Friday, December 30, 2005

Five Weird Things About Me

I was tagged by Jacinda to write five of my weird habits and tag five more people. So here they are.

I realize the following will make me sound like I have obsessive-compulsive disorder. But I saw "The Aviator" recently and I know that I do not. It's been weeks since I've peed in a milk bottle.

1. I wash my hands before doing anything in the kitchen, after doing anything in the bathroom, after touching dirty laundry or dirty dishes, after touching my cat, several times while putting on make-up, after changing diapers, in restaurants before I eat, after a group prayer in which everyone holds hands, after coming home from the grocery story (shopping cart handles -- yuck!) and just whenever I feel like I need to. Oh -- and after taking out the trash or touching the trash can for any reason. My parents used to have one with a lid that you had to touch to open. I hated that!

2. I always listen to music in the car and I get really annoyed when all the radio stations are on commercial or playing stupid songs. I have CDs in the car, though, so I get over it.

3. Before I go to bed at night I have to: Check on both children to make sure they are covered up, check the thermostat, make sure the front door is locked, make sure the bathroom light is on for Julia, make sure the baby monitor in our bedroom is on, wash my face, take out my contacts, brush my teeth, smear Oil of Olay all over my face, put lotion on my hands and make sure my pillows are arranged just the right way.

4. I brush my teeth about ten times a day.

5. Except for pizza and hamburgers, I don't like to eat food with my hands. Especially messy food. That's why I always eat things like BBQ sandwiches and hot wings with a fork.

I'm tagging:

1. Chad
2. Brian
3. Lesa, to get her blogging again
4. Carol, so maybe she'll get her own blog
5. Chris "stuckinthe80s" Campbell

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Happy Deana Appreciation Day !!!!

By Deana Nall

Well, I hope everyone had a nice Christmas, Holidays, Winter Solstice, or whatever term that doesn't cause you offense, distress or indigestion.

After all the ridiculous banter over what to call this time of year, it has come to my attention that some of the lesser-known days of celebration have still managed to get overlooked. This is why, as my "ambiguous day of winter celebration" gift to you, I am offering "Deana's Guide to Obscure Holidays," also known as "Just What the Heck is Boxing Day?"

(Special thanks to my new favorite web site,

Casimir Pulaski Day. If you live in Illinois, you get to celebrate this on the first Monday of every March. Casimir Pulaski was a Revolutionary War cavalry officer. I don't know why Illinois thinks he was so special, but they've been having official celebrations in his honor since 1978.

Sweetest Day. This is celebrated primarily in the Midwestern U.S., including Illinois. (Why does Illinois get to have all the fun? I mean, they already have Casimir Pulaski Day. And Oprah.) It began in 1922 when a guy who worked at a candy store thought it would be nice to give small gifts to people who had fallen on hard times. In more recent years, big-name jewelry stores have tried to capitalize on Sweetest Day by attempting to turn it into another Valentine's Day. I'm not falling for it. But if my husband wants to, that's OK with me.

Boxing Day. This day is noted on most U.S. calendars, but nobody here knows what it is. It can be traced to Britain, where its origins are found in giving gifts to those in the lower classes on the day after Christmas. Sounds like a way to keep the lines of the class system nice and defined. So have yourself a condescending little Christmas!

Garbage Collector Day Off: If you're like me and everybody else in my neighborhood, you didn't know about this holiday until Monday, after you had dragged nine bags of Christmas garbage out to the curb and watched it sit there all day. Well, that's OK. Those guys work hard and deserve the day after Christmas off. Just please come soon.

Festivus: This is my favorite little-known day of celebration. Originally an obscure European holiday, Festivus came to national attention through a Seinfeld episode. According to Seinfeld character Frank Costanza, you celebrate Festivus on Dec. 23 by putting up a Festivus pole, conducting an "Airing of Grievances" (each participant tells family members how they have disappointed him or her during that year), and performing assorted demonstrations of strength. The celebration officially ends when the head of the family has been wrestled and pinned to the ground.

I know some families who have been participating in these activities for generations. Now their dysfunction has a name. Merry Festivus!

Until I learned about Festivus, I was unaware that you could just invent your own holiday. So I'm inventing mine. It's called "Deana Appreciation Day." For one whole day, my 6-year-old is not allowed to ask me where her shoes are, and my husband must listen to how much I spent at the grocery store without his mouth dropping open in shock.

