Monthly Archives: February 2012

One Spicy Mamacita

on the border

Met some great people blogging. I may not know them in “real” life, but they’re amigos nonetheless.

For example, Amy of Using Our Words who kindly introduced me to Amy of trembling ovaries. Both wildly talented writers. And if you are named Amy, or some derivative like Aimee, we might let you be in our club.

Recently Amy of Using Our Words blogged about the travails of grocery shopping with children. The corporate groan arose from parents.

She invited us to share our stories in the comments. I got a little carried away (hard to believe, I know), and wrote nearly a post about my best-worst grocery store excursion with my son. It’s one of my favorite early motherhood memories.

Why pass up the opportunity to post a perfectly good story? That would be like throwing away a perfectly good cereal box when my son can make a turtle house out of it. In the spirit of reduce, reuse, recycle, I’ll share it again here with you.

shell game

The story takes place in the Mexican food aisle of our local grocery store where I looking for a certain brand of taco shells or something, which of course I couldn’t find. My son was still very little. I’m not even sure he could walk yet, but boy, could he move.

He didn’t want to sit in the cart. He didn’t want me to hold him like a normal baby. He wanted to climb up as high as he could on Mt. Momma and cliff jump off my head.

Where are those cotton-picking taco shells?! Must get out of this store…

My son’s gymnastics were commonplace to me. Without thinking, I hoisted him up over my shoulder like a sack of potatoes. I held him firmly by his leg as he dangled down my back cooing with glee.

Finally I could study the shelves of processed Tex-Mex in peace. Ah, there were the shells I needed.

Then I felt it. The pressure of the heavy gaze of judgment.

I turned to see two older women frozen stiff, staring at me in horror. How could I hold my dear, sweet child in such peril?

My blood pressure spiked like a jalapeño’s heat. Without skipping a beat, I pulled my little one back from the brink of imaginary disaster and thrust him out toward the gawkers.

“Would you like to hold him?” I said. “Didn’t think so.” We grabbed our shells and away we went.

Adiós, señoras. Things aren’t always as they appear.

chip on my shoulder

The LORD doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7 NLT

La Cucaracha. What did you expect?

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The Curse of the Pantyhose

dark sheer

After an epic struggle, guest blogger Kristen Anderson Short has reached a decision. A decision women across this country and around the world face.

Pantyhose. The worst invention ever for women. I only wear them out of necessity in really cold weather.

Recently, I noticed a run in my hose. Had a board meeting that day, so at lunch I ran out to get a new pair of name brands in my size.

Back at the office, I tugged and tugged to pull them on. No matter how hard I pulled, I could not get the blasted things all the way up. Had I grown to five feet six inches, the height of my dreams?

Unfortunately, no. The new pantyhose were too short.

light sheer

My board meeting loomed. I had no choice but to go with it. Women, you know how uncomfortable that is. Men, you can guess.

Made it through the day and met some friends after work. But even two glasses of wine didn’t make the pantyhose feel any better.

I was ready to trash them when I had a change of heart. Why not save them as my emergency backup pair?

A few days later when another pair of hose ran, I reached for the emergency backup pair. Sure, they were too short, but I could fix them.

I stepped on their feet. I pulled and pulled and PULLED, stretching them as far as I could. It was a miracle. They went on and up no problem!

patterned & footless

Then I moved, and they ran faster than Flo Jo in the 1988 Olympics.

I’m not talking about a tiny run. My hose looked like I’d been dragged down the street behind a Harley. Like I’d been out all night partying with the band and forgot to go home before work to change.

With no other pair of hose, no tights, and no clean pants, I made the walk of shame into my office. The minute I got the chance, I hightailed it to the store to buy yet another pair of pantyhose.

(This is the fourth pair in the story in case you’ve lost count.)

Gingerly, I pulled them on. They ran before I made it out of the bathroom.

Once bitten, twice shy, I converted to tights that day and never looked back.

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven. A time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away. Ecclesiastes 3:1 & 6 NIV

Clear the stage for the bad boy hair band that looks remarkably tame by today’s standards. Great White, Once Bitten, Twice Shy.

guest blogger Kristen Anderson Short

The lovely Kristen Anderson Short and I went to high school together.

