There are some who start their retirement long before they stop working. -Robert Half

Friday, February 27, 2009


One night I came back from rehab and asked Grammy if WalMart sells headlights because one of mine is out. Grammy got really excited and went and yelled down to Papa to come upstairs and go to WalMart with us because my headlight was out. When Papa came up, he started quizzing me on what I know about changing lights on cars. I told him that I’m a professional because my car’s lights used to go out all the time.  He responded with: “What?! Not while you lived here, right?!”  I told him it was when I was in college, so I had to learn how to change them all. We all piled in the car and headed to WalMart.  When we got there, we discovered that a small, red car had parked in Papa’s parking spot. Not a good way to start off a WalMart trip.  One time I asked Papa what he does when someone parks in his spot and he told me he just goes home.  He didn’t do that when Grammy and I were with him, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t do it when he’s by himself. 

Anyway, Papa and I headed back to the auto section and while passing the paints, Papa flagged down an employee to help us. Papa likes to get help from the employee’s at WalMart. Like when we bought the TV and he became besties with the electronics guy. The employee took us right back to the car bulbs and helped us find the right one. Papa was impressed with his knowledge.  The man that helped us find the bulb is the same man who helped me pick out a new car stereo, complete with a CD player and an iPod plug. (I know. I finally joined the world of new technology. I also just got texting this year. I’m so technologically advanced!) While he was helping me pick out the perfect CD player, the guy asked me: “You’re not going to listen to your music with the bass on full-blast, because I cannot handle that and I think it is one of the rudest thing someone can do! I hate those stupid teenagers who pull up next to me and make my car shake!”  It was a pretty intense lecture. I told him I never listen to my music loudly and I turn the bass completely off (like I would EVER admit that I listen to my music on full-blast after that sermon!) Anyway, my original car stereo was more of a static-player. It only picked up two stations, and I was usually lucky if I got those.  The only way I lived with it for 2 years is because I had an iPod and an iPod adapter. Then, this summer, my iPod was stolen so I was left music-less. I don’t know why someone would want to steal my iPod. It was one of the really old, really chunky, really heavy white ones. I guess a really old, really chunky, really heavy iPod is better than no iPod, though.

Papa is really impressed with my auto mechanic skills.  After we bought the bulb, we went home and I started installing it. Papa kept asking me: “Are you sure you know what you’re doing? Have you really done this before?”  I knew what I was doing. I have done it before. Many, many times. Poor SnowShamrock.  Anyway, Papa just watched me work and when I was done, he looked at me and asked me: “Have you ever thought about being a mechanic?”  I just laughed.  The only things I really know how to do on my car are check my fluids, change my bulbs, check/change my fuses, and fill it with gas.  And connect a new stereo. Well, I guess it was more of a CD player. Whatever it is called, I must admit, I am very proud of my stereo-inserting skills.  I had no idea what changing the stereo would entail and it turns out, you have to unscrew the whole front panel to pull out the old stereo. This was the easy part. After that, I had to connect all these wires by twisting them together and taping them all with electrical tape and then fitting the CD player into a sort of stereo cradle that would fit in the car and then connecting some more wires and then putting the front panel back on.  Papa and I made many trips to WalMart on our stereo day.  Every time we went, Papa found the employee in the car section and asked him what to do. He turned out to be an expert in inserting car stereos. Convenient. Maybe I should be a mechanic. Perhaps I’ll get my master’s degree in car stereos and headlights instead of public health. 

Wednesday, February 25, 2009


So yesterday, I got home from work and the electric company was working on the wires next to our house. I walked inside and Grammy was lying on the couch by the fire reading and Papa was watching the electric workers from the table. I told them it looks like they had a relaxing day, and that is when I found out the truth. Apparently, a huge truck was delivering something on the street and it ran into a telephone pole. Well, somehow, the collision split a wire and made the wires in our back yard fall, and when they fell, a huge fire started between our house and our neighbor's house. Grammy said she looked outside and the wire that fell had caught her birdhouse and it was swinging it all around and then she saw the fire.
The firemen and policemen and electric company and cable company (and probably some neighbors) were all in our backyard doing their jobs, but Papa wasn't home, so Grammy went to find him. She had to have a fireman manually open our garage door so she could get the Lincoln out. Since Papa didn't say where he was going, Grammy just went to WalMart to see if he was there, and he was, so she started paging him over the intercom. Papa said that it was not necessary for her to page him, but Grammy just said: "There was a fire in our backyard! You should carry a phone! Or at least tell me where you're going!!" Papa said he didn't know where he was going when he left. Turns out, he went to Bland and had lunch and then went to WalMart.
Grammy said she stood outside with the neighbor for a long time making sure things were ok, but then came inside because her feet were cold. Grammy hates it when her feet are cold. She always tells me that she can handle pretty much any weather as long as her feet are warm. On one of my snow days around Christmastime, Grammy and I went down to WalMart and rang the Salvation Army bell for a few hours. I swear it was one of the coldest days of the year, so we had to take turns standing outside and jingling the bell. I had a little cold, so Grammy wouldn't let me stay out and ring very long and she justified this by telling me she was wearing warm socks and her feet aren't cold so she was fine. Oh Grammy.
Anyway, after a while of just watching, Grammy and I sent Papa outside to check on everything, because we still didn't have power which is why we were all huddled by the fire. Papa didn't want to go check at first because he said: "I don't want to get involved. Sometimes it's best if you just stay out of it." Grammy and I sent him anyway because we wanted power. We were already making our worst case scenerio plans that would keep us in warm places for the majority of the night:
1) Go out to eat and stay there for a long time. Grammy said we would have to think of the restaurant with the comfiest seats.
2) Go to rehab early so we could exercise and get warm and then shower there. She told me there used to be a pool at rehab, so we could just take all of our stuff with us and bathe there.
3) Find all the candles in the house.
4) Sleep in the living room by the fire.
Papa was most worried about not having the TV or computer working. The first thing he said to me when I walked in after work was: "We don't have power. Do you know what that means?" and I knew what that meant. It meant no TV and no computer.
Luckily, the electricians got the power back on, so we didn't have to have to worry about our worst-case scenerios. Right when we figured out the power was on, Papa got to work fixing the cable (it was almost 5:30 and we didn't want to miss Jim Lehrer at 6!). Since our power was out when we started dinner, it was a Soup and Sandwich night (since the only way we had to cook anything was with the gas stove) complete with turkey and cheese sandwiches (yes, I actually put turkey on my sandwich this time!), tomato soup and cottage cheese with fruit. We also had my favorite pickles of all time. We call them Granny Green's Pickles, because they are Papa's mother's secret recipe. Papa makes them with the cucumbers he grows in his garden. I didn't think I liked sweet pickles until Papa made me try them and it turns out, I really love them! Maybe that's why he keeps making me try ham; he thinks I'll eventually like it.
After dinner, Papa was really anxious to clear the table. Grammy and I were just sitting there watching the news when Papa came up and asked:
Papa: Hey, you about finished?
Julie: Why? Are you going to kick us out?
Papa: laughs I don't know.
Julie: Well, you know what Grammy and I are? We're fighters, so you better be careful, right Grammy?
Grammy: That's right!
Papa knows we're strong because we go to rehab every night. Every day after dinner, Papa asks us if we're going to go to rehab and we always reply yes. Rehab has changed a lot over the time we've gone there. When we first started going, Grammy and I were the only people there, but now there are like 12 really buff guys that work out at the same time as us. Whenever we pull up, Grammy always comments on how many cars are in the parking lot and says: "All those boys must be here. I don't know where they came from!" We keep trying to get Papa to go, but he won't go with us. Maybe he just wants more free time.
When the weather was nice, Papa did used to bike around town every night. He would just pedal around and talk to everyone and scope out where the best gardens in town are. He would also bring dog treats to feed his dog friends. And then, he would bike to McDonald's and get an ice cream cone before he biked back home. One time I went with him and it was very leisurely. We biked really slowly and saw some really big gardens. Then we went to the ATM to get cash so we could get ice cream at McDonald's to cancel out our exercising. When it started getting colder, Grammy and I tried to make him stop biking, especially when it was raining, but he would just disappear and then we would hear the garage door opening and would see him bike away. Eventually it got cold enough he couldn't go.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Light Dinner Night.

