Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Birthday, B


         At 4:08 a.m. on March 14, 2006, you came into this world. And every year since, I set my alarm for that time on that day to have a silent celebration of your arrival. I find that even though I set my alarm, I don't actually need it. When I woke up at 4:08 this morning, I thought about the days leading up to your birth. I thought about the first time I laid eyes on you. For a couple of months after your arrival, I kept meaning to write down every detail of those 4 days. I wanted to get in down while it was fresh, terrified that I would forget something. The thing I didn't realize then is that those days are impossible to forget. I remember them with startling detail. I remember counting time between contractions with Betsy and Phebe. I remember watching Jeopardy! and trying to take a hot bath to soothe the pain. I remember listening to Madonna on the way to the hospital the first time. I remember being told to go home and take Tylenol PM. I remember eating a pizza and drinking a Route 44 Ocean Water and returning to the hospital less than 24 hours later. I remember begging Betsy, through tears, to go track down the anesthesiologist at 1:00 a.m. Prior to styling the lovely hospital gown, I wore a black dress and a pink zip-up hoodie. When you finally arrived, you had white blond hair that was sticking straight up and beautiful blue eyes. I remember being rendered speechless  when they put you in my arms (and you'll figure out as you get older, I'm not often rendered speechless).

         B, there aren't many moments in life you remember with such detail. This is one of the few. And every March 14, I run over it again in my mind.

        When I'm alone at 4:00 in the morning, I say a prayer for you. This is not to say that I don't pray for you all the time, but this prayer is a little different. I thank God for the preceding year and ask simply that the one to come is as blessed as the one before.

         Love, we've had a rough couple of years. But you keep trucking right along. This year, you started kindergarten. This year, you learned to read. I mean really read, not just memorize books and repeat the words (although this was always very sweet, especially when we read The Lorax). This year, you wished Star Wars was real ("...all of it. Even The Clone Wars.") According to you, your favorite food is chicken and your favorite TV is Tom and Jerry. You're endlessly entergetic and you love riding your bike, legos, Angry Birds, and playing "pirate ship" in the backyard.

          Sometimes, it's hard for me to believe that you're already 6. Sometimes, it baffles me that you're only 6. And while you've learned so much, you've still got so far to go.  When I think about you're future, I find that I want very simple things for you. But you'll figure out (too soon), that life is, at times, quite complicated.  I want you to be happy. This is very broad, but that doesn't make it any less true. I want you to always be curious and to never stop learning. But I also want you to realize that you're never going to know everything. And, maybe most importantly, I want you to learn to trust yourself. You'll find as you get older that everyone's a critic. There will be times when you'll begin to doubt your decisions. This is alright, because it means your being thoughtful. But at the end of the day, trust your own instincts. And I promise, I'll try to trust you, too.

There is a voice inside of you
That whispers all day long,
"I feel that this is right for me,
I know that this is wrong,"
No teacher, preacher, parent, friend,
Or wise man can decide
What's right for you - just listen to
The voice that speaks inside.
           -Shel Silverstein

Happy birthday, B.



Thursday, March 1, 2012

Packing It All Up (Again)

I'm always amazed by the onslaught of emotion packing brings.  Today, as I was carefully wrapping jewelry boxes, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, and rings, I ran across a tiny locket. A tiny locket with a "B" on the front and a date on the back (12-88). That locket is 22 years old. That locket brought me to tears.

I'm not sure I could exactly describe what it was that came over me. Maybe it's that when you pack, you silently take inventory of all that you have. Maybe with every box, you realize you don't know what you have.

I have found some amazing things. Some things that remind me of moments I had forgotten (that is why I keep these things, after all). I found some things that remind me of moments I could never forget. I have found some things that I have no idea why I hold onto, but I find myself unable to throw them away. I have found some truly odd things that make me think, Is this really all the crap that I own?

