Sunday, December 20, 2015

Wait!!! I'm not ready yet!!!

I am so incredibly embarrassed to admit this but I am horribly horribly behind in Christmas this year.  The Fall seemed to have it me like a ton of bricks this year and I just haven't been able to recuperate and recover!!

First and foremost, our cruise was unbelievable.  We had the most amazing, relaxing trip. Our flight to Barcelona was great, boarding the ship was stress-free, our cabin was great, food was excellent and our excursions were awesome!  Mallorca was beautiful and we had a wonderful day walking around the city.  I loved Marseille and Florence and Rome are always magical (so glad Cosmo got to see the Sistine Chapel!).  We both really enjoyed Pompeii, too!

After the cruise we had our anniversary, Cosmo's b-day and KJ's 16th birthday in that order.  KJ actually had a volleyball game on her birthday but she celebrated a few nights earlier with some friends at a Mexican restaurant.  After her volleyball game, several of the girls on her team took her to Whataburger (she had never been and apparently it's a Texas thing).  She finally got her permit and had 3 straight weeks of drivers Ed classes and has also been doing her drive times with her instructor.  Little Miss Jet-setter flew to Baltimore in November and spent a couple of days with her friends from Damascus.  Volleyball season is officially over and we had a great end-of-year banquet at one of the local country clubs.  This weekend she's down in Fredericksburg celebrating a friend's birthday at their family cabin.  They drove down after school on Friday, went zip-lining Saturday and today they are shopping.  She'll come home Monday.

For Cosmo's b-day we somehow ended up at a Rangers play-off game vs. The Blue Jays. It was hot as hell that day and we tried to keep cool by using the rally towels as hats.  We looked like idiots.

Early November we met the Martin's outside of Memphis and went to the Ole Miss vs. Arkansas game. The weather was cold and dreary but we still managed to have a good time!  AG and KJ spent Friday night with T so they thought they were cool and Pony Boy and Z put up our tailgating tent in the pouring rain while the 4 of us hit Oxford.  The highlight of the weekend, according to KJ, was her selfie with Tim Tebow. 

Right before Thanksgiving, Coach had his first collegiate game of his coaching career.  I love the campus at TCU and the guys were really great.  The team has a lot of potential. 

We had a fun Thanksgiving with Cosmo's nephew and his family. Eva and Eli are incredibly well-behaved children and it is a joy to be with them.  Friday we took them to the Gaylord to see the ice sculptures and go sledding. KJ was a trooper and was the "DS" (designated sledder). 

T and Pony Boy got to our house late last Sunday night after dealing with a flat tire in Arkansas and brought their puppy Maria with them.  Other than farting really bad, she's a great dog and liked jumping in the pool.

Tuesday night Cosmo took them to a Dallas Stars hockey game (Dew's first NHL game) and they met up with friends after the game.  Friday Cosmo's buddy from college (also KJ's Godfather) flew in for the weekend. We had a great dinner and walked around the town of Grapevine (voted one of America's Top 10 Christmas towns). It was so beautiful!  The town itself is super cute anyway but at Christmas they go all out!  Every shop, every restaurant, every building has some type of display or lights.  The gazebo was all decked out, there was a life-size Nativity set, a light tunnel, an inflatable igloo, Mistletoe every where, etc.  Saturday the guys went to the Cowboys vs. Jets game (Go Jets!!!) and Bob flew out early this morning.  Pony Boy and Maria left Saturday morning and T and I did some Christmas shopping while the guys were at the game.

So, this is why I'm so behind this year!  Nothing is wrapped and I haven't sent out a single Christmas card.  I guess there's always next year!

Monday, September 14, 2015

there she is!!!

Such a fun night watching Miss America with Coach and KJ while live texting with T-bone during the show!  As with football, we are a house divided (KJ did cheer for Hannah Roberts, Miss Mississippi but she was really rooting for Meg, Miss Alabama).  Both girls did an amazing job representing their states and for anyone who thinks pageants are dumb or stupid, please read on.

