Thursday, June 30, 2011

Stay Awhile

   I have lived away from my family for all of my married life. In the intervening years I have made the pilgrimage back to my home at least once or twice a year and lately much more to see my Momma and my sisters and their husbands and children. It has been important to me that my own children would grow up with a strong connection and love for my family of origin as well as an appreciation for the marvelous small town in which we all lived. It has not been as easy for my family to visit me, but they have made the trek to Nashvegas for births, high school graduations, and weddings, all the times that families get together to celebrate the important life events. But it has been a long time since there was a pleasure visit. A sit-on-the-porch-a-spell and we-don't-have-to-do-anything-we-don't-want-to kind of visit. But my Baby Sister gave me the gift of just that this week.
   She came bearing gifts of course. There were two jars of Baby Sister's fig preserves which are chilling in the fridge now and waiting for some homemade biscuits (Grands will do in a pinch) to slather them on. They were accompanied by another of my favorites: 3 pints of lady finger or cream peas. These tiny little peas are indigenous to Southern Alabama and Northwest Florida. They do not grow in Tennessee and are even getting nigh unto impossible to find in parts of the South as a result of the drought. But she drove into Alabama and found me some. And we cooked them up last night and served them with our hamburgers, sliced tomatoes, Vidalia onions, and our sweet potato fries. They were the perfect accompaniment, especially when topped with a dollop of Duke's mayonnaise. Sigh. I had some of the leftover peas for lunch today and would probably have them again for dinner if I didn't have other plans. She also taught me how to make her cast iron skillet apple pie. It was better than good.

   She's on the road now, headed back home. I am already missing her terribly. We don't look alike, but we sound alike and we are both loud. We also like to laugh a lot. Loudly, of course. She's more organized than I am, but then again, I think everybody in my family is more organized than I am. We enjoy a lot of the same things and found that we are quite companionable. I don't know that she has ever been in my house by herself for a visit. It sure was nice. No, it was better than nice, it was a sweet gift from God. It came at a really good time. A time when I needed not just a sister, but a friend. Thank you, Baby Sister, for coming to stay awhile. I love you bunches. You make me laugh. You make me smile. You just make my heart glad all over. I'll be missing you and counting the days 'til I see you again!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Buyer Beware

   We all know that grandmothers buy things. It's part of our instinctive nature. We literally cannot help ourselves. And being the grandmothers that we are, we win a few and we lose a few. This is not my tale of woe. It is my sister's. But we are both grandmothers. And I am just as likely to make the same mistake as she so I offer this caveat on her behalf:  Do not buy this product. Maybe I should clarify myself further. ABSOLUTELY UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WHATSOEVER should you purchase this product. Trust me when I say you will regret it.
Never mind that it's a name you thought you could trust: CRAYOLA. This one is worse than a dud. It's a bomb. A blue bomb. And here's the proof.
  And no, my niece and nephew are not genetically disposed to having blue skin. They are not Smurfs. They are normally beautiful and delightful children. The "gift" of Washable (NOT) Crayola Colored Bubbles from their grandmother turned out to be a disaster. And hopefully one that you want to avoid. All I can say is that it's a good thing that their mother, my niece, is a very good sport. She did not mind scrubbing and scrubbing and scrubbing some more. I daresay her children are the cleanest that they have been in a long time. But if you look carefully behind their ears, you just might see a tiny trace of blue.
   My sister, the grandmother, has apologized profusely. She will be scrubbing the children and the tub if she ever does this again. Even if she has to go all the way to Germany to do it.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Some Little Two Love

       The birth announcement for Little Two read "blue eyes, sweet smile, wild hair." And here's the proof as narrated by Little Two herself:
My dad told me I had to get my game face on for the National Championship!
I also had the winning hair-do! War Eagle...
My furry friends like my hair, I can tell!

A hair bow can be an important accessory as every girl knows.
I didn't spend a lot of time on my hair today. Can you tell?
I have more important things to think about.
I find it necessary to keep my hair out of my eyes when I am reading.

Now where did I leave my hair brush?

   Isn't she a doll?! We are totally smitten...
blue eyes, sweet smile, wild hair and all!

