Thursday, September 28, 2006

Gene, I hear you calling

In my further adventures of cable TV, I have discovered my new favorite show. It's Gene Simmons' Family Jewels. Yes, another aging rock star got a reality show. And it's really funny. I have a theory that becoming famous stunts one's emotional growth, and it's no different for Gene. Except instead of being obnoxious or annoying, he's funny. Without meaning to be. And that's the best kind of funny.

My favorite quote from the show so far is when Gene's teenage daughter Sophie says, "Some people's dads are firemen, some are professors... my dad is a blood-spitting demon."

And then there's the mystery of Channel 12. I guess here in the Little Rock area, it's some kind of public access channel. Around the clock, they are showing one of these three things:

1) City council meetings
2) Hillbillies playing banjos
3) Trains going back and forth, back and forth across the screen

I just don't get it -- is this an Arkansas thing?

And now for the most disturbing thing on TV. It's "My Super Sweet 16" on MTV. This show features girls whose ridiculously wealthy parents spend half a million bucks on their daughters' 16th birthday parties. I've seen several episodes, and in nearly every single one, the birthday girl is in tears at her party over something that didn't go the way she thought it should have. Hey, parents -- if you're that rich and want to do something nice for your daughter, send her to Uganda for a summer and let her work with orphans of AIDS.

I had hope for one girl who grew up poor in foster care and had recently been adopted by a wealthy family. But no, she was the worst about "I'm only inviting the most popular people." And get this -- while on a shopping trip to New York City for her party dress, she said, "Just think, a year ago I was shopping at Target."


Tuesday, September 26, 2006


How about some vegetarian haiku?

Dinner's over now
I'm not sure what I just ate
The box said "Boca"

Actually, it wasn't all that bad. When I have a burger craving, it'll do.

Bad Parenting Revisited

And now, more news from the How NOT to Parent a Pregnant Teen department:

Police: Teen Forced to Drink Turpentine

COLUMBUS, Ga. (AP) -- Police have arrested the mother and two cousins of a pregnant 16-year-old who are accused of forcing the teen to drink turpentine in an attempt to induce an abortion.

Rozelletta B. Blackshire, 44, was charged with criminal abortion and first-degree cruelty to children, Columbus Police Sgt. Debra Bohannon said. The teen's cousins, Shonda Y. Blackshire, 26, of Columbus, and Monica M. Johnson, 28, of Eufaula, Ala., also were arrested Friday and charged with criminal abortion.

Investigators have not determined whether the turpentine has had any harmful effects on the teen, who is three months pregnant, or the fetus.

"There's no medical evidence that would support you could induce an abortion by giving her turpentine," Bohannon said. "Still, it's not made to ingest. It's not good to ingest."

Bohannon said the girl's mother and cousins twice forced her to drink turpentine between Sept. 12 and Sept. 20.

The women might have wanted the teen to have an abortion because her pregnancy could have exacerbated an unrelated health problem, Bohannon said. The girl is in protective custody.

Police were notified after the girl told her school counselor that her mother made her drink turpentine.

Bohannon said the sex crimes unit was handling the case because they already were investigating a sexual assault case involving the pregnant teen. Investigators believe the girl conceived during that assault.

If convicted in the criminal abortion case, the women could face up to 10 years in prison.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Losing my Religion

My morning at church:

1) Jenna walks into the building and promptly drops her sippy cup on the floor. The top pops off and a torrent of milk splashes into the carpet.

2) During church, Julia's foot somehow becomes stuck between two chairs, requiring two adult males to pull the chairs apart to free her.

3) Jenna grabs a handful of those Magnetix balls -- which are basically overgrown ball bearings -- and beans the preacher's son in the back of the head with them. Also during church. At this point, I remove her from the auditorium.

4) Church is finally over and Jenna heads out to the playground. But wait! There's a giant fire ant bed on the playground, I'm told! So I bring a very upset Jenna back inside.

5) While I'm cleaning up the mess Jenna made where we sat in church, and while I'm trying to explain to Jenna why she can't go to the playground, Julia is walking along the seats and accidentally hits her unopened can of root beer on the metal part of one of the chairs. The can explodes, ripping out one whole side of the can and sending a tsunami of root beer all over the chairs and carpet.

6) While I'm trying to locate some kind of carpet cleaner, Jenna disappears. I worry that she's on the playground being eaten alive by fire ants. I find the cleaner, throw it at Chad, point to the mess, and go find Jenna.

7) I get both girls in the car, (Jenna crying over the playground and Julia crying over the root beer she had been saving for lunch) and leave a message on Chad's cell that I'm very sorry, but I'm leaving and I hope he can find a ride home.

