Archives for May 2011

As Seen On TV

Today D and I celebrated our 14th wedding anniversary. Well, I mean, we didn’t really celebrate today because he spent all day at work and I spent all day doing fun things like going to the dentist and also Walmart, but tonight we got a babysitter and went out to my favorite sushi place. The dinner was a very sweet, selfless gesture on my husband’s part since he typically prefers for meat to be 1) cooked and 2) not wrapped in rice, but he survived. In fact, he actually ordered some COOKED scallops and said that they were delicious. So see? It all worked out.

(Okay. I just deleted a super-long tangent about marriage that is probably best suited for another post.)

(In fact, I’m going to paste it into a brand new post at this juncture.)

(Please pardon me while I attempt to GRAB HOLD OF THE BLOGGY REINS.)

(So. I’m back. And now I will continue.)

After dinner we went to get ice cream, and then we ran by Walmart on the way home because I decided that my day wouldn’t be complete unless I could walk through those sah-weet automatic doors ONE MORE TIME before the clock struck midnight. I know it probably seems pretty lame that we would spend part of our anniversary night walking past big ole ROLLBACK signs, but don’t most married couples end up at either Target or Walmart at some point during a date night? Or maybe Lowe’s?

Anyway, I needed some cheese and some hairspray (though please rest assured that I have no intention of using these items together), but on my way to the health and beauty aids section I got sidetracked by a big display that was standing in the center of the aisle. It was one of those deals where I didn’t really notice it at first, but as soon as I got past it I thought, Hold on. Did that say what I think it said?

So I backed up the cart, took a closer look, and OH MY WORD AMERICA HAS IT COME TO THIS?

I mean, seriously? We can’t be bothered to bend over and wash our own feet anymore?

For thirty seconds or so I stood there all indignant and incredulous, but before I could get too comfortable on my high horse, I remembered how the simplest tasks became very difficult when I was 7, 8, 9 months pregnant. And then I thought about how elderly people or people who have certain kinds of injuries or illnesses have to be really careful when they’re in the shower. And then I thought about the built-in pumice stone and how delightful it would be to massage my feet and shower at the same time, and I am here to tell you that I went from outraged consumer to BONA FIDE SUPER FAN in no time at all.

I didn’t buy the Easy Feet, mainly because my husband had just taken me out for a lovely dinner and I hated to say, “HEY, LET’S GET ME SOME OF THESE FAYN-CEE SHOWER SHOES” – but I thought about it. Oh yes I did. And now I’m curious: are you ever tempted to buy the As Seen On TV stuff? Or better yet, have you bought something? Do you have any Ginzu knives in a kitchen drawer? A Chia pet on the windowsill above your sink? A Magic Bullet in the cabinet next to your food processor? Or – heaven forbid – a Shake Weight propped up next to a stack of exercise DVDs?

Just thinking about reading your comments makes me happier than you will ever know. Because FINGERS CROSSED that somebody out there owns a Bump-It and is willing to share her personal Bump-It experience.

Giddy-up, y’all.

Follow-Up. Or Follow-Through. Or Something.

– Y’all sure do know how to encourage a girl. Thanks so much for your sweet comments; I am very grateful. I have also been SEIZED BY FEAR ever since I put up that last post, mainly because you know those people who are just loaded with confidence and set goals and refuse to entertain self-doubt and always tackle any new project head-on?

I am not one of those people.

So your comments, they mean a lot.

Did I mention how grateful I am?

– Some of you asked what an e-book is and if you need any sort of fancy equipment to read one. These days most e-books are formatted for e-readers so that you can download them from Amazon or Barnes & Noble or your favorite online bookstore and then read them on your Kindle or Nook or phone or the microchip that’s been implanted in your brain. Some e-books can be purchased through PayPal and then downloaded as a PDF.

For my little e-book, I’m probably going to do all of the above. Except that I’m not actually going to do any of that formatting stuff because detailed technology-related tasks make me all twitchy and snappy and mean. Fortunately there are all sorts of reasonably-priced options as far as the formatting is concerned, so I’ll be using one of those.

And as for whether or not you need an e-reader to read an e-book: NO MA’AM. I recently downloaded Kindle for Mac (it’s free – and there’s also Kindle for PC) just so I could read my friend Anne’s book (which I loved, by the way).

I don’t have an iPhone, so a lot of the App Store stuff is lost on me, but I do have an iPod, and Saturday night I downloaded the free Kindle app on my iPod and felt VERY FANCY.

There are also free NOOK apps for phones and computers and probably for that microchip in your brain, too.

*SUBJECT CHANGE*

*THANK GOODNESS IT’S ABOUT TIME*

– Yesterday we started watching season 5 of Friday Night Lights, and oh my word it is delightful. I have missed the Taylors like crazy and felt like I was catching up with old friends.

(Yes, I know that’s weird.)

(Yes, I know they’re CHARACTERS ON A TV SHOW.)

