Friday, September 29, 2006

The Madness Continues

After the hair salon incident on Tuesday, that same day I journeyed back into town. A glutton for punishment, I brought along Robert. "I'm going to get another balloon?" he asked hopefully as we pulled into the Wal-Mart parking lot.

"They don't give balloons away here." Thank goodness for that too. Just the mere thought of a balloon anywhere around me made me as jumpy as a cricket in a hot skillet.

Walking into the lobby, we soon found Wal-Mart had something much worse; automated shopping carts. These carts were geared toward the children, and were actually play cars with the shopping built in on the outside. The child sat inside the vehicle while the car entertained them with blinking lights, stories and songs. The only drawback is that it requires a dollar deposit. A dollar to use a shopping cart? No way. I thought huffily.

Robert had only to bat his big blue eyes at me and say "Please Mommy," to make my resolve melt like butter.

It is only a dollar, I argued with myself, and besides, just a dollar for your sanity? It's worth it. I paid the money into the machine as Robert happily climbed into a car decorated in Barney motif.

I was in heaven as I browsed luxiously through the store. There was no whining, no "Mommy I want out." Instead, Robert sat smiling like a Cheshire cat in his car. I encountered a snag in the trip when I checked out. There, in big letters, was a sign stating the cars would shut off once we left the check-out area. Just great, get ready for the water works, I thought grimly as I put the groceries on the conveyer belt. I asked a cashier for an empty regular cart, and true to form, Robert threw a fit to end all fits. He was the only thing on my mind as I wrestled him into the seat portion of the plain cart.

I was halfway across the parking lot, with Robert howling like a wounded coyote pup, when I realized I didn't have my change. It's only three dollars, but still!

Robert held onto the sides of the cart for dear life as I whipped around and raced back to the store with speed a NASCAR driver would be envious of. I barreled in through the doors like a raging maniac, pushing my cart toward the surprised elderly door greeter. "I left my change at the register. Can I leave my kid and cart with you?" I asked breathlessly before darting away.

"U-um yeah, that will be fine." the greeter stuttered. I wove through shoppers, who were checking out, with the agility of a running back. I made it to my register just as a young mom was pulling her groceries out of the cart.

"Excuse me, this is mine," I explained hastily, grabbing the money out of the change slot. My heart still racing, I stumbled back toward the door greeter who was guarding my groceries and Robert like a hawk. "That was some running," he joked,"Seriously hon, I'm glad you got your change before someone else did."

I thanked him, took Robert and started to the truck. Completely spent, I gasped like a fish out of water. "That was fun, Mommy. Do it again," Robert cheered, clapping his graham cracker encrusted hands. Yeah right, that will happen again REAL soon, I thought tiredly. Right after Barney the Dinosaur enters politics.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

All Because of a Balloon

I thought Tuesday was going to be a normal day; instead, it was filled with surprises. At the supermarket, one of the assistant managers gave Robert a helium-filled balloon weighed down by a sucker on the end of a string.

Happily, my four year-old clutched the string to his balloon as I put him and the non-perishable groceries in the car. As I shut the door, I never noticed the balloon wasn't inside the car; not until we were zooming down the interstate, and the sunshine yellow colored orb passed me with a thwat before sailing toward the heavens.

"I'm sorry baby," I apologized, glancing in the rearview mirror at Robert's shocked expression. He didn't say a word as we pulled into the parking lot of Fantastic Sam's. I helped him out of the car seat, and as we walked toward the hair salon, I wondered why he was bringing the grimy string, now absent a balloon. I soon found out.

I was signing the waiting list when Robert, his body rigid with indignation, pointed his finger at me at yelled, "Take my mommy to jail. She's a killer."

I felt as if the room was spinning out of control, and I grabbed the counter for support. Time seemed to freeze as everyone stared at me with a deer-in-the-headlight look. "Why do you say that honey?" my hairdresser, Vonnie asked, eyeing me warily.

"Do you see this?" Robert demanded, holding up the grimy string. "There used to a balloon on here, but Mommy killed it."

Everyone in the room heaved a collective sigh as they realized what Robert meant; everyone relaxed, but me. "Relax sweetheart, we all know what he meant," Vonnie chuckled as she washed my hair. Yeah, it's easy for you to relax, you're not me, I thought as my over-active imagination spun out of control.

