Monday, December 31, 2007

45 minutes 'til midnight...

Surely I can make it that much longer?

'Cause, you see, I REALLY DID make no plans for New Year's this year, and other than my very grown-up daughter's insistence that this is THE YEAR she will stay up until midnight, and the Flight of the Conchords marathon on HBO, there is not much reason to stay awake. (That, and the 6:00 AM wakeup time for the flight back from Kansas City this morning is also starting to make itself felt.)

Egads. The OG just pounded through the living room at top speed, demanding to watch The Empire Strikes Back (after just finishing Star Wars in the back room,) at 11:27 PM. And she got up the same time I did. Christ, how is that possible?

Happy New Year, everyone. My partying tonight will be just to celebrate getting back home after a bittersweet rollercoaster of a Christmas. I hope that, whatever you are doing this evening, that you are happy.

I, unshowered, in my most ratty of ratties, most certainly am.


Oh, by the way, the Missouri Tigers play in the Cotton Bowl tomorrow (10:30 AM, central time).

Be sure to get your brunch on and root hard against Arkansas (a state which is entirely populated by criminals and people with FAR too much schooling, I've heard).

Friday, December 28, 2007


Want to take a guess where I went this week?

Oh, yes, baby; you guessed right.

And I have been DYING to tell you all that I was going, and I COULD NOT, because we were surprising our bestest friend Todd there, upon the occasion of his 40th birthday...and Todd is a regular reader, y'see. So, this was not ONLY a decadent, kid-free, money-and-diet-be-damned was also a SUPER-SECRET vacation. Woohoo! (And, it was also, by default - as we can't afford another one - our 10th anniversary vacation, albeit about six months early. Hope we make it that much longer, honey, just to make our claim on that title legit. Kisses!)

So, The Man and I dropped off the kids with my mom, and left them on Christmas day, because we are AWESOME parents, and arrived that evening at New York New York. Todd and Aimee - Aimee being the instigator of all this deception several months ago - arrived a couple of hours after we did. The Man and I scurried along after them, and jumped into the hotel registration line a few people back, just to see how long it would take him to spot us. The tied-for-first best moment of the whole trip - I'll get to the other best moment in a bit - was the approximately eight-second stare that was directed at The Man, until recognition of the situation dawned. Bloody priceless.

Now, Todd and Aimee are No-Limit Texas Hold 'Em poker crack whores, like The Man and I. We were there to see each other, obviously, but we were also there to PLAY CARDS. I downloaded a list of every Hold 'Em tournament that was held, in every hotel, and it became our trip bible.

Our first tournament was at 10 AM the next morning at Mandalay Bay; there were about 30 people. Aimee, Lee and I were out pretty fast, but Todd made it to the last table, and came in "in the money"... fourth, I think? After that one was over, we scuttled across the bridge to the Excalibur, grabbed a quick and fattening lunch, and proceeded to their 1:00 tournament.

And, guess who won? GUESS who won, ALMOST FIVE HUNDRED EFFING DOLLARS, in a 40-person, Texas Hold 'Em, Poker Tournament, IN LAS VEGAS?

No, wait! I'll show you!!!

Oh, friends, that was so fucking sweet. I felt like I was winning one for every woman who was ever underestimated as a card player. (And, ooh, the sexism there is palpable.)

Sadly, the most exciting hand that was played, and the one that pretty much cemented my lead, was at the expense of Todd. (This next paragraph will include poker talk. Please jump down if this bores you to tears. That is OK with me.)

Before the flop, I went all in with my pair of queens, another guy went all in on his pair of jacks...and Todd calls us, with his fucking pair of kings. A train wreck was clearly about to ensue. I was about to bow gracefully to the birthday boy and withdraw from the game, when the cards are reveal a queen. So, I got three of a kind, which knocked the other guy out, and mortally wounded Todd. (I would like to tell you that I handled this like a very gracious winner, and that I did not shriek at the top of my lungs and jump up and down. But that would be a lie.) After that, it was pretty much all over. Damn, that was fun. I'm sorry, Todd. But damn, that was fun.

