Skip to main content

Posts

Showing posts from 2014

Vanity Is A Funny Thing

My daughter wanted a dressing table for her bedroom for Christmas and it was ordered long before the Christmas rush and safely stored in our garage.  You can imagine my shock when we removed it from the box, just days before Christmas, only to learn that it was the wrong item. The outside of the package clearly showed that we had received the white, five drawer unit that actually matched her furniture.  Sadly, the tiny black vanity would have to do until the correct one arrives. As Christmas morning was only a few hours away, I asked my husband to move the vanity to the back door so we could easily bring it in after all were in bed.  I learned, after the fact, that you should not tell a young girl, on the cusp of driving by herself, that she can't go outside on Christmas Eve.  While I was trying to hide the likes of a dressing table, I never realized that my child would interpret this to mean that there may possibly be a new car out there.  She contained her excitement,

Do Not Eat This

    Now that I've reached  the age of fifty, I find that eating is more about nutrition than it is about counting calories in an attempt to fit into skinny jeans again.  While I would like to don those pants and breathe at the same time, my focus is on food that is good for my body.  The problem, I've found, is that while I'm surfing the Internet searching for whole foods that clean arteries and decrease sugar levels, I find myself snacking on a handful of buttery cookies or a bag of chips.  I realize this is counterintuitive, as I should be gnawing on a bag of carrots or other root vegetables. I printed out lists of foods that I should eat and those that I should avoid.  Interestingly enough, it's much like a game of Othello where one move counters another, changing good choices into bad ones.   By the time you've crossed off all the bad foods, there is little left to eat.     While one diet encourages meats and vegetables, another warns to stay clear of re

The Sound of Joy

Photo - http://www.beautifulnow.is Joy can be found in the most unlikely places. For years, my children have recorded voice notes on my cell phone.  I never realized the magic that was in my hand until the night I discovered five years worth of sound clips of my children laughing and singing.  The first note was recorded in 2009.  I froze when I heard the sweet, delicate sound of my daughter's voice at the age of ten.  My son, also five years younger, no longer had the deep tones in his voice of the young man that he is today.  We know these voices, but they slowly slip away without notice as life simply carries these children forward. Suddenly, the cracked screen of my apparently five year old phone was no longer important. This broken device was a time machine that could carry me back to the days when my son would record his attempts at playing Pachelbel's Canon in D Major on an untuned piano.  It holds the sound of my daughter singing impromptu rap songs and then fa

Have Mercy

"Whether you are a devoted follower of Jesus, a skeptic giving this whole church thing a shot or somewhere in between - you are welcome here.  We will never assume that you have your life together, and humbly ask you not make that assumption about us.  We are a group of imperfect people, loved by a perfect God." These were the words I found as my family followed my son to his new church near the school he attends.  The facility, the Cannery Ballroom and Mercy Lounge, was a bar by night and a place of Christian fellowship by day.  I liked the contrast in the two and it made me smile because I believe that God shines brightest in the most unsuspecting places. We were not dressed for church and came in blue jeans and tennis shoes.  My daughter wasn't feeling well and I gave her some cold medicine to help her get through the day.  Apparently, she cannot take such meds. As we stood, at the end of the bar, singing words of praise, I turned to tell my child that it was hot

Hot Yoga

  While driving down the road, my child asked me if I would like to do Hot Yoga with her.   With great excitement, she explained how you do yoga in a very hot room, detoxifying the body while getting an excellent workout.   I turned to look at her and said, "Do you know me?"   I have never taken heat well and become an entirely different person as the temperature rises. The thermostat in our house flies back and forth as I continuously seek out the perfect comfort zone. I can think of nothing worse than beginning exercise in 104 degree heat.  I am the last person you would ever want for Hot Yoga.     This was about the same time my son pointed out that he needed some running shoes that didn't make him look like he was running away from something.  His description immediately stirred my curiosity.  As a young man who fancies dress shoes, he explained that you cannot run in such shoes because it gives the appearance that you are running away and not simply running f

Thrice Baked Potatoes

  My son came home from college for the weekend and like any good mom, I was determined to cook his favorite meal and host a sit down dinner.  Realizing that we are a generation of drive-thru diners and often eat meals while standing, sit down meals are not as common as they should be.  My mother helped to lighten my load by providing twice baked potatoes that she had prepared in advance.  All I had to do was heat them in the oven and serve them with dinner.  Thinking ahead, she made extra that I could freeze for another meal.   Not wanting to miss a minute of quality time with my child, I let time slip by and suddenly dinner time was upon us.  I had to throw things into high gear to get everything ready.  As I dredged chicken through flour, cut up veggies, and boiled pasta, I tried to stay engaged in the nearby conversation.  Time was ticking and I stepped up the pace.  Unfortunately, I've realized lately that when I multi-task, something peculiar happens to my small moto

