Friday, May 21, 2010

Blog Holiday

I just love how British people say, "I'm going on holiday." Doesn't that have a lovely ring to it? So much better than saying, "Yeah, I'm gonna take a few days off, you know, do some laundry, watch Oprah in the afternoon." But the truth is, I really do need a few days to do those things.

I need a little time to prop my feet on the kitchen table, drink coffee and listen to the early morning doves coo outside the window. And most importantly, Mabel needs some undivided attention and stick throwing activities. She's been terribly ignored in the midst of all my hustle and bustle and is showing her displeasure by hurling one particular toy, Spike, at my head when I'm writing.
So time for tea. Time for a blog holiday. See you a bit.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Happy In My Shoes: Grateful

Today I reread this post.

It was bittersweet, as I reread it, because the first two comments were from Angela. My heart swelled with joy when I read them because she, now that I look back, was the instrument of change that I prayed for. I miss her today as it rains, pounding on the roof overhead. And I am grateful to God for the change inside me, oh so very grateful.

"Then you will experience God's peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:7

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Nine Years Ago

Happy Anniversary Matt. Thank you for putting up with my constant jabbering, my incessant need to spray paint furniture, and my pronunciation of the word ruined "rueeened." I love you.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Writing, Raining

Does anyone else find it easier to work when it's raining outside?

If it rained everyday I'd write non-stop.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Oh The Places You'll Go

Travel has always been important in our family. We're usually willing to sacrifice to do it. My parents loaded three daughters into a suburban and hauled a pop-up thousands of miles in order to traipse across Colorado, Utah, Wyoming and Montana. Why? Because that was how we could afford it. So as kids we grumped and grumbled at roadside picnic stops where we dined on bologna sandwiches and off-brand sodas. We grumped and grumbled as we rose in the chilly mountain air and trudged to the community showers of KOA campgrounds.

But you know what? It was worth it. We may have eaten our fair share of roadside lunches, but we did it beside mountain lakes in the Rocky Mountains. We may have shivered in our shower shoes in a campground bath house, but the cold was later forgotten as we watched Old Faithful and hiked the Grand Tetons.

I thought about these things when I bought some old slides at a flea market last weekend. I've spent hours inspecting them, holding the slides up to the window to spy fabulous destinations. Each of these pictures hail from the 1950's era. From what I can judge it was a husband wife, and they were true world travelers.

It saddens me that the evidence of their travels wound up in a flea market.

I wonder what sacrifices they had to make to see Gauchos in Venezuela.

I wonder why their children or nieces or nephews didn't hold onto fabulous slides of auto-races in Rio Negro. But their loss is my gain.

And I thought about my adult travels. I can't complain too much. I've seen the roaring coastline of Oregon and the bustle of New York City. I've hiked in the Rocky Mountains, listened to Loretta Lynn sing in Nashville and ate true Cajun-style cuisine in Louisiana. And yet, there's a siren call for those of us that dream of the misty hills of Scotland or the lavender lined fields of France.

But I was encouraged as I thought of my parents, willing to endure camping with three (at-times) grumpy daughters in order to see their beloved Colorado. I was encouraged as I thought of this couple cutting coupons or saving change in a giant jar to fund their world travels.

And until I make it over the ocean to fabulous new places, I'll have these slides. I'll remember that nothing is impossible, even if I have to sleep on a park bench and eat potato chips for breakfast. Of course, I'd rather avoid the community showers of a KOA campground high up in the chilly mountains, but if that's what it takes... so be it.

Friday, May 14, 2010

Foodie Weekend

What I love most about weekends is, frankly, the food. The pace at our house usually slows a little, there's not the mad rush to hurry-up-and-eat-before-the-tv-show-comes-on-and-then-time-for-bed ordeal. So I kick back, do some laundry, light a candle and write. Matt kicks back, watches a movie and cooks.

