Thursday, March 31, 2011

33 Unsolicited Facts about ELC

If God allowed us to pick an age to go back to for a day or week or month—or maybe even forever—I’d pick 33. It was all good. I weighed 133 (the lowest I had been in years and a number I highly doubt I’ll ever see again)—TLC was 3 and finally sleeping all night—everything was copasetic. Well, except for that frizzy, permed hair. YIKES. So, in honor of the number 33, here goes:

  1. My favorite color is blue: powder, Wedgwood, navy, sapphire, . The beauty of a blue sky can literally bring tears to my eyes.
  2. I could eat cake (white with buttercream icing) and pizza (burger and green olives) every day of the week.
  3. I positively adore getting an unexpected message on our home answering machine from one of our grandkids! A text is fabulous, too! Precious Darlings.
  4. I was afraid of the dark until I was 30. Now I am fearless. Well, almost. (See #s 5, 9, 24, and 28.)
  5. I’ve never been on a cruise and have no plans to go. The Titanic. Nuff said.
  6. I’ll take the mountains over the beach almost every time—but I adore Maui (I was not there for TLC and Hubby’s honeymoon).
  7. I LOVE milk!!! (I drink it when I’ve reached my Diet Dew limit for the day.)
  8. I heart my Dorsey Gang (Terry and Hawkeye—but I miss Rebecca) mornings on 96.3 (country)—KSCS—Dallas/Fort Worth.
  9. Sharks scare the you-know-what out of me.
  10. I like “folded” chips—potato, Tostito; the “ends/heels” of breads—especially home-baked (not that I’m that baker); the corners of brownies and lasagna.
  11. I’ll have been married to the love of my life for 33 years in September.
  12. I covet sapphires, diamonds and pearls—in that order. (Truly, I don’t require expensive trinkets. I’m pretty simple. But my Nana did call me “Miss Got Rocks” by the time I was 7.)
  13. I’ve never baked a turkey. And I don’t care. (Thank goodness Hubby will do it. He’s my awesome “I-Took-Him-Home Chef!”)
  14. I’d say “I’m The Yellow Rose of Texas when I was four years old and someone asked me, “What’s your name?”
  15. I wanted to be a real-life Nancy Drew from age 10 until—well, actually, now. Reckon it’s too late?
  16. As of this moment, my favorite numbers are 3, 6, 7, and 8. But always 3 and always, always, always 8.
  17. I apparently can no longer do crossword puzzles—even simple ones—and that worries me.
  18. I have no idea how to do Sudoku. What is it?
  19. I love going to horse races and am determined to attend (for the first time) The Kentucky Derby. Soon. Bucket List.
  20. I cry every single Biggest Loser show. Not just a few tears. A river. You know how your throat muscles start hurting when you try not to sob? That kind of crying.
  21. I believe in Angels. Astrology (I’m an Aries) and Numerology (I’m a 6) intrigue me.
  22. I can be very unorganized. I don’t like that.
  23. I wear tennis shoes (not cute—quite “boatish”) six out of 7 days of the week—Fat Baby Ariat (their real name—didn’t make it up) boots on the 7th day.
  24. I’m not adventurous at all. Wouldn’t sky dive if you made me. I would, however, consider zip-lining.
  25. Pansies (blues are the best!), daisies and yellow roses are my most favorite flowers.
  26. I never learned how to sew—I took Geology in high school to get out of Home Economics.
  27. I’m not crafty, either. I have virtually no “artistic” abilities. I do like to color—in coloring books. Yep. I’ll admit it!
  28. I hate snakes, scorpions and armadillos. Okay, dislike immensely.
  29. I don’t mind doing laundry—but I dislike immensely putting it up.
  30. I’d like to learn how to play golf.
  31. I’d like to learn how to square dance. Yep—square dance.
  32. I’ve seen John Wayne, Kevin Costner, and Matthew McConaughey up very close and personal—got their authographs (well, my Little Bubba got Mr. Wayne’s, but I was right there)—and only one of them was nice. You’ll have to guess which one.
  33. I’m going to drive TLC to Austin to pick up her loot when she wins the Texas Lottery! She will need to buy a ticket first—I’m pretty sure that’s how that works.
Gotta scoot—have a grocery list to make—for Hubby. J/ K. No, I’m not. LOL.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

27 Random Facts About Moi

Y'all know I heart lists! In the spirit of "getting to know each other," here are 27 completely useless tidbits about TLC:

1. My favorite color is turquoise. My favorite color combo, though, is grey and buttercream yellow.
2. I could eat birthday cake every day of the week. And wedding cake. And cupcakes.
3. I have a second ear piercing only in my left ear (and so does ELC). Long story.
4. I'm slightly obsessed with Twilight.
5. I once fell asleep on the stairs in my old apartment after two too many "Mambo Taxis" from Mi Cocina (Aren't you proud, Mom?).
6. I sing -- constantly. Especially during American Idol.
7. I refuse to drink milk. I do pour it over my cereal, but I squeeze it out of each spoonful before I actually eat it.
8. I listen to Sports Radio 1310 The Ticket (DFW). These guys crack me up. Hubs got me hooked. And I couldn't be any less athletic or sports knowledgeable if I tried. It defies logic.
9. Sharks fascinate me. I LUV Shark Week. On my Bucket List? Swim with the sharks in one of those cages!
10. I wish I could wear my wedding veil when I grocery shop. It's too pretty to only wear once. Hello, People of Walmart. Here I come.
11. I'm by no means a fisher-woman. BUT, I do own a PINK fishing pole!
12. Hushpuppies (the fried cornbread variety) ROCK.
13. Every time Bath and Body Works has their "5 For $15" soap special, I ALWAYS buy five. I now own no less than 30 bottles of anti-bacterial soap. I line them up in my pantry alphabetically.
14. I compulsively watch the Food Network on the weekends.
15. I hoard Kleenex boxes (Thanks, Mom!). Literally. Like I'm preparing for some major catastrophe.
16. My favorite number is 8.
17. I collect owls (but not scary looking ones).
18. I HAD to purchase a "Just Maui-ed" shirt on our honeymoon last year. That may or may not have been the number one reason I wanted to go there.
19. I have been known to dip Ruffles Potato Chips into yellow mustard. Yum. I know. It's bizarre. Don't judge me.
20. I am determined to learn how to use my dSLR camera ASAP. Starting with how to remove the lens cap. Just kidding. But, seriously.
21. Psychics intrigue me.
22. I wish I was a Princess. I've been practicing my wave for years.
23. I only wear tennis shoes when at Boot Camp, walking, jogging, exercising. Never out and about and around town. I think they make my legs look stumpy.
24. In my opinion, Sonic has the best ice. Hands down. So crunchy.
25. Hydrangeas are my most favorite flower.
26. Sewing was part of my required curriculum in college. My machine has never left my bedroom closet at ELC's house. She keeps asking me when I'm going to take it home with me. She was polite for the first three years. Now she kind of has an edge to her voice. I doubt I could even thread it.
27. I'm going to win the Texas Lotto this year.

Your turn! Please tell me something random about YOU.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

A Yummy For Y'all

Today is my one year anniversary of wedded bliss to the most wonderful man – the man of my dreams. He's my heart and soul. In honor of this special occasion, I wanted to share a truly YUMMO Yummy with y'all:  Delicious Cakes – the creators of my super spectacular and SWEET (read with expression, please!) wedding confections!

Delicious Cakes was/is ah-MAZING. They were, by far, our most impressive wedding vendor to work with – kind, easy, fun, fair and beyond reliable. Cake is my (and ELC's!) favorite part of any wedding. My wedding cake just had to be fabulous. It was… and then some!

My awesome Dad went with me to the cake "planning session” (Mom had to work and was heartbroken she couldn't go – try to imagine. Free cake samples.  It was surely a 3-Diet Dew day!) We had a blast sampling the different flavors and talking about the design with Leia (the magnificent Southlake location manager) and her terrific team. It was truly a special evening. I cherish those memories with Dad by my side.

Instead of a groom's cake, we had, you guessed it, CUPCAKES! Not just any cupcakes, though. They were triple chocolate cupcakes with a hint of cinnamon. And the frosting? Double fudge. Need I say more? In the words of Rachel Zoe, "I die."

Here are a few pictures from my wedding, with my "Princess" cake taking center stage (as it should be):

image via Heather Essian Portrait Arts

One super cool "perk" of using Delicious Cakes is that instead of having to eat yucky, freezer-burned cake a year later for your anniversary, they will gift you a fresh "top layer!" Look how cute and scrumptious ours is:

image via moi's iPhone

If you live in/around the DFW Metroplex, you mustn't hesitate to call on Delicious Cakes for all of your cake-y needs!

Gotta scoot. Hubs and I are meeting in the kitchen in a few to eat that top layer. It’s all about priorities, People!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Soul Food

A room without books is like a
            body without a soul.
                        --Marcus Cicero

I’ve loved books since I was very small. Here’s a professional studio picture of me, in my little sailor outfit, reading a book. I was three. I promise you I remember the photographer getting frustrated because he had given me this book, but didn’t really want me to read it—just hold it. Seriously? He was lucky to get this (could you call it a smile?):

image via ELC's phone

Growing up, we didn’t have much else besides books, three television channels (black and white) and limited toys for entertainment (remember, I’m 57). Oh, yes, we also had the outdoors! “Go outside and play,” our Mom would say. “Stay out there until I call you to come in.” I remember literally begging her to let me stay in and read. I’d even offer to read to my siblings. Sometimes that worked.

I’m fairly certain I instilled the love of reading into TLC whilst she was in my womb (this was long enough ago that although the sex of my baby was pretty much a guess, I felt confident she was a girl!). I’d learned somewhere that I should read to her before she came out into the World. No problem! Once she arrived, there wasn’t a day that went by that I didn’t read several books to her. Did this contribute to her love of reading? Hmmm—probably? All I can tell you is she loves to read—maybe even more than me. Books, newspapers, cereal boxes, magazines, People online, Twitter, blogs. There’s almost not enough out there for her insatiable curiosity (or is it nosie-rosie-ness?). As she has shared with y’all, I call her TLC-pedia. Particularly in the “celebrity” area of (useless) knowledge. (Could someone please pay her for this talent?)

TLC and I decided we'd share some of our favorite “reads” and I’m going first. As it should be. Maybe you won’t have heard of these books. Or you’ve heard of them, but weren’t interested. Or haven’t made or had time to read them. Or you read them years ago! I realize I’m often behind on the latest best sellers (like sometimes two or more years)—I don’t fret about it. For the past ten years it’s quite typical for me to fall asleep while reading, no matter if I just woke up. When I was young—teens, 20s, 30s—I could stay up all night reading. Especially Danielle Steele. WOW—loved her! Now it can take up to six months for me to finish my current book. Sigh.

