Sunday, August 31, 2008

A Prayer Request

Gustav has some very tiny little people in his path.
Please don't forget to pray for them.

As a mom whose son was in the NICU for quite a long time, I'm very sensitive to situations like this.... having a child struggle for mere life is tough enough, but to have to battle a hurricane as well.... that would be a very difficult challenge.

Let's all pray for God to keep them safe and sound (and not scared) during this storm.

Coincidence? I Doubt It.....

I almost never buy the Sunday paper. Maybe..... 4 or 5 times a year. And when I DO buy the paper....

I almost NEVER read the comics. But for whatever reason, today I bought the paper, and flipped to the comics....

... and saw the above. Which stopped me in my tracks. I noticed the artwork first,
and then I read what it says beneath:
Keep right on dreaming...
Your Dreams,
So wonderful and grand.
Hold your dreams tonight
In your heart,
And soon you'll hold them
In your hand.

Today happens to be my birthday.
Typically on my birthday I think about the things I want to accomplish over the next 12 months. Goals. Dreams.
So was my seeing this a coincidence?
No, I don't think it was.
I think this was very clearly meant for me to see, on this day.
And I think that's pretty cool. :-)

Saturday, August 30, 2008

"All American Beauty"

That's what I've entitled this photo - "All American Beauty"....

Last night inspired it: 30 minutes of daylight left...... reading a good book on my front porch..... while drinking an icy cold Mountain Dew (Suz, you don't know what you're missing, girl).... and counting my blessings, instead of my wants.....

Realizing how fortunate I am to live in this great country, to have a nice roof over my head, good food in my belly, two healthy and happy children, a husband who loves me (and whom I love), enough money that all our needs our covered (and many of our wants as well), etc., etc., etc.

It's all in how you look at it.

Definitely not a Boring "Old Guard" White Guy

I must say, I'm very pleased with McCain's pick for his VP.

I wouldn't have predicted it in a million years, and until yesterday I had no clue who this woman was.

But so far, I like what I'm learning about Sarah Palin.
She definitely appeals to this particular independent.
The race is getting interesting (finally!)
Let's have some debates!

Amanda, You Were Correct!

Update on the eye/contact DRAMA: the "goop" did work its magic overnight and at 4 in the morning I woke up to feel that contact had worked its way down, so I rushed into the bathroom and THERE IT WAS, waiting to be plucked out! (Which I did, and then THREW it on the floor and yelled at it, as though the contact had maliciously orchestrated the whole thing....)


Whew - happy to have that little bugger out of my eye!

Amanda - you get a gold star on your folder today and an extra cookie at snack time!

Friday, August 29, 2008

A Painful (and Embarrassing) Medical Situation

Late last night, while removing my contacts (I'm blind as a BAT, by the way), my left contact tore. I managed to get most of it out of my eye, but a tiny little jagged piece wound up waaaaay up under my left eyelid, where it has been all day today.

Yep, it's way up there, up high on the eyeball, and I feel it every time I blink.

As you might imagine, my eye is very irritated and quite bloodshot. And now my eye is producing "goop" (I'm sure there's some sort of OFFICIAL word for that.... but I have no clue what it might be.) Apparently it's letting me know "Um, hello. A little help here?"

All day long I've been going back to various mirrors in my house (assuming eventually I'll find the "magic mirror" that will help) with saline soaked Q-tips trying to gently DIG OUT the wayward contact fragment.

But, oh no. It's WAY up there. And it's not budging.

The worst part of this whole thing is not the pain, not the bloodshot eye and not even the goop.

The worst part is knowing that, because it's a holiday weekend (and of course I didn't think about that until late today), my eye doctor will be unavailable until Tuesday.... so more likely than not, I'll have to go to my local emergency room and have this DUG OUT by a sleep-deprived intern.

Just not excited about what awaits.....

Beauty on a Friday Morning

Trying to find beauty and blessing in the everyday.... and this morning I have found it in:

  • a steaming cup of coffee while sitting on the front porch, very early this morning

  • some quiet time with my husband to talk, after the kids have gone to school

  • a beautiful blue sky morning, with a soft breeze, and little finches at the bird feeder

Thursday, August 28, 2008

You Are The Sun.... I Am The Moon

a most beautiful song.... relax, listen, enjoy....

Donald Miller Interview - 8.25.08

I've been a Donald Miller fan for many years. Blue Like Jazz is one of my favorite books, and when he came to speak at my church a couple of years ago I just loved how funny, humble and REAL he was. He definitely explodes the sterotype of what a committed Christian "should be". And especially here in the South, where it's assumed if you're a committed Christian, well then surely you're a registered Republican.

(For the record, I'm a registered Democrat.... I registered "BLUE" way back in college... when I was still a starry-eyed idealist. These days, I'm an Independent, and I find myself increasingly wishing there was a VIABLE third party in this country. A party that had the good parts of the Republicans and the good parts of the Democrats, without all the JUNK that they both bring along with them.)

Regardless, the below interview is interesting. Don gave this shortly before the opening of the DNC convention kicked off on Monday. I found much of what he had to say very thought provoking. I certainly didn't agree with all of it, but I found it well thought-out, and not mean spirited. (Unfortunately there's far too much mean-spiritedness and finger-pointing in politics.... on both sides of the fence. )

A Tribute to a Strong And Resilient Woman

Here's a visual tribute to the amazing Suz who is like the mythical bird Phoenix.... emerging from the fires of life stronger than ever before.


Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Hubster Having Surgery Today

UPDATE: Hubster did very well with his surgery today... he's now downstairs resting on the couch with one dog in his lap, and the other at his feet. The doctor said everything went well, and he expects Ron will feel substantial relief from his back pain. Thank you all for your prayers, emails, sweet comments, and well wishes. Good friends (both local, and way out there... floating in the blogosphere) are the BEST! :-)

Hubster is having a surgical procedure on his back today. He's having something done called a facet neurotomy which is supposed to help with his chronic back pain (he's already had 2 back surgeries - one in the early 90's, and one in '05....). This is what happens when you are a career UPS man, and lift Really Heavy Stuff several times a day, year after year after year.

Anyway, please pray for Hubster today (Hubster's real name is Ron) that the surgery will be successful and will give him relief from his chronic pain and hopefully relief from his (related) moodiness and depression.

I would love nothing more than to have my happy, playful Hubster back....


Monday, August 25, 2008

Au Revoir (for now), mes amis....

I'm going to take a break from the Blogosophere for awhile.... I find myself struggling to find Good Things to write about.
I want to write things that lift up others and explore the side of life that is intangible and unseen, and the side of life whose beauty tends to remain hidden.

So, if you don't see me around as much, don't worry. I'm still here (and still reading your blogs), but just choosing what I write about much more carefully.

What precipitated all this?

Well, Kevin's message yesterday really resounded with me. In a big way.
I'm trying to have NO GAPS in my life, and live as authentically as possible.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Beautiful Little Story About Why God Allows Suffering In Our World

The Brave Little Soul
Written by John Alessi (and borrowed from Holli's blog)

Not too long ago in Heaven there was a little soul who took wonder in observing the world.
She especially enjoyed the love she saw there and often expressed this joy with God.
One day, however, the little soul was sad, for on this day she saw suffering in the world.
She approached God and sadly asked, "Why do bad things happen; why is there suffering in the world?" God paused for a moment and replied, "Little soul, do not be sad, for the suffering you see, unlocks the love in people's hearts."
The little soul was confused. "What do you mean?" she asked.
God replied, "Have you not noticed the goodness and love that is the offspring of that suffering? Look at how people come together, drop their differences and show their love and compassion for those who suffer. All their other motivations disappear and they become motivated by love alone."
The little soul began to understand and listened attentively as God continued, "The suffering soul unlocks the love in people's hearts much like the sun and the rain unlock the flower within the seed. I created everyone with endless love in their heart, but unfortunately most people keep it locked up and hardly share it with anyone. They are afraid to let their love shine freely, because they are afraid of being hurt. But a suffering soul unlocks that love.
I tell you this - it is the greatest miracle of all. Many souls have bravely chosen to go into the world to suffer - to unlock this love - to create this miracle - for the good of all humanity."
Just then the little soul got a wonderful idea and could hardly contain herself. With her wings fluttering, bouncing up and down, the little soul excitedly replied, "I am brave; let me go!! I would love to go into the world and suffer so that I can unlock the goodness and love in people's hearts! I want to create that miracle!!"
God smiled and said, "You are a brave soul I know, and thus I will grant your request. But even though you are very brave, you will not be able to do this alone. I have known since the beginning of time that you would ask for this and so I have carefully selected many souls to care for you on your journey. Those souls will help create your miracle; however they will also share in your suffering. Two of these souls are most special and will care for you, help you and suffer along with you, far beyond the others. They have already chosen a name for you." God and the brave little soul shared a smile, and then embraced. In parting, God said, "Do not forget little soul that I will be with you always. Although you have agreed to bear the pain, you will do so through my strength. And if the time should come when you feel that you have suffered enough, just say the word, think the thought, and you will be healed."
Thus at that moment the brave little soul was born into the world, and through her suffering and God's strength, she unlocked the goodness and love in people's hearts. For so many people dropped their differences and came together to show their love. Priorities became properly aligned. People gave from their hearts. Those that were always too busy found time. Many began new spiritual journeys - some regained lost faith - many came back to God. Parents hugged their children tighter. Friends and family grew closer. Old friends got together and new friendships were made. Distant family reunited, and every family spent more time together. People sent notes of encouragement. People made and brought meals to the family of the suffering. Everyone prayed. Peace and love reigned. Lives changed forever. It was good. The world was a better place. The miracle had happened.

StillLife With HappyWife

OK.... D'Arcy and Jason.... your comments encouraged me to do some "self portrait photos"...
Considering I'm always the one TAKING the pictures, there are very few pictures of ME on my blog. (Except my profile picture, which is 3 years old. And the picture of me snuggling with Hubster which is way WAY old.....)

So, here are a couple of recent self-portraits of me (ie - taken YESTERDAY!) for your viewing enjoyment! :-)

Ponytailed me. My daughter saw this and pointed out that my "gray is showing" and "you really need to dye your hair, Mom". Nothing like stating the obvious. :-)

I thought I'd take a self-portrait in the mirror. Problem is, I forgot to turn off the flash... however, I kind of like the way it turned out.... it's different, that's for sure. :-)

Charlie Bit Me!

This video just tickles me.... reminds me of my 2, when they were little. Thankfully, they haven't bitten each other in years. (I'd be concerned if 5th and 6th graders were settling their differences with their teeth....)

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Synchronized Smiling - The Next Olympic Event!

Hey - I'll take any photo op I can get. Both kids happened to be in my bathroom and I said "Hey - come sit on the edge of the tub - scoot in together - now both of you smile. 1-2-3". Click.
And, voila. A decent picture was had.
How 'bout that!

Friday, August 22, 2008

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Baton Blunder

I really can't believe that BOTH the USA men's and women's relay teams DROPPED their batons during their races and are completely out of the running now.

What a horrible feeling that must be for them.... to train SO hard for SO many years and then to make such a careless (and preventable!) blunder that ends the whole thing in a split second.
I think I would probably throw up from self-disgust if that happened to me.

