Sunday, March 28, 2010

Raindrop on Roses & Whiskers on Kittens...

What a good way to start the week….blogging in my best fashion, when I have a bazillion things to attend to in the sewing room, the dishes that are about to fall out of the sink, etc. You know the normal. However, I must say that other than all of that, my house is spotless (except for the master bedroom and bath, but we will get to all that later). I hosted a baby shower for a great friend yesterday, and sometimes there is nothing like having an event to kick your booty into gear to get your house clean. And by clean I mean the kind of clean for other people to come over, not just for you. You know, the baseboards, dusting, polishing our poor bare, non-sealed hardwoods. Bleaching the bathroom floors, moving the sofas to actually vacuum under them, what a novel idea, right? It is hard, hard work…but oh so worth it in the end. Although I know and am having a hard time accepting that my two days of cleaning will be null and void in a few hours. In fact, maybe already since the bathroom reno is still in process and that dust…oh it is everywhere. From sawdust to the super-fine, super-annoying sheet-rock dust, grrrrr.

But, raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens….things that made someone happy. I personally don’t like roses, but I happen to LOVE kittens (especially when they run sideways all crab-like) but I found some other things that make me happy and I though I’d share. I forgot how much I love fresh flowers in the house. They make me smile.

I found these branches/sticks/twigs on a tree that I loved (bare with me, I am a mom not an arborist…I have no clue what they are called) and I did something that would make my mom proud. I pulled the car over to the side of the road and stole some twigs/branches/sticks off of the trees to put in my house. Then later, when I realized how much I loved them…I got my sweet neighbor in cahoots with me and since she had this same tree in her backyard, I had her hang on the branch to weigh it down while I stole more to fill the house. Aren’t they so happy? I have NO clue what they are, but I love the purple color and how it contrasts with all my paint colors so well. Plus, they just make me smile.

Oh my, however did I almost forget….fresh fruit? This is something that is reserved for “special occasions” in our household due to the budget, but I felt Tori’s shower was the perfect occasion. LOVE some fresh fruit. It was one of my favorite (almost up there with the abundance of rum, white sand, sunshine and new hubby) things about Jamaica when we went on our honeymoon. It was everywhere. You could request a fresh fruit smoothie from one of the bars for bfast, and then a few hours later get the same thing with some rum. What a great idea. I think I need to go back there soon.

So, now that I have shared all my fun pictures of things that just make me happy (this gorgeous weather sure helps with the mood too) let me show you the everyday here on Cowan Place. The bathroom. Had you forgotten? Because I hadn’t. Our awesome plumber came out last week and got all the plumbing (well, the beginning parts) done and then the tile guy….remember him, the Crocs-wearing-tile guy that was gonna give us a quote?? Let’s just say what he quoted us was around the same amount I think my parent paid for my first car. And it was just labor. Asinine is what I say. So, we shall do the tiling ourselves. But, it is coming along and I will share some pics with you. Have no fear…we have not found more animal skeletons that I proceed to get too close to to get photos that make all my readers squirm, so these pics are all PG, in fact…they might even be G-rated since you certainly cannot hear the 4-letters that come from me when I realize this dust is going all over my uber-clean house.

Oh well, and then my super sweet Lucy, she makes me happy too. I am just too tired to put her back in the top of the post. So, here she is. Love this doggie/horse. She is the most loyal dog I have ever seen.

Wondering what the sassafras has been up to? Oh, just her usual. I did forget to mention how she helped me clean the other day by running her vacuum in nothing but her Dora panties and her dress up high-heel shoes. Of course my camera batteries were dead at the time, or else you would definitely be seeing those pics, but trust me…it was the cutest sight to see. Gotta love that girl!

Until next time...

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

A Book Report

To my fellow bloggers – have you ever had a post that you couldn’t decide whether or not you wanted to post? I have. I usually blog while I lie awake in bed at night. Once again, this is when I wish that I had a USB cord that connected my brain to my computer so that it would all go in one swift happening. Instead, I lay there….blog and then when I find the time actually get to the computer and blog all over again. But this has been blogged several times in my mind. I even started a draft on the computer, added to it a few times, took away several dozen times and even thought about deleting it for good some times. Wow, whatever am I about to write about? A lot. A whole lot. And nothing to do with my toddler per say or my life or what has happened lately. I will have to say that the lesson learned here will affect my life and how I live it and how I choose to raise my toddler…therefore it kinda fits. You know? Warning – this may be all over the place. Since it has been blogged in segments and I have just no urge to want to sit down and edit and since English and writing really isn’t my forte anyways, I’m just gonna let my thoughts show their true colors. Really.

