Thursday, August 31, 2006

"Our house, in the middle of... other people's houses"

And now for a tour of our new house. Well, it's technically a townhouse. And it's just new to us. But still. See the big "K" on the side of the building? That's our neighbor's house. Nice older guy named Luther. So the brown door you see just to the left of his place (partially obscured by that column-looking thing) is ours.

The townhouse is smaller than what we're used to, but we really like it. It takes less time to clean and the two-story thing is still a novelty. Plus the pool is really nice.

This would be our kitchen. It's really little, but that's kind of nice because when I'm cooking, pretty much everything I need is literally within arm's reach. That's the laundry room past the kitchen, and also our cat Spanky's bathroom.

The living room. Oh, I have a thing about sunflowers. They make me happy. So I put them all over the place. I also have them on the bar, in our bedroom and in our bathroom. I even wear Elizabeth Arden's "Sunflowers" perfume just because of the name. I kind of like how it smells, too.

Julia's room, featuring her new, ultra-cool loft bed! (Although I'm not sure how cool it really is, because I nearly killed myself changing the sheets the other day.) When I took this picture, I had just cleaned the room because my parents are coming to visit and -- trust me -- this room will never, NEVER be this clean again. So please, take your time and gaze at it. Take in the neatness. That empty space in the corner is to make room for my mom's bed, which is actually the lower bunk of the loft bed. We haven't set it up yet. Julia's stuffed animals and sports equipment (a monkey and a couple of soccer balls are visible in the picture) live under the loft bed.

I am incapable of having the entire house clean at one time. This is Jenna's fault and not mine. I have to let her mess up one room so I can clean another one. So I'll make this a series. Coming soon: Jenna's room! Our room! And maybe even our bathroom! (If you're lucky.)

Ice Cream

Last night, Little Rock Church had a "Welcome the Nalls" party with tons of homemade ice cream and other yummy stuff. We had a praise time led by members of our new youth group.

That's Leah, Kendall and Billy...

...and Alex and that's Jonathan back there on drums. Sorry the pics are a little dark. Taylor was up there later but I didn't get his picture. These guys led some worship songs and then played one they wrote -- which ROCKED. I think there is no end to talent in this youth group.

The church also gave us a very pretty plant (which everyone is sure we will kill) and... ready for this? A Target gift card! It's eerie how well these people know me already.

My goal for today is to take pics of our house and get them posted. But I need to get the house cleaned up first so the world won't know what squalor we usually live in. So wish me luck.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Katrina revisited

Today I'm reposting my column that came out the week after Hurricane Katrina devastated the Gulf Coast.

By Deana Nall
The Baytown Sun
Published Sept. 7, 2005

Sometimes, writers reach their limits.

I felt like I needed to write about the human aspect of Hurricane Katrina -- the enormous amount of human suffering that is now into its ninth day. But I couldn't. I can't write about something I can't get my mind around.

So instead, I am writing about loss on another level. The loss of a grand old city.

Spring break of 1991. Two college sophomores -- a strawberry blonde and a then-brunette -- tore out of their Texas college town in a little Toyota Corolla. I was the brunette. (That was several hair colors ago .) The strawberry blonde was my friend Susie. We had big plans. After a stop in my hometown of Beaumont, the two of us were headed to New Orleans.

When we rolled into the city a few days later, the eerie Cities of the Dead spread out underneath us as we crossed the freeways over New Orleans' vast cemeteries. We drove through mid-afternoon downtown traffic, stopping for clusters of schoolchildren crossing streets in their blue-and-white plaid uniforms. Elegant aging buildings rose up from the congested streets, wrapped in ornate wrought-iron balconies. Despite its busyness, the city possessed a classic, graceful beauty.

We stayed with Susie's parents in the Maison Dupuy on Toulouse Street, a couple of streets over from Bourbon Street. At night we walked with the crowds down Bourbon, equally repulsed and intrigued by the scene of one of America's more hedonistic nightlife cultures. Even amid the French Quarter's party atmosphere, a sweet, ghostly sadness seemed to linger. Maybe the city knew then that nothing of its beauty could last.

Down St. Peter Street, we entered Preservation Hall and listened to the Dixieland jazz that had been played there since 1961. We sat so close to the band that I remember the clarinet dripping on Susie's shoes.