The door is open. What is someone was passing by and only heard the "Take my mommy to jail. She's a killer." part and called the police. What if there was a murder, and now I'm a suspect? I imagined the FBI hiding in the parking lot of Wal-Mart and yelling "Swarm! Swarm!" knocking me to the ground as I walked out of the store with my purchases, cuffing me, shoving me in the car and driving away as Robert, still sitting in the basket, waved a tearful good-bye. How will John introduce me after I finished my prison term? Would he say "my wife the convict," instead of "my wife the writer"?

"You know," Vonnie said as she dried my hair and led my to a chair, "all of us here have kids. No one took him seriously."

"You sure?"

"Positive." she smiled.

I sighed and relaxed, as Vonnie, a Picasso with scissors, finished my hair. After I paid, I led a still brooding Robert out into the parking lot. "Hey mister," he called to a man walking past. "My mommy is a--"

Faster than a hummingbird can fly, I jerked open the truck door, belted Robert into his seat, and drove away, hopefully avoiding being on America's Most Wanted for a little while longer.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Ricotta cheesecake recipe and more

Hope everyone is having a great weekend. Here's the recipe I promised and a couple of other things.

Ricotta Cheesecake


2 c. graham cracker crumbs

1/4 c. sugar

1/3 c. melted butter


1 lb. ricotta cheese, room temp.
2 (8 oz.) pkgs. cream cheese, room temp.
2 c. sour cream
1 1/2 c. sugar
4 eggs
2 1/2 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 tbsp. cornstarch
3 tbsp. flour
1/4 c. butter, softened

Directions for crust
Combine the crust ingredients. Mix well and press evenly (1/4 to 1/2 inch thick) over bottom of a 9 inch springform pan. Smooth the extra mixture up the sides of pan

Directions for filling
Blend cream cheese, sour cream and ricotta together. Mix in sugar and eggs.
Mix in remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Into a generously buttered 9 inch springform pan pour batter. Put in oven at 325 degrees. Bake 1 hour. DO NOT open oven door. Turn off oven, leave cake in for 2 more hours. Do not open oven door. Cool in pan. You can use fruit pie filling as the topping, and I find the cherry works the best.


I found this meme over at GoofyJ's, and I couldn't pass it up.

What is the first music you remember hearing?

I remember listening to and watching my mother perform gospel music with her group in different places. At the time, I never understood why some people were crying as she sang, or why they all congratulated her at the end of every performance

Did you come from a musical family?

Oh yeah! My mother was a country music/ gospel singer who, a couple of times performed with Johnny Gimble. She was offered a chance to sing in Nashville on the "Grand Ol' Opery," but she was deeply in love with my father. She had to make a choice, family or a fast-paced musical career in the spotlight. Of course she chose family. I couldn't comprehend why she would make such a sacrifice until I met my hubby.

In a sense, I was a musical failure to some; they thought I would be as vocally talented as my mother, and was disappointed when I wasn't.

Instead, instruments were my "cup of tea." In high school, I played the clarinet in marching and concert band, and tenor sax in jazz band.

.Do you remember a lullaby from your childhood? If so, what is it?

I can't remember all the words, or the name of the song, but the chorus went:
I love you, a bushel and a peck.
A bushel and a peck and a hug aound the neck.
Hug around the neck and a barrel in a heap.
Barrel in a heap and I'm talking in my sleep about you

What song(s) changed your life?

Oh wow, there's a bunch. Here's 3 off the top of my head.
1. I believe by Fantasia Barino
2. Live Like You Were Dying
3. Let Them be Little

If you could have dinner with three dead musicians which three would you choose and why?

Eh, I like to live life in the present, so, being the rebel I am--after all I use tomato soap--I'll list the ones living.

1. Kenny G--His music puts me in such a mellow state of mind, and I'd love to know how he created his instrument.

2. Fantasia--I like her music, and she seems to be a very "grounded" person. I'd love to hear what all she went through before she "made it."

3. Bon Jovi--I listened to him during my wild child days, and he's a great humanitarian.

You are stranded on a deserted island. You are allowed the complete musical works of one band and its members. Which band or musician would you choose?

Kenny G.

Can music truly soothe the savage beast? If so, what music soothes your beast?

