Thursday, August 27, 2009

Boiled peanuts - a pound of prevention

My doctor prescribed boiled peanuts for my headaches. Well, practically …

It all started during a recent office visit. The doctor took my pulse, and asked, “Are you a runner?”

“Not unless someone is chasing me,” I replied (See my blog post “Not quite born to run" for further proof).

“Hmm ... let me take it again,” he said, at which point I knew I was dying.

I tried to breathe normally as he held my wrist, but my life flashed before my eyes. What would it be? Brain tumor? Cancer? Some mutated swine flu syndrome?

Finally, he looked up at me and gave me the news: “You have a very low pulse.”

“Yes, doctor,” I said. “And …”

“You didn’t hear this from me, but you could probably benefit from a little salt and caffeine in your diet.”

Well, needless to say, he didn’t have to tell me twice.

I immediately cut out decaf tea and switched to leaded (so much better in the morning), yet I couldn’t bring myself to knowingly add salt into my diet. But as fate would have it, that was the weekend we discovered Peanut Point.

We were spending another weekend at my parents’ lake house as part of our staycation (which is another word for “Broke”). But, hey, a lake house, I’m not complaining!

We were cruising in the family pontoon boat when we happened upon a small island. Upon that island was a little white shack and surrounding that shack looked like the biggest family reunion I have ever seen – old folks, young folks, middle-aged and lots of youngsters, all swimming, eating and enjoying lake life.

And in the midst of it all were several huge pots of boiled peanuts with a hand-painted sign above it that read, “Peanut Point - $2 a bag.” Tired and hungry, we pulled our boat up to the sandy beach. A bikini-clad grandma scooped out two bags of hot, messy peanuts - one Cajun, one regular, both extra salty – just what the doctor ordered.

Apparently, my body did need salt because we went back to the lake every weekend expressly for the peanuts. The last weekend we were there we bought eight bags. Any leftovers, I’d bring home and eat cold.

And on one of the relaxing boat rides out to Peanut Point, it dawned on me that my head didn’t hurt. Whether it was the stress-free lifestyle or the peanuts, who’s to say. Now that summer is drawing to a close, and we haven’t been able to make it to the lake, my headaches have returned, even on the weekends. I went back to the doctor and got an armload of pills, but just in case, I think I will try to make some boiled peanuts first. You never know.

(By the way, my friend and fellow blogger Kathy Bohannon prompted this blog with her post about her brother’s recipe. Check it out here.)

Monday, August 24, 2009


Each year my husband I buy tickets to a nearby amphitheater’s summer concert series for our anniversary. We used to go see Jimmy Buffett until we discovered that we could see six concerts for the price of his one, plus we weren’t as likely to wake up with a case of what my daughter called, “the Buffett flu.”

The downside is it’s a mixed bag, and I’ve learned over the past three years, you never know which performers will surprise you. Kenny Loggins? Great! Huey Lewis? Dud. Foreigner? Awesome! Kansas? Zzzzzz …

Actually, I’ve been thinking that if my freelance career starts to slack off, I can follow aging rockers (make that performers) around the country and write reviews on them. Trust me, people do this – well, the following them around the country part – just ask Kenny Rogers. We saw him last year, and he was fantastic! He had fans, women of various ages, who had seen hundreds of his concerts and still laughed at all of his corny jokes. Now that says it all.

This weekend’s concert was Peter Cetera. Despite his many hit songs, I’m not sure if Peter has such a following. No offense, but he is no Kenny or Jimmy, for that matter. Peter seemed a little put out by us all, especially during the encore.

“You people in the middle row, if you don’t want to clap, we will march right back off this stage without doing an encore,” said Cetera to the confused crowd.

Pointing his finger, he continued, “You should be ashamed of yourself; people around them, make them feel ashamed of themselves!”

I waited for him to stamp his foot and fold his arms across his chest like a two-year-old. Definitely not the proudest moment for this Academy award winner, I’m sure. As far as vocals, he sounded great. But is that what it is all about?

Perhaps he shouldn’t take himself so seriously. Perhaps we all shouldn't. Sometimes we need to don our little grass skirts and coconut bras and sing Margaritaville . . . even the non-clapping folks in the middle row.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

See you on facebook (or not)

As the early 80s song says, “Video killed the radio star.” Today’s new hit should be “Facebook killed polite small talk.”

