Tuesday, July 4, 2006

Party with Marti

I  have been having the best weekend ever!

Saturday we went tubing.

It was  a great group,,,Michele, her husband Scotty, Mariah, Tom , Caitlin, my niece Holley ,the little 8 year old I babysit , Victoria and I.

Let me digress a moment here....I earned these good times.

When Michelle and Mariah were teens a decade ago, I was the one who drove the Drunkmobile down country roads, looking for and collecting inebriated teens as I went.

Mariah was a wild one, but she always knew when it was time to call her mama.

She asked me once why I was never mad.

I said, "well, when the phone rings,

 at first I think it is the morgue,

then the hospital ,

then the police

by the time I get to it's just you needing a ride home,

I'm good with that"

Of course, the next morning when they were lying in bed I would vaccum under them to get my little revenge.

Yeah, it's funny now....

My eldest daughter and her renegade friend are my best buddies these days.

Her husband and her baby boy are part of our family ,too.

The circle keeps growing.

Anyway,the trip down the river was great, the water and the beer were ice cold

the sun and the smiles were warm

the trees almost met over our heads

the world was so green you could taste it.

I'm so glad I get to see a place this beautiful

with people I love.

Sunday we were pretty much comatose.

The river was low due to lack of rain, so we wound up dragging our tubes through the water a good bit.

Even the superhuman Caitlin didnt' move from the couch all day.

But Monday it was time for the beach.

We loaded up and headed across the bridge to Dauphin Island.

It's a family tradition that when we get to the top we stick our heads out of the window and scream.

Victoria said, "I love our family"

The circle grows again.

They recently passed an ordinance against drinking on the beach.

I have been drinking on that beach for 35 years.

I just found it humerous when a little red cheeked boy whose slow cousin Bubba I taught 15 years aog tells me I cant.

Maybe it's the short pants they wear.

I didnt get arrested.

Mariah said, "you're gonna have to put it in a cup like the teenagers do, Mama."

And another turn of the circle.

Friday, June 16, 2006


It is 4 AM when I awake with that feeling that you get when it's time for the baby to nurse when they are infants.

That same feeling lets you know they are up to something 15 years later.

I look in the living room where 4 teenage girls were sprawled watching old Friends reruns when I went to bed.

No kids.

I go out the front door and find the girls and a few boys ,too.

"Hello" I said, quite cheerfully , considering the circumstances.

They all froze, like deer in the headlights.

Do they think I wont see them?

Being a special education teacher, I know to give specific instructions.

"Girls, you need to go inside now.'

Still friendly.

They wordlessly file past me and sit on the couch.

The boys, apparently, have turned to stone (no jokes about hardness, this is my baby here)

Further instructions seem to be in order.

"Boys, you can go home now."

No, I'm not angry.

It's like a chess game.

Their objective is to get away with everything they can.

My job is to catch them.

Only poor sports get angry playing a game!

Checkmate for mom this time!


Thursday, June 15, 2006


so....school is over.

The speech teacher and I stood on our desks and belted out a raccous and tuneless version of "School's Out for the Summer"that would've made Alice Cooper really chop his head off (those of you who don't understand this reference probably don't have crow's feet either)


Here we all gathered,

 Paula and her girls with their soft Atlanta voices....

Dear Stephanie, with her spirit stronger through her illness.....

Stacey with her bluster hiding her kind heart....barreling in from Mississippi

Dana of the sharp tongue and unswerving loyalty 

There was a slight noise...

only if you were really attuned could you hear it 

It was the universe falling into place.....

The Lagoonatics were all in one spot again....

We went to Dana's

slept on the dock to the sound of the waves

woke to the sun and floated the days away on the bay.

Shouting the cry, "Party at Marti's"we spent the once in a lifetime half and  half birhday party with about 60 other brave souls from the ages of 14 months on up.

See, this summer, Mariah is 25 and I am 50!

It was a great party!

When I get my puter issues resolved we'll see pictures.

Till then, walk softly on this good green earth and party like you're halfway home!


Wednesday, June 14, 2006

catchin' up

I have been absent for awhile,

 partially due to various adventures,

 mostly due to ANOTHER COMPUTER SCREW UP!!!!!!!!!!!!

 I hate BellSouth DSL!!!!!!!!!! 

 I pitched such a bitch this time I am supposedly getting a month free service, an upgrade and a free digital camera.....

we'll see.....

right now I am still writing on a friends computer.


well, the awful inevitable happened

Caitlin failed algebra and got booted from the cheerleading squad.

God love her, it is the first thing ever in her life she couldn't "sweetandcute" her way out of.

A hard lesson,

An overdue one.

I hope she won't have to learn them all the hard way.

She wailed.

I sniffed.

The guidance counselor and the cheerleading coach hung on each others shoulders.

Caitlin's lessons are hard on all of us.

The next day I lay in bed, dreading to face her.

She stuck her head around the door of my room of gloom and said ,

"I'm over it, Mom,

 let's go to the beach!"

More later, I promise.

I must go.....the hazards of the borrowed computer...

cyberlessly yours,


PS Thanks Martha, for giving me a nod to get started up again!