We played in a third tourney that night in a seedier club off of the strip called the Tuscany. Definitely an interesting experience. Not what we're used to, suburbanite poker-player-wannabes that we are; it was the sort of place where you got the feeling that someone was gonna pull a knife before the evening was out. I didn't last long in that one, and was actually kind of OK with that. (For example, I got called "baby" there, and not in a good, or ironic, way. Feh.)

Todd - who was happily still speaking to me - took us downtown later that evening, and we got into a cash game at Binion's, which is apparently THE really famous poker place. There - yay again - I doubled-up my money, and won about another $100. This is a picture from outside Binion's, the "Fremont Street Experience," which is the big downtown, old-schooly area:

The next day, feeling that my luck was probably played out - and since the rooms were filling up much faster, due to the fact that people were starting to arrive for New Year's - I didn't play anymore poker. The rest of them did one or two more tournaments, back at Mandalay Bay and Excalibur, but I did some shopping, and went to the Star Trek Experience at the Hilton. (Brilliant, as usual. I got this:

which makes me AWESOME, and we also bought Fruity Girl Drinks at Quark's Bar. (It is a little known fact that The Man, "Beer Guy" that he is, is in actuality a Girl Drink Drunk. Here is proof:

(You will note that he is faking distress. However, you astute Sherlocks will also note that there are TWO DRINKS in this picture.)

I also bought some Manilow water - yes, friends, THAT Manilow, as if there were any other - just to say that I had:

Finally, last night, our last evening there, we went to see "Love," the Cirque du Soleil show that is entirely set to Beatles music. Though the acrobatics were not as awe-inspiring as "O," which we saw about six years ago, it was really beautiful and moving, and put me in a great mood. (And, it's the best music ever for a damn Cirque du Soleil show, for sure.)

The capper to the vacation was a trip off the strip to see if there did, truly, still exist, a $6.99 steak dinner in Vegas. As it turned out, there is, at a place called Ellis Island, a red-leather booth-bedecked anachronism which appears completely unchanged from the Rat Pack days. Todd's buddy Mikhail, who happened to be in town, and knows of these things, took us here, and spread the gospel of the cheap meal to me, the non-believer:

And damn if five of us didn't eat a steak dinner, with baked potato, green beans, a salad, and a beer, apiece, for a grand total of $37. (Todd, I'm a true believer now. I shall never espouse a $26 buffet again.)

We had an absolutely wonderful time. So much fun, and such good company. Today, sadly, I'm back, back to the drudgery of eating Egg Beaters and roughage, reading bedtime stories, and having to pay for my cocktails. My high-roller glory days are behind me. I won't look back.

However...who's up for next year?

Monday, December 24, 2007

'Cause we ALL WANT ONE!

Mom got drunk, and Dad got drunk, at our Christmas party
We were drinking champagne punch and homemade eggnog
Little sister brought her new boyfriend
He was a Mexican
We didn't know what to think of him until he sang
Feliz Navidad, Feliz Navidad

Brother Ken brought his kids with him
The three from his first wife Lynn
And the two identical twins from his second wife Mary Nell
Of course he brought his new wife Kay
Who talks all about A.A.
Chain smoking while the stereo plays Noel, Noel
The First Noel

Carve the Turkey
Turn the ball game on
Mix margaritas when the eggnog's gone
Send somebody to the Quickpak Store
We need some ice and an extension cord
A can of bean dip and some Diet Rites
A box of tampons, some Marlboro Lights
Hallelujah, everybody say "cheese"
Merry Christmas from the family

Fred and Rita drove from Harlingen
I can't remember how I'm kin to them
But when they tried to plug their motor home in
They blew our Christmas lights
Cousin David knew just what went wrong
So we all waited out on our front lawn
He threw a breaker and the lights came on
And we sang Silent Night, Oh Silent Night, Oh Holy Night

Carve the turkey, turn the ball game on
Make Bloody Marys
'Cause we all want one!
Send somebody to the Stop 'N Go
We need some celery and a can of fake snow
A bag of lemons and some Diet Sprites
A box of tampons, some Salem Lights
Hallelujah, everybody say cheese
Merry Christmas from the family

We over at the Mags household hope you, and all of yours, are warm, safe, and together.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

I'll Tumble 4 Ya

This - or these; I bought two of them - was, or were, my Christmas gift to myself this week.

They're Ecco Waves. Objectively, of course, I recognize that they are not much to look at; sort of utilitarian and work-shoe-ish. However, I LOVE them.

