Saturday, November 29, 2008

Family Traditions

On our drive back home tonight, my husband and I were discussing how different families can be. We actually have 4 sets of family (well really 5, but 2 really blend into one) and each has their own little quirks, traditions, and ways of interacting with each other. Most of the differences in interactions come with the amount of time they actually get to see each other; but no matter the distance, baggage, or age differences, we found that it is really the traditions that bond a family together and make them who they are.

My dad's side is probably abnormally close. Not in any weird sort of way, but more in the way that they are extremely large and still manage to see each other on a weekly basis. Thanksgiving day starts early with a 6 AM breakfast at the Huddle House with the men of the family. My dad didn't have any sons, so I filled in on the tradition throughout the years and it really is my favorite part of the day mostly because I get to listen to my uncles and cousins tell all their crazy stories that aren't normally told at the Sunday dinner table. The early morning tradition actually started because they use to go bird hunting (quail/dove/both - I forget) every Thanksgiving. This came to an end after my granddaddy accidentally shot my Uncle in the rear one year. After that we switched to playing cards after breakfast. However, after my granddaddy passed away and the fear of being shot by one of your own family members had subsided, we got back into the guns with some good ole skeet shooting and target practice with the pistols. Although, I do notice that my Uncle stands very far away from anyone holding a gun. Some years we get lazy though and just do breakfast and head back home for a quick nap before lunch.

Yep, that is me with a gun doing a pretty decent job at skeet shooting for a girl who normally doesn't shoot.

Hunting is one of the highlights of the weekend for most of the men in both families. Dad has always been a loyal duck hunter and has recently gotten Michael into the action as well. Sadly, dad decided this was the year to retire Maggie (his Golden Retriever) due to her age.

She is about 11 years old and although she still acts like a puppy, she has been losing weight and isn't in the best of health. The last couple of years she has been coming home from hunting and has been so sore she can barely move around for the rest of the day. Don't feel too sorry for her though - she lives for hunting.

This morning was so terribly sad, after dad and Michael headed out at 4AM Maggie sat in the garage and howled for over half an hour because she couldn't go. I think dad may at least have to take her once or twice. The poor dog just doesn't understand why she is being left behind even if it is for her own good.

On a happier note, hunting brings us to another one of our lovely traditions - dad's appetizers. Duck and geese wrapped in bacon - yum! These usually go pretty quick!

As for Michael's side of the family, their main interest is deer hunting on the farm. He has family spread out from Michigan to New Orleans and a good number of them come down every year to celebrate Thanksgiving at his mom's house here in Tennessee. They start out their day early in the morning as well, skipping breakfast and going straight into the woods. Sometimes they are lucky, sometimes not. Here is a picture of a lucky year (don't worry, I cropped out all the goriness).

After two sessions of hunting (one in the morning and one in the late afternoon) they head on in to eat Thanksgiving dinner that Michael's mom has prepared. My lovely husband is always in charge of carving the turkey. I usually supervise (well, really it's more like taste test) as he puts the freshly oven baked goodness on the platter.

The next morning the women in his family head out to all of the big sales. They do the crazy circuit of the mall, Wal-Mart, JC Penny and all of those other top sale places. I however choose to pass on this tradition. I'm not very good with crowds and can hardly come out of Wal-Mart on a normal day without having a panic attack! I swear when people go into Wal-Mart they turn into complete zombies, but that is a whole other blog post that I should save for another day. As for me, I like to spend Black Friday with my mom and just shop at the local small stores.

Overall, this Thanksgiving was just as wonderful as all the others I can remember. I hope everyone else out there in the blog world played their own quirky part in their family and shared the traditions that make the family bond so close and unique.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

White Noise

For the past month, I have decided to relinquish the need to keep up with my strict T.V. schedule. My old schedule use to consist of:
  • Monday: Jon & Kate plus 8

  • Tuesday: House

  • Wednesday: Private Practice and Dirty Sexy Money

  • Thursday: Grey's Anatomy and whatever that new show is that comes on after it...

  • Sunday: Desperate Housewives and Brothers and Sisters

  • Plus, of course, some good ole reruns in between and the Today show every morning

I kept telling my husband that I didn't have time do anything besides come home, cook, watch a little T.V. and go to sleep. I finally added it up and realized I was watching hours upon hours of T.V. that honestly added nothing to my life except mere entertainment. So I cut down considerably - I now just keep up with Jon & Kate (I mean I can't turn away those precious kids!), Grey's Anatomy (although it is on the list to be dropped if they don't figure out what they are doing with this Denny ghost), and of course the Today show (that's where I get all my info people!).

