Thursday, December 31, 2009

FOR YOUR ENTERTAINMENT: Likker in a Purdy Bottle for New Year's Eve

12/31/09- Lot of folks told me how much they enjoyed this post from New Year's Eve 2008. I visited the alcoholic beverage store this afternoon in hopes of observing some sort of exchange that would translate into a funny post, but alas, it was not to be. ENJOY! Be SAFE! Have a wonderful and Happy New Year!

Your friend,

I'm not a big drinker of alcoholic beverages. I enjoy an occasional gin and tonic in warm weather. I've just discovered Zing Zang, a fabulous Bloody Mary mix which is actually just fine without the vodka, and I enjoy a Manhattan every now and then during cooler months.
Only recently has an alcoholic beverage (red dot) store opened in our town that I'm comfortable going into...on the rare occasion that I would need to shop for such, I would go to Summerville. In other words, I need a place that doesn't look shady with people standing out front drinking out of a brown paper bag.

We're entertaining tomorrow so I stopped by the red dot store in our little town this morning. They did not carry Belvedere, so I purchased Grey Goose and picked up a small bottle of Knob Creek and some sweet vermouth. As I was checking out, I heard the following conversation from a couple walking around in the store...

Woman: That's a purdy bottle...maybe we should get some of that?

Man: What is it?

Woman: I don't know but it's in SUCH a purdy bottle. The bottle would look purdy sitting on the kitchen counter. I like's really purdy...

Man: But WHAT IS IT? (his phone rings and the woman walks over and picks up the purdy bottle) HELLO...hey there goodbuddy...yep...just now buying some likker. Yep...yep...yep...we'll be there directly. Yep...yep...Bernice wants to buy some kind of crap in a purdy bottle but what the ****, it's New Year's so I reckon I'll let her.

I didn't like hearing "what the ****" but it was at "so I reckon I'll let her" that I REALLY wanted to explain a few things to him southern belle style, but refrained.

Happy New Year's to all...and if it's your heart's desire I hope you get something in a purdy bottle!! This is what Bernice walked over and picked up.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Things I Don't Get

Today was productive, if you don't count the 50 times I've sneezed.

I did see something in the lawyer's office that puzzled me. Actually, Hank noticed it first...this little sign sitting on the tray with four bottles of water and some glasses.

Now am I off base here? For pete's sake, I work in public education and when we have people in, we offer them a cup of coffee, bottle of water or a soft drink FREE OF CHARGE.

Let me tell you that these folks did a FABULOUS job for us with the task at hand which involved Ned. Their work was spot on. For said work, I wrote them a check for....well, I'm not going to tell you the amount I wrote a check for but I can tell you that it would not have been a reach for them to offer Hank AND me a cotton pickin' bottle of water without charging us a dollar.

Neither of us was thirsty but that's NOT the point.

Your thoughts??

Anything and Everything

Still enjoying the holiday vacation here in the Land of Belle, but I think I'll be ready to go back to work on Monday morning. I'm starting to get REALLY lazy!

Legare (pronounced like "agree" with an "L") just finished packing his Christmas haul and is headed back to Chapel Hill. He'll ring in the New Year with friends up in DC.

Reflections on 2009? For our family, it was a good year. Miracles happened and I am thankful beyond measure.

Resolutions for 2010? I'm not generally a declarer of New Year's resolutions. As always, I'll just do the best I can in whatever I do.

New Year's Eve plans? Not a single one! I'll cook the traditional New Year's Day meal and we'll likely have a friend or two join us for lunch.

Plans for today? Doctor's appointment (got to get one more in before I have to start over on that deductible!), library, have to take care of some business for Ned in Mt. Pleasant, grocery store, finish taking down the Christmas decorations, and start getting Lorelai organized to start the new semester at Clemson.

What are you up to?

Monday, December 28, 2009

I'm just FULL of randomness these days...

My mother-in-law is one her way home and I just might sit in this chair ALL day and blog/read/quilt/watch movies. OH...wait...I can move back to my spot on the sofa. I'm not weird.

I've been meaning to recommend the Bliss lemon and sage body butter. I bought some on a whim about a month ago and LOVE it. I'll never be without it if I can help it. The scent is nice, but not overpowering, and it's dreamy when you put it on just out of the bath or shower.

I'm on a quest this week to find some new blogs to read. If you're reading mine and it doesn't appear to you that I'm reading yours, let me know so that I can add you to my Google Reader.

You MUST pick up this book that I discovered in Barnes and Noble last week. The Overnight Socialite, is SO much fun. said, "Clark's debut novel, Because She Can, did for publishing what The Devil Wears Prada did for fashion. She scores again with this retelling of the Pygmalion story, which features crisp, funny prose and endearing characters. A fun read for fans of well written chick lit."

SO...what kind of wonderfulness have YOU discovered lately that you'd like to share with me???

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Random Musings

Go see It's Complicated...we laughed SO has to be the funniest movie I've seen in a long time.

I can honestly report that I'm OVER holiday food. We have eaten shamelessly for almost two weeks. Legare and I have determined that we've made our "systems" toxic. Feels like we should eat only lettuce and drink water for a few days.

We spent today with Hank's dad's family (more food). We really enjoy them and there is talk of a group getting together for a trip to Alaska next summer. I'd LOVE to go on an Alaskan cruise.

