Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Price of Eggs in China

I am tired of wet weather. I am tired of cold weather. May is almost here and it is raining and in the 60's. Am I not living right or should I be gathering supplies and looking up the actual size of a cubic?

I'm not very religious nor am I a very good swimmer. If this is a hint that floods are nigh that will engulf the world, I have seen the movie and read all about this in Sunday School. And as best I recall I am not going to have a ticket on the ark so I better be making an alternative plan.

I cannot decide it this weather is result of El Niño getting screwed up, global warming, the moon being in the seventh house, or my storying to my mother when I was twelve about not making up my bed. Whatever the case, something is up. By this time in May every spring we were going barefooted. Now I am still sleeping in socks.

Of course I know in August I will be complaining about the heat and praying for a cool rainy day. I have always had a short memory when it came to weather. But Randy Travis always said it so well in 'Forever and Ever, Amen, ". . . until old men stop talking 'bout the weather and old women stop talking 'bout old men."

And if we didn't complain about the weather, what would we discuss? The price of eggs in China? The ups and downs of the wrong side of the bed and brass tacks? Sleeping dogs, bagged cats, and headless chickens?

Monday, April 28, 2014


Once again I have not dropped off the face of the earth. I have had a trip planned to Virginia for a month or two for a surprise party for a comrade's 60th birthday. Last Monday I learned that my friend (the party's hostess) I was going to be staying with had managed to have an encounter with her Maltese, Frankie, a wet floor, and a wall. My friend came out with a broken wrist. 

That being the case my Friday trip to Virginia was moved up to Monday. I love Virginia and the countryside in the area around the James River in Richmond in the spring is hard to beat. This week we have been running errands, cooking, preparing for the party, and socializing with my friends I worked with while I was with the court. Of course there was a Crab Festival to attend Saturday, a command performance - a rough life but some one had to do it.                                                                      But the insult to injury was our friends who showed up from Florida. They have recently sold their home in the Keys, purchased a 40 something long RV that is nicer than my home. Their plan is to travel around the country as they please. We are talking granite kitchen counters and a fireplace. Suddenly sleeping in a tent takes is a whole new thing.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

A Kind Review

OK this is a "Pat yourself on the Back"post but  every once in a while I'm entitled to such. The blog Electively Paige reviews books and I have found it to be a very interesting place to find new reads that one may not otherwise find (such as me). Paige humored me, read my book, and offered the following review, which I most appreciated. She also asked me to provide a guest post. I do not think she exactly knew what to expect with the guest post, but she found it humorous (fancy that). If you get a chance check out her blog. 

Review of Sterling Silver and Dollar Stores
I was really excited to read this memoir! Memoirs are a type of nonfiction that really speaks to me and I more often than not find myself really enjoying them. So, to combine that with the fact that, being a southern girl myself, I also really love reading about life here in the south so a memoir about the life of a southern woman certainly caught my attention. 

This memoir is a lot different than most I've read--it doesn't really go in chronological order. At first, and I'm going to be honest, I was a little put off by that. Then, however, I got to thinking. This book is about the life of a woman through the eyes of her daughter, from a young age. So, of course the author is not going to remember everything in just the right order. So, if she'd attempted to write it chronologically I feel it would be a little stilted, and as I read on I found myself really liking the way that she did write it. Basically, each chapter covered a category(so to speak) and it often contained some sort of wisdom from her mother. Such as the fact that she felt everyone should have a good set of real silver tableware and that you should use it for every meal. Sort of reminded me, in fact, of my grandmother's talk of silver when I was a young girl. Before to long, the author developed a voice that had me getting swept into each chapter's story, I found them to most all be interesting, and the little tidbits within made each one like a little short story.

In this book you get to read through the good times and the bad, about a woman who was so against divorce, but then ended up getting one. About a woman who that, although sometimes she wasn't always in the right frame of mind and didn't always do the absolute right things, really did want the best for her family. I found myself to greatly admire this woman and the daughter that cared enough about her mother to tell the world her story. I highly recommend for fans of a good memoir because, despite being different, I don't think this one will disappoint.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Loosing It

I'm starting to misplace items such as eye glasses, car keys, my cell phone. Now I realize that I am aging I am not in denial, I may not be happy about it but it happens. I find my key fob even more important on those few occasions when I lose my car in the parking lot. The alarm button was certainly put there as a car location device for those of us who remember watching My Three Sons or My Mother the Car. I digress.

