Army of Mom

So this is how liberty dies ... with thunderous applause.



Remember the SNL skit about Clucky's chicken? The TV ad was the chicken with its head cut off and the chicken declaring "I taste good!"

Anyway. Just thought of that. Saturday night, we ran by my folks' house and my son was playing with his Papa's chickens. He loves those chickens. My dad has one hen that wants to sit on her eggs, despite having no rooster to help her make chicks. My mom, here, is feeling sorry for her while my dad is laughing at the stupid hen. She kept fluffing up her feathers when Pickle went near her. Bless her heart.

I crack up at the happy look on his face.

He is such a sweet boy. Pretty chicken, too.

Then, cute boy goes goofy on me and starts imitating the fluffy, clucking chicken.

Too funny.

Live long and prosper

Well, we survived the Sci Fi-Comic Book Convention Saturday. We each had our brush with greatness. Pickle's was with his favorite graphic novel creator, Ben Dunn. He wrote a letter to Mr. Dunn with some story ideas and drew some of his characters for him. Mr. Dunn was so impressed with him that he gave him some books and drew him a picture. This was too funny, he was trying to make the "Live Long and Prosper" hand gesture and having some difficulty doing it.

Then, he got it and had a good laugh.

The event wasn't as crowded as previous shows, I didn't think. It had a different feel to it, but it was still a blast.

Sarah Douglas aka Ursa from Superman.

John Wesley Shipp, aka The Flash. He had a really long line.

Cute little supergirl and wonder girl.

Dwight Schultz aka Lt. Reginald Barclay from ST:TNG and A-Team. He said "excuse me" and touched me on the back as he was going to get his lunch. I had to giggle that he touched me. I'm such a dork.

Michael Gross from Family Ties and Tremors. I never saw a line at his table, so he looked pretty bored most of the time, like this shot. I felt sort of bad for him.

Gates McFadden is still pretty. I never saw Denise Crosby, who was supposed to be there. I missed my shot to get a picture of The Punisher guy, too.

Doug Jones, some dude from Hellboy and some fan.

Karen Allen from Raiders of the Lost Ark, Starman, Animal House and Scrooged. She seemed like she was genuinely having fun.

No one has ever looked so happy to be slaughtered by a klingon warrior.

We are a bit of a collage of things. I call this Ensign Naruto Morgan. He is the ST:TNG guy, Naruto from the comic book/cartoon fame and then he has "a little Captain" in him.

Hey, it's me and Alan Ruck (Cameron from Ferris Bueller fame and Spin City, too). I was starstruck. It as bad. I just kept thinking "Hey batter, batta batta, sah-wing batter! He can't hit, he can't hit, sah-wing batter!" It was great. He was very nice, too. I got a lot of comments about the Supermom shirt, too.

My son, of course, can't just meet Jeremy Bulloch and tell him how much he loves Boba Fett. No, no. My son has to tell him how I'm the big Star Trek fan and HE is the big Star Wars fan.

So, he asks Mr. Bulloch if he can take his picture with him. He says, "Absolutely, but no Star Trek fans allowed!" He was very funny. He personalized his autograph to Pickle with "you're cool!" That made his day! The man was very very nice, too.

He ran into a faux Boba Fett on the way out to our car. And, yes, we did a costume change at the midway point out Saturday. I had a phone interview to do for my homeland security story, so we went to the car where I could work on my new laptop *yes, I love it - big kisses to AoD* and he changed out of his Star Trek gear and into his Star Wars shirt. We couldn't lose the Naruto headband. Some comic book artist asked Pickle to trade hats with him. Pickle said no, so the guy said "Well, when I want to wear a kitchen magnet on my head, I'll get back with you!" I laughed hysterically. The humor went over Pickle's head.

There is going to be a big Star Wars fan day in July. I'm trying to make sure we're back from our Minnesota trip in time to take Pickle. Darth Vader is going to be there, so he is stoked.

United 93

Army of Dad and I went to see United 93 last night. I wish I could remember everything to give you a blow by blow account of the movie, my feelings and the atmosphere.

Suffice it to say that the emotions were overwhelming.

We went to the 10:20 p.m. Saturday night show. I was pleasantly surprised at the 75 percent full theater and the largely college age crowd. We arrived early because we weren’t sure if the theater would sell out or not and we wanted good seats. I was reading a magazine and watching the Behind the Scenes movie clips (I like this new feature at the Cinemark) and people-watching. AoD was playing video games.

