An expert multi-tasker? Er, not so much.

Thursday evening, minutes after I sat down with a lovely lime vodka tonic, the phone rang. It was Heidi of In the Family Way, who also happens to be my editor.

“We’re hearing that downtown Nashville (Ark.) is on fire,” she told me. “Can you find out if that’s true?”

A few phone calls later, I informed Heidi that yes, it was indeed true.

“Could you … ” pause “… go down there?”

Now if Hubs had been home, I’d have agreed to the 2 1/2-hour drive in a heartbeat. But he was out of town. And it was a school night, so I couldn’t very well take the children on a late-night field trip.

“I can’t go, but I can work it by phone,” I told Heidi.

So I ordered pizza, told the kids to entertain themselves and locked myself in the bedroom for some frantic phone interviews.

As I quizzed downtown merchants about what they were seeing, I could hear my little darlings playing hide & seek. All seemed well. Until, that is, I noticed that Tootie couldn’t seem to find the E-man. Not a good thing.

So I scurried into the kitchen, where Tootie had just opened our non-working extra freezer. There, curled inside, was a grinning E-man.

I, of course, promptly fell into a fit of parental hysterics.

“Don’t you ever, EVER hide in a place like that again!” I shrieked before explaining the dangers of suffocation.

“Tootie did it too!” the little man protested.

I then extended a second lecture for her benefit.

After both children seemed appropriately chastened, I paid for the pizza and resumed interviewing. Only this time, I kept a closer ear on the children. For all I knew, they might decide to build a campfire in the kitchen in an effort to “entertain” themselves.

“Mama, do boys have babies?”

Last weekend, I took the kids to our favorite Chinese restaurant for lunch.

And somehow, as we ate, the topic of babies came up.

Tootie asked all sorts of the usual questions, her fascination very much in evidence.

The E-man, on the other hand, took on the appearance of a brooding, little thundercloud.

“Mama,” he interrupted, “do boys have babies?”

His expression registered great horror at the prospect.

“No, sweetie,” I replied. “Boys don’t actually have the babies. Girls are the ones who keep the babies in their tummies until they’re ready to be born.”

“So do I have to have a baby?” the E-man pressed.

“Well, only if you want one.”

“But I don’t WANT a baby in my tummy!”

“Only girls can have the babies,” I tried to clarify. “When you grow up, you might be a daddy, but your wife would be the one who had the baby.”

“Do I have to have a wife to have a baby?” the E-man inquired.

“Uh …”

At which point, I noticed the man seated at the table nearest us. He had collapsed into laughter.

“Please,” he sputtered. “Go on. I can’t wait to hear the answer.”

Somehow, I hemmed and hawed through the rest of the conversation, walking a very thin line all the while.

A few days later, while looking at their newborn photos, the children asked about the differences in how they were born. (Tootie was an emergency C-section; the E-man was a vaginal birth.)

Again, Tootie was absolutely enthralled by the subject. The E-man, on the other hand, looked quite ill.

So I wasn’t terribly surprised when, an hour or so later, the E-man ran into the living room with Tootie in hot pursuit. He wore a look of panic. She clutched two dolls and a syringe from her toy doctor’s kit.

“Tootie wants to cut my tummy open!” the E-man declared breathlessly.

Tootie looked offended.

“I’m just getting the baby out,” she explained.

And it was then I realized why God decided that women would be the ones to bear children. Men, obviously, just don’t share our fortitude, even when they’re young.

First day of school

So both the kids did just fine.

The E-man was doing some heavy-duty blinking in his effort not to cry, but he cheered up immensely when his best friend showed up. They’re seated at the same table. For now.

I’m told Tootie already got in trouble for talking, which is not surprising. I can’t count how many times I was kicked out of class or sent to the office for my incessant chatter.

Anyway, here are a few photos.

Here's Tootie with Moody Mom's Becca, aka Bear. We'll see how long they get to sit near each other.

Don't they look excited?!! Ha.

The E-man and his buddy, Nash. Can you see the potential for trouble here?!

Jiminy crickets! A most unwelcome late-night visitor.

I awoke last night to one of the sounds I most dread hearing in the wee hours.

Chirp! Chirrrrp! Chirrrrup!

I tossed. I turned.

When Hubs stopped snoring, I knew he had heard it too.

“Are you awake?” I asked.

“How could I sleep through this?”

We lay in silence for a minute.

Then — “I’m going to find it,” Hubs declared.

He stepped out of bed. I heard something tumble and a muttered oath from my spouse as he tried to catch himself.

Which is when I remembered that the E-man had just built a three-story Lincoln Logs hotel next to Hubs’ side of the bed.

