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Monday, February 28, 2011

In Like a Lion

When TLC moved to the Big City in 2005, we began a new method of communication—tons o’ emails. We’ll probably share some of the sillier ones, as time goes on (and if we run out of other random topics)!

One blah Monday morn three months ago, ELC was trying to think of a way to start the week off with some zaniness. She decided to get out her Oxford Dictionary—yes, for you young ‘uns, the actual book—and find words that started with “M.” This is an adaptation of that email.

Welcome March!

From ELC:  Have a marvelous, MISCHIEVOUS, macaroni (and cheese!), MAJESTIC, make-believe, MANNERLY, meaningful, MELLOW, meritorious, MESMERIZING, meteoric, MIGHTY, manageable, MAGNETIC, mindful, MIRACULOUS, mirthful, MONUMENTAL, madcap, MAGICAL, magnetic, MAMMOTH, musical, MYSTERIOUS and mythical month of MARCH.

From TLC:  Don't be—misunderstood, MALCONTENT, mediocre, MEDDLESOME, mendacious, MIDDLE-OF-THE-ROAD, melodramatic, MISUNDERSTOOD, malfeasant, MALICIOUS, mangy, MALEVOLENT, manipulative, MANIACAL, misguided, MISQUOTED, mistrusted, MOODY, medieval, MOLDY, mouthy (My Dad wrote a song 20 years ago entitled: “Mouthy Women”—and would you believe? Kenny Chesney hasn’t gotten back to us yet.), or MISBEHAVED (Oh, what the heck, why not? Go for it! MISBEHAVE!), matronly, MAD, or eat too much MAYONNAISE (unless it’s the reduced fat with olive oil).

From BOTH LEIGHTONS:  MAINTAIN, meditate, and take your MULTIVITAMINS. Have a martini or MARGARITA or both (but not at work). Be MAJOR bah-naaa-nas (Rachel Zoe fans will understand this!). Don’t be a hot MESS (Chelsea Handler fans will understand this!). Don’t drink too many Diet MOUNTAIN Dews! Listen to Martina McBride! Shop at MACY’S (awww—makes us think of Christmas—it’s only 300 days away!). Drive to MONTANA. MAKE believe.

We’re just certain you need:  a MANICURE (even you guys!), a macrobiotic diet, a MASSAGE, a MINI cupcake and a maid. Instead of going to the mall, MAIL-ORDER some treasures that have been MARKED-DOWN! Run a MARATHON. MAINTAIN your MANNERS. Decide where to go:  MADRID? Madagascar? MANHATTAN? Read To Kill a MOCKINGBIRD. It is MANDATORY that you MANEUVER a time to get your MAMMOGRAM for your MAMMARIES!!!

And, finally, don’t be afraid to MARCH to the beat of a different drum. In March!
Then, on March 31st . . . go out like a lamb.


Friday, February 25, 2011

Would It Be Weird If I Wore Automotive Air Freshener As Perfume?

A random tidbit about TLC:  I heart Nordstrom. Everything about it – from their amazing customer service to their trendy (and affordable) accessories (found in their juniors’ department, of all places). I even love the way it smells. I jokingly tell ELC it smells like “home.” LOL. When you walk into one of their stores, you’re instantly struck by notes of leather (from their ah-MAZING shoes and gorgeous purses), perfume (they have quite the extensive collection), and fabulous clothes. It reminds me of that new, never-been-open book smell. Oh, how I wish they would package it up in a pretty, glittery, glass bottle and sell it. I would buy case after case.

I met my husband almost four years ago at a wedding in Midland. He and the groom have been lifelong buddies. The bride was my first new friend our freshman year at college. I will never forget seeing him that night. He was signing their guestbook after the ceremony. Later that evening, he asked for my number. We had our first "official" date in Addison the next week. On our second date, he wanted to take me to a sushi restaurant. I was beyond nervous. I had never had sushi before (and I didn’t have the nerve to tell him that either). I desperately wanted to impress him. The entire day of our upcoming dinner, I was a wreck. I Googled “how to work chopsticks”— to no avail. I also tried to quickly learn the proper sushi lingo (like what the heck is sashimi?).

When he picked me up, he was ever the gentleman. As he opened his car door, I vividly remember praying, as I stepped in, not to blow it with this hunk. Then, suddenly, my fears were put to rest. “What is that smell?” I thought. It was his car! His car! I blurted out, “Oh. My. Gosh. Your car smells like Nordstrom!” He looked at me with the most priceless and puzzled expression. As soon as those words left my mouth, I was certain he would definitely ditch me as soon as he discovered I was a sushi-phony (in addition to clearly being a total FRUITCAKE). Yet, here we are, blissfully married.