Tonight I came home from work expecting a small dinner because we had a really huge lunch. When we have small dinners we either have:
1) Cereal. Grammy and I have our frosted puffed wheat. This stuff is incredible, believe me. It comes in a huge, economy sized bag and some people may look down on it because it is a generic brand. Ye of little faith. It is one of the greatest things my taste buds have ever had the privilege of tasting. Basically, it is the same as Smacks, that cereal with the frog mascot, if anyone remembers those. (Earlier in the year, Grammy thought she wanted regular, not frosted, puffed wheat, and she said she could never find it, so Mom and I found it for her. It was sick. Regular puffed wheat=soggy.) Papa eats Honey Nut Cheerios with fruit on it. Sometimes Grammy mixes in some Grape Nuts with her puffed wheat to give it some nutrients and on her particularly daring nights, she puts Grape Nuts and fruit in it. Since I don't really like mixing my food, I just have my puffed wheat, straight up. (I only eat fruit in my cereal with regular Cheerios. Unless you count the raisins in Raisin Bran.) In the case of dinner, the category "cereal" never includes oatmeal. It makes Papa too nauseous.

2) Sandwiches and soup. Usually, Grammy and Papa have ham and cheese sandwiches. I always have grilled cheese sandwiches because I could live on grilled cheese. Like I said, I used to eat it for lunch and dinner every single day. Plus, I don't like ham. On sandwich night, Papa usually buys some special bread. He likes to buy bread for me. Every week he comes home with something different:
-Everything bread: A delightful bread topped with an array of seeds and spices that will have you asking for more.
-Italian bread: This bread has a crunchy crust matched with a soft and fluffy middle. Sassy and sweet.
-French bread: Soft from the outside in, this bread goes well with any meal. Kid approved!
-Rosemary and Herb bread: A scrumptious Italian loaf with rosemary and herbs covering the top. Perfect for a turkey sandwich.
-Wheat bread: Trying to eat healthier? Try the whole wheat loaf, made especially for you by your friends at WalMart.
Even if Grammy and I make bread, he always brings home some more. Sometimes I think he brings home lots of bread because it is his little hint to Grammy and me that he wants french toast on the weekend. Papa also likes to buy me yogurt. When he found out I like yogurt, he came home every day with a different brand and type. Now that I decided I like Yoplait Light yogurt, he comes home every day with a different flavor.
Anyway, back to soup and sandwiches. We always grill our sandwiches. Grammy and Papa like lots of butter on theirs when they grill it, but I don't like any. It gets too greasy with all that melted butter. We eat Progresso Hearty Tomato Soup. This is the most amazing tomato soup we've ever had. It is tangy and sweet and goes perfectly with a warm grilled cheese. One can doesn't quite feed us, but two cans is too much so we always have extra, which we don't like, but a person can only eat so much tomato soup.

3) Frozen pizza. Papa doesn't really like pizza, so we usually have this on light dinner nights that he is at Lion's club. We eat Supreme pizzas.

To accompany Light Dinner Night meals, we usually have cottage cheese with fruit on it. Grammy and Papa put pineapples on their cottage cheese and I put peaches on mine.

Anyway, I thought tonight was going to be a Sandwich and Soup night, but I was wrong. Grammy didn't really like her french toast she had for lunch and she was hungry so she said she wanted a real dinner. Papa and I weren't hungry, but we ate anyway. We had baked potatoes, baked beans, bread and jelly, and ham. I told Papa I don't like ham, but he assured me that:
Papa: This ham is 99% fat free! I think you'll like it!
Julie: Oh yeah? Well, I bet I can find some fat on it.
Papa: I'm sure you can. I'm going to give you this center piece where there is no fat.
Julie: I don't like ham.
Papa: Don't worry, I gave myself that 1% fat.

I don't like ham.

Later, my sister called us from New Zealand, so we were telling her about our day and what we had for dinner:
Julie: Guess what Papa made me eat for dinner?
Rachel: Ham.
Julie: You're right. I don't like ham.
Papa: But you ate it!
Julie: No I didn't. I only ate a bite and then I put it in a baggy in the fridge.
Papa just laughed and said: "Well, I wish I would have known that while we were at the table." I'm glad he didn't know. He would have made me eat more.

Country Kitchen.