I love all kinds of music, but jazz takes the edge off if I'm ticked. If I'm extremely mad--which is rare--I listen to something like "Eye of the Tiger" as I do karate kicks on my son's punching bag.

Speaking of soothing sounds, here's a link that will take the edge off.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

She Chose Me (Completed)

Okay, I'm back. The trip and putting everything away took longer than I expected. Here's the complete story. : )

I sat like a blob of forgotten oatmeal by the window in my bedroom, watching dust particles dancing merrily in the rays of the late afternoon sun, and wondering, for the thousandth time, why life was so unfair to eleven year olds. It didn’t matter I had loving parents, a solid roof over my head, plenty to eat, and my own horse, which was more some of my classmates had; the fact was, I wanted a dog. There were dogs at my house, but these were work dogs, used for working with cattle. I wanted a dog that was solely mine; a willing body that fetched the ball when I threw it instead of walking by in cold indifference, a you’ve-got-to-be-kidding-me look on their canine faces.

The whine of a diesel truck in the drive interrupted my pity party, and I bounded like a deer through the foyer. “Mama, Daddy’s home!” I yelled as I ran outside, slamming the heavy oak door behind me. . I just have to beat those stupid dogs to the truck this time, I thought as I ran down the drive to the barn where the truck sat silent. In my opinion, even though it was far from true, the dogs were competition for my dad’s attention, and I wasn’t about to let them get to Daddy first. My legs churned like pistons, and my lungs ached as I drew in huge breaths of the nippy October air. Nevertheless, alas, when I arrived, puffing like a steam engine, there sat Daddy’s beloved white German Shepherd, Snowball, in the back of the truck. The other dogs frolicked around Daddy as he spoke gently and rubbed them behind their ears. Hey, what’s going on here? I wondered. There, shoving his huge body against Daddy’s legs was Snowball. I looked at the truck again; still seated in the back was a white German Shepherd. My heart soared as if it had wings, then crashed to the pit of my stomach. No use in getting too excited, I thought glumly, just another work dog. “So, what do you think about your new dog?” Daddy asked, untangling himself from the mass of wriggling canine bodies and walking toward me. “He’s okay I guess. He’s—“ I stopped in mid-sentence as my daddy’s words sunk in to my brain. My joy was boundless as I threw myself against my daddy and engulfed him in a bear hug. “He’s truly mine? I have my own dog?” Oh please don’t let this be a dream, I prayed.

I pushed away from Dad and turned toward the truck. “Hey boy, you’re mine!” I yelled.

The dog barked nervously, then backed into a corner of the truck bed, whining and shaking like a leaf.

“Hey, take it easy,” Daddy said, placing a calloused hand on my shoulder. “First of all, it’s a ‘she’, not a ‘he’. Secondly, this poor pup has had a hard life. It’s going to take her a while to trust people again.”

Slowly, I lowered the tailgate and sat on the edge. A lump the size of a golf ball formed in my throat as I got my first clear view of my new friend. Her sides resembled a washboard, and a pair of bat-like ears, too large for her emaciated body, were laid flat against her head. “Hey baby, I’m not gonna hurt you,” I mumbled.

“Let her come to you,” Daddy said softly, “it all has to be her decision. She’s had too many things forced on her.”

“Where did you get her? How much did she cost?”

“Nothing. I was checking on one of my crews working on the road when I saw a young man beating this dog with a broomstick. I gave him an option; either he could give me the dog, or I’d call the sheriff’s office and file a report against him for animal cruelty.”

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw the dog inching closer to me. Soon I felt the warmness of her body against my hip, and her wet nose gently nudging my hand. Hot tears rolled down my cheeks as I looked down at her and saw the hurt and uncertainty showing in her coffee-brown eyes. She cringed as I lifted my hand to pet her, but sighed deeply and rested her head heavily on my knee as I scratched her behind the ears. “It’s okay baby; no one will ever harm you again.”

“Looks like she’s made her decision, “ Daddy said warmly, a grin on his darkly tanned, weather-worn face “What are you going to call her?”

“Snowflake.” I said.

From that moment on, we were inseparable. For two glorious years, she was companion through all my adventures. Every morning she danced by my side with the grace of a butterfly as I waited for the school bus; every afternoon she was there, standing by the mailbox, her body quivering with anticipation as the bus brought me home.

