Friday, December 31, 2010

Mad Math Skills

Moose is, as previously stated, very bright. His verbal skills are exceptional. His math skills? Not so much. I may have discovered why.

Juls and I have been doing WeightWatchers for a few months now. WW used points to keep track of how much food you are eating. For years, the points were arrived at by counting calories, fiber, and fat. Recently, they changed the system. Now, you count fat, fiber, carbs and protein.

I did not have much difficulty switching over and continued to lose weight, at least until I jumped off the wagon this past week and landed, face first, mouth open, into every bakery I passed. Juls had a little more difficulty. She hated the new system and could not make it work for her.

While road-tripping this past week, I discovered why. We stopped to get gas and, needless to say, picked up the breakfast of champions - chips and caffeine. She popped open the app on her IPhone, plugged in her points, and started complaining that a serving, one of four in the bag, was 43 points! This is more than her daily allowance!

I asked her to do it again, because that could not be right. She did so and came up with the same answer. I asked her to do it out loud and she did. 160 calories, etc. Did you know that if you plug 160 into the category that is looking for grams of fat, your answer will be wrong?

Why yes, yes it will. Juls had been entering calories instead of fat grams since the program changed. I am sure she will have better results now that she doesn't look at the points and say, "the heck with it, there's no way, I'll just eat whatever the heck I want, this doesn't work!"

Mad math skills, Juls!

...and yes, I had her permission to tell this story.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Mad Math Skills, continued

I was reminded of this stunning example of modern-day math by a comment Juls made on my previous post. Do you need more proof of her math skills? OK.

Juls bought 48 tiny liquor filled chocolate candies as stocking stuffers. She got them home, looked at the stockings hung on the wall with care and counted 7. She was trying to divide 7 into 48 when she realized that the dogs do not get chocolate. Chocolate is not good for dogs.

Down to five stockings, she realized that she needed to get rid of 3 of the candies, so she ate them. Then she realized that Moose does not get alcohol. Alcohol is not good for mooses.

Now, with 45 candies left, she knew that she had to divide the total by 4. Quickly doing the math in her head, she arrived at 10 each for a total of 40. She proceeded to eat the 5 extra candies.

5? Isn't that more than 4? Oh, well. 8 candies eaten and we all got 10 each. A lovely treat for all of us and an exceptional treat for one! Merry Christmas, Juls!

Christmas 2010

We got back from picking up Moose Wednesday night, the 29th of December. Juls had to work dayshift on Thursday so, shortly after 4:00, we descended upon her house to celebrate Christmas - finally!

Thanks to Moose, we had what was probably one of the nicest, most relaxed, friendliest, non-stressed Christmasses in a long time. Why? He wanted beef stew for dinner. What a brilliant child! Rusty set up the table while Juls was at work.

This is the face of a child who just opened the perfect surprise gift. He had wanted, at a gun show, to buy a statue of a wolf. He was devestated when someone else bought it and it was gone.

His mom was the someone else!

Shorty got a really cool Harley memorabilia thing from Stella and Mariah (the bike that was and the trike that is). Seriously, if you spend enough at the Harley store, they will give you things!

This is out of sequence, but we did finish up, as always, with Baby Jesus' birthday cake, this year, since I just found out that my daughter doesn't like the traditional red velvet cake, with a PanDoro. It was so good we sent the leftovers to the neighbors' immediately.

Juls found the perfect Rusty gift at the dime store in Fredericksburg! She had broken the lid to his favorite pyrex casserole dish and had despaired of finding a replacement. She did and, to judge by reactions, it was a hit!

Another view of the Harley thingie.

I spoiled myself this year and got 3 books, all by an excellent author! Just kidding, sort of. I had my blog for the last 3 years bound and published. Juls and Moose and I had a great time looking back at the pictures and re-reading the stories. I think the dedication says it all - "For my family - those who know me now and those who will know me later".

By far, not the best present Juls got, but I just love her smile in this picture.

This is mine. Moose bought it for me on the way home from San Antonio, so it is not just a Christmas gift but also a souvenir. Thanks, Bubba.

We had a wonderful day and actually enjoyed each others' company. I hope your Christmas was also what you wanted it to be.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Road Trip (part two)

We made it safely to San Antonio with Juls driving the BIG blue pickup. She has been toying in her head with buying either a Ford Excursion (biggest vehicle on the road) or a Chevy Avalanche. She got in the Avalanche at the motel, put it in reverse, backed up and said, before she ever left the parking lot, "I may have to buy the Excursion. This is a little too big, I think."

Umm, Juls? The Excursion is bigger...remember? Biggest vehicle on the road? Oh yeah. Well, now we know where Moose gets his math skills.

Anyway, we left San Antonio and decided, rather than going home the way we usually do, to let OnStar have it's way with us. Interesting route, but it did get us home. On the way, we passed this Ford dealership with the Meineke man. Once upon a time, Meineke Muffler used this tall guy in front of their stores. As this ad campaign fell by the wayside, the guys were repurposed. The Meineke men are not to be confused with the Paul Bunyans and other tall guys around the country. A Meineke man has his hands positionally opposed, as they once held a muffler. This is how you can spot a true Meineke guy.

