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It was Miss Brown in the kitchen with the sunscreen

July 12, 2012

And then bratchild, aka Miss Brown for the purpose of this report and to protect the innocent, etc, tried to kill me. In the kitchen. With the sunscreen. As much as I love the game Clue, I fail to see how this scenario is not included in the game. It must be a gross oversight on their part.

It has often been remarked that I need a handler. Or a TV show. But never both at the same time because THAT would defeat the purpose. My sister and I LOVE “Gilmore Girls.” Along with “Buffy,” “Arrested Development,” “Veronica Mars” and lately, “GCB,” it is up there with one of my most missed shows. I’m sure you remember Suki but what you may NOT remember is that, particularly in the early seasons, people in the kitchen sort of did their best to make sure she wasn’t injured, didn’t set things on fire, get rendered unconscious with a pan, slip on a banana peel–you know, normal kitchen-y things.

Ever since setting our kitchen floor on fire WITH a Pop Tart when I was just a wee lass, and then as a teenager setting a fire in a home where I was babysitting because those high-maintenance children demanded popcorn popped on a stove with oil and not in a microwave as God intended, that since I lacked a handler–I would avoid the kitchen. Much like I fear shower curtains, because no good comes from them, I also have decided avoidance is the best policy when it comes to kitchens.

With J in Afghanistan, the bratchild, I mean Miss Brown, and I have a routine. We get up. She gets ready for swim practice and applies her own sunscreen. Can I just say praise the LORD and pass the waffles that she’s old enough to handle that on our own? Sunscreening children, though necessary, is awful. She has been applying her continuous spray sunscreen in our kitchen which didn’t give me any pause. See above: kitchen avoidance. The other day I innocently ventured in their to water my orchid while wearing my highest pair of wedges: The Lilly Pulitzer Picture Perfect Espadrille.  And they are: practically perfect in every way. Or they WERE, until the unfortunate attempt on my life and all that.

Miss Brown chose to bring about my demise a few weeks ago as I sauntered through our kitchen in my fabulous footwear toting my iPad and three ice cubes for my orchid when, unbeknownst, to me I hit a slick patch. I screamed, the iPad went straight up in the air, the ice cubes flew everywhere and I scrambled, after a brief airborne experience, to land exactly on my right kneecap, my hands and somehow my forehead. I remained in that position for some time because I was unable to move and was trying to figure out what had attacked me. While being so up close and personal with our hardwood floor, I glanced to my left ever so slightly to see a mysterious puddle/oil slick/foggy substance coating the area from which I had recently been launched. At this time, Miss Brown, felt it important to confess that yes, she had been applying sunscreen in the house and did I think it had something to do with my current predicament. Ummm…YES.

The thing is my knee still really hurts (two weeks later) and it feels itchy, numb and sore on the inside and all at the same time. I also think it has a lumpy spot making my knee look fat. When I attempt to scratch it (from the outside people, I am not cutting myself open) there’s a weird owwwowwwwOWIE feeling coupled with a why is that spot numb. Also? My right ankle is the one that is STILL injured/won’t move certain ways and clicks with certain motions from when that sidewalk in New York City reached out and grabbed ahold of me. Life lesson: while alcohol certainly has medicinal properties, it will not cure tiny shards of bone caused by the mean streets of NYC. Instead of guzzling wine, I should have explored medical care. A lesson only partially learned as this go-round, I didn’t guzzle wine BUT I also didn’t seek medical attention. So any doctors out there? How do I make my knee not itchy/owie/numb?

One day, I will live encased in bubble wrap while wearing a helmet as suggested by Boot Camp Joe.

Shoes may actually be the death of me.


And now I have to get a tuxedo altered for a skeleton

July 9, 2012

I’ve accepted the fact that things happen to me that are often ridiculous and that, more often than not, it’s my own doing. The other day, bratchild and I were going to go to thrift stores and Mary’s (a junk/antique/bead emporium) to look for crap and to try, again, to find a smallish cheap round table that I can turn into a fortune-teller’s table for my friend Ronda to use when she is the fortune teller at bratchild’s Halloween party that I told her she could invite her entire grade to attend. Mainly because I am lazy and what’s 20 kids versus 50 or so when it means I don’t have to mail invites and can just give her a buttload to take to school.

