Wednesday, April 30, 2008


I don't need to add anything to this one . . .

humorous pictures
see more crazy cat pics

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Seen recently at a local park . . .

Yesterday afternoon: Young boy alone in the middle of a huge grassy park, doing exuberant somersaults in the grass. Oh to have the joy and energy (not to mention the flexibility) of a child . . .

This morning: Two men, one with a fly fishing rod and one obviously instructing, practicing fly casting in the middle of this grassy park. Odd? Yes, but somehow appropriate. I stood and watched for several minutes. The motions of casting a fly rod are just lyrical.

I park right next to this open grassy park every day. I am curious to see what little slice of life it brings me next . . .

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Whiny McWhinington

Sigh. I am in a weird mood. Not really a funk. Just a creatively blocked corner of frustration at not having endless amounts of time to actually deeply delve into figuring out which path of creativity I really feel the most passionate about. Writing, photography, painting, drawing, collage - whatever. I have hardly spent any time in my office lately - the office I so carefully arranged and partially decorated.

This going back to work thing came at a time when I was just getting going on the creative thing, and now . . . I'm just too tired to do much after about 8 at night. That's just how it is. And every weekend seems full of stuff. Perhaps summer will be better. No school activities. I don't plan to go to camp, maybe mission trip but not sure. I just want to spend my hours doing what I want to do for my own pleasure - is that too much to ask . . .? Don't answer that. Waaahhh.

I am not good at making efficient use of small blocks of time. I've figure out about myself that in order to do something creative, to get it flowing, I need to have a chunk of time where I don't have the thoughts of something else I have to do on the tail end of it chattering away in my mind. And when, really, is that EVER the case? Bleh. Even when I was home all the time, all the stuff I have to do was chattering in my mind. I need to go to a hypnotist and have them do something so that I can just let stuff GO, without it bugging me that it's not getting DONE. I seem to find time to email, and I've broken through my blogging block and do that pretty often now. But the rest . . . I think it's going to take a radical change in my DNA or something - or at least a radical change in how I approach my daily life.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

New Books Have Arrived! Huzzah!

Just got my copy of Nice to Come Home To, by Rebecca Flowers, and Change of Heart, by Jodi Picoult. Most of you probably know who Jodi is, but if you do not, you must read something, anything, by her. She is fast hurtling toward Stephen King territory in name-recognition and number of bestselling books. She does not write horror, she writes what I would call "moral dilemma" fiction. No two books are the same, but they are always about hot button issues that get people talking.

Rebecca Flowers is an author I was not familiar with until I read an interview with her on Joshilyn Jackson's blog. Nice to Come Home To is her modern take on the Sense and Sensibility story, about two sisters and whether it is okay to "settle" rather than wait for your soul mate. I am really looking forward to reading it and posting my review here.

I currently have four books I am dying to read, and about ten more I want to read when I'm done with those. Plus I'm listening to The Mermaid Chair, by Sue Monk Kidd, in my car. And reading some really deep stuff for my online writing class.

Speaking of that . . . I still haven't set up my new writing blog (where this post really should go). I gotta do that . . .so I can post about my really amazingly cool and fun class.

Domani. (I'm going to start practicing my handful of Italian words, because Italian is my very FAVORITE language, and since reading Eat Pray Love, I want to learn more of it.)

Arrivederci. (that's two. . .)

Laughter is the Best Medicine

I've been in a bit of a funk the last couple of days. I have found the perfect remedy for the funky stinky blues. I have been reading the archives of Faster than Kudzu, the blog by author Joshilyn Jackson. I know she is a confessed overuser of hyperbole, but dang, it's the funniest, most snort-inducing, LOL hyperbole I've ever read.

If you need a good laugh, just go here. If you are reading them in public, you might want to practice that age-old art of turning your snorting laugh into a cough before anyone knows you are laughing. Because you will laugh out loud, or your funnybone is broke.

So. Enjoy. You can thank me later.

Off they go . . . into the wild blue something . . .

Well, CurlyBoy is off on his trip. We made it to the airport with no traffic, managed to find a park, and headed in. I have not flown nor been inside the airport since 9/11. It's quite a changed place. I was prepared to not be able to go in at all, but I was able to go with him to the place where the orchestra director was helping the kids get checked in and ticketed. They have these little automated check-in kiosks now, kinda like an ATM. And then the person at the counter calls your name, they check your ID, and hand you a boarding pass. Simple.

