Monday, December 31, 2007

2007 Multimedia Faves

1. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - just a wonderful ending for one of the best series ever written - definitely the best on this list

2. Children of Men - I read the book years ago and still can have nightmares about it. I was unsure how the movie would compare - some marked differences, but held true to the theme and very good in its own right. Clive Owen was superb and the world created was so real and so frightening.

3. Waitress - truly wonderful little independent movie with tons of laughs (and Andy Griffith!)

4. Transformers - a big budget popcorn movie that did not disappoint - loads of fun!

5. Confessions of a Memory Eater by Pagan Kennedy - not written in 2007, but when I read it. The novel has so much to say about truth, relationships, memory and reality - keeps one thinking long after the book is put back on the shelf.

6. On Chesil Beach by Ian McEwan - short novel about a young couple's wedding night in the early '60s - quite thought provoking.

7. Smile by Lily Allen - I know Amy Winehouse gets all the press, but this was definitely the best song of the year (and especially by a young Brit woman).

9. Robin Hood on BBC America - I keep watching and watching the reruns - wonderful adaptation of an old (and sometimes tired) story. Jonas Armstrong and Lucy Griffiths have great chemistry and breath life into the main characters; interesting stories, dialogue and fun.

10. Moonlight - CBS (new shows whenever the writer's strike is over); modern day vamp in LA with sexy Australian in the lead alongside spunky young Brit (how can others do American accents so well, and we stink - with the exception of Gwyneth Paltrow and Renee Zellwegger?)

11. 30 Rock and The Office - the two best sitcoms on tv, hands down

12. Gilmore Girls - the final two seasons were not the best, but they sent them off well, and for that - I will always be grateful

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Ginger Bread House Redemption!

Each year, it is part of my family's tradition to make a ginger bread house. And since I am insane, I choose to do this completely from scratch. I blame that book, Anne of Green Gables and a Christmas Treasury, which first led me to believe I could be just like Anne and make this easily and even have it look like her beloved farmhouse. Yeah, right.

This blog has chronicled past failures. And since Christmas is about grace and redemption, we have succeeded this year in the best Rio ginger bread house ever! Note Princess in the cutting and baking aspect. And then here is the final product. I keep looking at the house on its high perch (far away from cats and dogs), admiring such a thing of beauty. Ahhhh......

Friday, December 21, 2007

Breaking the Christmas Code

One of my childhood Christmas memories is the way my Mom would label Christmas gifts. Presents would be wrapped under a tree with a series of odd letters on them. For instance, a package of purple socks might have been wrapped for me with the label "BDOFCIPAIKIYFCT." These letters would stand for "Because Donny Osmond's favorite color is purple and I know it's your favorite color too." That way Mom knew the present was for me and not for my brother - even though Jerry and I had no clue whatsoever. Pretty good.

I have continued the tradition with my own twist. I usually put one word that reminds me of that particular child. One present under our tree is labeled "TIGHT" because Sonny Boy's wrestling uniform is tight. Another is labeled "RED" because Princess' Chinese name before she came home with us meant red, hot, popular. (Yes, we did choose a different Chinese name, because who wants a teenage daughter one day whose name means red, hot and popular?)

Princess started getting into making and wrapping presents last year. She decided to try her own codes. Well, this year she has trumped both Mom and me. She has been taking Chinese language all semester and her labels are written in Chinese characters. I only hope the package that smells like chocolate is for me.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Mele Kalikimaka

In honor of the heat wave we are having...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Concert Etiquette

Last week, Sonny Boy's middle school had a Choral Concert. The flyer from the Chorus teacher listed the following rules for Concert Etiquette -

1. Refrain from talking. does this include the toddlers? and how can I keep my mouth shut with so much hilarity in front of me (intentional or not)?
2. Refrain from unwrapping noisy candy wrappers during the performance. I leaned over to my mom and whispered, does it count if the candy wrapper is not considered noisy?
3. Turn off all pagers, cell phones and watch alarms. I particularly liked the rap song ringer that went off during Calypso Gloria
4. Do not wave to your child during the concert. Can you point a finger and give him the evil eye if he's cutting up on stage?
5. Do not take flash photography. what if the flash accidentally goes off? those darned digital cameras are beyond most middle aged parents
6. Please do not walk down the center aisle with your video camera. Can you walk down the aisle just to get a loudly whispering child to the bathroom or water fountain?
7. Do not leave as soon as your child's portion of the concert is over. I pointed this out to my Mom as she did this, but she just gave me the evil eye (guess it runs in the family).
8. Applaud at appropriate times. huh?
9. Do not leave the concert during the music. guess this rules out #6
10. Go to the concert expecting the best. You bet - some of the best laughs I've had in a while!

Thursday, December 06, 2007


Sonny Boy has undertaken a new sport recently - wrestling. He joined the team a few weeks ago and had his first match yesterday afternoon. My knowledge of the wrestling world is quite limited. I had a little exposure in junior high when the wrestling coach made a point of saying "Rasslin!" continually. I knew they wore really tight outfits and rolled around on each other, but that was about it.

There are those moments when inherent gender differences seem to come to light. Yesterday was one of those moments. I sat with one of the other moms - as clueless as I was about the sport. We watched the boys in their little spandex getups rolling around all over each other, trying to pin the shoulder blades to the mat. It was just plain weird. And a little gross. But the boys love it. They won't ever hug each other, but they will be all over each other in little outfits for competition's sake.

I voiced my total support for Sonny Boy. I am proud of how hard he is working in this sport, and I am trying to learn the basic rules. Yet, I don't think I will ever quite get the love that males have for it. Just not made that way...

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Obi Wan returns

Everyone who reads this blog knows that my Sonny Boy (age 13) thinks he is the coolest person around. Being so cool, when he needed a new jacket, it had to be a fleece hoodie from Old Navy. Supposedly, brown is the coolest color right now. So Sonny Boy is constantly to be seen in the brown hoodie, usually with the hood pulled up and hiding a good portion of his face.

Since I fancy myself something of a Lorelai Gilmore, I have taken to calling him Obi Wan. We were in the grocery store the other night and he was dragging behind, so I loudly called, "Hey Obi Wan, catch up!" I would not normally provide so much entertainment for the masses, but the opportunity to embarrass my kid was too great to resist.

Last night Obi and I went to a women's college bball game (my school versus a local one in Gboro). Not a big crowd, so Sonny Boy spotted his least favorite teacher from last year across the stands. I acted like we were going over to say hi at half time. The hood then came up and would not be removed. As we were leaving the gym later, I made sure to walk very quickly and was only about 2 feet behind said teacher. Obi was really dragging his feet and hanging his head under his hoodie, hoping she would not notice him. I had no intention of speaking to her (at one point last year I called her - not to her face - a dried up ol' prune) - but I had a blast freaking out Sonny Boy. He thinks his Obi Wan imitation saved him, but the Force was really with me and not the cool hoodie.