Beyond disappointing.
I'm sure they are still in shock.

fotos nuevos de la familia

Resplendent, Relaxed Ruby

Diva Does Dishes (with Hubster's Help)

J., Video Game Aficionado

S., Trying to Look Cool, but Suppressing a Giggle

The Funny Message On My Cell Phone

So I get this message on my cell phone. It's my daughter. The message went something like this:

"Hi Mommy. It's S______ ."(this is always a good indication your child is about to lay something BIG on you... if they are identifying themselves on the message, it means they're busy thinking of how they're going to "explain away" what's coming...) The message continued thusly: "Me and G_____ were playing in my room and we found a HUGE hole in my comforter (she has a very pretty Laura Ashley comforter set) and we have NO IDEA how it got there, but we think Diva probably did it. I just wanted you to know, before you get home."

Indeed, there is a big hole and no, I really don't think the puppy did it (although she is the perfect scapegoat....). I think S and G were doing something with construction paper and scissors (which, mysteriously, were also present in her room) and somehow the comforter got caught up in the cutting frenzy.....

As you can imagine, it's QUITE the mystery. NOT.
I really don't think Nancy Drew will be needed for this one.
("The Case of the Torn Comforter")

Bigfoot/Sasquatch In Georgia

It absolutely AMAZES me that this story gained national attention and a LIVE press conference.

Of course it was a hoax, people!!! (If you haven't heard the "rest of the story", it turns out that Bigfoot was nothing more than an ape costume, stuffed with slaughterhouse remains, and put in a large cooler with ice...)

Amazing what people are willing to believe, isn't it?

Here's the video when it was first "discovered"... both Fox and CNN covered it...

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Viggo Mortensen.... Absolute Perfection....

OK, D'Arcy, it's all your fault.

YOU brought up Viggo Mortensen and totally threw me off my 12 step program to get over my life-long crush on him. ;-)
1. I admit that I am powerless over Viggo's overwhelming charms.
2. I believe that a Power greater than me can restore me to sanity...

(Y'all know I'm teasing, right?)

But seriously, LOOK at this man. He's perfection. And not only is he physically beautiful, he's an incredibly talented actor, painter, photographer, writer, etc. The total package.

If you have not yet checked him out (and I don't mean that in the CRASS sense), do so.

PS: Viggo, in the very OFF chance you're reading this, I'm still waiting for you to "approve" me as your friend on FaceBook. I promise I'm not crazy or weird or a stalker; I'm just a very fond admirer who thinks you rock. (Just thought I'd toss that in there.) :-)

Sad News for DMB Fans

The Wild Wacky World of Google

According to Sitemeter, here are some search phrases that people have recently typed into search engines, like Google, that have directed them to my blog.....

  • "militant lesbians spiders"
  • "i miss my meth addict wife"
  • "wild party wife 3 AM"

Interesting. (I have a feeling all of those searches resulted in great disappointment to the searcher.... )

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Frozen Charlotte, by Natalie Merchant

This is one of my favorite songs of all time. I think it's beautiful.
When we saw her in 1999 at Chastain Park in Atlanta, and she sang this, it was a blissful experience for me.

Monday, August 18, 2008

A Tribute to My Mommy

My mom rocks.
I appreciate her more and more every year.
I try to tell her - all the time - how much I love and appreciate her (to make up for the times when I was an insufferable know-it-all hell-raising brat in high school and caused her no end of grief....).

Once I became a mother, I saw my own mom in a whole new light. And ever since then, I've been so thankful that she's my Mom. (And she's such a wonderful grandmother - "Mee Ma" - to my children..)

So, without further ado, here's a (brief) tribute to my great Mommy. (This is by NO means an exhaustive list.... or it would go on and on and on and on....)

Thank you, Mom, for....

1. ... giving me life!
2. Raising me in a loving home.
3. Exposing me to culture, music, art, etc.
4. Insisting I learn to play the piano. :-)
5. Insisting I take gymnastics, synchronized swimming and ballet.
6. Teaching me to cook.
7. Teaching me to do laundry and clean house.
8. Making me do swim team (I loved it!)
9. Introducing me to God at a young age (after giving me life, this is the best thing you've ever done for me!)
10. Consoling me when I had my first broken heart.
11. Taking me to NYC and Boston and Dallas to look at colleges .
12. Always being there for me, no matter what.

13. Being my "cheerleader" during those dark days when my newborn son was in the NICU and things looked so very bleak for him.
14. Helping me through those early months of motherhood when I had no clue what I was doing. :-)
15. Being an awesome grandmother to my children!!

I love you, Mommy!

Lost In Translation

I just love it when I see stuff like this.
It's so innocent, but so incredibly funny.

Slow Down And Take Time To...

Nice little slide show.... with really good advice.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

I Gotta Brag....

I found out today that my amazing, awesome church (12Stone) donated $100,000 to a local organization here in the metro area that helps mentally disabled adults.

They did it very quietly and without any fanfare (the way giving should be done).... so I'm going to SHOUT IT FROM MY BLOG! :-)

(And no - that wasn't a typo. The church gave one hundred thousand dollars to this particular local organization. This money was profit from a property the church owned which was recently sold.)

OK, all done bragging now.
Thanks for indulging me.

And now back to our regularly scheduled programming..... :-)

"Ken Lee" - a (botched) tribute to Mariah Carey

Two things about this video are funny.... first of all, that the English is SO butchered in this song...
but second, that BULGARIA now has its own version of "American Idol"??


Why Women Over 40 Rock....

My Mom sent the below to me yesterday - I thought it was hilarious. (Supposedly this is from Andy Rooney, the lovable old curmudgeon from "60 Minutes"...)

As I grow in age, I value women over 40 most of all. Here are just a few reasons why:

A woman over 40 will never wake you in the middle of the night and ask, 'What are you thinking?' She doesn't care what you think.

If a woman over 40 doesn't want to watch the game, she doesn't sit around whining about it. She does something she wants to do, and it's usually more interesting.