Then we went to another area where another director and some sponsors were doing their own thorough luggage search for each child. Smart move, and hopefully will avoid any problems or embarassing incidents. I feel sure some kid was dumb enough to try to sneak something by that they shouldn't. Fortunately CurlyBoy was not one of those. All smooth sailing. Checked the bag, and then he headed down to security with some kids and a sponsor.

This was where we had to part ways. I managed to get a side hug, on request (he was going to just walk on away without even saying goodbye). I then texted "I love you!" to him, so as not to embarrass him in front of his buddies.

Got back to the car, and discovered he'd left his hoodie in the floor. Called him, and fortunately he answered and was still at security. I walked all the way down (waaaaay down) to where he was, as fast as I could, and he was able to walk over to where I was and get his hoodie. I sneaked a kiss since no one was looking. Heh. You have to be crafty about this stuff with a teenage boy around his school friends.

They have been in the air now for about an hour or more, so they should be there in another hour and a half. (Oh, and I'm SO thankful that the severe weather is to the west of our area and the kids didn't have to fly into that!) I asked him to call when he got to his hotel room. We will see if that actually happens. I even was so bold as to suggest he call every night.

Me: Hey, call us at least once every day. It can be in the evenings at bedtime.

CB: Every night?

Me: Well yeah, we just want to talk to you and hear about all the fun you are having. It can be late and short. Or send me a text.

CB: *rolls eyes*

Me: *trying not to sound desperate* Or take some pictures with your phone and send them to me . . . ?

We'll be lucky if we hear from him tonight and no more, based on other trips away. Oh well. Safe travel is all we really hope for. And no shenanigans that will cause him to be handed over to local authorities. Yeah. That exact phrase was in the handout. Made me giggle. But I think they are actually serious.

Be good son. Cuz we won't bail you out . . .

Catching Up

Mea culpa. I've not posted in a bit, and I've managed to totally lose track of posting my "beauties." It was a busy weekend, and a busy week. National Honor Society induction Monday night for CurlyBoy. Oh by the way, I've decided to give preciously cute nicknames to my family members, brazenly copying something I saw on another blog, just cuz I think it's cute and funny and I need to be cute and funny - it makes me feel good about myself . . . but I digress.

CurlyBoy is our 17 year old son. Anywho, NHS induction. Very proud parents. Weird experience. Many kids crossing the stage, and as the names are called, I am experiencing flashbacks to kindergarten graduation. That's how long he/we have known some of these kids.

This afternoon, CurlyBoy is leaving for Orlando on a school orchestra trip to Disney World. To say he's pumped would be an understatement. He has not flown since he was 5 1/2 and we went to Disney LAND (the one in California). He did not go on the orchestra trip last year, as it was to Branson, and he thought it was lame (we agreed, and were happy not to spend the $600).

This morning, I received a text message:

CurlyBoy: Hey most of my friends on plane 2 are getting out of school at like 2 (I am cracking up that even in a text, kids use "like")

Me: I will have to call and see if it is excused. How are you using your phone? (school rule is can't use phone or they will take it up)

CurlyBoy: I turned it on to text you in orchestra because we are not doing anything.

CurlyBoy: Parents are calling. I think it's good because it's halfway through 4th period and I'll have time to get snacks.

(I call the school attendance office, and after looking at his schedule and seeing that he'd just be leaving early from his Jazz Band Class (both his music classes are on the same day), she said she'd allow him to leave early and not count it against him. Whew. He and some other friends are making a run to the dollar store to load up on snacks for the plane and hotel room. All is right with the world now . . . )

Me: Okay, called and got permission for you to leave at 2. (I'm thinking to myself, man if he gets that phone taken up before this trip, I'm going to throttle him. Parents have to sign a form and pay $30 to get the phone back).

Should be big fun. Sorta wish I was going. I actually like hanging out with teenagers, and CurlyBoy's orchestra friends are mostly pretty cool kids.

Don't really have any beauties to speak of . . . watched Juno. Beautifully, brilliantly real script. Everything is getting green and there are many gorgeous azaeleas in my neighborhood. I washed my sheets yesterday and they were delightful to fall into last night. My first cup of coffee this morning tasted exceptionally delicious for some reason. I got nothin for touch. But this is not too bad. I guess if you spend a moment thinking about it, you can come up with beauties even when you thought there were none.

