Friday, November 30, 2007

Call Me Coo-Coo

I’m Coo-Coo for Cocoa Puffs. Maybe I’m just plain coo-coo or is that cuckoo? I have to admit it. I love those chocolatey puffs. You would think at my age (no age available) that I would be over those little balls of chocolate.

When I buy cereal, I buy Grape Nut Flakes for PaulA, Cracklin’ Oat Bran for Bri, Cheerios for Chels, nothin’ for Col… don’t think he hasn’t been lectured a gazillion times for not eating breakfast…and Cocoa Puffs for me. So today, it was lunch time and we didn’t have anything to put in a sandwich…..Will the wife please go to the grocery store already!…. I pulled out the box of Cocoa Puffs.

I have been eating Cocoa Puffs for my entire life. As a youngster I jumped out of bed to get the chocolate wonder. In college I was still eating them. I remember one summer when I worked as an assistant to a secretary for the U. S. Immigration Service in the Intelligence Division. Anyway, Polly, the woman I worked for found out that I ate Cocoa Puffs every morning. So after the summer, when I left to go back to college, Polly sent me packing with a dictionary and a huge box of Cocoa Puffs…the essentials. Bet you are wondering why they hired me in the Intelligence division.

Let me try to give you a reason, any reason why I eat this sweet sugary cereal at my age: duhhh, it would be the chocolate and the chocolate milk in the bottom of the bowl. Not only do you get to crunch on chocolate puffs, but when you finish, you get to drink chocolate milk. (Okay, I don’t pick the bowl up and drink it. I am not 8 years old… I will say that.) And the cereal is sweet enough that you don’t have to add sugar…because if I ate Cheerios I would be looking for the sugar bowl.

I am expanding my tastes to include other cereals….. Cocoa Krispies. But Cocoa Puffs will always be number one. Call me Coo-Coo.

Monday, November 26, 2007

License To Eat

Thanksgiving is over…the stuffed turkey is off the menu and the stuffed KAT is off the couch. Holy Turkey did I eat a lot of food…After a while it was kind of crazy. Everything looked so good that I just had to eat it. I wouldn’t normally eat like it was my last meal ever, but it was like someone gave me a free pass…a license to eat.

License: fatKAT – Eyes: Brown, Appetite: Enormous. Legally entitled: to eat everything in sight. License expires: November 22, 2007 at midnight.

So from dawn until midnight…I had my way with the turkey and the turkey had its way with me…and I’m not talking dirty here. If anyone dared to question my ravenous appetite…I’d just flash them my license and say, “Listen Buster….read it and eat.”

So the fat lady has sung and it’s back to limited portions. Speaking of limited portions (nice transition, eh) my little niece, Liv, who was here for Thanksgiving asked me if she could have a calorie pack. Calorie pack, you ask dearie? I wasn’t at all sure what she was talking about…You mean I have calorie packs in my house? I thought I knew what was in my house, especially my kitchen. Then she pointed to the cupboard…and sure enough…there was a box of 100 calorie pack mini Oreos. Of course…I get it now…Calorie Packs… such a silly auntKat. It’s a darn good thing food at Thanksgiving wasn’t served in calorie packs. I would have had 10 calorie packs of Turkey, 15 calorie packs of mashed potatoes and 12 calorie packs of stuffing, 29 calorie packs of pumpkin pie and…

So from now on, it is limited calorie pack portions, at least until Christmas…at which time, I will be getting my license renewed.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Let's Talk Turkey

Ahhhh…Thanksgiving….my favorite holiday of the year. No presents involved so I can’t get the look… “You totally bombed, Loser Mom.” “Gee… I thought you liked toe socks….everyone likes toe socks.”

The best part about Thanksgiving is getting together with family and, of course, the eating extravaganza. The meal really isn’t that difficult…you just need a lot of it. Basically meat, potatoes, and vegetables. There are no wild expectations of a gourmet plum-glazed Mongolian turkey with foie gras. Heck, if that was served, everyone would grumble….and it wouldn’t be their stomachs talking. Also people want to contribute with their signature dishes, like Uncle Alan’s Portuguese stuffing…as Rachael Ray says, “Yummo!”

