Chickens in the Basement

I love to write and I love to laugh. When I write, I get to the point quick. My stories would fit on the back of a postcard. They usually make me chuckle. And you know what they say, "It's all about me!"

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Skippy Chick versus Riley Dog

I need my friend and boxing announcer, Bruce Foster, to read this for me. Thanks Jenny! I stole the photo of your Dad from your blog...The Red Bulletin Board.

Let’s get ready to rumble!!!!

Bruce Foster
Boxing Announcer

In the right corner, we have Riley Dog. He is a nine year old happy-tailed, lab-mix pound puppy, weighing in at 60 pounds.

Riley Dog

In the left corner, we have Skippy Chick. He is a 3 ½ month old cocky-wannabe, coachin rooster, weighing in at 2 pounds.

Skippy Chick

The Three Old Ladies (Ruby, Cora Bell and Shakiria) sit on the hay bales waking up and anticipating a handful of cracked corn.

The gate to the chicken run opens, Skippy Chick runs out and wedges himself between the henhouse and a tree, throws his neck-feathers forward and stomps his feet at Riley Dog. Riley Dog is caught off guard. Skippy Chick rares his head back. Skippy Chick lunges. He pecks. He misses. He pecks again.

Riley Dog has had enough! He lets loose a growl from the throat. He stomps back with teeth bared. Skippy Chick is limited in running options. A tree to the left, the hen house to the right. Skippy Chick does a u-turn. He is off! Riley Dog is on his tail. Feathers are flying.

The fan is freaking out (that would be me)! Riley Dog responds to the screams of his Number-One Fan and freezes. Skippy Chick skulks off to the yard, avoiding eye contact with Riley Dog, the Three Old Ladies, and his Number-One Fan.

Riley Dog wins by total intimidation and obedience to his Number-One Fan!

Visit Jenny at

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Home Un-improvement

Oh, NO!! When the before picture is much, MUCH better than the after picture, you know you have made the wrong choice.

Let me tell you about the “before” picture. When we first moved in this house, my boys were just 3 and 5 years old. For their bathroom, I spent hours stenciling fish around the top of their wall. Each fish was different. The shower curtain had fish and was held to the bar by gold fish wearing shark fins. There were too many fish in the room! But most of all, the décor no longer seemed appropriate for a soon to be 13 and 15 year old. The natural progression from the fish seemed to be blue…like water…in a bathroom.

A few months ago, we purchased a blue paint that my son chose for his bedroom. Before it went on his wall, he decided it was too dark and wanted to choose another color. Initially, I wanted to make him stick with his bad decision. Now, I’m glad I didn’t! His second choice, a beautiful gold green, looks great in his room.

If you want to imagine the color, all you need to know is the name of the color…animation. Think of the bright blue Superman wears. Now, picture a small bathroom with lots of angles covered in this obnoxious blue. The one coat of poor coverage was enough for us to know we didn’t want to do a second coat.

We decided to stop. Tomorrow, we will visit Lowe’s with the second gallon of animation blue paint and beg them to lighten the shade. I’m think we’ll pour out half of the blue and fill it with white. I don’t think the blue will ever go away!

Friday, February 20, 2009

Willie Nelson

Tonight, Tony and I went to the new DPAC Auditorium in Durham to see Willie Nelson. I wanted to go, and Tony agreed to go with me but wasn't too excited about it. Waiting for the show to start was the perfect time to people watch! Grandfathers with ponytails were a common site. We saw a few mullets...on boys AND girls. Lots of red bandanas and felt cowboy hats dotted the audience. The guys in front of us guzzled Jack Daniels from mini bottles. Give me a crowd, and I am entertained. I just have to remember not to stare!

Asleep at the Wheel opened for Willie, then accompanied him. They were fabulous. Their music was a bluesy, boogie-woogie, and country mix. There were two fiddlers (one was a 14 years old girl with pigtails like Willie's), a steel guitar player, a bass player (the big upside-down kind), a piano player, a harmonica player, a trumpeter/trombonist, a saxaphonist, and 3 guitar players. The stage was packed, as was the theater!