For my birthday the following year, one of my gifts from him was four large bottles of the delicious “Nordstrom” car air freshener. I remember rolling on the ground with laughter. I loved his creativity – and humor. Still do. I thought of him that infamous night, thinking what a whacko I must have been for telling him his car smelled like my favorite department store. Ever since then, I gleefully spray my car periodically with that intoxicating scent and smile when I think about my sweet hubby. He puts up with my crazy antics with such love and patience. Bless his heart.

image via TLC's iPhone (isn't my Hobby Lobby owl pitcher precious?)

If Nordstrom doesn’t bottle their scent soon, I might just have to take to wearing that air freshener… as my perfume. Out in public.

Would that be weird?

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

A 3-Diet Dew Day

Some background: I started having mammograms 20 years ago—when I was 37. I had a lot of fibroid cysts and it was precautionary. I had no family history of breast cancer. Or any cancer, for that matter. (Breast cancer did come—at age 40. And was discovered with a mammogram. That’s another post for another day, perhaps.)

My doctor at the time recommended I eliminate as much caffeine from my diet as possible. It was normal for me, beginning at age 23, to drink a pot of coffee every day by noon, so, fourteen years later, I knew I was going to have to find some kind of “morning” drink that could replace a significant part of my life.

I do enjoy an occasional orange, apple or cranberry juice. Just not enough to make any of them my daily morning “eye-opener.” My drinks of choice have always been diet drinks—Diet Dr. Pepper, Diet Coke, Diet Pepsi. Love them all. On a fateful trip to a local convenience store (okay, yes, it was to buy a lottery ticket), I saw a Diet Mountain Dew in the case and thought: “Hmmm. Citrus. Diet. Might just work.” It was yellow. WHO KNEW it had caffeine? Seriously. I had not ever heard this. I guess I was leading a sheltered life—with all caramel-colored drinks being the “bad (albeit delicious) guys.”

It was, I am ashamed to say, many years later before I learned Diet Mountain Dew did, indeed, have caffeine—and a lot of it. I’m sure the friends who knew this assumed I knew it, too, and simply chose to live in denial. It was normal for me to drink anywhere between two to four Diet Dews a day. Wow. Why am I admitting this? (I probably would've been better off with my pot o' coffee, since they think it helps ward off Alzheimer’s.)  Honestly, I never knew why I needed so many DDs. And, yes, I did have insomnia.

I remember trying to “cut down” on my daily intake. Unsuccessfully. So, one day, I decided to quit “cold turkey.” About 3 weeks later, however, my hubby and TLC bought me two 12-packs—even opened a can for me and watched to make sure I drank it. Evidently I wasn’t pleasant to be around. Truthfully, I was miserable—physically (headaches and no energy) and emotionally. So my goal became ONE DIET DEW per DAY. I’ve been on this program now for about 12 years. Some days it’s not too hard. Other days it’s more than challenging. On the challenging days, my goal morphs into JUST TWO DIET DEWS TODAY.

Here are some things that can now cause me to have a 3-Diet Dew Day (this is generally no more than twice a year—at most):

  1. Exhaustion—which is EXTRA nuts. I do so get that. I’m creating my own vicious cycle.
  2. Isolation. No, I haven’t been in solitary confinement in prison. Or committed to the state hospital—not yet. I’m talking illness, broken bones, or extra-bad weather days in Texas—mostly ice. We live on a hill and it sometimes becomes impossible for me to leave our house. (My husband leaves his truck at the bottom of our hill and climbs up and down to get to work. I’d do that if I ran out of Diet Dews, I guess.) Just a few weeks ago I was stuck from a Monday evening until Friday afternoon. (It wasn’t all that bad—I stayed in my jammies most of the time. I rather liked that. AND, I’d bought a 24-pack of Diet Dews before the ice arrived.)
  3. Stress.
  4. My monthly . . . deep cleaning (you thought I was going to say something else, didn’t you? Remember—I’m 57).
  5. Getting on my bathroom scales. I know. I understand. This constant shock alone should make me drink water—exclusively. Alas, it doesn’t. Instead it makes me run extra fast to the drink fridge for my FIX.
  6. Watching the local and/or national news. At least that hasn’t made me turn to hard liquor—yet.
  7. Just the idea of being forced to give up Diet Mountain Dews, chocolate and sugar.
Each new day that I am blessed with the gift of waking up to what is my life, I sincerely intend for it to be a One Diet Dew Day. Every Monday I actually try to convince myself to have the goal of only three Diet Dews all week. I usually fail by Tuesday.

