Circus-ticket winners!!

Per our drawing, they are:

Grace Hankins

Karla K

and …

Crazy Working Mom.

Please email me at to claim your tickets and elephants.

Thanks to all who participated — reading all of your comments was so much fun!

The next Freebie Friday will be hosted by Heidi of In the Family Way. She’ll be giving away a gift certificate to the Lu May Salon!

Hello, Poison Control? My kids bathed in toilet cleaner.

So Hubs bought those generic large, blue tablets that you put in your toilet tanks to help keep them clean.

Tonight, the children dumped one into the tub and both took baths in freaking TOILET CLEANER.

I walked in to see the E-man sitting in brilliant blue bath-water. Meanwhile, his oblivious sister was in posession of BLUE HANDS.

“WHAT did you PUT in the TUB?” I asked of the older child.

“That,” she said, pointing at the large, gelatin-looking tablet on the sink.

I looked at the E-man in the tub.

“Did you both take baths in that?!” I quasi-shrieked.

“We thought it was soap,” Tootie replied.

I took at closer look at the E-man.

People, his TEETH were BLUE.

“Did you put your head under?” I asked him.

Tentatively, he nodded.

Within minutes, I had both kids standing in the tub as I showered them off.

They did NOT like having their eyes and mouths rinsed.

The whole time, I lectured.

“If you don’t know what something is, you do NOT touch it!” I said, pouring water over both their heads.

I then called Poison Control to see if there was anything else I should do.

Do you KNOW how EMBARRASSING it is to tell someone that not one, but TWO of your children bathed in toilet cleaner?

Oh my hell. Oh the shame!

The guy who answered, however, is to be commended for not laughing.

“They’ll be fine,” he said.

Just blue for a few days, that’s all.

Freebie Friday: Three sets of four circus tickets! And cute elephants.

The circus is coming to town! And Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey were kind enough to give us free vouchers to give away for the Zing Zang Zoom Show.

Each winner — I’m picking three — will get four ticket-vouchers for opening night, which is 7 p.m., Thursday, Aug. 4. Simply take the vouchers to the ticket office and exchange them for your actual tickets.

The winners also will receive these adorable mama & baby elephant stuffed animals.


Mama and babe.

To enter: Post a comment below in which you describe your favorite circus performance. I’ll draw three winners on Tuesday night and announce them next Wednesday.

FYI – There also is a pre-show that is one hour before the performance. People can go down to the arena floor and meet some of the performers.

Tales from the statewide Girl Scout conference

This summer, I joined the Girl Scouts’ North Hills Service Unit. As a result, I attended my first state conference last weekend.

I had so much fun!

In 2012, we’ll celebrate 100 years of Girl Scouts. So at the convention, we watched an amazing video montage of elderly women sharing their scouting memories. It was funny and poignant all at the same time.

I also attended several workshops, one of them scrapbooking. I LOVED it. Seriously, I can see an addiction in the making.

Yes, those who know me have permission to laugh. When my longtime friend Melanie saw my Facebook post about how much I enjoyed that workshop, she asked who had hacked into my Facebook account.

So anyway. The conference. And my butt.

I’ve long joked that it has a way of showing up in 80 percent of photographs in which I appear. And yet again, this time at a conference, it’s on display.

It’s like a twisted game of Waldo.

Where is Cathy’s butt in this photo?


Exhibit A: I'm the one with the hot-pink purse slung over her left shoulder.

Exhibit B. I'm in the lavendar shirt, talking to the woman in a purple shirt. Hi, Michele!

But … heh, get it? … never fear. You do get a glimpse of my face now and then. Unfortunately, it’s when I’m eating.


Clearly, my food consumption requires my total attention. Why do I look so serious as I'm assembling my sandwich?


Here I am again, crouched protectively over my sub and chips. Note how others are chatting while I'm stuffing my face?

But back to the conference. One of the highlights was getting to see the preview copies of the new books coming out.

Also this fall — new badges!

We’re getting a new handbook: The Girls Guide to Scouting. It’s stream-lined, compatible with Girl Scout Journey books and shiny and new!

And I can’t wait to get my hands on this:


One of the new Journey books.

These books are designed to teach girls how to become active in their schools and communities, and, ultimately, a leader.

Here’s an excerpt:

In this journey, Brownies have fun learning that stories contain clues that can be used to make the world a better place. In fun, flip-book format, one side is devoted to fictional stories that take Brownie girl characters to diverse places in the world. The other side has stories of real-life Brownies exploring their world closer to home. Through the journey’s many adventures, anecdotes and activities, girls follow through on clues and enjoy a fun and challenging experience that strengthens their confidence and gives them a chance to better the world.