Kristen works as a housing and foreclosure counselor for a local government agency.

A single mom of two teenagers, she enjoys reading, talking politics, and finding the humor in everyday life—sans hose.

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Pamplemousse

Texas Rio Star

February is the height of the season for grapefruit. Not just any grapefruit. Texas Rio Star grapefruit.

Rio Star was the one food I craved when I was pregnant with my son. Bought and consumed bags of it.

My child was born with a taste for it. Our dear pediatrician said she’d never before seen a baby who preferred grapefruit of all things.

Round, sweet, softballs of juicy flesh. Fresh, pungent perfection sectioned with a snow showering of cane sugar.

Sunlit yellow skin and blushing spots on the outside. And inside, that sparkling, succulent, glistening, glorious pink. Like the pink of a Tropicana tea rose. Or a cluster of coral-tinged rubies.

Naturalist and author Reverend Griffith Hughes is attributed with first documenting grapefruit in 1750. Dubbed it “The Forbidden Fruit” of Barbados.

Dr. Richard Hensz of Texas A&M labored for years to produce the reddest grapefruit possible. Texas Star Ruby was released in 1970, the year I was born. Then in 1984, Texas Rio Red was released, trademarked Rio Star.

This forbidden fruit. This Rio Star. The French call it pamplemousse.

The word must roll off their tender lips like the names of royalty. Geneviève. Marguerite. Antoinette. Pamplemousse.

Behold the pamplemousse. Crowned winter gem.

Partake before its glittering reign ends for the year, gently ushered out by the promise of strawberries, peaches, blackberries, plums.

Does not wisdom call out?
Does not understanding raise her voice?
“My fruit is better than fine gold;
what I yield surpasses choice silver.” Proverbs 8:1 & 19 NIV

The stars at night are big and bright…

countertop constellation of Rio Stars

Disclaimer: I’m not being compensated to promote Rio Star. I write simply for the love of the grapefruit.

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A Conversation with George and Abe

Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, Springfield, Illinois

America, we seem dreadfully divided as we stand a mere eight months from our next presidential election.

Diametrically opposed points-of-view. Mudslinging. General upset, occupation, and malaise.

It’s disconcerting, but aren’t we tougher than all that? Aren’t we kinder, gentler, smarter, and more mature?

Flawed? Yes. Fiery? Call it passion. Scandalous? Afraid so. Folks, we’ve been here before.

History reminds us our most esteemed leaders and citizens struggled through years of division and turbulence more tumultuous than this round.

Washington Monument, Washington, D.C.

If only the greats could advise us now. Maybe they could add some perspective to our conservative versus liberal, red state against blue state conundrum.

“They are feisty,” George Washington might say, “but they are free.”

“Free and outspoken,” Abraham Lincoln might say with a chuckle.

“The revolution for independence was not in vain,” Washington might say. “They have not succumbed to a king.”

“Neither was the war between the states in vain, ” Lincoln might say. “They hold together. The Union remains.”

Gettysburg Museum and Visitor Center, Gettysburg, Pennsylvania

Liberty and union. What a concept.

Thank you, gentlemen, for your enduring service to our great nation and for setting the bar oh so high.

Happy Presidents’ Day, George and Abe.

He controls the course of world events; He removes kings and sets up other kings.
He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.
Daniel 2:21 NLT

Grab the tissues and watch this. Filmed only ten short years ago, Congress spontaneously sings God Bless America on Capitol Hill.

The photos in this post were taken during our family’s road trip last summer. It was our pleasure and privilege to visit these historic destinations, and we highly recommend them to you. Click on the photos to be linked to more information about each location.

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Neat as a Pinterest

Interior designers and wardrobe coaches are forever advising us commoners to create inspiration boards.

Pull magazine pictures, postcards, paint chips, bits of string, anything that inspires you. This, they say, this will produce the holy grail. Your guiding light of personal style.

Like sirens in the sea, crafters, chefs, and domestic divas have also lured us.

