Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Texas Flag Quilt

Kyle and I have been wanting a Texas Flag to hang in our spare bedroom. I imagine it hanging in Kyle's office one day, or in our son's room. So, Dad let us have one of his Texas flags that he got when he was stationed in San Angelo, and when I told Kyle that it had actually flown over the capital, he was pretty impressed. Mom and I spent a few hours yesterday making the flag into a quilt to hang on the wall. That way it has a little more softness and home-like feel to it.

I started with a white sheet.

And of course, a Texas flag.

A new haircut doesnt hurt, either.

I used leftover burlap ribbon to make three loops at the top to hang it from.

Then I hung it from a curtain rod to see if it will hang right. Can't wait to see how it looks on our wall at home!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Making a Texas Christmas Wreath

Since I have fallen in love with a Texan, I have wanted nothing more than to fill our home with things that remind me of him and his cultural roots, which I plan to give to my children one day. (the roots, that is).

So here is my Texas take on a Christmas wreath.

I started with a naked wreath. $4 at Christmas Tree Shops

Of course, I had to have a Texas star. $4 at Michaels. (It was actually made at a shop in Irving, Texas. So I felt good about my choice).

Next, I chose a rick-rack ribbon with an irridescent shimmer. This is to wrap around the wreath. $2 at Michaels.

As for the ribbon for the large bow at the base of the wreath, I selected a burlap ribbon with some awesome detail and texture to it. It's definately not your typical Christmas ribbon. $3.50 at Michaels.

The final touch was a set of jingle bells with a more brushed metal look to them. I didn't want the bright, shiny colors; rather, I found something more country. These were the most expensive item, but since I only used 12 on the wreath, I have eight left over, which I intend to hang on my tree with twine. $6 at Michaels.

The part that took me the longest was the large burlap ribbon. I had never done one before, so I YouTubed it. Here's a close-up of the wreath all finished.

Monday, October 24, 2011


Ohmygosh. I just loved today. It counted as a work day, but I went to a class at a Holiday Inn in Orlando for a foodhandler safety course which lasted many long hours. However, it did not last nearly as many hours as a usual day at my crap job, so it was awesome. Reasons why it was awesome:

1) I wore my argyle sweater. I love! my argyle sweater. It's comfy and gray and purple and adorable, and I don't wear it to my crap job because I could get crap on it. Which leads me to my next point.
2) There was no food there! The proctor of the class apologized for the lack of food and said we would have a lunch break to go get something to eat after the first three hours of the class, but I loved the fact that there was no food. I hate food. I'm around it all day! And it tends to soil my sweaters. Ah, glorious foodlessness.
3) I got to make posters, like in high school. We were given our pick of colored markers and giant pieces of paper and were told to draw visual aids of different food-borne illnesses from the videos we were watching and being tested on. I was the ONLY one enjoying myself. And my partner was sort of quietly giggling at my artistic endevors, so I think he enjoyed himself too. But I drew a jaundiced cook and a shrimp with hepatitis A, and presented them to the 'class' after which no one applauded or even cracked a smile. But I loved it. I think I get it from my mom, the fact that I could have cared less if no one else loved the activity. How often do you get paid to make stupid posters?

Okay, so afterwards when I got home, Kyle took me shopping to Hobby Lobby where we bought a star for our Christmas tree. Then we had dinner and I ordered STEAK! and the best cream spinach (and only) cream spinach I have ever had.

It was an awesome day. And tomorrow, I work the day shift, so I get to be home in the evening like a normal American woman.

And I mentioned to Kyle the other day that I had always imagined that when I was married I would have a vanity to set up beautifully and keep my girly things. So he bought me this! and hung my antique mirror above it. (ignore what you see in the mirror, it is currently the ironing room.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Awesome day off

Today was awesome. It started with bible study then lunch by the beach. Then we went bike-riding around downtown Titusville. We got some awesome use out of my new camera!