Friday, November 30, 2007

American Gladiators

Back in January 1989, a truly classic television show appeared in syndication - American Gladiators. It came on every Saturday morning and pitted everyday, but quite athletic, individuals against the "Gladiators" in athletic contests. The entertainment value was definitely high. Malibu (pictured) was my favorite gladiator, but he unfortunately was only on the first season. I also like the first Lace quite a lot. But really, all the gladiators were cool. The competitors were quite impressive. ESPN Classic shows AG every evening M-F at 7pm, so I have been able to share this wonderful part of our culture with my kids.

With the writer's strike, my tv viewing is just about nothing right now. So imagine my joy when I found out that NBC is revving up AG again! Sometime in the dead of winter, I will be able to witness the next reincarnation of this classic "reality" show and I am sure, will not be disappointed. Tune in!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Poet and didn't know it

Sonny Boy had an assignment yesterday in Social Studies. Students were to write a poem about slavery. (Please bear in mind that he has always had close friends of a variety of races and is really concerned with racial justice, but his need for humor took precedence yesterday.) The poem went as follows -

I am a slave sitting under a tree
I wish I was free
Oh, look there's a bird!
He just dropped a turd!

He said the class (very diverse group of students) all thought his was the best. 13 year old taste...

Monday, November 26, 2007

My day yesterday

Just need to share what my last day of Thanksgiving break looked like -

*wake up, shower, eat breakfast, rush family out door for church
*teach rowdy senior high Sunday School class
*try to worship while Hubby and Sonny Boy kept elbowing each other and snickering
*go to Costco with family and shop for basics among the hordes of people
*let kids have Churros from Costco for lunch
*go home, change clothes, dust - while Hubby is leisurely watching Duke game
*fix real lunch of pasta and homemade cheese sauce
*do laundry
*write notes
*clean house some more
*pet kitty with injured foot
*take dogs for intense walk in cold
*make homemade vegetable soup and homemade mayonnaise rolls (Granny's recipe)
*fuss at children about getting work done
*eat dinner and force kids to eat veggies
*eat leftover pumpkin pie (yum!)
*fuss at children about studying
*go to grocery store
*use "discretionary money" for peppermint hot cocoa at Starbucks in grocery store (definitely high point of day)
*have Starbucks worker force free muffin on me (yum!)
*go home, unload groceries while fussing at daughter to get in bed
*fuss at son to finish getting read for week
*make homemade pumpkin pancakes for breakfast couple times during the week
*pack kids' lunches
*iron my clothes
*clean kitchen
*fuss at son to get to bed
*watch Iron Chef America's holiday dessert battle (yum! yum!!)

Friday, November 23, 2007

Bon Appetit

Our house is decorated in antique hand-me-downs. Just about every piece of furniture has come from a family member who has died, moved to smaller quarters, or bought something better. The one big exception is the tv armoir - which came from Big Lots and took me 7 and 1/2 hours to put together.

Our dining room table and chairs were no exception. My parents had used them for a number of years before we inherited them close to 19 years ago. They became a safety hazard in recent years. The table leaf was missing, and the table might decide to separate with very little provocation. The table had a center base, and one side of it was slanting so that I never put heavy dishes on that end. The chairs had been glued, screwed, nailed, etc. - but still literally kept falling apart. Dinner time was always an adventure at our house.

But Santa came a little early by making a stop at the sale aisle of World Market. The pictures give witness to our beautiful new table and chairs. A little assembly required - Sonny Boy and his best bud were up for the job under my supervisory skills. Of all the things for which my family and I are thankful, a safe place to eat tops the list this year!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Some Things for which I am Thankful...

*my family
*my house
*my job
*good health
*good friends
*dark chocolate
*Jane Austen
*Harry Potter
*really sunshiny days
*dark chocolate with almonds
*cuddling pets
*dark chocolate with rasperries
*lots of books
*Colin Firth
*LL Bean gift certificates from my mom
*dark chocolate with blueberries
*farmer's markets
*old houses
*dark chocolate with dark chocolate

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Elizabeth Gilbert and Eat, Pray, Love

I had a very wonderful treat last night. The school where I work was hosting Elizabeth Gilbert, author of the best-selling book Eat Pray Love. I remember seeing the book about a year ago and thought, "Yeah right - I want to read one more person's soppy navel-gazing time of enlightenment." So I ignored it.
Then I kept reading good reviews, including my beloved reviews in Entertainment Weekly. (and it is rare I don't agree with those) I found out she was coming soon after I began working here in August and thought, "Gotta read the book." I did. And I will read it again. And probably again. Simply one of the best spirituality books I have read for this day and age (right up there with Kathleen Norris' Dakota and Anne Lamott's Traveling Mercies.) The book is entertaining, witty, insightful, engaging, profound and beyond interesting. I couldn't wait to see Liz Gilbert.
And not only did I get to see her - I was one of the lucky few who had dinner with her last night. She is exactly the person she appears in the book - so down to earth, smart, interesting, and fun. I really wish I could have gone out and had a couple beers with her and talked half the night.
So go find the book and get ready for one of the best reads you'll have this year.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Greensboro - Hippie Town yet?

For loyal readers, you know my chagrin two years ago at election time when a local writer said Greensboro was a granola town. I realize my perspective on this issue has been tainted by years of living in Asheville - a truly unique city. However, friends (both old and new) in Greensboro have pointed out that it is granola in comparison to much of the surrounding area. Hmmm...I'll keep my judgment somewhat reserved for right now.

But's two years later, and I am quite happy to report that Greensboro elected its first black mayor yesterday! And not only that, she is a woman. Yvonne Johnson is well-qualified and has many goals and ideals I can actively embrace. I was not thrilled about the result of our District candidate to City Council, but overall feel pretty good about the At-large results.

Making progress...

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Halloween Haunts

Here is a great site that lists haunted places in North Carolina. If you scroll down to Winston Salem and look at Clewell Dorm, you'll see what occurs where my office is located. Looks like I spend most my days in one of the most haunted spots in NC. Cool!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Appalachian Wedding

The family and I were back up in the mountains this weekend so I could officiate at a wedding for two of my former students. They are great young people and I feel really good about their marriage (so nice to feel like a marriage has a really good shot these days). It was a lot of fun seeing people we had not seen in a while. People were especially marveling over the growth of now 13 year old Sonny Boy. He seemed to enjoy himself - all you can eat barbecue and southern vegetables at the rehearsal dinner, lots of food at the reception, other teenagers who formed a "teen table" at the reception, lots of attention. One never knows how a 13 year old will react to things, so it was pleasant that he enjoyed himself.

