Thursday, December 20, 2012

Snow glub glub glub . . .

I think Christmas decorations must be the happiest things in the world.  I mean, they are so bright and cheerful - can you name any other type of decoration that brings so much joy?  I can't!  But, you know - it must be hard to be a manufacturer of Christmas decorations.  I mean, you can't just make the same thing every year.  You have to constantly be re-thinking things and trying to come up with new and creative ways to make a candy cane or a snowman or a nativity scene.  It really must be exhausting.

And sometimes, the effort at thinking outside the box just doesn't really work.  Sometimes, you just have to go with the age-old, tried and true design.  Case in point: the snow globe.

Snow globes have been around FOREVER.  They've been done and done again.  Is there really anything you can do change it up?  I mean, it's a pretty standard formula.  You take a winter scene, maybe a bird:

Or a city scene:

And voila!  You have a snow globe!  Nothing to it.  And the important thing is that this is what people expect.  They aren't looking for creativity with a snow globe.  They aren't waiting to see what you come up with next.  They just want a pretty scene, maybe throw in their favorite sports team - nothing too out of the box. 

And definitely NOT a child with her head stuck in a globe filled with water.

Seriously.  This is disturbing.  First she gets cursed with a ball for a hand so that she can't play with her new nutcracker.  And then BAM! she gets her head stuck in a freaking snow globe.  Worst.  Christmas. EVER.

This is by far the worst idea for a snow globe to date. No way it can get worse than this sweet little girl staring back at me through the water . . .

I'm sorry - is that . . . JESUS?  Did they trap the head of our LORD AND SAVIOR in a freakin' snow globe??

[gasp!]  Saaaaaaaanta?? [tap, tap]  Stay with me, Santa.  Stay with me.  Do NOT walk toward the light!  Someone get me a hammer!!

I'm sure they meant to make Mary look peaceful in this one.  But, instead, she looks as if she has finally lost consciousness and is slipping away.  It brings a whole new meaning to Silent Night . . . 

So, while I tip my hat to the companies that make the Christmas decorations that brighten up our lives from Thanksgiving to New Year, I beg them to think about their new, creative spins on things.  And to remember that, as a general rule, trapping people's heads in a snow globe is tragic.  And typically does not say "Peace on Earth, good will to men . . ."

Seriously.  Where's that freakin' hammer??

Tuesday, November 6, 2012


As we begin this Election Day 2012, there are three things I know for sure:

1.  No matter who wins this election, it appears that we have 4 years of the same facial expression to look forward to:

2.  Whoever loses this election can blame his fans on facebook.  Good Lord . . . some of those people are their candidate's WORST marketing tool.

3.  We need one candidate that we can ALL feel comfortable with.  Someone who makes us feel good inside.  Someone who will work for everyone.  Someone who has a bunch of really cute purses.

And friends, that someone is ME.

So I'd like to ask for your vote on this Election Day.  If you've already cast your vote, it's okay - just go to your local poll and tell them you've changed your mind.  They get that AAAAAALLLLL the time.  If they won't let you change your vote, then just yell things like "voter suppression" and "voter intimidation" and they'll figure something out.  Trust me.  I know these things.  I'm a lawyer.

"Why should we vote for you, Catherine?" you ask.  "What can you do for our country?" you want to know.  Well, I'm glad you asked.  Let me tell you just a few of my BRILLIANT plans for my Presidency . . .

1.  I would name Jack Bauer as my Vice President.  Granted, he's a fictional character.  And, yes - he's excessively intense.  BUT he could win a vice-presidential debate by strangling the other candidate with his thighs.  And there's a lot of merit in that.

2.  I would solve the nation's fiscal problems by levying a "skinny tax" against all skinny people.  I know I know - we all have skinny friends who are precious to us and none of us want to see them singled out.  But, let's face it, they kind of deserve it, what with all their strutting around in jeans that fit and shirts that don't cling to their muffin tops.  If conventional politics tells us that we can ask the wealthiest Americans to pay a little more in taxes, then why can't ask the skinniest Americans to pay a little more?  I'm pretty sure there's a clause about this in the Constitution.  Again, I'm a lawyer so I know these things.  No need to fact-check.  So I propose taxing anyone who wears pants sizes in the single digits, anyone who has ever said "I'm not really a 'sweets' person," or anyone who has ever asked for the dressing on the side.  Are you with me? 

