It’s my day….but you win

I was out running errands this weekend instead of sleeping late, and tuned into “Weekend Edition” on the radio.  One of the segments was an interview with the musician, Shakey Graves.  I had never heard of Shakey Graves, but he’s apparently a pretty good musician.  Good enough that his hometown of Austin, TX, proclaimed February 9 to be “Shakey Graves Day.”

The host of the segment asked Shakey how he would like people to celebrate Shakey Graves day.  Graves replied, “Go roller skating and buy a pet.”

That, of course, started me thinking.

So, here’s the deal.

I am proclaiming Cristy Elder Day.  

(day and time to be determined)

And here’s how I want you to celebrate:

  1. Don’t set the alarm clock — get up when you feel damn good and ready and not one second earlier
  2. Pet a dog
  3. Write a thank you note to someone who has done something for you
  4. Eat some ice cream.
  5. Or a cupcake.
  6. Watch an episode of Seinfeld
  7. Play some of your favorite songs and sing them OUT LOUD!
  8. Read some of your favorite book
  9. Take a nap

I Love Cristy Elder Day.  Can’t wait until it’s proclaimed.  I am hopeful there will be some good furniture sales.  I need an end table.

Don’t Break the Number One Rule

Matt and I went out to eat for breakfast on Sunday morning.  On the drive home, I started to comment on the work that some local/state/federal agency has completed over the last several weeks.

me:  Wow, they have really trimmed the trees way back from the power lines.

Matt:  Well, I guess they want to make sure that limbs don’t fall on the lines in ice or snow storms.


me:  You know, if you were to go back in time, you would really miss seeing the power lines running down the side of the roads.  They are such a part of the landscape.

Matt:  Power lines didn’t exist back then, so no one would miss them.

me:  No, if you went back in the time before power lines, you would notice that they there gone and it would seem weird.

Matt:  No, it wouldn’t seem weird because you wouldn’t know that you were missing them.

me: (throwing him a incredulously look that he missed since he was driving) No, like if you got in a time machine from this time and went back in time like the movie, you would really notice that there weren’t any power lines.

Matt:  Yeah, that’s what you would be noticing.

me:  Well, you would.  Maybe not first thing.  But you would.

Matt:  Ok, so you and I go back in time and –

me:  Well, it wouldn’t be you and me.  It would be scientists and such.

Matt:  Why wouldn’t it be you and me?

me:  Why would it be you and me?

Matt:  Why wouldn’t it be you and me?

me:  Like a giant wormhole with the time-space continuum thingees is just going to open up for us?

Matt:  Yes.

me:  Don’t you think that will happen for someone that is like actually working with wormholes and studying that stuff?

Matt:  Let’s just assume it’s us.

me:  Why would I go back?  I have nothing to offer the people of the past.  I’m not a scientist or a doctor.  I can’t offer the people of the past something that will make their lives better.

Matt:  That’s great.  Because you can’t break the number one rule which is that you can’t alter the future.

me:  That’s the number one rule?

Matt:  Yes.

me:  According to who?

Matt:  Everybody knows that.

me:  More number one than love thy neighbor?

Matt:  Well, you’re being silly.

And apparently I’m useless enough that I couldn’t alter the course of the future.  Even if I tried.


Missed me?  Well, I was in the hospital recently for 6 days and 5 nights.

After I heard the words (the scariest words that I have ever heard) “You have a blood clot in your lung” and after the trip in the ambulance to the hospital, the learning experience about our health care system began.  And here are some of the things that I learned:

  • In a panic, don’t overstate your weight by 100 lbs because it may affect your meds dosage
  • Leave modesty at the door  — they’ve seen it a million times
  • Until you’re “in the system”, do not expect to be fed.  Quarters and vending machines are life’s sustenance
  • Looking for your next stop?  Look no further than the paper that is delivered every morning.


  • Don’t suspect a porno movie when you hear someone yelling in another room “Swallow it!  Swallow it!”.  It’s just a nurse trying to get a patient to take their medicine.
  • Expect food when it’s delivered to you, not at the same time every day.  Expect some feelings of intense hunger.
  • Eat peas even when you hate peas.  See learning above.
  • No one cares how you smell but you

Now, I could comment on how the doctors and nurses treated me, how I never saw the same therapist or laboratory person twice, how out of the loop of their own care a patient feels, or how isolating a trip to the hospital can be.  But I purposefully chose to concentrate on the positive and the ridiculous during my stay.  (And besides, there are plenty of well researched, cited and professionally written articles and books on our health care system without me trying to act like an expert.  All I can write about is my stay.)

The positive and the ridiculous helped me keep my calm.  Helped me to combat the fear that came to me along with the understanding that I could have died.  I have had another moment in my life in which I will now begin to measure events:  things that happened before my embolism and things that happened after my embolism.  I have a feeling that I may be one of those schmucks that decides to live life a little differently as a result.