Monday, May 15, 2006

The Joys of Attention Deficit Disorder

I was having one of those lovely wifely conversations with my dear husband the other day.
We were talking about bad habits.
His, of course.
I was telling him he shouldn't smoke.
In my discourse, I touched on the fact that I smoke a cigarette occasionally.
I enjoy wine (sometimes lots of wine)
I have several cups of coffee every morning.
But all of these things, I can take or leave.
I dont even drink coffee during the summer when I am out of school.
"I just dont' have an addictive personality, " I bragged to him.
He glanced at me in the typical Tom way, one eye closed against the smoke from his Marlboro.
"You dont' have any bad habits," he intoned, "you can't concentrate long enough to develop any."
There are advantages to ADD.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

my lovely compliment

One of my kids, a boy with learning disabilities and severe behavior problems, was standing behind me." Mrs. Smith , I love your hair, it smells so good,"he said."thanks", I answered, trying to get some work done."and I love your pretty earrings," he continued."thanks", I said again, concentrating on my work, but flattered nonetheless. "I love the way your arm jiggles when you write on the board", He tenderly continued.
You know, he could have quit before he got that far!

I'll be damned if I let this job make me crazy!

I am out front directing traffic when this adolescent looking 5th grader walks into me, saying, "nobody can make me stop"
I said,"ah, baby, don't' start your day off this way"
He shoved me again.
The principal suspended him for 2 days and told me it was not assault because I was not injured.
It's okay.
Poor kid, life has already punished him enough.
He will be in prison soon and I will still be out here directing traffic.
Which brings to my mind...
What other professionals with master's degrees do you see directing traffic?
Doctors in front of hospitals waving stop signs?
Accountants in front of H&R Block waving people into the parking lot?
It is going great...
I am teaching up a storm....
My kids are rapt with attention.....
The principal storms in, waving a paper as though it is on fire.
"Do you have your compliance form? THEY are asking for it!"
I said, "my assistant is out today. If you can wait till tomorrow I'll do it, if you want it today , I'll make something up."
She wanted it yesterday.
I made something up.
My colleagues were running around in a panic.
I went back to actually teaching school..
They all think I am kidding.
Hey, I was looking for a job when I got this one. I don't see a line of people wanting to take my place

Monday, May 8, 2006

Revenge of the dog

Tom's dog, Penny, a little blonde cocker, usually makes every step he makes.If he goes in the bathroom and shuts her out ,she will lie on the floor with her nose to the crack in the door and whine piteously.
Well, she has not "spoken" to him since we went to New Orleans & left her for two nights. It is so funny to see him trying to call her and offering her treats , while she turns her head to the side & stares off into space!She acts just like a comic strip wife!
Yesterday,Tom fell into a hole in the yard. He turned his ankle & made a big deal about getting a shovel to fill in the hole.Just as soon as he had finished,  Penny purposefully trotted over & busily dug all the dirt out of the spot, glared at him with a satisfied snort & walked away!
I think she may be trying to kill him!

Tuesday, May 2, 2006

more Bruce stories from Keith Sera of the Times-Picayune

As Bruce Springsteen led his sprawling Seeger Sessions Band onto the Acura Stage on Sunday, he confessed to a hint of trepidation.

"It's our first gig," he said. "Let's hope it goes well."

Moments later, he encountered a "technical problem" with his pants. Grinning, the embarrassed Boss turned his back to the vast audience and made the necessary adjustments. "It's not just a new band," he later explained, "but a new belt."

That was his first, and final, glitch. For two hours, Springsteen and his glorious Seeger Sessions ensemble -- six horns, a banjo, accordion, pedal steel, fiddles, piano -- rendered vintage folk and protest songs stirringly alive and relevant in a tour de force performance. Like few others in popular music could, he crafted a show that spoke eloquently to the city's struggles, both welcome distraction and poignant reminder.

The opening "O Mary Don't You Weep" set the tone. Springsteen led, then the full ensemble swung in behind him. A muted trumpet, a trombone and a saloon piano all took solos. Springsteen, as usual, heaved himself into the material at hand. The gravel in his voice stamped a ragged glory on "John Henry" over banjos and accordion. "Old Dan Tucker" and "Open All Night" were each a hoot. Big horn swells lit up a gritty "Jesse James."

The best folk songs transcend time. In the old Irish anti-war ballad "Mrs. McGrath," a cannonball claims her son's "two fine legs"; it could just as easily have been an improvised explosive device.

Certain lyrics resonated more directly for locals: "There'll be better times by and by." "God gave Noah a rainbow sign, no more water, but fire next time." "The bank holds my mortgage and they want to take my house away." "The only thing we did right was the day we started to fight." And it was easy to imagine "Louisiana" swapped into the lyrics to "My Oklahoma Home," which was "blown away" in a natural disaster.

In his most overtly political statement, Springsteen recalled his visit the previous afternoon to the 9th Ward. "I saw some sights I never thought I'd see in an American city," he said. "The criminal ineptitude makes you furious." In response, he adapted Blind Alfred Reed's "How Can a Poor Man Stand Such Times and Live" with new lyrics dedicated to "President Bystander": "My old school pals had some high times there/What happened to you folks is too bad," he sang, mocking President Bush's comments in the early days after Hurricane Katrina.

