Archives for August 2008

Flexible Friday #11 I Have Issues

If you are a regular reader then you already know I have issues…

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My issue of the day is…

CHAIN RESTAURANTS.

Friends who know me well know that I prefer to go to locally owned restaurants whenever I travel. It’s a standing joke when we get together as a group and then they gang up on me when we’re deciding on where we’re going “Oh, Sherra won’t go to a chain.”

That’s simply not true. We have chain restaurants coming out of our ears in the Atlanta area. I just get so tired of them that when I am visiting other cities I love to go to local establishments or at the very least, go to a chain that we don’t have in Georgia.

Did I mention that PhilBillPaul took me to Steak ‘n Shake in Tampa on our first date? Trying to impress me and it obviously worked.

We are fan-cee diners. Very cultured. And yes, it’s still true we don’t eat vegetables. We don’t make a big deal about this but other people love to.

So last week we went out to grab a quick bite which we try to do at least once a week sans children. It’s our time to complete full sentences in between tattling cell phone calls that I refuse to answer.

I don’t want to bash the restaurant but I will say we had very poor service. (Another BIG issue for me.) Very unusual waiter who seemed to be in a hurry and was in motion before we finished ordering.

My two favorite food choices are traditional American cuisine or Italian. On this night I chose Italian.

There was a pasta on the menu that I had not heard of so I asked about it. The waiter said the best way to describe the pasta shape was “it is like a small folded ear.”

I said “Excuse me?”

Is it just me or does that not sound very appealing?

I chose penne and PhilBillPaul went with his standard spaghetti choice. He never deviates from his noodle shape and size. Spaghetti only please. He’s wild like that.

After the waiter left, we laughed out loud about pasta being described as a “folded ear.”

Maybe it was unappealing and a little stressful for me because I have been known to wake up after sleeping with my ear folded. It is painful.

Some of you don’t have ears that fold. Consider yourself lucky.

My ears fold. It’s hereditary. I bet my cousin Sally’s ears fold but I’ve never asked her. I know poor Wizzy’s ears fold. Sorry, I know it hurts.

And I had never, ever thought that would be a great shape for pasta.

Being the researcher that I am, I learned that while our waiter was very abrupt, he knew his pasta, darn it!

Because I was so curious, it seems the pasta I ordered on round two of my “endless pasta bowl” actually means “little ear.”

For the fancy few who are reading (actually the fancy few probably stopped reading when they realized I’m so uneducated about pasta) the “folded ear” pasta is called…

Orecchiette

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I had to take a picture of the leftovers and educate my kids about this fascinating Folded Ear Pasta. See that one near the top? Looks just like my ear after a bad night.

In spite of the fact that I would have called it Tiny Bowls Pasta or Little Cups Pasta, it was excellent.

If you really want to try the restaurant and since I’m not being paid to write this review, here’s a hint in case you have this chain where you live:

Popeye’s girlfriend + rhymes with pardon

And I also highly recommend the Lemon Cream Cake for dessert. YUM!

Let me know if you already know and love the orecchiette pasta or you figure out that tricky riddle and visit the unnamed chain. 😉

Have a fabulous three day weekend with your family and friends!

P.S. I’m still gathering pictures about one of the reasons I was popping Xanax last week. Stay tuned…

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Rainy Night in Georgia

We know better than to complain about rain in Georgia.

We’ve been in a drought for too long to complain.

For me personally, the blessing of rain comes with the curse of a migraine.

Rain + change in barometric pressure = migraine

I never would have believed it.

But my neurologist confirmed it and if I didn’t believe the doctor, I believe the pounding in my head.

Migraine + zomig = incoherent thoughts

So I will not write anymore and will postpone my Xanax story yet again.

Hey, that’s just what for Flexible Friday was made for!

Meanwhile, if you haven’t already done so, click on over to iLashGirls.com and leave a comment so you have a chance to win our Summer Cookbook. You have to enter by midnight tonight! I’m telling you right now, it’s a very “cool” ebook…

Okay, I’ll stop now…see why I should not write when medicated?

Um, why are all my posts becoming drug-related?

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Olympics Withdrawal

No, I have not had to take more Xanax.

