of my little blog and so I wanted to try to bring him a laugh or two during his recovery and I wanted to dedicate this post to him.
You'll see why . . .
So my friend Greg texted me some pictures a while back. I hope you're keeping track of how many friends I have. I have mentioned three so far in this post. Don't be jealous.
ANYWAY, my friend Greg went to a restaurant in Houston and saw some pictures that he thought I might like to blog about. So he texted them to me back in April. I loved them, of course, and decided that I must go to the restaurant as soon as possible to see them for myself before blogging about them. So, never being one to procrastinate, I went during the first week of September. And I'm blogging about it two weeks later.
I'm a doer, you see.
The restaurant is called Macondo Latin Bistro and it's in downtown Houston. They serve Cuban and Columbian food and I was pleasantly surprised at how tasty their food was - I ordered some sort of Cuban dish and loved it. My mom, who went with me, ordered a cheese quesadilla with no sour cream and no guacamole. She is an adventurous eater, as you can see. But she said it was the best plain cheese quesadilla she'd ever had. So that's something . . .
Just as the food didn't disappoint, neither did the art. It was a feast for the mouth AND the eyes. Not all restaurants can offer you that. And, while I can't share the Cuban yumminess with you (and I wouldn't have, anyway, because it was too good and you should get your own and quit staring at my food, okay?), I CAN share with you the wonderful art that awaits you at Macondo Latin Bistro.
First, there was Lady Libertoe:
Ho. Ly. WHAT? I don't know what to focus my attention on - the toes or the softball boobs? I start to type about the toes and then I look at the boobs and feel compelled to write about THEM. Then I go back to the toes. My thoughts center around two thoughts: 1) how I need whatever bra she uses and I need it STAT, and 2) how her pedicures are either really cheap, what with the 2 toenails and all, or really expensive because she probably has to shop at Sherwin Williams for her polish colors. I wonder if she chooses an eggshell or satin finish. It's a legitimate question.
I hope you're not having toe-envy, Dustin . . .
I think this next one is Lady Libertoe's sister. I call her Lady Justoe (I can do this all night . . .):
It's a good thing that justice is blind. I wouldn't want to her to see that her gown is clinging in all the wrong places. Or the pervert who's trying to get a better look at her . . . ummmm . . . scales.
Then there was the lady walking her dog in the gale-force winds:
Good thing she has that umbrella . . .
I imagine that this is her sister. I call her the Nurturer:
I really don't know why these people are out walking in such strong winds. And why they don't open their eyes. You can't clomp around with those big toes and not watch where you're going. It's irresponsible.
I call this lady "the Seductress:"
Nothing like leaning back provocatively, with a disproportionate purse by your side, letting the wind blow through your stringy hair and your giant toes. It's a sure-fire way to bring the menfolk running. At least that's what I've always found.
I call this guy "Cappie."
I really don't know what's going on here. If you listen closely, you can actually hear his knee caps crying out in agony. They are about to give up any minute. Like his button did.
I'm sure he's an award-winning musician - certainly his cat thinks so. But I think the suspenders deserve all the recognition here. They're giving it all they have.
And, finally, I call this one . . . ummmm . . . well . . .
Yeah - I have no idea what the heck's going on in this one. Are they asleep? Are they in a stupor? Are they stepping on each others' enormous toes? I have no idea. But something tells me the little cross-eyed guy in the back knows EXACTLY what's going on.
So that's it. Those are the pictures that await you at Mocondo Latin Bistro. Along with some very yummy South American food, if you're up for something more than a plain cheese quesadilla. So head on over there and enjoy all of it.
It's TOEtally worth it . . .
Posted by Catherine at 12:48 AM
Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Saturday was my dad's birthday. September 1st . . . he would have been 68 years old. Every year it comes around and every year I can't believe he's gone. It just doesn't seem possible.
