Thursday, November 28, 2013

Don't Drop the Eggs!

In our family, it only takes one mishap - or miscue - or misspoken word - and your reputation is sealed forever. This was no more evident than yesterday afternoon, while I was preparing for Thanksgiving.

Let me preface by saying that I make the MOST DELICIOUS DEVILED EGGS IN THE WORLD.

Yes. In the world. Period.

They are creamy. They are tasty. They are the stuff that dreams are made of…and when I bring them to family events, there can be fistfights over who gets the last deviled egg. Take today, for instance…there are fourteen of us sitting down for dinner, and I have twenty-four stuffed pieces of heaven. If we do the math, that means that a lucky ten of us will get TWO of these delicious delights, and four unlucky souls will be left with only one. It will be interesting to see us all eye each other warily as we sit down around the table, wondering who those poor four souls will be.

My kids once asked me why they were called "Deviled" eggs - and I told them it was because they were so sinfully good.

We were at a family picnic back in 1993, when my oldest son, Brad, was all of four years old. He had finished his plate, and had gone back for a coveted second deviled egg…which he carried, precariously, on his paper plate, as he made his way back to his seat. Little did he know that what happened next would seal his fate in family lore.

For some reason, Brad zigged…and the deviled egg zagged… the egg flew up into the air, did a complete 360-double loop, and then landed…creamy side down…in the grass.


Brad looked at the egg in stunned silence for a second, and then erupted. Yes, he erupted into an epic meltdown that only a four-year old can master - the likes of which are still heard around the world.

"I DROPPED MY EGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!" he wailed, with tears flowing. And they flowed. And they flowed. He cried a river, believe me.

The rest of us were sympathetic to his plight, as there were no more eggs to be had…all of us were sympathetic, that is, but the dog, who had now discovered Brad's egg, and what was a little bit of grass on the tongue when a creamy morsel of heaven was to be had??!! Of course, after we expressed appropriate noises of sympathy, we all cracked up (no pun intended). You would have thought he'd dropped a priceless Faberge egg, the way he was carrying on…it was rather amusing.

After that day, I told the kids they were called "Deviled" because they were, indeed, slippery little devils.

The "Bradley and the Egg" story is pretty much retold every time our family gets together and has deviled eggs. It will live in infamy, and will probably be retold to Brad's grandchildren, a hundred years from now.

(And let me just interject that this was not to be the ONLY time Brad has dropped his food. About four years after this, he was carrying a full plate of spaghetti - smothered in tomato sauce - when he zigged, the pasta zagged, and every bit of noodle and sauce slid off the plate, did a complete 360-double loop, and landed with a resounding PLOP on our wooden floor. The laws of physics amazed me on that incident, as we were still finding spaghetti sauce years later in places we never thought possible. In fact, although we haven't lived in that house for four years now, I imagine the current homeowners sitting around one night, saying, "Wait…what?? Is that spaghetti sauce on the CEILING??? How the heck…???!!")

Yesterday, I slaved in the kitchen for hours…part of which was spent on producing my labor-intensive, but masterpiece, deviled eggs.

My creations from yesterday…aren't they DIVINE??!!

When I was finished with them, I asked Brad to carry them down the stairs to our basement refrigerator, where they will be stored until time for dinner today. As he was heading down the stairs with them, Hubby says to me, "Are you sure that's a good idea???"

At first, I couldn't figure out what he meant. And then it hit me.

Brad. Carrying food. Not just carrying food - but carrying my twenty-four pieces of treasure.


What had I been thinking??!!!!

Running to the basement stairs, I hollered, "Brad, don't you DARE drop those eggs!!!!!!"

He comes back up the stairs, shaking his head and sighing…"Geesh. That was twenty years ago!!! When will you let me live that down??!"

In our family?

Never, Brad. Never.



Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Top 10 on Tuesday: Wednesday Edition

With Thanksgiving just around the corner, I thought it would be timely to talk about things that I'm grateful for. I don't do the "thankful thing on Facebook" thingie - not because I'm not thankful, mind you - but just because it feels like everyone else is sorta', kinda' doing it, as well. And I've always liked to be unique. Hee hee.

So…how about a Top 10 on Tuesday - dedicated to Thanksgiving? Only, it's Wednesday - I get that - but again…this makes me unique. Right?