In 28 years, I have amassed an impressive library, but I own only 4 plates. I own a million pictures, a boatload of paint, and at least 30 notebooks that are half-filled with various musings, but not a sofa, or a table, or even any chairs.

The first time I moved (or remember moving), I was 13.  Back then, moving was sad. Really sad. It meant I would be leaving all of my friends. It meant that I would no longer live in the only home I'd ever known. It meant I couldn't try out for cheerleading (which, to a 13 year-old girl, is a much bigger deal than I can adequately explain).

Since then, I've moved 10 more times (in 2 weeks the count will be 11). The funny thing about all those moves is that the only time it was really sad was that first time. Every time since then, I've been moving towards something, as opposed to moving away from something.  In August 2002, I moved into my dorm room in Auburn, Al. I moved to college and I just knew I had my whole life ahead of me (that girl really didn't know what was coming). In March 2006, I moved back to Montgomery and into my parent's house. I moved there to become Beckett's Mom. And in May 2011, I moved to Newnan, Ga. I moved to start over, to find a new place for B and me.

This entire post stems from the unstoppable tears that were induced by a tiny locket.  I still don't know exactly what brought on the tears, but I do have an idea. If moving is always now about moving forward, moving in a new direction, then what happens when what you are moving towards doesn't pan out? What if all of the plans you've made fall through? What if the life you envision as the product of this big change in location turns out to be the exact opposite of what you intended?

Moving isn't sad anymore -- it's terrifying.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Auld Lang Syne

The end of the year is the perfect time to take stock, to reflect, to resolve, to aspire, to hope. And for the last day or two, it's been a great time to remember all that has gone wrong.  It is so easy to pinpoint every disaster, every disappointment, and every letdown and to promise to never have them happen again (at least not for the next year). In general, 2011 was not a red-letter year (and neither was 2010).

But then, I reconsidered the year. While everything wasn't perfect, it was actually pretty great. I rang in 2011 in New Orleans. 2011 was the year I celebrated St. Patrick's Day in Savannah. It was the year I graduated from law school and the year B started kindergarten. It was the year B learned to ride a bike and lost his first tooth. It was the year I left Montgomery. It was the year Baby C was born and one of my oldest friends became a mother. It was the year several friends got engaged and a few got married. It was the year I finally got a sewing machine. It was the year I got Liza Jane. It was the year B told me that even before he was born, he knew I was his Mom . It was the year Auburn won the National Championship and B declared his love for the Geogia Bulldogs. And it was the year I found my first gray hair and went back blonde. In it's own way, it was a great year.

It was a painful reminder that time does, in fact, march on. It was a constant reminder that sometimes life really isn't fair. It was a sweet reminder that hearing your child say "I love you," can get through the hardest days. Looking back on it, I am reminded that things aren't always as they seem.

Looking forward, I am excited. 2012 has such potential. Such madding and unending potental. I have so many resolutions, so many ideas, dreams, plans, hopes. Here goes nothing.

Happy New Year, y'all!

When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth that you are weeping for that which has been your delight. -Khalil Gibran

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Movie-A-Palooza*

*I use the label "Christmas movie" quite loosely.

It was brought to my attention last year that my definition of "Christmas movie" may be slightly off. While I, like every sane person everywhere, enjoy A Christmas Story and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, these are not the movies I want to watch on a loop during the holiday season. For my money, I want something happy and sweet and sentimental. I do not want to shoot my eye out.

First and foremost, my Christmas Eve must-have: It's a Wonderful Life

This one is an obvious pick. But it's so wonderful. George Bailey, I really will love you until the day I die.

Next: Love Actually

Since this movie is set at Christmas, a lot of people put it on their short list of favorite Christmas movies. Hugh Grant, Colin Firth, Liam Neeson, and Alan Rickman? Merry Christmas to me. Plus, isn't it nice to be reminded that love really is all around?

