Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What the Hell is THAT? Answers Revealed!


Yes people, this actually is my skin.  Many of you guessed this correctly which surprised me.  Both Madison and Jimmy looked at the picture and said, "It's water."  Water is obviously the one thing missing from this image!  My skin is dry dry dry!!!


Mom is a dolphin freak and this is only one of her light-up dolphin thingies.


While at my parents' new place, I was walking around the yard and spotted their neighbor's cool papaya tree.  Isn't it pretty?


I knew no one would get this one.  I actually love the way this picture turned out.  Who would guess that it's the dirty, leftover charcoal from our last grilled dinner?


Okay, so this one was impossible to guess.  It's part of the back of my car.  This is what it looks like after Jimmy and the girls took it camping.  Ugh.


Very few guessed this correctly, which just goes to show you that when viewed from a different perspective, even the most common everyday things can stump you.

One again, this was so much fun!  Now I have to be on the hunt for more unexplainable pictures to stump you with!

Pssst! If you love me, you might love my stupid sister more. Go visit her at Jill's Believe it or Not, and tell her I sent you!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

It's Time To Play... Tiney's What the Hell is THAT?

It's finally that time again!  If you're new here, the rules are simple.  You look at the pictures I've taken and do your best to guess what they are.  You leave your guesses in the comments section and then wait with bated breath until I post the results.

Good luck!!!







Pssst! If you love me, you might love my stupid sister more. Go visit her at Jill's Believe it or Not, and tell her I sent you!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

She's Bringin' Stupid Back

I have to tell you, I've been worried about Jill these past few months.  No, not because she's going through a divorce from a lecherous monster.  I have all faith that she can endure that whole drama and come out on top.

Nope, what's really been worrying me is that I thought she'd lost her stupid. 

This may be hard for you to understand, but it was scary for me.  How could I survive my days without hearing Jill mangle the English language?  How could I enjoy any time I have with her if she's acting like a normal person?  It didn't bear thinking about, but think about it I did, because she seemed to have gone at least two months without saying anything to put me in stitches, or at the very least just shake my head with pity.

My God, Jill has lost her stupid!!!

Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine she'd find it again while in the midst of worry over our mother.  But it seems that my mother's stroke, while not affecting her own speech patterns, did indeed affect Jill's cognitive ability.  What's that saying about God closing a door but opening a window?  It's kinda like that, I think.

I have examples too, which just tickles me to no end.  And get this.  It's not only Jill who got her stupid back, but Mom and Dad too!  Woot woot!

Anyway, Jill always does the driving when we're not close to my house.  She was kind of drifting over to the left from her lane, but not really with any intentions I could see.  Finally I asked, "What the hell are you doing?"  She said, "I'm making a useD turn."

While sitting in Cracker Barrel I said, "Wow, could these chairs be any less comfortable?" 

Jill:  "I don't know, but my crotch has pins and needles."

Wow, hoo hoo talk at the table and I learned something new.  Had no clue your hooch could fall asleep from lack of circulation.

Then, all in one sentence, no break even for a breath she says, "Geez, my hand is killing me should I get the biscuits or sausage?"

The last Jill stupid isn't even anything she said, but what she did.  She was driving me home Thursday night, as usual with her cell phone tucked into her bra (boob tooth, remember?).  I glanced over at her and did a double-take.  She was plucking her face while driving on I-95.

What the pluck???

Me:  "Jill, what the hell are you doing?  You can't hope to grab any hairs when you're not looking in the mirror."

Jill:  "That's okay.  Accidentally pinching my skin keeps me awake while I'm driving."

Some people open a window.  Others drink coffee or turn up the radio.  Jill?  She plucks.

Okay, enough about Jill.  Let's turn to Mom.  The day she was released from the hospital she insisted on coming out to eat with Dad and I.  She would not be deterred.  She'd had enough of being sedentary.  So, I'm sitting across the table from them when Mom gets this strange look on her face while staring at something behind my back. 