Willie came on-stage with his customary pigtails, no longer red but gray, singing Whiskey River. Once he got going, he didn't want to stop! He sang lots of songs I hadn't heard before but loved. When he broke into Georgia and progressed on to Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys, I was happy and new my money was well spent. He told a story about having carpal tunnel surgery last year and being told to "go home and shut up" by his doctor. He took this time to write some new songs. One was called You Don't Find Me Funny Anymore. My favorite line..."I used to fake a heart attack and fall out on the floor, but I don't think that's funny anymore." (I just googled Willie and found out he is 76 years old. I knew he had an old-man butt, but thought it was only 65 or so!)

Tony even had a good time! I owe him! I'll have to suck it up and go with him to an 80's band reunion.

Bless His Heart...Part Two

When I went out early, still dark, this morning to turn the chickens out, Skippy was still sitting on the perch in the same spot he was last night. This was a good thing. The girls must have been kind to him (more likely, they ignored him). I opened the gate at the end of the chicken run and let them continue to roost.

Later, I saw the girls in the front yard, but no Skippy. I figured he was having some alone time in the back yard or checking on Riley in the garage. When I still didn't see him after 9:30, I thought I should go check on him. No sign of him in the back yard. No Skippy in the chicken run. I opened the hen house and found my baby on the floor by himself. The flap to the run was open, but he was having none of that. Bless his heart, he is scared of the ramp. I picked him up and carried him outside and put him down. Like a two year old that wants to be held, he stood in front of me and wouldn't let me walk. Then, he started hmm-hmmming. I had no choice but to pick him up and carry him.

In the basement, I filled his dish with cracked corn and chicken food. He ate some but kept his eye on me. When done with my few chores down there, I carried him upstairs and took him out on the front porch where he could see the girls. Before I could get back inside, he had run around in front of me to the front door. As I type, he is sitting under my chair in the kitchen.

Whatever happened in the hen house last night must have been traumatic. Bless his heart! It must have scared the cock-a-doodle-doo out of him because he is only making whimpery chicken noises.

Is there such thing as a chicken whisperer?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Skippy's First Video

This is Skippy's first video! He is showing off his new talent. Notice how scratchy his voice sounds. Ignore the woman talking to the chicken. She really sounds like such a dork!

Skippy has another milestone tonight. For the first time in his life, he is sleeping in the henhouse with other chickens. He was looking a little terrified when I closed the door. This was a lot harder for me than I thought it would be.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bless His Heart

You know us southerners, we can say anything bad about somebody else as long as we preface it with "bless his heart."

With that said, bless his heart, my Skippy Chick is so dingy, he didn't come in out of the rain. This morning, it is 40 degrees and pouring. I opened Skippy's cage, thinking he would hang out in the garage with Riley Dog. But NO! He went to the front yard, stood under the bird feeder and looked up at the sky. Which bird is it that drowns because it is looking up trying to figure out where the rain is coming from? I'm thinking ostrich! Poor Skippy must have ostrich blood in his chicken body.

I put on my raincoat and went on a rescue mission. I took him to the chicken house thinking he would hang out with the girls. But NO! Again, bless his heart, he is scared of my three old lady hens. He could stay inside the henhouse and be dry. Instead, he bolted, looking over his shoulder to make sure Ruby wasn't going to get him. Once outside, he returned to staring at the sky.

My Skippy Chick is about to turn into my Skippy Rooster. Monday morning, I heard a yodeling cock-a-doodle-doo coming from the garage. When I opened the door, Riley Dog glared at me with a "what the hell?" look on his face. This morning, my Skippy was so proud of his new noise, he did it twice on command. He's so smart! I think I'll have to try my hand at videoing Skippy tomorrow morning so you can see how funny he sounds while he is learning this new skill. Stay tuned.

Here's hoping I won't have to wring out my rooster at the end of the day!

