Friday, July 31, 2009


"Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy." The Cockle Bur

I love that simple quote because it says so much with so few words. Let's face it, we all want to be feel joy...and, to be at peace. But, this basic concept can be so elusive at times especially when too much time and energy go into seeking it.

Lately I have found myself pondering this notion of "...what happiness is and how do we get there...or better yet, how do we know when we have arrived?" There aren't any real answers to these questions in that it differs from person to person and from situation to situation.

For me personally, happiness is more like contentment...that feeling that at this very moment all is well in my world. It can be fleeting in that sometimes "Life" gets in the way and we lose some of that emotional "high" that we might be on. The reality of it all is that happiness is really right there is up to us to allow ourselves to feel experience accept it as a way of life. This "way of life" is mixed in with moments of fear, anger, sadness, loneliness...and this is where the real test comes in. Can we have all of these emotions and still get back to happiness? I think, "yes". I believe that the difficulties that we all face now and again can accentuate our joy when we work through these feelings and move on. They give us a point of comparison...enabling us to feel positive again. It may take some work, but we can get there.

I think that if "things" only make you happy, then what will occur when those things are taken away or lost? If you rely on other people to make you happy, then what happens when they are dealing with their own pain and can't be there for you? If you look to artificial means of feeling happy-temporarily numbing some of the sadness...then what do you do when the numbness wears off and you are facing reality again?

As I think about this, I realize over and over again that pure happiness has to come from within ourselves. No one thing or person can give it to us....And, truthfully, what an incredible gift we have been given to be able to bring up those wonderful feelings all on our own.

So, today I have decided to take a deep breath, put away my worry and stresses...stop searching for answers to so many of my unanswered questions.......find a place of acceptance.....and just feel....


Care to join me? : )

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The day got by me.....

...and, I didn't get a chance to blog. : O

I will do better tomorrow!



Wednesday, July 29, 2009

I was sitting here eating my small portion of rationed chocolate....

....and, thinking about my day so far.

I started out this morning with my yearly visit to the doctor. Armed with a list of "getting old" questions (groan), I went through them one by one. We covered everything from my ears popping on airplanes to hot flashes and night sweats.

A fun time was had by all.


On the way to the doctor I laughed when I noticed a strange combination of signs. First there was the "Welcome to Homewood" sign which was sitting right in front of a large graveyard. A few feet beyond the graveyard was another sign warning motorists that there was a "Dangerous Intersection Ahead".



"Lordy, Lordy!" my friend, Sharon proclaimed. As of late, I have noticed that she has been using that expression quite often. Well, it seems that she is getting on her own nerves with it and is searching for another expression to use when appropriate.

So she "googled" "Lordy, Lordy" to see if that would help her out. All that she got were other religious help there.

Any suggestions?


I do most of my food shopping at the local Publix which is close by. After several years of shopping there, I pretty much have the aisles memorized. This certainly facilitates a quicker shopping trip for me as I know exactly where to go for what I need.

HOWEVER, today I was in for a shock as I began to push my empty cart through the store. They had rearranged all of the shelves and aisles!!!!!!! The nerve!! I couldn't find anything...and was quite perturbed.

When I asked about the reshuffling, I was told that all of the Publix stores are trying to get a uniform layout. They also have begun to put the organic products in different aisles on "bump out" shelving...instead of just making one aisle "organic".

I told the poor little innocent stock boy that I didn't like this new layout at all....and that old (cranky) people like me aren't really comfortable with change. It confuses us.

He smiled at me and probably walked away quietly laughing at me.

("Just wait until you are my age, sonny!")



One more piece of pottery to paint and I can get the kiln going. And, that is always fun heating up the already overheated house with my garage kiln.

Talk about hot flashes...!

Off to paint. : )


Tuesday, July 28, 2009


When Dave plays golf each weekend he sometimes brings a "friend" home with him. This friend is quite small and very attached to him. You might even call it a blood-sucking friend who lives in the woods.

Yep. I am talking about a tick.

He has, unfortunately, found several of these critters on various parts of his body in the last few weeks.


After he removes them he is left with a red bump as a reminder of their association.

He gets "ticked off"....but, I tell him that he is just a chick "tick" magnet! : )


I think that one of life's more entertaining moments can be shopping for birthday cards (sad, I know, but, bear with me here).

Maybe it is because I am finally at the age (old) where the "aging" jokes take on a whole new meaning. Maybe it is because I can totally related to the messages within? Whatever it is, I find myself laughing at loud while trying to find the perfect card for a friend or relative.

For example the other day I saw one with an image of a woman around my age and she is saying: "We can still party till we drop." Inside it says: "And what a great ten minutes that will be."

Another one has two older women talking to each other and one of them says: "Another year older and we've still got what it takes to attract men." Inside: "A pulse".

You've got to laugh.


I have two hummingbird feeders in my back yard. I derive so much pleasure watching these tiny birds enjoy the sweet water inside the feeder.

However, lately, I have observed a larger bird hanging around drinking from the feeder. I didn't realize that other birds were drawn to this? Has anyone else had this experience?

Of course, being the "doting bird mother" that I am....I worry about them depleting the nectar supply for my tiny winged friends.

Like I haven't got enough things on my plate to worry about, right?!


My dear friend's daughter just gave birth to twin girls. She was four days shy of her 34th week of pregnancy...but the girls decided to pop out a little ahead of schedule!

One concern at this point in the pregnancy is lung development...but, I was thrilled to hear that both of them are breathing on their own and doing very well.

Of course, they will have to be in incubated in NICU for another 2-4 weeks until they are strong enough to head home. One weighed in at 4.3 lbs. and the other 3.13 lbs. Tiny, but compared to other preemies --who not only thrive these days, but beautifully survive--they are a nice size in comparison.

