Thursday, August 27, 2009

Writer Needs Your Opinions!

How would you like to participate in research about a couple of very important issues? Your answers may appear in a future article (though you can remain anonymous). Please see the questionnaire HERE.

I will post a blog in My Heart Blogs To You after the data is compiled and after the article is written and posted.

Thank you in advance for your participation (and if you have any friends or relatives who might want to participate, please invite them – all answers must be in no later than September 15, 2009).

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Roads? Where I'm Going I Don't Need Roads.

Yesterday I went back to the future. I tried to get the wireless connection working on my ancient laptop, but couldn't, so I took it to the local Apple dealer instead.

The University of Illinois was brimming with activity this past weekend. Apparently classes begin Monday and students were filling the streets in droves as they moved into their new quarters. I didn't know where the campus Apple dealer was located and neither did all the PC owners I asked, so I drove around and around all of the one-way streets trying to find it.

After hearing that even laptops can become extinct unless you spend more money to fix them than it would cost to purchase a new laptop, I left the parking lot that was closest to the Apple center. I needed to turn right, but I wasn't allowed to turn right. Right would have taken me directly home. Instead I kept driving left down one-way streets until it got to the point where I felt I was spiraling downward into the bowels of Champaign, Illinois.

Yes, I know those two words – bowels and Champaign – clearly do not belong in the same sentence, but you have to understand how annoying it is to drive and drive and not be able to get to where you need to be. Very frustrating.

But, optimist that I am, I ventured onward. Then suddenly, with absolutely no idea how I arrived on what looked to be a bicycle path, I saw students staring at me as they walked around my car, oblivious to the fact that I was pretending to be "Security" for the campus. Finally I saw a road that took me (again) in the opposite direction. "Oh, you've got to be kidding me," I said sympathetically to myself.

All the while I'm thinking – the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and I am creating a web of non-intersecting tangents that are taking me further and further away from my destination. It was like running in quicksand. All I wanted to do was find some familiar territory.

It was like the time I went to visit the man who would one day become my ex-husband. On my way to visit him before we got married, I drove through a neighborhood that kept bringing me back to the same street corner. I should have taken it as a sign, but I didn't. And every time I arrived there, I looked around and thought, "How does this keep happening?"

I think, after having had numerous years in which to ponder this mystery, that I have some defective gene that pulls me in the wrong direction. Please see my previous post, Driving Dilemmas, for more proof that I do indeed have this as yet undiscovered defective gene.

(Photo is from IMBD - Internet Movie Data Base – a clip from the movie, Back To The Future, starring Michael J. Fox and Christopher Lloyd)

Driving & Other Dilemmas - Bloopers & Mistakes

Have you ever put a key into a lock that didn’t work? One of my daughters and I were discussing the many times we’ve encountered just that problem. Sometimes it’s with cars (as when we attempt to force our keys into what turns out to be somebody else’s car), and sometimes it happens with houses.

One year I moved into an apartment complex with numerous buildings that all looked exactly alike. A friend and I had gone out for a couple of drinks (hmm, come to think of it, that might have contributed to the problem), and she let me off at my new apartment.

“I’ll stay here until I see the door open,” she offered as a measure of protection (I have always had amazing friends). She watched me climb the stairs, walk down the long outdoor hallway, stand before my door, and fidget with the lock.

After numerous attempts I looked over at her and saw her raise both palms upward and shrug her shoulders. I did the same. After more attempts, I walked down the long hallway, down the steps, and right back into her car.

“What do you want to do?” she asked.

“I don’t know,” I thought out loud. “Maybe my key isn’t working.”

Turns out I lived one building to the west.

My daughter’s favorite driving story is about the time she and a couple of friends were driving one friend home after a party. They pulled into the driveway and when Sema didn’t open the door, they said, “Sema, you’re home – get out!”

“But this isn’t my house,” she argued.

“YES! It is, now open the door.” Reluctantly Sema left the car and walked up to the front door where she found herself standing face to face with her next-door neighbor at 2 o’clock in the morning, saying the only thing she could think to say, “Have you seen my brother?”

But the highlight of my driving experiences is one of those déjà vu moments that reminded me of the time I was taking driver’s ed in high school. The instructor and two other students were male. I was the only female.

In those days, wheels didn’t return to their original position, so when I made a right turn, I ended up speeding through a field directly into the path of a house. Every time the instructor yelled, “BRAKES! BRAKES!” I accelerated more and more. When I saw the whites of the eyes of the family seated at their breakfast table staring at me with mouths agape, something snapped inside me and I slammed on the breaks just in time to see the two other students cowering in embarrassment on the floor of the back seat.

And so here I was, decades later, working for a home party company heading into the country to find – from the driving directions that included no street names – landmarks such as poles, statues, and baskets. I was never very good at seeing in the dark, and this brand new street had no lights yet. I had to continuously vacate my car and walk up to each house just to locate the address.

Finally, I thought I had it figured out and I pulled my car directly in front of what I thought would be the correct house. For reasons I couldn’t understand, I saw the father wrap his arms around his children and rush them into the house. When I came to a stop, I noticed the circular driveway in front of me running to my left and to my right. Too bad I didn’t see it before I drove across their newly landscaped lawn.

