Thursday, September 29, 2011


When my children were little, I would hear the old cliches...or sayings...over and over...from my mother and mother-in-law, from strangers in the grocery store, from neighbors with older kids.  Usually these were stated after I voiced a frustration or rolled my eyes from being flustered. But sometimes just stated by strangers with a smile and a shake of their head when they would see me out with all 3.

"They grow up so fast."

 "Time flies." 

 "Hold them while you can."


 "The years you're raising children will fly by."

"They're only little once."
"Enjoy them while you can....
they'll leave the nest before you know it."

And it would make me cringe.  Because I was up to my eyeballs in diapers and laundry and Cream of Mushroom soup casseroles.  And the days seemed long and monotonous and repetitive and full of chores and I would fall in bed exhausted.

The weekend couldn't get here fast enough.  Not because our social calendar was full of exciting things to do but because Chuck would be home to help me!

I certainly didn't wish for my children to grow up fast...but in the middle of those first few years of their lives, I was sleep deprived and there was always someone to be changed or fed or rocked to sleep.  Or bathed or dressed or taken to the doctor.  Dishes to be loaded or unloaded, clothes to be washed or put away. 

Not to be misunderstood, I did love my babies...more than anything!  I just loved my sleep and there wasn't much of that for several years in a row.  So when I think back, it seems the days were somewhat covered in a sleepy fog.

And time didn't feel like it was flying then.


But it was.
The baby will be 21 in a few days.  The baby that feels like I just brought home from the hospital.  The baby that meant I had 2 in diapers at the same time.  The baby that was number 3... meaning Chuck and I were outnumbered.  The baby that made me relinquish all control to God.  Finally.

The baby...Will...whose childhood really flew.

I talked to the baby last night and we talked about how many days until he was 21. 
He asked me if it felt weird that all my children would be over 21.

Yes.  It does.

And those sayings that made me cringe turned out to be so true.

Time flew. 

Monday, September 26, 2011

Mountains and High Tea

Chuck and I went to Scottsdale, Arizona, for a week.  Chuck had a conference to attend and I tagged along because it happens to be Jordan's hometown.  Win, win...a visit with Jordan and a stay at a beautiful resort.  This is Jordan's busy season as an event planner with The Fiesta Bowl Organization, so we flew in the weekend before the conference so we could spend some time with her and her husband Chris. 

Friday and Saturday we stayed at the Fairmont Scottsdale Princess Resort...where we "won" a 2 night stay in The Fiesta Bowl Silent Auction last year.  By "won" I mean we got the 2 night stay for about half the price. 

Chuck always checks out the remote and tv within the first few minutes of arrival.
Because?  I can't for the life of me tell you.
He can't for the life of him help it.

Scottsdale is a suburb in the huge metropolis area of Phoenix.  You may already know that but before my daughter moved there, I would have been hard pressed to tell you where it was.  Desert surrounded by mountains.  Heat like you wouldn't believe.  NO humidity.  Just lots of heat.  As Jordan describes it..."like sticking your face in an oven" hot. Around late October it will cool down to a perfect 70' in the day and a chilly 55' at night and stay that way until late March.  Two and perfect. Unfortunately we were there last week.  It was hot.

So we put on our deodorant and dealt with it.

The pools seem never ending.  This is early Saturday morning and the place was still quiet. 
 While Chuck drank his coffee, I walked around and took pictures. 

Jordan and Chris picked us up around 10:30 to spend the day together. They recently moved to a house so we went by to see it before going to brunch. They moved out of their 2 bedroom/no yard townhouse into a 3 bedroom, 50's ranch with a yard. The yard is mostly "rock" but there is an area of grass in their backyard with a dog door for Mia, my granddog....the practice kid.

Brunch at Arcadia favorite place to eat in Scottsdale...and the site of Jordan's bridal luncheon hosted by my sister, Catha, in March of 2010. 

My 26 year old child with the green eyes and chestnut colored hair.

