Tales from Talkofthesouth

May 24, 2013

Now Is the Summer of Our Content

Filed under: Uncategorized — talkofthesouth @ 9:37 pm

It’s NOT plagiarism!  Shakespeare said, “Now is the winter of our discontent.”  See, that’s not the same AT ALL.  The past year has been tough.  Well, really, the past TWO.  Who am I kidding?  The last decade has tested me.  You get the point.  Anyway, I am making the intentional, conscious CHOICE to make THIS the summer of my content.  Lord willin’ and the creek don’t rise, I hope to find a balance in relaxation and refreshment and productivity and purposefulness.  (If purposefulness isn’t a word, it should be.)  I find myself in dismay over the fact that, seemingly overnight, my children are grown.  The time between diapers and driver’s licenses is equivalent to two blinks of the eye.  Oh, dear.  I think of all the things I SHOULD have done with them and chastise myself over all the things I SHOULDN’T have done with them.  I read in the paper almost daily of tornadoes and school shootings and house fires and cannot ignore the fact that most of the people who lost children in these tragedies counted on much more time to show love in action and many more opportunities for teachable moments.  I can’t hop in the DeLorean and go back in time in order to make more memories and better choices.  I can, however, choose this day to trust God to help me be the mom and wife I want to be–especially for the next two months when my schedule is the most relaxed.  I will claim His promise to “restore to me the years that the swarming locust has eaten (Joel 2:25)” and practice the art of “learning to be content in every situation (Philippians 4:12).”  I’m looking forward to you, Summer!

August 8, 2011

My Adventures as a Meteor Specialist: Day 1

Filed under: Uncategorized — talkofthesouth @ 8:13 pm
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So today was my first day as a media specialist. Mind you, I have NO experience as a media specialist. NONE. ZIPPO. NADA. For the last 9 years I have worked only part-time, having left my full-time job in public mental health while I still had just a smidge of my OWN mental health left! I’ve spent more time being a mom. Which means I ACTUALLY come closer to being qualified as a meteor specialist. Because, ya know, of all the STARS I’ve watched on the soap operas over the years. Plus I have a lot of experience with COMET in the bathtubs. Come to think of it, not really all that much. Oh, well. It’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

Today, Day 1, I went to the school and got someone to unlock the library for me. After nosing around a little, I felt I needed to DO something. The problem was, today was not officially the first day for the faculty to return to school and many chose not to come. There was no one around to ask anything. So I decided to “rearrange” things. First, my OCD kicked in. There was this HUGE multi-colored stuffed caterpillar WAAAAAAY on the top of the bookshelves. It wasn’t “centered,” and this really disturbed my feng shui. I dragged the library stool over and attempted to center the large worm. Did I mention it was 12 or so feet long??? Let’s just say it wasn’t a 1-person job! And I managed to KNOCK THE WHOLE THING OFF THE SHELF!! I wish Candid Camera had been around to record me the next 20 minutes as I attempted to hoist this gigantic stuffed toy back on the shelf. It would’ve made Lucy and Ethel proud!

Not more than 30 minutes had passed when I decided to vacuum. I asked the secretary where I could find a vacuum cleaner, and she dragged one (the only one I saw) out of the janitor’s closet. It was an upright vac, and I couldn’t figure out how to release the handle to get it into “push” position. I had to use it with the handle at a 90-degree angle to the floor. It was not the picture of efficiency. Then I decided to give it up. In going to wrap the cord back around the little plastic clamp thingy, I BROKE THE CLAMP!! The whole vacuum cleaner pretty much disintegrated. It was a proud moment. What could I do? Really, there was little choice. I went in search of Scotch tape. Alas, there was none. So I had to ‘fess up and offer brownies to sweeten the disposition of the janitor when he learns of my misdeed. What was I doing with a vacuum cleaner in the first place?!?! I don’t know how to operate machinery!!

And that concludes the high points of Day 1 as a meteor specialist.

March 9, 2010

Thank You, Lord!

Filed under: Uncategorized — talkofthesouth @ 8:03 pm

Dear Lord,

Thank You for getting my sister and me to and from Atlanta safely today. Please forgive me for all the commandments I broke. I did not legally commit murder, but I did think unkind thoughts. Perhaps even malicious ones. But only towards the speed demon drivers. And the slowpokes. And the idiots. And the morons. And those who didn’t use their blinkers. And those who drove slowly in the fast lane. But that’s it. Well, and maybe the ones who didn’t merge courteously. But that’s all. And the zig-zaggers. But I’m really pretty sure that’s it.