One bone-chilling October afternoon, Snowflake was absent from her place at the mailbox. “Hey, where’s the pooch?” the bus driver asked as the bus doors opened with a swoosh.

“I-I don’t know,” I replied distractedly as I walked down the steps. I called her name, but there was no white blur racing toward me, no dog happily licking my hand. Instead, my mother appeared at the front door. This can’t be good. My heart raced like a car stuck in neutral, and my legs felt as if they were made of lead as I walked to the front porch.

“Mama, where’s my dog?”

“Honey come inside, it’s too cold out here,” she said, taking me by the hand.

I didn’t like how she avoided eye contact, didn’t like how she avoided the question. “WHERE IS MY DOG?” I insisted.

Mama put her arm around my shoulders. “Honey, Snowflake was in the road today, and she was hit by a car. She’s—“

I jerked away from Mama as if she were poison. “NO!” I screamed, “I don’t want to hear this!”

“She’s not suffering anymore. You—“

“You’re lying to me! How could you say such a cruel thing to your child!” I sobbed.

“I took her to the vet; there was nothing he could do,” Mama insisted as a river of tears coursed down her face.”

“I lied to her,” I screeched. “I promised her no one would harm her, now she’s dead.”

“My dear sweet child,” Mama sobbed, embracing me in a bear hug, “you didn’t lie to her. There’s nothing you could have done to save her.”

In the years that followed, there was a revolving door of dogs in my life, but I kept them at arm’s length; I was fond of them, but never allowed them to win over my heart. In my mind, there was no dog that could compare to my Snowflake, and I was unwilling to give any of them a chance. That was fine with my husband, and for years, I went "dogless".

Last October, my son burst into the house after school. “Mama, come quickly. There’s a dog in the bushes.”

Oh great, another mutt to chase off. Walking outside, I saw a dog lying under the bushes, regarding my coolly with a pair of ice-blue eyes.

“I’ve never seen a dog with eyes that color. What kind is it?” Seth babbled.

“I don’t know,” I mumbled. “C’mere fella,” I called to the pooch. . I gasped in disbelief as the dog yawned, and stretched luxuriously before strutting toward me. “ It’s a Malamute!” I proclaimed, noticing the curled tail and the coat pattern. "A dog like that belongs to someone.”

After a few calls, I found his name was “Blue,” and he belonged to my neighbor down the road. Happy to be reunited with his lost pooch, my neighbor took Blue back home. For a week, the dog came to my house, and my neighbor too him back home. Finally, after the seventh visit, the neighbor grumpily announced he was giving me the dog. “After all, it’s obvious he wants to stay here,” he said as Blue nudged my hand with his nose.

I was elated, Blue had “grown” on me, and had done something no dog since Snowflake had accomplished, he found his way into my heart. I knew Snowflake wouldn’t mind; after all, she sent him to choose me.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Just finished mowing my yard--one acre with a pushmower--and exhausted can't begin to describe how I feel right now. I'll post again in the AM. Here's a fun meme I found over on Irrugular Housewife.

Sweet-sweet (only my dad called me that)
Capone (long story)

Mother’s Name:~
Father’s Name:~

Favorite Drink:~
Only one? I have several. It's a tie between sweet tea, coffee, Coke, and vino

Yes. Well, okay it was a temp, and I put it on my ankle to horrify my mother. It worked too; she was livid. I hate to admit I wasn't a teen when I did this; it was a year ago.

Body Piercings:~
I have 4; my ears are double pierced.

How much do you love you job 0-10:~
A perfect 10

Birthplace:~ Texas

Favorite Vacation Spot:~
It's a tie between Cancun, Rockport, and Colorado

Stolen any traffic signs:~
Oh yeah, just yesterday I stole the on ramp and exits signs to the interstate. It was horriblem people didn't know if they were coming or going. NOT! Why the heck would I do that?

2 door or 4 door?~
4 door

Salad Dressing:~
Honey Mustard or Balsamic Vinegarette

Favorite Pie:~
Ricotta Cheesecake

Favorite Movie:~
Nanny McPhee

Favorite Holiday:~ I like Christmas and Thanksgiving

Favorite Food:~
Tie again: fajitas, homemade pasta and homemade sauce

Favorite Day Of The Week:~

Favorite Soap:~

No thank you. I just ate. Oh, okay. I use Colgate.

