Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Things That Go "AAAAAAAH" In The Night

Just an hour ago I was sleeping peacefully, dreaming about basements or carpet or windows or some other housing-related topic (oh, don't roll your eyes - it only makes good sense that my OCD would carry over into my dreamlife since I am unable to quit thinking about basements and carpet and windows in my awake life, and really, it shouldn't even surprise you anymore when I tell you how weird I am. Because I am BONA FIDE weird, my friends).

But then I heard Alex crying.

And I guess what I mean by 'crying' is that he was shrieking with the force of all nature.

So I jumped out from under the covers and ran to the stairs, which, as best my drowsy brain could deduce, was the general vicinity of All The Noise.

The little man was standing about four steps from the bottom landing, pointing wildly in the direction of the dining room while he perfected his high-pitched screaming techniques. I'm still not sure what 1) prompted him to come downstairs or 2) caused him to reach a whole new level of decibel heights, but the bottom line is that he's now sleeping soundly in our bed, and his daddy and I are wide awake.

I feel that something is wrong with this equation.

But since I'm awake, I will take this opportunity to fill you in on what's going on in our little neck of the woods, and while it's probably a bit presumptuous of me to assume that you, you know, care, I really can't think of anything else to do at 2:53 in the morning except for watching infomercials, and if I do that then I'll never get back to sleep because I'll start obsessing about food dehydrators and the Murad skin care system. And Flowbees.

So let's see.

Alex has started calling one of his buddies from Mother's Day Out his "brother friend," and when he says it my heart skips a beat (or nine) because I often pray that if he is our only child, he will have friends who are like family to him. So in that respect, hearing a three year old say "brother friend" is like God reaching down, patting me on the shoulder, and reassuring me that All Is Well.

It makes me smile. And it melts my heart.

In casting news, David was a bit upset that I chose Andrew Shue to play him in the Lifetime movie I created in my head when we were trapped in the car for two days this past weekend when people were showing our house. Frankly I think that David is still carrying around the stereotype of Billy from "Melrose Place," picturing the guy who stood around shirtless the majority of the time and uttered memorable dialogue like, "UHHHH, Alison!"

I assured my husband that the casting was based solely on people who I thought might be available or willing to make a Lifetime movie - not because they bore any physical or intellectual resemblance to us - but as soon as I finished making my point I realized the insanity, the total insanity, that we were having a discussion - and a lively one, at that - about who we would cast in a Lifetime movie about our real estate misadventures, and clearly it was time to back away from the hypothetical casting ledge.


I have written before about my annoying tendency to completely overlook the obvious.

And so in that tradition, I feel compelled to tell you that yesterday, for the first time in my life, I realized that the phrase "Civil War" is an oxymoron.

Please don't tell my professors from graduate school. They would be mortified.

Not to mention that when I shared my sudden clarity about this phrase with David, he said, "I don't think I would tell anyone that."

But I just did.

You can thank Alex for my exhaustion-induced confession.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Fall Back

I woke up this morning when my clock said 5:30, and by the time I completed a series of Elaborate Calculations (is it really 4:30? is it really 6:30? did I set the clock to the correct time before I went to sleep?), I was wide awake and decided that a pot of coffee was in order.

Math always did make me crave caffeine.

So anyway.

Yesterday we had two showings, which was great news. The only downside of that news is that the realty company will only give you a "range" of when the people who are looking will be by the house. We had showings scheduled between 12 and 2, then between 3 and 5, and that can mean only one thing.

We spent our whole! afternoon! In the car! With the dogs! And a three year old!


We did go to lunch and to a bookstore, and then we tried to temper the riding around with some time out of the car. We took the dogs for a long walk and enjoyed all the fall foliage outside, but around 2:00 David and I both started to get a little bit unnerved by All The Questions From Alex, and I finally had to tell A. that we were going to have quiet time until Mama's nerves calmed down because if we didn't have some quiet time right away I was going to have a Twitching Fit of epic proportions, something so severe and so memorable that Lifetime would want to make a movie about it. They would call the movie "When Mama Loses Her Mind," and it would star Jennie Garth (but only if she'll gain weight for the sake of her Craft) and Andrew Shue.

Not that I've given the whole scenario any thought. Or anything.

But you do have time to think about these things when you spend the whole afternoon RIDING AROUND IN THE CAR with TWO DOGS and a THREE YEAR OLD.

So by the time we got home and ate supper and got Alex in the tub, we were exhausted. We watched TV for about 16 minutes before we gave up the ghost and went to bed. It wasn't even 9:30, which probably offers some insight as to why I was awake at 4:30 this morning and making my way through a pot of coffee by 4:45.

And the best part? We get to do the same thing this afternoon!

I think maybe we'll try going to one of those indoor playgrounds - hopefully that'll help combat the restlessness.

I can't help but picture the dogs and me in one of those inflatables, jumping like crazy and taking turns going down the slide.

Stranger things have happened.

Friday, October 27, 2006

Now Where's That Trusty Anvil?

I am quite certain that at some point in the next few hours my left eyeball is going to shoot out of my skull like a cannon and land on the coffee table. And while I'll probably think "EWWWW, that's pretty gross," I don't think I'll mind the relief, OH THE SWEET MERCIFUL RELIEF from the relentless sinus pressure. I've actually been watching television tonight with my left eye closed, and I've concluded that I'll more than likely be okay vision-wise when my eye does in fact separate from its socket.

Just in time for Halloween!

See? I CAN be festive!

The thing is that there's really no escaping the Blinding Sinus Pressure, because I get it honest. When I was growing up, Mama often used to tell me that she had "sinus," and I didn't really know what that meant other than "SHHHHH! QUIET! NO TALKING!" while Mama walked around the house with her thumb pressed over whichever side of her face was afflicted. However, since I'd never had a sinus infection of own, I just didn't get it.

But then my friend Daphne and I moved into a little mold trap called Hathorn Hall when we were in college, and our sinus cavities became filled with Every Known Bacteria, and we've both had chronic sinus problems ever since. We often like to compare notes on the severity of our symptoms, but ever since I had the sinus infection that went into my eyes and transformed said eyes into goopy red slits, I've considered myself the hands-down champion.

I am understandably proud.

Perhaps I should get a trophy.

So I'm going to continue taking my allergy medicine and stuffing my nose with various mentholated items. The good news is that I don't feel bad at all, so I can continue to vacuum my rugs until they're threadbare in anticipation of a prospective buyer showing up at our house.

And if my eyeball does in fact shoot out of my skull, I'll just clean that mess right up and get back to the vacuuming.

Because I am nothing if not practical.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Banner by Kelly

Thirteen Random Things

1. I seem to have acquired my first cold / sinus infection of the fall. Which means that at some point in the next few days I will be requesting some form of anvil and hammer combination to open up my sinus cavity and thereby relieve the pressure.

2. Alex is talking so much, and by "so much" what I really mean is that he's never, ever quiet unless he's sleeping. And even then it's hit or miss, because lately one of his favorite pasttimes is to wake up in the middle of the night and request that I read him a book or get him some water.

It's not a problem saying "no" to those requests, in case you're wondering.

3. The leaves have just started to turn here, and oh have mercy they're gorgeous. Best time of year. No doubt.

4. I watched Madonna on "Oprah" yesterday. And it dawned on me, about three minutes into the interview, that at some point Madonna has started to sound exactly like Jane Seymour.

At one point Madonna actually said "fahm-lee," all British-like, and I had to quit watching for a second while my brain tried to reconcile the girl in the "Holiday" video with the woman on "Oprah" who was articulating every single syllable. Go figure.

