June 2013

A Little Miscommunication Between Spousal Units

by Priscilla on June 21, 2013

So, one of my friends recently purchased a fabulous new Infiniti SUV.  Don’t get jealous folks – believe me when I say she’s earned every last luxurious inch of that little piece of vehicle heaven here on earth. (Move over Don Draper – Priscilla is entering the ad business.)  Of course, being the impulsive, delightful little help meet I am (I grew up Evanglical, and we Evanglical gals heard words like submit and help meet a lot on Sunday mornings and Wednesday evening Bible studies.  I also once heard I was supposed to be Mr. TIS’s heaver or heever or some such. I have no idea what that means, but I think it’s Hebrew for get him a beer from the frig when he asks.   Mr. TIS was very aware that I am linguistically challenged when he married me, so he expected very little heaving or heeving.  However, there’s that little pesky matter of camping that he seems to like so much….),  I tried to sell Mr. TIS on the idea of buying me a new Infiniti as well.

He didn’t hear me correctly…

IMG_1864  IMG_1866

Another friend tried to make me feel better by pointing out that at least we’d be comfortable this summer.  I told her I’d be just as comfortable sleeping in a new Infiniti SUV as it has air conditioning as well as the ability to drive itself down I-65 while I just sit and fiddle with the phone system.

That’s my problem.  I have too many sensible friends.



Dog Vs Book

by Priscilla on June 21, 2013

My apologies to the faithful.  Our summer hit the ground running and shows no signs of slowing down.   Oh, there are stories to tell, if only I had time to sit and write them.  The girls are headed to camp next week so maybe then I can tell you about how I wrestled myself into a wetsuit in order to teach swimming lessons one very cold morning this week. You know how much I like to wrestle garments.  

My 13 year old hound mix, Suki, doesn’t like to play second fiddle to anyone or anything.  Here she tries to match wits against the book Twin A is reading in order to garner attention from her human.

Hmmm. It appears my master is reading a book. I sense this and perk up my ears.  Also, I sense my other master fixed my red eye, but didn't save it on iPhoto and is too lazy to go back and make the corrections now that she is finally getting off her fanny and posting something on this blog of hers.

Hmmm. It appears my master is reading a book. I sense this and perk up my ears. Also, I sense my other master fixed my red eye, but didn’t save it on iPhoto and is too lazy to go back and make the corrections now that she is finally getting off her fanny and posting something on this blog of hers.


Maybe if I lie here seductively long enough, my human will put down her book and rub my belly.   Also, seriously, when is the other human going to do something about my eyes.  I come across looking demonlike here. How am I supposed to be an internet sensation when my human does virtually nothing to market my cuteness

Maybe if I lie here seductively long enough, my human will put down her book and rub my belly. Also, seriously, when is the other human going to do something about my eyes. I come across looking demonlike here. How am I supposed to be an internet sensation when my human does virtually nothing to market my cuteness?

I give up.  She's never putting that book down. Oh, well, at least my human did something about my demon eyes.  I'll take what I can get from these people.

I give up.  She’s never putting down that book. Oh, well. At least my human fixed my demon eyes.  I’ll take what I can get from these people.






Are you there, Judy? It’s me, Priscilla

by Priscilla on June 7, 2013

Just now on the radio I heard the female host exclaim upon hearing that Judy Blume was going to be in Chicago for a book festival, She was instrumental in shaping me as a girl!  I may not be quoting her verbatim, but the timbre in her voice told me everything I needed to know – she was a lover of all things Judy Blume.

I’m not.

Don’t get me wrong. I get why kids and adults love her.  I’m not anti- Judy.  My girls are welcome to bring Judy into our home, but it doesn’t change how the 12 year old girl in me feels about Judy; because despite what everyone tells me Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret is about, my 12 year old filters didn’t get the whole conversation with God part. They didn’t get the message I was supposed to get, I guess, that puberty is frustrating.  They just got the part the part that Margaret was skinny and invited to boy/girl parties where spin the bottle or seven minutes in heaven were played, and that she wanted her period was thrilled to finally get it.

