Thursday, June 29, 2006

My true loves

I was pondering over posts and noticed that I have commented a lot on things I dislike, even hate.

Let's clarify. There is really not much that I truly hate- just stuff that irritates me a whole lot to the edge of hate, but not quite so far to the edge that I teeter off. Really, the truth is that I am not a wishy washy person. I either like something or I don't. There isn't an in between. So, that also means that there are a lot of things that I truly love (my college English lit. Professor would cringe- he said we do not "Love" things!) But this ain't college. This is my blog and I can write whatever I like, with all of those run-on sentences and phrases ending in a preposition. Whew-hew!!! If this were a coloring book, I would sooooo be outside of the lines...

So, here goes. The things I love-

1. Jesus. He isn't a thing, He is God and man. But, I love Him. So, I'll list Him first.

2. My family. You knew that one was coming. 'Nough said.

Places I love:

1. I love going to Wal-mart late at night, like around 11:00 or 12:00 and look at the clearance, junk bins! FYI- The weirdest people shop then...

2. Target. Period. But especially the ones with Starbucks!!

3. The next place in line, anywhere.

4. The doctor's exam room when you hear the doctor stop at your door and pull your chart out of the little mailbox, plastic chart holder, flip the pages, then the door knob turns. I love that feeling! Like being a puppy at the pound and someone pauses at your cage.

5. Church, when no one else is in the sanctuary and it is quiet, and you can sit on any pew or kneel at the altar for as long as you want.

6. In a hammock, porch swing or otherwise comfy chair outside in the shade. With sweet tea in hand! ahhhhh

7. Charleston, SC

8. The side of the road picking wild blackberries or wild flowers.

Misc. stuff:

1. I love to smell Play-doh.

2. Daisies, pink roses, baby's breath, the smell of lavender.

3. The smell of face powder, but especially Cover Girl.

4. Noxema

5. The smell of a new inflatable swimming pool.

6. The taste of honeysuckle.

7. The sound of crickets and tree frogs in the summer. Rain. (Give me Granny's quilt and I'll take a nap!)

8. Homemade peach ice cream, fried green tomatoes, grits, biscuits and gravy, and some good ole' fresh butter beans from someone's garden.

9. The South, but especially parts of Georgia.

10. Humor. What an amazing gift God gave us when He created us to laugh! I couldn't get through the day without humor.

Think about what you love, including the people in your life. Then, tell them!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

The early bird gets embarrassed.

Warning: This is one of those posts I warned you about; it is full of wordy details and run-on sentences. In my husband's words, "A Southern Story."

This morning I awoke to the realization that I had neither purchased a gift nor mailed a card for my husband's grandmother, and that her birthday is today. I had planned to send her some flowers this year, but I usually call and order them the day before. So, I panicked that I was a day behind. And, to top it off, I waited until the early afternoon to call and order the flowers.

I always call and order flowers directly. Our long distance plan has a flat rate, so by calling directly and not wiring locally, I save the wire fee. And, I can ask the florist myself what they have on hand. (This prevents my loved one from receiving carnations, which I hate. That's another post.)

The florist was quite nice and understanding, and she assured me that the flowers would be delivered today. Whew!

Everything was going so smoothly until I called my mother-in-law. During our phone conversation, a huge bomb was dropped on me. The birthday is tomorrow.

After recovering from the awful mistake, I decided not to call the florist back. Just leave it "as is". Grandma can wake up to fresh flowers tomorrow. (Although I will fess up to her on the phone why I was actually one day early!)

So, now on to the run-on sentence/ what does this part have to do with the story? section...

My child and I were on our way to Publix to buy groceries and birthday cards. I shared my birthday blunder and said, "Mommy has lost her mind."

She replied, "Mommy, you have lost your marbles."

Then, we discussed how they make marbles which led to the fact that she has two marbles, you know the "ones in her finger bowling game", and that they must blow bubbles into marbles with soap or something like that...

After arriving at Publix, we bought our cards and part of our groceries, except for the Hunt's Meat loaf Fixin's (and yes it is spelled like that on the can) which they apparently do not sell at Publix because I guess people who shop at Publix don't eat meat loaf, but I shop at Publix and I eat meat loaf, but I also shop at Winn Dixie, which may make me a meat loaf eater in denial or something...

Then, on to the post office. You know, my favorite place in the whole wide world, next to the library and the immunization clinic. Because, if I can't get the birthday right, the least I can do is use the correct zip code.

