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Thursday, Apr. 17, 2014
Ideas for stories come from a world of sources (09/14/11)
"Where do you get your ideas?" That's one of those questions writers get from nonwriters all the time -- and we really hate it. Not that it's a bad question. I can tell you from a reporter's point of view, is a very good question. It's because we don't know how to answer it. We get ideas from everywhere...
Remember the loss, but cherish their lives (09/11/11)
Writing a column for 9/11 is like having to speak at a funeral -- there's so much you want to say, but you don't know how. You want to be sincere in respecting death, but you want to celebrate life. This year is especially hard, because 9/11 is also Sept. ...
Summer heat go away! Yep, be careful what you wish for... (09/07/11)
When I think of fall, I think of it falling. You know -- gently, like a red maple leave kiting down gracefully from the tree to joins the scarlet and gold collection on summer-dried grass, a wistful ballerina's floating death scene. It should be a gradual thing, a subtle change in the air, a hint of color in the hills, that sense of something important about to happen...
Kids are never at a loss for words (08/07/11)
Isn't it ironic that we spend the first couple of years of our children's lives teaching them to speak, and the rest of our lives terrified of what they might say? And it's not just those obvious embarrassing blunders, such as when Scott, at the ripe old age of 3, implied a bad driver who almost T-boned us might have been of canine descent...
High-end restaurants, children do not mix (08/03/11)
Have you heard about the high-end restaurant that are banning children under a certain age? Well, as a mom (who can't afford high end restaurants), I say, "Good." No, seriously. I'm a firm believer in appropriate times and places for everything, from fussy babies to pull-my-finger jokes...
Summer vacation ending too soon (07/31/11)
We were driving home from camp Sunday night and passed by one of the local schools in Tullahoma. "First Day of School: Wednesday, July 27" stated the sign out side the school. Oh, good, I thought. Make a note of that in my mental calendar so I'll remember to get Buzz ready to go...
For me, there's really no choice between dragons and horses (07/27/11)
Everybody knows how much I love horses and always have -- all breeds, all sizes, all kinds. But I'd trade ownership of my big sweetheart Rowdy Rev for a dragon. I've been a dragon fan and collector since I was 10 and we had to read a short story called "The Smallest Dragonboy" by Anne McCaffrey. ...
Attack of the killer lawn mower (07/17/11)
I mowed our lawn last weekend (Yes, that cheering and screaming you hear in the background is coming from my neighbors) and it only made me realize how much I hate mowing the lawn. Keep in mind, we don't have a riding mower. In fact, at the moment, we don't have a working mower, but we do have some wonderful friends (Thank you Susan and Steve!) who loan us theirs. ...
Son No. 2 is flying the coop none too soon (07/13/11)
Dear Ben: To borrow a line from my favorite comic strip of all time, "Zits," I'm looking forward to missing you when you move out. Dealing with empty nest syndrome with my boys has been different for each one. Scott evaded the clinging mother by, well, evading the clinging mother. He just disappeared his senior year in high school showing up only when he needed a car, a car repair, or money for a car repair...
Graffiti taggers, I'm on your case (07/10/11)
I'm not a big fan of physical violence -- a good quarterback sack being the exception to the rule, as long as it's their quarterback getting sacked -- so I don't have a lot of tolerance for violent crimes. Crime and punishment are where this particular left-leaning columnist leans waaaay right...
Be prepared to laugh yourself silly at 'The Comedy of Errors' (07/06/11)
Spoiler alert. I can't keep it a secret any more, so if you really don't want to know what some of the funniest parts of the Tennessee Shakespeare Festival's "The Comedy of Errors" are, stop reading now. Of course, even if I do tell you about the character of "Nell," the twin-switching scenes and the wonderful steel magnolia purring cat fight between the abbess and the wife, it wouldn't matter-- there are more funny moments than I can squeeze into my column, and all are subject to change...
Here's a toast to real heroes (07/03/11)
I'm not much of a flag waver, even on the Fourth of July. It's not that I don't love and support my country, I do. I just feel you can wave the flag in front of your face so much that it can obscure your vision. You may think you have the greatest house in the world, but if you can't see a big hole in the roof, or a leaking pipe, it won't stay that way for long...
Your ringtone may say more about you than you realize (06/29/11)
As a cell phone carrier only under duress, I don't spend a lot of time picking ring tones or customizing the teeny-tiny screen with designer art that make the teeny-tinier writing even harder to see. That doesn't keep me from enjoying other folks' ring tones, though, especially when they are extremely appropriate (Wartrace Alderman Thomas Hurt's "Mayberry" theme) or extremely inappropriate (one of my doctors has "Money, Money, Money" for his tone.)...
