Thanksgiving Vacation

November 16, 2012 at 1:48 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Almost there!  I will be taking next week off work (well, furlough time, so this wasn’t really up to me but I can’t do anything about it so enjoy it I shall) and heading to Louisiana for my annual Southern Thanksgiving.  I’ve mentioned this before and feel free to do a search of November’s past to read all about it.  I was lucky this year and was able to take Scott down south to meet my dad, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins way back in May and that means that I get to see all those lovely people not just once this year but twice – unfortunately, Scott won’t be joining me this time but I’m sure I’ll eat enough tofurkey for the both of us.

Here I come!

Thanksgivings in Louisiana mean wearing t-shirts and shorts, taking naps and hanging out at a local dive bar.  Yes, I’m excited.  Before I go, I have a fun-filled weekend ahead of me including meeting a college friend for lunch tomorrow and (finally!) getting to meet her boyfriend.  Then tomorrow night we’re having a few friends over for breakfast for dinner (Belgian waffles, veggie sausage, eggs and mimosas) and a viewing of a holiday movie.  Sunday I will be hanging at the Field Museum then prepping for my trip and I’ll be leaving on my jet plane Monday afternoon!  Since I had the extra time off work I’ll be down there until Friday, so I’m looking forward to just about everything.  Minus sleeping in the same bed with my sister, of course.

Whatever your Thanksgiving traditions are, I hope you’re able to continue them next week and that you and yours have a great holiday.  I’ll probably post once or twice in my absence but I might just be too relaxed and carefree to bother with the internet.  Either way, I just want to say that I’m thankful for all of the friends, family and love that make my life so worth living.  I’m a lucky girl and I never forget it!

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Have Dad, Will Travel

June 2, 2011 at 11:59 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

Tomorrow afternoon I’ll be flying down to Louisiana to visit my dad, who’s quite sore but recovering well from his surgery.  I’m pretty pumped to take the trip down south especially since I typically only get to see my dad and grandparents over Thanksgiving.  I’ll be helping around the house, running errands, cleaning the pool and listening to lots and lots of Lawrence Welk.  While it may not be as exciting as some other weekends, I’m really looking forward to the visit and I know I’ll feel a lot better about this business with my dad once I get to see him.

Which I wouldn’t be able to do without my awesome aunt.  She had a few free tickets on Southwest and it’s because of her that my sister and I were able to fly down on such short notice.  She rocks like that.  All that was up to me was renting a car and the day I needed to do that I actually received an email with a 20% discount for Hertz Rent-a-Car if I used my Sears Willis Tower discount card.  Win and win!

LA here I come!

In other, more random news:

  • Illinois civil unions went into effect yesterday and same-sex couples are getting a little closer to equal rights – good news!
  • I realized yesterday that I actually get a summer break in school.  My current class ends next week and the last one doesn’t start until mid-September, so my Tuesday nights will soon be a bit more open.  More good news!
  • An old friend of mine found out that her favorite comic book shop, which also doubles as her place of employment, is soon closings its doors for good.  She found this out the same day she found out The Hulk comics are coming to an end (at least that’s what I think she said – she was a bit of a hot mess when we hung out due to all of this).  She has a Hulk tattoo on one of her biceps (yes, really) and she was heartbroken.  Sad news.
  • I received another issue of that mysterious food and cooking magazine that I previously wrote about.  Still don’t know why and still don’t know how they got my name.  I did, however, notice that this issue had Waiting Room Copy typed above my name and address.  When did my apartment become a doctor’s office?  And when do I get paid rent?  Strange news.
  • I’ve begun playing Words with Friends on my cell phone.  It’s addictive.  I’m also getting my ass kicked left and right, which makes me question the validity of my English degree.  Frustrating news.
  • I slipped in my shower this morning and came dangerously close to knocking myself out cold.  I have a friend who did that earlier this year and she woke up an hour later, bleeding from the head and with the water still running.  This is a now mortal fear of mine.  I’m considering having a Life Alert panic button installed in my bathtub, or at the very least training Catsby in CPR.  Paranoid news.

