Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Award I'm Going to Award

I'm so excited...Shannon over at EightCrazy Design designed a wonderful custom button for the new award that I'm going to give as I feel so inspired. Here it is!

I'm discovering new blogs that I enjoy reading everyday and sometimes I read things that just tickle me to no end and I say to that gal is a Southern Belle. Southern Belleness transcends is a philosophy...a state of and substance...wit and and sunshine...grit and, and so much more.

I don't know how often I'll give the award...but I can tell you that I'm going to give the first one....TA DAH....right now.

I read a post on July 17, by P over at Life is Better With A...Cute Outfit. She threw the most amazing birthday party for her daughter complete with a pink limousine, and they Partied Like ROCK STARS. I left her a comment then and there that she was going to get the first award as soon as it was ready so P...Congratulations on being the FIRST recipient of the Southern Belle Award. Readers...mosey on over and see what it's all about.

There are several contenders for the next round, but I'm going to have to sign off until Sunday night. We leave bright and early tomorrow morning to move Legare to his new apartment in beautiful Chapel Hill, NC.

Stay tuned! More awards to come soon!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


We have a recurring problem in our house. We become obsessed with things...television shows mostly. We stay so busy that we record shows and movies on the DVR and then watch them a day or two later, skipping the commercials. We are still mourning the loss of West Wing and The Sopranos. If I ever need a lawyer I want Alan Shore from Boston Legal and if he needs a special investigator he can call Monk or Shawn and Gus from Psych. I want my next door neighbors to be the Gilmore Girls and the main street in our town to look like Stars Hollow. I want to go Dancing with the Stars with Max as my partner and take Paula Abdul's place as the middle judge on American Idol. I need Bree from Desperate Housewives to help me organize my home and I want to drink coffee in Nora's kitchen on Brothers and Sisters.

Sometimes, though, because we're so busy, we miss out on a really good series until a year or two (or three) after it has started. You should have seen us trying to catch up on two year's worth of The Sopranos. Then there was Deadwood and right behind that came Rome.

About a month ago, I kind of randomly put the first season of Lost in my Netflix queue. OH my goodness...Hank and I are hooked. Last night I was so tired that my eyes were rolling back in my head as we finished the first season and tried to get through the beginning of the second season. Jack, Kate, Hurley, John Locke, Claire and her precious little baby boy...then there's Charlie, Michael and Walt, Sayid...even Sawyer...they are now my friends and they're LOST! (I know I sound crazy...believe me...I know!) I'm having to force myself to stay off of the website so that I don't ruin the surprises to come.

Any other fans out there?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Coconut Cake and Wise Words

Trying to cheer up Lorelai AND make the most of our last weekend with Legare at home was something of a challenge but as usual, we were able to come to a meeting of the minds over a delicious dinner. Our friends, Tom and Ann and their two boys went with us to Peninsula Grill. If you live anywhere near Charleston you simply must go. As a matter of fact, I need to put it on the list of things that never disappoint. If you don't order another thing, go for the coconut cake. Heaven on a plate...that's what it is!

We made it a night of school, college, first summer job, going into senior year of college, anniversary, birthday, retirement, and new job. Something for everybody!! We had a marvelous time. Ann won the prize for making the most profound statement of the evening. As she said goodnight to Legare, knowing she won't see him again before he moves, she left him with this parting remark, "Remember who you are and what you stand for." Wise words...I wish I'd thought of them.

Just a few photos below of our good looking children... Legare does not appreciate my enthusiasm for wanting to capture the moment. In the top photograph, he was about to tell me that I looked like a tourist.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

God has a heck of a way....

Lorelai met a boy on the cruise with whom she has been corresponding quite a bit. He was going to come for a visit this weekend. I was leary, but she really wanted to see him again and we certainly were not going to allow her to go to visit his family, not knowing them or anybody who knows them. He stopped calling her the day before he was expected. When she called to inquire as to whether or not he was OK, he was "sleeping" and that was the end of that. No word since. It was kind of like prom weekend all over again. Devastating to her and maddening and exhausting for us.
I know that the characters on The Sopranos aren't real people, but I need to call my friend Rob and ask him to get his Uncle Vito to pay this young man a visit. I've never met Vito but I imagine that he looks kind of like Paulie, on the left there in the picture. I'd feel better if somebody could teach this fellow a lesson about living up to an obligation.

