Thursday, July 28, 2011

A message from The Coach

I'm not the only writer in the family, you know.

My daughter is, I think, a better writer than I am. Already. She can write fiction. I never could.

And my husband, the coach, likes to write as well. He has a little blog where he ruminates on baseball and life. He has a little trouble with punctuation and capitalization at times, but that's why he married a writer like me! So I can edit him. (Now, how many of you wives have that wish?)

And this is one story I pushed him to write. It's one I would have written, if I were still a hard-working sports writer and not a crime reporter.

For the last two years, my husband, the high school baseball coach, has had a young man on his squad from Norway. Since no one could pronounce his name -- much less spell it -- everyone called him Frito.

It quickly became evident that Frito couldn't play a lick of baseball. But he was a sweet young boy with a very European family. (They came to the U.S. with a young nanny and left with a young baby.)  And The Coach liked him and decided to keep him around the team, as a manager. It worked out well.

But it's really The Coach's story to tell. And he told it well:



Check it out.

Showing my hubby some love. Submitted to Lovelinks 17.
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Monday, July 25, 2011

As time goes by

I'm sorry to say that  time has erased some of the details of that day.

I don't remember where I went. I don't remember what I did. I don't remember any of the mundane details of the last day I had a brother.


 I remember the phone ringing in the middle of the night. My mother's stricken voice on the other end of the phone, telling me to let her talk to my husband. I didn't understand why, but I knew it wasn't good.

I remember watching him walk around the room with the phone in one hand, his head in his other. Seeing his face, watching it change. And then him sitting back on the bed and tell me, try to tell me.

"It's Rhett... He was on his way to Grand Isle for the Tarpon Rodeo. ..He was in an accident. ... He was ..."

How I wish now that I had stopped him right there. Had said, "Wait a minute.

Give me a minute.

Give me just one more minute ...

Of a life with a brother."

"Killed."

How I wish you had said, "Wait a minute. Give me a minute. To buckle my seatbelt."

It might have made a difference.

Has it really been 10 years?

So much time has passed.

I had a six month old baby girl that day, the brand new child we had waited for so long, that you saw only a handful of times. Now she's almost as tall as I am. And her only memories of you are photographs and a 15-minute video of you trying to wake her up when she was a week old.

You had two little girls that day. Now you have two grown women. One is a wife and a mother of two. The other is about to graduate high school.

You had a handsome young stepson that day. He is now a father of two little boys. He and they have your last name.

You have two new nieces and another baby on the way. Three grand nieces. Four grand children. A still-grieving wife, and mother.

You've missed weddings and funerals. Christmas mornings. Easter Sundays. Graduations. Band concerts. Football games. Backyard barbeques. Birthdays. Luaus. Family squabbles. Hurricanes. Baseball games. Seafood boils.

And the Saints winning the Super Bowl.

Things you should have seen.Things I'm glad you didn't.


I remember my life before. With a brother who played with me. Put on plays with me. Washed the dishes with me. Opened my Christmas presents with me. Kidnapped my dolls and held them for ransom. Made me be Chopsley.

A brother who teased. Who convinced me that root beer really was made from tree roots. That the stuff the dentist uses to numb your gums was poison. That oysters turn to rocks in your stomach if you drink whiskey. That the boogie man was in our yard.

Who drank vinegar and pickle juice and Tabasco. Straight up. And Budweiser (none of that light crap, either).

A brother who bought me my first drink(s) and tried not to laugh when I threw up.

Who beat up the wrong Cruze brother for throwing a water balloon at me.

Who got really pissed off when one of his friends asked me out.

Who gave me away at my wedding.




Who has become, in our minds and hearts, a dragonfly.


I remember what it was like to have a brother. And I miss it.




To read more about my brother, Rhett, 
Please click: Dragonflies
                    Happy Birthday, Rhett 
                    Common Ground



Submitted to Lovelinks 16. You can link up too!







Sunday, July 17, 2011

Bye Bye Barbie

One by one I plucked their naked little bodies from the drawer.

