Saturday, February 28, 2009


My friend, the Trophy Wife, is a great story teller. I love spending time with her because besides the fact that she is a warm and caring friend, she is also a lot of fun and very smart. We caught up on my way home from work one day this week. I was telling her about our stroll thru the shopping plaza. She said, "Did I ever tell you about the time I met JJ and the Chef at Johnny Rockets last summer?" I said that I didn't think so and the story began.

It was a Friday and the TW worked late that day. Her youngest daughter had gone to a concert (the only child left at home) and her husband, the Rocket Scientist, was out of town on business. She didn't feel like going home to an empty house on a Friday night so she called her friend, JJ. JJ and her husband, The Chef, were already at Johnny Rockets having burgers when the TW called. They invited her to join them because even though they were already eating, they were still waiting for their daughter to join them and planned to stay awhile and visit.

TW rushed over to the shopping center and drove all around looking for a parking space. The plaza is always packed on Friday night because of the movie theatre and all the restaurants. The parking garage was closed due to construction to add another floor (because of the lack of parking). She didn't want to keep her friends waiting and was getting more and more frustrated with each unsuccessful loop around the parking lot. She finally gave up and valeted the car. She rushed up the stairs to Johnny Rockets and joined JJ and The Chef.

Once she joined her friends, she forgot all about the parking fiasco. She was happy to enjoy the company of her good friends while she ate her meal. At one point, a man she didn't recognize came to their table to speak with The Chef. She explained that she rarely goes anywhere with JJ and the Chef that they don't run into someone they know. They own a very nice restaurant in the area and do a lot of charity work. They know a lot of people. TW was checking on her daughter via text messaging when the gentleman walked over and joined them. She was only half paying attention to their conversation. After the man left, the subject was changed and she forgot to ask about the man to whom they were talking.

When it came time to leave, The Chef went to get his car and JJ walked TW to the valet counter. That's when the same man from the restaurant approached them again. They struck up a conversation about the need for valet parking at the shopping center and this was all TW needed to remember her frustration upon her arrival. She began to tell the man about how hard it was to find a parking space and how poorly planned the parking area was. She went on to say, "Whoever designed this shopping center is a stupid idiot!"

That's when the man smiled and said, "I guess that would be me. I'm the architect."

This whole time JJ was making googly eyes at TW, coughing and quietly doing everything she could think of to stop her tirade but TW was hearing none of it. She was on a roll. And now she was feeling quite embarrassed. She apologized, of course but what can you say after something like that? "Oh, I didn't really mean it?" Of course you can't say that.

The architect was very gracious about it and said that in his defense, when the plaza was planned; it was supposed to be office space and restaurants. However the developers were unable to market it as office space and it was changed to retail leasing. That made a huge difference in the need for parking.

Don't worry, TW was eventually able to get her foot out of her mouth.

Has this ever happened to you? Do you have an Open Mouth, Insert Foot moment to share? It would make the TW feel so much better.

Friday, February 27, 2009


Last weekend My Harley Stud and I had plans to go out for the night. We were going to check out a new shopping center that we hadn't experienced yet and then go for pizza. I thought it would be a nice way to spend the evening. You might be scratching your head now wondering why I would say "experience the shopping center." Well, allow me tell you. There is a new trend in shopping centers here. They are no longer just places to run in and buy that new pair of socks or shower curtain that you need. Noooooooooooo, it's a virtual amusement park of commerce. These shopping plazas are an open-air delight to the senses. There are beautifully landscaped botanical gardens complete with waterfalls and statues. You can meander in and out of the many shops at your leisure. Coffee shops complete with outdoor tables and chairs, restaurants aplenty, cute little boutiques and organic grocery stores are all at your disposal. You can catch a movie and then be entertained by the singing, dancing servers at Johnny Rockets while you enjoy your burger and fries. Or…………………… can refinance your mortgage and indulge yourself at one of the many gourmet restaurants. Close your eyes, take a deep breath and you can smell ………….the money. While the entire world is in a mudslide that is our economy, Palm Beach County has always been the land of milk and honey. It takes a little longer for the Palm Beachers to feel the pain. I suppose they have this type of shopping center everywhere now but I'm from a small town in Indiana and even after 28 years here, I am still amazed at all the razzle-dazzle.

Remember my friend the Trophy Wife? She called just before we were about to leave for our little outing. The TW and I hadn't spoken for awhile and needed to catch up. I explained what our plans were for the evening and asked if she and the Rocket Scientist would like to join us. She said that the RS wasn't home from work yet but she would call to see where we were once he got home. She told me to be sure to check out the menu at one of the higher-end restaurants at the plaza. It's a steakhouse where she and the RS went with the VP of his company. I gasped when she told me their portion of the bill for the meal was over $200.00. I laughed and told her that meant she personally consumed over $100 worth of food and beverage. "That can't be good for your diet." She laughed and agreed that it would be a long while before they went there again. I've always considered myself a cheap date (not THAT kind of cheap date) because I'm so easily entertained. The idea of forking over $200+ for two meals leaves me speechless. OK, nothing really leaves me speechless, I know. It's a steak for Pete's sake! I know the alcohol tab can make the total skyrocket but these two are not really big drinkers.

My Harley Stud and I enjoyed our walk through the plaza and we made it out of there without spending a cent. I entertained the idea of a coffee creation at Starbucks but decided I wasn't really in the mood for coffee. We explored Urban Outfitters and laughed at all the entertaining phrases printed on napkins, cups, notepads and t-shirts. MHS indulged me by escorting me into just the cutest little gift-shop EVER where I got thousands of ideas for future gift-giving. The pièce de résistance was strolling thru the kitchen store where I was like a kid in a candy store telling MHS, "I want this and this and this."

We left the plaza and went to a little Italian restaurant where we ordered a pizza. Just as our pizza arrived, my phone alerted me to a voicemail. I hadn't even heard the phone ring. The message was from TW and she had left it an hour earlier. Cursing mobile phone technology, I called TW only to discover they had given up on us and went to another restaurant. We were all disappointed that we missed a rare opportunity to get together. The Rocket Scientist travels frequently in his job and they have a much busier social calendar than MHS and I have. But on a brighter note, the pizza was great as was the service and we really enjoyed ourselves. The best part: Our bill WASN'T $200.00!

