Friday, October 23, 2009

A Sweet Time at Sweet Tomatoes

Today, our family went out to lunch at Sweet Tomatoes. It is one of our favorite restaurants. It is a buffet that specializes in salads and soups, with some bread and pasta thrown in on the side. It means you can eat a lot and stay relatively healthy, unlike some buffets.

During lunch, we did the usual--a lot of talking, chatting, laughing, teasing and so on. When Nicole and Coryn went up to get some soup, they walked up with arms around each other's shoulders, talking a mile a minute. When Caspian walked up with me, he had me take his arm (I wasn't feeling my utmost best). We didn't take much note of any of this until the lady at the next table said, "Excuse me. Are you mom, dad and kids?" We said yes. She said that it was lovely to see a family enjoying each other's company so much. "You laugh and talk and it's clear how well you all get along," she said. "How wonderful it is to see that. You've done a wonderful job as parents." (Now of course, I was all ready to launch into a lecture about how it was all MY doing, but Joseph was sitting right there. . . . smirk. Just teasing. Could never do any of it without him.)

We thanked the woman and being us, we talked for a while. I ended up giving her a business card because she wanted to look at my books for her grandkids. It was a nice conversation and it served as an excellent reminder of how wonderful my family truly is.

The second reminder was a few minutes later. Throughout the meal, this one guy at another table (who looked a lot like a young Hank Azaria on drugs) kept getting up and, since he was wearing ear buds and apparently listening to music with a very steady beat, he danced his way from one place to another. Now, I'm not talking a little head bob or finger snap. I am talking head to toe jivin' and shakin'. When I first spotted him I suspected Tourette's but no, it was actually a dance. It was a hoot. We all managed to watch him without being rude and made guesses as to what he was listening to and how NOT thrilled his girlfriend was with his behavior.

As we were all walking out towards the door of the restaurant, my husband . . . . bless him . . . . was walking ahead of us and he began dancing like the other guy. I stopped and said, Oh dear lord . . . . and the kids all stopped and burst out laughing. They offered to let me walk with them so we could all pretend we didn't know him. Then Joseph challenged each one of them to dance too but they just dashed (dash, Nicole!) to the van.

Good moments both.
Both moments that will slip by and be lost in the stream of paying bills, meeting deadlines, doing laundry and marking days off calendars. Yet, both moments that make life so much sweeter. A sweet time at Sweet Tomatoes indeed.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

A Tunnel to Avoid

Ha. Intrigued by the title, eh? Well, in this case, it is a play on words. This is not about the tunnel of love (I had a doctor sing that during a OB/GYN exam once . . . . very disconcerting but amusing). It's not a tunnel on the highway that I am here to advise you to drive around because it's not safe. It's not the tunnel some people see when they are dying, although I think I would probably advise you to avoid that one if at all possible as well. At least avoid any situations that might lead you to seeing that tunnel.

No, this tunnel is carpal tunnel, which I suspect I have in my right arm. I have had it for years and I have a half dozen drug store wrist braces lying about the house. This time around, however, the sore wrist has spread upwards to my elbow. I now have a spot that, when it hurts, feels like someone is holding a hot metal poker on it and pushing. (And man, I wish they would stop it!) It will hurt if I use the arm to lift anything at all, which I can protect against, but it also will just start hurting out of the blue and surprise me. (And while I like surprises that involve chocolate and presents, this one I don't care for one bit.) Pulling out my seatbelt, picking up my purse, etc. now suddenly cause the kind of pain where you stop talking and just breathe for a moment. When it isn't doing it's hot poker imitation, it just aches like a deep toothache, literally throbbing as I struggle to find any position to put it in that doesn't hurt. Sometimes the skin even hurts to the touch, so I wear short sleeves so nothing touches it. How ridiculous is that?

Of course, the good news is that I am left handed so I can still write. The bad news is that I use the computer mouse with my right hand and sometimes it hurts enough that I reach over with my left hand to use it. Joseph asked me why I didn't just learn to use the mouse with my left hand instead but I told him I was afraid then BOTH arms would end up hurting.

I am hoping that like in the past, my arm will just stop hurting for unknown reasons and I can ignore it again. In the meantime, however, I am wincing a lot and I desperately wish I had one of those slings to wear because taking the weight off it helps. Yes, I could buy one but I would look dumb wearing a sling . . . . What did you do to your arm? Ah . .. fight off lecherous men? Hold back flooding waters until children could get to safety? Rescue puppies from an evil witch? No. . . . . I type too much? I don't know what I did to make it hurt. I just want it to GO AWAY.