This all gives me plenty to think about on my upcoming long weekend.  And at least my grandparents have a bathtub specially designed for easy access for older folks so hopefully my next few showers won’t be so scary…

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Loooong Weekend

April 26, 2011 at 11:20 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

I returned late last night from my long Easter weekend home.  The trip started off per usual, with the Megabus leaving late and me hunkering down in my seat with my laptop.  Six episodes of How I Met Your Mother later, we arrived in downtown Indianapolis. As the bus pulled in, so did the thunderstorms.  We got about halfway home before the lightning got really crazy so we decided to call my aunt and uncle to get a weather update, as they happened to live close to where we were.  They said that if we drove straight through and didn’t make any stops, we would likely beat the worst of the storm.

Literally 30 seconds after I hung up the phone, we got a flat tire.

At this point, we were inching towards a tornado warning.  Mom managed to drive her car under the closest overpass so we were out of the rain and luckily the flat was on the passenger side, so we were out of the traffic.  Now, this pains my independent Girl Power self to admit , but I’ve never changed a tire all by myself.  This was something a certain father of mine was supposed to teach me but he moved down south and that never happened.  So…we called my uncle back.  After incredulously asking how we managed to get a flat one minute after hanging up the phone, he agreed to come to our rescue.  So I yanked all of the stuff in the trunk (and it was full) out and put in the backseat, then grabbed a flashlight and took a leak behind some concrete pillars (sidenote: I was convinced I was going to stumble across a dead body but I managed to avoid that).  Then Mom and I sat in the car, strapped in by our belts as semi’s sped by doing 90mph.  The lightning wasn’t exactly comforting and the storm was getting closer so we were lucky my uncle showed up when he did.  I helped him with the tire and it made me feel slightly better when he strained against the lug nuts, because if he had a hard time then I probably couldn’t have gotten them off on my own, Girl Power or not.  We got the donut on right as the rain began to come down in sheets and since we didn’t feel safe trying to drive on home, we followed him back to his house.  After being rerouted 2 times due to flooded out roads, we managed to get to my aunt and uncle’s.  At this point it was like 12:30am and we decided to try to wait out the storm.  Around 3:30 we finally gave up, since the tornado warning was showing no signs of abating.  So a few beers, handful of Oreo’s and snippets of Michael Jackson’s This is It later, I finally crashed on their couch, only to wake up 4 hours later to drive on home and take Mom’s car to the shop.

No Peeing?

So, that was fun.  Everything happened in the best possible way though and we eventually got home safely, which is all that really matters.  And I bought my uncle a rather large beer later in the weekend, which was the absolute least I could do.

Here’s a few other things I did over the course of my 4 days at home:

  • Breakfasted with two old high school friends
  • Had awkward catch-up conversations with a former Dairy Queen co-worker and my 4th grade teacher, at the same restaurant
  • Got a haircut (first in almost 7 months – I’m surprised she didn’t just take a match to my locks)
  • Spent the remainder of a gift card at Kohl’s
  • Dyed 4 dozen eggs and stuffed 2 dozen plastic eggs with candy for my grandmother
  • Took both grandparents out to lunch (in a monsoon)
  • Went to Easter Mass, officially the longest mass known to woman
  • Laughed at my mom after she locked her keys in her car (this was not her weekend when it came to automobiles)
  • Went to dinner with 6 various family members
  • Drank wine and gabbed with my sister and mom until 1am

Oh wait, that was just on Saturday while I was running on low levels of sleep/patience.

The rest of the weekend was full of eating, talking and generally enjoying the company of the roughly 30 relatives that crammed into my grandparents house on Sunday.  I hid some Easter eggs outside in the mud and then helped small children find them in the rain.  The weather I could’ve done without but other than that the weekend that started off on such a rough foot wound up being pretty great.

Though if I never pee under an overpass again, it will be too soon.

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Great Grandparents

April 5, 2011 at 12:54 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

This post is actually about my grandparents but they’re pretty great, hence the title.

Not quite the level of my grandparents...