5. We got to hang out with our friends Kevin and Traci this past Tuesday night. And I miss them. A bunch.

6. You know how you can be a little down in the dumps and then something or someone comes along and snaps you right out of it? Shannon did that for me a couple of days ago by sending me the sweetest, most encouraging email - it really did make my day.

7. I realize that it makes me un-American, but I am seriously not even a little bit interested in Halloween. And I would pretty much rather stick pins in my eyeballs than dress up in a costume.

Festive, aren't I? :-)

8. We are actually having to run the heat at night. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW HAPPY THAT MAKES ME?

9. To all you blogging girls going to the meet and greet in Dallas: HAVE FUN. And drink a diet Coke for me. And some coffee. And some sweet tea.

So basically, you know, a caffeinated beverage of any sort.

10. Remember that anvil I mentioned in #1? I’m ready for it now.

11. One day I hope to write a blog post comprised only of Tyra Banks’ words-o-wisdom on “America’s Next Top Model.” My favorite at the moment is, and I quote, “Girl, you can stick out your bootie and still do ‘model.’”

I’m not sure what it means, exactly, but it cracks me up.

12. OH GOOD GRIEF who in the world thought of Thursday Thirteen? I feel that Thursday Three would have been far more sensible.

13. But I’m done now. Carry on.

My Brother SO Would Have Done This If We Hadn't Been Methodists

Thanks, Diane, for the link!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

In Which I Offer Definitive Proof Of How Lame I Am

There have been several defining moments in my life that have established beyond all reasonable doubt that I have officially become a grown-up.

The first time this happened to me was when I looked at the Billboard Top 10 and realized that I couldn't hum even one of the songs if you offered me a million dollars.

And then, about a month ago, a teenager I know was showing me a CD of a band she really likes, and I said, "Oh, I've never heard of Oar."

She looked at the floor for a second - long enough for me to know that I'd made a major gaffe - and I said, "What? Is that not how you say it? Is it not pronounced like the thing you row a boat with?"

She looked at me sort of sheepishly and said, "Um, no ma'am. It's pronounced Oh-Ay-Are. You, um, just say the letters."

I'm telling you: it was just like the time my mama called Rick Springfield "Rick Springsteen." I was 14 and was, like, SOOOOO embarrassed because how could she not know the difference?!? I mean, Rick SPRINGSTEEN? WHAT-EV-ER! Rick Springfield was, like, SO much cooler than Bruce Springsteen. Had she not seen Rick sporting a sleeveless t-shirt in the "Jesse's Girl" video?

Because he totally ROCKED IT, y'all.

But then, you know, "Oar."

I said "Oar."

And suddenly my mama and I are equally out of touch with the pop culture pulse of America.

Anyway, I've had several more "Oh my word I've become my mama" moments since the unfortunate "Oar Incident," but I don't think I've ever had a stronger epiphany about the fact that Yes, I Am A Grown-Up than I did yesterday.

Our realtor Leigh just closed on a house that she sold, and the family moved to their new place this past weekend. Yesterday Leigh called me and said, "Hey, you may not be interested, but The H.'s want to know if you want their moving boxes. Some of them you'd have to break down, but there are probably 30 that have never been put together, and you're welcome to them."


You would have thought that someone had offered me bags of money.

I was beside myself with happiness.

So yesterday afternoon, I drove right over to The H.'s beautiful new home and loaded my car with box after box after box. I couldn't help but think that when I was a teenager, I would have been rolling my eyes, all "GAH, Mama - why can't you, like, BUY boxes?"

But yesterday? As a 30-something grown-up? I was all, "YAY! YAY! FREE BOXES! FREEEEEE BOXES!"

It was like Christmas. A very ironic Christmas.

Only a Christmas with no actual presents.

Just, you know, boxes.

But still.

I wish I'd had an Oar or a Rick Springsteen CD to listen to on the way back home.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

It's Nice When The Emails Write The Post For Me

Big Mama: “How're y'all doing? Any house lookers?”

Me: “Well. The house. A lady looked this past Saturday and loved it, thought it was great, then decided that she didn't want it because, and I'm quoting my realtor here, ‘it's too nice for her and it doesn't have a room for her birds.’”

Big Mama: “Well, no wonder it hasn't sold if you don't have a bird room. I didn't realize you were facing such a huge marketing obstacle.”

Monday, October 23, 2006

For Your Bloggy Information

Oh sweet mercy this post by Big Mama made me laugh. But I probably should say "laught," and you'll understand why after you read her post.

Also, happy birthday to Diane!

Finally, I just ran across this video over at Tess' blog, and all I can say is that I pray that I sit next to the groom one day in church. Or - even better - that I get to stand beside him in choir.

Just Pretend This Is A Witty Title. It'll Be Fun.

You know you're in for a rough night when it's 2:30 AM and you're standing on your front porch in your pajamas, trying to get a barking dog to be quiet while a disturbed bird who has chosen to build a nest in the eaves of your porch flaps around your head like something out of a Hitchcock movie.

So last night wasn't what I'd call restful. That's all I'm saying.

However, the sight of me trying to stave off a confused bird in the middle of the night was probably pretty comical.

Just not to me at the time. Because I don't know if I mentioned it, but it was 2:30 IN THE MORNING.


This past Saturday after Paige's baby shower I went to see David's mother and grandmother. Sissie fell asleep in her chair about five minutes after I got there, and Martha talked for the next hour and a half about how "Mother's just doing remarkably well, it's really remarkable, but I just can't, you know I can't, I mean I just can't lift her up so I've gotten some help to come in the mornings and the evenings, well, you met Carol, she is just delightful and comes very highly recommended and do you know that she used to work at my beauty parlor? She did! She worked at my beauty parlor! And of course Mother can't get to the beauty parlor right now but we are trying to keep her hair fixed, and somebody told me about this foam, this foam that you just squirt into your hair and then rub it with a towel? And it's like washing your hair only you don't have to use water because of course we can't get Mother in the tub right now? Well I went to the Walmarts to find it, and I told the little girl who was working what I was looking for, but right when she started to look someone dropped this huge bottle of something and they had to have a clean up, the little girl who was working had to call for a clean up and I said, 'Well, I'm really in a bit of a hurry, sugar - my time is limited,' but she didn't even hear me so I just left and I mean I'd love to find that foam but I just can't run all over town from one drugstore to another drugstore to another looking for this shampoo that's not really shampoo, and did I tell you that I'm thinking about getting my hardwood floors refinished?"

And that's only five minutes' worth. I would transcribe the rest, but then my fingers would fall off from All The Typing.

My absolute favorite moment of my visit was when Martha was talking about how Alex has such an enthusiastic personality and how some of her friends had suggested that he might have inherited her "social" gene. Martha went on to say that she found that hard to believe because "I mean, people tell me that I like to talk a lot, but you know me - I'm shy!"

Yes. Um, of course. Because shy people often, you know, introduce themselves to others in the middle of the Steinmart petites section to tell their fellow shoppers about the woes of shopping for jackets when one has very narrow shoulders. Shy people do that ALL THE TIME.

Yes ma'am.

We really did have a lovely visit. It made me wish y'all could meet her.

And in conclusion, I would like to say that if Martha is shy, then I am skinny.

