Monday, January 31, 2011

Texas Bound!!!

Hopefully, it won't be too much longer before we can get back to Living Intentionally!!

I'm just sayin',

Friday, January 28, 2011

On the Road Again.....

Well, we aren't actually on the road again yet, but we will be in a couple of days.  As much as I want to continue my posts about Living Intentionally, I'm going to have to postpone those posts until next week, when we are settled in Texas.  I would really love to post a few things over the next few days but it will be difficult to do so because we are having a large moving sale this weekend, we will be completing our packing and loading, and our internet is being turned off later today.

I would like to wish you all a wonderful weekend --  enjoy the sunshine and the bit of warmth it brings.  If you happen to be out and about, drop by the sale.  You can contact me via by leaving a message here regarding your interest and I will send you my address.  I can access e-mail via my "snerd" phone (as my hubby calls it)!

I'm just sayin',

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Living Intentionally...Faking it and Learning to Scrap Your Priorities.....

I told you yesterday about one of the Christmas gifts I received...the gift that keeps on giving.  Why?  Because it is a devotional which means I get a new gift every day of the year!  I also explained about the author's counterintuitive principles.  The first two on her list were: Fake It and Scrap Your Priorities.  Craziness, right?  Let's see.... 

The only normal people are the ones you don't know very well.  ~ Joe Ancis

We always seem to think that everyone else has it all together while we are falling apart.  That is just not the case.  Everyone, and I do mean EVERYONE, has issues in their life.  It is just how life is.  No one escapes with everything all put together all the time.  I knew of someone who I perceived had it all together.  One day, we found out everything wasn't as it appeared on the outside.  The sleek, seemingly put together woman with the perfect life that we saw on the outside, wasn't so put together after all.  She was normal just like the rest of us.  

People, especially women, wear so many different masks that sometimes we forget who we are and what we're about.  We lose ourselves because we fear ridicule.  We want to be accepted and to be admired.  We feel that we must create someone who is more engaging and attractive than our true self.  The solution, according to the author, is to Fake It....fake being yourself and let others see who you really authentic.  She states that being a totally authentic person is frightening for the majority of us because we can't hide our hearts behind a fantasy.  She goes on to state that the fictional character we create for others to see is plastic and shallow.  She believes the best three tips for faking it are the 3 "Rs":
  • Reveal - tell others something about yourself that is deprecating but humorous.  Other people love to hear that you aren't perfect either and that you can laugh at yourself.
  •  Respond - listen with your heart and respond with your eyes...make eye contact.
  • Relax - get comfortable...let go of all the pretenses.
Fake it and be yourself!

The key is not to prioritize what's on your schedule, but to schedule your priorities.   ~Stephen Covey

I have a daily planner/organizer/second Bible...we all have our own name for it, but it is the calendar that runs our lives.  I can't go anywhere without my planner.  I feel totally dysfunctional without it and usually suffer severe withdrawal affects if I discover I've left it behind.  If you are like me, when you open it, you find that your schedule is so packed you don't even know where to begin.  So what do we do, we prioritize what is on the schedule for that particular day and hope that we get it all accomplished.  The result...we spread ourselves too thin.  We give so little to each task that none of them are completed successfully...they are all half-done.  Unless you are a type A personality like me and crawl into bed at 2:00 a.m. because you just had to complete everything to the best of your ability, and satisfaction, on that list.  The next day there is usually not enough left of me to go around, but I push on because it is what I feel I must do.  I don't know when to "throw in the towel".

The author explains where the analogy "throw in the towel" originated....from boxing.  When the coach feels that his fighter has had enough, he throws a towel into the ring to indicate the fight is over...his guy is finished.  We all have spouses or friends who can see when we are done, but we can never see it for ourselves.  We need someone there to "throw in the towel" for us.  What that means is that the priority to win is scrapped to fulfill the priority to live.  In order to Live Intentionally, we must learn when to throw in the towel.

The first step, according to the author, is to assess your situation to determine what self-imposed duties are robbing you of joy.  Then develop a plan to get to where you want to go, rather than moving from task to task.  She states that life is a destination worth planning for.  She lists a few of the priorities she scrapped in order to Live Intentionally:

  • Dinner - Two nights a week she and her family had take out instead of her rushing home from work trying to get a home-cooked meal put together.  She said that while they didn't have an organic vegetable on the table every night, she and her family were able to spend quality time together sitting down to the table.  I love what she said, "Spinach was sacrificed for quality time with the family."
  • Laundry - The author taught her kids how to do their own laundry so that Saturdays were spent enjoying time together rather than working.  If they didn't wash their laundry, they wore dirty clothes.  Guess what...they learned how to wash their clothes and no one turned her in to Child Protective Services!
  • Bible Study - She swapped daily Bible study for Christian CDs and books on tape.  She spent her commute time with God and gained 30 minutes of extra sleep every day.  She said she was sure Jesus still loved her.
Pretty interesting stuff, huh?  So I ask you...are you ready to Fake It and Scrap Your Priorities??