The set's watershed moment, literally, was "My City of Ruins." Originally written for his adopted hometown of Asbury Park, N.J., on Sunday he dedicated it to New Orleans. To a hushed audience, Springsteen closed his eyes and began: "There's a blood red circle on the cold dark ground, and the rain is falling down/The church door's blown open, I can hear the organ's sound, but the congregation's gone . . . the boarded-up windows, the hustlers and the thieves, while my brother's down on his knees . . . now tell me how do I began again? My city of ruins. . ." And then the refrain: "Come on, rise up! Rise up!" Thousands lifted their hands to the sky. I wept, my wife wept. And we were not alone.

Just as quickly, Springsteen kicked back into good-time gear with "Buffalo Gals" and a zydeco rubboard and accordion reimagining of "You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)," from his 1980 album, "The River." A tuba, improbably enough, was the final instrument onstage before the encore at a Springsteen show.

Then he presented one last gift. A hundred bands in New Orleans, Springsteen said, could play this last song better than he. But he had come across two lesser-known verses that he thought might be appropriate. With that, he unspooled "When the Saints Go Marching In," not as a boisterous, high-kicking second-line, but as an acoustic prayer, delivered in a desperate hour. Face clenched, he sought the promised land: "Now some say this world of trouble is the only world we'll ever see/But I'm waiting for that moment when the new world is revealed."

No other artist could have spoken to, and for, the city of New Orleans at this most important of Jazzfests more purposefully, more passionately and more effectively than Bruce Springsteen and the Seeger Sessions Band

goin to hell

If I am not very good and I die and go to hell, I will have to sit and watch Caitlin do her homework throughout all eternity!

Monday, May 1, 2006

New Orleans Rising

We got into New Orleans Saturday evening.My first impression was horror.

No matter how many times you see the devastation on CNN you can not be prepared for the sight of all those houses with the big crosses on them spray painted with the date & the number of bodies found there....whole neighborhoods where people laughed and loved and played,now nothing but rubble. It looked like Beruit.

We traveled on to La Place, a small town 30 miles west, where my BIL and SIL live. MItch and Cheryl are the kind of people who make you feel like you are doing them the biggest favor in the world by coming to see them. They took us to a little restaraunt up on pilings over Lake Pontchartrain where the crabs are crawling around 5 minutes before they go into the pot. It was the kind of meal that makes you moan while you are eating it.

The next day, we were up and off to the Jazz Fest.

There is a history here.

29 years ago, Tom and I went to the JazzFest as friends and came back as lovers. I think I fell in love with him because I wanted a balloon & he bought me every one the guy had. We walked through the French Quarter tying balloons on porch rails, giving them to children & letting them float up into the sky.

The hotel we checked into was a little less than savory.They asked us how long we wanted to stay & winked at us when we said ,"all night". It didnt' have a tv, just a speaker and a book of juke box selections, but no matter what we tried to play all it would play was Barry White singing "Honey, Let's Make a Baby Tonight." The people nest door were banging on the wall and we kept trying to tell them, "It's not us!"

A train came by about every hour and the bed would dance all across the floor. No magic fingers needed here!

We used to return every year, but after Caitlin was born and was so wild  no one could keep her, we quit that. 

It was high time we came back to where our souls have been calling us.

We parked in City Park and walked about 3 miles to the Fairgrounds.The streets were clogged with partiers. People sat in front of their houses selling Bloody Marys and offering tours of FEMA trailers.We stopped a guy to ask directions and he said, "Hey, I'll just walk with you". Everywhere there was life and laughter. Houses with blue tarps for roofs and boarded up windows had new flower gardens planted amidst downed trees.Piles of debris were festooned with lights and mobiles hung from broken porch railings. There was such a sweet spirit in the air that you could touch it.People were playing guitars in their front yards for spare change & loving it.

 It was like a family reunion.

After having my favorite traditional New Orleans breakfast of two Bloody Marys, cafe au lait and Crawfish Monica,we danced second line (which means you follow the performers) behind the Mardi Gras Indians (men in 10 feet feather headresses), watched Allan Touissant and Elvis Costello give and amazing performance, then settled in to wait for Bruce.

At first, it was claustrophobic standing shoulder to shoulder in the mud with so many people,but soon we met a guy who had seen the Dead in '77 in Tuscaloosa (we were there, too) and then talked to a woman who had seen Bruce in 74,so we were amongst friends.

Then Bruce came out & one of those miracles happens when a performer and his audience become one.He played old folk and protest songs and make them new again.

When he did"My City in Ruins" people were crying and hugging.

When he did "When the Saints Go Marching In"like a lullabye, we were all in the palm of his hand.

I think I will be telling this story all my life.

He didnt stop playing until about 8, when everything else was shut down.

It took us almost 3 hours to get  to our car, because we had to talk to everyone.

There were no strangers anymore.

A crescent moon rose in the mist as we walked past the ancient cemetery where angels watched us over the mossy stone walls.

We kissed on an arched stone bridge over the pond.

The magic is still there.

In the city.

And in us.



I was there!

 I saw a performance I will be talking about 20 years from now!http://us.video.aol.com/video.index.adp?mode=2&pmmsid=1639850



Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Spring Break 06

The best thing about being a teacher is you always get to stay a kid.

I measure my life in chunks of time:


spring break


Easter Sunday Caitlin and I packed up our battered sleeping bags and headed off for an adventure.

