It's been a fractured, trying day. I am trying to maintain calm. I am trying to find my Happy Place. I am trying to take time to be in the moment, listening to the birds, feeling the breeze wafting in the window, being still....
Who am I kidding?! That's not me. Not today. I wish.
I heard a job I'd wanted was filled within 24 hours of me hearing about it.
I went to meet a guy about a writing job, and he didn't show up. We traded a bunch of emails, and he didn't show up. BAD MANNERS.
I sat at Barnes & Noble in Dunwoody for 45 minutes, sipping my tea, trying to read a book. He didn't show.
When I got home, Michael had just gotten home from school. I told him what happened. He offered to punch the guy out. I said you know, his website very carefully has NO phone number or email contact information for him. Hmmmm....
I also explained to Michael we don't punch people out for having bad manners. We try to just let karma handle the idiots.
So on the way home, I must confess, I was near Alon's bakery. It's really more a gourmet food shop. I rationalized stopping there because OK, we did actually need a loaf of bread. A loaf of sourdough bread made this morning.
So while it's being sliced I go wandering around, looking here and there, thinking, I could make ALL this stuff a whole lot cheaper than this. $2 for a slice of cake?!? Get OUT.
Then, the danger zone. Yes, the cheese counter beckoned to me. The cheese called me. Dee, come try us, try us, try us, COME ON YOU KNOW YOU CAN'T RESIST!
So yeah, I had to sample some.
I sampled what looked like brie. I don't much like brie so I figured I was safe.
Here's what Wikipedia said about this cheese - since everything else was in French -
It is a triple creamBrie that is luscious, creamy and faintly sour. It goes well with medjool dates and also champagne. Pairing with red wines is difficult, as any mushroom-like notes or "moldy" taste will bring out the tannins of the wine. Brillat Savarin is also quite salty when ripe, which may disturb the taste of red wine. It does pair well with Pale Ale. The carbonation wipes the fattiness from the palate and the malts enhance the creaminess of the cheese.
As I tasted the tiny sample on the Barbie-sized spoon I thought to myself, This is what cheese tastes like in heaven!!!
I came home and slathered it on the bread and Michael and I ate the Cheese from Heaven and everything was all right, even though I'd been stood up and he had a crummy day, it was OK because...
Michael is 17 and I sometimes forget he is likely still growing. He goes through phases. Sometimes he will eat very little for days. Then... he turns into an eating machine.
On Monday night, he ate a chicken pot pie. Then over the course of the next few hours he ate 4 bananas and some ice cream.
Yesterday was exceptionally cold. Weirdly cold spring day.
Michael came home from school, and ate a large bagel I had bought him.
We had to go to the drugstore. Somewhere in there he ate a Little Debbie Honey Bun. Or three.
He came back and went out to ride his bike before dinner. Wearing two shirts and lord knows how many pairs of pants.
He was late getting home for dinner and I was quite ticked. However, he ate a big piece of poached salmon and a big helping of mashed potatoes, and a little creamed spinach. And possibly a Honey Bun when I wasn't looking.
An hour goes by and we are watching a movie. Suddenly, he eats a Klondike bar and half a big bag of potato chips.
He doesn't give Lola any chips. She is disgusted. She usually gets a chip, or three.
This morning I figured he wouldn't be all that hungry, since he ate so much yesterday. Hahaha! Silly, delusional me.
I fixed him a fried egg and a piece of toast. He ate the egg carefully and used the toast to sop up the yolk. Lola observed this with great disgust. (Cleaning up eggy plates is actually her job...)
I reminded him that we needed to get in the car and go to school. He said he was still hungry.
He ate three more pieces of toast, slathered with Nutella. One he ate while at the kitchen counter. The other two, I put in a napkin. I told him he'd have to come get IN the CAR before he'd get to eat them.
We get in the car to go to school. He puts on his prosthetic, eats the Nutella toasts, and pulls an apple out of his pocket - all this in the space of about 5 minutes.
He proceeds to eat the entire apple - including seeds and core. He may have eaten the stem, too. Not sure. Russians don't waste any part of the apple, y'all.
Now I am pondering what to make for dinner. I am thinking about going to the farmer's market and getting him some pilmeni [Russian ravioli type dumpling]. He can eat a plate of pilmeni that would choke a horse.
Or.... an entire chicken? An entire cake??
An entire box of Honey Buns.... or three?!?
He's already far taller than I am.
