Friday, September 29, 2006

Friday Fifteen Minus Six

All my brain can piece together this morning are random bits of information. AREN'T YOU EXCITED?!?!?!?!

1. One of you science-type people needs to conduct a study on what would no doubt be called The McDreamy Effect. Because just like phone usage shoots to its highest level on Mother's Day, phone calls and emails - at least on my end of the world - seem to drop to all-time lows between the hours of 8:00 and 9:00 CST on Thursday nights.

You don't call, you don't write....

2. And I may be a little late to this particular interweb party, but did y'all know that you can watch full episodes of your favorite ABC shows (assuming that last phrase isn't an oxymoron) FOR FREE? By going here? I had no idea. I don't watch a single one of the shows they have listed, but now that I can watch them on the interweb FOR FREE, I just might have to start.

3. A few weeks ago I got an email from Folger's - and I know some of you other bloggers did, too - asking me if I'd try a new product of theirs. I agreed. I was expecting to receive three single-serving samples, sort of like what you might see in your hotel room next to a little 4-cup coffee pot. But a couple of days ago the coffee arrived, and I had not one, not two, but THREE full-sized packages of the New Coffee Product. Haven't tried them yet - but tickled to death by the Free Stuff.

4. Our house is eerily quiet without Alex running around. Something tells me that my mama and daddy are having a completely different experience right about now since our little Chatty McTalkerson is staying with them.

5. My to-do list for today and the rest of the weekend is ginormous. Our house won't officially go on the market until next week, but OH MY WORD at the work we have to do. Oh my word.

6. Even though we have tons of work to do, I am happy happy happy that David and I will have a whole weekend to ourselves. It'll be like a little vacation at home. A vacation where we get to paint trim and put out pinestraw and plant pansies and I'm really not using any of those phrases as a euphemism. I'm being quite literal.

7. My TiVo is going to explode, I fear, with the sheer volume of unwatched programming that it's storing. I haven't watched anything all week long - not even my beloved "Dancing With The Stars" - so hopefully I can watch it today while I make my way through the list-o-chores.

8. Yesterday an elderly gentleman was telling me something I thought he intended to be funny, so I laughed, but he was actually being quite serious and not wanting a laugh at all, and when I think back on the sheer awkwardness of it all (David and our realtor were there to witness my cringe-worthy performance), I really think it would have been preferable if the floor had just opened up and swallowed me whole.

However, David seems to enjoy being able to tease me with comments like "before you insulted the elderly gentleman" and "when you laughed at the man who was telling you that his brother died," so I guess in the interest of comedy, it was all worthwhile.

9. I'm off to organize closets now!

Thursday, September 28, 2006


I was only about thirty minutes into trying to get the house ready for the realtor when I realized that having a three year old “helper” was going to be an eye-opener. The last time David and I sold a house we didn’t have a child, and let’s just say that I was slightly unprepared for the challenges of “staging” a house for showing when there is an entire GeoTrax train set in the middle of a bedroom, not to mention a conductor of said GeoTrax train set who wants to have all trains visible at all times. Preferably in the middle of the floor.

And when it took me four hours to get my kitchen sparkling clean night before last, primarily because Alex insisted on turning the rug in the kitchen into a racetrack for his “Cars” cars, I realized that there are certain times in a mama’s life when she can use a little "grandparental" reinforcement and that this is one of those times.

So I picked up the phone, called Mama and Daddy, and I had barely gotten the words “Do you think Alex could stay with y’all…” out of my mouth before Mama said, “Yes. When do you want us to get him?”

If you’re a grandparent whose grandbabies live out of town, you can probably relate to her reaction.

Long story short: Alex is on his way to his grandparents’ house right this very second. David is meeting Mama and Daddy halfway between their house and our house, and Alex will have four glorious days with all the diet Coke he can drink and an unlimited supply of donuts. He will get to ride in the truck with Pappa and make daily trips to the dollar store. He will sit in my mama’s lap until he falls asleep every single night, and she will cater to his every whim. He will be spoiled rotten when we pick him up Sunday afternoon, and we wouldn’t have it any other way.

Alex has been talking about his “vacation” non-stop for the last twenty-four hours, and this morning when he came down the stairs, he was holding his stuffed froggy, his stuffed monkey, and a little stuffed dog that someone gave him when he was a baby. I made a comment about how he must be bringing all his friends to breakfast, and he said, “Oh no, Mama – I’m taking them to Pappa’s house!” He obviously had been thinking about his trip since the second he opened his eyes, and the fact that he didn't want his stuffed friends to miss out on the adventure made me want to kiss his little cheeks until I got every ounce of sugar out of them.

It’s been easy, these last few days, to get caught up in the whirlwind of buying, moving, staging, planning, financing and selling. But this morning, as Alex cradled a few well-worn stuffed animals and talked excitedly about his trip to his grandparents’ house, I couldn’t help but think about what really matters. And I truly believe, way down deep in my soul, that if I were to sit down and write out The Important Stuff Of Life, a house would be pretty far down the list.

But a three year old little boy? Collecting his toys for his “big trip” to Mississippi? Excited beyond belief at the prospect of spending a few days with his grandparents? Knowing beyond a shadow of a doubt that they adore him completely and unabashedly? Knowing that he loves them just as fiercely in return?

That ranks way up there. No doubt about it.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

This Is All I Could Come Up With While I Was Procrastinating

So tomorrow our realtor is coming to our house and putting it on the market. It's not particularly exciting news, I know, but it is a big thing for us because that means that somehow in the next twenty four hours we have to make this house look like we have walked around in Padded Socks for the past six years and only Gently Tippy-Toed on the carpet. Oddly enough, prospective buyers aren't terribly interested in carpet that shows evidence of Stomach Virus '04 or The Time The Dog Was Incontinent.

Go figure.

Also: I have long spoken ill of the flat paint that the builder used in our house. When we moved in the painters left us everything that was leftover, but when I tried to do touch-ups the color was lighter and didn't look right at all. If I were my mother-in-law I would now say something like, "Well, maybe it was because it wasn't a very taupe-y taupe, it was just more of a taupe, but not too much grey in it, and if the paint store didn't mix it just right you might see a little too much yellow in it and it figures that the paint wouldn't touch up right because I just can't have anything and you know how every single time I find something I like it doesn't work right, or it's discontinued or they don't have my size because I promise that I don't try but I've lost some weight, I mean I haven't meant to but it's just because we've been staying busy around here and you know Mother and I don't eat much, sometimes we just like to split a pimento and cheese sandwich and eat a Pringle."

Sorry. Sometimes I start to miss Martha and it makes me feel better to talk like her for just a second.

Anyway, you can imagine what parts of my walls look like six years later, especially considering that for the last two a certain little boy has rubbed his sticky little fingers all over them. But I figure that whoever looks at the house won't think it's cute that one time Alex stuck his hand in a jar of peanut butter and then "made train tracks" on the walls in the dining room, so I figured I had to come up with a solution.

So this afternoon I marched right into the paint store, showed them the paint chip that I've carried around in my wallet for six and a half years, and asked them to mix up a gallon in their cheapest flat paint.

And can I just tell y'all? It worked like a charm. I hit all the high traffic areas, and they look great. You can't even tell I painted.

So I'm revising my original opinion on flat paint. It seems that I was wrong. Flat paint, when mixed to the correct color specifications, is delightful.

Isn't this riveting information? All this talk of home improvement?

Coming up in my next post: we'll be talking about gutters!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

And This Is But One Reason Why We Love Her

When David’s grandmother, Sissie, fell this past weekend and broke her hip, we were understandably concerned. She’s 96, weighs about 100 pounds soaking wet, and she’s increasingly frail (which makes perfect sense what with her being 96 and 100 pounds and all).

So when we got the news that her surgery to set the hip was scheduled for Sunday morning, David and his brother, who was here visiting, decided that they’d better head on over so that they could be there. Sissie has managed to combat all manner of ills with little more than a baby aspirin and a multi-vitamin, but surgery for someone her age is Serious Business. So late Saturday night, the brothers headed to Mississippi.

Around 6:45 Sunday morning, David and Scott went to the hospital so they could see Sissie before she went into surgery. Sissie was very nervous and had taken a “val-yum,” as my mother-in-law Martha says, about thirty minutes beforehand – pretty stiff medication for someone whose idea of heavy pharmaceutical usage is taking two Bayer aspirin within four hours of each other.

So when David and Scott walked in Sissie’s hospital room, she was, for all intents and purposes, hammered. And when they started talking to her, Sissie’s only reply was, “Where are they, Martha? WHERE ARE THEY?”

Martha explained to Sissie that she should quit looking toward the ceiling in the hopes of seeing her grandsons and should instead look to her left.

