Friday, June 29, 2007

Rockin' in the U.S.A.

Boy howdy am I excited. A fellow blogger that I do not know but am SURE, based on what I've read, would be a close friend if we lived near each other... has bestowed upon me an honor. The Rockin' Girl Blogger Award. (see her comments here)

I gotta tell ya, this made my day. I write because I have to. If I don't, I'll shrivel up (hmmm, on second thought) and fade away. It's part of who I am. I'm not the funniest blogger out there. I'm not the most serious blogger out there. And, lawd knows I'm not the most informational/ educational blogger out there. But, I write about the little mundane things in my world. That makes me happy. And, to have someone say that my writing makes them happy, too? That knocks my socks off.

Thanks so much, GGW... now I get to select a few bloggers that knock my socks off. This is hard to do because there are at least 20 that I keep up with regularly.

Here goes:

  • Queen of Dirty Laundry -- I loved her blog from the first time I read it. Sometimes I lurk. Sometimes I comment. But she's real. And, she's real funny. Her post about trying to explain baby making, etc. to her kids almost made me wet myself. You rock, woman.
  • Overwhelmed with Joy -- she's a fellow adoptive parent whose blog has been one I've lurked on for some time now. It's pretty to look at but she always has something cool to share...whether it's ingredients, or tips, or just feelings about the adoption process. Check it out!
  • My Quotidian Mysteries -- I simply love this blog. She's always good for a contest...or a touching post... her faith inspires me and she's just an all-around cool, rockin' bloggin' chick. I love her family mantra, too: "Trust God. Trust his process. Dispense and receive grace." There ya go.
  • BooMama -- Doggone it. She's probably received about 50 of these things but I couldn't, in good conscience, list rockin' blogger chicks without listing the blog I do not miss, without fail, every day. She makes me hoot outloud. Love me some Boo Mama Blog. And hey, when you read hers for the first time and forget all about mine...just remember it's me that sent ya.
Congrats to these ladies...and keep up the great blogging else I'll have to really get down to business and attack my To-Do list. Who needs that kinda pressure?!

Tennis Balls and To-Do Lists

My 2 year old Golden Retriever Cassie loves tennis balls. I know that is a trait of retrievers, but this goes beyond anything I've ever seen. If she's awake, she has a tennis ball in her mouth. And, if she has a tennis ball in her mouth, she's gonna be giving me the old-fashioned staredown until I concede and play catch with her.

The funniest thing is when she has one in her mouth and I throw another one to her. She gets this perplexed, even panicked, look on her face and she drops the ball in her mouth and runs after the "new" one.

Don't we do that to some extent in our own lives? I know I do it with my time.

Like right now.

Daniel is at a friend's house for a playdate and I am bouncing around from chore to chore (or, truth be told, website to website) like a soldier on a weekend pass. Going from one thing to another without officially completing any task, I have "To-Do List ADD" of the worst kind today.

Does that ever happen to you? Please make me feel better. :-)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Billy’s Seafood

The swirling flock of gulls
Pause their flight
For a brief rest
On the dock
At Billy’s Seafood

Majestic shrimp boats
Bob up and down
On the salty waves
Fishermen donned
In crisp white waders
Unload their bounty

A day’s work is done

Inside the smell is unmistakable
Shrimp, oysters, crab
All await their fate
Gumbo or perhaps a nice Rockefeller

Outside oyster shells blanket the ground
A carpet of old homes no longer needed
A distant horn signals another arrival
The gulls beckon me to stay

Life appears simple in this world
Scoop them up, put them on ice
Make people happy
A nice existence indeed.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

The Not-So Pretty Things

A friend of mine who I often consider "the male me" challenged me yesterday. We were chatting and he mentioned that he's noticed I only blog about "the pretty things." He was referring to the fact that our family missed a playdate with some friends (including him) due to my son's behavior on Sunday and that I mentioned it nowhere on my blog.

