Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful Series


Today I am thankful for:

1.  Waking up to the smell of turkey.  Heaven help me.

2.  Mashed potatoes....with real butter and heavy cream.  Katie bar the door.

3.  Gravy....even if it I had to make two separate gravies because I cannot deal with the chipped "guts" in mine.  Aagck!

4.  Homemade mac-n-cheese with french fried onions.  Oh my.

5.  Ree's green bean casserole.  Quick! Someone fan me; I am swooning.

6.  Sweet potatoes.

7.  Homemade yeast rolls.

8.  Chicken and dressing.

9.  Coconut cream pie.

10.  Being blessed by the Almighty to be a phenomenal cook.

11.  Seeing the look of pure bliss and contentment on the faces of the people I cooked for :)

I am also thankful to all of those who went before me.  I am blessed to have a warm happy house with electricity and running water and a stove and refrigerator and dishwasher.  Despite the frantic madness of the food preparation, the first Thanksgiving feast was not quite as convenient to prepare.  When thinking of the death and disease and sickness that the early settlers and Pilgrims had to endure just to get here and how the first Thanksgiving was so they could offer thanks to the Lord after having survived in the wilderness for three years...  Thank you.  Thank you to our forefathers who sought a better life.  Thank you for sailing halfway across the world and not having any clue what you were getting yourselves into.  Thank you for establishing a Christian nation and a tradition of giving thanks; so that I too can join hands with my beloved family around a delicious feast in my warm and happy home and give thanks to the Lord Almighty for the bounty of blessings that He has abundantly bestowed upon each and every one of us.

Isaiah 58:11 - The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame. You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail. (NIV)

Happy Thanksgiving to all of my family and friends near and far.  I love you all.

(let the Black Friday festivities BEGIN!)



Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thankful Series

Today I am thankful for:

1.  Crisp fall days.

2.  Waking up sans alarm clock on Saturday mornings.

3.  The ability and know-how to prepare a bang-up feast for my peeps tomorrow.

4.  Paper snowflakes.

5.  My daughter's freckles.

6.  My son's brown eyes (like mine).

7.  Guitars.

8.  The prickly ash tree that grows out in the woods behind our house.

9.  The field of wildflowers that grows on our property.

10.  Not having to work the rest of the week!


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Thankful Series (Make Up Post)

Well, this is to make up for the post I didn't get to yesterday.

Today (Yesterday) I am thankful for:

1.  Shrimp and grits for lunch.  You people have no idea how I love Cajun food.  Or grits.  Or grits with gravy and green onions and tasso.  And shrimp.  The clouds part.  Angels sing.  Planets align.  I lose consciousness.

2.  Being able to type one hundred strokes a minute.  Especially when I have to work on something that literally takes me to type.

3.  Having a small market/grocery in my rural community and not having to go to Kroger the week of Thanksgiving.

4.  Watching my husband and daughter engage in warfare with paper planes made from pink (for girls) and blue (for boys) paper planes.

5.  Making a more aerodynamic paper plane than my my gladiator husband until he tapes three together to have giant wings and lift and it is like a torpedo coming at me going 78 mph.

6.  Having a gladiator husband, who also doubles as a cowboy and farmer. *sigh*

7.  Having a gladiator/cowboy/farmer husband that loves to play paper planes with a 9 year old little girl and takes her to dentist appointments and then to eat Chinese food.

8.  Having a 9 year old little girl that says the egg drop soup at the Chinese place is almost as good as mine.

9.  Watching my gladiator/cowboy/farmer husband do the Risky Business slide almost every single day on our wood floors.  It makes me smile every time.  One day he will fall.  I would have fallen the first time.

10.  Not cooking supper the week of Thanksgiving and having a family that is totally okay with that.

~~ Gena

Thankful Series

I missed yesterday.  Yesterday was madness.  Tons of appointments, phone ringing off the hook, court, one child with an appointment at the dentist, lunch with the other, visits from hubby and both children and typing up a bill for a client that is going to be more than most people's mortgage.  Sorry about that.  I will TRY to throw in an extra. :)

TODAY, however, I am thankful for:

1.  My daughter making two (2) pecan pies last night.  She is Nine.  She rocks.

2.  Lunch with my son yesterday.  He is definitely not a little boy anymore :(  He ordered caesar salad and shrimp bisque like a grown person. *sigh*

3.  Not having to go back to the grocery store for anything with which to prepare Thanksgiving, as the grocery store will be a very scary place from now until Thursday.