I'm just sayin',

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Inspiration for Girlfriends.....

I received an awesome devotional from my BFF for Christmas.  It is entitled Inspiration for Girlfriends.  All devotionals have some really good advice on how to live our daily lives.  There are always stories that inspire us and give us "food for thought".  The devotion for January 23 was "Living Intentionally".  The author states that she has found truth in some counterintuitive principles.  The first principle she adopted was to get more done - stop working.  She found that by shortening her work day, she was more productive and more focused, therefore, accomplishing more of her "to do" list.  Makes sense, right?  She goes on to say that we should live life on purpose rather than just letting life happen.

Other counterintuitive principles she proposed include:

Fake it
Scrap your priorities
Stay behind
Break a hip
Be confused
Disappoint someone
Spend it all today

Now, if you are like me, you find these principles very confusing.  Even more so for the Type A personalities, like me!  :-)

I thought it might be interesting, for the next few days, to share her thoughts on these counterintuitive principles.  She does have some thought-provoking insight....

I'm just sayin',


Monday, January 24, 2011

The Most Important Thing...

Recently I attended the Professional Photographer Association's ImagingUSA conference in San Antonio, TX.  My husband and I attended many classes.  We opted for the "divide and conquer" approach in an effort to get more bang for our buck.  Actually, since I was a new member the conference was free, but that is beside the point!  We are cheap and can squeeze some change out of free!

At the end of each session, we compared notes about what we learned and what would be beneficial in my photography business.  We actually discovered that the pearls of wisdom could apply to any business.  One message that was woven throughout the entire conference was this:  know the rules of what you do and develop your own personal style.  Translated for photographers:  it is wonderful that you love picking up that camera and clicking away until your finger can't press the shutter button any longer.  BUT, if you don't know the rules of photography, you and your business will never survive.  It is okay to bend and break the rules, but make sure you KNOW the rules first.

Photography has become more than a household word with the affordability of digital cameras and even DSLR cameras.  Unfortunately, the art of photography has been lost along the way.  What the instructors were trying to get everyone to understand is that it takes more than a DSLR camera, a backdrop thrown against the wall and a current version of Photoshop to become a photographer.  There are rules that should be followed to ensure a great photo straight out of the camera -- rules of composition (the Golden Means, rule of thirds, etc.),  rules of exposure, copyright rules and rules of running a successful business.  While I've only been in business a little over a year, I've been a photographer for many years now.  One thing I have learned, the most important thing, is that knowledge of the industry is essential for success.

I'm just sayin',

Sunday, January 23, 2011

My Big Redneck Wedding....

We are not big fans of TV shows....especially when you don't count anything that comes on the Hallmark Channel, Food Network, HGTV and episodes of How I Met Your Mother.  However, we do have one horrible TV vice...My Big Redneck Wedding.  I know you are asking yourself how can two normal, classy, sophisticated, intelligent people watch such an absurd show.  But we can't help ourselves.  We are drawn to this show like a moth to a flame.  The outrageous lifestyles keep us on the edge of our seats the entire time.  We dare not miss one minute of the show lest we miss something that will keep us entertained the entire week.

Friday night was the season premiere.  We missed it.  Fortunately, we were able to watch the replay of the season premiere tonight on CMT.  The redneck wedding showcased was between Jessica and Justin in Deatsville, Alabama.  Justin's words had to be subtitled as no one could understand anything he said.  Justin explained that Jessica's parents didn't like him very much but since he "knocked her up" they were stuck with him.  I love the romantic notions displayed on the show.

Tom Arnold hosts the show.  We have never been able to determine whether we like the show because of the content or because we enjoy watching Tom Arnold speak while intoxicated.  Either way, it is one of the little sick moments we enjoy.  We think you might enjoy it also.  Check it out:  Justin and Jessica Get Married!

I'm just sayin',

Saturday, January 22, 2011

The Best Homemade Chicken Pot Pie....

Yes, we've been on the road traveling a good bit and preparing for our move to Texas.  However, I have tried to prepare as many normal meals as possible for my family.  One of their favorites is my homemade Chicken Pot Pie.  While I don't eat Chicken Pot Pie, they have told me it is very good.  I can only take their word for it and show you a photo of the dish.  If you ask me nicely, I will share the recipe when I return to Texas.  It is quick and simple and your family will love you for it! 

By the way, don't forget about the moving sale January 28-29, 2011.  We are raising funds for the trip back!  :-)

I'm just sayin',

Friday, January 21, 2011

The Moving Sale....

