Saturday, December 31, 2011


Ahhhhhh. Now that is the ultimate in relaxed isn't it?

This year, 2011, I've found myself feeling like an acrobat trying to stay on top of a rolling ball. Struggling to keep up instead of being out in front. Thus the terrible inconsistency with blogging. My head has been an unorganized, chaotic mess. I'm hoping that 2012 will be the year I get ahead of the game and stay there. To that end, I took a week of vacation time to chill and recharge. A nice way to close out the year. A nice way to begin a new year. I hope my year has many moments that convey the same oblivious to the outside world that the picture of Abby sparks in my soul.

Rob and I sat down today and worked on a plan to make the most of our time and energy this year. On Sunday evenings, we'll sit down together to discuss what the upcoming week will bring, who will be taking the kids to this or that, how can we each fit in time for ourselves to workout, read, write, blog and time for us as a couple and as a family. I know it isn't for everyone, but Rob, J.T. and I all function more efficiently and calmly when we know what to expect. Abby of course, is up for whatever adventure comes her way. She is certainly good at providing adventure!

We want to eat out less and exercise more. The idea is to plan our grocery shopping so that we don't use an empty pantry as an excuse to stop for easy, unhealthy food. The kids will be outside for at least an hour in the afternoons and will be e-free on weekdays.... no video games, tv, or computer time (unless necessary for school).

One big item on the list is to get the kids on a more consistent schedule with pitching in with chores and jobs around the house. We are hit and miss with this. I'm a big believer in every family member being responsible for making things work. We are a family and we all need to contribute to making our household work.

The kid list includes:

  • Laundry - clothes in the dirty hamper, to the washer, clean clothes back in your drawer/closet.
  • Dishes - unload and reload the dishwasher and take your plates/cups to the sink when you finish eating.
  • Toys - put your things away, no matter where they migrate, return them to their homes please.
  • Recycling - sort the recyclables at home and help place in proper bins at the recycling center.
  • Bob duty - feed, water and exercise the dog.

Of course, I must begin my year by getting caught up with all of you, dear friends!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Simple Gifts

The things that made me happy today.

Warm brownies and cold milk.

Ten minutes of lazy waking up after the alarm went off.

"Hey, Mom! The tooth fairy left me $5!"

Little bits of cotton fluff scattered on the roadsides.

A seven year old girl in a purple tutu.

Japanese for lunch.

New Lipstick.

Pumpkin spice candles.

Empty laundry baskets.

Mix-tapes: Band of Horses, the Dittybops, Bruce Springsteen, Sally Seltmann.

Sunshine and Autumn leaves and giant bales of hay.

Saturday, October 29, 2011


And I don't just mean the season. I feel a bit like Alice down the rabbit hole lately. Chasing reality.

J.T. has come home with some interesting homework assignments lately. One of which was to write massive numbers (58,784,232,085) in expanded form using exponents. I had to google it. It took forever and frankly I'm not sure I understand it yet. I may never understand the purpose of it. The ridiculous demands of our current school curriculum are driving me crazy. Normally I'm not a one of those who worries excessively about the future, but if all we are focusing on dumb things that have no real life application, will we be surprised when the ability to think outside the box and be creative wanes?

I've just realized that this is J.T.'s last year of elementary school. My oldest child will be in middle school next year. He's still very much a "kid" to me. He looks like a kid, has a pile of lego and action figures under his bed and has to be reminded to brush his teeth, but the tween years loom. He needs deodorant now (and yes I have to remind him about that too). For now, he's on the fence about Santa, but has figured out the tooth fairy. He WANTS to believe in the jolly guy from the North Pole, is clinging to it, but has grave doubts. His confidence is growing. Last night, he won 3rd place in the Halloween costume contest at the park with his take on Scarecrow from the Batman movies. He and Rob, who gets all the credit for costume design, were thrilled.

Abby was less than thrilled. "You said this was just for fun," she said, lady bug arms crossed and one black ladybug foot tapping impatiently. If HER confidence grows anymore, we're in trouble. As J.T. put it: "I'm thinking about making a comic strip about our family. Abby, the unstoppable force, meets the immovable object, Dad watching football."

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dear Bob

(the not such a) wonder dog,

Night time is for sleeping. Even for not quite one year old dogs. The cows are well, uncowed, by your barking and howling and carrying on. A cow's gotta "mooooooooooooooooooooo", you know? So if you could SHUT IT DOWN with the 12 a.m. racketfest, I would appreciate it very much.

