Female Friends

Lots of people want to ride with you in the limo, but what you want is someone who will take the bus with you when the limo breaks down. Oprah Winfrey

I have been thinking a lot lately about friendships. About the different kind of friendships. About how many friends are really just acquaintances. About what constitutes a true friend. About how different female friendships are verses male friendships and friendships between the sexes.

First let me say that Dirt Man is truly my best friend. That said, he just doesn’t compare to a female friend. I mean, bless his heart, he tries. He really does. Not too long ago I was feeling really blah and said that I was in serious need of defrumping. He wanted to know what defrumping meant. Now, no woman would ever have to ask that question. I explained. He sympathized with me and then said he just didn’t get the whole feeling frumpy/needing to defrump concept. Duh, of course, he didn’t, he’s a man! He will always be my number one, but sometimes, I need to be with my girlfriends who really get me.

And while I may trust him with my life and my heart, he has absolutely no understanding of my crying for no reason. Every woman knows that women need a good no -particular- reason cry every now and then. It cleanses the soul. Can you imagine how less grouchy men could be if they did that? God knows I need my man, just not when I’m feeling overly emotional because then I feel the need to explain. Which I can’t, and then I just feel plain stupid. So, that’s it…I need other women to make me feel intelligent!!!!!!!

Which takes me to why women need other women. We’ve worn each others shoes. Men may accept what we tell them, but women understand what we say. And they listen.

A friend knows and accepts where you’ve been, understands where you are right now, and can see where you’re heading. And she’s an excellent GPS unit to monitor you and pull you back in if she thinks you’re turning in the wrong direction. She’ll keep you from getting lost.

We have what we call friends from work, school, the neighborhood, our church, community organizations, sporting events, relatives, and even the spouses of our significant other’s friends. But those are just people we know. We might hang out with them, shop, gossip, or do other things with them. The real friend is the one that when you get mad and storm out of a meeting, she is one step behind you whether she agrees with you or not. She is the one that when you are acting irrational will calmly listen, even empathize, and she might even tell you to put your big girl panties on, but she won’t judge you. She’s the one you can call at three in the morning, and if you’re hurt, she’s ready to kick some @$$ in your honor.

Casual acquaintances still deal in pettiness…the comparisons and the envy. Friends get past that. They accept you, zits and all. They don’t care that you lied to your mother when you told her you couldn’t take her for an appointment because you had an important deadline at work. They know you needed a break from the family drama. And they still care about you. They’re fine when you need a break from them, too. They know you’ll come back.

I have lots of women that I do things with, and those have changed through the years. I have only a few people that I call my best friends, and they have stayed fairly constant.

Women generally hold no emotional barriers. We cry to, with, for, and about one another. And we’re not ashamed of our tears. We may even shout or say ugly words. But we bounce back with love, love that is a silent truth. We have no need to be logical, analytical, or in control of ourselves. We share intimacies because we are accessible, supportive, honest, and direct with one another. Sometimes, we are so raw it hurts, but we’re forgiving. We are alike, and we are needy. We gain wisdom from each other’s experiences.

Our longing for emotional closeness is not a sign of weakness but strength as we are able to be vulnerable in sharing ourselves. In freeing ourselves, we are finding our identities. That power is the significance of female friendships.

In Memory Of Steff

This is a difficult post for me to write. I am not quite sure what I want to say. I’ve had words tumbling around in my brain for a month, and haven’t been able to get a single coherent thought onto the page.

Twelve years ago today my friend, Stephanie, died. She lost a long hard three year battle with Sebaceous Cell Carcinoma, a rare form of cancer. She was only thirty-five.

Stephanie and I went to school together and became really good friends in our Junior year of high school. We took our Cosmetology state boards together and held our first jobs together. We were pregnant at the same time. We shared a lot through the years.

I was in her wedding. I caught her bouquet, and Dirt Man (who was not yet my husband) caught her garter. We got married eleven months later and moved a way.

There were times when we weren’t in touch for a while, but always seemed to find our way back to each other. Even with over two hundred miles between us.

