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Be Still a Minute...

Updated: 2018-04-14T07:22:53.688-04:00


Dig if you will, the picture...


I keep trying to get something done around here. The house is a mess and there is dirty laundry everywhere. That pile of towels in the boys' bathroom is going to touch the ceiling if I don't get with it here pretty soon. But I can't seem to do anything but scroll through my Facebook feed clicking on post after post about Prince. I've never really been one to get all wrapped up in celebrity news and gossip. When I hear of ones passing, I feel sadness (especially if I was a fan) and empathy but normally I am able to say a prayer for their loved ones and continue to carry on with my day-to-day. Robin Williams hit me pretty hard because I was a huge fan, as most of us were, and well...the circumstances were and baffling. This news of Prince's passing though, has gotten to me good. The depth of emotion and sense of loss I'm experiencing over this surprises me. It's not like I ever met the man or even saw him in concert. Yet, I have cried real tears of sorrow over this and judging by the countless expressions of grief poured out all over social media the past couple of days, I am not the only one. There has been so much tragic loss all around me this week that it's beginning to feel as though my sad news bucket is just about full for the year yet it's only April. But about Prince.As I've stated here time and time again, I'm a music lover through and through. Aside from hard heavy metal, there ain't much I don't listen to. I was a tween when Prince hit the big charts and although I didn't understand many of his way-too-adult-for-my-young-ears lyrics at the time, I knew I liked the sound of that. And I never grew tired of it. He had me fantasizing about parking sideways in a little red corvette, strutting my stuff in a raspberry beret, laughing and bathing in some ethereal purple rain, hearing doves cry, getting delirious, going crazy, acting my age (not my shoe size) and partying like it was 1999, all before I was old enough to drive a car.   I've listened to nothing but his music since the news broke, driving down the road with the windows down and the sound wide open while belting out every verse, sometimes dancing in my seat and sometimes with tears rolling down my face. Here's to hoping nobody who knows me witnessed any bit of that. Because I'm sure it was quite the freak show. (Dig if you will, the picture) Last night, alone in the house and about 7,500 steps to go to satisfy my daily Fitbit goal of 10,000, I put on Prince, cranked up the volume, and had myself a dance party of one. Reached my goal in record time.During all this pondering, scrolling, reading, listening, watching, dancing, singing and trying-to-get-to-the-root-of this sudden, uncharacteristic obsession with this artist I never met who has just up and left us way too soon (as it seems the best ones always do),  I came across this quote that I traced to someone named Juliette who posted it on twitter back in January, after the loss of David Bowie..."Thinking about how we mourn artists we've never met. We don't cry because we knew them, we cry because they helped us know ourselves."Yes! That is exactly it, isn't it? That's what great artists do. They get inside our souls, stir something up, and awaken those sleeping parts of us that we often didn't even know we possessed. They make us feel things. All the things. Prince was one such artist for me. So thank you, Prince Rogers Nelson, for sharing your phenomenal gift with us. Godspeed. And peace be with you in the world of never-ending happiness.   [...]

25 Thoughts (because 45 was too many)


Today I'm turning forty-five which does not seem right to me since I just turned forty, and because there is something about turning another year older (especially when the new age ends in a 0 or a 5) that gives me the undeniable urge to write down some words, here I am. Back from the blogger dead. Again. One day I do my daily assessment and think, not bad, girl. You've still got it. Then the very next day I wake up with a mystery pain in my foot accompanied by the sudden lack of ability to turn my head more than ten degrees to the left. Yesterday my right shoulder decided to shout at me, in spite of doing all the yoga moves I know.And sometimes? Sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder who in the world that forty-something woman looking back at me is and oh snap, is that a new wrinkle over my right eyebrow? because yeah, I'm pretty sure she's still me, edition 45. Welcome. Pull up a comfortable chair and come on in. But don't forget the moisturizer. 25 thoughts (and whatnot) on this first day of 451. Good lighting is everything.2. Fitbit is a great motivator. I got my first one for my birthday last year and have been busting my butt daily in order to get in my 10,000 steps. It holds me accountable.3. Multivitamins with immunity support work. I haven't been sick since I started taking them months ago. (knock on wood) I like the gummies kind.4. Dogs just make life better. I live with four. I can't have carpet (or rugs) or keep the couch clean, and almost always leave the house with dog hair on my clothes and you'd think there was a four alarm fire each time the doorbell rings, but I am the lucky recipient of the unconditional love of four wagging tails every day of my life and it just doesn't get any better than that. 5. Pandora and Apple Music also make life better. How did I ever survive without Pandora and Apple Music? All the music at my fingertips, all the time!6. Falling in love with old songs never gets old. Since Merle Haggard recently departed this earth, I've been listening to a lot of his songs that I hadn't heard in a long time. Mama Tried has become a new old favorite.  Because, as the mother of one teenage boy and another almost-teenage boy, I can relate. Mama tries. It may not always take. But mama tries. Mama tries. 7. Hearing a brand new song that speaks to you never gets old either. I first heard the song, My Church by Maren Morris, while sitting under the hair dryer at the beauty shop (remember when we called it that?) a couple of months back and had to poke my head out to get a better listen. It was an immediate new favorite, one of those that felt like it was written just for me. You know the kind. I love those. It can also happen with a book, or a poem, or a blog post, or any work of art, really. But I love when it happens.8. Regrets. I call BS on anyone who says they have no regrets in life. I've got plenty of them and I'm sure I'll have more, though I'm getting better at recognizing them ahead of time and putting a halt to them beforehand. It's dang near impossible to go through life without regrets though. The important thing is to seek the lesson within each one and let it sink in real good.9. Baking in the sun when I was younger is one such regret. Don't do it. Wear the sunscreen. And the hat. 10. I can honestly say that I felt older at thirty-two than I do now. I remember the doctor questioning me on my decision to have a tubal ligation when I was pregnant with Dracen and thinking, Seriously? He thinks I want to be having more babies after this age?!  I had no idea how young I still was, though I do not regret my decision to have the procedure.11. My hair.  I was always a long hair person, growing up and then throughout my twenties. I just felt more like myself with long hair flowing down my back. I cut it the first year Darin and I were married b[...]