No, I have not forgotten to tell you what happened last week.

Thanks to all of you who emailed or called to check on me.

I’m FINE, really I’m okay.

I’m gathering pictures to tell the story later this week.

Meanwhile, I am experiencing Olympics withdrawal.

Unless you don’t own a television or live under a rock you know the Olympics are over.

I am a bit of an Olympics junkie. I love to keep the television on pretty much around the clock for the approximately two weeks they are on. Tivo made it a little easier this year.

I’m old enough to remember when Mark Spitz won his seven gold medals. Which I just read was 36 years ago. Seriously? That can’t be right…

When the Olympics were here in Atlanta in 1996 I knew I had to get tickets and go have a not-to-be-missed experience. Just getting the tickets in the mail was exciting!

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My friend Luci flew up from Tampa so we could spend the whole day at track and field. We had a blast and it was a glorious day watching Michael Johnson and Dan O’Brien win gold medals.

OlympicsSherraLuci

I can’t ever remember not watching the Olympics on tv and last week was no exception. It’s one of the few times I found myself insisting that my darling children get in front of the television so they could watch history being made.

I’m always a little sad when they’re over. These athletes and their coaches have worked and trained so hard to achieve these lifetime dreams. When they get to step up on that podium and hear our National Anthem, it still chokes me up.

In spite of the politics and negativity, there were so many moments to celebrate and be proud of our country and how the U.S. athletes handled themselves.

Here are three of my favorite “my eyes welled up with pride” moments:

1) Watching Dara Torres, a 41-year old mother, swim and win the silver medal was simply amazing. I loved her answer to the reporter’s question after the race.

When asked what she would some day tell her 2 year-old daughter about her Olympic experience, she said:

“You don’t have to put an age limit on your dreams.”

What a role model for girls (and women) of all ages!

2) Watching the men’s volleyball team keep playing and playing and playing the games of their lives. Knowing that their drive to win was even bigger than the Olympic gold. Their victory was for their coach, Hugh McCutcheon and his family during a horrific tragedy and the team showed incredible devotion and love for their coach.

3) The team effort in the 4 by 100 relay which was pivotal in getting Michael Phelps his record-breaking 8 gold medals. Jason Lezak’s anchor finish was a beautiful history-making achievement that has already been played over and over!

Every time I see that race, I still get chills. As Michael Phelps embraced his teammates, I heard him say:

“I couldn’t have done it without you guys.”

If that’s not enough, in every interview he sings the praises of his mother. And he seems to truly love his sisters too. I bet his biggest fan club is comprised of mothers like me!

Okay, I’ll stop now but I’d love to hear what your favorite moments were. What made you proud to be an American? Leave a comment below and let’s continue celebrating the great things about the Olympics for at least one more day. 🙂

P.S. If you’re feeling really competitive, click over to iLashGirls & enter to win one of the cookbooks we’re giving away…woo-hoo!

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Flexible Friday #10 Random Thoughts

I’m very random and today is no exception. I have many things I could tell you but for now I just need to share that I usually write my Friday post on Thursday night.

Side note: A little dream I have is to get posts ready a month in advance but reality usually trumps my little dreams.

Tonight my reality forced encouraged me to take medication. It’s a Xanax night because the Valium just wasn’t working.

Next week I’ll tell you why I took the Xanax. It’s a doozey but worth saving for when I can type complete sentences without being in a medicated haze.

Instead, I thought I’d just share these random thoughts…

Is there really only ONE person reading my blog who felt compelled to give a shout out to a girlfriend who makes their world a better place? I thought that was sad. Sad for the girlfriends who would appreciate a public shout out.

And really sad for the state of my blog readership. Should I stop blogging or is that just the Xanax? Does Xanax make you sad? Or paranoid? Or both? Could someone get back to me on that? Or I guess I should ask my doctor.

But a big thank you to Joanne who left a very nice comment to send thanks out to her friend Chayna.

For those of you who have a good memory, Joanne also won
Wife of the Year.
Now I think she’s in the running for Friend of the Year.

Okay, maybe you all sent your girlfriends personal, handwritten notes?

This Xanax seems to make me ask a lot of questions.

I sign off now but had to leave you with this cartoon that I saw tonight that made me giggle.