What do you do to relax:~
Play with the kids and my dog

Where do you see your self in 10 years:~
Hopefully I'll be a best selling author.

What do you do when bored:~
pick my nose. Just wanted to see if you were paying attention. I'm never really bored. Life has too much to offer.

I want to know about you now!

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Bits and Pieces

As you have probably noticed, there’s a jukebox in the sidebar of this blog. If you haven’t already, please select the Soothing Sounds station and listen to Alan’s Jackson’s beautiful tribute to 9/11.

We buried my uncle a short while ago, and ever since then, I’ve felt flatter than a pancake with no baking powder in it, until today.

Here are a few things that happened.

The other day, I sat at the computer, and tried, for what seemed like the hundredth time to get past a mountain-sized writer’s block. Part of my problem is I was completely unmotivated, the other part was, I kept staring out the window and wishing I were frolicking outdoors with my dog. As I watched, he sashayed across the yard and smelled what looked to be a rock the size of a Bundt pan.. To my amazement, the rock had a head. A tortoise! I hadn’t seen one in years, not up close anyway. In my haste to get outside, I slipped on my newly waxed floor and fell on my backside, making the pictures vibrate on the walls.

With the stealth, not the grace, of a cat, I walked up to it. I was so amused when it stuck out its Yoda-like head and blinked its little eyes as it stared coolly at me
The dog and I were so amused. We sat and watched it; which makes me think perhaps the dog and I need to get out more. We were just way too amused by that. LOL

A few months ago, we got rid of our cable. We were gone so much, we were paying for no one to watch it. For my birthday, hubby had it re-installed. I was so excited. When the cable guy, a George Clooney look-alike, came, I was outside, in the process of trying to run down a wild toddler . As he approached the porch, unknown to me, Robert slipped inside, leaving me to stand alone, totally worn out.

I greeted cable guy by saying, "I'll give you a baby for a cable box."

He gave me an odd look, and replied, "I don't think your husband would like that."

Guy doesn’t joke too well, I thought. “Come on in anyway, “ I said jovially.
A few months ago, we got rid of our cable to curb unnecessary expenses. For my birthday, hubby had it re-installed. I was so excited. When the cable guy came, I was chasing Joseph around outside. As he approached the porch, unknown to me, the toddler slipped inside, leaving me to stand alone.

I greeted cable guy by saying, "I'll give you a baby for a cable box."

He gave me an odd look, and replied, "I don't think your husband would like that."

It didn't occur to me what he meant until a few days later. The guy thought I was trying to seduce him for free cable! ROTFL

. As luck would have it, the outdoor receiver was damaged, and some of the channels couldn’t be received.

“I called the problem in, and repairs should be made within a week," the cable guy said, scurrying out the house.

I don’t know what the cable guy told the repair people, but the next DAY there were TWO very friendly repairmen in my front yard. Perhaps the cable guy shared the story with his two repair friends. I can imagine it now: Sex for Cable on the next Maury Povich.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Golden Autumn Memories

As a child, the first signs of Autumn has always filled me with a giddiness that was unexplainable. Here's more moments from my past. .

All the way home from school, I had looked out the window at the scenery as the bus jolted and bounced for miles along bumpy country roads. The trees were beginning to don their Autumn colors, and I longed to be outside, twirling with leaves that danced in the afternoon breeze with the grace of ballet dancers before falling to earth. Beside me, my cousin, also my best friend, chattered like a squirrel about a new boy in her geometry class. My gosh, doesn't she ever shut up? I wondered. Rather than hurt her feelings by completely ignoring her, I mumbled responses at the appropriate times.

I could hardly wait for the bus doors to open before I hopped down the steps and bounded, like a doe, to my house. Barely taking time to tell my mom "hello," I stripped off my school clothes, and slipped into faded jeans and boots that were as familiar as the back of my hand.

Forcing myself to walk, I made my way to the barn, letting out an Ellie Mae Clampett type whistle. A shrill whinny came from within the dark recesses of the barn, and a few seconds later, my palomino mare, Dewdrop, appeared at her stall door, tossing her head excitedly.

She was truly a one-person horse; she allowed no one else on her back but me. Oh sure, a few brave souls had tried to ride her, but within a couple of minutes, she unceremoniously deposited them on the ground, leaving them to skulk away like scalded cats.