As a rail.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

Whereby I Create A Model For A Pointless Post

This morning around 4 I was awakened by Much Screaming And Wailing On The Part Of The Child, so I jumped out of bed and ran to the stairs. Before I could get past the landing, Alex started walking down the stairs to me, arms outstretched, breath ragged, tears flowing, and all he could manage to say was, "Mama? I'm wet."

Which is officially the World's Greatest Understatement. I know because in between all the clothes changing and sheet changing I logged on to the interweb and typed in those very words and won the 2006 World's Greatest Understatement Contest.

Okay. Maybe not.

But the child wasn't kidding about the wet thing.

He was soaked from his neck to his toes, and I have no idea how so much fluid could come out of One So Small, but if measurements had been available, I feel quite certain it would have been a gallon's worth. Plus or minus a quart.

So I pulled his clothes off of him, found some clean underwear and pajamas in the dryer, and then had to venture back upstairs to get his Froggy and Monkey who gratefully were spared the middle of the night baptism. Well, I guess technically they WERE baptized if they're Methodist or Episcopalian, because they had definitely been sprinkled.

But the Baptists would never count that.

OH I kid because I'm exhausted. I know that stuffed animals can't be baptized.

Especially not with tee-tee.

And then there's that pesky business about how they don't have a soul and all, so they're not so big on the repentance thing.


I need to straighten up the house a bit before I hit the road and head to my cousin's baby shower.

And, you know, get dressed.

Have a lovely Saturday.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Because It's Cold Outside

These are THE BEST.

Delta Red Beans and Rice
from Southern Living

1 pound dried red beans
6 cups water
1 1/2 pounds smoked sausage, sliced (I use turkey Polska Keilbasa)
1/2 pound cooked ham, cubed
1 large sweet onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 bunch green onions, chopped
1 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce
Hot cooked rice

Place beans in a large Dutch oven. Cover with water 2 inches above beans; soak 8 hours. Drain.

Bring beans, 6 cups water, sausage, and ham to a boil in a Dutch oven. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 3 hours.

Sauté onion and garlic in hot oil in a large skillet until tender. Add to bean mixture. Stir in green onions and next 9 ingredients. Cover and chill 8 hours.

Bring bean mixture to a simmer; cover and cook, stirring often, 1 hour. Serve over rice.

Makes 8 to 10 servings

How Can I Keep From Singing

Life has been a little on the crazy side lately. Good, but crazy. I may have mentioned that a time or nine.

To help combat the craziness, I've been listening to a certain song - the first one on Chris Tomlin's new CD - every single morning this week, and it provides some much-needed perspective.

I was ever-so-delighted when I found video of CT singing the song on YouTube - mainly because now I can share it with y'all. He starts singing at about the 1:38 mark. And if you can play one of them thar gee-tars, Chris even teaches you how to play the song after he sings it.

There is an endless song
Echoes in my soul
I hear the music ring
And though the storms may come
I am holding on
To the rock I cling

How can I keep from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing

I will lift my eyes
In the darkest night
For I know my Savior lives
And I will walk with You
Knowing You'll see me through
And sing the songs You give

I can sing in the troubled times
Sing when I win
I can sing when I lose my step
And fall down again
I can sing 'cause You pick me up
Sing 'cause You're there
I can sing 'cause You hear me, Lord
When I call to You in prayer
I can sing with my last breath
Sing for I know
That I'll sing with the angels
And the saints around the throne

How can I keep from singing Your praise
How can I ever say enough
How amazing is Your love
How can I keep from shouting Your name
I know I am loved by the King
And it makes my heart want to sing.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

The Mama 'Hood

Alex and I are heading to my hometown tomorrow so that we can go to a baby shower for my cousin Paige, who is expecting her first little bundle of joy in about a month.

Those of you who have been reading here for awhile may remember that I got a bit, um, emotional when I found out that Paige was expecting, and while I don’t envy her swollen feet and legs right now, I’d give up just about anything – save my husband and my own child – to re-live the anticipation of that last month of pregnancy.

(However, if I did in fact re-live it, I would prefer to get some sleep this time around.)

Yesterday I called Mama to tell her that Alex and I were going to be spending the weekend with her and Daddy, and she mentioned how happy she would be to see the little man. She went on to tell me that it was supposed to be cooler this weekend and I needed to make sure to pack some long-sleeved shirts for Alex. I’m really glad she told me that because my original plans were to let him run around barefooted in his Spider Man underwear all weekend while dousing him with cold water.

The advice that Mama gave me yesterday made me laugh a little bit, but it also served as a reminder that the independent part of me likes to think that I would have figured out how to take care of Alex just fine if left to my own devices. And I probably would have done an okay job. But the reality is that I needed other people’s tips and words of wisdom when Alex was a baby. I still do – even though we’re on the back side of potty training and toddlerdom. There’s comfort, plain and simple, in knowing that you’re not alone, that you’re not crazy, and that you’re not going to ruin your child’s life if you can’t breastfeed for the first eighteen months.

There's comfort, plain and simple, in fellowship with other mamas.

For me, in those first few weeks of Alex’s life, my sister-in-law Janie and my friend NK were lifelines. Janie realized – long before I did – that my milk wasn’t coming in like it probably should and that my young’un, he was HAWNGRY. NK had a baby who was six months older than Alex, and I think I mimicked her entire schedule for feedings and naps. But more than anything, they made me feel welcome in the strange new land of motherhood – and encouraged me when I felt like I didn’t know what I was doing. In those days where you’re only sleeping in three hour increments (at best) and wandering around in a daze a good bit of the time, that encouragement is huge.

Paige has so many firsts in front of her, and part of me just wants to hold her face in my hands and say, “Soak it up. Soak up every little bit. It will fly by and before you know it that little baby will be shaking you awake in the middle of the night just to tell you that he or she wants to eat for breakfast.” (I know whereof I speak on this one, because Alex woke me up this morning around 4:30 to tell me that he would like a donut, please, when it’s sunshine outside. I was ever-so-pleased to be awakened with a request of such urgency and importance.)

So will you do me a favor? If you have a memory of those first few weeks of motherhood that’s particularly special to you, would you share it in the comments? If there's a tip that saved your sanity, would you pass it along? Once you’re all done, I’m going to send Paige the link so that she can focus – just for a little bit – on the joy that’s waiting for her about a month down the road.

Just for the record, here’s one of my sweetest memories: on my second night in the hospital, David left to get us some supper, and I sat in a chair with Alex in my lap. I was totally and completely overwhelmed by the gift of his life, by the sweetness of his face, by the way he already knew how to wrap his little hand around my finger. And I told him, even though he couldn’t understand my words, how much we loved him, how much God loved him, and how he was, without a doubt, the greatest blessing his daddy and I had ever known. I thought that I could never love anyone as much as I loved Alex in that moment.

But I was wrong.

Because three and half years later, I love him even more.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

House Hunters

Several of y'all have emailed me and said, "Hey, I thought y'all had a contract on another house, but your posts make it sound like you're looking for a house, and you're being sort of cryptic, and I find myself perplexed and confused."

As well you should be, given the vagueness of my vaguery.

So I will now attempt to clarify.

Yes, we had (HAD) a contract on another house. It was very groovy and 70's and even still had the original shag carpet (bright yellow in the master bedroom, followed bright red, bright green, and rust in the other bedrooms. My brother vowed that if I looked around enough in the closets, I would find a rake). We were planning to replace the carpet, of course, but walking through those bedrooms was like stepping back into 1974, right down to the Honeywell alarm system that looked like something from the episode of Columbo where Ruth Gordon locked her nephew in the safe and spent the next two hours trying to outsmart the good detective.