Saturday was spent running to Lowes and Target to buy drop cloths and curtain rods...then heading back to their house to make draperies out of the dropcloths and hanging them in Jordan's living room and dining room.  Of course, I forgot to take pictures of the finished project, but trust me...the drop cloth draperies turned out great.  A 6 x 9 dropcloth for $9.99 x 4 = 4 thick linen looking drapery panels for Forty Bucks.  We washed them in hot water and Downey softener to make them softer and drape prettier.

On Sunday,  we checked out of the Fairmont then J and C picked us up and took us to their church. After that we were dropped off at The Phoenician where Chuck's conference was being held for the week.  He registered for the conference, we toured the place then met up later with J and C for a light supper at a sports bar....I say "light"  because we had a reception to attend in the evening.  It felt like we rolled away from one table of food to another.

 I kid you not. 

This is Chuck within minutes of entering our next hotel stay.
  He is so focused...he never knew I took this picture. 

The Phoenician sits at the foot of Camelback Mountain...
and literally looks like it is coming out of the mountain. 

No humidity?  No problem. 
 Misting machines everywhere.
  That fine misty spray with a poof of cold air is a welcomed relief.

More misting.....Coach House....
where Jordan and Chris met back in 2009.

We spotted a motorcyle with a dog riding in Chris sped up and got beside him just as we caught the red light.  I rolled down the window and
asked if I could take his picture ....while already clicking away. 

When we got back to our room for the evening we had a welcome tray of cheese and fruit from one of Jordan's contacts at The Phoenician.  Being an event planner has its perks.  Thanks Jordan!

One of the many sculptures around the place.
What does it mean?

When I peak outside, I feel my insides turn to straw?
My backside feels like the outside?
You're so shallow, it's like your filled with straw?

Your turn.

View from our balcony.

Out on the balcony, looking back and up at the mountain.


Looking down on The Phoenician from Camelback Mountain.

Guess who took this?


He climbed to the top of Camelback Mountain!

I slept in.

Check out the city below.  Chuck, are you high?

He did it!
Honestly, I'm very proud of Chuck for climbing that mountain. 

It could not have been easy.

 In top-siders. 

I attended High Tea at two in the lobby with another one of the wives who was there.
I sipped a little tea and then ordered the champagne.  
I tried my best to eat those tiny finger sandwiches slowly and act lady-like.

It was much like Chinese food, in that I was hungry an hour later.
Or maybe it was that I was used to eating ridiculous amounts of food by then.

The rest of the week flew by with a lunch date with Jordan, shopping with the other wife/new friend Nancy, borrowing Jordan's car one afternoon to drive to some other shops....and attending great business dinners with Chuck and his business associates. 

Thursday came way too quick and we packed up and left paradise.

We landed in Houston around 8:30.

Our luggage did not.

It was delivered in the wee hours of the night by FedEX.

I can't blame the luggage for trying to stay behind.
That place is beautiful and my daughter is there.

Thursday, September 15, 2011


I met her in December of 1990, the year our first children were in kindergarten together.  My Jordan was invited to her Nicolle's birthday party.  So the adults met each other at the party but left only knowing each other's names and faces.  Within weeks, I saw the same family in their yard and realized they lived just one street before ours. 

A year later,  Grizel and I were good friends and walking buddies.  We discussed our problems and our blessings on those 3 mile walks through the neighborhood at least 4 or 5 times a week.  Our friendship grew stronger and my thighs got thinner.  We were so devoted to walking and never let each other down.  I have never, EVER, found that kind of walking buddy again. 

Fonzie, Baby Tony, Cameron, Me, Will, and Grizel. 
Our families went to Corpus Christi the summer of '91 together.

These two girls are now 26 year old women.

Because Grizel lived on another street, I soon met more people...her neighbors.  Within months Chuck and I had found a new group of families to hang out with on Friday nights.  The parents played Pictionary and all the kids destroyed the game room of whoever's home we were in.  We ate chili con queso and drank margaritas and called it supper. 