I think the reason I love the Thanksgiving holiday so much is because of the great Thanksgivings I had as a kid. We had turkey day with my mom’s family at a school and used the kitchen and cafeteria. We ran through the halls and played in the classrooms. My uncle even brought us there in a school bus. Other years we got together at the Grange (town meeting place, for those flatlanders.) It was always such a fun time with my aunts, uncles and cousins. The wonderful memories of Thanksgivings are what I hope to pass on to my family.

It is the traditions that make the holiday so special. Aunt Mary/Uncle Al & Fam arriving the night before with Pepe’s pizza, all the cooks in the kitchen, the Thanksgiving morning walk in the woods... the Pre-dinner appetizer session, The BIG Turkey dinner with all the fixins…the couch…the desserts...the couch… family game time...the games on TV…the couch…walk-it-off time outside...the couch...Round TWO…the turkey sandwiches...the couch.

I wonder if anyone has ever kept track of the average number of calories eaten on Thanksgiving Day. If they did, I would bop them on the head. You see, this is the time to unbuckle the belt, pop those buttons, loosen that skirt…and make room for a second, third piece of pie. No fun trying to “be good” … that would be very, very bad.

So here we are, getting together with a bountiful feast like the Pilgrims and Indians did in Plymouth hundreds of years ago… minus the couch. Happy Thanksgiving to my family who couldn’t be with us at our table. I love you and miss you. Have a great day and I’ll be thinking of you….while on the couch.

P.S. Should you not hear from me for a couple of days…I am in a self-induced turkey coma. Tryptophan is pretty powerful stuff and I am probably still on the ……Okay, you guessed it… the couch.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Hair Emergency

What’s a hair emergency, you ask? If you have to ask, then you’ve never had one. It’s when you’ve done a little experimenting with your own hair and then need to call in a professional. Bri was given the distinction of “Hair emergency of the year” by our hairdresser, Michelle.

After 16 years of being a blonde, Brianna decided to go brown. I still haven’t understood why she did this. You would think she had heard that blondes have more fun, by now. Instead, she threw caution to the wind…or more like CVS Ash Brown to the hair. She made a little purchase of $7.50 and got exactly what she paid for. With dye in hand she decided to make herself a brunette. If I had only known, I would have stopped the fiasco before it got started. But I was out of town, visiting my sick grandmother. So no more visiting sick grandmothers for me(bad joke)…you never know what will happen.

Bri walked around for 3 weeks as a brunette. It’s not like she looked bad…not at all. But she just didn’t look like Bri. Actually she looked like Big C. After a trip on the wild side, Bri decided she wanted her old hair color back….which isn’t as easy as I just said it. So enter…

Michelle, the hair emergency fixer….. Michelle to the rescue! After she questioned Brianna and her hair-brained idea about brown hair (pun definitely intended)…she got to work. She went to the back room and started mixing solutions….lots of them…eye of blonde, strand of Marilyn Monroe…looking for the right solution. Brianna and I just hoped that Michelle had paid attention in chemistry class. After she made her concoction, she plastered it on Bri’s head to strip off the brown. Then she washed it out…OOhhh, a nice shade of orange! Michele you weren’t paying attention in class after all. She calmed us down saying this was normal…We could only think, “You better be right about this because Halloween is over.” (Then again, if she turned it green, Bri would be ready for Christmas.) Next, the toner solution….and hmmmm… color is still not right. More toner please…fingers crossed…and in the end...

Bri got her hair color back. Everyone was happy. You know, kinda like when Stella got her groove back. Hair emergency over….thanks to Michelle.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

So Close But Yet So Far

Some people like to run far and fast…Can you imagine? I have a friend who can run 11 miles like it is a walk in the park…no prob. OMG I don’t know how linnyj does that! Well today I heard that iPods are being banned from races, because they can be dangerous by blocking out other sounds. Darn….and I was thinking of running a marathon. Well, not now…I was so close.

Linnyj once got me to run in a 5 K race. (Why isn’t it called a 3 mile race for us kiddos who never learned the metric system?) What did she say to make me agree? Maybe she promised a great meal afterward.

So there I was at the race. I took one look around at the people and I knew I was in trouble. They had all the right runner clothes on and special running shoes... as I stood there in my gym shorts and Keds. I knew it was a race but did they need to be so serious. They were stretching their hams and glutes and I don’t think they were talking about making dinner. They gave us each bib numbers (the last time I wore a bib, I don’t think I could even walk)….so they were serious about recording times. Uh Oh…I am in huge trouble now. Maybe there is a short cut that I can find.

