Thursday, January 31, 2008

Choices and changes

Boy are our lives changing. The college decision making process is in full - fast - and furious mode right now. We have narrowed the choices a tiny bit by various methods. One of which baffles even the closest of our friends. I'll explain later in this post.

Molly is a 4.0 academically ranked senior. She has taken the highest level of courses offered in her school, including a biology class with Emmanuel College. She wants to play volleyball in college. This is criteria number one and qualification for any college is not an issue.

The above photo is on campus at Shorter College in Rome, GA.

For a time she wanted to be a meteorologist - her thinking at the time - the weatherman doesn't HAVE to ever be right. A plus is that when snow is called for in the south and the weatherman is right - they are heroes to every school aged child AND teacher in the area.

Then there was art school. Now almost every artist is a "fringe" person. Most true artists do not make a good living (and yes I am speaking financially here) and the only other way to make money is graphic design or teaching. Note - there is nothing wrong with any of this - we just pointed out that Molly likes stuff and maybe there was a better option.

I qualify all of this by saying - I am 42 and I have no idea what I am gonna be when I grow up.

The latest is to major in pre-pharmacy and go to pharmacy school after that. Then treat her soul with a studio space of her own (takes after her mama that way.)

The above photo is on campus at Toccoa falls.

I have done something right in giving her a sense of independence. She wants to go away to college. She wants to have a complete college experience. This friends scares the crap out of me. My fears about what can happen are huge to me right now, I am pushing them to the back of my brain and I have not said anything to her about MY fear. I have cautioned her about making good decisions. But we all know what happens when young adults jump out on their own.

Anyway - she wants a campus that "feels" right for her. One with her kind of people and activities. One with the right mix of campus life for the students.

above photo is of Agnes Scott College.

We are pushing for in-state because of Georgia's Hope Scholarship program. An out of state location would be considered if there is adequate scholarship money offered.

The above photo is of Brenau College - they have made a scholarship offer of 11,000.00 per year - renewable. Add Hope money and this one is very affordable.

She wants us to be able to get there for visits. In the event that she plays ball, she would like for us to see her play. Mom wants to be able to get there quickly if something should happen. Yet - she wants to be far enough away to feel that independence.

Above photo is of Gulf Coast College.

We have travelled to some of these colleges. Others we are familiar with. She has applied to several and been accepted officially at some. There are offers on the table. There is recruiting going on. We have scholarship meetings and visits scheduled. Skills DVD's being mailed. the next 6 weeks are going to be hugely stressful as we weigh options and make decisions.

Receiving an offer of big money from a school has already eased my mind a lot. I have worried that we would not be able to give the education she deserves with incurring huge debt. That fear has been eased a little. We have a list of the types of items that I did not plan for when I left home. (including a hair dryer and straightening iron - little sis suggested this be on the list) Those are the things that MaggieGrace sold items will go to. (look out etsy - here I come.)

Above photo is of Mississippi College.

Above is of Piedmont College.

I am trying my best to help her with these decisions. Molly is like me in that she really procrastinates when she is over-whelmed. Tonight is volleyball practice and we will eat beforehand. I plan on feeding her at one of her favorite restaurants - bringing us to the full list of criterria below. The food will accompnay good solid conversation about this entire process.

Here are the criteria as we have ranked them....

Criteria #1 -- College must have volleyball available.
Criteria #2 -- Pre-pharmacy (chemistry) Program
Criteria #3 -- Campus and campus life must "feel" right.

Criteria #4 -- We have to be able to afford it with out selling my soul to the devil. (or my body on the street corner)

Criteria #5 -- proximity to home -- close enough and yet far enough away.

Criteria #6 -- the immediate area must have a quality Mexican Restaurant. Rated by the Molly monster on there chicken quesadillas and by Mom on the amount of tequila in the margaritas.

By the way - there is a lot of MaggieGrace crocheting going on. I am just choosing to not bore you with hat after hat after hat.

Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Today ...

I looked back over the last few weeks posts. I have realized that the stresses in my life have now permeated this space. A slightly negative - and whiny - tone has appeared. Enough.

Today is about funny stories.
edited to add -

i pulled this link from the comments - get ready this rocks and rolls --

While I am at it - take off over to While They Play - If you are a mother you will think this is funny. If you are the mother of a boy, you will think it really funny. If you have a comparative story, you may pee yourself.

Then take a stop over at Loving Her Beautiful and read about Prince Charming's visits to the dark underwearld. (that is a made up word but if you take the side trip you will understand)

I people am funny - there are stories about stupid things I have done that will NEVER see the light of day. Or a screen in the blogosphere. There are some that are really too funny not to share. I am not a small person (gross understatement) but at times have been told that I move with grace. This story is about one of the times I did not. We have a tiny kitchen - galley like - and had been somewhere that required the cooler. We alway use a rolling cooler. Came home - unpacked it - standard stuff. For some reason all four of us were in the kitchen (never happens) talking. The conversation was continuing and I decided to get comfy. So I proceeded to sit on the cooler - thinking it was still full of ice. The empty (and now lightweight) cooler immdiately popped a wheelie and dumped my rather large a*& into the tiny space between a cabinet and a chest by the door. No one could even ask if I was okay - they were all rolling in the floor laughing. As of right now - I have no idea what we were talking about prior to the dump.

