Archive for the ‘Lisa’ Category

I Don’t Even Know What to Title This One

Sunday, January 24th, 2016

Friday night is usually movie and pizza night for the family, unless T. and I have plans. This week, we were supposed to go out to dinner with friends for my birthday. (44. My God. But that is a post for another day.) Instead, the weather interfered and we stayed home and watched documentaries (Muscle Shoals and History of the Eagles) with our friend Terri. (If you haven’t seen Muscle Shoals, you need to immediately – my third viewing was as great as my first. Parts of it actually give me goosebumps.)

On Saturday, we decided to watch another movie. Tills spent the night out, so we watched with R. He’s 12, so we can watch a little more with him than we can with her. We usually pick movies out and run them by Common Sense Media. (A great site that tells you exactly what subjects are in a movie.)

We didn’t this time, and we probably should have. T. and I had both seen The Perks of Being a Wallflower before, and I read the book. R. had already read The Fault in Our Stars, so he has read some stuff with more mature subject matter. We didn’t remember anything particularly questionable in the movie The Perks of Being a Wallflower, except that I did remember it had the subject of child molestation in it. I said, “Well, we can discuss that with him, if he even notices it.” I don’t think he did notice it in the midst of all the other OH GOD I FORGOT ABOUT THIS PART stuff.

Within five minutes, it was going something like this:

[Main character sees his older sister being smacked around by her pony-tailed boyfriend. She begs her little brother to not tell their parents. She says she can handle it.]

Me: “You ever see anything like that, you totally tell your parents, you understand me?”

R: “Okay, mom.” [Rolls eyes.]

[Movie references blowjobs.]

R: “What’s a blowjob?”

Me: “Uh, let’s watch the movie and we’ll explain later. You will probably want dad to explain it.” [I smirk at T.]

[Characters drive through a tunnel and one of them stands up in the back of the moving truck.]

Me: “Do not EVER stand up in the back of a moving truck.”

R: “That is so stupid. Why would they do that. Stupid.”

Me: [Oh my god, thank you for him thinking that is a stupid thing to do.]

[Kid in movie takes three brownies at a party, proceeds to get really, really high.]

Me: “Never take brownies from someone at a party in high school. People put marijuana in brownies sometimes.”

[Later, at another party, kid takes a hit of acid.]

Me: “If someone has a piece of paper at a party, don’t put it on your tongue.”

R. looks at me like I’m off my rocker.

Me: “People put hallucinogenic drugs on pieces of paper. Like LSD.”

Me: [Why the hell are these people letting their freshman kid go off with these seniors all the time?]

Interestingly, R. had a full understanding of and zero questions about the gay characters. The only part that we had to explain was that in the year that this movie was set, it was probably harder to be a gay teen, it was less accepted, and that is why the gay football player hid it from his Dad and schoolmates and why his dad beat him up, and why the kids got in a fight in the cafeteria. I’m taking this one as a win and a pretty awesome thing that he didn’t question much of it and didn’t realize that parents might not accept that a child was gay.

He did at one point ask if Charlie, the main character, was crazy. Charlie does try to kill himself and he ends up institutionalized, but in the end he gets help. We told him to watch, but that some bad things had happened to Charlie (his friend committed suicide – only mentioned in the film, but not shown as part of the story – and his aunt molested him and then died in a car crash and he felt responsible for that). But I think all of that went right over R’s head.

There were also some teens kissing and a little groping, and in true Palmer family tradition, T. and I sang “The Bear Went Over the Mountain” during those parts.

At the end of the movie, I got a little misty, because I actually really like the movie and loved the book. I asked R. what he thought and he said, “It was kind of boring.” Which T. and I laughed about later, because usually if R. really finds something boring, he will get up and walk away. He was tired and it was late, so I told him good night and to let us know tomorrow if he wanted to ask questions about the stuff in the movie.

Today, all four of us met my sister Lisa, nephew Dash, and my mom for lunch. Tiller got a little upset at the restaurant about having to leave for her girl scout meeting before getting her dessert. (My sister eats there at least once a week and we know the manager by name, and he gave the kids free dessert.)  So, Todd left to take Tills to her girl scout meeting, and R. and I rode back with mom, Lisa, and Dash to Lisa’s place. I drove Mom’s car, because I was going to drop them all off at Lisa’s, then go look at records. I said something about T. crying at the dinner table.

Mom: “Well, she is getting hormonal. I expect she’ll start her period before long.”

Me: “What? No.”

Mom: “I started in 5th grade.”

Me: “You did?”

Lisa: “Anne and I were both late. We were 14.”

Me: [sigh]

Dash: “What’s a period?”

Rollie: “Yeah. What’s a period?”

Dash: “You don’t know what a period is?”

Rollie: “Well, I know about the period at the end of a sentence.”

Me: “Rollie, you didn’t learn about periods at Fernbank when you learned about puberty?”

Dash: “What’s puberty?”

Rollie: “No.”

Me: “It’s also called ‘menstruation.’ They didn’t talk about that? You just learned about male puberty? It’s kind of like when you get hair under your arms and on your genitals. Except girls also menstruate.”