Over the years we have gotten to know a lot of these competing young ladies through dance classes, Buccanettes and even through our lacrosse family and you can't help but be impressed.  These young women are all at the top of their class and selflessly give hours and hours of their time and energies to various charities and their own specific personal platforms. While attending Miss Mississippi's crowning this year and last, we are always blown away by some of the contestant's scholastic achievements and personal stories (these girls are battling debilitating diseases, addiction, one contestant was a survivor of rape and one contestant recently underwent a double mastectomy as she is at risk for breast cancer).  These young ladies want to make a difference in their local communities and address issues affecting their state ... obesity, teen pregnancy, literacy, disappearing school art programs. 

Not only are these young women smart and charitable, they are incredibly talented!  We've seen some incredible dancers, baton twirlers, a comedienne, poets and singers (even an American Idol alum!). Hannah's talent at state was incredible and I will admit last night she did sound a little off. Her sweet family sat in front of us at this year's pageant and her uncle mentioned  that the humidity affects the violin strings (I've never played an instrument in my life but that makes total sense to me!  It rained pretty hard Saturday night delaying the start of the Parade of Shoes). 

I understand the contradiction surrounding the swimsuit portion of the pageant ... why are we parading these young ladies around half naked while supposedly celebrating their minds and rewarding scholarships?  Is swimsuit antiquated?  Probably.  Should it be eliminated?  Maybe. But it's more of a tradition than anything else.  Miss America began as a publicity stunt for the beaches and tourism of Atlantic City.  Do the contestants look forward to swimsuit?  Most probably do not.  But T-bone does weirdly enough.  She has always tried to stay healthy through exercise and clean eating and feels the swimsuit portion of the pageant encourages contestants to be the total package. To be women with a healthy mind, a healthy body and a giving heart. 

I also fully understand why feminists get up in arms about pageants but to me, being a feminist means supporting my sisters in whatever they decide to do.  You want to save lives being a fire-person or cardiac surgeon?  Great!  You go girl!  You want to be Miss America and save lives by encouraging monthly self breast exams for early detection?  Terrific!  You''re a stay at home mom and want to be the PTA president at your Children's schools?  Thank you!  It takes a village.  Women need to support and encourage other women.  Not tear them down. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015


Learning lots of new traditions during our short time here in Texas!  Some I like, some I just don't get!

One of my favorite things that I had never seen before is painted senior parking spaces at the high school. When KJ and I were house hunting at Easter we drove around one of the area high schools and noticed that some of the student parking spots were personalized.  Of course KJ was all over it and declared this was where she wanted to go to school  The kids were pretty creative ... lots of sports team logos, some school spirit, some of the girls did Lilly or Vineyard Vines, some chevron monograms, etc.  A couple of weekends ago at one of KJ's volleyball tournaments at a neighboring school district, all the seniors and their families were painting their spaces. It looked like so much fun!  They had music blaring, entire families were out there, they had food ... it was a big deal. At this particular high school though, you could only use the 3 school approved colors for your space -- blue, orange and white.  Still, the kids were extremely creative. KJ's school also does the painted parking spaces but I've noticed the kids don't have to use just the high school spirit colors, they can do anything they want.  She's only a sophomore but I have a feeling my girl is already planning her parking space for senior year.

So another tradition we've stumbled upon is spirit week. Or maybe it should be called spirit season because during the entire length of football season, the kids dress up almost every damn day, not just during homecoming week.  And of course KJ is loving it.  Friday was Hawaiian day, today is tacky tourist Tuesday, I can't remember what Wednesday is, I know this Friday is patriot day, one of the days is a preppy day, one day is a fishing day (don't ask), of course there's a farmer day thrown in there somewhere as well as the 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's. Oh and there's Axe Day (big cross-town rivalry and the winner gets to display the coveted Axe for the entire school year). So apparently on Axe Day the kids dress up in overalls and the girls, of course, decorate their overalls all cute with ribbon and lace and paint their graduating class year down their leg. So guess who had to run around town today looking for a pair of overalls for daughter #2 to wear?????

