Tuesday, September 24, 2013


You didn't know eagles enjoyed 'em some tater salad, didja.

Tonight there is an Eagle Court of Honor for Scouts who have attained certain accomplishments or reached specific goals.  It's always a pot luck family affair.  The troop leader's wife knocks herself OUT getting it together, bringing the necessary paper and plastic goods, drink coolers, tablecloths, centerpieces, and other basics.  Leaders arrive early to set up tables and chairs and others decorate them.

Tonight I won't be going.  Have to work until too late to get there on time.  I did, however, make potato salad for the masses.  I washed, cut up and boiled a sinkful of potatoes, diced pickles and onions, boiled, peeled and chopped eggs,  and made dressing.  There were so many potatoes I had to lay them out on an enormous tray to cool and sit them under a fan.  While they were cooling I contemplated how to add all the other ingredients (four cups worth) and the dressing (three cups) and get it all mixed together well without tearing the potatoes up.  I hate when that happens.  That's potato salad soup.  Eww.

It was during this time of contemplation that a brilliantly clever idea began to form in my lil pea brain.  So here's my advice for next time you have to make a boatload of tater salad.  Leave the potatoes on the tray and sprinkle the diced ingredients on top, then pour the dressing over in a zig zag fashion.  Then use a spatula to turn it over juuuuuuuust enough times to get it mixed.  Worked like a CHARM. Then I used the spatula to transfer it to a deep (disposable) pan.  Done!  Taters in tact.

Now I only hope my hubby will remember to fix me a plate!

Monday, August 19, 2013

Blog-blogger; Journal-journalist, Memoir-memoirist

I had no idea that was a word, did you?  Memoirist.

Over the weekend I've become enamored with a TV show called "Who Do You Think You Are?" on The Learning Channel.  In case you haven't seen it, the show features a celebrity who is curious about his/her historical background, parents or grandparents or even further back.  Some have heard stories -negative or positive - about their family's history, allegiances, actions, and so on.  Some seem to need to hear stories due to a lack of historical information within their family.  Either way, usually the celebrity seems to find some peace, substance, answers, or closure from the information they glean.

At the beginning of the show the celebrity is introduced to some type of historical expert who has found the initial piece of information regarding the celebrity's questions.  Then, through a series of referrals to other experts/locations/historical document storage facilities and curators eventually the celeb is able, (usually with the help of ancestry.com which seems to be a heavy duty sponsor of the show - surprise!) to piece together the story of his/her family's past.

One of the common threads in the show regardless of the information being sought is that someone in the family somewhere usually has kept a journal or memoir.  They are in different forms, formats, some chronicle years of family life/history on a daily basis and some contain only basic, pertinent information and entries are infrequent, but in almost every case it has been this journal that has ultimately led the celebrity to find what he/she was looking for.  Even if the journal does not turn out to have pertinent information, it still allows the celeb to know more about that member of their family who came decades or sometimes centuries before.

I guess the current form of that is blogging.  So to my children or nieces or nephews or their children if you read this when I'm gone, let me just start by saying I adored you before I even laid eyes on you and do still.  I plan to be watching you from Heaven. At the moment it doesn't seem so critical to keep up with chronicling the events of our family life but there may come a day when your children or theirs are curious about their great great grandparents, their affiliations, talents, relationships, and hobbies.  Maybe you'll be standing on property that at one time belonged to our family or maybe you'll be sitting at a table that belonged to your 4x great grandparents and has been passed down to each generation and now resides in your kitchen.  Or maybe you'll be neither of those things but randomly feel a stirring one day that leads you to learn more about your family tree.  Any way it happens, family is always with you and behind you - sometimes when you want them to be and even when you don't.

There are so many reasons to have a blog.  When I started this one at the urging of a friend, it was only to jot down thoughts.  If you know me, you know I can't possibly SAY all the things I want to else your ears would bleed.   Sort of still is, but since I'll never pen a memoir, we'll call this blog the closest thing to that.

More later.  Mwwwahhh!!


When life gives

Just when it gives.  You thought I was gonna say lemons and making lemonade right?  Aww naww.

