Archive for the ‘Home’ Category

Smiling Rocks

Monday, October 17th, 2016

I was sitting on the back stoop with Brody in the backyard. I’ve sat there every nice day (and a few rainy ones) for weeks now, and not noticed these rocks to my right. I mean, I saw the rocks, they help cover the runoff from the eaves and where the grass won’t grow up near our woodpile. So, I’m sitting there watching Brody and eating a handful of almonds and then I started noticing all this . . . Seems the kids at Tiller’s backyard birthday party took a sharpie to our rocks and I didn’t even notice.

You can’t help but smile when the rocks are smiling back at you.

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Rock art by Liliana, Tristan, Tiller, and Trinity.

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and Brook, Scarlett, Leah, and Milo. . .

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And Emmy, Mia, Ingrid, Rollie, and Sydney.

Moonlight Mile: Complete Magic (and Terror)

Tuesday, August 2nd, 2016

There are moments, when you have children, that you want to capture in time like a fossil. You want to be able to pull it out at a moment’s notice, hard and solid, and still exactly like that moment you experienced, suspended in time.

I had one of these moments tonight. I drank wine and played ZZ Tops’ “Tres Hombres” while the kids showered. Rollie went to bed to read the new Harry Potter. Tiller came down to hang out with me. I put on “Sticky Fingers.” We looked at her yearbook from last year. (She’s excited and nervous about fifth grade.) I turned the record over to Side 2. We came to the end of the yearbook, and I lay down on the couch. She lay down on my chest and the dog lay on my feet.

It is hard to explain the stillness of this, of the rise and fall of her breath and how it sounded so very beautiful and calming to me. The way I petted her silken child’s hair, as if it would stay that way forever.

And we listened to all of side two. And as we listened to “Moonlight Mile,” we were silent and tears rolled down my cheeks. The moment was perfect and completely unrepeatable. She will never, ever, be ten again, laying on my chest listening to the Stones, and who knows where I will be a year from now.

It was complete magic. And the most terrifying thing I’ve felt in a long while.

Bountiful: The Joy of Being a Total Ouiser

Monday, July 18th, 2016

Clairee: “Why do you give all these to me?”
Ouiser Boudreaux: “Somebody’s gotta take em, I hate em, I try not to eat healthy food if I can possibly help it.”

Anelle: “Then why do you grow them?”
Ouiser: “Because I’m an old Southern woman and we’re supposed to wear funny looking hats and ugly clothes and grow vegetables in the dirt. Don’t ask me those questions. I don’t know why, I don’t make the rules!”

–  Steel Magnolias

I’ve been working really hard on looking at positives this Summer. Summer makes looking at positives much easier, what with all the sunshine, and water, and ice cream and such. Basically, that means I’m trying to make quick work of the things I don’t enjoy, and then finding (making) the time to do the things I love. Reading, writing, running, dog cuddles, listening to music, dabbling in the worst painting ever (anyone local want to take a painting class with me?), volleyball. . . Hell, y’all. I’m taking up tennis again. But the thing that absolutely brings me the most joy? My garden.

My garden has expanded in the last couple of years. Instead of the one bed I started out with down at the street, we now have a sunnier spot in the side yard and we’ve put two more beds there. I love vegetables. Pretty much all vegetables. But tomatoes. Oh, tomatoes! They are my heart and soul.

And I went a little bit overboard this year with the tomato plants. Not really, but keeping up with all of them has proven challenging. We have tomatoes lining the windows.

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And tomatoes (and okra, and basil, and cucumbers, and peppers and beans) in baskets.

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In response we’ve taken to pickling and freezing like we were my Grandma. Our fridge is already packed to the gills with pickles. And pickled things. The last few days, we’ve been bombarded with more vegetables than we can possibly eat. I gave a bunch to my sister. And today, I spent the day putting up veggies.

So, I made another jar of dills, and then an extra “Kitchen Sink” jar – Cucumbers, green beans, jalapenos, and banana peppers all jammed in together.

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I made okra and tomatoes. Reminds me of my mama. So good, even if I’m probably the only one that will eat it.

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I’ve already frozen about a kabillion cherry tomatoes, but I froze some more. (Those are easy. Dump them in a bag. Seal the bag. Freeze them. Use over the winter for sauces and soups. Yum.)

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We still have tons more of the cherries, so we will probably make caprese salad for dinner every night this week. My favorite and the kids like it, too. (Although, let’s be honest, it’s just a vehicle for olive oil and mozzarella, right?)

