Sometimes You Just NEED A Cup Of Hot Chocolate...

We survived Thanksgiving...some of us better than others.  Nevertheless, the day was, just as I predicted, loud, festive and full of drama.  After washing dishes 3 times and FINALLY getting everything clean at the end of the day, those of us who were left, settled down for the first Christmas movie of the season..."Four Christmases".  The next day, I planned on doing as little as possible to recover from my "sensory overload".  I planned to have my house looking "A Lot Like Christmas" by the end of the day.  I had the boys take my Christmas tree out of the attic Thanksgiving evening, only to find that the stand was broken.  Traditionally, I decorate my tree on Thanksgiving evening, after all the dishes and food have been put away and the last guest is out the door.  I would have to purchase a new stand on Friday before that could be done now.  This should have been an omen to me...that things were not going to go as harmonious as I had hoped.

Temperatures were pretty sultry here in the south on Thanksgiving was in the 80's.  However, I knew a storm was on the way...I began to cough unceasingly that evening.  Before I went to bed, the rain had begun.  And true, we needed the rain, but with it was the prediction of temperatures in the 30's!  A 50 degree drop in temperatures overnight was never a good thing.  Robby and all of the boys headed out to the store at 5 a.m. to ready themselves for "Black Friday".  And I...well, there was NO WAY that I would be braving those crowds of people fighting for all of the best deals; that was just "Too much sugar for a dime", as my mama would say.  So, upon awaking, I fixed my first cup of coffee for the day, changed the thermostat from cool to heat and settled into my rocker to peruse the "Black Friday Internet Sales".  Hey...that is REALLY the way to go.  You can STILL shop and get some pretty good deals, while avoiding all of the crazy crowds...AND you can do this in your pajamas!  So, a- surfing I went and everything was going quite well UNTIL...let's just say there was a bit of "waking up on the wrong side of the bed".  THAT'S NEVER good!

Apparently the old north wind had not only blown in cooler temperatures, but also grouchiness.  While trying to figure out how to make the "grouchies", "happy" again, my sister called.  It seemed that she was not faring much better.  She had been fighting a migraine since early and didn't want to leave the warmth of her den either., we folks in the south just don't handle cold weather very well.  It is sort of like the entire universe is out of kilter when it gets cold (or worse yet snows) here. advice to my sister and everyone else who was having issues was..."Have a cup of hot chocolate...that will make you feel  better!"  I will admit that they all sort of laughed at me and looked at me strangely.  I don't care!...Sometime, you just need to sit back, relax, breathe deeply and refocus.  And I find that it is best to do that while drinking a nice, hot cup of chocolate.

Eventually, everyone left me home alone to begin my decorating. I put my Christmas CD's on and although my tree was still laying in the floor, with the broken stand attached to it (Caitlin would be bringing a new one home), I decided to climb into the attic, pull ALL of my Christmas boxes down and begin the lengthy process of decorating.  This decorating was NOT a job that could be could potentially take me a week to complete.  So, I started with the mantles first.  I removed all of the oranges and yellows of autumn and in their place went berry adorned garland, sparkling with white lights.  I love doing this all by myself, because there is no one around trying to direct or organize me.  I generally cannot stay focused on one task for very long; pulling different items out of the boxes, like a kid on Christmas morning.  And so...up went the nativity, then the LSU Santa and train...OH My Goodness, all of my Christmas books...and vintage elves!  Caitlin made it home with my tree stand and after Kevin stood the tree in it, I was ready to start on that too.  Those two (Caitlin and Kevin) took to the recliner and couch and immediately fell asleep.  And while they slept, I began the process of putting the ornaments on the tree.  This is one of my most favorite things to do.  I have saved ornaments from when Robby and I were first married.  There is an ornament for every child's first Christmas, along with various ones with all of our family members names on them.  Then there are the ones I purchased from every new place we visited on vacations and the ones that former students gave me (yes...I remember WHO gave me each of those ornaments too).  I call these my boxes of memories, because my tree tells a story.  Caitlin and Kevin woke up and OK...SOMEONE FINALLY took my advice...they made some hot chocolate!  And I'm telling works!  One just cannot help but smile and feel better while drinking it.  The phone rang and it was Robby.  He and the boys were on their way home and we would be going to a movie tonight.
As I readied myself for the movie, I was happy.  This was the Christmas FAVORITE time of the year!  Almost the entire family would be going to the theatre together.  I realized again just how blessed I was...AND decided that I would have MY hot chocolate while watching a movie with the folks that matter the most to me.

Turkey Day's A Comin'...Ready Or Not!

It seems as though Thanksgiving has just crept up on me this year and I'm beginning to feel the pressure a little bit.  I have about 20 people showing up at my house tomorrow...and I STILL have much to do!  Don't get me wrong, I love having big, loud holidays surrounded by family and friends.  However, in order to have an event like this, one must plan ahead of time.  And once again, I have procrastinated and piddled away my time, thus putting me in a crunch...OK, as usual.

Gazing around, I realize that I haven;t removed all of the remnants of Halloween yet.  Oh, I can still leave the fall colored decorations out, but some things MUST be changed out before our Thursday celebration.  Remember, the aesthetics that create the proper atmosphere are my forte''s not the food that I'm worried about, per se..  And that is because I am very good at delegating...especially when it involves putting a holiday meal together.  I CAN cook, but not THAT good.  And besides, you KNOW that everybody just loves preparing their favorite dishes for the holidays.  I say, why not take advantage of that. When they ask, "What can I bring?...TELL THEM!  Then, everybody ends up happy.

On Monday, it was 3 days and counting...but Monday was going to prove to be a very busy day for me.  I had to make an hour drive to our store and put more merchandise out for "Black Friday".  This would be the first holiday season for us in the retail business.  I had also come up with this wonderful idea that we should  hire a Santa for  Saturday, finding out that no one else in town would have one (ahhh...that second grade teacher coming out in me again).  So, not only did I have merchandising to do, I had now put MORE work on myself.  I had to order a backdrop for Santa, purchase a printer and photo folders (you cannot have a Santa without taking pictures with Santa...) and now I was still looking for a chair for him to sit in.  Robby's idea was to unwrap one of my nice new chairs presently on a trailer in my garage, waiting to be taken to the Lake House...Ummm..."NO!", I said.  "I'm sorry, but I cannot let strangers sit in my new furniture" ( was that germ-a-phobia kicking in again).  So, as of right now...I STILL haven't come up with an alternative seat for Santa.

