Archives for August 2008

It’s Already Been Brought’n

I should probably warn you that I have had a LOT of caffeine this afternoon, and it’s made me feel like Martha probably feels on a minute-by-minute basis, which is to say that I am VERY! EXCITED! about all manner of inconsequential things, including but not limited to the fact that I’m GOING! TO STEINMART(S)! TO LOOK! FOR SOME SUNGLASSES!, which of course is absolutely no big deal at all, but the overabundance of caffeine has me convinced that searching for those sunglasses is going to be the single most memorable event of my entire life, and I CAN’T WAIT! I JUST CAN’T WAIT!

And y’all? Seriously? This is the level of enthusiasm that Martha has for stuff like, oh, pimento and cheese. Or a cute postage stamp design. Or a dress she wore to a friend’s wedding back in 1964.

But I’m telling you, I think the combination of caffeine and football season has sent me right over the edge. There is absolutely nothing better than a clean football slate, than the last few hours before the season starts when I can tell myself with great certainty that the SEC Championship is OURS, ALL OURS, OH YES MA’AM.

You know, I think that of all the forms of optimism, the stone-cold, blind variety is my most favoritest kind.

So, to summarize, here are our plans for tomorrow: 1) football 2) football 3) nervous cleaning that accompanies watching my beloved Bulldogs play football and 4) SportsCenter.

And 5) QUESO.

We’ll be following up all the football by watching the weather incessantly and pleading with our relatives in Mississippi to DRIVE OVER HERE AND STAY WITH US, PLEASE. My parents were mighty stubborn post-Katrina; they didn’t have power for two weeks but insisted on staying home (unlike Martha and Sissie, who hopped in the car as soon as the trees were out of the roads and got over here ASAP so they could get their hair washed and set, THAT’S WHAT I’M TALKIN’ ABOUT). I’m hoping that this time, if need be, Mama and Daddy will get the heck out of dodge and head our way.

Hope y’all have a great Labor Day.

And be safe, Gustav people. You’ll be in our prayers.

Interview With Debbie Phelps

About a week ago, as part of Johnson’s Thanks, Mom campaign, I had an opportunity to be a part of a panel of bloggers who interviewed Debbie Phelps, mom of fourteen-time Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps.

You may have heard of him.

I have absolutely no idea why I was asked to participate, but I do know that I was the only blogger on the panel with a Southern accent. And since I do not have what the business people would refer to as a “phone voice,” I just brought my inner hillbilly all up in the conference call and unleashed some excruciatingly long vowel sounds.

The other bloggers – who represented MamaPop, Mom Advice, MomLogic and Better Than A Playdate – were just great, by the way. They were smart and articulate and professional. I, on the other hand, was all, “AHM THE WUN FROM ALLYBAMMER.”

Skillz. I got me some.

I should also tell you that I totally relied on my friends and family members for questions. I did this because the only question I could come up with initially was, “So. How was China?”

Clearly I have missed my calling as a hard-hitting journalist.

And as evidence of my no-holds-barred journalistic style, the first thing I asked Debbie Phelps about was her wardrobe.

But it was a no-brainer for me. Sister and her hubby were here for a visit the weekend before the interview, and as we watched the Olympics, Sister wondered aloud if Debbie planned out her wardrobe since she seemed to favor black and white clothes – with just a splash of color.

As it turns out, Sister was dead-on. Debbie said, “I did do black and white with a splash of color on purpose. I’m just not a jeans or khakis with a button-up shirt kind of girl. I’m a Chico’s girl” (she wore their clothes throughout the games). “I wanted to elevate my pool side style the same way that Michael has elevated the sport. Plus, there were times when I’d have to leave the pool and go out for different appearances or events, and I needed to be dressed for those things.”

My next question was courtesy of FryDaddy and his beautiful bride. They wanted to know if Debbie still feels protective of her twenty-three year-old son, if she worries about people trying to take advantage of him now that he’s internationally known.

And I thought that was SUCH a good question. Travis and Angela should totally have a talk show.

So I asked Debbie if she still feels protective, and she said, “Yes, absolutely.” She mentioned a couple of times when she felt like people’s motives weren’t completely on the up-and-up, and she said, “I always tell Michael, ‘Understand who your true friends are…be very selective about who you hang out with.’ Because the one thing you don’t want is for your child to be burned or to be used.”

Then I asked her if she ever feels like she has to protect herself. She said, “I do feel that way. Just the other day someone came up to me and said, ‘Hey. Remember me? We had a beer together in Athens!’ And the whole time I was thinking No we did not. We never did any such thing in Athens…or people will say, ‘I’m such a huge fan of Michael’s,’ and I’ll say, ‘Really? How many meets have you been to?’ And it’s their first one…plus, people we don’t even know are now saying things in the media…it’s just distasteful, really.”

One of my favorite moments in the conversation resulted from one of the other bloggers’ questions (I am so sorry that I don’t remember who asked it). But when asked how she resisted the urge to be a stage parent, Debbie said, “I wasn’t a pusher. I just always let the coaches do their jobs. My job was to be Michael’s mom.”

And all the mamas say: amen.

Fourth Time’s The Charm

This is officially the fourth time I’ve tried to write (“WRITE”!) about my weekend in San Antonio.

I don’t know why you people put up with me.

So. Here goes.

I had such a great time this past weekend. Except for the part when I got to Houston and they told me that my flight to San Antonio had been cancelled and that they had booked me on a flight that was leaving THIRTEEN HOURS LATER and I called Melanie and said all sorts of profound things like, “SOB FLIGHT CANCELLED SOB NOT MAKE IT SOB WAAAAAAAAAAAAAH.”

