Monday, April 30, 2007


Here is a phone conversation I had this morning:

ME: Hello?

GUY: Uh...Tina?

ME: This is Deana.

GUY: Uh...TEE-na? Or DEE-na?

ME: DEE-na. With a "D."

GUY: (confused silence) Do you live in Cabot?

ME: No.

GUY: I might have the wrong number. See, there's this singles' hook-up service...

ME: (interrupting because I did not want to hear the rest of that) ...then that would definitely not be me.

GUY: Oh.

After hanging up, I noticed the name that showed up with the guy's phone number on my Caller ID. It is "Cheryl." So who is Cheryl? And does Cheryl know about Tina?

So I figure one of a few scenarios is going on here.

1) The guy is married to Cheryl and using her phone to line up dates through a dating service.

2) The guy is Cheryl's son and using her phone to line up dates through a dating service.

3) The guy was married to Cheryl for many years, but, after a long and courageous battle with some dreaded disease, Cheryl passed away -- leaving The Guy a bereaved widower who is now, cautiously and timidly, and with Cheryl's name still on his phone because he can't bring himself to change it -- creeping back out into the dating arena. It took all the gumption he had to join a dating service and then call Tina, and he got me instead.

That third possibility is the main reason I didn't call back demanding to know who Cheryl was and if she knew about Tina. I'm also not into making strangers mad at me who have access to my phone number.

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Friday, April 27, 2007

Tooth Tunes

This last week, we acquired what Julia calls the best invention ever. She got a Tooth Tunes toothbrush. These are toothbrushes that play popular music -- two minutes worth, which is the length of time dentists say we should be brushing out teeth. Julia got the Hannah Montana one, which plays "Best of Both Worlds." There are 17 Tooth Tunes toothbrushes to choose from. I want to get Chad the one that plays the Rocky theme. And I'm trying to decide between Jamiroquai's "Canned Heat" (from the big Napoleon Dynamite dance scene) and "All Star" by Smashmouth. I'm also interested in the KISS toothbrush, which plays, "I Wanna Rock 'n' Roll All Night." Go to and pick out your own!
Speaking of KISS, is anyone else as into the new season of Gene Simmons' Family Jewels as we are? It's officially our favorite show. We realize it's not funny when someone skis into a tree right after having plastic surgery, but Chad and I were cracking up over that last Sunday night. A&E also showed a Family Jewels marathon Sunday afternoon, and Chad, who was recovering from his caving trip, watched no less than SIX EPISODES back to back.
I found this great pic of Gene from the old days. He didn't look nearly this cool after that tree was done with him.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007


Guess who's coming to Little Rock June 7? The picture at left might give you a clue. And guess whose husband just surprised her with tickets?

Well, it wasn't a HUGE surprise, seeing as how I kept dropping not-so-subtle hints all day yesterday -- like "Are we doing anything June 7? I really, really want to see Norah Jones at Robinson Center Music Hall at 7:30 p.m."

So...we need a sitter for June 7! Any takers?

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Friday, April 20, 2007

Writer Mama

I've been reading, no, dissecting and studying, this book for a couple of weeks now. I've waited to blog about it, though, because I wasn't sure I could do it justice. For one thing, I'm still taking in all the words on its pages.

But I want my blog world to know about this book now because it is utterly fabulous.

It's called "Writer Mama: How to Raise a Writing Career Alongside Your Kids." It's by Christina Katz and it describes, in very detailed, practical advice, how to become a published writer while being a stay-at-home mom.

I know, I know. I'm already a published writer while being a stay-at-home mom. I'm currently writing for five magazines, and the newspaper back in Baytown has a standing offer to print anything I send them.

"You could have written that book," Chad said, when I told him what it was about.

Well, not really. Although I believe writing is a skill that can always be improved upon, I have the basics down. I know when and where to use "there," "their" and "they're," and, unlike a certain boutique here in Bryant, AR, I know the word "HATS" on a store-window sign should never have an apostrophe.

But I have been completely clueless in this area: how to sell my stuff. I know about cover letters and query letters but I haven't been sure how to write them or when I should send one over the other.

That's why "Writer Mama" is so great. Katz spells out how to do all this stuff. Plus she helps you identify a market and tells you how to become an idea-generating machine amid the chaos that accompanies being at home with young children. And other extremely useful info.

Katz also has a web community of writer mamas and she offers online writing classes. I'm planning on taking one in the fall. I'm adding links to her site and other Writer Mama-type links under "Writing Links" down the side of my blog.

So, Mary Beth P., and Sarah P., and other writer-types I know, get on over to Amazon and get this book. I got mine for twelve bucks. And even if you don't have kids yet, the information in this book is unvaluable. Seriously, I wish I had it ten years ago during my pre-kids years.