She then says, "Justine, I don't know if there's something wrong with my eyes from the stroke, but that woman behind you has two sets of toes."

Me:  "Huh?"

Mom:  "That woman has two sets of toes on each foot, one set behind the other!  They're pink! Look!"

Dad, very serious, "Gin, are you feeling okay?"

Mom:  "Would you just look!"

I turned around but the woman was at an angle to me.  The only feet I could see were those of her son, sitting across from her and his feet looked just fine.

Mom:  "Justine, you have to get up and look under their table.  Please!"  *Giggling*

Dad:  "Ginny, would you stop, they're going to hear you!"

Mom:  "Hey Justine, if I throw this spoon you can go pick it up and then casually look at the woman's feet."

Me:  "Mom, do not throw...."

Mom:  *throws spoon within 2 feet of woman's table*  *Laughing like a hyena*

As I'm bending down:  "I'm picking up the spoon but I am not looking!"

Mom: "Gee, thanks!  I swear she's got two sets of toes!"

Somehow we got through dinner without further incident, but I did catch mom staring under that other table several times.  I swear, sometimes she acts like such a child.  But as we were leaving the restaurant, I was able to glance back and look at the woman's feet.  Oh.  My.  God.  My mother is an idiot!!!!"

Me:  "Mom?  That chick does not have two sets of toes."

Mom:  "Really?"

Me:  "Yes really, Mom, she must have just had a manicure.  She was wearing pink toe separators." 

*Three of us cracking up*

The next day the three of us were sitting outside while Mom was on the phone.  At one point she lifted her arm to touch her hair and I could not believe my eyes.  As soon as she got off the phone, I said, "Mom, when's the last time you shaved your pits?"

Mom:  "I don't know, why?"

Me:  "Well, your pit hair is so long we could probably braid and bead them.  You look like you just came off the show, Survivor."

About half an hour later, as she passed by my chair she quickly lifted up her arm to flash me her jungle pit.

Is this normal?  Do your 64 year old moms do this kind of thing?

So Thursday morning I'm chatting with my dad and he's telling me about a segment they did on the Today Show about how fattening movie theater popcorn is.  He explained that most theaters use cheap coconut oil to pop with.  But, in classic let's-insert-my-own-words dad-style, he said:

"But some movie theaters use the healthier, granola oil."

Me:  "Do you mean canola oil, Dad?"

Dad:  "Isn't that what I said?  Cannoli oil?"

Then I lost it.

You just never know what's going to come out of the mouth of a Ferrara.  I swear, when I'm with them I should have a voice-activated recorder strapped to my neck because I doubt anyone would really believe this shit just 'cause I'm telling you.

I also learned of what I believe is a new phenomena in the 55 and older communities.  They've taken going out to lunch to a whole new place, literally.  My parents' neighbors, Roland and Carol told me their favorite place to go for lunch is...

the local hospital's cafeteria. 

They say it's super cheap (you can get a loaded baked potato for $2.49!) and the food is delicious!

If I ever utter the words,  " Hey, I'm hungry.  Wanna take a ride up to Baptist South for lunch?",  just kill me on the spot.

Pssst! If you love me, you might love my stupid sister more. Go visit her at Jill's Believe it or Not, and tell her I sent you!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

A Stroke of... Well, A Stroke.

Some of you may have noticed I don't think anyone noticed that I've been MIA the past few days.  I wish I could say it was because I took an impromptu vacation but unfortunately that wasn't the cause of my absence.  You see, late last week my mother went to her general practitioner, complaining of a horrendous headache and sporadic numbness on the left side of her nose, lips, chin, and hand.  Her doctor basically brushed off the symptoms as something unimportant and scheduled her for blood tests the following week.