And I did covet. Not anyone’s house or slave or ox. But I confess I coveted printed Mapquest directions. Truly I coveted them.

I definitely did not take your name in vain. But I did occasionally speak in hieroglyphics. And perhaps, just maybe, said derogatory things about people’s mothers. But not many. Only those referenced in paragraph #1 above. Oh, and I said some exceptionally vile things about Johnelle. (Johnelle is the little pet name we gave to Angela’s GPS.)

Lord, I thank you for revealing something to me today. None of us really knows for sure what Hell is like. But I got a new appreciation for the urgency in making sure people come to know you. I wouldn’t want my worst enemy to have to spend a lifetime traveling in circles in Atlanta with an obnoxious GPS that said “Recalculating” in ever more exasperated tones every 25 seconds. And, though it’s hard to imagine, I have a feeling Hell is even worse!

Lord, thank you for the gift of laughter. It’s one of my most favorite gifts of all. I know You have a wonderful sense of humor. After all, You did make me! Amen.

After two “Mondays” in a row, I’m hoping for a Saturday-on-a-Wednesday tomorrow! In the meantime, have a blessed day!

March 8, 2010

The PMS Hotline

Filed under: Uncategorized — talkofthesouth @ 4:25 pm

There’s just one word on my mind today: Grrrr! I haven’t had a decent night’s sleep since I can’t remember when, and today is Monday. Ugh, Mondays are usually bad even when they’re uneventful; and mine has been eventful already. Murphy with that insufferable law of his has been demonstrating himself in a most despicable way. I don’t think even Pollyanna could put a positive spin on my day! If I had a gun pointed at my back and was forced to come up with something good about it “or else,” I guess I would say this: At least I don’t have PMS. Because, believe me, if I had PMS; you just might be hearing about me on the six o’clock news!

If you or your loved one suffers from PMS, I would recommend calling the PMS Hotline for additional support on those tough-to-manage days. Here’s a transcript of the automated answering service for Women Helping Women Gynecological Services, the service I use for all my PMS needs.

“Hello, you have reached the automatic answering service for Women Helping Women Gynecological Services. If you have PMS, go ahead and press the pound key now. We don’t want to keep you waiting. If the attending operator is on another line, she’ll hang up and take your call immediately.”

(Insert pounding of pound key here.)

“To better serve you, please choose from one of the following options:

For uncontrollable sobbing, please press 1 now.
For out-of-control acne breakouts, please press 2 now.
For inability to remember such things as where your phone, coffee cup, or keys are, please press 3 now.
For inability to remember such things as your name or how to tie your shoes, please press 4 now.
For inability to tie your shoes due to not being able to reach them because of bloating, please press 5 now.
For tips on using pliers and other common household tools to get your jeans zipped, please press 6 now.
For divorce attorney referrals, please press 7 now.
For local listings of Dr. Phil, please hang up and go to http://www.tvguide.com.
For tips on coping when there’s no chocolate in the house, please press 8 now.
For unfortunate incidents with the lady who stole “your” parking spot at Wal-Mart, listen carefully and choose from one of the following options:
Press 9 if bleeding is involved. Check for pulse. If there isn’t one, hang up and dial 911 or press 10 for tips on where to hide the body.
For all other inquiries, please hold for the next available operator. If it takes a while, just deal with it. We’re all women here, and we get PMS, too.”

I’m hoping for a better Tuesday! In the meantime, have a blessed day!

March 5, 2010

Twenty Reasons I’m Not a Fan of Winter

Filed under: Uncategorized — talkofthesouth @ 4:14 pm

Let’s just say Punxsutawney Phil is not on my good side this year. When he marched his furry little butt out of his den on February 2nd, I was praying a rarely-said prayer (“Lord, let it be cloudy today”). I was hoping against hope that the vile critter would not see his shadow and run back inside his hole, thus lengthening the winter for me. I’m truly just not a fan of winter. I mean, it’s OK for a little while. It’s nice to be able to wear long sleeves on Christmas Day occasionally. And those once-in-a-blue-moon snow flurries are kinda fun. As long, of course, as the electricity doesn’t go out. Because then the DVR doesn’t work. And I can’t watch Judge Judy. And the freezer goes out. Which could result in all the Hot Pockets defrosting. And I don’t have internet. Which would be OK since I have mobile internet services. Except that the cell phone charger relies on electricity. Which would be OK since I have a car charger. Except that the car is in the garage and the garage has an electric door. And I’d really prefer to avoid carbon monoxide poisoning. But I digress. Which I rarely do. Anyway, I have my reasons for not being a winter-lover. Let me try to narrow it down to 20.

