Sunday, May 31, 2009

Reality TV--Jon and Kate Plus Eight

Admittedly, Hank and I have only ever really watched reality TV shows like Dancing with the Stars and American Idol. I did have a brief love affair with Big Brother about four years ago and more recently Gene Simmons Family Jewels.

I have never watched Jon and Kate Plus Eight. Last weekend there was nothing on that interested me but there WAS a J and KPE marathon so I tuned in, having seen some tabloid reports of unhappy things going on. THAT led me to watch the first episode of the new season last week. I was curious.

I surely hope that I don't offend any fans of the show...BUT...If those two parents don't put a HALT to the taping of the show right now, well, I just don't know what to say about their abilities to determine what is appropriate parenting. It would seem to me that the last thing those poor children need right now are television cameras and photographers in their faces, not ONLY at home but everywhere else they go...Target, for example, to buy birthday party decorations, while Kate complains the entire time about "having to do all of this by myself...but I will...because I love my kids." And Jon sits around like a bump on a log talking about how much HE loves HIS kids. Who the heck are they trying to convince...I certainly HOPE they love their kids. As a matter of fact, it never occurred to me that they wouldn't...why in the world did they have to keep saying it over and over and over. It just hit me ALL wrong.

Face it...few of us lead perfect lives or have perfect families (does ANYBODY??), but this seems to have gotten out of my opinion, that is. I'm sure the show DID start as a way to chronicle the goings and doings of an unusual family dynamic, but a good idea today is not necessarily a good idea tomorrow.

So who agrees with me? Who DOESN'T agree...I want to hear from everybody.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Lily's Husband Buys a Boat

My secretary Lily, as you know, keeps me straight at work. She also has her hands full with her two daughters, Miss Priss and Song Bird. Then there is her husband Michael.

Michael is one of those guys that the exclamation "oh my goodness, boys and their toys" applies to very well. No sooner did the family sell two jet skis than Michael caught a BAD case of boat fever.

He looked around all last week and found just the right boat. On Friday morning, he went to the bank to get a check to take to purchase the boat. (It's important to mention right about now that Lily handles all of the bank accounts and paying of the bills.) Michael walks up to the teller (remember we live in a small town where everybody knows everybody's business) and says, OK...I'm here to get the check to buy my boat...what do I need to do? The teller looked up from what she was doing and hesitated for just a split second. Before she could speak, Michael said, OH...I promise it's alright. Lily knows ALL about it and she said I could!

You can't make this stuff up...I'm starting to think I need my own reality show.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Three Quotation Thursday

"We are so vain that we even care for the opinion of those we don't care for."
Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach

I wonder why that is?

"Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of congress. But I repeat myself. "
Mark Twain

Isn't it a shame? Of course we can't lump EVERY member of congress into the idiot category but it seems like we hardly ever hear anything positive.

"I really didn't say everything I said. "
Yogi Berra

Remember I mentioned that we are having a reorganization at work? It's still going on and rumors are FLYING. Good heavens, it can't ALL be true. I heard four different things today about one individual. My mantra is to "keep calm and carry on" but honestly...I'm going to have to start doing SOMETHING to amuse myself and my colleagues...people are getting more distressed as days go by. I'm thinking of going with a sticky note system (thanks Susan S.) to write down each individual rumor, color coded by person, to see just how ridiculous things become before everything plays out. What do you think?

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

My Kind of Busy...

Yes...Hank and I were very busy last weekend. Busy taking a break from REALITY! We were getting ill tempered and desperate for some downtime...

We were VERY busy sitting in the screened dock house at the summer house listening to the rain and watching the tides roll in and out.

We were busy reading......... I highly recommend both of these books. The Kathryn Wall books are a series featuring her super sleuth Bay Tanner of Beaufort and Hilton Head. We started with her first book, "In For a Penny" and just purchased "Covenant Hill" at the Beaufort Bookstore on Saturday. Hank and I have both enjoyed all of them.

