Posts Tagged ‘love’

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.


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


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.


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


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.)


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.



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.



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.


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.


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.

Sappy, Sappy

Tuesday, February 14th, 2012

“I see my life was brightest where you laughed and laid your head…”
– Wilco

Happy Valentine’s Day, Angel. I have never regretted going out for drinks with friends that Valentine’s Day weekend almost thirteen years ago.


Radiohead: A Story of Starcrossed Lovers

Tuesday, January 17th, 2012

Todd and the kids and I had a great dinner last night. They are getting to the age where they are actually fun to converse with. We were fixing plates and the Radiohead song “Creep” came on, and Todd and I were singing along at the top of our voices, and playing air guitar on that bangy guitar part (you know the one), while Rollie yelled for us to stop, and Tiller rolled her eyes. And then Todd proceeded to tell the kids a story of star-crossed lovers back in the olden days. (You know, the mid-90s.)

There once was a boy living in Atlanta, who liked Radiohead. There once was a girl, also living in Atlanta, who – get this – also liked Radiohead. Now, this was before Radiohead was a household name, right after OK Computer came out, but before anyone except diehard The Bends fans had heard the album yet, before folks considered it the Dark Side of the Moon of the 90s. And so this boy and girl, who both lived in Atlanta, and who both liked Radiohead, both bought tickets to see Radiohead at The Masquerade.

And they both went to the show. And the girl was with her boyfriend, who was not the boy. And she stood watching the show with her left shoulder leaning against the sound booth. And the boy watched the show from the front of the sound booth. And they were mere feet apart from one another. And the show rocked their worlds.

And then three days later, she moved to Denver with her boyfriend.

But the story wasn’t over.

Because sometime later, the girl sat drinking beer in a kitchen in Boulder, Colorado, and she saw a picture on the fridge that reminded her of a girl she used to know. And a couple years later, the girl who liked Radiohead met that girl she used to know in a bar, and the girl she used to know introduced her to the boy who also liked Radiohead.

And now the girl who likes Radiohead and the boy who likes Radiohead sit in their kitchen with their two children, who really don’t give a shit about Radiohead, and they play the game horse face. Horse face consists of one person making a funny face and the other person having to match that funny face. And the girl who likes Radiohead makes a face, and it is so funny to her that she laughs until tears run down her face, her stomach hurts, and she almost pees her pants.

And the Boy who liked Radiohead and the Girl who liked Radiohead are happy together.

A Song For Daddy, In New York

Monday, May 24th, 2010

Tiller asked me today, when we were laying on the bed reading after a day of waterlogging ourselves at the pool, “Mama? Where is Daddy? Is he lost?” He is out of town on business. So, we texted back and forth with Daddy for a while, and then she wanted to send him a song.

So, she sang this , on the fly, for me to record for him. First and only take.

Bedtime Cheer: Discussions of Aging and Death

Friday, February 12th, 2010

I tucked Tiller in the other night, then went into tuck Rollie in. He was reading a book, with it propped on his legs, and with a pillow behind his head.
“Night baby,” i said.
“Night, mama.”
I kissed him on the head and got a little choked up, thinking about putting him down as a baby, and how much he has grown. Rollie noticed my tears.
“Mama, why are you crying?”
“Because I am so proud of the wonderful little boy you are growing up to be. They are happy tears.”
Rollie made a face that told me that he was a bit skeptical about “happy tears.”
“Mama,” he said, “Don’t worry. I am not going to die for a long time.”

There is something about hearing my child talk about his own death that just chills me to the bone, but I don’t let them see that.
“I know that baby. Most children end up living long lives.” I’m not going to totally shield them from the harsh realities of life, either.
I kissed him again, and gave him a hug an walked towards his door.
“Yes, Rollie. . .” I turned towards him, expecting the usual, “i need a glass of water/potty/medicine” stalling tactics.
“Mama, one day i will have kids and you will be a grandma.”

Boy, kid, you really know how to cheer a girl up at bedtime.

The Bright Side of Puking

Wednesday, February 3rd, 2010

Tiller’s got the pukes. It all started Sunday before last, with Rollie having no appetite. Any parent worth their salt knows that when a kid has no appetite for something that they usually scarf down, then you will be dealing with puke within 24 hours. It is a law of nature.

Rollie was out of school five days last week. He had only one puke incident, but then had a fever for six days straight. He felt better on Friday (just in time for the weekend!). Tiller fell sick on Sunday night. Same thing. No appetite, fever, a little puke. Both kids also have a cough with this thing.

This sounds crazy, but I kind of like it when my kids are sick. No, i hate to see them scared or puking, and I hate the getting up two or three times a night to soothe them, and clean puke and change sheets, or to lie awake listening to them cough and worry about pneumonia or freak bacterial infections. Not that part.

But when they are sick, I am reminded how very much I love them, and how I couldn’t bear it if something happened to one of them. I am reminded that I am lucky that they are so healthy. Now that they are older, they don’t want to sit in my lap as often, or snuggle on the couch. I am chopped liver. But when they are sick? They want me, need me, even.

