Burping Boys

burpingWhat is it about boys, big and little, who think burping is outrageously funny, or something to be proud of? It doesn’t take any skill, it’s gross, it’s easy to do, still, when my son and his friends are in the back seat and one of them lets go with a category five burp, they laugh so hard I worry about their sanity and bladder control.

Lately it’s gotten really bad at my house. Most of the time, if I’m close,  Sandor jumps up and says “Oh no I’m about to burp” and he tries to get out of the room. But I hear all the little boys cheerfully burping though the night then laughing and shushing each other.  The burp on the trampoline, the burp in the shower, they burp while climbing trees and playing drums and folding laundry.  There is a never ending cacophony of burping and I’m just about done with this gassy, burpy, boy culture. It was cute when he was a baby and I was patting him on the back, but those days are long gone.

As of last night there are new rules in Hampoland and so far they  seem to be really effective.  While watching Adventure Time I announced that every time he or one of his friends burps in front of me, or within hearing distance….he’s got to give me twenty push-up.  Good push ups.

I’m still working on the punishment for other gross body noises, but I’m sure I’ll figure something out.

 

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Stop Bashing My State!

ArkansasOutlineRecently my oldest daughter, Mary, went on a trip “Up North” and ran into an Arkansas Basher.  This woman hated everything about my wonderful state, and proceeded to tell Mary all about it.  She actually implied her son was too good to even marry anyone from the state of Arkansas.

First, grown ups are supposed to have better manners than that.

But the real issue is more important. ARKANSAS IS FREAKING AWESOME….but most people don’t realize it.

Because so few people every visit Arkansas, most folks don’t realize how beautiful she is. We’ve got gorgeous wild rivers, sweeping grass lands, swamps and beautiful mountains. If  landscape could be schizophrenic we would be the poster child, and that’s a good thing, we are diverse, extremely divers so we have lots of different natural recourses. We have the oldest National Park and some of the purist waters…and razorbacks!

Lots of brilliant and talented people were born in Arkansas. I’m not just talking about President Clinton and Johnny Cash, how about Sonny Liston, Al Green, Neo, Alan Ladd (movie star) Chet Lauck (Lum and Abner) Fay Jones, Glen Campbell, Billy Bob Thornton, Mike Huckabee, John Gresham and Louis Jordan. And don’t forget the guys from Black Oak Arkansas, my favorite, Jimmy Driftwood and Lefty Frizzle.  and I’m not event gonna start listing athletes!

You want brilliant business men, how about Don Tyson, William Dillard and Sam Walton. I’ll stop with that mighty threesome but I could go on. Military geniuses? We got em.  Douglas MacArthur and Wesley Clark, but there are dozens more.

So, we have a tiny state with extraordinary people and lands. What’s not to love? Some of us are trashy some are classy, the same is true in every state.

It’s true sometimes I make fun of other states. I do a little bashing myself. “Thank god for Mississippi”. But the truth is some of the most wonderful people I know come from that state, and some of the greatest talents in America.  I’m now speaking of William Faulkner and Leigh Lorraine Bondurant. So I should follow my own advice and shut up.

Every state  is important and special and part of this great country. When you bash one state it’s like critizizing part of yourself.  Don’t trash talk your own foot, it’s an important part of your body and you need it to walk forward.

 

 

 

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Never Ever Marry A Chef

alexDo not marry a chef, man or woman. And don’t ever ever consider being a chef.  I say this knowing full well if you are in love with a chef, it’s too late. You’ll follow your stupid heart and marry him. If you have a passion for food and flavor, your life is over because you will follow your heart into the kitchen and then the walk-in.

Still I feel it is my duty to write these words. Do not become a chef because at fifty you will not look like Gordon Ramsey.

Here’s what happens when you become a chef. I know becasue I’ve been married to a brilliant one for twenty years.