Today, Grammy and Papa came down to Cuba for lunch. My aunt, Melissa, was in town to visit her family so we all went out to lunch at Country Kitchen. Aunt Melissa thought we were meeting at noon and Grammy thought we were meeting at 11:30, so Grammy, Papa and I had some quality time together while we waited for everyone else.
On Friday I have an interview at MU for a work study job with Jumpstart, a national program to improve language and literacy skills in at-risk preschoolers, so I was telling Grammy and Papa about it. Papa said that if I go back to MU, they'll come visit me. I told Papa I didn't believe him because he only visited me a few times during my four years of undergrad. Grammy said:
Grammy: No, we visited you more than that!
Julie: No you didn't. It was only two times! I remember that because I loved it so much.
(One time they visited we went and had thai food because Papa had never had it. He ordered tea, but the tea there has milk in it because it is thai tea, so he sent it back.)
They both laughed and then Papa said: "I'm glad I don't hear everything"
Papa asked me what my little brother, Logan, was up to. I told him Logan is very busy and I don't really know what he does besides homework and hanging out with his friends. Papa asked what schools Logan was thinking about, so I told him:
Julie: He applied to Harvard, Yale, Stanford, Dartmouth and Brown.
Papa: And Mizzou. He's already admitted there, but he just won't take my advice.
Julie: I know. Not like me.
Papa: You always take my advice, don't you?
Julie: Oh, of course.
Grammy just laughs when Papa talks about giving me advice. His advice always points toward MU. The other night, Papa was talking to me about grad school and I told him that I would probably go to MU and he walked around the room telling me "Well, that just made my night." I also found out that he already made a deposit in my MU account because he thinks that will bind me there. He's a tricky one. One day, my sister and I were talking to Papa about MU and how our brother, Andy, went away to the east coast for college and Rachel asked Papa: "Why don't you try to get Andy to MU?" Papa just shook his head and said: "We already lost him." Later, Papa said that Andy would be back in the Midwest eventually. I asked him why he was so sure, but Papa said he just knows these things.
After our Logan conversation, Papa told us: "I wonder where they are. I had some other things planned for today." Grammy and I just laughed and asked him what he had to do. He told us he had pretty important things to do.
Toward the end of our meal, Papa started talking about all the things he has to do today, so Grammy started asking him what important things he could have: "What do you have to do? Is it about time to go to McDonald's? I know you have such a busy life."
Papa just laughed. I bet it was McDonald's.

Anyway, when Aunt Melissa and her dad and brother arrived, we decided to go to Country Kitchen. Actually, Grammy said we should go to the BBQ place, but Papa said they marinate their meat too long and he wanted to go to Country Kitchen so we could have more variety. He ordered french toast and told Grammy: "I'm going to see if this french toast is better than what you make." We laughed because we know he really will tell her. He said he couldn't tell if it was better because the syrup was so good. I told him that's because we have sugar-free syrup at home. I wouldn't be surprised if he did think they were better, though; Papa doesn't like homemade things anymore. When Grammy and I bake cookies, Papa always comes home with store-bought cookies because he says he likes them better. I think it's because he knows how much work goes into cooking now that he is the head chef of the household. Which goes back to the reason we have bag meals.
Last week we had a chicken teriyaki bag meal. We added a lot of extra chicken to it. Papa loved it.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


Wednesday night means belle choir practice. (Yes, I've forever changed the spelling of the word "bell" when referring to "bell choirs"). I'm not sure why all of our belle choir music has the word "bell" spelled with an "e," but I do have some predictions:

1) There is a town close by called Belle, MO. Maybe the person who wrote "belles" on all of our music:
a) is from Belle
b) loves Belle, MO

2) It is possible that the person who wrote on our music just finished watching Beauty and the Beast, starring Belle. I mean, what an inspiring movie! Independence, creativity, true love despite appearances...a definite inspiration. Though, I never liked the movie growing up because:
a) it was my sister's favorite movie
b) my sister looks like Belle and that was annoying

3) Maybe the author simply likes to spell things with an extra "e" on the end. If this is the reason, I completely understand! I love writing "e's," especially in cursive and especially at the end of words. Take my first name, for example. Grab a pen and paper and see how fun it is to write my name! It is just a bunch of loops:

And it wouldn't be the same without that "e" on the end.

4) Maybe "bell" was actually spelled "belle" a long time ago. The music is really old, so maybe the spelling has changed. Maybe one day, someone decided that the "e" was unnecessary, so they just started spelling "bell" without it. Then they probably bribed Merriam-Webster with bazillions of dollars so they would make "bell" the "official" spelling.

There are seven of us in the belle choir. I have three belles (the F, F# and G) and everyone else has at least four, but that's okay because I'm not very good. Whenever we're playing, I tend to space out and then I get lost and then I just hold my belles up and look at the music and pretend like I know where we are. The ladies on the ends with the really high belles and the really low belles all have like eight belles each. They are amazing. Someday I will play eight belles, too, and my life will be complete. I stand next to Virginia (who plays the A, Ab, B, and Bb). Sometimes she gets lost, too and stands there and pretends like she knows where we are, which makes me feel better about my lack of belle playing ability. I've also discovered that I play better when I stick my tongue out. In fact, I concentrate better on everything when I stick my tongue out. Especially things like cutting with scissors and tracing things; basically anything that involves coordination or skill.

We play in church the second Sunday of each month. We get to church an hour early so we can practice and perfect our music. My favorite part about playing at church is that it doesn't really matter how well we play, because the congregation is over 75 and thinks it sounds good no matter how badly we play. Plus, I think belles sound good all the time because they echo. Echoing is great. My other favorite part is that we get to wear these awesome robes. They are dark blue and have huge, flowing sleeves that tighten at the wrists with elastic. They make me feel like an angel.

Monday, February 16, 2009


This weekend Grammy, Papa, Mom, Dad, Logan and I all piled into the Lincoln and went to the Lake of the Ozarks for the afternoon. It was quite a cozy ride. I got the front middle seat, between Dad and Papa. Papa kept talking to me about my driving:
Papa: Julie and I made a deal about driving. She's going to drive 10 mph below the speed limit.
Julie: No we didn't, Papa. I said I would consider driving 10 below, but after some consideration, I decided I'm not going to.
Papa: I don't know about that. I got the engine of this car cleaned. It looks brand new. Mark, I'll show it to you when we stop somewhere.
We ate at my mom's favorite restaurant, On the Rise Bakery and Bistro. The menu was really fancy so Grammy and I had to interpret it for Papa. He wanted quiche (Grammy and Papa pronounce it "kish"), but they had already stopped serving breakfast. He finally chose a Bourbon Burger, and loved it. Mom was really worried he wasn't going to like the restaurant, but he said his burger was perfect. He cut off a piece so he could show us how well they did at cooking it. Plus, it had some shaved ham on top, and we all know how much Papa likes ham.
After lunch, we went to the outlet mall and shopped our little hearts out. Grammy is a really good shopper and could shop constantly for days if we let her. She looks at every little thing and loves it. Papa shopped a little, but then sat in the car. When my dad brought bags to the car, Papa popped out of the front seat and showed him how clean the engine is. I still haven't seen the engine, but I'm sure my time will come. He wants to take my car in to get the engine cleaned, but I'm afraid they'll find something else wrong with it. Poor SnowValentine.
On our way home, we stopped at McDonald's for a snack. We all ordered McFlurrys, but Papa got a vanilla cone (his usual). Right before he paid, he got nervous and decided to change his order to a McFlurry like the rest of us. While we were waiting for our food, Logan and I went and sat down and Papa came over and said: "These McCurry things must be pretty good." Logan laughed and said: "It's a McFlurry and they are really good."
I love McFlurrys. I asked Papa if he liked it, but he said he doesn't think he'll get it again. I guess he just really loves those ice cream cones. And the pies. While we were waiting for our McFlurrys, Papa bought 2 cherry pies. He kept telling us: "They're 2 for $1! Isn't that a great deal?" Papa loves McDonalds.

