Tuesday, June 29, 2010

tar babies and tar balls

Not laughing or joking by any means but every time I hear the phrase Tar Balls, I think of my sweet, sweet grandmother taking me to see Disney's Song of the South. I was very, very little and never really understood the movie. I just remember the black man singing and the rabbit running around and something to do with a tar baby. Still have no idea what that movie is about.

The situation in the Gulf is horrendous and no laughing matter. I will be the first one to admit that there are some things about the South that I don't agree with or "get" but one thing I do know about Alabamians is that they LOVE their Gulf. They are very proud of Orange Beach and Gulf Shores. Which is exactly why I don't understand some of the inane comments I've seen on local news and other social networks (and some of the most ridiculous, disappointing comments coming from folks I know personally).

In case you've been living under a rock the past couple of weeks, Mr. Margaritaville himself, Jimmie Buffet has decided to do a "charity" concert to promote tourism and raise awareness of the situation in the Gulf region. 35,000 free tickets were offered thru Ticketmaster and were dispersed within minutes and boy oh boy were people mad. Folks in Baldwin County and other parts of the coastal region think this is a free concert to take their minds of the situation and they should have been among the ticket recipients (a strong sense of "entitlement" happening here). Some are even going so far as to claim that they were personally blocked from Ticketmaster because of their ZIP code. I've heard folks ranting and raving about how "people in NY and NJ got all the tickets." Well, isn't that was the whole point of this concert? Most folks in NY, NJ and other "northern" states have no idea where Gulf Shores or Orange Beach, AL is located. I, for one, had no idea what "beach" everyone was talking about the first summer we moved here. We were actually looking for a place in FL to meet Cosmo's brother's family. The only place in the panhandle I had ever heard about was Panama City Beach (synonymous with Spring Break back in the day). I mentioned it to several new neighbors of mine, they all made faces and said PCB was tacky. Every one of them told us to go to GS or OB.
So, let's do the math -- 35,000 available tickets at a 4 ticket/person maximum. Really doesn't leave a lot of tickets, now does it?? Since the Ticketmaster debacle, we're hearing that 12,500 of those original 35,000 tickets were offered to various condos and hotels to sell as incentives or as part of promotional packages. So, 12,500 from 35,000 leaves even LESS tickets, doesn't it?

Now, being a native "Yankee" one thing I do know for sure is that Yankees love a good cause and will do anything to buck the system and screw "the man." If a bunch of New Yorkers and New Jerseyites are travelling south for the 4th of July holiday and plan to drop some serious coin on airfare, hotels, meals, souvenirs, outlet mall shopping, adult beverages, what is the harm? It's their way of giving BP the finger. Again, isn't that the whole point of this benefit concert? To give local tourism a boost? Isn't this similar to the tourism campaign launched in NY after 9/11? "Visit. It's safe. Broadway needs you. The hotels and restaurants need you." No different from a post-Katrina New Orleans. The last thing the Gulf region needs is a bunch of locals going to a concert and driving straight home and not spending any money on hotel rooms, food and beverage, etc. These are local business owners, local hotels/motel owners, mom & pop souvenir places. These are restaurant waitstaff, housekeepers, front desk folks. These are police officers and sanitation workers who may be in jeopardy of loosing their jobs if the local economy doesn't pick up. These are the same locals who now, because of the crappy economy AND the oil spill have NO disposable income.
Good God people! Makes me just want to scream. Can't we all just get along? Why does it always have to be a North vs. South kind of thing? Seriuosly! Who cares where the money's coming in from? That's what being a tourist is all about! Learning and exploring about new places! From www.dictionary.com:
Tourist: tour·ist 
 /ˈtʊərɪst/ Show Spelled[toor-ist] –noun
1. a person who is traveling, esp. for pleasure.
P.S. As a footnote, the benefit concert has been re-scheduled due to the threat of inclement weather from a possible hurricane in the Gulf. All those folks that were unwanted in the Gulf, all those people deciding to spend their hard-earned money in Alabama will not be able to change their flights, re-schedule their vacation time, or revise their condo reservations. I guess they'll have to stay at the Jersey Shore (with or without Snookie and the Situation, no matter). They'll probably pack up the mini-van and make the drive to family-friendly Wildwood. Perhaps they'll stay at one of the gorgeous Victorian bed & breakfasts in Cape May. The college kids will hit Belmar pretty hard or maybe they'll want some excitement and head over to Atlantic City. Some of the adventurous may trek to Ocean City, MD or a beach in Delaware. The golf set will look into Mrytle Beach or Hilton head. Now, no one will truly benefit.