A Semi-Solved Mystery of Sorts


So Monday afternoon I checked the mail to find a box from Amazon. Already? Wow, that was fast. I'm impressed, Amazon. I brought it in and as soon as I opened the box and saw the exact same white box (unmarked, aside from a bar code) inside, I knew. They'd done it again. Sure enough, it was the same thingamajig they'd sent me the first time. Only this time, I paused to take a picture before jumping on my high horse and getting my I've-had-it-up-to-here message rant on (I can get right scary and intimidating with the keyboard when I have to)...Now, does that look like a flying alarm clock to you? Or any kind of clock? Or ANYTHING resembling ANYTHING?  I went through the you-sent-me-the-wrong-flippin'-item process again knowing that they'd most likely just send me this UNFO (Unidentified Non-Flying Object) again. And again. So I searched the fine print until I found an option to put my phone number in and have someone call me. And someone did. Immediately. Someone with a southern accent just like mine, who sounded like she could have lived up the street. Someone who seemed just as puzzled and bumfuzzled as I when I tried to give a description of this simple, yet mysteriously complex, object of my frustration. She laughed, though not like a laughing-at-you kind of laugh and then I kind of laughed too. "Well, what in the world? That is just so weird", she said.  "It's like you've got the missing link".  "I know, RIGHT?! Thank you!" Then she said, "I am sooo sorry. I'm not laughing at you but this is just so like something that would happen to me." And then I was completely softened because now I had a pal and we were in this thing together, a mystery-to-be-solved-let's-get-to-the-bottom-of-this-at-once type of situation. Charlie had walked into the kitchen while this conversation was taking place and seemed to grasp what was going down so he jumped on his phone and tried to help me and my new buddy at Amazon out. He took a picture of the bar code on the unmarked mystery box (Smart thinking, Scooby) and consulted Google."Diane! Diane! When I put that bar code in, it brings  up a picture of the alarm clock!"  I immediately relayed this new information to my girl Katie, explaining to her that somebody went and pulled the boneheaded move of putting these UNFOs into the boxes the alarm clocks were supposed to go in. Or vice versa. Or something like that. Mystery semi-solved. She seemed appreciative of this information (Good work, Velma) and said she would still remove this item from the website so this would not happen to anyone else but that I could still try and order it from another seller on Amazon. And also that she was refunding my money immediately. Then she wished me and mine a good evening and thanked-me-so-much for allowing her to assist in this exciting mystery.  I have long suspected Amazon was on a quest to take over the world. But dang, that was good. Well-played, Amazon. Very well-played.  [...]

What Tha? (I say that a lot)


Saturday I got a notification that the flying alarm clock had been delivered but when I opened the box, confusion and frustration immediately set in because It was definitely not a clock and I still have no clue as to what it was. Regretfully, I did not think to take a picture of it before I jumped on my computer to let Amazon know that they had royally messed up my order by sending me a "white piece of something", followed by several question marks. I received the automated reply that they were terribly sorry they'd screwed up and would send my clock straight away and if I would be so kind as to send this thingamajig back within 30 days. So I wasted no time packing it back up. The best guess was that it is some sort of stand for something or other. It's just a small, white, plastic something-something??? How it was accidentally sent in place of a flying alarm clock is a total mystery but stranger things have been known to happen. Speaking of such things, Charlie had been out in the backyard the other morning, trying to keep a handle on the billions of leaves that bury us this time every year (trees? we've got 'em) when he came in with a puzzled look and informed me that way up high in one of our trees, hanging from a branch, is one of those little travel neck pillows. I just shook my head and said, "Dracen". This is his world, we just live in it, and I long ago stopped being surprised by such things. Raising a curious, "spirited" boy with a big personality definitely brings a certain level of adventure to everyday life.Last night, ten minutes after he was already supposed to be in bed, he came into the kitchen to get something to drink so he could take his allergy medicine and folic acid supplement (for the thalassemia minor he and his brother inherited from me). He spotted a bottle of grape juice in the fridge and said, "Ohhh". I thought he was just excited to find that we still had a bottle of grape juice left but I should have known there was more to it. Next he grabbed a slice of bread out of the bag and began tearing a piece off. Still, I thought he was just trying to get his pill down. Of course not. There is always more to the story with him because what he was actually doing was taking communion, which he also offered to me.That boy. Gotta love him.I should probably just rename this blog, Adventures in Dracenland or It's a Dog's World because if it's not Dracen, it's one of the dogs.But more on the four of them later... [...]

When Morning Comes Too Soon...and it always comes too soon


So I've mentioned a time or two about how the boys and I have never been what you'd call morning people. I set my alarm for 35 minutes before the time I absolutely have to be up and will then proceed to hit snooze a half dozen times before finally gathering up enough will to put my feet on the floor and head to the boys' rooms and attempt to wake them up. Devin will slowly rise up, drink a few sips of water and then head for the shower. I will then go back to Dracen's room and yell again for him to get up (because he never gets up the first time) before scooting down the hall toward the kitchen in zombie-like fashion. I will then be forced to repeat the zombie walk back to Dracen's room several more times because he won't get up the second, third or fourth times either. Charlie will also get involved on the mornings he does not have to leave super early. My already feeling-like-death-warmed-over-don't-look-at-or-talk-to-me-morning-grogginess will grow from highly annoyed to I'm-fixin-to-lose-my-ever-lovin-mind-anger after about the fifth time of it. This morning was especially difficult. The realization came to me on the drive back home after dropping him off (he barely made it on time) that his morning behavior reminds me of a belligerent drunk. He will say he's up when he's face down on the bed, say he's getting dressed when he's sitting on a stool in his closet and on some mornings, like this one, he gets mouthy, which just escalates my anger. But when you bring up his behavior in the afternoon, he very pleasantly acts as if he has no idea in the world what you are talking about. "I got up good. Can I have my phone back?" It's as if he really can't remember.There was one morning, a couple of weeks ago, when Lucky woke me up before my alarm went off by going to the bedroom door to be let out. I assumed he needed to go take care of his business so I threw the covers back and jumped out of bed like the house was on fire. Nothing gets me up quicker than the sound of nails clicking on the hardwood or the sound of a dog about to puke something up in the middle of the night. If you have a dog or four, you know exactly what I'm talking about. When I opened the bedroom door the smell of bacon permeated the air which explained why Lucky, the food addict, was up at zero dark thirty. But I was confused. Charlie was not in the bed but in all the years we've been married, I've never known him to get up and fry bacon before work. Was I dreaming? Once I got to the kitchen, I was sure I was because there was Dracen, fully dressed, hair combed, with his plate of bacon, eggs and toast on the table and stirring his coffee. " What tha? It is too bright in here! What's happening? What time is it? How are you up?" He just looked at me like I was crazy, as if this is completely the norm for him, shrugged his shoulders and said, "I just woke up." I congratulated him the best I could, in my way-too-early-morning stupor and since I still had about twenty minutes before time to wake Devin, I made myself a cup of coffee and sat down on the couch, gave thanks to the Lord and texted Charlie (who had apparently left super early). He, who was just as shocked as I, said he was up before he left so he made a big deal out of it by praising and telling him how proud he was of him.Finally, the day we had been praying for and waiting on for years had arrived. Praise the Lord, praise the Lord! Let the earth hear his voice! Praise the Lord, praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice!Celebrate good times! Come on!  But the celebration was short-lived. Obviously. We were over at his momaw and popaw's house Tuesday when the subject of his morning problem came up. I told them about that morning and asked him what he thought was different about that particular morning, telling him that if he could do it once, he ought to be able t[...]

Could it really be? The sun?


