Random ramblings


Individually, these little gems are too short to make for a whole blog entry, so they are being combined into one glorious post! I know, lucky you.

The chicken nugget will cleanse your pallet — The side sauce for the nuggets was supposed to be just plain Jane ranch but my oldest ended up with the jalapeno ranch. Of course his dad and I encouraged him to at least try the spicier sauce. My son tried it, and then, with mouth on fire, he declared he was done eating. I was annoyed at the wasted money and food, and advised him that eating one of the nuggets sans any sauce would help to dissipate the heat. I have no idea if that’s true or not. My son didn’t eat another bite.

Do you trust this printer?  — I don’t know, do I? The printer has been looking a little squirrely lately. I was at work and wanting to print a PDF file, like I’ve done at least a hundred times before, and I get some weirdness about downloading drivers and printer trustworthiness. I called Help Desk. I figured those guys can vouch for the printer’s character, or lack thereof.

The only way I’ll ever run out of blogging material is if I’m dead — When I first launched my blog and was getting all panicky about having blogger’s block, Gerald, the husband, made a comment about the possibility of me running out of material. So then I panicked some more. But then I realized if I ever truly run out of material to blog about, I must be dead. After all, there is always something to blog about in this world. I don’t care if it’s something as boring as watching paint dry, by golly, I can still write about it if I want. So pffttt to you, Gerald H. (and to sucky writer’s block).

What color is your pee? — Did you know this question is a sign of someone caring? Let me elaborate – My oldest had a UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) and if you’ve never had one then great for you, but if you ever have had one, you know it hurts like a son of a bitch. My son’s condition was most likely caused by him not drinking enough liquids. It was summertime and super hot out and he wasn’t taking in as much water as he was sweating out, if you know what I’m saying. Anyway, in true mom fashion, I kept on him to make sure he had a water bottle with him, and I found myself asking him about his pee. If it’s a light yellow, then he’s golden (yes, pun). If it it’s a dark yellow, then that’s not good. So I was asking out of concern for my child, thank you very much.

Often times I send myself a text message as a reminder for some task or event or whatever. I’ll have just sent the text and then my phone vibrates, and I’m all excited and like, “Oh, someone sent me a message!” and then I look and realize it’s the message I just sent to myself.

You can’t catch diarrhea in your hand — Some good advice I gave to my boys. I don’t think anyone wants me to elaborate on this one.

And I believe that about wraps up today’s random ramblings. Until next time, you crazy kids!


Merry Christmas from Crankoutloud!


And… Christmas Day has arrived.

Last night consisted of our family of four’s Christmas Eve tradition of attending a candlelight Christmas Eve service (it was a beautiful service), eating at a favorite local Mexican restaurant (it was sooo good), and cruising around the neighborhood to look at Christmas lights (we always know it’s time to head home when the boys start squabbling). I believe we have added a new piece to our Christmas Eve tradition – some lively karaoke. The boys got to go first with the popular music of the moment (ugh). Gerald and I were next, popping in the country music discs (much better). I’m sure the boys thoroughly enjoyed our “versions” of Trisha Yearwood’s Walkaway Joe and Shania Twain’s Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under.

I felt obligated to bake/cook SOMETHING yesterday, so I threw some store bought chocolate cookie dough on a baking sheet and into the oven. It didn’t make too many cookies though. At least that’s what I’ll keep telling myself as to why they ALL disappeared last night. Huh hmm…

Of course, it was a late night, I believe it was midnight when we finally retired. And then of course, it was an early morning. My youngest was up at about 6:30 this morning. That’s just harsh. We made him wait for a little while longer. So at about 6:45, Gerald and I were up to watch the boys tear into their gifts. Then about 7:15, I went back to bed. Hey, it’s my Christmas too!

Okay, so to make my long rambling Christmas ramblings short — Merry Christmas, everyone! Have a wonderful day and a great weekend!


P.S. Please do share your family’s Christmas tradition(s) in the comments. I love hearing about different traditions, no matter how big, small, or silly.

I had a moment

We, Gerald, the kids and I, took a three hour trip to do the whole Christmas thing with my side of the family. It’s been our tradition since my parents and sister and I became sort of scattered throughout the great state of Texas to all meet up the weekend before Christmas. Gerald convinced me we should just get a hotel room to stay the night instead of making the three hour trek back home that evening. It would be dark and we’d rather not drive in the night hours in unfamiliar terrain.