Honoring the Bride

   It was a picture perfect day. After weeks of blistering heat, we finally awoke to a day where the temperatures were moderate and the humidity was lower than normal. It felt like bliss. It was also a joy to open my home to the bride from Texas and her sweet momma and sister and friends from near and far. The bride is every bit as beautiful as I had heard she would be. And not just on the outside. It was an honor to bless her and to pray for her.
   The hostesses and I were able to pull off a fabulous party and also have a bit of fun because the groom's mother (a dear friend) invited the perfect crowd. And no doubt the Peach Bellini's contributed to the merriment. I don't have pictures yet of the guests, but here are a few details of the decor.  
A simple boxwood wreath with cream colored
 satin ribbons on the front door

Entry hall table featured the bride's wedding invitation and
a vintage cake topper from the 1920's
I told you in another post that I polished a lot of silver. I wasn't lying.

Creating this centerpiece was so much fun. I
pretended like I was on Project Runway, except that
I used a glue gun instead of needle and thread.
I used a wrought iron dress form I purchased at Hobby Lobby,
bits of antique lace I had accumulated over the years, and and then elevated the dress
on blocks of oasis. Finally, I filled the base of this bride with a wreath of spray roses in
varying shades of pink accented with more hydrangeas. Don't you just love her?!
We also used our antique china and real linen napkins.
It didn't matter that the china patterns didn't match.
The hydrangeas are in full bloom here and nothing is prettier. These were picked from
a friend's yard. The tall Russian sage set them off beautifully.

When guests arrived, we offered them the choice of a Peach Bellini or peach iced tea,
accompanied by a Nashville favorite, a "cheese dream."
This is a stack of real love letters. My father-in-law wrote my mother-in-law
every day during their long distance courtship while she was away at
a girl's finishing school and he was a student at Vanderbilt. 
Another one my vintage cake toppers! 

These incredible petit fours were the final flourish that ended the meal.
Guess where the missing petit four went?!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Every Girl Needs A Pair

   They must be the toddler idea of Jimmy Choos. Little One took one look at these beauties and just had to put them on her feet. Never mind that they are at least three sizes too big. She was working it.
   And I have it on good authority that when Little One has outgrown them, Little Two is next in line. It's a fact that she is already wild about pink (check out her outfit). And who doesn't love a good pair of cowboy boots, and pink ones at that. Toddlers know that pink goes with everything.

