Saturday, August 30, 2008

I Bleed Red and Black

If you follow me on Twitter -- and frankly, there's really no reason you should as I rarely twit anything other than "Me too!" or "Yeah, I hear ya" -- you know that I'm very excited that college football starts today, particularly the Georgia Bulldogs. The #1 ranked Georgia Bulldogs!! Woo hoo!

Over the summer we lost our beloved mascot, Uga VI, and yesterday they finally named his successor, Uga VII (officially named Loran's Best). Isn't he the cutest?

He'll be officially installed at center field before today's game after a video tribute to Uga VI. You can call us silly if you want, but I doubt there'll be many dry eyes in the house. I would give just about anything to be there.

I promise I'll try not to be too obnoxious about our #1 status. I know it is a fleeting thing and could even be gone by the end of the day depending on how we play. Also, I learned my lesson the hard way several years ago. Mr. Daddy's brother is a HUGE WVU fan and he and I used to have very spirited debates about who would be victorious in a UGA/WVU matchup. I used to talk a LOT of smack. When we finally had the chance to play them in the Sugar Bowl in January of 2006, the Bulldogs didn't even show up. I mean, they DID show up, obviously, but not to play. It was a massacre and I had to eat a lot of crow. So, lesson learned.

Anyway, if you need me today, you'll find me huddled around the radio, cheering on my Dawgs.

Goooooooo Dawgs! Sic 'em! Woof, woof, woof!!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Ah, Nostalgia

Sorry about yesterday's post. Perhaps I should have posted a disclaimer or something at the top, you know, like "Don't read this if you are home alone at night, with the windows open." That sort of thing.

Anyhoo, I'm in kind of a silly mood tonight so I thought I would make a list of things I miss. People I miss. Pop culture stuff.

1. You Can't Do that on Television. Tonight Bubba was telling me about some kind of slime shoe you can get that had glow in the dark slime on it. I was telling him about how on the Nickelodeon of yore that if you said "I don't know" you'd get a bucket of slime dumped on you. Man, I loved that show. I watched it all the time. Christine, aka "Moose", Lisa, Kevin, Alasdair. Sadly, I just listed all those people from memory. Yes, this is the kind of stuff that takes up space in my brain.

2. Kevin Kline. Where is he these days? I mean, it just doesn't get much better than him -- good looks, good acting skills, sense of humor. You know, I almost saw him in real life once. We were at the High Museum of Art and he and Phoebe were in the gift shop after it closed, for some reason. I peeked through the windows but I couldn't really get a good look. I was this close. This close.

3. Bugs Bunny. You know, someone brought to my attention the other day one of the biggest differences in my childhood and that of my children: cartoons only came on one day a week when I was a kid. If you were lucky, you might get a Disney special on Sunday night, but Saturday morning was it. And for me, Bugs Bunny was the man. Or the woman, if he was cross dressing in that particular episode. When I told Bubba that I only got to watch cartoons one day a week he was incredulous. I felt like my grandparents "when I was a kid we had to walk to school every day. In the snow. Uphill. BOTH WAYS!"

4. I said it before, but I'll say it again: Buffy. As in the vampire slayer. Sigh.

5. Aussie Sprunch Spray. For my totally rad perm and my awesome bangs. I can still remember that kind of grape-y smell -- it is the smelltrack of my high school days. (Smelltrack is a new word I just made up, by the way. Kind of like a soundtrack, but for your nose). Oh, I know they still make it and I could still buy it, but I really don't need that kind of holding power these days. I don't even have bangs anymore. You can't really see my hair that well in this picture, but I found it and I just have to post it:

There are tons of other things that I miss, but Mr. Daddy's coming home tonight and I need to straighten up the house a bit. And no, that's not a euphemism.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Once Upon A Time There Was a Girl with No Fear

When I was in college, I lived in an area of town called Five Points. At the time, there was a serial rapist in the area known as the Five Points rapist. Five Points was his territory and girls lived in fear. He'd hide while girls were taking out their trash, slip in their apartment while they were at the dumpster, and then rape them when they came back inside. He beat one girl so badly that she lost sight in one eye.