I love to read. I consider myself a bookworm. I don’t read nearly as much as I would like, but when I get a good book it consumes me. I will lie awake in bed ‘till the wee hours of the morning with my lamp on in the hopes that I don’t wake Byron. I just cannot ever find a good stopping point. When I still lived in Savannah I loved nothing more than sitting on the beach by myself with my toes in the water and a good book in hand. This made my day.

Well, a good friend of mine told me about this book a month or so ago. Then, I had another friend tell me about it, and then I saw it on someone else’s blog that she was reading it. So, I knew it…I had to read it. I told myself I was going to wait until I got through all my Spring/Summer orders before I even touched it, but we all know my battle with my self-control. I lost. So, I started to read. I will say that while this was not the BEST book I’ve ever read, it was BY FAR the only book I have read in a very, very long time that haunted me. And not in a bad way. This book made me think, over and over again. About a lot of things. This book had me crying in several instances, ashamed, embarrassed, joyful, sad and downright pissed (excuse the language, but there is no other term that quite describes it) off at times. This book will stay with me always. Wondering what I read????

If you haven’t read this yet, please do. I will warn you that all the Jackson libraries have like 20 holds on the copies though. This book is about Jackson, MS but it could easily be any Southern town I think. I got mine from the UMC library, so all of you fellow resident wives hit up your hubbies to go grab it for you. Most of all, I know that you, Aunt Penny, needs to read this. I think you will like it very much. I think it will be perfect for the Edisto girl’s trip that I am sad that I am missing yet again. I am not really going to write a book report here, but just want you to know how this book touched me. The author did such a good job of portraying so many feelings and situations all at the same time while brilliantly avoiding looking like a train wreck. Throughout this book, I sympathized, empathized and cried for a number of reasons. Here are just a few.

• My heart ached for the children who are not properly loved by their parents. This just took my breath away that it could even happen. I have seen neglect and abuse from working as a pediatric nurse, but this hit home differently. I cannot imagine how it feels as a child to be unloved by a parent. Although it isn’t the exact same, I relate it to the way an abused, neglected animal feels. Like an animal (especially a dog) a child wants NOTHING more than to please their parents and to have the unconditional love that they feel poured back on them. Sadly, as in the case with some animals, not all children get that love back and that breaks my heart in two.
• My heart broke for the victims of domestic abuse. I have never been in this situation, but have read many of books about it. It just goes over my head and makes me sad for every woman (or man…it does happen) that finds themselves in that situation. Minny, bless you.
• I sympathized for the girl with no confidence or self esteem to realize who she is and not feel the need to follow a crowd that is not worthy. Goodness gracious. I have seen this all too much in my life. I grew up in a town that will eat its young when it comes to social graces. It is brutal, it still is and I think it will always remain that way. I don’t feel that it is any different from any other Southern town though…I’ve seen it all. It is rampant here in Jackson as well. And I just thank goodness for a strong head and a determination to not be one of those girls. I cannot fathom what it would be like every morning to wake up and wonder what you needed to do that day to fit in. I hope and pray that Louisa is never, ever this way. EVER.

But, most of all, I felt ashamed. Throughout the book. On numerous occasions. I am proud of my Southern heritage, but only certain parts of it. I am proud of the accents and the drawls, I am proud that I was raised with manners, I am proud that boys will hold the door for me and people with say please and thank you, I am proud every time I hear someone say “yes mam” or “yes sir,” I am proud of the gorgeous land that the South is with all of it’s live Oaks and Spanish Moss and rivers and marshes and magnolia trees. However, I am not proud of the way the South handled things over the years. I am not going to go too far into this subject since I know it is a very, very controversial subject and I by no means want this to become a sound-board for controversy, but let me just say that I am glad that I was not living in the times of segregation. I don’t think I would’ve survived. My heart ached for the “colored” women, men and children of this story. I think it hurt so much because I know it was all true and more than likely a candy-coated view. I felt ashamed and embarrassed although it is all in the past. Or, is it? I think that is all I need to say there without offending people or hurting anyone’s feelings or creating uproar.