Another one - my very first vehicle was a pink Datsun pickup truck. We lived at the bottom of a terraced hill. In cold or rainy weather - we would drive and park the truck at the top of the hill to wait for the bus - I only had a learner permit. One afternoon my baby sister and I decided that rather than turning around or backing down the driveway, we would cut down the hill across the terraces. This worked out wonderfully until we were almost to the bottom - at which point I managed to HANG the truck on the crown of the terrace with all four tires off the ground. Dad was not amused until later.

Here we go - this one is cute - and there are some who would find this funny. I sold MaryKay cosmetics for a brief time. (Sister in law was involved) The boxes would come in and I would unpack them. You all know I am a packrat - so there should be no surprise that I kept the packing peanuts in a large trash bag. Molly was a toddler, Abby a tiny baby, and Molly's friend Nicole thought she lived with us so she was at the house. I was busy with the baby and Molly and Cole were really quiet. Toddlers in a house + really quiet = disaster in the making. I found them in the kitchen - "snowing" with the packing peanuts. They had dumped the bag out and were tossing it and playing in the snow. I couldn't be mad when one of them explained they had to toss the snow because it would not make snowballs. But have you ever tried to sweep the tiny bits of statically charged packing peanuts. You just as well herd cats. I still vaccumed bits off the refrigerator coils this past weekend. Seems they never go away completely.

Come on folks share something funny - embarassing - etc. in the comments. I need a few laughs today.

Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The cleaning spree continues....

I sure could use one of these to help me.

Over the weekend, I managed some of those dreaded tasks. I emptied the refrigerator and the freezer compartment. Oh my, I could not believe just how dirty all of that was. I went through and tossed those outdated things. Scrubbed everything. Dumped containers and washed all the redneck tupperware (butter bowls - for those not from the south). I washed several mason jars. They will be returned to my lovely mother in law for refilling. Scrubbed the tub, but before that, I did away with the 14 almost empty bottles of shampoo that had accumulated. Hauled off all that discarded stuff. It was a good thing. (hell-it was several good things.)

Warmer weather appeared over Georgia yesterday and I worked in the studio last night. (Jumping up and down with glee) See I didn't work on the studio - I worked IN the studio. Yeah baby -- it is far from finished, no lights, still a lot to be completed, but with an extension cord and a lamp, I planned and organized some bits and bobs for a very special project.

Ladies and gentlemen - that space feels so wonderful. Maybe there will be a few more warm evenings to allow some work ON the space. Getting power out there will be the next step - hanging a ceiling comes first - then the strip lights. But I can make an appearance with that extension cord. I am gonna love this place.

I did get two Lowe's gift cards for Christmas - and now have some funds to throw at the space as well. Thank you Meredith and Local Best Friend.

I hope this finds all of you having a wonderful day.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Hello Monday

I read MaryAnn's weekend post with a mixture of respect, admiration, and amusement. I asked if I could steal her idea and share a bit more about me.
Blogging for me is predominantly a during the week activity. I work in a rather small environment. I am the showroom sales manager and I am "stuck" in this building whether we are busy or not. I answer the phone. Provide backup for the counter sales guys. Do a little bit of purchasing. But between all that - in the down time - I can read, comment, and write my blog. I leave the window open and can switch back and forth easily. My blog habit does not interfere with my activity. Many people read at their desk or hang out on the dock and chat. I choose the blog community. Once I get home - I may check my personal email but blogging - not normally. I have enough to do and in all honesty I really don't think about what you all are doing. To make my blog reading more efficient - I have created my Google reader account. It is easy to set up - use - and manage. I create in that time that I am at home and not working on those few homemaker details that are required.
I have expressed openly that I am not domestic. My Mom is not either. I can't place blame - the clutter just really doesn't bother me. I like stuff, the man at my address likes stuff, the children at my address like stuff. We live in a small two bedroom home. I have exactly 32 square feet of closet space (Four 4'x2' closets) I have created in all areas and have my stuff shoved everywhere. The studio space is not really a want - for everyone's sanity it is becoming a need. I don't mind putting things away - there is just no where to put them. The other effect of creating anywhere is that often projects must be left out for some reason or another and that adds to the clutter effect. Again the studio will give me the ability to hide those things.
I am spontaneous - I can be ready to go in a matter of minutes. My girls are the same way. This often digs into the time for cleaning - but not the time for creating - I just keep a project bag ready all the time.
I am the mother of three --- really two --- but doesn't that extra large 51 year qualify as a child? Both of mine are active, active girls. During the week last week we spent 9 evening hours at various events for them - guess what - the laundry waited. On Saturday - Molly and I left at 6am and returned home close to 10 pm - I made three beanie hats, but not one dish was washed. I also live 25 minutes from work - so I lose at least an hour every day in my commute. Again - an hour of time lost for bed making and sock mating. Sunday night is grocery night. I timed it last night - 20 minutes there - 45 minutes to complete the list - 20 mintes home - - more lost time - the dust bunnies use this time to hold secret planning meetings. They (those damn bunnies) are fully aware that the grocery schedule is regular so thet use the time wisely. I do not believe in ironing unless absolutely necessary. (toss things in the dryer with a wet towel and the clothes I like to wear look just fine)
I am almost the exact opposite of MaryAnn. I am sure I could do a much better job of being a housekeeper - but I would miss activities of the girls. I would miss coffee and conversation with friends. I would miss the sanity inducing qualities of creating. My family does eat together almost every morning - sitting in the living room because the dining table has a project on it. We generally eat together at least two or three nights a week (usually in a public venue). The side effect of being spontaneous - the girls enjoy knowing they can - at short notice - change my schedule and it is not a problem. We are close and have a great time on projects together.
Yes - I live my life on a wing and a prayer - there is no doubt about that. There are times that this stresses me to no end. But I see happy, well adjusted children who perform well in school. For the most part we have a happy, full, fun-filled lifestyle. Sure - the house could be cleaner - needs a coat of paint and a general spit shine - but my girlies are gonna be grown and gone soon. I'll work on it then.
Oh and like MaryAnn I do like some pretty undies. But I drive a big black Ford truck.
Have a wonderful day.
Now - having shared all that - she asks (begs) for comments about your life just to see if there is any semblance of normal here......
ps - I'm also over at CIP this morning - cruise over and take a look.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Mother Daughter Advice