4.  Friday lunch dates with my husband.

5.  Fried rice and chopsticks.

6.  Moscato.

7.  The glorious full moon that we had on Sunday night.

8.  Being the first people in our neighborhood/community with Christmas lights up.

9.  Cinnamon.

10.  Wet autumn leaves.

~~ Gena

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Thankful Series

Today I am thankful for:

1.  Wool socks.

2.  Scarves.

3.  Crocheted or knitted hats/toboggans.

4.  Insulated leather gloves.

5.  Boots.  All of them.

6.  Rainbows.

7.  Sweet tea with lemon.

8.  Farmers.

9.  Horses.

10.  Tractors.

~~ Gena

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Thankful Series

Today I am thankful for:

1.  Leaving work at lunch yesterday.

2.  Having gainful employment.

3.  Awesome Cousins-in-law ;-)

4. Mylanta and Pepcid (can someone say gallbladder issues?) :(

5.  A husband that VOLUNTEERED to go grocery shopping with me for Thanksgiving. Muhahahaha.

6.  Family photos.

7.  Gingerbread lattes.

8.  Christmas ornaments made by my children.

9.  My big, soft, comfy bed.

10.  Sleeping late.


Friday, November 19, 2010

Thankful Series

I am digging this thankful series.  I will try and continue it through Thanksgiving :)

Today I am thankful for:

1.  Daylight savings time.

2.  The sunrise.

3.  The sunset.

4.  Hot coffee on cold mornings.

5.  The smell of rain in the fall.

6.  Sewing machines.

7.  Sunglasses.

8.  Mulled apple cider.

9.  Eggnog.

10.  Christmas music.


Thursday, November 18, 2010


Yesterday I posted a list of ten things that I am thankful for.  I think I will do that again today.

I am thankful for:

1.  Being Southern.

2.  My church family.

3.  Being healthy.

4.  Having healthy children.

5.  Thinning shears.  Truly.

6.  Sitting by a fire.

7.  The smell of a fire.

8.  The glorious oak tree on the ridge behind my house.

9.  My son being a senior in high school.

10.  The mountains.


Wednesday, November 17, 2010


Today I am thankful for:

1.  My salvation.

2.  My family.  All of them.

3.  Warm sunshine.

4.  Cool breezes.

5.  The smell of hay.

6.  Leaves in the fall.

7.  Flowers.  All of them.

8.  The sound of my children laughing.

9.  The ability to sing and play guitar

10.  Big strong arms to hold me tight.

What are ya'll thankful for?


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Talent Auction

Our Church has an annual talent auction every year where we auction off our talents for the Lottie Moon Christmas offering, which is used by the Southern Baptist Convention to support our international missionaries.  

I decided that I would auction off my talent in the form of some Christmas cheesecakes a couple of quilts.

I am open to suggestions, too.  I asked my neighbor, Audrey, if it would be better to donate cheesecake vouchers or actual cheesecakes and was told that the actual cheesecakes would probably sell for more money, since people would be going to Christmas parties and such.  

How about an eggnog cheesecake in a gingerbread crust? YUM.  Do ya think that would go for a hefty price at auction, or is it just me since I think eggnog is one of the greatest things ever and should be its own food group???

As far as the quilts go, I have one ready for binding and another quilt top finished that is ready for the quilt sandwich.

Here is the almost done quilt ready for binding:

This was made with precuts from Moda "Swanky" by Chez Moi.  I quilted 1/4" on either side of the seams in a standard grid pattern.  Nothing fancy, but a pretty and functional quilt that will hopefully keep someone warm as well as fetch a good price to help spread the Gospel overseas.  Since the blocks are a standard 10 inches, it would measure roughly 50x60....minus the seam allowances, that is.  I could have added it up and did the math but.... well, I just  didn't. :)

Don't forget to leave me some comment suggestions about the cheesecakes!


Monday, October 18, 2010

H is for Hannah's Hamilton Homecoming!

This past weekend was Homecoming weekend:

Go Lions!

Too bad we lost; they did such a GREAT JOB cheering the team on! :)

A little halftime pyramid  :)

And then onto the dance they have been working so hard on.  Can you hear that MUSIC?!?!  I KNOW you can........  Hey Mickey you're so're so fine you blow my mind.....HEY MICKEY!

