Archives for April 2013

A Touch Of The Attention Deficit – And A Decorative Dilemma

So this week, huh? My goodness. There’s been way too much sadness packed into the last few days. And last night when I saw the footage from the explosion in Texas, all I could think was Oh, Lord – be near. The combination of everything that’s happened this week is just heavy, you know? Maybe that’s why I watched this clip this morning…because when all else fails, well, DISNEY MUSICAL.

I’m not saying that I want to live in a bubble, but I am saying that the world doesn’t seem quite so harsh if you watch that little section with the basketballs about six times in a row.

I also struggled today with a really stunning inability to pay attention to anything for longer than about four minutes. I would think something along the lines of I think I will write a blog post! – and then I’d type two words, stare at the screen for several minutes, and the next thing I knew I was making a list of BOOKS I WOULD LIKE TO READ and then I stopped doing that because WHAT IS THE NAME OF THAT NEW HANSON SONG and then I got sidetracked 30 seconds into the song because I WONDER IF I HAVE ANY PICTURES OF THAT PLACE IN ECUADOR?

Listen. By the time 1 o’clock rolled around I was just as frazzled as I could be – but I had not accomplished a single thing other than figuring out how to save a document into a folder in Pages. Oh, and I also opened a new pack of IceBreakers.

I’m not gonna lie. It was a low.

This afternoon ended up being much better (I fixed supper! And actually served hot food!), and tonight I had a little a-ha moment about something and am hoping that some of you can help me.

A couple of hours ago I walked into Alex’s room to tell him goodnight, and all of a sudden I realized that his bedroom doesn’t match him anymore. His bedroom is very much a little boy’s room – right down to the curtains that I had made for his nursery – and here’s some news: he is not a little boy anymore. In fact, he and I wear the same size shoe right now (seriously – he got some new Crocs last week, and they’re a 7 men’s / 9 women’s, and HOW EXACTLY DID THAT HAPPEN?).

Anyway, I stood in his room and looked around for a second, and it made me a little sad, really – not because he’s getting older (I seriously think it’s just about the coolest thing ever to see him slowly but surely becoming his own person), but because I want him to have a room that’s a better reflection of who he is and what he likes. And as it is right now, his room is NOT that space. He’s a ten year-old in a five year-old’s room, and I am of a mind to change that just as soon as I can make it happen.

So. Do any of you mamas / aunts / grandmothers have any suggestions for ways to update a boy’s room so that it’s a bit more age appropriate without spending a bunch of money? Keep in mind that I am a certified Stein Mart / TJMaxx / Assorted Discounted Retailers shopper, so I certainly don’t require anything fancy. I’d just like to update the stuff on his bookshelves, put up some new curtains, and maybe swap out his comforters. For approximately $19.99.

Oh, I’m totally kidding. I will spend upwards of $39.99 if necessary.

I promise that I was smiling when I typed that.

But here’s my big question: should I take him shopping with me and try to guide him in the process of picking out something even though he has a strong and pronounced aversion to stores that sell linens? Or should I just pick it all out and re-do his room when he’s not looking?

Also: is there a store I may not know about that carries really good stuff for boys?

And then there’s this option: should I just leave it all as-is until he develops some concern about / care for / general interest in what his room looks like? He is not bothered AT ALL by his room in its current state, but he’s also not bothered by wearing the same pair of basketball shorts for four days in a row. And I do think that, in the end, he would love a room that’s a little more “grown.”

Any ideas?

Hi. I Have Some Links.

– “Because I think we need more voices gently declaring that marriage slants hard, and that’s ok. Sometimes grace finds shape in ‘me too!’ And even more than that, this recognition of shared struggles leads to the novel and frightening realization that perhaps God wants to teach us something through marriage that has less to do with happiness and an equitable sharing of chores than it does with our hearts.” – Done: For days when marriage feels impossibly hard

– “…this birthday marks the halfway point of your childhood. Nine years have whizzed by– nine years of playgroups and picture books, dolls and songs, snuggling and walks in the woods. In just nine more years, you’ll be preparing to graduate from high school, and go on to college, and start life as an adult. And I’m sorry, Punky, but that that’s just not enough time. I need more time.” – The Halfway Point

– This is beautiful.