Tuesday, it was 2 days and counting...I had to work at my office in town.  When I taught school, I hated getting up on Monday mornings to go to work.  So, when I quit teaching and began doing the payroll and books at my husband's office, I decided NOT to work on Mondays.  Tuesdays would be MY Mondays (well, with the exception of THIS week...)  I know, I's probably just a mental thing, but I like being in charge of my own work schedule.  The plan for Tuesday was to get up VERY early, get on Go To My PC at home, put all of my checks in, then make my trip to the gym (had to have those endorphins going this week...) and THEN stop at the office to print and mail everything.  Everything was going exactly as planned...until I walked into the office to find Robby still sitting at his desk.  "What are you doing here?", I inquired.  Do you remember me telling you earlier in the week that my oldest son, Justin, was building a new house?  Well, today was to be "move in day"...and we needed to help.  It wasn't that I minded helping, I actually wanted to.  But, this Thanksgiving thing was creeping up on me and I will admit that I was now becoming a little worried about the food.  You see, one of the persons that I had delegated to was Robby...and we hadn't even made a trip to the grocery store yet!  Although I mostly do delegating where food is concerned during the holiday, I had been to the grocery stores during that time...and I hoped that the shelves were not getting wiped out.  Needless to say, we drove 45 minutes away and stayed until late helping Justin and Sarah move into their new house.

1 day and counting.  Tomorrow is Thanksgiving.  My plans for today?  Well, my focus will be on getting my extra table and chairs out.  Decorating the house for tomorrow's big event...and yes, the dreaded trip to the grocery store.  Although, I am still hopeful that Robby will decide to make that stop before he returns home.  People have been trickling in town since Monday and today the remainder will arrive.  Most divided between my in-law's house and mine, the atmosphere is about to become more alive.  Family plus friends with a LOT of fabulous food and conversation go a long way in making the holidays around here special...and packed with many memories to recall for years to come.  From our loud and crazy family to yours...HAPPY THANKSGIVING and  BLESSINGS TO ALL!

Click Those Red Heels And...You're Back In The Land Of Cotton!

We returned from New York Thursday and readied ourselves for a "Road Trip".  We had to be in New Orleans for a 1:30 ceremony on Friday.  This was a quick turn around, but Ryan, who is in dental school there had a pinning ceremony and I would never miss something like that.  So, although I knew I would awake with a "New York Hang Over", I was ready to "hit the road" again.

Arriving home around 9:00 pm and then getting up at the crack of dawn was not easy, however it was necessary...for 2 reasons.  Caitlin also arrived home Thursday, ready for a week off from school and a flight out of town for a few days, herself.  She would be flying to Kentucky to see her boyfriend EARLY,  so I KNEW that I would have to assist her in getting there on time and then it was off to New Orleans.  Ever since Katrina hit Louisiana, Baton Rouge has now become the largest city in our state.  Merely getting through there, can be quite stressful if not carefully planned.  So, it was our hope that we could miss the morning work traffic on our way down to the Big Easy.

LSU Dental School is actually in New Orleans, but Ryan lives about a 10 minute drive out, in Metarie.  There are a couple of reasons for that.  First, the rent in the city is very expensive and second, the crime rate is a lot higher there too.  So, I for one am very happy that he does not live in the city.  But, as I said, it is a very short commute.  Robby and I originally thought we would be able to stay overnight, however, another child across the state beckoned for us to return.  Did I mention that Justin and Sarah have been building a house?  Oh...and that Robby designed the house plan and I did all of the interior decorating?  Yea, just another little project, since I have all of this free time!  Well, nevertheless, the plans would now be to get to New Orleans, attend the pinning ceremony, take Ryan to dinner and then return home afterwards (a 3 hour trip one way).

Even the best laid plans did not help upon entering Baton Rouge...the traffic was horrific!  We finally made it though and easily found our way to the LSU School of Dentistry.  We had never actually been to the campus yet, so we were looking forward to Ryan possibly being able to give us a small tour of the facility.  Meeting him there, he ushered us upstairs to the auditorium where his ceremony would take place.  Everywhere I looked, there was purple and've gotta love that LSU spirit!  We took our seat as Ryan prepared to march in with his class.

As we sat down, I mentioned to Robby that the seats were so hard, that no one could possibly get comfortable enough to doze off.  I was wrong about that, because during the course of speeches, that "New York Hang Over" I had was beginning to affect me.  It was a nice ceremony that believe it or not ended with the "LSU Tigers Fight Song"!  When it was complete, Ryan gave us a tour of the facility.  We saw the locker room where his tools were stored and the lab where he was already beginning to created fillings on his artificial set of teeth.  And, of course, I pulled the old camera out and began to snap some pictures.  Robby and Ryan grimaced about that and Robby asked how long I was going to continue taking pictures.  I said, "Let's see...that would be FOREVER.  You know, I have 4 kids and now a grand baby...I will pretty much be living with my camera in my hand."  They laughed, shook their head and sighed.

I told Ryan that we would treat him to dinner before we headed back home and to just pick a place.  There are really no bad places to dine in New Orleans; I believe some of the best food in the world can be found there.  He chose "Drago's".  Drago's was featured on the Food Network because if the grilled oysters they prepare there.  I cannot eat shellfish, but they guys ordered this for an appetizer...they highly recommend them!  After dinner and hugs and a promise to see each other for Thanksgiving, we were off to Alexandria and Ryan was off to Baton Rouge for the LSU game the next day.

As we rolled out of town, I reflected on the day and life in general.  I told Robby, "I'm really proud of Ryan.  And for that matter, ALL of my children."  All of those years of paying for private schools and living from paycheck to paycheck for had paid off.  My theory had been correct...get an education; no one can ever take that away from you.  If you believe you can do it, you can.  Oh, it may not be easy...if it was, then EVERYBODY would be doing it.  If you have a dream...GO AFTER IT!  Hey...they listened to me about something.  And it is delightful to see the benefits they are all beginning to reap.

Body Scan or Pat Down...or MAYBE I Should Just Wear My Swimsuit Through Airport Security...

In preparing for our return trip home from New York, I was glued to the television.  The news all week long had focused heavily on "The Body Scan vs. The Pat Down" issue at airports.  Not truly paying close attention before, I was NOW wanting to know EVERYTHING about this issue.

