Archives for June 2010

Sometimes I Understand The Animals

So about a month ago, on a total whim, we decided to buy a squirrel feeder and a bag of dried corn at the Walmarts. We have SQUIRRELS APLENTY in our yard, and we figured that if we fed them, then maybe they’d stay out of the bird feeder and quit digging up the bulbs and stop chewing on the deck chairs.

Oh, we’re very strategic.

It only took a couple of hours for the squirrels to spread the word about corn (and, apparently, for the duck hawks to overhear them). What I never, expected, though, is how entertaining the squirrels would be.

I also never expected how they would THROW DOWN on some corn.

Or the gymnastic moves they would employ to get it.

Or that the ear of corn would look like this within thirty minutes of setting it outside.

Today, though, I got a whole new surprise when I looked out the window and saw Guard Dog Squirrel. And I mean to tell you that Guard Dog Squirrel had no intention of sharing the corn with ANYBODY. In fact, I’m pretty sure that he barked.

And you know what? I feel like I can relate to Guard Dog Squirrel. Because I’ve probably had that same possessive look in my eyes when I’ve been sitting near a fresh bucket of Popeye’s.

High Hopes

Last week before I left for St. Louis I met my parents halfway between our house and theirs. The little man was going to stay for them a few days, and he told me in no uncertain terms that he wanted me to pick him up this Wednesday. It seemed like a long time for him to be away from home, but he was all about it. Breakfasts of brownies and Cheetos hold a certain appeal with seven year-olds, I reckon. Not to mention all the TV and Cokes and trips to the toy store that you can handle.

I got home late Saturday night (I will have to tell you about how the St. Louis heat got my attention but good on Saturday afternoon), and Sunday was super-relaxing. D and I went out to eat for lunch and for supper (we’re CRAAAAAAAZY!). We talked about his work and my time in St. Louis and the sermon we heard yesterday and a maybe-trip that’s on the horizon and TV and tennis and soccer. It was such a good, easy day. And since I knew I was going to be all by myself today, I decided before I went to bed last night that I was going to sleep later than normal, treat myself to a pedicure (it’s not something I get to do often, but it’s my most favorite indulgence in the whole universe and I really hope with all my heart that there’s some sort of nail salon in heaven) and then tackle my house with a vengeance. Change sheets. Wash clothes. Dust. Clean bathrooms. The whole thing.

Well.

When I looked at my phone after the pedicure, I’d missed a call from Mama and Daddy’s house. It was Alex. And he had some thoughts about his travel plans. When I called him back, he said, “Well, Mama, here’s the thing: I’ve just really been missing you.” So I said, “Aw – that’s so sweet! Do you want me to come pick you up today?”

And before I could finish the question, he said, “THAT SOUNDS PERFECT! WHAT TIME WILL YOU BE HERE?”

So I walked straight to my car, cranked ‘er up, and drove to Mississippi. I pIcked up the little guy (who, by the way, has grown approximately four feet in the last five days), then stopped by the drug store to pick up a prescription for Mama – who decided she’d ride back to Alabama with us and stay here for a few days. I didn’t clean a thing. Didn’t dust even a little bit. AND NOW MY MAMA IS HERE.

But my boy, he’s home. And OH, HE IS LIVELY.

All that to say: I had great intentions of putting up a post today and showing you the 73,000 pictures I took of the Arch last week – each one just as rivetingly boring as the one before. My spiritual gift is repetition, apparently. And I’ll say that again just in case you didn’t get it the first time: I TEND TO DO THE SAME THINGS OVER AND OVER.

But now it’s time for our little family to get our groove back. And to take Mama to the Steinmarts. And to take Mama to the Home Goods. And to take Mama to the TJ Maxx.

So I’ll be back in a couple of days. But in the meantime, there’s another chance to win a $100 gift card courtesy of BlogHer – here’s the post where the giveaway magic is happening.

And also, you know, this:

There’s 72,999 more where that came from.

You must be beside yourself with anticipation.

Pop-Tarts Sprinkles Giveaway, Post 2

Back in the spring our little guy decided that he wanted to go to basketball camp this summer. After I got over the shock of realizing that he was in fact old enough to go (COULD SOMEBODY PLEASE STOP THE TIME?), I filled out the registration form and signed him up. He was excited as could be, and I was tickled to see him show some interest in a sport that I’ve loved for years and years.

