Friday, November 28, 2008

Not Just Black Friday - How About Black Thanksgiving Holiday??

Thanksgiving has come and gone and so has my hot water heater!! Yep -- not kidding. $675 later, we will FINALLY be back up and running this afternoon!

I SOOOO need a girls weekend get away or some devine intervention in my life. Let's see if Christmas can be any better. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Every Woman

Maya Angelou's best poem ever!

enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own, even if she never wants to or needs to.

something perfect to wear if the employer or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour.

a youth she's content to leave behind.

a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to retelling it in her old age.

a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra.

one friend who always makes her laugh and one that let's her cry.

a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family.

eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems and a recipe for a meal that will make her guests feel honored.

a feeling on control over her destiny.

how to fall in love without losing herself.

how to quit a job, break up with a lover and confront a friend without ruining the friendship.

when to try harder and when to walk away.

that she can't change the length of her calves, the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents.

that her childhood may not have been perfect but it's over.

what she would and wouldn't do for love or more.

how to live alone even if she doesn't like it.

whom she can trust, whom she can't, and why she shouldn't take it personally.

where to go be it her best friend's kitchen table or a charming Inn in the woods when her soul needs soothing.

what she can and can't accomplish in a day, a month, and a year.

God Love Paula Deen!

I'll admit that I am a Food Network Junkie. Something about being attached to a Chef makes it sort of a competition at times. He is a great cook and I'll give him credit for that, but I don't do too bad myself because I have managed to raise two children and feed them well loooong before he came along. As Greeks, we don't miss too many meals, either. Growing up, most events centered around some celebration with lots of loud chatter and enormous amounts of food. Have you seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding?? THAT would be us except marrying a Greek was never mandatory- only suggested.

Anyway, I just love, love Paula Deen. She can get on my nerves sometimes with the "ya'll" stuff and she goes overboard with that quite often. My brother and I had a conversation last night about her and he said that he thought she did that for all of the "Yankees" that watch her show. (He still does have his wit about him.) I told him that he was probably right because we have lived here all of our lives and I have NEVER heard anyone say "ya'll" that many times in one conversation. All in all, I think Paula has a good heart and she has struggled to get to where she is today. She is a self-made woman who worked hard and did it honestly.

While watching her Thanksgiving Day special, she made these Sweet Potato Balls and they looked amazing! You form the sweet potato mixture around a marshmallow and bake them in the oven. That is gonna be our dessert this year! You'll have to log on to Food Network in order to find the complete recipe but I'll bet it will be well worth it!

Now for the mushy stuff.....Today is my last day of work for the week. I decided to take off Wednesday in order to spend some time with my family for our last Thanksgiving together with Richard. If I have never said this before, I feel like someone has a stop watch on my time and we are eager to cram in all that we want to do and say to each other before his end of time on this earth as we know it. If I blog about this and bother to share things with you, my hope would be that everyone that stumbles across this page will say "I love you" to their friends and loved ones this holiday. Don't wait because you will never get yesterday back again.

Make every day your Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

One At A Time, Please!

(Stepping up on my soap box)

I have delayed posting about this until this morning when I have had my fill of "Christmas come early." In all honestly, I feel as if lots of folks have forgotten what Thanksgiving is all about. I am disturbed when I drive down the road and see businesses all decked out with holiday decorations BEFORE Thanksgiving is even here!

Isn't anyone thankful for anything anymore?? Slow down and enjoy one day at a time. You will never get that moment back again.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Countdown Is On

I have found some relief in being able to count down the days until our trip to Mexico. Ed and I enjoy traveling and have found a little nook at the tip of the Yucatan Peninsula, northwest of Cancun. Because of it's relatively remote location and small size, it's a great place for a relaxed, non-pretentious vacation (no big resorts, no chain restaurants, no cars). It's a little bit of work to get to. The travel to Holbox includes a flight to Cancun, then a drive north to the town of Chiquila (2 hours by car, 4 hours by bus), then a 30 minute boat ride to the island.

The beach area stepping outside of our room.

The view from our palapa.

Ed has lived in St. Thomas, USVI, and although he felt like it was pretty for folks to visit, he was more than ready to leave that lifestyle and excess baggage, and EVERYONE goes there. We wanted something to call our own and we found our secret paradise on an island that is longer (25 km) than it is wide (1 km across). This is JUST what we were looking for!

