Saturday, December 31, 2005

Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

I took the TV away from my 7-year-old this morning so I could
watch. Here now! Stop feeling sorry for the boy! It wasn't exactly
like that little Gremlin, "Gizmo", tooting his Christmas horn until
that evil "Stripe" shot a big wad of spit at him. The boy only had
to walk a few feet to his brother's room and sit in the X-Chair to
watch his cartoons. Anyhoo, I cruised the channels (no, I was not
looking for pr0n--it was 9:30 a.m., for cryin' out loud) and I found
"Mean Girls". I love this movie. I just had to watch it. I love Tim
Meadows in that wife-beater and arm cast. He looks like Michael
Jackson in that video where he jumps up on top of the car and acts
"bad". The movie made me think how people judge each other,
and of course reminded me of an embarrassing story to blog about.

I was going to title this one "My Date With a Lesbian", but I thought
it might bring in some of those pr0n people. Stop all that heavy
breathing. It's not what you think. I also didn't want to perpetrate
false advertising in blog titles. It's quite a tame story, actually, about
what people think of others.

Once upon a time, I might have mentioned that I lived with a lesbian
couple in college. Don't get all excited about that one, either. I also
lived with a party girl, some potheads, a boring scholarship athlete,
a gay construction worker, and an anal-retentive high school teacher.
Not all at once. At different times. I didn't exactly win the roommate
lottery. But I was never bored.

And now, for our feature presentation...Please turn off your cell
phones, control your children, and pick up your trash when you
leave. My lesbians had quite a few friends of the same persuasion,
and were wont to throw parties every weekend. So I met quite a
cast of interesting characters. In addition, I had college classes with
some of them. When there was a lull in the learning, I would look
around at the students, and think "I know a BIG secret." OK, so
with some it really wasn't much of a secret, but it entertained me.

There was one couple who we will refer to as Jingle and Belle. We,
meaning me and my lesbians, did not quite get this relationship. Talk
about the pots calling the kettle gay, my lesbians were as guilty as
me in judging these two. Jingle was a college gymnast. We were
not a big university, but the gymnastics team was nationally ranked,
and had a well-known coach. He pretty much made chicken salad
out of chicken s***, if you get my drift. So Jingle was pretty good
at the gymnastics stuff. She was about 5'3", kind of tall for a
gymnast, I think, and wasn't even anorexic. She seemed to have
it all together, as much as a 5'3" lesbian gymnast at a midwestern
university can have it together. What we couldn't figure out was
her choice of a partner. Picture Chris Farley here, making quotation
marks with his fingers: Belle was not what you call "attractive".
She was not "pleasing to the eye".

And now, for a bit about Belle. She looked like a cross between
a troll doll and a Weeble. Or maybe like one of those Chinese
nesting dolls, the small one that fits inside a bunch of others. Belle
was only about 4'8". She was egg-shaped. Her hair was kind of
a short, mousy brown, painted-on helmet. She had stubby little
hands, and bug-eyes. I guess it goes without saying that she wore
no makeup. Not exactly one of those "L-Word" lesbians, our
Belle. But she was as nice as could be. She and Jingle were very
devoted to each other. Jingle made no pretense of trying to hide
the fact that Belle was her woman.

Now it's not like some male stereotype where one of the couple
is the "man" and the other is the "woman". That's one major concept
I learned from living with my lesbians. But even they wondered why
Jingle didn't "get herself a good-looking one." Belle did not have
money. She did not even have a car. I guess she had charisma.
Nobody disliked her. They were just puzzled by the dynamics of
the Jingle/Belle relationship.

Jingle went out of town on a gymnastics trip one weekend. There
was some movie showing that was a big deal. It might have been
something like Star Wars, or Close Encounters of the Third Kind,
or some such Sci-Fi kind of thing that really didn't interest me. But
Belle really wanted to see it. She happened to be at our apartment
as a party was winding down, and very few people were left. Belle
asked me if I wanted to go to see the movie the next day. Not as
a date or anything, because she had a girlfriend, you see, and she
was kind of WAY not my type. I had no plans, and I was just trying
to be nice, and I said, "OK". Belle said, "Oh, you know that you
will have to drive. I'll buy the popcorn." My lesbians were cracking
up in the background. All the next morning, they chanted, "Hillbilly
Mom has a DAAAAATE! With a WOOOOO-MAN!" Ha, ha.
They thought they were so funny.

Then I started to stress a little bit. I knew it wasn't a date. Belle
knew it wasn't a date. But those other people in the movie theater
didn't know it wasn't a date. So I was kind of uncomfortable, what
with picking up Belle at her apartment, driving her to the movie, and
letting her buy me popcorn. The whole time, I thought, "Everybody
thinks I'm on a date with Belle." I felt bad for being embarrassed.
I felt prejudiced. And I was. I felt like leaving a chair between us
like homophobic guys do when two of them go to the movies. But
I didn't. Belle had a good time. And that was that. Except for my
lesbians every now and then telling me, "Remember when you went
on that date with Belle?" OK, they were pretty funny sometimes.

So I guess the point of this story, other than to brag that I went on
a date with a lesbian, is that you never can tell what people see in
each other. You can't judge a book by its cover. Get over yourself
and stop labeling people. Live and let live. It takes all kinds. There's
someone for everybody. Yada yada yada. Pick one, and go with it.

Friday, December 30, 2005

My Mind on My Money

I have issues with my Hillbilly Husband. Yes, I know how much
that surprises you. HH always wants to make me the bad guy. I
can do it on my own without his help. It is just annoying that he
will not make a decision. We won't get into the minor ones, like
being unable to decide what to throw away (the Diet Coke can
on the TV table would be a start, honey), what to get a person
as a gift, where to go eat, what movie to see, what to buy for
groceries, what to have for supper, or when to get a refill on a
prescription (the day after you run out is not the RIGHT decision,

Last night HH got a call from a relative of a relative of his. The
guy wanted to borrow $1000. First of all, I'm glad HH didn't
make the decision to loan it without consulting me, so I'll have
to give him a bonus point for that. I asked him, "Do you really
think you should loan him $1000?" HH said, "No. I told him
I didn't handle the money, that I would have to check with you
to see if we had it, because you take care of the money, and
we just bought that land." Notice he didn't mention that he'd
also just bought himself a $3900 golf cart thingy.

Thank you so much. Now I can be the wicked evil b**** who
says we can't loan the money. But I will do it, because hey,
the alternative is actually loaning the money. That takes
a lot of nerve, don't you think, to ask for $1000 right after
Christmas, from somebody you haven't talked to since last
year, when you called to ask for $200 to bail one of your
relatives out of the county jail?

Am I cold-hearted? Yes. I can not change my nature. I have
worked hard for HH's money. I am not an heiress. I grew up
in a trailer, back before they were called "prefabricated homes."
Both my parents worked. I went to college to get a good job.
A career, so I could support myself. I had way more money
saved up than HH when we were married. In fact, he was in
debt. So I don't feel a bit bad for controlling our money now.

What is this money wanted for? An ailing grandmother's surgery?
To build a burn ward at the orphan's hospital? No. For a car.

The Borrower needs to make a "Note to Self". He needs to
get one of those big ol' Big Chief tablets to write it in. "Dear
Self: I am 30 years old, live with my grandma, and have never
paid a day's rent in my life. I am calling from my uncle's house
because I do not have a phone. I am not married. I have no
responsibilities other than myself. My mother never paid rent,
so we moved every three months of my childhood. Education
was not important in our family, so I never graduated from
high school. Whenever we needed something, we went to my
grandma, or welfare. Sometimes we stole out of backyards,
and took stuff to the pawn shop. Now I want $1000 so I can
buy a car. I will call the person I know who has always had
a place to live and a steady job. I will offer to pay him back
at $200 a month. If he doesn't give it to me, it will be because
his wife is a wicked evil b**** who doesn't like me."

Yeah, well, he didn't get the right idea with his Note to Self.
And his spelling was exemplary, don't you think? May I point
out, Borrower, the connection between 'steady job' and 'place
to live'? If you are not responsible enough to live on your own,
and the bank is not an option to borrow money, why do you
think we should loan it to you? Hmm...what says you'll pay it
back? All we could take was the car, and I'm pretty sure you'd
call the police if we did. So I am rejecting your loan application,
sonny. How about this: Save $200 a month for 5 months, and
then buy yourself a car? I know, it's a novel idea, but it just
might solve the little 'wanting to buy a car' problem.

Now don't think I am being cruel to Borrower because he didn't
have the advantages of a good upbringing. There were plenty of
immediate family and relatives of relatives who had jobs and
didn't sponge off everyone else. These people told Borrower
that the way he was living was not right, that people have to
work to make something of themselves, that school is important.
But Borrower took the easy way.

This is not the first time HH's relatives have wanted to borrow
our money. His brother was first, right after we got married,
before we had much money. I had just bought a $17,900 house
(WooHoo! We were livin' high on the hog in them days, puttin'
on airs cause we was so rich!). HHB wanted $1000 to use as
a downpayment on a house. He had some of his own money
to go with it. He worked, and his wife at the time worked. I
still didn't want to loan it. We only had about $3000 in savings
at the time. HH persuaded me. It WAS his brother. The deal
was that we would get paid back in full on HHB's next payday,
in two weeks. HH wired him the money to Las Vegas. Really,
that's where he lived. HHB and his wife were tour bus drivers.
Two weeks rolled around, and nothing. Nada. Zilch. Zip. The
Big Goose-Egg. No check in the mail. HH was a bit sheepish,
and I got to say "I told you so" a LOT. After about 6 more
weeks, we got a check for $1000. And it was good.