Little Two can't wait!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

We Do It For Love

            Polished Silver
  I have been polishing silver since 7:15 this morning. I am taking a well-deserved break. I have tried every silver cleaning product known to man, but the tarnish has been oh so busy doing its thing. Why am I cleaning silver on a Wednesday? Trust me that it's not because I am obsessed with clean silver or really anything that pertains to the word clean. Some other ladies and I are hosting a bridal brunch on Saturday, that's why. It's for a bride from Texas we have never met. So why in the world am I cleaning silver and entertaining for a girl I don't really know? She is the bride-to-be of a dear friend's son, that's why. And in the South you do those things. You entertain because you love someone. It's part of our culture. You drag out your finest and spit and polish everything to make it just so. It's not because you are trying to impress. Because if you really looked around you would notice that this home of mine is far, far, far from a place where perfection resides. I also gave up trying to impress a long time ago. In my humble opinion it never works. This is my house. It is where we really live. We have clutter in the corners. And dust bunnies under the sofa. And a few stray dog hairs floating in the air, but I promise I will vacuum carefully every day this week so that the dog hair will not get on anybody. I will probably leave the dust bunnies right where they are, but I don't think the bride will notice a few of them hiding under the sofa. But I will definitely make an effort with the bathrooms and the dog hair, even though I hate cleaning. Does that make you feel any better?
    A few of my entertaining concessions also require that I remove the clutter and the sewing machine from the kitchen table where they have taken up semi-permanent residence, but I have learned to leave the rest of my house as is. Why not make it more respectable, more perfect? I can tell you why, if I start on this process of making things look good for the party, where do I stop? I spent most of my life being an approval driven individual, so I have learned the hard way that I have to draw a boundary somewhere. Otherwise, I begin to suffer from the "never-enough" principle. You know that monster. She runs with her other buddy, the green-eyed one. She makes you feel as though you can never do it well enough, or good enough or perfectly enough. She robs you of your peace, your joy and your patience (with yourself). She makes you miserable. I should know. She and I kept company for a number of years. I felt like she was sitting on my shoulder when I cleaned my bathrooms, or looked at my outdated furnishings and my tired upholstery, not to mention my clutter and my mess. And if I dared to look in the mirror, she brought out the big guns and whacked me in the face. Miss Never Enough is nothing but critical, in fact critical is her middle name.
   Little by little I learned to let go of my relationship with her. The chains starting really coming off when I began to open my home on a weekly basis for my Bible Study. It meant letting people see how I really lived and that in turn meant letting people see who I really was. Scary stuff. But oh so freeing. So I am polishing silver because I want to honor this bride of this groom whose mother is a dear dear friend, but I am not painting scuffed woodwork, cleaning carpets, redecorating my house or getting rid of all of my clutter.
    What I really desire is for the bride to feel welcomed and honored and to know that we are excited to get to know her. I also want her to know that her future mother-in-law is very special to a lot of people. This friend of mine helped me so much when my own daughter married, and I was able to enjoy the wedding in large part because of her sacrifice of love for me on the wedding day.
   So I do this for love, and while I am polishing silver I am keeping Miss Never Enough at bay with this glorious scripture: It is for freedom in Christ that you have been set free. Therefore do not take up yourselves a yoke of slavery. No siree. I am walking in the freedom that is mine in Christ. Freedom to open my home to a family from Texas, welcome them with the love of Christ, and let them see some real people. I want to be a blessing to them, much as I have been blessed. However, I sure do hope they don't look too closely in the corners or come away covered in dog hair!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Art of Drinking Out of the Hose

     It doesn't take much. Just a bucket, a couple of sponges, a squirt or two of dish soap, plus a scrub brush and a water hose that is continuously running. That was the entertainment du jour for Little One today. I prepped The Daughter by telling her that we were going outside and that we would more than likely get wet. Correct that, we would get soaked. But Little One was game and so was I. With bucket in hand, we set ourselves up on the porch where we scrubbed the outside of the windows and the window sills until they were squeaky clean. Then we watered the ferns so much that they were positively glowing, and finally, we spilled soap and suds over and on nearly everything in sight. But we had fun. And we were entertained. And it was cheap. I figured the cost of the water we bathed ourselves in on the porch was just pennies. And besides, the fig tree got all the run-off, so we are ensuring a happy harvest in a month or so.
   Furthermore, I am most happy to report that Little One has also now mastered the art of drinking out of the hose. This is an important life skill. Little One comes from a long line of women folks who love nothing better than to turn on the hose and squirt water directly into their mouths. The tradition began with Little One's great-great grandmother Lou Lou and over the years has been modified to become an art form.  It also serves its purpose. And nothing tastes better in the world that clear, cold running water from a hose pipe. Especially if one is hot or thirsty. And scrubbing on a porch is hard work, let me tell you. Little One would agree. See for yourself.

