Category Archives: Total-Take-Backs

Total-Take-Back: The Miracle Of Childbirth

I admit that when it comes to anything relating to having babies, I am not the go-to for answers. Sadly, Clifford knows more about the miracle of childbirth than I do (which says A. LOT.). I am pretty darn ignorant on the subject. Chalk it up to not really listening in health class and being completely disinterested in babies, the human body, and sometimes science.

So let’s just say, the day I learned vaginal blowouts are an actual thing … yeah, there’s no coming back from that. Ever.

So wrong. So very very wrong.

So wrong. So very very very wrong.


Throw-Back-Monday: Willie Nelson’s Golf Course

Have you ever been a part of a story that begins as an amusing tale, morphing into something epic, eventually becoming legendary? It’s almost like telephone. You know the game. One person starts with a word or a phrase, passing it on to the next person’s ear and so on and so forth and by the time the words get passed to the person at the end of the line, it’s developed into something else entirely.

Just like telephone, this story has been told so many times and passed on to so many people, I oftentimes question what is imagined and what is truth, even though I was there. Some of the details have become fuzzy or lost in translation over the years, but it remains that my family did end up on Willie Nelson’s golf course in a station wagon.

We would jest over the years how similar our family’s vacations seemed to those of National Lampoon’s. We even had the same station wagon the Griswold’s drove in Christmas Vacation. I-DENTICAL (said like the lawyer in My Cousin Vinny). Maybe my father was actually named Clark in another life…

We were them. They were us.

We were them. They were us.

We were doing a big vacay to see one of the coolest uncles a girl could ask for – Uncle Don. He lived in Austin, Texas (still does). We drove from New Paris, Indiana to Austin, Texas one sunny July back in the day. I remember sitting in the middle in the backseat, sandwiched between my older sister and my big brother. My younger sister was stuck in the front seat between the folks, and my oldest sister was probably relaxing with friends somewhere in Lafayette thanking her lucky stars she wasn’t crammed into the old Ford Taurus Station Wagon for 22 hours each way.

Fast forward and we arrive in Texas. My uncle is a fantastic host. For the next several days he takes us to The Alamo, to Sea World, to amazing restaurants and whatever else floats a family’s boat on holiday. We loved Texas! Everything really is bigger, including a vacation.

So here’s the thing, my uncle and my father have an interesting dynamic. Though my father is the younger brother, they both have a self-imposed need to know what’s best. They are each always right. Now when you have two different people, it’s impossible for both individuals to always be right. At some point, there will be an impasse. Theirs took place on Willie Nelson’s property.

My uncle was showing us, I don’t know what they were, condominiums, maybe, or townhomes? Attached to a golf course and all owned by Shotgun Neslon. I feel like my mom had all of his cassettes… Needless to say, we were definitely fans and being from a small Podunk town in Nowheresville, we were kids suddenly thisclose to celebrity.

Excited would be an understatement.

Excited would be an understatement.

We were oohing and awing and thinking how totally cool it was that we were driving around Willie Nelson’s parking lot. The men in our car were all golfers, so I think they were doubly impressed with the property for that purpose alone. But all fun things must come to an end, and it was time to move on from our little brush-with-fame detour to head back to the highway. Which brings us to …

This was in the day before Tom Toms and other forms of GPS. My dad and Uncle Don had to consult a map. An honest to God paper map. It was bound. It had pages. Multiple pages. They disagreed with how to get back to the highway. One would think that you’d logically return the way you came. However, logic is out the window when you have a need to be efficient. Oh, and the need to be right.

They went back and forth with one another claiming they each knew a faster route to the highway after digesting the map and triangulating our location. I kept hearing the word “shortcut” thrown out into the conflict-ridden conversational tide that was quickly sweeping over the sandy colored seats of the car.

Finally, a route was decided. With my father behind the wheel and my Uncle playing First Mate, we began to move.

As we left the condominiums behind, we ventured forth into the unknown, never looking back from whence we came.

The shortcut to the highway became narrower, but it was going to be a nice scenic route. There were lush green spaces on either side of the road. Trees overhanging here and there. It was beautiful. And the road continued to narrow making it a lovely and intimate stretch to traverse.

