Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Thoughts as the New Year Approaches...

I've always loved fresh beginnings:
  • a brand new notebook, waiting for fresh, new stories
  • a fresh sketchpad, awaiting new charcoal images
  • a new day, filled with possibility
  • the change of seasons
  • and (most of all!) a new YEAR filled with POTENTIAL

So, in that vein, I wanted to include a link from one of my favorite inspirational blogs - Ann Voskamp's blog, and her thoughts on Setting Out Into A New Year

Her writing is always rich, profound, and wonderful. Enjoy.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Sarah McLachlan.... The One and Only

This song just blows me away... I sing along (loud) with The Magnificent Sarah and dance and spin with outstretched arms (if no one is home). :)

And I'm SO thankful that God gave us the ability to make music. Amen and amen.

Monday, December 29, 2008

For Those Who Like GOOD (No, Make That GREAT) Guitar..

Allow me to present the one, the only, the Amazing Doyle Dykes.
I've been fortunate enough to see this legend - live and in concert - twice, and yesterday I got to get his autograph AND I got to hug him.
He's a kindly Grandpa but he can make a guitar do some amazing and magical things.

Prepare to have your socks knocked off. :-)

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Marley & Me - a movie review

Hubster, the kids and I went to see "Marley & Me" last night. It was wonderful!

If you go to see it:

Be prepared to laugh.

And then - especially if you're a dog lover - be prepared to cry. I mean, REALLY cry. As in, racking sobbing noises and not-being-able-to-breathe-through-your-nose type crying.

Marley reminded me so much of our sweet, late, great beautiful Black Lab Chloe who we got as newlyweds (just like Jenny and John from the movie) and who passed away, at home, in 2005. I get teary-eyed just thinking about her.

Chloe was almost like our first child. We loved her so much.

It was a sweet movie. Good family movie (for older kids, not little kids).

Saturday, December 27, 2008

How Will 2009 Be Different For You?

I'm curious, my blogosphere buddies..... how will 2009 be different for you?
I'm not talking about the typical resolutions that we all make (and then usually break within a couple of weeks)...

But how is 2009 going to be different? How are you going to make it different, and BETTER, for yourself and your family?

  • What are your plans?
  • What are your goals?
  • What are your dreams, that you're going to "go for" over the coming year?

As they say.... if you WRITE IT DOWN, you MAKE IT REAL.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Yes, It IS a Wonderful Life

9:30 Christmas Night.... and this day is finally wrapping up (Christmas truly is the longest day of the year, isn't it?!)...
Christmas was different for us this year. I spent about HALF what I normally do. And I didn't put ANY of it on credit cards (Dave Ramsey, you would be PROUD!). Hubster and I decided not to buy each other anything. However, the kids saved up their allowance and bought us little gifts: I got a coffee mug with shells on it and Hubster got a stuffed lobster from them (?!) - really adorable and so sweet. We will treasure them both.

Another gift the kids gave us was sleeping in until 8 AM this morning (we were shocked and thrilled!) The day was nice. My mom arrived around 10, then my in laws, and then later my Dad and step mother. We had a casual, relaxing lunch, and plenty of family time. The dogs destroyed their two massive rawhides.
Basically, a wonderful time was had by all. I was happy that all my little birds were in the nest.
We were going to go see "Marley and Me" tonight but we're just all too pooped to do anything further. Hubster is already asleep. J. is playing some new video game on his Nintendo DS, and S. is trying on all the clothes she got from her 3 grandmothers. :-)
Hope all y'all had a great Christmas too.... blessings and hugs to my blogosphere buddies!

S with her "very favorite" gift...

J. with his "very favorite gift"... (and no, we're not NRA members, nor do we have "real" firearms... this is just a standard pellet gun... for target shooting in the woods, etc.)

Christmas Eve dinner at the (dreaded) "Kids Table" - J & S and 2 of their cousins. :-)

My Dad on Christmas Eve (isn't it a gorgeous table??? My step-mother is a WONDERFUL hostess and cook, and quite an entertainer.... and Dad enthralls the guests with his fabulous story-telling... it's always a Good Time!)

Dad & Mom (yes, they are divorced, but still good friends!)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Merry Christmas!!

Here's wishing you and your family
a wonderful, relaxing, warm, peaceful and very
Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

The Origins of "The 12 Days of Christmas"

Interesting tidbit that a friend emailed to me this week about the origins of this song that we all know.


From 1558 until 1829, Roman Catholics in England were not permitted to practice their faith openly.

Someone during that era wrote "The 12 Days of Christmas" as a catechism song for young Catholics. It has two levels of meaning: the surface meaning plus a hidden meaning known only to members of their church.

Each element in the carol has a code word for a religious reality which the children could remember.

  • The partridge in a pear tree was Jesus Christ.

  • Two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

  • Three French hens stood for faith, hope and love.

  • The four calling birds were the four gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke & John.

  • The five golden rings recalled the Torah or Law, the first five books of the Old Testament.

  • The six geese a-laying stood for the six days of creation.

  • Seven swans a-swimming represented the sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit--Prophesy, Serving, Teaching, Exhortation, Contribution, Leadership, and Mercy.

  • The eight maids a-milking were the eight beatitudes.

  • Nine ladies dancing were the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit---Love, Joy, Peace, Patience, Kindness, Goodness, Faithfulness, Gentleness, and Self Control.

  • The ten lords a-leaping were the ten commandments.

  • The eleven pipers piping stood for the eleven faithful disciples.

  • The twelve drummers drumming symbolized the twelve points of belief in the Apostles' Creed.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

If I Ever Met Oprah....

.... it would probably go something quite like this.... :-)
(Just all GUSHING out... SOO much to say... sounding like a total fool... )
Tina Fey captures it so very well. :-)

She's Doing WHAT?....
Imagine what her Mom and Dad said?!

I would physically SIT on my daughter and not let her leave the house if she came home with this news. (It would be a "NOT OVER MY DEAD BODY" sort of ultimatum.)


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The Old "Bob and Weave"

Everyone by now has seen this video.
The things that amazed me the most about this video are:

1) President Bush has incredibly quick reflexes (I think if it would have been ME, I would've gotten clocked in the head - probably twice - by the flying shoes).