Chad showed up in time and dropped me off at home before taking the girls to eat. I had lost my appetite. Next Sunday, Jenna and I are coming home after class. The next Sunday should be OK because we are having Sunday in the Park, where it's acceptable to run around like a lunatic primate. After that, Jenna and I will have to find a church that has Sunday in the Park every single Sunday.

I've never seen a Coke can explode like that.

Friday, September 22, 2006


It has come to my attention that most people who read my blog and don't know me in real life don't know how to say my name. That's OK. I've been explaining it for 35 years. It usually doesn't bother me when people mispronounce it, except the OB I had during my pregnancy with Jenna. He kept calling me "Dee-Anna" until I finally said that if we were going to be so intimately involved, he had to say my name correctly. Then I wouldn't feel so cheap. He understood. Besides, his name was Dr. DeAyala. If I could pronounce that, he should be able to say my name, right?

Here's the deal: My parents planned on naming me "Dean" if I had been a boy. When I turned out to be a girl, they just stuck an "a" on the end. Dean-a. (Sounds like "Deena.") So there you go.

Also, another quick note. I am linked to "Slave to Target." I need to make it clear that Slave to Target is NOT my blog. Yes, I'm crazy about Target, but the women who run that site are just crazy. These women think nothing of going into Target "just to look" and then plunking down a couple hundred bucks on an assortment of stuff. I may fantasize about doing that, but I don't. In fact, I show STT to Chad occasionally just so he'll know how good he has it. The craziest I ever went in Target was well under $100 and I had a gift card helping me out. I'm CHEAP, remember?

Oh -- 15 days til my new Target opens!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

More Veggie Tales

Leave it to me to become a vegetarian and then go eat at a place called the "Rib Crib." I do these things to appease Chad, my carnivorous husband. So I'm sitting there at the Rib Crib with chandeliers made of antlers hanging from the ceiling and I'm asking the waitress if they have anything that doesn't have meat in it. While Chad snickers. I ended up getting their brisket potato -- minus the brisket. So I paid seven bucks for a baked potato with butter and cheese on it. This is discrimination against vegetarians, I tell you!

Chad's BBQ brisket looked yummy. Hey, I'm a Texas girl. But don't worry -- I abstained.

Speaking of yummy, here's the latest thing I love: Sonic smoothies. My favorite is the strawberry banana one. In fact, I haven't actually tried the others. One day, when nobody's looking, I'm going to order one in each flavor and drink them all down. Sonic's menu -- like the Rib Crib's -- isn't very veggie friendly so I get a smoothie for a meal when we go there.

After the Rib Crib, we went to Hastings, where I scored a used copy of Michelle Branch's "The Spirit Room" for two bucks. (You could call me a lot of things that I would find offensive, but "cheap" is not one of them.) Today at Sonic Julia and I had the windows down singing "You're EVERYWHERE TO ME..." for the world to hear.

Anyway, thanks to everyone who's been sending me veggie info!

Monday, September 18, 2006

There's bad parenting, and then there's...

What would you do if your teenage daughter came home pregnant?

You could hug her, cry with her, tell her you love her, and prayerfully help her work out a plan for her future.

Or, you could be the Crappiest Parent of the Year and do this.

She's IN!!!

Thank you, First Baptist Church of Benton, thank you!!!

Take my child...please

Dear Mothers Day Out directors of the Little Rock area:

It has come to my attention that just about none of your programs have room for my daughter, Jenna. I understand you have regulations about how many children can be in each class and all that.

However, I would like to turn your attention to the mistake you are making by not making room for my daughter. Jenna is a bright ray of sunshine that will turn any MDO class into a party or a circus -- probably both.

And she's cute. Oh my stars, is she cute. Please take a few moments to ponder Jenna's cuteness:

Mrs. Mardell Hamby, director of Cornerstone Christian Academy at First Colony Church of Christ in First Colony, Texas, assures me that Jenna's social skills, verbal skills and overall cuteness far exceeds that of other two-year-olds. Mrs. Hamby is also Jenna's grandmother, but still.

So please consider making space for this extremely bright and cute child. She will make every day at your school pure joy. Plus I can't grocery shop, clean the house, get my hair cut or pee in peace until she gets into a program.

