Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Five-Minute "Coffee" Cake

Tuesday, August 31, 2010 By 4 comments

Baking has never been my strong suit. But I've found that I can teach science through cooking and baking. Not deep, world-changing science. Just the scientific principles a kindergartner might be able to grasp.

Emmie's two favorite foods are Crab Legs (which she calls "crappess tails," and always has) and Anything With Sugar.

So, seeing as how crab legs are boiled or grilled and then the science lesson is at an end, I've been trying a lot of baking. We talked about the melting point of objects and the strength of bonds when we made a recipe called "Rice Krispy Treat Without Rice Krispies But With Honey Nut Spins Instead Because Mommy Didn't Plan Ahead And She Only Buys Ghetto Cereal," and we talked about solutions and mixtures and how things dissolve by making "Totally Fake Lemonade."

Today, I saw a Facebook post from Susy Allen, and followed it to a blog. Somewhere on the blog was a recipe for 5-Minute Chocolate Cake.

"No freaking way," I thought. "But what a great chemistry lesson, if it works."

So Emmie and I gave it a shot. And it was awesome. It really was as easy as you can imagine. Except... I didn't have any cocoa or vanilla extract. So we substituted cinnamon and honey.

It totally freaking worked!

Five-Minute Chocolate Cake
(AKA, the Cake of Flavors Desperately Ganked from the Spice Cabinet)

4 tablespoons flour
4 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa (or cinnamon)
1 egg
3 tablespoons milk
3 tablespoons oil
3 tablespoons chocolate chips (optional)
A small splash of vanilla extract (or a tbsp of honey)
1 large coffee mug (Microwave Safe)

Add dry ingredients to mug and mix well. Add the egg and mix thoroughly before pouring in the milk and oil in. Keep mixing. Add the optional chocolate chips next, then and vanilla extract, and mix again.

Yay, cake batter! You need not go any further for a delicious and unhealthy snack, but raw egg apparently = salmonella lately, so I recommend seeing it through to the end.

Put your mug in the microwave and cook for five minutes. Three was a little mooshy for us. The cake will rise over the top of the mug, but don’t be alarmed! Allow it to cool a little, and tip out onto a plate if desired. It'll be a little spongey. But totally cake!

* Note: Check out the science kit in the photo's background. It's called "Tasty Science," and it is a big box of crazy fun experiments that don't feel like my high school chemistry classes because - hello, candy at the end! We highly recommend it, and bought it at Learning Express Toys, which Susy owns with her husband, Trey. And so we come full circle.

Tell us what flavor combination you come up with!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

But I'm Not Very Sorry

Sunday, August 29, 2010 By

Educators, everywhere, I apologize.

But I am that mom.

At first, I seem like that mom you're going to just love. I've got your supplies covered, your parties snacked and your social activities staffed.

But I am all up in your cheese.

I'm so bad that I requested that Emerson be transferred to another kindergarten class because I knew how attached she would get to the very nice teacher to whom they assigned her. That teacher, competent and caring, is very pregnant. And she will be out much of the school year. Emerson will then freak out. She will not learn for at least a month, and there will be bouts of crying.

It is just one of the requests that I have made to the RCBOE this year.

"Don't you think you might be a little bit of a helicopter parent?" my boss asked me.

"Oh, yes," I replied, without a hint of irony.

And about her education, I am fiercely protective. I am a hummingbird. A human hovercraft. A creepy, crazy-eyed Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade float that is peeking in your windows.

About her education? Yeah. I'm that mom.

I was a special needs child. They put me through a battery of tests, and informed me that I would be attending a special school for especially "creative" children. Later, I learned that it was for kids the school system thought were faster learners. But I struggled with one subject from fifth grade through college: math.

Very long story short, it was suggested, after a disconnect between my grades and my seeming level of understanding in a statistics class at Augusta State University, that I might need to be tested. But this time, it was not because they suspected I might be oh-so-smart. My mother told me for years that I needed to have my head examined. "This will make her just so happy," I thought.

