Bumper Stickers

A completely random peek into my head while sitting at a routine traffic light yesterday:

Hey look! That car up there has a bumper sticker. What's it say? I can't quite make it out.


V-I...Vienna? Looks like the first word is Vienna. That's weird. Who would have a bumper sticker about Vienna? Maybe Vienna sausage? Or they visited Vienna?

Okay, second word...looks like it's 4 or 5 letters long. I think that first letter is a B. Vienna B. Vienna B...Oh! Maybe it's Vienna Boys Choir! Oooooh. Someone has taste and class and sophistication if they like the Vienna Boys Choir enough to put a bumper sticker on their car. I mean, I like the Vienna Boys Choir, but I don't think that I like them enough to put a sticker on my car. Maybe they know someone who is in the Vienna Boys choir! Or they used to sing in it! That would be cool. If that was the case, I'd definitely put a sticker about it on my car. I'd be all like, "Oh this sticker? Yes, I was a world-renowned singer in my youth". Maybe they...

The row of cars in front of me inch forward. I move closer to the bumper sticker.

What's that third word? L-O-V-E-R. Lover? Vienna Boys Lover? Oh hey, that's not cool. That can totally be misconstrued. I don't care if you do like the choir, you can't be driving around with a Vienna Boys Lover bumper sticker. People will think you're a pervert. That's a good way to get your car keyed there, bucko. Unless you really are a pervert, in which case you totally deserve to get keyed. Imagine! Someone driving around with Vienna Boys Lover on the back of their car! You gotta admit that's weird. That's just...

The light changes and I move towards the car.

What's that? Not Vienna...Virginia! Virginia is for Lovers! Not Vienna Boys Lover!

Oh. Hmmm. Well, yes, I guess that makes more sense. And better for the Vienna Boys too.

Although maybe I better look into scheduling an eye appointment soon.

The Kid In Tony

Nestle Crunch is sponsoring a contest over at 5 Minutes for Mom entitled "The Kid in You". They are looking for photos that "bring out the spirit of childhood". As soon as I saw that, I thought of this picture. If this doesn't scream the spirit of childhood, I don't know what does.

We actually took this the day before our vacation started. Tony and I had some time to kill in Mobile AL, and we came across a public park where all these daycare kids were playing. Tony ran right over and got on the swings. Talk about being a kid all over again! He was so excited. You can see it in his face. He made it look like so much fun that after I snapped the picture, I ran over to join him.

There's just something about the feel of a sunshine-warmed swing beneath you, and the smell of the fresh cut grass and mulch on the playground, and the wind whipping through your hair (or lack thereof!) as you go higher and higher. You can almost touch the sky. I'd forgotten how much fun it was. Just for those few impromptu minutes, we were definitely kids again.

Wordless Wednesday

The latest from my pond

Vacation Slideshow

I know you all can't wait to hear about my faaaaabulous vacation. It was, in a word, fabulous (or since we visited Mexico, Fabulouso!). I thought about describing each activity of the vacation in excruciating detail as you watched the slideshow, but that seemed a little cruel, even for me. So instead I narrowed it down to just the highlights (plus the slideshow) with a little thing that I like to call "10 on Tuesday- Vacation edition".

One- This year we cruised for five days on the Carnival fun ship, the Holiday. People always ask me if the atmosphere on a Carnival ship is wild and crazy. I think somewhere along the way, Carnival got pegged as the floating frat party ship, but this is our second Carnival cruise, and I've not really seen that on either trip. Of course, our ship, the Holiday, is also the smallest ship in the fleet so there were a lot less people on board, thus less frat boys in general. We also cruised out of Mobile AL, so I think the number of hospitable southerners plus the lack of lines and crowds that you may find on larger ships, really made sailing quite enjoyable.

Two- I'd be lying if I said that one of the main reasons we picked a cruise wasn't the fabulous food. I LOVE cruise food! I love the fancy dining room food, I love the casual bistro buffet food, I love the 24 hour pizza and ice cream bar. (And unfortunately, judging by the fit of my clothes, all that food loves me too. I'm going to have to do some serious gym penance now that I'm back). Tony and I decided that we'd do the casual bistro buffet for breakfast and lunch and then the fancy 4 course dinner meal in the main dining hall. The first night I started with Beef and Barley Soup With Diced Root Vegetables, Filet Mignon with California Cabernet Sauce and Gorgonzola Butter, and finished with Decadence of Chocolate for dessert. The second night I had Mississippi Delta Prawns, Broiled Lobster Tail with Melted Butter and Banana Gateau for dessert. The third I had French Onion Soup, New York Sirloin Steak with Three Peppercorn Sauce, and Old Fashioned Apple Pie; the fourth was Tenderloin of Beef Wellington, and the fifth was Chateaubriand with Sauce Béarnaise. Are you hungry just thinking about it? You should be. It was food heaven! And the desserts! (Sigh). It's a good thing that I don't live on one of those ships...I'd be 400lbs in no time.

Three- We did try to work off some of that food by doing one of the ship's numerous activities-cha cha lessons! (I figured it would tie in well with all the Latin Dancing I had been doing). Tony was surprisingly good at the cha much so that I may look into trying to find some ballroom dancing classes for us back here on the mainland. (He was less than thrilled when I suggested that...that may be why he'd been holding out on me about his mad dancing skills previous to now. I'm on to him though). The boy can cha cha!