(Yes, I still wanted to give Julie a talking-to about some of her choices.)

(EVEN THOUGH SHE’S PRETEND.)

So far we’ve watched five episodes, and I have to say that episode five – the one where the Lions travel by bus to an away game – is a mighty fine hour of television. Enjoyable all the way around.

– The latest group of Compassion Bloggers recently arrived in the Philippines. Over the last year or so I’ve realized that the easiest way for me to keep up with trip posts is to follow the group on Twitter – it becomes a little timeline of the trip, and it’s an easy way for me to catch up on posts, pictures and links in one central place. If you’d like to help spread the word about the Philippines trip, you can grab a button or badge for your blog, Twitter or Facebook.

– Okay. Now I must make mac and cheese. And hamburger patties. Last night I had a dream that I was really flustered trying to get food ready, and after I made the hamburger patties I threw them in water and boiled them instead of putting them on the grill. NOW DOESN’T THAT SOUND DELICIOUS.

So regardless of your Memorial Day plans, please know that it is my sincere hope that there is no boiled meat in your future.

See y’all tomorrow.

An Underwhelming Announcement

So over the last four or five years, I’ve had A LOT OF THOUGHTS as far as writing a book is concerned.

And of all those many thoughts, my most recurring one has been this: I don’t really have an imagination, and I’ve never had an idea for a book, so I’m pretty sure that book-writing is outside my wheelhouse.

Only I probably didn’t use the word “wheelhouse.” Because as far as I know that previous paragraph is the first time I’ve ever used it.

Anyway, writing fiction has never been a remote possibility for me since 1) the aforementioned lack-of-imagination thing and 2) just thinking about it makes me tired. I can barely keep up with the real people in my real life; quite frankly I’m just not that interested in creating some imaginary people and then being responsible for what happens to them. THAT IS A LOT OF WORK, Y’ALL.

Well.

About a year and a half ago I started writing every now and again for HomeLife magazine, and I found that I really enjoyed the longer essay format. Now granted, I still go way over the suggested article length EVERY SINGLE TIME, but it’s been fun – and I think it’s been good for me to stretch a little bit beyond the bloggy stuff that I typically post here.

(Because make no mistake: my usual brand of bloggy nonsense? IT IS MY COMFORT ZONE.)

(It’s ALL UP IN MY WHEELHOUSE, if you will.)

(And yes, that’s totally going to become my new favorite word.)

It was last summer, I guess, when I was cleaning my kitchen and minding my own business and OUT OF NOWHERE a book title popped in my head. I thought the title was sort of funny, so I told Melanie about it the next time we talked, and then we laughed about the fact that it was a shame to have a perfectly good title and no book to go with it. Then, a few months later, another title popped in my head. And then, a couple of months after that, Alex said something on the way to church one night that struck me as SO PROFOUND – and I thought Gosh, that would make a really neat book title.

But I still hadn’t had a single idea for a book. I couldn’t help but think that the whole random-thinking-of-book-titles thing was a little weird, so I started praying about WHAT, WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN back in January.

As a Christian I’ve wrestled a little bit about what kind of book I’d write if I ever, you know, wrote one. Since I don’t write devotional-y / Bible study stuff, I’ve always felt like there’s not really a place for me as far as books go. I mean, I don’t really have any perspective to offer anybody. I don’t have a lot of insight into the book of Habbakuk. I’ve never come up with any modern-day analogies that shed new light on the sinful heart of man. I don’t have any business trying to tell people how to be a better wife / be a more patient mama / run a more organized household / trim your grocery budget to $200 a month.

(I mean, I don’t know if you’ve picked up on this, but I’m just a little bit of a trainwreck.)

(In fact, I don’t have a system or a process for anything, really – except maybe for how to get some bacon off of a plate and INTO MY MOUTH.)

But back in February, through the combination of some prayer and a very odd scenario that involved about 15 or 20 birds walking down my driveway (oh, I am not kidding), I got a very loud and clear reminder that every once in awhile people just need to hear a cheerful voice. That reminder encouraged me more than I can tell you. And about a month ago – a couple of nights before the storms hit, in fact – one of those crazy, random book titles popped in my head. Within all of two minutes, I thought, Well, I believe there might be something I could do with that.

So I am.

This is not gonna be some big, major, official book-type production. AT ALL. I’m going to do an ebook – for several reasons. The first is that the prospect of writing a book proposal and query letters and all that stuff completely overwhelms me. Down the road I might not feel that way – but right now? YES. I feel that way. The second is that I would have to crawl under my bed and breathe into a paper sack if I thought any sort of self-promotion was going to be required of me (but I totally understand why self-promotion is necessary when you have a publisher and a contract and sales projections and all that – it’s part of the business).

The third is that there are some Deeply Southern stories that I’ve wanted to tell but haven’t because nobody really wants to read a 4,000-word blog post. The fourth is that I’ve never had a dream of seeing my name on a book cover – but the process of starting and FINISHING something longer than a blog post is very appealing to me. And the fifth is that – well, I don’t really have a fifth. But let’s all pretend that I do. And also smile.