Monday, June 20, 2011

For Women Only Redux

   Okay, too many people have asked about this post. Apparently, some of my friends think that this is too good to miss. I guess I should be flattered, but I find myself getting all hot and bothered just thinking about this little shopping expedition...
   Monday turned out to be a day for self-torture. At least that is what it felt like. I can tell you that there is nothing pretty about a woman on the shy side of sixty who never lost her baby weight (her baby is almost 24, years that is, not months), and who has added the weight of a couple more babies on top of that, who suddenly decides on a day when the heat index in our supposedly temperate city is approaching 110 degrees Fahrenheit (that's right, you read it correctly) in the middle of June (not August) to go shopping for a BATHING SUIT. That's right. A BATHING SUIT. Said woman is truly desperate (the elastic around the legs has disentegrated and the butt of her only workable suit has grown dangerously thin) or she would have never darkened the door of any dressing room to undertake such a tortuous task. It's just too bad that the woman does not have any valium or other sedatives with her because she sure needs either some valium or a good martini to recover from her extraordinary experience.
  In a younger and very different version of her current self, this woman has been a lifeguard, a beach bum, a wanna-be-surfer girl, and a sun-worshipper who had at least 5 or 6 bathings suits in her possession at all times, and she had certainly never combined the concept of shopping for a bathing suit with the notion of self-mutilation or self-torture. In her teenage years the girl actually enjoyed shopping for bathing suits, and sometimes she and her friends would head to their favorite beach store and spend an hour or two admiring themselves in the latest and skimpiest bathing suit fashions on the pedestal in front of the big triple mirrors in the center of the store...just for the fun of it. My, my, how times have changed.
    At this stage of life, it requires an act of bravery for the woman to enter the dressing room, especially after some cute little blonde sales associate has come up to her the moment she enters the BATHING SUIT department to say, "How may I help you?" How many I help you, the woman asks? You can shave or carve about 50 pounds off of me today, I don't care which. The blonde associate immediately sizes me up (literally and metaphorically). I really don't need to say much, because her heads starts nodding when I begin to explain exactly what I am looking for. She is already moving before I have finished my sentence. I follow her past all of the darling suits and cover ups to a relatively small section tucked away in the very back of the store, hidden from view of course, for this is where the bathing costumes reside. These bathing costumes are the BATHING SUITS for the older overweight women who would rather hide as much as they possibly can while still pretending to call it a BATHING SUIT. The blonde then has the audacity to direct me to a specific brand of suit that she glowingly describes with these words, "A lot of people have had good results with this particular suit." I am thinking...hmmmm.....what are good results? To go from a size 14 to a size 8 in ten minutes? Those kind of results? I start feeling the material on the suits, and I immediately start getting the picture. The fabric (can you really call this stuff fabric?) feels more like the chain mail for a knight in armor or the material a bullet proof vest is made of as opposed to something you would choose to lounge around the pool in. But when I pick up the tag, I am intrigued. It says "Take off 10 Inches." I look again. Nowhere can I find any kind of guarantee...or promises for customer satisfaction, but I guess this swimsuit company understands their clientele. They KNOW that women of my age and size are rarely, if ever, satisfied in a bathing suit...even one that advertises claims that appear to fall just short of the miraculous. Thus armed with several different sizes -- the blonde cheerfully tells me that it is always good to take a size up (groan) and a size down (a hopeful idea here) along with your regular size to the dressing room. Right. My arms are full of hangers, and I am just thinking she does not want to hear the screams emanating from the dressing room when I am trying to put the correct size combinations together.
    Yet I am relatively well prepared. I have my icewater bottle in tow, I have driven to the store with my car airconditioner on its coldest setting, and once inside the store, I have not stopped short of my intended destination. Yet the bad news is I am somehow already sweating, and I haven't even begun to shed my clothes. I wonder if this is a psychological heat flash. These days just the anticipation of a hot flash is enough to trigger one. I also don't know why clothing departments do not keep their dressing rooms at near freezing temperatures. If they did, they would sell a lot more of these miracle suits because women would not end up tugging and pulling them over a sweating body that has turned into the consistency of super glue.
    I take a few gulps of ice-water and head back. I am a card carrying joint replacement person so I always go for the largest dressing room, which is usually the handicapped. Since I know I am going to get hot, the last thing I want to do is also get claustrophobic...because if and when those two come together, I might not just scream, I might have a hissy fit or a conniption right there in the dressing room. I am lucky. The handicapped room is available. I get my suit combinations organized and very slowly I begin to shed my clothes. Again, I am trying to do all that I can to keep the sweat from running down my face and ruining my eye make-up. What a joke. My first challenge comes when I am trying to get the top of the two piece over my head. The underwire in the shelf bra keeps getting twisted and at one point, I am afraid that I have hung myself. I can't move my arms, I can't move my head, and I can't pull anything anywhere. You can guess what body appendages are hanging out in the non-existent breeze in the dressing room. I consider calling the girl and asking for help, but I am scared that she has never seen a sight like this before.