Four- We did the three reef snorkeling tour for our shore excursion in Cozumel. The guide took us out in what he referred to as the Mexican Titanic, and we visited three different reef spots. I actually think that there are nicer reefs in Jamaica and Hawaii, but the fish here were absolutely everywhere, and not at all afraid to swim right up next to you. We saw blue fish and yellow fish and striped fish and spotted fish (see the slideshow below). We saw an eel, a stingray, and a really big barracuda (Go on, sing it: "Ooooooh Bara-cuda!"). The guide also reported that there was a small shark down in one of the reef's crevices, but I couldn't get down to see it. Apparently I float like a cork, so try as I might, all the diving in the world could only get me down about six feet down before I rocketed back up towards the surface. At one point, I dove down and was fighting to stay below the surface, only to realize that my legs had actually surfaced already and my bottom half was out of the water completely, still kicking like crazy. I'm sure that was a lovely image for the other boaters.

Five- The only downside to the snorkeling was the occasional jellyfish. Growing up in Savannah, I am familiar with jellyfish. You swim, you get stung, you rub sand on it (peeing not necessary), and you go on with your life. These particular jellyfish were small- only about the size of half dollar coins, but they still packed a punch. It was like being stung by an underwater bee that 9 times out of 10, you never saw coming. I have welts on my knee, calf, wrist, and arm. Apparently jellyfish really like me too, because hardly anyone else in our snorkel party was stung. Lucky me. A week later, and I still have red spots where they got me. Despite the jellyfish, I highly recommend the snorkeling.

Six- I'm just throwing this one in as a quick shout out to the towel animals. Every night when the steward came in to turn down our covers and leave chocolate mints, he'd also assemble a towel animal. See the slideshow below for the rabbit and elephant. They do classes and sell books on the art of towel animals as one of the ship's activities, but I missed it because I got caught up in a book by the pool. My houseguests will have to suffer without towel animals for the at least the next year.

Seven- The weather was absolutely wonderful with the exception of some rough seas that actually kept us from docking at our second port of call, Calica/Playa del Carmen. We were supposed to dock at 7am on Thursday morning, but the port authority said that it was too rough to be safe, so they sent us back to Cozumel for a second day. We had planned to do a jungle ATV ride in Calica, but we were able to switch over to horseback riding through Mayan ruins, so it worked out well.

Eight- Speaking of horseback riding, it had been a little while since I had been on a horse. I took riding lessons when I was a kid, but that was probably 12 or 13 years ago, so I'm not sure how much of it stuck. No matter. The guide gave us a quick lesson in "kiss and kick", where you make the horse go by making kissing sounds and kicking him in the side. My horse and I got off to a bit of a rocky start when he decided that he would like to eat the leaves off of a low hanging tree instead of listening to my kissing and kicking instructions. See the picture of me on the horse in the tree? I'm actually in the tree...I had to lay down on the horse to get under some of the branches that he was so delightfully nibbling. Once we were on the trail though, we could gallop if we so chose. Apparently my horse only came in two gears- dead run or full stop. There was no in between. Needless to say, we did a lot of galloping. I passed most of the Mayan ruins at about 200mph. I dare say we have now qualified for Belmont.

Guide: Here we have the intricate carvings that signified the sacrificial alter of-
My horse: Whoosh!
Me: AAIEEEeeeeeee!
My horse: Heeheehee!

I'm proud to say that I managed to stay in the saddle despite the Mexican Mr. Ed's shenanigans. I'm paying for it now with my inner thigh muscles, but I stayed on. I guess all of those riding lessons when I was 13 paid off after all.

Nine- Speaking of the Mayans, did you know that the ancient Mayans used to play a game that was a lot like basketball, only the hoop was sideways instead of parallel to the floor? Each team had seven players and a captain, and the idea was to get the little leather ball through the hoop. Oh, and after the game, they'd decapitate the winning captain. Yes, the winning captain. It was such an honor to win, they would kill you once you did it. I guess chopping off your head idolizes you if you're an ancient Mayan. It brings a whole new meaning to "keeping your head in the game" doesn't it? Bah-dum-dum!

Ten- Here's the craziest thing about the trip- I still feel the boat moving even through I've been back for a few days now. I guess I got used to the boat rocking under my feet, because it's still doing it even though I have both feet planted back on Terra Firma. It's like a little piece of me is still on vacation. (Unfortunately, the rest of me is getting seasick at work).

So that's it! Enjoy the slideshow. It's my first one, so I hope it works. I was annoyed with it because some of the pictures weren't showing up earlier, but it looks like it is behaving itself now.

I'm Baaaaaaack!

Did you guys have fun with Mom while I was away on vacation? Judging by the comments, it looks like a good time was had by all, especially Mom. I keep telling her to get her own blog, but she keeps telling me that she wouldn't have time to keep up with it on a regular basis. We'll see if she won't do some more guest posting every now and then.

So anyway, the vacation was wonderful. We went on a cruise down to Cozumel and the Western Caribbean. As they say in Mexico, Mucho Bueno. I missed the internet access while we were on board though. (Technically they have it, but you have to buy time at a bazillion dollars per minute. Tony draws the line at my internet addiction actually costing money). I'm putting together a 3 hour slideshow of all our vacation photos so I can tell you about each one in excruciating detail. (Okay, maybe not three hours...I'll try to keep it shorter than that). I'll post it after I make a dent in some of this dirty laundry that we drug home with us.

The boys are very excited that we're back. Tony's sister watched them while we were gone, which deserves special props because the boys don't like it when we leave them, and have a tendency to show their displeasure through copious amount of cat barf. Tony's poor sister would come out to the house, get the mail, scoop the litter box, feed the cats, and clean up barf. Rinse and repeat the following day. They do it every time we leave, from the time the suitcases comes out to the time we walk back in the door. No wonder no one wants to cat sit for us. Who knew that we had the the feline version of Linda Blair, times two?