We walked down Decatur to the world-famous Cafe du Monde, unaware of the fact that the plates of beignets were meant to be shared. Susie and I each ordered our own. That night in the hotel, I awoke to the feeling that the beignets were not going to stay down. I ran to the bathroom to find Susie sitting on the floor.

"I think I ate too many beignets," she said.

Thankfully, our beignets stayed put, and we sat on the bathroom floor for an hour, laughing at the fact that while many French Quarter tourists tend to drink themselves sick, Susie and I managed to overdo it on beignets.

That week, we stuffed ourselves with the best Cajun food in the world. We wondered about the mysterious establishments that were part of the city's Voodoo culture. We ate real New Orleans Po-Boys. We were romanced by the contrasts that lay at the heart of the city's aura -- seedy strip clubs and historic churches that undoubtedly shared the same clientele. New Orleans was a proud city then -- proud of its beauty as well as its filth. Both aspects blended to make the city what she was: a place of grime and grace; revelry and redemption.

Last week's hurricane has brought the debate over whether New Orleans should rebuild. I hope it does. I want to go back and walk its haunted streets. I want to eat too many beignets. I want to see proof that once again, the strongest human desire is to overcome.

That's something I can get my mind around.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Consumer report

Jenna and I ventured out to Wal-Mart this morning. Yes, I hate Wal-Mart but I live in Arkansas now so, "When in Rome..." and all that.

I feel the need to tell you about my latest discovery. I rarely get so excited about a new product (like I did when Chocolate Lucky Charms came out.) I LOVE Wish-Bone Salad Spritzers. They are water-based instead of oil and only ONE CALORIE PER SPRAY. Seriously, this product has changed my life. I may never buy regular salad dressing again. (Except for Thousand Island, which I'm sometimes tempted to eat with a spoon.)

This is Red Wine Mist, which is my favorite so far.

I've been intrigued by the infomercials for Bare Minerals, but I refuse to shell out $60 for it. (Cheap Deana strikes again!) So I got Neutrogena's nine-dollar version instead.
I'm still deciding if I like it. One plus is that it feels like my own skin instead of the layer of oil-slick that liquid foundation feels like. But I don't know about its promise of "sheer coverage." I don't think sheer coverage is what I need. I probably need coverage the consistency of wallpaper paste that won't let anyone see evidence of the birthday I just had. Oh, well. It might be a good thing. We'll see.

And now, a consumer tip from Jenna:
"When produce isn't on Mommy's shopping list but you want some anyway, just pick up your fruit of choice and take a bite out of it. Then she has to buy it. Mommy and I came home with pears, plums and apples that she had no intention of buying -- thanks to my quick thinking!"

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Jenna is TWO!

Happy birthday, Jenna!

We had a fun two-year-old party today. We didn't want a big bash -- I try to put those off as long as possible. Plus our house isn't that big. But we did have our friends the Cooks over. Their oldest son Andrew goes to Julia's school and their middle son Austin loves (and I mean LOVES) Jenna. So we just had a small party with an ice cream cake and Jenna had some presents to open.

Julia had fun, too. She even had a "happy two-year big sister anniversary" present to open.

Jenna opening a present from the Cooks.

Our Baytown friends will remember what we went through trying to get Jenna here. We're always thankful for her, but extra-much today!

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Dallas in the afternoon

Another cool thing about having cable again is that "Dallas" comes on right after Jenna goes down for her nap. I saw J.R. get shot today. Of course I know who did it, since I saw it when it aired 25 years ago.

A few things I never noticed about "Dallas" when I watched it as a kid:

1) Yankee actors doing really bad Texas accents.
2) How tacky the interior of the house at Southfork was.
3) How many grown men called their father "Daddy."

The thing I thought was the coolest about the Ewings when I was a kid:

They had a phone outside by the pool!

Oh... and Bobby was HOT.

One question: in that picture, what are they all sitting on?

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

No more Mrs. Nice Guy

I caved.

I gave in to the skinny jean trend. These black denims (Mossimo Premium Denim from you-know-where) are now mine.

I figure the next time skinny jeans are in, I'll be in my fifties and the people on "What Not to Wear" will be saying "Skinny jeans are SO not for grandmas." So I knew I better do it now, while I'm still young-ish.

From the "We Just Moved" dept., Julia is liking her new school. She says she has made friends -- she just doesn't know their names yet. And Jenna has been passing her time by: 1) Throwing her toothbrush in the toilet (yesterday) and 2) opening the dishwasher full of dirty dishes and drinking what was left in all of the cups she could reach (also yesterday). I love this child to pieces. But she's on the waiting list of several MDO's, and I need her to get into one SOON.