– I’ve written a couple of TV-related posts over at Ree’s blog this past week. The first one is some spoiler-heavy speculation about Scandal, and the second one is all about The Rachel Zoe Project. As always, I’m tackling the tough issues.

– If you’re a fan of Don Draper and company, you will get a huge kick out of reading Alan Sepinwall’s weekly Mad Men recaps. His observations (and the comments) are smart, insightful, and thought-provoking (especially if you like a healthy dose of symbolism, foreshadowing, and whatnot). Good stuff.

– I saw this on Ann’s blog this morning, and it struck me as just right in light of yesterday’s tragedies.

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Praying with you and for you, Boston.

Because Sometimes Boring Is Just What You Need

Well, I have made it my personal goal and mission to finish out this weekend by watching some Quality Sunday Evening Television. In fact, I just sat through an entire episode of 60 Minutes for the first time in about twenty years, and do you know what? It was delightful. When I was younger I used to associate the sound of the 60 Minutes stopwatch with DREAD and DOOM and HORROR because SCHOOL IS COMING SOON, but now it just makes me think about Sunday nights at my parents’ house. And how we ate roast beef sandwiches a lot for Sunday night supper. And how Ed Bradley always seemed so cool and with it compared to all the other reporters.

The mind works in peculiar ways, doesn’t it?

We’ve had a really laid-back weekend at our house, mainly because there is a child in this house who is waging war with pollen right now. I’m guessing you know which child I am talking about since, well, THERE IS ONLY ONE OF THEM HERE, but he usually has four or five days every spring when the pollen makes him absolutely miserable, and that’s exactly where we were at the end of last week. Friday he coughed from the time he got out of bed until the time he went to sleep, and while on one hand I felt so sorry for him and wanted so much for him to feel better, I was also about ready to take that cough outside and give it a piece of my mind because OH MY WORD IT WOULD NOT STOP. We’d been to the doctor the day before, so I knew that there wasn’t much I could do, but that didn’t stop me from putting Vicks on the bottoms of A.’s feet, offering a steady rotation of cough drops and Lifesavers (for variety, you understand), and practically setting a timer so that I’d know when it was time for the next dose of cough syrup.

Thankfully, yesterday and today have been so much better (thank you, rain). I ran some errands yesterday morning, and since I needed to go to The Summit for a few things, I decided to stop by Belk to look at sandals. What I did not know, however, is that all of Belk’s dresses – ALL OF THEM – were 50% off, and quite frankly I felt like it would have been irresponsible to not investigate the sales possibilities. As you might imagine, the store was COVERED UP with some dress-fixated women (and a few despondent men). I seriously could have sat in that store all day long and soaked up some stories. In fact, at one point I was trying on a few things when I heard the very distinct voice of a man in the dressing room area, and as I stood there and tried to make sense of it all, an employee said, “Um, sir? You’re not supposed to be back here in the women’s dressing rooms.” And the man replied, “Oh, no. It’s fine. Because I’m watching our baby. I’m not just sitting back here by myself. This is different.”

And while I think every woman in that dressing room area who was listening probably agreed that it was kind of him to watch the baby while his wife tried on clothes, I think we were probably also in agreement that SIR, THIS IS A VERY LARGE STORE – LO, A STORE WITH FAR MORE SUITABLE BABY-WATCHING AREAS.

Have mercy it was awkward. But I was happy to endure the awkward because I found a really cute summer dress and I certainly wasn’t going to miss out on the 50% off (plus an additional 15%) just because a doting daddy made a questionable seating choice. That wouldn’t even make good sense.

This morning we went to a different church because our friend Shaun was speaking and leading worship there. It’s been a year and a half since Shaun led our Compassion Bloggers trip to Ecuador, and it was so good to see him and get to laugh for a few minutes. Afterwards we made our weekly pilgrimage to the Chuy’s, and then we came home and watched the Masters and napped and watched the end of the Masters and ate leftovers from our lunch and now I’m about to watch Oprah interview Mark Burnett and Roma Downey.

So all in all, I guess, it was kind of a boring weekend. But after last weekend and the Virus-y Plague of Doom, I’ll take it. It was just what we needed. A. is feeling better, D. and I are rested (we bought some new pillows – I will report our findings after we’ve had a chance to use them for a week or so), and hopefully there’s some springtime fun in store this next week – springtime fun that’s virus- and cough-free.

