Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas traditions with a Southern Flair


Tonight, as Mom and I were driving home from Chiefland, the Redneck version of the 12 days of Christmas came on.  Y’all know the one....  Jeff Foxworthy belts it out as only he can.  Now, while I believe that The 12 days of Christmas (the original version) might possibly be the most annoying song ever.  But the Redneck version...well, it cracks me up.

Why?  

Well, right before I left Hitchcocks to go to work at the Journal, I was up there one day right before Christmas.  We were all just hanging out in the back.  I don’t know how, but we got to talking about the 12 days of Christmas song (the original).  Dennis was trying to list them off.  He got stumped on day 8.  Without missing a beat, I blurted out “It’s eight table dancers.”--Please note here, that I feel SURE Dennis had never been privileged to hear that version of the song--Insert crazy look from Dennis, as he kindly said “Yeahhhh....I don’t think that’s it.”  I’d said it without even putting a thought to the words tumbling out of my mouth.  Needless to say, my face was crimson.

This being said, I will mention yet again, that I’m “a far cry from white trash, and a shoutin’ distance from Southern Belle.”  

You can dress your casserole up in a pretty dish; slap on a cute apron and matching hairbow.  You can gussy up in full Scarlett O’ Hara fashion and let pure sugar drip off your tongue.  You can win people over with your “y’alls” and “Sugars” and “Honeys” and “Darlins.”  You can say your prayers to Jesus, and idolize the great Mrs. Paula Deen...But if you’ve got Redneck in your roots, there’s just no shakin’ it or coverin’ it up.  It’s there...Sure as death and taxes.

Lately, what with thoughts of Christmas cookies, Christmas decorations, jingle bells, and reindeer dancing in my head, I got to thinkin’ a little about Christmas traditions.  

My Holidays are as deep-rooted in tradition as the next Southerner.  Every Christmas, inevitably the “Santa” Christmas blocks get rearranged to say “Satan.”  The “Noel” blocks wind up saying “Leon.”  Our Christmas mouse goes missing from our Advent Calendar.  Somebody cranks up the dancing Black Santa.  Someone might possibly chip a tooth on one of the baked goods.  Someone tries to find a lower fat version of a Classic Southern dish.  Somebody gets mad.  Someone always takes it upon themselves to buy the “person who has everything” a truly awful gift...such as sailor pants or a stuffed, real-looking chicken wearing googles and a #1 medallion around his neck. Someone may or may not come home with a new piercing and gets chased with a bug zapper.  And someone may or may not bring a (friend and) drag queen to add a little spice to the holiday :)

No matter how crazy your family is, love and cherish them.  I love mine dearly...fruits, nuts, and all.  Variety is the spice of life, and without a few nuts, life would sure be dull.  When you’re watching a scene befitting an episode of All My Children, or the family drama Cake Boss, or...well, Cops unfold at your Holiday gathering...Just think: “Without these stories, I’ll have nothing to talk about when I’m 80.” 

Christmas traditions with a Southern Flair


Tonight, as Mom and I were driving home from Chiefland, the Redneck version of the 12 days of Christmas came on.  Y’all know the one....  Jeff Foxworthy belts it out as only he can.  Now, while I believe that The 12 days of Christmas (the original version) might possibly be the most annoying song ever.  But the Redneck version...well, it cracks me up.

Why?  

Well, right before I left Hitchcocks to go to work at the Journal, I was up there one day right before Christmas.  We were all just hanging out in the back.  I don’t know how, but we got to talking about the 12 days of Christmas song (the original).  Dennis was trying to list them off.  He got stumped on day 8.  Without missing a beat, I blurted out “It’s eight table dancers.”--Please note here, that I feel SURE Dennis had never been privileged to hear that version of the song--Insert crazy look from Dennis, as he kindly said “Yeahhhh....I don’t think that’s it.”  I’d said it without even putting a thought to the words tumbling out of my mouth.  Needless to say, my face was crimson.

This being said, I will mention yet again, that I’m “a far cry from white trash, and a shoutin’ distance from Southern Belle.”  

You can dress your casserole up in a pretty dish; slap on a cute apron and matching hairbow.  You can gussy up in full Scarlett O’ Hara fashion and let pure sugar drip off your tongue.  You can win people over with your “y’alls” and “Sugars” and “Honeys” and “Darlins.”  You can say your prayers to Jesus, and idolize the great Mrs. Paula Deen...But if you’ve got Redneck in your roots, there’s just no shakin’ it or coverin’ it up.  It’s there...Sure as death and taxes.

Lately, what with thoughts of Christmas cookies, Christmas decorations, jingle bells, and reindeer dancing in my head, I got to thinkin’ a little about Christmas traditions.  

My Holidays are as deep-rooted in tradition as the next Southerner.  Every Christmas, inevitably the “Santa” Christmas blocks get rearranged to say “Satan.”  The “Noel” blocks wind up saying “Leon.”  Our Christmas mouse goes missing from our Advent Calendar.  Somebody cranks up the dancing Black Santa.  Someone might possibly chip a tooth on one of the baked goods.  Someone tries to find a lower fat version of a Classic Southern dish.  Somebody gets mad.  Someone always takes it upon themselves to buy the “person who has everything” a truly awful gift...such as sailor pants or a stuffed, real-looking chicken wearing googles and a #1 medallion around his neck. Someone may or may not come home with a new piercing and gets chased with a bug zapper.  And someone may or may not bring a (friend and) drag queen to add a little spice to the holiday :)

No matter how crazy your family is, love and cherish them.  I love mine dearly...fruits, nuts, and all.  Variety is the spice of life, and without a few nuts, life would sure be dull.  When you’re watching a scene befitting an episode of All My Children, or the family drama Cake Boss, or...well, Cops unfold at your Holiday gathering...Just think: “Without these stories, I’ll have nothing to talk about when I’m 80.” 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A little Christmas Blessing


So, one of my absolute favorite things to do during the holidays is sponsoring a Guardian Ad Litem child for Christmas.  There is nothing I love doing more than searching for that perfect gift for the child that I've been given.  I may not have met this child, but for a small amount of time, I'm allowed to dote and "spoil" them in some small way. :)  I try to picture what their face will look like when they open my gift on Christmas morning.

I, myself, have been very fortunate in my life.  Growing up, I may not have gotten every single thing I asked for on my Christmas list to Santa, but I was very fortunate.  There are so many kids out there these days that aren't even having their NEEDS met, much less having any of their wants met.
I ask y'all, that this Christmas you take a moment to thank God for all your blessings and take the time to find some way that you can give back to those who might not have ever experienced the kind of Christmas that you have grown accustomed to.
 
I promise you, it will bless your heart.

I'm attaching a copy of the Guardian Ad Litem Sponsorship flier.  If you have any questions, or would like to sign up, please contact Jenni Ellis at jenni.ellis@gal.fl.gov.

Monday, November 18, 2013

My Contest Winner

So, y'all after a really hard decision...I've finally named a winner....but first, here were all the participants in my contest.  Remember, it was supposed to capture "what fall is to you."  I loved all of these entries :)


Chana’s Photo Description: This is fall to me..my baby in a pumpkin. Lol my first October as a mama :)
Chana’s little boy, Waylon, is the cutest thing ever.  Put him in a pumpkin and what do you have?  Absolutely-fricken-adorable!  And it was really sweet that this is what comes to her mind with Fall.  Her first year of motherhood.



Christy’s Photo: Chana submitted this photo for her sister. It was taken while she was on a walk in New Mexico.

Chana actually submitted this for her sister, Christy.  And this photo was spectacular.  I loved the landscape, and the colorful autumn trees.


