Tag Archives: Brady Bunch

So You Think *I* Can Dance???

Okay, let’s get right down to it. I’m in a play. With my daughter. She LOVES live theater (thanks to me) and has learned to appreciate viewing it from the audience as well as from a position on the stage. She’s actually done quite a few shows compared to me at her age. Most of my experience came during my teens and twenties, but I’ve been in a show here and there since becoming a mom. The last thing I did was Tony & Tina’s Wedding. No singing, no dancing and a very loosely structured “plot” that encouraged comedic improvisation. Great for someone without a lot of time to prepare.

But that’s SO not the case now.

Vivien and I are currently in rehearsals for a huge musical production entitled Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat by a little-known composer named Andrew Lloyd Webber. Perhaps you’ve heard of him? (Wink) This show doesn’t know the meaning of improvisation. And the singing? It’s a continuous, multi-layered chorus of harmonies, varying genres and changeable tempos and rhythms enough to test any performer. Even the lyrics can be challenging.

You’ll see when you get to 2:45. That’s 57 colors spat out in rapid succession. And, yes, there are moves to go along with all of it. … MOVES!

Honestly, I’m not too worried about the singing. But the moves, dear Lord, THE MOVES! Also known as dancing. There is just so much dancing in this show. From the Charleston to the Jitterbug, from Apache to Calypso, from Western Square to 60s Go-Go. And then there’s me … floundering like a fish and just trying my damnedest not to fall off the stage … or worse … knock someone else off. Allow me to demonstrate my abilities with this video.

Keep your eye on Bobby during this number. I wanted to single out a particular moment but there were just so many. He is constantly a beat behind the others and actually stumbles a few times. Not that I’m making fun. (Pity)

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I may or may not have broken a toe a few days ago. By dropping a computer on it. The swelling is finally down but the deep purple is as vibrant as ever … and making a foot fist is completely out of the question. I snapped a picture of it but then decided unequivocally NOT to post it. (Apparently, I have limits to the grossness I will share. Who knew?)

So anyway, as you glide gracefully through your day, moving effortlessly from one destination to the next with all the agility and form of a majestic eagle, please say a little prayer that I might be able to get my spazzery under control for about a dozen performances in about a month.

I’m very afraid. For all of us.


‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – Take Two

A year ago, I wrote a post about one of the most famous poems ever written. I came across it recently … “and I laughed when I read it, in spite of myself.” Okay, fine. So that’s not exactly how the poem goes. Which is sort of the whole point. It was tough coming up with a second set of jokes for some of these stanzas. But I managed. Or maybe I mangled. Either way, it’s pretty much the same word.

So, with that, I give you ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas – Mystery Science Theater 3000-Style – TAKE TWO!

* * * * * * * * * *

‘Twas the night before Christmas
When all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a mouse

  • Technically, he’s not a mouse. But I bet Herve’s going to be doing some serious nocturnal “stirring” on Christmas Eve. Does anyone know what the Benadryl dosage would be for a hamster? He weighs just over 5 ounces.


Here’s the proof. And now I have to throw away that food bowl.


And here’s how much he weighs when he’s blurry. 

The stockings were hung 
By the chimney with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas
Soon would be there

  • I’m glad the elf brought us a new “H” stocking for Herve. Originally, we planned to use the cat’s old one with an “M” on it. And, if Herve asked, the plan was to tell him that the stocking stood for “MY Herve.” Honestly, I don’t know what would have pissed him off more … the fact that we thought he was stupid enough to fall for that lame explanation OR the fact that he was expected to use Milo’s hand-me-downs.

The children were nestled
All snug in their beds
While visions of sugar plums
Danced in their heads

  • I just paid a dental bill on TWO fillings for one of my kids. So, there will be NO sugar plums, Sugar Smacks, sugar cookies, Sugar Babies, Sugar Daddies or even sugar snap peas. Yes, I know we still need three syllables for the poem. How about “While visions of toothbrushes danced in their heads?” No? What about dental floss? Fluoride rinse? Fine. I’ll keep thinking.

