The Ceiling of the Blackbird Chapel…Michelangelo eat your heart out.

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Sorry, this one’s not too funny. I promise more absurdity next time. Honest.

I’m sitting in a coffee shop in Dublin, GA. The cute one. The one with culture and character and celing artwork that rivals that of the Sistine Chapel. I’m enchanted with the accoustic tiles, each of which has been purchased, designed and painted by a different customer. My neck hurts from staring upward at the crayola-esque slice of life quilt that hovers above.

Some tiles have serious themes, like the one directly overhead with a black background and a fetus cradled in the hands of God. The title states boldly “A Child, Not A Choice.” Isaiah 4:42. I agree, but wonder how the tile’s owner came to choose this message. Was an unwanted pregnancy something they’d grappled with? Did they choose child over convenience, or forever live with regret? Were they a former abortion clinic employee who saw too much? Or perhaps a labor and delivery nurse who witnessed countless miracles each day?

Another tile is covered by an enormous green eye reminiscent of Count Olaf in a Series of Unfortunate Events. Words are written in the lashes. If I were closer I’d read them. The eye appears void of emotion, unblinking, yet interested in nothing that comes into view.

As a kid, I loved to draw eyes, angry, villainous Cruella DeVille type eyes. The more sinister and cold, the better. I’m sure teachers wondered what was wrong with me as they passed my desk noticing that my notebook was filled with cruel, accusing eyes.

So many tiles here share Bible verses: John 3:16, Psalm 34:8, Proverbs 27:17, Philippians 4:13. That’s one of my favorites. In the South, religion is part of our culture, not something we hide during the week and dust off on Sundays. God is a part of our everyday lives like flip flops and sweet tea.

Another mainstay of the South is college football. A handfull of tiles boast UGA, UT and Auburn logos.

Two stacked tiles honor the best friendship of Karlie and Beth. They like soccer, Diet Coke and smiley faces. I’m guessing they’re preteens and wonder if they’re still friends today. Or if their once BFF ship has hit an iceberg and sank like so many unbreakable bonds between friends, especially girls. Maybe Beth is now BFF’s with Autumn three tiles over who likes rainbows.

“We Miss Kristin Gillis” says a tile near the coffee shop’s entrance. I wonder who Kristin was or is, where she went. Is she simply on vacation, away at college, serving a life sentence in the state pen. Or maybe she’s crossed the Heavenly threshold, leaving behind a throng of friends and family who’d give anything for another day with her.

Directly above me, I strain my neck to see a random view of outer space or perhaps a bad acid trip. Next door is a cave drawing with chaotic stick figures surrounding what I imagine as Brontosaurus bones. The next scene comes straight from a Corona commercial or Kenny Chesney song…beach, palm tree and umbrella. I’ll go with that.

It’s now 2:16 in the afternoon. Enough musing. Time to shut my laptop, re-enter the real world pick up kids, plan dinner, etc. Maybe one day I’ll paint my own tile.

Posted in blackbird, coffee, murals, painting | 2 Comments

Saved by the Neti Pot


My sinuses are on the blink again—-this time clogged tightly with what feels like joint compound or caulking material. Whenever I try to inhale through my nose the air hits a roadblock and my head gets that overblown balloon that’s about to pop feeling. Since breathing tends not to be optional (with me…anyway…I’m so high maintenance), my mouth has had to take over all breathing duties and is developing a resentment about the extra work load.

If I believed that God ever used recycled parts when creating humans, I’d wager that he gave me the aftermarket sinuses of a consumptive coal miner, rather than shiny new ones right off the celestial assembly line.

Click here to download my book, Just Kidding (not really) to read the rest of this and 60 other funny essays about life, marriage, kids and being neurotic. 

Posted in Facebook, infomercials, Neti Pot, sinus problems, snot | 1 Comment

BINGO at Mellow Oaks

In order to do my job effectively there are certain places I hang out that wouldn’t make most people’s social calendars. No, I’m not a drug dealer. However, being an eldercare marketing rep is sort of like being a drug rep (the legal kind) but not nearly as sexy. Rather than using my expense account to lunch doctors and do spa pedicures with their gatekeepers, I often find myself loitering in funeral home lobbies, feeding Tom, the local nursing home’s king-sized tabby and catching reruns of Matlock at the retirement lodge. I love working with seniors. They’re smart, funny and have amazing insights into the world around us, that most of us younger folks are too busy and self-absorbed to notice.

Today was a special day. It’d been noted on my Office Max desk calendar for over a month. I was scheduled to give a presentation on nutrition to 65 potential eldercare clients at a new venue, the Mellow Oaks Senior Retreat. And then, the ultimate honor, I’d been appointed official caller of three whole BINGO games. In senior citizen culture, this means you’ve “made it,” like being awarded the key to the city or having a denture adhesive named after you.