Here, then, are some books I’d recommend (of course I'm not including diet books, for which I'm up-to-the-second-in-the-know-about-always!), with some opinions/caveats:

Eat, Pray, Love. I read this almost two years before the movie came out. I was completely enthralled by the way Elizabeth Gilbert expressed her thoughts and feelings. I’ve wanted to go to Italy for quite a long time, but haven’t been interested in India or Bali. So I wasn’t sure I was going to stick with the book through those adventures/countries. I savored it for the incredible personal “journey” it was. Even enjoyed India and Bali. When I passed it along to TLC, she couldn’t get into it. I thought it might be her youth. She gave up and put it down. When she attempted it again, a year later, she liked it. The Power of Time is always beneficial to our perspective, yes? We saw the movie together. In our un/non-expert opinion, we felt all of the characters were perfect for their roles—especially Julia.

The Shack, by William P. Young. I fought reading this book. When I learned the storyline, I was absolutely terrified to even think about borrowing or buying it. Then four of my dear friends I deeply respect were talking about it—a lot. I learned church groups were studying it. I couldn’t stand not knowing why. Although there are a couple of chapters I simply don’t understand, the book challenged me. Especially spiritually. If I can get through the rough parts, you can, too.

The Help, by Kathryn Stockett. Powerful. Beautiful. Deeply touching, charming, funny and tragic. Sometimes very difficult to read, this, too, will soon be a movie. I plan to be first in line to see it. It takes place in the 60s—when I was a teenager. Although I can relate to very few of the characters or their specific situations, this book made me laugh, cry and feel guilty—on so many levels and all at the same time. I read it in two weeks. In the middle of reading it, I was at TLC’s house for a few days while her hubby was out of state. I refused to watch the completely useless Jersey Shore with her, so I, instead, chose to read. Soon I was crying. Pretty hard. TLC paused her TiVo during a particularly loud display of my emotions and swore there was no way she was going to read this book. She’s in the middle of it now (ha!) and glad she decided to give it a go. She’s also learning, more and more each day, to never say “Never.”

First I saw Pat Conroy’s The Prince of Tides (I don’t even know how long ago) as the captivating movie it was with Barbra Striesand and Nick Nolte. Then I read Beach Music. Oh, my, how I adored Beach Music. A year ago I bought South of Broad and consumed every single word like it was a gigantic red velvet cupcake. His books embrace the power and glory of the South and all of her fascinating history with such passionately beautiful prose, intrigue and humor. South of Broad caught me completely off guard—I didn’t see the end coming. Reading one of his novels is a long-term commitment for me. It took me almost a year to read Beach Music (not proud of that). But the time I spend with Conroy's imagination and talent is always, always, always worth it to me.

I very recently read Laura Bush’s Spoken from the Heart. No matter how you lean politically, she is a woman of unbelievable substance, strength and grace. It’s not only about her fascinating life, it’s our country’s history and it’s very compelling from her perspective. She’s boldly honest. I treasure courage in telling one’s truth.

A month ago I read an amazing, little (by little I only mean you could easily read it in a day) book called Heaven is for Real, by Todd Burpo. CeeCee put me on to this one. It’s a true story and literally beyond inspirational. It will not only entertain you, it will give you such hope—and peace.

Send us any suggestions for books you'd recommend, okay? But no super scary or too-terribly-deep ones that require 100% attention, a good memory and/or a membership in Mensa.

Must scoot . . . could finish Water for Elephants (see TLC’s upcoming “review”) tonight!

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Girl Power

Coco Chanel said it best – A girl should be two things:  classy and fabulous.

Each one of these magical ladies in my tribute to Women’s History Month are not only classy and fabulous but SO much more.

Here, then, are Five Important Women in TLC’s History:

Two-Two:  My Two-Two (what I’ve endearingly called her as far back as I can remember, while she still affectionately calls me "Monkey Face") is my most favorite “Grandmother.”  ELC and Two-Two worked in the same law office before I was born.  I loved visiting Two-Two’s warm and cozy home. She always had tempting candy (like Brach’s Caramels) in a cut-glass dish on an end table. As a toddler, I vividly remember sitting on the countertop in her kitchen while she let me “help” her make cookies (mostly I just ate the dough).  I don’t know why I can still recall these details, except they were all part of my cherished times with My Two-Two.  Even though she isn’t my biological grandmother, she never failed to make me feel like I was an important member of her family. I believe we'll both hold forever places in our hearts for each other.

Mrs. Crouch:  My most favorite Teacher. A strong and proud Texan. Mrs. Crouch taught me Texas History in 7th grade.  Not only did she teach me, but she also taught three of my four older brothers. She is so dear to our family.  I cannot think about anything “Texas” without thinking about Mrs. Crouch.  Her devotion to her profession and her students was inspirational.  She made history FUN.  One of my treasured school projects is a genealogy “scrapbook” I completed in her class.  She believed that in order to know where we’re going, we need to understand where we’ve come from.  ELC and I still look back at that book often.  It’s kept in a safe place so I can show my children their past someday – and tell them about Mrs. Crouch.  She’s a true Earth Angel.

Bethenny Frankel:  The quintessential “Skinnygirl,” my reality TV idol, and my most favorite “Housewife.” Bethenny truly is an inspiration to me.  I have, unfortunately, been “blessed” with genes that cause you to gain five pounds by merely looking at a delicious, little mini-cupcake. Through Bethenny’s sass, wit, spunk and hysterically outrageous humor, I’ve learned it’s okay to eat that cupcake.  It’s all about balance not deprivation. She’s a great role model not only for me, but for all women, men, kids, and teenagers alike.  I adore Bethenny, her books, and her show, Bethenny Ever After (on Bravo – set your DVR). I want her to be my real life friend!