Also along the way, we passed this grove of trees. Moose and I thought that the one wayward branch (and yes, I should have cropped this better) looked like a brontosaurus head or maybe Nessie rearing her lovely head. I'm not sure why she would be in the hill country of Texas except that it's a very friendly place to be.

One of the great things about letting OnStar have it's way with us is that it took us to Junction, TX. When Shorty and I were driving truck, we used to hurry (always doing the legal speed limit, of course) to get to Junction before this restaurant ran out of barbecue. In all honesty, Cooper's was the 2nd choice this time, with 1st choice being the restaurant on the south side of the highway. Moose was in need of "'murican'" food and we were gonna have a great hamburger, but the restaurant was closed for the holiday until January 3rd. I personally was pleased because, while you can get great burgers all over the country, great barbecue is harder to find. Moose had ribs and his mama and I had brisket. It was GOOD!

Leaving Junction, we headed north and came home. Courtesy of OnStar, I was actually on roads that I had never, in 14 years of driving truck, seen. It was a great trip and the best part? Getting Moose back, of course.

Road Trip (part one)

Juls and I road-tripped to San Antonio to pick up Moose. We left Tuesday morning after I got off work and went as far as Abilene. I reserved a room at the Best Western in Abilene, requesting a handicapped room. I do this all the time for several reasons. First, most handicapped rooms are on the ground floor. Second, as a middle-aged, overweight, bad-kneed woman, I find the grab rails handy.

When we checked in, the very nice receptionist asked if it was just the two of us and if I was aware that I had reserved a handicapped room. In my very best "I'm not stupid" voice, I assured her that I had done it deliberately and that if she did not need the room for someone else, I would be very pleased to just check in.

We did. We went to our room and immediately started laughing. This room has evidently been retrofitted for someone not just handicapped (or old and fat) but wheelchair-ridden. The last time that I saw toilets and sinks this close to the floor was in the kindergarten restroom at our local grade school!

It seemed a shame that we did not intend to drink as we could have rolled off of the beds and not injured ourselves!

Last but not least were the chairs; the very low, little chairs especially when seen next to the average size table!

I will be more careful and ask more questions the next time that I reserve a room. I would still like the grab rails but I would also like for my knees to not be even with or above my chin when I am seated!

We still had a great time. We had dinner at Johnny Carino's, shopped a little, slept fairly well and were on the road again by 6:30 a.m., still laughing about the "midget room".

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Unexpected Gifts

Today, unexpectedly, my daughter received a letter and pictures from her daughter and her daughter's adoptive family. Joy!

My daughter's daughter looks a lot like my daughter. This pleases both of us. This is the first time Juls has heard from the family since she moved to Texas from San Diego. I asked her how they knew how to find her after all this time.

She has been sending Christmas cards yearly along with pictures of the Moose. This is the first year they wrote back. God bless them.

This got me to thinking. As most of the people reading this blog know, my mother and I have been estranged for a number of years. The first year, I sent a Christmas card and she sent it back. My heart broke.

Every year since, I have sent a Christmas card. I have not put a return address on the card. This way, I do not have to know what she does with them. I can believe that she opens them and knows that I love her and, if she throws them in the fire unopened, I can believe that she opens them and knows that I love her.

My daughter knows that I do this with her grandma's Christmas card. My daughter, who has a good relationship with her grandma, has told me that Mom opens them and reads them. This makes me happy and also very glad that I continued to send them.

So, if you throw communciations out to your loved ones and do not receive a response, do not stop sending them. It's sort of like giving a gift. All you can do is send it. What the recipient does with it is up to them.

And sometimes, it's spectacular.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

The Beginnings of Tradition

Earlier today, I was wrapping Christmas gifts and Shorty was just hanging out. He does NOT enjoy the wrapping! It will come as no surprise that I was wrapping books. We were discussing the fact that this is one of the very best traditions that I ever started.

Suddenly, I realized that it is not my tradition.

It is my godmother's.

When I was growing up, we got clothes for Christmas. We got new school shoes, Church clothes, underwear, jammies, and usually slippers. We got one toy, usually from Santa.

I also got, for several years that I remember, a hardback book from my godmother. She bought me the Newberry Award winner for the year. This is where I got my Marguerite Henry books. My favorite was "King of the Wind" about the Godolphin Arabian. I loved this book. I read it and reread it and reread it.

So, thank you, DeeDee. Thanks from me as a child and thanks from me as an adult. Thanks from my kids and my grandkids and hopefully their kids and grandkids.

Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 3, 2010

The Joy of Giving

I have noticed more than one of my friends agonizing about the "perfect gift". They worry about what the recipient likes, what the recipient wants, what size the recipient is, what to do if the recipient doesn't like the gift, etc., etc., etc.

I am going to share with you the very best gift-giving lesson I ever learned. Ready?

Here it is:


I give books. I have been told by more than one person that not everyone likes books. I know this. I have 17 grandchildren. I know this. I also know, that some dreary afternoon when all of the batteries have died on all of the remote controlled toys and the kids have been grounded from the television, someone will remember the books. Then, when you least expect it, a grandson will call and say something on the order of "Gram? You know that "Treasure Island" book? It's pretty good."

Angels will sing.

And if this never happens? Oh, well.

I have given a gift from my heart. I have shared a childhood memory. I have given love encased in covers.

This is all that matters.


Merry Christmas.
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