All weekend I practiced “B-10, N-34, pause…O-69, Z-28,” modeling my voice after Renelle Williams, the California Lotto announcer on KGO.

As for my presentation, I’d also rehearsed for hours in my “did you know” kind of voice spouting facts about antioxidents, memory boosters, cancer fighting proteins and homeopathic Viagra substitutes. Shirley, the director was excited about the topic, saying that nearly all of the members were quite health conscious.

I even bought fresh blueberries, dark chocolate and edamame for audience members to snack on. The presentation would end with a two minute empassioned pitch about my company. Then they’d all burst into a standing, walker and wheelchair ovation chanting my name. So many seniors would sign up for our services that I’d run out of forms. There’d be a waiting list… and I’d be a Mellow Oaks Retreat celebrity, welcome to make speeches and call BINGO games there….. forever.

Upon my arrival, the dining room was half-filled with ornery, somewhat rowdy 80 somethings squabbling over coupons, threatening each other with scrapbooking scissors and jausting with canes. As I walked by a portly gentleman whose left arm seemed attached to his shoulder by a spring (because one minute it was down to his knees, and the next it wouldn’t quite make it to his hip), he chanted “hey, baby how bout warming up my lap for me…

Click here to download my book, Just Kidding (not really) to read the rest of this and 60 other funny essays about life, marriage, kids and being neurotic. 

Posted in Bingo, Eldercare, Food, Marketing, Senior Citizens | Leave a comment

VBS 2010 – An Arts and Crafts Disaster in the Making?


(The accompanying photo is of an inadvertently phallic candle that my friend Michelle’s son made for her. It appears he suffers from a lack of crafting genes too. God love him. Wanna see more creative blunders? Check out http://www.regretsy.com. where DIY meets WTF.

And now to the blog entry….

I’ve been designated as “arts and crafts leader” for my church’s Vacation Bible School program. This hulking delegational blunder by the volunteer staff equates in strategic insanity to putting the Unibomber in charge of conflict management or having Lady Gaga lead a conservative dress initiative….

Click here to download my book, Just Kidding (not really) to read the rest of this and 60 other funny essays about life, marriage, kids and being neurotic. 

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments

The Sad Effects of Foot in Mouth Disease

This week has been checkered with grievous episodes of misspeaking on my part. It isn’t a shock to those who’ve known me for more than an hour. All my life, I’ve said the wrong thing to the point of fully digesting my foot, nail polish and all. This, in particular, would’ve been a great week to be struck with laryngitis. Too bad you can’t schedule that kind of thing.

Through the years I’ve had to apologize to more people than live in the nation of Uzbekistan for insults ranging from “when’s your baby due” said to an effeminate pot-bellied man to “don’t take this the wrong way, but I think you’re a bitch. Everyone does, so it shouldn’t come as a shock.” I finally had business cards printed featuring a clipart foot-in-mouth logo and the phrase “I’m really sorry for whatever I said.” I hand them out randomly… mostly to women, especially at places where cocktails are served.

When God doled out tact and verbal filtering devices, he skipped my mother’s side of the family, including me. I’ve often thought how great it would be if one could simply purchase the character trait they were lacking…or have it transplanted from a donor. I sometimes envision a gracious and genteel finishing school teacher being mugged and murdered shockingly; the perpetrator fleeing without uttering a single please or thank you. The one bright side of the horrific tragedy is that her tact (which remained fully intact) would be transplanted to me. I, of course, would promptly get out my best stationary and write a note of genuine gratitude and invitation to tea for her remaining family members.

This week’s drama comes to us compliments of the Daffodil Drive Gardening Society, of which I’m a junior member (meaning that I’m allowed to kill a maximum of five houseplants and remain in good standing.) It all started on Monday at the flower arranging marathon. My friend Natalie and I worked feverishly competing with 10 other duos for fastest foxglove centerpiece. We’d just gotten into a groove when Shelley sidled up. “Great to see you ladies. Natalie, thanks for asking me to cater your Botox brunch yesterday morning. Melanie told me I’d get a phone call to plan the menu, but I didn’t. Thanks a LOT” Shelley tacked a cursory “just kidding” and snarky laugh on the end of her statement.” An uncomfortable silence followed.

My IQ is not much higher than my diastolic blood pressure, but I know that people often dress up verbal jabs as humor to get their point across in a palatable fashion. If Shelley were a famous chef her signature dessert would be open switchblade served in puff pastry. “Gosh, Shelley, I’m sorry!” Natalie stammered.