    After twisting and shouting (to myself) like a Chubby Checker fan,  I finally bend over at the waist and use my feet to step on the straps that are hanging down from the suit. This requires some extra contortions on my part. I am really glad then that I had gone ahead and had the hip replacement. Otherwise, I might have collapsed on the floor and been unable to get up (and I am not kidding here.) As it is, I am hopping around and trying to use my legs as leverage to pull the top back over my head (while I am still standing on the straps). Ten minutes have already elapsed. At this point I am already sweating like a pig, and I have not yet actually been able to get ANYTHING ON MY BODY. I take a few deep breaths and drink some more ice water as I try to keep myself from hyperventilating with exertion. At this point I decide to try to pull the top up over my hips (which are definitely larger than my shoulders), and despite confounding the law of physics, this seems to work. After more tugging and pulling I even manage to get the straps up on my shoulders. Everything is sticking to me, so I do some re-arranging and step back to take a look. Not bad except that I look just like my idea of a Kirstie Alley nightmare. The top is definitely more than a tad bit old ladyish, but at this size, my options are a bit limited. Now it is time for the bottoms. I turn AWAY from the mirror as quickly as I can. Oddly enough, I find that the girl has steered me in the right direction by sending me back with three sizes in two different styles. I don't know what possesses me to begin with the smallest size and the smaller of the two bottoms, but it seems to fit. And if you don't look at my legs, it is passable. Uh oh, the legs. I have excuses, good excuses why I cannot and do not exercise with regularity, but they fade to dust when I am looking at my legs in a mirror with overhead lighting. I am thinking that the dark hose and dark bloomers than my grandmother wore in the twenties are sounding more and more appealing. Perhaps we can bribe the fashion industry to bring them back. They could use a lighter fabric. There are actually women who would probably embrace this idea. Trust me.
    I finally find a top and bottom combination that seem to work. And since I only put myself through this type of self-torture every five years or so, I know that these are going to have to last me a while. But I am not worried, the fabric certainly seems to be durable. I am thinking the army might even want to test it in Afghanistan. I even try on a relatively cute cover-up (I think I am most excited about this part of the shopping trip) but the top of the cover-up is not covering up enough. I am going on the record here and will probably offend someone. I do not find cleavage on older women attractive. And I am not talking about Jennifer Anniston older. I am talking about older women who used to be normal sized in the upper anatomy, but you combine breastfeeding multiple children with weight gain plus estrogen depletion and you just might be getting the picture. The girls are going south and not just for the winter. It is a year 'round thing. So...I am getting plenty of cleavage with the cover-up, but I am not enjoying what I am seeing (nor will anyone else). I am wishing I could round up a few more inches of fabric on each side, and this just might be work. I even consider sewing an old bra into the cover-up to give me some added support, but I quickly abandon the idea. Too much trouble. Another hot flash is coming on. I have been at it for close to an hour. My face is flushed like an alcoholic's and my hair is wringing wet in the back. My needs are simple. I am longing for one of those coated rubber band thingies to pull my hair up off my neck. My daughter always wears one on her arm like a bracelet, except the only time that I tried to do the same, the thingy cut off my circulation. I am really getting hot, almost nuclear reactor hot. Sad to say, I am not a hot momma in the bathing suit or the cover-up. I am just plain hot. And it's time to go before I have a meltdown.
    I finally make it out of the dressing room and there stands my favorite little blonde sales associate. She is talking to this petite woman who is toned and bleached from here to Sweden whom I had just overheard talking on her cell phone in the adjacent dressing room about the horrors of going bathing suit shopping. Her voice has led me to believe that I might have discovered a kindred spirit, but alas, how wrong could I be. I am instantly aware of the chasm between us. She plops down two or three cute little numbers, and I catch a glimpse of the tags...size 6. I groan inwardly.
    Now it's my turn. As the blonde rings up my sale, she smiles sweetly and then she sticks the knife in. The grand total is ($$$) a staggering amount. I quickly count the items, look again to be sure that I am not hallucinating and then I start to sweat again. This is not perspiration, it is sweat. I am getting monumentally hot and bothered. I am wondering if I am going to blow a proverbial gasket. But I know it's my fault. I was initially so intrigued with the miraculous claims on the tag that I totally ignored the prices posted in tiny numbers for all to see... see that is when you have on your 2.75 magnifying readers. I am wondering what I am going to have to sell to buy this bathing suit. I wear all my good jewelry, and neither my bank account nor jewelry box are like Queen Victoria's. I don't have any tiaras or scepters to hock. But I know that I am headed to the beach in two days, and I truly have nothing to wear that remotely resembles a bathing suit. Finally I grimace and hand over the plastic card. I am already wondering how in the world I am going to convince my husband that HE is buying me the dreaded BATHING SUIT, but then I feel the perfect strategy coming on. I will simply do what I am longing to do anyway when I get home...I will burst into tears and have a good cry. I just don't want to start now. I brush my eyes off quickly, making sure not to smear my eye make-up, and I smile sweetly at the sales associate while she bags my purchase. I think she can tell that I am getting emotional. My eyes are a bit blurry. As I head to the car, I look forward to getting home. I know I will have to lie on the couch a bit to recover. When my body temperature and emotions have returned to semi-normal, I will get off my fanny to walk to the kitchen...there I will take out a perfectly chilled Diet Coke and search around for some lo-cal chocolate to accompany it. I press the accelerator a little more firmly as I anticipate the comforts of home. Maybe, just maybe this Keflar suit will last me the next ten years.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