And here is why:

Monday, I was walking out of work, with a cloth briefcase and a lunchbag (OK, a plastic grocery bag with the remains of my lunch) on my arm. My cell phone was in my ear, and I was sort of distractedly headed to my car while saying something to The Man on the phone that I'm sure was very important. (Typical of our phone conversations: "Did you get cat litter?" "I'll pick up the OG if you'll pick up the YG" or "Fuck, no, you can't go out drinking with your layabout buddies tonight, because you didn't do the dishes, pig fucker!" )

Anyway. Just as I see two of my co-workers standing in the parking lot right in front of me, I FELL DOWN. On my right knee. Straight off of my old Dansko clogs:

...which, if you'll look, have the BAREST MINIMUM of a heel for me to fall off FROM. And yet, I managed to do it. I completely bought it, knee to pavement, cell phone skittering across the ground, co-workers yelping and rushing to help, EVERYTHING AS EMBARRASSINGLY AS POSSIBLE.

As it turns out, my co-workers were actually more focused on one of their cars having been vandalized and broken into. (Have you heard about this rash of car vandalisms that some assholes are perpetrating around Austin? They shoot out the back windows of cars with BB guns. Most aren't robbed, but my co-worker's was. Pig fuckers.) So, I was able to extricate myself from the situation fairly easily there, and to limp to my car in peace, blood clearly oozing from my knee underneath my pantleg.*

I am now, as always, astounded by my own clumsiness. I don't know why it always comes as such a shock to me, when I fall, OFF ONE-INCH CLOGS, onto the ground. And yet, it does.

So, in my embarrassed, alone, silence, I drove. Straight to Dillard's. And I bought myself the Eccos, because they had the combined effect of having a brand name that does not immediately bring to mind Grandma (e.g. Naturalizer) with the fact that they are as soft as Cupid's ass in a bushel of cotton. And, most importantly, I do not believe that it is possible that I could FALL OFF OF THEM.

However, I have been wrong before.

*The Man was, I think, actually a bit nonplussed by this particular conversation; which I believe sounded something like "I know we're out of milk, but they don't carry Horizon at Walgr-AAAAH! (rattle rattle slide)... (pause)...Uh, I'M OK!"

I also bought these, for no good reason other than my hurt pride needed some more balm:

Sunday, December 16, 2007


I'm sorry. I am just not able to compose anything of worth these days.

I think Dad's death, though not unexpected, has hit me harder than I thought it would, and in a different way than I ever considered possible.

It's like I have a complete dearth of creativity. Like I'm just going through the motions of living my daily life without that constant, omnipresent, narrator's voice running through my brain, which has always been there, all my life. Strange, to have that silence in my head, even if it is only temporary.

I hope you will forgive my meanderings now, and for a little while longer. I fear that, if I stop writing, I will clam up altogether.

So, fair warning; this, and immediately forthcoming, writings, may seem more like typing than writing. For right now, I'll strive to keep my fingers limber, if nothing else.*

Among today's "Xmas 2: Electric Boogaloo" booty:


  • The Harry Potter "Monster Book of Monsters" stuffed animal thingy (are you beginning to pick up a theme, here?)
  • A Harry Potter "I solemnly swear that I am up to no good" T-shirt
  • sparkly lavender slippers (snaps to the avowedly tomboyish OG, who did not shriek and/or throw them across the room)
  • sparkly body glitter (ditto)
  • a marker and crayon easel
  • a Webkinz - white dog - for which I hope not to lose the little card, this time, because I've found that, if you do, you will NEVER access their website again
  • a gift card to McDonalds (for which I am grateful; unfortunately, she honestly doesn't like their food much. She likes the toys from the Happy Meals, but usually eats only the plain hamburger patty - no bread - and about three of the little "apple dippers," no caramel. No wonder she's so freakin' skinny.)
  • clothes (I warned them, no pink; it was realized. Forest-green, stretchy shirt - good. Beige cords - maaaybe. She's not one for a buttoned-fly anything.)