Hank's mother came home with us to see our decorations. We're watching Clemson in the Music City Bowl and she is in my spot on the sofa. I'm not bitter...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

T'was the day after Christmas 2010

Ned was very excited to be the host of Christmas Dinner at the Aldersgate House. I provided the meal. Santa visited Ned as planned and he took all of the presents over to mother's apartment first thing so that they could open them together.

You'll see that Hank is missing. When his half-brother declined to participate in Christmas at the last minute, Hank left early Christmas morning to travel an extra hour to get his mother so that she could come to Ned's house too. The weather was bad and Hank encountered a huge tree across one of the back roads to Hometown. He had to turn around and take another route. By the time he got there, it just wasn't prudent from a time perspective to get back in the car and drive to Ned's, then turn around and take her back home. Poor Hank took her to Christmas dinner at a Chinese restaurant, the only place open in Hometown. He made it back to us about 4 PM.

After lunch at Ned's, Legare, Lorelai, and I took Ned and mother to visit her sister for a couple of hours and then we headed back home. Ned was OVER the moon all day, and mother did pretty well.

Now, if we could just get Ned to take off that ugly Carolina shirt. Shoot, mother looks like she's dressed and ready to go to a game with him!!! I have GOT to get them some orange clothing. But I back to Christmas...

We had great fun opening our gifts on Christmas Eve...Santa stopped by our house while we were at the Christmas Eve service at church. As usual, Lorelai was happy to have her picture taken over and over and over. Santa was good to her...cowboy boots, a Snuggy, a GPS (Santa knows what a bad sense of direction she has), a gorgeous Vineyard Vines vest, a framed Keep Calm and Carry On poster, and an emergency kit for her car.
Since Legare started "keeping house" this year, he got some things for a kitchen, an emergency kit for his car, a burlap pillow cover for his new sofa, a Fresh Market gift card (he has to eat...), a beautiful and "lawyerly looking' necktie, some Kiehl's items, and a few other odds and ends.
Now, just below, you'll see one of the best gifts Hank has ever come up with. I ALL too often tell him that he NEVER listens to me. Back in 1993, a little Legare and I colored this poster all by ourselves sitting at the dining room table. It was never properly framed and when I came across it in the attic recently, I mentioned how much I'd hate for anything to happen to it, so Hank took it into town and had it framed for me. This, along with some earrings and some perfume I'd been wanting rounded out my treasures under the tree.Now, how did we not get any photos of what Santa brought Hank? Books, a beautiful shirt, a new pair of very stylish reading glasses, some HORIZONTAL striped socks (thanks for the tip ADG...had to go to Dumas), and a very nice bottle of Scotch all made Hank very happy.

We are so blessed....SO VERY blessed. Goodness knows, we love presents in the Land of Belle but I'll tell you what... Nothing has made me happier than having my children home, all happy and healthy. And what I did to deserve the most wonderful husband in the world is ABSOLUTELY beyond my comprehension. in this world everything worked out to get mother and Ned into new safe living situations right across the street from each other. WOW...God is good and He works miracles. It's as simple as that.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Eve...From our family to yours...

I was finally able to get everybody in one place at one time with a spare person to take the photograph. MERRY CHRISTMAS, my friends.

We spend a wonderful day visiting with various friends and just got back home from the candlelight service at church. I took great pleasure in the singing of carols during communion...generally just the familiar first verse but OH the joyful sound when all of the children sang out with glee during Silent Night and Away in a Manger...the two that all children know by heart. We're enjoying a roaring fire and watching White Christmas and will go ahead and open presents in a little bit before we go to bed. That's a good thing about having grown children...

I hope that you're having a good night with your loved ones and safe travels tomorrow if you're taking your show on the road. Looking forward to hearing about everything...

Monday, December 21, 2009

Review of Random Rules in The Land of Belle

#1- If you're going to re-gift from the previous year, do not re-gift within the organization where you received said gift to begin with.

#2- Do not, under any circumstances, text or read a text while you drive. If anything is SO important that it can't wait, pull over.

#3- Nineteen year old daughters who live in the Land of Belle, listen UP! Your mother is not stupid. She's actually known to be quite stylish and people often seek her advice. She is a gift giver EXTRAORDINAIRE and picks out wonderful things that people love. You should trust your mother, QUEEN of the Land of Belle.

#4- If you make an appointment to go to the dermatologist three days before Christmas and they want to take a little spot off of your face, ask them if you can wait a week. It will likely be alright and one side of your face won't hurt during the merry making. (Thank goodness I got bangs yesterday when I had my hair done.)

#5- If the dermatologist DOES take a little spot off of your face three days before Christmas it is absolutely positively OK to go directly to Five Guys for a cheeseburger and fries and then have a Peppermint Mocha from Starbucks.


Today begins my two week holiday from work. It was glorious to look out the window this morning at the frosty weather and know that I didn't have to go out in it. Today I'm putting the finishing touches on my Christmas Day menu and making my grocery list. Don't really have to leave the house until a late afternoon hair appointment. Ahhhh....

Yesterday, Hank, Legare, Lorelai and I had brunch at a wonderful little restaurant, Virginia's on King. They have a Tomato Pie that is almost as good as mine. Then we spent the afternoon shopping downtown and enjoying the beautiful sunny day.

