Friday, December 29, 2006

so, about 365 days later.....

Only 2 days left in 2006. Plenty of changes this year. Even more changes on the way in 2007, I'm sure of it.

Looking back at the past year, I decided to pull up a couple of pictures that were a year apart. One was taken the last week of December 2005, the other at about the same time in 2006. Here they are:

Parents spend their lives preparing their children for the real world. The only problem is that no one prepares parents on how not to be shocked when they look at pictures year after year and see how much their children have grown each and every year. One minute you're changing their dirty diapers, the next minute you're consoling them after they've gotten a ticket for "allegedly" running a red light. (Purely hypothetical situation.....maybe.) Seems that it was only yesterday that you watched them play in the sand at the ballpark because they were too young to play. Now you're watching them hit home runs and strike out batters.

Here's to 2007. And to blessings I don't deserve but for which I'm so very grateful.....

Thursday, December 28, 2006

so that's why we came to buca.....

The bride called me yesterday afternoon. She said she'd just gotten off the phone with her mother, and that we had been invited (along with Mike, Paula, Will and Katie) to dinner at Buca de Beppo at 6:00. We both thought it was a little strange to get together as a family again so soon after Christmas. Was there something wrong? Was either Ken or Hattie sick? Or, worse yet, what if my 70-something mother-in-law was expecting? I had some errands to run after work, so I told the bride that I'd just meet her and the girls there.

I got to Buca and saw Mike and Paula in the lobby area. We went back to our seats and saw Ken and Hattie already at the table. The bride and Sara arrived about 5 minutes later. Meg had to drop a "friend" off on the way, but would be along soon.

So Meg walks toward the table with this funny smile on her face. About 10 feet behind her, I saw the reason for her smile - Jeff and Ellen! Jeff had surprised Ellen with plane tickets home on Christmas day. Since most of the kids from the orphanage visit extended family members the week after Christmas, Jeff and Ellen had an opportunity to come home for a week. They flew into Birmingham Wednesday and drove to Franklin. The doorbell rang at Mike and Paula's house about 9:00 that night, and when Paula opened the door she saw Jeff and Ellen on the front porch. They didn't tell anyone they were coming, so it was a shock to us all. After spending a few days here, they'll go back to Birmingham and spend a few days with Jeff's family.

Even though it's just for a few days, we're glad to have them home.....

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

happiness is a shower at noon.....

Last day of Christmas vacation for me. I've spent the day loafing. Listened to the new Taylor Hicks CD the girls got me. The bride and I have been looking at Myrtle Beach condos this afternoon for next summer's vacation. (The Moffitts are obviously gluttons for punishment, as they've agreed to do vacation with us again next year.) All the while, the Eagles' Sydney concert is playing in the background.

I plan to play this bum thing to the hilt today.....

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas day, 2006.....

Keeping the girls in bed until 7:00 was successful, but just barely. Within an hour the floor was full of boxes, wrapping paper and discarded bows. The rest of our day consisted of eating, talking on the phone with family, and having family visit us. New games were played, a movie was watched, and our family was loved on by each other.

Yeah, good Christmas.....

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

pig/dog for sale.....

Rare pig/dog for sale/rent/lease/free. Loves to bark incessantly, eat constantly, and sleep continuously. Both serious and non-serious inquiries welcome. Please call 800-4pig-dog.

Oh, make sure to ask for the OFIT. Female inhabitants of this household may claim that the pig/dog is no longer available.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Friday, December 15, 2006

soon I'll be gone, so pay me no mind.....

Yeah, don't pay alot of attention to me today.

In a matter of hours I'm out on vacation. Christmas vacation. I don't know that I'll get much done today. I've filled my schedule up with productive chores, but still they're chores that don't require much thought. Things I could pretty much do in my sleep. Those are the kinds of things I'll be doing today.

Next week I'll have the first three days to myself, as the girls are still in school through Thursday morning. I think I saw the bride working on a list of some sort for me. Yeah, that's right, try to put chains on me. I see how this works. What vacation?

4:00 PM Friday can't get here soon enough.....