Flying is always a rough day for me, so I searched deep within myself for some "positive" to keep me from sinking into my "Bad Attitude Flying Funk".  Hmmm...the only good thing I could manage to come up with was that we FINALLY had an afternoon flight booked, instead of a crack of dawn flight.  But, other than that, this "Body Scanning and Patting Down" issue had me a little worried...and for more than one reason.

First, after asking Robby to give me a quick run down of the body scanning (I knew he had been paying closer attention to the new than I...), I was aghast that people would be able to see me virtually NAKED on a screen!  And I certainly did not want to end up on the Internet, like so many stories I had heard of (I paid attention to THAT part!).  My only alternative would be, "The Pat Down".  And that alone brought its own problems...for a germ-a-phobe like me!

After listening to the individuals on television talk about their "Pat Down Experiences", I was definitely getting a bit worried.  Let me get this straight...a STRANGER...with blue gloves on...was going to be running their hands ALL OVER MY BODY?!  I had enough issues being required to take my shoes off at the security check point and placing my feet where MANY other feet had trod!  I could NOT see a good way out of this any way you looked at it.  Robby noticed my intense gaze upon the television set and along with the questions he had been fielding from me, decided to issue me a warning, "Don't cause any problems at the airport today!"  Hmph!  "AND...NO!  I will NOT take any pictures or videos of you if they have to pat you down!"  WELL!...I guess he was just going to allow those strange people to touch me in strange places...and do nothing about it.  In the end, I agreed not to cause a fuss...sort of.

Hopping out of our taxi at the airport terminal, we decided to check everything at the curb to cut down on any potential problems at security.  We rounded the corner inside and saw a line stretching around the corner...I KNEW it was going to be like this.  Entering the roped off line, like preparing to climb aboard a theme park ride, I didn't quite feel the same excitement.  I just stood there hoping they wouldn't choose me.  Before I ever made it to the front of the line, I had my boots off (I wore socks nasty germs on MY feet that day!), coat in one hand and driver's license and boarding pass in the other.  Keeping a low profile, I  very calmly placed my items in a bucket and proceeded through the metal detector holding my breath.  I didn't buzz!...Thank the Lord!  Very quickly I grabbed all of my items and took them to a chair far off (I didn't want the agents to change their minds) to get re-dressed.  However, sitting there, I watched as the TSA agents searched some very unlikely passengers; a toddler and an old man in a wheelchair.  I also witnessed quite a bit of verbal snapping at passengers from these same agents...This DID anger me.

Years ago, there was an airline commercial that sang a little jingle, "Fly the friendly skies".  I thought about that for a minute and decided that perhaps that should be changed to, "Fly the unfriendly skies"!  I'm NOT saying that screening should NOT take place, but I AM saying that a bit of "common sense" should be used in decision making policies regarding airline security screening.  Putting naked bodies on a screen or touching people in private areas...Hmmm...I don't think EITHER is a winning solution for the passenger.

Forget The Gun...Get The Cannoli!

The rain was gone in New York by Wednesday morning and in its place was a very cool north wind.  I donned my hat, gloves, boots and coat...I was on a mission.  Hoboken was our destination; home of Carlo's know, "The Cake Boss"!  I HAD to visit Buddy's bakery for more than one reason.  We love watching him bake all of his sweet artistic creations, but we also enjoy the wild and crazy antics that take place in the bakery as well.  THEIR loud family reminds me of OUR loud family.

We were off to jump on the subway again to head toward Hoboken, New Jersey.  It was only about a 5 minute ride and well worth it.  Hoboken is a quaint little town and Carlo's Bakery was not far from the subway station.  I got excited as the red and white awning of the bakery came into view.  Unfortunately, Buddy was not there that day; he was in Los Angeles filming the Jay Leno Show.  We bought a lobster tail and cannoli, along with a few other desserts and coffee...all I can say is, YUMMY!  After consuming these confections...and snapping a good many pictures, we were off again to hop another subway train to Coney Island.  However, on our way back, I stopped off at a little establishment that I had passed on my way to the bakery.  It was as bar/restaurant that had Louisiana in its name.  OK...being from Louisiana, I HAD to find out a little bit more about it.  So, as Robby and Doug were walking ahead of Sandra and me...I stopped and had her take my picture in front of the window.  Then, I slipped in the front door to see what was up with the name.  At that point, the men noticed that I was missing.  Turning around, Robby inquired as to where I was.  Sandra told him that I wanted to find out if the owner of the restaurant was perhaps from Louisiana.  His reply?..."I doubt it!"  Sandra asked, "Then WHY would he name his restaurant that?"  Very matter of factly, he answered a question by asking another one..."Do you think a bar named The Blue Moon is owned by someone from the moon?"  Hmph!  Well...I WAS RIGHT (and for once I had witnesses!).  The owner WAS from Louisiana!  After we asked a few questions and took some pictures, we continued on to the subway.

We did not take the express train to Coney Island, so it took us quite a while to get there.  At this time of year, none of the rides or activities were up and running, but these carnivores I was traveling with didn't care.  They had only one destination in mind..."Nathan's".  Nathan's is the place where the hot dog eating contest, featured on television, takes place yearly.  Doug had actually told us all the previous evening that his intentions were to eat 4 or 5 hot dogs there the next day!  I wanted to see that (or maybe not...).  Upon walking up to the restaurant, we spotted an ambulance parked in front, loading someone up...not a good sign!  I attempted once more to dissuade them from eating there, but was not successful.  You may be asking, what did the vegetarian eat at this particular place?  Luckily for me, they did have A VEGETABLE...corn on the cob!  And yes, that is what I had to eat for lunch.  They apparently LOVED their hot dogs...oh, and Doug only ate 2, by the way!  We were off again...back to 5th Avenue!

Our subway this time dropped us off right in front of another place I had been dying to visit before we left; The American Girl Store.  I had previously visited The American Girl Stores in Chicago, Dallas and New York.  Last year was Robby's first visit to the store and he was so impressed that he remembered exactly where it was located and led me dream about all the plans we had for Parker.  Let's just say...I did NOT leave there empty handed!  From there, it was time to get ready for the night's entertainment.

If one plans a trip to New York during the holiday season, it is a MUST to see the Rockettes.  If anything can put a person in the Christmas spirit, it is this show!  The entire lobby and auditorium of Radio City Music Hall is decorated with festive lights and there are 2 organists playing Christmas song selections while people continue to locate their seats and anxiously await the show.  And the show itself...MY, OH MY...What a treat!  High kick dancers dressed as Santa's reindeer and toy soldiers and even a visit from Santa Claus.  Ending the entire performance, live camels and donkeys cross the stage as part of the nativity scene that unfolds as a chorus sings out strains of Joy to the World.

