Sunday, September 30, 2007


“Blessed are the single-hearted, for they shall enjoy much peace.
If you refuse to be hurried and pressed, if you stay your soul on God, nothing can keep you from that clearness of spirit which is life and peace. In that stillness you will know what His will is.”
~ Amy Carmichael

* * *

For a warm, not-quite-yet-autumn day in Florida, the wind was remarkably cool and the leaves in the trees fluttered about with the spunky flirtiness of schoolgirls excited to see each other after a long absence. As I lied on my back atop the castle section of a wooden playground, I absorbed the wonder and the glory of a quiet moment. There were no sounds to cars zooming by, no kids screaming as they played. No, it was just me and my son and the sound of the gulls as they passed by overhead.

This playground excursion was not entered into lightly. I had promised multiple pushes on the swing, a race to the slide, a tutorial on proper monkey bar protocol and alternating turns playing goalie on the soccer field nearby. All this wrangling in return for good behavior and patience during what we anticipated to be a longer-than-normal college football game due to it being broadcast on television.

At first, I was struck by the peacefulness at this most public of playground spots. The glare and heat of the warm Florida sun was deflected by a cozy canopy of tree branches that formed an rooflike sort of structure above our heads. As I prepared to take my turn on the slide, I laid my head back and surveyed the scene above. The sunlight was weaving its way in and amongst the narrow branches as they swayed to and fro. The song of cicadas danced on the breeze and I called Daniel--my five year old--over to take in the wonder...the stillness of it all.

Now anyone who knows squat about five year olds knows that the words "5 year old" and "stillness" are virtually inutterable in the same sentence. You know, much like "rock concert" and "quiet" could never be used in relation.

You get my drift.

I would, at some point in his young life, love to instill in my son the same sense of reverence I carry for unexpected moments of peace. Moments when there is nothing more wonder-filled than to take in the sounds and the environment around you. So, I tried.

"Daniel...come here sweetie... here lie down next to Mommy. Look up there...isn't that cool how the tree branches are dancing in the wind? And how the sunlight is sparkling as it peeps through the trees? Let's just be quiet for a minute and see what else we notice..."

::silence for 5 seconds::


"Shhhhh...for just a second...listen to you hear it? That's the wind whistling...and the birds....let's just listen to them talk to us, OK? Shhhhhhhh........."

:: 3 seconds of silence::


"What, sweetie?"

"That was cool. Will you go push me on the swing now?" (as he jumps up and slides down the slide)

Sigh... yes, I will push you. I pull myself up, dust off and slide down the bright yellow slide.

So much for "Nature Appreciation 101." Perhaps in a year or five I'll try it again. But for now, there's a tire swing calling my name.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Real Life Pole Position

Did you ever play the game Pole Position in an arcade? You'd grab on to the steering wheel and try to stay within the confines of a track while avoiding numerous obstacles that were launched into your path?

Well, my morning drive to Daniel's school for the past two days has been like real life Pole Position. It starts with the suicidal squirrels. As I'm navigating the curves of my street, squirrels appear out of nowhere and dart into my path. If I didn't know better, I'd think they all have little walkie-talkies and are alerting each other when to jump in the way of my tires. I kid you not... this morning there were at least six squirrels that did the "stop-in-the-middle-of-the-road-and-freak-out" dance as my car approached. I usually don't swerve too much because I've gotten to the point in my life where I refuse to endanger the people riding in my car because a wayward squirrel wants to "end it all." But, it is quite distressing to be on the lookoout for Kamikaze Rodents at each bend in the road.

Then, they're working on the road next to my house and there are cones and workmen flagging me every which-a way... "SLOW!" "STOP!" Signs are trucks backing in and out of my path... whew. Avoided collision with concrete mixer truck...BONUS: 5,000 points!

And, of course, the very highlight of my morning routine is avoiding mowing down a family with small children in the treacherous parking lot of my son's school. I have memorized the accepted pathways in and out of the lot but the straight in-and-out layout of parking spaces, combined with small children and cars pulling in and's a recipe for disaster, I tell ya. I inch back....inch back...a little more.....look over right shoulder, look over left shoulder...a little more....rearview mirror check....left check...right check.... inch a little...ALERT! Blue backpack in the mirror! I slam on the brakes, breathe and, once the field is seemingly clear, start inching out again. I make the successful turnout and head, cautiously, down a row to safely exit.