HHB did this again a couple years ago. Different wife. I don't
know what the money was for this time. Some kind of debt,
I think, maybe to do with child support. HH loaned it again.
We could better afford it this time. Again, no timely payment.
But we did get it back, in installments, over several months.

I just do not like to loan money. We did not have any special
advantages that these people did not have. HH grew up in a
house with no indoor plumbing, for goodness sake. He has
made something of himself, and all without a college education.
These people could do it too, if they made better choices.
Sometimes it means you have to get a city job, find a ride, travel
for 3 hours a day. But you have to make your own breaks. It
doesn't happen overnight. I, myself, had to travel to the bowels
of Missouri, and teach for a salary of $8700 one year. I would
have qualified for food stamps. With a 'real' job and a college

Times are hard, people, but you have to make an effort. Living
with grandma at 30, with no money, is not making that effort.
An effort is having something to show for that hard work. Maybe
some property, or a bank account, or a car, or a family that you
are feeding and clothing and teaching right from wrong.

I will now climb down off my high horse, onto my soapbox, and
down to the floor. I sometimes get wound up on this issue. People
working for cash to avoid paying child support, quitting a job
because the boss told them what to do, needing the day off to
go to a concert, don't want to work in the cold, have to get up
too early to drive to the city, etc. I was better before I worked
for the unemployment office. In the city. A 3-hour round trip
each day, getting up at 5:00 a.m. to leave home by 6:00. So
don't come cryin' to me for money, ya hear?

Thursday, December 29, 2005

My Excuses

My, it's getting late. My teaching buddy, Mabel, will be upset that
I am so late posting today. She thinks I sit at home with nothing
else to do, and I have no excuse for putting it off. Well, I have plenty
of excuses. Mabel, I invite you to get your own blog. Don't cost
nothin'. (Yeah, I used that line from Animal House, where John
Belushi says, "Grab a brew. Don't cost nothin'." I loaned that movie
to Mabel. But I think she already had it.) Or, Mabel, you can live
my life, and try to blog every day. Here now! Stop that blubbering!
There is no crying on my blog! You don't really have to live my life.

I was born a coal miner's daughter. Not really. I am listening to
one of my Christmas gifts, "Superstars of Country," the Time Life
collection. Don't be so jealous.

Hmm...why am I so late? Could it be staying up until 1:00, and
getting up at 6:00 just in time to take a 2-hour nap? Perhaps. Then
there's that daily trip to town for the Sonic Cherry Diet Coke.
Today we had to pick up a smashed, opened package at the post
office. That's sad. My parcels are always opened, yet nobody
wants my stuff bad enough to take it.

Ruby, don't take your love to town. Go ahead, anyone named
Ruby. That's a Kenny Rogers song from my collection. My
children needed me to pour cereal and milk for their lunch. The
high-maintenance one (yes, you guessed correctly, it was #1)
wanted the internet every 2 minutes to find a printer driver for his
new old laptop. Then he wanted to chat on the walkie/talkie while
driving HH's new toy. Then he asked for help building a solar car.
Yeah, right. He's barking up the wrong Hillbilly with that one. Then
he had to explain the plot and characters (in detail) of his new
Movies computer game. Then he got sent to his room until HH
got home but HH was an hour late (oh, the bad luck) so he asked
every 10 minutes "Is Dad home yet?"

I love coffee in a cup, little fuzzy pups, old TV shows, and snow.
Some I'm not so crazy about. It's Tom T. Hall singing. The coffee
I can do without, never have liked the stuff, but the pups are OK
except that they have that poopy puppy breath. Old TV shows
and snow, yeah buddy. Where is our snow? My kids got sleds.
We want snow. Preferably around January 4th.

I beg your pardon, I never promised you a rose garden. Neither
did Lynn Anderson, who is singing that right now. Every time I hear
this song I think about that book by the same name about mental
illness that I read back in the day when this song came out. Yes,
I am that old. I need to hike up my granny panties, tie my black
corrective shoes, shine up the walker, and get on with this post.

Tell me you're trying to cure the seven-year ache...Oh,
Roseanne Cash, I'm sorry you got your daddy's looks, but you
sing purty good. I don't have the seven-year ache. 1998 was a
very good year. My #2 son was born, I got to stay home with him
for six months, I got the job I have now, we had just moved into
the Hillbilly Mansion, HH dropped a 5th-wheel trailer hitch on his
big toe and broke it. The toe, not the hitch. Good is in the mind
of the beholder, I guess.

Well, my daddy left home when I was 3, and he didn't leave much
for Ma and me, just this old guitar and an empty bottle of booze.
Not my Hillbilly Daddy. That's a major hit from the Man in Black,
Mr. Johnny Cash, the Boy Named Sue. He didn't write it, actually.
It was written by none other than Shel Silverstein, the man best
know for writing children's poems/books such as "Where the
Sidewalk Ends." Mr. S was quite the songwriter. He also wrote
"Cover of the Rolling Stone," and "Sylvia's Mother," which were
hits for Dr. Hook. Another was "One's on the Way," a Loretta
Lynn classic. And..."Marie Laveaux" for Bobby Bare.

You're welcome for that lesson in classic country music. I'm
warning you, I also got the 70s Music Explosion. Beware.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Vacation, Leftovers, and the Poorhouse

We are enjoying our little vacation, the boys and I. My Hillbilly
Husband, not so much. He only had Monday for his holiday. Poor,
poor HH. Too bad he didn't go to college for a teaching degree.
Too bad he makes twice the money I do. Hey! Looks like the
joke's on me. Go figure!

The boys and I drove out to my Hillbilly Mama's house today.
We were in town anyway to go to the bank and pick up medicine
and SONIC Cherry Diet Cokes. My HMa gave me a smoked
turkey and some leftover BBQ. The turkey was still frozen. We
gave her some leftover spaghetti from last night. The kids said
they would not eat it warmed up, the persnickety little brats.
It did kind of stick together. All I had was angel-hair pasta, and
I didn't even cook it a whole 6 minutes. Now we have established
that I am not a very good cook. But the point I am making here
is that one woman's leftovers are another woman's dinner. Gosh.
I wasted a lot of your time for that little joke, huh?

#1 son has been busy since last night with his new laptop. His new
OLD laptop. It runs Windows 3.1. HH's work was getting rid of
some stuff and he put a bid on it. #1 has been hacking around to
find a program to open his pictures. It won't read jpeg or pcx.
He has found bmp will open them with bad color, and is now
going to try msp when he downloads it. That boy makes me tired.
I have no clue what he's talking about with computers. We told the
kid he has to pay out of the money he's been saving for over a year,
but I will pay half of it. Because I'm made of money, you know.
Stop laughing, Mabel. I must keep up appearances.

Speaking of money, I thought it was about time for the credit card
bill to arrive, so I called the 800 number and found out that we have
a balance of $10,000 due. That may not mean anything to some
people, but, um...we pay it off every month. That means that during
the month of December, we charged $10,000! Oh, there were some
dollars and cents with that, but does it really matter when you owe
$10,000? Let me answer for you: NO! I do not think I went so
far overboard on Christmas. I have accounted for HH's little golf
cart/go-kart/tractor toy. Most of the gifts were bought with the
debit card. I know I didn't spend $10,000.

Well, the mystery is solved. I got the statement in the mail, and it
seems that HH has all his California business trip on there, and
some of his Germany trip, and has now charged airline tickets for
the Brazil trip. Not just his, mind you, but a ticket for another guy
at work. WTF? Does he think we're made of credit? Last night
he brought home a reimbursement check for $2000 something
for California. He needs to get on it and write up his expenses
for this other junk. It's about $4000 more. Man! HH is trying to
give me a heart attack! HH always gets the money back, from the
tickets, hotels, gas, parking fees, restaurants. But until he gets
home and turns them in, we are stuck with them.

Here's what annoys me about HH's work. He is expected to put
all the expenses on our personal credit card. Why work can't get
him one I don't know. They are not exactly a small operation. One
time he had to put another guy's ticket on there because the guy
couldn't get a credit card. This time he just did it to be nice. And
how nice was the other guy, you ask? So nice that he scheduled
his shots for Brazil, and didn't make HH an appointment. So HH
had to drive to St. Louis today to get them from the Traveling
Nurses Association or some such thing, but I want to know if
they travel, why couldn't they travel another 30 miles to where
HH works? They must not take credit, because HH wrote a
check for the $181 that the shots cost. HH is going to be a $6-
million-dollar-man if he keeps this up.

Anyhoo, now that I know I'm not in the poorhouse, I can continue
to buy my Sonic Cherry Diet Cokes. Ahh...sweet, sweet nectar.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005


My Hillbilly Sister gave my kids some jellybeans for Christmas.
The Harry Potter nasty-flavored jellybeans. Of course, she forced
us to try them. I read the flavors. I knew I was not in the mood
for 'earwax', 'vomit', or 'booger'. I volunteered for 'bacon' and
'sardine' because, hey, I like bacon and sardines. Not together,
but separately. My HSis told her daughter to pick them out for
me. But she whispered it in her ear. I told her they better be the
bacon and sardine flavor. HSis agreed. She even told her daughter,
"Do it right, or she'll be mad."