As we left the show, it was quite chilly as we made our way to a little coffee shop, where the four of us drank coffee and hot chocolate and reminisced about the old days when our children were growing up together down the street from one another.  It was around midnight when we finally headed back to our hotel.  New York had been great, as usual.  Sadly, we had to pack for our trip home the next day.  But, visions of bright lights in the "Big Apple" would continue to dance in our memories...until next year when we all hoped to return.

A Little Window Shopping, A Carriage Ride and a Visit to a Dear Friend...

Tuesday arrived with rain, however, that little thing would NOT deter our New York Adventure.  This day promised to be just as busy as the day before.  There wasn't quite the "bounding" out of bed as early as the day before, but we were still up and out pounding the pavement fairly early again.

Our first destination for the day was Central Park.  Most people do not realize how large and how many things there are to do in Central Park alone.  It is around 870 acres just plopped down right into the middle of the huge city of New York.  Once inside the park, one seems to forget about the city with all of its noise.  It is a very tranquil place, that I am sure many New Yorkers use for escape from the fast pace of the city.  Last year, when Robby and I visited here, we spent an entire day exploring Central Park.  We found nestled among the beauty of the colorful palate (in autumn, the trees are absolutely gorgeous), statues, a carousel, the checker and chess house, a zoo, ice skating rink, playgrounds, ball fields, restaurants and much more.  We walked all around taking in the beauty of the fall foliage.  Then, we found a horse drawn carriage to leisurely take us on a ride, eventually dropping us off at "The Boat House" restaurant, which is actually located inside Central remember "The Boat House", dont' you?  It was featured on the movie, "27 Dresses"!  We had a wonderful lunch there, overlooking the water just outside the restaurant.  Finally leaving Central Park, we decided to "window shop" for a while.

The word "window shopping" always makes me smile.  That is because, when the children were younger and we were on vacation, I overheard David explaining to his other siblings that we were "just window shopping".  Window shopping in New York is a whole other ballgame, altogether.  There is an absolute art to window decorating here.  From jewelry stores to the Sax and Macy's windows, they are all just a canvas of artistic beauty.  I must admit that I was a little disappointed to find that we were going to just be missing the opening of the Sax and Macy's Christmas windows.  One year, we were there for the opening and it was done with a fanfare that only New York can present.  You see, the windows are all animated and the theme that year was Sleeping Beauty, with each window depicting a different scene...I told you; only in New York!  Well, we did enjoy doing a little "window shopping" and merchants were beginning to dress their windows for the holidays, which was beautiful, as usual.  While walking down 5the Avenue, I remembered that I had not payed a visit to an old friend who lived in The Plaza Hotel.

Grabbing Robby by the arm, I insisted that we immediately head to The Plaza and Sandra asked why.  "WHY?!  For heaven's sake, because Eloise lives there!"  She looked at me a bit confused and asked, "Who is Eloise?"  "OH MY GOODNESS...YOU DON'T KNOW WHO ELOISE IS?!  Why she is the little girl who lives in The Plaza."  Well... not a REAL little girl, but a book character!  She had never heard of her (although she even has her own flag, along with the American flag, hanging from The Plaza Hotel), so I definitely needed to introduce her to Eloise.  Upon entering the hotel, I took everybody around corners and down stairs until we came upon an entire gift shop devoted entirely to Eloise!  Sandra grabbed a book and sat down to learn all about her, while I went from room to room playing with all of the Eloise stuff.  This was DEFINITELY a place Ya-Ya- would be bringing Parker to one day!  Robby and Doug were very good sports and sat on a pink couch waiting for us to finish in the "Eloise Boutique".  After we had finished at The Plaza, it was time to go back to our hotel and get ready for a Broadway show.

Tonight we had tickets to "Rock of Ages".  This Broadway show is a musical devoted to the tunes of the 80's.  Starring in it is Dee Snyder from "Twisted Sister" and the guitarists in the band were all members of Styx and Journey.  The storyline and music was fantastic...and the audience found themselves on their feet at the end of the show clapping and swaying to Journey's, "Don't Stop Believin'".  What a great end to a great day!

As we turned in for the night, I was excited anticipating the next day.  There would be some things on our agenda that I was just dying to things that I had never done before!  That's the wonderful thing about visiting New York over and over again...there are always new and exciting things to do every time you visit!

A LITTLE BIT Of Southern Charm Goes A LONG Way!

Monday morning was our "New York Must Do List" for first time visitors day.  Robby had created a little itinerary, so in order to get everything done, we needed to get up fairly early.  However, not quite as early as Robby tends to awake.

By 5 am, Robby had woke up...without an alarm clock!  This is not unusual for him; he tells me all the time that he has an "internal alarm clock".  Hmmm...that little part was left out when I was made.  So, he got up, got his shower and quietly came over to ask if I would like to sleep a little longer.  I threw the covers up over my head and grunted in the affirmative.  He told me he was going across the street to the drug store and would return shortly.  As soon as he left, I snuggled deeply under my covers and began to doze off...when SUDDENLY I heard, "A ringy ding ding ding dong...A ringy ding ding ding dong"! (The Geico commercial ring tone)  It was the alarm going off on Robby's cell phone...CRAP!  I jumped up out of the bed and ran to quickly turn it off, but couldn't find it.  After continuing to listen to that annoying ring, I FINALLY determined where it was coming from and turned it off.  After that whole ordeal, I decided I may as well just go ahead and get up.  After dressing, we all headed out to start our "Touristy New York Day".

After stopping at a nearby deli for a quick cup of coffee and a bagel (I just LOVE New York deli's!), we went to the subway station to purchase our Metro Cards for the day.  When visiting New York, we always ride the subways.  Thank goodness Robby has a GREAT sense of direction...AND is able to read a map, because I simply follow him around like a sheep.  Our first stop of the day would be Battery Park.  Here, we would get on the ferry that goes out to Ellis Island.  On our way there, we passed the Statue of Liberty, which is an impressive sight, no matter how many times one has seen her standing there in the harbor holding her torch.  Upon arriving at Ellis Island, we decided to take the audio tour.  It had been years since I had been there and agreed that, that would be a great way for all of us to learn more about all of the immigrants that had entered our country years ago.  My germ-a-phobia sort of kicked in for a minute there too, when Robby handed me my headphones.  I looked at them and asked Sandra, "Do you think they change out this foam on the ear pieces after each person uses them?"  Before she knew what she had said, she answered, "I doubt it."  THEN, she apparently saw the look in my eyes and quickly said, "Maybe they do."  I was still looking at those headphones (not putting them on my ears yet) when Robby walked by and I asked him..."Hey, do you think they change these out after each person uses them?"  He never stopped walking and without batting an eye said, "Yea, they wash them."  Hmmm...OK.  Well, in the end, I decided to go ahead and wear them.  The audio tour was just as wonderful as I had remembered and our friends loved it.  Our first stop on Robby's itinerary had been a good choice.  On to our next stop.

