They were not. Two of the babies, who didn’t even have all their feathers, were hanging upside down out of the nest. Their tiny feet were tied together and they dangled midair on a shining piece of silver Christmas tinsel. They looked as though they had been taken hostage and were being tortured by deranged elves.
I started yelling at Lexie to come look and she gasped. It was a shocking sight.
“I’ll go get them, I don’t even know if they are still alive,” I said as I pulled on my shoes.
“No mom, you can’t interfere. It’s nature, you can’t do that.”
“What the hell are you talking about? Of course I have to get them. This isn’t the Star ship Enterprise or Star Wars. I don’t have to follow the Prime Directive. They are hanging upside down.’
Lex watched as I stood on two cinder blocks and cupped both birds in one hand then pulled the silver tinsel out of the nest. They were so horribly tangled there was no way I could free them quickly, but they were still alive, barely.
Once inside I put them on a cloth and Lexie worked to untangle their tiny claws for almost fifteen minutes. Once freed, both babies started chirping. I’m pretty sure they were saying, “Thank you Diana, you are so awesome.”
Sandor helped me climb back up on the cinder blocks and stuff them back into their cramped nest. There were two more babies in there waiting for momma. When our cat started lurking around, Sandor snatched her up and flung her threw the open bedroom window at Lexie.
I didn’t know if the momma would come back. But she did, almost instantly. And all the babies opened up their cavernous beaks instantly. Their heads seemed to expand to twice their size, it was freaky. As soon as she brought them a bug or two, they all looked just fine.
Twenty minutes later I looked out the window again. One of the babies was on the ground, hopping and chirping and our cat, who doesn’t actually have a name, was just ten feet away. Again, I started screaming for Lexie to get out to the nest.
Mean while I did what I could to distract or scare the cat. When Lex rounded the corner she started laughing so hard she turned red. Momma bird was dive bombing the cat and I was leaning as far out the window as I possble could swinging our clock radio her evrytime she moved toward the bird.
Finally, Lex got between the cat and the fallen bird. I reeled in my clock.
We stuffed the baby back in the next then put an inflatable raft under the nest to break any further falls. Again, the mother came right back with fresh bugs and worms.
I grew up hearing that theory about momma birds abandoning their babies after human contact. What a bunch of bull. Good moms are way to tenacious and dedicated to let grubby human hands break up her family.
It’s been two days since our harrowing baby bird rescue. I checked on them this morning and everything appeared to be just fine, though our raft is now covered with bird poop.
Tags: baby birds, cats, mother hood, prime directive
But there’s another story I heard over and over again, and even as a little girl, I thought it was really funny.
Dad left high school and ran off, from Hot Springs, Arkansas, to join the war effort when he was just 17, before the United States was in the fight. Because he had some flying experience ended up in England as a piolit for the RAF (Royal Air Forcer) at the ridicuolsy young age of 17. Dad was captain of a Short Sterling, a massive bomber with a seven or eight man crew.
When Dad wasn’t flying, he was in London, and spent a great deal of time in the RAF Officers Club. Every night, when the bar closed all the officers would stand as the band played God Save the King.
One night, after hours of drinking, Dad stood up to address the gentlemen in the club. Imagine a brash teen aged pilot, surrounded byolder British officers, drunk but determined and sincere. He told the band director they should play his national anthem as well as God Save The King. He was fighting for their country, America should be recognized. The band leader acquiesced and agreed to play the United State’s national anthem before God Save the King.
Then has asked Dad to sing the song, to refresh his memory. Dad was young and drunk, he thought for a moment then started humming Dixie. “I wish I were in Dixie, away away.”
Aaahhhh yes, the band leader recognized the tune.
The next night all the RAF officers stood in reverence as the band played Dixie, then God Save th King.
The following morning Dad walked out of his room and was immediately arrested. The charge was Treason against the King. Dad’s superiors thought he was mocking the British Monarchy when he asked the band to play Dixie and claimed it was the USA’s national anthem.