They all live in Atlanta, but I am looking forward to seeing some photos of these little angels soon.

My friend expressed to me how unbelievable she felt watching her daughter's two daughters. Those of us who have become grandmas can totally understand her feelings. It is like nothing else that one can experience in life.

Small miracles that we instantly fall in love with.



Well, "The Bachelorette finale was last night. What can I say? It lived up to all of the hype.

Jillian, the bachelorette had narrowed the field (!) down to two guys that she was supposedly in love with. The first one arrived at the beautiful Hawaiian spot where Jillian was waiting...and, it was there that she had to break his heart and tell him that she did not choose him.

Now, as we awaited the arrival of bachelor number two (Ed) to arrive in his white stretch limo....instead, we see an SUV drive up and Reid, the third place bachelor who couldn't commit, steps out and heads toward Jillian. When he reached her he said that he had been a fool not to express how he truly felt about her...and, that he did very much love her...and then.....he proposed!

Oh what should she do??

In the end she stuck with her original conviction to express her love to bachelor #2 and ditch Reid. Bachelor #2 (still with me?) then got down on his knee and proposed and they....."all lived happily ever after"????

Time will tell...but, in the meantime they are airing a special episode tonight where bachelor #1 and Reid both confront Jillian.

Such drama...I can hardly stand it.

Who cares about Health Reform when we have important shows like this to keep our attention? Ha!


Time to get back to work down in my studio (dungeon). I have one more bowl to paint this morning and then it is off to the kiln for the painted pieces!


Monday, July 27, 2009

from crawling to...

Hot off the presses....a wonderful video of my sweet Celia at different stages of discovery....from crawling to walking!!! She will probably be running by the time I arrive next Thursday!!! Can't wait...............

Saturday, July 25, 2009

"Thyme" on my hands....

“The air was fragrant with a thousand trodden aromatic herbs, with fields of lavender, and with the brightest roses blushing in tufts all over the meadows. . . .” William Cullen Bryant

One of my favorite simple pleasures is my little herb garden.

Rosemary (oh, so fragrant!), thyme, two types of basil, a variety of mints, oregano, lavender, parsley, tarragon, and sage.

Early yesterday morning, before it got too hot outside, I decided to clear away some of the debris and clip back some of the overgrown herbs. Just being out there and breathing in the wonderful aroma is so nice. Sometimes you have to rub the leaf with your fingers to bring out the plants true fragrance...but, sometimes you just need to be nearby to catch some of the glorious "perfume".

The thyme and the rosemary seem to be the most prolific...sprouting out all over the, these were cut back the most.

Some of the local backyard "pests" seem to be enjoying some of my basil...and the spearmint doesn't appear to be catching enough of the morning sunshine to flourish...and the parsley needs to be coaxed a bit to keep it full...but, all in all, my garden provides just enough touches of herbs to make me happy.

Last night Dave and I had a filet of fresh sockeye salmon. This variey of salmon is only available for a small amount of time and is really very I try to get some while it is in season.

I had some panko crumbs and an abundance of fresh thyme so we tried out an online recipe for Panko Crusted Salmon. It called for rubbing a mixture of honey mustard and freshly chopped thyme on the top of the filet and then topping it with the panko, more thyme, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper.

Sounds good, eh?

Well, it was a little disappointing in that it seemed to be lacking something. The fresh thyme was nice...but I have to figure out how to pop the flavors a bit more the next time that I try it. But, we enjoyed it anyway and I always love incorporating my fresh herbs into the menu!

Basil is still my very favorite in that I love to add it to fresh tomatoes...or just a regular salad. Ahhh...

Sometimes when I have fresh flowers in the house I will cut a few of the fragrant herbs and add them to the vase. It not only looks pretty, but it smells wonderful!

Oh I sounding like Martha Stewart or what?!?!?!?!?!!!!!!

Have a nice weekend all...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Toddlers and Tiaras
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Gulty "Pleasures"?

Those of you poor fools who follow my blog know that I am a reality show fanatic. I can't help it....they are everywhere....and, on every channel. What's a girl to do?

Today I decided to critique some of them...the good, the bad and the ugly (and you know who you are!).

The good: So You Think You Can Dance has to top the list. Anyone who watches these young people dance their hearts out week after week has to get hooked. The way that they move around that stage is nothing short of incredible...even in my "younger years" I couldn't do any of the moves that they do...nor would I ever attempt to.

They go flying through the air...jumping up and getting caught mid-air by their partners...tumbling acrobatically over and over and still managing to land on their feet. Stunning. Truly fascinating. Amazing.

Wednesday's show was highlighted by a moving dance performed with precision and full of emotion. It was to be a dance of someone finding out that they had breast cancer. There wasn't a dry eye in the place when they were done...and, I learned what a powerfully emotional thing dance can be.


More good: All of the shows on the Food Channel: Chopped, Food Challenge, America's Next Food Network Star and Top Chef (and, now, Top Chef Masters where prize money goes to the chef's favorite charities). Nice.

Because I love to cook, these shows inspire and entertain me with their different challenges. I adore the Food Challenge shows where the chefs make cakes and/or chocolate or sugar creations. They miraculously mold these totally edible delicacies into various forms from cartoon characters to patriotic themes to famous buildings around the world. The only part of these challenges that gets to me is when, after 8 hours of steady work, they then must carry their fragile creations over to a table several feet away. I have seen a few go "down" during this part of the show. Disconcerting...even though the audience seems to enjoy the suspense!

I wouldn't mind being there to pick up these delectable pieces of chocolate and sugar that have broken though.... : )


The bad: Hell's Kitchen. How Gordon Ramsey has not keeled over from a heart attack yet is beyond me! He spends the entire show screaming out obscenities and criticisms to the aspiring amateur chefs who are trying to please him.