We were also busy riding over to the Beaufort Inn for a quiet Saturday lunch. The name of the restaurant is Southern Graces. Doesn't that just sound like the perfect place for a beau to take his belle for a leisurely lunch? We were so hungry that I neglected to take photos of the food. They started by bringing us popovers fresh from the oven with strawberry butter. Hank had a swordfish club, while I had she crab soup, a green tomato, applewood smoked bacon and pimento cheese panini, and chocolate cake. Before you start thinking I'm a little piggy, I took the soup and half of the panini back to the house with me for my supper. The soup wasn't the greatest but everything else was FABULOUS. Hank was disappointed that they did not serve wine. Sunday brunch bloody marys and mimosas are the only exceptions to the no alcohol rule.

While we read and relaxed we took a few little tibbles ( I don't know if that's a word or not...) of Maker's Mark Mint Juleps. This premix is AMAZING...I'm told that it will only be sold during Triple Crown season so it won't be available anymore after the Belmont Stakes on June 6. I'm going to need to stock up because I don't ever intend to make a julep from scratch again.

Hope that you and yours had an opportunity to relax a little over the holiday weekend! Summertime is upon us....and the living is easy (or at least it OUGHT to be!)

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's FRIDAY!!!!!


Didn't lose any weight this week but I didn't gain. I'm thankful for not gaining. I did a TON of stress eating this week. Next week will be better.

Hank and I are BUSYBUSYBUSY this holiday weekend. So much to do and so little time.

I'll see you in blogland in a couple of days!

Have a safe and happy Memorial Day weekend.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Three Quotation Thursday

"Nothing of me is original. I am the combined effort of everybody I've ever known."

Chuck Palahniuk (from Wikipedia....Charles Michael "Chuck" Palahniuk (pronounced /ˈpɑːlənɪk/;[1] born February 21, 1962) is an American transgressional fiction novelist and freelance journalist. He is best known for the award-winning novel Fight Club, which was later made into a film.)

I got to thinking about Chuck's words. (Chuck, who I have never heard of before which is why I included the wiki blurb just in case you hadn't heard of him either.) Mother tells me I act like Aunt Zoie, and I do indeed have a lot of her qualities. Sometimes I feel like I'm channeling Mother, which scares the you know what out of me. I have my daddy's simmers for a long long time and then KAPOW. I quite often consider Miss Peggy before I make a move and my maternal grandmama and her commitment to her family. Hank has probably had the greatest influence and I suppose I've influenced him too. Not to mention pastors and school teachers and friends. Then there are the people from whom I've learned what NOT to do. I guess I disagree with Chuck a little bit though, because while all those people have influenced the person I've become, I DO like to think of myself as an ORIGINAL!!

"Some days you're a bug, some days you're a windshield." Price Cobb (from Wikipedia...Price Cobb (born December 10, 1954) won the 1990 24 Hours of Le Mans together with John Nielsen and Martin Brundle in a Jaguar XJR-12. He also owned an Indy Racing League team in 1998 and 1999 for Roberto Guerrero and Jim Guthrie. He also has authored a number of books on auto racing.)

Didn't know this guy either but I definitely agree. I've nothing more to add... -------------------------------------------------------------------

"There is no such thing as "fun for the whole family." - Jerry Seinfeld

We used to be able to occasionally come up with things all four of us could agree on, but here lately...forget it. On a good day, two of us can agree, but all four of us...forget about it. It AIN'T gonna happen. From television shows, to where to go for dinner....heaven forbid a vacation.

How does it work at your house??

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Idol Finale

Why in the WORLD did they make those two talented boys sing that AWFUL last song??? Kara DiGuiardio or whatever her name is and her co-writers should be run out of town on a RAIL for writing such a travesty...and whomever made the decision to USE that song RIGHT along with them.