Now granted, I've never pretended to be normal, but it is a little strange to me that while lots of people dream of large, open floor plans and granite countertops and keeping rooms off of the kitchen, I have an almost unexplainable attraction (bordering on obsession, no doubt) to houses that look like Mike, Carole, Greg, Marsha, and the rest of the kids are sitting inside, just waiting for me to walk in so that they can serenade me with "It's A Sunshine Day." And the house that we had (HAD) the contract on totally had that vibe.

But alas, it was not meant to be ours. Another couple put in a contract. We had 48 hours to decide whether we wanted to roll the dice and set a closing date, not having any guarantee that our house would have sold by that date - or walk away.

We walked.

So the search continues.

Right now we're looking at two Brady Bunch houses...one that is way overpriced and needs tons of work and smells really, really bad (sounds charming, doesn't it? you MUST come for a visit) - but it could be a great house when it's all said and done IF we can get a good deal. The other one is so groovy that I won't even describe it because I think y'all would be certain that I've lost my mind to even consider it, so I'll just say this: it looks like Austin Powers may have lived there at some point.

Or Maude. Maude might have lived there, too.

So if our house sells and we end up buying the Maude house, I've already warned David that I'm going to need some lounging pajamas and geometric-patterned headscarves (think Suzanne Pleshette circa 1976) in order to fit in with the new surroundings.

He is understandably thrilled.

Makes Me Want To Say "Hallelujah"

"I’m part of the fellowship of the unashamed. The die has been cast. I have stepped over the line. The decision has been made. I’m a disciple of His and I won’t look back, let up, slow down, back away, or be still.

My past is redeemed. My present makes sense. My future is secure. I’m done and finished with low living, sight walking, small planning, smooth knees, colorless dreams, tamed visions, mundane talking, cheap living, and dwarfed goals.

I no longer need preeminence, prosperity, position, promotions, plaudits, or popularity. I don’t have to be right, or first, or tops, or recognized, or praised, or rewarded. I live by faith, lean on His presence, walk by patience, lift by prayer, and labor by Holy Spirit power.

My face is set. My gait is fast. My goal is heaven. My road may be narrow, my way rough, my companions few, but my guide is reliable and my mission is clear. I will not be bought, compromised, detoured, lured away, turned back, deluded or delayed. I will not flinch in the face of sacrifice or hesitate in the presence of the adversary. I will not negotiate at the table of the enemy, ponder at the pool of popularity, or meander in the maze of mediocrity. I won’t give up, shut up, or let up until I have stayed up, stored up, prayed up, paid up, and preached up for the cause of Christ.

I am a disciple of Jesus. I must give until I drop, preach until all know, and work until He comes. And when He does come for His own, He’ll have no problems recognizing me. My banner will be clear!"

-Found among the papers of a young Zimbabwe pastor after he was martyred

Monday, October 16, 2006

Look! I'm Branding!

Our house has been on the market for almost two weeks now, and aside from the fact that I'm certain that it's never going to sell, EVER, it's going really well!

And I totally get how ridiculous my despair is, seeing as how the housing market has slowed down and houses are staying on the market way longer than average, but the average time for a house to stay on the market in our neighborhood is fourteen days (I know! FOURTEEN DAYS!), and since we're right on the fringe of that timeframe and the house hasn't sold, then clearly, CLEARLY, we're destined to languish on the real estate market for the rest of our natural days.

If you think this is fun to read about, imagine what a carnival-o-fun it is to live with me right now.


Seriously, I'm really not all doom and gloom about our house, because I know it'll sell eventually. Plus, it's not like we're in some big urgent hurry to move, so I don't even have a deadline looming over my head. But y'all know how obsessive I can be, and I'm just not very good with the waiting game.

You may insert your favorite lesson about patience at this juncture.

Yeah. I know. I know. You're right. I know.

I will say, however, that if there are two words I am sick of hearing right now, those words are "buyers' market." Of course, once our house sells and suddenly we switch from being sellers to buyers, I'll be all, "Oh, 'buyers' market' - those are the most beautimous of all the beautiful words in our language of beauty."


This morning I was on the way to meet our realtor at a house that David and I looked at yesterday, and in the middle of all the traffic I kept seeing those bumper stickers that are knock-offs of "W - The Hotel" and "W - The President." It would seem that it is now in vogue for every single political candidate to use this type of promotional campaign, so I spent much of my time in the car trying to decipher what the various stickers meant.

For example.

I saw one that said "BR" - and I thought, "Oh, Baton Rouge!" But when I got close enough to the car in front of me to squint really really hard and figure out what the words below the initials said, I discovered that it said, "The Governor." So the "BR" stood for Bob Riley, and I kind of got the reason for the sticker because he's running for re-election and all.

Then I saw another one that said, "C" - and I thought maybe it was for a local sports team or something. But when I looked closely I realized that it said, "The Sheriff." I then proceeded to wrack my brain for the last name of our sheriff, determined that his last name starts with a C and thereby judged his bumper sticker to be cryptic but accurate. I for one do not feel that "C" is quite as identifiable as, say, "W" when it pertains to a local elected official, but hey, whatever works, because it did make me think of the sheriff and, you know, remember his name.

And then I saw ANOTHER one that said "C" - and I thought, "Oh, the sheriff must have several colors of stickers." But then I realized that it said, "The Christ," and I thought OKAY, PEOPLE - I think we've driven this particular fad straight into the ground. I mean, I'm all for evangelizing and spreading the Good News, but putting Jesus' initial in a knock-off of a W Hotel logo?

He must be so pleased.


Never one to want to be left out, I have created the following image for your enjoyment, because I am nothing if not two years behind every pop culture trend and dare I say light years behind anything remotely resembling the cutting edge (unless it's sassy pants - I try to stay up-to-date with sassy pants):

What do y'all think?

Sure, the concept is pretty tired, and yeah, the colors are pretty plain - but the initials?

They make me giggle.

Because I am a bastion of maturity.

A veritable beacon of propriety in the blogosphere.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Coffee Talk

So a few weeks ago I got a lovely package in the mail, and the package was instantly deemed Even Lovelier by yours truly when I realized that it contained large quantities of coffee for my perusal, consumption, and review.

I haven't posted any sort of policy regarding product reviews on my blog, but just in case there's any confusion I'll say this: I'm going to be honest. I'm sure I would get way more free stuff if I clapped my hands and squealed with glee over every single product I receive, but that would be selling out, and I am not selling out OH NO MA'AM I'm not.

Unless it's for a reallllly good price. And then we'll talk.


Oh, yes, the coffee.

I'm a pretty picky coffee drinker; in fact, when David and I first moved to Alabama, I ordered our coffee from Baton Rouge because no store here carried the brand we liked. I like really strong, flavorful coffee, which is why I have not had a cup of coffee at my mother-in-law's house in almost five years because while she's a perfectly lovely person her "coffee" is actually more like "hot beige water." And it's not tasty. You can try to pretend like it is because you wouldn't want to be rude, of course, but the grimace on your face will tell the true tale. It's bad.

Anyway, the coffee that the Large Marketing Organization sent me was the new Folger's Gourmet Selections, which I've actually seen on the shelf in Target. They sent me three flavors: Lively Columbian (which is a far better name than Lethargic Columbian or Morose Columbian, I might add), Vanilla Biscotti, and Morning Cafe'.

