Shit You Should Know

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Did Somebody Have A Bad Day At Work?

While we spent the holidays in New Orleans, I received a phone call from the homeroom mother from my son’s class. At the time, my mother-in-law, my kids, and I were at Chuck E. Cheese’s having a grand old time stuffing our faces with pizza as the kids blitzed around the place shoving tokens into games for tickets that they hoped would get them a prize off the top shelf. That’s right. They wanted top shelf shit!

The first time the home room mother called I didn’t even hear the phone ring. The second time I sent it to voicemail. I figured I could get back to her later since this was the last time the kids were seeing their Mimi before we left to head back to Oklahoma. Shortly after, I received a text message. It said:

“I just wanted to let you all know about the death of one of our kids’ classmate. Malik was beaten to death by his stepfather last week. He was in Ms. Taylor’s class. I just wanted to give everyone a heads up before school starts.”

This was not the text I was expecting to read. Not at all! I’m not real sure what I was expecting but I assure you this was not it. I was unable to contain my shock and I exclaimed, “Oh my god!” Of course, then those sitting near me wanted to know what was wrong. So I, being one of those people that lack the gift of tact, share the text with the table including my children. Unfortunately, I would have shared this with them even at Disney World on the Tea Cups because, hey, that’s life. I’m not good at sugar coating things.

For the next hour, my kids go about their business playing ski ball and token launchers. Everything seems to be normal.

Later when we arrived back at Paw-Paw’s house, things got real. Part of me hoped that the homeroom mother was confused and was just going on a false rumor but upon going to the KSWO website I found more reality than I was able to swallow. What I discovered was sad and it built up a sense of hatred for this man, Lancey D. Ray, pictured here,.

My son came into the room and we talked about it. I can only imagine how hard it was for his young mind to process this. The thought process in charge of making the connections between his friend and his parents and the fact that the kid was beaten to death by one or both of them must have been confusing and terrifying. Those were the people that were supposed to protect that boy, not end him.

My son went on to tell me about a time Malik came to school with bruises on his face. He had told my son and their other friends that over the weekend his family was play fighting. Another time, my son said he came to school missing a fingernail and he said he had smashed his finger in the door.
Now understand something, reader, we were in New Orleans. The last time we were there was in April 2010 for Maw-Maw’s funeral. Now we are back in her house eight months later finding out that someone else has died. As awful as this sounds, at least Maw-Maw died of cancer. It was something that made for many conversations with my children in an effort to better prepare them for when the time came that she passed away. When it came to Malik, there was no way in hell I could have prepared my child for that. NONE! Hell, it completely blindsided me. A couple of weeks earlier my son was picking out a gift for his friend and now just like that he was snuffed out like a lit candle.
That night, my son came into the room I slept in and he was crying. He said he missed Maw-Maw and he missed Malik. He crawled up next to me and I gave him a hug. Then he says, “Mom. What if I go to school on Monday and Malik is there?” I wasn’t exactly sure if he meant really there or as a ghost so I asked him to explain. He says, “What if it isn’t true and he isn’t dead?” So I told him I hoped it was all a lie too but I explained to him that I did read about it on the local news site. He asked to see it. I pulled it up for him.

After he read it, he cried a little and asked me why Malik’s dad did that to him. I told him I didn’t know for sure. What was I supposed to say to him? I have no idea what would possess someone to beat a child to death, to lose control like that. After awhile, I walked my son back to his room and tucked him back into bed.

After we made it back to Oklahoma, I read more about the horrible crime on KSWO. I found that Ray was accused of beating Malik with a leather belt and a cutting board that day because he wouldn’t eat his lunch. What’s worse was when it was released that the mother, the boy’s own flesh and blood, had also broken a piece of wood over his backside that same day.

At first, I must admit, I assumed mom, Denise, was a victim too. However, I do not think it excused her for allowing her child to be beat. First off, the step father was a soldier in the army which means he was gone frequently between deployments and trips to the field. She had the chance to escape that house with her children. Yes, there were two other younger children in that home, 5 and 6, which are now in protective custody. Thank goodness!

It also concerns me that no one at the school was aware of this. I mean, my son and his friends...10 year olds, noticed bruises. Why didn’t an adult?
The school board did put a counseling crisis team into place for the children and teachers at the school. On the Sunday before my kids returned to school, I encouraged my son to seek counsel. I told him it might help him get some closure to talk to someone other than me and his own head.