And Simon....BUTTON UP YOUR SHIRT! Good GRIEF man...give us a break!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Hank's Shrimp and Grits

Hank has one or two specialty dishes that he likes to make and we love to eat. Shrimp and Grits is one. He found the recipe in an old Charleston Receipts cookbook, which was published by the Junior League of Charleston in 1950. The finest ladies of Charleston published their best recipes (or receipts as they were called).

Hank has modified the original recipe, which was contributed by Mrs. Ben Scott Whaley (Emily Fishburne). As fate would have it, we currently live on the property (and next door to the house) where Mrs. Whaley was born and raised. Her daddy was a country doctor and a few years before she passed away, she wrote a couple of books which I highly recommend.

Mrs. Whaley's Charleston Garden and Mrs. Whaley Entertains...No southern belle's library (or kitchen) is complete without these books. I was fortunate that she was able to autograph mine before she went to her great reward. Mrs. Whaley reminded me of Aunt Zoie...just chock full of life and love! You'll love her, her stories, and her recipes.

SHRIMP AND GRITS (use whatever kind of grits you prefer...stone ground are our favorites, made with lots of heavy cream and butter. Plain old "quick" grits will work too. Throw some cheese in if you want)

1 pound (or so) peeled raw shrimp

1 medium sized chopped onion

1 medium sized chopped green pepper

4 or 5 slices of bacon

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon ketchup

1 1/2 tablespoons flour

1/2 cup water and 1/2 cup white wine mixed together (Emily Whaley just used water)

Fry bacon and set aside. Brown onion and pepper in bacon grease. When onion is translucent, add shrimp; turn several times with onion and pepper. Add enough of the water/wine to make a sauce--about one cup. Do NOT cover shrimp with water or the whole dish will be bland. Simmer 2 or 3 minutes and thicken with flour and a little water made into a paste. Add salt and pepper to taste, Worcestershire sauce and ketchup. Cook slowly until sauce thickens. Serve over grits. Serves 4-6

Shrimp and Grits

Lots of folks are asking for our shrimp and grits recipe. When I say "our," I have to admit that I mean "Hank." He is always the chef when we have shrimp and's is specialty (and I'm one lucky gal, let me tell you.) I'll post it tonight.

It's a rainy Monday morning...Hope everybody has a good day!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

I'm Rambling Again...

I don't know when I've been SO happy for a weekend to arrive ( it was probably last weekend, but indulge me).

The contract thing worked out well for me, but at the last minute, my next door office neighbor got bad news. Her job was eliminated and her only option is to go back into a classroom. My two office doors over neighbor still has a job, but not the one she had before. It was unsettling for all of us, and once again, those of us who were not voted off the island are feeling incredible relief and extraordinary guilt. It's very difficult to know what to say to our friends...

Lorelai went to visit Hanks' mother last night and accompanied her to the local Relay for Life.

Hank and I stayed home, ate shrimp and grits, and watched the season finale of LOST.

Legare finished up his first week of work in Chapel Hill but is bored out of his mind. His friends have mostly scattered for the summer. The boy needs a hobby...everything for him has to have a noble purpose. He reads all the time, but hardly ever just for pleasure. We never could interest him in collecting anything. I told him that he should expand his repertoire of what he knows how to Habitat for Humanity or any other organization and volunteer. He could start watching LOST on DVD from the first season...

Speaking of LOST...Is anybody else out there saying, GOOD GRIEF!!! How can there be a living John Locke and a dead John Locke all at the same time? Is the living one supposed to be the guy who was sitting on the beach with Jacob as the episode began? If the dude Jacob has been alive for years and years and more years and didn't age, how could Ben kill him? Gracious Goodness Me!

Mother and Ned are still happy as can be. We saw them last Sunday and haven't heard a peep all week. Life is good!

So, what have you been doing??

Friday, May 15, 2009

I signed it FAST

Contract at 2:47 PM...

Friday Facts

I lost four pounds this week. Probably mostly because I cut way back on salt but I'll take it.