I love all of my grandparents and I know how lucky I am that all four of them are still alive and kickin’.  They’re all in their 80’s and they’re all relatively healthy but every now and then something will happen to remind me that I’m dealing with someone of an entirely different generation.  This happened last week when I called my Mema and Papa for our weekly chat.  I called them at home and when Papa picked up he told me that he had his cell phone in his hand and was actually about to call me (one of my worthless superpowers is having the ability to call someone exactly when they’re thinking of me).  Mema got on the other line and we started our typical conversation, with me trying to out shout the volume on their TV.  At this point, a number I didn’t recognize beeped through and since it wasn’t familiar I just ignored it.  After a few more minutes, the voicemail prompt “Dial 1 if you are not satisfied with your greeting…” came over the line and thoroughly confused all three of us, because I thought I had face-dialed someone’s voicemail and the grandparents simply didn’t know what was going on.  I quickly figured out what was happening and asked Papa if he had actually dialed my number before I called.  Since he buys those pay-as-you-go phones that always change numbers, I didn’t recognize it when he was calling.  Once we realized that his phone was still on, I walked him through how to shut the whole thing off for good.  These kinds of things can be complicated for some members of The Greatest Generation and I kind of chuckled to myself as the three of us finished our conversation.

Once we hung up, I saw I had a voicemail.  You probably know where this is going.

Upon checking it, I heard an entire playback of the first half of the conversation I’d just had, only from my Papa’s point of view hearing, since Mema does the majority of the talking when they’re both on the line.  I couldn’t help but melt a little bit over the adorableness of it all and I saved that sucker for future enjoyment.  This is just another reason why my grandparents are pretty damn awesome.

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Giving Thanks – Day Four

November 25, 2010 at 12:37 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , )

I have an awesome family.  Excuse me while I brag.

My mom is one of six children, most of whom have children of their own.  I have seven cousins on her side and I’m pretty close with all of them.  We grew up together, enjoying time with Zelda, the Mario Brothers and Barbie.  We played hide and seek in the dark basement and explored the woods whenever we could.  We still enjoy each others company now but it usually involves an adult beverage or two instead of a video game console…although sometimes the gaming gets back in there too.  My mom’s brothers and sisters are also pretty great and their parents, my grandparents, are two of my favorite people. We’re all still pretty close and with the exception of myself and one aunt, everyone still lives within about an hour of one another.  I know that if I ever needed anything, my family would have my back.  They might make fun of me for being a vegetarian hippie but I know their heart is in the right place.  Oh, and my mom?  Well if you’ve read enough of this blog you know I think she’s pretty much the raddest mom ever.  My sister is pretty great too…at least, most of the time.

Yeah, they pretty much rule

Currently, I’m spending some quality time with the paternal, more Southern side of my family.  My dad has one brother and one sister and I have three cousins from my aunt.  One cousin has an 8-year-old boy, so I’ve been playing football for two days.  I don’t get to see this side of my family but once a year (you guessed it, at Thanksgiving) and so we try to make the most of it while we can.  Luckily, my cousins are all around my age and there’s a little local bar that allows us to catch up in the most appropriate way.  My grandparents on this side are pretty great as well but due to the geographic nature of our relationship, I simply don’t know them as well as I would like.  No matter, we’re all able to sit around a fire pit and tell stories all night long anyway.  I always value the time I get down here because it is so limited – plus, the cooking pretty much beats anything I can whip up in my own kitchen.  In fact, as soon as I finish this here post I’m hitting the kitchen to help begin the big Thanksgiving Day Meal prep.  I might not eat turkey but I load up on casseroles, potatoes, pies and anything else lying around.  And I’ve got my sweatpants set out so I’m officially ready.

I know I’m extremely lucky to have grown up so close with so much of my family and the older I get, the more I realize how rare having such great relatives can be.  I hate hearing stories of crappy family situations and it just makes me want to adopt those people who have to deal with that and introduce them to the wonderful craziness I get to enjoy.  So if you’re one of those who wishes you could spend your holidays elsewhere, let me know and I’ll drag you along with me next time.  You can eat my portion of the turkey.