When I spoke to Mom the following day and she described her symptoms and also told me she'd been having them for several days before seeing the doctor, I told her to go to the ER immediately, do not pass go, do not collect $200... just go!  Her answer to me was, "I'm just not feeling up to going to the ER tonight.  If I feel this bad tomorrow I'll go."  Ugh.  My mother is the most stubborn woman you could ever hope to meet and had I been able to reach through the phone I probably would have slapped her. And not on the numb side of her body.

Long story short, she did go to the ER on Sunday and was admitted.  After a million test were done the diagnosis was that she'd had three TIAs (mini strokes) and one significant stroke in the frontal lobe behind her right eye.  They also found evidence of past strokes too.

Luckily (???) the area of the brain this affected does not impair speech or affect motor skills.  This is more the memory part of the brain.

After two days in the hospital we finally convinced her to have them give her a nicotine patch.  My mom has been smoking since about the age of 12 and has no desire to quit.  But guess what?  She's doing it!  I promised her that if she did it, I would.  Gulp, gasp, waaaaaaaaaaaaaa!

So, mom is home now, under the very watchful and Hitleresque eye of my dad.  Jill was sweet enough to come and pick me and the girls up on Tuesday so I could be with everyone.  I only stayed two nights but it felt so good to be there, supporting my mom.

Jill and I did squeeze in some sister time and took a ride to Lake Monroe to hunt for gators.  Wow, there were tons!  Unfortunately, they were so far out in the lake that even at 16x zoom you can barely see the little boogers.

This guy was actually huge!

Click to enlarge

To fully appreciate the enormous size of this guy, I pointed out the location of his tail compared to his head.  Wow.  BIG.

We also took a quick trip to a new state park so the kids could play on the playground.  This tree was absolutely amazing, but the angle I got of it you can't fully appreciate how enormous it is.

There's a protected springs area and oh my, it was just so beautiful it nearly took my breath away.  Look at the color of that water, the beauty of the old oak reaching out over it.

Poopy Pants had a great time going down the slides with cousin Mikayla.

Did you notice Mikayla's hair sticking out all over the place?  Sometimes static electricity is a blast!

Now don't be fooled into thinking our day was all peace and serenity, because get these four kids in the car at the same time and you're bound to leave it with your ears ringing.

Case in point.

I wish I could say that's as bad as it ever gets, but boy would I be lying!

So now I'm home, Strudel is back from our vet's uber cool kennel and she's looking so gorgeous from her mandatory $33 bath.

At this moment Jimmy and the girls are on their first ever camping trip.  You might ask why I'm not with them.  Three words should do it.   

Sleeping in tent.

Pssst! If you love me, you might love my stupid sister more. Go visit her at Jill's Believe it or Not, and tell her I sent you!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

I've Been Liberated! Thanks Strudel!!!

Ugh, I am so stumped for anything to write that it's almost scary.  Me?  Speechless?  Can't be!  But oh, it is. I can't seem to string two thoughts together and it's starting to piss me off.

I'm going to blame it on stress. Or maybe I'll blame it on Strudel. She just poked a few new holes in various parts of my body so I'm feeling spiteful toward her. This past weekend I mentioned to Jimmy my fear that Strudel is somehow mentally challenged.

Soft in the head.

A tad demented.

Possibly in need of psychotropic drugs.

She's eating potting soil at this very moment. But Jimmy says it's our fault she is the way she is.

Don't know if you can tell from this picture, but that's Strudel with her head inside a mostly empty planter.  Yum yum.

See?  Demented.

So like I said, Jimmy says she's not a bad dog, but we're bad owners.

I beg to differ. I have never so much as played tug of war with her, to give her the idea that biting onto and holding onto any part of my person is an acceptable means of entertainment. She doesn't only jump up and chomp down, but does it over and over again and the more you reprimand her the more excited she gets. The more excited she gets, the harder she chomps down. I wouldn't go so far as to say it's aggressive biting, but it for sure isn't play biting either.

She was just at it again and I started videoing her so you'd believe me.

I need Cesar Milan in the worst way. If anyone has any connections, please let me know.

My kinda dog trainer.  Errr... whisperer.