In other news, I realize I haven't said much about our new church. We've been there for two Sundays and, as much as we miss Missouri St. in Baytown, we really feel like we are home. We're getting to know the kids and the parents and everyone has made us feel so welcome. Our first Sunday, they laid hands on us and prayed over us. I was so moved by it that I teared up, but since I was holding hands with people, I couldn't wipe the tears away. So after the prayer I looked something like this:

Hope I didn't scare anyone.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


It's so exciting having cable again. We don't say we're going to watch TV now, or even a certain show. We just say "I'm gonna go watch some cable!" I'm telling you this so you will know that if you look up the word "pathetic" in the dictionary, you will find the words "The Nall family."

Because we have cable now, we have discovered The Creepiest Kids' Show Ever. It's called the Doodlebops. Remember H.R. Puffenstuff, the show that got cancelled because Sid and Marty Kroft realized the only people watching it were acid-heads who were still tripping from the night before? It's kind of like that. It stars three "people" (?) whose mothers apparently drank latex paint while they were pregnant because these three characters are completely unnatural colors. And they have a "rock" (?) band. (I wanted to post a picture of this weirdness, but Blogger hasn't been letting me do that.)

On a different note, I got my Arkansas driver's license the other day. When I showed it to Chad, he said (and this is an exact quote): "Hey! You don't look fat! And you don't look drunk, either!"

I have no idea what he meant by this. If you find out from him, please feel free to fill me in.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Bop, bop, bop! Bop to the Top!*

Because we live about a year behind the rest of the world as far as entertainment goes, we have just recently gotten into "High School Musical." Of course when we got the DVD, Julia mysteriously already knew all the words to the songs. Turns out she had seen bits and pieces at other people's houses, which kids are forced to do when their cheap parents won't get cable. (Our previous refusal to get cable is WHY we are about a year behind everyone else when it comes to cool TV shows, movies, etc. What a vicious, vicious cycle.)

Anyway, we watch this movie all the dang time now, and we make sure we watch the sing-along version so we can all join in (yes, Chad included) when the songs come on. It's really clean and cute and has a good message about just being yourself in high school (which no one EVER does, but still.)

(*This song also includes the line "Zip, Zap, Zop.")

The good news is we have cable now. The two most memorable things I have seen so far are "The Last Days of Elvis" on E! (during which it took them a solid hour to say, "He ate a lot. He slept a lot. He took drugs a lot. Then he died." Pretty depressing) and ABBA in Concert. It was two guys and two girls running around on stage singing cheesy songs with a bad light show. To me, it looked just like Song Song in spandex.

From the "We Just Moved" department, I better have some HOT LEGS by the time we move out of this place because I am running up the stairs about 50 times a day and I'm really starting to feel the burn. When I carry Jenna up, I sometimes have to stop and rest halfway. But I really am in good shape... REALLY.

We went to McAlister's Deli and Target in Little Rock AGAIN today. I'm sure there are other things to do in this town, but if Little Rock only had those two places, we'd be pretty happy. We did go downtown to Sonny Williams Steak Room the other night for our anniversary. The food was great. I bet Clinton used to stuff his face there on a regular basis.

We visited Julia's school tonight for Open House. She seemed most excited about the new playground. That's our little scholar!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Goodbye, Baytown

By Deana Nall
The Baytown Sun

Published August 16, 2006

BRYANT, Ark. — Well, here we are in the land of Clinton, Wal-Mart and the Razorbacks.

It's actually quite nice. On the trip up here (which I’m not making again with a toddler for a long, long time), the scenery just got prettier and prettier once we got ... well, out of Texas. In our little community just outside of Little Rock, we’re surrounded by trees and hills, and I have yet to see a mosquito.

We have encountered the occasional reminder of Texas. It's pretty sad when a dead armadillo in the road makes you homesick.

I’ve been thinking back to December of 2001, when I first contacted The Baytown Sun about doing some writing. I ended up on the phone with one of their editor-types. He hates being mentioned in columns, so I’ll call him “Qwertyuiop.”