One weekend, I returned from an out of town trip with my best friend to a completely dark apartment. Dark save for the little light blinking on my answering machine. Beep. Hi Leandra, this is Don Landlord. Can you please give me a call when you return. It's important.

As it turns out, my next door neighbor had almost been attacked. She was home alone and was cleaning her apartment, all her windows open, music blaring. Her cat, which had been sitting in the window, got spooked by something and ran under her bed. Well that spooked her so she went to close the window. As soon as she did, a hand busted through the window. Needless to say, she ran out the front door and jumped into her car and went to a friend's house to call the police (this was pre-cell phone days. I know, right? It was practically the Dark Ages). The police came, checked it out, filed a report and told her she could probably go back home. No way the guy would come back. She was scared to death and there was no way she was going back that night. Turns out it was a good thing -- when she went back the next morning, the guy had come back and had dumped all her clothing out of all her dresser drawers.

Um, yeah. I get this message as I'm standing in my pitch black apartment, front window standing wide open. It felt like one of those moments when the babysitter gets the phone call "I know you're in the house!" Commence freak out. I immediately called my mom (almost always my first instinct!) and she came and spent the night with me.

My neighbor moved out the next week, but that really wasn't an option for me. For one thing, I loved living alone and I didn't want to move. Also, it just wasn't financially feasible. So for the next several months, I slept with a hammer in my bed, usually clutched in my hand, just under my pillow. And if you want to know the real truth, I had a gun in my apartment, too. I didn't sleep with it because that just freaked me right out -- I'm really not that big a fan of guns even though I know how to use one -- but I did take it with me if I went out at night. I was scared, sure, but I just became more careful. More watchful.

So why am I telling you all this? Because I feel like I used to be kind of a bad ass and now I'm thinking that I'm not. I'm okay when Mr. Daddy is home, but when he goes out of town I turn into a big ol' wuss. And not just about rapists, etc., but about other things, too. Storms, for example. Yesterday we had storms roll through all day. At one point during the day the tornado sirens went off and we had to go to the center of our building. Even though I wouldn't have normally been with Mr. Daddy during this time of day, I found myself wishing he were in town. And last night the thunder and lightning started in and I got out the weather radio. I'm a smart woman. I know what to do in a tornado. But there I sat, wishing Mr. Daddy were here. Just in case.

And the grill. I'm kind of afraid to use the grill. I mean, I KNOW how it works. I know what needs to be done to get it going, but I'm kind of intimidated by it. Why? How did this happen to me? This is the same person who drove all the way to Vermont and back BY HERSELF. I feared nothing. I could do anything.

So I'm determined to get my badassedness back (That is totally a word, by the way). I'm going to try to start facing some of my fears and reminding myself of the things that I CAN do. Don't worry, I'm not going to go running off willy nilly into tornadoes or anything, but I'm not going to let myself get intimidated by a grill for pete's sake.

Has there ever been a time in your life when you thought you were a badass? Are you still one? Or have you lost a little of your mojo, like me? Tell me, O Internets.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

I'm So Proud I Could Just Bust

You know, I didn't write about Bubba's first day of school. I was in the middle of my funk and I didn't feel like writing and I didn't want to just post any old thing. But now I'm feeling like I'm back in the groove a little bit.

Bubba started kindergarten way back on August 7th. That still seems like summer to me, Georgia Superintendent of Schools, but whatever. I was nervous about his first day because he was going to a new school where he didn't know anybody. Not a single soul. I didn't think he was nervous about it and of course I didn't say anything about it because I didn't want to give him any ideas, you know?

A couple of nights before school started, as I was putting him to bed, I asked him if he was excited about school.

"Yes, but mommy? What if I don't have any friends? What if there are mean kids?"