I had a mixed reaction to the Lively Columbian...it had a nice flavor when I made a milder pot of coffee, but in the mornings, when I want some really strong coffee and add an extra tablespoon to the filter basket, I found that the Lively Columbian was, incidentally, a very Bitter Columbian. David didn't care for this variety at all and kept asking me if we could go back to our regular brand. So it wasn't really a hit in terms of taste, but it was free, so I'm not complaining.

As for Vanilla Biscotti...I have an aversion to flavored coffees because I find that they have an annoying aftertaste and also 'infiltrate' my next few pots of regular coffee with leftover oils or scents or whatnot. So David was the sole participant in reviewing this flavor, and he actually liked it. He said it didn't have a strong aftertaste, and it didn't taste oily (another one of my complaints about flavored coffees). So, if you like a little flava in your coffee, this would probably be a good one to serve to company or to have as "dessert" on a chilly fall night.

My favorite of the bunch was Morning Cafe'. Even though it isn't as strong as the Lively Columbian, it doesn't get bitter if you try to make a stout pot of coffee that'll make your eyes snap to attention at 6 in the morning. It has a mild but really pleasant flavor, and of the three it's the one that I would buy again. I'll be having some tomorrow morning, in fact - and I'll raise my mug in a toast to my interpeeps before I take the first sip (as a thank you for reading my blog even when I'm reviewing Free Product).

And if you'd like to try a sample for yourself, click here - it's free!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Because I'm Desperate

Alex has gone to sleep with his stuffed Froggy every night of his life.

Until tonight. Because we cannot find Froggy anywhere.

Which means that David and I have been looking in every corner and crevice of our house for the last hour.

And I've never felt like more of a crazy woman.

And I can't think of where to look next.

Any suggestions?

Update: Froggy has been located. He was behind the couch where we'd looked, oh, sixty four times. Give or take a ten. And he's now in the bed where he rightly belongs. :-)

A Little Link Love

If you haven't read it yet, this post over at Sarah's is hysterical.

I laughed out loud.

Friday, October 13, 2006

The Look May Be New, But The Content Is Still Mediocre

Last night, in an act of total bloggy spontanaiety, I found some illustrations I liked on istockphoto, downloaded them, and asked my hubby to work his Photoshop / Illustrator magic. He created my new banner while he was EATING A BOWL OF CHILI, so it's a tender memory, the revamping of the blawg.

I also changed the color on the sides, and to do this I used the widely respected design method of looking at the previous color number on my template (it was 692), and then trying 100, 200, 300, 400, etc. and just seeing what I ended up with. I went through several variations of brown, then decided I'd try the number 450 (I'm telling you, it was a terribly methodical process), and what do you know? 450 was a nice forest green and exactly what I wanted.

Also, you may have stopped by last night when the sides of the blog were orange, and if so, I apologize. I hope you didn't awaken your family with your cries of "MY EYES! MY EYES!"

The orange was a little, um, loud.

So if you'll excuse me, I have to leave for an appointment with an insurance adjustor regarding The Unfortunate Deer Incident. It promises to be loads of fun with all the talk of bumpers and frames and grills...I'll be sure to fill you in on all the Exciting Details when I return.

Happy Fall, everyone!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

I Haven't Even Told My Husband This Story Yet

A few days ago Alex and I had to get out of the house in a hurry because some people were coming by with a realtor. I had been cleaning and scrubbing and vacuuming since about 7:30 that morning, so by the time we made our hasty exit at 11, I was a mess. My hair wasn’t fixed, I hadn’t taken a shower, I was wearing zero make-up, and I had on these gaucho-ish workout pants that are not attractive in the least but are as comfortable as all get out when you’re spending a morning up to your elbows in Pine Sol.

I didn’t have time to change clothes or, you know, bathe before we left, but I was so frazzled by that point that I really didn’t care. I figured I’d run through the McDonald’s drive-thru, grab some lunch, and then Alex and I would head to the park and commence with the killing of time. Plus, given the condition of my appearance, at least if we were at the park people might think that I’d been hoofing it on the walking trail just moments before I sat down at a picnic table to systematically demolish an order of McValue fries. And a cheeseburger.

As soon as we got to the park Alex noticed a lady who happens to work at his Mother’s Day Out, and all I could think was, “WELL, THAT FIGURES” because it never fails that I run into someone I know when I look my absolute worst. We made small talk for a few minutes, and in an attempt to explain why I looked like death warmed over, I offhandedly mentioned that oh, someone was looking at our house, we were in a hurry when we left as she could probably tell, ha ha ha ha ha, all the while hoping that she wouldn’t think I was some deranged mama who was unfamiliar with Why Good Hygiene Is Important.

In the meantime, a little girl who was probably one and a half kept running over to me, lifting up her arms, and trying to crawl into my lap. Alex was infinitely entertained by the fact that “the girl baby” wanted to play with his mama, and since the girl baby’s parents didn’t seem to object, I picked her up and let her play with the toy from Alex’s Happy Meal. She’d sit in my lap for a little bit, then jump down and run to her mama, then climb back in my lap, and so it went for about the next ten minutes.

When the little girl climbed down for about the twelfth time, I mentioned to her mama, who looked to be about my age, that I was flattered that her daughter seemed to like me so much.

And here is what her mama said to me:

“Well, you do look like her grandmother!”



I just sat there, stunned, trying not to feel offended, reminding myself that I’m not in fact getting any younger and that being a grandmother is one of life's greatest blessings. Grandmothers are loving, they’re wise, they’re treasured - they’re the apples of their grandbabies’ eyes.

However, grandmothers are not, as a general rule, IN THEIR THIRTIES.

So in my head I tried to put a spin what she said, tried to remember that I didn't exactly leave the house with a youthful glow that morning, tried to justify that maybe she meant the grandmother and I have a similar body type, or maybe the grandmother and I have a similar-sounding voice.

But at the same time, I couldn’t help but channel a little bit of Suzanne Sugarbaker and think, “Well, if I’d wanted to be insulted, I’d have stayed at home and waited for a crank call!”

And please don’t misunderstand. I have high hopes of being a Sassy Grandmama, as I know several of you are. But since I didn’t even get pregnant until I was 32, I’ve sort of envisioned my late 50’s / early 60’s as being the Sassy Grandmama years. Not, you know, MY LATE THIRTIES.

I mean, y’all. I can't help but feel like I may need a touch of the Botox.

Perhaps the plastic surgeon will give me some form of senior citizens’ discount!

And just FYI: I'm considering changing the name of the blog to BooMamaw.

Consider yourself warned.

Interweb Goodness

Today I've read a couple of thought-provoking posts on the topic of bravery.

Head over to Toddled Dredge and Antique Mommy - two of my very favorite blogs - to see what they have to say.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

A List Is All I've Got To Give

1. The "Project Runway" season finale is (not) tonight (I stand corrected - it's next week), and my excitement knows no bounds. I guess that's not saying a whole lot, because I'm a person who gets excited about, say, a new brand of salad dressing, so you'll just have to trust me when I tell you that I regard tonight as a Television Event (even if it's not the finale, it's still an Event), and as such I made a celebratory pot of chili because if there's one thing fashion designers love, it's chili.

Okay. Maybe not.

But still.

2. Today's "Oprah" segment about life in North Korea was shocking to me. Shocking. Good grief I live in a bubble.

3. I'm really behind on email again. If you've sent me a note in the last week or so and I haven't answered you, please forgive me...but the house stuff and the work stuff and the all-Alex-all-the-time stuff have left me precious little time for the email stuff. I'm in the process of trying to catch up.

