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Archive for July, 2003

A Kitchen in Alabama

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jul-31-2003

Grandma and Grandpa’s House

I Shop, Therefore I Am

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jul-31-2003

Of course, I don’t really buy that much when I do my daily shopping. I suppose what I enjoy doing is really window shopping.

For example, yesterday at the real mall, I went to Penney’s first. I looked at the sheets, saw some lamps that I thought would be nice for The Girl’s room, and then bought each of the kids a new pair of pajamas and an ‘Alabama’ T-shirt for The Boy.

I had The Boy and The Baby with me and so the next store that we went to was for The Boy : a store that sold new and used computer/ playstation games. I had promised him that we would look for a copy of his lately deceased and much beloved Star Wars game. Sure enough, we found it there.

And then we just ambled through the mall, until we hit the big book store at the other end. I wanted a copy of ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ for The Baby, but of course, it’s only in stock around Christmas time.

Then Happy Meals ( I passed), a quick stop back at the Penney’s to pick up those lamps for The Girl’s room and home.

Today I spent an hour at Wal-Mart. I bought some batteries and spent the rest of the time going up and down the aisles in the food section, just looking at those thousand different kinds of soups and salad dressings, the frozen pizzas and shrimp, the cake mixes.

I enjoyed it very much

The Lake

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jul-31-2003

The Baby, The Girl, grandpa and The Boy at smith lake.

Most afternoons, we go to the lake. Most mornings, we shop.

I went to a real Mall today. Eat your hearts out.

The Boy’s Tips and Tricks

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jul-30-2003

When all of the standard favorites ( including the now classic ‘ I can cry for 20 minutes straight at the lake’) fail, one sure fire way to get Grandpa’s goat is to squirt his much beloved and talented kitten with your squirt-gun, sending the friendly and innocent puss into hiding ‘somewhere under the deck’.

Be prepared, however, to have all of your squirt-guns deposited immediately in the nearest garbage container and accept the fact that you will never own a squirt-gun again on American soil until you are of legal age.

And Grandma will shoot you a small, nasty look when the first pet that she has ever owned as an adult finally returns to the bosom of his family.

Southern Notes

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jul-29-2003

Today Daddy and I did all of the things that one must do to arrange a new passport. It didn’t take that long at all.

After we went to the UPS store to get the passport photos taken ( the only place in town that takes them), we went over to the county courthouse with the form that I had neatly filled in this morning.

I let Dad do all of the talking. I come from a family with a strong line of notoriously charming men and so I took advantage of my birthright. The woman who helped us was very southern. I silently passed my papers over to her, smiling my usual, rather vapid smile and she began shuffling them into order. She looked at my passport photos and in lovely dulcet tones remarked : ‘It is simply criminal that they haven’t any competition’. General consensus seems to be that I have just received the ugliest passport photos ever seen , in living memory, by any man or woman. They are very Elsa Lanchester. I have been having a very bad hair year.

As those two charmed the pants off of each other, I looked around the woman’s office. One wall was decorated with that typical office decorating touch : the wall of plaques, awards and commendations. Two caught my eye first. They were quite large and official looking, with seals and ribbons hanging from the bottom edge of each. I couldn’t read all of the print, but they seemed to be official greetings being sent to this woman from a politician named ‘Fob’ -something. Not ‘ F.O.B.’ -something, but ‘ Fob’. I wondered what Fob was short for ? Fobert ?

Another plaque which caught my eye was a certificate stating that this woman was a member of the Daughters of the Confederacy. It seemed an odd place to hang that one.

As we left the Court House, I mentioned the Daughter’s plaque to Dad. He told me that I was probably eligible to be a Daughter of the Confederacy, through Annie O Neal’s family. I asked him what on earth would I do with a thing like that.

He had to agree with me. He hadn’t the faintest idea.


Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jul-28-2003

According to the ground personnel of British Air, a new law went into effect- regarding air travel to America- just a few weeks ago, in fact. If your passport states that you were born anywhere within the USA, you cannot board an airplane traveling to America unless you are traveling with an American passport. So even though I have used and traveled with my Dutch passport for over twenty years, have broken no laws, have paid my taxes promptly and voted conscientiously in all Dutch elections, even though I separate my garbage and have been teaching my children not to litter, I cannot travel to America using my Dutch passport. Any yahoo carrying a Dutch passport can, but because I was born in Fort Bragg North Carolina, I cannot.