I will have to say that I learned a very important lesson with this book. I learned who I will raise my child to be. She will be a very strong, independent, confident, color-blind woman. I want her to keep an open mind and an open heart and be caring and not cruel. I never want to think that my child caused someone else’s feelings to hurt. I also never want to know of someone hurting her feelings. I know this is impossible and I cannot shelter her, but if I could pick a character for my child to grow up most like…I think I would pick Miss Skeeter. Miss Skeeter reminds me a lot of myself. I do not want to raise a Hilly. DEFINITELY do not want to raise an Elizabeth who is so on for show. I would love to raise a Minny, and with Louisa’s mouth she is well on the way to being a Minny…but erase the domestic abuse. Maybe a modern Southern Belle…is that even possible??

Goodness. I know this was a bit out there, but as I said this book continued to haunt me. I just couldn’t help but to share. Please, read this book. It will open your mind, your heart and your soul and I thank you Kathryn Stockett for giving me insight.

And to lighten this post up. A picture of my sweet Lucy guarding the front door. You see, we have a mail slot. Well, our mail is shredded by the time we get it. Poor Mrs. Susan our mail lady has to drop it in so fast bc Lucy grabs it and growls and shakes it. I have even gotten fabric before that Lucy has punctured! Well, Byron put up this “barrier” of various items this morning since he is expecting a journal that smarty-pants himself has an article he wrote in it. We cannot have Lucy holes in that. :)

Until next time…

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Joys of a "Kini-Bra"

So, I am sure we all remember the post about Louisa wanting to ask Jesus and then Santa for big boobies so that she can wear a bikini, which she calls "kini-bra." If not, check it out here. You will be glad you did.

Well, much to her surprise she was getting ready for swimming lessons the other day when I heard the most excited squeal come from her bedroom. Since she tends to err on the side of dramatic, I just ignored it. I figured, if it is something that she needs me for...she knows how to get me. Well, I could hear her over the monitor back in her room just talking and going to town about something. Everyone once in a while I could make out the words "soo bootiful" and "big boobies" and "pribates" so I figured I might need to sneak back to see what was going on. Well, she had her entire drawer that has her bathing suits dumped out on the floor and had oh so conveniently found one of the hand-me-downs from a neighbor that just so happened to be a "kini-bra." However had I forgotten this one? Well, of course she needed to wear it, and of course it was too big...but she wouldn't have believed you for an instance if you told her she wasn't going to be able to wear it. Well, I ran and grabbed my camera as she was posing all too well in front of the mirror and examining herself in her "kini-bra." The funny thing was when I asked her if she liked it, she said, "yes. I dos. But Mommy, I needs somping to cober up my bewwy buttons. It is my pribates and peoples are gonna see it." Well, I told her that the entire point of a bikini is to show off her belly button and the look on her face was priceless. "But Mommy, it is your pribates and it is not nice to show or talk about your pribates." Glad we got that point across, but then I had to explain to her that her "bewwy buttons" was not, in fact, her "pribates" and that it was okay to show. She is still acting a bit unsure on this I am trying to pull a fast one on her.I couldn't narrow down the pictures, they were all way to cute, so I spent forever messing with my HTML code (which for those of you that ever mess with it know what a pain in the rump it can least for me, it brings on some serious sailor tongue and hypertension) and figured a way to share them all with you.

Now, don't you just want to go out and get yourself a "kini-bra?" If I knew my belly button looked as cute as hers...I sure would!

Until next time...

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Living Through a Reno. Boo.

I looked up the definition of “living through a renovation” in the dictionary in my brain just for toots and giggles to make myself feel better and this is what it said:

Dust. Dirt. Toilet in my bedroom. 3 people sharing a small guest bathroom that isn’t really set up for a shower (no wonder we don’t ever have guests). A hole in the bathroom floor that leads to under the house that I know my sneaky-striped kitty is wanting to go down. Did I mention dust?