"Nothing is more beautiful than a full blown flower before the first bloom is off. When you brush away the bloom much of the beauty goes with it. When you bruise the bush which grows the rose, the flower fades quickly, and so is the life of a woman. careless habits of life and lack of protection to your health, physical and moral, will go very far toward destroying the bloom which you should carry with you into womanhood and motherhood." Isabelle Thompson Smart, MD

And such is the very first passage I scanned at the thrift store in this little book.

I buy these old books to use in art and craft projects. I adore the old pages and love text fonts and quotes. This one was all the worse for wear and the intention was to take it apart and use the covers for MaryAnn's birthday scrap paper journal. The size was perfect and there would be no guilt over taking it apart.

The pages were already worn - I scanned the page containing the quote at the beginning. I admired the handwritten owner information. The discoloration was attractive. You paper lovers are familiar with all of those heart pumping features of old pages. Add to this - the books were 10 for $1.00 -- making this gem a whopping dime.

Before I tear into a book - I always read (scan) through. I look at pages. Find words to highlight. Etc and so on. What I thought was a wonderful fiction book - trns out to be a practical handbook written by a medical doctor - Isabelle Thompson Smart. MD -- Medical Examiner of Defective Children, Department of Education, City of New York.
(Sorry so blurry) The book was published by Funk and Wagnalls in 1911.

Turns out the book contains all kinds of practical advice for young women about caring for their body. It explains reproduction. It explains reasons for constipation. It offers reasons not to become "Hooked" on laxatives.
And because I am a twisted and crude individual I was amazed to find the section pictured below. Warning the young daughter of things she may not even feel comfortable discussing with her doctor or her mom. Yes ma'am this woman is pretty much covering it all.

New page folks - yeah buddy - this lady covers the solitary vice of shhhhhh...... Self pleasure. With warnings of suffering and "wrecked lives." Later there are warnings about discussing sacred parts of her body in a familiar way. But then she jumps to the statement that women have "greater self control. "
She also describes how the "solitary vice" will affect a woman's appearence. (see below) Now I have to say - this was hugely amusing to me ladies. Told you I was crude rude and obnoxious. Then later in the book she covers "other" activities and avoiding causing "vigorous temptations" in regards to relationships with the male gender.

After all the warnings - we stroll right into a married relationship - and says the one thing that I may have to make as a sign for my new studio.

"the average man rarely understands the woman whom he marries."

The book ends with a petition to allow the writer to be mother, friend and chum. Oh yeah mom - I'm sure we will discuss many things in the future - I am having a hard enough time right now try to figure out exactly what and why you know so much about that "dangerous solitary vice." that rather freaks me out.

ps - my mom and I are good friends now - but this is one thing never discussed between us. Don't see it happening. Don't really think I'll be sharing this advice with the girls either. Some things just need to be figured out "on your own" - pun fully intended.

I will not be destroying this little book - I'm hanging onto it just for smiles and grins.

Sorry for the almost gutter like side trip today.

Have a wonderful weekend.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Things and stuff

Yet again I have been productive. Wow - isn't that like more than two days in a row. Last night's productivity was even a little surprising to me. You know I took some things to the studio when we cleaned out to put the tree up. Well - I decided last night to finally put together the CIP mailers and I couldn't find the sequins I was looking for. So off on a search I go. ( a futile effort - hopefully they are in one of those boxes in the studio)

Anyway - in the search I cleaned a few more things. I snagged several spider webs off the wall decor above my bed. This is one of my favorite things at my house.

An old lobster trap. John and Linda Collier are very good friends of ours. The man at my address worked with John, but I did not know either of them. We bumped into them in Lexington, KY at a Georgia football game. Fast friendship formed. They were older than us but the friendship was strong and we soon started travelling together to football games. Part of the fun was junking/antiquing together. This lobster trap was a find on one of those trips. (try to explain finding this in Kentucky and tying to the top of a minivan to bring it home.)