Dash: “Oh, that puberty!”

[Mom, Lisa, and I bust out laughing.]

Me: “Rollie, I’ll explain later, okay?”

Rollie: “Okay. You also need to explain what a blowjob is.”

Mom, Lisa, and I exploded in laughter. I was lucky that I was in the parking lot of Lisa’s condo at that point, because I just put on the brakes and cried laughing. And, of course, Mom and Lisa had no idea how the subject of blowjobs even came up in the first place. We tried to pull ourselves together, and I finally told them all to get out of the car.

Mom: “No, Annie, I’d really like to hear you explain this one.”

I turned around in the car and wiped the tears out of my eyes and looked very seriously at Rollie.

Me: “Baby, you know I love you, right?”

Rollie nods at me.

Me: “Please trust me when I say that you do not want me to explain this to you in front of your cousin, aunt, and grandma. Okay? We will talk about it tonight, okay?”

I managed to get everyone out of the car and when I got home, I told Todd he definitely needed to have that discussion with Rollie sooner than later.

I swear, I really don’t know what I’m doing with this parenting thing sometimes, but I always feel that honesty and openness is the best path. That being said, I’m super glad that T. will be explaining this one. Although I kind of wish that I could see video of R’s face when he hears what it is, because that is going to be comedy gold.

And So We’re Told This is the Golden Age

Friday, January 1st, 2016

I often have grand ideas about end of year posts, New Year’s posts, the marking of the passage of time, and what it all means. This isn’t one of those posts.

I stayed up until 3 am with friends. I slept late in a bed fit for a queen. I awakened to coffee and bacon, and no hangover. I visited my sister and drank a cup of coffee with our families and dogs. I talked and laughed at a bar and drank a pitcher of beer with my best friend (spoiler: also my sister) while waiting on takeout barbecue, black-eyed peas, and collard greens. It was okay that this year I didn’t make them myself. I met my first stranger of the year, a sculptor named Nate who goes by Hugh, and I hit the jackpot and brought home a brown paper sack full of beer bottle caps for my son’s bottle cap collection.

I stuffed myself on beer, bbq, prosperity, and good luck while watching a movie with most of my favorite people. I am terrible about seeing movies in the theater. I always find other things to do, or to spend my money on. Even when they are on Netflix, it takes a while to get around to seeing them. So, for instance, I saw Grand Budapest Hotel in the theater, but had not gotten around to watching Moonrise Kingdom. Honestly, Lisa, Todd, and I were going to watch Love and Mercy (I was going to invite Kristin to come over and bring Danny Noonan the puppy!), but the sound was messed up, so we settled for Moonrise Kingdom.

Two things: First of all, I love Wes Anderson movies, but I find them completely overwhelming from a sensory and nostalgia standpoint. I find myself constantly distracted by thoughts like “I really need to wear more mustard and khaki,” or “I miss smoking,” or “Holy crap! My parents had that ashtray with the plaid beanbag bottom!” or “That’s totally what Tang packaging looked like when I was a kid!” or “If I were pregnant right now? My kid would totally be getting a Moonrise Kingdom-themed nursery!” Then I have to reign myself back in to even pay attention to what is going on.

Secondly, I had to watch it, because a few folks told us that our son was like Sam in Moonrise Kingdom. We spend a time or two a year yurting with friends. In the fall, we go to Fort Yargo (in Winder, near Athens) and spend a weekend on a peninsula. We have our own canoes. And now that the kids are all older, we slap lifejackets on them, send them off in the canoes, and pour a drink on dry land. This past October, our kids exercised their freedom in the natural world. And my son was a lone trailblazer. He would wake up and before I had finished my coffee, he was out in the canoe, shirtless at times, heading for the beach across the lake, all by himself. He wanted to be in that canoe by himself. He wanted to feel that quiet that you get in the middle of a lake by yourself, and to go somewhere that no one else is, and where none of your people can see you. We hear tell that he beached the canoe and swam by himself. I guess I am a terrible parent for letting my kid canoe out of my sight across an acre or more of lake, and for letting him swim unattended, but I think our kids never have enough time alone exploring nature, so I am willing to chance it. As he headed off numerous times that weekend (I think he may have done 3 or 4 trips out alone on the lake by himself each day), our friends commented that he was “like that kid in Moonrise Kingdom.” I knew enough of Anderson’s movies to know that might be a compliment, but it also meant, well, he’s kind of weird, but then the apple doesn’t fall from the tree. So, I was looking forward to finally seeing the movie to see a glimpse of what others were seeing in my son.

I saw it, too. His curiosity, independent streak, desire to explore, need to be and do things alone, and his innate craving to be in nature. I’m okay with the comparison.

After, Lisa and Dash went home, I decided to write while listening to my new records. Todd bought me a few albums: Elvis Costello’s This Year’s Model; Squeeze’s 45’s and Under; U2’s Under a Blood Red Sky; Prince’s Prince; Simon And Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits; Joni Mitchell’s Hejira. (The Joni Mitchell album deserves a post all it’s own, but I’m working up to that one. Still thinking on it.)