Charon’s Photo Description: I think of the mountains, leaves changing colors, hunting season.....
Charon encompassed what comes to mind for so many around here.  For so many, hunting season and Fall are almost indistinguishable in their minds.  What a beautiful photo. 


Chris’ Photo Description: My “Fall” is Bird Hunting. I remember growing up my dad always had a bird dog: Fran was a German Short-Hair, Sue was a Black Lab (and mother of), Syd which was a yellow lab, and the last bird dog he had.
Chris...Chris always surprises me (always has, as we were coworkers for over 6 years).  When he said that he was going to submit something, I had no idea what to expect.  I loved the fact that bird hunting was what he thought of when he thought of Fall.  This was a really cool picture, I loved the dog :)


Lanie’s Photo Description: This is fall to me...fun,family,and fall leaves!!!=)

For those of you that haven’t gotten the pleasure of meeting Lanie...Lanie was a Chiefland girl that got married last year and moved to Alaska.  From everything she has posted, I am absolutely chomping at the bit to go.  But Alaska experiences Fall quite a bit earlier than we do here.  I thought this picture was beautiful, with all the colorful leaves in the background.  It completely caught the spunk of her three kids too!!  Such a fun family!
Whitney’s Photo Description: The air was crisp, I was an independent college grad with the world at my fingertips. For the first time in my life, I was completely confident in my own skin. I was free of a 'man' who was anything but that---and the hole in my heart was finally healed. My skin was flawless, my smile was contagious and SO real, my highlights were incredible. I was in Nashville - my favorite city, living my dream and truly happy, falling in love with the man I would marry three years later. The leaves......they were the prettiest I'd ever seen. And this me, the me in this picture? It's who I've been every fall since then. No matter what I look like, whether my hair is highlighted or not, if I'm in shape or out - - I am the girl in this picture eVeRy fall. It's my favorite time of year for one simple reason: I fell in love with it, it defined me, and I will never forget the way it made me feel.
This photo was gorgeous.  Whitney looks beautiful, and the leaves are gorgeous.  What really struck me was her description.  How could that not be inspirational?  I just loved it.

Quite possibly one of my all-time favorite photos in the history of ever, my friend Krystle submitted.  However, she asked that she not be part of the contest as it might seem biased if she won.  But let me tell you, this is my computer screen saver at the moment, and is absolutely a "muse" photo.  I love it.




So, who wins??

I loved all of these photos.  Every single one of them.  But quite possibly the one that inspired me the most, inspired me because of it's photo but also because of it's caption.  F. Scott Fitzgerald once said that "Life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the Fall."  With her caption and this photo it captured that for me.  With Fall, everything takes on a different tone, things take on a whole new vibrancy.  We take on different attitudes...and sometimes these new attitudes continue to last.
So, Whitney is the winner of this contest.

But, wait, there's more.  Each of those that took the time to enter will also receive "one of Aleta's favorite things."  Thank you so much for submitting.  I loved them all.  I truly did.  

Friday, October 18, 2013

My Fellow Travelers

I am downright giddy with the excitement of a trip upon me. I can see the light at the end of the tunnel now!!! It has been far too long since I have packed my bags and just took off. I am definitely one of those “planner” types; as much as I’d love to be spontaneous and go here, there, and everywhere…it’s just not in me. I need to at least semi-plan. This trip has been a bit of a chore for me. I had dates set, I had turned in my PLT form, my bags are practically begging for me to over-stuff them (as I tend to pack three times as much as I actually need)…and yet, you know what is missing? A location. Originally, the plan had been to go into Alabama, possibly Mississippi and tool around. However, Georgia and the Carolinas beckon…so in a little while, we will be off to Savannah (this will be Rheba’s first time in Savannah…yes, I know, the heavens just opened up and I can hear the Hallelujah chorus), we will also take in Charleston, Myrtle Beach, and possibly Wilmington. I am trying oh-so-hard NOT to have everything planned down to the minute. But I would like to ask any of you who have frequented these areas: Is there anything that we absolutely must do in any of these towns? Being the eternal foodie, are there any restaurants that we shouldn’t miss? Sights? Museums? Are there any other cities along the coast that I simply must not miss? Our last trip primarily consisted of a big shopping weekend (as it rained during most of our stay in Fernandina). I would kind of like to not shop the entire time during this trip and take in more of history, sights, etc. I was fortunate enough to go to Savannah a few years ago, and I loved it…so I’m looking forward to returning there. I have been to Charleston, but it was during M-Fuge, and we didn’t get to see much of the city. As for Myrtle Beach and Wilmington…I am at a complete loss. Whatever advice y’all have for me would be greatly appreciated.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Fall into Fabulousness.

Tonight, I got an email from Pinterest saying that my friend Naomi had tagged me in a comment. When I went to the pin, it said “If you look in the mirror and say “pumpkin spice latte” three times, a white suburban girl in yoga pants will appear and tell you everything she loves about Fall.” First off...I liketa died. How true is that? I’m a white girl, yoga pants are my favorite, and I LOVE FALL. I love the color orange. I love when the leaves change. I love boots. I love scarves. I love hoodies. I love cuddling. I love sitting by the fire. I love EVERYTHING pumpkin. I love hot chocolate. I love when Bath and Body works comes out with the fall scents. I love football games. I love the promise of a change every fall. I love the smell of fall.... Lol. It’s time for a contest, y’all. Ok, so, is it odd that I’d picked out a prize for this contest before I’d established what I wanted the contest to be? Lol. Here is what I’m looking for: I want you to submit a photo that is the epitome of Fall, in your eyes. It could be a picture of a landscape. It could be a picture of an interesting old house. Hell, it could be a photo taken at a football game. I'm so excited to see what Fall is to y'all! I have a muse board of things that remind me of places and times to inspire me to write...and I am dying to have some Fall pics to add to my muse board. --- The prize: Some of Aleta’s favorite things... I promise, if you’re a girl...and you like girly girl stuff...this is right up your alley. Some of the items in the prize basket include: my all-time favorite lip gloss (Urban Decay Lip Junkie), Lauren Conrad earrings, a unique and super cute headband:), one of my favorite books, and some other goodies that I haven't decided upon just yet :) The deadline: November 15th. I want everyone to participate...so guys, if you so should choose, I’m sure the girl in your life would be thrilled to get the prize. How to submit? Email me on facebook...or email me at missmargarita8604@yahoo.com. Y’all get to submittin’ :)