Oh, and it's today. Happy Deana Appreciation Day!

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas 2005

We had Christmas at our house this year. My parents, Chad's mom, my aunt Ann and uncle Sid and my brother Brian were all here. Here are some pics from yesterday's festivities.

My house is full of relatives and I'm smiling anyway! (I didn't mean for my guilty pleasure, the first season of "Desperate Housewives," to get into the picture. Christmas present from Chad.)

Jenna's been hitting the apple juice pretty hard lately.

Julia anxiously waiting for Christmas dinner.

Me opening something. That's Brian passed out on the couch.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Coming soon to an airport near you...

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

No luck cleaning after kids

By Deana Nall
Baytown Sun

Published December 21, 2005

There’s a chicken in my closet. Not a real one, a shiny little plastic one. He belongs on the back of a shiny plastic tractor driven by Elmo, who is also shiny and plastic.

I’ve tried keeping toys out of our bedroom. But they won’t stay out. They seem to gravitate right out of their toy boxes and down the hall.

Recently I came across Erma Bombeck’s quote about how cleaning your house while kids are living in it is like shoveling the sidewalk while it’s still snowing.

Actually, it’s worse than that. It would be easy if kids only undid the work you just did. But they take it much, much further. If you have neatly folded laundry stacked in the living room, your first-grader will careen right through the middle of it on her scooter. Now you have the pile of clothes you had before you folded it.

But wait. They’re not done.

Then the baby will walk by, lean over the pile and vomit Cheerios and apple juice into the pile before grabbing your very last pair of pre-motherhood Victoria’s Secret panties and carrying them to some undisclosed location in the house, where they will be lost forever.

I try to stay on top of all the messes around here. Really, I do. But almost on a daily basis, I encounter a mess I just cannot deal with at the time.

Like the Goldfish crackers in our oldest daughter’s room, I don’t remember when they spilled all over the carpet. I just remember noticing the mess at the end of an exhausting day after Julia was already in bed, or I would have had her pick them up. It was a good two weeks before I thought about those Goldfish crackers again. I thought about them just as I saw Julia’s baby sister grab a handful of them and put them in her mouth.

Hey, at least I didn’t have to clean them up.

Let me review some of the other messes I’ve encountered around here lately. The white picket fence from our miniature Christmas village turned up in the cat’s litter box the other day. I found a banana peel in the baby’s laundry basket. And a few days ago, my husband followed a trail of white lotion through the house to our 15-month-old, who was standing there with my giant bottle of Jergen’s and a big, lotiony smile on her face.

Sometimes I think about my friends who are single or retired with a tinge of jealousy.

Maybe one day I’ll know what it’s like to walk through the house in the middle of the night without stepping on the shiny, plastic swine section of Old MacDonald’s farm, or get dressed without finding that a clan of dollhouse people has taken up residence in my sock drawer.

Until then, I’m revising Erma Bombeck’s comment. I would say that cleaning a house while children are living in it would be more like shoveling the sidewalk while it’s still snowing, and while someone is jack-hammering the sidewalk into pieces, and while termites are chewing the handle of your shovel into sawdust, and while your mother-in-law is driving by with her window down, yelling, “You’re still working on that? What have you been doing all day?”

Monday, December 19, 2005

The REAL Love of My Life

This one really is the only love of my life. The others were just practice.

I met Chad in the Bean at ACU one day at lunch. I was with a big group of people and we were sitting at a large round table. Chad was the only person I didn’t know and we ended up sitting right next to each other. He was from Alaska, he said.

Chad was a freshman, and I was a sophomore. He was kinda cute – all my friends said so – and he seemed like a nice guy. We tried to date for a couple of weeks, but it just wasn’t working for me. I was trying to take a break from dating. I had made several bad dating choices in a row and had decided to give that part of my life up to God, since I had made such a mess of it. I promised God I wouldn’t date anyone seriously for a year.

Plus Chad got on my nerves.

He was so nice. Really, he was. But he seemed to be trying too hard. I started avoiding him.

A school year went by. Then a summer. Then school started again. And there was Chad. Would I like to go out Friday night? Sure. OK.

I remember sitting on the couch with my roommate. “Aren’t you going to get ready for your date?” she asked. “It’s just Chad,” I replied.