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Kickball...Meet the Team

The Carolina Kickers played our first game today. I managed to kick a grounder every time I was up to kick. I even scored a run! I discovered I can't run the bases without squealing. And, one lap around the bases is enough to make your quads quake! No balls were kicked my way, so I managed to avoid catching any. Our team won! Best of all...No one called me "Miss Anna"!

Saturday Morning Fun

On Saturday mornings, many families clean the house or cook a big breakfast or head off to watch the kids play soccer. Not me! Saturday mornings are made for yard saling! The earlier you get up, the more places you can shop. And, there are more goodies to choose from.

Every Friday night, I search the garage sale ads on the News and Observer and craigslist websites to see where the best sales are. If the main focus is children’s stuff, I give it a miss. Neighborhood sales are usually good, as are church sales. But the best are the estate sales. Their circumstances are usually sad, a death in the family or a move to a nursing home, but the loot haul can be fabulous.

Last weekend, I found an estate sale to reduce leftovers from a vintage/retro clothing and stuff store in Durham. This was right up my alley! It didn’t start until 9:00, so I arranged my route so that I could hit earlier sales in Wake Forest and Creedmoor before. With very little luck at those sales, I headed on to Durham with low expectations.

I arrived in Durham early and the folks were still unloading some of their items into the front yard. Beds, sinks, lawn furniture,

retro chairs and coffee table, one of the first McDonald’s umbrellas and boxes and boxes of toys littered the front yard.

There were two other women waiting out front. One was looking for a table for her craft room. The other, like me, just wanted to rummage. While chatting, I looked at a tree at the back of the house. Something purple and large was in it. I asked one of the girls, “Is that what I think it is?” She looked at the object perplexed. “I think it looks like a giant purple penis!” Hmmm! This is going to be interesting!

At 9:00, the front door was opened and we were invited in. Shopping mecca! Will you take a check? Can I make a pile? Do you have more stuff to go through? Will there be another sale? Yes! Yes! Yes! And, YES!! But what is that smoky smell?

Never mind! Is that a fish tank filled with buttons I see?

And that box of old black and white photos!

What a funky chandelier! And that box is filled with glass door knobs!

Art deco girl decals!

A can filled with plastic kids' rings!

A fun clover sewing kit filled with more...


As I was checking out, I asked if there would be another sale next weekend. I was thrilled to learn there was more to come. I promised to return and bring friends!

On the way home, I had a serious case of dry mouth and munchies to beat the band! Could it have anything to do with that sweet smoky smell? A diet coke and package of raspberry and coconut twinkies will cure that! wasn't a purple penis tree. Instead, it is a purple manequin tree! It's all in the point of view and angle you are looking.

Country Music

Number 39 on the way up the country music charts this week is a song called Cheater Cheater by Joey and Rory. Even the name of the duet sounds like a country song! Joey used to sing alone while Rory wrote music. Their joint effort is fabulous! The chorus goes like this..."Cheater, cheater! Where'd you meet that no good, white trash ho'." How can you not love country music!?

Thursday, February 12, 2009

In Pursuit of Photographs

Yesterday, I typed up the previous post and thought I would run across the street to take photos and feed the roosters in the chicken tractor. I grabbed a bag of rubbery carrots to share with the critters in the pasture.

The Escape Goat met me at the gate. I tossed him a carrot. This kept him busy while I opened the gate and let myself in. Unfortunately, it also alerted all of the other animals in the pasture that I was there and carrying food. Within 10 steps, I was surrounded. I tried to pass out carrots, but patience is NOT a virtue for livestock. I decided I would just empty the bag of carrots on the ground, leaving the critters to scrap for them, and head on over to feed the chickens and get my photos.

The carrots were a distraction for about 8 seconds. I found myself flanked by a huge black llama to the left, Nelson the Pony to the right, an emu leaning over my right shoulder, the Escape Goat and a few friends climbing up the front of me, and chickens sitting on the fence, thinking about jumping on my head! All I could think of is please don't let them trample me here and what an embarrassing way to die! With the bucket of chicken food held high over my head, the llama and emu still managed to get a couple of corn kernels.