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Celebrating Cornbread

Tomorrow is my daddy’s birthday. And I cannot believe that he’s been gone almost two years now. Time is passing so quickly, it’s hard to believe. Rather than having a blog post that talks about how much I miss him, and Lord knows I miss him, I thought this would be a great time to do a compilation of his funny quotes, and his funny stories. I will add a little disclaimer about some of the pictures...as you will notice, many of the pictures I post are of him without a shirt. He did, in fact, own shirts, lol, he just preferred not to wear them when lounging around at home. So if my pictures offend you, I’m sorry. So here goes: Cornbread on driving: “If you wouldn’t have had your radio up that loud, you wouldn’t have had that flat tire.” “If you drive 45 mph everywhere, you’ll save on gas.” “Aleta, in the last two weeks you got a speeding ticket and hit a parked car...that doesn’t speak too well does it?” (Talking about a certain somebody driving a porta-potty truck): “She drives that shit truck like it’s a firetruck headed to a fire!” His favorite story about his slow driving: “There I was, driving the inmate van to Itchetucknee, and we went through the School Zone. That crossing guard always hated to see me coming. The school zone was 15 mph, so of course I went 5. There that lady stood, waving her hands for me to go faster, yelling “keep going, c’mon!” The inmates just laughed. Now, if any of y’all ever got behind my dad while driving, you’d have known it... He was one of the only people that could make church members cuss both going to and coming from church. And Lord knows you didn’t pass him. I did once. I had had it. He was going 30 the whole way home, I’m sure just for my benefit, and I’d just had it. So I sped past him... which led to this statement when he made it home: “Aleta, you drive like a bat outta hell.” What? Because I went the 55 speed limit? :) Cornbread on idiots: “He’s not the sharpest knife in the tool shed.” Cornbread on Dental Hygiene: While watching his favorite show “Hee-Haw” one night on tv, he took out his dentures and started cleaning them. As I watched him eyeing his teeth, he looked over at me and said “My God, I think I’ve got a cavity.” If you can’t say anything nice, come sit by Cornbread: We used to have a lady, (bless her heart), that we were around that thought she could sing. The only real way I can describe the voice is: Tammy Wynette on crack. Well, dad, any time this lady would get up to sing, would look over to my cousin’s wife, Jodi. And she’d try as hard as she could not NOT look at him. And just as soon as she did, those big eyes of his would near ‘bout roll back in his head. I must say here, that I’ve nearly got “that” look down-pat now ;) After Easter service, as soon as he walked in the door: “That ugly little girl made fun of my overalls. Hell, you’d have to tie a pork chop around her neck to get the dog to play with her...and she made fun of my overalls.” “She’s good people. She’s a burnt out pothead, but she’s good people.” Honesty IS the best policy: We had an Evangelist visit our church multiple times. Now, dad was not the fondest of this man, and normally, if he knew he was coming, dad would just go to Sunday School and then head home...but he actually sat through his sermon one Sunday. Towards the end of the service, the Evangelist asked the congregation who was planning to come back that Sunday evening. A majority of the church dutifully raised their hands. Then, the Evangelist asked the congregation who was planning not to attend that evening. I looked over at dad, as he was hard to miss, as he raised his hand high towards the heavens, the only hand raised in the whole congregation. Nope, he sure wasn’t planning on coming back that evening. Cornbread on the War on Drugs: During a dinner party...with church-going family friends...in the middle of dinner....out of the blue: “You know...we just need to legalize marijuana...I mean, we’re just losin’ this whole war on drugs.” Cornbread on alcohol: At the New Year’s Eve party at my Aunt’s house, to Jarrod who was pouring him sparkling grape juice: “Now, this doesn’t have any alcohol in it, right? I don’t want to get drunk.” Someone told him that a sip or two of wine might help when he woke up with muscle cramps, so we had some in the house. He tried this trick, he had maybe two sips. Here was the conversation that ensued the next morning: Mom: “So, Jackie, did the wine help the cramps last night?” Dad: “Not really, it just made me drunk.” Cornbread on healthcare: To a nurse, after he’d been kept on a liquid diet for two days: “I know what y’all are doin’...y’all are gettin’ me all slim and trim so I’m casket sharp.” After giving the stink eye to a nurse, after dad was returned to his room after a minor surgery: “Cindi, you would not believe where they had me!! You would not believe where they did my surgery. They had me in the woodshed out back.” Walking in one morning to one mad Cornbread...sitting there with his arms crossed, his eyes rolling..... “Dad, did you sleep okay?” (insert eyeroll) “Hell no. They put me in here with him (as he points to his roommate), and he had his tv going wide ass open all night.” Cornbread on Politics: “You know who I’m writing in on my ballot? Willie Nelson. He’d get rid of the IRS and he’d legalize marijuana.” Cornbread on a balanced diet: “I need to start eating better. I do. (As he sorts through the plate put in front of him) Now, who wants this banana. I don’t want that crap.” “I don’t like grape popsicles. They make me burp.” Cornbread on Foreigners “You know those people from England that can’t speak good English?” Cornbread on Religion: This conversation happened while awaiting surgery, to determine whether he would accept a blood transfusion if needed: Nurse: “Sir, are you Jehovah’s Witness?” Dad: “Hell no! I’m Baptist.” Cornbread on phone etiquette: I cannot tell you how many times in my life I’ve heard my dad answer the phone “Well, hey you big dummy.” To telemarketers: “Don’t you ever call our house and wake me up on a Saturday again!” “Hell no, we’re not interested.” When the Pizza Hut Delivery man hadn’t come within an hour’s time, on the phone with Pizza Hut: “Well, thank God that boy wasn’t driving an Ambulance.” Cornbread on Work Ethic: “I lovvvvve my job.” (I think that this one...by far...was his favorite saying, ever.) Truth be told, my daddy provided me the funniest material to write with. For those of you that were blessed enough to be around him, you knew how funny he was. There are so many things, so many funny memories that pop into my mind every day. My mom, Rheba and I were truly blessed to be “Jackie’s Girls.” He brightened our lives with his dramatic flair and always put a crazy spin on any situation. I miss him terribly, but you know what? Laughter has always been what got me through anything hard. This year on his birthday, I want to celebrate his life, not mourn our loss. I want to laugh at his memory. I want to remember him in his best possible form. If you have any funny memories, I encourage you to post them. I would love to read them!

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Great Sheffield Pancake Incident

I am a foodie. My hips do not lie. I also, on occasion, will throw down and act like a bit of a bitchy princess. I will also admit, that I am a bit irrational at times. Some may even argue a little insane. And I may not dispute that point, because I might…somewhat…sometimes agree… But, hell, I am a woman, after all. It just stands to reason that I may, at times, become irrational…especially when booze, food, or social media are involved. Another fun, little fact about me would be that when I wake up from what I call one of my “coma naps,” people need not try to reason with me…or even talk to me…for about an hour. I needn’t have conversations, drive a car, handle heavy equipment, bake, or try and talk someone off a ledge during that “coming back to reality” hour…because bad things will happen. So, that is the little backstory as to how Great Pancake Incident transpired. Fast-forward to Tuesday, 3 p.m.— I call mom while I’m at work and ask her if we can have pancakes for dinner. While I am normally NOT a breakfast-for-dinner type-gal, I had the biggest hankering for pancakes. Well, pancakes and Nutella to be exact. Mom said she’d think on it. I should probably mention here that I do none of the cooking at our house. While I would like to think that I am a skilled baker, I absolutely HATE cooking. I hate it. So there I sit…for two long, painstaking hours thinking about my pancakes. Nutella and pancakes? HEAVEN. I go home, and decide to take a little siesta after my oh-so-long day. Fast-forward two hours when I awoke from my coma nap. I walk into our living room and ask mom where ol’ Smitty is. She tells me that he went to town to get some spaghetti sauce. **Insert “What the wha??”** **Insert crazy face** **Insert hostile, sleepy, foggy headed foodie** **Insert hissy fit befitting a two year-old.** **Insert statements such as: “Well, what the heck happened to my pancakes?” “Why do you constantly choose to make things I don’t eat.” “I DON’T EVEN EAT SPAGHETTI!” “Well whose idea was this??” Then the following conversation happened: Mom: “Aleta, I will make your pancakes for you.” Me: “Nooooooo. Don’t bother. Just fix your stupid spaghetti…Don’t worry about me.” Fast-forward a few minutes: One very un-happy, unsatisfied, grumpy princess sits on the couch eating Eggo chocolate chip waffles covered with Nutella, deleting certain people from her house off her facebook. Lessons learned: 1. I am a woman and I am sometimes utterly ridiculous. 2. I really hate spaghetti. 3. It’s not wise to not give a hungry, sleepy foodie what she wants. 4. Just because you live in my house does not mean you’re exempt from being deleted from my facebook friends. 5. I really wanted pancakes.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Recent Obsessions