THEN.....onto some Homecoming fun with the peeps.  She is so pretty :)

The "Cha cha slide????"
(We just sat against the wall reading the paper and feeling like old people - LOL)

I reckon it was worth feeling old to see her have so much fun :)


Friday, October 1, 2010


Hannah is still our favorite little pee-wee cheerleader.  

She has grown SO much since last year:

Last Year's Picture

Isn't she pretty?

Here are all of the little cheerleaders at practice this year:

Here's Papa at the game showing his school spirit! ;-)

Here is Hannah trying not to have her picture taken before the game:

(I love the big blue in-you-face pompom even if the photo is horrifically overexposed.)

She just wasn't feeling it before the game, apparently...

However, she put on her game face and she was ready to G-O!

Everybody say hello to Morgan in the foreground....HEY MORGAN!!

This year Hannah even gets to do real cheerleader stuff like making pyramids.  She even LOOKS like a real cheerleader!!  Impressive too--I took gymnastics and couldn't even do a cartwheel.  Eesh.  The Almighty blessed me with many many talents but athletic ability just wasn't one of them.  I guess that is why I sing, play guitar, cook and sew...but I digress.  

My girl is the one on the bottom left with the pasty-white-just-like-her-Mama-complexion-that-can't-go-outside-without-a-million-spf-sunblock and the long flaxen locks hanging almost down to her waist.  Look how strong her legs are! :)  

(My apologies to the coach for posting a picture of her backside without her knowing---I am sure she would just love that---good thing she's family, huh?)  If she was turned around you would be able to see her amazing shirt with the blue rhinestone paw print that is for sale at one of the local places that sells school spirit stuff. I heart that shirt.  I NEED that shirt.  Hey Papa---I NEED one of those shirts, ya hear???   :)

I don't think we have won a pee-wee football game yet, but those little cheerleaders sure are working hard!


Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Finished Projects

I just wanted to post a few of my completed projects that I am quite pleased with :

Completed.  One baby quilt for the first great-grand.  Washed, dried and oh so soft and cozy :)

Project number two:

Ahhhhh.  My orange bento box table runner.  I so completely heart this.  I love the orange, I love the bento boxes, I love the pinwheels randomly at one end and the polka-dot binding.

Here is a shot with the backing, which I also love (and which also came from one of Hannah's last year fall dresses that I made and she has now outgrown):

Yay.  Pumpkins.

I didn't do a whole lot of quilting on this.  I wanted something simple and not fussy. It was all about the bentos on that one. :)

Finally, my controversial project number three.  Eesh.  In theory it was supposed to be wonderful, and I am quite happy with it in spite of its imperfections.

Somehow I went all wonky and I am not quite sure where it happened?  Basting?  Quilting?  Squaring?  Who knows.  Whatever.  It doesn't matter in the grand scheme of things and I don't think the world will come to and end.  Hehee.

Don't know what happened there.... Oh well.  I reckon the Jennifer Paganelli fabric can make up for the wonkiness of the thing, right???? :)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Baby Quilt

Well, the first great-grand is on the way.  Not mine, mind you!  My mother's.  My oldest sister is fixing to be a grandmother, which is really weird for me.  One of my siblings is fixing to be a GRANDMOTHER.  Eesh!  

I am not finished with it yet; I am in the process of hand-stitching the binding.  This was also my first attempt at the whole cross-hatching thing.  I will have to take more pictures one I have it finished since this one doesn't really do it much justice.  

When I asked my niece what the colors were for her nursery, she said blue, green and brown.  Now, after looking at this fabric (since I am making this for a little boy)  I have decided that it must have totally been a God thing, since I have no idea why I had this fabric in my stash to begin with.  After all, even as big of a tomboy as my little girlie is, I still don't think I could talk her into frogs, turtles, snails and crickets.  

Great-grand number one is coming in January.  Great-grand number two is due in March via my older (the oldest of all of us) brother's firstborn daughter and first grandchild.  I am waiting to see if I need more boy fabric or if I will be making a girlie quilt.  

What fun!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

What Now?

What should I do with this? 

Hmmm.....Decisions, Decisions.....

What about all of these????



Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Sewing projects

Hannah has been itching to learn to sew on the big machine and a mom can only take so many pooched-lip pouty faces, right?