Thank you,

Deana Nall
Bryant, AR

Friday, September 15, 2006

From the veggie front

I've been a vegetarian for two days now. It hasn't really been that hard. Last night I made fajitas and just made mine with onions and bell peppers and I left all the chicken for Chad. I didn't miss the meat at all. It's easy when I never really liked meat in the first place. So why did I eat it for 35 years? I have no idea. I also went to one of my favorite Bryant eateries yesterday, Firehouse Subs, and got a veggie sub. I love this place because it was started by real firemen, the food is great and the people who work there are super friendly. When you walk in, someone always yells "Welcome to Firehouse!" It makes everyone feel like Norm from Cheers. Plus they give out little red fireman hats to the kids. Our house is slowly filling up with them.

I noticed Burger King has a veggie burger. I'm afraid of it. Has anyone tried it?

Here's what I WON'T miss about eating meat:

1) Biting down on some unidentified piece of fat/gristle-type stuff. YUCK.
2) Having a higher risk of heart disease and cancer.
3) Spending a huge chunk of my grocery bill on meat.
4) Just how gross meat is in general.

What I WILL miss:

1) Ribs.
2) Pot roast.
3) Boneless wings from Chili's.
4) Chef Boyardee ABCs and 123s with meatballs (holdover from childhood).
5) I guess that's about it.

Thursday, September 14, 2006


OK. I leave Texas and Ann Richards dies. So what does that tell you?

Anyway, I love the new GAP ads featuring Audrey Hepburn dancing to AC/DC's "Back in Black." Love Audrey. AC/DC -- not so much. But put the two of them together and I might just have to go buy some skinny black pants.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


Due to circumstances beyond my control, I ingested some of Jenna's snot this morning. I won't go into details, but it was entirely accidental and it could happen to anyone. I'm just more than a little grossed out right now.

So naturally, let's talk about food. I'm thinking about going vegetarian, or at least cutting most beef, chicken and pork out of my diet. I realize this would affect my relationship with the cheeseburger pizza at Larry's. Maybe that could be my one guilty pleasure; something for which I could attend some sort of "veggie confessional" afterwards. (I could say 20 "Hail Carrots" or something.)

It's not really an ethical thing with me, although I'm all for the humane treatment of animals. I just think, in general, and with some exceptions, that meat is gross. I thought it was gross when my parents tried to make me eat it when I was a kid. And -- again, generally speaking -- I think it's gross now.

Not as gross as ingesting someone else's snot, though.

Monday, September 11, 2006

That Day

I wasn't going to blog about Sept. 11 today, but then I ended up commenting on Mike Cope's blog about it. I'm reposting my comment here:

As a rule, I never had the TV on in the mornings except for PBS, and I never played the radio in the car while I was taking Julia (age 2) to preschool. So it wasn’t until I dropped her off and got back in the car and turned the radio on that I knew what was going on. This was about 9:30. We were supposed to have two elders and their wives over that night, and we had only been in our house a few months and didn’t have curtains in the bathroom yet. I hated to think of the elders or the wives using the bathroom within full view of our neighbors, so I had planned to go to the store to buy curtains. Rattled and trying to take in the news, I still went to K-mart and got the curtains. The lady at the checkout seemed pretty cheerful. “Does she know?” I wondered. “Should I tell her we’re under attack?” I said nothing and left. Those curtains hung in that bathroom for five years until we moved out a month ago. It’s funny what makes you remember, and I always remembered when I looked at those curtains.

My mom called later that day pleading with me to get Julia from school and come to her house. She was concerned because our neighborhood was situated between Exxon’s largest North American refinery and the Houston Ship Channel. But getting to my parents’ house would mean driving through Houston. “I’m not driving through any major cities right now,” I told her.

The mother of a woman Chad taught with at Baytown Christian Academy was on the plane that hit the first tower. (I interviewed Chad’s co-worker for a one-year-anniversary newspaper feature.) Another Baytown resident was touring NYC and was supposed to have been in the WTC that morning, but she overslept in her hotel. The crash of the first plane woke her up.

For the one-year anniv., I also interviewed leaders at the Baytown mosque. It was five Muslim men and me around a table. I was terrified at first. But it soon became clear that they were hurting, too. After that, it grieved me to hear people — especially at my own church — bad-mouthing our local Muslims. The attacks hurt all of us, plus the Muslims had to live under suspicion and with hate-filled glares.

Julia was just two at the time of the attacks, and we always guarded her from anything Sept. 11-related — probably too much. The first time I really talked to her about it was this morning, because I knew she’d probably be hearing about it at school. She argued with me at first. She said the Titanic was the worst thing that had ever happened to our country. “But that was an accident,” I told her. “The terrorist attacks were on purpose.” The hurt returned again as I saw the understanding fill her sweet face. She just said, in her quiet, little voice, “Oh.”