2) Were the Secret Service fellas asleep at the switch? Did you see how S-L-O-W those guys moved? Hmmm... this really concerns me, esp with President Obama coming on board in just a month. I think they should all report back to H.R. for some "refresher training" prior to next month's inauguration.

Overheard in the Other Room

"Of course it's a real word!"
"No it's not."
"Yes it is!"
"I looked it up in the dictionary, and it's NOT IN THERE!"
"You heard me. I looked up "dingleberry" in the dictionary and it's not in there."

... meanwhile I'm working away in my office, hand over my mouth, barely able to muffle my laughter.... !! :-)

Dingleberry. When was the last time you heard THAT word???

Diva Having Surgery Today

Diva, my wild, UNAPOLOGETICALLY destructive 7 month old Chocolate Lab, is getting spayed today.

I asked the vet if they could throw in a frontal lobotomy too.... (KIDDING).

She was SO bad at the vet when I dropped her off this morning. First, she got loose in the parking lot and ran around like a bucking bronco (and then did the "you-can't-catch-me" dance), then once we were inside she insisted on growling at all the sweet "house cats" that the vet has. The cats just glared at me like "This is irritating. Can you take care of this?"

So, anyway. Diva is surely anesthetized by now (and quiet - what a rarity!).
(My kids still think I'm being very mean to not let her have at least one litter of puppies.... SIGH...)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

The Grinch on my Couch

If you know a UPS man (or woman), be sweet to them this time of year.

They come home really tired, worn out and run down.

My man is (for most of December) the Grinch in a brown suit... bless his heart.

Intentional Act of Christmas - Tonight!

I am SOOO excited about tonight!
My church, 12Stone, is doing something really amazing and revolutionary (as far as churches are concerned) - they gave each person/couple in the church $100 to go out and "pay it forward" into the community... ie: to find someone who has been "beaten up on the road of life" and help them.
Now, $100 might not seem like a lot, but keep in mind 12Stone has about 3,000 - 4,000 people who attend every Sunday.

(Yes, I see you all doing quick match... And YES, this means that my church handed out $375,000.) Cash. In church. (And yes, I could write another blog post about the logistics of THAT, but suffice it to say it proceeded so smoothly..... as my pastor said "Let's do this in the spirit of Worship, and not the spirit of Wal-Mart." :-)

And, what's even more amazing? The congregation - those of us who decided we wanted "in" on this little social experiment? We decided to collectively pony up an additional $400,00.

SO (more math, sorry), we have $750,000 going back out into our local community (the 'burbs of Northeast Atlanta) this holiday season.

And let me tell you, guys, there are some MAJOR needs out there.
If you ever start feeling sorry for yourself? All you gotta do is open your eyes and look around... there are some people who are REALLY struggling, for life's Basics.

So, anyway, my small group (there are 12 of us... all women, but all very different) have pooled together our money. Some of us only could afford to put in the $100 that the church gave us, and some of us have been financially blessed and could contribute a whole lot more, and we have found a woman who REALLY needs help. Tonight we're going to have dinner with her, surround her with love, and then shower her with cash, which will make her road in life a bit less stressful.

And I can't wait!
It TRULY is better to give than to receive.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Happy Wife Needs Advice

OK, serious question here guys....

I am ALL for Optimism. My glass is always half full. I am forever reading self-help, and motivational books like "Think & Grow Rich" (one of my faves).

But this recession is KILLING my business. We're talking samurai sword-fight! (...sorry, had to add a link to one of my favorite movie scenes here...)

I'm a self-employed recruiter, working 100% on commission, and when there are bazillions of people who are unemployed, 1) companies aren't hiring and 2) tcompanies who are hiring sure aren't using recruiters (there's no need!)

I feel like I'm on the Titanic.... a few months ago, I felt almost invincible.... things were going GREAT. Now, things ain't lookin' so rosey (and I feel a bit queasy!).

So, those of you who are self-employed (and your family COUNTS on your income, and it's not just a "hobby" income).... what the heck do you DO when times like this come around? How have you 'ridden them out' in the past?

I am really struggling with what to do.
I'm praying about it, daily, but I also want wisdom from those who are self-employed ... and those who just have Words of Wisdom to share with little old me. :-)

PS: If you want to send me some "off-blog" wisdom, privately, my email address is on my profile. Thanks, guys!

It's All In How You Look At It!

Check out this great story from Rebeckah's blog ..... thanks for reminding us about the importance of perspective, Rebeckah!

Christmas Questionnaire

Christmas questionnaire.... post idea, borrowed from Boquinha.
Feel free to participate if you'd like. :-)

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Call me old fashioned, but I prefer wrapping paper. There's something very satisfying about ripping the wrapping off a gift.
2. Real tree or artificial? Definitely real. To our family this is part of the joy of Christmas - going out and finding the "perfect" tree... and then it makes your house smell so Chrstmas-y. (Plus, you get a slightly different tree each year.)
3. When do you put up your tree? Day after Thanksgiving, or that weekend.
4. When do you take it down? Usually New Years Day. But one year we had THE most beautiful, healthy Christmas tree that stayed green and lush.... I think we left it up until mid January.
5. Do you like eggnog? Yes, and I have found the BEST way to drink it.... take eggnog, a shot of Canadian whiskey (the nice smooth kind), and a couple of ice cubes - put it in a blender, and make yourself an eggnog smoothie. It's really delicious. The ice helps to cut down on the thickness of eggnog.
6. Favorite gift received as a child? My purple bike. I rode it EVERYWHERE.
7. Worst christmas gift ever received? Gosh, I'm sure there were some doozies, but nothing springs to mind.
8. Hardest person to buy for? My 78 year old Father. He has lived a full rich life, been everywhere, and has done just about everything!
9. Easiest person to buy for? My children. :-)
10. Do you have a nativity scene? We do.
11. Mail or email christmas cards? Mail, and actually I'm REALLY late this year...
12. Favorite christmas movie? "It's a Wonderful Life" - the BEST movie ever made!
13. When do you start christmas shopping? I'm one of those crazy women out there the day after Thanksgiving.
14. Have you ever recycled a christmas present? Guilty. But only to "office-mates".
15. Favorite thing to eat at christmas? Ah, where to begin..... :-)
16. Lights on the tree? Yes, we have multi colored lights that do 16 different things. :-) This is dorky, but at night, after I take out my contacts I'll sit there and just watch the colors all blink and meld together... it's really transfixing.
17. Favorite christmas song? O Little Town of Bethlehem, but I really love all the traditional carols.
18. Travel or stay home? Always at home and we love it.
19. Can you name all of santa's reindeer? Hmmmm.... probably not!
20. Angel or star? Angel
21. Open presents christmas morning or eve? Christmas morning. Crack of dawn!
22. Favorite ornament theme or color? I love ornaments! Our tree is a mish-mash of beautiful, ornate ornaments, home-made ornaments from my children's elementary school classes, bobble-head ornaments memorializing our late great Black Lab Chloe, and EVERYTHING in between! I love unique trees that tell a story about their families!
23. Most annoying thing about this time of year? People who forget or choose to ignore the real meaning of Christmas.
24. What do you want for christmas this year? I want something intangible and it's nothing anyone can purchase for me.... I want a better 2009.... for my family, and for our country.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Hubster has a VERY High Fever tonight....