You know how sometimes you begin to recognize a pattern in your life?  The books you're reading, the conversations you're engaged in, the events you attend, or the topic that keeps popping up at parties?  At some point you cock your head, put your index finger to your chin and make a big ol' deep V in that little space between your eyebrows oh wait that was me looking in my 10x makeup mirror this morning.  Anyway you've been there.  To the recurring-thing-in-your-life place, not the vertical furrow lines in your brow place. I'm sure you don't have those.

Sometimes I believe it's self preservation.  Our own psyche has taken stock, determined we need to head in a direction, and without telling our conscious self, our insular cortex launches a sneak attack and initiates implementation.   No mystery there.  For example after the holidays I miraculously gravitate to diet books, exercise philosophies and light, heart healthy recipes. Awesome.   After my child has a melt-down (and) or I handle a parenting incident with the finesse and maturity of an eleven year old tantrum-throwing diva, I head to Barnes and Noble and scour the parenting section for help.  Solace. Vindication that I'm not the only one.  On a lighter note, after hunky hubby attends a bluegrass festival he trolls ebay for banjo instruction books and practices more.  Waaaaaaay more.  I bought him a mute.  Did you know they made such things?  Mutes?  For banjos? Please trust me they do hallelujah and amen.  And one day when it reaches the top of my to-do list, I'm going to look up the person who invented it and write a thank you note.  Until then at banjo practicing time I'll just close my eyes, lean my head back and stretch my arms toward the heavens and say "thank you, thank you, you inventor of banjo mutes, you seer into the future of banjo players' wives lives.  You ROCK."

How-ehvahhh.  Sometimes when said pattern recognition phenomenon occurs, it's apparent to me right away (right away being when I notice it.  And sometimes, my darlings, I'm notoriously slow.  Dense even.) that God has placed it there.  It's too completely random to be of my own doing.   My psyche doesn't have mental acumen any larger than my conscious brain,  so simple logic dictates that I don't have the schmarts or preservation tactics to orchestrate such complicated campaigns.

So here it is.  A friend gave me Jen Hatmaker's book called "7, an Experimental Mutiny against Excess".  It resonated.  Jen and her family did a seven step reduction of the 'stuff' in their lives that would make even the new pauperish Pope's head swim.  Seven is a small number and I don't feel the need to go that deep or that narrow at one fell swoop, but the point was a good, honest, real one and it hit me.  Hard.

Then.  Then I came back to the hotel room the other day to find hubby watching the movie Seeking a Friend for the End of the World.  Not a great movie as movies go but I'd watch Steve Carell in anything. I watched enough of it to feel convicted that most of the things I worry about and even spend time and money and energy on are things that, given 16 hours until the end, wouldn't make the cut.  Then.  THEN,  at a particularly poignant spot in the movie, they play that song with these lyrics:

"Sommmmmetimes all I need is the air that I breathe, and to love you."

.....aaaaand I'm done. *sob, snort, dab at eyes*  Okay Jesus, I'm starting to get a hint of a thought of an idea that maybe you're nudging me on something here.......

See?  Do not act like you weren't warned.  Dense.  Reaaaally slow on the uptake here. (Please refer to paragraph four.)  You woulda caught the hints waaaaay before The Hollies started singing right?  Yeah, not me.  I'm usually so convinced I'm on the right path that I don't even give a glance at the stuff I have to knock out of the way to stay on it.  It's a well known fact, and my hunky hubby and kids LOVE that about me and are not annoyed by it in the least.  Ever.

In the days and weeks following, clue after clue after hint after hint popped up that God was nudging me to think about excess in my life.  It became time for the regular seasonal cleaning-out-of-kids'-closets for example.  After going through each article of clothing in my sons' closets to get rid of the things they'd outgrown, the stacks of outgrown clothing were enough to fill two garbage bags.  I shook my head in wonder.  After counting pairs of outdoor boots while trying to clean the shelves they occupy, I counted twenty four pair.  There are four of us. I clucked my teeth in shame.  When emptying the coat closet for the plumber (to reach a leak) I looked at the stack of coats and realized shamefully that that huge stack of coats all belonged to two people.  After getting home from the grocery store I had to rearrange food items in the fridge and pantry just to accommodate my purchases.
I started giving thought to why I keep buying things when I already have a houseful of things.  Stuff.  Clothes. Food. Neat stuff.  Shoes.  Pretties.  Accumulation of goods.  Shiny things. I have so many shoes I've had to encroach on other areas of the house to store them all.  Sunday when I grabbed my Bible before church I even noticed I have six Bibles!  Different versions, newer versions, large print versions, translated to modern speech versions, workbooks for the Bibles, 365 days of scripture and meditation, Bible Study books.  The list of stuff just goes on and on.