Lorelai got a fabulous new pair of shoes (an early Christmas present with $$$ from her grandmothers). She tried them on when she was home for fall break and has not stopped talking about them since. Once she decided that she was going to spend her money on the shoes (and not the five other things she also wanted), she wouldn't take them off. I'm surprised she didn't sleep in them.

Legare couldn't find the Cole Haan boots that he wanted anywhere in his size, so we had to come home and order them.
I have mother's and Ned's packages ready to deliver. Gifts for my neighbors ready. I'm sure I'm missing something...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Sometimes I get TOO excited over food....

See this photo of a piece of candy? Somebody put them in our boxes at work taped to Christmas cards.
Looks tasty, doesn't it?

As I stood chatting with a colleague that morning, I opened the candy (it's about two inches wide) and as it appeared to be sort of a soft peppermint, thought I'd have a nibble.

Now, do you see the WICK and the tooth mark (about the middle of the photo) where I tried to take said nibble?

Thank goodness it was too big to put in my mouth all at once.

Clearly, I need to pay more attention to what I attempt to eat.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Fa La La

Today we had our yearly Christmas lunch at work. Each year, everybody gathers together in a great big room to eat BBQ and make merry. Here is a photo that some smarty pants snapped of our little group of carolers as we sang while folks arrived. I'm the second from the right holding my glasses in my hand. LOOK at us!! Every mouth wide open. At least we were an enthusiastic bunch.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

A Tribute to Mrs. Ruth

When Lorelai was four years old, we decided that she needed to go to preschool. Oh, she was PERFECTLY happy here at home with her "See See" (known to everybody else in the world as Thomasena) but she needed some interaction with her peers. we went to school with Mrs. Ruth.

Mrs. Ruth was formidable to say the least. She'd just retired from teaching middle school and didn't miss a beat before going to work with her daughter to teach private kindergarten. She had her hair and nails done each week, played bridge religiously every Thursday afternoon, and wore a skirt and blouse, pantyhose, high heels, and matching beads and earbobs to school every single day.

Talk about a tight ship!! Heavens to Betsy. If Mrs. Ruth said it, then by golly it was the gospel. When she did her lesson on seat belts, there wasn't a parent of a four of five year old in our town who didn't wear a seatbelt EVEN if they were just moving the car three feet. And Mrs. Ruth put on a program at the end of each year that would knock your socks off. Her expectations were high and she didn't put up with one IOTA of nonsense. If your child had Mrs. Ruth for four and five year old kindergarten then he or she would absolutely positively be ready for first grade (maybe second grade!). You could take it to the bank. She identified Lorelai as Most Theatrical, which still rings true to this day. Lord love her, Mrs. Ruth was a community treasure .

Long since retired from the kindergarten business, she passed away this week at the age of 86. I wasn't able to go, but Hank stopped by the funeral home for the visitation. When he got home the first thing he said was, "Mrs. Ruth looked beautiful...just beautiful. I got tears in my eyes when I saw her."

And I have tears in my eyes as I write this post. So many of "Mrs. Ruth's kids" have paid their respects to her on their Facebook pages this week. She was a force to be reckoned with and I am SO thankful that she was such a wonderful influence on so many families in our community.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

REPEAT POST: T'was The Day After Christmas

12.12.09-- I've figured out this year's plan for Christmas Day. Even the Santa Claus part for Ned. Thought that I'd let you revisit our shenanigans from Christmas '08. This year we won't travel with a turkey timer, I don't think....ENJOY

Hank is hunting...Legare is watching Home Alone because "sometimes you just need a little stupid in your life," Lorelai is still asleep, and I'm (what else) blogging!

Trying to satisfy our kids and extended family on Christmas Day has always been a challenge. Truth be told, Legare and Lorelai would rather stay at home. That's not to say that we wouldn't welcome any and all manner of family and friends to come spend the day with us because we would! In typical southern belle fashion I've raised them to believe with all their hearts that their mama's (my) way of doing things is THE way to do things and I put on a MARVELOUS Christmas Day when given the chance. In other words, they're spoiled!

Nevertheless, with our mothers getting on up there, we have to be grown ups (I'm including Hank and me here too) and hit the road on Christmas Day.

This year, we decided to make a game out of it, a la the episode of Will and Grace when they, along with Jack and Karen pile in the car with a turkey timer and give themselves a certain amount of time with Grace's family, Karen's husband who is in jail, Jack's stepfather, and Will's family. When the timer buzzes, they jump in the car and move to the next location.

We started our day about 9:00 AM with coffee and presents. By 10:40, we were at the table enjoying bloody marys, crabcakes eggs benedict, cheese grits, and more coffee. At 12:30, in the car we jumped with assorted gifts and cellphones set with alarms (our version of the turkey timer) for the hour drive to my aunt's house. Arriving at 1:30, we swept in with happy smiles and gifts to spread sunshine to 25 people...20 of whom we had not laid eyes on since last Christmas, including a beautiful brand new baby girl who I grabbed the minute I walked in. At 2:30 the alarm sounded and the scene went something like this:

Hank: Well Daniel, I agree that Congress needs to be accountable for...gotta run...great to see you...

Legare: Oh, yes'm, we really enjoyed seeing...oops...gotta go...really enjoyed it...Merry Christmas!