Jackie Kennedy Onassis:  My most favorite style Icon.  A fashion queen. What a woman!  I would literally love to make a carbon copy of every outfit and accessory she ever owned.  She transcends time.  She carried herself with such grace and poise even through unimaginable adversity.  When ELC and I are shopping for shoes or clothes (at Nordstrom, of course!), we’ll see something that catches our eye and one of us will inevitably say, “Jackie O.”  Then we sigh and swoon.  Because it’s (whatever “it” might be) so yummy.  When I wear my extra large, round, tortoiseshell sunglasses, I pretend I’m Jackie.  Just for a second or two.

ELC:  My most favorite Mom.  My best friend.  She is, by far and hands down, the most amazing woman I know.  Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer when I was ten years old.  I don’t remember much about that difficult time because she always stayed positive.  She didn’t change (well, she lost a lot of her hair during chemo, but it came back!) and remained completely honest with me.  She made sure our family continued on with our lives and kept laughing, even during the tough times.  She taught me to never, ever, ever give up on something I believe passionately in. She has an incredible faith. Her love for God, my Dad, her children, grandchildren and friends warms and inspires my soul and uplifts my heart.  She laughs at my ridiculous jokes like no one else.  She answers my calls, emails and texts as quickly as possible.  I know I can count on her. She’s the woman I go to when I need advice, or a shoulder to cry on, or an ear to listen to me when I'm afraid, confused or worried. I pray each and every day that I can be the kind of Mom for which I have been so generously blessed.  It’s an honor to be her daughter.

Women rock.  We do.  It’s not easy living in a man’s world, but we’re here.  Laughing.  Loving.  And looking gorgeous, right?

Remember:  As long as you know that most men are like children, you know everything.

Yep!  That Mademoiselle Chanel sure knew what she was talkin' about.  LOL.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

A Yummy For Y’all

I’ve been kind of cranky this week, and I realized it’s because I didn’t get a Spring Break! What’s up with that? We're programmed for it from Pre-K until we graduate from college. Then, suddenly, we’re shoved out into the Real World where the only way to have a Spring Break is to use vacation days. Sigh.

I lllooovvveee Spring, but I feel like it's so short and fleeting. Is that just in Texas? It has to hurry and make room for our crazy hot summers, I guess. Yuck. I cherish Spring. It's so many things to me:  new beginnings, warm days and cool nights, pretty pastel colors, Easter, my wedding anniversary, blooming fruit trees, and GARDENS. My hands are aching to get wrist deep in soil. ELC is a good gardener. She doesn't think so, however, because she compares herself to her Nana and some "Gardener Extraordinaire" friends. She's taught me a lot since I moved away from home. Gardening has become one of our favorite hobbies to share. But just like every little black dress (aka:  LBD) needs a sassy pair of heels, I believe every garden needs a fun little accessory. Enter this week's Yummy – Wooden Hive (click on the link!).

I stumbled across Wooden Hive on, you guessed it, Etsy. Y'all know two of my passions are Etsy and VINTAGE. Kerrie is a master at her craft. She takes vintage, old, beautiful silverware and repurposes them into garden markers and "re-vamped" serving pieces (among other fabulous things). You can even personalize them with your name or a special saying!

I've ordered several items from Kerrie. They are the best gifts. Last year, ELC got a little surprise "sussie" (aka: present/"pressie") one early Fall weekend. You see, pansies are ELC's favorite flower. Imagine my excitement when I discovered this little beauty! I couldn't resist purchasing this sweet garden marker for her.



images via ELC's phone

Hubby and I "rotate" Thanksgiving between our families. This year, it was our turn to spend it with ELC, Dad, and one of my brother's and his family. I wanted to take Mom and Dad a little token of our appreciation for all of the hours (really, days!) they spend preparing for this holiday. Imagine my jubilation when I discovered this serving fork made by Kerrie. I was ecstatic! I purchased it immediately.


images via ELC's phone

Though Thanksgiving is long past, ELC and Dad still have this precious fork on "display." It rests beautifully on top of a cutting board my Hubs made for them a couple of years ago (they refuse to actually use it because "it's too pretty to cut anything on"). Each time I see the fork when I visit, I'm reminded of our yummy, cozy, memorable Thanksgiving. And not just last year's, but every year’s. We are blessed.

I've purchased several other yummies from Kerrie since these two awesome finds. In fact, it might be time to treat myself to a little Spring garden marker! What do y'all think?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

We’ve Come a Long Way, Babe-y!

TLC discovered March is Women’s History Month. I guess I knew this? But it’s made me wonder: Is there a Men’s History Month? And I must confess: I only became a “history buff” around the time I turned 40ish. Prior to that? Not so crazy about history—except in movies or historical fiction books—like Gone with the Wind. (I’m certainly not proud of this confession.)

So we were talking about women in our own “personal” histories—women that have made a significant impact on our lives. Of course, the list could be almost endless.  We decided to each write about five women in our past or present that were or continue to be important to us. It could be women we knew or know—or women we didn’t/don’t know, but loved/love.

Here, then, are Five Important Women In ELC’s History:

(1)  My maternal grandmother, Nana, was the most amazing woman to me. Born in Leeds, England, in 1894 (Leighton was her maiden name!), she moved with her family to El Paso, Texas, when she was six years old. Her father worked for the railroad. She took care of her parents while her five siblings moved on in their lives to WWI, jobs, marriages and parenthood. She married my grandfather when she was 38 and had her only child, my mother, when she was 40. My grandfather died five years later and Nana never remarried—becoming the quintessential “Single Working Mom.” She was a teacher for many years and then a banker—at a time when there weren’t many women in banking. When I (finally) became committed to earning a college degree, Nana, who truly had very little money, would send me a five dollar bill in a card every couple of months—encouraging me to stay positive. I would be so torn and feel so guilty, because I knew this was a lot for her to give. Those five dollars would pay for my food for an entire weekend. I loved her with all of my heart and soul. I cry tears of sadness and joy, often, when I think about her strength and total devotion to her daughter and four grandchildren.