In attempt to rescue her from awkwardness, I said “Shelley, you and Natalie aren’t even very good friends. Are you? I’ve never seen you hang out together or heard of you calling each other. Plus, Marci the Meal Maven did an awesome job. I mean, why would she ask you? Did you ask her to perform the hair removal at your Brazilian Waxing Breakfast? Ya know she’s a great esthetician.”

The more I said; the worse things got. Natalie finally elbowed me in the ribs saying “hutt–hupp, Hanela” under her breath in a way that sounded like her tongue had been bitten off. Shelley, looking wounded and incredulous, huffed away.

“That wasn’t funny, Angela. She’s never going to speak to me again now,” Natalie whined, sounding normal again.

“Well, who in their right mind has the nerve to ask a gathering host why they didn’t use her services? Isn’t it your decision who you hire? Plus, she makes fun of you behind your back. Don’t get mad at me; I’m just the messenger.”

Natalie began chatting with Rosemary at the next table and acted distantly toward me the rest of the day. That’s the thanks I get for being honest. The human foot tastes surprisingly like chicken.

The next night, in my Mother-Daughter Banquet comedy routine which was supposed to end with a serious, reverent reading of Philippians 4:11 and devotion, I forgot my notes and butchered the text…. stammering “Uhm, Paul… or was it Phillip… said to Timothy….. or Titus or somebody…Maybe it was Jesus… that he was happy in prison…or something like that.” And then I made a crude joke about circumcision. It went from bad to worse. I could feel the audience cringing in unison. It was important that the program end on an inspirational note. I totally blew it. On the bright side, the jokes were really funny. Maybe I’ll stick to comedy clubs from now on.

It’s now Friday. Natalie and Shelley are going out tonight to revitalize their friendship…without me. The church women are having a bake sale. No one called to ask if I’d help out. Perhaps getting this off my chest, under the cloak of a blog entry will make things better….or ruin them even further. Maybe I should keep my fingers away from the keyboard as well.

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

A Marriage Just isn’t a Marriage without the Tangy Zip of Miracle Whip


My husband James and I tend to agree on most things. We’re just sickening that way. Before marriage we had the tough conversations, the ones on the “must discuss list” according to relationship experts like Dr. Phil and Father Guido Sarducci. We talked about family finances, child bearing and discipline. We discussed politics, careers, cooking, toilet seat positioning, light bulb wattage, snoring and cover stealing protocol. We covered it all.

Through frequent and exhaustive communication, James and I have become as compatible as…..as…I’ll have to get back to you. However, last night, as we lay in bed, watching Fox News and having a mutual admiration society meeting, the granite foundation of our marriage began to crumble. Oh, the horror! The origin of this destructive fault was…of all things, mayonnaise. Not ketchup. Not honey mustard dressing. Not even wasabi. It was mayonnaise.

It all started innocently, just as Greta van Susteren finished torturing Barney Frank and broke for commercial, I said, “Honey, I think I’ll make a turkey sandwich. Would you like half?”

“Yes, Love Kitten, that’d be great!” replied James.

As I patted his leg and began walking away, he added, “but can you make mine with regular mayonnaise? I can’t stand that Miracle Whip crap.”

“WHAT!?!?” My disbelief morphed into shock, which quickly turned into outrage….

Click here to download my book, Just Kidding (not really) to read the rest of this and 60 other funny essays about life, marriage, kids and being neurotic. 

Posted in Uncategorized | 9 Comments

A Chip Off the Old Munk


Today started out as an ordinary Tuesday. I hit the snooze alarm 27 times before jumping out of bed wailing like a siren that we were going to be late for school and therefore the world would soon come crashing down around us. Andrew, my super organized, level-headed, (what end of the gene pool did this kid come from) child got up, methodically packed his lunch, ate breakfast, washed his dishes and experimented with six different manly scents of body spray while I clunked around the house wearing one shoe and searching in vain for its mate. Andrew, of course, found it under the couch and gave me a lecture about footwear organization.

After returning home from my Northwest Laurens Elementary carpool duties, I had 12 minutes to eat breakfast, get Jack dressed for preschool, feed the dogs and save the world from impending manic mommyhood drama. I was determined that I wouldn’t be late for work again this morning. And I wouldn’t have been, had a certain chipmunk not entered the picture. Well, he didn’t actually enter the picture. He died there.

Click here to download my book, Just Kidding (not really) to read the rest of this and 60 other funny essays about life, marriage, kids and being neurotic. 

Posted in kids, mommies, preschool | 2 Comments

Mom Unfit to Play Easter Bunny

If you’re under 13, log off now and go clean your room or watch reruns of iCarly or pester a a parent. Now SCRAM!

