Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Gift Can Come in All Shapes and Sizes.

This is not my Deep Thoughts post, but it is moderately deep.

On Friday I was doing a little Christmas shopping. I was standing in line, waiting to pay for my purchases when a couple got in line behind me.

"Let's quit shopping," he said. "Let's do something else. Let's go for a ride in the mountains," he suggested hopefully.

That sounds nice, I thought to myself. Spending the day together, riding in the mountains. But before I could even complete the thought she turned on him.

"Christmas is next week," she snarled. "If I could get some help in getting ready for Christmas maybe we could." I was thrown by the venom and hatred in her voice. She continued to berate him for a good minute or so, outlining all that SHE had done to get ready for Christmas and all that he had NOT done.

I don't know this couple. I never even really looked at their faces. I don't know what their lives are like. I just heard this guy, obviously wanting to spend some time with his wife. Away from all the hustle and bustle. And she, all she could focus on was what had to be done and all the sacrifices she made. My heart broke for that guy just a little bit. And my heart broke for her, too. That she couldn't see the gift that was right in front of her.

I am trying to stop and see the gifts in front of me, too.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Linky Love

If you haven't already been over to say hi, today is Holly's (of Anglophile Football Fanatic fame) birthday and all she wants is to reach a 100 comments. So, go over, say hi and wish her a happy birthday. She's at about 78 comments right now.....

I've got some deep thoughts a-brewing. Back in a day or two to write 'em all down. Off to the MIL's tomorrow.....

Monday, December 15, 2008

Never Go Up Against a Preschooler When Death is on the Line

Do you ever catch yourself doing something and think to yourself "What in the hell am I doing?"

For me, these days, it usually has something to do with my kids and it's usually some reaction I'm having to something they've done. I don't know if it's the lack of sleep accumulated over several months (because I also neglected to mention yesteday the nagging lower back pain that has interrupted my sleep for months) or if it's just my general stress level, but sometimes I overreact. Yes. It's true. I overreact.

Take for example a couple of Saturdays ago when we went to the Atlanta Christmas parade. My stepsister's company hosts a lovely Breakfast With Santa before the parade and then gives us front-row bleacher seats for the parade itself. It's a lot of fun and this year was our fourth year attending.

Last year we got a fantastic picture of both kids with Santa.

That picture made three years in a row that I'd had the kids pictures made with Santa and frankly, I couldn't believe Punkin was so good natured about the whole experience. In the previous year she'd screamed like a banshee and I was expecting the worst last year. But nope, she was as good as gold.

When we first spotted Santa this year she jumped up and down and squealed and pointed him out to me, so I had high hopes. We went and stood in line and both kids were eyeing the little toys that Santa always gives the kids after they sit in his lap.

When it was our turn -- after twin boys who looked about 7 or 8 took FOREVER, refusing to smile and not answering Santa's questions and as the line piled up behind us -- Bubba hopped right up. I picked up Punkin and prepared to put her on Santa's other knee when she resorted to Tactic #1 in the Toddler/Preschooler Evasion Handbook: Make yourself as stiff as a board and refuse to bend your legs all while screaming at a pitch that makes dogs howl.

I appealed to reason (ha!): "Punkin, don't you want to have a great picture of you and Bubba with Santa to put with our other pictures?" She didn't say it, but her look clearly said "Hell no!"

And then I tried bribery, but with a stern tone: "Punkin, if you don't sit with Santa, Santa won't give you a toy." She looked stricken, but still refused to budge.

And that's when I caught myself. What was I doing? I was practically terrorizing my child because she wouldn't cooperate with my vision of what SHOULD be. I was so bound and determined to get that fourth consecutive year that I didn't even care that she was scared of Santa. I also realized that I was trying to make Santa look like a bad guy, for pete's sake. I realized that I looked like an ass.

So, I let it go. I realized that it really wasn't that important. What good is the picture if all I can remember about the day is the fight that I had with her over it.

"Mommy, can I have a toy?" she asked quietly.

"Sure, Punkin. Run go get one out of Santa's bag. I'm sure he won't mind."

My mom always told me to pick my battles. And I try to. It's just that sometimes you have to be right in the thick of the battle before you know which side you're on.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Land of Nod

4:00 a.m.

That's what time I wake up every day. Well, to be honest, sometimes it's 3:48. And sometimes it's 4:02. But you get the picture.

That's not what time I WANT to get up. It's just what time my brain decides I need to be awake. Most of the time I'll fall back into a fitful doze until my alarm goes off at 5:00.

I get up feeling very groggy and not at all rested.

This has been going on for about two weeks now and frankly, I'm getting tired of it. I'm tired of being tired. I want to SLEEP.

I've never had problems sleeping. Any time, anywhere, give me some quiet, a light blanket, and dim the lights and I'm out. I'm a consummate napper, though lately I've given those up too. There just isn't enough time.

I suppose I could go to bed early, but I go to bed now between 9:00 and 9:30. I'm just not sure I can go to bed any earlier. I need my child-free time almost as much as I need my sleep.

So, I'm about to take desperate measures. I bought a sleep aid. I've used them occasionally before but I don't like to take them too often. I told Mr. Daddy today that I just want one night. Just one night. That's all I need.

My moments of grace over the past couple of days:

1. Singing O Come O Come Emmanuel at church.

2. Having a girls night with Punkin on Friday evening.

3. Finding new and old friends on Facebook and finding out that I haven't been forgotten. (yes, I finally joined the 21st century)

4. Watching Punkin and Bubba give each other a hug before bedtime.

5. Publix birthday cakes (sorry, Matt!)

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Moments of Grace -- Several of Them

So I'm a little behind in my moments of grace. I promise I AM noticing them, even if I don't always post them here. Here are a few that really stick out from the past couple of days:

1. My first glass of eggnog of the season. With a little Captain Morgan's thrown in for good measure.

2. Sitting in the dark, with just the Christmas tree lit, looking at the lights.

3. Listening to the rain fall, pattering on the windows.

4. Watching a torrent of leaves fall, each one spiraling down individually.

5. A huge bank of clouds, reaching so high they looked like thunderheads. Except it's December.

6. Seeing the smile on Bubba's face and knowing how happy it's made him when I tell him that I've given him some money so he can shop in the Santa Shop at school.

(An aside, tonight while he was doing his homework he asked me what was my favorite thing to do. "Read," I replied. His eyes lit up and he looked like the cat that swallowed the canary. "I got..." he said, before Mr. Daddy cut him off with a "Don't tell her what you got her!" It looks like Bubba has inherited his uncle's inability to keep secrets!)

The Second Time Around

Sorry about my absence, if anybody missed me. I've been re-reading the Twilight books, and unfortunately they are sucking me in the second time around as much as they did the first time.

Also, last night when I went to get on the computer, Mr. Daddy was already there working on his geneaology stuff and by the time he was done, the urge to blog had passed.

I have some thoughts about the new Twilight books, if anybody's interested. I'm re-reading them after seeing the movie changed my perspective on the storyline in the book. I don't want to give away too much in case you haven't read/seen this "pop culture phenomenon" but just know that there are SPOILERS AHEAD. There, I've done my duty, as it were.

The first time around, I didn't want Bella to become a vampire. I can't articulate exactly why, but there was just something about her complete willingness to give up everything about being a human that just pissed me off. I mean, I know it's just a book, but good grief. Don't throw yourself so completely into your guy. I know it's true love and all that, but he's the first guy you've dated. We ALL felt like that about our first boyfriends.

Of course, all this is pretty ironic coming from me, the girl who always threw herself completely into every boyfriend, so all this overthinking of a fiction book was probably just me trying to give Bella the benefit of my experience.

After seeing the movie I did want Bella to become a vampire after all, but that probably had more to do with Robert Pattinson and his brooding eyes than it did anything else.

But in my re-reading I've had a surprising reaction. The first time around I didn't really like New Moon very much. I didn't like the way Bella was so spineless, so...so...blah. She just gave up. And then, she attached herself to Jacob in a way that was even less healthy than her attachment to Edward.

But this time as I was reading it, I enjoyed it more. Now don't get me wrong, I'm an Edward fan, but I kind of found myself rooting for Jacob, just a little bit. I think it was Bella's comparison of her story to the story of Romeo and Juliet that did it for me. If you remember, she tries to imagine what Juliet would have done if Romeo had left her. Would she have turned to Paris, if Paris had been her best friend?

When she thought that Edward wasn't coming back, Bella had begun to consider Jacob as a romantic possibility. He was her best friend. And I think that those kinds of relationships, the kind with friendship at it's core, are the best kind. I'm married to my best friend and I wouldn't have it any other way. Imagine what Bella's life would have been like if Edward hadn't returned. I don't know....it just seems like a healthier alternative to me, in a way.