Look what Kyle bought me :) hahaha

My handsome hubby on the dock :)

The day ended with swimming and dinner at McDonalds :)

Friday, September 23, 2011

rough road

I tried to blog a couple times while I had a cast on my arm, but one-handed typing is exhausting and frustrating. So, I always gave up. But now that the cast is gone, I have to work on flexibility, and flattening my wrist enough to type is a great exercise, so here it goes.

Where to begin. I have been studying Romans at my womens bible study on Wednesdays, and in my alone time, I have been reading about Paul's thorn, which he asked God to remove from him 3 different times. But God left that thorn in Paul's life, whatever it was--physical ailment, bad relationship--it's not specified. But every time I read the description of a thorn, I think of my current job situation. It drains me, it causes me to lose sleep, it makes me feel inferior and lost and scared. I know none of these feelings are from God, so that means Satan is supplying them, right? So why does Satan have such a hold on my life right now? Why can I walk around work smiling and greeting people with my outgoing personality, then cry myself into exhaustion every night at the thought of going back?

It's a rough road I'm on, and Kyle is right there with me. He sees (and is forced to hear) my pain, and he is growing into a wonderfully supportive husband as a result. He has a tendency to brush negativity off with sayings like, "That's life," or "It's a job, it's supposed to make you miserable," but when I told him how much those things make me feel hopeless, he has really risen to the occasion. The other night was especially horrible. I couldn't get work off my mind. It was also my day off and I had just had my cast removed, so my doctor had said that I needed to take a bath and work out my arm underwater. So while I was having a meltdown at 10 o'clock at night, Kyle ran me a bubble bath and put votive candles all around it. He really doesn't want me to feel this way, and niether does God. So I just have to remember that this is my thorn, and as much as God wants to remove it, and my husband wants to drown my sorrows in a bubble bath, I have to remember that when I am ready, God will remove me from this rough road. And until then, I will try to be the best version of myself.

On a positive note, I bought my plane tickets to go to Texas for the birth of my niece. Four whole days of my three favorite things: Texas, sister(s) and traveling will be a much-needed break from the mutiny of my thorn issue. And after that, I have Thanksgiving to look forward to, for which I will be traveling to Georgia! I know that the remaineder of this year will fly by. Living day off to day off really eats up the weeks and blends them into a mushy memory of "what just happened??" And today is my day off, so I plan to get my nails done, orgainize our dvd collection, and make boring calls to my insurance providers.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Location Guilt

I feel guilty for living in Florida quite often. Doesn't that stink? The other night I left work around 1 am and thought, "I'm 6 or 7 miles from the beach right now. I should go and listen to the waves." But you know what I would rather do at that time of night? I would rather go home to my sleeping husband, eat a sandwich and watch Netflix until I settle down. That sucks! So many people go their whole lives never seeing the ocean, never smelling the salt and letting the sand burn their toes. I love the beach with all that is in me, but by the time I have packed my bags, driven there, set up my towel and sun-blocked myself, I feel like I could have done a million other more important things. I promise myself that when school is over (in 2 weeks) I will go to the beach on my days off from work. Two whole days each week to spend doing things like taking pictures with my graduation present (a nikon D3000) and tanning and cleaning and reading my bible and praising God with my guitar.

If someone came running up to me today and said, "It's terrible that you live this close to the beach and don't go every weekend!" I would throw my arms up and say, "I know!" But on the other hand I know that feeling guilty about this is silly because it's not like I sit around looking for something to fill up my time. I sit around filling my time wishing I could empty it a little bit. So, there you have it. My location guilt. Now back to writing a critical comparison/contrast essay on a common theme represented in African American literature.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

manager in training

Ever since Kyle decided not to join the army, I have been in full-out work mode. Good thing for me, I have God on my side and he put all the pieces together to have my boss offer me a full-time salary position at my current restauraunt job just a few days after Kyle dropped the bomb about dropping out of his pre-committment to the army.

