Saturday, May 30, 2009

I'm headed to Vegas, baby...

Kathy & Paul are getting hitched today.

And since I love *them, I'm going to Vegas to be at the wedding. (And by *them, technically, I mean her... since I've only met him the one time. But seeing as how he's smart enough to know that Kathy U is one heck of a fabulous woman, and he's wanting to covenant to love and cherish and be with her from now until the end of time, I'm gonna go out on a limb and extend my love to him, too. I figure he's earned it, just by being smart enough to love my girl.)


And speaking of things I do dig about Paul. The above is a pic of them shortly after he proposed to her in NYC at Christmas-time. NYC, I tell you, at Christmas. I love this boy. (Not in the same way that Kathy does, don't you worry about that. But still, I love him.)

Happy Wedding Day to Kathy & Paul! Wahoo!

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

My beloved Silver Creek

Gosh, it's great to be home. There are few things in this world that make me as happy as coming home in the Summer. Don't get me wrong, coming home for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas is great, too... But there's something magical about home in the Summer. From the early Summer when the fields are green with new grass, through the end of Summer, when there are fields of corn stalks as far as the eye can see. Call me a hick, I won't even care, but... gosh, it's so great to be here and smell the marshy goodness of wet grass. It's delish.

This is a shot from the bridge on the street where I live. (Or, rather, where I grew up and my parents live still.) I love the creek - LOVE IT. I love it in the Fall, when the trees turn gold and the grass is brown. I love it in the Winter, when the trees are naked and the landscape is covered with a blanket of snow. I love it in the Spring, when the trees are budding out and the grass is "new grass green". But my favorite is in the Summer, when the trees are in their full leafy glory and the rain has turned the grass about 32 different shades of green... Oh, that can't be beat. I love it here.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Feelin' the love on Memorial Day...

To all the men & women who've sacrificed so very much that I could have the freedoms I enjoy, I thank you. From the very bottom of my soft & squishy, ooey-gooey patriotic heart, I thank you.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Today, I'm missing my cousin Bethy.


The song, His Hands, was sung as a special musical number at church today. As soon as the accompanist started the intro, I was hit with a wave of homesickness for my cousin Beth. This song always reminds me of her - for two reasons.

1) When we were teenagers, there were a few random songs that we both knew and we'd belt them out together at the top of our lungs. This was one of those songs. I love to sing with Betho, because we have the same voice. There's something magical about singing with someone with whom you blend perfectly. For me, that person is my cousin Beth.

2) Beth studied sign language in school for years (both in High School and at University, to use the words I know she'd use), so it was no real surprise to the family when she received her mission call to serve in a signing mission. This was the song Beth asked to have sung at church on her final Sunday before leaving for England, and while someone else sang this song... Beth signed it. It was one of the most beautiful things I've seen in my life. It's been well over 10 years since that Sunday, but I can't hear this song without seeing Beth's hands translating it.

I'm so incredibly grateful for my cousins, because they are some of my very best friends. Even now, with Bethy living so far away, I still have fairly regular contact with her. She has a fabulous husband and four beautiful children, all of whom I love dearly. Our lives are so very different, and yet... because we have our heritage and our beliefs, as well as a slew of childhood, adolescent and adult memories in common, I know we'll never really be that far apart.

Today I am homesick for Bethy. There's nothing I'd love more than to go to her house and hold her new baby while we sit and laugh and talk... and eat a whole pan of lemon bars. But alas, she and Cailey are an ocean away. I guess I'll have to make my own pan of lemon bars and see if I can make do. :-)

Friday, May 22, 2009

Where were you on May 22, 1992?

I was graduating from High School.

This is a picture of Diana and me that was taken that night, just after we'd run out onto the high school football field and tossed our caps into the air. It's amazing to me, how clear some memories can be, even after all these years.

Those of you who've been around a while may remember some of the stories I've told about Di and the good times we had when we were in High School. This picture of us on graduation night says it all, I think. She was giddy with anticipation for the next chapter of life, I was feeling all sentimental and torn between being excited for what was to come and not wanting to let go of the last 4 years. (Listen folks, Change and I have never been best friends. I deal, I cope, I adjust... but I never walk right into Change with my arms wide open. Ever.) Thus, she's super cheery, and I'm all teary-eyed. (What can I say? I'm a crier. It's the Ball blood in me.)