Next up is the homecoming mums and garters. Now, growing up in the North I've always thought mums were a fall flower.  I did kinda know that years and years ago guys would give a girl a mum to wear to football games or maybe to a college homecoming game (mums being that hardy fall flower). Well, in Texas apparently they take it to a whole new level. Nowadays it is a big and I mean HUGE flower, like, we're talking the size of a dinner plate and tons and tons of ribbon and little trinkets. Like everything else in Texas, bigger is better ... the stars at night, cowboy hats, belt buckles, trucks and homecoming mums.

Sunday, September 6, 2015


The last two weekends have been absolutely wonderful!  Great weather (although yesterday was one of the hottest days we've had in a while) and we've tried to take full advantage of being out doors.

Last Sunday we were able to cross paddle boarding off our bucket list!  I absolutely loved it and told Coach I want a paddle board for Christmas. It was an incredible total body workout and a great family activity. Coach and I each fell off the board once but KJ never fell off at all.  We were together as a family but paddle boarded at our own pace.

Friday night KJ had a volleyball game in Dallas and Saturday she had a tournament in Arlington which was perfect because we were right by the stadium and made it to the Alabama vs. Wisconsin game with plenty of time for a little tailgating. Although we really wanted to go to the game, we were hesitant to buy tickets before she tried out for volleyball.  We knew there was a tournament the same day as the game and didn't want to spend big bucks on tickets only to be sitting at a tournament clear on the other side of town.  At the last minute a friend mentioned on FB he had four tickets so we jumped on the chance.

We had never been to a game at AT&T stadium and it did not disappoint.  What an incredible place to see a game!!  The stadium is phenomenal and there is not a bad seat in the house. We had such a good time at the game and of course KJ and Coach loved being among true Alabama fans. 

Today we slept in a little, Cosmo made French toast for breakfast, did a few things around the house and spent the rest of the day in the pool.  Last week the pool temp had cooled considerably and I thought maybe our pool days were numbered but today was absolutely perfect! 

Monday, August 31, 2015

The Box

For me personally, one of the best things about moving is getting outside your comfort zone.  Thinking outside the box. Growing as a person. Looking back at the last two years, I am so thrilled to be in a different, better place both physically and mentally.

Labor Day weekend will be two years since I left Alabama and I really haven't looked back. I was so burnt out there. I was emotionally exhausted from all the game playing and back stabbing by people I trusted and thought of as true friends. I would do anything for anyone and that is probably my biggest flaw. And unfortunately my girls have inherited that trait. I don't something for someone hoping for something in return.  I do it because you're a friend and if I can help, I will.  Very simple.  Too often though, I started to feel used by some of the most disingenuous people I have ever met.  Horrible people who hid behind Christianity and fake Southern sweetness (you know the type... the ones who use "bless her heart" on a fairly regular basis).   In fact, I hardly ever ask for help (another flaw of mine).  So if I was broken and in need of help, it would have to be pretty bad for me to seek some type of assistance.  And being let down by a friend is the worst kind of betrayal there is.

Yup.  I was in a pretty bad place two years ago. However, I am so happy to be where I am now. stronger and a thousand times happier.  Hell.  The entire family is happier.  KJ will admit it was tough for her to leave Hoover. She was born there and that was the only home she knew.  However, she's learned so much about herself during this whole process. She is so incredibly mature and confident at such a young age. She's not afraid to push herself and think outside the box. And, hopefully, she's learned a few things from watching what I went through. I hope she and Taylor will continue to be strong, independent women and a good friend to all.  I know they will be disappointed by people they met but I hope it doesn't beat them down the way it did me.

Friday, August 28, 2015

one down ...

Week one of school is in the books. I think both girls had a good week.  KJ  said she wasn't nervous about the first day of school at all but already knowing some girls from volleyball helped tremendously!  She said the first day of school in Texas was no where near as nerve-wracking as her first day of school in Maryland even though her new school is 3x larger!  she it was much easier this time around since she kinda knew what to expect.

