Here Comes Bride, There Goes Kidney

Really and Not Really!

My youngest, McPaddie, is getting married! Her fiancé is an awesome man; we are all beyond excited. That means we are having a wedding! YIKES.

Fortunately, the big event is a year away. Haven’t broached subject of budget with her dad. While he is totally on board, he has no clue what weddings cost. I’m thinking he’s thinking $7. Am totally Scarlett O’Hara about having that conversation with him. Must contact EMS unit to have on hand when I grow a pair and spit it out. “Tomorrow is another day”.

Meanwhile, this mission requires MAJOR CREATIVITY. A few of the thoughts that have crossed my mind at 3:00 am every morning:

  • Sell a kidney (no, think that’s against the law)
  • Numerous bikini car washes (force future bridesmaids into slave labor)
  • Bake sales (one cookie = $1000)
  • Stand on busy street corner with sign (nope; too hot and I work every day)
  • Call BRAVO and ask Andy Cohen to make a reality series for us (so not happening)
  • Start a new trend: the drive-by wedding (just kidding)

Obviously, I need your help! If you have any ideas – puh-leeze throw them out here. Before throwing, please note: they won’t elope, we will do our best and honor what the bride wants on budget, we know it’s about the ceremony, not the flash.

*We are Southern. That means the weddings in these parts = church ceremony and reception. Reception includes buffet, mucho alcohol, and a great band so you dance your ass off. Just so you know. Oh, and photography. Just blew left side of brain.

You have your assignment. Am off to search for loose change.

Later.

Grateful

When my eldest was in preschool, her class did a project for Parent Night. Each child was told to draw a picture of what they were grateful for and the teacher would write their explanation underneath. The “grateful proclamations” were posted up and down the halls. As parents entered the building, there were the sweet drawings. Most of the artwork featured Mommy, Daddy, Siblings, and Pets. Searching for what Miss Peach was grateful for, I noticed a clump of parents around one drawing. Ah, there it was. My daughter was grateful for fried chicken. Just another proud moment.

While I find fried chicken tasty, I am grateful for:

  • My daughters, my parents, my sister
  • A roof over my head and food in the pantry
  • Friends, especially those “heart” friends I would do anything for and I know that feeling is reciprocal
  • My sweet little dog who loves me and never leaves my side … or feet, which can be a problem but he means well
  • The good mornings that follow bad nights
  • Freedom
  • Inspiration
  • The knowledge that I am not in charge of the universe. Breathe in, breathe out.  On those days when I feel I can’t handle another broken something, when I doubt I can put one foot in front of the other, when the forest is so dense and scary and thick I couldn’t find a tree if I walked right into it, there is comfort in the breathe. Peace comes eventually. And I remember the world doesn’t spin on my axis. Thank God.
  • A job I enjoy so much it doesn’t feel like a job
  • The ability to make a difference, however small, for the better
  • Hugs. There is nothing as comforting and necessary for the soul as the human touch. Many people are “starving” for this. So simple, so easy to give. And oh so easy to receive.

Later.

Booking It

Better get these on the books before I get bored and start … handfishing with hillbillies. Not really. I don’t hang with hillbillies. And my relationship with fish involves cooking and a fork. But I digress …

Just read, am reading, will read:

  • The Other Tudors, Henry VIII’s Mistresses and Bastards by Philippa Jones. My obsession with all things Henry continues. Jones was/is a historian, and a good one at that. Each page is so full of information, I might finish when I’m 75, but this is a good book.
  • An Available Man by Hilma Wolitzer. The story of a 62-year-old widower thrust back into the world of women. Not a snore. This is a  good read and full of surprises. Brava, Hilma!
  • Behind the Beautiful Forevers by Katherine Boo. At my bedside, ready to read next. Great reviews for this “jaw-dropping” portrait of modern India.
  • Rules of Civility by Amor Towles. Stylish portrait of the higher life in 1930s New York. Still reading … really like the narrator but the lifestyle makes me want to go to AA and the characters make me sad.
  • The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons 
  • Gone With A Handsomer Man by Michael Lee West. Have always been a huge MLW fan; this would be my least favorite of all her book. Whining.
  • Rules for Virgins by Amy Tan. This one is a Kindle Single – a 40-page story that may or may not be part of future book. Shanghai. 1912. Former courtesan advising aspiring one. Fascinating.

Later.

Free Falling

Free falling. There are those times when you find yourself in a free fall. Gravity, disguised as circumstances, exhaustion, or emotions, just knocks your feet right out from under you. And you are free falling.

It’s not so much about the fall, itself, but that you stop it. This is NOT the time to go with the flow.