I went to the appointment nauseous with anxiety. Years of stellar verbal performances marred by substandard mathematics aptitude will do that to a person. The note from my professor suggested some tests. The two counselors ignored it. They asked me a few questions about my course, then about my educational background. Mid-way through my explanation that I still get nervous about long division because I don't understand why you just leave the remainder there, just hanging around all unsupervised like that, the two counselors exchanged a knowing glance and one held up her hands.

"It's okay," she said, soothing my rising blood pressure. "We think we have a solution."

What a difference 10 minutes makes. Thank you, ASU. For everything.

Side note: Do you see how I've taken a post about my daughter and turned it into one about me? But I swear I have a point. Back to the testing folks...

"Dyscalcula," they said, and gave me a list of things to do differently.

First step: Stop asking why. Was I planning a career in astrophysics?

"Hell, no. Wait: Do I get to go in the Space Shuttle?"

No. Mathematics is composed of tasks that can be broken down by steps. The "why" of it is not important. It is a staircase to climb. When you climb stairs, do you question gravity?

"I question my diet and exercise."

Then break it down. Don't struggle with the concept and expect the formula to make sense if you can understand it.

"Yeah, that's me!"

This is the hallmark of a verbal learner. Cut it out.


Find the steps. Break it down. Memorize the steps first. Get them down pat. Then worry about comprehension. If you never understand it, don't worry about it. You just want to get the steps right. The answer will come.

So that's what I did. I broke everything down into steps. I memorized the steps. I practiced the steps. When I found myself freaking out because I didn't understand the steps, I went back to the last step I completed before I freaked out, and I did it again. And my next test grade: 100!!!

I'd never made a 100 on a math test in my life. I actually handed the paper back to the professor, thinking he'd given me someone else's test.

Okay, so back to Emmie.

Emmie may not struggle with anything like this. But I see her reverse her numbers and her letters sometimes. And I worry. I don't tell her what I'm thinking - after all, she's only just reading three and four letter words - but I watch carefully. I don't want her to struggle for 15 years the way I did. And I don't want any stupid people saying things like, "You're just not good at (insert subject here)." After my experiences, I believe that with the proper methods, every subject can be mastered by almost anyone.

So, along those lines, I was warned that dealing with the Richmond County School System was no easy task. Public school education is no buffet, where you may pick and choose the items your child needs for success, while discarding those unnecessary items that hinder.

I found that out the hard way. I missed a Friday deadline for paperwork, and they wouldn't take it the following Monday. Nevermind that the paperwork wasn't available on time, and no one knew where I should take it.

I put in more paperwork under House Bill 251, which allows parents to request a zone exception so long as they can get their child to that school on their own. The school board say that they "have no record of" the paperwork. But in reality, I'm almost certain - and the former interim superintendent has all but confirmed it for me - that the parents requesting Warren Road Elementary (with its new arts infusion program) had their paperwork discarded because the school system improperly designated WRE as a magnet school.

See, a system can't just declare a school a magnet school without the proper certification, anymore than a college can declare itself fully accredited without oversight. And a school system cannot exempt a school from HB 251 without informing parents of the exemption. Oh, wait: Apparently Richmond County can. And did.

Anyway, on top of that, our other selected schools are full. So we're back to our original "zone" school.

I'm not happy about that. This school is a disorganized mess. My husband was misdirected three times when trying to locate the registration area. No one's in the office until after 8 a.m. The principal, when I made clear our concerns about Emerson's emotional attachments and advanced knowledge base, suggested a teacher whose class was full, and who was teaching only slower learners this year. Way to keep abreast of your staff, "Doctor." When we put in paperwork to change teachers, no one communicated with us about its progress.

I looked like a complete ass getting upset when I took Emmie to school and no one knew where she was supposed to be. But the school is so compartmentalized that every new person I spoke to had no idea what was going on, and I had to start from scratch. I grew more and more frustrated and afraid every time I was passed on to a new person. Could I even trust them to take care of my daughter this year - much less actually educate her? She's only five! She thinks KFC is Turkey Fried Chicken. She regularly sings her conversations with me, as though she isn't so much living life as performing "Emerson: The Musical." She really really thinks that her pet chickens can talk to her, and that bugs sting because they don't like to be friends with humans. And her favorite sentence to write is "EMERSON I LVOE MOM." All caps. "Love" misspelled.