You will work 10-14 hours a day, six days a week. Chances are you will miss most major holidays because those are huge food service days. Your children will have to hunt for Easter eggs in the late afternoon, after Sunday Brunch. You will celebrate New Year’s Eve with your honey at 2:00am, after you’ve cleaned up kitchen. And after feeding hundreds of patrons on Thanksgiving you’ll come home (around 4pm) to a smiling family and a table covered with a traditional Thanksgiving feast. But the last thing you’ll want is turkey and dressing because you just finished cooking and serving fifteen twenty pound turkeys, you prepared forty pounds of stuffing, three gallons of gravy, twenty pumpkin pies and thirty five pounds of mashed potatoes.

Still, you will sit down with your family, your feet and back aching, and you will try to choke down dinner  as though it’s the finest meal you’ve ever had when all you want is a beer and a peanut butter sandwich.

If you marry a chef the first question everyone will as is, “Does he cook for you at home”? Hellll no.  The last thing a chef wants to do at night is cook. Maybe he’ll mow, he’ll vacuum, he’ll help with homework but for the most part chefs do not want to cook at night.  If I bring home a really lovely piece of meat, or salmon he’ll take over. And sometimes,  he’ll thrill me with a sauce, a Bordelaise or Wild Mushroom and Sherry Sauce and it’s all worth while. Actually, I don’t think chefs stop cooking at home for the first ten years.  It’s all new and fresh and they really like showing off their mad skills until they hit 35.

Escoffier was the king of chefs and the chef of kings. He was the man who, theoretically, got chefs out of the dungeon like basements of Europe.  but things really haven’t changed much for these impassioned artists.

Most chefs, no matter how extraordinary, don’t have a 401K, they don’t have a retirement plan and they have crappy insurance.

On the rare instances we actually get to go out for dinner, often times Alex ends up in the kitchen and I sit alone at the table for twenty minutes looking for typos on the menu.

If you are already in love with a chef or with being a chef, good luck. Things will work out and there are positive aspects to the chef life. Alex actually wooed me by making apple birds for my daughter Mary’s kindergarten class. Now that’s love and that’s sexy.

On the up side, when we go out waitresses, dishwasher and kitchen staff treat us like royalty and he can always figure the food cost on any meal. And when there’s absolutely nothing to eat, Alex can make dinner with some kind of crazy chef/McGyver skills.

So…buy some new knives, a new cookbook, put on an apron and clogs, but try not to walk into a professional kitchen, you may never get out alive.

 

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Idiot Parents

mustangYesterday I heard a story on CBS News. Based on information from  The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety the best used cars for teens are “big, slow and ugly.” It took the insurance companies of America to point out the obvious.

I’m so sick of idiot parents who buy their teens a red Mustang V6 and with way too much horsepower and then they are surprised when their kids drives too fast.

I know your child has staggeringly white teeth and a 2.8 GPA and you want you baby to be popular but for the love of god, don’t put them in a sports car. Because they will drive way too fast and hurt and possibly kill themselves, their friends and other innocent people on the road.

Your teenager has a brain that is not fully formed.  That’s why teens make bad decisions sometimes.

You’re brain, Mom and Dad, is supposed to be all connected and put together. So you must make the sound judgment calls that will keep Joe Joe and Skippy safe.  But you apparently would rather be the cool dad and buy your kid (who, by the way, will probably lose their scholarships in their freshman year because of frat parties) a brand new Charger with a V8 and top speed of 175 miles an hour. Guess what, your kids is gonna drive way too fast in that car. And it’s your fault because you gave it to him for graduating from high school.

I drive super slow, I poke along like a sloth and I’m pretty sure if I had that car even I would drive too fast, because THAT’S WHAT THE CAR WAS DESIGNED TO DO!

Bottom line. You are a moron if you buy your kid a sports car. They will drive way way to fast. I can almost promise you that.  And when your child passes me on Highway 5 because I’m doing the speed limit and he wants to go 80 in his silver 2014  Mustang, when he causes an accident and he dies and I die, I swear to you my ghost and hopefully are going to come looking for you….the idiot parents.

 

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Horrible Little Girls On The Beach

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????Lex and I were lying in the soft, white sand, listening to the waves and seagulls. when a  family started hauling plastic buckets and shovels in our direction.  A young mom and dad dutifully  followed their seven or eight year old daughter in a sparkly pink two piece swimming suit. She looked adorable.