Strawberry hats.

Grammy likes to knit. She has a knitting bag that she brings with her everywhere, just in case there is any down time. She can knit pretty much anything, but my favorite things she knits are her strawberry hats that she gives to every baby she meets. Grammy also started knitting blueberry hats for baby boys, but we decided the strawberries are cuter. Recently, Grammy found a pattern for snowman hats, which are white with an orange carrot nose and a pom-pom on top.
Anyway, last fall, Grammy knitted a strawberry hat to auction at the annual church turkey supper and quilt auction. My friend Abby really wanted to buy the hat to give to her boyfriend's new niece. We sat through the auctioning of all of the quilts (well, Abby and my friend AJ sat; my sister and I always have to be the girls that hold up and show the quilts) and finally, it was time for the strawberry hat. Abby started bidding, and the hat must have been a hot item, because it surpassed her $10 limit almost immediately. It turns out, Papa was bidding on it and won it back. I asked him why he bought it because we don't know any babies, and he just said "Grammy worked really hard on it, I didn't want to see it go for a low price." Oh Papa. When we got home, Grammy sold it to Abby anyway.
Like I said, my sister and I always have to show off the quilts during the auction. Every year. For all of time. Ever since we were little, we were at the quilt auction holding up stuffed ducks and baby quilts for people to bid on. Rachel likes it, but I don't. This year, Abby and AJ came down for the evening, so I was sure I wouldn't have to hold things up, but I was wrong. I sat down, and Rachel came over and told me to get up because we had a job to do. I should have figured because we pretty much run the entire quilt auction anyway. We set up all the quilt racks, hang up all the quilts, hold up the quilts, take down all the quilt racks and pack them away. It's all worth it though because the St. Peter's UCC Annual Turkey Supper is the greatest church dinner in all of the world. Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy, green beans, corn, homemade applebutter and rolls, all piled high on a disposable plate. Then comes the dessert table; a mouth-watering array of pies, cakes and cookies, made with love. On each table are different kinds of cranberry sauce, so you can choose your favorite. And you can't forget the coleslaw.
The amazing, super secret Church Lady Coleslaw. We have this at almost every church dinner. Slightly sweet, but with a kick of vinegar. One year, it was Grammy's job to make the coleslaw, so she made the dressing, using apple-cider vinegar and the church ladies FLIPPED OUT. Apparently it is supposed to be made with regular vinegar. Heaven forbid. My family just sat at the table and talked loudly about how great we thought the coleslaw was. If there is one thing these lady's don't like, it is change, that's for sure. Making applebutter last fall was pretty intense, I'll tell you what. Some said it had too much cinnamon, some said it was not sweet enough, some hated the sugar-free, and some, like Grammy and me, thought that it was fine. (We're not very picky about our applebutter. We lovingly accept all flavors.)
My dad and I went to help Grammy and the church ladies make the applebutter. I kind of figured that Dad and I would be doing a lot of work, because we would be one of the few participants under the age of 75, but I could not have been more wrong. We basically stood around and watched the ladies bustle around. I offered to help them with the stirring and lifting of boxes, but they all said they were fine. The coveted job is stirring the applebutter in the large kettles. Those ladies would get so worked up over who had gotten to stir the pot too long, while the men and I would just sit back and watch them. I'm actually confused about why they think they don't have enough help. All I did the whole time was wipe applebutter off the side of the jars after pouring.
This is how Grammy hurt her shoulder, aka the reason she isn't allowed to shovel snow with Papa and me. Grammy wanted to make some applebutter with fresh apples, so she went and picked them and then peeled and cooked them all. Then, right after applebutter day, Grammy's arm started hurting. While I slumbered that night, the ambulance made a visit to our house (apparently I can sleep through anything) because Grammy thought she was having heart problems. She wasn't. It was just too much apple picking. So we started going to rehab. Right after applebutter day a few years ago, Grammy had to have a stent put in. Applebutter is a stressful activity. Papa wants her to quit for two reasons:
1) For her health
2) And because whatever Grammy volunteers for, Papa ends up helping with also, which brings us back to Papa's need for more free time.

Friday, February 13, 2009


One of my favorite things about my job is that I can wear whatever I want. I mean, sure, I have to "dress up" on Monday-Thursday (Friday is jeans's the best!), but still, now that I'm an adult, I can wear:
-Big, teacher jewelry
-Cardigans every day
-Random colored outfits (my favorite is when I wear my green corduroys, purple shirt and blue cardigan. Sometimes I wear a big yellow necklace with this outfit. It is awesome. One time when I was wearing it, one of my students walked into the office and said: "What are you wearing? Do you realize that nothing matches?" I told him I can wear whatever I want because I'm an educator.)