He's right. But, as I remarked to him, I don't enjoy writing about those episodes as much as I do the nice things that I want to remember for the long haul. Also, I give my readers credit for understanding that, although most of my entries about my son are touching or funny, certainly it is understood that raising a child is never without its trials.

But, the more I thought about it, it hit me that my Mom died a few years ago (before I became a parent) and I would give anything to know how I acted at my son's age and how she dealt with it. So, I hereby title this post the "Not-So-Pretty Things" post. In fact, it may become it's own category. Lawd knows I'd have enough to talk about.

Really the first not-so-pretty-thing I can remember came shortly after we brought our son home from Russia (we adopted him in May 2004). Does it count if it's sorta funny in RETROspect but not so much at the time? (which may be my friend's argument anyway--darn-it-all.)

Anyhoo, I was cleaning the kitchen and heard this loud "ka-thunk-ka-thunk-ka-thunk-KA-BOOM" and raced into the living room. It was then I discovered the tail end of a wooden rocking horse sticking out of the wall at the base of the staircase. Surveying the plaster pieces spilled out onto the floor, I looked up to find my two-year old son standing there, at the top of the stairs, eyes big as saucers and frozen at the sight of the destruction. He then turned to me and said (a new English phrase he picked up quickly)..."uh oh." He had pushed the horse down the stairs and, as relieved that I was he wasn't RIDING the horse at the time, he learned real quick the meaning of timeout.

The next was a few months later when he opened a bottle of red nail polish and emptied it in the middle of my champagne-colored living room carpet. I almost flipped my lid. But, I will tell ya that to get nail polish out of carpet, mix non-acetone nail polish remover with dry laundry detergent...make a paste and rub it in, the stain comes out. See! In sharing the yucky stuff I am able to impart my enlightening domestic tips as well. This may be a win-win afterall. (hee hee)

In the three years we've had him there have been many a time that I have prayed for patience (I know--it's the kiss of death) as well as relied on the advice and guidance of friends about how to deal with everything from tantrums to how he relates to other kids, etc. It's all one big learning process, you know?

Let's fast forward to Sunday, shall we? I am now raising a five year old that I'm pretty certain has a secret copy of my "hot button" manual and reads it in night...with a little flashlight. He also knows just enough back talk to get himself in a whole heapa trouble. On Sunday, he got mad because he didn't want to get some rest (that's code word for nap) after lunch. He was tired and I could tell he needed to chill out before our big play date that evening. He smarted off and yelled "fine!" as he went up the stairs and slammed the door. It went downhill from there. Keith went to have a discussion with him and, suffice it to say, calling your Dad a loser for getting on to you is not the best plan.

Because of his behavior (there was more smarting off that followed), Keith made the decision that we should stay home from the playdate. We both really wanted to go and see our friends but realized that parenthood involves sacrifices on many levels. So, we didn't go. And Daniel learned a valuable lesson that it's best to not use hurtful words just because he's angry.

Through it all I have learned that, although parenthood is most definitely a series of ups and downs, searching for answers, and trying different approaches to see what works, it is, bar none, the best job in the world.

(see, I can still end it sappy if I wanna) :-)

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Tales From the Scales Karaoke: "I Will Survive"

O.K.,'s Tuesday karaoke. Please summon up your best Gloria Gaynor and sing along with me. (Drop the disco ball and dim the lights, please.........)

First I was afraid
I was petrified
Knew my weigh in was approaching
Time not on my side

But I spent so many nights
Eating oh so very wrong
I wasn't strong
But I guess I'll carry on

And so I'm back
On this web space
If this were done by video
You'd see a sad look on my face

I should have skipped that stupid snack
Into my hand the cookies flew
If I had known for just one second
It would cause a gain of two!

Oh but I
I will survive
As long as I have friends like you
I know I'll stay alive
I've got another week ahead
I swear my sweet tooth won't be fed
And I'll survive
I will survive............Oh..........................

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Perfect Evening, Y'all

Harry, Harry, Harry.