In walks three 20-something Middle Eastern guys. My first instinct was “Wow, these guys want to see the movie. They must be brave.” Then, the hair on my arms sort of stood on end and I wondered, or is that why they’re here? Are we going to be one of the places where they stand up and scream something in Arabic and try to kill us all? Are they going to try and disrupt the movie?

I text messaged AoD about their arrival. Ironically, he thought I was texting him that the movie was starting and that was the movement on the big screen. He came in and realized what I meant, scanned the theater and spotted them.

I found myself caught between feeling cautious and on guard or feeling like a shithead for being suspicious of what could be some very nice hard-working students.

Then, the lights went down. After a few previews, the movie starts very unceremoniously as we watch the terrorists starting their day with prayers and getting ready for their suicide/murderous mission.

I felt my heart start to beat faster. My stomach began to churn. The anxiety in my chest got tighter. I found it harder to breathe. I reached in my purse and grabbed a tissue in anticipation of what was coming.

We see them – and the passengers and crew of United 93 – go through their routine of getting ready for a flight. All the “what if’s” running through my head. What if this had happened? What if that happened?

The movie is shot in real time of the events that unfolded that day. Funny, because it seemed like it all happened much faster in my recollections of that day, but when I think back, I know it wasn’t as quick moving as I thought. I still have memories of Sept. 11 burned into my memory.

As things progress for about 15 minutes, the sick feeling in my stomach isn’t going away and I was afraid I’d throw up. So, I left and dry heaved in the bathroom for a minute or two, splashed cold water on my face and returned. The gag reflex was still strong for about 30 more minutes before it finally settled. Then, the anxiety moved in. It was getting harder to breathe.

The movie is shot largely with a hand-held camera. You don’t get to know anyone personally. It is very much as if you’re on the flight with them. Think about the last time you flew. You overhear snippets of conversations – the business man telling his office what needs to get done; a husband and wife planning their events upon landing; someone calling a lover; the crew meeting each other or complaining about their schedule. And, you know no one’s names.

You never feel emotionally involved with these people, yet you do – mostly because you know what is going to happen. You hear the pilots talking – one about an anniversary trip with his wife and the other about his 11-month-old baby. So, no, I don’t get inside a character, but I felt the pain of those who loved them. Because I knew what was going to happen. It was like watching a horror movie and wanting to tell the teenaged girl not to open the door. I wanted to scream at the screen “NO NO NO. Don’t let them on. Can’t you tell what they’re going to do?” I felt that feeling the whole time.

I was amazed to watch things unfold in real time – they showed us not only the flight, but the air traffic controllers in several cities where the action unfolded. They showed us the military. They showed the lack of communication and chain of command and why this tragedy was able to be accomplished because we let our guard down.

So many thoughts running through my head. I’m actually writing a story now for a homeland security magazine on the state of our first responders (cops, firefighters, EMTs, etc) and thoughts about what the experts were telling me went through my head. I had an aha moment. This movie and the action – and lack of it – made a lot of what they were telling me make more sense. (on a side note, I spoke with an NYPD senior cop Saturday afternoon who told me that he felt the NYPD was completely prepared for anything thrown at them. Other officials were not so sure about the rest of the country.)

As the flights were grounded in the movie, I instantly remembered what I felt like that day as the flights were grounded. My sister-in-law and her new husband were on their honeymoon in Hawaii. I guess there are worst places to get stuck, but it was scary. They had planned a trip to Pearl Harbor on the 11th. It was closed because of the attacks and they didn’t get to go. My parents were on the East Coast on vacation. I remember driving down the road, praying that they were ok and sobbed big heart-wrenching cries as I drove down the road – terrified that they were on a flight that was going to be highjacked, too, before flights were stopped. I was never so grateful for air traffic to sit still. Then, I got a phone call from my dad. They were fine. They were planning on flying back the next day, but they were going to try and rent a car to drive home. It took them a few days, but I was so glad to hear from them. I had to pull over because I couldn’t safely drive anymore. Then, the guilt hit me like a ton of bricks. My family was ok. There were thousands whose weren’t.

As the action in the movie went on, I felt so many emotions. I alternated between crying softly to shaking to being so mad that my tissue was almost decimated. I was mad at these awful men who hate us so much. I was mad at them for hardening my otherwise soft heart.