I had been looking for something beach related for this odd space and this was perfect. Now I am on the lookout for glass float balls to fill it with. (they are generally way overpriced for me) I'll be adding to this as I find them resonably priced.

I collect lighthouse memorabilia and figurines, so the beach theme is perfect.

The shell wreath is a made by me piece. I love all these colors together - however the wall color may be changed - I'm a little tired of it. Look carefully and you will see that I did not use perfect shells for this. I took all of the shells I had collected since childhood - a huge bucket full and dumped them out - how much fun was that to go through. Hot glue and a straw wreath form finish the material list.

I am not perfect. I will never be perfect. At times the shiny exterior stuff hides the brokeness of the soul. But everything in life has a special beauty in it. Those are the things that this wreath exhibits. For those of you who know me - the deeper meaning should come as no surprise.

Another view of the wreath. Look at the gorgeous purple on the inside of this shell. The exterior of these is never much to look at - I used to tell the girls when they were small - look deeper, find some beauty in every thing and everyone. Many times we would use the shells to illustrate this point.

Since Molly is about to go away to college - I hope many of those lessons "took". I never hoped for her to be rich financially (just to have enough). I never hoped for her to be famous ( just respected) I never hoped for her to be brilliant ( just responsible). I only hoped for her to be faithful for herself and her God and to be mindful of finding grace and beauty in every day and every one. I hoped for acceptance of shortcomings (the plain and ugly) in herself and others and for forgiveness when it all falls short of expectations. We will see.

I do believe that first college acceptance letter has gotten to me.

Back to the seach for sequins. I never found them - so I regrouped. The beginnings of the January package for CIP . I started bagging them and spread across the piano. Me and some serious satellite radio broadcast on our tv. This is a wonderful addition to our dish package and I utilize it frequently when it's just me at home. ( the studio will have a boom box - i will miss this particular ammenity)

Buttons - 14 packages of them - and it did not even begin to make a dent in what I have in my stash. Scary ------

And just so you know how bad the stash really is look down in this next picture.

This is the island made from the pool table slate and is full of art and craft stash. One of the many spaces that are full. When I move into the studio, the shelves built in here will hold the school and office supplies that are now in the kitchen island cabinet and then I can put away things like the ice cream maker and crock pots in that island.

Tonight is basketball/volleyball - then I'll have to clean up a few dishes late. After all that I'll be finishing the CIP January project sample. Look for that over there either tomorrow or early next week.

Have a wonderful day.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Domestic Disaster

First off, my house is no French Cottage and will not ever be a featured home in any magazine. I love the Victoria article on Coreys place. Read her every day and love it. My home is just a small historic farmhouse. Full of our stuff. Way too much stuff -might I add.

I am FOCUSED on the decluttering. I am DETERMINED to get rid of stuff. I am PLEDGED to use what I have as much as possible. I am DEDICATED to clearing and cleaning and giving myself room to breathe, create, relax.

I am inspired by what I see in blog land. Beautiful spaces. Well appointed rooms. Dust bunny free corners. I could easily be discouraged by all that, instead I have chosen the approach above. The constant chaos is not restful to me. I has begun to bother me. The baggage of so much stuff is heavy and I am ready to shed parts of this skin.

Having said all that roaringly funny dialog about what I am and what I am not, here is the true confession. I AM A DOMESTIC DISGRACE. There ya go people. The picture below is the bookcase on my side of the bed. I read a lot. I look at magazines a tremendous amount (serious addiction here) My mom has said that teaching me to read has destroyed my financial future.

Many nights I take a stack of magazines to bed with me and just look at the eye candy - here's the result of that behavior.....

Note-this is actually after I managed to get enough out of the way to close the closet door.

I finish looking at lights out and toss them on the floor. That is not a problem unless the domestic disaster in me doesn't put them away. I wish this was only true about this area. Nope the whole house looks like this a lot of the time.

Well it is bothering me. Really bothering me. Causing nightmares about losing control. Keeping the girls from bringing boys home (never mind everything - let's keep it this way) Oops - sorry - got off track there....

Last night I was determined to get this corner cleaned and cleared. So I worked through the disaster and this is the outcome.

OMG there is a floor there. The shelf was made by the man way way way back in high school. The shoe box and the white box below it contain tear pages ( those will be filtered and purged as well) That is a project best left to a Sunday evening with some scissors, a glue stick, and a trash can close by.

Best of all -- I threw some things away -- and I packed a box for the thrift store -- and I found a little book that will be shared in a post all its own.

Now all of this was accomplished in a terrifically short time frame. I am breaking in slowly. Absolutely cannot allow domesticity get in the way of a bag of yarn that was screaming for my attention. All those screams were interfering with the girls being able to hear the tv.

Now I have a question -- just how do all of you manage a clean house, a well cared for family, and creative bliss. Am I the only domestic disaster out here???

Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Finished Items

Good morning friends. I'll start by apologizing to MaryAnn . No we didn't schedule a proper dinner in Marietta. I just knew we would get to talking and laughing and etc. Sleep was important to both of us - so time was of the essence. LOL - Love you though.