TW called this week so we could have our catch-up session that we missed on Friday night. She had a great story for me that was related to the plaza of which I speak in this post. Stay tuned for tomorrow where I share the Trophy Wife's story.

** It just occurred to me that this post might qualify as a MONEY IN THE BANK tip. **

Thursday, February 26, 2009

A LOVE STORY......The Second Time Around

**Last week I jumped on the Spin Cycle. Sprite's Keeper assigns a weekly prompt and then issues orders to all who are willing to "Have at it!" This week's topic is Change. You can check all the other spins at Sprite's Keeper's site.**

After my mother's death, understandably, Daddy was depressed. After completely dedicating himself to taking care of her during her illness, he didn't seem to know what to do with himself after she was gone. Before Mom's illness, Daddy enjoyed fishing, tinkering with tools, gardening and helping friends with many neighborhood projects. After Mom died, he lost interest in pretty much everything. It was like he was just waiting to die also. We all tried to pull him out of it but he just wasn't the same.

He turned a corner while visiting his brother and sister-in-law in North Carolina. He met a friend of theirs that was visiting from California. They went out to dinner together and Daddy enjoyed himself for the first time in awhile. The lady friend, who we will call Louise, returned to California and Daddy came back home to Florida. They began to talk on the telephone. It was during this time that Daddy starting referring to her as "That Louise". You see, we have a dear family friend with the same name and he would use "That" to clarify about whom he was speaking. I found this quite humorous and began to give "That Louise" updates to my friends. Daddy and I are very close and he was very open with me about his budding friendship. It wasn't long before "That Louise" was making plans to visit Daddy in Florida. She stayed less than a week. He didn't sound very happy during our daily phone chats that week. He called me from the airport after her plane departed and left this message on my voicemail: "Free at last, free at last! Thank God almighty, I'm free at last!"

And that was the last we ever heard of "That Louise."

While Daddy and "That Louise" didn't quite hit it off, her visit did accomplish one thing: It made an announcement to the neighborhood, his family, friends and the community at large that the man was ready to entertain the idea of companionship.

It was about a week later that friends from across the lake came to visit and brought someone with them. I'm told that this couple, the Snowbirds, were coming to visit Daddy and while walking to their boat, they came across Miss Daisy who was doing some gardening. They asked if she would like to come along. They explained that they had a friend they thought she should meet. She politely declined. They persisted. She begged off saying she was dirty from gardening and it would take too long to get ready. The Snowbirds wouldn't quit. They were clearly on a mission. They were about to return to Indiana and couldn't leave without putting their matchmaking skills to the test. They insisted their friend wouldn't care that she wasn't wearing make-up or that she was a bit dirty. She eventually relented but insisted on at least combing her hair. And across the lake they went.

I try to talk to Daddy every day. I called that day during the Snowbirds' and Miss Daisy's visit. There was something in my father's voice when he said Miss Daisy's name that stuck in my head. A few weeks later, he called me. Alert! I call him every day to chat. If he calls me, there's a reason. He quickly dispensed with all the pleasantries and said, "I've been seeing someone."

"Miss Daisy?" I asked?

He was shocked. "How did you know?"

"I don't know, just something about the way you said her name a few weeks ago when she visited with the Snowbirds."

Daddy apparently called my sister and brother to make the announcement too. My brother, Smitty, the family gossip, wasted no time getting on the phone. "Did you talk to Dad? What do you think? Have you met her? Do you think they're having sex?"

At which point, I screeched into the phone, "Geez, Smitty, I don't know! And I don't want to know! Lalalalalalalalalalala Stop it! Not another word!"

The consensus of all the kids was that we were happy if he was happy.

The Snowbirds, as it turns out, have mad matchmaking skills. Miss Daisy and Daddy had so much in common, it was almost creepy. Let me count the ways:

  1. Miss Daisy's husband died a little over a month after my mother died.
  2. Both Mom and Mr. Daisy died from colon cancer.
  3. They had the same doctor.
  4. Daddy and Miss Daisy had never met before that visit but Miss Daisy and my mother were in the same women's' club.
  5. Miss Daisy is from the same county in Indiana and she and Daddy know a lot of the same people.
  6. Miss Daisy's brother worked with my father in Indiana.

Weird, huh?

A few weeks later, we drove up to visit Daddy. We were introduced to Miss Daisy briefly but she wasn't around much during our visit. The funny thing was that every time we couldn't find my father, he was outside on his cell talking to his girlfriend. It was a little strange. But it was clear that he was in much better spirits than he had been for over a year. I actually found it pretty funny. He was acting like a 16 year old boy.

It was a few months after that visit that Daddy and Miss Daisy came to visit us for the weekend at our home. I have to admit it was a little awkward watching my father swapping spit with his girlfriend on my couch. At one point, while walking thru the living room with a laundry basket, I joked, "Get a room!"

I have friends who have admitted that they wouldn't like it if one parent began dating after the other died. But seriously, why would you want your mother or father to be lonely? I would be lying if I said that it didn't feel a little like betraying my mother by accepting Miss Daisy in the beginning. But after getting to know her, I like her, I love her. I love that she makes my father happy. She's funny and warm and as sweet as can be. And she is nothing like my mother. For me, that's a good thing. It would be very weird if they were anything alike.

Daddy and Miss Daisy were married six months later in a quiet ceremony with no friends or relatives. My siblings and I were happy for them but at the same time, we didn't think that we wanted to be there. And we weren't invited they preferred a private ceremony anyway. They came to my house a few days later. MHS and D2 were in Indiana and D1 was away at college. I was their honeymoon entertainment. I'm quite the one man band, you know.

While they were visiting, we ran into a neighbor at the grocery store. I introduced my friend to my father and then stuttered……………….and this is my……………….My what? I barely knew this woman and while I liked her, at forty *cough* hmmm years old, I wasn't about to refer to her as my step-mother. At the same time, "my dad's wife" sounded a little cold. I already had the "my" part out of my mouth and then I followed it with "Daisy". And since then she has been My Daisy. I address cards to her as My Daisy and she signs them that way too.