Final Score:

Near miss Squirrel #4....350 points
Mixer Truck Collision Avoidance..... 5,000 points
Backpack Spotting Bonus: 1,400 points

Perhaps tomorrow there'll be a bulldozer or double stroller thrown in to the mix. I hear that avoiding those can automatically land you into the next level with bonus speed-trap protection. Stay tuned...

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

SFD, part Deaux

Goodness, gracious
This SFD
Is really starting
To get to me

I drove by the bank
And what did I see?
The temperature reading
Was ninety THREE!

Monday, September 24, 2007

SFD: Seasonal Frustration Disorder

As the end of the summer
Finally fades
The trees should be starting
To turn different shades

The pumpkin farms brimming
With bright orange beasts
Should accompany
Warm, "fall harvesty" feasts

But instead I have shorts on
And have full o' leaf trees
Tell me WHY in September
It is 90 degrees???

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday, Sleepy Sunday


That's what time we pulled into our driveway this morning after driving home from the game. Keith and I took turns driving and have both agreed that will NEVER happen again. We did make it to church by 8:25 for our meeting and children's church...but had to leave right afterwards so we could come home and crash.

Basically, we have been good for NOTHING for the rest of this day.

The game was a heartbreaker for us as we lost in overtime. But, it was as exciting as a game can get. I mean, who wants to see their team just blow the other away? What's the fun in that? Well, actually, there is aLOT of fun in that. But, if you can't have that, then the so-close-that-I-barely-have-any-fingernails-left kinda game is fun, too.

Final score:

Alabama 23
Georgia 26,
Katie & Keith's Sunday Productivity Level... ZERO.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Craziness, I Tell Ya

Fall is my favorite time of year.

It's also the time when we're so busy that it seems like life is whizzing by. On most Saturdays, we are on the road to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for home games at the University of Alabama. On days like today, it gets a little crazier because we're leaving this morning, driving the 3 hour drive, tailgating all day, going to the game, and then driving back home to be back in time for an 8:30am meeting at church and then doing children's church for the first service. I have no idea what time we'll get in tonight/tomorrow a.m. but it won't be pretty. We would get a sub but we're going to the Florida State/Alabama game in Florida next weekend so we really have to be there tomorrow. That's what Sunday afternoon naps are for, I guess!

This season also seems to be when I want to cram as much in as possible to take advantage of the glorius weather and bounty of activities...pumpkin patches ands corn mazes...festivals, name it.

Somehow I need to work in time to take it all in...the colors, sights, sounds, smells and tastes of this glorious time of year.

How I do love Fall.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Under the Magnolia Trees

In the early 1970's, little did the residents of Robertsdale, Alabama know there was a land of magic in their midst...a mystical place where children could dream and soak up enough memories to last a lifetime. This splendid sanctuary of frolic and fun was the backyard of my grandparents' home.

Back in those days, the sleepy little town of Robertsdale was nothing more than the place where travelers would stop at the local Taste-T-Freeze on their way down to the beach. Just a few blocks off the main highway was a short tree-lined street containing a neat little row of houses. One of the houses was not much more than a box. Only 750 square feet in size, it was a mansion to my sister and I. The rounded front steps and wrought iron bannister gave the little house a sense of granduer...not to mention a perfect spot for 2 young girls to perform shows for an always patient audience.

Although there was something quite special about the facade of the house and its oyster-shell driveway, it was the backyard and single car garage that always seemed to draw us in as children. Covered with larger-than-life magnolia trees whose roots were bursting through the earth, the shady expanse served as the ideal stage for our imaginary world. Dumping out boxes of miniature-sized cars, trucks and play "people," we would use the tree roots as our roads and highways. My sister and I would spend hours in this pretend world and I consider this one of my fondest childhood memories.

Also in the back there was a garage that smelled of oil and dirt and mystery. To a small child, this was a haven of exploration... every Alabama license tag ever issued (at least since my grandfather had been driving) was hung neatly on the back wall alongside an almost spooky addition to the mix--rows of dried out gourds he collected. The odd shapes and curvatures of these hollowed shells would take on a life of their own as the late afternoon sun cast slanted shadows onto the wall. It was a place of intrigue in my young, curious eyes.