Sometimes I like to imagine what his birthday would be like if he were still here. I probably would buy him yet another book about the Civil War and he would say "oooooh!!" and talk about how interesting it looks. I would give him a funny card that I hoped would make him laugh. And he would laugh at it - even if he didn't think it was funny. My sisters' kids would each make him a card and he would go on and on about them, making them each feel so proud and special. They would probably all fight over who got to sit by him rather than fighting over who got to sit by me. But I wouldn't mind . . . well, maybe a little bit. And we would all sit around the dining room table at my parents' house, singing happy birthday and celebrating the greatest dad who ever lived.
But, unfortunately, that can no longer be.
See, my dad died of cancer about a month before his 62nd birthday. As September 1st approached that year, we were dreading it because we thought it would be just too sad. But my mom had a great idea: she proposed that we each take a $20 bill up to the mall, look for people who were doing nice things, and give them the $20 as a reward. So that's what we did - and we had a blast! In fact, we loved it so much that we decided to make a tradition out of it. Now each year, we write a message about my dad in a card, put a $20 bill in it, and then go looking for people who do the kinds of things my dad always did for us and others. You know - things like opening the door for others or letting others go first on the escalator . . . little things that make a difference in someone's day. We have such a fun time telling people about my dad and rewarding them that September 1st has become one of our favorite days of the year, rather than a sad day that we dread.
So this year we continued with the tradition. We met over at my mom's house and wrote out our cards for our lucky recipients. We decided to write the same thing that we had written last year: "I lost my Dad (father-in-law/husband/grandpa) six years ago. He always inspired us to be thoughtful, kind and concerned with the needs of others. So every September 1st we celebrate his birthday by looking for people who possess the same qualities that made him so special to all who knew him. You did something today that reminded me of him and I wanted you to have this little treat so you would know I think you're special, too! Thanks for being part of my Dad's birthday celebration." Then we put a $20 bill in each card and, once we had all the cards locked and loaded, we headed up to the mall to begin our search.
I parked my car in the parking garage by the mall and started to walk over to where we were all supposed to meet up. I had to cross a street that runs around the mall and there was a lot of traffic there for some reason that night. I was waiting for my chance to cross and, because it had rained earlier and was still drizzling just a bit, I was NOT excited about having to wait. Suddenly, like a scene out of a movie, a car hit a pothole and splashed me with water.
It was an awesome start to the evening. And I did NOT give that driver my card . . .
We all met up once we got into the mall and then we split up and spread out. Avery and Ben went with me because . . . do I seriously have to finish that sentence? You all know why. Because I'm AWESOME. The three of us walked around, staying SUPER focused. We did NOT go into the pet store to "look for nice people." We did NOT stop for cookies TWICE. And we did NOT practice our modeling moves:
We were on a mission and were NOT to be distracted . . .
It seems like it gets harder and harder to find nice people at the mall. This year was the busiest I've ever seen it on my dad's birthday and yet . . . NOTHIN'. For the first hour and a half, the only excitement we had was when my mom and Tammy got a man thrown out of the mall for wearing a shirt with the F word on it. Yes - we're THAT family.
[Ps - if you're that man and you're reading this blog, I'm toooooooootally kidding. It was SO not my family that did that. No effing way . . .]
And then, it happened - I saw my guy. The kids and I were in the food court and I looked to my right and saw a young boy - maybe 12 or 13 - who was eating with his mom and younger brother. He put all their trash onto his tray and walked over to the trash can to throw everything away. I was so impressed with him because there are a lot of adults who won't go to the trouble of throwing their trash away (I'm talking to YOU, Mom . . .) and yet here was this young guy being so responsible and thoughtful. And I love that he was taking care of his mom - that she wasn't having to clean up after HIM. My dad never let any of us take the trash out or throw our own trash away. He always wanted to do that kind of stuff for his girls. So I knew that this sweet young man was going to get my card. I walked over and introduced myself to him and his family and explained what we were doing and why he was getting my card. His name was Dolapo and he was so sweet and kept saying "thank you" over and over, so sincerely. Giving him my card made my night - I definitely picked someone who epitomized my dad's sweet spirit.
