Tuesday, April 29, 2008


I got to sleep in my bed two nights before heading out again. This week, I am in St. Louis for a national conference for work. I will be here until Thursday. The week before we left on vacation, I was out of town for work for three days. I got to sleep in my bed one night, then we left on vacation. So, in a seventeen day stretch, I am going to have spent nights in my bed at home for only three of those days.

I miss my family, to be sure. Right now - - selfishly, I miss my bed.

Sunday, April 27, 2008


There are some things in life that when you see them, you say to yourself, "Now that is just wrong." Then, there are some things in life, that when you see them, they are SO wrong they you feel compelled to point it out to someone else. I had just such a moment on our vacation.

As Chris, the kids, and I were heading in from the beach one afternoon, we stopped at the area that has the hose to wash the sand off before you head back to your condo. We had just finished and were gathering up our things when another couple, apparently also staying in our condo's complex, walked by on their way out to walk the beach. The couple, in the 60s, walked arm in arm down the wooden walkway leading out to the beach. The woman had on a simple black swimsuit and wore a typical beach hat to shield her face from the sun. The guy, however, was the one that earned my "that's so wrong" vote for the day. He wore a Speedo and cowboy hat, carried a beer in one hand, and held a big cigar in his mouth.

I couldn't help myself. It was like an accident on the side of the road - - you know you shouldn't look, but you just can't help yourself. As soon as he and his wife walked past us, I smacked Chris and made sure he could witness that guy in all his glory as well. I said to Chris, " I wish I could somehow get a picture of that....we shouldn't be the only ones witness to this!!" to which of course, he just rolled his eyes at me.

He did, however, redeem himself. After about an hour, after we had gone inside and showered and were getting ready to go out for supper, I was sitting on the couch braiding Aleita's hair. Chris stuck his head in the sliding glass door from the patio where he had been sitting reading his book. "I know I'll regret this," he said, "but that guy is laying down at the pool if you want a picture."

I leapt up and left Aleita's hair half braided and ran for my camera. I only managed a picture with him laying on his stomach....sorry that you won't get to enjoy the full frontal as we did, but I am sure you will get the idea. I know, I know....THAT IS SO WRONG.

Saturday, April 26, 2008


We decided to drive straight through instead of stopping yesterday. We got home from Charleston about 12:30AM. Going on vacation is wonderful, but there is very little that compares to the feeling of sleeping in your own bed after several nights away.

Friday, April 25, 2008


Thought I would send a farewell picture.....we are heading for home this morning and should be back Saturday. Here is a picture of this morning's sunrise from our balcony.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008


I know I am not going to be ready to come home on Friday. There are balcony doors off the living room and our bedroom - - we have been sleeping with the door open at night because it has been so temperate and because it is so peaceful and soothing to hear the waves as we fall asleep - - from the deck, you could literally throw a rock and land it in the ocean.

Today was absolutely wonderful. The kids slept until about 8:30AM, then after breakfast, we headed down to the beach. We walked up and down the beach, combing for shells, then Chris and I sat in our beach chairs and read while the kids played in the sand and splashed in the water. We had lunch sitting on our deck that overlooks the ocean, then spent the afternoon on the beach in the same manner we had spent the morning. Chris and I were much more dilligent in our sunscreen application today - we are still pink from Monday, but added no new toasting to our bodies.

We got cleaned up about 5PM, then headed to a place called "Off the Hook" for dinner. They had a Wednesday night special of all-you-can-eat crablegs (Chris and I pigged out a little bit!) Our kids are very good eaters and always open to trying new things. Maggie has had crablegs before and loves them, so she was very excited to be sharing them with us. Before they arrived, Aleita told us she wanted some too. Once the waitress set the plate in front of me, Aleita took one look at them and said, "no thank you!" But, as she watched Chris, Maggie, and I devour them, she was too intrigued to pass them up. Soon, all four of us were eating crablegs as fast as Chris and I could crack them open. We filled up two good sized buckets with discarded crab shells before we threw in the proverbial towel.

I just got done a little bit ago reading Aleita her bedtime story and putting her to bed. She asked me to lay with her for a little bit -- I laid down with her, and in less than two minutes, she let out a deep sigh and went right to sleep. Tomorrow, the weather is supposed to be sunny and warm, so I am looking forward to spending our last full day at the beach again. I am so glad we decided to get away - - this trip has been wonderful.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008


We woke this morning to a cooler day and slightly overcast skies. We decided to spend the day in downtown Charleston instead of on the beach shivering.

