Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Bluebonnets in bloom!

If you grew up in Texas, chances are very good that you have at one time or another had your picture taken in a field of bluebonnets. Children and bluebonnets are just that photographable.

So here's our first contribution to what will be, I hope, a yearly tradition.

Miss Josephine loves her mommy!

Photos by her Auntie Hannah.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Make that two, okay?

So I tried a new strategy of taking only one pain pill instead of two.
NOT RECOMMENDED due to 1) the throbbing and 2) I can't sleep.
But while laying in bed awake I somehow became occupied with the word oligarchy. What does that mean? Ruled by many? (Note to self: look it up.) Only I wanted to change it up a little: oliogarchy. Ruled by oil. Ruled by the lotion dispenser in your desk. Makes it smooooother.

Just to recap: two pain pills.

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Why I don't blog so much

Photo by her mommy, Sydney.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Gift!

One of our favorite family traditions was started, as far as I know, by my great grandmother, Josephine Taylor, who was a very fun and playful sort of individual. The idea is very simple - you have to try to be the first one to say "Christmas Gift" to everyone else who's playing.

A good bit of sneakiness and trickery has to come into play. You can't just waltz right into the room and give the other person a chance to get you. You might, for example, decide to announce "Christmas Gift" to someone who is still asleep, loud enough, of course, to be sure and wake them up. As Sydney did to me this morning. I've also pretended to be asleep to lure someone into coming to check if I'm awake and then getting them with my eyes closed. Heh. That one's hard to pull off if you're a kid because you don't want to waste valuable present-opening time pretending to be asleep. Also your mother will think you're sick.

There's always a few phone calls necessary to say, you know, I'm on my way over to open presents and eat Christmas dinner, and it's very easy to win by simply answering the phone, "Christmas Gift." Of course the other person may try to hold off on calling and try to force you to be the one to call first. This year I plan to just show up over at Hannah's without calling first. So if she wants to know when we're coming, I get to win Christmas Gift.

The game has evolved over the years. Now there are categories: the after midnight on Christmas Eve Christmas Gift, which I won this year; the actual Christmas morning Christmas Gift; the text messaged Christmas Gift; the phoned and in-person Christmas Gifts. Plenty of opportunities for everyone to have a chance at success. We've also expanded the occasions. Christmas Eve Gift counts. There is Thanksgiving Gift, even though there are no actual Thanksgiving gifts. We have Birthday Gift, which is very easy to win because the person whose birthday it is isn't really going to go around and say their own Birthday Gifts. I've even been known to thrown in the odd "Friday Gift" when calling my sister on a Friday. That one I always win, but it doesn't really count because she didn't after all know that we were playing.

So anyway, just as a way to throw in some extra fun for the holidays, you might try playing too.

Oh, and this year there's a new category: Blog Christmas Gift.

I win!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Let's Get Clean!

Baby's gotta have a bath.

How happy we are to be clean!

Photos are by her mommy, Sydney. :o)

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Breakfast with Josie

Sometimes in the mornings when her mommy is trying to sleep I'll get baby and bring her with me into the kitchen while I cook.

Baby Josephine says "Bye!"

Sunday, October 29, 2006

My fairy princess

Josephine is a fairy princess for Halloween.

Yes, stuffed pumpkins are that fascinating.

Photos by Hannah Neal.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Two months old!

Saturday, October 21, 2006


Me (preparing to provide a quote for the customer's boat): Okay, what's the year, make and model?

Customer: Hang on. Let me get the name. Because it's called a boat but it's made by another company.


Sunday, October 15, 2006

Tiny Fruit

I'm a sucker for small stuff. These tiny pears greeted us the last time we went to the grocery store and we couldn't resist. I can't bear to eat one, they're so tiny and cute.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Baby pix! Yay!

Newest to oldest..

