Tuesday, November 27, 2012

These boots are made for ... giving away?

Yes, it's true. It's my first giveaway since I started the blog, and it's a big one, thanks to Country Outfitters.

They have graciously agreed to allow me to review a pair of their boots - and give away a pair to you, my readers. I am very excited about the opportunity because I have been lusting after these boots both online and in person. They are nothing short of fabulous.

Since I'm such a good mom (and we wear the same shoe size), I've allowed my teenaged daughter to be my foot model. Needless to say, she was very surprised, especially since we've teased her about her long, skinny feet since before she was born. (You can read here about how my father-in-law convinced me that she would weigh 12 lbs. at birth based on the size of her protruding foot when she'd kick.)

Here she is today making her boot selection. Please check back for details on the chance to win a pair of your own - or to surprise your teenaged daughter (or son).

Friday, November 23, 2012

Happy Everything!

It’s the day after Thanksgiving, and for weeks I’ve been called a Scrooge. Yes, a Scrooge as in “The Christmas Carol,” emphasis on Christmas.

Growing up, my dad was a firm believer in singing Christmas carols – on Christmas Day. I’m not quite as strict. My son’s been playing “Up on the Housetop” on his clarinet for a month now, and since it was my grandmother’s favorite carol, I’ve allowed it — plus it’s required for school.

See, I’m reasonable.

I bit my tongue when my husband accidentally called the house with a jazz version of “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” blaring on his truck radio. I wanted to ask if it were some kind of sick joke, but I didn’t. I’ve ignored his humming of holiday tunes around the house and didn’t accuse of him of doing it just to bug me.
See, I’m very reasonable — until one night when my family piled into the car to go somewhere.

“Jingle bell, jingle bell, jingle bell rock …” sang the radio.

“Jingle around the clock!” my family chimed in at the top of their lungs.

I turned, glared at the kids and pushed the button hard for the next station.

“I’ll have a blue Christmas …” it played.

“Without you …” my family sang in exaggerated fashion. “You’ll be doin’ all right, with your Christmas so whi …”

At which point, I couldn’t stand it and turned the radio off all together.

“You’re a Scrooge,” my husband teased.

“A Scrooge?” I said, outraged. “It’s Veterans Day!”

And, it was. Downtown Newnan looked beautiful with its white lights, but what about flags? Shouldn’t we slow down and enjoy each holiday as it comes, instead of lumping them all together into a “holiday season” that starts the minute the last door is shut on a trick-or-treater? Or is it just me? Sometimes I feel as if it is.

I love Thanksgiving. I love everything it’s about – family, food and, most importantly, being thankful for both. There are no gifts, no pressure to buy, no pressure to decorate perfectly or even to be happy. On Thanksgiving, the biggest decision one has to make is whether to take a nap, go for a walk or have another piece of pie after lunch.

And best of all, there are no songs.

I know some people really love all the pomp and circumstance that come with Christmas, and there are people who have already decorated and been ready for the big event for weeks. Believe it or not, this year, I’m one of them. My children went to a pottery place and hand painted the perfect gift for me. It’s a plate that reads, “Happy Everything!”

I’ve decided to keep it on my mantel year-round. I figure that covers all the holidays, and, hopefully, it will remind me that listening to “The Little Drummer Boy” won’t kill me, no matter what time of year it is — especially when my precious children are singing along.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Guilt free recovery

I had to have a procedure recently.

Procedure is supposed to be a delicate word for surgery. Kind of like issues is currently the delicate word for problems. So, I either had an issue that required a procedure or a problem that required surgery. You pick. The end result is the same — a month of recovery, a delicate word for doing nothing.

At first, I was horrified at the thought of sitting around and allowing my family and friends to wait on me, but I found that I soon warmed to the concept. So much so that I began enjoying it more than I felt I should. I voiced this concern to a friend who reminded me: “You have every right to enjoy your recovery – guilt free.”