Once Sissie was wheeled into the operating room, David and Scott had the distinct pleasure of listening to Martha talk with her friends Mary Ann and Rubena (I am not making up that name. HOW COULD I?) about all manner of serious issues: the high cost of cable television, the high cost of electrical power, the high cost of gasoline, etc. David vows that at one point Rubena started a sentence with the phrase, “Speaking of cutting your head off…,” and I really have no idea what she said after that because really, why does it matter in light of such a brilliant segue?

A couple of hours later, Sissie was back in her room. The surgery went well, and – I KID YOU NOT – these were her first words as she came out from under the anesthesia:

“Martha, will you put my lipstick on for me?”

I mean, breaking her hip was one thing. Having surgery to set it was another. But not having color on her lips as she received visitors would be insult to any Southern woman’s injury.

It all makes perfect sense to me.

Monday, September 25, 2006

I Feel A Bit Of An Explanation Is In Order

Y’all know that the level of my blogging addiction is severe enough that I rarely disappear from the computer for two or three days at a time. I mean, really, if there were some way for me to maintain a wireless internet connection at all points in my day – even from the car – I probably would. And I would say things like, “Alex, please don’t interrupt Mama when she’s trying to blog and drive at the same time!”

And people would worry about me. With good reason.

But this past weekend turned out to be busy and full and fun, with little to no computer time. David’s brother and his family were in town, and Alex loved every single second of having his eight year old cousin (and her friend) with him all weekend.

They stayed up until 11:30 Friday night, woke up early Saturday morning, had a great time playing and eating donuts, went to the zoo, went swimming, and pretty much just had a big time. Alex fell asleep at 7:45 Saturday night and did not move a muscle until 8:30 Sunday morning. Big day.

And since David’s brother and sister-in-law took the kids to the zoo and to the pool, David and I had about five hours Saturday afternoon to look at houses. The luxury of that time together was HUGE – it’s amazing how much easier it is to house-hunt when you’re not trying to wrangle a three year old at the same time. Even driving around neighborhoods was simpler – we could actually, you know, talk without being interrupted, and it was a totally unexpected treat to be able to do that. We definitely made some progress in our search...we may have actually found a place where we could live and not only sniff ice cream...but even buy ice cream, too!

I know!

So this week it looks like I’m going to have some projects to do around the house: trying to make it look like we live in a Comfortable Environment, like Alex keeps his toys in Neatly Organized Piles, like we always keep coverlets Artfully Askew at the bottom of all our beds.

It’s a World of Illusion!

Don’t you want to buy it?

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Hey, Praying People

Be sure to check out a prayer request over at Blessed Assurances - if you click over you'll find details of a little guy who really needs our prayers.

Also, David's grandmother, who's 96, fell and broke her hip yesterday...she's having surgery this morning. She hasn't been in too much pain, but she's very discouraged and her spirits are low.

And in the praise department, check out Sarah's post from yesterday if you haven't already. She and her family got some really encouraging news this past Friday.

I'll be back later -

Friday, September 22, 2006

In Which I Dot The I's

1. The Sassy Pants:

Because I AM ALL ABOUT THE BLOGGY SACRIFICE, people, I snapped a picture at an incredibly awkward angle right before choir practice the other night, even though others must have thought me to be slightly insane. What with me taking a picture of my pants leg and all.

And seriously: aren't they sassy?

2. The Wri- Thing: Yeah, you know, whatever. Emailed one person with "connections." Doubted myself seven hundred and sixty one times. Regretted emailing connected person and felt very presumptuous. Received two firm but loving and encouraging "talking-tos" from Daph and Laura re: wri- confidence. Vowed to be more proactive. Realized wri- confidence is a helpful prerequisite for "proactivity." Praying about that. A lot.

Also: overusing "quotations." "A lot."

3. I've gotten several sweet emails over the last month from people asking if I mind if they plan some sort of "tour" for their blog. I think people probably don't want to use the tour idea without my permission, which is really kind and thoughtful but TOTALLY unnecessary.

So let me just say this: if you want to plan a Tour of Faucets, a Tour of Master Bathrooms With Double Sinks, a Tour of Basements, whatever - HAVE AT IT. :-) Seriously. I would've never done Tour of Homes if Shannon and Carol hadn't suggested it to me, so feel free to TOUR IT UP on your own blogs if you want.

Which reminds me: I'm waivering about doing the Christmas Tour of Homes, because I think that people could probably use a break from Bloggity Extravaganzas that involve me (like I told Chilihead: since I'm sort of sick of me, I can't imagine that everyone else isn't, too). I'll try to decide something for sure in the next few weeks. I guess I'm sort of wondering if it wouldn't be one more obligation for people during an already busy time of year? I'd love your feedback....

4. David's going out of town in a couple of weeks. I'm relaying this information because a) I want prowlers to have plenty of advance notice and b) I want to make an announcement.

So here it is: I'm going to TRY to watch this thing they call "Grey's Anatomy" while he's gone. Yep, I'm gonna jump right up on the bandwagon even though it goes against my longstanding no-bandwagon-jumping TV watching principle. HAPPY, DAPHNE AND ADDIE?

5. And in the completely unrelated department (not that this post is the model of narrative coherence or anything): is it possible to freeze salsa? If so, in what kind of container?

Thank you for your time. Have a lovely weekend.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

An Eye-Opener Is What It Is

So I got home from a little Mama-party tonight (it was WILD, I tell you - we ooh'd and aah'd over cooking utensils and then drank way too much ginger ale with raspberries while we perused catalogs with even more cooking utensils - WILD!) and visited with the family and got Alex tucked into bed and then came downstairs to check Bloglines.

And there were maybe two new posts as opposed to the normal eleventy hundred new posts.

And I thought, well, um, that's strange.

But then I remembered: Grey's Anatomy. Season premiere.

Now I don't watch the show [she says, ducking for cover], but I have a newfound appreciation for it because Cutie McPretty or Dr. McDreamy or whatever his name is can flat shut down blogland for a couple of hours. THAT'S impressive. Really. I believe I have badly underestimated the loyalty and fervor that you people have for this seemingly-addictive television program that I have never seen.

So I hope you enjoyed it.

In other television news, David and I enjoyed "The Office" season premiere tonight. At least I did until I got on the phone with Merritt and quit watching. But then she made me laugh so hard that I wet my pants. And I enjoyed that, too (the laughing. not so much the other).

See y'all tomorrow.

The Irony, It Astounds Me

As a child, I would come thisclose to rolling my eyes whenever my daddy turned the radio dial to the country station that had a Southern Gospel Hour on Sunday mornings.


Well, as it turns out: me.

And as an adult, I can't hear a Southern gospel song without singing along - and as David and Sister will attest, whether or not I know the words is of very little consequence. I will just hum harmony if need be. Or, in some cases, "harmony," because I tend to be a smidge off-key.

These days poor Alex is the one subjected to the Southern Gospel Hour on Sunday mornings, and - I KID YOU NOT - he puts those little gospel-esque harmonic tags at the end of everything he sings ("ALLLL THROUGH THE TOOOOOOOOOO-OWN" or, better yet, "Next time won't you sing with SIIIIIING WIIIIIIIIIITH MEEEEEEEEEEEEE").

Clearly, I have ruined him.

So anyway, it's a gorgeous day and God is good and I just felt like hearing a little Southern gospel music this morning. Thought I'd share.

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

On The Cutting Edge, As Always

Today I put on some Sassy Pants that I got a couple of years ago. I had forgotten about them until I cleaned out my closet recently and rediscovered them, and oh, I could not wait until the first cool breeze hit this part of the country so that I could don said pants and be funky fresh for fall.

Now when I initially got the pants, they fit okay, but I knew they’d fit better if I lost about ten pounds. I planned to get right on that weight loss project and clearly could lose ten pounds in the span of mere days if I just set my mind to it.




And two years later, minus approximately zero extra poundage, I found that I could not resist the siren call of the Sassy Pants when I got dressed today. The fact that they only fit okay seemed perfectly acceptable in light of the Sheer Cuteness Factor, a factor that outweighs just about any element in the fashion equation, with the exception of uncomfortable shoes, which I can't even start talking about now or we'll be here until next Tuesday.

Because here's how cute the pants are: they have this wild, colorful print on the front of the legs, and the back of the legs is solid brown, except for the wild print on the back pockets. And I will NOT be showing you a picture the back pockets, lest you run screaming from the computer at the sight of my ample posterior (frankly, it would be too much for any individual to bear, and I'm just not putting you through that because I care deeply about you and your mental well-being).

Anyway, the point (OH, there's a POINT?) is that Sassy Pants are adorable and comfortable. When I'm standing up.

But when I sit down? After about five minutes? They get a little, um, restrictive. I've found myself saying "WHEW" a whole lot today, then shifting around, trying to find a more comfortable sitting position. I've also found myself standing for long periods of time for no good reason other than to keep my blood circulating properly (according to the "experts," "circulation" is a fairly critical component in order to "breathe" and "live," but I beg to differ since I've spent a good portion of the day with Considerable Numbness in the Waistband Area).