Gently, firmly, I tried to smooth their wild hair, wondering how in the hell it got that way. Too many wild parties in the big pink house? A couple of too-fast spins in the little purple convertible? Or, as my daughter is wont to do, not combing it out after a dip in the pool?

A couple, I had to strip myself. Their once-sparkling dresses now in tatters. Of course, it has been a while since their guardian and I have been shopping for new clothes. They've probably been wearing the same outfit for more than a year now.

Then, one by one I put the good ones in a new box. Not the floozies. They're a bad influence.

The drawers now emptied, I went through the left-over possessions.

A tiny set of dishes, knives and forks. A cell phone (with a handle to prevent dropping). A microphone. A refrigerator. A stove. TWO flat screen TVs. A sofa. Chairs. A bed. A toaster. A set of barbeque utensils.  The little pink toilet.



And 4,762 shoes. Those, I won't miss.

But the rest?

It is a bittersweet day in the life of every mom of every little girl, the day you ask what to do with all this stuff and she says, "Get rid of it. All of it. I don't play with Barbies anymore."

It means she's growing up. Moving on. Now she spends all of her time drawing little Anime creatures on her computer tablet and Skyping with her friends. The Barbies, once a whole-hearted obsession, are now forgotten and garner only a rolling of the eyes when mentioned.

So I spent my Saturday  tucking them away in a little box, picking out the good stuff and tossing the tattered, so I can pass them along to another little girl, one whose mom is just now entering the world of hair that refuses to be tamed and clothes that no respecting mom would ever let her daughter wear out of the house.  And 4,762 shoes -- most of them on the floor.

Just as my mom did all those years ago. (Of course, those are probably now worth a fortune.)


It's another mom's turn to not be able to leave a store without a new doll. To search in vain for one you don't already have and try to steer your child from the skanky outfits toward the pretty dresses, and her shouting, "No! Want this one!" until you give in.

And it's her turn to spend back-aching hours on the floor, changing outfits a dozen times, trying to find two shoes that match, trying to make them stay on the tiny little feet, picking out the perfect accessories and finding whatever household items you can magically make into the rest. And sweeping up stray shoes.

And, someday, it'll be her turn to pack it all away in a box, along with the memories, and close the lid with tears.

Bye Bye Barbie



Submitted to Love Links.
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Monday, July 11, 2011

Kiss me goodbye

How many times have I done it?

How many times have I walked out of my room, out of my closet and past the sleeping -- snoring -- child all tangled up in her pink sheets, and gone down the stairs and out the door without stopping to give her one more kiss goodbye?




Because I was running late?

Because I was aggravated at my lack of wardrobe choices that day?

Because I was cranky?

Because I simply did not want to wake her up?

I watched a mother on TV last night, one who had lost her child for 18 years because of the whims of a madman. For 18 years she lived with not knowing where her little girl was.  Not knowing if she was hurt or even alive. Not knowing that she would not see her daughter again until she was a 20-something mother herself. 

And for 18 years she had lived knowing that, on that last fateful morning, she had neglected to kiss her litle girl goodbye because she was in a hurry.

How many times?

Not that many actually. But too many. Even if it was only once.


I shall not any more.


Friday, July 8, 2011

Works of art

First she was a singer with a beautiful voice.  She made her stage debut at age 5, wowing our church fair crowd and making her mommy cry like a baby.  One of the carny kids even asked for her autograph as she came off the stage.

She's gonna be a star!

Then she became a writer, amazing her mother and her teachers with her incredible vocabulary and imagination.  I still say she is a better writer -- at age 10 -- than I am now. She can write fiction.  I never could.

But recently, she has become a budding little artist drawing these amazing little people -- some of them with horns ("They're trolls!" she says). I can't seem to buy her enough sketch pads, which she instantly fills with these trolls and other imaginary creatures.

Actually, she always has been a bit of an artist. Even as a tiny tot she showed a great affinity for depicting the world around her as she saw it.

Mom as a mermaid. She was 4


But lately, she has discovered the Paint program on the computer. She spent a whole weekend perfecting her mouse skills to draw little people like these...


I'm amazed.