Mercy...was tonight a ton of fun.

Last week, I won four tickets to the Harry Connick, Jr. concert at an ampitheatre here in Atlanta (or "Hot-lanta" as it's known this time of year.) Fearing it would live up to its nickname, we and our friends Jimmy and Melissa were dressed for warm weather and came prepared with a fan and plenty o' water. Turns out, we didn't need any of it. Lemme tell you, it was a perfect evening, ya'll.

Rain earlier in the day ushered in a cool evening that was breezy and overcast. Candles on the tables below flickered like fireflies in the night and the mood and relaxed and grateful. Grateful? Yes, grateful. I was grateful to enjoy the company of adults without hearing the words "snack," "transformers," or "light sabre" even once. Grateful to Harry Connick for donating the proceeds of such an entertaining show to help rebuild New Orleans--his hometown. And, most of all, grateful to spend an evening with my hubby just being myself...having fun, at ease and, yes, howling an occassional cat call at Harry down there on the stage. Hey, do you blame me?

It really was a perfect evening, indeed.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Orlando ~ June 2007

Sunshine, on my shoulders,
Makes me happy

Sunshine, in my eyes,
Can make me cry

Sunshine, on the water,
Looks so lovely
Sunshine, a
lmost always
Makes me high...

Friday, June 22, 2007

Friday's Feast: June 22, 2007

O.K. sports's Friday and time for Friday's Feast. You can check out what other folks are serving up here. Bon appetite!

Appetizer: Name a funny habit you have.
I've revealed this in a previous post, but I absolutely must tap the side of a plane three times before boarding/taking off. No way around it. I gotta.

Soup: If you could instantly know how to play a musical instrument, which one would you pick?
It would have to be the accordian. And, I would form a killer Polka Band and hit every state fair possible. ;-) No, it'd be the guitar. Hands down.

Salad: How long is your hair? Short to medium (between ears and shoulder)

Main Course: When was the last time you forgave someone, and who was it?
My neighbor and friend, Kim, for making me walk this morning. When did I forgive her? At the top of the last hill.

Dessert: What is your favorite kitchen appliance?
My food chopper thingie. Great way to release pent up anger. Bam! Bam! Bam! Bam! I feel better already.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

A Quick Message... the neighbor who is making me get up at 6:15 tomorrow morning to go walking.

I don't like you very much. I will afterwards. But now? Not so much.

The Five Year Old You

You are running in so many directions
Your interests unfolding
A new passion each day...
You are a baseball star, golf pro,
jigsaw puzzle-solver,
professional popsicle-eater,
bike-riding, karaoke-singing,
tree-swing swinging
delight to be around.

Your deep brown eyes implore me
Your toothless grin makes me smile
And your laughter warms my heart...

Your incessant questioning
Of the world around you
is both refreshing and frustrating
"How does that work?"
"Why does it work that way?"
"Can I try it, Mommy?"
A curiosity I wouldn't trade
For all the peaceful quiet in the world...

The five year old you
You've come so far
Yet you still have a lifetime
To find new passions
Dream new dreams
And I'll always be here
On the sidelines
Cheering you on.

I love you.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Works for Me Wednesday!

Yep, I'm an organizing junkie. The list maker. I make lists of my lists (ok, not really). But, I tried to come up with a tool for planning my meals that would inspire me to put pen to paper. So, I designed this weekly menu planner (I use it for dinner only). It provides a place for the menu and then a box to the side for notes. I use that box mostly for cookbook names, page numbers, substitutions, etc.

Now, if you really want to get your organizing "freak" on, keep these each week in a spiral bound notebook and you'll have weeks worth of menu ideas at your fingertips. Now that's what I'm talkin bout! :-)

(click to enlarge)

I had to convert it to a .jpeg to post here. If this doesn't print clearly, just drop me an email at and I'll email you the PDF version for a small donation of Hershey's Milk Chocolate sticks. Kidding. But I will be glad to send it to ya.

