Archives for April 2013

Well This Is New And Different

This morning the little guy and I had kind of an interesting conversation on the way to school, and since I really wanted to continue the conversation after school, I decided that once I picked him up this afternoon, we’d run an errand or two and then stop by a frozen yogurt place for a little post-school food and fellowship.

So that’s what we did. When he jumped in the car around 3:30, I told him that we needed to run by the UPS Store, and oh, by the way, I thought it might be fun to try that new yogurt place that’s in the same shopping center.

Make no mistake: I was trying my best to be kicky and casual. But I figured that approach would be better than looking deep in his eyes and saying something like, “I really want to hear about how you’re processing this particular issue. What are your deepest thoughts and feelings? Can we please talk about lots of emotions while I ask you approximately thirty four questions?”

A little bit of earnest goes a long way around here. And really, what we were discussing wasn’t anything difficult; he’d just been unusually candid about one particular topic on the way to school, and, well, we all know that mamas EAT THAT STUFF UP.

So we went to the UPS Store, and then we walked down to the yogurt place. We each picked up a styrofoam cup for our yogurt, and I made a beeline for the cappuccino while Alex walked over to the chocolate. We got to the toppings bar about the same time, and since the toppings were three-deep and the containers were pretty squished together, I asked Alex if he needed any help with scooping since the odds for spilling / slinging / cross-pollinating were pretty strong. He assured me that he had everything under control, and he carefully sprinkled some Oreos over his yogurt while he kept an eye out for his second topping.

I, on the other hand, was firmly and fully committed to the crushed Reese’s peanut butter cups. It was a total no-brainer for me.

Alex (who, by the way, gave me his blessing to share this story – I try to be mindful of his bloggy boundaries, you know) eventually camped out in front of the Twix / cookie dough / Snickers portion of the toppings bar, and after a few seconds of deep contemplation, he picked up the plastic ladle in the cookie dough container. He slowly stirred the pieces around, still unable to fully make up his mind, so I intervened.

“Buddy?” I asked. “Do you want to try the cookie dough, do you think?”

Now of course I meant “try” in the sense of “Would you like to put several pieces of cookie dough on your yogurt and then sample those pieces once we pay and sit down?” But I didn’t really make myself clear, so after I asked Alex the question about trying the cookie dough, he nodded, scooped up a few pieces, replied with, “Oh, yes ma’am” – and then y’all, he put that plastic topping ladle right up to his mouth just like he was standing in our kitchen and about to chow down on a big scoop of peanut butter.

I managed to stop him before he actually ate any of the cookie dough, but oh my word we got so tickled. I bet I laughed for five minutes. I also told the girl who was working behind the counter that she might want to run that ladle under some hot, soapy water before it returned to service in the cookie dough bowl.

And do you know what two words kept running through my mind when I was trying to compose myself?

HOME. TRAINING.

Yes ma’am. We’ve got it. Clearly we are all kinds of fancy at our house. And even though we really do try to emphasize having good table manners, we might be due for a little tune-up / maintenance call. Or maybe just a reminder that it’s not a good idea to eat the peas straight out of the pot, so to speak.

After we finally sat down, we did end up having the sweetest conversation – one that I’ll hold tight in my heart for a long time. We finished our yogurt, made a quick trip to the bookstore, and then we headed home. Alex had homework to do, and I needed to start supper.

It was around 5 o’clock, I guess, when the doorbell rang. Alex ran to answer it, and when I heard him yell “Thank you!” in the general direction of the driveway, I knew that someone had delivered a package. I could hear Alex trying to pull the box into the foyer – but it was so big that he was struggling a little bit. I couldn’t remember ordering anything that would be that heavy, but over the span of several seconds, something occurred to me.

BOOKS.

And sure enough.

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So that was a little bit of a Family Moment. Very surreal. And fun. But make no mistake: deeply surreal.

A half hour or so later, we finished our supper, and I faced the sobering realization that there was no way to avoid a trip to Walmart. Why, you wonder? Well, because apparently the good times never stop and sometimes you can’t put off buying shampoo and razor blades for even one more second.