There are many other details about the place that I remember fondly...the vegetable garden carefully tended my by grandfather, the row of fig trees from which my grandmother would make her delectable fig preserves, and the icebox in the garage that always contained a flat of those colored juice drinks with the aluminum foil cap. Then there was the screened porch on the back of the house with its Victrola-style record player and the way the sound of the Lawrence Welk show poured forth from the living room television. Even the smell of moth balls in the guest room cedar closet makes for a pleasant memory because it is interlaced with the sounds of my grandmother singing me to sleep with "Delta Dawn" as she rubbed my back in slow, circular patterns.

Many memories dance around in this sometimes-scattered head of mine. But few compare to the magic, the mystery and the freedom I felt as I played and imagined, dreamed and explored in that little backyard under the magnolia trees.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Yes, I am still alive. And I'm HOME.

It's Roses and Violets Live, not New York....GEORGIA!

(....."begin cheesy theme music.....and you're on!")

Welcome back to the show folks. Your travel correspondent let you down. I could blame it on technical diffculties. I could blame it on the daily demonstrations that graced the front of our hotel... there are lots of excuses I could throw out there. But, you know what?

I was just doggone tired.

From six o'clock in the morning to ten o'clock each night I was on the move. I've planned meetings before for folks that meet in the morning and play in the afternoon. This is not one of those groups. These folks are serious about some meetings y'all. At any given time, there are six concurrent breakout sessions going, then they switch and go to another set of six or so meetings...all which have their own set-up needs, agendas, sign-in sheets, name it.

And, of course, I had to wear cute shoes.

And, there is nothing ever comfortable about cute shoes.

At one point, my friend Cindy (a girlfriend of mine I drag along with me to help out!) and I are walking down the hall echoing each other as the "cute" shoes we were wearing rubbed the blisters made by other cute shoes we wore. "Oww," "Ouch," "Owww," Ouch,"...we would echo each other in a duet of footwear misery. (note to self: forget style next time. I think those nurse-style shoes will look great with my navy suit. Perhaps the taupe ones with the thick laces will do.)

I did get to take in a few sights...I did the Empire State Building that I told you about in the last post only I didn't see Tom Hanks. I also did not find anyone remotely looking like Tom Hanks or a backpack of any kind. I did find lines, security, and frustrated workers who had probably spent the last eight hours telling camera-wielding tourists like me which elevator to use. It was a spectacular view though...(see pics below)

I must say we had some wonderful food (Michael Jordan's and Morton's Steakhouses, authentic New York-style cheesecake and a to-die-for reuben at a local deli) and everyone was in a great mood. The last night I was there, Cindy had returned home so I jumped in a cab and went to Time Square. As touristy as it sounds, it just FEELS like I'm really in the Big Apple when I'm standing in Time Square. I really had a good time.

But, when I got home and hugged my husband and got to snuggle with my son during his nap... I knew I was back where I belong.

THAT, my friends, is the best feeling of all.

Here are a few pics from my trip:

View from Empire State Observatory

Me (left) & Cindy (right)-- Installation Banquet

Interior of the New York City Public Library

View from our reception at the
United Nations Headquarters (East River)

Heaven (a.k.a. the rows of dispensers at the World of M&M's)

Time Square--September 17

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Life in New York...Temporarily

Greetings from New York... wish I could tell you I decided to fly up here like Oprah to do a special "edition" of Roses and Violets "LIVE! From the Big Apple!" but, the truth is I'm working. Perhaps one day a bloggy expedition will be in order. But, for now you'll have to settle for the oh-so-glamorous behind-the-scenes tale of putting on a meeting for 500 people.

You're on the edge of your seats, aren't you? This is good stuff, I tell you. Starting tomorrow, I'll be able to regale you with stories of lost name badges, room temperature adjustments and $19.50 cookies. Tell all your friends! I may need to alert Blogger so that the server doesn't get jammed or somethin.

Hee hee.

Got in yesterday and we got the registration room set-up and patted ourselves on the back for early productivity. That will give us a sliver of sightseeing time today...a rare opportunity at these meetings. Like any well-known travel correspondent, of course I will report back here to my faithful throng of readers. All ten of you should be pleased to know that one of our stops includes the Empire State Building. I have my faux braid and London fog trench coat ready to reinact the scene from Sleepless in Seattle where Meg Ryan rushes to the top...hoping that Tom Hanks will be there (insert weepy voice here) but then, ::sniff::, all she finds is the back pack containing the bear--what's the bear's name my trivia friends?? hmm???-- yes, Howard. She finds Howard and then Tom Hanks and his son come running around the corner. Sighhhhhhhhhh.