I beg of you: please do NOT rat me out to Dr. Oz or Jillian Michaels. ESPECIALLY Jillian. I love her—but she SCARES me.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

"Hail to the Chief!"

If I can’t be a country western singer, an OPI designer or a party planner when I grow up, I think I might like to be the first woman President of the United States. However, after I’ve served my term, I do NOT want a toll road (or, frankly, any type of highway) named after me. While I admire both of our former President Bushes (and I adore Laura), I'm not a fan of the turnpike in and around the Dallas/Fort Worth area named for “41.” It makes me stressed beyond my limit. I have no desire to have thousands of drivers shouting daily (or if they’re like me, “minute-ly”), “I can’t stand President TLC’s Tollway!” No, thank you.   

Since I heart making lists, I’ve decided to compile one on why I’m so over the toll roads of the Metroplex.

  1. Tollways are supposed to be more efficient, less-congested and faster. Right? Wrong. They’re not. Could someone pretty please remind the tollway peeps of these “objectives?”
  2. Why do we have to pay an insane amount of money to be stuck on what I (and many others) have termed the “parking lots” of DFW?
  3. Why do the “tollway authorities” think they can multi-task? Newsflash: You can’t. I’m no engineering genius (and – call me crazy), but it just seems logical that you should finish one construction project before starting another.
  4. If those overseeing the toll roads insist on having LARGE, multiple, and simultaneous construction projects, could you possibly give us, your loyal customers, a break occasionally? Have “Free Trips on the Tollway Thursdays?” Or “Pay No Moo-lah Mondays?” The gesture would be sincerely appreciated. Especially since there are lots o’ people without toll tags getting away with paying zilch every day.
  5. And finally, when not working on said projects, could you perhaps remove those annoyingly bright orange cones that reduce the roads to one lane five miles (or more) before the construction actually begins? What is up with that? I realize they’re there for the safety of all parties concerned. However, I think on Saturday and Sunday afternoons you might at least shorten the distance to, oh, say, one mile – instead of five.
I’ve had oodles of time to contemplate these problems – while I sit, going nowhere, on the parking lots of the tollways I drive (what feels like) 24/7. Like many others, I have virtually no choice on whether or not to travel on the Dallas North Tollway and President George Bush Turnpike. This is the route I am forced to take to and from work. Even on the weekends when I head south to visit ELC and Dad. My only other option might be 121. Oops, no. That’s a tollway, too. Dadgummit.

I do, though, have a “saving grace” that gets me through my daily work commute – Alexa Conomos on WFAA Channel 8 (ABC) in Dallas. ELC and I have been watching her since 2002 – long before I had to worry about the craziness of big city traffic. Not only is she a fantastic noon anchor, but she’s also a Traffic Goddess. I can promise you she’s genuinely concerned about her viewers and how she can help make their travels easier. I always tune in to Alexa in the mornings before I begin the treacherous trek to work. Thank you so much, Alexa! You help me retain what little traffic sanity I have left. Alexa should definitely be your go-to-terrific-traffic-resource.

As I’ve been typing this, I’ve been thinking about what else I might like named in my honor as Chief of the U. S. of A. I want it to be something happier. Cheerier. I’ve narrowed it down to two options. A mall (must include a Nordstrom) currently holds the number one spot.  But I would also take a bakery.

Which reminds me… gotta go find a mini-cupcake.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Autopsies and Gators

One night, about a year ago, I was literally running into my house—tired and starving—after getting home from work. I threw my briefcase on a chair in our Great Room (it’s actually just “Good” at our place—and where did that name come from, anyway?) and ran to the kitchen. I could see, out of the corner of my eye and as I opened the fridge, My Sweet Husband, sitting in His Chair, watching television. I wasn’t paying much attention as I hastily grabbed sandwich fixins. I asked, “What are you watching?” He answered with happy excitement in his voice, “A show about autopsies!” At that precise moment, I looked up and saw it. A real autopsy. I went into shock and screamed, “My eyes! My eyes! Hit the record button and turn that channel!”

We realized many moons back we were spending too many nights in separate rooms—me watching what I wanted in our bedroom and him watching what he wanted in the Good Room. Clearly that wasn’t healthy. We began a compromise process.

Don’t men like weird things? My husband loves The History Channel (not weird—just not fabulously entertaining to moi); The Military Channel (don’t comprehend most of it); The National Geograhic Channel; and The Science Channel (Our new fun show on this network? An Idiot Abroad. We don’t really understand half of what the guy is saying, because his English accent is very thick, but his expressions are priceless.).