That was just the permission I needed. Since that moment, I’ve decided to embrace my down time, not fight it. Here’s what I’ve learned in the process:

The world will not end if I don’t leave the house. That’s a good thing because I rather like not leaving the house.

Showers feel really good after a few days.

My son secretly knows how to do laundry. I don’t know how or why.

It’s very easy to tweet the day away.

It’s humanly impossible not to eat fun-sized candy bars if they are in the house.

True friends pass along their trashy magazines. I have lots of true friends.

There’s very little a piece of homemade lemon meringue pie won’t cure.

The more commercials I watch, the more convinced I’ve become that I need those products. To that end, Forever Cozy seat cushion and NoNo laser hair remover are on their way.

There are a lot of Denzel Washington movies I haven’t seen.

I could probably live in my bedroom if I had to.

One card makes up for a mailbox full of bills.

I can’t remember any of my passwords or my cell number, and that has nothing to do with the leftover effects of the anesthesia.

My purse constituted heavy lifting and violated the doctor’s orders.

Couches with built-in recliners are worth their weight in gold.

I don’t miss running nearly as much as I thought I would. Nor working. Nor cooking. Nor cleaning.

In fact, I think recovery becomes me. As my friend said, “It’s amazing what we go through just to get a vacation.”

She’s right. It may not fit into our plans, but God knows what He’s doing and when we need to put our feet up.
So, for now, I’m going to put away my to-do list, unwrap a bite-sized 3 Musketeers, pull out my stack of Hollywood magazines and enjoy because, ready or not, I’ll be well before I know it. At least, my family hopes so!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Thank you for being a friend

I had surgery two weeks ago, and my family couldn’t be happier about it – or fatter.

“Why do people keep bringing food?” my son asked when I came home from my brief stay in the hospital.

“Because that’s just what they do in South,” I said.

And it is wonderful.

As a mother, I was a little afraid of being incapacitated for a few weeks. Don’t get me wrong, my husband is very hands on, but I’m the mother. Since my daughter was born 22 years ago, I’ve pretty much believed the world would end if I spent a day in bed. I really thought very little about the surgery (which went fine, by the way) beforehand. Instead, I thought of more important things like, “Who will separate the delicates from the towels? Who will fix the sweet tea? Who will RSVP to party invitations?”

As I said, very important things.

I also worried a little about food, specifically, what we were going to eat. My husband is an excellent chef and cooks plenty of meals, but for some reason, I had it in my head that I should buy a case or two of power bars to keep by my bed just in case. I should have known that no matter one’s situation, if you know a few Southern women, you have nothing to fear.

In addition to my husband’s homemade Brunswick stew, we’ve been blessed with food from some of the area's finest cooks. Night after night, these sweet friends of mine entered bearing casserole dishes — some fancy, some disposable — all equally delicious.

“I like home-cooked meals,” my daughter said enthusiastically, making me feel a twinge of guilt for not cooking enough the past year, or two, or three ...

The best part about Southern women is they think of everything. The food was gluten- and nut-free per our allergies. They brought jugs of Chick-fil-A tea, 12 packs of cranberry La Croix and sacks of People magazines for me to pass the time. They brought ice cream and cookies for dessert, gift cards for take-out later and cinnamon rolls for breakfast. I gotta tell you, recovering from surgery ain’t half bad.

And beyond the kitchen, I’ve gotten flowers, phone calls, visits, texts and prayers. Any ounce of apprehension vanished as soon as my friends sprang into action. Thank God, I let them, though being the true friends that they are, I had no choice.

Speaking of thanking, one of my dearest friends, whom I’ll call “Louise,” picked me up last week and drove me all over town to look for thank you notes.

We finally found them at a local pharmacy. According to the sales clerk, they don’t carry many because they don’t sell. Kind of sad sign on the state of manners. I still think real mail trumps emails, texts and even phone calls, but I’m hoping this column will trump all three.

Thank you, friends.