This morning, after turning out of the middle school, I was blinded by this ginormous, bright, blazing light coming straight at me. "Whoa! What tha? Where are my sunglasses?!" Then I remembered they had fallen under my seat yesterday, but seeing as how it was pouring down rain for what seemed like the 10,567th consecutive day, I didn't bother fishing them out. But now I needed them in the worst way and although I was wearing my normal glasses, I finally managed (while at a stoplight) to get them out and on, over my glasses, and began singing all the sunshine-y songs I could think of....Here comes the sun, little darlin'! Here comes the's alright....Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy. Sunshine almost always makes me high...I think I can make it now, the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way...Yes, I am a dork but the sun is back! The sun is back!In other telling-on-myself news, I was sitting in the waiting room waiting for my mom at her physical therapy appointment (she had knee replacement surgery in September) yesterday morning when the phone rang. It was the middle school. DEEP Breath. Breathe, breathe...Just breathe, Diane, breathe. One more time...Exhale..."Hello?"Dracen: "Mom, can you bring my clothes for basketball tryouts after school? But I really need them for p.e. this afternoon too so could you just bring them earlier?" Me: "But I thought tryouts were tomorrow?"Dracen: "They are but they are today too so can you just bring them?"Me: Sigh. "Yep. I'll bring them." Apparently, I had not heard the whole message the school had left Sunday afternoon with all the week's happenings. So, after taking my mom home and getting back home in the monsoon, getting a bite to eat, and pep-talking physically carrying all the dogs out with an umbrella and sitting them in the dry, under the porch, to do their business in the POURING DOWN RAIN  (Well, all except my Darling Big Boy, Brisco, who will trot his little longhaired wiener self around in the rain all day long because he is just that awesome) I got ready to head back across town in the POURING DOWN RAIN. Did I mention it's been raining a lot around here?I had already packed his bright, fluorescent yellow drawstring bag with his clothes and shoes and carried them into the kitchen before I got something to eat. I was gathering up my things (keys, phone, purse...) when of course, the three little dogs all came running to the door to go with me like they knew I was just riding to the school to drop something off, so I let them all out into the garage,  hoisted them up into the car and we were off. Despite all the pouring down rain and having to go yet again to drop something off at the middle school office, I was in a surprisingly good mood and singing along to my new playlist that includes the likes of Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, the Pointer Sisters, Prince and Guns N' Roses (November Rain much?). I pulled into the tiny parking lot at the office side of the school and even managed to back that thing up into a tight parking space when I realized what I had done.Son of a... Yes. Yes, I had just gone off and left that fluorescent yellow bag with the clothes and shoes I had just put inside it, sitting right there on the kitchen counter so back across town my riding-with-a-carload-of-dogs-November-Rain-singing self went to retrieve it. The kid gets it honest is all I can say. It's gonna be a bright, briiight sun shiny day... [...]

Catching Up


Since I took such a ridiculously long hiatus from blogging, I thought it'd be fun to look back through my photos and pick out a few highlights from the past nine months...Back in February... I finally found a slipcovered sectional sofa at the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams outlet to replace the two big, bulky leather recliner sofas I'd grown to despise. And, as you can see, the dachshunds wasted no time whatsoever breaking it in. The whole point was to get something I could take the covers off and wash on a regular basis because I'd heard such great things about them. Well. I washed it once and nearly ended up crying in the floor because (for the love!) they did NOT want to go back on. They finally did but it took some serious man (and woman) power and they have not been off again since. At the end of March...Dracen was confirmed in the church after weeks of confirmation class.Yep, the boy is officially bonafide.April brought turkey hunting season and Dracen wentfor the first time ever and shot this thing, which Momaw Pat was kind enough to cook up for him. (A wild game cooker I am not) With early May came prom. I didn't expect that yet since Devin was only a sophomore but he was asked to go by a junior.We took them out to the meeting place where the limo would pick them and several of their friends up. I have to say that I was completely clueless as to the HUGE deal that  prom has become in the many years since I attended one. We didn't take that many photos at our wedding! There were hoards of parents and professional photographers following these kids around like the Paparazzi. I recall my mom snapping a couple of shots with the disc camera (remember those?) on the front porch and maybe a couple at the car and we were on our way. The times they have 'a changed. As Charlie and I were coming back into our neighborhood that afternoon (after dropping the celebrities off) we came upon this beautiful, scared and lost-looking dog so I, being the extreme dog lover that y'all know I am, pulled the car over and she wasted no time whatsoever jumping right up into the car onto my lap. And this was no lap-dog-sized dog. So what are you gonna do but take her home?We tried for weeks to find who she belonged to (no collar, tags or chip) so I contacted a local rescue and we became her foster family until she was adopted. It took a little over a month to find her forever home. I still miss her adorable, sweet self but she was a lot of dog to handle with the three we already had.(Leeza)With June came Dracen's 6th grade/elementary school graduation and there were a few tears (mine, not his).The week after graduation/ the first week of summer break, I felt confident in my ability to foster a dog temporarily without becoming so attached that I could never part with her/him. So...on that first Tuesday afternoon of summer break, Dracen and I found ourselves driving way out to a kill shelter in a rural county to save this little chihuahua who ended up being called Eli (also Dracen's middle name). Well, Eli didn't get any adoption applications for four whole months so guess who decided there was no way, no how she could part with him after that much time? Yep. So that's how we now have four dogs. I will do a whole post on this soon but let's just say that my life has quite literally gone to the dogs, but I always secretly knew that it would. (Eli aka Tidbit)July is always a big month around here since the boys have their birthdays on the 17th and 18th. Dracen turned 12 and Devin, 16. I  just don't get it because I still feel 28 most days. Okay, 32. Devin with his birthday persimmon pudding, made my Momaw Pat.Dracen with his requested three layer cake, made by me,the non-baker. The end of July we took a week's vacation to S[...]

Writing It Down


I can't say why I just flat out stopped writing this blog. Sometimes these things just happen, I suppose. There seem to be fewer and fewer hobby bloggers around these days. Almost all the blogs I once read daily have long since up and died, much like this one. Leaving it to rest in peace has mostly seemed like the best option for the past several months but something whispered to me in the car on my second trip back home from the middle school this morning. So here I am.That something most certainly sprang from my frustrated state with that youngest boy of mine (a 7th grade middle-schooler now) who is still testing our parenting skills and all-around patience on a daily basis. Time management is a concept he still seems to be completely unfamiliar with and although middle school starts 30 minutes later than the elementary school (8 as opposed to 7:30), I'm still squealing tires pulling out of the driveway most mornings. The school secretary already knows my face since I am regularly dropping forgotten items off with her. Sometimes it's athletic clothes or shoes, sometimes a lunchbox, sometimes a notebook... But this morning? It was the whole dang book bag. How do you not realize that you have left for school without your forty pound backpack is beyond my comprehension but I suppose it had something to do with the fact that he was scanning the car for his shoes (which he always kicks off on the way home from anywhere) just before getting in. So of course, being the sucker good mother that I am, I came home, threw on something resembling actual clothes, and headed back across town to deliver a book bag. And about halfway back to the house, it just hit me how much I missed writing all this craziness down. Not just the frustrating crazy, but the good crazy too. Because as time has been seemingly speeding up with each passing year, I'm being constantly reminded of just how very quickly these days will be gone and no matter how frustrating they can be, I know well enough by now to just appreciate them for what they are because I'm gonna miss them like the dickens when they're gone.Devin is a man-sized driving junior in high school, a fact which often still seems more surreal to me than not. In less than a mere two years from now, he will be a high school graduate and Dracen will be a high school freshman. Two.years! Time is a sneaky little beast and while none of us can pause it, halt it, or slow it down, we can, at the very least, document it.  [...]

