Saturday, December 31, 2005

Happy New Year

Wishing you and yours joy, peace, contentment and love in the new year.

my resolution - to discover myself - again - and then find the courage to be true to that self.

wish me luck...

i'll need it

Friday, December 30, 2005

I Have A GuestBook

on my blog
I figured it out
How exciting is that??!!!

The last time I had a guest book, it was at my bridal shower. given for me several months after I eloped. Long enuf after the nuptials so that everyone could tell I didn't HAVE to get married.

My Shower was the Social Event of the Season - or so I was told by a few friends. It was small town Mississippi. And yes, these folks should get out more if they thought my bridal shower was a social event...

There was no wedding - just two very dear friends and a justice of the peace. So the shower - that was the Event. And I had a guest book. No idea where it is now. So I start a new one.

Check it out. Leave a note.
but be gentle, I'm in a state at the moment and can't take much past constructive criticism...

And thanks so much for coming by...

Thursday, December 29, 2005

under the heading - it's never EVER dull

My Mom is going to have an absolute stroke when she reads this.
"You don't have to tell everything you know." "Always Upgrade" - she tells me when I have a potty mouth. I can hear the speech already...

And if you have a weak constitution, you may not appreciate the humor in this either.
So if that is you, consider yourself warned. Leave now. I am quite serious, not being polite...

It never ceases to amaze me the stark honesty my children exhibit.
It never ceases to amaze me how inquisitive my children can be.
It never ceases to amaze me how much they can embarrass me.

and I DO NOT embarrass easily.
So when the three are combined - natural inquisitiveness + brutal honesty => leading to deep embarrassment, it takes me days to recover my equilibrium. So let it be noted, I am off kilter for at least two more days.

And you should know - that the only reason I can even discuss this in a public forum is due to the way my Mom raised me - and apparently this 'raising' is spilling over to my children. You'll get that part later.

But growing up - there was never a question we (my brothers and I) could not ask. Anything to do with the human body, bodily functions, sex, animal husbandry, politics - you name it - absolutely anything was fair game. And I always thought that was so cool and ultra-modern of my parents. To this day, I can discuss just about anything with anyone and not be phased. But every now and then, as was the case today, I get a sneak attack...

Today, I took my six year old daughter to the movies. 12:20 showing on a holiday. PACKED theater. When the movie was out, and my bladder was about to explode, Sam and I made a mad dash for the ladies room. 20+ stalls. a line to get in. it was full, full, full - you get the picture...

So we luck out and get the handicapped stall. Enuf room for the both of us. I get to 'go' first. So I do. I rise, step aside, proceed to zip and button and out of nowhere she looks down into the bowl, looks up at me with complete horror on her face - in that same WHISPERED voice they (my children) use that reverberates from every corner of the sanctuary at church when they exclaim "I GOTTA GO PEEEEEE!" proclaims...

wait for it...


I give her my absolute very best SHUT YOUR MOUTH AND DO NOT SAY ANOTHER WORD look. had to have been my Very Best SYMADNSAW look because she did not utter another sound. That's NEVER happened.

I flush, take her by the hand, eyes to the floor, head down, walk/run out, her feet not touching the floor and I do not look at a living soul until I get to WalMart - where I FIRST go to the bathroom to wash my hands...

sorry Mom.
had to be told...

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

Holiday Hangover....

And it ain't from the eggnog...

that's just how I feel about now. I am officially holiday'd out. Stick a fork in me - I'm DONE!

If I never see another leftover for the rest of my life, it'll be too soon. And I know there are those self righteous folks out there that claim "I never eat leftovers" as they look down their haughty noses at me. Well these sons of a something-or-others never chopped, diced, boiled, grated, de-boned, mixed and worked for three days in preparation of ONE MEAL. I did and it has taken me three days post meal to accept that we simply are not going to eat it all. and I am okay with this. I AM SO OKAY WITH THIS...

The sourdough bread pudding with Crown Royal sauce - this got ate. All of it. The green beans a la tcole - those are gone too. the turkey. done. I picked all the oysters out of the oyster dressing so all the rest (save the mocha cheese cake and pecan pie - I'm not a complete loon) are OUT the door tonight post haste.

After one daughter with pnemonia, a son with blood and puss draining from the tubes in his ears and the third child - the middle one - suffering from terminal meanness, I can stand not another second of Holiday Joy. But here's the recap...

Best lines from the holidays...
After sitting through four year old darling daughter's one hour and twenty minutes long holiday school play TWICE - my Dear Husband proclaimed it was "Painfully Entertaining."

"STUPID ELVES!!! STUPID ELVES!!!" Screamed by my pissed-off six year old after her new Big Wheel delivered by Santa (assembled by Mom) broke.
NOTE TO SELF - Send scathing email to Big Wheel manufacturer.

I often phone home when preparing a family recipe for direction and advice. There's always some secret step that never gets put in writing - so I check in with Mom and/or Dad to make sure I get it right. So whilst putting the cornbread dressing recipe together Christmas morning, I phone home . My brother, the other one - the middle child - answers the phone. I tell him I need to talk to Mom or Dad as I have a dressing question. he deadpans - "Red. You should wear Red on Christmas." I used to like him...

Smartest thing done over the holidays...
Pulled the movie The Polar Express from the Santa Stash and gave it to the girls on Christmas Eve morning and let them watch it while Mom and Dad completed last minute preparations. DH turned on the surround sound home theater and when that train pulled through the den, I almost wet my pants. It's a wonder all the ornaments stayed on the tree with that reverb...

But the girls were entertained and distracted and not trying to kill each other. It was brilliant!

Santa-is-Busted Close Calls...
There were two...