Also, the flowerpot is not your enemy. There is no agenda there. It just wants to sit on the porch and be pretty. A simple vessel for containing something floral in nature. Okay? It doesn't want to fight you! If you knock it into the wall, it will come out fighting. You WILL get tangled up in it, despite the fact that this would seem to defy the laws of physics. So can we call a truce with the flowerpot already? Please?

Last, but not least, no more inviting your friends over while we're away. No breaking into the trash can and scattering leftover party goods about the place. You're already grounded for the rest of the year, so if you expect Santa to leave even the tiniest treat for you at Christmas, you really need to tell the beagle to stay home. You lie down with dogs.... well. I think you know where I'm going with this.

P.S. Sidewalk chalk is not for eating. I like rainbows as much as the next person, but I don't want one on the grass.

Mom (the person who is in charge of feeding you)

Monday, September 19, 2011


Something awful happens. One of those terrible, life altering losses that are supposed to happen to other people. The phone call that fractures everything. The numb gives way to crushing grief that turns into perpetual sadness that eases into mostly something bearable. Something makes it okay to wake up. Okay to smile, or laugh, or feel a bit normal. Even if "it"never quite goes away. There are still days when you have to choose to put one foot in front of the other, to take a breath and another and another. Days like tomorrow.

I heard someone say that "closure" is a television word. Something that doesn't exist. Losing someone you love isn't something from which you recover. It is something you learn to live with.... in an altered, strange world that looks, smells, and keeps on spinning, just like before. It is you who is different, not the world.

Six years of missing. Of wishing I had made more phone calls, had more conversations, been less judgmental, enjoyed the moment more. I wish that I could say that living through it had made me into a better person. Someone who appreciates what is important, truly important in this life, but I don't know that it is true. The cause did not engender some kind of beautiful effect. No metamorphosis into a higher level of being.

Mostly, I'm grateful to have known him. Grateful that when the bottom fell out, the closeness of our family kept us from falling headlong into the pit. Grateful that my parents gave us a childhood filled with love and togetherness and things that can't be traded for something out of a wallet. I'm still me, no better than before, but different all the same.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

The Girl

got her ears pierced today, an early birthday present for the big 7 candle event that happens later in the month. She picked purple starter earrings and didn't cry at all. Much better than I did at the ripe old age of 35 when I got mine done last summer. She's such a girly girl! It disconcerts me most of the time. I'm more of a mix than she is. Keeping her out of the makeup, heels and gaudy jewelry is becoming a full time job. I have to do a face check every morning to make sure she didn't sneak into my makeup and slap on some lipstick while I was fixing breakfast.

Now that school is back in session, her dance lessons have resumed. Tonight, she insisted on having a Dance Off, boys vs. girls. Of course the boys bailed. Total scaredy cats!! I have to say neither of them have any sense of rhythm. So it was a wise move. The challenge then shifted to Mom vs. Abby. I pulled out all the stops. Vogue, Electric Slide, a really weak Running Man, and some mixed martial arts moves. Stomper Girl would have been (not) proud! I knew the thing was rigged anyway. Rob told me he was voting for Abby BEFORE the music even started. Cheaters.

I think we know who the REAL winner was. C'mon. ELECTRIC SLIDE.

Abby disagreed. She said: "Here Mom. Do you need this napkin.... to wipe off your FAILURE.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

She was 92!

When someone has lived a long and (mostly) happy life, a funeral becomes not a time of grief, but an opportunity to share wonderful memories and to reflect on how lucky you are to have that person in your life. Our family enjoyed looking through old black and white photos of Grandma Hall as a baby, a young girl, a jodphur-wearing teenager with a piebald horse, a grinning newlywed tucked under the arm of a lanky man in a fedora and a double-breasted suit. He was grinning too! A young mother gazing at her baby with adoring eyes, oblivious to the camera. A proud grandmother surrounded by a motley crew of disheveled kids. A time to be grateful, to feel lucky and blessed to have her.

Grandmother died on August 6th after a life well-lived. Old enough to be born into a family whose chief means of transportation was horse and wagon. Old enough to remember when cotton and corn were picked by hand and loaded into the wagon, which was pulled by the horse, to the gin or grist mill. Old enough to have played in a yard that was filled with flowers instead of grass. Old enough to have used a wood burning stove.... even as a newlywed! Old enough to have lived through The Great Depression (her father lost the farm), to watch a husband leave to fight in World War II and to get confused about "swim, swam, swum" because they changed the rule after she finished school.

Old enough to call jeans "dungarees" and the refrigerator the "ice box". Old enough to remember phone operators and doctors who made house calls, and to have made enough chocolate chip cookies, cheese straws, chewy cake, pimento and cheese, apple salad, banana pudding, fried cornbread, and apple tarts to feed a small army of grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Old enough to call earrings "ear bobs" and to say things like: "Pretty is as pretty does" and "sit up straight, like a lady".