Brewster In The Hen House

     Brewster, the beautiful rooster, lives in a hen house in our back yard.  He is the tallest and most magnificent of all the birds there.  There are six red and six white fowl residing together and sadly, the pecking order was determined and poor Brewster, my red, red rooster stands in the corner avoiding the bullies in the yard.      The white hens are fat and fancy and have no time for poor Brewster.  They are self absorbed and like to be petted and adored. Brewster stands to the side, avoiding being pecked.  He has just begun to crow and it's much like a boy going through puberty as his Cockadoodledoo is raspy and broken.  It's more like an "Er-er eh." I'm hoping he will puff that chest out, get a good breath of air and put those hens in their place.      While they are rude to Brewster, they are exceptional egg layers and we get a dozen fresh eggs every morning, six brown and six white. Strangely, I've found much enjoyment visiting the hen hous

The Man In The Attic

  The attic in my house is much larger in my children's minds than it is in reality.  It is a place of mystery that has led to wild thoughts and scary stories about who or what might reside there. They say people fear what they do not know and at the top of a set of pull down stairs with creaky hinges and a pronounced instability, lies the great unknown that keeps my children and their friends awake at night, listening for sounds of anything that shouldn't be there.   A place of unfinished floors, filled with boxes of treasures that were once important, the attic sprawls out in every direction with tiny walkways of plywood leading into the dark spidery corners. The children were never allowed into the attic when they were young, for fear that one wrong step would send them through a thin layer of insulation and straight down to the floor below.     Giant stuffed snakes, won at the State Fair, and over sized Teddy Bears who were simply too big to manage, rest at the entran

Seeding The Beach

  It was the late 60’s, somewhere near St. Petersburg, Florida when my grandparents took my brother and me to the beach.  While I was too young for many of the memories to stay with me, I vividly remember two things…the red, green and blue lights that lit up the Palm trees at night and walking on the beach, holding my “Pop Pop’s” hand as we searched for seashells.  We would get up at the break of day to ensure we were first to walk the sand and find the very best shells.  They were large and whole and came in a variety of shapes that can only be found today in the shell stores that line the beach highway.   It was a wonderful time.   When my children were born, I knew that I would treat them to the same experience one day. When that day finally arrived and we pulled up to the beach in our giant conversion van with buckets, shovels, floaties and more, I knew the magic was about to begin.   Since it was late afternoon we had missed all the good shells and made plans to

Memory Lane Is No Place For A Picnic

    Some ideas are better in theory than they are when realized.  My family learned this, recently, when we thought it would be a good idea to stop during an eleven hour road trip through the Deep South for a picnic lunch.  This would be a good time to point out that if you can avoid exiting the vehicle while traveling through the Mississippi heat, you should do just that.   The first mistake began with a GPS re-route around the thee hour traffic jam that is the Mobile tunnel.  We skirted across lower Mississippi traveling back roads that had not seen beach traffic in forty years.  My mother could not understand why there were no roadside parks on this two lane highway through the middle of nowhere.  My husband would have opted for pulling over on the side of the road and eating off of the tailgate of his truck.  The kids wanted something from the modern world such as a Chili's or Zaxsbys.   We were set for failure from the beginning.   I stopped at a small gas station

Changing Seats

    Better planning on my part would have prevented the untimely arrival of my long awaited dream car in the very same month that my daughter received her learner’s permit.  While I mistakenly assumed the new car belonged to me, I should have noticed the tiny Cadillac reflections in my child’s eyes.  My heart sank and her excitement grew, thus tugging at opposite ends of the wellness spectrum.   No one had explained to me that the arrival of her license to drive meant the end of my place in the heated seat behind the wheel.  Without fanfare, the pecking order changed and suddenly I was on the wrong side of the ATM and unable to catch a full view of the drive-up menu ever again.   After weeks of driving down unknown roads and failed attempts at parking between the lines at the Sonic Drive-In, my child had quenched her thirst for grape Slurpees and gained the skills needed for safe driving.  She had learned that the rear view mirror was not placed in the car for her to w

Health Food Nut

As my 50th birthday approaches, a silent panic sets in by the demand for a heart healthy lifestyle.  I'm keenly aware that a midnight movie binge with buttered popcorn and liters of soda don't fit into the image of the 50 year old me that I have in mind, but the joy in those midnight treats still calls to me.  In an effort to tame the snack monster that rides around on my shoulder whispering sweet nothings, I purged my kitchen of all treats tasty and wondrous. As the Doritos, trans fats and hydrogenated oil products disappeared into the trash, I knew I must be on the brink of something wonderful and healthy that my family would embrace. I would like to point out that health eating is expensive eating as indicated by my $250 grocery bill.  I stocked my pantry with nuts, grains, fruits and seeds - all whole foods promising energy and wellness.  A 24 pack of assorted chips used to last two weeks.  A $9 can of pistachios lasted two hours.  I watched in dismay as hungry chil

Yogurt Mountain

  Essay for  Real Simple Life Lessons Contest 2014   While millions of dollars have been spent on personality inventories to help people understand themselves better, I've discovered a much better tool for identifying personality types at a local hot spot called Yogurt Mountain.  I had this epiphany one afternoon as I was enjoying some frozen yogurt with my children.  The end product that we each created from the wide variety of choices perfectly described the personality of each maker.   My daughter is always first to jump in.  Her eyes open wide as she sees the new flavors and she races to fill her tester cup with Mango Delight and Triple Chocolate Monkey Crunch. I'll scan the choices several times as I don't want to waste my two chances to use my tester cups and get a free taste of the wrong thing.  My son stands back and checks his watch, sends a text message to a few friends, and simply disconnects from his mother and sister who are riding the roller coaster o