Hubby not only loves all of these educational (?) channels, but he is crazy about The Food Network. My family and anyone who knows me well can tell you I don’t like to cook. Eat, absolutely. Cook, not so much. However, The Food Network shows beat most other “hubby choices/options.”

Here are some of “his” shows I have watched and for which I have tried to be supportive:

The Deadliest Catch

Ice Road Truckers

Swamp People—One season and I don’t think I can handle another one. Too many gator nightmares.  BTW: This show was suggested to us by Lauren. She and her sweet hubby watch it. Thanks, Girlfriend. I owe you one!  LOL. 

Cops—Okay. . . I love these. I do. I’m especially partial to the Fort Worth and Dallas versions.

Policewomen of Miami, Maricopa County, Dallas, Cincinnati—I like these even more than Cops. That’s saying alot. These women ROCK.

Lots of shows on TLC—The Learning Channel, of course. (No, we didn’t name TLC after this network.)

Here’s what I refuse to watch:

Pawn Stars—I’ve tried. I don’t get it. I’m sure they’re very nice people and very knowledgeable. Hubby thinks this show is awesome. (Last night we watched Hardcore Pawn. I might be willing to try this one. Time will tell.)

Any shows that have real autopsies.

Any shows with sharks (especially SHARK WEEK!) and/or other water creatures (hence no more Swamp People).

Fishing shows. Seriously? OMGosh.

Here’s what he refuses to watch:

Any shows about clothes, shoes, shopping, decorating, bridezillas or toddlers in tiaras.

Most of my comedies—like Cougar Town or Designing Women. (He will watch Better With You because it has a couple in our age-range—and I insist. Period.)

The Bachelor—Why, oh why, do I keep watching this? HELP!

Thanks to our “compromise,” we’ve both learned things we never thought we’d even want to know. Hubby and I are available for consultation on programming for Seniors-Who-Still-Want-To-Be-In-The-Same-Good-Room-Seventy-Five-Percent-Of-The-Time.

Gotta scoot. My TiVo calls!

Monday, February 14, 2011

14 Reasons Why I Heart Valentine's Day

1.  Flowers from my Handsome Hubby. He had them delivered to work today. It made the other ladies swoon. And it made me so proud to call him "My Valentine."

image via my iPhone (yes... that is a plastic toy dinosaur in the background)

2.  Chocolate truffles.

3.  Hallmark cards from ELC. I received 6 this year (plus a "couple's card" for me and the hubs). She's a super sweet (and funny) Valentine. Valentine's Day, to me, is my darling Mom.

4.  My Dad. My first Valentine. Even though he alleges he thought Valentine's Day was always on a Thursday. LOL.

5.  Chocolate cupcakes.

6.  Cupid. He's chubby and cute and can fly.

7.  Paper doilies. I realize this is random. But place one on top of a pan of brownies. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Voila! Insta-Glam.

8.  The color pink. It's my favorite (tied with turquoise). It just screams happy, whimsical, GIRLY.

9.  Chocolate fondue. Real Simple (click on this link!) has a recipe on their website today. Go check it out. It looks extremely easy and DELISH.

10.  The fact that calories don't count on "holidays." They don't. Seriously.

11.  Candles. Candlelight is, of course, the most flattering. I wish I could walk around with the lights dimmed and a candlestick in my hand 24/7.

12.  Chocolate cookie cakes. Yummy.

13.  Smooches. And bear hugs.

14.  Hearts. My favorite shape.

Happy Heart Day, Y'all!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Fridge Philosophy—Part One

When I married my husband over 32 years ago, I began buying t-shirts and/or sweatshirts as mementos of our travels. Fifteen years later, I was overwhelmed with too many of both. So I switched to fridge magnets. Not only was this more challenging (to find THE perfect trinket/magnet for posterity), but, obviously, significantly cheaper.

We have two and a half refrigerators. One is in our kitchen—like you thought it might be in our bedroom. One—a very plain one (no bells and/or whistles!)—is in my pantry/utility/laundry room. And we have a “baby” fridge in our Barn apartment. I’m not allowed to display anything on our kitchen fridge. My husband made this rule when we built our home. Probably because it can get out of hand (see picture—this is approximately one-eighth of the area covered in “art" on my utility room fridge).

image via TLC's iPhone

I see my favorite magnets every day—sometimes six to eight times a day—as the utility fridge is mostly filled with water and drinks. I can tell a story about each magnet,  sometimes get kind of teary. Or I can stand there for a few brief moments, contemplating the messages that tickle or inspire me.

