Saturday, July 30, 2011

Sunrise at 5:15 a.m.

 I awoke to the song "Soul Sister" blaring from my iphone before 5 o'clock this morning.  I wanted nothing more than to stay in bed for two or three more hours....but, I was taking Dave to the airport today to catch an early flight to visit his, I had to get moving.
I washed the sleep from my eyes....threw on some clothes....and, we were off.

Little did I know about the awesome early morning beauty that would await me on my drive back home.
 As I awkwardly tried to snap some photos of the morning sky with my phone, I began to feel so uplifted.  This sunrise was so lovely....filled with a variety of colors....and, holding so much promise for the upcoming day.  In my tiredness I paused to reflect on the magnificence of nature....and how I sometimes forget to really pay attention to this gift that is given to us freely each and every morning.
Of course, I went right back to bed when I got home....but, I had a good feeling inside and a new appreciation for being alive.

"Watching a sunrise, we open ourselves up to the beauty that nature creates, knowing it will never repeat itself just like this again." ~ Jake Rajs

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Part 2 in my quest to lighten up my life...

Interestingly, I found this little bit of advice online this morning.  It goes along with my post yesterday and gives me even more incentive to follow my "plan". 

Stop Taking Yourself So Seriously

Turns out, laughter may be one of the best protectors of your heart. According to a study presented at a meeting of the American Heart Association, people who laughed less were more likely to have heart disease than those who knew how to let out a good chuckle. Being able to find amusement in life's strange twists and turns helps you put things in proper perspective.

Joke time:

Woman sitting at home on the veranda with her husband and she says: "I love you."

He asks: "Is that you or the wine talking?"

She replies: "It's me ............... talking to the wine."

Monday, July 25, 2011

Lighten up, people!

"Laughter is a gift everyone should open." Allen Klein

I am in a new phase of life.

I am planning on laughing more often.

Enough with all of the seriousness around us.  I feel bombarded with the news of shootings, bombings, hatred, financial stresses, government issues, etc. etc. etc. I have an ipad, and iphone and a television with news 24/7 as well as 800+ channels to watch anything and everything that I desire.

I want to lighten up and save the stress and worry for the really serious things that may come my way. 

The rest?.....I want to laugh my way through them.

So here is a joke that I received in an email the other day.....have a laugh on me!

A fifteen year old Amish boy and his father were in a mall.They were amazed by almost everything they saw, but especially by two shiny, silver walls that could move apart and then slide back together again.

The boy asked, 'What is this Father?'
The father (never having seen an elevator) responded, 'Son, I have never seen anything like this in my life, I don't know what it is.'

While the boy and his father were watching with amazement, a very large, elderly lady in a wheel chair moved up to the moving walls and pressed a button. The walls opened, and the lady rolled between them into a small room. The walls closed and the boy and his father watched the small numbers above the walls light up sequentially.
They continued to watch until it reached the last number… and then the numbers began to light in the reverse order.

Finally the walls opened up again and a gorgeous 24-year-old blond stepped out.

The father, not taking his eyes off the young woman, said quietly to his son.....

'Go get your Mother'
: )

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Morning walk observations....

(I actually began this the other day.....but, couldn't get eblogger to work, I will attempt it again today as I sit at my desk looking outside at the pouring rain!)

Even thought the temperatures and the humidity are oppressive, I continue to get up every morning and take my daily walk.  I arrive back home wringing wet, but happy that I pushed myself to get my exercise in.  Then I eat some chocolate covered raisins to reward myself! Just kidding...................sort of.  ha! : )

As I walk along my neighborhood of some 30+ years, I  have every area memorized in my mind.  I know all of the nuances.....the "bumps" in the road....the houses where the dogs bark the loudest....the yards that are perfectly manicured....and, those that are not.  I have seen older cars replaced with shiny new ones....and tree stumps removed when the springtime storms have gotten the better of the large, and stately trees that surround the neighborhood.

I have watched families come and go through the years.  There are only a few of us left at the bottom of the street....we are now the "older folks" who have lived here the longest.  I'm not sure that I like that title, but, what can one do?  Maybe "seniority" has its perks....?