We drove over to Dauphin Island with a brief stop to pick up the intrepid Desiree.

We pulled up to my dear friends Leisa and Peter's house, two refugees from a Jimmy Buffett song and livers of the good life.

 We pile into the boats for a ride to Sand Island, which is a big sand bar out in the Gulf. Sky so blue it hurts your eyes, silver dolphins glinting in the sun, white caps bumping your bottom on the bow.

Three days with my daughter and her friends on the island where we were not just mom and child, but equals working together at playing hard.

Late nights around the campfire.

drinking too much

eating too much

getting too much sun

Too much of everything is just enough!

I renewed a friendship with Ila, made a new one with Theresa, enjoyed Caitlin's friends Samamtha, Jessica and Will, who when I asked him who made him so pretty, his mom or his dad, replied, "It took both of them", with his perfect white smile.

We laughed over things that are so funny at the time and so impossible to explain. I will always remember the lipless coyotes.

It was like this...nope, cant' explain it.

The birds fly around and around the island until it makes you dizzy to try and follow them with your eyes.

The only sounds are wind and waves and laughter.

If I could get a supply boat to come out there, I wouldn't come home.


Monday, April 10, 2006

with a song in my heart

I love to sing.

It always gets a response.

Once when a handicapped child in my class was having a fit ,I softly sang Amazing Grace to myself so I wouldn't become tense.

Later on, calm restored, I was doing some paperwork and humming. The child came up to  me   & said,in an aggreived tone,"I'm bein goood now, you aint gotta sing no more!"

To share with my kids my love of life and give them a happy memory, I always awakened them with a rousing chorus of "Good Morning Starshine"

Somehow it has metamorphosised into, "Get up or I'm gonna start singing!"

Saturday, April 1, 2006

The Sad Story of Saintly Overworked Mom

Saintly Overworked Mom comes in from number 2 job after going to the store.

Drunken Husband grills steaks...

 falls asleep...

Saintly Overworked Mom chisels 25$ worth of shoe leather off the grill and feeds it to the cats.

Slutty Older Daughter is off with Wont'  Marry Her Boyfriend.

Lazy Cheerleader can't wash the dishes due to mysterious pains in her leg that cause her too much agony to stand at the sink but do not in any way prohibit back flips.

No problem that can't be solved by evicting Mariah,

divorcing Tom,

putting Caitlin up for adoption,

 burning the house down,

 changing my name

& going to Mexico!

Arsonist Anonymously,


Chronicles of a Cheerleader

It is March 20.In many ways, an important day for Caitlin.

2 years ago, she shattered both bones in her right leg and ended hopes of winning first place in the state in gymnastics.

Last year on this date, she went to a neighboring town to see Slipknot with her older sister and Terry, my son-out law, Mariah's eternal boyfriend.A Slipknot concert is not a place you send your baby without some trepidation, but Terry is big & Mariah is mean& they both think the sun rises and sets on Caitlin, so I felt she was probably safer there than she was on the porch with Tom & me.

This year, she made junior varsity cheerleader on the oldest and most prestigious squad in Mobile County.(we here in the south like old stuff.) And you know what high society folks we are, right? Right, we are the kind of people who get drunk and paint the porch chairs tie dye with red and blue spray paint. (we actually did that last weekend)

It happened this way....

the girls go in groups of 4 before judges. No parents are allowed on campus.After try outs , everyone must leave campus and come back at nine o'clock to look on the door to see who make the cut. (I don't' know why the security issues... Is there a problem with rioting parents?)

Caitlin's name was there.

There were tears,



I love the drama of teen hood!

We went out for milk shakes with Samantha and her mom Gina....

a new adventure!

Friday, March 31, 2006

My Crazy Assistant

I love love love my teaching assistant.

She is gentle & kind.

She will also go to sleep if you don't watch her.

I don't' mean decorous nodding off.

I mean laying down.

On the rug.

In the midst of the children.


I gave her a stack of papers the other day. It was material I had printed from the Internet. For some reason, several pages didn't go through. They were blank with just the web address at the bottom of the page.

I must've had a look that bothered her on my face, because she said, "you told me to make 10 copies of everything in that stack, so that is just what I did".

"why, Crazy Assistant, why would you copy a blank page?" I asked.

"well, I thought you wanted extra blank sheets for them to draw on!', she said.

Oh, I love this life.....how could it get any better?

Friday, March 17, 2006


I called my sister in law and  dear friend Eileen last Friday.

"Hey, You wanna go to the beach tomorrow?"

"Well, I can't .Tomorrow's my birthday and I am going to Mama's for the usual dinner."

Inaudilbel gasp on my part. Quick thinking was called for here.

I had no idea it was her birthday, despite the fact I have been celebrating it with her for 27 years.

"Yeah, that's why I called. I wanted to take you to the beach for a surprise party.We can go Sunday instead."

"oh, you are so sweet. The best birthday I ever had was when you took me to the beach for my 40th birthday!"

(It must've been a blast, 'cause I dont' remember it!)

But I got extra good sisiter in law points for it!

Things are good here.

Tom's shoulder is so much better than we ever thought it would be. He can raise his arm over his head! We were told he would never be able to do that ever again. Now I am almost embarrassed by all the good wishes and help we received, becasue it is so much better than we feared. He is back at work, not able to lift, but making windows like a big dog.