Here is where I go off the rails a touch: The Wizard of Oz

This I blame on TBS. I couple of years ago, they started playing The Wizard of Oz with limited commercial interruptions at least 4 times during the holiday season. Now, Christmas isn't complete until the wind begins to switch, the house to pitch, and of course, the hinges start to unhitch. I have loved this movie my whole life and have thankful passed my love of it on to Beckett. 

Tin Woodsman: What have you learned, Dorothy?
Dorothy: Well, I - I think that it - it wasn't enough just to want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em - and it's that - if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with. Is that right?

Plus, who wouldn't want to live in a world where you get up at 12 and go to work at 1, take and hour for lunch and then at 2 you're done? Jolly good fun!

Fourth, there's this: Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

Growing up, anything Roald Dahl became an immediate favorite of mine. The 1971 version (not the remake, although I can appreciate it in it's own right. Lord knows I love Johnny Depp) with Gene Wilder is not just a movie I must watch at Christmas, it's one of my favorites in general. It is also one of 2 movies that I will drop everything to watch when I catch it on television (Steel Magnolias being the other).

This makes the list for one simple reason: there is no place I know like the world of pure imagination. There are a million things to think about at Christmas, but I think I like this movie for purely selfish reasons. At Christmas, there is almost enough joy and happy and giddy anticipation to make anyone think they, too, can be the boy (or girl) who got everything they ever wanted and live happily ever after.  Plus, Gene Wilder is just eerie and eccentric enough to be thoroghly thrilling in the most intriguing of ways.

And lastly, the most traditional Christmas tradition of them all: The Nutcracker Ballet

Trying to choose one image for The Nutcracker Ballet is truly impossible. I'll go with this one:

Ovation has been presenting the Battle of the Nutcrackers this week. I'll consider this an early Christmas present to me.

I'll get sucked into watching a million Christmas movies this season, but those are the ones that I have to watch.  No Christmas would be complete without watching each of these movies at least once. What are your favorite Christmas movies? And if you say Elf, we probably won't be friends anymore.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

New Blog Name

Well, I did it. I finally figured out a name for the blog. Welcome to "My Little House of Ill Repute." The decision has been made.

Years ago, Hillary Ryan, introduced me to Sandra Cisneros. She told me these poems would set me free. For this, I am eternally grateful.

They say I'm a beast.
And feast on it.  When all along
I thought that's what a woman was.

They say I'm a bitch.
Or witch. I've claimed
the same and never winced.

They say I'm a macha, hell on wheels,
viva-la-vulva, fire and brimstone,
man-hating, devastating,
boogey-woman lesbian.
Not necessarily,
but I like the compliment.

The mob arrives with stones and sticks
to maim and lame and do me in.
All the same, when I open my mouth,
they wobble like gin.

Diamonds and pearls
tumble from my tongue.
Or toads and serpents.
Depending on the mood I'm in.

I like the itch I provoke.
The rustle of rumor
like crinoline.

I am the woman of myth and bullshit.
(True. I authored some of it.)
I built my little house of ill repute.
Brick by brick. Labored,
loved and masoned it.

I live like so.
Heart as sail, ballast, rudder, bow.
Rowdy. Indulgent to excess.
My sin and my success --
I think of me to gluttony.

By all accounts I am
a danger to society.
I'm Pancha Villa.

I break laws,
upset the natural order,
anguish the Pope and make fathers cry.
I am beyond the jaw of law.
I'm la desperada, most-wanted public enemy.
My happy picture grinning from the wall.

I strike terror among men.
I can't be bothered what they think.
Que se vayan a la ching chang chong
For this, the cross, the Calvary.
In other words, I'm anarchy.

I'm an aim-well,
loose woman.
Beware, honey.

I'm Bitch. Beast. Macha.
Ping! Ping! Ping!
I break things.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Pizza Party

Since Georgia was playing in the SEC Championship on Saturday, we decided to celebrate by making pizza. The game might not have turned out the way we had hoped (congrats, LSU), but the pizza was a total success.