In short, if she weren't five years old, she'd be in a loony bin. So, concerns. We has them.

What I discovered is that the teachers are receptive, responsive, and proactive. What's more, they really like teaching. But the head offices and administrators... it is another issue altogether.

We've done the best that we can for this school year. And maybe next year she'll be accepted to the county's actually really certified magnet elementary school. But maybe next year we'll be leaving the county for the great suburban boredom and commute next door. I don't know yet.

I do know that while I'm sorry that the teachers had the interim superintendent's crap roll downhill onto them, I'm not sorry that I made an ass of myself and demanded an immediate solution from them. Could I have handled it better? Sure. Could my husband have assisted me more? You betcha. But while the end does not necessarily justify the means, it seems that - in this school system - one has to be the pain-in-the-ass mom to get even the slightest assistance for your child.

So while I heartily apologize to teachers for being so emotional, I'm not "sorry."

But the interim superintendent is.

Saturday, August 28, 2010


Saturday, August 28, 2010 By

Scott and Emmie both love the spotlight. They were both born without guile, with the entertainment gene in full effect. It's crazy, I tell ya.

I'm social, it's true. But being on camera, being in front of a crowd... It's not for me. I can manage public speaking, and I generally do well, but I frequently vomit later.

Today, Emmie and I went to return books at the Augusta Headquarters Library. There was News Channel 6 paraphernalia all over the place.

"Look, Em! The TV station is here - the one Daddy is on in the mornings," I say.

"Oooh, I lub to play myself on tellebision!" Emmie said.

I'll open her pro account as soon as possible. >:-|

The station was sponsoring a "Kids First" event, with coloring, balloon animals, a magician... and television auditions.

Crap. Had I known, I never would have brought her. Because like a moth to the flame, Em went straight for the camera. One, she gets enough exposure on Facebook, Twitter, my blog, Scott's job at WGAC, and my old job at Augusta Parent Magazine. At some point, it's just overkill. Second, she was in ratty play clothes and we hadn't fixed her hair.

"Read to us!" she said, on cue and completely oblivious. "Put kids first!"

So look for her soon - blink and you'll miss her - on News Channel 6's Kids First commercials... along with her unbrushed hair and beach clothes. (Sigh...)

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Local Business Rocks! What Local Biz Do You Love, and Why?

I read today that large retailers like WalMart are starting to release their Black Friday sales items and prices. It kind of made me nauseous because - unlike WalMart - I still remember this news story.

Supporting small businesses has always been important to me. But now that Emerson's father runs a small business, Cheers Wine & Beverage, and the economy is in the tank, it's even more important for me to support local small businesses.

I thought about my family's support of local businesses. I really took stock. And in the end, I concluded that we pretty much buy everything local - except utilities and some groceries.

Our housing came from a local property owner; our child went to a locally-owned day care (and now to a local public school); our furniture is all from local re-sellers (I'm obsessed with bargain hunting); our mattresses are from a North Augusta discount store; our appliances are from local re-sellers; Emmie's clothes are almost all from local re-sellers and consignment stores; I can't remember the last time we ate at a chain restaurant; and when we purchase entertainment - unless it's a movie - it's Le Chat Noir, the Augusta Players or the Augusta GreenJackets. What's left? Oh, I do work for a non-local employer, a division of the state of Georgia. But it's a state agency that puts $2 billion into the local economy, so whatever. I wish there was a locally owned grocery store in a reasonable distance that I trusted. I’ve tried the IGAs but I’m just not sure about them. I love Asian Choice, but it doesn't carry everything I need.

So I'd like to recommend some locally owned Augusta and Aiken businesses we love! I guarantee that in almost every circumstance, you'll find better service, more original products, and your money will stay local. 
I’ll forget to include some businesses, but correct me, please! There are a few I’m leaving off because of personal reasons (don’t pay their bills/employees/taxes; staff or service is unpredictable; bad interactions with them). You may love them, but I may not be on the same page - yet. I always give a local biz another shot, unlike some of the national chains’ stores in the area (I’m talking to YOU, Old Navy) who can’t get it right.