The other week, Papa was a pallbearer at his friend's funeral and he couldn't find anything to wear. Grammy told him he should wear the green dress shirt he has, but he told her:
Papa: I can't wear that one. It doesn't fit anymore, you must have shrunk it when you washed it.
Grammy: I did not shrink it, you've just gained weight.
Papa: No, you've been shrinking my clothes!
Julie: Papa, Grammy doesn't even dry the clothes, how could she shrink them! She is a laundry expert!
Papa: I don't know, I just know that they fit before and now they don't.
Grammy: Well I'll just cut the shirt up the back and you can just leave your jacket on.
Papa: No, don't do that!
Grammy: Just bring me the shirt.
In the end, Grammy put some elastic in the collar so that it could stretch and he could button it.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


So, the other day after dinner, Papa was going to the car to get the keys out (we used to leave the keys in the car, but then someone down the street got robbed and so now we bring the keys inside) and he tripped over the flower planter and fell on the concrete. He scratched up his face and sliced his pinky finger open. Grammy said the pinky finger looked pretty bad, so the next day Papa went to the doctor to get it looked at and to make sure he didn't need stitches. He came home with a gauze cast on the finger and told me he didn't have to get stitches, since it is a flap of skin that is going to die anyway. Papa also got a tetanus shot, just in case.
When I got home from work, Papa showed me his finger and said:
Papa: You know what this means?
Julie: No, what?
Papa: It means I can't do the dishes.
Julie: Oh is that what that means? I guess Grammy and I are just going to have to slave over you until you're healed.
Papa: I'm just going to sit here at the table and watch you two make dinner.
Julie: Are you going to boss us around in there, too?
Papa: I don't know what you're talking about. I never do that!
Later that day, after my mom, dad and I took my sister to the airport for her flight to New Zealand, we came back and Papa was showing Mom and Dad his wound, so I asked him:
Julie: How are you going to take showers? Are you going to hold your hand in the air?
Papa: No, I can get it wet.
Julie: Well then, I guess you can still help with dishes then?
Grammy: Bill, you can't get that wet! Your finger will get shriveled and it won't ever dry out.
Papa: Well, maybe I just won't shower.
Julie: For 3 weeks?
Grammy and Mom: Stop talking, Julie! Don't give him any ideas!
Papa: It's only a few weeks.

I think Grammy is going to make him shower. I guess this means Papa and I can't do the grandchild secret handshake, though.

Grandchild Secret Handshake:
Papa puts his fist out and says "Pound it" and then we pound it and twist our fists and say "Lock it," making a crunching noise with our mouths.

I guess we could do it with the other fist. Like when Papa hurt his right wrist and refused to get a brace or see a doctor, so he just started shaking hands with his left hand.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Office.

My office at Bourbon is amazing. I share it with one of the PE coaches and it is a small (closet-sized) room with artificial lighting and cream colored brick. It does have a fan, but when you turn it on, it spins right under the flourescent lighting, causing a strobe light effect and making me feel like I'm at a rave, which is AWESOME, don't get me wrong. My other favorite part is that there is NO heat whatsoever. This has been a rough winter and sometimes it is colder in my office than it is outside. I have no idea how that happens. Usually, I have to wear my coat, scarf and gloves all afternoon and my fingers still feel like they are going to crack off because of frostbite. I knew it was bad when my custodian friend came up and said: "Boy, it is cold up here. I don't blame you for keeping your coat on! You might want to take a walk around the rest of the school once in a while so you don't freeze!"
I was going to bring a space heater in, but:
1) I forgot.
2) I don't have another plug in my office. The phone and the computer took all possible plug-in options.
Speaking of my phone: This is the first time I've ever had my own real professional business phone! I thought it would be really exciting, but it turns out, it is actually the thing that causes me the most anxiety. The ringer is really loud (which I'm sure could be adjusted if only I knew how...) and it always scares me to death. I also never know how to answer. I mean, I have been "Julie" for my entire life, but now, when I answer the phone, I could say:
1) Hello, this is Julie!
2) Hello, this is Ms. Brunner!
3) Hello, this is Julie Brunner!
4) Hello, this is the College Advisor!
Yeah, I know. What a tough decision! Usually, I end up stumbling over my words and saying something ridiculous like: "Hello, this is the advisor, the College Advisor, Julie. Ms. Brunner." It also doesn't help that my tongue is too big for my mouth so sometimes I have a lisp, which makes the "this is" part come out sounding like nonsense. The best part about that is that I didn't really realize that I had a little lisp until my freshmen year of college when one of my friends asked me: "Did you always know you had a speech impediment?" I told him: "No, I didn't."
Anyway, my office is in a really weird place.

Directions to my office:
1) Ring bell at front door so the secretaries can let you in. (One day I was in the office and they let someone in, and the were like: "I don't know who that was. I mean, I'm pretty much going to let in anyone who isn't carrying a rifle.")
2) Walk past the gym
3) Turn the corner
4) Walk down the hall
5) Go up the weird ramp by the boy's locker room. (Hold your breath while you do this because the mixture of body odor and Axe spray wafting from the locker room has a tendency to make you sick.)
6) Walk past the band room, the head coach's office, the storage closet and the band closet, and right before you walk out onto the stage, take a right into the room that looks like a storage room, but is actually an office.
Today, one of the students came by my office and asked me: "Why do you sit back here? Do you always sit back here?" and I replied: "This is my office, and, yes, I always sit back here. Where else would I go?" He told me I should go run up and down the halls waving my arms so that everyone could see my pretty face. I told him I would think about it.


Grammy really wants me to be organized. Really really. I'm not a very organized person, so when I moved in, I think I shocked Grammy with my lack of organization. For example, when I moved in:
-I didn't seperate my clothes when I put them away. I just shoved them into drawers.
-I have a lot of shoes and I didn't set them on a shoe rack. I just piled them in the closet.
-All my jewelry was just piled in a box.
-My summer clothes were mixed in with my winter clothes.
-My closet was extremely full of clothes
-My makeup was in a bucket on the dresser

I'm not really "messy," just cluttered. Anyway, Grammy has been working on me all year and I guess I'm a little more organized. Now, Grammy got me a shoe rack, and when my shoes aren't nicely lined up, she goes in and fixes them. She emptied out a drawer in my dresser and lined it so that I could put my jewelry in it. Grammy also went through and took out all my summer clothes and summer shoes and put them into storage. For my makeup, we found a little box and she also put a cover down on the dresser to set my makeup on. She found a tray to set all my perfume and lotion on, and also found a matching tray to put in the bathroom to set all my face and hair products on.
Currently, she is trying to get me to seperate all my clothes in my drawers and to get another shoe rack, so that all my shoes have a home. Sometimes I come home from work and there is a new box or rack that is organizing something else in my room. The other day, a mail rack showed up, since I previously piled all of my mail on any visible surface.
Grammy is the most organized person in the world; I think she gets this from being so perfect. Everything in the house has a special place. The best, though, is the treasure safe. This is where Grammy keeps all of her family heirlooms and keepsakes. It is so awesome, and she know right where everything goes. One day, when I first moved in, Grammy and I went down and went through all the things in the safe. My favorite keepsakes are my great-great-grandma, great-grandma (NaNa), and Grammy's wedding rings. I have no idea where I got my fat child fingers, because all of their rings are tiny. The only finger I could fit any of them on was my pinky finger. My fat fingers must be from my dad's side...
A couple weeks ago Grammy wore Nana's ring to church and then went to Kline's for Sunday lunch. After lunch, her and Papa went to WalMart and then came home and put away all the food. While Grammy was getting ready for her 20 min nap (she ONLY naps for 20 minutes a day. She says it is amazing and just revives her immediately), she noticed that the ring was gone and she started panicking. Something told her to go to the trashcan and look through the WalMart bags, and when she did, she found the ring. When she told me this story, she said: "God was looking out for me. He must have known how upset I would be to lose that ring!" And then she decided that she was going to leave that ring in the treasure trove.
When I told Papa that I had seen all the treasures, he didn't believe me. I tried everything I could to convince him, but nothing worked. I had to resort to listing off the contents of the trove and reminding him that I know everything. It worked.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