I don’t know if he realized how much work camp would be, but he was totally carried away with it from the very first day. What he lacks in basketball skill he makes up in enthusiasm, and he thought it was the most fun to see his friends and cheer them on and dribble the basketball and maybe even make a shot every once in a while.

As a mama, I just couldn’t have been more proud of him.

At some point during basketball camp week I decided that we needed to celebrate all the fun he’d had with a little celebratory family dinner. All the food was round (get it? like a basketball? because I am queen of the obvious?), and I served some of the little man’s favorites: slices of turkey and pepperoni, Provolone cheese, lima beans (granted, the “round” was a littttle bit of a stretch on the lima beans, but we needed a vegetable) – and a very special dessert.

He loved it. And let’s all just pretend it looks exactly like a basketball. MAMA TRIED.

I used a biscuit cutter to make circles out of two Ice Cream ShoppeTM Vanilla Milkshake Pop-Tarts®. I made a little ice cream sandwich, and then a few drizzles of chocolate syrup brought home the basketball theme.

It was such a fun way to celebrate a great week at basketball camp – and the best part was how easy it was to pull everything together.

If you’d like to enter to win a $100 gift card courtesy of BlogHer, just answer one simple question in the comments:

What’s one of your favorite ways to celebrate with family and friends?

I can’t wait to read your comments, and be sure to check out the BlogHer.com special offers page – you have 9 other chances to win!

You can find the official rules right here, and you can find all sorts of great dessert ideas on the official Pop-Tarts Sprinklings site. If you’re wondering just how creative you can get with Pop-Tarts, you need only look at the Sprinkly Ice Cream Bites.

This giveaway is now closed.

Meet Me In, Well, You Know

I’ve never been to St. Louis before. I’ve visited other places that the Mississippi River calls home – New Orleans, Baton Rouge, Vicksburg, Greenville, Memphis – but somehow I’ve missed St. Louis. Even still, I’ve always liked to think that, if we ever got to meet, St. Louis and I would probably be friends.

Well.

Today I made my inaugural trip to St. Louis so that I can tend to some bloggy bidness for AllAccess this weekend. And after I checked in my hotel and realized that I had a few hours to kill, I decided to go for a little walk outside among all the nature.

I’m happy to report that St. Louis didn’t disappoint. In fact, I am sort of smitten.

The first thing on my agenda was to head down to the riverfront so that I could check out that arch thing that I’ve heard about FOR MY WHOLE ENTIRE LIFE. And do you know what? The Arch is tall, y’all. I really had no idea, perhaps because my primary frame of reference for what the Arch looks like is that scene from National Lampoon’s Vacation when the Griswold family arrives in St. Louis. So clearly I have a done a lot of serious and academic Arch-related research.

Anyway, I took a bunch of pictures because I was all by myself and I’m a sucker for a bright blue sky. The sky was especially pretty today. In fact, I think the sky must also like St. Louis a lot because it was really putting on a show.

I didn’t ride up to the top of the Arch because I was wary of getting into the tram/diagonal elevator thing. I mean, what if I was overcome with claustrophobia or acrophobia or archophobia and then suddenly a group of strangers felt like they needed to offer me comfort? Granted, I’ve never been particularly phobic (except where scaly textures are concerned, and I’m not entirely sure that particular fear has a name), but since I didn’t have the benefit of a companion who could be appropriately co-dependent where my potential for some random onset of some random phobia was concerned, I elected to stay put on the ground.

I’m sure you understand.

Last thing.

A few hours after my walking tour I accidentally locked myself out of my room (I don’t know why I felt the need to specify that it was “accidentally” – because does anyone really ever lock themselves out of a room on purpose?), so I went down to the front desk to ask if they could give me another key to the room. As it turned out, they couldn’t give me a key unless I could show them a photo ID, but of course I couldn’t produce a photo ID since it was LOCKED IN THE ROOM.

Funny how that works.

Anyhoo, while I was waiting for a manager who could escort me back to the room and let me in, one of the guys working at the front desk said, “So. How are you handling this heat?”

And I was all, “What heat?”

And he was all, “Oh my – it’s never been as hot as it is right now.”

And I was all, “I live in Alabama. This weather feels like a delightful spring day. I mean, I went FOR A WALK. OUTSIDE. AND DIDN’T SWEAT.”

He was stunned.

And then he said, “You mean, it’s worse than this where you live?”