Sure, it’s a great way to keep in touch. It just works a little too well.

I ran into a mother from my kid’s school and began to make the small chit-chat that women are famous for.

“What’s been going on with you?” she asked.

“Well, my son starts foot…”

“I know. I read that on facebook,” she said, stopping me mid-sentence.

“Oh, okay,” I said, a little startled. “Well, this weekend my husband and I went to see…”

“Hippiefest,” she finished for me. “Saw that, too.”

“I would take a picture of our girls, but I lost my …”

“Camera, yeah, I know.”

The subject of camping came up.

Relieved, I said, “Did I ever tell you about my last camping trip when my friend put a snake in my sleeping bag?”

“Facebook,” she said, without so much as a chuckle.

I was tempted to tell her to try reading my blog on the prank (posted here) as it was a lot funnier than my status update, but instead I asked, "So, why don’t you tell me what’s new with you?”

“Well, I’m getting my master’s degree,” she said, to which I did not mention that I had already read what the degree was in, when and where her classes were, how she didn’t know if she could juggle it, how she was having doubts, and the result of her first test - all on facebook.

Instead, I listened, nodded, asked questions and wished her well. No need in both of us being rude.

“See you on facebook,” she said, as she left.

Maybe not anymore, I thought.

Monday, August 17, 2009

One toke over the line

In honor of (not memory of, mine you) Woodstock's 40th anniversary, my husband and I went to see Hippiefest, a collection of rockers from the 60's. In addition to hearing a lot of Viagra jokes (Chuck Negron formerly of Three Dog Night is 67 years old with an eight-year-old child; I suppose there is a bit of truth in that humor.), we learned a few things.

For example, Mitch Ryder of the Detroit Wheels' song, "Sock it to me, baby!" was once banned from the radio for explicit lyrics. And George Harrison of the Beatles once told Joey Molland of Badfinger (Well, actually, I'm not sure who in the group he told), but he said, "Are you excited by your hit song ('No Matter What')? Good. Now get ready to play it everyday for the rest of your life!"

We also learned that Flo and Eddie from the band, The Turtles, are not in the least bit funny - even after several drinks! Somehow 12-year-old humor and 65-year-old men don't mix. Sorry guys.

But, the best trivia of all, a mon avis, came from two still cool dudes named Brewer and Shipley. Not only was their hit song banned by the FCC, it put them on Nixon's enemies' list. According to the duo, the song, "One toke over the line," was performed by not only the Grateful Dead but also Lawrence Welk's Gail and Dale. Although, I've read there is some dispute over whether Jerry Garcia played that tune, amazingly, with the Lawrence Welk story the proof is in the pudding.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Growing up is hard to do

Signs that you are a woman who is getting older (I don’t like the sound of “aging woman”)

By Meredith Leigh Knight

Note: I chose women because men don’t really have this problem. I mean, come on, if they are gray, they look distinguished, if they are losing their hair, they can shave their heads and look cool, and if they are overweight, they can buy a sports car. Really, it’s just not fair.

[Disclaimer: Any resemblance to the author is purely coincidental as none of the following apply]

All of your children’s teachers, including the principal, are young enough to be your daughter, and they remind you of that fact by calling you ma’am. (Click here to read my post on how I became a ma'am)

You’re in the doctor’s office and find a great magazine. You can relate to all of the articles; you like the actresses who are profiled; the topics are relevant. You flip to the front and see that it’s a magazine for women over 40 (not saying 40 is old, mind you, and on the bright side, it could have been AARP magazine).

You have had a discussion at some point about the possibility of having to shave hair off of your face.

You can’t wait for menopause.

You quit drinking alcohol and switched to milk because you are worried about osteoporosis. And drinking gives you a headache anyway.

Your son asks why your hair turns gray and then turns back to “normal.”

And if you aren’t gray yet, you scrutinize every hair that comes out of your head in the sunlight to see if it’s “the one.”

Your parents are starting to have health problems or worse. L

You have to ask your eleven-year-old how to do things on the computer.

You show up at your reunion and think you are in the wrong place because you don’t recognize any of these old people.

Your college-aged child’s sorority has 80s night in which they play “oldies” from the 80s, which happens to be when you graduated.

You cannot part with your curling iron and straightening irons remain a mystery.

You do not understand a word your teenager says.