Thursday, December 14, 2006

holy crap.....

Peter Boyle, 71, passed away on Tuesday evening at New York Presbyterian Hospital. He had been suffering from multiple myeloma and heart disease.

His two characters that stand out most to me were Frankenstein's Monster in Mel Brooks' "Young Frankenstein" and Ray Barone from "Everybody Loves Raymond." As the monster, he was able to bring about a certain innocence and frailty to the beast. His "Puttin' On The Ritz" duet with Gene Wilder is one of the funniest scenes in movie history. As Frank Barone, he was so open and honest, not caring about what he said and who was hurt by it. On Larry King Live last night, Doris Roberts (Marie on "Raymond") said that the "Frank" character didn't show people the sweet and kind side of Peter.

I learned some things in an article on Mr. Boyle. I found out that John Lennon was his best man when he and his wife were married. He spent three years in a monastery before changing his mind to become an actor. He also studied with the Second City improv group in Chicago.

Ah, sweet mystery of life.....

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

i mean, if you're cool with it and all.....

Philadelphia Daily News - 11/8/06

Karen Madden, 38, goes on trial in December in Harrisburg, Pa., after allegedly confessing to stealing $550,000 worth of jewelry and handbags from the residence of her former boss, who is the chancellor of the state's college system. The chancellor, testifying at a July hearing on the charges, said Madden had called her recently and apologized but then went on to say, "I hope you and I can still be friends, and I would like to use you, can I use you as a reference, just for the work part?"

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

i already checked, and we ain't kin.....

You may have heard about the American Airlines flight that was diverted to Nashville in mid-air last week because a passenger lit a match to disguise the scent of flatulence. First, like the title says, I checked and we're not related. Second, the OFIT was granted an EXCLUSIVE phone interview with Mrs. Freida Flatus from Chickasha, Oklahoma. Here's the REAL story:

OFIT - Mrs. Flatus, I'd like to thank you for allowing me to talk with you for a few minutes.

Mrs. Flatus - Oh, my goodness, Mr. OFIT, I'm just so glad I could get my side of the story out to all of your readers.

O - Well, I'm glad to do it. First off, did you know that you might have gas problems when you got on the plane that morning?

F - You know, I did. But I thought by taking a couple of Gax X before boarding that this wouldn't be a problem.

O - I see. Was their any warning prior to your, uh, well, um.....

F - Toot?

O - Excuse me?

F - Were you referring to my toot? That's what I call them. I've heard poot, fluff, fart, and many others, but I prefer toot. It just sounds better, I think.

O - OK, we'll go with that. So, was there any prior warning?

F - Did you ever see the movie "Dumb & Dumber"?

O - Yes, ma'am, I did. A very funny movie.

F - Remember the part where Jeff Daniels is driving up the mountain in the sports car? All the gurgling and carrying on of his stomach?

O - Yes, I remember that scene.

F - Well, that was quiet compared to the noises coming from my stomach. The man sitting beside me acted like he didn't hear anything, but I knew better. And there was no way I could hold it in. Goodness knows, I tried. But I just couldn't do it.

O - OK, so the "event" happens. What was your first thought?

F - My first thought was that I shouldn't have eaten the chili fries from TGI Fridays the night before. I always play Bunco with a bunch of other widows in the condo on Sunday nights after church, and we decided to go out for dinner afterwards. Anyway, then I thought about blaming someone else. But as my late husband, Irving, always said, "The smeller's the feller" so I knew that wasn't an option. That's when I reached for my matches. I always keep them in my purse for just such an emergency.

O - So you're saying that this isn't the first time you've had flatulence in public?

F - Heavens no! I'm not proud of it, but it happens. In fact, when they handed out superlatives in the high school yearbook, my title was "Most Likely to Ask Someone to Pull His/Her Finger". I come from a long line of gas passers.

O - Your problem is hereditary?

F - I'm afraid so. Holidays are quite stressful for all of us. While I enjoy everyone's company, we usually end up outside on the front porch because of everyone's "issue". And it's almost always cold at Christmastime, so we all end up catching colds.