A barrister was assigned to represent Daddy in court. He was a smart, fat, sweaty man. And when he heard the details of the situation he came up with an idea for a defense almost immediately.
Just a few days latter they stood in front of a judge to plead Dad’s case. Remember, all of England was under attack as the Nazis stormed across Europe. The country was under siege and desperate. So the smart sweaty barrister explained, with elaborate detail, that Daddy’s family was not only from America, they were from”The South”. When the South tried to succeed from the Union, Dad’s family fought in the Civil War valiantly, with heart and soul. Cousins, brothers and fathers died in The War of The States. According to Dad, and the sweaty barrister, our family never surrendered to the North, never acknowledge the losse to the north and in Daddy’s heart, “The South” was still his nation, therefore Dixie was in fact, his national anthem.
Obviously my father, the arrogant and brilliant teen aged pilot was of more use the England bombing Nazis then he was behind bars. So the judge accepted his transparent explanation and he was cleared of treason charges.
Six months latter he was shot down over the North Sea and spent four years in POW camps. But that’s a story for another day. Have a wonderful Memorial Day and thank you to all our men and women in the armed forces.
Tags: I Granger McDaniel, RAF, Short Sterling, war hero, WWII
Right now we have three moms who have started working out at our Taekwondo school. It’s awe inspiring. It’s also the hardest thing imaginable. And these beautiful moms in their tee-shirts and sweat pants, have no idea what great things they are doing and saying to their kids.
When an adult starts trying to learn taekwondo the thought process goes something like this.
Oh my Lord, I’m a spaz. Why did I agree to do this? I look like an idiot. I’ll never be able to do this. Hey, I was kind of awesome tonight. This is impossible. Holy Cow everyone here is so good and I suck. Why can’t I do this? It’s so simple. Hey, I got it. No, I really am a super spaz.
But most nights you leave class smiling because you’ve worked out really had and you had fun…And you don’t quite.
Here’s the great part. Your kids are watching you struggle and they see you dig down and try even harder. It’s not easy, but you don’t quite! Your children watch their mom persevere even though it’s not easy. Is there any greater lesson you can teach them or example you can set.
Most parents watch from the sideline. If your kid isn’t an all-star athlete you spend years encouraging and cajoling. We say over and over, “hang in there buddy! You’re doing great. Don’t give up.” We lie, we bribe and we pray. But we don’t actually remember how it feels to be awkward, uncoordinated and not really good at something. It’s been so long since we put ourselves out there and tried to learn something completely new.
New moms working out know exactly how that feels…and their kids watch…as they refuse to give up.
Also, I think “new moms working out” are turning their sons into better fathers and husbands. Being a mom, especially a single mom, can be staggering, overwhelming, all consuming. It it’s your life and world. By spending one hour a night, three nights a week, you are standing up and saying, “I deserve this. I deserve three hours a week to be a better healthier person.”
And your daughters will know they deserve time of their own, things and activities that are fun and good. You are telling your daughters to be strong.
“New moms working out” are also sending the message that health and exercise, taking care of our bodies is really, really important.
I wonder if the “new moms working out” know they are cutting their rise of alzheimers because they are learning something new?
And finally, here’s some good news. We were all exactly like you just a few years ago, thinking the same thoughts and struggling with the exact same insecurities and fears.
In martial arts white belts line up on the last row and there’s a really good reason for that. Nobody can see you back there so you don’t have to feel as though the whole class is watching! We’re not, we’re all watching ourselves, in the mirror, hoping nobody, especially the instructor, notices how messed up our form, technique or jump spin side kick is.
So train on and be proud! Everybody else is.
Tags: black belt, fountain Lake martial Arts, mom working out, white belt
Last week I downloaded the epic bestseller, soft porn/fiction Fifty Shades of Gray to my Kindle. Then I stepped aboard my favorite elliptical at Anytime Fitness for a quick twenty minute work out.