Now don't everybody send me angry emails. I'm still on Team Edward. I guess.

And yes, I am 36 years old and just wrote an entire blog post about vampires and werewolves.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Oooh, That Smell

Today as I was walking to the staff room to heat up my lunch, I caught a whiff of someone's very strong perfume. It was a scent from my youth and though I can't tell you exactly what it was, I immediately went spinning back through time. It's funny how perfumes can make you think of certain people, certain times. But I guess that's what it's supposed to do.

I associate White Shoulders with my mother and Mennan Skin Bracer with my dad because those were my go-to gifts for them when I was child. Someone told me that they liked those scents and so I kept them well supplied for years.

I can't remember exactly when I started wearing perfume, but I've worn my share over the years. The first that I remember actively choosing was Giorgio. Of course, I didn't wear the real thing, but one of those knock off body sprays that were so popular for a while.

That was followed by Liz (as in Claiborne). I think we were all wearing either Liz or Giorgio during high school. Or maybe Obsession. For the guys it was Polo all the way. The entire high school reeked of Polo. There was no sneaking around if your boyfriend was wearing Polo -- that stuff would cling to you for days!

Once during my my senior year I was staying with some family friends while my mom was out of town and their college aged daughter had a bottle of Chanel No. 5. Curious, I tried it and was hooked. Wearing it I was classic, refined, rich -- all the things the Chanel name brings to mind.

I wore Chanel for years, until in college I met a guy. And this guy sold perfume knockoffs. He had a huge case full of samples and he let me pick one. We did a blind test, so I could see what I really liked and wouldn't be swayed by the name. We sniffed and sniffed and sniffed.

He handed me one bottle in particular "Try this."

"Ooh, yuck. I don't like that one at all! What is it?"

"Chanel No. 5!!" Oops. We both collapsed into laughter because I had been so adamant about my love for Chanel.

From that scent test I selected Estee Lauder's Beautiful, which I still love, but these days I've moved on to Happy by Clinique. It's my favorite fragrance and it really makes me happy when I wear it. I've been out for a while (hint, hint - Christmas is coming!) and I've kind of gotten out of the habit of wearing a scent, or even wanting to.

But I would like to have a signature scent, something that will remind people of me.

What about you? Do you wear perfume? If so, what's your favorite? Do particular scents remind you of certain people or times in your life?

Oh, and my five moments today...

1. The warm shower after making coffee in the cold kitchen.

2. Community coffee.

3. Free food.

4. Not really worrying about the 2 pounds I gained since last week. That's the great thing about Weight Watchers.

5. Watching the kids watch the Polar Express train that we put up around the base of our Christmas tree tonight.

Just Reading About it Makes Me Tired

Okay, so I'm not doing such a great job with posting my moments of grace, but it was a supremely busy weekend and I just never had an opportunity to sit down at the computer. If I had sat still for more than a moment, I'm sure I would have fallen asleep.

To give you an idea of how busy this weekend was, here's a rundown.

Friday night -- Mr. Daddy's office Christmas party. While it was a lot of fun, we didn't get home until 10:30 and then I had to get everyone's clothes ready for the next day.

Saturday:

5:00 a.m. - wake up to get ready to go to Atlanta
6:00 - wake kids up
6:30 - leave to pick up my mom
7:00 - arrive at my mom's house, leave for Atlanta
8:15 - arrive in Atlanta
8:30 - go to Breakfast with Santa
9:00 - wrestle with Punkin while I attempt to get her to sit in Santa's lap. It was a no-go, which was really frustrating. I have three years of really great photos of the kids with Santa, but not this year. Sometimes I just want to peench her head off.
10:30 - Atlanta Christmas Parade begins. This is always a lot of fun. There are always great marching bands, The Twilight Twirlers (no, they're not vampires, just older ladies in their "twilight years" doing a baton routine). The Briefcase Brigade (a group of business men doing a routine with their briefcases). And finally, Santa, who actually had real reindeer this year.
11:00 - lunch. Waited in the line of the slowest Chick-fil-a employee on record. Seriously, I think I could have jumped behind the counter and been faster.
2:00 - headed back to Athens
3:15 - dropped off my mom.
3:45 - arrived at home. Flopped. For approximately 2.5 seconds before we jumped back in the car to go get our Christmas tree.
4:15 - arrived at tree farm
4:17 - picked out tree
4:19 - on our way home (yes, we're fast like that)
5:00 - arrived home

By this time Mr. Daddy and I were so beat that we agreed we would put up the tree but we would actually decorate it on Sunday.

I'll spare you the minute by minute breakdown of Sunday, but just know that it included, church, a funeral, and the grocery store and that I didn't sit down yesterday until well after 9:00 p.m.

However, as busy as it was, there were some moments of grace. Here are a few that come to mind.

1. Surprise cupcakes.

2. Enjoying having a drink with my husband on a Friday evening in a cozy little bar.

3. Seeing my children's excitement over seeing Santa (from a distance!)

4. Having Punkin sing Jingle Bells to me.

5. Walking into the tree farm, all discussing the merits of various Christmas trees.

6. Feeling the love of my family during times of trouble and sadness.

7. Seeing the glow of the Christmas tree lights in Punkin's eyes.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

365 Days of Grace -- Day 1




So, I saw this on Fannie's Blog the other day, though it originated with Schmutzie, and thought it was a fantastic idea. You can click on the Schmutzie link and read all about it, but basically you're supposed to list 5 moments of grace every day, either something that happened that day, or something that happened at some point in your life.

I find that it's very easy to get sucked in by the frenzy of life and I often find myself feeling frustrated and pointing out everything that's wrong. This effort is going to be my way of trying to be more positive and to be aware of these moments of grace every day. So here we go:

1. I saw the most gorgeous sunrise this morning. Orange and pink and purple, the sky looked like it was on fire.

2. And then I saw a rainbow, even though it wasn't raining. The sunrise on one side of the sky was reflecting on a bank of clouds on the other side creating the first non-rain rainbow I've ever seen.

3. The frost covering the trees made everything looked as though it had been dipped in crystalized sugar.

4. Having lunch with three co-workers that I really like, enjoying their friendship.

5. Reading a bedtime story to my son and having him read part of it to me!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

They Say It's Your Birthday....

Today is Bubba's sixth birthday. If you asked him, he'd probably say it was a good one.

Cupcakes for breakfast -- though I got them ALL WRONG. They were supposed to be chocolate cupcakes with white icing, not vice versa. When I offered to keep them at home (since they were ALL WRONG) instead of sending them to school, he quickly decided they were just fine.

This is my annual "Letter to Bubba"

Dear Bubba,

People always say "Oh the years have flown by," but there's a reason why everybody says this: They do fly by. Six years have been as though just a day.

Growing up I always wanted to be a mother. I always loved kids and wanted to have six or seven of my own. But I had no idea what actually becoming a mother would do to me.

The day you were born, Bubba, was the day that I became complete. I thought I was my best self before that day, but in the days since I have become more and more satisfied with the me-ness of me. You, and my love for you, push me to be a better person. I want to be the best mother that I can be for you. And while I don't always succeed, it is the trying that strengthens me.

You are growing up and I can feel you ever so slightly moving away from me, stretching your wings. By no means ready to leave the nest, but certainly no longer a baby. It makes me simultaneously unbearably sad and heart-expandingly proud.

You are so smart, Bubba. Never lose the thirst for answers that you have now. Always be curious about everything.

Don't let anyone hold you back from your dreams. Not even me and your dad. Especially not us. But don't forget that we do know somethings and we will have wisdom to impart.

You have a tender heart, Bubba. You feel things deeply. I know that this tenderness will probably get lost in the testosterone flood of the coming years, but I hope that you keep your sweet heart.

Sometimes I catch your eye and we smile at each other, sending a secret message. I love you. You love me. And we're a good team, you and me. I will always be your champion, your protector. Your mother.

I will do my best so that when you are ready to leave the nest, you will be ready. And even when you leave the nest, I will always be here for you.

Happy Birthday, Bubba. I love you.



Monday, December 1, 2008

Incoming Tide

For some time now I've been calling Punkin my "spirited child" -- complete with air quotes. That's really just a nice way of saying she's spoiled rotten. Being in the throes of the terrible twos (which really goes well into their third year, a fact nobody tells you) is not a good combination with "spirited."

She is a very impatient child. From what my mother tells me, she must be just like I was at her age. I'm sorry, Mom.

No answer is ever good enough for Punkin. "What are we having for dinner, Mommy?"

"Chili."

"What else?"

"A salad."

"What else?"

"Some corn muffins."

"What else?"

"That's it. That's all we're having."

"What else?"

"Nothing."