#1 son brought me the bacon one. It was brown. I bit into it. It
had a sort of smokey flavor that could turn out to be bacon. But
it didn't. It wasn't very good, that bacon jellybean. Then my
niece said, "Oh. Did that taste like bacon? Because I might have
given you 'earthworm'. Did it taste like...kind of...dirty?" YES!
I ate an earthworm jellybean! Yuck!

Next was sardine. I should have learned my lesson with the
earthworm. But noooooo! I chewed it until it was flat. It started
out like a sardine, then it just turned fishy. I wouldn't eat real
sardines if they tasted so fishy. Maybe I just needed some
mustard sauce. I tried to swallow, to get rid of it, but it was
flat, and didn't want to slide past my goiter. I tried and tried
to swallow, but it was going nowhere. I coughed, trying to
get it back up. Nope. It was stuck. Then I was kind of retching.
The Mayor jumped up out of the recliner, fearful that I would
vomit on his head. I was not going to vomit, silly Mayor. I was
trying not to choke. I was going to go get some water, but the
demon jellybean finally slid down into my gullet. My HSis
looked a bit apprehensive, like she might be remembering
that time I poked her elbow when she had a bobby pin in her
ear, and a little bit of blood poured out.

I did not want to ruin the holidays. Revenge, though sweet,
will have to wait for a while. I'm thinking that if I can find some
cricket legs, I can cook them up in the Chex Mix. She loves
Chex Mix. They would get all crunchy, and look like broken
parts of the Chex, with some Worcestershire Sauce cooked
into them. Except for those little hairs that stick out. Insects are
good protein, right? I would be giving her a healthy dietary
supplement. And they would taste a good deal better than that
earthworm jellybean.

Monday, December 26, 2005

The One Where HH Offends Europe

Christmas Eve, the residents of the Hillbilly Mansion prepared for
the Finger Food Extravaganza at my Hillbilly Sister's (The Mayor's
Wife's) house. #1 son was snug in his bed, sleeping off a headache
that his own loud, backtalking smart-mouth had brought on. I laid
on the bed, reading "Everybody Into the Pool," because I needed
to warm up for the occasion with some laughter. Hillbilly Husband
and #2 son soaked in the big triangle bathtub full of bubbles, each
not listening to the other. I know, because they never close the
door, and they talk so loud because of the jets circulating the water.
The conversation was stranger than my book. Keep in mind that
#2's Christmas party at school was a "Foods of the World" party.
His group had Norway.

I have to go to South America the weekend after next.
No you don't.
Yes, I do. Campinas, Brazil. I fly into Sao Paulo.
Camp Peeeeenis?
Yes. It's summertime in the Southern Hemisphere, and winter here.
No it isn't. It's winter in South America.
No, it's summer. Did you tell anyone at school I was in Germany?
Hey! Did you know Sweden is next to Norway? I am from
Norway and Courtney (best friend) is from Sweden.
You didn't tell anyone?
No. Germany was not my country.
I helped do some work for a guy from Sweden. Do you want me
to ask him to send you something from Sweden?
A woman.
A woman?
Haha! Gotcha!
I can email him and see if he can send you something. There are
some pretty girls in Sweden.
Pretty girls? Like here?
There are pretty girls in Norway, too. But in England, they're
not so pretty. England is like here, and some are pretty and
some are not. Now, Germany has some pretty girls...
Does anything rhyme with 'orange'?
I don't know. Does anything rhyme with orange...
Orange, porange, borange...
I go to the doctor on the 3rd to get my shots.
The people in Norway were me, Parker, Mikayla...
You don't rhyme words like 'brown' with 'round'...

I have no idea where this conversation went next. It was one
great big not-listening party. Though not as scary as the time
I walked into the living room to find HH and #1 son, then
2 years old, watching the Miss USA Pageant:

That's what you say when you see a pretty girl. Then they
notice you and talk to you.
That's it. Look at that one. She's pretty.
If we're out and we see a pretty girl, you do that. Then she'll
come talk to us. But if I do it, she might slap me.
Oooh! There's a pretty one.
What is he teaching you?
How to be a pretty girl.

Note-to-self: Limit HH's alone-time with the children.

Second note-to-self: Warn #2 son's teacher of HH's destination
in Brazil, just in case he starts telling people where his dad went.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Hillbilly Festivities

No. It wasn't Festivus for the rest of us, though my Brother-in-law
the mayor and I would have gone for it. We are big Seinfeld fans.
We both got Seasons 5 & 6 for Christmas. Our little hillbilly family
gatherings had some highlights, as usual.

We kicked off the season at my Hillbilly Sister's house for an
evening of finger foods, gossip, poker, and wine tasting. That
sounds good in print, huh?

HSis has a beautiful house on a country blacktop road IN TOWN.
They have a cleaning lady, and have had an interior decorator, and
their kids are 16 and 19, so they don't mess up the house much.
Compared to their place, ours looks like an abandoned FEMA
site. HSis went all out, so I have to give her props. She had hot
wings, taquitos, pizza snacks, salad, little smokies, dogs-in-blankets,
(no, PETA, not real canines, just little smokies in some kind of puff
pastries), chicken fingers (don't go there), cheese sticks, chips &
cheese dip, cookies, candy, veggies, cupcakes, and Chex Mix
(supplied by me). It was great, she spent all day getting it ready.
The only bone I have to pick with her is that she billed the affair
as an evening of finger foods, and then tossed in the salad. But
I didn't dare say anything, because I would never be able to put
in the effort to pull off something as well as she did.

The kids and grandmas played Texas Hold 'Em in the basement
rec room. HH, HSis, mayor, mayor's bro, mayor's bro's wife, and
I stayed upstairs to discuss world events. By this I mean: people
we know who...use double names like Annie Beth (almost all the
people we know), were named for their dad (like Rolinda has a
dad named Roland), have bad breath, are certifiably nuts, may or
may not be half-Jewish (the question being that the name sounds
German), have set themself on fire, are anorexic but are "huge"
during pregnancy, dye their hair, revealed too much for jury
selection, go to only one cantata practice and while there say,
"In measure 23 I notice a quarter rest but nobody rested--is that
going to be the way we sing it?" Oh, and we discussed people
who adopted Chinese babies, but they were really Guatemalan
babies, but "HH, you can bring home some armloads of Chinese
babies from your trip and make some money adopting them out."
Yes. We are so wrong. On so many levels. We won't rehash
the Colombian Necktie conversation.

Today we had Christmas Dinner at my Hillbilly Mama's house.
She elected to carry in Warehouse BBQ this year, which was
fine with us, because we also had the left-over finger foods.
The idea was so my Hillbilly Mama could relax and not have
to cook, but she was still 45 minutes late with warming things
up, so my kids even ate something today, what with it being
1:45 before they got lunch, and they'd been up since 5:15.

I had an embarrassing fashion faux pas when I thought I had
stepped in something in the yard. It wouldn't scrape off the bottom
of my shoe, so I had #1 son take a look as I was setting down
some presents. "Oh, it's just the sole of your shoe peeling off,
Mom." Hey, I'm not that poor. I just have a pair of New Balance
that I really like. I have 3 other pairs at home that have not been
worn. Plus the pair of them my teaching buddy Mabel gave me,
and only ONE of those shoes has been worn. Now I will have to
break in a new pair. My niece, who has Hillbilly Mom for her
middle name, got a pair of Uggs. She tried them on, and I had to
tell her they were on the wrong feet. I hope that doesn't reflect on
her namesake. She used to be in gifted classes, but got mad at
the teacher and quit.

I heard my 88-year-old Hillbilly Grandma and my Hillbilly Mama
discussing my aunt, who had fallen off a ladder:

"I seen her at the Post Office, crippling around."
"She's been using a walker. I hear she's not doing so good."
"She didn't look good."
"Well, you know, she broke her pelvic."
"No, she couldn't have broke it. Then she couldn't walk. She
have cracked it."

We get hillbillier by the day.

Somebody thought an old lady at church said she liked her hair.
So she replied, "Oh, it's all windblown today. It's a mess." And
the old lady shouted, "I SAID, I'm glad you could be HERE!"
Because around HERRRR, that's how they both are pronounced.
Hair and here. Not quite as bad as Loretta Lynn says it, but listen
to Nelly and you'll know what I mean.

If you came here looking forward to seeing how my Hillbilly
Husband offended all of Europe, I put that off until tomorrow.

Merry Christmas, HH. From HH.

My Hillbilly Husband bought himself a present on Dec. 23.
He is a firm believer in the "It's better to receive than to give"
theory. Except in this case, he gave, and he received. He had
gone to Walgreens to get a passport photo. While he was
waiting, he walked over to the local Tractor Supply store,
and couldn't pass up this bargain. It was marked down $800,
you see. If I had only dug through the junk he throws on the
dresser to see if he had any photos left from the last time he
got a passport, I might have avoided this purchase, because
then he would not have been in Walgreens.

He has driven it around the neighborhood to show it off. The
neighbor down the hill says it is a "glorified golf cart." Well,
he doesn't have one, now does he? And, he is an in-law of
The Land Stealer, so we don't really care about his opinion,
though he does come up occasionally for a drink in the BARn.

#1 son took me for a ride in it yesterday, when I should have
been wrapping some presents. It had rained the night before,
and big water drops fell on me from the roll cage each time
he hit a bump. Then HH came home, and put on the little
plastic cover. If only he had done that the night before, I
wouldn't have had a shower during my cruise around the

This cute little thing has seatbelts, a dump bed (if you lift it up
by hand), and three gears: forward, neutral, and back. I guess
HH is entitled to a toy. He only spent about half of his year-
end bonus on it. I think I should get the rest. After all, who
takes care of the Hillbilly Mansion and the boy young 'uns
when he's out gallivanting the globe? I knew you would all
agree with me.

