Thursday, August 31, 2006

The Thrill of the Game...

The feeling in the air is palpable, electric.

As summer draws to a close, the anticipation of college football fans everywhere is evident. Game day supplies are gathered and tailgating plans are made as the days til the season opener slowly tick off the calendar. In stadiums across the country, tens of thousands of people gather...donning brilliant colors to display their team loyalty. Crisp white lines are painted on neatly manicured plots of green grass and uniforms hang neatly in locker rooms not yet broken in with chants of victory or the sad faces of defeat. Concession stands prepare for the onslaught of fans as bands take to the field for their warm-up numbers.

In our case, we will be spending many a Saturday in Bryant Denny stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama rooting on the Alabama Crimson Tide. Decked out in crimson, my husband, my son and I will take our usual seats and, along with a few close friends we've made through the years, will get ready for that much anticipated moment when the opening video is played on the Jumbo-Tron for the first time. Footage of legendary Bama moments mixed with images of Bear Bryant and his famous "I ain't never been nothin but a winner" speech lead into current scenes of Coach Shula before the announcer proudly proclaims "Ladies and gentlemen... THIS is Alabama Football!" as the crowd goes wild.

OK, so I'll admit it, I am a crier. I cry at movies, sappy commercials, etc... but this feeling is different. It's the feeling of elation as another autumn rolls around and football season gets in to gear. It's the feeling that you're a part of something bigger than yourself. It's the lump in my throat that rises when the opening notes of the Bama fight song are played. It's hotdogs, too tight seating, pom poms, fight songs and's Big Al, the Denny Chimes and jerseyed young men clad in crimson and white. Also, it's the joy of knowing that we're back for another year of ups and downs, spending time with friends and, cheering on a college football program steeped in tradition.

It's finally here. The greatest time of the year...a season of hope, anticipation, rivalry and fellowship.

THIS, my friends is what Alabama football is all about.


Wednesday, August 30, 2006

A Boy's Prayer~~August 30

"Dear God,
Please be with me for a good night's sleep.
Thank you for giving me a beautiful Mommy
and for keeping me and Mommy and Daddy safe.
Thank you for all my blessings God. And, please let
us go to Wal-Mart tomorrow to see if they have their
police costumes out yet. Amen."

Look Out Hollywood..... we come!

Keith and I have given into the acting bug that's been biting us all these, we agreed to star in this video since it was written about us and how we fell in love...

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Crab and Shrimp Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Aioli

(click on photo for larger view)

Serves 4 for Main Course or Makes 12 Appetizers

I fixed these for dinner tonight and served them on a bed of spinach sauteed with garlic. As good as they were tonight, I cannot wait to serve them as an appetizer! The aioli is the perfect compliment to the crisp, buttery crust of the cakes. Delicious!

1 large egg
8 ounces cooked crab (I used canned--it was great!)
8 ounces cooked small shrimp, chopped
3 green onions (including some tops), chopped
1 cup crushed saltine crackers (approx. 26)
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1 t. Worcestershire sauce
2 dashes Tabasco sauce
1/4 t. salt
1/4 t. dry mustard
1 T. butter or margarine
1 T. vegetable oil
Roasted red Pepper Aioli (see recipe below)

Beat egg in a mixing bowl. Add remianing ingredients , except butter and oil, and mix thoroughly. Shape mixture into 8 cakes about 1/2 in. thick. (If serving as appetizer, makes 12 small cakes)

In a large frying pan, melt half the butter with half the oil over medium heat. Fry 4 cakes until lightly browned, approx. 4 minutes on each side. Remove to a warmed plate and add remaining butter and oil and fry the remaining cakes.

Serve immediately with the Roasted Red Pepper Aioli.

Roasted Red Pepper Aioli Recipe:
1 roasted red bell pepper, chopped (I used jar brand--just as good!)
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 t. red wine vinegar
1/4 t. salt
1 cup light mayonnaise

Summer's End

sea oats sway
in a salty wind
the air is cooler
toward summer's end

a brilliant dark blue
coats the surface of the sea
peaceful solitude
just the waves and me

the sea oat
my companion

sits with me this day
silently waving
as the tide slips away. . .

Saturday, August 26, 2006


What a joy, my precious boy...