When I first heard of her illness, I was afraid for her, but I really truly thought that a surgery would remove it and she’d be fine. I did not know that at that time there were, I think, only thirty cases of that type of cancer. I didn’t know it would prove to be fatal.

Her cancer started with a tumor on her left eyelid and worked its way across her face and down her neck. The surgeons would try to remove lymph nodes ahead of the cancer, but it always seemed to be one step ahead of them. Stephanie underwent several surgeries, three trials of chemotherapy, and radiation treatment. And through it all, she never complained.

Stephanie had a positive outlook on life. She always found the best in people. Even when she was really ill, she would ask that we pray for others in more need than her. And whenever I called her which was often during her illness, she never, no matter how bad she felt, turned down my call.

Stephanie’s steadfast faith was what kept her and everyone else going. She was an inspiration to all who knew her and even to those who didn’t. She had always been a physically beautiful woman, but those who didn’t know her didn’t know of the vast beauty and selflessness deep within her.

When I first became baptized in the Christian faith, Stephanie warned me. I don’t mean that as a bad thing. She knew I was a little naïve. She knew I was putting these people up there with angels. She had to remind me that they were human, to take off my rose colored glasses or I’d eventually be hurt. She gently told me about church politics, and how not to let those type of things get in the way of my relationship with God. Recently, I was reminded of this conversation. Funny how well she knew me and wanted to prevent me from the fall.

It was Christmas 1997 at the end of the battle. Her family put lights on a pine tree outside her window so she could enjoy the lights. People started showing up and hanging ornaments to let her know they were praying for her. I think there ended up being about two hundred ornaments, and well over half of them were angels. I think that says a lot about people’s perception of Stephanie.

The week before she died, she tried to have a conversation with me. One I wish I’d been more willing to participate in, but it was unsettling. It was one I didn’t want to have. She told me that she didn’t think that God had a miracle cure for her, but that she’d like me to write her obituary. Most importantly, she wanted me to tell her story. I’m not quite sure how she wanted me to tell it, and I think that I have failed her miserably. I don’t think she expected me to be an inspirational speaker or anything like that. We both knew I didn’t have that in me. After her death, I went on an Emmaus Walk, and I thought that was the time. I was sooo wrong…I had gotten my agenda confused with God’s agenda. I have since had the opportunity to comfort others with cancer, some who were cured, and some who lost the battle. Still, I don’t think that was where I was supposed to take her story either. I mean I have talked about her ordeal and her faith, but I don’t think I’ve accomplished what she wanted. I’ve mostly just managed to carry it around in my heart.

I went to visit her over that Christmas break and I knew then it was only a short matter of time. I think I had been back home for a day, when I got the call early that morning that she had died. But I already knew before the phone rang. I had a really strange thing happen. I was awakened by a cool breeze brushing across me, and what I want to call a vision of a pair of moccasins pattering above my head and across the room. I have no idea what the semblance of that was, but I remember it. I also wrote about it in my journal. I have NEVER faithfully kept a journal, but that was one of the few random things I did manage to write over the years.

I went back to the county the next day. And I did write her obituary and eulogy. But I did not have to deliver the eulogy alone. Three other friends and I did it together, supporting one another. I don’t think that my words gave her memory justice. She was so much more than could ever have been put into words.

I found some words that I didn’t share. This was in my notebook: I wanted to cradle her love in my arms and rock it like a small child, but my arms could not contain all that she had touched./I wanted to grind her pain into sand that we could draw in our girlish secrets and brush them away with a swipe of our hands./I wanted to paint our friendship, but the colors of eternity did not exist./I wanted to trap her disease and throw it away, but it ran too fast for me to catch./I wanted to cradle her and keep her forever./My arms feel so empty now, holding only memories.

A few weeks after she died, I had a dream. I have never been one to analyze dreams, so again, it may have just been a weird dream like many others I have had. Anyway, I dreamed that I was swimming in a river, and Stephanie came shooting up out of the water. It was like she was a mermaid. She kept popping up and she said one and only one thing to me, “It’s not what we thought it was.” It troubled me at first, and I tried to figure it out in my own mind. Then, I relented that it was probably my minds reaction to my many unanswered questions.