"Well, Bubba, I bet you'll make a ton of friends on your first day. You've always been really good about making friends. And what do you do about mean kids at camp?"

"I just stay away from them."

"Well, I think that's an excellent plan and you can just do the same thing in kindergarten. And you know what, Bubba? I bet on the first day, everybody's going to be nervous, everybody's going to be wondering 'what if I don't have any friends' or 'what if there's mean kids'. "

If I'm being honest, too, I was afraid he was going to hate school. I had no reason to think he would, but what if he got a bad teacher, someone who didn't like him. Or someone who had no idea what she was doing? I have a cousin who ended up dropping out of school and doing time in prison and his family blames his kindergarten teacher for making him hate school. I mean, I know there are obviously some other issues there, but I just didn't want Bubba to get off on the wrong foot.

Fortunately, we got a great teacher who loves Bubba. And Bubba is thriving. And is loving school. And is learning to READ, a fact that makes me so happy and is only topped by the fact that Bubba is even more excited than I am. A boy after my own heart.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Princess Punkin-pie

Well, last night I ended up watching Lord of the Rings: Return of the King, which I will watch whenever it's on, no matter that I've seen it a go-zillion times already, so I stayed up later than I intended. This egregious error on my part was made worse by the fact that Punkin woke up screaming bloody murder at 3:33. Then came in my room and scared the pee out of me at 4 a.m. And then started screaming again at 4:45. Since my alarm goes off at 5:00, I figured it was time to get up for the day. I'd like to think I'll make a more informed decision tonight, but I doubt it. The allure of mindless television is too great.

Okay, now of the par-tay. I've put together a couple of rules for those of you who might be planning parties in the near future.

Rule #1-- Number of invitees. Whoever came up with the rule of one guest for every year of the birthday child's age is a freaking genius. This rule should be tattooed on every new parent's forehead so that every time they look in the mirror they see it staring back at them.

I invited 10 little girls from Punkin's class, not really expecting that all of them would attend. Sounds terrible I know, but there's always attrition. Right? Riiight. But, I thought I was prepared. I got to my mom's house early to set up:

I had a crown and a wand at each child's place. And also lots of stickers, jewels, bows, and assorted sparklies to decorate.

But then, someone RSVP'd about an hour before the party started. What was I going to say? No? Not when she tells me "Sparkles really wants to come to the party, but I didn't see the invitation until this morning." Um. Okay. How am I going to tell a child she can't come to the party?

Rule #2 -- Don't have any expectations about your child's level of excitement in regards to the any of the festivities. When Punkin arrived, I let her open one of her presents early -- a gorgeous poofy blue Cinderella dress that she had specifically asked for. I thought she might like to wear it for the party. Right? No. Unfortunately I have no photographs of her in it because she refused to put it on. I did finally manage to get her to put on one of her old costumes, but only by telling her that she couldn't open any presents or have any cake unless she was wearing her dress. No, I am not above bribery in any form. Also, when it came time to blow out the candles, I could barely get Punkin to look in the direction of the cake, much less expend any breath in its direction.

Rule #3 -- You need help. If your husband asks if it's okay if he runs some errands during the party, say NO. Not only no, but hell no (as we say in my family). It might SEEM like a good idea at the time, but trust me, it's not. He might be feeling a little overwhelmed by the thought of all those females, but he will just have to get over it because you will need him. For one thing, you won't have anybody to help you pour the drinks while you're trying to absorb about a gallon of urine out of your mother's sofa cushions, deposited there by one overly excited little princess. I can guaran-damn-tee you that the Fairy Godmothers never had to deal with THAT.

Rule #4 -- Be sure to have beer on hand for the after party.

Although it seemed very hectic at times, the little girls and their mothers (and one very brave father!) seemed to have a good time. Some of my favorite shots from the party:

Do you see that face? Punkin's face? That's what happens when there are too many princesses at one party. Fights over tiaras and wands. That's mine. No, it's mine.