Ok, ok…so I haven’t posted in a while. While I do have quite a bit of fodder for a few posts…I have had no, and I mean NO ambition to write here lately. In trying to get all inspired, I will go back to an old crutch…my recent obsessions. 1. As I mentioned in a Facebook status today, I am absolutely in love with the message of the Semicolon movement. Last night, I stumbled across a pin on pinterest (while scoping out tattoo ideas), of a person that had a semicolon tattooed on their wrist. The person’s whole forearm was covered in scars, where I’m assuming they had cut themselves. The message below the pin said “The self-harm semicolon. On April 16, 2013 everyone who self-harms, is suicidal, depressed, or has anxiety, is unhappy, is going through a broken heart, lost a loved one, etc. draw a semicolon on your wrist. A semicolon represents a sentence that an author could’ve ended but chose not to. The author is you and the sentence is your life.” What a powerful message to anyone who is struggling. 2. A far lighter, and more trivial, current obsession of mine would be glittery eyeliner. I came across some in the Walgreens while shopping for eye shadow to wear in a friend’s wedding in early August and have loved it ever since. 3. V8 energy (preferably in Blueberry Pomegranate). It really does give you energy and tastes yummy too. 4. I’ve mentioned this more than a couple of times. But just roll your eyes and read on…I am completely obsessed with Criminal Minds. In college, I took Forensic Psychology and Abnormal Psychology under a professor named Mr. Jeannette (you may remember him from previous stories…he’s the one that sent me to an Alcoholics Anonymous class to see how group therapy worked). Hands down, the coolest, most interesting courses I took in college. We had numerous discussions about Criminal Profiling…And truth be known, if I could handle the blood and gore, I would have hopped, skipped, and jumped right into that profession. Just ask my mama, who just took dozens of my true crime/criminal profile books off to the Good will…I love the whole process of trying to see what makes a person tick. 5. And on that same note…again, I may have mentioned this… Shemar Moore? My word! I’d have his babies. 6. My hair. Now, it took me a long while to finally take the plunge and chop my hair off--and while, it’s probably going to take me a bit to learn how to style it—I am in love. Kalyn Jerrels is AMAZING. I went home last night and tried my hair combs, my bejeweled hair clips and my headbands in it…and it all looked super cute. And the plum colored highlights, gave me a modern, fresh little pop…just in time for Fall! So, if you’re searching for a stylist, I would highly recommend Kalyn! 7. Charming Charlies…If you are close to one of these stores, I stand in amazement that you aren’t up to your eyeballs in debt. This is my new favorite store. Such cute accessories! Thank you to Carrie Mizell for telling me about it, and causing my downfall 

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Unscrupulous

She always gave herself October and July to go crazy in.  October, because that’s the month she fell in love with him.  July, because it was in that month that he was taken the following year.  It was those two months that the memories seemed to be so closely tied to him.  It was then that the blistering sadness would wash over her. 

If you asked her what she missed the most about him, what would she say?  There was not one single thing about him that she could consciously say that had left the biggest void in her heart.  Maybe it was his clear green eyes that could quicken the beat of her heart while looking directly into hers.  It might just have to be the way the faintest brush of his hand on her arm could send goosebumps across her skin.  Although, his arms wrapped tightly around her, pulling her into him, wasn’t the least of what she missed.  Those arms...not too tightly muscled, not too squishy were the perfect texture.  They just brought you comfort, like a cup of tea or warmly, glowing fireplace.  It was in those arms that she had truly felt secure.  Maybe it was his laugh, though.  The deep, growing laughter that came from his belly and resonated out of that perfect smile.  Perhaps it was his devilish grin that he could shoot her way from across a crowded room that would make her knees knock just the teeniest bit.  Maybe it was the fact that he could bring the sparkle back in her eyes on the dreariest of days.  Or, on the other hand, it might’ve been the memory of his lips parting against hers and being able to taste the faintest hint of tobacco and Coca Cola on them.
 

No.  All these wonderful things, these wonderful memories; and yet, she could not pinpoint what she missed most.  Not one characteristic outweighed the others.  It was truly him as a whole, his whole being, that she missed the most.  It was just him.  Her loss, losing him, had turned her into a shell of the person that she once was.  From that, she would never recover.  She was able to muster enough sincerity and graciousness to pacify the world the other ten months...but in October and in July, she just gave in.  She would always surrender herself to the pain.  It was then that she would look at the rest of the world with a glazed, confused look and say "Go to Hell."
--Aleta Kaylee

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Oh for the love of Overalls

As a coworker and I were talking today, the subject of overalls came up. She told me that her uncle, who was notorious for always wearing overalls, once strolled into a Cadillac dealership. Now, he had the ability to pay, in cash, for any new Cadillac that he saw fit. The dealership salesman, noting his tattered overalls, and writing him off as some penniless hillbilly, told him that he didn’t think that they had anything that he could afford. Well, he went down the road and purchased a brand new vehicle, paying cash. Needless to say, that Cadillac dealer sure did miss out on some commission.

I really liked that story, but it reminded me of one of my own. My daddy gave me an appreciation for a man in overalls. I don’t think there’s anything sweeter than a little baby boy, or a little rough and tumble boy, or an elderly man dressed in overalls. My dad, a lover of Liberty denim overalls, would wear those everywhere. In fact, for a short while, when one or two of his pair got a little raggedy around the hem, he had Mama cut them off and make them into overall shorts. Well, thank you Jesus that trend didn’t last long. He looked awful funny sportin’ those overall shorts and brogans.

My daddy once told me, when I had big dreams of a wedding, that he was going to walk me down the aisle in his overalls. At the time, I was appalled, and said “You most certainly won’t.” I’ve got to say, what I’d give for that man to walk me down the aisle now. If he were here now, I’d even let him wear his most-favorite tattered pair of Liberty overalls.

One thing that I will always remember about my daddy was the fact that he always made it a point to wear his overalls to church every Easter. He did this as a bit of a protest. See, while all the ladies were gussyin’ up, putting on their very finest new dress, and the men were sprucing up and putting on their Sunday best, Daddy just didn’t see the point. He always felt that it didn’t matter what you wore to the House of the Lord; just as long as you went. You didn’t have to be all done up to go in and worship and pray.

Well about five years ago, there it was…Easter. Mama and Rheba were done up, and there dad was…walking into church in his overalls. Behind him were a group of young women. One of the girls said “Can you believe what that man has on??” Then they all started snickering. Well that just grated Daddy’s nerves. I remember him coming home telling me all about it, as we had drove separately.

“That girl hurt my feelings! It doesn’t matter what you wear to church! You don’t have to be dressed all snazzy to pray!...”

And then he continued with, “And that girl’s sittin’ there talking about my overalls…Look at her! She’s so ugly, you’d have to tie a damn pork chop around her neck to get the dog to play with her!”

Real nice coming from a man that just got out of church, right? I sure did love that man.

Lawsy, I do love a man in overalls.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Summer Reading

Okay. So, it’s after midnight and I’m just fired up. So, tonight I watched The Great Gatsby, and loved it. Here were my thoughts after the movie: “Omg, I LOVED that movie! It was so beautifully made, and followed the book really well. They couldn’t have picked a better cast, and it could not have been made any better.” Next, “I need to have some hair pieces made like the ones in the movie. They were beautiful! And the hats...oh, the hats.” Then, “It makes me really sad when I hear that people haven’t read books like The Great Gatsby.” Finally, “I need to write a blog promoting Summer reading.”  So, y’all, bear with me. 

I nearly had the heart palpitations the night that I was talking about F. Scott Fitzgerald and my sister asked who that was. When I said that he was the author that wrote The Great Gatsby, she replied “I never had to read The Great Gatsby in high school.” Y’all...I nearly fell out. That’s one of the classics...that’s one of my favorite books. I was astounded. I might add here, that my sister loved the first movie made of it, and watching the new version tonight has got her dying to read the book. My heart is happy. 