So, I know I have griped about it before…and I really and truly am not ungrateful that I am getting a new bathroom and that my husband is super wonderful and talented and knows how to do all these carpentry things, but it just gets hard. Especially at a time when my business is off-the-chain nutty as well. It is like I need something in my life/house to be organized and clean and nice. When brownie-goose gets nuts (as it usually is) I try my hardest to keep the house clean. But it gets hard. The dishes pile up, the toilets don’t get cleaned every week, the floors and all of the animal fur get looked over, the random clutter that just is in a house with a toddler begins to take over…and let’s not even talk about my sewing room. But, add in a full-fledged reno in which everything is out of the bathroom (floor, sinks, cabinet, toilet, tub, tile, etc) to get it ready for a superb re-do…add in a little more craziness. Like the dust. Oh my, it is everywhere. No one can make a clean get-a-way in this house. Just take a look at my bedroom floor.

Now, check out the living room and the route to the front door. Caught you Mr. Crocs-wearing tile guy.

Did I just say tile-guy? Why yes I did. We are really hoping to be able to hire out the tile. Hoping is the key-word here. It will probably be out of our price range, and silly since we can do it ourselves, but well, you know…never hurts to ask. And what was that I just saw…a toilet, on the hearth in the master bedroom? Quite convenient, you think?

And sharing Lou’s bathroom. It just isn’t fun. This is a great guest/hall bathroom that is really JUST that. It is on the small side for a family. And this is a pic with all the hoop-la picked up off the very small counter space. Byron and I are not clean bathroom people. We leave our stuff out. That is how we roll. It is easier and more efficient. But, just not pretty.

And that hole in the floor…here it is.

I am psycho about making sure the bathroom door is shut so that sneaky-sly Murray doesn’t decide she needs to scope out what is underneath. Since the only doors that actually SHUT in our house are the exteriors and then my sewing room, this makes it hard.

But…just a sneak peek of a small bit of the lovely that will be. Here is a piece of the marble for the floor. I love it. My toes cannot wait to walk on it. Don’t you love it too?

And while we are talking about sneak peeks…check out this one.

Just divine, don’t you think? We went on Sunday and had my brilliant friend Katie at Mary Moment Photography take Lou’s pics. Katie has a very hard job. She is absolutely awesome at what she does, but I was fed up with Louisa and her lack of cooperation after a bit. I don’t know how she does it. But she takes the most beautiful pictures I have EVER seen. Ever. I think I might even venture back to Mississippi after we move in 2 years just to have her take pics. Yes, my friends…she is THAT good. Like I don't think I will be able to pic just one from her shots. Brilliant, I tell you.

Until next time...

Monday, March 15, 2010

Seven Years Ago Today...

Just a short (well, I hardly write “short” so bare with me here) trip down good-ole memory lane…

7 years ago today. Do you remember where you were? Because I sure do. It is a day that I will never, ever forget. 7 years ago today my life changed. For the better. And here is how it all unfolded.