Belle: I was thinking about inviting some of the cousins to...OH MY...thanks so much for inviting us. Come on Ned, get mother...

Lorelai: You are SO right...he's just the WEIRDEST boy I ever....(she doesn't get to finish her thought as Legare grabs her by the arm and pulls her out the door.)

Then we were off for the hour drive to granny's (Hank's mother) house with my mother and Ned in tow. Arriving at 3:30, the next alarm is set for 6:00 PM. In we go, more gifts, more smiles, more spreading of joy and sunshine and eating of food.

At 5:15, I take mother and Ned home, unload their gifts, make sure she knows who to thank for what, remind her to take her medicine and head back to granny's house by 5:55...the alarm sounds at 6:00 sharp and away we go...two hours and we're back home.

As we jumped in our car and drove out of sight...

I said: I just realized I made it through this crazy day without taking a flying pill!
Hank said: You know, I made it through this crazy day without a drink!!
Lorelai rolled her eyes and said: It's a Christmas miracle!!!
Legare said: Good grief...just get me home!
What we all really meant was..."Merry Christmas to All and to All a Good Night!!!"

Friday, December 11, 2009

Sweet Sweet Friday and Fiddle Dee Dee

Lorelai is home...her exams are over and she is moved out of her dorm room. Legare has one more law school exam next week and then he will be home with us. I'm sitting here enjoying my clean house and Christmas decorations. One more week of work and then....THEN, my friends, I have two glorious weeks off. Ahhhh...

Whatever will I do with myself? All of the gifts are purchased and wrapped. My Christmas Day menu is planned. Let me think...LET me THINK.

I know...a couple of good books, perhaps a massage, hot chocolate in front of a roaring fire. Maybe I'll pull out the yo yo quilt that I haven't touched in a a year. I believe I'll be able to keep myself entertained without ANY problems.

I've moved my Christmas Day festivities from our house over to Ned's house at Green Grove. I just don't think it's a smart thing to bring mother here given her recent state of mind. I fear that it might cause her to become more upset. Hank, the children and I will take all of the fixin's and Hank's mother and half-brother will join us. Ned will be so proud to be hosting the holiday meal.

Now, my last dilemma is how to make Santa Claus happen. Ned is a BIG believer. I was going to bring him here, but then he and mother don't get to do their traditional Christmas Eve fun...I'm not sure what that is exactly, but she insists that he be nearby.

Oh fiddle dee dee...I'll worry about that tomorrow.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

I'm Going to Complain Now....You Might Want to Run from this Post

Be forewarned....I'm complaining...Run Away....Run Away

Last night we got a call that mother had had "a spell." Her blood pressure went up and she was dizzy and fell. She wasn't hurt and Laura, the nursing director, called us and stayed with her until a sitter could come to stay the night. Laura couldn't go into too many details with mother staring her down while she was talking, so I got up this morning and, after checking in at the office, made the hour drive over the Green Grove to be sure that everything was OK.

I checked in with Laura first and she had a BIG ol' tale for me. Mother is having inner ear problems and is feeling poorly with a urinary track issue. It stands to reason that the inner ear is what is causing the dizziness and heaven knows that urinary track problems can make you feel like you've been hit by a Mack Truck. All very manageable, though. Tylenol, lots of water, an antibiotic, and in a couple of days life is good again. Cool beans!

While Laura was trying to talk to mother; however, mother started to cry her eyes out and talk nonsense about how she was "going to die now and is a terrible mother because she gave her child (she's talking about Ned unless there is some other child that I'm unaware of) away and now it's Christmas and they are apart (he lives across the street) and what kind of mother abandons her child and then dies!!!!" In short, Laura believes that the blood pressure spike was a panic attack. After mother cried for about 45 minutes she seemed to have some of that out of her system.

Way to spread sunshine, mother....WAY to spread sunshine!

So, I went on down the hall to check on things and mother was still in the bed, which is fine. She informed me that she is sick because she is allergic to her NIGHTGOWN!!!! Now tell me, how in the blue blazes might a reasonable person respond to that one? All I could do is suggest that she change into another nightgown...perhaps one that has never given her any trouble.

I left her resting in the capable hands of the nursing staff, armed with Ativan in case she goes over the edge again.

Here's the thing...I know that she probably IS a little blue that she and Ned aren't back at home all cozy and snug. Ned; however, is NOT sad. Laura said that as she walked out of mother's room last night, Ned, Scott, and Mr. Herman were walking down the hallway headed back across the street after attending a Christmas program. They were laughing and cutting up and Ned walked right by mother's room without a second glance. Bless his heart, he's tasted sweet freedom and he LIKES it. We let him decide when he wants to go over to visit with her and he's gradually gone from visiting every day to just going on Sunday afternoon and one other afternoon during the week. I doubt if that makes her very happy either.

Mother is going to be a PIECE of work between now and Christmas. I just have a bad feeling about it. Pray for us, friends. My way of coping is to lapse into a state of wanting to control everybody and everything and that's NO good (well, it WOULD be good if people would just cooperate with me, but......).

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Ultimately, we're thankful the guy was an idiot!