However, I'm nothing if not determined, and I am resolved to finish my daily obligations (yes, even choir practice) in the Sassy Pants.

Which is becoming increasingly problematic since I am, at this very moment, sitting and typing this post with the waistband of my Sassy Pants rolled down past my stomach.

Oh yes MA'AM.


Think they'll mind at choir?

I think it could be a Hot Trend for fall, don't you?

Look! Another Tour!

Lauren at Created for HIS Glory is hosting a very special bloggy tour on October 1st.

You can read all the details here.

Mark your calendars!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

What About Prom, Blane? WHAT ABOUT PROM?

A few days ago I saw some girls who were obviously in the middle of a terribly important discussion. They were about fourteen, totally into their conversation except for the occasional necessity of reading a text message or replying to one. I couldn't help but think about when I was their age, and really, I shudder a little bit when I remember the sheer awkwardness that was the hallmark of my early teenage years. The braces, the frizzy hair, the utter lack of confidence around those alien creatures called boys – just about all of it makes me cringe.

Of course, like so many teenage girls, I thought that I knew it all, thought that I was covered in coolness, but in retrospect I was completely naïve and overly earnest and annoyingly self-absorbed. Actually, unbeknownst to me, I was a nerdy version of a drama queen: even though I was well-aware of all the gossip and “scandal” at our junior high, I only stayed involved in that stuff for about five minutes before I retreated into my Piles Of Books. Honestly, who needed junior high drama when the sophisticated, self-assured girls in the Sweet Valley High novels were dealing with, like, MA-JOR stuff?

I mean, GAH!

I can’t tell you how many 1980-something nights I sat in my bedroom with my hair in sponge curlers, incessantly wiping my face with a cotton ball soaked in Sea Breeze, talking on my yellow Princess-style push-button phone while adjusting the rubber bands on my braces, putting one cassette after another into my jam box, thinking that clearly no one had ever understood The Plight Of The Teenage Heart better than Mr. Phil Collins. I mean, who doesn’t remember this classic?
"You called me from the room in your hotel
All full of romance for someone that you met
And telling me how sorry you were, leaving so soon
And that you miss me sometimes when you’re alone in your room
Do I feel lonely too?

You have no right to ask me how I feel
You have no right to speak to me so kind
We can’t go on just holding on to time
Now that we’re living separate lives."
Never you mind that I’d never had a boyfriend. I still knew deep in my heart of hearts the agony, the heart-wrenching grief of true love.

And I knew those things, of course, because of John Hughes movies.

In fact, reading those lyrics makes me want to watch “Night Tracks” on WTBS out of Atlanta and record all the best videos (Dexy’s Midnight Runners singing "Come On, Eileen," anyone?) on a VCR with its remote attached by a wire.

While tinkering with MS-DOS until the amber letters on the monitor make my eyes cross.

While drinking Pepsi Free.

An Excellent Adventure


Did anybody else see "Oprah" yesterday?

Because Oprah and Gayle set out on a cross country trip in a Chevrolet, and I laughed out loud and clapped my hands while I watched. I really think that Gayle and Emma Kate are somehow related, so similar are their personalities (and p.s. - Gayle sings just like my friend Tracey in that she is a bit, um, tonally, um, challenged, which tickles me to no end).

Anyway, as a result of today's show, I've decided that I want to take a cross country car trip with someone next year - and I really could name fifteen people off the top of my head that I would go with IN A HEARTBEAT, with my husband being at the tippy-top of that list. But if one of the conditions of my imaginary voyage is that I can't take a family member - well, then, my college friends go straight to the starting line-up. I can't think of a single one who wouldn't be an absolute blast.

And it probably won't surprise you, what with your understanding of my OCD tendencies, to learn that I've been thinking about my potential cross country route. I'd love to fly to New York, rent a car, and then make my way to California, but I think I'd probably just back out of my driveway and head west. It wouldn't be all-the-way-across-country, per se, but it would be a start. Plus, driving from here to California would take me straight through Texas, which would give me a chance to meet some of my most favorite blogging buddies.

I think it's a pretty fun idea, don't you?

And just out of curiosity - if you were driving cross country, who would you take with you if you couldn't take family? And what would be the soundtrack for your trip? Or would you, like Oprah, rather ride in silence? (in case you were wondering, the thought of riding in silence doesn't just make me twitch - it makes me KICK. Incessantly.)

Good times, noodle salad.*

Can't wait to read your comments.

*Anybody know the movie?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Must Read

This post of Antique Mommy's CRACKED ME UP.

And if you're not reading her blog regularly, I have but one question for you:




The Wonder Of It All

It's really a wonder that Emma Kate and I ever became roommates. We were only acquaintances, really, until our sophomore year when we were both elected to offices in our sorority (EK had a "real" office because she was pledge trainer; I had a comparatively "fake" office because I was essentially just in charge of writing thank you notes) and required to move in the Chi O house as a result. For whatever reason, EK immediately decided that I was a Friend For Life, and she has never let go of me since we moved our matching floral comforters into our room on a cold January day. We may not be sisters, but we're definitely SISTAHS - and I know that we'll walk through the rest of our lives together. No doubt about it.

It's even more of a wonder that David and I joined Brook Hills. We were only being polite, really, when we agreed to visit with our neighbors, and I'll never forget David's reaction to that first service we attended: "Well, at least they didn't bring out the snakes" (keep in mind that we're from hearty Methodist and Episcopalian stock). There were drums and guitars and not a choir robe in sight, but we found ourselves, inexplicably, going back again and again. We looked for every possible reason why it couldn't possibly be the church for us: it was too big, it was too loud, it was too contemporary, it was too Baptist. But it was also a place where the Bible was preached faithfully every single week - and we were learning and growing like never before. Eventually, we accepted the fact that Brook Hills was nowhere we would've pictured ourselves but exactly where God wanted us. So we stayed - and aside from Alex, it's the best thing we've ever done.

And then there's that day in the park that, in retrospect, is pretty wondrous in and of itself. One Saturday about a year and a half ago, when Alex had been SUCH A PILL on the way home from the grocery store that I decided that he needed to run in some wide open spaces, I looked to my right, saw the sign for the park, and slammed on my brakes at the last minute so that I could make the turn. I wheeled into the parking lot, got Alex out of the car and took some pictures while he ran around. Look! Here's one! Photographic evidence!

I thought for just a second that Alex and I had the whole place to ourselves until I saw a familiar-looking guy pushing a stroller in our direction - and after a few minutes I realized that Stroller Guy in the park was actually one of the Preacher Guys from our church. Specifically, it was Kevin, who I'd never met before, and since neither of us is what you would call "shy," we introduced ourselves and chatted for about an hour while our boys played on the playground. I've mentioned before that our conversation set some ministry wheels in motion, and I'm forever grateful for that - but that "chance" meeting was really about so much more, stuff we never could've imagined at the time.

For the next year David and I listened to Emma Kate and Brad as they began to talk and pray about the possibility of a new work in Tupelo. Back here in Alabama, Kevin, Traci and their kids became increasingly special to our family. And one day - I don't know why - I burned one of Kevin's sermons to a CD, put it in an envelope, and sent it to EK and Brad. It's funny to me that, unbeknownst to him, Kevin made his first trip to Tupelo embedded in a little four inch CD, and that virtual visit made a pretty big impression on some people he'd never met.

By May of this year, EK and Brad were a part of a small group that was meeting regularly to pray about God's direction for a new church. EK mentioned that they'd love to hear the story about how my church got started, so my friend Sandra graciously invited "the Tupelo crew" to her house for lunch one Sunday so that they could hear the history of Brook Hills from some of the founding members. I had to leave church early that Sunday to help get lunch ready, so I missed the end of the service. When Emma Kate walked in Sandra's door about an hour later, she looked me square in the eye and said, "Hey. Kevin prayed."

I said something to the effect that yeah, he's a preacher and preachers are apt to do that thing you call praying - and EK grabbed my arms and said, "No. You don't understand. Kevin prayed."

When I saw the tears in her eyes, I knew, just as sure as she was standing there, that Kevin was, in her heart, the man for their church in Tupelo. I'll never forget that afternoon.

A couple of weeks later, Kevin and Traci came over to our house for dinner. EK and Brad made a special trip so that they could be here, too - and that was the first time that their two families "officially" met. It was magical, as you can tell.

Okay. So I sort of slacked on the pictures for that night. But you get the idea.

And wonder of wonders, about two and a half months later, Kevin accepted the call to be the new pastor at The Church at Trace Crossing, a new church plant in Tupelo.

So yesterday - seventeen years after a couple of blonde-haired girls with extensive hairbow collections moved into the Chi O house, eighteen months after a frazzled mama ran into a preacher daddy in a park, four months after a group of believers from Tupelo heard a twenty nine year old guy in Birmingham pray a prayer that touched them way down deep in their souls - our sweet friends Kevin, Traci, Emma Kate, and Brad stood before our church with the rest of their faith family (look how many there are already!), and Kevin said something I hope I never forget:

"The Church at Brook Hills, meet The Church at Trace Crossing."

