Monday, August 28, 2006

The Coffee Talk Companion: "Blog!"

The Coffee Talk Companion is an ongoing feature in which we dissect and discuss former Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel's online journal entries.

This week, Lisa goes on and on—and on and on—about blogging. Oooh, a blog about a blog—how original, Lisa.

I have received multiple emails over the last few months from people who have been inspired by my friend, Sarah’s, blog. Not only, inspired by what she has written, but just the fact that she writes a blog. Apparently, blogging is somewhat contagious. Have you caught it? Do you want to?

First of all, Lisa, we're going to start charging you $5 for every extraneous comma you use. Why? Well, because we care and because we're broke. Allow us to fix just the first sentence of the above paragraph:

I have received multiple emails over the last few months from people who have been inspired by my friend Sarah’s blog.

See? Easy. No commas necessary.

And, yes, we have clearly caught the blogging disease, Lisa. How else would you know that you owe us $4,350 in back payment?

My husband sent me a link to another friend’s blog a few weeks ago. I didn’t get around to reading it until 4:00 this morning. (I couldn’t sleep so I got caught up on a ton of old emails.) I was so inspired! Not only by what my friend, DeeDee, wrote but it was so good to feel connected with her and her family again.

That's another $10, Whelchel. And we're going to levy a $25 tax on that last sentence because it's just so horrifically constructed. Maybe next time you're up at four in the morning, before you start reading DeeDee's blog, you'll pay a little visit to Messrs. Strunk and White. Deal?

Oh, and we can't quite come to terms with someone actually being named DeeDee. We thought that was just a noise you make when you don't know the words to the song.

Blogging is a wonderful opportunity for so many reasons. It is a terrific outlet for creativity. I am always blown away by Sarah’s writing talent and I’ve now discovered DeeDee’s gift, as well. You may think you don’t have any time to read blogs, much less, write one. I know; I feel the same way! But, take it from me, you really won’t look back and regret the time you spent cultivating relationships and blogging is one of the best ways to nurture friendships here in the 21st century.

Jesus. We lost count on that paragraph somewhere around the semicolon. Can you imagine? A semicolon! Eh. We'll just call it $45 for the whole paragraph. We think that's quite generous of us. But we will have to throw in a bitch slap for "here in the 21st century." Sorry.

Think of it, I have only had a chance to see my friend, DeeDee, and her family, a handful of times since they moved from California.

$600. No questions.

It would be so easy to lose touch with these priceless friends. Now, every time I can’t sleep, I can catch up with her whole family.

Because, really, calling them during the day is just too much trouble. Especially here in the 21st century.


Inevitably, Lisa begins talking about her own blog now. Frankly we're surprised she let four paragraphs pass before a Coffee Talk mention. She's usually so selfish.

As far as writing a blog yourself, let me just say this. If I had started writing my journal entries for “Coffee Talk” five years ago, I would have simply called it my “Blog!” Because, that is essentially what it is.

OK. We've tried to wrap our head around this bit of info several times in several ways now, and we still can't quite make sense of it. Why would Lisa have called her blog "Blog!" instead of "Coffee Talk" five years ago? Sure, the Internet has evolved greatly over the past five years, but we're pretty sure the words "coffee" and "talk" have been in rotation since, well, let's see...

cof‧fee: [Origin: 1590–1600; <>caffè <>kahve <>qahwah]

talk: [Origin: 1175–1225; ME talk(i)en to converse, speak, deriv. (with -k suffix) of tale speech, discourse, tale; c. Fris (E dial.) talken]

Yeah. A long time.

Let me be honest for a minute. There is rarely a week that I “have time” to write. I make time for two reasons. One – you. I want to be dependable, I don’t want to be flakey. It is also hard for me to experience something, good or bad, without thinking about telling you all about it. For some reason, sharing my life with you, gives me the double pleasure – living it and reliving it with a friend.