ANYHOO-we invited mom to come and then decided to invite dad and he came mainly so he could make me drive and criticize every driving maneuver I executed, pretend to be bored and catch things as mom knocked them off shelves. (Also J doesn’t like it when bratchild and I go to thrift stores and dad naturally looks frightening so really inviting him was a safety precaution. The LAST time I went to a thrift store a homeless man got down on the ground behind my car, pretended I had run him over and then hopped up  and  began rapping on my window demanding money.  Since I had NOT run him over, I just pulled away. To be fair, even if I HAD run him over, I never carry cash.)

It was at that very thrift store that mom spied a white tux with tails stuck in with the wedding gowns and decided I needed it to dress a skeleton or Frankenstein for Halloween. Obviously I agreed and brought him home to begin looking for a skeleton. Can I just go ahead and warn you that finding an acceptable not a bajillion dollar skeleton is not an easy task? Most are mini–which is weird or for medical students–which I am NOT. Some are glow in the dark and others are just cardboard jointed cutouts. Mom pointed out I should perhaps look for a Frankenstein–because a life-size one of those would be easier to locate and less expensive? I needed a manly skeleton that could be scary and perhaps hold a tray of cocktails AND fit my new white tux with tails. FINALLY-I came across this one for the bargain price of $39.99. He’s posable and doesn’t look stupid and he comes with a change of clothes. What skeleton doesn’t need wardrobe options?

Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones…

Downside? He’s ONLY five feet tall making him shorter than I am. I hadn’t intended him to be a crossdresser so putting a pair of my highest heels on him is out of the question (I also don’t know what size his feet are or if they are bendable). I guess I will make him (by I, am clearly talking about J) a platform upon which to perch. My tux, which I don’t know what size it is but am pretty sure is larger than a 5 foot tall skinny skeleton is now going to have to be altered so once he arrives, I am going to have to drag his bony ass to find him a dress shirt (I already have a sequined bow tie for him) and cart him to my alterations lady to have his tux “fitted” to him. Fortunately, I am in the market for a new alterations lady so I don’t particularly care if I traumatize my moody, refuses to speak English and uses a sponge roller as a barrette current seamstress.

I could learn to sew myself but honestly taking a skeleton and his tux to a seamstress seems less problematic. I refuse to believe I am the first person to be in this position.


Back to the beach with Alpha Stamps

July 8, 2012

I love being on Design Teams. In addition to being exposed to mediums or themes I might not normally explore on my own, my favorite aspect is seeing how different people  manifest the same theme in so many different ways. Alpha Stamps always has fabulous swaps going on and one of the most recent was a Beach themed swap. Today I am excited to take you back to the beach and highlight four of the picture-perfect postcards created by members of the Alpha Stamps community; Laura Carson, Monica Dase, Cynthia Jones and JoAnn White.

Up first is a wonderful piece by fellow design team member Laura Carson. I just love all the different elements and sparkles(!) and three-dimensional details adorning the under the sea siren.

Monica Dase  created the cutest seaside couple and I and falling for the fringey trim and the wonderful words across the bottom.

Cynthia Jones celebrated the girlfriend getaway and has me longing to sit under an umbrella and put my toes in the sand.

JoAnn White’s vintage-inspired view features a shimmering seahorse that I just love. The mail stamp is a delightful detail.

I’m in need of a tropical destination and a pink drink with a paper parasol–how about you? For the latest swaps, sales and all the crafty goodness at Alpha Stamps, I encourage you to sign up for the newsletter and prepare to be inspired! For even more fun, find them on Facebook.

Current crafty crush? This Antique Scalloped Trim and the Vintage Embellishment Junk Pack.

Slamazoning and Sleebaying: two conditions from which I suffer

July 6, 2012

Slamozing and Sleebaying: I honestly don’t see as how these aren’t diagnosed medical conditions. I mean, other than the fact that I just this minute came up with those names and MAY be the only person to “suffer” from these conditions. We all know I have a, ahem, habit of shopping online while under the influence of migraine or nausea meds. For the most part, I have been pleased as punch with the spoils of this predicament. It’s totally like Christmas but, unlike Christmas, the box contents are a surprise. It’s really fun for everyone.

I have been known to sleepwalk upon occasion. In third grade at a sleepover, the parents found me outside walking circles around the house. I’ve also walked into my parents room to talk to them and done random things like put my mobile or a jar of peanut butter in the fridge. (If I could sleep laundry, that would be super.)