I look at that picture, and my eyes fill with tears.

The way God connects seemingly unrelated threads of our lives - and then uses those threads to create a beautiful, unexpected tapestry, something far more than we could've imagined - well, it blows me away.

"Many, O LORD my God,
are the wonders you have done.
The things you planned for us
no one can recount to you;
were I to speak and tell of them,
they would be too many to declare."
- Psalm 40:5

Saturday, September 16, 2006

So That I Can Remember

Sometime in the wee hours this morning I woke up and heard Alex talking. He had gotten out of his bed, walked downstairs, come into our room, and apparently decided that he'd just talk until one of us decided to talk back to him. So I asked him what he wanted, and he said, "Oh, Mama! I want some chocolate candy!"

I explained that he couldn't have chocolate candy what with it being DARK O'CLOCK and all, so he said, "Oh! Okay, Mama! Can I get in the bed with you and Daddy?"

I was too tired, honestly, to refuse him.

So he climbed up in bed, got in between D. and me, and continued to talk about the chocolate candy, and his froggie, and his bad dream, and the trade crisis in Central Asia (okay. maybe not that. but he was talking a LOT). Eventually we both went back to sleep, and when I got up this morning he was still in the bed with us.

I tried to gently crawl out of the bed so I wouldn't wake up the little man - but as soon as my knee slid against the fitted sheet he popped up like a jack in the box.

I ruffled his hair a little and said, "Good mornin', buddy - did you sleep good?"

He squinted at me and said, "Yeah. I sleep good, Mama."

I got out bed, intent on Finding Coffee, and as I was walking out of the bedroom I heard Alex say, "Mama?"

"What, baby?" I answered.

"Did I sleep in the bed with our family last night? Did I sleep in the bed with you and Daddy - with our family?"

Something about the way he said it - something about his realization that yes, we are a family - it just took my breath away.

I could not love him more.

Friday, September 15, 2006

My Eyes! My Eyes!

The mamas at Alex's Mother's Day Out are an intimidatingly (is that a word? it is now, I guess) fashionable bunch. Even their workout clothes are cute, because apparently there are entire workout ensembles that one can purchase and lo, even wear when exercising. It probably goes without saying that said ensembles are a smidge more sophisticated than the t-shirts and shorts you'll find in my closet.

It's always fun for me to check out what they're wearing - because while I like to be a little sassy and all, most of the other mamas are Sassy, and some are even SASSY, and a few are downright SASSY! because, I mean, they WORK IT OUT.

Which is why the news that I have to share with you is so disturbing.

Because I may or may not have seen one of the SASSY! mamas wearing the following:

Oh I'm not kidding.

If you were able to zoom in very closely on that label, you would see that it says two words that haunt us all, two words we never, ever thought we'd have to see on our clothes again (unless we found ourselves trapped inside a Merry-Go-Round museum):


Oh yes, interpeeps.


I know I mentioned here that the 80's fashion comeback scares me, and several of you mentioned Members Only jackets in the comments. I really couldn't fathom, though, that anyone would want to wear one of those again, what with all the unnecessary straps and snaps and the wide elasticized waistband and so on.

But apparently, at least according to one particular SASSY! mama, a Members Only jacket with LEGGINGS and some FLATS is a good look for fall.

I just didn't think it would come to this, people. But since it has, I hereby abandon all hopes for Fall '06 sassiness. The skinny jeans were bad enough. But the Members Only jackets have pushed me right over the edge.

So I beg you: please don't cave! Don't start looking at that parachute-esque fabric and thinking about how practical it would be, how you could just wipe the spit up or ketchup right off of it and be none the worse for the wear. Because that's how the devil works, I'm telling you. That's how he works!

You'll start with the Members Only jacket because it's "utilitarian," and the next thing you know you'll be tying a scarf around your head in a big bow, cutting the necklines out of your sweatshirts, and wearing lace leggings underneath your miniskirts.

And the designer evildoers will cackle with glee.



Thursday, September 14, 2006

It Makes Me Wanna Wag My Tail

Before I begin, I feel somewhat obligated to tell you that I just took a bite of a Hershey's nugget, and my immediate reaction was, "Hey. This tastes like Cheetos." But instead of spitting it out, I let it settle into my "palate" a bit, and you know, chocolate with a hint of cheesiness is actually pretty good.

But it may not be a great idea to keep chocolate so close to industrial-sized bags of Cheetos in the pantry. I'm just sayin'.

Anyhoo. I've gotten a few giggles from my inbox lately, and I thought I'd share.

A couple of nights ago I was, as my mama says, "checking the email" one last time before bed, and I had a note from my dear friend Merritt Leigh that read as follows:
"You seem a little foggy lately...sort of out of do I describe it? Anyway, may I be the first to predict: you're pregnant. You know your mind goes to pot as soon as you conceive the second child. Let me know when/if tests confirm this fact."
As soon as I read the email, I picked up the phone and called her.

When Merritt answered, she didn't even say "hello?" Instead, she said, in very hushed, muffled tones that are usually reserved for people who do All The Spying, "Youare?"

"WHAT?" I replied.


"What am I?"

"You're pregnant?"

"NO. I'm NOT pregnant. I'm just crazy. And tired."


"YES, I'm sure."

Because here's the thing: I'm fairly confident that if I were pregnant, I would in fact be the first to know.

Well, the first besides God.

And I wish I had some sort of hormonal explanation / justification for my recent bout with adult-onset ADD (totally just made up that condition. thank you). All I can figure is that I'm losing cognitive ability in direct proportion to the rate that the toddler is acquiring it.

Lea Margaret also emailed me about "the big news" - and I got a little tickled that my friends now think that if I were pregnant, I would immediately announce it to the whole wide world interweb before I told them. I mean, I do still know how to use the phone, in addition to the email, and if there's ever cause to deliver Exciting Pregnancy News, I'll utilize those means of communication before I broadcast the status of my reproductive life to the internet. Promise.

So then I saw an email from Folgers, and I couldn't imagine why in the world they'd care about the non-baby, but as it turned out they just wanted to send me some samples of some new gourmet coffee product, to which I replied, "SURE! BRING ON THE FREE STUFF!"

Because really, there's nothing that my empty womb and I enjoy more than a hot mocha beverage.

My World Is Getting So Small That I Fear It May Implode

Okay. Most of y'all know that Emma Kate is my best friend from college.

And probably most of y'all know - because you read Sarah's blog - that Erin is one of her best friends from college.

So about a month ago Erin, who has a blog of her own now, emailed me a sweet note and mentioned where she lived and I was all, "NO WAY - my friend Emma Kate only lives about 30 minutes from you." We emailed some more, and eventually I gave Erin and Emma Kate each other's contact info.

And today they're going to lunch.

Does this strike anyone else as A BUNCH OF INTERNET CRAZINESS?

I mean, Sarah and I email almost every single day, and we haven't had a chance to meet in person yet, but two of our best friends are getting together for lunch right about, oh, this very second?

Blows my mind.

Please feel free to join me in my astonishment and wonder.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

If Dairy Queen Had A Clever Slogan, That Would Be My Title

Okay so let's just say - hypothetically, of course - that late yesterday afternoon I couldn't stand it any longer, and because I am but a weak vessel, my car magically steered itself to the nearest Dairy Queen where I enjoyed a delicious peanut butter cup Blizzard.

Because it totally happened, except for the whole "car magically steered itself" part.

You see, I actually drove my car WITH GREAT INTENTION to the DQ, oh yes I did. And I only got a small Blizzard, which was really a significant accomplishment because I had thought about the delicious peanut butter cup concoction for so long yesterday that I could've easily bought the convenient IV-bag size Blizzard if they sold one - and then hooked myself up to it right there in the Dairy Queen parking lot.

So I was pretty proud that I only got a small.

Anyway, I was in a long line at the drive-thru, and when I finally got to the intercom thing-y, I placed my order, which may or may not have also included a hamburger.

(Oh, I was on my way to a meeting and it was suppertime and I was hungry. I AM NOT A ROBOT, PEOPLE!)

Anyway, after I gave the DQ guy my order, here was his response:

“I’m so sorry, ma’am. I was having a hard time finding where to ring up your [ALLEGED!] hamburger on the register, so if you wouldn’t mind, could you please repeat your order?”

I was thrown off just a bit because for a moment I believed that I had been transported from the highway 280 corridor to some sort of alternate universe, a universe of Fast Food Workers Who Care and, not only that, who want to Make A Difference. I mean, I don’t know about you, but the normal level of fast food service that I get is somewhere along the lines of “CanItakeyourorder? Huh? What? Wantfries? Huh? Yeah. Nine-oh-four. Firstwindow.”