And I also tried out roasting cherry tomatoes and they were so damn good that the neighbor kid and I almost ate them all and had no more to freeze. I’ll have to do those again. Easy and delicious.

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I made a ton of pesto. I usually make it every week or so during the summer and then freeze it. There is nothing better than homemade pesto on a cold night in January. I put it in piles on a cookie sheet and freeze them, then put them in freezer bags for storage.

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This time, though, I put some in mason jars to freeze. I’m hoping that will help with the color issue. Freezing it makes it lose it’s brighter green color and it basically ends up looking like baby poo. It does not taste like baby poo. We’ll see how that goes. That second jar below got hit hard, because I had to taste it and make sure that it tasted alright. It’s gonna be pretty good, I think. I also feel sick from too much pure pesto ingestion.

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And then to cap it all off, I set up some of my herbs to dry: Marjoram, oregano, lemongrass, chamomile, lemon thyme, tarragon, and chives. (Already have a ton of dried basil.) Finally found a use for my grandma’s clothes pins that I brought home from the lake. I couldn’t bear to get rid of them. Weird, I know.

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I know. I’m a total Ouiser. This is universally acknowledged by all who know me: Cantankerous, sharp-tongued, blunt and honest. I’ve just been in a very bad mood for 40 years.

But growing things makes me happy, and makes me feel tethered to the earth, and I am going to be super pleased to have that frozen stuff over the winter. I’m gonna need some help eating the pickles this summer, though, so hit me up if you like pickled things. And I’ll definitely have them at Wednesday night pool dinners, so come by and have some.

P.s. Debbie, if you read this, and you like pickles or pesto or anything else you have seen above, I would like to propose a trade, because I badly want to try your ice cream. Badly.

More Fun at the Dinner Table (Or, “Why I Drink”)

Thursday, January 7th, 2016

You may remember a while back when I wrote about that time I talked to my 6th grader about strip clubs over dinner. It’s always something at the dinner table. So, tonight, I came home after a canceled therapy appointment. Thank you therapist, for canceling after I’ve already driven from my office in Cumming all the way down 400 and around 285 to Decatur. If you don’t live in Atlanta, just picture the seven circles of Hell. It’s bad.

Since I’m doing Dryuary, I couldn’t even hit Brickstore instead for a beer. I was cold and hungry, because I’m also doing The Fast Metabolism Diet. Don’t laugh, it’s not really a diet, it’s more of a lifestyle of clean eating, and I actually lost over 50 pounds a few years ago doing it, and kept it off. It works and it makes you feel good. It changed the way I eat and is pretty much responsible for the fact that I will eat half an avocado with a spoon, and then just have wine for dessert. I just can’t stuff myself so much anymore. Anyway, it is much better than training for a half-marathon, I’ll tell you that much, which I also did, and I gained ten pounds in the process.

Let’s just say I was the Mayor of Crankytown by the time I arrived home today. But it’s always something at dinner, and tonight was no different. A story in three parts.

Part I

The husband went to the grocery store on his way home and cooked dinner. He’s a good egg. We were about to sit down, but I was still freezing, and frankly, I just wanted to put my PJs on at seven p.m., so I went upstairs to change.

When I came back downstairs, I made a plate and heard Todd and Tiller whispering.

“What?” I asked, eyebrows raised.

More giggling, then leaning across the table for more whispering.

Tiller sat back, looking very pleased with herself, and said, “Mom, 1992 called, and they want their outfit back.”

Let’s back it up here a second and place the blame for this statement squarely where it belongs. That would be Jason B., who just a couple of days ago posted the same thing on my Facebook page when I posted a new profile photo.

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What? I’m wearing a hat, because I’m outside waiting on Uber after watching the football game, by myself with my new friends Saleem and Melvin, at the bar of a local restaurant and it’s cold. And plaid flannel never goes out of style. It’s a classic. Period. I can’t help it if my hair looks about the same as back in 1992. You’re wearing yours differently now, aren’t you, Jason? (You mess with the bull, you get the horns, you know what I’m saying?) Point being, Todd obviously borrowed this little gem from Jason. Moving on. . . .

I don’t really wear PJs. I usually wear a tank top and panties (or boxers if I’m walking around the house) in the summer. In the winter, leggings, and a tee shirt, with a sweater, sweatshirt or hoodie. I like fluffy slippers, and I don’t care how silly they look, as long as they are warm, and they have hard soles that can be worn outside in the damp. I wore holes in my old slippers, so the girl gave me some for Christmas, and they are indeed fluffy on the inside, and they look like Uggs, but shorter, which makes me laugh, because I’m not really an Uggs kind of girl.