Volleyball is going great!  her team is playing well. The 6:30 am practices are killers and she has volleyball as her 1st period class from 8:15 to 9:30. Then they do conditioning for an hour after school.

T has a good schedule this semester... no classes Monday or Friday so she didn't have her first class until Tuesday. She's doing 2 nights a week this year for NewsWatch and she and Pony Boy hit the gym almost every day this summer and will continue to do so during the school year. They are so cute together and have such a wonderfully mature relationship based on respect for one another. They never fight and share the same warped sense of humor.  Pony Boy is a true Southern gentleman and takes very good care of her.

So, a great week was had by all!

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Fall into Fall ???

Sitting by the pool drinking my morning cup of tea and it is positively glorious!!  The temperature is way down, there's a beautiful breeze and you can actually smell the rain coming our way. I'd say the weather is starting to transition to Fall and I'm excited to see what Fall in Texas is all about!  I actually dreamt of Fall decorations last night (which I can explain!). Fall is my favorite time of year and Fall up North is gorgeous and Fall in Birmingham was always fun and fantastic. Coach loved putting his TV on the back deck, having a fire in the pit and watching some SEC football.

Last night Cosmo and I went to the Rangers vs Mariners game and had a great time!  He's  been to that stadium many times before (honestly, where hasn't he been) but it was my first Rangers game. One of his vendors dropped off the tickets and we had great seats 25 rows up off the 3rd baseline. The stadium is nice but I really think Camden Yards is my favorite place to see a baseball game. The O's are coming to town next weekend so maybe we'll catch part of that series.

We couldn't figure out why the Rangers mascot, which is a horse, was running around wearing a tartan kilt and a set of golf clubs. And then Jordan Speith threw the ceremonial pitch. 

On our way to the stadium last night we passed this great little nursery by our house. On the way there I noticed they had some Fall/Halloween decorations up but couldn't get a good look. On the way home it was dark and the decorations were lit up and looked super cute so that's why I think I dreamed of fall decor!!  I love the layout and look of this house and think my Fall things are going to look great in this house! 

Monday, August 17, 2015

I'm Still Here!!!

So it's been several weeks (months??) since I've blogged but I'm still alive and kicking!!  I don't think I've sat down since mid-June!!

The big move from Maryland to Texas went great!  Very smooth process overall (still can't find the damn toaster though!!) and I have to say everyone, particularly Trixie and Kendall, have transitioned incredibly well!

The months of June and July were basically a blur between having the house packed up, mine and KJ's road trip to Texas with a wonderful stop in Birmingham, the pageant, having aforementioned household goods delivered, T's 21st birthday, my parents and KJ returning from their big southwest road trip to volleyball camps, high school registration,  (successful) volleyball try-outs and the summer culminated with the big boss man, the Legend, the Guru getting inducted into the US Lacrosse Alabama/Mississippi chapter hall of fame.  Whew!!!

It's been hot here in Dallas but it really hasn't been awful. We've had a couple of 100+ degree days but the humidity is very low. Having the pool is great and I can't imagine living in Texas without a backyard pool!  We've done a couple of quick day trips since we've been here (visiting the TCU campus to see where Cosmo will be coaching and a fun day at the Ft. Worth stockyards) but honestly, we just have been super duper busy.

We luv, luv, luv being closer to T and she has come home twice and we also got to see her this past weekend in Birmingham.  Pony boy came with her to the HOF induction and if he can put up with our crazy Cos life, that boy can put up with anything!!  He's a trooper for sure!! 

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

i wish i drank coffee!!

So Cosmo has survived the great Texas floods of 2015 and our house is still standing. I thought for sure the pool would have over-flooded or one of the trees in the front of the house would have come crashing down but all is well. 

If I can get through the next couple of weeks it will be a flipping miracle. 
Coach flies in for one last weekend and KJ is having a big going-away party Saturday night.
The movers will be here to pack up on Tuesday and Wednesday and will load the truck on Thursday and we kept Friday open as an extra day if need be.  KJ's last official day of school is Monday, June 15. It's only a half day and all of her exams will have been complete by Friday, June 12 so the game plan is for us to be on the road on Sunday. I promised her we could stay the weekend so she could attend a friend's b'day party. 

