Tuesday, July 31, 2007


(I can never come up with clever titles for these entries.... If I ever write a book, I will have to hold a "book-naming" contest...... )

I recently told a story about being kissed, unexpectedly, on an elevator by someone I worked with. This was years ago. We were friends, we had never been anything more than friends. But one day on the way back from lunch, for reasons that remain unknown to me, he laid a good one on me. Shocking! But, boy, did I know I had been kissed!

That is a terrific memory. But I've learned that other types of excitement await the unsuspecting on elevators.

This morning, after tackling a series of obstacles, I arrived at work just in time to follow a student driver from the truck driving school upstairs in our building as he navigated s-l-o-w-l-y through the parking lot. I say "he" because as I got out of my car, I saw a pack of large, glistening (read sweaty), manly specimens walking away from the truck - right toward me. "No big deal," I thought to myself. There were 6 or 7 of them, all considerably taller than I, all over 200 lbs, all wearing some form of sleeveless attire. My twisted mind conjured up a quick commercial about beer and bellies and sweat.

They closed the gap fairly quickly as I am short and was in heels. As they followed me to the building, I noticed that they were making comments. About me. Meant for me to hear. "Sure is hot out here." "Might not be so hot if you didn't have those sleeves on your shirt." (What is it about sleeves, anyway?) "Must be kinda hard to walk in those shoes." "Too bad that skirt's not a little shorter. I bet you've got real purty legs." I'll spare you the remark about my posterior...

I wished I was cocky enough to turn around and ask them if this tactic had ever worked on the ladies.

I breathed a sigh of relief when I reached the door to the building... until, that is, they followed me through the door. There was this awkward moment (felt like an hour) waiting for the elevator. Then they all piled on behind me. Dang. I believe there is a permanent hole in the back of my... head. I thanked God for reminding me to put on perfume this morning.

My evil twin (as BB calls her) recounted her elevator experience when I got into my office. She got to ride up this morning with a huge man wearing one of those prison-issue ankle bracelets. She wins.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Blues Overload

This evening I've been listening to the Crossroads Guitar Festival 2007 on MSN Music. It features performances by some of the greatest guitar players in the world, and proceeds from the festival support Eric Clapton's Crossroads Centre in Antigua. I don't know a darn thing about the Crossroads Centre, but I wouldn't miss the opportunity to listen to Clapton. And right now I'm staying up way past my bedtime 'cuz Robert Cray is playing. Great - Robert Cray just invited Jimmy Vaughn to the stage. So much for bed... I'm gonna hate myself in the morning...

I was reminiscing about a Robert Cray concert I went to once with a couple of folks I didn't like much. Didn't care for the company, but the payoff was worth it. (Have you ever done that?) Anyway, the irritating chic from NYC complained after the concert that the blues made her feel sad. Whatever... Maybe it was God punishing her for talking trash about Southerners.

I'm gonna close my eyes now and feel the music for a while. Good night.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

Go Ahead and Laugh

I went to see the movie Hair Spray tonight. Had a really hard time wrapping my brain around John Travolta as a large, silly woman, but otherwise had a good time. I laughed an awful lot, which is one of my favorite activities.

Here's my confession to you, reader - I love musicals. I always have. When I was a little girl, I used to make up songs and choreograph them and get the neighbor kids together to put on a show. I know, I know... they are silly, they are unrealistic, people don't just break into song and dance at the drop of a hat, blah, blah, blah... And how do all the passersby just happen to know the words to the songs and the dance steps so that they can join in? Okay, I have to admit that is puzzling...

The thing is, I want to live in that world. I want to be able to sing and shout and spin and whirl and leap and drag others along with me when I am filled with emotion. I already do it in my head anyway. Lately I have been doing it a lot. I worry that one day I will forget to keep it in my head and that I will end up on the psych floor of the county hospital. Maybe you will come visit me there, and we can put on a big production number with the other residents!

Friday, July 27, 2007

What's Goin' On

It is nearly 2:00 in the morning. I can't sleep. My appetite has been unusually light. I have been having difficulty concentrating. I am under some stress at work - deadlines, tiresome tasks that make my brain hurt, some new interpersonal stuff - but I am deliriously happy.