I've blocked out most of the faces in these pictures, but I just couldn't do it on this one. It was just too precious and the picture would just lose something if I did.

Any finally, my little princess.

Part of the reason this blog is called Madame Queen is because that's what my mother used to call me, because I always got my way. I like to say that my children have dethroned me in a mostly bloodless coup and that they now hold the keys to the kingdom. And when I look at that little face, I think that's just fine with me.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

It's Going to be a Long Week

The princess party went off without a hitch. Mostly. Pictures to come. Tonight I'm felled by a monstrous headache and the absence of Mr. Daddy who is in Vegas. On business. Tough life, huh? But the kids are in bed. The house is quiet. Now the big decision. Bed? Or whatever I want to watch on television. Decsions, decisions.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Going Home

There is something inherently beautiful in the events that follow the death of a loved one. The gathering of friends and family at the funeral home, while sad, is a testament to the to the love that spreads out among us. There were people at the funeral home who didn't actually know my aunt, but who came out of respect for my father, or my cousins, or my other aunts and uncles.

Today as we sat in the church for the funeral, I looked at my family, all gathered, arms around each other, comforting, whispering words of comfort, passing handkerchiefs to those in need and I felt such a sense of belonging and strength. This family was created by blood ties, but those ties were strengthened by countless Sundays around my grandparents dinner table. By trips to the creek and hay fights in the barn. By Sunday afternoon conversations in the living room, sneaking naps into the gaps in conversation. And I was so proud of this family. As a family we offered strength to those members of us who needed it most.

And there is something about the music. Those old fashioned hymns that take me back to my childhood....Sweet Beulah Land. Here I am, Lord. Those old songs promising rest. Going home. All day I've been singing a song in my head, an old hymn that was used in a scene in the movie Junebug. This song.

Today I drove the old roads. I could have driven them blindfolded, I think. I drove past my grandparents homeplace, the actual home no longer there, a fact I discovered only today. It felt like two deaths. But still. Those roads. Those people. Those songs. It was home.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Passion for Princesses

Punkin's birthday is the 30th, but we're having her party for her school friends this Saturday. Her real birthday falls on the same day as the first Georgia football game and I hold no illusions that any parents with tickets would rather come to Punkin's party than to watch the #1 ranked (see how I snuck that in there?) Georgia Bulldogs. Also, traffic on game days is an absolute nightmare near my mom's house, which is where we're having the party.

Several weeks ago I asked Punkin what kind of party she wanted. Why, a Princess Party of course! I briefly tempted her with a Hello Kitty party, but after a couple of days she was back to wanting the princesses.

So, we're having a princess party. I've only invited the little girls from her class, which Mr. Daddy thought was an outrage. There are only about two little boys in the class and they're not even at an age where feelings will be hurt if someone's not invited. Plus, now I don't have to come up with boy activities at a princess party.

The girls were all asked to wear their princess dresses. I told the moms that I have a couple extra just in case they haven't given in to the princess onslaught yet. For the activity, the girls are going to make foam tiaras and decorate them with sparklies and gew-gaws and what not.
And also foam magic wands. Then we'll have cake and ice cream and that will be it. I hope it will be enough. Who knew it was going to be so difficult to plan children's birthday parties. And that there would be so much pressure!!

But the whole princess mania started me thinking. Is this ALL Punkin will ever be interested in? She doesn't seem to be interested really in anything else. Bubba has SO many interests and it seems that Punkin doesn't really have any. And have I forced the princesses on her? My mom said that she's still too young and that when Bubba was her age he didn't have as many interests as he does now. Which is true, as far as I can remember. I know he loved trains then and we encouraged that fascination in lots of ways. And really, is that any more stereotypical than Punkin's love for princesses. Boys = trains. Girls = princesses. I don't know. I just hope that Punkin doesn't get sucked in completely. I hope that she develops other interests. Bubba wants to be an archaeologist. I hope Punkin wants to be one too. Or whatever.