I woke up this morning feeling terribly refreshed and revived after NINE plus hours of sleep. The first thing I do every morning, even before I pee, is to grab my mobile and check to see if I have any pressing emails. (Do you know most people actually check social media sites and email prior to peeing? Totally true. Read it somewhere.) I was taken aback to see I had about 35 emails. I was even more shocked to see amazon order confirmations and eBay congratulations you are the high bidder emails. (I always tell J that the only thing I ever win is auctions and he says that’s stupid because I don’t win I just pay the most and I am all nuhuh eBay tells me I am winner. So there.)

It would seem that around 2am, I wandered from my bed over to my closet room and did some slamazoning and sleebaying. On Amazon, I purchased a two disc set of “Funny Girl” and “Funny Lady” (after whining for HOURS yesterday that I couldn’t find them anywhere and wanted to watchthemrightthisveryminuteorImightdie.) I also picked up a two disc copy of the movie “Rent,” and Streisand’s “The Broadway Album” since I have been enjoying “Back to Broadway” for years…since like 1992.

So, I get it, that’s cool. I’ve been on a musical kick–more than normal to the point that even my unconscious was like “get your ass up and get some musicalness on its way to us STAT.” (I wish my unconscious would have thought to go in the playstudio and order music from iTunes because I could ALREADY be enjoying it.) Even in my sleep, I am OCD about a theme. Good to know. But THEN, THEN I scrolled down my email to see I had purchased something called Vergie Lightfoot The Witch is In. I couldn’t fathom what this was and my phone unhelpfully wasn’t showing pictures so I leapt from my bed, took a break to pee (FINALLY) and sat down at my computer in my closet room to feast my eyes upon this:

You don’t order witches in your sleep?

To be fair, she had been on a wish list for a while and was marked down. I guess I should be excited I didn’t order a big ass Halloween inflatable.

Then, despite my confusion, I was pretty excited to see what I was winning on eBay. It would seem that despite the fact that I was already the high bidder on some vintage Lilly Pulitzer, I decided to up my  high bid to like a bazillion dollars or something. Cause apparently in my sleep, I am even more determined to “win.”

One day, when these conditions are officially recognized and all “real” and on webmd and stuff, I hope they credit me with their naming.



July 3, 2012

By the time many of you read this I will no longer be a journalist. Growing up, there were only a handful of things I ever really wanted to be: a private detective, thanks to Trixie Belden, Nancy Drew and, much later, Veronica Mars; an archaeologist, thanks to Indiana Jones; and a reporter, thanks to who knows what. Instinct? Talent? Foolishness?

I’ve been a writer as long as I can remember. The first “published” work I can recall is when I wrote a Christmas play in third grade for my Brownie troop and cast myself as an angel; so obviously you’ll understand this play wasn’t a memoir. I continued reading, and writing, most often during classes I was bored in and several of the first pieces that won awards were written during math or French (apologies to mom and dad just in case they hadn’t figured that out.) In high school, I was the first person to ever be selected for both the literary magazine and the newspaper and I did it as a sophomore.

Also in high school, I pointed at a page in “The Huntsville Times” that was currently being written by Ann Marie Martin and said, “THAT’S the job I want when I grow up.” My passion for the written word intensified in college when I interned at a TV station and, while still in college, was hired to do graphics and script writing for the weekend newscasts. I also acted as Chief Photographer and News Editor for the university paper. Years later, when I was working as a corporate event manager, I was also writing for a local society and culture magazine when I got an email from “The Huntsville Times” and went in to interview for my dream job. (To be fair, I first suspected they were interested in me writing some sort of humor column.) In many ways, writing about things are the only way I know how to process them.

After a few months of doing double duty, I gave up my corporate job for the lesser paying, job of my dreams. Because sometimes, if you’re very lucky and have a bit of faith and are blessed with the freedom that only comes from a truly supportive partner, dreams do come true. Had you asked me even two months ago if I would ever leave The Times, I would have immediately responded no. I loved my job. I loved The Times and I absolutely adored the people. Journalists, and I am honored to have been able to count myself amongst them for the past several years although in many ways I will never quite compare, are an immensely interesting species. Always smart, sometimes sarcastic and more often than not, funnier beyond what you can imagine–there simply is no finer group with which to be surrounded. Make no mistake: nobody, unless they were seriously lied to or suffering delusions, goes into the news business because they want to make a bunch of money. It’s a hard, often thankless job that involves long hours, crazy schedules, deadlines and an uncertainty of what will happen day-to-day. Accidents, scandals, fires, loss, devastation and, at times, joy become part of a daily routine.