Stephanie was a Baptist. I’m sure you know that they are known for their “tell it” sermons. She had requested a call to the alter at her funeral. Some people she loved gave their lives to God at her funeral. Her mission had been completed. She had anticipated a miracle, not knowing that she had been the miracle.

All along Stephanie said that God was using her in some way, maybe she was to be cured miraculously or maybe someone would be touched through her illness. Or maybe later someone would be inspired by her story.  She didn’t profess to know His plan but had total comfort in Him. She was courageous and amazing. She taught me a lot about life and death and God. I am a better person for having had her as a part of my life.

Death and memories are strange bedfellows. Every once in a while, I still catch myself wanting to call her and share some snippet of my life with her.

 Today I want to take a step back and remember the wonderful friend that Steff was to me. I want to recall her compassion, her faith, her humor, her beauty, and her talents. I want to remember the many roles in life that she played to others – daughter, sister, wife, mother, aunt, friend, cousin, hairdresser, neighbor, and many others.  She played each of these roles with the greatest of love. I thank God for the many years that I was fortunalte to have been a part of her life. I am thankful for wonderful memories.

With love always to Steff…until we meet again.

Mr. Lonely Please Come See Me

The saying has always been that the Maytag repairman is lonely. Well, if that’s the case, then why is it going to take over a week for him to come to my house to fix my Maytag washer? Yeah, I know it is the week between Christmas and New Years. Still isn’t there someone available? Are they all off? Or have they been lying to us and there is a demand for the Maytag repairman?

Last night as I was doing laundry, my washing machine started acting possessed. I told Dirt Man that it was making noises. He replied that it was probably off balance. No, I know what the machine sounds like if it’s out of balance. It continued on the second load, and then the third. Dirt Man took a look at it then. He concluded the machine had a problem. You think?!

Dirt Man took the machine apart today and found that a part needs to be replaced. Something about bearings going out…yeah, yeah, yeah, may as well be speaking a foreign language to me. Bottom line…broken! Actually, it still works, but is very noisy, and soon will no longer work. The national Maytag number puts us out almost two weeks to get a repairman to our house. The local number only makes us wait a week. A whole week…that may as well be like a year if it involves my going to the laundromat. I mean really, I’d rather hand wash my clothes than go there. No, wait, I’d rather just buy new clothes. And I am a person who doesn’t really like to shop.

My last washing machine was a Kenmore and lasted about fourteen years. Dirt Man probably could have repaired it, but we decided to go ahead and update our appliances. The updated machine ended up being a Maytag. I let Dirt Man pick it out. My only request was that it had to have extra heavy load capacity. The weird thing that I found was that it didn’t have a lint collector tray. Of course, I am not one to thoroughly read my manuals. I depend on Dirt Man to just give me the lowdown. My inquisition led to my being told to read the manual – obviously, Dirt Man had no idea he (yes, of course I’m going to blame him because we all know that I depend on him to lead me in the right direction!!) bought a machine without a lint tray. Well, I read the manual and it didn’t NEED one because of some reason I can’t even remember. It was some gimmick I am sure to make you want to buy the machine. I wasn’t impressed enough to remember. So anyway, I hate that my clothes come out of the washer with lint all over them. However, my trusty dryer removes the lint every time. So, maybe the lint tray isn’t that important. I’d just never had or seen a washing machine without one.

And yes, while I whine and moan about my broken (okay breaking) washing machine, I still thank God that He has me exist today and not in the days of wringer machines or scrub boards. And I also thank Him for blessing me with a washing machine and the ability to do my own laundry. See, I am not totally ungrateful. I’m just spoiled. As usual, I take things for granted until it doesn’t work. Kind of like electricity, cable, internet…things we think we can’t possibly live with out – yet people do it all the time.