3.  I have some good ideas for creating new jobs.  For instance, I think every grocery store should hire at least one person whose job is to walk around with a shopping cart for anyone who incorrectly chose the handheld basket when coming into the store.  You know what I'm talking about - you walk in thinking that you are just getting a few small items and you just need the little basket.  Then before you know it, you're having to lug it around with both hands, leaned back to counter the weight that you're holding, and you're struggling to find any room for the carton of milk that you decided to get after all.  Wouldn't it be nice if someone were patrolling the store for that very problem, ready to help you upgrade to the shopping cart?  Just think, if every grocery store added just one person who did that job, that would add like . . . well, probably more than . . . it would HAVE to be somewhere around . . . well, suffice it to say it would create a LOT of jobs.  I would be a hero.  And that's really what I'd be going for.

4.  I would require military personnel to wink when they salute me.  This does nothing to advance the state of our country.  But it would make things like getting off a plane A LOT more fun.

5.  Forget e-harmony.  Forget  If I were President, the whole WORLD would be trying to find me a man.  I'd have my pick of nationalities.  The French might want to arrange a marriage to create an alliance but I would say "No zank you."  Russia might see it as an opportunity to get one of their own into the White House.  But I would say "Niet."  The Italians might send over some gorgeous Italian to try to secure American allegiance but I would say - well, let's be honest.  I'd totally say yes to that one.   

So there you have it - some of my best plans for my Presidency.  Hopefully you agree that I have much to offer my country and my fellow Americans.  But, hey - if you still need convincing, just remember that, at the very least, I can offer exactly what these other guys are offering you right now:


Monday, October 22, 2012

Happy Fall!!

I love Fall.

I love the weather, the leaves, the decorations, the clothes, the holidays, the food - I love it all.  But one of the problems with living in Houston is that it doesn't start feeling like Fall until late October.  Up until then, it's usually 90 degrees and sandal weather.  No scarves.  No hot chocolate.  No fire in the fireplace.  No pumpkin pie.

Oh, who am I kidding?  I can eat pumpkin pie in the dead of summer.  But you get my point. 

ANYWAY . . . A few weekends ago, I was in a great little town in the Texas hill country with a group of friends.  While we were there, a cold front moved through and we finally got some fall weather.  We walked around the little downtown area, window shopping and drinking hot chocolate.  It FINALLY felt like Fall to me.  And, as we walked around enjoying the autumn weather, I found myself really admiring the seasonal decorations. 

In one store, I saw something that confirmed for me that Fall really brings out the joy in EVERYONE:

He can hardly contain his excitement as Thanksgiving approaches!  I imagine him spreading his contagious joy, psyching his pilgrim family up for the first Thanksgiving feast.  Getting everyone whooped up into a joyful frenzy as they prepare their turkey and dressing:

And the Indians.  How excited they must have been - joining these joyful Pilgrims for the first Thanksgiving dinner!  What a time for celebration . . .

Oh the frivolity!  The unmitigated delirium!  It's almost too much to watch.

And then I saw this little feathered snowman (a necessity for ANY fall vignette in YOUR home) and it made me wonder aloud:

"Why is there dog poop lining this snowman's head?" 

As I was deep in thought on that question, I turned around and saw this guy:   

And, after I stifled a small scream, I wondered if we had accidentally wandered into a psych ward.  But then I decided that I was being silly.  These were normal fall decorations.  Decorations that any person would want in their home.  There was nothing weird or unusual about them at all. 


After we left the psy- I mean "lovely store", we went to another little shop where I saw these cute little Thanksgiving candles:

You know, I think some people might look at these little candles and see two precious singing Pilgrim children.  But not me.  I see two Pilgrim children saying "Wait - you're gonna do WHAT to that thing coming out of my head??"

We walked around for a couple of hours and had a great time.  And while I didn't end up buying any decorations our our trip, the stores in that town did inspire to break out my own fall decor when I got home.  I got out my candles, my little pumpkins, my fake fall leaves.  And I got out this little guy that I got from a friend of mine. 

Because nothing says "Happy Fall" like a cute little scarecrow and his trusty . . . ummmm . . . seal?
So I hope you are enjoying the season wherever you are today.  I hope that you have your decorations up, some cool weather to enjoy, a scarf around your neck, and a piece of pumpkin pie in front of you.  And I hope if you have any extra pumpkin pie in your fridge, you'll invite me over.

And we can whoop it up like a bunch of Pilgrims and Indians.

Monday, September 24, 2012

From you. To me.

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.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

A unique decoration

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!


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 . . .

Monday, September 17, 2012

Some resTOErant art.

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.

And there's the "Cellist." 

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 . . .

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Happy birthday, Daddy!!

