Wednesday, December 22, 2010


Last night, Bob and I went out to pick up a few stocking stuffers for the grands and load up on groceries for the week. As we left our rural property heading for the city, we were happy and fairly carefree, talking and laughing about finally getting out on a date, even if it was about picking up groceries. Ten miles from our home, we finally approached the Kilpatrick Turnpike which would take us another five miles to the shopping center. We had decided to take the turnpike instead of the usual back way hoping to avoid traffic congestion at some of the intersections. That decision would change our evening dramatically.

As Bob merged onto the turnpike, I was chattering away about our Christmas plans, who was coming, what the menu was, what presents were already wrapped and waiting under the tree, when we both noticed what looked like a cloud of smoke less than half a mile ahead. We quickly realized that a car had just driven off the frontage road that parallels the turnpike, crashing through the chain link fence and rolling down the twenty foot embankment. We quickly arrived at the scene, joining several other cars that had also pulled over at about the same time.

Pulling over, I noticed three things: the mangled car on it’s side with it’s contents scattered about, a man walking in circles looking dazed and another man laying completely still on the side of the road. Once we were off the road, I jumped from the car and sprinted back to the man on the ground. All I could think about was getting to him and praying.

I knelt down in the grass, laid both my hands on his legs and began to gently stroke him, pleading with God to bring comfort, to show mercy, to do a miracle and heal his broken body. Within seconds, another woman was at his head carefully caressing his face and another man laid his coat over the man and spoke comforting words. I wasn’t really aware of much else for the next five minutes but later Bob would tell me that he saw others standing in the background and he could hear their prayers. Once the fire department, police and ambulance all arrived, they performed their jobs with excellence and had the man ready to transport the few short miles to the hospital.

Here is what I will never forget.

I will never forget that a man named William was surrounded by so many strangers who, at that moment, were united in bringing him comfort.

I will never forget that William was distracted from driving while using his cell phone.

I will never forget that William’s decision to text, talk and drive caused an absolutely horrific and life changing event to happen to him.

I will never forget that I don’t need to talk to anybody so desperately that I cannot wait to pull off the road before dialing or texting.

Please pray for William.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Harley Presents The CSN $45 Giveaway Winner

Well, I finally did it. I got my act together and have a winner for the $45 CSN Gift Certificate. Here’s how it all went down.

First, I decided that every single one of you that left a comment since the giveaway was announced would automatically be entered. As I read through all your comments, I was really touched by the kindness, sincerity and outrageously funny comments you left. In all truth, the last few weeks have been a bit of a challenge but knowing there are complete and total strangers who care, well, it’s made me think. Things like, “Do these people sit at their computers in their underwear?” and “Do prison inmates have access to computers because I sort of wonder about Glen?” and “Should I have lied about my location because having an escaped prisoner in underwear show up at my house could be a bad thing.” Seriously, I love you bunch of strange strangers and I am thankful for every single one of you. Even you Glen.

Glen looking pretty and normal but he is seriously not pretty normal.

Ok, so the next thing I did after I composed myself from blubbering in gratitude was this. I wrote each entry on a playing card. Wanna know how I got that idea? Well, do ya? Ok, I’ll tell you anyway. I was crying while baking Christmas cookies because I miss my parents and it’s Christmas and I am a crybaby. Then I opened a drawer to get an oven mitt and what should I spy but an old deck of my parents playing cards. Then I got mad and I said this right out loud for the whole world to hear. “Fine! If you insist on being dead, I will use your playing cards to pick a winner for my giveaway. I will write a name on each card and completely deface your cards. So there.”

Then I did.

Then I spread all bazillion cards on top of Harley’s cage and told him to have a party.

Then he stared at me.

Then I begged.

Then he turned his back on me.

Then I thought I heard my parents getting the last laugh.

So, I had to rethink my strategy and offer Harley small handfuls to pick a card from. Then I took Harley’s picks and had him pick from that final pile for the final ultimate winner.

You people have no idea what I go through to show my gratitude.

Anyway, the winner is

Jessica at TSOP is one of my favorite human beings. I love her. She is a strange and twisted creature with a heart the size of Outer Mongolia. The woman is creative and inspiring and amazing and well, check out her blog and see if I’m lying.