Here’s the best part:  I have a wonderful memento of my stay.  It’s the most expensive piece of jewelry I’ve ever owned:


Matt and I are estimating that it will cost $50K.  Luckily, we don’t have to pay “retail” since we have insurance.  I want to buy a bedazzling machine and bling it up.  I think I can dress it up or down.

Finally, in the spirit of not taking myself to seriously, here’s a conversation Matt and I had at breakfast this morning.  We were talking about his cold and how he was feeling better today than yesterday.

matt:  Freaking hospital.  That’s where I got this cold.

me:  Well, at least you can’t catch a clot.


me:  Even though I can throw one!!

(major laughing on my part)

matt:  Much funnier in your head than said out loud.

Let’s be lovers, not judgers

I ate dinner with two of my friends the other night and, as always, a good dose of laughter helped to restore a feeling of equilibrium to a work-induced stressful week.

I was talking to my mom later about one of the conversations that my girlfriends and I had at dinner that night:

me: Wendy’s parents were in town a couple of weeks ago. She was telling us that her parents were pretty critical of everyone around. You know, like saying, “Look at that tattooed freak!” and “He looks like a bum.” And “So-and-so is acting stupid.” Wendy said that she said to them, “You two are so critical. You are always judging. You remember those children books about The Stupids?”

Mom: What? The stupids? There were books about stupids?

me: Yes, a family called The Stupids. I don’t remember them. I never read those books. I told Wendy that you wouldn’t have let us read anything like that because we weren’t allowed to use the word “stupid”, but she said, “They were in the library!”

Mom: Well, you still shouldn’t be reading everything in the library.

me: Ok, not the story. Anyway, she was telling her parents, “Remember the books about the Stupids? If we had books named after our family, it would be The Assholes! Cause we’re Assholes! Cause you judge everyone!”


Mom: And we’d be the “Love Everyone and Get Along With Everyone” Family

me: No, we would be the “Repress All Your Feelings” Family. The Repressors. We would be the “Swallow All Your Emotions” Family. The Swallowers.


me: Yeah, the Swallowers doesn’t sound so good, so let’s go back to Repressors.

Regardless of what you call our family, I have noticed a trend in the general population to be very judge-y and unkind. I have a Pinterest account and when I browse, I always see at least a couple of pins that are very “anti-my-fellow-man-I-am-better-than-you” themed pins, like these:

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 7.05.59 PM

Screen Shot 2013-08-31 at 7.39.38 PM

I am as guilty as the next person (whom on Wednesday night was my friend Wendy, and we all know that she is an Asshole) to be judgmental, but it really bothers me how casually we fling out insults and criticisms about other people, often (mostly) when we don’t have the slightest idea about what they are really going through. Our immature attempt to make ourselves feel better is by telling ourselves that we are better, but at the expense of someone else.

The ironic and twisted thing about this method of self-soothing is this: Who is using me as their yardstick to make themselves feel better? Who is out there saying, “Well, I know that I blow, but at least I am not as bad as Cristy.” OUCH.

Because I’m sure that happens. (Double ouch, you asshole.)

I am going to make a concerted effort to leaving my yardstick in storage. Can you? If not, I’ll try not to judge.


What we talk about on long car trips

Matt and I took a long weekend trip to the beach this past weekend. On the way, we passed a stretch of houses that all had names, you know like Scarlett O’Hara’s plantation was named “Tara”, and George Washington’s home was named “Mt. Vernon”.

None of these houses that we passed were as grand as Mt. Vernon or Tara, but they each had signs at the end of the driveways proudly displaying their names, asserting that they weren’t just someone’s house, they were someone’s estate.

Seeing this resulted in the following car conversation:

me: Let’s name our house. Like these houses and like big estates. It deserves a name.

Matt: Ok, you go first.

me: No, it was my idea. You go first.

Matt: Mmmm, what was the name of James Bond’s estate in Skyfall?

me: Skyfall.

Matt: Ok.


me: So, you’re proposing Skyfall? No, that’s dorky.

Matt: What’s your idea?

me: Deathstar.

Matt: Like from Star Wars? That’s dorky squared.

me: You next.

Matt: Elder Estate.

me: No, I want something creative. Like Peaceful Alliance.

Matt: Alliance? Is that a Star Wars reference again? Why do you keep bringing up Star Wars? You don’t even like Star Wars. Stop it.

me: It’s too bad we had those big pine trees cut down. We could call it something like Pine Valley, or Pine Swept, or Pine Song, or Pine Haven. We have those birches now, so it could be like Birchwind. Or Birch Star.

Matt: Really, stop.


Matt: You know the land originally belonged to the Moose family, so it could be something with Moose in it.

me: Moose Star! Moose Lodge! Moose House! Moose Haven!


me: I thought the land came through the Drye family, not the Moose side of the family.