My three oldest—they are 25 to 32 years old—are:

Kiss my grits (simple and to the point and something we all learned from Flo on Alice, remember? I use it—frequently. It’s so much nicer than other possible phrases I could/should not use);

image via TLC's iPhone

A little bitty blackboard (even has a little itty bitty piece of chalk) that says:
I’d take a tranquilizer if I could get my teeth unclenched (true when I bought it, true at this very moment);

And a teeny tin can that says:
Butter Boy Sur-Nut Popcorn. I don’t really remember Butter Boy popcorn. I don’t know what a sur-nut is. I just love butter. (Me and my hubby’s crush—Paula Deen.) And popcorn. I’ve had this magnet for about 31 years. Hence, it’s vintage. TLC and I heart “vintage.”

My next oldest magnets—these are 20 to 24 years old—are:  

A 3-inch picture of TLC at about three years old—standing in the living room of a home we lived in for over 22 years. A home we loved. She has a sweet little dress on, a big Cheshire Cat grin on her face, and a Dorothy Hamill haircut (clearly beats the “flat” hairdo on our Blog, although I’d guess it was WAY out of style at that time);

A little Maxine magnet-memo pad that says:
Butts to kick . . .names to take (Julia Sugarbaker and TLC would need this one, wouldn’t they?);

And another Hallmark magnet that says:
Please do NOT touch the top of appliance—IMPORTANT dust-settling measurement in progress. That pretty much sums up my housekeeping abilities.

The magnets I love the most in this area of the fridge say:

“In raising my children, I have lost my mind BUT found my Soul.”
                                    --Lisa T. Shepherd

With the time and energy we’ve spent dieting we COULD have built a small FAT-LOVING CIVILIZATION.

These two were purchased at (yes, you guessed it!) a Hallmark store. The second one doesn’t show the author of the quote. Probably one of those creative Hallmark peeps whose talents for writing have allowed me to participate in Laughter Therapy for over 33 years. (Seriously, are you having a bad day? Find a Hallmark store—or go to a Walgreen's to their card aisle. Stand there and start reading! Especially the Shoebox or Connections cards. Try NOT to laugh and feel better. You won’t be able to do it.)

And, finally,

You know it was a good day if you didn’t HIT or BITE anyone.
                                    --Nathaniel Farizek, age 4

image via TLC's iPhone

Such amazing wisdom at age FOUR. Wow.

Fridge Philosophy---Part Two? Coming soon. I know you’ll be waiting with great anticipation.

ta-ta for now . . .

p.s.—PLEASE don’t hit or bite anyone.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

It’s Our Anniversary!

We talked about doing this Blog for over a year. Then made a deadline. Had a few not-always-quiet “discussions” about our visions, technical stuff (the “technical” chats didn’t last long, as, sadly, ELC usually has no clue as to what TLC is talking about), how often to post, etc. We now actually can’t believe a whole month has sped by at lightning speed!

We want to take this opportunity to THANK some special friends:

Thank y’all, from the top of our Big Texas hair to the bottom of our crazy hearts:

Autumn, CeeCee, Jackie, Lauren, Nelly, Sunny and Taylor.

We will be forever grateful for your immediate encouragement. We hope each of you knows that our lives are richer and more meaningful because you are our treasured friends.

ELC saw this on a birthday card (and this feels sort of like a birthday celebration to us!) in the Hallmark Mahogany line at least ten years ago. Maybe fifteen. TLC believes this quote was also mentioned on a Designing Women episode.  (If anyone out there knows who this should be attributed to, please tell us!) We feel it applies to all of us—each new day of our lives—and would like to share it as we enter our next month of whatever-this-is we’re doing:

We ain’t what
          we want to be;

We ain’t what
          we gonna be;

But, thank God,
          we ain’t what we was.

We are deeply grateful to y’all out there in Texas, the U. S. of A., and several places in the World, for taking your valuable and precious time to read lolwiththeleightons.

Please close your eyes for a moment and picture us toasting y’all with a mini-Samoa-cookie-cupcake and a glass of champagne, splashed with a hint of Belvedere (then chased with a DQ Mini Blizzard)!

CHEERS! Hugs, smooches, and ta-ta for now . . .

Monday, February 7, 2011

How Do I Love Thee, Etsy?

Let me count the ways.  I heart Etsy.  It’s truly one of my very favorite things (yes, in addition to Better With You, reality TV, Twilight, and Dairy Queen Mini Blizzards – oh – and my Hubs).  My first encounter with Etsy was early last year as I was preparing for our wedding.  I purchased several ceremony accessories, and, because I had such good experiences, I’ve kept going back for more and more and more!  I wanted to share a few of my fabulous finds and fixations (you can click on each of their names and it will take you right to their Etsy shop).