Off we go. I wanted to do something simple with her so it wouldn't be so involved with meticulous piecing plus I was multi-tasking and right in the middle of the responding to the Q&A for the local paper, so we just randomly started sewing blocks together. When we made it to a 9-patch block I had a "light bulb" moment. Ah-ha! We could make a few blocks, add some sashing and have a fab table runner for Christmastime.

Wham bam a lam......I added the sashing down the sides and quilted it for her and did the binding. I told her the binding was a lesson for another day.

(This picture is also taken on the red crushed velvet couch that I dearly love....meanwhile, Papa is over in the corner twirling his moustache and counting the days until the swanky reverse- camel-back-diva sofa goes to live with cousin Jamie and we have living room furnishings more suitable for cowboys; and preferably in a less vibrant color. *sigh* I suppose it is hard to look like a proper cowboy or a farmer when you are sitting on a sofa whose style is called "The Marilyn Sofa." Poor Papa....but I digress.)

Hannah was so excited about her project and started talking about when she had "little children" she could show them too. So, before we basted, quilted and bound, we cut some scrappy numbers and appliquéd them onto the back so that she would always know how old she was when she made it.

I think I am going to sign her up for 4-H. She did a really good job and caught on very quickly. It seems right up her alley.


Tuesday, September 7, 2010


Alrighty then.

I posted this recipe on facebook and everyone went nuts. So, I decided to to a step by step with pictures....kind of.

Step One:

For the crust:

1 package Pecan Sandies cookies, crushed (this can also be done in the food processor)

1 stick melted butter (I guess margarine would work, but organic unsalted butter is my fave)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix ingredients together and press into pie pan. Cook for 10-15 minutes and remove from oven.

Step Two:

1 package of caramels, unwrapped (Papa is REALLY good at unwrapping caramels; I just have to resign myself to the fact that I may lose a few for the cause during in this process)

1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

Heat in saucepan over low heat until melted and pour into crust. Let cool.

As you can see, I had my bowl of caramel in a bowl of ice because I am really impatient during this whole cooling process.

Step Three:

Toasted pecans

These go on top of the caramel layer

To toast your pecans, melt some butter and toss the pecans lightly and toast them in the oven until know, since pecans are already brown they will just be brown-er... halves, pieces, chopped....I don't think it really matters as long as they are not whole in the shell. But anyone that tries to use whole pecans in the shell probably doesn't need to be cooking to begin with. Seriously.

I actually didn't melt butter this time. I used olive oil cooking spray. I cheated. I altered my own recipe. Sue me. You couldn't tell the difference.

Step Four:

1 8oz. package softened cream cheese

2 cups powdered sugar

Mix together with mixer and spread on top of the COOLED caramel/pecan layer.

(This is why I had the bowl of caramel in the ice.)

Step Five:

This is a two-step layer.... in this layer we are basically making chocolate whipped cream. This is really easy so long as you pay attention to this really important part: YOU HAVE TO LET THE CHOCOLATE COOL before you add it to the whipped cream. Otherwise, your fresh whipped cream deflates/melts and the chocolate separates and then you might be tempted to swear or cry. It can get really ugly. There was some serious wailing and gnashing of teeth in my kitchen once. It was only because I had really talked this pie up to my Mom and was trying to pull of this fabulous dessert and showcase my grand culinary skills and it ended up being the ugliest pie I ever made. My mother was very gracious in trying to repair my damaged ego and told me how good it was despite the way it looked.

ANYWAY. So you HAVE to let the chocolate cool.

Okay, back to the program.

1/2 a bar of Baker's semi-sweet chocolate (which actually used to be a whole BAR. Now it comes divided into all these I guess that should be modified to 1/2 a BOX of Baker's semi-sweet.

2 Tbs. heavy cream

Melt in saucepan over very low heat or in a double-boiler if you are fancy enough to have such a thing. Then let it cool while you are making the whipped cream.

yummy melted chocolate :)

Whipped cream:

1 pint of heavy whipping cream

1/4 cup of powdered sugar (cause it is so good that way)

Mix ingredients with a mixer on high speed until you have whipped cream. Divide in half.

To one half, gently fold in the melted chocolate until you have fabulous chocolate whipped cream and spread on top of the cream cheese layer.

I actually stopped taking pictures at this point, which I know is sort of anti-climactic, but it was all I could do to fend off the hoard of vultures children and Papa who were waiting to pounce. Don't worry; I'll fix it.