It's been an adjustment for all of us, most certainly for Daddy and for My Daisy. But even their friends have slipped and called My Daisy by my mother's name. But life goes on. Things change. During my mother's illness, my father and I had a mantra: "The only thing we know for sure………….is that we don't know anything for sure."

Change is inevitable. It's the only thing that endures. Someone said that once and if it wasn't almost midnight, MHS wasn't harassing me to go to bed and I didn't have to get up for work tomorrow, I'd look it up but instead I'll leave that to you if you're interested.

And just to let you know that I'm not a complete slacker, I did look up this quote for you:

"Change is the constant, the signal for rebirth, the egg of the phoenix." Christina Baldwin

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I'm a little more proud of this picture than I should be as my little point and shoot camera requires no skills. I just love the colors of this dish.

Our local grocer showcases weekly recipes using the items that are on sale that week. There is a booth set up where a store employee makes the recipes and then dishes out samples. Over the last couple of years I have struck up somewhat of a friendship with the woman who runs the booth at my store. I look forward to sampling the weekly recipe and chatting with her about her cooking techniques and how I might improvise the recipe. (I have a hard time following recipes exactly as they are written.) This week's recipe was so good, so fast and relatively inexpensive that I thought I would share it with you. Next time you're short on time but want something good for your family or even company, try out this recipe. You won't regret it.

Chicken Saltimbocca (translates to: Leap in the Mouth)


1/4 cup flour
1 lb boneless chicken cutlets I used the individually frozen thin sliced chicken breast because I already had them in my freezer.
1 tablespoon canola oil
4 slices prosciutto (about 2 1/2 oz)
1/8 teaspoon pepper
4 small fresh sage leaves (rinsed) Any herb will do here. I did use the sage and it was delicious but you only need four leaves and now every meal this week will have to be seasoned with sage so it doesn't go to waste.
4 thin slices Swiss cheese
1 cup specialty tomato basil pasta sauce


1. Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Place flour in shallow bowl. Dip chicken in flour, coating both sides, then shaking off any excess (wash hands).
2. Place oil in pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken (wash hands); cook 3–4 minutes on one side.
3. Turn chicken; reduce heat to medium. Place one slice of the prosciutto on each cutlet and sprinkle with pepper; add one sage leaf and top with one slice of the cheese. Cover and cook 3–4 more minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165°F. Use a meat thermometer to accurately ensure doneness.
4. Meanwhile, place pasta sauce in microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave on HIGH 3–4 minutes or until hot. Spoon sauce onto serving plates, place chicken on sauce, and serve.

Arugula Salad


1 bag baby arugula leaves (4–5 oz) This would be good with any dark green or mix of greens.
1/4 cup roasted garlic almonds I used unsalted whole almonds and chopped them myself because I already had them in my pantry.
2 tablespoons cooked bacon pieces I bought the pre-cooked bacon. MHS felt didn't care for the smoky, salty flavor it added to the salad. I made the salad again the next day without the bacon and he liked it much better.
2 tablespoons pre-diced onions I used a red onion and chopped it myself. How hard is it to chop an onion?
2 tablespoons Caesar dressing I used Paul Newman's and it is very good. I don't think it really tastes too much like Caesar but instead a really good Italian dressing. But that's just me.

I added a side of high fiber multi-grain linguini and garlic bread.

What's your go-to recipe when you need something fast?

Monday, February 23, 2009

I’M THE WINNER! ………and the loser

Ladies and Gentlemen, things are looking up. I, Smart Mouth Broad, have won a prize. I never win anything. But those days are over………..because today…………I'm a WINNER! Last week, Midlife Slices posted a quiz on her blog. What she didn't tell us was that whoever answered the question correctly would win a prize. You just never know what leaving a comment will bring you. Well, it took me practically all day but I kept guessing and finally got the answer. We won't mention that not a lot of work got done at my desk that day.

My Harley Stud called me at work today to let me know a package had arrived at the house for me. I told him to open it. He recognized the Texas address and thought he heard something ticking inside said he thought I should open it myself since it was my prize.

Only the most beautiful cosmetic case ever!

And look! It's really three prizes in one!

Thanks, Midlife Slices! My cosmetics have never been housed so beautifully!

Things are certainly turning around. If I'm winning prizes, can economic recovery be far behind?

I also wanted to give you an update on my ongoing quest for fitness and the search for the lost physique of my youth. I've been a little embarrassed to mention this before now but remember that yoga class last week? Well………apparently there were muscles stretched and awakened that had been hibernating since the Stone Age. I've been suffering from muscle spasms in my back and neck since the following day. I've been on muscle relaxers and ibuprofen all weekend. Today, still feeling stiff and kinky (not like that, you pervs) I decided instead of self-medicating, I was going to shake it off at the gym by taking a Latin Impact class. I know……………………looking back it doesn't seem like such a good idea to me either.

First, if I haven't made this clear in the past, I live in South Florida where we have a huge Latin population. The instructor for this class is Hispanic. Every woman in the class seems to be of Latin descent. And in walks the WASP. But it wasn't my looks that made me stand out in the crowd.

The class began and it quickly became very clear that I have been gifted with amazing Latin dance moves no Latin hips. I seem to want to involve my torso too much when it's the hips that are supposed to be doing all the work. I can't dance free-style but if you give me choreography, I can learn anything. The problem is that learning the moves is one thing. Making them look good is quite another. The entire class is in Spanish. That certainly doesn't help. After 28 years of living in South Florida, I am fluent in a few select phrases. I can say "I'm sorry, Ma'am but *Spanish speaking co-worker* is not in the office now. Please call back later. Or "in 5 minutes." Or "tomorrow. " And I do it so well that Spanish speaking people will then launch into their entire story in Spanish at which point, I have to inform them in English that I'm done. That's all I know.

The instructor smiled at me a lot. Not the kind of smile that says, Bravo, SMB, you are doing awesome! Who knew you could move like that! No, that's not the look. This look is more……….pobre y pobre gringa. That's the best I can do with free translations dot com. Meaning loosely: You poor, poor, American woman. To my Spanish speaking readers, please accept my apologies for butchering your beautiful language.

Don't think that will stop me though. I had a great time. I'll go back even if the teacher does think I'm a loser. If I haven't proven it already, I'm not easily embarrassed. Have I mentioned this class is in a room that faces the gym with a glass wall? That's right, the entire gym can and does watch the class in progress. Who cares! I'm having fun.