As the reception was nearing a close, the groom was ready to toss the garter. All Sonny Boy knew was that single guys were supposed to stand in a group and catch the garter. Always the competitor, the boy went after it and no one else had a chance. Conversation in the van afterwards:

SB: So, what is a garter?
Mom: Many years ago they were used to hold up women's stockings, because the stockings just went to a person's thigh.
SB: Huh... Well, where did this come from?
Mom: The bride's leg.
SB: (looking a little uncertain) And why does the groom throw it?
Mom: It's a tradition - whoever catches it will be the next guy there to be married.
SB: Married? Hmmm. You know, Mom, I'm going to marry someone who's rich.
Mom: Honey, money doesn't matter. Why do you think you need to marry someone who's rich?
SB: 'Cause I know I will marry someone who's hot, and all the hot girls I know are rich.

Let's hope Sonny Boy's wedding is many years away...

(restless - need to hear your boy's garter story!)

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

It's 92 degrees

It's October 9 and it's 92 degrees. Last night I sat on my couch in a tshirt and shorts (whilst watching DWTS and booing Mark Cuban) and saw countless commercials with sweaters, tights, and tweed skirts and pants. It's a gorgeous day, albeit a little hot.

But where the heck is fall?????!!!!!! October and November are my favorite months. I LOVE fall - the cooler nights, sunny days, beautiful leaves, long walks, and all the Snicker bites I can want from my kids' confiscated Halloween candy. I still feel like it's summer, but with the usual first two months of school hangover (that's how my job always feels come Fall Break). I want all four seasons. I need fall. Please come soon!!! (or I will be forced to use mutiple exclamation points for an indefinite period of time)

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Sara Evans-As If

This is for Restless, who has yet to hear Sara Evan's latest. Restless and I had the great pleasure of seeing Sara perform for 1 1/2 hours at Bele Chere one evening a few years ago (when she was due to give birth in a few weeks). Didn't pay a dime, and one of the best musical performances I have ever seen. She was absolutely incredible! Just love her. Of course, then Restless and I went out for a beer and had a really weird and lonely (understandably) middle-aged man trying to pick us up. Why is it that all the weirdos hit on me when I am with Restless? It never (and I mean never) happens with my other friends. Hmmmmm.....

Friday, September 28, 2007

Chinese Moon Festival

On the 15th day of the 8th Chinese month each year, the Chinese Moon Festival is celebrated. (That means Sept 25 for people like me.) Princess and our family will celebrate with other adoptive families tomorrow night. Moon worship was known to have existed in China about 4000 years ago, and for centuries there have been stories of the lady who flew to the moon and now lives there - Chang Er. It's a time to celebrate togetherness and abundance. Moon cakes are the favorite food and should be eaten under the fullness of the moon.

The last few nights in NC have been very clear, and that big harvest moon has been shining brightly - my favorite time of the year.
Here is a recipe for Moon Cakes from

Easy Chinese Moon CakesIngredients: • 1/4 cup sugar • 2 egg yolks • 1/2 cup salted butter • 1 cup all-purpose flour • 1 cup strawberry (or your favorite) jam (traditionally red bean paste is used so if you want a more authentic version, you can use a can of red bean paste instead of the jam).Directions: 1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. 2. Combine the butter, sugar and 1 egg yolk and stir. 3. Mix in the flour. 4. Form the dough into one large ball and wrap it in plastic wrap. 5. Refrigerate dough for half an hour. 6. Unwrap the chilled dough and form small balls in the palms of your hand. 7. Make a hole with your thumb in the center of each mooncake and fill with about half a teaspoon of jam. 8. Brush each cake with the other beaten egg yolk and place on a cookie sheet. (We didn't have a brush to do this, so skipped the brushing step) 9. Bake for about 20 minutes or just until the outside edges are slightly brown 10. Makes 24
To make them look a little more authentic, brush diluted red food dye on the top of the cookies or mark a Chinese character on the top. Have fun!

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

'Bout fell out of my chair

So last night I am getting the crock pot ready for this morning (for dinner tonight), and sweeping and mopping the kitchen floor. It's getting late - a little after 9pm. (and that's late for me these days!) Sonny Boy's phone rings and I hear him talking. I was just about to invoke the "no talking on the phone after 9pm" rule when I heard him telling his best friend about a school assignment. Then I heard him say these words,

"You know you really have to write this stuff down in your planner. You won't remember your homework unless you write it down, and they're not going to tell us the assignment more than once. We're in 8th grade now."

I'm just speechless. After all these years and all this fussing, is he actually listening to me now?!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Of course it's Monday

When the alarm went off this morning, I just could not believe it. I felt certain I had only been asleep a couple hours. Yet, I dragged myself out of the bed, made breakfast for the kids, got a quick shower, ran Sonny Boy down when I realized he had forgotten his lunch, walked Princess and the dogs to school (brought the dogs back), changed clothes and joined the massive traffic to work.

Then I worked at my desk all morning until it was time to walk across campus to teach my class. It's one of those gorgeous fall days - cool breeze, sunny sky, just perfect. I'm walking along, thinking what a perfect day, and just thankful I can be out in it for a few minutes. Then an acorn dropped on my head. I reached up to knock it off, but instead my hand was damp. Then I noticed that the sleeve on my cardigan had bird poop all over it. Well, it is Monday, so what else should I expect?

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

The Last Legion

Imagine my excitement a couple weeks ago when I found out Colin Firth had a new movie and it has elements of Arthurian legend, Roman legion outfits, and kick-butt action. It's a small movie, and not easily found in this day and age of mega-multiplexes. And then reviewers were averaging Cs in the grades.

Do people not know what a good movie is these days? I need escapism, heroes, quite good acting, the ultimate ideal man in a soldiers' outfit, action that doesn't take over a movie and isn't too gory, a reincarnation of Xena warrior princess, and some humor to ensure the movie doesn't take itself too seriously.

And that was what I got. If I have watched Kull the Conqueror 5 times (and I have, and I even paid at a movie theater - but my Mom was with me), then you can bet I'll see The Last Legion more times in the future when I am given the opportunity. My grade - a solid B.

