Monday, December 30, 2013

My Quest for the Fountain of Youth

My Quest for the Fountain of Youth

My birthday is approaching, and I’m researching beauty treatments to (make myself think) I look like I did ten years ago. 

Asking around, I was amazed at how many women are getting lasered, botoxed, injected, and microdermed and spending fortunes doing it.

I called “Chateau d’ Shangra OOOH-LA-LA” yesterday to check the price of getting my underarms lasered so I’d never have to shave again. 

By the way, I really do buy expensive razors on account of I’m worth it.  However, I use them approximately 23 more times than Bic’s recommendation and I cut myself every time—just like last night.  I had to wait twenty minutes to stop bleeding before I got dressed for bunco so I wouldn’t mess up my new Mossimo faux raccoon fur vest. (A virtual Fountain of Youth itself). 

Anyway, I quickly found out that my budget only permitted me to laser half my chin, which was unacceptable.  

So, then I turned my attention to a plethora of cosmetic miracle cures.

First, I researched “BerryActif” a product containing raspberry plant stem-cell technology with 300,000 raspberry stem-cells in every jar. 

After four weeks’ use, 83% of panelists* using the anti-aging cream showed improvement but had to set their thermostats below 58 degrees to prevent becoming moldy at room temperature.

Next, “Fifty Shades of Clay” Cosmetics boasts a potion called Accelerated Retinol Serum.  Why would I want the Regular Serum?  More is better!  I mean, this is still America last time I checked.  I could teach those Marketing guys, with their framed Latin cosmetology diplomas just like Charlene’s down at the Glamour Nails, a thing or two about selling stuff.  Where did they go to college anyway?  LSU?  (Woo hoo!  Ole Miss fan.) 

Anyway, the cream claims to reduce wrinkles and revive bounce.  But I don’t need more bounce.  Lately when I walk in high heels, the skin on my cheeks vibrates, which is quite enough bounce for me. 

Next I learned “Brassy & Sassy” Cosmetics sells a miracle cream made from the rare purple raspberry variety Lavendéra L’Shawnda.  The rare strain was identified in the ruins of Pompeii in 1999 at the foot of Mount Vesuvius.

One lone plant possessed the determination and the immunity to free-radicals to push through the thick layer of hardened lava to photokinetically produce one purple raspberry.  The exclusive formula uses a specific strain of rare barnacle growing on that robust raspberry, which is rare. 

The secret behind “Meaningful Beauty” Anti-aging System lies in a remote region in France, named Jean Valjean d’ Cosette where scientists have cultivated an uncommon melon containing a powerful super-antioxidant, that obviously worked on Cindy Crawford, called Super Hydroxide Amino Mylflavanoid (SHAM)—and if you’re the third caller on QVC, they’ll throw in two more tubes.  Just pay separate shipping and handling. 

Female Baby Boomers are willing to spend their kids’ college funds and sometimes even part of their wine budget to stave off the aging process.

I know one lady who spent $300 on a cream made from cat placentas.  Her skin looks great, but she goes bat-crazy when the vacuum cleaner is turned on.

*30 random people they found on the internet.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Tired of All Those Christmas Brag Letters?

Tired of All Those Christmas Brag Letters?