What am I teaching my children?  To store up stuff?  That material things, new shiny purchases make you happy?  Fill a hole or sad place in your life or your heart?  Fix problems?  That more is better?  That if there's a newer, better version of what you already have, well you certainly have to upgrade.  And in the end, when we're playing Steve Carell or Keira Knightly's parts and we have 16 hours left 'til the end, who of us will give thought to any of those material things?

I'm starting this reduction of excess by making each purchase deliberate.  No spontaneous purchases, no purchases just because something is on sale, no stocking up on stuff.  I have enough clothing for six people, enough shoes to don the feet of 246 women with size 8.5 feet all at one time, enough food to fill a refrigerator, two freezers, two pantries, and several tubs of stashed foods for when the zombie apocalypse comes,  enough books to start a library of my own, and the list goes on and on.
I am tasking myself with recognizing in each moment how much I already have and making each of my moments about my people and my relationships, not my stuff.

My family does not think of ourselves - independently or as a collective unit - as excessive. (In fact if you ask my kids I'm alllllways saying no when they want something.) There's always someone who has more.  On the other hand, there's also always someone who has less.  I'm curious to see how this concept will affect my family dynamic as I pare down the material things in my life.  I'll keep you posted.


Sunday, June 09, 2013

Hey, You're One of Us!

Are there any warmer words than those?  I think not.

This afternoon I had the privilege of attending a funeral service for my Aunt Glenda.  In truth she's my hunky husband's aunt, not mine. When you've been married as long as we have though, the term (and the concept of) "in-law" is blurred to say the least, and actually mostly absent.  Glenda was my aunt for thirty four years.  When we were a newly married couple, Glenda and Gleason (Gleeshun, as pronounced by family) were younger than I am now. They were handsome people. They had two gorgeous girls around the same age as hunky hubby and before long we discovered, as we have all our married life, a connection between his family and mine.  Glenda and Gleason's girls were school friends of my own first cousins.  Glenda would say, "Oh Low-urd,  those boys were at my house all'a time.  I doan even know how minny times I fed those young-uns."  

Today when I walked into the funeral home parlor an uncle pointed and exclaimed, "Hey. You're a Culpepper!"  It made me smile and it quickened my step and my heart until I was under Uncle James' arm wing, my head resting on his chest. Uncle James is Gleason's brother.  He is also my late father-in-law's brother. When I'm near James I feel like my father-in-law is close-by. They are so very similar in word and appearance, and at times like these I could just kick myself for not making visiting him a regular part of my life.   I tell myself I'll do better.

Throughout the decades of family gatherings I always loved talking with Glenda because she was, like myself, an outsider - an in-law.  She looked at me with understanding eyes and a knowing glance. She asked me questions and talked to me about things that made me comfortable.  Looking back, I'm not quite sure how she knew to do that.

We saw them infrequently, and as the years passed the family get togethers became less and less frequent.  Even so when we did gather I could always count on looking around and finding her there with a wide smile on her face and a twinkle in her eye that said "Come over here, baby. Come talk to me."

I hope, as I recognize the relationship between our ages, Glenda and me, and the current perspective of individuals in our family as it appears when we gather, that I can can take her sweet thoughts and words and use them to make our young generation more comfortable. . . . just like she did for me.

In the end, it is a privilege to attend a funeral service. To be one of the chosen ones to send someone off to Heaven with shared prayers?   It's a gift.  I'm thankful for that gift today.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013


this ain't a dress rehearsal, Sookie.