(2)  Doris Day was my Hollywood/Celebrity/Movie Idol. I loved everything about her—her beauty, fabulous blonde hair, sparkling smile, infectious energy and classy style. I’d wait anxiously for her next movie to come out, hoping I’d be allowed to go see it. My parents had several of her albums and I knew every single word to every single song. I could spend an entire Saturday afternoon in our living room singing with her. I don’t know how many times, over the past 40 years, I’ve been in people’s homes that have “happy” sun rooms, breakfast rooms or bedrooms, and I’ve said: “This looks like it should be in a Doris Day movie!” Imagine my shock when I just recently learned my Step-Father-in-Law had a date or two with her after he returned from WWII and lived for a time in California. Wow. The Six Degrees of Doris Day.

(3)  Mrs. Johnson was my 8th, 9th, and 11th grade English teacher. She was bigger than life! Smart, funny, kind and, most of all, PATIENT. I rarely saw her outside of school—except maybe at a football or basketball game or dance. Even though I knew she had her own life and children, I liked to pretend I was her daughter. When she was talking to me, she was totally focused on really listening—without judging. She was always positive and encouraging. She made me love grammar, spelling, and writing (although I can promise you young peeps that all of those abilities start to fade—especially the spelling and grammar—as you age—it’s quite sad). I’ve always wondered if her family understood the tremendous and life-changing affect she had on her students.

(4)  Jane Pauley was my Morning News’ Idol from the mid ‘70s until 1989. When I stayed home from work, after having TLC, she became my friend as I watched her every day. She’s a couple of years older than me—kind of like the big sister I’d always wanted. She had twins a year or so before I had TLC. During her Today Show years, she was a Mom that surely understood all of the frustrations and fears I felt. I admired her on so many levels. She was an All-American beauty with intelligence, humor and a sense of purpose. As she’s changed and grown more “mature,” she’s somehow stayed the same to me: very attractive, smart, fun and relevant. A nice person. Her admission several years ago to being bi-polar only sealed my deep appreciation of her.

(5)  TLC. She’s my “5th” for three reasons: (1) She is our “5th” child—she has four older brothers; (2) Her number is “5” in Numerology (so is her Hubby’s)—which I will possibly discuss in the future; and (3) I went in age-order, oldest to youngest. Talk about someone who has influenced my own personal history! She was and is a gift from God to me and my husband. It was a struggle to get her here and a miracle when she finally arrived. She was a challenging infant and baby (didn’t sleep much for a couple of years), but utterly delightful—especially as a toddler. Smart, funny, pretty and cute (I’ve always loved her combination of brown eyes and blonde hair!), and spirited—all the qualities you hope to see in your children. She never ceases to amaze me. I cherish every single second we get to be together and get excited when I see she’s sent me an email or text. No one can make me laugh as long and hard as she does. She is my past, present and future. I cherish everything about her. I know you Moms out there can relate to this completely.

Please take a few moments, in honor of all women, to think about those ladies in your own life that have had a significant impact on you. You’re smiling, aren’t you? Have a tear or two? Powerful, right?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Heroes

Yesterday, TLC, Hubby, my friend, CeeCee, and I went to DFW Airport to “Welcome Home a Hero!” It’s something all four of us have wanted to do for a long time—at least two years. It was everything we imagined—and more.

First, let me tell you a little bit about CeeCee. We’ve known each other since 1977. She’s an amazing lady:  beautiful, smart, funny, and unbelievably creative in so many areas. She is an accomplished seamstress. She’s a FANTASTIC cook. She’s an unofficial interior decorator that’s as good as anyone you see on HGTV. She’s a great Mom and Grammy. It is a privilege to be able to call her my friend. I’ve threatened, for at least 25 years, to write her name on the ballot for President of the United States. I’m serious. She’s as strong and wise and fair as any leader I’ve ever supported.

Okay, so back to the Wonderful Day we had:  Please check out the website:  www.dfwairport.com/heroes. You’re given all the information you need to become part of the volunteers welcoming our troops home for R&R. At least one flight per day arrives at DFW. They list the phone number to call to verify the flight times.

We had planned to meet TLC at the Terminal at 11:30 a.m. The flight was to land at 12:15. As CeeCee, Hubby and I started to leave (we live about an hour and a half away), I called, again, and learned the flight had been delayed to 1:30. We quickly arranged to meet TLC at Tolbert’s Restaurant in Grapevine at 11:30. That would give us plenty of time to have lunch and then get to the airport for our first “Welcome.” As we finished lunch, TLC called the number and learned the flight had been changed, again. Now it would be 2:30. We enjoyed a stroll down Main Street in Grapevine, with its unique and charming shops. (I tell you all of these details so when YOU plan to have your own experience as a “Welcomer,” you’ll be prepared to be FLEXIBLE and patient. It’s the airport. We all know those two attributes are always necessary when dealing with flying, right?)

When we got there at 2:00 and walked into the gate area, we were immediately touched by all of the signs displayed—signs made by school children, families, friends and many different groups. There were lots of American flags you could borrow to wave as the troops came through the gate (we’d brought four of our own and left them for others to use). We were greeted by two delightful men volunteers (there were several other volunteers and officials who were there and who do this many times a week). They answered all of our questions and shared the history of this program and their experiences with it.