She loved and was loved and had a pretty marvelous life. There were no grand trips or thrilling adventures. Much of her happiness came in helping others. She and my grandfather would take widows out for Sunday Drives. She sent meals by our house weekly when my mother went back to work and sent her famous deviled eggs to church suppers.

To me she was this elegant blonde who managed to look beautiful with minimal effort. Who never went anywhere without her nails done, her clothes pressed neatly, her hair done up and a pair of earbobs on. She would show me how to do things like paint my nails (a long swipe down first one side, then the other, then a smooth stroke down the middle to finish the first coat), pluck my brows (ouch!) and to sit with my legs tucked to the side. As my cousin Lisa said, I think I'm letting my grandmothers down on the elegance, stately score. I'm usually a mussed, unorganized mess. Despite detailed lessons at her knee, I still can't paint my own fingernails worth a doodle or sew a button on a shirt. But she loved us anyway. Even if those lessons must have seemed like the epitome of futility at times.

She was easy to love.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Running Faster

... but can't catch the carrot. Too many balls in the air, irons in the fire, cooks in the kitchen, etc.

It has been so long.

I really haven't had two coherent thoughts to string together, much less enough for an entire post. I've been avoiding the blog because I know I'm so far behind on catching up with what is happening in everyone else's lives and maybe I really didn't want to think about how much I've been missing out on in the blogiverse. You, dear readers, know that you will end up with a potluck kind of post I'm sure. So here we go!

It's hot. My brain seems as sluggish as the muggy, humid weather. Blergh. Even the pool isn't refreshing. The water is more like bath water than anything cool and relaxing. We took the kids to Magnolia Springs State Park last week and they declared it "the hottest day ever." We did the picnic thing (of course there were ants), took a short nature walk and packed it in. The stop for ice cream on the way home salvaged the day I think.

The last month has been a whirlwind. We've been away for a trip, the kids have been off with each set of grandparents, we squeezed in a date night and a viewing of Harry Potter (loved it!).

My car has decided to crank only intermittently. All repair attempts thus far have failed. Two weeks of working fine, then it won't crank. Then it cranks for two weeks, then it won't. New battery and alternator, new crank relay (?).... and of course when the mechanic tries, it works just fine. We'd really like to get another good year or so out of it before trading it in on a new one. Stupid car.

Rob's mother lost her keys and swore up and down that Rob had them. He didn't. You all know how organized he is... no way would he be unable to find them if he had them. We looked high and low and under and over and around and then did it all again. No keys. She was still convinced he had them. He didn't. I did. He found them in my purse when he went to get my cell phone out to charge it. Oops. In my defense, that thing is HUGE (think Hermione's bag) and has about a billion compartments. I think she may have given them to me before they left for the airport and in the thousands of events that took place betwixt and between I completely forgot it. Did I say "oops" already?

Abby, who has never met anything that was childproof, managed to open the safety cap on the vitamins and took four. While I was lecturing on pill safety, her brother threw in his own little cautionary tale: "Abby, Elvis DIED from taking too much medicine!!" He even had his hands up in the air and his eyebrows in outrage position. It was so much more effective than anything I could have said. Even if she doesn't know who Elvis is.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Free Me

Currently listening to Joss Stone's Free Me. Serious crush on this song.

Hair down, summer dress, bare feet, dancing in the den, eyes closed, glass of wine in hand.

Playing it loud.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Christine and J.G. A Love Story

In a small blue room on College Street sits a woman who, seventy one years ago, fell in love with a red-haired man whom she knew from her childhood. When they were small she watched him swinging around the columns on his front porch across the street while she played with dolls on hers. When they met again, she recognized him before he ever took off his hat to reveal that red hair underneath. Theirs was a six month courtship that culminated in a wedding at the parson's study.

They built a life in a small house with a wrap around front porch and a screened in back porch. She watched him go to war with a young girl beside her and a babe on the way. She welcomed him home and introduced him to a second daughter. Everyday she polished his shoes and he took the list she gave him to do the shopping. She baked cookies and he delivered them. He sat at the kitchen table and diced and chopped, sliced and cut and she cooked. She shopped and he paid the bills. She fertilized and he cut the grass. She waved goodbye as he drove to his shift as a prison guard, and prayed he would come home safely.