  • A Leapster (Pink!)
  • slippers (black and pink)
  • shirt (pink - but a turtleneck, which could be problematic. Sorry; I breed 'em red-headed and sensory-defensive, apparently) and jeans (with pink belt)
  • a Webkinz (pink dog)
  • the same easel as the OG
  • the same gift card to Mickey D's (she claims to like the food, but does not actually EAT any of it, beyond a few fries and a token nibble at the bun)
  • red cut-glass earrings from Ann Taylor (from The Man)
  • all the new Buffy the Vampire Slayer comics (also from The Man)
  • a Visa check card from Lee's aunt (yaaay!)

The Man:
  • a turntable that converts vinyl to MP3s (from me)
  • a book about country music dance halls in Texas (from his cousin)
  • a gift card to Target (yaaay! That's for me, too!)
  • giant, toeless brown Crocs "Skutes" (from the girls. He actually got those on Friday, but it seems remiss not to mention them, as they are SO PROUD to have gotten him those. The OG has been attempting to convert him to Crocs since kindergarten, and she is beside herself that he likes them.

And now, the age-old question: Where, on earth, am I going to put all of this?

Dang, I just heard that Dan Fogelberg died today. He was only 56.

That made me sad, actually. My formative musical teeth were cut, for better or for worse, on adult-contemporary radio. I liked the song "Leader of the Band," and "Another Auld Lang Syne" still plays in my head on New Years Eve.

Bah. Mortality sucks.

*And, I'll also strive not to take an Ambien before I post. Yesterday's post was a frickin' disaster before I edited it this morning. That crap is kind of evil...I don't think I like it. Anyone else have experience with it? Does it make, STUPID? And not in a fun, "I'm buzzed," kind of way?

Saturday, December 15, 2007

The Holiday Haul So Far

The OG:

  • A Nintendo DS with two games: "Lego Star Wars" and "Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix"
  • Winter Crocs (with the fuzzy lining)
  • A light-up Harry Potter wand
  • A Harry Potter Christmas ornament ("Potions Class" - it lights up)
  • A Harry Potter Calendar
  • Many packages of "Bertie Botts Every Flavor Beans," "Chocolate Frogs," and "Blood Pops"
  • About a dozen books, including the Harry Potter supplementary books Quidditch Through the Ages and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, The Guinness Book, Wandology, Frindle, and The Pain and the Great One
  • A Magic 8 Ball
  • Pajamas, wool hat, mittens

The YG:
  • Her very own Pink! DVD! Player!
  • A Pink! "Giselle" doll, that - get this - her SISTER picked out for her, and bought for her. (She's from Enchanted. If you haven't seen it yet, you should. It's very good. Amy Adams is excellent, I love James Marsden A LOT, and Susan Sarandon is as awesome as ever. McDreamy's fine, too.)
  • Several books, including two storybook adaptations of Enchanted - the short version and the long version. (The Man elects to read the short version whenever asked.)
  • Pink "Dora" Crocs
  • Pink Princess pajamas
  • A warm-up suit and long-sleeved shirt (
  • A Dora Mermaid (her fondest wish this holiday)
  • The Dora Mermaid baby brother and baby sister accoutrements
  • A couple packages of "Bertie Botts" (though she was not as excited by them as was her older sister. And, seriously, they're GROSS. I tried the "sausage" flavor, which was just mildly nasty, but the soap? That was just it for me.)
  • Her own Magic 8 Ball (black, not the pink one. First of all, it was kind of meant for older kids, and the responses were inappropriately "date-y" and coy. Second of all, I'd had just about enough of buying pink things, and felt that an 8 ball should be, well, BLACK.)
...and it's still 9 days still Christmas! Imagine!

That was a result of our "Christmas With the In-Laws" foray this weekend. We are all very pleased - The Man and I included; we got the Universal Christmas Gift...yay! YG particularly loves her Giselle doll, and OG hasn't put down her Nintendo yet.

Round Two; Tomorrow night, with grandma, plus all the aunts, uncles, cousins, etc. Expect tales of how I had to discipline the OG after she made a face upon receiving a flowery pink dress. (I'm just guessing.)

Friday, December 14, 2007

Back to Glumland

I'm back down from my Duran Duran high.

This is, quite literally, the sky, in my world.

God, Christmas this year is going to suuuucck...

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


OK, I am very nearly too embarrassed to tell you HOW good a time I had last night.

Sigh. But I shall. Because it was oh, so lovely.