Today was my first day of manager training, and I'm pretty sure that my favorite part about today was not having to wear my bowtie and apron. I wore a nice purple tailored shirt and black dress slacks. And all my work friends called me "Manager Cara" and laughed at me. I'm so excited to finally be changing and moving up. The benefits and all the positive aspects of this job are really in the forefront of my mind right now, so I'm very optomisitic about the future of this job. This weekend Kyle and I are moving into our new TWO BEDROOM apartment, which will be a nice change from our NO BEDROOM studio apartment that we are living in now. Work at 8 in the morning and once again I didn't get my homework done tonight. What's new? Six more weeks and I will be a degree-holding, restaurant-running, awesome apartment-renting woman!


Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Anniversary Video

A Year

Yesterday was mine and Kyle's 1-year anniversary. We spent the entire weekend celebrating, though. Here is how our weekend transpired.

Saturday morning we left bright and early for Walmart where we got gas and a tire gauge to make sure my tires were ready for a 2.5 hour trip. When we got to Tampa around 10 am, we went straight to Busch Gardens and bought our tickets. They have a deal where you buy a one-day pass for $77 and you come back free for the rest of the year. We rode ride after ride and ate our smuggled sandwiches (because we would rather eat normal-priced food on dates and pass up $15 chicken fingers and corn dogs). The check-in time for our lovely Sheraton Suites hotel room was at 3pm, so that's when we left the park with plans to return the next day. We unloaded our baggage, showered, jumped on the amazingly soft bed, explored the hotel which had rivers and water-falls flowing through its spacious lobby, then we decided to find a place for dinner. Here's where we made a mistake. We used the Yellow Pages App on my iPhone to find good Mexican Restaurants in our area, when it turned out that Yellow Pages sucks because certain restaurants aren't appropriately labeled "In the Ghetto" when they truly are in the Ghetto. So we drove fifteen minutes through the wrong side of town to find that the plaza where Yellow Pages suggested we eat was a scary area and the restaurant had been closed down long ago because there was no sign of it. We drove back to the hotel, our blood sugar dropping by the second, and tried driving in the other direction without the help of Yellow Pages. After passing a few strip clubs I saw a Dillards off in the distance...a Mall!! "People like me shop there!" is what I shouted as I sped through its parking lot to see a Macy's and all the other normal department stores that a mall has to offer. When we got through the mall there was even a Tiffany & co! I have never seen such beautiful rings, except the one on my left hand. Our GPS told us that this mall had a Cheesecake Factory in it, and sure enough there was a whole out-door dining city outside the foodcourt complete with a pub, a trendy music restaurant with a hip-hop performer, a Champps Bar and Grille, which is where we ate that first night, and a few other adorable restaurants. We decided to save Cheesecake Factory for the next night when we were actually gonna exchange our anniversary cards and get all dressed up. So the next day was a typical day at a theme park. We slept in and didn't reach the park until around noon and left around 5 to go on our fancy date to where I got Chipotle Spicy Chicken Pasta and Kyle had Shrimp and Chicken Gumbo and we ordered a slice of Adam's Peanutbutter Cup Cheesecake, which also included Butterfinger pieces and caramel in the center. Yum! Each night was capped off with lying bed watching cable on our giant flat-screen tv. We have a new fave show--parking wars. We watched like, 3 hours of it that night after hanging out in the hotel lounge for a hour. By the third day, we checked out of our hotel around 8 and got to Busch Gardens just as it opened. We were able to ride 4 rides without any lines, and then we left for Orlando where we went shopping and had lunch and Kyle even surprised me by taking me to my favorite diner where I ordered my peanut butter and chocolate shake ane he ordered his vanilla malt. It was a perfect weekend filled with fun and a ton of sleep. I knew it would all go by so fast and that I would be sad when it was over. That's why I took pictures!

This picture was taken just before we left for the scary Mexican restuarant that didn't exist.

Kyle and I before our special date where he made me cry with the love-note he wrote me.

Our Cheesecake

Our delicious milkshakes

Monday, April 18, 2011


I like to blog every now and then for my own sake. To go back in time and read about a time where I felt like the mole hill before me was a mountain and realize that it really was a mole hill is, well, fun.

Today I had my last advising appointment. I read the three little words I have been working toward for four years. They were in type-writer font at the top of my degree audit and they were: "ALL REQUIREMENTS MET."

