Friday, November 28, 2008

Please don't mention . . .

It's the day after Thanksgiving and with the food hangover and the late night of playing cards with Republicans and all - please don't try to talk to me about things that don't interest me.

Things that don't interest me:

Traditional furniture and decor




Someone else's children's sport activities

Best Game Ever from ImprovEverywhere on Vimeo.

Holiday decorating tips

Republicans (even though most of my friends are of the elephant persuasion)

Christmas sweaters




Mommy and me groups

Semi home-made food

Chemicals that are sold as food

Fast food joints (other types of joints are interesting!)

Pharmaceutical reps (some pharmaceuticals can be interesting, but the reps . . . not so much)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Neighbors

We live on a little private lake.   I haven't met the people who live across the lake from us.  

Supposedly, there is a pastor living in one of the houses across from us.  There are also a couple of teenage boys who hang out in a row boat on the lake rolling something with their fingers, and then smoking.  Since they smoke pot, they must be the pastor's sons. . . come on . . . you know I'm right!

In the house directly across the lake from ours, live another family.  Our bedroom is on the lake side of the house.  When we first moved in it took a while for me to find the right curtains. It shouldn't have been an issue because our windows face the lake.  One night when things got a little heated in our bedroom, we were startled by a bright light shining through the window. When we looked for the source, we found it was coming from a car which happened to be parked in the driveway across the lake.  We giggled at the coincidence of the timing of the car's lights coming on.

The next time things got frisky, again the light beamed into our bedroom.  There was no way to block it out, as we still didn't have curtains.  This time our eyebrows raised as we looked at each other with the question . . . could this be something other than a coincidence? And then we shrugged it off with a, "naaaahhhh" followed by hysterical laughter as we thought about why anyone would be interested in us.

Well, after the same scenario happened with the light at least 287 times, we started feeling creepy about the perv across the lake.  One time when I was trying on dresses for an event, again with the light.  Now, we know our pet perv also likes pretty dresses.  That's where we drew the line.  We decided it was time for curtains.  

So, we have to ask ourselves how does he know when is the right time to turn on the lights?  Is he looking across the lake through the windows with binoculars?  How can he see when it's dark?  Does he have some sort of infrared binoculars?  A dress loving perv with spy gear????

Every now and then when things heat up in the bedroom, and we least suspect it . . . BOOM, we're in the spotlight again!  But . . . we have our secret weapon for the dress-loving, spy gear perv . . .  it's the highly technical spy gear deterrent known as . . . curtains!!! 

Friday, November 14, 2008

So you think you can dance, really?

I'm so sorry to all you reader out there who were anxiously awaiting the next part in the terrible cocktail party stories series that has hit the internet like a really slow and lonely turtle.

I just had to write about what we did not do last night.

Background - I used to be a dancer. Not one of those tippy toe dancers, but a real dancer at a performing arts school. I even had a teacher who used to dance with Debbie Allen. That's how close to the big time I was. I'm talking BIG TIME. I'm talking touring on an old school bus through rural Pennsylvania's school gyms circuit hugenormous BIG TIME!!!

So, when I discovered a little TV show called So You Think You Can Dance, I had to check it out. After all, Debbie Allen was on it, and she might want my opinion as a big time dancer. I have to be prepared for these things and take the responsibilities of a big time dancer seriously.

Here's what I did not do.

I did not buy tickets to the lame live tour they did around the country. I did not wait anxiously with a special software counting down the hours on my computer until the live show. I absolutely did not drive all the way over to the lame-o arena to see the show with my husband and kids, and I certainly did not watch the entire show while screaming at the top of my lungs. I would have had to stop screaming when security was called over to carry me out of the arena, which did not happen.

I did not wait for an hour and a half after the show behind the barricades with hundreds of screaming girls for the cast to come out and sign autographs. That would be too uncool for a former dancer in the B-i-g T-i-m-e!

I also did not get autographs by pushing through the waiting throngs of girls - that would have been a bad example for my kids, and I did not take pictures of those small time dancers with my cell phone. I mean, they aren't big-time celebrities, so what's the big deal, anyway? Just to set the record straight, I did not drool or drip any saliva on Will.

And Will, that was NOT me casually practicing my petit jetes, and grand pirouettes and then falling on the pavement as you passed by, hoping you would notice what an awesome dancer I am. Because, just so we're clear, I usually don't fall!! Really!!!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Terrible cocktail party stories, part 3

The third story I shouldn't share in public but do anyway


This one goes back before the 'fruitful story' period of European travel. This one takes us back to that most favorite time in our lives - high school!

My high school had a tradition for the senior football players at homecoming. Each senior player would be presented a plaque on the field at half-time. Each player would ask a female to 'sponsor' him, and she would be the one who handed him the plaque on the field. They would also have a picture taken for the yearbook. Generally, the football player would ask his homecoming date to be his sponsor.

My senior year I had this sort of 'pet' guy who followed me around and always asked me out, and I always told him I just wanted to be friends. He asked me to Homecoming, and I had been taught that you graciously said yes to the first person who asked, so I was going to Homecoming with him whether I liked it or not. He was also the class president but not a football player.