The gun goes off, don’t worry no real bullets …and we start running. (You can be sure I never saw linnyj again until the finish line.) Yep, there I am in the middle of the pack…running along. So I am feeling pretty good. I’m smiling, but for some reason no one else is. (Maybe they don’t know about the shortcut.) After a mile of running, more and more people blow right by me. Now that’s just not nice. Then more people…so by the last mile, I decide I should look back. I think I can manage to keep running and look back at the same time without falling over. So I do and I see….one runner behind me. And it is a woman who thinks she is going to pass by me, making me dead last. She is dead wrong…not in this lifetime. The one thing I know is….that blankety, blank, blank woman is staying behind my blankey, blank, blank ass….take a number sista.

I can hear her running….she is right behind me. I decide that if I can hear her, that is good, because then I will know where she is at. (You know the saying, keep your enemies close.) I’m listening and she is sounding like me…heavy breathing….another phone stalker person running. I decide I have to kick it into overdrive because my underdrive sure isn’t working.

The finish line is fast approaching or is that slowly approaching….and I have managed to keep that rascal behind me, where she belongs. I change my iPod to the perfect song… The Chariots of Fire theme song. That works for me….I can visualize myself crossing the finish line (in slo-mo, of course) with the woman behind me, eating my proverbial dust. And I actually do it…I win! I beat the slow-assed woman. I didn’t win the race, but I finished (my time is my secret) and I wasn’t dead last. Moral of the story kids…lower your expectations. No wait, just kidding, that isn’t it. Maybe it’s…you can accomplish things if you push yourself hard enough.

So nope, no marathons for me…And that is a shame! No iPod…no marathons. You see, I was so close...

Monday, November 12, 2007

Happy Birthday Father!

You are 76 today and you have a lot of fans out there thinking of you and wishing you a Happy Birthday. I know you like to call us “sports fans”…but we are really YOUR fans….call us “Jerry fans!”

I just have to tell the world about my amazing father on his 76th birthday and what better place to do it! First of all, Gerald is a trivia buff. Okay maybe knowing the square mileage of Jacksonville, Florida could come in handy someday….especially if you were going to walk it. He can also give you directions to anywhere from nowhere. He knows that Interstate 70 intersects with Interstate 71 in Columbus, Ohio … I don’t know how he knows this stuff, maybe he was born with a GPS chip inside of him. And he also knows everything about sports. I mean everything…obscure facts about teams, players and coaches....and not just professional sports…even high school sports….go ahead, quiz him. Gerald is the friendliest guy you ever want to meet and the most easy going…that’s G.L. He should have run for mayor because he can hold court wherever he goes. He can strike up a conversation with just anyone….and believe me he has.

You should have seen Gerald when he wore his Air Force Blues. Maybe I am a little biased, but I thought he was the most handsome dad ever. And at age 76, he’s the cutest dad out there. Yep, when it comes to the cuteness factor, he’s got it… hands down. The dog tags given to me when my dad was in the Air Force are my most prize possession. And on Veteran’s Day I wear them proudly… proud that they say, “Kathy-Anne T.… Daughter of Gerald T…

Gerald has also earned a nickname as Jerry Bring Back. When my mother buys something and later decides she doesn’t want it…she gives it to my dad. Okay, who is going to give a 76 year old man a hard time about bringing back curtains. Remember, I just said he has the cuteness factor going for him, and what is he doing with swags and jabots, anyway?

One of my father’s famous lines growing up was, “Who loves Dad? Raise your hand.” We could be doing our homework, washing the dishes, or watching television and he would say it, “Who loves Dad? Raise your hand.”… automatically we would each raise our hand into the air and keep on doing what we were doing. Do you think we were going to deny my dad his fun?!

I remember when my mom didn’t feel like cooking and we were lucky to get dinner at McDonalds. My father and I had the special job of picking it up. I would get a pad of paper, write down everyone’s order, and then jump in the ole Tempest next to him. I can still hear that car today…sounded just like my washing machine. Off we would go to Mickey D’s, my dad and I on a burger mission…swoosh, cchuck, swoosh, ccchuck. I remember hoping that mom didn’t feel like cooking the next week …..burgers and time with dad….it was the best.