Many of the homes are being sold and purchased by younger families.  It's nice to see the children out playing and listen to their squeals of laughter and joy.  It seems that it wasn't that long ago that my own two boys were doing that....I miss that.

This neighborhood is close to the elementary school as well as the high school which makes it prime property for families.  There are grocery stores nearby as well as lots of drugstores....and, one of the newest (and most popular) outdoor malls in the city.  One doesn't have to go far to get whatever they might need.  I have gotten quite spoiled living here!

Many of the homes have such stories to tell.  My across the street neighbor moved in with three small children years ago and, with the blink of an eye, they have all now graduated from college and beyond.  Two are married and one of the two has two children, and the youngest is now a lawyer in a prestigious local law firm.
I watch their mother (who is now a happy grandma) playing with the grandkids in their front yard.

Some of the neighbors have had to deal with loss....husbands and, even a son, to AIDS years ago. Illnesses have touched families around me and I have watched them bravely move on with their lives.

Many of the older neighbors have moved on to smaller "garden" homes that are all on one level so that they don't have stairs to maneuver....or, yards to mow.

Unfortunately, in these tough economic times, I watch "For Sale" signs go up with the message "Price Reduced" attached to the main sign.  There have even been a couple of foreclosures....But, eventually, they do sell and big moving vans show up filled with new beginnings and interesting stories to come.

So, as I sit here, I realize how much of my life has been spent in this house in this neighborhood and, how very much I love it here. I love that I can have my boys and their families stay here with me when they visit, I love the location, I love that many friends live so close by....and, I love that familiar "hug" that I feel whenever I come back home after a trip. 

Walls have been painted, carpeting has been changed, furniture has been updated, repairs have been made, my own children have grown and moved on to their own neighborhoods with their families....but, no matter what.....this is still home....and I am so grateful to still be living here to observe life going on all around me.

:  )

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Way to go, Woody!

Dave and I went to see Midnight in Paris yesterday afternoon.  It is being called "one of Woody Allen's best" by critics.  I found it to be interesting and quite delightful....but, not what I would actually expect from "cousin" Woody. 

Yes, I am related to Woody Allen.  My father's dad (my grandfather) and Woody's mom were sister and brother.

When my dad was alive, he may have seen Woody on one or two occasions up in New York many, many years ago.....but, as far as the rest of my family....nope.  He probably wouldn't have any idea who I was....but, that is okay.  I know that we are related. :  )

                                              (Mom, Dad and a much younger Woody long ago!)
There was a period of time (like when he married his daughter!?!) that I would have denied the connection....but, now that time has passed I am much more comfortable talking about it.

Anyway, back to the movie.  I do recommend it....the acting is great and the scenery is magnificent.  There is a great lesson to be learned within the story....and, it has some good laughs all throughout.

Way to go, Cuz! : )

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Ta dum!

Well, the first week of my two adult pottery classes is over and here are some of the results.
The ladies moan and "complain" the whole time, but they end up with some very interesting pieces.
Next week we attempt clay boxes.
Should be interesting!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Jenny's Special Day!

Happy Birthday my dear Jenny!!

How can I possibly describe my daughter-in-law Jenny to you?

Besides being beautiful, fun-loving, a great mom and wife, an unbelievably talented singer, tell-it-like-it-is person, artistic, dramatic, creative cake maker, ready-for-anything person, etc....she has that joyous spirit about her that is contagious....and, best of all, she can be silly at a moment's notice!

Have a great day, Jenny, you deserve it!
I love you,

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

They came....they created.....

Here are some of the coil bowls that were created last night by my first pottery class.  Some were a bit crooked.....some were a bit soggy.....but, they were all a really great start!! I had expressed that these initial bowls were going to be some "perfectly imperfect" items....and, that was what made them so special.

We had a lot of fun....lots of laughing as the women got into the clay....most of them for the very first time. Some of the younger girls brought some wine and snacks....and, I heard others vowing to do the same next week.