At 2:30, Hubby learned that the plane had been delayed even longer, and it would now be 3:30. We found out there were 294 men and women on the plane that we would be “welcoming home.” We watched the families and friends of these American heroes with such joy and admiration. They, too, make so many sacrifices. One of the volunteers told us about the soldier arriving who would be seeing his daughter for the first time. Just typing this makes me tear up and smile.

Finally, at about 3:50, the families that were at the front of the line and close to where the troops were coming through the gate started clapping and cheering. We got goose bumps and lumps in our throats. Here came the first Army Colonel—big smile on his face and a bounce to his steps. The next hour was spent watching those 293 others walk out, looking happy, tired, relieved, hopeful, excited. We cheered the entire time. We clapped. We smiled. We cried. We laughed. We thanked the men and women. We got to shake some of their hands. My Hubby’s “Welcome Home”—said at least 150 times—was music to my ears. TLC and I found ourselves being tickled by his sincere enthusiasm. When the soldier seeing his new baby girl for the first time and his wife and family walked by us, I thought we were all four going to completely lose control of our emotions. The look on his face was priceless and something we won’t soon forget.

image via TLC's iPhone of CeeCee and ELC proudly waving their flags

image via TLC's iPhone

As tired as our feet were (and we had gotten pretty hot, too!), we didn’t want the experience to end. We knew we would stay overwhelmed with memories of this afternoon and the incredible feelings we had shared for a very long time. We have plans to go again soon—hopefully Memorial Day weekend. Definitely by July 4th. Our goal is to do this at least three more times before the end of 2011.

If you live in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, I urge you to enjoy this experience—at least once. If you live in other parts of Texas or our country, please make an effort to see if this is something the airport and/or USO in your neck of the woods does for our Heroes. Take your kids, your grandkids, your family members and friends. Encourage a service organization or Sunday School class to go, as a group, to honor these brave women and men. It will remind each of y’all how lucky we are to live in America—how lucky we are to have unbelievably unselfish Heroes doing everything they can to protect our freedoms.

I want to dedicate this post to two of my nephews—my brother’s sons—who both went on two tours each to Iraq. They’re out of the Marines now, but our family will always be proud of their courage and service. Josh and Matt, we heart you!!!

God Bless America!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

A Yummy For Y'all

Y'all know I'm addicted to Etsy. It's not Etsy itself, but rather all of the wonderful and unique treasures it holds. Sometimes I even find something fabulously yummy outside of Etsy, too! I want to share this knowledge with y'all (How many more times do y'all think I can say "y'all" in this post?). I've decided to create a new weekly/semi-monthly post about fun things I'm currently coveting. As much as I love to plan, I've actually joined a Boot Camp (I know... I'm shocked, too... more on that later, gators) that's taking up oodles of my free time (it started on Monday – I can barely move my fingers to type this). I'm going to do my darndest to post these every Friday (because, seriously, TGIF). But, it might stretch out to Saturday. Maybe Sunday. Heck! Today is even Thursday! Think of it not as me just being inconsistent, but me just loving to SURPRISE y'all.

Now, on to the first YUMMY... drum roll please... ECLECTIC WHATNOT (click on the link!). I have a blogging “crush” on Ruthanne (and you’ll adore her “weekly crushes” posts). I love luv lllooovvveee her blog. It's filled with so much eye-candy you're gonna need a fillin' (that was a dental shout-out for my buddy, Nelly!). I’ve been following Ruthanne for a couple of months. Not only is she an ah-MAZING photographer and gourmet chef (she posts drool-inducing photos of the most DELISH looking foods and their recipes), but she's super crafty, to boot. My kind of gal.

Here's a tidbit about TLC: I like to "treat" myself occasionally. My poor Hubby. Recently, I treated myself to one of Ruthanne's Ruffled dSLR Camera Strap Covers. The Melanie Smooter Edition (named after Reese Witherspoon's - one of my most favorite actresses - character in Sweet Home Alabama). Isn't it pretty? My iPhone pics truly don’t capture the beauteous colors. It's grey (the new "gray") and white houndstooth with a hot pink-y fuchsia ruffle. In the words of one of my idols, Rachel Zoe, "I die."





Although I have virtually no clue how to work the fancy camera my Hubs gave me for Christmas (I can't even work my iPhone camera--see above--one of my New Year's Resolutions is to at least learn how to turn the durn thing on--LOL.), it's now magnificently accessorized! We all know accessories are like the icing on mini cupcakes.

I'm also givin’ googley eyes to Ruthanne's new “Imperfectly Pleated” Scarves. The sunny yellow one in particular (Hint… Hint, ELC). Ruthanne is on Etsy and has her own New Shop, too (click on the links!). Y'all go give Ruthanne a big HOWDY now! Wish her a HAPPY BLOGIVERSARY this week, too! She's celebrating three years.

Smooch, y'all. And stay tuned!

P.S. – Be sure and read this post with an extra Texas-twangy tone.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Philosophie Refrigerateur—Deuxieme Partie

If you don’t know French (I took two years in high school, 40 years ago, so I’m almost fluent), this is clearly the fancy way of saying:

Fridge Philosophy—Part Two

I was thinking you might pass this post up if it had a repetitive (tricky way of saying “boring”) name. I am still tres passionate about my motivational fridge magnets and art.