Matt: You’re right, so it would need to be the word Drye.

me: Drye Land! Drye Winds!

Matt: I like Haven. Our Haven.

me: Our Drye Haven!


me: Yeah, that doesn’t work. It sounds like a rehab center.


me: Our Drye Moose Haven.

Matt: I like it.

me: Me, too.

So, that’s what we’re naming our house/estate. And we sound like we support sober moose. We’re good people.


After we got to the beach, we noticed that most of the beach houses were named. Do you think that there is a special place that people with beach houses go to find names? Here are some of the ones that we saw:

  • Seas the Moment
  • Luna-Sea
  • Mr. Krabs
  • 4 All Sea-Sons
  • Sea-esta
  • Nexta-C
  • Wait N Sea
  • and my personal favorite: House


I can’t wait to get a fancy sign that reads “Our Drye Moose Haven”. I’ll post when done. And remember: just because we now live on an estate doesn’t mean y’all can’t visit any time.

Happy Birthday, Mama!

I have had this blog post on my mind for over a month now, but today is the appropriate day to share it.

I was driving to work one morning when the story of the oldest person in a neighboring county came on the radio.  She was celebrating her 110th birthday.

It’s not the fact that she was turning 110 that made me love this story so much.  Or the fact that during the radio interview (click on link and see the “Listen” link in the story to hear the actual interview) you hear her social worker yelling, “HOW DOES THAT FEEL [to be the oldest person in the county]?”

110 year-old Sina Hayes takes a break after eating breakfast in the meeting room at Brookridge Retirement Community in Winston-Salem, N.C. She displays one of her favorite quilts she has made over the years.Credit Keri Brown

110 year-old Sina Hayes takes a break after eating breakfast in the meeting room at Brookridge Retirement Community in Winston-Salem, N.C. She displays one of her favorite quilts she has made over the years.Credit Keri Brown

What I loved about this story was that her 88-year-old and 90-year-old sons flew into town to help her celebrate her 110th birthday.

How awesome would that be to be 90 years old and still have your mama around?  Of course, I can see her 90-year-old son telling his friends at his rest home, “I’m flying home to see my mom for her birthday.”  They’re probably thinking, “Oh, Bob has stopped taking his medicine again…”

I hope that when I am 87, I still have my 110 year mama around.  And maybe, instead of flying into town to celebrate her birthday, my nurse can just roll me from room in the nursing home into her room in the nursing home.  And we can complain that my sister never visits us, how the green beans just aren’t as good as the ones that she used to make, that we wished we could still see so that we could pluck those chin hairs, that someone would change the channel to Discovery ID because our favorite true crime show is getting ready to come on, and how happy we are that they made chocolate cake for her birthday because we both love chocolate.

Happy Birthday today, Mama!  Here’s to at least 44 more — let’s aim for 110!  Hugs and kisses.  Cristy

“Real” Barbie

Growing up, my favorite toys were my Barbie dolls.  I had about 5 or 6 different dolls, including one Ken doll.  My favorite of my dolls were my Superstar Barbie and my Ballerina Barbie.

Superstar Barbie and her awesome boa

I loved making up stories for my Barbies and dressing her up for dates and for going to work.  She had exciting jobs, like being an actress or a famous singer.

I got in trouble once when playing with my Barbies when my mom found me with naked Ken on top of naked Barbie in bed.  When asked where I had found this game to play, my reply was that I saw it on Days of Our Lives at my babysitter’s house that day.  I was maybe 4 or 5.  I think that I had my Barbies taken away for a few days and told that Ken and Barbie should never be unclothed at the same time and Ken should never be on top of Barbie.  The beginnings of my neurosis.

I always thought that I would have a daughter with whom I could play with Barbies when I grew up.  But I never had children.  And my nieces aren’t all that interested in Barbies.  My youngest has some Disney fairy dolls, but fairy dolls aren’t Barbies.  So my dream of still playing with Barbies has turned into naught.

But every now and then when I am at Wal-Mart, I check out the Barbie aisle, just to see what’s the latest with Barbie and her pals.  And over the years, I have seen some changes.  Barbies with different skin colors, Barbies with different hair colors and Barbie play sets where Barbie is a doctor or a vet or even an astronaut.

Yesterday, however, I strolled through the Barbie aisle and saw this:

GLAM Laundry

GLAM Laundry

Really, Barbie?  Glam Laundry?  That’s what you’re offering up to little girls these days?  Look how glamorous laundry is?  Sexist, lately, Barbie?

So, I’ve been thinking about this.  Why, why, Mattel, would you take a seemingly step backwards with Barbie?  You gave her a breast reduction so that little girls didn’t think that Triple Ds naturally went with 16″ waists.  Great move!  You started to give her real careers.  Way to go!  Now, you put her back into household chores.  Shame, shame, shame.

