Archives for November 2011

A List Is A Beautiful Thing

1. If you have an extra $3.96 sitting around, then I would like to encourage you to add this little nugget-o-wonder to your Christmas music collection.

It’s a Christmas EP by Act of Congress. And IT IS A DELIGHT. I just found out about Act of Congress, oh, yesterday, but it was totally love at first listen. I may have to put their version of “Carol of the Bells” on permanent repeat. So good.

2. Yesterday my pastor wrote a blog post about grandparents, and I may have needed a tissue or four when I finished reading. Consider yourself warned.

4. My friend Anne’s post about installing a backsplash cracked me up. And it also reminded me why I rarely attempt home improvement projects.

5. I can’t wait to sit down and read every single one of the Favorite Things posts on Nester’s blog today (with a great guest post by Hayley, by the way). Makes me want to have a real-life Favorite Things party of my own.

Happy Wednesday, everybody!


Well, the good news is that I finally figured out that I could thaw the frozen meat that I found in the basement of the village grocery, give the thawed meat to the wolf at the intersection of the two snow-covered trails, then make my way to the previously undiscovered hunting lodge at Dire Grove.

The bad news is that I may be just a wee bit obsessed WITH A COMPUTER GAME.

Just so you know: I never could bring myself to buy the full version. I know my personality, and if I start purchasing and downloading hidden object games? Oh, it’s all over, my friends. My family will have to fend for themselves and learn to get by on frozen chicken pot pies (that they cook for themselves, mind you, because I’ll be way too busy thawing pretend meat in a pretend microwave FOR A PRETEND WOLF).

However, even though I didn’t buy the full version, I have it, because my brother-in-law bought it for me as a little surprise.


So after supper last night I grabbed my computer and opened the game and the next thing I knew it was four-ish hours later and OH MY WORD HOW DID THAT HAPPEN?

I knew when I climbed in the bed last night that I was going to dream about that silly game, and I absolutely did. Right before I woke up this morning I had a dream that a friend of mine had a toolbox that she couldn’t open, and when she off-handedly said, “You don’t happen to have a key for this thing, do you?” – well, I was so puffed-up with pride that I could barely find adequate breath to say, “Why, I DO have a key. I found it in the safe in the office. The secret code is 4997, you know.” And then I opened that tool box and there were little pops of light all around it as well as a light tinkling of bells in the distance.

It’s perfectly fine if you pity me. It might even be fair.

Especially since I might end up wearing a t-shirt that looks like this before it’s all said and done.

I believe the word that you’re looking for is “KLASSY.”

Yes ma’am.

I’m hoping that there are six or maybe thirty of y’all out there who have experienced a similar LOSS OF ALL REASON where a computer and/or video game is concerned. Like maybe you secretly play your kid’s DS when he or she is at school? Or maybe you like to put the hurt on a little Mario Kart to wind down after dinner? Or maybe you have unraveled every Zelda-related puzzle known to man?


There’s strength in numbers, people.

Especially if one of those numbers knows how to solve the puzzle in the electrical box at the historical society.


The Obsession Level Is Very Dire Indeed

So this was going to be the post where I told you all about our Thanksgiving. I was going to tell you about the caramel cake that Martha brought (this sweet lady in my hometown makes them! and her icing is perfectly divine! and she wraps the cake in plastic wrap and wax paper and it stays so fresh! so fresh! the cake is just so good and fresh!). I was going to tell you all about the three – no, four – trips that I made with various and sundry family members to the Steinmarts. I was going to tell you about how Sister and I got pedicures while we watched the Arkansas/LSU game, how we revamped my cousin’s wardrobe, how we hollered (HOLLERED) during the State/Ole Miss game and how we may or may not have stayed up really late to re-watch the highlights for good measure.

And, of course, I was also going to tell you my theory about tucking pants into boots. Because naturally that’s the most important information of all.

