Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Snatch You Bald Headed

Katie and I were putting a puzzle together yesterday. Each time I would pick up a piece and start to put it where I thought it should go, she would pluck it out of my hand and put it in the right spot herself. I pointed out to her that she was doing this and she apologized.

I jokingly told her, "If you do that one more time, I'm going to snatch you bald-headed."

She looked at me in complete bafflement and said, "Snatch you bald headed? What does that mean?"

"It means we'll have a kicking, screaming girl-fight where we roll around on the floor and I pull all your hair out."

She grinned and laughed.

Then every so often for the rest of the time we were working on the puzzle, she would randomly chuckle and say to herself, "Snatch you bald headed."

It's amazing how a common insult when I was growing up is now a quaint amusement to a ten year old. I could tell she was filing that one away to pull out and use later.

It made me think of other sayings I heard people use when I was growing up that I never hear any more.

These are a few:

He jumped on that like a duck on a june bug.

It came up a frog strangler. (That's south Georgia for "It's raining really hard.")

You are educated beyond your intelligence.

Bless your heart. (Usually means, "You're so stupid.")

Honey. (Means, "Stupid.")

All things considered. ("She's doing well, all things considered," means "She's probably doing the best she can, considering her husband's worthless, and she's having to work overtime to support his sorry butt." Basically, "She's not doing well.")

Some people have more money than sense.

Some people have more money than taste.

Her taste is all in her mouth.

They treated me like a red-headed step-child.

Happy as a pig in slop.

Holler like a stuck pig. (We have a lot of pig related references.)

Steppin' up into high cotton. (moving up in society)

I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off.

A big ol' hoo ha. (a party)

You look like you've been rode hard and put away wet.

You look like you've been drug through a hedge backwards. (Usually a reference to your hair being really messy.)

We've just been chewing the fat a while. (Sitting around talking)

Lick your cat over again. (This means you didn't do a good enough job the first time and you need to try again. I once got a perm in my hair and when my mother picked me up from the hairdressers, she took a long hard look at me as we were heading home and said, "I think I need to take you back there and tell that hairdresser he needs to lick his cat over again.")

Scuba Diving

Kerry and Ben went scuba diving the day after Thanksgiving.

I always love to see the photos when they return.

It's like seeing another world.

Or another planet.

Or just seeing our planet from a different perspective.

Watching this Eagle Ray swim along is fascinating.

Two Moray Eels telling everyone to stay away!

Monday, November 29, 2010

A Letter From The Past

On Sunday, as we were leaving the house heading for church, I noticed a letter in the mailbox. Apparently, whoever brought in the mail on Saturday missed an envelope and it caught my eye as I was locking the door. I pulled it out, noted it was from my mother and hopped in the car.

I opened it as Kerry started driving and pulled out a letter. It was written by my father when he was eighteen years old. It was note to his mother to thank her for his birthday gift. It says:

Dear mother,

I thought I would write a few lines to let you know I got my birthday present. I was proud to get it. But I bet you wouldn't guess in a year what I did with it. I bought Daddy some medicine to keep him from drinking. I paid $5.50 for it. You have to put it in his whisky for it to do any good. We tried some and it made him so sick it put him to bed for a while. He didn't drink any for about a week and then he started back again and we haven't been able to get any more in him......Leon Jones has quit drinking and Daddy has been running around with him and hadn't drank any in over a week now. We hope he will quit. He hasn't got a job yet but he has been trying hard to get one.

There is more to the letter, but these were the lines which hit me the hardest. I started crying in the car and poor Kerry didn't have a clue what was wrong. He must have thought I was getting some devastating news from home. I couldn't talk and he was trying to pat me with one hand and drive with the other.

I finally managed to choke out that it was a letter Daddy had written as a teen. He died three years ago and reading a letter he had written was like getting a little piece of him back again.

Also, just knowing that a teenage boy took his birthday money and used it to try to help his father quit drinking just breaks my heart. As far as I know, his father never did stop drinking. He died when I was a child and I don't remember him at all. But I've heard stories.

It's wonderful to see something he wrote, and it makes me miss him, too. I wish I had more of his letters and pictures of him when he was young. There is so much of his life that I never knew.

Friday, November 26, 2010


We always go to the mess hall for Thanksgiving. I know, I know. You're thinking of "Gomer Pyle" or "Mash" and the unidentifiable glop they used to slap on their trays.