For some reason, I have a problem with this particular address's zip code. I always have. It is not organized in my mind, and even when I double check it in my address book, I question myself. So we double checked the zip code with the postal carrier behind the counter- who was, drum roll please- very pleasant! I think it had something to do with the piece of candy in her mouth. Must have been Mentos.

So after goofing the flowers, purchasing a substitute meat for dinner because we couldn't find my meat loaf fixin's, and verifying zip codes, we headed for home while singing "This is the house that Jack built, ya'll." (Have I shared our love for Aretha Franklin in the car, fondly known as 'Retha?)

Moral of the story- Hang the Mary Engelbreit calendar with new plastic hook thingy on refrigerator immediately. And start on those crossword puzzles. Long live the OOMM!

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Nine Across- Where are my keys?

I am the kind of person who would be a prime candidate for one of those home improvement shows called "Put Stuff In Shoe boxes" or "Do You Know Where Everything Is?" I am what I call "Functionally Organized." This means that I can function on the level of organization existing in my house.

For example, if my husband asks where something is located, I simply stop in my tracks, squint my eyes really tightly, then point into the general direction of the object, and report its whereabouts. About nine times out of ten I get it on the first try.

Also, I do not make lists, except for when shopping at the grocery store. I hate lists. I have no idea why. I was never traumatized as a child by a list. But, for some reason, they make me nuts. So, when I have chores or errands to do, I head out of the house without a list.

One day my mother-in-law and I were discussing this. She is a list maker. She enjoys the satisfaction of checking off tasks that have been completed. I shared with her my dislike for lists but that I am organized in my mind.

Stop laughing. Those who know me are literally pulling themselves up from the floor hysterical with giggles. Guffaws really. Most of them know that I am what some would call borderline crazy. I call it full blown crazy, but I digress.

Thus, I am compelled to begin those mental exercises like crossword and logic puzzles that are supposed to prevent Alzheimer's disease. But, before I do, I think I'll just blog.

So please support the "OOMM" (Organization Of My Mind.) Read my blog. Comment. My family is depending on it. If I lose my mind, I lose everything- literally.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Sweet Love

There are three words that make every Southern girl's heart skip a beat, her knees turn to mush, and her foot slam on the break pedal.

Hot Doughnuts Now.

I was in the drive-thru at the pharmacy tonight picking up a prescription. When I rolled down the window, I thought to myself, "I smell doughnuts!" The delicious aroma was coming from the Krispy Kreme next door and (you know it, girls!) that red neon sign was on!

When I was a child, it didn't matter what time of day or night it was, if my family passed the Krispy Kreme and "Hot Doughnuts Now" was lit up, my parents would always stop for a treat. It was just something you did. It didn't matter if you had just finished off a seven course meal and your polyester pants were about to pop. Hot Doughnuts Now! I mean, come on!

So, you can imagine what I did after leaving the drug store. My first question at the drive thru was, "What's hot?" After all, that's why I stopped! So, I got what's hot- classic glazed- and my favorite custard filled chocolate. A hot glazed doughnut just melts in your mouth. And, because you are technically moving as you drive the car, most of the calories are burned off before you get home.

Krispy Kreme used to only be a southern thing. The business began years ago in North Carolina and was primarily found only in the Southeast. The wonderful news is that now you can enjoy Krispy Kreme almost everywhere (even in New York!) But, don't buy them at the grocery stores or gas stations. They just aren't fresh.

So, if you are traveling and see those three sweet words shining in the night, brake hard, make a u-turn, and stop for a treat. But, be sure to ask, "What's Hot?"

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Make Me Over

Lately I have been having a problem with contentment. Not thankfulness, just contentment. But I am learning that discontentment and ungratefulness are very interrelated. Maybe even one in the same.

I am not even content with the template of this blog. You aren't seeing things. It has changed colors several times. Mostly because I get bored with the same ole thing. But, let's face it, I have only been on here for a whole week!

Today was Sunday, church day for our family. This morning while I was getting ready I started thinking about this whole contentment thing. Ladies, we have got to learn. Satan is just after us all the time in this area. We get so wrapped up in "improving" ourselves, our homes, our "things", that we forget that we are to be content with what we have been given already. Even joyful!

Now, I do believe that God wants us to grow and to prosper. But I think we have clung to that popular verse as an excuse to want, even "need" things. God does want us to have "the desires of our heart" (Psalms 37:4), but in His Plan and in His Time.

I am sharing this with you from my heart. I truly believe that we women are so often deceived by the world and we don't even know it.