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Close To Home© John McPherson

Come on, tell me who hasn’t gone into a fast food restaurant while on a road trip and used their bathroom and then felt guilty about it?

True confessions time. Last question I swear.

Did you buy something out of guilt before you left?

I’ll go first.

Yes, I have. More than once.

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“All About Me”

Sometimes you need to schedule an “All About Me” day. It’s good for the soul.

It’s a favorite theme of mine because it’s easy to get lost in busy days and forget to take care of yourself when you are a woman taking care of other people.

We nurture – it’s our nature.

Please don’t ask PhilBillPaul about my nurturing tendencies right now. I’ve been a little distracted.

I’m soooo excited to finally get to share with you today about what I’ve been doing that has distracted me from being the warm, loving, nurturing mom and wife my family is so used to.

Excuse me. I hear some muffled laughter.

Okay, but let me remind you that in April I was in serious contention for
Wife of the Year…

Meanwhile, I’ve been very busy with my good friend and totally nurturing and loving wife and mom, Leigh Anne. She puts me to shame. Really, she does.

Together we’ve joined forces and created an actual business partnership! We’ve been working for months on a website that is very close to both of our hearts. We’ve spent many years as mothers and homebased business owners. Our favorite part has been working with women and creating connections and friendships through the years.

Now we get to bring that sense of community directly to you. I hope you’ll take a few minutes today and watch our short movie which will lead you to our new website and the story will unfold from there!

Every Woman Movie.com

Also, don’t miss our fun summer cookbook with some of our favorite recipes that we put together just for girlfriends. It’s a full-color ebook you can download right to your computer and save the cost of shipping.
You’ll find it in our brand new shop.

Thanks for indulging me and letting me have an “All About Me” post today. It’s a big day filled with a real sense of accomplishment and celebration!

It would be a real blessing to me if you would pass the everywomanmovie.com link on to five women you know (whom I don’t know) to help us grow our new site.

Be sure to check back on the site in the coming days – we’re planning some fun giveaways that I want my friends (and their friends) to win! I can’t help it, I’m competitive. 😉

Life Lesson (LL): Dreaming big and working hard with a girlfriend makes the journey so much FUN!

Share a Life Lesson (SALL): Do you have a girlfriend who helps make everything more fun? Send her a big thank you right here in the comments and then send her the link. Tell her you thanked her publicly on the internet so the world can read it! Um, yeah, because the whole world reads my blog. Okay, it would still be a nice thank you…

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Hip and Cool Cousins

You may or may not remember that my sister and I are both dysfunctional and hip and cool.

What I haven’t revealed until now is this…

My cousin Sally and her family were very hip and cool too.

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Olan Mills and plaid – it’s a winning combination.

Side note: Relax Sally, as you continue to read on, there are no current pictures in this post. The old ones provided plenty of material.

It is nice to have good role models so your family can be hip and cool as well.

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Oh look, Olan Mills and plaid again but we were even more hip and cool as we enjoyed the beautiful fall trees.

After my family moved from Indiana when I was in the 3rd grade, Sally and I have never lived close to each other. Usually many states separate us.

She’s found her way back to Indiana with her family just miles from
our Grandad’s farm.

Whether it’s been months or a year, we always just pick up where we left off. Time and distance doesn’t get in the way of our friendship.

I don’t think there has ever been a time we’ve been together that we haven’t laughed until we cried. Even at Grandad’s funeral. Which he would have appreciated so please don’t think we were being disrespectful…

Our moms are sisters.

We were in each other’s weddings.

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Oh yeah, I wore that dress a lot after the wedding. And wore my hair that way all through high school. Thank you Farrah.

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Her husband Pat was Phil’s best man and I let her pick out her own dress for my “big wedding in the living room.”

Please excuse that inside family joke that sister Julie Julia should get.

We are both married to saints whose first names start with “P”

The saint part is what our families think. Whatever. We don’t necessarily agree.

Side note: I seriously just realized we are both S & P couples. I’m sure it means nothing but I was amused as I typed.

We both have four children.

Our husbands are best friends. (a post for another day)

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It’s scary how close they are – PhilBillPaul and Pat have sooooo much in common.