I put on U2, because I’m obvious like that. Rollie sat down next to me with his Sherlock Holmes book, and he let me play with his hair. (He’s 12. I don’t get to play with his hair much longer, so I’m trying to take advantage of times like that.) We talked about U2, and we looked at the album cover, and I showed him photos of Red Rocks online.

I wrote some more while he read at my side. He asked if I would play “Cecilia” and I said “Yes, but we’re listening to the whole album.” His two favorite songs right now are Simon and Garfunkel’s “Cecilia” and Metallica’s “Enter Sandman.” It is not lost on me that this is fucking awesome. I told him how much my mom loves Simon and Garfunkel, and how much I love them, and how we would listen to Simon and Garfunkel on 8-track, and when “The Boxer” came on, I told him that one made me cry, and he said “why?” and I told him to just listen to the album, and one day it would make him cry, too. I didn’t tell him that it is a sad song on its own, and it reminds me of mom, and makes me feel like a little girl, or about my friend telling me that his father loved the song and one of his kids played it for him on his deathbed, but I thought it all, because I think it’s beautiful in the way that only a classic song can be as it infiltrates our memory and thought and intersects with bits of our lives like a puzzle piece.

Todd has since asked if he can watch Black Mirror, so the music is off and the tv is on. The cat is snuggling up next to me on a blanket and the dog is asleep in the chair next to me, and we’ve cleaned up spilled prosecco by turning over the wet cushion to the ugly ripped side.

All of that is pretty much what life is like in general. We turn over the cushion to the more comfortable side. The less wet and dirty side. It still might be a little torn up. We have to choose which side is better.

This was me last New Year’s Day, early on the beach at Cape San Blas.
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And here is me last night, laughing and giving the finger to 2015. (Okay, I’m actually giving the finger to my friend Jason’s parents while I sit on the toilet, but that’s a whole ‘nother story.)

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I know nothing of what this year meant. It may mean nothing. Things I know: I know that whatever I think is normal will change. I know that whatever happens, I will be okay. Whatever happens is what is supposed to happen. I know I need to think less about it all, and that I need to put one foot in front of the other and try to enjoy the small, beautiful moments.

I thought that this wasn’t one of those posts, a post about the year past and the year to come, and what it might all mean. But then again, maybe it is one of those posts.

Spring Break 2012

Monday, April 9th, 2012

We did the Spring Break thing. A few days on Hilton Head (Todd had a shoot this week: Bad advertising world! Bad!) and then we did the lake for Easter with the whole family. About 24 hours of my family in one small 2BR lakehouse is all I can take, no matter how much I love them. I think this is normal?

So busy after being gone – work, laundry, trying to get back into a diet and exercise happy place. I feel like a train that derailed in a fiery crash of fried, fat, beer and excess!

Highlights of the week, not in photos: Fishing with my kiddos at dusk. Morning kids swimming with dog while I drink coffee at lake. Watching Brody revel in lake life. Puttering around with my dad for a day at the lake, fixing stuff, for once not snapping at each other. A rarity. Mom’s potato salad. My kids’ awesome manners while out to eat in HHI. I almost cried. Watching Venus in the Pleiades (spelling?) from the dock on a clear night. On the water at the beach. Seeing kids’ faces when they saw dolphins up close. Hearing their contagious laughter in the car on 441 – They had a “make each other laugh contest” and were killing Todd and I with their laughter. Such sweet music. Driving home on a sunny, perfectly-warm Easter afternoon with only Rollie and Brody in the car. Windows down, listening to an old mix CD of some of my all-time favorite songs, discussing them with Rollie: He asks a lot of questions, like “who is it by? What is it called? What is it about? Why do you like it?” Memorable discussions of songs – “Mayonnaise” by Smashing Pumpkins, “This Must Be The Place” by Talking Heads, and “Tempted” by Squeeze. R. thought it was so funny that I used to sing it to him as a lullaby when he would cry as a baby. Teaching kids to jump rope in the driveway last night. “Cinderella, dressed in yellow. . . ” (What are your favorite jump rope rhymes?)

Hope you all had a great Easter, Seder, spring break, etc.

Girls Gone Mild 2012: Tybee Island

Wednesday, March 14th, 2012

This time last week, I was on Tybee. Gawd, I love that place. Reminds me of everything that is awesome in life: Beach, warm sun, sand, marshes and birds, beer, kids and “yes, Ma’am,” and fresh seafood, and my grandparents, and being a Georgian. Say what you will (and leave politics out of it), but I live in one of the most beautiful states ever. Cities and beaches and swamps and Piedmont farm fields, and pine forests and hardwood forests and wilderness and lakes and mountains. (Seriously. Name another state with both the Appalachians and a monstrously-huge swamp. Alabama, maybe?)

Georgia is who I am. I feel Georgia in my bones.

So, I was excited to spend a few days on Tybee, with my little sister and my dear friends Robin and Vanessa. They’re my “newer” college friends. You know, I’ve only known them for a little over 20 years now. [gulp] Even more exciting was the fact that neither Robin or Vanessa had ever been to Savannah or Tybee. I wish we had more time – they barely got to scratch the surface. Pretty sure they caught the bug, though. They will return. I know it.