The parents plopped down into the sand then the little girl put her hands on her skinny hips and said, “Chop chop people this sand castle isn’t going to build itself.”

Lexie and I looked at each other with ” Oh my Lord, did you hear that?” expressions.

They all worked on the castle like Egyption slaves building the pyramyds for a few minutes then the little girl flung her pony tail back and forth and pointed at her smiling mother.  “If you’re not going to do what I say, you’re fired. Totally fired, get off my construction sight.”

The mom smiled and kind of laughted then walked away. She glanced at her handsome, shirtless,  husband, who did nothing, then she  sat down in a chair twenty feet away. She was smiling and then it became obvious she was nearly in tears.

First, I want to say I was so disapointed in the dad.  Why didn’t he stand up to his nightmare of a drama queen daugher and say “You can’t talk to your mother that way.” Instead he kept trying to laugh it off and he did as his daughter said. (That’s called being a slave.)

They kept working together for a few minutes and everything the girl did the father praised as though she’d discovered the cure to eboli.  It was stupid how they were sucking up to this kid.

The parents didn’t know what was wrong with their daughter, who continued to boss her dad around.  But Lexie and I knew precisly what was going on. She was a bitchy little Disney Channel kid.

If you watch the Disney Channel you will see countless adorable and beautiful little girls who are bossy, mean and narcissistic.  They talk to their mothers like they are idiots.. They treat their tv fathers like they are morons, and everyone claps and laughs.

The truth is. it may be kind of cute when they are little and percousis,  but you are raising a monster.  First it’s the sandcastle, then your daughter will look at you in Macy’s, roll her eyes, and say “can you hurry up and pay the woman?” and then when she’s seveenteen she’ll put her hands on her skinny hips, roller her eyes and say, “give me the keys now, I don’t want to wait anymore.”

That’s what the Disney girls do all the time. They are mean-spirited, aggressive, rude and they love to start fights and boss adults around.  Maybe  this all this started out as a way to balance the self esteem issuewith little girls….. but it’s back fired.

Because of Disney and Nickelodeon girls,    we are raising a generation of girls who are spoiled, bossy, mean and bratty.They will be unemployable in their twenties (because they won’t tolerate a boss) and what man will want to marry such a bossy bitch?

Parents you are not alone. If you are in your twentys or thirtys you  need to stand up, turn off Disney and Nick, tell your  girls “yes you are pretty and smart but NO you are not in charge.” If you don’t don’t have the guts to do that you will have to  deal with the oncoming nightmare of an unemployable, unmatchable, intolerable bitch of a little girl. They are beautiful but doomed.

Parents….seriously….ist’s up to you.

 

 

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Christian Bullies

teenchristianchristianchristianI’ve always promised my three oldest kids I wouldn’t write about this until they were out of high school.  I’ve wanted to because I think bringing a situation to light is the only way for things to improve.

This morning one of my daughters and I were talking about bullies at school and she casually joked, “We’ll it’s sure not the Christians who get bullied anymore, it’s so the other way around.”

I knew exactly what she was talking. She was never targeted but for more than ten years my three oldest came home from school several times, horrified how other students were being treated because their religious views didn’t line up with those of the big and popular local churches. Kids put notes on lockers that said stuff like “you’ll burn in  Hell for all of eternity,” they  put lengthy bible verses on cars and lockers followed with “so You Are going to Hell!” It got especially ugly for any student who didn’t condem all gay people or had pro-choice leanings.

Even though lots of the church teens partied just as hard or harder than others, that wasn’t the point.  If kids had different beliefes or thoughts they were ostricized, picked on and harrassed. Yeah, for several years we had a big ’ol gang of hard core “Christian Bullies.” They were vicious, mean and self rightious. And I think it was mostly pretty girls. (I could be wrong there) I heard stories all the time and they broke my heart.

My heart didn’t’ break for thebullied  kids, most of them were pretty smart and resiliant so I figured they would be fine.  I felt bad for lots of the adults and leaders in the local churches, many I’ve known personally for years and they are lovely, wonderful, selfless Christians. I love them dearly and still do and I would swear, to this day, they have no idea how the message of the church and Christianity is being interruped by their pre-teens and teens.