When dealing with your kids, you feel a terrible sense of deja vu as you suddenly realize how your mom felt.

Have any more to add? I would love to hear them.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Thank heaven for little boys

A picture says a thousand words, and if I hadn’t lost my camera this weekend, I would have taken one of my son when he came in from playing outside tonight.

God blessed me with two sweet and neat girls and one really messy boy. I have no doubt He knew what He was doing. Had I had more than one, I’m sure I would have been exasperated, but as it stands, my one boy fills me with daily amusement.

Today, he shot out the door after dinner, armed with several large plastic guns. Had I glanced up, I would have noticed that he was still wearing his school clothes and made him change. As it was, I continued to do the dishes as I yelled, “Have fun!”

Have fun he did. He burst in the door about an hour later, the front of his shirt and pants soaking wet and covered in mud. So, he does what any wet, dirty boy would do in this case – sits down on our white couch.

I stare incredulously as he gives me the contented smile of a kid who has been playing army in the mud.

“What happened to you?” I exclaimed, scrutinizing him.

“It’s a white shirt, mom,” he said, nonchalantly explaining the filth that covered him.

“It WAS a white shirt. Wait a minute, are your shorts wet?” I said, a little louder. “Take them off!”

He kind of shrugged and stripped down to his Sponge Bob briefs.

“Ewww!” said his sister. “Put some clothes on. You’re disgusting!”

He looked so hurt and totally perplexed that I couldn’t help but defend him. Right before I told him to get into the tub, that is.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Come Monday

I’m a firm believer in 2nd chances, and 3rd and 4th and 5th. Just ask my overgrown puppy. He’ll tell you. He looks at me with that sweet, trusting, loving face (see picture), and I immediately forgive him for the chewing, the barking, the sneaking in the house, and, yes, even the inappropriate sniffing that he does whenever I turn my back on him. In return, he forgives me for the fact that I grow weary of rubbing his belly after a few short minutes, I don’t walk him enough, and sometimes I slip off to the lake without him.

Back to 2nd chances, while some people dread Mondays, I look forward to them each week. I guess I take after my mom in that regard. Every Monday she would turn over a new leaf – start a new diet or exercise or cleaning regime - every Monday without fail. Funny how certain things from childhood stick with you.

Anyway, tomorrow is Monday, and I can’t wait. I’m going to work-out, go to bed earlier, so I can get more rest, work on my novel, query, query, query, be a better mom, plan ahead for dinner meals and no longer forget to write those thank you notes. And you know those character flaws of mine? If you know me, then you are nodding your head yes. Well, come Monday, they’ll be gone, or well on their way, anyhow.

After all, if I’m aware of them, I can do something about them, right? At least that’s the theory I’m working off of. Because although some may disagree, I truly believe people can change, if they want to. And, who knows? Maybe one day, I’ll turn into the person my dog thinks I am. It just might take a lifetime of Mondays.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Georgia on my mind

“Georgia, Georgia, the whole day through. Just an old sweet song keeps Georgia on my miiinnd ...”

Be glad you can’t hear me singing that. Although I don’t sound like Ray Charles, I do love that song.

It reminds me of watching the laser show at Stone Mountain as a child. One summer night a year (inevitably the hottest), my family and I would show up around dusk, spread out a big red Georgia Bulldog blanket (that I still own and use for picnics) and settle in to watch the laser show.

It was a huge event for my little sister and me. For one, we were introduced to the waffle cone there, which we got to buy only after we named the three Confederate heroes depicted on the mountain’s carvings. (Confederate President Jefferson Davis, General Robert E. Lee and Lt. General Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson. Can I have my ice cream now?)

Dad would then give us a Georgia history lesson, which we happily listened to while we looked at the stars and played with our glow sticks that we’d begged for. Then the show would start with the country bears, followed by “The Devil went down to Georgia,” but always finishing with “Georgia on my mind.” That song felt like the national anthem to us.

So, when I stumbled across a blog called, Georgia on my Mind, I had to stop and give it a read, despite the fact that I was in the middle of research for an article with a deadline. I soon realized this was no ordinary blog.

Georgia on my Mind is an extensive collection of blogs authored by folks from my fair state. The founder of the site is a history teacher, and this site has enough Georgia history to satisfy even the most ardent buff such as my father.

