Confessions of a Crazy Cake Mom (and some other news)

One of the many things that makes my “crazy” show is a birthday. I love planning birthday parties and especially cakes. The fact that my two oldest sons are having birthdays within the next two weeks made me decide to write a quick bit about my sickness surrounding birthday cakes.

My birthday cake made by Leslie's Cakes for my...uhh *cough* 29th birthday. Yeah, 29th. That's the ticket.

My birthday cake made by Leslie’s Cakes for my…uhh *cough* 29th birthday. Yeah, 29th. That’s the ticket.

My mom was great about either making me special cakes or ordering exactly what I wanted. I carried that tradition on with my own kids but am far less likely to hire a professional because, well, because I’m crazy. Now I’m not saying I’m über talented and should open my own little cake business (that would be a nightmare waiting to happen). I just like doing it for my kids.  But I thought I would share with you some of my attempts at birthday cakes and cupcakes over the last few years. You can certainly tell which ones I started on the night before the party and which ones I was icing as the party guests were walking through the door and I was still in a bathrobe. (Now, if you want a great looking/tasting cake by a true pro and live in the North Texas area, you should totally check out Leslie’s Cakes. They are amazing!)

Let’s start with some simple cupcakes I made for my two oldest when they decided to have a beach themed waterpark party (one of the few perks of having summer birthdays).

Beachy fun!

Beachy keen!

The decorations were simple: canned icing with blue coloring topped with little fondant shark fins and starfish. The hardest part of these cupcakes are hidden under the icing. They’re rainbow cakes which meant splitting the batter into several containers, dying them different colors, and spooning them into the cups in layers. It was a little time-consuming but had a nice little “wow” factor when the kids bit into them. (Note: we usually try to avoid dyes because of our ADHD/Autism diet but I throw all that out the window for birthdays. You have to just let kids be kids sometimes.)

Simple decorations on a complicated icing recipe (but so worth the effort).

Simple decorations on a complicated icing recipe (but so worth the effort).

Now these are also very simple cupcakes I made for my youngest son’s first birthday. His nursery was an owl theme and of course that was a year before everyone went owl crazy and you could buy it everywhere. I stuck with the theme for his birthday, using the colors in his room and simple fondant owls I cut out with an x-acto (is that right?) knife. The star of this was the icing. It’s a homemade batch of browned butter frosting that’s recipe I got from Martha Stewart. It is freakin’ awesome!! First birthdays are more about the adults anyway so I used this icing recipe knowing it wouldn’t be a favorite with the little one. He did his obligatory duty as a one-year-old and smeared it in his hair and everywhere else before crying over our singing.

Now, here are some cakes I did that are certainly half-ass. I call them “cheat sheets” because I go buy a plain sheet cake from our local Market Street and then decorate them myself. This method insures that I have a nice smooth surface for the base, allows me to spend my time doing the fun part, and keeps me from shanking folks.

Fondant Angry Birds I made myself ont top of a bought sheet cake.

Fondant Angry Birds I made myself ont top of a bought sheet cake.

A last minute monster cake built on top of a bought sheet cake.

A last minute monster cake built on top of a bought sheet cake.

I made smaller cakes at home using what I call a "boob pan" and just iced the crud out of them.

I made smaller cakes at home using what I call a “boob pan” and just iced the crud out of them.

I made candy clay with Candy Melts and corn syrup (so much easier than fondant) for the belt to celebrate my son's first rank up in karate.

I made candy clay with Candy Melts and corn syrup (so much easier than fondant) for the belt to celebrate my son’s first rank up in karate.

And now for my masterpiece. This is hands-down the best looking cake I’ve ever made and I imagine it has something to do with the fact that I actually made it the night before the party. We hired a local wildlife educator name Critterman to come to our home with lots of creepy crawlies. It was a fantastic party. The kids got to learn about a lot of animals and even touch them. My oldest son LOVED chameleons so I went with it and this is what he got…

Chameleon and spider cake complete with a Zinger branch.

Chameleon and spider cake complete with a Zinger branch.

I’m darn proud of the cake even if it’s technically a “cheat sheet.” I baked a round cake that I cut up to make the body of the chameleon and some more of the “boob” cakes to make the spider and leaves. Zingers made the perfect branch and I had to cheat and use pipe cleaners for the spider legs. Obviously it was mixing all of the different colors and doing thousands of little stars that took up the most time, but it paid off.

Isn't he pretty?!?

Isn’t he pretty?!?

And that was a peek into my craziness when it comes to birthday cakes. I’ve had requests for Minecraft, Legos and Adventure Time for these upcoming parties. I’ll past what I end up doing. Now…ON WITH AN IMPORTANT NEWS BULLETIN!!!!