I’ve been going back and forth about mentioning any of this on the blog, but when Melanie and I were talking about it the other day, she said, “I think you should say something – for accountability if nothing else.”

Oh, but she knows me well. As my favorite English professor Dr. Dazey used to say: “Sophie, you are a person who NEEDS A DEADLINE.”

So there you have it. An ebook in the works – for what it’s worth. I’m hoping to finish the first round of the writing part by the end of July, so feel free to bombard me with indignant emails if I don’t. And in the meantime, I’ll be keeping you posted.

Have a great Memorial Day, y’all.

Sweet Posts About Young’Uns

I’ve read a few things lately that have made me smile. Aye, and wistfully.

Here! I will share them!

– J shares what her kids have taught her.

– Lindsay’s little boy has a theme song (your kids will love this one, too).

– LoraLynn’s son has totally figured out where babies come from.

Enjoy, y’all.

American Idol – Final Two

I typically think that by the time the AI finals roll around, it doesn’t really matter how the final two contestants sing. Most people who watch are settled firmly in one of two camps, and odds are they made up their minds about how they were going to vote as soon as the final two were announced.

So given all that, I started watching tonight’s show with the assumption that tonight’s performances weren’t going to do much to change the outcome. Scotty and Lauren were pretty even through the first two rounds – and afterwards I was feeling pretty confident about my prediction last week that Scotty was going to win the whole thing running away.

But.

The third round happened.

And what was so interesting about the third round – at least to me – is that Lauren clearly had the better song of the two. Plus, Scotty seemed to be struggling a little bit with the melody of his song…and by the time the third round was over, I really thought that Lauren out-sang him and might just win it after all.

THAT IS ONLY MY OPINION.

(Also, as a sidenote, I very much enjoyed how Lauren had to hold her dress like Loretta Lynn when she was walking back up the stairs after she sang to her mama.)

(I think that probably made Loretty proud.)

(If she happened to be watching, of course.)

So. What do y’all think? Who’s the winner?

Stay safe & hang in there, Texas / Oklahoma / Kansas / Arkansas / Missouri. Praying for y’all.

Us Will Keep This Between We

It’s no secret that I love “The Best Thing I Ever Ate” on Food Network. And last night’s episode, I am happy to announce, marked the most enjoyable thirty minutes of culinary programming these eyes have ever witnessed: “The Best Thing I Ever Ate: Fried Chicken.”

Oh yes. It is true. For thirty minutes (well, 22), various and sundry food personalities discussed the best fried chicken they’ve ever eaten. I was tickled to see that Gus’ Fried Chicken in Memphis made the list (it is, in fact, divine), but I’ve never tried any of the other fried chcken selections.

So I think it’s safe to say that I’ve now solidified some new Fried Chicken Goals in my life. It’s right and good to be mindful of such things.

*****

At the beginning of every summer I start to get a sense of what our summer soundtrack is going to be, and if this past week is any indication, Summer 2011 is going to be all about NEEDTOBREATHE. I’ve listened to them for a few years – ever since we heard them open for Dave Barnes one night and I LITERALLY DIED (sorry. I miss Rachel Zoe.) – but for whatever reason, I can’t quit listening to them right now. Because, well, this:

And also this.

It would seem that this summer is going to be all about bluesy rock music and fried chicken. In other words: MY SOUTHERN HERITAGE.

*****

You can still enter to win a $100 Shutterfly.com gift card through the Sprite Tabs for Humanity giveaway.

*****

Last night I also watched the season premiere of The Bachelorette. I had no intention of committing to this new season because, well, Ashley – though adorable – has one of those voices that sort of makes me want to scale the nearest wall by clawing out chunks of sheetrock with my fingernails.

That is to say: there are some speaking voices that I enjoy more than hers.

I ended up watching, though, mainly because I just needed to make sure that I wasn’t missing out on a defining television moment. As it turned out, I need not have worried.

I don’t know that I’ll tune in again since we really need to hold on to as much sheetrock as we can in our house (not to mention that the festivities were a wee bit boring). However, I’m glad that I watched just so that I could 1) confirm with my own eyes that a man on a dating show elected to wear a mask for the duration of the first party and WAS REWARDED WITH A ROSE FOR HIS BEHAVIOR and 2) continue to marvel at the unique and creative ways that people completely butcher pronoun usage.

“That’s between her and I.”

“I really need to focus on Ashley and I’s relationship.”

“I hope him and her are really happy together.”

(I made up these examples since I did not in fact transcribe the episode.)

(But if nobody said these exact words last night, just be patient. The mangled pronoun train is a-rolllin’ down the Bachelorette tracks, and NONE OF US CAN STOP IT.)

Did any of y’all watch?

I would enjoy reading your thoughts and insight and wisdom.

Not to mention your stellar pronoun usage.

The end.