Later, he told me that he disclosed all the information about the bruises and the missing fingernail to the counselor. He said that the counselor’s told him that they would have to turn the information over to the police. The counselor met with me to let me know that there was a small possibility that my boy would be asked to give a statement and possibly testify in court with my permission.

It is really alarming what happened to Malik. I never had the pleasure of meeting him. Even though he lived around the corner, he was never allowed to play when my son went to call on him. My son said Malik was a good student and one of the top readers in the class.

My son’s last memory of his friend was the last day of school before winter break when Malik said, “Happy birthday!” and handed over a bag of popcorn he didn’t want. “It’s not my birthday.”, my son says. Then he says Malik said to him, “Well, take it in case I don’t see you for your birthday.” Later, my son would ask me if I thought maybe Malik knew he wasn’t coming back.

The poor kid has been having his sleep disturbed by dreams. He says sometimes he sees Malik in his room. Sometimes he says he dreams of him. He’s woken up a few times very upset and I have had to sit with him on the sofa trying to comfort his heart with soothing words and a listening ear. It’s not fun and hope fate gives me a break in loss for a while so that our family, especially my boy, can heal. The year 2010 was very sad for us with my husband’s grandmother passing away but it was even more difficult for my son with the passing of his friend. Hopefully, 2011 will be less trying.

The following is poem I have shared with my son. I found it after Maw-Maw died and it help to ease some of the pain in my heart. Being agnostic, I don’t necessarily believe in heaven or hell. I do believe that energy is constant and whatever is inside of us, I guess in a sense it’s your soul, it becomes one with everything else. As for the organic part of you, it too becomes part of everything else as in ashes to ashes, dust to dust. Are we clear? Yeah. I didn’t think so. Anyway…here’s the poem.

His Journey’s Just Begun
Author Unknown

Don’t think of him as gone away
His journey’s just begun
Life holds so many facets
This existence is only one
Just think of him as resting
From the pain and tears
In a place of warmth and comfort
Where there are no days or years
Think of how he must be wishing
That we could know today
How nothing but our sadness
Can truly pass away
And think of him as living
In the hearts of all of us
For nothing loved is ever lost
And he was loved so much.

RIP Malik Ray.
Your friend misses you.

Hopefully, I'll be able to do a brief update in March when Lancey D. Ray goes to trial and I hope that Denise Ray doesn't get out of going to trial as well.  We'll have to wait and see.

An update can be found here.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Blog By Any Other Name

Ok.  This will be brief and it's mainly for my followers out there so they are aware of what's going on.  In case, you haven't noticed I changed the title of my blog.  I did it for a few reasons.  The first being apparently I'm not the only one out their in cyber space that has a the EXACT same title.  Of course, my blog is better but I don't want anyone to be confused.  The second is lately anytime I shamelessly plug myself anywhere be it on a blog hop or a blog sharing site, I've used the phrase "Random Ramblings of an Agnostic Mom" to give a description of the madness that ensues on your computer screen when you swing on by.  My Life. My Words is officially now Random Ramblings of an Agnostic Mom.  Please me make a mental note of it so you don't mistakenly unfollow me.

Also I wanted to dish out a couple of kick ass blog awards to a few folks.  So I may as well take care of that today too.

First off, Kamilla at Basket of Dreams is such a kind person.  She's one of those people that never seem to have anything negative to say about anyone.  So for being so sweet you give me a toothache, I present to you, Kamilla the following award.

The next award goes to Tricia at Confessions of a Recovering Cynic for still being awesome even though she isn't pissed off and gripy like an onery old man anymore since she is getting laid.  So congratulations to Tricia mostly for being able to save money on batteries.  Here's your award:

Another award must go to Jill over at In Bed With Married Women.  Jill's stories of sexual discoveries always humor me whether it's posts about sex robots or mammoth dildos.  So, dear Jill, here is an award for you.

This next award is for an old friend that always has a tendency to leave me hungry after I check out her blog.  Of course, her blog isn't all about food but that fiesty latina sure knows how to cook!  So this blog award is for Doris over at Sprinkles of My Life.

The last award I want to dish out is for Bryan over at nuclearheadache who's blog recently turned 50...fifty posts that is.  I enjoy th variety of topics he blogs about every couple of days.  Sometimes he has me spitting soda onto my computer.  Other times he causes me to down a bottle of rum and pop a handful of vicodin to make my brain stop throbbing while he continues his quest to understand relativity.  So here it is without further ado, Bryan'a award.