Today is May 15 and is the day that they MUST give us our contracts for next year. It is 11:54 PM and I have not seen said contract.

I am screaming inside my head.

That's all I have to say!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Three Quotation Thursday

It's been awhile since we had a Three Quotation Thursday...See what you think...

You cannot be mad at somebody who makes you laugh - it's as simple as that.
Jay Leno

I started thinking about the people who make me laugh as opposed to those who don't. This is kind of true in my life. I might get ANNOYED but I never truly get full blown mad. I got perturbed with somebody the other day and now I realize that I don't find one single thing amusing about that person. Nothing...nada...

Always laugh when you can. It is cheap medicine.
Lord Byron

Ain't this the gospel truth? Laughter always makes me feel better. Seems like great big belly laughs don't occur as much as they used to. I wonder why? A great big belly laugh feels SO good...

Thou should eat to live; not live to eat.

This quote seemed especially appropriate this week. Friday is weigh in day. (Thanks, friends for the advice about a small piece of dark chocolate...IT WORKS!!!)

Monday, May 11, 2009

Weight Watchers Day One

I'm not going to post about my weight loss brouhaha everyday but Day One bears a short story.

I got up this morning ready to go...ate my Special K (dry cereal 2 points) breakfast, drank my black coffee and headed out to work with great energy and enthusiasm. Two people commented on the pep in my step as I bounced up the stairs. My secretary, Lily, always appreciates it when I forewarn her about my new projects, be they exercise or diet or yoga or whatever, so I told her first thing about the new life plan for losing the 20 pounds I've gained. We made some coffee and got to work.

The morning flew by...busy little bees were we. I was still feeling pretty energetic at lunchtime so I took my coupons and sale papers and ran to the grocery store, then home to eat a Lean Cuisine. Delicious...some kind of BBQ chicken pizza (7 points) and an apple (1 point).

I bounced back into the office about 12:45 pm and got right back to work.

About 2:00, things started going downhill. The pep in my step and every bit of willpower VANISHED. I wanted 2:30, I was ready to plunder and pillage through every desk drawer in the whole building but got hold of myself and decided that coffee would help. WE WERE OUT OF COFFEE! As Lily returned from lunch at 2:30, I grabbed my purse and said, Call the coffee shop and tell them I'll be at the drive through window in three minutes...they need to have a LARGE coffee ready to go! (You can do this sort of thing at the locally owned coffee shop in a small town)

Bill, the coffee guy, was standing there at the window when I drove up. I don't know what Lily told him but his hands were shaking just a little bit as he said, I'm SORRY, we're out of large cups!!!! Bless his heart, he had filled that medium sized cup up as full as he possibly could.

I got back to work with my coffee and retreated to my little corner to shake off the "I need chocolate right now" twitches. As I walked by Lily's desk, my colleague Susan was asking about the fax machine and the fact that it was blinking automatic redial...she wanted to know what it meant. I chimed in...It means that you're in the seventh circle of fax machine HELL...that's what it means. It's going to dial and dial and dial and dial and never EVER connect. NEVER!

Lily followed me to my office and asked...What in the world happened between the time I left for lunch and now? You were in such a good mood! Do you need chocolate?

Another colleague, Barbara, helpful as ever, offered to go find me some offer that Lily quickly REFUSED on my behalf. NO...absolutely not...Belle cannot have any chocolate. We just have to hang in here for three days. She will fine after three days. We've been through this before. It will pass in THREE DAYS!

I'm not sure who she was trying to or herself. But you have to admit...I'm a lucky belle to have Lily watching out for me!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I decided against dressing like Paula Abdul...

I was privileged to adjudicate the vocal auditions for our new district magnet high school for the arts on Saturday. I decided NOT to channel my inner American Idol judge and went as myself, and not Paula Abdul.

It was a fabulous day. We saw a group of VERY talented students...I can't begin to tell you how much fun I had. The program will open with ninth graders and build each year until 2012-13 when it will be at capacity with 360 students in grades 9-12.