This Maytag is five years old. In comparison, it doesn’t rate anywhere near my other dryer since it has gone kaput so early in the game. I am not impressed. The parts will probably be under warranty, but we’ll have to pay for labor and about a hundred bucks just to have a diagnostics test done. Dirt Man has already picked out a replacement machine. (Is that a late Merry Christmas to me or to him?!) I didn’t question him, but I hope it’s not a Maytag.

Mean time, maybe I can woo Mr. Maytag Repairman with a poem:

Maytag Repairman, all lonely and blue

All I want is a visit from you

Our clothes are all dirty and starting to stink

If you come by soon, I’ll make you a drink

Washing clothes by hand is not fun to do

Please, Mr. Maytag Man, I need you

A Friend Through The Ages

Next to a circus there ain’t nothing that packs up and tears out faster than the Christmas spirit.
Frank McKinney Hubbard

It seems that everyone is a little bit nicer right before Christmas. Unless you’re looking for a parking spot at the mall or you’re in line waiting to make a purchase. It’s sad, but it doesn’t take long for that holiday cheer to disappear. If we would each take time each day to smile at a stranger or extend a helping hand to someone in need, what a difference it would make.

I used to be much better at it. I’ve gotten lazy and selfish. I’ve been wrapped up in my own little world that I haven’t bothered to touch anyone outside of my circle of family and friends. I used to volunteer. I used to reach out to others. What has happened to me?

Dirt Man and I moved to the city six months after we first got married. That was over twenty-seven years ago. One of our neighbors in an apartment we lived in was a little elderly Italian woman. I guess she wasn’t elderly then, but we were young and we thought she was. Anyway, we’ve kept in close contact with Chris all of these years.

Chris does not drive. She has to depend on others to go to the store or to a doctors appointment. Things that most of us take for granted, she has to ask someone for assistance. She is also hitting her late eighties. I don’t know for sure because she has never given her age, but facts point her in that direction. I can only imagine how frustrating that must be to not be able to go where you want when you need or want to, but to have to arrange transportation.

Chris still lives in that same apartment. Her husband had died years before we ever met her. She did not have any children. She does have many nieces and nephews, but only a couple of them live locally. Through the years, I’ve taken her shopping and out to eat. I’d gotten where for a while I’d take her a few times a month. It gave us a chance to spend some time together and it also gave her nephew a break. At one time, I used to have lunch with her almost every week. And this was when she was in better health and able to do more for herself. It was when she was able to walk a block to the store and go up and down the stairs to her apartment.

Somehow, I’d let my self get caught up in my own life and I neglected her. Today I made her a Christmas bag of goodies. I didn’t call her before going over. I just showed up. She was delighted. We shared a wonderful cup of hot tea and some Christmas cookies.

I was surprised to find how quickly time has seemed to catch up with her in such a few short months. She is not getting around as well. And her vision has really gotten bad. Bless her heart, she has to use a magnifying glass to read the numbers on her oven to bake. Things that I take for granted have become difficult for her. She’s too proud to call and ask for help. She doesn’t want to be a bother to anyone. I feel terrible that I have not been there for her. She mentioned how she is not able to clean the way she used to and it gets her depressed. She wouldn’t let me clean for her today, but she did allow me to wash the windows (inside and out) of her sliding glass doors. One of her great delights is to watch and feed the birds and squirrels on her balcony.

I have made myself a vow to call her every week. Just to say hi and see if she needs anything. I plan to go over and clean for her as soon as she finds a convenient time. Each week, I need to get back in the practice of seeing if she wants to go to the store with me or if she wants to give me a list over the phone for things to pick up for her. I don’t know how I fell out of the habit. I used to be a good friend. These are small things that I can do for her. Mostly, I think she’d just appreciate spending time with me. I live four hours away from my own parents. And I’d like to think that other people will reach out to them if they’re in need.

Chris is the one who taught me how to make authentic Italian cuisine. It is not at all what we Americans call Italian food. And that good red wine is to be drunk at room temperature. And her sense of humor (especially for someone her age!) is simply out of this world. I enjoy being in her company. It comes down to the fact that I love her. I’ve missed her. I feel badly that I haven’t been there when she has obviously been in need.

