Thursday, February 28, 2008

No Pain, No Gain

I have always found that cliche ironic when applied to exercise. Isn't gain the opposite of what we are trying to achieve?

Fairlie posted on her blog about the benefits of Pilates. I believe M recommended this to her. It reminded me that I have an old Pilates tape (yes, tape... that's how long ago I purchased it) languishing in the cupboard with the other barely used exercise videos.

My weight has been creeping up ever since I got pregnant with J.T. I'm now quite embarrassed at the size label attached to the clothing in my closet. I need to be healthier and more energetic. So I dug out the Pilates tape yesterday. Those ladies have the look I long for..... long, lean, and fit without looking mannishly muscled. I thought it would be a good complement to my aerobics workout.

But dear, sweet Lord, I hurt in places I didn't know I had muscles. These poor long-ignored bits and pieces are SCREAMING at me. But I have to stick with this. No pain, no gain.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Our Cup Runneth Over

Almost, anyway. Our septic system has been at a stand still due to this:

Luckily it didn't back-up. But no water is exiting our home. Which means we have to do this:

(note the phallic mailbox, no it's not ours, in the background, Jennifer)

So it's a good thing my father-in-law has one of these:

because it's saving us thousands of dollars.

and we can do this:

in Ma Ma's 'cuzzi (jacuzzi) tub.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Once - Falling Slowly (Oscar Winner 2008 )

Love this song! I like the simplicity of just the piano and guitar and voices. So beautiful. And of course, now I'm going to have to see the movie. I needed some lovely today. Crappy, crappy today.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

A Book Meme

Alice tagged me days ago for a book meme. And whilst the rest of you are reading much weightier tomes, I am engrossed in...... a paperback romance. Yes, yes, I'm bring the cultural quotient down with my contribution to the meme, but my life is dramatic enough at the moment without adding any fictional tragedy to the whirlwind spinning in my head. Soozadoo recommended this one to me: Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evie by Marianne Stillings. It's a light book in the vein of the Clue movie. A whodunit with some romance. I have to admit I'm really enjoying it. And I can put it down and go right to sleep.

So, on page 123, lines 4,5, and 6: "Did Max want to kiss her? Did she want him too? The bruises on my shoulder and back are killing me," she rasped, blinking, breaking eye contact with him."

I know, I know.... very romance book cliche. :-P

Thursday, February 21, 2008


My sweet Rob turns 35 today. Happy Birthday!

He was adopted by his parents in 1976. He puts a possessive "my" in front of "dad" or "mom" when he refers to them. "Have you seen my mom?" What are we going to get my dad for his birthday." I never noticed that most of us would leave "my" out of those sentences. He's an only child and he's glad about it. He wouldn't have done well with the sharing thing.

He loves movies and old television series. Currently he's watching Dexter and Dark Shadows on DVD. Star Wars, of course, Lord of the Rings and most things fantasy and science fiction. Computer problem? Electronics? He's your man. Tell him to hurry up and he'll slow down, just to spite you. Birthday party? Social event that requires him to interact with people he doesn't choose to socialize with otherwise? He's not going. You don't want to make him. He won't pretend he's enjoying himself or make social small talk. If he doesn't have anything to say, all you'll get is silence.

He's not really a people person. He has no tolerance for stupidity and isn't above having a little bit of mockery fun with your run-of-the-mill idiot. Sarcasm is his strength and he uses it with great effect. It's one of the reasons I love him.

This is a man who likes order. Our books are arranged by genre, our DVDs are alphabetized, our pantry is organized, we have a spreadsheet budget and he takes a calculator to the grocery store. Another reason I love him. He is certainly a balance for my lack of organizational skills.

And how can you not love a guy who gladly serves as castle cleaner for his little girl? Now why doesn't he take direction from ME like that? He and J.T. are "best buds." His children adore him. He picks Abby up from school at lunchtime on Tuesdays and Thursdays and eats lunch with J.T. each Wednesday. He's very protective of his family. He's already planning Abby's dating years. I think we have a "dating my daughter" application saved on our PC. The current theory is that she can date two years after her father dies.

J.T. and Abby: "Being Daddy."

He keeps my cell phone charged and in my purse because he knows I won't remember to do it. He brings me flowers home with the groceries and pitches in with the chores: laundry, dishes, straightening (he's really, really, good at this), and yardwork. And avoids me when I have PMS. Did I mention how intelligent he is?