Catastrophizing, whining, blaming … these are not options but negative motivators (oxymoron?) that build nasty momentum. So, how do you stop the fall?

First, reach out. Grab some strong arms to hug you, seek loving ears to listen.

My very wise friend, Renee, would say, “Shift“. Look at what “pushed” you, shift your perceptions, and find the lesson. Emotions are fickle, not to be trusted”. Ms. Shay would say, “It’s all about will – your will, your choice – and you have abundant, positive choices.”

And then, the rest is up to me … or you. It always is. When I am in a free fall, it is often precipitated by control. Me trying to control anything, everything. And when anything, everything feels like I am herding cats, “tilting at windmills”, and bouncing off the same brick wall repeatedly, I know to stop. Just stop and listen.

Then, and only then, I hear Renee and Ms. Shay. And the Big Voice saying, “You are NOT on a crazy train that’s going off the rails. You didn’t buy that ticket. Simmer down.” And I’m no longer falling, but standing up, sorta straight. And remembering verses that are warm and fuzzy at the very least – to me:

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy-laden and overburdened, and I will ease and relieve and refresh your souls. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find relief and ease and refreshment and blessed quiet for your souls. For My yoke is useful – not harsh, hard, sharp, or pressing, but comfortable, gracious, and pleasant, and My burden is light and easily borne.” (Matthew 11:28-30, Amplified Bible)

“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life? (Mary Oliver)

Then I know that comfort, so momentarily elusive, will come.

And I begin again.

——————————-

*Big Voice would not be Ozzy Osbourne. But I do like “Crazy Train

Self-Medicating with Words

I will go to great lengths to make a day that feels “less than” feel “more than”. Today, I’m rolling around in the following quotes:

  • “If you think you are too small to make a difference, you’ve never been in a tent with a mosquito.” Regina Brett
  • “What motivates you more: a correction or a compliment?” Jenny Dintzler
  • “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least.” Goethe
  • “A belief has no power other than what you give it.”
  • “Happiness happens when you least inspect it.”
  • “Stay open all hours for miracles.”
  • “We are born at peace.”
  • “Happiness doesn’t always make you happy.” Gretchen Rubin
  • “It is better to sleep on what you intend doing than to stay awake over what you’ve done.”
  • “I’ll sing for my supper but I won’t audition.” Kaminsky & Penney
  • “Change happens slowly, then all at once.”
  • “What looks like an anchor may be wings.”
  • “Instead of treating people the way you want to be treated, treat people the way they want to be treated.” Regina Brett
  • “None of us have a crystal ball. We may feel like things are hard and we are stuck with a lemon today. But tomorrow could bring many beautiful things if our hearts are open and willing.” Divorced Girl/Vibrant Nation
  • “If you see a red flag, don’t try to make it magenta. What you see is the way it is. Believe it and act accordingly.” Magnolia Miller
  • “The best test of a person’s character is how he/she treats those with less power … the way you act when you can’t be held accountable, how you treat those who can do nothing for you.”
  • “All you need is love.” The Beatles

Now.

Later.

Now and Later.

Stop Being A Mother?

I am a mother.

Mercifully, I still have my own mother in a time when the majority of my friends have lost theirs. My mom and I have most certainly had our differences over the years. Big emphasis on differences. But she’s still my mom, and I know that she has always done the best she could to be a good mother. And no matter what my age, I will always be her child.

Many times, I’ve wanted to yell and scream at her, especially when she tells me what I should and shouldn’t do. But I’ve lived long enough to know that she just wants to help, and what sounds hurtful and critical is not meant that way at all. She wants to be relevant in my life, she wants me to be the best person I can be. So, I must let my interpretations of what I think she is saying fall through my mental sieve, and love her. It’s just the way it works for me. Time and experience, wasted anger and rage, have taught me to be the daughter of the woman who would give her life for me. At the end of the day, it’s all about respect. And the fact that my dad would probably whoop the living hell out of me, even at this late stage of the game, if I treated her with any disrespect.

My two daughters are the two best people I know. We get sideways sometimes. I’ll have an issue with one, and after exhausting the topic and getting nowhere, I’ll talk to the other about what I can do – or not do. Mothers are like that; we want our chicks to thrive in the best possible circumstances. And I’ve made more than my share of mistakes, unwarranted comments and offered advice has been misunderstood as hurtful criticism. This part of the mother job is the hardest. And that is an understatement.