When he isn't yelling at them he is spitting out or throwing away the food that they have prepared.

I don't get the attraction here.

The bad: The Housewives of--------(fill in the blank here with a city). Puleeze. What are these women thinking? They flaunt their money, their boobs their private lives, their arguments....etc. etc. Pretty sleazy if you ask me.

The bad: My Sweet Sixteens

This is where spoiled teenagers are shown batting their eyes at their rich "daddies" and expecting huge gala birthday parties with the new car of their choice thrown into the bunch. They seem to derive some sort of sick pleasure at leaving out certain people when their invitations are distributed...and they all have a sense of entitlement that turns my stomach. What are these parents thinking?

More of the bad: Wife Swap, Big Brother 1-11, Bachelorette and Bachelor, Jon and Kate plus Eight (don't even get me started on that one!!!)


The ugly: Toddlers and Tiaras. (This is how it is described: "On any given weekend, on stages across the country, little girls and boys parade around wearing makeup, false eyelashes, spray tans and fake hair to be judged on their beauty, personality and costumes. Toddlers and Tiaras follows families on their quest for sparkly crowns, big titles, and lots of cash.")

Oh my! Have you seen this show?!?!? On the first episode of the new season, one of the mothers has twin daughters that she puts in the pageants. She obviously adores one of them over the other...and makes that very clear to all...including the ignored daughter.

Daughter #1 (the adored one) is spoiled and bratty and overly confident (we are talking about 5 year olds here!) while daughter #2 is berated constantly and tearful as she tries so hard to win her mother's approval.

Child and Family Services should intervene here in that this poor child #2 is going to be in need some seriously heavy-duty therapy as she gets older.

It is truly hard to watch.

Another mother on the show dragged her two sons into the pageant and entered her TWO WEEK old baby into the competition! I couldn't believe my eyes.


Enough of my ranting for today....anyway, I think that it is time for Bridezillas to go on!


Thursday, July 23, 2009

Good news abounds....

Word on the street is that Celia is beginning to walk. Apparently, she took four big steps last weekend...

I'm sure that there will be many more to come!

I will be there in exactly TWO weeks to see for myself...can't wait....


...I also got the great news today that Adam and Jenny have a contingency contract on their home!!!

We are all crossing our fingers that it works out and that the four of them can begin to do some serious house-hunting very soon!!!

("We might be moving!!") : )

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Grammie got "mammied"

I started my day with my annual mammogram. It is not something that I look forward to by any stretch of the imagination (!)...but, I am so grateful that I live in a time that any possibilities of breast cancer can be spotted sometimes even before they are felt.

I have always been an advocate for being responsible for one's own health. I believe that we all know our bodies the best and can tell when things aren't quite "right". I see going to the doctor regularly as a partnership....a way to practice wellness together. Preventive medicine just makes so much more sense to opposed to waiting for something to go wrong.

I know that women are much more likely to do this than our male counterparts....and, that drives me crazy. I still haven't figured out men's hesitancy to go for regular check ups and tests. Good health is the most important thing in life...without it everything becomes much more, why not do everything in our power to take care of ourselves?

Please go and have your mammies temporarily "smashed" each year and stay on top of your health!

(My doctor called me this afternoon and let me know that the mammogram was normal...that's always good to hear!) : ) ****************************************************************************

I also had my bone density test done today. I do this every two years in that most insurance companies will not pay for it yearly!

Last time that I was tested I had the beginning signs of osteopenia which indicated that my bones were starting to show some thinning. After that comes osteoporosis which can be a serious issue-- especially for women as we age (groan). I am genetically predisposed to this condition so I have been anticipating this in my future.

The phone call from my doctor this afternoon affirmed my fears in that my bones have shown more signs of thinning since my last test. We are going to discuss it all at my yearly exam next Wednesday. I am guessing that she will put me on some type of med to help build up the density of my bones. I do exercise and take calcium and vitamin D, this can be a bit frustrating...but, I am anxious to begin working on reversing things--or, at least stopping them from worsening.


While driving home from dinner one night at the beach this past weekend, the sunset was absolutely gorgeous. It was one of those skies that had shades of blue, pink, yellow, orange and some purple vividly displayed.

With my camera on hand (always) I snapped some photos...first from the pier at the restaurant and then from the car. I thought that it was pretty clever to take one of the rear view mirror...unfortunately, what I imagined wasn't quite as good as the final result. Here they are:

OK. I'm ready to go back down there already!


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

"Are we going to sleep? When?"

I woke up at 5:30 a.m. today and couldn't get back to sleep...(I'll pay for it later, I'm sure!), I went online to view the newest videos from Adam and Jenny.

Still trying to sell their home in MN, they decided to move Owen out of his crib....move Audrey out of their "dining room" and put the two kids together in one bedroom. With the dining room set moved back in, they are hopeful that the house will show better.

The first night or two were a little crazy with the two kids together...but, it seems as if things have calmed down for now and all is well with the new sleeping arrangements!

I absolutely love this little video as Owen discovers the new bed in his room....and, learns about his new roommate arrangement.


Monday, July 20, 2009

The Beach (continued)

View from our patio on the fourth floor.... : )

Now that I am home again I can really appreciate what it means to "get away from it all". Nothing to do but decide when to head down to the beach, which bathing suit to wear and what to put in the cooler...


I brought a kite down to the beach without telling Dave. It was just a $2 Spiderman kite from Walmart...but, I couldn't wait to fly it on the beach. I just love the feeling of holding the wooden string holder and feeling the tug of the kite as it climbs higher and higher.

Dave was a bit skeptical, but quickly joined me as we got the kite up and watched it go high above the top floor of the condo.

