Donna's Neighbors

Who the heck is Donna? Well, um, that's me.

And if we are going to be blog friends, then I think it's time you met my neighbors. Now, my neighbors pale in comparison to Nancy's fascinating bevy of Condo characters. Nevertheless, I feel it is an introduction far overdue.

And, yes, my name is Dana (Day-na) not Donna (Dawn-uh) however Donna is what one of my neighbors insists on and persists in calling me. Truly, I do not think she means to change my name. And I am more than certain this is not due to the fact that she is of another culture - such as Irish - which would perhaps pronounce my name differently, but to their ears, correctly. Nor do I think that she is willfully pronouncing it wrong and thereby letting me know that I and my name are of no consequence to her and hers. Like Endora with Derwood Darrin.

She just somehow has it in her head that Donna is my name. I ignore it. I mean, this from a woman who says she loves those mocho floppy-chinos more than lotties - how could you possibly dislike her?

Her husband ribs her about it. In fact he jokes with everyone about everything. He is never serious. It has to be frustrating to attempt a sober conversation with the man. It must be something akin to discussing the political state of the Middle East with Robin Williams.

The whole family has a great sense of humor and with a 3 bedroom house occupied by 2 adults, 7 children, 3 grandchildren, 1 son in law, various other in-laws moving in and out, 3 dogs, 2 puppies, 3 completely wrecked vehicles, 3 more vehicles in need of major mechanical work and 4 running vehicles, one has to have humor in abundance. Or insanity. Or both.

And one must have both good humor and patience in abundance to live next door to all of this. Not to mention we live in a rather decent neighborhood where this sort of multi-family farm slash car lot is not looked upon with favor. Neighborhood associations are so snooty that way.

So if I told you they were great neighbors would you believe me? Because they are. They always borrow stuff, leave trash in the yard, park in front of our house - all exactly what good neighbors are supposed to do. But we look out for them and them for us. Our kids hang out together. They make us laugh and give us something to discuss on those long cold winter nights. Oh wait, this is Houston and we don't have winter.

Sure, Mr. Roger's wouldn't have them and trust me, this ain't the Neighborhood of Make Believe...but they do make great fodder for stories.

Well, they don't bring us casseroles or get excited about trash novels by the pool, but they are ours.

For now.

Next up, the new neighbors. *cue the creepy music*

Lost and Found

Recently I've noticed some things that have been long forgotten. Things like knuckles showing on my hand and wrist bones. Things like ankle bones and tendons. Cheekbones and collarbones. Shoulders and elbows and hip bones.

Welcome back guys, I've missed you!

Went to visit some family and my great-niece runs up to greet me and after the hug she pats my stomach and says "Where is your baby? You had your baby?"

That....was.... awesome!

**Overheard in Chuck E. Cheese

Ah yes, the wonderful world of Chuck E. We got to spend a fabulous fun-filled four hours of complete and utter bedlam. And I subjected myself and my family to this willingly.

It was my daughter's choice for her birthday party. Happy 13th Elena!!! Go figure, she's 13 and still loves Chuck E. Cheese. And all of her friends - each one 13 years old - loved it just as much. I'm glad that neither she, nor her friends, are too cool for silliness, games and pizza yet. No high maintenance, too big for their own capris, prima donna friends for my girl. At least not yet.

So as the kids ran around eating ungodly amounts of pizza, I nursed a piece of lettuce while discussing the latest goings on with the other parents, who I also consider friends. A Chuck E. Cheese sing along begins. We watch. We laugh. The little ones are so cute.

They begin the conga line around the party room and the kids are following Chuck E. like the Pied Piper of Hamelin. One little boy in particular caught my eye.

Blonde, around 5 years old or so with his little faux-hawk he danced the most enthusiastically. The other children seemed as if they were dazed, confused and just going along for the sake of pleasing Mr. Cheese.

As I watched Tiny Dancer he began to yell somewhat quietly at first, then increasing in decibels as he was not getting any one's attention.

"Hey! Hey!! Hey!!!"

Seemingly no one acknowledge his keening wail except for me.