I was always the girl that could be found in the corner reading a book. I loved to read from an early age, and my mama promoted it. Growing up, it literally pained me that Rheba hated reading for so long. Partially, I’d like to blame the Accelerated Reading program. None of the books that she was “allowed” to read piqued her interest in any way. Finally, she was blessed to have a teacher that said “Rheba, I want to you to find a book that interests you...never mind the reading level.” It was then that she found the Heartland series, and got hooked. Since then, she has enjoyed reading when she had the time. 

I was truly blessed to have great teachers at Chiefland Elementary, Middle, and High School. One of my absolute favorite teachers ever would have to be Mrs. Flemming (I knew her as Mrs. Slade), because she opened our eyes and instilled such a love of the classics in our English Honors class. She is one of the greats, as far as I’m concerned. 

I cannot even express how important I find reading. It provides an outlet. It provides an escape. It gives you an opportunity to travel, to see things you never would...it builds your imagination. So, this Summer...I urge you to read. I urge you to promote reading in your household and encourage your kids to read. If you can’t afford to go into the bookstore and buy a pile of books, I would encourage you to visit Abebooks.com or visit your public library. 

I would like to supply some recommendations, really all across the board. 

For children: Some of my favorites would have to be Little Critter books, Berenstein Bear books, Junie B. Jones, Beverly Cleary books (such as Ramona and Beezus) for the slightly older crowd; and I’ve heard rave reviews for the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series. I think it’s important for kids to find books they’re interested in. Summer is a time where they don’t have to read and test on books, so let them find the things that they WANT to read, which might build their reading skills and be beneficial next school year. 

There are a few books that stick out in my mind for the maybe age 10-12 reader: Summer of my German Soldier--this was one of my favorite books. Not only was it extremely well written, it was also an important book. It opened my eyes to see that not everything is always as it seems. Jacob Have I Loved--a book of sibling rivalry and a coming-of-age. Spectacular. Little Women To Kill a Mockingbird--Such an important book.  

For Adults: 

Classics I recommend: To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee, The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Scarlett Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne, In Cold Blood by Truman Capote, or any of the Jane Austen books 

Modern Classics: Tigers in Red Weather by Liza Klaussmann--This book has a very Fitzgerald feel to it. Very well-written. The Secret History--This book was Donna Tartt’s first novel. Looking at it from the writing perspective, I was amazed that this was her first novel. This book, I felt, had some similarities to The Lord of the Flies, but I loved it. 

Just for Laughs: Jenn Lancaster’s Bitter is the New Black; Bright Lights, Big Ass; or Such a Pretty Fat Stephanie McAfee’s Diary of a Mad Fat Girl, and it’s sequel Happily Ever Madder 

Summer Reads: Divine Secrets of the YaYa Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells Mary Kay Andrews: One of my favorite Summer-read authors. Her books include: Spring Fling; The Fixer-Upper; Summer Rental; Little Bitty Lies; and Hissy Fit. Summer in the South by Cathy Holten--Mystery, Ghosts, alcohol-filled parties, and Sweet Tea. Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts 

Before there was Fifty Shades of Gray: My all-time favorite author is without a doubt Grace Metalious. She wrote Peyton Place. I realize that it is frowned upon by my Grandmother’s generation, as it was banned in libraries and bookstores all across the country. Although it was racy and provocative in its time, to read it today it is quite mild. Anyone who enjoys small town life can appreciate its content. I’ll revert to the imagery that Metalious mentioned, (in any small town) sometimes when you turn over a rock, you begin to see all the things that crawl under it. And if you like Peyton Place, you will also enjoy her sequel Return to Peyton Place, The Tight White Collar, and No Adam in Eden. 

I urge y’all to read this summer. Find what interests y’all and dive in!

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

I HATE PANCREATIC CANCER

Y’all read this, and read until the end, because I am asking for everyone’s help. He smelled of Old Spice aftershave and smokeless tobacco. You could spot him in a crowd in his Liberty overalls and his “brogans” typically with dog leash in hand with a big drooling bloodhound on the end of the leash; with a big ol’ smile across his face. He liked to call people by their first and last name, and would often say “This is Jackie Sheffield” when on the phone with friends and even family. He was a simple man, with simple dreams, who wanted to live his life doing the things he loved. I loved that man with all my heart :) --- I was sitting at my desk at the Journal, typing up articles for that weeks paper. It was July 25, 2011. Days before my 25th birthday. My daddy had went to the hospital the night before. He’d had gallbladder surgery around three weeks earlier and he was still experiencing excruciating pain. Sunday night, they’d decided to keep him...acknowledging that that shouldn’t have been happening. My mama called me that morning....around 11 a.m. I remember asking “What’s the latest? What has the doctor said? How’s daddy doing.” And my mama said hesitantly, “Well, they’ve found a mass on his pancreas.” Of course, my mind was going a mile a minute with questions like “What does that mean? Could it just be a cyst? What does that MEAN?” Mama just stated that the doctor’s didn’t seem to think that it was a cyst and she would keep me posted. Doctors came and went. None of their news was positive. 
The next day was one of the few times that Rheba and I didn’t go and visit daddy. Mama called me again on her way home, I could hear the tears in her voice. I will never forget her saying “Aleta, they think it’s pancreatic cancer, and they’ve told your daddy that he only has a year to live.” Words cannot describe what I felt at that very moment. People often ask me, “How did they find it?” Like a majority of cases, they found my daddy’s too late. His had already spread to his liver by the time they found it. At that point, there was nothing that they could do. Chemo would only be a manner in which to prolong his life, it would never cure the cancer. Here is what my daddy experienced: He lost a major amount of weight; he had pain in his right abdominal side; he got very sick when he ate; and I can remember him sitting in his recliner with his shirt off and actually seeing a lump on the right-side of his stomach. All of these can be symptoms of problems with your gallbladder, which is precisely why they didn’t catch it quicker...as daddy said, “Everyone at the hospital, including the janitor, told me it was my gallbladder.” Watching a man that you thought could conquer the world go from being a very robust, active man become a very pained shell of the person that he was is a very hard process. I will say here that pancreatic cancer is a very painful cancer. Dad couldn’t eat, couldn’t even stomach the smell of food, he couldn’t get comfortable sitting. His liver was so swollen that when they went to put in his feeding tube, they said that he wasn’t able to eat because his liver was literally pressing on his stomach. I won’t get into all that we faced, but it was very, very difficult. Nothing...Nothing prepares you to hear your daddy telling the doctors “I just want to live...I just want to live.” I tell y’all this, to tell y’all that on Friday...my heart just broke. I sat at my desk at the ELC, trying to fight back tears and keep it together while at work. I learned last Friday that another great, very loved man, Mr. Tony Cruse, in Trenton has just found out that he has pancreatic cancer. He has a family; has a young, teen daughter. My heart just broke for this family, having walked in those same shoes; having gotten that devastating news. I hated to think of someone having to walk down the same road we did. Then, after asking Chris to send me the articles, I was so proud of how our little community is coming together to honor and support Mr. Tony. This Thursday, May 2, The Cracker Box in Trenton will be donating all the proceeds that they make that day to Mr. Tony and his family. The Cracker Box is open for both breakfast and lunch, and I am PLEADING with y’all to go there at some point that day and either order food or donate. There has been a scholarship fund set up at Capital City Bank for Mr. Tony’s daughter, Grace Cruse. And on May 15th, there will be a luncheon held at the Trenton Community Center to honor Mr. Tony for his service to the community. I beg all of y’all to come out an support this family in their time of need. And please, please, lift them up in prayer.