A visit.

The other weekend, two of my friends, Sarah and Abby, came to visit me and the grandparents. It was great. Here is how it went:

Friday, 5:30 pm: Abby and Sarah arrived at our house, and Papa was immediately ready to go to Clancy's and eat. So, we all piled in the Lincoln and headed to Rosebud. Sarah gets really carsick really easily, and Papa pulses the gas when he drives, so we're constantly bobbing forward and backward, and Sarah later told me she almost threw up in the car. I'm glad she didn't. At Clancy's, Papa wanted to try a new beer and he had one that he liked, but he couldn't remember what it was, so after the waitress went through all the beers on tap, Papa, Sarah, Abby and I all got a Smithwick's. Papa didn't really like it. He kept telling me how I better be careful about drinking and driving. I told him that I'll be ok, and he should be careful. Grammy took my side: "Alcohol affects old people more than young people. We're on all these meds!" We all got the fish and chips special, but Abby got a baked potato like Grammy, and Sarah got onion rings like Papa.

Friday, 7 pm: Abby, Sarah and I piled into my car and headed to Bourbon for the high school basketball game. Papa didn't want to go, so him and Grammy went to the Owensville game instead. We got front row seats (I know! We're so lucky! Front row at the Bourbon vs. Vienna basketball game!). Right when we walked in the door, my students bombarded me. It was a little overwelming. We think Bourbon won the game (we left early, but they were ahead.) Go Warhawks! (Yes, a "warhawk" is an imaginary bird...).

Friday, 10 pm: We arrived back at home. Then we just talked for a long time. It is nice to talk to people my own age.

Saturday, 9:45 am: I woke up because I heard Grammy talking to Sarah and Abby. Grammy, Papa, and I made breakfast: french toast, bananas, oranges, grapefruit, strawberries, blueberries, bacon, and breakfast dessert (cinnamon rolls Grammy and Papa bought from Owensville High School at the game). Sarah and Abby made fun of me because I didn't let my fruit touch any other type of fruit. You can't mix regular fruit and citrus fruits. It is not ok. Papa understands.

Saturday, 12 pm: We went down and looked at my quilt. They were impressed. I'm a quilting superstar. Grammy showed us all her quilt tops and all the patterns she is thinking about putting on them. She loves her quilts.

Saturday, 2:30 pm: Papa came up to me and asked:
Papa: You getting ready to leave?
Julie: Yup, we're about packed
Papa: Good, good.
Sarah and I walked outside to get in my mom's car (she left it down here for Papa to take to his mechanic Neil. Neil is the best, remember?) and the car was gone. We figured that he went to fill it with gas, so we just stood around and talked to Grammy longer.

Saturday, 3 pm: We were still waiting for Papa to get back and we started joking about how he probably went to McDonald's. Grammy decided to go look for him. She came back driving mom's car. He went to McDonald's. Sarah asked us what he does at McDonald's and Grammy and I had to tell her we have no idea what he does there. I think he eats ice cream.

Saturday, 3:30 pm: I took the scenic route to Columbia. Whoops. I forgot Sarah gets really car sick. Once again, I'm glad she didn't throw up.

Driving with Papa.

Today, Grammy, Papa and I drove up to Jeff City after church (I had bells) because my little brother got his Eagle Scout award. For the first part of the day, my sister, cousin and I ran around the house flapping our arms like eagles. My uncle and my dad are also Eagle Scouts, so today was a big day for them. We're so proud. Tomorrow is my grandpa's (on my dad's side) birthday, so while we were eating cake, my dad, uncle and brother all sat around and compared their beads and their badges. I also found out that Logan is a Knotmaster. Sweet, huh? I told him he should put it on his resume.
Anyway, Papa drove up to JC, but I drove home because neither Grammy nor Papa like driving at night. I really don't like driving with Papa because he thinks I drive too fast and constantly tells me about it. This is how a typical conversation (and the one we had tonight) goes:
Papa: You know what I kept telling Rachel last week when she was driving? You should always drive 10 miles under the speed limit. The speed limit is based on perfect conditions and you should only drive that fast during the day when the weather is perfect.
Julie: It's ok, Papa. I have night vision. I can see everything perfectly. It really is amazing. I'm like a superhero, so don't worry.
Papa: Well, it has to do with your reflexes, too. How are your reflexes?
Julie: They're really good. I have excellent night vision and reflexes.
Papa: I don't know about that. Don't you ever worry about the other person? See, when I drive, I drive slowly because the other guy could just swerve into my lane at any moment.
Julie: Yeah, I don't think about those things.
Papa: Well, I think about them. I'm always thinking, you see. How do you like driving my car?
Julie: I don't like it. It is like driving a boat. (We're in the Lincoln that Grammy hates. We always drive the Lincoln when we go to JC or Rolla.)
Papa: I don't know why. I think it runs really well. It has a lot of power.
Julie: It is too fat and I just don't like it.

Reasons I don't like the Lincoln:
1) It is HUGE. It takes up the entire lane.
2) The gas pedal is extremely sensitive, so when I set my foot on it, the car jolts forward.
3) The brake is NOT sensitive at all. You have to push the pedal down at least halfway before it even thinks about slowing down. Thus, the car makes me seem like a bad driver because I end up slamming my foot on the brake.
4) The steering wheel is very sensitive, too, so if I turn it the tiniest bit, the car does a 180.
5) I always get carsick when I sit in the back seat. It is leather and smells like leather and the combination of the leather seats, the jolting of the sensitive gas pedal and the slamming of the brakes, makes me want to vomit.
6) I don't like leather seats. They are too slippery.

