Wednesday, April 28, 2010

This is Lola. Bye-bye now.

I have been awaiting a call from my dear friend, Lola, for the past two weeks.

Here's the funny thing: I've never actually met Lola. Or talked to her for that matter. And no, we're not pen pals. In fact, Lola doesn't even know I exist although our relationship has lasted somewhere in the neighborhood of six months.

Before this begins to sound too much like a riddle, allow me to explain.

Lola has been leaving voice mails on my cell phone during the work day. Because I have my cell on silent during the day, I find out that she has called after the fact through these voice mails. Like I said, this has been going on for quite some time now and I get a voice mail once a week or so.

In my head, this is what Lola looks like. Mrs. Threadgood from Fried Green Tomatoes.

She has a slow Southern accent and I think she's in her seventies or eighties.

"Ruby, this is Loh-lah. I just wanted to let you know that Gee-orge's outta the hosp-ital. The doctors say things are lookin' goo-ud. But I just wanted to let you know 'case you try to come by. Bye-bye now."

"Ruby, I was just calling to let you know that I'm coming by later on Sundy afternoon. This is Loh-lah. Bye-bye now."

"Ruby, just calling about Cousin Bill's visiting. Loh-lah. Bye-bye now."

"Ruby, it's Loh-lah. Talk at'chya soon. Bye-bye now."

I've tried to call Lola several times in the evening after she has left her messages, but I can't ever seem to reach her. I often wonder if she ever gets her feelings hurt that Ruby isn't returning her messages. Do she and Ruby discuss how odd it is that these messages get lost? They probably just dismiss it as you can never trust technology. It's hit or miss.

Determined to catch Lola's call during the day, I've had my phone on loud and clear in hopes of meeting Lola. Unfortunately, this has also led me to have conversations with salesmen and as yet, not my friend Lola.

But can I be honest? I'm not sure I want my friendship with Lola to come to an end. How will I know when George gets out of the hospital? Or when Cousin Bill's in town? How will I know how Lola and Ruby are doing? I like her frequent updates and I feel like I know her. I like being a part of Ruby and Lola's circle. Although, Lola probably wouldn't say the same, I feel like we're friends.

So, I'm not sure what I will say, but I wish there was a way I could keep the conversation going. I think I'll miss it.

Bye-Bye now.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Cookie By The Slice

Alright, so you've learned from the previous post that I've become interested in cooking lately. You've also learned that I'm still learning. Or if you didn't pick that up, the point will be driven home today.

I made oatmeal cookies this weekend or maybe I should say "an oatmeal cookie". In my defense, let the record show that I successfully made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies last week.

However, when the timer went off...

My neat little spoonfuls of cookie dough turned into this:

We had to cut them with a pizza cutter and it wasn't easy. Let's just say you had to work for each piece of cookie. One could throw out their back just chiseling off a piece. They did taste really great. Joey said I should rename them "Oatmeal Crispies" and no one would know the difference, but I'm into honesty here and I wouldn't want to deprive you of a laugh at my expense.

I imagine this is how someone first "discovered" the Cookie Cake. Yeah, yeah...that's right I meant do that. I was making an oatmeal cookie cake. I'm onto you, Cookie Cake Inventor, but the good news is that I can be bribed. I like chocolate.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

So It's Not Cool Whip?

I don’t know what the deal is, but I am suddenly addicted to cooking. I am becoming a Foodie. I have to cook. Which is kind of crazy for me.

I religiously check my favorite food blogs. I try out a new recipe at least a few times each week. I am acquiring more spices than I know what to do with. I have made something that requires making a roux. I actually own a package of cheesecloth and have now used it. I’ve found the occasion to use peppercorns for goodness sake. Peppercorns. Twice!

Often when working out I watch the Food Network on my little personal TV screen at the gym and sweat to Paula making fried chicken and mashed potatoes. I find it ironic that I’m most likely at the gym to work off the very sort of thing that Paula and the Neelys are making. And then I go home and wonder why I want to eat everything delicious under the sun. It’s a vicious cycle, I tell you.

I spend way too much time in the grocery store looking for items that I didn’t know existed before seeing them on an ingredient list.

I usually am reduced to finding an elderly woman who looks like she knows what she’s doing what’s up in the kitchen to ask my dumb questions. She just looks at me with pity, calls me ‘sweetie’ and pats my hand while directing me to the appropriate product. It’s OK, I don’t mind.

What the heck is it with ‘whipped’ cream and ‘whipping’ cream. They shouldn’t use this terminology. For the love of everything holy, if it’s whipped cream just call it Cool Whip to differentiate it from whipping cream.

