Archives for June 2006

Family Matters

Alex and his cousin M. have always been pretty big buddies.

But on this latest trip to Mississippi, they got to spend more time together than they normally do. And M. is eight now, so in addition to the fact that she CAN look out for Alex, she WANTS to look out for him. Very maternal, she is.

So as I was transferring these pictures from the camera to the computer this afternoon, I noticed a common denominator that I missed when I took them.

In every single picture, she is in some way reaching for Alex. If she’s not reaching, it’s because she’s holding him.

And I think that’s about the sweetest thing I’ve ever seen.

She Would Probably Do Better If She Realized That Surfing The ‘Net Is Fat Free

My sister-in-law Rose – who is married to D.’s brother – is what you might call fit.

No, Fit.

No. FIT.

She’s a fitness machine, is what she is.

She’s one of those people who has a passion for health and wellness, and as a result she is usually either running or lifting weights or playing tennis or swimming. Sometimes she even runs to the place where she’s going to lift weights or play tennis or swim, so inevitably when I’m around her for more than about three minutes I realize that all my Professional Gravy Drinking is not serving me so well fitness-wise. And then I feel like a bit of a slug.

And clearly, when feeling like a slug, the only response is to drink more gravy and then eat donuts. Which really gets me nowhere in my quest for Rose-like fitness. And since the word “quest” implies that I’m actively pursuing some sort of fitness journey, I think saying “my THOUGHTS of Rose-like fitness” would actually be a much more legitimate representation of the truth.

Anyway, this past Saturday night I ran by Rose’s to pick up Alex’s car seat and sippy cups and other stuff that had migrated over there during All The Swimming, and Rose was on the computer. Now granted, she was still glistening from her late afternoon run – I’m fairly certain that her arm muscles were pulsing (in direct contrast to my arm muscles that were atrophying by the second) – but as soon as I saw her sitting in front of the computer monitor, I got a little tickled because I knew that comedy – BIG COMEDY – was in store.

Because while my sister-in-law can run a mile in five minutes and hit a tennis ball with deadly accuracy, she can’t work a computer to save her life. And when she saw me – her admittedly non-fit but comparatively computer-savvy sister-in-law – she pretty much clapped her hands with glee. And thankfulness.

See, the whole notion of typing a web address in the browser toolbar is utterly foreign to Rose. If she wants to find something, she clicks on the search button, then types what’s she’s looking for.

In this particular case, she was looking for “guy with funny name on food network who had great zucchini recipe.”

I’m sure you’ll be surprised to learn that she wasn’t getting very strong search results.

So I typed in the homepage for Food Network, bookmarked it, showed her how to pull up the bookmarks, and then found the elusive recipe (shocking newsflash: she will not be including the cheese when she prepares this dish). And then I helped her find several other recipes, and oh it was all so glorious, until Rose realized that she couldn’t actually, you know, read the recipes because the font was too small on the screen.

At that point I went into her computer settings, changed her screen resolution, went back to the recipes page, and showed her how the type was now much bigger.

And you would have thought, as the gratefulness was practically pouring out of her non-gravy-drinking mouth, that I had presented her with buckets of chocolate and gold, though the chocolate would most definitely have to be fat- and sugar-free, and come to think of it, she doesn’t really like chocolate, so really, I should say: you would have thought that I had presented her with buckets of lettuce and gold.

Only money doesn’t mean that much to her, so let’s try one more time: you would have thought that I had presented her with buckets of lettuce and pretzels. Yes. That’s better.

And all I could think was that it’s too bad that blogging doesn’t result in rock-solid abs.

Because I’m telling you. If it did?

I would be RIPPED.

Oh My Word We’re Home

I bet you hate that you missed hearing Alex yell say some variation of “I DON’T WANNA GO HOME; I DON’T WANNA GO TO MY HOUSE” throughout our 2 1/2 hour drive this afternoon, huh?

It was LOTS of fun.

Apparently staying with grandparents and having Coke and pancakes for breakfast agrees with him. He doesn’t mind the pound cake for lunch, either. Or having an aunt and cousin around the corner who want nothing more than to take him swimming every single day. Or staying up so late that I’m embarrassed to tell y’all a specific hour.