If he falls asleep on the couch tonight while we are watching a movie I will know... he is definitely growing..
photo by Mark Embry [I just love that the dogwoods are in bloom right now]
I wish there were something interesting or provocative to blog about but it's a pretty quiet day here at the hacienda.
Outside, it's INCREDIBLY windy and chilly, for April in Atlanta. The high today is 48 and tonight it's going down to 33. Hopefully my plants will be OK. Tomorrow it will be sunny and 60.
There were people on Facebook complaining about the cold and snowy weather and I was all.... really? you live in upstate New York and you're surprised when it's cold in April? Isn't it cold.... 9 months of the year there?!?!
I had a will signing last night, so dinner was chicken pot pies. Not a stellar homemaking moment, but Mom said she likes them and I know Michael does. I was hungry enough that I didn't care what I was eating.
I had to run errands a little while ago and I made the mistake of dropping off some bills in the outside mailbox of the post office on the corner of Briarcliff and Clairmont. WHOA! It's April 15th, IDIOT, I thought to myself. I thought I'd never get out of there.
Way to wait til the last minute, folks...
I really enjoyed and savored reading an article in the Bitter Southerner this morning, about a program at Auburn to create affordable housing for the poor. You can read it here.
That's about all I know...
my side garden - eggplants, peppers, cucumbers, beans, squash, and one tomato plant!
I am sitting here waiting for the rains that are predicted, happy to see my plants watered in. I planted 6 tomato plants over the weekend and I have more to go in the ground as soon as the seedings get a bit bigger and stronger.
I also planted green beans, eggplant, cucumbers, squash, and peppers.
The big news, though, is thatMike completed his lifeguard certification!!
I am so proud of him!
I was on pins and needles all afternoon yesterday, waiting to hear how the testing went. He had a written test, plus pool rescue tests, plus CPR testing. It was a long day with 16 kids going through all that. BUT - now that he has passed the test, he has a job at the pool this summer, and that's a great thing.
Then we had to go to Kroger, so he didn't get to rest.
He realizes that now he can save someone's life. What an awesome accomplishment.
I invited his friend Bart over to eat dinner with us, and he and Mike played ping pong for a long time before dinner.
I fixed steaks, mashed potatoes, roasted asparagus, and pecan pie and ice cream for dessert. It was all good.
Bart doesn't like mashed potatoes. I was astonished. I've never met anyone who didn't like mashed potatoes. Wow. He did try some asparagus, though, and I give him credit for that.
So.... I fixed potato pancakes for Mike for breakfast.
this was made several years ago, and it's one of my all-time fave photos of Michael
Today is Palm Sunday. I remember as a child being fascinated by the actual palm fronds we always got in church. They seemed so foreign, and yet there were/are palm trees in Augusta.
When I was little, going to a "high church" Episcopal Church, Good Shepherd, I had no idea that for the rest of my life, I would measure every church by the standard set by Good Shepherd.
I used to hate it when my mother sang in the choir and we had to sit with just Dad. That's probably why I have not wanted to sing in a church choir since I became a mom.
As a small child, church was a place filled with mystery and solemnity. My parents took it seriously. We had to wear head coverings - Mother always had a spare doily in her purse for me in case I forgot one. Grownups didn't eat until after communion.
God was a mysterious figure, and he was watching me. Like Santa. I was a bit afraid of him.
By the time we moved to Knoxville and I hit high school age, church, for me, became a much more friendly place. We went to a tiny church just outside our neighborhood, Good Samaritan, and I liked being an acolyte and doing youth group activities. The priest there through my high school years gave rambling, semi-incoherent sermons. I didn't care. Most sermons in the Episcopal church [in my experience] are a bit dry and boring. Academic.
There's no "altar call." I had never heard that term until I was grown.
We like ritual. I know pretty much the entire service by heart.
We don't ever ask anybody if they've been "saved." I never heard that term until I was a teenager and some Baptist kid asked me that. I had no idea what to say.
Now, I would probably just say "Yep." I hate getting into theological arguments. I had a long and tortured debate once with a guy I was dating who tried to tell me I wasn't saved because I hadn't "accepted Jesus into my heart." I challenged him to come up with a definition of that, and he couldn't. He got so befuddled, he started spitting and sputtering, furious with me.
In the Episcopal Church we try to suggest a spiritual journey, give you some ideas to chew on, and let you figure it out for yourself. We don't demand that anyone espouse a particular "saved" type of theology. However, we say this [the Nicene Creed] every single Sunday, the entire congregation, as one:
WE BELIEVE in one God, the Father, the Almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all that is, seen and unseen.