Originally we were going to ship my car but because it would go on the car carrier with stops to pick up other cars on the way, there was the possibility I would be without a car for up to 3 weeks.  So, rather than try to get thru that last week car-less and fly to Dallas with the dog, KJ and I decided to take a little road trip and stop in B'ham for a few days to visit with friends. And then, the minute I arrive in Dallas, I have to drive to Vicksburg to check Miss Amory in with pageant officials because she's not 21 yet.  KJ and Coach will be in his fancy corporate apartment until the day competition starts. 

So, I'll be in Vicksburg for over a week and then drive back to Dallas on Sunday after the pageant crowning Saturday night.  We've scheduled the delivery of our household goods for Monday, June 29.  And then T-bone will arrive at the new house on Wednesday, July 1 just in time to celebrate her 21st b-day!!!  meanwhile, KJ will be somewhere out West with my parents.  we'll all be in Vicksburg together for the pageant but when it's over, my parents and KJ are going to road trip and hit San Antonio, the Grand Canyon, the Four Corners, etc and then bring her to Dallas. The day after she gets to Dallas she heads to SMU for volleyball camp for a few nights and then she'll start open gym at her new school. We've got an appointment with her guidance counselor to pick her schedule and the following week school starts. I mean, seriously!!!  Poor KJ!!  By the time she comes back from the pageant, her trip out West and volleyball camp, she will not have slept in her own bed for almost a month!!!

By the time we depart for our cruise in September, I will be exhausted and may just sleep my way through Europe!! 

Thursday, May 14, 2015

everything's bigger in Texas

Even though we've known we were getting relocated since Christmas, we didn't tell too many people because we weren't sure which market it was going to be. But now its officially official!  We' re  heading to Dallas!  Cosmo got an amazing promotion and we're excited to be off on another wonderful adventure! So that's why we were in Dallas for Easter and that's why I flew in last week.

Cosmo has actually been there since the end of March but again, we didn't tell a lot of people because we wanted KJ to get used to the idea on her own and we wanted her to tell her friends when she was ready. Plus we didn't want it to affect her playing time on the lax field or on the volleyball court. 

The Dallas housing market is positively insane right now and incredibly competitive. Homes are receiving multiple, above-asking offers within hours of hitting the market. Because this is not our first rodeo (see what I did there?), I was confident Cosmo would do the initial groundwork and KJ & I would fly in, put an offer on the best of the bunch and that would be that. Yeah.  That didn't happen.  Cosmo was busting his hump to look at houses the minute they were listed and presented 3 offers on 3 different houses in our target area over the last 6 weeks. He was getting so frustrated so at the last minute he called in the big guns (me). 

Thank God my parents were back in PA and were able to drop everything and stay with KJ!  I flew to Dallas Wednesday morning and by lunch time I was hitting the streets with our realtor. It was a very disappointing day and was beginning to understand Cosmo's frustration. Thursday was a better day. Several houses had hit the MLS that day and Keith had appointments set up.

I've kind of lost count of how many addresses we've had since we've been married and obviously every house has been different as far as square footage, layout, quality of materials, etc. but nothing had really prepared me for Dallas. First of all, there are no basements.  That is just so bizarre to me. Also, almost every house we looked at had a study. We don't need a study.  Cosmo doesn't work out of the house and has a very nice office at his place of employment thank you very much.  And game room / media rooms on the 2nd level are big in Dallas. Which is great. Since there's not a finished basement, we need someplace for KJ and her new friends to hang out.  And the house had to have a pool. And be in our target area.

So we saw a house we both fell in love with Thursday afternoon. We loved the layout, the updated kitchen and masterbath and the backyard was a tropical oasis. We were the first ones to view the house. And then we saw another house that was going to be our back-up if house #1 didn't pan out.  Both houses were expecting multiple offers and were not going to make a decision until Monday evening, after their weekend open houses. On Friday we sat in Keith's office and finalized our offers for both houses. I flew back to BWI Saturday evening somewhat dejected and not very hopeful.