Now, the rest of The Pie is simple:

On top of the glorious chocolate whipped cream goes:

The other half of the whipped cream. YUM.

Finally, I suppose the last step is optional. However, the way I see it....if you have made it this far - seeing as how the pie only has somewhere in the neighborhood of 64 fat grams per slice - you may as well just go ahead and proceed:

Grated chocolate. I usually use Hershey bars and a plain ole cheese grater. However, you can use the other half of that Baker's semi-sweet bar as well. :)

And even though I quit taking pictures, (and with the exception of the fake crust in the picture) your end result should look something like this:

Let me know if you try it and how it turns out! :)

Ours was FABULOUS.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

What you DON'T see......

Along with our horses, we have 4 dogs: Lexi, Spike, Chopper and Max, and they are family.

First, we have Lexi. Lexi was a shelter dog so we are not real sure about her lineage, but the first question we are always asked about her is if she is a "cur," so I guess we can just go with that. She has a very quiet and easy temperament and is extremely good-natured. She will "load up" and stay loaded until you tell her she can get out..... Well, unless she rides with you to the co-op, because they have lots of cats to keep the mice population under control, and Lexi likes to eat cats for breakfast, lunch and supper. During such times she doesn't stay "loaded up." Instead, she is sits at the door of the co-op with a string of drool that goes from her mouth to the concrete as she longingly stares through the glass at the big, fat, lazy kitties stretched out across the 50 pound sacks of horse feed. (Needless to say, this is the reason why we do not have any cats at our house and why we DO have lots of mouse traps.....) Lexi also loves her mama's biscuits and gravy :)

Here you see Lexi:

Next we have Spike. Spike was also a shelter dog. He is not long out of the puppy stage and he never strays far from home. He lacks the adventuring spirit of the other three dogs. He always runs with them......but only to the edge of the property....and then he is over it. He is a very simple, playful little fellow who loves to nervously eat up all the slobbery sweet feed dribble from his very precarious perch underneath the horses. He loves to play fetch, but only on the front end. He needs a little practice on the part where you actually bring it back - ha. And at the end of the day when the other dogs return from their follies chasing beavers and wrangling snakes along the creek (where they suffer multiple snakebites that have to be doctored), Spike accompanies them only from the edge of the woods, running triumphantly to the house with the other three, just like he has been with them all along and is finally returning from his courageous journeys....

Here you see Spike:

Next we have Chopper. Chopper is the only one of our dogs that was not a shelter dog. But he was the neighbor's dog. Now, we didn't take him from the neighbor, nor did the neighbor give him to us. The only way we knew his name was Chopper is because our daughter rides the school bus with his daughter, who informed our little one that the only reason Chopper was at our house was because our dogs were in heat......which obviously wasn't the case since all of our animals are "fixed" - except Chopper. The neighbor actually came and got Chopper several times. He tied him; he chained him. Chopper always came back. Having three dogs already, we didn't really see the need to have a fourth dog. So, when it became apparent that the neighbor had given up on trying to retrieve his faithful companion, we decided that we would let Papa's cousin have Chopper, who subsequently broke the log chain they hooked him to and was back on our doorstep the following morning. At that point we delcared Chopper an official part of the Pounders family and took him into the folds. He is a very cheerful sort of chap; a big-footed baby. He always has this worried look on his face and he LOVES to play balls are his favorite :)

Here you see Chopper:

And finally, we have Max.

Max is some sort of Jack Russell mix. He is the smallest of all the dogs and probably does not break 12 pounds. He is missing part of an ear from an action-packed run-in with a groundhog. (Those things are MEAN!) He will ride on the 4 wheeler with the best of them and can be very loving and affectionate when he wants to be. He is very protective of us and for some reason seems to think that Spike is a threat to our safety. Or maybe he is just trying to toughen Spike up?! Regardless, whenever Spike tries to play with us, Max always jumps in as the Alpha Male in an effort to subdue our evil tormentor. Now that we have figured out what he is doing, we can just act like Spike is bothering us and Max comes to our rescue. I often feel sorry for poor, innocent Spike as we have many laughs at his expense. To his credit, Spike usually is completely oblivious to Max's heroism and usually just stands still until Max has backed down and then just goes on his merry way.

Max is the biggest dog on the hill. Or at least he thinks he is. Just ask him...... The UPS guy is terrified of him. He reminds me of a crochety old man. And, his teeth are all jacked up..... poor little Maxey.....