And mama in her kerchief
And I in my cap
Had just settled our brains
For a long winter’s nap

  • The day I go to sleep with a kerchief on is the day you people can finally come commit me. A kerchief? Who wears those? I mean … besides the Brady girls. And it always meant they were going to be doing some kind of serious cleaning in that episode.

When out on the lawn
There arose such a clatter
I sprang from my bed
To see what was the matter

  • OMG, really? I already go to bed late enough that night. You know what I want for Christmas, Santa? Sleep. On Christmas Eve and every night for that matter. So, please … keep it down.

Away to the window
I flew like a flash
Tore open the shudders
And threw up the sash

  • Why all the fancy-pants window dressing? I merely have curtains in my room. From J.C. Penney. You can look out the window in one easy step. And there’s no “tearing” or “throwing” involved. It sounds so violent.

The moon on the breast
Of the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of midday
To objects below

  • Beavis and Butthead would have a field day with this stanza. Seriously, I have looked up “breast” on ten different dictionary-style websites. And none of them stray from the mammary gland. What the hell, Mr. Moore?

When what to my wondering
Eyes should appear
But a miniature sleigh
And eight tiny reindeer

  • I would think that a sleigh large enough to carry the big guy not to mention at least one present for every kid around the globe would be described as anything but “miniature.” And “tiny” reindeer? Animals capable of towing this load would have to be ‘roided up Clydesdales. … Wouldn’t they?

With a little old driver
So lively and quick
I knew in a moment
It must be St. Nick

  • A little old driver named Nick makes him sound like a cabbie from a 1970s sitcom.

More rapid than eagles
His coursers they came
And he whistled and shouted
And called them by name

  • Anyone who whistles or shouts once my kids finally pass out on Christmas Eve is getting a brick of coal chucked firmly at his head.

Now Dasher, Now Dancer
Now Prancer and Vixen
On Comet, On Cupid
On Donner and Blitzen

  • Originally, these names were all slated as tribute names for the Hunger Games trilogy. “Now Katniss, Now Peeta, Now Foxface and Glimmer …”

To the top of the porch
To the top of the wall
Now dash away, dash away
Dash away all

  • Since I have one-story home, might you consider just landing on the lawn for a change? Or, better yet, on my neighbor’s roof? You can’t seriously hop from rooftop to rooftop. Aren’t you like the mailman? You park, handle a number of houses in close proximity, then return to your vehicle to relocate it for the next set of houses. Right?

As dry leaves that before
The wild hurricane fly
When they meet with an obstacle
Mount to the sky

  • As a kid, this stanza was always my LEAST FAVORITE of this poem. Which is weird because … WHAT OTHER KID DO YOU KNOW WHO’S DECLARED A LEAST FAVORITE STANZA IN ANY POEM? (Nerd.)

So up to the housetop
The coursers they flew
With a sleigh full of toys
And St. Nicholas, too

  • They’re always on the tops of houses, but what of those who don’t have chimneys? Sure, we have one NOW. But it was a pretty uphill climb that my parents took us on with the whole “Santa has a key that fits every lock” story back in the day.

And then in a twinkling
I heard on the roof
The prancing and pawing
Of each little hoof

  • If I hear pawing or scratching at my ceiling or walls during the night, I will be found hiding in the back of my closet in the fetal position clutching a vial of holy water and a crucifix.

As I drew in my head
And was turning around
Down the chimney St. Nicholas
Came with a bound

  • Nope. Never mind. I stand corrected. A fat killer sliding down my chimney is what would send me into the closet.

He was dressed all in fur
From his head to his foot
And his clothes were all tarnished
With ashes and soot

  • Fine. A fat, DIRTY killer.

A bundle of toys
He had flung on his back
And he looked like a peddler
Just opening his pack

  • He’s reaching into his … HELP! HE’S GOT A GUN!