As you know, we are moving to Dallas, Texas due to my husband's job change.  Last week we moved part of our household, attended a photography conference in San Antonio and returned to Alabama, all within the span of 7 days.  You can read about those adventures in my previous blogs.

Today was spent preparing for the last phase of our move and tagging items for our moving sale.  The moving sale will take place January 28-29.  We primarily have furniture for sale...can't take it all with us, so it has to go to a new home....someone else's home.  Some of the items we have for sale include a clawfoot bathtub, desk, bed, chest of drawers, nightstand, deck furniture, garden-type items, a kiddie swimming pool, a decorative yard bike and lot of other odd and end items, including photography props and a studio!  If you think you might be interested in anything, let me know.  You can also ask and I might have it available!

I'm just sayin',

Thursday, January 20, 2011

I've Been Everywhere Man.....

Johnny Cash recorded a song entitled, I've Been Everywhere Man.  The chorus went something like this:

I've been everywhere, man.
I've been everywhere, man.
Crossed the desert's bare, man.
I've breathed the mountain air, man.
Of travel I've had my share, man.
I've been everywhere.


The song goes on to list all of the places he's been.  I'm going to replace those lyrics with places we've been over the past week:

Tuscaloosa, Meridian, Jackson, Vicksburg, Monroe, Shreveport,
Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, Houston, Katy, Beaumont,
Port Arthur, Bridge City, Lake Charles, Hammond,
Ponchatoula, Slidell, Baton Rouge, Hattiesburg,
Laurel and Birmingham.

For the past week, we have done little else but travel.  We are tired of being in a moving vehicle is an understatement.  We were glad to be back at home.  Granted, all we will get to do is pack for the 2nd phase of our move to Texas, but we have a whole 10 days to stay put in one place!  We're excited!

Yesterday, I wrote about the things I've learned along the way.  Here are a few more:

The only good thing about Mississippi is the classic country radio station 99.3!

Texas has Farm to Market labeled roads instead of County labeled roads. For example, Alabama has County Road 52.  Texas has Farm to Market Road 1375.
Texas has alot of "frontage" roads.  These run parallel to the interstate and are quite confusing to navigate.
Oil refineries are around every bend in the road in Texas.
Port Arthur, TX has little to nothing to offer the weary traveler.
Lower Louisiana has NO rest stops!  We drove from TX to MS with no rest stop in sight (on I-10).
Texas has the lottery.
Texas has the lottery.
Texas has the lottery.
I plan to get rich.
I plan to get rich.
I plan to get rich.

Meanwhile, back in Bama, the adventures never cease.  Earlier today we had to pick up my son's prescriptions from the Walgreen's located in Sumiton.  While I was waiting at the counter, a customer walked up to purchase cold medications no longer sold on the open shelf.  As we all know, certain cold and sinus medications have been used to make meth.  This customer asked for a specific cold medication and became somewhat upset when she was told the pharmacy was out.  She was offered an alternative but didn't want the alternative.  We gathered our prescription and walked out to our car.  While walking to the front of the store, my husband and I discussed the other person at the counter and the possibility of her purchasing drugs to make meth.  She just had that look, and smell, about her.  When we got outside, a police car was preventing us from leaving.  They were questioning persons in the vehicle parked next to ours.  They told us they would be moving their cars shortly so that we could leave.  We watched them search a passenger who had been in the vehicle.  We discussed once again how these people were probably involved in some sort of drug action.  When we were finally able to leave my husband asked me to follow a police car he saw drive down a side road.  We drove a few minutes but were never able to locate him.  We turned around to head back home.  As we drove past Walgreen's, we saw the customer who had been at the pharmacy counter complaining about the cold medication they did not have in stock, in handcuffs.  She was being given the VIP treatment while being shoved into the back of the police car.  Seems our hunch was right.  She shoulda took the money and run!

I'm just sayin',

I've been everywhere, man.
I've been everywhere, man.
Crossed the desert's bare, man.
I've breathed the mountain air, man.
Of travel I've had my share, man.
I've been everywhere.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

What I've Learned.....

The past 6 days have been hectic and busy.  Last Thursday we moved to Dallas, TX.  On Friday we unloaded our belongings into a storage unit.  On Saturday we drove to San Antonio for a photography conference.  On Tuesday we left San Antonio to head back to our home in Corner to finish packing to complete our move. It is about a 15 hour drive from San Antonio, TX to Warrior, AL.  We knew we couldn't handle all of that time on the road in one day, so we chose to break it up by staying over in Beaumont with one of my husband's friends.