There's something marvelous about knowing we have no where to go, no place to be as the house fills with marvelous smells and Mabel lounges lazily on the couch. This weekend I'll keep my fingers crossed that we have a repeat of this pan-seared tuna, roasted tomatoes and mashed potatoes seasoned with horse radish dinner. That would be nice. No. That would be great.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Too Much of a Good Thing

Sometimes, when decorating, you need to draw a line in the sand with your toe and say to yourself, "OK... enough. Don't buy anymore of __________, you don't need them."

I'm pretty sure I've reached that point in the plate department.

But as I perused a cheap flea market and kept stacking them in my arms, I couldn't help it. I thought, "Ok, this is the last time I rehang and change the plates around in the dining area. No more after this."

And really, I intend to stick to that. At the same time, I'm awfully glad I got these last few plates.

But really no more.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Spring Guest Post

Be sure and check out At Home In Arkansas' blog today, my guest post is up... "Ten Minute Solution to Spring Cleaning." I talk about cleaning and, you guessed it, Meme. Click here.

Farmer's Market, Goodbye Cone

While we enjoyed the bounty of the local Farmer's Market...

Mabel celebrated her last day in the cone. She also celebrated by ramming her face into the produce, licking three new-potatoes. Honestly, I'm going to miss her cute little mug framed in that angelic plastic halo. I will not miss the paper-cut gashes on my legs where she aggressively rammed the cone like a high-gear mack truck.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Mabel's Inner Monologue

"Let me tell you something lady, you've torn your drawers with me."

"It's bad enough that you refer to me with ridiculous and trite nicknames like "sugar noodles" and "pooh bear."

"And now it seems you have the audacity to encircle my head inside this gigantic plastic contraption manufactured within the fiery pits of hades."

"I'm not sure how to tell you this, but perhaps it's time we went to counseling. We need an unbiased third party to intervene so they can tell you how absolutely insensitive and cruel you are."

"Until you come to your senses and take this abominable halo of hell off my head, I'll be other-wise disposed. Don't bother wafting yummy treats beneath my nose. My dignity is not for sale. Wait, is that a Paul Newman Treat? I do love those..."

And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock
-T.S. Eliot

Monday, May 10, 2010

More Good Stuff...

Check out my latest article for At Home in Arkansas here!
*photo by Rett Peek

Working Weekend

It's busy around the house. Matt and I have both had our noses to the metaphorical grindstone, but we made time this weekend for a little fun. We found a pair of black fiberglass chairs at my favorite Little Rock store Sweet Home/Clement.

We spent some time playing with Mabel, and considering her fragile cone-wearing mental state, she needed it. We made it through four solid hours of this toy's goose-honking sounds reverberating off the walls until we caved and hid it on the table.
We went the the Farmer's Market and got some lemon grass. We have plans to dive into the world of Thai food, but even if we don't, this plant smells great.

And now back to work. Happy Monday.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Cone of Shame

Mabel has been insistently scratching the scar on top of her head this week. And so, after two days of fighting her with Neosporin and cleaning up the bloody mess on top of her head, we've had to switch to Plan B.

To say that Mabel finds this entire process distasteful would be a gross understatement. To say she is indignant, neurotic and full of rage would be, well, absolutely true.

You see, the thing about wearing a cone is it catches on everything. It hooks on the car when you jump into it, flipping you back down onto the ground like a flailing fish. It hooks on doorways, carpets and apparently, my hair. Don't ask, it was a complicated fiasco.

After three minutes of constant bucking and flipping her head from side to side, spinning round and round like a June bug on its back... Mabel gave up.

But when I say gave up, I don't mean she went quietly into the cone-wearing night. She just sits, frozen, glaring at me from the confines of her shameful condition.

She'll forgive me eventually. After all, she has to eat and I'll probably end up feeding the little monster by hand. Maybe I deserve my own cone of shame.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Good Day, Great News

I have an agent. Did the hairs on the back of your neck just stand up? Yeah, sorry. That's because my high pitched dolphin-like squeals have probably crossed state lines by now.