Despite my problems with the car, when we got home, Papa actually said "Well, you did a really good job driving. You actually are a good driver, though you drive a little too fast. You get a gold star."

My first gold star for driving! This is the beginning of something good.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Blueberry Muffins.

Last night, I walked into the living room to see what Papa was doing, and he was watching the MU game (Go Tigers!!). I went and got a cup of tea and then joined him. Papa looked over at me and said:
Papa: Be careful with that cup. I don't think the couch would like it if you spilled.
Julie: Papa, I never spill anything!
Papa: Well, you never know. This could be the first time.
Julie: Don't worry, I'll make sure to spill it all over my sweatshirt instead of the couch.
Papa: laughs Well, you know what I could go for right now?
Julie: What?
Papa: Blueberry muffins. Why don't you go into the kitchen and make some for me really quick?
Julie: Papa, it is almost my bed time.
Grammy: yelling from the kitchen William, don't you have her make you any muffins!! She has a sore throat! Let her go to bed!
Papa: Do you really have a sore throat?
Julie: Yeah, it's getting a little scratchy.
Papa: Where do you think you got that?
Julie: I guess I got it at school.
Papa: Well, did you take any medicine?
Julie: I'm drinking tea with honey.
Papa: Well, you know what I have? I have that syrup you can drink and it works real well. It tastes terrible, though. Have you ever tried it?
Julie: Yes, and it definitely does taste terrible.
Papa: Well, think about taking some. You just put it into a little cup and drink it really fast.
Julie: I'll think about it.
Papa: Don't spill that tea. I'm going to make some muffins.
Julie: I never spill.


So, last night I was on Facebook writing a message to someone and Grammy came downstairs. She came over to the computer and said: "Well, look at you down here! What are you doing? Is that 'texing'?"
I laughed really hard and told her I was writing a message to one of my friends: "It is like email, Grammy." And Grammy replied:
Grammy: Well, isn't that neat?! What a great way to keep in touch with your friends! What is "texing" anyway?
Julie: TexTing is when you send messages to people on your phone. Like, people send text messages to eachother. You can't do it on the computer.
Grammy: Hmm.

Man, I love my grammy. One of my favorite things about Grammy is her Grammy sweatshirt that she wears all the time. It looks like one of those shirts that has a sports team and then has XXL under it, but it says:
Grammy University
Department of Spoiling

It is awesome.

Grammy and I also want to have a Food Network show called "Grammy and Me." It is going to be AWESOME! We'll make lots of healthy, but tasty things, because Grammy is a dietitian and I'm a nutrition major. It will probably involve a lot of baking, because that is what we love to do most. On our show, we'll teach people about different foods and how healthy they are for you and what kinds of things you should be eating. It will be tasty and educational.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Cooking with Papa.

Papa and I cook dinner most nights (most=all the nights we don't go out to eat). There are many specific procedures and guidelines we use in the kitchen.

1) We each have a special mug for our coffee. Papa's is of medium height, skinny and has colored squares all over it. Grammy's is taller than Papa's, skinny, and has flowers on it. Mine is tall and skinny like Grammy's, but has the UNC logo on it. One weekend when my mom came down to visit, I walked to the breakfast table and she was drinking out of my UNC cup! I just looked at her and told her "Papa knows that is my mug, don't you Papa?" He knew. She went and traded it out.

2) Papa has recently started cooking "easy" meals. This means, he buys lots of things in bags and boxes. Grammy doesn't like "those bag meals," but Papa always makes them anyway. They didn't used to eat things out of bags, but now Papa wants to do everything the easy way. When we were younger, we used to eat homemade meals for every meal, but Papa decided that he eats to live, not lives to eat, so we eat pre-made meals now.

3) There are special dishes and utensils for everything, and with those special dishes, each different food requires a certain amount of dedication. There is a special grapefruit knife that cuts the grapefruit into sections. When it is cut, we put it in the small, white bowls. In fact, we use these bowls for all types of fruit and we eat from these bowls with big spoons, NOT small spoons. These bowls also hold coleslaw when we make it. Salads require the white plates with the high edges; Papa doesn't like salad in a bowl. Papa's salad has lettuce, onions, tomatoes and a little feta cheese. Grammy's and my salads have lettuce, onions, feta cheese and croutons. We always use the big plates with the dark blue flower design for our main dish, even if it is only a grilled cheese sandwich. We always drink water out of the clear glasses; Grammy and I put lemon in our water. For every meal, Grammy has toast, which goes on a medium sized dark blue flower designed plate, and jelly, which is placed on the tray with a picture of a country house on it and taken out to the table. We eat soup with big spoons, but oatmeal with small spoons. Papa likes plates better than bowls, but I prefer bowls so that my food doesn't touch. The other day, we had burgers on the grill because the weather was nice, so I went out to help Papa. There is a special grate that we use for burgers, though I'm not sure if it works. When I went out, the flames were leaping out of the grill so I said:
Julie: Wow, Papa, that's quite a fire!
Papa: It's a good one, isn't it? I put a lot of lighter fluid on it. I pretty much drenched it.
The reason I don't know if the grate works is that the fire was so hot, it just burned the outside of the burgers. While we were eating, mine was suspiciously undercooked on the inside, so I had to microwave it. In conclusion, the burger grate requires more testing.
The other night, Grammy made a pumpkin pie for dessert, so she was eating a little sliver of it with her hands. I came over and cut a little sliver, too, and Papa asked me:
Papa: Don't you want a spoon to eat that?
Julie: No, I want to eat it like Grammy.
Papa goes to get a plate and a spoon.
Julie: What? You don't want to eat it over the sink like Grammy and me?
Papa: No, I'm more refined.
Apparently, we should have eaten our pumpkin pie with a spoon and on a medium-sized plate with the dark blue flower design.

4) There are certain ways to prepare all of our food, and Papa knows EXACTLY how to do it all and how long. He is an avid supporter of timing everything he is cooking. I'm more of an estimate-how-long-it-has-cooked-and-take-it-off-when-it-looks-done kind of girl, but not Papa. The other night we were broiling some fish and Papa cooked it for exactly 5 minutes on each side, but it wasn't cooked all the way so he kept saying "I already cooked it for 10 minutes! It should be done! Something must be wrong with it!" He cooks corn on the cob for EXACTLY 4 minutes; oatmeal cooks for 5 minutes on low and then is covered for 5 more minutes. Rice is 5 minutes at a boil and then cover it for 5 more minutes. If I'm cooking and Papa walks into the kitchen, he always asks me where the timer is and how much time things have left. I just tell him: "The timer is in my head, Papa. I know exactly how long everything has been cooking." Usually when I tell him this, he laughs and then goes and checks on everything I'm cooking, setting timers as he goes.