I digress.

As usual.

Not sure where else we'll be going. Last night, we went down to the South Street Seaport and had Mexican (because, after all, Mexican food is so local and all) and I came back to the room and crashed.

Stay tuned for more Roses and Violets...LIVE! From New York! (begin cheesy theme music....and fade....................................)

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Let the Negotiations Begin...

It's almost here. The holiday I hear about nine outta twelve months of the year.


Pagan holiday or not, my son thinks the chance to marry his two favotire pasttimes--dressing up in costumes and getting candy--is nothing short of heavenly. There are cyclical discussions that happen in this family's household: When is Christmas, what he wants for Christmas, what he would like for Christmas next year (this discussion occurs at 7:16am on Christmas Day), what he would like to do for his birthday and then...on the day in February after his birthday...the Halloween discussion begins.

I kid you not.

This year, the transition to "young man" costumes instead of cute little boy costumes has taken place. The emphasis on cute and adorable has given way to which superhero-weapon toting-scary-faced-metal skinned roboty-thing he wants to be. Luckily, I relied upon the fact that the particular costume of that genre was much too expensive.

That's when the wheels in his brilliant little mind started a-spinnin'.

"Mom, I know what I want to be for Halloween since I can't get that Transformer costume I want."

"What is that?," I ask.

"Al Roker. You know the weather man."

I have no words.

"We'll see, honey." The classic Mommy decision avoidance phrase.

The next day: "Mommy, I've changed my mind. I want to be the person at the airport that stands behind the counter and gives you the ticket-thingy to get on the airplane."

"A gate agent?," I ask.

"Yes. I want to be an airline gate agent," he declares.

"Alrighty then," I say. Making mental note to research "youth size gate agent costume."

Then, the last straw came this morning. I enter his room to awaken him from a peaceful slumber.

He meets me at his door.

"I've got it, Mommy! I know what I REALLYYyyyyyyy wanna be for Halloween. This is it!, " he exclaims.

"OK, what do you REALLY want to be for Halloween?"

"The guy that sings Rhinestone Cowboy."

I am dumbfounded.

"You want to be Glen Campbell for Halloween?," I ask.

"Yep!" Then he breaks out in song, "Like a Rhinestone Cowboy...bomp bommmmmmm...getting cards and letters from people I don't even know.... like a rhinestone cowboy......"

OK. His plot to force me to concede to the Transformer-type costume out of sheer exhaustion? Well, lemme just say the boy knows what he's doing. He has it all planned out. I'm sure they talk at recess and map out alternate/impossible costume strategies to wear down my defenses.

Little does he know I inherited enough creativity from my Mom to fulfill his very wish.

You wanna sing some Rhinestone Cowboy?

Your wish is my command. :-)

Sunday, September 09, 2007

The Escalator Ride

I had waited for that moment for what seemed like an eternity. We stepped off the train and approached the bank of escalators directly in front of us. Which one should we choose? I'm guessing the middle one would be best. I had never before put so much thought into which escalator would transport me to the Baggage Claim area at the Atlanta airport.

But, this time was different.

In my arms was a sandy-blonde haired boy with brand new jeans and sparkling white little tennis shoes and an enormous green apple that had been in his clutch since we left the Moscow Marriott at 4 o'clock that morning (18 hours prior, to be exact).

At the top of the escalator at the airport that day was a throng of family and friends--all bearing posters and balloons and steeped in anticipation...waiting to meet this new addition to our family.

Our first child.

It had been a long road to this moment. Years of trying to conceive, followed by the death of my mother which sparked in me a "life is too short" attitude...nudging us down the adoption path. There had been seminars and paperwork and medical visits, shots to guard us from illness while traveling abroad, home studies, background clearances, financial reviews and yes, even a letter stating that our dog had received all the appropriate vaccinations. We were ready.

I got the call at work that the Russian courts had offered us a date to return and bring our child home (we had been on Trip 1 a few months prior). I was at work and my coworkers jumped up and down in delight--as excited as I was that it was happening. We were going to be parents.