March 15, 2003….I spent most of this day in my bed, my couch and then my front porch swing on my fabulous little farmhouse on Norwood Ave in Savannah, Ga. I had just graduated from UGA the summer before and was trying out my life as a “grown-up.” However, I was laid out all day no thanks to a fun-filled night the night before. For those of you not familiar with Savannah and St. Patrick’s Day, let me fill you in. It is nuts. For a week you cannot even function in the town. It is SO filled with people, and green beer and green beads, etc. that it is impossible to move downtown. It is like Mardi Gras for New Orleans. I find it hilarious that the people in Jackson, MS where I live now talk about how they have this HUGE St. Patty’s celebration…but there is absolutely NO comparison here. Savannah is full of Irish Catholics. Filled to the brim. Give them a reason to celebrate…and hoop it up they will. And they know how to party. In fact, it is not just the people of the town, tourists come in from everywhere (hotels get booked a year in advance if not more) to experience the town that dyes the beautiful fountains of downtown green, the town that will serve green grits and green beer for weeks in March, the town that has port-a-potties lined up for ages in the breathtaking historic district. Back in high school and college, I was right smack in the middle of it all. LOVED it. However, now that I am a “grown-up” (insert some snickers here) I refuse to step foot near Savannah in the middle of March. It has become a madhouse. Back to the story. The night before some friends from UGA were in town for the festivities and we partied it up. This left for a lovely, nice little green leprechaun that haunted me all the next day, which was a Saturday. Well, as I was lying on my porch swing listening to the radio and hoping my head would give up with the pounding, one of my best girl friends called to invite me to dinner. I quickly told her that I was so hung-over that I didn’t think I could move, much less shower…but she told me that I needed to come and meet them. Some of her husband’s fraternity brothers were in town for the weekend/festivities and she needed another girl to hang out with and then she hit me with the line that really sunk in, “I mean, Amy, you have to eat, right?” True. I did have to eat. And they were going to Jalepenos (a Mexican restaurant down the street from my house) and I figured that if anything could make me feel better it was some Miller and some chips and salsa. So, I fought the pounding and made it (albeit spinning) to the shower and freshened up. Let’s rewind back a few months to around Christmas time. I was sitting at the bar of the same friend’s house while she was cleaning the kitchen and she was trying to help me in my oh-so-troubled love life. You see, have you ever dated? It may be fun for some, but I was having a rough go at it. I didn’t much care for it and was quite frankly in a funk because I just didn’t feel like I was meeting any candidates that fit me. So, she began talking about how she was going to hook me up with one of her husband’s fraternity brothers. I was not so amused. I felt like I was now charity, and that made me sad. But, I let Katy continue talking and figured I would just let it all go. This boy didn’t live in Savannah, what were the chances? Fast forward again to that Saturday in March. I get to Jalepenos and of course am WAY early. I sit outside with my nice cold bevo and wait for everyone else to get there. When they did, along with Katy came this guy named Byron. I remember he was wearing a pair of Levi’s and a red plaid shirt that he had rolled up the sleeves. He bought me a beer as we waited for our table to be ready. I had no clue at this time that this was the same boy Katy had told me about months before (remember…my mind was slowly regaining some brain cells from the night before and I never put 2 and 2 together.) But he was. And this is what I remember from dinner. Him. And nothing else. I think we sat down at the end of the table and didn’t even converse with anyone else. No one else even mattered. I was smitten with this boy, and I couldn’t put a finger on it. We talked and we talked and we talked and were so engrossed in each other that I think the other half of the table was talking about us and we didn’t even realize. We left the restaurant and went to my house for a few more drinks and then to a local bar (Sandfly Bar and Grill….what we used to call “the trap”) to continue the festivities. We were young, and this is what we did. It was fun and I will remember that night forever. I don’t know if I have ever talked so much in one night, to one single person. It was like we had so much to say. I don’t even know if I have ever been so interested in what someone had to say. He was so new and refreshing from all the boys that I knew and grew up with in Savannah and hung out with in Athens. It was like a breath of fresh air. I knew upon meeting him that night that this boy was going to turn my life upside down. I knew that I didn’t think I wanted to live it without him in it. I knew that he and I were something special. We had a bond. He was so smart and I just loved listening to him. He was brilliant. He was so cute and so new. We all (thanks to some partying) stayed at my friend Katy’s house since it wasn’t a great idea to have everyone drive in the state we were in. The next morning, Byron had to leave. He had to get in the car and go back to Barnesville. He lived 3 and a half hours away. It confused me. I had no clue of what to do now. Something VERY interesting happened that morning, that most people know the story…it is almost legend with us. It was told at our rehearsal dinner, and I don’t know if Byron will ever live it down. I, however, will cut him some slack here on the blog and not tell everyone who reads, unless he later tells me I can. But, needless to say, I was already smitten. It didn’t matter.

So, as I can see I’ve already started a novel and knowing I need to get up and shower and get my day started, I will just tell you the rest is history. You see, my husband and I were set up. The good old-fashioned way. We hit it off instantaneously. We were inseparable, well besides the many miles of highway between us. We were smitten with each other and we made it work. We would switch off weekends to travel to see the other. Eventually we met in the middle and both moved to Macon. But today, I think back and thank goodness that Katy persuaded me to go to dinner. It makes me shudder sometimes to think that if I had given in to that mean little green leprechaun (some people in Savannah now call him Mr. Scary) I never would have met the love of my life. I wouldn’t be where I am today. Isn’t it crazy how a single moment can change your life? It fascinates me. So, here we are, 7 years later in Jackson, MS living out our lives together with 2 dogs, a tabby cat and a precocious tow-headed toddler. Life is great, no…life is grand.

