Friday, October 31, 2008


Sitting here waiting for Trick or Treaters (apparently we don't get as many here in The Barrio as we did in Wylie) I may as well play on the computer and catch up on all the bills that went unpaid/email that went unread during Book Fair this week.

Since you probably don't want to share in the pain of my bills, I'll share in the JOY and HOPE of my Google Reader instead. Back in June, I linked to the church in Amarillo who posted their cardboard testimonies. Well, now Southern Hills has posted theirs...and Tammy Marcelain, the photographer who snapped the picture of us at the Same Kind of Different as Me event, shared this news on her family's cardboard testimony: after chemo and gamma knife radiation, her son has been healed of his brain tumor. (Tammy's family is the second on stage...and Jack holds the cardboard.)

I wish I could have been there to share in the laughter, tears, and applause. Many of us have been following Jack's progress for a when he was Pilot for a Day on Team Dyess. Or when he was in the paper. Tammy's post about the experience is here.

Here's wishing Jack a long and happy life! May God bless him always...

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Checking in.

Well, Book Fair is rolling like a freight train, and Kirsten and I are pacing ourselves to last all week. She had an especially rough day yesterday because her alarm went off at 3:30 a.m., and she didn't realize it until an hour later, after breakfast! We both went home pooped, but I had enough energy to go back to school to watch Molly's team WIN her volleyball game.

Karen and the kids were shocked when I went to bed last night at 7:45 instead of the usual 8:45. They think I'm crazy for turning in so early every night and getting up so early every morning; I think they're crazy for not enjoying all the rituals of bedtime...snapping on the tv while I pick out tomorrow's clothes, flossing, brushing May Bee's teeth (and mine, too!), slipping into snuggly pajamas, and enjoying some Serious Book Time as the stress and frenzy of the day slips away.

Side note...I don't remember when I started reading the blog of an Austin mom; it's been in my Google Reader for ages. The blog name "One Block from Jollyville," is appealing because one time I stayed in a motel "one-HALF block from Jollyville" in Austin and learned that Jollyville was a fast way to get where I wanted to go without getting on the highway. The Indian restaurant, the grocery store, the back entrance to Dunk'n Donuts, the gas station, the post office...just so handy and pretty, too.

Recently, this mom posted a blog that really caught my attention. She summed up how a lot of us feel; we like and respect Senator Obama, but we also feel passionately that abortion ends the life of a baby. Not an animal, not a fish, not a group of platelets...but a baby. (The scene in Juno when the young lady decides not to go through with an abortion after learning her fetus has fingernails moved me. When I had an unplanned pregnancy as a 19 year-old college freshman, abortion would have been an easy easy option we NEVER considered.)

So get out there and VOTE, no matter which candidate you support. CNN reports that early voting is at an all-time high, and there's already long lines at early voting locations. (Karen waited for nearly 45 minutes before giving up on Hastings.) It's estimated that A QUARTER of Florida voters will vote early! (There are at least TWO punch lines to that prediction; can you think of more?)

Friday, October 24, 2008

Have you heard it?

If you didn't get a chance to attend Prairie Home Companion's live taping IN ABILENE, you can hear it here.

Oh, and May Bee, the girls, and I swerved into a gas station yesterday when we saw that gas had dropped to $2.29. (Hard to believe I am excited to pay $2.29, but it's so. $12 is all I had in my purse, but it sure went further than it did last spring...)

The guy on KACU just said it's 35 degrees outside, with patchy frost. Guess I'd better wear a turtleneck under my Madison t-shirt the Book Fair's TEACHER PREVIEW PARTY. Kirsten took before and after pictures of the Book Fair setup yesterday; you can see them here.

Off to Book Fair,

Sunday, October 19, 2008


Reasons to smile this weekend:

*Sharon's barbecue for dinner Friday night.

*When Russell heard that his sister, the boring librarian, was on her way to a party, he told me "to party like it was 1899." (Very funny, Bro!)

