Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Mother is Cracking Me Up

NOT cracking me up as in "I'm going crazy" although that's a possibility, but cracking me up as in "I'm laughing out loud."

She's ALL excited over Ned's birthday. The phone calls have started. Does he KNOW? (Yes) Is it a surprise party? (No) Am I getting a cake? (Yes) Am I getting presents? (Yes) Does he KNOW? (Yes) Is it a surprise party? (No) Am I getting a cake? (Yes) Am I getting presents? (Yes) Does he KNOW? (Yes) Is it a surprise party? (No) Am I getting a cake? (Yes) Am I getting presents? (Yes) Does he KNOW? (Yes) Is it a surprise party? (No) Am I getting a cake? (Yes) Am I getting presents? (Yes) Does he KNOW? (Yes) Is it a surprise party? (No) Am I getting a cake? (Yes) Am I getting presents? (Yes) Does he KNOW? (Yes) Is it a surprise party? (No) Am I getting a cake? (Yes) Am I getting presents? (Yes) Does he KNOW? (Yes) Is it a surprise party? (No) Am I getting a cake? (Yes) Am I getting presents? (Yes) Does he KNOW? (Yes) Is it a surprise party? (No) Am I getting a cake? (Yes) Am I getting presents? (Yes) Does he KNOW? (Yes) Is it a surprise party? (No) Am I getting a cake? (Yes) Am I getting presents? (Yes) Does he KNOW? (Yes) Is it a surprise party? (No) Am I getting a cake? (Yes) Am I getting presents? (Yes) Does he KNOW? (Yes) Is it a surprise party? (No) Am I getting a cake? (Yes) Am I getting presents? (Yes) Does he KNOW? (Yes) Is it a surprise party? (No) Am I getting a cake? (Yes) Am I getting presents? (Yes) Does he KNOW? (Yes) Is it a surprise party? (No) Am I getting a cake? (Yes) Am I getting presents? (Yes) Does he KNOW? (Yes) Is it a surprise party? (No) Am I getting a cake? (Yes) Am I getting presents? (Yes) Does he KNOW? (Yes) Is it a surprise party? (No) Am I getting a cake? (Yes) Am I getting presents? (Yes) Does he KNOW? (Yes) Is it a surprise party? (No) Am I getting a cake? (Yes) Am I getting presents? (Yes) Does he KNOW? (Yes) Is it a surprise party? (No) Am I getting a cake? (Yes) Am I getting presents? (Yes)

Get the picture??? That's the "loop" this week. The last two weeks have been BIG for her, what with Raylrode Daze and now birthdays. She hasn't had this much excitement since she moved to Green Grove. You should hear Hank on the phone with her..."Yes ma'am, No ma'am, Yes ma'am, Yes ma'am, Belle has it ALL under control..." ..."Yes ma'am, No ma'am, Yes ma'am, Yes ma'am, Belle has it ALL under control..." ..."Yes ma'am, No ma'am, Yes ma'am, Yes ma'am, Belle has it ALL under control..." ..."Yes ma'am, No ma'am, Yes ma'am, Yes ma'am, Belle has it ALL under control..." ..."Yes ma'am, No ma'am, Yes ma'am, Yes ma'am, Belle has it ALL under control..." ..."Yes ma'am, No ma'am, Yes ma'am, Yes ma'am, Belle has it ALL under control..." ..."Yes ma'am, No ma'am, Yes ma'am, Yes ma'am, Belle has it ALL under control..." ..."Yes ma'am, No ma'am, Yes ma'am, Yes ma'am, Belle has it ALL under control..." ..."Yes ma'am, No ma'am, Yes ma'am, Yes ma'am, Belle has it ALL under control..." ..."Yes ma'am, No ma'am, Yes ma'am, Yes ma'am, Belle has it ALL under control..." ..."Yes ma'am, No ma'am, Yes ma'am, Yes ma'am, Belle has it ALL under control..."

Lawsamercy, that man must love me A LOT!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Since you couldn't be at Raylrode Daze, Raylrode Daze is coming to you!