That means I have either taken, am taking, or have signed up to take everything I need to graduate. And it feels good. But not too good. Now is the time to panic. I have to put together two portfolios of the work I have done this semester. One nonfiction, one fiction. I have to create a "published" book from the short story that mom wrote, and I have to ace my Spanish final. Tonight I watched Tangled and got nothing done. So, I guess tomorrow is the time to panic!

But on a non-school note, we got our lease extended until November so there is no question as to where we will be living after August arrives. Even though things are changing all around me, I feel like I'm watching it all from the sidelines and haven't been swept up into the madness yet.

Here I come, madness.

Friday, April 15, 2011

It's Official

One weeek ago, Kyle joined the United States Army. It all happened so fast, that other than the fact that he talks incessently about the Army, it doesn't quite feel real yet. Today he drove 3 hours north to Georgia to get a free dental check-up from his step-grandpa who own his own practice up there, rather than pay $200 for a check up from the local dentist. Everything is in preparation for boot camp these days. I can't believe it's still 7 months away.

In a couple of weeks school will be over and we'll start summer classes. Kyle will finish his associates after taking biology and an elective and I will have my B.A. The living situation is giving me a headache lately. We lose our lease in August and Kyle doesn't leave until November. What to do? We're going to ask our landlord if he will extend the lease until the end of the year, then I will just stay with Mom and Dad until boot camp is over. But if the landlord says no, which I suspect he will, then we will be looking for a short-term option. "Live with your parents!" is what everyone tells me. But I feel that we would be imposing on their burdenless existence by sluffing all of out belongings in and invading their space, not to mention that Kyle and I aren't used to abiding by anyone's schedule except our own, and it's quite a strange schedule. We stay up late watching movies and eat dinner at 9 o'clock at night. I work until the wee hours of the morning on weekends and he wakes up at the wee hours of the morning all week. We would drive my early-to-bed-early-to-rise parents bananas. Eh, I give up for now.

It's official. Life is about to get difficult.

Monday, March 28, 2011

I had already poured the milk...

Today was one of those Mondays that make people hate Mondays. Maybe if every Monday was sunny yet cool and everyone got a paid vactaion from work and babies didn't cry and keys didn't disappear at the worst possible moment, maybe then Mondays wouldn't get such a bad rap.

But today was a Monday you hope to live to tell about.

This weekend we house-sat for mom and dad while they were on a youth retreat. Sunday night at 10 o'clock I checked my school email to find a brand new email sent 20 minutes prior from the professor of my Monday morning class. It said, "Be sure to do the reading, we may have a quiz." (That means there will be a quiz without a doubt). Realizing that I had left the necessary book at my apartment, I resolved to wake up half and hour early and go to my apartment to get it, do the reading and be on time to ace my quiz. But Monday had other plans. I stayed up too late because I was wired from the weekend. Kyle woke me up at 7:30 and again at 8:30 to chat, and I was an angry monster when I woke up. I couldn't find a shirt to wear amidst the mess of our poor packing skills. And it was raining. I got into my car to go to my apartment. When I pulled into my apartment and pulled out my keys, I noticed my key ring was broken and one of my house keys had fallen off. I emptied my purse hoping it had fallen off in there. No such luck. Thankfully Kyle showed up 20 minutes later to get his truck so he could load up all of the clean laundry and food we had left at mom and dad's. But now I had no time to do the reading. When I got into the apartment, the book was nowhere to be found. We searched everywhere and I cried out of frustration.
"This is the worst Monday ever!" I cried into Kyle's shoulder.
"Sh*t happens, Boo," he said, lovingly. "Your teacher will understand that you had a rough morning and can't take the quiz."
"I don't want her to think I'm a bad student. The quiz is only worth 5 points but it's the principle."
So, I drove to school and about 10 minutes out of town I got a call from Kyle.
"Hey, I found your book. It's here on your dad's desk."
Great. It was at my parents' house the whole time. Wow. Hello, Monday.
School went decently. Oh, except that I walked in flipflops through the puddles and spent 20 minutes meandering through the parking garage trying to remember where I parked. I got 3/5 points on the quiz, which isn't terrible considering I am an A student otherwise. But when I got home from school is when the crap started again.
"The building manager said we've been having power surges and there's nothing they can do to stop them. That's why our milk went bad early last week and my alarm clock keeps unsetting itself," Kyle told me as I walked in the door, soaking wet from having forgotten my umbrella.
I tried to make a grilled-cheese sandwich, but the stove was having so many surges, that it took 20 minutes of grilling it on high to get the bread slightly browned. And another gallon of milk had gone bad over the weekend. Thankfully it was only partially filled. Oh, and I bought yogurt on the way home. Yummy. That'll rot in a few hours.
"Oh, and the internet is down do to the surges, so you can't do any homework," Kyle says.
Wow. I called mom and dad to ask if we could stay at their house until the power was back on but it came back on after a little while and I was appeased.
I guess the day rounded itself out when I fell asleep and missed the delicious salmon Kyle made so I resorted to the last bowl of Golden Grahams. As I poured the milk, I reached into the drawer for a spoon. No spoons. By the time I wash a spoon, the cereal will be soggy. Then there will be no more Grahams and I will have to eat generic cheerios (Honey spooners).
"There are no spoons?" I asked.
"Not if you didn't do the dishes."
"Why is it only me who can do dishes?"
"It's not. It's just, you didn't wash any, so there are no spoons."