After an agonizing week in Russia discovering that Daniel had been hospitalized with chicken pox and we could not see him until it was time to take him home... we finally became parents. Appropriately, he became ours on Mother's Day 2004 in the waiting area of a hospital in the middle of nowhere Russia. It was time to go home.

I travel quite a bit for business and had taken that steep escalator ride many a time. Each time I traveled during the adoption process, I would slowly ascend to the top and dream that Daniel was in my arms and we were finally coming home.

Well, this time, it was for real. was happening. A neat twist to the story was that the same coworkers that had shared in the joy of "the call" that day happened to be returning from a trip as well. They were the first to meet Daniel and got to make the "trip" up to the family and friends area with us. The doors to the train opened announcing our arrival at the terminal. We chose the middle escalator and my son was holding on tight to me with the bright green apple in his grasp. I glanced upward at the natural light pouring in knowing that, in just a few more moments, I would introduce this precious child to some really important people in our lives.

The slow creek, creek, creek echoed the pounding of my heart. Here we pulse quickened as we waved at the video camera being held by Keith as he captured the moment. The escalator came to the top, leveled out..................

and we saw them.

Balloons and banners and posters and people that we love cheering with relief. It was over. We were home. I approached my father and tears of relief poured forth. My sister, who was pregnant at the time, could not hold Daniel because of the chicken pox but she cried and shared in the joy of the moment. Friends embraced Daniel like he had been ours forever. It was one of the most special moments of our life.

I recall this story because I got the joy of watching some of our best friends take that ride yesterday. Their long journey to parenthood ended in the delivery room of a California hospital as they welcomed little Jackson into the world. Their arrival at the airport was important to me because I had been there. I had felt that relief and the needed embrace of familiar faces.

In a true role reversal, Daniel and I were now sitting on the floor, Keith was poised with camera ready and we waited...and we waited...and every cluster of new arrivals caused our heart to skip a beat. Then we saw them. Melissa and Jimmy...after years of being the "favorite aunt and uncle," the couple who everyone said "would make such great parents." There they were, stepping off the escalator with a bundle in their arms. Tears overcame me as I walked over and embraced my friend. They had done it. They navigated the turbulent waters of adoption and arrived home safely with their baby boy. We hugged for what seemed like an eternity as we shared in the happiness of the moment.

For many, the escalator to Baggage Claim at the Atlanta airport is nothing more than that. But for us and many other families, it serves a much bigger purpose. It is the "hospital room," the nursery window, if you will. It's the place to beam with pride and introduce your child to those you love.

It's a very special ride, indeed.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Anyone Know Spanish?

In my grand style of poor timing, we are having new carpet installed in our house today. Today. Of all days. But, considering my last post and repentance for shallow worrying, I shall not make a big deal of it. I will only say that it looks like we're moving and we've had to totally clear all our bedrooms and downstairs living room of "stuff." Today. The last good working day before next week's conference.

They were supposed to install while I was in New York but called to ask if this morning was O.K. And, of course, in true Katie fashion, never to tell anyone "no," I said "no problem."

So, now there are three very nice hispanic men who don't speak a lick of English tromping all over my new light-colored carpet in their tennis shoes as they install. I have said a couple times "I sure hope your shoes are clean" (do you see my eye twitching?) All I get is a laugh.

I'm not kidding mi amigos.

Do you think "Seniora no wanto no dirto on me carpeto!" will work?

Amazing how quickly I slip back into my worldy ways and worry about the little stuff.

Perspective, and Inspiration, Gained

I haven't blogged since Tuesday because I have been swimming in last-minute details for an event I have coming up in New York next week. To me, this is my least favorite part...making sure all the little details are covered. Each day, a new thing pops up-- someone needs a hotel room and we're sold out or they want to change to another tour or the speakers are requesting last-minute items... or I hear there is a taxi drivers strike in New York.

[rubbing temples]

"Oh woe is me..." This has been my internal mantra over the last couple weeks. The girl that stresses about having to pay $71 per person for bacon and eggs. I have so much to's really been tough this week.