Saturday, September 16, 2006

We are gonna go with someone else

Normally when you are pregnant you go through a process of interviewing doctors to decide who will be your new baby's pediatrician. It's really important to find someone you feel comfortable with and trust absolutely. You will be spending a lot of time with this person over the next several years. You will be calling frequently with the "Is this normal?" question, sometimes at 3am. So.

Our first pediatrician interview was scheduled for Sept. 6. Starting a little late, but we still had a couple of weeks. Heh.

Baby decided to make her entrance three weeks early, though. When asked, in the hospital, who her pediatrician would be, we had no other name to give than Doctor No. 1 of the aforementioned Sept. 6 appointment.

He came to the hospital.

He is 300 years old. Seriously. His SUIT may have been older than I am. It was lime green sofa-looking material, kind of a nubbly silk I can't name, and had a flowered and very wide tie to match. He wears black horn rimmed glasses with a black elastic band to hold them on around the back of his head.

I was just a little alarmed.

But we wouldn't have time to interview anyone during her first week home and he asked to see her again on the day before our original appointment, so we just decided to keep that appointment.

The day arrived and we found the office. Three swag lamps with 20-watt lightbulbs lit the waiting area, which was furnished with mismatched 60's era chrome and naugahyde settees and some random old chairs. It was dark. Hand-scrawled signs were tacked up here and there with warnings about payments and rogue toddlers. We looked at each other wide-eyed.

Once we got shown back to the exam room, we noticed the avocado green paint job and yellowed linoleum tiles on the floor. The exam table was made of darkly stained scarred and pitted wood. The padded naugahyde surface had several blemishes which had been repaired with tape. A nurse came in and took the baby somewhere to weigh her and brought her back. She then put her down on the exam table with her head butting up against the wall and fetched a yardstick down off the nail next to the door where it was hanging. She butted the yardstick up against the wall and stretched baby's foot out to measure her.

In came the doctor. He was really very nice. Made the requisite "What a beautiful baby" comments, looked her over.

He said he was concerned that she hadn't gained much weight since she got out of the hospital. (Due to the calories expended getting born and the saved up poop and things, babies actually lose some weight after they're born and before they start plumping back up again.) He was thinking that she hadn't started plumping back up quite enough. So he told us to give her some cereal so she'd gain weight faster.

Yes, even though doctors haven't advocated giving a one-week old infant cereal since probably the late '50s or early '60s, he generously gave us a small envelope with a sample of Gerber rice cereal. And advised us that she wouldn't know how to swallow it, but to keep it up and eventually she'd catch on.

So yeah, we're going to go with someone else.

PS - picture taken with Sydney's phone. Sorry it's so hazy.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

It's a grandbaby!

Josephine Adeline Celeste was born on Wednesday, August 30, 2006 at 8.40pm. She weighed 6lbs 4oz and is 18 and a half inches long. She is beautiful, as is her brave and heroic mommy.

Monday, August 07, 2006

Fun at the Dentist

When I was having my teeth cleaned the other day the little squirty saliva fountains under my tongue went berserk. I'd be laying there with my mouth open and the hygienist would approach me with her instrument and they'd let loose all over the place. At one point they actually squirted about four inches up into the air. We laughed for about five minutes.

I wish I could train them to behave.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Standoff at the Grocery Store

The other day Sydney and I were leaving the grocery store after our weekly shopping trip. My cart was very very full and heavy. We were negotiating our way through a narrow space between some cement posts and a large column in front of the building when I looked up and saw a large man swaying towards us. He was at least 350lbs. I kept going because the cart was too much for me to maneuver and assumed that he would move out of the way. He didn't.

Just at the last minute before I would have hit him with my cart, he stepped out of the way.

"Sorry," I said. "I can't steer this thing."

His reply: "Me either."


Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Dogs behaving badly

Well I've been terrible about walking the dogs lately. My life has been all out of balance and I haven't managed to get them out more than once a week in the last few months since my surgery. Today I've resolved to change that.

Normally I reserve those new resolution type things for Mondays but I didn't want to wait for another one to come around.