We got in on Sunday, after an enjoyable ride down 16, the world’s most boring drive (if you don’t happen to have three of your best friends with you, doing godawful Irish brogues in Dublin, and performing their best machine gun sounds – it’s true, girls really can’t do them – which make your stomach hurt from laughing, and which put everyone’s lives in peril as you struggle to keep the car on the road because you can’t see through the tears of laughter).

Got there, and checked into our condo. (We considered a house, which i would have preferred, but the condo had a heated pool and in early March, heated pool wins out.) Then we had drinks, hit the IGA for provisions. (I could write a whole blog post on just the IGA – awesomely strange people-watching. People drink while shopping for groceries. Hysterical. Oh, and did I mention awesome? They will deliver your groceries to your door, or stock your place before you even get there.) Then we went to Sting Ray’s for dinner. It was good, and they had decent beer and they were open on Sunday and god, i was starving. This is also the moment where our trip catchphrase was born. You know: Every trip with friends has one. Todd went to Tybee a couple of years ago and came back with “Release the Kracken!” They even had their own logo:

Gratuitous Kracken photo, courtesy of Iain Stewart, because it still cracks me up.

Gratuitous Kracken photo, courtesy of Iain Stewart, because it still cracks me up.

Ours? “I don’t know about you whores, but. . . ”

As in: I don’t know about you whores, but yes. We are that classy. And then we went back to our place, drank tequila, watched The Walking Dead, and made bird statues do weird things to each other.

On Monday, we rented bikes from Fat Tire Bikes. They were so sweet, gave us an “off-season” discount, and we made friends with Joey, a former science teacher, who now works part-time at the bike shop. They also traded out my bike for me when I had an overnight slow leak. Good people.

Lisa and Robin decided to head straight back to the pool, so they piled their bikes in the back of my van, while Vanessa and I readied for a ride, by spending about an hour adjusting our bike seats (I have long legs people!) and she practiced riding in a parking lot next to the bike shop. While we did that, we heard a crash and looked out in the middle of Butler (main st. on Tybee) and there is Robin running in the middle of the road picking up a bike basket that fell out of the back of the van. Yes, my sister likes to floor it. Even when there are bikes, not tied down, in the back of my open van. This happened right in front of the bike shop, which made me laugh my ass off. *No bikes were harmed in the course of this trip. Not sure when Nessie last rode a bike, but i think it had been a while. But, you know, riding a bike is, um, just like riding a bike. It came back to her and then we hit the road and explored and looked at houses and it was fucking awesome.

Then we hit the pool! Not much better than a day sitting around a pool with friends. We also tormented my husband by texting him at work and asking him to be our cabana boy. He is a good egg, my husband. I finished The Scottish Prisoner and started reading Ready Player One.

That night, we had dinner at North Beach Bar and Grill (unassuming building near the lighthouse, but great food and great servers!) And then we went to Huca Poo’s for beer. No link because damn, they need a new website. OMG, i loved this place. Not for those sensitive to smoke (you can still smoke in public places there, which is so weird, even though it wasn’t so long ago that everywhere was like that.) First of all, great bartender, Al. For the Auburn folks, he was a cross between Jared Pearce and my Mama. I don’t know how else to describe him. Red leather barstools, just like they had at The Georgia Bar, back in the day, when that was actually the place to be in Athens. Sweet seats! Pinball. People playing poker at a corner table. That ring toss game that I need to install at the lakehouse. Great people-watching. And DOGS AT THE BAR. There was an actual dog, named Zoe, wearing a plaid scarf, sitting on a barstool at the bar. God bless bars like this. I could live in one. Not kidding when I say i could put it in my top 20 bars of all time. (No, I haven’t really made this list, but i might some day.)

This place is the good stuff.

This place is the good stuff.

Tuesday, we had planned to spend the day in Savannah, but for some reason, everyone slept late and we bailed on that. So, instead, we rode bikes in the a.m. Okay, i had to get my damn tire fixed, and then i rode bikes. We ate lunch at Fannie’s On the Beach. Their onion rings are the best thing since beer. And then the girls went back to the pool and I rode my bike all by myself for a while. No pictures of that. It’s all in my head, though, and it’s all mine. And no one can take it away.

And then i think we had more time at the pool, and then we were tired and we ordered pizza in and drank some more that night. They don’t call us Girls Gone Mild for nothing.

Wednesday morning, Leelee and i got up bright and early and went for a bike ride. It was one of the best mornings I can remember having with my sweet sister. When was the last time you rode bikes with your sibling? There is a magic to it, like you are six years old again. We looked at houses, and talked, and did fashion shoots and action shots (see below) and walked on the pier and laughed.

And on the way back home, i rode past a house and saw my friend Lisa standing out in the front yard! Lisa is friends with my friend Donnie, from college. They live in Savannah, but Lisa has a landscaping company, Plan It Green Design, and she was working on one of the Mermaid Cottages on the island. She is awesome, even though I don’t know her that well. But you know, when you go skinny dipping at a downtown Atlanta hotel’s rooftop pool at 1 am on a Monday night after a Pixies show, you’re pretty fast friends. Anyway, it is a small world and it was nice to hug her neck and say hello.