Women over 40 are dignified. They seldom have a screaming match with you at the opera or in the middle of an expensive restaurant. Of course, if you deserve it, they won't hesitate to shoot you if they think they can get away with it.

Older women are generous with praise, often undeserved. They know what it's like to be unappreciated. Women get psychic as they age. You never have to confess your sins to a woman over 40.

Once you get past a wrinkle or two,a woman over 40 is far sexier than her younger counterpart. Older women are forthright and honest. They'll tell you right off if you are a jerk if you are acting like one. You don't ever have to wonder where you stand with her.

Yes, we praise women over 40 for a multitude of reasons.

Unfortunately, it's not reciprocal.

For every stunning, smart, well-coiffed, sexy woman over 40,there is a bald, paunchy relic in yellow pants making a fool of himself with some 22-year old waitress.

Ladies, I apologize.
For all those men who say, 'Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?', here's an update for you. Nowadays 80% of women are against marriage. Why? Because women realize it's not worth buying an entire pig just to get a little sausage!

Our Other Dog.... The Lovely, Well Behaved, Mild Mannered Ruby

Ruby gets such short shrift on my blog.

She's a complete love. She was a rescue dog (and was abused and mistreated before she came to us).

She is always happy, polite, sweet, loving, gentle, etc.

A wonderful family dog.

Whenever Diva misbehaves, Ruby will just wag her tail and smile at me (like she is doing in this photo), as if to say "Yes... don't forget... I'm STILL the Perfect Dog."

And she is.
Thank you, Ruby.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

"Chocolate" Covered Bird Seed, Anyone?

WARNING: Photographic image in today's post is NOT for the easily queasy, easily offended, easily nauseated, or those generally faint of heart. If you are unsure if you should view this image, please consult a physician or mental health professional before proceeding further.

When we arrived home this afternoon after the football game S. cheered at, we discovered that a Certain Someone (puppy who will remain unnamed) had gotten into a large bag of birdseed we have for our bird feeder in the backyard.

Apparently she dined quite heartily on the birdseed in the few hours we were gone.....

And then she left this present for us.
Yay us.

Today's Equestrian Meet-and-Greet

So, this morning I took my new camera and headed out in search of a photo opportunity.

(In my mind I imagine I'll find amazing photos like Michele posts everyday.... alas, it wasn't meant to be this morning.)

However, I did make a little stop near my house at the "compound". The compound is a very mysterious (and very oddly shaped) housing structure where quite a few folks live. It sits on about 10 acres or so and backs up to my neighborhood. As you can imagine, it's a constant source of curiosity to all who live in my subdivision.... is it a cult? a nudist colony? a militia training camp? (Personally, I think it's probably something as innocuous as a family compound with several generations who wanted to live under one really big - and really funny looking - roof.)

Regardless, amongst the widely varied livestock they have roaming about on the grounds, they have several horses. I stopped to say "Buenos Dias" to the above beauty who was nearest to the road and she came right over to inquire if I had carrots (I did not, but we had a nice little chat).
I also snapped a photo of the below lovely munching on grass.
I love horses.

Be Still and Know....

I thought this was very nice (and a good reminder to be still - at least for me), so I'm reprinting it here.
(...this is borrowed from yesterday's MountainWings. website....)

In my life I have faced many struggles.
I am human and by nature I have grown sin weary and overburdened. My hands have worked alone, in vain to build masterpiecesthat always fall short of perfection.
In the midst of despair, I place my discouraged heart in the hands of the one who softly whispers,“Be still and know that I am God.”
I place my confidence in the one who faithfully works to do what is positively right for me. I rely on the perfect knowledge that keeps Him from doing anything in my life that is not exactly what I need.
He is the Lord of creation, and yet He is committed to gently knocking at the door of my heart. I adore the God whose love is so pure that He sent His son to live a perfect life for me. His love is so holy that He sent His son to shed His blood on the cross for me.I treasure the God who will never stop forgiving me. My hope is in the one who knows the depths of my heart and still loves me so passionately and watchfully.
The one who softly whispers,“Be still and know that I am God.”

~A MountainWings Original poem by Billi Jo Bentley, Albany, OH

Friday, August 15, 2008

Last Night's (Late Night) Olympic Dog-Bathing Challenge

So, last night, after "Mud-Fest '08", Diva needed a bath.
Hubster hosed her down in the backyard, but she STUNK to high heaven.

So, I dragged her upstairs and plopped her in our nice clean white garden tub.... and the Battle Began.

Saying this dog does NOT like baths is a gross understatement.
And saying this dog is STRONG for her size is a MAMMOTH understatement.

Hubster said he could hear the string of expletives (from my mouth, not Diva's) all the way out in the backyard. If looks could kill, Diva definitely would've won the battle. We were both drenched when it was over, but she was clean, and smelling fresh. I on the other hand, was covered in puppy shampoo suds, fur, and a tremendous amount of water (and sweat).

A good time was NOT had by all.

And then of course, when it was all over, she fell sound asleep, due to the exertion of the event.
And I snapped this adorable close-up.

PS: Laurie, I LOVE my new Nikon.... thanks again for the recommendation! :-)


I had two FANTASTIC candidates go out on interviews this week. One was interviewing for a sales position with a large well known brokerage, and one was interviewing for an Account Management position with a large well known brokerage.
Both candidates are really top top top quality.

And today, I got two calls. Both were "passed over".

It's tough out there right now.
Lots of people are out of work.
The economy stinks (listening, Sen. Gramm??? It's really NOT an imaginary thing contrived by whiners.....)

I'm (momentarily) discouraged. If these two candidates didn't get picked, times are a bit tougher than I thought.


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Heard at a Middle School Somewhere in Suburban Atlanta.....