Anyway. Today is going through mail, washing clothes, putting away suitcases, and catching up on all my favorite blogs. Tomorrow I'll try to put a post or 12 together about our vacation. Stay Tuned!

Freaky Friday (or Momma Quirk’s Pet Peeves)

I figure I have whittled the readership down to a few family and friends so I decided to vent on a topic or two. Fewer readers mean fewer people I might totally alienate for the Quirk.

  1. People Thinking Southerners Are Stupid. I probably haven’t helped this idea with the last four posts but it burns my britches for people to characterize a whole region of people because of where they live or their accents. I’ve never had much of an accent (at least while I was younger) and countless people from other parts of this great country have shared with me how slow and ignorant they regard people of the South (at least until they find out I was born and raised here). My mother can take any one syllable word and make it three syllables in short order but you’ve never met a smarter, more competent woman and mother. She is 81 and still goes through books of crossword puzzles like a buzz saw. She raised four children to be law-abiding, tax-paying, contributing members of society while my father worked morning, noon and night to clothe, shelter and educate us. How could anyone characterize them as stupid because of where they live?!
  2. Nouns followed by Pronouns. Now this IS stupid. All have learned in school not to follow a noun with its pronoun. For example: The Quirk, she is on vacation. Yuk. But for some strange reason, the media has decided it is the way to present their stories. Newscasters, sportscasters, style-casters and weather people have been heard breaking this basic grammar rule. And, now that I have pointed it out to you, you will probably notice them doing it too and be as disgusted as I.
  3. Road Rage. Did we not settle this issue in kindergarten? Everyone has to be able to play with the toys in a fair way; everyone has to drive on the roads in a fair way. My suggestion is to send road rage offenders back to kindergarten so they can see how closely their behavior resembles that of the children. Then keep them there until they learn how to play/drive fairly.
  4. Labeling does not equal OCD. My motto is "A Place for Everything and Everything In Its Place." I’m very good with the first part but pretty lousy with the second part. In an effort to make it easy on who ever is living in the house at the time, I like to label where items go. Not everywhere. Just in the pantry. And in the garage. And in the craft room. And in the laundry room. And my closet. Hold it right there! I know what you’re thinking! I AM NOT OCD! I don’t trace the outline of the item. Anymore. When the kids were small, and my label gun was new, I labeled the pantry in our house so the kids could put away the groceries and anyone could see what we were low on before going to the store. Logical, right? Organized, right?! But when our realtor was showing the house, a woman had the unmitigated gall to suggest to her that the owner was OCD because of the labels. The nerve! I just bet she wished her house was as organized and her kids were as capable as mine!

Well, I could go on but I only promised a peeve or two and I’ve already doubled that. Proof that you get what you pay for when you come to Quirkyland!

I’ve enjoyed guest blogging this week. I just wish the Task Master Quirk hadn’t wanted all the entries before she left so I could have responded to comments and queries (okay, so there may not be any…yet. Don’t make me write my own!)

Ya’ll pass the word that it’s safe to come back to the site on Monday. You know there will be stories of Quirky’s quirky vacation. I, for one, can’t wait!

Thankful It’s Thursday (or Let Me Share My Love of Landscaping)

The Quirk has shared some of the fruit of her gardening so I thought I would do the same. This is a passion we share and are the happiest when wondering through gardening expos, planning additions to our gardens and sharing the stock we’ve cultivated. Hope you enjoy some of the beauty we have been blessed with.

Wonderful Wednesday (or When I Get to Set the Record Straight)

I mentioned yesterday that "You never let a future son-in-law get the upper hand in anything…" and that I would take my opportunity today to set the record straight regarding Tony. For the past six and a half years, Tony has seemed to have the upper hand. Seemed, I say, because it never appears anyone hears my very logical explanations for the messes we get into.

For example, the famed Placenta Story:
Tony’s version (as told by Quirk, the Traitor)- "This is the woman who sat around the Easter dinner table, bombarding my brand new boyfriend with stories of how she pushed too hard and ruptured her placenta when she was pregnant with me. (Poor Tony- he was totally freaked out. Here he was meeting my family for the first time, and my mother is describing oozing placenta stories over the ham and deviled eggs. It's a wonder he ever stuck around long enough to marry me)."
My version- When the Quirk was first describing Tony, along with "how green and beautiful his eyes were," she mentioned he was getting his degree in Animal Science. Fantastic, I thought. Quirk’s Dad and I both had taught science and loved scientific information. We had raised the girls with conversations regarding the science of life over dinner, science trivia questions during car rides and had discussed science television shows at length. Tony would fit right in. And, as the Quirk seemed serious about him, so much the better! How fortuitous then that I came across Tony studying a book about placentas for one of his classes! Not only had I covered placentas in the Life Science classes I had taught but his beloved Quirky entered this world with drama (no surprise there) by tearing the placenta. Sharing this scientific, medical story with him would show him I recognized his study and command of this topic and would forever bond us as kinsmen in the coming years. Who knew he hated that area of his major and had a weak stomach?