Hell, at this point I'll even take that irritating English chick from It's Me or the Dog.

Just look at her. She's gone all canine doginatrix and shit.

So you know how in the past I've told you that golden retrievers are known to have a soft mouth?  Well I'm here to tell you, there ain't nothing soft about Strudel's mouth.

She loves licking out the remains of tuna from the can.  Sometimes I make her extra happy by smearing peanut butter in it for her.  She then proceeds to skitter and chase that can all over the kitchen.

A couple of days ago I gave her a tuna can to lick and this is what her bear teeth soft mouth has done to it.

Who needs a can crusher when I've got Stru?

Hey, at least she released me from what seemed like a never-ending blog fart, right?  Thanks Stru.

Pssst! If you love me, you might love my stupid sister more. Go visit her at Jill's Believe it or Not, and tell her I sent you!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Writer's Workshop: I Picked Up The Phone...

This week, for the first time ever, I am participating in Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop.  Each week she gives bloggers several different prompts to choose from and from there it's up to the writer.

The prompt I chose was,  

4.) I picked up the phone and I could not believe what I was hearing...

It was May of 1988 and my paternal grandmother had been suffering terribly with ovarian cancer for years. I had watched her erode from a robust, heavyset, spirited woman to a frail, shriveled, emaciated parody of herself. She was nothing but skin and bones except for her terribly bloated stomach.

I cannot describe the pain of being a 17-year-old girl, watching the sparkle of life actually dim from her eyes. Each time I saw her I knew I'd already lost another part of her spirit. She was unable to fight anymore, she didn't even want to.

I believe it was a Wednesday, May 26th, when Jimmy and I drove to the house to visit with her. She was not looking at all well and I had that gut feeling you sometimes get around a terminally ill person, when you know it's the last time you're going to see them alive.

When Grandma turned to Jimmy and told him to always take care of Justine, I knew it was the end. This was how she would say her goodbye.

Jimmy and I talked about it on the drive home. We both agreed that she would be gone within a few days. Part of me wanted to deny the knowledge, keep her with me as long as I could. Another part of me was urging her to let go, because she wasn't truly living anymore.

Two nights later, on the dawn of May 28th, the phone rang at 4:30 a.m. I picked up the phone and could not believe what I was hearing. But I could believe it. I did believe it, because I knew it was going to happen. I had been expecting it. But when I heard my aunt's voice sobbing, telling me Grandma had fallen in the bathroom and never woke up again, a piece of my soul withered and died, never to return again.

It was I, at 17 years old, that had to wake thee family to deliver the news. My aunt Barbara raced to our house and then her and I raced to the hospital to be with my other aunt, Grandma's daughter. Upon our arrival her and I asked to say our goodbyes to Grandma in private. To this day I'm still glad that I had the opportunity to say my final farewell before her body turned cold and stiff. She still looked like herself, just sleeping.  She was slightly cool to my gentle touch, her skin not as pliant as usual, but not yet chilled from death.

Twenty-one years later I still ache with missing her. She was one of the most influential people in my life. So many of my childhood memories are wrapped up in thoughts of Grandma.

Watching her stir sauce on the stove.

Eating grapefruit with sugar with her in the morning after I'd slept over.

Sleeping snuggled up with her, while Grandpa retired to the guest room for me.

Having musical fart extravaganzas before falling asleep.

Her reminders to wash my parsley very well each day.

Her admonition to never park next to a van, or else be snatched away.

Her making me sing You Light Up My Life over and over again.

Her 7 fishes Christmas Eve dinner.

Her scent; always lily of the valley

Holding on to her thumbs in the pool while she twirled in circles, singing, "D d d d d d d diet..."  (I never did find out why she sang about a diet.)

I went searching today and found a picture that is forever burned into my brain.  I hate this picture and I love this picture.