We believe in one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of the Father, God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, of one Being with the Father. Through him all things were made.
For us and for our salvation he came down from heaven: by the power of the Holy Spirit he became incarnate from the Virgin Mary, and was made man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate; he suffered death and was buried. On the third day he rose again in accordance with the Scriptures; he ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead, and his kingdom will have no end.
We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son. With the Father and the Son he is worshiped and glorified. He has spoken through the Prophets. We believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. We acknowledge one baptism for the forgiveness of sins. We look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come.
This is what we believe. If you're new, if you can't quite believe it, keep coming to church and let's talk, you'd be told by a clergyman [or woman]. Let's help you figure it out. It's more of an intellecual exercise than an emotional one.
I asked Mother once why she and Dad left the Baptist Church and she said they wanted a more intellectual church experience, not one based on emotion. I had to give that some thought before I truly understood what she was saying.
I have come to the conclusion that, in my mind, to be "saved" is to understand and accept the message of Jesus, and it boils down to one word: LOVE. Anything that separates us from each other - race, nationality, class, education, income - isn't aligned with the message. Jesus never said "Only love other Christians who say they are saved and go to your church." He said "Love your neighbor." Your neighbor can be anybody and/or everybody.
“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” (Matthew 22:36-40)
I feel like the first commandment is to be interpreted broadly - in my mind, God is love, so love the idea of loving each other. It's a circular argument, but it works for me.
I always liked Louisa May Alcott. I read Little Women and all the subsequent books [Little Men, etc.] by the time I was about 12. I wanted to be Jo March. I suspect every smart girl who is something of a tomboy and loves to flout convention would feel that way.
However, I was sad to stumble across this quote:
"The mere possession of a gun is, in itself, an urge to kill, not only by design, but by accident, by madness, by fright, by bravado." Louisa May Alcott
This explains, in a nutshell, why so many liberals want to remove every gun from every home in America. They think the mere possession of a firearm is a sign that the owner is crazy.
I take issue with that.
I had a .38 pistol for many years, loaded with hollow points. It stayed in a shoebox under my bed. My brother, an Army officer, gave it to me for protection. I fired it a few times at a range but I never used it otherwise. I never had the urge to go out and kill anything.
I did, on a couple of occasions, hear scary things in the middle of the night, and I was glad to have my pistol available.
As soon as I adopted my daughter, I gave the pistol back to my brother. I then put a baseball bat right by my front door. I bought pepper spray. I was still interested in protection, but I feared having a gun in the house with children, because I didn't have a gun safe.
I grew up with a father who loved to go hunting, and he collected rifles, pistols, all kinds of firearms.
He never, in his entire life, shot another human being. He was glad to have guns for protection, however. In the summer of 1970 when there were race riots all over Augusta, shots were fired into our house. There were gang members in cars going through the white neighborhoods and firing into the houses. Dad grabbed me and my brother and put us in front of the fireplace, and he grabbed a gun. If they had decided to come inside and harm us, he would have been able to defend himself.
Thank God he had a pistol that night. He was ready and able to defend his family, a right all Americans have.
However, Dad was a fanatic about gun safety and he passed that on to my brother and me. Dad always impressed upon me the fact that if I ever touched a firearm in the house I'd be spanked. I knew that from day one - I've never not known it.
I never liked to be around when Dad or Bruce came home after hunting. I didn't like to see dead birds.
I am not a violent person.
However, if someone was trying to hurt one of my kids and there was no other way, I might be brave enough to shoot them. I hope I am never confronted with that scenario. However, I am the child of warriors. People in my family have fought in every war in the USA, including the American Revolution. I like to think because their blood is in me that I could do whatever I had to do to protect myself and my family.
My grandmother Wilma Butler Hasty was a brave little woman [4'10] and she hit what she aimed at, with her shotgun. Many times she drove all over this country with a hamper full of food, one or all of her kids, and a loaded pistol in case there was trouble.
Here in the South, guns are a part of life. Are we therefore prone to crazy violence? I don't think so. Anyone who really thinks that is likely not the child of a hunter.
In the South, we are raised to respect guns, and what they can do.
Gun accidents happen because people are stupid and don't secure their guns. Children are experts at finding things tucked away in drawers, etc. In my house, guns were always in a locked cabinet and I was unable to get them out and play with them, even if I'd wanted to - that should be mandatory for ALL gun owners, IMHO, a locked gun safe.