First of all, I was so delighted to go with Milena. She GETS me. I'm grateful that I can name as many people as many people as I can that DO get me; I'm rather strange, actually. But, even out of all those people, I think only she REALLY gets the Simon LeBon thing. Love that. She, like I, came with one mission: to listen, and to gaze, and to dance. (OK, three missions. And to drink some wine. But I'm diluting the point, so I shall proceed.)

We attended the show at the newly renovated Austin Music Hall. It's not done, actually; it's really still got a lot of plywood and taped drywall visible. And, surprisingly, it's not a lot bigger. They added some room on the sides of the upstairs and downstairs, and they put on a smoking balcony and some extra bars, but that's about all that I could see, other than a nifty little starfucker area right over the stage, off to the side. Milena and I briefly considered asking what it would take to sit back there, but decided against it.

Milena and I sat upstairs on the balcony to listen to the opening act, Sara Barielles, a nice young girl lead singer that sat behind a keyboard, Tori Amos-style. She was not as annoying as Tori. (Sorry, Tori fans. Don't stalk me or shred anything that belongs to me, please.)

For the SHOW show, we moseyed downstairs to push ourselves into the madding crowd. Madding it was, too; it was SOLD OUT. We were packed in like middle-aged sardines. I was thankful for the brief shower I had taken before leaving, and glad that my sense of smell is poor enough that I couldn't detect if anyone else had neglected to do so.

The crowd was great. Most were my age, or so; some older, some younger, but mostly it was us. It seemed that most women were showing off their "girls," and many were in terrifying heels. (Mil and I went for comfy and danceable.)

This time and the last time I saw Duran Duran - about a year and a half ago? - I noticed, most of all, the men in the audience. Now, I had me plenty of gay male friends that were into them, back in the day, and yes, there were plenty of life partners there last night, being very cute and latter-day preppy and all that. But, I think, perhaps cutest of all, to me, is the straight male contingent at their shows. These guys - my age - are self-conscious, a bit, at first. Then, a beer or two in, the band plays some kick-ass, danceable oldie like "Planet Earth," or "Rio," and then these big ol', teddy-bear type straight men start bopping around and singing all the words. They make me happy.

The show? Yessss, the show. Was AWESOME. Fuck, it just does not matter that I fell in love with Simon LeBon twenty-four years ago. I. STILL. LOVE. HIM. And he still looks bloody HOT in his tight black trousers. At one point, he did this little dance move with a growl combo move, and I swear to GOD, the frisson I felt might as well have been generated when I was fourteen years old. (I saw Milena whoop at that one, too. It's NOT JUST ME.)

The last show, which was at the Paramount, was a different kind of was, somehow, more tentative, like they were asking, "Do you all still love us?" and as a result, played a lot of old stuff, and just a bit of new, which was OK, but not anything compared to the oldies. This time, though, it was much more like a rock concert, like their confidence had been restored. And, I will say, the stuff off the new album - that they recorded with Justin Timberlake and Timbaland - was VERY good. Much better than anything they've released since I was in college, anyway.

After the echoes from the encore - "Girls on Film," natch - Milena and I left, glowing, and delighted with our evening. And, yes, WOCA* do not feel as good as they used to, the next morning, after they stay up too late on a school night; however, it was worth every penny, and every minute of missed sleep.

So, in three weeks, I've seen the two greatest loves of my early high school life - Sting, and Simon LeBon. (Which, of course, brings back the question that I wrestled with, back then...Sting, or Simon? But, then I always kinda hated to separate them in my fantasies, ifyaknowwhadImean. I mean, why choose just one?) Too bad I've gotten home so late from these concerts, honey; you could have taken advantage of my nostalgia.

Hey, there's always next time, though...The Cure, Austin Music Hall, June 8? Who's with me?

***UPDATE...As if I NEEDED more proof that he was my soulmate, check out these lyrics from one of their new songs, "Falling Down":

Howl at the wind rushing past my lonely head
Caught inside its own motion
How I wish it was somebody else instead

Howling at all this corrosion

God, now I REALLY wish I'd asked about the starfucker backstage area.

*Women of a Certain Age. I'm trying to popularize that, over "MILF." Who's a Woca? I'm a Woca! Wouldn't you like to be a Woca too?