I guess my question is this. What in the world has happened to common decency? All this boy had to do was call and say, "I'm not going to be able to come for a visit." How hard is that? Given what we now know, I'm certainly glad that he did not come, but no mother wants to see her child's feelings crushed. Even though Lorelai invited some friends over to swim and hang out, it really put a damper on her 18th birthday and it brought out the worst in me. I can't figure out a loving way to convince her that who she is and how she feels about herself should not be contingent on the attention of a boy. (Any words of wisdom???) All of my attempts come across sounding hardhearted...then we argue and she stomps off and yells "I can't wait to get out of this house" and I'm thinking...."God really has a heck of a way of getting us ready to let go." We're on this wild roller coaster of emotion...everybody but Legare. He just watches and listens and I know he's thinking..."one more more week!"

Yes indeed...God really does have a heck of a way...

Friday, July 25, 2008

Milestones...It Went By Too Fast

I can hardly believe that Lorelai will be 18 years old tomorrow. I can hardly believe that we will leave next Friday to move 22 year old Legare into his first apartment as he begins the next part of his life's journey in law school at the University of North Carolina. Two short weeks later, we'll be moving Lor into her dorm room at Clemson. I can hardly believe any of it. Hank and I find ourselves experiencing a strange combination of's bittersweet.

We are SO proud of our children and love them so so much...everything we've done since the moment we knew we were having each of them has been with the express purpose of preparing them for these very moments. I'm pretty sure they are ready. I'm not at all sure that I am ready. This is the real deal for Legare who is moving out lock, stock and barrel...we're talking rent, furniture, changing driver's license and car tags and voter registration and everything to a different STATE!
(OK BELLE, get hold of yourself...he's not moving to the end of the earth...he spent two months in DC a couple of years ago...he didn't get lost...he didn't starve...he didn't become a Republican! He spent three months in Europe last fall for pete's sake and did just fine...he didn't get lost...he didn't starve...Europe is LOTS further away than Chapel Hill...GET A GRIP!)

It will be fine...God is good and our children have blessed our lives so much more than we actually deserve. It's just that the day they're born, you can't begin to imagine that the day they'll move out on their own will EVER arrive. It went by too fast.
Enjoy a little walk down memory lane with me... No digital cameras back in the day...I need to get all of the baby pictures scanned!

My mother, brother Ned, and Legare, just home from the hospital in May 1986

Mother, Ned and Legare holding Lorelai when she was about six hours old in 1990

Look how young we are...with Legare

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Todd the Trainer tried to kill me but at least he didn't LAUGH!

I can't help it...I am a classic overachiever. I never want to disappoint people, so when Todd tells me to do something I give it all I've got and then some. Not to mention, there are other people in the gym WATCHING. Treadmill, elliptical, weights, bouncy balls, lunges, crunches, curls, and other things that I don't know what they're called....This is a whole new world and I'm exhausted.

When I got home this afternoon, Hank was sitting outside and he laughed at me as I came dragging through the back gate. THEN Legare walks outside and laughs because he says I look "funny" in Nikes. I changed my clothes at the office before going to the gym and when I walked out everybody did a double take and LAUGHED at me in my shorts and t-shirt. I'm really beginning to get a complex! The only person who didn't laugh is Todd the Trainer....oh yeah, I'm PAYING him not to laugh.

I'll show them....oh yes I will!

Monday, July 21, 2008

A Chicken Frying Failure

We were reminiscing last night about some of my early culinary mishaps when Hank and I first got married. I still cannot fry "real" chicken...that is, chicken on the bone. Over the years I've learned to do pretty well with chicken tenders...soak them in Texas Pete, shake them up in self rising flour with some salt and pepper, fry them in the deep fryer until nice and golden brown. Yummmmmmmmy! They are one of Legare's favorites.