My personal opinion is that the Second Amendment gives Americans the right to bear arms because the founding fathers knew if we didn't have that right, a tyrant could rise up and control us. They had had enough of European tyrants like George III.
I have read that the reason America wasn't invaded in World War II is that the Germans and Japanese knew that most American homes had a gun in them. There would be armed resistance. They didn't want to chance it.
I want to make it clear, however, that I am in favor of a lot of gun control measures. Yes, people should have a permit to carry concealed. Gun owners should register their firearms. Absolutely. Nobody needs an assault rifle simply for home protection. However...
If New York and California want to decide that their states are Gun Free Zones, my opinion is they should do that. Put up big signs everywhere. Warn anyone trying to carry a gun that they won't be tolerated.
The result of that will be that they will be declaring their states a target rich environment for every crazy in the world. The theater in Aurora Colorado where the madman opened fire a few years ago? That was a Gun Free Zone.
Here's what my friend Larry Correia has to say about Gun Free Zones:
Gun Free Zones are hunting preserves for innocent people. Period.
Think about it. You are a violent, homicidal madman, looking to make a statement and hoping to go from disaffected loser to most famous person in the world. The best way to accomplish your goals is to kill a whole bunch of people. So where’s the best place to go shoot all these people? Obviously, it is someplace where nobody can shoot back.
In all honesty I have no respect for anybody who believes Gun Free Zones actually work. You are going to commit several hundred felonies, up to and including mass murder, and you are going to refrain because there is a sign? That No Guns Allowed sign is not a cross that wards off vampires. It is wishful thinking, and really pathetic wishful thinking at that.
The only people who obey No Guns signs are people who obey the law. People who obey the law aren’t going on rampages.
One final thought. My brother works for a store that sells guns. He also teaches people to shoot. After the Sandy Hook school shooting, gun sales SKYROCKETED. The shelves were emptied within days. You couldn't buy ammunition. Why?
Everyone feared that the backlash would be phenomenal, considering the current administration's stand on gun control.
Suddenly there were senators blabbing on and on about what guns needed to be banned - because they looked scary. These were people who had no knowledge whatsoever of firearms.
But.... I am a happy camper about that because it told me one simple truth. The Second Amendment is alive and well and no matter what the idiots in Washington say or do, we will not be disarmed.
We are not crazy. We are just trying to protect ourselves and our families.
My son just went to Six Flags. His Spring Break has been all about studying for his lifeguard certification, and not a whole lot of fun. So I am glad he got to do something fun today.
I spent some time with him yesterday, going over the stuff in the lifeguard handbook. He seems to know it.
I know far more about blood-borne pathogens than I ever wanted to know. Oh well.
When I was a kid and taking first aid classes, we gave mouth-to-mouth. Nowadays, you have to put a weird looking thing over the victim's mouth in case they have a disease. Wow.
The book also talks about legal consent for assisting someone in an emergency. So lawyers wrote a bit of the manual.
That got me thinking to how to world has changed since I was 17.
I never heard the phrase "Lawyer up" until I was grown.
I never wore a bike helmet.
I never used hand sanitizer, but Mom always carried Handi-Wipes in her purse.
I never called a grownup anything but "Mr./Mrs./Miss" unless they gave me permission, and even then it felt weird.
Everything sent home by the school was in one language, English. Everyone I knew had parents at home that spoke English, even the immigrant families in our neighborhood.
I feel kinda bad about not being able to go on a beach trip over spring break. I don't think we did that but a few times when I was a kid. I never really cared. Michael hasn't said a word about it.
If you had told me when I was 17 that my 17 year old children would have cell phones, I would've laughed. A tiny computer you can hold in your hand? That also takes photos and gives you directions and is a stopwatch, etc etc.??! Bull****!
I rode a bike everywhere and I expected that sometimes there would be steep hills and I'd have to just walk. Michael was at a friend's house yesterday and failed to allow enough time to get home for dinner. He kept texting me saying "I have to WALK the bike!" - like it was some great tragedy. Then he got home and complained bitterly about being tired. I was glad I encouraged him to bike and not drive but wow, didn't expect all that whining...
As a teenager, I woke up every morning to my dad throwing the door to my room open, flipping on the lights, and bellowing "BOOTS IN SADDLES 6 AM!!!" On weekends, he was more subtle. He said "Sleep as late as you want!" the night before, and then mowed the lawn or weed whacked right outside my bedroom window. At 7 a.m.