Monday, June 28, 2010

let's see

Last time I blogged, T & Cosmo were in SC at a lax tournament (which, BTW, the BamaLax boys Varsity team won! whoop! whoop!). And, although they placed 3rd, the girl's team had a great weekend. Champ said they really played like a cohesive unit (which is just a bunch of coaching mumbo-jumbo to me). T had a boatload of goals so all is well in our world. She found out today that she made the varsity All-state selection so that's great too! Despite her high school team not winning a single game, she personally had a great season and is having a great all-star season, too. She's a very aggressive player and is so incredibly fast on the field. She's not afraid to take the shot and I love watching her play.

We saw Toy Story one night last week as a family (with the boyfriend, too) and loved it! KJ was totally crying at the end and the whole family had fun. It wasn't very "3-D" though. One day last week T & I did some shopping (we were supposed to be looking for some clothes for me yet T somehow ended up with an outfit to wear to her birthday party...how does that happen?). She made me try on a dress that I ended up buying and received a bunch of compliments. It was a very bold, colorful dress and not something I would have picked out for myself (my closet is full of neutrals). Turns out she not only has great taste, but T can also sniff out a bargain. The dress was $86 but rang up for $28 and change with the tax. Bonus!

We had a very nice, relaxing weekend and got a lot of stuff done around the house. Nothing major, just lots of little stuff. I also finished one book and have started a new book about ancient Rome. I'm such a history geek. It's kind of embarrassing sometimes.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Alice

Last night KJ & I watched Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. Good God that was one jacked up movie. I was never a fan of the Disney animated version of Alice (hated that whole Jabawacky scene...WTH???) and Tim Burton's version was just as bizarre. The movie was visually stunning but I couldn't even appreciate it because the whole movie was just so over the top...the characters, the script, everything. I was totally over-stimulated.

Don't get me wrong, I luv, luv, luv Johnny Depp and have been a fan since his 21 Jump Street Days but I seriously think Tim Burton, Johnny Depp and Helena Bonham Carter need to stop working together. They just keep getting weirder and weirder. Johnny Depp is one of the most versatile actors of my generation and I generally like most of his movies (Benny & Joon, What's Eating Gilbert Grape, Donnie Brasco, Platoon, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, Finding Neverland) but I couldn't stomach Alice in Wonderland. Sorry Johnny!


Thursday, June 17, 2010

Camp,Laundry and Bieber Fever

The girls had a GREAT time at lax camp this week. I was a little nervous about KJ because she gets over-heated so easily and gets wicked migraines but she did great! KJ & her little buddy Olivia shared a room in one dorm, T & Ellie were in another dorm right across the courtyard. Since it was KJ's first time away from home (other than staying w/ relatives), it was probably good to have her older sister practically right next door. Although they didn't have the same practice or scrimmage schedules, they did eat meals together so T was able to keep an eye on her. They brought home massive quantities of laundry -- two sets of sheets, two beach towels, two sets of bath towels and tons of dirty socks and smelly lax clothes. It's like having a bunch of boys in the house.

My little girl is definitely growing up. Last week Cosmo bought her a Go-Phone with the understanding that the more chores she does around the house, the more minutes she can have on her phone. Saturday morning T went on-line and bought Justin Bieber for the two of them for December. This will be KJ's second concert (the first being last summer's JoBro concert w/ her friend Gabi) and we figured T could take her to the concert so Cosmo and I don't have to suffer through it (I've been to Britney Spears w/ Tbone, 'NSYNC and several Aaron Carter concerts). In a few weeks KJ & T will be flying solo for a week up North. Yup. My little girl is growing up.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Granite & Stainless and other Stuff

One of my favorite websites, Hooked on Houses, has an interesting article on granite counter tops and other design trends that are "so" last decade. She has a link to another one of my favorite websites, Southern Hospitality.
http://hookedonhouses.net/2010/06/09/are-granite-countertops-on-their-way-out/