Sunday was Mother's Day and KJ made me a delicious pancake breakfast and my folks headed back home. Cosmo called me later that afternoon and said "soooo, how do you feel about owning a home in Texas??" I was pretty shocked because we weren't supposed to know anything until late Monday and there was always a chance our offer wouldn't even be accepted.

So now things are moving right along. We submitted a good, solid offer and there wasn't any need for additional negotiating.  Yesterday was the inspection and we're looking at a mid-June close!!

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Has it really been almost a month since I last blogged?  Wow?  Well, let's see . . . As usual, it's been a busy couple of weeks!  

KJ's lax season is winding down but volleyball is in full swing.  It feels like this travel volleyball season has gone on FOREVER.  We were supposed to participated in a tournament at the U of Delaware last weekend but at the last minute the team decided to do a tournament closer to home and the girls ended up winning it all.  KJ, like T, has had a difficult time juggling the two sports (T had to juggle dance team and lax in high school).  Actually, I shouldn't say that.  She's been very clear on what she needs to do to be a contributing member of each squad and has to make some tough decisions.  I think she's done a great job (especially maintaining her grades!  Honor Roll again baby!!!).  It's been her coaches who have had a harder time.  She's had to miss some lax for volleyball and vice versa.  The weekend they won the volleyball tournament she had to miss a lax game and her lax coach was a little upset with her.  On the flip side, she's had to miss volleyball for lax.  Fortunately, she's playing great on both both squads and has had two lax goals this season so far and numerous assists!  Big Daddy is SO proud!!!

Easter in Dallas was a ton of fun and we had such a great time at Six Flags with T-bone and Pony Boy!  Johnny Frat-Boy had never been on extreme roller coasters before and I think he had a thrilling time!  We had a wonderful brunch at the Westin and after T and Fratty headed back to Oxford, KJ, Cosmo and I spent the afternoon exploring downtown and did the tour at the Book Depository at Dealy Square.  Fascinating exhibit and the history nerd in me loved it!  We also walked around the campus SMU.  Monday, while Cosmo was at the office, KJ did some shopping at Grapevine Mills and had a fun lunch at the Rainforest Cafe and walked around the quaint town of Grapevine.  We fond the new Steel City Pops and chilled with some pops and had lunch at a great Mexican restaurant before KJ and I flew back to Baltimore.  Cosmo likes the Dallas branch and his apartment is very cool, kinda feels like an upscale New York loft -- HUGE bathroom, granite counters, chef's kitchen, etc.

Cosmo flew home this weekend and my parents were also here for a few days on their way back to PA from wintering in FL.  It was a nice, low-key weekend.  The weather was nice, but only in the low 60's w/ lots of sunshine,  We had Jimmie Cone for the first time this season on our way to dropping Cosmo off at the airport.

Gotta busy week coming up -- lots of landscaping going on and we're going to open the pool soon.  KJ has lax and volleyball this week and I've got to get my car registered in Maryland since my Alabama registration is about to expire.

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Rules of the Road

I have lived in several different states.  I have driven in several different cities each with their own particular brand of commuter hell.  I have driven under different and often severe conditions -- heavy, heavy traffic, construction, extreme weather (rain, sleet, snow, freezing rain, limited visibility, etc.).

My current situation has me on the road anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour each way to the office.  So, on a bad day, I've been in my car 2+ hours.  I think I'm a pretty damn good driver.  I'm considerate of my fellow Road Warriors.  I follow the minimum speed limit, I only use the left lane for passing and I follow the rules of merging.  And I don't use my phone while driving (which is Primary Offense in the state of Maryland:

During my daily drive I see all sorts of crazy, crazy stuff.  I see vehicles in the left lane doing anywhere from 10 to 15 mph UNDER the posted speed limit.  I see people texting.  I see people blatantly talking on their cell phones.  I see horribly aggressive drivers.  I see people who haven't secured the crap in the back of their pick-up trucks and now that stuff is flying all over the highway.