I've been giving some thought to how much time I spend giving thought to things.  A couple of things led me to this think.  For one thing, I had the honor of being my eleven year old's academic assistant as he muddled his way through four yes I said four projects during this last month of school.  I felt totally at rights with helping him, as it was a position of service to him and he was doing the planning and thinking and decision-making.  I did the grunt work.  The child has pulled out four maaaaajor projects in a short period of time, and between you me and the chickens, they were assigned because the teachers want to let the kids prepare for their projects during class.  THAT way, they don't have to TEACH them.  Alternately, the positive spin on the story is that they're preparing them for the volume and depth of work they will be expected to churn out in middle school.  Either way, I digress.  Secondly,  I watched (re-watched I guess would be more accurate) Mamma Mia the other day.  The song Meryl Streep's character sings about her daughter has always brought me to tears, but increasingly it brings me to bigger tears and for longer duration and most recently (when I watched it the other day) it made me do The Ugly Cry - sobbing, gasping, blowing my nose and unwittingly wrenching my face into all manner of contortions.  My face, neck and ears turn red and blotchy, mascara runs down my face and I'm not able to speak.  There's a reason it's called The Ugly Cry.  The song is called Slipping through My Fingers.  In it, she relates how she and her child sit at the breakfast table barely awake and instead of talking and laughing they let precious time go by.  Then she says when her child has left for school, there's "that odd melancholy feeling and a sense of guilt I can't deny."  She goes on to wonder why they didn't go on all the wonderful adventures she had planned for them to go on and says, "well some of that we did but most we didn't, and why I just don't know."

Know the feeling.  My hand is planted firmly on the panic button.  I realize, waaaaay deep down, I mean really  r-e-a-l-i-z-e  I only have a very few years left with my children.  What museum have we left unseen, what culturally important event have we forgotten to attend, what have I neglected to teach or model that will leave them unprepared for their independence?  What have I overdone that will leave them - again - unprepared for their independence, or maybe even scarred for life?  We kid about that last part a lot, us parents.  But in all actuality, even though 'scarred for life' does sound fairly ok reeeeally serious, I'm thinking there are most likely things I do on a regular basis that will negatively alter my children's future in some way.

My prayer is that for each one of those things I mess up, there are three good ones.  Three good things they will remember from growing up in our home and being our child, belonging to us.  Me.  Belonging to me.  I feel like God doesn't give you children, but instead He sends you His children to raise for Him.  So you only get them for a little while.  Then they slip through your fingers.

Gosh.  I miss 'em already.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


My last post was entitled "Halfway There".  The journey is now complete, as I sat for and passed both State Board tests, applied and paid for my license, and am now in a Georgia State worker (an oxymoron if ever there was one)  induced floating period.  I lie in wait for my real live paper license to arrive, for I can not legally work or charge for services until such is completed.  Apparently there are a bazingazillion RN licenses that have won first place in the triage the State of Georgia assigns to the importance of licenses to "get to" first.  Boo hiss.  I do not agree with this in the moment and from where I am now; however, I will tell you with all hypocrisy that should any member of my family be injured or intensely ill, I will revoke this statement all the way to the ER and will swear I never said it.  Remember this.  We go to the ER quite often.  They know us by name.

So next along this beautiful journey is pulling together resume, portfolio, and mindset of a person looking for work.  I've done none of these for two decades, and the last time I did it was in a completely different (corporate) setting.  I've no clue about this one, but I'm fixin' ta find out.    Unlike most people I know however, I enjoy interviews.  Always have.  I like the process, I like meeting someone and assessing who they are and how best to relate to them, whether to lean in or back off during conversations, how much to share or not to share, and how to let them know I'm listening and I feel their value and power but at the same time am vitally aware of my own value and power.  Weird, right?

So here we go in a new direction.  I feel like I'm at the top of the ten story waterslide getting ready to push off.   There is an actual story there.  Once when my family and my sister's family took our kids to Lake Winnepasaukah, there was a 'new' waterslide at the back of the park.  I swear it was ten stories high, and you had to walk up that many open-air scaffolded flights of stairs to get to the top.  By the time we all got there, we were huffing and sweating so much we didn't even take a moment to look how high we were and what we were getting ready to do.  The 'slide' was actually a tube, and the teenager working at the top handed you a traylike-inflated-ish boat like thingie to sit on.  You plopped down in it and before you could turn around and say "see you at the bottom", he placed his Converse-clad foot on the back of your boat  and with lightening speed, hulk force, and absolutely no warning or expression on his face,  pushed you off into watertube never ever land.  

I screamed all the way down.  I don't remember it, but my sister and the rest of those who came after me swear it.  The sheer force of the push-off and the water gushing down the slide gave enough momentum that I automatically went from a sitting position to lying flat on my back.  Flat is a relative term.  While I was flat for the entire ride, much of the time I was flat on the side of the tube while going around corners or on the top of the tube while in the loop-di-loop.  But I was always safe inside the tube, even though it went by so fast I don't remember it.  I've always wanted to go back and do that sucker again.  Maybe soon.