I just don't want her to be limited by her pink sparkly dress.

The Nature of Grief

My aunt died yesterday. It was not unexpected, though that doesn't make it any less sad. If I'm being honest, I can say that I wasn't all that close to her, but she was my daddy's sister and she has been a fixture in our lives for my entire life.

With her death I am reminded that grief is not really for those who died. Grief is for those left behind. She was in poor health -- had been for years due to being overweight and having diabetes. Someone told me last night that when the doctors told her that her heart was failing that she said she wasn't worried about herself, she was worried for her children that she was leaving behind.

When my grandfather died ten years ago after suffering for several months from lung cancer, someone said to me "Don't be sad. He's not suffering anymore." And I replied, "I'm not sad for HIM. I'm sad for ME."

My sadness comes when I think about her children, left without a mother, even though they are all grown up and have children of their own. My sadness comes from my father losing his sister. I am sad for the hole that will be left in the relationships in her family. In our family.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

How Do You Spell Relief?

Brace yourselves, everybody. We're going to be talking about boobs again. The results are in from my mom's genetic test. Drumroll please.......and it's negative. She does not have the breast cancer gene. Which means that in all likelihood I don't either. Can we all say WHEW!

So, obviously this is good news. There is still a very small chance that there is some other genetic factor going on. I could explain it but it would involve pie charts, genetic probabilities, a fairly complicated family tree and frankly, I'm just not sure I'm up to that this morning.

I can't tell you how relieved I am. I mean sure, there's still a chance I could get breast cancer -- I mean, we all could I guess. But it just doesn't seem like as much of a certainty as it once did. And it doesn't feel like some horrible genetic legacy I'll leave my daughter and my son. Yes! I said my son. Although it happens fairly rarely, men do get breast cancer and the breast cancer gene can also lead to prostate cancer in men.

So, yay! What a relief. Now I can find something else to worry about.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


Mr. Daddy: Yeah, I'm afraid Bubba inherited my short gene.

Me: Well, at least he didn't inherit your jean shorts.

Monday, August 11, 2008

A Must Have

So, I'm not really feeling like writing these days. I'm sure it's just a hump I'll get over. But in the meantime I thought I'd share the following with you. Mr. Daddy came across this on Craigslist the other day.

This is called the 3 Dawlies: Salvador Dali, the Dalai Lama, and Dolly Parton. If I had a basement I would SO be buying this.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Too Much Information

I mentioned yesterday about the hesitancy I was feeling regarding my assignment from Hollis Gillespie's Shocking Real Life Writing Seminar. A few days before the seminar I was wondering if this is really the class for me because it is in fact a memoir class. And see, I don't really want people to know all my shit. Which some of you may find ironic considering the fact that I have a blog where I share every detail of my life. But that's just the thing. I don't share every detail of my life, something I pondered about here not that long ago. Ultimately I realized that I don't want to share some of the most private aspects of my life on this blog. Heck, I share those details with very few people in real life. I'm just a private person.

But I went because I like Hollis' writing and her class has proven to be very successful in getting people published. She works with everybody in the class to come up with an awesome idea, a kickass, attention-grabbing title and then she matches you with agents who are specifically looking for your type of material.

Before the class we had to provide her with a little background on ourselves and a couple of book ideas that we had. One of mine was about the suicide of my friend, Fred. I put that down because it is one of the most impactful things that has happened in my life, but I wasn't sure it was the story I really want to write.

But everybody in the class seemed to think that it is the story I need to write. I, however, have a lot of reservations about it. For one thing, if I tell the story completely honestly, there is a chance that some people will be hurt by it -- Fred's family, in particular his wife and young sons. And I'm just not sure that my need to tell this story is worth that.