But every single one of those plans got derailed at approximately 8:30 tonight when I decided to play a game that my brother-in-law and husband have been playing on their iPads today. I do not have an iPad of my own, mind you, but I was so intrigued by bits and pieces of their conversations (“Have you found the spark plug yet?” “Yes. It’s in the lawn mower, and you have to have it to start the generator.” “But what about the keys to the tool box?” “I’m not sure where they are.” “Just make sure that you cut up some fire wood.” “Got it.”) that I decided to download a trial to my laptop so that I could see what all the fuss (and intrigue) was about.


Let me just say that if you enjoy any sort of quest/mystery/look for the hidden object/try to figure out the puzzle-type game, you will be completely carried away with Dire Grove. Now granted, I’ve only played the trial version, and I’m reluctantly contemplating buying the full version for my computer because I DON’T KNOW IF I CAN STAND IT IF I DON’T, but sweet mercy. It reminds me of the late 80s/early 90s when I’d start playing King’s Quest on my brother-in-law’s computer and suddenly five hours would have passed and I’d wonder how in the world I missed supper and why was the house so quiet because oh my word had everybody gone to bed already?

I get a little obsessive when there’s a quest involved. This bit of information should be surprising to approximately no one.

So even though I’m a little scarce with the details right now, I have to say that it was a really good Thanksgiving. We had lots of family here – which was a huge treat for us considering that we don’t have the luxury of living in the same town as our relatives – and we managed to cram a whole bunch of fun into a relatively short amount of time. It was a loud and busy and chaotic few days, and I adored it.

The whole Dire Grove discovery was just icing on the holiday cake, really.

So what about y’all? How was your Thanksgiving? Did you make some good memories? Did your team win? Did you do any Black Friday shopping? Did you spend part of your weekend trying to figure out new and inventive ways to serve turkey and dressing leftovers?

I can’t wait to hear. Or read, as it were.

Plus, everybody knows that reading blog comments is the best possible way to decompress after working like crazy to solve a mystery in the English countryside. IT’S EXHAUSTING WORK, PEOPLE.

Have a great Monday, y’all!

I’m Home Again And You Can’t Make Me Leave

So for the last few days I’ve been on a little family trip, and if you’re wondering why I haven’t mentioned anything about it before now, it’s because our house has been empty since Saturday and I didn’t want to give a heads-up to a local RING OF THIEVES.

Because I’m sure that it’s totally the norm for a RING OF THIEVES to read blogs and then plan their heists accordingly.

Not that robbing our house would qualify as a heist, mind you. A wee small heist-ette, maybe. And only then if I’d just gone to the grocery store and therefore had an inordinate amount of cheese in the refrigerator.

We actually planned our little family getaway several months before I found out about the trip to Ecuador, and when we realized the timing of it all – what with the family trip falling in the middle of what was sure to be Ugly Re-Entry Time – my husband was a little worried that there would be some point when I’d be bawling my eyes out while he and the little man were having the time of their lives. Honestly, I thought it was a pretty dead-on prediction, but as it turned out, the time with my people was just the thing to counter the last of my re-entry blues.

Except for the part where I forgot to check in on Southwest until about 12 hours before we left town and we were way down low in the B boarding group and the flight was completely full and I spent a good portion of Saturday morning wondering HOW, HOW COULD I HAVE FAILED MY FAMILY WITH THE LOW-B BOARDING GROUP, HOW? HOWWWWWWWW??!?

So I was very level-headed and absolutely loaded with perspective about all of the plane-related events. As you can clearly see.

[I just wrote a whole bunch about our trip and then deleted it because I decided that my details were beyond boring.]

[But we went to Universal in Orlando.]

[When I figure out how to share some info about the festivities without making you want to claw out your eyeballs with a salad fork, I will certainly try again.]

[However, you can rest assured that a fine time was had by all on hand.]


It was delightful.

And to top it all off, today in the Orlando airport I had one of my most epic people-watching days EVER thanks to two female bodybuilders. Now I don’t know for sure that they were bodybuilders; I am merely making that assumption based on the fact that their arms were so cut that it looked like each woman could have picked up a whole row of chairs and flipped it through the nearest window, not to mention that when they walked past me I could hear their abs rippling. So if they weren’t bodybuilders, they were, at the very least, weight lifting aficionados.


I have no idea.