The site is also home to the Georgia Carnival, which is Reader’s Digest-like collection of blogs written either by Georgians or about Georgia/Georgians on a variety of topics. (The moderator was kind enough to include my blog in the current listing). In addition, Georgia on my Mind blogs are categorized for the reader’s convenience. Click here to check it out. I can’t wait to find one about Stone Mountain’s laser show! And for some strange reason, I'm really craving a waffle cone!

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Introducing Mr. and Mrs. ?

I commented to a good friend that a recently reacquainted male friend had a different last name than he did in high school.

“Maybe he got married,” said my friend, tongue-in-cheek.

Which made me wonder…is there a man out there anywhere who has taken his wife’s name. If so, then, number one, I would love to interview him, and, number two, he must have had a really lousy last name!

Now, I’m not a raving feminist. I didn’t want to hyphenate my name (What happens once you have children? Is theirs hyphenated, too? And think of how much writing that will be for them in Kindergarten).

I didn’t want to keep my maiden name. (Our town’s still small enough that everyone would whisper that one’s children are illegitimate. Trust me, it bothers some people so much that mothers and fathers have different last names in the birth announcements that they write into the paper each week complaining, never considering that the mom might have hung onto her own name.)

Having said that, I had no problem taking my husband’s name. In fact, I dropped my maiden name altogether because I had to choose between it and my first name, which I happen to like. I just think it’s a pain changing everything over. Not only is it a pain, it’s virtually impossible. I’ve been married for 13 years, and my phone bill still comes in my maiden name. And I don’t even know how they got my maiden name! Just something to consider...

(Btw, thanks to the power of Google, I found the man! Click here to read more.)

Saturday, August 1, 2009


My daughter will be starting middle school soon, which made me nostalgic for my middle school days – NOT.

Middle school, which I attended in 8th grade versus 6th for her, was a huge adjustment for me. I came from a country school, where my mama worked, so everyone knew me, and I had no choice but behave because the teachers, lunchroom ladies and custodians didn’t mind telling her if I didn’t.

My new middle school housed over half the county and worked under a modern theory. Instead of closed classrooms, we had open pods. Had I worn my glasses, I could have waved at my friends across the pod. Instead I waved at strangers. You see, since I couldn’t see a lick, and my parents wouldn’t buy me contacts, I ended up saying hello to everyone in the halls as not to appear stuck up. As a result, I made lots of new friends; I just don’t know what they looked like.

Classes were separated by partitions, so I could hear the teacher next to me, who would inevitably be more interesting than mine. I went from two teachers to seven with a rotating schedule. For example, Monday would be classes A-G; Tues. would be G, F, A, B, C, D, E and so one. Despite its drawbacks, my new school had one major thing to offer that my elementary school didn’t – air condition!

Fashion was a big concern for me in middle school. My best friend had parachute pants in ten different colors – ten – just think about it. My mother, sensibly, told me I may have one pair. To my horror, it was a knock-off brand, so they looked a little like Lilly, Herman Munster’s wife’s, cape. But, hey, I wore them proudly, every other day. I also bought some camouflage pants from the Salvation Army. I was determined to be cool.

It was during middle school that I made a big discovery - I, Meredith Leigh Knight, was not gifted with the voice of a canary. I desperately wanted to be in show choir. They sang; they danced; they wore shiny costumes. I really wanted that. But, I had to try out. The days of being selected because my mama worked at the school were over. So, I practiced my song – “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” day in, day out. (My poor parents!)

Mother politely told me that the judges were probably looking for someone with a lot of personality, so I needed to smile while I sang. Heeding her advice, I practiced singing loudly with a smile on my face in the bathroom mirror. For weeks. Did I mention we only had one bathroom? (Again, my poor parents!)

So, the big audition day came, and my name was called. I went back ready to dazzle the judges with my bright smile (having just had my braces removed), only to find a curtain. I would be singing behind a curtain. I was being judged solely on my voice. I was so rattled that my “Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah,” sounded weaker than ever (Think American Idol rejects). But I had a smile on my face, even if no one could see it.

Fortunately, my daughter is blessed with a beautiful voice. I have no idea if she’ll ever want to join show choir, but I do hope she can keep a smile on her face no matter what obstacles middle school presents. If not, I can always cheer her up with my rendition of "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah." After all, it's hard to feel down with Mr. Bluebird on your shoulder.