Night before last, a 78 year old woman that we know from Hometown was abducted from her rural home. The ring leader of the three criminals had done some yard work for her around Thanksgiving and, realizing that she lived alone, conspired to go back and rob her. They threw a brick through her window around 1 AM, at which time they were met with Margaret and her pistol. God bless her heart, she wasn't going down without a fight and came out shooting but missed! They shot back, hitting her twice in the stomach, threw her in the trunk of her car, took what they wanted and drove off with her. A neighbor called for help but the sheriff got there too late.

About 12 hours later, one of the robbers (clearly not the brains of the operation...or maybe he was) walked into a local bank and tried to cash one of her personal checks for $6,000. He was arrested and around 2 PM, she was found, still in the trunk of the car and praying to beat the band. She was airlifted to Charleston and taken into surgery. By 7 PM, it's reported that she was wide awake and talking up a storm.

I could reflect on this for many paragraphs, but I'll leave it at this. Thank goodness that mother has moved somewhere safe. I was constantly worried that someone would break into her house....AND....thanks to our Father in heaven that the abductors were IDIOTS and that Margaret was found before it was too late.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Husbands are SO funny sometimes...

I had to laugh at Hank this afternoon as we were riding home from brunch...and you have to promise that you won't think I'm being vain, but repeating a compliment that someone recently paid me is essential to the point of this little anecdote.

To set up the story, we bought our Christmas tree at the locally owned nursery just down the road from our house the Wednesday before Thanksgiving. I was on my way to do some shopping and Hank was going back to work after lunch so we were in separate cars. After we chose the tree, I left him there to settle up.

Cut to today...So...we're riding along and the conversation goes like this...

Hank: After you left the other day, Jody (the owner) said that she'd never met you before...she said you were pretty.

Belle: Gosh, that was nice...I really wasn't at my best that day.

Hank: Well, I was kind of insulted...

Belle: (looking at him like he's lost his mind)

Hank: (slightly under his breath) Like she thought that I'd have an ugly wife.

Friday, December 4, 2009


This week flew by. The weather has been icky off and on, but Wednesday took the cake. It rained and rained and rained some more. I came home and made a big pot of chicken noodle soup AND vegetable soup. Both were YUMMY in my tummy. Tonight, Hank is making shrimp and grits...his specialty. Yummy in my tummy again!

I finally got my dining room table decorated this week.

Tomorrow's weather is supposed to be icky again. Hank promises that he'll help me with the family room tree and then we'll be all set. I'm waiting for the mailman to deliver ONE more present and then all I have to do is find some things for Ned. I decided against the IPhone for now. Lorelai has an ITouch that she doesn't use, so I think that I'm going to take that to him to try out. He loves toy cars but has probably 100 of them already.
FRIENDS....send me some ideas. I need INSPIRATION! Not only do I need to buy things for our family to give him but I also have to buy some things for mother to give him.
I have to smile, though. Ned is a simple guy. His room is like he likes it and his clothes are like he likes them, and as long as he has a radio (not interested in CD's or an IPod), TV (not interested in DVDs...I got him a DVD player two years ago), and good food, well, he's a happy camper. I could learn a few lessons about living a simpler life from Ned.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

THE GIRL ON LEGARE STREET--A Review of Karen White's New Book

Imagine my excitement when I was contacted to be a TLC Virtual Book Tour host for a recently released book by one of my new favorite authors, Karen White. (ASK ME AGAIN....ASK ME AGAIN!)

Karen will be joining us soon to do a guest post. A CELEBRITY on Life of a Southern Belle!!! I'm honored.

THE GIRL ON LEGARE STREET is the sequel to Karen's fabulous book THE HOUSE ON TRADD STREET. If you've been reading my blog for long, you know that I'm a South Carolina Lowcountry girl, so it stands to reason that I love stories that are set in my stompin' grounds. I've walked up and down Tradd Street on many a beautiful Charleston afternoon, not to mention that my son is named Legare. What's NOT to love about Karen's books!?!
Here is a little bit about the book from TLC Book Tours...

Southern novelist Karen White’s The House on Tradd Street was nominated for the Southern Independent Booksellers Alliance 2009 Book of the Year Award (Fiction). Now, a year later, in a return to Charleston and the people of Tradd Street, Karen White shares the story of The Girl on Legare Street, published by NAL. There the tension continues between Melanie Middleton and Jack Treholm, the house on Tradd Street is still being renovated, and there are messages from the spirit world waiting.

Just as Melanie begins thinking her life and her career as a realtor are finally back to—if not normal—a routine, Jack invites her to join him for coffee. No sooner does she sit down than she’s confronted by both an architectural masterpiece and the mother she hasn’t heard from for thirty years. Said mother, famous soprano Ginette Prioleau, has returned to Charleston and is insisting on buying back the family’s home on Legare Street. Melanie has no interest in even seeing Ginette, let alone in helping to restore the 1755 three-story Georgian double house. It appears that the mother and daughter reunion is about to fail, until a more serious agenda emerges—Ginette has had deadly premonitions with Melanie and the house at their center.

Ginette is determined to protect her daughter from the danger she sees approaching. The question is not simply who wishes Melanie harm but why? The mystery has few clues—the discovery of a portrait whose subject bears a striking resemblance to Melanie, the appearance of a locket marked with an “R” that matches one seen in a painting and a possible connection with Melanie’s great-great grandfather’s sail boat, missing since 1886, which has just been recovered along with a trunk containing the remains of an unidentified girl. Despite their psychic abilities, Ginette and Melanie struggle to make sense of it all and to prepare for the enormous power of a malevolent spirit bent on vengeance.