All I really need is Max from Dancing with the Stars to work with me a little. I'm sure he could teach me to move my hips.

And if I'm not in traction tomorrow, I'm going back to yoga on Wednesday.


There's too much to do at the MHS/SMB household these days. It seems like all we do is work, work, work. By Saturday afternoon, both My Harley Stud and I were feeling like "who did it and ran". We needed an escape. Fortunately for us, we have a motorcycle in the garage and a beach close by. It only took me a few minutes to get ready to ride when he suggested that we "get outtahere" for awhile. MHS knows where to go to calm my nerves, unruffle my feathers and soothe my soul: The Beach. More specifically to the inlet.

The inlet calls to me. The lighthouse beckons. I love to watch the boats come in and go out. It makes my day to walk along the fisherman on the jetty and peer into their buckets to see their daily catch. It gives me great joy to walk along the sea wall and look down into the crevices between the huge rocks to search for crabs that live there. The birds are flying overhead and diving into the water to show off their superior fishing skills. There are kids with boogie boards and old men chatting on park benches. It's a people watching feast. It's clear that I'm not the only one to which the inlet calls. Young and old, sportsman and photographers, tourists and locals, we all love the inlet.

It's easy to get caught up in the tasks of day to day life and forget to take time to smell the roses or the sea salt as the case may be. Sometimes we have to remind ourselves that we live in a sub-tropical paradise.

There were no crabs to be found that day. Darn!

I did find one Mountain Dew bottle but I didn't take a picture.

Littering makes me mad.

I like it when the fisherman are bold enough to climb out onto the rocks. Then I don't have to worry about getting tangled in their lines on my crab hunt along the sea wall.

I guess it wasn't a very good day for fishing because not one bucket had something fun to see.

Look at this handsome devil trying to pick up chicks.

Isn't it lovely?

Where do you go to get away from it all?

Sunday, February 22, 2009


I had no intention of posting anything today. I've got so much on my to-do list, I need a month of Sundays to check off all of them. But before putting on my running shoes, I decided to check my email and found a note from my friend, Mike Birbiglia there. OK, so he's not really my REEEAL friend. He's my all-time favorite comedian. I subscribe to his blog that is called My Secret Public Journal. Birbigs, he lets me call him that because we are like "THIS" (insert index and middle finger crossed), is one of those guys you just can't help but love.

I'm always trying to convert my family and friends to be Birbigs fans too. I'll ask them to watch when he is scheduled for an interview. The funny thing is that he NEVER comes off in an interview as funny as he really is. He even talks in his show about how someone in a blog (not me) called him pudgy and awkward. Now I'm no pot to be calling a kettle pudgy but DANG if he isn't awkward. And that's one of the things I love most about him.

But I digress.......I open the email and he has a clip from his recent visit to the Bonnie Hunt show. OK, he's still a little awkward in the beginning but then he shines in true Birbigs fashion. This is a guy whose CD you can take on a roadtrip with your kids. He is hilarious. I love him. Watch and see. And if you don't like him, don't tell me. It will hurt my feelings because Mike and I, well..............we're like "THIS"!

Friday, February 20, 2009


A few days ago I mentioned that Sprite's Keeper does a thing called the Spin Cycle. Since I've been failing miserably at making it to Spin class at the gym, I thought I would take a shot at trying out a different sort of spin. You can check out Sprite's Keeper and other Spinners here.

This week's assignment is Laughter. This is a topic about which I am well-acquainted. It's an old cliché but laughter has always been the best medicine for me. It's how I deal with life's little complications.

Laughter during the good times; well, I suppose that everyone has that. I choose to handle the tough times with laughter as well. It's my way. There hasn't been a crisis in my life that I haven't managed to make light of in order to help me cope. It is by no coincidence that the name of this blog includes the words "Smart Mouth". Oh sure, over the years I've learned that not every single thought that goes through my head should be shared with the world. Realizing this one truth has probabaly saved my life. If I said everything aloud that goes through my mind I would most certainly be put in the hospital by some angry recipient of my "imagined" razor sharp wit or possibly even jailed. Believe me; I've got it that bad.

If you are a regular here, you've heard me tell many stories about my mother, Lucy. Living through her illness was one of the worst things that my family has ever been through. I had been away from My Harley Stud and the girls for long periods while I helped my Dad take care of Mom. The night that my mother died, MHS drove up with the girls so the family could be together. Plans were made to have a service in Florida and another in Indiana the following week. That night in bed he told me that his long-suffering stomach issues had been getting worse over the last few months and when we got back from Indiana, he should probably see a doctor.

**Alert the media! The man wanted a doctor appointment! I had only been suggesting this for YEARS! MHS had been having episodes of extreme stomach pain for probably three years or so (usually after over-eating at holidays or special occasions.)**

I was relieved that he was finally willing to see someone about this problem but of course we had some other things to attend to first.

Ironically, my mother in law, whom I will call Millie, was going through the same thing with her mother at the same time twelve hundred miles away in Indiana. My Harley Stud's grandmother died on the day of my mom's service in Florida. Our plans were quickly changed so that we could make it to Indiana in time for the MHS's grandmother's service also.

My father-in-law, whom I will call Phil, joined Daddy, MHS, D1, D2 and myself for a road trip to Indiana. If you're a long-time reader, these Beverly Hillbilly type road trips will not come as a surprise to you. We made it to Indiana just in time to get showered and dressed for the visitation services for MHS's grandma. The funeral was the next day. It was heart-breaking and our pain was way too close to the surface. It didn't take much to break us so humor was used as a way to divert our emotional melt-down. We visited with relatives we hadn't seen in years and laughter was all around.

As is the tradition in the Midwest, a carry-in dinner was held at a local hall after the services. MHS could hardly contain himself; he was so excited to get to eat these home-cooked Midwestern dishes. His plate was filled a few times and then came dessert. As he was eating a piece of pecan pie, I commented that if he had a stomach attack that evening, I would not feel sorry for him. Just then a late-comer walked in with a pan of home-made lasagna. MHS's eyes lit up. I gave him "the" look. Lasagna is an all-time MHS favorite. He began to waiver. I shot him "the" look again. And because he knows there will be consequences when you ignore "the" look, he began to shake in his dress shoes walked right over to the table and dished himself up a heaping portion. I gave him my best stern look, rolled my eyes and once again reminded him that there would be NO sympathy that evening when his stomach exploded.