FIFTY MINUTES latter I looked up from my titillating dirty book.(How often do I get to use titillating?) Fifty minutes on the elliptical with the resistance set at 8. I burned 560 calories and nobody was even naked yet. But they were headed that way.
I was drenched with sweat, my calves ached and somebody was obviously waiting for me to get off the elliptical. How long had they been waiting? I was embarrassingly oblivious to their impatient stares. The protagonist, Anastasia (of course her name is Anastasia) was getting kissed and groped in an elevator.
By the time I’m finished with this book I’ll look like a lanky super model! I can’t wait to get back to the gym.
Fifty Shades of Gray isn’t a great book, it’s not even that well written. There are some awkward cliches to stumble over, but it’s so easy to get lost in. It’s so easy to pull the sheet over your head and absolutely lose track of time, even on an elliptical.
And if you’ve got it on a Kindle, nobody has to know what your reading! For all they know you are studying the latest issue of Psychology Today or rereading War and Peace. I can hide my dirty little secret from friends and family.
So, when you se me super skinny and smiling this summer you know what’s going on. Soft porn and the elliptical. Now I’ve just to to figure out a way to keep reading during the taekwondo and boxing classes.
Tags: Anytime Fitness, calories, Fifty shades Of Grey, soft porn, taekwondo, weight loss
Alex, my husband of almost twenty years is the Executive Chef at Oaklawn Jockey Club, a historic throughbred racetrack. On a good day he feeds five hundred day, on a bad day he has to process 7,000 pounds of corn beef and feed 20 thousand people.
Yesterday I called him, just to check up and say something encouraging. “Hey honey, what did you do today?”
“Luncheon for seventy five.” He sounds very grumpy.
“What did you fix?”
“Bourbon pecan chicken. They cleaned their plates”
“Hey, you’ve never fixed that for me.” He sighs. “So how do I make that?”
Bourbon, brown sugar, beef stock, pecans, worcester, salt and pepper.”
“Ok, I got that, how much bourbon?”
“I used a fifth.”
“Damn, ok, how much am I gonna use, for six chicken breasts?”
“Ummm, half a cup will work, and the same about of brown sugar, two cups of beef broth.”
“What do I do with the chicken.”
He sighs again and I’m pretty sure I hear him roll his eyes, over the phone. “Season the hell out of it and grill.”
I kind of know what “season the hell out of it” means. Salt, pepper, cavenders and sage.
“Ok, I won’t fix it tonight, but maybe later in the week. Ok?”
“Sure, thanks. I love you honey. I’ve gotta go. It’s inventory week.”
So there you have it a fool proof and delicious Bourbon Pecan Chicken recipe from Chef Alex Hampo.
My husband is a chef, he’s been in the kitchen since he was seventeen. the first question folks ask me when they hear I’m married to a chef is, “does he cook at home?”
“Hell no!” The last thing he wants to do when he gets home is cook. He barely wants to eat. He’ll cut the grass, maybe event fold laundry but don’t ask a chef to cook after a nine hour in the kitchen
When we were dating Alex wooed me with food. He cooked all the time, trying to impress me. But, like a woman who stops wearing make up and goes grocery shopping in sweats after she lands a husband, Alex knows he’s got me, so he doesn’t have to entrap me with his magical Cream of mushroom soup with brandy or Chicken Escoffier.
That’s alright thou, because I’m married to a chef I basically have a voice activated cook book. I can ask him any question about food and he’s got an answer. Yeah, my husbands a chef so I cook all the time. You’re welcome to come over for dinner!
*Comment or write to me at email@example.com. Thanks!
Tags: alex hampo, chef, chicken, cooking, Oaklawn Jockey Club
Very few body parts have as many nicknames as breasts, so hey must be important. We call our hands…hands, our shin is just a shin. But breasts are boobs, ta-tas, boobies, hooligans, the girls, the list goes on and on. Jugs and Hooters, wait, we love boobs so much we have restraunts dedicated to them. No other body part can make that claim.