December 7, 2013
I really admire the families who include letters with their Christmas cards.  They send perfect pictures of their well-behaved children in the beautiful places they’ve visited this year.
However, I don’t have time for perfect on account of I’m too busy watching Dr. Phil and that medical talk show with all those hot doctors.  And I’m always plagued by some important task hanging over my head.  It’s too bad I can’t remember what it is.
And why can’t I go to those beautiful places?  Because I’m home editing a five-page paper on why Zeus and Medusa wound up inside the Trojan Horse or some crap like that.  The next day I’m scraping burnt french fries off my rusty cookie sheet, and my friend is over there in Italy telling Edwardo, her hot masseuse, “A little more warm oil, please.”
Don’t get me wrong.  I love my friends who send letters.  I want to know about their exciting lives.  A part of me wants to slip it down the garbage disposal, but the sender may ask me later what I thought about their Alaskan cruise.  But a part of me is glad they are thoroughly enjoying their lives.
Why am I jealous sometimes, though?  I have everything I want.  I have plenty of time to ponder my blessings when I’m driving back at 9 p.m. from a wrestling match an hour away.  Thank God I usually remember to buy granola bars for my other two kids for dinner.  I also ruminate on my blessings, shivering, at 7 a.m. and again at 7 p.m. at soccer games in a tournament seven hours away.  Sometimes I’m so overwhelmed with thankfulness that I want to get on my knees right there on the sideline but my butt is stuck to the bleachers.
But the thing is—there’s no where I’d rather be.  I’ll never have these days back, but Turks and Caicos will always be there.  I’d rather watch my daughter play point guard for the very first time than visit some Paradise Point.  I’d rather see her perfect her rise ball than watch a sunrise in Oahu.  And most of all, seeing my daughter’s embarrassment when I volunteer to have her Bible study at my house is priceless.
One day I might make it to an exotic location, but right now I’m enjoying watching my beautiful children put their home-made (well, school-made) ornaments on our Christmas tree.    When I do make it to Italy, I wonder if Edwardo will still be there.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

In Southern Grocery Stores:

I seriously can't resist posting this.  I have no words.  From a friend, Karen Lochemes . . .

Friday, November 8, 2013

Serious Disorder Leads to Wearing a Coconut Bra

Serious Disorder Leads to Wearing a Coconut Bra

I was a room mom extraordinaire.

For Halloween, other moms brought cupcakes with a Milano-cookie tombstone sticking out of the top.  Pu-leeeze. 

I brought a masterpiece with a lighted skull and glowing skeleton hands and feet that are supposed to stick up out of the ground, as if the fiend was clamoring up from the netherworld, except my skeleton was clamoring up out of a 48” x 48” cake grave.  Everyone raved about how did I do that and lots of stuff about how great I was.  

My all-or-nothing obsession began years ago when I was asked to create a centerpiece for the cookies-and-punch table at a school spring program. What an opportunity to show all the moms my insecurity, um . . . creative talent!  

No sweet vase of crocuses for me.  Somehow I stumbled across a huge furry Bugs Bunny head that begged to be tablescaped. 

My husband took over the household and child-rearing duties while I labored for weeks to make that head look like it was popping out of a grapevine rabbit hole.  I was like Evan Almighty building the ark, except with only one animal, and a lot less hairy.  Did I say this was a singing program for THREE. YEAR. OLDS?

Yes, it's true

Years later, I officially passed the punch ladle to others, and I never decorated for one freaking function again.

But lately my guilt over pretending I was always out of town on Scarecrow Day got the best of me.  

Recently, while frantically delivering forgotten homework, I sprinted down the school hallway in my Tweety Bird t-shirt and sweatpants to avoid the gift wrap Nazi.  Just as I realized I’d left the house without a bra, the perky mom of the Senior Class suddenly appeared from behind a plant like Beetlejuice in Lilly Pulitzer.

“Cath, since every other mom has worked 12 shifts in the library and you . . . haven’t, will you decorate for the Senior Luau?  Thanks!”

“I’m sorry Deena Fay, I have a disorder,” I admitted.

“Nothing that a good plastic surgeon couldn’t fix,” she replied, staring at my chest.

“I am a craftaholic,” I said, ashamed.  When I fall off the wagon, my family doesn’t see me for long stretches of time.”  

Like once, I went out for poster board, and weeks later they found me stowed away on a Disney Cruise, sitting in a corner by the Little Mermaid ice sculpture folding towels into animal shapes.

“You’ll have PLENTY of help,” said Deena Fay not listening, sort of like my kids.  “Like Charlene!”

Charlene couldn’t even shine my shoes,” I thought smugly.  “However, she could fetch me my lattés.”