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Thursday, April 19, 2007

More fun at home

Julia slammed her finger in her bedroom door yesterday HARD. I mean the door bounced all the way back open. She also heard a "CRACK"... not a good sign. Today's X-ray showed a hairline fracture, and because the break is very close to the growth plate, Julia was referred to a bone doctor in Little Rock. We'll be there at 8 a.m. on Friday. We are glad it is such a minor thing, but she has still been in a lot of pain. She wanted so much to be at school today so we took her, but she called at 10:30 a.m. because the pain was keeping her from focusing on anything. We are also having to help her with things like getting dressed and opening car doors. She's out of soccer for now -- we'll see what the doctor says about all that tomorrow.

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Tuesday, April 17, 2007


A number of things have gotten in the way of my blogging during the past five days:

- A storm knocked out our modem Friday night, and we couldn't get it fixed until Monday.
- Both girls have been sick. For three nights in a row, Jenna has had a wee-hour protein spill -- resulting in bleary-eyed bedding changes. We are getting used to hearing the washer run at 3 a.m.
- Our dryer went on strike at the end of last week, and I spent Friday afternoon at the laundromat getting all the laundry in the house done in case we couldn't get it fixed for a while. I got five loads washed, dried and folded in about an hour-and-a-half, something that would never happen at home. So it was fun, it a weird sort of way.

The modem and the dryer are fixed (thanks to the AT&T guy and Chad, respectively), so that leaves the girls. They are both home again today taking liquid Phenergan.

I'm glad I got out of the house Friday evening to scrapbook with friends, because since then, I've only left the house to go to the doctor and pharmacy. Yes, that's right. I said scrapbook. I've been meaning to start Julia's Baytown scrapbook since we got here and I can now say the project is in progress. It was fun. I got several pages into the book, hung out with church friends, ate M&Ms, and I even scored a playdate for Jenna -- which is supposed to happen this Friday, if only Jenna would stop pulling her Linda Blair imitation in the middle of the night.

The Dr. Phil show on hyperemesis last Thursday was great. My HG friends and I believe so much progress was made towards raising awareness of the disease. Just for Dr. Phil to look into the camera and say to an audience of millions, "This is NOT morning sickness" was huge. We've been trying to tell the world that for years. The hardest part for me to watch was the segment about Meagan, a woman who is battling the disease right now. This once- active and vibrant woman is now curled up under a blanket on the bathroom floor and she doesn't know when it's going to end. I was there, too, and I wish I could just zap those memories out of my brain.

On an unrelated note, "Daniel Cook" just came on Disney and I said, "He always wears that orange shirt." Julia said, "Maybe his mom never does laundry."

Despite the craziness of the last several days, I have, in segments, been able to watch "The Lake House." I wanted this movie to work. I really did. But it drags horribly and Keanu sleepwalked through most of it. I think it would have worked better as a comedy. The concept is interesting, though. Haven't you ever wondered what it would be like to meet the 1986 version of your spouse? Or to talk to the teen-age version of you? I'd like to think that "Teen Deana" and I could go for a long drive (I would drive, of course, I wouldn't dream of letting her) and I would give her advice about all the things she needed to avoid to make her journey to adulthood not so messy.

But truthfully, if I ever found myself in a car with my 16-year-old self, I pretty sure I would slow down, lean over, open the passenger-side door, and push her out onto the highway.

Well, that's not entirely true.

I wouldn't slow down at all.

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Thursday, April 12, 2007

Marcia, Marcia, Marcia!

Marcia, my friend from way-back-when who I blogged about a few weeks ago, has a blog now. Go check it out at You can find out her take on having a Brady Bunch name, plus what possibly could have happened in the middle of the night in the middle of nowhere that inspired her to finally break down and get a cell phone.
And now for today's Target report. I went in this morning with the intention of looking at scrapbook stuff. I have all the pictures I need to make Julia's book of Baytown memories, I just haven't started on it yet. When we first moved here, I couldn't work on it because looking at the pictures and all the notes members of our former church family had written to her made me sad. But I think I'm all good with that now.
But on the way to the scrapbook aisle, I thought I'd check out the 75%-off clothes in the back of the store. I wound up in the fitting room having an out-of-body experience because a SIZE SMALL Isaac Mizrahi black dress fit me like a glove and was showing off body parts I forgot I had. I scored it for EIGHT BUCKS. (I'm telling you, the "S" on the tag is worth at least eight bucks all by itself.) I got it and a pair of pants (and a can of vegetarian chili) for a total of 16 dollars.
So I called Chad on the way home and said I have this hot dress and just need a place to wear it to. He said, "So get a sitter for tonight."
Let's recap:
- Target
- black Mizrahi dress
- 8 bucks
- date plans with hot husband
...all before 10:30 a.m. Not bad work if you can get it.
Don't forget Dr. Phil today! I'm taping it because I'll be retrieving kids from their respective schools.