There are some things that are really bothering me this morning. One thing is the bookcase and floor on my side of the bed. I'm attacking that tonight. Yes - there will be confessional photos of disgrace. The cold weather is preventing painting in the studio and dammit - I am ready for that to be a workable space. There were also 4 empty bottles of shampoo and one empty antiperspirant container in the shower and bathroom this morning. Along with a flat toothpaste tube. Time for a little domestic duty to occur. Like a lot of my creative friends - I ain't really all that domestic.

I would much rather focus on things like this.......

One baby blanket finished and availble for sale. It is 38 inches by 33 inches approximately. 100% acrylic yarn. Machine washable on cold and tumble dry on low. I am calling this baby bright confetti. This one is available for $30.00 US including the domestic shipping. (I'll be using USPS first class mail) Email me if you are interested ---

Obviously things aren't bothering me enough to get me out of my chair. I made three little beanies since Sunday.

The tweed one and the little blue one have homes already. But the creamy one (infant sized) is available. for $8.00US including the shipping. It is again 100% acrylic and is a combination of two yarns held as one. The background is creamy yellow baby yarn (almost white) and the color is an incredibly soft, fuzzy, novelty yarn. This one should be hand washed in cold water. The fuzzy yarn and process of stitching makes this hat have the softest lining. Again email me if interested ---

I saw a tiny hat yesterday with the scalloped edge and fell head over heels. Had to figure that out. I dug out my trusty needlework book and studied all the instructions to figure out how to accomplish this. It really is easy peasy to do. There will be more of these hats to come. Great stash busters and seems that I have a ton of "STASH".

The man was amused at the comments over the chainsaw in the kitchen. These are the kinds of things NOBODY tells you when you are considering marriage. Kinda like the things NOBODY tells you when you become a parent. Seems there is some unspoken law against full disclosure until you are already in there.

Tiny bit of update - post surgery - I am so happy that I went ahead with this. I feel so much better physically. At 10 weeks I am almost back into all my regular clothes - late afternoon swelling is becoming almost non-existant. I have more energy and fewer mood swings (which I think is directly associated with taking no drugs) - Absolutely thrilled with the outcome.

I am hoping you all have a wonderful day.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Highlites --- and MEN

Molly and I have a great time when we travel. We have a great time with Abby too, but it seems that Molly and I spend more time just the two of us. This weekend was no different. We made the decision to go ahead up on Friday night. Piled into the truck and away we went.

The first stop was WalMart at Commerce, GA. Now if you want the cultural experience of true redneck southern people - go to WalMart at Commerce on a Friday night. It is an educational experience. We grabbed the 7 or eight things on our list and Molly decides that we need to check for milk and bread - (snow predictions) sure enough there was no milk, no bread, not a single kerosene space heater, no Budwiser --- etc. Welcome to snow preparing southern style.

Ice down our drinks and head out. Sing Three Doors Down and Meatloaf. After those cd's are old, we surf radio stations and sing some more. Stop for supper in Marietta (near the big chicken) and then on we go. Molly's food came with her own id sticker.

Yes, I have threatened her and she knows this will show up. Ever the ocd child, it took more than one try to put the sticker on upside down.

We stayed in Chattanooga - and then the breakfast of champions - Mom and Maccy D's style.

Then off to a super nice facility at the Girl's Prep School near downtown. We knew immediately that we were out of our league - and yes we spend the entire day getting our A**#$ kicked. We were missing some of our girls who chose not to make the trip.

That's Molly -- #2.

Now the weatherman was wrong - this was not the huge event they expected and we left Chattanooga around 5:30 Saturday evening. Molly snapped pictures as we crossed the bridges back to the interstate. This is the sad part of tournament travel. We go to some wonderful places and never see very much of the area. Same thing with Abby's travel softball. Never let anyone tell you that there is a savings on college either - this trip cost us roughly 200.00 for food, gas, and lodging. Add that up for 10 tournaments and you approach the reality of the travel. This is expensive. It is fun and exhausting and I am so happy we are part of it, but even if you get a scholarship, you simply paid for it a week at a time. A fast food meal at a time. Your turn for drinks and snacks a game at a time.

Molly and I both love bridges, and other cool architectural features.

The trip home was about an hour longer - wet pavement - not snow and/or ice. Still the tension in my back and shoulders gave me a horrid headache. Which I kept most of Sunday.

Now for the MEN part of this post. I got up early and went to Sunday School - we cancelled the winter wonderland - seems people thought it was too cold to play in the snow (this is the south - go figure) and I come home to this ........

This was taken in the kitchen. Now I have taken many photos at this very spot. Crafty photos - those with acrylic paint and glue and such. This is the main food prep area in my kitchen and the chainsaw to me just is not the thing to be worked on here. It smells of gas and oil - sorry this is how men live. I know, but I really was taken aback by this one. (He was replacing the chain) Mr Atkinson - this is why we need the studio finished. I would have been less bothered by this appearance in there than in the kitchen.

Oh well - this too will clean up.

As for MaggieGrace goodness. Baby blanket finished. One more beanie hat finished ( for a swap package). A red butterfly fairy material pulled together (my favorite so far). A pattern for a new baby gift - we will see how it works out. Pictures tomorrow.