So that's it for now guys.  Don't worry though.  Like I said in the previous post I have a few things I'm brainstorming now.  Keep your eyeballs open and be sure to visit the blogs I mentioned since, you know, I declared them cool and all.

Friday, January 28, 2011

The Very First Fantastic Friday Five

It’s time for an update for all of you out there that actually give a shit. I’ve decided Friday is always a good day for that aka a good day for some filler. So here it is my Fantastic Friday Five for your reading pleasure. Enjoy…or not.

1.) We are officially no longer indebted to the U.S. treasury. The husband does not have a default army re-enlistment bonus hovering in his credit report. Happy dance! Now I can start paying off the truck.

2.) The first born is improving in school. It’s about damn time too! He’s driving me crazy being punished. I don’t know who suffers more, me or him. Progress reports will be coming home next week. According to his teacher he has an A in English and Science and a C in Math, Reading, and Social Studies.
If he keeps this up, I’ll have to fork out the retarded amount of money as promised for Space Camp. He needs to finish the school year with an A in Science and at least a B in everything else.

3.) My fat ass is trying to get in shape. I’ve taken on Atkins again…only because it allows me to see results from the start. Results keep me focused and I normally lack focus. I also am in the routine of doing the Wii Fit each day and walking on the treadmill. I am kicking ass (basically my own) on the Wii Fit. I am the queen of the hula hoops.
My husband said, “Well, you did always know how to work your hips.” To which I responded, “When you got an ass this big, you kind of have no choice!”

4.) My husband gave me an early Valentine’s Day gift. It’s a pearl ring to go with my other pearl jewelry. It’s fantastic!
5.) Lastly, Doug over at I Like Cheese has decided that my blog does not suck and has given me an award to prove it. Be sure to pay him a visit and make sure you let him know that you don’t think I suck either.
Well, friends, that about wraps it up for this first installment of my Fantastic Friday Five. Feel free to do your own. I’m not stingy. You don’t even have to link back to me.

Stay tuned for zombie dreams, death, phone harassment, and adventures in scouting all coming soon.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

While Visions Of Owls Danced In My Head?

As mentioned in a previous post, I feel the need to enlighten you all on the topic of owls. I know what the hell? Owls? Yes, owls. If I didn’t talk about random things from time to time, my blog would not be a true representation of who I am.

I know a lot of people that have a certain animal that seems to be their lucky charm or even a familiar. A friend of mine says her lucky charm is the ladybug. Mine is the owl. Although I do not see them necessarily as a sort of lucky charm or even a harbinger of doom (even though certain sources seem to claim otherwise), I often dream about them or see them in my alert state of mind.
They always seem to hang out in trees near my house. When I was a kid I used to see one outside my window often. It would stay perched on the chain link fence that ran along the side of my home. I think it lived in the large tree in our neighbor’s backyard. Some nights I would hear it and rush over to the window to look out. Sometimes it would appear as if it were looking back at me.
When my sister was born, my parents moved me into the larger, front bedroom. One night I heard it and I pulled the blinds expecting it to be perched on the fence. Instead, it was perched right on my window sill staring at me. It never seemed startled by me.  I was sure it was Owl from Pooh Corner just hanging around because he knew I was awesome.  Maybe he wanted to extend an invitation back to his tree house.
Another encounter was when my cousin and I went into the aviary exhibit at the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans. We were “lucky” enough to see an owl spit up a pellet right in front of us. It was disgusting and amusing all at the same time. I guess for someone who likes to visit, a little pellet here and there is nothing.
Ok…that was just silly but if you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you know I’m a silly sort of person.

Most people hear owls; I always seem to see them. They always seem to nest nearby. The most interesting encounter I ever had with an owl was about eight years ago.
My husband and I were driving along the levees in the New Orleans area. Occasionally, a deer or a stray dog will run into the path of an oncoming vehicle but on this day as we came around a turn our headlights caught the glowing eyes of an enormous barred owl. My husband slammed on his brakes. The owl starred at us for a few seconds before spreading its immense graceful wings and flying into the woods that ran along the road.

We just sat there in the middle of the road stunned. I had never seen anything like that before or since. The thing about barred owls is they are normally only heard. I would have been less surprised if there had been an animal carcass in the road but there was nothing. I suppose it could have chased a mouse out into the street. If you would have seen it, it was almost as if it was hanging out just waiting for us to come around that corner.