I was 17 years old when I graduated from High School, and I realized today that 17 years have gone by since then. It's amazing to me that it's been a whole lifetime. (A short lifetime maybe, but a lifetime nonetheless.) And I wouldn't change a thing. My life may not be what I thought it would be, lo' those many years ago, but it's one heck of a grand life, and I wouldn't trade a thing (or a person) in it for the world. Well... except that I sure would love to get a hold of Diana again. Now that we have a few more years of experience under our belts, I bet we could get away with even more than we used to back in the day. (And we used to get away with quite a lot, let me tell you.)

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Please allow me to introduce you to my best friend




Honestly, I love this stuff. LOVE IT!

Yesterday I spent way too much time in the sun (by which I mean: a good 2 hours), and half or maybe 2/3 of that time was in the pool, with my back to the sun, reading. And, let me tell you... I'm paying for it now. My back is about 17 shades of sun burned. The burn is, in fact, so spectacular that I spent a good 4 minutes last night weighing my options before I opted NOT to take a picture of my naked back in the mirror so you could see how bad the burn is. (I decided not to take the picture, as I was unsure of whether or not ya'll would still want to claim me as a friend once you'd seen my back in all its burnt and freckly/moley glory. ... Not that I didn't just paint a lovely picture there with my description. I know I did. But the words, offensive as as they - and the mental picture they conjured up - may be, are in no way close to how bad it would be, had you seen it for yourself.) Trust me. The burn... it's a bad one. Quite possibly my worst sunburn ever.

Which is where Neutrogena's After Sun Treatment comes in. As a girl who has an allergic reaction to Aloe Vera, there are not a lot of things I can do - short of cold showers and ice packs - for a sun burn. But this stuff? Oh, it's heaven sent. I love it. It takes the burn right out of a sun burn. Well... most of it, anyway. (For example, while it would hurt to accidentally scratch my back on anything, or... you know... sleep on it, which explains all the tossing & turning last night... at least I can breath without the searing itchy-burny sensation. Look, with a sunburn like this one, I've got to be grateful wherever I can.)

So, for any of you other easy burners out there. While I will whole-heartedly state for the record that sun screen is definitely the way to go... if you ever have a day (like I did yesterday) when you don't even think about sun screen because you're too busy thinking that the pool is probably the perfect temperature (and it was, let me tell you), and you just change and run outside without the SPF 40 that you keep (as I do) under the bathroom sink for sunny days and you end up burnt to a crisp (as I did)... TRY THIS STUFF. It's a veritable miracle cream, I tell you. I'm such a fan, there aren't even words...

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Judy, Judy, Judy...




As some of my older Razzzberry Readers may remember, last Mother's Day I wrote An Ode to Ude in honor of my sweet mother. The woman is truly one of a kind (and I mean that on a lot of levels). I love her to bits, and am so very grateful that she is my mother, that I was raised in her home.

As it's Mother's Day again, and I'm a sap that loves to talk about how great my mom is, and also because I figure that if you've been to this site more that once, you're a glutton for punishment (by which I mean: you have a history of reading my really long posts that are dedicated to anything from homemade bread to Hugh Jackman's arms), I'm just gonna go ahead and talk about my mom again. Why? Because I can't help myself. She rocks. And it's Mother's Day. So, that having been said, please allow me to share some of the things I've been thinking on today.

Growing up in Judy's house, we learned early on to never (and I do mean never) complain about being bored. If we told her we were bored, we were put to work. Her cure for boredom was to pick up a broom or start pushing a vacuum. As a teenager, I was pretty sure that she was breaking child labor laws when she'd put me right to work instead of taking the time to listen and/or sympathize with how bored I was, growing up in a small town in the middle of nowhere without a movie theater or a bowling alley. As an adult, I know that she was teaching me that I am the only person who can cure my boredom, that there are always things to do - and that many of those things will improve the world around me. I'm rarely, if ever, bored as an adult - and I'm so grateful to her for that.

Through all of my growing up years as a stubborn, willful, full-of-myself child, my mother somehow instilled in me the ability to be at peace with myself, no matter what is going on in the world around me. (Don't ask me how she lived through raising me, a child with a personality and temperament that was - and still is, on a lot of levels - the polar opposite of her own. I don't even know how she did it.)