So the bodybuilder-esque women were sitting on the row across from us at our gate, and I was trying so hard not to look at them only HOW COULD I NOT LOOK AT THEM WHEN I WAS SO COMPLETELY FASCINATED? I had an endless list of questions in my head – do you train together? are you on your way to a competition? is body building big here in florida? have you ever tried the mushroom swiss burger at dairy queen? do you know that it has sort of a gravy-ish substance on it that I find strangely delicious? are you surprised that I am not personally involved in any sort of hard core weight lifting? do you know jillian michaels? – but I was too scared to strike up a conversation because, well, they seemed very intense and focused and also intense.

I tried to distract myself by texting a friend of mine who is as obsessed with people-watching as I am. And y’all, just as I started typing out that text, I realized that the bodybuilder women were eating chicken breasts from a Ziploc bag and I thought, “OH MY WORD THEY’RE PROTEIN LOADING. AT NINE THIRTY IN THE MORNING.” I continued with my texting so that I wouldn’t, you know, STARE, but I couldn’t get over the fact that they brought their own chicken to the airport. They took their chicken through security, y’all. THAT IS SOME DEDICATION.

My time in the Orlando airport also helped me to solidify some thoughts about this whole tucking-pants-into-boots trend, but that information will have to wait because quite frankly I don’t know how you could possibly handle the news about the chicken-eating bodybuilders and my opinions on the boot tuck-in all in one day. I can only ask so much of you, especially with Thanksgiving just a couple of days away.

Anyway, we’ve been home for about five hours, and I’ve already baked my sweet potatoes and am about to baptize them in some butter and brown sugar. Tomorrow I don’t have to go anywhere, so I’m going to stay in my pajamas and cook all day and then maybe change into some different pajamas and cook some more and then maybe watch some TV. So basically I’m going to have a pajama party that involves preparing large quantities of various and sundry high carb foods, capped off with a night where I watch DVR’d reality television programming. THE LORD IS FAITHFUL AND WORTHY TO BE PRAISED.

It’s good to be home.

And it’s especially good to be home WITH NO PLANS TO LEAVE.

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all.

Getting My Bearings. -Ish.

Apparently I made an unconscious decision last week to spend untold energy thinking about Things That Are Getting On My Last Nerve (2011 edition). Oh my. I WAS A PILL. I would blame it on jet lag, but there’s only a one hour time difference between Ecuador and Alabama. And for the first part of the week I thought maybe I was just tired (which was a valid assumption considering the fact that I’ve never been more in love with sleep than I was last week…I liked it so much that I totally would’ve put a ring on it if I could have).

But now that I have the benefit of a little bit of perspective, I think I was a little bit, well, ticked. I was mad that I slipped back into my comfortable suburban life so easily. I was mad about the poverty of my own dadgum spirit. I was mad because a family member had another setback with her health, and she’s been through more in the last few years than anybody I know. I was mad about everything that I needed to get done last week when all I really wanted to do was crawl in my bed. I was mad when the dishwasher didn’t empty itself and the clothes didn’t hop from the washer to the dryer and THE DVR DID NOT RECORD “THE OFFICE” EVEN THOUGH WE SPECIFICALLY TOLD IT TO RECORD “THE OFFICE,” CLEARLY EVEN THE ELECTRONICS ARE CONSPIRING AGAINST ME.

So I think the bottom line is that the whole re-entry thing forced me to take a long, hard look at my spoiled American self. And oh. I did not care for what I saw. I did not care for what I saw at all.

It’s getting better, though. The fog is lifting a little bit. We’ve had a whole bunch of family time over the last few days, and it’s helped a lot. Because you know how there are some husbands who see their wives going through a touch-y transition and they’re all “Oh, I’ll back off and give her some space and she’ll talk when she’s ready to talk?”

I am not married to that person.

However, I am married to the person who says, “Woman, you’re about to miss a whole bunch of fun with your people if you don’t get up out of that bed, so GET ON UP OUT OF THAT BED BECAUSE WE’RE GONNA MAKE HAPPY MEMORIES IF IT KILLS US. HAPPPPP-Y MEMORIES!”