"Hey, I think I have a wedgie!!!"

After having properly announced his predicament, he felt he could then proceed accordingly. So, he hiked his leg up, reached his arm around rather dramatically to the aforementioned region of discomfort, and began to remedy the situation - with as much enthusiasm as his dancing - and all the while he never once missed a beat in the Chuck E. conga line.

As we say in our home he was going to the movies, and he was watching Finding Nemo.

Oh and we also say "Do NOT seek the treasure!"

**This title is not to be confused with the infamous Overheard in New York. WARNING and or Disclaimer!: Before you visit this site please note, there is often somewhat crude humor, vulgarity and foul language. Wait, maybe those last two are the same. Nonetheless, if you find yourself compelled to visit remember this little nugget of wisdom "just wade through the bathwater and you will find the baby" (or something like that) because there is some pretty danged hilarious stuff on the site as well.

Wisdom of the Ages

While we are on the subject of love...

I think most of you know by now that my husband works at the church with me. He is a very sociable kind of fellow and many people here talk to him on a regular basis on various and sundry subject matters. For the most part I love the stories he tells me on the way home. I've learned so many things - good, bad and the absolutely hilarious - about the people we work and worship with.

For instance...

The other day he was working in an area of our church when he and two other co-workers started up a conversation with a gentleman who, if you saw him, looks about 60 years old and a young 60 at that. Except, come to find out he's actually 82 years old.

Jesse and the others were shocked. "82?! Wow! You look so young. How do you do it?" asks my husband.

"Well fellows, I tell you, I walk a lot. I stay active. I don't eat very much junk food. I'll have a glass of wine or a cold beer every now and then. Not too often now, maybe 3 or 4 times a year. I don't get drunk. Don't fill yourself with those things Jesse, just have one every once in a while."

They begin to discuss the merits of all these recommendations when he leans in and says in a very low voice, "oh, and I have lots of s*x."

Laughter. Perhaps nervous laughter?

"No, boys now I'm serious. I love my wife, I mean it. Now, she works hard during the week and I tend to leave her alone, but on the weekends...!"


There folks, I think we've found the fountain of youth.

That's the Story of, That's the Glory of Love...

They met in a pool hall. Nope, I'm not kidding. It was a family hang out known as Bingle Billiard's.

He was playing pool with the usual crowd of friends and family when she offered to buy him a beer. Right then and there he knew she was the girl for him.

In truth they had known each other for quite some time. She was his sister's friend, and at one time was just another little brat hanging around the house.

Ah, but little brats tend grow up and have beautiful blue eyes. And enjoy your jokes. And offer to buy you a beer.

She hadn't given him much thought until the night when they started up a conversation that, before she knew it, had lasted in to the early morning. Afterwards her stomach felt the effects of their laughter, her heart felt a surfeit of being and her mind was a tad bit dizzy from twirling around thoughts of him.

She loved his voice. When he talked she could close her eyes and feel the heat of the sun on her face, the soft sand give way and the waves washing up over her feet.

He loved her smile and those gorgeous blue eyes. When he looked into her eyes he found himself standing in front of his old school locker in between classes with his insides all gooey from just seeing his first crush. (Hey folks, I just report it as I know it.)

They were together quite often and never ran out of words, laughter or passion. Their's was not the normative chick-flick romance. But it was love. Whether they admitted it or not.

So where are these two love-birds today? Ah, after 16 years of togetherness, 14 years of marriage, 2 children, 2 states, 5 abodes, countless trials and 1000's of fights later they are still in love. At least now they admit it.

Happy Anniversary to the love of my life! I'd offer to buy you a beer but it might get us fired.

Well Paint Me Red and Don't Park in Front of Me

We left before the heat became completely unbearable for our weekend walk around Memorial Park.

We found a good parking spot and piled out of the car. Grabbed our water bottles, put the leashes on the dogs and began to stretch.

That's when my son began to laugh saying "mom look out!"

I looked down to see what the heck he was talking about, and right about the same time the warm wet sensation I was feeling on my ankle sunk in to my coffee deprived senses.

Apparently my dog thinks I look like a fire hydrant.