I am picking up the Not-So-Little One at camp in several hours. Back to the same old stuff - morning grumpies, arguments with her sister, complaints that there is nothing in her closet to wear - but I am deliriously happy.

I have to book plane tickets for a conference in Cincinnati. Online shopping - comparing prices, making decisions, spending large amounts of money (thank God it's not mine) - but I am deliriously happy.

I am graduating in a few weeks. A new chapter is beginning in my life - licensing exam, cool new letters to type after my name on my business card, major career decisions to be made - but I am deliriously happy.

Have you ever ridden one of those rides at an amusement park that s-l-o-w-l-y takes you to the edge of a man made abyss, hangs you over the precipice for what seems like an eternity, and then abruptly drops you, allowing you to fall helplessly to an unseen destination? Scares the hell out of you, doesn't it?! The next time I do that, I am going to release the death grip I usually have on the safety bar. I think I will come off that ride deliriously happy.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The Letter

She wrote. To me! The letter said:

"Dear Mommy,
I am having fun so far! The food is great. Love you bunches!
(the Not-So-Little One).
Tell Daddy I luv him, (the Little One), and Maggie too!"

See, she wrote to me! Everyone else was an afterthought!

Of all the things she could tell me about camp, she comments on the food. Cracks me right up.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Day Two

Well, the Not-So-Little One has been at camp for 34 hours. I doubt that she has had time to write or anything. I hope she is having a wonderful time, despite her mother's agony. Friday seems like such a long way off....

Sunday, July 22, 2007


We had a visiting Army chaplain at church. He is on leave from Iraq and has to return tomorrow. I don't know the man - he's never visited our church before. But my heart went out to his wife and son who stood stoically by his side as members greeted them and wished him Godspeed. I was really young when my father shipped out to Viet Nam, so I can only begin to imagine what it feels like to watch someone you love return to a hostile land.

Tomorrow I will drop the Not-So-Little One off for her first week-long church camp experience. Not a hostile land, for sure, but too far away for goodnight kisses. She took the lead on packing and did a very thorough job with minimal supervision. My girls have been packing their own bags for trips since they were toddlers. Only once has anything important been forgotten, and Walmart has everything, even Hello Kitty underpants. I think of it as the modern day trading post.

The longest the Not-So-Little One has been away from home is two and a half days. She is very excited, assuring me that she will be fine and that she will make friends. She tells me that she will write, but I imagine there will not be time for that. I will not cry in front of her, but all bets are off on the drive home. And in the office. Sorry, BB.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


Matt Lauer is hot.


A good hair day makes a world of difference in my attitude.


Quote from a Kia commercial: "Because the more you know, the less you don't know."

Sunday, July 15, 2007

On Moving, Eeyore, and America

Last week was a challenge. After returning from the workshop in Austin, I spent the day seeing clients while poor BB started packing up our offices for The Big Move. We finished packing Thursday and Friday between ringing phones and meetings so that the movers could whisk everything over to the new building over the weekend. On the one hand, it is really great that someone else is going to lift and carry all those boxes to my new digs for me. On the other hand, everything had to actually fit into the boxes and the lids had to actually close.

I'm a military brat. I've moved plenty of times. I'll do just about anything to avoid moving. When we were expecting the Little One, we bought a larger house. We synchronized our move to take place two weeks before her due date so that we would have plenty of time to set up the nursery. And precisely two weeks before her due date, I went to my scheduled OB appointment just in time to hear the doc say, "Now, go on across the street to the hospital, and I'll meet you in about an hour." I start to freak out, thinking something is wrong with the baby. The doctor assured me that everything is fine - "You're gonna have a baby today!" "Oh, no I'm not," I nearly shout. "I'm moving this weekend!" My awesome friends descended upon my home to finish packing our belongings and take them over to the new house, while I remained in the hospital. Like I said, I'll do just about anything...


My husband, though kind and considerate and fatherly, has upon occasion been likened to Eeyore. He's just a glass-half-empty kinda guy. While I roll on the floor laughing at the guy on America's Funniest Videos for losing his pants on the dance floor, my husband comments under his breath that those sorts of things wouldn't happen if people would wear belts. Overheard in the car today - "I take a pessimistic viewpoint with the optimism that the world will prove me wrong." Alrighty then...