I don't like to think that I've ever been a disappointment to anyone, save a nice sweet lowcountry grandma...not my own, thank goodness. WAY back in the day when I was a fresh-faced newly married 21 year old first year high school music teacher, one of my students, a great big football player named Abe, overheard me lamenting to another teacher that I just could NOT fry chicken to save my life. On my first attempt, I had dredged it in corn meal (a la fried fish) rather than flour, and bless Hank's sweet heart, he tried to eat it, but it was scorched on the outside and raw in the middle. I'd seen the error of my ways regarding the corn meal, but dredging it in flour didn't produce any better result. The next time it was done in the middle and soggy on the outside.

It had never occured to Abe that a grown woman might not be able to fry chicken and this new information troubled him. He showed up the next morning (a Friday) with instructions from his grandmama written down in pencil on paper yanked out of a spiral notebook. His expectation, and hers as well, was that I would practice over the weekend and report back on Monday morning. I was young and used to following instructions from my elders so I did just that. If we'd had a smoak alarm back then, which we didn't, it would have gone off twice. When I messed it up on Saturday morning for the first time, I went back to the grocery store and started all over again on Sunday. It was sad...I wanted to cry...How was I going to report back to Abe and his grandma that I had failed?!

Abe was at my door before school started on Monday morning for a full report. He shook his head in disappointment as I spared not a single detail of my efforts...there was no denying that I was a Chicken Frying Failure. On Tuesday morning, there was a message in my box to call Abe's grandma. She made me recount my process step by step and told me to try again. My report on Wednesday was no better. On Thursday afternoon, she showed up in the office with a tin plate of fried chicken (still to this day the best I've ever had) for Hank's supper. She had rallied the troops and another grandma was there with a macaroni pie...the school secretary brought broccoli casserole and the custodian's wife sent a banana pudding. They were afraid that Hank was starving. I eventually mastered the macaroni pie, broccoli casserole and banana pudding, but I remain, to this day, a REAL Chicken Frying Failure. Thank goodness for chicken tenders.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Parades...Getting Lorelai Ready for Dorm Life

What a day yesterday was. While Hank spent the day helping the little old ladies, our friend Ann, Lorelai, and I drove to Beaufort to meet Lor's roommate and her mom for an afternoon of dorm room shopping and found ourselves smack dab in the middle of a parade. Southern Belles LOVE LOVE LOVE parades and we like very much remembering the good old days when we rode in parades wearing crowns. We also love Ann. She is a dear friend with two sons and no daughters to shop with, so she goes with us whenever she can to get in some girl time. Like most mothers and daughters, Lorelai and I have, in years gone by (OK...and yesterday morning before we left the house and after we got in the car and at Starbucks on the way and....), had some moments in stores all around the lowcountry and beyond when we didn't always agree on what she could or could not purchase. Ann also serves as mediator...both Lor and I behave better when Ann rides along.

Pink and green were the colors of the day. The girls were in complete agreement about wanting to have the cutest room in all of Clemson and I believe they're well on their way. We parted company at the end of the day with two fully loaded SUVs and we still have to get the futon and television. Tonight we ordered a TOO cute umbrella, towel wrap, and night light from Monogram Me. Everybody watch out....the girls with the CUTEST room in all of Clemson are on the way!!

We aren't entirely sure how we're going to fit everything in. Lofting the beds looks like the way to go...more storage space underneath.

New friends can bond VERY quickly over shopping for pink and green stuff!

Thank goodness Hank was at home to help us unload. The living room is going to have to be a dorm storage room until August 16!

Monogram Fun

You know how much Lorelai and I LOVE a monogram. Check out what's going on at The Pink Clutch and Monogram Me. Free Shipping until the end of the month. We're dorm room shopping this weekend and will definitely be checking all of the cute cute items out.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Todd, the Trainer...Jello Arms

First, let me say that Todd, the Trainer is the way to go. Granted you have to pay a pretty penny, but having somebody stand by you handing you the barbells or dumbbells or whatever the heck they're called and telling you what to do is the trick. He was extremely patient and the time went by quickly.