I watched the screen as the passengers killed the terrorists with their bare hands. I cried and was sad because I feel like the terrorists took away some of the softness that makes me a tenderhearted person. I can’t watch Ultimate Fight Challenge with AoD because it hurts me and upsets me to watch these men beat each other up. Yet, here I was watching the passengers beat the snot out of these men. At one point, one terrorist’s neck was snapped. I was happy to see it happen. That makes me miserable. Then, the plane crashes and there is nothing.

The movie has some additional information at the end that runs before the credentials, but it was amazing – as the people left the theater, no one said a word. Not a single word was uttered. We stayed until the very end. Reading the credits, some of the air traffic controllers and military people in the movie portrayed themselves. That was interesting.

When we finally cleared out, after stopping by the restrooms, there was a group of about nine Middle Eastern men – among them, the three I saw in our movie – standing outside the exit talking in Arabic. That seemed odd to me. I just wondered if there were ulterior motives there as I was thinking back to the Muslim organization who was trying to see how hassled they could be at Nascar races. I certainly hope that wasn’t the case, but I sure have my suspicions. From what I saw, no one looked at them twice.

Regardless, great movie. I highly recommend it. It was rated R probably for the violence and content, some language. I wouldn't take a kid younger than 14 or so to see it and at that, it depends on the kid. My kids won't see this for a while. I saw no political undertones to the picture and that was appreciated. You can judge it for what it was - an eye-opening experience for the US.


Its coming right for us

We had a party last night with the children. It wasn't planned, but they had a ball.

Somewhere around 10ish I'm goofing off on the computer, watching the Stars game when I get a text message from LabKat asking me if I knew about the tornado warning in my city.

Nope, not a clue. I was blissfully unaware. So, I wake up Army of Dad who was snoozing in the recliner and we went into storm mode.

Immediately, we got the TV switched over to the news and went upstairs to bring the children down. The storm was headed straight for us. So, we get the kids down and start clearing junk out of the pantry. We have a system for what we need and where we put everything, so we went to work.

A few minutes later, we heard the siren. So, off we go to shove the children in our pantry - it is our only safe room as our bathroom tub is on an outer wall by a window. So, we're all five crammed into this tiny pantry listening to the local radio station describing how the storm was a half-mile from our house. About this time, we're hearing the worst of it blow over us. My brave husband wanted to go look, but I *uncharacteristically* put MY foot down that he wasn't leaving. So, we had juiceboxes and chese nips and hung out and giggled.

After the radio guys described the storm being a few miles past us, AoD got up to check things out. Then, we were freed from the confines of sitting on top of each other. But, by this point, the kids were all awake.

So, the little ones are playing life cycle of the caterpillar/butterfly. They are busting out of their cocoons and flittering off like butterflies. So, we made popcorn and watched the storms move through via the Stormwatchers and TV news. We made fun of the local talking heads trying to ad lib. It is always good or a laugh.

Happily, we're safe and sound. I saw a few little branches down in the yard, but nothing signficant. I like to think we're pretty blessed that the tornados always sweep past us.

Off to get ready for dorkfest. Hooray!!


More Easter pics

I'm finally getting around to posting Uzz's photos of Pickle's confirmation. It is not too bad to have a professional photographer for an ex-husband.

Candlelight is the best kind of light for me, I think. Yeah, look, not too bad.

A very nervous little boy. At least I didn't make him wear a suit. Of course, I didn't want to buy a suit.

His sponsor was very sweet and supportive.

I like Father John. He is very sweet. That little altar server is a doll, isn't she?

Getting the oil on his head. Just what every pre-teen boy need, some more grease on his face.

And, getting a hug.

With his grandmothers. My mom on the left and Uzz's mom on the right.

And, lastly with mom and her sunburned arms. I was so mad at myself for letting that happen. Then, the Target giftcard - quite the nice touch. Nothing says Congratulations for becoming a part of God's family like cash and gift cards. :) The kid loved them.

Ahoy Matey, I see some booty!

My daughter was invited to a pirate party last weekend. Arrrr. She had a great time. They went on a treasure hunt around the complex, stopping to feed the fish and turtles. Then, they returned to hunt the treasure in the sandbox. Great fun was had by all.

Pirate mom was very creative and made this treasture chest cake. Is that cool, or what?