But in the end, I was so glad that I went to Ye Olde Supercenter. I’m a sucker for a good sunset, and tonight’s was the prettiest one we’ve had so far this spring. The sky was so beautiful, in fact, that I made a quick detour into the Lowe’s parking lot, where I promptly put my car in park and grabbed my phone out of my purse.

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I mean, seriously.

There was a man parked across from me who was also taking pictures, and after a few minutes I turned to him and said, “That sky is so pretty that it’s hard to understand why people would want to live anywhere else.”

He grinned. And then he said, “You look at that sky, and you really don’t need much more than that, do you? Even just a little bit of that – that’ll hold you for awhile, you know?”

And I did know. I do know. Because the God who created that gorgeous sky – He holds.

Today has been such a reminder of that.

And it’s been so sweet to remember.

Over There

Hey bloggy people –

I don’t have a new post here today, but I do have a new post over at Ree’s. It’s about the new movie adaptation of The Great Gatsby, and as you can imagine, the 19 year-old English major who forever lives deep down inside of me is BESIDE HERSELF with excitement.

She’s also wearing a really big plaid hair bow. She’s probably wearing a Cambridge Dry Goods sweater, too.

Old habits die hard.

Happy Tuesday, y’all!

The Rest And The Relaxing

I know that I don’t write about my work – and I’m not about to start because, well, BOUNDARIES – but last week was, to put it mildly, FULL. It wasn’t bad by any stretch of the imagination, but it was full, primarily on an emotional / spiritual / mental level. So by the time Friday afternoon rolled around, I wanted to sit outside and NOT THINK and look at some trees and NOT THINK and maybe hang out with some friends and – you got it – NOT THINK.

Which is how we ended up here.

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And no kidding: a high school baseball game was the cure for (almost) every single thing that was ailing me. The little guy and a buddy threw a baseball to each other for the better part of two hours. There was plenty of time to visit with friends, to look at the trees, to breathe a little bit and soak up some end-of-the-day sunshine. We had a delightful time.

We went to Five Guys after the game, and by the time we got home, I felt like I’d been hit by a wave of BONE-WEARY TIRED that demanded I proceed straight to bed just as soon as I had my standing appointment with this stuff.

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Listen. I KNOW. It’s awful to be 109. But the fact that I have a standing appointment with the Icy Hot is indicative of the fact that I have not yet found my dream pillow. Oh, I bought a very nice pillow at Bed, Bath, & Beyond, and everything about it seems like it should be perfect (side sleeper, synthetic down since I can’t do the feathers, very plush but still somewhat rigid), but when I put my head in the center of the pillow, it doesn’t give me enough support. For the first three or four days I thought that I had found a winner, but then it was Neck Discomfort 2.0. So the search continues.

Saturday morning I woke up way earlier than I expected, but that was totally fine because I got to write in my new journal.

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Isn’t that SASSY MCGEE? I got it at a bookstore here in Birmingham, but it isn’t on that store’s website. So here’s a link if you’re interested. It’s just as cute on the inside.

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(Just FYI: the paper is lined.)

(I know that some of you are probably unlined journal people.)

(Free spirits. DEVIL MAY CARE-ISH.)

I spent most of Saturday working on some book-related stuff, but I took a break around 11:30 to cook lunch for my fellas. Normally I don’t do a whole lot of cooking on Saturdays, but I had pork chops and squash that I bought earlier in the week, so I decided to fix some rice, too, and just go ahead and serve what my mama would call a big ole country dinner. So I made a squash casserole, cooked some rice, pan seared the pork chops, then put the pork chops in the oven to finish cooking. I figured I might as well make some gravy to go with the pork chops and rice, so I pulled out all my gravy-related ingredients, grabbed the pork chops out of the oven when they were done, and as I was taking the pork chops out of the skillet, I somehow forgot that I’d just taken them out of a SCALDING HOT OVEN and grabbed the skillet handle with my left hand.