An old Cajun myth is that owls are ancestors and should be respected. My issue is why the hell are everybody’s ancestors hanging out by me? Could you all do a séance or get a Ouija board and call your ancestors over to your own houses?
Whenever I have one of those dreams that someone is standing over me while I sleep, at least 8 out of 10 times I will hear an owl outside my window. Maybe I dream of the owl too but the point is I hear it.
Another vivid “owl” dream memory I have is when it is perched on my bed frame looking down at me. On some occurrences, it flies around the room occasionally swooping down towards me. These dreams are usually disturbing because I find myself frozen in bed in a state of fear. I have trouble deciding whether or not it is a dream or not.

The book The Dictionary of Dreams by Gustavus Hindman Miller says this about the presence of an owl in your dream:

“To hear the solemn, unearthly sound of the muffled voice of an owl, warns dreamers that  death creeps closely in the wake of health and joy. Precaution should be taken that life is not ruthlessly exposed to his unyielding grasp. Bad tidings of the absent will surely follow this dream.

To see a dead owl, denotes a narrow escape from desperate illness or death.

To see an owl, foretells that you will be secretly maligned and be in danger from enemies.”

Regardless of what the significance of the owl is, it is a constant in my life. In this world of continuous change, the owl is a sort of spirit guide for me. Since the owl seems to represent wisdom, I am proud to have it in my life even though birds (or anything that has talons and could quite possibly be a raptor in midget form) scare the Shiitake mushrooms out of me.
Seriously!  Do these not look like the feet of something that will fucking eat you?!?!?!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Silence Is Golden

The best things in life are free. I’m always looking for things to take the kids to that are free or inexpensive. Each month here in the great frying pan shaped state of Oklahoma, the school sends home a magazine highlighting all sorts of things for families to do in the area from local fairs or concerts to special events that certain venues like museums and libraries hold. Everything listed is family friendly. I look forward to receiving it each month so that I may peruse the pages to find things the kids and I can do to pass the time. For instance, thanks to that magazine I found out that each Sunday admission to the Great Plains Museum is free for local residents. JACKPOT!
The most recent gem that I found tucked away in the magazine’s pages was a free screening of a couple of silent films. I almost passed. The thought of taking my children to something that lacked modern special effects, was not animated, and lacked the use of 3-D glasses made me slightly queasy. After all, in this day and age kids are bored so easily.

Finally, I mustered up the courage (and insanity) to bring them. I told the kids to bathe and get ready because I was taking them out on the town. It’s a shame I don’t own a flapper dress and feathered headband or I would have dressed the part.

When we arrived, I found that it was a very small gathering which was fine. The films were being shown at Cameron University. The event was hosted by the Magic Lantern Film Society. The two films they chose for that night were Sherlock, Jr. (1924) starring Buster Keaton and Speedy (1928) starring Harold Lloyd. Both films were comedies.
In typical fashion of my beloved offspring, the whining and the complaining commenced…

“There’s noooo tallllking?”

Note the emphasis on elongating the letters. I want you to feel my pain and HEAR their pathetic, whining voices.

“Why is it in blaaaack and whiiiite?”

“I’m borrrrrred!”

“That guy just said there are snacks. I’mmmm hungryyyyy!”
At first it was torture to the point I actually contemplated leaving then I remembered something important but sometimes detrimental to my own well-being. I am NO quitter. I will push forward no matter how stubborn I appear because regardless, I WILL get to the other side of whatever I am crossing. Win or lose. About twenty minutes into the first film, the kids were into it. They were laughing and predicting what would happen next. My hair for a few moments in time decided to take a rest from turning slowly gray.
My daughter said it reminded her of Bugs Bunny and “those guys that poke each other in the eyes and stuff.” Yes, friends. It appears I have failed at introducing my daughter to the humor of the Three Stooges. I promise to do better in my parenting in the future. As you can see, I am trying to redeem myself here!