Then, there’s the Pee Story:
Tony’s version (as told to the whole dorm)- Quirk’s mom asked me when was the last time I peed! Can you believe that??? Right out of the blue, the woman asks me when I peed last. She’s nuts, I tell you, Nuts!
My version- Tony and the Quirk accompanied us to a track meet where her seester was competing. Having been a coach for many years and knowing how easily both competitors and spectators can become dehydrated in the 90+ degree heat, I had us stop at a convenience store to stock up on bottled water. Tony refused to get any. I told him it was fine to get a bottle-our treat (thinking he was short on cash). He still declined. I explained we’d be out in the hot sun all day as the meet wore on and there might not be water there. Still, he declined. I was becoming alarmed but the Quirk said to leave him alone. I simply bought an extra bottle anyway.
Mandatory clinics have covered at length the signs, symptoms and precautions regarding dehydration and the best guide to a person’s hydration level is their frequency of urination. If a person has not urinated for at least two hours while in the sun or exercising, water is recommended.
The meet wore on, the temp. was 98 degrees and Tony hadn’t touched any water. So, I asked him when the last time was he had urinated. A perfectly logical, caring question. Downright required of a coach to the team members! So why not to Tony? It certainly was not deserving of the hilarity and ridicule expressed by the members of this family and Tony!

Although I could go on and on with the anecdotes that proves it is Tony that persecutes me instead of the other way around, I will leave you, dear readers, with this last topic:

The Anatomy Story-Structure and Function:
Tony’s version- We can’t get through a meal without some discussion of a bodily function. It’s disgusting the things they talk about without blinking an eye. And, Quirk’s Mom is the worst!
My version- As discussed previously (see the famed Placenta Story above), Quirk’s Dad and I taught science for a number of years, including sex education, and biology. Then we became pharmaceutical sales representatives where we were further schooled in the structure and function of the human body. Our daughters were used to the stories from the classrooms and the doctors being shared during our meals together as we each discussed things that happened during our workday. We would laugh at stories such as when the wife of a patient was overheard telling him, "I told you, you weren’t supposed to drink that fleet (enema)! Now you have to buy another one!" Or, how an eighth grader announced, "My Momma carried me in her left breast when she was pregnant." You can’t make these things up and we always have great fun sharing them. They are also teachable moments (how to correctly take an enema, where the uterus is actually located, etc.) that SOME people just don’t understand. When I was in the Women’s Health Division selling birth control to OB/GYNs I had some of the funniest stories (you found a toothbrush where???) and some of the saddest (she had a hair shirt???). But all were told as scientifically and medically correct as relayed to us (okay, some docs are pretty crude). All in all, though, the stories are fun and educational (if you don’t mind that kind of stuff being discussed, Tony!!!)

See? Logical explanations all!

Ten on Tuesday (or Ten Ultimate Quirky Times in the Quirk’s Life)

I thought I would use the Ten on Tuesday to enlighten all you faithful readers on how the Quirk comes by her quirkiness naturally. She has shown Quirky Greatness since birth and who best to know this (and record it) than Momma Quirk. So, without further ado, a trip down memory lane:
  1. When the Quirk was just a wee little Quirk, she was fairly quiet. She smiled a lot, laughed a lot, was very active and said Da-Da, Momma, Ball, Tipper (the dog) and Ethan (the little boy next door). Being our fist, we didn’t know if she was advanced, average or slow to talk…she was just our Wee Quirky. She was not quite two years old when we were visiting the paternal grandparents and all loading into the car to go eat. As I strapped her in her car seat in the middle of the back seat she announced, "I would like to sit in the front seat." All the adults froze and looked at each other to see who had spoken. We looked at the baby and said, "What?" to which she repeated, "I would like to sit in the front seat." And she has been talking in full sentences ever since!
  2. When the Quirk was about 3 years old, her seester was born. My mother (the secretary for my dental technician dad) came to stay with us and brought Quirky up to the hospital to see her new sibling. There were about five newborns across the front of the nursery, four of them screaming their heads off and one sleeping peacefully. The Quirk stood on a chair so she could see through the glass and surveyed each baby carefully. Finally, she pointed to the sleeping baby boy and said, "I want that one." We smiled and pointed to the second screaming babe and said, "But, Quirky, that is your new baby sister. That is the one we have to take home." She looked at the little quivering chin, the wide open toothless mouth and the scrunched up eyes as her sister thoroughly exercised her lungs. She was quiet and thoughtful for several minutes. Then with a big sigh of resignation she said, "Well, okay. But, Pap-paw will have to make her some teeth!"

  3. Since Quirk’s Dad and I both taught school, the Quirk and her sister went to nursery school. Quirky loved school and in the best Walton’s tradition, we always shared stories about our day during dinner. One day, Quirk was very excited about the trip her class took to the library. They had seen a movie there and I, with visions of the classics I loved-Snow White, Cinderella, etc.-running through my mind, asked what the movie was on. "Oh," she replied, "a big white screen down front."

  4. When Quirky reached the second grade, she had a wonderful teacher named Ms. Whitaker. Her teacher was so impressed with Quirky the first six weeks of school that she requested Quirky be tested for the gifted program. We agreed and were very proud when she passed with flying colors. However, by the end of the second six weeks something was obviously wrong. Ms. Whitaker told us during a conference that Quirk had stopped turning in all her homework. Homework? We never saw any homework. The teacher said she knew Quirky was doing it because she had seen her doing it during free time. We called Quirky into the room and asked if she had done her homework. She assured us she had. We asked if she put it into the homework basket and she assured us she had not. When we inquired further, she went to her desk and pulled every piece of homework out for the whole six weeks and said if she had put it into the basket, she wouldn’t have it anymore.