One of the first places we headed was for the downtown market. Everyday, hundreds of merchants set up their wares to sell to us good ol' tourists. My favorite thing to look at are the sweetgrass baskets. The black ladies that make the sweetgrass baskets sit and weave their baskets right there on site at the market. The baskets are actually quite expensive - more so than you would first suspect - until you realize that it takes about three to four days to weave a medium size basket. The tradition of sweetgrass basket weaving is one that began with the slaves and has actually been handed down through generations. Originally, the baskets were woven for use in the fields for gathering, as well as in the households for work baskets. The tradition was brought over from Africa by the slaves, and they adapted to the different materials here in the USA by using pines needles, strips of palm leaf, and of course, sweetgrass. I was talking with one of the ladies making the baskets and she said that the sweetgrass is getting harder and harder to come by because of the expansion of the tourist industry in Charleston. Condos, shopping malls, and restaurants now stand where sweetgrass used to grow. In her words, "ya'll are good for business, but you just may be the death of it." She said they actually had to go to Florida or Georgia to gather some of the materials because they are so hard to come by in South Carolina now. This factor too lends itself to the high basket cost.

The girls were very taken with the baskets and watching the ladies make them, especially Maggie. We were talking to one of the ladies that makes the baskets and Maggie was asking her some questions. The lady had her daughter there helping her make the baskets, and indicated to Maggie as such. She then asked Maggie, "Do you help your mama?" to which Maggie responded, "yes....she says that we are her servants." I froze in place and turned to look at Maggie, willing her to explain the context of why she make such a remark. (for the benefit of my occasional outside reader who do not know - - my husband and I are white, our children are black.) I thought to myself, "why didn't you just say that you're slaves???" I have just finished reading a biography of Mary Todd Lincoln, so I think I am especially sensitive to that topic.

At any rate, I feel the compulsion to explain. We have a game that we play with the kids - allow me to elaborate; a few weeks ago, we read the kids the book of Peter Pan and watched the movie. The kids would then say things like, "I'm Tinkerbell....I'm Peter Pan.....you're Captain Hook, etc..." One of the other story lines that the kids love to discuss is that of kings and queens and princesses and such. A few days ago, they were playing that game, and I said, "I am the queen and you are all my servants!!" (ma...ha...ha...ha...) They knew I was kidding....I was so totally just teasing.....and yet.....here it was, getting thrown up in my face in front of the descendent of a slave. Great. I was ready for her to give me "that look."

But I was pleasantly surprised. She said, "so what do you have to do at home?" Maggie honestly answered, "Clean my room and pick up the toys in the basement." Whew. The lady laughed and said, "honey...I think you have it pretty good."


Monday, April 21, 2008


We spent a lovely day at the beach today. Today's temperatures on the Isle of Palms were a wonderful 75 degrees and bright and sunny. We spent the morning walking up and down the beach hunting for seashells - - Maggie is very discerning in her picks, while Aleita simply wants to grab everything she sees - - with Aleita helping collect shells, the bucket is filled in no time flat. We had to stop and dump them out at one point and decide which ones to keep because there were so many. I actually found a complete and very pretty sand dollar. After we ate lunch, we got all the beach gear and headed back to the waterfront.

Aleita and Maggie played joyously for several hours, building more of what resembled war-ravaged structures than sand castles, but they enjoyed themselves. Chris and I sat in beach chairs and read, and occasionally helped in the sand building. Aleita's favorite thing to do was smash whatever was just built, so I learned to work hard to get my sand structures together quickly, rather than working towards perfection. After I would get five or six small sand domes in a line, Aleita would drive her plastic beach truck through my newly established community.

As it is April, the ocean is still fairly cold and only allowed you to get in about up to your waist before a wave would come up that would give you just enough of a splash of water "above the belt" that was a good reminder as to why you didn't want to venture out any further. The condo where we are staying has a heated outdoor pool, and it is also a bit cool, but at least more tolerable than the ocean.