I don’t know who noticed it first, but as a golf cart was coming directly at us on the now barely one-lane road, realization hit somewhere. We were not on a scenic shortcut to the highway. We were on Willie Nelson’s golf course in our station wagon. Like literally on the golf course, or golf cart path if you want to be that guy.

I do remember my dad reversing. I don’t recall us turning around on the green. I had been relegated to the trunk of the station wagon because we were a bit beyond capacity (try crammed like sardines) with Uncle Don added into the mix (because you could get away with stuff like putting a kid in the trunk of a wagon in the 80s), so everything I was getting was second hand. I did see the golf cart as I peered over the backseat, but everything else was a blur. Cue people staring, though. That wasn’t a blur.

Staring hard.

Staring hard.

I feel it’s still being disputed who’s brilliant shortcut it was; neither my father nor my uncle now wanting to lay claim. The particulars have been lost to myth over the years, but the fact that my family had an extraordinary adventure in our little station wagon that could, in a most unexpected way, remains.

 The Red Headed Stranger provided a memory that will last lifetimes and he will never know.

The Red Headed Stranger provided a memory that will last lifetimes.

One of the best vacations we ever had.





Total-Take-Back: A Summer Movie

It was the summer of 1995. My friend Justin Bennett and I found ourselves pretty bored, as one does at the age of 15 when he can’t drive and the world isn’t exactly his oyster. In a sleepy small town like we lived in, boredom was inevitable even if you had a license and the world was many oysters all for you. Anyway, we needed something to do. We decided to make the mile and a half trek across town to rent a movie.

We entered the Red D Mart (yep, our Red D Mart gas station rented movies at one time). We deliberated quite a bit, hemming and hawing over what seemed like humdrum choices. Nothing really screamed “RENT ME.” After reading the backs of half of the boxes, we finally found one that didn’t look too bad. It was a romantic comedy. We could do that. There was supposed to be a love triangle. A total trope, but we could do that, too.

We paid for the rental and walked back to my house. We entered the living room and powered up the VCR. I remember my mom sitting in her chair clipping coupons.  She smiled at us asking if we’d found something fun to watch. We grunted and nodded absently. I remember my brother was there, too. He must have been home from college killing time or something. He decided to watch the movie, too.

Justin popped the VHS in the player and we began the film.

The movie was rated R, but the Red D Mart wasn’t exactly id’ing anyone for a dollar rental back in the day. As the story began, I realized little by little that this movie was different. Sort of early 90’s progressive different… Now people who know me may think know I have a dirty mind and sense of humor. Though that may be true, there was a time on this Earth where I was pretty naïve. This was one of those times.

Justin and I watched with my mother and brother as three college students were randomly thrown together to become roommates forced to share a suite in their university dorm. One would think with the stereotypical Hollywood mix of three vastly different personalities interacting and clashing, hijinks were bound to ensue. As the tagline to the movie went: One girl. Two guys. Three possibilities. So maybe not When Harry Met Sally material, but surely a fun filled comedic romp that would make us laugh and forget ourselves for the better part of 93 minutes.

It was a romp alright. A sexual romp of EPIC proportions. The movie was called Threesome, and back then, this girl thought “Yeah, three friends in a love triangle figuring it all out. Makes perfect sense.” This girl thought wrong.

See, this love triangle was different – THE GUY likes THE GIRL. THE GIRL likes ANOTHER GUY. ANOTHER GUY likes THE GUY… oh 90’s, how I miss you and your boundary pushing.

We watched as nudity abounded on our screen. Yeah, like that isn’t awkward when you’re 15 and one of your closest friends of the opposite sex is sitting next to you on your left while your mother is sitting on your right. BUT, it got better…

While the cast of characters fumbled through their romantic frustrations, we suddenly reached a point in the movie where the roommates went from a close friendly trio to an all out threesome. The S-E-X kind of threesome. Like I seriously didn’t know that was a thing threesome.

Justin and I stared mortified at the television, watching as the camera went from filming the three lying in bed together contemplating what to do, to panning above them so as to fully encapsulate the forthcoming shenanigans for the viewer to see.

Anxiety mixed with guilt mixed with shame overwhelmed me. Eyeing my brother, my mother and my close friend, I blurted, “We should fast forward!”

Justin responded quickly, jumping from the couch and heading straight for the VCR, ”Yeah. We should totally fast forward.”