  5. Quirky was a fantastic big sister-if you occasionally overlooked her basic quirkiness. She told her sister we bought her at a flea market for a nickel and overpaid. But, she told her things with such conviction that her sister believed she was the fount of all great knowledge. One day, as we were driving down a shady lane, I pointed out a horse with rider clopping down the side of the road. I heard her sister ask Quirky why the girl was riding the horse. I thought of every girl’s love of horses, of the joy of riding, of the privilege of owning and caring for such a magnificent animal. In the backseat, however, was a very different answer. The Quirk told her, in a very solemn and confident voice, that the girl probably could not afford a bike.

  6. We had a trampoline at our house which made the neighborhood kids hang out in our back yard most of the time. Surprisingly, Quirky and her sister were the only girls around. They were as athletic as any of the boys so everyone was just one big happy group. The peace in the group was shattered one day when Quirky got off the school bus and slowly moped her way inside. Was she sick? No. Had someone hurt her feelings? No. Well, what was wrong? She reached into her book bag and pulled out a red box of Valentine candy. Oh, I thought, my little girl has her first boyfriend, her first box of Valentine candy and she didn’t get anything for him. But when I hugged her and asked if that was the problem, Quirky burst into tears and said she didn’t want the candy, she didn’t want the neighborhood boy to feel "that way" about her-why couldn’t they all just be friends? At eleven years old, the Quirk already knew that friendships could be irreversibly changed by the ‘L’ word.

  7. Our family has always been known as the "Hair Family." The Quirk, her sister and I had our hair to our waists at one time. The Quirk and I have naturally curly hair and wore it long so the weight of it would pull out some of the curl. However, the humidity often caused our hair to expand exponentially. When the Quirk was a freshman in high school, the guys around her desk used to play a game where they would see how many school supplies they could hide in Quirky’s hair without her knowing it. One day she stood up to change classes and four pencils, three pens, a slide rule and a graphing calculator fell out of her hair as she pulled it back. (I think she should have kept them!)

  8. I had the joy and terror of teaching the Quirk to drive. I remembered how I terrorized my own mother while I was learning so I vowed that I would be cool, calm, and composed at all times. For the most part, the Quirk did very well. After all, who really wants to learn to drive in a Ford Aerostar XLT van? It is about as big and uncool a vehicle as one can get. But you use what you have and that’s what we had. One evening, we were headed up the interstate to a school function and Quirky was driving. All of a sudden she whipped the van to the right lane then immediately whipped it back to the left lane. Back and forth we went with her turning the steering wheel faster and faster. The van was rocking up on two wheels as we careened back and forth and I had visions of us flipping over into the deep ditch on the left if Quirky didn’t get a handle on things soon. Finally, I reached out and grabbed the steering wheel, effectively straightening us up and allowing Quirky to pull over to the side of the road. "How did that happen?!" exclaimed the Quirk. "How did all four tires blow out at once like that???" "Oh, Quirk," I replied, "the tires are fine. You just over-steered while changing lanes." She was astounded but after we both calmed down, we laughed until we cried about her "four blow-outs".

  9. In the second half of Quirky’s junior year of college, she started talking about this guy she had met. She talked about how nice he was. She talked about how green and beautiful his eyes were. She talked about how she wanted us to meet him (so we knew it was serious). But did she ever tell us he shaved his head like many of the college guys were doing then??? NO! Just said he was reading at the dorm’s front desk and left us to wonder over and check him out for ourselves. He looked up, my eyes opened in surprise and he caught me being surprised. How embarrassing! I introduced myself and acted like it was the no big deal that it was but He. Caught. Me. You never let a future son-in-law get the upper hand in anything but Tony had it and he knew it. (By the way, Wonderful Wednesday will deal with setting the record straight regarding Tony! Stay tuned.) You would think the Quirk would mention a shaved head in a basic description. But, then, she IS the Quirk!

  10. When Quirky was a little kid, she always said she wanted a "half-car" when she grew up. A Volkswagen? No, a half-car. A little sports car? No, a half-car. Finally, one day we passed a convertible with the top down and she cried, "There it is! There’s my half-car." And her last two cars have been just that-her half-cars.

M is for Monday, Mom and Monotonous…as in Dull!

By Momma Quirk

What could I have been thinking?? When the Quirk asked if I wanted to guest host, I immediately saw visions of bloggy greatness, much like the Quirk’s dream: I HAD A Dream. After all, wasn’t I responsible for half her quirky genes? And, didn’t the Quirk, her seester and I crack jokes continuously and laugh like loons whenever we got together?? And, didn’t I think of a hundred quirky subjects to write on when no one had asked me to??? Where are the ideas now? Where is the humor?? Where are the five blogs I’m supposed to hand in for my homework???

It’s not like the bar was set low to ease me into the blog world. The Quirk’s 5/13/08 entry lists the requirements: "… funny, and thoughtful, and poignant, and everything a good blog entry should be." Sheesh! I haven’t done any serious writing for YEARS! I’ll be lucky to put one word in front of the other! And, if the Quirk’s requirements weren’t enough, she follows it with the Intro from Hell: "…the best possible hands I could think of…funny and thoughtful and smart and quirky…and Mother knows best…" That was so sweet I could have cried but, Oh, my goodness, how do I ever live up to that? Obviously, I can’t so I’ll just do the best I can and hope all her faithful readers will come back after this week!

The agenda for this week includes:
Ten on Tuesday (or Ten Ultimate Quirky Times in the Quirk’s Life)
Wonderful Wednesday (or When I Get to Set the Record Straight)
Thankful It’s Thursday (or Let Me Share My Love of Landscaping)
And Freaky Friday (or Momma Quirk’s Pet Peeves).