Speaking of gallivanting, HH leaves for Brazil in January. He'll
be gone two weeks this time. He says it has taken them a year
and a half to get visas to get into the country, that Brazil is very
strict about these things. It is easier to get a salesman visa or a
tourist visa than a work visa. They will have to hire a local to
hand them the tools, he says. He might be pulling my leg. You
never can tell with HH. He is a good bluffer because he believes
himself. They already have a company man there, and he didn't
have any trouble because he's from Colombia. I can't figure that
one out. I don't think Colombia is near Brazil, but then again,
geography and history are my worst subjects. Also, they speak
Portuguese in Brazil, and Spanish in Colombia. Go figure. HH
says that the guy will have no problems, because he is "from there."
I don't know if any of this is true. HH says that anyone on the
continent can travel to Brazil with no problem, just like we don't
need a visa to go to Canada. I fear HH is misinformed. I asked
him if the company would pay me his salary while he's locked up
in, oh, I don't know, maybe a Turkish prison or something. HH
did not answer.

Here's another HH tale. One of their engineers went to Vietnam.
I hadn't heard about that. I asked why HH didn't go. "I didn't want
to go to Vietnam. I hear they're kind of backward and eat funny
stuff." OK. So now he gets to pick and choose where he goes,
based on the cuisine. He said the guy was picked up at the airport
on a motorscooter, and that's how he got around. Also, the client
he went to see worked out of his home. His bedroom was his
"factory." They had even sold him some machine to do the work.
In case you're thinking HH is a drug courier or something, his
company makes industrial sawblades and products that butchers
use to cut meat and bones. HH says that in Vietnam, they were
still splitting the cattle with axes. This went over well at the dinner
table at my Hillbilly Sister's house. You know, the sister married
to the mayor.

In February, HH goes to China. Beijing. I asked him if he gets
to rent a car, or if he has to ride a bicycle. My brother-in-law-
the-mayor asked if HH is getting to ride in a rickshaw. Then
talk turned back to the guy from Colombia, who has been to
the Hillbilly Mansion with his wife and two boys. In fact, we
even sold him a 1982 Toyota Corolla. Anyhoo, HH said the
guy's wife was a great-niece of Fidel Castro. Maybe that's
why he has pull in Brazil, though I don't think Brazil and Cuba
have any connections. Brother-in-law then told HH he'd better
be careful because if he violated his visa by working, he might
get a "Colombian Necktie," which he thinks is when they cut
your throat and pull your tongue down through the hole. Oh,
this came up in an earlier discussion of a student (at my sister's
school) who was "playing around" in band and grabbed a kid
from behind and put a knife to his throat. Don't worry. She
said it was a joke. Ahem. Thank goodness the kids were playing
Texas Hold 'em in the basement. We are quite the poster family
for political incorrectness. Wait until the next post, in which HH
offends all of Europe.

No, I'm not neglecting my family on Christmas. #1 son was up
at 5:15 and I made him wait until 6:00 to open gifts. Then I had
time to do three loads of laundry, make two pies, wrap a couple
of stray gifts, take a shower, watch "Christmas from the 60s" on
the RFD channel, with Porter Wagoner, Dolly Parton, the Wilburn
Brothers, Loretta Lynn, Del Reeves, and Spec Rhodes, and now
am killing time until we
go to my Hillbilly Mama's house at 12:30.
I hope she has some
Mountain Dew (for ME, not the kids) because
that four
hours of sleep is going to catch up to me this afternoon.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

It's Baaaack! The Royal Crown of Hillmomba

YES! The Royal Crown of Hillmomba has been returned.
Rebecca said she was putting it in the mail. I didn't believe it.
I used to have rental property. Every time those tennants mailed
me the rent, the USPS lost their checks. Go figure. So I sent
my teaching buddy, Mabel, to get it back. The crown, not the
rent money. I wasn't teaching with her then. She is a no-nonsense
kind of gal, that Mabel. Job well done, Mabes.

As your Christmas bonus, here's a little holiday tune:

"On the 12th day of Christmas, my teaching buddy Mabel
brought to me:

12 tardies from my students so now they get ISS

11 hugs in the hall when I really needed moral support
10 minutes of good gossip during my first hour class
9 unit multipliers that took me 4 years to learn to do
8 pieces of advice about using sick days
7 stories about her cat "Lovie" who's a boy but she calls him "she"
6 scary faces with her nose pressed against the door glass
5 explanations of slope equations
4 copies of memos I've misplaced
3 doorstops that someone steals if you don't mark your name on
2 shoes that only one was walked in

Yes. Well. Mabel has returned the Royal Crown of Hillmomba
to its rightful owner. HOORAH, Mabel. Ya done good. It's the
gift for a Hillbilly Mom who has everything. It was quite a surprise,
I must say. My students loved it. One even took my picture.
There's some future blackmail money. My students are smarter
that people give them credit.

Now, to explain her other gifts:

2--Mabel wore two different shoes the entire first quarter. Yes,
she knew it. Her story was that she had foot surgery, and needed
a larger shoe for a while. Just because she came to school without
a real shoe for a few weeks, with wires sticking out the ends of her
toes, people believed her. I think she's a bit eccentric.

3--When we moved into our new high school 5 years ago, Mabel
was the one who bought doorstops. Wooden ones disappeared
like Oreo Cake at a teachers' potluck. The secret is to write your
name with Wite-Out (That's a trademarked product, people. I am
not such a bad speller.) so others won't steal it.

4--Hey, I travel. Sometimes I pick up a memo and stuff it in my
briefcase, or gradebook, and it ends up at the wrong building.
Mabel always has hers on file.

5--You have to RISE before you can RUN, she tells me. But I
forget what rise and run are. If the student has good notes, I can
figure it out from there. Something about an "m" confuses me.
You mathies might know what she's talking about.

6--There we'll be, everybody working away, as my students are
wont to do, when one will squeal with horror, "There's that cow
lady!" and we'll see her nose pressed against the glass. She likes
cows, she doesn't resemble one.

7--HE was named after the old St.Louis Rams defensive
coordinator. Mabel thought HE was a girl for a while. Then
she refused to call HIM by the proper pronoun. I hope HE does
not develop gender confusion.

8--Use the sick days, she says. When you're dead and gone,
nobody's going to say, "That Hillbilly Mom! She even came to
school when she was sick." No. They're going to say, "Who's
Hillbilly Mom?" She's great for my self-image, that Mabel.

9--I've mastered the concept of unit multipliers. It's some
newfangled way to convert thingies, like meters to inches, or
quarts to milliliters, or some such nonsense. I've always known
how to convert them, just not how to show it in such an anal-
retentive way. Go figure.

10--Mabel keeps me informed of the goings-on at her end of
the hall. Not every day, mind you, because my kids this year
are extremely high-maintenance. It's Mabel's prep time. I think
she puts a stack of about 500 copies on the machine and comes
down to my room while they're running.

11--Sometimes, even Hillbilly Mom gets the blues. I am not a
touchy-feely person, but I can deal with it.

12--Mabel is the official recorder of the tardies during 6th hour
each day. Or maybe 7th. Ha ha! The little punks can't get away
with it, and I get a vacation from them while they're ISSing.

I know, it's a catchy little tune. I'll bet you go about your holiday
humming and singing it. And don't you like that bird theme on my
kitchen wall, courtesy of my Hillbilly Husband? It looks all artsy-
fartsy...the duck's neck curved almost like the crown's neck.
Oops! My face seems to be obscured. I was rubbing that crater
left in my skull from when that metal tin at Wal-Mart fell on me.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Shame Shame

As promised, here is my next pr0n post. I hope folks don't actually
think I don't know how to spell pr0n. I do know how. And I'm
proud of it. But I don't want people searching for it and ending up
here, so I am using the spelling that I see in emails that want to slip
in through the filter. And at school, the real spelling would probably
bring up the big yellow school bus with the big red stop sign that
blocks inappropriate content. Shame, shame, everybody sees your
schoolbus! The kids sure make a deal of it when somebody gets
the schoolbus.

Looking back at my last post, it kind of seems like I am wondering
when it will be OK to let my child watch pr0n. That wasn't exactly
the angle I was going for. When will he be sufficiently well-adjusted
and mature enough to make socially acceptable decisions when he
does find such images? And not be scarred for life. 10 or 12 inches.
That's what I was getting at.

Now, on to my tale of teachers and pr0n. Way long ago when I
worked in a very rural school district, I hung out with a gang of
wild, Trivial-Pursuit-playing, weekend-binge-drinking teachers.
Which is to say about 90 percent of the faculty. More specifically,
there were two that I hung out with quite a lot. We had some wild
3-way parties. No. Not like that. You couldn't have found 3
people less attracted to one another in that manner. Because we
had no issues with romance, we could get quite obnoxious and
inappropriate with each other. Those out of the loop, such as
administrators and students, couldn't understand our 3 Stooges
kind of relationship. Some accused me of trying to steal Bob
away from Betty after she had introduced us. Some students
assumed Bob was my boyfriend, and asked what it was like
to kiss a man with a mustache. Eeeww. I had no notion of ever
kissing Bob, and I certainly wouldn't be discussing such a thing
with students. The principal and athletic director all but looked
over my head and winked when Betty drove me to school one
morning for a meeting. Double eeeww. Not that there's anything
wrong with that. But to me that would have been like French-
kissing your grandma. There are some boundaries that must
not be crossed, even in the imagination. Just because I woke
up to a flat tire on my car, and called her for a ride, did not
mean that those men could create a fantasy about us and give
each other the raised-eyebrow wink.