Check out the trailer, and then rent it if it doesn't come to a theater near you.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Madeleine L'Engle

I have thought for many years that if I could be another person, it would be Madeleine L'Engle. Ms. L'Engle passed away from natural causes at the end of last week. The NY Times had a wonderful article about this incredible woman. She was a gifted writer and worked in many genres - children's fiction, adult fiction, sci-fi, spirituality and theology. Her A Wrinkle in Time series is probably her best known. I can't really name a favorite - so much of her work has revealed real truths to me.

I had the great joy of being with a small group of people to meet and interact with her one day. I was 23 years old and a student at Duke Divinity School. Ms. L'Engle was a guest speaker. She visited some classes and spoke, and then she was in our Divinity School chapel (a small, wood-filled rectangular room) for conversation. She was wearing a flowing dress (think Ab-Lib in Asheville), dangling earrings, and sandals. I thought she looked so cool. All the students were in chairs with her chair in front of the wooden table that served as an altar. She was having problems seeing all of us from the same level, so she plopped her behind on the altar and talked with us from there. Naturally, some people were scandalized and talked of nothing else for days. But for me, it was one of the most enjoyable memories I had from my three years there. I'm sure she will continue to be an inspiration for me and many others for years to come.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Novak Djokovic as Nadal and Sharapova part 1

Last night was a very memorable night at the US Open. My beloved Carlos Moya made it to the Quarters, 9 years after the last time he was there. Unfortunately, he had to meet Novak Djokovic, a 20 year old Serb who beat Roddick, Nadal and even Federer in consecutive matches this summer. Djokovic certainly has game - big time - but he also has personality. Commentators are speculating that he may be the first Eastern European player that Americans really take to during the time on tour. (I know we love Martina know, but back in her day American fans were always pulling for Chrissie.) At the end of last night's match, the best tennis interviewer ever, Michael Barkann, asked Djokovic for a couple imitations. The kid does have a lot of personality and is becoming known for his gift of imitation. He had Nadal and Sharapova down to every little tic. Definitely one of the most memorable events of the US Open in a number of years!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Tennis, Animals and NYC

The US Open in NYC continues for this second week. The fashion is not quite as exciting as last week when it was all new, but Bethanie Mattek knows how to keep things interesting. She was defeated in the second round of singles, but thanks to her doubles game, she has been able to reveal more interesting outfits (among other things she reveals).

Skimpy outfits, animal prints, shiny metallics... I think this would be enough to make Sonny Boy a fan.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Sonny Boy's schooling days

Sonny Boy became an 8th grader last week. I believe I will always think of him as a mischievous 3 year old running around, so the boy who is my height and with monster feet still surprises me every day. He called me after the first day of school. I was sitting in my office chair at the computer. "How was school, honey?" "Awesome!" I just about fell out of my chair - don't think he has said that since he was in 1st grade.

As the days went by, I have been able to flesh out what "awesome" really meant. He does like the freedom of changing classes and figuring out the combo lock on his locker. He's always thought he was a grown adult, so this suits him well. But I think what really makes school awesome are the hot 13 year old girls. (It hurts just to type that!) Friday evening we were watching the US Open on tv and he suddenly burst out, "Guess what happened today Mom! It was great." I'm thinking it must be that he did well in class. "This hot girl, Alexa, came up and said she remembered me from Promenade." (Yes, I made him do the 6 week session of Promenade to learn some manners and how to dance and not look like Napoleon Dynamite.) "She told me I was a good dancer."

"Honey, was that so great because a hot girl spoke to you, because she remembered you, or because she thought you were a good dancer?" He thought for a moment, the eyes twinkled, he grinned and said, "I guess all three!"

Whatever it takes...

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Stylin' at the US Open

Fashion and NYC go hand in hand, and this is no exception at the US Open. Every year the discussion seems to focus more on some of the women's apparel than their actual game. The men have previously been left in the dust when it came to fashion discussion. My favorite example of this was a few years ago when Tommy Haas was told that he could not wear a sleeveless shirt because it did not fit within the guidelines of what was acceptable. Mind you, this was the same year when Serena was wearing her black cat suit. Sexist? You betcha. But thank goodness times have changed. If not for Tommy, we probably wouldn't see Nadal's guns.

So this year, Sharapova continues her reign as the fashion maven in her red crystal embedded dress. I kinda like it - even though I know I would look utterly ridiculous in it. Think Snape in Neville's grandmother's attire. However, the man who is perhaps the greatest men's tennis player of all time, Roger Federer himself, has been making some noise in the world of style. He appeared last night in an all black Nike ensemble, including tuxedo shorts, socks and monogrammed shoes. One should know that Anna Wintour, of Vogue fame, luuvvvs the Federer Express, so perhaps she talked him into it. Ted Robinson and John McEnroe spent more time commenting on Federer's attire last night than his complete domination of the game. They had never seen him in all black, thought it was almost unrecognizable, and joked that it was his gangsta attire. Those poor guys - they really missed the point. They should have gotten Tracy Austin back in the booth. She could have told them the real story - the man just looked plain hot on a hot night in NYC. Stylin' is not just for the women alone!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

US Open!

It's that wonderful time of year again - the US Open Tennis Championships in Flushing Meadows, NY! I was so fortunate to be there for a few days last year with Restless Mama . As much as I am enjoying my new job, I wish I were in NYC. I can listen to the Open over the computer, and I did get to see about 20 mins of live play on tv last night. It was 50 years ago that Althea Gibson became the first black woman to win this great event. They had a wonderful celebration of this last night, with many talented and famous black women participating. Then Serena and Venus played and won handily.

Another aspect I am really enjoying this year is Greensboro native John Isner's splash onto the men's tennis scene. Isner is the very rare bird who went to college (University of Georgia), took his team to a national championship, and then graduated before becoming a pro. He had a great summer, and then won his first match yesterday after receiving a wild card to get into the Open. He proves that a college education does not need to be a feeder for pro sports and that it has real value. Plus, we all need a hometown boy making it big. Go Isner!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Federer and Sharapova

In honor of the summer tennis season, here is my favorite tennis player and Princess' fave (you can guess which one is which).

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

I love Harry (and definitely JK)

Being at the beach last week with my family did not stop the fulfillment of my desire for all things Harry Potter. The family spent Monday night at the theater watching the latest movie installment. It was really good - and I was surprised. It was a tough book to read - Harry is having massive teenage angst and Umbridge is just beyond awful. Yet, the movie handled it all so very well and it moved so quickly. None of us could believe the 138 minutes were up at the end. One thing they could have written differently - the end of Harry and Cho's relationship - little too choppy and didn't flow with the book as well.