First, I’ve already bragged and gloated on my primary blog that my parody, Fifty Shades of Puddin’

received an unexpected but amazing review on Villara Noir. It got me pumped, so I posted two excerpts from the prequel The Hunger Camp. Go check them out of you want a laugh. Amazon (Kindle) has decided to mark my book down to a buck for some reason (they reserve the right to change your price at their discretion), so go buy a copy and I’ll take that $0.35 royalty and go on a crazy spending spree!! Anyway, my loss but your gain, right?

Second, I’m taking a break from blogging for about 2 weeks. With two birthdays, travel, the end of school, and looming deadlines on real writing projects, I have to take a step back. I’ll be back the first of June with lots of summer-saving tips drink recipes.

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Confessions (of a crazy costume mom)

I love Halloween. No. I. Love. Halloween. Maybe it’s the actress in me. Maybe it’s the girl who loves a good horror movie. Maybe it’s the insane ADD/OCD/COC (crazily over-creative) mom in me that can’t believe she gets a chance to use her powers for good and not the evil it usually inspires. I LOVE to make costumes for my kids. The entire process is exhilarating for me. I love sitting down with them and deciding what they want to be. I love drawing up the design. I love figuring out how to execute it (it’s like a big puzzle). And I even love putting it all together. When my kids ask for a store-bought costume. I actually get upset. Why? Because I’m crazy.

November 2012 147

My husband and others do not like me at Halloween because I become something that borders on psychotic. My kids often won’t decide on what they want until a couple of weeks before the big event and then I drop everything to get those damn costumes ready. My kids can eat later. Who cares if we’re out of toilet paper and they didn’t brush their teeth for a week. I have to make a Rancor with cardboard and dental floss, dammit! They can wait.

I think my first costume for one of my kids that I actually made, was an octopus. Yes, an Octopus. Couldn’t have been a ghost. It had to be a cephalopod– 8 freakin’ legs! And I’m not a seamstress. Did I mention that part? My mom is a brilliant seamstress. She offered to teach me several times when I was a teenager, but I was like all, “No, Mom. I don’t need that crap. I’m not having any kids. Now, leave me alone so I can go sneak some Purple Passion into the movies with my friends.” But everything changed. I have 3 kids (and I only go to movie houses that serve liquor instead of carrying an inconspicuous, clinking beach bag into a show). Now, back to the octopus. I somehow figured out how to make an octopus out of two bed sheets, some stuffing and metal coat hangers. AND I sewed it together with a second-hand machine I bought off a neighbor. There was some crying involved as well as many creative uses of the “F” word, but I did it. Once I made that one, I was hooked and determined to make all of the costumes.

And I’ve made a lot. Unfortunately I don’t have most of the pictures, but I’ll share a few that I have on my computer from the last few years.

Ash Ketchum and Mr. Mummy from 2010. I had to sew parts of the mummy on him and cut him out of it.

Ash Ketchum and Mr. Mummy from 2010. I had to sew parts of the mummy on him and cut him out of it at the end of the night.

An old white leotard left over from a play I directed and some strips of an old white sheet tea-dyed was all I needed for the body. I used paper towels and makeup method from Marth Stewart to do the face. He got lots of compliments all night especially since he stayed in character, moaning and walking stiffly. Ash Ketchum was very excited when a neighborhood dad yelled out, “Ash Ketchum, catch ’em all” to him.

Freddy and Darth Maul of 2009.

Freddy and Darth Maul of 2009.

My son had no idea who Freddy Krueger is, but once he saw this in the store, any hopes of making him a costume was dashed. Freddy is a fun killer in more than one way, but, honestly who can resist a knife-glove? For a 6-year-old, little Darth sat incredibly still for that makeup job I did on him.

Jack Sparrow. I can’t tell you how excited I was that my theatrical child chose Jack. I was determined not to buy a single Jack costume piece and I didn’t. All of the clothing was bought at the thrift store and then altered to fit him (I’ve gotten a little better at sewing but don’t look real close or you’ll see the fabric glue). The wig was a Wal-Mart reggae wig that I cut, braided, and wrapped with beads I strung myself. The bone is made from this amazing stuff called Model Magic by Crayola. It is incredibly light weight. I had the synthetic hair from some theatre thing I did. I used eyelash glue instead of spirit gum because that stuff is rough on skin and stinky (I know). The boots are my old barn boots (probably added to the pirate smell), and the sash is an old bedsheet I drew lines on with a marker and yardstick. The only costume piece is the plastic gun that I paid over $10 for and broke in about 4.5 seconds.

Jack Sparrow-- saavy?

Jack Sparrow– saavy?

Why are we out of rum?

Why are we out of rum?