Betty was the ringleader of our gang of 3. Sometimes, we
included the horsefaced Art teacher, who was new and easily
corruptible. She was also very dumb. Like we could be talking
and say, "Oh, look at those horses in that field. Do you think
they're pretty?" And one of us would answer, "Nay. Don't
think so." And the other would say, "We-e-e-ellll." Like
Mr. Ed the talking horse on that very old TV show. Horseface
wouldn't get that we were making fun of her, but we were
highly amused. We really did like her, though.

Our other sometimes co-hort was Di, the counselor. Di used
to be a coach at another school near my hometown, though
I had never heard of her. She was about 10 years older than
us, and was hot to trot for the Biology teacher who also raised
grapes as a cash crop. You may have seen his grape stand
along Hwy 44 near St. James, Missouri. He made enough
money with it to put his kids through college. We always said
that Di was very good at her job, whatever it was that she did.
We never actually saw her do any work, or heard her talk
about the working part of her job, which seemed to be standing
outside the Biology teacher's classroom. Di was somewhat of a
mystery. She said that at her old school, she was simultaneously
accused of screwing the senior boys, and screwing the girls on her
team. We didn't think she had any inclinations in those directions,
as the Biology teacher was the only one we ever saw her show
affections toward.

So we had our two associates, one who was worldly, one who
was a bit naive. Betty was from South St. Louis. That means
she did not have a bashful bone in her body. Sometimes, when
she went home for a visit, she rented pr0n tapes to bring back
to our town. (This was so long ago, VCRs were new gadgets.
They even had Betamax back then.) Bob and Betty and I would
watch them without sound, and make up our own dialogue. We
thought we were hilarious.

Betty devised a plan to invite Horseface and Di to her house
one Friday night, the nights we usually kept to our threesome.
She was going to put a pr0n tape in the VCR, and after
a few drinks and some TV watching, she would point the
remote and say, "I wonder what else is on." Then she would
hit the 'play' button and start the tape, at some graphic point
in the movie. OK, so maybe Betty had consumed a beer or
ten at the time she came up with this plan. Because any fool
knows that the lights on the VCR come on, and you can
hear the tape grinding when it starts. Bob and I were hysterical,
and told Betty this would never work. She begged to differ.

I still remember the name of that movie. "Up in the Air." Let's
just say it involved the concept of The Mile High Club. We
had already seen it several times by the time Betty invited
our guests. I don't know if she rented it over and over, or
if we spent every night that week watching pr0n. There's
nothing else for young single teachers to do in farmland.

Bob and I got there early, and the 3 of us giggled like
schoolgirls over Betty's dastardly plan. I think she wanted
to see if they'd watch, or if they'd be shocked, or what
they'd do. She said, "Horseface is so dull. I don't think
she's ever had sex. Duh. Even though she's sort of attractive,
I don't think anybody could date her without going right
to sleep." Of Di, she said, "That Di is no spring chicken.
I am sure she's doing it with Bio Boy." She was a regular
Dr. Ruth, that Betty.

The guests arrived. We were bored to death with their chatter,
though Di could be amusing at times. She looked like Carol
Burnett, but with dark hair. She drank wine. Not that she was
any more cultured than the rest of us hicks, who all chose beer.
(If I ever did anything like that, that is what I would have chosen,
you know.) Betty continually asked, "Can I get you more to
drink?" Di looked at her funny, and Horseface said, "Sure."
She slurred a little more each time she said it. It was SO gosh-
darn hard to try and make conversation with her. Like staying
awake for 4 days and accidentally drinking a bottle of cough
medicine with codeine.

Betty said, "Enough of your boring story. Let's watch some TV."
Di said, "What are you up to?" Di was hard to outsmart. After
about 10 minutes of network TV, Betty tried her plan. Horseface's
mouth dropped open, and her big eyes bugged out. That's why
we called her 'Horseface.' That, and her flat, long face and flaring
nostrils. "What is THAT?" she slurred. I'm thinking she meant the
movie, not the act of intercourse. Di said, "You guys!" She made
some excuse and left shortly after that. We left it playing, and
made some lame excuses like, 'bathroom,' 'more beer,' and
'snacks' so we could all end up in the kitchen and giggle.

Betty said, "It made Di horny, so she had to leave to go to Biology
teacher's house and get some." This made Bob and I shake with
our silent heehaws. Betty went on, "I think Horseface is kind of
enjoying it--if she can figure out what it is." Soon thereafter, we
made up some excuse so Horseface would leave. She had used
up her entertainment value, and was just too boring to spend
any more time with. We wanted to rehash the whole evening
without her.

The next night, at one of the big parties with most of the faculty,
Betty asked Di, "So, how did you like that TV show last night?"
Di answered, "Betty, I'm not an idiot. I know you were playing
a tape." She didn't seem offended or amused. That's why she
was an enigma. And a story like this shows you how much each
of us needed to get a life.

Not For Children

WooHoo! I got a whole 7 hours of sleep! That's almost double
my usual 4 hours. I rose at 7:00, watched a little news, then started
channel surfing, since my little beasts were still asleep. Yes, #2
stayed up until after midnight. That boy just doesn't know when
to go to bed.

Around the Showtime, Movie Channel, Sundance area, I stumbled
across a movie that should not have been rated "R." I have Dish
Network, so that onscreen thingy pops up with the rating. OK,
so the name of the movie was "Sex is Comedy," which right off
tells you what this is probably about. Not that I skim the channels
looking for pr0n early in the morning or anything. So I happened
upon the last few minutes of this movie, and the first thing I saw
was a guy (most definitely a guy!) standing beside a bed wearing
a green wooly sweater. That was all.

Now here is the thing that amazed me. Well, the second thing.
The first thing was about 10 or 12 inches. I know. It was
spectacular--I mean shocking--to see such a display of frontal
noclothesedness with an "R" rating. Even those Showtime
"NR/AO" don't show such views of a man in such a condition
in their simulated dancing in the sheets. But you do know that
it COULD happen, due to the rating. Not that I look ahead in
my program guide to see when such shows are on, or anything.

Maybe this ratings faux pas was due the film being of foreign
origin. I'm thinking maybe French, but I'm not sure, because I
wasn't really listening to the dialogue, I was trying to keep up
with the subtitles. Yes. I love to read. The plot seemed to be
that these filmakers were having trouble shooting a tender love
scene where the actor and actress hate each other. He didn't
seem to be hatin' too much, though.

This brings up my question (see, I really do have a point) of
whether I should put a channel lock thingy on my Dish service.
What if my kids were flipping through the channels and found
this kind of stuff? It was 8:00 a.m., CST, not late at night. My
boys are 11 and 7. I know they will reach that age where they
will try to search these things out. I used to have an 8th grade
student who could not stay awake in class because he spent
all night looking up pr0n on the internet. #1 son wants his
computer in his room, but I make him leave it in our basement
family room area, where we can walk by at any time. But he
has a TV in his room.

The problem with channel locks is that I don't know how to
do it. So the kid I am locking out would have to be the one
to show me how to set it. That kind of defeats the purpose,
don't you think? I know I can't protect him forever. But I
think he doesn't need to have this possibility of finding these
things until at least 14. There seems to be a little jump in the
kids' maturity level, around the second half of 9th grade. That
would be 14-15 years old. Am I trying to keep him a naive
baby? I don't want to make him a bigger freak than what he
already is, what with his computer lingo and all. But I also
don't want him to be the kid operating a pr0n website, or
distributing pr0n magazines and videos. Yes, I know it's hard
to believe that we've had kids do that at school. (Ha!)

This dilemma has now reminded me of more shocking tales
of pr0n from one of my teacher buddies several years ago.
Sorry. That one will have to wait until tomorrow. And in the
near future, I will update y'all on the search for the Royal
Crown of Hillmomba. Yes, I know. I am ruining Christmas
by giving you all the insatiable urge to check in on my blog
instead of spending time with you families. Guilty! I have
tried to tone down my charisma, but it just doesn't work.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

'Tis the Season of the Whacker

That rascally Rebecca has given me an idea. Yes, I do hate to admit
that the crown-thief has done a good deed. She left a comment (I
know, how uncharacteristic of her!) that made me think more about
the whackers my kids run around with every Christmas.

The boys are all excited, from the moment I bring a new whacker
into the house. It doesn't matter that the whacker is covered with
wrapping paper. They know what lies underneath--the precious
whacker. Oh, they try to make do during the year with the lesser
paper towel whackers, or the lowly toilet paper whackers. But
that's not the same as a Christmas whacker.

My kids stand near the pool table, which is where I lay out the
non-kid gifts for wrapping. They are only in it for the whacker.
The older boy lays claim to the first whacker. Many a time, I've
been going at it with several whackers laid out on the pool table,
to hear my son whine, "Use that one. It's almost ready. Hurry up!
Just peel off a little more." The little one will ask, "Are you about
done with my whacker?"