Mother won...since she couldn't get anywhere with me, she started calling Mrs. Vernelle over at Ned's house. Ned ended up sitting right by mother during the parade, and Mrs. Vernelle and Ned's housemate Dave met us at my aunt's house afterwards for lunch. The rain managed to hold off until the parade was ending and I enjoyed spending time with my cousins, who I don't get to see very often.

Next weekend is BIRTHDAY weekend. Mine on Friday and Ned's on Saturday. We'll be 48 and 41 respectively. On Saturday we'll go over to Ned's house and have a birthday party. He wants a white cake with his name written on it and a "bean bag game." I hope that means a Toss Across game, which I didn't even know they still made until I found one online. Just got to get that cake baked and we'll be in business.

Here's a slide show of our day. I wrote comments on some of the photos so you might want to move from slide to slide manually so that you don't miss ANY of the excitement.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Retreating from the Wits End

TGIF!!! It didn't get here a moment too soon. I was able, as Maureen from Mom Times Two suggested, to do a U-turn before I got all the way to my wits end. I probably gained five pounds this week but whatever...

In a cryptic message to those who read the private post, the weather is improving but until the season changes, there continues to be a chance of storms. (I crack myself up sometimes...does that make ANY sense to anybody??)

We're sitting out the Clemson game this weekend. Lor has friends going up to visit and Hank and I are going to be taking care of some things with mother and Ned over at the farm. I expect to have some interesting pictures for you as this is the weekend of the Raylrode Daze Festivul in a small town near the farm. Ned LOVES the Raylrode Daze Festivul. Remember the Hell Hole Swamp Festival I wrote about back in May? Raylrode Daze is another variation on the same theme. Never can tell what you might come across.

Mother is distressed because Ned wants to go to the parade with his new friends instead of with her. My aunt has invited everybody, including Ned and his friends to her house for lunch after the parade...isn't that just the most thoughtful thing?? That isn't good enough for mother...she wants him to sit by her at the parade. She called six times last night and we finally told a fib. OK...it was a complete and utter untruth, but she wasn't going to stop calling or ever go to bed if we didn't tell her that we'd make Ned change his plans. Ned has NOT changed his plans...he'll see us at lunch. I'm so proud of him. In six short months, he has become so much more confident and independent. It's just a joy to behold.

Pictures on Sunday night!! Have a great weekend.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wits End

I used to wonder exactly WHERE I would be when I got to my "wits end."

I'm just about there, my friends. JUST about THERE!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Little Experiment in Posting

I don't want to go private but sometimes I want to post something private so if you will, please indulge me in a little experiment.

I've written a post on notepad (why I haven't taken time to put Word on this computer I'm not certain) and if you're interested in reading it just send me an e-mail and I'll send it to you as an attachment. I felt the need to vent a little so if you're not in the mood for that, you won't want to read it.

No anonymous requests or non-bloggers please. I'll report in a few days on how this experiment went.


Monday, September 21, 2009

Hurrican Hugo-Part II

When we purchased our lot back in 1985, we chose it because of the trees. A row of beautiful old oaks and pecan trees across the front and a row of beautiful old oaks across the back. We put our house smack dab in the middle.

As the storm subsided around 5:00 AM and dawn started to break, we got up off of the powder room floor (Legare was STILL asleep tucked up in one corner) and held our breath as we walked through the house. We had no flooding, but the hardwood floor in the foyer was wet where water had blown under the front door. Shingles had apparently blown off and there were wet spots on the ceiling upstairs. The guest bath window was broken. We'd pushed the kitchen table up against the double doors in the kitchen. It had been moved about 6 inches back into the middle of the room by the wind. All in all though, the house had come through it right well.

When we walked into the sun room and looked out the back door the FIRST thing I noticed was that I could see the sky lightening up. That was strange, because we couldn't ordinarily see the sky because of the row of trees across the back of our property. You guess it...huge trees..all over the back yard on top of each other like pick-up sticks...pulled up and over by the roots. Huge holes. Putting the house smack dab in the middle of the lot turned out to have been a very smart thing to do.

