Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Oh, Tap!

So I started a tap class last week.

Yep, as in tap dance.

That's right.

Let me offer a bit of background on what brought me to that opening sentence.

My friend, Carisa, had some "deconstruction" surgery (if you will) last summer.

That is me and Carisa, her daughter Logan and my Ellie (acting
terribly excited to be photographed). We are at McDaniel's
basketball game. Carisa was quite spirited when the refs
made some iffy calls.

You can read about that here and here.
(Carisa's surgery, not her hollering at the refs at my daughter's basketball game.)

And more about Carisa  here.

Carisa announced even before the surgery that she wanted to take a tap class once she recovered from the surgery.

An act of "liberation" in her new "downsized" form 
(if you will).

Are we on the same page yet?

Well, 9 months later, we started tap dance class last week with our friend Julie.

Shopping for tap shoes was interesting.

Carisa was instantly drawn to the black and white saddle shoe meets zoot suit mobster looking tap shoes.

But they were $75.

We quickly asked for the "cheap section".

I had it in my head what my girls had when they tapped

when they were 3.

You know, the shiny mary janes with ribbon ties?

Yep, that's my feet on the left up there in the photo.

Carisa went with the understated oxford.

She did look at tutus as well.
But I am getting ahead of myself.

The write up on the class description suggested a dress code of tap shoes and a leotard.

Yeah, a leotard.

We asked our sweet dance store worker lady to define a leotard and she said,

"Like a one-piece bathing suit."

That's Carisa in the black.
I am in the red with my best
soap opera stare.
So. Not. Happening.

as Carisa suggested, 
she could wear several different tutus all over her body.

That might be worth seeing.

Sweet dance store worker lady suggested wearing yoga pants and a t-shirt instead.

Done and done.

Well, actually, we wore leggings and long t-shirts to our first class.

That plays a role later on.

We were all asked to fill out paper work in the dance studio lobby when we arrived for the first class.

We were asked to fill out things like 

Father's phone number and work address.

A few of the older ladies snickered.

I roughly assessed our class:

one senior citizen (just beautiful--her skin is like butter)
one slightly older
one my mom's age
three roughly same age 
one younger.

Everyone was very friendly and excited to be taking the class.

Then out walks our instructor.

Every bit of 68 years oldish.

All big blond hair with a flip,
very tanned skin,
heavily lined eyes,
orange peach lipstick,
at least 6 gold necklaces around her neck,
cute coordinating yoga pants and tank top,
(no leotard, thank you very much!)
looking VERY MUCH like someone who has said, 
"Kiss my grits!" to someone in her life.

Carisa and I looked at each other like, 

"Well, here we go."

The instructor's name is Judy and I could not have been MORE WRONG in my first impression of her.

I can't imagine her saying "Kiss my grits!" to anyone. 

Sweetest thing EVER.

She finds a way to compliment you even as you are berating yourself for messing up that step ball chain AGAIN!

I thought this class was going to be a lot of laughing and joking around and possibly getting into trouble by Judy for talking and/or passing notes in class.

I didn't think about the fact that there would be an ENTIRE WALL of mirrors in front of us.

Seriously, it is impossible to "sneak" 
when everyone can see everyone.

Not that I tried.

As soon as we started tapping I was hooked.

I was transfixed by spry little Judy with her energy and 

muscular arms.

Yep, Judy has some guns.

She told us that her mother started tap dancing after a knee replacement at the age of 75.


Our friend Julie came into class with high-heel tap shoes.

The show off.

And she was good.
And she WISELY stood in between Carisa and I.

I found out that tapping makes my thighs jiggle

a lot.

I saw them in the wall of mirrors.

I also found out that fashion leggings from Old Navy were not a smart choice in dance wear

because they S-T-R-E-T-C-H out

particularly in the crotch for whatever reason.

They started bagging down towards my knees fairly quickly 

and had me yanking them up all class.

