Archives for March 2006

Rach Is Cookin’ Tex-Mex And It ROCKS

Rachael Ray just referred to using salt and pepper as “a little ‘s’ and ‘p’ action.”

I’ve written before about the fact that she gets on my nerves a little bit.

So why can’t I quit watching? Why am I still sitting here at her “E.V.O.O./DELISH/S and P ACTION/YUM/YADA YADA/STOUP-because-it’s-thicker-than-a-soup-but-thinner-than-a stew” mercy?

Why can’t I turn away?

Something is wrong with me.

But tonight – it’s songs of the 21st century on American Idol.

Not even Rach describing cheese as “melty” can dampen my excitement.

Survey Says…

Okay, here’s the deal. I am cooking this Sunday night for the latest crew of new members in our church. There will probably be around 50 people at the dinner.

In the next 24 hours, I need to figure out what I’m cooking so that I can buy the groceries and get the food ball rolling (that sounds kind of gross, doesn’t it? I promise I won’t serve an actual ball of food).

So here’s the question. If you were going to a supper at your church, what meal would make you clap your hands from sheer excitement? And if you don’t get excited about a meal every now and again, I’m afraid you’ll have to move on to another blog because clearly we have nothing in common. ;-)

I need an entree’, a side, a bread, and a dessert. And be realistic. This is home-cookin’…so if you’re thinking, “Oh, I’d like a filet and then some bananas foster like they have at Palace Cafe’ in New Orleans” – well, that’s just plain crazy talk.

So tell me what your favorite “church meal” would be. And thanks in advance for the help…I’m not usually this last-minute with my plans, but well, you know, there was lots of cleaning around here this past weekend.

The Glamorous Life

I mentioned last week that I checked out Wynonna Judd’s autobiography from the library and that I really want for Sister to introduce us so that we can go ahead and start our journey down the inevitable road of being Best Friends Forever. Well, last night I was reading her take on meeting famous people: Loretta Lynn, Dolly Parton, Carl Perkins, Tammy Wynette, etc. – and I started to think about my own encounters with the Rich and Famous. Mine is such a lame list. But I’ll share.

1. Meeting Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr. backstage at a concert in Meridian.
2. Meeting Lee Greenwood outside the Temple Theatre in Meridian. This was when “God Bless The USA” had only been played about a thousand times, as opposed to the 16 bajillion times (and that is an actual number) that it’s been played since.
3. Seeing Amy Grant at the former Sunflower grocery store on Highway 100 in Nashville.
4. Seeing Amy Grant just two nights later at the James Taylor concert in Nashville (maybe Amy and I are also meant to be BFF, though I’ll have to watch my back for Stacey D. if that happens, and only those of you who went to college with me will get that).
5. Seeing TG Sheppard (is your heart pulsing with excitement?) in a restaurant in Gatlinburg.
6. This is a long one. When we were juniors in college, Merritt, Tracey, Katy and I went to Washington, DC for spring break because isn’t it the nation’s #1 spring break destination? OH, we had the best time. We went EVERYWHERE, much to Merritt’s (not really) delight. Anyway, when we were leaving our White House tour, which was kind of special because a sorority sister’s daddy was in the Secret Service and hooked us up, we saw a limo pull out of the gates, and we did what most 20 year old girls would do: we chased it. Much to our surprise, it stopped. The window rolled down. The first thing we saw was a dog. The second thing we saw was Bob Dole, who was MOST kind. And we were so flustered that we really didn’t know what to say, so eloquent me spoke up and said, “So. Are you off to do? Some important things?” But isn’t that sweet, y’all? At the time he was the most powerful man in the Senate, and he stopped to talk with some college girls from Mississippi. Love that memory.
7. Meeting Emily from the Indigo Girls after their concert at State. I tried to talk to her about the lyrics from “Ghost,” and oh it’s all just so unbelievably awkward that even 15 years later I don’t like thinking about it.
8. Meeting Chris Parnell after a Groundlings show in LA. This was in his pre-SNL days, and since he was from Memphis, and I was from Mississippi, I wanted to let him know how well he represented the South. He was very nice. That very same night I saw Mike from “Real World: Miami,” but we won’t count that one.
9. Seeing Ivana Trump outside of a restaurant in NYC. My brother stuck his entire body out of the car (we were about to leave the restaurant) and did one of those Jethro Clampett cat-call whistles so that she would look our way. I don’t think I’ve ever laughed that hard. In fact, I know I haven’t.
10. Meeting Point of Grace, Chris Tomlin, and Louie Giglio through stuff at church. Y’all have heard all about that. And I know they’re not famous to all, but they’re famous to me, so there.

So – what are some of your encounters with famous folks? And Sister, you have a DECIDED advantage in this area, so maybe you’ll just want to give us your top 5 or so – because I don’t think Blogger can handle your list. :-)

Tell it all in the comments.

After Three Long Days, I Have Put Away The Vacuum

It’s not perfect (I keep telling myself, “it’ll never be perfect; it’ll never be perfect; make your peace with it; it’ll never be perfect”) – and there is still work to be done – but for the first time in about two years, I feel like I have control of my house instead of the other way around. I have thrown away THIRTEEN garbage bags full of, well, I don’t know what. Stuff. Burp pads. Old washcloths. Pacifiers. Expired vitamins. You name it. And here’s the thing…none of the stuff was out in clear view…it was in closets, in chests, in the secretary, the armoire, the pantry, etc. THIRTEEN BAGS.