Monday, December 10, 2007

Random Things I've Done This Week

...other than lie around feeling bummed and writing-blocked, which has, truly, occupied way more of the past week than I would have expected:

  • Went to see the excellent Ms. Karla May at her Mortified! show...damn, that was a good time. I never knew how much fun it could be to hear others reading from their high school diaries, bad poetry, et al. KM, the whole Huey Lewis tribute book was sick, yo. (The best kind of sick...sick like ME.) It made me almost wish that I'd saved all my high school diaries, and not threw them away, ensuring that they were buried in banana peels and coffee grounds, at the bottom of the trash can, on trash day, when I was about 17.
  • Slashed a 3/4-inch long cut into my left thumb...with a BUTTER knife. I was trying to pry the lid of a jar open. Afterwards, The Man helpfully pointed out that the lid was a twist-off. Dick. Where was he when I needed him?
  • Went to see Christmas fireworks (!) at the lake with Bill and Julie, on a beautiful, 80-degree Austin December evening on Saturday.
  • Ordered obligatory tacky Mom-photo-Christmas cards online.
  • Went shopping for an entertainment center, that could - THEORETICALLY - SOMEDAY - hold a big-screen TV. (We're considering joining the middle class.) Maybe this one - which is cheaper - or maybe this one, which is expensive, but a very nice piece of real-wood furniture. Just not sure.
  • Cleaned out terrifyingly messy cutlery drawers after an incident - involving the OG, an inconveniently located can of black beans, and a smashed bottle of Cholula hot sauce - that is best not fully explored here.
  • Froze my ass off in horrible, gray, crappy, Austin December rainy-and-47-degree weather today.
  • Wondered what I'm going to wear to see Duran Duran tomorrow night. Because I like to look good for my man when he comes to town.
  • Nearly finished my Christmas shopping, or what will have to pass for it this year.
  • Talked to my mother on the phone approximately six hundred times. She's doing OK, but God, she's trapped in a friggin' ice storm right now, if that weren't the cherry on the cake of her week.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

I still got nothin.

I will do my best to post substantively tomorrow.

Still pretty blah. Wondering about the "Dead Parent Club," of which Michelle spoke the other night. Pretty crappy club, if you ask me.

In the meantime, you get some more videos from the Harry Potter Puppet Pals:

Why? Because you NEEDED them.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Bright, Sunshiney Day

It's hard to stay downhearted when it's 80 degrees and sunny in December.

But I somehow managed it.

Man, I'm just kicked to the curb.

Work got backed up, of course, while I was gone (seriously, it was only THREE DAYS, people). My body feels fat and bloated from all of that rich food we ate up there. I've done a fairly good job of getting back to Egg Beaters and chicken breasts - free and yummy trip to The Melting Pot last night notwithstanding - but finding time to really exercise has become challenging.

And the creative juices? They are not flowing. Rather, they are stagnating and fermenting, like my sour, bloaty stomach.

I think I'll just stop now. You're welcome.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


I'm back in Austin; it's all over.

Man. I want so much to write about everything, but I'm just sort of blown out. I'll give it a shot, but it's entirely possible that I may have to abort this attempt.

First of all, the support of our friends and family was nothing short of astounding. I have never seen so many people send flowers, or call, or stop by with food, ever, in my life. (I have never seen THAT MUCH FOOD in my life. Do your families eat like there is no fucking tomorrow when there's a death, or is it just mine?) The house was positively drenched with the smell of flowers. People came from so far away...seriously, mind-bogglingly far, to be with us. Me, even. We, I, are deeply humbled, and so grateful, to receive that kind of support.

The planning of the funeral was the part that I dreaded, but even that turned out to be OK. We, not being church-goers, only met the minister that would be performing the service the night before. We requested a nice, simple Methodist, and one was delivered, on time, at 7:30 on Sunday night. He arrived, and - lo and behold, there stood before us a jovial, heavy-set, red-headed older man, from northwest Missouri...wearing a BLACK AND GOLD STRIPED TIE. As the evening progressed, and we told all of our stories, it was revealed that this minister - a Morel-mushroom hunting, fishing, and Missouri Tiger fanatic - was actually my father's soulmate. (Albeit being much more, well, peaceful and ministerial and all that.) He ended up staying a bit late because his wife was a little long in finding our house, and thus my mother had time to show him ALL of her MU memorabilia. We were all absolutely delighted with each other. It was precious.