Have a wonderful day.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Safe and Sound

I really want to thank everyone for their prayers as we travelled. Molly and I just arrived home. The tournament did not go very well for us, but we had a great time together and I am just glad to be home.

I really want to be a weatherman - you never have get your job right and you are often a real hero when the guess is on target. We just came back through Atlanta and there was little to no snow on the ground - just really wet roads.

Have a wonderful rest of the weekend.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Portrait of a weekend to come

edited to add - we have decided to leave tonight instead and take the safer risk - I don't mind driving it was just the weather that leaves me uncomfortable. have a great weekend --- t
Early - and I do mean early - Saturday morning we are supposed to leave from here. (Meadow Baptist Church is next to my house in Comer, GA)

And go to a prep school gym near here ... Chattanooga, TN - some three to four hours away for a volley ball tournament.

And according to the weatherman it is supposed to do this....

Meaning snow then extreme cold. I don't do snow and ice driving. I rolled my car in these weather conditions when I was pregnant with Molly. I am stressed in those conditions. I am from the deep south, we are not experienced snow drivers -- duh. It is gonna piss me off if we drive it and then they call it off.

Weighing options this morning - go early and possibly be stranded. Wait it out and possibly drive in this mess. Wait it out and don't go at all. WTF.

MaggieGrace gave into the call for extra rest last night. Achy, sore throat, low grade fever. But today is better.

Maybe an update later on the plans. Have a great Friday.

PS - Ann - Charles found that box going through the old house. Says there is more stuff around. We need to clean that out while it is cold weather, but you can have the receipts. I want just a few and I want to scan some of them to use for a few things. I would love a copy of some of the store pictures to frame against these - especially of the kids up there and the mens poker/checker games out front. I just think it would be a fun way to frame them for everyone.

Thursday, January 17, 2008


My mind is flitting everywhere this morning. I have too many inspirations. Not enough time. And the weird -trivial - useless thoughts are demanding to be recognized. So here I am.

Thank you so much for the responses to the tequila primer yesterday. Apparently there was a little surprise to a researched and composed educational post. I am capable of higher learning - and able to complete a sentence when required. Although I am seriously out of practice. See I work with plumbers all day every day - and a plumber can turn everything into a sexual discussion - what with male parts and female parts and nipples and hangers and straps and such. Add the counter conversations about "me and seven beers watched it snow last night" peppered with loverly words that I general write like this-- s&*6, F$#@ - and you can understand why I am out of practice on normal, reasonably well though out conversation.

Take a look at what we found. Receipts from the 50's - in Mama Norvan's stuff - I guess. Drink receipts for the store they owned. From lots of providers. An entire cigar box full of these bad boys. (does anyone know about copyright violations on scanning and sharing these?)

hodgepodge thought number one. why exactly can a man not figure out that the one thing that will send the other person in the car over the edge could easily be prevented. We are riding together, his truck is in the shop, and he has been driving. Now when I see brake lights in front of me, I take that as a signal that I need to anticipate slowing down, and I start that whole process - decelerate - slight brake pressure. The man - no - he will ride up on the slow car then slam on brakes - resulting in me - drawn up and cussing - heart palpitations - bitching in the passenger seat. In my way of thinking all the bitching and ugliness could be avoided by simply trying things my way - I'm happy - he is not exposed to all that other s(*& that comes out of my mouth and those particular hard feelings are eliminated. But no - instead I think he just wants to piss me off. I told him this morning I will be so glad when I am in my own vehicle ALONE again.

Another receipt - for ammunition - those who hunt and/shoot will be stunned at this one. Also check out the Vienna Sausage price - at the bottom of the list. (Crude joke insert - beware -

Do you know what a vienna sausage is??? Potted meat with a hard-on.. )

I warned you to beware.

The ones below are gasoline receipts - gas was posted on the pump at 25.6 cents per gallon and cost the service station 22.4 cents per gallon.

hodgepodge thought number two - how the crap did I wind up committed to completing the winter wonderland decor before Sunday? - I got the list and - once again - I have afflicted myself with OVERYES syndrome. I may not see any of you until Monday. Of course - if I inflict harm on the man driver, I'll have time to work on the winter wonderland projects --- hmmm. Sanity takes back over - I need him to make the house payment.

Coke receipts - I like the one on the bottom right because there is no logo.

Hodgepodge thought number three - I am tired of this overwhelming feeling about money. There is never conversation about money at my house - only fights when it runs short. I have realized that this feeling is going to be there for at least 10 more years until we get the two monsters grown and gone. I realize that others have this same feeling and that we have very little credit card debt - UnAmerican I know - but I can't get past a year at college costing roughly the same as the money I make. The man at my house is silent most of the time and I just wish that ONCE I felt like I was talking with him and not AT him. (sorry Ann - tough day)

Hodgepodge thought number four. Why was I more disappointed than the children about having no snow this morning? See hodgepodge thought number two. Deep down I wanted today to be a get ready day for that project. Oh well - I'll be at the church tonight making an ice lake and a snowman picture scene.

Just so all of you know - I have censored some of the thoughts in my brain - there are many others that don't even justify the time to put them fully into words. I'm sure eventually they will explode into cyber space.

