Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Pierce Brosnan doesn't necessarily have to sing for me to enjoy "Mamma Mia"

Just back from seeing the movie "Mamma Mia". For a girl who graduated high school in 1976, you couldn't have given me a better summer movie. I sobbed in this movie..there were some really poignant moments and I laughed so hard, not that it was so funny but that it was so joyful to watch. Now, stay with me, Abba's lyrics really do have some depth! The song "Slipping Through My Fingers" was heartbreaking and so true and "Dancing Queen" made me miss my youth desperately, and I don't usually do that, but I DID want to be "seventeen, dancing queen" again! I wanted to fit right back into my disco clothes, my disco days, my disco moves and just forget I had to grow up!And as for Pierce Brosnan, I have loved that man for years, ever since Remington Steele...and "The Thomas Crown Affair"...lucky Rene Russo!Unusual singing voice he has but who cares? He's just the ultimate romantic lead. I will go see this again and I WILL be buying Abba's greatest hits! Anybody else love the movie?

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

The Bubble Is About To Burst

I've been living in my summertime bubble since 5:08 p.m. on May 16. Just like the opening credits on "Get Smart" where he walks down a hall and steel doors shut behind him.That's how quickly I turn toward my summers,my alter-ego life.But, it's at this time of my vacation I begin to have a few teeny regrets,that maybe I haven't done all I planned to do(this is ALWAYS the case!).I have such a great burst of organizational energy at the beginning. We are planning a renovation which should have begun the first of July. So, in May, I packed up my books, sent truckloads of stuff to second-hand stores and the salvation army. I've been living spartan-like upstairs. I think it's been a good thing. Every few days I realize just how little it takes for me to be happy in a space. I think I'm going to go "all zen" on myself when they finish the upstairs. This will be in direct contrast to my ability to clutter, to keep things just in case.I am my own worst enemy, ya'll! My mind says "zen it up, girl" but my actions say "keep it, keep it, for heaven's sake, keep it!".I could psycho-analyze this behavior as a remnant of being moved around so much as the child of a preacher,the desire to hold on to the familiar. It's daring to live in a minimal way,a radical contrast to what society tells us. I am easily manipulated by advertising and I've found the best cure is to ignore it as much as possible. I try to avoid shopping and am coming into awareness of the detriment of spending too much, having too much. The richness of life should be your interior, not your exterior. Our society is about the labels and the way things look and cost. It can so quickly become our identities.Granted,my most recent blog entry was about the joys of ebay. But for me, that's improvement. I'm trying to go for spending less and I believe the transition is gradual to leaving less of a "materialistic footprint" on earth.Anyone else tired of the manipulation of advertising,tired of all the "stuff"?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

I Have Always Been a Late Bloomer

I have always been a late bloomer. Where has this gotten me? Last cheerleader to have a boyfriend in 12th grade(there's a story there, no time now),last one to figure out what was "cool" in college and then to decide I didn't want to be "cool", a little slow on punchlines of get the idea. Well, now, it seems I must be the last person on earth to discover the joys of Ebay! Wow! What a website! You can search for all kinds of's like the biggest world wide web garage sale! Granted, I stay with NWT and NWOT stuff(for the one person on earth who hasn't found ebay yet it means: new, with tag;new, without tag) and I steer clear if the stuff comes from a smoking home. Here's how I beat the system. I go to all the websites of clothes and shoes that I like. I peruse through and get ideas of prices. THEN, when I have ten hours to kill, I will set up all these really specific ebay searches. For example:Coldwater Creek, size (none of your business) black leather jacket with silver buttons and paisley lining and hit that magic little search button and, poof!, there it is! I search jewelry, as I am approaching 50 and feel the need for something meaningful on my finger...not so much a rock, something with words on it or a snippet of a poem or scripture..something to set me up for the next 50 years..well, you can even find that kind of thing on ebay.You have to be careful. I have gotten burned a couple of times but mostly it was my fault. The picture of the shoes I won only vaguely resembled the hooker stilettos that came in the mail. Imagine explaining that to the Salvation Army lady when I donated them.(It is a small town I'm living in.)For the most part, it's been great. I just love a good bargain. Wanna know what I'm bidding on right now? Okay:a North Face(nwt)backpack for son;these gorgeous cranberry pumps that will match the Chico indigo dress I got on ebay last week,some black clark privo's(nwt),a chunky turqoise bracelet(originally on QVC)...well, at the risk of sounding shallow and materialistic I'll stop these shenanigans for now. Anybody else in love with ebay?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

