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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Laughing Our Toes Off!

When ELC could (finally) remember what LMAO (“Laughing My A*_ Off” for those of you still in the dark or possibly just over 55) meant without having to ask TLC (that was only about three months ago—yep, ELC’s kind of slow like that), she said:

“Hey, T., this is really not very nice. Let’s replace the “A” with other friendlier/politically correctier (new word and feel free to use it as often as you'd like)/and/or sillier words.”

And so began a new ELC GAME.

In Honor of the 28th day of September, we share with y’all fourteen (yep: 14 + 14 = 28), although we have oh-so-many more it’s ridiculous, of our LMAOs we’ve recently shouted/emailed/texted.


LMBPO—(Butter polish);
LMCO—(cupcakes—double duh);
LMTBO—(Twilight books);
LMSO—(Scentsy—absolutely fabulous);
LMTO—(tiara—“If it fits…”);
LMGO—(glitter—triple duh);
LMCBO—(Crack Brownies);
LMJBO—(jiggly bits);
LMCSO—(Chap Stick--ELC’s nightmare);
LMSTFDO—(Shut The Front Door).


LMPO—(pores—if only);
LMKO—(knees, of course, although it could be knuckles);
LMTBBBO—(Teddy Buddy Boo Bear);
LMDDO—(Diet Dews);
LMEPBO—(elephant PIGGY bank—trunk up!)
LMTIVOO—(no explanation necessary);
LMFMO—(fridge magnets);
LOGYDO—(Our Greek Yogurt Diet);
LMWO—(wrinkles—if only);
LMFTO—(flabby thighs);
LMELLO—(Estee Lauder lipstick).

In the interest of common decency, and because we are all a little too guilty of saying words we shouldn’t say (ELC = The Worst), we challenge each of you to think of new ways to express your LMAOs. Work with us—you know it could be uber FUN!!!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

Yummies For Y'all: The Fall Wardrobe Edition

Friday, of course, was the first day of Fall. (I like to capitalize the seasons. Especially my most favourite one.) I can, tres gratefully, say it has officially arrived in TEXAS. Hallelujah. This summer was downright and hellaciously hot. We survived (though my pretty plants didn't), but, boy howdy, I'm glad all that sweatin' is (mostly) behind us. The heat wreaked havoc on my big hair. I don't like anything messin' with my hair.

I covet so many things about Fall: crisp mornings, jack o’ lanterns, the leaves turning stunning colours (fancy spelling). But I L-O-V-E the clothes. You see, shorts and I are frenemies. They were, at times, necessary to wear – on those 108 degree days. However, I donned them begrudgingly. My legs hate shorts. Thus, I welcome jeans, sweaters and scarves with open arms. (Could you humor me and sing Journey’s “Open Arms” in your head – or out loud – for just a minute or two? I am.)
I thought I’d share a few of my favourite Fall fashions with y'all to get us totally stoked for this lovely time of the year. I'm so anxious to start wearing these. Yesterday. Today. Now. Yippee!!!

Nordstrom Cashmere Wrap

My sweet Hubby gave me the most exquisite cashmere wrap from Nordstrom for my last birthday. And he took me ice skating! It was my very first time (so romantic and, yet, so scary). I thought this was incredibly creative and special. It still makes me swoon. Though I couldn't find my exact wrap on the website, I'm totally diggin’ this one in pretty "Red Pepper." Bonus: It's on SALE.

Image via Nordstrom

"Betsy" Sweater from J. Crew

I ordered this little jewel on Thursday for my upcoming getaway to Santa Fe. I chose "Heather Saddle," but was quite enamored with the "Navy." Though I can’t attest to its fabulousness just yet, I feel confident it’ll be cozy AND chic. (The name alone is marvelous. I have personally adored it all of my life.)

P.S. The “spicy” red wrap would look gorgeous
with the navy sweater. Don’tcha think?

Image via J. Crew

Fossil "Super Skinny" Denim Jeans

(BTW: ELC and I heart all things Fossil
! We’ve loved this store for-ev-er. It absolutely gets better and better with each passing year!)