O - Is there anything you'd like to tell my readers? Something you'd like to say to clear your name?

F - I'm not sure that I can ever clear my name. From this point on, even if I find a cure for the common cold, I'm afraid I'll be known as that crazy gassy woman on the plane. But I do want everyone to know that I'm in no way connected with the Al Kaida or their network of terrorists. I wasn't trying to hijack the plane with a match. I'm simply a woman who tried to do the right thing by my fellow passengers and cover up a nasty odor. Oh, and I'm sorry American Airlines had to land in Nashville and delay all those other nice people on the plane. It was, however, good to get to the ladies' room when we landed.

O - Thank you, Mrs. Flatus. I'm sure my 4 readers all feel that they now know you a little better now.....

Monday, December 11, 2006

one more time and making the bride go shopping.....

Well, he did at again. What is it about this guy? Why does Vince Young seem to have fresh legs in the 4th quarter and overtime? The best quote of the day came from him when he said, referring to his game-winning run, "I felt like my mom was chasing me with a belt." (Substitute the word "belt" with "fly swatter" and I understand where he's coming from!)

I thought the Titans made a mistake when they drafter Young over Leinart. The way they've played lately, I'm not so sure about that. Imagine that, football professionals knowing more than the OFIT.

I didn't get to see much of the game yesterday. After we got home from church, the bride and I headed out to do a little Christmas shopping. We did some on Saturday, but didn't get alot done. Oh, and I had to pratically force my lovely bride out the door to get started.

See, the past few years, I've taken a day off from work the first or second week of December so that the bride and I could spend an entire weekday at the malls and tackle a good portion of our Christmas shopping in one day. Since she's working now, this year that wasn't possible. It's not that she doesn't enjoy shopping. The bride just doesn't like shopping in crowds. At all.

Despite her protests, Sunday proved to be a success. And before I knew it, she was actually having fun. She bought, I carried. Then she bought some more, and I carried it, too. By the end of the day I had rented a pack mule named Umburto to help me with the packages. That's a new service Opry Mills is offering this year. You'll find "Pack Mules by Carlos" located near Gap. It's not free, but it's worth it. They even have these fenced-in gathering areas in the parking lot that you can leave your mule at instead of walking them back into the mall. It's great.

Christmas is just two weeks from today.....

Friday, December 08, 2006

public service announcement.....

Again, this is something I wish I’d written, but someone else beat me to it. The following has been edited for your viewing pleasure…..

Top Tips for Owning a Pet

So you’ve decided to own a pet! Congratulations! This is the worst decision you’ve ever made!

All kidding aside, owning a pet can be a very rewarding experience full of loyalty, love and 3 AM emergency trips to the vet because Sasha ate an entire bottle of One-A-Day vitamins. However, owning a pet is a responsibility and a privilege, not a right. It’s similar to driving, voting and getting a happy ending. The utmost care must be taken to ensure a positive experience for you, your family and for the animal involved. Here I’ve outlined some simple tips to ensure a healthy, happy pet-family relationship.

* Ok, there are a few steps you need to take before bringing your pet home. First, take all of your furniture, everything that you want to keep nice, and shove it into the nearest railroad drainage ditch. Yeah, all of it. Trust me, there is no way of maintaining attractive furniture while a pet is living under your roof, so it’s a good idea to get rid of all of your nice stuff now, before it breaks on accident. Also, it’s important to start thinking about bowls and stuff, because you’re probably going to have to feed it at some point. Enough of the precautions, let’s get to the good stuff.

* Owning a pet is a great way to teach responsibility to your kids by forcing them to clean up someone else’s vomit. You may want to puke on the carpet a few times and have them clean it up, to make sure your kids are up to the task. Don’t bother with syrup of ipecac, just fire down some leftover gravy from Thanksgiving. This is also a good way to teach your kids about discipline, but that is a completely different article.