For more Works for Me Wednesday ideas, head on over to Shannon's blog.

Menu planning... works for me!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Scale Issues!!!

Got on this pounds lost. woo hoo. or not. kept getting on to check it out and it was the same. until I noticed that the needle was returning to less than zero. so, I adjust the little dial to excatly "zero" and then it says I've gained a half a pound. And the next time it says lost a pound. who knows????

So, until I can get a new set of scales, I will say that I have done OK. Last week, not so good in Orlando (Disney junk food) but this week has been better. And, the best part is my body is telling me I'm full much sooner and in a much louder way. If I eat too much junk, I feel really yucky, really fast.

So, there. I think I'll go with the one pound loss (not as good as seven, but I'll take it).

Anybody have a good scale to recommend??? Is digital trustworthy or should I stick with the old fashioned kind??

Thanks for your advice! To see how others are doing, click here. Have a great week, folks!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

I've got Spirit yes I do...I've got bout you?

That USED to be my battle mantra as a walking, talking billboard for Spirit Airlines. Now? Not so much.

As my son and I headed to the Atlanta airport last Tuesday to take advantage of our $9 airfare--yep, $9 one I go advertising for them again--excitement filled the car. I was going to inspect properties for a meeting in January and he was getting to spend time with my sister and her daughter while I worked.

Long story short: arrived at the ticket counter 42 minutes prior to my 10am departure where I was promptly and rudely notified that they had closed the flight 3 minutes prior. What? Airlines typically have 30 minute windows for closing. But Spirit? 45 minutes. I begged, I pleaded, I offered my first born (seeing as I've never been able to get pregnant I didn't think it too risky) but no dice. She simply said, "Nope. It's closed. There is nothing I can do. It's non-refundable. You could go tomorrow...but it would be $140...and the $77 you paid for today's flight cannot be applied to any future travel." What? What? Double what?

The concept of customer service completely thrown out the window, this woman smirked at me and said, "there is nothing I can do to help you. You should have been here at 9:15." I began to explain to her that Spirit Airlines had NEVER been on time in my experience with them and I KNEW that would be the case today--she simply kept shaking her head "no."

I could feel the steam beginning to shoot out of my ears. My son, confused by the exchange, began to ask, with tears welling up in his big brown eyes of course, "why can't we go to Florida, Mom? Can we not go see Aunt Jenny, Mom?" For Pete's sake. I marched off, luggage and child in tow, searching for other airlines to get there by my 1:00pm meeting time--or even that day at the very least. No luck.

As I turned to find a place to sit while I figured out what to do, I glanced up at the departure board which now read "Spirit Airlines Orlando departure...10:10 am" I knew it! DELAYED. I went back up to the counter, requested to see the manager to which the rude woman replied, "I AM the manager." Could my luck get any worse? I'm just sayin.

I quickly pointed out that the flight WAS indeed delayed which meant I would have been there within the window and she put her hand on the desk and, in a raised tone said, "Look...that flight could be delayed for FIVE HOURS and you still would not get on." I had no words. I think I simply mumbled something about not being surprised they were so cheap and I walked off.

Let me tell you how the rest of my day went. I decided to drive. 9 hours. To Orlando. With no movie player or snack to be found. I remedied the second problem by stopping in Target where I purchased a lap desk, markers, crayons, snacks, and play doh and then we hit the road. It was wonderful. We talked, we laughed, we sang, he played with play doh and colored pictures and then fell asleep two hours out for the remainder of the trip. No whining. No complaining. He was an angel and I will savor that undivided time with him for years to come.

We had a great time in Orlando and made it home safely Friday evening. I realize that low cost isn't always the best option and that some together time can be a healthy way to reconnect with a kid that you may already spend the majority of your day with. It certainly helped us make some memories.

Special thanks to the rudest woman on the planet. Because of her unwavering commitment to poor customer service, my son and I had a GREAT time together and I'm already looking forward to our next road trip!