During intermission, my son made an interesting observation. He says to me, “Why are there so many old people here?” Funny thing is what my children consider old. For instance, I’m thirty. My children constantly ask me about the “olden days” and “ancient times”. You know…when dinosaurs roamed the earth? Apparently, they think my husband clubbed me over the head and dragged me into his cave by my hair. I guess if you use it as a metaphor for “love” it isn’t entirely false.
After explaining to him that the film society itself is headed by folks who are in their 50s and 60s, the members themselves are mostly in their 60s and 70s with the exception of the students from Cameron University that belong to the group. I concluded by informing him that the best part was that should there be a zombie apocalypse while we were there at least the old folks were easy prey so we’d have a chance to get the hell out of there. He liked that idea.
I know most people immortalize Charlie Chaplin but in my opinion he doesn’t have anything on Buster Keaton in Sherlock, Jr. Keaton has a Hugh Laurie-esque look about him that reminded me of Laurie in the British sketch comedy show, A Bit of Fry & Laurie. In this film, Keaton plays a projectionist whose dream is to become a detective. After proposing to his girl, his rival frames him for stealing the watch of the girl’s father and Keaton is asked to leave. Later at work while showing a film about a stolen pearl necklace, Keaton falls asleep and dreams that he is in the film as the detective trying to crack the caper. What takes place next are lots of hijinks and sight gags that leave your sides hurting.

In Speedy, Harold Lloyd’s title character is a diehard Yankee fan. It first costs him his job as a soda jerk. Later, he manages to snag a job as a cabby. When by chance he manages to pick up the one and only Babe Ruth, he gives the Sultan of Swat the ride of his life all the way to Yankee Stadium. The Great Bambino’s appearance is delightful. Later in an effort to help his girl’s grandfather save his horse drawn trolley car business, he recruits the help of the local shopkeepers who use the car as a clubhouse each night. You can expect many sight gags and slapstick comedy as well as some good ol’ car chases not to mention a great street brawl between the shopkeepers and the thugs full of physical farce.

All in all, the films were entertaining. I wish local theaters would show more silent films from time to time especially comedies like these. If any of you get the chance to see either of these, you should do so. My children even asked when we could go back to see more.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

No Place Like Home

I’d like to say there is a true excuse for my lack of posts lately but the truth is I just haven’t felt like blogging. Not that I was lacking anything to write about. Just the month of December and January up to now are full of tales of sheer “idiocracy” and devastating woe. To get myself back on track, I will indulge you with the fun filled adventure of traveling with my sometimes pain in the ass but always interesting children. Lest we forget the infamous bus trip (Part I and Part II).

For Christmas, we went home…as in back to New Orleans. Normally these fun-filled family trips are driven by my husband and I sit at his right hand navigating my ass off and annoyingly monitoring the gas gauge as I have some twisted fear of running out of gas in the middle of nowhere. Call it what you want. I call it shamelessly watching waaaaay to may horror movies. Not to mention, I am also in charge of occasionally reaching into the back of the car to threaten the offspring for bickering over who is taking up a larger percentage of the oxygen that fills the back seat. Well, my dears, this trip I played a dual role. I was both driver and navigator. Although, as you read earlier “navigator” seems to be a jack of all trades role just like “mom”. How convenient!!

The morning we left was a frenzy of childish excitement. The kids were bouncing off the walls like they had just downed a Red Bull. The boy loaded all the suitcases into the back of the truck and the girl was instructed to load the coats into the front seat with the laptop. We say our goodbyes to the roommate, Buddy and Deuce the dog and hit the road on the 724 mile trip. Since I’m not accustomed to driving for so long, I had decided that I would stop halfway and stay in a hotel both ways.

Almost into Wichita Falls, I glance over to the pile of coats in the front seat and realize I don’t see mine. So ask my daughter if my coat is in the back seat with her. She informs me that my coat is on the kitchen table. Why is my coat on the kitchen table, you must be wondering to yourself. I was wondering the same exact thing as I thought freezing my ass off with only the hoodie I was currently wearing. So I say, “Girl, I’m confused. I told you to put the coats on the front seat. They were all piled next to the suitcases. Why did you put yours and your brothers into the truck and put MINE on the kitchen table???” Then I got the answer that all parents LOVE to hear. She replies, “I don’t know.”
Great! So we are an hour away from home and already this trip is becoming more fun by the minute. All I could think about for the next few moments was how I was going to turn into a human popsicle. Then it dawned on me…I was going to New Orleans where the humidity will melt your face off. So no worries.