Don’t be intimidated by the "SUPER SKINNY" moniker. This doesn’t mean they're for teeny-tiny-malnourished models. Which is what I initially thought – before I tried them on. In reality, I actually think those verbs (Adverbs? Help, ELC! I don’t remember being very successful in diagramming sentences or excelling in grammar.) are used to tell you these jeans make YOU look super skinny! I have thighs and a rear that lean (aka: crash) towards the chunky side. (Well, they’re slightly less “crash-ier” since we discovered Dr. Dukan.) These jeans neatly (and firmly) keep all of my jiggle-y bits in place. I would equate them to "jeggings." They have an ample amount of stretch and are super-dee-duper comfy. I plan on living in these while out in public. Y'all are fully aware I'm in my yoga pants (and Piggy PJs!) when lounging at home.

Image via Fossil

UGG Australia "Cardy" Classic Knit Boots (in grey)

I'm obsessed with UGGs. I could literally sleep in them. I think these look marvelous when paired with skinny jeans. This particular boot is so versatile because it can be worn several different ways. Slouched down. Folded over. Etc. Confession: I wear my UGGs sans socks. I like to live on the wild side. And, no, my feet don’t perspire. They remain nice and toasty and moisture-free. TMI? Sorry.

Image via Nordstrom

I would love LOVE LOVE for you to share some of your Fall must-haves. Do tell!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Slightly... Disturbing

We learned, last January, when we began our adventure into sharing our random thoughts, we can (kind of) see how peeps find our website. We can’t see individual email addresses, if you’ve ever wondered about that. (Did we just hear BIG sighs of relief—from all over the World? Tee Hee Hee.)

We get “Stats.” One of them shows “countries” that have visited our site. Well, technically, of course, people in that country. In the past eight months, we’ve had visitors from (this is only a partial list): England, Singapore, Germany, France, Australia, Canada, Scotland, South Africa, India, Sweden, The Netherlands, Hong Kong, Brazil, Greece, Mexico, Peru, Spain, The Dominican Republic, Denmark, Morocco, and Italy. Quite exciting for Little Ol’ Texan Gals. We heart our “visitors!”

We also receive "Stats" on Referring URLs (BTW: ELC thinks of an urologist every single last time she sees these initials. She has no earthly idea what URLs are, but surely they could have found a better acronym.) and Referring Sites. Once again: ELC = Clueless. TLC might have lost her patience, once or twice, while attempting to explain both of these technological-lingo-thingys to her. “Mom, please forget it. It doesn’t matter. You don’t need to know what these are, okay?” Yep. You’re right, TLC. It truly doesn’t matter.

The tres most interesting “Stats” we see are those that show what individuals Google in order to arrive at our website. OOG. (Oh Our Gosh.)

Some of the queries make perfect sense. Like, for example, when ELC posted a couple of beautiful songs she adores. We noticed lots of queries on those particular songwriters—or other songs they’ve penned (see American Poets). We try to imagine how confused those (probably serious) individuals must have been when they ended up at lolwiththeleightons. And, we can’t lie: it brings a smile to our faces. Bless their hearts.

Other queries are interesting and make a little sense to us—based on past posts. But then there are those that, although they do make a teeny bit of sense, are slightly disturbing.

A few have made absolutely, positively, unequivocally, NO SENSE WHATSOEVER. We pinky-swear, on ELC’s great-grandmother’s rocking chair and TLC’s Hubby’s hand-crafted coffee table, we are not, we repeat, not, NOT, NOT making any of this up. We couldn’t if we tried. We’re typing them exactly as they’re shown in our “Stats.” (These are only a few of the recent queries. We realize now we should have kept track of the many we’ve received since the inception of our website. Just for the giggle value!)