Tobey makes the most wonderful burlap pillows (in addition to many other goodies).  I'm currently obsessed with burlap.  It’s very chic and timeless.  ELC is probably the one who got me initially hooked.  She and Dad use old grain sacks for their Christmas tree skirt.  They have for many years.  I've purchased four pillows from Tobey (and I don’t plan on stopping any time soon).  Each one is incredibly beautiful and unique.  Two of them actually live at ELC’s house!  One was a gift from me and Hubby.  She loved it so much she asked if I would order her another one.  The picture below is the latest pillow I am coveting.  Isn’t it charming and lovely?  Thank you, Tobey, for always being a jewel to work with.

image via My Adobe Cottage 

I first saw Diane’s artwork in a little store back home when I was visiting ELC and Dad one weekend.  It was love at first sight.  I instantly thought, “If I'm blessed with a baby girl someday, these prints must hang in her nursery.”  You couldn’t imagine my excitement when I discovered she had a shop on Etsy (Thanks, ELC!).  Dream come true!  I immediately had to order six the following day (yes... SIX).  The print below just might be my favorite, though it’s tres hard to choose.  When I was little, ELC and I would look up at the moon and stars.  I can remember it vividly.  I think that’s why this holds such a special place in my heart.  Diane is an amazingly gifted artist and has to be one of the kindest Etsy-ers.  Thank you, Diane, for your generosity and sharing your talent with the world.

image via Duda Daze

I love throwing parties.  I consider it a hobby.  If I can’t be a country western singer or work at OPI when I grow up, I want to be a party planner.  I think there are unlimited ways to add personality to any festive soiree.  I also have quite the affinity for cupcakes.  Mini cupcakes to be exact (mini foods equal mini calories – yep, that’s my logic).  What happens when you mix mini cupcakes with a party that needs extra pizzazz?  You get mini cupcake toppers!  Colleen is a doll.  She uses the prettiest paper.  I contacted her after discovering her shop on Etsy.  I needed toppers for a shower I was hosting.  I asked her if she would create a "custom listing" since I needed some that would be the perfect size and fit for mini cupcakes.  She never hesitated.  They were brilliant and a huge hit!  I adored them so much, we’re actually working together again on another baby shower.  Thank you, Colleen, for being such an Etsy-Extraordinaire.  You know I’ll keep coming back!

image via moi

I heart pictures.  They capture memories, and memories are priceless.  If you’ve been to my house, you know I collect picture frames (in addition to my many nail polishes).  The one below is my new favorite frame.  In fact, it holds one of my most cherished pictures from our wedding day (it’s a view of the ceremony from the back of the Chapel).  Every time I look at that frame, I just smile.  Two of my favorite girls gave me this gem last year (THANK Y’ALL SO MUCH, Sunny and Nelly!).  Their daughter/sister-in-law is the talented gal behind these frames.  I immediately had to order a few for Christmas gifts.  I asked her if she could make them extra "Christmas-y."  She did, and they were spectacular.  Thank you, Tracey!  You are a super woman.  My darling hubby gave me a snazzy new DSLR camera for Christmas this year.  I’ll need more frames for the pictures I plan on taking (once I figure out how to use it – LOL).

image of frame via moi

Honestly, my Etsy list could be endless.  It's a splendid addiction (maybe not so much for my wallet).  I can’t wait for y'all to visit these shops and see all of the wonderful treasures.  I have no doubt you will be instantly hooked!

Friday, February 4, 2011

Mustaches and Fake Lashes

Seems as if TLC has been looking at the pictures of us with the funny glasses—those to the right—every time she makes a post. Apparently, she feels I took an unflattering picture of her. Is she serious? We have plastic glasses on with big noses and mustaches.

She’s afraid y’all might judge her hair to be flat. It’s wet. She had just had a bath and I had washed her hair. So let me get this straight: she’s concerned about her hair? Has she even noticed mine?

We took these pictures for a silly Valentine’s Day gift for my husband 23 years ago. I took her picture and she took mine. She did do a good job, considering she was four! My eyelashes almost look fake, don’t they? In fact, my friend, Sunny, commented on that immediately. Alas, they don’t look like that now. I’m 57. I have 3 on each lid.

These are in a small, cute frame in my husband’s office on the credenza behind his desk. Instead of a circle for each picture, there are two little hearts. Is that tres sweet, or what? When I told him I needed to copy them for our Blog, he looked at me with his “serious husband/Dad” look and said:

“Make sure you give them back to me pretty quick. Please don’t forget.”

He’s a keeper.