Because I took so much time on Jack, my oldest son got ripped off. He agreed to a store-bought costume to save mommy’s sanity. I had to pay him back and let him chose a complicated costume for the next year. I was thinking maybe he’d pick something from a video game or a Teen Titan or something. Nope. He decided to make up for the years he’d chosen bought costumes and he chose an alien. Not just any alien– THE alien. Ridley Scott’s alien (another movie he hadn’t been allowed to see yet). But I didn’t panic. I got excited, because, once again, I’M FREAKIN’ CRAZY. And I was determined not to puss-out and buy anything. But since I apparently love to torture myself, I decided to give myself a $40 budget. Yep. And I did it.

The beginning. A bicycle helmet, two dollar store pitchers, glue and paint.

The beginning. A bicycle helmet, two dollar store pitchers, glue and paint.

Cheap, fake nails trimmed a painted silver. Hot glue alien gums. Pool noodle lips.

Cheap, fake nails trimmed a painted silver. Hot glue alien gums. Pool noodle lips.

I can’t keep my house clean or remember parent-teacher conferences but I can make an entire alien out of hot glue, recycled Tupperware, cardboard, pool noodles and paint.Then there was more hot glue than is probably legal to use on one item. I used it to hold shit together and make glistening, drool and ligament. There were strings of hot glue on everything in my house. I burned my fingers. I even sat on the damn gun once. How many people can say they’ve burned their ASS with a hot glue gun? Yep, I’m that kind of special.

November 2012 163

Not a great picture but you get the idea.

Not a great picture but you get the idea.

My son has sensory issues from his autism so he won’t let me put makeup on him. It would have looked better if I could have blacked-out his face but no big deal. Everyone wanted pictures with him but some of the really excited kids tugged on his pipe insulation-tail and popped some of the staples holding the chest plates together (I was still putting it together as he ran out the door. It’s not perfect but it’s not bad for something I made for less than $40. My other son had to take on less complicated costumes. Max went as Ace Ventura. I bought all of the clothes at the thrift store and altered them with safety pins and fabric glue. The hair took the longest. He stayed in character and actually got recognized by some of the parents. My youngest son wore a costume I’d made for his older brother when he was younger– a rattlesnake, with a tail made with tiny plastic maracas to rattle as he walked.

Ace Ventura-- pet detective (and hairspray hog).

Ace Ventura– pet detective (and hairspray hog).

I had to dig up my old '80's hair teasing skills for this.

I had to dig up my old ’80’s hair teasing skills for this.

And that’s just a glimpse into my craziness. Another confession. Another reason to keep your kids from playing with mine. Are any of you crazy costume parents? What’s the craziest costume you’ve made? Come to the dark side and share.

My bloated rattlesnake. I got a little carried away with the stuffing so we just pretended he'd eaten the neighbor kid dressed like Mickey Mouse.

My bloated rattlesnake. I got a little carried away with the stuffing so we just pretended he’d eaten the neighbor kid dressed like Mickey Mouse.

Confessions (of my inner 12-year-old)

Ok, I’m cheating a little here. I’ve been trying to think of a way to introduce my new followers of my Blonde Undone blog to my original/larger blog Wckedwords. I’ve also been toying with a way to just merge the two since I can barely keep up with both and still remember to bathe my kids. I thought I’d give the Undone folks a glimpse at the nonsense I write on the other blog. The difference is the posts tend to be longer, more heart-felt, and occasionally darker. No pressure, but here’s a post I did to commemorate 12-12-12 last year. And because I still act like a 12-year-old boy I thought I’d share it with you. If you were a child of the ’80’s you’ll get most of this. Enjoy!

This many

I like the number 12. It’s not my “lucky” number 9, but it’s still a number that gives me good vibes. But I guess I could say that I like numbers in general, especially those with some ‘magical’ hint to them.

I wanted so badly to get married or do something else significant on September 9, 1999, but it came and went with no real hoopla. When I found myself pregnant in 2008 and knew I would have to have a c-section in August, I quickly scheduled it for the 8th. My “magic” baby came into the world at 8:28 that morning and that night I drunkenly watched the opening ceremony of the Olympics (the Chinese also think 8 is a magic number). When September 9, 2009 came around I drove to Fate, Texas and mailed out my first round of query letters for my first novel.

Now here it is, 12-12-12. We won’t see that again in our lifetime. I haven’t thought too much about it. Today I had to go to the doctor and have a biopsy. I wouldn’t put that on the top of any lists on how to celebrate a numerically special day. In fact, I spent the rest of the day trying to forget the beginning of it. But now that I’m at home, lying in front of the fireplace, I find myself thinking about the number 12 and why I like it. What I’ve realized pretty quickly is that it’s not because the number conjures thoughts of a dozen cupcakes or the movie Twelve Monkeys, it’s because I immediately think about being twelve years old and that was a kick-ass year.

It was the ’80’s and I was in the sixth grade. Back then that was still considered elementary school so you weren’t thrown into the shark tank of middle school. You had one last year to be a kid and that was cool. We were the top dogs at the school- the BIG kids. We ruled the playground, the bus, and everything else in our minds. I have very vivid memories of that year and they all make me smile. So to honor this once in a lifetime event, I’m going to recount my top twelve memories of being 12 years old.