Seduced by another mom's bundle of joy (06/26/11)
My "granddaughter" is evil. Of course, she's only about a month old, but that's what makes it even worse. I guess I'd better back up and explain, huh? I've known my best friend's daughter Lindsay since she was, well, exactly the same age her own daughter is now, about a month old. I, and another good friend, were around so much when she was growing up that she often refers to us as her "Other Moms," and I've always called her my "unofficial daughter."...
I don't have a single in-law joke -- really, I have the best in-laws ever! (06/22/11)
Every sitcom ever made has had at least one episode filled with in-law jokes, whether it was Fred Flintstone griping about Wilma's domineering mother or "Everybody Loves Raymond" -- an entire series built around in-law jokes. I'm here to pretend to be offended and upset at this blatant generalization and abuse of in-laws. I protest...
Father really did know best (06/19/11)
Father's Day. I can smell Old Spice aftershave and chocolate covered cherries. I can feel the polished silk of the new tie. If I close my eyes, I can see my dad again, leaning in the door way, laughing. It's been 33 years since I was able to give him one of those stock gifts -- the only things he asked for, the only things he'd accept -- but I've wished him a happy Father's Day every time it rolls around. He may have gone on ahead of me, but he left enough behind that he still guides my life...
Christmas can be an everyday event with the ones you love (06/15/11)
I can't believe I'm looking forward to Christmas. As much as I mildly and vaguely complained about the slightly chilly winter we just had ...excuse me, my son just read this over my shoulder and snorted Dr. Pepper down my back ... I'm ready to do it all over again...
The Bard reigns at Bell Buckle festival (06/12/11)
What ho, varlet! Man, I love this time of year. When else do I get to use words like "varlet?" Or hang out with Lane Davies and Jerry Winsett. Or spend waaay too much time in Bell Buckle ... Strike that last one. Saying you spend too much time in Bell Buckle is a lot like saying you eat too much chocolate. Bwahahahahaha!...
Why do we split hairs over... well, er, hair? (06/08/11)
And now, as much as I hate to admit it, I have to tackle a hairy subject. Literally. Am I the only one who's noticed a lot of songs about hair lately? It seems when Willow Smith told the world she liked to "Whip My Hair," she was starting a whole new trend in music. Since then, I've heard Lady Gaga (yeah, I kinds hate to admit, but I'm becoming a fan) who sang about her hair -- all 57 varieties -- and at least two other recent releases about hair that now, of course, I can't remember...
Some grownups need preschool behavior rules (06/05/11)
The infamous Snooki got arrested in Italy after a car crash involving the police. Two grown men, professional athletes John Danks and Jose Bautista got into a name-calling spat because the batter was pouting and throwing his bat down about his own bad hit...
Not-news stories help leaven the terrible (06/01/11)
And now, for the Not-News... One of the thing I'm having to learn is how to prioritize (Yes, buying groceries is more important than buying the latest Nevada Barr book, no matter how good it is) and how to ignore things that either don't affect me or I am powerless to change...
Kids' diets aren't our big crisis (05/29/11)
The latest action on the food Nazi front -- there's a price on poor old Ronald McDonald's head. Apparently, the goofy guy with the big feet is the sole person to blame for our country's obesity crisis. It seems he, personally, is the one forcing these children to eat these unhealthy Happy Meals, which, according to the Nutrition Nazis, shouldn't legally be called Happy Meals, but Potential Heart Attack 40 years Down the Road meals...
Less is more except when it isn't more but really less (05/25/11)
"Less is more" is a phrase from a Robert Browning poem (Yes, it is, I actually looked it up this time, so back off, people! I'm medicated and armed for bear!) The phrase was borrowed decades later by the architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe to justify his minimalist designs, which I consider nice places to visit, but I wouldn't want to live in since I like a little more variety than cube, CUBE and CuBe...
Back to work, with a clean desk (05/22/11)
Going back to work after an extended leave is always kind of surreal. The only other times I've done it was after maternity leave and I was usually scratching and whining at the kitchen door to get out three days after the baby was born. By the time I was finally cleared to go back to work, there were fireworks displays, parades, feasts and services of joyous thanksgiving. And that was just from my family...
