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    Friday, June 26, 2009

    Love at First Scrape

    Since no one was asking, I thought I’d share the story of how Kory and I got together.

    It was January of 1997. I’d finally closed the book on what we’ll call The Neverending Breakup. You know that story? One minute you’re skipping school to read a book and the next thing you know, you’ve been in a dysfunctional relationship for three years, flown on a weird puppy dog beast, and sought advice from a really old turtle. The end is bewildering, and the only thing you can do is hope there won’t be a sequel.

    Anyhoo. A friend had been bugging me to go to her college group, so I finally agreed. A day or two before the meeting, I got up in the middle of the night to go to the bathroom and opened my bedroom door smack into my face. Those of you who know me know that I really am that clumsy.

    An impressive bruisy/scrapey thing resulted. But I went to college group anyway. After all, the Official Rebound Rules prohibited me from even considering checking guys out. Being eighteen, I broke the rules and met a very skinny guy named Kory. I thought to myself, “I could never marry a man that skinny. I’d feel fat the rest of my life.” Dang it!

    While I was pondering Kory’s excessive skinnitude, he was thinking, “Wow. This girl must have a great personality if she’s secure enough to go out looking like that.”

    Yes indeed folks, sometimes the old “great personality” line actually applies.

    A week later (my face looked considerably better) we had our first date. I dragged my girlfriend along because, well, we women enjoy sending mixed signals. The college group was going to a club in Denver that played swing music, so the three of us--Kory, me, and my security blanket--drove up together.

    Kory bravely tried to dance with me. I led. It was embarrassing.

    On the way home, I leaned forward in between the seats of my friend’s little car and chatted. Somehow, I fell asleep that way, and Kory witnessed my secret superpower—the ability to fall asleep anywhere, anytime, in any position. Someday I’ll save the world with a power nap.

    I must not have drooled too much because he asked me out again.

    I knew it was love from the get go and set about fattening him up. Once I’d gotten him to a healthy weight, I sat back and waited for a proposal. But apparently we’d forgotten to sync our dating watches.

    Finally, light dawned for Kory. One Saturday, while he worked in the university lab with another engineering student, an approximation of the following conversation took place:

    Kory: So, my girlfriend is at some bridal expo thing today.
    Other Guy: Silence
    Kory: What do you think that means?
    Other Guy: Dude, you’re getting married.
    Kory: Really?
    Other Guy: Yeah.

    Being a very cautious, analytical person, Kory mulled this conversation over for possible hidden meanings. Eventually he concluded that Other Guy was right, and on a beautiful summer day, he proposed to me on one of the many large rocks in our Rocky Mountains. Don't ask me which one.

    We’ve been married ten years this year. Not a bad testimony to the seldom-credited feminine wile of clumsiness.

    Anyone else out there catch your man in less-than-mainstream style? Or do you have a funny dating story to share? We all love a good old “meet cute” (or in my case, "meet ugly.") Do tell!

    Saturday, June 20, 2009

    Paper Pants

    Some of you know that last Sunday night, my mom was admitted to the hospital with three severe infections. After nearly a week, she is home and doing much better. Now that the worry is abating and life is returning to what we call “normal,” it’s time to laugh about Mom’s hospital adventures.

    Sunday night Mom was in really bad shape, as you might’ve guessed. She could barely take two steps without having to sit down or pass out. Climbing the stairs from her basement apartment took an enormous effort, but when we finally got her into the car, it took less than five minutes to get to the hospital.

    I parked in front of the ER and flagged a scrub-clad guy with a wheel chair. I told him Mom was near fainting, but when he came to help her out of the van, her comment was, “Why are these guys always so cute?”

    I was in no mood to notice, and apparently the personality pepper shaker passed over this guy. He didn’t laugh.

    We got Mom into the hospital and then into a triage room. Very soon they determined to admit her, so I was sent home to get the breathing machine she uses at night.

    When I returned, Mom’s little room was full. I stood on the edge, but Mom told me, “Come on in. I’m in a room full of beautiful men.” I guess it was true. The guy doing the ultrasound of her leg obviously made time for the gym. But there in the corner, fumbling with a needle and a couple vials, was Mr. Personality.

    Mom—despite looking like death in a casserole dish—joked with Big Biceps Man. But judging from Mr. Personality’s aloof expression and overly-gelled hair, he was too cool to even consider a pleasant bedside manner.

    The ultra sound tech left, and Mom and I were stuck with Mr. Personality, who poked Mom’s arm and grimaced for probably fifteen minutes. Mom made jokes about being a vampire’s worst nightmare. Finally, he managed to get a vein and famine turned into feast. (Gross, I know.)

    He left Mom’s room, swaggered over to the nurse’s station and said, “Oh, yeah. I got it.” I scooted around to the side he’d been on and discovered a few drops of blood on the floor. I told Mom it was slasher-film-gruesome, and we laughed about her being such a “hard stick.”

    After awhile, Mr. Personality reappeared, and I moved out of the way. It took me a few minutes to realize what was different about him but when I finally did, I had to hold back my laughter. He was wearing paper pants.

    Now I know this must be a safety precaution. Obviously a little blood got on him, and he had to switch out his scrub bottoms for some spares. But here was this young guy with a robust ego standing around in paper pants. It was hilarious.