Anyways - the whole point of this is to tell you how much I have accomplished with the T.V. turned off and no strict schedule to keep me home bound at certain times each night. The house is cleaner, more reading has been done, and more creative projects have been finished! It is a great life with no T.V. - it's amazing how much you can accomplish!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Reasons to be thankful...

One of the topics of this past Sunday's sermon was about being thankful. There have been many things that have happened in my life over this past year (some wonderful, some I would rather not recall), but through it all (the good, the bad, and the ugly) it seems as if I can always think of a reason to be thankful.
  • I am thankful for my wonderful husband who can see me through everything even though I can be a major pain in the behind.
  • I am thankful for my sister who has all the sudden become more of a friend and a source of support than a little sister.
  • I am thankful for friends who are there for me even if we aren't able to stay in touch as often as we might like.
  • I am thankful for hard times because they often reveal all the good you have in your life.
  • I am thankful for family (even though it may be messy at times) it always reminds you of who you are and where you came from.
  • I am thankful my husband and I still have jobs and are able to put food on the table and have the things we want and need.
  • Most of all I am thankful for a healthy life and getting the opportunity to live it.

This year has been a hard year for many people, but no matter what I think everyone has a reason to be thankful. I hope everyone takes a chance to reflect on things this Thanksgiving. So many times we take the good things in our lives for granted. It's a shame that most of us do not realize what we have until it's gone.

***Also, on a less serious note (or more serious depending on how you look at it), another point in the sermon was that apparently your body starts dying at 25.......seriously 25?!?!? I have tried to find research on this, but have yet to find anything. I will keep looking but until then, one more bullet point on the reasons I'm thankful list....

  • I am thankful that I am 24 and my body has not yet started to decompose!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Holiday Rush...

Rush, rush, rush - that's usually the feeling that the holidays bring along. Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday and I feel like everyone just wants to rush it along and jump straight to Christmas. I've seen lights out in front yards and trees through living room windows (I won't even get started on the commercials and the rest of the mass media). Why can't people just see how wonderful Thanksgiving is? Basically all you have to do is eat delicious food, enjoy time with family and friends, and reflect on all the things you have to be thankful for. There are no hassles of figuring out what present everyone will want, no stress of an overblown budget, and the only crowds you have to face are the ones at the grocery store. Come on people - give Thanksgiving its allotted time in the year! Enjoy this week before the Christmas rush really does begin!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Weekend of Bliss Back On!

I am a faithful reader of my horoscope everyday and today's horoscope predicted that my luck would change and it most certainly did! We found out today that we do not have to work tomorrow so the weekend of bliss has begun. I have already been to Hobby Lobby to buy my canvases as well some things I needed for a Christmas project. I am looking forward to starting my paintings tomorrow, but for now I will be cuddled up on the couch watching Love Actually.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Paint It Black

Ok, so I was a complete slacker yesterday and did not post a single thing. Instead of blogging I decided to go out and have a much needed margarita with friends...yes, I said much needed. Obviously Wednesday was no better than Tuesday. Today is going to be better though, right? Right. On a brighter note, I did finish reading my book. So today you get the enjoyment of reading my very first book review!

Paint it Black, by Janet Fitch was set in the early 1980's in LA. It details the grieving process of the main character Josie Tyrell after her boyfriend Michael commits suicide. Josie had escaped her small town life in Bakersville by running away to LA to be an art model and actress. She meets Michael while modeling for a local art class and they strike up a relationship.

Michael and Josie happen to be complete opposites. He was raised by his mother, Meredith, a famous pianist who took him all over the world on concert tours. Michael had recently dropped out of Harvard to become an artist, which of course displeased his mother. His relationship with Josie was also something that displeased his mother who couldn't understand what he would see in a girl such as her. After his death, Meredith and Josie actually seek each other out and begin an odd relationship. They both see each other as their last tie to Michael and want to learn as much as possible about his past.

I really enjoyed reading this book and recommend that you all give it a chance. If you have ever unexpectedly lost someone you care about, you will easily be able to relate to some of the feelings that Josie has. She goes completely through the grieving process from disbelief, to anger, to feeling as though she needs to be surrounded by his things as well as trying to find a way to move on and make life normal again. And yes, as you might have noticed the title of the book is also a title of a Rolling Stones song.....