Life on August 26th

Good Things:

~~A nice healthy lunch with my sis-in-law

~~Getting sound back on my computer

~~View of the North GA mountains from downtown Dahlonega

Not-So-Good Things:

~~Cell phone shows signs of "water damage"-must replace

Friday, August 25, 2006


Comfortable and familiar
Like a well-worn sweater
My friend
My partner in crime

Laughter abounds
And smiles rarely fade
My friend
My amusing companion

In the happy and the sad times
I am safe to be me
With you, my friend
My very best friend

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Back in the Saddle...or Court in This Case

Back and forth the little yellow ball sailed across the net.

After such a long time, it felt good to be holding a tennis racquet in my hand...its cushiony black grip felt comfortable, familiar even, as I hit my first shot toward my friend Cassie. The humidity was thick and, within 10 minutes or so, we were both drenched. Although I had just showered before she picked me up, it didn't bother me a bit. It was exercise and it felt good.

I have missed the rhythm of the game. I played tennis in college and it paid my way through two years of school. But, after that, life got complicated and there was no one to force me to do drills or to stay in shape or to even just get out there and hit a few balls. I've played occasionally since then, but last night did something to reignited that spark of competitiveness and focus that I haven't had in a while.

I may have lost the set 6 - 3 but I gained a lot more.

I can't wait to get out there again.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006


A friend of mine who had been trying to conceive for years once told me that she wasn't ready to adopt because she hadn't given up "hope."

Given up hope?

As I walked away, I batted around her comment in my head and found it quite ironic. To me, the very definition of the word adoption is hope. Hope for a child who has no family. Hope for a family that has no child. Hope for a love that will grow beyond the boundaries of bloodline and birthright-- and even nations in some cases.

Just to be safe, I looked up the definition of the word hope in the dictionary. It read, “something that is wished for or desired.” This could not more accurately define the dream that we had to become parents. More than anything, I dreamt of holding a child in my arms and rocking them to sleep. I wished for a child that would come to me with a “boo boo” and ask me for a bandage. I longed to hear a child utter “mama” for the first time and realize that they were speaking to me. These are the things I desired and not being able to become pregnant did not deter me from fulfilling these dreams. The process of adoption gave me the hope I needed to pursue another path to parenthood.

I do not fault other families for trying different methods to become pregnant. We once used fertility drugs to try to conceive but were unsuccessful. As a woman, I fully understand the desire to give birth to a child. But, what I experienced as an adoptive parent was extraordinary. Instead of feeling a kick in my tummy, my heart fluttered with the anticipation of seeing my son’s face for the first time. I have often explained to my son that I did not carry him in my body for nine months; instead, I have carried him in my heart for as long as I can remember.

Initially, I took offense at my friend’s remark. I thought, “how dare she insinuate that adoption was a last resort for us?” But my view softened as I remembered the days of charting my monthly cycle and buying pregnancy tests in bulk. I had walked in her shoes once. But that was before I realized the blessing and the miracle of being able to adopt a child into our family. That was before I walked into an orphanage one snowy day and looked into a pair of chocolate brown eyes and saw all of my hopes and dreams reflected there.

Hope is a little word with big meaning. It is the desire for a family that once stirred in the heart of a little boy in an orphanage far, far away. It is the intense longing that once lived in the heart of a couple that wanted more than anything to parent a child. And “hope” is the force that brought those individuals into a tiny room halfway across the world and made them a family.

You see, by adopting I did not give up hope. Instead, I embraced it and my journey to parenthood is now complete.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Fluffy Mackerel Pudding

"Once upon a time the world was young and the words "mackerel" and "pudding" existed far, far away from one another. One day, that all changed. And then, whoever was responsible somehow thought the word fluffy would help."

I had seen these a few years ago and laughed as hard today as I did then. You might have seen these going around on email, but they absoluetly crack me up. They are Weight Watchers recipe cards from 1974 and, yes, most of them are utterly disgusting.

Here's the link...enjoy!

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Who Am I (Red Apples)

I am a leader
I am a follower
I am a companion of fireflies
Flickering in the dark stillness
Outside my door

I am the wild child
I am a follower of rules
I am an organizer
Infatuated with colored folders
And labels on which to write

I love red apples
And the smell of rain
And mums outside Wal-Mart
On a crisp fall day

I am........... me.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

Wonderful Weekend

It all started with Daniel going to stay with my brother-in-law and sister-in law last night.