First off, almost all Santa presents were wrapped exclusively in Special Santa paper. A few - wrapped early in the shopping process were not...
Six year old Darling Daughter holds up one such gift and says "Look Mom - Santa has the same paper as you." I tell her Santa has excellent taste in wrapping paper.

Within seconds, Darling Daughter #2 unwraps one of her packages. Santa Mom had packaged the new outfit in a box that DD#1's recently purchased new boots came in. So DD#2 proclaims - "Look Mom! I got some boots just like sisters."
Imagine her surprise when it was jeans and a shirt.

Gotta be more detail oriented next year.

Absolute Best Christmas Present...
As you may or may not recall, I - along with three of my bestest girlfriends - have tickets to the Bon Jovi concert in Dallas on January 15th. DH has paid for us to have a limo take us to and return us from aforementioned concert. When we found out about this gift, we all screamed like the 16 year old girls we WILL transform into on the evening of the 15th.
Now, if I could just figure out a way to have Jon Bon Jovi wrapped and bowed and under the tree next year...
my my my, what a Merry Christmas that would be.

Most Cuddly Christmas present...

For those of you that have ever stayed up late nights and wondered what I look like sleeping, wonder no more. At least you now know what I look like when I am trying to sleep.

Meet BB
Short for Blue Bonnet
7 week old American Staffordshire Terrier.
As if three kids, a full-time job, DH, a household and my sanity weren't enuf to maintain.

Next year, I'm going home to Mississippi for Christmas where my Mom and Dad do the cooking, the most prep-work I do is wrap brownies. Pets and mis-behav'n kids are not allowed indoors and I can pay someone to come clean her house.
I can't wait.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Deck them Halls, Ya'll!


My Christmas gift to you is my Mom's Cornbread Dressing and Giblet Gravy recipe. This is a TRUE southern tradition and bar none, my Mom's recipe is the best! Plus - if I put it out here - will save me the trouble when Mary asks me for it after lunch tomorrow...

1 cup dry white rice (precook it)
5 stalks celery, chopped fine
1 large yellow onion, chopped include a little green onion if you have it
1 cornbread (see recipe below)
6 pieces dry toast
4 eggs (boil and grate)

1 whole chicken
Cream of chicken Soup

Salt & Pepper to taste

Boil chicken - add salt and pepper - to make a broth.

We use a huge pot to mix all this in. You will use your hands to mix it. Every year - I try to avoid this part but it just don't work unless you're up to your elbows in dressing...

Crumble cornbread and toast.
Add all other ingredients and mix well.
Add some meat from chicken.
Add broth and 1/4 can cream of chicken soup to proper consistency. Proper consistency is quite juicy. And this is the trick. The moisture will cook off so as to not have dry dressing, you have to put it in the oven almost sloppy. Taste before you bake to make sure you have enough Salt and Pepper.

Melt butter in pan. Add dressing.
Bake just until hot throughout. (Actually, we do ours till it is a little crusty around the edge.)

Giblet Gravy:
1/2 Stick of butter
1 1/2 Tbs. flour
3 cups broth
gizzards, sliced
3 eggs, boiled and chopped
3/4 can cream of chicken soup

Stir flour into melted butter;
Add liquids slowly

add the gizzards* and eggs

* sometimes - we just use chicken meat instead of gizzards. Will depend on your preference. Just make sure to chop chicken meat very fine so it doesn't get stringy.

3 cups cornmeal
3/4 cup flour
3 tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. salt
1 heaping tbsp. sugar
1/4 cup oil
1 egg

Combine dry ingredients
Add milk, oil, and egg.
Bake @ 425 until done

Serve with cajun-spice injected deep-fried turkey, cranberry sauce and all the trimmings...

And to all a Good Night...

Friday, December 23, 2005

Blog Housekeeping

I have given my blog address out to numerous friends and family members over the past few months. I know you are out there and occasionally check in - as I get your emails and some of you tell me in person you are reading.

And I know some of you are not Web Warriors and in fact, my blog might be your very first venture into the Blogosphere...

So to help you feel welcome - here's some things you should know.

Why I Blog...
1. It's the cheapest form of therapy I have found
2. I want to write a book one day and this is good practice
3. There is no way I am going to remember all the stuff that happens day in and day out with my kids so this is a pretty decent way to record it
4. It allows me to communicate with friends and family - and they (You) can choose how much or how little you wish to know of us and our lives.

How all this started for me...
In the first hours Post-Katrina, it was almost impossible to get news out of South Mississippi. I was Google-ing like a fool trying to find out what was going on. I had heard of blogs - but never read one. So for some reason, it occurred to me to use the word 'blog' in my search criteria. I tripped on a few and then found one by these two guys out of Gulfport. Their blog - Eye of the Storm, kept me informed, SANE and entertained. I got stuff from them the national news was not covering. after a few weeks of reading their stuff, I had the realization that this was something I might like to do - start my own blog. So I did. And here we are.

How you can communicate with me DIRECTLY on my blog...
Most of the folks I know personally that read my blog either email me or tell me in person when they have enjoyed something they saw out here. But there is a more immediate way to communicate with me. You can leave a comment on any entry. At the end of each entry, there is a link. It says "Comments." Click on this and you will be taken to a new window where you can tell me whatever is on your mind. BUT REMEMBER, this is a public site. Please do not use my first name out here. Do not put your email address out here. If you want me to know who you are, use your initials or some other form of id we both know. If you don't have a blog linked to your name - it is usually ok to use just your first or last name.

Comments are an open dialog - so if you leave some - check back for my (or other bloggers') response.

You can also email any of my log entries to someone. There is a link for this as well - directly to the right of the Comments Link.

How you can read my old posts...
This blog was started back in August 2005. However, the main page does not show all postings back to the beginning. If you'd like to check these out, use the links to the left entitled "OLD RANTINGS."