“Qwertyuiop” didn’t know me from Adam’s pet chinchilla but let me write anyway. I started with some feature stories and was writing my own weekly column by that fall. For the next three-and-a-half years, the people of the Baytown area read whatever I managed to come up with week after week. I have a box full of letters — most of them nice. I was asked for a couple of autographs and was even called a not-so-nice name for making fun of Amegy Bank’s name change.

I also kept up the feature stories when I wasn’t busy having babies. I was honored to have the chance to listen to survivors of Brownwood and the 1947 Texas City blast tell their stories. I interviewed a number of families whose lives have been deeply impacted by Alzheimer’s disease. I was warmly welcomed into the mosque on Hutto Street by local Muslim leaders, who told me about their faith and how the events of Sept. 11 had affected them.

Those are just a few of the people who let me write about their experiences for the pages of The Baytown Sun. Thank you for letting me have a peek into your lives.

During the past six years, Chad, our girls and I were also blessed by wonderful friends, neighbors, and the members of our irreplaceable church family at Missouri St. Church of Christ, who have stuck “...closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24).

Andy Warhol said everyone gets 15 minutes of fame in their lifetime, but I’ve had much more than that during my stint as a weekly columnist. Thank you for reading my offerings and for letting me know what you thought of them. That meant more than you know. I must also thank the two members of my fan club: Lois Snead and Gladys Adcox. And a sincere thank you to Wanda Garner Cash and “Qwertyuiop,” for their years of support and for taking a chance on a stranger on the phone.

I’ll check in from time to time, and you can find out what’s going on with me and my family through my blog at

It’s no secret that people gripe about Baytown. But it has been a wonderful home to us. I wouldn’t have traded the last six years for anything.

I'm pretty bad at saying goodbye — so bad that I usually won’t even say it. The apostle Paul said it better than I could in Philippians 1:3.

Oh, come on. Get off your duff and go look it up.

Deana Nall and her family have moved from Baytown to the Little Rock, Ark. area. This is her last column for the Baytown Sun.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Arkansas Adventures

Bumper sticker of the day (spotted in the Bryant Public Library parking lot):


And now for Jenna's culinary tip of the day:

"Apple slices getting a little dull? Try dipping them in ketchup. It's a yummy way to get your fruits and vegetables at the same time!"

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Fun Saturday

After a stressful week of moving and unpacking, it was nice to get away from it all today. Our good friends Tod and Jan Traughber came from Searcy with their boys and we went to eat here and then to shop here. (Jan is one of my fellow Target addicts.) Tod and Chad grew up together in Alaska (Tod's mom Sharon, who passed away earlier this year, was like Chad's other mom), and the church up there threw a double wedding shower for Jan and me in December of '92. (We both had bigger hair back then.) We went for years without even seeing Tod and Jan so it's great that we live so close to them now.

Then tonight we went to the house of one of the other ministers. Another family from LRC came over and we all had a nice time. This is all starting to feel more normal.

Because our computer was in the back of a truck Wednesday, I didn't get to post that day's column. So here it is -- my second-to-last regular column for The Baytown Sun:

By Deana Nall
The Baytown Sun

Published August 9, 2006

“Summer’s here! What should we do this year?”

“Hey, I know! Let’s move.”

This wasn’t the exact conversation my husband Chad and I had a few months ago when we decided to move. But here we are. Moving. In August.

I’ve moved a lot during my lifetime. Counting in-town moves, I have moved about 20 times since I was born. And my dad wasn’t even in the military. I think my family just had ADD when it came to towns and houses.

Anyway, I consider myself something of an expert when it comes to relocating. To help out anyone else out there who’s considering a transition, I’ve written this handy guide called “Deana’s Moving Tips” or “How to Completely Lose Your Mind and Make Your Family Hate You in the Process.”

First, decide to move.

(IMPORTANT NOTE: You can save yourself a whole lot of grief if you skip the first step.)

Next, decide where you’re going to move. Here are some places I recommend:

1) Maui

2) Schlitterbahn

3) The house right next door to your current house

Here are some places I don’t recommend:

1) The Arctic Circle

2) Kansas

3) A house already inhabited by someone else

4) Iraq

Now it’s time to get organized. Go to and bookmark the moving tips.

Spend the next eight weeks completely freaked out and staring at your empty boxes. Visit your local Target often for some “Target therapy” (under the guise of “running errands.”)

Put some stuff in a box.

Decide you’d rather get rid of your stuff than pack it. Have a garage sale, during which you enthusiastically sell your junk to strangers at ridiculous prices. That bike your husband paid $300 for? Two bucks.