*Plum wine and cheesecake (sounds gross together, but it was YUM!) with friends after Sharon's. We blew off the "Bronco Bonco," and just enjoyed yummy food and the company. Anytime with Libby and the girls is like a tonic for the heart.

*Karen and I LOVED this video Kirsten sent Saturday morning:

*Granny Smith apples & a chocolate fountain at Nikki's wedding shower...and Janet LOVED my idea of giving gifts in reusable green bags instead of gift wrap destined for the landfill.

*Prairie Home Companion ROCKED Moody Coliseum! What a delight to attend in person. (I've been listening to this show since Steve Greek lent me cassette tapes a friend made him back in the early '80s.)

*Mowing, edging, and 3 miles in the park with May Bee on Saturday made me sleep like a baby!

*Sarah Palin on SNL!

*The meeting at the church this morning. What a wonderful group...regardless of where we meet. When I think of Hope Church of Christ, I never think of *the building,* anyway...I think of the people who helped me move (TWICE!), the friends who came to our House Blessing, the hands on my back and shoulders as they surrounded me and prayed for my mother, the ladies of all ages who read Prayer:Does It Make a Difference? and The Shack together, and the people who will bring me Communion if I'm ever in the hospital!

Kelli and I are going to do something for Hope's college students during Finals in December. We're on the Care Package committee so feel free to leave suggestions. (We're thinking bags or boxes filled with popcorn, uplifting verses from Scripture, #2 pencils and new pens, tea and/or coffee, notes of encouragement, a can of Red Bull or Diet Rock Star, M&Ms, quarters for laundry, and that sort of thing.) Any other ideas?

*And finally, playing around in led to this gem:

UPDATE: I forgot one! At the "Bronco Bonco" party last Friday night, a terrific local artist and photographer told me that I had beautiful lips. I don't get a lot of compliments these days...come to think of it, I didn't get many when I was married, I just walked on air all weekend.

The artist, a woman named Ruth Jackson, took the most amazing pictures in India; my favorite was a picture of hundreds of widows, in beautiful saris in every color of the rainbow, opening gift bags with Lone Stars and the word "ABILENE" on the front of each present. It was gorgeous, and our state representative ordered TWO prints of that one. Ms. Jackson also took art supplies to an Indian orphanage called Sanctuary Home; Karen and I have been reading the profiles of all the's just one of their touching stories. (My friends Jim & Rita sponsor child 27, Sandyarani.)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Vote like me or unlike me...but just vote WITH me!

This election is so energizing! I usually can't stand politics and even upped my NetFlix subscription in June when I realized this summer and fall were going to be nonstop campaign ads, debates, and political coverage (since we only get the three Big Channels...with the help of *rabbit ears* which won't even work after February).

But I've been pleasantly surprised...I like and respect both candidates and have even managed to keep my eye rolling to a minimum when Joe Biden talks. Or laughs creepily like he did during his last Good Morning America interview. (Seriously...what was up with that? Did you see it? Stay tuned to the end where he unleashes his best Charlton Heston Omega Man jocularity!)

And whether my Catholic brothers and sisters vote for Obama and his Catholic running mate or for McCain and his more conservative pro-life ticket, I'm just thrilled that we're all heading to the polls! (We *are* all heading to the polls, right? Cool.)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Le Gecko est mort. Vive le Gecko.

The gecko who lives in my bathroom is dead. I accidentally stepped on it...and will try to stop shuddering long enough to share the details...

A day or two after we moved into the new house, a gecko charged RIGHT AT ME in the tee-tiny bathroom and made me pee in my pants. It was a disembodied pinkie finger running across the 1950s linoleum! After that, I learned not to wait until the last minute and to turn on the light and tap my foot around a lot to let him know I was coming in. Never a big one for going barefoot (against my dad's rules when we were little growing up in freezing cold New Hampshire!), I haven't gone barefoot EVER since the gecko made his presence known.

I wear shoes in the shower. I keep sandals by my bed for my many nocturnal trips to the bathroom, even though the potty is only five feet from my pillow.