Well, this is not your father's mess hall.

For one thing, it is now referred to as the DFAC (that's the acronym for Dining Facility).

For another thing, the food is fabulous. Not just "at least I didn't have to cook anything" fabulous, but "why don't we eat here all the time" fabulous.

They provided so many more choices than I could have cooked at home. There were king crab legs, shrimp, prime rib, ham, turkey, ribeye steaks, and fish. There was a long line of hot vegetables where I asked for a giant helping of collards because I don't make them at home since I am the only one who will eat them. There was a potato bar with all the fiixns' and a salad bar. There was probably a desert bar but we were all too full to look around for it.

Plus, we had to leave and run to another Thanksgiving meal with our church family.

So, I did cook after all. I took ham, green bean casserole, deviled eggs, dressing, and I signed up to bring a desert, but had a disaster in the kitchen with the brownies and decided they were too ugly to serve on Thanksgiving (although we are still eating them at home).

My green bean casserole is always a huge hit. It has mushrooms, water chestnuts, bacon and cheese in with the usual ingredients and the fried onions on top.

Ben took one look at it and declared, "This looks like it will be delicious once I pick the green beans out of it!"

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sleepy Katie

Katie has a hard time waking up in the mornings. I've found that when I try to get her up early, 9 times out of 10 she will fall back asleep once I've left her room. Fortunately, since she doesn't have to meet a school bus or be in class before the bell rings, this isn't often an issue. I can just go back in and wake her up again every five minutes until she's really awake. I'm her own personal snooze alarm.

I've found that the best way to get her to really be awake is to hold a conversation with her. If I just walk in and tell her it's time to get up, she may respond to me, but she isn't really awake and won't remember that I ever came in and said anything to her. I generally have a running monologue from the moment I enter her room, telling her everything that we have planned for the day and what she needs to do to get ready.

This morning, the kids all had early dentist appointments; sleeping late was not an option. I went in Katie's room, flipped on the light and started chattering. "We have dentist appointments this morning, Katie. I need for you to get up, get dressed, brush your hair and brush, brush, brush your teeth." She didn't open her eyes, but she flapped a hand at me which lets me know she's on her way to waking up, but if I leave the room now she will fall back asleep and have no memory of this.

I sat on the edge of her bed and jiggled her a little, "I really need you to wake up, sweetie. We've got to be on time. Did you pick out your clothes last night? Do you know what you're going to wear today?"

"Sunglasses and a toothpick," she replied groggily.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Trouble in Paradise

Kerry and Ben were marching with their scout troop in the Veteran's Day parade so the girls and I went to watch.

We went an hour early to make sure we could get a parking spot and a space to sit along the street. My friend Kim and her kids met us there. We set up our chairs behind some other families and chatted while we waited for the parade to start. We saw some other people we knew and we all visited and had a good time.

Then the parade started and everyone stood up and pressed forward to see the show. The family in front of us had spread some cheap beach mats on the ground and Katie stepped over them to get up to the street so she could see. Her legs weren't quite long enough and her foot landed on the edge of the mat as she crossed.

And the dad of that family went ballistic.

The jerk

He started yelling and cursing at her, calling her a "#@%!ing haole". (Haole - pronounced howlie - means white person.) I didn't see what was happening, I just heard the man cursing so I stepped forward and looked at him and said "Watch your language, there are kids here!"

At which point his wife turned on me and started yelling at me. She was yelling at me and Kim that we were trying to get in front of them. Kim looked at her and said, "Seriously?" I said, "We aren't trying to get in front of you, we are behind you. We're just standing here." The woman pointed at Katie and I saw that a neighbor of ours named John had stepped up to Katie's defense. "Is that your family?" she snarled at me. "That's my daughter and she has every right to step up and watch the parade," I told her. I tried to keep as calm as possible because I didn't want this to escalate into physical violence. I could hear the man still shouting expletives and threatening to fight. John, thank goodness, is a tough soldier and wasn't backing down one inch.

The woman continued yelling at me, "If you wanted to be up front, you should have gotten here earlier!"

She turned her back when I tried to take her picture.

"We did get here early, but you all stood up in front of us when the parade started and she had to step forward to be able to see."

"Shut the $@#! up!" she said over and over.