Suddenly, we were little kids again for a few wondrous moments...

Our condo....

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Heading home.....

With a little sand in our on our cheeks....seafood filled tummies....totally relaxed....we are back home....smiling with memories...

Sunshine, scenery and seafood...

(This was written yesterday...but, I was too tired to finish it....we are home now....more to come tomorrow after a good night's sleep in my own bed...) Despite the dire warnings of the weathermen....nary a drop of rain fell on us this weekend! In fact, the weather couldn't have been nicer...

Early this morning Dave and I took another long bike ride throughout this gorgeous complex. We followed the curved bike trails that went winding around the many lakes and well-kept grounds.... riding along the beautiful golf courses ...through the neighborhoods....and, down to the bay areas.

As we passed joggers or walkers out for a stroll... I would warn them by saying: "Crazy bikers coming through--watch out!". And, believe me, they got out of the way...and had a good laugh at us they saw the two of us careening by them.

Dave kept moaning and groaning that I was wearing him out...but I explained that with all of the eating that we were doing...this exercise was a necessity!

Then it was on down to the beach carrying our umbrellas, chairs, beach bags, towels, and a cooler. We found our perfect spot and settled in for a while. It was so relaxing with the warm sunshine mixed with the cool Gulf breezes!

Talking about breezes...I brought a kite along with us and we went and flew it down the beach. It went right up and began to soar high above the high rise condos. (I took some pictures that I will have to post at a later time in that I didn't bring my camera/computer connector.) Once we had it flying where we wanted it....we handed it over to a little boy who was watching us. We gave it to him to enjoy and keep it flying!

The Gulf was really lovely...clear and refreshing. I had a good time laughing at Dave as he attempted to "ride" the waves in...(Don't tell him that I said so, but, he wasn't very adept at doing this!)

And, neither was I. : )

Leaving the beach and heading home today.....


Friday, July 17, 2009


While Dave was off golfing this morning, I went online and opened up a wonderful picture album from my MN group. They recently took Owen and Audrey to the local water park and couldn't get over how adventurous little Audrey was! I told you--she is a real pistol! (kind of like her Grammie was--just ask my Mom!!)

I loved this little sequence of photos...If you look closely at the first one you can see Owen in the background creeping up behind his sister...until he finally dumps his bucket full of water on her.

Not to worry...word has it that, after the initial surprise...she was pretty much she continued to have fun with the shooting water!

I couldn't resist posting them today...

Ah.....childhood...! : )

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Audrey after the big splash...back playing in the water again!

(Owen, watch out...because pretty soon your "little" sister will be big enough to get you all wet!!) : O

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Thursday, July 16, 2009


We got an early start this morning and headed down that long highway to the beach...only making two stops....first "Peach Park" in Clanton, Alabama, to get some home grown produce....and then on down the road to gas up and buy a delicious bar-b-que sandwich at this little shack in the parking lot of a gas station! It was recommended to us by a friend...and it was wonderful. I got the chicken and Dave got the pork...and as we drove away all we could say was "Mmmmmm, this is good!"

We arrived in Destin around noon...called to see if our condo was ready....and we were told that it would be around one-ish...soooo, we headed to one of the local places for some lunch. It is open air and sits right on the beach...other than the fact that my hair immediately went into "frizz mode" was lovely sitting there and viewing the Gulf. A couple of beers,oysters on the half shell and a fried oyster sandwich....and, we were stuffed.

We arrived at the condo and began to unload the back of the car which was filled with four days worth of necessities! It was laughable. as it took two whole luggage racks to get it all up to our room.

Once we were settled in, we headed down to the beach. First we had to gather together all of our stuff....umbrellas, chairs, backpacks, towels, reading materials, and a cooler filled with cold drinks. We were lucky that we made it down there before the sun went down!

Once down there, we settled into our chairs and both of us let out a big "sigh" as we relaxed in the warm sunshine and felt the cooling Gulf breeze.

Around six o'clock we headed back up to the condo and had a fabulous meal of fresh Gulf shrimp, red snapper, salad and warm bread.

As day one at the beach ends...I feel a sense of calm coming over me....can't wait to see what tomorrow brings!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Rushing around.... a crazy woman trying to get ready to leave in the morning for the beach!

Even though it is only for tomorrow through Sunday... there are tons of things that I must do before we go...Dave is still out of town on a business trip that is taking longer than expected and he will hopefully get back to Bham by this evening (!), and, I have a friend's birthday party to attend this, today's post will have to be short and sweet.

Hopefully, we will be in the car early tomorrow morning heading down to the coast on our 5 hour drive to Destin, Florida...

More to come....

I promise. : )

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Beach custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more -

Heading to the beach!!!

Thursday morning Dave and I will be heading down to the Gulf Coast for a long weekend of hopefully beautiful sunshine, great food, and relaxation. Ahhhhhh.

Now, being pretty optimistic by nature, I don't want to prejudge the weather situation...however, all of the weather maps seem to be indicating high percentages of rain and storms while we are there. But, I know better than to panic about that this early we all know that these are just "forecasts" and they can change at any moment.


Well, I am trying to begin packing some of the things that we will need to take with us. My thinking is being categorized into two groups: One if the weather is good...and, two, if the weather is bad.

So, here goes my list making:

Good Weather List

1.) sunscreen 2.) sunglasses 3.) aloe vera lotion in case of sunburn 4.) lip protector chapsticks 5.) bathing suits (string bikinis ha! Who am I kidding? I'll be packing my Grandma "miracle" suits that make it hard to breathe, but make you look 10 lbs. thinner!) 6.) cover ups (in case the "miracle suits" don't work) 7.) beach towels 8.) beach games 9.) sun hats 10.) lots of bottled water 11.) trashy books and magazines to read while laying in the sun 12.) fruit and other snacks 13.) sleeveless tops and shorts 14.) beach blanket 15.) chairs 16.) beach umbrella 17.) flip flops 18.) portable radio 19.) container for shell collecting 20.) camera for snapshots of the beautiful sunsets

Bad Weather List

1.) Lots of wine and beer.