Then we went out. We had a great time. I liked being with him. He smelled good. So we kept going out. We kissed. His arms felt good around me. They felt right around me.

“You know what I was thinking?” I said one night after we had been dating about three weeks. “I was thinking that I don’t want to date anyone but you.”

And that was it. We were a couple.

That year was fun. I was dating Chad, living with two of my best friends and working as a reporter for the campus newspaper. He came home with me for Thanksgiving and spring break. We had fun together. We kissed. A lot.

We had to be apart for that summer, while he went home to Alaska to work. In August, I flew up there to see the sights and hang out with Chad and his family for a couple of weeks. Chad, his sister Gina and I were all supposed to come back to Abilene together.

In happy, fun dating relationships, horrible things aren’t supposed to happen. But one did. While I was in Alaska, Chad’s sister Gina was in a car accident. I was standing in Chad’s parents’ kitchen when they got the call from the highway department. She was in ICU for two days before she died. What a nightmare. My head still gets swimmy when I think about those awful days. Did all of it really happen? Of course it did, but it’s still so hard to fathom. She was 19. She and Chad were only 11 months apart.

We went back to school without Gina – shattered over the loss that was too great for Chad to even talk to me about. It’s hard for me to write about this time because I don’t remember much. My brain has shut it out. I do remember crying in the shower every morning for months.

Then something happy happened. We got engaged. It was a relief to have a wedding to focus on instead of our grief. We got married on Aug. 14, 1993.

That was 12 years ago. A major career change, two kids and three miscarriages later, we’re still here. Chad is my best friend – the “other side of me,” as Michael W. Smith sings. He knows what I need when I’m too proud to voice it. He knows when I need a break from the kids. He washes dishes. He changes diapers. One morning, when Chad had gotten up early and our oldest daughter Julia had climbed into bed with me, I heard Chad in the next room, having his morning quiet time and whispering an earnest prayer. For me. How loved and protected I felt, hearing a great man of God life me up in prayer.

Marriage isn’t always fun, they tell you in premarital counseling. And it’s true. One of the worst moments of my life was when Chad was holding me in our bathroom three years ago. I was losing our second child and it hurt – physically, emotionally – it was excruciating. But Chad was there, his arms still so strong around me.

The good times in a marriage are fun and make good memories. But the hard times are the ones that really solidify your relationship. That’s when those vows really mean something. It’s when you have the chance to truly cherish each other.

I’ve been asked when I knew I was in love with Chad. I’m not really sure. Love changes and deepens over the years until you’re not sure what “love” really meant when you said it early in your relationship. But I do have one memory. We weren’t really dating yet, but I was aware that Chad was not getting on my nerves anymore. I had to help with newspaper distribution after Chapel one day, but rushed back into the coliseum because I wanted to find Chad. He wasn’t there. I was so disappointed that it surprised me. I stood there, in the emptying coliseum, suddenly shockingly aware that if I kept running away from this guy, I could lose him forever. That’s when I knew that I always wanted him to be there.

And he is. And we still kiss. A lot.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

The Saturday before the Saturday before Christmas

Whoever said material things can't make you happy was never a 34-year-old woman who had given birth twice who was able to fit into size 6 low-rise jeans that were on sale at Foley's. They quite literally make me happy. The best $40 my husband ever spent.

We went to see the Narnia movie today. First, I have to comment on one of the previews. The new Pirates of the Caribean movie is coming out. It's funny that a character so lacking in hygiene as Jack Sparrow can be such an unbelievable turn-on.

So, Narnia. It really is a great movie. That says a lot coming from me because, in general, I don't like movies. I just don't like the idea of sitting there and staring at something for a couple of hours. I think I'm ADD. Anyway, there a lot of observations people could and have made about the movie. One part that stood out to me was when all the children had to leave their mothers at the train station at the beginning. This movie is mostly fantasy, but that scene was very real for the children of London who had to evacuate during Hitler's blitzkrieg on London. These children must have felt so lost -- so out of control of their situations. Then Lewis steps in with this fantasy of the children being able to fight a battle for a kingdom over which they become kings and queens. In control of everything. What a gift to those children. The battle scene in the movie was something else, but I think the toughest battle these kids had to fight was when they left their mother at the station.