Going to see her today was totally unplanned. I’d been thinking about it for months and never made the time. I am so glad I went. I hope to be a better friend to her. Age doesn’t matter when it comes to friendships. Hearts are what counts.

Is there anyone in your life that you feel the need to reconnect with? Don’t wait because it could be too late.

Is there a someone in need that you could help? A friend or a neighbor? Reach out, you’ll both feel better.

Is there a stranger you could smile at in passing and spread a little happiness?

Airing My Laundry, Dirty And All

We do not use clothes pins in our house for the same reasons most people use them. We are not normal people. We use them to close chip bags. They work perfectly well. We have lots. No point in wasting good money on fancy chip bag closers.

I once used clothes pins for their intended use. Back when I was a good mom. Back when I was a cheaper scaled down version of Wonder Woman.

Many (I must rephrase many!) years ago, I decided that I wanted Dirt Man to put a clothes line in the back yard. I was full of energy (or maybe it was crap or something similar!) and would wash clothes early in the morning and hang them up before I went to work. Then, I’d rush home during my lunch hour and take them in and fold them. Was I crazy or what?

I think I was feeling the pressure of trying to be the best I could at everything and work full time. I had a friend who stayed home and made everything from scratch, kept her house clean, did all kinds of arts and crafts, and even found time to hang her laundry out to dry.

Growing up I had a friend who always put me down because we dried our clothes in a dryer, and she claimed her clothes smelled all earthy fresh from drying in the sun (and the wind and the rain and the snow…get it?). Bottom line was that her family didn’t own a dryer. And her jeans were always way stiff and they had to iron their clothes because of the wrinkles. No thanks I said I like soft clothes, and I got the same scent from fabric softener. She told me that was fake and I said I didn’t care. Can you believe how catty girls can be? Why would anyone be stupid enough to argue over the benefits of line drying or electric dryers?

While I did line dry the laundry, I had a problem with the undies flapping in the breeze for all the neighbors to see. Those got dryer preference…oh, and they were softer.

I probably did this for a few months. I never complained. In fact, I probably bragged thinking it made me sound like a super hero when I was more like a super freak! My allergist saved my life. He told me that line drying was bringing loads of unwanted pollen into our house and into our lives. He told me not to leave the windows open either. I didn’t do that…love that good old AC.

Dirt Man was cleaning out junk this past weekend and found a bunch of our castaway clothes pins. I promptly grabbed them, but not for the laundry. I knew I had a few bags in the cupboard that were in need of snug closures.

So, you won’t find me hanging the laundry out in my back yard. However,you may find me airing my dirty laundry, one piece at a time (undies and all!) right here on my blog!

Merry CHRISTmas 2009

For those who celebrate a strictly secular Christmas, I have no problem with that. Except they should not shun the Christian tradition of Christmas. After all, Christmas would not exist otherwise. Think about the real Christmas story.

It seems the reason for the season has disappeared. Christianity is being stifled.

Nativity scenes are being banned. Why I ask. The birth of Christ is what Christmas is supposed to be about.

It’s not supposed to be about what’s on sale at Macy’s or any other retail chain.

Instead, the Holiday tree is being pushed upon us.

I want to know what the heck that really, truly has to do with Christmas except for the secular symbols we have given it. I realize it supposedly has pagan roots, but most Christians have embraced it and incorporated it into our own religious celebration. Myself included. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying we can’t have our Christmas trees…I’m saying we can’t hide Christ behind it.

Seriously, do people actual own “Holiday” trees for any purpose other than celebrating Christmas? Or do they have a Holiday morning and open Holiday presents? If that’s the case, what is the “Holiday” that they are celebrating?

I am guilty of having a Christmas tree every year. And hanging stockings. And having had my children believe in Santa. But I also taught them about the birth of Christ. They’ve always known and celebrated the reason behind Christmas.