Monday, June 11, 2007

The Butterfly

It had been months since I had visited. As my car wound it's way through the imposing iron gates and traveled slowly down the symmetrical, tree-lined streets, I felt a sense of peace as I neared the location of my mother's gravesite.

As I pulled off to the side, my heart sank as I discovered a mound of fireants and bugs... its grainy architecture slowly creeping its way up the front of her headstone. Remembering her words, "do not fuss over my grave...I am not there...I am in a better place..." I fought back tears at the sight of how unkempt her resting spot had become. Determined to fuss over it anyway, I raced to the grocery store and picked up a gallon-size bottle of ant-killer which I used up promptly upon my return.

As I sprayed and raked, sprayed and raked, pulled weeds and tossed them into a pile, a monarch butterfly fluttered by and landed squarely on my mother's name on the headstone. The irony of this visitor was not lost on mother ADORED butterflies and this one, out of nowhere, had landed on her name. It seemed to watch me and cheer me on--wings flapping open and shut, open and shut--as I worked to straighten up the mess. I soon realized that my newfound supporter had not moved...even in the face of constant motion on my part. It sat there, perched upon the deeply etched letters in her name, keeping a watchful eye on my progress.

Many will claim coincidence...and I'm sure it was probably so. But to me, that butterfly was much more. It was a reminder of my Mom. It was a peaceful presence that strangely comforted me as I wept for my Mom's absence. But, most of all, it was a sign that life goes on...and that, whatever the circumstance, and when you least expect it, something magical can happen.

As I packed up my tools and turned to walk away, the butterfly slowly danced away into the morning. It had come. It had comforted me. It had flown away.

It will always be a magical encounter to me.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Off to Alabama...

We're headed out for a visit to Dad and Jackie's house in Selma, Alabama. We're returning tomorrow and I'll post then about Daniel's new front-toothless status as well as his first T-ball game today (he did GREAT!)

More tomorrow...

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Another lazy hazy
summer day
stretches and yawns
and prepares to sleep

Her sun peeking out
as if to say,
"don't worry, come morning,
we'll be together again..."

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Memes, Memes Everywhere

To be honest, I didn't know what a "meme" was in the land of bloggedyville. Now, I'm guessing it's something that tells about oneself ...hence the name "". Anyhoo, I've been tagged twice this week. Once by Laura at My Quotidian Mysteries and also by Beth at I Should Be Folding Laundry.

Here goes:

"My Personal Policies"
This one cracked me up because, the more you get to know me the more you'll understand, I'm not really a personal-policy-kinda gal. Sure I have things that are important to me so maybe I'll hit it from that angle. Things that are important to me:

  • Courtesy. In any shape or form. Consideration of others is one of the "rules" which I live by. If walking by someone and it's just the two of us...I'm gonna say hello. Why act like there is not another human being there? Saying hello, thank you, please...all of these are tied into being courteous....which leads me into something which could be mentioned here but deserves its own bullet...
  • "Ma'am/Sir". Yes, I'm one of those old-fashioned mamas who actually makes my son say "yes or no ma'am/sir" to grown ups. It is how I was raised and I feel pretty strongly about it. Now, if you don't do this with your kids I don't think there's anything wrong with it. It's simply how I was raised (you know us Southerners) and I want Daniel to grow accustomed to saying it...which he has for the most part.
  • Capitalizing words referring to God. This has stuck with me through the years and I guess you could say it's become a "policy" of sorts. When referring to God as "Him" or "He"...I always capitalize it. Always. I just feel it's important.
  • Not rewarding whining. OOooh, this one is a biggie for me. I guess it took us so long to have kids, I got a chance to witness a lot of parenting do's and don'ts through the years. Of course, there are times when there could possibly be an exception to this (dire circumstances require dire measures) BUT...if Daniel is told "no" about something and begins to cry/pitch a fit/temper tantrum because of being told "no" and so I give in to him to get him to stop whining...he has been taught the way to get what he wants. I witness this so much in public that it makes me cringe. It would be a definite "policy" of mine!
  • Tapping the plane three times. I cannot believe I am divulging this superstitious policy of mine publically. Growing up, Mom taught me to tap the side of the plane three times for good luck while boarding. I have NEVER not tapped the plane. In fact, this is ridiculous (I know, believe me), one time I got scooted into the plane and I couldn't tap the side. I pretended to go to the front restroom and I stuck my hand out the door before it was closed to get my tap in. Superstition run amuck. Yes, I know. You don't have to remind me I'm a freak.