After taking the ferry back to Battery Park, we were hungry, so we set out for Little Italy.  We chose a little hole in the wall restaurant ( those are the BEST ones!) to eat lunch.  We had some great Italian food, a little wine...and used our southern charm to meet a couple of really nice and interesting men.  Everywhere we went, people smilingly HAD to ask..."Where are you from?"  WOW!  Can you believe we didn't just blend in?  It's that darn southern accent of ours...BUT apparently others find it quite charming.  THAT is how we met two men, John and Jack, at the Italian restaurant.  After also asking where we were from, they asked what we were doing that day.  Informing them that we were heading to the Brooklyn Bridge to walk over it, they offered to take us on a short cut.  While walking with those two men, we found that they were not only very friendly, but informative as well.  Telling us that Wall Street was originally given that name because, yes, there was a wall built there, but also WHY it was named that.  The wall was built to keep the pigs out of the city!  But, the story that Jack related to us, was the one that affected us most.  Jack, now an insurance salesman, was once a military special operations specialist in Viet Nam.   After leaving the military, he began selling the South Tower.  On 911, he was in the South Tower, when the North Tower was hit.  Standing there, watching the plane hit that North Tower, he turned to his boss and told him that he had a bad feeling.  He insisted on getting all of his employees out of the building.  As they were making their way down, the South Tower was hit...with them still in it.  The building had begun to burn, as he continued to rush his employees out.  Making it to the door, they were afraid to go out into the street because of all the rubble they saw falling; they feared being hit by it.  He convinced them that it would be more dangerous inside the building and personally led them out...just before the building collapsed.  What a story.  I looked at Sandra and said, "God had something else planned for spare his life like that."  We shook their hands and told them that it had been a pleasure to meet them as they left us at the foot of the Brooklyn Bridge.  After walking to the top of the bridge and taking lots of pictures, we decided to take the subway back to our hotel to rest for a while and dress for dinner.

Upon arriving back at the hotel, I looked at the time and decided I had time for a nice, hot bath.  As I laid there in the tub with my i-pod playing, I heard Robby calling my name.  It seems that he had gotten us a car for the evening to take us all to dinner and wherever else we chose to go .  THANK GOODNESS!  There was NO WAY I could have walked in my heels very far...and often times, it is difficult to catch a cab in New York at night.  Our driver arrived and whisked us off to a restaurant we had never eaten at before, but was recommended to us by another friend; The River Cafe'.  The River Cafe' sits under the Brooklyn Bridge and has a wall of glass windows that over looks the water.  Not only was is beautifully decorated, the atmosphere was warm and the food was great.  They even make a chocolate dessert that is in the shape of the Brooklyn Bridge!...and yes, I insisted that someone get that dessert, so I could take a picture of it!  After finishing our meal and taking quite a few pictures, we headed to the Empire State Building.

I will admit that I have a fear of heights.  However, I had no idea that Doug also had that same fear...and apparently his fear was more intense than mine!  Wanting to back out, we would not let him.  We even got tickets to go to the 86th AND 102nd floor observatories.  At the 102 floor observatory, we could actually see that we were up in the clouds!  Doug survived, although barely.  We were looking around the gift shop and getting ready to leave when we couldn't find him.  Finally we noticed that he was standing almost comatose in front of a television set that was playing the video of "King Kong".  Gathering him up, we went back to the car and then on to our hotel was MIDNIGHT!  Well, one thing was for sure...we would all sleep well that night.

Our "New York Must Do" Day had been a success.  We had gotten an early start and had a late finish, but we had completed everything on Robby's itinerary for the day.  Tomorrow we would take another section of the city to tour.  There was so much to see and so little time to see it in...but we were going to give it a good try!

Ahhh...New York Is Where I'd Rather Stay...I Get Allergic Smelling Hay!

I know why Lisa Douglas told Oliver..."Darling, I love you, but give me Park Avenue!"  You know Lisa of "Green Acres"!  New York is such an absolutely wonderful place.  Why, if you can't buy it or do it in New York, it just can't be done!  Visiting here is always fun, but during the holiday season, it is just MAGICAL!

As I mentioned before, our friends, Doug and Sandra came along with us on this trip.  Sandra had not gotten to see much of the city when she came to shop once before and Doug had never been.  When we arrived in the city, we checked into our hotel (bed bug less...) and then hit the streets.  The first stop was the Apple Store.  Doug had just purchased a new i-phone and it was not working properly.  This inanimate object had him in such a tizzy that I thought he might have a conniption fit...thus, the trip to the Apple Store.  It never ceases to amaze me at the number of people ALWAYS in EVERY Apple Store I have ever been in.  While Doug was talking to someone at "Geek Central" about his phone problems, I browsed around.  That is when I noticed several people with their dogs in the the store.  This made me smile.  I told Robby that, that is one thing I love about these big cities...they let you bring your dogs with you into the stores!  Now, I'm not sure that bringing my Annie into ANY store would be a good idea, because she's a little skittish around strangers and tends to bark a lot and pee on the floor when she gets nervous.  Nevertheless, I do like the idea of getting to bring your dogs shopping with you!

Next stop was right next door...F.A.O.Schwarz Toy Store.  This great store is the one that has the men dressed as toy soldiers ouside the doors as you enter the store.  Upon walking through those doors, it is a child's playground!  Already decorated for the holiday season, with giant snowflakes hanging from the ceiling.  As we made our way through the store, I could not help but stop to squeeze a few stuffed animals, flip through some unique books and ...ok, play with a few toys.  I can tell you right now, that although the new Disney movie, "Tangled" is not due out until Thanksgiving, one of the most coveted toys for little girls this Christmas season is most likely to be the the "Tangled" doll and other related products.  Watch out, Parker!...when you get just a little bit older, you will be getting an awesome Christmas present from F.A.O. Schwarz from  Ya-Ya!