Each Sunday he dressed neatly in the shirt she pressed, the suit and tie she picked. She put on “ear bobs”, touched up her hair with a pick, asked him to zip her dress and off they drove. Three blocks to church and three blocks back. They raised their daughters, Pat and Linda, in the quiet little house with the big backyard. They loved them through thick and thin, though there wasn't very much thin. How could two girls brought up in such love ever raise much of a ruckus?

Eventually they welcomed grandchildren and rocked and read and babysat. She patched the knees of torn dungarees and sewed buttons back on shirts. He bought crickets and packed up the long cane poles so they hung out the car window, a flag that said without words: “Going fishing!” and patiently baited hooks, took off the catch and never once dipped his own line in the pond. Then there were great grandchildren and they repeated all that had gone before with the same books and toys, needle, thimble and cane poles (but new crickets).

And then. He was sick. The recurrent bronchitis turned to pneumonia that turned to something else. And he was in a hospital 60 miles from home. Home being not the little white house with the red columns and detached garage, but her. And then he did come home and he cried to see her again. She was no longer the slender blond whom he had married on a cold day in February, but do you imagine that he had never thought her more lovely? Not long after, his breathing changed. Infection had set in and this time he would return neither to the little house on the double-lined drive nor to her.

Ten years from that day she sits, no longer in the house where they lived together but in a nursing home. A summer wreath hangs on the door. Framed pictures of the girls hang on the wall next to the window. A hummingbird calendar tracks the days and months as they pass. Outside her windows blue jays, redbirds and little black cowbirds swoop to the bird feeder. Linda has updated the magnet boards that hold family pictures with photos of the first great-great grandchild and Pat has made the bed and turned back the covers. She can no longer chat with them as they sit with her day in and day out, morning and afternoon. The life that lit her blue eyes is fading as quickly as their color.

Today, one of them will help the staff use the lift to move her from bed to chair and back again. One of them will take care of personal needs the mother is no longer embarrassed to endure at the hands of others. The daughter, Linda or Pat, will bathe her, gently scratch her scalp, spoon feed her small helpings of yogurt, plump the pillows just the way she likes them. The daughter will call for medicine and tuck a small gift in the breast pocket of the hospital gown, so her mother, whose lips can no longer form the words “thank you” can, nonetheless, say “thank you” to whoever comes to help. And these daughters still search for, and find, the woman who fell in love with a red haired boy so many years ago. And they love her, with gentle words and hands, as she has loved them.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

When Life Gives You Peaches...

make peach cobbler!

My strawberry couple gave me a big bag of fresh Georgia peaches yesterday. So this morning, I peeled and sliced them, googled my favorite recipe (below) and coerced the kids into helping prepare a south Georgia summer treat. Note that I used skim milk in mine, which surely cancels out some of the butter? I know, I know... the SUGAR. I just couldn't help myself. I did save three peaches for slicing and eating plain. But there were so many peaches. It would have been so wrong to let them just lay around and ruin wouldn't it?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Dear Kmart,

It's over. You've teased me with your blue light specials. Tempted me with soft Martha Stewart linens. Marked your books down to 25% and added a line of children's dance accoutrements to keep our relationship limping along. Instead of being warned by your mostly empty parking lot, I fell hard for the false promise of short checkout lines, only to discover a single cashier on duty and a line 6 customers deep.

Why Kmart? Why? Was I not disheartened enough with your lack of help, customer service and wonky-wheeled shopping carts? Did you have to add a survey to the electronic checkout? Mr. Bluelight wants to know if I would recommend Kmart to my friends? Highly likely, probably, maybe, probably not, no? You won't let me complete my purchase unless I answer? You've sealed your fate.

I can quit you Kmart. Luckily, I won't need a restraining order.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sweet Tea

Good sweet iced tea is created by steeping tea bags for at least five minutes, pouring the hot concentrate in a pitcher, adding sugar,and stirring to dissolve before filling the pitcher to the top with cold water. It is impossible to sweeten cold tea! No one wants grains of sugar suspended in their tea glass, which is exactly what happens when you add sugar once the tea is already cold.

It's brutally hot. The first day of summer on the calendar, but the 50th day according to the temperature gauge since early April. A nice cold glass of sweet tea, heavy on the ice, is THE way to cool off. We've been downing the tea by the pitcher.

Friday, June 17, 2011


Children and reason go together like chocolate and pickles or sharks and seals.

Why do I have to go to bed? Because it’s late! Because it’s past your bedtime! Because you’re cranky! Because I’m cranky!

Why does he get to go first? Because somebody had to do it and you can’t BOTH go first! Because it’s his turn!

Why can’t I wear the sparkly shoes to town? Because we’ll be doing lots of walking and they will hurt your feet. Because I they don’t stay on!