If none of that floats your boat, remember what the Quirk said, "Ya'll be nice to Mom while I'm gone." And come back next week for the real quirky thing!

Mom's In Charge While I'm Gone

Well Quirky fans, I'm off. A whole week of me without Internet access, and a whole week of my mother guest posting to keep you company. Ya'll make her feel special and leave her lots of nice comments...unless of course she's telling stories to embarrass me, and then feel free to roll your eyes and hiss "Moooooooooooom! Stop it!" (Try to put as many syllables in Mom as you can- that way she'll recognize that it came from me).

Mom will be posting for the next few days, and I'll see you back in a week!

Old Geezer Dives Again!

The Masters National Diving Championships are this weekend, and it just so happens that they are being held right here in Knoxville! Having fought his way back from knee and shoulder surgery after last year's Masters, Dear ol' Dad is back at it again! He flips! He twists! He struts around in a tiny bathing suit!

Here are the highlights from today's event, the one meter board:

Here's Dad getting ready to start. No, he's not throwing a gang sign...I think he was waving to Mom right as I snapped the picture. Look how nice and straight he is! Right down to his pointed toes! Then-floop!-right into the water with nary a ripple. I love watching Dad dive. He's poetry in motion.

More of that above-mentioned flipping and twisting. Pretty impressive for an old guy, huh? Pretty impressive for any age.

And where would Dad be without his cheering section? My sign says "This impartial judge says PERFECT 10!" I held it up when all the other judges were giving their scores. (Oh, and the other side says "GO Old Geezer GO!". That side may have also been held up every now and then).

Dad's second part of the competition, the three meter, is tomorrow. Go get'em Dad! Show those other geezers what you're made of! We're proud of you!

Springboard diving- Betcha' YOUR Dad can't do this!

Quirky Mom! Coming To A Blog Near You!

If you've seen the auto-publish test feature on here, you may have deduced that I'm planning on leaving ya'll unattended for a little while. I'm taking a little bloggy vacation next week, as I will be without Internet access for several days. Not to worry though! I have left you in good hands. Actually, the best possible hands I could think of- my mom's.

Yes, while I am away on my internet-less sojourn (pray for me...I may not be able to stand not being connected for an entire week), my very own real life mother will be guest posting. And oh, you do not want to miss this! If you have ever wondered what made a Quirky the way she is today, look no further than her mother, the original Quirk. I have given her no restrictions or parameters, so there is no telling what she's going to post about. The sky is the limit. And ya'll, her generation has no filter, so anything is fair game. I'm just warning you in advance. This is the woman who sat around the Easter dinner table, bombarding my brand new boyfriend with stories of how she pushed too hard and ruptured her placenta when she was pregnant with me. (Poor Tony- he was totally freaked out. Here he was meeting my family for the first time, and my mother is describing oozing placenta stories over the ham and deviled eggs. It's a wonder he ever stuck around long enough to marry me).

On the other hand, she's also funny and thoughtful and smart and quirky, so it'll be just like me, only with reading glasses and a recollection of the Nixon administration.

Ya'll be nice to Mom while I'm gone. She wiped my rear and taught me to ride a bike and made my prom dresses and risked her life by teaching me to drive. She gave me advice on boys (not that I listened) and helped me with my science projects and kissed boo-boos. She's always been here for me, even now when I asked her to take time out of her day to guest post.

If you have any questions that you'd like Mom to answer, ask them now in the comment section and I'll pass them along to her. I'm not saying she'll answer them, because she may have already been thinking of something to write, and Mother knows best, but she may like the ideas too.

Mark your calendars! Quirky Mom starts Monday.

Test Auto Publish

Rumor has it that draft.blogger can now auto publish future posts like what wordpress does. This is VERY nice for us Blogger people who are too lazy loyal to move addresses over to Wordpress.

For more info, check out this link.

In the mean time, This is a test of the emergency auto-publish feature. This is only a test. Were this a real blog entry, it would probably be longer. And funnier. And maybe have a point.

Or not.

Anyway, I'm testing the auto-publish feature to see if it is reliable enough to allow me to leave my little blog-o-fun here unattended for a day or two without ya'll having to suffer Quirky withdrawl.

Cause I'm thoughtful like that. (You know me, just looking out for my peeps).

If you see this, it worked. If you don't, well, never you mind then.

I HAD A Dream

I know, I know, you missed me yesterday. I'm sorry. Here's what happened:

On Sunday night, I was having a fabulous dream about a blog that I wrote. (I often drift off to sleep at night writing blogs or short stories in my head, so this isn't that bizarre that the blog continued into my dreams). Anyway, in my dream, this was the BEST. POST. EVER! I had it all written out, and it was funny, and thoughtful, and poignant, and everything a good blog entry should be. And I kept thinking to myself, "THIS IS THE BEST BLOG POST EVER!" and was really very proud of myself for bringing my bloggy game to a whole new level. It was gold, baby, solid gold.

And you know where this is going, don't you?

Yep, woke up the next morning and couldn't remember a single thing that it was about. Not a single thing. Which was really annoying because all night long I kept telling myself to read it over and over again so that I wouldn't forget it. And I even debated about waking myself up and writing notes on it, just to be sure that I got it all down when I really woke up. But alas. In dream world, you never wake yourself up to make notes because you tell yourself that you would never EVER forget something this fabulous.

(Remember the Seinfeld episode where Jerry thinks of a really funny joke in his sleep, but in the morning he can't read the words he jotted down to remind himself?)