Happy Birthday Rob! We're celebrating tonight with Dinner (shrimp scampi with pasta, salad, fresh bread) and chocolate cake!

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Where I'm From

Inspired by the always inspirational Mary, in turn inspired by Meggie who was inspired by Molly.

I am from dirt roads and gravel streets. Soaring pine trees, azalea bushes and dogwoods. I am from long growing seasons that last from February until October. I am from boiling hot summers spent barefoot outside with dips in ponds and rivers to cool off. From delicious fresh blackberries and hot boiled peanuts. Sweet iced tea, fried eggplant and low country boils topped off with fresh peach cobbler. Muscadine or Scuppernog grapes eaten off the vine. White-tailed deer and gopher tortoises, cotton, alfalfa, soybean and tobacco fields, cows, pigs, chickens and goats. The land of Martin Luther King, jr and Ray Charles. Birthplace of Coca-cola.

I’m from hand-me-downs and parents who went without new clothes, new shoes and new cars so that we could have more of the things we wanted: Nikes, stone-washed jeans, leather jackets and neon shirts. I'm from new Easter dresses and bonnets and white Sunday shoes with lace-edged socks. Hand-made costumes, dresses, blankets and doll clothes. Sunday mornings spent in Sunday School followed by a big family dinner.

I'm from Scottish, English, French and Italian ancestors. I'm from grandparents who lived in the great depression. My paternal grandmother made diapers from flour sacks and fabric salvaged from the textile mills. She could make 2.5 diapers from each flour sack. She made biscuits without a recipe. Her name was Addie. Her mother's name was Addie and her grandmother's name was Addie. I’m from a paternal grandfather who was quiet, never still and always took me with him to the post office to get the mail. He died when I was 4. I still miss him.

I’m from my mother’s father. A tall, thin redhead who was always dressed neatly and talked so softly you sometimes couldn’t understand him. I’m from this man who once threatened to kill a boy who bullied my mother. From my mother’s mother who kept our cookie jar full and smelled of Jergen’s lotion and Jean Nate body splash. Who was trim and blonde and gave birth to a daughter while her husband was at war.

I'm from a teacher and a college drop out. If I close my eyes I can feel one of my mother's hugs. I can see her dark hair turning peppery then gray. I remember watching her read. Asking a question and waiting for whole minutes until she drug her eyes away from her book to answer. She stayed up late working on science projects that we left to the last minute. I'm from a father who spells enter “inter” because that's the way it sounds. A man who built the house I grew up in with lumber from his father's lumber mill. From big bear hugs and gruff “I love you’s”.

I'm from a bed shared with my sister and a bedside table stacked tall with books. From cold hardwood floors and a warm fireplace and no air conditioning. From hot sticky nights in front of an open window with the sounds of night life outside lulling me to a sweaty sleep and cold nights with the heavy weight of layers of handmade quilts piled on for warmth and crisp air chilling my nose.

From friends I've known since Kindergarten and teachers who taught my parents and siblings before me. From very strict etiquette: “yes ma'am” and “no sir”, “may I be excused” and thank you notes written for each gift received. I am from the Southern U.S.A. Whose past is filled with good and ugly, but whose beauty astounds me each new day and whose future I see in the eyes of my children.

** Mary did a much better job. I didn't stick to the template at all. I'm so not a rule follower! **

Sunday, February 10, 2008

A Career Change

I'm embarking on a new professional challenge. One that will allow me to fully embrace my creative side while engaging in one-on-one service with clients. Taking input and turning into unique designs and creations. What is this grand new career path you ask? Well, I've decided I want to be .....

a Plah-doh Design Consultant.

My first clients:

My latest creations. (It's an elephant, a monkey and a beach ball in case you can't figure it out).

I'm working up a list of fees. I'm thinking $2.50 for large animals, $1.50 for small animals and a $10 clean-up fee.

But I'm worried that my target audience will want to pay me in pennies, legos, comic books and gum instead of cold hard cash. Guess I better keep my day job.

Friday, February 8, 2008


I love words. Some more than others. I'm certain I have posted before about the letters and sounds strung together that I like. I know that discombobulate has been mentioned. Twice. I love the sound of that word.

Apparate is another favorite. I love that Harry Potter and this word sounds as magical as the action. And wouldn't it be absolutely lovely to pop in or out, just by uttering a simple word.

The dear Sussanah has given me a great affection for the term "slacktart". I love it. The imagery, the descriptiveness. I love saying: "Cause I'm a slacktart ____________."