Yesterday I heard a program about breasts on NPR (figures, right?) and I learned some fascinating stuff.
Breast size in America has increased considerably in the past ten-twenty years. Double D used to be the largest size, now it’s something like Triple K. Still breast augmentation is the number one plastic surgery performed. 300,000 women get boob jobs every year! But fake breasts only have a shelf life of ten years! I thought they lasted forever. But after ten years your supposed to have them checked out and maybe redone.
Little girls in America are getting breasts at a much younger age. 30 percent start showing up when they are just nine years old. There are several possible reasons for this early delivery. Lots of little girls are heavier now and if you are overweight you develop at a younger age. Chemicals, not just in our food, but in almost everything we touch may be to blame. There is a chemical in most plastics that acts like a fake hormone. It’s in our computer mouse, water bottles, car interiors. It’s pretty hard to avoid. And finally, girls who don’t live with two blood parents tend to develop earlier. I think that reason is really fascinating.
Breasts are considered organs and after the skin, they are most likely to get cancer. It’s all that fat, just hanging around and absorbing toxins.
And finally,In Hong Kong, you can get a degree in Bra Studies from the Hong Kong Polytechnic University where they teach you how to design and build a bra.
In our house “nipple” is one of the funniest words you can say. If you say “nipple, nipple, nipple” half my family rolls around giggling. My husband wanted to name the cat “Nipple” but was voted down.
I think it’s great that so many men are dedicated to breasts. We have something they don’t and they love us for it. But guys, you still need to work on looking women in the eye instead of staring at cleavage when we are trying to tell you something really important. Thanks.
Comment or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!
Tags: boobs, Breast Cancer, breasts, NPR, size
What the hell was wrong with me? I’d seen the Wen commercial a hundred times before, how was I suddenly sucked into ordering Chaz Dean’s miracle shampoo. Did I have a brain tumor, was I huffing spray paint?
Well, the box arrived a few days later, I couldn’t wait to wash my hair because I was absolutely certain my hair would be luscious, think, full of body and shine.
One more time, what the hell was I thinking. Yes, the Wen pomegranate smelled great and made my hair feel pretty smooth while I was in the shower but once I got out and my locks dried….it was the same head of abused, medium length, yellow hair I had an hour earlier. Well how bout that. I was expecting to have a glorious mane.
Lexie laughed at me, amazed I’d been sucked into buying a 29 dollar bottle of shampoo that would barely last us two weeks. I wasn’t mad, I was fascinated and kind of excited and inspired. I work in sales and the fact a bunch of hair dressers from California could convince me I HAD to have their product was incredible.
What is it I thought I was buying, I thought about the commercial.. what was I actually trying to buy? Sexy hair, youth, health,luxury and wealth…that’s the stuff I wanted, that’s how they got me to pull out my credit card. I wanted the shampoo would make me be 28 and beautiful again. But it’s just freakin shampoo.
There’s a great lesson in this story though especially if you are in sales or fundraising. You have to keep asking because you never know how things have changed since the last time you asked. If you are trying to raise money for neglected kids you may ask the same people for a donation over and over and finally, on the 34th ask, they write you a check. I might ask a client to advertise a dozen times before they sign the contract. It’s all about tenacity. A brilliant sales coach, Neal Gladner told me this over and over but I never got it until I bought a stupid bottle of shampoo for 29 dollars!
I’m actually ok with my purchase. I don’t have the thick wavy tangle- free auburn hair I was hoping for, but I understand the importance of tenacity in sales…. And I got a free gift! A black comb came free free with my purchase. It’s not a magic comb, it’s made of plastic and has thick teeth, but at least it was free and will probably last longer than the damn shampoo.