We’re getting close to recruitment season. I urge you, sign up your girls. And mamas, we always need troop leaders. The past year has been such a rewarding experience for me. There’s nothing more inspiring than watching girls accomplish things they never would have imagined doing.

Porch sittin’

Every evening, Hubs and I sit on the porch.

He lounges on the swing, while I sprawl in a double Adirondack chair crafted by Hubs’ grandfather.

We have a glass of wine or a cocktail and catch up on the day’s events. Meanwhile, the children play in the front yard — with sidewalk chalk, the garden hose, dinosaurs and Pet Shops.

We wave at our neighbors across the street, who also sit outside each night. They don’t mind if the kids play in their yard or, on my gym nights, if Hubs joins them for some conversation.

Sometimes, we wander over to Francisco’s house, which is catty-corner from ours. Francisco runs a taco truck. Each night, heavenly aromas drift from his grill to our porch.

Luckily, he’s a generous guy who takes pity on the two native Texans who miss their Tex-Mex. He’s brought us chicken, steak, tortillas and homemade salsa. In exchange, we leave beer on his front porch.

We also wave at our dog-walking friends, Rhonda and Jennifer.

I love this evening ritual. It’s relaxing. It gives Hubs and I some couple time. And it gets the kids outdoors for an hour or two.

Our view?


Mud fight!


Which escalates to water fights!


Examining a spider web.


Little man raking.



Payday pedicures & disobedient-to-the-point-of-comedy children

This summer, a couple of girlfriends and I have created a biweekly cocktail/pampering hour.

Every other Friday — payday! — we meet at a downtown salon, soak our tootsies in warm, bubbling water, drink wine and catch up on one another’s lives.

It’s become treasured ritual, not only because it allows several mothers a chance to do something for themselves, but also to spend some time together — not an easy feat given our busy lives!


And now for an amusing, if somewhat maddening, tale:

This summer, Tootie has been begging to go in the deep end of the pool that her day camp class swims at. Tootie’s had only one round of swimming lessons, but is a little fish.  She loves the water and swimming.

I told her I would stop by the pool, check out the deep end and, if I was OK with it, she could start hanging out there. (She also wanted to be able to jump off the diving board.)

So on the appointed morning, I arrived at the pool. Upon walking through the entry way, the first thing I spotted was my daughter’s head.

In the deep end.

She saw me, dove underwater and swam like a rabid otter for the shallow end. Like I wasn’t going to NOTICE this blatant attempt to stay out of trouble?

Please. She is dealing with the master.

I called her over.

“What are you doing?” I asked. “I told you I was coming by to check out the deep end.”

“I know,” Tootie replied. “But I didn’t think you were coming.”

Oh, and that makes it BETTER? That you thought you were getting away with something?

Anyway, I told her yes, obviously she could swim in the deep end just fine, BUT that we would be having a talk about her disobedience that evening.

Just then, one of her friends ran up.

“Guess what! She’s been jumping off the diving board and playing in the deep end ALL WEEK!”

She paused, out of breath.

Oh, the joys of snitching!

Tootie plunged back into the water prepared to flee.

“Oh, I don’t think so,” I said. “You not only disobeyed, but lied. We will be discussing this tonight.”

My child is now grounded from the television and computer.

Why not the pool?

Because I want her active at day camp. I want her to keep practicing those skills in the water.

And because watching her little brother jubilantly manning the remote control is the best punishment I could have come up with!





Of horses and chemistry experiments

I think this is the longest I have ever gone without updating my now-dusty blog. But wow — this summer’s been busy. Amazing, but busy!

The week before last, Tootie went to a horseback-riding day camp. She loved it! And, even better, she learned a lot: how to groom and saddle a horse, how to herd geese, how to fish and how to take a deep breath and take chances.

I believe in letting kids try new things, even if those things may seem intimidating at first. And while Tootie was a little afraid of sitting on a horse without a saddle horn to hold onto, she did. And I predict that by next summer, she’ll be even more confident.

Last week, the E-man attended one of the Museum of Discovery’s summer camps.

He got to hold and pet reptiles, conduct experiments and make some new friends. The E-man had a great time. Each day, we got to hear about what he touched or what aluminum foil is capable of doing. Again, I believe in putting my kids in new situations, where they will learn to hold their own and experience their own successes.

Last year, I took on a new challenge myself when I signed up to be a Girl Scout Troop leader.

This year, I agreed to be part of the Service Unit team for our area.

More work, yes. But I love the thought of helping other girls challenge themselves, of watching them grow both in inches and in confidence.

I can’t wait to catch up with all of them when our meetings resume!

Summer is flying by. But I’m trying to soak up each day and each ray of sunshine.

Too soon, it will be gray and cold.

But for now, I’m sandal-happy and pool-bound!