Thursday afternoon..... my sweet son J came ambling up the driveway.... he's got a definite STRUT after the first 4 days of Middle School. (Gone is the nervousness from being the "new kid" in 6th grade...)

Clearly, he's feeling very capable, very competent. All good things. Mom approves.

He enters the kitchen - slings his backpack onto the table and gives me a sly smile. I immediately notice the "twinkle" in my son's eye.

Me: "J - what's up? You seem really happy about something...."
J: (twinkling even more, but trying to play it cool) "A girl talked to me in class today."
Me: "Oh, well that's nice. Do you know this girl?"
J: (twinkle twinkle) "Nope. Never met her. Still don't know her name."
Me: (puzzled, and now very curious) "Well what did she say to you?"
J: "She said: 'Do you work out? Because you have nice muscles.'"
Me: -Rendered Speechless-

So this is how it starts. This is how these girls wind up taking young innocent boys away from their mothers.

I'm kidding. Sort of.
But, c'mon. 6th grade????

That sounds like the kind of comment you'd hear in a singles bar, for crying out loud! Not in SIXTH GRADE!!


J is, as you can imagine, now VERY excited about his newfound manliness and its power over the opposite sex..... Oh, lordy..... my boy may never be the same....

Diva The Archaeologist....

Isn't it amazing how you can go from ADORING a puppy to wanting to STRANGLE the same puppy in a matter of hours??

I discovered THIS little project late today. Nice, huh? (Feel free to click on the photo ... it should magnify so you can imagine what my face must have looked like when I beheld this HORROR ...)

Anyway.... Diva has been quietly "excavating" out in the backyard this afternoon.... in the space between one of the A/C units and the house. And, of course, due to the recent rains, the ground is super saturated back there and she was able to make a LOVELY mud bath, which she proceeded to roll ALL around in, then she came in the house, and jumped on the couch and then, ran up to our room and jumped on our nice clean bed because, of course, that's where she SLEEPS.
Mud everywhere.
I'm thrilled.

Anyone want to adopt a cowering, mud-covered, Chocolate Lab who is currently in the "dog house"???

The Pee-And-Poop-Filled Love Monster

Here she is! 25 lbs of Puppy Love!
(And yes, I snapped this with my new Nikon..... in a rare moment when Diva was actually holding STILL.....)

A Late Evening Project (After a Glass of Wine...)

So anyway, last night, after a glass of wine, and after the kids went to bed, I decided it would be just a Great Idea to completely clean out and reorganize the entire laundry room. (We've lived in this house for 8 years and the laundry room has NEVER been cleaned out or reorganized....)
Needless to say, I found some pretty icky, lint-covered stuff in there. I found cat collars belonging to our long-deceased sweet felines, Jasmine & Mortimer. (Meow. Miss them.) And Chloe's old leather collar, with her dog ID tag still attached (made my eyes water.... she was our beautiful Black Lab... very much our "first child".... we got her shortly after we were married. She passed away in 2005.)

I also found the source of the mysterious rancid sour smell in the laundry room .... a beach towel that had slipped off the back of the washing machine (still damp of course) and was nearing petri-dish status from the rapidly multiplying mildew.... as my Minnesota mother would say: "ISH".

However, after a sweaty couple of hours cleaning, hauling out trash, etc., it's sparkling clean, super organized and smells like CLEAN LAUNDRY in there!

Project one (on the kids-are-back-in-school-let's-get-stuff-done list is COMPLETE!)

Yes, I live a Very Exciting Life. :-)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Heart Michael Phelps! :-)

Athletic perfection.... I just LOVE watching him perform.
And, I love watching his Mom and sisters in the stand. Always makes me tear up a little to see his mom and think of how much she has sacrificed so her son could chase his dream.
Very cool indeed.
I LOVE the Olympics!

My 4 Legged Furry Brown Shadow

Diva, my adorable 3 month old Chocolate Lab, has taken to following me everwhere.

(Sort of like "Mary Had a Little Lamb".... but different.) :-)

She lays at my feet while I work, naps behind me during the day, and at night sleeps right up against me in the bed.

I've become VERY smitten with this little creature. :-)

Happy Wife, the Hollow Eyed Meth Addict

So, I decided yesterday that I really SHOULD go up to the drivers license place and get a new photo license.....

Of course, I was busy yesterday so I just ran in there thinking "this won't take any time".

I was there forever (luckily I brought a book).
And have you ever noticed the people who work at the drivers license office are NOT very happy with their lot in life??? Just a little aside there...

Anyway, I should have considered my appearance before I went in there. (I was wearing my typical I-work-from-home-and-want-to-be-comfortable "uniform": old concert t-shirt - this time it was the Red Hot Chili Peppers - shorts, flip flops, hair back in a ponytail and NO makeup. )

When they finally called me, they clicked my picture (didn't give me a countdown or tell me to smile, so I have this lovely blank stare on my face).... and my eyes look supernaturally hollow (I guess from the lighting).

So, the whole premise behind "let's get a photo that looks more like the CURRENT me" has really backfired. My husband and kids all burst into laughter when they saw the new ID photo. (Hubster is the one who said I look like a hollow eyed meth addict in the photo..... and, I gotta admit, he's right. )

I think I may have to "lose" this one on purpose. Whoops. :-)

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Wisdom of the Georgia DDS

My driver's license will be expiring on 8-31 (which also happens to be my birthday).

I got a letter in the mail yesterday stating I could renew my license online or by mail for a 10 year period for $30.

I appreciate the fact that they make it easy and painless to renew.

However, the problem is - the photo on my license was taken when I was 30 years old. I'm rapidly closing in on 41 and, as much as I would like to THINK that I'm stil the hot-young-thing that I was at 30, I'm just NOT. But, apparently that doesn't bother the Georgia DDS. Oh, heavens no. They're willing to let me renew for 10 MORE years with the same photo! So that means I'll be pushing 51 years old, with the photo of a 30 year old me on my license.