What are these other blogs I link to?
On the left side of my blog, you also see a heading for "Blogs and Spaces that Suck Me In." These are other blogs I have come across that for one reason or another I like and/or relate to. Some of them make me cry. Some I hoot and holler with. The first one is the one I found post-Katrina. Feel free to visit any of these blogs and enjoy them as I do. Let me know what you think about them.

What else? I guess that about wraps it up. If you have any other questions, just leave them in the comments section.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005


So Cat tagged me on the Seven's List...
I have worked on this - off and on - all day.

Seven things to do before I die (not in order of priority):
1. Be true to myself
2. Raise my kids to be responsible, contributing members of society in whatever way fulfills them
3. Marry for money
4. Travel the world (see #3)
5. Plastic Surgery (see #3) - want flat stomach and perky boobs and I'm not afraid to admit it...
6. See the Northern Lights
7. Write a book

Seven things I cannot (or will not) do:
1. I WILL NOT Wear Purple. This includes panties and bras.
2. I will never not be there for my family when they need me.
3. Have my house clean, the grass mowed, kids dressed and neat, the van washed, home-cooked meal on the table and not be exhausted - ALL AT THE SAME TIME.
4. I cannot tolerate stupid and lazy. I can take either in small doses - but combined, I cannot abide.
5. I cannot hold my tongue when I think something needs saying. My personal motto - "If you don't want to know, don't ask me."
6. I will not EVER again own a vehicle that does not have a VCR or DVD player in it.
7. Bake

Seven things I say most often:
1. "Kiss My Grits!"
2. "Savannah, you are TOO loud!"
3. "If you'd stay away from her, she couldn't do that to you."
4. "Honey, Please..." (spoken with over-exagerated southern drawl)
5. "I am wiped!"
6. "Wait! I might have a coupon for that!"
7. "I am so stinking excited!"

Seven books I have read (in random order).
1. The Stand by Stephen King
2. A Time to Kill by John Grisham
3. Sweet Potato Queens' Book of Love by Jill Conner Brown
4. Alive : The Story of the Andes Survivors by Piers Paul Read
5. Hawaii by James Michener
6. Black and Blue by Anna Quindlen
7. The Pilot's Wife by Anita Shreve

Seven movies I watch over and over again (in random order):

1. My Best Friend's Wedding - and sob every single time

2. Braveheart - but turn it off for the last 15 minutes

3. The Breakfast Club - my "Coming of Age" movie

4. Pretty Woman - because I am a complete sap for that Price Charming routine

5. Barbie Rapunzel - actually I listen to this - in the van - so as to have some peace and quiet.

6. Grease - know all the dialog and all the songs - every single word

7. Aliens - the second one - "We're in some pretty shit now man..."

* * * * *

And then Big Pissy got me with the 5 Weird Things I Do List. I like to think these items make me unique and special.


1. I sing out loud in the grocery store. It makes it easier on the other patrons if there is piped in music or I have my kids with me. But I am not particular - I can sing out loud with or without the music or kids.

2. I have an active imagination and often live in my own little Fantasy World. Not that kind of Fantasy world - Shame on you... In my Fantasy, I am skinny and rich. Kids are well behaved and I am a good mother. Dinner is home-cooked, hot and on the table. I am content.

3. I threaten to show people my scar - from my tubal ligation - when they have the audacity to ask if I am having any more kids. I really do this. And yes, I have shown it to at least one person.

4. I am a coupon clipping Queen/Freak/Addict. I have 2 three-ring binders full of clipped and categorized coupons. Mostly for groceries - but I'm not picky. And in my little coupon-community - this is not so weird. But to the untrained - I am certain it seems a bit odd - as I get looks in the grocery store. and it's not just the singing out loud bit. But before you write me off, note this - I usually spend 25 cents on the dollar for ALL my groceries.

5. And this may or may not be considered weird - but since it 'tis the season - I believe in Santa Claus. I really do. The Man. The Spirit. The Hope. I believe.

* * * * *

So there you have it. This WAS fun but I am listed out. For those of you reading - join in and play along.

it's time to fix dinner and I AM WIPED...

Platitudes Smatitudes...

I have received the following in an email no less than ten times...
it was nice the first two or three times...
then annoying
and today, i got it again - from my Baby Brother...
methinks he loves me... ( I love you too Bro!)

anyway, it hit home as I have a dear friend - a fur piece away - that needs the following reminder...

15 Things You Probably Never Knew or Thought About
1. At least 5 people in this world love you so much they would die for you.
2. At least 15 people in this world love you in some way.
3. The only reason anyone would ever hate you is because they want to be just like you.
4. A smile from you can bring happiness to anyone, even if they don't like you.
5. Every night, SOMEONE thinks about you before they go to sleep.
6. You mean the world to someone.
7. If not for you, someone may not be living.
8. You are special and unique.
9. Someone that you don't even know exists loves you.
10. When you make the biggest mistake ever, something good comes from it.
11. When you think the world has turned its back on you, take a look: you most likely turned your back on the world.
12. When you think you have no chance of getting what you want, you probably won't get it, but if you believe in yourself, probably, sooner or later, you will get it.
13. Always remember the compliments you received. Forget about the rude remarks.
14. Always tell someone how you feel about them; you will feel much better when they know.
15. If you have a great friend, take the time to let them know that they are great.

A Minute: They say it takes a minute to find a special person, an hour to appreciate them, a day to love them, but then an entire life to forget them.

Take the time... to live and love.

And Friend - please remember to count your blessings...


I am a MISSISSIPPIAN - Hear me Roar!