Monday, April 29, 2013

My Modern Day Mayberry

There was a question posed to me the other day: Do you miss your old job? Now truthfully, this was asked by my new boss as I was showing her the picture my friend Megan had sent of my Hoarders-worthy old office. What a loaded question. Of course I miss my old job. My first thoughts were completely work-related. I missed the creativity of my old job. I enjoyed making up the newspaper; I honestly felt pride in the finished product every week. I loved my coworkers. I loved my Journal babies. I loved that there was a fairly definite schedule to my work week. There were very few things that I didn't like about that job. Then my thoughts began to wander... You know what I really miss? I miss Trenton. Now, I can vividly remember wishing aloud several times that I could leave the town. And granted, I only moved 11 miles down the road...but truthfully, it might as well be on the other side of the planet, as I never seem to get over there anymore. See, Trenton was my modern day Mayberry. I miss having a "hen party" with Mrs. Cindy Jo each week and hearing all the latest gossip; hearing about Carrie's latest thrifty find or about Allie Claire or Whitt's latest funny story. I miss hearing Mr. John say the same phrases over and over again; and Chris telling me something about the episode of South Park that was on the night before. I miss seeing Mr. Mark's newest, beautiful orchid sitting on our Counter. I miss Megan, and being able to laugh with her at the crazies that walked through the doors. I miss playing ball with Gus at the front of our store. I miss walking into the Courthouse and seeing Mrs. Sabre and Lyndsay; and gabbing with Mrs. Cindy Chadwick. Or seeing Lisa Renee or Mrs. Connie Sanchez's smiling face. I miss being able to have lunch with my friend Crystal Rodgers, and getting to hear about the crazies that have crossed her path recently. I miss selling a newspaper to that little, sweet, old black lady that walks all over town, even the heat of Florida summer, with her cane and a dip of snuff tucked in her lip that has kept up with me since my Hitchcocks days. I miss having D. Ray come in, and sit in the chair that I deemed my "D. Ray chair" where he would always have a dirty joke or a comment about me being his "streetwalker." I miss the fiesty Mrs. Diana Harrison. I miss taking a newspaper to Mrs. Dale Bryant at the Courthouse and having her give me an encouraging word. I miss walking into the Cracker Box (or Crack Shack, as I lovingly called it) and seeing the Pine Grove Pastoral Staff to my right, Mr. Thomas Bryant and friends to my left and Mrs. Julie Kincaid smiling at me from the register. Mrs. Julie is gorgeous and her personality is just icing on the cake, she always ready with a compliment to brighten your day and put a little pep in your step. And of course, I miss the Crack Shack's peach cobbler. lol. I miss seeing the old man driving his lawnmower around town in his American Flag pajamas. I miss seeing Mrs. Clara Nell riding her bike. I miss running into Hitchcocks and hearing Ryan Weaver singing or humming down the aisles as he stocks shelves; or hearing a dirty joke from Robyn in the deli and having Mrs. Karen just shake her head. I miss catching up with Ren as I wait to check out. I miss Mr. Gray Schofield walking around with his diet coke bottle. I miss the small town politics. I even miss being asked about my pedigree. The truth is, y'all...I miss Trenton's familiarity. I miss it's warmth that just sucks you in. I miss my Modern-day Mayberry.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Pearls of Wisdom for Young Adults living in Small, Southern Towns

**Disclaimer—don’t read this if you’re easily offended. This is meant as a funny blog, filled with things that some of us have done, for which we should've thought better.** So, growing up, sometimes adults and friends don’t tell you everything that you need to know. Granted, sometimes they might not think they need to tell you SOME things…when in fact, they might. So, this is a collaborative effort of advice that you will probably never receive from the typical adult: Doing anything to anyone’s mailbox is a federal offense…just so you know…and it’s even worse when it’s the preacher’s and the music minister’s. Along those same lines…never do anything illegal…especially if you’re related to the sheriff. And do NOT make a video of it, you’ll provide your own evidence. Don’t go parking down a back country road in the middle of the afternoon…because it is likely that a slow-moving tractor is bound to drive by and see exactly what base you’ve made it to. Don’t go out with the good, Christian kids, lest your brother get pulled over across the street from whatever local restaurant you’ve patronized that evening, who will then be forced to take field sobriety test. Never write “I love _____” in all of your textbooks, because it will come back to haunt you years later when you walk through Walmart and see all the young hipsters looking your way, and you wonder “do they know??” Everyone knows everyone in this town. Don’t hide your friends in your closet when your parents get home, they’ll have to climb out of the window. Don’t give your friends anything off your plate at Mya’s…you will get kicked out. Don’t learn your “drinking rules” in a “small, little drinking town.” Ex: You can’t get a mixed drink in one bar, and then walk down the street to another bar with it in your hand in EVERY town… Never show up to church hungover. You look like hell; people will probably see you and know; and chances are, the sermon is on partying. Hot tubs are dangerous. Trespassing is never a good plan…especially while inebriated. Even when returning someone's dog, be careful driving up someone's driveway...they might meet you with a loaded gun. Never take part in a sham wedding. Street sign theft is harder than you’d think. You’re never nearly as smooth as you think you are. It’s best to figure out that you’re allergic to latex, before some events take place…if you know what I mean… If you’re going to be out in the middle of East Jesus Nowhere, BYOP. You don’t want to have to buy dusty old pack at the local BP. Have a safe word. And by God, make sure you have people who will do something about it in the event that you scream it. Don’t buy a car at night. And along those lines…be hesitant when your parents say a car is in “immaculate” condition…you might find that your “immaculate” (being a mustang), and their “immaculate” (a Toyota truck with it’s side mirror being held on with a goggle piece) are not quite the same. Don’t buy things online that might be embarrassing for your neighbors to receive by accident. Never believe your friends when they say “you can make it” while trying to park a massive truck. And always, ALWAYS look behind you when backing up. Trust that your neighbors will call and report your driving to your parents...even when you're over 18. Don’t tan and use sunless tanner. You’ll become what we lovingly call “oompa-loompa orange.” If you’ve done something that will most likely make your parents angry, pray you don’t have company when you come home. That really makes it awkward when you come home with mud in your hair and your parents proceed to lecture you in front of said company. If you’re ever involved in an accident in the middle of town, don’t get out and say the f-word. Chances are, all anyone will be able to talk about on Sunday is that you were being a bad witness for Jesus. Be on the lookout for cauliflower. Don’t be surprised when your tire goes flat when you’ve had your radio playing too loud. Don’t drive down a dead-end road while trying to escape cops. Be very careful in relaying a story to your parents. If you’re like me, you’ll get nervous and start talking fast…which will change “and then my pants made me slide off” to “and then my pants slid off” real quick. And you will find yourself in a whole new pile of shit for no good reason. Never show your nipple piercings to customers in your employer’s parking lot…while on the clock. Married men are a bad idea…Married men are a bad idea… And finally, don’t go “parking” in the church parking lot…it’s never a good plan.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Steel Magnolias

We are the ones that don’t know God’s plan but have faith that He will see us through. We stand beside our father’s bedside, holding his hand, choking back tears, so that we are strong for him in his last hours. We are the ones that stand in a long line of mourners to pass our friend’s casket to give our condolences to her family. We are the ones that step in to help a child facing bullies or hardships. We are the ones that hold our mother’s hand as she faces her first round of chemo. We are the ones that make the extra effort to make sure some of the needy families have their needs met. We are the ones that beg God to loosen the grip of alcoholism that our husbands or boyfriends are facing. We are the ones that stand and receive a folded flag in place of our fiance's safe return. We are the ones that face the defeat of rape and abuse and sexism and harassment and come out of it stronger. We are at our husband's side when he is weak; yet, we can stand on our own. We are the ones that can survive poverty, or bad relationships; we are the ones that thrive despite bad odds. We believe in greatness. We hold our heads high even when our world is crumbling. Yes, we are the ones that smile through our tears. You will not see our worry lines on a daily basis, but you will notice how our laugh lines somehow soften our face. We dream through our despair. We continue to see beauty even when the reality of life knocks us down. We love fiercely through the hate. The only thing that surpases our beauty is our strength. We are tough as nails, and yet somehow tender. We are just as God intended. We are the Steel Magnolias.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Just A Little Love Ditty