Recently my colleagues and I went from being the reporters of uncertainty to being the subject of news reports when the change from a daily print edition to a three days a week print edition was announced. Several weeks later a gaggle of wordsmiths were left grasping for them as our newsroom suffered drastic cuts, going from roughly 57 employees to 12. I was out-of-town when I learned that I was one of the ones who didn’t make the cut and when I returned, decided to turn in my two-week notice. There will be new positions of course but I don’t know that things will ever be the same. I’ve said before that sometimes the people you miss the most aren’t really who you’re missing; you’re just desperately aching for who they used to be. And I guess I feel that way about the news business: I miss who it used to be.

In my three years at the paper and in my position as City Life Columnist, I was honored to be able to cover people at their very best.  I remain in awe of our community and the countless people and organizations who work so hard to develop, protect, improve and, yes, celebrate our unique, dynamic and sometimes flamboyant southern city and lifestyle.


A fanciful fairy shrine for the Lisa Kettell Design Team

June 21, 2012

Summer is going by oh so fast that I can’t even believe it but I DID finally find some time to play with the Lisa Kettell Fairy Follies CD. This CD has more than 600 gorgeous images that you can print and play with to your heart’s content. I also used another marvelous man in the moon because I just love all their little faces!

So here’s my Fairy Whispers Shrine–if you listen closely, you might just hear their little laughter and whispered secrets.

Supplies Needed:
A Lisa Kettell Image CD
Gold tinsel
Xacto knife
Super fine gold and silver glitter
Paper Mache bird house
White glue
Rubber Cement
Teeny tiny wooden spools
Gold metallic paint
Hot glue gun
Star brads

I used bits of five different images and a paper mache bird house I picked up for 99 cents at Hobby Lobby. With an xacto knife, I cut out the front of the bird house to make a large, rounded opening. For the lady that lives in the little shrine surrounded by a sea of stars, I used some star brads to add a little dimension and placed a beaming moon, painted gold, to gaze down upon her. I finished off the interior with some glitter paper and a polka dot “sky.” To jazz up her crown, I added six-sided star brads in two sizes. For attaching paper so that it dries nicely and non-wrinkly, I’ve been using rubber cement with clothespins to hold them in place–a trick I picked up from Knickertwists over at Pixie Hill. It’s pretty much my new favorite thing.

I love tinsel so I trimmed the front of the shrine with several layers of gold tinsel applied using hot glue gun. I also covered the roof using white glue and super fine gold glitter. On the back, I used a clear stamp and some gold metallic embossing powder to overlay the Fairy Whispers onto this pretty picture. Because you can NEVER have too much sparkle, I added more tinsel to trim the edges and used teeny wooden spools, painted with gold metallic paint, as feet.

To finish it off, I printed a butterfly fairy that I sized down, cut out and coated the bottom with super fine silver glitter. I slightly scored the wings to fold them up and attached it with a line of hot glue down the “body.”

There you have it! Lisa Kettell Designs is having a FABULOUS June Sale in the Artfire Store so hop on over and don’t miss out on savings and super supplies! (I also can’t say enough about her book, Altered Art Circus. I picked it up long before I joined the Design Team and it has such wonderful inspiration and how-tos PLUS if you buy it on Artfire, you can get it autographed!)

A maxi pad, despite its absorbency, does not do well as a tissue (and other lessons learned)

June 14, 2012

A maxi pad, despite its absorbance-based purpose, doesn’t cut it as a substitute for kleenex. Yesterday, while shopping with my mom and sister and bratchild–I got the phone call I had been waiting for and learned that even if you expect something and even if you think you’re okay with it, bad news can still sting. My thoughts on journalism can wait for another post; important life lessons? Let’s get on to those.

Back to the first: maxi pads don’t work well as kleenex. I wouldn’t even suggest trying it as I have already tested it out for you, therefore sparing you the hassle. Picture this: sitting on a curb behind a Sephora loading dock, toting Louis and wearing a black Lilly Pulitzer Cassie Dress while crying. Please note, I am NOT a pretty crier–which is part of the reason I don’t do it. Well, that and public displays of intense emotion make me incredible and like the Barenaked Ladies crooned, I’m the kind to laugh at a funeral (which I did way before their stupid song and only happens because I am THAT uncomfortable.)