I loved that they didn't take it all too seriously. Life is serious enough just day to day.  Pottery classes are meant to be a fun escape....and, hopefully, it was for this group.

Next group of women arrive tomorrow night for my Thursday night class.

I'm looking forward to it!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pottery 101

My first adult pottery class starts tonight at 6.  I am expecting 10 women tonight (and, ten more on Thursday night) of all different backgrounds to attend....including young mothers, a Judge and Author, a cake designer, retirees, a doctor, and a couple of fabulous artists.

It should be an interesting group...

I hope that they come ready to get their hands dirty and play in clay!
:   )
More to come.....

Monday, July 11, 2011

If you can't beat them, eat them?

I spoke about the unbelievably delicious (and fattening!) Paula Deen cheese biscuits and hoecakes in a previous post....and, this weekend, I decided to do something about those wonderful light and fluffy morsels.
I made some myself!

Of course, while Paula might make hers with shortening and bacon fat, I substituted those for lowfat butter and used fat free buttermilk.  I'm not sure that she would approve of my "healthifying" her recipes, but, then, she doesn't have my cholesterol issues!

The hoecakes were a nice addition to our Friday night dinner.....but, the cheese biscuits took the prize.  We had them for breakfast yesterday and they were quite good.  Light and fluffy and relatively easy to make.  I froze the ones that were leftover to save for another time when the craving reappears...


Saturday, July 09, 2011

What I learned from my grandson today....

I decided to call my daughter-in-law, Jenny, this morning and see how things were going now that my son was off in Germany on business and she was at home alone with the two little angels ones.  She was doing fine and getting ready to take them to a water park and I could hear the grandkids being silly and excited in the background.

Audrey got a bit too rambunctious (takes after her mom can attest to that!) and was being "escorted" to her room....So, Owen picked up the phone to talk.  Fifteen minutes later (Grammie Heaven) is what I learned.

1.) Audrey gets in trouble a lot, but not so much Owen.

2.) Owen can ride his bicycle at "super duper fast" speeds, but Audrey is a little slower on her new bike.

3.) When Owen's 5th birthday arrives in September he would like a "Spiderman Pinball Wizard" something-or-other?????

4.) Owen's best friend, "Dovengot" (I never get that name right!) moved to another his new best friend is called (I swear it sounded like he said this...) "Amooba".  I told him that it sounded like a cow sound.  He giggled as he repeated the name to "silly" Grammie.

5.)  Daddy is in a far away place but will be home this afternoon.  Then in two days, he will be going to another far away place. He misses him a lot when he is away.

6.) School (day care)will be starting again in "two days". (Two days seems to be his point of reference for all things these days.)

7.) They are going to be getting new carpeting in their house.

8.)  The water park that they are going to is outside and it might be raining but..he thinks "the rain may have come last night and now it is going to be gone".

9.)  They had a great time on their "staycation" to a water park and hotel adventure last weekend.

10.)  He still remembers all of the fun they had with the two "Screaming Greemies" (Grammie and Mimi)  and wants us to come again.

11.) He thinks that there might be some birthday cake left when Papa Dave and I arrive two days after his actual birthday in September.

Oh, how I am looking forward to that leftover cake along with lots of hugs and more conversations like I had this morning!

:  )

Thursday, July 07, 2011


I love this placemat that a dear friend gave me.

It reminds me to be silly whenever I can...

:  )

Wednesday, July 06, 2011

I'll get you for this, Paula Deen!


Yes, she looks very sweet and innocent as she beckons you with her famous fried chicken.....but, watch out....the Paula Deen Buffet at Harrah's Casino is out to get you!  Dave and I ran over to Tunica (4 + hours away)  this past weekend for two days and found ourselves salivating over this buffet.