So for the next five minutes, I told him Southern Heat Horror Stories. I told him about walking outside at 6 in the morning and feeling like you’re colliding with a wall of steam. I told him about 86 degrees and 98 percent humidity AT NIGHT. I told him about summers in Baton Rouge.

(To be fair, I didn’t tell him about New Orleans because I didn’t think he could handle it.)

(Plus, when it comes to describing the heat of New Orleans during the summer months, I honestly struggle to find the words. I just know that it completely saps me of any desire to 1) move and 2) live.)

The good news is that, by the end of our conversation, the front desk guy seemed to have a renewed appreciation for the weather here in St. Louis. The bad news is that I don’t think he’ll be visiting the Deep South anytime soon. What with me scaring him to death with all the talk of the unbearable heat.

And that’s what I did today.

Spreading peace, love and climate-related fear,
Me

In Which I’m Tempted To Return To My Early-90s Roots

Late this afternoon I went to the DSW to kill some time (and to try on some flip-flops that Megan recommended) before I met David for supper, and after about 15 minutes in the store, I started to shake my head and giggle.

Because seriously? WHO CAN WEAR THESE FOR MORE THAN SIX MINUTES?

They’re just perfect for an afternoon of chasing kids around the park or the pool, don’t you think?

And please don’t get me wrong: I’m all for a cute wedge or a kicky heel. But if I wore any of those shoes? I’d only be about four quick steps away from a broken ankle.

Now I realize that there are some darlin’ women who are running around this summer in some gravity-defying heels (or as I like to call them: stilts), but Mamaw here needs some arch support. I can still handle a sensible (and dare I say sassy) wedge like this one –

– but if my foot has to deal with a shoe that has more than about a 20 degree angle, I’m toast. I’ll walk around in three-inch heels (and often do) as long as the base of my foot is on a level surface, but as far as wearing shoes that require a steep incline? OH NO MA’AM.

The good news, however, is that my time at the shoe store was not for naught. Because I rediscovered an old friend.

I didn’t buy them, mainly because when I tried them on I had flashbacks of a time when my days consisted of listening to Hootie & The Blowfish and watching the first season of “Friends” and wearing those pleated palazzo pants from The Limited that came in either solid colors or – SHIVER ME TIMBERS – earth-toned floral patterns.

It’s not necessarily a fashion era that I care to revisit. Purely for personal reasons, you understand.

But there’s no question that for sheer comfort, Birkenstocks can’t be beat. I’d forgotten how they’re supportive in all the right places. Well-made. Dependable. And you know what else? I think they’re due for a comeback.

So, just because I’m curious (read: nosy) and because nothing will delight me more than looking at and thinking about shoes all day, let me ask you this: what are your most favorite, most comfortable shoes in the whole wide world? Leave a link if you want. And if your most comfortable shoes are some sort of stiletto-ish wedge, then please know you have my envy and my undying admiration.

My flip-flops and I just think the world of you.

In Case You Were Wondering, The Falcon Is Still Squawking

So I’m starting to think that there is in fact some sort of falcon nest in one of our trees, and I’m basing that theory solely on the amount of high-pitched squawking that’s going on in our backyard. I’m tickled, of course, that the birds have found a safe haven right here among us, but they’re going to have to keep the noise down a little bit or I fear I’ll have no choice but to file a complaint with the homeowners’ association.

The nature should always pay close attention to noise ordinances, don’t you think?

We were out of town most of last week, so today my plan is to get my house under control again. The floors need to be mopped, the laundry needs to be put away, and the luggage needs to return to somewhere besides the foyer. I feel like there are papers stacked on every stationary surface – countertops, tables, bar stools – and I have very high hopes that today will be the day that I conquer Paper Mountain. Truth be told, I’d really like to throw all the paper in the fireplace and then light ‘er up, but there’s no way I could stand the heat. It’s 204 outside. Not really the time to snuggle up ’round the fire.

I’m also determined to find an appropriate place to keep all of our library books. I enjoy the fact that reading the books is, you know, FREE, but OH MY WORD AT THE BOOK-RELATED CLUTTER. They’re everywhere. And I think they need a tote bag. Or maybe even a basket. Or shelf. Or something.

ANYWAY, the whole point of this post is to tell you that I just posted a new giveaway for a $100 Visa gift card. And the giveaway for the $50 gift card is still up and running. So, you know, enjoy. And good luck. And etcetera.

All righty. Paper Mountain awaits. If you don’t hear from me by tomorrow, please alert the rescue team.

Thank you and have a lovely day.