Honey, we're home

Tall (5'9"), lanky, and naturally thin, my mother eats more than any other woman I've ever known (my dad is the same way, but did they pass those stellar metabolisms down to moi?? Of course not. BAH!). She had a baby a year after I did, when she was forty-two and her energy level makes me wonder if she found the secret fountain of youth (if that's the case, I plan on aging badly, thankyouverymuch). My mother is a goddess and today is her birthday.

Although she's extremely intelligent, kicks ass at all things mathematical, has memorized bridge hands for the past 20 years, and has flawless grammar skills, she is still able to embrace her inner fruitloop. When I was an angst-ridden teen, these idiosyncrasies would annoy me because I always wanted her to be serious. And Martha Stewart, dammit. Years later, however, these are traits I find most endearing:

Her odd medical mystery tendancies, like watches breaking from her electromagnetic energy? And the fact that she was hypoglycemic until she gave birth (now she's fine), or that she gets asthma if she stops smoking. Mosquitos never bite her and perfume turns rancid because of..too much vitamin B?

She would, and still does, stare at me in the car, drying my hair, while talking on the phone..."you're so beautiful," she'd say, "I can't believe I gave birth to you." Now that I'm older with my own son, I see this for the true psychological torture method it is.

She would laugh (especially in public with my aunt Susie) - gleeful, uninhibited, loud laughter that mortified me to no end. Now when we're in a quiet pub or at home, I'm proud to be sharing a space with someone so capable of expressing joy.

We'd be having a conversation, or so I would assume, when her end of it would suddenly stop. Thinking that the was the end of the discussion, I'd retreat back to my head...covering a range of several other thoughts when she would respond to the intial conversation. "Yes, I think so, too." Uh...huh? What?

Every time she pulled the car into the driveway, she' d say, "Honey, we're home." Every. Single. Time. In my head, I'd be yelling, "Duhhhhhhhhh, where else would we be?" (because I was obnoxious like that), and it makes me laugh now when I still hear her say it.

One year, I saved my allowance for several weeks to buy her a "hot to trot" keychain because I thought it meant she was beautiful...Happy Birthday, mom, and I still think you're beautiful!



Black(jack) Celebration

I fell in love with Tuscon the moment I laid eyes on my first 'Desert Diamond Casino - 2 miles' sign.

Just like other obsessive relationships, psychological warfare was employed and I was able to think of nothing else except my beloved Blackjack (which makes for a rather awkward work conference: HIT ME!). I won $100, which would be great if I hadn't acted like a hillbilly and spent $600 at the mall, but a girl's gotta have shoes, ya' know.


Route 66?

There's a billboard near a freeway on-ramp in Michigan with a picture of Jesus that says, "Are you on the right road?"

My Uncle Brian sarcastically feigns suprise and confusion, "What? Isn't this I-75 North?"

I have flown out of so many airports across the country, I'm quite sure I could find each and every one of them without a savior billboard. Eventually. Unfortunately, my internal clock runs on beach time and that pesky compass of mine is broken. I did break my four year streak of missing every flight booked, but just barely, pulling up at the gate with twenty-two minutes to spare.

After I arrived in Tucson, the gentleman at Hertz asked if I had a car preference. I told him anything American would be fine, but when he couldn't find any keys, he upgraded my rental car to a new, red, convertible Mustang with Sirius Satellite radio at no extra cost. Does it get any better than that?


Alimony in Meow Mix

The quickest, shortest, easiest route to my heart? Via a 20-pack of Bud Light (in bottles) left on the stoop where I feed the feral cats, accompanied by a note that says, "Forgive me?"

Sometimes my ex-boss and I act like an old divorced couple. We rarely agree about work responsibilities, I nag, and he yells hurtful things. Fortunately, though, we both have crappy memories and love cats, because he agreed to feed mine while I'm IN TUCSON FOR A BUSINESS CONFERENCE NEXT WEEK!! WOOOOOOOO! (I've noticed this "woooo" slips past my lips every time I mention it).


Cry Baby Cry

Ever cry so hard your arms shake and you can't be bothered to turn your head or wipe the tears, so they roll down your neck and stomach before they're absorbed by your waistband? And when you're frustrated because you can't cry harder, you kick the metal gutter alongside a building and possibly break two freakishly long toes?

Me neither.



Apparently, the separation between church and state in Enterprise, Alabama is the width of one street. The row of churches (Baptist, Methodist, and Catholic) adjacent to the high school was left virtually untouched Thursday afternoon.

[St. John's Catholic church, minus one tree]

My sister and her best friend were in her 2nd story apartment in Troy, Alabama during another batch of tornadoes that day. The weatherman advised them to hunker down and her stepfather called, telling them to "get the fuck out of that building". Braless, in their wet, white wifebeaters and clutching their box of wine, they ran to the nearest house, where they must've seemed like a dream-come-true to the resident lesbian. Who said Mother Nature doesn't have a sense of humor?


Why I will never again say, "try not to get in trouble at school today, eh?"

"Mom, aren't you relieved I was suspended from school today?"

Relieved isn't half of it. Wednesday afternoon I thought the punishment a bit severe - detention seemed like a more viable option for getting up in the middle of PE class and ignoring the teacher's request to sit down.

Thursday, during the two-hour drive home from work, with twisted, uprooted trees dotting the landscape, rescue workers and concerned parents on every corner, I cried from relief. Sitting in the dark with no electricity, cable, phone or internet seemed like such a tiny inconvenience after the storm.