Of course, my hubby works with it, with me wincing throughout the process. And for a while, it does lighten up and relax. Usually just long enough for me to stop protecting it when I use it and then BAM. I am in pain again. I know my friend Ami is nodding away in sympathy throughout this post as she has a torn rotator cuff and a torn ACL so is lined up for two surgeries soon. I was going to call her doctor and ask if he could do a two for one special and fix my elbow before I resort to amputation but figured the paperwork would be too much to handle.

So, gimpy Tami will muddle through, wishing she was more ambidexterous and grumbling about avoiding this tunnel the next damn time around. It won't help but it will make her feel a little more righteous about it.

Send chocolate. That helps too.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The VooDoo that You Do So Well

Last night, as the movie we were watching came to an end and everyone did their usual stretch and head off to brush teeth and go to bed, Joseph whispered to me that he "had an idea". (Ok some of you have very dirty minds and I can hear your snickers from here. Just stop it. This is a family rated blog. Sheesh.) About 30 seconds later, I yelled, "Road trip!" The boys had a friend over for the night but I yanked all three of them off World of Warcraft, yanked the two lovebirds cuddled on the loveseat and yes, even the dog, and we all piled into our van and Jon's car. (Mind you, it was 12:45 a.m. at this point.) We drove . . . and drove . . . and drove with everyone making wild guesses about our destination.

Where are we going?
A place.
A name.
(frustrated groans) What letter does it start with?
One from the alphabet.
WHICH one?
One from the second half.
Is it M?
No more clues.

All the way there, Joseph and I were forced to endure the WOW conversation in the back seats. "So does a blood elf have the power to . .. . ", "Did you see that hysterically funny joke about the orcs in dresses?" "If I want to power up so that I am on level 70, do I have to . . . . " Mostly we tried to ignore it and insert the occasional grunt here and there so it sounded like we were following along.

From 182nd street where we live, we drove to 14th street. Yea, that's a lot of streets. But it went by quickly. Finally, we pulled up in front of the new (as opposed to the old, which is another 30 streets downtown) VooDoo Donut shop. ( It is decorated with pink neon lights. Donuts are made with ingredients like Tang, marshmallows, Nesquick powder and other assorted things. Some donuts are even made in the shape of . . . well, use your imaginations. Weddings are held there. They have bacon maple bars (which are tastier than they sound).

Since there were 7 of us (the boys' friend and Jon), we ordered a dozen different donuts (including a day old one that one boy declared was the size of Vermont!) The place has few chairs (sitting and lingering is discouraged) but we managed to squeeze into a few spots. We even had our pic taken to commemorate the moment. And you know, it was fun. We laughed and chatted and then all piled back into our cars (after almost forgetting the dog . . . )and headed down the road to find a gas station that had a bathroom since that was yet another kind of seat the donut store did not have . . . .

We came back home and headed for bed, arriving about 3. Now it's the next morning and we are still yawning but heck, it was a fun moment. I love living in this city and taking part in the Voodoo that you do so well.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Back to Books

Some time back, I posted some personal book reviews and asked if my hordes of readers (I may be up to 10?) would like me to do that again. I was swamped (3 or 4?) with responses saying that yes, they would like to see more, so here is the second installment in this bestselling, riveting, not to be missed Tami's Book Reviews. (Can't you feel the excitement?!)

I've read several autobiographies of late and while I am sure it would look better to say I had read about some political leader or philanthropist or something along those lines, these were of celebrities. I know I am a bad role model for my children. Deal with it. So, I've read:

Cloris by Cloris Leachman.
Fun book . Going behind the scenes of "Young Frankenstein" was great. She is an amazing lady.

Send Yourself Roses by Kathleen Turner
Disappointing. I love her as an actress but I found myself skimming the book and reading the highlights. Her struggle with rheumatoid arthritis was interesting--and heartbreaking--but I sure wish she would have talked more about her movie roles and less about her attitudes towards acting and such.

The Time of my Life by Patrick Swayze and Lisa Neimi
I loved this one although I cried at the end. I had a wicked crush on Swayze before I got married, partially because he looked a lot like my number one crush throughout junior high and high school. I admired his dancing and respected his lifelong marriage to his wife. A good friend of mine has pancreatic cancer too and is struggling with it. This is a well written book with a lot of insight into favorite movies ("Dirty Dancing", "Ghost", etc.) and an inside look at a wonderful relationship.