His eyes how they twinkled
His dimples how merry
His cheeks were like roses
His nose like a cherry

  • Oh, thank God. He was just reaching for his flask. Man, that dude is completely juiced. “Ten lordza-dancing. Nine ladies swimming. SEVEN … I MEAN …. EIGHT GOLDEN GEESE!!!! (hiccup) Four calling hens …. ” (thud)

His droll little mouth
Was drawn up like a bow
And the beard of his chin
Was as white as the snow

  • I know I sound like a hypocrite here but I do not think we should be making fun of the old drunk’s mouth.

The stump of his pipe
He held tight in his teeth
And the smoke, it encircled his head
Like a wreath

  • A pipe?!!? Oh, God. Please be ordinary tobacco …. please be ordinary tobacco …

He had a broad face
And a round little belly
That shook when he laughed
Like a bowl full of jelly

  • I really don’t think we should kick a man when he’s down. “Shut up, you guys. Can you believe Fatty’s still trying to pull off that furry track suit? I’m surprised the Red Cross hasn’t declared him a total fashion disaster.” 

He was chubby and plump
A right jolly, old elf
And I laughed when I saw him
In spite of myself

  • Well, now I just sound like a jerk.

A wink of his eye
And a twist of his head
Soon gave me to know
I had nothing to dread

  • Oh, God. I think he’s making a pass at me.

He spoke not a word
But went straight to his work
And filled all the stockings
Then turned with a jerk

  • Crap. That’s me. I’M the jerk with whom he’s turning. Damn it. Why did I have to laugh at his obesity?

And laying his finger
Aside of his nose
And giving a nod
Up the chimney he rose

  • I always thought this seemed like a baseball signal. Or maybe a cue from the Mafia.

He sprang to his sleigh
To his team gave a whistle
And away they all flew
Like the down of a thistle

  • Anyone know what that means? I didn’t so I looked it up. It’s that white feathery weed you blew on as a kid to make a wish. I can still remember my old neighbor saying, “DON’T BLOW THAT CRAP ALL OVER MY YARD! GO IN YOUR OWN YARD TO SPREAD WEEDS, YOU BRAINLESS WONDER!” Aaaah, memories.

Then I heard him exclaim
As he drove out of sight
Happy Christmas to all
And to all a good night

  • He really tore out of here fast. We are sure he LEFT things at all the houses, right? Wait. Where’s my purse?!!? 


That Suburban Momma

ODNT Field Trip – Tabasco Factory

Since the success of our last field trip to Kleinpeter Dairy Farms, Virginia and I have been trying to plan a day to hit the road again with our five kids to visit Avery Island, home of the McIlhenny Company and everything Tabasco.  Yesterday was that day. And we certainly had our work cut out for us.

2 hours, 32 minutes ………. 137.1 miles

The above trip time doesn’t account for the driving, sideways rain we navigated through yesterday, so the trip took a little longer than expected … plus it included a lunch stop at Subway along the way. (Sidebar: If there’s one piece of advice I can give those traveling between New Orleans and Avery Island, it’s this … SKIP MCDONALD’S! From the lines we saw at three different locations, I can only assume that they’re hiding golden tickets in their fried pies.)


One of the many old, rusty bridges we saw along the way

When we finally paid the $1 toll to cross over to Avery Island (which I believe earns that distinction because it’s surrounded by a sandcastle-depth moat a child made around it), we were quickly hustled in to a tour that was just starting. My kids were excited to be handed their party favors at the front end of the tour.


Our boys immediately dared each other to chug them on camera at the end of the tour. I guess this is a natural precursor to their college days. (Sigh)

Our hostess came in and talked to us a little about the plant, showed us a short movie on the history of the company (interesting until the end when it played more like a commercial for their latest “flavor,” Raspberry Chipotle) and then brought us to an area that overlooked the actual processing line.


Quick! What TV show does this remind you of? (Hint: Shotz.)


Ancient Japanese secret for wasabi?

This Avery Island manufacturer, the only Tabasco plant in the world, puts out 700,000 bottles a day to more than 110 countries and their packaging can be found in 22 languages. (ODNT Point of Order – As my kids have reminded me (repeatedly), “It’s SUMMER … and NOT a time to learn, Maaaaaahhhmmm!” Thus, I do not intend to educate … nor do I want to spoil the tour for anyone. This is the most textbook-y sentence you’ll read here today. Promise.) After the traditional tour, we walked over to the tasting bar (conveniently located in the gift shop). Check out all the stuff they were sampling there.