I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes
I see a line of cars and they're all painted black
With flowers and my love, both never to come back
I see people turn their heads and quickly look away
Like a newborn baby it just happens ev'ryday
I look inside myself and see my heart is black
I see my red door and it has been painted black
Maybe then I'll fade away and not have to face the facts
It's not easy facing up when your whole world is black
No more will my green sea go turn a deeper blue
I could not forsee this thing happening to you
If I look hard enough into the setting sun
My love will laugh with me before the morning comes
I see a red door and I want it painted black
No colors anymore I want them to turn black
I see the girls walk by dressed in their summer clothes
I have to turn my head until my darkness goes
Hmm, hmm, hmm...
I wanna see it painted black, painted black
Black as night, black as coal
I wanna see the sun, blotted out from the sky
I wanna see it painted, painted, painted, painted black

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

A Potentially Foiled Plan

Ever just have one of those days where everything just goes wrong? So maybe I am exaggerating just a touch - it wasn't all that terrible. I believe I am mostly upset because my weekend of solitary bliss is now potentially foiled. I was hoping to have a weekend spent painting, reading and just hanging out with my husband. Now there is a possibility that I may spend it working instead. Blah - only time will tell though. It might all still work out. For now I will cheer myself up by thinking of a Christmas list and all the packages I will get to wrap with the fabulous wrapping paper I picked up this weekend.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Come Back!

So I was just bragging on fall and how wonderful it was and low and behold it is now 43 degrees outside. Blah! I jinxed it! Even so, I have found a way to enjoy this annoying turn of events. Yesterday after church I decided to do absolutely nothing except cozy up in pajamas and read a book. To top it all off we found a great new recipe for Chicken and Wild Rice Soup. I definitely recommend trying it out - it's super easy and very filling! Recommendations: use canned chicken and the Near East Wild Rice box mix with the seasoning. As for fall - I hope it returns soon. I am definitely not ready for winter weather. I think it is suppose to remain in the 40's this week, but you never know with East Tennessee - next week it could be back in the 50's and 60's. Oh well, at least maybe I will get my book finished up this week and be able to give you guys a review of it!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

A Nice Little Weekend

This weekend has been a great weekend - and the best part is that it's not over just yet. My mom came to visit Friday night and we went out to eat at Season's (a great little restaurant in Farragut). Everything was absolutely delicious as always. I love little places like that - you know, where the chef greats you at the door and everything is so intimate and well thought out. It just says to me -this guy really loves what he's doing and wants to keep it special. Saturday we spent the day going through all the boxed up wedding gifts I have just been too lazy to go through. We hung plates on the wall and redecorated my shelves in the living room with all the little fun things people were so gracious to give me and my husband.

She also brought me some of my paintings I did several years ago. I hung one on my wall and now I am inspired to do some more. Maybe that will be my next project. I have only done flowers, but I'm envisioning a lemon in the kitchen and a bird in my bathroom...

And how do you ask did I get pictures on my blog if my camera is on the fritz??? Well, after more than a month of not working we FINALLY got ready to pack up the camera and mail it off to Kodak and my husband decided to give it just one more try and voila! I guess the camera was so scared of the US Postal Service that it decided to work for us. I'm sure it will die again just before the holidays and right when the warranty is up.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


Ok so all of the html code stuff is way above my head, but I felt I needed to somehow spruce up my very basic blogspot. Luckily the other day I found a nifty little way to transform normal digital pictures into polaroids and I think that might just do the trick for now. Here is the site if you want to make some for yourself as well as a link for instructions on how to do it.

So I should also share my inspiration for the polaroid idea. I have been trying to find other people's blogs to read for both enjoyment and ideas for my own and my favorite one I have come across is huffmania. She has actually been blogging since 2004 and I have really enjoyed reading about her life adventures and all of the crafty projects she's into. I'm more than a little envious of her artistic abilities and hope to venture to recreate some of her fun projects. But anyways, getting to my point....she is a photographer featured in a book titled "For the love of light: A tribute to the art of Polaroid." You can check out all of her lovely photographs here. She has such a great talent of turning everyday life into something almost magical. I don't know about you, but I had a polaroid camera when I was about 10 and had totally forgotten how much I love the vintage feel of a polaroid.

As for me - my camera is actually on the fritz for now. So sadly I will not be able to feed my creative urge to try to recreate some of her lovely photos for now. Hopefully one day I will actually be able to invest in a nice camera and take some lessons, but for now I will have to satisfy my love of photography through other people's work.

Friday, November 14, 2008


I love the smell and feel of fall. East Tennessee is such a beautiful place to be during this time of year. Lately I have been doing alot of driving back and forth from Knoxville to my hometown and one of the parts I love the most is seeing all the rolling hills covered in orange, yellow, and red. I don't know what it is about fall, but it reminds me of childhood and new beginnings. As a kid there was nothing more fun than making a big pile of leaves, jumping in and breathing in that lovely smell. There's just something about the briskness in the air that makes everything seem so fresh and new. Unfortunately it seems as though the nice weather stays for a shorter and shorter time period every year bringing on the lonely winter blues faster than expected...if only fall would linger just a bit longer. Wouldn't it be nice?