Dallas always scares the hell out of me. I learned to drive in New Orleans and those people are scary as hell but those crazy Dallas folks are INSANE!! It seems from the numerous trips we have taken back and forth through that city, there is never a good time to drive through there.
Jesus, Tom Cruise, Buddha, and Oprah help you if you find yourself in Dallas during rush hour. Those people drive like they are are playing Grand Theft Auto and/or think they are on fire a la Ricky Bobby-style.  Luckily, I missed rush hour and I must not have been near a mall or shopping center because I didn’t hit any retarded amounts of holiday traffic. That was the quickest I ever moved through that city. EVER! I was sure to rub that in my husband face when I talked to him later that night.
My plan was to make it into Longview but since I didn’t run into any major traffic in Dallas, I made it into Shreveport. There I snagged a hotel room. The kids thought they were some sort of celebrities since the receptionist handed both of the kids goodie bags filled with candy and popcorn. I almost didn’t have the heart to tell them we held Priority Club memberships to the hotel chain. Later once the restaurant opened for dinner, I took them downstairs to feed them. I made sure to drink a few glasses of wine to settle my nerves. Hey! I just drove six hours in a vehicle with my children and now I’m stuck in a hotel room with them. Don’t judge me!!

After dinner, I made some phone calls and checked in with a few family members who wanted me to keep them updated on my whereabouts. Afterwards, we all took our turns showering and settled into the comfy beds. The kids fought over what to watch and I relaxed browsing the website trying to tune them out and convince myself NOT to call room service for an entire bottle of wine! It was hard but I managed.

The next morning we loaded up the truck again and headed to the restaurant for breakfast. Later we hit the road yet again. Most of the trip was smooth sailing that is until we got to Baton Rouge. I was sure we’d run into traffic once we were close to the Mall of Louisiana as it was December 23rd but this traffic was before the bridge even. I ended up discovering that the traffic was caused by a small amount to road construction and a whole lot of stupidity (i.e. people in southern Louisiana are not very educated in the ways of merging). Oddly enough, once I made it near the mall the traffic wasn’t too bad.

Finally we made it to our destination. We were set to spend about a week there, leaving just before New Year’s. We stayed in our normal spot at the Château Terry aka Nick’s grandparents’ house. Staying there was difficult though for both me and the children. In April Maw-Maw passed away.  So other than the funeral, this was the first time we had made it back. Part of me kept expecting her to walk out of her room at any moment. The kids confided in me on a few instances about similar feelings during our stay. They would tell me they were scared and I would tell them Maw-Maw was nothing to be scared of and if there were any ghost in the world I would want to cross my path it would be her. They would calm down. Once my daughter asked me what was she supposed to do if she saw Maw-Maw, I winked at her and told her “Tell her I said ‘Hi!’”.

The boy had a more difficult time dealing with the issue. A few days before we left to head home, we found out a friend of his from back in Oklahoma was dead. The fourteen months we had preparing the kids for the likeliness that Maw-Maw would pass once we found out she had cancer NEVER could have prepared me for how to help my 10-year old deal with the death of his friend at the hands of his parents. Don’t worry. More to come about that in a later post. I told you I had a list of things to blog about during my time on hiatus.

Anyway back to trip…

While we were there we visited here and there with family and friends. It is sort of stressful trying to spread yourself so thin. Everyone wants to see you. The kids had a blast being spoiled from every possible angle. They ended up racking in enough Christmas money to buy themselves each a new TV and entertainment center. I was glad that most people gave the kids cash. That was less stuff I had to lug back to Oklahoma. At one point, my daughter got sick with some sort of stomach bug which is no shock considering the air is full of the aroma of piss and puke thanks to years of Mardi Gras, oh, and death courtesy of Hurricane Katrina. Good ol’ New Orleans!!

The kids received a substantial amount of money that I managed to convince them to spend on something worth a crap instead of useless toys. They obliged once we made it back to OK.
We attended the annual Christmas Eve Party at my parents’ house. My sister and I usually make broccoli balls and eggrolls together. This year she insisted that she could get Bayou Broccoli like Copeland’s through her restaurant. Unfortunately they were not as yummy as we had hoped and she still had to fry them herself. She nearly burned the house down. I made the dipping sauce so at least one thing would come in tradition. For some reason, I’m still confused we did not do eggrolls. Mrs. Turner made some kick ass spin-dip. That’s spinach and artichoke dip for those that don’t know what’s up! Everyone that came brought goodies.

We did Secret Santa for the adults. My secret cheap-o totally jipped me!! It’s time for a deep breathing exercise right about now.