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh, so Lisa's doing us a favor by keeping a "Blog!" She truly has lost all perspective on reality, hasn't she? Honestly. Especially since she's worried about merely not being flaky (the preferred spelling). You know, it must be nice to meander through life without feeling any responsibility to notice things for what they really are. Or aren't. Well, we can only hope Lisa notices that, at this point, she really owes us $95.

I also blog for my children. If I didn’t have a commitment to journal every week, I wouldn’t do it. By having an appointment with you every Monday morning, it makes me disciplined to do something that I want to do, but I wouldn’t do on my own. I want my children to know about me and our life as a family when they grow up. I haven’t had time to scrapbook since February, but I can sit down at the computer once a week and pour out my thoughts for you and my kids.

Again, Lisa fails to show up for her appointment with reality here. The topic sentence of this paragraph is "I also blog for my children." When we finish laughing hysterically, we'll fix this sentence so it reads correctly. One sec.


Here's the sentence as it should read:

I also blog about my children.

We've always been told to say what we mean. Sometimes it's difficult when one is having, say, a heated discussion and the words come out before there's time to finesse them. When writing, however, there's no need to be hasty. Meaning, there's time to construct the words so they mean what you want to say.

Unless, of course, you are so far removed from normality that you don't have any idea what you're talking about.

Why do we even try? That'll be $50, Lisa, for momentarily causing us to attempt to make sense of your "Blog!"

I bet you have similar reasons that you might consider blogging. Do you have friends and family in another city? Do you have friends and family in the same city but you simply don’t have time to fill them in on your life and your reflections on your life! Would you like to have a record of your life today to share with your kids in the future? You don’t have to write a novel, or something deeply inspirational, or a comedic monologue. Just share your heart. You would be surprised how many people you will bless just by opening up your life for others to see.

You would be surprised, Lisa, how many people we have blessed by opening up your life for others to see. Like, seven or eight.

I did a quick search on “Creating a Blog” for you, just in case, you might consider it, after reading this journal entry-slash-blog.

OOOOOOOK. We get it now. Lisa's confused about, besides the two unnecessary commas in the above sentence ($10), what a blog is. Let's clear this up for her:

Each Coffee Talk entry is not a "journal entry-slash-blog." It is a journal entry on your blog, Lisa. Sorry, "Blog!" The "Blog!" is the entire journal made up of entries, posts, comedic monologues etc.

Lisa, shouldn't one know what one is preaching before preaching it to others?


I really don’t know anything about any of these sites but you can check them out and see if any might work for you.

Okay, I’m getting off of my soap box now. Before I leave, I would like to share one of my favorite blog entries of DeeDee. Enjoy.

Before we leave, we'd like to point out that "soapbox" is one word. That'll be $10, making the grand total of this Coffee Talk entry $165. Please remit payment to our PayPal account. Thanx.

Obviously we're not going to bore you with DeeDee's "Blog!" entry.

OK, fine. We'll give you the title:

A Fish Called Lucky By DeeDee

Keep in mind that that was written by a woman Lisa's age. And then completely get it out of your mind before it begins eating away at important parts of your brain. Like the parts that have already been compromised in Lisa and DeeDee's brains.

Until next time, we remain your humble Coffee Talk conduit. Thank you for reading our "Blog!"

Sunday, August 20, 2006

The Coffee Talk Companion: "Auschtin."

The Coffee Talk Companion is an ongoing feature in which we dissect and discuss former Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel's online journal entries.

This week, Lisa and the fam go to Austin. Well, Lisa drags the fam to Austin. The fam just wants to enjoy the last bit of summer at home, but mom decides to take the good and make the bad...

It was my desire to take a summer trip before summer completely wound down. Nobody else was really very enthusiastic about this. After weeks of going-and-coming, everyone was eager to simply sit around and veg. I understood; I wasn’t going to tell anybody but I felt the same way. But the momma in me took over. Yes, we had a very busy summer, experiencing exciting adventures, we even took our annual family vacation with our lifelong friends, and there was that trip to California for my brother’s wedding. All of that was fine, but as wonderful as those opportunities were, I didn’t feel like they defined family trip. (Notice I didn’t say vacation. I think “family vacation” is an oxymoron.)