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Hyperemesis Gravidarum

If you never watch Dr. Phil, please watch it this Thursday, April 12. The topic will be hyperemesis gravidarum. Here is a description of HG that I borrowed from the Hyperemesis Education and Research website:

"HG is a debilitating and potentially life-threatening pregnancy disease marked by rapid weight loss, malnutrition, and dehydration due to unrelenting nausea and/or vomiting with potential adverse consequences for the newborn(s). "

That paragraph is a very condensed version of what happened to me during the summer of 1998, when I was pregnant with Julia. This was not morning sickness, folks. Between June 4 and Sept. 19 of that year, I threw up around 15 times a day...and that is no exaggeration. I lost 35 pounds, missed two months of work and was hospitalized seven times for severe dehydration. To make matters worse, my doctor was clueless and had no idea what to do with me. (I also had HG with Jenna. It wasn't nearly as bad, but I was on home healthcare for a while.) After my ordeal was over, I was frustrated by the fact that I couldn't find any information on HG on the web. So I started my own online community for women who had suffered or who were currently suffering from it. I met women from all over the world who had been through this horrible disease. I met many who had terminated their very much wanted pregnancies to save their own lives. I also met Kimber MacGibbon, who will be featured on Thursday's show. I eventually let my website go and later, Kimber and some others founded the Hyperemesis Education and Research Foundation, or HER. The HER Foundation website,, has excellent resources for HG patients and their families.

So little has been known about HG -- most survivors I've met had never heard of it until they were diagnosed with it. We campaigned Oprah for years to do a show on it without success. But we got Dr. Phil, and isn't he the next best thing? Please pray for this show to help shatter the silence and ignorance that has surrounded HG for too long. And pray for research and a cure. Julia knows now how sick I was with her, and how blessed we are for her to have been born healthy after I didn't digest anything for almost half my pregnancy. I pray for medical advancements to be made so my girls can have the joy in their pregnancies that I couldn't have in mine.

Please watch the show! Someone you love may have HG one day.

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Monday, April 09, 2007

The Sneeze Drawer

Yesterday morning, when we were trying to get ready for church and I was not in the mood for this kind of thing, Jenna opened the refrigerator, then opened the little drawer where we keep cheese and lunchmeat and stuff... and sneezed in it. Because of my mood, and because I was trying to fight off a threatening migraine, this didn't strike me as funny until we were in the middle of church. So then I had one of those inexplicably-bursting-out-laughing moments that are always so much fun to explain.

I was going to grate up some cheese to put on the salad we were taking to our house church for Easter lunch. DON'T WORRY, I DIDN'T.

The other day I took Julia and Jenna to a park here in town. They have a merry-go-round there -- the steel kind they had on playgrounds when I was a kid that you can get going pretty fast if you have the right person pushing it. Julia was playing on it with some older elementary-age girls. They wanted me to push it, so I did. Then Jenna wanted on, so I slowed it down so I could put her in the middle and I wasn't going to push it so fast. One of the older girls said, with her eyebrows raised -- that "I know everything" look -- "You may not want to put her on this." I said, "Well, I'm her mom and I said she could get on it." The girl said, "Oh."

Believe me, I had my snooty, bratty moments at that age. But I don't recall ever trying to give parenting advice to someone who was already a PARENT. Guess I'm turning into a cranky mom.

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Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Look! No hands!

One of my favorite things to do when I'm supposed to be working is to google "worst album cover" and see what comes up. These have made the blog rounds before, but I found one featuring an artist who I don't believe has received the recognition she is due:
That's right, folks. "The Handless Organist."

I've never been one to find humor in someone's disability. What I find amusing here is the woman's name. Or lack of one. Why can't she just be "Myrtle" or whatever her real name is? Why highlight her lack of hands? That would be like calling Ray Charles "The Blind Guy Who Can Sing" or Def Leppard "The Rock Band with the One-Armed Drummer." Or if I were to pursue a singing career, I could be "The Girl with Fake Blond Hair who has Toothpick-Like Arms and Blood Sugar That Occasionally Crashes."

One thing I appreciate about "The Handless Organist" is how she shows that even getting caught stealing in Saudi Arabia doesn't have to stop someone from having a music career.

And think of all the money she saves on manicures.

Bad, BAD joke. I am so sorry.