4. Last night? On "Dancing With The Stars"? How adorable was Emmitt Smith?

So adorable. BEYOND adorable, in fact.

I love him.

5. This afternoon when I picked up Alex from Mother's Day Out (his very favorite place in the whole wide world with the exception of The Coke And Donut Palace, also known as my parents' house), I got him all settled in the back seat and cranked the car.

We had just started out of the parking lot when he said, "Mama? I missed you!"

I'll pause for a moment so that you can wipe away the tears. And then say, "Awwww."

Seriously, I double dog dare you to try to be in a bad mood one little teensy bit when a three year old says those words to you.

It's just not possible.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Hola Interpeeps

I have tons to talk about - "The Bachelor" (I'm with Big Mama - the ABC folks hauled in a whole new level of crazy for this season), the realtor caravan, the fancy new Lifeway store where Alex and I hung out this morning while the realtors were here, and the unsurpassed customer service I received from our insurance company when dealing with the claim for the unfortunate deer incident (seriously - it was like I was checking into a fancy hotel or something).

But our internet has been down since about 10:30 this morning (no email! I know! and I didn't even get the shakes!), and now my husband is home, and I really just want to hang out and watch "Dancing With The Stars" and make David watch a portion of "The Bachelor" where the girl who consumed too many adult beverages on the beach group date wakes up from her "nap" and tries to talk.

I never claimed to be highbrow, people.

Also, I want to start a new Bible study...I can't jump in with anything at my church because of my schedule, so does anyone have a suggestion? I haven't been in an intensive study since I did Living Beyond Yourself last spring, and I can feel it. Big time. I seem to be more consistent with Bible study when I'm doing something with daily "homework" - so let me know if you have any ideas.

Fascinating post, huh?

Please forgive. Family beckons.

Back tomorrow.

Monday, October 09, 2006

I Can't Even Pretend To Have A Title

David went out of town Thursday.

It is now Monday night.


I should mention that The Child has been delightful. He has been sweet and affectionate and cooperative, and aside from his occasional tendency to want to bounce some form of action figure off of my face or my behind, we've done really well considering we have been together non-stop and by that I mean All The Time including sleeping because I am all about making up as few beds as possible right now.

I did have a bit of a stressed out Mama moment yesterday when Alex and I were riding around during our open house because he was talking all the time with nary a moment of silence because why, why would anyone want silence when there's so much talking to be done about the trees and the Arby's and the "Sunday Morning Songs" and how red means stop and yellow means slow down and green means go but what does orange mean, Mama? And what does white mean? And can we go left now? What about straight? Where's that way go? Does that way go to Jason's?

But all things considered, we've weathered our Time Without Daddy pretty well.

But this house stuff? The open house yesterday and now a caravan of agents who are coming tomorrow?

Wearing. me. out.

I know that it's just all part of selling a house. I get that. And I'm beyond grateful to even have the possibility of moving to a place that'll be more convenient for our family.

But I'm just a little tired. Just a wee bit tired.

Also, I think that if my rugs and carpet could talk, they would say something along the lines of, "PLEASE, OH PLEASE - FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, QUIT VACUUMING!"

So I'm about to go outside and sweep the porch and the deck one more time so that the neighborhood children can look out of their bedroom windows and say, "Mama! Daddy! The crazy lady is moving plants in the dark again!" Then I'm going to sprawl out on the couch, cover up with a comfy blanket, and watch "The Bachelor."

Oh! And I haven't even told y'all about how I took the TV out of the kitchen so the countertops would be totally uncluttered, and now every single time I walk in there all I can think is that THE SILENCE, IT IS DEAFENING because why, why is there no Food Network playing in the kitchen, why?

Which makes me fairly certain that the reason why Alex talks all the time is because I have in fact encouraged it. That I am some sort of Anti-Silence Stealth Bomb that stops quiet dead in its tracks.


My OCD and I will be back to visit you tomorrow!

I can't imagine how lucky you must feel.


Because I Like Me Some Free Stuff

And now, an announcement:

Consumers can write into Reynolds Fun Shapes and explain why their bake sale needs “shaping up” for a chance to win a FunShapes “Shape Up Your Bake Sale” kit. Reynolds will be giving away sixty of these kits each week for six weeks starting September 22, 2006. Each kit includes a variety of FunShapes samples, a CD-rom with tips, recipes and signage for hosting a successful bake sale, a FunShapes tablecloth and a FunShapes calculator for quick tallies of customers’ bills. In addition, the “Shape Up Your Bake Sale” kits will include a disposable camera and entry information for an exclusive photo contest, with a chance to win a $500 donation to their organization from Reynolds FunShapes Baking Cups.

I believe y'all are what marketing people would call the "target demographic" for Reynolds products, and since they've very nicely offered to send me a FunShapes kit free of charge, I thought I'd share this info with you.


Happy Baking!

Sunday, October 08, 2006

He's SO Over Larry Boy Now

I bought Alex a costume today at Target when we were killing time during the Open House, and he put it on as soon as we got home.

Since the moment he changed clothes, he will only answer to "Mr. Incredible" or "Dash."

You can see that even Mr. Incredible needs his trusty V-Tech computer, because I think we all know that V-Tech computers are the computing tool of choice for superheroes.

Well, at least for superheroes who are three.

Alex - er, I mean - Mr. Incredible wanted to put on the costume again when he got out of the tub tonight, but I think there's some rule in the Official Guide to Motherhood about how children need to sleep in fabric that actually, you know, breathes.

I feel pretty confident about what his outfit of choice is going to be tomorrow, though.

And don't worry - I will not be donning a similarly-styled garment because 1) I care about the psychological well-being of others and 2) I can't justify putting my c-section stomach flap in 100% nylon unless there's some form of control-top panel involved. And even then it's really iffy.

Also, this is my 500th post.

I haven't even been blogging a year.

I feel this indicates some form of sickness.

I Promise That The Math Is Accurate

1 Open House this afternoon
1 out-of-town husband
1 three year old who has decided that he's Larry Boy

1 frazzled mama (who is hastily arranging Stunt Pillows and Artfully Askew coverlets, wishing there were some form of holster for Windex because I can't seem to keep Little Fingerprints off of the doors and coffee table and mirrors)

More later!

Friday, October 06, 2006

In Which I Cause The Food Pyramid To Topple

David is out of town this weekend, and initially I wasn't going to say anything about it, but then I figured that between our ear-piercing alarm system, my mad kah-rah-tay skillz, and my superhuman ability to shoot pools of fire from my eyes, well, we'll be fine.

My friend Merritt is actually coming for a visit tonight with her little girl Molly - they're on their way to Atlanta to see Merritt's new nephew - and in celebration of the fact that Merritt and I have done some of our finest junk food eating together, I made a little trip to the store. I even bought CHEESE IN A BAG which should let you know that I am THROWING DOWN the junk food gauntlet.


You'll notice that I went with diet Dr. Pepper instead of diet Coke, because while diet Coke is my Drink Of Choice, diet Dr. Pepper is the drink I reserve for special occasions. Being with old friends is always a special occasion, so NOTHING BUT THE BEST for Merritt Leigh tonight.

You'll also notice that there is one token healthy food in the whole pile - and they're not "just" carrots, mind you, they're organic carrots, which means that we'll have a much more pure and wholesome vessel for delivering large quantities of Ranch dressing into our mouths. I contemplated buying some celery, too, but that just reeked of healthy.