I love it because it's my old kitchen in NY and looking around the room brings back so many joyous memories.  (Hey Elizabeth, did you notice the plastic "popcorn" Santa on the wall?  I told you we had those!I love looking at the tins of Italian cookies and the demitasse cups; I love seeing that ugly old calendar hanging on the pantry door;  the disgusting wallpaper and formica cabinets and countertop; I love the fact that I look so much better than Jill in this picture.  In her defense, she was only 11.

I hate this picture because that is the look I mentioned earlier.  The look of anguish and despair in my grandmother's eyes.

This was our last Christmas with her, December of 1987.

I picked up the phone that day and didn't want to believe what I heard...

Pssst! If you love me, you might love my stupid sister more. Go visit her at Jill's Believe it or Not, and tell her I sent you!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

And I Quote:

Madison, a couple of weeks ago said, "I made poopy and it smelled like pumpkin seeds!"

God, I love this kid. 

Pssst! If you love me, you might love my stupid sister more. Go visit her at Jill's Believe it or Not, and tell her I sent you!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Warming it Up a Bit

A couple of weeks ago I had this bright idea on how to make my lanai (which is basically my bitch cave) more cozy and cute for me. I decided I was going to string Christmas lights around the perimeter of the overhang and then buy a cool paper lantern to hang over the table.

All great in theory, but how does one hang a lantern without putting a hole in the rented ceiling? Command hooks! Yeah, those work great, except I didn't buy Command hooks. I bought some generic kind, but look... pretty!

But then it fell. Twice. I was not too happy about having to move the table and chairs again and drag the 253 pound ladder around either. After it fell the second time, I knew I had to get the real Command hooks, generic crap be damned.

I was not looking forward to stringing the lights around the overhang either, because, let's face it, I'm fat. It's not fun hefting this globular body up and down a ladder multiple times. Once I'm up there, if I get down that's it. I don't wanna get up again.

But silly me, I forgot. I've got Mikayla and she loves doing stuff like this. I'm a total advocate of domestic child labor.

Then she asked me how we were going to hang them up there.


Then it came to me. Paper clips! Yes, paper clips could work. If I had any, which I didn't. So of course I hunt Michelle down in her driveway and demand paper clips and lots of em. She put out, just as I knew she would and off Mikayla went, up up up the ladder. I was the paper clip bender and ladder dragger. Whew, it was hard work too.

Up and down, up and down, up and down she went. Do you see the size of that ladder? And believe me, it's even heavier than it looks!

Look at the pretty reflection in my just-cleaned windows. I love clean windows! I just hate doing the actual cleaning of them.

Next, I took the bulbs out of the light fixtures because damn, it got mighty bright out here!

It looks cute, no? And isn't it great that we have all woods behind us, no houses? Nice for privacy. That is, if Michelle's back porch, kitchen and dining room windows didn't look directly out on my bitch cave. I have to be real wily about picking my nose and such.

Anyhoo, I decided it was still a bit too bright, so I went to Wal*Mart (gasp... don't judge!) and bought a 25 watt green bulb. Now I truly love it and I'm even ready for Christmas! Shhh... don't tell ThatGirl. According to her, we're not allowed to even think about Christmas until December 1st. I've renamed her ThatScrooge.

Then one 70 degree night, Jimmy felt the need to light a fire. Ya know, 'cause we were freezing our Floridian asses off. Strudel was fascinated by it and kept jumping up to attack the floating ashes. I was just glad she didn't become a pupkabob.

And speaking of Strudel, I think we have the golden retriever from hell. Goldens are known to have a "soft mouth" and a gentle nature. I have scrapes and tooth marks all over my body that say otherwise. I can't even describe the pain when she latches on to my tummy's fat roll. And ooh, a couple of times she's come up behind me and actually grabbed hold of my sensitive inner thigh meat! A few months ago, my friend, Kristen, said, "You're the only family in the world that could ruin a golden retriever." Yep, uh huh.

Yeah, a pupkabob is sounding better and better. Anyone have a really large skewer they could lend me?