The Christmas whacker is a special breed. It is longer than the
other varieties of whackers, and more fun to swing through the air.
It thumps louder when you hit your brother over the head with it.
It lets out a booming echo when you put your mouth to the hole
in the end and yell "WOOHOO" into it. Sometimes, they just
blow into it to hear air gushing from the other hole. Blowing the
whacker isn't nearly as fun as stabbing or smacking somebody
with it. Too much blowing causes the whacker's hole to get moist
and soggy, and nobody wants to touch a wet whacker.

The lifespan of the Christmas whacker is about two days in our
house. Oh, some have perished within and hour, and the odd one
might have been lost behind the couch and survived for a couple
weeks, but they are the exception to the rule.

The first sign of a declining whacker is the crack. It might be near
one end, but is generally in the middle. The crack causes the
whacker to wobble in a swordfight, and lessens the pain of the
victim in a good old-fashioned whacking.

As the crack is ripped open, the whacker is usually amputated
near the gaping hole. It then becomes a mini-whacker, which is
not effective against a full-size whacker. This causes the child
to whimper to Hillbilly Mom, "I get the next whacker. Mine is
no good anymore." He then stuffs the stumps of his whacker
into the trash can. Sometimes my Hillbilly Husband pulls
whackers out of the trash and places them in his burn pile. He
thinks it is wrong to waste space in the dumpster with a whacker
that is perfectly good for burning.

As the season draws to a close, we store the whackers still
covered with Christmas wrap in the rafters of the basement
workshop, until we need them again next year.

And in case you missed the comment, Rebecca says that in
Australia, a "whacker" is what they call someone who has lost
his mind.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

For Lack of a Whacker

I am in a last-minute Christmas shopping mode. I found some good
stuff at a neighboring Wal-Mart this afternoon. They even had a
helpful saleslady. Who knew? She wasn't wearing the standard blue
Wal-Mart vest, but a smart little business suit. She might not really
have worked there. Maybe she liked to pretend. But she did know
her way around the video games and computer CDs.

Nothing fell on my head at this Wal-Mart. I see the disappointment
on your faces. I can't be entertaining all the time.

#1 son was in trouble this afternoon for backtalking, badmouthing,
and being mean to #2 over playing Nintendo DS. He also crushed
a paper airplane he had made for #2, just to see him cry. #1 was sent
to his room, and came out without permission. He told his dad that
he "didn't know" he couldn't come out. He had a little meltdown
and shouted that he didn't want anything for Christmas anyway,
which made #2 tell him all he was getting was some coal. #1
replied that this coal business was just a myth, and that neither
one of them needed anything for Christmas, since they both were
mad at me.

This made #2 cry, because although he was mad, he still wanted
Christmas gifts. He sniffled to his dad that there was not ONE gift
in this house for him, and he was getting worried that he would not
get anything. I tried to explain that I wouldn't put out his gifts yet
because he was always grabbing them and begging to open them
early. He used to say, "Well, Santa will bring me some" but now
he won't even mention that. I fear that #1 has told him (in a fit of
rage) that Santa is just a myth like the coal. Poor little thing. I've
got to wrap a couple of presents for him and put them out.

#2 was in a good mood today, until all this coal business. I saw
him get off the bus with a "whacker." You know, a long cardboard
wrapping-paper tube. He ran up the sidewalk, wielding it like a
sword. I intercepted him before he whacked Mr. H with it in the
hall. He has had murderous tendencies toward Mr. H since Mr. H
asked him one time, "Hey, buddy, you got some candy?" in
reference to a Valentines' party bag. #2 swung the bag of candy
at Mr. H, and hit him in the chest. Now Mr. H is more cautious
about such inquiries.

I wondered, "Who in their right mind would give my kid a whacker?"
"Mrs. M!" stated my child, elevating her to a pedestal. This is the
teacher he said he loved so much he wanted to kiss her, except
"We can't kiss at school. Only hug. And only hug if all our work
is done." At parent conferences, Mrs. M said she has been telling
her class that now that they are in 2nd grade, they are getting to big
to hug her and each other at school. They have to grow up too fast.

#2 said that Mrs. M told the class that since the whackers were
just sitting there, they might as well take one if they wanted one.
I guess it was a matter of craft items not being needed anymore.
#2 said that "You could get two if you were getting one for a
brother or sister." I noticed that he did not get one for his brother.
I guess it's more fun whacking an unarmed victim. #1 seemed
bitter about the lack of a whacker. Maybe that's what started
the bad blood.

I caught up to #2 a little ways up the hall. Mrs. C's kindergarten
kid was saying, "Let me see that. Just for a minute." #2 pirouetted,
keeping the whacker away. I would have like to see what the kid
wanted it for. To give #2 a sound whacking, no doubt.

I need that whacker. I think administering a good whacking might
brighten my spirits. I think it's in the SUV, because there has been
a lack of whacking since we got home. Maybe I can get hold of
it tomorrow. It's a half day of school. I could get in a lot of whackin'.

Monday, December 19, 2005

The Agony and the Agony

I am angry, my friends, angry like an old man trying to send back
soup in a deli. Wait. That was an episode of Seinfeld I watched last
week, the one where marine biologist George rescues the whale by
pulling the Titleist out of its blowhole, the Titleist that Kramer drove
off the beach practicing his golf swing. And it's a mammal. Not a fish.

Tonight I went to Wal-Mart for a bit of last-minute shopping for the
kids, and to get more Chex Mix containers. Bad idea.

I had to return a CD and a Roller Coaster Tycoon 3 that somebody
already had. I parked at my usual spot, way over by the lawn and
garden center, by the cart return. I grabbed a cart and pushed it in.
Because I'm that kind of gal. I saw the greeter, and remembered
that I forgot the returnables. I went back to the large SUV for them.
I pushed in another cart. I stood in line (5 people ahead of me), to be
waited on by a 16-year-old worker. She said, "I'll need to see your
driver's license." I know that's their policy. I usually have it with me.
But I didn't want to haul in the whole purse tonight, so I just had a
debit and a credit card, which I offered to her. No. Must. Have.
Picture. ID. I went back to the SUV for the license. I did not push
in a cart. What made me mad was that the woman in front of me had
returned a two-pack of DVDs. You know, those that come bundled
together, side by side. Only they were not side by side. They were
separate, with the cardboard ripped apart, and no plastic wrap to be
seen. The worker girly asked her, "Do you remember how much this
was?" The woman said, "Oh, I think about $10. I've seen others for
that." The worker girly handed her $10. In cash. I gave my picture ID
for the CD and game, both still in their original wrapping, with prices
attached, and got a Wal-Mart card for my refund. That's fine, I was
spending it there anyway, but it's just that I don't like a 16-year-old
girl getting the upper hand on me.

Next, I went to the container section. A girl was standing there,
doing nothing. I could not see my plastic containers. I did, however,
see metal for twice the price. I decided I needed three. I reached to
the top shelf to get one. I put it in my cart. A 20-something boy came
up, with a younger boy, and talked to the girl. They were not
shopping for containers. I reached for my second one, which was
harder, with more people in the way. 20-guy picked up a tin with
wheels on it, and rolled it down the aisle. Then he rolled it back. It
rammed into my foot. Did anybody say, "Oh, sorry" or "Excuse me"
or "Move it, lady" so I would expect it? No. They laughed like hyenas.
The girl said, "You know you're not supposed to get in any more
trouble!" 20-guy said, "OOOoooo!" and picked up the rolling tin.
I reached for my last container. I had to take a stack of four to get
it, from the top shelf. They tipped over. One hit the floor while I
was juggling the other three. "Hey! What the--" the in-the-way-girl
shouted, and turned to glare at me. At that moment, the topmost tin
I was juggling slammed into my forehead. That really made the
hyenas cackle. I usually don't speak to people in Wal-Mart, but I
said, "Well, it's kind of hard to get them with you guys playing
around." They left the aisle, hee-hawing all the way. I think that's
going to leave a mark. Physically, too.

From there, I went to electronics to spend a fortune on the video
games. Only they didn't have the 6 things on my list. Any of them.
I saw Mr. K from school, who moonlights at Wal-Mart. He was
helping a lady look for a DVD they didn't have. I told him my
problem. He said he'd look, and let me know if he found any.
Of course, that was the last I saw of him. No Railroad Tycoon,
either. I was going to substitute Prison Tycoon, but they had only
one, and it had been opened. Maybe that lady in front of me had
already returned it. It must be in high demand here in redneckland.

I saw a former student of mine who had dropped out, but had
gotten his GED. He was congenial. I asked if they had a VuGo,
which he said he'd never heard of, but that he didn't work back
in that department, so he would ask for me. He probably works
bringing in carts, and I am putting him out of a job. He asked,
but they'd never heard of it. Darn that #1 son for telling me it
was right there yesterday when we were in Wal-Mart!

By now it was 7:45. I was tired and crankier than usual. I was
starving (well not really, because I have a few fat stores to tide
me over until, oh, let's see, maybe...2008) since I had left home
with supper in the oven. I finished with the toilet paper and
mayonnaise and banana shopping and grabbed a sandwich from
the case. One of those triangle-shaped roast beef and swiss things.
I hear you shouting "No, Hillbilly Mom! What are you thinking?
Do you want to die?" No. I didn't eat a muffin with a "K" on it,

I checked out with a girl who put 50 pounds of batteries all in
one flimsy plastic bag, and my bananas in with some cans of
soup and the jar of mayonnaise. Then she had the nerve to say
"Done with your Christmas shopping now?" No. Leave me alone.
Do you think I'm spending too much, or what? Those cans of
soup are going to be tough to wrap.