**hic** - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Jenny's special day!

My dear daughter-in-law turns 35 today!
Sending love and tons of hug your way, and always!
I love you,

Monday, July 13, 2009

Oh, what a night....

The storms started rolling in around 7 p.m. last night followed by torrential downpours that seemed never-ending.

Lightning and thunder accompanied the whole scenario...and, I figured that these were just typical summer storms.

I was awakened at 3:30 a.m. to find that the power had just gone off. (Along with the cable tv, the computer and my phones--I'm one of the "lucky" souls who bundle their services with Charter Cable!) These "typical" storms carried more punch than I had figured on!

Knowing that there wasn't much that I could do at that hour of the morning...I tried to go back to sleep. Suddenly, I heard the chirping noise that my alarm system makes when the power goes out. Usually I can punch in my code and it will stop....but, not this time.

So, I called up the alarm company and asked them to help me silence this annoying chirping noise that was occurring every few minutes.

The woman on the phone asked me the usual questions for verification: name, address, phone number, and my special "code" that I use to identify myself when the alarm goes off.

Now, I must preface this to say that I have been with this alarm company for almost 20 years and my code has always been the same all of this time. But, for some reason on this rainy night at 3:30 a.m. standing in my pajamas with a flashlight in hand....she said that was not my code.


She then began to ask me who my contact people were. These would be the people that they would get in touch with when my alarm goes off and I am not home.

I gave her the name of my neighbor, his address, and telephone number.

"Yes," she said.

But, she wasn't satisfied with just one and asked me to name another one also.


I told her that I had made the contact list so long ago that neighbors have come and gone and I really had no idea who else was on the list....and that I was very tired and cranky and could she puleeze just help me get this chirping noise turned off so that I could get back in my bed?!?!?

I was getting a teensy, tiny bit annoyed. Can you tell?

She again said that she needed me to give her another contact I began to spout off any and every name that I could think of who I might have listed as one of my contacts. I named everyone but the guys who pick up the garbage each week. She said "no" to each one. I was willing to give her any other information that I could at this point to identify myself: shoe size, favorite food, reality shows that I watch, men that I have dated, hints as to where all of my beauty marks are, reason for the little scar on my upper cheek (fell downstairs as a child)...etc. etc. Ack.

She finally said that she would have to go and speak with her supervisor. So, there I stood, on hold on my cell phone (remember, my home phones were deader than a doornail!) hoping that she wouldn't be gone too long and use up all of my limited battery life on the phone.

After what seemed like an eternity, she came back and said that she got permission to help me with the chirping.

After several attempts to help me- we weren't getting anywhere. It seems that I have one of the very old keypads for my alarm system and they all don't seem to know much about it.

In desperation, she finally suggested that I disconnect the back-up battery downstairs.

With phone in hand I used the flashlight to find my way to the little box that held the magic wires that I could pull to disconnect everything. I somehow got them disconnected (and it wasn't easy, believe me, in that the box is in a little room downstairs along with the hot water heaters and the furnace and not very accessible.)

The chirping ended and I climbed back into my awaiting bed, exhausted and ready to get back to sleep...

Of course, I was so riled up that sleep was the last thing that my mind and body were going to let me do. So, I lay there in the darkened bedroom listening to the thunder and watching the light show that the lightening provided.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Chocolate and Me----a dangerous combination

I adore chocolate...creamy, rich, decadent chocolate. The kind that you put on your tongue and it slowly melts away. Nothing fancy, just basic milk chocolate.

Unfortunately, I have found that when I bring chocolate into my life I cannot do without it. I think about my next piece as soon as I have finished the first. It is an addiction of the cruelest kind.

After denying myself of this treat for several weeks, I realized that I missed my fix of chocolate terribly. So, I decided to purchase some Hershey's chocolate know the ones with the little rectangles marked out on the bar inside.

I made a pact with myself to only eat 6 of the rectangles a day. That is half of a bar. I am hoping that this deal that I am making with myself works out better than the M & M arrangement. I tried counting out 10 M & M's a day...but, ended up eating 10 several times a day! I had to go to M & M rehab for that one...

I try to savor each and every piece as slowly and methodically as I can. Sometimes I can't help myself and I find that I am crazily chewing it...but, I am working on that. : )

So far, so good. It has been one week and I have managed to enjoy this little bit of chocolate heaven without all of the guilt and calories.

Just a few more hours and it will be Monday and I can enjoy my next 6 pieces.


Tomorrow's portion.

No chocolate was eaten during the taking of this picture.

(I wanted to, though.)

: )

Saturday, July 11, 2009

"If it is will stick.."

I had to laugh the other night when I was making some pasta. I remembered back to when I was a new bride and quite unsure about my cooking skills. I took in every little bit of cooking info that was out there....and, one of the hints that I was privy to was how to tell when the pasta was cooked just right. (Of course we didn't call it pasta back then in the "olden days"---it was just plain old "spaghetti"!). I was told to throw a couple of pieces up against the wall and if they stuck, then it was done.

So, that is what I did.

And, it stuck....time after time....piece after piece of wet, soggy spaghetti dangling from my walls and cupboards!

Unfortunately, what I didn't know then that I know now is that pasta that is even slightly cooked will stick to anything that you throw it at.

Now I just pull a couple of pieces out and check myself for when it is al dente.