Rummaging through my ginormous handbag, which I suspect is slightly akin to Mary Poppins’ except mine only expands when I am looking for things in an effort to hide them. ALL I can find in said handbag that is absorbent is above-mentioned maxi pad. Other than that, there were about a billion lipglosses and Tarte Lip Stains in various finishes and shades, a mini tripod, my Huntsville Times badge and more lipglosses. Since I desperately need to blow my nose, I whip open the pad, peel the backing off the wings and blow my nose smack into the center of it. Then, realizing I need to dry my eyes, attempt to work my way around the snotty center while trying to keep the damn sticky “wings” from attaching to my face or eyelashes. I had seen some Diamond Jubilee pocket tissues earlier in the day at World Market and didn’t think they were practical. Lesson learned: carry some kleenex or at least a piece of tissue so you’re not the crying freak on the curb with a damn Always with Wings stuck to your face.

If someone ever walks into your home and says they need to go to a DSW and an ABC Store–do not laugh at them, do not pass Go and do not collect cash–get your ass in the car and drive them. If my family had followed the above now set-in-stone rule, the following cacophony of hilarity would not have occurred. The wine store was closer so I went there and skipped the ABC store.

Me: I’m looking for adult juice boxes.
Wine clerk: Excuse me?
Me: They’re pink and bubbly and have mini straws attached.
Wine clerk: Do you know what they’re called?
Me:  If I knew, I would have opened with that.
Wine clerk: Let’s see what we can find. These? The Sofias?
Me: Fabulous! I’m from Alabama and I don’t think you can get these there. I’m so excited! I should bring a bunch home.
Wine clerk:  There’s no limit on how many you can buy.
Me: I will have to come back. Why aren’t these kept in the cooler, you know, in case of emergency? They’re supposed to be chilled.
Wine clerk: Can I see your ID?
Me: Sure
Wine clerk: You’re not lying, you are from Alabama. Did you know your license is expired?
Me (tearing up): No. I’m going to need that not to be an issue right now.
Wine clerk: You’re total is $18.28. Have a nice night.

I took my unchilled mini champagne adult juice boxes and trotted myself over to DSW as I needed a new running shoes. A realization I came to about an hour previously when  I went running through a park and slipped on mud and fell in a creek in my no-tread left running shoes. Boot Camp Joe of Huntsville Adventure Boot Camp for Women would be so proud: both that I went running voluntarily AND that I recognized the need for new shoes (and not just ones covered in glitter–read on.)

I took a brief breather to call my hubs who asked what I was doing, when I said running, he asked, “from?” Nice.

So I’m at DSW looking at running shoes and since they are RUNNING shoes, not stand around and be pretty and pretend you have nice calves but really it’s just the five-inch heels (higher heels = defined looking calves) I decide to run around the store in them to test their comfort. FYI, the staff at DWS does NOT appreciate you lacing up their sneakers, carrying your shoes in one hand with your handbag slung over an elbow and jogging up and down the aisles of the store. Bouncing in place? Equally unappreciative of that move.

Other lessons?

Even if he looks like him AND talks exactly like him, the cashier at Wal-Mart does not appreciate being called Apu. Still not the case when it’s a compliment because even “who needs the kwik-e-mart” Apu is FAR more pleasant than the Awful Apu at the Wal-Mart. Switching to Michael Jackson when you realize he’s only donned one plastic glove? Also not a crowd pleaser.

Ditto goes for calling the freakishly pale, slightly rounded man in the 10 items or less line who has 34 items (I counted) the Pillsbury Dough Boy.

Sometimes it’s okay to drive the wrong way down a one way street. Particularly if there’s no traffic, no one is around, you’re lost and/or it would be super inconvenient to find a street going the correct way.

A car wash tunnel is  not an exit from a parking lot.

Glitter makes most everything better. In an attempt to cheer me up, mom bought me a pair of multi-colored glitter wedge flip flops at Macy’s.

In summation? Nothing soothes a sick tummy like a real Coke or Canada Dry Ginger Ale. Laughter is always helpful. There’s no such thing as  too many Christmas lights. Never use the nail polish at nail salons: bring your own since they often water theirs down and it won’t stay on as long. Don’t mix beer with liquor, beer with wine or champagne with anything. KY Jelly will stretch out tight spots on leather shoes. Lift with your legs. Don’t take a hit on 17. Sparkle. Always.