Margaret and I had nothing in common.

For one thing, I had breasts and a period, and for the life of me, I couldn’t figure out why Margaret was so desperate to have either. For one thing,  it meant worrying about whether I would start in the middle of swim practice – my biggest fear – or listening to comments from boys about what cup size I wore.  It meant looking at all the skinny junior models in the JC Penney and Spiegel catalogs up in the privacy of my room, and crying because I had hips that wouldn’t fit into a pair of Jordache jeans and breasts that precluded me from wearing the fashionable  halter tops in the summer because I was just so horrified by how I looked even though I wasn’t even yet a teenager.

Then there was Margaret’s fascination with boys – or at least that’s the message my young filters gravitated towards.  I know now the book was so much more than that, but at the time, as a little girl, (And despite what society around me was trying to tell me,  in my heart and in my spirit, I was still a little girl.) I didn’t. I didn’t give a rat’s ass about boys.  Oh, yes, I thought boys were cute, and my crushes changed from week to week, but I didn’t want to do anything with those boys or be with those boys or touch those boys or have those boys touch me.  I remember seeing one of my friends making out with her boyfriend at a swim meet and distinctly thinking why in the world she was rolling around in the grass with him in front of people, when we had a relay race to win in less than five minutes.

I wanted to laugh until I peed my pants with my best friend Kristi Wallace watching her do impersonations of anyone and everyone.  I wanted to ride my bike with my gal pals in the neighborhood to the small gas station in Cammack and buy Fun Dip. I wanted to not pass out from sheer nervousness in the middle of my piano recital with my teacher, Miss Eberle. I wanted my big sister not to move out of the house. I wanted my parents to send me off to Eastland School so I could live with Mrs. Garrett and the girls. I wanted to stay up and watch Sammy Terry on Channel Four and see what the big deal was about his scary movie marathons. Boys just were not on my radar, and reading Judy Blume made me think there was something wrong with me.

One of my older sisters was always trying to avoid one wannabe suitor who sent her a rose every Thursday.  Every Thursday the doorbell rang, and every Thursday there was a delivery person from the local florist bestowing my sister with a vase with a single rose in it.  And every Thursday some poor kid shelled out a lot of flower money for the unrequited love of my sister.  While this sister was busy answering the door, the other was busy answering the phone and talking for hours with her boyfriend, and there was always crying involved at some point usually because there was a fight earlier in the day at school. From what I observed, boys were something to be avoided not dreamed about.

Then there were my brothers – real boys – and from where I sat as the youngest in the family, I couldn’t see why I needed one more man in my life. They ignored me. They ate…a lot. They had friends over all the time to play football and basketball and listen to Chuck Mangione records.  They also sneaked alcohol into their rooms, but, somehow, never got caught.  The presence of five older brothers taught me  more than I wanted to know about boys, and I thought Margaret would do herself well not to bother with them.

Judy Blume recently turned 70, and it seems this monumental birthday has once again brought out the accolades from people from all walks of life touting her contribution to Young Adult literature.  I don’t begrudge her or them. I won’t argue that she’s made a name for herself in her life and in her work, and she should be congratulated.

I’m just not the one who is going to do that.  I know this makes me unAmerican or unhip or unfeeling or some other un in millions of people’s books. That’s okay.  I’m going to be true that that 12 year old girl back in Muncie, Indiana, – the one with hips and breasts and a period she didn’t really want but then thought something was wrong with her because Margaret did. That 12 year old girl was just fine the way she was. She was fine not wanting to grow up.  She was fine not being in a hurry to be a woman. She was fine not caring about boys. It’s taken me 30 some years to realize this, but that 12 year old girl was just fine…period.

Maybe I should write a book about her.


The air in the locker room after my daughters’ swim practice last night was thick with hysterical laughter. Erupting from the showers were screams of delight from young girls catching air bubbles in their worn out, stretchy swim suits and shaping them into enormous breasts and buttocks. Some nights they sing ridiculous songs with each other.  Others, they share the news of the day from their different schools. Sometimes they bemoan the antics of their little brothers or older sisters, but always there is chattering.  Lots and lots of chattering.