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 . . .

From Ben:

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 . . .

From Avery:

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 - 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 . . . :)

From Emma:

Savannah and I were sitting in front of Pinkberry (BEST frozen yogurt place EVER!) and we saw an Aggies fan open the door for two ladies.  He and his girlfriend were about to walk into Banana Republic so I ran up to him and stopped him.  At first, he looked like "why the heck are you talking to me" and then his girlfriend stepped aside so I could talk to him.  I started explaining to him what we were doing and then I handed him the envelope and asked him if we could get a picture.  And Mom said that Catchy would be very happy that he was an Aggies fan!

[Catchy is happy, indeed, Emma!  And I believe that calls for a . . . WHOOP!]

From Savannah:

So I was walking down the mall and I dropped my envelope and this man said, "OH OH right there!" He was so nice so I gave him my envelope and told him the story of my grandpa.  He was so thankful and he asked me if he could open it and I said sure.  His name was Frank and I took a picture with him and he was so nice just like my grandpa and so it reminded me of him.  And his wife was really nice too!

From Dearsie:

Every year I have a very special task: I roam the food court looking for a young man who has taken his hat off while eating.  This lucky guy gets an even bigger gift of $50 because men eating with their hats on was always a pet peeve of Charlie's.  Whenever we stopped for a bite to eat at the mall and he noticed a young man still wearing a hat while eating he would always say "don't parents teach their boys to take their hats off at the table anymore?"  From my experience I can pretty much say - No! But I understand because it used to be a simple thing to sit down with your son for a bite to eat and say "take your hat off son."  Now, things have become a little more complicated and that same dad would have to say "son, stop texting, take off your hat, stop texting, pull your pants up, your underwear is showing, stop texting, and don't use that language at the table!"  For a while this year I thought I was going home with my $50 card.  After two hours of roaming, I gave up and was weaving my way through the tables on my way out when I happened to notice two guys sitting at a table with . . . YES . . . A BASEBALL CAP  ON THE TABLE!  I quickly sat down beside the young man closest to the hat and asked him if he would mind answering a question.  He said "sure."  I asked him: "Why is your cap on the table instead of on your head?"  He was genuinely taken aback for a moment as though I had asked a silly question.  He said, "because I'm eating."  I pumped my fist and said yeeeeeessss!  He was really looking confused then.  But I wanted to know more so I asked him: "Well, why take it off just because you're eating?"   Still puzzled, he said "Because I'm a country boy and my Mom and my Grandma taught me to take my hat off at the table."  Another fist pump!  I explained why I was at the mall with my family and why I was handing him this envelope.  I told him I was sitting down just a few minutes before I found him thinking "Where are all the cowboys?  If I could just find a cowboy I know he would take off his hat."  And his friend Mike, who was sitting across from him, pointed to him and said "And you just found one."  My country boy's name is Chris and he agreed to have his picture taken with me.  We shook hands before I left and I'm sure he sat there for a while wondering what the heck was such a big deal about taking your hat off while you eat.  Well, Chris, it was a big deal to someone special to me and that makes it a big deal to me.

From Tammy:

After walking around the mall for over 2 1/2 hrs with no luck, I thought I would stake out the exterior door by Banana Republic again.  I stood there for some time before I saw a mom coming towards the door (from the outside) pushing a stroller.  My instinct was to go open the door myself, but I looked around to see if anyone would jump in there.  From behind me came another mom (heading out of the mall), also pushing a stroller.  This mom sped up a little to try to get to the door first and pushed her stroller aside just a bit and opened the door wide for the other mom.  She then got her own stroller and headed out.  The more I replayed the scene in my mind, the more I was impressed and knew I had to chase her down!  And chase her down I did!  Her name was Heather and she was very warm  and friendly.  She seemed moved by the gesture and story of Dad's birthday celebration.  I took a picture of her and her precious baby and then she gave me a big hug.  Great family.....I was thoroughly pleased with my encounter!

From Matt:

I normally am one of the first ones in the family to find someone doing a nice deed.  I usually have given my card away within the first 30 minutes of our search.  This year, that was not the case.  I don't know if people are just not as nice as they used to be or what, but 2012 was a challenge.  As I stood near one of the exits of the mall, hanging my head due to the fact that I hadn't found that someone special, I saw Joshua and his mother enter the mall.  As they made their way to the door, Joshua literally ran ahead of his mom to open the door for her.  It was just a mom and her son, which reminded me quite a bit of my childhood.  I wasn't going to give him my card just for opening the door for his mom, I needed to follow this kid to see what else he had in store.  As they approached Erin and me, Erin smiled at him.  He smiled back at Erin with such a sweet, genuine smile, that I knew this was my guy.  I approached him and his mom and told him about our annual tradition.  His mom became emotional, especially when I told her how fine of a son she had raised.  I took a picture with him, gave him my card and we went our separate ways.  I watch the mother and son as they read his card while walking.  It took Joshua a while to read his card, but you could see the excitement from a mile away.  It may have taken me two hours to find the right person, but it was definitely worth the wait.  I can't wait for September 1, 2013...