Thankfully Kyle bought me a slice of Pizza at our fave pizza place then we snuck it into a movie that was very funny. (Paul, the one about the alien) Now Kyle's sleeping, I'm doing homework that I put off because the day was so horrible I didn't want to make it worse by having to think, and I am very glad that today is over.

Oh, and the printer is out of ink so I can't print out my assignment that makes up 75% of my final grade. Yippeeee!!!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Night We Were Babysitters

Every time I tried to upload pictures from Christmas onto Facebook, the uploader would take hours then freeze up and quit. But now it's the last night of Spring Break 2011 and probably the last quiet moment I'll have for a while and I'm putting them up. But here are a few from the night we babysat while the Koper sisters went on a double-date.

Nolan spend the entire time watching our movie and bowling in the hallway, also he almost fell asleep in Grammy's arms. I guess all those pictures are on mom's camera. But here are the ones that we got.

Here's Jack eating what was supposed to be Nolan's dinner, but we tried with little avail to get Nolan to eat lots of things in his food group. But Jack was willing to help!

Here I found Gabby and Jack laying down with uncle Kyle. Before they saw the camera, they were both sucking their thumbs and Kyle was chatting with them.

Here we are trying to take piggy-back pictures, but uncle Kyle isn't at his best.

This one turned out nicely.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Peninsula Island

Today is the first day of Spring Break for me (Kyle's isn't unti the end of the month) and I can't help thinking about the fact that I would usually be going to visit Holly this week. Last year I didn't because she was coming down in May for my wedding and she came down with Nolan in the spring, so I didn't feel like I was missing out.

But this year, with graduation coming up and the natural expenditures of wedded bliss, I am unable to convince Kyle that it is important for me to go to Texas this week. And though I am very happy for the week off, I do miss the times where I hardly spent my money on anything other than plane tickets to visit my sisters. There was Spring Break, Summer Vacation, Thanksgiving and Christmas. We had some really awesome times, my sisters and I, when I would come out to visit flying solo. I hope those days aren't over yet. Maybe next Spring depending on what job I have, I can come visit everyone.

Just feeling cooped up lately. This town is so small, and I live on a peninsula that feels more like an island. Maybe it really is breaking off from the continental US and floating out into the Atlantic. And no one has noticed yet. Well, I have.


Tuesday, February 22, 2011


The duties in my life cover a giant bulletin board in my mind.

In my previous (single) life, the bulletin board was made up of school. In each corner, a different class. This class--writewritewrite. This class--study, email professor, post discussion. It was all school.

In my current life, all of the school stuff that used to pretty much make up my entire internal bulletin board is pushed to one corner. Now there is school in one corner, my husband in another, my house in the other, and then my job.