Queries that make sense (to us, anyway!):

greek yogurt diet (We’ve gotten oodles and oodles of variations of this phrase—including Dukan Dietyogurt diet, non-fat yogurt diet, etc., etc., etc. You get the picture. See Our Big Nonfat Greek Yogurt Diet. This might be what Dr. Dukan will say, if he ever personally visits our website: “Oh, mon Dieu! Qui sant ces dames folles Texas?” For those of you not fluent in French, as is ELC—see Philosophie Refrigerteur—Deuxieme Partie, we'll give you a hint: one of those words means cRaZy.)

makeup shirt
red bottom shoes Oprah
humorous cocktail napkins women
prince william and princess katherine
“with a scoop of blue bell”
october issue of o magazine breast cancer tee at no (Wait, what? “at no” ??? What is that? Could possibly drive ELC over the edge.)

Queries that make a little sense:

paula’s volcano cake
karen hillard good
teddy bear with eyes close together
reese brownie mix from Costco

Queries that make no sense whatsoever:

“full leg cast”
hand made home utilities

(We are rendered speechless. Except to say: Hhhuuuuhhhhh?)


nude Indian leg wrestling

If you happen to be the person who Googled the last one (and, please, Lord, let there be only one), trust us, we do not want to know why, although we might have laughed when we read it. Yes, we understand the Indian leg wrestling (see Kiss My Sparkly, Taboo And Feisty Tiara). We still experienced a few (icky) shivers.

We’ll always embrace curiosity. ALWAYS. (TLC Wikis or Googles something at least ten times a day.) As Charlene once said (on Designing Women—the Foreign Affairs episode), when Mary Jo asked her why she knew all of the capitals of the world:

“Because I love knowledge. In fact, I yearn for it.”

Thanks to everyone who ended up looking at our website because of curiosity or a yearning for knowledge (or the need to find a recipe or have information for some kind of research paper or because you are interested in hand made home utilities). Hopefully, you’re still around—LOLing with us!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Coffee, Cupcakes and Christmas Lights

Even though ELC (lovingly) compels me to play the games she makes up, I truly don’t mind! Here, then, are the 9 things I would miss if I woke up tomorrow and they were gone:

1. Nana's Wedding Band. I cherish this ring. I received it as a gift from my grandmother. It's a simple, white gold band with tiny diamonds, but its 80-year history is priceless to me. It's my connection to an incredible woman I didn't have the honor of knowing, but who I admire because of Mom’s memories and stories.

2. The gorgeous coffee table
Hubby crafted with his own two hands. Y'all, he's got mad skills. He built it right after we moved into our home two years ago. ELC attempts to sneak it into her trunk every time she visits. It knocks my socks off each day I’m blessed to look at its beauty.

My iPhone picture cannot possibly capture how incredible this piece of ART really is.

3. Christmas lights. They twinkle and sparkle like GLITTER. Enough said, yes? I am whole-heartedly obsessed with everything Christmas. Christmas Vacation happens to be my most favourite (fancy spelling) movie. (Shhh. Don’t tell ELC. She thinks it’s You’ve Got Mail. But that’s my second favourite.) My Dad and I try to watch it together every year. (ELC has refused to be a part of this tradition for at least twelve years now. Clearly she’s no fun.) We still laugh like it’s the first time we’re seeing it. Someday I’ll convince Hubs to decorate our house like the Griswold's.

Image via moi.
Aunt Bethany: Is your house on fire, Clark?
Clark: No, Aunt Bethany, those are Christmas lights.

4. Nordstrom. My sanctuary.

5. Coffee.  It's my crack.

My cutesy owl mug from Pier 1 that ELC graciously purchased for me!
She has one, too. We're matchy-matchy like that.
P.S. The candle burning in the background is WoodWick's "Pumpkin Butter." 

6. Cupcakes. Simply put: Cupcakes Rock My World. Amen.

7. Sabra Roasted Pine Nut Hummus. Three words: TO DIE FOR.

8. My iPhone. What in the world did I do before this little piece of magic machinery?

9. Television, in general. I love (in no particular order) these NINE shows:

The Rachel Zoe Project
The Real Housewives of New Jersey
(ELC thinks I should be ashamed to admit this.)
Flipping Out
Modern Family

Breaking Bad
Bethenny Ever After
The Closer
(Why, oh why, Kyra? Please say it isn’t so—that the end is near.)