What I want to know is why Ms. Handless never collaborated with this guy:
You could title their joint album "Give Us a Hand. Or Three."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Happy Birthday to Brian

My brother Brian turns 40 today.

That means he was born on April 3, 1967. He seemed to be a pretty good sport when I came along four years later, as far as I could tell. Here are some "Brian and Deana" memories from our 35.5 years as siblings:

- Me, 5; Brian, 9. I was about to start kindergarten and still having trouble with the whole potty training concept. My mom was about to pull her hair out over it. One day I had an accident AGAIN and our mom lost it and I wound up crying in my room. Brian thought Mom's treatment of me was horribly unfair (yeah, he wasn't the one trying to potty train me for THREE YEARS) and he offered to help me run away. We packed our lunchboxes with cheese slices and water, I climbed into our red wagon and he pulled me down the street. When we got to the end of the block, we turned around and came back.

- Me, 7; Brian, 11. I thought it was cool that our ages sounded like a convenience store. We lived on the side of a ridge in Big Spring, TX, and the street we lived on was on a steep slope. I would get on my Big Wheel and Brian would get behind it, start running and then hop on. We would fly down our sloped sidewalk until we came to a cross street. That's when I would make a sudden, sharp turn to the left with the handlebars. Invariably, we would tumble into the neighbors' yard, the Big Wheel would shoot across the street on its side, and the old neighbor lady would come out and screech at us for being on her grass as we lay there trying to get our heads to stop spinning. We did this over and over and over. Good times. No permanent injuries.

- Me, 8; Brian, 12. For a while in Lovington, N.M., we lived in a parsonage right across the street from the church where my dad was a minister. Some nights, when my parents had something to go to at the church, they would leave us home alone since they were just going to be across the street. On one of these nights, we were flipping channels and found "Carrie" on Showtime. So we watched it. Two kids. At home. Alone. We ended up scared out of our minds and trying to comfort each other until our parents came home.

- Same ages and house. A revered elder at our church had died -- a man who had been something of a surrogate grandfather to us. Right before the funeral, Brian and I were in the backyard playing with our dog. We had found a rickety cart on wheels and had tied our dog's leash to it and stood there laughing as the dog ran around dragging this squeaky, rattling cart. For some reason we went inside. Our parents were ready to go across the street to the funeral, so we all left. Halfway through the funeral, it occurred to Brian and me that Snoopy was still tied to that cart in our backyard. Even been cracked up in church? Getting cracked up at a funeral is infinitely worse.

- Me, 11; Brian, 15. He had his driver's license now. He also had a car where the backseat would fold down and leave an open space into the trunk. We did "magic" tricks for the neighborhood kids where Brian would close me in the trunk, I would fold the seat down, roll onto the floorboard and pop the seat back up. Brian would open the trunk and I was gone. The kids were in awe.

- Countless prank calls, tape-recorded "radio shows" (we would write scripts for soap operas, news reports and commercials and then record them) and jam sessions featuring Brian on bass guitar and me on piano playing the lead guitar part since I couldn't actually play the guitar. We sort of had visions of forming a family rock band, but who didn't? Brian did, however, go on to earn a music degree and now has a jazz organ band in Austin called The NeoTrio. You can go over to his blog (the "NEWEST BLOG EVER!" over there under my Blood Blogs) and see what he's up to.

Oh, and tell him happy birthday.

Monday, April 02, 2007

RIP, Spring Break

We mostly stuck around here for spring break, except for Thursday, when we took a day trip to Blanchard Springs Caverns. Chad put some pictures on his blog last week, but that's not going to stop me from putting more here.
Check out this dogwood! It's right outside the Blanchard Springs Caverns visitors center (which is very retro-1960s. I loved it.) Dogwoods and wisteria are all over the place right now, making me feel a little better about missing spring in southeast Texas. And I have to say... the wisteria here puts Texas wisteria to shame. T've seen 30-foot tall trees here completely covered in the stuff.

And now for some spring break math. Julia ...

plus this lovely spring near the caverns...

...equals Julia riding home in wet pants.
That water was quite chilly, she said. By the way -- her scooter injuries are healing quite nicely.
I just like this picture because it shows off Jenna's pretty blue eyes.

On the way home, we stopped at Stonebrook Fudge Factory in Mountain View and met this cool older guy who does nothing but make fudge all day. He gave us lots of free samples and didn't seem to mind Julia walking around in his store in wet pants. We bought fudge, taffy and some other stuff and headed home. Go to Stonebrook's website to see all the kinds of fudge they have at They ship anywhere in the world. Which means you can send me some!
This weekend, we're going to Hot Springs.

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