The Night The Lights Went Out In Mississippi

Okay, that's a take on the song "that's the night when the lights went out in Georgia". I am reading "The Power of Now" and it is profoundly affecting my daily life. If you check out my shelfari you'll see several books on the contemplative life. I have been practicing centering prayer for over a year. After strong urging from a friend, I have started reading the "now" book. It is amazing the correlation between Tolle's book and the spiritual writers such as Merton,Pennington and Keating.It has served as an enhancement to the daily awareness I am working on in my life. It's a bit to "new agey" for me but when I began to pencil in the "cp" lingo for what he was talking about, it came together. All we have is now..I know, all of you probably have already gotten this wisdom point about life, but I'm still working on it.
When I was little we would sing a song at church:"We have this moment to hold in our hands and to touch as it slips through our fingers like sand. Yesterday's gone and tomorrow may never come, but we have this moment today."(words by Gloria Gaither)It's interesting to me that staunch southern baptists, new agers and those seeking a contemplative life have threads of similarity about them.
So, what's this got to do about my blog title? Last night my son was at a friend's house, so it was just me, mom and dad. We were watching "The Bucket List" when the lights went out. What I found(and once again, the readers probably already know this) was that when media crutches are removed, conversation is so much better. We had the best time just talking. I even did the redneck thing, got in the suv and drove around looking for where the transformer blew(it was one street over and a tree had fallen on it). Talk about a movie set. Big lights on poles, enough emergency vehicles for a natural disaster and rubberneckers like me. Honestly, I could have just sat in my car and watched the whole process.Would I have the strength to pull the plug on our media? Interesting that that's what I think it would take to do it. It's something to contemplate.It's what I'm thinking about in the "now". I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Harry Crews is not a "beach read"!

Those of you who have read Harry Crews probably already know this! Wow, do I love his writing, but I find it more conducive to read him at home in Mississippi...on my porch....listening to crickets...with silence to think about what he has to say. I almost titled this blog "You can't speed read Harry Crews",because that's what I've found also. Reading Crews is like having your foot on the accelerator...sometimes you can speed ahead and sometimes you need to take your foot off completely, come to a complete stop and think about a character or a situation he's described. Rich reading to me.
So, needless to say, I stopped reading him at the beach and picked Elizabeth Berg's "Until the Real Thing Comes Along". Not her best one, because I didn't like the ending. Very unsatisfying for this single mom to read. Basically, she's in love with a gay man. He "came out" while he was in a relationship with the main character. She is still in love with him and the whole book is about her trying to get over him and then they have child together and well you get the idea. I think if you are going to read while you are at the beach, there should be a happy ending. I mean, you are smack dab in the middle of a happy ending in your life, right? I mean, you ARE at the beach for a week! So, why spoil it by reading about unrequited love and angst. I am writing about this because I never understood a "beach read" until this vacation.
After the Berg book I read "Bed and Breakfast". Now that's a real beach read. Totally mindless, don't have to invest yourself in the fate of the characters too much but with just enough substance to keep you distracted.
Jo Ellen spoke so highly of Dorothy Sayers, that's on my library list next. Will start a P D James tonight and maybe another Greg Iles.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Cousin Camp-2008-Details