A Good Man Is Hard to Find

   A good man is hard to find...I totally concur, with apologies to a favorite author of mine, Flannery O'Connor. 'Tis true, however. You meet a man, you date, you fall in love, you marry, but sometime after the honeymoon, you wake up and find to your surprise that the man that you thought you knew and married, has turned out to be someone else entirely. You even wonder at times, who has "taken over" his body. But love in a marriage is a funny thing; it somehow miraculously adapts. It shifts. It moves to accommodate and embrace the ever-changing and newly revealed facets of the person you have married and are just beginning to discover. The Husband and I will have been married thirty-seven years this summer. I guess that makes us marriage dinosaurs.
  The funny thing is that just when I thought that I could write the book on The Husband, he up and surprises me. This man, who was a very good father to our four children when they were growing up has turned out to be a wonderful father to our adult children, and an even MORE AMAZING grandfather to our two granddaughters.
   It makes my heart so very glad. Watching him with the grandchildren, I think I could almost fall in love with him all over again (even if I did not love him already). It gives me joy to see him making silly noises and equally silly faces at Little Two or playing peek-a-boo behind whatever is at hand until she shakes with glee. I also love watching him teaching Little One some dance moves to his favorite Jack Johnson songs and then pretending like he is asleep and snoring on the floor while she uses him as a jungle gym. He also has a standing date with Little One every Friday morning. He stops by her house on his way to work and the two of them wrestle and run through the house playing horse or whatever strikes his fancy.
   He is silly. He is funny. He is fun. He is not afraid to let go with these two little girls who have stolen our hearts from day one of their lives. I think it must be because we took ourselves much too seriously when we were raising our own children. We worried about lots of things. We worried about everything from table manners to the fight against cavities to teaching right from wrong. We wanted to get it all right. It took us a lot of years and a lot of children to figure out that we would never ever get it all right. In fact, I am the first to admit that we ended up majoring on a lot of the minors. But I think we are getting it right now. We are enjoying our family, probably more than we ever have before. I am also enjoying life with The Husband. So much so that I think I might keep him around for the next thirty-seven years, or whatever the good Lord gives us. By then we would both qualify as pre-historic if we haven't already.
Please note the goofy expression and the hair bow, courtesy of  Little Two

So here's a Happy Father's Day to a good man, a very good man. I am glad we were introduced to one another on that beach in Florida thirty-nine years ago. Little did I know what a good day, a very good day that would turn out to be.