From F.A.O. Schwarz, we headed toward Time Square.  No matter how many time one visits Time Square, it never ceases to be impressive.  Looking around, one can observe that most heads are turned upward, viewing gigantic lighted, flashing ads across the New York skyline.  Cameras everywhere are clicking away, capturing the beautiful sights of the area.  After a good bit of oohing and ahhing, we began to get a little hungry.  We knew just the place to take our friends for some dinner...and entertainment. 

Ellen's Stardust Diner is a really fun place to dine.  Fun because it it a diner decorated in the manner of a 50's diner, with all the waiters and waitresses dressed in poodle skirts and other 50's attire.  Oh, there are ice cream sodas with burger and fries and tables and booths that look as though they just popped out of the television show, Happy Days.  However, the most unique thing about the Stardust Diner is the fact that those waiters and waitresses burst out in song throughout your entire dining experience! don't see THAT every day.

After dinner, we were getting a little tired...after all, we had flown all day long and then hit the pavement running all afternoon and evening.  Tomorrow would be another BIG DAY.  We were planning on taking Sandra and Doug to do some of those "New York Must Do" things that first time tourist do not want to miss during their visit.  So, as I laid my head down to rest for the evening, visions of Lady Liberty and the Empire State Building...OK, and Sax 5th Avenue danced in my head!

Toto, We're not in Louisiana Any More!

As you are reading this, Robby and I, along with another couple are in one of my most favorite cities in the world...I KNOW you are thinking, EVERY city she visits is one of her "most favorite cities in the world".  And, well...they ALL are, but for different reasons, of course.  The next few day will find us in New York City!

Usually, every fall for many years, Robby and I have taken a trip to New York City.  Last year, it was a surprise.  I was in town and Robby had booked one of those last minute deals online and he called and told me to come home, that we were going somewhere.  When I arrived, he wouldn't tell me where we were going, just to pack a bag...we had to leave within the hour.  Well, packing the bag that quickly may have throw some women, but for those who know me...I just throw it all in and worry about it when I reach my destination.  We didn't fly out of the airport here, but drove two hours to Shreveport and THAT is when he announced that we were going to New York...and first class at that!  Yep, my guy is a thoughtful one.   This year, however, we planned the trip.  We were originally going in October, which is my favorite time to visit, but the "Lake House Remodel Job" caused us to have to put it off until now.  Oh, it will be a little cooler, but hey...who IS New York, after all!

As we were thinking about our trip, Robby had this great idea.  We have some good friends (who actually live next door to us at the Lake) and they had never been to New York; well, Sandra had been there for a shopping trip; no real "New York Experience" and Doug, not at all.  He called and asked if they would be up for a trip and they said yes.  So, for a month now, we have been making plans and reservations and finally the 14th arrived and we were all off!  Oh...and did I mention that the 14th was Robby's birthday too?!  Fun, Fun, Fun!

The day before we left, I had to run to town for a few items.  I had determined early in the day, however, that I would not leave the house until I was completely packed...this was a personal goal, because I tend to procrastinate.  So, by noon, I had actually accomplished that task and decided I would reward myself (and Caitlin ) by going into town for lunch. After returning home, Robby informed me that he had changed our hotel reservation while I was out.  "Really?  Why did you do that?", I asked.  Well, another friend of ours had asked where we were staying and commented that he hoped they didn't have "bed bugs" there.  "WHAT?!  What in the world are you talking about?", I said.  Well apparently there is some sort of infestation of bed bugs and there is a web site that one can go to and check to see if the hotel they are booking has had any cases of bed bugs.  OK...STOP RIGHT THERE.  There is really such a thing as bed bugs?!  Apparently so!  Therefore, Robby checked the web site to find that a few cases had been found where we were to stay...needless to say, he changed our reservation.

Being the germ-a-phobe that I am, I called my sister to inquire more about these "bed bugs".  She knew all about them.  "WAIT!", I said.  "I thought that was just a little saying that Mama said when she tucked us into bed at night...'Nite, Nite, Sleep Tight, Don't let the bed bugs bite'."  "Barbara, this has been all over the news and in articles...where have you been?", she said.  I told her that I didn't watch too much news any more because it is never good news (case in point...the bed bugs).  After learning all about those bed bugs, I was actually beginning to worry AND itch a little...and I hadn't even left home yet!  Robby assured me that no cases had been found in our new hotel, so I felt somewhat better after hearing that. 

I got ready for bed with my bags all packed and ready to leave at...yet AGAIN 5:45 am for the airport (I told you we ALWAYS get EARLY flights...ugh).  Oh well, I guess that didn't really matter since we were off to "One of my most FAVORITE places in the world"...this week!

And THIS Is Why Pre-Menopausal Women Should NOT Have Babies...

OK, I know that earlier I stated that I would NOT being doing that "M Word" thing...and don't get me wrong...I'm STILL not planning on doing it.  However, it has come to my attention recently that I have experienced either a couple of hot flashes or had some sort of mini seizures.  Let me explain.

The first "episode" that I had came one evening while I was cooking dinner.  Suddenly, I got sort of...well, sickish feeling and the next thing I knew, I was BURNING UP!  I glanced at Robby, who was sitting in his recliner watching TV.  Fanning myself furiously, I ask, "Are you hot?"  He shook his head in a negative response.  That was weird...he was always the one who was hot and I am usually cold.  I got up and turned the thermostat down.  The second "episode" came during a yoga class...can you believe that?!  I was in a triangle pose, hanging upside down and OH MY GOSH...I got SO HOT again.  Now, this could have been due to the fact that I had just finished my cardio before going into yoga...nevertheless, I thought I was going to be forced to pull a Mia Hamm and throw my shirt off in the middle of class!  The other members of the yoga class were thankfully saved from this drastic measure, as I eventually cooled down.  The third "episode" occurred this past weekend...and believe me, I scared even myself.