Do you trust Life of a Southern Belle, my friends?? If you do, you will run right out and buy THE GIRL ON LEGARE STREET and THE HOUSE ON TRADD STREET. I was only asked to review the newest book but you will love them question in my mind. NO QUESTION!!

The characters are fabulous! And I'm not just talking about the living breathing characters...there are some pretty compelling characters from the spirit world too! It may sound cliche to say, but the honest to goodness truth is that you won't want to put the book down. Not to mention the mother/daughter tensions...boy howdy can I relate to that. Actually, it just dawned on me...Melanie Middleton's mother is named Ginette and my mother is named Jeanette. Go figure. At least mother and I haven't had to deal with a "malevolent spirit bent on vengeance." WHEW! And then there is Jack...a hunk and a half...DO mercy!

I'm giving this book a Life of a Southern Belle Award. It doesn't get any better than that. Stay tuned for Karen's guest post soon.

Monday, November 30, 2009


You may (or may not) recall that after several months of working with me a year or so ago, Todd the Trainer was let go by my gym. Consequently, I spent about a year floundering and gaining 20 pounds. I'm not proud of it, I'm just saying...

Several weeks ago, I joined a new gym and found Roy...Roy who was willing to call me OUT when I was cranky and push me when I said I was tired. I complained about Roy but honestly, I really like the guy. Not just everybody can deal with me...know what I mean? I've lost 10 or those 20 pounds since I found Roy. Roy is a miracle worker!!!

So this morning I received a text message from Roy asking me to call. I rang him up, at which time he told me that he had been LET GO....

What am I, I ask you??? The kiss of death to the careers of trainers?????

I'm sad...

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Christmas Decorating

I told you I would do it and indeed I DID! Well, almost. I don't have all of the gifts wrapped and the big tree isn't decorated and I don't have the mantles completely done and I'm still working on the dining room table BUT, the weekend isn't over, now is it?

See what you think about it so far. I tried something new with my windows. We took our window treatments down several years ago when I was battling allergy problems and kind of like the open look. I saw a photo in a magazine similar to what I did for the holidays this year and think that the taffeta ribbon swags looks REALLY nifty. Hope that you like it too.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Clemson Tigers...WHERE WERE YOU???

Calling the Clemson Tigers...Who in the world were those boys playing this afternoon?? I don't know them! I don't know anything about them. What in the WORLD happened???????????

Friday, November 27, 2009

And a day it was....

A little post-holiday whining here...feel free to skip this post

Too much food and almost too much excitement for mother and Ned. They were more wound up than they've been in a long time. While Hank and the kids were in Hometown for a few hours during the middle of the day, I had mother and Ned at the farm. I gave them a light lunch and we settled in for the afternoon. Poor Ned, mother harassed him half to death. Don't eat that...put on your jacket...move don't need anything else to drink...Poor guy, that's why he doesn't want to go visit her everyday. He finally went outside to sweep the leaves off of the porches for me just to get her to leave him alone.

Then, she proceeded to tell me how she's really been thinking about taking a vacation and she'd like to go BEFORE she DIES! I suggested that next summer we go to the mountains for a few days. That's a good idea as far as she's concerned as long as she isn't DEAD by then!

The vacation discussion then led into a funeral plans discussion. She wants a graveside service and wants it ALL done on the cheap! Nothing expensive...don't waste a lot of money on my funeral, she says. Just buy the least expensive casket, she says. How about we just wrap you up in a sheet and drop you in the ground, I countered? No, she replied, I'll need some kind of box. Maybe an orange crate. This was by far one of the most bizarre conversations we've had. I finally suggested that we just spend the day being thankful and save the funeral planning for another day. Of course, by the time the family returned and I explained what we'd been discussing, she didn't remember any of it. Lawsamercy!!!

There was food...lots of it. Caramel Pecan Pie...YUM! We enjoyed having both Legare and Lorelai with us. It's quiet at the farm...peaceful and restful and renewing for the spirit.

A few photos for your enjoyment. I'll have the Christmas decorations ready for you to see in a day or two.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Gobble Gobble

I'm writing this on Wednesday morning for a Thanksgiving Day post. As you read, if you're reading on Thursday, I have packed up my holiday meal and headed over to the farm. Hank and the children are headed to Hometown for three or four hours for his mother's family reunion and will be back by mid-afternoon to enjoy our big meal around 6 PM. Mother and Ned will be in attendance, as will our friend Ed.

Here's how the menu is shaping up. I'm attempting to brine a turkey...have NEVER done that before so I hope it turns out alright. There will be ham, dressing, rice, gravy, macaroni pie, sweet potatoes, butter beans, collard greens, watergate salad, broccoli salad, and....I think that's about it. OH....yeast rolls, pumpkin pie and pecan, sweet tea, and coffee. WHEW! I was not storying when I titled this post "gobble gobble."

OOPS...take collard greens off of the list. I just smelled something burning and it was the collards. I left them turned up too high. It took a long time to wash and cut up those things. Oh well...nobody to blame but myself. Have you ever smelled burning collards? It is truly awful.