1.I usually try to avoid using scientific jargon and industry buzz words in my writing. Sometimes, though, it’s just not possible to do so. So please forgive me for the big words. The #1 reason I’m not a fan of winter is this: It is cold.
2.I sometimes get frostbutt. You’re not familiar with that? It’s a medical condition that often occurs after an extended period of extremely cold, gray and/or rainy days. When the sun comes back out; you race outside, gleefully throw yourself on the ground, and roll around in an effort to absorb every ray of sunshine possible. Only you discover that the ground is still frozen. And now so is your rear end. Frostbutt does not generally require medical attention.
3.I can’t satisfactorily choose pajamas. Uncle Perry and Aunt Minnie (Pause) are very fickle. The two-piece long-sleeved flannel outfit is too hot. The short-sleeved cotton PJ set is not warm enough. Most of the time I can get away with the two-piece polyester pajamas. With the right sleeve rolled up and wearing a ski sock on my left foot.
4.When I let the part-time outdoor dawg out for her early-morning potty break, she insists on sniffing every leaf, twig, and blade of grass to find the perfect spot to squat. I must endure this process while standing on the porch in my mismatched sweats and watching my breath in the air in order to ensure that some innocent jogger is not terrorized by the attack Jack Russell (wannabe).
5.I have to watch where I walk in the yard so as to avoid stepping on a poopsicle. (See #4 above.)
6.I am a southern girl. We simply do not do winter. We perspire when we are out of doors. Not expire.
7.The temperature is displeasing. I prefer numbers approaching the average IQ score of The Jerry Springer Show viewers.
8.I shock myself no fewer than 3 dozen times a day. I mean, I do pride myself on my electric personality, but I look like an idiot cautiously approaching the Kroger making frantic “pecking” motions at the door in a futile attempt to avoid the blue flame shooting out the end of my curled fingers.
9.I have outgrown all my corduroy pants. Even after reading all the research about “muffin tops” being scientifically proven to be related to excess muffin-eating. (The jury is still out on Hostess Twinkies.)
10.I like to “chill,” but not literally.
11.I don’t like hand-washing sweaters. Truth be told, I don’t like washing sweaters at all. But sometimes when I crawl out of the bed in the morning and discover it’s 2 degrees outside and all my sweaters are dirty and I used up the bottle of Febreze I have no choice.
12.I don’t care for goosebumps. Which actually look more like ostrich bumps, if you ask me. And I already spend a fortune at the dermatologist’s office.
13.It is cold.
14.It’s frowned upon to wear your Snuggie to church. Now they say it’s “come as you are,” but I don’t think they really mean it.
15.Snotcones. You know you know what I mean! You’re outside when it’s below freezing and you have the misfortune to sneeze. Voila! Snotcones!
16.When you wear boots and black trouser socks all day, it creates quite the aroma. I have to buy Febreze twice a week as it is. I tried using Odor Eaters once. I put them in my boots one night and dang if the boots hadn’t disappeared by the next morning.
17.My kids expect me to get out of the bed and take them to school five days a week. It’s not but 6 or 7 miles, but they insist that they need a ride. Tenderfeet!
18.Sometimes there is no chocolate in the house. This happens at other times during the year, too, but I feel that this must be included because chocolate is key to my overall life satisfaction.
19.I don’t like pumping gas in the Arctic. Honestly, I don’t enjoy pumping gas during the dog days of August, either. Or ever. So usually I just pump $5.01 worth of gas (I can never quite stop it on $5 even) and travel mainly on fumes and prayers.
20.I’m expected to cook things like soup and chili and stew. And I just don’t do these things. I cook things like Frosted Flakes. And, when we have bread, ham sandwiches…when we have ham.
21.(I know the title of this says “20 Reasons I’m Not a Fan of Winter,” but I’ve always been an over-achiever.) Last but not least, I’m not keen on winter because it is cold.