    I guess, if there’s a moral to this story, it’s this: You never know when you might look ridiculous. I’ve had my share of baby-decorated clothing, miscalculations with doors, walls, curbs, and let’s not even get into the stupid things I’ve said in front of people. You can’t take yourself too seriously, and if you happen to be wearing paper pants, you can be sure that no one else takes you seriously either.

    Friday, June 12, 2009


    I had trouble coming up with a blog topic this week. I mentioned my brain dead condition on Facebook, and one of my especially helpful readers offered some suggestions. Rather than pick just one, I thought I’d give you my useless thoughts on all of her clever ideas.

    So here are my topics courtesy of The Perky Pessimist.

    chocolate. your car. limed government. antidisestablishmentarianism. cartoons. other bloggers. potato salad. gardening. music. sculpture. the czech republic. body hair. consipiracy theories. area 51. insects. the american revolution. stuffed animals. hyperboles. superbowls. kitchen gadgets. home improvement. coming to my swap party.

    Here goes.

    Chocolate: I’m on a diet, so the only chocolate I can have is the 85% cocoa that takes just like baking chocolate. In case you’re wondering, yes, I’m desperate enough to eat that, too.

    Your car: Home to soured juice boxes, petrified nuggets, about a dozen hats, countless Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons, crumbs as multiple as beach sand, and a mysterious, yellowish stain.

    Limed government: This sounds like a great name for a cocktail.

    Antidisestablishmentarianism: I actually used the word antidisestablishmentarian in the first chapter of my novel, Brandy and The Vine. I know what you’re thinking, that I’m an overgrown teacher’s pet. But the word fit the character of Brandy, who did not want to be anything like her hippie grandparents.

    Cartoons: Did you know there’s a Super Mario Brothers cartoon? It’s stupid.

    Other bloggers: Probably don’t waste your time on stream-of-consciousness entries.

    Potato salad: Is Amish potato salad made by Amish people or made out of Amish potatoes?

    Gardening: I don’t like to be outside.

    Music: I make soundtracks for the novels I write. My current one features a lot of Dido. Also, not that it matters, but David Gray’s music turns me on.

    Sculpture: I can make an awesome Play-do worm.

    The Czech Republic: Also mentioned in Brandy and The Vine.

    Body hair: One of the many things I don’t like about summer is shaving my legs every day. I inherited my dad’s prolific follicles, but at least they’re not sprouting from my ears, or my nose, or my back, or my chest.

    Conspiracy theories: The government is watching me through my Blackberry.

    Area 51: A cover-up for Area 52.

    Insects: Monkey and Chunky ate them at The San Diego Zoo.

    The American Revolution: Freed us from British rule as well as their unimaginative culinary skills.

    Stuffed animals: Chunky’s favorite is Goobert.

    Hyperboles: I cannot believe that I had to look this up even though I majored in English! Isn’t that insane!?!

    Superbowls: I hate football.

    Kitchen gadgets: The boys think my salad spinner is the coolest thing ever. I’m constantly finding it around the house, loaded with Matchbox cars, Legos, underwear.

    Home improvement: These words in any way connected with me will send my husband into uncontrollable laughter. I’m not handy.

    Coming to my swap party: Now I understand that I can bring clothes or scarves or jewelry that I don’t wear or household items I no longer need. But can I swap my children?

    Friday, June 5, 2009

    Summer Fun?

    Summer is here. Are there any other moms out there who feel like Princess Leia, chained to a demanding couch potato and forced to either entertain him or be eaten? Show of hands?

    I feel like I’m alone in my humiliating role as “the entertainment.” Surely the rest of you have this figured out. Yes, we’re enrolling in the library’s summer reading program. Yes, I’ve ransacked my brain for creative things to do besides sit around the house. But is it too much to ask that they do a little thinking of their own?

    When I was little, I didn’t dare tell my mom I was bored. I knew what she would say. “Bored people are either stupid, selfish, or lazy.” Then she'd give me a choice of what chore I wanted to do. Why does this not work on my kids?

    Oh right, because—like Jabba the Hut—they’re convinced they’re the center of the universe. (Actually, Jabba probably was the center of gravity on Tatooine.) Folks, I promise I am chiseling away at their massive egos. But I don't think even Michaelangelo could carve those blocks of marble overnight.

    Now we all know how Jabba ended up. Well, at least those of us with little boys or husbands or brothers know. If you are, by chance, a nun, raised in an all girl family, I’ll give you the low-down. Luke comes to rescue his sis, Leia—who is disturbingly dressed in a metal bikini—tension ensues, Han gets melted (but you don’t really need to know that part), Jabba decides to throw Luke and newly-thawed Han in the pit/mouth of some creature, Luke has other plans, there’s a fight, and Leia (still in tiny bikini) chokes Jabba with the chain he imprisoned her with.

    Do you see why I’m alarmed?

    Number One: I don’t want to get so fed up with my forced role of Summer Fun Director that I turn on my kids.

    Number Two: I would look really bad in a metal bikini.

    These are heavy concerns. My husband and I have discussed solutions for both problems, most of which involve duct tape. But as we are still out-of-work, we simply cannot afford the quantity of duct tape required to produce the desired results.

    So what am I going to do with my little Jabbas?


    Turn the backyard into a mud pit. Throw them out every morning. Hose them off before bed.

    Empty the playroom. Give them finger paint. Shut the door.

    Play hide-and-seek where they are always IT and mommy is ALWAYS HIDING.

    Watch Star Wars movies until they can quote every scene perfectly. Wait, we already did that.

    It’s gonna be a long two months.