One day before homecoming I was sitting in my Advanced Comp class, minding my own business, reading Audrey Rose under my desk when the vice principal/head football coach came to the door of our classroom and called me out. When I stepped out in the hall, he immediately let me know 'we' had a problem.

He proceeded to tell me that Barry (Obama) was planning to ask me to be his sponsor. Uhhhh . . . okay, I stammered. I felt flattered and embarrassed and confused. We often send a friend to ask for us in high school or to see if someone likes us, but not a teacher or a coach or especially an awkward vice principal coach. He continued with, "You have to say no!"

"Why?" I asked.

"Well, he's black and you're white," he said seriously, as if revealing a secret.

"I noticed that," I said, "so what's the problem? I already have a date for homecoming."

"He already has a date, too. He is just asking you to hand him the plaque at the game and have your picture taken together for the yearbook. But, this is a problem. Our school is not ready for this. You have to promise me you will say no when he asks you."

"I can't make any such promise," I said, feeling the butterflies in my tummy as I imagined Barry asking me himself.

"You have to say no. You go home and tell your parents. They won't let you do this. Are you ready to get bricks through your windows and see a riot here at our school?" he asked with the true concern of a man who had seen violence.

"My parents are not prejudice. They would be proud of me. This is not about a relationship. It's me standing with him on the football field," I defended.

I went back to my seat with the feeling I had done something wrong and the butterflies still floating around with a secret I now held. I waited anxiously for Barry to ask me. I tried to walk close to the football players' locker room to give him an opportunity. It never happened. I never knew what happened, but someone else stood on the field with him at homecoming, and her skin was the same color as his.

Okay, it wasn't really Barack, it was Johnny Greene. But, it could have been him if only . . . I had gone to school in Hawaii, and if he had played football instead of basketball and . . . if I were a couple of years older and if only . . . we had been friends.

Johnny, I so wish for a chance to talk to you without the awkwardness of the coach in between, so I could find out what really happened on your side. . .

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Terrible cocktail party stories, part 2

Another story I shouldn't share with others -
How pathetic is it that most of my stories come from a 2 month period in my life when I was in my early 20's?

While me and my girls were touring the European side of life, we happened upon Salzburg, which is one of my all-time fav-o-rite cities that I have visited ever. One of those people on the trains told us to check out the salt mines in Salzburg (which means salt mountain, by the way).

So, we waited for the train that would take us on the hour ride to the little village where the salt mine was. We rode on the train for an hour, then finally made it to the salt mine. We donned the white suit customary for these occasions. The mine itself was anticlimactic, the suits were funny and the slide at the end was fun.

Worth the trouble and time to get there? Not sure.

When we left the mine, we were really hungry, we were faint from hunger and a bit thirsty. We knew we still had a walk back to the train station and then a wait and then another hour back to Salzburg before we could find food. So, we dragged ourselves through the streets of the tiny village, sniffing around for any trace of sustenance, but smelt none.

We walked past a non-descript building and heard loud music pouring all around. There was no sign indicating it was a restaurant, but we were so hungry we didn't care. We tentatively walked to the door, unsure what we were doing when a young guy greeted us on his way in. He asked if he could help us, quickly establishing that we were English speakers. We asked if this building happened to be a restaurant. He told us that this was a town meeting hall, and that the music we heard was the celebration of the village after a 'futbol' (soccer for us folks) game between the town musicians and the town fire brigade. He then said, "come on in and join us!"

So, we followed him through the building onto the back lawn where there were tables full of drunk Austrians and and musicians playing folk music with accordians and whatever other instruments they use. The tables were covered with large glass beer steins filled with beer and plates piled with some sort of meat - roasted pig? roasted horse? roasted American tourists?

Somehow, the word spread that we were Americans, word travels fast in small towns. We were given our own plates of meat and large beer. Then, a young girl came over with a small wooden barrel attached around her neck. She slammed three shot glasses full of liquid down in front of us. What is it? "Schnapps," she shouted above the oompa pa's.

Hey, I love peppermint schnapps, peach schnapps, any schnapps except melon (another story I shouldn't tell) is cool. A free drink to go with the beer and the mystery meat, which I was trying to not eat without suspicions arising. "Why not!"

"Prost" klink of glasses with the young guys now sitting around us and "Aieghhhhhhhhggggghhhh!" That is no peppermint schnapps. That stuff is like what the frat boys used to pour into the punch in the bathtub - everclear . . . moonshine - wicked stuff that burns a whole in your insides. A few minutes later she came back, bringing us another round.

"No thank you," I whispered politely over the accordian music. "Oh you have to take it - it's been paid for and it is not polite to refuse in our culture." This is a scene that would continue throughout the night. I tried to fill up on the small slice of bread accompanying the meat, in order to soak up some of the alcohol that was now being forced on me.

Then, the mayor (burgermeister) of the village stood to make a speech. He spoke of the game that was played, blah, blah, blah and someone kindly translated in my ear. Then, he spoke of the honored guests that have come this evening. These honored guests have come such a long way, they have come from across the ocean . . . in America. . . It's us!!!