Thinking fast, I flung half of the food out of the bucket and ran for the chicken tractor. I considered climbing in with them, but figured I had really pissed them off the night before and they might want to peck my eyes out! Instead, I opened the door, dumped the remainder of their food inside, and turned to escape. Again, I was surrounded. This time, I had nothing. No carrots, no corn kernels, no chicken food. One of the goats started chewing on my shirttail. Nelston the Pony started chewing on my plastic bucket. The emus kept looking me in the eye (being pecked by the chickens didn't seem to be so bad any more)! The llamas and goats kept shoving their heads in the bucket with hopes of traces of food.

I finally made it back to the gate, but had multiple animals wanting to leave with me. Guess who got out. That Escape Goat! I enticed him back to me by holding out my empty plastic bucket and he came running. He isn't the brightest bulb in the pasture! I grabbed him by one of his horns, picked him up, opened the gate, held all of the others back, and deposited him on the pasture side of the gate.

With hoof prints on the front of me, more crap on my shoes, and bite marks on my shirt tail, I rushed home to my well behaved dog and 4 chickens. From now on, I know which side of the fence I belong on!


I don't know what it is about me and boys, but they just keep showing up!

Obviously, I'm married to a boy. Both of my children are boys. Our dog is a boy. We have three hens...GIRLS! Between them, they have hatched 15 eggs. Only three of those have been girls and I gave them to a friend before I realized that ALL of the others were boys!

If you have chickens, you know you can't have a whole bunch of roosters in the same place. They want to fight. They bully the girls. They chase children...human and chicken ones. They are VERY loud! They create more roosters! The final straw was when they were mean to my Skippy!

In the past, the boys have always found homes. I don't ask what plans the folks that take them have for the boys. However, they usually leave with folks who are purchasing goats from my neighbor. Come to your own conclusions!

With 5 roosters, my Skippy being one of them, it's time to scale down. I called my neighbor, Farmer Mary, to see if she knew of anyone looking for roosters. She said to bring the boys on over and put them in her chicken tractor, make a FREE ROOSTER sign, and she'll make sure they find new "homes".

Nelson the Pony
In order to catch the four out of five roosters that are going to new homes, we had to wait for them to roost. So, about 7:00 last night, in the dark, I grabbed the first rooster and walked over to Mary's to reconnoiter the fences, chicken tractor, and dogs. Fortunately, all of the dogs were inside, but they barked up a storm and kept my butt-cheeks tight. A baby goat tried hard to get out of the gate when I opened it. While I was keeping him in, holding a mad rooster, shining a flashlight on the gate while trying to lock it, and not step in any deposits, Nelson the Pony snuck up behind me and nearly made me make deposits of my own. I finally got this guy into the chicken tractor and had a plan for the other three.

Back at home, Tony had a large box and was ready to help. I grabbed one rooster and dropped him in the box. Tony slammed the lid. I went for the second one who freaked out. Riley thought I needed his help and tried to get in on the action. I had to let the rooster go, so he ran and hid in the covered ramp between the house and the run. Bluto, my oldest, slightly dim-witted rooster stood watching all of the action and looked stunned when I reached in to grab him. He is huge! The poor guy already in the box must have had the wind knocked out of him when we dropped Bluto on top of him.
Bluto in the chicken tractor.

Now, the escapee...Tony, armed with a hockey stick, encouraged him back into the house. After much flapping and stomping, he finally jumped up on the perch and settled down. My second grab went much smoother and he was loaded in the box.

We took this huge box across the street and forgot the flashlight. We went on feel to the gate and through the pasture to the chicken tractor. Nelson wasn't interested in me this time, but the baby goat was very nosy. It took a few minutes to convince the roosters to come out of the box. Even with it upside down, they managed to stay inside. With a little shaking and smacks to the box, they joined the first rooster.

No roosters were harmed in this activity...yet. Our shoes, however, will never enter the house again!

This morning, my Skippy is the BMOC! He has Cora Bell, Shakira and Ruby to hang out with. I'm hoping the girls will be nice to my cute boy.