Everyone should know how to deal with depression (05/18/11)
Well, it wasn't exactly the vacation I had wanted to take. Sure, I wasn't having to work and the food was great. I was making new friends and having deep, philosophical conversations -- and it was costing me a bucket load of money. But the vacation I'd planned in my mind, the one filled with cruise ships and warm Caribbean waters, didn't include going out of my mind...
Traveling back and changing stories (04/24/11)
China has banned all movies about time travel. Apparently, the same people who think ground-up rhinoceros horn makes Viagra look like a chick flick and eating years-old bird nests made of out of spit is good for you think that time travel movies show a disrespect for history...
Gentle criticism goes long way to getting positive response (04/20/11)
Oy, is my face red!! Here I am, Ms. Shakespeare Scholar, English Major and Number One Bedford County Bard Cheerleader, and I got a quote wrong. Not just wrong -- I didn't even have the right author. In my story about the Fly play "Cash on Delivery," which just closed to rave reviews besides mine Saturday, I attributed the "Oh, what a tangled web we weave" quote to the late great William S...
I choose...to remain persistent (04/13/11)
Okay, here I am at home, instead of at work. Why? The car battery has died, and since I spent our emergency funds on a new tire the day before, I am up the proverbial creek without the proverbial paddle. The internet keeps cutting out, we're woefully shorthanded at work, one reader is criticizing me because I wrote an article promoting a play (Which is, umm, kind of what I specialize in, other than horses) I have a migraine working up because I had the completely normal and sane reaction to all of the aforementioned issues (squalled like a baby) and now I'm supposed to write something vaguely humorous or touching for my columns.. ...
Gardening is a metaphor for life (04/10/11)
I've never really understood why people use gardening as metaphors for life, but then, I've never really understood gardening. My greatest horticultural achievement to date has been the mutant variety of mold on the blueberry yogurt I left in the back of the van last summer...
Out of a possible 10, 'Cash on Delivery' rates a solid 11 (04/06/11)
My first and only public performance was as Mrs. Cratchit in "A Christmas Carol" many moons ago. I didn't even have a first name-- I was just "Mrs. Cratchit." I had a great time and probably would have done more community theater, but I was 12 at the time, and middle school, puberty and a massive case of social ineptitude landed on me the next year like a California mud slide. (The wet, muddy kind, not the Kahlua kind. That kind caught up with me in college.)...
Price of a crazy life? Priceless (04/03/11)
I joke about winning the lottery, but if I do, I'll be dangerous. I'll got do things just for fun, instead of worrying about how much they cost. One of my pet projects, after giving money to friends, family and various causes I hold near and dear, would be to do commercial spoofs, because so many of today's commercials irritate the fire out of me and would be so easy to make fun of...
The Etch-A-Sketch of behavior (03/30/11)
I've decided that the auto mechanic classes they teach at schools should be mandatory. With remedial classes for my kids. I've been told for umpteen years how "gifted" my children are, and I'm still waiting for the proof. Sure, Ben can recite reams of Shakespeare, but it took a wet Saturday night to realize you can't go offroading in a minivan...
What if everyone treated life like a picnic? (03/27/11)
I'm a big believer in "carpe diem" -- "Seize the day!" Of course, I'm also a big believer in exercise, transcendental meditation, and quitting smoking. Just because I believe in it doesn't mean I do it. I think it's because I am also, unfortunately, a big believer in instant gratification. If I can't see a year's worth of diet results in a day, forget it...
I'm going to miss Sadie being across the desk (03/23/11)
I hate good-byes. Sadie is leaving us -- again -- to work at Webb School which means once again I'll be the only female on my end of the newsroom, facing an empty desk, an estrogen depleted environment and, worst of all, a lot of her work. I'm not one to gather a lot of female friends around me, but the ones I make I keep forever. ...
I'll scoff at 'perfect' Atlantis (03/20/11)
Well, they've think they've found Atlantis. We were watching a news show about it the other night, but I can't remember if it was on the History Channel, Discovery Channel, or Nat Geo. My husband insists it was on the SyFy channel, but he is a skeptic to the nth degree and only believes man set foot on the moon because his dad doesn't and Terry would rather arm wrestle porcupines than agree with his dad about anything...
Son and Shakespeare would have gotten along famously (03/16/11)
My middle son, Ben, was born too late. Not as far as I was concerned -- in fact, the little stinker could have shown up two weeks earlier and made me, my back, and my bladder a lot happier. But he was born in the wrong time period. He's letting his hair grow out again, after cutting off more than a foot of it less than nine months ago to donate to Locks of Love. ...