So I gave him my order again, and then he said – THEN he said: “Thank you, ma’am, for repeating your order. I appreciate it. I am so sorry for the inconvenience.”

Now I know I live in the South, where we pride ourselves on hospitality and kindness. But this guy – this Dairy Queen guy? He should get, like, an award or something. Seriously. I wanted to make him a sticker for his nametag that said, “I’m The Nicest Cash Register Guy Evir.” I wanted to run over to Lowe’s and buy him a plant. I wanted to tip him.

Once I got to the window and gave him my money, he named my items as he handed them to me: “Your [ALLEGED!] hamburger, ma’am? Your peanut butter cup Blizzard, ma'am?”

And I just stared back at him all glassy-eyed, totally refreshed by an encounter with someone who actually seemed to like people and enjoy his job. If I had his parents’ phone number, I would call them and tell them how well-behaved their son is. They should be proud.

Honestly, his sweet disposition had such an impact on me that I’m thinking about going back to Dairy Queen before church tonight so that I can support a business with such polite employees.

And maybe get another Blizzard.

It would be a completely selfless act of encouragement on my part.

Okay, Nobody Gets Hurt In This One

The Southern girl in me should've known to post a video of somebody falling. But still - those anchorpeople were FUNNY.

Perhaps this will serve as my pennance.


There's a "real" post forthcoming. Todd just keeps sending me funny stuff and I get all sidetracked.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Welcome To My Delusional Funhouse

So stuff is obviously going on in everyone else's lives, since I opened Bloglines this morning and discovered, oh, eleventy billion posts for my reading pleasure.

Meanwhile, here I sit in Alabama, staring at the monitor and thinking, "Hmmm. You know? A peanut butter cup Blizzard from Dairy Queen might be tasty." Or, once my thought process gets really fired up, "Hmmm. Dancing With The Stars starts tonight. That'll give David and me something to do!"

I'll tell you what: you'll get whiplash from the level of excitement in my neck of the woods.

Case in point: the highlight of the last twenty four hours of my life was learning that we have a Starz (or is it Starz!) free movie weekend starting Thursday. As soon as we realized it, D. and I went through the channel guide and programmed the TiVo to record something like fifteen movies.


I'm also happy to report that the votes are in (okay. I really didn't count. I just read.), and we'll be serving fajitas this Sunday. I'm not cooking them - I'm just placing the order with a Mexican restaurant - but the bottom line is that fajitas are kid-friendly. And cheaper. Which is actually two bottom lines. Which isn't possible. So just pretend.

And if I seem a little disjointed the last couple of days, it's because I am. I feel like I'm in my own little la-la land. Too much Deep Thinking capped off with lengthy discussions regarding The Future Of Our Family.

David and I have talked about moving to another house in the spring - something that's much closer to the school where A. will be in 4K next year - and I can't seem to think about moving without going a little cuckoo. Because I am a visual person, I have to picture myself living somewhere...what I'd do with my furniture, what it would be like to walk to the garage, what my drive to the grocery store and church and Walmart would be like.

Have I mentioned that I can be a little OCD?

There's one particular neighborhood that I enjoy - new-ish Craftsman-style houses in a town that has a Main Street, a couple of restaurants, a coffee shop, an ice cream parlor, a florist, etc. I find it utterly charming.

So David and I were talking about it the other night, weighing all the pros and cons, and I said, "You know, I can just SEE myself there...taking Alex to the park, maybe even strolling a baby around the neighborhood..."

David interrupted me, saying, "Yeah. But it's kind of expensive compared to other stuff in the area. Especially if we have another baby, our lifestyle would have to change a little..."

Undeterred, I continued, "...maybe strolling a baby around the neighborhood, taking Alex and the maybe-baby to the ice cream parlor..."

David raised his eyebrows, because clearly I wasn't listening to him.

But I adapted: "...taking Alex and the maybe-baby to the ice cream parlor, where we would stand outside and try to smell the ice cream, because we'd be too broke to actually buy any."

David nodded his head so hard I thought it was going to snap off.

So I don't think we'll be moving there. Needless to say. If an ice-cream cone is a deal-breaker, we're clearly out of our budgetary league.

And I think we'll be just fine right where we are.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I Can't Even Buy A Train Of Thought

I am deeply embarrassed that I posted about the whole "wri-" thing. Looking back it just sort of reeks of teenage angst, and since I'm over a decade and a half removed from my teenage days, re-reading that post makes me feel all icky and self-indulgent. And "icky" is a terribly mature word, in case you didn't notice.

In other news, I am "encouraging" Alex to stay on the potty until he takes care of his business by offering him what we're calling "the poo-poo sucker." And I realized, just a minute ago when I offered it to him, that perhaps we've chosen the wrong verbiage for said sucker, as it seems to imply a flavor of candy that no one in his right mind would ever want to purchase let alone enjoy. But it's actually a strawberry flavored sucker (much better, yes?) that he can have while he sits on the potty, and though the thought of eating candy while, well, you know sort of makes me want to throw up, the method seems to work like a charm for a three year old.

Let's see. What else can I write about that will entertain and delight?

Oh. Of course. Big excitement in the Publix deli department today! I stopped to get our usual oven roasted turkey breast, and I noticed that the oven roasted lemon pepper chicken breast was on sale, about 50 cents cheaper a pound. Because I am my father's daughter, I immediately requested the on-sale item despite the fact that I've never tried it, and can I just say? DELICIOUS. It's a nice break from turkey, and the fact that I consider myself someone who's in need of a "break" from turkey pretty much makes me feel like the lamest person on the whole planet ("pssst! hey! y'all check out BooMama's blog today! she's gone craaaaaazy! she bought chicken sandwich meat instead of turkey sandwich meat! liv-ing on the EDGE!").

And now for a completely unrelated question, one that I'm asking simply because I'm feeling particularly indecisive. If you were going to stay after church for lunch with your entire family - and if the kids were going to have their own little kid-friendly menu - would you, as a real-live grown-up, rather have beef and chicken fajitas OR barbecue with all the trimmings?

Addressing all the important issues here, as usual.

I Remember

Saturday, September 09, 2006

If There's A Point To This Post, I Surely Can't Find It

I haven't been at the top of my bloggy game for the last couple of days...September has a way of piling up on me, and this last week has been a real reminder of that. Alex started back to Mother's Day Out ("PRAISE THE LORD! PRAISE THE LORD! OUR GOD IS WORTHY OF GLORY!"), I had a crazy two or three days with my secret undercover work for rogue government agencies, I've been helping to plan a farewell reception for our friends who are moving, and there's been a lot - and I mean a LOT - of quality television demanding my attention (I FINALLY got to see Faith and Tim on "Oprah," and it did not disappoint).

Add choir pratice and a play date and a birthday party to that mix, and there just hasn't been much time to sit down and compose some of the stunningly average content that you've come to know and tolerate here at La Mama de Boo.

Oh! And I forgot! I've also done lots of napping! I don't know if I've ever told you this before, but I am very, very good at napping, especially in temperatures where the house actually gets chilly and a little down coverlet works all sorts of sleep-inducing magic when you lie down on the couch.

In other news, Alex spent most of yesterday afternoon making me question every single parenting decision I've ever made, then woke up this morning as a clear contender for Sweetest Child Alive. He has showered me with kisses, told me at least 20 times how much he loves me, charmed the patrons in our favorite bakery (side note: the Vanderbilt football team's buses were at the hotel next to our favorite bakery, and I felt smarter just for driving by them - I did!), entertained the ladies in our favorite florist, wrapped his arms around my neck while calling me "sweet thing," and fed me popcorn chicken as we made our way through Walmart.

I would not be at all surprised if he whipped up a lovely meal for his daddy and me later tonight and then made Bananas Foster tableside for dessert. Although a three year old attempting flambe' probably isn't a great idea.

And since I just looked at my child and uttered the phrase, "Alex, quit eating my hair," I'm thinking that Pefect Saturday '06 is about to come to a screeching halt.

Also, this morning in the bakery I struck up a conversation with a fellow patron, and she mentioned that she was an editor for a Southern-themed magazine that's published here, and I came thisclose to saying, "Oh, I do some wri-...wri-...wri-..." but I just couldn't get that "-TING" out of my mouth, and I have been kicking myself all day long as a result.

What is it with me and "the label"? I just can't say it. CANNOT say it.

When I got home I told David about my sudden bout with timidness, and he couldn't believe that I didn't say anything to her about the "wri-" that I do. Just last night D. and I were talking about how maybe I should try to branch out a little in that area (don't you like how I call it "that area" as if it's some unmentionable body part?) because I do live in a city where there's a market for "wri-" from a Southern perspective. And then, this morning, I run into a woman who has connections in that very market, and I clam up like a politician on the witness stand.