...either that, or aliens have taken over his body....

I just found him cleaning the kitchen. And I'm not talking about just "tidying up" and putting away pots and pans. He had cleared off all the appliances (coffee maker, toaster, etc), and all the other stuff on the countertops and was using 409 and a sponge and SCRUBBING until the counters were spotless.

I just stood there, furrowed brow, and said ".... You sure LOOK like my husband....."

(Is there a full moon tonight? I wonder if he's going to shape-shift into a werewolf or something....)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Is it Just Me....?

...Or have Donnie & Marie really exhausted their 15 minutes of fame?
I'm really ready for them to just quietly..... exit stage left.....

U.S. to Bail Out Santa Claus?!

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Friday, December 12, 2008

How I Became Happy Wife (ie: How I Met Hubster)

Harken back with me to..... 1985.
Duran Duran was on the radio. Ronald Reagan was still in White House.
Germany was still separated into East, and West.
BIG HAIR was still in fashion. :-)

I was a 17 year old lass, still in high school. I drove a blue 1967 VW Beetle (LOVED that car!)
My BFF Sarah was hostessing, part time, at a restaurant called Bobby Rubino's (a rib joint).
I decided to get a job there too.

On the VERY first day I worked there, I noticed this FABULOUS looking young man. He was tall, slender and extremely good-looking. He was also incredibly shy and paid me NO attention. (A-ha! A challenge!)

Except, 17 year old me was also somewhat shy. Luckily, however, my friend Sarah was NOT shy.... at ALL.

Long story short, she cornered the recalcitrant Romeo back behind the bar and said "My friend... the brunette hostess.... she likes you. You need to ask her out."

Shy Romeo called me and.... we went out. He was funny, smart, charming and we had a great time! Was it a "Summer of Love"? Why yes, it was.

That Fall, however, this particular Juliet moved to New York to pursue her dream of acting... I studied for a year at NYU (and yes - for those of you who don't know - Phil Hoffman was one of my classmates).

Anyway, fast forward a bit.... I returned to Atlanta. (NYC is a great place - still love it - just knew I didn't want to live there long-term, nor did I want the 'ups and downs' of the "acting life"...)

So, Hubster and I resumed dating. We dated for a LONG time. (Keep in mind I was only 17 when I met him....) And then, when the time was right (when I was 24), we eventually got married. :-)

And THAT, my friends, is how I became Happy Wife.

So, how did YOU meet your spouse/partner/significant other?

PS: The photo was taken at a New Year's party back in.... (thinking).... 1987 or 1988... notice my huge hair. Small animals could have been nesting in there and I would have had no idea.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Gov. Blagojevich.... What a (bleeping) jerk.

This still really shocks me, that a SITTING governor, in our GREAT country, was arrogant enough.... (not to mention CORRUPT enough) to think he could get away with this.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Nyquil How I Love Thee..... Let Me Count the Ways....

Update: Well, THAT didn't take long.... off to bed! Nightie night!

Yes, it's time YET AGAIN for my Christmas cold.

Luckily, this year it descended in mid December. For that, I am happy. Nothing worse than being SICK on Christmas morning when your kids come BOUNDING IN at 6 AM (and yes, even though they are 11 and 12, they STILL get up at the crack of dawn....)

So, I have just poured myself the requisite shotglass of Nyquil, cheered myself in the bathroom mirror. and am waiting for that lovely-sleepy-warm-blanket feeling to envelop me.... and then I'll drop into bed for a lovely, semi-drugged night of sleep.

(It's funny because I rarely DRINK - even socially - but when a cold comes into town, there is NOTHING.... and I mean NOTHING... better than Nyquil....)

Christmas 1996 - Tiny Santa

Suz's post today made me nostalgic for Christmas past.... so I dug out a Christmas pic from 12 years ago!

This is my precious firstborn child - my son J - on his first Christmas.

J was born very very very very premature, and he spent his first several months of life (including his first Christmas) in the hospital. (Actually, he spent his second Christmas in the hospital too, but that's a WHOLE different story.)

So, anyway, we celebrated Christmas late that year - and J. had to come home on oxygen (you'll notice the tiny little cannula), but I insisted that we keep the Christmas spirit, so I put him in a miniature Santa outfit. :-)

Wasn't he adorable?

And he still IS adorable! (below picture is of J. - along with his sister - taken just a couple of months ago.... he's now a big strapping 12 year old.)

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

There is ONE Thing I'll Really Miss About the Bush Administration

Barney, the first dog....

(the above story was from back in the day when the "The Onion" was a decent online periodical... unfortunately, it's now rather lame ....)


That's how much gas is, at the station which is a mile from my house.
(But I don't fill up there, because the man who works there is lecherous and icky....)

But $1.44?????

A scant 2 1/2 months ago I was paying over $4 per gallon, AND there was a gas shortage in Atlanta due to Hurricane Ike.