While on the road from San Antonio to Beaumont, I started thinking about all the changes that have taken place in my life in the past few days.  This is what I've learned:

Texas is flat.
Texas has a speed limit for daytime driving and a speed limit for night-time driving.
Texas is flat.
Texas charges you to drive on some of their roads, known as toll roads (I do not like this idea at all).
Texas is flat.
You can reach exit number 850 and still not be out of the state of Texas.
Texas is flat.
People wearing a white ball cap with an orange "T" on it are not for Tennessee.
Texas is flat.
Texans are really not well-informed on the Southeastern Football Conference.
Texas is flat.
Texas fans still carry a bit of a grudge over losing the National Championship to Alabama.
Texas is flat.
Waiters in Dick's Last Resort throw many napkins at you when you ask for ONE.
Texas is flat.
There are alot of Mexican restaurants in Texas.

And finally, Texas is flat!

I'm just sayin',

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

New Adventures in Photography.....

I have thoroughly enjoyed being at the PPA ImagingUSA conference in San Antonio, TX.  I have learned so much in the classes and have had the opportunity to find some interesting vendors.  I think I've learned just as much on the exhibit floor as I have in the classes.

New adventures are on the horizon as I will be applying all I've learned here to my new business in Dallas, TX.  I will probably change the name of my studio and streamline my photography to find my "niche".  Finding your niche, your inner self and what you life to photograph are vital to your photography business.  There are probably around 10,000 photographers here, which is a bit intimidating.  But everyone brings something to the table and we can all learn from each other.

I've decided to become a part of Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep photography.  NILMDTS is a non-profit organization that offers portrait sessions to parents of terminally ill or stillborn babies.  Photographers join on a volunteer basis only.  There is no compensation for this service.  One of my friends on FB stated one of these photographers came to her when her little girl died and that those portraits were very special to her.  I'm looking forward to beginning this new venture as well.

Well, it is back to the drawing board for the day!  Tonight will end with a Bayou Bash previewing the location for next year's conference in New Orleans.  Should be quite an experience.

I'm just sayin',

Monday, January 17, 2011

All Things Photo.....and the "Wooo" Girls

Yesterday I wrote about our experience with the "wooo" girls in the lobby of our hotel.  It turns out Kallie and the "wooo" girls stayed in the room next door to us and were up "wooo"-ing until about 4:00 a.m.  Needless to say we didn't get alot of sleep.  And when the alarm clock went off at 5:00 a.m. for us to get up and get ready for our 7:00 a.m. photo classes, we didn't make it.  Unfortunately, we didn't make it to our 9:00 a.m. photo classes either.  When we finally woke up we decided it was time for a hotel change, not only because of the "wooo" girls, but also because I couldn't get to sleep worrying about having to shower in the dirty bathtub.

After getting dressed, we immediately asked the parking attendant for our vehicle and drove to another hotel, checked in, returned to the previous hotel, checked out, grabbed our belongings and made a run for the border.  We are now happy in a different hotel, which happens to be right across the street from the convention center where all things photo are being held.  Once again, we are in the hotel lobby using the free wi-fi service (which we can use for more than an hour, I might add).  While we are not listening to the "wooo" girls, we are listening to an entertaining story from one of the guys from the print lab I use.  It involves strippers and alot of profanity.  I wonder if I should find a different print lab for my printing services?  I am praying they are NOT staying in the room next to us as there are only so many stripper stories one can hear during the course of an evening!

I'm just sayin',

Sunday, January 16, 2011

From the Windows to the Wall....

There is nothing like staying at a hotel and being away from home. I'm being sarcastic of course as I hate staying in hotels. I'm a germ-a-phobe and hotel life just doesn't work for me. But, it is the price I have to pay to attend the Imaging USA photography conference here in San Antonio. I have to block certain things out of my brain so that I'm not curled in the fetal position on the dirty floor crying like a baby and sucking my thumb. As it is we are having to get the cleaning service to come and clean the bathtub just so that I can get in the shower. I'm in the hotel lobby accessing the one hour of "free wi-fi" on my laptop. I can't stand being in the room until the shower is cleaned and if I don't stay out of it for a bit, I will find myself pacing the worn carpets until they are worn completely through. We germ-a-phobes worry about the germs that are breeding in our environment. I have to sleep in this environment therefore, I need relief.

Apparently, there is a bar right above the lobby as I hear loud music and "wooooo" girls. Now for those of you who don't know what "woooo" girls are, they are the chicks who, when something they like happens, hold their arms up in the air and scream "wooooo". I think at some point in our lives all women have been "woooo" girls. It's just the way it is. I'm not one. Not now at least. I may have been at one time, but I honestly can't remember.  The TV Show How I Met Your Mother had a great episode about "woooo" girls.  I think they explained it pretty well.  :-)

These particular "woooo" girls, must be having one big party up there. A few minutes ago the DJ played "Get Low" by Lil' Jon and the East Side Boyz. Now if you have ever heard this song you know it is pretty nasty....hmmm, not pretty nasty, alot nasty. The "woooo" girls were singing the lyrics loud and clear, as most "wooo" girls usually do. "Wooo" girls are not shy. Immediately following the "Get Low" sing-a-long, the chanting began..."go Kallie, go Kallie, go Kallie". For men, this usually signifies encouraging the chugging of some alcoholic beverage. Kallie was probably doing the same. Kallie and her "woooo" girl friends will not feel good tomorrow morning.