Pssst! If you love me, you might love my stupid sister more. Go visit her at Jill's Believe it or Not, and tell her I sent you!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sterling Petty Blojo

I've lost it. I can't find it. I've searched and searched all damn day to no avail. My blojo. It's gone. You know what blojo is, don't you? It's blog mojo. Kind of like what Austin Powers had for his male prowess, but for me? My blojo is what motivates me to write. It puts silly ideas in my head to share with you. But I've lost the damn thing and I have no clue where it's gone.

Kind of like my purse this afternoon. I was ready to leave for the library when I realized my purse wasn't where I had put it the night before. I searched the whole downstairs then figured I'd check my room. Sometimes, if Jimmy gets in a snit because things are laying around, he'll take it upstairs and put it on my pillow. Yeah, he's nice like that.

It wasn't on my pillow, it wasn't in my closet. It wasn't even hidden under the clean laundry. What the hell? Did he take it with him when he left this morning with the girls for the Jacksonville air show? Naw, he wouldn't go that far to keep me from spending money, would he?

So I called him. He didn't answer. Finally, I decided to take one more trek up the stairs to re-look where I'd already looked. Then I thought, maybe he accidentally put it in Mikayla's room. Just as I got near her door I looked down, and what did I find, but a pile of the girls' stuff that they'd left laying around downstairs. And my shoes. And my flippin' purse! In the upstairs hallway on the freakin' floor! And not just at the top of the stairs where I'd be likely to see it, but around the damn corner toward Madison's room.

The next time I spoke to Jimmy I told him he can move the girls' stuff all he wants, but to keep his hands off my stuff. He told me, "You had it on the stairs. It doesn't belong on the stairs. I'm tired of everyone leaving stuff laying around where it doesn't belong."

Yeah well, I'd put my purse on the stairs so that it was behind the gate so Strudel wouldn't eat it.

Lately his big thing is crap being where it's not supposed to be. Can you say HYPOCRITE???!!! So, he went on and on about my purse and one pair of shoes being on the stairs. Ya know, so Strudel wouldn't eat them. I got off the phone and just glanced around the family room.

Hypocrisy Exhibit A:

Hmmm... that leather jacket looks just like Jimmy's! And hot damn, it's kind of on the stairs!

Exhibit B:

Gee, that suspiciously looks like Jimmy's suitcase that he brought in the house on Friday night. And it's on the couch.

Exhibit C:

I do believe that's my entertainment center and not a dumping ground for various electronics, shopping bags and paperwork.

Exhibit D:

That laptop case and that backpack does not belong to either me or the girls. I wonder whose it is? No, it's not even Zoe's. She's just inspecting it 'cause she knows it doesn't belong there.

I'm not trying to be petty or anything, but. Well. Yeah, I am trying to be petty, 'cause dammit, it's fun! If it wouldn't be such a pain in the ass, I'd take all of his stuff and put it on his pillow! But I'm just too lazy to lug it all up the stairs.

I do have one positive thing to tell you. I got a new laptop! Yeah yeah yeah, I know I just bought my tiny little Acer not 6 months ago, but if you were in this house when both the girls get home from school and they fight over who has to use Madison's Mac more, you'd understand. It was getting mighty tiring breaking up fights over a laptop. So, Mikayla got my little red one and I... I... got a new toy!!!

I got myself the cheapest dual core laptop I could find at Best Buy, and man am I diggin' it!

Look, my little Acer now has a daddy!

Aw, is that not the cutest thing? Go ahead, look again, and take notice of what my blog layout looks like on the Acer, and what I can now see. Yes people, I can finally see the layout I paid for! Woo to the hoo!!!

His name is Sterling, 'cause he's a pretty luminescent silver. And he's big. Real big. 15.6" of dual core ecstasy, his hard drive bringing me hours and hours of non-stop performance...


Yes ladies, size does matter.

Pssst! If you love me, you might love my stupid sister more. Go visit her at Jill's Believe it or Not, and tell her I sent you!