Okay, yes, so I almost took the tip of one of TLC’s fingers off when I was trying to cut her nails. She was three weeks old. It was my first trim. I was very nervous, but I had to do it—she was scratching her little angel face with them. Her Dad refused to even try. I felt horrible. I stressed for an hour—while we waited for the bleeding and her incredibly powerful screaming to stop—about what I was going to tell them at the ER. Fortunately, we didn’t have to go and I became much better at this un-fun job.

And, yes, she has heard I rescued her right before she ate a worm. She had gotten out of my sight for a few seconds one morning. We’d had a lot of rain and one little Earth worm had worked his way under a door. She was eight months old and some kind of a fast crawler—Olympic fast (more on her athletic abilities in later posts). I got there in time and, YUCK, pulled all of it out of her mouth. I’m pretty sure it was all of it.

And, okay, yes, yes, I have many old VHS tapes of TLC in some pretty quirky outfits and other questionable hairdos. (It was the 80s and mullets were in!) I've been known to try to make others watch these videos. (No takers in the past 10 years, sadly.)

But I doubt even one of y’all said, “My, what’s up with that TLC’s hair?”

I concede, TLC. I could have taken a few moments to dry your hair or French-braid it. Don’t pout. I don’t want to have to turn this car around.  I have LOTS more pictures where that came from.

(It's true. I don’t know how to get them on our Blog. Only she knows how to do that. If her picture goes missing, we’ll know who did it. And why.)

ttfn . . .

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Watch This! On Wednesdays!

As some of you have probably guessed, I love TV. I'm truly not proud of this addiction. I realize I should do more productive things (like reading, cooking, running, blah, blah, blah) in the evenings during the week, but I can't help it. And, besides, I wonder:  would I be doing y’all a minor disservice if I didn’t share my new favorite TV show info with you? It’s brilliant. It's on ABC (channel 8 in the DFW area) on Wednesday nights at 7:30 p.m. CST.  It’s called Better With You. Yep. My life is BETTER because of this show. LOL.

It's simply a riot. Even my husband laughs at their witty humor. It's a miracle I can get him to watch anything with me because he knows I hoard Housewives on our DVR. That challenges his patience.

It follows three couples (all family - parents and two daughters) at three different stages of life/relationships. BELIEVE ME – you must DVR at least one show and give it a chance! I'm getting paranoid that it might get cancelled (I don’t see how – it’s very different and clever), and I don’t want it to go away.

"Mia," one of the characters, is played by Joanna Garcia. She was "Cheyenne" on Reba. This is another favorite series of mine.  You can still catch it on Lifetime weekday mornings. Should I be ashamed I can quote TV programming without having to Google it first? She also recently married Nick Swisher. A New York Yankee.  I adore her anyway.

Speaking of the New York Yankees, I totally hopped on the Texas Rangers’ bandwagon this past season. I might be considered a fair-weather fan, though. Maybe I wouldn’t have been so interested if they hadn't been winning. And if they hadn't been winning, there probably wouldn't have been all of the extra cute “merch” and trinkets, shirts, etc. to purchase. In fact, I bought the cutest t-shirt at Dick's Sporting Goods (be EXTRA careful when typing their web address in, if you catch my drift). It literally had a ginormous letter "T" on the front. I had seen the adorable meteorologist on Channel 5 (NBC/Dallas-Ft. Worth) wearing it one Saturday morning. I emailed her the next day, asking if she wouldn't mind telling me where she got it. She immediately replied back. After work that following Monday, I stopped on my way home and purchased it (Thank you, Samantha Davies!!! You ROCK.). I concede the "T" was for the Texas Rangers. However, it’s fun to pretend it was for moi. TLC. I know. I'm a little fruitcake.

Holy cow. Did I major digress? Whoa.

Do yourself a big favor:  watch my new favorite show tonight. Set your DVR ASAP. ELC is hooked, too, although she always calls it Better Than You. We both agree her mistake is probably Freudian. One of her favorite episodes involved the Mom having to explain her friends’ “Fantasy Husband League” to the Dad. They played it at their Country Club, and the women even had a website. The Dad, bless his heart, was at the bottom of the recruits. He spent most of the show trying to work his way up, only to learn his wife was deliberately sabotaging him because she didn’t want any of the other women to want him. I heard my Dad LOL-ed when he was “requested” to watch it.

Since it's bitter cold everywhere – especially in Texas where our cities practically shut down at the first sign of ice – and we’ve had more than just a little ice this week – I thought I’d share a delish recipe ELC got from a dear friend many years ago. What could be more cozy than an evening at home, curled up on the couch, fire roaring, Better With You on the tube, and a big ol' coffee mug of yummy taco soup? It'll warm your soul while laughter warms your heart and spirit!