And speaking of books, I found a bookstore on Emerald Isle and got there about 10:30 Saturday morning. A good chunk of the day was spent reading this final installment of a truly great series. I could have finished it in that day if I didn't interact with my family or cook them dinner - but some things have to be done. I did finish Sunday morning. I started crying on page 53. I will mourn some deaths for some time to come. And the big twist at the end. Wow. Guess I can't really say anything else without giving stuff away. I just need to wait for the next two movies now, and reread the Hallows whenever Hubby finishes it.

Thank you, JK Rowling, for a truly great series and many countless hours of enjoyment.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

How much do you like chocolate?

I don't think Hubby knew what I was doing with the camera, but I wanted evidence. Crushed m & ms were all over the side of his face. Some of the ones on the ear had fallen off, but the man's face was essentially covered in chocolate. How, you might ask, could this happen?

Hubby had just gotten off the cell phone when I smelled chocolate in the vicinity. I quickly followed my nose to Hubby's face. I went from there to the cell phone (just a few weeks old), which was also covered in smushed m & ms.

"Hubby, how on earth did you get mashed m & ms all over your cell phone, and did you know that they are all over the side of your face now?" I felt like Hermoine when she first meets Ron and points out the dirt on the side of his nose.

"Huh?" he responded as he walked to the bathroom to clean his face. "How did that happen?"

"You have crushed m & ms all over your new cell phone." He looked puzzled for a few minutes, and then pulled an open bag of m & ms out of his pocket. Apparently he put them in his pocket during the movie we had just seen and decided his cell phone belonged in the same pocket.

You just never know what will happen at my house.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Browsing through some cards...

I was at B & N the other night (my chosen place of escape) and started flipping through greeting cards. I wanted to find one for Sonny Boy, who was off at camp. I found this one, and then fervently prayed Hubby would never see it - because hope (on my part) does spring eternal.

"If you haven't grown up by the time you're middle-aged, it means you don't have to."

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

Anglophile in action

Sunday afternoon I was a good girl - I went to the Rec Center to put in my time on the elliptical. Thanks to my Mum, I have an Ipod which keeps me fairly occupied during those tedious 30 minutes. Since this is a university rec center, the tvs do not normally have fare which I deem worthy of my notice (and that does include the news channels).

Yet, this past Sunday, the Concert for Diana was on the telly. I couldn't take my eyes off it. Diana was a few years older than I, and we had similar tastes in music. And I have always loved many of the Brit singers - you can get a glimpse of the wonderful Lily Allen at an earlier post. And can I say that Take That has aged quite well in the 10 years I have not seen them? And did you know Duran Duran's Rio was written for me?

I think what was a little scary was that I knew who all the Brits were who seemed obscure to most the American audience. I also understood the entirety of Ricky Gervais' routine (and laughed hysterically).

The Princes did a great job. They raised a lot of money for a number of good causes, and I know their mum would be quite proud.

And did I mention I ended up spending an hour on the elliptical?

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Wedding in Bath

I have many vivid memories of my Mum telling my little brother and me not to provide public entertainment when we were growing up. Of course, my Dad is the best at this particular pasttime :)

I had some wonderful public entertainment while in Bath. It was a beautiful Saturday, and in the park beside the river Avon there was a wedding party and their guests assembled. A large number of us were observing while they spent a fair amount of time trying to take pictures. I was particularly fascinated by the bride's attendants' attire. Olive green corset tops with white polyester, low ride, stretch pants. If one were skinny enough to pull off wearing the pants, then the upper regions were a little too sparse for the corset top. And of course if they filled out the top nicely, the pants were not the most flattering. Yet, I found the most interesting part of the ensemble was the baby blue caps perched jauntily on the side of their heads.

I sure hope this was not an indication of the usual bridal party attire in Britain. But I did appreciate the free public entertainment.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Good Sport

When one travels to a foreign land, it's not easy to find a present for a 13 year old boy. My Mum and I looked for several days before I finally settled on this tshirt. I knew it was a gamble - but thank goodness he liked it. I think he has watched enough Harry Potter to think that "Mum" is a pretty fun and British thing to say.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Bath billboard

Mum and I couldn't help but notice thuis board in Bath, England. Not much else to say, huh?

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Trafalgar Square

For many years, I have longed to go to Trafalgar Square. I don't know why that one spot has held my attention, but it has. Here are Mom and me in front of the beautiful fountain. Lots of people were there - it was one happening place. Yet, I will say that one event occurred which has been a lasting image in my memory of that day. In the midst of all the hordes of people, there was a rugby team getting ready for a match apparently. The stood, grouped together, stripping off the warmups and down to their tight team shirts and shorts. Women were standing around the group, mouths gaping open and camera phones clicking. I don't know why they decided to strip down in the middle of Trafalgar Square, but I must say that I'm glad they did.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Bruce Campbell

I LUVVVVV Bruce Campbell, and this commercial shows some of the reasons why. Genius (and much better than Duran Duran)

Interesting sights of London

Here are some sights of London you might not normally see. The first is a statue of Boadecia - the pagan warrior who, along with her four daughters, led the native Britons to fight the invading Romans. She was the original Xena, warrior princess, in my view.
The second is a piece of modern art found at Trafalgar Square. Admiral Nelson is found on a much higher pedestal in the central part, but to the side is this lovely piece that represents life and creation. I don't think I care to reflect on why she has no arms.
The last is a building that I thought looked kinda like a pineapple. It was recently completed, and the first night it was lit up in green - and thus the people dubbed it the Erotic Gerkin.
I love the British.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Eye

Mum and I took a little cruise on the Thames one day, and you can see the monstrous eye behind us. It was raining some, but if it had not been raining off and on during the day - it just wouldn't have been London.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

We're back!

Well, Mom and I are back from our 5 day adventure in England. We had 3 nights in London and 2 nights in Bath. I'll have lots to share in the coming days. Since I had never been to that part of the world (and have been dying to go since I was about 12 years old), I had so much I wanted to see and do. And Mom graciously let me drag her all over the place to do and see those things. We didn't slow down - we just keep going and going, seeing it all.

Mom is in great shape, especially for someone her age. She is a real trooper. But when she did finally get an opportunity to collapse on the bed, I could not help but record it for the world to see.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Lily Allen -

I'm heading to England tomorrow (first visit!). In honor of that, I'll leave you with my current favorite song from a young Brit. Nothing like a woman scorned!

Best Mothers' Day

Yesterday was the best Moms' Day. My family banded together to give me a U2 CD and chocolate (pretty good!). And Sonny Boy, after 7 months of confirmation class, joined the church. It was a very special service. My parents came - they drove 5 hours yesterday. Sonny Boy's godmother spent about 4 on the road herself (and left her 4 year old twins with her husband) so that she could be there. Sonny Boy didn't know his godmother would be there - his face when he saw her is one that I will never forget.