Well, my diligence paid off because on one of last night's sojourns (and there were more than usual, thanks to two glasses of post-wedding rehearsal Lambrusco), I must have stepped on the Restroom Reptile. When I flipped on the light this morning, I was greeted by a flattened lizard whose insides were now on the outside.

Only Falisha, who shares my PHOBIA about lizards and would rather stand in a bucket of bugs than have a lizard on her, will understand the simultaneous (and equal amounts of) disgust and relief that washed over me after the Initial Full-Body Gross-Out.

Bethany, and all other normal family members who have a rational understanding of lizards, will be proud that I overcame my loathing and repulsion to gather the poor wafer-thin creature and its internal organs and give them a watery send-off to Gecko Heaven...and flushed three times, for good measure.

Heading to Red Bud Park, even though I'm sick and can barely swallow,
The Gecko Killer

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Let's talk turkey.

For some reason, Benjamin Franklin keeps coming up at our house. Karen informed me the other day that Franklin was a "polymath," and last night during a trivia game, Houston was asked who invented bifocals.

Today, Anu from A.W.A.D. quoted an article about what happens when the suburbs encroach on the turkey habitat...and how suburbanite McMansion residents would rather see wild turkeys "on platters instead of porches."

The article (Complete with photos! Check it out!) also mentions how crafty they are...and how the "ubiquitous turkeys" never seem to show up on the days the environmental officers try to round them up...which reminded me how Ben Franklin lauded the wild turkey for its resourcefulness and would love to have seen it made our national bird.

Karen and Mom tell hilarious stories about the turkeys Dad used to raise and how one particularly aggressive tom turkey attacked the Asplundh guy (electric company guy?)...well, SOME guy who came onto our property uninvited. The only person that turkey feared was Dad, probably because he knew Dad was armed. Karen and Mom could only get to their cars safely with the help of a HUGE red-and-white-striped golf umbrella they would open and close furiously and repeatedly on the way to and from the house!

Good times, good times. (Glad I was in Texas for the Turkey Trot Days...)

P.S. This article is SERIOUSLY good. You will love it! Here's a snippet of Clara Germani's terrific piece:

Reverie over what Ben Franklin wanted to be the national bird is, in fact, common. James Earl Kennamer, of the National Wild Turkey Federation, says: "A turkey at his magnificent self" - in full iridescent strut and drumming (an explosively loud release of air) - is so surprisingly splendid that even veteran big game hunters are rendered "literally unable to shoot." The birds are also remarkably fast: To capture them with net guns, for example, authorities have to use Howitzer rocket powder rather than gunpowder, which allows them to launch the nets at 450 feet per second.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Tag. I'm IT.

I've been tagged by Misadventures of the Mysterious Uno who left a comment on my posting about Austin...and all things that are good.

Here's the rules for those I'm tagging. Check the list after my 6 THINGS to see if you're it and then:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.

2. Post the rules on your blog.

3. Write six random things about yourself.

4. Tag six-ish people at the end of your post.

5. Let each person know he or she has been tagged.

6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Six random things...hmm, random

1. The word "random" reminds me of a funny scene from Bandits with Cate Blanchett and Billy Bob Thornton. (A GREAT movie, btw; get the DVD so you can watch the extras!)

2. I've never been to Europe--but I'm saving my money for Germany in 2010! (After taking five years of German and winning the German Consulate Award at graduation, it's about dadgum time.)

3. Here's the Fowler coat of arms.

4. I dreamed about Nanny again last night. Everyone who knew her misses her, with the exception of Texas state troopers armed with radar guns. (Here she is with my mom in the 'Fifties...thank you SO much to my cousin Sherilyn for sharing this photo with the world!)

5. I once won "Best Actress" in a tri-state competition at the historic Bucks County Playhouse. It seems pretty silly now, but it was a Big Deal back in the day.

6. I recently bought my first can of WD-40. (I'll bet Dad is beaming. Our dad feels about WD-40 the way the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding feels about Windex!)

Well, now that wasn't so bad. Easy, even!

Tag, you're it...

Life in A-town

The Driskells


Neither here nor there