While you prolly know that I am a Hard Core Southern Gal and currently live in Texas - unless you have read all the way through this blog - you may not know that I am a Mississippian by birth.

And Darn proud of it!

So if you have that common (I'm not pointing fingers) misconception that everyone from Mississippi is illiterate, barefoot, redneck, bigoted and lives in a twenty year old trailer - have I got some news for you.

We're Not.
At least not most of us.
We have our fair share of loons and kooks but for the most part - it's an AWESOME place to hail from. And I am in some pretty good company.

Check it out. Oprah and Elvis - 'nuf said.

Click here and you will be linked to the Mississippi Believe It website where you can see the details and fine print of each poster.

And about the illiterate part - I LOVE this poster and hope one day to see my mug on there...

John Grisham - one of my fav's
Eudora Welty - HELLO.....
Tennesee Williams - can you say STELLLLAAAA??

And if you have never met Jill Conner Brown, allow me to introduce you to my hero and mentor. She is the founding member of the Sweet Potato Queens in Jackson, Mississippi.

And while I strongly recommend you read her books, I also suggest that you don't do it on a crowded airplane or in any public area as you WILL pee in your pants from hoot'n and holler'n so much. (ask me how I know...)

And this last one might be my favorite - it tells how Mississippians, per capita, donate the higest percentage of any state to charity.

Sorry folks - if I sound a bit defensive in my rantings here. DO NOT mean to cast stones. So please allow me this...

since Katrina, I have had such a burning in my gut for my home state. Burning from our pain and loss, certainly. But also a burning pride at how my family, friends, neighbors and fellow citizens are pulling themselves up by their bootstraps, picking up their lives, cleaning up their spaces and moving on with their lives. This task is monumental. It has only just begun. It's freezing there today (in South Mississippi) and people are still in tents. and in those itty bitty FEMA trailers that don't have space for a Christmas Tree.

No! No! No! Absolutely no sympathy tolerated.

Encouragement. Love. A Helping Hand - literally. Positive Vibes. And a new attitude about what Mississippi is all about. THIS we accept gladly.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

The Rockettes aren't the only LINE in town...

Well the NYC trip is wrapping up. What an adventure. I have shin splints from walking 10 city blocks in those D*** boots I just HAD to have...
I may never wear them again...

Running a tad behind today going to the customer site - my co-worker tells me we'll have to run 4 city blocks. I have on 2 inch heels. I tell her to go piss up a rope. You run, I'll meet you there when I get there. I'm a quick study on this NY Attitude.

Did I tell you I had lunch at Sardi's yesterday? How cool is that?! Right next door to the theater where The Producers is playing. Thought about looking into a ticket - but shopping won out.

Walked through Times Square. It is amazing - if you've never been, put it on your list of Things To Do Before You Die! Unbelievable! Made the mistake of walking into Toys R Us. I even had a 20% off coupon to use. The lines to check out were obscene. No way am I going to stand in line to spend MY money on TOYS!

When I finally made my way out - there was a line queued on the street to get in. No Joke. Who'd of thunk it? Of course, now that I mention it, I am one of those IDIOT moms that stands outside Toys R Us at 5am the Friday after Thanksgiving in the cold and dark. But for some reason - that makes perfect sense...

Where else did I go? Oh yes, Rockefeller Center - to see the HUGE Christmas tree, the skating rink - but most importantly - to see where Matt, Katy, Anne and Al work. Yes, I pushed my nose the glass to see inside Studio 1A for the Today Show. No one was there on a Sunday afternoon but It was still beyond cool. Yes, I am a startruck fool and was completely broken hearted when Matt got married...

I was determined to get my picture made in front of that tree. Wasn't sure how to accomplish this - as I was on my own. I did see one of New York's Finest taking someone's picture. But I refused to degrade the police officer any further. And then I saw them. A young couple - her taking his picture. They looked like a typical mid-western-white-bread couple. So I say to her - "Tell you what. You take and hold my camera, and I'll take your picture with your camera." She stares at me for a sec. "And then you can take a pic of me with my camera. That way, we've both got insurance that neither of us takes off with the other's camera." I thought it was brilliant. They went for it. So I got my picture taken in front of the Rockefeller Christmas Tree. As did they, together, as a couple - not individual shots of each other. This is what we call a Win-Win situation. (Check out the boots and frayed hem!)

From Rockefeller center, I made my way to 5th Avenue. And we all know what's on 5th Ave - Saks! Before I made my way into Saks, I was going to go into the American Doll store. We are not into those at my house - nor are we going to get into those HUGELY overpriced, over-marketed creations. Not so my girls can mark on their faces with blue mark-a-lots! Forget that. But I did think it might be cool to get them a Christmas ornament from there - especially since they have a doll with the same name as my oldest daughter. THERE WAS A LINE TO GET IN THE DOOR.

We did not go in there. And by 'we' I mean Me, my Boots and my now Developing Attitude!

Off to Saks. Made it in the side door. Wow - that place is amazing. The first floor - where all the cosmetics are - was like a Winter Wonderland. Ice branches and sparkling snow up to the ceiling and throughout. Made my way to the 9th floor - to the Christmas display. My goodness, they are proud of their Christmas ornaments. $60 for a small ugly porcelain dog ornament.
No purchases here. No Sir.
Exited the front door and THERE IS A LINE TO GET IN. I had to resist the urge to tell them all to head around to the side door. No line there.

Kept going down 5th Ave. Found the Disney Store. Have been in the Disney Store in every city I have ever visited. My daughter owns Disney stock - so I see my purchases there as an investment in her college education. My girls are getting Princess ornaments and my son is getting a Mickey Mouse football. And I waited in line 25 minutes to pay for them.

I am detecting a disturbing pattern here...