Congratulations Jess!! Enjoy your $45 CSN shopping spree.

As for possible future giveaways, if I ever get asked again, I can promise you this much. No. More. Birds.

I'm thinking Olivia would be much easier to work with.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sundays In My City

A few weeks ago, our family spent a wonderful evening in the park. There were only fifteen of us in the group because, well, some of our slacker kids had better invitations elsewhere. Like our son John, for instance. He was invited by the USN to go overseas on deployment. Which remnds me, there is a post all about our son, Popeye, coming up next week. Yeah, you might not want to miss that one. I'm just saying.

Anyway, the fifteen of us bundled up that Sunday night and headed over to Braums for chili. Even though it was a bazillion degrees below zero outside, we finished off our dinner with ice cream. Hey, it's Braums! Then it was off to the park.

Our giant 12 year old and her mini 25 year old sister. These two are nothing but trouble. All. The. Time.

Our youngest granddaughter practicing her Christmas solo.

Loading up and getting ready for the fantasmical train ride through the park.

All Aboard!

The Not Mormon No Tabernacle Who Are You Kidding Choir

And finally, I would like to leave you with this. Be sure to watch it to the end because it is pretty darn cool. We figure we have enough people in our immediate family to pull this off at the Christmas train next year.

Unknown Mami

Now go visit Unknown Mami for more Sundays In My City around the world. Go on. Get!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

I Am A Total Loser

I am a loser. No, really, a total complete loser. As in twenty la di freakin da pounds loser. That’s right, my blocked bowels gave me the Christmas gift of my dreams: a twenty pound loss of blubber-rama. Oh yeah, I am doing the happy dance and I can even do it without as much huffin and a puffin as a few months back. Yeah, doggie!

See for yourself. This is me just a month ago during the entire pooping chicken scandal. Had I no shame? No sense of decency? No deodorant?

This is me minus TWENTY FREAKING POUNDS! Get thee behind me blubber butt and hence forth never to return remain in the realm of blocked boweldom forever. Amen and amen.

So, if a rubber hose up one side of my nose was good for twenty pounds, I was wondering if two rubber hoses up both sides of my nose would be good for forty pounds? Hmmmm. It could work. After looking around the house, I have not been able to come up with any kind of hoses that will fit up my noses so I supposes I might try two straws.

I am so excited! I looked on the internet and they actually make FAT straws. I'm shoving two of these puppies up my nose and sitting back while they suck the fat right out of me. Oh, I will so do it.

Have I mentioned I LOST TWENTY POUNDS??? Do you have any idea what twenty pounds looks like? Well, do ya?

It looks like this.

And this.

And sometimes this.

And even this.

But on me, it looked like this.

But now it has gone and that means I look like this.

You may now applaud my blocked bowels.

The end.

Monday, December 13, 2010

This May Explain Why I Am So Fowl

I know, I know, I have not posted in a few days. And I have not put Harley to work on picking a winner for the giveaway that should have ended a week ago. And I haven't shaved my legs, plucked my eyebrows or told the whole truth this last week either. So here goes.

I am scheduled to be back at Mercy Hospital tomorrow morning at 7:00 am. I had to swallow ten pills tonight in preparation and ten more tomorrow morning. Then once at the hospital they will start yet another IV in order to administer the Iodine drip that I had a reaction to last time. My hand still hurts from the last IV. I still remember feeling freaky from the last Iodine reaction. I am not happy right now.

Then there is my sister Kelly. My baby sister has been through literal hell over the years. She has had five or was it six brain surgeries, a complete hip replacement due to cancer eating her bone away, a massively intrusive back surgery. Need I go on? The girl is a freak of nature with all the titanium in her body. So why do I bring this up?

Because I have watched and supported my sister go through things no living person on this planet should have to endure and for the most part she has held her head high. Well, other than when it was in the toilet as she barfed her brains out from chemo. Now I need to go have some tests done involving a needle and machines and whatever and what do I do? I internally whine and shake in complete fear.

Kelly, you are my hero.