ONE HOUR LATER...Well, I think the burning collard smell is beginning to dissipate. But now we don't have any water! Good grief! I called the county office and they don't know what is wrong...didn't even KNOW that our whole community was without water until their phones started ringing...they're on it, which is a good thing because I really need to take a shower, wash Lorelai's clothes, and run the dishwasher.

I'm SO very thankful for so many things (but not burned collards or a lack of water service). Our children are doing well, we are happy, healthy and employed. Blogging continues to be the perfect outlet for me to chronicle the events of our lives. The thing that made the biggest difference in our lives was the MIRACLE of getting mother and Ned settled. To know that they are safe and that Ned is finally getting to live the life that he deserves...words can hardly express how joyful and thankful we are.

As you reflect on 2009...what were your three greatest blessings? I really truly do want to know...wouldn't ask if I didn't!


Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Begging Your Pardon

Legare just reminded me about this episode of The West Wing. I adore that show and never get tired of watching the reruns. Do you remember the episode in which President Bartlett pardons the turkey?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Bad Modem...Bad Bad Modem...GOOD GOOD CLEMSON TIGERS~!

Finally, the Home Telephone Company man came to fix our DSL. Apparently the last modem they brought was a piece of junk. Oh well...ALL better now!

Saturday was a FABULOUS day in Clemson. Our Tigers won the ACC Championship and are headed to Tampa on December 5. This week's game is for the "state championship" against the University of South Carolina in Columbia. We'll watch from home...not going to Tampa either. Too far...we'll tailgate in our kitchen for both games.

I had my yearly physical this morning (fun fun) so I took advantage of having a "sick day" to get some shopping done. Can't tell you what I bought because I'll give away my Christmas surprises. Let's just say that Hank, Legare, Lorelai and mother came out on the good side. Ned is SO hard to buy for. The decorating is almost done too. Just a little more shopping for my Thanksgiving Day dinner. I love being just rarely happens.

My camera battery died just as we started to tailgate last Saturday, but I took this one with my phone as we walked to the stadium. It's about the cutest thing I've seen in a long time. I never saw the little guy from the front, but at least his head and feet were ready for some football!

Lorelai comes home tomorrow and Legare on Wednesday...he's hurrying back to Chapel Hill on Friday morning as exams are looming. Lor will hang around with us through Sunday...she has a new "sweetheart" from The Citadel.

OH...and the Biggest Loser competition at work was over today. I lost 9.5 pounds in four weeks and am VERY happy about that. My hope is to maintain my weight during the holidays and go for another 9.5 pounds come January. Wish me luck!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


I really am thinking of calling out the flying monkeys!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Weekends! YAY

Good weekend, how about you??

I got a solid start on my decorating and we spent some time over at the farm. As an added bonus, Lorelai came home for the weekend. Of course we didn't see too much of her, but she did go with her daddy to sit in a deer stand for awhile. No deer, though. They were hiding.

Ned visited for a little bit and had fun on the four wheeler. He won't ride by himself but Hank is very patient and took him all around the farm Ned has finally gotten used to our little dog, Precious, but when Lor, our friend Ann, and I arrived with Ann's little dog (a mirror image of Precious), Ned got a little twitchy. For forty years mother told him that he was afraid of dogs and he REALLY is. (I think that's called brainwashing...) When a dog comes along, he'll run in the house or in the case of Ann's dog, he ran OUT of the house when she came in. At that point, he was ready to go back to his house. Oh well, he's come a long way in the last eight months. We aren't going to change everything overnight.

I'll add a few photos to get ready for work. Yuck!

Friday, November 13, 2009

Getting Ready for the Holidays

I am determined...DETERMINED, I SAY, to have my house decorated for Christmas BY Thanksgiving Day and all of my gifts purchased and wrapped by December 1. Here's why...I have just three days off for Thanksgiving and don't want to spend them cooking and decorating. Can't avoid the cooking but at least when the last of the dishes is washed and put away, I'll be able to sit back and enjoy my already decorated house.

Our holiday plans will be a bit different this year. For the first time in our 26 years of marriage, our families are not in the same town. Mother's move to Green Grove and Ned's to his house will change the complexion of our holiday plans from here on out. The question is this: How do we make sure that everybody feels like their got their due without losing our minds? I started getting twitchy about this as early as two months ago and made a proposal that, praise The Lord, Hank found agreeable.

His mother's family has a reunion on Thanksgiving Day at the American Legion Hut back in Hometown. I took tap dancing lessons from Ilona Hiers in that same hut for five years...first grade through fifth grade. I'm pretty sure that mother and daddy knew they were wasting their money but held on to hope that one day, I'd develop a sense of rhythm in my feet. Truth be told, Thanksgiving at the hut isn't my "scene" but it brings back fond memories for Hank, and Lorelai doesn't actually mind going so much because she says people ask her questions about herself and she likes being the center of attention...go figure! She's a novelty there, since 95% of the people who attend never left Hometown and see each other all the time. Mother and Ned have frequently been guests at the hut on Thanksgiving Day, but I don't think that taking them back to Hometown is a good idea. They're happy and I don't want to stir the pot.

So, Hank and Lor will go to Hometown for the midday meal. I'll be at the farm cooking a traditional holiday meal for supper. I'm going to send Legare over to Green Grove for Mother and Ned and probably have him help her get her Christmas decorations out. Then we'll all "gather together to ask The Lord's blessing" later in the day.