Getting Organized And...Mortified


So I fell off the face of the earth. Again. But there was the getting ready for Christmas business and strep throat decided to pop back into my life (after 20-something years) the weekend before Christmas, bringing with it glass shards each time I swallowed and a fever of a hundred and three. Then, not quite recovered from that, I got sick again (the weekend after Christmas) and stayed that way for what seemed like a sweet FOREVER. Then, THEN, just as I was getting back to some sense of normalcy, Dracen got sick. And when Dracen gets sick, I hear Mommm approximately sixteen thousand times a day. Also, I've jumped on the I-will-declutter-and-organize-this-entire-house-if-it-kills-me train over the past couple of weeks and the exhaustion sets in about 4pm every afternoon. I blame it on this book.It is written by a young Japanese woman, Marie Kondo, who has become quite the celebrity in Japan. While she does have some great advice and I'd definitely buy and read it again because HELLO MOTIVATION, she does express a few coo-coo beliefs regarding objects. For example, she says to never, ever ball up your socks, not only because they take up more room in the drawer and have the elastic stretched out, but mainly because it is their time to "rest" from all the hard work they've done in keeping your feet warm. Oh yes.She also tells her house (and belongings) hello and goodbye each time she comes and goes and daily thanks her possessions for their services. The best thing I took away from the book is her advice on getting rid of things. She says that, while decluttering, pick up each thing and ask yourself, "Does this spark joy in me?" If the answer is no and it's not something you have to have, let it go. For some reason, that has made all the difference with me since I have already packed up and given away more than a dozen bags of clothes, bags and shoes. Though Ms. Kondo would probably say I failed the thankfulness part of the KonMari process because (although I gave it my best shot) I found it a bit difficult to thank old t-shirts for "serving me well" before sending them on their "journey". Still, I'm quite proud of myself for what I've accomplished thus far and am determined to go through, sort and discard or organize every single object in this house. I'm about a third of the way through the kitchen drawers at present because you know how most people have one junk drawer? Well, we had about five. Not even exaggerating.In other news, let me tell you about the latest gray hairs given to me by my youngest child...Yesterday afternoon, after I picked him up from school, I stopped at the eye doctor to pick up my contacts and was then headed to the post office and dollar store and was then going to pick up a few groceries and get them put away before picking up Devin from his after-school workouts around 4. But while I was in the post office, I got a text from him asking if I could just pick him up at normal time because he forgot his gym shorts. Once I got back to the car I texted him back to see if he wanted me to bring him some and he said that'd be good.So, since I had to go home first to get the shorts, I postponed the dollar and grocery stores and started driving toward the house. I asked Dracen to please text his brother back (on my phone) to let him know we'd pull up on the side at the school and to come out and get his shorts when last period was over. I'm driving down the road when he asked (while looking at my phone), "What's Group MMS?" and there was a little panic in his voice. "WHAT did you DO?" Turns out, he thought it would be funny to send Devin a text back that read, "Coming Were gonna do this deal on the side as long as you got the cash I got the hash". And y[...]

Christmas Tree Trouble, Part 2


Charlie took that Christmas tree back to Home Depot last Monday and on Wednesday I pulled up in the driveway to see the one I ordered from Balsam Hill already here. Sweet, I thought.  But as I dragged the box in the garage I realized it was no way big enough to be holding a 9ft tree. And I was right. I had half a tree. Half.a.tree. Fit to be tied does not even begin to describe the state I was in. So I got online to get their phone number and dialed it at rapid speed only to sit on hold for a sweet for-everrr.  Here's a genius thought (and I told their customer service as such in a snarky email), how about (since you are going to leave your customers on hold for an eternity) playing some Christmas music since it's, you know, a Christmas tree company and all because that elevator song playing in a loop over and over and over does not do much in improving the mood of the customer with a tree problem who has been sitting on hold for 43 hours.  And of course, about twenty minutes into my holding marathon another call beeped in and it was the elementary school (welcome to my life). It was Dracen telling me he felt light-headed and dizzy and needed to come home at once (although there was only another 30 minutes left in the school day). But since he does have a history of passing out, I had no choice but to hang up before ever speaking to a single person about the whereabouts of the other half of my tree and get in the car to go pick him up. He ended up being fine after eating and resting but he did seem a bit out of sorts when I got to the school.  Once I got him settled in, I dialed that number again and sat there and sat there and sat there some more and the more that sorry excuse for a song played, the madder I got. When I finally did get a live person to pick up, she didn't seem one bit alarmed that I had only received one half of my tree and no email notifications whatsoever. Then she proceeded to give me the FedEx tracking number for the other box so I could go online and track it myself or "get in touch with FedEx" as she put it, as if it was all their stinking fault. Grrr. She told me she felt sure it would arrive "tomorrow". I, however, did not feel sure in any way, shape or form and it's a good thing I didn't look for it the next day because it was Friday before it showed up. I dove straight into that box and began to assemble it like a mad woman. Only after I got the part labeled '1' on, I couldn't find '2'. Oh it must be in the first box, right? Tell me it is in the first box. So I ran out to the garage where the first box still sat only to find no part 2 and another part 1. No lie, I think smoke came out of my ears. Then I went into a rare manic state in which I began slinging those heavy branches around like they weighed nothing and shouting things like, "THIS TREE WILL WORK TODAY!!! SOMEHOW, SOME WAY!!!  OR I WILL DIE TRYING!!!" (I left out the profanity) (You are welcome) And guess what? Where there is great will, there is a way because it worked! I still don't know whether they just labeled that part wrong since I do have two of those step-on and off plugs that go into the wall and that doesn't seem right, but it looks right and all the lights work so I am, at last, a happy Christmas tree camper.  I know you are all so relieved to know that my Christmas tree woes are over. At least for this year. Unless some lights go out. But that will not happen.  Oh one more completely unrelated thing before I go. Are y'all watching The Voice and did you see that performance by Craig Wayne Boyd last night? He sang The Old Rugged Cross live on prime time t.v. and it gave me chills. I immediately downloaded/bought it on iTunes and then took time to vote for him aft[...]