That would be a wonder, now wouldn’t it?


Happy Monday, y’all!

Duly Noted

I met my friend Joni the summer before my sophomore year of high school. We were both pledges for a high school social club in our hometown, and while I’m really not sure how the social clubs became a tradition (a tradition that is still going strong, I might add), I do know that when I was 14, I was convinced – CONVINCED – that I would never have a meaningful social life if I didn’t join. That is why I spent the better part of three months making an utter fool of myself so that I could fulfill the requirements for membership. That is also why I am certain that if I could travel back in time, the grown-up version of me would tell the 14 year-old version of me to HAVE SOME PRIDE, ALREADY, and stop it with that pledging business.

Seriously. If I told y’all everything that we had to do, you would cringe. And you would also understand why the smell of maple syrup will forever make me shudder.

What I realized early on in that pledging process, though, was that Joni, who was a year older, was hilarious. Her dry sense of humor made me laugh until my stomach hurt, and her perfectly-timed one-liners made that very long, very hot summer just a little bit more bearable. I got the biggest kick out of being around her.

When school started that fall, Joni and I found ourselves in the same biology class, and we eventually became lab partners. That meant that we got to walk through all sorts of memorable moments together – like dissecting a cat that we christened “Diane,” for instance. Joni’s grasp of biology far exceeded mine; I usually had a hard time in classes that didn’t interest me, and for most of high school, English was my only interest (well, English and typing – and for whatever reason, I really loved calculus). Joni and I would often plan “study sessions” before a big biology test, but we usually laughed way more than we studied. I’m sure that at some point I memorized a few details about prophase and anaphase and meiosis and mitosis, but the fellowship was way more fun than the subject matter. Always.

There were lots of days when Joni and I would start conversations in biology class that time didn’t permit us to finish, so we fell into the habit of writing epic, novella-length notes to each other after biology was over. There’s no telling how many pieces of paper we passed back and forth between classes. And while I know that hard things happened and sad things happened and embarrassing things happened, we’d write those notes and try our best to find the funny in every single bit of it.

A couple of years ago I ran into Joni here in Birmingham, and after we visited for a few minutes, she asked me if I remembered the notes we used to write. I absolutely did, though I hadn’t thought about them in a long time, and she told me that she’d kept a lot of them tucked away in a box at her house. I couldn’t believe that she’d held on to them, but oh, did I ever want to read a few. And when Joni and I saw each other again at a Mississippi State football game this past fall, she assured me that she really was going to dig out that box of notes and see what ancient treasures she could find.

Monday night I clicked over to Facebook, and this picture was at the top of my feed.

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photo by JNM

I spied my 10th grade handwriting in the bottom, left-hand corner. And I grinned like crazy.

I’m not a person who gets overly nostalgic when I think about high school. It was fun and I had great teachers and I made some wonderful, life-long friends, but by and large I am infinitely more nostalgic about college. That being said, there was something about seeing that old note in Joni’s picture – that little sliver of my 15 year-old self – that made me so grateful for the blessing of sweet friends and healthy friendships. I had no idea how fortunate I was.

But I understand it now.

And I am ever-so-grateful.

Does anything make you nostalgic for your high school days?

Things That Rumble Forebodingly In The Night

Last Thursday night, I was minding my own business and doing something terribly important (I can’t remember, exactly, but I’m assuming that I was either counting down the seconds until Scandal started or watching my 4,378th episode of Diners, Drive-ins, & Dives when I realized that I didn’t feel so hot. I told myself that it was just a little indigestion, and that’s what I continued to tell myself several hours later, when I was still in denial about the possibility of a stomach virus even thought I was tossing and turning and basically longing for some Tums or maybe even a couple of sticks of sidewalk chalk.

But by Friday afternoon, the virus / plague / Masque of the Red Death (apologies to Edgar Allan Poe) had made a believer out of me. I thought the worst was over by Saturday morning, but that was only because I had not yet experienced what was coming my way Saturday night and Sunday morning. It was SOMETHING ELSE.

Today, though, I am so much better. I’m a smidge dehydrated and a little dependent on bananas as my primary food group, but compared to a couple of days ago, I am downright peppy. Doing high kicks in a field of daisies while puppies frolic nearby. Relatively speaking, of course.