Clip their recipes. Buy their magazines. Watch their shows. Read their books. Then flail hopelessly about trying to replicate their perfection.

But now I have Pinterest.

I pin whatever I like. Collect it on one of my own boards. Move it to another. Even delete it.

I choose the content and contributors in my own virtual magazine. There is no paper to recycle. No subscription renewal. No ragged-edged article glaring at me every time I walk into my kitchen because I have yet to cook its blue crab and corn chowder or paint my walls tangerine.

I expand out beyond food, crafts, and home decorating to pin other interests. Books. Art. Photography. Gardening. Kate Spade.

Pinterest is an organizer. A bookmarker. A cyber bulletin board. An ideas exchange. A creative breathe-in-breathe-outlet with endless applications.

My pins are safely tucked away. Nice and neat in vivid pixels. Accessible when the mood strikes me. Their linked sources but a quick click away.

Pinterest is free. And Pinterest is freeing. Like all good social media, it is the great equalizer. There are no kings in the pinmarklet. Pinners are at liberty to share their own finds and ideas. To pin and be pinned.

Case in point, my latest creation. A bit of Beyoncé-inspired pintelligence:

Pinners, you know what to do. On your marks. Get set. Pin it.

A generous person will prosper;
whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. Proverbs 11:25 NIV

Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) by Beyoncé. Bring it home, girlfriend.

Curious to know more? Read My Thoughts on Pinterest by Quiet Gardens, Raging Seas and 10 Tips for Playing on Pinterest by Let’s Lasso the Moon.

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Happy Silly Super Pop

Today a band of masked avengers from the Lollipop Guild has joined forces with everyday epistle to wish you a super Valentine’s Day.

Found this idea on Pinterest. Followed it back to Zakka Life for the how-to.

Not a crafter by choice, this was a simple, family project. And you have to admit these super heroes are super sweet.

My husband got creative with the masks.

So did my son.

One by one, we transformed the Tootsies into caped crusaders. Their metamorphosis from ordinary suckers to super heroes at last complete.

Faster than a Jolly Rancher. Stronger than a Hershey’s Kiss. Able to leap Sour Patch Kids in a single bound.

Look out, bad guys. These wonder pops are on point to turn frowns upside down.

Mission accomplished.

“I have loved you with an everlasting love; I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3 NIV

Sunrise by Norah Jones. Because it also makes me smile.

Meet Zakka Life

Zakka Life Jessica Okui creates original craft projects and tutorials every week on Zakka Life. She also shares about recipes, entertaining and tips.

Click on over to Zakka Life and check it out!

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Paper Weight

I’m not a packrat, but I hoard one thing.

winged pen an pencil by Michael’s

Shoes? No. That’s a good guess.

Flowers? No. That obsession belongs to the gardener man I married.

Diamonds? Oh, please. In my dreams.

I amass stationery. Can’t help myself.

A cute notecard winking at me from the store shelf. A spry little boxed set. Darling notepads. Greeting cards. Envelopes.

Stationery sends me over the moon and back to my roots. Each piece a miniature ad campaign.

Selling the message. Singing the jingle. Swaying the heart of this Hallmark shopgirl turned copywriter turned blogger.

Books are irresistible to me. Only makes sense to adore their smaller siblings.

merci beaucoup by Townhouse

Stationery tells short, short stories. Briefer than novelettes. Briefer than some poems.

While substantial letters between important people aspire to grow up and be published, most stationery finds fulfillment in the common exchange of private lives shared. In the precious time it takes time to handwrite the page. To ink out whispers. Giggles. Smiles. Tears.

My husband collects plants in his garden, flowers to flood the beds. Likewise, I think my obsession with stationery is a worthwhile vice. Beautiful. Creative. Relatively inexpensive.

Best of all, though stationery is lovely blank, I can write WORDS on it.

I dig electronic communication. Oh yes, I do. But there’s nothing quite like the written word on paper.

For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. Hebrews 4:12 NLT

Be Still My Beating Heart by a younger Sting. Weren’t we all younger in 1987? Happy Valentine’s Eve!

lamb’s ear, iris and Baptista in J’s garden last spring

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