I also found out that I should wear socks with my cute shiny mary janes with ribbon ties.

She didn't.

I had two whopper blisters on the tops of my feet 
by the end of class.

The more steps we learned, I found myself wanted to scream,

"SSHHH! I need to hear Judy!"

Tapping is loud. 

Especially when everyone is doing it at different times.

When it is done together.


We didn't use music until the last few minutes of our first class.

When Judy walked to the stereo, I was all thinking in my head,

"Well, it's about time."

Because I thought I would look like this:

Then Judy put on The Beach Boys and everything I learned went out the window.

I couldn't keep up.

Instead I felt like this:

She wrapped up the class by telling us we were great and she really liked us.

And to practice.

I wanted to hug her sweet big blond hair.

I came home and couldn't remember the names of the steps.

Or the steps.

I kept thinking I would YouTube a tutorial or something.

But I didn't.

I was SORE! 

I didn't anticipate what a workout tapping would be.

Julie, Carisa and I all go to a bible study on Tuesday mornings. 

There are the most precious older ladies that attend that bible study.

When one of them, Peggy, heard we were taking a tap class,

she hopped out of her chair and started doing

a little buffalo step
and kick ball chain.

She was fantastic!

I have

to learn.

Last night was the 2nd class and I had to admit to Judy that I went blank on everything and didn't practice.

She turned it all into a compliment somehow.

I love Judy.

We learned new steps on top of the old ones and listened to music more.

Like James Dean
and Frank Sinatra.

We "free form" danced a little more while Judy was fooling with the stereo.

I might actually practice this week.

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Big Pink Ball

Two weeks ago my oldest daughter, McDaniel, asked to ride her bike

(actually, her bike is having some tire tube trouble 
i.e. it's flat, 
so she rode Monte's bike) 

to her school to watch her friends playing softball, tennis and track all within walking distance of one another.

After having a sports schedule to follow since August, it is so nice that McDaniel can now just be a fan

watching and cheering for others for a change.

It was a warm, sunny day.

We heard storms were coming that night so we asked her to keep an eye on the sky and leave BEFORE it got scary.

We saw the sky getting darker and darker from our living room windows.

So we texted her.

No response.

We tried to call.

No response.

Why do we even pay for her to have a phone??

She finally responded that she had popped into a local sandwich shop for a bite to eat and just now saw the skies.

She was going to finish eating and be on her way.

It got windier 

and windier 
and darker 
and darker.

We expected to see her riding up the driveway any minute.

Instead the phone rang.

McDaniel's scared voice was on the line telling us the principal evacuated the entire track and softball teams and fans into the school cafeteria and was asking her to do the same.

We told her we were on the way to get her.

Monte helped me lay down the seats in the Manvan to accommodate his bike.

As we backed out of the driveway,

we saw a big pink ball 

bouncing down the middle of our street 
right towards us.

Considering the wind, it was moving relatively slow

just boinkity




UNTIL it got to our front yard

where it took a HARD RIGHT 

and boinkity bounced right into our yard.

Monte and I looked each other making sure we each saw what we just saw.

We did.

It was like this pink ball knew where it was going.

Then we realized McDaniel was still at school, scared and without a ride and the storm was still blowing in fast.

I zoomed to the school.

McDaniel ran right to the car with the bike and before I could even hop out to help put it in the car, Monte hopped on and yelled that he would just ride it home.


In this storm?!

McDaniel and I protested, but Monte was half-way down the street.

As we made our way home, a loud crack of lightning seemed to strike on the other side of the school track from us

right where Monte was pedaling down the street.

McDaniel cried out something to the tune of, "Daddy's dead!"

We tried to turn down a side street to intersect his path but it was blocked with school busses loading the opposing track and softball teams to head home.

Then we caught sight of him.

Monte is tall.

But his height is all torso height

not leg length.

In fact, at 6'3", his inseam is the same as my dad's who stands only 5'8".