The school I walk past has sprouted a beautiful covered basketball court and walkway out of the construction debris that was there last time I came by.

The same little clutch of doggie parents was gathered at the park with their pets, unleashed and much better behaved than mine.

Baxter and Norma recognized when it was time to go berserk at their dog-friend's house, but somehow didn't do so. I rewarded them with "good doggies" profusely.

Here's hoping this is going to be a trend!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Lookit my Grandbaby!!

Well we have Medicaid. What an ordeal.

Some advice - don't have any health issues requiring a doctor's care without insurance. They don't treat you very nicely.

We've been dealing with this since late May. After six in-person visits and three times filling out the application I thought it was hopeless, but on our last visit to Brackenridge to confront a live caseworker with our story and demand some action, we were presented with a temporary number and the announcement that she is "certified."

So we can go to the doctor on Wednesday and get her thyroid checked and all the other things she's been saving up that didn't seem emergency-room worthy.


Oh - PS - photo by my wonderfully talented sister Hannah Neal.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


The evil ex has struck again.

The children don't keep in touch with their father too much. He's difficult to be around and doesn't really accept them for the wonderful cool people they are. But Sydney wants him to be in her baby's life. Every baby needs a grandpa, after all.

So she wrote him an email the other day, telling him about her pregnancy and inviting him back into her life to be daddy and grandfather. It was a beautiful letter.

His reaction? "I'm not surprised."

And now he's gotten it into his head that she must give the baby up for adoption. She very respectfully but firmly asked him to back off and let her be the one to make this decision, and thanked him for his input and support. He hasn't let up, though. He has hounded her with phone calls and emails, telling her that she's being selfish and harming the child by wanting to bring the baby up herself.

She is devastated.

It's all I can do to keep from hunting him down.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Baby Belly

Here's how my new grandbaby looks right now.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


Well today is not a holiday for me. I am at work.


My holiday so far has consisted of a festive pancake breakfast that I cooked for Zachary. Mmmmm.


2 C. whole wheat flour
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. baking powder
1 t. kosher salt
2 t. splenda

2 1/4 C. buttermilk
2 eggs
1/4 C. melted butter

Mix the dry ingredients together in a big bowl. I sift mine if I'm feeling energetic.

Separate the eggs into two bowls. Into the bowl with the egg whites, whisk 2 cups of the buttermilk. Into the bowl with the egg yolks whisk the 1/4 c of melted butter. Now whisk the egg mixtures together.

Combine with the dry ingredients, only mixing until everything is moistened. Don't try to get out all the lumps. If the mixture is too thick, add up to 1/4 c of buttermilk until it's the right consistency.

Use a 1/3 c measure to pour the batter onto a greased hot hot griddle or skillet.

Makes about 15-17 medium pancakes. Mmmm.

Oh - I added some chopped pecans once the batter was all mixed up. YUM.


So happy Fourth!!

Monday, July 03, 2006

I hope they were good.

Joe snuck into the pantry last night and ate almost all of the dog biscuits.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Where Not to Eat

I ate dinner last night at a Mexican food restaurant on Burnet road called El Mercado. I've been there before and it wasn't too bad and the place I really wanted to go is closed on Mondays, so we thought we'd give it a try.

After ordering and receiving my Diet Coke I asked for a glass of water. The waiter quickly came back to the table and, inexplicably, with a flourish, set down a dish of butter in front of me. And beamed at me, no doubt anticipating the huge tip that was coming.

"What the hell?" I said. "Maybe it's for tortillas," my date theorized. "But that's so old school. Do they really ever do that any more?"

Hm. Well, they both have two syllables and end in -ter. Wa-ter, but-ter. Okay. I'll give it to him.

(No tortillas were brought to us.)

Soon he was back, this time with a huge stack of napkins and a butter knife. Again with the beaming smile. Good waiter. My date asked him very plainly if he could bring me some water.