Now, the difference is that tonight I had put on my new nightgown, which I purchased mostly because I needed pajamas of some sort that didn’t have any holes in them, and this was the same price as some crap that I returned from Christmas that I will never wear. And so I bought a nightgown. I have not had a new nightgown in over ten years. Over that, I put on my Bitter Southerner sweatshirt, which I love, (Thanks, Todd!) because, as I mentioned, it is cold.

So, Tiller cuts me down, and then everyone laughs at my expense, and I pretended to be mad, but let’s be honest, the joke’s on them:  I was all warm and toasty in my slippers and comfy clothes, and I had taken off my bra after wearing it all day, which all women of bra-wearing age universally acknowledge as the second coming of Jesus Christ.

Let’s cut to the chase. I looked like this:

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Nobody wore Uggs knockoff slippers in the 90s. This sweatshirt didn’t even exist five years ago. And I weighed about 40 pounds less. The kitchen, on the other hand, is completely stuck in the 80s. . . .

And then Tills and I goofed off.

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See how she’s wearing a fleece at dinner? Because it’s cold.

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Brody doesn’t like wrestling or demonstrations of affection of any kind. I mentioned it’s cold, right?

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Part II

So, then, we sit down and eat. Rollie is reading a book at the table. Todd doesn’t like reading at the table, which is anathema to me. He finds it rude. But somehow over the years we’ve come to a truce, and I only do it when I’m having the absolute worst day ever. Or when he is out of town. Then Tiller, Rollie, and I all get giddy and grab our reading material and sit around the table in ecstasy.

“Rollie, are you reading at the table?” I ask.

“Yes.” Sullen 12-year-old. I look at Todd to see his reaction.

“Are we allowed to read at the table?” I ask.

Todd says, “Of course, although I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to sit and talk with your family.”

Rollie, deadpan: “Because we could be reading books.”

Rollie and I high five.

I ask Rollie, “What are you reading?”

Tiller says, “He’s reading my new copy of The Graveyard Book, and he’s bent up all the pages!”

“Dogeared it, you mean, Tiller?” I say. “Rollie, did you ask if you could read her copy of the book? We already have a copy, but either way, you should have asked. And you definitely don’t dogear someone’s book without their permission.”

“Okay.” He doesn’t even look up from the book.

I say, “Thank you for letting him borrow your book, Tiller. Likewise, he has lots of books, and since he doesn’t mind dogearing, I think you can dogear his books when you borrow them. But I would ask first.”

Tiller is aghast. “I wouldn’t want to dog-ear his books! It crumples up all the pages and looks messy!”

My two children are night and day. And that female one . . . well, if I didn’t see her come out with my own two eyes, I would swear we were unrelated.

Part III

Oh Lord. This one takes the cake. I get up from the table to do the dishes. Someone makes a comment about my butt, and my son says: “Dat Turnaround Doe.” Um, if you don’t understand this language (and I really can’t blame you for that one bit), this and this will probably help clear it up. A little. The misspelling will never make sense to me, nor be okay. It’s just wrong.

[needle scratches across record]

Todd and I do turn around and stare at him, and in near unison, “What did you just say?”

R. (tentatively, the boy ain’t dumb) repeats it.

Todd says, “You don’t say that to your mother, first of all.”

“Where did you learn that?” I ask.

Rollie looks at us like we’re dumber than a box of rocks. “The Internet. Duh.”

“Do you even know what that means?” Todd asks.

“Not really.”

“If you heard it on the internet and you don’t know what it means, you don’t need to be saying it,” I chime in.

“Okay, okay.”

Y’all. I’m not sure I’m going to make it through a whole month. I love my family. They make me laugh. But this stuff is part of the reason I drink.

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That Time I Tried to Explain Strip Clubs to My Sixth Grader Over Dinner

Wednesday, December 2nd, 2015

I know I already posted the snake thing, but this requires it’s own discussion, because kids starting middle school is like some kind of hyperspace/warp speed shit. . . all of a sudden all this kind of serious stuff starts whipping by and it’s all a blur.

Dinner table subjects tonight included:

– How babies are made
– Sperm (with interpretive dance by Rollie)
– Todd: “Tiller, time for your shower.” Me: “Tiller, let me know if you ever have questions about what we all talk about.” Tiller: “I don’t even know what sperm means, but it sounds creepy.” [Exeunt Tiller]
– Drugs (weed, coke, meth, addiction, withdrawal, chewing tobacco, big league chew, oral cancer, and symptoms, medicinal weed, plant-based drugs vs. synthetic, “if you do meth, i will punch you in the face, it is really, really bad.”)
– STDs, communicable diseases, and “how” they are spread
– Rollie: “Tony said he’s in sex ed and some kids started thrusting and Ms. Furr said, ‘Stop gyrating like you are in a sex club.'” (Who the hell, is Ms. Furr?)