Well, sure, "family vacation" is an oxymoron when Lisa Whelchel is planning it. Sheesh. We'd love to know why it's the trait of a "momma" to pack three unwilling kids and an unwilling poppa in a vehicle and force them to go on a trip. It sounds more like "SS Officer" to us.

Lisa sure thrives on making life harder for her family. Srsly.

What I had in mind was just the five of us stuck in our minivan for hours, forced to get along in one hotel room, civil conversation over breakfast, lunch and dinner, and learning how to enjoy each other’s company at the various places we visited.


Monday morning we loaded up the minivan and headed south to Waco – home of The Dr. Pepper museum. Since moving to Texas, we have all become “Peppers!” The museum was pretty boring, but it didn’t matter – we made the pilgrimage. Plus, we got to drink Dr. Peppers made straight from the soda fountain.

We have to assume that the fam has been to this museum before, if, as Lisa says, they're all already "Peppers!" Unless you can become a "Pepper!" by going to Mexico, which we think you probably can. The thing is, why visit Waco unless you're there to re-enact the popular early '90s Branch Davidian standoff?

From there we headed further south to visit my old friend, Nancy McKeon and her husband and adorable daughter.

We have to believe this was a very sneaky surprise attack by Lisa. In any case, yay! We love us some Jo.

Since Nancy married a Texan, she spends some of the year on their ranch in the Lone Star State. We were treated to genuine Southern hospitality and it was so good to catch up with old – and new – friends. (Nancy is pretty private so I won’t ever post personal pictures of her family on my website, but I thought this would be a good opportunity to finally post that picture of us with Katie Couric that I promised.)

We love how Lisa here pretends it was her thoughtful decision not to put Nancy's pics on the Web. You know Nancy put the kibosh on it the moment Lisa dared to even mention she might post pics. And we're kind of relieved that Lisa is smart enough to remember it's a fact of life not to mess with Nance.

(Aw. Mindy. God bless her.)

Apres Jo...

We headed to New Braunfels and checked into the Comfort Inn.

We totally love when Lisa's insistence on identifiying places by their proper names completely pays off. Do you, dear reader(s), think the kids are ever like, Mom, you were on a hit sitcom for a gazillion years and you pander to a demographic that will buy anything with the word Christ in or on it—WHY ARE WE STAYING AT A COMFORT INN?????????

Well, we do.

We spent the day at “Schlitterbahn,” the world’s largest water park.

OK. Right now we have to hesitantly admit that even though we have an enormous fear of water that other people have been in, we have been dying to go to Schlitterbahn for years. Dying. And to think that we could have been there and witnessed this...

No, not Tucker. Pervs. Look beyond that...

Yes. That.

A moment of silence, then, for missed opportunities.

Carrying on...

The kids and I spent ten hours tubing, sliding, boogie boarding and swimming. (Steve got smart and went back to the hotel halfway through the day.) Despite numerous application of sunscreen, the 100+ heat prevailed, and we all came home sunburned, tired, but full of memories. (Most of them good.)

"Most of them good"!!! And this time Lisa actually qualifies it!

At one point, Tucker and Haven got into quite the heated discussion, at which point I stepped in and the argument only escalated.

Well, sort of. We are not told what the discussion was about. Probably abortion. Or lunch.

Much to my chagrin, I received an email from someone last week saying they saw me at Schlitterbahn but didn’t come up to me because they didn’t want to disturb our family time. It is disconcerting enough to realize that somebody recognized me in a bathing suit! I can only hope and pray she didn’t see us fighting!!

Maybe prayer time should be spent on preventing the fighting rather than worrying about who saw the fighting. Oh, right! Prayer doesn't work. Much to our chagrin, we had momentary lapse in reasoning. Forgive. Forgive.

The next morning we rented “toobs” and floated down the Comal River. This was SOOOO much fun.

"Toobs." Which is so weird because we spell "boobs," "bubes."