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Over Sanitizing

I was watching the today show yesterday and they had a quick segment on germs on shopping carts - online they actually have a list of 12 of the most germy places . I don’t know why this frustrates me so much, but it does. I feel like America is on its way to over sanitizing itself to death. I mean honestly if you are sanitizing the hotel room remote, light switches, clock radio, etc. every time you travel as suggested when exactly do you have a chance to relax and enjoy the vacation? Then does it even stop there??? Think about everywhere you go on a daily basis that requires you to touch something that a stranger might have also touched…do we really have to sanitize EVERYTHING? Ever watched As Good as It Gets or Monk – seriously do you want to live like that?
I don’t have any children myself so maybe I have no right to express this opinion, but I feel like parents are pretty much scared into placing their children into these little protective bubbles. What ever happened to playing in the dirt and eating cheerios off the floor? My personal thought on the matter is a little dirt doesn’t hurt. I loved making mud pies as a kid at my grandmothers. I’m pretty sure I ate some and I think I turned out to be just fine. How are kids ever suppose to build up an immune system if you don’t let them get dirty every once in awhile? So go ahead – throw away your hand sanitizer, play in the dirt, eat off the floor and build up that immune system!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


Today my dad is turning 50 years old. He came up to celebrate over the weekend and we had a great time. I had attempted to make him a funny card but all of the jokes I found for 50 year olds just didn't seem to apply to him. It is amazing how as you get older certain ages don't seem as old as they once did. Like in high school - 30 seemed so ancient - now it is only a few years away for me. 50 still seems a far way off for me but I know it will be here faster than I think. It seemed like not that long ago I had no bills, no real responsibilities, just the dreams of what might be in years to come. Now I look around and realize I'm done with school and I'm in the real world with bills, customer complaints, a job and other responsibilities. I couldn't help but think about what dad thought about the 50 years he has lived so far and what he would change if he could. As for myself and my 24 years I know there would be a few things I would change. It is so funny to think back on my life and how I wished so many years away. I just couldn't wait to get done with each stage of my life: high school, moving out on my own, college, getting my own home....but when I look back now I realize how special each of those stages of my life were and how I miss certain things about them all. I guess I need to stop wishing parts of my life away and focusing on the good things that I have currently and what I will miss when this next phase is over because one day I am going to wake up and I will be 50 just like my dad.

Here is a poem that I had found in high school when I was making my scrapbook my senior year. I think it describes how we would all like to live our lives if we had to do it over again.

I'd Pick More Daisies

by Nadine Star, age 85

If I had my life to live over,
I'd try to make more mistakes next time.
I would relax. I would limber up.
I would be sillier than I have on this trip.
I would be crazier. I would be less hygienic.
I would take more chances, I would take more trips.
I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers,
and watch more sunsets.
I would burn more gasoline. I would eat more ice cream and less beans.
I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones.
You see, I am one of those people who lives
prophylactically and sensibly and sanely,
hour after hour, day after day.
Oh, I have had my moments
And if I had it to do over again, I'd have more of them.
In fact, I'd try to have nothing else.
Just moments,one after another.
Instead of living so many years ahead each day.
I have been one of those people who never go anywhere
without a thermometer, a hot water bottle, a gargle, a
raincoat, and a parachute.
If I had to do it over again, I would go places and do things.
I'd travel lighter than I have.
If I had my life to live over, I would start barefooted
earlier in the spring and stay that way later in the fall.
I would play hooky more. I wouldn't make such good grades
except by accident.
I would ride on merry-go-rounds.
I'd pick more daisies!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


There are many reasons I have finally convinced myself to start blogging - for one I have found that I have become too dependent on spell check and cut and paste to be able to write in a journal. The main reason though is because I keep finding myself getting interrupted. Lately its seems that when I start talking about something that someone else will get off on a tangent on a completely different subject or even worse they will attempt to finish my thoughts for me. There is nothing more aggravating than people who are unable to listen.

Another reason is that I have recently found myself unable to sleep at night because I am too occupied thinking about some random thought or an event that has taken place in my life. I needed to find a way to sort out my thoughts and go on my own tangents – uninterrupted. I hope this blog is enjoyable for others to read - comments are welcome. (Thankfully with blogging you are forced to take turns and let others finish their thoughts first before speaking your mind.)
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