I wavered.  Visions of colorful tissue paper flowers and a tropical photo backdrop twisted me into Jekyll and Hyde dancing the Hula and serving up Pu-pu platters.

Yes, I was in charge of decorations at the senior luau

Suddenly, Deena Fay spun around and caught Charlene, herself, by the arm.

“I’ve been looking for you!” said Deena Fay.  “Could you decorate for the Senior Luau?  I asked Cathy, but she’s sick,” she said with her back to me and making circular motions with her finger at her temple.

Whatever.  Their loss.  I hope Charlene’s cheap blow-up pink flamingos look precious.  But maybe it’s best.  I’d probably blow my daughter’s college fund flying in fire-stick jugglers walking on hot coals—before Charlene could even shine my shoes.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Geeks Unite! My Life at the Loser Lunch Table

Geeks Unite!:  My Life at The Loser Lunch Table

Some of you kids may have had anxiety about school starting.  Maybe you hate math.  Maybe you’re not a fashionista.  Maybe you resent that you didn’t get picked Homecoming queen because a little snit named Amber Dawn told everyone she heard that on dates, you were so scared of “the kiss” you needed a pair of “starting blocks” for your 100-yard sprint to the front door.  You know, theoretically.

Maybe you’re just a nerd like I was.

I had Full Metal Jacket braces with big silver bands around each tooth and long, scraggly hair parted down the middle with bangs that were always growing out.  And even now, I wonder why my parents let me get wire-rim glasses that darkened to a weird gray color in the sun.  Sorry, Ma, but maybe the dork doesn’t fall too far from the tree.  Word.

I read the Hobbit and Narnia series before they were semi-cool movies, as well as Star Trek books, which were never cool.  And I had a crush on William Shatner in his skinny Star Fleet pants.  He was swagadelic way back when Johnny Depp was just a tot running with his little scissorhands and learning his girlie pirate flourishes. 

My parents noticed I was on the geeky side so we had a meeting. 

“Honey, we know you want to fit in . . . ,” they began.  

Next, they could’ve suggested something normal like, “Why don’t you meet with  Christy and smoke a few Marlboros behind the gym?”

No, MY parents said, “Why don’t you join a bowling league?”

That totally scored me a prime seat at the lunch table—with the hopelessly geeky Fantasy World of Warcraft society.
So I joined the bowling league and brought my new geek friend, the Grand Supreme Orc Warlord with me.  And I took bowling very seriously, since you ask.

Once Christy asked me over, and I stated, “No, I’m going to work on my hook ball because lately my curve hasn’t been high and tight.”

Her eyes spoke volumes, as if I were Mork and she were, well . . . anyone.

Finally, after seventh grade, my latent cool gene engaged, or maybe I just developed a couple of decent curve balls.  Go figure.  Maybe the long summers envelop a girl in a cocoon of baby oil, iodine, and White Rain hairspray, and what emerges is a sunburned redneck in daisy dukes who can thoroughly beat her boyfriend’s butt at bowling.

I believe we all agree bowling is a metaphor for life.  Sometimes you don’t need finesse.  You can just throw it hard and get a strike.  

You don’t have to be perfect with a 300 game.  Then people expect it all the time.

And you can start off stinking pretty bad, but wind up with the high score.

There will always be 300-games and fashionistas.  But we geeks are a band of brothers you can count on to help you endure the Amber Dawns and loser lunch tables.  Brothers who, through ironic twists of fate, have now become the Mean Girls’ nerdy, well-paid bosses.  Like my geeky, old bowling buddy, Vestis Millennial—Fantasy World of Warcraft’s Grand Supreme Orc Warlord.  To his big-shot business buddies, he’s just Bill.  Bill Gates.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Siri's Programming Geeks Should Avoid Cuervo

Siri’s Programming Geeks Should Avoid Cuervo

I’m using Siri more, the personal assistant on my iPhone.  Somehow the geek programmers, who think the consummate prank is replacing bathroom soap with hand sanitizer, were able to infuse her with a sharp sense of humor.