We talked a lot in class about letting go of fear and how we have to tell our story as WE saw it and not worry necessarily about what the other players in our story think. And I think that's okay for most stories that are told. But there's something about the death of someone by suicide that requires me to concern myself with how my story will affect the other people involved, especially since a couple of those people are children.

So, I'm probably not going to write that story. Everybody kept saying "write it like no one's going to see it" but frankly I'm not sure I see the value in that. I've written it in my head a thousand times.

I am, however, working on a couple of other ideas. I've got some stories percolating in there. We'll just see what bubbles up to the top.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Nope, Still Not a Lesbian

If any of you read Elena over at Stay at Home Mom Going Quickly Insane, then you already know that she and I met for the first time on Sunday. We both attended Hollis Gillespie's Shocking Real Life Writing Seminar in Atlanta. I suggested it to Elena because her style of writing reminded me a lot of Hollis' -- no-holds barred and brutally honest. And also very funny.

Hollis is the author of three books (the third launches tomorrow) -- Bleachy Haired Honkey Bitch (which for me is one of the hands down best titles ever), Confessions of a Recovering Slut, and her latest, Trailer Trashed.

I arrived at the seminar before Elena and was chatting with a girl who had come all the way from Philadelphia. "Oh, wow," I said. "I thought my friend from Alabama would be the person who came from farthest away."

"You have a friend coming to the class from Alabama?" Hollis asked.

"Well, we've never actually met in real life. Only online. But I consider her my friend."

"Ooh, are you lesbians?" asked Hollis, slightly gleefully.

"No. Um, bloggers, actually."

I swear I think she was disappointed.

More about the writing class tomorrow. It was a great class, though I do have some reservations about my "assignment."

Saturday, August 2, 2008

It's Just Too Much

Okay, 9 West. Seriously? Seriously? Don't you think this is taking the flip-flop fad just a leetle too far?

9 West, I usually look to you for that never go out of style. Somehow I don't think we're ever going to look back at this and remember how awesome it was to let your toes breathe but keep your ankles warm at the same time.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Who Am I?

Today I'm awarding my first ever Perfect Post. If you're not familiar with it, this is a blog award started by Lindsay over at Suburban Turmoil and Kimberly at Petroville to honor a post that you think is perfect -- whether it makes you laugh or cry, or just makes you think.

On July 1st, That Chick Over There at Jason. For the Love of God wrote a post about her grandmother's death called The Business of Life that struck a chord with me. She writes:
I wonder how anyone can do it.
How can anyone sit down and chronicle the life of a 94 year old woman into a 2x2 inch column for the newspaper.
Someone can sit down with a little pad of paper and a pencil and write down the dates and times. Someone can make a list and count up all the grandchildren, the great grandchildren, and the great-great grandchildren. Someone can list the places she's lived, the child that she lost, the husband who died almost fourteen years ago to the day.
But who can say who she was when she was a little girl? Who knows her stories of how she felt as a young mother, a young bride? Who knows her secrets?
Who knows how much her family loved her? How do you capture what her voice sounded like when she laughed? How can you put into words what it meant, as a little child, sitting with her as she told you Bible stories..."working" side by side with her in the garden?
How do you sum up a life? Especially when you yourself know so little about a person. That's how I feel about my grandmother now. My grandmother died in January of 2005, She'd been sick for a while -- several strokes and the amputation of one of her legs due to her diabetes had left her bedridden and unable to speak.

Oh, sure, there are things I know about her, things I remember from my childhood. She was an excellent cook. She used to sing "Lazybones" and "A Tisket, A Tasket" to me all the time. She was mother to seven children, grandmother to twelve, greatgrandmother to twenty-two. She lived through the Depression and its lingering aftermath in the south.

But who was she? What were her hopes and dreams as a girl? What were her hopes and dreams for her children?

That Chick goes on to say:
I'm left to wonder who I will be someday, to the newspaper. How it will feel when I am an old woman and my children are left to write the story of my life. I hope to God they know how much I love them.
I, too, hope these things.