I remember knowing then that what I had was good.  So good.  You know "knock on wood"..."don't jinx it by saying it out loud" GOOD.

Grizel, Tawnya (the only one still living on that street), me and Debbie... 
 '92 wants their big earrings back. 

For my 35th birthday, the girls hosted a surprise party for me at Grizel's home.  I was totally shocked.  Clueless.  I knew "the girls" were all going out that night for dinner....but I was so tired and almost called and bowed out.  Chuck kept telling me to go....that I would have fun....I would get a second wind.  So I waited for my friend Debbie to come pick me up.  Looking back now, I should have been suspicious when Debbie wanted to go fill her car up with gas before heading one street away to pick up Grizel. 

Then one by one, these precious families moved away.  One to California.  One to Georgia. And then Grizel to Florida.   By the time Grizel moved away, I had pulled my head in like a turtle because I just couldn't take any more goodbyes.  If I just stayed in my house and stayed busy, I could pretend "the girls" still lived there.  I could pretend Grizel didn't move to Florida.  I could keep the sadness at bay.

But she did move to Florida.  And our kids grew up.  And the other day she messaged me on face book to see if we could get together while she was in town visiting her sister.  I worked that day so I suggested maybe they could drive out to my store.  And so she and her sister Cassandra did just that. 

It was not possible to just say hi after 16 years so I asked my boss if I could check out for awhile and go to lunch.  (Thank you Chrissy! You're the best.)  Grizel, Cassandra and I talked non-stop for the next hour.  And thank goodness for cell phones cameras, I have proof.

Thanks Grizel and Cassandra for making the drive over and taking me to lunch.  And for your lasting friendship. 

Before I end this post about my friend Grizel....just one more story to share.

Shortly after Grizel and her family moved to Florida, they came back to Houston for a brief visit.  Grizel and Fonzie and the kids showed up at my house and knocked on my door that summer weekday unannounced around 10 a.m.  It was summertime so we had no agenda and I had just gotten out of the shower....towel wrapped around my head.  I sat there and visited with them for a while (so self conscious in my robe, toweled head and no make-up) and then Fonzie suggested we all go eat lunch out.  (I didn't even offer them something to eat or drink...because I wasn't thinking...and I was in my robe and toweled head.)  Fonzie must have been hungry and here was my chance to go get dressed fast! 

I ran upstairs, dried my hair, dressed, slapped on make-up and yelled asked the kids to quickly get dressed themselves.  Grizel and I had some catching up to do, so we decided she and I would go in my car parked in the garage out back and Fonzie would take all of the kids in his car parked in the front.

As we were leaving, Will's hair was bad.   Bed head bad....and the kid's car was already loading up and waiting.  With no time to wet it and try to make it stick down, I sent him upstairs to get his baseball cap....then headed out the back to get in my car with Grizel.

We arrive at the restaurant a few minutes apart and Fonzie looks at me and says......

Fonzie:  Will's with you, right?

Me:  No, Will's with you.

Fonzie:  No, he wasn't with me. 

Me:  Yeah, right...Fonzie.  (thinking he's kidding) You had the kids.

Fonzie:  No, really.......

My head starts whipping around....looking at all the kids and realize that my 6 year old WILL GOT LEFT AT HOME ALONE!

Grizel and I get back in the car and take the 15 minute drive back to my house in 7 minutes.  I call Will on my cell....

Will:  hello                  (pouty, low voice)

Me:  Hey Will!                 (happy, trying to fake him out voice)

Will:  ulefme              (You left me.)

Me:  Hey I'm coming to get you now....stay right there!  (happy, happy Day Camp Counselor this was all part of the plan)

Later....I asked Will what he did when he realized he was at home alone.  He said he watched Cartoon Network.

This story is etched in my brain.  But it's not the only time I left Will.  Nope.

Another day. But Grizel was there that time, too.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

She Makes Me Laugh

I read a lot of blogs...mostly decorating blogs. Other blogs I love because of their photography.  Some for the recipes.  But I have some that I go to because the writer makes me laugh.  I don't even remember how I stumbled on this one particular blog but I've been reading it for at least 2 years. 