Live and learn. : )


Just when I thought that it was okay to sigh with relief about my miracle air-conditioning stopped cooling again yesterday. It was in the afternoon and I was afraid that it was going to be a very uncomfortable weekend if I couldn't get someone over here before the end of the business day.

Luckily, two guys arrived and began to run diagnostic tests outside to see what was going on. I stayed out there and watched them as they checked wires and cables etc. etc.

It took a while but they finally found the culprit...a contactor coil was burnt out. Two hundred and thirty three dollars later (including a new thermostat) and we were in business with nice cool air flowing throughout the house.

Again I was able to get by without replacing my whole "older-than-dirt--hanging on by a thread" air conditioning system.....



Every Saturday morning during the summer months here in Birmingham, we have a chance to support our local farmers. They all gather downtown in a designated area to show their wares....and people come with babies in strollers or dogs on leashes, or just on their own....and, they come in droves.

They put out an array of beautiful fruits, vegetables, fresh herbs (my favorite spot to stand and just breathe...), flowers, cheeses, home-made jams, jellies, and salsas, home-baked breads, muffins, cakes, and cookies...and other delectable treats.

Then there is a section for crafters to sell their work. Here you can find pottery, yard art, hand-made clothing and scarves, jewelry, woodwork, metalwork...and folk art paintings.

The key is to get there very early (it starts at 7 a.m.) before the heat and the crowds get to be too much. At nine o'clock one of our local chefs does a cooking demonstration....and there is always a local group their to strum their guitars and serenade the shoppers. It is all pretty cool.

Anyway, I hadn't been to this yet this summer, but I met a girlfriend there today...and, it was lovely. It is such a win-win situation in that the consumers are able to purchase products right from the farms...and, the farmers get much-needed financial support from the community.

I had my cell phone with me and attempted to take a few pictures...but, I am not quite familiar enough with my new phone yet to work everything properly...So, the photos below only capture a touch of what was there. I'll do better next time!

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Friday, July 10, 2009

My passion--Part 2

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While my boys were growing up I made the choice to leave my teaching job and be a stay at home mom. While I was at home, I began to look for outlets for my creativity. Even though my degree was in Education, I always loved to draw and create. So, I began to do some little figures out of salt, flour and water. Word spread and families began to hire me to "make" their families out of the dough. Thus my "dough dolls" were created! Some people tell me that 30+ years later they still have these "little treasures" in their possession!

From there I went on to do some graphic design work...and, ended up free lancing for several years. I would design logos, invitations, brochures....anything that needed detail work or an illustration.

Since I hadn't ever had any real training in this, once my boys were grown and pretty much on their own, I decided to take a graphic design course offered locally.

Unfortunately, the class was already filled and I would need to wait for the next go round. In the meantime, I signed up for a pottery class at one of the local galleries.

I fell in love with working in clay and after repeating the class three times...the teacher finally told me to "get out there and sell my stuff!".

So, I did.

And, I've never looked back! : )

Thursday, July 09, 2009

My passion....

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Several of you have (kindly) asked to see some of my, I have quickly picked out a few pictures of some of my work and made a collage out of them. As you can see, my work is quite eclectic.

My apologies, in that this may not be the easiest way to view them...but, I thought that it was the best that I could do with the space constraints. (I will try to put together another collage on a future post.)

Most of my work is hand-built from white earthenware clay. I start out with a lump of clay and through the process of slab rolling, I can create many different forms. I build all of the boxes from the ground up...and, everything that I do is hand-painted with underglazes.

As you can see, I prefer bright colors and whimsical designs. I also find myself putting a lot of "messages" of faith, hope, joy, laughter, etc. on my work.

This really makes the pottery an extension of who I am.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

While walking this morning....

You know that your house is truly hot when it is almost 90 degrees outside and it feels cooler outside than it does inside your home!(P.S. Air-conditioning unit stop cooling yesterday afternoon) So, it was a no-brainer that I would take my morning walk outside today....even though it has been something that I have avoided as of late because of the oppressive temperatures.

As I walked up the street I began to hear the fenced dogs barking as I must have riled them up as I walked by. I try to think of it as a doggie serenade. (Right!)

When I came upon a neighbor with is dog out in the front yard, he began to bark quite loudly at me (the dog, not the neighbor!). As I approached them both, I tried to calm the dog down...but, it was not to be and he remained quite agitated with me (again, the dog, not the neighbor!). So, as I walked away, I laughed as the following words came spilling out of my mouth: "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to get you so excited. I have that affect on men."

One of those moments when you want to bang yourself on side of the head and say: "What did I just say?"

On up the street I came upon a beautiful home that had been sold and resold and then put into foreclosure and sold again.

Unfortunately, the newest owners are not taking care of it the way the previous owners did. I had to laugh as I saw the sprinkler system going full blast and the huge abundance of sprouted weeds being watered profusely. I couldn't help but think how delighted these lush, green weeds must have felt to be receiving such good care!

Further down the road there is this house that is newly built. The story was that the owners took apart the old home that was on the property and donated it to a homeless family (how nice). Section by section I watched as the builders removed parts of the home and placed it on a truck.

While it was a lovely home, the new home being constructed was at least 2 1/2 times as large and much more modern.

Move ahead almost a year...and I have noticed that it seems as if the construction was stopped before everything was finished. The outside painting is not done, the drive is unfinished, and weeds are beginning to grow all over the place.

It makes me wonder if the rough economy got the better of these people, too??

When I called the A.C. service people yesterday they asked if I changed my filters regularly and if not, to change them. So, I did. They weren't too bad, but certainly in need of changing. I'm usually pretty good about doing that...however I wasn't quite as prudent this time around.