Monday, December 8, 2008

'Twilight" - A Movie Review

The following is a VERY condensed version of the movie review given to me by my 5th grade daughter after she saw "Twilight" (with several friends, during a Friday night slumber party....).

Me: Hi honey - how was the movie?


Me: Wow. Sounds like it was really good. What was it about?

S: Well, Edward, he's like this vampire? And he is like SO cute, Mom. And Bella, she's like this girl in high school, and they like wind up falling in love, but like these other vampires are trying to get to her, and Edward has to protect her, and it's SO GOOD MOM!!! You HAVE to see it with me, ok? And I want Daddy to see it too, OK?

Me: Well.... I don't think your Daddy is going to sit through a movie about teenage vampires....

S: But it was SO GOOD! We have to BUY IT the day it comes out on DVD Mom, ok? Edward is SO CUTE, Mom.... I think he's EVEN cuter than NICK JONAS.

Me: (stunned silence... my daughter LOVES Nick Jones....)

Me: Well, does it have a happy ending?

S: Mmmm-hmmm, they go to prom.


And there ya have it, folks. Not only is Edward cuter than Nick Jonas (which is a Major Coup in the life of a 5th grade girl), but the vampire GETS the girl and.... they go to prom.

Clearly Academy Award Winning stuff..... no doubt.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

"Australia", a Movie Review

Keep in mind that this review is written by me.... a 41 year old woman who has a bit of a crush.... ok, let's just call it what it is.... a MAMMOTH crush on Hugh Jackman.

OK, you ready?

The movie sucked. (Pardon the crass verbage I've used, but I had to get my point across...)

I'm sorry Hugh, if you're reading this.... but you just WEREN'T given much to work with, my darling...)

Now, there were some redeeming scenes (ie: in particular, the scene involving a shirtless Hugh Jackman at the campfire)... but truly the movie was:
1) far too long
2) poorly edited
3) the plot and multiple subplots didn't flow together... at all
4) there was ZERO chemistry between Kidman and Jackman... their love scenes had a very "forced" look and feel to them

...and on and on....

I really, really, REALLY wanted to like this movie, not only because I think Hugh is the bees knees, but because I've always wanted to go to Australia.

However, on a positive note, I did LOVE the little boy who played Nullah. He was absolutely radiant and magical. (And he's not even an actor.... just a local kid Baz Lurhman found who was a perfect fit for the role.) But really, other than Nullah.... and the aforementioned shirtless Hugh Jackman scene, it's just not worth the admission price.

Two thumbs down from me.

(But Hugh, I still swoon for you....) :-)

Mike Kavanagh, 1951 - 2008

One of my favorite Atlanta radio personalities, Mike Kavanagh, passed away suddenly yesterday. He was only 57.

For people outside Atlanta, his name probably won't mean a lot, but for those of us who listened to his radio show, he was a warm, honest and truly caring human being who built his life around helping others.

I'll really miss him, and his radio show.

Thanks for the memories, Mike.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

How Dogs & Cats See The World

From a Dog's Diary

8:00 am - Dog food! My favorite thing!

9:30 am - A car ride! My favorite thing!

9:40 am - A walk in the park! My favorite thing!

10:30 am - Got rubbed and petted! My favorite thing!

12:00 pm - Lunch! My favorite thing!

2:00 pm - Played in the yard! My favorite thing!

3:00 pm - Wagged my tail! My favorite thing!

5:00 pm - Milk bones! My favorite thing!
7:00 pm - Got to play ball! My favorite thing!

8:00 pm - Wow! Watched TV with the people! My favorite thing!

11:00 pm - Sleeping on the bed! My favorite thing!


From a Cat's Diary

Day 983 of my captivity. My captors continue to taunt me with bizarre little dangling objects.
They dine lavishly on fresh meat, while the other inmates and I are fed hash or some sort of dry nuggets. Although I make my contempt for the rations perfectly clear, I nevertheless must eat something in order to keep up my strength.
The only thing that keeps me going is my dream of escape. In an attempt to disgust them, I once again vomit on the carpet.

Today I decapitated a mouse and dropped its headless body at their feet. I had hoped this would strike fear into their hearts, since it clearly demonstrates what I am capable of. However, they merely made condescending comments about what a 'good little hunter' I am. Idiots.

There was some sort of assembly of their accomplices tonight. I was placed in solitary confinement for the duration of the event. However, I could hear the noises and smell the food. I overheard that my confinement was due to the power of 'allergies.' I must learn what this means and how to use it to my advantage.
Today I was almost successful in an attempt to assassinate one of my tormentors by weaving around his feet as he was walking. I must try this again tomorrow -- but next time at the top of the stairs.
I am convinced that the other prisoners here are flunkies and snitches. The dog receives special privileges. He is regularly released - and seems to be more than willing to return. He is clearly an imbecile.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Finally.... justice.

Normally I'm not one to gloat (at least I hope I'm not like that...) but I think this is long overdue.

Picture of the Day

This lovely shot is from New South Wales, Australia. Just gorgeous.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Please Keep Michele In Your Prayers

My blogger buddy Michele has had another setback due to her seizure disorder.
Her sweet husband Marcell is keeping us (her friends, and photo-fans) updated via her photo-blog.

Michele's seizure disorder was caused by child abuse at the hands of her father, when she was just a young, young child. It's something she will deal with all her life.

Please take a moment to lift Michele and her husband Marcell up in prayer.

"How To Talk to Girls", by a 9 Year Old Boy

This is adorable.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

And the Whiner-Of-The-Year Award goes to....

Kid Rock!

An Unexpected Surprise

Today I had my annual exam at my doc.

He said to me "Happy Wife (actually he calls me by my real name) Happy Wife, do you realize you've lost 10 lbs since last year?"

I had no clue.

But boy, I was happy!

Unexpected weight loss. (The week after Thanksgiving, even! I wonder what the scale would have registered the week BEFORE Thanksgiving?)

I'm going to keep this train rolling.... I'm going to lose 10 more this month.
Why the heck not?

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Give A Dog A Bone.....

...and she'll chew a hole in the guest room mattress.


Yes, I'm afraid that my darling chocolate lab Diva (as in "Destruction, Thy Name Is ....") got BORED while I was out today.