Cailtin is busily engaed in getting out of doing homework. She had a fit of teenage angst the other night and tearfully exclaimed, "the only thing that's good in my life is my hair straightener!"

I promise,she was raised with the right priorities in life... I tried....

Other news from the porch...

I am going to the New Orleeans Jazz and Heritage Festival to see Bruce Springsteen!

When I squealed about this for the 200th time this weekend, Tom wearily asked me if I was going to be insufferable from now until April 30 (concert date) and I said , "probably so".

I really love him.

When Mariah was about 4 and being sassy over some power struggle we were having, I asked her in exasperation, "who's the boss here?"

Delighted that Mama wasn't fussig any more, and we were playing a game, she replied, "Bruce Springsteen!"

Caitlin, as a little one, used to confuse Santa with Jerry Garcia.

yep, I raised 'em right!

Happy St. Patrick's Day.

We are going to a little local Irish pub to hear my nephew play in a band. We are so proud. He is actually making a living as a musician!

Love to all and hear's hoping your beer won't make you green!



Friday, March 3, 2006

deception and detection part two, trying again

Okay, I am going to try once again to write my entry about the merry misadventures of Caitlin and Desiree.

They are out for an evenings recreation,when I receive a phone call from Cailtin , all chipper,asking if she can spend the night with Desiree.

I told her no ,she had to watch Victoria (job 3) because I had to go to job 1. Victoria's mom is out of town & today was a teacher work day.

"Oh, no problem,"she airily assured me, "Desiree's mom will bring me home in the morning."

I begin to smell the proverbial rat stronger at this point.

Desiree's mom works nights and I can't see her as being way enthusiastic over an early morning trek across town.

So I called her at work.

She said Desiree had told her she was spending the night with Caitlin.

That one is as old as granma's toes!

If you are going to lie to me, at least have the respect to make it a good one!

I called Cailtin and told her, that she , Desiree & Boyfriend Billy had 5 minutes to get home.

They pulled up and I was on the porch, remembering the days when I would've danced on my mama's grave & shot my dog for a night out with my friends.

"Got your stories straight?" I asked.

Caitlin was defiant, "why were you checking up on me like a cop?"

"Cause I knew you were lying, darlin"

Desiree looked just like she looked when she was 7 and ate all the Girl Scout snack.(she said she dropped it , if I remember correctly)

Boyfriend Billy was in abject terror.

I was in the midst of one of my more profound philosophical speeches,when Tom , who was oblivious to the entire situation, threw a garden hose up on the porch. He then ran into the house.

"What's happening?"quavered Desiree.

I was not to be deterred from my point."something's wrong with the air conditioner'< I replied, then resumed my speech about shame and secrecy.

"Is it on fire?" Desiree timidly asked

This was a reasonable assumption, as Tom was running from room to room with a hose..

"that's not important right now"I grumbled.

At that point, Tom appeared triumphant and gave a long pointless speech about how an air conditioner works.

Boyfriend Billy was transfixed.

I will check up on the gadabout girls every time they leave the house now.

Boyfriend Billy's mom and I have talked on the phone quiet a few times.

The air conditioner works.

And the porch has another story to tell.



I have nearly broken my neck crawling behind furniture, hooking up cables, moving speakers because some crazed Egyptian guy thinks that if he makes me do enough weird gyrations I will never want to get online again!

After I got kicked off the Internet and lost my entry, I called Bellsouth. I was told to stand on one foot, stick my finger in my ear and pray to Buddah. SO far it has worked.

Seriously, I did have to swap th eends of my DSL connection, remove a filter, plug and unplug all the phones, move the speakers 2 feet away from the modem, move the modem 2 feet from the power surge protecter and other sordid Kama Sutra positions too humiliating to mention.

Then he said my cable was too far from the connector and I should downgrade my service.

Then he said he had fixed it and I should have no further problems.

When you were a kid, did you ever do the prank call where you tell people their phone cord is too short? Then you tell them to pull on it?

I think that is what just happened to me.


I just spent an hour typing up an entry that disappeared!

deception and detection

Look at these little sweeties....

Butter wouldnt melt in their mouths, would it?


To be continued....

Test your Survival Skills



This looks interesting.

Take it and post your score in the comments or add it to your blog.

I made 13 out of 17.

I am great at wilderness skills and natural disasters, pretty good with a hostage situation, but if I get in a plane crash, it's all she wrote, folks, apparantly.

Keep on the sunnyside and you'll live ,not just survive,


Yeah, I know , sometimes I even make myself gag a little!

Thursday, March 2, 2006

gettin'all the goody out of it

well, the madness is over for another year.

I've cleaned up the half-eaten moonpies,

thrown out the beads I scrambled all over the concrete to get,

recycled the beer cans,

caught up on my sleep,

waved goodbye to my friends, some of them for the last time till next year.

Someone asked me was I sad it was over.

"Hell, no", I answered, 'I got all the goody out of it".

(this phrase was unwittingly coined by my eldest when asked why she only chewed a piece of gum for 5 minutes)

I have since made it my philosophy of life.