We will be staying in the Orange Palapa at Villa Los Mapaches which is a bungalow located directly on the beach within footsteps of the ocean. It consists of a small kitchenette where we will cook very few meals and travel by bicycles provided by our hosts for a five minute trip into town. Did I mention that there are no cars? The only means of transportation is a golf cart that can be rented for a minimal fee but really isn't necessary. Conga, the resident German Shepherd, is rumored to be very friendly and provide lots of company when swimming and throwing a ball.

Our trip will begin of January 9th and I have a sense that this vacation will be well deserved. Ahhhhh........Paradise does exist!

Monday, November 17, 2008

Use It OR Lose It!

I have been up to my ears in junk taking up space around my house. My obvious cup of compulsion regarding cleanliness had runeth over Saturday evening. I typically give my girls a fair warning about the condition of their rooms about twice a year. The ultimatum goes something like this: "I will give YOU a chance to CLEAN it - NOT pick it up - but REALLY clean it. You know what my expectations are and if it does not meet it, in comes the trash bags and I will clean it myself." The trumpets blew Saturday and it was "game on" after that! My youngest daughter, AC, usually is fairly compliant because she knows when I mean business! My oldest, CLS, on the other hand, does not take me quite so seriously.

While she was working Saturday night, I decided to tackle this heap of a mess. I swear, I KNOW that I will end up with some dreaded lung disease after inhaling all of that dust! How can anyone live in such filth? It amazes me that she dresses to the nines and every hair on her head is in place yet she will walk over a pile of crap in the floor without picking it up!

I hope she marries rich and can afford a full time house keeper. I would have taken an "after" picture but I was simply too exhaused!

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Out of The Woodwork

Forgive me while I ponder a few thoughts on a dreary Saturday afternoon...........

I took yesterday off to be with my brother and family and also hit the grocery store during my little bit of down time so my family could eat. It turned out to be an enjoyable day with a few family members that stopped by to see us.

I am unsure if it is "right" for everyone to come by NOW that they know my brother isn't going to get any better and hospice is involved?? Where have they been for the last few years during the peak of his illness? Granted, we have a large family and everyone is older and busy now. Should I feel this way or should I be accepting of folks that lose track of time and never come around when all is well? Maybe this is a part of the roller coaster of emotions that I have been experiencing the last few weeks. My patience has been thin and my family has been bearing the brunt of it, unfortunately.

I can make a promise to all that from here on out, I will visit and call during the good times in life so I will never have to meet friends and loved ones under unfortunate conditions.

Have you called someone that you love to tell them that you are thinking of them? If not, you should.

I miss Chef Ed today while he's working........... he makes me feel better.....and when he reads this, I hope he knows how much I love him today.... and every day.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Have Mercy!

I don't often take a second glance at men on the streets that have longer hair and tattoos, but it's something about Keith Urban that stops me in my tracks!

That million dollar smile and the rugged REAL MAN air about him has got to make him the sexiest man alive! I saw him on the CMA last night and he just keeps getting better and better!

Please, Keith Urban, get rid of that pale-faced wife you have. You can do so much better and I am sure we could find you a true Southern girl with a sun tan!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Wine - With A Side of In-Laws

Although wine is a staple at any event at my in-laws, we do greatly enjoy each other's company. Last night was no exception. In spite of the fact that Ed and his father talk business constantly, I laid down the law last night when they were in town. My nerves could simply not take the heat of the moment that arises when both of them disagree (which is the majority of the time). It had been a few months since we had seen Ed's parents and his mother is suffering from early Alzheimer's so we were not sure what we were walking in to. I was pleasantly surprised with our visit. As usual, when we drove up, we all squealed and hugged and kissed and immediately poured the wine! I was able to escape the troubles of my own life for a moment, enjoy shrimp and grits, key lime pie, and a family that loves me unconditionally. I really do have a lot to be thankful for.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Someone Got A New Toy

Christmas came a little early this year. We have a regular laptop that we normally use but I have wanted a small notebook to travel with to replace lugging "old faithful" around. On a whim, I purchased the small Acer One Notebook to simply stay in touch while away from home. It's so tiny and it can fit right in my purse! Cute little gadget, huh?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Am I Standing On Holy Ground?