Julia loved it. She's careful to point out discrepancies though, such as how the witch's skin wasn't white like the book said it was.

Now I have a house to clean and cookies to bake and all that stuff. It would be nice if I could walk into my closet and come out, say, in the elevator at Neiman's...

Out of touch

Just a reminder that since our motherboard is in the hospital, we can't get email right now. Our good friend John Belk is busy trying to heal our poor computer. Thank you for your patience.

Friday, December 16, 2005


My column Wednesday generated a letter to the editor. I think the guy read the first line of my column about calming down and then sat down to write his letter without reading the rest. Just my opinion. (It's the second letter down on that page.)

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

‘Carrot’ we all get along?

By Deana Nall
Baytown Sun

Published December 14, 2005

Oh, for heaven’s sake. Everybody have some egg nog and calm down.

Why is it that after 33 Christmases I’ve observed, this is the first year people are about to come to blows over what it should be called? Did we run out of things to gripe about this year?

So Target is selling holiday trees and holiday decorations. Does this mean we have to declare an all-out war? I was at Wal-Mart the other day and a greeter looked me square in the eye and declared, “Merry CHRISTMAS!” So I guess we know where they stand.

The truth is that nobody holds a monopoly on this time of year. Christmas means the birth of Christ to me, but it may not to you, and that’s OK. Pass the cheese ball. We can still be friends.

What bothers me the most about this silly controversy is the way it overshadows concerns that I think are a little more valid.

For example, the Veggie Tales Nativity Set.

If you’re out of the loop on Veggie Tales, let me explain. Veggie Tales is a series of videos that teach kids about morals and values through Bible stories. Vegetables, and an occasional grape play all the characters. At our house, we happen to be big fans of Veggie Tales. We have “Esther,” in which the Jewish race is saved by a green onion, and “Where’s God When I’m Scared?” which features, among other things, a cucumber named Daniel being thrown into the lions’ den.

(Keep in mind that these are real Bible stories being acted out by pretend vegetables. We all know that if you’re a cucumber, you should fare pretty well around a bunch of lions. If you’re a prime rib, then you’ve got problems.)

Anyway, back to the real controversy. Big Idea, the company that owns Veggie Tales, is marketing a nativity set made up of Veggie Tales characters. The wise men are a cucumber, a grape and some sort of squash. There’s an asparagus shepherd. Mary and Joseph are gourds. Here’s the part that gets me: Wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in the manger, is a baby carrot.

That’s right, folks. The Christ child, the long-awaited Savior of the world, is also an excellent source of beta-carotene and dietary fiber. Does this bother anyone else?

Meanwhile, the battle of the discount stores rages. Personally, I’d like to put a Target cashier and a Wal-Mart greeter in a room together and let them duke it out with their holiday/Christmas greetings.

But I’d better do it quickly. I predict that by next year, Target will have figured out that “holidays” actually means “holy days” and they’ll have to find another greeting.

In another couple of Decembers, we’ll see banners stretched out across storefronts that say, “WE GIVE UP. WE’RE SKIPPING AHEAD TO SOMETHING LESS CONTROVERSIAL, LIKE KIDS DRESSING UP AS DEVILS FOR HALLOWEEN.”

Whatever you believe or don’t believe about the first Christmas, there’s a nice little concept that came out of it known as “Peace on Earth.” I think this would be a good year to try it out.

And pass the eggnog back this way.

True Confession #8

Today at the mall I got one of those "Tear 'n' Share" packages of M&Ms.

Except I didn't share them with anybody.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

Love of My Life #5

This post is long and complicated, but so was the relationship. Hang in there.

I met Jason on the last day of tenth grade in the parking lot of my school. He went to a different school, but he had come to pick up some friends of mine in his Porsche 914 convertible. I noticed the car first, then the guy driving it. He was tall, had bright blue eyes and a smile that wouldn’t quit. A week or so later, Jason called and asked me out. I couldn’t believe it. A guy I sort of liked sort of liked me back? Unprecedented. We went to see “The Believers,” a horrible movie about Satan worship. Later that night at his house, he kissed me. It was a real kiss – the kind you see in the movies (just not Satan worship movies.) I went home and stayed up most of the night writing “I LOVE JASON” in tiny letters all over the front and back of a piece of paper. I was a goner. I fell completely in 16-year-old love with Jason that night, and to be honest, I never fell all the way back out.