At first we planned to go tubing down the Guadalupe River but because of the drought the water was too low for much fun. In hindsight, I’m thankful. The Guadalupe River is about 40-degrees year-round. The Comal is 70! It is also spring fed so it is relatively clean. There were plenty of rapids interspersed along the peaceful, 90-minute float. I think I enjoyed that “ride” better than any of the more thrilling rides the day before.

Golly! All that information is so incredibly exciting that we just honorarily put a six-pack in a "toob" for consumption as we make our way through the rest of this post.

We spent the evening and the next day hanging out with some dear friends of ours who live in Austin. This is my favorite thing to do on vacation – nothing!


In Lisa's defense, sometimes the obvious is, well, not obvious to those who have lost perspective on the whole thing. Let us, then, just quietly point out that a great place to do nothing is AT HOME.


The kids swam in the pool, the adults talked, and we grazed in the fridge all day.

Grazed in the fridge. Lovely.

However, we are relieved to see that Lisa isn't classifying herself as a kid or adult. It's a step in the right direction.

That evening we all went to Stubb’s BBQ for a delicious dinner experience.

A dinner experience, eh? Well right now we opened our second beer of the aforementioned six. Which means we're having a delicious drinking experience.

Tucker, Haven, and Andrew stayed for the concert playing behind the restaurant.

Sounds safe.

The rest of us visited the three-story Whole Foods Market. Oh my goodness, if we had a store like this near us I think I could eat healthy. It was awesome.

Thank GODS there's no Whole Foods near Lisa. Why, if there were, how would we ever hear about Chik-fil-A? We'd have to settle for hearing about Amy's Non-Dairy Burritos, which just isn't as much fun as something spelled kind of phonetically and with hyphens.

The next morning we had to get up very early to make it back to Dallas. Clancy was working at “The Mentoring Mansion.” (Please check out this amazing ministry at Haven was playing drums at a club that night with her band, “MathStorm.” This was the band’s last show due to the lead singer heading off to college so it was a big deal for all. (It had to be for me to stay up until 2:00 in the morning.)

The Mentoring Mansion?!?!?!?!?!?!? MathStorm?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? Never in the history of the world has the letter "M" been used for so much evil.

As many wonderful opportunities as we enjoyed this summer, nothing tops these last few days just hanging out with the Cauble Five!

Oh, yes. Nothing like dragging four people out of the house against their will for some fun at the Dr. fucking Pepper Museum, a river of E. coli and Nancy McKeon's house. Especially after all you want to do is nothing. Did Jesus make anyone else carry the cross when he had to walk from wherever to wherever? No. He did it himself and without complaining. Our point is, we all have our crosses to bear. Don't make your cross my cross. Why? Because Kris Kross'll make you jump, jump.

Well, you know, we do have to say one more thing just because we like wrapping up these commentaries with a nice summation of all we've just experienced...


Monday, August 14, 2006

The Coffee Talk Companion: "A Picture is Worth 1,000 Words, Unfortunately."

The Coffee Talk Companion is an ongoing feature in which we dissect and discuss former Facts of Life star Lisa Whelchel's online journal entries.

(Please note: this episode of the Coffee Talk Companion was begun when the corresponding journal entry was, in fact, a mess. It has since been fixed. You'll understand what we're talking about shortly.)

This week, Lisa kind of gets back into the Coffee Talk spirit by showing us some of her favorite photos and telling us about them IN HER OWN WORDS. The thing is the photos are from days of yore, so we're not hearing about her summer vacation as she promised last week. Still, it's better than a Clancy dispatch from Peru. Well, anything's better than a Clancy dispatch from Peru.

Here's her explanation:

Last summer I made two smaller scrapbooks of my favorite pictures. Each page was basically the same: one 5X7 picture that evoked strong emotion in me, a ribbon, an embellishment, a title, and the story. This is probably one of my favorite scrapbook projects I’ve ever done. One of these days I’ll upload the pages from this album to the scrapbook section on the website. Until then, I thought I’d just share a few of my favorite pictures and the stories behind them.