The one thing we asked was that Dad would not have been into scripture-reading or hymn-singing, and that we would rather have the minister tell stories about him. So, my sister, brother, and I each wrote out our favorite memories...and the minister read ALL of them. It was really very moving, and exactly what he would have wanted.

Then, the minister ends his sermon, and says something along the lines of this: "I'm not supposed to tell anyone during my services that I didn't know the deceased. I'm breaking a big rule here. But, I must tell you, that perhaps more than any other time I've done this, I feel like I know Richard, just from the evening I spent at his house, with his family, last night." And then he passed out a copy, to the family, of this cartoon, in which a man, entering heaven, sees a field of morel mushrooms, and says "It's just like I always dreamed."

Dad? Not much for the ceremonies...but he would have LOVED it.

I'm glad I'm home. I feel like someone's been hitting me with sticks for five days. (The OG and the YG were great at the funeral, by the way, open casket and all. OG probably had like ten cookies later, I was feeling so generous to her.) I'm glad that I got to see my nephews, whom I adore deeply and never get to see. I'm glad that my mom is holding it together, even though she wasn't ready to see him go. And, I'm glad that he left, the way he wanted to, at home, and I'm sure to the absolute core of my being that he was ready.

There are other memories, of course, besides the good ones. But, those are for later.

For the record, this is what I wrote for the funeral:

My favorite memory of Dad was of him taking me to the Olde Firehouse, by ourselves, when Mom was at NEA meetings. (This was after John and Sharon had left for college, and it was just the two of us for dinner on quite a few nights.) He loved the Mexican food at the Olde Firehouse, and I did, too. He ate the hot salsa, and mine was the mild. (He would be proud to know that mine is the hot salsa now. I've clearly inherited his love of hot and spicy food.)

My friends asked me to remind everyone about the breakfasts he would cook for them when they stayed over at my house. Whenever we rolled out of bed - no matter the hour - Dad would have coffee made, and a table full of bacon, eggs, and toast with jelly, all hot, and piled high. He was a very gracious host to me and my friends when we came; nobody ever left here feeling like anything but family.

Dad initially thought that I would be a good, at the beginning of his "training," I was! However, I lost my taste for it early on, after I realized that I was killing the fish. My anti-fishing strike began at about age 9, and I've never picked up a rod since then. In my newly-activist desire to save all of the little fishies, I had a secret, pre-PETA-inspired quest that did NOT please my father, and that was to set free all of his minnows from his bait buckets in the lake. When he wasn't looking, I would sneak down to the docks, and "accidentally" spring the latch on the buckets. (He knew.) And, though I did really feel for the poor minnows, the final straw came the day that he brought home a bait bucket full of crawdads. Now, I LOVED crawdads, as I caught the ones that lived near our docks, and fed them shrimp and bread, on a nearly daily basis. Dad let it be known in no uncertain terms that these were bait, and were not to be touched. He went to bed, and I sat there with Sharon, who was babysitting me, watching TV that night, completely unable to think of anything except the crawdads. Sharon, finally tired of my sniffling, looked at me and said, "Do what you think is right." I thought about it for a second, and then walked down to the dock, in the dark, and let loose the crawdads. The next morning, I did not say a word about it...and Dad, who must have figured it out the next day, never mentioned it, either.

One of my earliest memories of Dad was shopping for his birthday - or Father's Day, can't remember which - present at Dolgin's with my mother. I was probably about three years old. I insisted that he would want, above all else, a Fisher-Price Little People Doll House. And so, that is what my mother got him. He graciously thanked me, and told me that I could play with it anytime I wanted. Another early memory is when I filled out the order form for the $30 Disney book that I wanted, and took it to the mailbox and mailed it, all by myself, at age four. He could have been livid - that was a lot of money for a book, at that time - but he thought it was so cute, that he let me keep the book. To this day, I still have that book.

Thanks again, everyone. I'm going to go melt into jelly now.

Just so you don't go to bed all bummed out, though, here is a little nugget of joy for you. (It's five minutes long, but it's a giggle, especially to any Harry Potter fan:)

"Leprechaun taint." Hah!