That was a perfect summer. We rode all over the place in that little Porche. I remember the smell of Polo (he always wore too much), sweat and Porsche exhaust. We had so much fun together. We laughed all the time – to the point of tears – over silly jokes that were just between us. We would ride for hours up and down Dowlen Road, which was Beaumont’s main drag. We spent cozy evenings in front of the fireplace watching movies in his living room. He didn’t have a curfew like I did and many nights, I would be in bed when I’d hear a car drive by and honk three times. That was Jason. The honks meant “I love you.” Sometimes he would park down the street and walk up to the house. I would stand on my toilet, open the bathroom window and we would kiss through the window. Once, unbeknownst to my parents, he picked me up on a borrowed Harley and we rode all over town on that thing – my arms tight around his waist and my hair blowing in the wind. That night is still one of my favorite high school memories.

The flip side of the fun was the fact that Jason and I fought. A lot. The yelling, screaming kind of fighting that has no place in a relationship in which two people are supposed to love and respect each other. Also, Jason seemed to be a compulsive liar. That meant I couldn’t trust him, which turned me into an insecure control freak. I wanted to know where he was and who he was with around the clock. He was also very insecure. When it was just the two of us, he was sweet and warm and funny and fun to be around. But around other people, he tried so hard to be liked that he came across as being obnoxious. He embarrassed me a lot.

But I was hooked. My life revolved around Jason. My first thought every morning was “How soon can I see Jason?” I lived for hearing his voice on the phone or his car in my driveway. He’d pick me up from school on Fridays and we’d stay together until my curfew late that night. When it was time for him to bring me home, it was still too soon. Please, just a few more minutes with this guy I was so crazy about. We came to be known as a couple. People would say our names like “DeanaandJason,” like it was one word. I loved that. I loved belonging to someone. It made me feel like a whole person. There’s a picture of me lying on my bed, smiling and talking on my princess phone (to Jason, I’m sure). His letter jacket is hanging on a chair, and you can see his class ring on my finger. I was Jason’s girlfriend – that’s all I wanted to be. He became part of our family – having dinner with us almost every night. My dad baptized him at the beginning of our senior year.

If things were fine between us, I was deliriously happy. If they weren’t, I sat brooding in my room for hours. My poor parents. What a joy I must have been to live with back then.

I didn’t know our relationship was codependent and unhealthy. I just thought this was what it was like when you were really in love with someone. But there was a problem. I knew there was no future for us. I never seriously entertained the thought of marrying him. He was too unreliable. He couldn’t keep a job. He had a learning disability that was going to cause him to graduate from high school a year late. I was headed to college. He obviously wasn’t. Toward the end of my senior year, I knew I had to end it. It was awful. He couldn’t live without me, he said. I didn’t think I could live without him, either. I tried to stay away, but our relationship wasn’t completely over for another couple of years.

The last time I talked to Jason was a month before my wedding in 1993. He knew I was getting married. He called to wish me well. I told him I only had good memories of our time together. What a peaceful closure to a tumultuous relationship that had dominated four years of my life.

Two years later, right after Chad and I had moved from Abilene to College Station for him to do graduate work, my parents called me one morning. “Jason’s been in an accident…” my mom said. She didn’t need to finish. I knew they wouldn’t be calling me about Jason unless something awful had happened. I couldn’t speak or even breathe. My parents just sat there and listened to me sob on the phone.

They had to tell me the details three times before I could understand. A Mack truck – of all things – was trying to make a yellow light when Jason’s light turned green and he pulled out into the intersection. Jason was thrown out and ended up under the truck. He died instantly. His friend died at the hospital, and his friend’s seven-year-old son, seated between them, miraculously survived with no permanent injuries.

How many husbands would take their grief-stricken wives to the funeral of an old high school flame? My husband did. He tried so hard to understand and really couldn’t, but he still let me cry on him all I needed to. What a blessing from God Chad is to me.

It took me a long time to get a grip on Jason’s death. I still struggle with a sense of “survivor’s guilt.” I have enjoyed so many blessings in my life – a happy marriage, two wonderful children, a rewarding career. Jason didn’t get to have any of that. Instead, he was dragged to death under a Mack truck at 24. We all have thoughts we have to fight to keep out of our heads. That’s one of mine.