Second, let me say OUCH....ouch ouch OUCH. My arms feel like jello. I don't know why I think that this is what jello FEELS like but I don't know any other way to describe it. I had to sign a little card when we were done...I guess so he can get paid for the session. When he handed me the pen to write my name I STARTED on the line but wrote right off of the bottom of the card....I couldn't hold the pen steady.

I drove home and dragged my tired tush up the stairs to the shower. OH, the hot water felt SO divine. Then I had to lift my arms to wash my hair...that, my friends, was a problem. Jello arms!! Todd, the Trainer says not to worry because it will get easier and you know what...I actually believe him. I'm feeling pretty good about myself right now. Jello arms and all.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Our Governor...What a Guy!

If you didn't see this on CNN a couple of days ago, do mercy take a minute to watch it here. I actually voted for this articulate fellow the first time. We'd see him out and about down around the summer house. He seemed personable enough and the incumbent didn't seem like such a prize at the time. Little did we know...

Travel Fun....Exercise Not Fun But It Will Be Soon

Woke up at 3:55 a.m. thinking about work so decided to get up and do some blog surfing. I've been traveling a lot this summer and there have been travel issues galore. I ran across a wonderful posting this morning at Jillian, Inc that really tickled my funny bone...A Few Incidental Charges. Give it a read...

Made it through the session with my new trainer yesterday. Actually it wasn't so hard because we mostly talked about what we were GOING to do and didn't do much. MY kind of exercise....talking! We begin in earnest at 4:00 Friday afternoon before Lorelai and I head out to meet her new college roommate and mom for some dorm room shopping. We'll take lots of pictures to share as we create the PERFECT room for a Clemson freshman. Have American Express Card...Will Shop

Monday, July 14, 2008

Exercise...Another Addition to our Top 10

Back in January I made a commitment to lose some weight. By mid-May I had dropped nearly 30 pounds and was right proud of myself. As graduations and all of the summer whirlwind approached, I decided to stop worrying so much about losing and just concentrate on maintaining until all of my summer travel was done. I did OK...picked up a couple of pounds but all in all feel really great about everything....everything EXCEPT for the fact that I've never gotten the exercise piece under control. By under control, I mean that I never actually got started with the exercise piece....AT ALL!

Let me be clear...I don't like to get hot...I hate the sun...I hate to glisten or glow (southern belles never perspire or sweat). I HATE EXERCISE....hate it hate it hate it hate it hate it hate it hate it hate it hate it, HATE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A nice new gym recently opened in our little town and my daughter Lorelai immediately sashayed her fit and toned little self down there and joined for the summer. I was GOING to join earlier but things kept coming up. Last week I started setting myself up for success. I told everybody I work with to ask me on Tuesday morning, July 15 (that would be tomorrow) whether or not I joined the gym and to make me show them proof (heck yeah, I'd stretch the truth). They all had to promise that if I could NOT show them proof that they would mock me, scorn me, be unmerciful in their harassment of me and tell everybody they know what a lazy pitiful and unmotivated person I am (lazy, pitiful and unmotivated are NOT southern belle traits). I DID IT....Not only did I join for six months but I purchased 10 sessions with a personal trainer. I'm going to do this....I am I am I am I am I am I am I am I am I am I AM!!!!!

I meet with the trainer tomorrow afternoon at 4:30...WISH ME LUCK!

Kally from A Little Bit of Life on the Side has a top ten Not Southern Belles for us...Remember it isn't too late to add one...

Miss 5 Different Hair Colors, Multiple Tattoos and Nose, Eyebrow & Lip Piercings

Finally, I'm just getting the hang of this linking stuff. Rph Mommy who gave us our top ten, Ms. Shows Her Hoo Ha When Getting Out of the Car, can be found at Can You Fill My Subscription

Saturday, July 12, 2008

List of NOT Southern Belles--UPDATED's what I have from my blog thus far. Please...throw a few comments my way with your top five or ten...I think it will be OK if we add some famous people to our lists. I'll give it a week or so then I'll compile the list to see who gets the most votes. Remember, southern belleness transcends's a state of mind, a way of life, a philosophy...