Here, then, are more of my favoris (you get this!):

Each day I make my To-Do List,
but the only thing I cross off is “Lose Mind.”
          --Leslie Moak Murray

Completely self-explanatory. And, unfortunately, so sadly true.

I dreamed
my whole house
was clean . . .
          --Anne Tainter, Inc.

image via moi (elc)

She’s blonde. Like moi (well, blonde, grey/gray—let’s don’t split hairs). And looks so peaceful. This is the thing that’s so frustrating for me in my daily life: my house is rarely ALL clean. Bits and pieces are often spotless. But bits and pieces are often quite—hmmm—NOT. Oh, well. I have more fun things to do with my time, vous ne pensez pas? (Don’t you think?) Like ponder my fridge magnets and drink Diet Dews.

These three ladies below are clearly discussing this concept:

“Can you imagine a world without men?
No crime and lots of happy fat women.”
          --Sylvia (Nicole Hollander)

image via moi (elc)

I love men (most especially My Sweet Hubby)—even if they are positively, absolutely, undeniably perplexing. We need them. But this makes me laugh. Sorry.

Many years ago a dear friend sent me this card (it had a much-appreciated and sweet thank you note on the inside):

We’re girlfriends
and we’re fabulous!
          --Karen Hillard Good and Dan De Paolo for Main Street Press

image via moi (elc)

Aren’t these little ladies the cutest things ever? And don’t you just adore the word “fabulous?” TLC says or types it at least 27 times a day. Has it become iconic because of the Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas sign? Saying it can certainly make you smile or change the way your attitude is headed. Let’s be FABULOUS!

And:

Kiss My Crown

I don’t really know who to attribute this to—maybe the same person who penned “Kiss my Grits?” Not sure. But Lauren, TLC’s precious friend who is like a “second daughter,” has called me “Queen B” for almost as long as we’ve known each other. I’m not sure how it started. Possibly because TLC pretends (is she pretending?) to be an American Princess. So me being Queen would naturally follow this line-of-hierarchy. Lauren has sent me the most adorable cards with “Queen” somewhere in or on them. I don’t know where she finds them all. She has also given me several cherished gifts that involve some kind of crown—including a BEAUTIFUL wine glass with a crown in rhinestones on it.  It’s way too pretty to actually use, so it has a place of honor in my home office—next to a big coffee mug she gave me that says: It’s good to be queen (Hausenware).  Yes. Yes, Princess Lauren, it is VERY GOOD. Merci beaucoup!

Probably the most inspirational (and challenging) magnet on my fridge says:

finish each day and be done
with it. you have done what you
could. some blunders and
absurdities have crept in;
forget them as soon as you can.
tomorrow is a new day. you shall
begin it serenely and with too
high a spirit to be encumbered
with your old nonsense.
          --emerson

AMEN.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

I Got You, Babe-y

Yesterday afternoon, ELC and I were two of the hostesses with the mostesses (LOL) for a fabulous (if we do say so ourselves!) baby shower. The mommy-to-be is a dear, sweet, precious woman. Her Mom and ELC have been forever friends since junior high. She and I met as toddlers. We all had such a wonderful celebration.

As you know by now, I LOVE planning parties. Baby showers are my favorite. I’m not generally a fan of games at showers (particularly the melted candy bar in the diaper game… ewww… ick... gross), but I have found one that’s major fun and really gets the conversation “flowing.”

ELC tells me I’m a walking “Wikipedia” of celebrity gossip/useless knowledge. In fact, she calls it TLC-pedia. She can always count on moi when she simply has to know the name of Amy Adams’ (from The Fighter—a most excellent movie) daughter (it’s Aviana—in case you were wondering). I’m fascinated with the famous. They can be so eccentric. Especially when naming their offspring.

In planning this shower (and the one I hosted last Fall), I combined my love of babies with my interest in celebrities for a game I like to call, “{Insert the mommy-to-be’s name here} CELEBRITY BABY NAME CHALLENGE.” The object is to match the baby name with his/her parent(s). Below I’ve listed a few of the “zaniest” names I could find (note:  these are actual names—bless these children’s hearts):

  1. Kal-El Coppola (Nicholas Cage’s son)
  2. Diva Thin Muffin (Frank Zappa’s daughter)
  3. Tu Simone (Rob Morrow’s daughter… her full name is Tu Morrow)
  4. Bluebell Madonna (Ginger Spice’s daughter)
  5. Speck Wildhorse (John Mellencamp’s son)
  6. Moxie Crimefighter (Penn Jillette’s daughter)
While Hubby and I don’t currently have any buns in the oven, I LOVE brainstorming possible names. I’m definitely a fan of being somewhat creative (I don’t want my little princess/prince to have a name that ten other munchkins in their pre-school class have)—yet I tend to never deviate too far from something a little more classic. And although the name “Diva” might actually suit my personality (Who? Me? A diva? Never.), and describe a future daughter’s personality (my poor Hubs), I cannot imagine naming her that. Can you? It makes me giggle—and feel a little sorry for Diva Thin Muffin—all at the same time. (Plus, every time I read “Thin Muffin,” I automatically think of Thin Mints—my most favorite Girl Scout cookie EVA).

So, what do y’all think? Any favorites?

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I Love a Parade!

So, I’m sitting here sippin’ on a bottle of water, trying not to pop open my second Diet Dew, reading an article in the February 20th edition of Parade Magazine, by Dr. Howard Friedman and Dr. Leslie Martin, both Ph.D.s. I’ve read Parade in the Fort Worth Star Telegram for as long as I can remember—at least 44 years.   