I'm just sayin',

Saturday, January 15, 2011

San Antonio, Here We Come....

We have finally arrived in Dallas and are settling in. The drive took a little under 12 hours and it took less than 5 to unload most of our belongings and throw them into a storage facility! Tomorrow, we are off to San Antonio for the ImagingUSA photographer's conference. I hope to learn new and exciting things and receive lots of free gifts!! I've never been to a conference as an attendee, only as a worker bee.  It will be a new and exciting experience.  When we are not in classes, we will be enjoying the sites San Antonio has to offer, specifically, the Alamo!

Catch you on the flip side!

I'm just sayin'

Thursday, January 13, 2011

This Really Has Nothing To Do with Anything....

As I've stated previously, one of my New Year's Resolutions was to have a blog post every day.  It is January 13th and I've missed 2 days.  Not good.  So, in keeping with the Resolution, I have to post something...doesn't really matter what it is.  Today's post has nothing to do with anything.  I just needed to post something under the date January 13, 2011!  Hopefully tomorrow's post will be less disappointing!

And for good measure, I'm throwing in a cool picture of Marilyn Monroe....remember, diamonds are a girl's best friend!

I'm just sayin',

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

My Quest to Become a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader.....

Our life has suddenly become very harried and frenzied!   We decided to relocate to the Big D within the next few weeks.  Why??!!  Because I decided I want to become a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader!  It is has always been a dream of mine and before I turn 30, er, uh, I mean, 40....oh, crap, 50 later this year, I want to give it a go.  So off we go!!  The Dallas Cowboys definitely won't know what hit them when I take the field!!

While I'm on my life's quest to become a 50 year old cheerleader, I decided I would try to list the other things commonly associated with Texas.  This is what I have so far:
  1. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre
  2. The Lone Star State
  3. The Alamo
  4. Texas Hold'em (a poker game for those of you who might not know what this is)
  5. Texas Longhorn Cattle

Now, there are probably so many other things, but since it is nearing midnight and my brain has reached the limits of its ability for the day, I just can't think of any others to add to the list.  However, if you know of a few things, please feel free to add them in the comments section.

Oh, one other thing I thought of.  Texas had some team that tried to beat Alabama in the National Championship last year.  Guess that counts for something!  :-)

I'm just sayin',

Monday, January 10, 2011

There's Snow on the Ground.....

As promised, I am posting some photos (most of which you can see on my Facebook page)from the first southern snow of 2011. Albeit, it is more ice than snow....the forecasters always get it wrong! However, it is enough to keep everyone, well, most everyone, off the streets of Birmingham. Ice is something we take very seriously here in the south because our cities are not properly equipped to deal with such things.

Additionally, while you folks in the north have nice sleds and such to use over hill and dale when it snows, down here, we usually just make do
with a garbage can lid or anything else we have laying around the house that we think will glide well over icy streets.

Hope everyone has had a great Monday/Snow/Ice Day!

I'm just sayin',

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Snowing in Dixie.....

I know, I know, you are going to say this is a pretty lame post.  And you would be right.  However, I did place an item on my New Year's Resolution list that stated I would post a blog every day.  Yes, I've already missed one day but I'm trying not to miss another one.  Therefore, I will post something, even if it is lame.  :-)

The big snow of '11 has arrived.  The version of the storm in our area began with ice pellets, which is usually an excellent foundation for snow.  It means it is definitely gonna stick!  I can't wait to get outdoors to start taking some photos tomorrow, not only with my Canon 5D but also with my new Diana Lomography camera that I received for Christmas.  Those will be some awesome photos.  Lomography cameras take some really cool  photos!  Since it is a film camera, it will take a while to post the final results, but post them I will!

Until tomorrow, and the ultimate snow day,

I'm just sayin',

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Snow in Dixie....Again

Who knew that the end of 2010 and the beginning of 2011 would find the south enveloped in snow!!  North Alabama experienced the first white Christmas in quite a few years and we figured that would be the end of it.  However, once again, we are gearing up for snow here in the south, which means frantic visits to the local grocer for bread and milk.  I don't understand the bread and milk thing.  Water is free.  And I would rather have something tastier than a PB&J, even if I have to roast wieners over the fire pit outside.  A tasty hot dog beats a plain PB&J any day of the week!  Our trip to the store includes the fixings for chili cheese dogs!  And lots of Coke and Mt. Dew.  Gotta have that sugar high to play out in the snow!  And don't forget the ingredients for snow ice cream!  YUM!!