But suffice it to say: laaaaate.

So the toddler was not at all excited about returning to The Land of Boredom, Home of Ye Olden Routine, though he did get a good bit better once he saw his daddy and had an “OH YEAH – that guy! I LIKE that guy!” moment.

Anyway, now I have laundry to do and phone calls to return and blogs to read (oh my sweet goodness at the blog reading – I need two days of solitude just to catch up). And a Bible study post to write. And a husband who hasn’t seen his family in about five days.

See y’all tomorrow.

Greetings From Paige’s Closet! Wish You Were Here!

So when Alex and I left home Wednesday, the plan was to spend a couple of nights here at my parents’ house, help Paige a little with her baby room plans, visit a bit with the in-laws, and head home Friday or, at the very latest, Saturday.

But Sunday night – 7:12 pm – and I’m still in Mississippi! Oh yes I am.

See, here’s the thing about my cousin Paige, who is perhaps the sweetest, most tender-hearted person on the planet: if you gave her a clip for her hair in the 6th grade, and you took a paint pen and wrote her initials on it, and then you wrapped it up in a bag from the dollar store and then made her a card to go with it, she still has every. single. bit. of that gift. Card and all.

And I know for sure that she still has the hair clip, because I saw it in a drawer in her bathroom, along with the stickpin our great aunt Myrt gave her when she was eight.

Which was laying beside a birthday card her daddy gave her six years ago, with the birthday money still inside, because she can’t bear to spend the money her daddy gives her because then it’s like she loses the gift.

Are you catching on to the fact that she’s very, very sentimental?

So while I came here to work on the baby’s room, it sort of evolved into more of a whole house clean-out. And we’re still not finished. But since I would like to see my, you know, husband, we’re taking a break and then picking up again – hopefully with Sister’s assistance – sometime in July.

And even though the work has been hard, and even though I never want to see a Sterlite 58 gallon storage container for the rest of my whole life ever, we have had a great time. There’s just something about having some uninterrupted time with “kinfolk” that ensures that everything will funnier, that the stories will be even more entertaining than usual, and that at least one person will wet her pants as a result of all the hee-hawing.

An added plus is that I have stuff to write about for oh, the next month or so. I’ve said before that you can always count on family to provide enough material to pull you through a writing slump, and these last few days are no exception. In fact, I cannot wait to get home, sit down, and just write to my heart’s content. Lots of thoughts running through this limited brain-o-mine right now.

And to answer the question a couple of you have asked: no, Paige doesn’t know if she’s having a boy or a girl. She doesn’t want to know, and of course that is oh-so-very-Paige to be perfectly content with not knowing, to be perfectly happy with a little mystery on her hands.

Yesterday we were sorting through some clothes (I really did spend the entire afternoon in her closet), and she said, “I guess this should go in the baby’s room.” And she sort of patted her belly when she said it, and looked up at me, and said, “You know, that still sounds so weird to me: ‘the BABY’s room’.”

I didn’t say anything in return, because I thought that if I did I would probably start to cry, but all I could think was how instantly she will fall in love with that little baby whose existence is so difficult to imagine right now.

And how there is nothing – NOTHING – any sweeter than packing up old hair clips and birthday cards and stick pins to make way for baby blankets and crib sheets and diapers.

And how her life is about to change forever.

Not just because the sleep won’t be as plentiful.

But because the love is about to multiply.

Again and again and again.

Dear Inventor Of High-Speed Internet: I Love You.

I have been at my cousin Paige’s house almost all day long, helping her start the process of getting her house ready for a little one. We’ve been cleaning out closets and cabinets, trying to get things a bit more organized so that once she hits the third trimester and enters major nesting mode, she won’t feel quite so overwhelmed by what she needs to do.

So all of that has been great – her hubby fixed us a wonderful supper, we’ve laughed a ton, we’ve called Sister when we felt like she needed to be laughing with us. And we’ve gotten a ton done. But do you know one other great benefit of being here?

CABLE MODEM, my friends.

I deliberately avoided sitting down at her computer this afternoon, because I knew if I did, and I saw how fast my email loaded and how quickly I could move through all my daily blog reads, I would look up six hours later in a blog-induced daze and say, “Huh? What? We were cleaning? And you’re having a baby? Or something? I don’t remember? But hey! Toni is going to see Beth Moore!”