Hubs stumbled around the room, tripping over a Lego cabin along the way. The chirping stopped.

For five minutes.

I eventually dozed off into dreamland, where crickets played an integral role in my unconscious imaginings.

I awoke to more crashing and what appeared to be a little spotlight  on the wall in front of me.

“What on earth are you doing?” I asked the man lumbering across the room.

“I’m going to find it and I’m going to kill it!” he replied, swinging a teensy flashlight in my direction.

Is that a flyswatter in his other hand?

Hubs finally determined that the cricket was underneath the antique hall tree.

Why, you might reasonably ask, is there a hall tree in our bedroom? The answer is rather convoluted, but it involves Hubs’ inability to part with the many items his family has given him whenever we visit. Let’s just say the last time he visited an aunt, he came home with a buffet.


Hubs was unsuccessful in his quest to assassinate the cricket. So we both dozed fitfully until morning.

And then I used the incident to support my longtime request that we sell the hall tree.

A big deal at the House of Frye (make that Fried)

This summer’s unrelenting heat wave broke yesterday, and we celebrated temps in the mid-90s. Sad, I know, but I’ll take any reprieve I can get.

So, for the first time in … I don’t really remember, actually … Hubs and I sat on the front porch last night, drinking wine and listening to the comforting creak of the swing.

Even when we first began dating, we spent hours on the deck at our old house. In San Antonio, we all but lived in our backyard. And, until this summer, we did the same at our current home. Coffee on the porch, cocktails on the deck. Oh, and we like to grill. A lot.

This little break may not last. But last night, at least, I was able to spend a quiet half-hour with Hubs. It felt like old times. Let’s hope that autumn brings even more enticing temperatures (ha) and soon.

Yeah, we always put the kids to work in their PJs.

Definitely his mother’s son

I’m told that my wee self was quite the horror at doctor’s office.

“It took four of us to hold you down for a penicillin shot when you had strep,” my mother has noted more than once, usually after I’ve bemoaned the E-man’s antics upon learning he’s about to be vaccinated.

There also was a Frye-family legendary ER visit that involved the use of a straitjacket as doctors stitched up my forehead. In my defense, I was maybe 3 or 4 at the time.

It seems fitting then, that one of my children sees the doctor as some evil, demented authority figure who is determined to inflict pain and suffering upon the little people.

Yesterday, I accidentally let slip that the E-man would be getting a shot this morning. He didn’t hear me. His older sister did.

“Do NOT tell the E-man about tomorrow,” I instructed her. “He’ll just worry about it all night. It’s better if I tell him in the morning, on the way.”

Two hours later, a small hand flung the living room door open. And there stood the E-man, blankie in one hand, a giant T. Rex in the other.

“I know that I’m getting a shot tomorrow,” he announced in a quivering voice.

“Tootie!” I hollered.

“Yes, Mommy?” she inquired sweetly.

“Did you tell your brother about his appointment?”

“No, Mommy. He guessed it,” Tootie said in an irritatingly demure manner.

I gave her The Look of Parental Skepticism.

“All I said was that I knew what he was getting tomorrow. And then he said, ‘A shot.’ So see? I didn’t tell him. He guessed it.”

With all that extra time to fret, the E-man had worked himself into quite a state by the time we entered an exam room today.

He sobbed as the nurse pored over his records. He pressed himself into a corner. He pleaded to leave.

When the nurse finally brandished the needle, I had to peel the E-man off the wall. And then I had to peel him off of me.

A simple prick and we were done. Even so, the E-man brooded the whole way home.

Lest you think I exaggerate my son’s fear of needles, I offer Exhibit A:

Standing in line for a swine flu shot. See those teary eyes and the hand poised to grab onto my sweater?


Once upon a time, in cities far, far away, two women decided to accidentally created  a tradition at the annual BlogHer conference for women who — you guessed it — blog.

These two women threw a party. It involved lots of McDonald’s cheeseburgers, booze and much silliness. They dubbed it the “CheeseburgHer Party.” Each year, attendance grew. Women donned paper hats and danced. Security guards showed up in hotel rooms. Many of these guards weren’t allowed to leave until donning a sack-hat and posing with lots of women.

The Cheeseburgher craze is now a Blogher tradition. And this year, some very kind souls decided to sponsor multiple parties across the nation for those of us who couldn’t attend the Blogher conference.

Little Rock was lucky enough to be one of those cities. So, on Saturday night, a few dozen Arkansas women bloggers gathered on the 18th floor of the 300 Tower on Third Street for their very own, very first Cheeseburgher party.

Hilary of Rock the Shops and I decided we couldn’t pass up such a gathering. So we talked dresses and shoes and wondered whether anyone would talk to us.