For example, let's just think about what is on TV. (I am not blaming television for all the wrongs of this world. I can easily turn it off, cancel cable, or just get rid of the TV completely!) But, I don't. I watch it. I heard someone joke once that she had stopped watching all of the filth on TV and just stuck with HGTV. Then she realized that all of the home improvement shows just tempted her to covet! She was kidding. But, think about it. Whether it is a show that improves a room, an entire house, or a person's hair and wardrobe, we are allowing these images to influence our thoughts.

What we are really saying to God is this- "What you have given me isn't good enough."

I say "we" because I am guilty too.

This takes me back to contentment. I am not just encouraged, but commanded to be content. (Hebrews 13:5) And "contentment with godliness is great gain" (1 Tim. 5: 6-7) But, it is the writings of Paul to the church at Philippi that truly encourages me. Even Paul had to learn to be contented. So, I know there is hope for me! Praise God!

Paul writes- "...For I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content." Phil. 4:11

Yeah!! That means, no-matter-what-state-I-am-in, depressed, anxious, fat, skinny, poor, or just crazy, that I can learn to be content. But, here is the clincher, I can't depend on myself. I have to depend on the awesome presence of Jesus in my life. Thank God that He wants to take the time to work on this poor lump of clay called me!

So, this is my post for today. A little more on the serious side. But it was on my heart. And I just wanted to share. I hope that today is a day of contentment for you!

Post script to "Hello, Newman"- I have decided to take some homemade goodies to my local postal office workers. :>)))

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Hello, Newman.

This post has absolutely, positively, Seinfeldly nothing to do with being southern. It has everything to do with the fact that I relate nearly everything in life to an episode of Seinfeld.

And, that I am just weird.

I hate going to the Post Office. I also hate public libraries, but on a stranger, deeper level. (Note to self. Save library disdain for another post. Ok, self. Thanks.)

For some unknown, secret government reason all-yes all- I am stereotyping here- all postal employees who work behind the counter are grouchy. Maybe it has something to do with the public they have to endure all day. But, what I really believe is that there is a line on the civil service application that reads like this:

"Do you wake up grumpy each and every day? The kind of grumpy that doesn't go away after a cup of coffee, not even after a venti mocha from Starbucks?
Check one: Yes No
If you checked "yes" above, please continue to the next question.
Do you enjoy working with people?
Check one: Yes No
If you checked no, please put your pen down and run to the nearest post office! We have a position open for you with an added sign on bonus!!
If you checked yes, please run to the nearest Wal-mart. There is a lovely blue vest waiting for you and a badge that reads "Greeter."

I love mail. I love getting mail. I love sending mail. And I even like the mailman that brings me mail. But, I don't like the post office. I can honestly say that I cannot remember one-single-post office experience that was pleasant.

Most of the time, I buy stamps at the grocery store. And I ship packages UPS. The unfortunate times I have to visit the post office, I get frustrated in line just thinking about how rudely I will be treated, wondering if I am going to slip up. Wondering if the person across the counter may just decide that day that he isn't going to sell me any stamps whatsoever!

Kind of like going to the Soup Nazi.

There I am in line thinking it over and over in my mind. Rehearsing my request..."I would like one book of stamps." Nothing more, nothing less. Keep it simple. Don't comment. Don't move too much. Don't do anything to irritate the worker behind the counter.

After all the careful planning and thoughtful rehearsal, I blow it for some unknown cause!


So I run out, empty handed. Oh! The insanity! What will I do? How am I going to mail all of these thank you notes???

Then, I get in my car and say to myself, "Serenity Now. Serenity Now." I drive to the nearest store and my anxiety is washed away with the kindest, sweetest voice that says, "Welcome to Wal-mart."

Ahhh...The calming, tranquil, environment of fluorescent lighting and those happy little yellow smiley faces. There's nothing like a football field area full of over stocked, discounted merchandise.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Manners of The South 101. Get a pen. You'll need it.

After our vocabulary lesson on "umpteen dozen" the other day, I thought I would provide a little more information to ya'll about southern manners and rules. Take some notes. There's a lot of them.

Keep in mind that this is only an introductory course. Neither of us have the time or the computer memory for anything more than that.

Those of you who have truly been indoctrinated in southernisms, please add your comments! This is a group effort. I think of it as community service. If we are going to be offended by people who don't follow our rules of etiquette, then the least we can do is help them learn. They can't help it.

Lesson One- "They can't help it." This term is commonly used after a southerner has just outright said something ugly about somebody.
Example: "I tell you what. The family next door is just ugly as homemade sin. But, they can't help it. Bless their hearts."