Yes, I did cry some - but thankfully, nowhere near as much as my Mom (Margery Kempe herself). He really is growing up, and is turning into such a wonderful young man - kind, creative, intelligent, outgoing, articulate, and compassionate. Hubby and I are so proud of him. He really took the step of joining the church very seriously and wants to make the world a better place. And if he can snowboard most the time while he's improving the world, then everything will be perfect!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Multicultural Festival

Princess is still in her Chinese Folk Dance class. It is a class taught by a wonderful woman with the Greensboro Chinese Association. Most of the girls come from native Chinese families, but the GCA has graciously invited adopted girls to participate as well. Ms. Shirley not only teaches a variety of dances to a variety of ages, but she also makes all the costumes.

The girl performed at a Multicultural Festival in Lexington this past weekend. It was a lot of fun and Princess did a great job!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Bag the Shopping

Sonny Boy has always had very particular tastes in clothing. He is very clear on what is "cool" and what is decidedly "uncool." I remember when he was two years old and I was getting him ready for church one beautiful summer morning. I just love little boys in those cute little rompers. I had a very cute light blue one I found at the Just Ducky closeout warehouse. He had worn it a number of times - he looked so precious with that romper and sandals.

Well, that morning he decided that rompers were no longer cool. He started saying rather loudly, "I don't wike wompers!!" I tried to explain this was a Sunday outfit and continued to get it on his struggling little body. He kept up with his exclamation and proceeded to rip the button off the strap - he was not going to wear a romper that day. I decided I didn't care - we found a tshirt and shorts. If people wanted to talk about the preacher's kid not being dressed nicely for church, let them.

So now he's 13 and thinks he is destined for a career as a professional snow boarder. He's also thinking when he is world famous for this career, Dancing with the Stars will ask him to be on the show. One of the very few stores that carries appropriately snowboarder cool clothing is Old Navy. Since I shop there so often, I decided to get one of the ON credit cards - I figured the extra coupons they sent were worth it.

Last week, I received a plastic bag in the mail - everything stuffed in it would be an extra 25% off with the use of my card. Sonny Boy was growing again, so off we went. We arrived at the counter with five shirts, four pairs of shorts (all big enough for a 5'5, 110 lb boy) and one little sundress for Princess. The cashier apolegetically told me that the clothes actually had to be in the bag for the discount. Sonny Boy and I started laughing rather loudly, and then removed all the coat hangers and crammed every bit of clothing into the small bag. The bag had a couple rips, but the clothes were in. The cashier then took each item out, rung it up, folded it nicely into a large bag and put all the coat hangers in the bag as well.

Sonny Boy and I laughed all the way to the car. I'm sure the manager didn't appreciate us too much that night, but we did provide some entertainment for the other customers.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Virginia Tech

Being a campus minister hasn't been easy this week. Not only do all the students and community here identify with the people of Virginia Tech - but some have lost very dear friends. One of the girls in my group has lost her best friend from home. It's hard to walk around campus and not continually be reminded of what horrific thing occurred.

The campus ministers had a service of remembrance and hope this morning here at UNCG. The house was packed (even media), and fortunately God was with us so that people found the service meaningful. One of my colleagues, Zach, wrote a reflection that you must read. They are words we need to hear

Monday, April 16, 2007


Here's a good story from my weekend at Davis Cup. The interesting thing about watching tennis is that you can't get up and wander around at concessions and bathrooms at will. One has to wait until after odd numbered games or in between sets or matches. Therefore, the time in between matches can create unbelievably long lines for the bathroom. Our line wove through a good part of the concourse and by a concession stand. And you know women - we have the longest line and we always start talking.

A couple women behind me (who were about my mom's age) started talking about the good looks of several of the tennis players. Then they decided that entire Spanish contingent was really hot. I decided to chime in at that point. "Especially Feliciano Lopez," I added. "I haven't minded watching him play at all!"

Then from behind me I heard a voice, "Talking about the hot Spanish players again?" I turned to see Hubby holding popcorn, and then rolled my eyes.

"What makes you think that?"

"You had a particular grin on your face." I rolled my eyes again and let my fellow waiters know that this man was Hubby. Hubby laughed.

"I swear I didn't start the conversation. I just joined in." And throughout the afternoon, anytime I took the binoculars during Lopez's match, Hubby started laughing again. You'd think a women's bathroom line would be a safe place to talk.

Monday, April 09, 2007

USA Davis Cup vs. Spain

Davis Cup is an international tennis competition. Teams play for their country, and the USA team hosted Spain in the quarterfinal this past weekend in Winston-Salem. I can't quite express how excited I was to be able to go. Not only was I seeing professional men's tennis, I was able to enjoy it with my family and with my tennis buddy, Restless Mama, and her two boys. We saw Andy Roddick, James Blake and the Bryan brothers take on a Spanish contingent that included no. 6 Tommy Robredo.
This weekend's Davis Cup was a sell-out. Supposedly George Clooney was even in the crowd (he has been filming in the area). The USA won and the players attributed it in part to the enthusiasm of the crowd. It has even prompted Bob Bryan to request that if they make it to the final it should be played in WS.
I have lots more pics I'll post in the coming days. Being able to see a Davis Cup match was certainly one of the highlights of my life, and being able to see these particular players was an added bonus. Sonny Boy, who resisted our family outing because he thinks tennis is not as cool as snowboarding, was even heard to say, "This was more fun than I thought it would be."

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

How hard can sewing be?

When I was in high school, most the girls I knew took home ec. I didn't want to waste my time - I wanted to get all the AP courses I could and besides, surely someone else would cook and sew for me. But we all know what happens to our best plans.

I have learned to cook (fairly well, I think) over the years. I can follow directions, and I do love my cookbooks. Sewing has been a different story. I still save hems and buttons for my mom. Mom has taught Princess to sew. She even bought her a sewing machine for her birthday last August. I have quite a collection of pillows now.

Last Friday I reached a crisis with the window covering in our guest room. The cheap blind (which came with the house) had finally fallen apart. I went to the discount bed and bath store (Anna's Linens) but could not see anything at all that I liked. A fabric store was right next door, so I walked in and immediately saw the perfect fabric. How hard could it be to make a basic panel? I bought the material I thought I needed and had them point out the correct thread. I had Princess thread the machine later that day. And then while she spent the next day Geocaching with the Girl Scouts, I had a pleasant day of sewing. Well, perhaps except for the carpal tunnel, the couple desperate phone calls to a student who sews and a friend who was carting around 3 feuding girls all day, a flung bobbin or two (who the heck ever named those ridiculous things bobbins?), a flung instruction book, and a few choice words mumbled here and there.