What these “Christain bullies” didn’t seem to get (because they are young I suppose) is being mean, rude and cruel is a really bad and ineffective way to invite people to church. If you put ugly notes on my locker or whisper names as Iwalk by in the hall,  there’s not a chance in Hell I’ll want to be like you, go to your church, or hang with the kids you say are “Christian.” This is the worst form of Missionary work ever.

Self rightious bullies make kids who are raised by parents who didnt’ take them to church believe all Christians are mean and vindictive. As a result they never ever even want to try going to church.  That’s the real tragedy in this situation.

The actions of these teens turns kids against Christ, His work and His words.

The conduct of these “Christian Bullies” is so unlike that of Christ it’s almost laughable and a little pathetic.

My youngest son loves loves loves going to Wednesday youth group and church services at Millcreek Baptist Church. the Pastor there doesn’t realize it but I’m a big fan because he’s always so happy and loving and welcoming. I’ve listened to him give a eulogy for a man I loved with a drug ladden past and he was wonderful. 

But several years ago a group of 13 years old from that very same church cornered my oldest daughter, who was 12 or 13 and told her our entire family was going to Hell because were Episcopal and the Episcoapal church doesn’t automatically condem gays to Hell.  

When my daughter learned I was letting Sandor go to Millcreek on Wednesdays she was furious! She was convinced they would be mean and treat him horribly.

Nothing could be farther from the truth.

Adults, I guess it’s up to us to let our kids know how we expect them to act, how to be Christ-like and how to show God’s love to everyone. Even people who are different.

Persoanlly, I believe Christ wants us to love each other, to be kind, respectful and  lead by example. Show me the gates to the Kingdom of Heaven, I need all the help you can give me.  But please, don’t beat the snot out of me then expect me to want to walk in your footsteps.

 

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What Men Really Want

hotA few weeks ago I heard an old adage I’d forgotten a long time ago.  “Women get married thinking their man will change. Men get married hoping their women won’t change.”

1. That is soooo true.

2. Everybody would have happier marriages if they repeated and understood those two sentences 40 times before their wedding ceremony.

When Alex and I were dating twenty years ago he was swarthy and handsome, he smoked Marlboro reds, he didn’t like talking to new people unless he’d been drinking a little, he wasn’t very warm or fuzzy (my family is excessively mushy).Sex made everything better.    If he started reading a book he usually didn’t stop until it was done.  So he’d ignore me for hours, even on the beach, while he finished his book .He had a ridiculous work ethic. And working 12 hour days and 50 or 60 hours a week is what he did and that’s what needed to be done.

So I married him, even though I hate hate hate cigarettes.  I bitched at him for that during the first five years of our marriage, then one day I realized if it bugged me that much I shouldn’t have married a smoker because people don’t change much just become they get married.  He still doesn’t like talking to many people, his work schedule is staggering because he’s a chef and if you are a good chef you spend 50-60 hours a week in the kitchen. Yesterday was his day off. I gave him the book Freakanomics and he read it for six hours straight, even as he ate dinner.

He is the exact same man I married, just a few years older.

When Alex married me, whew…I was awesome.  hot, friendly, always smiling. I was spontaneous and loved embarrassing him in public by dragging him around and making out while people watched. I had drawers full of sexy clothes and when he worked late I always stayed up in the living room, like a beagle, waiting for his return.  I’d get him dinner, listen to his stories from the day.

Back then If he has to work really late now do I wait up? Hell no! I get sleepy at ten.

It’s been ten maybe fifteen years since I shoved him into a closet so we could make out.

It’s no wonder men hope and pray their wives don’t change. But we do.

If he likes spending weekends in the woods with his buddies during deer season he’s not going to give that up and start going to quilt festivals with you.

If he likes going to the gym five nights a week don’t expect him to give that up and start working out at the house. It’s not going to happen and if it does he’ll resent you for taking something positive away from him.

So folks, love each other and understand some people change and some people don’t. Remember  if they have bad habits that make you crazy while you’re dating….those habits probably aren’t going anywhere once you say “I do.”