Fair enough, but if you venture to the actual Coffee Talk entry (which, as per usual, we don't recommend, at least not without taking 17 Percosets), you'll notice that the pictures don't quite match up with their descriptions. Meaning, we think Lisa has given us a little extra work this week. Nicely played, Lisa. Nicely played.

However, as you should know by now, Leese, we likes a good challenge. So we've matched up the photos with Lisa's ramblings. It wasn't nearly as difficult as it was tremendously boring. But if we can save just one person from having to do the work, well, we've done well by both God and Satan.


Photo 1 with its respective description (and there are 11, so you may want to take those Percosets anyway):

1. “Big Brother” – This photo brings back memories of simpler times for me. When my children were little I didn’t write, speak, travel, teach Sunday school, or anything. I was able to simply focus on being a full-time mom. I even had time to sew this little seersucker short pants suit that Tucker is wearing. We were living on a single income so we didn’t have money for a photo session. We received a coupon for one free 8X10 photo from Olan Mills studios. This is the photo I chose. (Today I would pay a hundred dollars for a picture of Tucker acting so tenderly towards his little sister.)

We're surprised by two things. One, that Blair Warner ever used a coupon for a free photo. And two, that there was a time when Lisa Whelchel didn't write or speak.

Photo 2 with respective description:

5. “The Big Screen” – On New Year’s Day, 2001, Nickelodeon Channel played a “Facts of Life” marathon. Tucker, Haven and Clancy had seen the videos but this was the first time they had actually seen the show airing on television. What a strange and wonderful feeling – watching my children watch me.

Oh, how we wish Cousin Geri had a blog so she could post a picture entitled "Geri's Kids."


"Nickelodeon Channel." Priceless. Lisa, you're very aware that it's not called Chik-fil-A Restaurant or Bible Book. We know you know it's just called Nickelodeon and that you made them watch mommy on TV. Stop playing the naif.

Photo 3 with respective description:

6. “Doggie PMS” – There is no question what Donut is saying in the picture. I figure it is a combination of: a) “Get that camera out of my…face!” b) “Why must I wear this embarrassing diaper?” c) “GRRRRRR!” d) All this trouble for nothing – they won’t even let me out of this house to meet my boyfriend.” E) “Did you just call me a B____?”

Or, F) "____ you, _______ born-again __________."

And you may not think it could get any better than a pic called "Donut PMS," but it most absolutely could.

Just not here, of course.

Photo 4 with respective description:

10. “Competitive/Competition” – Did I mention that Haven is good at everything she does! I think it is a combination of competitive spirit and intense concentration. Her first year playing volleyball, she was the star of the team – of course. I love this picture because it captures Haven’s determination, skill, and love for everything she does.

Actually, this photo really just captures Haven's determination, skill and love for volleyball. And we kind of have to take Lisa's word on the "skill" and "love" parts. We can give her the "determination" part, but, honestly, Photoshop can do wonders. Still, it's OK to dream. And we dig the artsy title of the description, but would it have been _______ too much to ask to have the photo captions match the respective description titles? ____.

Photo 5 with respective description:

3. “Praise God” – I absolutely love this picture! Haven is certainly beautiful from the front, but looking at her from behind as she is worshiping God, she is extraordinarily gorgeous. “Charm is deceitful, and beauty is vain, but a woman who fears the Lord, is to be praised.” Proverbs 31:30

Completely utterly horrifying. And, by " completely utterly horrifying," we are referring to Haven's hands.

Photo 6 with respective description:

8. “Friends for Eternity” – There are many things that hold these five families together: memories: children, California, and LifeNet vacations. But it is the spiritual bond we have that will make this special friendship we have last forever. “Dear Lord, thank You for the gift of eternal relationships. I am grateful that, because of You, these friends are family.”

Eh. We'll just take this space to say that there are five photos remaining, so if you want to get up and go to the restroom and/or kill yourself, now would be an excellent time to do so.