Then she tells me that one of her friends has a tablet, a computer gadget that will let her draw with a virtual pen.  I do some research and find a little starter model for $40 and order it. I even pay the extra for one-day shipping. It arrived last Saturday.

Now she is drawing this:


And she is trying to create a new logo for my blog:



Don't you just LOVE my hair???

I just can't wait to see what she does next.



Thursday, July 7, 2011

Now and forever

I got to do something pretty special last week.

The local War Veterans Home held a wedding vow renewal ceremony for several of its residents.  They sent me to cover it for the newspaper.

I cried the whole time.

The activities director had gone all out with a tulle covered wedding arch, silk bouquets and boutonnierres. Two precious little flower girls.  And there was a handsome young Air National Guardsman to escort the brides over a little pile of silk rose petals.

I stood in the corner wiping my tears as these lovely ladies made their way to their men and saw that age had done nothing to diminish the sparkle in their eyes. One couple had been married 65 years.

I tried to imagine me and The Coach in our golden years. Will we be forced from our home, forced to live in an assisted living center? Will one of us have to take care of the other? Will we be separated? It saddened me just to think of it. I want us together. On a beach somewhere.

After the ceremony, there was cake and punch and oldies music. And I cried the whole time.

Then I wrote a pretty nice little story. Don't miss the video. You'll cry too.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Movie Night

It was just another Tuesday night in The Lyons Din, and there was nothing on TV -- even though I get more than 900 channels through our local cable company and an infinite number of others through Netflix.

It's summer and, these days, it's all reruns and reality shows an, on this day, post-game coverage of The Trial of the Century (that didn't go the way most people thought it would.) I was tired of the screaming coming out of the talking heads. 

"Can we rent a movie?" daughter asks.

"Sure. Why not?" I reply.

"Can I make popcorn?"

"Sure. Why not?"

So she heads to the kitchen while I grab the remote and hit the "In Demand" button. Then "Movies," then "A to Z."  I start scrolling.

... and scrolling...

... and scrolling...

Finally I find one that is age appropriate that I think we all might like.  I hit the "Preview" button.  Together we watch the trailer, or, basically a 3-minute version of the movie.  It's like a video Cliff's Notes. It looks pretty good to me.

"Nah," daughter says, munching her popcorn

I scroll some more.

...and some more....

...and some more ...

A little faster past some of the titles.

I find another possibility and hit the "Preview" button again. We watch another 3-minute movie, er, preview. It's cute, but I'm hoping she says ...

"Nah."

So I scroll some more...

...and some more...

...and some more...

And hit the "Preview" button again....

We're about to watch another 3-minute movie, er, preview when the phone rings.  The Coach is being called by another coach who is asking about a player.  I hit the "Pause" button and we sit, eat popcorn and eavesdrop.  We have to Google the player's dad to find his phone number. The Coach calls The Player and then calls the coach. They've never heard of conference calling.

30 minutes later I hit, "Resume."  Three minutes later she says, "Nah."

By now, a good hour has passed and all we've seen is a whole bunch of strange movie titles and about half-a-dozen movie previews. And the popcorn has been eaten.

"Just forget it," she says.

So much for Movie Night.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Random ramblings on an about-to-be rainy afternoon

Technically, it's not raining yet. But there's a big cloud coming, which is why I am not in my pool.

And there is some weird stuff going on.

The Coach just came in and started unloading the car.

He came in with:

160 hot dogs

50 little bags of chips.

A dozen bags of Skittles.

A ton of nachos and cheese.

And a half-empty gallon of pickle relish.



The summer baseball season ended last night so, today, he had to clean out the concessions stand at school. He brought it all home.

Thanks, babe. But for the record, this is not the same as going to the grocery store.


I have been asked to share this this little blog.

Girls Got Art

 It was created by my daughter (and her clever mom) and is maintained by her and three of her friends who like to draw and are getting pretty good at it. Please check it out.

Mama Lion


Oh. And not only do I roar and sometimes purr, now I also tweet! Follow me at  http://twitter.com/thelyonsdin

I also tweet as part of my job as a sports writer-turned-crime reporter as lorilyonstp. That one's not nearly as fun though.

Now it's raining ....