"WHAT ELSE?!!??" she'll yell, clearly not satisfied.

And she thinks that her father and I can magically create things out of thin air by the simple act of her saying "please." "I want to see more Christmas lights, Mommy."

"Well, there aren't any right here. Keep your eyes open and maybe you'll see some more."

"Please, Mommy. Pleeeease. I WANT MORE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS!!!"

Sheesh, if I had that kind of power I wouldn't be wishing for more Christmas lights. A million bucks, maybe.

But slowly, ever so slowly, her behavior is starting to improve. It's one of those things that you don't really notice -- it kind of sneaks up on you, like the incoming tide at the beach. One minute you're dozing in the sun and the next minute the waves are lapping at the edge of your towel. One day you just realize that you haven't had to yell as much, haven't had to threaten time outs as much, that requests are met with compliance instead of defiance.

You realize that you actually enjoy spending time with your preschooler. And that you like the person she's becoming.

Even if it means she's growing up.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Six States. Four Days.

We're home. Actually, we got home last night. After encountering a lot of traffic on the way up -- I'm talking coming to a complete stop on the interstate kind of traffic -- and some signs urging us to find an alternate route on Sunday, we decided to come home a day early.

The trip up was uneventful, other than the traffic. And speaking of, seriously fellow-I77 travelers, what is about a tunnel that makes you absolutely freak out? Traffic was stop and go for miles before the first tunnel and then zoooom, off we went.

We did see some snow on the ground in Virginia, but the kids slept through most of it.



In fact, they slept through a lot. Bubba slept through both tunnels, unfortunately, though Punkin was awake for one of them.

We finally arrived in Huntington and went to Mr. Daddy's sister's house. She had the brilliant idea to make s'mores that night and the kids had a blast.

As you can see, a good time was had by all. Especially Punkin, who really knows how to eat. That's chocolate on her face and a graham cracker on her coat. On the whole, though, everybody stayed miraculously clean!


On Thursday, all of Mr. Daddy's siblings, save one, came to the sister's house. Mr. Daddy's mom and her new husband joined us as well. It was great to see everybody. I hadn't seen Mr. Daddy's brother Ratboy in at least two years and we see the others very infrequently. (Remember they all have nicknames). His brother Blub brought his two kids over and they, along with Flip's (the sister) kids, had a great time getting to know their Southern cousins.

The only family missing was Chuck (aka Craig) and his family. A while back I posted about Craig and his daughter Emma, who was recently diagnosed with ulcerative colitis. As Craig was about to board the plane to travel to the half marathon that he was running to raise money for ulcerative colitis research, he received a call from his wife that Emma was very sick. Emma spent over a week in the hospital with a severe stomach infection and only got to come home right before Thanksgiving. We're so Thankful that she's feeling better, but if you believe in prayer, please say a prayer for Emma and her family.

On Friday we did the Huntington Reminiscing Tour and Mr. Daddy showed Bubba the house he grew up in. And no, it hadn't been uncovered by archaeologists. We went to Stewarts Hot Dogs for lunch, a must for delicious hot dogs and Root Beer when you're in the Huntington area. Ironically, as we were sitting there (it's a drive up restaurant) another car from Athens, Georgia pulled in. Just another Huntington native reliving the good old days.

On Saturday we decided to go home a different route and went down US 23 through Kentucky. I've never been to Kentucky and it was gorgeous. Hwy 23 is the country music highway and periodically there'd be a sign telling you which country music star was from that county. Pretty soon we saw a sign for Van Lear and I knew we were in Loretta Lynn country. We saw a sign pointing the way to her birthplace and Mr. Daddy asked if I wanted to stop. I opted not to, but when I got home and found out that HER BROTHER leads tours at their childhood home, I've been kicking myself ever since. If you've never listened to Van Lear Rose, the album Loretta Lynn did with Jack White of the White Stripes, you are missing out. Below is my favorite. It is a rockin' song.






So that's our trip in a nutshell. We had a good time. And we will be going back, I'm certain. And next time I'm stopping in Butcher Hollow.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Count Your Blessings

We're leaving bright and early tomorrow morning for the wilds of West Virginia. Well, not really the wilds, more like Huntington. We're off to see the wizard. No, not really. We're off to see Mr. Daddy's siblings, 4 of whom live there.

We'll be there through Sunday and are anticipating a good time. And we're hoping to see some snow. We southerners are easily pleased.

So, before we head out, I'm going to list some things I'm thankful for this year:

1. My family. Mr. Daddy. Bubba. Punkin. It's a good family. I like them. And I love them.

2. My extended family, all of whom will be celebrating here without me tomorrow. I'll miss you all.

3. Especially my mom, who is more than a mother -- a good friend.

4. My JOB. Thank God for my job.

5. And correspondingly my health insurance.

6. My health, so that I don't need aforementioned health insurance. And the health of my family, of course.

7. A warm place to live.

8. Friends, real-life and bloggy.

Since I've touched on the truly important things, I'm going to leave you with a few trivial things I'm thankful for:

9. Gingerbread Lattes. WITH whipped cream

10. Homegrown tomatoes.

11. Robert Pattinson. Rawr! (Can I just admit here that I was completely against his casting in Twilight but am now and forever more converted. I'd post a picture but pictures just don't do him justice.)

12. Music. Particularly this song. I can't get it out of my head. (I tried to embed it, but youtube wouldn't let me -- go check it out. You won't be sorry.)

I hope you all have a wonderful, stress free Thanksgiving. See you next week!

Monday, November 24, 2008

For the Record, I Never Saw Their Tour Bus.

Did you know I used to be a groupie? Well, not a groupie groupie. I never did anything that I would be ashamed to post here. But there was this band that I liked and I followed them sort of regionally. And let's just say it was only partially about the music. Mostly it was about the boys. Specifically, Todd. There are lead singer girls, drummer girls, bass guitar girls -- you get the picture. I am a lead singer girl. The group was called Spider Monkey and unfortunately, they no longer exist. You can still download their music from their site, though and of course they have a MySpace page.

I saw them for the first time at a festival in Charleston, SC. I went with my group of friends and we had a blast. As an aside, also watching the festival was the lead singer of another of my favorite bands, Jump Little Children. I was like a start struck little girl.

Spider Monkey played Hilton Head several times and I went to Charleston a couple times more. My friends and I got to be such regulars at the show that we started hanging out with the guys after the shows. We even met them once at the Tiki Hut on the beach in Hilton Head, which was kind of cool.

Eventually, of course, I left the party scene and settled down with Mr. Daddy. We moved away from Hilton Head. Occasionally I'd Google Spider Monkey and see what they were up to. One by one they started getting married and then stopped touring. And finally the day came when I got rid of their CDs. There were only a couple of songs on each that I really loved, but it was kind of a bittersweet day.

Years later, when Mr. Daddy and I moved back to Savannah, I heard that Todd (he of Spider Monkey Fame) was now lead singer of another band and they were going to be playing in Hilton Head, about 30 minutes away. I was dying to go see them, but Mr. Daddy didn't want to go. Instead, I dragged my friend Liz along on my trip down memory lane.

We arrived at the club, overdressed and definitely not fitting into the "scene." We were a good 3 or 4 years older than the rest of the clientele. Finally the band took the stage and there he was -- Todd! Singing very heavy metal punk music that made my ears bleed!! I couldn't hear a thing. At the risk of sounding like my grandmother, there was no tune, just yelling. It didn't have a good beat and you couldn' t dance to it.

Finally the band took a break and Todd headed to the bar. As he pushed through the crowd I caught his eye and saw a flash of recognition. "I know you from somewhere, right?" he asked.

"Yeah, I used to be a big Spider Monkey fan. My friends and I followed you guys everywhere."

We chatted for a second. He'd gotten married. I told him I had too. We stood there awkwardly, the music way too loud for conversation. He was still cute, but no longer really my type.

"So, see ya around" he shouted.

"Yeah, see ya!" I shouted back.

"Do you want to stay?" Liz asked.

"Nah. Let's go." As we left I realized that I was trying to recapture too many things that were too long gone. My carefree youth. That summer. Those friends.

Sometimes it's better to just let those memories stay what they are -- memories.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Check Yes or No

Why is it so hard to make friends as adults? As small children we just blithely joined in with whoever was on the playground, easily striking up friendships and not worrying about being rejected. I guess that it's though. As adults we've had a taste of rejection and that makes it so much harder.

Since we've moved back I haven't made any very close friends. That's four years I'm talking about people. Four years. I've got lots of good friends, don't get me wrong. Nicole from Impostor Mom and I have lunch pretty regularly and I would definitely consider Mir to be a friend. But both of these lovely ladies are at slightly different stages than I am and their kids are not the same age as my kids, so it makes getting together a little more difficult. Add to that the fact that we live out in the freakin' boonies and it just makes having a social life a little more different.