Perhaps I should just concur with ELC and be extra grateful for my DVR? Okay. That’s what I’ll do. Concurring!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

From Deep In The Grateful Heart Of Texas

Precious Pepper, who lives in Houston with her sweet hubby and three adorable pups, forwarded this to us recently:

                        What if
                          you woke up today
                    with only the things
                           you thanked God for
                                                (We apologize—we couldn’t read who said this.)

Powerful. In fact, every time ELC reads it, she gets chills.

Made us have a conversation about our daily prayers. And gratitude. And what’s important in this life.

THEN . . . ELC came up with this idea (she just loves her little games—you know this by now, right?):

Each of us would list nine (yep, for September) things that we would miss tomorrow if they were gone and we could never have them back again. ELC made rules, of course. No obvious things allowed: husbands, mothers, daughters, sons, grandkids, family, friends, pets, homes. No cliché-type things—like laughter and good health—because all of those are givens.

(And, ELC—being The World’s Worst Mathematician Of All Time—is not sure how often this happens, but 9 + 9 = 18. 1 + 8 = 9. (Glynis—and one of those Three Little Piggies— would so understand this.)

NINE THINGS ELC is GRATEFUL FOR (and that she’d miss, terribly, if they were gone tomorrow):

  1. My great-grandmother’s rocking chair. It’s at least 120 years old. It sits by our bed and has the most amazing squeaks, creaks and sounds when I park myself there—which is a lot. (I couldn’t rock TLC to sleep in it as a babe—it was too loud!). Makes me feel a connection to someone I’m named after, but never knew. If I shut my eyes, I can see and hear my Nana, who was her daughter, sewing, gardening and cooking
  2. The rockers on our front porch. We can actually see thirty miles from the top of our hill. We know this because we’ve seen fireworks on the 4th of July that are being set off over a big lake that far away. Thirty miles of Texas country beauty—especially stars! (They’re big and bright, you know.)
  3. My computer. More specifically—email. It 's become the best way for me to keep in touch with my TLC!
  4. My iPod. And iTunes.
  5. Pictures/Photographs of our family’s past and present.
  6. Clever games like Trivial Pursuit, Apples to Apples, Catch Phrase (all played with kids and grandkids!), and, my most favorite card game of all-time, Bridge. (Been playing Bridge since I was about 12. That’s 45 years. Nana taught me and my siblings, so we could play with her on Sunday afternoon visits to her retirement home. I’m still quite pathetic, but I keep trying. I have very patient Bridge Club members/friends, some of whom have put up with me for 32 years!).
  7. Diet Dews/Diet Cherry Coke Zeroes/Sonic Diet Cokes w/vanilla.
  8. Chocolate/Sugar/Butter/Cream Cheese. Even though I’ve had very little of any of those in the past three months.
  9. TIVO. Nuff said.
TLC’s List is in the works!

Faretheewell, Friends… Have a Wonderful Weekend… 

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Déjà vu: Deux

Back by popular demand—Déjà vu! Okay, that might be a slight exaggeration. (But you had that feeling, right?) Back because we have some updates:

In J’Adore OPI, TLC raved (and maybe ranted, a skosh) about her love of all things OPI. She still hearts it—as does ELC. Dearly and truly. But TLC now also CRAVES Butter. Not the butter you eat. (ELC, however, does crave the butter you eat—specifically Land O’ Lakes. Darn Dukan Diet.) Two of her favourite (fancy spelling) Butter polishes include (but are not limited to):

(Her Royal Highness)
image via Pinterest and Nordstrom

Rosie Lee
image via Pinterest and Nordstrom

In Watch This! On Wednesdays!, TLC recommended the TV show Better With You. ELC and both of their Hubbies also truly enjoyed this clever show. Hope you saw it—because it’s officially GONE. We can’t bear to think about it. Sigh. We must move on.

ELC would like to suggest two new possible replacement shows:

She gets very tickled watching Happily Divorced—starring Fran Drescher! Who didn’t think The Nanny was hysterical? Okay, well, ELC’s Hubby. And maybe alot of other guys. The first Divorced shows are over and now, as ELC understands it, it will return in November. Or January? One of those weird split-season-thingys that only confuse ELC. Set your TIVOs—it’s on TVLand!