Christmas Tree Trouble


Last year I declared it our pre-lit Christmas tree's last year. We had a pretty decent run but have had to string extra lights to compensate for all the ones burned out for the past two years and it had also somehow developed a gaping hole on one side. Plus, I wanted a taller tree since we bought that tree before we moved and the ceilings are higher in this house. Well. Who knew how large a task I was taking on when I made that little declaration because where-have-all-the-good-trees-gone? There are countless beautiful life-like trees to be found online but my thought was that I'd end up with a problem tree and then have to deal with sending it back which would no doubt turn into an ordeal that would quickly cause my inner Grinch to surface. Not to mention the bordering-on-insanity costs of some of those trees. So Sunday afternoon we headed out to Home Depot because I saw online that they had some 9ft trees in stock and I must have made about five hundred thousand circles around those trees trying to pick one I deemed worthy before deciding I wanted to go look somewhere else.Charlie and Devin were thrilled. Dracen had the good sense and forethought to stay at his momaw and popaw's house (which was a good thing because his commentary would have no doubt sent me over the edge I was already starting to teeter on). After hitting Lowes, Wal-mart and Michaels, we made our way back to Home Depot, whose trees were now beginning to look a whole lot better. I had the brief thought of going back to a real tree before coming to my senses and remembering the sinus infections I got for four years straight at Christmastime before being hit with the hey-maybe-this-has-something-to-do-with-the-live-tree-in-my-house realization. We (okay I) finally decided on one that was not on display but for reasons beyond my own comprehension, seemed like the best bet. It probably had something to do with the fact that Martha Stewart's name was on it because you can say what you want about her, but the woman does have some good taste. So we got it home, cleared out a place for it in the corner (a new spot this year) and was amazed at how easily it went up. But as I began the fluffing process, I noticed that about four entire branches were not lit and could find nary a cord disconnected. Charlie was busy but said he'd look at it shortly so I spent the next  hour and a half getting scratched up by those prickly needles as I fluffed and fluffed and fluffed. Then we spent another hour and a half checking every single cord, bulb and fuse on that tree only to walk away in defeat. As Charlie began disassembling it, I took to my keyboard in order to let out my frustrations via a bad review on Home Depot's website before ordering one from Balsam Hill that I'm hoping arrives very soon and in good working order because I'm experiencing a bad case of Christmas Tree Envy. Oh at the silly things we get worked up over. Speaking of silly (or maybe not-so-silly) things, remember the throwing knives Dracen has been putting on his Christmas list for the past two or three years? Well, they are back on there this year and will probably be there again next year too because not-in-my-lifetime, buddy. Not in my lifetime. [...]

A Whole Lotta Big Hair Ago...


Well my 25 year high school reunion came and went, yet still I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that it really has been a quarter of a century since we tossed those green caps up into the stale air of that high school gym (we got moved inside at the last minute due to the possibility of rain that never came). Then there are times when it seems that was an entire lifetime ago and in many ways, I suppose it was. As I studied our class photo we had on display, I found myself right there in line with my three best big-haired high school friends on the gym bleachers (along with all our many other friends/classmates) and realized that while we have all grown and matured and experienced countless joys and triumphs, and celebrations and milestones, and devastating life blows and griefs that none of us ever could have imagined, our core personalities are still recognizably, familiarly, the same. Then later, after everyone had arrived and began to mingle and take their seats, I took in the goings-on of the room (as us hardcore introverts always tend to do in such situations) and noticed that out of the small percentage of our class who showed up, we had pretty much all navigated to the little groups we most often found ourselves forming way back then. I was not surprised by this as it has been the case in the other two reunions we've had in the past and I imagine it will be the same at any others we plan for the future. Of course I was sitting at a table with my three formerly-big-haired friends who have remained among my closest and dearest over the past two and half decades. My BFF and I (as little as we see each other anymore) both showed up sporting black faux fur vests while our husbands dressed so much alike some probably wondered if they had called each other. We used to do that sort of thing often. At first it was on purpose. I've told that story here before but in case you missed it...We both moved to this area during the summer before our tenth grade year so we were both the new kids on the block and our friendship was truly formed from a shared misery and what we had both thought at the time to be the greatest torture and misfortune of our young lives. Given the circumstance, our friendship/bond grew very quickly, so much so that we thought it'd be just charming if we bought matching outfits at the mall one weekend that we'd then both wear to school Monday morning.This was back in 1986, when pleated, puffy-sleeved rompers were all the rage. So we bought us a matching pair in a glorious shade of peach and even splurged on big arse matching peach hair bows for our big arse hairdos. Oh yes. We were fly. I don't think we made it to our homerooms before we were regretting our decision at a level of intensity neither of us ever thought possible. Everybody knew our names after that, though most of them just called us The Bobbsey Twins.  Fun times those were. At least now, twenty-eight years later, we can laugh about it. I think it only took about ten.  After that unfortunate fashion catastrophe faux-pas we always called each other to make sure we were NOT wearing the same thing. Yet many times over the years since high school, we've showed up places in dangerously similar attire which is what happened with the matching vests (and husbands) Saturday night. The thing is, I came this close to not buying that vest but the darn thing beckoned me. I was in Target at the beginning of last week when I saw three on the rack (only one was my size). I took it off, put it back, took it off, put it back, took it off, and finally, put it [...]

It Ain't What It Used To Be


I just learned that you can still buy Rave hairspray but (and this is probably a good thing) it just ain't what it used to be. All my 80s hair sisters remember this stuff, right? After you'd curled your already-permed-hair with the curling iron and then teased it half to death with that ginormous plastic hair pick, you'd break out that big ole can of Rave (extra-extra-firm-mega-hold formula) and spray that hair like there was no tomorrow. Or ozone in need of protection.Sometimes, depending on the occasion and magnitude of big hair volume you were setting out to achieve, the hair dryer was added to this equation. There was no quicker way to the big hair of your dreams than through the working of a hair dryer, a plastic pick and a can of Rave Hairspray all at once. It was an art form, people. And once you had every single permed-up-curled-and-teased strand of hair on your head completely coated in that stuff, not even a category five hurricane was gonna be getting through it. You knew you had achieved success when you shook your head around real good and not a single hair moved. I swear it's a wonder any of us have any hair left on our heads from all the abuse we put in through back then.Now you're probably wondering why in the world I'm on this subject. Well...My 25 year high school reunion is this Saturday and a few of us met last night in a reserved room at a local pizza establishment (that we all frequented after every Friday night football game of our high school career) where we attempted to recreate the big hair of our youth. Our ring leader purchased the Rave, that I had no idea still existed in the world today. The can has changed quite a bit and sadly, to our disappointment, the formula has too. After about ten good licks with the can, we were all coughing from the inhaling of fumes like the old days, but I could tell something was way off with the scent. And the hair? Well, it was still blowing in the wind. Literally.We were attempting to make a little video (on the fly) and ended up getting kicked out by the young guys who were trying to close up so they could get the heck outta there, and as far away from the likes of us crazies as humanly possible. So there the six of us were, on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant that was our old teenage stomping ground, after 10pm on a Monday night in the thirty degree weather, with our heads teased up and freezing our butts off, making attempt after attempt to record our video. Let me just say that there is a good reason why none of us set our sights on a career in the entertainment industry.But it was fun. And silly. And nostalgic. And it's always good when those three things come together.Kinda like the Rave, blow dryer and plastic pick back in 1989. Be still my big ole hair. [...]