A couple of weeks before the move, remember you once joked with your husband that if he ever moved you out of Texas, you would get a tattoo of the Lone Star State. Start seriously considering it.

Have any relationships that have gone sour over the years? Now is the time to patch things up. Life is too short for people to stay mad at each other. Plus you need those people to help you load the truck.

Run more “errands.” Driving down Main, pass that Southern Boys tattoo place. Slow down. Should you do it? Oh, please. You are a minister’s wife, for heaven’s sake. You are NOT getting a tattoo. Keep going.

Eat at Rooster’s one last time.

And Antonio’s.

And Donut Wheel.

When it’s time to load the truck, load one box. Fake heat exhaustion. Take a nap. When you wake up, the truck should be ready to go.

Well, that’s about it. Just don’t forget the cat. And the kids.

I hope these tips have been helpful. Next week: The Arkansas report.

Deana Nall and her family have just moved from Baytown to the Little Rock, Ark. area.


Since I last posted, we've packed up everything we own, loaded it onto a truck (with the tireless help of many of our Baytown friends), driven ten or so hours with two kids and a cat (a memory I'd like to permanently delete) and moved in (with the tireless help of many of our new AR friends) to our new house. After a hassle with UPS getting our new modem to us, we got back online last night. I also got Julia enrolled in school and I'm still looking for a Mothers Day Out for Jenna.

We live in a two-story townhouse, and for the first time, "upstairs" and "downstairs" are part of my vocabulary. ("Can you take this upstairs?" "I think your shoes are downstairs." "OK. One thing you girls cannot do is leave toys on the stairs. Now go get some ice for Mommy's ankle.") Julia has also discovered the fun one can have sliding down the stairs in a laundry basket. Guess I need to find out where the closest ER is -- just in case.

Here are some pics from our last Sunday at Missouri St. Church of Christ in Baytown:

This is Julia graduating from Bible Hour, or "KFC." (Kids for Christ.) It was a very nice ceremony and my parents and aunt and uncle got to be there.

My parents have been such great sports about us packing up their only grandchildren and moving out of state. Hopefully they'll start speaking to us again soon, or at least put us back in the will.

Our church in Baytown also put on a wonderful going-away party for us that night. We will never forget it.

It was incredibly hard leaving Baytown. In fact, I haven't talked to many Baytown people yet because I know I will cry and I don't people thinking I'm miserable here, because that's not it at all. It's just hard for home to all of a sudden not be your home anymore.

But we're looking forward to tomorrow, which will be our first Sunday at Little Rock Church, and I've already gotten some writing assignments from my magazines and Julia will be busy soon with school and soccer (if we can get her signed up for soccer.) And a brand-new Target just down the interstate is well on its way to being finished. Then my new life in Arkansas will be complete.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Happy Tax-Free Weekend!

Tax-free weekend -- every bit as festive a holiday as Christmas, if you ask me. The four of us hit Target in a big way today. We got the girls shoes, Chad some clothes, and I got (among other things) these really cool shoes...

...for only $9.99! Life is good.

Oh -- about all the Target comments. In Bryant, AR, where we are moving, they are building a brand new one. So yes, I think they know I'm coming.

My biggest source of stress right now (other than the fact that we are putting all our earthly possessions in a truck and leaving friends, a town, a church and schools we dearly love) is the fact that I haven't found a Mother's Day Out for Jenna yet. With the freelance writing I do at home, I really need a place for her to go a couple of days a week. She's on the waiting list at the Baptist church and the Methodist church won't take her til she's 2.5, which won't be until February. The other day I said, "If they only knew how cute she is, I'm sure she would get right in." Julia said, "Yeah, you should take her there so they can see how cute she is. And hope she doesn't smack anybody." No one knows Jenna's violent side better than Julia, that's for sure.

Here are some pics from our last Wed. night at Missouri St. CoC:

Julia and her Dorito hands.

I turned 35 that day and I'm STILL smiling.

I lost track of Jenna and found her in our preacher's office, surrounded by admirers and posing for pictures. That's our girl!

Friday, August 04, 2006


Between closing on our house, packing up everything we own and getting ready to leave, things around here have been nuts. At one point yesterday, I was on the phone with our neighbor, trying to put batteries in Baby Bop while Jenna wailed, and trying to tell a couple of guys at the door (whose English wasn't great) that no, we don't need our yard mowed because it's technically not our house anymore. All at the same time. It kind of reminded me of that scene in the first "Freaky Friday" (the Jodie Foster one) where she's in her mother's body and finding out that things at home during the day are not always so quiet and peaceful.