Both of my daughters are adults. They are living adult lives. Yesterday, my youngest daughter and I got into it via text; she lives in another city and is making big decisions about the next few years of her life. I wanted to find out where she was in the decision process. Long story short – it ended badly. My opinions weren’t wanted, and I made it worse by pushing and pushing and pushing. Driving home from work, I felt like my skin was going to fall off, I was boiling inside. She was the one who, as a toddler, would press her face against the window and cry hysterically when I had to leave for work. She was the one who would throw up whenever I left town. But she’s an adult now. I forgot.

I’d invited my eldest daughter over for dinner last night. I was still in a swivet when I got home and the story of the day spilled out. She said, “Mom, you’ve got to let her go.” I’d never thought about it that way, but she’s right. The lessons always come from the most surprising places … and circumstances.

So, no matter what, I will always be here for both of them. For the tearful phone calls, for the requests for advice, to feed them when they are hungry, hug them when they are sad, laugh with them when we are amused, help them whenever necessary. Yes, I have to let them go. Hard but doable. This “freeing” process is going to take much discipline on my part. But I’m going to give it my best. I’m quite clear what letting them go doesn’t mean.

I will never stop being their mother. No matter what. Ever.

Be happy. Your choice.

Later.

I Don’t Drink Outside My Zip Code

Isn’t that the best line ever? My friend, Demona, threw that down when we were discussing where to have dinner.

Topics for today include: Books, Movies, and Finds. Off we go:

Loving the WordFoto App

Books and Movies

One of the books I recently read was The Paris Wife by Paula McLain. Historical fiction about Ernest Hemingway and his first wife, Hadley. I’ve read everything about F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald during that crazy time; it was nice to get a different perspective. And I’m damn glad I did because …. two weeks later, I saw Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris. Had I not read that book, I wouldn’t have “gotten” all the nuances in the movie.  Book – good; Movie – not so much. I’ve also read Maine by J. Courtney Sullivan; really liked it until last chapter. Next up: The Man in the Rockefeller Suit by Mark Seal, Joy for Beginners by Erica Bauermeister, and Wait for Me! Memoirs by Deborah Mitford, Duchess of Devonshire.

Finds

If you are anywhere near Oxford, Mississippi, do stop by Bottletree Bakery. Everything in that place looks delicious; everything I managed to cram in my mouth was delicious. Find yourself in Houston? Head right over to ….

Yum!

I swear, Relish has the very best Blueberry Cookie I’ve ever eaten. The hummus is amazing as well.

On the shoe front, a group of us stumbled upon the most comfortable sandals in the entire world in Charleston, S.C. The Charleston Shoe Co. and sister store, Savannah Shoe Co., sell these babies in an abundance of styles. Because they use a bunch of elastic and rubber soles, I could wear them every day. And, one of the sales women told me they can go in the washing machine. Won’t happen at my house because I am on a laundry strike, but you can do whatever you want.

Can't help myself

*It has been said you cannot stick your tongue out and look at the ceiling simultaneously (tendons say “no”).

You just tried it AND you can do it.

I know, because I did.

Idiots all.

Later.

If Your Life Was …

The sky's the limit!

Hola!

Thumbing through The Awe-Manac by Jill Badonsky, I came upon a question she posed that has intrigued as well as baffled me. I’ve yet to come up with an answer – so I’d like to know yours …. let your imagination go wild, no borders.

If your life was a box of Cracker Jacks, what would the prize be inside?”

Do tell. I’m all ears eyes!

Later. Tomorrow.

Crazy stuff.

Why I Love Letters & Quotes

 

 I love letters. I love letters because when put together, they sometimes explain so much about life. To me, at least. Have always been a “quote” collector; some people can just explain everything better than I can at any moment in time.

Scouring my bookshelves this afternoon, I found a book of quotes my dear friend gave me in 1980. I’d been looking for another book for an explanation of some experiences that keep repeating themselves. I found that too, but this 30-year old treasure has plenty of  relevant material as well. Let the sharing begin:

  • “What is said drunk has been thought out beforehand.”
  • “The only real mistake is the one from which we learn nothing.”
  • “Nothing is so strong as gentleness; nothing is so gentle as real strength.”
  • “Never play leapfrog with a unicorn.”
  • “There is no such thing as a little garlic.”
  • “Never sleep with anyone crazier than yourself.”
  • “Don’t see all you see and don’t hear all you hear.”