Six different sauces here …


Plus eight more sauces there … and mustards … and jellies …. and salsas … and pickles … and chili … and on and on. I mean, really. What CAN’T you mix with Tabasco?!!?


Well, there’s this frozen delicacy for one. In a word … no. But I suppose I’m happy I can say I tried it.


And then there’s this one. The kids instinctively grabbed samples of it to extinguish their tongues. Ironically … it didn’t help a bit. 

After our girls finishing banging out Heart and Soul on the in-store piano a few dozen times, Virginia and I spent a grand total of about $70 in their gift shop. The stuff’s not badly priced. We just bought a lot. And we stocked up on (regular, non-Tabasco’d) drinks from their machines to chill out our taste buds then drove over to the Jungle Gardens gift shop (yes, there are two on the property) to find out about the driving tour of the island. It wasn’t raining anymore but we knew things would be a little muddy after the deathly downpour we experienced on the drive over.

Bear in mind, the first part of the tour is completely free … but the Jungle Tour comes with a price tag: $8 for 13 & older, $5 for kids 6-12, and free for under 6.  That adds up pretty quickly with seven people in the car. (Personally, I think it should be a per car price but my last name’s not McIlhenny and I don’t know a thing about hot sauce-makin’ so I don’t get to make these decisions.)

And, for the record, the drive was very pretty. Very Louisiana postcard. Here are few things we saw along the way.


An excellent picture of green swamp muck if I do say so myself.


This green stuff is grass and you can actually stand on it. But I still had my good shoes on at this point so your view is from the car.


That, boys and girls, is a creepy Louisiana buzzard … in search of rotting meat. Just like in the old Bugs Bunny cartoons.


An alligator swimming in the muck or, as one of the kids called it, lime sherbet punch.


A pretty bridge. I liked it so you’re looking at it.


My best alligator shot of the day.


The same gator shot through Instagram’s 1977 filter. I thought it made him look a little more campy. Like a gator you would’ve seen in a Brady Bunch episode or something.


Thanks, McIlhenny. We had fun at your little compound. Wonder where our moms will make us go next?


P.S. The boys DID chug their Tabasco mini-bottles at the end of the tour and (score!) nobody puked.


Doctor #4 later this week (plus a completely meaningless Brady Bunch reference)

It’s Tuesday and that means I should have been flashing my boobs at a specialist somewhere around town today. I mean, that’s how I spent my last two Tuesdays, right? And, for the record, it’s how I was supposed to be spending today until something suddenly came up. (Gratuitous Brady Bunch reference.)

But never fear. Consultation number four is taking place this Friday. And I will again be accompanied by my trusty sidekick, Vanessa. (V, wear another stretchy top so we can compare ‘notes’ again. Or maybe you should be wearing a cape and tights this time … since you’re a sidekick and all.)

Anyway, if you’ve been keeping up … and you really should be as there are boobs at stake here … you know I’ve now been to three different doctors. And I’ve gotten three pretty different opinions on the subject … or subjects, as it were. I’m looking forward to seeing if this specialist locks in his vote anywhere near the previous three. How many more freakin’ opinions can there be? Aren’t there only so many options available?

Maybe this doctor will try to talk me into adding a third boob somewhere … or maybe he’ll want to just move everything to my back since I am a steadfast stomach sleeper. Or maybe he’ll incorporate an air pump into the implant so I can size up a little for special occasions like weddings, beach trips, class reunions, bar mitzvahs, parent/teacher conferences, dental appointments, jury duty, laundry days, oil changes, tax audits and stuff like that.

Just remember, I am neither a doctor nor a scientist/boob engineer of any kind so, until these innovations are made available by the real professionals, we’ll just have to wait.

So, I just wanted to let everyone know I have not forgotten about boobs here. I enjoy writing about both of them (one more than the other really) as well as all of the other half-baked, screwball eccentricities that occur in my life … and I’m betting yours, too … every day.