I hope this holiday season that you will consider eschewing the big box retail establishments that undermine the American economy by alternately price fixing and price gouging.

Shopping & Gifts - Learning Express Toys, Art on Broad (gifts, art), Posh Tots (children’s clothes), The Swank Co. (awesome gifts and home stuff), Asian Choice (groceries), Barter Books (used books), Mainstream Boutique (adult clothes), Lolliops on Baston Road (children’s clothes), Ready to Wear Again (clothes and vintage jewelry), Tire City Potters (art, gifts), Rock Bottom Music (lessons, gifts), Hill Drug Store (where we fill all of our prescriptions; they were one of only two stores that had Tamiflu last year when Em had swine flu), Barney’s Drug Store (our emergency back-up; the other that carried Tamiflu)

What local businesses do you love, and why?

Monday, August 23, 2010

We'll Be Working On Our Own Vocabulary

Monday, August 23, 2010 By

Emerson and I are lying in her bed, reading before we go to sleep. We have a deal: For every page I read to her, she sounds out one word of her choosing. The problem is that she doesn't have a lot of patience with the process, and wants to guess her way to the right answer. So, for example, we'll get halfway through "window," and she'll shout "Winner! Yes! I did it!"And then we have to start over, and she's not just struggling with her novice reading skills, but also with her disappointment.

We're on a smaller word this time.

"So what are the letters?" I ask her.

"H, a, l, l," she answers. No problems.

"And what sounds do they make?" I ask.

"hhhh, aaah, llll, lll," she answers. Also no problem.

"Okay. Now we put those sounds together, and we smooth them out," I coax her.

"Hhhhhhh...ahhhh...lllll...llll..." she tries. I wait.

"Hhhhhaaaalllllllll," she frowns - and then I see it click in her head.

"I got it! It's HELL!!!!" she shrieks, and looks for my approval. "... Mama?! Why you laffeend?"

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Maybe For Her Birthday in January (Anyone up For Sharing a Room?)

Emmie's asking to go back to Orlando - LOL!

"Can we go back to Atlanta an' ride da teacups and da train dat go berry fass?!"

"Baby, that's in Orlando, Florida."

Her little mouth turned down and she whispered, "Mama? I know iss berry spensable, but you can hab my money and dollars."

She ran to get her money and returned with my old wallet.

"Here, mama. I pay for it."

I look inside. There's about a dollar in change. There was more, but I discovered that she took it to pre-k last year and gave it away to her friends, "so ebbrybidy hab da same."

My little Communist.

"You up for a trip to Orlando?" I texted my sister.

"Let's go!" she replied.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Zombie Apocalypse Averted

Thursday, August 19, 2010 By

Thank you, Michael Royce "Nicely Nicely" Hill for setting my mind at ease with this.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Meet the Future President of PETA

Friday, August 13, 2010 By

One of the reasons that we're so concerned about Emerson's school placement is because of how sensitive a child she is. She's a little ray of sunshine, unicorns, and strawberries, and she deserves to stay that way. She doesn't need people like my fourth grade teacher - I'm talking to YOU Mrs. Van Tone - browbeating the love of education out of her.

Trust is an issue with Emerson. She trusts everyone, even if I tell her differently. Like when this guy pulled out a machete, and this is how she reacted when I told her to stay away from him.

There's that fable that I always gets wrong, about the frog and the scorpion. The scorpion needs a ride across the river. The frog agrees, if the scorpion promises not to sting him. Halfway across the river, the scorpion strikes. As they're both drying - the frog from the poison, and the scorpion from drowning - the frog asks, "Why?" And the scorpion replies, "Because I'm a scorpion."

Emmie is that frog.

We were at Six Flags Whitewater last Saturday, and stopped for a little while to have a picnic in the shade near the park entrance. I looked over to see Em staring at an ant on her sandwich, and moved to flick it off.

"NO!" she said, yanking the sandwich away. "I'm SHARING wif him."

"Emmie, ants don't really... " I began, but she was already ignoring me. "Okay, but don't let him crawl on you. He might bite you."