So, last night, I slept with just the fan blowing on my a.c. system and, of course, my ceiling fan going full blast. It was hot, but bearable. With today's temps projected to rise into the 90's I had my concerns about how it would be later today and tonight if we did not get it fixed before the day was over.

Well, since writing this post today, I decided to give the system one more try and turned everything back on. To my air is coming through my vents!!! It could be that the pipes were just frozen up...or....that....

Miracles do happen..........

....but, just in case, make sure that you change your a.c. filters regularly!

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Summer Celia

I came home to a very hot house (did I mention very hot?!) and probably a broken-down air-conditioning, the best that I can do for today is post an incredibly joyful picture of my Celia!

Sweltering heat or not, she has me smiling! : )

(Servicemen will be here sometime tomorrow.....stay tuned.)

Monday, July 06, 2009

A bowl of cherries and me...

Monday morning...and, I am sitting here trying to make a dent in the huge bowl of fresh cherries beside me.

I love summer fruits...most especially, sweet, red cherries. So, you can imagine my delight when I found them on sale last week for a ridiculously low price! I picked out one of the larger bags, not realizing the enormity of what I had purchased until I got home and placed them in a bowl.

I may emerge from this with telltale red-stained teeth and fingers...but, at least I will have a smile on my face!


Dave and I took it pretty easy this holiday weekend in that I was still trying to get over my little viral thing that I brought home from MN and wasn't really feeling 100%. He did play golf two of the days...and he ran by his friend's lake house for a couple of hours coming home with some delicious bar b que...But, other than that...we pretty much just laid around the house like a couple of slugs.

We did watch the movie, Gran Torino yesterday. It starts Clint Eastwood and a group of other very talented actors...and, we both enjoyed it tremendously. I loved the journey that the lead character (Eastwood) took from being an angry, prejudiced one of greater understanding. Nice.


You know, I comment quite often on how blogging, Facebook, and Twitter, have all changed the way we communicate with one another. Even though I am a participant in all of the above, my comments are not always completely positive as I try to make my way through this new world of ours. I worry that we will possibly lose some of the personal human contact that is so essential to our being... and to staying closely connected with one another.

Well, some of that feeling has changed a bit for me today. After reading through one of my very favorite blogs the other day, I sensed that this lovely woman was going through a really rough patch. Because of the availability of further communication via email, I took the risk to reach out to her in that way. I just wanted to let her know that I was here, and that I cared.

She wrote me back with appreciation and let me in on some of what was going on in her world...and then I did the same in an email back to her this morning.

Is this long-distance friendship going to replace the personal, close relationships that we already have? I wouldn't think so, however, how nice to be able to make these online connections to broaden our worlds a bit!

I know that I will look forward to this, and many other, blogging friendships to come.

It's a new link to the world around me...and, a great chance to learn, not only about others, but a little more about myself.


One of my very favorite magazines is Oprah magazine. I find it so full of wonderfully written bits of knowledge...along with other fun things.

It is one of the few magazines that I truthfully read from head to toe. OK. In all honesty, I do read pretty much all of my People magazine! (I can't believe that I am even admitting to reading that one...but, it makes for great cocktail party conversation!)

Anyway, I digress.

So, I was reading through my May issue yesterday and came upon this series of articles about things that one can do t0 lift their spirits. The one quote that caught my eye was by Karen Bradley, a visiting associate professor of dance at the University of Maryland. She says: "Even if you are just sitting in a chair, there are things you can do to change the pace of the day in a a way that's recuperative and uplifting. Take a minute to write your name in cursive with your eyeballs, or count your teeth with your tongue,or just hum along with some music. The muscles around your eyes will relax; your jaw will relax; you will start to breather more deeply."

She goes on to warn us that all of this may not have the same calming effect on observers. (I guess so!) I can only imagine how a person would react to someone sitting alone doing the above exercises without thinking that they weren't a bit "off".

But, I decided to try the eyeball exercise in the privacy of my home.

It didn't really lift my actually only made me a bit dizzy...

Maybe I will try to count my teeth with my tongue....or just sit and continue to eat these wonderfully sweet cherries instead. : )


Whatever you choose to do...have a lovely and uplifting day!


Sunday, July 05, 2009

A letter to Owen...

Dear Owen,

There is so much that I could say about the special little boy that you are...and I wanted to take a few days to think about our time together in Minneapolis before posting this letter to you.

It was just a few months back that we were all together here in Birmingham, but, I see so many changes in you during that short amount of time. "Month to month" in "baby/toddler time" is so different than in "grown up time"! As adults we don't really notice the differences in ourselves as frequently as we do in our children and grandchildren. I guess that everything just s-l-o-w-s down when you get to be Grammie's age!

You have one of those sweet personalities that makes people gravitate to you. You love being silly and making up your own little language of words. You laugh out loud at yourself as you try to rhyme words...ending up quite often with nonsensical words that are fun to say!

You are always ready to play with anyone who is willing and able! You love balls...rolling, throwing, shooting "baskets", hitting with a bat, bouncing....whatever! And, with your nonstop could do these things over and over and over again. "Let's do it again!" is your mantra. And we abide by your cues as long as we can...though eventually you can exhaust us. : )

The joy that you carry inside of you is so evident to all who know you, Owen. There is hardly a moment that goes by that you are not singing some song out loud. Right now some of your favorites are "Take Me Out To The Ballgame", "We are the Crickets, the Mighty, Mighty Crickets (you are in the Cricket group in daycare!), "Ring Around the Rosie", "Row,Row, Row Your Boat", the "I Love You" song that Barney sings,"Old McDonald Had a Farm", etc. etc. etc. etc.

You are a definite entertainer and you don't shy away from an opportunity to perform! Whether it is with your guitar (that is almost as big as you are tall!)...or listening to the CD that your Dad made you of your favorite songs...or, during your nap before you have drifted off to is a big part of who you are.