Now how stupid is that.

(And the sad thing is - I'm vain and shallow enough to consider it.....) :-)

Monday, August 11, 2008

Struggling with Stress, Worry, Fear, Anxiety? Ready to Toss them Overboard? Read On!

Ready to ditch those negative weights around you and walk on water?
It's possible, you know.

The above idea was the "gist" of yesterday's message at my church 12Stone. The message was called "Walk On Water". (It was also a bit of a motorcyle rally.... so if you hear allusions to the 100+ Harley Davidsons, and custom choppers parked out in front of my church, don't let that throw you..... it was just sort of the "preamble" to the message....)

The message was very powerful. AND very relevant in dealing with today's issues with stress, fear and worry.... the "demons" we all battle.

Here's a link to the audio:
(They were having some "issues" with it today, so if it isn't working just keep trying... they'll get it fixed.) Also, here's a link to the PDF notes that accompanied the message... this also contains scriptural backup for everything that was taught, and verses for memorization that will help you when you feel overwhelmed by stress.

And remember - God wants you to ENJOY your life... and he didn't give you a spirit of FEAR or of worry. So don't give in to those useless emotions! Say YES to your faith instead!

First Day of School - Who, ME, Nervous??

Both kids came sauntering back up the driveway this afternoon.

J practically had a little "strut" going.... he's the Big Man About Town now.... no more baby stuff for HIM. The first day of 6th grade was JUST FINE, thank you. He got a little lost, but it was "no biggie, Mom".... he told me as he breezed past me and into the kitchen, opened the fridge and pulled out a snack pack of chocolate pudding. "Yeah, AND there are some 'hot' girls in 6th grade." (I scowled at this comment, of course...)

S was equally bubbly about the 5th grade. She actually had homework on the first day - she was asked to write a Mission Statement on what her mission was, academically, this year. (I thought that was a GREAT homework assignment for the first day.... really get them THINKING, and on the right track.)

2nd day of school outfits are laid out, showers have been taken, and kids went to bed (again) at a reasonable hour. I'm enjoying this back-to-schedule stuff! (I realize, of course, the novelty will wear off VERY soon.... but for now, it's quite nice!)

Pictures to come soon! They're still in the new Nikon.... haven't yet gotten to the part in the owner's manual that tells me how to "extract" them! :-)

Sunday, August 10, 2008


I love the night before the first day of school.... the excitement in the house is palpable. Both of my children have WILLINGLY taken long showers to make sure they are extra clean and fresh.

My son (SON!) has already laid out his "first day of school outfit" (Incredible Hulk t-shirt with camo pants and hiking boots...) !!

My daughter is agonizing between two choices - a purple sequined tank top with a black denim mini skirt OR a black and pink t shirt with denim capris (I cast MY vote for the second option). She is literally in her room, seriously debating the merits of each ensemble as I type this post. It's tough to be a 5th grader these days. :-)

Of course, the book bags are already packed. Freshly sharpened pencils, plenty of loose-leaf paper, composition books, dry erase markers, graph paper, rulers, scissors, high-lighters, etc. (the list goes ON AND ON... I really don't remember needing all these supplies when I was their age...)

Hubster made a nice dinner - flat iron steak with garlic mashed potatoes and steamed asparagus. Kids will go to bed at a reasonable hour tonight too.

And tomorrow - YES - tomorrow my children will get on their respective buses... and my husband will return to WORK after a week off. And the clouds will part, birds will sing, and I will have QUIET in which to work. It has been since mid MAY since I have had the house to myself.

And BOY am I looking forward to it!
(Happily, they are very excited about getting back to school as well.... whew!!)

Mommy Got a New Nikon! :-)

Expect some photos (and more vids) soon!

I'm sitting here with my owners manual spread out in front of me.... learning, learning, learning!

(btw - thank you, Phabulous Photographer Phriends, for your recommendations!)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Thanks for the Laughs, Bernie... You'll Be Missed...

So very sad to hear about Bernie Mac's passing. I loved his sense of humor, and I hate the fact that he passed away at such a young age.

Life is such a precious gift.

Remember to enjoy life every single day.
The future is not promised to any of us.

Friday, August 8, 2008

No Such Thing as a "Hopeless" Case

.... a friend sent this video clip to me.... it's about 8 minutes long and well worth your time. They are "before and after" stories... quite a few of them. Very powerful and very touching.

So, pause the tunes on the Playlist to the right, grab a tissue and take the next few minutes to watch. Some of the stories are very simple; some are incredibly humbling and will really move you.

And remember - there's no one who is a "hopeless case" and no one who is outside the realm of God's incredible love. Miracles still happen, every single day.

I love this. It's beautiful and so inspirational.

Beijing 2008 Olympics

UPDATE: I'm finding the pictures of the "Chinese Summer Haze" (which we all know is some VERY serious pollution) really disheartening. The Chinese have to get a handle on their lack of environmental controls..... I'm sure our athletes are less than thrilled about breathing that air....

Opening Ceremonies: Can I just say WOW?
Tonight's opening ceremonies were pretty much beyond description.

Attention Photographers!!!

Since so many of my Blogger Buddies are also Phabulous Photographers, I need some advice from y'all! :-)

My camera (which was old-old-old.... we're talking a first generation Kodak "EasyShare" from way back when) finally gave up the ghost at the beach last weekend. It lived a good long life.

So now it's time for me to move on to bigger and BETTER things. Yesterday, I had to go to Sam's Club to pick up a case of water, a huge bag of Puppy Chow (since Diva now eats THREE times a day) and I was perusing the camera section but realized I know NOTHING about camera equipment, so I thought I'd ask the Experts in the Blogosphere.... so c'mon D'Arcy, Sugar, Sheye, Carin, Laurie, Michele, Louise, and everyone ELSE out there who is a photographer - offer up your advice!