Let’s see, what else? Robin and i walked on the beach a bit, and then we took Nessa and Robbie to The Crab Shack. I can’t really explain the crab shack. You will just have to go there on your own. Suffice it to say that it is extremely touristy, located down a weird mobile-home/awesome backriver home street, and it has cats, raccoons, parrots, and real live gators. Kids adore it, and adults lie if they don’t kind of like it too. Except for Robin, who doesn’t really eat seafood and was quite unimpressed. I felt a little sorry for her as I sucked crawfish heads and the eyes stared at her as she ate her ribs. I cracked shells and and slurped mussels and pretty much gave into the thrill of killing my own food as i ate it. I am a sucker for a food with a carapace or a shell or an exoskeleton. They are so fun to eat! And then we took photos with the fake gator. Fake gators are always a good time.

And on our last night, we went to the pier and it was a full moon and you could see Venus and Jupiter, i think, and the moon shined on the river. I stood on the end of the pier, looking down, watching the flow of the river make it’s way back out to the ocean. I thought about how good it feels to go with the flow of your heart and your desires, to be like the river, ebbing and flowing with the pull of the moon, and I knew that it is okay to be me, even if I change directions at the damnedest times, and with no apparent reason. I have my reasons, like the tides have the moon.

And then we went back and packed up and planned for a Kamikaze tour of Savannah the next morning. We got up, returned out bikes and said our goodbyes to Joey, and hit the road. I hate to leave Tybee – it pulls at my heartstrings so. The girls wanted to see Bonaventure, so we went there first, and spent a delightful morning walking the cemetery. It is truly beautiful, even if touristy.

And then we got REAL hangry and decided to eat on River Street, which I would normally avoid, but I thought if we had such a short time, they would want to see its cobblestone and the preparations for St. Patty’s that were already underway, and the sweet shops. OHGODTHESWEETS. There does exist, by the way, a peanut butter cup that is too big for me to finish. I didn’t think it was possible, but it is true.

The sad part is that we had to hit the road, and they never even got the chance to walk the squares, which is the true beauty of Savannah, but i am sure they will come back. I know I will. Maybe Girls Gone Mild 2013?

Babyland

Sunday, January 15th, 2012

Todd took Rollie to Monster Jam last night and when Tills heard they were going, she was a little upset. So, my sister and I decided we’d take the day and drive to Cleveland to take her to Babyland General. (We took Dash, too. You know. To see if he’s gay or not.)

Now, neither of us had been there since we were little girls, and admittedly, we were pretty excited. We had “Adoption Dolls” as little girls, before Xavier Roberts sold to Mattel and they renamed them Cabbage Patch Kids, and they were like magic. It is funny now to think how all the moms and daughters of the 80s drank the kool-aid on this one: These dolls are really nothing much to look at. Some of them are damn ugly. (Lisa, I’m looking at Tiffany!) But there was something completely magical about them. I can still remember getting my first one (a knock-off named Stephanie.)

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This is Lisa and Me, Christmas 1981. I am not sure if we got Stephanie and Samantha this Christmas, or if they just came downstairs with us on Christmas morning. (Yes, this was also the year we arrived in the future and got an Atari! And I got The Black Stallion Breyer horse. A magical Christmas, all in all.)

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And here I am a month later, on my birthday, holding both of the girls before opening my gifts. Lisa and I played with these things So. Much.

And I can remember loving her, and wanting another! I remember going into the toy shop in downtown Alpharetta. (I forget what it was called – maybe the Indian Trading Post? It had an old cigar store Indian out front.) I would go in that shop, and look at all the “real” adoption dolls they had in there. I think part of the magic was that there were so many different colors and combinations of eye and hair color, and they had real baby clothes on, and they were given real first and middle names, just like real babies, and when you adopted one, you got a real birth certificate, with baby footprints and your name signed on it, and their birthdays and everything.

Magic.

So, in the end, i ended up with one knock-off, who was my first, and whom I loved just as much as the next two. Stephanie Lynn was later joined by Minerva and Betsy. (I think those were their names. Guess I need to check the birth certificates.) I suppose i remember Stephanie’s name because i named her myself. The other two came with laminated tags on their hands that had their names Sharpied on.) Minerva was a redhead, and Betsy (?) a raven-haired beauty.

Anyways, I digress, but the point of all this is to say that being a parent is hard and sometimes infuriating, sometimes scary, sometimes sad. But sometimes it is wonderful. Taking your child to do something you did as a child, or teaching them to fish, or seeing them touched by magic that you can still remember and feel? That is one of the most special parts of parenthood. Yesterday was one of those days.

One Eyed Willie’s Treasure Hunt

Monday, October 10th, 2011
The week before her birthday, Tiller was a show dog in the Kindergarten Circus. She was v. cute, even though she had some trouble jumping through the hoop. She can be less than coordinated at times. I thought she might cry when she fell (twice), but she got up smiling and tried again. I was very proud of her.