Another characteristic that I either inherited or learned from her (nature vs. nurture... who knows?) is the ability to look outside myself and see the bigger picture, and then laugh my fool head off at how ridiculous the situation is when it's seen from a different point of view. The ability to laugh, rather than cry, has saved my day more than once (or, to be honest, more than 1,284 times, I'm sure). I love that my instinct is to "look for the story" in those awkward/horrible moments, and I know that the awareness that humor will be there (if you but look for it) came from her.

I'm so very grateful for a mother who knew who she was, and liked that person. She was able to teach by example how fabulous life is when you know who you are - and you value that person for who you are and where you are, both inside & out.

One of my mother's oft heard maxims was "You're happier when you're happy". I can't tell you how many times I heard that one, growing up (have I mentioned that I was an incredibly melodramatic, emotional kid?). Again, I didn't appreciate the truthfulness of that statement until I reached adulthood and moved away from home, entered adult life, and realized... there are a lot of unhappy/cranky people out there - and I didn't really like being around them. In my 20's, I realized that Mom was right, you really are a lot happier when you're happy (and so are the people you spend time with). Happy is a choice that I make, almost every day of my life, and I am aware that choice is there, even in the face of adversity, because I was taught that principle by my mother.

My mom and I are great friends. I mean, really truly friends. I'm talking about the kind of friend you call just to say hi to. Sometimes we talk for 7 minutes, and sometimes we talk for 3 hours. There is no one I'd rather ponder the mysteries of the universe with, and there's no one who I laugh harder with. As an adult woman, I've become aware of how fortunate we are to have that relationship. So many of my friends don't have that with their mothers, or with their daughters. I'm so very grateful to have not only the parent/child bond with my mother, but the friend/sister bond as well. I shudder to think who I'd be without her love, her example and her friendship in my life (because we all know I'm a bit of a stinker as it is). She was my first friend, and of all the really truly fabulous people who are amazing and wonderful friends to me, she is the finest.

Thanks, Mom, for all you've done... and for all you continue to do. I love you!

Happy Mother's Day!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Maybe he really IS a mutant...



Above is my main man, Hugh/Logan/Wolverine, circa 2000

And here he is now, in Wolverine, circa 2009.

Not that I'm saying he looked bad in the original movies.

But how in heaven's name did he get even HOTTER in 10 years?

I mean, I've aged many a year in my day, and I'm here to tell you that I don't know that I've had even one measly year that's been half as good to me as the last 9 have been to my boy Hugh. When I was talking to my brother Kirk tonight about that very thing (he and Mar went and saw Wolverine this afternoon, so we had to have a chat on my way home from work), I asked him how that was even possible. Kirk's response? "Well, Laur... *Maybe Wolverine really is a mutant who never ages. Did you never think of that? I'm pretty sure that's what it is. Yeah... Or, maybe he's found the fountain of youth and in 10 years, he'll look even better than he does now."

Hot diggity dog... Wolverine even hotter?! ... I can only hope they'll still be making X-Men movies in the year 2019 so we can find out.

*Do you love how my family talks about superheroes and/or x-men like they're real people? Yeah, we do groove on dudes (and chicks) with super powers. It's an illness, really. I blame my father and a pretty constant barrage of the original Superman trilogy throughout our childhood(s) for much, if not all, of our superhero adoration/obsession/brain damage.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

You know how I do love me a good mini-series...



The upside of being sick and flat out on the couch for the last 36 hours is that I've spent 8 of those with our founding fathers.

This was one of my favorite scenes in the John Adams HBO mini-series. I'm more grateful now for the freedoms I enjoy than I have been in quite some time. (And that's something that I like to think I spend a lot of energy on in the first place.) I love America, love her with all my heart and soul, and hope there isn't anyone who knows me who doesn't know that about me.

I tear up, just thinking about how glorious and amazing, really, our country's beginnings were. I'm so incredibly grateful for men and women who sacrificed so many things, on so many levels, that we might have the freedoms that we enjoy. "God save our American States", is right.

I love-love-loved this mini-series, even if I was a little too braindead to pay the kind of strict attention it merited. If you have a chance to see it, please do. John Adams would want you to know what they did for us, what he personally sacrificed, that we may have our independence. Oh, this story was a beautiful thing, and the series was incredibly well done.

PS - If I were pregnant right now, and I knew it was a girl (two more ridiculous "what if's" have probably never come out of me, but if I were, and it was), I'm telling you right now that I'd name that baby Abigail, after Abigail Adams. Seriously, I loved her spunk, her wisdom, her long suffering, and her all encompassing love of her husband. (Besides, I think Abby's a cute little nickname.)