From Erin:

Matt and I were walking down the mall when we saw an empty potato chip bag on the ground.  I was THIS close to bending down and picking it up (we take the whole Don't Mess with Texas thing very seriously in our family, thank you very much Charlie Palmore!) when I had an epiphany.  I told Matt, SOMEONE will pick that up.  I just know it.  So we just stood right in the center of the mall for a good 10 or 15 minutes watching as people stepped over it or looked directly at it and stepped ON it. We even watched one kid taking a running jump to pounce on it.  We were juuuuust about to give up and throw the dang thing away ourselves when I saw her.  It would be an exaggeration to say I could tell from a mile away, BUT since I am no stranger to exaggeration that is what I shall go with.  I saw a woman wearing a Tim Tebow jersey and FROM A MILE AWAY I could tell by her face that she was going to pick it up.  I told Matt, SHE is going to do it.  Her eyes were on it and she was on a mission.  Sure enough, she bent down and snatched that thing right up and walked over to the nearest trash can to throw it away.  Oh my goodness, I was SOOO excited!!  I was jumping up and down and I'm pretty sure I got my old school fist pump on, but that's neither here nor there.  After I gathered myself, I walked over and caught up with her to tell her about what we do and why she was picked. Well, I was just a hot mess for some reason.  I always get a little emotional, but this time I could hardly even talk.  She was so sweet.  Once she got the gist of what I was saying she just scooped me up into best hug I've had in a long time.  Her dad even gave me a hug and a kiss on the forehead.  Her mom was there too and Matt told me later that when I first started talking, her mom was actually bending down in front of Gymboree picking up a bag of trash there.  That made it even more special to me.  All three of them were just the nicest and most sincere people I could have hoped to find.  My lady (and I'm so sad I got caught up in the moment and didn't even ask her name) told me that she was going to remember my sweet daddy tonight in her prayers.  And, I know she wasn't just saying that.  I would bet money on the fact that she said a prayer for him that night.  To wrap up,  I don't know if y'all remember me saying that she was wearing a Tebow jersey, but let's just say...well, I'll just let you see the pic for yourselves.  WINNING!! 

[And to Erin's Tebow friend: if you're reading this, please let us know your name so we can include it here!]

So that's it - the 2012 Charlie Palmore celebration.  It took us a while to find them but, in the end, we met some great people.  I hope that we made them feel special.  I hope that we inspired them to keep doing nice things for others.  And I hope that they realize that we could not have paid them a higher compliment than comparing them to our sweet dad.  Because he really was one-of-a-kind.  

So happy birthday, Dad!!  I hope we made you proud!

Monday, August 6, 2012


I love the Olympics.  Like in an unnatural way.  I record all the events and try to watch as many as I can.  I cry when we win gold.  I cry when they play the National Anthem.  I cry when anyone even mentions the name Keri Strug.  And I spend all my free time trying to decide if I would rather marry Jason Lezak or Brendan Hansen. 

It's a problem.

But I've been a bit busy this year and haven't had the time to watch all of the different events that I have recorded.  I get home each night, agonize over the fact that my DVR is 100% full, and then have to have my very own Sophie's choice.  Do I delete sand volleyball?  Do I delete water polo?  Trampoline with Dong Dong?  How can I possibly make such a choice?

It's very stressful.

So I'm currently trying to catch up with all the Olympics that I have missed.  But here are my thoughts so far:

1.  I'm pretty sure that this is actually impossible:

2.  I'm pretty sure that this guy trains in an indoor swimming pool:

3.  I'm pretty sure that shoulder blades aren't supposed to do this:

4.  I'm pretty sure this gymnastics judge is the most terrifying person at the Olympics:

5.  And I'm 100% sure that this is the only job I could do in the Olympics:  

You can medal for sitting in a boat and bossing people around?  That's my kinda sport.

Beats the heck out of the pommel horse . . .