[Close your eyes and just imagine that on a bike.]

Do it!

I'll wait.

Yeah, Monte on bike is like a lightning rod peadaling.

All height.

And he has very good posture.

I thought to myself as I saw him, "Hunker down!"

But he didn't.

He was riding so fast, I could hear the witch music from The Wizard of Oz.

Or he was caught in a wind gust.

Of course, we got stuck at a light.

"Go back and find him! Make sure he makes it home!" McDaniel kept pleading.

As soon as the light turned green we started our search.

We found him pulling into our drive--he beat us!

We all met up inside excited to be safe and home.

We forgot all about the big pink ball until the next day.

The girls asked about it and we explained its boinkity bouncing journey in the middle of the storm.

Its a wonder it didn't blow right out of our yard.

Our dog, Nigel, LOVED his new toy that always seemed a bit out of range to bite.

And it was nice to give him some much needed exercise.

We played with that ball many times after dinner hitting it back and forth to each other around a circle seeing how long we could keep it off the ground.

It was such a gift

this cheap, recess 

big pink ball.

It made us play together.

We took video of the dog enjoying it.

That is my finger on top of the video. Oops.

We took pictures of US enjoying it.

Doesn't it look like it is perched on the wires?
It's not.

Look by our hammock. Our kindergarten neighbor girl is watching us play.
Look by the tree. That is our neighbor's dog watching Nigel play. His name is Monte. I know. My 83-year-old
neighbor thinks she's funny. Especially when she hollers at the dog by name IN FRONT of Monte. The man.
 That is my finger on the bottom of the picture. Oops.

This big pink ball made others want to play.

When another storm blew in last week, we hurried to put it into the garage lest it decide to make another journey into another yard.

We weren't ready for it to leave just yet.

See, after a l-o-n-g season of golf and basketball and ice skating,

not to even mention the l-o-n-g-e-s-t winter EVER,

we needed this big pink ball to get us to just play.

We laughed and laughed and got competitive and yelled at each other and screamed eww when it landed in dog poop.

Or when we landed in dog poop.

But we cleaned off and continued to play.

I got this picture last night via email while McDaniel and I were at a meeting.

It said, quite simply, "R.I.P. pink ball."

Nigel finally figured out how to sink his teeth into it.

We are sad.

I know, we can go to any grocery store and replace the ball

and believe me, we will.

But there was something so special about the way it came to us

in a storm

and reminded us to play.

**We were featured on The Lettered Cottage playing with the big pink ball! Go check it out!**

katherines corner

Friday, April 19, 2013

Boston and Bible Study

If I could even put 3 words together to describe my feelings about what happened in Boston, I hope it would've sounded like this.

Such a great read from Jennifer Dukes Lee.

On Tuesday mornings, I help with a 4th and 5th grade bible study at my daughter's elementary school.

It meets at 7:30 am and is parent led.

The mom that taught on Tuesday morning has never taught before.

And we had never met.

She taught on Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego 
and the fiery furnace from Daniel 3.
(You KNOW I just had to pull out my bible to get the spelling right on these names. 
Spell check was NOT coming to my aid.)

This mom talked about faith and how Jesus is ALWAYS the 4th man in the fire with us.

The Father, 
the Son, 
and the Holy Spirit

and then US.

The TV show "The Bible" did this story beautifully.

I pick up a car load of girls each Tuesday morning on the way to bible study.

This past Tuesday morning one little girl was all panicked chatter about what happened in Boston.

Her parents were getting ready to get onto a plane for Ireland just minutes after word of the Boston bombing came out.

Not comforting news for a 5th grade girl 
worried about her parents leaving the country 

This poor girl seemed fixed on the uncertainty of it all.

The whys?
The whodunits?
The what's nexts?

My attempts to give her peace failed.

I watched her shoulders relax when the precious mom talked about our God being in 
every fire with us.

That we weren't designed to go it alone.