And didn't it turn out well? (and please, never look too closely when you come to the house)

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Caramel Cake, pt. 2

Well, I am officially the parent of a teenager. Much more scary than turning 40. Some of you might recall the trials and tribulations I endured last year while trying to make Sonny Boy's beloved caramel cake. As stores in this town do not deem it necessary to stock caramel frosting, I had certainly been at a loss. But then my husband's sister, Yaya, came to the rescue. She found a recipe from her mom (and thus Sonny Boy's grandma) for caramel frosting. Yaya was so thoughtful to frame it and it has hung on a wall in my kitchen for several months.
Sonny Boy unfortunately was never able to know his Grandma Elizabeth. She died when Hubby was still a very young man. I'm sure she would have liked this teenager who looks so much like his daddy and has his energy (even if he has inherited my argumentative temperament!). I'm also certain she would have been quite pleased that he was eating his favorite cake from one of her old recipes.
Caramel frosting is not easy to make (as I discovered last year). And it wasn't quite perfect this year - I added one cup too many of sifted powdered sugar. But now I know. It was good enough this year, and next year will be absolute perfection!
Of course, it would have helped my ego if Sonny Boy didn't tell me one of his friends still talked about the ugly cake I made last year.
Caramel Frosting - Melt 1 1/2 cups butter on the stove and add one cup packed brown sugar. Cook on low for 2 mins. Add 1/3 cup milk and bring to a boil. Remove from heat for 10 mins. Then add 4 cups sifted powdered sugar until desired consistency. Frost your luscious yellow cake.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Make a wish

The moon was shining brightly as the group of women walked side by side along the old fishing bridge. The bright light from the sky revealed all the dark places on the pavement - we were hoping it was only fishing guts. A few seabirds called out in the distance as we strode further to the heart of the Nassau Sound. It was just a touch too quiet - like some really big slasher movie. Yet, we were all about 20 years (and some of us 20 pounds) past starring in such a movie. To break the eerie mood, I spoke.

"Ya'll, this is just a perfect night. That moon is just gooorrrgeous!"

HJ responded, "Kinda feels a little like a slasher movie, doesn't it?"

"No way! This is a buddy chick movie!" We all continued to talk until we were about halfway along the old bridge to Jacksonville. BM took the wine bottle, held it up in the moonlight, saying "Well, here are all our wishes! Let's hope they come true before someone finds this bottle." She then flung it with full force into the ebb of the tide.

"Sure wish I could have used that original wish," I quietly said.

"Rio, one hot night with Mr. Darcy is not something that could actually happen. These are really our intentions." A sigh escaped my lips.

As we walked back to the car, we began to flesh out our buddy chick movie (and it would be far superior to Wild Hogs, trust me). I called dibs on Kate Winslet playing me. That British connection might actually get me one step closer :)

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Book Group Rook Goddess!

I have been quite fortunate to spend the first four days of my 40s with my Asheville Book Group buddies at our annual beach trip. We have many traditions - walking on the beach, sharing bottles of wine and beer, eating good food, enjoying long naps, and playing cutthroat games of Rook. Tonight was no exception. I was neck in neck with BM in the lead, each of us hoping to get to 150 first. I kept plying her with wine, hoping that would give me the edge I needed to get across the finish line first. At one point, our very sweet and gracious mommy to be, Corky, was at negative 30. I felt for her and wanted to keep BM from getting some points, so I passed some along to Corky. Well, Corky came on strong at the end - and went from 70 to 165, beating out my final score of 155. My response can be left to your imagination.

So here is a picture of Corky, with little Lizzie (who we look forward to meeting in a couple months), wearing the championship belt - "Rook Goddess." Congrads Corky, but watch your back next year...

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Hair Compliment

I got a pretty short do on Tuesday - ready for a change and thought I would hit the 40s in a different mode. So Princess is commenting on my hair. She really likes it. "If your hair was black, it would look like that Charlie guy. You know, uh, Charlie Brown." Huh?

"Oh, no!" She said. "Not Charlie Brown. That guy in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory."

In other words, Johnny Depp looking really, really weird. Thanks a lot.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Gettin' Old

Well, tomorrow is one of those birthdays that end in zero. 40 to be more precise. I actually think that it sounds better than 39 - everyone thinks I'm really in my 40s and lying about my age. I haven't had much time to fret over where my life may or may not be at this particular age (like I did at 30 - you would have thought chasing 3 year old wild boy all day would have kept me from having time for such reflections). For years now, I've thought that the 40s were supposed to be the best decade. Kids would be old enough that I wouldn't be changing diapers. I would be fairly stable in a career. I would have a decent home and good friends. These things actually seem to be true - wow, who would have thought?

An added bonus to the day is that people seem compelled to give me really nice birthday presents - Sonny Boy is a little jealous! And then on the actual day, I get to head to Amelia Island with my Asheville book group buddies for our annual beach trip. Can't wait. No kids, no husbands - just friends, food and fun.

Getting old could be much, much worse...

Thursday, February 22, 2007

The Thermals - A Pillar of Salt

Here is a song from the Thermals that is quite appropriate for the season of Lent. I also like this group because they were offered $50,000 to allow Hummer to use one of their songs in a commercial - certainly a good amount of money for a little indy band. But - they could not in good conscience support a product that is so bad for the environment. My kind of band...

Monday, February 19, 2007

Chinese New Year Dance

Sunday was Chinese New Year - the year of the Pig. Princess danced in the downtown New Year's Celebration with the Greensboro Chinese Association. (She's in the long green dress.) Sonny Boy taped this. He said the time he taped the floor was when the girls threw candy to the crowd and he bent to pick up some. Enjoy!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Austen sequels

It is a truth universally acknowledged that my all time favorite author is Jane Austen and my best loved book is Pride and Prejudice. For many years, I have steadfastly avoided all the "sequels" to this masterpiece. Why mess up the little world I created in my own mind in relation to all these wonderful characters?

I have been trying in the past 20 months to seek comfort reading instead of comfort food. Thus, I have reread P & P about 6 times in those months (even a bit much for me). Last spring, I decided to venture one of the Austen imitators. I picked up the first book of Pamela Aiden's Fitzwilliam Darcy, Gentleman series. The next two in the trilogy eventually came out in the following months. I liked the first one - it held true to the world Austen created and seemed to illuminate the story I held dear. The second one got just a touch weird - the author obviously had to try her own Northanger Abbey. Yet, it was still an enjoyable book. I must say I was getting tired of the lovey-doveyness that never seemed to end between Darcy and Georgiana. If he said, "Dearest" one more time to her, I thought I might gag. I found the final book about a month ago, and felt like Aiden had done well. The story was completed beautifully. I would recommend these to any Austen lover.