Why do I have to brush my teeth? So you don’t get a cavity! So no one has to smell your stinky breath! So your teeth don’t fall out!

Why do I have to brush my hair? Because it looks like rats nested in it! Because it’s rude to go out in public without bothering to comb your hair!

Why can’t I get in the pool by myself? Because you might drown! Because I can’t hear you if you get into trouble! Because it is the rule!

Why can’t I sit up front? Because it isn’t safe! Because it’s the law! Because you aren’t tall enough!

Why are you yelling? Why?! Why?!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Telemarketing FAIL

This morning I received a call from a telemarketer. The conversation went something like this:

Me: "Good morning. May I help you?"
Her: "Good morning, this is so-and-so from such-and-such marketing. Do you have an email address?"
Me: "Yes."
Her: "May I have it?"
Me: "No."
Her: Silence.
Me: (after a few seconds). Click.

Five seconds later the phone rings. I answer it with my customary cheerful "Good morning! May I help you?" She says: "You B*$&#!!! You are SO RUDE!" Hangs up. Then calls me back FIVE times. Each time I get no response to the standard greeting. Until I say, "If you keep calling I will contact the Federal Communications Commission to report you." She says: "Go ahead. GO AHEAD!" in a sing-song voice that I've only ever heard before in a school yard.

But she didn't call me back.

And she certainly isn't going to get my email address NOW! Sheesh.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

How long HAS it been?

So long I almost forgot my login/password!! Insert sad face. A picture of the kids in case you can't remember what they look like. J.T. is as tall as my chin now!

This also could have been titled: "Drowning, not waving!"

Every year, the transition period that is the last month of school and the beginning of Summer, sneaks up on me with all its busyness and running around. Dance recitals, year end productions, Honors Night, shifting from school schedules to break schedules, getting ready for vacations (or staycations in our case), purchasing and putting up the pool, the anniversary trip to Savannah (nicely organized by the darling Rob), graduations, airport drop-offs, watering instructions for Mrs. Gail's flowers (really... we should just rename it a botanical garden) while they were away, launching one of those boot camp workouts that has hour long workouts six days a week..... blergh! To-do list too long for hours in the day. As usual.

Mary sent LOVELY photographs and I'm just now getting around to posting about it. Loads of guilt over that. As you can imagine, or if you already own some of her work, you know that seeing those images on a screen and actually holding them in your hand are two very different things! I've picked this one to frame and put in my room upstairs. It is absolutely perfect for the quiet, peaceful ambiance I want to create in that space. The space I have yet to be able to utilize! Soon, I hope, soon. Maybe getting that photo framed will inspire me to fully claim the space and spend time in it. Alone!

Her creativity stuns me! The ability to just frame something and tweak it and instinctively KNOW that it is the shot you want. Did I mention stunning?

I'm off to have a bath, pour a glass of wine (Shhhhh! Don't tell workout guru that I'm cheating on the eating plan... like the bowl of ice cream I had at 4 p.m. didn't already break a rule or four) and watch "The King's Speech" with Rob. Hello Colin Firth!

The glass of wine has to be partaken of tonight you see. Abby informed me after watching the pool safety video that I can't swim in the pool because I drink. I rolled my eyes and told her that you shouldn't swim after having a drink, but having a drink doesn't mean you can't EVER go swimming! Rob laughed at me and told me that she'll probably tell all the kids that her Mom drinks. Which sounds awful doesn't it? "My Mom drinks." Instant mental picture of some bag lady knocking back shots out of a paper bag.

Too busy to even pop the cork, much less pour a glass OR drink it straight out of the paper bag!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Minnutes Pack up your troubles

Because it has been a crazy hectic week and I want to sit with a glass of wine and not have to listen to any whine for a bit.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


A dear couple that I know through my work at a local non-profit stopped by today with a gift of FOUR pints of strawberries, freshly picked from a local grower. They are bright red with brilliant green tops and you can smell their sweetness before you ever bite into that delicious flesh. Abby and I have already gone through close to half of them.

This couple is no ordinary husband and wife. I met them before they retired, before they had time to pick strawberries in the middle of the day in the middle of the week. The Mrs. served on the finance council and was winding down a very productive career as a businesswoman. She was sharp, very sharp. The Mr. was getting set to retire from years of self-employment. Over the next few years, they indeed retired and settled into the quiet years of garden puttering, wood working, bike riding, trips to see children and grandchildren... and then the Mrs. was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease.