In the last five years, I’ve been in touch with Jason’s mom. I think it’s made us both feel better to have that connection. We visited his grave together a few years ago.

Like most people, I’m such a different person than I was at 16. I’m consumed with being a mommy, a minister’s wife, a writer, and – because of my newspaper column – something of a celebrity in our little town. I can go for weeks without thinking of Jason at all. But sometimes, I’ll be driving alone when some song like “Angel” by Aerosmith comes on, and there I am. Sixteen again. Too much Polo on a muggy summer night. I can almost feel him sitting next to me.

Would you believe I still shed tears over that boy?

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Love of My Life #4

When we moved to Beaumont, Texas in 1983, I met a guy named Patrick. We went to the same church, school and piano teacher. That means we were together a lot. He liked me all through 7th grade, and then I liked him all through 8th grade. We overlapped during the summer between the two grades, and that's when we "went together." We held hands at Six Flags, and that was about it. Our "going together" ended on the first day of 8th grade, when he sent a mutual friend to tell me it was over. I was sad. I remember crying into my pillow while Chicago's "Hard Habit to Break" played on the radio. Oh, how hard that was to type just now.

As we got into high school, I had gotten over it and Patrick became one of my best friends. I never had to worry about the drama that usually went along with my friendships with girls. We always sat together on youth group trips and rode together to piano competitions. When we got into college, I met a girl down the hall in Nelson Dorm who I thought was really cool. Carol and I got to be really good friends and later that year, I was on the phone with Patrick one night when he said, "So, when are you going to set me up with Carol?" So I did. And I had a feeling -- before they even went out that night -- that they would get married. I just couldn't see why they wouldn't.

I was in their wedding a couple of years later. It's pretty cool when a temporary love of your life can become the permanent love of your best friend's life. Carol is still one of my very best friends. I talk to her on the phone way too much, and we got to spend a (mostly) fun several days at their house during Hurricane Rita.

Back in 7th grade, when Patrick and I were getting to be friends, a guy came up to me at school and accused me of secretly dating Patrick. If only junior high and high school could be as exciting as passionate, clandestine relationships. But it's not. The teen years can actually be pretty awful, and it's a blessing to have good friends to make it fun and help you get through it. Patrick was one of those.

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Fashion Refugee

Fashion refugee

By Deana Nall
Baytown Sun

Published December 7, 2005

I’m a woman without a home. Or at least a clothing department.

During one particularly frustrating shopping expedition Saturday, I found myself wandering in that no-woman’s land of identity-crisis fashion common to thirty-somethings such as myself.

Here’s our problem: We have nothing to wear. We can’t — or at least shouldn’t — shop in the Juniors section anymore. But most Misses departments don’t really do it for us, either. Somewhere, between low-rise jeans and Sag Harbor Christmas sweaters, there has to be a place for us.

I almost found it in a local department store last weekend. Drifting along in the Misses section, with all the other wistful-eyed women my age, I spotted a pair of pants.

This was no common pair of pants. They were black and made out of some kind of poofy, crepe-like material. I tried them on.

Standing in front of the mirror, I had one of those confusing dressing-room moments in which I rapidly went back and forth between “I look great!” and “I look like a Halloween decoration!”

I consulted my mother. She thought they weren’t bad. But then, she was there to buy me a Christmas sweater.

This can be a touchy subject. A lot of people love Christmas sweaters. You could be wearing one right now. I just think this type of thing is a personal matter and, personally, I gave them up years ago.

TLC’s “What Not to Wear” is what did it for me. This very informative show is hosted by fashion experts Stacy London and Clinton Kelly. Stacy and Clinton gang up on some poor unsuspecting woman and basically tell her she couldn’t dress her way out of a paper bag. After they make her go through her closet and toss out her worst offenders, they load her up with cash and send her on a shopping spree to reinvent her wardrobe.

One of the big no-nos on “What Not to Wear” is the seasonal sweater. Stacy and Clinton believe that if you are older than say, 5 or so, you should not be walking around with Santa or the Easter Bunny emblazoned across your torso.

Now here’s the embarrassing part. I owned a Christmas sweater for some time. I bought it in my early 20s, when I was young and foolish. It gets worse. I wore a turtleneck under the sweater that was covered with little Christmas ornaments. I also had candy cane earrings. And socks that jingled. I was a walking Christmas card — the kind you stamp “RETURN TO SENDER” across before throwing it back into your mailbox.