Bless the inventors of the VCR. My friend and I were about to be saved from any further pubescent awkwardness and embarrassment.

Justin hit fast forward and fast forward it did – with a pretty crystal clear shot of what we were fast forwarding through. So instead of uncomfortably watching the three roommates becoming intimately acquainted at a slow drawn out pace, we got to watch Stephen Baldwin, Josh Charles and Lara Flynn Boyle go at it with one another like coked up rabbits who couldn’t get enough. So, yeah. There was that. Like I said, it got better. *cough

If there was an instant rewind in life, that would have been a moment to use it.  I don’t embarrass easily, but that movie in front of my mother, my brother and my friend had me wanting to crawl under the covers and die. I think it was worse for Justin. Poor Justin Bennett … wherever you are, I am so sorry for our poor life choice on that sunny summer day in 1995.

Threesome. If you have to watch it, watch it alone.

Threesome. If you have to watch it, watch it alone.


Total-Take-Back: The Mickey Cake

My nephew’s 1st birthday was last weekend. He’s obsessed with Mickey Mouse. My sister wanted to create the picture perfect Mickey cake.

The Perfect Mickey

The Picture Perfect Mickey Cake (

She enlisted my help, and received what I like to call a CONCEPTUAL version of Mickey (that just happens to look like his face is being melted by the sun).

Melting Mickey ...

Melting Mickey …

But that’s not the part that seemed to throw my sister. Something wasn’t right and apparently it wasn’t the Oompa Loompa suntan Mickey’d  received. It was his nose. So she fixed it.

Hitler Mickey

yeah …

Mickey quickly went from George Hamilton to Hitler in the span of five seconds flat.

Love your children, but know your limits. Don’t do this to your kids, folks. Please…


Total-Take-Back: Diet Pepsi

Nastiest pop around.

Nastiest pop around.

My best friend agrees, so it’s kind of official.




Total-Take-Back: The Unicorn

Don't be this woman. Be the person who thoughtfully and lovingly purchased it for this woman.

Don’t be this woman who wears unicorns while having lonely little tea parties in her living room. Be the person who thoughtfully and lovingly purchased the unicorn for this woman to wear while having lonely little  tea parties in her living room.


The Music Challenge #4

For your Friday merriment, and as a continuation of music that has created some awesome dance movements, I’d like to add one special song that reminds me of one of the most awesome dance moments  ever ….

Christopher Walken rocking out to the musical stylings of  Fatboy Slim’s Weapon of Choice. In-freaking-credible. Everytime I hear ANYTHING by Fatboy Slim, the first five seconds bring me to Christopher Walken killing it in this music video.

Song number 15 of 365. Watch. Absorb. Enjoy. (and you’re welcome)

15. Fatboy Slim, Weapon of Choice (2003)





Total-Take-Back: Potty Mouth

My brother decided 2014 was the year of extremely thoughtful and personal gift giving. He was very excited to give us Poo-Pourri. Please, watch.

It was a little Christmas gift set. There was the traditional Poo-Pourri, which you shake and spritz into the toilet, alleviating any foul stench in the air, and it was accompanied by a little mouth spray like Binaca called Potty Mouth.

Poo-Pourri mouth freshener and toilet spray.

Poo-Pourri mouth freshener and toilet spray.

I was brushing my teeth and I’d never used a mouth spritzer before. Sure I’ve used Listerine and other mouth washes, but I’ve never used Binaca or something like it. The flavor of this spray was Candy Cane.  Couldn’t be too bad, right? I thought I’d try it out. So I grabbed the spray from the counter and released a few pumps into my mouth.

It was the most wretched, foul-tasting thing that has ever hit my tongue! I was gagging over the bathroom sink. How could this breath booster be so awful?!!! Then I realized I hadn’t shaken the bottle like you do with the Poo-Pouri. All of the minty freshness must have settled at the bottom. I shook the bottle rigorously and reluctantly sprayed the supposed Candy Cane pleasantness back into my mouth. Again, I gagged.

What sort of disgusting mouth spray did my brother buy us? I grabbed my toothbrush and rapidly began scrubbing my tongue as hard as I could to remove the revolting taste that seemingly stained it forever.

This had to be a terrible prank. I grabbed the bottle to look at the ingredients. Was this some ridiculous Spencer’s gag gift my brother had bought for a bit of personal merriment? Was he maniacally laughing somewhere at my gullible expense?