School-still important. Maybe more important because I finally acheived 4.0 status as of last semester (becuase I got two B's my freshman year and one my junior year) and I want to keep that up this semester, my last. However, it's hard to focus on school when I haven't spent any downtime with Kyle, scooped the kitty litter, packed Kyle's lunch, done the dishes, paid the online bills. There is so much more to life than school, I am realizing.

My house--Yeah, Cara, don't you mean your tiny apartment? Well, my house gives me a lot to do because I always want it to be clean and organized. If I walk in and smell something funky, I will find it and clean it until the house smells the way it should--clean. And there's no cheating with Febreeze these days. I use chemicals. I cannot get in bed unless things are in their places.

Husband--this is obvious. He works twice the hours I do and goes to school, too. He deserves someone to do the little things for him. Lay out his work clothes, pack his lunch, cook a nice dinner and now and then force him to stop talking about money and school and just sit down and watch mindless television. "Honey, go pick out one of your aciton thriller-straight-to-dvd-knock-off-of-original-that-doesn't-even-star-the-action-hero-from-the-first-movie-movies and let's watch it together and eat popcorn." He needs that and so do I sometimes. Bad Boys II... not recommended. XXX II...any action movie starring Ice Cube is an immediate "no." mm-mm, no.

Work--My job never really mattered to me as far as money because I lived at home and new if I ever got sick or had to take a sabatical, mom and dad would help with my car payment and gas money. I mean, I'm a great employee and have never done anything to get into trouble. Don't subscribe to local drama and never upset the guests. But now I work for the money. I don't turn down tables or go on breaks. I don't argue when I have late nights on the weekends because I know those are the weeks where I'll make great money. It has really become work for me and not simply a place I have to be 20 hours a week. I guess the change for me, why it's suddenly more important than before is the fact that now I am contributing to something. I'm helping and it feels good.

I just had to relfect, release some pressure building up in my mind. Now, at 1:03 a.m., I will begin my homework.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Moving day

It smells more like a hotel than a home. It's a mirror image of our old apartment. It's our new apartment.

This week started wrong. A year ago, our landlord said "if you guys need more than a year, we'll rent to you month-to-month after that." However, on Saturday we found out that he wants us out by March 1st so he can use the unit for business. We spent Saturday evening freaking out and by sunday found our option. Our landlord's brother had a unit two floors down and would rent to us for the five months we needed. So in order to give ourselves time to clean the old place before mid terms, we moved today. Kyle helped for an hour and a half between school and work but the rest of the time it was me taking a shopping cart up the elevator, filling it, bringing it down, emptying it, then making another trip. Tomorrow all I need to get is the Internet stuff, printer and dishes.

Today was the longest day I have had in a while, and in reflection, I would attribute that to the fact that I basically decided this morning that we would move today. I thought, "I will have the electricity turned on for Thursday and we'll move then." but when I called the electric company, the man said no one ever shut the electricity off. So, proactive me thought, "why wait?!"

Pros? Bigger fridge. Remember how the old one crapped out and the new one was doll-sized? Yeah we got the big daddy in this unit.
More pros? Remember the fussy newborn across the hall? The yippy dog next door and the party boys two doors down? No? Well we are one of four units occupied on this floor. All childless and old. Ah, the pros:)
The previous tenants left all their touch up paint and cleaning supplies and the windows and ac unit are properly sealed. Go team!

The cons? The cons. There is no rod in our closet to hang anything from. Oh wait, there is but it's a two feet long tension bar that wouldn't hold ten baby shirts. Also, Stoney is hiding.
It's a day that is so exhausting to the body that the mind can't catch up.
And it's over.

Sunday, January 23, 2011


I'm actually going to start posting some of my writing assignments as blogs--that's what the Fah-Fah post was all about. Kyle and I don't do anything interesting enough to blog about, but some of these assignments have to do with interesting goings-ons, so enjoy! Here is my homework that is due Tuesday. The assignment was to listen in on a conversation and explain the setting in detail. Mine happened accidentally, of course.