We prayed.

For peace.
For light in darkness.

For comfort.

I approached the mom afterwards to thank her for 

the thought out lesson

in light of the disturbing Boston bombings.

She said she planned the lesson before the bombings as a prompting from God. 

She thought it was a reminder about something 
He had worked out in her life 
some time ago.

I explained the panic of the girl in my car that morning.

Of her shoulders relaxing from the comfort of knowing she isn't alone.

And neither was anyone in Boston.

As we stood there staring at each other in 

wordless wonder 


I felt so bonded with this woman

I had never met before.

It was all afresh for me.


that this is what He intended for us.

To encourage

support one another,


To RUN TOWARDS the hurting

to shed HIS light on the darkness.

When Jesus spoke again to the people, he said, 
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, 
but will have the light of life."
John 8:12

A Royal Daughter

Monday, April 15, 2013

Motion Sickness Fix

No, I am not going to say root beer. 

I have been reading the blog, My Blessed Life 

for a few years now. 

Myra has some great tips on 
DIY projects 
and her recipes are wonderful! 

Her banana chocolate chip muffins are in regular rotation at our house.

Check out her blog!

Back in March, she posted a natural motion sickness fix. 

My ears perked up since I knew we were making the long drive to Florida and we were headed to Disney World.

And we ALL have been prone to car sickness in my family.

Oh, the gory stories I could tell.

But I won't…today.

We have tried Dramamine. 
It either puts us into a coma 
(not an option for the driver)
or doesn't work.

Myra's tip is to mix a few drops of peppermint oil into olive oil and rub it behind your ears and on your belly when you are feeling urpie.

This really did the trick!

The peppermint tingles on your skin and everything smells fresh and toothpaste clean.

We all tried it--even Monte who can be skeptical of new things and is very sensitive to smells.

I bought little travel size containers and mixed up some oil and peppermint and stuck it in a ziploc and put it in my bag for Disney.

You know what?

I forgot all about it.

Even when we were searching the entire Magic Kingdom park for root beer after my encounter on Space Mountain.

And I had the cure in one of the million zipper pockets of my bag the entire time!

I know, because I just found the container Friday night 
looking for my lipstick.

But now I have the mixture for the future.

Like the next time I decide to hop on the swing in the backyard.


I just read this morning it can work for headaches too when rubbed on your temples and the back of your neck.

I will be trying that next.

Friday, April 12, 2013


Our women's bible study group at church has just started to read through Philippians.

Philippians is a good book with the instruction on not being anxious and thinking on good things.

This morning, in chapter 1:7-8, it struck me when Paul said this:

"God can testify how I long for all of you 
with the affection of Christ Jesus."

WITH the affection of Christ Jesus.

Meaning feeling towards others as Jesus feels towards them.


It is no coincidence that I when I read this this morning,  I had my neighbor on my mind.

My neighbor who came over last night

with a black eye.

A black eye that she received trying to restrain a little boy that was in a fit.

Her daughter was was babysitting the boy

and called her mom for back up.

The daughter felt sick for her mom's injury and told me herself that she wish it were her with the black eye.

She'd come up with a good story on how she got it.
(Never selling out the truth lest it further hurt the family the boy belongs to.)

I asked if she'd ever babysit for the boy again.

"Sure. I love him. He was just having a bad day."

Not the reaction I expected.
Or even the one I'd probably have.

My neighbor hasn't been able to leave her house since the incident

because she doesn't want to be 
a walking billboard 
for the little boy's bad day.

She doesn't want to further harm the family.
(Who feels just terrible about the incident.)

The compassion in her voice

and albeit bruised face 

was nothing short of astonishing.

I gave her a big pair of sunglasses to better cover her darkened eye.

I offered to pick some things up at the store.

But what I really wanted to do was unzip her heart 

just a teence 

and let that compassion

that "affection of Christ Jesus"

ooze out all over me.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Another Looksee At Spring Break…Part 2

Where were we?