Her husband has not let this diagnosis change who they are to a large extent. They still travel to see the children and grandchildren, even though the Mrs. can't always remember where they are going and whom they are going to see. Volunteer work (including strawberry deliveries!) is still undertaken. She is still neatly dressed and if he doesn't quite match things as she would have, or her hair isn't as precisely combed as it was before, no one would ever say. Most would never notice. You can't get past the gorgeous, child-like happy smile that is almost always on her face.

Watching him maintain, at what must be great sacrifice to himself, her safe, secure world is stunningly beautiful. She watches every move he makes, for he has become all that she can remember, her only touchstone and connection with what is real. Even if she doesn't know why, can't remember much of who she is, who they are, she knows she is loved. Sweetly, gently. Forever.

Everytime I fish a strawberry out of the basket, I think how wonderful that kind of love is. How beautiful to witness the sweetness of love, not in the blush of youth and joy when life rises up to meet you, but in the wane of life, as days grow shorter and life grows harder. How beautiful.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011


Finish your supper

Put your plate in the sink

Stop picking on your brother/sister

Pack up your bookbag

Get in the tub

Brush your teeth

Put your clothes in the hamper

Wipe up the floor

Did you wash behind your ears

Turn the light off

I love you

Go to bed

Go to bed

Go. to. BED!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Life is Like a Carton of Sour Milk

It smells and there are chunks.

Today was grocery shopping day. We go on Sunday mornings because it is the least crowded day to brave the superstore. When we arrive home with our groceries, we usually do a quick clean-out of the refrigerator. Out goes the last of the wilted produce, the leftovers that never got eaten, the milk that doesn't pass the sniff test.

Today I set the carton of milk out on the little table we have by the garage door, planning to take it out to the edge of the woods to be poured out. Only I got distracted by squabbling children and completely forgot it. I know. We're all really SHOCKED that Ms. ADD got distracted.

The dog, however, did NOT overlook my forgetfulness and was just too intrigued by the carton to leave it alone. He turned it over. Strong smell and lumpy texture notwithstanding, he drank/ate it. Rob discovered this when he went to the car to get something out. While I was getting a bucket of water, soap and a mop together, Abby ran in to inform us that Bob (the genius dog) had barfed. All over the garage. Which is how I discovered that Bob had also eaten an onion. And a strawberry. And a LOT of sour milk.

So the moral of the story is no good deed goes unpunished or don't delay pouring out the old milk or curiosity may have killed the cat, but it makes the dog throw up.... Choose your own moral.

The good news is that Monday doesn't look nearly so intimidating now!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

She Dements Me

I love her. But boy oh boy does she drive me crazy sometimes!

Quirky can be endearing. Unless one of your "quirks" is that you like to open board games and take out all the cards and spread them out on the floor. All of the cards from all of the board games. Monopoly, Candyland, Head Bandz, Memory. At the same time. Hundreds of little rectangles, all mixed together like a giant card melting pot: "Draw Four" snuggling up with "Go Directly To Jail." It only takes her about three minutes to create this chaos. The clean-up is much longer and involves me alternately cajoling and demanding and finally yelling a bit.

It dements me. It really, really dements me. It also makes me want to give our games away. Because no matter what punishment is doled out for this crime, the rate of re-offense is 100%.

Monday, April 4, 2011


I lay spread-eagle on the trampoline, eyes closed.

Watching nothing.

Doing nothing.

Just being.

Letting the breeze cool my sun-warmed skin.

Listening as it flipped the pages of an abandoned book to and fro.

The distant thrum of a lawn mower.

A bird chirping from his limb on a River Birch.

Squealing kids playing under the water sprinkler.

The dog barking at a leaf.

No one and nothing calling my name.

In the moment.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

I am from handmaid quilts, White Lily flour and sweet tea.

I am from the wood sided house on the gravel paved road, the shade of pine trees and the sweet smell of honeysuckle in late Spring.

I am from pink and white azaleas, sandy soil and cotton fields, dogwood trees, magnolias and pine straw.

I am from Sunday dinners and Scottish, French, and British stock, from Rhoney and Dickinson, Hall and Brown.

I am from wood mills, teachers, newspapers and merchants.

From oral histories, told at the knee of grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends and family recipes prepared with no written instructions or measuring.

I am from Baptists and lacy Sunday socks, black patent dress shoes for winter and white for summer. Slips with crinoline to make a dress twirl.

I'm from the Southern U.S., from hard work and honesty, lacy fried cornbread and cheese grits.

From the banks of Upper Lotts Creek to the rolling hills of west Georgia, from farms and homemade biscuits to ice delivery trucks and planer mills.