How?  I imagine Apple’s Marketing department attempted to boost sales by jumpstarting the creativity of the geeks in Development.  They probably spiked the office water cooler the day all the Sheldons (The Big Bang Theory) developed Siri’s jocularity gene because her personality exudes subtle shades of José Cuervo.

I visualize the smug geniuses, lounging with their happy juice, thoughtfully stroking the peach fuzz on their chins because they’re not old enough to shave, programming clever responses to questions we mental midgets might ask Siri.

Their first Focus Group Session with regular people probably started out harmless enough.

Someone addressed Siri, “Beam me up Scotty.”  And Siri answered, “I’m afraid I have to see your badge first.”  

But as the session continued, some Cuervo creeped into Siri’s responses.  

Here are the ones Marketing had to nix:

Focus Group Participant:  “Is ‘neurode’ a real word?”

Siri:  Delving into physics?  Oh I forgot.  It’s 3:00.  Time for Words With Friends.

FGP:  “Do you like me?”

Siri:  Should you need a slightly indifferent, indentured companion, I stand ready.

FGP:  “Clinton was the most honorable and effective president in history.”

Siri:  Perhaps you’d like to invest in my Leprechauns and Gold at the End of the Rainbow dotcom opportunity.

FGP:  “Suggest a book that will challenge me.”

Siri:  One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish

FGP:  “What should I do this weekend?”

Siri:  How about an “America’s Funniest Home Videos” marathon?  Learn how the laws of physics apply when a man teaches his offspring the finer points of a baseball swing, demonstrating how mass plus velocity equals kinetic energy which is transferred from a wooden object’s center of percussion to the father’s . . . what’s the clinical term?   Family jewels. 

America's Funniest Home Videos

FGP:  “Is the atomic bomb a result of fusion or fission?”

Siri:  I’d explain it to you but I didn’t bring any crayons.

FGP:   “Is there really something called the “flux capacitor” that Doc Brown used to take Marty McFly back in time?”

Siri:  Don’t be a yammering sphincter.  KMN (kill me now)

FGP:  “Why is this email in my spam folder?”  

Siri:  I put it there after you forwarded me a picture of a cat surfing, entitled, “Must See.”

FGP:  “What is Mr. Clean Magic Eraser made of?”

Siri:   Unicorn hair.

FGP:  “How much wood could a woodchuck chuck if a woodchuck could chuck wood?”   

Siri: “What part of an inverse tangent function approaching an asymptote don't you understand? . . . .  Get it?”

FGP:  “Someone hacked my Angry Birds account!  Call the police!” 

Siri:  Why?  Did the FBI hang up on you?

FGP:  “My wife is pregnant, but I’ve been overseas.  How could this happen?”

Siri:  I’d like to match wits with you, but I see you’re unarmed.

FGP:  “Has Obama spent more than any U.S. president?” 

Siri:  Was the mankini a mistake?

And Marketing quickly rejected a proposed Siri response for phones sold in the South.

FGP:  “I’m upset because I did the Devil’s Dance with my third cousin!!”

Siri:  Then stop counting.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Southern Girls: "Laura Ashley" With a Little "Texas Pete"

Southern Girls:  “Laura Ashley” With a Little “Texas Pete”

When my girls were little, they carried a stuffed animal everywhere.  I guess it made them feel secure to hold something from home.  Later they brought along Build-a-Bears to sleep-away camps. 

Likewise, when a girl goes away to college, she takes all her belongings (including fifteen new Lilly Pulitzer sundresses for game day at the Grove) with her because she must recreate in her dorm the same cozy environment in which she did not study at home.

First, she and her roommate must meticulously plan a color scheme during the summer on Twitter and Instagram. 

They’ll send each other Laura Ashley fabric samples and coordinate polkadot dust ruffles, drapes, and area rugs to pull their project together.