You… Make me nervous, Give me butterflies, Leave me speechless, Never cease to impress me, Make me want to be better, Leave me wanting more. And while others cannot understand it… I would like to… Hold your hand, Look into your eyes, Caress your face, Whisper sweet nothings in your ear, Make you smile, Slow dance with you, Hold you, with your heartbeat repetitiously thudding in my ear, I would like very much to kiss your lips. Above these things, I would like to Stand beside you when you need support, Rub your shoulders when you were stressed, Hold you when you felt weary, Make you laugh when you felt blue, Wipe your tears when you were sad, Open your eyes to your worth, Pray for you when you need guidance, And everyday, have my kind words flow through your ears to tear down the walls that time and disappointment have built around your heart. These are the things I wish to do.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

To My Journal Babies


To My Journal Babies




Allie Claire,
I can remember the day I walked into work, and your “Pap” had put the little message that your mama put on a caramel apple and surprised them with telling them that you were coming! I can remember it saying “something sweet is coming in October,” and boy was it right! Your MeMe and Pap couldn’t have been more excited. Our Journal family could not have been more excited!

The days before you were born, your MeMe was baking up a storm, trying to get brownie points with your daddy so she’d secure some “sugar-time” with you.

The day after you were born? If I heard your Pap say “she’s just a living, breathing doll” once, I heard it fifty-million times. What a proud day for him, and our Journal family. I could not wait to meet you. I didn’t have to wait long, your mama brought you by as soon as she could.

I fell in love with you as soon as I laid eyes on you. You were the most beautiful baby I’d ever seen. When I first held you in my arms, you won my whole heart. Up until that minute, I had never had someone so little have me completely wrapped around her teeny-tiny pinky.

I remember you wearing your little denim overalls and your shiny red shoes, and I remember working while I held you, sleeping, and just being completely and utterly taken aback at how precious you were.

There was nothing that could brighten my day more than getting a sweet visit from you, Whitt, or Gus. All the Dora episodes watched, all the messes we made out in the store front, talking about “poh-ta-bot” hairbows, all the coloring projects we made, and all the “shopping” we did, were some of my most favorite memories from the Journal.

And the sweetest words I ever heard you utter were: “Aunt Leeta, I luh you.”



Gus,


I was sitting at a restaurant in Carrabelle when I got the call from your MeMe saying you had arrived.

When I saw your big brown eyes, I swear my heart grew twice its size. I remember seeing your first little picture in those tiny overalls and being completely smitten. I never knew how much fun a little boy could be until you came along! No idea!

You brought so much joy to my heart. You’ve been “all-boy” since day one, and I have loved watching every minute of it. Bless your heart, you’ve been bossed by Allie since you were tiny. She thought she had to teach you the ropes, little did she know you’d be giving her a run for her money so quick!

You have made me laugh so much. From you walking into the Journal done-up in your cowboy boots and your cowboy hat, to hearing you say your MaeMae was a “donkey,” to having you tell me about Tiger football and baseball, to having you point at everything that looked like a deer and go “pow-pow,” to hearing about you and Allie running away to go see the parade, you have brought me so much joy.

I enjoyed every single ballgame we had in the front of the Journal. I enjoyed every single minute I spent with you. And my heart smiles at every memory of you calling out for “Aunt Leeta.”

Walker,


I knew about you before your mama ever told me she was expecting you. See, your mama always seemed to have a hankerin’ for Mexican food when she was pregnant. Personally, I thought your big sister was going to come out with a sombrero. I knew about you as soon as she told me she was driving to Chiefland to go to the Mexican restaurant.

Your mama and daddy were so proud to tell us that you were going to be a little boy! They were so very excited! We were excited to have another little boy running around the Journal. God had different plans, though, and needed you with Him.

I never got to meet you, but I held you in my heart and I said a many a prayer for you. Your mama, daddy, and sister loved you so. Our Journal family loved you so.

I know that you are with Jesus, and I long to meet and hold you one day.


Whitt,


I was so very excited when I heard you were on the way! I can honestly say, I prayed for you from day one. You know, your little heart gave us quite a scare.

I had the least amount of time with you, but you were still so very special to me. I can remember holding you and your mama calling me the baby whisperer, because you fell asleep with me. Of course, I think this only happened once. You were a bit of a force to be reckoned with. Being around your big sister and Gus, I don’t know how you couldn’t be…just to get by.

You have such a fun personality. Part daredevil, part sweet boy. I cannot wait to watch you grow up.

Remember, even when Allie is bossy, it’s just because she loves you so much. Gus once tried to trade Mattie Mae for you, and she said “no.” Speaking of ol’ Gus, I hope that y’all get into as much dirt and mud as you can, I hope y’all get to ride oodles of tractors and boats, and y’all get to catch as many fish as you can handle.

Mattie Mae,

I, like the rest of the world, am anxiously awaiting your arrival. I can just imagine you being the perfect combination of tomboy and girly girl. I hope that you have a love of huntin’ and fishin’, and a great appreciation of hairbows and handbags. I know that you will be the apple of your mama and daddy’s eye. And your big brother…well, you’re going to be the best present he could’ve ever gotten. He might be a little bossy from time to time, but just know that he’s the best big brother around, and he loves you so! He’ll be there to teach you how to play ball, he’ll teach you all about the Tigers, and he’ll show you how to play in the mud.

I cannot wait to meet you, sweet Mattie Mae.

I love you, Journal Babies. I hope you always know this.



Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Thoughts bouncing around in my noggin today


1. We always seem to pressure people who have had facial hair (as long as we can remember) to shave it off at some point. Then we see them without it and immediately want them to grow it back.

2. The song “Two Black Cadillacs” bothers me… When have you ever seen a wife find out about their husband cheating and plot with the other woman? Hell, a good majority of the time, they blame the other woman and want to plot against her. Not realistic, people; not realistic.

3. Why is it that every single time I paint my nails pink, every red item in my closet pleads with me to wear it?

4. Sometimes I think that we’ve placed so much emphasis on rules and regulations, policies and procedures, that we’ve almost substituted those for a conscience. Does someone really need to have to tell you that it’s against the rules to look up porn in a public library when children could walk by and see it?

5. Along those same lines… In this day and age, everyone has to be so dang politically correct. We don’t want to infringe on the rights of others…And there is confidentiality clauses in almost EVERY-dang-thing…but when it comes at the cost of others safety, what is it that we’re accomplishing exactly?

6. I wonder where all of the money for the fundraisers really go.

7. OMG, I’m becoming a conspiracy theorist. :-/

8. I wonder whose idea it was to paint the walls white in mental institutions…why not a more calming color? Like a sunshiney yellow, or a sky blue,…maybe a seafoam green?

9. Floral wallpaper…whoever came up with that idea should be hit with a bus…

10. The remake of the Great Gatsby looks awesome.

11. That old adage “Idle hands are the devil’s workshop” isn’t quite true for me… it’s more like “Idle hands are the making for a crazy person” where I’m concerned.

12. Based on her music, Miranda Lambert gets me. I’m not sure if that says much for my sanity…but nevertheless, it’s true.