Up and at 'em

This morning Julia walked into our room dressed down to her shoes. This would have been great except it was ONE-FIFTEEN IN THE MORNING. "I thought it was time to get up," she said. Then at 6 a.m. she did the same thing. I had her take her shoes off and get in bed with us until 7. So today I am going shopping for a clock.

Which means I have to take Jenna to Wal-Mart. I dread nothing like I dread taking Jenna to Wal-Mart. She is really sweet and a lot of fun but public outings are just plain draining. She won't ride in the cart anymore. She likes to run around the store. The further she gets away from me, the happier she is. I can't tell you how many times I've heard a Wal-Mart employee ask in a very loud voice, "Where is your mommy?" I usually come home from such excursions needing a nap and probably some kind of narcotic. I find out tomorrow if a space has opened up for her at the MDO here. Oh, please, please, please...

Thursday, September 07, 2006


It only took me a month of living here, but I found the coolest place in Bryant, Arkansas. Sorry, Lynn. It's not Larry's. It's Whippersnappers Candy Shoppe.

Whippersnappers has all the usual candy store stuff: a Pucker Powder dispenser, all kinds of gummy candy and every flavor of Jelly Bellies imaginable. But that's not what makes it so cool. That would have to be the Galaga machine. The old sit-down kind. What's even cooler than that? It's free. You just sit down and play. As much as you want to. The lady who runs the place said her husband found it on Ebay, and it was her birthday/anniversary/Christmas present a couple of years ago. I asked her, "You mean I could come in here and play Galaga all day long if I wanted to?" She said, "Sure, people come in here to do just that."

Let's review: M&M's. Jelly Bellies. All-you-can-play Galaga for free. Forget Disney. This is the happiest place on earth.

Jenna even played while I shopped. She lost all her ships pretty quickly, but she had a 47% shot ratio. Not bad for a two-year-old who was drooling lemon SAF-T POP (given to her FREE by the Galaga lady) all over the controls.

I was shopping at Whippersnappers for our good friend Tod Traughber, who had a birthday today. I got candy for him, his wife Jan (also our good friend) and their two boys (them, too). After Julia's soccer practice we headed to their house in Searcy for dinner, cake, ice cream and candy. We talked about the old days. And the new days. We didn't get home until 11 p.m. -- on a school night! Hey, we're allowed to be bad parents every once in a while.

So who's up for Galaga?

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tuesday Gripes

Maybe it's because I didn't get enough sleep last night. I don't know. But I feel compelled to blog about things that bug me.

1) When people pronounce the word "pinch" like "peench."
2) When people use racial slurs in front of my children. (Yes, Mr. Racist Redneck in Target the other day, I was glaring at YOU.)
3) When I'm behind someone in the salad bar line and I'm having to stand there forever because they feel they have to get a little bit of EVERYTHING -- I guess to get their money's worth.
4) When people try talking to me while I'm on the phone.
5) Taco Bell's latest ad campaign in which they are trying to tell America that we need a FOURTH MEAL. Yes, we're the fattest honkin' nation in the world, and we need to add another meal between dinner and breakfast. What about after we all die of clogged arteries, huh? Who's gonna be buying your tacos then, HUH?
6) When white people believe that when they are talking to someone of the African-American race, they must lapse into "ghetto-speak." I honestly can't think of anything more demeaning. Next time you see this happening, watch the face of the African-American carefully. You will see an expression that clearly says, "Someone get this white idiot away from me."

There. I'm done for now. Coming soon -- a happier Deana!

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Labor Day Weekend

My parents got here Friday and we've been doing our best to have the ideal Arkansas experience. So we had a square dance on our front porch.

(Just a little Arkansas humor, folks.)

On Friday night, we went to the hot spot of Bryant, Arkansas, society -- which is Larry's Pizza. This is the place that Lynn Cook, senior minister of Little Rock Church, calls his "second place of worship." Larry's has a buffet, a game room, and people who bring second (and subsequent) helpings right to your table so you don't even have to get out of your chair. My favorite of Larry's offerings is their cheeseburger pizza, which is complete with pickles and mustard.

Saturday we went to downtown Little Rock. We visited the River Market and then had lunch at Sticky Fingers. After lunch we spent several hours at the Museum of Discovery. It was all great fun.

Today, after church, lunch and a nap, we ventured into West Little Rock to Target. I bet our new church family had no idea I'd use part of the gift card they gave us to buy streetwalker boots, but I did. Aren't they cool? Hey, I hear they actually have winter here. I needed boots.

Plus every little girl needs metallic pink cowboy boots, so Julia is now the proud owner of these:

Mom and Dad go back to Houston tomorrow, and Chad is coming back from the youth group retreat. Then things are back to normal for a while.