Please send drugs quick. I am a chicken.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Popeye's Got Nuttin On Me ~ AR AR AR AR AR

I went to the doctor today and he shot me full of steroids so I could breathe again then he scheduled all my tests for next week and the next thing ya know I was feeling great so I came home and cleaned my house for like a million hours and I wasn't even tired but I strangely seemed full of more energy than I have ever had in my life like I had just downed a million cups of coffee and then Bob came home and was blown away by how clean the house is and how happy I am and how great dinner was and how all the Christmas presents are wrapped and under the tree but he mentioned he thought I might need to have my battery removed for the night because I was scary with this much energy and all my incessant chattering was making him feel like his head might explode but that just proves how weird he is so I think I need to go clean the barn now. The end.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Large Marge Speaks

I’m sick. Ever since they pulled that rubber hose out of my nose, my head has been full of snot, I can’t breathe and I sound like I smoke three packs a day. And drive a semi. And probably have a CB name like Large Marge. I want my mother.

Anyway, I was talking to my sister Kelly the other day. She called to check on me and give me some phony baloney story about flowers that she and our other sister Charlene supposedly sent that never arrived. Whatever. Way to save on your flower bill, girls. That’s ok because I got some really beautiful bouquets from other people.

Our cousins, Jack and Barbara sent me these with a note saying I was their favorite out of the three of us girls. Ok, they didn’t use those exact words but I read between the lines. I’m good at that.

Then our youngest boy sent me these with the following note.

It reads: "I know I've always been your favorite child but now I'm also the best child because I am the first one who sent you a beautiful bouquet of flowers. I love you, Mom! I can't wait to see you. Love, Andrew and Tori." 
 The kid knows how the game is played. Well done, Andrew.

So, back to the conversation with Kelly. As we were talking, she points out the usual stuff. How her cancer trumps my puny blocked bowel and how her survival is being played out so much better than mine. Oh yeah, it was our typical maximum security asylum conversation.

“So you had a blocked bowel. I have cancer. I saw the Doc today and he even said he couldn’t believe I was still alive.”

“Well, yeah he said that. I was there three years ago when he told you there was no hope and he was an expert on these things. You’re ruining his RBI.”

I then made the mistake of telling her that photos had been taken of me in the hospital and that I would be using them in a post.

“What? Have you lost your mind?”

“What are you talking about?”

“You can’t post those photos. They probably make you look worse than normal.”

“Kelly, seriously, do you not read my blog? Have you never seen me in person? Do you really think I am worried about how I look or what people will think?”

“That’s my point. Marla, listen to me. When I have been at death’s door in my treatments, I still had a brush in one hand and a mascara wand in the other and you know what I was thinking at those times? Do you?”


“I was thinking, where did I go wrong with Marla. Mom and Dad were beautiful. Char and I put a lot of effort into looking good. I mean, what happened with you?”


“I’m serious.”

“I was adopted and really come from the land of Oompa Loompas?”


Oh yeah, one last thing Kelly. Your friend Nicole wrote to me wondering why you are not answering her emails. Don't worry, I didn't tell her about you being jealous of her fabulous body and fabulous house and fabulous life while you have to live in the hollers of Prunetucky with your dogs and turtles and sadly small bosom. You’re welcome.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Free Marriage Advice ~ Worth Every Penny

I love encouraging words. I find them everywhere: In fortune cookies, driving along the highway on billboards, in books, magazines, conversations and famous quotes. All you have to do is listen to each day with an open heart and you’ll hear that still small voice speaking to you through the most unexpected avenues. Take tonight for example.

I had a wonderfully witty post all ready to go, then Bob came home from work. From the moment the love of my life walked through the door, I had this unexplainable urge to smother him with a pillow. Don’t get me wrong, I truly love the guy. If you have followed this blog for more than a minute, you can attest to my seriously high mush level for the man. But sometimes, well sometimes, I just want to off him.

I am sure it is because there is something seriously psychologically wrong with me. There is no way it would have anything to do with the constant shadow behind me, picking lint off my clothes, asking me if I feel ok, chattering on and on about car engines and automotive oil and prostates or some such things. I am absolutely positive it has everything to do with me constantly moving the emotional lines in the relationship and being moody and not being able to ever take a joke. Yeah, that is definitely it. Not the lint picking.