Yesterday Julia and I went to her school to take pictures of everyone for the Baytown scrapbook we are working on. She got to see her teacher from kindergarten, who she still adores, so that was exciting. We are going back today to catch her first-grade teacher and a few others who definitely need to be in the book. Chad and I also went out for a late birthday lunch for me, then we left the girls with our good friends Ike and Brenda while our other good friends Bill and Margaret (the people whose house we wrapped a year or so ago) took us to Kemah for steaks and Marble Slab. Bill and Margaret are the kind of people that we instantly connected with when we moved here so it was such a blessing to get to hang out with them. We ate at Saltgrass at a table overlooking Galveston Bay, which was nice because one of the things I'm really going to miss is being near water. One thing I've never taken for granted here is the fact that early in the mornings, Chad and I can hear ships blowing their horns in the Ship Channel. After living in West Texas for so long, being able to hear a ship without even getting out of bed has always been pretty cool to me. I'll miss that, too.

Today Julia and I are going to say bye to more people (and take their pictures for the scrapbook), go to lunch with my friend Lois, and going to the doctor for Julia's check-up. Then we're going swimming tonight with a few of Julia's friends from school. Oh, and I promised to make cupcakes for that. And we're making sure everything is ready for us to leave out of here either Monday evening or early Tuesday.

I'll end with this quote:

"BYE-BYE! I LOVE YOU!" -- Jenna to the check-out guy at Target yesterday.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Happy birthday to me!

By Deana Nall
The Baytown Sun

Published August 2, 2006

Shameless self-promotion.

That’s been one of the perks of writing this column the past three-and-a-half years.

How many times has my column included some mention of how cute my children are? Or better yet, a picture proving my point? Too many to count. Hey, you’d do it, too.

So, with Aug. 2 falling on a Wednesday this year, and with this being one of the last columns I’ll be writing for The Baytown Sun, I thought I should take advantage of this unique opportunity and make an announcement.

Today is my birthday.

And, because this is my column and I get to decide what to include in it, I don’t have to tell you how old I am.

I will tell you this: I’m the same age that two of my favorite musicians, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Stevie Ray Vaughn, were at the time of their deaths.

Let me assure you that they died young. Oh, so very young.

Mozart, like a lot of people in 18th-Century Austria, died of some illness we modern-day folks no longer need to worry about. (Scholars still argue about exactly which illness.) Stevie Ray, a native Texan, died in a helicopter crash after a concert in 1990.

Have you ever thought about how many truly gifted musicians from Texas have died young? Off the top of my head, I can come up with Buddy Holly, The Big Bopper, Janis Joplin and Selena.

Not to be morbid, but if you’re a musician from Texas and you notice you’re getting pretty famous, you might consider finding another vocation. Or at least stay away from tiny little airplanes, drugs and crazy people with guns.

That would probably be a good rule of thumb for just about everyone, now that I think about it.

But enough of all this death. It’s my birthday, for heaven's sake.

So how am I celebrating? Let’s see. Because we are moving to Arkansas next week, we are busy putting everything we own into boxes. We are also closing on our house today. Then church. Guess that’s about it.

For the past several years, the real birthday party for me has occurred on the weekend following my birthday — known since 1999 as “tax-free weekend.”

Tax-free weekend has almost become a religious holiday for me. In my working-outside-the-home days, taking tax-free Friday off so I could be in the stores by 7 a.m. with my birthday money was an annual ritual. Now I just sneak away from the kids whenever I can or drag them through the mall with me at lightning speed.

I’m a little concerned that some of the joy may be taken out of this year's tax-free weekend because of an alarming fashion report I read. You know what's coming back this year? Skinny jeans.

This is how cruel the fashion industry is. The last time skinny jeans were cool was in the ’80s, when women my age were teenagers and insanely skinny. Now we’ve given birth a few times and we're around the age Stevie Ray Vaughn was when he died. And we’re supposed to fit back into those things?

Anyway, thanks for sharing my 30-something birthday with me. In a couple of years, I’ll be as old as Glenn Miller was when he died. Then I’ll be getting old.

Deana Nall lives in Baytown with her family -- for now.