Pizza Dough

3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons oil
2 cups bread flour
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon bread machine yeast

Combine ingredients and put in bread maker. If you don't have a bread maker, stop what you are doing and go buy one. It will not disappoint.

We made 3 batches of dough for various pizzas and by the time we were on the last one, Brandi had memorized the recipe.  According to her, this couldn't be easier.

Remove the dough from the bread maker and place on a floured pan. Knead for 1 minute. Then, let it rest for 15 minutes.  Roll out the dough. Place on a pan that has been greased and sprinkled with corn meal. Then, let it rise for 20 minutes. After you add the sauce and toppings, bake at 425 for 20-25 minutes.

Pizza Sauce

I took care of the sauce. We looked up a recipe, but I just poured a bunch of stuff in a pot and it turned out delicious. The measurements provided are rough estimates.

1 clove garlic, mashed and minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 can tomato paste (well, this isn't an estimation)
1 can tomato sauce (I used 2 cans whole tomatoes and 2 cans of diced tomatoes instead)
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon olive oil (I definitely used more than this)
dash of red pepper (and more of this, too)

I also added Jane's Krazy Mixed-Up Salt (a dash or so)

Simply combine the ingredients and simmer. I ran our sauce through the food processor because I had used whole and diced tomatoes, not a tomato sauce.

For a while, we didn't think it would be thick enough. But let it simmer for a while and it will have the right consistency.

We made two pizzas for dinner.

Black olives, pepperoni, and mushrooms

Fresh mozzarella

 We also made garlic cheese bread.

Garlic Butter

Butter, softened
Garlic, mashed and minced
Italian Seasoning
Parmesan cheese

This is really simple. Just mix all the ingredients together.  Spread on the pizza dough and cover with mozzarella cheese. Cook on 425 for 20-25 minutes. We used the pizza sauce as a dipping sauce. The result was delicious.

We also made a dessert pizza (see, we got a little pizza happy).

Dessert Pizza

Nutella (a gift from God)
Semi sweet chocolate chips
White chocolate chips
Almonds (or other nut you find appealing)

As you can see, we started chowing down before I could get a picture. It was really good.

You can use whatever sweet things you enjoy. We like these things and they were delicious on the pizza dough.

So, even though Georgia lost (curses!), the day was not a total let down.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Bottle It Up: A DIY for the DIY Impaired

We have gone little craft-crazy this holiday season. The first thing we created? Silver bottles for the entry way. This project was really easy, but it did take a moment of trial and error.

What You Need:

Epsom Salt (We used Dr. Teal's Cooling Peppermint -- our bottles smell amazing!)
Silver spray paint

Yep, that's all.

Side Note: Glitter is more expensive that I remember it being when I was 9.  This could be because I don't actually know how much it was when I was 9.

Put your newspaper down. Now, we mixed the glitter and the Epsom salt on the newspaper like so:

We sprayed the bottles completely silver and then rolled the bottom of the bottles in the glitter and salt mixture. This is what happened:

I don't know if you can tell (or maybe that's the wrong picture), but we didn't think things through. Our patio is concrete (or "concreek" according to B). Rolling a spray painted glass bottle over the concrete only scratches the paint off the bottle.  So what could have been a one-person project quickly devolved into a two-person laugh riot.

Basically, one person sprayed the bottle and the tilted it back (so as not the scratch the paint) and rotated it. Meanwhile, the other person threw the salt and glitter mixture gingerly upon the bottle as it was being rotated. Hilarity ensured when the person spray painting (me) paid no attention the the direction the spray nozzle was pointing and continually painted everything save the bottle.

But, we were ultimately successful. See:

The picture doesn't really do them justice. All in all, the project took about 20 minutes (half of which was us realizing concrete is not the ideal surface upon which to craft, followed by a good 2 minutes of laughing).

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