Anyway, after an absolutely delightful evening together, I decided to place my previously prepared post on hold and instead look for wonderful, happy, completely uplifting and true quotes on marriage. After all, with the 34 years we have invested in this gig, it is our duty at the least to encourage the younger generations that marriage is sacred, holy and not to be taken lightly. So without further ado, please feel free to print this amazing post out, have it enlarged and framed and mounted prominently on your living room wall because, yeah, it’s that valuable.

“All marriages are happy. It's the living together afterward that causes all the trouble.” -Raymond Hull

My advice would be to skip purchasing a house and go for the condo option. They can even be next to each other. Let me know if you’d like my agent to contact you when she finishes my deal. You’re welcome.

"Marriage is an adventure, like going to war." -G. K. Chesterton

Adventure is good. Look what it did for Alice in Wonderland.

"It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life.” -Rita Rudner

Of course, finding that one special person is only a small part of the equation. Practicing and then perfecting the art of annoying, now that, my friends, takes time and planning.

"The man who says his wife can't take a joke, forgets that she took him." -Oscar Wilde

Well said, Oscar. Well said.

When Ruth Graham, wife of Billy Graham, was once asked if she ever thought about divorce she said, “No, I've never thought of divorce in all these 35 years of marriage but I did think of murder a few times.”

God Bless Ruth Graham. A woman after my own heart.

That is all.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Bodily Fluids, Functions & Other Foolishness to Gross You Out

Come on, admit it. There is a blog somewhere out there taking bets on whether or not I would ever come out of this hospital alive. If I would have been able to prove my hypothesis, I would have definitely placed a bet of my own, believe you me. My grandmother died from a blocked bowel. Ok, it was 89 years ago but she’s still dead, y’all.

So, last Thursday, December 2nd, I worked a full day, made a grand dinner which I enjoyed with my family, cleaned up the mayhem they left behind then headed to our bedroom to enjoy a quiet evening with the Bobster. Once showered and snuggled into our comfy bed together, we did what we do almost every night. That’s right. Every. Single. Night. Oh, I can hear your jealous sniggering already. That’s right, we watched Star Trek, Bob started snoring before the Borg had a chance to assimilate the last victim and I grabbed my laptop to write. By the time I was to the grab my laptop stage last Thursday, I was a hurting unit. My gut was in knots and I could barely type. Ok, I can barely type normally but this was different. This was why do I want to drop to the floor and crawl around whimpering so bad I can’t type? After hours of bathroom runs, floor crawling, whimpering, getting back to the laptop, crawling into the bed just long enough to crawl back out of the bed then repeating the cycle again and again and again, I finally woke Bob up at 1:35am, Friday morning. Yes, as a matter of fact I do have an aversion to being sick and even under the imminent threat of death, I still choose to live in complete denial regarding the possibility there could be something wrong with me. Hey, don’t judge me unless your name is Judge Judy, Alex or Marilyn Milan. Ok, maybe I watched too much daytime TV in this place.

Anyway, once I woke Bob up and told him I thought I needed to go to the hospital, we were in the car in less than 5 minutes. Of course, I vacillated between crying out my last wishes and arguing there was nothing wrong with me on the 15 minute drive to Mercy. Once inside the ER, I was whisked into a room, quickly evaluated and then drugged to high heaven. No, seriously, I am pretty sure I saw Kurt Cobain. I seem to even remember having a deep and meaningful discussion about life and death with him. Well, it was either with him or the Cat in the Hat. It’s hard to sort it all out at this point.

"You should not be here, Kurt Cobain. You should not be about. You should not be here when our mother is out."

The next three days are a bit of a blur. I do remember some very lovely, young nurses coming into my room, shoving a rubber hose down my nose, through my throat and into my stomach. I also remember them telling me what a great patient I was, how they had never had the procedure go so well and how much they liked me and my family. I am pretty sure it was at that point that I smiled a drooly, crooked smile and thanked them, all the while thinking how differently they would feel when they one day realized I was a famous writer and would soon be composing a horror trilogy about beautiful, young nurses who take captive a rather overweight, middle-aged famous writer only to perform unspeakable atrocities upon her person whilst sing songing, “Up your nose with a rubber hose.” Oh yeah, I thought it.

Yes, I asked for my laptop, or so they say. Yes, I sat with fingers ready, or so they say. Yes, I was stoned out of my mind, eyes closed and never typed a single letter, or so they say. I'd like to see them try and prove any of it.