As I sat on the cement benches in the outer part of the dressing area giving them their privacy, an epiphany marched front and center into my brain.  This is why I can walk into any room even now and not be worried about what everyone thinks of me or of what might happen.

I started thinking back to the various different sports I played as a kid and teenager – softball, volleyball, swimming – and recognized that what shaped me wasn’t so much the sports themselves but the experiences that accompanied them and the relationships cultivated on the bus trips and practice fields. I’ll be the first to admit I never broke any records, and I think the last time I was MVP of anything was in 1978 as the Nassau Swim Club 8&U girls MVP. Heady stuff. My work ethic could be dicey sometimes, and I made more than my share of mistakes at critical points during games – sometimes my left arm got away from me when throwing the ball from my position at third base when trying to get the runner at first.  (My dad always pointed out, however, that a lefty at third wasn’t normal, and I could tell by his voice, he was proud of his daughter, even if she did screw up  a play every now and then.)  No college scouts showed up at my high school gym, and my parents didn’t move to a major city to be closer to a world class training facility. Nevertheless, their decision to make me play sports shaped me into a confident woman – at least where social situations are concerned.

From new churches, to new classrooms, to new jobs, to the very new and different world of a military spouse.  New neighborhoods, new  board positions, new volunteer situations, new friends.  I have experienced more news than I care to think about which is ironic considering I spent the first 18 years of my life in the same house, school and church, and although I haven’t always liked all those news, I’ve always managed to put myself out there into new groups, and I have sports to thank for this.

For me it wasn’t the sport itself – it was the situations in which those sports put me, and how I learned to maneuver those situations.

  • Sometimes a coach loved me.  Sometimes he or she was completely indifferent.  Sometimes she nurtured. Sometimes he yelled. Sometimes she put me in an an event I really hated swimming.  Sometimes he took me out when I really wanted to keep playing. Sometimes I got stuck out in right field.  Sometimes I got first base. But all these times, I and I alone had to figure out how to act and react.  Mom and Dad couldn’t do it for me. I learned to read the situation for what it was and adapt, work harder, sulk, whine, suck it up, whatever the response, it was on me and no one else.
  • Games are exciting. Practices are mundane.  We all know, though, that practices determine the outcomes of games. Every single minute of every single day is practice.  It can be mind numbing, monotonous and tedious, but repeating all the minutiae every single moment of every single day builds confidence in the fact that I know what I’m doing even in a room full of new people or a situation filled with new challenges.
  • Many times it’s been my relationships that have carried me forward more so than my knowledge.  Don’t get me wrong – knowledge is key.  I don’t care if my cardiac surgeon is convivial, I want him or her to be the master of her craft, but so many life experiences can be determined successes or failures based upon relationships. Relationships with bosses.  Relationships with teachers. Relationships with students. Relationships with peers. Where did I learn to respond to so many different relationships good or bad?  Healthy or unhealthy?  I received quite the relational education from sports.  Whether it was keeping a straight face when 10 year old Troy Pierce announced in front of a crowd of kids waiting to line up behind the blocks for the 100 breastroke that I’d swim faster if my thighs weren’t so fat  to cheering with the three other females for our 200 freestyle relay or putting away personal feelings towards another volleyball player in order to win a match, playing sports shaped my thinking regarding relationships. I can read situations and people pretty darn well. I know whom to gravitate towards and whom to avoid, and I believe a lot of this necessary life skill is thanks to all the different situations in which playing sports found me.

There are so many other aspects about which I could write: the friendships, the work ethic, the suffering through insufferable weather conditions, the fickle fans, the thrill of  sharing a team trophy or the agony of walking alone off the floor in defeat not to mention the necessary  life long habit of exercise itself.  My daughters will experience all these things and then some. I really don’t care what sport it is that they play, just that they play something.  They need to build their confidence. They need to realize that they can endure all of it – the good and the bad, the pleasant and the unpleasant.  My job is to make sure they can face it head on, and believe it or not, the camaraderie of shrieking nine year old girls in the showers of Y locker room will help them do just that.