Apparently, very bored.

Truth be told, this was an old, OLD mattress that no one (except the dogs) slept on. Eventually I was planning on fully converting this room into a library/office. Now those plans have been accelerated substantially. :-)

Monday, December 1, 2008

SHOCKING, but true....

It is snowing in Atlanta today.
Just flurries, but still.
SNOW. Here.

Hubster is making turkey & dumplings for dinner. Perfect food for a cold gray Winter evening.

(Actually, it's still techically Fall, I suppose....)

A Radical Thought As We Enter December...

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Once Upon a Time.... (The Kitty Kat Post)

Long long ago, before Diva & Ruby, before my KIDS were born, and even before I became Happy Wife, I was a Crazy Cat Lady (not REALLY, but still....)

I had 2 cats who I was crazy-in-love-with. (Seriously.... I was borderline obsessed with my cats.) This is an OIL PAINTING of them. (My mother commissioned an artist to do this painting for my 21st birthday. And no, my cats did not pose for this.... mom gave the artist several photographs that she worked from.)

Anyway, their names were Jasmine and Mortimer. Jasmine was a beautiful calico kitten who had been abandoned (with her littermates) at a horse stable. My friend Sarah and I were riding horses one afternoon and saw the kittens and I, of course, being an overly idealistic 19 year old at the time, simply had to "save" one of the kitties. Then Mortimer was adopted from the Atlanta Humane Society shortly thereafter. Mortimer was very much a "lover, not a fighter". (He reminds me of Laura's cat Chumley, in that he would make amorous advances towards certain inanimate objects, even after being neutered.)

Jasmine and Mortimer have long since passed away, and gone to the Great Litter Box in the sky.... And, considering I'm allergic to cats, I probably won't have cats for the foreseeable future, although I do dearly love them, and miss having them. Cats are wonderful pets. :-)

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Why Can't We Just All Get Along?

To quote Rodney King.... (remember him?)... and Martin Luther King..... and a bunch of other people.....

WHY can't we just all get along....?!

Like everyone else, I heard about the terrorist attack in Mumbai and was very troubled.
Our next door neighbors - who are truly some of the kindest people on the planet - are originally from India. They have family in Mumbai. Although their family members are OK, they are understandably very shaken up. And on the news I heard the story about Moshe Holtzberg, who will turn 2 years old today, as an orphan, because his parents were murdered by terrorists.

It just breaks my heart.
I simply don't understand the hatred that exists in people's hearts.

If you pray, please pray for those affected by this.

Friday, November 28, 2008

I've Been Tagged! (a/k/a 7 Tidbits of Trivia About Me)

Don has tagged me!

Actually, since I've been doing this blog thing for awhile now, I've had a similar tag to this one, so I'm going to "cheat" and rather than list 7 Unusual Things about me.... I'm going to simply put a link to 40 Tidbits About Me from way back when.... (yeah, I know it's kind of cheating.... but hey - look at it THIS WAY.... you get 25 bonus things for free!) :-)

The poor souls I would like to tag are:
  • Buzy Bee Suz (for all her new readers who don't yet REALLY know her....
  • My Lovely Cousin Rachel
  • The Amazing Michele from Rocky Mountain Photography
  • Nurse Extraordinaire Amanda

And, of course, if you don't want to participate, that's OK. (It will just mean a hex of 7 years upon your house....) . ...KIDDING!

A Lovely Post-Thanksgiving Thought

from my Charles Swindoll devotional....
"Thanksgiving is a time of quiet reflection upon the past and an annual reminder that God has, again, been ever so faithful. The solid and simple things of life are brought into clear focus, so much so that everything else fades into insignificance."

I just love that. It's so true.

And today's verse:
Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done. Psalm 105: 4, 5

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Ready..... Set......SHOP!

UPDATE: I only bought 4 gifts - 2 for each kid - and spent a WHOPPING $47 total. Not bad. (Dave Ramsey would be proud, wouldn't he, Cliff?) :-) Needless to say, I got some really good deals....

OK.... I wasn't going to participate this year, but I always get caught up in the excitement, so....

I have my sale flyers ready - I've gone through with markers and circled the "door busters" that are just SUCH phenomenal deals that I at least need to to to the stores and LOOK at the deals (and we all know what that means).

However, I'm definitely not going ALL OUT this year though, like I usually do. Usually I'm in the stores by 6 AM and I shop until noon. Then I meet my girlfriend Dawn for lunch (who is equally serious about Black Friday); we typically have lunch near the mall and re-charge our batteries, and then finish up by 2 PM.

I usually complete about 80% - 90% of my Christmas shopping all on Black Friday.

However, this year we're doing the Frugal Thing.... paying ALL CASH. And as a family we'll spend about 50% of what we normally do on Christmas. And everything I do buy will have to be a GREAT deal.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Turkey Manifesto

My daughter (the 5th grade "sudden animal activist") has decided to post her manifesto about why we shouldn't eat turkey up on the pantry door. (If you look closely at the picture you can see the sheet that says "Don't Eat Me".... and what follows is a 'persuasive letter' written from the turkey's point of view.)

(Clearly, she has forgotten that she lives with a family of carnivores....)

She did try, unsuccessfully, to be a vegetarian a few years ago. (This was due in large part to the fact that her BFF Rachel is a vegetarian....) This last foray into vegetarianism lasted about 3 days until we were eating a pizza and I pointed out to her (as she was biting into her pepperoni slice) that pepperoni is "off the menu" for vegetarians. She looked momentarily dismayed, then continued right on eating.

We'll see how tomorrow goes. I do know ONE thing.... and it's that my little girl LOVES gravy.... I don't think she has any clue it's made from animal fat. :-)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Unintended Humor Behind the "Credit Crunch"

I find the below ironic, and somewhat humorous.

Two years ago, for wedding anniversary number 15, Hubster bought me a lovely diamond anniversary ring from a jeweler that just recently went belly up. The ring was expensive enough that we chose not to pay for it all up front, but to take the "12 months same as cash" financing the jeweler offered at the time. (And yes, I know Dave Ramsey frowns upon this sort of financing...)