When I was unloading the groceries I thought that if our friend Liz was going to be here, she would eat two bites of the fried chicken tenders that are in the big bucket you see to the right, and then she would say that she always feels gross when she eats fried stuff and she'd throw on her running shoes and go for a quick jog around the neighborhood before dark. And she would also eat the carrots without dipping them in Ranch dressing AND FIND THEM TO BE TASTY.

But I'd totally own her with the brownies. I really wish she was going to be here to have some.

So if you'll excuse me, while I have the luxury of this -

- I'd better be getting that sausage in a skillet so that I can combine it with some Processed Cheese Food and Rotel tomatoes. I also need to make Ranch dressing with the WHOLE MILK and REAL MAYONNAISE that I bought, and oh my sweet goodness I think an artery may have closed off just from typing this paragraph.

As a public service, Merritt and I will get up-to-speed on the whole Vince and Jen break-up (do you SEE all the magazines?) and fill y'all in later because WE LIVE TO SERVE OTHERS, y'all. We live to serve.

Happy weekend, everybody.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

I Only Blogged When I Wasn't Sleeping

So, over the summer, I got a little out of control with the whole blogging thing. I got a little obsessive. A little consumed. I was all about the posting, the commenting, the Site Meter checking, the commiserating, the relationship building – the whole deal.

But over the last couple of months I’ve felt like I needed to step back a little. Part of the reason for that is because of a “gentle nudge” from the Holy Spirit that was really more like being hit with a two by four. Another part of the reason is because my husband told me back in July that there were times when he wanted to throw the computer out of the window.

Both of those things sort of got my attention.

So gradually, over the last month, I’ve become a little less active in the blogosphere. I don’t read blogs quite as often (I still read all the ones I subscribe to, but I don't check Bloglines every single hour). I don’t comment as much. And I’ve been posting less, too.

I’ve been surprised by how difficult cutting back on the interweb time has been for me. It’s felt a little bit like a diet, only it’s a diet where you lose absolutely no weight and still can’t fit into your old clothes.

In other words: all the deprivation with none of the benefits! Would you like to sign up?

In truth, though, I have to admit that it really has been a good thing. I may not be as connected to the internet as I was a couple of months ago, but I’m much more connected to my family. This past weekend, when it was just David and me at home, I probably spent thirty minutes total on the computer. THIRTY MINUTES! And I didn’t twitch or anything!

This morning I decided I’d better make my way through the piled-up email in my inbox, and I found myself answering emails that were two weeks old. Normally I answer emails within, say, two minutes, but I’ve let myself be a little lax lately. Honestly, I can’t think of anyone who emails me who would mind, especially knowing that instead of answering emails within 120 seconds, I’ve been sitting on the front porch with Alex, or going out to dinner with my husband, or talking on the phone with my sister, or getting some work done, or listening to the new Chris Tomlin CD (it’s EXCELLENT, by the way, as is the Selah Duets CD), or singing in the choir at church. I still love getting emails just like I still love blogging - but I've had to slow down the pace a bit. I think that's understandable.

I guess I’ve just been dealing with what so many of us face: trying to find a balance, trying to keep blogging as a part of my life without letting it take over my life. I mean, if left to my own devices, what I’d WANT to do is to stay on the computer all day long, reading and blogging and commenting to my heart’s content. But it isn’t what I NEED to do - not when I have family and church and friends and work that also deserve my care and attention.

I guess it’s sort of like fried chicken...just because I love it WITH EVERY FIBER OF MY BEING (ahem) doesn’t mean that I need to eat it three meals a day, seven days a week. I could, mind you - but I don’t need to. Sometimes too much of a good thing is just too much.

And so it goes with blogging.

Because here's the bottom line, at least with me: I don’t want to be so busy writing about my life that I forget to live it.

Feel free to hold me accountable.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Oh, Deer*

My cousin Paige always says that when the weather is cool, deer like to move.

Well she wasn't kidding.

Alex and I were on the way to church tonight when a deer that was in fact on the move came in direct contact with my car, which was also on the move.

Alex and I are fine.

But the deer and the car, they didn't fare as well.

I still don't know exactly what happened...Alex and I were riding along, talking about what song we were going to listen to, and suddenly there was this large tawny-colored mass in front of us. The deer tried to leap out of the way, but it was too late, as the front of my car can testify.

After the unfortunate incident occurred, I pulled over to the side of the road and called David to tell him what happened. And when I couldn't get Alex to calm down - preschoolers are understandably frightened when a disconcertingly large animal comes in direct contact with the front of their vehicle - we turned around and came home.

I looked for the deer on our way back to the house, and he was nowhere to be found. This led me to believe that he may have just been badly bruised (I was only going about 30 mph) and then hobbled off into the woods. I hope that's the case, at least.

Somehow it makes me feel better to think that maybe he and his deer buddies are sitting around a campfire right about now, re-hashing the whole episode. My deer friend would be wearing a very large Ace bandage around his right hind leg, of course, maybe limping more than is necessary in front of all the lady deer so that he gets a little extra sympathy and some chocolate chip cookies.

It would be really nice if he'd pay my insurance deductible, but I'm probably out of luck on that one. Since the deer have a different currency system and all.

I hope he doesn't sue!

And seriously, I really do hope he's okay.

Bless his little deer heart.

* - punniest. title. evir.

The Infuriating

For the last couple of days I have felt physically ill when I've thought of the shootings in Pennsylvania and the whole Mark Foley deal. When I think about those poor children in Lancaster my eyes fill up with tears, and when I think about Mark Foley my blood pressure shoots up to about 490 over 380, so I probably shouldn’t think about him for very long lest my heart explode.

Normally I don't mention anything to do with politics on my blog because, well, who really cares what I think? There are all sorts of pundits on TV and on the internet who can weigh in sixty five times a day on eleventy billion issues, so my two cents is pretty much worth, you know, nothing.

But I do want to say something about the Mark Foley stuff and then I’ll never mention him on this blog again. And keep in mind that I’m just venting. VENT-ING. Because it’s my blog and I can.

So. Here I go.

When a clergyperson or parent or teacher or coach or political figure or whathaveyou uses his or her power and influence and authority to interact inappropriately with a minor - whether it’s by instant messaging or emailing or engaging in activities that are far worse and far more emotionally scarring than anything I care to put into words - then that person should go to jail.

Not rehab. Not counseling. JAIL.

Because the exploitation of children and teenagers is disgusting, it's reprehensible, and IT IS CRIMINAL.

Congressman Foley says he was abused as a teenager by a clergyman and that while the abuse is (obviously) not the reason why he acted inappropriately with young boys, it is the reason he's been plagued by shame for many years. I can’t imagine enduring something so horrific, and my heart really does go out to him for suffering as he must have done and as he must continue to do.

No one should ever have to endure such abuse.

No one deserves it, no one asks for it, no one chooses it. Period. As a survivor of abuse, Congressman Foley should know that better than anyone.

And I think that's my biggest problem with the whole ordeal: Mark Foley DOES know firsthand the mental, physical, spiritual and emotional torment that victims of inappropriate relationships have to endure – and for him to PERPETUATE that? For him to POLITICIZE that? And then for other people to remain silent - even though they knew that he'd targeted young boys - because they were afraid THEY’D LOSE A SEAT IN CONGRESS?

It's deplorable.

Because while Mark Foley's career may be ruined, his victims' lives will be forever affected by his behavior. But as far as I can tell, very few of Congressman Foley's colleagues - on either side of the aisle - seem to be as concerned with the victims as they are with spinning this scandal as a means to a political end.