But in the end, thanks to a mighty sweet friend who helped me connect with a couple of other people who were in the same situation I was, I was able to fly to Austin, hop in a rental car with my new friends Lisa and Avey Jane (as it turns out, Avey Jane goes to the same church that I do, and I’ve even heard her daddy preach before, thus confirming my theory that THE WORLD, IT IS A PEANUT) . We made it to San Antonio in about an hour and a half, and I kept thinking that our trip was just like Planes, Trains and Automobiles. Only without the trains. So I guess it was more like Planes and Automobiles, which doesn’t really have the same ring to it, but for the sake of narrative progress, we will pretend.

Anyway.

Living Proof Live was absolutely wonderful. Travis and his praise team kept the focus right where it should have been, and Beth delivered a message that was chock-full-o-Truth. I loved getting to see bloggy people who feel like old friends – it blessed my soul in ways you can’t even imagine. Plus, I finally got to meet Melanie’s real-life BFF Gulley, OH YES MA’AM I DID, and I adored her on sight. I felt like I’d known her forever.

All in all, San Antonio = GOOOOOD.

When I got home Sunday afternoon, there were tons of details about the weekend that I couldn’t wait to share with my husband, and I have to say: the flour tortillas at Mi Tierra in San Antonio were near the top of the conversational list. In fact, they were so good that after I ate my first bite I looked at Melanie and pretty much screamed at her. I said, “THESE TORTILLAS ARE DELICIOUS! THEY ARE SO FRESH! WHY, THEY’RE ALMOST LIKE PANCAKES!”

She must have felt like she was in the middle of some bizarre 21st century nightmare. About two years ago she left a comment on my blog, then we emailed a bunch and became real-life friends, and now she gets to sit in restaurants with me while I scream about the texture of my food.

The interweb has surely provided her with more than she could have asked or imagined.

But no kidding: those tortillas? Were better than Cheez-Its.

And that is some mighty high praise indeed.

Rain

It’s been raining here pretty much non-stop for the last three or four days. And truth be told, it’s felt like rainy days around our house lately – in more ways than one. For whatever reason, I can’t seem to get Africa off of my mind.

Tonight during supper David asked me if I’d seen a letter we received from Compassion about the Global Food Crisis, and since I hadn’t, I grabbed it off of the kitchen counter and started to read. The letter was from Wess Stafford, the founder of Compassion, and he outlined how the rising cost of food is “creating a life-threatening food crisis” in the area where our sponsored child Sharon lives.

Rainy days.

Saturday, while I was in San Antonio, D. noticed that there was a leak in the roof of our front porch. He tried to find the source of the leak but couldn’t, and by yesterday morning, as the water continued to pour from a seam in the porch ceiling, he decided to call the professionals. A man came over a few hours later, walked around the roof, hammered a little here, added a little sealant there, and within fifteen minutes the leak was fixed.

Easy breezy.

But today, as the rain has continued to fall, I’ve thought about the places we visited in Uganda. I’ve thought about how families there would struggle to fix a roof in need of repair. I’ve thought about children trying to sleep in airless rooms, about mothers who desperately want to provide food for their kids but don’t have the means to pay for it.

Rainy days.

Yesterday afternoon, as the rain poured down, our little guy hopped in the car after school. We hadn’t even made it past the school building when he piped up from the back seat: “You know what, Mama? Rainy days are my favorites.”

“Really?” I asked. “Why do you like rainy days so much?”

“Well, because that’s when God makes things grow!”

I thought about what he said for a few minutes, pondered on the metaphor he never intended, and decided that even though the little man had no idea, he’d provided his mama with a pretty solid dose of theology on a rainy summer afternoon.

I guess, in one way or another, it must be growing season.

Many of y’all have sponsored kids through Compassion in the last year, so you’re probably already aware of the Global Food Crisis. Anne actually posted about it a couple of days ago on her blog, asked her readers to donate to Compassion’s Global Food Crisis Fund, and they responded oh-so-generously. I’d love it if some of us here would follow suit.

David and I talked at supper tonight and decided that we’re going to make a donation. We can’t donate very much right now (see: roof and also: cracked fireplace), but we can donate something. A one-time donation of $39 will feed one family for one month, but you can donate any amount. $2. $5. $50. Every little bit will provide some relief to families who need it. Just click here to help.

You don’t have to tell me if you donate (though you’re welcome to do so), and you certainly don’t have to tell me how much. I’m really not concerned with a grand total. I’m just interested in helping these families.

Because there are some times in life when we can’t do a dadgum thing to stop the rain.

But other times? Like right now, for instance?

We absolutely can.

Oh, A Title Would Be Far Too Ambitious At This Early Hour

Hey y’all –

I’ll be back in a little while with a real-live post that has been somewhat thoughtfully constructed with words and, lo, even sentences, but I wanted to let you know that if you were in San Antonio this past weekend at Living Proof and have written about it on your blog, we’re putting together a list of links over at allaccess. I can’t get the Mr. Linky code to work in the template over there, so just leave a link to your post in the comments.

Not the comments here, by the way. The comments over there.

I do hope that makes sense.

Email if you have questions.

And if you’ll excuse me, I’ll just be getting back to the business of removing my eyelids from my cheeks. Because the weekend’s lack of sleep and abundance of caffeine have left my eyes a bit SWOLE UP.

Which is totally the medical term. Just in case you were wondering.

Happy Monday, bloggy peoples!

Sunday Night Must-Read

My friend Anne has something really wonderful going on over at her blog.

And you can check it out right here.