Just now, while researching this painful topic, I did an Internet search for “ugly Christmas sweaters.” I found a discussion forum where people were posting pictures of their holiday fashion nightmares. And there it was. My Christmas sweater. The word “yikes!” doesn’t even come close.

I’m old enough to know that decisions we make in our youth have a way of coming back to haunt us. This sweater is doing a fine job of that.

So I just said no to the Christmas sweater last weekend. And the scary pants.

But I’m not giving up. I’m going shopping again this weekend. I don’t want to look festive, or 25, or 65. I just want something to wear.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Vanishing groceries

I really will get to Love of My Life #4 this week. I have to use Chad's laptop, which is only here in the evenings, so my time online is limited.

I was wondering if anyone has seen my red plum jam. I bought it at the store yesterday, came home, put everything up, and it's not here. The same thing happened a couple of weeks ago with bananas. I've never had groceries disappear on me before (except in Abilene 8 or so years ago, when Chad and I found a carton of eggs in the trunk of the car a week after we bought them. Boy, they sure tasted funny after that.). So should I just start buying two of everything and hope I make it home with one of them???

Monday, December 05, 2005


Our CPU is suddenly showing no signs of life. We don't know why, but it's going to have to get in line with our roof (which Rita tore a hole in that FEMA thought was too insignificant to help us out with), the wiring in our dining room and the washing machine to get fixed. (Yesterday afternoon, Chad started a load of laundry and the machine was still working on it TWELVE HOURS LATER.)

If you've sent mail to our verizon address, who knows when we'll see it. I'll be using Chad's laptop whenever he's not.

Oh CPU, we hardly knew you.

Friday, December 02, 2005

He wrote back!

Out of the blue, indeed! It's good to hear that you're doing well. I certainly remember our 2nd grader fling - but, for whatever reason, I can't recall when or why you moved away."

That's part of Alan's email. He's living in Austin and doing well.

Stay tuned for Love of My Life #4! I have his email address, too!

Thursday, December 01, 2005

I did it!!!

I emailed Alan. Here's what I wrote:

Dear Alan,

I got your email address off the BSHS alumni site when I was looking for Lori Anderson's. I just wanted to say hi. I was your girlfriend in 2nd grade. I'm in Baytown, TX now -- married 12 years with two beautiful girls. I have fond memories of us and our friends at Kentwood. I hope you are well!

Deana (Hamby) Nall


I realize all he has to do is google my name and he'll find my blog with the church sign that says "Deana and Alan sittin' in a tree..."

I guess I should ask my husband what he thinks of all this...

Love of My Life #3

Alan was in my 2nd grade class at Kentwood Elementary in Big Spring, Texas. He was a cute little blond-haired guy with a great smile. One day we sat together at lunch. We had such a fun time that the next day, I made sure I sat by him again. As we walked outside for recess together, he asked, "Do you love me?" I replied, "Yes."

And that was it. We were an official couple. Word spread all over the playground and by the time we went back inside, all the kids were chanting "Deana and Alan sittin' in a tree..." I put my head on my desk and cried.

The novelty of our relationship wore off, though, and the kids left us alone after a while. It was so cool to be boyfriend/girlfriend when no one else in our class had hooked up yet.

I guess after a while, we decided being friends was more natural -- seeing as how we were 7 -- so I told everyone "we got divorced." A few months later, Alan came over to my house with his mom. (My mom was his mom's Avon lady.) We were in my room playing with my Star Wars Death Star Space Station (best Christmas present EVER) when his mom called down the hallway that it was time to go. He hesitated, then leaned over, kissed me on the cheek, and ran out the door. So I guess he still loved me.

I moved away in the middle of third grade. On my last day, Alan brought me a teddy bear. I kept it for a long time. He was a sweet boy and a good friend.

I googled Alan and I've found an email address for him. I guess what I want to know is... SHOULD I DO IT???

I need to get out more, I guess

Two things I'm really excited about today:

1) I bought Handel's "Messiah" -- all 47 minutes -- at Target for a buck this morning.

2) Oprah's on Dave tonight!

I'll blog later today about Love of My Life #3.