I adore reading newspapers. I don’t even mind the icky ink that gets on your hands. Sometimes I have the luxury of reading Sunday’s paper on Sunday morning, with a cup of coffee (I do drink coffee about twice a week—which is evidently not enough to help ward off Alzheimer’s—so why can’t Dews do that?), in my jammies. But sometimes I have to read it later in the week, while hubby watches his weird shows.

Anyway, this article is entitled The Myths of Living Longer. It is fascinating!
1500 subjects were followed by researchers for eight decades to try to determine why some people live longer lives than others. What did they discover? That many of the things we have been told for a long time are not necessarily true.

The 6 myths are:

Myth #1:  Marriage guarantees a longer life. The studies show it’s not married couples that live longer—it’s married men. Duh. For women, there doesn’t seem to be much of an advantage to being single or married. Double duh. And, listen to this:  “ . . . women who divorced and never remarried did just fine—in fact, they usually lived long lives.” Hmmm. Really? Imagine that.

Myth #2:  Taking it easy adds years to your life. “Relaxation and an early retirement do not ensure long-lasting health. . . The most successful men lived five years longer than the least successful. Ambition, perseverance, impulse control, and high motivation contributed to a resilient work life, and that led to more years overall.” Hubby hoped to be retired five years ago (he’s ten years older than moi). We’ll be re-thinking his plan. I’m sure he’s good for another ten. J/K. I plan to work until I’m 80, if possible. (Unless, of course, I win the Texas Lottery. Then you will find me in Maui.) What worries me the most is that “impulse control” thing. Do you think that would include an addiction to a diet drink?

image via TLC
This is Cobbler, ELC's kitty, "takin' it easy." Bless his heart.  He's not concerned with ambition.

Myth #3:  You can worry yourself to death. “Actually, the opposite is true.” The best predictor of longevity is conscientiousness—being well organized—even “somewhat obsessive.” According to the authors, adults “who were thrifty, persistent, detail-oriented, and responsible lived the longest.” I am a worrier. I have been since I was five years old. Unfortunately, TLC is somewhat of a worrier, too. Not as bad as me, thank goodness. But she is also, like her Dad, persistent, detail-oriented and responsible. Yes, I would say to the obsessive level. Thrifty? Maybe not so much. (Thank you, Etsy and Hobby Lobby.) But three out of four ain’t bad, right? The researchers speculate that conscientiousness may protect one’s health—wearing seatbelts and following doctors’ orders, etc. And good news:  you can become conscientious. Awesome.

image via TLC (of TLC's tootsies)
Trust us, we didn't worry one little bit while we were on our "Girls Only" vacay in St. Thomas!

Myth #4:  More degrees mean more years. The study found that when children entered first grade at age 5, instead of 6 (which was common when us Baby Boomers were little—I had turned 5 at the end of March and entered first grade in September), they often did not live as long. They suspect this is true because “relating to classmates is so important, an early start may have launched some kids down erratic paths.” Erratic. Uh-oh. That can’t be good. I have believed, passionately, since I was in junior high, that kids should not be promoted up a grade or two. I’ve said it a thousand times before and I’ll say it again:  I despised being the youngest in my class. (I still have to show my driver’s license at my high school reunions. My classmates seem to forget that I am the baby. Which doesn’t say much for my nightly anti-aging regimen, does it?) I guess Doogie Houser would have disagreed with all of this. In terms of higher education, the researchers found that the “. . . level of schooling by itself was not a very important predictor of longevity.” Fascinating.

Myth #5:  Friendly, outgoing people thrive. The authors say Americans view extroversion as “desirable—we worry if our children are shy.” But their research shows that “sociable children did not, for the most part, live any longer than their more introverted classmates.” Why do they think this is true? You’ll love this:  Because shy peeps tend to have stable jobs, long marriages and are generally responsible. Highly social peeps, on the other hand, may be successful in business, but that “charm” can put them in situations where they go along with drinking and smoking. “A ‘people person’ may often join in the dangers of the moment—and that affects longevity.” (Sheen, Lohan—are y’all paying attention?) You will NOT believe this:  “Cheerfulness was comparable to high blood pressure and high cholesterol as a risk factor for early death.” Whoa, baby. They found it was usually some other characteristics, besides optimism, that caused a person to be happier and healthier. I don’t even know how to respond to this, except to say I intend to work a lot harder at being quieter and less charming.

image of "Lava Flow" via TLC
Tropical drinks with umbrellas don't count as a "danger of the moment," right?!

Myth #6:  Jocks outlive nerds. If you’re athletic when you’re young, then become lazy, as you age, you lose any longevity benefits. The key to a long life is exercise in middle age. And it can be simple things—like walking, dancing, tennis or gardening. Fabulous! Now TLC and I don’t have to regret our lack of “jockiness” in our junior high and high school years. Whew. What a relief. I was recently glad to have the opportunity to sell my Zumba tapes after I had used them only once. I discovered I can’t skip any more, much less dance—fast. Promising to exercise—for which TLC and I both excel—apparently isn’t enough. I vow to do better. On Monday. (And if it’s a Sunday when you’re reading this, I don’t mean tomorrow—I mean the next Monday.)

This article just proves to me what I’m learning more and more each day I’m on Earth:  Who knows what the heck the answers are to our cRaZy lives? Just keep trying to do your best. Practice The Golden Rule. Eat right and light and healthy. Drink lots o’ agua—not aspartame-laced carbonated soft drinks. Walk briskly—more than once a month. Persevere. Have faith—in God, yourself and your loved ones.

image via TLC
And remember to always LOL. Hugs help, too.

Gotta scoot to the fridge. For some water! (You’ll never know, will you?)