Chris and I are both pale as can be, so we slathered on 50 SPF sunscreen on ourselves as well as the children. Around 2PM, everyone got it reapplied. The girls, with their darker skin, faired much better than we did. They have some cute tan lines showing where their bikinis were (yes, I managed to get Aleita into a bikini, though she did have a Power Rangers sunvisor on her head.) Apparently, I missed applying sunscreen on the area on both sides of me where my chest meets my arms. I also missed a small area of my cleavage. I definitely have some weird burn marks. Chris burned about one of the worst areas possible - - he says that he did apply sunscreen to the tops of his feet, but suspects that playing in the sand and the water probably washed it off and he probably forgot to reapply it. The tops of his feet are pink as can be. Tonight we made a run to Target and got Aloe Vera, Ibuprofen, and 70 SPF sunscreen for tomorrow. (I didn't even know they MADE 70 SPF sunscreen!)

Other than that, everything is wonderful - - I suspect the week will go by way too fast.

Sunday, April 20, 2008


Greetings from the land of grits, cornbread and sweet tea. I didn't think I would be blogging again until May, but I brought my laptop along for the kids to watch movies in the car, and it turns out, we have wireless connection in our condo. So, lucky you . . . um, I mean, ya'll, won't have to wait until then. (for those of you who do not know, we are vacationing this week in Charleston, SC. We are actuallly staying on at a beachfront condo on the Isle of Palms - - today it was 75 degrees, sunny and slightly breezy - - and every day this week is supposed to be more of the same.)

We had a funny today at lunch that I thought I would share. We were eating at a wonderful little beachside bar/restaurant called the Banana Cabana, and our waitress was talking with the kids a bit. Aleita and Maggie were telling her their names and bending her ear a bit, when Maggie said, "there is me, then Aleita, but we left the baby in the car. Mommy wouldn't let us bring Maribel with us." She was speaking of her DOLL baby, but the waitress gave her a wide-eyed look, then glanced at us as if to plead, "she is just kidding, right?" I quicklly corrected with, "her DOLL baby is in the car." The waitress slightly exhaled and gave a nervous laugh, obviously relieved that she wasn't going to need to dash inside and make a quick call to DCFS.

Friday, April 18, 2008


Ok - I know I said I wasn't going to blog anymore until May, but after this morning's early disturbance, I felt compelled to write a small entry. About 4:30AM today, I was awakened by Chris telling me to move the dog away from the bed. Occasionally, Dempsey will position himself against the bed, and if he decides to scratch behind his ear, he shakes the whole bed. I groggily looked over at the dog who was peacefully slumbering in his dog bed and noted that it wasn't him. As the sleep haze cleared a bit, I realized we were having an earthquake.

As we sat up in bed and took it all in, two little faces appeared in our bedroom doorway. Maggie declared, "Someone is shaking my bed!" Aleita looked at her and said, "Me too!" I explained that I thought we were having a small earthquake. They didn't seem particularly scared, just a little confused to have been awakened in such an odd manner. We put them back to bed and they both went back to sleep with no problems.

After I got out of bed at the more reasonable hour of 6AM, I looked on the Internet (honestly, what DID we do before we had computers? Anyone remember???) and saw that the quake was centered near Mount Caramel, Illinois, but was felt as far away as Tennessee, Michigan, Iowa, and northern Georgia. CNN reported that the strongest quake to hit Illinois in any recent time was in 1968 and it was a 5.4 magnitude. Today's was a 5.2 magnitude.

At least everyone will have something interesting to talk about around the water cooler this morning. I am sure everyone will have a story.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


I will be "offline" for awhile - - -I am traveling for work and taking vacation. My blog likely won't be back up and a-goin' until May.

Stay tuned...

Wednesday, April 9, 2008


I ran by the post office this morning on my way to work to pick up some stamps. The post office wasn’t open yet, but I just figured I would get some from the automated machine. There were actually a few people ahead of me in line when I got there. The lady right in front of me had her young daughter of three or four with her, and she was carrying a large stack of invitations. The little girl was holding a few of them as well, and they were talking about “Nana’s birthday party.”

As we stood there in line, the woman’s cell phone rang and she answered it. I obviously couldn’t hear the other end of the phone call, but she became obviously more perturbed as the conversation went on. Her end of the exchange went something like this:

“Hello? Yeah, I’m at the post office right now, getting ready to mail them. Uh huh. What? WHAT? I have already printed all the invitations and I would have to go back and buy more. Where are we supposed to come up with the money for ten more people? Why didn’t she give me their names in the first place? This was just supposed to be a simple birthday party for mom and it’s turning into a huge affair. (huge sigh) No – that’s fine – we’ll figure something out. Tell her no more people though – that’s it. I’m tired of this crap. That girl is on my shit list. Ok. Ok. Uh huh. Bye.”