All I really wanted to do was to go to Bloomingdale's and buy a Christmas ornament. I wanted one like I bought at Marshall Fields in Chicago 20 years ago. 24 carat gold - three dimensional. Delicate. I LOVE my Chicago one. And I just knew I would find it at the nicer stores in NY. But Noooooooo. 10 blocks later, I make it to Bloomies. Stood in line for 30 minutes to buy something - can't say what b/c I am giving it to a friend that reads this blog occasionally. But it WASN'T the ornament I wanted.

Out of Bloomie's. Down the block, I make my final stop. This teeny tiny hole in the wall place called Serendipity. Apparently they make a killer frozen hot chocolate. One of my dearest buddies at home insisted I check this place out. And it seems she knew what she was talking about. This is a real hot spot - for locals and tourist. As I walk up - I hear the little guy at the door tell the couple in front of me that there is a FOUR HOUR WAIT. Not 4 minutes. Not even 40 minutes. FOUR HOURS. You must be out of your sweet little mind if you wait 4 hours for a hot chocolate. Honey, please. So I ask the guy, can I just walk in for a sec - thinking I can at least say I've been there. (and we all know that's the really important part - saying you've been there) And it is tiny. I was expecting to see nekkid waiters or something. Or maybe they were giving away small pouches of gold coins. ANYTHING to explain to me FOUR hours or WAITING. Nothing. Normal ice-cream parlor type place. I don't get it. Have people taken complete leave of their senses - wait four hours. I simply can not get past this...
Might not have recovered from my shock at all if my feet hadn't hurt so dad-gum bad.
But intense pain made me refocus. Taxi. I had to get a taxi. And while I was a bit wary of getting into another one - after the trip from the airport - it was either cab-it or crawl-it. My pride forced the first option.
And getting a cab is not as easy as they make it look in the movies. First, you have to know what the lights on top of the taxi mean. There is a science to this. And then, you have to flag them down - which made me feel like a complete arm-flapping idiot. But I was desperate, remember.

So this older woman walks up and stands near me on the curb. An even older woman - with a walker joins her. I realize I just got screwed. Next thing you know - a cab stops - right between us. She looks at me, smiles and motions to the car. I smile back and say, "Oh no, you take it." And they do. My mother raised me right. My feet are cursing me. My good deed was rewarded as about 2 seconds later, another taxi pulls up and returns me safely to my hotel.

I stop at the bell stand to retrieve my luggage and determine that the Bell Captain and I are kindred spirits. He asks how my day was. I tell him great - 'cept that I am crippled. He takes one look at my boots, smiles and says "Nice Boots. You look good in them." I reply beaming, "And we both know that looking good is the most important thing."
He agrees in the most delicious NY accent I have ever heard and tells me to go on up to my room, he'll send my bags right up. I love him.

Go up to the lobby - to get my room key. THERE IS A LINE 20 people deep. I am really starting to get pissy about this line stuff in NY. I am standing - in line - at the end - complaining good-naturedly (out loud) that the least they could do is bring us a cocktail while we wait - when the manager shows up with a pen and pad. He is taking down names. I smile sweetly and tell him in my best southern accent that the little lady from the front desk had called me this afternoon to tell me my room was ready and that I was checked in. All I had to do was stop and get my key.

You see, when I got to the hotel that morning - it was well before check-in time. So I ran up to the front desk hoping I might slide in. I have learned that a sweet smile and a dab of Southern Charm can, on occasion, open doors. Not this time. Nope. But she did take my name and say she'd call when my room was ready.
So now, this manager pulls me from the END of the line, walks me to the front desk, brings out the front desk supervisor and she - my most favorite person of the day - hands me my room key and sends me on my merry way. I gotta tell ya, I felt like a Rock Star getting the VIP treatment. It was pretty darn awesome skipping that ghastly line.

I made it to my room, kicked off my boots, ordered room service, watched a movie and did not leave until 11am the next day - when they kicked me out...

Oh yeah, those gold NYC ornaments I walked twenty city blocks in search of - I found them at LaGuardia before catching my flight.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

Start Spreading the News . . . . .

So I made it - no thanks to the Taxi Driver from LaGuardia to my hotel. OMG! He scared the bejesus out of me. I finally found myself staring at the meter. I knew it would cost $30 or less so I knew how close I was by how much the fee was. Was never so happy to see $25 on the meter of a cab. The swerving, brakes, horns honking - AT US! Someone will have to sedate me before I get back in another one tomorrow to head back to the airport.

BC - Before Children - I traveled about 75% of the year. and I LOVED it. But when I got off the road - it was time and I was ready. Of course I was 8 months prego - who WOULDN'T be ready??? But every time I go out now - I am reminded of things I miss...

First and foremost are all the frequent flier miles - as they allowed me to upgrade to first class on a pretty regular basis. And I am not a snob, but once you have flown first class on flights longer than 3 hours - it's a real chore to do it in coach...
This morning - before 6am, I had to REALLY suck up the gate agent just to get a good seat. I was assigned a center seat in the rear of the plane. And while I am a people person, I abhor center seats. Was told when I checked my bag that I could check at the gate for a better seat. And I did. and Gate Lady wouldn't give it to me. I smiled so sweet. it hurt. She told me to check back 20 minutes before the flight departed. I hovered...
before long, I heard my name on the overhead speaker and BINGO - I got a window seat on row 11. Score!

I slept over half the flight. My seatmate - a young woman on her way home for the holidays from Stamford told me I didn't snore. No wet spots so apparently I didn't drool either. Audible exhale.

but I digress...
the other thing I miss about traveling is ROOM SERVICE. I LOVE room service. Especially when I am on an expense account. Dinner was divine and I have already placed my order for breakfast in the morning. If I thought I could get away with ordering a chocolate bar right about now - I would! Should have thought about that earlier when I ordered dinner. Maybe there's a mini bar in here somewhere...