First, Keith and I had a scrumptious dinner at the Embers Grill...shrimp stuffed with crab meat (him) and chicken stuffed with sauteed arugula, roasted red peppers and prosciutto drizzled in a gorgonzola cheese sauce (me)... one of the best dinners we've had in a restaurant in a very long time. Then, we attended Married Life Live-- an event for couples that our church puts on. Music, conversation and a great message made for a fun evening. Then, we took our temporarily-childless selves to the movies to see World Trade Center...a moving film.

Today, Keith and Daniel spent some "guy time" together while I got a massage for ONE AND A HALF hours! I have never had a massage for that I'm hooked! I laid there in sheer bliss and the massage therapist took a lot more time than usual--especially on my feet and hands. I was purring like a kitten. Then, I spent time with my friends at a yard sale across the street while the kids played. Tonight...we go out to dinner and see a play tonight at the local playhouse with our friends Melissa and Jimmy.

The time away from Daniel last night was good for both of us...he screamed "Mommy!" as he lept into my arms when we picked him up. Quiet dinner, movie, massage or not... that warm reception made every moment we spent away from him worth it (even though we pouted alot of the time because we missed him so much!)

I'm telling you-- I wish every weekend were this relaxing!

Friday, August 18, 2006

What I'm Listening To~~ August 18th

  • One ~~Mary J. Blige/ U2
  • Turn Me On ~~Norah Jones
  • Purple Rain ~~Prince
  • Live Like You Were Dyin ~~Tim McGraw
  • Breathe (2am) ~~Anna Nalick

Death Row Update

I am pleased to report that the flora 'n fauna along my front sidewalk are thriving. With a little help from some recent rain and my reinstated late night watering habits, they are alive and far.

Now, if only my golden retriever could traverse that area without her back paw yanking a plant out of the ground...such is the fragile life of a flower in the Death Zone.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Who Am I (Pens and Paper)

I am a lover of pens
and blank sheets of paper
begging for my attention
I am an office supply junkie
a list maker
one that finds beauty
in the patterns of light
cast on my floor
on a sunny afternoon
I am the talker
I am the listener
I am the broken
I am the comforter
I am...

The Hardest Battle

to be nobody but yourself
in a world that is doing its best
night and day
to make you everybody else
means to fight the hardest battle
which any human being can fight
never stop fighting

~~e.e. cummings

Monday, August 14, 2006

Barren Earth

I imposed the death sentence today.

I did this by planting 36 marigolds, 18 begonias and 10 fall mums in the strip of barren earth that runs alongs my front sidewalk. I like to refer to this area as the "Death Zone."

Earlier this season, I planted 144 impatiens in bright blooms of white and fuschia. That was before the water restrictions imposed on our county. I tried my best to keep them watered during the "non-penalty" hours but it was very difficult. You must really have a heart for gardening to water manually between the hours of midnight and 6:00am on a Monday or Wednesday. My need for sleep soon outweighed my desire to have a healthy garden. Thus, the impatiens withered away. My garden was sad, pitiful even.

Tired of the wasteland that lay outside my front door, I ventured to Lowe's and stocked up on a variety of annuals to brighten this area once again. I moved my trays to the sidewalk and took out my trusty garden spade to begin the tedious process of digging the holes. The blazing sun simmered on my brow as beads of sweat rippled across my temples. My knees caked with dirt, I crouched down to delve into the awaiting soil. Soil? No such luck. My spade hit the rock hard earth with a "thud" and as I dug even deeper, the sharp scraping sound of metal against rock ended my hopes of a nice, relaxing horticultural encounter.

Pieces of granite-like rock emerged as I forcefully struck the soil hoping to find a soft spot. The solid red dirt was packed so firmly it was as if every particle had agreed in some underground union meeting to lock arms and not let the big, bad woman with the sharp shiny thing in her hand through. I cursed the ground, I cursed Mother nature and most of all...I cursed my need to have flowers in the midst of one of the hottest, driest summers on record.

But, my determination was stronger than my urge to throw in the towel. Soon, I got into a groove and the flowers were in the ground. In my own twisted little way, I apologized to each one as I inserted their tendril-like root systems into each unwelcoming slot. "I promise to keep you watered," I whispered, covering the edges with the extranneous clay/soil mixture.

I can't imagine living in an area where the dirt is black as soot and easy to dig into. That must make for a rewarding gardening experience. As for me, I shall continue my plight for a nice garden at all costs. Mother Nature and I may go a few rounds in the process, but I won't let that stand in my way.

For those of you keeping score at home:

Katie: 1
Rocks and Hard-as-Heck Clay: O

Stay Tuned....