I also remember constant visits and phone calls from my children and grandchildren, including our son in the Navy. When I realized that the United States Navy had made special arrangements to put a call from Popeye’s ship all the way on the other side of sanity through to a hospital in Oklahoma City, I knew for sure I must be on my way out. All I could think at that point was, “I wish I had finished the laundry and cleaned out my office better. Oh well.” Oh yeah, and how much I loved God, my family and blogging. Whatever! I was dying people.

Oh sure, I look like the picture of health in my red Christmas jammies but I was on the brink. I could hear angels singing. Ok, maybe that was me snoring but I was still on the precipice people.

Finally, Sunday night when they dragged the rubber hose back out my nose,…now that is an experience you sure don’t want to miss…I knew I was on the right side of the bright light. Speaking of bright lights, some people might need to have it explained to them that when a person, like say, their wife, is laying in a hospital bed dying with a rubber hose up their nose, it really isn’t that funny to turn lights on and off behind the bed and ask the hosed spouse if they can see the light. I’m just saying.

There's no place like home. There's no place like home. There's no place like...

Anywho, here I am sitting in my hospital bed, coherently drinking a caramel macchiato and typing away on my laptop. Cat scans, upper and lower GIs, blood work and other bodily invasions behind me. Behind me. Get it? Nevermind. There are more tests scheduled for next week . Something about lesions on my liver. Sounds like a country drinking song to me but whatever, I’ll play along. Soon Bob will be here and I will be headed home. You know the first thing I plan on doing when I get there? The laundry and cleaning my office. Right after I thank God for my family and friends.

Poor little stoner. You seemed so normal one time long ago. Or not.

PS…Molly is a little, skinny liar. I did not cry when she read all your comments to me. I had a rubber hose up my nose people. It would make your eyes water too.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Free at last!

Molly here, Marla's favorite daughter-in-law. Ha ha, Amy and Tori! I only get to say that because I'm the one writing and you can't stop me! I'm blogging this afternoon to update everyone on Marla's condition. She is still hanging in there, enduring what is becoming a lengthy hospital stay. She hasn't complained once, but I know it's driving her crazy having to lay in that bed and be still. Resting and staying put is not something she does well. At any given time you can find her up and around, waiting on everyone hand and foot. She is always doing, always giving, always loving. She is both the life and heart of every party. And she has a gift of making every day a celebration. I'm not kidding. My family and I have been living with her and Bob since July. Yes, those blogs she wrote about the chaos in her house...we heavily contribute to it daily. I am also the one she claims said that I felt like I was in a Mexican prison. Let me just take this opportunity to set the record straight, I have no recollection of saying that. Maybe she was on pain medication then too....hmmmm, makes me wonder. Marla, when you read this later, after the drugs have worn off and you are back to your wonderful self, remember you asked me to write this...and show mercy! =) Anyway, back to what I was saying. She makes every day special. Dinner time is a party just about every night. Even when it appears to me that the fridge is empty, the cupboards are bare, and the only thing to do for dinner is go out to eat, she comes into the kitchen and within half an hour has prepared a feast! It is amazing! I really miss that when she's gone. Mostly because all of a sudden everyone starts looking at me to produce the same miracle she does everynight. Only, I don't have the superpowers she does. When everyone has settled down to the table and takes a look around at what I have prepared Bob never fails to say what everyone is thinking..."(sigh) I sure wish Marla was home." Me too, Bob. Me too.

All kidding aside, she is doing very well. The nurse just came in and removed the tube from her stomach. She is free at last! She looks like she feels better already! If all goes well she will be out of here in no time! Please keep praying for her. It means so very much. When I told her that you were all praying for her, she got tears in her eyes. She truly loves you all. Thank you for loving her in this way. God is listening! Someone must have prayed for her comfort and ours because thanks to Joel (another one of us lucky ones who married into the family) we just got moved to a suite! It's awesome! More like a nice hotel room than a sterile hospital room! So thanks to whoever prayed for that! =) Anyway, one of us will continue to keep everyone updated until she can resume her job of delighting us all with her thoughts! Until then...