I spent all day yesterday racking my brain, trying to remember even a smidgeon of the post that was going to catapult me into international bloggy fame, and no doubt be ripped off by hundreds of graduating high school seniors who would blatantly steal it and read it at their graduation ceremonies (without giving me credit, because that's what they do, but I wouldn't even care because THAT's how good this post was). Nothing. Not one word. And I was so dejected by this that I couldn't even bring myself to come up with something else that would never ever compare to the Post That Never Was.

So there you go. My one chance at bloggy stardom, which would have no doubt landed me a book deal and a spot with Oprah and an invitation to hang out with JK Rowling in her swanky castle, lost to the world. I know, you are all weeping with the injustice of it all. Your lives will never be the same.

The moral of the story is that when you have the perfect post dancing around in your subconscious, GET OUT OF BED RIGHT AWAY NO MATTER WHAT TIME IT IS OR HOW LITTLE SLEEP YOU'VE HAD OR WHAT TIME YOU HAVE TO BE UP THE NEXT MORNING AND WRITE THAT POST! Because no matter what your sleep-induced brain promises you, that post will NOT still be hanging around in the morning.

And instead of bloggy brilliance, all the high school seniors will have to resort back to starting their speeches with, "Webster's dictionary defines success as...". Oh, you know they will.

Game Set Match

After an overwhelming win last week, the raccoon stunned the sports world by unexpectedly conceding defeat and getting himself trapped in the cage last night.

The thing is, now that we have him, I feel really sorry about the whole deal. I mean, he just wanted a place in out of the rain. He looks so sad in that little cage. I'd really like to just let him go, but I know he'll keep trying to get into the house if we do.

My hats off to you Mr. Raccoon. You were a worthy opponent.

Oh, and upon closer inspection of the cage once it was off the roof? Not a marshmallow. A little white cup about the size of the marshmallow. I don't know what it held since the raccoon already ate it, but I'm going to assume that it wasn't mini-mallows. So just to clear things up since I've been going on and on about these stupid marshmallows for about two weeks now- the raccoon bait was NOT a marshmallow.

Although not to say he wouldn't eat one given the chance...Heaven knows I do.

On My (Mouth) Soap Box

I'm on my frivolous lawsuit soap box today. I'll try to keep the ranting to a minimum.

I always have the TV on so that I can listen to the Today show while I get ready in the mornings. Today I was listening to them do a tour of the Vice President's house while brushing my teeth, and then as I'm gargling with my mouthwash chaser, I hear the TV say something like, "Next, a mouthwash that stains your teeth instead of whitening them? Find out why users of Crest ProHealth are so mad".

And I glace up at the TV to see a picture of Crest ProHealth.

And I glance down at the bottle of mouthwash in my hand.

Crest ProHealth.

Well isn't that just peachy. My mouthwash is staining my teeth.

I spit it out and looked closely at my teeth in the mirror while the Today show interviews a 14 year old girl who claims that it stained her teeth. (This is their proof? A 14 year old? And one that can't even show her stained teeth as proof because she "went to the dentist twice" in order to get the stains removed.) Apparently, the alcohol-free mouthwash kills the bacteria in your mouth but leaves the little bacteria carcasses on your teeth, which makes them look brown. Uh-hmmm. Wouldn't all mouthwashes, regardless of alcohol, kill germs and leave them on your teeth? Wouldn't you spit them out when you were through? I'm not sure I'm buying this.

Nonetheless, suddenly my teeth look a little more brown.

Today also has a guy from Proctor and Gamble, makers of Crest ProHealth on TV. He says that they haven't gotten any complaints about the mouthwash staining anyone's teeth. Wouldn't they have heard if this was happening?

Ah, the 14 year old retaliates, but what if people don't KNOW that it's the mouthwash that's doing the staining? What if they attributed it to something else?

That's true. I certainly wouldn't think my mouthwash was leaving stains on my teeth. I would think coffee or cokes or tea or something before I would think of mouthwash. But I'm also wondering how the 14 year old figured out that it was the mouthwash as opposed to the cokes or teas or whatever else she drinks. Apparently she read about it when she googled it and found other people claiming that it caused stains on their teeth. (And you know that if it's on the Internet, it must be true!)

I popped on over to the Crest ProHealth website, which is in full defense mode with all kinds of dentists saying that it is completely safe and ALL mouthwashes leave dead germs on your teeth. They say that the staining is temporary and 99.99% of people don't even notice it. I have to agree. I can't honestly say that I thought anything about it until I saw the report. And because I like the alcohol-free stuff, I'll keep right on using it, temporary stains or no.

Of course, because this is America, there's a lawsuit involved. Because Crest didn't put a warning label on their bottle about possible stains, people are suing them for fraud. (I'm sure it has nothing to do with the fact that P&G is a billion dollar company). C'mon now people. It's temporary, and if you don't like it, don't use it. Mouthwash didn't ruin your life. Brush your teeth and move on with your lives.

If I were Crest, I'd attach little free samples of Crest white strips to the mouthwash and call it a day.

6 On The 6th (Better Known As 10 on Tuesday)

I know we normally do 10 on Tuesday, but I'm a bit swamped today, so we'll have to limit it to 6. Maybe call it 6 on the 6th or something. That works, right?

One- So the grades have come back for my thesis dissertation, and I have an A! (Okay, technically an A-, but let's not get caught up in all the pluses and A is an A!) Woot! Throw your hands in the air! And wave 'em like you just don't care! This calls for a celebration! Preferably in the form of brownies! Or more Rice Crispy Treats, because I made short work of the ones from the wedding party.