Alas, I would love to show you a picture of Max. However, whenever I try to catch a shot of him, he always seems to elude the camera. You see, he is a mighty beast who hunts creatures unknown in the vastness of the forest behind house. Max's adventures have almost reached legend status at this point and Max sightings are now talked about over supper tables all over the hillside.

So, instead of a picture of our beloved Max, I will show you this fabulous picture of Papa's plant that he has had for a VERY long time.

I am quite certain that he believed we couldn't see him.


Monday, August 23, 2010


Well, Game Day finally arrived! We played Weir and beat them 42-0. I didn't take the first picture of the band.....sorry Jacob :(

(Also, my hair looks freakishly black at the bottom in this photo. No is all the insanely bright red that you see elsewhere...just strange lighting)

The band did a fantabulous job even if I did forget to take pictures. Oh well, they didn't dress out anyway because it was so hot.....

We did, however, manage to snap a few shots up in the stands as we sat in the sweltering heat eating our cheeseburgers with someone's else cheese on them ( in nacho "not yo" cheese). Sorry. Bad joke......

Hannah D cheesin'

Hannah's partner in crime :)

My mother came to watch the game and just as we were leaving, Papa's dad decided to go too....

Papa's Dad (Pop) and my mother (Nanny) watchin the grandchillens

Anyway. Game day was just as lovely as I had hoped it might be.

Good thing too.....last year's first game was rained out along with most all of the rest of them. This will be our banner year. I just know it.


Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Now What?

Now that the wedding madness is over......

Now that the garden madness is over......
(that was never actually there to begin with due to the relentless triple digits and lack of rain)

Now that the kids are back in school and everything is back to (semi) normal.....

Now what do I do?

Well, for starters I guess I could do this:

After I do this:

To all of this:

While visions of sugarplums dance in my head.....

The end result is a surprise for another post.

Happy Wednesday!


Tuesday, August 17, 2010


I love the beginning of the school year and all of the excitement of the coming season.... Sweaty teenagers marching about barefoot in the soft grass with tubas and bass drums and trumpets and maces trying to find that "blue dot" sprayed on the ground in the 16 beats alloted for them to get there..... Sweaty teenagers doing flips and pyramids and the sound of smacking football helmets and the knowledge that we are fixing to get a break from this scorching heat and that fall is soon to follow......

Ah - the first day of school.... new school supplies, clothes, shoes. That means new teachers too. And homework. That means Friday nights are coming and I am beside myself. I can feel the excitement in the air! I can almost smell the intoxicating aroma of stadium food! When it comes to Friday nights, all of my food principles go out the window. On Friday nights I am a total meat hypocrite. A band nerd since the age of 10 and now the parent of a band nerd since the age of 11 AND the parent of an up and coming (peewee) cheerleader, I have grown up on stadium food....and I love it. I can't wait...

The children also get revved up about the beginning of the school year. They stay up all night the night before in anticipation of the "first day of school."

Alas, although I can hardly contain my excitement, theirs is very short-lived.

Ah, those lovely peaceful mornings...before anyone else wakes up and all is quiet and serene and I get to see my sleeping babies:


What I really want to say is ...."Hey come on! UP AND ATTEM!!! Don't you REALIZE what time of the year this is??? Don't you REALIZE that in just a few short days we will be in jalapeño nacho bliss in the midst of the roaring crowd of rabid fans?????? DON'T YOU REALIZE??????

I think I could just about dance and cavort about with last year's pompoms. And they would know that it is totally typical behavior for me :)

I wonder if they can sense how excited I am about our first football game this Friday night and about all of the games thereafter????? Do they realize that I am like Ralphie waiting for that Red Ryder at Christmastime? Do they share in my joy and excitement about the new school year? OF COURSE THEY DO! I am quite certain of it.

Just not first thing in the morning.


Thursday, July 8, 2010

Ten Things.....