(photo of Nicolas Cage – "this isn't my house" in The Family Man is from IMDB – Internet Movie Data Base)

Monday, August 17, 2009

The Day My Mommy Lied To Me

Anybody who knows me knows I hate liver (and yes, I can see my mom rolling her eyes already in memory of the horrible wretched day she got caught lying).

But I would like to emphasize my hatred of liver by saying I detest it so much that if it were the last food on Earth and I HAD to eat it, I would cut it up into tiny pea-sized bullets and shoot them down my throat with squirt guns filled with enough water to prevent the gag reflex from expelling the "nutritious" (gag gag) most awful tasting meat on the planet. And it's not even meat – it's an organ! (oh gag again)

So now that you have the backdrop for the BIG LIE, let me emphasize once more my HATRED of liver. Got it? Good. Because this is what happened on the day I saw what looked like liver in a pan on the stove in our kitchen – LIVER!

"It's NOT liver," my mom lied.

"I know what liver looks like. And THAT is liver. It even smells like liver."

"Well, it's not. It's a new meat called revil."

"There is no such thing as revil," I told her.

"Well, obviously, there is, because we're eating it," she told me.

Hmm. As the smell of the organ filled the house, I squinted my eyes, tapped my finger to my chin, and pondered the situation. I was raised Catholic by a Catholic mom. Therefore, what my mom was telling me must be true, because good Catholics never lie. And good moms never lie to their children. So I will try this "revil" that I don't believe is really revil, because I am a good daughter.

When it was time for dinner, my two sisters and I sat down at the table gawking at the inside of some poor dead animal sprawled out on our plates. We looked first at each other, and then at our mother, wondering if we should trust her.

"Taste it," she commanded.

I placed the tip of my tongue on the foul substance as I looked at my mother in horror. "It tastes like liver," I said, seething. And then realization grasped me by the throat. "(Gasp!) It is liver. You LIED to us!"

My sisters and I were so shocked, our swallowing reflexes locked up. But we were even more shocked when she revealed to us that revil was liver spelled backwards. "So really," mom said, "it wasn't a lie."

Knowing how much my mother disdains certain foods, one day soon I'm going to invite her over for some "new" foods – tunaep rettub sandwiches with a side order of saep and a dessert of tunococ pie.

(I love you, Mom)

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hey, Soup!

At times like these I wish I had written down EVERYTHING my children and grandchildren said throughout their lives, though I'm sure my kids will find some of the funny sayings and memories when they sift through the contents of my numerous trunks after I'm gone. But today, the blog is – once again – about Kaden.

My son and daughter-in-law are still in town and were at my home when my daughter's mother-in-law stopped by to see her (and a couple of my other) grandchildren, Audrey and Nolan. Kaden didn't remember meeting her and asked her what her name was.

"Sue," she responded.

"Soup?" Kaden asked.

"No, Sue."


"S-U-E," she said slowly so my 4-year-old grandson could hear her better.

To which Kaden responded, "I'll just call you Soup."

Shortly after, we heard, "Hey, Soup, wanna see me look cool?"

"Sure," Sue said, smiling.

Kaden donned a brimmed hat. After she acknowledged his coolness, Kaden then turned the cap around.

"Know what I look like now, Soup?"

"No, Kaden, what do you look like now?

"A stud muffin."

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

The Negotiator and The Attack of The Tomato

A Weekend in WizaWorld

Audrey and Kaden were looking out a window at a couple of guys parked across the street from my house. "That's Tommy," Audrey told Kaden.

"Who's Tommy?" Kaden asked.

"Tommy is my daddy's boyfriend."

Audrey and Kaden are both 4 years old and while their vocabulary is quite extensive, they still mispronounce words sometimes. Here's an example:

Audrey wanted to know if Kaden knew that tomatoes ruined houses. "You mean the big ones?" Kaden asked.

And Audrey responded, "Sometimes they call them twisters."

After this conversation I decided that Kaden should put on his clothes. His three cousins (some of my other grandchildren) were already dressed. Kaden wanted to stay in his pajamas.

"You can't go outside with your pajamas on," I reasoned with him. And he responded, "How do you know? Have you ever tried it?"

As the morning progressed I found it more and more difficult to restrain myself from laughing and told him that he had to put his pajamas on if he wanted to eat breakfast, to which he responded, "No I don't. I can eat breakfast with my pajamas on."

Two hours later, at snack time, I told Kaden, who was still wearing his pj's, that he HAD to put them on if he wanted a snack. And that's when I noticed Kaden's amazing negotiation skills.

"No, I don't. That's what you said at breakfast, and I still got breakfast."


"Well," I told him, attempting to outsmart the 4-year-old, "now it's snack time and if you want it, you'll have to get dressed."

"You forgot about it the last time," he reminded me.

But I was not to be outdone by my young grandson, so I reminded him that I was the boss in his parents' absence and that I could choose to NOT give him a snack. I saw the wheels spinning in his brain.

"OK," he said, "Here's what we'll do. Whoever says it the fastest wins. So if you say I have to get my clothes on, but I say I get a snack first, I win."

So, of course, I blurted out, "Kaden has to put his clothes on!"

And he said, "It didn't start yet."

Eventually he put on his clothes, but the whole day continued that way, them talking, me laughing, me trying to hide my laughing.

Being a grandparent is so challenging.