A Grave Thought

I'm headed to Selma, Alabama for a couple nights and one thing I'm anxious to do is go by and visit my Mom's grave.

One thing my Mom always said about visiting a cemetery is that "our loved ones are not there, they are in a much better place." Sometimes I felt that she said that because we didn't live close to where her parents are buried and it made her feel better about not "tending to" their graves herself. Now as I've grown older, I understand what she meant.

It was extremely difficult for me to leave Mom's grave the day of the funeral. After everyone had said their goodbyes and wished us well, the biggest hurdle in my adjustment to her death came that evening. It was a cold, dark night in March 2003 and the rain was coming down in sheets. As irrational as it may seem, it took every thing in my power not to race out to the cemetery because I felt like Mom was out there alone "in the rain." Yes, it sounds a little crazy even as I type it, but it truly was one of the hardest nights of my life.

The dilemma that hit my sister and I afterwards was the upkeep of her grave. It is a beautiful location where the branches of old live oak branches bend down creating canopies of shade and a feeling of peacefulness. But, neither of us live there now and we cannot expect our Dad to make a weekly trip out there to pull weeds. So, we rely on the cemetery staff to make sure it looks OK.

I'm sure I'll venture out there today when I get to town and I'll probably have to pull a few weeds and dust away some old grass clippings. Mom would probably shake her head as to why I even bother. I do it out of respect for her memory. Maybe I do it just to be able to "care" for her even though she's no longer here. But mostly, I do it so I can take a moment to sit under that big oak tree, listen to the windchime hanging from its branch and talk to Mom about what's been going on in my life. I know she's always with me in my heart, but there is something about reading the epitaph etched into her headstone that makes me feel better. It says "Go Ye Now in Peace...." and as I start the car and slowly drive away, that's exactly what I do.....

Friday, August 11, 2006

What I'm Listening To ~~August 11th

  • "Would You Go With Me" ~~ Josh Turner
  • "Your Man" ~~ Josh Turner
  • "Reason to Believe" ~~ Dashboard Confessional
  • "Crazy" ~~ Gnarls Barkley
  • "Does Your Mother Know" ~~ ABBA
  • "A Song for You" ~~Donny Hathaway

The Gift of Life

While we have the gift of life,
it seems to me the only real tragedy
is to allow part of us to die--
whether it is our spirit,
our creativity,
or our glorious uniqueness.

Gilda Radner

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

The Written Word

I once came across some postcards from the early 1900's, the faded ink holding on for dear's bluish-purple tint barely visible on the slightly orange stain of century-old paper. The words scribed from one friend to another were nothing short of eloquent as they recounted a certain flower growing in their garden and a party they were planning to attend that evening.

What I wouldn't give to have lived in the days when "snail mail" (as we now refer to it) was the expected form of written communication. I'm as grateful as the next person for the efficiency and convenience of email. In fact, my ability to share this online journal was not even possible when I was in college; but, I do long to open my mailbox and discover handwritten treasures from friends or family...

In the land of email and instant messaging in which I now reside, we have developed all sorts of acronyms and symbols to make communicating that much quicker. My friend Melissa and I often sign off our instant messages with "ttyl" (talk to you later) and I frequently rely on the acronym "LOL" to convey when I find something humorous in my high-tech conversations.

But the letters of yesteryear were much more formal and gracious in nature. In stead of "ttyl", one would close with a phrase like "with fondest thoughts of you I remain..." I guess I could go the acronym route with that one and type "WFTOYIR" but it's not quite as catchy.

I do love to write so I'm guessing a lot of my friends who don't share my passion will not join my crusade to revive the art of handwritten letters. But, I won't let that deter me from practicing the art myself. You never know...the next time you look in your mailbox, you may be surprised to find a handwritten letter from yours truly. :-)


Tuesday, August 08, 2006

I Choose Us

A quote from one of my favorite movies, "The Family Man," involves Tea Leoni telling her fiance (Nicholas Cage) "I choose us..." to try and persuade him not to go on a yearlong internship in London. It was a profound statement/plea declaring that she didn't care what kind of jobs they had or what kind of money they made...she chose their relationship over anything else.

Don't we have to do this every day that we're married? Perhaps our daily choices aren't quite as time-sensitive as deciding whether or not to board a flight; but, nonetheless, we still make choices every day that can impact one of the most important relationships in our life. Sometimes it's hard to "choose us" when work beckons or friends compete for our time. I am so guilty of not always making the wise choice in this area. Always known as a "people pleaser," I find it hard to say "no" because I am always so sure that I can do it it all in; thereby making everyone happy. It doesn't always work out that way.

