Monthly Archives: January 2020

Ice Cream Engineering

I was painfully struggling to impersonate a human ball of sweat on the verge of fiery combustion at the gym recently while a friend calmly trotted along on the treadmill next to me. After several minutes, I regained consciousness long enough to realize she was having a lengthy conversation with me. About ice cream. Dairy Queen cones, to be exact. Seriously. While I’m silently paying the penalties of even thinking about foods with caloric density greater than iceberg lettuce, she’s extolling the magnificence of Dairy Queen ice cream cones.

Since finding new friends who are more willing to share my suffering would have to wait until a time after I’d showered, I decided to at least try to be interested. I haven’t actually been to Dairy Queen since about 1999 when I had an unexpected layover of several hours in Eden, Texas to get a flat tire repaired. I’m estimating that nearly half the 2800 population of Eden, Texas was at Dairy Queen that particular day. Since the other half of the population are inmates incarcerated at the Eden Detention Center, that’s an impressive turnout. Unfortunately, the ice cream machine at the Eden Dairy Queen was broken.

Fast forward two decades and my local Dairy Queen is pumping out ice cream cones that, according to my so-called friend, are an architectural feat of wonder created by food service workers with superhuman skills! A mixture of magic, engineering and frozen yumminess that is nearly inconceivable on a cake cone.

She swears her cone was expertly swirled and piled to a height measuring greater than her elbow to fingertip. Then to add an element of blessed miraculousness to it, she had it encased in an envelope of whisper-thin chocolate. She truly had no explanation for this creation. Which, for no other reason than utter respect, she then ate in its entirety. Because of course she did.

Meanwhile, I’ve pulled the emergency stop chord on my treadmill and am standing there dripping and staring with my mouth open in sheer amazement. I took a few polite moments to casually chit-chat a parting then bolted for my car. Unsure whether this woman was spouting incantations of sugared evil or preaching the actual truth, I’ve decided to instigate a thorough personal investigation. If you need me, you know where to find me.

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21 Because I Didn’t Kill Him

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My youngest son just turned 21 this past week. He’s officially and legally an adult because of me. Because I didn’t sell him to a tribe of travelling gypsies when he was a toddler; because I didn’t let that pack of wolves raise him through the early years; because when he was a teenager I’d already missed the point that I could just drop him off at the fire station no questions asked; because he is the child my own parents wished upon me and I already know all his tricks so, yes, he has survived to adulthood. You’re welcome.

Now at last, the child who has, for all these years, driven me to drink is old enough to buy me that drink. Except he’d probably have to borrow a few bucks from me to cover the bar tab but whatever. He is the factual proof of the enduring grace of a merciful God, because without that, I would have probably killed him a long time ago. He has always been that kid who would jump off the roof in Superman pajamas, who never passed up an opportunity to explode something, tested the coverage on my health insurance, and to this day believes that rules are not directives to be followed but dictates to be challenged and broken.

Without this child, I would have undoubtedly and irresponsibly squandered away the money I’ve spent on broken phones, broken bones, broken eye glasses, broken cars and broken windows on ridiculous things like tropical vacations or furniture without broken springs, backs and legs. I would never have developed a close, cooperative relationship (think 12-Step Support Group) with grade school teachers who had to deeply examine their career choice after a year with my son. His third grade teacher never returned to the classroom and his fourth grade teacher has my vote for canonization.

I can only think that 21 years ago I must have prayed for patience, because

God has given me endless opportunity to learn it with this kid – now a young man. And this very impressive young man has also taught me through his example to love abundantly, deeply and with every fiber; to charge forward fearlessly; to show tolerance unquestioningly but to question everything else; and to live life passionately.

It has been an honor and a blessing to be his mom. Happy Birthday, Tom!

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Nearly New Year

It’s cold; it’s dark; and you’re probably still hungover from that New Year’s Eve party. There is absolutely no better time to swear on what’s left of your good name to be a better human. That’s right, children, it’s that magical time to make those resolutions that will carry you at least three or four days into the new year before you completely forget about them. Okay, I’ll start.

I resolve to stop bad-mouthing cilantro. It’s just a helpless weed that can’t help it if it tastes like fermented roadkill. I can be distasteful myself, and that’s on my good days. So, I’m going to ease up on cilantro and accept that it deserves a place on the spice rack just like others that actually taste good and add something to whatever you’re eating.   

This year, I’m going to stop judging people harshly who use a plastic bag to carry their one box of Jell-O Instant Pudding Mix from the store to their car. For all I know, there’s a dark addiction and resulting shame attached to that box of pudding mix. So, hey, I can enable with the best of them. Keep that under wraps, Closet Pudding Eater Person. Besides, it’s not like I know an endanger whale personally who will die with that bag stuck in their stomach.

I’m resolving to at least attempt to understand the attraction to coffee, Disneyworld, “The Bachelorette” tv show, eyelash extensions, car shows, and golf. Because, honestly, up until now, I just don’t get any of it. There must be something to all of them as they seem to be wildly popular.

I resolve to not squeal in delight every single time I see Baby Yoda. I’ll go into the baseball season with my eyes wide open and not be shocked when the Astros break my heart (again). I’m going to embrace cold weather and enjoy wearing five layers of wool clothing. This year, I’ll get a tattoo and wear pajama pants to church. Oh, yes, I will.

… Hahaha yeah right. I’m not going to do any of these things. At all. Ever. Be real. But I will, with great conviction, reduce my single-use plastic consumption; drink more water and waste less of it; and stop blatantly lying that I’ll ever say anything good about cilantro. That’s not happening this year or any year. Happy 2020!


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