When we walked out of the back door, it looked like we'd landed in a war zone or on a different planet. Nothing looked right and the smell of pine almost hurt our noses it was so strong. We began to walk around, trying to see if our neighbors houses were still standing. They were, but one neighbor's metal roof was a twisted mess in our front yard. A friend down the road escaped tragedy by a hair...she had just gotten up off of the bed when a tree crashed through the roof right ON the bed. Their house couldn't be salvaged.

By the following morning, the road out of our little community (there's one way in and one way out) was cleared so that I could drive the 90 mile's to mother's house to take Legare and stock up on water and supplies (we were ultimately without power for almost two weeks). I came back home to help with the relief effort at the church, checking back in at mother's every couple of days. Hank had to immediately get back to work (power company) My aunt and uncle came with a generator and propane stove. Friends came from Savannah to help us start on the yard. Friends in town got power back with in a couple of days and were gracious enough to allow us to come take hot showers. People emptied their freezers and brought all of the food to the church so that we could cook for the lineman and others coming in to help.

To say we were stunned would be an understatement. I remember the beloved local news reporter Charlie Hall breaking down and crying on the air when someone told him that his house was still standing. It was quite some time before I didn't get the heebie jeebies during windy weather if it occured at night. I don't particularly enjoy rehashing the event every year, but as this was the 20th anniversary, decided to write about it so that Legare would have an account of what he slept through. God showed us an extraordinary amount of mercy and grace during that dark dark night. We are extraordinarily thankful.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Hurricane Hugo-Part 1

Here we are at the 20th anniversary of Hurricane Hugo, which hit Charleston "like an atom bomb." At the time, it was the most damaging hurricane ever recorded. It was later surpassed by Hurricane Andrew and then Andrew was surpassed Hurricane Katrina.

There was quite a bit of confusion about where Hugo was going to make landfall. Even when we found out that Charleston was ground zero, Hank and I didn't fret so awful much. Our town about 35 miles inland up the Cooper River. We'd endured edges of hurricanes and many a tropical storm in our lifetimes. The town we grew up in was 45 miles in from the coast and never experienced anything but a little wind and some rain. SO....we stayed home. All of our friends stayed home. How bad could it be...Hank and I sat out one storm...can't remember which one but it would have been '84 or '85, with friends in the bar at the Mills House Hotel on Meeting Street. Fun times!

For Hugo, we had some flashlights and a radio and as an afterthought, filled the bathtubs up with water as we hunkered down with three year old Legare. While our experience here at home was nothing like that of Katrina folks who didn't get out, I think it's safe to say that from 11 PM or so until about 5 AM the next morning we were as scared as we have ever been in our entire lives. Not Legare though, he slept through the whole thing.

When it started to get really dicey and the power went out, we moved from the den to the downstairs powder room which is across the hall from a small coat closet. There were periods of time during the night that I truly feared that we would not be alive to see the morning. For instance, when the pressure sucked all of the water out of the pipes in the house. Have you ever sat on the floor in your bathroom listening to something akin to a freight train bearing down on you IN the dark with just a flashlight and watched the water being sucked out of the toilet??? It's creepy...very creepy.
During the eye of the storm, we walked out on our front porch...eerie....so still...but the porch hadn't been ripped off so that seemed like a good thing. Some of our neighbor's roof, however, was in the front yard. That was bad. There were trees down all around one of our cars, but not ON the car. That was good. We walked upstairs...the guest bath window was broken. Later we discovered it was from the neighbor's flying roof. All in all, we were still standing (we didn't know that some of our neighbor's were NOT), so we went back downstairs to get ready for the other side of the storm. Let me tell you, it was every bit as scary as the first part of the storm.

In the days following, everybody said that it was a good thing all of this went on during darkness....that if it had happened during the day so that we could actually see what was going on, lots more people would have been hurt or killed...not just from trying to run outside to try to fix or save something, but from a heart attack or stroke from the sheer terror. I suppose that's true because...

Gotta go now...will finish this later.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Strategic Plans and PowerPoint Presentations

I spent the day with strategic plans and PowerPoint presentations and you know what? I was happy as a pig in slop because there's nothing I love more than a good challenge.