Please allow me to introduce you to...

... Pioneer Woman. One of my favorite women on the www, Ree Drummond makes me laugh out loud like no one else I know (and, yes, I say that knowing full well that I, erm... don't actually know her).

I know a lot of you are fellow PW fans, because we've shared recipes and had the "OMG, she posted an update on Black Heels!" conversation. But for those of you who haven't met her, you really should. I mean, you REALLY should. If you're a photographer, her pictures will amaze you. If you like to cook/bake, the woman has some recipes that will blow your friggin mind - with step by step tutorials that make it that much easier to follow her recipes, I'll add. She's a story teller, too. I mean... the woman can tell a story. Beautifully. Sometimes her posts make me cry - sometimes they make me laugh out loud - sometimes they make me think "it is possible that I have a twin soul living in Oklahoma? ... I so would have done that!" - and... yes, sometimes they even make me think that I (I, of all people) want to grow up and marry a cowboy just like Marlboro Man. (Which you know is saying something, because cowboys are generally not my cup o' tea.)

Anyway, if you've never read her, please do. You'll love her. She's hilarious. She's the most fabulous mix of wit, charm, down-to-earth-ness (yup, I just made that one up) ... and she has fabulous grammar. My heart's one true desire is to win one of her random drawings to come and stay at The Lodge for a weekend and hang out in her kitchen all day.

I know the male version of this kind of affection would be dubbed "a man crush" - and that, I know, makes me sound a little creepy. But still, I cannot help broadcasting the news that I love her. I love her writing, her wit, her stories, her pictures and her recipes. And I want to share them with the world. So... here you go. Check her out at: http://www.thepioneerwoman.com/ You'll love her, I'm sure of it.

Friday, May 1, 2009

I may be sick, but at least I can still laugh...

As can be witnessed from my recent Twitter updates, I've been feeling a little... under the weather, shall we say?... for the past 18 hours or so. (Literally, I've only been feeling weird for 18 hours. Not even 24. And yet I have so many infections that I am about 17 shades of contagious and am now on house arrest for the weekend, per the doctor's orders. Egads, that was fast.)

Anyway... I felt fine most of the day yesterday. Round about 7:00 PM, I had a headache hit like none other (and when I say I had a headache like none other, that's saying something, because my headaches can be pretty darn bad). By the time I got home from work at 8:30, my ear hurt. By 10:00, I could hardly swallow, and when I went to bed at 10:30, I was pretty sure that I had not only an ear infection, but... I had some spots on my right tonsil, which I was worried might be Strep.

This morning I went to work for a couple hours, and then I headed to the doctor. It turns out that I was right, I am sick. The spots in my throat? Strep. And my ear? Infected. And my head/face hurting? Sinus infection. And I'm having a hard time breathing, not because of stress or maybe bleach fume inhalation (I cleaned the bathroom the other day and thought maybe I'd caused permanent damage by breathing in toxic fumes), but because I have Bronchitis. Oh, yeah... Good times. So, now I'm hanging out at home for the next 48 hours with nothing but the laptop and my dvd player to keep me company.

Oh, and my keen sense of humor. That's been keeping me company, too. So much so that I thought I'd open up the laptop and share a story (or two) from my day today.

Story #1 is from the doctor's office. This is one of my all time favorites... You know how the nurse comes out to get you, and then weighs you and takes your symptoms down and then leaves you in the room to wait for the doc? Well, I had a most interesting experience with this nurse. I hopped on the scale, and she fiddled around with the numbers... you know, increasing them until the scale balanced. (Always a good time.) She took a look at the weight, wrote the number down in my chart, and then looked at me and asked (get this), "Do you watch The Biggest Loser?". My response "Nope, I sure don't.", meanwhile you know I'm thinking "Really? You weighed me and then had to ask if I watch The Biggest Loser? Nice to know your thought associations... HILARIOUS!" Did my "Nope, I sure don't" answer deter her from other The Biggest Loser lines of questioning? Nope, it sure didn't. She proceeded to ask why I didn't watch it. My response "I don't really get into reality tv, there's too much drama". Did that stop her? Nope. She then told me that she thinks I should watch it, because she thinks I'd really like it. (Wow, huh? Like she even knows me to know what I'd like, but whatever...) So I told her that it's too long, and really not my thing. Which ended that conversation and then she launched into the questions about my health and such. Anyway... it made me laugh out loud. Who weighs a woman and then asks if she watches The Biggest Loser?! WHO DOES THAT?! (Well, besides that nurse, I mean.) And I could tell that she didn't mean to be offensive, and luckily it was me she was talking to (and not 217 other women I can think of off the top of my head who would have been buried by the insinuation that their weight put them in league with the cast of The Biggest Loser). I wasn't offended at all - just thought it was a HILARIOUS slip up on her part. (Kind of like Linda Cole - the woman in our neighborhood who did hair when I was a teenager -commenting on my hair, telling me "You got your hair cut. It looks so good, I hardly recognized you!" back in the day.) Seriously, hilarious... Back handed compliments and/or social commentary make me laugh out loud.