I should be nice to my husband. Yesterday was his birthday. He's older than I. And he always will be.


Have you ever been accused of not being a team player? I got into some trouble at work for not meeting a deadline (silly me, I only had a workshop and a major move on my plate). No one likes getting into trouble, but I was outraged when I was accused of not upholding the vision of the agency. And there was a moment when I thought I was talking to my children. I wanted to say, "It doesn't mater how many times you ask me why I screwed up. It won't change the outcome. I can't unscrew up. The screwing up is a done deal."


Hey, I just thought of something. Apparently I'll do anything to get out of unpacking, too. While everyone else is sifting through crates tomorrow, I'll be singing the National Anthem at a naturalization ceremony. I've had the privilege of participating in these ceremonies before. They are very moving. They remind me of my mother, a Japanese immigrant who loved America and everything American. There are usually several hundred individuals being naturalized at these ceremonies. These folks have waited for years, paid plenty of fees, and taken a citizenship exam that would challenge even a graduate student. With tears streaming and flags waving, they put their hands over their hearts and vow to denounce their homeland and to be good citizens. I wonder what our country would be like if the rest of us had to take such a vow.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


They buried an old friend of mine today. We used to sing together. She lost her battle with cancer. I wasn't able to go to the memorial service. Because I had clients. Because it would have been too complicated to try and reschedule. Because people don't die far enough in advance for you to make adjustments to your schedule. Because if I had, I would have lost those precious face-to-face counseling hours that I so desperately need to graduate. So instead of dealing with my own grief and caring for those at the service that needed me, I listened to near-strangers talk about their problems. I can blame no one - I am fully responsible for the choice I made. And it makes me sick to my stomach.

I'm sitting here thinking about other important events that I chose to miss because of school or work. Events that involved family and friends, the very people who have stood by me and loved me when no one else would. I find it incredibly ironic. I sat through lecture after lecture about the importance of the relationship (with the client) and of viewing the client as a human, and each semester we received a document stating that our grade would suffer if we chose a family activity over a class lecture. I even had to take a final exam the morning they buried my North Texas family's daughter. Well, to be fair, I could have chosen to miss the exam. But I wouldn't have passed the class. At $1500 per class, that would have been costly for me.

Working for a social service agency is not so different. We give of ourselves so that those less fortunate can thrive, but there is no one to care for our needs. Case in point - when my brother died a few years ago, even though people knew why I had taken a day off from work (because that was all I was allowed to take), no one expressed their condolences. Not one solitary person. We spend most of our waking lives with our coworkers, but close relationships are somewhat discouraged, lest we allow our friendships to keep us from being productive.

Please forgive me, reader. I'm sure that my melancholy, no make that irritable, mood is at least partly influenced by my grief. But I can't help but wonder if a therapist ever gets to be that aforementioned human.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Head to the Hills

I just got back from a quick trip to Austin. I go there several times a year for meetings and workshops that are designed to make me better at my job. Those who know me know without question that I AM NOT a meeting person. Detest them. Just about anything that can be discussed in a meeting can be sent to me via email. And I would probably actually remember it.

So, I don't enjoy meetings. I do kind of enjoy shaking hands with and hugging folks I know from other agencies across the state. And I admit that I stand a little taller when one of the state employees remembers my name and acts happy to see me again. Sometimes I fantasize about getting an important job with the state, stalking state senators and representatives and advocating social services during legislative sessions. And then I remember how much I hate meetings.

The appeal of Austin is more organic than politics or the hope that I'll catch a glimpse of Lance Armstrong as he zips past me on his bike. After my father retired from the US Army, we stayed in Killeen so that my brother wouldn't have to move yet one more time. But the Hill Country certainly called to him, and when we had a chance to get away, we went to Austin to visit his stepmother, the kindest woman I have ever known and the only real parent he ever had. We picked fresh vegetables out of the garden there, walked along the railroad track to feed carrots to the neighbors horse there, ate real Mexican food there, played in the parks there, loved life there.