After all my years of suspicion ending so well, I picked up Elizabeth Aston's Mr. Darcy's Daughters. Now, my one big pet peeve is lack of consistency with characters (do you hear that people at Gilmore Girls?) Aston obviously has no problem with it. Otherwise, how could Darcy and Elizabeth end up being very neglectful, oblivious parents? How could Col. Fitzwilliam end up being a sex-obsessed, brutish boor? How else could vapid airhead Lydia get some observation skills and shrewdly make her way in society? And how on earth else could the very bright Caroline Bingley fill her life with junior high high-jinks?

Aston's book was one big soap opera. None of the daughters were likable. They were doomed to making very bad decisions after the apparent abandonment of their parents. One could only hope the book would end. Aston does create the world quite nicely and writes well. It was just a ridiculous, soapy story.
Aiden - B+, Aston - D+

I'm through with this experiment. Only the real thing (Austen herself) for me from now on.

Monday, January 29, 2007

A little is better than nothing

Well, I finally saw some snow. It wasn't much and it was gone by the end of the day, but it had been two years - so I'll take anything I can get. I still haven't had anywhere near enough. Hopefully a lot more will come, and very soon. I am in desperate need of a snow day (or even two). But doesn't my house look pretty with just a little bit of snow?

Monday, January 22, 2007

Old Spice Commercial ft Bruce Campbell

Here is my favorite B actor in a truly great commercial -

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Blogging for Books entry - The Best Time of Your Life

Here is my Blogging for Books entry for this month -

Those ladies were great. Every Saturday morning I would see them running to the the door about 9:45 for the 10am opening. They had really, really nice cars - one even had a Mercedes convertible. I was usually in my '78 Fiesta, waiting for them to arrive and unlock the building. I would get out of the car and meet them at the door. I couldn't wait to see what they were wearing. Such great dresses, skirts, tops, dress pants. And the shoes - oh my! I could not wait until I stopped buying shoes at Payless.

I knew I was lucky. While most of my 18 year old friends donned a McDonald's uniform and worked until the wee hours of the night, my after school job was quite different. I dressed nicely each day and was always finished by 5:30. On Saturday mornings I could easily watch "Alvin and the Chipmunks" before leaving for work, once again finished by dinner so I could enjoy my Saturday nights. And the store was never opened on Sunday. I had the good fortune to be employed at a gift and card shop in the "Village." That little shop has been owned and operated for many years by a number of well-to-do women who wanted some fun thing to do on the side.

Saturdays were always the best. They would sit in their glorious outfits, sip on Bloody Marys (they made virgin ones for me) and talk over the social exploits of the previous week. Their friends would come in to order stationary or to exchange interesting tid-bits. Occasionally, a teenage or college-age child of theirs would pop by. These women were having the time of their lives. They looked incredible! They were always having fun! They had great friends and families they loved!

On the other hand, I resided in high school hell. I was a smart girl, made to sit through that ridiculous movie they showed us every year about how high school was meant to be the best time of our lives. The movie showed all these beautiful teens in cheerleader outfits or football uniforms, laughing together in absolute bliss. I would simmer through those movies, muttering under my breath, "This is NOT meant to be the best time of my life! How pathetic!"

Each Saturday morning I had a glimpse of what else was out there. They were smart women in their 40s who had control of their lives. They always looked great, because they were happy and not entertaining the fashion whims of the world. They were comfortable with friends and family. They had a certain amount of peace. As I sat there fuming in that high school auditorium when the yearly viewing of the movie ended, I knew this was not the best time of my life. I didn't expect to be miserable for many years to come - but I knew the 40s would probably be the best. As I anticipate my 40th next month, I cherish this vision that the best time is still yet to come.

Monday, January 08, 2007

The Good Intentions of a Thank You Note

I am one of those moms who force their kids to do thank you notes. I have been doing this before they could write. Back in those days, I would write a few lines they would dictate to me, and then they would sign their names. It was a long, arduous process - but I believed they should learn to be thankful people and this was part of that development.

Nowadays, all I have to do is leave the list of who gave what and they do the notes themselves. I still address the outside, just out of consideration for the postal service. Sonny Boy finished and mailed all his Christmas thank yous last week. Princess is still working on hers. She takes more time and tries to make each one individual - which is really good.

After she did several last week, I looked over them before putting them into envelopes and addressing them. She had written one to my parents. The words were very nice. At the bottom of the note, she had drawn some pretty symbols - how thoughtful of her! She had drawn a hand with a finger pointing up and the letter "I" written on it. Just under it was a heart, and then just under that was the letter "U." How sweet! Then I looked more closely. The hand with the fingers was well drawn, but the finger that was held up was actually the middle finger.

I was about on the floor I was laughing so hard. I definitely mailed it to my parents. Mom agreed it was unlike any other thank you note she had ever received. I'm sure it's been a while since someone shot them a bird, and definitely a first from a grandchild.

If Princess does some more thank you notes, I'll have to be more selective as to who gets that kind of drawing...

Friday, January 05, 2007


One of the things I have always enjoyed about living in a mid-Atlantic state (particularly when I was in the mountains), was having four actual seasons. Each season came and went, and with it all the joys of that season. I like each season (fall the best), and they normally lasted just long enough.

And so today is Jan 5, and we are still in the midst of record setting high temps. It's currently about 60 degrees and raining. Yes, raining. Not snowing or threatening it - but just rain. I dressed in a turtleneck, light sweater and rain jacket this morning - and have been burning up.

I want winter. I want to get at least an inch or two of snow (I haven't seen any in two years now). I want the ground to freeze so that all the fleas will finally die, so that mosquitoes will not keep me inside all summer, and so that the crocus buds will stop and not see an early and short life. I want winter!!

It's been tough in recent days. Every time I am driving around town, and I want to ram into every Hummer I see. Like someone needs to drive a Hummer in the middle of Greensboro - those potholes sure can be hard to navigate. It's their fault!! Global warming is here, and it's 60 and raining today!! I do realize that ramming my '91 Nissan into a Hummer isn't wise - so I have chosen not to do it. Perhaps I just will make a bumper sticker - "SUVs - It's your fault we don't have winter anymore!!" or "Kyoto - Who Cares? Bring on the heat!"

I've never considered moving north (or to Colorado), but I might have to do so to experience four seasons once again.