Then, last night, at about 10pm I was stopped in my tracks. A friend of mine in the neighborhood emailed to tell me she has cancer. A very rare form stemming from her endometriosis. It 's called endometrioid adenocarcinoma. They discovered it when she went to have a mass removed off of her ovary and had it biopsied. It was indeed cancer. The large mass was on her right ovary (which they removed) and the smaller one was on her left ovary (which they left in). Then a PET scan showed a nother possible cancerous mass near her sigmoid colon. Since the tumor was found to be a grade 3--highly aggressive and likely to spread--she is having surgery on September 19 to have everything from her ovary and cervix to her appendix and all lymph nodes in her pelvis removed to help prevent spreading.

This came on the heels of another friend in Alabama being diagnosed with breast cancer out of the blue. A friend who has seen both parents battle cancer and who also gave her kidney to a guy in her Sunday school class. She is now at MD Anderson in Houston being evaluated and emailed last night to say they did find 3 more masses in the same breast and abnormal cells in the lymph nodes under her arm. She is awaiting biopsy results.

Both of these women are young and have small children and plenty of life ahead of them. I thought about the worries that I had on my plate and how my biggest worry was that my son thinks that I am super-glued to this office chair. My worries over spending time with my husband and son will end in 12 days. For these women, the battle is just beginning. It humbled me and brought me to tears.

The pity party I have been having about the stress of my job ended last night.

Here are two examples of women who, in the face of a serious illness, are positive, optimistic and staying strong for their families and friends. As I prayed this morning, I prayed to God and asked for forgiveness for not being dependent on him for the little things. I prayed for these women that they will continue to seek Him and to maintain their positive attitudes. For so long, I have followed the courageous story of fellow blogger Heather who is battling brain cancer. Her most recent post is an essay on having cancer written by former White House Press Secretary Tony Snow. It eloquently reveals the positive aspects of dealing with a grave illness.

Read it for yourself...and prepare to be inspired.

I can only pray that I would handle it with as much class and strength and determination.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sunday, September 02, 2007