She had style! She had class! She was there!
That's how she became THE NANNY!
image via Amazon

The other show ELC thinks is a hoot-and-a-half is Melissa & Joey. On the ABC Family Channel. It’ll remind you of Who’s The Boss?! Who didn’t not love that show? No one. Surely. Everyone loved it. Even ELC’s Hubby. You know you did.

BTW: TLC isn’t TIVO-ing either one of ELC’s new cutie-patootie shows. Hmmm. ELC refuses to take it personally. So sorry, TLC, that ELC hasn’t remembered to TIVO your new fav show—Breaking Bad—on AMC. (We’re both grieving over the last season of The Closer. With every show that airs, we get tres verklempted. TLC actually called ELC—instead of texting—two weeks ago and said she was discovering she didn’t want that night’s episode to end. ELC shouted: “Shut the front door! I feel exactly the same way. I keep pausing it—to make it last as long as possible.” Why, Kyra, oh, why? They just aired the last show of the split season this week. It’ll actually come back for a few more episodes in November. Or at least TLC tells ELC this is the case. TLC better not be wrong.)

In Soul Food, ELC talked about books she and TLC adored, including Water for Elephants and The Help. ELC must now share a charming book Jackie recommended to her months ago: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows. On the cover (of the paperback, at least), Elizabeth Gilbert, author of Eat, Pray, Love, (a book that completely enthralled ELC) says: “Treat yourself to this book, please—I can’t recommend it highly enough.” She is oh-so-right-on with that advice. ELC’ll admit it took her about a third of the way through to get totally engrossed and enraptured. (That might have to do with the fact she kept misplacing it—for three months. She’d read a few pages and temporarily lose it—read a few more and finally find it under one of her Hubby’s truck seats. Ditzy? Duh.) Once she made the commitment to keep it on her nightstand or in her purse, she fell in love with the characters. The story can be difficult, at times. It’s about WWII. Therefore, it’s tragically touching. Trust ELC: it's worth every tear. Your giggles and laughs will overcome any aching your heart experiences. TLC's going to take it on her upcoming trip to Santa Fe with her Hubby. It’s the quintessentially perfect book for plane rides. (Oh—and merci beaucoup, Jackie!)

In Trip Advisor and Count To Ten And Then A Hundred And Ten, ELC shares her thoughts on long driving vacations. She and her Hubby will soon embark on a 10-day-ish driving tour to Rhode Island—from Central Texas. Prayers—many of them, please—will be deeply appreciated.

In Crankyville, ELC expressed her devotion to Neosporin. Both ELC and TLC would like to add another product they simply could not live without: Q-Tips. We don’t know who thought of these perfect little sticks of incredibly heavenly cotton, but we’ll never be able to re-pay your GENIUS. Four thumbs up, whoever you are!

ELC got her pretty Piggy Pink Owl PJs (say that six times—fast!) in August. This darling company has been featured, once again, in O Magazine—the October 2011 issue. The three gals contribute to the National Breast Cancer Foundation. October—Breast Cancer Awareness Month (we realize you're very aware of this!)—will be here in three blinks. If you’re intrigued at the idea these PJs would make a most excellent gift for a family member or friend who has experienced breast cancer—or you need an extra-special Christmas gift for several peeps on your List—or you’re confident you yourself deserve some jammies you won’t want to ever take off—even to wash (remember, though, they get softer each time you do wash them)—you better get crackin’, rockin’, rollin’ and oinkin’! This time last year became insanely busy for the Three Little Piggies (after Oprah wore the Original Owls on her Yosemite trip). We predict this holiday season will be majorly tremendous for the Piggies. They have fun new designs, too (check out their exquisite Peacock PJs!). You’ll love ‘em. We cross-our-Piggy-lovin’-hearts!