And I could eat one tonight as I walked the entire length of Manhattan. Jiminy Crickets this place is huge. My feet hurt. My calves hurt. my ankles hurt. it's my own fault - wore my new cute cowboy boots today. And faithful readers - I have a picture of me in my boots and my frayed hem jeans posing in front of THE Christmas Tree in Rockefeller Centre. How cool is that??!! Will have to upload when I get home. No cable on the road.

So I miss first class and I miss room service... pretty pathetic when you look at it that way...
but considering the life I lead - day in and day out - snotty noses (sorry Mom - she hates that word) dirty diapers, sick kids and managing a family of five full time - I sincerely don't feel too guilty about my confession.

I almost have enuf miles accumulated for a round trip international ticket. won't be first class. won't be able to afford room service on my dime - but heck, I'm always up for an adventure. Any suggestions on a destination???

I'll go just about anywhere - anywhere I don't have to take a taxi...

Friday, December 16, 2005

Brilliance Must Be Acknowledged

You would be out of luck if you counted on me to know the latest fashion trends or what's hot on the runways in Paris. The runways are in Paris, aren't they? Ask me what the latest grocery shopping outfit consist of - or what the mom's in the car-pools are wearing - THIS I know.

So for my upcoming trip to NYC, I figured I best perform a Wardrobe Review. Discovered that said wardrobe falls miserably short by NYC standards. So I convince my local fashion consultant - AKA Bestest Girlfriend from college that majored in Fashion Merchandising - to meet me on her lunch break to advise on my purchases. Note that she has not used this Fashion Merchandising degree professionally in 10 years - but in my mind she is still, and by far, The Expert.

So she helps me locate the Perfect Pair of Jeans. And she is the kind of woman/friend that is comfortable enuf with her self to tell me if my butt looks 'just okay' or 'really good.' we agree - these jeans - pretty darn good. She checks the length - so that I do not have what we used to refer to as High Waters. The medium length is just barely long enuf to meet the standard. I try on the long length. At least 2 inches too long. So we agree on the medium length.

Jeans purchased. brought home. worn and put in the dirty clothes. I knew these jeans could not go into the dryer. told my babysitter these jeans could not go into the dryer.

these jeans went into the dryer.

jeans are now officially too short to be worn with boots. I am devastated. this totally skews my planned NYC wardrobe. on the phone last night with another girlfriend bemoaning the fact that my now perfect, hip, butt-looks-good jeans are too short to wear with my cute new black cowboy-ish boots. (yes, we cover all the really important things in our conversations...)

And like any really good friend would - she commiserates with me. She is as mortified as I. We bat around a few possible solutions while i am working and she is baking. at the same time I explain to her that the sprinkles have to go on the cookies when they are hot - or they won't stick. our creative juices are flowing. And out of nowhere - BRILLIANCE.

She says - "just take the hem out, wash them and let them fray. I do it all the time." WOW! Why didn't I think of that? And if she does it - it must be the hip thing to do...

So I reach for the seam riper and begin the task of removing the hem. done. wash jeans. pull out this morning and Presto, Chango - they are PERFECT. (thanks SJC, IOU!)

NYC - Here I Come...

you've been warned....

Thursday, December 15, 2005

A Mind Like a Steel Trap

This is what four year old little girls come with.

I am distracted today. personally. professionally. my mind - for the record - is a mess.

But Darling Daughter #2 prances into my office a bit ago and tells me that I promised to go to her Christmas party today at school.

"No, I did not." I respond - racking my brain for when I made such an agreement.

"YES! You did!" lower lip extending outward. hands on hips. left foot stomp.

"Honey, I do not recall telling you that I could go to your Christmas party today."

"Yes you did!" right foot stomp.

OMG! Halloween!?!? Ah ha, instant recall of events.

For Halloween, I was Party Mom at DD #1's school. DD#2 was put out that I would not attend her party that day. I told her then - IN OCTOBER - that I would attend her Christmas Party.

so i have 30 minutes to get ready.

a steel trap, I tell ya.

it's never dull...

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

To Curl or Not to Curl

First you should know - before you read this entry - if you have anything important to do - any serious tasks at hand - you should do them first. I foresee this entry to be a lot of fluff and mostly nonsense...

This past weekend, DH took me to his company Christmas party. An occasion I look forward to every year. At least every year I am NOT pregnant. I get to dress up, have my nails done and as we did this year, stay overnight in a VERY nice hotel - sans kids.

and this year was a good time. The
Wyndham Anatole was the address this year. And it was very lovely. A room with a view of downtown Dallas. Party in a ballroom with 10 Chandeliers the size of my van. Dinner, drinks, dancing, a really good band and mingling with people I actually like and enjoy. I had my picture made with Elvis - the young, good-looking Elvis in front of a Million Dollar Rolls Royce. And right after the photographer's bulb when POP! - Elvis turns to me and says - I SWEAR, "Thank you. Thank you very much." Lip curled and everything. I suddenly GOT why my Mom and Dad went to Vegas twenty times before I was ten years old.

So anyway - the point of this entry - totally unimportant - is hair - mine and my daughters. I bought hot rollers to do my hair with for the party . My Hair Girl gives me instructions on how to do it up for the night. I do as I am told. Brush hair, take big sections, hot rollers, run fingers through, no brushing... And I get this lovely - somewhat glam look. DH LOVED it. It was fun. It was different. I wore it home like this the next day.