Monday, June 11, 2012

Permission to trespass

My seven-year-old niece, Avery, was selected to play on the All-Stars softball team for her age group this summer.  It's really quite a big deal and they have played a TON of games all around Southeast Texas - I don't know how they do it in this heat!  This weekend she had yet another tournament, this time in a nearby town called Kingwood, Texas.  At one point, I was standing behind her dugout and I saw a sign that caught my attention:

Ignore, if you will, the fact that "trespass" is misspelled.  Ignore, also, the twitching in my eye.  Instead, I want to focus your attention on an important question . . . isn't "trespassing without permission" redundant?  Isn't the lack of permission kind of a key component of trespassing?  That's what I thought.  But maybe tressssssssspassing is different . . .?  EDITORS, PEOPLE!

So we trespassed WITH permission this weekend at the Kingwood fields and took first place.  My sister and brother-in-law were in Las Vegas so I was there to be the stand-in for them, cheering Avery on to victory.  It's really fun to watch her out on the field with her visor and sunglasses on, looking like a pro.  She's so great at first and second base - I am amazed at the balls she catches and how nonchalantly she does it.  I find myself cheering and screaming from the stands, already planning to attend all of her college World Series games in 2025.  And it's not until she falls asleep in the backseat on the way home that I remember that she's only 7 and that 2025 can wait.

But I've got her autograph just in case . . .

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Awesome aunt. Terrible movie chooser.

This weekend, my sisters and I went to dinner at Lupe Tortilla (a/k/a the best Mexican restaurant EVER) for some fajitas and some quality time together.  But mostly for the fajitas.  Emma and Ben, my 11-year-old niece and 8-year-old nephew, also joined us for the evening.  While we were eating, we started chatting about our favorite books and favorite movies and, at some point, I was talking about how I had read the Lord of the Rings books when the movies came out and how surprised I was that I liked the books as much as I did.  Ben got very excited and said "Oh!  Catchy!  I've been wanting to watch those movies!  Are they too scary for me??"

Now, I haven't seen those movies in years but I remember that I really liked them.  I sat there for a second and tried to remember as much of the movies as I could to decide if they were too scary for little Ben to watch.  I told my sister that I thought they had some scary parts, that the whole story line is about good vs. evil and there are some pretty scary characters on the side of evil, but that I didn't think it was anything that he couldn't handle.  So we made the decision to have an impromptu Lord of the Rings slumber party at my house.  So Emma and Ben jumped in my car and Erin went to pick her kids up from their little friends' house and we planned to rendezvous back at my house.

This was VERY exciting.  Mostly because we used the word rendezvous and that makes everything seem more exciting.

That's when I began to worry that I had underestimated the scariness of the movies.  I had a feeling that I was forgetting something that would be a game-changer so I felt it incumbent upon me make sure that Ben understood that the movie might be scarier than I had initially represented.  So, on our way to my house, Ben and I had this little conversation:

Me: You know what, Ben?  I'm a little worried that these movies might be a little scarier than I remember . . .
Ben: I don't think I will be scared, Catchy.  I think it will be okay.  I mean, I watched Scrooge and had nightmares for three nights but I don't think that will happen this time.
Me: Weeeeeeelllllll . . . this is gonna be a LITTLE bit scarier than Scrooge, buddy.  I mean, there are some pretty scary characters in this movie.
Ben: No, it's okay, Catchy.  I promise.  You know how I know?  Because I saw the real live Scooby Doo movie and it was scaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrry.  But I pushed through it.  So I'll just push through it on the Lord of the Rings, too.
Me: [gulp] Hmmmm . . . I don't know, bud.  This is gonna be just a WEEEEEEEEE bit scarier than the Scooby Doo movie.
Ben: [shaking his head] I don't think so, Catchy - that one was PRETTY scary . . . [looking at me knowingly].
Me: Oh boy . . .

As it turns out, I had COMPLETELY forgotten about how scary those movies are.  I mean, there are these horrible creatures that I had forgotten about called orcs and they are positively terrifying. I spent half the movie saying things like "Oooooo - don't tell your mom about THAT!" and "Oh geez - I forgot about THAT guy . . ." and "I'm scared - somebody hold my hand!" Luckily, though, the kids did NOT think the movies OR the orcs were too scary and they absolutely loved our Lord of the Rings marathon.


And, in case you were curious, we DID confirm that the Lord of the Rings is MUCH scarier than the live action Scooby Doo movie.

I mean, it's THIS . . . 


HO . . . LY . . . CRAP.

Preeeeeeeeeeetty sure we have a clear winner.

Now aren't you glad that I'm not an aunt to YOUR kids?