The whole conversation lasted less than two minutes, and the little girl had stood there, taking in the whole thing. As her mom got off the phone, she pulled on her mom’s arm and said, “Am I on the shit list, mom?”

Her mom gave a little laugh, and said, “no, sweetie – your Aunt Beverly is on the shit list – not you.” The little girl’s face fell and she said sorrowfully, “I want to be on the shit list! I want to go to Nana’s party!!”

Her mom did her best to try to explain that she was upset and that she shouldn’t have said “shit list” – that it wasn’t a nice thing to say, but it only made the little girl start to cry and insist, “I want to be on the shit list! I WANT TO BE ON THE SHIT LIST WITH AUNT BEVERLY!!”

Her mom, obviously embarrassed and ready to end the shit list standoff in the post office, quietly said to her, “Fine – you are on the shit list. You and Aunt Beverly are on my shit list.” In response, the little girl gave her mom a big hug and dried her tears. I have never seen anyone so thrilled to find out that they are on someone’s shit list.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008


Certain things must run in families. I think Maggie has inherited her slightly irrational fear of spiders from my cousin Teresa. When Teresa was about nine years old, she called me from her house, slightly hysterical and sobbing. After she finally calmed down, she asked if I would come over to her house and kill a spider that she had just spotted on the dining room wall. Since I was only fourteen at the time and not old enough to drive and the only one at home at the time, I couldn’t offer my assistance. Since no one could come to her rescue, rather than staying in the house with the offending creature, she instead relegated herself to the machine shed where all the farming equipment was stored, sitting on the workbench until one of her parents arrived home from the field. (yes, keep in mind that there were probably lots more spiders in the machine shed itself, but she didn’t actually SEE any of them at the time, making it a far safer option than the house at that point.)

I was reminded of that incident the other day. I was in the kitchen making dinner, when I heard a shriek from down in the basement. I went on about my business and paid it no heed, as shrieks and squeals are commonplace in a household where little girls are found. A few moments later, Maggie emerged from the basement stairs, snotty and crying - - and more than a little perturbed that I had ignored her shriek. I had given her the task of cleaning up some toys that she had gotten out the night before, and in the process, she had discovered a spider lurking underneath some of the dressup clothes.

It took her a few moments to get a hold of herself. Once she was a little more under control, I grabbed a kleenax and told her to come show me where the spider was in the basement. A look of fear and panic seized her, and it was clear that the last place she wanted to go was back to the spider’s lair in the basement. I figured that this must be some behemoth of a spider to have gotten her that worked up.

She did finally agree to go downstairs with me, but stood about ten feet away from where she had actually seen the spider and just pointed. She looked ready to bolt at any second, should the critter decide to make any sudden moves. Unfortunately, I had a problem. I got down on my knees, moved toys around - - even ran my hand across the floor (which caused her to shudder slightly) - - but I just couldn’t find the villainous spider. Finally, after several moments of careful looking, I spied the evil doer which surreptitiously had sought shelter under the stand that holds the television and DVD player, no doubt alarmed by the creature roughly 800 times his size shrieking like a banshee. It was no wonder that I had trouble spotting it, as it was approximately the size of a #2 pencil’s eraser, legs and all.

I thought that there was no way that this little guy could have caused this much commotion, but when I pointed it out to her, sure enough - - he was indeed the offender. I gathered him up in my kleenax and turned to walk back upstairs to dump it in the garbage. Maggie gave me a wide berth as I passed by, still worried that perhaps the spider’s smashed, lifeless body may somehow make its way out of the kleenax and jump several feet across the room to land on her. No, I couldn’t understand her irrational fear of such a tiny little creature, but I am sure I know someone who does.

Thursday, April 3, 2008


There is a woman that drives a little blue car who has a child that attends Maggie’s school. I see her often when I am dropping Maggie off at school in the morning. Apparently, she fell right out of 1958 and landed in 2008. Her license plate reads, “BOBS WFE.”