When I go to a movie, I see all the credits,

When I go to a bar , I stay till last call,

When there are friends to talk to, I stay up all night,

when there are Hershey's kisses, I eat the whole bag.

when I come to the end of this life I hope I can say ,

"I used this all up, let's see what comes next"

No regrets,

"I got all the goody out of it"

More poetically, in the words of the musical that is Caitlin's latest obsession which blasts through our house at all hours of the day and night,

"no day but today".

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

this entry is a rerun

you know how cartoonists in the paper go on sabbaticals and leave their old stuff for us to read? Well, this is a leftover entry from last year...I am off Mardi Grassin!

Wish y'all could all come too, we'd just put some more water in the beans and throw another blanket on the floor for you!

mardi gras


for the life of me, I can't give a coherent account of mardi Gras, so I will tell you in a series of vignettes why I feel Mardi Gras is a time apart from the rest of life, that time spent at Mardi gras doesn't count in making you older...

teenagers that I have loved & taken to parades since they were babies (I call them my Mardi Gras orphans) lying all about my floor sleeping, unformed faces looking like the children they were up until oh so recently...

My oldest daughter, who hasn't been to a parade in 3 years , sitting on the barricade with the tens, covered in beads & screaming "I forgot how much fun this was!"

the Merry Widows...oh, dear, this will require some background...after the Late Unpleasantness (which is what we refer to the Civil War in these parts) our city was occupied by Union troops & public gathereings were forbidden. A young man by the name of Joseph Stillwell Cain had a bit of high spirits, broke into a friends hardware store, borrowed a rake & a cowbell & proceeded to parade down the street dressed as an indian, stating he was having a parade of his own! Several friends joined him & so was born the Joe Cain Procession, which today is as large as Mardi Gras Day! The celebration was originally held in an old cemetary, where people picniced on family plots & danced on old Joe's grave. It got too big for that,but the mysterious Merry widows, who are reputed to be ladies of high society, but no one knows because their identities are kept secret behind black veils, wail & moan & throw themselves upon the grave in hilarious silliness!

A little girl on Daddy's shoulders, screaming in joyful terror at the Dragon, a huge float that breathes fire, giving me memories of myself as a child.,upon shoulders that are no more...

Cas & Ian , my nephews by heart, not blood, ordering virgin Pina Coladas in a restaurant , having them delivered in a martini glass with a cherry & their embarrassment at having such an unmanly drink. Cas banged his down on the table & it broke in his hand!

My friends 5 year old's utter amazement at having a stranger hand her a giant stuffed animal

We stand at the same spot every year & it is perfectly acceptable to politely ask people to scoot over,

Things thrown from a float that land by your feet are yours & aren't picked up by others unless they are handed to you.

You hug strangers & wish them HappyMardi Gras!




Mardi Gras

Why Mardi Gras is better than other holidays.

On Thanksgiving you watch a parade and eat turkey.
At Mardi Gras you watch parades and eat Popeye's Fried Chicken.

On Halloween little kids dress up in costume and beg for treats.
At Mardi Gras everyone dresses up in costume and begs for treats.

On Easter you hunt for colored eggs.
At Mardi Gras you hunt for a restroom.

On Valentines you give the ladies candy and hope for a kiss.
Mardi Gras you give the ladies beads and hope for more.

On St. Patrick's Day you drink green beer.
hurricanesAt Mardi Gras you turn green from your first meal of the day, a Lucky Dog with everything on it at 7AM.

On the 4th of July we watch fireworks and drink beer.
Mardi Gras we watch fireworks and drink hurricanes.

FoolOn New Year's Day we party like there is no tomorrow and make resolutions.
Mardi Gras we party for days and days and ask for absolution.

On Labor Day you are reminded to be grateful for your job.
Mardi Gras the last thing you can remember is your job.kingcake

On your Birthday you eat cake and remember you are a year older :-(
Mardi Gras you eat King Cake and are reminded to make your reservations for next year!

On Christmas you wait for a big fat man to bring you presents.
Bourbon StreetAt
Mardi Gras you wait for the police on horseback to clear the streets at midnight on Fat Tuesday.

In New Orleans Fat Tuesday is an official holiday.
Everywhere else it is just another Tuesday.

Finally, all the other holidays last only one day. Carnival season starts January 6th and lasts until Ash Wednesday.

Is that cool or what!


I am off the porch and on the streets!

Mardi Gras in Mobile is a time to see old friends and make new ones!

My friend Paula is coming in from Atlanta with her two daughters, Stacy, Craig and their four boys are headed this way,so the prime floor space goes to the person who comes in first!

I am never happier than when I am surrounded by those I love....let the good times roll!


Monday, February 13, 2006

The First Kiss

My baby is such a hoot.

I fell asleep Saturday night with the usual 5 or 6 teens sprawled around my living room.

I was awakened about midnight by Caitlin crawling in bed with me. (this has not happened in quite a while)

"Mama" breathless whisper.

"What?" instantly on Mama-alert.

"Billy kissed me."

"ooh"me squealing like a girl.

So we got up and put the coffee on.

All the gang went for a walk. Caitlin had told everyone she wanted her first kiss to be in the rain.

Desiree observes, "Caitlin, it's raining"

She threw her shoes at Desiree and planted a big one right on him.
"But", she said,"I really didn't know how, so he took over then"

I just love it,the innocence,the excitement.