That last quote is pertinent to my experiences this week. Lots of commotion, talks about friendship, and realizations about some personal relationships. In an article written in the March 2010 issue of O Magazine, author Paige Williams wrote about “Friendship Detox”. She listed some great pointers regarding friends vs. frenemies, keeping in mind that “friendship is about collaboration, not domination.” If you have some funky relationships or nine, Williams says to ask yourself:

  1. Do you look forward to seeing this person or is it a chore?”
  2. “Is she truly happy to see you, or do you suspect she wants something from you or needs to lord something over you?”
  3. “Will you walk away from this meeting feeling good – or manipulated, demeaned, poisoned, or played?”

That is some brain munch, and most necessary at times. Other related quotes popped up, like, “There’s a special place in hell for women who do not help other women,” from the mouth of Madeleine Albright (!). My take on the whole frenemy thing – never complain to – or trust – a faux friend. Leaving this topic with a quote from my mom, “Some people are about as deep as a pie pan.” And we:’re walking …..

  • “If you don’t throw it, they can’t hit it.”
  • “Never let the bottom of your purse or your mind be seen.”
  • “A narrow mind has a broad tongue.”
  • “When it comes to helping you, some people stop at nothing.”
  • “It is the cracked ones that let the light through.”
  • “Don’t complain, don’t explain.”
  • “Opportunity at every door knocketh, but it has never been known to pick a lock.”
  • “Turn a frown upside down and all the frown juice will fall out.”
  • “If you have to ask what “jazz”is, you will never know.”
  • “Never put off ’til tomorrow what you can get by with not doing at all.”

That’s all I have for today, folks! I’m positive you have some good ones. Share!

Happy Weekend. Over and out.

Later.

Bargaining Power: Let’s Make A Deal

 

 

I’m all about bargains, especially these days. There are still items I will spring for but I don’t spring like I used to.

Here are my latest “finds”:

The Dollar, $.99, $1.09, Whatever You Want To Call Them Stores – I LOVE these places for several reasons. Gift bags, you can get any size and/or shape for $1. And they don’t look cheap. I hate it when I have a large gift and the bag costs more than the present. NOT ANY LONGER! See ya, wouldn’t want to be ya, Hallmark! I also find microfiber hair towels, all sorts of dental items (not toothpaste, though), hairspray, glass votives, and fake pewter trays. Plus, they have a bunch of stuff that I remember from my childhood. Kitchy stuff. Probably IS from my childhood. How old does something have to be to be considered an antique?

Target – the buyers for Target are Very Smart People. One reason? The designer lines that pop up. From erin fetherston (enormous heart handbag) to John Derian ( home goods) to Temple St. Clair (jewelry), well, let’s just say I couldn’t touch any of these lines, all of which I love, without Target. Would be totally remiss if I didn’t mention my fave, Boots. Am not a big fan of make up, but there are some things that must be covered up enhanced. Have been loyal to YSL Touche éclat for years. Great undereye concealer, $45 for 2.5 ounces. No Mas! I now use Boots No. 7 Radiant Glow concealer, $12.99 for 2.5 ounces. Looks just the same to me. The other product that is major wonderful is Boots Mediterranean Olive, Almond, & Sage Wonderbalm, $8.99. My lips LOVE me.

Clothes and Shoes – am personally beyond picky about these items; they don’t have to be expensive but the lines, design, materials, and details MUST be present. When shopping for myself, I have a picture in my head of what I’m looking for and I do not stop until I find it. When I am successful, I try on item, write down style number, head home, and get on the computer. I will find the same item at a price I prefer. Win-win. The adventure, for me, is shopping for others. Which I do. Today my friend needed my help. Challenge on! Armed with her size, I pulled together a wardrobe that can take her from the beach to the White House, any season. One hour – 14 pieces of clothing. And the tab is what two pieces would normally cost. Love when that happens.

Other Bargain Stops – Saw “The Social Network” and “Winter’s Bone” for $2. Redbox rocks. You can get paid for participating in online surveys – not shyster kind, but from Opinion Outpost. The surveys aren’t long and I’ve gotten paid at least $200 over the past 9 months. Don’t quite your day job, but the process is interesting and cash is cash.

Those are my “tips” today. On to General BS. If you are not a total fan yet, please reserve next Tuesday evening for the show, “Raising Hope“. Hysterical is an understatement. If you don’t like it, don’t tell me.

Getting too general … and boring myself to pieces. Get specific! Okay, if you are a fairy godperson out there, here is what I would welcome (aside from world peace, cure for cancer, and other important issues):

  • Some levity, no, make that a ton of levity
  • A long run of very good luck and health
  • Love and laughter, company and chatter
  • Knowledge that the unspoken prayers in my heart are heard

* I want the same for you.

*Please do not use kooky formula aka “Under the Tuscan Sun”.

Do we have a bargain?

Later.

Because I need to read your posts.

Really.