Needless to say, we paid the ring off well within the 12 month period (thus incurring no interest) and have never used the credit card again.

However, I forgot to cancel the card.

Fast forward to now.

Today, in the mail, I got a letter from the credit issuer - GE Money Bank (what a goofy name).
They have decided that, "due to a recent review of our account" that they will be closing our account due to the "risk they feel we represent" (HUH?!?!)

I just had to laugh.

First, the balance on the ONE purchase we made has been paid for almost 2 years.
Second, we've never even USED the card since the initial purchase.
Third (and this is my fault), I thought I had closed the stupid account.

Anyway, I found the whole thing rather amusing.

Clearly, the credit crunch is VERY REAL when they are crunching even people with GOOD credit and ZERO balances!

As Whoopi Goldberg would say on The View "WHAT THE HELL?!"
PS: Leave it to the banking/finance industry to act without regard to common sense.... they CLOSE an account for someone who paid a balance OFF quickly and completely, but yet they have WRECKED our country's economy by making HUGE home loans available to people who don't have the ability to pay them back. Hmmmm..... Yes this makes LOTS of sense.
And if this isn't bad enough, why don't WE, as taxpayers, hand them MORE money, pat them on the back, and HOPE that they can just sort of "figure it out".... yeah, let's try that!
I get nauseated when I think of what their avarice and greed have done to our country. It's shameful.

The "Gratitude Door"

Boquinha left a wonderful comment on my blog yesterday.... a comment SO good that it is worthy of its own post (actually Boquinha's comments frequently lead to their own posts here ... she is THAT good! If you haven't yet checked out her blog, do so!)

Anyway, she made the comment that each November at her house, they have a "Gratitude Door" .... they cover a door in paper and have crayons, pencils, etc. nearby so they can write, draw, etc what they are grateful for. What a GREAT idea, especially if you have kids. (A perfect antidote to the never-ending "I-want-I-want-I-want" of the Christmas season....)

I think I'm going to copy your idea, Boquinha - it's a great suggestion and especially perfect during this "financially strained" Thanksgiving/Christmas 2008!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving Week Everyone!

Thanksgiving snuck up again, didn't it? :-)

I know this has been a "challenging" year (financially) for many of us.... and challenging, for other reasons, for many more of us.

But I hope each and every one of you has a wonderful week and you can surround yourself with your loved ones and take some time to get off the whirling merry-go-round of your stress-filled lives and pause and be thankful for all your blessings.

Because really, on the great "balance sheet of life", each one of us has so very much to be thankful for.

This week I'm going to make it a point to be especially thankful, not just on Thursday, but all week long for everything I already have.... rather than think about the things that I don't have.

Happy Thanksgiving Week!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

An Accessory for My Dog Diva

I just love Target. I went in there to buy some shampoo and laundry detergent and what ELSE did I find?

A big, pink SPARKLY Christmas tree ornament that has my DOG's name on it.

Yes, Diva now has her own ornament.
(Now all I need is one for Ruby.) :-)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

This is Why I Could Never Work at a Zoo

Because I would be constantly sneaking in to their habitat to HUG and CUDDLE the pandas.... and it would be BAD NEWS for me....

Seriously - how can you look at these sweet little faces and fat little bodies and NOT want to hop the fence and hug them?!

The Novel is Coming Along Splendidly...

Maybe it was the Cafe Mocha at Starbucks.... maybe it was that blank composition book just waiting to be filled up....

Or maybe it was the fact that I BLABBED about it here on my blog, but I have a nice little outline of the main characters and the plot for my novel.

It's a little quirky, very funny, and a little bittersweet. I'm getting really excited about it!

I'm going to work for a couple hours this AM and then head back out to that same Magical Starbucks this morning and write some more! :-)

(Michele, I know this makes you chuckle....!!) :-)

Friday, November 21, 2008

A "Real" Housewife From Atlanta??.....PLEASE...

I feel the need to apologize to the world after reading THIS.
Egad. I hope people don't think my city is chock full with pampered little cupcakes like this.

I mean, really. This is borderline ludicrous. Laughable. Embarrassing.
(I wonder if this woman has ever looked up the word "self-absorbed"???)


A Blast From The (1970's) Past!

OK, go back with me to Saturday mornings, back in the 1970's.... sitting in front of the TV in your footed jammies.... remember the SCARIEST of all Saturday morning villains? It was, of course, the SLEESTAKS from "Land of the Lost"!!!! (Looking at this footage now, the special effects are embarrassingly primitive, but BOY did it scare me as a kid!)

Wow - check out the waterfall in the opening credits.... LOL... stunning special effects. ;-)

Starbucks, Here I Come.... Notebook And Pen In Hand!

Today is Friday.
I have VERY little work today with my business.
My husband is at work ALL DAY (driving the Big Brown truck.... for those of you who don't know my husband is a UPS man.)
My kids are at school ALL DAY.
My house is "relatively" clean.

I have a book sitting in front of me, written by Chris Baty, that I bought a few years ago when I did NaNoWriMo ... the book is entitled No Plot? No Problem! I also have a blank, brand new composition book just WAITING to be filled with characters, plots, sub-plots, intrigue, theme, thrilling climax, denouement, etc.

So, I'm going to take my little self up to Starbucks, buy a great big Cafe Mocha and END the procrastination.

As Chris Baty so succinctly put it in his book: "..... the biggest thing separating people from their artistic ambition is not a lack of talent. It's the lack of a deadline. Give someone a friendly yet firm due date, and miracles will happen...."

Although I don't technically have a due date, I do have my friend Christen as an accountability partner, so it's time to GET BUSY!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Thrilled, I Am.....!!

.... that Brian Jones has decided to resume blogging!

Can I get a big HOORAY?!

Brian Jones' first book Second Guessing God: Hanging On When You Can't See His Plan has long been on the HWHL Top 10 All Time Favorite Books....
If you're looking for a good read (OR a good Christmas present) I would encourage you to check it out.

Hugh, Part Two

I just can't get enough of Hugh Jackman. He's not only easy on the eyes, but incredibly talented, charming, and I LOVE the fact that he's so completely smitten with his wife.
Here's a great interview with him from GMA.
Can't WAIT to see "Australia" when it opens next week!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Suz Is The Funniest Blogger On The Planet

She truly truly is.
I almost wet myself when I read this.