At that point, I looked down at Katie again and she was gone. I looked in every direction trying to see where she had gone and then I took off in search of her. She had run around the corner and thankfully Emily had gone after her and was hugging her when I found them. Katie was sobbing, "That man swore at me! I want to go home!"

I got her calmed down and told her that we were not going to let that horrible family spoil our day. Two separate local women who had seen what happened came over and told us, "Some people are so prejudiced. I'm so sorry they did that to you."

We moved back up to the street and watched the parade and I pointed out everything fun to Katie. Someone handed her a balloon and someone else handed her an American flag to wave and she started to enjoy herself. But honestly, I was shaking like a leaf.

John told me later that when Katie had run off, he told the man, "Well, you made a little girl cry - are you happy now? Do you feel better?" Then John came over to Katie and said, "We should go make some more friends Katie, we seem to be good at it." That gave us a good laugh.

I didn't tell Kerry and Ben until the whole parade was over because I was afraid they would go after that man with a vengeance. The first words out of Ben's mouth were quite in favor of going back and kicking some serious you-know-what.

I keep thinking about what happened. It's the first time I've ever been treated that way since we've been here. I know there are locals who don't like that white people are here and they resent being part of the United States, but that's the first time we've had direct experience with it. What really bothers me is that he took it out on a little girl. If he'd really wanted to take out his anger on a white person, there were certainly plenty of them around who were bigger than she is.

Sir, if you had come to my home state, you would never have been treated like that. If your child (who was younger than Katie) had wanted to step up front to see a parade people would have gladly let her up there. If you don't want to be around white people, then you should probably stay home. And one more thing............

Shame on you.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Father Daughter Dance

The last time Kerry took the girls to a Father/Daughter Dance, they looked like this.

This time, they looked like this:

I love that Katie is now wearing the dress Emily wore two and a half years ago.

Katie almost missed out on this dance. For some reason, she was in a "mood" while getting ready. One of Emily's friends had fixed her hair for her, and she decided it was "uncomfortable" and brushed it out again. Then she wanted to wear makeup, but complained that I got shadow in her eye and the lipstick felt weird. Then she had an issue with the pantyhose (which she had insisted I run out and buy earlier in the day) and wound up taking them off entirely just before heading out the door - at which time she also decided she didn't like the shoes she was wearing and switched to a different pair. We all had steam coming out of our ears by the time they left. Kerry warned her that she was this close to not going.

They had a very good time, but wound up coming home early because "every other song" was Justin Bieber. My girls are not JB fans.

I'm trying to upload a video of Kerry and the girls dancing, but my computer is not cooperating, so if I can get it to load tomorrow, I will!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Awana Lessons

Tonight was my worst night at Awana ever.

I teach the Sparks, which includes Kindergarten, First Grade and Second Grade. Tonight, I was teaching a lesson about Joseph (he of the fabulous coat and jealous brothers; not Mary's husband). I was trying to make a point about how Joseph's brothers must have felt about their father having a "favorite" son.

I went to Gabby, one of the older girls in Sparks, ahead of time and explained to her what I wanted to do. "I'm teaching a lesson about how Joseph's brothers must have felt when Joseph was the favorite son. I'm going to call you up front and tell everyone that you are my favorite and how special you are, and then I'm going to act like I'm giving you special treats, but it's all just an act and to teach the lesson. Okay?"

She was thrilled, and asked me about six times how much longer until she got to help me with the lesson.

Finally, her big moment came. I called her up in front of the class and told everyone that Gabby was just really special, and that she was my favorite Sparky, and that she was the best Sparky.

At which time, Gabby's younger sister Mattie- who is also in my Sparks class - became enraged and screamed, "That's not true!" and threw her jacket over her head so she didn't have to listen any more.

I told all the Sparkies that I was giving Gabby all the cookies which normally went to all of them and that she would get lemonade while they all got water.

Then, I asked them how they felt about all of this and compared it to Joseph and his brothers. I very carefully explained that they are all my favorites, and they are all wonderful and that we should all share, treat each other kindly, and not do anything to make others jealous.

Then we all lined up to go have our cookies.

Mattie promptly walked up to her older sister Gabby and whacked her on the arm. Then she looked at me and yelled, "You're mean! You said mean things to us!"

I had to sit Mattie down and explain to her that she hadn't listened to the whole lesson and I re-explained to her that I love them all equally and that it was just an object lesson (like we have every week).