Have a great day -

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Tequila 101 - or the education of a former "cheap" drunk

Good morning - this is the "do tell" post on tequila, created at the urge of many who commented or emailed me. New disclaimer - I am not the expert here. I know what I like and I have put these "official" notes together from labels, websites, and magazine articles. Previous disclaimer - I AM NOT A DRUNK - have been more so in the past but then became a mommy and took that job more seriously than the drinking.

Types of tequila - there are basically two types 100% blue agave and mixto tequilas. For this post (and because it is my preference), I will focus on Blue Agave types.

Within 100% blue agave tequilas there are several sub classes -

Blanco (silver - plata - white) - Blue Agave in its truest form. Clear and transparent, fresh from the still, this is bottled immediately after being distilled. Retains the true flaver of the agave. Strong and sure. Best enjoyed in small quantities. Traditionally served in 2oz "caballitos".

Reposado (rested) -- This is Blanco that has been kept in white oak casks or vats called "pipones" for more than two months and up to one year. The oak barrels give Reposado a mellowed taste, pleasing bouquet, and its pale color. Reposado keeps the blue agave taste and is gentler to the palate. These tequilas have experienced exponential demand and high prices.

Añejo (aged) -- This is Blanco tequila aged in white oak casks for more than a year. Maximum capacity of the casks should not exceed 600 liters (159 gallons). The amber color and woody flavor are picked up from the oak, and the oxidation that takes place through the porous wood develops the unique bouquet and taste.

Reserva --- Although not a category in itself, it is a special Añejo that certain distillers keep in oak casks for up to 8 years. Reserva enters the big leagues of liquor both in taste and in price.

Oro (Gold) This is tequila Blanco mellowed by the addition of colorants and flavorings, caramel being the most common. It is the tequila of choice for frozen Margaritas. A mixto Tequila is not 100% Agave.

For way more reading and links - stunning blown glass bottles - reviews - and more information than you ever thought possible about tequila go to

There are true tequila afficianados out there who have decided to try all of them. I have never even sipped a Reserva - not enough money in my pocket. The liquor store here has one gorgeous hand blown bottle of a type of Reserva - this bottle has an agave cactus blown in the glass bottom - and it is priced at over 5000.00 for the single bottle.

Now for the real fun - after trying many tequilas - and that is becoming easier in most areas - by ordering single shots in many a restaurant and bar, I have discovered many brands that I love, a couple of favorites, and a few that I do not like. Experiment - enjoy - taste - experience. Take a friend (or even better a lover) and have a wonderful dinner and drinks. Find the ones you like - oh and please share with me your favorites.
Pictured at the top of this post. Patron - Blanco - this is the tequila that I have gifted friends and customers with. I can get small bottles of this by the case at my local liquor store. Phil -the owner of American Spirits in Athens, GA is the best. Great sipping tequila by itself, but my little sis swears it is better mixed in a Mountain Dew Slushie. The gifts have made many a convert to good tequila.
Cuervo 1800 Reposado - this is what I use for my margaritas. It is also a great sipping tequila. Smooth, mellow. Thank you Dean ( a coworker), this one is a gift every year at Christmas.

Cazadores Anejo - my absolute favorite right now - and a surprise discovery. My local boss (store manager - Steve) bought the first bottle for Christmas last year. Deep, smooth, easy to sip. I never mix this. Runs close to 50.00 a bottle in my local market.

Tres Generations - I like the Blanco in this brand. Easy to find in local establishments. This is a Sauza brand tequila recognized for years.
Corazon Blanco - this was also a gift. I do not like this as a sipping tequila. I found this bitter and it left a slightly unpleasant after taste. However mixed as a bloody mary this is very pleasant. Strong bodied - holds up well with strong tasting mix. (A note here - try any of your favorite mixed drink mixed with tequila -sometimes you will find the combo even better than the traditional mix.)

Cazadores Reposado - I like the Anejo better, but this is good as well and not as expensive.

Herradura Silver - this is the tequila that started the re-education of this girl. Love this stuff - and it remains my go-to brand in most mexican restaurants in this area. Widely available. When the tequila supply was a little strained because of available raw materials several years ago, I paid 92.00 for a bottle of this. The Reposado and Anejo versions are equally as good. A great start to expanding your tequila exploration.

El Jimador Reposado - This is what is in my freezer right now. It is what I was drinking this past weekend. Smooth - even bodied - great stand alone or mixed. Try it with equal parts tequila, pineapple juice, orange juice, and a tiny bit bit of vanilla extract. (this is how I was mixing this weekend.)

So thats the end of the first class. Now for homework - try something new. These can be expensive, so go to dinner or out for drinks, see what they have on the call brand list in the bar and try a sipping shot. I like mine really cold so I always ask for shaken with ice and strained. Let me know what you think.

Have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

A WIP from my Happy Place

It really is wonderful to feel good. I had no idea how exhausted and unproductive I had been before the surgery. Lethargy sneaks up on you and suddenly all you think about is taking a nap. Last night was one of the most productive I have had in what seems like forever.