The week before her birthday, Tiller was a show dog in the Kindergarten Circus. She was v. cute, even though she had some trouble jumping through the hoop. She can be less than coordinated at times. I thought she might cry when she fell (twice), but she got up smiling and tried again. I was very proud of her. I also am very proud of the fact that I sewed ears and a tail, which is why i included it in the birthday post. This is my blog, after all, even if I've been neglecting it.

So, about Tiller’s birthday. She turned six on Saturday. SIX. Hard for me to fathom. Tiller wanted to have a scavenger hunt party, and we had just watched The Goonies as a family, so I made it a One-Eyed Willie’s Treasure Hunt.

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Every kid got a copy of One Eyed Willie’s treasure map when they arrived. (We also had pirate cupcakes, Twinkies and Baby Ruths. I also bought Rocky Road, but totally forgot to pull it out, which is a good thing, because i was worried about angry mobs of parents attacking my house after they found out how much sugar I gave their kids.)

Love that some of the kiddos' moms took it upon themselves to dress them like pirates. Fun!

Love that some of the kiddos' moms took it upon themselves to dress them like pirates. Fun!

Margaret and Leelee accompanied their boys to the party.

Margaret and Leelee accompanied their boys to the party. Um, they don't have boys together. They have their own boys. With their husbands.

The kids are waiting to hear the next clue. Todd wrote the clues and i wish I could copy them down here - they were awesome. They all rhymed.

The kids are waiting to hear the next clue. Todd wrote the clues and i wish I could copy them down here - they were awesome. They all rhymed.

Kate won the award for cutest pirate hat and sash.

Kate won the award for cutest pirate hat and sash.

Children are like sheep. One would think they had the answer and run off yelling, "I know where the next clue is!" and all the other sheep would follow, and Todd would still be standing there finishing the clue. And they would have the wrong location. Every time.

Children are like sheep. One would think they had the answer and run off yelling, I know where the next clue is! and all the other sheep would follow, and Todd would still be standing there finishing the clue. And they would have the wrong location. Every time.

One of R's teachers does this thing in class where they have to decode an encrypted message to figure out what to do that day in class. So, Rollie helped us create one, and the older kids had to decode that clue for the younger ones. This is Rollie and Milo working with pencil and paper to decode the clue.

One of R's teachers does this thing in class where they have to decode an encrypted message to figure out what to do that day in class. So, Rollie helped us create one, and the older kids had to decode that clue for the younger ones. This is Rollie and Milo working with pencil and paper to decode the clue.

. . . with the help of the older twins, Leah and Sydney. Syd needs snack to help her think.

. . . with the help of the older twins, Leah and Sydney. Syd needs snack to help her think.

The girls use the map to figure out the next clue.

The girls use the map to figure out the next clue.

The girls (Matilda, Scarlett, Liliana - i think- Sydney, and Kate) working together!

The girls (Matilda, Scarlett, Liliana - i think- Sydney, and Kate) working together!

Todd, the Cluemaster, about to be stampeded by children with the Ghoulish Garden clue.

Todd, the Cluemaster, about to be stampeded by children with the Ghoulish Garden clue.

The girls listen to clues intently. Boys mostly push each other and climb trees while they are being read.

The girls listen to clues intently. Boys mostly push each other and climb trees while they are being read.

Tiller blowing out her candle as Sydney and Chloe look on.

Tiller blowing out her candle as Sydney and Chloe look on.

Me and the girl after she blew out her candles. Let's talk about the ponytail for a minute. Yeah, there's just one. That's her new thing. It cracks me up. It also reminds me of Natalie Wolfe and Elizabeth Wilcoxin wearing ponytails in middle school and putting their Swatches around them. That just kills me.

Me and the girl after she blew out her candles. Let's talk about the ponytail for a minute. Yeah, there's just one. That's her new thing. It cracks me up. It also reminds me of Natalie Wolfe and Elizabeth Wilcoxin wearing ponytails in middle school and putting their Swatches around them. That just kills me.

Not a great photo, but a rare moment where the kiddos are lovingly touching one another. Had to be captured.

Not a great photo, but a rare moment where the kiddos are lovingly touching one another. Had to be captured.

Disappointed we didn't get Cousin Luci in there, but here are Tiller and R. with Baby Dash. He's not really a baby anymore.

Disappointed we didn't get Cousin Luci in there, but here are Tiller and R. with Baby Dash. He's not really a baby anymore.

Oh! There's cousin Luci!

Oh! There's cousin Luci!

Josie hearts cupcakes.

Josie hearts cupcakes.

So does Chloe. I deduce.

So does Chloe. I deduce.

Leah liked the rings from the treasure.

Leah liked the rings from the treasure.

Syndey, wearing her beads from the treasure chest.

Syndey, wearing her beads from the treasure chest.

Sydney loves balloons!

Sydney loves balloons!

Chuck and Cass helped us keep track of all the kiddos.

Chuck and Cass helped us keep track of all the kiddos.