Mostly me and Sally.

We both have lots and lots of issues.

Look how hip and cool Sally and I were the summer after the car crash.

meandSal1987

It was 1988 and I think I weighed about 88 pounds and Sally must have been creeping up to triple digits.

Nice suspenders, Sal. I think it was the only time I ever wore horizontal stripes and hoped they made me look bigger.

This month Sally celebrates 30 years of marriage which is a milestone in my book!

But it really makes me feel old.

Then I remember this and remember I will always be younger than both of them.

It’s nice when you have a cousin that gets you.

She’s the cousin I can and have called in the middle of the night.

She’s the cousin who understands all my issues.

She’s the cousin who has a son serving in Iraq and her parents living in an apartment above her garage.

She’s the cousin who is always in my prayers.

Having a blog has its advantages. Isn’t this better than a boring (and late) anniversary card?

Happy Anniversary Sally. (and Pat.)

And thanks for being such a great cousin and more importantly, a great friend.

Much love,

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Flexible Friday #9 No-Fail
Birthday Present

Am I the only one who finds it hard to come up with unique, special, meaningful birthday presents year after year?

Am I the only one who gave up doing that many years ago?

But, in true confessions style, on the milestone birthdays I feel a certain amount of self-imposed pressure to think of something unique and special.

The BIG 5-0 is one of those milestone birthdays.

And I am fresh out of ideas.

So I went for the standard no-fail birthday present.

Really, it’s a one-size-fits-all gift for any occasion…

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Ta-da! We made PhilBillPaul a photo album.

I started thinking about what we were going to do for his birthday in the early summer. We are a picture family with our shelves filled with photo albums and framed pictures all over the house. I’m not sure when the idea for his album struck me but I like to break things down into small manageable pieces. I was thinking of something for each decade when I realized there were five of us – five decades. Hmm, what could this mean?

Then it hit me – forget decades (shhh, I’m saving that for 60 now) and each person could write 10 things they love about Dad a.k.a. PhilBillPaul which would equal 50!!

It’s scary how good I am with math. I should be a math tutor.

Anyway, I asked the kids to start thinking of their 10 things and I wanted a draft. I’ve been making albums for many years and I know a plan really makes the project easier. Then later in the summer, we’d set aside an afternoon where the kids could pick out 10 pictures each and put them together on album pages with what they wrote.

Doesn’t the whole idea warm the cockles of your heart?

Side note: What’s a cockle?

Precious moments really. Me and my four kids going through photo boxes filled with extra photos that didn’t make the albums and assembling a surprise album for Daddy.

The true story is last Thursday in the midst of a very messy basement (messes stress me) and with some threats, trash talk and mom screaming at the kids to quit fighting with each other and work on their own pages, my darling children each finished 5 pages (10 sides) with their “top ten” reasons they love their dad.

I really wished I had filmed the whole scene – it brings a tear to my eye just thinking about it.

I spent the weekend getting some reprints and helping them with a few edits in their writing since some unnamed children The Grunter and Roger Leroy did not initially use their best writing skills.

The Grunter actually had this on his first draft:

“I love your bald spot.”

He missed the original instructions…heartfelt reasons you love your dad.

Dig a little deeper please.

Another proud parenting moment.

Roger Leroy had three very redundant versions of:

“I love that you put other people’s needs before your own.”

A sweet sentiment but not so sweet 3 TIMES in 10 pages.

Like she could only think of 7 things?

The album-making scene exasperated me so much that it took me until the following Thursday to make my pages. So he got his birthday golf on Monday, his birthday dinner on Tuesday and his birthday presents on Thursday. Yes, I’m late for pretty much everything.

Here is a sampling of the pages, which when all was said and done, turned out to be lovely and heartfelt. PhilBillPaul was sufficiently choked up and the kids really were proud of their creation.

In reverse order because Scary Baby asked that her pages be first because I always go in birth order and she’s always last. So I listened to her suggestion because I’m flexible like that.

ScaryBabyPage

She gets an A+ for writing that sweet sentence and then finding the perfect picture to go with it.

WizzyPage

Wizzy also did a great job writing and finding just the right pictures.