Anywho, here we go:

1. First and foremost, I have to say that I am especially thankful for good health this year. Seriously. This was a rough, rough year - what with the horrific sinus issues at the beginning of the year, and the ongoing gastrointestinal issues that had been ongoing for the last 7-8 years. However, due to persistence on my part, my sinus surgery in April was a resounding success, with no issues since…and by changing my diet to gluten-free in August, I have all but eliminated EVERY SINGLE gastrointestinal issue I've ever experienced. I have been PAIN FREE for months now, and have never felt better. My energy levels are up; I've been exercising like crazy; and I've lost a good twenty pounds since June. Woot woot!

2. My family has been a huge blessing…and this especially hit home just last week when a friend of ours suddenly and tragically lost her 34-year old son in a freak accident. Hubby and I have seven kids, and we're fortunate to have them all healthy and relatively close by. Our eight grandchildren (at last count - but already, our 9th is on it's way!) are also healthy, and we're blessed to be able to visit with them. My parents live relatively close, and I'm counting the time I still have with them. Same with my brother and sister and their respective families. We're very close, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

3. Speaking of Hubby…have I ever mentioned what a lucky girl I am to have him? Fate brought us together, along with the internet - and I have never regretted our decision to get married and blend our families. I WAS hesitant at first, as I enjoyed my independence…but he promised to never stand in the way of that, as well as the freedom to travel, explore and have adventures - and he's lived up to that in every way. Ours may be considered an unconventional marriage, but we've made it work, and he is truly my soul mate and my best friend.

4. I am always thankful that I have the ability and good fortune to be able to do volunteer work, especially with the Red Cross. I'm lucky enough to not have to work anymore at a job, and rather than sitting at home, watching Dr. Oz or other such nonsense, I am so fortunate to be able to get out there and give back in my own unique way. Whether it's attending meetings, or teaching a safety class, or heading off to a national disaster - I count my blessings every day.

5. After traveling extensively across not only our own country, but the world, I am always, always thankful that I live right where I do. I love living in the "land of the free" and the "home of the brave." I love everything the United States stands for. I'm proud of our history, of where we've come, and I always pinch myself and thank God that I won the "birth lottery" by being born right smack in the heartland of this beautiful country.

6. Speaking of freedoms…I am so thankful that we have them. Freedom to choose how I worship…freedom to choose how I will vote…where I will live…how I'll live…we sometimes take them for granted, until we come face-to-face with people who don't have them. I would totally FREAK OUT if I felt someone was threatening a freedom of mine, and so I know that I am very, very lucky. Not to mention - the freedom to BLOG and be able to say what I want to, without fear of censorship. LOVE THIS.

7. A shout-out has to go to the military…as I know I wouldn't have those freedoms if it hadn't been for them. I think back to the soldiers of the American Revolution - and what a daunting, scary job they had - and yet they persisted. Same with the soldiers in World War I, and World War II. Their bravery, their leadership, their strategic planning, and their willingness to sacrifice for others - it totally blows me away.

8. For everyone who works…whether it's a Monday-through-Friday job, or working late nights at the local supermarket, or the gas station, or the bank - and who helps me take care of my own business and needs - a huge thank you. I try to smile and thank you in person, as I'm running up to the store to pick up that last-minute item on my list…but if I don't always show my appreciation, I apologize. To the postal carriers who brave the cold, the trash guys who haul away my junk each week, the newspaperman who brings me my daily paper - I appreciate all of you.

9. To all of my friends…I thank you. For being there for me, through thick and thin…you'll never know what you all mean to me. For supporting me when I'm down, for laughing with me with I'm up, for talking me off the ledge sometimes…you're all amazing and I've learned so much from each of you. Some of you, I've known since grade school…some since college…and some I've just met in the last ten years or so…but each, in your own unique way, have helped mold me into the person that I am today.

10. Lastly…I'm thankful for my pets. My Shih-Tzu, Cocoa…as well as our three cats…Romeo, Juliet and Mayhem…Yes. I'm even thankful for Mayhem, because regardless of his name, he DOES make me laugh with his antics. He's one big furry ball of Trouble, but I have to love him. Our dog, Cocoa, has been with us for ten years now, and her faithfulness and love know no end. She is devoted to everyone in the family, and just a belly rub is enough to keep her contented. She's especially devoted to me, it seems, and I can't take a step without finding her underfoot - I should have named her Shadow, as she's definitely mine. Romeo and Juliet are a pair of felines that have brought us endless love and laughter, as well, and I can't imagine life without any of my fur babies.

There's gazillions of things that I'm thankful for that didn't make today's list - but this seemed right. I wish everyone a happy and safe Thanksgiving - no matter how, where or when you celebrate.



Friday, November 22, 2013

A Letter to a Daughter: Fifty Years Ago

Fifty years ago today, I was all of 17-months old.