Meanwhile back at the ranch subdivision,  I am poised to embark on just such a trip in my own life.  Wish me luck, and if I fly by you, on my back, screaming, wave to me.  Ok?


Wednesday, February 13, 2013


I am halfway there.  Which would indicate, naturally, that I have half behind me and half yet to complete. The truth is, in terms of State Board Exams, I am halfway there.  There are two; a written and a practical.  I took the written yesterday (and passed it!  Yippie!) and I have the practical next week.

However in terms of the entire journey, I feel as though I'm 95% there.  I enrolled in school in October 2011, finished in November 2012, and ten pounds down and many thousands of dollars later, finally received confirmation from the State and dates for my tests earlier this very month (February 2013).   This has also been quite a journey of some proportion for all whom I call my own. My hunky husband and my baby boys were thrown into the deep end of the new pool with little transition time and reacted well for the most part.  No one sunk.  There was some fierce paddling to stay afloat, but all looked calm on the surface.  My hunky husband dove right in and took charge of laundry, weekend chauffeuring and soccer mom duties, my independent teen pretended, acted as if, was absolutely unfazed.
My baby however, was heart-broken.  He was heart-broken in the kind of raw, real, honest way that makes a Mom cry all the way to school sometimes.  All of my (5th grade 10 year old) baby's life, I have been home for him and with him and he was not ready to dive in to these vicissitudes.  Our new dynamic.  Our shifted paradigm.  I did my best to explain our family scaffolding was still there, our priorities had not changed, and he was still safe, sound, and loved to pieces - that I was still and would ever be entirely smitten with him, his brother, and his Dad and ruined for anyone else.

What he heard was - just the way it probably sounded as you read it - a bunch of psychobabble.  All he knew was that his Mom was not going to be where she was supposed to be.  That ten years of having that ground to stand on was being pulled right out from under his feet.

I switched to waterproof make-up.  It was a necessity if I was to arrive at school without having cried all my makeup right off my face.

It got better.  Slowly.  There were bumps along the way.  We became very thankful for our crockpot and for Publix sandwiches, for example.  And did you know that my way of folding and stacking towels is not the only right way to fold and stack towels?  Unbelievable.  Inconceivable. It bothered me for a little while.  Then it bothered me less.  Then I was thankful there were clean towels.

Baby boy adjusted.  By my last week of school however, he was rejoicing that Mom would once again be in the place he wanted her.  At home.  He started singing these lines of a song to me:  "I belong to you, you belong to me, in our sweet home".  He has the tender, sweet voice of a ten year old boy and each time he sang it my heart melted a little more. I wasn't familiar with the lyrics but it didn't matter.  I loved hearing him sing them to me.  Then a day or two later, listening to the radio in the car I heard those words in a song they were playing!  I looked it up when I got home, watched the video, and read the lyrics.   I haven't yet mentioned to him the lyrics aren't exactly as he sings them, and I think I might just not. I like his version better anyway.

I love the video, by the way.  It reminds me of an Irish band - sort of a stomp-and-clap, acoustic,  front porch vibe.

Hunky husband was happy for me to be home and whether he could admit it or not, so was Mr. TeenMan.  I don't think any of the three of them have yet looked ahead far enough to recognize that when I put this education to use I'll potentially be away from home even more than before.  It will occur to each of them.  I think I'll see it when it does.  I imagine it will be a deer-in-the-headlights sort of expression that'll be the tell.  I'll keep you apprised.

So in the whole of it, whether I'm halfway done, 95% done, or just beginning, it feels good. It feels bright and new and shiny - a road untravelled, a story untold, and a journey yet to unfold.