I am from boxes filled with snapshots of camping trips, family reunions, birthday parties and pets.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

The One with the Medicine, Rinse Cup, and "Glue"

On Tuesday, Abby awoke at 2 a.m. complaining of an earache. Antibiotics were prescribed. First dose was poured, neatly measured - 1 teaspoon. The phone rang. While I answered it, she poured that teaspoon right down the bathroom drain.

On Wednesday, she wanted to sleep in my bed. I said no. She went to her room and put on her nightgown, came back into the kitchen and said: "I can't sleep in my bed. It's wet." I investigated and discovered a nice soppy puddle in the middle of the bed. And an empty toothpaste rinse cup on the bedside table. "Did you pour water on your bed Abigail?" You've probably seen that guilty look before. The one that functions as a wordless "yes".

On Friday, while I was in the den reading (what was I thinking!) Abby very quietly got out the flour, some water, a few cubes of ice and made really cold glue. There was glue and flour and water and little bits of ice. Everywhere.

Of course it would be the every other Friday that the cleaning lady comes... freshly mopped floor and vacuumed rug. I think there might be a rule about kitchen disasters only happening just after it has been cleaned?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Oh, What a (Not) Glorious Morning

Morning began at 2 a.m. for me, when Abby woke up with an earache. It took close to an hour for pain medicine to kick in and for her to go back to sleep. At 6:30, J.T. awoke complaining of a sore throat and fever. So we decided he would go to work with me and Abby would stay with MaMa. Trust me. No one wants to handle TWO sick kids alone. It is CIA level torture.

I packed them each a bag, some entertainment selections, medicine and lunches. We were, of course, running late to get everyone where they needed to be. Alot of scrambling later, we had everyone in the car, with their respective "stuff", all buckled in. So. The car wouldn't crank. It's not even MONDAY!

PaPa let us borrow his truck, doctor appointments were scheduled, we made it to work on time and $100 later, the kids have antibiotics and school excuses in hand.

And I have five alarm headache.

Monday, March 7, 2011

The Doldrums

See how puffy my eyes are? Winter turned to Spring almost literally overnight. One day it was cold and the next it was balmy and the Bradford Pear trees, Dogwoods, Lorapetalum, Dandelions and other assorted blooming plants and weeds burst into full pollination! We are now stocked with allergy meds... but it seems like trudging through the normal cycle of homework, extracurricular activities, Spring Fling, birthday parties, etc. is all the more difficult through the haze of allergy-induced sneezes and sinus pain and pressure. Ugh.

It also means energy for blogging has been zapped. As always, so many posts running through my head--photos of early Spring blooms, the local theater playing The Diary of Anne Frank, dusting off of old projects--has been delayed. I'm just catching up with what all of YOU have been up to as well! Hopefully things will settle out and regularly scheduled programming will resume.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Are you KIDDING me?

Sunday I witnessed a middle aged man texting... during a funeral.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Bieber Fever :-(

I sat through two hours of film featuring tweenager girls crying and hyperventilating over Justin Bieber. How much do I love her? TWO HOURS!!!

This is the Bieber shrine in her room.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


"Abby. Did you cut your hair?"

"Um. No?"

I think the evidence says otherwise.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Brief Detour

Just because it made my kids laugh and laugh and laugh.... and Abby kept saying: "Alan! Alan! Alan!" after she watched it.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


I've decided to stick with a bit of the "Where I'm from" theme for posts in the near future. Statesboro is a college town and has been for over a century. My sister and I were the third generation of our family to attend Georgia Southern. My Grandmother Hall attended in the mid-1930s. My mother graduated in 1963. Christie, my sister, finished up in 1989 and I graduated in 1998. These trees have been there for all three generations! The common area above is called "Sweetheart Circle".

The town has grown as the college (now a Carnegie Melon Research University) has thrived in the past two decades. We even have a Starbucks now and TWO book stores! Enrollment has tripled since my sister graduated and grown by 5,000 students since my own graduation year. New apartment complexes, shopping centers and restaurants have expanded along with parking complexes, dormitories, and academic buildings. Students make up 40% of the population and Georgia Southern University is the largest employer in our region. We are a true college town.

The campus is beautiful. There is a lake (really a pond) in front of the library and plenty of room has been left amidst the expansion of buildings for trees, benches and cobblestone pathways. I have to admit that when I was a student, it irritated me that the chemistry lab was sadly outdated while money was being spent on new pathways, fancy outdoor lighting and the like. The results are nice and money has finally been spent to update both the biology and chemistry buildings. NOT before the College of Business and Accounting or the Athletic facilities, of course. But updated nonetheless.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What's Your Story?