A lovely afternoon was had. We grazed on all the wonderful food, the kids each read a part of the Christmas story, and everyone got to tear into the presents. My boys got into their usual throwdowns and name calling, but all survived, the worst damage being one red ear (but no blood!).

Then it was time for my family of four to make way to the hotel. I convinced myself that we would have a good time, that it could make for some quality family time. So let me set the scene – One hotel room (someone tell me why I didn’t think to do adjoining rooms), two queen-sized beds (I’m sure the boys were thrilled to have to sleep with their wild sleeper sibling), and one bathroom (I have to share??).

Then there was the whole “Should we go do something? Maybe walk to one of the nearby restaurants for food (and alcohol for the adults)?” question lingering in the air. No one was really hungry after all the food we ate that day, and Gerald had already made a quick trip to the liquor store for emergency supplies for the two of us. But, in typical fashion of my little family, we never made a decision and just ended up watching a movie on the complimentary hotel HBO channel. I had never seen “Diversion” before. It’s actually a pretty good movie. So after the movie, my oldest started asking about food. Gerald took him to get some fast food. I went ahead and heated up a little pizza I had brought with me, and my youngest insisted he didn’t want anything. Considering he probably had eaten every possible dessert known to man earlier in the day, I was okay with his decision.

Of course, let’s not talk about how my youngest totally changed his tune when my oldest walks in with a McDonald’s milkshake. <sigh> Some grief ensued over the whole shake thing, with my youngest feeling the need to eat more Twizzlers, and candy and the adults were inclined to partake in a few more beers. Did I mention we were trapped in a small hotel room with our children??

But I had a moment. No, I’m not talking about a crazy female moment (I do have plenty of those, and I’m sure Gerald will vouch for that). I had this moment where I liked being trapped in this little room with my multiple personality and often headbutting family. I know, what was happening? I did wonder for a second if it was the beer. But I didn’t drink that much. No, it was a genuine “this is nice” thought that popped in my head. I’m not saying it lasted long, but it did happen.


Because nothing says Christmas like porn and giving to the needy

I discovered my website, www.crankoutloud.com, if you maybe forgot, is being flagged as “porn” by at least one major web filtering service. A friend of mine went to my site successfully one day, only to attempt going to my site the very next day, where he was stopped cold with a message that the web category “Porn” is not allowed.

Say what?? My site is sooo not affiliated with porn. Really! I believe what irks me the most about this “porn” label from whatever internet powers that be is that they must have strictly judged my site by a few choice words within my blog posts. Words, people! So do I have to filter my own blog content? I’m thinking nope. I’m thinking this whole porn label may open up a whole new world for me. Maybe I’ll gain a whole new perverted reader pool.

So that wraps up Part 1 of this blog post.

Part 2 is the part about giving to the needy. Ah, you were wondering how I was going to link porn and charity together, weren’t you? I’m not. Like I just said, Part 2 is about charity.

So, I’d like to encourage my dear reader(s?) to give to your favorite charity/cause this season, if you are able. And, if you do not necessarily have a favorite charity, the Bloggess has some cool opportunities for giving on her site. There’s Project Night Night, or you can buy an animal(s) or honey bees for a family, or you can find someone in need right there within The Bloggess comments. I’m thinking about buying some honey bees. Hey, as long as they are not delivered to me or anything, then it’s all good.

If you have some favorite charitable causes or ideas, feel free to include them in the comments. You know, to share with my other dear reader.


Isn’t this logo adorable?

Project Night Night


Sweet baby Jesus! A Christmas heist story

nativity scene

Several years ago, my parents’ inflatable yard nativity scene was swiped right from their front yard. A police report was filed and the whole shebang. My parents live in what one would call a small, quaint city, and their neighborhood is quiet and what one would call crime free. It’s the kind of place where if you leave your garage door up all night or the house unlocked while you’re away, it’s not seen as reckless, no problem in the least. I find it ironic how now, when we are staying at their house, I’m the one out of my parents and I who goes around checking doors and locks before retiring for the night. What can I say? I still live in the big city.

Okay, but besides the overall safety of their neighborhood, of all things to steal in this world, a nativity? Really? I’m having a hard time figuring out a motive for the Jesus, Mary, and Joseph theft, but here are the three possible scenarios I have been imagining in my head.

Possibility #1 – Passing through redneck couple
THELMA: Hey Earl! There’s them one of those there inflatable mangers I’ve been wanting, go get it for me! Wal-Mart is totally sold out of them things and I really want one to put up in front of the trailer for when all our kin come over.

EARL: Well I don’t know there now, Thelma, wouldn’t thieving sweet baby Jesus be wrong?