I wake Michael by turning on the light and patting his leg and saying "Time to get up Sweetie!" Then I repeat that phrase every 5 minutes for the next 20 minutes. Finally, he drags himself out of the bed, when he hears the note of panic in my voice. I wait patiently while he showers for a half hour and then complains when the water gets cold. Then I have to beg him to eat breakfast, about half the time.
Dad would've said "Get up and get your breakfast or you can WALK to school." He didn't believe in coddling his kids.
Ironically, whenever my brother asks Michael to do something, it's done instantly, no questions asked.
Michael has probably two dozen pairs of shorts and a dozen pairs of long pants, and maybe 20-35 shirts. (I have a generous cousin who sends her son's hand-me-downs.) I had maybe 2-3 pairs of jeans, a few shirts, and a couple of church outfits, at any given time when I was a teenager.
I have to harass Michael to wear sunscreen. When I was a teen my mother said "Wear Sea & Ski or you'll burn." That was it. If we burned, oops, too bad. Take an aspirin and put some lotion on it and quit whining.
[Michael is a really good kid, BTW, don't mean to imply otherwise... I just think it's interesting to note how things have changed...]
We didn't have a microwave oven until I was a freshman in college. That first one was as big as a VW and had a 500 page manual. Only Mother read it. The rest of us just cooked everything into rubber until we learned better.
My dad bought his first riding lawn mower after Bruce went to college. Bruce was always a little bitter about that...
Fast food was a treat we seldom had. Dinner was on the table, cooked from scratch, every night, and we ate as a family. Activities were not allowed to interfere.
We had to taste everything, at least one bite. We also had to ask permission to leave the table, and put our dishes in the sink. Bruce and I took turns doing the dishes after dinner.
I remember learning about a game called "soccer" when I was in high school and thinking, "You can't use your hands?! This will never catch on!"
I didn't realize it until years later when I saw it on a colorful cocktail napkin, but this was the actual law in our house, as it should have been:
There are some funny ads on Craigslist. I was reading job ads under the Writer category and stumbled across an ad by a guy named Steven who SAID he wanted help writing a Match.com profile. He insisted the folks helping him should be attractive females - what that has to do with writing skills, I don't know. So I responded to his ad with my reply below, on behalf of Lola, who is the lovely young female in our house at the moment.
Hi Steven! My name is Lola. I was so happy to see your ad. I am very discerning when it comes to the guys I want to go out with. I prefer guys that smell like steak, but if you are a cute vegetarian and like long walks, I might consider you. I attached the photo you requested, and another one that's a little naughty but shows off my cute bod.
I am sort of puzzled why you'd want to see a photo of a gal when all you want her to do is evaluate your Match.com profile and help you write, but hey, I'm game!
So, to address your requirements: You must be single -- YEP! no boyfriends at the moment
Caucasian-- actually, I am a tri-color! Once you go Tri, you never go back!
Attractive -- I am often told I am beautiful! I have dramatic eye makeup and black lips!
Enjoy the company of men -- yes! men tend to take me on longer walks!
Between the ages of 30 and 45 --I am not sure exactly how old I am but what is age anyway?! It's just a number! Two year olds have more fun!
You must be comfortable with your own sexuality -- absolutely! Plus, I've been spayed so I can have LOTS of fun!
Have enjoyed dating before -- I've sniffed some butts of some mighty cute males...
Have a good sense of humor -- of course! You should see mom shriek when I drool on her new shirt!
And obviously have ample reading comprehension skills -- well, picky picky. I am illiterate, but hey, Mom likes to read to me.
STEVEN: If you've read this far you are a good sport. I have three pieces of advice. One, you obviously are a decent writer. The first two paragraphs of the Craigslist ad will attract quality ladies. Two, don't use the words "healthy" and "attractive." Those are code for "no fat chicks." If a woman responds and you don't like her photo, skip to the next lady.
Finally, there are lots of ways to mingle with singles in the Atlanta area. There is a group called Events and Adventures. There are mega churches with singles groups. Volunteering is good too. Get out and meet people everywhere, even old ladies like me - we often have cute nieces/neighbors/friends, etc.
I hate turning corners in my life because it means something is ending and something else is beginning, but corners are inevitable.
Sometimes one has to also leave a situation that simply isn't working.
So the job I thought was going to work out simply didn't. Best to know that early on and just call it a day. I won't go into more here, but suffice to say I am re-starting the job hunt, a little bit wiser.
God has something else in mind for me, and I will figure it out.