I assembled the rest of the goodies for the Heart Swap I am in. (still figuring out exactly how to package these.) I cut out snowman shapes from some acrylic felt quilt batting. (I love this for baby quilts - washes wonderfully and is not too heavy) I save such small items - crazy I know, but I had enough to cut all those snowmen out from scraps.

I composed my letter for the CIP group. Made all those plans for the year. Packaged up 4 boxes to go to the post office today. Finished cleaning out the polar fleece bag and found some flannel that I have no idea when I bought. Made 5 more butterfly fairies. (the components for these have been laying on paper plates on the kitchen island for weeks.) Washed a sink of dishes. Reviewed the list of requested items from the top 5 college choices - things like immunization records and SAT scores. Ate some pasta salad right out of the big bowl( don't tell - I drink out of the big bottle of coke too.) Then after all that I crocheted two granny squares for the baby blanket.

Tonight - more snowflakes and assorted winter wonderland materials.

Several days ago, MaryAnn posted about her "happy place" and asked each of us to share ours. I thought and though about what to post. I am sure that the finished studio will become the main one and the brick floor in my living room really makes me happy right now - we have a fire in the heater and all that brick is so warm. All that said, I am going with this as my current favorite "happy place".

Gorgeous red leather recliner that I paid way too much for. I looked and saved for two years before I bought it. It sits where I can see my family. I can see the tv. I can see things that You have sent me. I can see dust bunnies organizing to take over, but the chair is so comfy I am considering allowing that to happen. The table is convenient (and horribly shabby - I am looking for the perfect replacement here as well.) I pull the lamp over after dark. In the corner to the left is a stack destined for the studio. The stack against the white island is floss and specialty threads within easy reach. You can see the crocheting in my bag that Vallen made for me. And everytime I see a picture of my floors I fall in love with them again - 100 year old heart pine aged by time and not machine. (don't look too carefully or you will spot the trimmings from the snowman cut out session)

Now let's talk about tequila. Mrs.G - left a comment about the tequila. I will start with a disclaimer - I AM NOT A DRUNK (most of the time) - have been in the past at times, but now I prefer to still feel good on Saturday morning. I have always enjoyed tequila - I liked the taste - I love the warm fuzzy feeling it brings through the veins when you have had just enough - and now that I am post 40 - I recognize that just enough is the key.

On a business trip to Monterrey, Mexico many years ago, we were exposed to a tiny restaurant that had a tequila menu. I ordered a sampler and discovered what I now call "real" tequila. What I had been drinking all those years was not of tremendously great quality. I have a hard time ordering in a bar/restaurant here now because of the difference. The tequila I buy is expensive (I have paid almost 100.00 for a bottle) I keep it in the freezer so it pours like syrup and runs across the tongue with an unmatched smoothness. There is no burn only bliss. It is truely a sipping tequila. I mix drinks with it - even a significant amount is undetected until you feel the effect. I save the tequila experience for special moments when I have the time to appreciate all of those qualities. (Miller light is a much cheaper option when you come home and announce that you intend to get drunk - so stay the hell out of the way) So a trip to Mexico has created a tequila connesieur and contrary to the song I have never had it "make my clothes come off".

Have a wonderful day.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Snow on the beach ....

I am back at my desk. Had a lovely trip. I left early from work and didn't have to drive the entire trip in the dark. I slet horribly on Friday night - I was hot AND the motion detector light outside the bedroom window continually was on and off most of the night. I was more than a little uneasy at times.

On Saturday evening - there were tequila based mixed drinks - 1/2 bottle of wine - and a viewing of THIS .....

Molly and Abby got the dvd for Christmas (please don't question my parenting skills). It is one of our favorites and we over and over have watched it. Yes - it is a weird cult classic and has some messages that if unexplained in real life could be disturbing - but we love the humour and the participation aspect. The DVD comes with prompts for the actions. For those of you who have no idea what these pictures represent take off over to Rocky Horror Picture Show Official Fan Website.

While I ate and watched this - it began snowing. Big, lovely flakes. None just alike.

Whoops - looks like a little too much alcohol was involved in this picture. These will be part of the WinterWonderland scene next Sunday Night. Anyway, what do you when you are really tired of tiny scissor cuts and it's cold and you have gas logs in front of you. The movie is over - but you're not ready to sleep.

Why "this" of course.

You grab a blanket and a crochet hook. I created two prototypes for the hat request. Signed sealed and delivered for real world testing - more about that later - after the testing phase is completed. Once I finished those I took out the squares for the blanket - and worked on those. All the while sitting on the sofa in front of those logs all wrapped up in a cheap hotel type blanket. Oh yes - I enjoyed my evening - I accomplished a ton - I was able to talk to my family - a first for this location (thank you verizon wireless) - I slept better Saturday night (maybe the wine) - got up early - and got home in time for a dinner out with the volleyball team.

I am adhering to the choosing to take care of myself feeling that I have when I travel like this. I was relaxed and I really need more of that in my day to day life. The perspective that it gives me to pamper myself is fresh and wonderful. I deserve to feel this all the time and I will guard against losing it. I won't be going back until later in the spring (I will not miss any of Molly's senior activities). This weekend - she and I will travel and she competes - I'll be right there with crochet bag in hand - this time the baby blanket and maybe a hat or two for sale.

Have a wonderful day.