My agent is the fabulous Laurie Abkemeier! Nothing can get me down today. And when I say nothing, I really mean it. I awoke to a horse-head-in-the-bed situation with Mabel. Somewhere in the night she scratched a scab off and it looked like the prom scene from Carrie. But did that get me down? Nope. When I walked onto the patio to water the plants my face rammed headlong into a gigantic spider web and did that get me down? Nope. A few moments later I felt a crawly sensation and proceeded to slap my hair until a spider sprung out and onto the ground. Did that get me down? Nope.

So I'm headed into the best day ever with a cup of decaf, some seriously disheveled hair, a dog that officially hates hydrogen peroxide, and a big goofy grin plastered across my face.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Prom Letter To Myself, Circa 1997

When my mother-in-law came for her visit, Rebecca came over and the three of us went to the Old Mill. As we got out of the car we noticed limousines lining the curb. And while most girls would clap their hands and reminisce over days gone by, we had a slightly different reaction.

“Ugh,” muttered Rebecca, “it must be prom.”
Growing up, our mother didn’t place a lot of emphasis on girlish stuff. When we threw ourselves dramatically over the sofa and begged for the smelling salts, she rolled her eyes and said, “Go run around the house a few times, you’ll feel better.” When our friends participated in pageants and we begged to join them in a sequin encrusted event down at the livestock pavilion, mom shook her head and said, “Over my dead body. I’ll set myself on fire first.”

So you can understand why a park full of squealing prom-goers wasn’t exactly our ideal milieu.

But my mother-in-law’s zest for life was catching.

“Look girls! A limo! Come on!”

We trailed behind as Linda marched right up to the snobbish looking limo driver and stated sweetly with her lilting southern charm, “I’ve always wanted to look inside one of these things, would you mind?”

And not surprisingly, a smile broke across his face as he opened the door and Linda helped herself to a full visual tour of an actual limousine. Lord I love that woman.

We entered the park and surveyed the goings-on. It was a busy bee hive of chiffon and silk. Boys wiped their foreheads and tried not to sweat in their tuxes. Moms lined the sidewalks, glaring at anyone who got in their way as they filled their camera’s memory cards to the brink. I missed mom. I missed the running commentary she would have treated us to had she been along. But Linda helped fill the Margaret void as she shook her head and said, “Mmm, aren’t you girls glad you don’t have to go back?”

And we were. We were very glad.

But as we milled about, smiling at parents and whispering to each other about one girl in particular who no doubt experienced embarrassment at some juncture when her upper girl parts fell out on the dance floor, I remembered my prom. The confusion. The dress. The hair. I thought about what I would tell me, then, if I could. I would write a letter.

And so I did.

Dear High School Elizabeth, circa 1997,

I realize at this point in your life you are embroiled in all things related to The Smashing Pumpkins and X-Files, but try and concentrate on what I’m about to tell you.
1. Some people can wear orangish-red shades of lipstick. You are not one of them

2. Tonight, at prom, you will be asked to dance. When you do, please don’t ‘strike a pose’ or ‘pump up the volume.’ Why? Because people have cameras, and you do not want to forever live in posterity with your mouth agape and your arms contorted like a teenage victim in a Nightmare on Elm Street film. It’s simply not flattering.

3. Remove the silver talon fake nails. Please.

4. In the midst of the revelry, as you sit at your table in the cafeteria, eyeing the surrounding silver and black balloon explosion around you, just remember that your world will not end if you don’t have a boyfriend. One day you’ll meet a wonderful man, but until then try not to fill your time with guys who refer to themselves in the third person or who hate their fathers. Just a suggestion.

5. I realize that your greatest goal in life is to sing country music songs on the stage at the Grand Ole Opry just like Loretta Lynn. Thankfully, this urge will pass, along with your cringe worthy obsession with Sun-In. Put down the Wranglers. Read a book instead.

6. Be nicer to Mom. Right now you think she’s the enemy. But she’s not. One day you’ll realize she’s your biggest hero, so save the smart mouth for writing or battling arch enemies during your lunch hour. And if for no other reason, stifle the ‘talk back’ because Mom will put you out of the car and make you walk home. I’m not kidding.