The Sound of Home

The sounds of home are one of life's greatest blessings and I want my children to remember these things.  From the creak of the back door to the clinking of a tiny metal "A" that hangs on my daughter's door handle and rattles every time her door opens in the middle of the night, these sounds are part of our world.  There is a comfort to be found in the gentle sloshing song of the dishwasher late in the evening and the soft, stretchy yawn of an old dog who sleeps inside now because it is late in life and the outdoors is simply too great of a beast for an old pup.     In the mornings, there is timing to the symphony of sounds that softly wakes each person. There is a rush of water through the pipes in the walls as the first person to shower is greeted with the hottest water of the morning.  The hum of a hair dryer mixed with the scent of cologne is like a soft alarm clock telling us we are late and should have been out of bed before now.   The clinking of

The Pencil Salesman

  They say we entertain angels while unaware and because of this I want my children to know they have a duty to help when called upon.  In sixth grade, I failed to remember this and it took me twenty years to right my bad choice.   It was at McNew's Pharmacy, a small drugstore and soda fountain tucked in the north Georgia mountains where students gathered after school for a snack and some fun with friends.  We could cram ten kids in a booth designed for four.  There was no shortage of laughter and fun. Peer pressure, however, is a powerful force, and to a young twelve year old girl who happened to be the new kid in town, it was important not to be different from the others.   It was while we were dining on french fries and milkshakes, that a man walked in with a small box of pencils and handed our group a sign he had made.  The words on the sign seemed foreign to us as we read that this man could not speak or hear.  Mind you, this was the 70's and children in the south

Treasure Hunting

While it's no secret that I've always wanted to be a pirate, it's no wonder that treasure hunting comes naturally to me.  Unfortunately, I've discovered that I'm not very good at it.  We've been through several metal detectors and they all broke long before I ever got the chance to dig for buried treasure.  My $400 investment turned up a bottle cap and a snake that was sleeping under a pile of leaves.  When my youngest child reached down to pick up the silvery object, screams ensued and the detector was thrown to the ground.  That was the beginning and the end of looking for hidden treasure in the back yard. With the introduction of the digital age, I turned to Internet auction sites to mine for goods. There's no fear of reaching down and grabbing a snake, although I have discovered that snakes do exist online, offering their counterfeit wares and freshly printed certificates of authenticity.  My parents' words ring in my head, "If it's to

Finish What You Start

  I've never really been a collector as I find there is enough clutter to be found with lone socks, paperwork piles and laundry that waits to be folded.  The last thing I need is a collection of small bears or steins that will never hold a beverage.  I do have a failed attempt at a collection of "Grow Up" porcelain dolls I purchased for my daughter so that she would receive one each birthday.  Currently, according to these tiny dolls, she stopped aging at her twelfth year and, apparently, was nine, twice.  Not really knowing what to do with an extra nine year old doll, I can't seem to toss it out.   Last year, while remodeling my daughter's room for the umpteenth time, everything was moved from her room to mine.  Three days later, everything was moved back to her room except for the apparently unwanted and unfinished collection of "Grow Up" dolls.  They remained, staring at me, to remind me that not only did I fail to finish what I started, but I w

Color Me Happy

  Standing between racks of clothes in the Juniors section of a clothing store, my child pulled out a fabulous sweater and announced with great excitement that this was her third favorite ugly color.  I was immediately struck with curiosity about how this color rating scale worked as I don't even know my own third favorite color, let alone favorite ugly color. I had to ask why one would have such a list of obviously unwanted hues.  Allie explained that yellow is ugly, but it was still a good color and it deserved to be at the top of her list, even if it was the ugly list. While I thought I had a good understanding of basic, secondary and even tertiary color wheels, my mind began to spin.   My child explained that pink is the all time best color, but sometimes you need an ugly color as everything can't be pink.  Seizing any opportunity to have yet another bedroom make-over, she cautioned me that should I ask what color her bedroom should be, she would have to say pink,

Are You Kidding Me!?!?

My friends have emailed and asked for new posts and while I can't even blame it on writer's block, I've simply not found a free moment to write.  Today, as my "To Do" list grew ridiculously large and I realized there was no way to accomplish everything that needed to be done, I turned to my old friend.... food.  I wandered down the hall for a clandestine meeting with the vending machine.   I knew this was shaky ground and that nothing good could come of this, but as I eyed the dangling product promising happiness and short lived satisfaction,  I connected with E5, the extra large honeybun. I dropped in four quarters and nothing happened.  At second glance, I realized I needed an extra quarter.  I fed more money to the machine and after a few seconds, the prized pastry fell to the drawer below.  I fished out my treat only to discover that it was already open and had expired two weeks earlier.  Now, after a week of disappointment in myself and others, I was i