Set It Free


Well my car came home yesterday and they never once heard the whine. I feared it would be loud and clear this morning since the temps were way down low, but to my surprise I know it existed because Charlie heard it too. He was actually the first one to hear it. The only explanation I have is that it was warm when they first listened (it mainly only did it when it was cold) and something they did in whatever it is they did in that 32,000 mile work up must have fixed it, whatever it was. At least that is my very unprofessional opinion about the matter. I'm just glad it's gone because, no lie, I had three different teachers (who were walking into the building), on three different mornings, turn and look to see what the whut that noise was coming up the hill when I pulled in the high school parking lot to drop Devin off. He has to get there ridiculously early since Dracen's tardy bell rings at the elementary school at just past the butt crack of dawn and two morning trips is out of the question (one is questionable most mornings). Speaking of Dracen and school, they had their first awards ceremony of the year this morning and his homeroom/math teacher (the one who told him on the second day of school that he'd talked more in two days than his brother did the whole year she had him) came up to me just to let me know how much of a delight he is to have in class. That is always a relief because, sweet mercy, I love that boy to pieces but he works our patience half to death much of the time at home.Life is always an "adventure", what with him, his brother and those three rottenest-of-all-the-rotten tail waggers we've got living with us. Lucky and Brisco pulled another one of their get-out-the-door-and-run-like-there's-a-five-headed-poisonous-snake-chasing-you stunts again yesterday evening.  Charlie had just pulled into the garage with my car and I walked out there to check it out (because we also had a luggage rack installed) and as usual, all three of them followed me.The door was down but the walk-thru door has gotten to where it sometimes doesn't stay shut tightly unless you lock it and before I knew what was happening, those two had pried it open and were halfway up the driveway before I could get my wits about me. And of course I was in baggy sweatpants that were hanging off me, short sleeves (it was cold) and sock feet. So Charlie got stuck chasing after them in his work boots. He came back shortly with Big Boy aka Brisco Darling, who I honestly didn't think still had it in him, but no Lucky. We figured he'd come back when he got tired in an hour or so but Dracen insisted on going out looking for him. It was getting dark and there are no street lights in our neighborhood so my worry wart self took off in the Saturn after fifteen minutes. I spotted him up the street talking to a neighbor who had gotten in her car to ride around and look for him too. After two different trips out riding and with no sunlight left to speak of, we came back to the house and waited.Just as I expected, about an hour later, I stuck my head out the front door and there the little scallywag was on the front porch. I fussed at him a bit before letting him in the house, where he walked straight to the water bowl, drained it, took about three steps and crashed out cold on the living room floor. Juan Too Many (Charlie's nickname for him) was Flat Tuckered Out. Before he returned, we recalled that little quote about setting something you love free and if it comes back it's yours forever, if not, it was never mea[...]

Happy Wednesday


When I was driving the boys to school this morning Dracen said it feels like it's next week. Huh? "I mean it feels like Monday", he explained. And I understood because I had already said that three minutes earlier but they don't hear most of what I say so there you go. Charlie (mostly joking) told them Monday night that it didn't make sense that they didn't have to go to school on Veterans Day but he had to go to work and he's a veteran! "Well just close the company for the day", was Dracen's comeback. He then explained that whole thing about the expectations of customers and also, my car had an appointment in Charlotte because the closest Acura dealership is there.It has been making a whining noise upon acceleration mostly just when it's cold and it is still under factory warranty. Of course it did not make the noise for them because they didn't get around to looking at it until the afternoon and it was over 70 degrees yesterday. They still have it and were going to listen again this morning. Somehow I'm betting they won't hear it again because it's probably inside a climate-controlled garage. Ugh. I'm driving my old Saturn and it was kind of like having lunch with an old friend because I am one of those people who gets nostalgic about inanimate objects like cars. I offered it to Devin for when he gets his license next year, telling him he could keep it or trade it for something else. He surprised me by saying he's planning to keep it and proceeded to tell me about the size of the speakers he is going to put in the back which meant nothing to me because I don't speak speaker language. At least I think he was talking about speakers. I fear he's probably inherited that driving-with-the-music-so-loud-it-drowns-out-the-entire-world gene from me but somehow I get the feeling we (and our neighbors) aren't going to appreciate the type of beats he'll be pumping out. Should be fun. In other news, I think I have finally figured out why Lucky Dog has not been losing any weight, in spite of all my efforts to cut his calories back. The little weasel has been getting into the pantry. A few days ago I caught him crunching on something that appeared to be a pretzel stick. I just assumed someone had dropped it somewhere and he sniffed it out. But later I heard him again. Someone had dropped the whole opened bag in the floor of the pantry (at least I thought) and he was sneaking pretzel after pretzel.Later that night Charlie discovered the pretzel bag there in the floor, along with an empty pack of fudge-stripes cookies. Hmm. Still, I just assumed one of the boys knocked the stuff off in the pantry floor and didn't bother to pick it up. But yesterday afternoon I caught his little junk foodie self sneaking Doritos out of the bag that were still on the shelf. He'd somehow managed to get up there, get inside the bag and eat Doritos out one by one without knocking it off, a skill which I'm guessing has taken much practice to develop. Looks like I'm going to have to put a sign on the pantry door reminding us all to shut it all.the.way.Sometimes I think we're insane for keeping three dogs in the house. Monday morning I caught Brisco Darling (halfway to China already) attempting to dig out the back sidewalk, no doubt after some little critter, forcing me to go up under the deck in order to fetch him so I could bring him inside to bathe him before I could leave the house. Because he ran under there when I called him to me. But what are you gonna do? They're like kids...a whole lotta dirt, mess and work [...]

Just some more stuff about some more things


It's been a week since I finished the 31 days of blogging challenge so I figured it's probably time I get back in the saddle and giddy on up before I wind up letting five months pass me by with nary a blog post again. I'm not feeling very deep or philosophical this morning so I'm just going to share a few random things I've learned/observed recently.1. I was less than thrilled about exercising my right to vote this week because I was just plain sick and tired of all the nonstop negative political ads, phone calls and emails but I suddenly had a change of heart on the day of so I drove over to my polling place and exercised my right. As I always do after casting my vote, I felt just a tad more liberated. Is that just me that happens to? Somehow I'm guessing not.  2. And that Dr. Seuss quote from The Lorax just popped into my head... "Unless someone like you cares an awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."I swear there is a Dr. Seuss quote for every feeling/situation/life moment, is there not? That man was a genius. 3. Dracen stayed home with a head cold Wednesday. He's always been one who requires lots of love and attention when under the weather and I have recently begun to secretly appreciate these little kinda-sick-but-not-too-sick days because they are growing up on me right under my very nose and I still haven't found that pause button I've been in desperate search of for the past few years.4. Don't laugh but I've been thinking seriously of starting a fashion blog. It would be in addition to this one. Not a replacement. 5. My 25 year high school reunion is coming up in two weeks (WHAT?!) and I'm working on a project for it using pics from my senior yearbook. I don't know what we were all thinking with our ginormous-teased-curled-and-sprayed-within-an-inch-of-its-life hair but I have absolutely no regrets about it because HILARIOUS today. I have laughed and laughed. 6. This made me laugh and laugh too.7. This is completely random but did you know you can ask Siri what planes are flying over your head right now and she'll tell you? I don't know why but that fascinates me to no end. I ask her all the time.8. Report cards came home this week for both boys. Let's just say it was a happy occasion (and that hasn't always been the case). Devin is more like me while Dracen is (somehow) more of a math and science person. No idea where he gets it since Darin was a psychology major and algebraic equations make me want to punch lots of things. Hard.9. Remember this photo? My favorite Dachshund pic in the entire world? If you haven't seen it here on this blog, you've probably seen it somewhere. It's all over the web and I've even found it on a few greeting cards. I came across the original source yesterday... Serenah Photography. That Dachsie's name is Ralphie and the creative genius behind the camera is his mom, Serena Hodson, a professional photographer from Australia. I'm a huge fan! Obviously.And here he is with his brother, Simon...Pure Awesome.10. And finally...the snow. It did fall on us in the mountains last weekend. It was beautiful mixed with the yellow leaves and wasn't too much to get us stranded in the woods on top of that mountain. But that wind? That wind was straight up COLD and I was more than ready to get back to 60-70 degree weather.Happy Friday, p.s. Just learned from Serena's Facebook page that the little Dachshund, Ralphie, has very recently been diagnosed with lung cancer and doesn't have very long to live. :( Prayers for him and his famil[...]