"Hi baby, wanna go for an adventure?" I asked as reached for the latch on her door. I laughed as she nickered and bumped her forehead affectionately on my chest. A tinge of wildness colored her coffee-brown eyes as I placed the hackamore on her head; she pranced like a parade horse as I led her into the pasture. then stood pawing the ground before I vaulted onto her broad back. As if released from a slingshot, we sped off, our souls joined as one as I leaned forward and grasped handfuls of cotton-white mane as the hardened muscles of the horse surged beneath me.

The wind whistled in my ears, and tears flowed from my wind-whipped eyes as we thundered across the earth. Gradually, I pulled back on the reins, asking instead of demanding the horse slow down. Snorting in disgust, the faithful mare slowed to a canter, then to a trot, and finally to a fast walk. The afternoon was silent except for the occasional cry of the red-tail hawk, declaring his territory as he circled high overhead.

Golden round bales of hay, a contrast to the brilliant blueness of the sky, sat silently in pastures, filling the air with their fresh, slightly parched, smell. We walked among the bales, and I allowed Dewdrop to snatch a few mouthfuls of the sweet hay.

We rode into the woods, the horse's hooves muffled by the carpet last year's pine needles and leaves which lay on the ground. The sun shone lazily through the tree limbs, splaying patches of afternoon sunlight across my mount and I. Finally, we reached our destination, a grove of wild pear trees. Slipping off Dewdrop, I picked a couple of the biggest pears I could find off the tree, then offered one to my impatient equine friend. Both of us closed our eyes as we bit into the pear, enjoying the sweet succulence.

That, my friends, is why I enjoyed, and still do enjoy, Autumn. What's your favorite season? What fond memories does it evoke?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Young at heart

Around this time of year, I become as restless as a newly penned mustang. Time is creeping up behind me as stealthy as a panther; every morning I gaze in the mirror looking for gray hairs, or "laugh lines," (something I don't find very humorous.)

My hubby, who I lovingly refer to as my best friend, acts as my worst enemy during this time. "Yep, tomorrow you'll be past middle age and headed down the slippery slope toward bland runny food and a wheelchair," he gloated as I checked my reflection in the bedroom mirror.

"Aren't you the charmer?" I asked, making a grotesque face at him. "Besides smarty, I'm thirty-five, and that's no where near middle age."

"Middle age is 35, tomorrow you'll be 36; you're over-the-hill. Might as well look at yourself now," he continued, "Because in a few years everything will start sagging."

"You're a ray of sunshine," I quipped, heading out the door with the boys. I slipped into the driver's seat of the inferno-red Nissan Sentra--we rented it to go to a funeral--but not before catching a glimpse of my reflection in the rear view mirror. Great, in a few years I'll look just like one of those apple-head dolls, I thought, looking at the near invisible lines in the corners of my eyes.

As I pulled onto the highway, the tiny car shot forward like a dart, almost giving me whiplash. Ooo, this might be too much car for this old granny to handle. I owned a Ford Probe in my younger days, and the thought of a sedan doing me in was a bitter pill to swallow. In fact, I was driving a red Nissan Sentra the night of my near-fatal accident. I regrouped and enjoyed the sheer power the tiny car had to offer.

We pulled into the parking lot of Wal-Mart, and I got out of the low-slung car at a snail's pace, every vertebra in my back, a back abused by years of bucking and falling horses, screamed in protest as I straightened up.

I was in full pity-party mode, and wondered aloud if Wal-Mart would give me a senior's scooter as we tromped across a parking lot as vast as the Sahara. With age comes wisdom, but on this day it bypassed me and went to my oldest. "Come on Mom, snap out of it," Seth ordered

d, "You're not old, you look 25. Besides, you always tell me to enjoy every minute of every day"

My heart soared as if it had wings. Bless him,he's actually been listening, and I am still young, I rejoiced. I felt giddy with life. In the wine aisle, I found my favorite brand of red wine I cook with, and feeling silly, danced and sang my way down the aisle toward my cart and red-faced oldest son. "What's wrong with you? It's not like anyone else is here."

Seth rolled his head and jerked it toward a column of boxes nearby. Curious, I walked over and saw a man, a "Red Foreman" look-a-like, stocking beer in a near-by cooler. He turned and looked me up and down, a knowing look in his teal-blue eyes. "Uh. . .I was happy I found my cooking wine," I explained.