My daily commute has me merging onto several different major highways, minor highways and secondary roads.  Merging is probably one of the most common causes of driving accidents and I've seen the stupidity first hand.  People, let's follow a couple of basic rules and we can all merge together into one big, happy road trippin' family:

  • don't merge too early (you know who you are -- you're the driver who thinks he's cool and guns it and jerks the wheel to the left to get in the lane before everyone else.  Don't merge on the single white line; you should never cross a solid white line -- Driver 101).  
  • don't merge too late (you know who you are -- you're the driver who guns it and tries to get ahead of your fellow mergers; almost as if to say "haha!  look at all you suckers who did the right thing and merged properly!  I'm too cool for that!  I don't have to wait to merge!  I drive a big ass Suburban and can make my own rules!).  
  • if you have the opportunity to move over a lane and allow merging cars easier entry to the highway, please be a pal!  
  • remember the Zipper rule when in a merging situation -- it's every other car.  
  • don't be an ass.  If someone doesn't follow the Zipper rule, say a little prayer for them.  They are stupid and don't know any better.  Don't ride their ass the rest of your commute, don't honk at them, don't give them the finger.  
While we're at it, let's just remember a couple of safe driving tips that will help you get to your destination in one piece:  

  • No cell phones!
  • Use your blinkers / directionals, whatever you want to call it.  Just use it for God's sake.  Most of us are not mind readers.
  • Stay the hell out of the left lane if you are incapable of driving the Minimum speed.  This particularly applies to drivers who:
    • are over the age of 70
    • can't see over the steering wheel
    • are driving a Smart Car or any one of those other Clown Cars
    • are hauling shit -- a camper, a boat, a horse trailer, landscaping equipment, etc.  
  • who are intimidated by the 18-wheeler in the right lane next to them and are afraid to pass
Thank you and have a nice day!  Happy Driving!!!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Lax Life / Laxer for Life

Yay!  Yay!  Yay!!  KJ finally had an official high school lacrosse game!  They lost by 1 but considering our girls have only been on the field two or three times, I'd say it was a success!  The weather has been so horrible and has totally wrecked the fields so they've mostly been in the gym conditioning and working on stick stills.  Some of the new girls were unsure about the hash marks, marking-up, etc.  KJ is definitely one of, if not the most, aggressive player on the team (shocker!) and definitely has great stick skills.  She still has a lot to learn but she really did great yesterday.  She had a couple of shots on goal, didn't score, but still took the shot nevertheless.  She played a little attack, she played a little defense as well.  She likes attack better.

I love the girls' uniforms and naturally my child has to coordinate her cleats and shoelaces.  She said they looked like a bunch of highlighters running around out there.

Unfortunately, Coach Stone couldn't be at the first game due to a family scheduling conflict but she asked Champ to help on the sidelines.  He warmed up the goalie and helped the assistant coach run the lines and was very vocal from the sidelines (shocker!).  I know it was killing him to keep quiet for most of the game and defer to the assistant coach but he did point out (rather loudly) to the ref that he awarded the ball to the wrong team.  Ref acknowledged he made a mistake, gave the ball to us and game on.

Being a little sassy and giving a lot of attitude on the field.  

Weak Week Coming Up

So this is my last week at the hotel and it's starting off kind of weird.  The last week is always hard -- trying to wrap things up, saying good-bye to co-workers, not being included in next week's stuff / schedule / etc.  I like my job very much but the commute is killing me and it has become not really worth it.  I've told KJ I'm going to be Super Mom and make her lunch every morning and drive her to school each day.  :-)

Cosmo had a busy weekend in Rockland.  He drove up to help clean out his mom's house and brought home a box of memories -- lots of photos and fun stuff.  On Sunday there was a mass for his mom which was nice and he got to spend some time with the twins.  And Fuji.