Lesson Two- "Bless their hearts. Bless her/his heart." This phrase is used after a southerner insults someone either directly or indirectly. Coupled with "she can't help it," the insult must have been a doosey.
Example: "Honey, you just can't sing. I mean, even the dogs down the street were howling. Bless your heart. You can't help it."

Isn't this supposed to be a lesson on southern manners? It is beginning to sound like another vocabulary lesson. Well, it is an etiquette lesson. We southerners aren't perfect. We don't actually like every person on the face of this earth. And, we aren't always nice and pleasant. We are just good at pretending a lot. We'll be honest with you. We'll tell you that, not only did you get hit with the ugly stick, but the entire forest fell on you. But then we have to finish the comment with "bless your heart" and "you can't help it." Because we would never want to actually hurt your feelings.

Lesson Three- Company. Whenever someone comes to your house to stay overnight you have to cook them a meal. If you can't cook, fake it. If you really can't cook, bless your heart. You still have to cook something, honey. It is acceptable to take your company out for a meal. But you have to cook at least one. (For those of you who are lost, "company" is the catch all phrase for anyone who visits your home. And it is pronounced "comp-ny.) You don't have to use your best china. Just make your company feel comfortable and special.

Lesson Four- What to do when you are the company. First, let's start with the basics. You have been invited to dinner at a friend's home. Pay attention to this- TAKE A DISH!! This point cannot be overlooked, especially if the person inviting you is southern. Ask her what you can bring. If she says, "nothing" and you really believe her, take a hostess gift of some kind. If you can't cook, bless your heart, go to Winn Dixie and pick up a pound cake.

Lesson Five- Thank you notes. Notice I said "notes," not email. If someone does anything- for- you- period, send a thank note. Not an email, a real handwritten note, on paper, with a stamp. Now, some of us have really close friends that do things for us all the time. And we do nice things for them. In that case, email is ok. We could just end up thanking each other to death to the point that we clog up the postal system.

One more for today. I'm tired.

Lesson Six- Whenever you see someone, ask her about her mama. Not her daddy. Her mama. I am not sure why the daddy was left out of this. But he was. When you run into a friend in Winn Dixie while you are picking up that pound cake for dinner, say, "Hey! How you doin'? How's your mama?" Your friend will go into her mama's latest illness or ailment or trip. She will also tell you the last time she talked to or saw her mama. If her mama lives in town, she saw her within the last week. If not, I can bet she talked to her on the phone yesterday.

Example of a typical conversation:

"Hey, Stacey! How you doin'? I haven't seen you in forever. How's your mama?"
"Oh, she's doin' pretty good. I just talked to her yesterday. You know she and daddy live in Valdosta now."
"No. I hadn't heard that."
"Yeah. They moved after mama's health got bad. You know she has the rheumatoid."
"I'm sorry to hear that...I saw Beth the other day. She looked just awful. Not a stitch of make-up!"
"You got to be kiddin' me. That girl needs all the help she can get.
Bless her heart. She can't help it."

Thursday, June 22, 2006

"Mulder, it's me."

This morning I had an epiphany. I was taking a "vacation from the ordinary" with my Herbal Essences shampoo when suddenly, between lather and rinse, I realized I had become one of those people.

By those people I don't mean the ones who wake up one morning with a strange bump on the back of their necks, the ones being followed by a smoking elderly man in the shadows.

No, not those people. The Blog People.

I have always prided myself at being technologically delayed. If a new gadget came out, I immediately scoffed and ran away from the store not to buy it. I still own VHS movies. Ok. I'll be honest. I still have a few cassette tapes. Alright! Alright! A few albums too.

You can see how this whole blog experience has left me out of my element. But, I caved. I gave in. I have officially entered the Opinion Age.

When I was in college one of my professors said we were entering the Information Age. He was right. Now we are in a different time, but I am not sure for the better.

Everyone has an opinion. And everyone wants to share their opinions. There are statement tees for sale everywhere. "I Blame My Brother," "Give Me All The Chocolate," and "Sassy Girl." If I could design my own statement tee it would probably read "This Was Clean" or "Hey, It Fits! (kind of)"

Opinion has become more important than truth. And the line between the two is blurred. Opinion has become truth to some. But not to this blogger. The only real truth I have ever known has come from The Bible. (You already know my love for Jesus!) The rest is just opinion.

So, whenever you are suffering from chronic insomnia, or you have found a strange bump on the back of the neck and you are online searching WebMD, check out this blog. It is filled with lots of opinions. I will make no claim of anything more- unless it comes straight from God's Word.