Then he asks the musicians to play a song in honor of the honored guests.

The band strikes up a song we all know, and we are asked to stand and sing along with the band, When the Saints Go Marching In, as if it's our favorite song ever. The band continues playing while marching and circling the gathering. We are escorted behind the procession so that everyone is watching us and clapping for this honor they have bestowed on us.

Is this the part when they lead us to a fire pit for roasting?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Terrible cocktail party stories

Stories I tell that I probably shouldn't because they're not that good:

When I was a young spring chick fresh out of college, I took a trip to Europe with two girlfriends. We had a flight into London, a flight out of Amsterdam and a Eurail pass for in between. We also had a book called, Europe on $25 a day. The exchange rate was awesome that summer.

We met many young people on the trains doing the same thing we were doing. We always asked the people we met on the train, where they had been, what they had done, what they recommend we do, and of course if they wanted to buy us a drink. Several of the people we met recommended that we go to Baden Baden to the roman baths while we were in Germany.

So we did.

We spoke absolutely no German at this point (other than guten tag and ich mochte ein bier). We found our way to the roman baths and paid the few dollars it cost to go through. We started in a locker room on the ladies side and stripped down, then moved on to the first room which was some sort of salt pool, then on to the sauna, then another plunge pool, then a soap massage by a massive german lady, then to the steam room and then to a mineral bath. While my one girlfriend and I lounged in the mineral bath, our other girlfriend was still in the steam room.

Suddenly, a partition next to the pool opened and in ran many naked men. We had no idea, but at a specific time, the bath became coed. We scrunched down so that the water was up close to our necks. We crossed our arms tightly over our chests, since, as you may know, water is clear. The worst part was that our other friend was still in the steam room and had no idea that she would be opening the door in all her glory to a pool full of ogling men. A fellow with an Australian accent approached us and tried to start a conversation with, "have you ever been in a mixing pool before?" We were mortified, but not as mortified as our friend when she opened the door to the pool and saw the splashing and roughhousing that only a group of boys can bring to a pool. She elegantly walked the length of the pool with her head held high and nothing but a grim smile.

This story is okay for Americans, but europeans generally just nod politely as if waiting for the punch line. They don't get the absolute horror rendered on a young girl who was taught all her life that it is not appropriate to show certain parts of your anatomy in public and then to suddenly show those parts to perfect strangers (actually, these strangers were far from perfect).

The picture below is more like the public baths we were used to - notice the overt use of a bathing suit!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008


When we arrived home from the trip abroad (without any luggage), I discovered 3821 messages on my answering machine from crazy politicians. One call was even from Newt Gingrich!!! EEEEEeeeeeeeeeeeeeewwwwwwwwwwwWWWWWWWW - how did he get my phone number? Now I have to change my number so Newt, the stalker can't find me.

I know the old saying, but somehow I just discovered in the last 8 years that it's really better not to discuss politics with newly acquired 'friends'. Especially if you live in the south and especially if you are in the homeschooling community and especially if you are not leaning to the extreme far right! I also discovered the hard way that you can't convince extreme right leaning homeschool parents who tell your kids that the dinosaurs lived with Adam and Eve that there might be other, different political options.

I am actually a registered independent, but have voted against Bush in the last two elections. I didn't care if Micky Mouse ran against him. How ironic that he made the 'evil doer' label so well known. What would an evil doer do? Start a war where thousands of innocents die? Destroy a country's standing in the world? Run up huge debts? Crash the economy? In a conversation with friends from Germany, they compared our government to the old East German stasi - spying on all their citizens comings and goings.

My husband voted first today. Only he can get away with calling me from the voting booth to ask me what these propositions mean that we are voting on. Oh, honey, it can't be THAT bad. Just read the words and put them together - you can do it!

When I go and look at the screen, I am suddenly eating my words. I don't know if I say 'yes' to the proposition - am I voting to spend take money from the school system to build roads or to pay $90 million for a park?

Then I notice that 80% of the positions I am voting on have these two options:

1) John Doe, republican

2) Write in

That's the beauty of living in the south. You get unlimited choices - you just have to write them yourself!

There was a cute kid in front of me getting ready to vote for the first time. Perhaps I'm not the only one here leaning away from the right. Youngsters are supposed to be pro Obama - right? Then I watch him leave the building, put on his trucker cap and climb into his big pickup truck with the gun rack, confederate flag and 'W' sticker.

Oh well . . .

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Paris' Revenge

Paris got revenge for the cloud I left (see Warning, Stinky fog . . .) .

When we flew back from Nuremburg to Atlanta, we flew through Paris once again. However, our flight from Nuremburg to Paris was delayed, and we had to run the Charles de Gaulle maze to barely catch our flight back to Atlanta.

Of course, none of our lazy bags (checked in Nuremburg) were willing to make the mad dash. So, we arrived in Atlanta with no luggage.

I deserve it, Paris. Now we're even. I am here in Atlanta without my toothbrush OR my deodorant.

I'm prepared to take the high road . . .

Paris, the stinky fog was my fault. I'm sorry. It won't happen again.

Can I have my suitcase back now?