I think the majority of us have been sucked into the commercialism of Christmas. Oh, how the retail industry would suffer if we refused to succumb to buying their holiday merchandise when indeed our purpose is Christmas. I don’t know about you, but I don’t buy holiday presents. I buy Christmas presents. I should refuse to buy from a place that doesn’t have the guts to call them what they are. Do they even call them Christmas stockings any more? I’ll bet not.

And mind you, I am not bothered by the Holiday trees that are displayed. Nor am I offended by the display of a menorah. But I am bothered by the fact that both menorahs and “holiday” trees can be displayed publicly but not a Nativity scene. I don’t get that.

I think Christmas trees, lights, and decorations are beautiful. They give a magical feeling to Christmas. I’ve missed that magical feeling now that my children are older. At the same time, I’ve let the holiness of the day slip past me as well. As I reel myself back in and reflect upon the Christmas story, I see it is magical. Holy. A miracle in itself.

Remembrance of the birth of Christ. Now, that is the magic of Christmas.

Merry CHRISTmas!

Merry Christmas Flavors To You!

So now I know what I had been missing this Christmas season.

Starbucks peppermint mocha.

Coffee.

Peppermint.

Chocolate.

My three favorite flavors combined.

Is there anything better than that?

My dog thinks it’s wonderful, too. Don’t get too excited. I didn’t actually give it to her. She sat beside me with her head in the crook of my arm with her sad, little beady (needy) eyes pleading with me while I sipped my delight. She kept sniffing and licking the outside of my cup. I didn’t share. It was mine…all mine!

Ok. Dirt Man gave in and let her lick the drops in the bottom of the cup. She was a happy dog. And it wasn’t enough to hurt her. Believe me, I almost sucked that Starbucks cup dry.

Thanks Starbucks.

And thanks, Dirt Man, for getting me one this morning.

It helped (along with some meds!) get rid of my two day migraine.

I hate migraines. Not just the pain, but the sick stomach that goes with it. And the light sensitivity. And my short temperedness with everyone and everything.

So again, thanks Starbucks and Dirt Man.

And Merry Christmas to all. And NO, HECK NO, I will not be politically correct and tell you Happy Holidays. (Although, I do hope whatever you celebrate, if you celebrate, is happy indeed!)

Here’s wishing you all your favorite flavors of the season! Merry Christmas!

Christmas Cards

Oh, the pretty shiney Christmas cards with lovely sentiments from friends and family.

About twenty-five or so. Not even a quarter of the usual. Some with family portrait cards. Believe it or not, but only ONE annual newsletter.

And one card with a nice family portrait from a family none of us has even heard of.  Not a church, business, or community aquaintance. We have no idea who in the heck these people are, but they look nice enough all spruced up in their Christmas green, white, and red attire.

The guilt hasn’t set in…YET.

I found my falala, but not enought of it to put me in the mood to sign, address, and mail the cards.

I stuck them back under my bed.

Same thing I did about five years ago, when I went on Christmas card strike. Except, I pulled them out every year for five years and shoved them back under there. Then last year, the guilt got to me. And I did it. I sent out cards!

If I don’t feel bad enough to send out New Years greetings, maybe my strike will last six years this time. I’m kind of competitive with myself like that.

So, don’t feel bad when you don’t get a Christmas card form me. It doesn’t mean I don’t like you. It just means I’m a lazy butt this year!

Class Clown

When my children were in elementary school, their principal took it upon herself to impose a “voluntary” dress code. She felt that if students were not distracted by their attire they’d become better scholars. Yeah, right. My beef was more about the choice of the attire. She chose khaki pants as bottoms. Sounds nice. Right? Well, try being the mother trying to scrub grass stains out of the knees every night. The students had gym class and outside recess to which these clothes were worn. Point is, I did not require my children to participate. Only a small percentage actually did, and within a few months it was tossed to the wayside. This post is not about the dress code, but is important to note as you hear the following story.

Youngest Son’s first grade class was chosen to be the entertainment at the PTA meeting. They had been practicing for weeks. They were to perform for about twenty minutes. The show consisted of several little songs that included hand movements.