It was about 9pm that evening as he was watching TV at Beauty's house that the volcano began to erupt. The pain increased quickly and my "I told you so's" were not well-received. At about 10pm he asked me to call my boss who is a breast surgeon by specialty but is in fact a board certified General Surgeon. I related his symptoms to her and she diagnosed from 1200 miles away that it could very well be gallbladder trouble and he needed to go to the emergency room right away.

Now we had just survived the first funeral and were facing another in just a few days. A little trip to the ER was just what we needed to make our trip complete. Of course he refused to go and we spent the night with him vomiting, writhing in pain alternated with me asking "are you ready to go yet?" He was clearly in a lot of pain but since he wasn't listening, I had no problem interjecting smart mouth remarks between helping him to and from the bathroom. Finally at 5am, he begged asked me to drive him to the hospital.

We were in a small town and the nearest hospital is in the next town about 15 miles away. I got him into my Dad's SUV and began the journey on icy roads to the hospital. It wasn't until we were already in the next town that I discovered a little problem. I was born and raised in this area. In fact, I was born in the hospital to which we were traveling. But I couldn't remember how to get there. It was early and I didn't want to disturb anyone unnecessarily. (I'm nice like that) I began to giggle as I followed those blue "H" signs searching for our destination. Between fits of pain, MHS looked up and asked what I was giggling about. I told him that I couldn't remember how to get to the hospital. Oddly enough, he wasn't nearly as amused as I was with this revelation. Men! Hmpfff.

We made it there without any real detours. (Thank you, little blue sign makers.) The emergency room thankfully was not busy and they took him into triage right away. We were quickly whisked into a curtained room with a gurney. It was about this time that my own stomach began to react to the stress. I should maybe save this for one of LiLu's TMI Thursday posts but I have this little problem. Everyone reacts to stress differently. Some people break out in a rash, others lose their hair and some get ulcers. During any crisis, you can find me…………… the bathroom. It's not like I can control it. So the ER doctor comes in and does a quick exam on MHS. At this point, I can wait no longer and excuse myself to find the nearest restroom.

After taking care of my business, I return to find that MHS is missing. I couldn't help it. I began to laugh. Just my luck. Not that healthy sort of chuckle when you find something amusing but instead that maniacal laugh you hear just before the basket is dropped. Eventually a hospital employee found me and informed me that MHS had been taken for an ultrasound. They instructed me to wait in his curtained cubical all the while giving me "the eye" that said "What are you laughing about?"

He was eventually returned to me and after a short while, we were told that he indeed did have a bad gallbladder and they were going to admit him. A surgeon had been called in to consult but in the mean time they would move him out of the ER and to a room on the surgical floor. Once again, my stress levels soared and I had to quickly excuse myself. Upon my return, he was gone……….AGAIN! This time I was able to catch up with them in the hall. Again, I was getting strange looks from medical staff members who thought I was either an uncaring bitch or a possible psyche patient posing as this patient's relative. By this time, he had been medicated heavily for the pain and could not be relied upon to identify me. They continued to watch me with wary eyes.

I really don't remember all the details of the following days. The surgeon showed for the consultation and confirmed that surgery needed to be done immediately. MHS was prepped and whisked away once again. By this time I was joined by family members and friends. In fact, the pastor joined us in the OR waiting room to pray for MHS and plan my mother's services. Yes.we.did. We sat in the waiting room while MHS went under the knife and planned a beautiful memorial service for my mother. There was a lot of nervous laughter going on, believe me. It was surreal. I couldn't believe it was happening and yet what can you do? You have to soldier on through it. I would like to be able to comment here about how other family members were making out but honestly I was so consumed with my own anxiety and just trying to keep it together, I didn't even notice. As I look back, I feel for my poor children who must have been scared to death. And there I was hanging by a thread, oblivious to their pain. In fact, if I remember correctly, they were comforting me. D1 was a freshman in college and had just turned 19. D2 was in the eighth grade and was 13. Bless their hearts.

I've worked for surgeons for years and while it's different when it's your own family member, I probably wasn't as anxiety ridden as others might have been………….until……………..the surgery took much longer than expected. When the surgeon finally came in to tell us how it went, they had to pry me off the ceiling. It seems that MHS's gallstone was larger than most people's entire gallbladder. He said there was no doubt that he must have suffered quite a bit before getting to this point. Stupid.Stubborn.Man The poor dear.

He was still pretty much out of it when they rolled him back into his hospital room. The Daytona 500 was held that day. The nurses were discussing the winner. It was revealed that Dale, Jr had won and we were all assured that he had survived the surgery when he groaned, "Oh God!" He is not a Dale, Jr. fan. Again laughter broke through the stress and the worry that we were all feeling. The wonderful medical staff at the hospital provided MHS with a morphine pump so that he could control his pain himself. I was given strict instructions that he was to control the pump himself and I was not to touch it. I should mention at this point that the man relies on me to manage his medical care. He doesn't take an Advil unless I say it's OK. It's how we roll. Needless to say, I controlled the pump when they weren't looking. And he was a kinder, gentler MHS. He had a permanent smile on his face during the entire stay. If he got a little cranky, I would smile and press the button. Voila! Problem solved. Everybody wins. Bwahahaha.

Coincidentally, a cousin delivered a slightly pre-mature baby at this same hospital during this time. When the stress would become unbearable, you could find me at the nursery window. A sure-fire stress reliever. :)

I stayed in his room with him the entire stay. We had hospital connections who arranged it so he wouldn't get a room-mate for his semi-private room and I was able to stay over-night with him to push his button. He was released a few days later just in time to attend my mother's services at the church. I won't go there again but you know how difficult this was. More visiting and laughing. As I look back, it's the only thing that kept me from falling off the edge.

We laughed again when it came time to write an excuse note for D2 to return to school. "Please excuse D2 from school from this date to that date. Her grandmother died, her great-grandmother died and her father had emergency surgery 1200 miles from home." Who would believe that?