12. Recess– Hell, yeah!! Since we weren’t saddled with the social worries of middle school we still relished in our post-lunch break. Dodgeball. Oh, yes. We played dodgeball with ferocious enthusiasm and there were no worries about broken noses or lawsuits. We didn’t pick on any certain kid. We were all fair game and if you didn’t get your ass out of the way, you got hit. There was also Red Rover. I can still remember looking at the opposing line and picking out the weakest link. Strategy!! And then there was kiss chase, but because we still thought like kids we truly didn’t want to get kissed or do the kissing. Well, at least I didn’t. In fact, I was a hired gun. For a little white girl I could book it. Only two kids in the class could keep up with me and they both went on to play college sports. The other girls would have me do the catching so they could do the kissing.

11. Home perms. This should probably be put on a “childhood traumas” list but I’m one of those people who has always worked through the bad by finding the funny in it, and what’s not funny about a homemade fro? Being financially challenged, my family was thrifty. My mom had told me many horror stories of her fuzzy-headed perms she’d had to endure as a child but that didn’t stop her from giving me one. I’m not sure if she decided it was a family tradition or a right of passage, but I still remember the hours of her rolling my hair in little plastic rods, rinsing my hair in the kitchen sink until I felt like I was drowning, and the smell of the perm solution that lingered for weeks. The result was a blonde afro that my friends described as something that reminded them of one of their mom’s Bichon dogs. Yes, I was a damn hot 12-year-old.

I tried like hell to find a picture of the fro and couldn't. Here's the super-short boy-cut that freed me of the fuzz.

I tried like hell to find a picture of the fro and couldn’t. Here’s the super-short boy-cut that freed me of the fuzz.

10. The Chicago Bears– My 6th grade year was the year the Chicago Bears were the shit. There has been no other time since then that an entire country knew the names of almost every player on a team. Has any other team cut a song and music video? Hell no. The Super Bowl Shuffle, baby. Walter, Jim, and the Fridge were household names. I loved Jim McMahon and his sunglasses. Hell, when I think about it, maybe that’s when I really started liking the number 9.

9. Magic Pimp Jacket– I got a jacket that was the quintessential bad ass ’80’s jacket. It was black satin with a silver, glitter unicorn on the back. Yes, you read right and I can feel your envy. I remember the moment I saw that sparkling piece of awesomesauce hanging on the wall of Spencer’s gifts. I knew it had to be mine and I begged for it. When I got it, I wore the freakin’ crap out of it. When I was milk monitor (two 6th graders would walk to all the classes first thing in the morning to sell milk for a dime a carton) I made sure I wore my jacket so I could hear all the younger girls ooh and ahh over it. I was the flyest milk pimp on the block.

8. Madonna– Her singing skills were American Idol reject level at best and I’m pretty sure she hired some of my fellow 6th graders to write her lyrics, but she changed the face of music. I happened to see her infamous performance on American Bandstand and her rolling on the ground in her lace skirts and singing about virginity (or her lack of it) shattered the double standards between men and women performers. My mom also HATED her and her skankalicious ways. That hate meant that I HAD to wear 20 black rubber bracelets on my arm just like her and watch Desperately Seeking Susan no matter how horrible it was.

Just her bra strap showing alone made her Satan's whore in my house.

Just her bra strap showing alone made her Satan’s whore in my house.

7. Field Day– While Madonna plucked at the budding teenager hiding in my depths, there were still activities that kept me firmly planted in my childhood. Field Day was the bomb-diggity because in those days kids didn’t get ribbons just for showing up. Hell, no! You had to earn those bad boys with blood, sweat, and tears. You were expected to compete and that effort was rewarded with 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place ribbons that were handed out in front of the entire school. Field Day was my Olympics because I was crazy competitive and had inherited my father’s track skills. Nothing felt better than beating boys who were a foot taller than me in the standing broad jump. I’m sure my old elementary school had planned to erect a statue of me on the playground before all of the education cuts.

6. The Movies– There are several movies that I can remember vividly from that year: Back to the Future, The Goonies, Gremlins, Footloose, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, Splash, Starman, The Neverending Story, The Karate Kid, Ghostbusters, and Pee Wee’s Big Adventure. There were other movies released that year too that I’m sure my mother made me wait to see but they are still some of my favorites: Amadeus, Romancing the Stone (we actually currently own a big, black Bronco with the vanity plate LTL MULE in homage to Pepe), Red Dawn, Beverly Hills Cop, Children of the Corn, Firestarter, Dune, The Terminator, Nightmare of Elm Street (I had to wait a few years to see that one), and one of my top 5 all-time favorites– Sixteen Candles. “Oh, sexy girlfriend… No more yanky my wanky!” Seriously, can you name another 12 month span of time that produced that many classics? Nope.