The Sunday and Monday prediction is for 6-10 inches of the white powder.  While it may only snow 1-2 inches, in south-speak that is 1-2 feet of the white stuff covering the ground, as well as alot of dirt covered snowmen!!  We'll see what happens tomorrow!

I'm just sayin',

Friday, January 7, 2011

And the Winner Is......

We have been entering daily for a chance to win the HGTV's Dream Home 2011 in Stowe, VT.  If you are entering as well, STOP RIGHT NOW.  You are not going to win because it is my house.  I LOVE snow!  I LOVE Vermont!  I want to sit in front of that beautiful fireplace in the den (with the fabulous windows) and gaze out over the slopes!  I want to relax in the pedestal tub while reading a good book and look out occasionally to watch skiers swoosh down the mountain. 

If you feel you MUST enter, please be sure to enter my contact information correctly.  I don't want my new house, car and all that cash mistakenly given to someone less deserving than myself!  I feel I've suffered through too many humid Alabama summers already and spending the summer (as well as the winter) in Vermont would be pretty close to heaven for me!

I'm just sayin,'

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Mark Tremonti...maybe.....

While this particular memory may not be entertaining to those of you who were not involved, it was and still is entertaining to the Real Magnolias.  It is not particularly funny, just entertaining.  And a special memory for us girlfriends.

On November 8, 2002 (you should be impressed I know the date), we held our monthly party, er, uh, meeting.  Remember, we always had a theme.  The theme for this particular month was NERD ALERT.  We, that is most of us, came decked out in our best nerd clothing.  Some, who shall remain nameless, thought they were much too attractive to dress in such a way, so they didn't.  Sam, you were the only one!!  Given that you brought very entertaining photos and some really good gossip, we eventually forgave you!

Paige hosted this austere event and prepared a delicious dinner of pasta and garlic bread.  Naturally, Mike was there.  Fortunately, he never missed a meeting.  As I mentioned earlier, Sam (who refused to dress appropriately for this event), pulled out the photos she had been bragging about and proceeded to tell us the story behind the photos.  The most important was a photo of Mark Tremonti, who was a guitarist for Creed and later AlterBridge.  In the photo with Mark was our very own Sam.  Creed had been in town for a concert and Sam just happened to have a meeting at the hotel where they were staying (not likely, but we gave her the benefit of the doubt.  You see, several of us Real Magnolias had been groupies in another life -- I have my own story of my son and I spending some quality time with Bon Jovi, but that will have to be another day)!  Anyway, Sam enlisted the help of another co-worker and posed for the photo laying before us on the table (oh yeah, it is in The Book).  While posing for said photo, she let Mark know that she and some others (not me) referred to him as Mark Tre-mount-me.  While Mark found it amusing, Sam's husband did not.  Thus, an argument ensued between the two (Sam and her husband, not Mark and Sam's husband).  Side note:  When Sam and the hubs have an argument, physical intimacy ceases to exist.  Sam is a little overactive in this department and this is never a good thing.  So, since there was an argument which led to no physical intimacy, Sam felt she had no choice but to sleep on the sofa.  And you know how one thing leads to another.  Because of her choice to sleep on the sofa, the argument with the hubs and no physical intimacy, Sam had nightmares about being intimate with men she would never, ever, ever, ever in a million years be intimate with.  I suppose you would have to know Sam and her story-telling abilities to be amused OR repulsed, whatever your choice would be.  Since we had just finished eating, we asked her not to tell anymore details so that our food would remain where it belonged.

Now, for you men, here's another side note:  we do talk about you and your talents, or lack thereof.  We compare notes and determine who is in the lead in the contest of the most qualified husband.  Which is why our conversation transitioned from that story to a revelation about Lauren's husband and her nickname for him.....

I'm just sayin',

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Dear Diary.....

Blogging is a term that hasn't been around that long, but the concept has become very popular.  It seems as if everyone has a blog these days, including yours truly.  After reading many blogs, I've come to the conclusion that blogs have taken the place of those old-fashioned diaries we used to have as kids.  It is also very similar to "journaling", with everyone making their thoughts available for the world to read.  Thoughts, dreams, goals, fears, inhibitions, loves, name it, are no longer held in a small book clutched tightly to our chests.  We open ourselves up for ridicule by the entire world!