Cyber life isn't close to reality (03/13/11)
Buzz splurged some of his Christmas money hoard the other day and bought -- shocker -- a video game. This one was not the usual blow things up and tear things down kind of game. Instead, it was one of those simulated life games, where you get to design your character and map out your digital life, kind of like Farmville and those other Facebook addictions...
What should be done about dog that repeatedly attacks? (03/09/11)
Someone once told me my Mother Mayhem column focused too much on kids and critters, but I have to ask you -- what causes more mayhem than kids and critters? Other than Charlie Sheen and Britney Spears at a cop convention, that is. We are told to write what we know, so that's why it ends up kids and critters, with a few jabs at bad drivers, bad manners and badly behaving celebrities along the way. ...
Mardi Gras isn't my cup of gumbo (03/06/11)
I bumped into an open bureau drawer at home and now have a lovely bruise on my leg. I was looking at it the other night and got a strange craving for a Cajun etouffee. You know, that dish that's like a thick gumbo, usually loaded with crawdads (crayfish to you Yankees) and the holy trinity of onions, green peppers and celery...
Nothing better than surprises on a really 'happy birthday' (03/02/11)
I had a surprise birthday party. Okay, it wasn't really a party, just a lazy day at home watching old movies and reading, but there were a lot of surprises! My oldest son actually called me -- on my birthday -- for no other reason than to wish me a happy birthday...
Birthday dreams vs. real life (02/27/11)
Usually, when I sit down to write my columns, the question is not "What on earth will I write about?" But "how many topics can I squeeze into 24 inches?" Not this one. I've been fighting this column all week. It's been more stubborn than a Wisconsin representative. You see, my birthday is today, my 48th. Yeah, I know I said the same thing last year, but last year's was really only 47. I've decided 48 is a good number and I'm sticking with it. For a couple of years, at least...
Drivers need to watch out for animals in harm's way (02/23/11)
Driving back and forth from Tullahoma and Shelbyville five days a week -- seven days when the 18-year-old Duke D'Anjou has weekend rehearsals for the Renaissance Faire in Triune -- is always educational. I can now identify 99.9 percent of Tennessee wildlife by the scattered bits of fur and feather left after the vehicles and vultures have had their ways with them...
A dose of youth from Bonnaroo (02/20/11)
I'm not sure what made me feel older this week -- the e-mail from a friend organizing our 30th high school reunion, listening to Sadie fuss about making valentines for her daughter's day care party and not fussing about making any myself because my kids are all too old, or the line-up at Bonnaroo...
Doggone it, man's best friend needs love -- so adopt smart (02/16/11)
Did any of you see the photo of the poodle that his Green bay Packer fan of an owner dyed and clipped to reflect his taste in football? When I did, I thought it was pretty funny, but I felt a little sorry for the dog. "How undignified," I said to my husband...
Heart-wrenching moments when mind faces reality (02/13/11)
You know how you can know something in your head, but not really know it in your heart? Like -- you know your kids are going to grow up and move away and leave the nest empty and you will have to spend all your time with that strange guy on the other side of the morning newspaper who makes strange noises when he sleeps at night...
Teaching kids manners is first step to success in life (02/09/11)
I've never claimed to be the greatest mom in the world -- I'm sure the woman who has earned that honor doesn't earn a paycheck for making fun of her kids twice a week. But I think I've done a pretty fair job. Then there are times I feel like a total failure. I don't get my kids to church nearly often enough -- they can quote more lines from Mel Brooks movies than Old Testament lessons, I'm afraid...
Back off, purebreeds, real mutts totally rule (02/06/11)
Move over, beagles, you've got some new competition, The American Kennel Club has officially approved three new breeds to be admitted to the roster. The Entlebucher Mountain Dog, which looks a lot like the Bearnese Mountain Dog with less fur is one of them, and the Norwegian Lundehund is another. I had a dog once that looked a lot like the lundehund, but I doubt that Norwegian breed is made of up border collie, blue tick hound and rat terrier...
Here are some surefire ways to tell when spring has sprung (02/02/11)
ACT I, sc. 1 EXTERIOR SHOT. Camera pans slowly across a peaceful countryside. Snow is everywhere, but not the beautiful, pure snow of corny Christmas cards. This is the ice-edged dirty snows of a winter that has lasted too long. ZOOM in on a group of people, all laughing and cheering. Their festive manner seems forced and sad, as though they are determined to have a good time, whether they want to or not... But then. it's not quite dawn, and who wants to be festive at daybreak?...