I felt sort of bad for the host family - obviously Jewish from the religious artifacts on the shelves and all the preschool moms are talking about Easter and Jesus and saying prayers. I'm thinking of how I could be PC and salvage things. I just decided to be quiet. It is sort of hard to work Passover into an Easter conversation. So, I started asking the mom about the cake. That seemed to work.

The little pirate in the white shirt with his homemade hook and a much too big hat was the birthday boy. The little girl behind Littel Bit in the big pirate hat is the birthday boy's aunt. Yeah, not lying about that one. Very sweet and smart little girl. She was adopted by the bday boy's grandparents when she was 6 weeks old. Here they are headed for the pond to walk the plank.

Here, they're getting bread to feed the turtles and fish.

As the kids were hunting treasure, I asked them if they knew what pirates called their gold coins. Birthday boy's sharp little aunt said she wanted to know.

AoM:They called it booty.
4-year-old aunt: EWWWWW!!!!!

That, alone, would have made the party worthwhile. Little Bit keeps asking me when she can go back to another pirate party.

Someone put me out of my misery

I'm PMSing and bitchy *no comments from the peanut gallery about how you can't tell the difference* but I want to gouge out my eardrums.

My back is to the TV, but my husband *God bless him* is watching Modern Marvels. Swear to God they are talking about the history of paint. Now, I like the discussion about the paintings, but they can't leave it at that. They have to go into all the crap about industry and chemistry and crap I don't care about.

Here's the summary: From the Impressionist canvas to the Space Shuttle...from customized hotrods to the brilliant orange hue of the Golden Gate Bridge or tiny electronic devices--paint is one of our most ubiquitous products. And paint adds more than just pigmentation. It's a crucial engineering element, protecting ships from water corrosion, stovetops from heat, and the Stealth Bomber from radar detection. In homes and businesses, it provides a balanced spectrum of light and protects surfaces from wear. In this colorful hour, we discover how this marvel of chemistry and engineering is made, and how it is applied. Come see what's beneath the surface as we reveal one of man's most ingenious methods of defeating the elements and adding spice to life!

I wonder if I could cancel the History Channel and replace it was something like the Oxygen network. That would serve him right. Of course I can never get the remote long enough to turn the channel.

Is it just me?

Or does anyone else see the resemblance? He used to carry around a black Beanie Baby labrador retriever he named 99. That dog went everywhere with him from about age 3 to 5 before he finally abandoned it.


It's going to be a good day

I woke up early with a book idea in my head and went straight to the computer to outline it and write out my characters before I forgot it all.

Then, I flipped over my Lord of the Rings a day calendar and there is Pippin *stars in my eyes* and Merry.

It is Friday.

I'm on target to meet my deadlines and finished up the last minute project and even earned a bonus on it.

I'm going to geekfest tomorrow AND do some bonding with Pickle.

Stinkerbelle and I are going to my satellite office (Chick Fil A) shortly. Now, with my new laptop, I can write while she plays. This rocks. I love Army of Dad for insisting I finally get a laptop.

It is going to be a good day.

Could it be?

On the dawn of my dorkfest, a new Star Trek Movie is in the works.

There is a God. Hopefully, in this one, there will be no flying Data to save the day. Now, that was stupid and I love Data.

Beautiful scenery

Accompanied my son on a field trip to UNT's Elm Fork Education Center and he had a ball. The kids loved the turtles in one of the ponds. I thought the water lily was gorgeous.

But, very little is as beautiful as my son.

Must be in the genes. :)

SPF: It's all how you look at it

Ok, this week's Stuff Portrait Friday assignment: It's all how you look at it.

1. Something Big
2. Something Small
3. Half of Something

Remember, PERSPECTIVE. It may be small to you, but get on the floor and take the picture and see how big it looks. GET CREATIVE!! Think outside the box. Half of something can be taken ANY way. Actually, all of these can be taken any way you want.

This one is hard to tell, but it is a GIANT pint, yes, you read that right, pint, of cough medicine. The pediatrician called it out for the boys to share. This is only HALF of the Rx, too.

something small is a pine cone in my garden

And, the half is one I took last summer of Hot Rod at Terminal D in DFW Airport.

I like these. Go see how everyone else did at Random and Odd.