Saturday I had been out for most of the morning and it had been a good day.  Upon returning home and walking into the house, I immediately got "sensory overload".  The guys were watching the LSU game (Loud...both the guys and the television), Parker was there (she began to scream Very Loudly), people were still coming in the house after I did...talking, asking questions...and BAM!  The only way I know how to describe the feeling is a cross between an anxiety attack and a severe episode of PMS!  Whatever the case, it was NOT good.  In the midst of all of that commotion, Robby asked if I could hold the baby (still screaming) while he started dinner..."NO!  BUT, you can get me a cup of Yogi Tea or a Valium or better yet, a Bloody Mary!"  I firmly placed her back into his arms and marched straight to my room, where I went and stood in my closet.  Yes...I was BURNING UP again!  Very quietly, I heard the door open.  There stood Robby calmly holding Parker in his arms.  "What just happened in there?", he said.  "HORMONES...And you just better get used to it...because apparently they are HERE TO STAY!"  He just gave me a little kiss on the forehead, went back to the kitchen and indeed DID fix me that Bloody Mary (a trainer at the gym told me they WERE healthy; tomato juice, you know).  When my body temperature and that wave of craziness passed, I returned to watch the game with everybody.

I googled "symptoms of menopause" (OK, it KILLED me to do that) and I will admit that SOME of those symptoms MIGHT be similar to what I have been experiencing.  Now, I am NOT saying that I'm doing the "M" word thing...and yes, I know that, that makes me in denial, but I am not ready to admit that this could be happening to me...I can't possibly be old enough for all of that stuff.  Well, in my own mind, I'm still too young for it!  In the meantime, I will just take more yoga (and inform the "M" word that it is NOT invited to my class!), breathe deeply...and I guess just go ahead and ride the "Crazy Hormone Train" and pray that it lets me off soon!

If I Ever Start To "Brainstorm" With You...RUN! As Fast As You Can!!!

Brainstorming was an activity we, as education majors were required to do all of the time.  For those of us who possess vivid imaginations and are creative in nature...this can be a VERY DANGEROUS activity.  I think I have recently realized just how dangerous it can be, myself.

Several years ago, we bought a "Lake House" on the beautiful Cane River in Natchitoches, Louisiana.  You remember Natchitoches, don't you?  It is where the movie "Steel Magnolias" was filmed.  We had been looking for years for either land or a house of some sort to become available, because almost as soon as a property is listed on Cane River, it is sold.  When we found this particular house, it had just gone on the market and the owners had to move quickly, since they were being transferred due to their job.  Before the ink was even wet on the closing papers, we were in there cleaning and tearing carpet out.  We bought the house for a very reasonable price, so we decided to go the "Do It Yourself" route in giving this house a face lift.  All of the boys and even my in-laws and a couple of friends came to help.  We painted, changed out faucets, light fixtures and resurfaced the kitchen counter tops.  That first year, we jumped right into enjoying our frequent visits there.  Then, phase 2 came around.  This phase consisted of knocking the wall in the living room out and replacing it with huge pane windows...who wants to live on the water and not be able to clearly view it?  Looking out upon the water, we also decided that our boat dock should be replaced with a larger, covered one that had 2 boat slips.  Now, when we visited the "camp", I could walk down to the boat dock to read or paint or just enjoy the peacefulness of the River.  Phase 3, the phase we are currently in, was not truly just happened...after one of my infamous "Brainstorming Sessions".

Phase 3 of our "Lake House Remodel Project" (that's what I am calling it now), began at the beginning of May.  I really thought that it would be complete by the middle or end of summer...OK, I suppose I was in denial.  It started out as just adding a larger wrap around back porch on...with a new master bedroom and bathroom.  THAT'S when the "brainstorming" began.  Robby and I started discussing what else could "potentially" be know, since we were already in the throws of construction anyway.  And this is what happened next.  You see, there was a room above the garage that was already framed in, but had never been finished out.  I thought...what a GREAT idea it would be if we knocked ANOTHER wall out, made a hallway and tied that room into the house with a staircase.  The side that overlooked the lake would be a sitting area and the other side would be a bedroom with a closet and bathroom as well. From there, I thought, how nice would it be if I could actually view the lake while cooking...however, there was a pesky wall in the way.  Perhaps we should also knock that wall out to open the entire room up...OH, and while we were at it, why not just put new cabinets in and a long bar.  THEN, if we opened that room up, we should REALLY add a fireplace too.  It didn't have to be a wood burning fireplace; one that burned gas logs would be just fine...AND I had the perfect design (hmmm...imagine that!)  You see, I wanted the fireplace built on the bottom and a space built into the top for a TV.  Well, from there, we went to changing out another toilet and putting siding on the house.  This had become the project that just went on and wonder we are now 6 months down the road and STILL not finished (ugh).

I went to Natchitoches this week to check on the progress and things are actually looking like they might be about to wind up.  It is our hope that everything will be complete by the first weekend in December.  That is the weekend of Caitlin's birthday and The Festival of Lights.  I'm feeling pretty positive that this could happen...if I can just stay away, let the carpenters do their work and NOT brainstorm any more great ideas!

Small Town USA...You've Gotta LOVE All Of Those Festivals!

One of the things I love about small towns, is their ability to put on some really great festivals.  I'm not sure about other areas in the U.S., but small towns in the south are famous for festivals celebrating everything from sweet potatoes to meat pies.  This weekend, I decided since I was in town and the weather was perfect, I would partake in a little festival fun.

Colfax is a very small town, not terribly far from where I live.  As I travel to to our ACE store, I take a shortcut that runs right through the middle of the town.  It is one of those small towns that if your blink, you might miss it...that, in and of itself, makes it the perfect location for a festival.  Every year at this time, the Pecan Festival is held in Colfax.  Sure, it is a celebration of the pecan (pecan groves surround the town) and all sorts of goodies made from the pecan, but it is also a festival filled with fun and unusual activities, served up with every kind of fair food one can imagine.

Caitlin and her former college roommate, Tabitha, accompanied me to the festival on Saturday.  Upon arriving, we walked right into a mass of people who were either buying hand crafted items, riding carnival rides or eating  any variety of food that had been deep fried or was coated in sugar.  We started out by perusing all of the craft booths and store vendors in attendance.  The homemade items had been judged the day before and had ribbons hanging on their booth tents.  One could find anything from canned pepper jellies to hair bows and paintings of Fleur de lis.  The vendors were not only quite friendly, but also persuasive in getting you to check out the wares they were selling.  OK...Caitlin could not resist their persuasiveness and purchased a really cute Fleur de lis blown glass pendant in purple in gold (gotta support our LSU Tigers!)  that hung from ribbons.  Once we made it through the craft section of the festival, the enticing aroma of fair foods began to call our names.