Until next time…

Saturday, March 13, 2010

It Isn't Easy Being Green

Avocados. I love them. I could live off of them. What I don’t love is avocado green. Who ever thought this was a good idea to use this color for appliances and bathroom fixtures should be ashamed. Our guest bath was pink, in fact…our tub still is, but one would never know until you looked behind the shower curtain. And there is actually a nice pretty turquoise color that some kitchen appliances and bath fixtures used to be made of. However, avocado green is our bathroom. In all of its 1950’s glory. I just don’t quite understand what happened back in the day as far as style and most importantly architecture. I mean, why in a decade did the ceilings have to drop to an awful 7 feet? Why did details just leave the arena? And why did all taste just get thrown out the window? I mean, it is kinda funny to think that in 50 years granite counters and stainless appliances will be so not cool and replaced with something “cooler” for the times. Silly isn’t it? Looks as though I am getting off the subject…so let me try and focus here.

My, oh my. I am grossed out just looking at the pictures. And yes, we have lived in this bathroom for the last 2.5 years. Well, not necessarily lived in it, since we cannot stand it, but have dealt with it. It is gross and nasty and foul and just asinine. And the funny thing is, I bleached the ever-living mess out of it when we moved in. No matter, it still remained funky. And not a good, fun brownie-goose kind of funky, a nasty funky. Ewww.

So, now that all of you are dying to have our master bathroom after the lovely introduction are you ready for some pics? Now, don’t get too jealous okay?

And so now that you are all grossed out and wishing I had put the photos in black and white, you will be just as happy to see the following demolition photos. And, just as appreciative….not AS appreciative, but you can at least feel my pain.

Now for the best part. Byron is still not convinced that I need to let the world know this, but my feelings on the subject are….honesty. I mean, we had NO control over this. It happened, thankfully…oh so thankfully we had no clue. I was convinced after years of awful caulking and the absence of that once we pulled up the tub the floor would be rotted straight through. This is our luck. I was already prepared to be replacing some floor boards. Well, to my surprise, there were NO rotten boards, no moisture and no mildew. Instead, under our tub was a nice, dry, warm haven for these guys however many years ago.

Oh my. Yes those are rat skeletons. I am no pathologist or archeologist or whatever the person would be that could determine how long something had been dead by looking at the bones, but I am convincing myself that these guys kicked the bucket before we moved in. Oh holy snaps. How disgusting!! Don’t run, my readers. Just one of those lovely discoveries that people make when renovating. Sadly, we have been hoping to find a hidden compartment of money or jewelry or something….nope, just dead vermin. Oh, and if you are wondering if those were the friends of the Mickey Byron saw a few months ago, they are not. Mickey has not been seen, nor evidence of, again. Phew.

So, goodbye green bathroom. Well, we still have the floor to deal with, but that will be gone soon too. Byron has worked diligently this morning ripping out all the nastiness. It takes a lot for him to get grossed out as far as houses and such go (I will sometimes have the twitches and want to throw up walking through a house if we or someone is house-hunting, while it doesn’t faze him) but today he openly admitted getting grossed out. It’s that bad. But, thankfully we have gorgeous marble to lay on the floors, shiny white sleek pedestal Kohler sinks and fun new faucets to go in, a new white bathtub (that thankfully, oh so thankfully….has a slanted back so I can actually take a bath, yay) that has no evidence of the funk that was all over the bottom of the old green one that refused to come off with any sort of scrubbing. I just cannot wait. The plumber is coming next weekend to run more lines so we can have 2 sinks. So, I cannot give you a date on the completion…but have NO fear, I will for sure be showing it all off in the end. :)

Now, if we can just survive in one hall bathroom and if I can make it through all the dust and disaster that comes with a renovation. Keep those fingers crossed for me.

Until next time…