* When it comes to choosing a species, dogs are a very popular choice. People are attracted to a dog’s strong sense of loyalty and protective nature. Mainly, dogs will bark at bad guys. This is useful is you live in South West Philadelphia, off of 63rd Street especially. However, one major drawback of owning a dog is that they often have difficulty differentiating between bad guys and non-bad guys, such as neighbors, you, the Pope, leaves blowing across the front yard, shadows and the doorbell. Heaven forbid the Pope ring the doorbell. Also, dogs run away and sometimes bite people. And they crap on the floor, pee on everything and basically smell terrible, all the time. Other than that, dogs are a fantastic choice.

* While a kitten seems like a great idea, it’s important, i.e. imperative, to remember that kittens turn into cats. Cats, by nature, hate you. Also, you probably have like 10 friends who claim to be allergic, and every time they come over they will be all like “I’M ALLERGIC! I’M ALLERGIC!” so keep that in mind as well. Other than that, cats are pretty self sufficient. They do their call of nature in a little sandbox, which is nice, and you don’t have to bathe them constantly. However, cats have razor sharp claws that are capable of slicing through titanium like a knife through butter. And they wait until you’re sleeping to attack. There you’ll be, sleeping, and BAM! Sliced open! You should probably have your cat declawed. Other than that, cats are a terrific choice.

* Don’t get a rabbit unless you want to be one of those creepy dudes who owns a rabbit. You know, those guys who are always like “heeeey, come check out my rabbit.” Here is a list of people who owned rabbits: Jeffrey Dahmer, Lenny from Of Mice and Men and Adolf Hitler. If you want to add your name to this list of homicidal perverts, that’s fine, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

* Don’t be one of those guys who gets a gross pet, like Madagascar Hissing Cockroaches. Even though you’re doing it to be unique, it will only make everyone hate you more than they already do. And nobody ever picked up a chick walking their cockroach in the park.

* Pet Sematary is a movie, and in no way, shape or form can you bring a pet back to life by burying them in a secret Indian burial ground. Keep note of this when deciding whether or not to build a fence.

* Like rabbits, if you get a snake, everyone will refer to you as “the snake dude.” While this sounds cool in theory, most people don’t like the idea of your snake getting loose and biting their rear end from the toilet while they are doing their business. If you ever have a snake and it gets loose, my suggestion is to burn all of your stuff and move. Otherwise, there’s no telling when it is going to bite you right on the rear end.

* Finally, if you’re going to get a dog, make sure you get a DOG, and not just one of those squirrels that Paris Hilton carries around in her pocketbook. If you get a corny little fun-sized dog, I will personally make it my life’s ambition to hunt you down and do you bodily harm.

Okay, so there you have it, the top tips for proper pet ownership. Simply follow these rules and you’re sure to enjoy a fantastic experience with your pet for as long as they live, which is a lot shorter than humans, so be prepared to tell the kids how come Ol’ Max is sleeping with his eyes open. And please, don’t purchase a pet. There are many loving animals out there just looking for a home like yours to destroy. Pick up a few today.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

this shuttle service has a bone to pick with metro.....

Tuesday night I offered to chauffeur the bride, Sara and two of her friends to the Cheetah Girls concert Wednesday night. The bride despises driving in downtown Nashville. I figured I could pass the time with a movie.

So we left Franklin at around 5:50. Dropping them off was no big deal. A little more backed up using the back streets than I thought it would be, but I was able to pull right up to the curb at the GEC and let them out. I took some back streets getting out of downtown and made my way to the 100 Oaks area. I did a little Christmas shopping then saw Borat. (Unless you really feel the need to spend full-price for a movie ticket, wait until it comes out on DVD. It did have some really funny moments, but I think most people could wait. And it's mostly a "guy" movie. However, I did really enjoy watching the previews to Reno 911: Miami.) Just as the movie was ending, the bride texted me and said the concert was over. Good timing.

Getting off the interstate and to about 5 blocks from the GEC was fine. From there on, it was gridlock. Then I get to Broadway where I planned to pick up the 4 young ladies and the Metro cops had it blocked off for 2-3 blocks. Great. Very nice. Seems that everyone had the same idea as me. So I spent the next 20 minutes trying to get somewhat near the back of the GEC. Thank goodness for cell phones. I ended up picking them up a couple of blocks behind the GEC.