Well, actually the food was calling Caitlin's name.  While we were still walking to the festival, she instructed us to "not let her get a funnel cake" even if she said she wanted one.  Sure, they smelled great and the first couple of bites were delicious, but eating an entire funnel cake always made her have a tummy ache...imagine that; deep fried batter covered with powdered sugar giving someone a tummy ache!  SO...we did not allow her to have a funnel cake, however, before we knew what was happening, she was marching straight toward a concession stand to purchase a Bloomin' Onion...yea, like THAT would NOT cause the same stomach issues...or worse.  She insisted, so we waited for it to deep fry.  During that wait, I noticed that a helicopter kept buzzing overhead and wondered out loud what was going on.  Tabitha stated that they were probably giving helicopter rides.  "NO WAY!", I said.  That is when a local, standing nearby, interjected, "Sure are...ya'll oughta go take a ride."  Hmmm...I think NOT.  If I wouldn't take a helicopter ride in Hawaii, I sure as heck am not going to take one at a festival!  However, we saw a ride that looked interesting down the road a ways...the mechanical bull!  Caitlin decided that after eating the Bloomin' Onion, that is where we would head.  Tabitha and I looked at each other and quickly determined that it would be Caitlin riding that bull!  As she climbed on, the little man operating the bull began encouraging her with," Come on, sweet pea...don't let that ole bull throw ya off, now."'ve just gotta LOVE the south! Well,she rode it at least long enough for us to snap a picture of her on it.  From there, we kept walking and every concession stand we passed, Caitlin commented that "Aw...I really wanted a turkey leg" or "They had Philly Steak Sandwiches here?"  As we were walking back toward our car, she did stop for a mini pecan pie...after all, one cannot attend the Pecan Festival without buying something made with pecans.

It had been a fun couple of hours we had spent in the little town of Colfax.  How nice to take off and do something out of the ordinary with people you enjoy spending time with.  A lazy Saturday with no other agenda than festival going, college football watching and visiting with family and friends.  Now, THAT is what life is all about!

Hey...,If My Family Gets Stuck Underground...Please Do NOT Send Board Games Down!

For months, the world watched the progress of those Chilean miners who were trapped underground for 69 days.  The first I heard about this situation was on Facebook...I know, how sad is it that my news source is a social network?  Oh well, at times it isn't quite as negative as the "real" news networks.  Anyway, I saw where someone made a comment that board games  were sent down for them to play.  I immediately said, "OH NO!  I hope if my family all gets stuck underground (or anywhere else for that matter), they DON'T send board games down to us!

When the children were young, we began playing all sorts of board games with them.  Santa would even leave a new board game for our family under the Christmas tree every year.  Over the years we have acquired all types of games from card games to charade types games to the typical board game.  The one, however, that has caused the most controversy over the years is Monopoly.  What a "classic", huh?  Everyone, everywhere has had to have played that game at some point in their lives.  I seriously doubt though, that few people play it in the same manner and with the same passion as our family does.  When the children were elementary school age, they would pull the Monopoly game out and I knew to direct them in the placement of their game.  If they set it all up on the kitchen table, we wouldn't be able to eat there for days.  Play would resume each day until either someone won or they got tired of playing it.  As the children got older, our family game playing continued...however, to sit down at the playing table requires a great deal of stamina.

Playing any game with my family is a little stressful for those of us who choose to believe that it is "just a game"...because that just isn't so, according to these people; it is SERIOUS BUSINESS.  You see, the problem is that EVERYONE wants to be a winner and their competitive spirits compel them to...shall we say, become a little overzealous in their quest for that winner status.  Oh, the playing of games starts out OK; it is only when someone begins to emerge as a potential winner that things take a turn for the worst.  That person now becomes the enemy of all the other players, as they collectively turn against them.  Although, I am the least competitive person in the family, I will admit that even I have thrown a "skip" card on my own offspring during a heated game of UNO.

We continue to have "Family Game Nights" around our house.  However, with each new addition to this crew,  a warning is issued.  This warning usually comes from Sarah, who immediately informs them that they just THINK that they want to play games with us...but they have NO IDEA what they are getting themselves into.  For playing games around here is NO GAME AT ALL!


My sister said it first and later I found out that another friend of ours in town was referring to stories about Caitlin as "Caitlin-isms".  There are so many of these stories that from time to time, I will entertain you by writing about them...and then YOU can decided what to call them for yourselves.

As time was drawing near for Justin and Sarah's wedding, we were traveling back and forth to Hot Springs, Arkansas quite frequently; well, at least all of the women.  My mother, mother-in-law, sister, Caitlin and I probably attended five showers in the month and a half before the wedding. For us, this drive was 10 hours, round trip.  I could have just hit auto pilot on my car and it would have driven us straight to the Arlington Hotel.  As we traveled along the way, we would ALWAYS read (aloud) the signs that said..."Boyhood Home of Bill Clinton" or "Home of Bill Clinton".  That is why this particular incident involving Caitlin is considered a "Caitlin-ism".

Caitlin was a junior in high school, attending a catholic school.  She was in religion class that day with a very nice, but stern and straight faced male teacher.  Telling me about her day when she arrived home that afternoon, she started out like this, "Mom, I hate it when a teacher asks a question and then looks around the room to call on someone for an answer.  I just KNOW they are going to call on me, because I don't know the answer."  Not sure of where this conversation was headed, I just nodded in agreement and continued to listen. 

It seems as though the topic of discussion for that 9 week grading period was issues related to morality.  The question asked was, "What morality issue did Clinton have?"  Apparently, the teacher began to look around the room...and then added, "Miss Rogenmoser".  She was was inevitable that she would be called on to answer the question.  I remember those days, myself,and having that exact feeling.  However, I would just say, "I don't know" and let the next person in line get their chance at answering it.  Caitlin felt compelled to attempt an answer.  Rolling her eyes toward the ceiling and tapping her index finger against her chin, she said, "Clinton, Clinton, Clinton...that name sounds SO familiar.  Could you give me his first name, please?"  Aghast, the teacher widened his already bulging eyes, took a deep breath and stated, "I'm not sure that will help, but OK."  He gave her Clinton's first name and was absolutely didn't help one bit!  Finishing up her story, she gave me a quite serious look as she said, " you KNOW what his morality issue WAS?!"  Ummm...yea.

Robby was always confused by the fact that Caitlin could be such as good student, yet continually said some of the strangest things.  She will be 21 years old in about a month and I must admit...she STILL comes up with these "legally blonde" statements.  It really doesn't bother us...we all expect it...AND it brings plenty of laughter to our sometimes hectic and stressful lives.