  • And the next meme was...

    My Five Favorite Restaurants -- in no particular order
    (focusing on food during a weight loss challenge...thanks, Beth!)

    1. Maggiano's (Atlanta) Italian restuarant with the BEST chicken florentine I have ever had. Swathed in bubbling, toasty cheese...oh my. Family style is the way to go so take friends!

    2. Brookwood Grill (Roswell, GA) To die for croissants drizzled in honey butter and french onion soup so good you'll slap yo' mama.

    3. J. Alexanders (Duluth, GA and Birmingham, AL)-- yummy. yummy. yummy. Cold orzo wild rice salad and an unbelieveable carrot cake that makes me like carrot cake. Trust me, I can't stand carrot cake.

    4. The Varsity (Atlanta) my folks met here and I've grown up going here. BEST chili dogs, onion rings and frosted orange in the world. It's a tradition. My hubby says we have to go there when his cholesterol drops to "a dangerously low level." ;-)

    5. Old Bay Steamer (Ft. Walton, FL and Point Clear, AL) Seafood...snow crab legs dipped in a delectable drawn butter and the BEST salad I've ever had.

    Ok, that's enough. Can't talk about food anymore. It's lunch time and I'm starving!

    Tuesday, June 05, 2007


    I'm back on track! Even after a vacation of not being so good. . .
    I lost 2.5 pounds!!! Walking in the sand was a good way to burn off the junk we ate. I've been swimming every day and walked yesterday as well as this morning.

    I can do this. I can do this. I can do this.

    As opposed to my attitude a couple weeks ago, I really feel encouraged and optimistic about the rest of this challenge. We'll see!

    Total weight loss............ 4.0 pounds since start of the May Day Weight Loss Challenge. (14 lbs. lost since February!!!)

    Sunday, June 03, 2007

    Home Sweet Home

    I'm back from our brief vacation to Florida-- a trip that I neglected to tell you about prior to (probably from the combination of my packing whirlwind and yucky stomach bug). Also, I'm simply not used to the fact that more than one or two folks stop by here every day. To those of you nice enough to care a little about what I have to say...I'm back!

    I did get to feeling better last Wednesday after recuperating from a 24-hour period of what I was sure was my certain demise. I had caught the stomach bug from my sweet boy who made a scene at Johnny Rocket's by, um...upheaving...tossing his cookies...all OVER the place. I was dining with my sis-in-law and nephew at the time and, let's just say, it wasn't pretty. That poor child became a "puke uzi" as I carried him face forward to the restroom. Yes, in hindsight, it would have been more sacrificial and courteous to face him toward my a selfish moment of non-thinking...I only added to the spectacle as I carried him the (thankfully) short distance to the bathroom. An hour later, we are putting on the new clothes my sis-in-law had to go purchase and are heading home. Less than 24 hours later, I am suffering the same fate. Ahh, a joy of mommyhood--shared illness. :-)

    Anyway, I digress!

    We went to Navarre Beach, Florida and the weather was wonderful as was our time with our friends Billy and Deborah and their two kiddos. The first day out on the beach, Deb and I got a little crispy so the next day was spent inside recuperating and playing Phase 10-- a surefire candidate for my "Katie's Little Addictions" list. We walked along the beach, searched for shells, ate great seafood and generally relaxed. All in all, it was great to get away!

    I hope to have some pictures posted tomorrow...

    Thanks for checking in and I'm glad to be back!