Everything is wooden—the walls, the floor, the shelves piled to the wooden ceiling with knick-knacks, and then of course, the tables. It even smells woody in here. But it begins to smell more like spiced candles and fried food the further I walk. It’s a Cracker Barrel somewhere between Miami and Melbourne. Clutter. Round candies in mason jars, giant pecan-nougat rolls, John Deer paraphernalia, old-fashioned bottled root beer, stuffed animals wearing human clothes, hats that will never be worn (except when my mother talks my dad into trying a few on) and giant checkers on giant checker boards. A plump brunette wearing an oxford shirt in a flattering gray-blue color under her brown apron is smiling with her fingers laced in front of her stomach as she greets us.
“Hi! How are you doing this evening?”
My mother replies as if trying to match the hostess’ chipper tone. “Fine! Thank you for asking.”
My dad is parking the car and my husband has stayed with him. Good thinking. But now I can’t find my mother. I worked at a Cracker Barrel six years ago when I was a sophomore in high school and never could find a good enough reason to come back. Yet here we are. Over the speaker they’re playing a canned rendition of a bluegrass song. It literally sounds as if someone is singing into a tin can—a song about someone named “Bo Jangles.” And my dad sings the same line about this fellow, Bo Jangles all throughout dinner. My mother covers his mouth with her hand and laughs. There’s no music playing in the restaurant portion of the Barrel. A medley of voices and forks scraping plates and ice clinking in glasses is the music instead—thank God. My dad spends the meal—when he’s not singing about Bo Jangles—talking about the number of stars on each server’s apron. While my parents are in line at the register when the meal is finally over, I make my way to the bathroom before the last leg of our trip begins. We don’t want to have to stop with only an hour or so left on the road.
The bathroom is bright. A blue glow from a flickering fluorescent bulb casts an unkind light on the already unforgiving surfaces of the white countertops around the sink which are covered in murky puddles of water. The silver soap dispensers are caked with pink suds. The sink is stained brown around the drain. The music is louder in here and that song about Bo Jangles is on again—or still, maybe. I would rather hold my bladder for an hour. The only stall available is the middle of the three. I kick the pale door in with my cowboy boot to see a toilet that looks as if it hasn’t yet been abused by a careless patron. But the germs are invisible, I know. As I latch the stall door with the very tiniest tip of my left pinky finger I noticed the shoes on the right side of me. They are shiny, gold and strappy, stretched over wrinkled toes and a taupe-colored toenail polish. I suspect the feet belong to one of the women of the Red Had Society. On my way to the restroom I saw them finishing their meal at a large table on the far wall by the hostess stand. Now the women on either side of me seem to know one another. I listen.
“I’m going to try one of these and see if I can flush it down the toilet,” the one on the left says, sounding just as old as the feet to my right look. I have no idea what she’s referring to. I am afraid to wonder.
“I tried three and dropped the first two into the toilet just trying to get them out,” says the one to my right.
I imagine the two women fumbling with the crepe-thin toilet seat covers and relax as I come to understand the conversation I’ve now been thrust in the middle of. A loud noise comes from the left stall. I cringe.
“Oh, excuse me,” says the left stall.
“Oh, it’s okay. I did the same thing earlier,” replies the stall to the right.
I’m glad to have missed that.
“Well I haven’t gone all day and now that we’ve been here I’ve gone twice,” says the left stall.
“Well, you know how it goes. Once you start you just can’t stop.”
“Yeah, you’re right.”
I burst out of the stall and wash my hands as thoroughly as if I could wash away everything I’ve just heard.
My family is waiting at the front door by the country music c.d. display and my mother and I run to the car, screaming about the chill in the air now that night has fallen, leaving our husbands jogging to keep up.
“Don’t worry mom,” I say, looking over at her in our sprint to the car. “I’ll warm you up with the conversation I just heard in the bathroom.”