100 Things About Me

1. I am a Christian and attend a wonderful church. We are very blessed.
2. I was born in Atlanta, GA and I live in Atlanta, GA.
3. I've also lived in 4 other states in between.
4. And have had 23 different addresses in my life.
5. No, my Dad was not in the military when I was growing up.
6. He was a food engineer and we were transferred a lot.
7. I loved moving a lot as a child.
8. I have a younger sister that looks a lot like me and shares my memory.
9. She lives in Florida-- about 9 hours from here. 9 hours too far.
10. My hubby is a very patient and understanding man.
11. Some days, I believe he is on a mission from God.
12. I've been married for nearly 13 years.
13. I have one child--a son--that grew inside my heart instead of my tummy.
14. He has taken up permanent residence there.
15. I played tennis on scholarship in college. I was in shape then. ::Sigh::
16. Fall is, without question, my favorite time of year.
17. The sound of crickets chirping in the evening makes me happy.
18. I make a mean vidalia onion pie.
19. My sister-in-law Summer despises onions but loves this pie.
20. I procrastinate. In fact, I think I'll finish this list later. Kidding.
21. I'm a calligrapher that specializes in addressing wedding invitations.
22. I once addressed a wedding invitation to every single address in Pelahatchie, Mississippi.
23. The zip code in Pelahatchie, Mississippi is 39145.
24. One of my favorite smells is a rainstorm approaching. Oh, and fresh cut grass.
25. I can quote the movie "Steel Magnolias" line by line.
26. I plan events for a living and pay $71 per person for scrambled eggs and bacon at large hotels.
27. I think I'll have my next big meeting at the Waffle House.
28. I can eat a huge breakfast at the Waffle House for $3.48.
29. Eighties movies and song lyrics are my specialty.
30. I light up when my child gives me an unsolicited kiss.
31. I wanted to be Michelle Pfeiffer's character in Grease 2 when I grew up.
32. I can still sing every word to every song in that movie.
33. I have visited 9 different countries.
34. I'm right-handed but always wanted to be a lefty.
35. My son is a lefty.
36. My favorite word is "serendipity."
37. My least favorite word is "moist."
38. I talked to O.J. Simpson in the driveway of his home with no one else around but his son.
39. It was 2 weeks after he was acquitted.
40. I'm thinking that was one of the strangest things I've ever done.
41. I'm fascinated by bad weather.
42. I'm deathly afraid of lightning.
43. Do you see my conundrum?
44. I still love Bon Jovi to this day.
45. I collect cookbooks.
46. I love pens.
47. I live with a crazed golden retriever named Cassie.
48. I do not cheat at Monopoly.
49. No matter what my sister-in-law Tonia says.
50. I'm a list-making freakaholic.
51. My favorite food is taco salad. Hold the salad.
52. I could spend days in Barnes and Noble.
53. I was a radio DJ right after college.
54. My Mom used to love to hear my "radio voice."
55. My Mom died of cancer in March 2003.
56. Don't know if I'll ever really get used to the fact that she's gone.
57. My son prays to God to "take care of his Grammy."
58. I love candles and have one, two or five burning at all times.
59. Kelly Clarkson rocks.
60. I love me some American Idol.
61. I voted for Chris Daughtry almost as many times as my friend Cindy.
62. Cindy voted a bazillion and fifty times.
63. I know where to find toothpicks in Wal-Mart.
64. They're on the aisle with the kitchen gadgets.
65. I love to read and write poetry.
66. I do not like mustard.
67. A box of colored pencils and a blank pad of paper...sheer heaven to me.
68. I believe Heely's (the roller skating shoe thingies) should be outlawed in stores.
69. I learned to ski in the Swiss Alps.
70. I had never seen snow before that day.
71. I love the movie "Christmas Vacation."
72. I always wanted to be a professional figure skater.
73. And an astronaut.
74. Neither of which will ever happen.
75. I have a freakish memory with numbers and names.
76. My son has a freakish memory with TV commercials.
77. I love John Denver.
78. We are trying to adopt a second child and have been for a year.
79. I LOVE playing games.
80. My husband does not LOVE playing games.
81. I majored in marketing and minored in Graphic Design in college.
82. I had planned to study geratric nursing.
83. I love the beach but I hate walking in sand.
84. I sleep with one foot outside the covers.
85. I love to sing.
86. I'm kinda sorta addicted to YouTube.
87. I'm really addicted to Spider Solitaire.
88. I drive too fast.
89. I drive faster than I thought because my speedometer is off by 4%.
90. I'm a geography me some maps!
91. I love writing on wipe-off boards.
92. I want to live in the mountains.
93. Zip-lock bags are awesome and feed my need to compartmentalize.
94. I type really fast... with three fingers and a thumb.
95. I want to exercise more.
96. That was a lie.
97. I need to exercise more.
98. I think Meryl Streep is a phenomenal actress.
99. I do not like ironing.
100. I'm thinking 100 things about me is probably 97 or 98 too many.

It's That Time Again, Folks...

It's back y'all. The end of my life as I know it...or, at least for a few months anyway.

College football season.

And, just like last year's post at this time, I was happy to see it roll around. Much like an old friend that you see after a long absence, football season embraces me and says "welcome back. Welcome to all things familiar. Here's your itinerary for your weekends and I really like what you've done with your hair."

OK, so I made that last one up.

Of course, I did what I do every year and teared up when the first notes of the fight song played. No, it's not my alma's my husband's. And, no I'm not some sap who wants to make something bigger out of the sport than it is. It is, after all, just a game.

But, to me, standing there with the same folks we've been seated with for the past half dozen years, it's a feeling of renewal. It's the start of a brand new year full of possibility and teeming with excitement, anticipation and hope. Not necessarily all centered around football, mind you. It's a time to put all the disappointments, failures, and challenges of the previous year behind us.

For many, this ritual usually occurs around midnight on January 1; but, for me, I'd rather celebrate by ushering in my favorite season surrounded by 92, 380 of my closest friends.

This year differed little from our Game Day routine of years past. There's the desire to get there at dawn-thirty-- even though the game doesn't start til 6:00pm. Ice chests loaded down with homemade goodies, comfy chairs to sit in and pom pons ready for the shakin. There's the obligatory trip to the Quad to see what's goin on as well as racing across the street to the team's hotel to support them as they board the buses bound for the stadium. There's little boys in football helmets and girls with crimson A's painted on their faces. There are alumni and a myriad of other fans eager to ring in a new year.

I'm sure as the season wears on, I may lose a tinge of enthusiasm as the six-hour round trip drive becomes mundane. But for now, I smile at the first of what I hope are many "W's" in our win/loss column and I embrace this longtime friend with delight. College football season is back upon us, folks.

Bring it on.