Photo 7 with respective description:

11. “Little Justice” – I love this picture because it captures my brother’s zest for life. Even, at the age of 22, he approaches life with a smile on his face and a spring in his step. I’ve always adored him but the older he gets, the more I admire him.

It's official: "Casey" is now really, actually "Justice." And this pic is really, actually the hottest thing we've seen since Johnny Depp in Chocolat. Kidding! We don't find Johnny Depp hot at all.

(This is as far as we got before Lisa cleaned up her page. Obviously we're not going back to fix this post, so we'll just continue with the remaining photos in any order we please, k?)

Photo 8 with respective description:

“Little Red Riding Horse” – For Halloween, Clancy’s horse-back riding class dressed up – horse and all- for a costume party. Clancy wore the red cloak she bought with her own money in Colonial Williamsburg. She made a “cloak” for her horse from a red sheet, put red bows in his hair and braided his tail with red ribbons. I don’t blame the wolf – she’s so cute you just want to eat her up!

Aw. Clancy dressed up as The Village. Much scarier than the actual movie. Much.

And, don't worry, we have contacted the ASPCA about this small-Christian-on-horse abuse. Do they do horses? Is that why they hung up on us?

Photo 9 with respective description:

“Oh, Brother!” – One evening, late at night while Clancy was sleeping, Tucker tied this ventriloquist dummy to the ceiling fan. He even tied another string to the bedpost so it would be looking directly at Clancy when she awoke. The next morning – guess what- we heard a blood-curdling scream. Oh, the joys of having a big brother.”

Another point for Tucker, who is so easily our fave of the Cauble kids. Tucker, if you're reading this, go take the dash key off mommy's computer. She's driving us insane.

Photo 10 with respective description:

“The Grinch who Stole the Xmas Tree Top” – Tucker and Grandmother bought this Christmas tree, brought it home, and discovered it was too tall for the room. So, they simply grabbed a machete, laid the conifer over a dog crate, and began chopping away at the top. Unfortunately, Roy’s little dog, Bette, kept getting in the way so they put her inside the dog crate to keep her safe – and proceeded to chop some more. Poor Bette. Poor Tree.”

Poor Us.

Photo 11 with respective description:

“Smile” – Say Cheese! (or Hay!) I love this picture just because it looks like the horse is smiling for the camera.

No, it doesn't. It looks like the horse is saying, "If you ever drape me in a red curtain like some _______ Christo creation again, I'll punch your _______ lights out, you _______ born-again __________. ____." That's what it looks like the horse is doing.

And, with that, believe it or not, we're done. _______ finally.

Lisa finishes her entry with this...

So, those were a few of my favorite things! I hope you enjoyed seeing them as much as I enjoyed reliving them. Life is good! (John 14:6)

...noteworthy mainly because if you have to attribute "Life is good!" to scripture, perhaps maybe life isn't that good. (Matthew 20:06)

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Coffee Talk Companion: "Perude."

Dear ____________.

Hello, it's us again. This week, Lisa posts a letter from Clancy about her mission to Peru. Yup. Three weeks in a row of no original prose from Lisa. Is it too sinful for us to think that perhaps Lisa herself has seen this site and is avoiding posting personal journal entries because she's wary of our commentary? Well, we'd like to believe that because we've always heard one person can make a difference in the world, and, today, we'd like to believe that one person is us.

That made clear, we must insist, Lisa, that you please stop deferring your journal entries to friends and family. We comment out of love, not hate. Our fun is not mockery—it's praise. Consider this photograph (sent in by reader Ruth), and consider us Jo.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Really. We love you. Now get to work.

On our end, we are in Ohio for reasons out of our control, so thus ends this week's CTC. We wouldn't dare bore you to tears with the details like Clancy does. We'll just wish you a good week and say we'll return en force soon.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

All Because of You.

Just so you know, there is a cassette copy of Lisa Whelchel's Grammy-nominated Christian record from 1984, All Because of You, available on eBay as we speak.

The starting bid is 99¢, and there are 0 bids thus far. And don't worry, the cassette "is in very good condition, played very little." We can't imagine why.