And then he’ll make up a really bad song in a silly voice that’s kind of a cross between Rosco P. Coltrane and anyone who lives in the southernmost portion of Louisiana.

And do you know what I do?

I get up and go. And it’s good.

Plus, this week we have family coming to town for Thanksgiving, and I’m always a happy camper when I get to spend a couple of days chopping and mixing and cooking for a crew of people. Martha actually called me last night to confirm what she’s going to bring, and she was delighted to tell me that she’s going to bring a lemon pound cake and a sweet potato pie and a pecan pie and a congealed salad and is that enough? Do I think that’s enough? Am I sure that’s enough?

I bet you a dollar to a donut that she ends up bringing an Italian cream cake, too. Because WHAT IF WE DON’T HAVE ENOUGH?

I’ll put Mama in charge of the dressing when she gets to our house – she has a talent for chopping onion and celery into the tiniest, most perfectly shaped pieces – and then I’ll do the pork tenderloin, lima beans, rolls, asparagus casserole and sweet potato casserole. I’m going to let Honeybaked Ham bake the, you know, ham, and we’re not going to have turkey because a few years ago we discovered that nobody particularly enjoys it.

We were going through the turkey motions, y’all.

And it was time to stop pretending.

What are your big Turkey Day (or Non-Turkey, as it were) plans? Is there one certain dish that you cannot wait to see in the Thanksgiving Day line-up? Because I’ll go ahead and tell you that sweet potato casserole is my FAVORITE. My SHUT-IT-DOWN, MAMA’S-GONNA-HAVE-ANOTHER-HELPING-FOR-DESSERT favorite.

What about you?

A Terribly Exciting Wednesday

I don’t really have a lot of exciting news to report, but since that’s never stopped me before, I figured I’d update Ye Olde Blog before I go to bed.

So. I cooked some fish for supper tonight.


In all seriousness, I’ve been having a hard time getting into a post-Ecuador groove. I’ve been plenty busy with family and work and errands and whatnot, and I’ve also been doing some pretty impressive sleeping (some of my best ever, in fact), but I’m still just a little bit unsettled in a way I can’t exactly explain. It’s almost like a little piece of my heart is still a few thousand miles away (totally estimating on that mileage thing, by the way – I’m not very strong with the geography). It’s not really a sadness – it’s just that I miss it. I’m so grateful that I had the opportunity to go.

So there’s that.

In other delightful developments, I seem to have caught a cold at some point during All The Traveling. I started sneezing Monday afternoon, and by Tuesday morning I was wondering if I’d ever breathe through my nose again. You may have noticed that I’m not at all melodramatic when it comes to something as run-of-the-mill as THE COMMON COLD.

Have mercy. Sometimes I WEAR MYSELF OUT.

Anyway, today was much better on the cold front (as long as you’re not counting the part where it rained all morning and I was having a terrible hair day and I wasn’t home so I didn’t have a brush and my cowlick decided to overtake the whole right side of my forehead and CLEARLY I AM BACK IN THE SWING OF DOCUMENTING MY MANY FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS), but this afternoon I realized that I needed another box of tissue. At this point, by the way, I’m guessing that there are two or maybe even four of you still reading, and if that is the case, then I would just like to say KUDOOZ TO YOU (if you get that reference, then I may have to send you some sort of prize).

Anyway, I ran to the Walgreens to grab a box of tissues, and I made a discovery that may very well change the course of my entire life or, at the very least, the course of the next 3-4 days.

They’re Kleenex Cool Touch tissues.


Oh my word.

I don’t know how in the world the Kleenex people put the cool touch magic in these tissues, but they are A REFRESHING TREASURE. They actually feel cool against your face – almost like you’ve just pulled a box of tissues out of the freezer (which, you know, I’m sure lots of us do on a daily basis). I’m normally not overly picky about my tissues, but after finding myself in need of a tissue on approximately 251 different occasions today (just a rough estimation, of course), the Cool Touch Kleenex have provided some sweet relief over the last few hours.

So that’s pretty much all that’s new with me: a hard-to-define restlessness, a cold, and some really good tissues.

What’s new with you?