So (deep breath), I think what I'm going to do is to pick up a copy of the magazine that this woman works for, find her name, and email her. Maybe even give her the URL for my blawg. And tell her that there's some "'wri'-esque product" on said blawg that she can peruse at her leisure.

Or, you know, not.

I wouldn't want to be pushy.

BooMama: Bursting With "Wri-" Confidence!

Maybe that should be my new tagline.

Friday, September 08, 2006

New Mother Of The Year Frontrunner

Toni emailed me this, and I had to share.

Maybe I'll try this tactic in Walmart later this afternoon....

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Show The Preacher Some Love

Okay, I just remembered something I've been meaning to tell y'all.

When I did the post about the big news at the new church in Tupelo - which, granted, was basically just a series of questions - Emma Kate called me the next day.

We talked for awhile, but she never mentioned the post, and finally I said, "Hey, I wrote about your church yesterday."

She said, "OH! GOOD! I'll have to read that. All I've seen are those questions."

I started to laugh just a little bit and said, "Um, Missy? 'Those questions'? THAT WAS THE POST."

EK got tickled, too, and said, "WELL, it was real nice and all, but now you know there's just a whole lot more to tell. You're just not near finished, now are you?"

The thing is, I'm not. And I think one reason why I'm having such a hard time writing about it all is because I now that God's not finished, either. He has way more work to do in Tupelo, and I almost feel like what I would write down now is nothing, NOTHING in comparison to what God will have done one month, one year, five years down the line. I don't think, in my whole life ever, I've ever been privileged to witness God moving in such specific, deliberate ways. It's been pretty cool, to say the least, and it's also been hard to put into words.

And that's part of the reason why I'm ever so relieved that our good friend Kevin - who, just in case you missed it, is now EMMA KATE'S PREACHER IN TUPELO and I put that in all caps because I want to make sure EK notices that I said it in the declarative and not in the interrogative - has come along and taken some of the pressure off of me.

Because he has a blog now! And I will be sending you his way in just a moment after I embarrass him completely and make his cheeks turn red.

Here's the thing about Kevin: he teaches and preaches God's Word faithfully. He doesn't dumb down the message or The Message. He doesn't water down the truth or The Truth. He loves people wholeheartedly - unconditionally - and I have no doubt that God is going to use him in big ways in Tupelo. And one of the main reasons that Kevin can function as effectively as he does in ministry is because he has sweet Traci by his side - she is such an encourager, so optimistic, so patient, so selfless in the way she takes care of their family. And while David and I are sad that they're leaving, we couldn't be more excited about what's down the road for them. The fact that they'll be walking down that road with Emma Kate and Brad makes it all the sweeter.

So now that I've said lots of kind (and sincere) things about Kevin and his family, I think I'd like to rock his blogging world a little bit. I noticed today in his comments that he wondered if anyone was actually reading, and when I read that I thought, "hmmm...I know a few bloggity peeps I can send your way, Mr. Preacher Man." :-)

If you have a chance, please stop by The Church at Trace Crossing blog and leave Kevin and the folks in Tupelo a sweet comment. There are only a couple of posts, but Kevin's a great writer - well worth the read. (AND - ohmygosh I just thought of this - he's my first real-life friend who's started a blog! Which makes me oddly giddy! Y'all know I'm not normal!)

All right. I'm done now.

I'll see y'all tomorrow. :-)

Faith Builders

Shalee has written a a great post about God giving her the strength to endure a recent sacrifice, and she's added a Mr. Linky so that the rest of us can participate, too. If you have a post - either new or old - that addresses (come on, now! TESTIFY! GLORY!) :-) God's mercy at a particular point in your life, head over to Shalee's and add your link. I can't wait to sit down and go through every single one of them later today.

Also, Heather and Janice have teamed up to create a new devotional blog, Faith Lifts. They have lined up a great team of contributors, and it might be that you (yes, YOU!) might want to contribute, too. All the info is conveniently located on the Faith Lifts site - and pick up a button for your sidebar while you're there.

A Group Blog for Christian Moms

Y'all have a great day!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Make A Joyful Noise

When I was a little girl, I always sang in the choir at church. One of my first church memories is singing “Go, Tell It On The Mountain” at a Methodist church in my hometown. For some reason I had a solo, and I think that was mainly because I wasn’t shy and wouldn’t cry if forced to perform in front of a large-ish group of people. (By the way, I'm still not shy and still don't mind being in front of large-ish groups of people, but at this stage of life solos require, you know, talent, something that's in short supply with me.)

As I got older, I continued to sing in children’s choir. Every Sunday afternoon, from the time I was 8 until I was 13 or so, Miss Kitty Morris would sit at the piano and lead us through songs like “Ten Thousand Angels” and “Pass It On.” All these years later, I don’t think there’s a single Sunday when I don’t think about Miss Kitty. She served us so sweetly and selflessly, and it’s because of her that I know all the verses to “Amazing Grace,” “Blessed Assurance,” and so many other wonderful old hymns.

By the time I got to high school, I wasn’t so much interested in hymns, though I did wear out a couple of cassettes of Amy Grant: The Collection. I spent the next fifteen years or so wrapped up in “my” music – Blues Traveler, Shawn Colvin, James Taylor, Billy Joel, Hootie and The Blowfish (and I still LOVE ME SOME HOOTIE, by the way).

But once I hit my 30’s, something happened. Maybe it was hormones, maybe it was pending motherhood, maybe it was just where I was spiritually – but I could not listen those old hymns without going into the ‘bout-near-ugly cry. I’ll never forget one particular Sunday when I was about six months pregnant with Alex, and we sang “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” in church. There was something so sweet about feeling Alex kick as I sang words I’d known since childhood, and I cried so hard that a lady who was sitting near us took pity on me and passed me some Kleenex. Don’t get me wrong - I do love contemporary music, but the Holy Spirit stirs something deep in my soul through the words of the old hymns, through the words that have been sung by generation after generation of believers.

About a year and a half ago, after an almost-20 year hiatus, I decided that I wanted to sing in a choir again. At our church you have to audition to be in the “oh-they-can-really-sing” group, but there’s another group called Celebration Choir that sings about once a month – no audition required. My neighbor E. and I decided that we’d go together, and I’m pretty sure that David thought I'd lost my mind just a little bit when I told him I was joining. He knows my singing “limitations” better than anyone since he has to stand next to me every week in church, but he encouraged me, thought I would enjoy it, and then worried, I’m sure, that I would bring untold shame and degradation to our family with my off-key song stylings.

I wish I had the ability to explain why, but going to choir that night was like going home. For all intents and purposes, I was 8 years old again – singing along with Miss Kitty in the choir room at my hometown church. We sang some newer songs at "choir practice," but we also sang “Oh, Happy Day” and “The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power.” And if you ever have the chance to sing either of those songs with about 150 people, I highly recommend it. It probably won’t change your life, but it’ll flat-out bless your heart.

Tonight, at 7:00, our Celebration Choir starts up again. For two blessed hours I’ll sing to my heart’s content and probably get in "trouble" a time or two for cutting up too much with the other altos. I’ll hit lots of wrong notes, sing in places where I’m supposed to be quiet, and pretty much make a mess of everything we work on – at least the first time through.

But I’ll make a joyful noise – though it may not be joyful to human ears – and I’ll treasure every single second of it. And when we sing an oldie but goodie – something like “Jesus Paid It All” or “Holy Holy Holy” – I’ll sing through tears, no doubt about it.

I think Miss Kitty would be proud.

WFMW - Breakfast Casserole

My friend Norma gave me this recipe a couple of months ago, and I've made it at least six or seven times since then. It's perfect for breakfast when you have company or for a wedding or baby shower where you're serving brunch. It's great with orange rolls and fruit - and so, so pretty when it comes out of the oven.

Crescent Roll Breakfast Casserole

1 12 oz. package bacon, chopped and fried (reserve about 2 Tbs. of bacon grease)
2 packages fresh sliced mushrooms
2 packages crescent rolls
8 large eggs, beaten
2 cups Pet milk (Pet milk is a brand of EVAPORATED milk that we like in the South):-)
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded Swiss cheese

Cook bacon pieces. Drain on paper towels. In reserved bacon grease, saute' mushrooms until they lose their firmness (about 8 minutes). While mushrooms are cooking, press crescent roll dough in the bottom of a large (around 10 x 13), greased casserole dish, making sure that you press all the seams together. Depending on the size of your casserole dish, you may have a little bit of dough left over.

In a separate bowl, combine eggs, Pet milk, milk, and cheese. Set aside.

Scatter bacon and mushrooms on top of the crescent roll dough. Pour egg / milk / cheese mixture on top.

Bake 15 minutes on 325, then 35-40 minutes on 300.

You won't believe how good this is. My husband even likes it - and he's not a fan of breakfast casseroles (he thinks anything I would serve for brunch isn't "real" food). And if you don't like bacon and mushrooms, you could do sausage and onion, ham and spinach - any combination would work.

Y'all enjoy!