Several times recently I've put myself out there in an attempt to make some new friends. There's this mom at Punkin's preschool that I like. Not in THAT way, but like in that I think we could be friends kind of thing. We always end up chatting at the school functions and at the birthday parties and she seems like the kind of gal I'd like to hang out with. It's a bonus that her daughter is the same age as Punkin and she actually lives in the same general direction that we do, which is huge because nobody else at this school lives as far out as we do.

So, back in May, at a birthday party, I got up my nerve and I asked her out. That's right, I suggested a playdate. We exchanged phone numbers and a promise to call, but then we went on vacation and then life just got in the way. I never called her and she never called me.

It was okay though. When we saw each other it wasn't awkward and we still chatted, just as friendly as ever. When she wrote to thank us for the birthday gift that we gave her daughter, she wrote me a special note about how great it was to visit, gave me her email address and suggested that we get together. So, I sent an email and suggested that we get together that weekend. Unfortunately, she had to travel out of town on business and so we had to scrap our plans again.

So, we've done this little dance a couple of times now, each of us suggesting an outing but something getting in the way. And I swear I find myself analyzing these interactions like I used to analyze my boyfriends' phonecalls. Did I look too needy? Was I too excited when she invited me to the movies last weekend? Was I too nonchalant when she said she needed to cancel?

Good grief.

Why can't there be a matching system for friends, like Match.com. But platonic. I just want someone to say, "Okay, you go with her. And you over there, you be friends with him. And you in the back, you come up and stand next to her and be her friend." It would just be so easy.

But, I must be a glutton for punishment because I have put myself out there yet again. I have extended an invitation to the parents of Bubba's best friend from school. We've only met briefly, but they seem cool and it would be awesome if we could have some couple friends.

I sent a note with Bubba and asked his teacher to send it home in Ethan's folder. Mr. Daddy asked if I wrote "Do you like us? Check yes or no."

So now, we wait. What's the rule for how long I should wait before I call? Three days?

Everybody Cut Loose

I'm a dancing fool. People who know me in real life are probably guffawing right about now. That or thinking "Boy, you think you know somebody."

I've always liked to dance. I took tap/ballet as a child and when I was about 6 or so I actually approached my teacher and asked if I could do a solo routine at the annual recital. Can you believe the chutzpah?

At any school dance I was always one of the first on the dance floor. Not the first, but one of the first.

In college a friend invited me to go line dancing. I scoffed, teased him unmercifully, but went along. And had a blast. Turns out I'm pretty good at it. I even went out the next weekend and bought a pair of cowboy boots because you just can't do the dances as well without some slick soled boots. I went every Thursday night for at least a year and I loved it so much that I wanted to quit my job and dance all the time. Once, my friend Jimmy and I won 2nd place in a country cha cha contest.

And then, about a year before Bubba was born, I got an itch to try some new things. I tried Yoga (harder than you'd think and not at ALL relaxing for me). I tried Tai Chi (not really my bag, -- my step dad hilariously calls it Yahtzee). I tried Belly Dancing (would have loved to keep it up but my schedule didn't really jibe with the lessons). And then I discovered Hip Hop Cardio at the YMCA. And I fell in love again. With hip hop dancing. Yes, me, the least hip hop person you can imagine.

Our teacher started us out with a basic routine and every Monday we'd add a new move. Everybody in the class was pretty good and after several weeks we looked pretty polished. We could have passed for a low0rent version of the Fly Girls (or Fly People, technically, since there were a couple of guys in the class -- though I wouldn't vouch for their "orientation.") But then one night as I was doing a turn I felt really dizzy. Weird.

A week later I took a positive pregnancy test, and well, that was it for me and hip hop cardio. I probably could have kept it up, but there was a fair amount of spinning and the dizziness had thrown me. I was a very nervous, newly pregnant woman, afraid that if I fell I might hurt the baby.

And I haven't really done any kind of dancing since then. In fact, my body hasn't done any kind of rhythmic motion at all. Other than, you know, walking. And lately I've felt an urge to dance. To move.

So if you come across some crazy woman dancing down the street, it's probably me. Just cross to the other side of the street. Or come and dance with me!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

A Contest!!

My stepsister, Amy, is hosting a writing contest over at her site 3 Questions...And Answers. She's seeking entries about family traditions during the holidays. Go HERE to check out all the rules. If you win, your entry, along with your photo and a link to your site, will be posted at 3 Questions on Thanksgiving Day. Oh, and there's also a $25 Borders gift card in it for you!

But hurry! You only have until 11:59 on November 17th to submit your entry. Sorry for the late notice, but that's what happens when I don't blog for several days!

Good luck!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Next Thing You Know He's Going to Want to Shave

Bubba is growing up. I mean, of course he is. But lately, there have been some definite signs that things are changing.

First there was the kissing. Or the lack thereof, to be precise. One day, out of the blue, Bubba declared that he would give only hugs, no kisses. Whenever we greeted or departed from family members, he'd move in for his hugs loudly declaring "Just hugs, no kisses!"

Even me, his mama, got this treatment, but I played my trump card and told him "I'm your mama. I'm ALWAYS going to kiss you. Deal with it."

And then there was the other kissing. With girls. Or actually, again, the lack thereof. All of a sudden he's coming home from school talking about kissing games that are being played. The girls are chasing the boys and if they catch you, you have to kiss them. Upon recounting the rules, Bubba looks absolutely horrified and disgusted. But you can kind of tell there's just the teensiest bit of interest underneath the indignation.

And just last week, the biggest sign of all. Bubba no longer wants to be called Bubba. It's too baby-ish. And I can't tell you how sad this makes me. Which is really ironic because if you had told me six years ago that I would ever be calling a child of mine Bubba (and we really do call him that), I would have told you you were out of your everlovin' mind.

I used to be supersensitve about southern stereotypes and unfortunately, the name Bubba has been appropriated by the media to represent all that's ignorant, backwards, and uneducated about the south. Which is truly unfortunate because the name Bubba is really just another pronunciation for the word brother. In the old days in the south, siblings often called each other "Brother" or "Sister." In fact, my OWN brother almost always calls me Sister.

And even though we were actually calling Bubba Bubba before Punkin was even a twinkle in her daddy's eye, I love it that Punkin has been calling him Bubba since she started talking.

But ever the little acolyte, Punkin is already bending to Bubba's decree. She'll call him Bubba and then catch herself and then call him by his real name. At first I felt like using my "Mama Privleges" to continue to call him Bubba, but then I realized that I need to try to honor his wishes.

But it's a hard habit to break.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A Man of Good Heart

Today I learned of the passing of a good man. Dr. John Stone, one of our 2007 Georgia Writers Hall of Fame Inductees, passed away yesterday. I haven't heard all the details yet, but I was told that he was very recently diagnosed with cancer.

Dr. Stone was an unusual poet. By that I mean that he was a cardiologist by profession, but a poet at heart. He taught at Emory University Medical School in Atlanta for years, became an associate dean there, and was later their director of admissions. During that time he published In the Country of Hearts: Journeys in the Art of Medicine. These twenty-three essays discuss our literal and our metaphorical hearts and he argues that the physician and the poet make use of the same materials.

I met Dr. Stone for the first time in April of 2007. To be honest, I'd never heard of him, not really being a fan of poetry. That changed, however, when Dr. Stone stood up to accept his award. He read us two poems that day. The one that follows was the first. Called Visitation, it describes a visit with his mother, who is in her nineties, at her retirement home.

Visitation

At Serenity Gardens, winter
has surrounded us. My mother's room
is way too warm for me,

just right for her -- with an extra sweater.
Outside, this uneasy year, her 93rd,
lurches through December.

She is surely serene in this place,
thanks to whatever goodness;
queen of the electronic piano.

Among my chief duties now
I have become her human calendar,
a stay against time, her reach for the past.

Each visit, we review the years.
We sit and we talk, fragile mother,
absent-minded son.

This afternoon, I assemble for her
some semblance of my long-dead
father, the only husband she had.

I tell her his story.
We study his photograph.
Do you remember him, I ask?

She looks again.
No, she answers softly. No.
But isn't he good looking!

She smiles. I chuckle.
In the gathering dark,
we cry a bit together:

I for what she has forgotten,
she for what I remember.


Hearing his soft voice, hearing the rhythms of his speech, made me understand the power of poetry. So much can be summed up in so few words, so few powerful words. In 2008 I purchased one of his books, Music from Apartment 8, and had him sign it for me. It reads "To Leandra, with gratitude for her friendship and in joy."

Thumbing through it tonight, I found this poem. It seems fitting and I'll leave you with it.