Here’s my biggest understatement of 2013: ouch.

You know how sometimes you stub your toe and it takes your brain a few seconds to process that OH YES MA’AM THIS IS GOING TO SMART? That’s what happened when I grabbed the skillet. I stood still as a stone for what felt like thirty seconds, wondering WHY IN THE WORLD DID I NOT THINK THAT WAS HOT? And then I started to feel the burn, but in an entirely different way than Jane Fonda intended back in the 80s. I made some sounds to the effect that SWEET FANCY MOSES I HAVE HURT MYSELF, and D came running (okay. maybe not running. maybe more like walking really fast.) down the hall to see what he needed to do to help. By then I was holding my hand under some cold water, so he made me an ice pack and cleaned up everything that splattered when I dropped the skillet. He also made sure that I didn’t require any medical care, and then he said, “Is there anything else that you need me to do? Can I finish making lunch?”

And y’all, I don’t know what came over me, but in that moment I felt as determined as I’ve ever been in my life. I assured D that I could still take care of lunch, so I rubbed a little salve across my finger tips, put the skillet back on the stove (with my right hand, of course), and by diggity I whipped up a batch of gravy. My left hand was holding tight to that ice pack, but my right hand mixed flour with pan drippings, poured in some beef stock, adjusted the temperature, and whisked for upwards of ten minutes. I did have to ask D to twist the pepper mill for me there at the end, but other than that I made that one-armed gravy all by myself.

Honestly, I felt like I was in some sort of impromptu Southern Woman Olympics. And while I had suffered a setback with an unexpected minor burn that was all better within a few hours, I would not – I could not – let that injury get in the way of my gravy. Oh no ma’am. I have trained for way too many years.

(I was so tempted to say “gravy trained” in that last sentence.)

(Clearly I exercised remarkable restraint.)

(And I hope y’all had a wonderful weekend.)

Spinning Wheels

Lately, more often than not, I look at this little blinky cursor on the screen and think, “Eh. I got nothin’.” And really, it’s not that I don’t have anything to write about; it’s more like I don’t know where to start.

Okay. That sounded way more dramatic than I intended it to sound. Because now, if I were you, I would be thinking that this is the part of the blog post where I’m about to tell you some earth-shattering news. And I do not in fact have any news of that particular variety. Oh, I could tell you about how I cooked tilapia tonight for supper, and how it was the first time we’ve eaten fish since An Unfortunate Mahi Mahi Incident the last time we were at the beach, but that is certainly not a life-altering event. Or I guess it was a life-altering event for the mahi mahi because, well, IT WAS OUR DINNER, so I guess by comparison we fared pretty well – other than a short-term aversion to fish that looks beautifully cooked on the outside, but on the inside, not so much.

Anyhoo.

The reason that I don’t know where to start when I see the cursor blinking is that our days are so dadgum full lately, and by the time I cook supper and visit with the husband and get the boy to bed and sit down for a few minutes to process the day, I can’t always muster the energy to chronicle a few of the day’s details in a blog post because, well, that requires brain power.

And do you know what doesn’t require much brain power?

TV.

I waffle between thinking that it’s pointless to post anything and thinking that no! something is better than nothing! even if it’s just a Mad Men GIF.

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See? WE ARE ALL HAVING GOOD TIMES NOW!

Okay. I have to go now because we have some friends staying with us tonight, and they just texted to say that they’re ten minutes away. Which means that I might need to do something about the large pile of laundry on our bed and maybe fold a couple of towels.

But I just wanted to say “hey.”

So.

HEY!

Have a great weekend, y’all.

Just A Quick Link

Hey bloggy friends –

Beth Moore is doing the neatest thing on her blog today, and while I realize that 90% of y’all have probably already read it, I thought I’d put up a quick link for the 10% who might not have seen it yet.

Here’s the deal: Beth is giving young women in their 20s the opportunity to introduce themselves / share prayer requests in the comments – and she’s asking women who are on the other side of their 20s to commit to praying for one or two of the commenters for 14 days. I think the 20s can be so hard (I say this because I was a bit of a train wreck from 20-25), and Beth’s post is such a great way to reach out to some younger girls and love on ’em a little bit.