I wonder how people rob themselves and their kids of this, by turning them into their enemies.

Why do some parents want them to talk, to walk, to read, to ride their bikes, then try to put the brakes on when they get to be teens & need them the most?

Swing high now, baby, while I'm still here to catch you.

Cant sleep

Tired of Katrina stories?

You are lucky.

My friend Craig had to get on a plane in New Orleans.

Used to be,


when you came across the Pontchatrain Bridge, you saw the city spread before you and it was like someone had dropped their jewelry box....lights as far as you could see and your stomach would tighten 'cause you knew you were about to have a good time, something fun was going to happen....

It is as dark as the grave it became after the storm.

The huge airport, so big you have to take a bus to get from one terminal ot the next....there is NO ONE THERE...I keep saying it over and over to myself because I can't believe it.

 From the time you get past the counters, go down the escalator, go out the door and into the parking lot...

There is no one there.

People like to distance themselves from disaster.

I have seen people write things online...

"well;, all those people could have evacuated"

How many people have the money to spend 10 hours in a car to go 200 miles, when you can't get off on the exit because you can't get back on?

And sometimes if you do have money for 3 tanks of gas to drive for 10 hours to get 200 miles in the traffic, there is no gas to buy.

It is 100 degrees and your car will overheat if you run the air conditioner.

I see, "They should have left earlier" in some blogs.

Would anyone have the money to leave 4 days early to stay in a motel?

Could you leave your job for a week?

There are no vacancies if you do...

Would you want to take a chance on being stuck in your car with your family in the storm?

There are no shelters inland...

I am not a worrier.

I live on the sunnyside.

But I have a friend who works on a oil rig in the Gulf.

The water temperature right now is 68 degrees.

It is normally in the mid fifties this time of year.

I keep seeing that empty airport.

And for the first time in my life of parties on the beach...

I am dreading the summer winds

Sunday, February 5, 2006

These are pics of Dauphin Island, a small sand bar off the coast of Alabama. Most of the homes there were leveled by the storm. There is still no electiricity. But there was a by God Mardi Gras parade!

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Girl Scout sagas

I have been a Girl Scout leader for 10 years.

 The girls pictured here have been in my Troop since they were 5.

Up until this weekend's campout, I was real pleased with myself to report that I never lost a kid. Well, you know what happens when you get too sure of yourself...

Caitlin,my biological daughter and Desiree,child of my heart had gone for a walk.

We were all back at camp, the perfect picture of maternal concern, sitting at the picnic table playing poker, when a truck drove up . It was the very disgruntled ranger & our girls.

They had gotten lost ,stumbled onto his property and nearly been eaten by his dog!

He said,"they werent' lost, they were trying to meet some boy!"

Caitlin wailed, "We couldn't call anyone to meet us, we didn't know where we were!"

We have shared many adventures over the years.

We have been kicked out of 2 meeting places, one because we gave everyone head lice, one because we were too noisy.

We were tactfully told we would be welcome to come back to the Louisiana Nature Center when the girls were older..(they were only 7 and they have alligators there, what harm could we do?)

When they were 10, I put a different girl each week in charge of the activity.Brittney sent a note home telling everyone to bring a butcher knife to school .(she was going to carve pumpkins, ) I could just hear it on the news..."Girl Scouts plan an armed uprising, led by special ed teacher".

When they were 8, I asked Desiree to take a poll and find out what the meal choice was. I looked out to see her brandishing a stick and demanding"what do you want for lunch?" (Pole, not poll was apparantly her interpetation)

When they were 6, Ava, who had previously been given a lecture on tattling, asked me, "Ms. Marti, is it okay if Cailtin and Brandi are making butt prints on the wall?"

Upon leaving camp once, we stopped to put out the garbage. As I was driving off,Allie casually remarked, "you know you're leaving Desiree, dont' you?" I looked out the window at the child running along behind the car. (In my defense, it was a very fulland loud car)

Then there was the time we were stranded in a tent in such a horrible storm, I peed in a bucket with a child draped over my head, one on each arm and one on each leg.It was perhaps the most social urination that has ever taken place!

We went to visit a nursing home ,all full of human kindness & one of the residents told us,"That's why we llive here,so we dont' have to put up with kids!"

I was all sentimental once and told my girls that I was going to have it put in my obituary that I was their Girl Scout leader. Desiree replied, "that's probably what'll kill you!"

It has been the best thing I've ever done for my daughter and I, even though I did lose her in the woods!


Thursday, January 26, 2006

Name Change

It was time to change the name , folks.

I am going to be 50 this summer ....

"Midlife Musings"

Hmmm, how many people live to be 100!

And "Senile Ramblings"just doesn't have the feeling I'm looking for!

Keep on the Sunnyside,


in the beginning....

I am at work!

somehow I got past their filters and got on AOL!


Look at me!

I'm a hacker!!!!!

I forgot my first journal anniversay.

Here is my first entry....Dinner Conversation  posted by sunnyside46 (1 comments)

Thanks, all of you who have been on this wild ride with me.

Now, this is what is happening today...

Tom is doing much better.
His physical therapist says his shoulder is much improved. He can play his guitar again and the nights are more homey with his songs.