How I'd Have It

I'd have no flowers
other than Mozart

A suit -- blue --
not new, but worn

the knees
still in the trousers

for as long
as polyester is

And a fire
and someone there

to thrown on
the oak especially

for the last movement
of the Mozart

As for the mourners
let's have them enter

STAGE LEFT
and pause and peer

over the side
and say mournful

things such as What
A Pity A Pity

And So Old, Too
And then exit all

STAGE RIGHT

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Yes, I'm Still Here

This week has been slap full of work. Therefore, my brain is all used up.

Please know that I AM reading all of your blogs, even if I'm not commenting. I'll be back in tip-top commenting form soon. Hope you've missed me!

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

My Drug of Choice

Something that I had been dreading finally happened. Last week was Red Ribbon Week at Bubba's school and the theme for the week was Drug Awareness.

On Friday evening, as Mr. Daddy reached for a beer, Bubba piped up, a sense of urgency in his voice, "Daddy! I know something that can help you! Mr. Counselor at school said that if you drink just one beer it can make you sick! Beer is bad for you, Daddy!"

Guh-reat. But at least we weren't in public when Bubba did this, like we were when I begged my mother, "Please don't get drunk, Mama! Please don't get drunk!"crying and hanging on her as she went into the liquor store to buy a bottle of Sangria. For the record, my mother was NOT a drunk. I can't probably count on one hand the number of drinks I saw her drink when I was a child. But I had a fear of drunk people (a long story) and I assumed that if you drank, you were going to get drunk.

"Bubba, you know, I'm not saying that Mr. Counselor is wrong, but it's okay for grown ups to drink beer. One beer is not going to make a grown up sick. Now if you drink too many, you might, but one is not going to hurt a grown up."

"Did you know that cigarettes are bad and that if you smoke a cigarette in a car it can kill you?" Bubba chimed in.

Having lived through several winters during which car rides were suffered through with the heat blasting, the windows rolled up, and both parents smoking, I felt like telling him that yes, it will kill you, or more correctly, will make you want to kill yourself. However, in the pursuit of absolulte truth I felt I had to correct him. We've told Bubba for years that cigarettes are YUCK (along with the Yankees), but we've never really discussed the health related issues.

"Well, Bubba, if you smoke one cigarette in a car, it won't really kill you. But if you smoke a lot of cigarettes it can make your lungs black and can give you cancer. And that might kill you."

"Why would anybody smoke?" Bubba asked incredulously.

We went into a long discussion about how addictive cigarettes are and how hard it is to quit and how people didn't really know at one time how bad they were for you. But Bubba seemed convinced that cigarette smokers are bad people. I reminded him that his Mimi and his Poppa both smoked at one time, but they had quit a long time ago. I think his position softened a little.

But last night, as we were waiting at the pharmacy for a prescription, I heard Bubba from the back seat "Mommy, look! Look at that man in that car cigarettin'!" revulsion in his voice.

Frankly, I don't care what he thinks about smokers. But don't be messin' with my beer.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Halloween in Pictures. Just Because

Halloween was a rousing success this year. Everybody was into it. Nobody pitched a fit about their costumes, well, at least not on the day of. Punkin ultimately decided to be Tinkerbell and was quite happy.

The trick-or-treating madhouse that was my mom's street last year never materialized this year. Just good clean fun.

Punkin, as Tinkerbell.

Bubba as King Tut's mummy.

Ready to hit the streets.

But you know what? There's a special place in hell for people who get a kick out of scaring children. Children who are not their own I must add because there is a long and noble history in my family of scaring the bejeesus out of us kids. But can you see this guy below?


THIS guy had his yard decorated to the hilt and it was pretty cool. He had a ghost on a wire running across his yard and it would periodically run back and forth. It was pretty spooky. But as Punkin and I approached him, it started to move and Punkin got a little freaked out. The guy called to somebody in the background and asked him to stop the ghost from moving, which I greatly appreciated. Her bravery restored, Punkin walked the rest of the way to the steps by herself. Right when she reached for the candy, a huge blast of fog burst out of a machine right next to her. You have never seen a child so terrified or one run so quickly. I can't prove that he did it on purpose, but the timing was suspicious and he sure did laugh his ass off.

Fortunately Punkin had forgotten about it by the time we approached the next house. And that guy is super lucky she did because I would have hated to have to kick his ass in front of all those kids.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I Can't Sew, But I Can Hot Glue Like Crazy!

Posting is a bit light tonight because I'm working on Halloween costumes. In honor of that, I'm going to post some from years past, some mine and some my children's. Although in recent years we have reverted to store bought costumes, I have made costumes in the past and I think I am excellent at coming up with solutions or ways to make costumes better.

For instance, last year Bubba wanted ninja boots to go with his costume. Well, I don't think they sell ninja boots at Target, so I bought a pair of black socks a couple of sizes too big, put them on over his sneakers and voila! Ninja boots.

Tomorrow Bubba has to dress as his favorite book character for school. He's dressing as an archaeologist from his favorite Goosebumps book. At dinner the other night when we were talking about his costume, he said "Mommy, what I have I discovered?"

"I'm sorry, I don't understand the question, Bubba."

"If I'm an archaeologist, what will I take to school that I've discovered?"

Ahhhh. Good question. I racked and racked my brains trying to come up with something. And finally I thought of Bubba's King Tut doll. Behold my solution:


Bubba has discovered King Tut's mummy!

Here are some photos of me and Mr. Daddy at Halloween. Years ago. When we were cool. When we had a life.


And a couple of Bubba. I've posted the Elvis ones before, but I'm gonna do it again,


And his train costume from the following year:


And one final question, after telling me for weeks that she wants to be Cinderella, upon finding out that another little girl at school is going to be Cinderella, Punkin has now decided she wants to be Belle. Mr. Daddy suggested that she be Cinderbella, but that didn't go over very well. Should I make her be Cinderella? Or should I go out and try to find a Belle costume? And how much of a sucker would I be if I did?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Do I O-Fend?

Now for the mystery I mentioned. But first a little back story.

Mr. Daddy recently discovered Facebook. I have, thus far, avoided Facebook's siren call. For one thing, I don't need any more timesucks. But Mr. Daddy has had a grand old time looking up long lost and not-so-long lost friends.

One of the not-so-long lost was a couple that we were very good friends with when we lived in Savannah, Jimmy and Sarah*. Jimmy was one of Mr. Daddy's regular customers when he managed the Starbucks and they really hit it off. They weren't from Savannah either and were having some of the same problems that we were having meeting people our age.

And as it turns out, their son was born about three months before Bubba was born, so we had a lot in common. We hung out together all the time, taking turns cooking for each other. They were really, really good friends.

When we moved we kept in touch pretty regularly at first and every time we'd go to Savannah we'd stop by to say hi. But, life gets in the way and we didn't get to Savannah very often and we kind of lost touch. But then in May of 2006, they called to say they were going to be in a nearby city, so we met for lunch and it was like no time had passed. It was the same easy camaraderie we've always had.

So, about a week and a half ago, Mr. Daddy sent a note to Sarah on her Facebook page that we were going to be in Savannah soon and last Sunday? (or Monday, not sure -- whenever the Rays played the Red Sox last), Jimmy called.

It was great to talk to him and he was thrilled that we were going to be in town. When Mr. Daddy suggested that we meet somewhere for lunch on Sunday before we headed home, Jimmy insisted that we come to their house, that they would cook for us. It was going to be great. We could hang out and talk, the kids could play. We were really looking forward to it.

So, on Saturday when we got to Savannah, Mr. Daddy called Jimmy's cell. No answer, so he left a message. No biggie. But no return phone call from Jimmy either.

On Sunday we got up and went to our old church and when church let out, we called Jimmy again. See, we didn't even know where they lived because they'd moved since we last saw them. We called both of their cell phones AND their home phone. Nothing. We headed out to Wilmington Island where they live, thinking that they'd call us while we were in route.

Nothing. We called again. All three phones. Nothing.

So, we headed home. It was really weird and totally not like Jimmy and Sarah and Mr. Daddy and I couldn't decide whether to be worried or offended. So, on Monday he sent Jimmy a text message asking if he was okay, if everything was alright, what was up. He immediately got a text back saying "I don't recognize this number. Who is this?" Mr. Daddy texted back and then nothing. No other response.

And still nothing. We've heard nothing from Jimmy or Sarah. Mr. Daddy checked Jimmy's Facebook page and it said he was in Rio de Janeiro on the 23rd (he travels a lot for work and Jimmy and Sarah are both from South America), so perhaps they're still there? Or maybe they got confused and think that we're coming THIS weekend?

We just don't know what happened. And it's a mystery

*not their real names.