More to write later . . .

Friday, April 11, 2008

Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy . . .

My beauty for today is my 17 year old son, Andy. I was thinking about him several times in the last few weeks, as we've begun to really get into the college prep groove (he's a junior). I came to a realization that I want to share here, and I hope no one takes this the wrong way or thinks I'm being . . . well, icky.

We have managed to raise a son who is exactly the kind of guy I would have wanted to date and marry. And I'm really proud and happy about that. He's not perfect, don't get me wrong. His room is a toxic waste dump, but I know maturity and a good, patient wife will probably make a difference there. He's a procrastinator, but he comes through for the things that really matter. He doesn't always do what I tell him to, but he has good judgment most of the time about following our rules and making good choices.

But he's funny, witty, compassionate, kind, self-deprecating in a charming sort of way, generous, artistically gifted, really, really smart but not obnoxious about it, a good speller (hey, I have my quirks), and just generally lots of fun to hang out with. He loves God with all his heart and has a deep desire to serve him and to live a life that honors Christ, and he actively seeks ways to do that. He is nice to everyone, and really tries to be a peacemaker among his pals and not gossip or get into the drama that's an inherent part of teen life today. He's very cute, but not so handsome that he's unapproachable. He loves kids of all ages, and will make the most amazing dad someday. I can tell by the way he relates to his 4 year old nephew and his 2 year old niece, who adore their Uncle "Annie." He has a LOT of friends, and I believe it's because of these very qualities.

I know that he would not be the young man he is today without God's hand on his life. But I also feel very proud and thankful that together, Jay and I have done a good thing here. It's been very hard work, and we haven't always agreed on how to raise this boy, but we have been on the same page where it counts. We used to joke that Andy and Jay were joined at the hip, but I believe that strong father-son bond is another part of why he is turning into such a great man. Yikes, I said that out loud, didn't I?

So, for today, Andy is my beauty. I know he doesn't like mushy stuff much, but he knows I love him more than words can say. So son, if you are reading this, let me just say that you are awesome. And God has a very special girl who is going to be very lucky to get you one day.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Five Beauties, sort of . . .

Don't have five for yesterday . . . just didn't encounter a lot of beauty, or I wasn't lookin', not sure which. I've been way too busy this week. But here's what I have:

Sound: I'm sensing a theme here . . . I was listening to the score from The Holiday, which is one of my favorite movie scores. Just lovely music, very romantic. Not pop songs, but the actual instrumental score. I have a lot of film soundtrack CDs. When the music in a movie stays with me, I will buy the soundtrack. More often than not, it's an instrumental score, but sometimes I like the ones with pop songs, etc. on them. Dan in Real Life has some really unusual, funky little songs all by the same artist. Really fit the movie well. Love Actually has some fantastic songs that I love, plus some great instrumental tracks. Something's Gotta Give has both as well, and a lot of French songs, which normally I wouldn't choose, but they are in the movie and so I like them. Anyway, I ramble . . . I love movie scores, and if the movie is a particular favorite, the score calls up memories of the film and how it speaks to me.

Sight: A vine of the most amazing rusty red flowers growing up a fence and power line on a street by my home. Not sure what the heck they are, but they are breathtaking.

Taste: I got nothin. Boring day yesterday in the food department.

Smell: Same thing. Some unpleasant smells, but we won't delve into that here.

Touch: Well, I got a new pair of flats that are really soft and comfy leather. Does that count? They feel really good on my footsies.

I'll try to do better. Some days there is more beauty to be had than others I guess.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Time Travelin'

I've been listening to Ya Yas in Bloom recently in my car. It's the third installment in the series of books by Rebecca Wells. The most well-known of course is The Divine Secrets of the Ya Ya Sisterhood, and the other is Little Altars Everywhere. They are set in Louisiana and are all about the four women who are the Ya Yas (Vivi, Teensy, Caro and Necie), friends from childhood, and their husbands and kids (the Petites Ya Yas). The books mostly center around the Walker family, and their four children. The books are told as vignettes in first person by various characters. Divine Secrets of course focuses on the damaged and nearly irreparable relationship between Siddalee Walker and her flawed, beautiful, deeply damaged mother, Vivianne Joan Abbott Walker.