Pretty sure every girl of the '80's dreamed of living this scene. Any boys who were smart enough to reenact this for their girl probably got an automatic trip to third base.

Pretty sure every girl of the ’80’s dreamed of living this scene. Any boys who were smart enough to reenact this for their girl probably got an automatic trip to third base.

5. G.I. Joe and my Bro.- One of the people responsible for keeping me firmly rooted in my immaturity was my brother. He was 3 years younger than me, hyper, and funny as hell. He had tons of Star Wars, He-Man, and G.I. Joe figures that we’d play with. But don’t think that we played with them like normal children. We’re both overly creative, warped souls so our play mirrored that. We made up new names and personality disorders for all of our action figures. I hated dolls and the two or three I had were given makeovers that included tattoos and mohawks. They were ditzy skanks used as props to enhance the demented scenarios we’d create with our toys. I remember a sailor we renamed Popeye who was a sadist and then there was another guy we named Weiner who had an obsession with hotdogs and a well below average IQ. We probably needed therapy but at least we laughed a lot.

Innocent toys became of prison-worthy gang of nut jobs when left in the hands of Ash and her little bro. Robot Chicken has nothing on us.

Innocent toys became of prison-worthy gang of nut jobs when left in the hands of Ash and her little bro. Robot Chicken has nothing on us.

4. WWF Wrestling– It’s embarrassing to admit, but we watched wrestling. I can say that we were under no delusions that it was real, we just thought it was hilarious. We hated Hulk Hogan and all his “little Hulkster” bullcrap. Our favorites were Rowdy Roddy Piper, Jake “the Snake” Roberts, Randy “Macho Man” Savage, King Kong Bundy, Andre the Giant, and the British Bulldogs. It was all ridiculous and loads of fun.

3. Stephen King– This was the year I was introduced to one of my biggest literary influences. Until 6th grade I’d stayed safely in the realm of Judy Blume, Beverly Cleary, A Ring of Endless Light, A Wrinkle in Time, The Chronicles of Narnia, Bunnicula, Black Beauty, Little House on the Prairie, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and other elementary classics. That all changed when a Japanese girl with worldly parents moved to our school. She was wicked smart and her mom let her read adult books. She and another boy in school were reading Stephen King. I borrowed Pet Semetary. My mother was concerned when she found it, but once I told her the 2 smartest kids in school where reading it, I was in the clear and forever hooked.

Proof of my King addiction.

Proof of my King addiction.

 

2. Miami Vice– There had been few celebrity crushes for me but that all changed one fateful night when I spent the night at my grandmother’s. She was busy in the kitchen and letting me watch television unsupervised in her bedroom. That night I just happened to see the pilot episode of Miami Vice. I don’t know if it was the music, the Ferrari Daytona Spider, the pastel clothes, or Phil Collins singing about something being in the air, but I was immediately and completely hooked on Don Johnson and all things Miami and/or Vice. By the 7th grade I had posters and calendars on my wall and secretly wrote episodes of the show (all with my barely pubescent ass as the love interest). I hated Sheena Easton when she was cast as Crocket’s wife. Skank. But in all seriousness, Vice was an amazing show that changed how tv was made. And I still love Don and squealed when I saw he was playing Kenny’s father on Eastbound and Down.

But seriously, how could Don not have wanted some of this puberty-mangled jail bait sexiness? I mean, look at that flannel and those high-waisted jeans.

But seriously, how could Don not have wanted some of this puberty-mangled jail bait sexiness? I mean, look at that flannel and those high-waisted jeans.

1. Illinois Jones– I’m sure you’re scratching your head with that one, but I’ll explain. I had a BFF in 6th grade that was the jelly to my peanut butter. We were thick as thieves and had identical senses of humor. She was a spunky redhead that kept me laughing. We lived only a couple of blocks from each other and spent pretty much all of our time together. We dressed like Punky Brewster together, watched Madonna together, and saw Pee Wee’s Big Adventure together over and over again. Our other favorite thing was to write stories. Our best creation was a comic based on Indiana Jones, but our hero wasn’t the suave archeologist embodied by the beautiful Harrison Ford. Nope. Ours was a bumbling moron who tried his best but was plagued by a love interest named Scarion who would pop up at inopportune times and ruin his chances of glory. We kept ourselves entertained for hours creating these stories and I guess in all honesty, it wasn’t the stories that left such an impression; it was the friendship and the safe harbor we provided for each other. We drifted apart over the next couple of years but I’ll always cherish the laughter and adventures we had.

Why do kids need video games? These two stick fugures provided us with hours of entertainment.

Why do kids need video games? These two stick figures provided us with hours of entertainment.