CongratulatiOINKS, Piggy Gals!
image via Piggy Pajamas

Note from TLC to ELC:
Guess what?
This is a "sneak peak" of the fabric.
You can pre-order these fabulOINKS jammies now!
I'm just sayin'.
Peacock Pajamas = Best Christmas Gift EVER.
image via Piggy Pajamas

That’s it . . . that’s all . . . you’re officially Déjà Vu-ed.

smooches and ta-ta for now…

Sunday, September 11, 2011


While TLC was at our house last weekend, she looked through a box of what seemed like zillions of old pictures. I was making a salad as she sat at the kitchen island—giggling or saying “Awww” every few minutes. Then I noticed she got quiet—had stopped on one—and was studying it. She handed it to me. It was a picture I’d taken in the Spring of 1986 as the plane I was on was about to land in New York. It had the Twin Towers.

That was my first of two trips to The Big Apple. (We had lunch one day at Windows On The World. I didn’t like being on the 106th floor of the North Tower. The building would sway. Significantly. It was an extremely unsettling feeling. I was anxious to be back down on the first floor.) TLC has also been twice. Once with her Dad and me when she was about to be 10. It was the week before Christmas. Two of our sons lived there. It will forever be a special memory. Christmas in New York? Everything you know it’s going to be—marvelously magical. (TLC and I are hoping we can make another trip together. Someday soon.) Her second visit was with a professor and a class in Fashion Merchandising. Also in the Spring—but in 2005.

On that trip, TLC went to Ground Zero. She said I probably wouldn’t ever be able to go. I get tears in my eyes just typing this—thinking of her description. Hearing the emotions in her voice when she called that day to share what she had seen and felt. (Though, as I sit here watching the ceremony at the Memorial this morning, I think I will be able to visit it in person. It's stunningly beautiful.)

Sad isn’t a big enough word for today. It’s a heart-wrenching day. Don’t you find yourself thinking, every now and then, did that really happen? For those of us who only experienced the horror from afar—watching it on TV—reading about it in the newspapers—we can’t even begin to comprehend the magnitude of this tragedy and the forever pain it caused so many families. The problems it still causes the survivors, the First Responders, the firemen and the policemen.

Today we can only cry. And pray. Hope. Remember. Believe. Pray some more.

Please, God, Bless America… always.

Friday, September 9, 2011

TGIF: Cupcakes Edition

Last Tuesday, my sweet friend, January, and I attended a "Cupcakes For Adults" cooking class at Central Market (H-E-B's upscale grocery extravaganza). The "adult" label was not only for the wine consumed (responsibly), but also for the booze we actually used as INGREDIENTS. Genius, I tell you. Just genius.

We had the loveliest instructor. She was bubbly, vivacious, and quite the entertainer. They even served us a fabulous salad to munch on while we prepared the cupcakes. It rocked our socks off.

We made:

Rhubarb Cupcakes with Gran Marnier Whipped Cream

Boston Cream Pie Cupcakes (with GOLD dust)

Roasted Banana and RUM Cupcakes with EITHER Nutella Frosting (be still my heart) or Honey Cinnamon Frosting (equally tasty)

And finally...

Chocolate Chip Stout Bread Pudding

(Yes, I realize this isn't a cupcake. However, we baked them in these teeny aluminum ramekins; thus creating the cupcake form.)

While I thought they were all decadent and scrumptious (I did sample each one. Don't judge me, Dr. Dukan.), the bread pudding was my favourite (fancy spelling). I wanted to share the recipe with y'all. It's warm, cozy and the perfect "comfort food" to enjoy while relishing FALL. (It's almost downright COLD in these here parts o' Texas in the morn'. Hallelujah. Sweet relief.)

Happy Friday, Friends!