Best acts aren't at the movies (01/30/11)
I confess -- I'm addicted to awards shows. The ones related to television and movies, that is. I stopped watching the Grammys when they advertised "All your favorite performers" and the only ones I recognized were the ones I'd seen mugshots of on the evening news...
Who's in charge here, kids or grownups? (01/26/11)
Who's in charge at your house? If you can believe Madison Avenue, your kids are. You have to buy the spiffy SUV because your curly-haired 6-year-old is too embarrassed to be seen in a station wagon. You have to buy diet supplements because your whiny 7-year-old won't eat eggs or broccoli or grain or anything remotely resembling healthy food...
Relics are collecting dust in my mind (01/23/11)
Every year, someone comes out with that list of things that this year's babies will know nothing about in 20 years. For instance, babies born in 2011 will never know what photographic film is and they will never know how much the stuff inspires profanity, strokes and unemployment when you can't spool the slickery stuff onto your ancient Pentax K1000 in time to get that award-winning shot .....
I learned how not to buy a car so you don't have to (01/19/11)
How not to buy a car. Ladies, sadly, this is for us because there are still businesses out there who prey on our ignorance of all things automotive. I realize there are a great many very savvy ladies out there who are smart enough not to be bamboozled by the fast talking, verbal shell game at least one of these used car dealers can provide, but I ain't one of them. Other women are at least smart enough to take a guy with you who does know cars, but obviously, that wasn't me either...
WDHDTT mom sees bright side (01/16/11)
I think one of the hardest things about being a parent is being objective about your own children. (With American Idol looming around the corner, this becomes painfully obvious.) I worked in the school system for many years before my own kids were subjected to it, and I was determined I would not be one of the NMK parents I had to deal with on a daily basis...
One can take only so much snow before wishing for spring (01/12/11)
Alright, Christmas is over. Is it safe to say "Bah Humbug! and not get labeled a Scrooge? Or, in other words: Snow. We're against it. Once was nice. A good snow day for the kids, a few thrilling moments of "Oooh" and "Aaaah" and before we could get sick of it, it was gone...
Love: It's all about sharing (01/09/11)
When I die, I want one of those sound tracks played at my memorial service, and I want to sneak a few songs that will make most people scratch their heads, mystified, but will make the chosen few laugh out loud. One of those songs will be Jack Johnson's 'Banana Pancakes.'...
Doing what comes 'naturally' (01/05/11)
I can remember Buzz walking into our bedroom and finding us doing something he simply didn't comprehend. Oh, drag your mind out of naughty places. He caught us watching nature documentaries. "Why do you want to learn something when you don't have to?" he asked...
New Year's resolutions for all except me (01/02/11)
It's resolution time, that time when we, hungover, crabby and sleep-deprived, make decisions that we think will improve our lives. Of course, if we weren't hungover, cranky and sleep deprived, we would probably make better decisions, and if we made better decisions, we wouldn't be hungover, cranky and sleep-deprived.....
The Ghost of Christmas Presence (12/29/10)
Here's hoping everyone had a great a Christmas as we did in the Reeves household. The day after Christmas is always such a relief for me -- for the first time in months I can stop stressing -- Did I get enough presents for the boys? Will one of them think I spend more on the other ones? Did I spend more on one than the other ones?...
Another of those endless year-end lists (12/26/10)
It's Top 10 Season! Next to Awards Season, where we have to sit through endless stilted and un-funny presentations by Ben Stiller misreading his TelePrompter, it's my favorite time of year. What are your top 10 news stories of 2010? Top 10 photos of 2010? Top 10 reasons for buying a gym membership when you know you won't go back after February because everyone will take one look at you and know you ate an entire Whitman Sampler chocolate box by yourself because you didn't have a date for Valentines Day?. ...
A year passes, and I want to share the best of it with family (12/22/10)
I actually got a phone call from my oldest son last week -- and he didn't want anything. He didn't want money or tax forms or insurance cards or phone numbers or advice or anything. In fact, he didn't even want to call me. The first unsolicited phone call I've had from him in years, and it was a butt-dial...
Time? What time? Wait, where did it go??!!?? (12/19/10)
We got the Christmas decorations down last Sunday and I looked at the box with a bizarre sense of deja vu. "Didn't we just pack these up last month?" I asked. Normally, that would be a valid question -- I tend to leave the Christmas decorations up until they get in the way of the Easter egg hunt. But last year, Terry put his foot down and we actually had everything put away by Valentine's...