Ah, what can I say about Cousin Camp? The idea came from my aunt,my mom's only sibling, several years ago. It began as a weeklong time for her to spend with her 8 grandchildren. At the time, her oldest daughter was moving around with her family while her husband finished a medical residency in radiology. My aunt saw this as a time that the cousins could get to know each other.Later,my aunt invited my mom and her only grandchild(my son) to join them.In the first few years it wasn't as much fun to us adults(the five "first cousins"), due to the young ages of the children(the nine "second cousins",diaper age to 6th grade).Much time was spent watching them in the pool,making sure they had naps,didn't wake up at the crack of dawn etc. The fellowship between the adult cousins,parents of these kids,was great, though.It always has been. This year there was an ease about it in the best way.
The two oldest graduated from high school in May. One in Tennessee and one in Arkansas. Of course, we all traveled to see both graduations, a week apart.These two oldest cousins STILL wanted to come to cousin camp!
There's food all over the place.One refrigerator holds only soda,bottles of water and gallons and gallons of their favorite ice creams and popsicles. The other fridge is weighed down with all our "favorites". The parents usually bring a new food discovery..maybe a dip or a main dish or a dessert. Food is one of the centers of the week.
Sunday night is opening night. We have the cousin camp t-shirt "reveal". It's a secret until that night. There is always a scripture that is the theme of the week. This year:Christ in you, the hope for glory. Artwork on the tee came from our Lutheran cousin's church parament. Suffice it to say, it did look VERY Lutheran. My first Lutheran looking t-shirt, whatever that means!Usually, it's homecooking for that meal. We also have a time of devotion and singing. The two oldest boys play guitar and my son added keyboard percussion with me on the piano. We sing mainly praise choruses along with maybe a couple of more in depth christian songs. My aunt sees this week as a chance to share our faiths with each other, which we do in our own individualistic ways. Denominations include:southern baptist,lutheran,non-denominational and presbyterianUSA.We have devotional time twice a day. I am always amazed at the creativity we all possess. Though the "elder grandmothers" feel the need to preach a little,we parents strive to keep it contemporary. My favorite is usually done by my cousin's wife. Last year she fed us a snack of coke in a bottle with peanuts in it and we sat outside and chilled out the way we should with God. I made a labyrinth of birdseed outside to show how there is one way in and one way out..that it was a clear path, though it has twists and turns. I loved watching the little ones tiptoe through it during the week.
We go bowling,converge on our favorite chinese restaurant,have a group picture in t-shirts at some local picturesque location and our most indulgent cousin takes them to rent movies and videogames and nail polish and make-up.Make no mistake, my aunt ALWAYS reminds us adults that this is the kids week, they get whatever they want, whenever they want. If it's five bowls of ice cream,they get it.
I guess our favorite thing, the one that makes us laugh the most, is the badminton tournament. It's set up behind the pool, so you can float and watch the action. Mixed doubles and singles winners get trophies as does best dressed on court.We added best sportsmanship this year.The most intense match is ALWAYS between first cousin adult Bill and second cousin twins Matt and Andy, fiercest of competitive athletes(and 11 years old).
Our family loves to laugh and we do a lot of it during the week.And now that the kids are older, WE get the naptime..HA!
Everyone chips in on kp duty. One night is taco night, another pie night(that's a long story),another pizza night. We snack all day on produce from the farmer's market as well as different things we each make to share with each other.
The catalysts that keep it running are my aunt and cousin. They spend all year planning and stockpiling and praying it will be a wonderful week. The prayers work because it always is.It may sound like a form of church camp, but it's really not. We are trying to plant our faith for our children, but just as important for me is that it gives my "only child" child siblings for his life, while I'm still living and when I'm gone. It's a great comfort to know that strength of family relationships continues through the years whether we see each other much or not.Much bonding happens during our time together. I am grateful to my aunt for her vision and her generosity and to the richness of the tapestry of my life by knowing my family so well.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Cousin Camp-2008

I just spent a week in Tennessee at my aunt's house for Cousin Camp 2008. Tomorrow I leave for the beach for a week. When I return, I'll give you the scoop. Here's the teaser: 16 cousins meet for one week for fellowship,food,music,killer badminton tournaments(complete with trophies),swimming,sleeping and, above all, eating. It's a week that's hard to describe. There are two sisters(my mom and my aunt) who had five children who had nine children.Added to this mix is one brave spouse and a various assortment of grandparents who dropped in and out during the week.Age range: 9 to 73!I'm still on a high from it and am finding it difficult to transition to packing for the beach. I'm on sensory overload for sure!