Yesterday I started getting very concerned that perhaps I was in the early stages of dementia. My life is not so busy that I have an excuse for misplacing items I use daily. Maybe that little gold evening bag I use once every other year when I get to dress up and go some place fancy but certainly not my reading glasses that I often find on my head.

In today's world when Amazon knows my favorite color, Google can predict what I am thinking, my cell phone can always reveal my location, and it is impossible to escape the grid, perhaps misplacing my keys should upset me. But then a good sized country in the South China Sea can lose a Boeing 777 with almost 300 souls on it.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Chapter 33

From Chapter  33 - "I Never Got the Merit Badge"

(This is the latter part of  Chapter 33 from my new book on weddings - telling of some of the trials and tribulations of planning my daughter's wedding.)

       I never saw a merit badge on Wedding Planning when I was Girl Scout and my sash was filled with a plethora of badges ranging from First Aide to Camping to Forestry to Recycling. I was prepared for the gown, the invitations, the cake, and those matters. However, no one prepared me for the onslaught of issues that require copious quantities of drugs and alcohol to handle.  
       Linens - white or ivory? A runner? And, what color?Should it be satin or organza? What size stage does the band need? And, the dance floor?
      The venue needs another check. I have already paid them. A set-up fee? That wasn't in the contract. Oh, we can pay it or set-up the tables and chairs ourselves. That doesn't look like an option. And, the bakery wants $250 just to deliver the cake? I'm not sure my wedding dress cost that much. On second thought, isn't a wedding cake so over rated anyway?
     Do we want a golf cart to carry our guests from the polo field to the lawn? No, our guests can walk and enjoy the lovely grounds. Do we need one? No. What if  . . ? If something happens, we'll deal with it then. We've checked the guest list and no one is infirm. If someone does something stupid at the rehearsal dinner- they are on their own.
     “We” (the venue of the wedding and reception) did tell you that the street address on our website is not the correct address for GPS navigation, didn't we?” Oh, Joy! Since the plantation is two miles off the beaten path of the only main road in west Jesus, I guess they can wing it. The invitations have already gone out.
      Oh, and by the way, we did tell all the guests that they cannot get a taxi from the airport in Charleston to the island, the closest hotel is thirty miles from the venue, and to remember to bring mosquito repellent. Perhaps it was best not worry them about the alligators.  But, April would most likely be warm enough for them to be out and about.
      I know these were just the minor details that everyone deals with. But, I had enough trouble finding a dress. No one prepared me for golf carts, GPS coordinates, and runners.

Friday, April 18, 2014

My List Next Time

I keep a running list of things I am going to insist on next time I get married, not that I see a need for that. There is nothing wrong with this marriage. However, my Daddy (and Mrs. Hewitt, my Girl Scout leader) told me to always be prepared. If nothing else it is cathartic. And I say "running" because every once in a while something on my "Next Time" list occurs - miracles do happen.

Now my list does not include anything unreasonable, just a few things that would make my life a little better that I didn't consider asking for 32 years ago. So in my next life when looking for a husband I hope I will find someone who will be:
  • one who was not reared by a southern mother who never made him pick-up his stuff, or worse yet had a housekeeper who adored him,
  • one who understands that "nothing" doesn't mean nothing when given as the answer to the question, "What do you want for your birthday?"
  • one who understands that women do need shoes, lots of shoes and do not need a reason to justify them
  • one who understands that the best answer to the question, "What do you want for dinner?" is not "Oh, I don't care."
  • one who understands that the time to suggest we go out to dinner is before I start cooking
  • one who accepts I cannot make macaroni and cheese like his mother, pound cake like his grandmother, and cheese straws like his dear aunt
  • one who realizes that the sink doesn't wash the dishes, the automatic dishwasher does, but not until the dishes are put in it and it is as easy to put them in the dishwasher as the sink
  • one who realizes that Sams and Costco are to be shopped in moderation, we do not run a small retail market out of our home
  • one who just accepts the fact that the gas tank in my car will be empty every time he decides to drive it 
  • one who can read my mind when I tell him something instead of looking at me as if he did not understand a word I said (or didn't)
  • one who understands I like to use my sterling silver flatware at every meal even when there is veterinary medication, tubs of supplies, and  an empty bird box sitting on the kitchen table
  • and most of all, one willing to put up with all my issues