5) Nothing can touch the table. We lay placemats on the table to set all the food on, because it isn't allowed to touch the surface. Cups, plates, dishes, silverware, everything must be on a placemat. At my parents house, we set our dishes and cups on everything; pianos, bookshelves, desks, everything. At Grammy and Papa's, you never set your dishes on anything because the furniture isn't sealed so it leaves rings and heat marks. Whenever my sister comes to visit, she forgets this rule, so whenever she sets her cup down on the table, I look at her and signal (using Rachel Language) to use a coaster. Rachel Language is the language that my sister uses. Basically it is like living in a game of charades, because if she wants something, she'll just look at you and act out what she wants, or even worse, she'll just look at you and point at what she wants. Yes, she does speak, but she just chooses to use Rachel Language when she wants something. I refuse to respond to this language, and usually just look at her and talk to her like I used to talk to my preschoolers: "Use your words, Rachel. I can't understand what you want if you don't tell me with your words." However, I try to use Rachel Language around her so that she understands that she isn't allowed to set her cup on the table without a coaster.

6) Portion size is also important. Grammy gets the smallest portions because she doesn't eat a lot. Even when we give her little portions, she usually says something like "Wow, what a big meal we have tonight!" I get medium-sized portions, even though it is usually too much. Papa gets big portions. We try to get rid of all the food we make so that we don't have to eat leftovers, so once the original portions are distributed, we go back through and empty the rest of the pots and pans evenly on the plates. We're getting really good at estimating how much to cook, all thanks to Papa and his exact measurements.

On Wednesdays when Grammy and I go to bell choir, Papa has to cook dinner by himself. When we get home, he always says "Here I am, slaving away on dinner." And Grammy tells him "I cooked all the meals the first 50 years, you get the second." That must be why we eat bag meals. One Wednesday, after dinner, Grammy, Papa and I were cleaning up the dishes from our meal. Papa already did the dishes he used to cook dinner with, so he said:
Papa: You know, I cleaned all the dishes before dinner, too.
Grammy: Well, it doesn't look that way now!
Papa: I'm just saying I cleaned a lot before we ate.
Julie: What? Do you want a high-five?
Papa: No, I want a medal.

We usually have fish twice a week. Papa's favorite is Orange Roughy because it is the most expensive, which obviously means it is the best. Grammy and I think it is so expensive because it comes from the farthest location. We season all of our fish with Lemon-Pepper seasoning because it is Papa's favorite. He even has Lemon-Pepper tarter sauce to accompany it. One time Grammy and I seasoned our fish for dinner with this new seasoning we got from my older brother for Christmas, but Papa told us we should use Lemon-Pepper next time because it is better. I also don't think I've ever used so much butter while cooking than I do with Papa. He puts butter on everything. When we broil our fish, Papa sprinkles his Lemon-Pepper on top and then squirts mounds of squeeze butter onto the fish. It kind of negates the fact that fish is usually healthy for you, so I just pretend like he doesn't put it on there. He also puts a lot of butter on our vegetables. One night we were having canned corn (keep in mind, this was only one can) for dinner and I was stirring something on the stove and Papa came over and started putting butter into the corn. He put about two tablespoons in and was about to put even more in until he saw me looking at him. I told him: "That's a lot of butter you put in there." He just said: "I would have put more except you were watching me."

Monday, February 2, 2009


Grammy and Papa always worry about what I eat for lunch. The only reason I can think of that they worry about it so much is because I always eat the same thing. I like peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. I eat one every day for lunch. I don't see a problem. Papa always wants to buy me lunchmeat and cheese and Grammy always wants me to take tuna. I always eat the same meals every day. I told Papa that last year when I lived in my apartment, I ate grilled cheese with broccoli every day for dinner, and sometimes for lunch. I don't think he believes me, or if he does, he's trying to change me.
Every night, Grammy sets out all the materials I would ever need to make my breakfast and lunch the next day. She always sets out so many options for me, even though I always eat a bowl of cereal (frosted puffed wheat with soy milk) and a grapefruit for breakfast and I always make a PBJ for lunch. She still sets out:
English Muffins
Peanut Butter
Sweet relish
Raisin Bran
Frosted Puffed Wheat
Honey Nut Cheerios
She also sets out many options of tupperwares, lunch boxes, and coffee mugs for me to choose from. Usually I choose the same ones, but sometimes I mix it up. Sometimes I take the candy cane mug instead of the green mug.
Like I said, Papa wants me to eat lunch meat sandwiches for lunch. And not just any lunch meat, he wants me to like honey ham, because that is what he likes. I just don't like ham unless there is absolutely NO fat or unidentified particles on it, but that usually doesn't happen. Papa marvels at the fact that I can find fat on any slab of meat he brings home. I'm good, I know. He could bring home the leanest piece of meat at WalMart, and I could still find fat on it. It is one of my skills. He always makes me try things, too. Even if I've had it before. For example, he brought home some shaved ham the other day and asked me:
Papa: Did you try that ham I brought home?
Julie: I don't like ham.
Papa: Well, maybe you'll like this ham, did you try it?
Julie: No, I didn't. I've had ham before. I don't like it.
Papa goes to the fridge and gets out the ham
Papa: Here, try a bite. It's good. I got the honey ham and it is really thin sliced. Grammy and I really like it.
I always end up trying it. I just don't like ham. Maybe I'll start acting like I'm sick to my stomach and tell him that ham makes me nauseous, like oatmeal and pheasant casserole makes him. I think ham is one of the reasons that Papa likes it when I go visit my friends for the weekend.

Reasons Papa likes me to visit my friends on the weekend:
1) Him and Grammy get to eat ham. They don't make it when I'm home, but every time I come home at the end of the weekend, Papa says:
Papa: Guess what we had for dinner this weekend?
And I always know that means they ate ham.
2) I think Papa is glad that I have friends. I don't have any friends under the age of 65 in Owensville and I think Papa is worried that I don't have any friends anywhere. Whenever I tell him I'm going to Columbia, he says "Good, good. Going to see all your friends?" and I tell him "Yup. I've got a LOT of friends."
3) Since I'm not there, he can listen to the TV on full blast all night long. Yes, I'm lame and go to bed at 10, even on the weekends.