Chocolate Chip Stout Bread Pudding


Butter (For schmearing the ramekins. Yep. I spell it like I say it, with extra emphasis on the "schm.")
10 cups of diced/dried bread (I believe we used sourdough to compliment the brewski.)
12 ounces of Guinness Beer
3 cups of heavy cream (fully-loaded – no half-n-half)
¾ cup sugar (white or brown – I fancy brown)
9 whole eggs – well beaten
2 cups of chocolate chips (I would throw in the entire bag – the more chips, the merrier. And I might lean towards milk chocolate for extra sweetness, though semi-sweet would be super duper, too.)
6 tablespoons of butter


Schmear 12ish ramekins (or one large baking dish) with butter.
Place the diced/dried bread in a large mixing bowl.
Combine the rest of the ingredients together with the exception of the chips and additional butter.
Pour the mixture over the bread and mix well. (I prefer to use my hands for mixin'.)
Add the chips.
The bread should soak up the mixture. If you need more liquid, add a smidgen of cream. (It’s extra yummy if you can let the mixture soak for a bit.)
Scoop into the ramekins or baking dish.
Dot the top(s) with the remaining butter.
If using ramekins, place them on a cookie sheet. Tent them with foil.
If using a baking dish, cover completely with foil.
Bake in a 375 -degree oven for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the custard has set. 
Remove the foil and bake a few extra minutes to let the top(s) brown.

Can be served with Blue Bell ice cream.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kind. Smart. Important.

Sunday before this past one, TLC and I had a truly memorable day with our dear friend, Clara, and her two charming daughters, Lee and Anna. Clara and I have known each other for eons. I watched Lee and Anna grow up. Then they all watched TLC grow up. We had decided months ago that, when the movie, The Help, finally opened, the five of us would go see it together. I’d read the book last summer and had encouraged these four gals to read it, too. They did. We were like kids anticipating Christmas!

The movie had been out for almost three weeks before we could get our schedules in sync. I went to town and picked Clara and Anna up. Then we went to Lee’s home, thirty-ish miles away, to fetch her. We met TLC at the Movie Tavern on 7th Street in Ft.Worth. We’d heard nothing but good things about this movie. From real people. Not professional critics. I don’t know about y’all, but I like to listen to my friends’ opinions or judge a movie for myself. Call me cRaZy.

Once settled in our comfy, rockin’ seats (they literally rocked), we got the requisite popcorn and Coke Zeroes (Anna’s fav). We muddled through an eternity of previews, although I’m happy to report we actually enjoyed the majority of them.

Finally, The Help. Over the next two hours, we cherished every second of this masterpiece. No, we didn’t enjoy the inhumanity, insanity and cruelty. It’s unbelievable—and, yet, we know it happened. Still, we marveled at the way it was portrayed on the big screen. In our humble opinions, each actor was PERFECT for her (or his) role. The “look” of the film (is that the cinematography or production design?—not sure of the exact lingo) was amazing. We were there—with the characters—in the 60s.

We’d been advised to take lots o’ tissues. I passed them out when we sat down. We cried. Laughed. Smiled. Frowned. Cringed. Giggled. Shuddered. Laughed some more. Cried some more.

My question: How are any of us ever going to like Bryce Dallas Howard again? How? She made us despise Hilly even more than we did while reading the book. (I’ve been down this road before. After Fatal Attraction, I never could enjoy Michael Douglas movies—or even Glenn Close’s. In fact, I totally avoided seeing movies they were in. I couldn’t forget how despicable he was/how evil she was in that chilling movie. Yes, I get it. That’s simply how fantastic they were/are as actors. Still… my anger at their characters is burned into my brain forever.)

At the end of the movie, the five of us headed to Tillman’s Roadhouse—TLC’s and my most favourite (fancy spelling) Ft. Worth restaurant. It’s across the street from the Movie Tavern. If you’ve never been, and you live anywhere close by, you must make a reservation asap! The food, service, décor, ambience—all exquisitely fabulous. And very reasonable.

Of course we discussed, at great length and over our two-hour lunch, everything about the movie. We had several questions for each other. We tried to remember where the movie had veered off from the book. It seems too short of a time frame to present such a complicated story. We all agreed, though, that they did a superbly excellent job at condensing and adapting it to the screen.

If you haven’t read the book, you really should. Then go see the movie. It’ll touch your heart and make you so mad your face will sting with heat, your hands will shake, you’ll want to punch a few peeps out (mostly Hilly) and you’ll cry (or, as in my case, sob). You’ll be tres relieved when you get to laugh—which, gratefully, is often. It’ll embarrass you—inspire you—hurt you—transform you. If it doesn’t—well, something will be wrong. Just sayin'.