(But then again, Suz has kept me laughing since the 9th grade...)
I LOVE that girl!

Revelation Song

One of my very favorites.
If you're a follower of Jesus, I don't think you can sing the below song without crying. I know I can't.

Well, Now That I've Said Yes......

My beautiful, awesome, wonderful, inspirational friend Christen is getting ready to write her 3rd book (she already has TWO of her books published). Yes, published. As in, you could go on Amazon and order them and have them shipped to your house.

Anyway, Christen is one of the FEW people who I have let read my short stories, etc., and she has always been urging me (nagging me?) ... ENCOURAGING me to write more.

So, anyway, very recently she PINNED ME IN A CORNER (so to speak) and told me she wants me to write a book along with her..... simultaneously.....

And me (being brain-dead, apparently) agreed!

Sigh (whatever was I thinking???!)

I have no plot. I have no characters.
I DO have a blinking cursor and a blank white screen. :-)

AND, more importantly, I have made a promise to a dear friend.

So (alas), I shall start.
Wish me luck. :-)

Monday, November 17, 2008

Happy 42nd, Jeff Buckley

A posthumous birthday salute to the late, great Jeff Buckley.

If you aren't familiar with Jeff's music, do yourself a favor and go pick up a copy of his one and only CD "Grace". You won't be disappointed.

Jeff drowned while out swimming with a friend in Memphis when he was just 30 years old.

But he left us with some amazing and really beautiful, soulful music.
He is (and will always be) my favorite singer-songwriter.

To listen to a sample of his music, go here.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Need Encouragement?

James 2: 2 - 6
My brothers and sisters, you will face all kinds of trouble. When you do, think of it as pure joy. Your faith will be put to the test. You know that when that happens it will produce in you the strength to continue. The strength to keep going must be allowed to finish its work. Then you will be all you should be. You will have everything you need. If any of you need wisdom, ask God for it. He will give it to you. God gives freely to everyone. He doesn't find fault. But when you ask, you must believe. You must not doubt. People who doubt are like waves of the sea. The wind blows and tosses them around.

Matthew 6: 25-34
I tell you, do not worry. Don't worry about your life and what you will eat or drink. And don't worry about your body and what you will wear. Isn't there more to life than eating? Aren't there more important things for the body than clothes?
Look at the birds of the air. They don't plant or gather crops. They don't put away crops in storerooms. But your Father who is in heaven feeds them. Aren't you worth much more than they are? Can you add even one hour to your life by worrying? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the wild flowers grow. They don't work or make clothing. But here is what I tell you. Not even Solomon in all of his glory was dressed like one of those flowers. If that is how God dresses the wild grass, won't he dress you even better? After all, the grass is here only today. Tomorrow it is thrown into the fire. Your faith is so small!
So don't worry. Don't say, 'What will we eat?' Or, 'What will we drink?' Or, 'What will we wear?' People who are ungodly run after all of those things. Your Father who is in heaven knows that you need them. But put God's kingdom first. Do what he wants you to do. Then all of those things will also be given to you. So don't worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Psalm 23

The Lord is my shepherd. He gives me everything I need. He lets me lie down in fields of green grass. He leads me beside quiet waters. He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths for the honor of his name. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will not be afraid. You are with me. Your shepherd's rod and staff comfort me. You prepare a feast for me right in front of my enemies. You pour oil on my head. My cup runs over. I am sure that your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life. And I will live in the house of the Lord forever.


If you haven't talked to God in awhile, what's stopping you?

Beautiful Items from a Fellow Blogger

Looking to buy something truly unique, original and beautiful for a Christmas present?
Wouldn't it be nice if that gift was also produced by a fellow blogger?

Michele from Rocky Mountain Retreat who is an absolutely amazing amateur photographer, has a small online store with Cafe Press. You can purchase calendars, coffee mugs, journals, notecards, mousepads, prints, etc. (A couple samples of her photos are above.)

As you can see, her work is TRULY breathtaking. (And, I've gotten to know Michele and she is an AMAZING woman! Truly an inspiration to me and I feel blessed and honored to call her FRIEND.)

If you are interested in browsing her online store, here is a link.


(And now back to our regularly scheduled programming!) :-)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

WARNING: Panda Overdose Alert (Can't Resist..)

Since apparently the "panda cam" is offline today, I found an older panda cam video of Mei Lan, who is the new cub's big sister and is now about 2 years old. (Mei Lan was a HUGE celebrity when she was born at Zoo Atlanta a couple of years ago.... we're talking Major Star....)

Anyway, here is video of Mei Lan when she was just a sleepy cub, napping away. (There is a risk of overdosing on cuteness when you watch this, so be prepared....)

Panda Cam!

Zoo Atlanta has a new baby panda. :-)

He was born August 30th (easy for me to remember... it was one day before my birthday!)

The zoo has a live streaming "Panda Cam" - looks like it's down at the moment, but if you've never seen a baby panda, they are TRULY the cutest little creatures on the planet.

Here's the link if you want to explore. :-)

Friday, November 14, 2008


Gas is down to $1.88 here now!

(Yes, my California friends, you heard me correct - a buck eighty eight!!)

I really wonder how much farther it's going to fall?

(I'm not complaining - no, not at all - I just think it's crazy that I paid over $4, just 6 weeks ago, and had a hard time even FINDING gas due to the shortage we experienced.... and now the price is dropping like a rock!)

Crazy, I tell you. Crazy.

Nebraska's Sad Story

This story absolutely breaks my heart. I can't imagine the desparation a parent must feel to be willing to do this. (Not to mention how the child must feel after they have been left.)

The story of the recently widowed father who abandoned his nine kids because he couldn't care for them any longer has haunted me.

I hope the State of Nebraska, in their haste to re-word this law, realizes that their Dept of Family & Childrens Services needs other avenues to assist these families. (Hopefully all states can learn from this sad chapter....)

And we, as individuals, can be more sensitive to those around us who are struggling but may be putting on a "brave face".... sometimes you never know what someone is going through behind closed doors....