Too young, really, to understand the horrific event that took place on this day - November 22, 1963. The day that President John F. Kennedy was assassinated while traveling in Dallas, Texas.

My parents were 21 years old…both too young, as well, to comprehend what had happened. In an attempt to communicate her feelings to me, my mother had presence of mind to pen this letter to me…handwritten in the back cover of my baby book:

"November 23rd, 1963

As I sit here writing this to you, I am silently thanking God that you are so young, so pure, and so lovely and you do not feel any of the tragedy and sorrow that your father and I, and the whole world, feel today.

Yesterday, our beloved President of the United States, John Fitzpatrick Kennedy, was shot down and killed by one Lee Oswald, although his guilt has not yet been proved.

For the past 34 hours we have sat in shock and disbelief as the newspapers, radios, and television have repeated the tragic news. Could it? Can this be true? Not in America??!! This is a halfway-civilized country. But it is true. It has happened. And in America.

America - our wonderful, loved country. What has happened to us? What IS happening? What is going to happen to us? No one knows. No one can tell.

You ARE a part of America. You ARE an American citizen. You ARE an American. You have a long and, I pray, happy life ahead of you. I hope you are spared the tragedy and grief and sorrow that we all feel.

God giveth and God taketh away. Why - we don't know, and can never understand, but we have to accept.

Is this the way God intended us to live when He created this world? I do not believe so. But day after day we live in fear. What will tomorrow bring? We do not know. You, me, anyone, and everyone must live their lives the best we can.

We are all made different. Our hearts are different. You do as your heart tells you. No one can tell you how to live your life. I hope you choose the right path to live by. Your father and I, with God's help, will do our best to see and help you take that path.

The United States of America has a new President, Lyndon B. Johnson. He has a tremendous job ahead of him. We will all give him our support and trust.

The news of our President yesterday has left us all in shock. One man, in this wide, beautiful country, has shot down and killed our leader, as he was riding in a parade in Dallas, Texas. One man, in a country of 190 million, has caused us all grief. One man has wiped out another's life in one second that it took to pull the trigger. One man.

As I close, I again thank God that you are so young, so pure, and so lovely.

I will leave you with this thought that John F. Kennedy left with us: 'Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.'

America - the beautiful.

All my love,

Your mother."

I treasure this note…so poignant, so compassionate, written in a moment of intense shock and grief. It helps me relate to what she - and the entire country - was feeling those few, frantic days after the President's assassination.

Over the years, her words inspired me…and I've tried to live up to them…to choose the right path, and live my life the best way that I can.

I love you, Mom.



Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How I Coached an NFL Team

So…a Marine, a Chiefs player, and a Red Cross volunteer walk into a bar classroom…

And now you're waiting for the punch line, right?

Uh. There isn't one. Because - this really happened!!!

Okay…so here's the story. Of how I coached an NFL team. And gave orders to a Marine.

Yeah. That really happened. Squee.


The Red Cross collects Christmas cards every year to give to service men and women, as well as veterans, all over the world. There's like, millions of veterans and such, so we need like, millions of cards. We need help.

A picture I took this morning. I love this picture, by the way.

This morning, several local Marines, as well as some members of the Kansas City Chiefs Rookies Club, teamed up with us and we all headed to a local elementary school to sign cards with the students.

Upon arrival, we get a "pre-game" pep talk from our "general manager" in the locker room library:

Okay. It's really our Financial Development officer with the Red Cross…but 'GM' will suffice for the story….

We'd broken up into small groups, with each Red Cross volunteer taking a "team" of players and Marines to a classroom. We were to host it - or in my case, "coach" it. So I did.

Once it was "game-time", I took my team and walked into the stadium classroom to a resounding cheer from the crowd. No, really. When we walked in, the students immediately went into all, "GO, CHIEFS" shouting mode. And although I knew the cheers weren't really for me, I basked in them, anyway. I can vicariously be a Chiefs player, right? Or at least a Chiefs coach. Hee.

Soon…it was kick-off. I coached the kids, the players, and the teachers, telling them why our program is so important…as well as passing out cards for everyone to sign. Our strategy was crucial. We had a solid game-plan, but had a few trick plays up our sleeves, if needed. The scrimmage began:

It was kinda' my job to referee, as well…making sure no one was offsides, or committing any personal fouls, or holding, for heaven's sake. I hate holding. Gah. Can't have that, right? NO ONE GETS TO HOLD THEIR CARDS AND DO NOTHING!!!!

At half-time, I went to go check on another classroom, and to my chagrin, I found that they were scoring more points producing more cards - than my team was. I quickly ran back and huddled my group together, and gave a pep talk that would make Knute Rockne proud.