Because I have become one of those people.

I still refuse to buy an ipod. Don't push me. At least I own a cell phone.

Cause, hey, this ain't Kentucky. I'm gonna pay for that one.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

I'll have the bologna plate special, please.

Last night I made bologna cup.


Well, almost.

It was late and I realized I had not eaten dinner. The rest of my family had been fed. Frequent scenario for most moms and wives. I had some leftover mashed potatoes from the night before, a fresh unopened package of beef bologna (pronounced baloney!). So, what else could I make?

Ba-lon-y cup!!

First let me explain why I actually have bologna in my frig. My child loves fried bologna sandwiches. If you have never had one, shame on you! Your arteries just don't know what they're missing. Before I share the bologna cup recipe, I just must, absolutely must tell you how to make the most perfect fried bologna sandwich.

I am beginning to think I am some sort of bologna chef, sort of like a sushi chef. Only the food is way more processed and less nutritious. Oh, and it doesn't smell like dead fish.

Anyhoo! To make a fried bologna sandwich, you brown a piece of bologna in a pan the way you would fry bacon. Flip it over to the other side. Slather your white bread (let's go for it!) with mayonnaise or yellow mustard. I am from a mayonnaise family. We eat mayonnaise on every sandwich, even a hot dog. (I know that doesn't qualify as a sandwich, but meat and bread are involved.) After you have slathered your bread with one of the two condiments, you place your fried bologna on and enjoy. You can add a fresh slice of tomato or some crisp iceberg lettuce, too. I prefer just mayo and the meat.

So, back to the bologna plate. I placed my piece of bologna in the pan to fry it. Then I waited. See, it is supposed to curl up. When it curls up, it forms sort of a little bologna bowl, or "cup". Clever how I work the name of the dish in there, huh? Never pierce the bologna with a fork or you will make it flat! One must use a spatula. (See I really am a bologna chef.) Well, I waited, I flipped, and I waited. It never curled up. I even used Bryan with the red rind.

See my mother and I had a long heart to heart about bologna recently. I called her one day and told her my bologna problems. "Mama, it never curls up." She informed me the bologna I was buying was too thin. It couldn't curl. You have to buy the thick slices, the ones with the red stuff you peel off. So, I bought Bryan.

Still, no curling. I gave up. At least it was cooked. So I continued with the next step: Place one scoop of mashed potatoes on top of your bologna cup/plate. I was supposed to then top it with a slice of Kraft American cheese, but we were out of cheese!

Oh, my bologna dilemma!

So, instead I had bologna plate, hold the cheese. Yum. And the taste took me back to public school lunch when bologna cup was a treat. It was always curled up just right with melted American cheese on top.

I don't think they fry bologna up North. Bologna is classified as a cold cut from the deli.

But, this ain't New York.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

If this ain't New York, then where am I?

For you New Yorkers out there, welcome. I hope my blog name hasn't offended you. Southerners do anything in their power to keep from offending someone. I chose the name because it just fit. This blog is about being southern, southernisms, and the like. Why? Because that is who I am.

I had to use "ain't." I just had to! It just wouldn't be the same without it. And, yes it is a word. It is in the dictionary. Of course, I don't use all of the words in the dictionary. And, even though I am southern, I don't always use ain't. Some of us down here do use proper English in the proper settings, you know. Like maybe when you are in New York.

But, honey, this ain't New York.

So where am I? Well, right now, as you can guess, I am on the computer. Otherwise, where I am doesn't matter all that much. I can tell you that the price of gas is way too much, we get cable TV, and there is a Wal-Mart around the corner. That narrows it down to about, oh, umpteen dozen towns.

What is umpteen dozen? In southernism, umpteen dozen is a lot, a whole lot. Like when you tell your child to go to bed over and over until it is almost tomorrow, you would say to him, "Go back to bed! I have told you for the umpteen dozenth time!" Or when you go to a church picnic and there is that one person who always eats like they have never had fried chicken before, you would say, "She ate umpteen dozen pieces of chicken!"

Now, you won't find umpteen dozen in the dictionary. You won't see it in The New York Times, or even in The Atlanta Constitution. But you may see it here on occasion. So, remember this vocabulary lesson. The next time I use a word or phrase that seems odd, it is probably a southernism. I will explain it to you in a southern drawl that you can't really hear. And it will take me forever and a day to do it. (there goes another one) That's just how we southerners are- detailed, wordy, lengthy, with lots of run on sentences.

Cause, this ain't New York.