We've all seen a lot of decorating trends come ago. I remember one of our houses growing up in NY...my parents bedroom wallpaper was that flocked velvet kind of stuff. Fortunately, my mother used a lot of restraint and only wallpapered the wall that the bed was on. That house also had those "harvest gold" appliances (or whatever color that was!). One trend I never liked were those "European" cabinets from the '80's. The white ones with the wood trim? Mauve was also very "in" during the '80's (must have had something to do with Miami Vice) and I've never liked black lacquer furniture. It always screamed cheesy, slimy bachelor to me. I'm not a big fan of "contemporary" or "modern" furniture (just doesn't seem practical or comfortable with two kids). I do like shabby chic but I think my big hulking husband would look terribly out of place siting in a dainty floral arm chair. Nor would I be happy if my entire house looked like the men den and had sports memorabilia every where. If I had a magic wand, the first thing to go in this house would be the kitchen. I hate to cook and really dislike this kitchen. Don't like the white cabinets, do like the Corian counters we installed and do like the stainless appliances, that's about it. I think we're more of a Pottery Barn kind of family. That would probably be how I would describe our style.
I think a house isn't a home until you make it your own. If you're going to be in it for the long haul, decorate in a manner that is best for you and your family (i.e., I saw the most amazing chairs w/ pink & white zebra print cushions in the April 2010 edition of Portico; just can't picture my husband sitting in one! see photo above). If you don't stay in one place for too long, best to stick with neutrals and sought-after materials. So, if granite counter tops and stainless steel became the norm or "builders grade" during the last decade, I wouldn't have anything less if you're planning to sell anytime soon. If you live in a transitional, trendy or eclectic neighborhood, think outside the box. Just my take.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Icons

My dear friend LCM (aka the Godmother), luvs, luvs, luvs Grace Kelly. I came across an article on the Grace Kelly exhibit at the Victoria & Albert in London and had to share with her. Holy cow. I had totally forgotten how beautiful and utterly classy and elegant Grace Kelly was. She had that inner beauty too that so few people truly posses.


I know Christie Brinkley has had a series of really bad marriages but I've always thought she was a true beauty, the total package. She's not afraid to put herself out there, love unconditionally (she loves her kids and has set a good example....you really never heard about her partying hard during her modeling years), she cares about the environment, she loves what she does (she has a passion for art and design and has turned it into an extremely lucrative career in the Hamptons). Yup, she's got it all.


Back in the 70's at the height of Charlie's Angels popularity, everyone was nuts about Farrah Fawcett. She wasn't my favorite. I always thought she was a bit too obvious and cheesecake. I always thought Jaclyn Smith was the beautiful, girl next door, the girl you'd want to be friends with. Such a natural beauty.

While talking about icons, how can I forget Jackie O?? Cool as a cucumber. The woman had style and grace and composure during one of this country's darkest hours. She was so incredibly smart -- she attended Vassar her first two years of college, spent her junior year in France at the University of Grenoble and the Sorbonne and went to George Washington University when she got back to the states and graduated w/ a degree in French lit. I also read somewhere that she enjoyed lacrosse when she was a child. She is credited with the White Houses restoration and had a successful career as an editor. She also raised two wonderful children (the most respectable of all the Kennedy kids).
I simply ADORE Sophia Loren and think she's a vivacious and ballsy (I hope to be that sassy when I'm her age!). I just wish she'd get rid of the granny glasses; they remind me of Estelle Getty's glasses on Golden Girls. One of her most frequently-quoted sayings is about her famously-voluptuous figure: "Everything you see, I owe to spaghetti." However she has denied ever saying it. I also love the fact that she met the love of her life, Carlo Ponti, when she was only a teenager (he, however, was in his 30's . . . a little creepy). They remained married until his death a couple of years ago. When asked if she would ever marry again, she said, "No, never again. It would be impossible to love anyone else." Now that's amore!

So, I started thinking about who my two girls would consider "icons"....Lady Gaga??? Britney Spears? Paris Hilton? God forbid a Kardashian?? Lindsey Lohan the Lunatic??

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Horticulture 101

Although I usually do not enjoy summers in the deep south (nothing personal, I'm just not "heat tolerant"), I do love it when the crepe mrytles are in bloom. The one at the end of our driveway is in full bloom, the one at the top of the driveway isn't yet.

I love the different varieties of crepe mrytle and the vibrant colors. I really like it when crepe mrytles are planted in a row (like the photo above) and line a street.

So, this got me thinking about all the different plants and trees I associate with living in different states....different phases of my life.

When I was growing up, both sets of my grandparents had wonderful azalea bushes in Edison, NJ. There are many, many photos of different generations standing in front of those bushes. My dad's younger brother still lives in my grandparents house and although he has made many changes and improvements to the house over the years, those azalea bushes are still there.
At my parents house on Dogwood Lane, we had forsythia bushes lining one side of the driveway and a large lilac bush in the backyard (lots of prom pictures were taken in front of that lilac bush).