I have stated on many, MANY occasions my disdain for the town in which I work. After I met my sweet, wonderful Papa Bear I moved from Small(ish)town, USA, which included some FAB eat joints and a couple of Starbucks (oh the money I have spent on triple venti white mochas……) to Paradise, USA. Now, Paradise, USA, is wonderful. Beautiful; gentle sloping hills, green things as far as the eye can see, flowers, songbirds, the whole nine yards and there are very few people who live there. A true rural southern community. Not incorporated. We have a school, a family market, a fish house, a gas station, a family clinic, a dollar store, a post office, a local library (about the size of my living room that is on the verge of closing due to a lack of funds), a parts store (since we live in a farming community) and a chemical plant which probably employs almost half of the community. There are a couple of banks and a slew of Baptist churches along with the food pantry they support and the place where all the farmers take their peanuts to be processed. Life is good in Paradise where everyone knows everyone and the whole community is at the football field on Friday nights where the bleachers are a solid mass of blue and white. God has definitely kissed the land upon which we hang our hats and I am eternally grateful for the lush and bountiful landscape that I am able to breathe in daily.

The town in which I work, however, well let’s just say that it leaves much to be desired. The shopping mall was probably nice with its 6 stores back when it was built 30 years ago. There is no Starbucks, ergo, no white mochas to be had. It is a dirty concrete jungle cramped in between a giant muddy waterway and a horribly polluted river that is notorious for flooding, which only adds to said pollution. With that being said, since it is cram packed in between two bodies of water, there is ONE way in and ONE way out. Now, this is not nearly the size of Small(ish)town, but large enough that it makes the “rush hour” traffic an absolute nightmare. It reminds me of when I lived in coastal South Carolina and had to evacuate for the hurricanes…….if any of you have ever had to evacuate for a hurricane, you can totally sympathize with my plight. Bumper to bumper starting from the center of town where it starts to thin out on the outside of town until you are finally able to breathe and see God’s country the closer you get to Paradise, USA. I dread it every single morning. I curse it at lunch. At 5:00 my biggest priority is to get out of the Jungle and get to Paradise as fast as I possibly can because that is my ultimate happy place. God’s country with the people I love. Yes, a happy place.

Now. Since I have made my loathing of this place common knowledge, I will have to be brutally honest and state that I do not absolutely positively hate everything about this town, which is the purpose of this post. There are things that I like about this place and I have managed to find several happy things and places scouring this town on a daily basis Therefore, I am going to share 10 things that I love so I do not seem like the eternal pessimist. And, just as an *FYI* I did not have to sit and rack my brain for these…..they came quite naturally.

First and foremost – THE YARN STORE. I think I literally heard a choir of angels sing when I opened the front door. This place has got any kind of yarn you could want. It is organized by weight and goes all the way around the building. So you work your way down from the big tremendous super mega bulky wool yarn down to the most delicate hand-beaded sequin silk yarn (Artyarn – which is breathtakingly beautiful and coincidentally goes for a whopping $125.00/skien). There are hand-dyed hanks of yarn and exotic fibers. I bought some FABULOUS mohair in there to make my beautiful sister a scarf. It is the same pale blue as her eyes and hopefully I will get it finished before Christmas. (ha) Not even in Small(ish)town did we have such a rare gem. I think I shall pay them a visit tomorrow, actually… has been a while.

Second (and really in no specific order): The gyros. An old college friend mentioned gyros at this place across town and I was curious since I love me some good lamb. It probably comes from a fond childhood memory of my Father taking me to a place called Keifer’s in Jackson, Mississippi, that has AMAZING food. My first experience with a gyro…. Anyway, this place in the Jungle is a non-descript Chevron station, referred to by the locals as “the sandwich shop.” They make the biggest, fattest gyros I have ever had. They are SOOOOO good and are CHEAP CHEAP CHEAP, or as Papa would say, they are “economical.” The place is literally packed every time I have been by there and there is always a line. Yum. Love that place. They probably make more money off of the food than they do beer and cigarettes, which for the rural south is saying A LOT. J

Third: The grocery store across town. Now, this may not seem like a big ordeal, but TRUST me – it is huge. I am definitely a foodie and it has been quite distressing to not have a good grocery anywhere. Now, the local market in Paradise is wonderful for when you need to run and pick up something quick and easy for supper, or if we need bacon for tomorrow’s breakfast. But to out and out grocery shop? Boy, have I been down in the dumps for a WHILE. However, today – yes today – and the whole inspiration for this post – I went to the grocery store all the way on the edge of the other side of town. It took me twenty minutes (on my lunch hour) to get there. I had the same experience as I did when I went into the yarn store and when I went into the Village Cloth Shop in Dekalb, MS. Jaw dropping. Choir of Angels. Now, I have been in far greater grocery stores, but it has been a while and in much bigger places. This place, however, totally rocked. Oh, it was wonderful! It was CLEAN! They had variety! They had organic foods! THEY HAD MAYFIELD TURTLE TRACKS ICE CREAM! Be still my little southern heart. I was like a junkie in a crack store. Seriously. I spent $170.00 at the grocery store on my LUNCH HOUR and had to cram all the cold items (and ice cream) into the office refrigerator! LOL