Then as we went to get our cookies, I found Gabby incensed that she wasn't getting all the extra cookies I had told her she could have. I reminded her, "Remember before the lesson tonight when I told you that I was going to act like I was giving you extra cookies and lemonade? Remember how I told you it was just going to be pretend and that I was just joking?"

She pouted her way back to her seat. A few minutes later I saw another leader talking to Gabby, who had dissolved into tears. I walked over in time to hear Gabby wail, "She said she really liked me and then she said it was just a joke!"

I had to sit down with her and explain again, "Gabby, I do really like you. That part wasn't a joke!"

"You like me better than all the other Sparks? I'm your favorite?"

"You are all my favorites," I replied. "I like you all the same!"

"But you said I was special," she wailed.

"You are special! You're a very special girl," I told her.

"More special than anyone else?" she asked.

"You are all special, Gabby. Remember how we learned in the lesson that it isn't nice to have one favorite person? It would make everyone else feel bad if I thought you were more special than anyone," I explained (again).

"But I really am THE BEST Sparky," she snapped.

The worst part was, I had this conversation over and over all night. Gabby really wanted me to tell her that she was the best in the class and that I liked her best and that she was the most special girl on the planet. I told her she had beautiful eyes, I told her I liked her hair, I congratulated her on being so smart. None of it was good enough. She was aiming for the top spot.

I eventually had to go find her mother and tell her that I had upset both her daughters and that if they told her on the way home that I was mean and a liar, then I was really sorry.

If I were being graded as an Awana leader, I think I would have failed tonight.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

It's All Semantics

Emily made a comment that Katie didn't like.

"Ow!" Emily wailed. "Mama! Katie punched me!"

"I did not," growled Katie. "I poked her really hard with my knuckles."

Tuesday, November 2, 2010


I voted today! I get very excited at election time. I haven't been terribly pleased with the way things have been going government-wise and I adore the opportunity to get out there and get my vote counted.

If you have the ability to vote, but choose not to, don't let me find out about it. I will go on for hours about your responsibilities as an American citizen. If you are choosing not to vote I had better not ever, ever, ever hear you say one word about the government, the war, gun control, abortion, gay marriage, taxes, the school system, the roads, or even litter. You have given up your right to have an opinion. Every. Vote. Counts.

Unless you are a liberal. If you choose not to vote and you are a liberal - party on dude.

I had my first Hawaiian voting experience today. My polling place was at the National Guard Armory. I drove over immediately after leaving the gym. I was hoping to avoid the crowds but I went prepared with a book to read while I waited in line.

I drove up and immediately spotted the sign declaring that this was my polling place. I turned in, but saw a sign saying "NO POV'S BEYOND THIS POINT". Hmmmm. Well, I was driving a privately owned vehicle and the sign said "no", so I U-turned out and headed for a park-n-ride across the street. Then I had to walk back across the same street which was extremely close to the on-ramp of the highway. I skittered across between cars and headed up to the nearest building.

It was locked.

I headed back over to the "polling place" sign and read it more carefully. It had the word "gym" on it. I looked around for something that looked like a gym. My only option was to head through the fenced off area which had the "NO POV's" sign on it. Through that fence was another fence which had signs on it declaring that if I passed that way I would be trespassing on government property and would be prosecuted.

I turned to the right and entered a courtyard area, hoping to see someone who could point me in the right direction. There was not one person visible. I seriously considered leaving. I was ticked off that no one could put the voting booths in a visible place, or put signs pointing the right direction. But I feel very strongly about the importance of voting (did you notice?) so I stayed. But it did make me wonder if there might have been others who left in frustration.

I trekked back out to the "polling place" sign, read the word "gym" one more time, then took a deep breath and walked past all the signs telling me not to enter, and finally spotted the voting booths.

I politely informed the folks in charge that the number of signs telling me NOT to come this way made it very difficult to locate them. One of them mentioned that they had noticed the handicapped people huffing and puffing by the time they arrived with their canes and walkers. They went to look at the signs and mentioned covering them up or putting up new signs pointing the way.

I voted. I took my sweet time too. I read every bit to make sure I was understanding the full question and filling in the right box. No hanging chads for this gal.

Fifteen minutes later as I left, I noticed no signs had been covered, altered, or added. All the nice folks were sitting back at their tables. One of them was looking at me as I walked by and he did not return my smile.

But I voted anyway.