Approximately 38 seconds later, the ant bit her. It fell off her sandwich and scrambled for cover - under her leg. And it bit her on the ass.

She cried so hard. And while she was just getting over that, a bee flew in and stung her. On her ass. I mean, really, insect world? Was that necessary?

I flicked the bee and stinger from her butt as she shrieked.

"It STINGED me!" she cried, hysterically. "It tell me to GET OUT OF HIS HOME!"

And that was the crux of it. She wasn't nearly as upset about getting stung as she was about the perception that the sting was the result of the bee's rejection of her friendship. My little froggie.

"Dat bee tell me to GO AWAY!" she cried. "WAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHH!"

It was kind of sweetly innocent. In a totally delusional way.

We set off for the first aid clinic, with her trying to manage the pain with the breathing exercises I give her when she's too hyper or angry to make good choices. At one point, I told her that she might feel better if she ran for a minute, to burn off the adrenaline. The result of that garbled suggestion was that I traveled all the way across the park with a 5-year-old doing Lamaze breaths and running in tiny circles as we walked. She looked like a crazy person. It was kind of awesome. But, what the hell. It helped her to calm herself through the pain.

And when we got to the clinic, the "water doctor," as she called him, gave her a piece of ice wrapped in gauze. But it was "medicine ice," according to Emmie, so it was better than the ice we had already put on her butt back at the picnic site. After a few minutes, he told her that it would be best to get her injured butt back in the water, where the water and the sunshine would work together to make it feel better. Essentially, he told her to go play.

And she was fine after that.

But when we were driving back to Augusta, an insect flew in the car. Emmie lit up like a neon sign: "Awwww, loot, mama! He want to be our friend!"


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Times I Fell Down: Part Ouch

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 By

When I was pregnant with Emmie, we lived in the top floor of an old house in the Hill area. The back stairs sprouted from a wooden deck. And when it rained, despite the non-skid strips I'd adhered to them and the bleach I'd poured on them to get rid of any algae, those suckers were slippery. Seven months into the pregnancy, I slipped. And I slid all the way down those steps to the bottom.

Luckily, I landed mostly on my ass. So there was plenty of padding. I might even have bounced a little. But that time, I wrenched my right shoulder while trying to catch myself.

There was this past January, when I slipped in the middle of the night and ended up half-naked, cold, and with a broken toe that will never be the same.

Then, two weekends ago, I was visiting my daughter's favorite store: Learning Express Toys. I bribed her to help me clean up with promises of a new toy. She picked out this "candy science kit," which has been AWESOME, by the way. "Loot, mama! You jus' add science, an' it mates candy! But, mama? Where do we buy da science?"

She had laughed me into complacency by the time we exited the store and saw the HD 98.5 remote, complete with bounce house. Emmie jumped in, but she was the only one there, and called for me to join her.

"Would that be okay?" I asked them, and they motioned me to go on.

I hot-footed it across the parking lot - why did I take my shoes off so far away? What am I, an idiot? Well, the universe chose that moment to answer what was largely - for future reference, universe - a rhetorical question. I put one foot on the ramp that lead up into the bounce house and instantly hit the ground. What happened? I don't know! But I didn't just fall over - I was hurled to the ground, five feet away from the ramp! Hello, sky. I've seen this view before.

My elbow and knee were all scraped up, but Emmie and I got a great laugh out of it. She clambered down and peered at me, her nose an inch from mine: "You okay, mama?" she giggled, as I lay there, back burning on the boiling asphalt, and chuckled: "I'm fine."

One of the guys working the remote noticed me lying there and sprinted over. "Are you okay?! Let me help you up!"

"She's otay," Emmie waved him away. She's used to me falling down. I grinned up at him: "Just let me lie here and gather the shattered remains of my ego." He gave me a weird look and trotted back to the table.

I made it into the bounce house, but almost immediately lost my balance again and scraped my face along one of the razor-sharp seams. Luckily, two other girls joined Emmie in the inflatable, and I stayed down so they could use me as an obstacle course.

Last Friday, we were leaving to go to Atlanta. I tottered down the back stairs of our house, still in my work clothes, when my boot heel caught on a broken brick and I went airborne.