The Fab Five have decided to make this a semi-annual tradition. Clearly we can’t go see The Help each time—(or, could we?). But we’re certain there will be other kind/smart/important movies (if you don’t get this reference, you’re behind—catch up!) and memories.

Faretheewell . . .

Sunday, September 4, 2011

As The Years Fly By . . .

Friday was our 33rd wedding anniversary! Hubby and I welcomed TLC home that night for a holiday weekend visit. Her Hubby had gone bird hunting with Prince Henry. She is always the perfect gift for all of our celebrations.

There are so many songs on my iPod that make me think of my Sweet Man and our life together. But this song, by one of my most all-time favorite singers ever, Martina McBride, feels as though it was written about the two of us, specifically. Please enjoy this American poetry:

All The Things We’ve Never Done
By Craig Bickhardt and Jeff Pennig

They drank their anniversary glass
A silent moment passed
Then they kissed
She knows there’s something on his mind
He’ll tell her in due time
What it is

He says, “I’ve never built
Your mansion on a hill
Or warmed you in the Spanish sun
I simply blink my eye
And think as years fly by
Of all the things we’ve never done”

She smiles and takes his hand in hers
And says, “It just occurred
To me now
The thought that brings you such regret
What hasn’t happened yet
It makes me proud... “

“You never walked away
When I needed you to stay
Or made me feel I’m not the one
There’ve been no broken vows
And the reason we’re here now
Is all the things we’ve never done”

“We’ve never grown apart
You never broke my heart
With secrets that you’ve kept me from
We’ve never been untrue
And I’m still here with you
Through all the things we’ve never done.”

From the first time I heard this song until this exact moment, I cannot listen to the words without getting teary. (I’ve now discovered I can’t type the words without putting my head on my desk and crying.)

My Husband was my fate. I knew it almost from the moment we met. After I got a B.B.A. in 1976, I landed a job working for his best friend in 1977. Matlock introduced us. (And, in a “full circle” kind of way, he officiated TLC’s wedding 31 ½ years later.) Hubby had four sons—from the ages of 2 to 12—and they became my instant family the day we married at a tiny Episcopal Church in a small Texas town. My step-sons are good men, good brothers to TLC and wonderful fathers.

September 2, 1978
Our Reception was held at our first home.
All of the photos were taken by friends.
We didn't have an "official" photographer.

Me and one of my most cherished friends from college, Lizzie.

Hubby made sure we had the chance to have (click on the link!) our own child and I had complete faith God would bless him with a daughter. Ten years later, he supported me every single second during (click on the link!) my breast cancer.

I went completely deaf in my left ear almost three years ago. Suddenly and unexpectedly. I still grieve—too often. I’m profoundly grateful I didn’t lose my right ear; however, I’m not going to lie—I struggle. I get angry. I feel guilty. Hubby patiently sympathizes with me when I feel sorry for myself. His unconditional love gives me strength I’m fairly certain I don’t deserve.

In 33 years, I’ve dented and torn up countless cars/trucks/SUVs. We hadn’t been married a year when I backed my Blazer into his Monte Carlo. Yep, I did. In our driveway. I don’t cook very often (but have I ever mentioned what a FABULOUS Cook/Chef/Dutch Oven and BBQ King he is?). I make him watch too many chick flicks. I don’t like to fish—or go camping. I don’t play golf. I complain when we have to stop at Lowe’s, but constantly ask him, after being in Target for an hour, “Just twenty more minutes, okay?” I get cranky and whiny too often. For the 34 years I’ve been honored to share his life, he’s made me laugh harder than anyone else on Earth. He puts up with my quirks and shenanigans. He calms my fears and encourages me to search for my happiness and peace. He’s smart, handsome (oh, those Sean Connery eyes), wise, kind, funny (VERY), sweet. Beyond dependable. Yet full of silly.

Most of all, he’s “NEVER walked away when I needed" him to stay.

Happy Anniversary, JTC… I can’t wait to celebrate our 50th (yes, you’ll be 84—and still the Best Person I’ll Have Ever Known.)

All my love, always…