I am reminded of one time when Rollie was sick. He was about 18 months or two years, probably. He came into the kitchen where Todd and i were standing, and he looked just pitiful, and then he started throwing up. He had that panicky look that little kids get when they are vomiting. They don’t understand what is happening to them, and they feel like they are choking, and their eyes are begging you to fix it. Todd grabbed a towel, while I got down on my knees and pulled Rollie into my lap. His little fists were clinging to me, and he was puking all over the both of us, and the whole time it was happening, all i could think of was that there was not another person on earth whom I would let sit on my lap and puke all over me.

I was thinking, There is nothing that I wouldn’t do for you. Nothing.

Purple-Haired, Angst-Ridden Dogwood Girl

Wednesday, January 13th, 2010

I so wish this post included a photograph. I just realized that I still get a sick enjoyment out of thinking about the twisted up feeling of being twenty years old and purple-haired, all heartbroken and angry and listening to that guitar in Nirvana’s “Aneurysm.” Not sure what that’s all about. I was just editing some .NET tests, listening to my 90’s iTune mix and it came over me. . . .

I guess i just can’t think of much in my love life these days to get all angry about. Things now are not very aneurysm-inducing, but it is hard to rock out to that song and not think of something I wanna get pissed about. I mean, what am i gonna do, get angsty about having to cook Kraft Mac and Cheese?

And yes, this post is partially about avoiding getting back to work.

p.s. Dogwood Girl is still looking for pictures of herself with aforementioned purple hair! Come on, people. I know they are out there. I want to make my kids laugh at me, before they get so old that they will just roll their eyes. One of the best things about getting old is that it is FUN to laugh at myself. Help a girl out here. Honey and Laura, this mostly means you.

The Center of Her Universe

Friday, January 1st, 2010

Center of My Universe I

I was tucking the kids in tonight, and went in to Tiller’s room and sat on her bed beside her. I leaned over her, and told her how much i loved her and that i was so glad she was in my life. I told her I was proud of her. She has an indescribable look on her face when we talk like this at bedtime; all sweetness and almost a demure embarrassment, with maybe a touch of “tell me again.”

She looked at me and whispered, “Mama?”

I answered, “Yes, sweetie?”

Tiller: “Who will be my Mama and Daddy when I grow up?”

My stomach clutched. I don’t know why these questions get to me like they do. i guess my fear of one day not being there for her, of something happening to me or Todd, or god forbid, both of us.

Me: “We will always be your Mama and Daddy, no matter how big you get.”

This seemed to satisfy her for a moment, but then I saw a flash of uncertainty pass across her face.

She said, “Okay, but don’t ever live far, far away.”

Me: “I won’t baby. As long as you want to live near us, we will live together. I promise.”

It is nice to be the center of her universe, even though I know one day i won’t be. I am so thankful that every day my children teach me something about how to love more fully than I ever have before.

A Love Affair

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Just me and my dog.

See dog on couch. Take dog picture. Decide to try and get a shot of me and Dog. Lay down on couch with dog. Dog starts licking. I start laughing. Camera shakes.

Never really get a good shot of either of us.

I love him so much.

Dad Update

Saturday, May 23rd, 2009

When Dad came out of surgery, he went to ICU. They wouldn’t let us see him for a couple of hours, but finally we were called from the ICU waiting area (not a happy place) back to see him. When they got there, the curtain was pulled and Dad was in ICU until yesterday, when they moved him to a new room.

Now he is off the oxygen, no more catheter, taking percocet by mouth instead of the morphine. They got him up and walked him about 100 yards today. He is definitely feeling better, because he called me three times this afternoon to see what I was doing at the Lake. I was mowing. He actually told me how to crank the lawn mower. I have been mowing the lawn since about 5th grade. I was so scared that he would die last week and thankful he didn’t that i actually listened and acted like i was learning something I didn’t know. Supreme willpower not to be snarky.

Mom is doing well – she is exhausted from worrying so much. I think she is nervous about Dad coming home and having to help him. My sister is with her until at least tomorrow. Lisa and Dash might come up and stay at the lake with me tomorrow. Pretty weird to have Memorial Day weekend pretty much by myself. Todd is having fun in Alaska and I am so thankful that he got to go on his trip – he totally deserves the break. The kids are being spoiled rotten in Auburn with the in-laws. All the family dogs (Quint, Emily, and Malex) are with me at the lake, which is where they are happiest: Swimming in the lake, running loose, eating sticks, and showing up at the back door smelling like dead fish.

I know I said it before, but I am so thankful to have such wonderful friends, family, and neighbors. We had a shitty week, but it was also the most loved i have felt in years.*

*Don’t worry – Dogwood Girl will be back to her old snarkastic ways in no time. This emotional shit is exhausting. . .

p.s. Macon pretty much sucks ass.