I am not in the habit of shamelessly tooting my own horn,but I am so proud I have to tell this story.

Those of you who have known me for a while may remember I had the job from hell last year, so this is especially sweet.

I was sitting in faculty meeting only half listening to the principal going on and on about this person who was "always cheerful, always going the extra mile, taking students even when they are not scheduled, working in a loving manner with the most difficult kids...."

Blah, blah, I thought, let's just go home.

Then she called out my name and everyone was clapping!

I won "The Golden Apple "award!

It is an award that all the teachers vote on. I was so shocked because I have only been at this school for 5 months. I didn't even think most people knew who I was!

I realy do love my job.My kids are so in need of understanding, which is a nice way of saying BAD! But I love them.I love dealing with people in an elemental way without pretensions and subterfuge, when it is just me and this kid who has had a raw deal in life and we are both trying to get through the day with our dignity intact.It is like magic, when I lean over  this child who is so out of their depth and lost and look into their eyes.  They know I am willing to go where   they are. Together we may make it out. It's like a bridge between my heart and theirs. I can't explain it, can't test it, can't chart it or graph it. But I can do it.

And I wouldn't want to spend my days doing anything else....

But I will have to if I get caught sitting here writing when I'm supposed to be doing lesson plans!


Sunday, January 22, 2006


Teenagers are sprawled about my house like a Clearasil commercial.

I am playing the "cool mom" role , making hamburgers & brownies while getting earstrain trying to hear what's being said.

Everyone is enthusiastic about the promised burgers.

I come out to offer the brownie bowl to be licked.

They all glare at me as though I have suggested something completely off the wall!

Hurt, I retreat back to the kitchen.

When did they get too cool to lick brownie bowls?

later, I mentioned I had chocolate on my jeans.

"chocolate!", they all demanded as one,"where's the chocolate?"

"I made brownies, I asked you if you wanted to lick the bowl"

"oh", they chorused, "we thought you meant the hamburger bowl!"

5 weird things about me and 5 pictures of my girls and I

Okay, I am the last person in the world to do this....I've been thinking about it for days, but with my 3 jobs going on, I haven't had time to be weird!

Let's see....

1. I hate interstates. They are soulless gray ribbons with no chararctor that just go straight from point A to B with no fun in between. Also , when I am on one, I feel like I can't get off & will have to go somewhere I dont' want to go.

2. I am forever getting lost, even when I have been places a bunch of times. I am a DIP, a directionally impaired person.

3. I eat one thing on my plate at a time.

4. My knuckles are double jointed.

5. I am superstitous, I throw salt over my left shoulder, never pick up a penny unless its heads up, knock on wood.

Hey, It can't hurt!


Saturday, January 7, 2006

All We are Saying...Is Give Peace a Chance

John Prine is on my stereo singing...

"Your flag decal won't get you into heaven anymore

It's already over crowded

From your dirty llittle war

Jesus dont' like killin'

No matter what the reason's for

So your flag decal wont' get you into heaven anymore"

He wrote that song during the Viet Nam days....

Kinda chilling to hear it again.

We went to an anti-war rally today.

I was surprised by two things...

The only people there under 30 were the rosy-cheeked toddlers playing with balloons.

Wouldn't you think the ones who are of an age to go to war might be more interested?

In our mostly conservative town that always elects Republicans in national elections, we only got yelled at twice by passing motorists!

Mostly we got smiles, waves and peace signs.

Maybe the tide is turning.....

or maybe it's just that southern inclination to smile and wave when you pass someone.....

Sunday, January 1, 2006

A new year...Old memories

Five am....

A very new year....

I've spent it the way I've spent the last 10.

The way I hope to spend the next 10.....

Laughing and eating Hopping John with the same people....

I hope next year we all have a house....

For the last few years we have

all been at Stacey's house...

she doesnt'have a house now...

but we have each other....

we will all be all right...

and soon it will be Mardi Gras!

Everyone but me and the teenagers are asleep...

They are awake because it is near dawn and they feel like they can fly....

I am awake because I have to babysit at 7 and I have to cross the bridge between partying and working at some point.

Now seems as good a time as any.

We have a really good time,my 5 friends,our 10 children, 4 husbands and I.

We have such a good time , it's pretty mellow.

For a really good New Year's Eve story I have to take you back a few years....

It is 1985

 I have taught school for 2 years,

but I was not willing to let my little girl take her first steps for strangers ,

 so we sold our car,

moved into a cheap apartment

& I waited tables at a bar at night ,

so either my husband or I could always be with our baby.

It is New Year's Eve.

Mariah is 4 and spending one of her very few evenings with her gramma.

 I have to work at the bar.

Tom is going to a party.


I told Tom to do whatever he wanted to , but be there to kiss me at midnight.

He has problems.

He runs into a ditch.

 He calls a friend.

They cant get him out.

They call a wrecker.

Time is getting short.

Tom flags down a passing car and explains the situation,

that the problem is not so much the stuck car as it is the promise that needs to be kept.

It is midnight and all of the wait staff is dancing on the bar.

 I look across all the heads and I see Tom.

He is the father of my children.

We have been married 26 years.

But the memory of

 the sight of him

coming across that bar room floor

 to kiss me that New Year's....

I can still see it

 and it still leaves me breathless.....

after all these years.