It pains me to say that I have unfortunately put on a few pounds since last year this time. When the trainer quit last November, I took that as a sign for ME to quit and I haven't been back to the gym. I ate like a crazy person while we were moving Mother and Ned all of that off with the recent upheaval at work and if I have to be honest, a "few pounds" is more like 20. I was so proud last year when I lost 20's embarrassing to admit that I've lost control.

Now that I've confessed, I'm going to do something about it. I'm going to give Weight Watchers a whirl starting tomorrow. Telling you my weight is NOT an option, but I am going to use the blog as an accountability tool. Fridays will be the day I report pounds lost. I won't go overboard, I promise but dang...I've GOT to do something. I'm not even going to show any Mother's Day photos of me because the dress I wore added at least another ten pounds in the pictures. I'm getting RID of that dress.

More on Mother's Day later...

Thursday, May 7, 2009


There was an odd dynamic today in our office. I can't put my finger on it precisely but I think that the reorganization is really taking a toll on just about everybody. It's going to all be alright in the long run, but the not knowing...that is tough. People are starting to make things up again...crazy things. I guess the joke will be on me if those crazy things end up coming to pass.
I am finding it hard to believe that Legare has just finished his first year of law school and Lorelai her freshman year at college. Wasn't it just yesterday that we were doing all of that shopping and moving. Wow! BIG WOW!
Legare starts his research job at the university on Monday morning. Lorelai is still looking for a summer job but isn't having any trouble filling up her days with lunches downtown and afternoons on the lake. What a tough life she has.
I get to play "judge" on Saturday at the vocal auditions for our new arts magnet high school. You all haven't forgotten that I was a music major, have you? Should I dress like Paula Abdul?
I really need a vacation. In a hotel. On a beach. With a spa. This one at The Sanctuary on Kiawah Island would do just fine.


The same day that Ned and I had the discussion about his job opportunities, I stopped by to see Mother but she had already gone to the dining room for supper. I walked on down there and sat with her and her friend Miss Adeline. As the whole "small world" thing would have it, Adeline worked for my daddy in the Post Office for many years. Her husband passed away around 1972, and about '75, she remarried and moved away. Who would have imagined that she and Mother would be reunited 39 years later at Green Grove.

Anyhow...a few minutes after I arrived, Adeline said, "Your mother tells me that you work in immigration." Now I KNOW good and well that mother knows I work for the school system but she sat right there and didn't say a word, so I replied, "No ma'am, I'm in EDUCATION...I work for Coastal County Schools. Adeline continued, "See that man over there in the red shirt...his daughter works in immigration up in Columbia...You probably know her. Her name is Karen. Go over and ask about her."

Now I didn't want to be disrespectful but NO WAY was I going over there and ask this man about his lovely daughter Karen who I might perhaps know IF I worked in immigration. "Miss Adeline," I said, "I'd hate to interrupt his dinner...I'll be sure to talk with him next time." She let me off the hook. Mother never said a word.

If the whole education thing doesn't work out.....Immigration, here I come!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009


I recently received a catalog that I wasn't familiar with. Don't know how they got my name but I'm sure glad that they did. It's a company by the name of WISTERIA. They are having a Mother's Day sale but as usual, none of the things that I want are on sale. Go figure. Take a look at what I'd LOVE to order. I'd keep the planter here and take everything else over to the farm.

These flyswatters come in a set. I might get them, keep one and give two for gifts.
I could probably justify that.

A pair of these planters on my front porch would make me SO happy...VERY VERY HAPPY!

Isn't this the prettiest vintage file folder you ever did see?
Maybe one for here AND one for the farm
This would be really cute at the farm and I don't think that it would be too hard to recreate if I could just find the cute little chicken clips. Anybody know where I could find some???

I added the books box below as an afterthought. It opens for storage and would be useful AND be just the right accessory for the coffee table in my living room. I love the color.