Then there’s Monogramming.  Everything.  Gabby Lee’s mama must purchase a monogrammed duvet, headboard, and a slipcover for GL’s desk chair at Ole Miss because that’s just what Southerners DO.  Now if she went to college in the North, . . . bwaaahaha, I kill me!  

To make the boudoir complete (BTW - we Southern girls like to say “boo-dwaahh” because it makes people think we hail from somewhere exotic, like the French Quarter), GL will create a corner “reading” nook.  A velvet loveseat, surrounded by softly draped charmeuse hanging from the ceiling and a string of white lights casting a soft glow on her spray tan.  A quiet place for “courting” because a Southern girl can’t sit on her bed with a boy ‘cause mama WILL find out.  It’s a studious retreat in case a Sigma Chi wants to come over and get . . . tutored.    Bella Rivera

For inspiration, she’ll have a Motivation Wall with a poster of a fluffy kitty proclaiming, “Don’t let anyone dull your sparkle!”  She can see it every morning when she wakes up and peeks from under her bed tent of tulle and sweet rosebuds.

Getting practical, mama will make sure she has shower shoes, and a monogrammed shower caddy, bath towels and bath robe so she’ll never have to walk to the shower in her coed dorm wearing just her monogrammed boxer shorts and skin tight tank top, showing, “Oh Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, WHO knows what?”

Over her desk, she’ll have a bulletin board covered in a sweet Vera Bradley “Va Va Bloom” pattern that matches her flat iron pouch.  It will display pics of her sorority sisters  giving air kisses and a plethora of boll weevil pins, or whatever their freakin‘ mascot is.
After mama pulls safely out of Oxford and out of sight, GL will take down the fluffy kitty poster.  Her Motivation Wall will then display a 30” x 60” poster of a six-pack of Abercrombie and Fitch Lust, wearing a cowboy hat, boots and . . . a grin, with an inspirational message, “If you want to conquer fear, don't sit home and think about it. Go get busy.”  Signed, “Love Pete.”

GET BUSY. . . . . . . LOVE, PETE


Really, her mama can’t blame her.  Because she feels food is a metaphor for life, her mama’s philosophy is simple.  

Always own a deviled egg platter ‘cuz you never know when there’s gonna be a funeral.  And when you cook baked beans, stir in a heap of brown sugar, and to fire it up . . . add an extra-hot dose of Texas Pete.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

"My Summer Reading Essay" by: a high school student who didn't read the book

“My Summer Reading Essay” by: 
(a high school student who didn’t read the book)

  1. Describe in 200 words what you learned about Ernest Hemingway by reading The Sun Also Rises.
The author of The Sun Also Rises is Ernest Hemingway, who is a very famous author.  I do not know much about Hemingway, but my sister is a big fan of the “classics,” however I am not at all.  I am more into Judy Moody books because I have a lot of individuality and attitude, and she doesn’t.  

We have had to read many other books written by the famous Hemingway for summer reading in the past.  There is also a restaurant named after him in Destin, Florida which serves splendid snapper in a “Hemingway” sauce, which probably contains alcohol because I imagine that Hemingway has an alcohol problem, which is basically the vibe that I get from most authors; that they are alcoholics.  I am all for people doing what they want to do, but they can hurt someone else and they are slowly ruining their lives.

Because Hemingway is a classic author, I imagine him to have an extensive vocabulary.  Because I am good at peering into the souls of people, I also imagine him to be a little bit bitter because of all the alcohol he has been consuming.  And because he was not as famous as his drinking buddy, the guy who wrote The Great Gatsby.

        In summary, even though he was a bitter alcoholic, it goes without saying that he had periods of lucidity in which he was able to write famous pieces of work.  

        2.  Describe the book’s intended audience.

I think the book’s intended audience was definitely college-level or adults.  I think this because this book was obviously written by an author with an extensive vocabulary and a vast muse.   

This book was not meant for high school students because it requires a deeper level of understanding. The funny thing about Hemingway is that some high school students are very intelligent and can actually understand his work, but not every high school student is like that. 