On the way home, I unwrapped that delicious sandwich. I could
only eat one bite. That bite tasted like beer. Beer that has been
in a metal bucket for an hour at the St. Louis Strassenfest in
October, 1980. Or how my friends said beer like that tasted.
I threw it out the window, bit by bit. I hope Hansel and Gretel
don't follow me home. I hate uninvited guests.

By this time, I was really stressing. The only comfort to be had
was the lovely voice of Dolly Parton singing "Wildflowers" from
the TRIO CD, and the warm glow of my SERVICE ENGINE
SOON light. I know y'all secretly go to Amazon and listen to
these songs I talk about. I know you do. There's no need to be
embarrassed. This one is good ol' hillbilly music.

I made it home to find that my Hillbilly Husband had turned off
the garage light. He does that. If I leave it off, it is on when I get
home. When I try to outsmart him by leaving it on, he turns it
off. He came running to help me carry in the stuff. Yeah. Right
after I had carried it all to the porch and stomped into the house
bellowing "A little help, here?"

Now I am very tired. I need to put ice on that lump on my forehead.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

The Christmas Chex Mix

The Christmas Chex Mix has arrived. Not so much arrived
as has been hauled out of Hillbilly Mom's oven every 15 minutes
for the last two hours. It is very needy, this Chex Mix, very high-
maintenance. Now it must cool for a couple of hours before I
cram it into some Wal-Mart plastic containers to pass out at

One thing about Chex Mix: the kids clean up the pieces that
drop out of the pan while stirring. By that, I mean they pick
up the Chex that fall onto the cutting block. That still leaves
the nuts, pretzels, and Cheerios on the cutting block, and all
pieces that land on the floor. Because I guarantee you that
each time you stir it, about 5 pieces will fall to the floor. Oh,
you may think, "I'll pick that up in a minute. It's way over
there where nobody will be walking." But the very next step
you take, you will crush it to sand-sized crumbs.

Hmm...will I have enough left to give my friend Mabel? Don't
count your Chex Mix before it's packed, Mabel. Who's on my
list this year? Let's see...I have two principals, and they each
have a secretary. The superintendent counts on it every year,
which I found out one year when he said, "I thought it was
getting about time for you to bring me my Chex Mix." He has
two secretaries. We are up to 7 already. Then there's #1 son's
teacher, and #2 son's teacher, and all the teachers they've had
since they started school. (#1 insists on this. He is kind of anal-
retentive. I don't know where he gets it.) Thank goodness, #2
has the same teacher this year as last year. No, he didn't get
held back. She moved up a grade. AND, she is the same teacher
#1 had in first grade, so it's like getting one for the price of three.
Counting all those teachers, we are now up to 12. I only have
12 containers. We'll see what I can do. Lucky thing #1's second
grade teacher moved, or we would have unlucky thirteen. Looks
like somebody is going to get a Christmas baggie of Chex Mix
if Mabel gets some. At least we are no longer giving it to the
daycare lady or the piano teacher. I think I will make a second
batch tomorrow night, if I have the strength.

This has not been a good day. I took the wrong pill this morning,
which meant that I had to wait two hours after breakfast to take
the right one, and then another hour after that before I could have
any lunch. Which was no big deal, because it was going on 3:00
before I had time for lunch anyway. Man, it sucks being an old
lady. So I was only 7 hours off on this thyroid thingy. I haven't
dropped dead yet. The gosh-darn pharmacy almost gave me a
heart attack because they switched manufacturers on another pill
and instead of it being a fat white round pill, it was a tiny blue flat
pill. I took it back to them yesterday to make sure it was really
the same thing. They were polite about checking it, but when I
walked out, I imagine they were all twirling their fingers beside
their ears and mouthing "cuckoo" behind my back.

In other news yesterday, I dropped #1 son off at the bowling alley
for their league Christmas party, while #2 and I planned to do some
grocery shopping before picking him up. First stop: Save-A-Lot
(because I am a thrifty kind of gal), and as I went to put the cold
stuff in a cooler to keep during our next stop, a stench arose from
said cooler. I looked in, and saw a yellow stain in the bottom.
This, coupled with the odor, led to my deduction of "neighbor-
dog-piss," so I slammed that sucker shut and we sped home in
the large SUV before returning to our next store. The problem
is that I rinse out the cooler after we use it, and I set it on the
back porch to air out so it doesn't mildew between uses, and
the confounded hound next door marks it as his territory, and
my Hillbilly Husband says, "What's this doing propped up here?"
and slams it shut without looking, allowing the neighbor-dog-piss
to marinate until the next time I need a cooler. Which I shouldn't
have needed except that the freakin' temperature was 48 degrees
in the middle of December.

After picking up #1, we proceeded to Sonic for the daily Cherry
Diet Coke. #2 wanted corn dogs, and since he hadn't reached his
daily allotment of fried grease, I ordered them. The girl at the
window gave us our sodas and receipt, and slammed the glass
and turned her back. I drove off, remembering the corn dogs in
time to make a U-turn and drive thru again. Another girl was trying
to give them to the car in front of us. I waved my receipt, and she
brought them out. She shouldn't have bothered. When we got
home, they were burnt to a crisp, and #2 would only eat half of
one. That is seriously burnt. That boy loves him some corn dogs.
Shh...he doesn't know it's a HOT DOG in the middle. Speaking
of...even the hot dog was black and crispy. Yeah. I expect more
from my minimum-wage teenage fast-food workers.

Today wasn't so great either, what with the medication faux pas.
I was planning to go to town around noon, after coddling my
Chex Mix, but #1 was having none of that. "But it's a Myth Busters
marathon from 12:00 to 4:00! I have to see it!" My young 'un
spoiling gene wouldn't let me leave then, so I told them we'd go
earlier: at 10:00, right after The Porter Wagoner Show on RFD
channel. Oh, and let's not forget that since we returned, #1 has
been playing Evolution on his computer, and Roller Coaster
Tycoon 3, and Pokemon Colosseum on GameCube, and wrapping
some gifts, and fighting with #2, and basically doing everthing but
watching the Myth Busters marathon.

In between stirrings of the Chex Mix, I did two loads of laundry,
washed the dishes, put away some of yesterday's groceries, and
threw some garbage off the back deck. Quite the exciting life I
lead, I know. After setting out the Chex Mix to cool, I fixed a
lunch of some Wal-Mart big sandwich, Chex Mix droppings, and
little chocolate donuts. Yes, I am a health-food nut! Imagine my
horror when reaching for a little chocolate donut, my fingers dipped
into some stray mayonnaise. Yuck! Can my day get any worse?

Perhaps you can answer that for me. HH is due home in 3 hours
from Germany. In the past, he has fought with me or #1 within
30 minutes of arriving. We are going to stand #2 in front of the
door to wait for him. It is also HH's birthday. I'm going to set
out the cake and gifts. Maybe that will distract him.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

Great Googley Moogley

Yes! It's finally time for Hillbilly Mom's wacky search engine
hijinks again! I know...I could hardly wait, either! Join me, won't
you, to see what those wacky searchers have been up to this time?

mom hunt - Is this like a fox hunt? Do you let the dogs loose, and
hunt me down and tear me to pieces? I think I'll pass.

now the teacher is going to have to spank me over her desk in front
of the class - You wish. Kinky much?

inflatable costumes - Nope. That's just my breathtaking physique.
It's real, and it's spectacular.

how not to be picked as a juror AND getting picked for jury duty -
I see. Yes, I am familiar with the concept of bi-polar disorder. I
believe that's what Abby's wacky mama and cutesy bro had on ER.

Leguizamo I'll go down there - Ahh...another ER fan. Somebody's
got it bad for Dr. Clemente.

how to make a good homemade spitwad shooter - Yes, I feel your
pain. Those storebought ones just don't quite measure up, do they?

who took the baby from the manger - I hope you're looking in some
other places, because I'm not your gal. May I suggest that cad who
took the cookies from the cookie jar?

stoner recipes, turtle candies - Someone's been into the wacky
tobaccy again. I don't have that recipe. Please tell me it doesn't
involve real turtles.

the biggest mansion in the world - Uh...this ain't it.

cosmic brownie amsterdam - Have you met the stoner recipe,
turtle candies guy? I think you two would hit it off.

if you are a building contractor, who should you give a Christmas
bonus to? - Hillbilly Mom. She will distrubute it as she sees fit.

These are so tame. My Redneck Review blog had more sordid
searches. Maybe they were from Yahoo. These are only from
Google and MSN. Some of my past favorites:

I don't have to kill you to kill you - So...what you are saying is...?

crutching women
- What's up with that?

fart absorbing undies - Maybe you should check out the Beano site.

hillbilly shoes what to the look like - Silly! Hillbillies don't wear shoes.
And you might want to proofread, because "the" and "they" are not
the same thing.

redneck revenge the movie - Who knew? I might be a star.

redneck graphs of facts - Uh...I don't think rednecks make graphs.

marla hooch pics from a league of their own - Yep. I'm your gal.

film quote want me to make you some sandwiches - It's from
"Badder Santa." I highly recommend it. I laughed 'til I cried. It's
oh, so wrong, on oh, so many levels. Glad to be of help.

hot hunky hung mature gay truck drivers

That now concludes this episode. More as they develop. The
searches. Not the truck drivers.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Jack London, Bad Boys, and Deliverance

I have been waiting for an inspiration, but as you will see, it hasn't
come to me yet. I will just have to tell you about my mundane day.