Oh yeah, still in Orlando at Downtown Disney.

There is the largest Disney store in the world at Downtown Disney.
Shocking, huh!
Pocahontas was hanging out in a canoe on the
ceiling. McDaniel LOVES Pocahontas.

That is her watching Pocahontas with her
John Smith and Pocahontas dolls.
McDaniel really thought she was going to find a Pocahontas t-shirt or sweatshirt somewhere at Magic Kingdom or Downtown Disney.


But I happened to overhear a worker in the Disney store tell a guy about a "make your own t-shirt" shop in the same shopping center.


It was a Hanes shop with computer kiosks that looked like t-shirts.

You could choose a long sleeve, short sleeve or fitted t-shirt in a small choice of colors.

Then you could pick your graphic images by Disney princess, Disney TV, Disney movies or Disney characters.

No. Pocahontas.

We even asked someone about it.

No. Pocahontas.

Ellie picking out her shirt.
 This is what McDaniel came up with since, in case you didn't hear, there was no Pocahontas.

McDaniel threw in the lyrics of a song from Pocahontas. Take that Downtown Disney!
 We were trying to look for lyrics to a Little Mermaid song for Ellie when she typed this up:

 It says:

Some days I wish
That I was her.
Yes, a mermaid.

Can you hear the single sad sound of a lone violin playing?
Ellie is definitely hitting the sullen hormonal roller coaster of adolescence.

We had to wait an hour for the shirts to be made so we went to a candy store nearby.

McDaniel ordered a custom Mickey shaped rice krispie treat on a stick.

It was so heavy.

Slowing down. Look at all the M&Ms
that have fallen off onto the plate.

When we picked the shirts up after an hour, we were instructed that we had to turn the shirts inside out to wash and hang them to dry.

I asked a simple question like, 

"Every time?" 
(Maybe with just a teence bit of annoyance.)

And the guy in charge got very persnickety.

"Well, only if you want them to stay nice!"
And he may or may not have done a Z snap.
(Ok, not. But it was heavily implied.)


I am NOT one of those people who fuss over the 
wear and tear and care of clothes.

I dry my bras.
And sometimes my bathing suits.

I know.


Moving on.

We loved having our own little pool at our condo.

It had these pool rules posted on the wall outside:

I won't say which ones we violated.
What do you think got back to the owners that they felt compelled to post this sign??

And why did the duck push the bunny?

Is a duck even capable of pushing a bunny?

You know, with the wings and all?
The girls caught us shoved in the corner catching the
last bit of sun on our last night there.

On the long drive home we decided to drive a different way which including going through Atlanta.

But we forgot that the Final 4 was being hosted by Atlanta the very night we were driving through!


We sailed through downtown but got stuck an hour south of the city and an hour north.

The things you see on the road.

Anyone want to buy a used hearse? Just 80,000 miles.

We saw this at a gas station somewhere in Tennessee.
I love the Teriyaki Express sign in the background.

Wait. 80,000 miles?
Don't they JUST drive from the church to the cemetery?
Or did someone make this their actual vehicle?
Can you imagine pulling into a drive-thru window in a hearse?

I texted a few people. 
No one was interested. 
I wanted to call shot-gun 
so we could pull into a drive-thru window 
and I could see the reaction.

Somewhere in Kentucky Monte decided the girls needed these from a gas station.

They are hats/scarves/mittens.
They are either a flamingo 
or a pink rooster
and a panda.

He said they were a "good deal".

This from the guy who won't let me buy 
Viva paper towels 
because "we aren't made of money."

The trip seemed to go on and on and on and it seemed we stopped at

EVERY SINGLE McDonald's along the way.

Monte decided to stretch a little while in line to order our fruit smoothies.

The girls were MORTIFIED!

McDaniel said to me,

"Mom! He is your husband! Make him stop!"

I informed her I was bored.