I can't recall ever being one of those kids who wrote in a diary, but I can remember journaling on occasion and still have the bizarre ramblings to prove it.  But, if I were going to write in a diary, my entry for today would look something like this:

January 4, 2011

Dear Diary,

It is 4:30 in the morning.  I was awakened by a peculiar dream.  I am sure all dreams are peculiar in some form or another.  Alot of people can't recall their dreams and don't know if they dream in black and white or in living color.  I dream in living color.  How do I know?  Because my dream was filled with images waiting to be taken (as they usually are), to be captured on film.  A girl that I know was wearing an orange ballet tutu, sitting on a suitcase in front of a brown trailer, her slippered feet immersed in mud.  She is looking at me and the camera as if it is our fault or that we should be able to do something to help her.  The next image was her brother in the orange ballet tutu, standing beside her.  I walked down a street lined with pink and purple trailers.  A young girl was sitting by a fence in front of one of the trailers asking me if I had seen her mother.  She was holding an old brownie camera.  Just as I passed, an old woman drove up in a blue Chevrolet from the 60s.  Her face was lined with age and the cigarette smoke curled from the car window.

Prior to that, I dreamed of a row of young men, probably a football team, sitting at a long picnic-type table.  I was coaching them on their diet prior to games and how to avoid stomach aches.  There were bowls of pasta on the table.  The edge of the table was splintered and I had to warn them not to get too close lest they snag their uniforms.

Other images involved old sofas, chairs and coats for photo shoots.  Flowers grew wildly among dead weeds and signs of poverty were all around.  A place that I've never seen before was suddenly quite familiar to me.  Clothing items were hanging on hangers across the bathroom doors of stalls located in the dollar store.  Everyone knows the dollar stores have no public restrooms, but I was hanging clothing displays there nonetheless.  And washing my hands.  I suppose even in our dreams we cannot escape our OCD tendencies.

People that I've known in the past swirled through my head, as did people from the present.  Places that I will go in the future did also.  I can remember wondering why people who used to blog on a regular basis have not blogged in months and I recall worrying about what had happened to them.

Diary, am I insane to have all these things rolling around in my head?  Or is it the suppression of my creativity -- the things that I keep bottled up because I know at this point in my life, I have no way to make some of these things happen?  Could it be something I ate before I went to bed?  I had some white cheddar popcorn,  Maybe I shouldn't eat it before bedtime in the future?

Well, I'm going to try to get back to sleep.  Maybe now that I've written all of this down my brain will relax and let the peace envelop me.  Until another day diary.


Aren't you glad I really don't keep a personal diary?  Aren't you glad I don't record my dreams more often?  I feel if I did, someone would be bringing one of those pretty white coats by for me to wear!

I'm just sayin',

Monday, January 3, 2011

Hollywood Glamour with the Real Magnolias......

I cannot tell you how many stories there are that involve the Real Magnolias. I've been going back through The Book and laughing at some of the things we said and did. I have been struggling with which story to tell next because they are all so memorable. I've chosen a rather tame one for this blog. In January, 2002, we decided we wanted to do glamour portraits. Remember when those were popular?? Yeah, about 100 years ago, right??!! One of our friends had her own photography studio at the time, so we held the event there. Everyone seemed to be quite excited about getting their hair and makeup done by professionals (we had a bonafide makeup consultant and a not-so-bonafide hair stylist in our group - she shoulda been bonafide though because she did an awesome job). Everyone looked stunning for their photo shoot. I chose to not have a portrait made. I HATE getting my picture taken. But I did help in the wardrobe department. My job was to be the "official boob taper". I did such a good job I was able to add that all important skill to my professional resume! Back in the day, I could tape a set a boobs for maximum cleavage in 4.3 seconds...flat! No pun intended. Men envy me and my abilities (and my good fortune)! :-)

Since I worked in the wardrobe department AND I was the official record keeper AND holder of The Book, it was my sworn duty to report any and all comments from the Real Magnolias w
hile they were preparing for their photo shoot. While eavesdropping among the up and coming starlets, I overheard these remarks:

"what are you laughing at"
"mine look like playtex nursers"
"where's the tape, I need more tape"
"at least you don't look like a 10-year-old boy"
"they aren't much, but they fed my children"

Now, while I will reveal the comments, the owners of the comments will never be revealed. Nor will their bra size!

As I'm writing this, I'm looking back over all the photos of those beautiful women on that special night. They truly looked glamorous, sexy, seductive, beautiful and unforgettable. Unfortunately, I can't scan the photos as the page from The Book is too large for my tiny scanner to handle. You will all just have to use your imaginations.

I'm just sayin',

PS....the Real Magnolia photographer refused to give each Magnolia a copy of her photo. They saw the proofs but never received the final product. So, in the true nature of a Real Magnolia (if you don't give us what we want, we take it), they stole their portraits from her a couple of years later!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Increasing the Blog Traffic and Hopefully New Followers......

Recently, my husband posted one of his controversial blogs.  Nothing new about that.  However, since posting this particular controversial blog, his blog traffic has increased 10,000%!  He has been trying to figure out why his blog traffic increased so dramatically.  Tonight, whilst performing his daily research on why the large increase, he stumbled across the reason....Taylor Lautner!  In this particular blog, he posted a photo of Taylor Lautner....shirtless!  And, given the way Google's search engine works, the shirtless Taylor was traced right to the hubby's website!