This time, something in my right ankle popped. And, whoa, did it hurt something sick! But my face landed a half-inch off a big, flat rock, so I just narrowly missed a concussion. I was so thankful that it was only my ankle, and not a head injury, that I laid my head down on the rock like it was a pillow and said a silent "thank you" to the universe.

Then an ant bit my face.


Scott was out the back door immediately, gently unzipping and removing my boots as I lay on my stomach and plotted the doom of all Earth-bound insects. The ankle was already starting to swell.

"Call it off," Scott said.

But I thought about my 12-year-old nephew, Jacob, who won't think I'm fun to hang out with much longer. I'd miss going to Whitewater with him. I thought about how Emmie would cry if we didn't go see my 6-year-old nephew, Jackson. She'd been looking forward to it for two weeks. And I thought about my sister and my parents, who planned a big family dinner of Low Country Boil. They were so excited to just sit around and talk to me. I can never figure that one out. Clearly, these folks need a hobby.

We were going.

So Scott shoved a bag of ice in my sock and Emmie and I drove on. With three hours of ice and about 10 Advil over the course of the next 18 hours, the ankle was manageable. We made it six hours and two bee stings at Whitewater. And three days later, it is just a dull ache and a twinge every now and then. But I'm wearing flats for a while.

I don't know why I fall down and hurt myself so much. Maybe I need new glasses. Maybe I need to pay more attention to my surroundings. Maybe I'm too scatterbrained.

"Maybe you have brain tumor," Scott said.
"You need one of those white helmets," said my friend, Amber.

Thanks, guys.

If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them. Until I can figure out what's going on, I'll be the one wearing the ballet flats and wrap dress... the BUBBLE wrap dress.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Times I Fell Down: Part I

Tuesday, August 10, 2010 By

I've been promising (threatening?) to write a post like this for a long time. Because, frankly, I deserve it. For some reason, I spend much of my life staring up at the sky, or at a close-up of the ground, and thinking, "What just happened?"

I was always a klutz. I have the scarred legs to prove it. Ruined my modeling career, ya know. When I was in elementary school, I crashed my 10-speed and I still have an actual 1/4-inch-deep hole in my shin to show for it.

In little league, Dad was always telling me to keep my eye on the ball. Problem was, I couldn't SEE the ball. I had no idea that people were supposed to be able to actually watch the ball leave the pitcher's hand. I was just guessing when to swing, based on speed and wind sheer and sheer stupid desire to actually get a hit. No one knew I needed glasses.

I did get a hit, once. I was standing in right field, which is where I regularly built daisy chains while waiting for my turn to not-bat in the dugout, when the most fearsome girl in the league stepped up to the plate. This girl was two feet taller and 50 pounds heavier than any other player in the league. The rest of the girls hunkered down and chattered "heyyybatterbatter, swing!" while I silently prayed for her to bunt.

CLINK! The sound of ball-hitting-aluminum bat was unmistakable. And, as usual, I had no idea where it went... until something going 150 mph pile-drove into my shoulder and I went down. Down like a dog on the highway.

That was when I decided to quit little league. The humiliation I could live with. But adding physical injury to mental insult was enough.

I avoided most physical injuries until high school. But one night, after the spring musical, five friends, my little brother and I were headed to the local Applebee's - which had just opened in Conyers and was A Big Deal - for some after-play social time. We got about five minutes down the road when a drunk driver turned left in an intersection as I was passing through. The impact totaled my parents' car, and left a scar in the shape of the emergency brake on my left knee.

So I'm getting to the falling down part.

I fell down a number of times during my college years. I won't get into all of them. But the first time I actually broke something... well. It set a tone. And the universe has been keeping score ever since.

It was my boyfriend's birthday. We partook of many activities in downtown Athens that night, and I spent all but $5 in my bank account on him. He deserved it. He was a great guy who studied hard every day to get his masters degree. But that meant that I didn't have money for a much-needed taxi to get from The Globe to our apartment on Baxter Street. He wouldn't spring for it, arguing that it would only be a short walk. In 50-degree weather. In my platform sandals.