The show started out fine. Except for the fact, that my child was not dressed in proper code. I didn’t get the memo. I really would have put him in it for the show. (My kids had the proper clothes and wore them when they wanted but not daily.) My child was the ONLY child in normal clothes. He actually did have on khaki pants, but his shirt was not a medium blue t-shirt, but a light blue collared button down shirt. Anyway, they were about half way through the first ( I repeat first!) song, singing their little hearts out and doing little hand motions, and my son stuck his hands in his pockets. When they continued to the next set of motions, he couldn’t get his hands out of his pockets quickly enough and was thrown off. So, sweet little angel decided to look into the audience to find people he knew.

Aha, he first spotted his brother and started making faces at him. I’m sitting beside his brother motioning for him to stop. He ignored me. The other little angels continued singing, while my little devil then spots my best friend and her family on the other side of the auditorium. He starts entertaining them with his silly faces, absolutely no singing or hands movements from him at this point. My friends sons start making faces back at him which really got him going. I started sinking lower and lower into my seat as I was waiting for someone (like the principal) to go to the stage and remove him.

He moved on from them and focused on people he knew through the entire room. And unfortunately, he knew a lot of the spectators! By this time, the entire audience was laughing hysterically. At that point, I thought it was actually possible to die from embarrassment.

After the show, I scooped my adorable little angel (yeah, that’s exactly what I was thinking, believe me?) up and proceeded to get out as fast as I could. But not quickly enough. Seems a reporter from the newspaper was in the audience, and wanted to interview me. I looked like some criminal on television and blurted “no comment” and tossed a coat on my kid‘s head.

And I thought that was the end of it. I wish! That reporter happened to be the guy who wrote the weekly column where he wrote a snippet of interest from each day of the week. A few days later (after of course, I had shared this humiliation with my boss and coworkers) when I got to work my boss asked me if I’d read the newspaper. I hadn’t. Little angel boy was a local celebrity. The report said that one little boy who was NOT dressed like the other children stole the show. He went on about how he made faces in the crowd and how he tried to ask his mother who was “clearly embarrassed” about the incident. Anyway, it was worded as if he did this because he was not in uniform. Like a uniform would have made him behave. Yeah, right! Were that the case I’d have had both kids in uniform 24-7!

I think it has something to do with the youngest children in families. I’ve found that they tend to be the entertainers, the clowns, the light-hearted happy -go -lucky people of the world. Yeah, I am the youngest in my family. But I swear to you, I NEVER did anything like that!

In going through their childhood pictures, it seems to be a pattern of Youngest Son making faces. I really don’t think wearing a uniform would have prevented his shenanigans. However, had he just not put his hands in his pockets in the first place, all might have been well…might have been.

Crispy Crunchy Chicken Crust

I have a confession. I am the person who picks the crispy crunchy crust off of the chicken and eats it. I’m talking about your chicken. I want everybody’s crunchies.

I asked Dirt Man to pick up chicken on his way home the other day. And there I was (before I even put it on the table) picking the crunchies out of the bottom of the box, and pulling  huge chunks off of the chicken.

If I could only just buy the crunchies…forget the chicken.

Oldest Son usually reminds me of how fattening the crunchies are. And the skin. I don’t care. It’s my favorite part. Besides, I say, if I get fat (fatter, that is!), at least I enjoyed the ride there! He’s just a little too health conscientious for me to listen to. We all gotta live a little, huh? Anyway, we really don’t have it often enough to worry about it.

My mom made the best fried chicken ever. That’s the one meal my brother still requests when he comes in for a visit. When we were younger, my sisters (three of them, all bigger and stronger, so I didn’t stand a chance!) and I used to fight over the crispies. My mother would always scrape it from the bottom of the cast iron skillet and drain it on a paper towel. It was pretty much the first person who found them was the one who got them unless it was me and they caught me. I learned to eat quickly. And to clasp my hand over my mouth. Finally, I got smart and just hung around the kitchen every time my mom fried chicken.

So, next time you take home a bucket of KFC and open it to find that your chicken is naked, chances are I’m hiding somewhere in your house scarfing down those crispies!