"Okay, guys - the 2nd-graders are making more cards than we are! And we're FOURTH-GRADERS!!! Are we going to let that happen?"

Fortunately, team spirit kicked in, and we had a last-minute rally, going in for the home stretch on writing cards.

At one point, I noticed my team getting fatigued. I saw that my Marine, Officer Lantz, was content just sitting on the bench. I quickly motioned for him to get on the field and start playing. He looked at the 4th-graders in terror; I think he would have been more comfortable on a battlefield, honestly, then in the trenches of 10-year-olds.

"Get in there! I need you!" I implored.

"I can't, Coach," he said, beseechingly.

"Officer…think of the TEAM! You can't let your team down! We're a band of brothers!!!"

With that, he squared his shoulders and ran into the midst of the chaos…never hesitating after that to give it his all.

I was so proud.

The team rallied on. Oh, there were injuries - I'm sure I saw some hands and fingers cramping from writing in the cards - but my team was TOUGH and they didn't let a few muscle spasms stop them from winning the battle.

Although the 4th-graders tried to throw a delay of game on us, by preventing us from leaving, soon it was over…and the true winners were the veterans and active-duty soldiers who will be the recipients of these fabulous cards.

My players voted me MVP, and I told them that I was proud to share the trophy with all of them:

I'm just so grateful that they didn't douse me with a cold shower of Gatorade afterwards. Brrr.

Not to mention - it would ruin my hair. Gah.


Monday, November 18, 2013

Poison Myself?? Is My Doctor CRAZY??!!

Here's a question:

If your doctor tells you that he wants you to eat rat poison - for the next fourteen days - in order to get some lab tests done…

…would you do it???

This is the dilemma that I face this morning. Oh, not that my doctor has ordered me to eat RAT POISON - gah. But he might as well have, as he wants me to put gluten back in my diet for the next two weeks, in order to definitively conclude whether I have Celiac Disease or Crohn's Disease.

When I eat something that contains gluten, it might as well be rat poison…my stomach will cramp relentlessly for twelve hours, which is pretty much debilitating. Besides racked with excruciating pain, I'll experience nausea, fatigue, and frequent trips to the restroom, if you get my drift. My head will feel like it's exploding, and my hands and feet will tingle and go numb.

Fun times, I'm tellin' ya.


It's bad enough when I accidentally "poison" myself with gluten - but to do it deliberately??? Who DOES that?

Apparently, ME, if I decide to do what the doctor has requested.

He tried to make it sound attractive, by telling me to do it around Thanksgiving, so I could "enjoy" my traditional Thanksgiving dinner, with it's gravy, rolls and stuffing - all heavily loaded with gluten. But…knowing the consequences…it's not tempting. Not tempting at all.

I still haven't decided yet. It's tough.

It doesn't help matters any that Hubby is absolutely, unequivocally against me putting gluten back in my diet…as he's had to live with me when I'm having an attack. And it's not pretty.

Do I NEED to have the diagnosis? The doctor says I do…but what would it matter? In the long run? Wouldn't the treatment - so to speak - still be the same? Avoid gluten?

What would YOU do???



Saturday, November 9, 2013

Checkin' In….

Although most of you know me as the "Drama Queen", I'm actually pretty famous for being the "Disney Queen", as well.

Yeah - you probably didn't know that. Which means I'm probably not as famous as I think I am.



If you've been worried about my whereabouts, or sitting there thinking, "Where in the HELL is the Drama Queen, and why hasn't she posted in awhile?"- it's because I've been busy.

Being the Disney Queen.


I've been here since Wednesday, along with a friend of mine, and I have been "showing her the ropes" on how to do a Disney trip that is both efficient, fun and AWESOME.

We've been having an amazing time - and because of my amazing skills at planning, we've had negligible wait times in lines, and we've met some pretty cool characters, and we've eaten some pretty cool food (and Disney does an AMAZING JOB with allergies, including gluten-free)….

A few teasers:

We've had front-row seating at the amazing Christmas parade last night at Magic Kingdom:

We've met some amazing princesses:

We've ridden some pretty cool rides, including the "hitchhiking ghosts", which is my FAVORITE:

We've wined and dined on some awesome food at Epcot's Food & Wine Festival:

After staying out till midnight last night, for the Christmas Party, I crawled out of bed early this morning and ran in a Disney 5k.

After walking about 20,000 steps each day for the last few days.

Yeah - my feet are loving me right now.


Anyway, we've got a few more days here at Disney World, in order to impart my knowledge to my friend, and then it's time to head back to the "Real World."

It's been fun - and I'll post more pics/details later!