So finally, when we finished up with today’s work – though we have more in store tomorrow – I checked my email (oh, the speed with which it loaded), I checked my blog (oh, the ease with which the pictures appeared), and then I started to check the other blogs I read (oh, the frequency with which you people have posted over the last three days).

And I have made my rounds. I read everything – but I didn’t comment much because I am exhausted and would probably say something like “Emr. Alskb laks eirs.” Which doesn’t really enhance the conversation at all. But I do feel so much better knowing that my feedreader isn’t full, knowing that my inbox isn’t overflowing, knowing that I can post this blog entry in about two seconds thanks to the glorious speedy fastness that is a cable modem.

But more than anything, I’m a little surprised. Three days is about the longest I’ve been away from my computer since I started blogging, and it shocked me today when I realized how much I’d missed reading all my favorites. It’s one thing to choose not to blog for a couple of days…but it’s another thing entirely when you can’t follow your normal blogging routine because your daddy is a child of the depression who sees any technology beyond the bare essentials as pure, unrestrained indulgence and borderline conspicuous consumption. God love him.

All that to say: I have missed y’all. Real-life friends and bloggy friends. And I’ll check in this weekend as much as I can.

As Martha Would Say: “FUNNY FUNNY FUNNY”

So Bev wants to know if my mother-in-law reads my blog.

To which I say: haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahahahahahahahaha.

Or in other words: no.

But I will say this: I would love it if Martha AND Mama would read. Martha would get a HUGE charge out of it, because “Those people who read? They’re from WHERE? Oh my word. Well oh my goodness. That is MORE FUN. And your real-life friends read, too? Well, you know that I think Merritt is perfectly beautiful, perfectly BEAUTIFUL, and well, the rest of your friends are, too – I don’t think I’ve ever seen prettier girls.”

So I think that if Martha were to read the blog, she would love it – ESPECIALLY the parts about her. Even though she’s in her mid-70s, there’s a part of her that’s most definitely a teenager, and what would REALLY bother her, I think, is if I didn’t mention her at all, or if I didn’t know her well enough to recognize how funny her personality is. Because here’s one thing I know: some mothers-in-law just tolerate the women their sons marry. But my mother-in-law really does love me like I’m one of her own.

Based on all that, I know that she would get a HUGE kick out of this blog thing if she had, you know, a computer. And more than anything, she would love that y’all get such a kick out of her. THAT would tickle her to no end.

(Sidenote: our favorite Martha expression ever? The time she was explaining to D. and me how she had to drive through a terrible storm, and she said, “The weather was just horrible! Horrible! Just pouring! And it was such a WET rain! A WET rain!”)

Anyway, odds are that she’ll never read the blog. Because Martha and my mama? NOT exactly the most techno-savvy creatures on the planet, I’m sad to say.

I know I’ve mentioned this little anecdote before, so I won’t repeat the whole thing, but please remember that when I mentioned to my mama that D. and my brother-in-law B. were playing video games together while sitting in separate cities, her reply was, “What? You don’t mean it. They’re in separate cities and playing the same video game together? And I can’t even turn on the email!”

(By the way, Mama loves to tell me that people have sent her emails, and what she means by that is that someone has emailed Daddy, and he has printed it out for her and given her a copy, but she loves – LOVES – using the terminology. Makes her feel all hip and cute, I think.)

And while Martha is smart as a whip, technology isn’t necessarily her strong suit, seeing as how she calls D. when her power goes out because she still doesn’t understand how to set the time on her VCR. Or change the time on the clock in her car. Or reset the odometer. So while I think she would get COMPLETELY hooked on email and blogging, I think the first Blogger outage or computer virus or email attachment might send her straight over the technology edge, straight into an abyss of computer frustration. She’d pull her hair out. And you know, since you can only get in with Betty at the beauty parlor on Fridays, it would hardly be worth it.

Truth be told, I don’t think Martha even knows about my blog. I’m not sure she even knows what a “blog” is. Think I should print out a few pages and take them to her this afternoon?

Might be fun….