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Thumper Rule

Have you ever known someone who loves to give bad news? I've known a couple, and there's one at Punkin's school right now. Unfortunately, she happens to be Punkin's afternoon teacher. Don't get me wrong, I really like this teacher a lot. She's sweet, funny. And she laughs at my jokes like nobody's business.

But lately it seems that she loves to point out all of Punkin's transgressions to me. It doesn't happen on a daily basis, but at least weekly she'll give me a report of something bad that Punkin has done during the day. Now when Punkin was biting her friends, I definitely wanted to know about that, but she doesn't bite anymore. Lately, Punkin's transgressions are, well, barely transgressions, in my opinion.

When Punkin was biting, I'd make a point to mention it to Punkin in front of her teacher and we'd talk about why it was bad. But Punkin would get really upset when I'd get mad at her, and I hated for that to be the way I greeted her every afternoon. I'd much rather see her grinning from ear to ear and running down the hall yelling "Mommmmmmy!" So, I started waiting to talk to her until after we got in the car, when I really had her attention.

Yet, I still get these reports. Now I know my child is not perfect. Good Lord do I know. But don't you think they could handle these things? Or at least tell me about something great she's done every now and then? I mean, that's what I pay them an arm and a leg for, right?

Here are some pictures from our trip.

This is Bubba and Punkin with our friends, Matt and Erica. Their sweet, sweet baby was already in bed so she's not in the photo:


And here's a family picture in front of the fountain in Lafayette Square:



Tune in tomorrow for a mystery!!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Road Trip! Road Trip! Road Trip!

Off to Savannah. Catch you on the flipside....

Friday, October 24, 2008

In the Weeds

I know a lot of people find that hearing about other people's dreams is boring to the extreme, but I always find them kind of fascinating. I used to be a very vivid dreamer and could often remember my dreams and could usually tie my dream into something that was going on in real life.

Last night I dreamed that I was waiting tables and very quickly I got "in the weeds." For those of you unfamiliar with that term, it means that as a server you are getting very far behind in waiting on your tables and you can't catch up. If, again, you are unfamiliar with this term, I wouldn't wish this condition on my worst enemy. There are few things more frustrating than trying to wait on three or four tables at once and not being able to get caught up. Usually you get in the weeds when too many tables are sat at once, or a customer's request throws off your routine. It can be a harrowing experience, particularly if you get very far behind and your customers start to get pissed off.

In my dream last night I couldn't find the water glasses and I had two tables that were sat at once. One table's food came out before I could even get drinks to their table and they had been seated AFTER the table who's order I hadn't even taken yet. I put in one man's bar order and realized about a half hour later that I had never delivered it to him. I finally woke up, relieved that it wasn't real and prayed that when I went back to sleep that I wouldn't slip right back into the dream.

This morning when I was recounting the dream to Mr. Daddy he reminded me of something he heard Mitch Hedberg say on the XM radio comedy station just yesterday (and if you've never heard of Mitch Hedberg, go check him out on You Tube -- especially the routine about escalators. He's hilarious. He is also, unfortunately, deceased.) Anyway, in this routine Mitch said "You know, I prefer sleeping to dreaming. Dreaming is too much work. One minute I'm sleeping and the next minute I'm building a go-kart with my ex-landlord."

I hear ya, Mitch. I woke up exhausted. Exhausted but thankful that I never have to wait tables again.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Don't Go Too Fast

Some of you might remember that when I turned 15, I got The Bobcat. And while I was initially dismayed at its Pinto-like appearance, I actually got a little excited when I realized that I was going to get to drive it that very day.

There was only one tiny hitch. It had a manual transmission and not only did I not know how to drive a stick, I didn't really know how to drive ANYTHING.

So we headed out to the country, which is where every self-respecting southerner learns to drive. The back roads. On the way, my dad and I stopped to pick up my grandfather, who gamely climbed into the backseat while I climbed behind the wheel.

My dad is, to put it kindly, a control freak. He is a little bit of a yeller. When he gets excited or stressed it's like he can't really help himself. He just automatically switches to yell mode. And maybe I'm that way a little bit too. But honestly, I don't really remember him yelling that day, though I'm sure one of us probably did some yelling.

What I remember most is my grandfather keeping up a running admonishment from the backseat, "Now, don't go too fast. Slow down. Slow down. When you start going too fast, that's when you start to get in trouble." I was going maybe 35 mph. And not smoothly. There was a lot of jerking and stalling as I tried to find the gears. I'm not sure I ever went over 40 mph, but sitting in the back seat with no access to the brakes, real or imaginary, probably made Pa Pa feel very vulnerable and I guess he couldn't help himself.

But I often find his words coming back to me. Slow down. Slow down. When you start going too fast, that's when you get into trouble. Sometimes life goes too fast and we need to slow down. I do, anyway. So that's my goal for the coming holiday season. To slow down. And enjoy it.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Love is in the Air!


Over the weekend, I was simultaneously tagged for a meme and given a blog award by two different people, Colleen over at Wine Please and Calicobebop. They both tagged me for the "I <3 Your Blog" meme/award and I was so pleased. I feel like the content around here has been a little lacking as of late, so the validation was nice. And I <3 you too, ladies! And a nice bonus, the meme gives me something to write about. So, here we go. The rules are there are no rules. No, just kidding, there's always rules.

The rules are to answer the following questions in one word and then pass it on to seven others:

Where is your cell phone? car
Where is your significant other? sofa
Your hair color? brown
Your mother? awesome
Your father? bossy
Your favorite thing? books
Your dream last night? non-existent
Your dream/goal? holding
The room you’re in? bedroom
Your hobby? blogging
Your fear? failure
Where do you want to be in 6 years? home
Where were you last night? sofa
What you’re not? hungry
One of your wish-list items? travel
Where you grew up? Elberton
The last thing you did? stories
What are you wearing? comfies
Your TV? On
Your pet? wandering
Your computer? ancient
Your mood? fretful
Missing someone? no
Your car? Jeep
Something you’re not wearing? shoes
Favorite store? Target
Your summer? hot
Love someone? family
Your favorite color? yellow
When is the last time you laughed? tonight
Last time you cried? hmmm....

And in keeping with the rules (because I am, if nothing else, a rule follower) I hereby tag these blogs that I love: FADKOG, Anglophile Football Fanatic, Diary of a Modern Matriarch, Stay at Home Mom Going Quickly Insane, and At Home With Me. I know I'm supposed to do seven, but I just tagged a bunch of y'all, so I don't want to y'all to dread seeing me on your blogs.

I have to share with you the conversation that made me laugh tonight. We had chicken for supper tonight and inside the leg, next to the bone, was a small blood vessel that bled just a little when the children took a bite. Fortunately, both kids were fascinated and not disgusted as I fully expected.

Bubba made some kind of remark about not eating it and Mr. Daddy said "I'm going to eat it. I love it! Because I'm a chicken vampire! I want to cluck your blood!"

That man is such a goof. But that's why I love him.

Monday, October 20, 2008

There's Less of Me to Love

So, my birthday went off without a hitch. Everybody was well. I take all the credit of course. I used the old reverse psychology trick. Expect everything to go right and it will go to hell in a handbasket. Expect everything to go wrong and everything will be just peachy. And it was. Peachy, that is.

Mr. Daddy gave me a gift certificate to a spa for an hour massage. (Squee!) My stepsister gave me a gift card to Starbucks -- just in time for gingerbread lattes! Yum! And my other stepsister gave me a beautiful Venetian glass necklace and matching earrings. My mom gave me tickets to a Georgia game earlier in the season, but on Saturday cooked me a delicious meal and a completely decadent and weight watcher- busting chocolate cake.

I also received two bloggy awards, which I will acknowledge more fully later today. Thanks so much ladies! Those awards made my day!

Speaking of weight watchers, I twittered this today, but I am only .2 pounds away from my 10% weight loss goal, which was 15 pounds. It's taken me 16 weeks to get the weight off, but I figure the slower it comes off, the more likely it is to stay off. I'm not sure how much more I want to lose -- probably not more than 5 pounds more. I'm pretty happy with where I am now since I was able to get into a pair of size 8 pants on Friday for the first time in AGES!

I'm really proud of myself for sticking with it this time. I'm starting to notice a real shift in my eating habits. For one thing, I'm starting to pay real attention to when I'm full and actually trying to stop eating before I feel stuffed. And I'm doing a much better job at it than I used to. I'm also thinking about what I eat before I put it in my mouth -- is it worth it? Sometimes it is, but sometimes it isn't. I've worked hard to lose this weight and sometimes that snack is just not worth putting the weight back on.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Just Eight Uninterrupted Hours. That's All I Need.

When I sat down to write last night, I couldn't think of a thing to write about.