I comment rarely on blogs that I read, but I've commented on Anna's a few times because I love her writing and her mind works like mine does.  I've never heard anyone else put in to words the exact same thing that I've thought before.  She is an eloquent and funny writer much like Erma Bombeck. 

As I clicked on it today, the thought going through my mind was "I need a good laugh."  In that split second of clicking, I was preparing to laugh. 

But instead, I got kicked in the gut. 

Anna See of An Inch of Gray sees the humorous side of life in the daily stuff.  And now she has been handed the worst dose of sadness in the world.  All humor has been sucked right out of her.

You know what that is.  And all I can think about right now is Anna.  And the word UNFAIR keeps coming to mind.

An accident.  A split second.  Changed her world.  Her boy was being a boy.  He was playing out in the back.  I don't know details but I suspect she was letting him be the 7th grade boy that he was.

And 7th grade boys, just like the rest of us, can't fight the strength of raging waters. 

His town, near Washington, D.C., was experiencing a huge storm and flooding. 

Now another word comes to mind.  ANGRY.

I'm angry he was taken from her.  I'm angry she is going through this.  I'm angry her daughter lost her brother.  And the father lost his son....and really his "family" as he knew it forever. 

And I'm really angry that Anna probably won't make me laugh for a very, very long time....because she will probably not find humor in her daily life for a very, very long time.

If you click on her link.....scroll way back to before.  I want you to know the Anna that makes people laugh.  And I want you to read the stories of Jack....and how he made his family laugh.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Wearing White After Labor Day?

This was the headline that caught my eye when I opened up the internet this morning.  It made me think of all the fashion rules of my youth.  I  realized that those rules are so deeply embedded in my brain that I can remember them but not much else about my childhood. 

Undercover Fashion Police

NO white between Labor Day and Easter Sunday, girls must wear "co-ordinated pants suits" if they wear pants to school, dresses must be no more than 2 fingers above the knee cap, shirts must be tucked in, belts must be worn with pants and those tucked in shirts. Closed toe shoes with hosiery must be worn in the workplace.  These are the rules that take up space in my brain.


One of the few times all 3 of mine had decent shoes at the same time.
  We probably went to church that month.

For years, we didn't attend church regularly because I had 3 growing kids and any one of them at all times didn't have a decent (Sunday School decent) pair of shoes that fit.  That fashion rule was enough to make me think we couldn't go.  Ridiculous....but embedded in my brain. 

 SUNDAY SCHOOL CLOTHES was a category in itself in my mind. 

Elephant pants almost killed me...I tripped on the huge cuffs more times than I can remember!

Leggings with big shirts, hot pants with tiny shirts, hip huggers with 2 inch zippers, elephant pants, huge eyeglasses that covered half of the face, pointy toed shoes, squared off shoes, clogs, high top tennis shoes, flip-flops, spiked heels, layered clothing, Dorothy Hamill haircuts, Meg Ryan perms........we've all been victims.

Mom jeans.  Bug eyes.  Bowl haircut.  I was hot.

I remember LOVING these glasses because they were so cool. 
 I was so those glasses...ha.
What was the eye industry thinking?
That the pores on my cheeks needed corrective lenses?

Here's what I think long as your underwear isn't hanging out, wear it.
Wear it big, wear it little, wear it white, wear it in color, flip-flop in it, spike your heels in it, wear it up to your chest, wear it down as low as you possible can.

Just don't let your underwear hang out. 

Chuck grillin' in some white short shorts with his lavendar shirt tucked in.
Hello rocked.
Show those legs, Chuck!

So yes...wear white after Labor Day.  And wear your shorts short.  And tuck that shirt in!  If the cops can't keep the druggies off the street corners,
 you certainly won't be arrested for breaking any fashion rules.

And go to church.  Jesus wore a gown with sandals.