While watching you I can't help but step back in time to when your Daddy was a little boy. He was the exact same way then as you are now. I am so thrilled that he has passed down his love and passion for music to you and your sister. Our house was always filled with music...and, so is yours. What a nice gift to pass down...

I try not to be prejudiced (!!), but Owen, you continue to amaze me with your grasp of the English language! Your vocabulary shocks and delights me all at the same time. You don't just call the large truck, "big" call it "enormous"! You seem to be able to express yourself so well....and I am loving this stage of your life in that we can really communicate with each other.

Of course, with this stage also comes the "why's??" which I wrote about in a previous post. Your curiosity in everything is pretty cool...even though the questioning can go on and on. Your inquisitive nature is what will help you learn so much about the world around you! Never lose that desire to learn and grow.

Your sweetness. Now, I could write a tome about how dear you are...not only to your sister...but, to everyone. You are kind and giving in a way that belies your 2 years and 10 months of life! You are generous with your hugs...and, that makes any Grammie smile!

All of the above is not to say that you aren't quite spunky, too! You definitely have your own mind on many things...and you can stubbornly hang on to what you want to do. But, all in all, you are a real sweetheart...and, so easy to be with.

During my visit some of my favorite moments were when I would read to you. You really got into each little tale and hated when the book was finished. "Can we do it again?" you would ask....and, of course, Grammie would heed your sweet request. Many times you would almost memorize the words of some of the books and say the repetitive words with me as I read them to you. I especially loved the day that we visited yours and Audrey's old daycare and you sat down with a book...turned it so that the other kids could see it the right way...and began to "read" the story to them.


My sweet Owen, you bring me so much pleasure just in being you. Always keep that wonderful joyous spirit...and always know how much you are loved by me.

Missing you already...xoxo,


Saturday, July 04, 2009 - Custom comment codes for MySpace, Hi5, Friendster and more

Fourth of July....grandkid's style!!

Celia-----Miss Patriotic 2009 (2029?!) !!!!!!

Owen and Audrey show their pride by wearing their American flag shirts!

I know that one day these three will be able to understand the full meaning behind the 4th of July holiday...and will appreciate what it means to live in a free country.

To all of my blogging buddies...have a safe and meaningful holiday today!

God Bless America...


Friday, July 03, 2009

The "girls"---Grammie, Mommy, Mimi, and Audrey!!

A letter to Audrey

Dear Audrey,

Well, Grammie is back home in Alabama after spending a wonderful week with you and Owen. I have so many moments to smile about as I think back on it...

So, you are now a one year old! I'm not sure that you understand what a "birthday" is all about yet, but you certainly did enjoy the delicious cake and ice cream that you lapped up in joy. Of course, most of it was smeared around your sweet face by the time that you were done...but, that is the fun part of being the one year old birthday girlie!

My dear Audrey, you are quite a "pistol" as you try and get into anything and everything. You even like to rough and tumble with your brother as you giggle your way through it the whole time. I would worry that he was "squashing" you...but, you would emerge smiling and laughing as you played together. You are going to be a force to be reckoned with one day!

When I arrived, you were walking cautiously with those arms of yours outstretched for someone to catch you on the "other side". By the time that I left, you were much more stable on those tiny feet of yours as you observed the world from a vertical standpoint....and, seemed to really like it.

I loved watching you play in the little kitchen that the grandparents bought for Owen last year. You push the buttons...pour the pretend coffee into little cups...."fry" the eggs in the miniature fry pans on the stove...etc. etc. And, of course, you taste the fake food...until you realize that it isn't very good as it is made out of tasteless plastic!

Some of my favorite moments with you were sitting quietly in your bedroom on the rocking chair...Taking a break from your bottle, you would lay your head on my chest...then look up at me and grin. I sang songs to you like "Row, Row, Row Your Boat" which seems to be one of your favorites. When I would finish singing it, you would do the baby sign language symbol for "more", curl that precious mouth of yours and say "Row, row!!". I guess that at your age you haven't realized what a terrible singing voice your Grammie has! Unfortunately, one day you probably will... : )

When you hear music from a toy or CD you immediately begin to dance and bounce up and down. You are so full of joy...I love to watch your every move.

Your curiosity is unending as you explore the world around you. Your attention span is quite short right now as you get interested in one thing for a couple of seconds before moving on to another. You can single-handedly pull every toy out of the basket within minutes...always looking for something to hold your attention and delight you...while throwing the rest aside.

At mealtime you remind me of a baby bird. Sometimes we can't get the food onto your high chair tray quickly enough....sometimes we cut up all kinds of delicious treats only to have you push them away as you shake your head "no" from side to side. Hey, you know what you want, don't you!?!

Your smile reveals two tiny teeth on the bottom of your mouth...but, you are able to "gum" your food quite well. This skill may come in handy one day when you are a senior citizen without many teeth!

Your beautiful blue eyes are open wide to everything around you. Your Mimi and I would laugh when they would dart from me to her and back and forth again and again. Sometimes you looked at us like we were absolutely crazy ladies! And, you know what? You were right! Somehow grandmothers become bluthering idiots when they get around the grandkids. You will undestand one day...

Audrey, I have so many things that I want to tell you...but, I know that I must be patient and wait until you are old enough to hear and understand them. I love the fact that we now have two girls in the family (you and Celia)...The boys were dominating the births for a, a little pink is nice to see! Having brought up two boys, I am anxious to spend time with my little granddaughters and talk "girl to girl" with you!

I love to look at all of the pictures that were taken during my visit...the miles may separate us...but not our hearts.

I love you so very much and can't wait until we are together again.


Your Grammie