So, when the pressures build and the rigor of life demands much of our's important that we continually look at our spouses and declare that we do indeed "choose us." It doesn't mean that we don't spend time with friends or family...or put in a few extra hours at our jobs...what it means is always making sure that our significant other knows that their needs are as important as our own. Without this balance, the effects can be felt in all of the other important relationships in our lives...especially the one with our children. In order for me to be an effective and balanced parent, I need to be sure that I am focusing on my marriage to their father just as much as my relationship with them.

So, I hope my hubby knows that I didn't just "choose us" 12 years ago...I try to do it each and every day. It will always be the best choice I ever made.

Monday, August 07, 2006

The Bassinet

The room was cozy and was decorated with a couple couches and wing chairs--all anchored by a simple oriental-style rug. A ficus tree or two dotted the room making the feeling of this space surprisingly homey. Then I spotted it. Tucked over in the corner next to the window was a white bassinet complete with a snow white skirt as if dressing for its first cotillion.

I guess the purpose of the bassinet was lost on me at first. I just assumed..."OK, so we're at an adoption agency...maybe there are times when clients need the use of a bassinet." It wasn't until the midst of our discussion when our case worker pointed out that we were sitting in the room where placement occurs that it dawned on me. THAT was the very bassinet where we would meet our child for the first time. The weight of the revelation was breathtaking. She continued, "after you meet the birthparent in our upper conference room, you and Keith will be brought in this room to meet your child for the first time."

Wow. Suddenly, the bassinet took on an entirely different persona for me. It wasn't just a white contraption that families kept their child in during a meeting. No, this particular bassinet was more angel than furniture. It was a comforter of children about to discover the joy of a new family. It was a place of transfer...the transferring of hopes and dreams from one human to another. But, most important, it was a temporary place for my soon-to-be child to feel safe until I take him or her into my heart and home forever.

As we exited the room, I glanced over my shoulder at the white bassinet in the corner. "Goodbye, for now..." I whispered and then reluctantly turned to walk away.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

My Curious Child

We played a theological game of 20-questions on the way home from the mall tonight. My 4-year old was grilling us on Heaven--where it is...who's there...when do we go...

In our best attempt, we explained how people get to go to Heaven and that most people go there after living a nice, long life. His response:

"oh, so you go to Heaven when you're really, really old and have nothing to do anymore?"

I could not think of a way to I just grinned and hugged him tight. Bless the brutal honesty of the 4-year old mind. It sure does keep life interesting.......

Friday, August 04, 2006

Brown Eyes

ah, the depths
of your brown eyes
if it is possible
to get lost
in someone's eyes
then I am in need
of rescue
my sweet boy

pools of milk chocolate
surrounded by mile-long lashes
gazing up at me
pleading for a popsicle
or one piece of gum

my eyes are blue
your dad's eyes are blue
so it goes beyond mere beauty
your eyes are exotic to me
I could not love you more

Is NASA in the Yellow Pages?

A good friend of mine is going to medical school to become a doctor. Nothing earth-shattering about that, right? Only, she is raising 6 children --one which she adopted shortly after we got Daniel.

This is remarkable to me. Through years of raising 5 kids (now starting again with a sixth), she has managed to go to school for her undergrad degree and is now doing her medical preceptorship by shadowing doctors to learn the tricks of the trade. In three years, she will begin medical school to complete this long voyage.

It made me think. Even at 35 years old, I sometimes feel like I've dug my feet in the sand--defined who I am and there's no going back. Sure I like to write and would love to someday be published...but to me, a market so consumed with tell-alls and fiction and cookbooks barely has enough room for a book of poetry from some unknown author. (I know, I's a defeatist attitude) But, it made me think.......

I have always wanted to be an astronaut. What I wouldn't give to zoom through the stratosphere only to burst into orbit to experience a bird's eye view of Earth.

Anyone have the number to NASA?

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Fostering Frustration

We inquired about a little girl in Indiana that is available for adoption. When I spoke with the caseworker, she said that the foster family hadn't decided if they want to adopt a child or not so they were just trying to keep her as a foster child in their home as long as possible.

Why in the world would they want to keep her from finding a loving home that will commit to being her family for the rest of her life?

Sometimes systems like this designed to "protect" children baffle me. How could it possibly be in her best interest to remain in limbo?