I wish that I could continue this story by telling how I banged my clenched fist on the top of the check-in counter at British Air. That I had said in strident tones I am mad as hell and I am not going to take it anymore !. That I started a grass-roots movement which would ultimately lead to the abolishment of all of these new securityï laws set up for our own good.

Instead, I must confess that in a small voice, I asked the woman behind the check-in counter of British Air ” I can’t go on the airplane “.

Wait, let me be more precise : Instead, I must confess that – tears rolling down my cheeks- in a small voice , I asked the woman behind the check-in counter of British Air ” I can’t go on the airplane ?”

I must have been a sad, sad sight, for the young woman behind the check-in counter leaned over and patted me on my shoulder, saying “It will all be ok”.

The personnel of British Air were very helpful, they found me four seats on another flight while The Father made the three hour round trip to our home to pick up my American passport. And we got to spend 8.5 hours touring the ever lovely Schiphol Airport before that next flight- the first leg of what would be a 12 hour AMS to ATL trip.

But I suppose that I have been part of an educational experience. For now we all have a clearer idea of just what ‘ the enemy’ all of these laws are protecting ‘ us’ from is like. It does not seem to be some rapid-eyed young man, with three days of stubble on his chin. No, the enemy is obviously a middle aged, professional housewife, who makes a point of bringing her three children to a small Appalachian town in Alabama for a month every summer, so that they can eat marshmallows and hot dogs and buy socks at Wal-Mart.

Air America

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jul-24-2003

So , there is nothing on TV tonight, let’s see what we have on tape. ‘Air America’ I say to The Father, ‘with Mel Gibs. I don’t really like the title’, I say,’ and we have never seen it before. I have a bad feeling about it.’

Of course, there is nothing on, so we watch it. Two- count them- two plane crashes in 1 hour. I joke about it, saying that it is like seeing ‘ The Marathon Man’ before going to the dentist. But all things aside, I am not afraid of flying.

I have flown a lot, as a child I lived in too many places, saw too many countries. I have no desire to travel anymore, for the adventure of travel.

But oddly enough, I have a yen to go to Palmyra Island. Which is very odd indeed. It should be one of the most unpleasant islands in the world to go to, accessible only by yacht ( we all know that I’m not all that fond of yachts or yacht people).

However, there it stands : I should like to see the Forbidden City in China and Palmyra Island.

J.J. jr.

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jul-24-2003

I really don’t write much about The Girl these days. I am sure that somewhere, far into the future, she has already noted this and wonders why, has balanced out the number of words I have spent on each child and has discovered that she has the fewest. The reason for this is simple : I don’t think that she would appreciate the things that she is going through at this time being made public .


When I was her age, I briefly had a nick-name: Jennifer Jones. This referred to my rather melodramatic nature at the time. I see glimpses of this in her now. For example, a few weekends ago, she spent the night at a friend’s house. As they were fiddling and fussing with each other’s hair, The Girl discovered that her playmate had cooties. Now, this girl didn’t have a bug or two crawling around, no. According to The Girl, there were so many cooties on this poor child’s head that they were jumping off. Think ‘Titanic’.

My head still itches recalling her recital.

That’s how things are with The Girl right now. Jennifer Jones, junior. Two ants discovered in the living room bring her calling to me in horror ‘ Mom ! We have an ant’s nest in the front room ! Come! Quick!’. If one of the fish is looking a bit peaked, it’s always ‘Dying! Mom! Another fish is dying!’.

So I am having a bit of a time right now, for you see, she has a ‘bad feeling’ about our flight tomorrow. I have been hearing about this since yesterday. Twin Towers has come up. Today it is raining. ‘Do they fly in storms?’ ‘What happens if an airplane is hit by lightening ?’.

You know, all of those things- those worst case scenarios- that you really try hard not to think about before a flight, are being brought up now.

( Lightening? Do planes have lightening rods? And my head still itches…)

A Question

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jul-24-2003

Does anyone else bring software with them on a vacation ? I can’t believe that I am actually considering bringing software with me.

Bonk !

Posted by Mummy Dearest on Jul-23-2003

That is the sound of my head hitting my desk : The Father’s steering wheel isn’t working correctly. Now, for some reason, the fact that I can put a photo on the web seems to mean that I can solve this.

The foot pedals don’t work- you have to use ‘x’ to accelerate, the steering wheel does not vibrate.

And hardware and I just don’t get along at all. What do I know about PS1 ?