I was looking at the label when I saw it. I’d been spraying the Poo-Pourii repeatedly into my mouth. I’d used the wrong bottle.

We won’t ever talk about this again.

PS – the actual Candy Cane stuff was pretty good.


My Husband & Chris Pratt’s Abs

Clifford and I struck an accord this December. He wants to grow a beard. I like clean-cut. Maybe clean-cut with a bit of scruff, but he wants a full-on-lumberjack-not-quite-ZZ-Top-looking beard.


Anyway, I know beards are trending right now, particularly thanks to hipster types that are into those special beard oils and overpriced maintenance kits. Heck, Wil Wheaton shared a blog post about the year of the beard just yesterday. It’s a thing. I get it. Still not my thing.

So when Clifford came to me and told me he was going balls to the walls with it, I laughed. I rolled my eyes. I said, “I don’t think so.”

But he was set on growing a beard. It was his dream. A dream I had prevented from happening for over nine years. We had finally hit our impasse. Well, when at an impasse, no time like the present to negotiate. And negotiate terms I did.

I had two:

  1. Six months. He would have until June 15th, 2015 to grow his beard. At that time we would reassess his poor decision.
  2. He has to have a six pack (and I’m not talking beer here, folks)

See, the way I see it is that if I have to stare at that hideous monstrosity day in and day out hiding the face with which I fell in love, it’s only fair that something just as lovely is substituted in return to refocus my attentions elsewhere. A six pack is a worthy substitution.

So on June 15th, if he likes the beard, AND he has a six pack, the beard stays. Otherwise, that thing is coming off faster than a prom dress with much less sentimental attachment in its wake.

I felt my husband needed some inspiration for his journey. Gaining a six pack is no easy feat. He’s no longer what you might call a spring chicken, but he’s still only 34. Six months of hard work is doable. I needed to show him some other guys in their 30s who took it and ran with it so he could understand the possibilities. I wanted him to see exactly how I wanted him to look what he could look like with some hard work and dedication.

Enter Chris Pratt (well, and Stephen Amell). Just as women everywhere have their little boards of inspiration, I thought Clifford could use one, too. After all, sometimes telling someone isn’t the same as showing them what you mean. So I sent him these.

A beard like this is great.

A beard like this would be great.

A beard like this would be absolutely acceptable.

A beard like this would be absolutely acceptable.

Abs like this is what I mean.

Abs like this is what I mean.

Clifford could SO make this happen.

Clifford could SO make this happen.

He pretty much laughed in my face, “whatever’d” me, and kept on growing his beard.

It’s been about a month since we made our deal, so I thought it was time for a quick check-in the other day. Maybe a few motivational words to keep Clifford going.   I sent him this.

A little motivational check-in.

What better motivation than Chris Pratt’s abs?   Then I received an immediate cease and desist request. I believe the words he texted were: Stop sending me these pics. Don’t need the guys on the job seeing me open pics of half-naked dudes. So stop.

The text was followed by a phone call. Clifford said he was with his contractor and his client showing them pictures of samples on his phone when all of a sudden Chris Pratt showed up in all his glory. And he didn’t show up on the phone like he does in the aforementioned text message. He showed up like this.

Clifford could SO make this happen.

Clifford said the contractor and client both looked at him, then at each other, then to Chris Pratt’s abs, then they looked  anywhere but at Clifford and Chris Pratt’s abs. No one said a word and Clifford went back to showing samples.

Needless to say, he was not as pleased with Chris Pratt’s motivational abs as I’d hoped he’d be (never thought I’d write a sentence like that… hmmm).

Regardless, it’s on. The Great Beard/Ab Compromise of 2015. A thank you in advance to Chris Pratt and Stephen Amell for unknowingly offering your bodies yourselves as stimulus on Clifford’s quest to meeting my conditions.

It all comes down to June 15th, folks. Stay tuned.


An Ode To The Best Friend

This particular post is inspired by and dedicated to my two best friends on the planet…

The age old question- If you could go anywhere in the world, with no restrictions, where would you go? I usually tout the typical go-tos: Scotland, back to Ireland, Fiji (because who doesn’t say Fiji?), Chicago… Everyone has a list of where they’d jet to if money and time were of no consequence. Continue reading