The important thing is to keep holding hands in the Wal-Mart parking lot and compromise on crunchy or smooth peanut better.  The rest will take care of itself.

 

 

 

 

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Muhammad Ali Kissed Me A Long Time Ago

aliI’m dusting off this story because I’ve been reading Muhammad Ali quotes this morning and watching video of his brilliant and ego ladden fights. He never kept his hands up but man he could move his head. How did anyone ever hit him?

 I have loved Ali since I was seven or eight years old.

When I was a skinny , big earred little girl, my brother, Granger, my mom and I flew to Boston to visit my other brother, Jack, at prep school.

Granger was a gorgeous, golden haired, 19 year old and he had a full leg cast on for this trip. Two weeks earlier he’d totalled another family car. He was on crutches and grumpy all the time.

My mom left Granger and me at the enormous Boston airport terminal with the luggage while she returned the rental car. It was Spring time. Back then, in the late 60′s, little girls  got very dressed up to fly in an airplane. That day, I wore a a baby blue dress, white tights and white dress shoes. I was miserable and to make things worse I had to drag all the luggage and keep up with Granger who moved like a ninja on crutches.

Suddenly Granger stopped and said, “Do you know who that is? Look down there!”

I didn’t know or care. But Granger was really excited.  “Good God, Pooh Bear, that’s Cassius Clay,” then he corrected himself. “Muhammad Ali!.” He looked at me. “The heavy weight champion of the world. Come on!” He he took off like a thoroughbred on  galloping  across  the enormous Logan Airport and I started dragging the suitcases, trying to keep up. I stopped once and tried to figure out who he was chasing but all I could see was a great big group of dressed up black people. I readjusted my grip and trudged on. My tights were sagging and my feet hurt.

By the time I reached the group, Granger had already introduced himself.  I stood behind him in awe .  I had never, in my life seen so many gigantic beautiful black people, all dressed up. but in the middle there was a man, laughing and smilling. Ali was surrounded by several body guards in dark suits and they all towered in front of me like Red Woods.  And their was a lady in the group. I was transfixed because I had never seen a gorgeous and fancy black lady. She seemed to shimmer in front of me, like a goddess and I was speechless until the laughing, talking man in the middle stepped in front of me and said, “And who are you?”

I dropped the bags. “Diana Ross McDaniel, we’re from Hot Springs, Arkansas.” I extended my hand as I’d been trained to do. That’s when it happened.  His hand was the size of a catchers mitt and it swallowed my hand then part of my arm. I didn’t know if my hand would ever return.

“Nice to meet you Diana Ross McDaniel, I’m Muhammad Ali.” First he made his eyes get big and round then he winked at me. I had no idea who he was but I was entranced.  “Why is such a little girl  carrying all those bags?”

“Granger can’t carry anything because of his crutches. He wrecked moms car…. Ali stopped me. He nodded at one of the other men then told him to take the luggage for me and carry it to the check in counter.. At that moment I didn’t know who Ali was but I loved him cause he made those men take the damn bags off my hands. My fingers still ached.

Quickly, he scribbled his name on Granger’s cast then leaned down, kissed me on the cheek  winked again and said, “Kids, I’ve got to go before the press finds me but you take care of your little sister, you hear me Granger?”

“Yes sir.”

Then he was gone, they were all gone and we were left in his vacuum.

Before that day I had no idea what a “heavy weight champion of the world” was but I figured it out pretty quickly. That massive man made my day so much easier and he told Granger to be nice to me  so he was the champion of the world.

For years after that day, I was the little white girl who defended Ali against all critics. From Vietnam to Rope-A-Dope, Ali, the “heavy wight champion of the world,” could do no wrong in my eyes. When Daddy and I listened to Howard Cosell and watched his epic battles live on Friday nights, I would tell anyone who would listen about my friend, “Muhammad Ali”.

And I still defend him today, though his  philanthropy and humanitarian dedication have made him unmatched in the world of sports.  He doesn’t  need my defense. But I will always think of Muhammad Ali as my friend. And someday, when we meet again, here or in heaven I ‘ll give him a big hug and tell him I’ve been waiting to see him again.