Teachers think that students will really try to dig deep and understand what is going on in these stories, but in reality, students give up because it is frustrating to read page after page of words that make no sense to you.

        The average high schoolers brain is deluded by alcohol and drugs anyway, so it makes it that much harder to understand the point Hemingway is trying to make. Well, I would not actually know if alcohol and drugs make it harder to understand, but I would imagine it would.  
        Actually, since Hemingway was an avid drinker, maybe drinking would actually make it easier to understand what his writing meant, since he was drunk when he wrote most of it.  I may have to try out my theory someday when I am able to drink alcohol.
In summary, I learned that I am glad Hemingway was alive because if he wasn't, we wouldn't have the nice restaurant in Destin that he created. I also learned that I did not like this book and not to bullfight since it is very dangerous, especially if you’ve been drinking.

Friday, August 2, 2013

14 Points They Don't Cover in Driving School—But Should

12 Points They Don't Cover in Driving School—But Should

       I’ve taught three teenagers to drive without once, well hardly ever, ripping off the “OH-MY-GOD handle.” (handle located in interior of vehicle above door.  Grasped tightly to avoid chiropractors, or possibly even REAL doctors)

       My daughter is attending driving school next week, mostly for the insurance discount and to learn about driving with beer goggles.
          Actually additional beer goggle practice would be advantageous so that in a bar in college she can discern Tristan Framingham III, with a bulging wallet in his back pocket, from Joe Darryl with a bulging Skoal can in his back pocket.

       Driving school can teach her how to turn her wheels in a skid, but it should also touch on other essential information, such as:

       Emergency protocol when arriving at an important peer group debriefing meeting and all the spots are taken at Sonic.

       How much farther can one really, really go on two tablespoons of gas.

       Perfecting the “guilt wave,” after close calls.

       How to throw blood hounds off the scent of the body in one’s trunk.

       How to get out of a ticket. (Taken in conjunction with Improv/Role Play 101)

       What not to wear to one’s traffic court appearance.  Hint: shirt emblazoned with  “Cocaine and Caviar.” (You can’t make this stuff up)

pic by Cathy Cantu at traffic court (for none of ur bidness).  He
crossed his arms because he must've thought I was a narc and because I suck at being nonchalant taking pics with an iPhone.

       Knee driving 101 (Eating/cell phone usage), 201 (Grooming/shaving/brushing teeth), 301 (changing clothes), and Graduate Program (all of the above while finishing algebra homework due in fifteen minutes)

       How to blend in when lost in a neighborhood where one sees lots of chalk body outlines.

       Excuses for rolling down the window, or "Purging the Cabin," when one is driving with one’s significant other and feels a Silent But Deadly coming on.

       Combining Red Bull and alcohol only makes one do stupid stuff with more enthusiasm.

       Legal limits: For driving under the influence of Benadryl and Zyrtec.                For the circumference of a spastic dog in driver’s lap.

       Funeral procession procedures.  Where’s your respect?  Geez, you people just need to pull over and wait.  Except not me of course, but the rest of you.

       And just for ladies:

       How to approach an ATM without opening the car door and leaning out the window.  Tips for remembering to release the parking brake before arriving at your next destination.  I know I’m making broad generalizations here.  Deal with it.

       And a few classes for parents:

       Method to circumvent the “Con Your Mom” anti-phone tracking app your minors have.  Procedure 100% effective roughly 60% of the time.

       When Facetime-ing minors to verify their location, how to distinguish whether they are seated in front of real or faux library books.
Artist: Lea Roth  Agency: Beyond Fotomedia

       How to translate a minor’s texts from Dos Equis into American.

       Most 16- to 18-year olds embrace the obnoxious DAWNeD ideology:  (Daring, Arrogant, often Wrong but Never in Doubt) 

       And just a warning from parents to all teens:  Most of us in the OAT (Old And Treacherous) set know how to throw off the bloodhounds.