Which brings us to my Broken Glass Theory. For details, see

I have naturally curly hair. When I was a very little girl, all my relatives called me Shirley Temple. My middle daughter, Savvy, has curly hair like me. Very curly. Blonde, but lots and lots of natural curls. She takes one look at my hair Sunday morning and is visibly upset. I no longer have curls like her. I have smooth wavy hair like her sister. Sister, Sam, of course tells me she LOVES my hair. that my hair is like HER hair. This does not go over well with Savvy. at all. So I tell her that as soon as I wash my hair, it will be like hers again - and that the curls will come back. She processes this information and moves on. We go about our day. I think no more of it.

Bedtime - I tuck Savvy into bed. Prayers said. Hugs and kisses dispensed. I am leaving the room...
"Oh, Mom." in a very off hand manner.
"Yes, Savvy"
"Wash your hair."
"Yes, Savvy."

so I do. and the curls return. in full force - like they had been released from some prison...

And the next day, I have the brilliant idea (thanks to DH) that I should hot roll Savvy's hair. So I do. She thinks it is quite the adventure. Of course anything in my bathroom to do with make-up (AKA 'Sparkles'), brushes and hairspray is an adventure for her.

She wears the hot rollers for at least 35 minutes. This is cool, you know.

And then we take her hair down. I run my fingers through it - no brushing - and the curls fall loosely from her prissy little head. We spray it. She turns herself one way in the mirror. and then the other. not a word from her. Finally, I can stand it no more. "Savvy, what do you think???"

"I look like the Sugar Plum Fairy Princess!"

That's my girl...

Monday, December 12, 2005

You know you're too busy when...

Your next door neighbor emails you to see how you're doing - she tells me she hasn't seen me lately and points out that I haven't updated my blog since the 4th. Ahhhhh, must be December.

And I LOVE December and Christmas and all things related to Christmas. I even love the hustle and bustle - up to a point. I am just before that point. At the moment, there is not a clear space of carpet in my bedroom for all the boxes and bags. Presents to wrap and mail. Presents to wrap and protect. Can't wrap and put under the tree as my Precious Darlings will either unwrap, step on (to get to their favorite ornament) or just simply destroy. So my room/office has become a repository for all things Christmas. Which really just serves to remind me - all day long - how much I have to do to get ready...

Wrap. Package. Ship.

I did get my Christmas Cards out. All 125 of them. I love sending Christmas Cards. I take at least a week to sign each one personally. Now I understand that everyone is busy and it is so convenient to buy those pre-signed cards. not me. Every single one has my authentic autograph in it. Some I write a short note. At the very least - I pick up the card. Match it to an already addressed envelope and spend a few minutes in thought about the person/family I am sending it to. So even if I don't get to write each one a quick message - I am able to think, reminisce and always, be grateful for the role this person/family has played in my life.

But the best part about Christmas cards is GETTING them. I love opening the mail in the month of December. I even love those newsy letters some people include. Pictures of the kids. a year older. missing teeth. suddenly awkward teenagers where little boys and girls once existed.

This year - a huge treat - a new 9" pre-lit Christmas tree - compliments of DH. WOW! what a surprise that was. And it is gorgeous - if I say so myself. My Christmas tree is like an open scrapbook of my life. I have ornaments that are 20+ years old. Every year, I take immense pleasure in unpacking, unwrapping, touching and hanging each and every ornament on my tree. I can tell you where every single one came from.

This one, the red clay star with the green lanyard hanger, is from camp in North Carolina. That summer I was 13 years old. We celebrated Christmas in July at camp. My Secret Santa made this for me. It's been on my tree every year since.

This wreath ornament I made. From antique buttons and a soft shiny, satin ribbon. The buttons and ribbons were from the little country store my Grandparents owned and operated in Stone County, Mississippi. I made three like this. One for me and one for a couple cousins. Must have been about 5, maybe 6 years ago.

The next year, my cousin in Jackson, Mississippi sent me this one on the left. A Mississippi ornament. Made from Mississippi clay by a Mississippi artist. I cried when I opened it. She knows where my heart is. The same emotion washes over me each year when I open the bright red box that protects this treasured ornament.

The sequined snowman face to the right of the Mississippi ornament is new this year. He was made by hand with love by a precious friend - also in Mississippi. I have numerous pieces of her priceless work adorning my tree.

This last one I will share is maybe my most treasured Christmas ornament. It is a unicorn. Hand whittled. Painted with a red marker. My Dad made this for me probably 10 years ago. He has severe arthritis - especially in his hands. It was uncomfortable for him when he created this piece. Now, it is all but impossible for him to do this type of small detail work.

So this is my Christmas tree - in many ways, the story of my life. Not just the ornaments - but the lights. Clear, unblinking, steady. Some lights are covered with red chili peppers - to add a little spice. The raffia garland - nice and neat around the top. skewed and messy at the bottom - thanks to my son. I worked daily to clean it up at first and finally decided to let this disarray be his contribution to my tree. Like me - a little of this, a little of that. Diversity. Waterford crystal ornaments along side the construction paper reindeer. I hang ornaments on the inner limbs to give it depth. and because I have so many stinking ornaments...

My Tree is well traveled - Chicago in 1985, Vail in 1991, Grenada in 1998, Moab in 2005.

Ornaments for my children. The horse and stable for Sam. Barbie (of course) for Savvy. Smith has yet to be defined - other than his Baby's First Christmas ornament. DH has tractor ornaments. Jeep ones. Car and truck ones - even a Santa made from a shotgun shell. (one of my personal redneck favorites.)

I love when company comes over so I can give them the guided tour of my tree. I have invited people over for the sole purpose of showing them my tree. But even better than pointing out my favorite ornaments - and telling the stories behind them - even better - WAY better - is when my kids get in on the act. When they pull our friends this way and that to show them their ornaments. with the lights sparkling in their eyes, the genuine excitement and pride in their voices - it makes me nervous (that they're going to pull the tree over in their enthusiasm) and proud at the same time. Nothing would be better than for them to have their own Scrapbook Christmas Tree - with their own stories one day.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

All I Want For Christmas...