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Chapter 20

From Chapter  20 - "The Uber List"

(This is the latter part of  Chapter 20 from my new book on weddings - telling of my earlier experience assisting a Mother of the bride put together her guest list which was extensive - to say the least.)
At one point, I had a separate list of names that had been pulled off the main list. This separate list included anyone on death's door, with a terminal disease, with marital problems, in the process of a divorce, or whose house was for sale. The Mother of the Bride was determined that the invitations would be addressed correctly. If parties were separated at the time the invitations were delivered, then they needed to be addressed accordingly. She would not have an invitation sent to someone who had already passed away. That would be most disrespectful to the family. And Lord help us if one was returned because it had been sent to someone's former address.  So for six months I kept up with the obituaries, the MLS, and the local gossip to ensure that list was up-to-date.

And, the names - they had to be complete and correct. She insisted on this to the point that I had a copy of the style manual put together by the corresponding social secretary at the White House which contained the formal way to address everyone from a Four Star General to a Potentate to a Maharajah - should we have one on the list.

I remember one prominent business man always used his middle initial "M" and never his middle name. The Mother of the Bride had me call his office to obtain his middle name so his invitation would be correctly addressed. His assistant told me, as I expected, just to use the initial, that was his preference.  The Mother of the Bride would have none of that and called him herself. After several minutes of polite but emphatic language on her part, the gentleman finally said,"What difference does it make? The invitation is coming to me. If I say 'M' is correct, then by God it's correct." She hung up in defeat.

"Have it his way. But it is not correct. You just cannot address a formal invitation without a full name."

Looking down the list, I cringed. There was the name of a doctor with an initial. I knew him and knew that the initial was not short for anything - it was just a "J". He did not even put a period after it. Amy Vanderbilt did not cover this one, nor did the White House. Before the Mother of the Bride made the call she commented, "You don't suppose he would consider changing it to 'John' would you? That certainly would make my life easier."

Noah - A Movie Review

I am not a Biblical Scholar but I was paying close attention to Mrs. Roberts in Sunday school at church at age twelve when she taught us the story of Noah. She read to us from the King James version of the Bible. Darren Aronofsky takes liberties with his Noah the movie. So if you are going to see this film for religious reasons or to learn how God had Noah build the ark and save all the animals when he flooded the earth, keep in mind the story here plays fast and loose with the facts.

All that said Noah may have been able to save the animals of the world however even Russell Crowe was unable to save this ship. It was in rough seas before the floods came. Spoiler alert, I had issues with a stowaway I do not recall in the scriptures, several of the animals becoming meals during the voyage, mythical transformer like characters, and a few other facts that I felt were questionable.

It is one thing to add a few things to spice up a story, make it more interesting to keep a story going through a dull time or to explain something that isn't clear in the story. However don't add these created bits and pieces as fairly important parts of the plot.

The cast was adequate but struggled like the screen play to save the ship. The bright spot was Emma Watson. She was able to use her talents to make her character seem more relevant, not that she was more important, but while everyone else seemed burdened by their roles she rose above the weight. The problems were not due to lack of talent, rather lack of story and dialogue.

We stayed for the entire film, although in retrospect I'm not sure why. Perhaps we thought all would be revealed in the end. After 138 minutes however I felt like as if  was drowning and needed some fresh air.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Chapter 2

Just an excerpt from the new book on weddings. This is from  Chapter 2- "It's a Girl", and comes from the end of the chapter:


Every time I brought someone home, if she {Mama} liked him, no doubt in her mind, she was sizing him up for a tuxedo. Only to have her hopes dashed later when we broke up.