So, then we talked about whether or not he knows what she meant by sex club, and he said, “a club where you go to have sex?” and I said that I think that she meant “strip club” when she referred to it as a “sex club” and that you just go there to watch people take off their clothes while dancing to bad music, and they might ruffle your hair or something. (R: “They have poles, there?”)

And then Todd tried to break up our very serious sex club discussion by doing his own interpretive dance, taking off his flannel shirt and whipping it about his head. I’m pretty sure he was hearing Bob Seger’s “Night Moves” in his head.

Me: “And you never put your hand down on anything at a strip club and then lick your fingers.” [‘Yep,’ I thought. ‘I just said that out loud.’] He wanted to know why and I said, “well, they are kind of dirty.” And Rollie looked judgy/disgusted and I said, “Well, they are not bad. It doesn’t make you bad if you go there. Mama and daddy have been to them before. They’re just kind of dumb.” Pause. . . “Maybe don’t tell all your friends mama and daddy have been to strip clubs. [Oh god, plural. Why did I make it plural?] “But other people’s parents probably have too.” R: “I doubt that.” Me: “Well, maybe you’re right. Not all the parents have.”

And then I told him this is all very serious stuff, and that the important thing is to be safe, and respectful, and that he can always talk to us about anything, or ask us about things he has questions about.

This is about where Todd send him off to bed, which is for the best, because obviously I am fucking this whole parenting thing up to hell and back, because I have a hard time not being honest about stuff.

(I originally put this on Facebook, but wanted to document this one here, because one day the kids are going to think this is very, very funny, OR they will need it to hand to their therapist at that initial appointment.)

Grey Kitchen: Not My Realm

Wednesday, October 9th, 2013

Yep, it’s me. Dogwood Girl. I know, I’ve been MIA. I’ve been here all along, just not here here. I’ve been at a desk in Cumming.

Yes, i drive that far every day. Which is yet another reason we’ve lived here five years and still have the same wallpaper. I’m trying, people.

So, looking to get a little feedback on grey kitchen ideas. Comments and suggestions welcome, because this is so not my realm.

The Hatch

Friday, August 2nd, 2013

Todd and I call my home office in the basement “The Hatch.” Cracks me up.

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All in All Okay

Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Day 2 of Todd Johnson’s two week absence:

# of hours slept last night: maybe 6?
#book reports completed: 0
# cat poops cleaned off carpet: 2
# cats still living: 2
# pissed off neighbors: 1
# of favors owed Lauren Sullivan Shankman and Scott Shankman: 4
# times i cried about 9/11: 3
# of nights i’ve gone without doing dishes: 2
# miles run: 0
# old friends I got to hug: 1
# episodes of Buffy watched: 2
# points over for day in Weight Watchers: Five million
# vodka tonics: 1 (large)
# children still living: 2

But it’s okay. We have our health. . .

F*cksock

Wednesday, May 2nd, 2012

This morning, I miraculously got the kids up and ready for school today with time to spare. I sat sipping my coffee on the couch until time to get the kids in the car, with Tiller, Rollie, and Brody (the dog) all sitting beside me. I checked my email while the kids read Rollie’s Encyclopedia of Immaturity, Vol. II. (Because Vol. I was not enough.)

I admit, I pretty much block everything out, especially before 8 a.m., but they were reading entries like, “How To Make a Fart Sound With Your Hands,” “How To Make a Fart Sound With Your Arm,” and “Frozen Underpants.”

And then I hear:

R: “How to make a fucksock.”

I choked on my coffee.

Me: “WHAT DID YOU SAY?!”

R: “How to make a fucksock.”

T: “What’s a fucksock?”

Me: “Give me that book.”

Rollie hands me the book. I look down at the page. The heading reads, “How to Make a Fauxhawk.”

Kids are awesome.

Want

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Ooooh. . . Really, really, really want one of these prints from Old Try. There are different prints for different Southern states (Mississippi and Arkansas‘ are best, but I have no connection there), and then some that are just generally Southern.

I want this:

Or this:

But most of all, this:

I want it bad.

Via Garden & Gun, which is awesome, if a little hoity toity sometimes.