Now, I must admit, I have no idea who Taylor Lautner is or what he does.  He just doesn't fall across my radar...ever.  However, since we have come upon this little gem, I'm going to give him a try it and see what happens!!  While you're at it, please feel free to become a "follower".  When the Taylor Lautner hoopla dies down, you might find some entertaining stories throughout the blog.

I'm just sayin',

Monica, the Czar

I hope most of you are keeping up.  The Real Magnolias stories are not going to be consecutive posts as I do have other things going on in my life that I feel the need to write about.  Not alot mind you, but other things nonetheless.  :-)

In the previous post, I mentioned Monica, the Czar.  Monica had a nasty habit of being the mom and trying to keep the rest of us from ever having any fun.  Thank goodness she was never successful!  However, one thing she was quite successful at was making new friends.  I use this term loosely as it was usually people she would pass on the street.  Monica felt it was her place to not only be the Czar in our lives, but also in lives of strangers.  For Monica never met a person she didn't take the opportunity to talk to.  When she would see someone that she thought she would be able to strike up a conversation with, she would stop them to talk.  Said conversation went something like this:

Monica, the Czar: "Hey, do you have the internet?"

Stranger on the Street: "Why, yes I do."

Monica, the Czar:  "Well, good.  When you get a chance check out this website,*  I bet you will find a picture of yourself there."

HOW she never got shot is beyond me.  That is not the sort of thing you just blurt out to anyone, especially people you will never see again.  Hmmm, come to think of it, maybe that is the perfect thing to say to someone you will never see again!

I'm just sayin',

*I was going to post a link to this website because I know all of you are just dying to see if your picture is, uh, I mean, to see the photos of other people on this website.  However, it has been discontinued.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Christmas - Past, Present and Future.....

Let me preface by saying Happy New Year -- 2011. Eleven years since the dreaded Y2K brouhaha. The technological world as we know it did not collapse, it improved. And we are all the better for it. So, on to the current blog post. By the way, one of my New Year's Resolutions, well the only one really as I didn't bother to sit down and make a list, although I suppose I should have and still might, is to post a blog on a daily basis. I give it a week, tops. But at least I'm going to give it my best shot! :-)

Last Christmas

Last Christmas I gave you my heart and the very next day, you gave it away....yeah, I know, a sad Wham Christmas song from the 80s. Fortunately, that is not what this blog is about.  Last Christmas we traveled to Texas to spend the holiday with my in-laws. En route, we ran into a pretty heavy snow storm. That's right, in Texas. I was surprised as well.  While I love snow and cannot figure out how I ended up in a state (Alabama) that experiences snow so rarely, I do not like being trapped on an interstate in a snow storm, on Christmas Eve, which is exactly what happened. It took us quite a while to reach our destination but we made it, safe and sound.  I suppose I should back track a bit by telling you we have horses.  And horses have to be taken care of, much like cats and dogs, when you are out of town.  While we were all involved in the regalia of Christmas morning, we received a phone call from one of our neighbors.  Jet, our gelding, was lying dead in the pasture.  He had been ill for quite some time and had finally succumbed.  We asked the neighbors to cover him up and we buried him when we returned home a few days later. 

This Christmas

This Christmas, we traveled once again to spend Christmas with my in-laws.  Sound familiar.  Our family, in the car, traveling on Christmas Eve to spend the holiday with my in-laws?  I'm sure you think you know where this story is going...horses, right?  You would be wrong.  You would also be wrong if you guessed we would be traveling to Texas again.  This year, we traveled to the Montgomery, Alabama area to have Christmas at the in-laws' vacation lake house.  So, on Christmas Eve, we loaded our suitcases, Christmas gifts and the family dog, Helen, and drove south.  We arrived safely with no catastrophic events taking place.  Christmas morning we were awakened by a knock on our bedroom door.  One of the boys had been looking for Helen.  No one had seen her since the previous evening.  We all went to bed presuming that someone else had let her back inside from the previous night's bathroom break.  We quickly dressed and went in search of our dog.  We found her, approximately 1 hour later, on the side of the road, about 1/2 mile from the house.  Someone had struck her with their vehicle. They had hit her so hard, her dog collar had been knocked off.  We were all devastated.  She had belonged to my husband and stepson for 13 years. Helen was carried back to the lake house and buried the next day.

Do you see how this horrible Christmas theme is unfolding??

Next Christmas

Next Christmas, we will be traveling to Alabama to spend the Christmas holidays with my family since we will be living in Texas.  We no longer have any animals which means there will be no animal tragedies associated with the Christmas holidays.

I'm just sayin',