My Skippy Chick
Cora Bell and Ruby

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Puppy Love

This weekend, Riley started limping. He puts so much energy into chasing squirrels, squeaky toys, and bb gun pellets, I thought he might have pulled a muscle. He wouldn't put any weight on his back right leg. We watched for a day, and it didn't get better. Yesterday, I had to help him stand and carried him down the stairs. To the vet we went. Riley loves to ride in the car, so he eagerly climbed in.

When we arrived at the vet, he jumped out of the car, got a whiff of the many scents, took a look at the glass door, and put on his breaks. My Riley had to be assisted through the door. They were smart to make the floor a hard surface for two reasons. 1. When Riley didn't want to move toward the treatment room, he could be slid along. 2. When his nerves went to the next level and his bladder gave out, the floor was easily cleaned. I'm sorry to say we used both of these reasons during our visit.

North Wake Animal Hospital has been wonderful to our animals! We usually see Dr. Darch, but didn't request anyone specific. We wound up seeing one of the female partners. She checked Riley out good, said his hip may be getting arthritic. Since he'll soon be 10, this makes sense. She said to keep him calm for the next week and prescribed medication. I wrote the check and was getting ready to leave when Dr. Darch saw Riley from another treatment room. He came out and began palpating Riley's leg. He said, "I bet he tries to bite me when I move his knee." He was right. He grabbed a cortisone shot and injected Riley. If he isn't better in 3 days, he wants to x-ray his knee.

As I was writing my second check, a woman came in and stood next to me at the counter. I didn't look at her face but could tell by her body language that she was struggling to keep it together. The receptionist looked at her and knew. "Is he in the car?" A nod from the woman. "Do you need us to help you bring him in?" She managed to say, "My husband is in the car. He'll do it."

I wanted to say something to comfort her but knew there were no words. I held Riley close to me as the couple carried in a gray-muzzled basset hound. Both were crying. I could hardly see through my tears to write my check. I knew none of them, but I knew their pain.

I called Tony from the car, still crying, and scared him to death. It didn't occur to me that he would think I had gotten really bad news about Riley. Thank heavens Riley is much better today. He doesn't understand why I'm not doing my part when he brings his squeaky toy to me and throws it at my feet! I sure do love my dog!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Kickball Anyone?

Remember that sappy song from the 70's, Sorry Seems to be the Hardest Word? I believe they have it all wrong. It is very easy to say "sorry." I'm sorry I hurt your feelings. I'm sorry you had a bad day. I'm sorry I broke your favorite vase. I'm sorry I wrecked your car. I'm sorry I drank the last diet coke. See? It is very easy. The hardest word to say is "NO!"

Why do I feel compelled to say "yes" when I am asked: Don't you want to be in charge of the marching band's yard sale? Do you want to join a kick ball league? Will you return those extra parts to Home Depot...or was it Lowe's? Can I have another video game for my computer? Do you want to go to the beach with the girls? Why don't we take a weight-lifting class at the Y?

What I really wanted to say to all of these questions was, "No! No I don't!" But what came out of my mouth was, "Well, okay." Fortunately, only a few of these have I grown to regret! The Lowe's/Home Depot dilemma I won't have trouble saying NO to next time.

Sunday morning, I was belittling myself for saying YES to kick ball. What the heck was I thinking? Wasn't the last time I played in 1973? Don't I remember being chosen last for basketball in the 7th grade? I know it is a different sport, but... And what if the other players are like the guys in that movie Dodgeball?

Hallelujah! All of my fears were wrong! Nobody else had played since they were in elementary school either. Unfortunately, most of them were in elementary school in the 90's. I introduced myself to the other players. All seemed welcoming. When I couldn't remember the rules, they clarified for me. Kickers came in boy/girl order. I stood back and let everyone else go first so I could study technique. When there were no more girls in front of me, one of the guys said, "Miss Anna hasn't kicked yet." From there, I was tagged Miss Anna.