“I’m nervous,” Hilary confided.

“Me too,” I said. “How about a cocktail before we head up?”

Hilary and I stopped in at Copper for a pre-party cocktail before heading to the 18th floor.

We had so much fun with this lively group of writers who live very much out loud. Tomorrow, I’ll be listing the many women I met. For now, you’ll just have to trust me when I say they were an incredible and dead-sexy lot. We were so happy to be included!

And the first bag is donned...

Back in my 20s, my girlfriends and I used to grab one of these before heading out to the clubs.

Cheeseburger, hat, wine AND a view.

Isn't Hilary adorable? This child has more style packed into her pinky than I will ever possess. Note the feather she used to decorate her bag.

This is Kyran Pittman, who was kind enough to whip this event together in record time. Here, we're introducing ourselves and our blogs. I panicked and made an idiot out of myself, but more on that later.

Soon after this photo, the party moved out onto the roof. Great music, an actual breeze and fab company. I stayed out past midnight!

I’ll offer more details tomorrow, as well as some links. For now I’ll close with a big thank-you to Kyran of Notes to Self for putting this shindig together.

Nursing mom vs. courtroom bailiff — sheesh.

So by now, many of you have probably heard about the Crawford County court bailiff who reprimanded and booted out of the courtroom a woman who was breastfeeding her baby. (The woman was there to testify in a court case.) The bailiff said breastfeeding was too “distracting.”

Arkansas law stipulates that a woman may nurse in a public place. And really, you can’t get much more public than a courtroom, for pete’s sake.

I guess what puzzles me most is that as a reporter, I’ve spent a lot of time in many courtrooms. I’ve been alternately amused and appalled by the revealing outfits a surprising number of women choose to wear when going before a judge. We’re talking about some serious cleave. We’re talking about boobs that are one bend-over away from springing free from shirts. We’re talking about braless women who really oughta shoulda consider reining in the girls in when in public.

And yet a woman nursing discreetly is “distracting?”

What really annoys me is that few will take a stance on the issue. The judge didn’t have a problem with the bailiff’s actions. The state attorney general’s office says only that no one has ever questioned legally whether a courtroom is indeed a public venue. I can’t come up with a scathing enough response for that one, because hello? The concept of open court means — duh — that the court is open to the — wait for it …  public.

When northwest Arkansas’ Channel 5 asked the AG’s office whether a courtroom was a public place, this is the response the station received:  “We are not aware of any Arkansas cases that have addressed this issue.”

Well here you go, guys. Let’s settle it now.

Because Arkansas, we clearly have a long, long way to go.

What did Florida ever do to him?

“I hate Florida!” my 5-year-old son declared from the back seat.


“It’s nasty.”

Ohhh … the flouride treatment!

The E-man, it seems, shares my … er … dislike for dental care. While his sister has cheerfully submitted to fillings, the E-man clenches during a routine tooth-cleaning.

It was inevitable, of course. One of my kids was bound to pick up on my own fear and loathing.

A few years ago, I found a new dentist, a nice man with a nice staff, who cater to my wussiness.

“Are you OK?” the hygienist asked on my first visit there, after noticing my balled-up fists and rigor-mortis pose.

Bear in mind, the woman was only cleaning my teeth.

I blame the many early years I was tortured by my childhood dentist. He pulled nearly every single baby tooth — “We need to make room for the ones coming in!” — and even four permanent ones.

All this extraction and moving around (braces! joy!) resulted in premature gum recession once I hit my 20s. These days, dentists are no longer so quick to pull teeth, especially permanent ones, realizing that too much rapid change can later cause problems, such as my gum recession, which led to gum grafts, which are both bloody and painful and just … gross.

I also have an area in my mouth that won’t go numb. This problem surface when I was a teen getting a cavity filled. When the dentist hit that tooth, I shot out  of the chair and knocked the drill out of his hand. (He was rather grumpy about that.) When I had the gum grafts, the periodontist also was unable to get that area numb. Imagine having someone sewing tissue to your gums, watching the needle go in and out as blood drips from the “thread” onto your little napkin-thingy while the doc apologizes the whole time about the lack of numbness.


And get this — not one of these people ever offered me gas, unlike the nice hygienist who took pity on me and my clenched fists.

And what a revelation!

Why was I nearly 40 before discovering the bliss of a little laughing gas?

At any rate, my visits these days are less scary. (This dentist also prescribes sedatives for scary procedures. Like getting fillings!)

But as I watched my little E-man on the table this morning, I still remembered the fear of my early days, especially when I saw his wee, trembling hands. He did great though. And no cavities, thank goodness, for I fear the E-man’s reaction to a novocaine needle.