Which brings me to story #2. A little back story to #2... I get cold sores. And when I say that, I mean, I get cold sores in a spectacular way. Not only in/on my mouth... but also in my nose. It's lovely. I mean, lovely. More than once, the tip of my nose has swollen up to roughly the size of a tootsie pop because of them. I'm telling you, it's delightful. I look like Rudolph, bright red nose and all. It's pretty darn sweet. ... Anyway, last Summer, when I had the sinus infection to end all sinus infections, I happened to already have the sores in my nose when I went to the doctor. (Mind you, I've gotten them like that for a good 10 years or so, and I've told multiple doctors about them, but this was the first time I actually had them when I went in for a visit, so it was the first time I'd ever been treated for them.) As soon as she saw my nose, she prescribed some lovely meds that would make them go away. (Valtrex... perhaps you've heard of this little wonder drug.) I've used the pills off and on over the past 12 months or so, and sure enough, if I took one as soon as I felt a cold sore coming on, I was able to kick it before it got bad. Well... my prescription's run out, so while I was at the doc today, I asked if I could get a new prescription with a couple refills. She was all "Sure, no problem". She took a look at my chart, saw what they'd given me last time, and doubled the prescription, so I wouldn't have to refill it for some time. (What a nice doctor, right?)

So... Story #2.

I took my prescriptions to the pharmacy inside the grocery store (I thought that would be a good idea, so I could get those filled AND buy myself a treat at the same time, but alas... they no longer carry The Best Ice Cream in All of The Land at that stupid store). After a good 30 minutes or so of hanging out in the store (sans ice cream, thankyouverymuch), my drugs were ready for pick up. When the (male) cashier rang them them, the total was $45 - for two prescriptions. I had a bit of a freakout, and said "Whoa, which of those was $35?!". (I have new insurance from last time I got meds, and apparently this new insurance doesn't cover all drugs equally.) The cashier looked at the tabs for both prescriptions, shifted nervously behind the counter, and then held up the bag with the Valtrex in it whispered "this one was $35... it's... more expensive". I laughed out loud (both at his ridiculous posturing AND at the whisper) and said "Okay, good to know... I guess this insurance doesn't cover my cold sore medicine the same way my last insurance did." He gave me a weird look, rang up the purchase, swiped my card, and then asked if I'd taken either or both of my meds before, I said no (because the Strep/Bronchitis/Ear & Sinus Infection drug was new to me). I was then sent over into a little holding pen to wait for the pharmacist to come and talk to me. He came over and pulled both bottles out of their baggies. He went into great detail on how to take the antibiotic "If you find that you have an upset stomach, eat a yogurt once a day to offset the medicine. Make sure you take this on a full stomach", etc. When he pulled out the Valtrex bottle, he balked a little, too. He (being careful not to make eye contact) asked if I'd ever taken them before. I said yes (because I have - for cold sores). He dumped them back into the bag and reminded me to make sure and take 2 a day whenever I have an outbreak. I stopped him, and said "Yeah, I know. As soon as I feel a cold sore coming on, I take one.". He looked so relieved that, well, frankly... there aren't even words. Good grief. These are medical professionals... do they not know that it's a DRUG, a drug that can be used for more than one thing?! Good heavens.

And that, people, has been the story of my day so far. My nurse called me fat, and the pharmacy thinks I have an STD. Wow, huh? This has been, pretty much, the funniest afternoon in quite some time. ... The good news is that even when I'm sick, I can still find it in me to find the humor (and mockability... yeah, I so just made that word up) in this stuff. Good gads.

On that note... I think I'll go take a nap now. I may as well. I mean, I'm sick, right?