Then, in the middle of the night, it hit me. When Punkin woke up at 2:30 for the 20th night in a row. Seriously people, it's like having a newborn again. At first it was 3:30 every night, but for some reason she's moved it up an hour.

Sometimes I awaken to frightened cries of "Mommmmmmy!", but occasionally she's just calling my name like it's the middle of the day instead of the middle of the night. When I go into her room I usually just have to pat her back and fix her covers a little and tell her to lie down and got back to sleep. Sometimes we have to find her bear that's made it's way to floor. Occasionally she's crying and says she can't find her pillow, even though it's right where it's supposed to be. Once she said her hand was big, which confused the heck out of Mr. Daddy who happened to be the one who responded that night. I'm thinking that her hand had fallen asleep and so it felt big.

But I am at my wits end. Even though I usually stumble in there and stumble right back to bed, there are nights when it takes me a while to go back to sleep. So, lovely internet friends, I'm turning to you. How do I break this insidious habit? My sanity depends on your quick response.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

What'd He Say?

So, everybody in my house has been felled by a mystery virus -- fever, congestion, headache. So far it hasn't reached anybody's stomach, thank God. (by the way, do you know how hard it is to type with one hand while knocking on every wood surface in the vicinity with the other?)

Mr. Daddy has been home two days with it. Bubba came home from school mid-day yesterday with it. And Punkin was hit right when we got home last evening.

Do you know what's happening this weekend? My birthday. And do you know what I foresee? That either (a) everyone will still be sick on Saturday and we will be unable to attend the birthday dinner my mother has planned for me or (b) everyone else will be well but I will have caught the bug by then and we will STILL be unable to attend my birthday dinner.

So. In order to attempt to ignore the slightly nagging pain in the left quadrant of my head and in an effort to try to outsmart Murphy, we're going to talk about something completely frivolous: Mis-heard lyrics.

On the way to work this morning, I heard one of my favorite mis-heard songs, "Der Kommisar" by After the Fire. I've written about this before, but when he was small, my cousin Michael mis-heard "Don't turn around, uh oh. Der Kommisar's in town, uh oh" as "Don't turn around, uh oh. Hold that sausage down, uh oh." Whenever I hear that song I can't help but sing the revised lyrics. And you'd be surprised how often you can slip "hold that sausage down" into conversation.

My husband's family has several mis-heard favorites and oddly several of them are from Police songs. Well, not police songs, but songs by the band Police. I can't tell you one of them without giving away our last name, but one is from "Every Breath You Take." When Sting sings "How my poor heart aches," Mr. Daddy and his brothers heard "I'm a pool hall ace." Yeah.

One of my most notorious mistakes is from the song "Jump" by Van Halen. When David Lee Roth sings "I've got my back against the record machine, I ain't the worst that you've seen," I heard "I've got my back against the wrecking machine, I eat the words that you've seen." I know. I doesn't make any sense and I knew that. But it was only recently that I heard what he's really saying. Mr. Daddy still likes to give me grief on this one. And I'm like really? You hear "pool hall ace" and you're giving me grief about this?

Have you famously (or infamously) mis-heard any lyrics? Share! I promise I won't make fun of you. Much.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

2-4-6-8! Who Do I Think is Great?

The other day, Calicobebop tagged me for a meme and since I haven't done a meme in ages, I thought I would do this one. Plus, I'm supposed to talk about how great I am, so what's not to like, right? But seriously, enough about me. What do you think about me?

Just kidding. Sort of. I am supposed to write five positive things about me, which is actually harder than one might think. Not that I couldn't think of five things, but that I have a hard time admitting that I think these things are great about myself. I have a theory about women and their ability to brag on themselves, but that's another post for another day.

So let's get down to business. Five things I think are great about me.

1. I can do anything I set my mind to. I think it comes from being raised by a single mom, who often had to do for herself. And while I have gotten into the habit of letting my husband do things for me, if there's something I want to do, I can do it.

2. I have great dimples. In my cheeks. The uppers (cheeks, that is), as Precarious Tomato likes to say. When I was only an hour old my mom's co-workers were exclaiming over my dimples. And I'm just being honest when I say that these dimples have come in handy in my life. When I was pregnant I hoped that my children would get them and fortunately they did.

3. I am an excellent reader of moods and faces and body language in general. I can usually tell when something's wrong with someone around me, even if I don't really know that person very well. I think it's because I'm pretty attentive to details. I've often thought I would make an excellent Miss Marple-type detective because I notice details and I think I would know if someone was guilty or not.

4. I'm an excellent out loud reader, especially of children's books. I do voices. I make things scary when they should be scary. I make appropriate sound effects. I pause in the right spots. I would make an excellent children's librarian.

5. I'm a good conversationalist. I'm pretty well read and I know a little bit about a lot of stuff, which means that I can make inane conversation with the best of them.

And there you have it. I've gotten out of the habit of tagging people for memes, but I'm going to tag a couple of people because I think we could all brag on ourselves more often. Plus, I'd like to get to know more about you guys.

So, I tag Katie from Can't Get There From Here, Betsy at The Musings of a Wandering Mind, Colleen over at Wine Please, Nicole at Impostor Mom, and el-e-e over at Hello, Self. Tag, ladies. You're it!

Monday, October 13, 2008

MIA

I've been sort of missing in action for the past couple of days, but it's been another hectic week and weekend. Thursday night we finally went to the fair, which, good grief, when did the fair get so expensive?? Wrist bands to ride all the rides are $18 a piece. And while that seems ridiculously expensive, it's still the best option since tickets were $1 a piece and the ferris wheel alone was 4 tickets. Here are a few photos, just because:


I promise that they were both having a good time, even though they look pretty serious in these photos. There was a fair amount of arguing over who got to choose the next ride, plus the want, want, want of every trinket and gew gaw on the fairway, but still we had a good time. I managed to capture this shot of the evening sky and it turned out much better than I thought it would.


Yesterday was the family reunion that I'm now in charge of. This is my third year and I have to say it wast he best one yet. In recent years the attendance had fallen off, particularly among my age group, but this year we were the largest group and I was thrilled. I saw some cousins that I hadn't seen in several years and they all brought their children. It took them a little while to warm up, but it wasn't too long before they were all playing together. THAT's the reason I took over the reunion, to ensure that my children know what it means to be part of a bigger family.

And today I'm home with Punkin. Her school is closed today for a teacher work day, so we're just going to hang out. Just us girls.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

What is Happiness?

Well, I completely missed marking my 300th post. Oh well. Some blogger I am.

Yesterday AndreAnna over at Diary of a Modern Matriarch posed a fairly serious question. Are you happy with how your life has turned out? And, that got me thinking.

I am happy. Am I where I thought I would end up? In some ways yes and in some ways no.

I always wanted to be a mother and now I have two wonderful children. My husband is the kind of guy I was always looking for -- a good guy. And I mean that in every sense of the word.

We are not where I thought we would be financially. We're not even where we were four years ago. Our financial road has had a lot of potholes. I still struggle with wanting "stuff." But then there are times when the four of us are together, laughing over something silly, or simply spending time together when I think "This is enough. This is all I need."

I finally feel as though I'm in a job that was meant for me. If I could have crafted a job in my mind, the job that I have would come pretty darn close. Of course it's frustrating at times, but as my mom has always reminded me "Every job has some shit in it." My job allows me to use all the parts of my brain. It allows me to be creative and analytical. My mind is constantly stimulated and I'm always learning. I get to be part of some really cool new advances in the world of academic libraries. I get to meet some really awesome people.

Of course there are times when I look back and wonder how my life would have turned out if I'd made different decisions. I don't sit around and wring my hands about these decisions, though. One I look back at frequently is my decision as to which college to attend. During my senior year I was hell bent on attending a women's college and had been accepted to two. At the last moment I decided to attend UGA and I often wonder where I would have ended up if I hadn't. I certainly wouldn't have met that asshole boyfriend my freshman year. The one that I allowed to derail me for about a year.

But I did. And here I am. And though my life hasn't turned out like I thought it would necessarily, it is a good life. And yes, I am happy.

It's the Little Things

Sorry for the dearth of posts here lately. Last week was so crazy and then I had to go out of town on Sunday for work. I stayed up way too late on Sunday night, so when I got home on Monday evening I could barely keep my eyes open past 8:00.

And last night I was engrossed in a book that I wanted to finish. Not to mention the fact that I couldn't think of a thing to write about.

The weekend, overall, was a little stressful. On Saturday morning my car wouldn't start and still wouldn't crank after we tried to jump it off. Since we had just replaced the starter in Mr. Daddy's car, my mind immediately jumped to the worst case scenario. Fortunately, it turned out to be just my battery. But money has been a little tight lately so we've both been on edge a little bit. Sniping a little at each other.