What do those of you who are photographers (either professional or amateur) suggest?

Keep in mind I like to keep it somewhat simple (I don't want to drag a big bag full of lenses and accoutrements everywhere I go), but I also want something that is going to take really good pics, and be fairly user friendly. (I also like the cameras that have the option of taking little short video movies...)

Thoughts? Suggestions?

If She Wasn't REALLY Drunk When She Did This....

then I'm utterly speechless at her stupidity...

(And hooray for the mice for getting away unscathed! Imagine the story they told their little friends.... "Y'all won't BELIEVE this!....)

Happy Wedding Day, KBL!!

Even though she's been absent from the Blogosphere for several weeks, those of us who read KBL's wonderful, funny, intelligent blog know that TODAY is the day that she and her Belov-ED are tying the knot.


Can't wait until you're "back" in the Blogosphere and we can hear all about the wedding, the wedding night (Ok, well.... we'll let you keep that part private) and of course, your honeymoon in Italia.

We miss you!

PS: Smileygirl, if you talk to her, please tell her I said "Congratulations!"

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Cheerleading Humor, Part II

As I mentioned before in this blog, my sweet, smart, funny, and all-around great 10 year old daughter is doing Cheerleading this year. (This is after multiple years of me saying "No way!" "Are you KIDDING me?" and "Heck NO, I'm not spending that kind of money for you to jump up and down and wave pom-poms!"

ANYWAY. As I mentioned, it has been with great trepidation and indigestion that I've signed her up for this. AND I've already irritated the coach, because I had the nerve to go out of town on the first "mandatory" Saturday practice, thus causing my daughter to miss it. (I have since found out, that when you participate in cheerleading, MANDATORY is a word you hear a whole lot....) I don't care much for that word.

So, tonight was the first practice we attended. I was handed a 3 ring binder with "Important Information" in it. I was also instructed to bring a BIRTH CERTIFICATE "or else your child won't be able to cheer". (Apparently there must have been issues with some of these cheerleaders having emerged, fully grown, from under a mushroom..... therefore they MUST have certification of Live Birth, thank you very much...)

And then, there are the MOMS. Oh my. There's simply GOT to be a way I can sneak my camera to some of these practices and take some close-up photos of these women. It's to be expected, of course, that a lot of them are living vicariously through their daughters, but SOME of these moms still think they are 16 year old cheerleaders. Oh yes. The one sitting next to me tonight resembled the wife of Dog, The Bounty Hunter.

It's going to an interesting season, guys.
We'll have plenty of "blog fodder" to giggle over.

BUT, lest I forget, the important thing is...... my daughter is really having FUN! And she's really quite athletic with these jumping things the girls do... (I'm sure there are "official" names for them... but I am, happily, clueless....) :-)

My Indestructible Washer and Dryer

I am from the old-fashioned school of thought that when you buy something (especially a large appliance) that it should work for a long, long time.

So, when I read adorable Suz's post that her washing machine had DIED after only 5 1/2 years of life, I was SHOCKED. OUTRAGED.

Ready to call Clark Howard.

Our washing machine (and dryer) was purchased in either 1989 or 1990. It pre-dates my marriage. In fact, it pre-dates my college graduation, now that I think about it.

I casually commented to Suz that my washer had been around that long, and she emailed me a chain of expletives (good-naturedly of course) to express her bewilderment at my good fortune.

And, the crazy thing is, we do laundry almost every day. It has never been repaired.

I'm now on a quest to see how long I can get this thing to last.... maybe the Guiness World Record Book people will come visit me. :-)

Well, GEE.... that sure was a heavy post...

I was obviously very blue last night.... and very emotional.
Normally I keep all that stuff "in check" but last night the lid came OFF the pressure cooker.


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

A Serious Post

I cried tonight. In front of my husband. And it's all due to something that he does.
Every. Single. Day.

He smokes. A lot. And he has smoked, a pack and a half a day, since he was a teenager. He is now 45. So he's been smoking for 30 years. I've asked him many times over the years to quit. A couple of times he has quit - once he quit for 6 months (to collect on a BET, believe it or not), then started right back. (I could've killed him.)

But tonight, it all came to a head. I went out on our back deck (where he does his smoking... he never smokes in the house...) and sat down to chat with him and before I knew it, it ALL came out... how afraid I was that he was going to either drop dead of a heart attack, or die a slow, horrible death from emphysema or lung cancer.

I became very emotional about it, which totally caught him off guard, because I'm pretty much the "engine" of the family. And then I told him, if he did die, he would wind up breaking THREE hearts. Mine, and both of our children's, because they idolize him.

The only reason I bring this up here (on my normally light-hearted, sunny little blog) is to ask you, my blogging friends, if you have had a loved one who has quit smoking.... what was their 'watershed moment'.... what was their 'wake-up call'? How did they do it? How did you encourage them? What the hell WORKED to get them to quit???

I want he and I to grow old together. I want our grandkids to know HIM, and not just ME.
I don't want to be a widow, and I sure as hell don't want our kids to lose him.

So Incredibly Adorable....

So today was "open house" at the Middle School for J., who is going to be a 6th grader on Monday.

He's going from the safe little cocoon of Elementary School to the big bad world of Middle School. He's excited and of course a little nervous (although he certainly won't admit it - that just WOULDN'T be cool).

So, anyway, we get to the Big Bad School, walk down the ridiculously long hallway, go down a flight of stairs, past the 2 story library (!!) down another ridiculously long hallway, down a really really long corridor and FINALLY find his home-room teacher's class.

And GUESS who is sitting next to him in homeroom.