So. Here’s the link. There are instructions in the post. Hope y’all have had a great Tuesday!

Sunday Night (How’s That For An Inventive Title?)

We’ve discussed several times that I have a personality that tends to err on the side of obsessive. And I say that like it’s my personality’s fault, like I carry no real responsibility in terms of disciplining myself to DIAL IT DOWN A NOTCH.

So considering the way that I can jump on board with a project and just spin and spin and spin without making any real forward progress, I can’t thank y’all enough for your suggestions about affordable ways to give Alex’s room a little make-over. I feel like I have a game plan now – as opposed to just hopping in my car and driving from store to store to store with no real sense of direction. Yay, Internet, for the wise counsel. I appreciate it more than you know.

And while we’re on the subject of my obsessiveness, I figured I might as well mention a few things that have also captured my attention over the last week or so. Because as far as I’m concerned, the crazy cannot be conquered until it is shared.

(Is that on a free printable somewhere?)

(Or maybe cross-stitched somewhere on Etsy?)

1. Watching Pretty Woman for the first time in years

Saturday night was the first time in about five days that I’d watched something besides the news, and I happened to catch Pretty Woman about 20 minutes into the movie. I hadn’t seen it in forever, but I was immediately fascinated by the fact that it didn’t look nearly as dated as I expected that it would. The clothes still looked pretty modern, and the decor was fairly classic with the exception of some bright mauve carpet. But oh my goodness – THE PHONES.

I got so tickled. Because they were brick-esque, really.

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I wish I’d taken a picture of Edward with his cell phone. It had to have weighed a solid eight pounds.

2. Soup

Seriously. Soup. Ever since the Virus-O-Doom hit our house a couple of weeks ago, I have been craving soup. The fact that it’s not winter anymore has done absolutely nothing to deter my soup-related enthusiasm. Tonight I made a new tomato soup recipe, and it was delicious. Ree’s tortilla soup will be on the menu for later this week. I doubt this soup phase will last long since there are some meat-and-potatoes fellas in this house, but I’m gonna enjoy it while I can.

3. The Great Gatsby (the new movie)

I’m oh-so-excited about the movie simply because I love the book so much. In fact, I actually started a post about ALL MY MANY THOUGHTS a few days ago. I know that book adaptations are rarely as good as books are, but I totally have my fingers crossed on this one. And if nothing else, I think that seeing the sets will be worth the price of admission. The trailer looks absolutely gorgeous.

4. Open Front Jersey Cardigans

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Now to be clear, Old Navy calls these LOUNGE cardigans. I don’t know if that means that you’re only supposed to wear them with yoga pants when you’re relaxing around the house, but I am here to tell you that if you like a little extra coverage (amen) or an extra layer (I am such a fan of layers – especially in the fall and spring), these are super-soft and fun to wear with colored jeans. I just ordered the pink and the light blue – two colors that I have not worn much at all over the last few years – and I am crazy about them. Yesterday I wore the pink one with some green jeans, and I felt like it was 1988 all over again. Except that hopefully my bangs are in much better condition now.

5. CL by Laundry Date Night Wedges

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Last year I saw these shoes in Stein Mart and didn’t buy them because I just wasn’t sure if I’d wear them that often. But I thought about them over and over again last summer, and when they showed up in Stein Mart a couple of months ago, I snapped them up (on sale, hallelujah). They’re almost like a flat on top of a wedge, and they run pretty true to size. What I like about them the most, though, is that they’re great with the skimmer length / ankle length / longer capri length pants and jeans that are everywhere right now. If you feel like you’re in a flip-flop rut (raising my own hand) and need something a little sassier, these shoes might be just the ticket.

All righty. That about covers it – at least for now, I reckon. And by all means, let me know if you’ve run across any movies / soups / loungewear / shoes that I need to check out.

Hope y’all had a great weekend!