I've never seen so many 6-year-old girls wearing leopard print outfits in all my life. All over the place. Up and down Broadway.

There were alot lf out-of-towners and out-of-staters here for the concert. For these people, I'd like to offer a few suggestions. First, there are lines that you are to stay behind when the traffic lights turn red. What are traffic lights? Those were the things hanging above the streets near at the intersections. They weren't Chirstmas decorations. Also, please don't let the sight of pavement scare/confuse you when you're driving. You may only be accustomed to gravel and/or dirt roads where you come from, but here in what we call a "city" we travel on pavement on a daily basis, and it's really not that big of a deal.

Other than dealing with their angry cab driver after the concert last night, I think the girls all had a good time. Sara had been so excited about this for months. And sharing the concert with the bride and her two friends made it even better.....

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

the lexus of all caskets.....

A friend of mine put this on my desk the other day. I'm not sure if she wants me to be laid to rest in style or if she's just politely hinting that I should hurry up and die already.....

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

the one about the endoscopy.....

The bride and I took Meg to Vanderbilt Children's Hospital this morning for her endoscopy. According to the doctor, everything looked normal. So Meg's stomach mystery continues. They're narrowing down what it could be with each test, so hopefully we'll have a solution soon.

We were concerned that she may have problems coming out of the anesthesia but she didn't. When she was 5 and had tubes put in her ears, Meg was quite hostile coming out and got sick. No issues at all today. May have had something to do with the blue eyes of one of the anesthesiologists, I don't know.....

Monday, December 04, 2006

back on the bandwagon.....

For two weeks in a row, the bride and I have watched the Titans come back and win games. First against the Giants, then against Peyton Manning and the Colts. Both times we kept waiting for them to make a mistake and lose the game. Both times they came through. Yesterday's 60-yard field goal by Rob Bironas was the 4th longest in NFL history.

This young team is coming together.....

Friday, December 01, 2006

tried to get it down to 10 but i couldn't.....

December 1, 2006. Where did the last 11 months go? And where did the 70 degree weather go that was just here?

This cold front makes it feel more like it's time for Christmas. It's the way it should feel this time of year. The way it should feel when you're in your car or at home listening to Christmas music.

I started thinking about my top 10 favorite Christmas songs. I whittled it down as far as I could and ended up with 13. So here's my top 10 plus 3, in no particular order:

Same Old Lang Syne, Dan Fogelberg - yeah, it's a chick kind of song. So?

Carol of the Bells, Trans-Siberian Orchestra - it's like the handbell choir meets Pink Floyd.

Christmastime is Here, Vince Guaradi Trio - soothing, smooth jazz.

Tennessee Christmas, Amy Grant - living here in Tennessee, it had to make the list.

There's No Place Like Home for the Holidays, Perry Como - feel-good kind of song.

Baby It's Cold Outside, Elf Soundtrack - makes me think of Will Ferrell as a women's shower stalker, but a great song nonetheless.

I'll Be Home for Christmas, Bing Crosby - another feel-good song.

Entire Album, The Little Drummer Boy, Living Voices - we had this on 8-track when I was growing up. It was the only 8-track Christmas music we had so it played over and over for a solid month. I got the album for Mom and Dad last year at Christmas and I've got a copy of it on CD. May be my favorite music. Not for the quality, but for the memories.

Christmas in Dixie, Alabama - everyone from the south HAS to like this song. It's the law.

Merry Christmas Darling, The Carpenters - another chick song. So sue me.

It's Beginning to Look Alot Like Christmas, Johnny Mathis - usually one of the first songs I hear every hear. Johnny Mathis rules!

Please Come Home for Christmas, Eagles - I never get tired of this song. Ever. Sung by Meg's favorite football team.

Celebrate Me Home, Kenny Loggins - I played deep grooves into his "Live" album in high school, and this song was one of the reasons.

Narrowly missing this list was the classic, Walkin' Round in Women's Underwear. That was a tough one to cut, but I had to be ruthless. Besides, who's ever heard of a top 14 list.....