Fourth: Beans and Cream: Ah the local coffee/ice cream shop. Have I mentioned how I love both? Now, it is not really that local to my office, since I have to drive across to the other side of town, but they BY FAR have the best coffee in town. There is only one other coffee shop and I reckon I will have to check it out before I can make that official, but I do love that there is at least one good place in town that I can get a hot cup of heavenly Joe.

Fifth: the YMCA. Yes, the Y. I love the fact that I am right across the street from the Y. I hate that I do not utilize it more and am going to try and make it a point to do so for stress relief purposes J

Sixth: My job. Alright. I do tend to really gripe about my job. And my boss. But here is the skinny on both: They aren't really as bad as I make out. I do not have a physically demanding job. I am a paralegal. I do, however, have a stressful job when we are under the gun and fighting a deadline and my fingers will only type so fast. But all in all I love the fact that I am the only person who works here and I am lucky that my office is across the street from the Courthouse, which has a lovely clock tower that chimes every 30 mintues. I sit in solitude for most of the day and I am able to enjoy peace and quiet. Working in a place like Wal-Mart (although I am not dissing Wal-Mart or their employees) would drive me crazy. Too much hustle and bustle,,,,,too many people,,,,,,too many opportunities to be subjected to the swine flu and any and all other such maladies. I do love that I can sit at my desk in the quiet and if it is slow I can do things like sit and type posts on the things I like about the town I hate. I love this old office that looks and smells like an old law office and I love the bazillions of dusty old law books all down the hallway and covering all four walls (floor to ceiling) of the library. J

Seventh: My boss……well, let’s just say he is a one-of-a-kind. An old, hard-nosed trial lawyer. He is quirky, no doubt. He is horrifically disorganized and has tons of senior moments. However, he is also almost 70 and runs 4 miles every day. He was a member of the military as part of the special forces. He knows every single thing about the history of this town, as he is 4th generation of his family to be rooted here and still lives in the ancestral home. He walks all over downtown running errands and picks up business on his way back from the post office, and does things like trade legal work with the lady that owns the local shoe store for free shoes. He jokes about settling his cases over eggs like a gentleman at the local Hardees. Sure, he treats me like I am a mindless set of boobs, but he was there when the civil rights movement and women’s lib were in full swing. To him, I am just a secretary that is supposed to look pretty, type and make coffee with a smile on my face. He tells me that he expects me to be a lady….... He is something straight out of a John Grisham novel. He does not know how to use a computer (which he refers to as “the machines”) and sits back in the law library piled under dusty law books doing research while he eats his afternoon snack (every single day) of mixed nuts, tropical trail mix, grapes and diet coke. He is a GOOD attorney and he is sharp as a tack. I would let him defend me for anything, if I could afford him…….ha.

Eighth: The healthfood store. Nothing really that spectacular about the healthfood store; I am just thankful that there IS one J

Ninth: The Riverwalk. The Riverwalk is not really along the river. It is along the Tenn-Tom Waterway, but whatever. It is 2.5 (I think) miles of trails along the waterway and through the woods. It is always neat and has really nice landscaping and is absolutely beautiful in the fall. I love to walk out there and probably will when it cools off some. It is just too dang hot right now.

Tenth: Strawberry cake at Café on Main. It is the Bell’s Best strawberry cake with strawberry icing. Enough said.

There it is – my ten things I like about the concrete Jungle. I hate the commute and I hate the traffic, but I spend my lunch hour every day trying to find redeemable qualities. And just for an added bonus:

Eleventh: The Farmer’s market. It is a true gem. There are local musicians playing street music and college kids selling homemade soy candles right next to the typical southern farmer selling blackberries their kids picked and the Amish selling their baked goods across from the hippie guy with the organic farm that looks like the unibomber, and the children selling their sunflowers out of 5-gallon buckets, and my neighbor who makes her summer spending money selling homemade salsa.

With the 25 rows of peas/beans that Papa planted for us, I might join in on that action!