Time for Some Etsy Love

Vintage Silhouette and Sheet Music Wedding Paddles

    As duly noted, the weather here is abominably hot. We are headed to Memphis tomorrow to attend a special wedding where we are slated to have cocktails on the veranda post ceremony. I think I am going to need one of these to get me through. This along with some alcohol should do the trick. But then again, wine always makes me perspire. I better keep it real: I'd like to think wine makes me perspire, but alas, it makes me sweat. Somehow I think I'll just have to suffer through. If interested, you can find these vintage silhouette fans on sheet music HERE! 
   I do know that everyone is sooo over wall decals of any kind, but, nevertheless, I find these a bit whimsical. They would be fun to discover tucked in an odd, but out of the way location. And since I am a bird lover of the first order, these little turquoise birdies might have to find a home in my house. I am thinking perched on the wall above the baby crib. Little One would be delighted and Little Two might be inspired to pull herself up to take a look. And best of all, they are bargain priced at...gasp...five dollars! I am in! You can be a copy cat if you want and purchase them HERE!

I am really too old to play with dolls on my own, but you can bet that with two granddaughters, dolls will be a part of my future. I recently discovered these handcrafted wool felt and linen dolls by Leilalou of France, and they are so oooh laa laa, don't you think?! I would like one, two or three. Enough for Little One, Little Two and Nonna to each hold when we have our tea parties. I am almost certain I won't want to share mine. And besides, they are about as far from Barbie as you can get. Thank goodness. She is better left in my long gone past.
Little Leila - Made to order

Thursday, June 16, 2011

God's In His Heaven....

     Yesterday we had a 40% chance of scattered thundershowers, and it stormed off and on all day. Go figure. I always think that God gets the last laugh with the weather, and this time I am happy He did. Even though my friends who got their cars pounded with hail and those who lost power due to the lightning strikes might think otherwise. But this is what I woke up to. If felt like a world made new. The birds are singing, the cicadas are finally back into their thirteen-year hibernation cycle (hallelujah!) and everything looks fresh and beautiful. Cleansed. My heart is extraordinarily happy today. The storm clouds have rolled away, and I am basking in the beauty and the glory of a new day.
   The LORD is my strength and my shield;My heart trusted in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart greatly rejoices, And with my song I will praise Him. Psalm 28:7

   Did I mention that it also helps that there is very little humidity; the temperature has dropped 8 degrees and the entertaining went well...! Even more reason to rejoice in God my Savior! Wouldn't you agree?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Oh the Joys of Entertaining