RPH Mommy gets the new number one spot for suggesting the following and I think it is a stroke of brilliance...

1. Ms. Shows Her Hoo Ha When Getting Out of the Car (that would be Spears or Lohan for sure)

2. Ms. I Have Affairs with Married Men (Barbara Walters and Paula Deen also had affairs with married men according to recent books they have written...Paula particularly broke my heart)

3. Ms. I Have No Dignity or Self Respect

4. She Who Shall Not Be Named (and Amy Winehouse....ick)

5. The mother of BOY, who showed up drunk for Lorelai's belle would raise a son like that (if you missed that post check it out in my May archive "Talk About a Steel Magnolia"). If she is indeed a belle, I'll apologize after she has a word of prayer with her son.

6. The woman who reeked from a combination of too much cologne, body wash, body splash, powder, more cologne, shampoo, etc...


Friday, July 11, 2008

Oh my GOSH, she DIDN'T say that!!!

Cast of Characters...The Good People: Our merry band of travelers heading home from Nashville...Hannah, Greta, Big Daddy, Bertha (I let them all choose their blog names before we left the airport) and me. (I hate to leave out the best boss in the world for he was a part of our conference presentation but he didn't fly with us)

Cast of Characters...The Unfortunate Two: Don't know their names so I get to choose...I pick Ms. "I Have Affairs with Married Men" and Ms. "I Have No Dignity or Self Respect." They had loud nasally obnoxious voices and I, as you already know, was without my flying pills and my Ipod earphones were in my checked luggage. Thank goodness for the Cinnabon counter and the Starbucks I visited while waiting for our late departure.

The Unfortunate Two did not know each other until they took their seats on the plane because we heard them introduce themselves. Let me describe them a little more in depth. Their clothing was tacky....tacky, as in standing on the street corner "hey mister do you want some company" tacky. Clearly, they had little in the way of social graces or manners and would be any good southern belle (or northern belle) mother's nightmare when considering who their son might bring home to meet the family.

I'm not going into detail (and there were many many details) except to say that we know everything that was said when the married man's wife called to confront his mistress (The first one actually called herself that...she said, "I was a mistress.") and we heard all the details about the trip to Vegas on the "party plane" where everybody got drunk, etc. etc. and enjoyed all manner of things that could be smoked in the bathroom from the other one. I've pushed my boundaries of appropriateness by telling you about this much. I just can't go on, but rest was insane and thank goodness there were no youngsters sitting nearby.

We were all trying to read but couldn't concentrate. At one point, Hannah started talking loudly over the conversation of the Unfortunate Two about the book she was reading and our tickle boxes got turned over. I thought we were going to have to pull down the oxygen mask for Greta. Big Daddy was sitting one more row up and even HE could hear those annoying fingernails on the chalkboard voices. Bertha was the farthest away and caught the least amount of the conversation, but every now and then she'd look up and say, "Oh my GOSH, she DIDN'T say that." I came so close to asking the flight attendant if there was a parachute available. I would have gladly jumped out as we flew over my house.

We were so happy to get off of that plane. We watched the mistress collect her leopard print suitcase and bid her new found soul sister a fond farewell as she left with some guy...might have been another married man...who knows? Party plane girl was standing on the sidewalk alone in her streetwalker outfit as I crossed over to the parking garage. Unless somebody picked her up, she might still be standing there as I'm pretty sure there were no party planes leaving our airport this evening for Vegas. Those two will definitely go on my list of NOT Southern the top.

Nashville...Top 10 Lists

What can I say...I'm sure this is a wonderful town but I didn't see it. A conference, an outlet mall, so-so meal in a crowded restaurant with a cranky waiter. We caught a glance of one pretty decent sounding band in Tootsies, but it was wall-to-wall people and smoke-filled. No non-smoking ordinances here to be sure. Everything else sounded like karaoke. TRULY disappointing.

I think I should have come here BEFORE Las Vegas...Nashville pales in comparison from a food, entertainment and shopping perspective. I know people might not necessarily come here for food or shopping but ENTERTAINMENT???? DUH!