And we have been SO blessed this year. Mother and Ned are safe, settled, and happy. Hank's mother, who struggles with depression is doing better (I don't talk much about Hank's family...those are his stories to tell). Legare is doing well in law school and has secured a job for next summer. Lorelai is doing well in college and we have managed to find a way to get her into a new living situation for second semester. Have their been troubling times...sure, but the good FAR outweighs the bad and for that we are indeed thankful.

So...two weeks from today you can expect photos of Thanksgiving and my Christmas decorations. YIKES! I'd better get busy...

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Two Things People Asked About and One Miss Priss Story

1. Blood Orange Martini Punch (It's in the 2009 Christmas With Southern Living book, but not called punch. I added the word because I wasn't taking a martini shaker and poured it over ice)

4 cups blood orange juice
2 cups orange flavored vodka
1 cup triple sec (could maybe have used a little less)

Mix it up and drink it up. It is strong but suited me fine when over ice

2. can find him at East Shore Fitness in Moncks Corner, SC

3. After a long long wait...we have a MISS PRISS story. You may remember that Miss Priss is the now five year old kindergarten daughter of my former assistant Lilly, and is quite precocious. The other day, our school district's chief human resources officer was out visiting schools and stuck his head in the door of Miss Priss's classroom. The teacher greeted him and when he turned to leave, Miss Priss said, "oooooooooooooooooooooooooooo" (like "hoot" without the "h" or the "t"). The teacher pulled Priss aside and asked her why she would do such a thing when they had a guest in the classroom. Priss replied, "Because you're such a great teacher that President Obama came to your classroom!" When Lilly asked later in the day, Priss further explained that "He had on a blue suit and a red tie....I thought he was President Obama!" Mr. Sanders might have a future as a body double for the president.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Oh Those Seminoles and Their Little War Chant--NOT

We had a great Saturday up in Clemson as we enjoyed watching our TIGERS beat the stuffing out of Florida State. While the FSU band was impressive on the field...the Indian war chant thing that they played during the game over and over and over and over and over and get the drift...was the most annoying thing I've heard in ages. I'm sure that they MEAN for it to be sort of ominous and menacing, but it's just aggravating. (No offense to any FSU fans out there...I'm sure our jaunty little Tiger Rag annoys you!)

On the upside...when it became clear that the Seminoles could not come back for a win, all 77,000 of my good friends in Death Valley and I serenaded them with We Will, We Will ROCK YOU. It sounded beautimas, as my dear old Aunt Zoie would say.

Since it was a 7:45 pm game, we had all day to tailgate. Our neighbors invited us to join them and ultimately 40 to 50 friends, friends of friends, friends of get the drift. We had a marvelous time and my Blood Orange Martini Punch was a big hit. Our neighbors have been our neighbors for about 15 years and our girls are fast friends. Their Lilly is a junior at Clemson and younger daughter Rori is a high school senior. They are like sisters to Lorelai and have gotten into all SORTS of things together over the years. It was always more fun at their house because there was no Legare over there...and Donna, their mom, was the nice mom on the street. I was a meanie!! For years it seemed like Lor spent at least one night a weekend next door. They love her and we love them. Aren't good neighbors a blessing!! As a matter of fact, yesterday, Donna was pivotal in helping us finally find a solution to the predicament that I wrote about in my private post several weeks ago. I'm getting her a BIG Christmas gift this year.

Here are three photos of Lorelai and Rori. Lor had to make sure that the tiger paw tattoo (removable of course) was on properly. Then the girls had to look at the pictures they'd been taking. They grew up awfully fast!!

Friday, November 6, 2009

It Is Entirely Possible That I Have Met My Match

Roy always meets me as I walk into the gym. Yesterday afternoon, our initial greeting to each other went like this...

Roy...So how are you this afternoon?

Me...I'm cranky...VERY cranky!

Roy...Well, we'll work THAT right out of you!!


Now I ask you...what kind of comeback was I supposed to have for that?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Whoo HOO!!

Two weeks with Roy the Relentless and one week on the Biggest Loser plan at work.

5 and a half pounds lost.

Roy is looking better and better!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Legare's Halloween

I felt bad for leaving Legare out of my previous post and saw this on his facebook page. I have no earthly idea what he was supposed to be but apparently somewhere during the night he lost track of the baby. Hank says he looks like "a guy who was having a pretty good time at a party." Perhaps my anonymous commenter who knows lots and lots about Legare will enlighten us.


I've been enjoying looking at the Halloween photos people are posting. As there were no digital cameras when my children were in the heyday of being enamoured with trick or treating, I really need to go back through their scrapbooks and scan those old photos. I did find a few. Apologies to Legare who is going to sit down and cry because there are none here of him. I love you son...I'm just too lazy to go scan pictures right now.

First, here is my brother Ned in his cowboy outfit. What a cutie pie!

Check Spelling
Here are Lorelai as the beauty queen, and our next door neighbor getting ready to hit the neighborhood.

You'll see the difference a few years make here as Lor dressed up last year as a prom queen. Oh MERCY, how the outfit changed.

Finally, I leave you with a blast from the past with my aunt (for whom I was named) and uncle dressed as George and Martha Washington. They turned quite a few heads that year...I'd say around 1972 or thereabouts.