Picture rows and rows of delectably enticing foods.  You have your choice of: salads, fruit, fried fish, grilled oysters, fried shrimp (to die for!), fried okra, corn bread, seafood gumbo, chicken noodle soup,  ribs, pork bar-b-que, steamed corn on the cob~  potatoes~and shrimp, slaw, potato salad, corn pudding, fried chicken strips, steamed crab legs,  every vegetable casserole imaginable, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

Add to this.....a bell that rings every so often as the soft, warm, freshly baked cheese biscuits (I swear... these are so light that you have to hold them down so that they don't float off of your plate!) and hoecakes are out of the oven....a cheer goes up from the patrons....and, before you can say "yum", a woman comes around to your table with a basketful of these delicious goodies. OMG.

As if this all hasn't done enough damage to your diet (puleeeze!).....there is a mouth-watering dessert area that is just waiting for you to fill your plate with these homemade sweets.  Where can I start?  There is every cake (coconut and carrot were my two favorites) and pie imaginable, cookies, ice cream with toppings, sweet breads, brownies, lemon squares, cobbler, bread pudding, etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

All I can say (with a contented groan) is..............................................."Mmmmm, that was good!"

I'll get you for this, Paula!

(But, in the meantime, "thanks"!) 
 : )

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Angry Birds and candlelight....

So, what did you do on the Fourth of July?

Dave and I spent the afternoon and evening at my house without any electricity.

Storms rolled through the area around 4 in the afternoon.  The lights flickered off and on.  We began to talk to them as if they could hear us..."Stay on! Stay on!" I yelled to these inanimate objects.  It was all to no avail.  We were soon without any power...and, that included air conditioning on this sweltering July afternoon.

I called the "Power Outage" hotline (No pun intended....ha!) to report the situation and got a recorded message that said "...yes, it looks like there is an issue in your neighborhood and we expect to have it fixed by 5:30 p.m."

OK.  We can handle that. 

So, I began to read and Dave listened to a baseball game on my battery run radio.  It was actually kind of nice and peaceful and cozy.

Then, as darkness began to set in, I got out tons of candles and spread them out around the den and kitchen.

I thought that it was kind of romantic. 

I don't think that Dave agreed (!!), who by this time was deeply into playing "Angry Birds" on my iPad while listening to a ballgame on the radio earphones, starting to get hungry....and, wondering when the power was going to be back on.

I was continuing to  read through a stack of unread magazines with my trusty flashlight.

He stopped the game long enough to go outside (in the pouring rain) to light the grill. I followed him with a huge umbrella and a pork tenderloin that he had purchased before coming over.

My son, Jeffrey, had grilled some peaches while I was there visiting last week...and, they were, we threw a couple of them on the grill along with some leftover rice and mushrooms sealed in tin foil.... from the night before.  We also had a slightly warm watermelon that he had brought over.

It was turning in to quite a feast.

We sat at the kitchen counter and ate our dinner in the candlelit, but, otherwise totally dark room.

After dinner, we were back on the couch again (Dave with Angry Birds and me with my magazines and flashlight) as I continued to call the Power Co. to get updates.  Unfortunately, the times for having the power returned were getting later and later....and, the house was getting warmer and warmer.....They were now saying 10:45 p.m.

Giving in to the situation, we headed to bed around 9:30...figuring that we could at least get a good night's sleep.


First my alarm system began to "chirp".  I'm still not sure why it did that....but, I put the code in and all was quiet again.

After tossing and turning for a couple more hours, the power did finally return sometime after midnight.  The partially finished clothing in my washing machine began to churn again, some of the house lights went back on, and the air conditioning humming began as it slowly cooled  things down.

I am not sure when we finally got back to sleep....but, suddenly it was 6:00 a.m. and my phone began to ring.
Who could be calling at this ungodly hour??

As I put the phone to my ear....I heard a recording from the Power Co. asking me if our power had been restored.  I pressed "1" for yes and blearingly hung the phone up.

You have got to be kidding.

Thanks for the wake up call, Alabama Power!!

Oh, and Happy Fourth of July!?!?

Monday, July 04, 2011

Happy Fourth of July!

These words still ring true today.....

We hold these truths to be self-evident:

that all men are created equal,

that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights,

among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

- Thomas Jefferson (Declaration of Independence)