Working from home? Let it snow! (12/15/10)
I'm not a big fan of snow, but I am a big fan of snow days. My husband and I spent Sunday snuggled up in bed watching an Indiana Jones marathon, and in the kitchen baking oatmeal raisin cookies and banana bread. When we weren't doing that, we were standing at the door screaming "Take off your shoes! Wipe your feet! Snow stays outside or so do you!" to our 12-year-old...
Filters: Hearing only what we want to (12/12/10)
Back in the Dark Ages, when I was in college, my minor was in mass communication. To give you an idea of just how long ago that was, that was the first year we were required to take a computer course. We had three offered: Basic programming, COBOL and Fortran. We had about 8 keyboards and monitors to share and all of our work was printed off on a dot matrix plotter stuck in the dean's closet. I am not even kidding here...
I'll settle for good times and good health at Christmas (12/08/10)
I know I'm a little bit late with my requests, but truth be told, I'm early for me, since I'm actually thinking of things before you come down the chimney and not two days after you've been here. I've got a rather complicated list this year -- it's been a complicated year...
Marriage is...when toilet bowl cleaner becomes exciting (12/05/10)
You know the spark is gone when the most romantic thing your husband has said to you in months is, "Baby, I really loooove that new toilet bowl cleaner you got last time. Can you get some more?" Sigh. I was moping (Okay, pouting. Whatever) about this on Monday morning when I went out to visit an artistic couple in Marshall County. ...
Family and food make for a Thanksgiving to remember (12/01/10)
This was one of the oddest Thanksgivings I've ever had. To me, for all of my life, Thanksgiving has meant noise and boys. When I was young, it was a simple, at home affair, but with five kids (three boys, one girl and one tomboy) it was always loud and rambunctious...
Black Friday: Attacking the local stores (11/28/10)
Cell phone charged? Check. Coordinates mapped? Check. Refueling accomplished? Sausage and biscuit, a half-gallon of coffee, some overpriced energy drink? Check. Backpack loaded? Check. Bottles of water, sales fliers, credit cards, checkbook, aspirin, portable foot massager, anger management hotline number? Check...
Being grateful and being thankful are truly different (11/25/10)
Is there a difference between thankful and grateful? I'm sure some word wizard out there will give me the exact, true answer, but to me, it has always seemed that thanks was something you gave -- but gratitude was something you were expected to give. Kind of like the $5 you have to throw in on the boss's birthday gift, whether you want to or not...
Dogs and owners flock together like birds of a feather (11/21/10)
Every morning and afternoon, my neighborhood is invaded. These strange people actually get out and, like, you, know, walk. To nowhere. The end of the road and back. My husband says it's something called "ex-er-cise," but it's got me thinking more along the lines of "ex-cor-cist."...
It's beginning to sound a lot like Christmas... (11/17/10)
Okay, I'm jumping on the commercial bandwagon here to talk about Christmas before Thanksgiving even shows up. (That's what happens when you zip into the Big Box Store to buy a packet of ink pens. You end up wandering dazed through the aisles. The glitter and wrapping paper hypnotize you, you have a strange craving for eggnog and orange flavored chocolate, and you wonder vaguely if it's too late to vote George Bailey for president. Clarence for Secretary of State.)...
Tears or not, wheels are finally rolling (11/14/10)
I made my son cry. Of course, he said he didn't, but I've seen tears well up in those big brown eyes before (like the time when he was 5 years old I had to tell him the triceratops he patted at Islands of Adventures theme park wasn't real) and I knew the signs...
Give thanks to the brave who keep our country free (11/10/10)
I mentioned this in my blog on the T-G web site, but I felt like it needed more expansion. There is a little church in between Tullahoma and Shelbyville on the old road, and it always has great sayings on its message board. One of the few bright spots about Monday is finding out what new words of wisdom will get me through the week...
Class acts during rude times (11/07/10)
Now that the election is over and I can say whatever I want to the candidates, I only have one thing to say. Thank you. I am specifically directing those thanks to Jenny Hunt and Pat Marsh. I know them both, like them both, and wasn't eligible to vote for either because I live in a different district. ...
I don't mind growing old as long as I do it as a blonde (11/03/10)
"Honey, come here, please." I'd like to say my husband jumped up and ran to my side, ready to battle foes, right wrongs, and slay dragons on my behalf, but the fact is, after being together 24 years, my husband has figured out that "Honey, come here please" usually translates to the following:...