Of course by this time, she already had the florist selected, the Bridal Shop in mind, a sample kit from the engraver on her desk, the bakery, and, I swear, a list of available dates from the Country Club. All she needed were those words all southern mother's live for, "Mama, I'm engaged". And, then the game was afoot.

As I said, this is a competitive sport. First, spot out the competition - who were the other Brides for the season? And, which brides were members of our church. There was a push to set the date, book the church, lock in the Country Club, engage the florist, and most importantly, make sure we got the best Bridal Director in town secured for our date. Once I learned, the Bridal Director ran interference between my mother and me, she became my new best friend.

At this point, it was no longer my wedding, like I was under the delusion it ever was to begin with. My mother  started - "Oh, Julia had shrimp at the reception, I think we need to add that to the menu, but, God, those colors she used were ghastly." 
       "Can you believe that Charlotte had to have her reception in the church hall, her mother should have known to book the Country Club early." 
       "Oh, and I am disgusted with Mary Louise. She had the audacity to get Jerry (the florist) engaged for your date, even though we discussed that at bridge. I told her I planned to use Jerry." (All's fair in love, war and planning a wedding.) 
     "And those white flowers at Linda's wedding, 
why it looked like a funeral."

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Jungle Gardenia and the French Revolution

It is time for spring, well at least the calendar says so. I found some lovely gardenia bushes for sale yesterday. Next to magnolias I'm not sure if gardenias are not my favorite southern plant. Little can be compared to the thick scent of a gardenia blossom that lingers heavy in the summer evening air.

My daddy was quite the gardener and we had three gardenia bushes, each on a corner of our house. Unlike roses that one sometimes needs to lean over to enjoy the lovely aroma, a gardenia spreads its fragrance far and wide. Smells bring back so many memories for me and this blossom is rich in those memories.

One of my Mama's favorite perfumes was Jungle Gardenia, a fragrance that dates back to 1933. Daddy carried it in his drug store for her. I can remember the square bottle with the picture of the white gardenia blossom with its deep green leaves on the label.

Funny, I cannot remember much about the French Revolution, even though my brain was much more developed when I studied that in a college European history course. Yet, the fragrance of this blossom reminds me of the exact location of the bushes in our yard 45 years ago and what was on the label of my Mama's favorite perfume bottle that sat on her dresser when I was a child. 

Say what they will, a southern girl must have her priorities in line. Marie Antoinette would have never made it down here. After all, we would never just say "Let them eat cake." (See where that got her.) We would at least ask them in, offer them a piece of cake and a glass of tea and suggest they sit a spell. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Holding On To Some Grace

Well I guess the Room Formerly Known as my Dining Room will officially be known now as "What Used to Be My Dining Room". My lovely dining room furniture came from my dear Aunt Kat. And, since our oldest daughter is named after her, I always told her, this will yours someday. You know what you tell little girls - when you grow up and have a house of your own, you can have this. Now when they are seven years old that seems light years away.

However, when they grow up, get married, have a lovely home larger than yours, with an empty dining room then it is hard not to say, "Don't you want this dining room furniture now?" And the fact that it is currently pushed in a corner and I know I will never (at least in this house) have room to use it, makes that the reasonable thing to do.

So we are preparing to move the last of my dining room furniture out of that room. And since the china cabinet is part of that set, my fine china and crystal will have to be carefully boxed up to store it safely. Given there will be nothing left in that room that will give it any resemblance of a dining room then it is official. I feel as if I should hold a wake or some other service to mourn the passing of the room. I guess I could serve wine and other beverages in solo cups and meat and cheeses on paper plates since my fine china and crystal will be stored. At least I still have my sterling flatware and linen napkins. After all a southern girl must hold on to something civilized.

Although I will admit last night we had black eyed peas and I served it with hot chow chow as I always do. With the chow chow I had my sterling silver relish spoon (yes the Victorians had such a thing that could be found in most sterling patterns). A comment was made that using a sterling spoon to serve a hot pickled relish from a jar was the height of absurdity. Say as you must, I'll hold on to the few elements of grace I still can.