The saving grace is that I've been traveling with folks who are just so incredibly pleasant. It hasn't always been that way...our organization has seen some humdingers come and go over the years. Several hands down favorite UNfavorites actually came up in conversation last night. We'll lump them together and call them "she who shall not be named" and none of them would be on a list of true southern belles. I need to start an actual list.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Opryland...Rude Airplane People...Cinnabons

Here I sit all by myself in my room at the Opryland Hotel in Nashville on my 25th anniversary. Yee Haw. This place is HUGE! It has something of a wholesome folksy sort of's the anti-Caesar's Palace.
The plane ride was blissfully uneventful save the rude people who seemed to be out to rule the world today. To top it off, I got to the airport and realized that I didn't have my "flying pills." I require a little something to take the edge off when I fly. It's not that I'm afraid so much as the fact that I have serious control issues. They become more manageable when I have my flying pills and I'm better able to excuse the rude people when I have my flying pills. I had to resort to eating a Cinnabon while I waited for my connecting flight in Charlotte. Desperate times call for desperate measures.
Time to call it a day. Tomorrow my colleagues and I present our programs here at the national conference of the Southern Regional Education Board. There are several thousand people here. I hope we have decent participation in our session. The flying pills also sometimes serve as my "giving a big presentation pills." YIKES...there's no Cinnabon store in the Opryland Hotel.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Southern Belle Shopping

I'm working on my Christmas list...I know it's early but it's what I do every year about this time. That doesn't mean that I'll actually purchase any gifts...I just really really like making lists both for myself and for others.

I just pre-ordered my 2008 Christmas With Southern Living book. This will be number 25 in my collection as I started buying them my first married Christmas and...whoa Nellie...our 25th wedding anniversary is this coming Wednesday, July 9. I'm leaving that morning for a conference in Nashville and Hank will be here at home keeping the peace. SO much for celebration...we'll have to make up for it over the weekend.

In the spirit of shopping and/or planning to shop, I've been working on my little Southern Belle Shopping thingy over on the sidebar. I'm also going to work on the Things that Never Disappoint thingy and would invite any and all to send me their lists and I'll try things out and add to my list if indeed I am not disappointed. I KNOW YOU'RE READING MY BLOG....YES, YOU...PEOPLE I ACTUALLY KNOW AND WHO, LIKE, ACTUALLY KNOW ME so start leaving some comments and become active participants in this process why don'tcha?
Oh, and if anybody wants to buy me anything, I ran across this cute as a button bag from lulu belle and I really really really really want it. Really really really really!

Friday, July 4, 2008

4th of July...John Adams...Great Blogs...Army Wives

Happy Independence Day...I woke up this morning with John Adams on my mind. Strange, isn't it?? Actually, it was the HBO mini-series that was on my mind. If you missed it, I highly recommend renting the DVD set. Paul Giamatti and Laura Linney were brilliant as was most of the cast. Read more at

This photograph caught my eye in the Charleston paper this morning..I think it's the hands
more than anything. My dad was in WWII and while he is no longer with us, he was true and loyal to his country and was so proud of his service. This made me think of him...

I've added another little section on my right sidebar. I finally have some time to check out other blogs and have discovered some great sites. The title of my new section is "Blogs I Like Almost As Much As My Own." I've decided a blog is a lot like a child. You love yours the best and other peoples just about as much but not quite as much. That's my logic anyhow. I'll be adding to it along and along....mostly those that have a "south" connection I imagine but we'll see what we can find out there. Seeing as how I'm reletaviely new to all of this I'm not certain of the protocol so if I like it, I'm going to add it.

Finally...if you don't watch the Lifetime series ARMY WIVES try to tune in this week. For those of us who live in the lowcountry it's cool to see familiar scenery as they shoot locally, but even so, it gives quite an insight into what military families go through right down to the children. I don't like that we're in this real life war right now...BUT I have so much respect for the dedication, strength and sacrifice that our soldiers and their families make each and every single day. I could never be so brave. If you don't already do it anyhow, say a special prayer for a soldier and his or her family today.