I don’t like to focus on the negatives, though, so I’ll end this discourse on a positive note. What I do like about winter is that I don’t have to shave my legs as often. It’s nice to move that task from the monthly to-do list to the quarterly to-do list.

Stay warm! And in the meantime, have a blessed day!

March 2, 2010

Let’s Think Outside the Box

Filed under: Uncategorized — talkofthesouth @ 5:38 pm

I’m an avowed internet news junkie. The first order of business for me every day is potty break, followed by coffee and my news fix. First, I have to check Facebook for any “new notifications.” (Facebook is news, people!) Then I have to find out what’s going on in my neck of the woods by reading the internet version of my local paper and favorite local TV station. Next, I surf on over to foxnews.com, msn.com, and cnn.com for the “bigger picture” items. I must insert disclaimer here: While I try to get in a small dose of the U.S. political scene and “breaking news” from around the world (e.g., earthquakes and tsunamis), I’m a sucker for the human interest and legal drama stories. Inquiring minds do want to know what happened to Natalee Holloway and Stacy Peterson and how Dr. Amy Bishop managed to avoid incarceration till now. And also where Elvis is currently living.

At the ungodly hour of five-something today, I sat on the loveseat in the dark with my coffee in hand, laptop on my lap (over the requisite blanket), and dawg glued to my side, to start my morning news ritual. Now I must interrupt myself. It’s OK to do that, see, because, after all, this is my blog and I can do what I want to on here. And it’s not for a grade. So I don’t care about things like “flow.” And just so you know–I’m well aware of my sentence fragments. I can write a mean, A+, grammatically correct piece of literary genius if I so choose. But I don’t choose. I like my sentence fragments. But I digress. Anyway… Well, now I’ve forgotten why I interrupted myself. Oh, wait. Now I remember. I was going to explain why I was sitting in the dark. I’m a vampire, you see, and the light? Well, it burns. I’m not actually a vampire, but I am most assuredly not a morning person. I think mornings are evil and a crime against humanity. It’s my opinion that it’s downright evil for school administrators to ring the tardy bell at 7:30 a.m. The very latest I can sleep on a school day is 6:00 a.m. Not even the roosters are awake then. But on days like today, I have to get up at five-something. Well, I don’t guess I have to…only if I want my children to have clean underwear to wear to school. (The butter knife and Febreze method is good for only one day.) But I digress. So I start a load of laundry; get my coffee; turn off the light; enjoy the quiet, dark cocoon; and get informed.

The first news item deals with the depressing state of our local economy. Fists and harsh words are flying at a public hearing about a tax increase considered by the City Council. It seems the Board of Education is in trouble, too, and wanting more of the taxpayers’ money. Next I learn that my beloved peach state’s finances are not only a little fuzzy but in the pits. (No, I will not apologize; I’m a punny girl and can’t help myself.) In fact, Georgia’s economy is so bleak right now that the university system may be facing $3,000,000 in cuts. Funding cuts of this magnitude may result in school consolidations, loss of academic programs, laying off of tenured professors, and other serious measures. Such as ditching the pedigreed bulldog as UGA’s mascot and picking up a mixed-breed chihuahua from the pound instead.

After reading only a couple of articles, I find myself almost as dejected about the economy as I am about it being the final season of LOST. Then I say to myself, “Hey, self. If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem.” Hmmm, I do love a good challenge. I begin considering all the ways the government–local, state, and federal–have attacked our financial crisis. The stimulus package, the cash for clunkers program, bailouts, increases in taxes of every persuasion known to man. I think all of us Joe and Jane 6-Packs (of Caffeine-Free Coke)–all of us everyday, ordinary, normal (if I may be so bold as to include myself in a “normal” group) citizens can come up with some better ideas. We just need to think outside the box. C’mon, friends, let’s put our heads together and figure out a way to help out the good ol’ US of A!