    I have learned the hard way to make lists when I entertain. I am married to the king of sticky notes, but I have (true confession) always prided myself on the fact that my brain did not require me to make lists. What a stupid thing to be proud of. Anyway, I recant. I renounce. I rescind. Or whatever. I now sorta make daily or at least twice-weekly lists and always try to always make lists when I entertain. Otherwise I do things like forgetting to serve a side dish that I spent a lot of time cutting up broccoli and frying bacon for that I discover all by its lonesome hours later in the refrigerator when I am trying to cram all of the food I once took out of the refrigerator back in. Why does it never fit the second time around? I think I could write another post on how refrigerators have their own growth cycle (not the one with the mold or expired things, cause they have that, too) but the growth cycle that means that things multiply. Like bagged lettuce and jars of mustard. I swear I keep finding expired bag lettuce in my refrigerator that I know I did not buy. And four jars of the exact same type of mustard, all of which have been opened up but not used up.Really?
Post-It Notes in a Dish.   But back to my list. I now make a list when I entertain, complete with a timeline. I also get out my serving dishes and label them. Yep, that's right. I label them. Sounds stupid, I know. But again, I learned the hard way that the platter that was exactly where I thought it was in the kitchen...turned out to be on the top shelf of the playroom closet and getting it down would require acrobatics. Need I mention that I no longer do acrobatics? Not that I ever did. So I learned that substitution of important serving dishes like platters is not a good thing when the oven door is open and you are hollering to The Husband to get that platter from the lower cabinet and he is looking back at you with a blank look on his face. We won't talk about the "Man Look" thing either because that definitely is another series of posts, but to his credit, he was right about drawing a big fat blank because the platter was definitely not there. It was, as I confessed earlier, on the top shelf of the playroom closet. Why he did not know that I do not know.
    So I make little lists, and I label my platters, and bowls, and all sorts of other things. Sometimes I get carried away with the labeling process and decide to print everything out in my nicest block lettering. Why? I have no idea, except that maybe Martha Stewart is going to be the surprise guest, and I want her to think that I am organized or at least have nice handwriting.
    The first thing on my list this morning (after making coffee and swilling down two cups as quickly as possible which is not on my list but is something that I do on autopilot nearly every single morning without fail) is to get my tomatoes, cucumbers and Vidalia onions marinating. This is one of my no fail dishes that I love to serve in the summer when the fresh vegetables are in. Okay, the tomatoes are really not in yet in Tennessee, but the guy at the Farmer's Market swore that they were Alabama tomatoes. I hope he is not lying to me. So I promptly get to the business of slicing and dicing. I am getting everything nice and ready to go into my large plastic container when I realize that the container itself will not fit into my refrigerator. At least not my refrigerator in its current condition. I take a quick look at the clock. I am going to be in trouble if I have to clean out my refrigerator, but that is exactly what appears to be looming on my immediate horizon. Now five bags of bagged lettuce and four plastic jars of mustard later, I am still knee deep in my refrigerator, and I have not yet made enough space for the container which seems to be getting larger by the second. The dog is standing by my side hoping that the chicken my husband accidentally barbequed black last week is going to come his way. I can tell by the way that the dog is wagging his tail that he does not care about the carcinogens in meat that was burned on the grill. I am well on my way to filling up an entire garbage can with the leftover contents of my refrigerator when I realize that I am already more than an hour behind. Oh dear.
   So I hurriedly finish up my pseudo cleaning out job on the refrigerator and finally squeeze the container into the third shelf with a good push. Don't tell me you haven't learned this trick? But I now need to empty the trash which was not on my list until later. However, I am feeling somewhat satisfied when I turn around and see that I have left the gallon of milk and the half and half out. How did I do that? So I spend another four minutes rearranging the top shelf to get these items back in, and I think to myself, "The day is already feeling old," and it's only 7:30 am.
    I decide to take a much deserved break. If Martha Stewart asks what my timeline indicated I was doing at 7:30, I will pencil in a bathroom break, but I am really writing this post while I sit in my chair and seriously consider burning my list. But the folks are arriving at 4 pm come &$# or high water, so I better get busy...maybe I will have one more cup of coffee to fortify myself for the gauntlet that lies ahead. Somehow, I don't think Martha will care.


Monday, June 13, 2011

An Evening to Remember

     Nearly forty years ago two eighteen-year-old girls from small towns found themselves in the same elevator on "Moving In" day at Vanderbilt University in Nashville. They were nervous freshmen who had come to the big "city" from small towns: one from Florida, the other from Indiana. One of the girls had her mother and father with her, the other was accompanied by her mother and grandmother. No one can remember who spoke first, but the girls were soon laughing over the fact that they shared the same first name, and then they laughed some more when it was discovered that the two girls with the same name were going to be living next door to one another for the next year.
     Thus began a friendship that has now spanned nearly forty years. When the phone rings, and I hear a shortened version of my maiden name, I know that it can only be one of two people in the world on the other end: my friend or her husband. We rarely go by our given names. She is "Ru" to me -- a shortened version of her maiden name, and I am "Scof," a shortened version of mine. Our lives have been intertwined since that fateful meeting in the elevator, and the connection was solidified when my boyfriend (now The Husband) and I set her up on a blind date with his best friend. The rest, as they say, is history. We have been married for thirty-seven years, and they have been married for thirty-three.
    We were honored to be the guests of this couple at a beautiful party recently. They were the Co-Chairs for an event that recognizes those who have made outstanding service contributions within the field of medicine at two local hospitals, St Thomas and Baptist. It was a lovely evening that showcased the singular beauty of Nashville's renowned Schermerhorn Symphony Center and the superb attention to detail by our hosts meant that no stone was left unturned. The food, the decor, and the flowers were stunning, but best of all was the fact that it was an evening spent with dear friends.
Tables were covered in shimmering linens in shades of celadon, teal, and blue
and boasted several different types of arrangements

That's our dear friend up there on the big screen!
Our friends with one of their beautiful daughters
Proud daddy with his oldest daughter 

Decor for the cocktail hour preceding the dinner
Good friends