Oh! And since I’m watching the NCAA Championship Game right now, I guess this is as good a time as any to point out that the most unlikely thing EVER happened after the first two Final Four games.

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Now if Louisville loses, I’m guessing this whole phase of being atop the leader board will be, as Joey Tribbiani would say, “a moo point – like a cow’s opinion, it doesn’t matter” – but given my embarrassingly poor showing in the early rounds, I’m a little tickled that things have turned out this way. Even if it’s only temporary.

So that’s pretty much all that’s been going on around here: a whole lot of virus-ing (D feel prey to the plague on Saturday, I’m sad to say), an impressive amount of sleeping, and a little bit of basketball-ing. I did watch parts of the ACM Awards last night, an experience that left me wondering when exactly the men who sing country music for a living started to get spray tans (at least they LOOK like they get spray tans – I have no real evidence, other than the muted orange head-to-toe hue that I noticed on several performers). To each his own, I reckon, and honestly, who cares what I think? I mean, I still can’t get used to the sight of male country singers wearing skinny jeans, so clearly I am all sorts of ancient.

Maybe tomorrow I can stand on my porch and shake my fist at the sky and find a reason to scream the word “hooligans.”

I’ll get to work on that first thing in the morning.


A Collection Of Observations And Also Thoughts

I wasn’t kidding around back in January when I said that I was not – WAS NOT – going to watch American Idol this season. I’d read a few things about drama during the auditions, and I just couldn’t muster up the energy to watch judges argue. I’d much rather use that energy to count the number of times that someone says “amazing,” “connection,” or “journey” on The Bachelor. I think that we can all agree that it’s a much more valuable (and productive!) use of a person’s time.

I didn’t watch a single second of Idol auditions – not even Hollywood Week, which has always been my favorite. I kept my distance all the way through the selection process, in fact, and even when the finalists started the “real” portion of the show in the studio, I stayed away. But once the finalists were narrowed down to the top 10, I took a little bitty peek at the singing when I was flipping around on the TV on Wednesday night, and I sorta / kinda / maybe got slightly hooked again. Granted, I don’t watch it as intently as I used to – if a contestant doesn’t grab my attention during the first few seconds of a song, I fast forward the DVR – but I have to say that I’m enjoying the show.

My favorite so far is Candice Glover, a South Carolina girl who can flat-out SANG. I also like Cree and Janelle a lot – they are super-likeable on stage, which is a big deal with me for some reason. Interestingly enough (well, it’s interesting to me, at least, but I certainly won’t presume to speak for the group), Candice won me over for good when she sang a song that I absolutely loathe, “I Heard It Through The Grapevine.” It’s a nice enough song, I guess, but I watched a lot of TV in the early 80s, and I saw those California Raisins commercials so many times that the “Grapevine” song was OH-SO-DEAD to me.

But then Candice made it better.

Now. Pretend that this sentence creates a lovely transition into the next topic.

I have never had a Facebook page for my blog. The reason I have never had a Facebook page for my blog is because I didn’t want one. It was one more thing to keep up with and one more thing to manage and I kind of like to keep the social media part of my life low-key and breezy. But what I am realizing is that over the next couple of months, I’m gonna have announcements and questions and ponderings that pertain to the book, and I don’t want for the blog to become All Book, All The Time. I also don’t want to use my personal Facebook page for book stuff, mainly because someone who hasn’t seen me since 2nd grade probably isn’t going to care a whole lot about whether or not I’ve scheduled any book signings.

All that to say: I caved and set up a Facebook page for the blog / book / general writing-type endeavors. I actually set it up on Tuesday, but it’s taken me a couple of days to work up the nerve to mention it because, well, I am weird. It is currently a very sad, desolate Facebook page with upwards of three “likes” (my friends Anne and Nicole found it somehow even though I hadn’t told them about it, so clearly they have magical Facebook powers). I do think that I’ll enjoy having a separate place to share book news / blog news / whatever news, and that way the blog can continue to be a place to tackle all the hard-hitting issues of the day: pillow selection, snack cracker flavors, meats we don’t enjoy, vegetables that strike us as friendly, etc.

So. Here’s the Facebook page.

And I would love to know if you’re watching AI and who your favorites are.

I’m glad we’ve had this talk.

Happy Weekend, y’all!