Joey has both benefited and suffered from my latest addiction. I have to say, for the most part things have turned out well taste-wise. And by that, I mean I haven’t burnt anything beyond recognition.

However, I have a serious problem with timing.

My timing issues usually belong in one of two camps

1. I make a lot of mistakes and have to redo stuff
2. I’ve forgotten all metric conversion rates that I learned in elementary school and constantly have to Google them.

I’ll tell Joey, “It’ll be ready in about 30 minutes.” and thirty minutes later...”oops I forgot to get this thing going, it’s going to be another 15 minutes.”. And then an hour later when we have filled up on snacks that were originally to tide us over until dinner, we sit down to eat at eight or nine. Like I said, my timing’s not the best but at least it’s almost worth the wait.

My favorite food blog is I have made numerous recipes from her site and they’ve all been really good. Plus, she includes step by step pictures which is helpful for beginners like myself. I could seriously cook everything on her site.

All this to say, you may see more food on this blog in the future. Just because it’s on my mind lately.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Picture Perfect Finish are you? I hope you had a nice, relaxing weekend! Ours was pretty great.

On Sunday Joey completed his third MS150! That's a 180 (don't know why thy call it MS150) mile bike ride to benefit multiple sclerosis research. Yay, Joey! Where are the pictures? Well, gosh - why'd you have to go and bring that sore subject up? Geez...

Alright, well here it is:

I missed it. Joey crossing the finish line. I missed it. I left in plenty of time to get to Austin and then got stuck in standstill traffic from an accident for about 30 minutes, forced to drive 50 miles/hr. due to rain, searched for parking for another 30 minutes and then combine all that with the fact that Joey finished early and you got it: I missed it.

He called me when he was about half a mile from the Capitol waiting on his team and I was searching for parking. I thought I was going to make it. I ran to the finish line passing several bikers on the way (ok, I wasn't that fast), got out my Flip waiting for the moment to see him pass by phone rang. It was Joey. I had just missed the entire team go through the line. I felt like I had missed my child's graduation. Joey's didn't care that I had missed his finish, but still...I wanted to be there.

Anyway, that was a bummer. But, Joey did great! He made great time despite having three flats. I am so proud of him!

Funny side note: Joey left his flip flops in La Grange by mistake so he didn't have shoes to wear for the rest of the day. One of his team buddies let him borrow his flip flops for the day. You have to understand - Joey wears a size 14 shoe and this guy was probably one of the smallest in stature on the team. It was funny watching Joey walk around with half of his foot coming over the heel.

I promise to put pictures up as soon as I have them. Thankfully, there were plenty of people snapping pictures of the finish.

Way to go, Joey!!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

The Sound of Music

I have to share this story with you. It's personal. Have you ever had a particular prayer that you're fully aware that you may be praying for the rest of your life? This story has dipped down into my prayers.

It's a conversation that my Mom had with my Dad last week. She shared it with me after the fact.

But first, to understand this story you must understand a little about my Dad. To understand someone, you have to find out their loves. What gives them joy?

For Dad, it's always been music. I've never seen him more at ease than when he's listening to his music.

Dad is music for me. Music is a part of his identity and he's the reason why I love it so much. It's Dad. He majored in Voice in college and music was always in our house growing up. Both Mom and Dad sang, played both the piano and guitar and Dad a few additional instruments such as the bass.

Dad had a gift. He had a knack with any instrument he picked up (except the drums, I'm guessing for the same reason he's not a dancer) and could play or sing anything if heard once. I'm not claiming he was Mozart, but God gave him an ear. I remember once, Dad trying to explain the beauty of music to me. He said it's math you can listen to.

As math has never been my forte, it's a miracle I didn't stop listening at the sound of that word. Dad's passion rubbed off on each one of us kids. My favorite was when Dad and I would drive to Huntsville for pitching practice. It wasn't the practice I liked - it was the ride with Dad.

On our way home, he would roll down the windows and I would drink my Sonic-sized cherry limeade while Dad provided commentary for every song that came on the oldies or classic rock station.

Have you ever met someone who was so excited about something that it was just downright contagious? That's how it is when Dad talks about music.

He even has a favorite chord. It's in the song, Green-Eyed Lady. He would play it on the "piano" that was either an empty seat or the lucky individual's thigh who sat next to him in the car for surprise effect. This was just part of a road trip with Dad.

To this day, I know some of the most random facts about old music such as that the singer of "96 Tears" officially changed his name to "?" and that "Yesterday" was originally titled "Scrambled Eggs". Because of Dad I know at what point the Beach Boys came in too early when recording "Good Vibrations". These will all come in handy one day in a game of Trivial Pursuit, but more importantly, they've become musical memories attached to my Dad.