***I realize that this post is not really funny and apologize if that is what you were expecting. I guess I should probably also apologize for its length as well but once I got started, it just kept pouring out and I couldn't stop it. Laughter. It's the best medicine.***

If you're still here, here's a little something for hanging in there for this painfully long post:

Thursday, February 19, 2009


Money in the bank is a collection of money-saving ideas from several different bloggers. If you have a post that will help others to keep more of their hard earned cash in their pockets or piggy banks, please join us.

The rules: There are hardly any rules. Use the piggy bank photo and link back to this post. Leave me a comment so that I can link your post here. Have fun and happy saving.

I'm new to this type of blogging forum and have a lot to learn. If you have a suggestion how we can make it better, tell.

I will leave the piggy up in the corner there and all you need to do to see all the MITB posts is click on the piggy and it will bring you here. I will continue to list all the participants here in this post. I think it will be good to keep them all together. Any thoughts? I'm new at this, remember?

Oz Girl from City Gal Moves to Oz Land
Coffee Cake - mmm, mmm good!

Midlife Slices
Only Janie could find a way to make a Hawaiian vacation into MITB

Jan's Sushi Bar
Strawberry-Rhubarb Crisp
A real sweet-tart of a dessert

Pseudonymous High School Teacher
Read how Pseudo and Daughter had a lovely evening out for under $20.

Pseudonymous High School Teacher
Pseudo has a great idea that's fun and saves money and it's green too!

Jan at Jan's Sushi Bar
Chocolate Pudding

Ooooooo, how I love this woman!

Jan at Jan's Sushi Bar
Bran Muffins

Jan teaches us how to save money and eat healthy all at the same time

Smart Mouth Broad
Sunday Dinner for Less

My recipe for traditional pot roast

Janie's been laboring over this decision for awhile now.

Jan of Jan's Sushi Bar
Oatmeal Cookies

The Sushi Bar is serving up another fine recipe.

Nothing Fancy
Outlet Shopping

Here's a woman who knows how to find a bargain!

Chicken Noodle Casserole
If Jan posts a recipe, I sit up and take notice. This is a woman who knows her way around a kitchen.

Pseudo at Pseudonymous High School Teacher

Pseudo has combined her Friday Foto with her Money saving post. You get a two-fer and she has not only shown us how to save money but time by combining the two posts. Snaps for Pseudo!
Check out her lovely evening out with the hubs that was pocket friendly too.

Pseudo at Pseudonymous High School Teacher

"Car talk"

Sprite's Keeper

"Step Away from the Sale"

Smart Mouth Broad

"A Valentine's Splurge"

Jan has combined her money saving skills with some great ideas for Valentines' Day. Check her out.

Nothing Fancy

Calling all book lovers!

Midlife Slices

She's got a million of 'em

Smart Mouth Broad

Grocery Shopping

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


I made it to Yoga (aka Yogurt class) today. You might have heard me mention that I joined a new gym because it offered more classes and was closer to my office making it more difficult for me to talk myself out of going on the 30 second drive there. I left my office early today to try the yoga class. I have very little experience with yoga but there are a few things I know for sure:

  1. Yoga is harder than it looks.
  2. I am wound up tighter than a top.
  3. It's not acceptable to laugh out loud at yourself when you can't assume the pose. (I learned this lesson the hard way.)
  4. Yoga improves your flexibility and that is something that we all need to work on as we get older.
  5. It's hard for me to remain silent for an hour.
  6. There are some positions that this body just doesn't want to assume no matter how much I will it to go there.
  7. Yoga reminds me of a very somber hokey pokey and that makes me laugh which is of course… not tolerated.
  8. It's hard to ignore belly fat when your nose is in your navel.
  9. If you let me lie there for too long, I'm going to fall asleep.
  10. It's hard to find your inner peace when you had to cut off two cars and scare the crap out of three pedestrians to make it to class on time.

There are a lot of things I need to know about yoga but we'll start with just 10: (Braja, are you out there?)

  1. What in the name of stretch pants and bottled water is a chakra and why does it have so many colors?
  2. Will it eventually become clear to me how to breathe AND twist myself into a pretzel at the same time?
  3. Is it considered bad form to yell BOOYAH when you finally make it to the toes you've been reaching toward for an hour?
  4. Don't be fooled by the title of this post. I have no idea what that word means. So?……….. what does it mean?
  5. It does get easier, right?
  6. Is it possible that maybe yoga just isn't for everyone? (Even though I really want to do this.)
  7. What makes yoga pants… pants?
  8. When people say "hot yoga", are they referring to the temperature in the room or the participants in the class?
  9. Why "hot yoga"?
  10. Is there something that I should know but I'm so clueless that I don't even know to ask?

If you are a yoga instructor, take yoga classes, or stumbled in a class once and can answer any or all of my questions, please leave a comment here. If you are as clueless as I am, please tell me that too. I don't like to walk alone.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Some days just suck. Some days were just meant to be spent in bed and any attempt to do otherwise will surely result in disaster. Everyone has a bad day once in awhile. My old buddy, Van Morrison, told me, There'll be days like this." What's a girl to do when the mood strikes and there's no one within striking distance?

I have a sure-fire way to beat the blues. I turn to the tunes. Well…….one tune actually: Get Over It by the Eagles.

Dance around your kitchen bare-footed to this song and shake 'em if you got 'em! It shouldn't take more than a time or two but if you're still resisting, add wine and repeat. This will accelerate the process. Guaranteed or your money back.

Monday, February 16, 2009


My Harley Stud and I have four very good friends that live right next door to us. We love them dearly and they love us. But sometimes life just gets so hectic that it becomes harder and harder to stay in touch with your friends even though you care for them deeply. We didn't realize how we'd been neglecting these friends until one day last week when we received note from them. It seems that since the holidays we just haven't taken the time to maintain that relationship that is so important to us. But our friends are not the type to be put off easily. They found the perfect way to give us just the nudge we needed to get back to our daily chats over the fence. This is the note we found in the mailbox:

Do you have a relationship that you've been neglecting? Take the time to call, send a note, shoot off an email or just drop in on a friend or relative with whom you've lost touch. Life is too short not to let your loved ones know how much you care. Daisy, Brownie, Hillary and Donkey reminded us of our neglect. I'm afraid we have other friends who aren't quite so bold. I'm going to make it my February resolution to make an effort to stay in touch with loved ones. Because as LiLu says, "New Years resolutions are for kitty cats." Well that wasn't a direct quote but you get the idea.