80's movies I love

I have been brainstorming birthday ideas and I thought, "what could bring life-long joy to me and my family?" And I got it. There are a few 80's movies I adore. Why didn't I think of this sooner? Here they are, starting with the most awesome.
1. Pretty Woman

2. The Breakfast Club

3. Dirty Dancing

4. Working Girl

5. Ferris Bueller's Day Off

6. Big

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


I know exactly where it is. I could be sitting 1,000 miles from that tiny, crammed apartment. But I could still tell you exactly where to find it. We have a lot of stuff in our one-room, one-closet home. In the closet there’s a washer unit I don’t know how to use, there’s my husband’s Easter basket from last year that my mother insisted on buying “her Easter-basketless son-in-law.” I’m getting warmer. There’s a trophy my husband won at a horse-shoe throwing competition. It’s appropriately made out of horse-shoes. A tiny horse-shoe man throwing an even tinier horse-shoe. Where do you get such a tiny horse-shoe? Where the heck am I supposed to put this thing? And then there it is.

It is my childhood blanket. Its name is “Fah-Fah.” Or is it? Was Fah-Fah a name or simply a word followed by “my” from back before I knew how to say the word “blanket”? I don’t know who gave it to me how long ago. I could call my mom and ask. The name still stands. Within the last few years I remember my sister asking me, “Do you still have your Fah-Fah?” Yeah, I do.

When I’m holding it, still folded in my arms, I’m afraid to turn the halves into a whole and look at its faded entirety because I know what I’ll see. It’s thin. But it was always thin. It wasn’t designed for warmth, I don’t think. But now when I hold it up to the light I’m almost sure I could read through its faded white background. I see the bright yellow trim where there are now only faded beige outlines. Tweety Bird holding his pastel-colored balloons is only a faded injustice of what he was my entire childhood. And when I run my polished fingertips over the split in the bottom right-hand corner I am back in that summer evening. Or was it summer? It was warm and the yards were green and the wide, black street was clear enough for a bunch of us kids to be having a race on it. On overseas Air Force bases every kid knows each other. Or at least they think they know. I don’t know about Navy or Army bases. My sisters and I had the best wagon on the block, a Radio Flyer whose red metal bed was far from its rusty days to come. There were at least two neighborhood kids being pulled vigorously in the wagon, one sitting on my Fah-Fah, its lemony-yellow corners fluttering in the wind we were making for it. I was at the rear pushing with everything my six-year-old arms and back and chubby legs could give. I think my older sister was pulling. But too suddenly our race or whatever we were driving that Radio Flyer so fast for seemed childish, the way most games do when someone gets hurt. Fah-Fah was stuck in the wheel and wrapping tighter and tighter around and around before I screamed, “Stop!” The awful sound I had heard only moments after I could have stopped it was the sound of a five-inch rip being torn in the corner of my blanket. It sounded over the whoops and hollers of my playmates. It struck me right in my 6-year-old heart. I shoved the wagon on its side. Looking back, I’m hoping I didn’t tip the wagon over while my friends were still inside it. I pumped my legs as hard as they would go toward my house, Fah-Fah under my arm. I am sure there must’ve been a distinct smell of fresh-cut grass, so green in my memory. Inside the house I remember my mother sitting poised on the edge of the couch with a needle (already threaded, of course) in one hand and the other extended for quick deposit of the injured patient. But I know that’s not really where she was. She was probably on an important phone call or baking something sweet or, knowing my parents, she was making out with my dad somewhere. But eventually she was sewing. Her bony, pale hands with the translucent and soft skin revealed every vein in her hands. Watching her hand move with the needle I probably could have learned how each bone moves almost freely to get one job done. But I only cried. My barely-older sister, her round cheeks pink with excitement, stuck her blond head in the front door while my mother was still operating and asked, “Awe you coming back to owah game?” Of course I wasn’t. “No,” I had whined through tears. No I wasn’t. Inspecting the stitch now, 15 years after, I want to call my mother up and tell her what a good job she did. The top stitch closes the gaping hole without much noticeable stitching, and on the back is where she gathered the ripped material and used her sewing machine to do a tight stitch. She did this so that the front wouldn’t look torn—so that I wouldn’t notice it without careful inspection. I’m not going to call her. Because despite her best efforts it is the one spot I think of when I hold it in my arms like a broken and brittle antique. But I'm glad.