I'll keep on dreaming (until some of these "wish list" items go on sale then I might make one or two of the dreams a reality).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

A Southern Belle Does Derby Day By Way of Hell Hole Swamp

Hank and I enjoyed a wonderful Derby Day party in McClellanville on the porch of the James Hibben Leland House (1852), affectionately called Island Breeze by it's owners, Ellen and Bob. Ellen works with Hank. She and Bob threw a great party and we met so many interesting new people. Y'all know that I don't like just any old body but I'd love to cross paths with these folks again...of course they might not have liked me. Oh...who am I kidding...who wouldn't like ME! I probably ate a pound of boiled shrimp and really enjoyed a perfectly mixed mint julep (or two). . And yes...we did watch the race.

McClellanville is a perfectly delightful little little place. It just so happened that yesterday was also the Shrimp Festival and there were quite a few parties going on. I would venture a guess that there probably weren't very many people in town NOT attending a party.

On the flip side of the coin...we had to drive through the little town of Jamestown to get to McClellanville. Jamestown was having its own festival...The Hell Hole Swamp Festival. (Seriously, click on the link to read about "spitting kids and Miss HH Swamp...I am NOT even kidding you). They had everything from a free blood pressure screening to a whiskey still display. There was also a tobacco spitting contest and I'm hoping that tobacco was NOT what the kids were spitting. Unfortunately, it had just started to rain as we got there and I wasn't able to stop and buy my T-shirt. I'm thinking that next year we might want to enter Lorelai in the Miss Hell Hole Swamp contest. Hey...a tiara is a tiara. Click HERE to see a slide show from last year's parade. It's really quite good and I think captures perfectly what small town southern festival parades look like.

I'll tell you more about the ghost later...

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Pictures of Our Friends' Beautiful Home

We've been back two weeks from our trip to DC and I haven't even had time to upload my pictures. I promised you a tour of a gorgeous home and this post won't disappoint. Hank says that trips like this always cost him money because I come home with all sorts of home improvement ideas. I tried to make a movie in Picasa but clearly don't know what I'm doing. Maybe next time. we go...Our friends said they'd prefer that I didn't give their names or exactly where they live and I completely understand that. They didn't mind; however, if I showed photos.

All children are grown and gone and the grandchild, nieces and nephews live away. This house...let me tell dust, no clutter. Ahhh....bliss!

One of the couple has lived all over the world in the past 20 years. He's a Charleston boy and a great college friend of Hanks. He was in our wedding and was brave enough to let us stay with him about ten years ago when we and our then young children traveled to Europe. He was in Brussels at that time. We stayed there a few days, then he went with us to Paris for a few days, then we dropped him back off in Brussels and headed for Amsterdam. Later he moved to Paris and stayed there several years. Prior to the Europe years, he was in Africa.

Above left and the next two photos below are of what I supposed you'd call the great room. They also have a living room as well as a den. For some reason I didn't get a picture of the living room. There are orchids all over the house.

Formal Dining Room
Two Views of the from the foyer and the other from the great room. You can see that Hank was checking everything out while I was playing photographer.


The Breakfast Room and the Den

--------------------------------------------------------------- There was something of a shopping spree right before the move back to DC from Paris and this lovely console and the two lamps were purchased. Also the smaller chest in the second photo. There are several other pieces as well. -------------------------------------------------------- Several of the guests who were invited to the dinner party on Saturday evening are members of a car club and they drove their refurbished prize-winning cars over. Hank was bitten by the car bug. It appears that he is going "vvrrrrrooooommmmm vvrrrrrooooooooommmmm" but thank goodness he stopped short of that. Here's a funny little reflection that I had. You'll notice that on the other side of the car that Hank is sitting in is an honest to goodness incredible, immaculate, and very expensive Bentley. Nobody...not one single person was oooh-ing or ah-ing over the Bentley, but they were all over the older cars.

Hope you enjoyed the tour!!