We had a large, dead crab apple tree in the backyard at our house on Adele Boulevard (our first home as husband and wife). Cosmo and my dad cut it down the spring I was pregnant with T and Cosmo received a wicked case of poison ivy in return. Not just a rash but nasty, oozing, open wounds. We had planted portulaca on a little hilly section at the end of our walkway and it thrived. As it rained and the seeds migrated down the hill, weird color combinations started to pop up. I think we had originally only planted white and yellow portulaca but ended up with shades of orange, peach, and pink. We had done some landscaping at our house in Saddlewood Place in Ohio (my favorite house EVER!) and Cosmo bought me a weeping cherry blossom for Mother's Day. The blossoms didn't last long (one strong wind and it was pretty much over) but I loved the way the white blossoms looked against the dark mulch we had put down.
Which brings me to this house (I skipped over the house in Annapolis because it was a rental and we were only there 50 weeks, not even a full year. However, the previous tenant had planted day lillies and we enjoyed them the summer we moved in). This house has a variety of flora.....crepe mrytles, gardenias, roses, baby's breath (I'm sure there's a Latin term for this bush, I just call it the baby's breath bush). My favorites are the GORGEOUS Japanese maple out our kitchen window and the crepe mrytles. Our Japanese maple isn't quite this tall, more like the bottom half of this photo. Cosmo luvs, luvs, luvs this maple. We've talked several times over the years about busting thru the breakfast nook and building a screen porch off the kitchen. Every time the subject comes up, Cosmo always says something about the tree. He wants a screen porch as much as I do, he's just afraid we'll kill the tree if we transplanted it.
So there you have it. Horticulture 101

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Topsy Turvy

Had such a nice day w/ daughter #2 today. She slept in my bed last night since Cosmo & T are at a lax tournament in ATL. I usually don't like her to sleep with me because she kicks and tosses and turns very badly (and she's also a mumbler) but last night she slept pretty good. We slept in and I made eggs for breakfast. I had a desperately needed haircut appointment and from there I took her bathing suit shopping. She goes thru bathing suits like crazy. She's at the pool almost every day and the bottoms get ragged from sitting on the concrete edging and the steps at the pool. We ran into my favorite gift shop in the whole wide world and had one of T's dearest friends wait on us. It was a very weird feeling to see someone we've known since kindergarten all dressed up and so professional. She did a very nice job.

Yesterday I finalized invites for T's Sweet 16 and today we also ordered her cake (holy cow! who knew cakes were so expensive!! I had originally wanted one of those "whimsical" or "topsy-turvy" cakes but when she priced it out, the cake was over $500. KJ looked at the bakery salesperson and said, "that's out of our budget."). I wanted something like this but not as many layers: T had a good week @ UDA camp in Tuscaloosa. Cosmo & KJ drove down Friday morning to watch the girls one more time. They placed 3rd overall and won over 50 blue ribbons. I'm kind of new to this whole dance team stuff so I'm not sure what's up w/ the blue ribbons. John Carroll placed 1st but I honestly thought their dance was very boring. It was technically perfect but more like a lyrical, artsy, recital kind of number. Paul Bryant placed 2nd and while they were definitely not technical, they had a rocking hip-hop number. Hoover was very classy but they got points taken off for "loosing their energy" (again, not sure what all of this means). T said there was no drama during the week with the girls, everyone got along great, no problems at all. The poor thing was so exhausted from dancing 15 hour days and then drove to ATL with Cosmo last night for a lax tournament. I think they got in their room around 2 AM but her game wasn't until 1 PM today so she was able to sleep in. She's a trooper.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Catchin' Up is Hard to Do!

Had a very, very nice Memorial Day weekend. Monday is always the big NCAA lacrosse championship game so we met some friends out for wings and watched the game. KJ had spent the night at a friend's house so she was a little tired and getting a headache. We left the game a little early and took naps when we got home.


T had her last Buccanettes practice Monday night before they left for UDA camp Tuesday morning. They performed the dance for family and friends. It was good but Tuesday night at competition in Tuscaloosa, it was even better! The girls really did a great job. The crowd was really into it, too (as one mom put it, "you really can't go wrong with Michael Jackson."). I haven't personally spoken w/ T since 9 PM last night but she texted me around 7:15 AM this morning and said they had already eaten breakfast and were ready to start the day. I luv, luv, luv the costumes they wear for this routine!


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