THELMA: Earl, these people look plenty rich to me. Jesus wants us to have this. He would want these people to give to the less fortunate.

EARL: So we’re actually doing a good thing?

THELMA: Well, I reckon we are, yep.

Possibility #2 – Scavenger hunt
TEENAGER 1: This scavenger hunt was a great idea, huh Marcus? Okay, we already checked off mailbox, street sign, roadside deer carcass. So what else is on the list?

TEENAGER 2: Next on the list is yard inflatable.

TEENAGER 1: Yard inflatable? Any kind?

TEENAGER 2: Any kind.

TEENAGER 1: Well, sweet baby Jesus! Lookee there. Now we can mark off inflatable.

Possibility #3 – Target practice
MOM: Now don’t go aiming that rifle towards the neighbor’s house!

SON: Ah, Mom! I’m not gonna [POP]

MOM: Oh, sweet baby Jesus! I told you not to do that! Come on! Now we have to get rid of the evidence!

Gerald is convinced that whoever stole my parents’ nativity did so because they believe they are better Christians and so it’s better suited to be in their yard. I dunno, and I suppose we’ll never know the real story.

My parents could buy another inflatable nativity, looks like the same exact one can still be found on Amazon and at Home Depot, and Gerald actually mentioned it would make a good gift for them this year, but I don’t know if anyone wants to chance sweet baby Jesus being the victim of another heist.


It’s a girl!

Its a girl  Its a boy

Both times when Gerald and I were expecting, because believe me, Gerald’s belly grew right along with mine, we were determined to come up with “boy” boy names, no names that a girl had already taken and no names that a girl would ever take.  I never wanted there to be any confusion during a class role call or on a resume, or even an online dating website.

Come to find out, this is no easy feat.  Many popular girl names were once, at least predominantly, boy names.  At one point, I thought Aiden <yes, SATC fans, that Aiden> would do nicely, only to have a friend tell me how one of her friends had just named their baby girl Aiden.

I can think of Ashley, Cameron, Drew, Dana, Madison, Mason, Reese, Sandy, Shannon, Shelby.  Girls so rule when it comes to the naming game.  And really, you never know when what you think is the manliest of names will become a more female name.  You may think Brad or Joe, or Bob or Brian are all safely secured in their masculinity.  But watch out, guys!  Just when you think it’s safe to venture out, WHAM, a little girl is born with the hippest coolest sounding once owned by the male species name.

Funny how you never see the opposite occur.  You never see boys take over girl names.  I’ve never heard a parent introduce their newborn, saying something like, “And this is our son, Betsy.”  Hey, this is reminding me of the Johnny Cash song, “A Boy Named Sue!” But anyhoo <did you catch that rhyme?  I could sooo be a songwriter!>, it’s a fairly interesting phenomenon, no?  Could it be because of feminism or because females just wanted a bigger piece of the pie?  Or is the pie thing already a description of feminism? <and don’t ask me what/which “pie,” because I’m not so sure myself>

Maybe I shouldn’t dismiss the Johnny Cash song so quickly.  When the females of the world have literally taken over every once-male name, maybe boys will resort to trying to snag some girl names in retaliation.  Maybe there really will be a boy named Sue or Rose or Heather!  Perhaps a Lily or a Violet?

Or maybe the guys will resort to having to make up totally new names.  This would be more likely. I’ve seen a few really unique names.  Seems it is a fairly common practice for a parent who is or was a teacher.  How hard that must be to come up with a name for your child that doesn’t remind you of some pain in the ass student you had in one of your classes.

Some new all boy names… Well, flowers are usually equated to girl names so how about items usually associated to boys?  How does that little poem go?  Something about puppy dog tails and snails? And some dirt is thrown in there? Or what about barns and tractors? Names of fish, maybe?  Okay, that’s a good start for a pool of words to choose from.  So if you’re expecting a boy, may I suggest the name “Shark?”  Or maybe “Hammer?”  Or “Slug?”  Nah, that last one sounds to gangsta.  I suck at this.  I’m thinking just pick whatever name you want, traditional, made up, or trendy.  I don’t think it really matters in the grand scheme of things; the girls will take it over eventually. Just remember the important things – It should look good on a class roster, resume, or dating website.


I finally get it!

Two sentimental posts in a row? What’s going on? I’m thinking I may need to change the name of my blog. Need less touchy-feely stuff and more cranky! But anyhoo, my youngest and I decorated the tree last night and I remembered I had written this little piece some years ago. I thought I’d share. I hope all of you are creating your own special holiday memories and having plenty of touchy-feely moments. Do share in the comments!