These two grew up together in Auburn. Always fun to have the 2nd generation at a party.

These two grew up together in Auburn. Always fun to have the 2nd generation at a party.

Okay, actually, Nathan listened closely to the clues. . . .

Okay, actually, Nathan listened closely to the clues. . . .

Treasure Hunters in a group by the tree. Surprisingly, the biggest hit from the pirate treasure? Balloons.

Treasure Hunters in a group by the tree. Surprisingly, the biggest hit from the pirate treasure? Balloons.

So, then we opened gifts. Tills got Ramona from Uncle Lyle and Aunt Denise!

So, then we opened gifts. Tills got Ramona from Uncle Lyle and Aunt Denise!

My little nephew Dash, waiting to see the presents.

My little nephew Dash, waiting to see the presents.

These three are crazy floor rolling laughers!

These three are crazy floor rolling laughers!

Normally, i wouldn't include such an unflattering picture of myself, but dang! I never think Tiller and I look much alike, but evidently, there is some resemblance. When we are flapping our gums.

Normally, i wouldn't include such an unflattering picture of myself, but dang! I never think Tiller and I look much alike, but evidently, there is some resemblance. When we are flapping our gums.

She got pretty excited about Littlest Pet Shop. We have a LOT of Littlest Pet Shop. Like, nuclear levels.

She got pretty excited about Littlest Pet Shop. We have a LOT of Littlest Pet Shop. Like, nuclear levels.

And later that night, Tiller stayed up too late, and then fell asleep on my chest during the Georgia game. So sweet.

And later that night, Tiller stayed up too late, and then fell asleep on my chest during the Georgia game. So sweet.

Happy birthday to my little girl. I love you very much, Tiller Badiller, Mac and chiller, Saspariller, Thriller from maniller!

– Your Loving Mama

More Lake Pictures

Wednesday, April 27th, 2011

What Happens When the Candy is Taken Away

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

We’ll get to that at the end, but I thought I’d post some pics of the kiddos and family at the lake for Easter weekend.

A Tale of Two Sisters in Overalls, Part III

Tuesday, August 10th, 2010

Continued from A Tale of Two Sisters in Overalls, Part II. . .

Busted Flat in Nashville
I got a flat north of Nashville. So, when my tire blew out, and my sister was right in front of me, she didn’t happen to see me swerve across three lanes of traffic and into the emergency lane. She just looked in the rear view mirror and I was nowhere to be found, and thought, “uh-oh.” And then got off at the next exit, turned back around and went north on 75, and drove until she saw me broken down on the southbound side, then found the next exit, and got back on 75 South, and drove until she found me. Because we didn’t have cel phones. i swear to God, it was like living in the dark ages; we are lucky to have survived.

I was just sitting on the back bumper of the truck, because I’d already inspected the blowout. When you are driving from Colorado, getting a flat in Nashville is like getting a flat in your neighborhood. You are so close, and yet so far. You are so tired. You so don’t want to fucking change a tire. Which is good, because it turns out, even if you did, there are no spare tires on Ryder trucks. You have to call Ryder.

So, i sat there, and waited for Lisa to find me, and then told her what was up, and then sent her to the next exit to get drinks and call for help. I sat there a really long time. It was August 2, sitting on the side of 75 southbound, just north of Nashville. It was, to put it lightly, hot as fucking Hades.

Lisa came back. She said it would probably be a couple of hours. Have you ever sat on the side of 75 South in the midday sun for a couple of hours? It is horrific. We plowed through our snacks. The seats of the truck were like molten lava. Lisa was grumpy and sitting in the only shady spot in the truck. She is not a lover of the heat.
Lisa Heatstroke, Outside Nashville

Me? I was trying to keep it fun. I had on red overalls. Nothing says fun like red overalls. I got a piece of dried grass and made Hee Haw jokes and tried to make Leelee laugh.
HeeHaw Annie in Nashville!

It didn’t work.

If Looks Could Kill, With Maybe a Touch of Laughter

The sun was high up in the sky. There were almost no shadows. We sat on the back bumper of the truck, because it was the only way we could get some shade. I sat closest to the road, and Lisa sat right next to the edge closest to the grass on the side of the road. We didn’t talk. We watched cars fly by. Each one gave us a hot breeze, and the ones closest to us rocked the van. Some of them honked. Lisa and I sat in a daze, until a red jeep with three boys was coming towards us. There was something shouted, and then I heard and felt a loud, “thunk!” when something hit the van. Lisa immediately let out an “uuugggghhh!”

I looked over at her, and she had something yellow on her face and in her hair. She burst into tears. And, God help me. I’m not proud of it.

I laughed.

Those Nashville fuckers had thrown a half-eaten piece of corn on the cob at us. The kind you get from KFC.
Corn Cob

They didn’t just toss it either, as evidenced by the splat on the truck, directly over Lisa’s head.

Corn Splat

They winged that thing.

We sat for almost another hour until the guy came to fix the tire.

Tire Guy. Yep, I took his picture too.

We finally got back on the road. We would have made it home before dark. Instead, we made it home in the middle of the night. And the next morning, I was ready for my new (old) life.