 

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When You’re Mean To Your Mom

mean teenKids and teenagers you might not realize this but when you are ugly and mean to your mother, everyone (the general population) thinks you are a punk….without exception.

Here’s what happens.  When I worked at a boarding school I was on a committee to help choose the “Community Leaders”.  It was a big deal and roughly 100 kids applied for the 25 spots.  A beautiful and smart young lady applied. She had a 4.0, she was a cheer leader, she was the president of several clubs and she was a minority (we really needed some minority kids to be leaders) so she was a great looking applicant.  But several of those on the committee, students and staff, had watched the way she treated her Daddy when he came to visit. His name was Levon, He was a hard working, blue collar widower who worshiped his daughter. But she treated him like bear poop. She was rude, condescending, snarky and bitchy to this sweet old man. This was brought up during discussion and her file was tossed. People had been watching and knew what kind of person she really was.

Recently I mentioned to my seventeen year old daughter that I ran into her friend, Heather, at Wal-Mart. I said we had a really nice conversation in the produce isle.  But my daughter shook her head and said, “I know, right? She’s so sweet and cool to everybody at school but she treats her mom so mean. And her mom does EVERYTHING to help her. It’s crazy. She gripes and yells at her mom in front of people all the time. ”

And guys, did you know one of the first questions everyone in the family asks after you’ve taken one of my daughters out…..”How does he treat his mom?” If he isn’t sweet, if he doesn’t love on his mom, if he doesn’t give her hugs and love….you’re on the list. Because we all know you will treat our daughters the same way you treat or mom. With respect or like a punk ass jerk.

When eleven year old boys want to come to our house they are always sweet and polite to me, but then, when I find out they treat their moms as though they were indentured servants…well, that’s not the kid I want to take to Magic Springs. What if his behavior and attitude rub off on my kid.

So kids, 8-30, now you know. You will be judged by the way you treat you moms. If being rude to her makes you feel more important and more grown up, understand it’s actually  making you look  small, weak and and pathetic.

Now go hug your mom.

 

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Grossss……Your Kid Has Lice!!!

lice-comb-in-childs-head-of-hairLice, head lice. Just saying the words can give you the gross out willies. Lice are worse than cock roaches and rats for some…and a lot more embarrassing.

A couple of weeks ago I got the dreaded phone call from the mom of one of my son’s friends. Lice!  Sound the alarm…LICE! We went on lock down, washing sheets, spraying couches  shampooing and combing with that wretched little fine tooth comb that is the Scarlett Letter of lice. Comb comb, comb. Then tap, tap tap the comb in the sink and squint to see if any horrible little bugs are visible.  And if there’s one there’s going to be a million, hours of combing and probably tears of frustration and pain.

Even if my family is declared clean and lice free, the simple act of buying lice shampoo is humiliating. I’ll drive across the county so no one knows me in the store.  I wouldn’t want word to get around in our little town. I don’t feel that way when I buy mouse traps or bug spray.

Once, a few years ago we went through a horrible lice week.  There was a student in school who wouldn’t take care of the problem and kept re-infecting an entire 3rd grade class. The school couldn’t force them to fix the problem.  We took care of our family. We washed and combed and combed and combed. Then, that weekend decided to get hair cuts.  One of my children was ejected from Master Cuts cause I’d missed a few.  Hot tears of shame in the mall. To this day my child remembers that as one of the most embarrassing and humiliating moments in life. Screw You Master Cuts! (Not really. Who can blame them.)

My husband has a special problem.  If I have a sore throat he’s sure he has strep. If I have a headache, he has a migraine.  If I say the word “lice” he starts scratching and itching and picking.  During this recent episode I checked his head twice. Nothing. Still he had to give himself the entire treatment two times…and still he was itchy.

Good news for me. I believe my hair has been chemically altered for so long those little buggers couldn’t stay alive on my head.

If there’s a family out there who claims they’ve made it through 12 years of school without a lice episode. I’m gonna say you’re lying you just drove across the state line to buy the shampoo and comb.

Just writing this has me all creeped out.  I have to go now and have someone check my head.

 

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