I am sure that Bob is a great guy and all, but doesn’t this woman have any identity of her own? I have wondered to myself if she had perhaps thought of putting her OWN name on her license plate, but of course, since Bob was the one who probably filled out the form, he thought it would be a real conversation starter to get “BOBS WFE.” Or, perhaps he simply thought it would dissuade would-be Casanovas from encroaching on his territory.

I don’t know this woman at all, but I picture her as a real “yes dear” kind of a gal. I imagine her flitting around the kitchen in the afternoon, baking up fresh cookies for Bob and the youngster who will soon be home from school. I have a picture of her in my mind in a gingham dress and apron - - humming merrily as she cleans the house and irons Bob’s shirts.

Perhaps I am way off base, and this was just Bob’s idea of a joke. Maybe he ordered the plates thinking that it was funny, and Bob’s wife simply couldn’t bring herself to fork over another $82 to replace them. Who knows? Maybe Bob went to work the next day with the indention of a backwards letter “B” on his head after his wife smacked him with the license plate.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


I had a business lunch today with two ladies that I consider myself to be fairly friendly with. We exchange Christmas cards, and have lunch together on a regular basis. When we attend statewide conferences, we sit together for sessions and meals, and often socialize together of an evening or have dinner together while there.

So imagine my surprise when I found out that these gals committed a heinous crime today - - they failed to give me a teeth gunk warning. We had a long lunch in which we ate and discussed a pressing work concern – so long after our meals were eaten, we sat around the table dialoguing with our paperwork in front of us. After about an hour and half, we all headed our separate ways back to our offices. Being downtown, I decided to do something nice for my staff members and popped into Del’s to get them each a bag of caramel corn.

I arrived back at my office and handed out the caramel corn, then headed to the restroom. Imagine my shock and horror when upon looking in the mirror, discovered I had a big ol’ chunk of roast beef stuck between two of my front teeth. Stylish and sophisticated, right? Yes, indeed it seemed downright classy.

The thing is, this meaty leftover had to be there the entire time we were meeting at the restaurant. I can only wish for the best and hope that neither of my lunch companions got a close enough look at my chompers to witness the offending morsel, rather than think that they saw it and allowed me to proceed into public that way.

My husband rolls his eyes at me when, at the end of a meal in public, I give him a big smile and say, “check my teeth.” “Do I have anything in them?” I’ll ask. Invariably, he answers, “Enamel.” Men don’t get it. My close girl friends - - we know. We get it. We’ve been there. I needed one of you there with me today.

*How many of your unconsciously ran your tongue over your teeth while reading this, or feel compelled to go check yours in the mirror right now? Just the women, I know. . . .

Tuesday, April 1, 2008


Our friend Diana has this saying – “it’s a God thing.” She uses that saying to refer to those moments when you just know that God has to be a part of it. I had one of those moments this morning.

I was driving Maggie to school and heading north on MLK Jr. Blvd. MLK is something of a racetrack anyway, but particularly so first thing in the morning as everyone is rushing to work. At the corner of Garfield and MLK is Harris Elementary School - - I do slow down as I enter the school zone, though I must admit that it is seldom do I slow to the 20 mph that is posted. I usually slow down to about 30 mph and then watch as everyone else goes flying around me past the school at the standard 45 – 50 mph that seems to be the standard speed on MLK. It is actually quite a dangerous area for the school because of the high amount of kids that walk to school, combined with the parents dropping off kids and the school buses.

Anyway, for whatever reason today, something told me to slow down to 20 mph. (It had to be a God thing.) As soon as I passed the Garfield intersection, there was a school bus pulled over in the right hand northbound lane that caused an obstructed view for parents trying to pull out of the parking lot. (There are two northbound lanes and two southbound lanes.) Instead of waiting for the bus to move, one parent decide to go ahead and pull out into a southbound lane - - right in front of me in the other northbound lane. I had no warning because I was no sooner past the school bus, and there was the car. I slammed on my brakes and everything in the car went flying - - my purse and work satchel ended up in the floor, as did Maggie’s bookbag in the back seat. We both collectively sucked in a big gulp of air at the same time. Because I had only been going 20 mph, I was able to stop in time. Our car stopped literally mere inches from the back door of the other car where an infant was strapped into a car seat.

But we were ok and they were ok. No crash. No collision. Just a God thing.