His "girlfriend" from kindergarten, who he has not seen for 7 years.

You should have seen his face light up. It was the cutest thing I had ever seen.

(Said girlfriend "disappeared" after kindergarten... we assumed she moved away, but apparently she did not.... just went to a different school.... and now, NOW.... here she is. And sitting right next to J. Smiling at him, even.)

He's been walking on clouds all afternoon.

If it's possible, she's even cuter at age 12 then she was at age 5.
I sense a budding Love Story. :-)

Dara Torres, My New Hero :-)

So, is this amazing athlete inspiring ANY other women out there, or am I the only one??!!

I am in AWE of her. Can't wait to see her in Beijing.

The Key To Everything.....

... is a dry erase board.

Or so I now believe.

Believe it or not, my children start school on August 11th. (Yes, we start early here... but we also get out prior to Memorial Day...)

Anyway, because my 40 year old brain isn't QUITE the steel trap it used to be (it's now basically a rusty spring...), I need a visual list to keep myself on track.... and because the folded up paper lists I keep in my wallet don't always "mesh" with one another, I purchased and have mounted in our kitchen a large white dry erase board with a big blue marker.

And I am so excited about this.

This will keep all members of the family on task and organized. All activities, doctors appointments, reports, deadlines, games, etc. will go on the dry erase board.

I guess it's safe to say you've reached middle age when you get excited (or maybe the correct word is "relieved") when you put a system like this into place.

Can you TELL I'm ready for the school year to start?

Summer is great.... but I do like being on a schedule.... I just find everyone gets so much more DONE... (me included.)

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Happiness is.... a New Tie Dye Shirt

I must be a Big Dork, because when I put on a new tie-dye shirt from the beach, my favorite pair of denim shorts (faded and worn), and flip flops.... all is right with the world.

At least with MY little corner of it. :-)

I'm even wearing my long, curly hair down (it's usually up in a clip, or a ponytail).... so it's wild and untamed today.... I look like Earth Mother. (All I need is some incense burning and some Grateful Dead playing in the background...)

Peace out, y'all.

One Thing I Didn't Do (and really missed) While At the Beach...

I almost always get up pre-dawn, put my hair up in a ponytail, and wander out onto the beach to watch the sun rise out over the Atlantic. I just LOVE that, and look forward to it every morning.

However, on this trip I overslept all three mornings (everyone there - except me - was a nightowl... so I wound up staying up late, laughing and enjoying their company).

But I really did miss my morning "quiet time". I love that solitary time, watching the sky turn purple-pink then seeing the sun peek up over the horizon and seeing the new day open itself up like a flower.

It's just magical to me. Frequently I'll see a couple of dolphins gently coming up out of the water as the sun comes up.... maybe they enjoy greeting the sunrise (and the Creator) as well.

We'll go back down to the beach over Labor Day and I'll make sure to get up early and have some quality ocean sunrise time then.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Militant Lesbians, Pet Wolf Spiders, Salmon in Bernaise Sauce and the "Mean Streets of Greenwich, CT"... (a/k/a My Long Weekend at the Beach)

The 6 of us (3 couples) had a GREAT long weekend at the beach.
We go to a little coastal Georgia town that is VERY eclectic (if you've ever been to Hilton Head?... think POLAR OPPOSITE....)

This place is kind of funky-eclectic-artist-colony-alternative-lifestyle type area meets really laid-back-family-atmosphere meets fantastic-dining-and-recreation area....

There are tiny little artist bungalows next to multi million dollar mansions.
However, the zoning laws are very strict as far as no multi story sky-scraping hotels on the beach.... so the island has kept a certain amount of charm...
Got a mental picture yet?

OK, so anyway, we were down there with our friends D (who could pass for Will Ferrel's brother - also just as funny), his hilarious wife J (who grew up on the "mean streets" of Greenwich, CT), and B (easily the funniest man in North America) and his wife R. We've known these couples for years - they're wonderful people - more like Aunts and Uncles to our kids than mere friends.

Anyway... as we were going through some of the galleries/shops in the area, we passed a vehicle that was obviously owned by the shop owner who VERY clearly did not like men. At all. She was very proudly proclaiming her lesbianism via various bumper stickers, the most interesting which stated VAGINAS ARE WAY COOL.

Now, I ask you, did she REALLY need to put that bumper sticker on her car? (And where the heck do you even BUY something like that???) I'm sure she's proud that she's gay, but come on. I don't have one on my car that says .... well, never mind.

Moving along, the next gallery owner had about 10 really large pet wolf spiders. If you've never seen a wolf spider before, they're the stuff of nightmares. She referred to them as "sweet and gentle, as long as you don't pinch them".

Yes, ladies and gentleman - please don't pinch the spiders - it's a Mr. Whipple for our generation. These creatures were just OUT .... you could easily stumble into them if you weren't looking.

Of course, we also did considerable walking along the beach, swimming, etc. Had some fabulous meals, include the best salmon in bernaise sauce that I've EVER eaten ANYWHERE. Absolutely incredible. And then we fed the leftover fish to some adorable little turtles that were in a pond near the condo we were staying at.

And of course, no trip to the Georgia Coast is complete without the side trip into Savannah and a stroll down River Street.... stopping at Wet Willie's for a frozen drink, sitting by the river and watching the cargo ships come in...

But, most importantly, we all had a great time - and laughed a WHOLE lot.
Hubster was even caught smiling on Sunday, which was his 45th birthday.

Didja Miss Me?

I'm back! (And badder than ever!) No, not really.... that just seemed to "fit" there....
Had some VERY funny adventures over the long weekend which I'll be blogging about later.

Right now though, time to feed the dogs, unload the car, see if there is food enough in the pantry to feed my squawking (but adorable, and MUCH-MISSED) children.... :-)

See you soon, my blogging buddies! :-)