After we met Dolapo, the kids and I headed back downstairs. We decided that we'd head over to Barnes & Noble because we've had luck finding nice people there before. As we were walking outside of the mall, we saw a young boy - maybe 5 or 6 years old - run ahead of his family and open the door for them. We all three started talking about him right away and the kids were trying to decide who should give him a card. In the end, Ben grabbed his from me and ran after the family. By the time we got to them, the little boys were playing in this little plaza outside the mall and their parents were sitting down watching them. I approached the little boy's dad and explained what we were doing and told him that we'd like to give his son a reward for opening the door for his family. His father jumped right up and called the little boy over so that we could talk to him. Ben wanted to handle this one himself so he walked over to the little boy, thrust the card at him and said "You get twenty bucks." Wow. As you can imagine, such a sentimental display brought a tear to my eye. But, after I regained my composure, I intervened to explain to little Javier that we were celebrating Ben's Grandpa's birthday and we wanted to give him a reward for being such a gentleman. And he was SUCH a sweet and appreciative little guy.
So now that I've told you what happened, here's Ben's version of things . . .
This boy opened the door for his mom, his dad and his younger brother. And so I thought maybe I should give him my card. So my cousin and Catchy were telling me that I should. So I chose to go over there and stop him because he was running around by Pottery Barn. And so we stopped and then we went over to his parents and the dad called his son over and I said "you get 20 bucks!" Then Catchy interrupted and told them about my Grandpa and how he died and how we celebrate his birthday every year. And then we found our Grandma - we call her Dearsie. And then Dearsie & I went over to my mom. The End.
After Ben left with my mom, Avery and I went back inside the mall. We were DETERMINED to find someone perfect. Earlier in the evening, we had walked past a World Vision kiosk and had met a young girl. In case you're not familiar with World Vision, it is a child-sponsorship ministry. This 10-year-old girl named Laura was working the kiosk with her mother and brother and she stopped us to tell us all about these young children who have to walk 3 miles to get water for their families and that, most of the time, it's not even fresh water. We were so impressed with her passion for telling people about the plight of these kids and trying to get them to help. She was impressively bold about walking right up to adults walking past her and talking to them. When Avery and I were walking back by Laura's kiosk, Avery had an epiphany: Laura should get her card for giving up her afternoon to come out to the mall to work so hard for all those little kids. We walked over to her and told her about what we were doing and she was so sweet. She looked positively horrified to hear that Avery's grandfather had passed away and she was overjoyed that we were wanting to give her a prize for her generous spirit. Avery was so happy to have given her card to someone so sweet.
But maybe you'd rather hear it from Avery herself . . .
I was in the mall just walking around, walking around with Catchy and I ran into this girl and she told us something about kids and then we left. And then I had the idea to give my card to the girl who was trying to help all the kids! She was trying to get us to mail water to these kids that are turning 3 and have to get water on their birthday for their family and her name is Laura and she is 10 years old and in 5th grade. Then we took a picture and then we went to dinner. She reminded me of Grandpa because she was trying to help others and save others.
And I have to give Laura props for making sure that she got the World Vision card in the picture - she is GOOD at her ministry! So, to help her out, the website is www.worldvision.org - check it out if you're interested in sponsoring a child. Or, as Avery says, mailing water to kids . . . :)
So, after Avery and I gave her card away, we headed over to a restaurant called Mi Cocina to eat and hear everyone else's stories. And so I think it's time YOU heard everyone else's stories, too . . .
Since Brian IGNORED my instructions and did NOT send me his story about his lucky card recipients, I will tell it in my own words. But let's all take a moment to shake our heads in his general direction and say "Bad Brian. Baaaaaaaad Brian."
Brian saw a couple holding hands and being very loving with one another so, naturally, he started following them. As he watched them, he was impressed that, even when the husband was opening doors for his wife, he never let go of her hand. That reminded him of my parents and the love that he always saw in their relationship. They were the kind of couple that would walk the mall, holding hands, talking and laughing. Brian was so struck by this couple that he decided to give them his card. He found out that their names were Gene and Linda and told them about my dad and why he was giving them his card. They were so generous that they gave him the twenty dollar bill that was in their card and told him to give it to his church. Thanks for that, Gene and Linda! Church Project thanks you!
And now for the rest of my family. You know, those who DID follow my instructions . . . :)
Posted by Catherine at 2:04 AM