Then Dad lost his hearing. Meningitis leaves many victims completely deaf. We don't know how much of it was the illness and how much of it was just plain old hearing loss that comes with age - but Dad is mostly deaf. I'm not using the term 'deaf' loosely. He really can't hear. He's lived the past couple of years in an almost completely muffled world. He's tried a few hearing aids here and there, but they haven't really been able to help.

He can't hear the music like he used to. It's like a painter who loses his sight. I think this is why he still loves the classics - he has memorized their sound in his mind so he can fill in the gaps with his memory. He doesn't need to listen to them to hear them, if that makes sense.

There was one night when I was in high school that Dad's hearing miraculously returned. Mom was asleep and Dad was at the computer. Tears were streaming down his face and he told me it was crazy - but his ears had opened up.

He was listening to music. Dad and I stayed up until two in the morning looking up every song he could think of. He wanted to get it all in. I can still see his face glinting with tears looking at the screen with the biggest smile of joy on his face. It was his music.

The next morning his hearing was gone again. From that day on, I prayed that God would give Dad another miracle and restore his hearing.

I haven't heard my Dad sing, and I mean really sing, in more than 13 years.

I've related this just so you can understand my Dad. Now to the conversation I wanted to share.

When Dad came home from work last week, Mom noticed that there was something about his voice that didn't sound right. So she asked about his day. Dad said "I had a great day!"

"Well, are you feeling ok?" -
"Yeah, I feel great!"

"You sound different." -
"Well, my throat's a little a sore."

"Maybe you're getting sick." - "Oh no, I'm not getting sick. I know what it's from."

"Well, what's it from?" - "

And that's when Dad told Mom that he sang for two hours straight in his truck with the windows rolled down.

This was the day Dad was able to wear his brand new hearing aids. And get this, they actually work. I can't tell you how much joy this story brought to my heart.

Dad has his music back. And that's music to my ears.

Friday, April 2, 2010

You Ain't Woman Enough To Take My Man. Literally.

Reflect on this chorus for a moment if you will...

Sing it, Loretta! Now, while I'm not exactly in Loretta's position I can't help but get a little territorial when other girls take a second look at my husband. I get what she's saying. I think I'll hold that hand a little tighter, don't mind if I do. I'm not worried about him looking at all (thank you Lord for my husband!), but for her sake - you know, just to send the right message that he's off limits. After all, I wouldn't want her to waste all that energy. So I'm just doing her a favor by setting the picture straight.

Now why this song has been in mind is because of a little drama below:

Joey and I were sitting on the couch some time last week checking our Facebooks and catching up on the day. Joey said "That's weird. This little high school girl from the gym just friend requested me."

My ears perked up. I think my eyes might have narrowed at the same time. A fist might have clenched as well. "Let me see that." Sure enough - there she was - friend requesting my husband.

Turns out she works at the front desk of the gym. The only time she ever talks to Joey and his gym buddy is when they check in at the front.

Me: "I think she has a crush on you."

Joey: "Oh, she's a harmless high school girl. I'm sure she's to young to think any thing of it."

"Joey, do you remember high school girls? I think you're confusing them with preschoolers. Besides, this means that you popped up in her mind somewhere other than the gym. She had this thought outside of work 'Hey, I wonder if that guy is on Facebook.' She probably looks forward to you coming to the gym. She's got motives. Trust me, I know these things - I was a high school girl once."

Joey: "I don't want to hurt her feelings and I think she's just really naive. She probably just doesn't know. I wouldn't be concerned about it. Obviously, I'm not interested either way."

Fine then. But my radar was up. I was on the lookout for this girl at the gym. Maybe she is just really really naive. But honestly, who does that? Someone who's interested - that's who.

Then, the next day she emailed him! He didn't respond. Now he was concerned too.

I knew it!!! High school girl my big toe! I see right through this whole innocent thing. Mmm...hmm...that's right. I know what she's up to.

Despite the absence of a response, she emailed him again and asked him when he and his gym buddy would be at the pool (they swim laps every now and then). He's a little panicked at this point and of course, still doesn't respond.

And finally, the other night she tries to chat with him on Facebook. He ignored her, but I had half a mind to take that computer and write her back: "Hi. I'm Joey's wife. I'm on to you. I know where you work. Keep one eye open."

At this point, I'm ready to go the gym and wait for her shift. I think we should meet formally. And honestly, it would be for her good as well. You just don't do this. What if Joey were a crazy person?

Joey mentioned it to her supervisor because of the latter. Her supervisor said that her behavior is a little surprising. What do you think? Is she just super naive or does she have motives?

Anyway, I agree with Loretta. It'll be over my dead body.