Work has been interesting lately. We have a new "big" boss and his way of doing things is practically completely different than the ways of the old boss. I can't blame Mr. New really...he doesn't know any of us. I anticipate great things happening in our organization, but right now just about everybody is feeling a little uncomfortable. The people who aren't feeling a little uncomfortable are NOT paying attention, and I expect they're going to muck something up good before long.

The main issue is communication. We have a lot of new processes and protocols and it takes a lot longer than it used to get an answer or to provide someone WITH an answer. I'm no dummy (contrary to popular belief) and have always been smart enough to know when to NOT answer a question or give advice. In other words, I'm pretty savvy about knowing what I DON'T know, but when I make an error, I'm the first to step up and accept the consequences. Furthermore, I'm a "company girl"....nobody is or ever will be more loyal. That's the southern belle way!

Again, I realize that Mr. New doesn't know us and the only thing I can suppose is that there are some trust issues. Some of our clients are getting frustrated that we aren't providing the same level of service that we used to. Everybody is thankful to have a job...there is no question about it. For heaven's sake, I don't know anybody who's going around saying, "gosh darn it...I'm really sorry that I didn't get displaced...why oh WHY can't I be UNemployed??!!!!!" It's just that change can be tough...even if the outcomes are good, the act of change itself is often one conflict after another. You have to respect the process but you don't have to like it.

I try, or at least I TRY to try, to keep spirits up around the office. My assistant, Miss Yvette, and I like people to be happy. Happy people are productive people. Frustrated people start to nitpick and snip at their colleagues. That is NOT the southern belle way and southern belles do NOT appreciate that kind of behavior. I'm continuing with my "relax" and "keep calm and carry on" mantra and most days it works, although one day last week, I felt like the wooden "keep calm" sign was mocking me and I wanted to WHACK it against something until it broke into teeny tiny pieces. The important thing to note is that I did NOT whack the sign until it broke into teeny tiny pieces.

But tonight...tonight, all is well. I'm going to dream of sweet strategic plans and pleasing PowerPoint presentations. Nighty night!!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

My Future Career in the US Armed Forces

Still trying to make Hank comfortable. He was supposed to be going out of town today for a few days on business but has had to cancel. I picked up some plain old chicken noodle soup this morning and some apple juice to make up for the orange juice incident from yesterday afternoon.

As he walked in the kitchen just a few minutes ago to get his soup and crackers, I asked, "Have you taken all of your medicine?" To which he replied, "You are like an ARMY DRILL SERGEANT! Dang! It's like you can't wait for me to get well!!"

Well DUH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

In his defense, he quickly realized how monumentally stupid the second remark was. But he isn't backing down from the army drill sergeant thing.

Apparently, I do have the drill sergeant knack. Shortly after we got married, Hank had to have all of his wisdom teeth out. When we got home, he was still feeling mighty fine from the anesthesia and would NOT lie down. I fussed and he finally agreed to recline on the sofa. As I walked out of the room I heard him say, "The nurse was really nice and she smelled good. You're MEAN!

All together now, "Ma'am, yes ma'am, Sergeant Belle, MA'AM!"

Saturday, September 12, 2009

When Husbands Don't Feel Well...

Has anybody out there had to deal with a sick husband lately? Poor Hank...thankfully, he does NOT have H1N1, but he is terribly sick with some flu-like thing. Our family doctor gave him a couple of shots yesterday afternoon and a bag full of medicine. This is not good...not just because of the obvious, but also because he cannot STAND it when he just has to sit around. (Unlike ME, who loves to just sit around).

I've been to the store and we are stocked up on Puffs with lotion, cough drops, chai tea latte from the local coffee shop (the one I made at home this morning was "too spicy"), and a pot of chicken and dumplings is simmering on the stove. He was unhappy with the orange juice because "everybody knows that people with sore throats can't drink orange juice!" (Sorry dude...) I gave him a flying pill to try to get him to relax and now he's sitting outside reading "South of Broad." I'll get some comfort food in him after a little while and am NOT above encouraging another flying pill later this afternoon. Better yet...maybe I'll just take the flying pill myself!!!