I knuckle pounded the biggest guy on our team as I headed to my first kick. I whistled as we scored. I even ran across home plate once (even though somebody else got tagged out and my score didn't count.) I never had a ball kicked to or near me (Thank God!) so I didn't fumble the ball. I joked with the first baseman about getting out of my way so I wouldn't have to knock him down. This does not sound like the actions of a girl named Miss Anna.

Our team won the first game. I lost count on the second game. When someone said, "I'm thirsty. Let's head to the bar," the game ended, and there was no discussion about which team won. I guess everyone wins when it's Miller Time. (Do they still make that beer?)

I think I want to be on a team where everyone is 40 or older. We'll call ourselves the Menopausal Bitches! Anyone who calls me Miss Anna will get a spanking! I will be figuring out my strategy of ditching this sweet name that is meant to be respectful. Just treat me like one of the boys!

Wonderful Weekend!

I got my whole list done on Saturday! The weather was so wonderful, I didn't even want to come inside for bathroom privileges. Will started the fire in the pit and kept watch over it. Several loads of rotten wood from fallen trees were piled on through the day.

The chicken house was cleaned out! The porch was swept clean. Fresh hay was put on the floor inside. Chick feeders and waterers were put away. Art work was hung on the walls. The chickens are happy. (Saturday night, a raccoon visited and turned over the cans of food on the porch and made another mess for me to clean up!)

Once the lawn mower got some minor maintenance from Tony, I attacked the liriope. I hadn't realized how thick it had gotten! My rose bed is getting smaller...or should I say, my liriope patch is getting larger! For some reason, my favorite dog, Riley, sees me with a lawn mower as a challenge. He will come next to the mower, throw down his squeaky toy and stand in front of the mower until I throw the toy. He is like the ghosts in PacMan trying to keep me from eating up all of the dots and cherries with my lawn mower. Regardless, it is done! I love checking things off the list that only have to be done once a year. Rick blew all the shredded leaves from the driveway!

Put the lawn mower back in the shed and dump the chicken poop out of the wheelbarrow. Round up clippers and head for the roses! Only two rose bushes didn't survive my pruning, the winter, the lack of mulch, the aphids... The rest were pruned and the scraps were added to the fire pit. I have the thorn marks to prove it!

My final chore required me to roam the trails in the back yard in search of plants for terrariums. I found a few small ferns, some wild ginger (also known as little brown jugs), some moss, and an old bottle. Rumor has it that our area was rampant with moonshine stills during prohibition. We have found lots of old bottles that confirms this. The terrariums are planted. Now we wait to see if these plants are a joy or a sacrifice! Pictures will come later. The condensation inside the jar is rather heavy at the moment.

I think I'll have to put my list of chores on my blog more often. The accountability that goes with a public plan is huge. I'm thinking about my list for next weekend! We even worked in some play time, too!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Garden Chores for February

This weekend is supposed to be much warmer. I'm ready to be thrown into the yard and told not to return to the house until dark!

I think I'll drag out my lawn mower, raise the blades and cut back my liriope. If it is cut back in February, the new growth hasn't started yet, so you won't chop off the tops of the leaves you'll be seeing for the next year. Pruning now also eliminates the old brownish leaves from last year.

I'll clean out the chicken house and spread fresh hay. This chore is long overdue! Fortunately, the cold weather has kept the smell down, and my chickens don't complain much! As long as they have food and water and other chickens to snuggle up to, they are happy! I'll wait for the completed clean-up to take photos!

My rose garden has been neglected, too. I should have pruned them last month but plead too cold. I messed up three years ago and pruned my roses to about ankle height instead of thigh high. I don't know what made me think this was a good idea! I lost a few plants to my stupidity, but my favorites survived.

Our fire pit is loaded with limbs, clippings, and rotting logs. We'll take advantage of the calm weather and have a bon fire. Bring out the marshmallows and hotdogs! While watching the fire, I want to dig up some smaller ferns and native plants to create terariums in some clear glass jars I've been collecting.

To hold myself accountable for these chores, I promise I will post pictures by Monday to prove it is done. If I don't take care of my chores, NO COMPUTER TIME FOR ME!

I have my list! Let's hope the weatherman is correct!