I elect not to be scared by nasty ads (10/31/10)
I was interviewing Joe Peters over at the Walking Horse Hotel earlier this week about the haunted attraction he's started there. He made a comment that made me smile. "Everybody likes to be scared," he said. Well, that's not exactly true, and he realized it and followed it up with "when they know it's not real."...
Halloween costume plans revolve around Zombie Mario (10/27/10)
The leaves are crunchy, the mornings are cool and Buzz is in a tizzy. It must be Halloween. Every year he starts planning his costume the day after Halloween, and every year, he makes elaborate plans on how to create it. Then, as soon as I've bought what is needed and sketched out plans, he changes his mind...
If texting and TV come together... (10/24/10)
Buzz was hard at work, bent over a T-shirt he's designing for a contest when his head popped up like a dog on point. "Must ... get... to... TV ..." he muttered as he zombied away from the dining room table. "Favorite show ... my new episode senses are tingling ..."...
Tired of ghostly music? Try picking tunes about people (10/20/10)
If I were the superstitious type, I would have turned around in the T-G parking lot Tuesday morning and gone back home, locked the doors, crawled into bed and pulled the covers over my head to wait the day out. I'm a compulsive channel flipper when it comes to the radio, and the fivesongs I ended up hearing, on four different stations, as I drove in from T-Town were "Knocking on Heaven's Door," "Stairway to Heaven," "Tears in Heaven," "Live Like You Were Dying" and "Don't Fear the Reaper."...
Amazing new world of technology can't erase some old ways (10/17/10)
I had to teach my son how to clean chalkboard erasers the other day. We were participating in a fun, informal darts tournament (which we won, thank you very much!) and at one point, Ben had to wipe the scores off the board so we could start the next round. He looked at the dust-clogged implements of erasure, then he looked at me. He looked at the erasers. At me...
Plaid lobster? Mother Earth keeps showing us new species (10/13/10)
I was on my way out the door Tuesday morning when I told my youngest to look up something really cool on the internet. It was a story about these new lobsters they've discovered off the Connecticut shore. "One is bright blue," I said hurriedly as I dug my shoes out from under the couch, pushed the cats off of my purse and hunted for my car keys...
One small dance, one giant leap toward adulthood (10/10/10)
"Should I go to the school dance?" It took a few minutes for the question to register for several reasons, the first and foremost being that I was trying to pay bills online, brush a snarl out of the dog's coat, and answer the telephone at the same time...
Three boys, a lifetime of stories (10/06/10)
I'm having so much fun listening to my co-worker Sadie Fowler as she details her life as a new mom. It's like getting to live it all over again -- without having to pay for the diapers. She'll ask me questions about this or that and I'll try to sift through the memories to see if I can find an answer...
It may be hard, but we can turn over a new leaf (10/03/10)
Remember the book, poster and coffee cup logo phenomenon "All I really need to know, I learned in kindergarten?" It included things such as: This was all very nice and touchy-feely New Age smiley kind of stuff, and the author was right -- all we really do need in life we learned in kindergarten. (Especially the afternoon nap thing.)...
Finally! Fall is here and the change in weather proves it (09/29/10)
On the first day of fall, I was sitting in the park and listening to the Canada geese honk as they flew overhead and I had to wonder, in the 95 degree heat, if they were flying farther south for more warmth, or heading back to Canada for some blessedly cold arctic air. It certainly didn't feel like the first day of fall...
Spotted horses: Classic style that's here to stay (09/26/10)
Did you know horses are as subject to the whims of fashion as high heels or, heaven help us, hip-huggers? This can be a good thing -- it introduces the world to a new breed or a new aspect to an old breed. I remember when I was a young girl, about 9 or 10, and Stud Spider took the world by storm...
'Duh!' moments are never forgotten (09/22/10)
Have you ever had one of those "Duh!" moments? That's what we call them at our house. "Blonde moments" gets me ticked off, "senior moments" gets the hubby's back up and "teen moments" increases 18-year-old eye-rolling to 7.8 on the Richter scale. Buzz gets his own category, so to be all-inclusive and mutually politically incorrect, we just call those flashes of non-genius and sheer oopsability "Duh" moments...
Refuge from reality is tucked away within my mind (09/19/10)
Have you got a hideout? You need a place you can go when life gets a bit overwhelming, the phones seem too loud and these pesky adolescents keep insisting you really are their mother. I discovered I have lots of little places I can run to, and no, they aren't all parks in Shelbyville...