On a side note, if you’re interested in the real history behind today’s holiday, check out this post I wrote from last year.  It’s not very pretty but it is fairly factual.

If you just want to laugh, check out awkwardfamilyphotos.com.  I thought of using one of those pics in today’s post but there were just too many to choose from, so if you want to take a look before you slip into a food coma, be my guest.

Now it’s time to help the host get the table set.  Happy Thanksgiving!

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Churchin’ it Up

June 7, 2010 at 12:51 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

As I mentioned Friday, I went home this past weekend to help celebrate my grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary.  Part of the deal involved going to mass, which I usually do when I’m home to appease the family (I’m one of “those” people that considers myself more spiritual than religious).  At the mass, the priest made a special blessing for my grandparents at the end of the service.  Since we all knew this was coming, my grandparents sat in the very front pew to make the blessing easier for the priest, as he held his hands over their head.  And since my grandparents wanted their family with them, my mom, cousin and I sat in the front pew as well.

Now, my family is not small and we usually take up an entire large pew every week.  We sit near the back, as just about every person in my family has a hard time going more 45 seconds without talking to someone.  We also have three small children in the family so the whole near-the-back thing helps with their potential shenanigans, though they are usually pretty well-behaved.  Anyway, this weekend the little ones got to remain in the back while some of us grown-ups had to sit up front.  No one that moved closer to the altar (besides my grandparents) liked this.  In fact, I quickly decided that my first time sitting in the front row of church would also be my last.  Not only did I feel like the priest was watching my every move and making mental notes for why I should be riding in the next handbasket to Hell, but I wasn’t able to talk with anyone.  I won’t say we were silent, but we certainly didn’t have the chatter going back and forth that we usually do.  I realize that people aren’t really supposed to talk in church at all but knowing that every whisper or comment I made was going to be seen by the entire congregation really put me on the spot.  Also, I kept worrying that my skirt was tucked in my underwear, so that was fun.

It was a long 40 minutes (and I also realize that is rather short my conventional church-length standards.  Ironically, our parish has almost doubled since word got out that we have such a quick service).  It was worth it though, because my grandparents were about the cutest thing ever during their blessing.  They held hands and when the priest was finished, my Papa went to kiss his wife.  She, being oblivious per usual, turned her head and went to sit down.  It looked like she was straight up dissing him and so everyone laughed, and he calmly turned her around and went in for the smooch.  Then he wiggled his eyebrows up and down in a suggestive way and everyone laughed again.  It did my heart much good to see them make it another year, and I can only hope that there are many more in their future.

But I’m not sitting in that pew ever again.

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Friday Round Up

June 4, 2010 at 12:51 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

This was probably the craziest thing I saw this week.  I’m sure you’ve seen the pictures of the massive sinkhole that swallowed a home, a business and likely at least one person.  The sinkhole likely formed after Tropical Storm Agatha eroded soil and caused flooding in the area.  This hole is at least 100 feet deep (probably deeper) and is almost a perfect circle, which is rare and even more visually insane.  What’s at the bottom?  It is very likely that no one will ever know.  How will they fill it/live around it?  Again, this cannot be answered.  It’s mysterious all around.

Speaking of something mysterious that we will never likely wrap our heads around, I can’t help but mention the Gulf Oil Spill again.  I’m sure you’re all saturated (no pun intended) with stories and as sick to your stomach about it all as I am, but it’s something on my mind and I can’t not talk about it.  It hits close to home with me as a large part of my paternal family lives in south Louisiana.  Many of the pictures I’ve seen come from beaches I used to play on, and it pretty much breaks my heart.  As do these pictures. Be warned before clicking on that – it’s not pretty.  The link shows photos of birds that have fallen victim to the oil, and it’s pretty devastating.  But it’s the truth, and the truth isn’t always easy to handle.