Thursday, September 10, 2009


Take THAT bullies of the world. I'm a WINNER and you are most decidedly NOT!!!


Seriously, my new good blog friend Susan, over at The World from My Basement recently hosted a giveaway and I WON the most FABULOUS monogrammed clutch. Look...lookey lookey look!!!!!
As an added bonus, it turns out that Susan is a former South Carolinian who used to live 150 miles or so up the interstate in a sweet little town where she knew Hank's cousin and his family AND a high school friend of mine who settled in the area. Her mother and mine both attended the same college and are about the same age. I've got to find mother's old yearbook. It is truly a small world, isn't it?
Run...RUN (OK...type or click) as fast as you can to check out her blog and online shop, Basement Bags. I can personally attest to the fact that the Rachie Clutch will not disappoint.

THANK YOU, Susan. I needed a boost and you and my beautiful new clutch surely did give me one!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009


I need to start a new private blog so that I can vent about some things. Some people, Lord love them (and I am serious about that), are bullies and just plain mean. How can a person find joy in being a bully? Now I'm starting to feel sorry for the mean person. That must be some kind of miserable existance...

And that's all I have to say about that!

-----------------------------An evening edit...just wanted to clarify that the bully isn't related to anything "bloggy." I've been really fortunate that I've never received a rude comment...folks haven't always agreed with me but the discourse has always been civil, thank goodness!!

Monday, September 7, 2009

It's almost like you were there with us...

I tried my hand at using the digital camera to make a couple of videos so that you could experience Clemson tailgating and football for yourselves. The second one of the team running down the hill ("the most exciting 25 seconds in college football") will not load for some reason. It was a bit out of focus and wobbly but oh MERCY, I love watching those buses pull up and the team rubbing Howard's Rock and running down the hill. I get chill bumps every time.

First...An ensemble from the Tiger Band serenades us while we eat. I couldn't help but get a couple of shots of the young men tailgating across from us. They enjoyed LOTS of shots, if you get my drift!

I'll try to reload the second one again tomorrow...maybe things will be moving along on Blogger a little better.

Finally...a few photographs of our tailgate. Don't the fruit tarts look yummy? You'll recognize some of the girls from Lorelai's birthday extravaganza. OH...Citadel Friends...so sorry that my Tar Heels whooped up on your boys so badly. Mason represented the family in Chapel Hill. Oh shoot...what am I saying...we're not sorry...but you know I love your Dogs as long as they aren't playing one of MY teams.

Better late...

Barefoot in the Park...Coco...Surburban Prep...Jules...Jessica...Keri

Your prizes are going in the mail tomorrow (Tuesday) morning. Everything is all packaged and addressed and ready to go. YIPPEE

I still need to hear from BLONDIE'S JOURNAL (Starbucks Card) and blueviolet (Mrs. Meyers Clean Day). Send me your addresses so that I can get your prizes to you. (If you already sent them please send again...my Blackberry hasn't been playing nice with my e-mail accounts).

Thursday, September 3, 2009

I Have a Confession to Make...

Don't get TOO excited...it's not THAT interesting...

Here it is...I am not a good traveler. OH, don't get me wrong, I pack efficiently and have all my ducks in a row. I can get to the airport, to the hotel, around and about, and back home again all by myself, generally without incident. But, I don't like it...I really don't like it.

It isn't so bad when Hank is with me, but that is rare when I travel on business. Traveling alone, or even with colleagues, always makes me feel like I'm working 24 hours a day while I'm away. Meetings all day...eating meals with people who are attending the meetings, going back to the hotel room and thinking about the meetings, dreaming about the meetings. In between, checking work e-mail and voicemail and returning messages. I realized Monday night as I was writing an e-mail at 11:59 pm that I probably needed some kind of intervention. See my dilemma??

I am home but am exhausted and cranky! Poor Hank! I don't want to be a bad traveler...I want to be a GOOD traveler.

I'm taking a vacation day tomorrow. Monday is a holiday. CLEMSON FOOTBALL on Saturday.

I think I'll be OK...I travel JUST fine for Clemson football!!!