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Unprovoked Kindness

I love seeing folks being nice to strangers for no discernable reason. Today as I was leaving our local Goodwill, a woman and 4 children, the oldest around 5, were walking out in front of me. While in the store, the kids sat in the back with picture books in their laps, quiet and content. Very cute and very sweet. In the parking lot, a lady was unloading her trunk. She saw the kids running in front of their mother and called out. "Hey kids! Ya'll want a teddy bear?" The kids looked to their mom for approval. A bear as big as a grown up was pulled from the trunk and the kids' faces lit up. A few more smaller bears were produced. All 4 kids drug the huge bear to their car and piled in. I predict loads of love for that bear!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Carl Hiaasen

Tonight, Tony and I took the boys and met a couple of friends for bagels and books. The folks who own the independent book store, Quail Ridge Books in Raleigh, NC, were hosting a book signing for Carl Hiaasen, a wonderful author from Florida who incorporates the invisible people and environmental issues in all of his books.

His newest book is his third children's book called Scat. It is about the nearly extinct Florida Panther. I haven't read it yet, but can't wait to get my hands on it. I have to wait for my boys to read it first! Patience is a virtue, patience is a virtue...

His first kid's book, Hoot, was about a species of endangered owls that were being killed for the sake of the construction of a waffle restaurant. With the help of Jimmy Buffet, the book was made into a movie. Since the rewriting of the book for film was so stressful, Mr. Hiaasen is not in a hurry to have any of his other books turned into movies. His second book for kids is Flush. A brother and sister team set out to prove that a casino boat is "flushing" it's waste into the ocean.

He has written quite a few books for adults, too, including Double Whammy, Strip Tease, and Nature Girl. A homeless ex-governor, a stripper, and a crappy plastic surgeon are a few of his memorable characters. You will laugh out loud.

In person, Carl's sense of humor is unique. To make sure he used the correct dialogue in his children's books, he road on school buses to hear how kids talked to each other. He says they are brutal, crude, and funny. As a newspaper reporter, he got a thrill out of writing about adults' bad behaviors. He even wished the Illinois governor, Rob Blagojevich, was from Florida so he could write about him.

For my boys who were a little ambivalent about going, they were entertained and impressed with Mr. Hiaasen's frank discussion with the kids who attended the reading, including his response to the comment from one kid that his teacher did not like any Hiaasen books because of the language in them. He addressed this by saying that he didn't use any words that others didn't use. On his behalf, I don't recall any f-bombs in Hoot or Flush. I'm sure he didn't use any words my children haven't heard come from my own mouth! As for the bus language, my children plead the fifth!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Party Like Jesus

What? Yep! That was John's opening comment in church this morning. We knew the Super Bowl would be one of the main themes from our football-loving minister, but his correlation of Jesus partying was a surprise. "Let me explain," he said.

Jesus met with people over food and drinks. Family, friends, strangers, disciples, prostitutes, lepers...let's roast a goat, tap a keg of wine and talk about religion!

There are two types of parties Jesus didn't like to attend. The Romans were too wild. Their parties were filled with too much food, too much wine, too much sex. Their appetites could not be satisfied. The Pharisees were stuffed shirts. They were stiff, fake...not fun. Only the most proper, richest folks were invited.

Neither of these would do for Jesus. Everyone should be invited. Old and young, rich and poor, black and white, married and single, gay and straight, Steelers fans and Cardinal fans. These are the best parties. How interesting to talk to folks with different views and experiences from your own. Or maybe, someone who looks so different from you has had the same experiences as you.

So, partying is okay. Don't overindulge or leave folks out. Even if you are pulling for the Cardinals (like me), you have to whoop it up and know James Harrison (number 92) was sending up some fabulous prayers when he intercepted the ball at the Cardinals end zone, ran the full 100-yard length of the field as the clock ran down on the first half and scored a touchdown. Jesus would have cheered and toasted the Steelers on that one. Now, the Cardinals need to say a few prayers to win their first Super Bowl.

Who will win Super Bowl XLIII?