13. Men always blame a woman’s bad mood on PMS. What’s their excuse? I’ve met some men with worse mood swings than a menopausal woman with an addiction to candy corn and crack.

14. False eyelashes look so cool (I’m a mascara addict, for those of you that didn’t know). But I’m afraid I’d wind up looking like Miss Piggy after a rough night. Or I’d wind up effing up my real eyelashes or glueing my eye shut.

15. I used to think it was odd that my friend’s little girl said her favorite color was brown. Out of all the colors…brown was her favorite. That just seemed odd. Now: You wanna know what color is awesome? Black. I think it’s my favorite. Slimming…Classy…Dark…Mysterious. Such great qualities for a color.

16. Why is it that I’m 26, and still have to move my hands to the right or left when giving directions? It takes me that amount of time to remember which is which. My hands are somehow faster than my brain.

17. Note to self: No one should ever ask me for directions.

18. I’ve been at my new job nearly six months, and I still have to pause for a good three seconds to remember how to answer the phone.

19. Men never think to spruce up their emails. I mean, c’mon…add some depth…add some emotion. I can’t figure out if you mean “hey” as in “Hey! Good morning, sunshine.” Or “Hey, I’d like to hit you with a bus.” --Or maybe, just maybe (here’s my little disclaimer), I’m the only lunatic that would think this. Maybe they just literally mean “hey.” If this is the case, I completely would like to blame my High School English Honors teacher, as she made us pick everything apart, and try to see symbolism in just about everything ;) Gotta love Mrs. Flemming.

20. We really need a live-in maid at our house. I wish I’d inherited the Sheffield OCD cleaning gene, but I didn’t. And it’s not that I’m lazy, but I’d rather be shot in the head than have to clean my house. People who like to clean, who feel compelled to clean ALL the time are weird to me.

Confessions of a Failed Farm Girl

Y’all, I may live dead in the middle of Watsonville. There may be two fields on either side of my house. My uncle and cousin might grow watermelons every year. My sister may have shown steers at the Suwannee River Fair. But farm girl, I am not.


Animals hate me. I could kill a cactus. I’m tellin’ y’all what…there’s a reason I never wore that pretty blue corduroy jacket.

Chicken farming: fail. Us owning chickens was proof that God has a sense of humor. Now, I didn’t even realize we had chickens until about three months after we had gotten them. I think mom’s craft room was being worked on at the time, so our freezers were sitting on our outside porch. I had to run out and find something to cook for Rheba, when I heard this noise behind me. I turned around, and near about had the bejeezus scared out of me. There they all gathered, looking like they were fixin’ to gang up on me and peck at my bare feet. Needless to say, I hauled tater inside, and Rheba probably got spaghetti-o’s that day.

Fast-forward a few years. Those damn chickens had gained a knack for following me around the house. If I was in my bedroom, trying to sleep, they were clucking outside my window. If I moved to the living room, the roosters were crowing right outside of those windows. I hated those damn animals.

Picture it: The Notebook had just come out on DVD. I had waited MONTHS for that day. I was about an hour into the movie, when, low-and-behold the damn rooster had decided to go around to the living room window and start his normal crowing (at three in the afternoon, mind you). Well, I’d had it. I’d beyond had it. I found the closest thing to me and ran outside. Poor Daddy and Dale got an eyeful as I chased the chickens around the yard with a spatula. To this day, those things hate me. I think they’ve passed the story along to their baby chickies.

Plant identification: fail. Aunt Tammy was taking me home for some reason one day. And she happened to notice something growing out in Uncle Greg’s field.

She asked, “Aleta, what are they planting out there?”

“I think it’s watermelons,” I said, only half paying attention. Nevermind the fact it was fall…and those said “watermelons” had knee-high trees coming out of the ground.

Oy vey.

Vegetable identification: fail. Looking back, I honestly don’t know how Ryan Weaver ever kept a straight face when he was around me. I would like to think I’ve been fairly successful at all of the jobs that I had, but being a cashier…might not have been my strong suit. God bless that man for his patience.

My first day on the job I mistook a cucumber for a zucchini. In my defense, that was the biggest damn cucumber I’d ever seen.

Then, a few months later, I had the pleasure of helping a little old woman who apparently had a hankerin’ for “crook-neck squash.” Well, I don’t know beans about squash. All I know is that I don’t really care for it. Well, I had to ask the lady what type of squash it was. She replied “crook-neck.” Well, I looked at my list, trying to figure out what number I would ring it up as. “Crook-neck” wasn’t on my list. So, I called Ryan to the front. I asked him. He replied “Aleta, it’s crook-neck.” Well, being both embarrassed, and slightly agitated at whoever had created the almighty and powerful “list of produce” and not put “crook-neck squash” on it, I was on the brink of a spaz attack.

I said “crook-neck isn’t on my list, Ryan!” through clenched teeth.

This only made Ryan laugh. Come to find out… “crook-neck squash” is also known as “yellow squash”…I just hadn’t gotten the memo.

Yes, y’all, you won’t find me on a tractor any time soon. Farm girl, I am not.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Just a girl...

I’m just a girl. I love red lipstick. I love to dress up. I love the look of heels, but can never choose them over my flip-flops. I love bright nail polish. I love to paint my nails, but I always wind up with “sheet nails.” I speak my mind. I’m quiet until you get to know me; then, when you get to know me…you see a whole new side. I’m gullible. I overreact. I can throw a hissy fit like none other. I get my feelings hurt far too easy. I’m just a girl.


Trying to get glitter nail polish off AND Toys-R-Us at Christmas is my own personal hell on earth. There’s nothing better to me than a movie day with my best friend. Carrabelle is my favorite place ever…Savannah being a close second. I am a foodie. I will plan my vacations around restaurants I want to try. I hate when people discredit me because I’m a woman or because I’m young. I believe in buying clothes that look good on you, nevermind the designer label, nevermind the cost. I believe that everyone can be beautiful. I love makeup. I can’t go anywhere without at least foundation, concealer, powder, blush, and mascara on. I’m just a girl.

I hate going into Walmart. I’m sweet until you make me angry…then it’s on. I love to bake, but I don’t enjoy cooking. I hate obligations. I hate all shower (bridal, baby, etc) games. I love white trash tv shows. I try to fix people. I love men with dark hair and light eyes. There are fewer things I like more than a deep Southern drawl. I am a hypocrite. I’m just a girl.

I love a man with a little pudge around his belly. I love reading. I love peach cobbler. I hate when people cough. I love Twilight. I love to write. I love to people watch. I love sad songs. I love a good affair song. I’m just a girl.

Grace Metalious is my hero (if you don’t know about her, read up). I love Urban Decay. I love the rain. I can be mad at someone and within five minutes they can make me laugh, and the thing that made me mad is gone with the wind. I love the Fall. I love hats, scarves, headbands…any accessory that will make my outfit. I believe that everyone has good qualities if you look hard enough. I’m just a girl.

I love to travel. I hope to have my life in order within the next five years. The future scares me. I am a walking contradiction. I love to gossip. I love to laugh more than anything in this world. I hate scary movies. I am a compulsive facebook checker. I have OCD tendencies. I love Southern Living Magazine. I have the patience of crack-crazed lab rat. My mood swings will give you whiplash. I believe in the power of sunshine. One thing I’ll never understand is why people ask my opinion about things. I’m just a girl.

I love big bows. I love Karter Lee. My family is awesome. I like all the wrong guys. I believe that size and age are just numbers. I have a horrible temper. Sometimes I drink too much and delete people off of my facebook. I’m dying to get a tattoo. I’m just a girl.

I fail. I try. I hope. I care. I hate. I apologize. I want. I expect. I rock. I wish. I do. I succeed. I love. I will. I am…just a girl.