Then came the food. I had the Adobo Enchiladas which of course come with a side of rice and beans. The adobo was a little bright, like there might have been a ketchup component to it. But it wasn't too bad. And then I forked up a bite of beans with rice. It was awful. The beans were okay, but the rice had a very metallic undertone and reeked of rancid garlic. That would be my only bite of the rice.

When we were through and the waiter brought us the check, I told him that he should have the kitchen check the rice. "It's a little off," I said. He beamed at me again and left. My date reported, "He's bringing you a to-go container." Sure enough, seconds later he proudly placed a styrofoam container within my reach, with a couple of napkins on top. (Just in case I had used all seventeen of the ones he brought with the knife.) I laughed out loud. "No, thank you," I said. "I won't be taking this home." He looked at me, puzzled. "The rice tasted a little off. You might want to get the chef to check it." He smiled weakly, still puzzled. "It tasted bad. She didn't like it," chimed in my date. All of a sudden the waiter got it. "OH!" he exclaimed. "Is everything ok?" "Yes," I said. "Fine." "You need me to do anything?" he asked. "No, just tell the kitchen to check it. So you don't serve it to other people like that." "Just fine?" he asked. "Just fine," I said. He really didn't want to leave the table and kept hesitantly stepping backwards and then forwards. Finally he decided I really meant it and left us.

So yeah, I probably won't be giving them another visit.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Who wants to know

what happens when your pressure cooker explodes?

Q: What does happen when your pressure cooker explodes?

A: Well first there is an ear-splitting hiss which is followed by a thumpish depth-chargy sort of a pop.

Q: Wouldn't it be dangerous if, say, you were chopping something up with a very sharp knife when that happened?

A: Why, yes. In fact you could potentially cut your entire thumb off if you aren't careful.

Q: Does the smoke detector go off?

A: No, the huge cloud of steam that envelops your kitchen consists of mostly vaporized water.

Q: So, how much of the cooking liquid sprays itself onto every exposed surface in your kitchen?

A: All seven cups of it!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Creative Spelling

Yesterday I was helping a customer find an agent in her hometown. When I read her the address, she wanted to confirm the spelling.

Me: They are located at 123 Baker Street.

Customer: "That's B-E-A-C-U-R Street?"

Me: ??Um, no. It's B-A-K-E-R.


Monday, May 15, 2006

She has it WHERE?

Yesterday I had an interesting conversation with a customer. We have to collect the drivers license number of everyone who's going to be covered on the policy so I asked this man for his wife's.


Me: And what is Linda's license number?

Customer: Um, I don't know. She has it with her in the bathroom.

Me: [!!!] She has it where? She has it in the bathroom?

Customer: Well, it's in her wallet.


Oh yeah! I'm all the time taking my purse with me into the bathroom at home. You never know when someone's going to steal something outta there.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Happy MD

Happy Mother's Day to all you mommies out there. Good job!

Friday, May 12, 2006

Three Stupid Things

I've been on a real streak of stupidity lately. Luckily, I have the advantage of being able to laugh at myself.

1. While cooking dinner the other night and talking with Sydney I noticed that the corn starch I was using was caked solid at the bottom of the can. I was shaking it back and forth to try to loosen it up when Sydney said, "Uh, mom?" I looked down and discovered that I had completely powdered the entire front of my shirt with corn starch.

2. I had too many beers last night and was hungry. There wasn't much to eat in the house because I'm supposed to be on a diet. But I did manage to find and eat a frozen waffle. Right out of the bag. It was slightly freezer-burned.

3. Today at the grocery store I was helping out by putting the bagged groceries into the cart and got so enthusiastic that I started putting the groceries into the cart without the bags.

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Because my ex-husband is trying to stiff me on the final child support check, I feel compelled to point out to everyone that he has an extremely small penis.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Analogy Man

My friend Ryan is actually a superhero.

He's Analogy Man.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

C'mon now, people.

It's so easy NOT to burn the popcorn in the microwave.