Pause for some pictures highlighting our trip...

My mom who is usually completely on edge during events like these was unusually calm. I secretly wondered to myself if she was popping Xanax in the bathroom or sipping something funny when no one was looking. Maybe she was huffing paint…oh wait, that’s someone ELSE’s mother I’m thinking of.

We also had the pleasure of meeting Paw-Paw’s lady friend. While I want him to happy and she seems very nice, it is still something that I need to get used to. It seemed to happen fast but who am I to put a time limit on anything for anyone other than myself? The girl child seemed oblivious to what was going on but the boy took a more defiant stance. He informed me that he was NOT going to call her Maw-Maw. I had to have a discussion with him basically letting him know that no one expects that at all but I expect him to show her some respect just as he would to any other grown up which he agreed to. On another occasion my daughter crawled in my lap and after relating to me how much she missed Maw-Maw. She then proceeded to enlighten me of her fear of the new lady-friend being mean to her. I then had to de-Disney deprogram her by letting her know that every new person that seems to replace another person isn’t always necessarily bad. We talked about how no one could ever replace Maw-Maw in our hearts. We just have to stretch it out to make room to fit one more.
I’d be lying if I said after the adventures above I wasn’t looking forward to going home. I was anxious to once again be in my solitude and not be so “popular” anymore. I joked to my husband that I was going to turn my phone off for a week after I made it back. The adventure was not over yet. We still had the trip home to tackle. Fate was laughing at me…I could hear it.

We began the trek back to Oklahoma with the same plan in mind…drive halfway, stop for the night, drive the other half. Once again, we ran into traffic in Baton Rouge. This time in lieu of the road construction I was lucky enough to be caught behind not one, not two, but THREE trucks carrying wide loads being escorted by state troopers. People get stupid cautious when they see a cop. The constantly tap their brakes and do grandma speed under the speed limit. Speed limit is 55 mph? Let’s do 35 mph. Every time I would get to multiple lanes that would allow me to get around the wide loads, I would get a few miles up the road only to be caught behind yet another one.

I finally made it into Shreveport and we stayed in the same hotel. We did the same song and dance as I described above during the previous visit. When we left the next day I decided to stop at the Texas welcome center. The kids enjoyed picking out brochures for places they would like to visit when there dad came home. When we finally got back on the road, we ran into the worse traffic of the whole damn trip!

Somewhere between Shreveport and Longview on the interstate when we were not at a complete standstill, we were doing 5 mph…10 mph when I was really lucky! Of course, I assumed somewhere up there one of the lanes were closed probably due to an accident. AND of course, when I finally saw the sign to say what lane was closed I OF COURSE was in the wrong lane. I immediately put my blinker on and started to try to find and opening or some with enough courtesy to let me over. I was unfortunate enough to be driving next to the biggest assholes on the planet. You know the ones. They drive as close to the other person as possible because GOD FORBID you get in front of them and get somewhere first.
After driving like this for a good half an hour trying with no luck to get their attention aka get them to stop avoiding eye contact with me, I finally had that road rage feeling come over me. I refrained from grabbing the tire iron and smashing in their windshields. Although that would have made for an interesting tale, right? I rolled down my window and put my head completely out of it and began yelling at the driver of the SUV next to me. “I’ve been trying to get over for the past 30 minutes! How about you stop being a tampon and let me in?” She looked at me like I was a complete lunatic and made an opening. Fuck her!
As for the other jackass, he was now in front of me in a company vehicle complete with a “How’s my driving?” bumper sticker. Guess who called that number? This chick, right here!! I made sure to report that he was driving on the shoulder trying to avoid the traffic and he had a wolf on his roof dancing to what I believe was “Surfing USA” by the Beach Boys but who can be sure. Afterwards just to annoy the twat behind me, I began letting a car from the other lane in front of me every few minutes or so because I’m courteous and, ok, slightly vindictive too. What?!?! I told you I learned to drive in New Orleans.
Once we were out of the traffic from Hades, the ride was smooth and uneventful. Again, there was no suicidal traffic in Dallas. As we entered Oklahoma, I stopped at their welcome center so the kids could pick out some more fun places they want to visit. Home was about an hour away and the turnpike lets you do 75 mph. GLORIOUS!!

Finally, we made it home in one piece, with no blood on our (my) hands. So I’m back and ready to fill in the darkness of the emptiness I left you guys with during my absence.