"A Phrase That Pays"

People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing. That's why we recommend it daily.
-Zig Ziglar

November Fog

I didn't take this picture, but this is what it looked like when I woke up this morning. Foggy Fall colors. Just beautiful.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Story of Stuff

Great video. Definitely worth watching (with an open mind....)
I'd say we Americans (definitely ME!) have been lulled into a sense of "blind entitlement" for far too long. In the long run it's unsustainable, and irresponsible.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Conquering Clutter

DISCLAIMER: This photo is NOT my house..... (thank goodness...)

Did y'all see Oprah today? I think I'm going to do this. Not that my house is as bad as Marin's was (oh my GOSH!!!!) but it definitely could use some help.

How do you guys stay on top of clutter? Do you find that clutter affects your mood? Your motivation? (It definitely affects mine!)

Do have you have an area, like me (my basement) where you just dump stuff, close the door, and forget it? (Then when you go down there, you look around in abject terror, and then FLEE!!)

Beware of Bambi and other Bucks

Saw a dead buck just outside my 'hood this morning. Although I live in a well-populated northern Atlanta 'burb, the area around us is very heavily wooded. AND (if you didn't know) November is the month when most "Deer vs Car" accidents are likely to occur. (They tend to occur mostly at dawn and at dusk.)

Always so sad to see a beautiful creature like this who has been killed by a car. (I'm sure the car didn't look too great either....)

Anyway, be careful out there..... if you've ever had a deer spring out in front of your car, you know there really isn't much warning...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Salute and a Thank You to All Veterans

I should have posted this FIRST THING this morning. (Shame on me.)
As a daughter of a career military man, I grew up very aware of patriotism and of the fact that freedom is not free!

So, please take a moment (if you've not yet done so) to thank the military people in your life for what they have done (or are currently doing) to serve our great country.


Miscellaneous Ramblings

Gasoline, this morning, is selling for $1.96 a gallon at the station I fill up at.
Six WEEKS ago, there was a MAJOR gas shortage in Atlanta and if you were lucky enough to FIND gas, it was over $4 a gallon. How does a price on something swing THAT wildly in 6 weeks? Yo no comprende.

My 50 lb Chocolate Lab puppy Diva came "this" close to getting on the school bus this morning with my son. He had to run down the street to catch his bus and she somehow managed to wiggle out the door and run after him (she LOVES kids and is VERY excited by the whole kids + school bus thing that happens every morning). She was in FULL GALLOP towards the bus, and I had to run after her in my NYU sweatshirt and pajama pants (and bare feet) to stop her.... QUITE the spectacle, I can assure you.....

I found an unused 1 hour Swedish Massage gift certificate (from last Christmas!) yesterday while cleaning (see, there IS something positive to be gained by cleaning!) It's at a very fancy spa here in Atlanta, so I'm going to treat myself next week!

Monday, November 10, 2008

Sorry, Viggo.... I have eyes for another....

UPDATE: D'Arcy actually had an 'intimate moment' of sorts with Hugh.... you'll have to go to D'Arcy's blog for details! (OK, D'Arce - there's your SHOUT OUT, girl!!)
And yes, folks, this is ALL TRUE!!! :-)

I don't know about you guys, but I am SO ready to see "Australia" which is coming out Thanksgiving weekend.

Hugh Jackman is total eye candy. (And he seems like such a fun guy too.... has that little twinkle in his eye... and such a GREAT smile...)

(Sorry, Viggo. I got tired waiting for you to accept me as your FaceBook friend. Sigh.) ;-)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

True Friendship Lasts a Lifetime

My daughter insisted I put this video on my blog.
(Being a skeptic, I immediately did a bit of research and lo and behold, the story appears to be true....)

Very sweet.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Friday, November 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Billy!

Billy Graham is 90 today. Wow.
Saw him in Atlanta about 10 (15?) years ago..... he filled up the Georgia Dome (not an easy task...)

He's a wonderful speaker. And he's done a lot of good in our world.
Happy Birthday Billy!

A Photo for D'Arcy

Normally my son J keeps a fairly tidy room.

My daughter S on the other hand - her room looks like a Colombian drug cartel was recently in there, looking for drugs, weapons, or money. (We have a running joke that if the police ever came to our house for any reason they would immediately call for backup upon seeing S's room.... because it looks as though SURELY it has been recently ransacked.)

Anyway, I had gone into J's room this afternoon to open the windows (another lovely, Indian Summer day being upon us) and I laughed out loud when I saw the book that was in the midst of the Halloween candy wrappers strewn upon the floor.
And no, D'Arcy, this was not a "plant". It truly was laying right there, just like this. Thought you'd get a kick out of it.

Yet another one of those QUESTIONABLE books.... :-)

BREAKING NEWS in Atlanta...

This probably won't mean anything to folks outside Atlanta, but Brian Nichols has just been found guilty.

He terrorized this city after his shooting rampage years ago, and my daughter STILL has nightmares that he's coming to "get us". (He was found hiding out in an apartment not too far from where we live....)

He took 4 innocent lives the day he went berserk, and then tried to convince the court that he had gone temporarily insane and was acting out because he thought he was a slave and he was merely rebelling against his slave master....

I never bought it, and I'm relieved the jury didn't buy it either.

Need a Laugh?

Having a tough day?
I dare you to watch this and not laugh. :-)

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Mmmmm.... Bacon....

My husband is frying BACON.
It's 11:30 pm. At night. On a Thursday.

The dogs are going NUTS.
They were sound asleep until their NOSES woke them.
"What, a PORK PRODUCT is frying?! I'm ON IT!".... and they stampeded down the stairs...

Of course, I now have to go downstairs as well and have a piece of bacon.
At 11:30 at night. Right before bedtime.

But really.... who can say no to bacon?!
Certainly not This Girl.... !

Fall Fotos From my 'Hood

A lovely red maple starts our tour of the 'hood..... Then we're on to a Bradford pear (it's half green and half red right now - really pretty - the picture doesn't do it justice), and the bottom one is a GORGEOUS yellow maple that looks like it's on fire when the sun hits it "just so" in the afternoon.

LOVE Autumn....