So I would allow it.

You should have seen the old guy standing behind Monte when he started doing jumping jacks.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Another Looksee At Spring Break

I know,

one more post about Spring Break and I will be done.

 Hey, I am counting this as a scrapbook 
so I don't have to cut and paste anything 
and /or even print out the pictures.

There is Monte waving at the top.

 Our condo in Orlando had this big slide at the pool. The girls enjoyed it so Monte thought he'd give it a whirl.

Things Monte learned AFTER that he should've learned BEFORE going down the slide:

•You must be wet before going down an enclosed 
water slide with little to no water current.
•There probably is a height/weight maximum.
•Grown-ups just look silly going down water slides.

 First of all, Monte took a REALLY long time meandering his way down the slide.

I knew exactly where he was due to the banging, shaking and LOUD raspberry-like sound of his dry skin squeaking along the not-wet-enough inside of the slide.

You know the sound of squeaking tennis shoes 
on a basketball court? 
(sweet music to my Hoosier ears)

Kinda like that but more baritone.

The slide spit him out half-way across the pool.

And he had some decent red marks from the beating.

T-Rex Cafe

 We woke up to pouring rain on Thursday and decided to make that our "shopping day" at Downtown Disney.

Unfortunately, many, many, MANY people decided the exact same thing.

We had trouble finding a place to park.

We got a map of the outdoor shopping center and saw that there was a T-Rex Cafe there

with ANIMATRONIC dinosaurs.

I know, I should've been leery after  our 
Disney "mishap" with animatronics.

But it was DINOSAURS!

Since before I can remember, I have had a thing about dinosaurs. 

I actually could spell the word dinosaur before I could spell my own last name.

I would read EVERYTHING I could find on dinosaurs and then write articles about my findings

Friday, April 05, 2013

Disney--The Day After

Going to Disney World makes you tired in an all-over body way that only getting run over by a large truck could come close to.

Why is that?

Disney dead tired.
Monte and I were still weak the next day.

And the girls were still singing that theme song from 

The simple task of blowing up a pool toy had Monte worrying the girls that he was going to fall face down on the floor.

We asked if he was ok and he said,
Nice hair.
Then the girls had to focus on worrying about me.

Thanks to the malfunctioning of Disney's Splash Mountain ride, the intense Florida sun and the Lilly whiteness of my Ohio tan--

I ended up with this.


Double ouch!
I had a real problem.

We woke up to another beautiful day and I wanted to enjoy it by the pool without causing myself 3rd degree burns.

I kept thinking that some sort of Swim Dickie would just be about perfect to cover my ouchie parts yet give the other parts the freedom and exposure to tan.

You know, something in a nice swimshirtish material that would be light and quick drying.

Why didn't I bring my hot glue gun with me?!

This is what I came up with given my limited resources:

It is my cover up turned hooded Swim Dickie with
optional ascot.
My cover up has a hood which proved crucial since the tops of my ears were pretty crispy red as well.

I really liked turning the long sleeves of my cover up into a scarf-like ascot so that no sun could get in.

I felt protected and yet still ready to enjoy a day at the pool.
(I am going to make sure that line gets read in the infomercial.)

This was OUR own little tiny personal pool so I didn't socially scar the girls for having to be seen with me wearing my Swim Dickie (with optional ascot) in full public view.

That is, until the pool boy popped up in the the back yard

making me scream

and run into the condo to hide.
Come on, comfortable as I was, 

I knew I looked like an idiot.
(Or at least like a suntanning version of the uni-bomber).

And he had an adorable Australian accent too (the pool boy)
(that Monte quickly and LOUDLY adopted and used when replying to the poor guy as he attended our pool).

If I didn't scare him, Monte for sure offended him.

You can't take us anywhere.

I Can't Make This Stuff Up

If I could, I wouldn't be so surprised when crazy things happen. And they do. All the time. Much to my surprise. We went o...