After my mother passed away, Dad bought a little ranch outside of Lampasas. I learned how to saddle a horse and ride at the Busted Spur. Had a horse step on my foot which makes me a real cowgirl, I reckon. My favorite thing to do is sit on the back porch and watch the sun come up over the cedar breaks, sipping on a stout cup of camp coffee. Okay, the camp coffee is yucky - strong enough to walk to you and heavy with grounds. BB would love it. But a Hill Country sunrise can't be beat. Sunset ain't too shabby, neither. And I finally figured out what happened to all the fireflies we used to see as kids. They retired to the Busted Spur.

Here in the concrete jungle, the hot muggy evenings are only slightly more tolerable than the days. The mosquitoes go for the jugular. The smog settles a bit closer to the ground so that you can really smell it. But in the Hill Country.... ahhhhh........ the nights are cool, the bats keep the mosquitoes at bay, and the sage and juniper give Coco Chanel a real run for her money.

Yup, I'm a Hill Country girl at heart.

Friday, July 6, 2007

She's So... Ordinary

Watched a rerun of Grey's Anatomy last night. In one of the scenes, Meredith's mother called her ordinary. This seemed to crush Meredith and outrage those close to her.

I got to thinking about myself, about being ordinary. Should I be worried? I am ordinary. "How?" you may ask. I'll tell you:

I am neither tall nor short.
I am neither slender nor obese.
I think about diet and exercise. Think about it. That's all.
I am reasonably intelligent, but I am not a member of Mensa.
I am neither beautiful nor ugly.
I am neither rich nor poor.
I am neither the life of the party nor the wallflower.
I am equally comfortable at a cocktail party or a hoedown.
I am not a gourmet cook, but my family does not starve.
I like regular ol' run-of-the-mill milk chocolate.
I drink regular coffee with cream and sugar.
I still eat fried chicken.
Hamburgers are my favorite food.
I recycle, but I do not take my own bags to the grocery store.
I sometimes spend money when I shouldn't.
I listen to mainstream pop music on radio.
I enjoy a good romantic comedy.
I read fiction.
It takes me more than one evening to finish a book.
I watch network television by choice.
I can sew, but I am not an expert seamstress.
I believe I could have made it through a few rounds of American Idol.
I am a decent friend, but I'm not sure I would hear the phone ring if you called me at 2:00 am.
I am a Christian, but I have been known to use "colorful" language.
Sometimes I say, "ain't" and "fixin'" and "ya'll."
I do not abuse my children, but I do yell at them sometimes.
I've never taken an illegal substance.
Heck, I'm even middle-aged!

I have decided that in this world of extremes, I will embrace my ordinary-ness. I fall in the middle somewhere on nearly all counts, and that gives me pretty good odds for being able to fit into most situations. If you are ordinary, too, drop me a line. We'll start a club.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


(I love that word.)

Well, I discovered that many people do not even know who Beverly Sills, AKA Bubbles, was. So imagine my disappointment when I arrived at work, ready to share my sorrow at her passing, only to be met with, "Who?" Humph.... let's just say she set a standard against which many vocalists measure themselves.

We enjoyed the 4th with my surrogate family. Seeins' how I don't get the opportunity to spend holidays with my family, I was long ago adopted by a great family here in North Texas. We are invited, let's make that expected, to attend all of their family gatherings, and there is never a shortage of food and laughter. And also seeins' how every family has at least one wild and crazy character, there is neither a shortage of head-scratchin'.

I received a brief education in Man Law yesterday. The men in this North Texas family have really impressive... grills. They strut around and show off their grilling prowess at these get-togethers, wreathed in smoke and wielding huge spatulas. When one of the men was feeling a little impotent watching the home owner get his grill on, one of the women suggested that he get a spatula and help. OMG! You would have thought she had called The Duke himself a lily-livered coward! She was promptly informed that touching another man's grill was the culinary equivalent to making out with his wife - maybe worse. Lesson learned.

We thought we'd be clever and drive to the top of one of those parking garages downtown to watch fireworks. The security guard told us to beat it. Let's see... Wednesday evening, nothing going on downtown, most of the garage empty, not hurting anyone, not breaking any known laws... guess we could have been loitering. So we drove away... and parked one level lower. We saw a nice show over nearby LaGrave field. Ha, ha!

Happy Independence Day, everyone. Pray for peace.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Farewell, Bubbles. Rest in peace.