If you read this and know my husband. Please don’t tell him. I’ve already canceled the order. Thanks
Tags: as seen on tv, beauty, Neal Gladner, sales, tenacity, Wen shampoo
For almost a year the parents of both kids trying to break them apart. They have been pitching a fit, drawing lines in the sand, demanding they not see each other. But the more ultimatums and rules the parents made, the closer the kids became. Because the parents created a Romeo and Juliet situation the couple fell even more deeply in love. Their relationship became an “us against the world” romantic Walgreen’s novel.
The truth is, if you pit yourself against love…you will lose almost all the time.
This isn’t just true for parents. If you have a friend who thinks they are in love and you try to make them see the truth, that their honey is a super creep-o or a painfully weak and clingy creature they will dump your friendship in 8.3 seconds.
Humans are hard-wired to choose love over everything else. We all think our love is different and everyone else is wrong. So parents, do not make your child choose between you and a new boyfriend. Be creative, but don’t holster up for a Mexican show down. It’s almost impossible to stop the love train. You simply can’t watch your child 24/7 . If your daughter thinks she’s in love with obnoxious skinny boy who lives on the wrong side of the tracks she will find a way to be with him.
If you have a buddy who is in love, do not think your 26 years of friendship is more important than his two month love affair. It just doesn’t work that way.
Remember when your daughter picks the boyfriend over the parents or your best friend picks the aging truck driver over you, IT”S NOT REALLY ABOUT YOU. They are not making bad decisions to drive your crazy. They are making bad decisions because love makes us all STUPID. They think it’s love, true love and they think you can’t possibly understand.
Humans are romantic fools….it’s just the way God made us. So pat your 62 year old friend on the back and wish him good luck as he climbs into the $73,000 dollar Ferrari with the new 23 yer old bartender/girlfriend.
Maybe it will work out.
*Leave a comment or email me at email@example.com. Tell me a story!
Comments OffTags: boy friends, choices, girl friends, love, teens
Last night I attended Mary’s second college dance recital,modern, jazz and ballet. It was beautiful, joyous and a whole lot of fun. As we drove back to Hot Springs I thought about the athleticism of the evening. Then of course, I started thinking about our Taekwondo school.
Two years ago when our current instructor, Jim Robinson (a 53 year old sixth degree), bought out taekwondo school, I thought it was the end of my martial arts career. For ten years, the previous owner had pushed us to be powerful and brutal.
Jim Robinson’s style was nearly the polar opposite. He insisted, even demanded, we be flexible, quick and fluid. He promised the power would come. And as he said over and over, if we weren’t quick enough to hit somebody, it didn’t matter how much power we had.
Being quick and flexible sounds like a brilliant idea unless you aren’t that way. Most of the teenagers in class are naturally quick and it was easier for them to pick up speed. For anyone over the age of 40 it’s an entirely different situation.
The running joke about my spin heel kick has been, “Yeah, it’s beautiful but you can drink a cup of coffee before it lands.”
Though in his 50s, Jim Robinson is ridiculously quick and flexible. He’s gifted and works harder than everybody else. After watching countless martial artists, young and old, for 13 years, I’ve only seen one or two men who could match his speed. His kicks are blisteringly fast with razor like accuracy. I wanted to be just a little like him, just a little bit. But doubted that was possible.
When he demonstrated a double and triple lead leg round kick, and said that’s what he wanted from us, I think I accidentally rolled my eyes. Yes, I could kick two or three times, but it’s wasn’t fast. Pretty but slow. However I could do one thing fast, I could get really really frustrated and embarrassed. Why was I so slow and lumbering after ten or eleven years of training? Night after night I cried in the car on the way home after class like a big chicken baby cheese cake.
Fast forward a year and a half.
Half a dozen times I wanted to quit but my pride and the kids wouldn’t let me, even though I was the oldest in the class by THIRTY YEARS. Night after night it’s just me and a bunch of awesome teenagers. Mr. Robinson has been pushing us all to kick fast. Kick low, kick high, kick fast.