Is a shorter line to see Santa Claus at the mall...

I can be - at times - a particularly well prepared mother. Yesterday was one of those days, or so I thought
. I usually prefer the Fly-By-The-Seat-Of-Your-Pants school of mothering. However, a visit to Santa with three small kids and DH requires planning. strategy even. Lesson learned - my strategic skills need honing.

I knew Santa started accepting visitors at 10AM. I planned to be there at 10 AM. I knew I would not be at the front of the line but thought a 20 minute or so wait was do-able. Did not account for the fact that Samantha had ruined her last pair of black tights at school earlier this week and that everyone related to me by blood or marriage in the state of Texas would HAVE to go to the bathroom - in a most urgent fashion - as soon as our van was parked at the mall.

So we enter the mall and we part. DH and kids to the Family Bathroom - which for the record, I think are the best invention at malls since rent-a-stroller. I stop in the girls' department and grab a pair of tights. On the way up in the elevator, I turn to the young couple with ONE child, sitting quietly in his stroller. I smile. They smile back. I ask if this is their first child. They beam and reply, "YES!" I tell them with all the sincerity I can muster, "STOP!"

They laugh. I am serious.

So off to the bathroom where chaos rules. Everyone 'goes', washes, tucks, fusses and Sam gets her new tights on. Then back through the store - in search of Santa. And we find him. Along with a gabillion other kids decked out in their holiday finest already in line to see him. I look at my watch. It is 10:20AM.
LOOK AT THIS LINE!!!!! (That's my two front & center - about to pull the queue rope over. DH to the left holding brother.)

The line started at the gate beside Santa's HUGE green satin recliner, then snaked it's way around the over-stimulating mall holiday display, through the zig zag queue, OUT of the queue, past the 15 minute massage chairs (which I seriously considered), down the length of the mall...

We found our place at the END. and waited. for one hour and thirty five minutes we waited. and waited. I must confess - I didn't wait so much as I shopped. DH and two of our offspring waited in line while the third went with me to check some names off our holiday list. Teacher Gifts. Check! Socks for brother's stocking. Check! Victoria's Secret for me. Check! - Okay, so that wasn't on the list but I felt like I earned a little splurge...

So then I return to the line, DH has made friends with the Mom's all around. They know my shoe size, how old I am and when I lost my first tooth. Now it was his time to go shop. So he does - with two kids in tow. I stay the course with brother in arms. And all he wants to do is get "DOWN!" and run the length of the entire mall 50 or so times. I wore a Christmas shirt for the day - thinking it would help me get and stay in the holiday spirit. And it did. What I did not count on was that the scoop neck style would allow my son the opportunity to pull and expose. . . . ummmm, well, ME! and he did. several times. I got bored fighting him over it so if you read about the half naked woman in line to see Santa, at least you know how all the Dad's at the mall got into the spirit too.

We wait some more.

It gets closer to our time to see Santa. at this point hair bows are cock-eyed. Shirts untucked. tights are sagging. So as time is short, we regroup and complete last minute preparations for the Big Moment. My last piece of advice - I make the girls look me dead in the eye and I tell them that if Santa asks if they have been good this year, they had better be prepared to tell the truth. That lying to Santa Claus would result in absolutely no toys for Christmas. They nod reluctantly in unison. Snickers from the mothers behind us in line...

the gate opens. Santa says ( I swear) "Samantha, Savannah, ya'll come over here and see me." Momentarily, I am stunned. As are they. Then when they rush into his arms and lap, I remember that the Santa's helper had asked me for their name when I placed my photo order. There is a kid in me - that's for certain.

When the girls are situated and DH has the camera ready - I place brother on the empty Santa knee. At this moment, I become - officially - The Worst Mother in Texas. with an audience. I can feel all eyes in the mall are going from my son to me. Him to Me. Him to Me. He screams. cries, flails, wails.

And I stand there, smile sweetly and tell the Santa's Helper - through clenched teeth - "TAKE THE PICTURE! I have not waited for 1 hour and thirty five minutes to NOT get all three of my precious darlings in a picture with Santa Claus!" As if on cue, the girls will not cooperate and look in the same direction at the same time so at least 4 different shots are taken. Poor brother. Momma has given him to this huge, hairy strange man. and tells him to smile.

So we get the picture, I rescue brother from the big hairy guy, pass him to DH - they move about three miles away from Santa and then it's Magic Time for the girls. Sam and Savvy tell Santa what they'd like for Christmas. I love this Santa. He is beautiful, no doubt, but he is so kind. And years ago, when Sam's speech was even worse than it is now, and she was so unsure of this big fella, she struggled mightily to be brave and sit on his knee. When it was over - and she was walking out, she looked back over her shoulder. I knew what she wanted. So I said to her, would you like to give Santa a hug? She nodded. He nodded, opened his arms. She ran into them and he enveloped her. I love this Santa. And it is no less magical this year as he listens to each sister tell what they want - both talking at the same time - mouths moving, eyes sparkling. then they tell him what the other wants. and what brother wants. The Have You Been Good Question did not come up. Both girls are visibly relieved.

And I overhear him telling them very solemnly that he can't make any promises, but he will do his very best to bring them the things they want. I love this guy! (did I say that already???) I find myself fighting the urge to sit on his knee, whisper in his ear and beg a hug.

So was it worth one hour and thirty five minutes? You Bet! But next year we are going to be there at 9:30 AM! 9:15 if we don't have to make a bathroom stop...