COL Christmas Tree

I was decorating my family’s Christmas tree last night and as I was carefully hanging the keepsake ornaments for my children that I buy every year, a light bulb turned on in my head.  I had this urge to call my mother, who now lives over four hours away, instead of a close 40 minutes.  I wanted to tell her that I finally get it! After all these years and after having my own two children, I finally get it!

Once my sister and I reached our teens, we teased our mother relentlessly about her tacky Christmas decorations.  We would laugh and laugh as one by one she would pull these handmade creations, if you may, out of the box.  There was this hand sewn lemon, yes, lemon. I’m not sure how it was related to Christmas. There were the many handmade ornaments that her two daughters made, typical of elementary school children. One Christmas, my mother actually put up the red and green construction paper chain I made. I recall the paper angel I made with my school picture as the face. I made it in second grade.  I remember proudly requesting it be the tree topper.

So when my mother finally did decide to go all out and decorate her tree “Martha Stuart” style–No, no jail stripes on the tree, think WAY before the scandal–my sister and I started asking her where the lemon was. And where were the decorated eggshells that some friend had given her years and years ago? She had a new tree and decorated it with beautiful ivory and gold colored balls, beads and ribbons. It looked beautiful.  Nowhere on the tree was any handmade anything.

I hadn’t thought about the whole tree decorating matter until last night when I stood there staring at the ornaments I plan on keeping for a lifetime. My toddler son hung up some of the ornaments I had and I was surprised to find myself thinking how sentimental it all was. And I had this strange yearning for handmade concoctions made by my son’s own two hands. I wished I had something to hang on the tree that came from his day school. I wanted a whole tree of construction paper cut-outs and homemade snowflakes. I wanted it all.

That’s when I realized that I finally get it. The most beautiful Christmas tree is one that is decorated with the sweet memories of life: the children’s artwork, the labor of a good friend, the old shabby ornament from “youngster” hood. I find myself anxiously awaiting the time when my tree will be filled with such treasures. And then when my children grow old enough to not “get it,” I’ll probably have to endure their tree taunting like my own mother did. Then someday when they have their own family, they will “get it” again.

Can you spot the angel made out of toilet paper?
Can you spot the angel made out of toilet paper?


Sign reading road trip

Road trip

My family had to do some highway traveling this Thanksgiving, and because there’s lots of time to think while on the road, at least when the kids are behaving, I thought about a trip I took years (and years) ago when my circle of friends was graduating from college. One of my BFFs went to a school a good three hours away and it was decided I would make the trip for her graduation with her parents. Oh these folks were some of the nicest people you’d ever meet in your life. They genuinely cared about me and my well being and were very generous in every way. Sadly both are deceased now so the memory of her mom during that trip is all the much sweeter.

I had never traveled with my friend’s parents solo so I I had no idea what quirks or habits to expect. I remember I brought some excruciatingly boring book from one of my classes. I guess I wasn’t quite ready for my graduation. We were traveling on a long stretch of highway and I was attempting to do at least a little reading. My friend’s mom started reading signs out loud. I didn’t think much of it the first couple of signs, perhaps she was helping to be a good copilot or something, but I soon discovered that reading signs was going to happen pretty much the whole rest of the trip. Now granted, her mom didn’t read every sign, like she didn’t announce, “Speed Limit 55.” She would read the advertisement types of signs: “Tire shop, exit 23 miles…” “Jim Tucker, Attorney at Law…” “Girls, Girls… oh my, never mind…” I remember at first being amused, she probably did this on all long car trips, but then I found myself using the out loud sign reading as an excuse not to get any of my reading done. Uh huh, I’m sure that was the reason why I didn’t make any headway in my book.

I don’t think I ever shared this story with my friend, probably didn’t give it much thought after the journey ended and we were busy concentrating on graduation festivities. It’s funny how I look back at that road trip with such fondness. Who’d have ever guessed this sign reading excursion would stick in my mind?

It was an easier life back then. No real responsibilities, much play and parties, the opposite of responsible really. Probably another reason I look back fondly at that time. Graduation marked the point of having to start being responsible, and my friend’s parents were a comfort, a safety, dependable, and kind. And we girls were about to be thrust out into the real world. It was all a bit intimidating, yes.

I don’t really have a wrap up for this story or some moral or point to make. I suppose I just like the memory and the simplicity that it represents in my mind. And oh what I’d give to hear my friend’s mom announce, “McDonald’s, next exit” just one more time.