Smock. Smock. Smock. Just fun to say. Smock. Smock. Smock.

My dad even invented a word of his own. Flustrated. A combo of the words frustrated and flustered. When he gets upset he throws his hands up and his hair sticks out and he says: "All right. I'm getting "flustrated."

Ice Box. Okay it's two words but one term. My grandparents always called the fridge the "ice box". "There are cokes in the ice box." Harkening back to the days when a big hunk of ice actually was brought in once a week to keep the food cool. My grandfather actually drove an ice truck in the 1930's for his father, who owned the local ice plant.

Southern words: ma'am and ya'll.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008



wants to show you where the balloons are: “Come on, I’ll show you.”

will take you by the hand and guide you there.

just wants you to get ONE down.

will need you to blow it up.

will NOT need you to tie it.

will remind you: “I better not see that balloon tied!”

so it can go PIFFFFFTTTTTTTTT when you hand it to her and she lets it go.

is so cute, that you’ll go along. One time, two times, three times…


hates spelling words!!”

scrunches up his face and says: “AWWWWW, not spelling words, AGAIN!”

has the handwriting of a caveman.

doesn’t understand why "of" and "off" sound so different.

would rather be playing with an action figure, watching Spongebob or doing math.

doesn’t get it from me.

because I had to take Algebra.... twice.

Monday, February 4, 2008

On My Heart

I’m not a person who intentionally seeks out things that are sad or tragic. I’ve never watched Beaches or Terms of Endearment. I loathed the Bridge to Terabithia when we read it in 4th grade. And though people like me might be able to avoid fictional tragedy by simply choosing not to read a book or watch a movie, in reality, we have very little choice in whether or not tragedy chooses us.

Last May I sat at this computer, toying with the idea of creating a memorial website for John. We decided to do something different. But as I looked for ideas, I noticed a listing of new sites on the side bar. And sweet little Ava Rosemeyer pulled me in. Into a story and a life and a spirit that moves me to this day.

For days, even weeks, I felt overwhelmed with Ava’s story. For a while I wished that I had not clicked on her website. I was already struggling under the weight of grief, my own and that of those around me. I thought that the empathy I felt for Crayton, Sheye and family would break me. That it was just more than I could bear on top of my own pain.

But Ava Rosemeyer has changed my life. She has nestled herself into my heart and into my days. At times, when I think of her, I still feel overwhelmed with sadness. But I also feel overwhelmed with something much more pink and sparkly than sadness.

One sweet child has changed hundreds, thousands of lives. Has saved lives. Has made lives richer, and lives in the hearts, minds and spirits of so many people. Her love, and spirit and joy have stretched across the globe. Her legacy grows and changes and touches, even as time moves forward without her physically here.

I believe that souls are forever. And that Ava lives on in so very many ways. Offering a few words of comfort and support mean so much. And if you’d like to light a candle for Ava, please do so here.

I know from personal experience how much support means. It is like thousands of hands at your back, helping you stand up in the force of a storm. It doesn’t make the storm stop, but it somehow provides some comfort and light in the middle of the dark. I’m not sure I’m finding the right words to describe it, but when you and others offer words of encouragement to me, it feels like a weight off my heart.

Ava’s story has, ultimately, been a good thing in my life. I wish that she was here and that her spirit and beauty had found my life in some other way. I wish her family were not missing her one year after her accident, but that she was wrapped safe in their arms in the present, in the future. But she is always in their hearts. She has found so many new hearts, too.

We cannot choose to lock ourselves away from the world, hoping to avoid pain. It finds us. It can be unavoidable. And we cannot hope to be comforted if we offer none ourselves. Today I’m wearing pink sparkly nail polish on the first anniversary of Ava’s death.

That first anniversary is so hard. The birthdays and holidays are hard. But there are happy memories to go along with the missing. Some days, days that don’t seem significant, are just unbearable. But on that first anniversary of John’s death, the numbness, the disbelief were long gone. The missing was so very real. The first birthday had passed, the first holidays. We KNEW what we had lost. But we had had some happy memories to share. “Remember last Christmas when John…… On his 13th birthday he……” But there was nothing happy about THAT day. And it was hard. Much harder than I imagined it would be.

Today my thoughts and prayers are with Ava’s family. I hope that they can feel the thousands of hands reaching out to them, holding them in spirit…. And I hope it makes this day survivable. Thank you for the care you have shown me when I have needed it. I hope the same care is shown to Sheye and family and that it means as much to them as it means to me.

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