As we walked, an Athens-based taxi company called Your Cab drove by us repeatedly, ferrying home drunken but warm students. "Look!" I said, each time one passed. "That was OUR cab!"

By the time we got to Milledge Avenue, we were both irritated, but laughing. So he pretended to tackle me, and I pretended to go all Chuck Norris and round-house kick him in the face. In my platform sandals. Let's just say that I was too powerful to be contained by mere fake leather straps... while having imbibed almost all of the wine in Athens, because if I'm-a get krunk, I'm-a do it with class (white zinfandel is classy, right?) And when the straps broke, mid-whirl, my foot broke, too, and I went down... on my thumb.

Not to be all "I told you so," but when my boyfriend went to try to call a cab from the front of Clark Central high school, they refused to pick up the drunken idiots with the broken foot and no address to give them except "that high school on Milledge Road." And it was another mile and a half home. We made it, but there was a great deal of cussing.

The next morning there was some lovely hangover-related vomiting. I'm not going to say which one of us got drunk enough to throw up, but let me tell you that making it from the bed to the bathroom on a broken foot is not the kind of thing you want to do in a hurry. After someone's stomach settled down, we drove to the ER and they patched up a couple of broken metatarsals as best they could, sending me on my way with crutches and a jammed thumb with which to use them.

When we got back to the apartment, I tried to crutch up the concrete stairs... and instead fell backwards down them. After I was done irrationally screaming at my boyfriend, I seriously considered moving to a place on the ground floor.

The second time I broke something - oh, yes, there were many - was completely my own fault. We were at a festival in Atlanta, and I had just purchased a pretty new pair of earrings. Of course, I had to wear them out. And when I got to the front of the stand, a mirror distracted me, as shiny things and matters of ego are likely to do.

"Oh, don't I look beautif - GAAAHH!" And down a flight of wooden steps I fell, face-first into some gravel, breaking my ankle. I was so mad at myself that I refused any assistance from the first aid folks driving the comfy golf cart and limped - very slowly - back to my car. I refused to go to a doctor - because lots of money go bye-bye - yanked an Ace bandage around it, pulled out my old blue shoe and crutches from the broken foot, and made do.

Times I Fell Down: Part II will post tomorrow. Barring any further injury.

Friday, August 06, 2010

You Might Wanna Get That Checked...

Friday, August 06, 2010 By

My friend Amber is a new mom to her fourth child, Amelia. She's breastfeeding, but has run into a slight difficulty.

"I'm sorry you're feeling bad," I said to A.C.

"I think it's from going to dinner the other night," she mused.

I laughed: "You think Frank gave you mastitis?!"

Thursday, August 05, 2010

Foiled! ... And Successful Entirely by Accident

Thursday, August 05, 2010 By

I get an alert that a person previously with my company has joined a new practice. Since it's part of my job to track and compile these events, I am frustrated when I can't pull up the full information. I decide to call the practice directly.

"[Name Redacted], this is Betty. How may Ah help yew?"

I know this voice. This voice is the voice of Southern grandmothers everywhere - but they'd pronounce it "ev-reh-whhayah." They pronounced the "wh" dipthong like they're blowing out a candle. I like this lady.

"Hi! My name is Stacey Hudson, and I'm calling from [name redacted]. I saw a press posting that y'all have hired one of our alumni. I was wondering if you could tell me to whom I could speak in order to get a copy of the press release. I can't seem to access the Statesboro Business News."

"Whut, nayow?" It's been a while since I've heard this kind of accent, and I'm really enjoying it. But I have the impression that she doesn't really hear me.

"I'm calling from [name redacted.] I saw a press release that [biz name] has hired Dr. [name redacted] as part of your medical staff."


"He's one of our alumni. There's a small problem: I can't seem to pull up the Statesboro Business News. Is there someone available in marketing who could send that press release to me?"

"Whayull, Ah know that he's an aloomnus of your skül," she agrees. She pronounces it just like that: al-OOM-nus, skül.


"Yes, ma'am," I prompt.


"So what can Ah do foh yew today?" she asks.

Something is not going well here. I tweak my accent just a tad, hoping that there's a lack of understanding caused by generational/regional influences.