And there are my memories of being 12. Were you a child of the ’80’s? Were some of these top memories for you too? If not, what is your best memory from that age? Don’t be shy. I’ve outed myself so come join me.

Wicked wishes- Mrs. Sonny Crocket

Confessions (of a Black Thumb)

Kevin Costnar had a voice whisper to him from the cornfield, “Build it and they will come.” If that same voice was to whisper to me there would be a couple of differences. First, it would most likely be the voice of that creepy little Malachi from Children of the Corn, and second, it would say, “Plant it and it will die.” Yep, if I plant anything other than my ass in this chair, it will die a long slow death before going up to the greenhouse in the sky (or the festering compost pit below depending on the moral character of said vegetation). While others have a green thumb, I have a black one. Now, it’s not particularly evil (like it’s cousin Toe J. Simpson–that’s a story for another blog), but it kills shit, nonetheless. It wants to be sweet to the plants: love them and squeeze them and water them and feed them….and accidentally kill them. My thumb is like Lennie from Of Mice and Men.

My thumb = death

My thumb = death

Because of this tendency to commit botany-cide, I pretty much refrain from planting things, but that doesn’t mean I don’t give it a try every once in a while. There was the one year my mother brought over her BIG, BEAUTIFUL house plants to live on my glassed-in patio. In less than a month, they withered from a green canopy fit for howler monkeys down to something wilty you’d pull out of a dish of lo-mein. But I’m not taking full responsibility for this manslaughter. Sure, I didn’t really water them outside of an occassional spilled beer, but I also think it was the withdrawal from the constant stream of Marlboro smoke they received at Mom’s. The proof was that they made a full recovery when she rescued them from their deplorable conditions at my place.

So I stayed away from plants for several years until around 2009 when I decided to plant tomatoes and peppers in pots on the patio. And they did well!! I was constantly shocked when I’d go outside and they were not only still alive, but producing little veggies (or maybe they were tumors). That went great until I woke up one morning and they had been reduced to twigs that Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree would have made fun of. On the twigs were big, fat caterpillars with horns. I deal better with animals than plants, so I decided that at least we’d get to watch them turn into the Hawk Moths they would become. They started making cocoons and then the birds found them. Talk about a massacre. You’d think that would be enough to convince me that God would just prefer if I left his leafy creations alone, but I have a short memory, so I tried again.

I went way out of my norm and tried this crazy thing called “watering.” I did that to the azalea bushes out front and then went really crazy and planted flowers. For the first time ever I had a colorful front yard. That lasted exactly one week before the mother of all hail storms came in and beat the chlorophyl shit out of the garden. The storm was so bad that it made our fence look like somebody had taken a machine gun to it. 40k in damages. 8k on just one of my cars alone. The flowers should have been the least of my worries but I was furious that my one moment of botanical glory was taken away by a freak storm.

Now it’s 2013 and that’s been more than enough time to make me forget about the two plagues already sent to warn me to cease my bad behavior towards plants. This past Saturday my ADD whispered “Let’s plant flowers” in my ear and I drug all 3 boys to Lowe’s and loaded up on petunias for the sunny spots and impatients for the shady. Things have gone alright in my opinion, but I recently found out that not everyone feels the same. One particular flower wants to tell his story by sharing his journal. At first I wanted to shut him up so I could keep up my little charade of gardener going, but I just learned another hail storm in moving in tonight, so this may be the only thing we’ll ever hear from Tommy the petunia, so here we go…

Meet Tommy the petunia and some of his roomies.

Meet Tommy the petunia and some of his roomies.

Day 1:

I’ve been moved with all of my neighbors I’ve gotten to know in the greenhouse. It was a long, bumpy ride, but I’m still stoked about seeing the world. I can’t wait for the freedom to stretch out my roots and really see what this world is all about. Til tomorrow –Tommy

Day 2:

Wow! Finally made it to this country called Lowes. It’s really crowded so I’m guessing it’s a pretty metropolitan kind of place. Not all of the locals are friendly and I don’t understand some of the languages, but its all kosher. Me and my bunk mates have settled in at this little hostel on shelf 2 of aisle 6. I at least got a shower to wash off some of the dust from travel. I can’t wait to see what the next leg of the trip will be. Laters– Tommy

Day 3:

Dude, it was a crazy freakin’ day. There was like a parade of these huge people like the ones I’d see in the greenhouse. They came in and out, taking entire trays of my friends with them. I was getting a little down, thinking about all those lucky bastards getting to head out for their next big tour. But then–THEN, it was my turn. This woman came in with 3 smaller humans. They were really loud and talked about farting a lot, but the smallest one snatched up my bunk along with my 5 roommates, and put us in a cart. There was another bumpy ride and then I was unloaded. The leader of the group they call “Mom” seems really excited, but in  a “needs some meds” kinda way.

Don't look her directly in the eyes.

Don’t look her directly in the eyes.