Last week I was partnered with a sixteen year old yellow belt. Kicking drills, double round kicks, high and low, and suddenly this girl said, “whoa, you’re fast.”
“Who? Me?” I kicked again, to her knee then her face, and I smiled. Yeah, I know it’s easy to impress a yellow belt but it still felt good. There was no “blistering” speed, it wasn’t a McNeeley or Robinson kick, it wasn’t even teenaged boy fast. But my kicks were 100 percent faster than they were 18 months ago. I was stunned, I was better. How had that happened.
Everyday, I am am amazed by what we can accomplish if we simply refuse to quite. If we try to get better, at anything, we will. It’s simply a matter of showing up and trying…over and over and over again.
And it really helps if we surround ourselves with people who inspire, who push and shove and have unbreakable faith we can all get better.
The secret is you can’t quit. And as my friend Amelia says, “just try to suck a little less everyday.”
Let me know what you think comment or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Tags: 6th degree, dance, faith, Jim robinson, martial arts, spirit, taekwondo
Her hand shake is fine, she is pretty and smiles. She has nice teeth. But you know because the ultra-developed mom radar starts pinging as though the Soviet Army is about to strike.
Your daughter doesn’t see it. She can’t feel that the bitch switch has been flipped and insists Heather is a sweetie and lots of fun and a good friend.
This is a sickening situation for any parent because we know this Heather, at some point, will become hateful. She’s one of those kids who tries to influence weaker students and if she can’t take over their life she starts trash talking. These girls are a nickel a dozen and every high school has pods of them.
This one, Heather, is not the traditional “mean girl” who owns the school. She’s a lot more manipulative. Boys suck up to her because she wears a lot of eye liner and that makes them think they will get some. Girls want her to like them because she’s got all the guys sniffing around.
You let her come over with several other girls, but you watch her very carefully. She’s good. Her eye rolls are so subtle the other girls miss them. Her sighs when somebody asks a silly question speak volumes. When one of the girls goes home early she starts making tiny comments that make the other girls, including your daughter, giggle. Then they bump against her and tell her to stop because they know what she is doing is wrong. Still, they are intrigues. Heather is choosing them over the other girl. She’s culling girls out.
In the car Heather tells you about her classes, she makes good grades but she says really disrespectful things about her teachers like, “Mr South is such a moron” and she makes comments about her parents that lead a mom to think they are shady. “They always stay out really late on Friday night” or “thanks for driving me home, my parents hate driving me anywhere.”
Then it really starts. Heather encourages girls to break up with their boyfriends. She tells them they can do so much better. When the break up happens, she starts flirting, hard core, with the boy, saying, ”Well you broke up with him I figured you wouldn’t care.”
Eventually, Heather will have two or three allies, they are her body guards and comrades, who have fallen under the troll’s spell. She’s cut everyone else out because they started to see the evil bitch shining through like a red light. And if girls are not on her side they have giant targets super glued to their backs.
You want to warn your daughter, you want to tell her exactly what kind of person Heather is and forbid their friendship. But that will not work. She will think you are wrong and old. Heather will become Romeo and you will loose. The best you can do is counsel your child when you see Heather doing something bitchy. Make sure she sees it too. I’m not very good at being subtle so I say stuff like, “Hey, if she’s talking ugly about Julie when she leaves, she’s probably talking about you guys too,” or “She rolls her eyes and sighs like she thinks she’s better than everyone else. Doesn’t that make you crazy?”
In saying this super obvious stuff I’m hoping my girls will see the train and jump off the tracks before it runs her over. And, if Heather has her way, and turns on your kid, the best you can do is help her regroup, figure out who her real friends are and start all over. Try to reach out to the other girls who got hit by shrapnel And generally saying something really snarky makes everybody feel better like, “Honey, she’s got funny looking ears, fat ankles and she’ll never make it through college. You can do way better.”
Tags: daugher, friends, High School, mean girls