Friday, December 3, 2010

No Rest for the Wicked

This is Marla’s middle, and might I say most loyal daughter ,Bel, blogging for her tonight. For the last two days she was admitted to Mercy Hospital for a bowel obstruction. They also found 2 lesions on her liver. Because of all the pain medication she is unable to blog now, let alone keep her eyes open. A decision on surgery will be made in the next few days. Knowing that this wasn’t life threatening was a comfort. I just knew I would be able to go in her room like a breeze and with a smile on my face, bring a little comfort…I was wrong. To see my mom who is so strong in spirit and quick to take care of everyone and everything, now knocked off her feet, left me speechless. Her eyes were constantly rolling back into her head trying to carry conversation, as she kept repeating how horrible her head and throat hurt. As my Dad, Miranda and I were in the room with her, we kept looking at each other trying to hide the tears from her, that kept watering up inside of us. We know this won’t keep her down but there’s nothing anyone can do take her pain away. Until then keep her in your prayers, and for anyone who doesn‘t pray much, ask God to show his power and heal her body, that he would bring comfort and rest to her….actually, scratch that thought…it sounds like a prayer you’d send someone to the grave with. So in your own words, from your heart, talk to God on her behalf- for his healing hand  over her entire body and that you might soon enjoy her devious and yet very entertaining thoughts and feelings on life that we so crave to read.

P.S. If your wondering why the title doesn’t match my words it because I had no thoughts so decided to ask my overly sedated mother…hence her view point and mine not :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Death and A Holiday Giveaway By Harley

Can you believe it is already December 1st? Time sure flies when you are old and closer to death than ever before in your life. Speaking of death, I had the most interesting conversation with one of my three year old granddaughters yesterday. Ahni and Corina spent the day with me yesterday because of strep throat, pink eye and boogers. Theirs not mine. Anyway, since the school and daycare both have these crazy rules about no sick kids welcome, the girls got stuck with me for the day. I think, in all truth, they were pretty happy to hang out with their Nona. I can be quite entertaining at times.

Ahni the Strep Throat Kid and her side kick, Corina the Booger Head

So, we had some homemade chicken noodle and veggie soup which even picky eater Bob said was extremely delicious. Ok, he didn’t say extremely delicious but he did say something about it being good.

Booger Head and Mr. Picky Pants. Aren't they cute?

Anyway, the girls ate and chatted with us even though they were not feeling all that well. After lunch, while I was cleaning up the kitchen, Corina, the three year old, came up to me and had lots to talk about.

“Nona, I want to die when you die.”


"When people get old they die and then I would miss you so I want to die when you die.”

“Well, I am not old and won’t be dying any time soon so you don’t have to worry about dying, Reenie.”

“Well, grandpa died and so when you and me die we get to see him again and that will be fun.”

“ Well, that’s true. I still think I want to live a bit longer if that’s ok with you.”

“Yeah but when we die we get to see God and my teacher says He’s a nice guy so that will be fun.”

“You know what would be fun right now? Cookies!”

Seriously, these deep thinking three year olds scare me.

Anyway, let me tell you about a giveaway that Butts and Ashes is hosting and just in time for the holidays to boot. The good folks over at CSN Stores have offered to give one of my readers a $45 gift code good towards anything offered in their more than 200 stores. Looking to update your bathroom cabinets before the in-laws come over for the holidays? They’ve got you covered. Need a beanbag, bar stool or bedspread? CSN Stores has them. Desperate for one last toy to go under the tree? You’ll find it at CSN and at a price that makes sense. Check them out for yourselves.

So how do you go about entering this fabulous giveaway and what does Harley have to do with it anyway and why am I so constantly long-winded instead of getting to the point? Glad you asked.

To enter the contest all you have to do is tell me your family’s favorite Christmas tradition. Something that sets your family apart from all the rest. Come on, spill the beans. Go on, I’m waiting.

The winner will be hand chosen by Harley himself. Ok, actually the winner will be beak chosen. That’s right, Harley the amazing African Grey will pick the winning name from a bowl, or something like that. I’ll even take a video of it for you to make sure he doesn’t cheat.

Harley, the Amazing African Grey

As for the long-windedness part: It’s a gift.

Marla, the Amazing Long-Winded Woman

Oh yeah, a few last things:

  • Contest is open to those living in the U.S. and Canada.
  • Last day to enter is December 7th.
  • Why are you still reading this. Comment already, will ya?