Another truth not easy to handle is the death of Rue McClanahan, better known as Blanche from The Golden Girls.  Wasn’t she a hottie?  I am not ashamed to admit that I love this senior citizen version of Sex and the City and I’m sad that there’s only one Golden Girl left.  Blanche was an extremely entertaining character and gave me high hopes for still being…um, active well into my own older age.   Every woman on that show was pretty much amazing but it was very easy for Rue to steal a scene.  The next notch in my bed post will be made in her honor (not literally.  I don’t even have a bed post).

Speaking of older people still getting it on, I’m heading home this weekend to help celebrate my maternal grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary (and I don’t know if they still get it on, but I would be okay with it if they did.  Old people need lovin’ too).  For their 50th anniversary, they renewed their vows and had a reception.  While dancing with my Papa, I asked him what the secret was to 50 years of marriage.  He told me, and I quote, “I tell her she may be right”.  Gotta love a smart man.  I think it’s amazing that they have made it this long (hell, I think it’s amazing if anyone stays married for 60 years) and I’ll be glad to visit with them and share in their big day.  Also, their party is being held at a winery, so I’m sure I’ll be able to keep myself entertained.

Have yourselves a wonderful weekend and, if you have a drink at any point, raise your class to grandparents everywhere!

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Good Genes, Great Grandparents

February 26, 2010 at 3:22 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

Today is my Mema’s 80th birthday and in celebration I will be talking about her and my other grandparents today.  Gotta show some love for the older generations (even if they’ll never, ever read this).

I am extremely lucky as all four of my grandparents are still around and still physically and mentally (well, sometimes this is debated) sound.  Both sets have each been married for 60 plus years too, which I find amazing.  They are all now in their eighties, which I also find amazing.  My Papa on my maternal side still owns and runs a television repair shop that he’s had for…well, longer than I’ve been alive.  My Grandma on my paternal side plays tennis twice a week in scotching Louisiana weather.  I tell you, I come from strong stock.

These are not my grandparents but they have moxie and I think my actual grandparents would approve.

My grandparents are all wonderful people.  I’m much closer with those on my mom’s side, mostly because I grew up roughly ten miles from their house and have spent much more time with them.  My sister and I went and visited our southern grandparents for a week every summer and I think they’re pretty great too.  They met on a blind date decades ago and have been together ever since.  And here’s a fun fact – they share the same name.  My Grandma is Bobbie and my Grandpa is Bobby.  Cute, huh?

My grandparents on my mom’s side are equally adorable.  They met when Papa was a patient in the hospital Mema worked in.  He had the nurses shut the door to his room until he could convince her to go out with him and the rest is history.  Well, almost.  First she had to send her engagement ring back to the fiance she already had – she did this via letter.  Yup, my sweet little old white-haired birthday having Mema sent a Dear John letter to some man who might not have ever gotten over it.  As she once told me, she “just had a hard time saying no”.  She’s full of gems like this.  Just yesterday, as we were speaking on the phone, she had a thing or two to say about Republicans.  Now I don’t know what your political leanings are and I don’t really care, but hearing your grandmother say that “all Republicans seem to come with frown-y faces” is just about priceless.  You get ’em, Mema.

As I mentioned, I’m slightly closer with my maternal grandparents.  So close, in fact, that they have each told me on separate occasions that I’m the one they want giving the eulogy at their funerals.  Not a happy thought but an honor nonetheless.  They probably asked me to do this because I’m their favorite grandkid (and to any family who might be reading this blog – I dare you to prove me wrong).  Sure, I catch hell from them for being the only one to live so far away, but I make it up by calling and checking up on them about once a week.  If I go much longer than that my Papa will call me.  In fact, I had a phone call from them at midnight on New Year’s Eve, as they sat watching Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin on CNN.  Trying to wish them a coherent Happy New Year while at a loud party with lots of booze was a perfect way to bring in 2010.  I’m not being sarcastic, it warmed my heart to receive that phone call (the champagne probably helped with the warming of the heart as well).  And my friends sure got a kick out of it.

Trust me, I know how very lucky I am to have had so many years with these wonderful people.  I hope to have many more.  They have all taught me a lot and I’ll probably never be able to look at a frowning Republican the same way ever again.

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