I still have to tackle our closet, which actually isn’t that bad, and Alex’s closet, which is overrun with clothes, but all in all, it was a mighty successful weekend. Plus, I made a list of a few things that David and I need to do every single morning – nothing complicated, just practical – so that we can make this our routine and not just a phase. I’m sure you’ll be waiting on pins and needles to hear how it all turns out. :-) Seriously, though, “re-purposing” some closets and pieces of furniture was huge – because the way we’re using our space finally, FINALLY makes sense to me. That’s a big deal. I feel like we have a system, which is what I was after all along.

And LOOK! LOOK! I didn’t take “before” pictures because, um, I was too embarrassed. But I promise you that it’s better.

Notice how nothing is falling over onto anything else. My mama would tell me to apologize for the fact that there are rolls of toilet paper in the picture, but it is a closet in a bathroom, after all.

Peaceful, tranquil bedroom…no clutter. And I used the great linen spray that I bought after smelling some that Janie uses in her house – love it.

Finally, if you need a content, happy toddler while you turn your house upside down, put on a DVD of his birthday party. Works like a charm. And you also get the added bonus of hearing your child sing “Happy Birthday” over and over again. Which is kind of sweet.

Thanks for all the encouragement, internets. I couldn’t have done it without you. Seriously.

$60 And 9 Garbage Bags Later

So I’m not finished with the house stuff. Not by a long shot. But OH, MERCY is it better around here.

And I’m sure you’re all sitting around thinking, “I HOPE SHE POSTS PICTURES!”

Actually, though, the thought of posting pictures has given me incentive today…because I have felt a little accountable to y’all. I mean, you can’t really post about how overwhelmed you are by your house and then show up the next day and say, “Um, well, I didn’t do a thing.” Hence the trips to Lowe’s and Walmart for Fun New Storage Supplies.

The kitchen and the den are now under control. That makes me very, very happy.



To get the armoire ready for the new blue hamper toy-thingy, I threw out an entire garbage bag filled with old videotapes. There were two tapes I couldn’t bear to throw away. One is the video of Alex at my 24-week sonogram. Any guesses as to what the second one is? Here’s a clue. It’s NOT a movie.

There’s a fabulous prize for you if you guess correctly. Well, not really. But I can hook you up with a pack of gum if you’re the lucky winner. Everybody needs a goal, right?

All Better Now (Kinda)

First of all, I would like to define irony. Irony is when your brother gives you a hard time in the comments about not having an organized house, when your brother has a maid at least twice a week as well as a super-organized wife, as well as 6 walk-in storage closets in his upstairs hallway, as well as an island in his kitchen that is nothing but storage and approximately the size of my dining room. He has a butler’s pantry for all his silver and serving pieces, a temperature-controlled room for his collection of “special bottles,” :-) and a full wall of built-ins in his den, the bonus room, and the playroom.

So in the sweetest way possible, I just want to point out that perhaps he’s lacking just a wee bit of perspective about what it’s like to find room for all of my family’s stuff in a 2400 square foot house – when he has (at least) three times as much room. Just a thought. When you have a mudroom AND a special bathroom with a shower off your backyard entrance so that your boys don’t track dirt into the house, things can stay a bit, um, tidier. When your laundry room is bigger than most people’s kitchens, things don’t get quite so cluttered.

In other words, when you open his closets and cabinets, things don’t fall on you.

Just a little perspective on all that.

On my end of things, I won’t get into why this organizational thing bothers me so much, because it is a long, complex tale, so suffice it to say that it ain’t just about the cleaning, people. David said essentially what Liz did – that none of this stuff matters a hill of beans to Alex, and the days with him are few – but because of the way my mama kept house when I was growing up, I have a VERY high standard in my head. And when I don’t meet it, I feel like a failure. Please don’t even address that statement in the comments, because I can’t take a pity party, but that’s how I feel.

This battle is not a new one for me, but it came to a head this week because I came back from Mississippi with all of Alex’s birthday presents and realized that there was nowhere to put them. So they’re all still sitting at the bottom of the stairs. But y’all have given me some good ideas, and I imagine we’ll be at Target early in the morning buying all manner of Rubbermaid products. My main thing is that I AM SO SICK OF LOOKING AT BASKETS THAT I COULD SCREAM. All those cute Pottery Barn fabric-lined baskets with which I was so enamored when I was pregnant? I could throw them in a pile and burn them. SICK OF BASKETS.

So, I really am going to clean out this red chest in my den, buy containers to go in the bottom of it, and put Alex’s toys there. That way he can put them in there at the end of the night, I can shut the doors, and I won’t have to look at them anymore. I think that’ll be helpful.

David had a great idea, too. He told me to make a list of everything I want to do in each room – and we’ll just knock out one item at a time. My list for the kitchen was a full sheet of legal paper…and I got about 1/3 of them done today. Some of the items are a little more long-term…so there won’t be any quick fixes, but hopefully we’ll be in better shape in a couple of months than we are right now.

Lea Margaret asked me why I don’t try to get on “Mission Organization” – but we’re just not that far gone yet. Everything looks relatively orderly on the surface. I just don’t think we’re using our space well…I don’t think our set-up makes much sense, and that’s what I want to fix.

Oh, am I ever ready to talk about television again. :-)

In the meantime – PROGRESS!

Lovely clean kitchen floors and baseboards.

BEFORE: Crazy pantry that had obviously experienced an explosion.

AFTER: Orderly pantry that doesn’t make me want to scream.

See y’all tomorrow. :-)