A brand new large package of carrots was purchased with the infamous Valentine cake and our daily chats have resumed.

This is Daisy on the left and her daughter, Brownie, on the right

Hillary strikes a pose.

We really need to update our goat photos but this is Donkey when she was just a few weeks old. She is Hillary's daughter.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

A VALENTINE SPLURGE – Money in the Bank

Yesterday was Valentine's Day. My Harley Stud and I have never been known to "go big" for this particular holiday. Truth be known, I bought a card (he didn't) but I forgot to give it to him until today right after I finish writing this. I had a long to-do list for this weekend. Housekeeping, bill-paying, tax preparation, and more housekeeping are just a few of the items that are screaming to be completed. Yesterday, for the love of Cupid, we decided to chuck it all and spend a little time together. Nothing too mushy, gushy, but still it was time well-wasted together.

Try not to be too jealous as I regale you with the details of our romantic errand running outing. First stop was the green market where local vendors gather at a rural nursery once a month to sell their wares. MHS's sister, The Artiste and her husband, Deadender have a booth there. They are photographers with a greeting card business and are quite talented in anything concerning art and design. We stopped by to visit them and then checked out the other vendors. I bought some homemade dog biscuits for Mayzie and Pixie and that was about as much browsing as MHS would allow. I think next month MHS and I will both be happier if I leave him at home and steal my SIL away from her booth again to shop with me.

We made a quick stop at the pet store for a change in dog food. Next, I twittered and texted while MHS ran into Napa. I once again would like to apologize for bragging about the excitement that is MY LIFE.

Last but not least was a stop at Publix, our local grocer. For the record, I remembered to take the bags inside with me this time. MHS and I stopped at the bakery case and made an executive decision to screw the diet and splurge a little. It was Valentine's Day. He selected a slice of coconut covered nut cake and I chose a double, dark, dense, chocolate piece of heaven. They were packaged and priced together by the baker.

While our purchases were being checked and bagged (in reusable shopping bags) I asked MHS to go the service desk and buy us two lottery tickets as I was "feelin' lucky." He took one look at the two people long line and said he wasn't going to wait in that line for two lottery tickets. No problem, I quickly swiped my debit card, punched all the appropriate buttons and left him there to finish with the bagger. I finished getting the tickets just as he was wheeling the cart out of the door. We loaded up the car and made the six mile journey back home.

The delectable dessert package had been placed in a bag all by itself. I brought in this bag and left the rest to MHS to carry in because that's why I got married. As I carefully removed the container from the bag my eyes froze on the price sticker. There must have been some mistake. I did a double-take. I didn't have on my glasses and figured I must be seeing things. I looked again and it still read the same. There in bold print on the sticker was a price of $48.00! FOR.TWO.SLICES.OF.CAKE! Now my intention was to splurge but I was thinking calorically. It was about this time that MHS came in with the rest of our purchases. I asked what he had done with the receipt. He produced it from his pocket and asked why I needed it.

Now remember that I had run off to buy the lottery tickets and left him with the cashier and the bagger. Apparently there had been a conversation that went a little like this:

Cashier: Wow, this cake must be really good.

MHS: I hope so.

Cashier: It's really expensive.

MHS: Well, we've never had it before but I hope it's good.

And that was the end of it.

**Excuse me, while I pick my jaw up off the floor at the absurdity of the whole scenario.**

Don't you think that the cashier might have mentioned that it was $48.00. That's $24 per slice! No, instead she just said, WOW, it's really expensive…….which by the way it was even at the correct price.

I grabbed the cake and the receipt and jumped in my little go-mobile and made the trip back to the store where I politely explained to the manager that while I was willing to spurge on the calories in honor of all that is Hallmark glitz and Hershy kisses, I WAS NOT going to spend $48 on two freaking pieces of cake.

And then I punched him in the face.

**Back to reality**

He apologized all over himself. He sent me to the courtesy desk to obtain my refund while he went back to have the cake re-priced. I personally thought it should have been given to me as a courtesy being that I had to drive the extra 12 miles round-trip to correct the error but in the end I was just happy to spend $6.00 for the cake instead of $48.00.

The moral of the story is this:

Apparently there are idiots all over the place people sometimes make mistakes. This can result in a big dent in your budget if you're not careful. My Money in the Bank tip of the week is: ALWAYS CHECK YOUR RECEIPT!

Check out these Money Savers:

Pseudo at Pseudonymous High School Teacher

"Car talk"

Sprite's Keeper

"Step Away from the Sale"

Friday, February 13, 2009


Those of you who did the Spin Cycle last week made quite an impression on me. The topic was certainly eye catching. MONEY! The actual assignment was "Turning Dollars into Sense". I'm more than a little embarrassed to say that until I needed to create a link, I've never actually visited Sprite's Keeper and her blog. Once there, I knew I would be back. For those of you who have no idea what the heck I'm talking about, let me explain. Sprite's Keeper hosts a weekly writing assignment called The Spin Cycle. Each week she assigns a prompt and those who care to play have a week to create a blog post about the given topic. Each player links back to SK's site and then is listed there so that readers can check out all the different posts written on the topic. At least that's how I understand it.

Between Jan's (of Jan's Sushi Bar) and Thistle's (Of Thistles and Maple Leaves) posts I was both encouraged and then inspired. Then Pseudo of Pseudonymous High School Teacher came along with her post about Walmart and The High Price of Low Cost and! My mother, Lucy, loved Walmart. We called her a Walmart groupie and often joke that if there isn't a Walmart in heaven that she is lobbying for one now. If the reports are true, there is no room for Walmart in heaven.

There is no denying that the economy is in the crapper. People are losing their jobs, their homes, their life savings and more. Everyone is feeling the crunch. If you are one of the fortunate ones who haven't been hit hard by our nation's current economic downturn, you are surely aware of it and maybe a little nervous. And Americans are not alone in our misery. People all over the world are affected. Who of us hasn't given some serious thought to how we can cut back and try to keep more some any of our hard-earned cash.