The Official 2006 NFL Draft Drinking Game

Sent to me by a friend, this looks fun. The draft is Saturday, in case you're curious. Not sure where this came from other than my inbox:

Stephen Benefield of Birmingham, Ala., sends us a helpful NFL Draft Drinking Game that should pretty much wipe you out by the time the Buzzsaw picks at No. 10. A highlight:

Your official 2006 rules
-If someone says:
“National Football League” instead of NFL - 1 drink
“Upside” - 1 drink
“Motor is always running” - 1 drink
“Intangible” - 1 drink
“Work ethic” - 1 drink
“Good/bad character guy” - 1 drink
“War room” - 1 drink

-If the following topics are brought up:
The subject of Brett Favre - 2 drinks
Favre loving the game - 5 drinks
If Favre says he loves the game - 10 drinks
How will Parcells and TO get along - 2 drinks
Comparisons of Reggie Bush to Gale Sayers - 1 drink
New Orleans disaster references - 1 drink

-ESPN-ization of the world:
Monday Night Football on ESPN promos/references - 2 drinks
ESPN Mobile - 2 drinks

-Oh, those wacky ESPN personalities:
Berman flubs line - 2 drinks
Irvin says something that no one in our group can understand - 2 drinks
Irvin defends the un-defendable - 2 drinks
Kiper has in-depth analysis of some Division 1-AA level player or lower - 3 drinks
Salisbury & Clayton staged argument - 5 drinks
Tom Jackson & Michael Irvin both wear conservative suits - Head to liquor store, all must drink a 5th of vodka.

-Wild Card:
Cutler went to Vandy, so he’s smart - 1 drink
Draft pick gives interview. 1 drink for every grammatical error.
Draft pick far too underdressed - 2 drinks
Camera shot of last undrafted, languishing pick - 3 drinks
A happy posse celebrating - 5 drinks
Vikings miss allotted time to make pick - 10 drinks (sorry AoD)
If Cutler is 1st or 2nd QB taken - drown it
Brodie Croyle taken in the 1st!!!!!!!! - drown it
Marcus Vick does something illegal on draft day - drown it

I usually ignore the draft, but maybe AoD and I can get a buzz on and then get something else on that night. :)

MVP Game Ball

What form? What grace? He's a slugger in training. He loves baseball, too.
Loved this post-game shot. Kid with the open mouth was trying to toss cookies in the air and catch them in his mouth. Ok, these kids (for the most part) can't stop a baseball barely rolling along with a glove and a bare hand, yet this guy thinks he can catch a tiny little cookie in a little bitty mouth? Yeah, son, keep on working at it.

It was Hot Rod's turn to get the gameball. He played well that night, even better last Saturday. He made all three put-outs in one inning! This, in a league where we rarely get three outs. We usually have the five-run rule apply before we switch sides.

Look Ma! He was very proud of himself. So, was his dad, look at that grin!

Wow, I have some cute boys in my home. Throw in Pickle and we'll have girls lined up out the door.

I go walking after midnight

Who doesn't like Patsy Cline? I mean, really? I can remember going for walks with my best friend in junior high and us singing Patsy Cline songs. I guess that shows the small town upbringing that we weren't singing Michael Jackson or Human League or something. Nope, we're singing Patsy Cline.

But, I digress.

Wednesday evening, Little Bit and I went for a walk. We made a lap and she was pointing out all her favorite things. So, we decided on our second lap to take some pictures of those things. I put a few of my favorites in there, too.

This is in my front garden. See the two iris sprouts? Those are from bulbs given to me by ArmyWifeToddlerMom. There are four I planted there, you can see three of them, I think, in this shot.

Then, the former licker of rocks wanted to take some rock pictures. We have lots of sandstone in Texas and it is one of her favorites.

and, at another neighbor's home:

Both shot by Little Bit, age 3.

She took another great one of our shadows. I was helping her hold the camera while she was sitting in the stroller. I love this pic.

We were shooting the pinwheel in the yard.

Then, there was the big haired Realtor sign in a yard.

And, lastly, little feet. I was going to just put her in her socks, but thought she should have some shoes on just in case something happened and she needed to walk. Grabbed the sandals. She took this picture, too.

I was going to shoot the Mormon missionaries. Wait, that sounded bad. Not shoot like bang, but shoot their photo. But, it was too obvious. Then, they gave me a tract for a free DVD. Army of Dad always said I was much too nice to them. I'm that nice Catholic lady who gives them bottles of water when they come to the house. Then, I show them my crucifix on the wall and they run. I usually direct them to a neighbor I don't like and mention that the person was telling me how intrigued he/she was with the Mormon faith. That usually does the trick.

I think these walks may have to become more regular. That was fun.