She at least took me and some of my mates out in the sun. It feels good to be alive and out enjoying God’s green earth . Ahh…Wait. What’s that? It’s big and shiny…

photoOh…I see. I think she’s just making a soft new pad for me to chill in. I’m totes cool with that. Ok, she’s picking me up and…Wait! Wait!! Oh, sweet Jesus, she’s turning me upside down!!! Oh, God!!! Stop the shaking! Please stop the shaking!!…Oh, holy hell!! She’s pinching my ass…I’m falling…Oh, God, I’m falling. Somebody help me. I’m naked and her fingers are in places that they shouldn’t be…Oh, hey…wait. She’s putting me in that hole she dug. Wow. This is nice and warm. I’ve got room to stretch. Not bad. I feel like a total tool for acting like a punk-ass wuss. The boys aren’t going to let me live this down. I just need to chill and… Oh, my God!! What the hell is that?!?!?

photoOh, wait. She’s just making my bed extra soft. Yeah, I know– call me “Mr. Overreaction.” I must have some sort of jet lag or something going on. Maybe somebody slipped me some bad stuff in my food while I was in Lowe’s. Never know about some of those crazy foreigners. I just need to chillax and take some deep breaths. Photosynthesis meditation, baby- Carbon dioxide in…oxygen out…All better…and hey, there. The scenery is improving…

photo…How you doin’? Nice buds. Wait! Where you going? She waits ’til I get all chill and then she leaves me. I guess that’s chicks for you. Oh, well. Time for a slumber. Laters– Tommy

Day 4:

Things are going pretty well. The sun is up and birds are chirping. I’m getting to know my neighbor, Carl. He’s as chill as they come. Nothing shakes his mellow. A fat bumble bee was swarming around him and he was all like, “Hey, brother bee. Come partake in some of my pollen goodness. Use part of me to make your sweet honey.” He’s like a purple Yoda. I think I can learn a lot from this dude. Check ya later– Tommy

Carl

Carl

Day 5:

It’s another awesome day on planet Earth. Things are going pretty good. I guess my only complaint is that I don’t get the regular showers I had in Lowes. I’m feeling a little parched but nothing to complain about. I think I’ll spend the day basking in Carl’s wisdom. Peace and love, brothers– Tommy

Day 6:

I’m feeling a little dry today. The sun here is great and all but it’s getting a little too hot to go without a cool beverage. Carl’s just taking it all in stride. I just need to suck it up like him…Oh, wait. It looks like I have a visitor. Maybe she brought some water.

photo

Oh, God!!! That so wasn’t water. Where am I? Why in the hell did I deserve that? I’m good to people. I mean, there was that one time I didn’t call that hot little begonia the day after our roll in the mulch, but she acted like she’d been in more than one greenhouse, if you get my drift. This sucks!! I have to get some water. Oh, wait!! Yes! It’s one of the two-legged people. He’ll help a dude out.

photoWhy?!?! Sweet god of geraniums, why?!? I thought humans used toilets. Why do the male ones pee on everything? That was so not cool, dude!! Go get a REAL waterhose and wash me off. In the name of Miracle Grow and all that’s holy, please get me some water.

Day 7:

Still no water. My face is feeling crispy. I keep stretching my roots as deep as they can go, but no water. I got bit by a grub today and a bird shit on my head. I’m starting to realize I’m in hell. It’s like a horror movie. Carl isn’t looking so good either. If water doesn’t come soon, I’m not sure what will happen. Pray for me– Tommy

Day 8:

We lost Carl. He’s gone on to a better place. He’s the lucky one.

RIP Carl  February 12, 2013- April 15, 2013.

RIP
Carl
February 12, 2013- April 15, 2013.

Day 9:

My prayers have been answered. There are clouds in the sky. Even these serial killing assholes who have me captured can’t beat nature. Come to papa Tommy, sweet mother’s milk. I’ll drink it in and grow strong again. Then I’ll avenge Carl’s death. Just wait, crazy garden lady. Just wait.

To be continued…

Confessions (of my inner White-trash)

I have enough embarrassing photos of my children to keep my life with boys series going for a decade, but I get bored pretty easily (You did catch that whole ADD thing about me, right?). So I’m going to mix it up and embarrass myself, too. While rummaging around on the internet for healthy recipes to cook for my family (I can hear my husband laughing all the way from his office), I came across this little thing called a Challenge Meme. Essentially it challenges a blogger or anyone with an internet account that gives them the ability to annoy others from great distances (Facebook, Twitter, and the particularly horrifying Twilight fan fiction sites–we must never forgive them for birthing 50 Shades of Grey), a prompt to write about everyday.