So Happy Birthday, Father. You are dearly loved by me and everyone who knows you. I could write more about how great you are, but I am having a hard time typing with just one hand. You see, my other hand is raised….. high in the air....

Thursday, November 8, 2007

A Minute and a Half

A minute and a half, 90 seconds, and then it’s over. That’s how long it takes me to sing the National Anthem and I did that last night at a college basketball game in the civic center…A instrumental accompaniment to drown me out. Yep, me the microphone and my fingers crossed.

It is the probably the most vulnerable I could feel in front of 10,000 total strangers unless, of course, I was also standing there without my clothes. The best thing though is I can feel the crowd almost rooting me on and hoping I don’t screw up. Just hoping I don’t forget the words and stand there awkwardly with a blank expression….duh! They probably are putting themselves into my size 6 ½ shoes and also thinking…. “you got yourself into this, now sing yourself out.” After all, I’m not a professional, or anything close to one, and it is 10,000 people. Plus or minus a couple of people who were in the bathroom or out getting beer…and you know who you are. Could you please try to be on time next time.

So was I nervous? You bet your late ass I was…Even though I have done this for ten years…the anxious feelings still come. Actually I am the most nervous the day I have to sing. Oh and driving to the event, I am super duper nervous. I am very preoccupied and focused on the whole thing…heck, if I got a call from one of my kids and they said…”Mom, I’m dropping out of college”, I’d say, “Oh, isn’t that nice.” And PaulA is so sweet to me. When he drives me to the event, I can tell he is on his best behavior…trying to say and do all the right things so I don’t go into Diva breakdown. He tries not to distract me by saying anything randomly stupid, he doesn’t play the radio and he doesn’t hum…He drops me off at the front door and wishes me good luck… (Probably can’t wait to get rid of me!) He does everything he possibly can….so if I screw up…I can’t blame him!!

During the 45 minutes that I have to wait to sing…I pace and wait. Practice a couple of notes. Wait and pace. After my name is finally announced, I walk out to center court, take a deep breath, stare at the flag….and for some reason….I am not nervous anymore. Maybe it isn’t nerves after all, maybe it is adrenaline getting me all amped up. But I don’t feel nervous at all…I go into auto drive and the words just come to me ...and luckily in the correct order, which is totally awesome because I might confuse a few people singing along with .. “And the rockets blasted in red air. The glare bursting in bombs.” Good thing I had my fingers crossed!

I keep going back for more because I love it…A minute and a half of adrenaline, being on the spot, and trying, oh so hard, not to embarrass my children.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Name Game

Do you think the name you have been given when you are born affects your personality? I was thinking this because I read in the paper today about a Judge McWeeny. “Sorry, McWeeny, but I had to laugh out loud over your name!” It’s one thing to be McDreamy or McSteamy, but McWeeny!…I’m still laughing.

So then I was wondering…. Hmmmmm does his last name affect how he acts as a judge or how he is perceived as a judge? Is he a tough son-of-a-judge because with a name like McWeeny, people would think he was an easy push-over. If I was Joe Criminal, I would hope to hell that I would get Judge McWeeny, because my chances for a lesser sentence sound better than with Judge McKickass. Also I might want my attorney to be…Attorney Sue Thepantsoffyou instead of Attorney Walkalloverme.

It is funny when your name contradicts how you look….We knew a Mr. Small who wasn’t small at all and a Mr. Black who wasn’t black at all. And a Mr. Tidy who was a total slob…ok, I made that last one up.

When I was growing up, I once lived in a neighborhood of strange names. One particular family had two boys, one named Boy and the other Kicker. I’m not kidding. What kind of chance in life do you give your kids with names like Boy and Kicker? Not sure what Boy is doing now…but I can’t see him in the boardroom, shaking hands, “Hello, I’m Boy.” No one would ever trust a company to Boy! My god, aren’t you a man by now…when are you going to grow up? And then Kicker… unless you are playing for the New England Patriots…you’ve got a weird name, dude. There was also another kid in the neighborhood named Cash. Just because you name your kid Cash doesn’t mean he’ll be rolling in it! I think he’s a priest in Peoria.

My parents didn’t straddle me with a strange name….Back in the day, everyone was named Kathy, so I was destined to live life in the mainstream. Our children are lucky we didn’t give them names that would cause them embarrassment. We were pretty close to naming them: Maggie, Bart and Lisa, so they did okay.