I’m a lousy mother. It’s official. My union membership card and ID badge will be delivered via USPS early next week. If you log onto http://www.lousymoms.com/, you’ll see my picture and bio between Joan Crawford and Britney Spears…

Click here to download my book, Just Kidding (not really) to read the rest of this and 60 other funny essays about life, marriage, kids and being neurotic. 

Posted in candy, easter, funny, kids, mother | 4 Comments

Wine and Garlic for the Last Supper??


We’re in the home stretch of Lent, something I don’t normally observe, except when it’s all over my black pants. But Easter, starting with Palm Sunday, is a big celebration of faith for our family. As a Sunday school teacher to 3rd and 4th graders and a substitute in the 5 and 6 year old classroom, I’ve been up to my neck lately in lessons about the Holy Season.

Last Sunday, I taught two classes on the Last Supper and what it means to take communion. One 5 year old was amused to learn that Jesus was made of bread, just like the Pillsbury dough boy and the Gingerbread man. “Wait, I think something’s been lost in translation here, Brandon. He wasn’t made out of bread. And NO the disciples did NOT eat Jesus at the Last Supper and NO, the wine did not come from a box with a spout like your mom drinks. (I hope they drank really good stuff like Morelino sangiovese or perhaps Turning Leaf Merlot if they were on a budget. I’m quite sure it was a red wine. It’d be difficult to represent Jesus’ blood with a dry chardonnay.)

After ten minutes of going back and forth with Brandon, trying to convince him that the bread and wine represent Jesus’ body and it’s actually a beautiful and holy act when we take communion, recognizing his ultimate act of sacrifice for our redemption, I read Mark 14:22-26 from the Bible and tried to explain more. Brandon simply laughed and said “I want to eat his arm!”

At that, I nearly sacrificed Brandon, ripping his holy arm out of the socket, (almost), muttering a Hail Mary under my breath, though I’m not Catholic and saying “let’s go find your mom RIGHT NOW! God is watching and he’s NOT happy. In fact, he’s going to tell the Easter Bunny about your lack of respect.”

Later that night, after finally getting Andrew and Jack to come down from their Cadbury chocolate egg sugar highs and go to bed, I needed to de-stress. A long, hot bath would do the trick. Our home’s previous owner seemed to have a thing for jugs, jars, vases, decorative containers not including Tupperware. She had pictures of them sketched across the master bathroom walls. Not wanting to depart from the theme, I added a couple of prints (from Big Lots, of course) depicting ancient jugs and wine bottles. As I lay in the bath, having the ultimate Calgon moment, staring up at all the jugs, I was reminded of the wine that Jesus served his disciples at the Last Supper. I wondered if his jug looked anything like the ones on my walls.

I visualized Jesus breaking the bread and pouring wine into cups, ceremoniously, methodically. This act that was lost on some of his disciples would become a cornerstone ritual of our faith, demonstrating our acceptance of his death for our sins. Lost in the moment, I gazed absently at one of the Big Lots prints, two alabaster jugs, one tall, one short, with a large bulb of elephant garlic strategically placed between them. Then a strange thought occurred. I’m so glad that Jesus broke bread to represent his body, rather than a bulb of garlic. Can you imagine having to eat a malodorous garlic clove at every communion? I’d hope the church would pass out Altoids afterward, or at least serve it as garlic bread or garlic fries. Imagine how terrible priests and members of the Disciples of Christ denomination would smell. Single members would never find a date outside the church. Perhaps people with severe garlic breath would be assumed to have very strong spirituality.

On Easter Sunday and whenever you take communion, as you prepare to eat the morsel of bread or wafer, remember to be grateful. Not only for Jesus’ body which is broken for you, but also for the fact that it’s bread and not garlic, or rutabagas, okra, or bok choy. If it were, though, I’d learn to hold my nose and be grateful it wasn’t arsenic. See, there’s always a bright side.

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Mommy Madness: Resisting the Urge to Make Goodie Bags

It’s the Tuesday before Valentines Day. I’ve just come home from Wal-Mart with groceries for the week, including some fun stuff like Caladium bulbs for the front yard and Penguins of Madagascar Valentine cards for Andrew and Jack to give to their classmates on Friday. After the impromptu wrestling match that ensued last year at CVS because Andrew wanted to buy Clone Wars Valentines, while more sensitive, traditional Jack, wanted puppy/kitten cards, I went shopping alone. Although gossip has died down, people occasionally ask if the Weight kids are still banned from the CVS on Hillcrest. What does it matter, really? RiteAid has more attractive prescription labels, and their staff is less judgmental.

Click here to download my book, Just Kidding (not really) to read the rest of this and 60 other funny essays about life, marriage, kids and being neurotic. 

Posted in goodie bags, Valentines Day | 4 Comments