And for more great Works-For-Me Wednesday tips, go see Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

If It Weren't My Life I Wouldn't Believe It, Either

This past weekend David and Alex went to see David’s mother and grandmother, who live together in the house where D. grew up. David’s mother, Martha, has never met a retail establishment she didn’t like. On the other hand, Sissie, who's David's grandmother, abhors anything remotely related to shopping, but she does hold a special place in her heart for grandchildren and chocolate, both of which she adores. Martha is 75, Sissie is 96, and together they're 171 years-o-fun.

Sissie likes to tell us that she can't see. However, based on the fact that Sissie, sans glasses, loudly announced in Steinmart one afternoon that Martha shouldn't buy a certain sweater because "it says right here on the label that it's DRY CLEAN ONLY," we know better.

She also likes to answer the telephone and say, "WHO IS THIS? WHAT, SUGAR? OH! YOU KNOW I CAN'T HEAR!" David and I contend that maybe one reason she can't hear very well on the telephone is because she holds the mouthpiece to her ear and as a result buries the earpiece halfway around her head in the center of her freshly-coiffed white hair, which for whatever reason tends to make the speaker's voice a bit, you know, muffled.

And this seems like as good a time as any to point out that the ability to whisper completely eludes Martha and Sissie. They think they can - but I know better since I have gotten up from the dinner table on more than one occasion and heard Sissie say, in her whisper-that-is-a-scream, "Martha, did she HAVE to give me so many potatoes?" or, even better, "Has she gained some weight?" Inevitably when Sissie "whispers," Martha replies, in her own unique whisper-scream, "Mother, Sugar, this is NOT THE TIME to talk about that. We'll talk about it LATER, sugar. Darlin'. Mother. Sugar. Darlin'."

They're quite the pair.

By now you're no doubt wondering where this long-winded tale is heading. That makes two of us. I think what I planned to tell you was this: last weekend David called Martha and Sissie to remind them that he and Alex were going to be in town, and he asked, as he often does, how things were going with them.

Sissie replied that her tooth hurt and she couldn't remember anything (side note: Sissie remembers what she spent to tile her bathroom in 1956 as well as what the most recent kilowatt reading was on her power meter). She went on to say that Martha's toe hurt and might need surgery and Martha couldn't remember anything, either (side note: Martha could tell you the current prices – regular AND sale - of each piece of the Harve’ Benard collection at Steinmart, as well as seventeen different pound cake recipes that she has memorized just for kicks).

Anyway, David asked Sissie if anything else was going on, and she said, “Well, we’re both just miserable." And then: "Don't you and Alex want to come to lunch when you’re here?”

David replied that, given the all the upbeat news he’d just received from Sissie, he couldn’t think of anything that would possibly be more fun unless it was a root canal without the aid of anesthesia. Oh I'm kidding. He said they'd be delighted. Because seriously, it's perfectly fine with us if Sissie says she can't hear or see or remember, even if she can do all three. I mean, when you're 96 you pretty much get to complain about whatever you want whenever you want. It's one of the perks of being four years shy of a century.

So David and Alex went to lunch, and it was mighty entertaining in the way that trips to Martha and Sissie’s always are. Martha wanted to show off the latest fun, cropped jacket that she found at “Steinmarts,” and Sissie wanted to talk about how they “TRIED to get the house cold” before David and Alex got there because, under normal circumstances, they keep the thermostat on a refreshing 84 degrees and still wear a sleeve. David picked up some fried chicken from KFC, and Martha and Sissie ate their usual: one chicken tender, half a biscuit, two tablespoons of cole slaw and a quarter cup of sweet tea.

For the record, Alex ate more than that when he was 16 months old.

While they were visiting, David took lots of pictures, all the while listening to Sissie say, "You're going to run out of film! Don't waste the film! OH, you're using too much film! Do you have enough film to take all these pictures? Isn't this going to be expensive?" She was not at all consoled by David's explanation that the camera was digital and he could take somehwere around 300 pictures. She just looked annoyed and said, "Well, I wouldn't know anything about that."

Some of the pictures were your standard child-with-grandmother-and great-grandmother fare, like this one:

Or even this one:

But this next picture. OH, this next picture.

When I saw it I squealed with glee, because it captures the very essence of an afternoon with Martha and Sis. If I were a fiction writer, I could look at this picture for five minutes and develop a rough plot outline for an entire series of novels set in the South.

I think it's my favorite picture ever, so I happily share it with you.

Welcome to my world.

I'm not leaving it and you can't make me.

Monday, September 04, 2006

Look! A Meme!

Cheryl tagged me for this meme, and since I still owe her the whole Novel Idea meme thingy that was going around a few weeks back, I figured I'd better take care of this one ASAP lest the Meme Police come after me.

Record usage of the letter combination "me" in the above paragraph, by the way.

1. If you make sweet tea, do you use Luzianne, Lipton or _______ whatever your brand is?

Luzianne - I find it to be a little milder than Lipton and oh-so-delicious.

2. What brand of toilet paper do you buy, and is it the larger rolls or regular?

Okay - in the official WAY TOO MUCH INFORMATION department, I buy Cottonelle, 12 pack of double rolls. Why, you ask? Because there's a yellow lab on the wrapper, and Alex thinks it's one of our dogs.

3. Which brand of bath soap do you use? Is it body wash or bar style?

I believe I addressed my feelings about bar soap here. ALWAYS liquid. I use Softsoap Lavender and Chamomile. My favorite is Bath and Body Works Eucalyptus and Spearmint, and it's my special treat soap.

4. Which cereal do you buy for yourself?

Smart Start or Frosted Mini Wheats

5. What brand of dishwasher detergent do you use and is it liquid or tablets?

Sunlight liquid. For some reason it works better on my dishes than anything else.

6. What is your favorite fruit to eat?

Strawberries if they're in season. Ditto for blueberries.

7. Which brand of clothes detergent do you use?


8. Do you like chocolate?

I'm sorry. Is there something NOT to like about chocolate?

9. Are you right-handed or left-handed?


10. Do you still write checks or use a debit card?

I'm a debit card queen. Well, really I'm a cash queen. More of a debit card princess, I guess. I write maybe four checks a year. Seriously.

Which brings me to an announcement.

If you are one of those people who is still using checks, PLEASE, for the love of all that's holy, would you fill out as much of your check as you can before the cashier tells you your total? Because I'm telling you. People who leave their checkbooks IN THEIR PURSES until they get the total, then sort of leisurely dig around for it, pull it out, slowly flip to get to a check that's blank, flip back to the register to check their balance, and then oh, they need their reading glasses, so they go back into the purse to search for those, and then FIFTEEN MINUTES LATER the transaction has mercifully come to a close?

That sort of gets on my nerves.


Consider yourself tagged if you want to do this one - and if you do, let me know in the comments so I can stop by and visit.

Preserving Truth, Justice And The American Way

In the I-couldn't-make-this-up-if-I-wanted-to-department, last night, in my dream, Antique Mommy and I foiled a terrorist plot.

Oh yeah we did.

I think we were successful because of our collective love for the short, choppy sentence combined with our deep and abiding affection for all things David Sedaris - who, I believe, would be simply delighted - albeit a bit disturbed - by his role as the unlikely catalyst for uniting a crime-fighting team.

And just so you know? AM and I stopped cars in the middle of a crowded road and FLIPPED THEM OVER.

Oh yeah we did.

So, dear readers, you can rest easy this Labor Day. Though dangers lurk in corners seen and unseen, Antique Mommy and I are ready and able to protect you and your family from evildoers.

And if our mad kah-RAH-tay skills don't work, we can always go to plan B: Southern charm. With a little sarcasm thrown in for effect, of course.

By the way, if you're wondering what convinced my subconscious that AM was the obvious other half to my dreamland terrorist-foiling duo, you need only look at this post.

The picture may not be her, but that's a superhero cape if I ever saw one.

The Kink In Our Best Laid Plans

We've known for a couple of weeks that Labor Day '06 was going to be chock-full-o-activity. We had plans to attend a party at my aunt's, then hop over to Jackson for a surprise party for David's best friend. We thought we'd leave on Friday so that we wouldn't be rushed, spend a leisurely weekend with all our people, and then come back this way Monday. It was going to be a thing of beauty, the weekend of the Labor.

But things didn't go as we planned. I had a crazy week - and when Friday rolled around, I was nowhere near ready to leave town. Not by the longest shot. I called Mama and told her we'd be heading her way on Saturday.

Saturday morning I woke up Very Task Oriented because I think we all know that if you're leaving town, your house must in fact be spotless so that All The Thieves can enjoy it while you're gone. I got out the vacuum, ran it over the rugs in the kitchen, den, and dining room, then threw a load of clothes in the wash. I made up our bed, unloaded the dishwasher, and headed upstairs to get out a suitcase for the trip.