Sidda is exactly my age, having been born in 1953, and throughout the stories, whenever she is talking about her childhood, whether it be clothes, or makeup, or music, or cars, or how their mothers looked, or whatever, it's like she's looking back into my very own past. I also had a beautiful, very flawed mother, and though some of the passages in the books are almost too painful for me, I still am just devouring them because they ring so true to me of my life, my mother, the time period, just the whole feeling of the times. I am at a place now where they are going to see the Beatles in Houston in 1965, and all the descriptions of Sidda and how she is dressed, and how she and her friends are in love with the Beatles and each have a favorite, and how they watched them on Ed Sullivan, and wishing they looked like London girls when they wore their Yardley makeup . . . yep, that's all me, to a T.

These books might not be everyone's cup of tea, and while there is much humor and a lot of irony and great stories, there is also much pain, horrible things that families do to one another, and yet still hope, because in spite of all they've done, there is a deep and true love for each other along the way, mess that they are. They are all narrated by Judith Ivey, a wonderful stage and screen actress who captures the voice of each character, from Vivi to her husband Shep to Sidda to her little brothers, and on down the line, bringing each one to life for me with the most delicious, rich, thick Louisiana drawl you'd ever want to hear. These books, to me, are like life. Bitter and sweet, funny and sad, and they make me care about every single character, even the ones who are not so lovable.

That's good writing to me.

My Five Beauties for the Weekend

Hey, it's the best I can do . . .

Touch - My Dorkie, Maddie, lying warm against my back as I lay on the bed watching a movie last night. She's a snuggler when she's not being hyper.

Taste - A big ole bowl of Kraft Rich & Creamy Mac & Cheese all just for MEEEEEE for dinner. Yum. Comfort food.

Smell - My new shampoo and conditioner. Herbal Essences Dangerously Straight with Honeyed Pear. (Trying to tame the hair . . .) Is there any shampoo that smells better than the various Herbal Essences? I used to use the original one in the 70s when it first came out and I had long hair. The fresh, green foresty fragrance would fill up the shower, or if I washed my hair in the sink, it would just envelop my whole face, and my hair would smell fabulous as it swung around me. Ahhhh.

Sight - The Robin(s?) I have seen in my yard all week. Not sure how many as I only see one at a time, but they are so beautiful.

Sound - The soundtrack to Father of the Bride, which I watched yesterday afternoon. I own the CD as well. Watched the movie and listened to the CD countless times during the year of planning Lindsay's wedding, often with tears and much sentimentality, and used that version of The Way You Look Tonight for the father(s)/daughter dance. That music conjuures nothing but the sweetest of memories for me.

There were probably more, but that's my weekend list. Anyone else playing besides me and Julie?

Friday, April 04, 2008

John Mayer is My Hero

I am a huge John Mayer fan, as most of you who know me will know. I occasionally visit his webpage, and have read several of his blog entries. They almost always have something pretty profound to say.

This morning I happened upon his latest entry and it touched me so deeply with the raw, honest truth of it that I just have to share it. I don't know that I can post the entire entry here - there may be some copyright laws involved and I don't want to get in trubs. So please, please follow this link and read the March 27 entry titled "From the Heart." It's a message that everyone needs to see and join the conversation about, especially if you have any contact or influence over a teenager in your life.

The man is deeeeeeep.

Read it. Now. And then let's talk.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Five Beauties for Today

Okay, my friend Julie has issued a challenge to find five things of beauty every day, to enhance your creativity and inner life. I like her idea of looking for one for each sense, so I'm stealing . . . er . . . emulating her here (how's THAT for a five dollar word!)

Taste: I had a wonderful Asian chicken salad for lunch, with oranges, chicken, almonds, cucumbers, and sesame dressing. A delightul combo of sweet and salty, with crunch to boot.

Smell: My freshly laundered sheets that still smelled great this morning before I got up. Fresh laundry is my very favorite smell.

Touch: My beautiful granddaughter's arms around my neck this morning, giving me a sweet sloppy kiss.

Sound: The hilarious sound effects Sam (4 year old grandson) was making from the back seat as I took him to school. The turn signal, the motor sounds as he said it felt like we were on a roller coaster (a twisty road actually), and so on.

Sight: The faces of my grandchildren as they wrestled and played, giggling and smiling at each other.

Sorry, I guess there was a grandchild theme here, but I saw them this morning and it was of course the highlight of my day.

Anyone else care to play?