Monday, November 24, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

My husband, the dog and I are off for sunny South Florida for Thanksgiving with his (husband's not dog's) family. I hope you all have a lovely holiday with plenty of good food and good company. I'll be back next week.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

We need a little Christmas …

It seems wrong to be thinking about Christmas before Thanksgiving, but since this contest wants to know what we do in our homes for the holidays, and we visit my mother-in-law (in warm, sunny delightful south Florida) for Thanksgiving, I have to think about Christmas. Besides, I can no longer claim to be a Christmas traditionalist.

I’d been a purist about Christmas trees for as long as we’ve been married (21 years—YIKES!). I wanted a real tree, with that real tree smell and those real tree pine needles and it had to be nearly as tall as the ceiling. I don’t know where this need came from, probably my childhood deprivation. We decorated a bamboo in a pot at our house for all of my growing-up years.

Anyway, last year the southeast was experiencing a drought (we still are) of some significance, and I read that real live Christmas trees were dry and not likely to stay pretty through the holiday season. So, I broke down and bought a fake tree.


It’s not a traditional green or even a flocked tree. If we were going fake, we were going all the way. In keeping with the beach house theme, we got a pink tree. It’s the greatest thing! It looks wonderful with all of the pink flamingo and shell ornaments.

This year the drought is still bad here in Atlanta, though I haven’t read anything about Christmas trees yet (many of the trees in this area come out of North Carolina). But I’ve gotten kind of attached to the pink tree. I think we’ll go with it again this year.

Maybe by next year I can talk Chris into both—the pink tree in the living room and a real live green tree in the red room, a kind of combination den and office. How festive to have a tree in both rooms!

Better go. If I’m having two trees next year, I’ve got to stock up on ornaments.


“This post was written for as part of a sweepstakes sponsored by SC Johnson’s Right@Home.”

Monday, November 10, 2008


NaNoWriMo needs to be renamed. It stands for National Novel Writing Month, and is going on now. But it needs to stand for National Novel Writing MORE, because if you miss a day or, heaven forbid, two, the number of words you have to write to catch up becomes exponentially MORE impossible with every passing minute.

The goal is to have a 50,000-word novel written within the month of November, or 1,666 words each day. I did great for the first seven days. Then life got in the way. As of today, I am officially 6,666 words behind! When I wake up tomorrow I will be more than 8,000 words behind. And what am I doing--blogging. Because, frankly, it's a lot easier to complain about writing than it is to do it.

Try it, you'll see. Feel free to complain in the comments. Reading your complaints will provide me another much-needed form of procrastination.

Friday, November 07, 2008

The journey’s the thing

Nearly 10 years ago, back when we had more energy than money (Now we have no energy and no money, but that's another story.) my husband Chris bought a Jeep. Not one of those nice Grand Cherokees that the commercials show going off-road, but that you know never leave the pavement because who in their right mind would get a $40,000 car mired in the mud. No, he bought a 1984 CJ-7, a rugged, no air-conditioning, no radio, no room for sissies, real man's Jeep. In other words, he bought a hobby.

For the first few months Chris' relationship with his Jeep was purely destructive. He moved my much nicer, much newer car out of the garage and pulled the Jeep in. “Only for three or four days,” he said. He spent hours over the next months taking parts off, cleaning them, oiling them, gazing at them all over the garage floor. Finally, he was ready for the next phase of his hobby, though my car wouldn’t move back into the garage for many more months.

Chris did lots of work under the hood, but I have no idea what that involved besides massive amounts of grease and oil, the parts disappearing from the garage floor and lots of time. He traded some old Cadillac parts (from his former hobby) for automotive paint. He painted the Jeep forest green with black trim. His cousin sewed a spare-tire cover out of cammo fabric, rendering him almost invisible in the woods. He ordered new seats and got a console for Christmas. Phase two was complete.

The next phase involved sharing his hobby with others (besides me!). He joined a Jeep club, a group of people who think spending all weekend either working on their Jeeps or taking them out in the woods to beat the crap out of them, thus ensuring they have something to work on the next weekend, is really living.