ELC’s Famous Taco Soup

2 lbs. of hamburger meat (you could also substitute ground turkey or even a shredded rotisserie chicken)
1 onion (we usually use a medium yellow one)
1 can of green chilies (2 cans for a bit spicier)
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. pepper (or more depending on your taste preference)
½ tsp. cumin
½ tsp. marjoram (I think this is the “secret ingredient”)
1 pkg. taco seasoning mix
1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
1 can hominy (my favorite ingredient) – drained
1 can kidney beans – drained
1 can pinto beans – drained
3 cans stewed tomatoes
1 ½ cups water

Cook meat, onion, and green chilies until meat is well done. Add remaining ingredients and simmer for at least an hour.  Makes a BIG pot of soup, and tastes even better the next day. Serve it with your favorite cornbread. We like to top ours with a little sour cream, some slices of avocado, shredded cheese, and crunched up Frito’s.  It’s pure winter comfort food (it would also be SUPER easy and SUPER great for a Super Bowl Party). Bon appetit!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

It’s Cookie Time!

Girl Scout cookies, that is. Yippee!!! They sell my ALL-TIME FAVORITE cookie—the Samoa. I dream about Samoas.

I wouldn't eat coconut until I was in my 20s. Actually, I would, because I've liked German chocolate cake all my life. But no one told me there was coconut in the frosting because everyone knew I hated coconut. (Are you wondering just how smart I am? And how many other times I was/am tricked?)  All that completely changed about 30 years ago. That’s when I knew I was actually in love with coconut.

Suggestion: Crumble up two Samoas (they’re like round Twixes—with coconut—and are heaven in a little cookie!) in a microwave safe bowl. Zap them for 10 to 18 seconds. Put a BIG scoop of Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla ice cream on top. Gently stir around for a few seconds—let all that chocolate and caramel melt just perfectly. Then be ready. It’s remarkable.

I didn’t even realize it was GS Cookie Time until last Thursday. The small Texas town we live near is our County Seat, so we have a beautiful Courthouse and Square. Isn’t there something tres special about Courthouse Squares? They’re so charming and Americana. I had taken some paperwork into an office near the Square and was headed back to my car. There it was—on the ground. My eyes were drawn to it like a magnet—half a Samoa cookie. I actually stopped and considered, for about two seconds, picking that cookie up. There were no ants on it. It didn’t look smooshed or yucky. In fact, it looked delicious. Okay, okay—not something I should admit.

I came to my senses and moved on, vowing to find out where our local Girl Scouters would be selling my most favorite cookie. (I really kind of like that they set up “camp” at Walmart and other stores and locations now during their cookie campaign.)

“Camp” makes me think of “camping.” Something I don’t do. It’s the reason I was a Girl Scout for only a couple of years. When it came time to load up the sleeping bags and head to the woods, I was outta there—forever. I don’t know why I didn’t simply say I'd be at my Nana’s that weekend. I knew there was so much more to Girl Scouts than camping. There were COOKIES. TLC clearly inherited the “Nope—not doing that camping thing!” gene from me. Her Dad is an avid outdoorsman. Say the word “camp,” he’s packing his gear and loading his truck. Not moi. Not TLC. Not even in a RV.

Remember when you knew that someone at your or your spouse’s workplace would have a daughter that was selling THE cookies and they’d hit you up? And you’d actually be glad? Or, on a pretty Saturday in February, you’d answer your door and there she’d be: your neighborhood’s very own Girl Scout—smile on her face—hope in her heart—order form and pen in her sweet little hands—Mom in the background, praying you’d buy several boxes. I’ve had some “grandmother” friends ask me to buy cookies from their granddaughters. I do so love that full-circle-kind-of-thing. But I’ve found I can’t really depend on my cookie “dealers” to come to me any more—now I must track down my Samoas. Maybe that’s how it should be.

If you never saw the precious movie Troop Beverly Hills with Shelley Long (Remember her? Cheers?), you simply must rent it or go to Amazon and buy it! (I receive no cut from this recommendation. LOL.) It is a fantastic movie for all moms, daughters, grandmoms, aunts, sisters, nieces, cousins and females everywhere. You don’t have to have been a Girl Scout to enjoy it, though it is all about cookie sales, camping, and making new friends but keeping the old. It was released in 1989 and is rated PG. I even think most Dads and brothers wouldn’t mind watching it. What a truly super gift for any girl from the age of 7 to 77! Gettin' the hint, TLC?

Thank the Lord these cookies are only available for a couple of months each year. I can freeze just so many boxes before my husband starts getting a little annoyed. Even if several of them are Thin Mints. (Have you noticed most men LOVE the Thin Mints? Why is that?)