First cat out of the bag (It's just an expression. I don't put cats in
bags. But if I did, I would tie the top so they couldn't get out,
because it seems to me that if you put a cat in a bag, you'd want
to keep him there.) I had to help my freshmen with their Language
assignment. By help, I mean that they wanted me to do it for them,
because it was a worksheet about Jack London's "To Build a Fire."
I told them I didn't have time to read it, why couldn't they answer
the questions, if they read it yesterday? Ahh...yes...there's the
problem. They "didn't finish it" or "he put in a tape of it but I went
to sleep" so they were clueless. One question was "What was the
conflict?" Hmm...I am no genius, but perhaps it was, oh, I don't
know...maybe...TO BUILD A FIRE?

We had a visitor who may or may not be added to my class at
semester. I do not like visitors. I have done my best to tame the
savage freshmen, and now another one pops in to "see who's in
this class." Uh, no. Go back to where you came from. Especially
when you start mouthing my students who are ALL doing work
ON THE SAME DAY!!! And another thing, little visitor...WE
horror! Put down the mechanical pencil. Stop clicking it. It is
not yours. I do not want your bird flu cooties on it. My students
would not DARE pick up my pencil. They do not even ask to
use it. This is not a comedy lounge for you to try out your act
by heckling my students. It is MY stage, and I am the star. So
run along now, and don't let the door hit your...

Next I had to explain the concept of Democrats and Republicans
to a senior. Be afraid for your future. Be very afraid.

Moving right along, we had some math factoring and more Jack
London. "What did the author spend his winter doing?" I don't
really think the Language teacher worded the question that way,
but that's how it springs to my mind. Did you know Jack spent
the winter lying in his bunk, playing cards, gossiping, and eating
beans, bacon, and biscuits? That's what the textbook told me.
And that he bought land to mine gold, with no intention of mining
gold, but to gather information.

At the teachers' table at lunch, we had a Greatest Hits discussion
of kids who were hard-core bad news (for our little backwoods
area) and how we broke up fights or what the cops did to them.
Mr. K wished we could have had an assembly to showcase the
girl the police pepper-sprayed. Mr. M liked the one where the
bad boy told the deputy to f-off, and was handcuffed and thrown
in the back of the police car. Mr. S like the one who banged the
stapler down the spine of his victim, then bit him in the private area.
I was kind of partial to the one who, when told to get to the office,
shouted, "I will not, HA HA!" Then said, "Not 'til I get my shoe."
(It had sailed across the room when Mr. A body-slammed him
to the cafeteria floor.) Ahh...good times.

Last week, Mr. S told the story of retired Mr. B, who grew up
in St. Louis. Seems young Mr. B dressed up like a woman, and
wrapped a watermelon in a blanket, placing it in a baby stroller.
He took it into a movie theater and sat in the balcony. Halfway
through the movie, he placed it on the railing, and gave it a push.
Then he jumped up and screamed in a high voice, "My baby!"
People saw the red gooey splatter around the blanket and
screamed. I think young Mr. B left pretty soon after that. We
sure do miss him at lunchtime.

We arrived home to find three large packages on our back porch.
I didn't think I was spoiling my kids THAT much for Christmas.
I hauled them in, and found out that two of them were not ours.
(The packages, not the kids.) Go figure. Our address is 8476.
The address on these two was 8525. Gosh. Even my seven-year-
old could guess that these packages go to two different houses.
Gosh-darn UPS (Unqualified People Shipping). We called a
neighbor's girlfriend with the same first name as on the package.
Nope. Not hers. But her address is 8500, so that was a workable
clue. We drove up the road until we found the address.

At this point, I am making a NOTE TO SELF: Hillbilly Mom,
when you want to live dangerously, next time leave the
safe at home. This driveway wound through the woods.
Then we passed the pen with the goats. Then the dog on a chain.
The front yard housed a cathouse. Not that kind. For a little kitty.
Next thing we know, the garage door started to rise. Then a
Deliverance-looking fellow popped up from behind the open
hood of a cherry-red Corvette and walked toward us. #1 son
was already out of our large SUV, as I had commanded him to
go knock and announce that we were delivering UPS packages.
This guy had most of his teeth, no hair, and bleeding knuckles.
I hoped I had not interrupted a human sacrifice in the garage,
and that he had just nicked them on some sharp engine thingy.
The goats were bleating or baaing or whatever little horny goats
do. Chickens ran around in the yard. A black cat tip-toed around
the cathouse, rubbing on the corner, looking at us like: "This is
mine. Don't you even come over here." The guy said, "You didn't
have to bring them. You could have called." Uh, yeah. We didn't
even know if they had a phone. He said he gets packages for an
auto body shop that is out on the county road. Stupid UPS. I
guess the deliverer thought, "Hey, it's Friday afternoon. I'll just
leave the rest of my packages here, they'll give them to the
neighbor. WooHoo! Weekend!" Stupid UPS. I liked the old
driver, a woman who threw out dog biscuits to the animals.
You hardly even knew she was there. She would drive up, grab
the package, toss her biscuits on the porch, set down the package,
rap three times on the kitchen door, and was gone by the time
you looked out. She must have a better route now.

That's all I've accomplished today. This weekend I have to make
my special chex mix. Hillbilly Husband will be returning Sunday.
We will try to notice.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Tales Out of Court

They did not pick me for the jury on Wednesday's case. It seems
I was disqualified for knowing the lawyer. If you call "knowing him"
being on a first-name basis and having his private office number to
bypass the secretary and having done a couple of little information-
gathering jobs on the down-low and having him working on a case
for the last 2 weeks that is still pending.

It would have been an interesting case. A man was suing the city
I live in for $150,000 because he wrecked his motorcycle on a
trench of gravel and there were no road construction signs posted.
He lost $14,000 in wages and had over $5000 in doctor bills due
to breaking his tibia and fibula and heel bone (its official name
escapes me). The rest was for pain and suffering.

During questioning of the jury pool, I found out that while most
people expect to find a sign warning of approaching road hazards,
2 of them did not think you should slow down if you can't see the
road ahead of you. One said, "You can't be slowing down on every
hilltop and blind curve just because you might run into something
on the other side." Another felt that no money should be awarded
for pain and suffering, only for medical bills and lost wages. The
attorney said, "You mean if you have an accident and lose your
leg, a leg which you won't have for the rest of your life, you should
not be compensated for the inconvenience, the embarrassment?"
She replied, "Well, I didn't think of it being a whole leg."

It took a long time to question the jury pool. An hour for "my"
attorney, who is quite charismatic, and 20 minutes for that poor
city boy who didn't have a friend, but was very good-looking.
He started his questions by asking, "Is there anyone who would
be unfair to my side because I am a big city lawyer?" Nobody
admitted it.

The guy sitting next to me said he might not be inclined to award
any money for pain and suffering. For the past two years, he has
been a lobbyist to change the legal system so people can't sue
at the drop of a hat. City Boy exclaimed to My Lawyer, "Hey,
I got ONE!"

I told my Hillbilly Mama about this case, and when I mentioned
the plaintiff's name, she said, "Satan." he a bad guy?
Why don't you say what you really mean, HM? Then she went
on to say that was his nickname, that my dad had known him
through the Masonic Lodge. Which is another scary thing I will
get to in a minute. So my Hillbilly Mama said she thinks "Satan"
is his nickname, something like that, because, "...whenever I see
him out, like in Wal-Mart, I always think "devil". Does he have
black hair, but it looks like he dyes it?" Yeah, my HM is kind of
messed up.

Now for the Masons thingy. One man admitted to being in the
Masonic Lodge with "Satan." He said he could not be impartial.
Then about 5 other guys said the same thing. (It's a small town,
you know.) Another one said, "I have to disclose that I, too, am
in the Lodge with him, but I don't think it will affect my decision.
One of our teachings is fairness, and I would try to apply this to
this situation." Which brings up an interesting question: Did he
just make the other guys look like buttholes for not being fair, or
did he make himself look like he does not put his Masonic
brothers first? I asked my HM, and she said, "Oh, yes. They are
taught to look out for each other. Of course they would take his
side. That is one of their main principles." Now, I thought all this
Masonic stuff was supposed to be top secret. My dad was
a 32nd degree Mason, whatever that is, but all I ever knew
was that he went to meetings and wore a little apron and had
a fancy ring. And at his funeral, there were Masons coming
out of the woodwork. Many, many Masons. How did HM
come by her information?

When the judge asked if anybody did not think they could
stay for a lengthy trial, one of the guys on the jury with me
for the last trial raised his hand. He said, "I just don't think
I could do it for a second day." He had needed a cigarette
break, since the 7 he smoked at lunch did not tide him over.
He said he was a 3 pack-a-day smoker, and had started
when he was 7. Maybe that's why he was only 4 feet tall.
He was not unattractive, what with his Billy Ray Cyrus
haircut, and flannel shirt, and Wal-Mart tennis shoes. He
was a likeable guy, 37 years old. What is it with the 7s?
That was my jury number that day, too. I'm glad it wasn't
6s, or "Satan" might be after me.

Anyhoo, I was #35 Wednesday, and didn't get picked due to
the automatic disqualification of having the lawyer work on a
case for you within the previous 6 months. They went all the
way to #41 for the alternate. I was out of there by 11:35, and
got in some Christmas shopping before #1 son's Christmas
Program. He was well-behaved. Really.