When I'm not so caught up in my mental to-do list that I don't notice my surroundings, much less the people passing by, I often study the faces, clothing, mannerisms of people I meet - and wonder... What's your story? What do you do? Where are you from? Who are the people who matter to you? Where are you going? Why? What do your dream of for your future? Why did you want to become a banker, lawyer, flower shop owner, teacher, artist, photographer, dance instructor, secretary, architect, etc.?

The city of Statesboro recently installed park-style benches along the downtown streets. Instead of facing out, they face the storefronts. Is it me or is that backwards? The streetscape really is lovely and laidback. One of the bank parking lots is used as a farmer's market each Saturday where local growers sell produce, flowers, homemade breads and crafts. The first Friday of the month businesses stay open late and the downtown restaurants offer free samples and wine tastings. Below is a video that has some neat pictures of the town as it was growing. Disclaimer: It isn't well done. Why the heck are they shooting film through tree branches?

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Date Night

Simple pleasures.

No kids underfoot who have to be told "stop that!" or "please put that away".

A bonus that the cleaning lady came Friday, so there was no "to do" list hanging over my head.

No laundry that needed folding, no vacuuming or mopping or anything else to distract from having take out, a rented movie, time to enjoy each other and relax.

It was the best time we've had in ages and it was virtually free.

This date night brought to you by Grandma Pat, Applebee's gift card and Netflix movie rentals.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Coupon FAIL!

Rob detests coupons. Anything that requires a slow down or check-out confusion isn't worth the savings in his opinion.

A friend told me that the Wednesday edition of the Savannah Morning News has a giant coupon section. She clipped and snipped her way to $30 on a grocery bill one week. $30 is nothing to sneeze at, so I figured I would stop and pick up a newspaper on the way to work this morning. I slipped the change in the slot, opened the door to find the only newspaper left was the one they put in the front glass. Of course it was wedged in tight (all those coupons inside) and turned into a two hand job to wrestle the thing out. Of course Ms. Coordinated managed to fumble around and the sections separated. I grabbed section A, B, C, and D with both hands but just missed the coupons and watched in horror as the door slammed shut. Locked. With my coupons still inside. Of course I didn't have enough change for another go.

So I'm going to take this as a "sign" that we aren't coupon people.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Half a lifetime ago, I was in the twilight of youth and the dawning of adulthood. College, marriage, career, parenthood, all lying in the unknown. Dreams of adventures, travel, people, places, milestones and wishes were jumbled up inside. Excitement, anticipation, knowledge, fear, certainty, questions, answers, hope, joy. There were millions of choices still to be made. But with each choice made, the jumble lessened. One path chosen, others passed by.

One day. It seems like such a small increment. Yet that is where life is lived. In the moments that make up such a small window of our lives. Good things. Beautiful things. Horrible things. Blah things. Tests, chores, phone calls, decisions, graduations, marriages, childbirth... Each event altering the choices that will be made in the future, until one day you wake up and realize that the bestseller hasn't been written, the grand trip hasn't been scheduled, opportunities have come and gone, and perhaps your greatest adventures involve the ones you read aloud to your children or watch unfold on the movie screen or TV and the most thrilling part of your day will be when your child "gets it" during a lesson on line segments and graphs.

Caught up in those moments that make up a boring day, but all together knit the pieces of our lives together to form an adventure. Nothing that anyone would write about or fight for, dream of, or maybe even remember. A quiet life, where dreams of novels and fame, successful careers, places to go and people to meet are replaced with smaller things. Time to read, report cards, refrigerator art, date nights, a comfortable chair and a glass of wine.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


Why do we dream?

When I was pregnant with J.T. ten years ago, I had some of the most vivid, strange dreams I have ever dreamt. One recurring nightmare featured me sitting in a college class, asking the other students why they were so diligently reviewing their notes before the beginning of class. Of course a test was scheduled for that day. Guess who hadn't studied?

The metaphor for that one is obvious. I didn't feel prepared for childbirth or a newborn! Which was true. When he was born, I thought to myself, I need another month. Then I'll be ready. Which of course ISN'T true. I don't think anyone feels adequately prepared for parenthood. I still don't.

Let's try something more difficult to interpret. Last night I dreamed that I was suddenly in Australia, having skipped the 20 hour flight, etc., wondering why on earth Rob and I decided that I should go alone and leave both husband and children behind. Was I in Sydney touring the sights? Trekking through the Outback? Diving off the Great Barrier Reef? Surrounded by blogging friends at a fabulous restaurant sipping wine and relaxing? No. Mary and I were touring a wildlife sanctuary and I was being attacked by..... turtles. Weird, lizard-looking turtles.

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