Hey, you need to know this: Everyone needs love, attention (09/15/10)
I was sitting in the park the other day, doing my puzzles and enjoying the school-is-in-session peace and quiet, when that peace and quiet was shattered by a piercing, constant, and unbelievably annoying cry. If Fran Drescher and Gilbert Gottfried had a daughter, recorded her tantrum voice on vinyl and it got scratched and stuck in one place, that's what it would sound like...
Thank you, thank you, thank you... and thank you (09/12/10)
This is my annual thank you letter to the man who was kind enough -- or foolish enough -- to say "I do" 23 years ago today. Thank you for the meals you have cooked for me and our boys because I was too tired, at work, too lazy, or you were simply sick of Hamburger Helper six nights a week...
The real reason why we have children (09/08/10)
As I sent my 18-year-old son thundering down the million-story stairwell from the Celebration press box and all the way out to the parking lot and the van to get something I'd forgotten -- for the second time that night -- I thought, smiling, "This is why we have kids."...
When age becomes more than a state of mind (09/05/10)
I think one of the hardest things a person has to say to herself is "I'm just too old to do that any more." Of course, there are those gung-ho aerobics health nut instructors who are still toned and taut at 60, but let all of us who have never been toned and taut and prefer Whoppers to workouts agree to ignore them...
Generational differences continue to grow with my age (09/01/10)
When our television isn't locked into the few regular dramas and comedies we watch, it sits on the Discovery Channel or Turner Classic Movie channel. I love old movies, the cornier the better, and would rather watch "The Egg and I" than "Avatar" any day...
Can you hear me now? No? Let's keep it that way (08/29/10)
Everyone knows how much I hate cell phones -- even now that I'm carrying one myself. Especially now that I'm carrying one myself. I think they're responsible for all kinds of injuries, from car collisions because it was far more important to hear what Sally was wearing at the bridesmaids' luncheon than keeping eyes and mind on the road, to carpal tunnel syndrome because the same teenagers who respond to every real life question with "Huh?" are texting the equivalent of "War and Peace" at warp speed.. ...
Mom the Hero -- with a little help from a horse (08/22/10)
Last week, I wrote about how looking at something in a different light gives you a whole new perspective, whether it's a homely suitor or an ugly butterfly. Exactly a week after the butterfly Incident, my family got to see me in a whole new light. We were driving home from a weekend camping trip and came down by Normandy Lake from Manchester. ...
Moms, what kind of Mama critter would you be? (08/18/10)
Buzz, who is about as politically astute as your average 11-year-old, which is to say not at all, asked me about some things he had heard on television. "What is a Mama Grizzly?" he asked as we were driving home from our campground. Thinking he'd been watching Discovery, not Fox News, I gave the only answer a new...
Back to school means change of priorities for us parents (08/15/10)
Litter -- we're against it. Back when I was the editor of the Andalusia Star-News in Alabama, we prided ourselves on having an editorial in every single issue of the paper. This was easy during hot topic seasons, such as when the sane people who cared about their children's education were trying to pass an amendment to raise money for schools...
Teen driver's mom to son: Do as I say, not as I did at your age (08/11/10)
Due to circumstances completely within my control, Ben is only now, at 18, learning how to drive. Part of it was financial -- having two teen drivers on the insurance at the same time was enough to force me to choose between feeding my children and buying books...
Look closer next time to make sure you don't miss the beauty (08/08/10)
Sometimes, the beauty of a thing is in the details. I was sitting by the pool doing my usual Sudoku puzzles, hoarding the shade and trying not to melt when I felt something tickle my shin. Thinking it was yet another pesky house fly, I started to swipe at it without looking, but for some reason, I didn't. I stopped and looked instead...
I write for a living, but I'm no help with English homework (08/04/10)
Well, I think Buzz is going to survive -- and even thrive -- in middle school. He was a little muddled by the ideal of changing classes every hour on the hour, and the school he's in is kind of a rabbit warren compared to his old one, but once he conquered the combination lock on his locker -- after two hours of trying -- he decided he could handle it all...
American Idol audition is a great way to make new friends (08/01/10)
Columnist's Note: Part II of the American Idol Saga, as promised, although it took some nagging, whining and threats to get it here on deadline. Poor Ben has discovered that 1 40-hour work week doesn't leave as much free time as he's used to.....
Mary Reeves
Mother Mayhem