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Roger Leroy made some really touching pages and included a very rare photo with her hair not in a ponytail!

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The Grunter is sucking up here and wants to live with us indefinitely.

MomPage

Baby pictures of when the kids were super cute were my first four reasons.
The Grunter was super cute which is why we continue to let him stay with us.

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Colorful journal boxes made the whole process easy (and if the kids mess up, you don’t have to replace the whole page). It really did turn out well and is a treasured keepsake we’ll all enjoy looking at for years to come!

Oh, and he also got a little something in the form of “5-0” from each one of us.

Subsidized by mom.

SBmoney

One-eyed Scary Baby just wanted to hold it.

Thank goodness I don’t have to worry about another unique gift like this
for at least a decade!

If you need any gift album tips, just ask me via the comment box or email me. Especially if your kids get along with each other better than mine! I’ve made many, many special gift albums over the years.

I’m here to serve…

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Positive or Negative?

When you find this book in the back seat of your car that your lovely
17 year-old daughters have been driving around in all summer…

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Is it a positive or a negative?

Counting on all of you to tell me…

Should I be worried?

Or should I be rejoicing?

I’ll be waiting here patiently for your answers – just type them in the comment section below.

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P.S. Remember if you are reading this through an email subscription or an RSS reader, you need to click over to the website to leave a comment.

Guess Who’s 50 Today?

You better not have guessed me!

Nope, sorry, I’m not that OLD yet.

Look at this old and wrinkled sweet and well-preserved hospital bassinet card his mom saved and gave to me.

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He was a scrawny little thing.

PhilBillPaul is the BIG 5-0 today!

Please join me in wishing him a Happy Half Century!

I capitalize on every opportunity to remind him that he is much wiser older than me.

I can’t tell you yet what we gave him because we aren’t actually celebrating as a family until Tuesday when everyone will be home on the same evening which is no small miracle with school starting today and three busy, busy teens. They have assured me they can work in a family dinner on Tuesday evening and will grace us with their presence.

I’ll try to remember to share his lovely gift with you later this week.

Until then, he did take the day off and we’re off to play golf!

Side note to mothers (and Granny): Remember those cute outfits you dressed your darling child in and then took them for a professional photograph? Because your darling child was born before the internet was born…

Um, yeah, the birth of the internet has made those pictures available to the world.

PBPCowboy

Happy Birthday Cowboy!

With Love,

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No Gloating Part Two

I just realized I almost forgot to tell you how Toni and I did in her member/guest golf tournament. I know you’ve all been waiting anxiously to hear.

Okay, maybe not.

But remember when I went to North Carolina last month to play golf and we got a little sidetracked at the grocery store?

We actually did play golf and I should tell you that she invited me back to this same tournament in spite of how poorly I played last year.

Let’s just say I had a very, very bad round!

I was honored that she invited me back. I’d like to think she has a long list of friends who play golf but she picked me.

That would be a lie.

I mean about the friends who play golf.

Anyway, the belated BIG news is that we finished SECOND in the tourney.

GolfTourneyScore

I don’t really know what all those numbers mean except that she put me down as a bad golfer with a really high handicap based on my last year’s performance.

Whatever. We still got 2nd place!

Woo-hoo!

Totally unexpected but bonus fun during our already fun weekend together. Especially since the last time I had golfed was in November.

One other little story about our golf weekend…

I don’t use my woods anymore. Because they are not my friends.

The basic concept is to use the woods (which are actually metal now – one more reason some people are put off by the game) for your long shots and irons don’t go as far.

Toni uses a BIG wood and hits like a man.

That is a total compliment and she knows how impressed we are when she hits and Ann and I say “You’re the man.”

I use my four iron off the tee. And it seems to stress everyone except me.

I just have to share this one great photo that will only matter to those who golf and understand the difference between a wood and an iron. Which is everyone now that I’ve explained.

We were lucky to have our friend Ann with us who doesn’t play but is our personal photographer. Unfortunately Toni and I would rather not have our picture taken.

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These are our tee shots. Toni’s BIG wood. My little iron.

I’m not gloating, I swear.

It has been a pretty good summer of bowling and golf for the old lady mama.

I’m just saying…

I am competitive and not afraid to admit it. 😉

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