There are lots of them out there ranging from the mundane to the insanely specific. We’re talking everything from writing and drawing challenges, to crazy shit like organizing and green smoothie challenges, to the little bit pathetic ones like Justin Bieber and Spongebob. I’m not sure I really want to know what’s involved in a 30 day Justin Bieber challenge and I’m pretty sure that 30 days of green smoothies would also be classified as a 30 days on the toilet challenge. But back to my point, this idea appeals to me. My ADD loves it some lists. It wants to be organized and a list with specific, attainable goals, tickles the shit out of it. It gets all giddy like when it used to take tests in school. There was no way my ADD could make it through hours of mind and butt-numbing homework, but it thrived on tests. They were short and required hyperconcentration. If my ADD hadn’t rocked it out on the ACT I would have never gotten a scholarship, which means I probably would have never gone to college, which means I could have very well ended up a stay-at-home mom with a blog…Uh…hmmm….Just give me a sec to run down to the liquor cabinet and numb that pesky part of my brain that likes to do things like make realizations….

Trailer 3

…Ok, all better. Back to this challenge idea. I’ve decided to do a 30 post challenge about confessions. I’m not sure why that’s what popped up, maybe it’s the new Pope; but I think it could be fun. I can embarrass myself and my family, and you get to laugh and be thankful that I’m not responsible for your care. So let’s get down to business with my first installment.

Confessions of my Inner White-trash

I was born in Tennessee and raised in Arkansas. I’ve never lived in a trailer or a shack. We were poor but we weren’t poor white trash. I had shoes I just chose not to wear them as often as I should have, and we certainly ate beans and cornbread on occasion. People assume that all Arkansans are hillbillies and rednecks, but I’m going to give you a quick lesson on the classification system of Southern crackers (white folks, not saltines).

Country: People known as “country folks” are good people who’ve come from a long line of people who made their living off the land or doing manual labor. They may not be educated but they’re smart, often wise. They love God and their family above all else. They typically aren’t very worldly but they don’t see a need to be. They enjoy simple things but they are not above leaving cars, old washers, or even school buses out on the back of their property to rust away. My extended family would be classified as this (including the school bus).

Rednecks: These are country people who like the finer things in life, which mostly means things with big wheels that you can drive through the mud. They are louder and more brass than country folks. I even dare to say that many lack some of the manners of the country folks. They are more apt to be in your face, sometimes with a gun. What they lack in refinement they make up for with ingenuity.

Trailer Trash (AKA: poor white-trash): These folks are pretty much the dumb cousins that the country folks and rednecks couldn’t stand to be around. They don’t have the wisdom of the country folks or the drive of the rednecks. They don’t need no school or nothin’! They like their life of government cheese, brawls with gas station hookers who stole their money, and visiting the jail more than once a year. Not all people who live in trailers meet the qualifications to be trailer-trash. It takes a special brand of stupid to make this cut. (side note: there are way more trailers in Florida than Arkansas.)

Hillbillies: Take the poor white-trash, move their trailer to a mountain and replace their Pearl beer with some moonshine. Give them a possum coat for good measure.

Now, I don’t think I fit into any of these categories but you can’t grow up in this rainbow of diversity and not have it rub off on you. So, here is the proof that somewhere down deep inside there is a Country-Redneck-White-Trash hybrid that occasionally gets my ADD drunk on some canned Coors and influences its creativity. And here is the proof that will probably provoke my husband to go into hiding:

When your inner white trash gets a hold of your ADD it will tell you that a perfectly good substitution for having to drag your kids, a caravan of shit, and your bloated self down to the pool is to create your own waterpark in the back yard…

Come on down to Wild Bucket Country! Free pork rinds with every admission.

Come on down to Wild Bucket Country! Free pork rinds with every admission.

When you actually get snow in Dallas (which never freakin’ happens), your inner White-trash will help you engineer a snowsuit from hand-me-downs and recycled crap from the garage…

"Mama, I'm goin' back to the igloo-trailer for my possum blanket and a hot beer."

“Mama, I’m goin’ back to the igloo-trailer for my possum blanket and a hot beer.”

(Yes, those are latex gloves from the garage over his mittens secured with masking tape. Target bags over his double-socked feet with more tape. Ain’t no snow gonna keep my boy from havin’ fun with his cousin-brothers.)

When Christmas comes around and you have a toddler who wants to pull the Christmas tree down over and over again, your inner white-trash will help you rig that sucker up to withstand a F1 twister with nothing more than a Lego table, an empty crate, and some twine. Your children will then dress for the theme…

"Mama, can we make more of those fancy ornaments out of fishin' lures and beer cans?"

“Mama, can we make more of those fancy ornaments out of fishin’ lures and beer cans?”

Well, there you go. You can take the girl out of Arkansas but you can’t take Arkansas out of the girl. If you want to witness the depths of my inner white-trash please go buy a copy of Fifty Shades of Puddin’. Who doesn’t want their erotic love stories to take place in a trailer park? (Yes, another shameless plug so I can support myself when my husband divorces me.)