Day 31...No Regrets


Well the blue skies have completely vanished and the clouds have swallowed that spectacular mountain view. But Dracen finally got his pumpkin carved so we now have this view instead. While all we are seeing is rain now, the snow is still predicted to roll in tomorrow and I'm hoping it's just enough to bring the magic but not so much that we have to scurry around, gather our belongings and head down this mountain a day early. This will be the first year since I've been a mother that I have not gone out on a candy hunt with a costumed boy (or two). That combined with the fact that we are pretty secluded up here made me almost forget that today is Halloween. I did not forget, however, that is the final day of this daily blogging madness and I'm feeling very much relieved about that.Not that I regret doing it. On the contrary. Making a conscious effort to seek out the extraordinary in the day-to-day routine has been a positive eye-opener for me and I hope maybe it has been a little bit for the few of you who have traveled this journey with me. The magic is always there for those who choose to see it. Always, Day 31[...]

Day 30, Mountain Magic


The boys are out of school today and tomorrow for teacher workdays so we are taking a little mini-vacation in a cozy-retro-feely house nestled in the woods at 4200 feet elevation. I've been many places in the North Carolina mountains but this is my first visit to Maggie Valley and I swear I think I may have heard a choir of angels singing when I stepped out of the car at this place. Because weather could not have been more perfect today though tomorrow is supposed to be cooler and cloudy while Saturday is looking like snow with highs in the 30s! The nice lady who owns the cabin called me this morning before we left to see if I wanted to reschedule for another time but I told her we were actually looking forward to seeing a little snow. If it happens (and it sounds like it's definitely going to) it will be the first time in my life I've encountered fall colors and snow in the same scene. I am beyond excited.Today though...Today in itself was magical. At one point I was walking alone with Li'l Bit (Charlene) in the woods, the birds were flitting around, the sky was as blue as I've ever seen it, the leaves were thick under my feet with their vibrant autumn hues overheard and I suddenly got those chills (the ones I call spiritual chills) all over and I heard Kenny Chesney's voice singing...I believe there is magic here.  I know he is singing about a place near the sea in that song but I believe there is magic right here in these mountains. Thin Places? Oh yeah, this is one of those.And when I stumbled upon this mirror on the outdoor shed? I knew it was...magic.  Pure Magic.Then I sat down on the ground in the sun, with Li'l Bit on my lap, and recalled this quote...Especially when said dog is wearing her angel wings for Halloween.  To be continued... Day 30[...]

Writing Anyway


It is now day 29 and I just had to give myself a pep talk (after about 5 million cursor blinks) to push through because I was beginning to feel a bit like I've used up all my words and ideas on this concept of Everyday Magic. One day, about halfway through the month, I did a search of all my old posts using the words magic and magical. Turns out, I really have a thing for it. Never once though did I use it in the traditional sense that most people tend to think of when they hear the word. I guess I could have used the word miracles instead or maybe beauty, or perhaps even extraordinary. Everyday Extraordinary does have a nice ring to it, doesn't it? But for whatever reason, I chose magic.  Maybe that turned some people off and kept them from clicking over from the Write31Days where my little link rests like a tiny drop of water in a great big ocean of creativity and talent, but for the precious few of you who have followed along, whether you've done so silently or have faithfully given me the ole thumbs up on Facebook, thank you. Sincerely. It means more than you know.There have been some days, like yesterday, when the words just seemed to write themselves. Then there have been those when the art of sharing my introverted thoughts (again) with any and all who choose to read them (or pass them by) has felt like the most daunting task imaginable. Each time, however, after I finally will the feelings to form words and then string them together into coherent sentences that appear on this screen from my own humble fingertips, it brings me the greatest satisfaction and sense of accomplishment. And I think it has been in those days that I've been most proud of myself.Writing is my outlet and I didn't realize just how much I had missed it for those way-too-many months I strayed from it this year. I found it (or maybe it found me) at a time in my life when the tears were always on the verge of spilling over and my knees were hitting the floor daily. It felt an awful lot like magic (at least my definition of it) then and it feels an awful lot like magic now. It truly is a passion, a gift from God, and even if my words never appear anywhere outside the pages of this little blog, it will continue to be just that. Anyway, Day 29[...]

The Beauty All Around


It's the sound of church bells in the middle of the week, a purchase that rings upto a round number,a bird flying alongside your car,the first breath of ocean airwhen you arrive at the coast,a baby's smile frombehind a pacifier.Or maybe you see a manwith headphones singing anddancing his way down the streetas you wait for the light to turn green,or a hummingbird that takes a drink from your feeder, then buzzes over to the glass door to greet you before it flies away.It's secretly witnessing the sincere smileof a loved one when they areabsorbed in something they find amusing,or receiving an invitation from a friendyou haven't seen in awhile.It's  a 'thank you' in the mail,an unexpected complimentwhen you're feeling blue,the sound of light thunderand steady rain inthe middle of the night,or the look of pure joy on a dog's faceas the wind hits hisface through the car window.It's wrapping your freezing handsaround a hot cup of coffeeor hot chocolate,walking into an air-conditionedbuilding when it's unbearablyhot outside, looking up to a pink sky,a full or crescent moonon a clear night,or the heavenly sight ofsun rays shining downbrilliantly through the billowy clouds,or a bright red bird singingits happy song from a treetop outside your window.These magical, miraculous,phenomenal, breathtaking, astounding, magnificent, extraordinary thingsare always around you, above you,in front of you, beside you, and within you, even (and probably especially)when you are in the midst of your darkest storm.All you have to do is look."There's beauty all around you. All you have to do is look." ~Darin PooveyDay 28 [...]