I often look at my life and I am constantly reminded of the many facets that it has. I wear many hats - a mom, a co-worker, a friend, a sister, a daughter, a spouse. I am having a hard time deciding what role I need to be in right now. The pre-grief that I feel prior to my brother's passing is already taking a toll on all of us. There is nothing more tormenting than waiting for someone to die. I have humbled myself over the last few days. I am trying to figure out what focus my life is going to take once this is all said and done. Am I going to "lighten up" about the simple things in life or am I going to walk around in total paranoia that everyone around me will one day go to meet their maker and smother the ones that I love the most?

I am reading a book that was recommended reading by a friend and co-worker that talks about the glimpses of Heaven. It was written by a former hospice nurse and her perspective and experiences of patients and families that have traveled the journey through the end of life experience. The author reminds us there are many important lessons that people are trying to teach us moments before they die. We had better listen. We are standing on holy ground during these moments and we dare not miss one of them.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008


This is a bittersweet post today and the main reason for posting at all is that I find it rather therapeutic and uplifting to blog at times.

After five years of being the bravest solider that I have ever encountered, my brother will go home and enter hospice care in a few days in order to spend the remainder of his life with dignity. This has always been my wish for him.

Cancer is one of Satan's biggest weapons and I am almost certain that he uses this to destroy families and spirits. We have all been on an emotional roller coaster for the past 5 years and we know that peace for all is soon to come. I can only sympathize with other families that have endured such hardships as we have and I pray every day for those people to stick together and cherish every moment.

This ordeal has been confirmation that cancer knows no name or face. Any one, any time can fall victim to it and it come bearing no mercy.

I lift my eyes to a much higher power that consoles me when I feel like I can't make it one more day. I often wonder how folks without faith get through tough times like these? It isn't easy with Him on your side but I can't imagine what it would be like all alone.

It only makes us stronger.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Exercise Your Right!

The bumper sticker says it all. Enough said.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Keep It Simple, Stupid.

Changing gears a bit since my last post but I have to vent about people that insist on wearing multiple gold necklaces, bracelets and rings on every finger. PLEASE stop the madness, people!
Unless you are Mr. T or stuck in a time warp, this is NOT in style. Replace that junk for a simple strand of pearls or a monogrammed necklace. Recycling that old gold stuff is my suggestion.

Pluff Mud & Oysters - Ya'll Can't Get Any Better Than That!

Bowen's Island
Along this small tidal creek near Folly Beach, there is a small shack where folks have come for years in order to have real fried seafood and freshly steamed oysters. We decided to take the hike over on Saturday night. Through the years, people have questioned the fact that I have never left this beautiful area. In all honesty, I don't know if I could ever find somewhere more peaceful and tranquil as this. It's the smell of pluff mud and salty air that has instilled that Southern way of life long before I knew how to appreciate it or even what it meant.

Off to Bowen's Island for All You Can Eat Oysters! Make no mistake that this place is the "newer" of the buildings that has been rebuilt since the "older" one caught fire a year or so ago. I tried to take as many pictures as I could without looking like a tourist (which there was plenty of). The locals, like myself, walk right up because we KNOW what to do, and the tourists wander around trying to figure out what in the world they have gotten themselves into.

This is the small building where you place your order. Placing your order consists of telling the gentleman behind the counter your last name and what you want to eat and drink. The menu is hand written on a piece of notebook paper and stuffed into a sheet protector. You do not pay then. You only pay when you are finished and they accept Cash Only. You are given a hand towel, oyster knife and an old Gatorade bottle filled with hot sauce for dipping, then sent on your way to tell Henry (the tall, thin, older, black gentleman that has been there for 20+years) that you ordered oysters. You find a table with a hole in the middle to toss your shucked shells in and have at it!

This is the Oyster Room. Within 20 minutes, this place is so full, you can't move! Henry always remembers where you sat and he literally shovels the heaps of oysters on to your table until he sees that the pile is dwindling down.

We ate more than our money's worth. In the far right hand corner, you can see the bottle of hot sauce. There is really no wait staff. If you want another beer, you have to walk up to the small window and he grabs one out of the cooler for you. Your other option is to bring your own which some folks did. The selection is very limited as you can see from the Miller Lite can on the table.

When the air is cool and the oysters are hot, you can't get any better than that!

Over the years, the owners have encouraged everyone to write a sentiment on the walls and tables of the buildings. Before the old building caught on fire, you could hardly find a space to write because of the markings that had accumulated for decades past. This is the outside of the main room.
Here is the sunset that appeared.

This is what coastal living is all about.

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