"That's good; judging by your singing, I thought you were cooked," he joked. My face as red as a Coca-Cola box, I and the boys zoomed off to another department.

You would have thought that episode would have dimmed my bulb, but it added more water into my fountain of youth. The phrase "Carpe Diem" (seize the day) replayed in my mind as I made NASCAR racing sounds while I pushed a giggling Robert in the cart. Our fun ended when a lady, who resembled a warden from a women's prison movie, parked her cart in my way.

"Vroom, vroom." I sputtered as I waited for her to move.

"EXCUSE me. Do you HAVE A DAMN PROBLEM," she roared, leaning so close I could smell the foul stench of digested onions on her breath. Her eye's glittered like a copperhead snake's, and her fists were as large as grapefruits. She had six inches of height on me, I decided this was not a woman to be reckoned with.

Instead, I smiled politely and said, "I'm sorry I bothered you; but you see, I felt I had to amuse my children." I saw her "hackles" go down as she sniffed importantly, smoothed her dress and walked away. Now I felt the call of adventure, the call of recklessness. A flicker of an idea entered my head, and I acted. I headed over to the jewelry department and purchased. . .toe rings! Not exactly acting my age, huh?

But age is what you make it, and for me, I will always be "young at heart."

BTW, I researched it, and middle age is 40.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Every once in a while. . .

The other day, I opened my pantry door, and except for a few bags of pasta and some cans of tomato paste, the shelves were as bare as "Old Mother Hubbard's". "Can't put it off any longer," I sighed.

"Put what off?" Seth asked, absorbed in the latest issue of Boy's Life.

"Going to the store."

Robert dropped the toy he was playing with, and both boys gave me a deer-in-the-headlight look. "T-That's okay," Seth stammered. "I'll stay at home. I'm old enough, remember?"

"Fine then, I'll take Robert."

Robert gave his brother a pleading get-me-out-of-this look, and Seth hugged his brother protectively. "I'll take care of him. He's too young to be tort--"

"Tortured?" I finished, raising my eyebrow quizzically.

Seth avoided making eye contact by picking imaginary lint off his brother's shirt. "Well, maybe tortured isn't exactly the right word; but you have to admit weird things happen to us everytime we go," he pointed out. "I mean, the kid asks you if we have insurance everytime we leave."

"Don't remind me," I growled, remembering incidents were displays fell on us, and other times when elderly people on scooters ran us over. "But you I want you both to go. You can be my protection, like bodyguards," I added quickly, seeing the horrified looks on their faces. "Nothing will happen."

"Better not," Seth grumbled as I headed them off to the truck. The trip to the store was uneventful, in fact, boring. No deer bounded like rubber balls across the road and tried to tap-dance on our hood, no buzzrds tried to plaster themselves to our windshield.

"So far so good,' I chirped as we entered the store. It was the middle of the week, and the monsterous store was as silent as a graveyard. I was like a child in a candy store as I found wonderful deal after deal. Little did I know what was waiting for me in the meat department.

It was the department I dreaded the most. It depressed me to see pork chops, sliced thinner than paper, selling for over $6.00. I had, for a while, like so many other local consumers, switched over to fish and chicken. The whily meat dept. manager, observing the change, raised the prices on both products. It was no hard to find a chick under $4. (Yes, I know it's the theory of supply and demand, but still.)

For some reason, I was drawn like a magnet to the pre-packaged hamburger patties. Look at the top package,
my inner voice whispered. I gasped at what I saw. There, in machine-printed black and white was the price of $.48! "No way, there's no way this is the right price. What does this say?" I asked Seth.

"It says $.48."

Still not convinced, I asked a near-by elderly lady. "It says forty-eight cents, dear," she smiled. Squinting, she looked closer at the bar code. "Oh, I see. The machine misread the weight. It only weight it as ONE OUNCE."

I was soooo tempted to take the meat and run, but being the goody-goody I am, I showed a meat manager.
"Hmm. Our mistake is your profit," he said, patting my back. I couldn't believe it.

Better yet, the meat was part of a "full meal deal," meaning the meat came with freebies. I got: cheese, sodas, buns, chips, mustard and relish for free! All for forty-eight cents!

Once in a while, everything goes my way.