"Well, ma'am, I was hoping that there might be someone in the administration, maybe in the marketing department, who could send that press release over to me. I can't seem to get to the Statesboro Business News on the Internet, and we sure do like to know when our alumni are doing well."

"Now, what would yew like tuh know?" she asks.

"Oh, his professional background, his specialties, what he'll be working on for y'all - just basic stuff. I'd just love to speak with your marketing department to get a copy of the press release, so that I can include the information in our alumni magazine," I simplify.

We don't really have a magazine strictly for alumni, but it's a concept everyone understands. I'm getting the feeling that she may need this simplified further. Desperate, I type in the address for the business journal again. Nothing. Is the site down? Is it a fictitious business paper? Have they all been hijacked by Chinese hackers?

"Well, Ah don't know much about him," she said. "But Ah know that he did go tuh that skül."

I'm desperately reloading the page. I don't want to call back tomorrow and try to get past her to someone else. I will lose. She is a polite wall, of the pre-sexual-revolution "No, You Cannot See Mr. Draper Today" type. She is Joan Holloway with gray hair and orthopedic shoes. I do not know how to deal with these women. I cannot chat them up. They are products of the War Generation, and they never lose their cool. They wear permanent curls, permanently stiff upper lips, and, generally speaking, do not approve of me. They are Ladies. I am a Just a Girl.

I pour it on anyway: "Yes, ma'am. I sure do appreciate you confirming that. But if there is someone available in the marketing department, I'm sure they'll have all the info that I need in a press release."

"Well, I don't know how much help I can be to you on this. I just don't know much about him," she says. She has no intention of acknowledging my request, or of transferring me. She didn't approve of my cheerful-but-short professionalism when I first called. It happens from time to time, usually with ladies of this sort. And when you try to get around them, it's like arguing with a lace doily. Or a handmade quilt. Or lemon bars.

Just then - the website magically reappears! Quickly, I copy and paste the information into my already-open file. Thank the gods.

"Well, I sure do appreciate your help today, ma'am. I think I have all I need."

"Well, you have a nice day, dearie," she says.

"Yes, ma'am; you do the same."


It might be just me, but the *click* seemed a little smug on her end.

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

Girl is SERIOUS About Those Shoes...

Wednesday, August 04, 2010 By

Emmie's got a frown on her face, and a far-away look in her eyes.

"What's up, Doodle?"

"I was just imagination that I was on the ribber an' a lady use her powers to steal my Skechers," she said, brow crinkled.

I choke back a laugh. "Um... okay..."

"NO. Dat would NOT be okay. I would bam her," she says, eyebrows scrunched forward over her eyes.

 Skechers Little Kid/Big Kid D'Lish High-Top Sneaker,White/Turquoise/Pink,5.5 M US Big Kid
It seems that someone has inherited her mother's love of shoes. She talked her Nona into buying these $45 beauties, and wears them with everything. She's not allowed to grow out of them until the end of the school year.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Win, Lose or Draw

Tuesday, August 03, 2010 By

Emmie is being obnoxious.

"Em, if Zayquan says to stop annoying him, please do it," I say, wearily. They're still playing pretty well together, but a high-pitched whining emanates from their current location more frequently than usual.

"But, Mama, I jus' do dis," and she pats him on the head with a stick.

"Em, cut it out. He doesn't like it."

"But iss funneeeeee!"

"This is not a negotiation. Stop it. Now."

"But it doesn't hurt."

"Do you know what annoying is?"

"Yes, I -"

I interrupt by poking her in the forehead.

"How do you like that?" I ask.

She sets her jaw. "I lite it."

"Oh, really?" I poke her again. Her mouth turns down, and her eyes narrow. I see her thinking, and I worry about that. Sometimes I would like to turn off her brain.

"Do you still like it?"





"I still like it."


"Yeah, do it again."


"Das great, danks, mama."

This is not working out the way I had hoped. I poke her one more time, and she grins up at me.

"You can do dat all da time, mama."


"Fine. You win. Just stop annoying Zay, young lady," I say, and smooch her forehead where I poked her.

"Okay. But... Mama?"


"Um, could you not poke me anymore, please?"

"No problem."

Hee. I win.