But then last night we had breakfast for supper. Sausage, eggs, and pancakes. I was getting the kids' milk and when I came to the table Mr. Daddy had put my pancakes on a separate plate, just like I like it (I don't like for syrup to get on my sausage and eggs). He thinks it's kind of ridiculous, but he did it for me anyway. Because he knows that's the way I am.

And it's those little things, those little gestures, that help ease the tension. That remind me to not worry so much about every thing. That remind me how good I have it.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Who Do You Know?

I have to admit, I'm a little in awe of celebrities. Maybe that's not the best word, but I love seeing celebrities and I love hearing about other people's run-ins with them.

Not that I've seen that many, really. When I used to travel to New York, my boss would see someone amazing EVERY TIME. He saw Michael Jackson when Michael was protesting that time outside of the Sony Building. He saw Reese Witherspoon when she was in NY to promote Legally Blonde I and II.

Another co-worker met Julia Roberts backstage at the David Letterman Show.

The only celebrities I ever saw in NY was Jocelyn Wildenstein (FUH-REAK! don'tclickthelink, don'tclickthelink,don'tclickthelink) and Meredith Baxter Birney. Um, yeah. Oh yeah, and I met Rick and Kathy Hilton, Paris and Nicky Hilton's parents, right before Paris and Nicky started being EVERYWHERE.

As for celebrities that I've actually met, I've met Kenny Rogers and Lionel Richie. They both came to eat at my dad's restaurant when Lionel was helping Kenny produce one of his albums.

And I'm not sure you can count this as "meeting," but once, when we lived in Hilton Head, SC, I was working at Walden Books at the mall and noticed a very tall, stunningly gorgeous woman. I was deep in thought, trying to figure out who she was when I rounded one of the stacks and bumped smack into John Cougar Mellencamp. The blonde was his wife, model Elaine Irwin. For the record, JCM is shorter than I am (I'm 5'4") and his head is, um, hmmm...how shall I put this? Large?

So that's about it for me. What about you? Who have you met? Who do you know?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tune in Tokyo

My brain is feeling somewhat less fried tonight, though today was no less busy. Once I turn over the newsletter tomorrow that will be a huge weight off my shoulders, but I probably won't be in back in form until Monday night when I return from our board meeting.

On my way home today I heard one of my favorite songs. I had to blast the radio, with the windows down since it was such a gorgeous day. Since my brain is not quite up to snuff, I thought I would share some of my favorite windows-down, stereo-blasting songs. I'm going to link to clips if possible and if you feel like rocking out, or if perhaps you just want to see what it's like to live inside my head for a few minutes (not nearly as exciting as one might think), then click.

"Right By Your Side" -- the Eurythmics

"Electric Avenue" -- Eddie Grant

"Funky Town" -- Lipps Inc.

"The Tide is High" -- Blondie

"Love is a Stranger" -- Eurythmics

"Close to Me" -- The Cure

"Mars Loves Venus" -- The Brunettes (if you don't know this one, you MUST listen. It's one of my all-time faves!)

"Come On Eileen" -- Dexy's Midnight Runners

That's just a small glimpse. As you can see, most of them date from the 80s. I suppose I'm longing for my glory days. If you can call high school my glory days.

What are some of your crank-it songs?

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

This Is Your Brain On Work

My brain, she is fried. This has been a supremely busy week. My bi-annual newsletter -- my 34 page bi-annual newsletter in which I have written 4 articles -- is due to the graphic designer this week.

And this weekend? Is our bi-annual board meeting for which I have to help prepare numerous reports and charts.

So, my brain is tired. All I have running through my head are terms like "the importance of endowments" and "the treasures of our collections."

Perhaps tomorrow I can come up with something more entertaining, but for now I'm resorting to the test pattern.

Monday, September 29, 2008

What Do I Know?

So, this weekend was a little bit weird. On Friday I drove around for about a half hour looking for gas. Ever since Hurricane Ike our supply has been sparse at best. Right before Ike gas prices had dropped to about $3.55/gal. which we were all actually excited about. But right before Ike hit word got out that gas would be scarce in the days following and panic ensued.

Ever since then, stations have been running out of gas on a regular basis. On Friday, an oil exec actually urged Georgia's governor to cancel the GA/AL football game, an action which would have had him run out of town on a rail (though in retrospect it might have been a good idea. UGH!).

We didn't really go anywhere this weekend so that we could preserve the gas that we had. On the way to work this morning I passed 7 gas stations with no gas, and even though I had more than a quarter of a tank I still felt a little panicky. When you commute 50+ miles a day, gas is critical and I have no way of knowing when those gas stations will get a new delivery. And then when they do, everybody will rush to that station and in a matter of hours that station will be empty again.

Now, I know some of this "panic" is self-created. We get all worked up and get gas even when we don't need it, but really, what is going on? Why do we still not have gas? How is this situation going to right itself?

And speaking of situations righting themselves, what about the stock market? And the $700 billion dollar bailout? Frankly, I wasn't sure if I should be glad or sad that the bill didn't pass today. This is a huge decision and everything about it just feels rushed to me. I think the market can correct itself with the right kind of stimulus and maybe throwing $700 BILLION dollars at these failing companies would be the answer, but I can think of lots of other ways to stimulate the economy. Whatever they decide they just need to make sure that there's lots of oversight and lots of accountability.

But what do I know? I'm just a little old American worker, plugging away at my 8-5 job every day. Trying to pay off bills. Trying to save for a retirement that is seeming farther and farther away. Trying to pay for daycare and essentials for my children.

But I don't need any stimulus. Nooooo. Not me. I just need some gas.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

What Do You Think?

So last night Mr. Daddy stopped by a local grocery store to pick up some Sam Adams beer.

As he was walking away from the beer section, a guy standing nearby said, out of the blue, "That's a really good beer. And the roofers like it too."

Huh? The roofers? What in the sam hill?

Mr. Daddy got the vague feeling that the guy was attempting to pick him up.

What do you think? Is "roofers" some kind of code?

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Is A Bully Born or Made?

Bubba has a bully. Well, sort of.

One evening a couple of weeks into the school year, Bubba told me that a kid in his class named Aidan* had hit and kicked him.

"On purpose?" I asked. "Are you sure it wasn't an accident?" I questioned him only because a few days earlier he had told us that a boy had kicked him in the chest, but upon further questioning he admitted that the kick had been an accident while they were playing.

"No, Mommy. He did it on purpose. He hits me all the time. I don't like him."

Hmmmm. "Well, just stay away from him if you can Bubba. And if he hits you again, tell your teacher. Don't run to the teacher about every little thing, but if somebody hits you, it's okay to tell the teacher about that. Does Aidan hit other people too?"

"Yes, Mommy. He hits everybody. He hit Thomas in the head and knocked him to the floor."

Well good grief.

A few weeks went by and no more mention was made of Aidan but when we went to our parent teacher conference last week, I asked his teacher. She wasn't really aware of what had happened because Aidan isn't in Bubba's actual class and they only see each other in the before and after school program, which she's not a part of .

But two days ago, Bubba came home and told us that Aidan had hit him in the eye and had tried to bite him. Two teachers had intervened and had apparently had a "discussion" about whether to pull a red card on Aidan. A red card is the highest level of discipline a child can receive and usually merits a trip to the office, but apparently they decided this behavior did not warrant a red card.

Well hell, what DOES warrant a red card?

So, short story long, we emailed all three teachers involved (his teacher and the two teachers who witnessed the incident) and asked that action be taken to prevent Aidan from hitting Bubba anymore. Bubba's teacher emailed back the next morning and assured us that she had already spoken to the morning and afternoon monitors to keep Aidan and Bubba separated. And thus far it seems to be working.

But a couple of questions have come up for me. Did we do the right thing by handling this with the teachers? Should we have counseled Bubba to stick up for himself a little bit before getting the teachers involved? I have this vague, uneasy, feeling that perhaps we have let Bubba down in some way but not letting him fend for himself in some way.

But then I think, my God, he's only five. He shouldn't HAVE to fend for himself at this age. And those feelings I have are probably just the antiquated notions of what's proper masculine behavior. Boys are supposed to be rough and tumble and fight and take care of bullies, right? Whatever. I don't want Bubba to be bound by those same notions that boys have to be so tough and never cry and don't talk about their feelings.

But the other question that has come up for me is about Aidan. What is going on with this child that he feels like he must strike out at everyone? His brother apparently has no such issues and is actually a friend of Bubba's. That's part of what makes it so strange. Is Aidan just being "all boy"? Or is there more going on there? I have no way of knowing. I know Bubba has two great advocates behind him, fighting for him, helping him. But who is behind Aidan, fighting for him, fighting to find out why he's so angry? Who is helping Aidan?

*not his real name