I don't know what I did, exactly, or why a movement that I've made countless times in my life (the highly, deeply complex Reaching-Around-The-Door-For-A-Suitcase Move) suddenly went horribly wrong. But something in my neck / back / shoulder region caught, and all I could manage to say was, "OOOOOH? OOOOOOOH!"

I thought at first that it was a fluke, but when it became increasingly clear that my torso would in fact never be straight again, and that any attempts to straighten it would result in mind-numbing pain, I slowly made my way back down the stairs and proceeded to hobble into the bedroom, onto the bed - no, wait, that soft surface is wrong, all wrong - then back to the den, and slowly - slowly! - SLOW-LY! - made my way to the floor.

Alex, bless his heart, was just as confused as could be. He kept leaning waaaay down so he could look in my eyes and say, "Mama? You all right, Mama? You hurt your neck, Mama? Your back hurt?"

To which I replied, "Grrrmph. Grrrrrrmph. Hurt. Mama hurt. Yes. GRRRRRRRRRMPH."

About that time David came in the room to see what all the fuss was about (I'll tell you what it was about! I'm OLD!), and he got me some Advil with a diet Coke chaser. He tried his best to work out the kinks in my neck and back with his mad impromptu masseur skillz, but then Alex wanted to help by running one of his toy cars up and down my spine.

And thus ended my brief and ineffective physical therapy session.

For the next thirty minutes we debated what to do. One thing I knew for sure - aside from the fact that I would never stand straight up again - was that I could not get in a car. Cars require sitting, and I could not, under any circumstances, sit. So the car was not an option. David was concerned about leaving me at home, but I assured him that as long as I could get back and forth to the bathroom, even if it was slowly and awkwardly, I'd be fine. He asked me to show him that I could in fact get up off of the floor, and never one to back down from a challenge, I decided that I'd show him, oh yes I would. And GOOD.

So I gingerly rolled over on my stomach, took about four minutes to make the move to all fours, grabbed onto the side of the coffee table, and gradually pulled myself up to a semi-standing position while I attempted to blow my unkempt hair out of my face. And as I stood there in all my hunchback splendor, radiant in my t-shirt and decidedly unsassy pajama bottoms, just as lovely and put-together as the day David married me (AHEM), he looked me over and said, "Yeah. So THAT makes me feel a LOT better about leaving you."

Eventually, though, I convinced him that I'd be fine. I tenderly asked Alex if he'd be sad if I didn't go with him, if he'd be okay going with just his daddy on the trip, and he answered me with, "OKAY! BYE BYE, MAMA! BYE BYE!"

Clearly, he was all broken up about it.

And as a result of all of those events, I have been by myself for the last two days. That doesn't happen very often around here.

So after a couple of really hot baths, liberal doses of muscle rub stuff that stinks to high heaven, stretching exercises prescribed by my personal occupational therapist (okay, it's Emma Kate, but she is licensed and all), a couple of magic pills that helped me sleep pain-free, and a hearty portion of blog reading (I read every single link. I did!), I'm all better now.

Sitting up and everything.

And not doing any more of that risky empty suitcase lifting anytime soon.

Oh no ma'am.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Site Meter...

...seems all better now.

And I didn't mean you had to comment on MY posts, sweet internets. Trust me - when it comes to commenters, I feel well-loved indeed. Whether you comment or not, I'm just glad that you're here. :-)

I just meant you might want to comment on the OTHER posts that you visit as you make your way through Mr. Linky.

That was all.

Carry on. :-)

Something Is Awry...

...with Site Meter. With my Site Meter, at least.

It's telling me that I've had 22 vistors so far today, and since I've had more than that number comment since 7 this morning, and since that number is way less than the number Site Meter was giving me at 7 this morning, I think they're having some technical difficulties.

All that to say: when you visit someone's post (one that's listed in Mr. Linky below), it would probably be nice to let them know that you've been there by leaving a comment. Looks like today is a day when SM won't accurately tell the bloggy traffic tale.

And I am not in fact going out of town, but I'll update you on that later (because I'm sure y'all are, you know, sitting on pins and needles as you wait to hear about my travel plans).

You may now resume your regular bloggity business. :-)

Have a great day, everybody!

Friday, September 01, 2006

A Labor Day Link Love Extravaganza

We’re going out of town this weekend (ATTENTION, ALL AREA THIEVES!), and I will once again find myself at the mercy of my parents’ dial-up. I don’t know if y’all remember, but when we did the whole Tour of Homes thing I was also at my parents’ house and wrasslin' with their dial-up, and boy, that was a real, um, treat when I tried to load all my high-resolution pictures into my post.


It was a veritable carnival-o-frustration.

So I know better than to try to post while I’m at Mama and Daddy’s. That's all I'm sayin'.

But then, this morning, I had an idea.

WHAT IF, I thought, WHAT IF I gave people a way to attract some new readers to their blogs over the weekend – not just in the comments, but in one of my posts?

WHAT IF I did a “Best of Blogs” sort of thing – so that even if you don’t have time to post anything on this busy Labor Day weekend, you can still get some traffic because people are reading stuff that's new to them?

WHAT IF, instead of a Tour of Homes, we have a spontaneous little Tour of Blogs?

So here’s the deal.

At the end of this post, you’ll see a Mr. Linky thingy. If you want to participate, enter your name and link to a SPECIFIC POST. Not to your whole blog – to a specific post. Pick the post that you think best exemplifies your writing – whether it’s funny or serious or touching or, you know, a grocery list.

The only qualification is that your post be family friendly, and by “family friendly” I mean no abundance of bad language, no links to inappropriate material, no writing that’s inflammatory or derogatory toward another person.

As my mama would say, “Just use the sense that the good Lord gave you.”

And I reserve the right to remove any link. If you don’t like that rule, I'm just as sorry as I can be.

Whether there are four or forty of you who participate, I think it’ll be fun. I love the thought of being able to surf through some new blogs instead of having to post to my own this weekend. And a practical benefit, of course, is that you can get a steady flow of bloggy traffic for little-to-no-effort. In other words: it's a win/win.

Just for kicks, you could also link to someone else's post that you think is a must-read - just make sure to leave a comment and take credit for leaving the link if you do.

Y’all have fun – and link away!

The Geeky Apple Doesn't Fall Far From The Tree

For the last month or so, David and I have had a hard time keeping Alex away from and off of the computer. It's not that he wants to do anything other than mash the buttons at high rates of speed, but typically, when dealing with computers, pressing random sequences of buttons brings about techy disaster. We've had enough of those in our house without the aid of a three year old "programmer."

So yesterday I decided that despite my resolve to never ever buy toys unless it's a birthday or Christmas, I was going to have to cave for the sake of sanity. Alex and I went to Walmart, found an adorable little "computer," purchased it, and OH if the little man didn't think he had hit the big time. He kept asking me, "Mama? Is it MY computer? Are we gonna take it HOME?"

I assured him that yes, it was his; yes, we were going to take it home; and no, this wasn't like all the other toys he gets to play with while Mama shops in Walmart but then has to put aside at the cash register before we pay for our stuff. MERCIFUL DAY IN THE MORNING, he was going to get a toy JUST BECAUSE (well, technically because he is obsessed with computers and the other day opened up every single application on the laptop when his daddy's back was turned for justasecond).

The child was totally unable to comprehend his good fortune.

And y'all, I'm not sure, but I think it has changed my life. I think that it is most definitely the best $20 I have ever spent in my whole life ever. I'm not even kidding.

Listen to this.

Last night, after his bath, Alex SAT ON THE COUCH (I repeat: he sat on the couch. He did not climb up on the arms of the couch and catapult himself onto the cushions and then roll onto the floor. He SAT ON THE COUCH) with his little "laptop," and his daddy showed him how to play a couple of the games. The child was in heaven.

I guess part of his fascination is that he has long been wild about letters and numbers, and his new toy totally plays into that. When the voice in the "computer" would say, "Can you find the capital letter 'B'?" Alex would reply with "OH! THANK YOU!" (grateful for the opportunity, I guess?) Then, when he'd mash the letter and the computer would congratulate him, he would clap his hands, scream "MAMA! I GOT IT!" and thank his trusty laptop all over again.

This went on for a solid hour.

And this morning, when A. got out of bed, he spied his computer on the coffee table, ran to it, told me he wanted to play letters, and then ran with his beloved new toy to the table while I unwrapped his PopTart fixed him a homemade breakfast.

I would offer you photographic evidence, but Blogger won't let me.

Please remind me how thrilled I am with this new toy in about three days when I've been listening non-stop to the voice inside of it squeal "WHEEEEEEEEE" everytime Alex successfully locates the letter 'T.' Because that's going to get a little old.

But a three year old who knows no greater joy than to punch in a letter or number in his "laptop" and then accept electronic congratulations as he claps and shouts with glee?

I think I can deal with that for the next, you know, year or so.

Mighty cute, the little man is.

***Now, with a picture!