I owe a big thank you to my family members and friends who've supported me along the way.  Being in class alongside eighteen to twenty six year olds is daunting to say the least, as is accepting the difference in learning new material at the age of 54 instead of 14 or 18 or 20.  So I was and continue to be thankful for the group of people who surround me.  Sometimes that surround acts as padding - like a circle of wagons or like bubble wrap, sometimes it feels like a warm, soft crocheted shawl made of prayer and love and light, and sometimes it feels like the walls of one of those rubber rooms that keeps crazy folks from hurting themselves or anything else.   But it's always there in some form.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013


Had an appointment with the orthopaedic doctor yesterday.  He's so good.  In fact, he's so good I drive 30 miles one way just to continue seeing him.  There are probably dozens if not hundreds of bone docs closer to me than he is, but believe it or not a thirty mile drive on my own with a trenta double nonfat soy latte and my iPod tunes blaring through the car speakers is occasionally a nice way to spend half an hour.  I sing along.  LOUDLY.  I nod my head toward my shoulder with the beat.  I thump on the steering wheel. I don't do it in the shower because there's always someone home when I take a shower. But.  In my Mommy Van headed toward the doctors appointment thirty miles away whilst everyone is either in school or at work, I am blissfully on my own.   I talk to myself,  work through problems.  Mondays, the one day I'm off, I'm joyously alone from 8:45am until 2:45pm.  I listen to the music I want,  I do the chores, errands, jobs I want in the order I want and the way I want to do them, telling myself that I'm an insanely intelligent person (maybe insanely is a lil stretch) and I have the ability to make fabulously educated and reasonable decisions.  A-L-O-N-E.

Then my pre pre-teen gets home. . . . and I am painfully aware I am not only not fabulously educated and reasonable, but neither am I intelligent - insanely or otherwise.  In fact, it's a wonder I can function whilst without him by my side to give me instruction (and grief) on how to make decisions.  Decisions like the quality with which is homework should be completed.  Like how much time he needs to spend outside getting exercise and fresh air in his lungs before he can even think about touching anything that has a plug, a screen, a joystick, a controller, or a keyboard.  Like how his bed should be made eeeeeeeeven though he's going to get back in it at bedtime which is hours and hours and hours too early for a human of his age.

I begin to pray for patience and wisdom.  I pray for only the right words to come out of my mouth, to be given the strength to ration my words and speak them using the cadence, the timbre, and the reverence of a righteous and tender Mother.  (I pray for control over my stink-eye too.  I swear sometimes it acts before I can stop it.)  As I'm praying I begin to think back to when I was a pre pre-teen and eventually I recall what a rebel I was for rules.  So I look over at him and smile and remind myself how much and how deeply I love this human man-child and how he is 89 pounds of wonderfulness all wrapped up into an individual that is going to light up the world and everyone he touches.  How he's going to set the world on fire.  Turn it on it's end.  Flip it upside down. Keep it impulsive.  Keep it peculiar.    Be the one we want to attach ourselves to because he's our whimsy.  I hope the world is ready.  It needs him so much.

Then I go pick up my teenager. .  .  and I am painfully aware I am not only not fabulously educated and reasonable, but neither am I intelligent - insanely or otherwise.  In fact, it's a wonder I can function whilst without him by my side to give me instruction (and grief) on   e-v-e-r-y   l-i-t-t-l-e   t-h-i-n-g.  For example.  Regardless of the fact that he has yet to even apply for his learners permit to drive, he can tell me exactly how to do it aaaaaand every little thing I do wrong while I'm driving him to wrestling practice.  Picking him up from wrestling practice.  Taking him to school.  Taking him to - you get the idea.

I begin to pray for patience and wisdom.  I pray for only the right words to come out of my mouth, to be given the strength to ration my words and speak them using the cadence, the timbre, and the reverence of a righteous and tender Mother.  I do the stink-eye prayer again too.  As I'm praying, I begin to think back to when I was a teen and eventually I remember what a rude know-it-all I was, so I look over at him and smile and remind myself how much and how deeply I love this human man-child and how he is 125 pounds of wonderfulness all wrapped up into an individual who is going to keep the world sane.  Keep it slow.  Patient.  Remind it of its reasonableness and simple, quiet happiness.  Be the one we want to attach ourselves to because he is our touchstone.  I hope the world is ready.  It needs him so much.

The last thing I do before I go upstairs to bed is soak the kitchen sink.  I stood at the sink looking out the window and what came to my mind next was without a doubt the best words my powerful, loving God has ever given me -  "I wish I may, I wish I might, have the wish I wish tonight.  Star light, star bright, I have two stars of yours tonight."

Thank you God for giving me these two stars to raise.  Help me do it in your light, your shadow, and with your guidance.
Your big dummy Mom ;-)