I started to think that maybe Mattel did this because little girls wanted to emulate their mothers and mothers probably do the majority of laundry.

So, Mattel, if you want to show little girls what it’s like to be a woman/mother in the “real” world, here’s some Barbies to create:

1. Sitting In Uncomfortable Chair Through Another Karate / Dance Class Barbie — Barbie comes with a plastic chair and shifts in her chair every 5 minutes trying to get comfortable.

2. Driving Through a Drive-Through On the Way to Another Practice / Soccer Game Barbie — Barbie comes with a car full of kids, pulled up to a drive through, digging in her purse and passing bags of food out

3.  Barbie on a Laptop After Everyone Has Gone to Bed Barbie — Barbie is in her pajamas on the sofa while everyone else is asleep, finishing up her work

4.  Barbie Being Judged By Other Mothers Barbie — Barbie sits by herself at an event while other Barbies sit together whispering about her, probably because she didn’t hand punch or stamp a birthday card or something else like that

5.  Feeling Guilty Barbie — Barbie carries a hundred pound bag of guilt on her back because she feels like she isn’t “doing it all”

6.  Buying a Present for the 35th Birthday Party in the Last 3 Months Barbie — Barbie is shopping again for a birthday present for one of her kid’s friend’s birthday party

7.  Asking “What would you like for dinner?” Barbie — Barbie asks her family what they would like for dinner, to which they all reply “I don’t care” or “whatever”

This list is not exhaustive, but it should give you a good starting point.  Much better than “Glam Laundry”

Your #1 Fan,


Country living is for me

I get to see these beautiful fields everyday, twice a day, on my way to and from work.

Fields of Canola

Fields of Canola

I love living in the country.  I grew up living on a (small) mountain/hilltop with no neighbors, so to speak.  My aunt and uncle and cousins shared the little mountain top with us, but they weren’t next door neighbors, just in sight neighbors.  I had never lived in a neighborhood until I bought a house at the age of 33.

I quickly discovered that “city living” wasn’t for me.  And I didn’t even really live in a city, just in a town, but I lived on a street, with sidewalks and houses right next door to me.  I felt hemmed in and confined and like too many people were minding my business.

Not long after moving into my house, I adopted two kittens.  They were from the same litter and came with the same case of ringworm.  I took them to the vet and we first tried to cure them via pills.  No such luck.  They still had spotty patches of hair.  I had an appointment to take them back to the vet when I came home one evening from work and found a note in my mailbox.  An anonymous note saying something to the effect that “I know what you are doing to your kittens.  You are abusing them.  Please treat them nice.”

I guess their case of ringworm and loss of hair on their tails gave someone the impression in my (friendly) neighborhood that, for sport, I liked to take my kittens by the tail and swing them around in the air.

Later, as they were older, I found one of my cats one sunny Saturday on my back deck with a big scratch on his neck.  “Uh oh, Simba, looks like you’ve been cat fighting.”  About an hour later, one of my (friendly) neighbors came by to tell me that they had seen Pooh (the neighbors had their own names for my cats) and it looked like he had been shot!  Please, please, please take him to the vet.  “Which one of my cats,” I asked, “do you call Pooh?”

Trying to be a good neighbor, I rushed Simba/Pooh to the vet and $200 later found out he had been in a cat fight.  Surprise.

Almost six months later, I came home early from work and was unloading some potting soil and such from my car when a trio of my (friendly) neighbors came over to tell me that the night before, Tigger (whom I called Sarabi) ran out in front of a car and was hit.  That morning, while I was at work, they found him under my back deck and retrieved his body and buried him and had a little funeral for him.  They just wanted to let me know.

“You buried my cat today while I was at work?”

“Yes.  It was no problem.  And by the way, my daughter is so upset about Tigger (Sarabi) dying, that I’ve brought Pooh into the house to keep her company.”

I never saw Pooh, I mean Simba, again except for one time when he climbed up on the outside ledge of my kitchen window and I saw that he had a new collar and tag that read “Pooh” with my neighbor’s address and phone number.  I thought about leaving a note in their mailbox that said “I know what you are doing.  You are stealing people’s cats.  Stop it.”

That’s one big reason why I love living in the country.  No neighbors.


On another note, this is the conversation that I had with my insurance agent today:

me:  Tell me about life insurance.  I need to think about it while I’m still fairly young.

Agent:  I recommend term.

me:  What is term?

Agent:  It’s good for a set period of time, like ten or twenty or thirty years.  Then it expires.  It’s the cheapest.  Really, why are you interested in life insurance?

me:  To make sure that if something happens to me in the next 10 to 20 years, Matt can pay off the house so that the slut he marries next doesn’t have to work.

Agent:  You’re a hell of a wife.

me:  You’re right.