Two- Speaking of marshmallowy goodness...the raccoon wins. We give up. We have been outsmarted by an oversized rodent. The traps have been on the roof for more than a week, and the raccoon just isn't biting. So we're taking the traps down, sealing up the spots where he is getting in, and just keeping our fingers crossed that coming home to find the locks changed will be enough incentive to move on as opposed to say, ripping a new opening into the roof. More fingers are crossed that he won't be in the attic when Trapper Joe comes to seal it up. (He's very good at hiding, our genius raccoon). I guess we'll know soon enough if we hear lots of banging and crashing noises overhead after the holes are closed up.

Three- In other fun homeowner news, there's a mystery smell in the living room. I swear it's mildew, like the carpet got wet (which it did when I scrubbed it trying to get out the mystery smell), but I have no idea why it would still be lingering. Tony thought it originated when the cat knocked over a glass of milk and he put the SpotBot on it (if you don't have one of these- get one! They are lifesavers!) but that should have stopped the smell, and since then, it's only gotten stronger. It's in one corner of the living room, and nothing looks or feels wet (with the exception of when we try to clean it) so I'm at a loss as to what it might be. It's bad though. Next step is calling up Stanley Steamer or something to see if they can get it out. If that doesn't work, we may be replacing carpet soon. (Not really an expense I've factored in for just now). Ah the joys of being a homeowner. If it's not a raccoon on the roof, it's a mystery smell. (And no, I don't see how the raccoon could be causing the smell...we went up and sniffed the attic just to be sure).

Four- My hot tub is on backorder. They were going to ship one from the distribution center, but I guess this particular model is a popular one, because they're out and are now having to build mine. (At least I know that it's made just for me!) They're supposed to call me at the end of this week to tell me when it will ship. Normally I'd be mad at the delay, but I still have to get an electrician out there to run my 240v line, so it won't do me any good to have it now anyway. Maybe the electrician, the wildlife trappers, and the carpet cleaners can all just get together and have a house fixing party at one time.

Five- I had my annual checkup with my lady doctor yesterday. You'll be glad to know that I haven't lost any parts, and they all still seem to be in working order. I know some people have men "lady doctors", and I'm sure they work out just fine for you, but I'm not one of those people. I've gotta have a woman doctor. I guess it's kind of like having a mechanic. He may know the manual inside and out, but unless he's actually owned a car at some point, he's not touching mine. And call me picky, but if you're planning on diving in up to your elbow in someone else's hoo-ha, you best be able to at least commiserate.

Six- Speaking of the lady doctor, is it just me, or does everyone else hide their underwear at the bottom of the clothes pile when they're changing into that paper gown? Can't have the doctor seeing my underwear. Oh no...she may be poking around at all kinds of personal places down there, but to see my underwear? THAT would just be embarrassing!

Update: Living room smell has been resolved. My super wonderful hubby got down on his hands and knees and scrubbed the entire area again until the smell went away. (We think the milk spilled further than we thought, so he cleaned a HUGE area, just to be sure). And now the smell is no more! Isn't he just super wonderful?

The Wedding

Tony's sister got married this weekend! Some pictures from the beautiful wedding...

The bride (who will kill me once she sees this picture on here!)Walking down the aisle with Dad...
The bridesmaids.

The bride and groom.

The happy brother (and sister-in-law).

Raccoon 2, Humans 0

It's day 4 of having our roof littered with raccoon traps, and guess what? NO RACCOON! I know he's up there. I hear him moving around. He just will not go into the traps! He's mocking us!

Maybe he doesn't like marshmallows. Maybe he's watching his girlish figure. Maybe he is not swayed by the fact that I broke down and am now scarfing marshmallows like they are going out of style even though I have to be in a wedding on Saturday and this bridesmaid dress does not allow for any more marshmallow-induced poundage. (I would claim that I'm just eating the marshmallows to entice the raccoon to do the same, but who am I kidding? An oversized attic-crashing wild animal has more will power against marshmallows than I do. It's just sad I tell you).

The guy who put the traps out for us, Trapper Joe (we had to find a new guy after Trapper Dan fell off the roof and then refused to come back out to our house), called last night to check on things. "No raccoon?" he asked incredulously after we told him that the traps were empty. "Are you sure?" Yes Trapper Joe. I think I would have noticed a 30lb animal sitting in a wire box, raising cane on my roof for all the world (and wedding party guests) to hear. "Hmmm", says Trapper Joe, "Crafty little devil". Thank you Trapper Joe. Perhaps you can lure him into the box by doing a swan dive off the roof...he seemed to enjoy it when Trapper Dan did it.

Trapper Joe wonders whether our particular house guest is a repeat offender and has been caught before. If so, he may realize that bad things happen when he pops that innocent looking marshmallow into his mouth. (A lesson I am still trying to grasp). If he's been previously incarcerated and someone just drove him over to my neighborhood to release him, then he'll know how the traps work and to avoid them. Faaaaabulous. Not only did the only raccoon in a 20 mile radius decide that he just HAD to live in our attic, but he's also a genius raccoon. Maybe I can convince him to balance my checkbook while he's staying with us.

To recap: Ugly cages on my roof, wedding party tonight, out of town guests staying with us, raccoon still running amok and refusing to be caught by the trap. And a perfectly good marshmallow sitting up there, not being eaten by anyone.

It's enough to drive a person to OD on puffed sugary goodness. Do you think the raccoon would mind if I took his?