OTHER than autobiographies, how about these:

The Strain by Hogan and Del Toro
WHOA. If you like creepy, exciting, page turning books, this is the one. I loved it and only detest the fact that the next one in the series won't be out until next year.

Something's Missing by H. Dicks
A really, really unusual book that I loved. The main character is a thief with OCD. He is just fascinating and you love him. Why he does what he does, HOW he does it and how it all ends up perfectly is a blast to read.

The Rapture by L. Jensen
Hmmmm. Interesting idea indeed. A teen girl who is in a mental institution is able to predict major world disasters, one of which includes the "end of the world". NOT a religious book although many tie ins with it (from a secular point of view). Read it but don't expect a happy ending where everyone walks away smiling.

Have you seen the book Level 26 on the shelves? It's the first "digi novel" in that you read a few chapters and then you go to a site online and watch a 3 minute film relating to what you just read. The "cast" in these films is excellent and well known. I am so fascinated by the concept. BUT it is NOT for the faint hearted. The "bad guy" in this book is SO scary that when I watched the first film (let's put it this way, I have told my kids they may NEVER watch it and I don't do that), I was scared to walk upstairs in the dark for . . . .well, heck I still am. *shudder* The book's plot, however, is extremely well done, intriguing and I will definitely keep reading although I may watch some of the films during the middle of the day with my husband nearby.

According to my records, I have read 44 books this year. That's pretty pitiful compared to when I was younger but then, I didn't have a job, a husband, kids, a house, a cat, a dog and other responsibilities back then either. It may end up averaging about a book a week which "ain't bad".

Hey, send me your recommendations on good books to read! Or send me warnings about those to avoid. On my personal AVOID list, I currently have one to offer called The Music of Razors. The worst part about this book is that the first chapter is SO interesting, so well written, so unusual, so intriguing that you can't wait to read more. From there, it just gets confusing as it crosses time periods and stories and then, every so many chapters, it will be absolutely fascinating and riveting enough for you to say, Ok I will hang in a little longer because this part is just SO GOOD. And then, in the following chapter, you are back to skimming and if you're me, mumbling WTH DOES THIS MEAN?

Ok, off to spend my day writing items and working on the next book down the line. Thanks for stopping by. Chances are I already know you (most of my readers are either family or personal friends) but if I don't, take a minute to introduce yourself. I'd love to know you came by.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Tag, You're It!

Wow. I got tagged for the first time. (Does this make me a tag virgin? I didn't think I could qualify for any element of a virgin title by this age . . . Ha. Think of all those disappointed people who googled 'virgin' and ended up here . . . ) So, here Ami, thank you, although I strongly suspect you are doing it way more to make me post then to see my answers. None of them will surprise you.

The rules of the award are:
Answer the questions below using only one word (good gawd, I'm a writer, people. That's like asking me to have only one bite of chocolate . .. sheeeeeesh)
Thank the blogger who sent it to you (check)
Pass it on to six of your favorite bloggers ( I don't have six but will pass it on to those I do know)

1. Where is your cell phone? Purse
2. Your hair? Tangled
3. Your mother? Missed
4. Your father? Gentle
5. Your favorite food? Sandwich
6. Your dream last night? Peculiar
7. Your favorite drink? Water
8. Your dream/goal? Freedom
9. What room are you in? Office
10. Your hobby? Reading
11. Your fear? Illness
12. Where do you want to be in the six years? Country
13. Where were you last night? Bed!
14. Something you aren't? Thin
15. Muffins? Sweet
16. Wish list item? Money
17. Where did you grow up? Indiana
18. Last thing you did? Email
19. What are you wearing? Nightgown
20. Your TV? Downstairs
21. Your pets? Demanding
22. Your friends? Blessings
23. Your life? Fascinating
24. Your mood? Lucky
25. Missing someone? Always
26. Vehicle? Ancient
27. Something you're not wearing? shoes
28. Your favorite store? GOODWILL
29. Your favorite color? Teal
30. When was the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Yesterday
32. Your best friend? Endearing
33. One place you go over and and over? bookstores
34. One person who emails you regularly? Ami
35. Favorite place to eat? Home

I haven't a clue how to link this to other people's blogs. But I will pass it on to:
(just to get them to post)