Home

And yeah, really just posted that last one to show that I had on cutoffs. Something else that I never wear anymore, although i would if I was skinny.

In my new life, I would move into an apartment with my sister, and I would meet my future husband in an East Atlanta bar, and move in with him, and get a couple of cats and a dog and drink a lot, and then end up with two kids and a minivan in the burbs, wondering how the hell that happened.

And none of it would have happened if it wasn’t for the red overalls. I’m sure of it.

A Tale of Two Sisters in Overalls, Part II

Monday, August 9th, 2010

Continued from A Tale of Two Sisters in Overalls, Part I . . .

Have you ever been to East St. Louis? I hadn’t either. First of all, it’s not in St. Louis, which is in Missouri. (I smart.) It’s in Illinois. I am so serious. (You know you didn’t know that either.) Secondly, all you really need to know about East St. Louis to get the picture is that on Wikipedia, it has the following subheading under East St. Louis:
“East St. Louis In Popular Culture,” and under that, a subheading for “East St. Louis in Film,” and under that, you find this:

In the 1981 science fiction/action film Escape from New York, director John Carpenter used East St. Louis to represent a decaying, semi-destroyed future version of New York City. At that time, East St. Louis had entire neighborhoods burned out in 1976 during a massive urban fire, which suited the director’s vision of a Manhattan Island that has been turned into a maximum security prison.
In the 1983 comedy National Lampoon’s Vacation, The Griswolds were thought to accidentally drive through East St. Louis and get their car stripped while asking for directions . . . .

There’s also a lengthy section on its severe crime, which ranks it as having a higher murder rate than Compton, CA.

I think you get the picture. Let’s move on, shall we?

So, we’re in Illinois the next day. I swear, you drive through Illinois to get to Denver from Atlanta, and no, children, we didn’t even have any Illinoise! to listen to back then. So, we’re in Illinois and the sparks start again, and this godawful metal on metal sound, and I see an exit, and I pull of at that exit and Lisa is following me and I pull over at the closest gas-station-looking parking lot I can see, and i gotta tell ya, nothing looks open in East St. Louis in 1998. It just looked broken down and empty. And then there’s this nagging feeling that maybe East St. Louis is famous? But I can’t remember why.

I pull over and I get out, and Leelee pulls up next to me. We both look under the truck. I am smarter than she is, though, because I didn’t let her have the camera while i was up under the truck.
Lisa Checks Muffler

Then I get busted with the camera.
Lisa Catches me Photographing her Checking Muffler
The truly funny thing about these pictures is that if you knew Lisa then, back when we called her Princess? She never woulda been caught dead under a Ryder truck in East St. Louis, Illinois.

Now, right about that point, Lisa started trying to find information about calling Ryder again, because the muffler baling wire fix was not working so well anymore. Here she is looking at the map, or the paperwork, or something.

Lisa Knows East St. Louis
It was about this time that we also realized that there was no earpiece on the payphone at the deserted gas station. There was just a nice shell of a payphone.

So, I crawled back under the truck, hell bent on getting the thing wired and getting out of that parking lot. That’s when I heard the car. I rolled back out from under the car, and there are Lisa and I, standing next to a Ryder truck, and this old 70s car, but rebuilt, with fancy rims and all that, rolls up with two guys in it, and a nice gentleman with gold teeth and a shitload of gold jewelry leans out the window, and no, i am not kidding. And this is what he says, looking us up and down, and nodding his head real slow, these immortal words that I can still hear to this very day, uttered very slow and cool:

“Where’s y’all’s boyfriends at?”

Where’s. Y’all’s. Boyfriends. At.

I still use this phrase just about weekly, when calling my sister and getting her voicemail. I simply say, “Where’s y’all’s boyfriends at?” and she knows it’s me. Now, the truly funny thing about this is that Lisa is wearing a too-big hippie-looking Colorado t-shirt, and cutoff duckheads. (See previous picture.) And me? I’m wearing red overalls. With Doc Martens. And braids. But we’ll get to that later. We look real good. I am surprised he thought we even liked boys. Suffice it to say that I am surprised he didn’t just go ahead and shoot us for looking ugly.

And what did I say to him? Just what is the proper response to such a well-turned come-on? Well, it was hot, and I was tired and hungry. This is what my big mouth said:

“Just leave us the fuck alone! What the fuck?! Can’t you see we’re having car trouble?!”

And now, now you know who is the OG.

And he, obviously impressed with my street cred, said, “Okay,” and nodded, and turned up his music, and drove off. I know. The story would have been much better if he had gotten out and said, “Here, Let me help you ma’am” and fixed my damn muffler. But it didn’t happen that way. Instead, I crawled under, and tried the baling wire thing, and then climbed back out and ate leftover, cold pizza from the night before, sitting in a post-apocalyptic-movie set parking lot in East St. Louis.
Cold Pizza, Parking Lot, East St. Louis

And we made it all the way to Nashville before we had any more problems. But the boys in Nashville? They were not as nice.

Continued in A Tale of Two Sisters in Overalls, Part III.