Sunshine On My Shoulders


We've been having the most exceptionally fine weather here for the past few days. I thought I had worn my flip flops for the last time this year but I should have known October had one more surprise left for us. Growing up, and even into my thirties, I was always more of a spring person but I swear the older I get, the more and more I love and appreciate fall. Spring is still special but autumn speaks more deeply to my soul these days.  This morning (in the sunroom again) the warm sunlight fell on my face and shoulders and I got that hugs-from-heaven feeling once more. And then of course I started humming along with John Denver (who was singing in my head)...Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy...Sunshine almost always makes me high...  Then I had the idea to snap a few photos with my iPhone throughout the day of all the little magical happenstances I took notice of. But in so doing, I just kept being drawn back in to the welcoming warmth of that October sunshine and realized that in and of itself was more than enough. So I just soaked it up at every pause and turn and thought, Perfection. Plain and simple. Perfection.  Late October sunshine accompanied by gentle breezes, abounding trees entering into their most radiant forms and temperatures in the upper 70s, with low humidity. Weather simply doesn't get any better than this. It's like October is practically shouting for us all to pause in our daily pursuits and take notice of the miraculous transformation/show of brilliance that is happening right this fleeting instant. So I did; I soaked it up... And it made me happy. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//" width="420">Day 27 [...]

The Power of Smell


I recently came across the word petrichor (the smell of earth after rain) and was surprised that I'd never heard it before because I think most of us will agree that that is just about the most magical smell in the history of ever. I just recalled it again when I sat down to write this post (having no idea what I was going to be writing about again) and thought, of course. The sense of smell is such a powerful weapon that can instantly trigger memories of places we've been, people we've known, and sometimes even people we used to be. I can get a whiff of an old perfume or lotion I was fond of once upon a time and will immediately recall that period of my life, what was going on with me then and the people who were closest to me  and I'm always taken aback each time it happens. The smell of Johnson & Johnson Lavender Bath Wash makes my heart ache a little because it takes me back to Devin's baby days, and a time before I knew the least thing about how deep the rivers of heartache and grief can run.  Coffee brewing, popcorn popping, vanilla extract, freshly mown grass, dog paws, and rosemary all evoke warm fuzzies within me, while wild honeysuckle, Play-Doh, and lemon Pledge all bring back the happiest of childhood memories.  One day last week I was out and had a little bit of time to kill before picking up Dracen from school so I walked around one of my favorite thrift/antique spots where I bought a few very old books for the bargain price of one to three dollars a piece. That old book smell gets me every time. I think it even surpasses the magic of petrichor for me.Smells just like magic.  Day 26[...]

Positive Perspectives


I had the best intentions of spending my day being productive around the house but after about the 129th piece of laundry I folded, the realization hit me that I'm either coming down with something or the stars just aren't aligned right because my legs are aching, my mind is foggy and I feel as though I could sleep for about five hundred hours. Never mind that I slept until nearly ten this morning.But this 31 days show must.go.on. Why did I decide to do this again? Sure, I could say the heck with it and skip a day. I'm not sure anyone would notice (I've checked my stats). A promise is a promise though, even when made to oneself, and I do love the sense of accomplishment I feel when I click 'Publish' and go over to add one more post to that working list of thirty-one, knowing I'm one step closer to the finish line. There is, after all, a certain magic in taking a step back to appreciate works our own hands have created and giving a little triumphant nod and exhale of a job well-done. I've felt it after I've straightened up my closet (for the 6 millionth time) or mopped all the floors, or painted an old piece of furniture or walls of a room, or written words from the heart. When we had the florist Dana used to get tickled at me when I was working on an arrangement because I was always stepping way back (sometimes into things) to gain a different perspective on it. I do the same thing when I'm getting dressed, fixing my hair, placing items just-so in a lunchbox or arranging things on a shelf. Sometimes it's all about the way we look at things. Choosing to focus on all the little things we've accomplished, bit by bit, rather than dwelling on and pointing out all the things we didn't quite get around to again today is (in my book) one of the greatest keys to happiness. The good Lord knows I'm a work in progress on it but I like to think I'm getting closer...Day 25 [...]

Simple Songs that Soothe


I always say that Def Leppard/Queensryche was the first concert I ever attended, way back in 1988, when in actuality that was my first mega concert. The first one was a few years earlier (we still lived in Georgia) when my mom, stepdad, brother and I went to see the great Don Williams. The exact year has left me but I know it was summertime with some weirdly cool temperatures going on for that time of year.As I've mentioned before, my taste is music is extremely diversified. If looked upon by a stranger, my music library would probably seem as though it belongs to that of a person with a multiple personality disorder because I am all over the board with it. My musical taste simply knows no bounds. Opening up that music app and hitting 'shuffle'  is a lot like Forrest Gump's mama's advice on life being like a box of chocolates because you just never know what you're gonna get. A couple of days ago I quickly scanned through all my songs and and made a new playlist that I named "Right Now". Obviously none of these songs are currently right now. They are just where I'm at, if that makes any sense whatsoever. In it is Don Williams' hit song from 1980, I Believe In You. I just consulted Google to discover that it was his only song to hit the Top 40 charts and stayed at number one for two weeks. I don't think I'ver ever heard Don Williams sing a song I didn't love but there's something extra special about this one.It's such a simple song, yet extraordinary all at once. There is just a serene quality about his voice that always lifts my spirits and calms my soul. This particular song has me singing along and nodding in agreement each and every time I hear it and yes, it is one of the many that gets cranked up way too loud when I'm driving alone in my car. I get every single word of these lyrics, written by Roger Cook and Sam Hogin, but these are my favorite.I also discovered (to my great delight) that Mr. Williams is still making his beautiful music today, at 75 years old. Here's a little gem I found of him singing I Believe In You at a concert last year. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="//" width="560">Like magic to my ears, Day 24[...]

Day 23, The Wag of a Tail


Today is the five year anniversary of Big Boy (Brisco) and Li'l Bit's (Charlene) adoption/Gotcha Day so I thought it was the perfect day in my 31 days series to talk about the magical wag of the tail. To know me is to know of my love for all things four-legged and furry, especially dogs, even more specifically Dachshunds. But really, I just love 'em all.There is no day bad enough or mood dark enough that their unfaltering love and loyalty cannot ease or lighten when I walk through that door to their little excited faces, wagging tails, and pure ecstatic joy and delight over the discovery that I have returned home once again. They just love, love, love with their whole hearts and tails. If you are a dog person then you get it and it really never gets old, does it? The dogless month I spent in the fall of 2009, after Dixie died and before we adopted the Darlings, was heartbreaking. That little Dachshund was in my life and by my side for fourteen years (through an awful lot of grief, heartache and tears) and to suddenly have her gone and be left with no doggie love at all was just about more than this dog-loving soul could stand. I cried myself to sleep night after night. While getting another, new dog (or in this case, two) doesn't take away that pain of losing the one you loved so much, for so long, it sure does help. And eventually you realize that it is more than possible to love the new ones every bit as much as you did the one you lost. Because they just have that extraordinary way about them. It's like...magic (Name that movie. One more time.). It's like God gave them this little extra something-something that touches and heals something within us that nothing else can get at. For those who have never allowed an animal into their lives and hearts will not understand it but for those of us who have and do (again and again, loss after heartbreaking loss) know that it is one of the very best parts of living and we wonder why or how anybody ever gets through this thing called life without them.Maybe I'm sounding melodramatic here but I can't help myself. I LOVE MY DOGS. They make the world a happier, better place for me and as long as I'm living there will be tail-waggers in my life and paws prints on my heart.October 23, 2009Present DayAnd Lucky Dog too :) Day 23 [...]