When the club goes on their monthly outings, near as I can figure they gather, then convoy to whatever remote, muddy, wooded, hilly site they have scheduled to visit that month. Then they drive their Jeeps verrrrrrry slowwwwwwwwwly over trails.

Now, here is where the excitement reaches fever pitch. Sometimes one brave club member will creeeeeeeeep his Jeep even more slowwwwwly over a particularly steep rock or small hill. The other club members, whose Jeeps may not be tricked out (that's a Jeep term) to handle such an obstacle, stand around and watch this lone Jeep climb. Someone always documents these occasions with photos and video, and posts the blurry faces and mud-splattered vehicles on the club web site.

One blurry face is likely to be Patrick, one of the more fanatical, I mean devoted, members. Patrick spent $16,000 readying his Jeep for whatever rough terrain the world might throw at him. Patrick is unmarried, Chris added unnecessarily, but with a little envy in his voice.

For Chris' first Jeep club outing he left home at 8 a.m. and returned at 8 p.m. He only went 120 miles total. In 12 hours. If I tried to get him to drive to a spot 12 hours away, he'd act like I wanted to go to the moon. That phase of his hobby highlighted one of the major differences between us and our approaches to life. For Chris, in everything he does, the journey's the thing. Not me. I want to fall asleep in the backseat and wake up there--wherever there is. We've managed to work those differences out. Chris drives. I sleep.

But he won't be driving the Jeep anymore. He sold it. He hadn't been on a club outing in several years. Besides, it was tricked out just like he liked it. The journey was complete. Wonder where the next trip will take him.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Happy, happy, joy, joy!

I went to bed last night before McCain's concession or Obama's acceptance speeches. I'd heard, from Shep on Fox News (the only channel we get on our dish-less television) that Obama won, but it was with some lingering sense of "it could all still have been snatched away in the night," that I woke up this morning.

But it wasn't a dream. Now, my problem, which, granted is small after the problem's of the last eight years, is I'm a blue voter in a decidedly red county of a red state. I've been reading about fireworks and dancing in the streets. The streets around my house were dark and silent all evening. Even my husband doesn't share my joy.

That joy, relief, hope, expectation, even happy surprise has to go somewhere, so you, dear blog readers, can share it with me. Let me know what you're doing to celebrate or not, as your political persuasion leads you.

Me, I'm mostly procrastinating, reading news stories and blogs, confirming to myself that history has been made and that I did wake up this morning to find the long nightmare is over.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

I'm a Georgia voter!

It was great! So easy and almost no line. I was at the polling place just 30 minutes, start to finish.

Now, don't start thinking there was no line because people in Georgia don't have the brains God gave a billy goat, so of course they ain't gonna vote. In fact, the woman working at the polling place said there were 75 people in line at 5 a.m. when she reported for polling duty. As I left, the line was almost twice as long as when I got there.

I guess I had good voting karma today. Hope that bodes well for all of my candidates. What about you? Have you voted? Got a good story to tell? Feel free to share it in the comments section below.

Celebrate America. Go vote!
Happy Election Day!

Sunday, November 02, 2008


For those of you who don't know what that weird word in the title is, it's short for National Novel Writing Month. This is the 10th year that November has been NaNoWriMo. I first heard of it a couple of years ago, but never considered participating until this year. I found myself on Friday, October 31, the very last minute, registering without a thought in my head about what I'd write.

Now, two days in, I've got 4,200 words. The goal is to write 50,000 words in one month. (For those of you who are as mathematically challenged as I am, that breaks down to 1,666 words or almost 7 pages each and every day of November.) Don't edit, don't think too hard, just get the words out. The editing, revising, polishing or even the tossing out can come later. You're supposed to start something new, not work on something that's already in progress.

So, I've started a young adult mystery. I dreamed up--literally--the premise one night last week. We'll see if it can stand up to 50,000 words or more, in a month. I better get back to it!