I’ll throw out a few ideas to help get your creative juices flowing. First, I’m thinking of a huge traveling good ol’ southern country fair. Featuring things like a kissing booth (maybe manned by Tiger Woods?), side show of “the world’s largest rat” (maybe manned by Tiger Woods?), Duck Shoot Game featuring miniature Jon Gosselins, the head carnival clown (perhaps Kanye West?), and….oh, the list could go on! However, if you don’t think a fair is the way to go, how about a big bake sale? Maybe get some celebrity philanthropists to contribute? Obama, in honor of the cash for clunkers program, could provide a lemon pie. Put Della Reese down for an angel food cake. Bill Clinton will probably volunteer to bring a tart of some kind; he enjoys all kinds of tarts, I understand. Speaking of bake sale goodies, I have another idea. You can never go wrong with a Krispy Kreme donut fundraiser! This could be done on a local level, enlisting the police department to coordinate things. I mean, they’re already there; they can pick up the donuts, dontcha think? Last but not least, we can work on a cookbook fundraiser! If someone has connections with Stephen King, perhaps he’ll agree to be a silent author. We can call the cookbook The Simmering and on the back put a picture of Jack Nicholson smiling at Shelley Duvall with a word bubble above his head saying, “Wendy, I’m home! (What’s for dinner?)” Yeah, maybe even make it a cookbook with recipes from celebrities. I’ll bet Nancy Pelosi could share some good pork dishes. I’m super excited about all the possibilities!

My friends, we are limited only by our imaginations! I’d love for you to join me in thinking outside the box. In the comments section below, please give me your suggestions for the traveling country fair exhibits and attractions, the bake sale, the cookbook, or some other creative solution to our economic woes. In the meantime, have a blessed day!

March 1, 2010

Numero Uno (AKA Ten Subtle Clues It Might Be Time to Fire the Housekeeper)

Filed under: Uncategorized — talkofthesouth @ 8:07 pm

March the 1st is here so I should wish you all a happy National Pig Day! And I’m not making this up. Feel free to fact-check at http://www.holidayinsights.com/other/pigday.htm. How exciting that my first blog entry falls on National Pig Day! If left to my own devices, I couldn’t possibly have created a holiday more appropriate to christen my blog! My sources tell me that on this festive occasion, we are to “recognize and give thanks to domesticated pigs.” For those of you who are swine-information-challenged, you may not know that pigs “are clever and intelligent animals.” What does that mean for you, dear reader? It means that you should recognize and give thanks to me, my husband, and our two little piglets! We are a domesticated, clever, and intelligent family of oinkers!

If anyone else out there occasionally feeds from the trough, I am helpfully offering 10 subtle clues that it might be time to fire the housekeeper:

1. There is no breakfast food in the house. Choices include a snack-size Twix bar, a small bag of Honey BBQ Corn Chip Twists, or a box of Thank U Berry Munch Girl Scouts cookies.

2. There is no dog food in the house. The dogs are not amused. Dog #1 gets a leftover chicken patty for breakfast, and Dog #2 is offered some slightly hardened deli meat. For lunch, they get to split the remaining (freezer burnt) Gorton’s fish sticks.

3. There are no clean dishes in the house. It is necessary to stir the sugar and creamer in your coffee with your 16-year-old’s old Lion King fork. Child-sized. That is hidden in the back of the utensil drawer.

4. There are no clean clothes for your husband in the house. He asks you to take all his clothes to the dry cleaner because they are all dirty. And he means all. And his work clothes for the day consist of an oversized Hawaiian shirt bought from the Goodwill store and a pair of Dickie overalls that he wore in a Hee Haw skit at church a decade ago. And he manages a large branch of the credit union.

5. There are no clean clothes for your son in the house. And he has a school dress code. So you recycle the pants he is wearing. By using a butter knife and a bottle of Febreze. And hide the fact that he is wearing pants without belt loops (a dress code requirement) by giving him a sweat shirt (that is actually his pajama top) to wear over a polo.

6. There are no clean towels in the house. So you can dry off with a roll of generic Bounty, a wash cloth, or an old towel that’s been set aside to wash the dog. (It is so thin that you could lay it over your needlepoint project and see every stitch clearly.)

7. The dog asks to go outside so she can get some fresh air.

8. The cats’ litter box has expanded to include the entire laundry room and the front foyer. And the 2-foot tall pile of dirty clothes at the top of the stairs.

9. The cats have resorted to drinking out of the toilet. So have the houseplants.

10. The exterminator announces that he will not perform services without an amended contract to include overtime charges and a rental fee for a hazmat suit.

I have chosen at this time not to fire the housekeeper. I think instead I’ll dock her pay. I’ll be sure to review my next paycheck carefully to see how badly my wages have been affected. In the meantime, have a blessed day!

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