My thought processes evolved slowly. After reading the above-listed posts, I thought about what I've done to cut back and how I could write about it and share it with you. Then I thought about how everyone must be looking for and finding new ways to economize. Why not invite others to write about their saving savvy too. Together we are a wealth of information. I believe that we can all learn from each other. There's not a lot in this world that is within our control. Wouldn't it feel good to make a difference? If something I write can help even one person to save a few dollars, that's good enough for me.

I've asked a few of my blogging friends if they would be interested in participating in a project like this. The response was overwhelmingly positive. If you would like to share what you're doing to keep more of your dollars in your pocket, feel free to use the Money in the Bank title and the piggy bank photo. I only ask that you link back to this post and leave me a comment. I will announce all the participants here. Initially I thought of choosing a specific day of the week to post our tips but I'm lazy, inconsistent and prone to procrastination I didn't want to force those restrictions on you. (And Janie at Midlife Slices didn't want to do it that way.) Do it when the mood strikes. I'll keep it going until we run out of ideas or we've achieved economic recovery……..whichever comes first.

Without further ado, here is my first offering:

Making a List and Checking it Twice

I'm not what you would call a planner. I'm pretty much a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl. (Much to my mother and youngest daughter's dismay) So it comes as quite a surprise even to me that I am so organized when it comes to grocery shopping. I've tried to ignore it but it's in my genes. When I was a young girl, my mother and grandmother (who lived with us) would comb the weekly grocery ads for bargains. They would make their lists and then spend their entire Saturday going from one store to the next in search of the bigger, better deal. They were better women than me. They would drive across town to save 2 cents on paper towels at this store and go to another store on the other side of town because ground round was on sale. I'm not that crazy good. There comes a point when my time has more value than the 2 cents I will save and I just suck it up and pay the higher price. Nevertheless, the lesson didn't go unlearned.

Each week, I sit down with my laptop and open the local grocer's ad online. First I go through the entire ad and plan my weekly menu according to what is on sale. We'll call that list #1: The Menu. My next step is to make a list of all the items on sale that I want to purchase. List #2: Sale items. List #3 is really just a continuation of List #2. I review the menu plan and see what else I need that isn't on sale. List #4 (I'm just CRAZY for lists, can you tell?) is also a continuation of #2 and #3 where I add miscellaneous items that we need like toothpaste, toilet paper, laundry detergent and the Diet Coke that My Harley Stud requires to quench his addiction.

Here's where I might lose you as some may consider my list-making a bit neurotic. But I swear if you will take the extra 20 minutes to follow these instructions, you will not only save money but will also save time. The last step of this list-making craziness is to take #s 2, 3 and 4 and arrange all the items on a brand new list according to the aisles in your store. Yeah, I know, it might seem a little obsessive but you will thank yourself if you're anything like me. And I know you are. At least YOU are. You know who YOU are. You commented on my last post how you are just as forgetful, distracted and scatter-brained as I am. This could be YOUR saving grace.

If after trying my grocery shopping method, you feel compelled to send expensive gifts to show your gratitude, (something that comes in a little blue box would be nice) just shoot me an email to request my shipping address and I will be happy to oblige. *wink*

Check out these money savers too:

Jan at Jan's Sushi Bar

Jan has combined her money saving skills with some great ideas for Valentines' Day. Check her out.

Nothing Fancy

Calling all book lovers!

Midlife Slices

She's got a million of 'em

If you would like to play along, copy the piggy bank photo, use the title, leave me a comment telling me of your post and link back to this post. The beauty of this game is that there is no schedule. When you have a tip, take the pig and run with it.

Happy saving!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Everyone is trying to be GREENER these days. I'm no exception. I really want to be green. A nice Forest green would be desirable or at least a perfect, Kelly green. Instead I think I wind up being more of a weak, pastel, mint green. It's not for lack of trying, believe me.

We recycle. Palm Beach County provides us with recycling bins. One is for paper and another for cans and plastic. We've done our best to recycle every acceptable item since we moved to this county. I turn off the water when I brush my teeth. We have energy and water efficient appliances. I've become completely neurotic about turning off the lights and ceiling fans when I leave the room.

My newest effort to become a darker shade of green is to use shopping bags instead of paper or plastic. Here's the problem. I forget to bring them into the store with me. So I buy another one. Then I forget the next time and I buy another one. My trunk is filled with shopping bags. I'm pretty sure this defeats the purpose. At least I'm boosting the economy, right?

Publix, the local supermarket has even put up a banner outside the store to remind shoppers to bring in their bags. I never see it. I'm probably twittering and trying not to walk into cars. Publix also gave out a little disk to put in your cup holder as a reminder too. Yeah, that one didn't work for me either.

I can hardly be blamed though. I mean…… really. I'm a peri-menopausal woman losing estrogen at the speed of light. I can't be expected to remember everything!

I wish I could say that shopping bags were all I'm forgetting these days. *sigh*

I will go to the mall specifically to return an item. I will walk into the mall and into the store and only realize I left the item in the car once I reach the counter.

My good friend, Miss Lolly's birthday is Christmas Eve. It has become somewhat of a tradition for Daughter #1, Daughter #2 and I to dress up in our best Christmas t-shirts and Santa hats and drive over to her house early on the 24th to sing her our special birthday song. This past year, we arrived just as they were getting all gussied up to go out to lunch to celebrate. The whole family looked great and we used the opportunity to take a family photo of them in front of their Christmas tree.

**Bear with me people, I do have a point here***

A little over a week later, we received a photo card of the Miss Lolly family wishing us a very happy New Year. MHS commented that he wondered who had taken the picture. I said, "Oh you know Wolfgang, he probably photo-shopped himself in. He does that all the time." At that point, D2 who had overheard our conversation walked over to see the picture. She looked at me like I had two heads and said, "YOU took that picture!" And she was right. *sigh*

As you can plainly see, I am a woman who is suffering from severe midlife distraction. The ability to focus on one idea has become all but impossible. Multi-tasking has become a joke. I can barely single task. But this much is true: I really want to be green.

So if you see me wandering around the parking lot at Publix, dodging cars, all while texting and twittering, please remind me to go back to the car and get the bags out of my trunk.