And that, my friends, is a travesty in and of itself.

It makes me sick.

It makes me angry.

And it breaks my heart - for the victims and for their families.

I'm done now.

I don't feel any better.

But I'm done.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


I would love to tell you that Alex came back home Sunday and transitioned seamlessly into our regular routine and our regular rules, and I guess technically I could tell you that, but it would be a lie, and seeing as how I punished Alex this afternoon for not telling me the truth about his alleged involvement with pushing the buttons on the TiVo, I should probably practice what I've been preaching.

So the truth of the matter is that it's feeling increasingly like some sort of toddler behavioral detox in our neck of the woods. OH MY MERCY it's taking every ounce of patience I have to handle Mr. Sassy McBritches and not to go in our bedroom and shut the door and eat Ruffles and french onion dip while maintaining a non-stop connection to an endless diet Coke spigot.

While watching "Notting Hill" and "Ocean's 11" over and over and over.

Be sure to visit here often for more Effective Parenting Tips!

And it really is good to have the little man at home again - especially just a second ago when I took a couple of hot dogs out on the deck for D. to cook with the hamburgers, and Alex jumped up and down and said, "OH! I LOVE! HOT DOGS! THANK YOU MAMA!"

(The child totally has my number with the boundless enthusiasm deal. Because I pretty much don't care what you tell me as long as you say it! With exclamation points! And then! It's all better!)

But in addition to trying to figure out how to wrangle the little man, I'm trying to figure out how to wrangle myself, too. I can, um, get a little, um, obsessive about my house, and having it on the market seems to magnify that tendency. I am trying to make my peace with the fact that people may actually be sitting on the couches, that I may actually have to cook in the kitchen, that I can't actually live with some sort of protective plastic covering on the stairs (I really did suggest that last one to David yesterday after we had the carpet cleaned, and I was Totally Serious).

Perhaps I need to find a little balance in this situation.

You think?

So right now I'm letting Alex splash in the tub, despite the fact that he's making a bit of a mess. And there are two plastic bins of toys completely emptied out in the middle of the living room floor. And there are dishes from supper just sitting in the sink, because I am LAID BACK AND DEVIL MAY CARE-ISH, that's what I am!

Now if you'll excuse me, I need to run the vacuum for the fourth time today.

(Issues! I have issues!)


This post by Antique Mommy sums up so much of what I feel when I look at my own little man lately. Very bittersweet to watch the "baby" get older.

This post by our friend Kevin is just beautiful. Love his heart.

Finally, while I promise that I didn't write this post
at my friend Big Mama's, I could have. OOOOOH I could have. And my OCD is in RARE form these last few days what with trying to get the house ready to sell. Last night Alex actually looked at me and said, "Mama? I need some TOYS."

Have a great Tuesday!

Monday, October 02, 2006

Thank Goodness For This Meme Because I Have Major Writer's Block

This meme courtesy of my friend Barb...

Favorite memory of your mother?
I have lots of favorite memories of Mama - some sweet, some funny, some downright hard to believe. I don't think I can pick a favorite, although this one is certainly way up there.

Another Mama Memory - and one I've never blogged about - is from the night David proposed. I was spending the weekend in my hometown, and I didn't get to Mama and Daddy's house until late that Friday afternoon. David was coming into town from Baton Rouge, and Mama and Daddy knew that he was planning to give me a ring (being a good Southern boy and all, he had asked my daddy's permission several weeks beforehand).

Anyway, when I walked in Mama and Daddy's house with my weekend luggage, Mama surveyed me from head to toe and said, "Are you planning to wear that tonight?" I had on a pair of jeans and a sweater, and I thought I was perfectly attired for the trip to a Mexican restaurant that D. and I were planning.

Ever the clueless one, I said, "Um, yeah - we're just going out to eat."

And Mama, in the most gentle of tones, said, "Well, I think you might want to change. You might want to wear something a little dressier tonight."

I ended up not changing clothes, and David did in fact propose about an hour later as we sat on Mama and Daddy's couch.

And later that night, I realized the reason for Mama's concern with my attire: she didn't want me to get engaged with blue jeans on.

If you're a Southern girl, you can totally appreciate that.

Favorite memory of your father?
When Alex was about four months old, he would sit in Daddy's lap for hours on end. Alex would kick his legs constantly, and Daddy thought it was so funny...they would just look at each other and giggle, completely entertained by one another. It was the beginning of a very sweet relationship between those two. Seeing Daddy as a grandfather has given me a whole new appreciation for him as a father. It's been a good thing.

Favorite memory of your siblings?
It's a long story, but my absolute favorite memory with Sister is the time we were driving a UHaul (or, as my mama says, a "U-Haul-It") down Peachtree Road in Atlanta, and when Sister applied the brakes on an incline, the ladder in the back of the UHaul hit the door, which in turn opened just enough (that little "safety lock" feature wasn't working, apparently) so that the ladder landed in the middle of Peachtree.

I laughed so hard that I really think I lost consciousness for a brief period of time.

My favorite memory of my brother is when we were in New York City about five years ago. As we were leaving this pretty snazzy restaurant, we found ourselves underneath an awning with Ivana Trump. I didn't dare say anything, mainly because I was afraid she'd poke out one of my eyes using only that perfectly coiffed tower of hair on the top of her head, but after we all got loaded into our car, my brother leaned out of it and honored Ms. Trump with the loudest, most redneck whistle you've ever heard in your life...the kind of whistle where you have to put your fingers in your mouth first so that it's really good and shrill.

I didn't lose consciousness from laughing that time, but I definitely wet my pants. Cracks me up just thinking about it.

What one skill would you like to wake up tomorrow and be able to do (though you'd never learned it)?

I would sing like an angel. I'd also love to be able to draw.

Which one of your dreams has come true?

I am not, by nature, a dreamer. I tend to err on the side of practical. But, as a teenager, I used to hope that I'd be married to someone who was also my very best friend - someone I could talk to for hours and who would make me laugh. So if we're calling that a "dream," it definitely came true.

Yay. :-)

Now I'll tag anyone else who is suffering from writer's block...leave me a note in the comments if you decide to do this one!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Greetings From A Wayward Blogger

Our house goes on the market Tuesday, which means that David and I have been in full-on home improvement mode since Thursday. And right now I'm really tempted to say that I've been "staging" my house because Emma Kate informed me this afternoon that the word "staging" really gets on her nerves, so I asked her what in the world would I call all the arranging and re-arranging if not "staging," and she said that I should just say "fixin' it up."

So, just for Emma Kate: we have been "fixin' up" the house. Because goodness gracious doesn't that just sound so much better than "staging"?


Anyway, we have been busy. And since Alex has been at his grandparents' house, we have really enjoyed our time together. It's been a real reminder that we don't need to wait until we decide to put a house on the market to take some time for just the two of us. It's been fun - and as ready as I am to see the little man, I am very, very grateful to have had the last four days with D. It's been good. Great, in fact. We needed it.

Don't forget that Lauren is having her Bloggy Tour of Testimonies today...I've posted mine before, but if I can find it in the archives I will certainly be adding it to her Mr. Linky.

In the completely trivial news department, if you watch "Project Runway," are you shocked to learn that Uli - the designer who makes every single dress out of a print - is 25? Because I saw that this weekend when a re-run was on, and I was FLOORED because no kidding I thought she was in her late 30's (in other words, MY age).

I'll be back with some form of narrative cohesion later. But right now I have to go get ready because I have to be back at church at 5:15. We'd love for you to join us.