KJ's game Friday was cancelled due to weather and has been rescheduled for next week.  This week she has two lax games and a tailgate party and three nights worth of volleyball as well as a one-day tournament on Saturday.  She's going to be exhausted.

This weekend I started watching the new original series on Netflix, "Bloodlines."  I really liked it.  A lot of people on the internet said it was very slow moving and they couldn't get past episode 1 but I thought it was a lot like HBO's "True Detectives" in that it was a slow build.  And, of course, who doesn't love watching Kyle Chandler AKA Coach Taylor???

Friday, March 20, 2015

So Happy It's Friday

So, So Happy It's Friday!  It's been a lllloooooonnnnngggg week. KJ is supposed to have her very first official high school lax game today but it looks like this freaky Spring storm may cancel it.  They had a great scrimmage Tuesday afternoon and I know she's really looking forward to getting the season underway!  She played great -- a little attack, a little defense (she likes attack better) and, of course, Daddy's been warming up the goalie for the team.  I knew he couldn't stay away.  Lacrosse, to him, is like the Mafia.  It pulls him back in.  It's like crack.

Really looking forward to the weekend -- we have absolutely nothing to do!  No where to be, no games to sit at, no commitments.  Unfortunately, KJ does have a viewing to attend at some point this weekend.  One of the girls from her volleyball team's father passed away suddenly Wednesday night.  Very nice family and my heart just breaks for Jenna.  She's a very sweet, very quiet young lady and her parents were at every game, every event and always held hands.

I think it's time for Cosmo to stary looking for a new car.  He has my old Lexus (which has 250K+ miles on it!).  It's time to say good bye.  I loved driving the Lexus and hope he gets something similar.  We definitely need some type of SUV for our "stuff."  The Lexus got great gas mileage and I don't think we need to get a big rig or anything like that.  We're down to one kid so it's not like we're carpooling and doing a bunch of stuff like that.  We're beyond that.

Easter is fast approaching and I'm so glad the four of us (possibly 5 of us!) will all be together!  Last year T flew home but because of the limited number of direct flights from BWI to Memphis, she had to fly out early in the morning and didn't even have Easter dinner with us.  Matt and Kristen came for dinner so that was nice.  This year I think we're going to have brunch at the Gaylord or something.  IDK.  Cosmo is handling it.  Although I don't mind cooking, it will be nice to have someone else doing it.  And cleaning up!  :-)

We received some additional info about our cruise to Europe and couldn't be more excited!  Rome, Florence/Pisa, Cannes, Barcelona and Naples.  Whoop!  Whoop!  T and I have been to Rome, Florence and Pisa but I am SO looking forward to experiencing those cities with Cosmo!  This will be a different trip -- definitely more romantic than when I traveled with my high school freshman!

Monday, March 16, 2015


I love being in the Hospitality Industry.  I really do.  I love meeting new people, I love helping people and I love that every day is different -- it's not a typical 9 to 5 job.

When you work at a hotel, you see all types of people -- you see families traveling on vacation, you see people who rarely travel and have no idea how to handle reservations, you see professional men and women who travel for a living and barely make a blip on the radar.  They pack lightly, they check in early evening and are usually gone by breakfast.  They don't ask for much and don't require much hand-holding.  I did, however, have a client at a previous property who insisted she be personally walked to her guest room no matter what time she checked in (4 AM or 4 PM).  She also had other issues which we commonly refer to as Power Tripping.  Power Trippers like to use phrases such as "do you know how much my company spends here a year??" or "do you know who I am??"   Female Power Trippers are the worst.  Female guests are horribly nasty to female front desk associates.

Then, there are the people that are not nice no matter the situation.  Even if that situation is a result of their own actions or inability to prepare properly.  Today I had a client walk into the Sales Office at 8 AM and ask if she there was somewhere she could charge her phone.  Of course!  So I directed her to the Business Center which has a row outlets.  Turns out she didn't have the actual charger.  I then directed her to the Front Desk to see if we had any iPhone 5 chargers in the lost and found box.  We did not.  She carried on like a crazy lady and "could not believe that this hotel does not have spare iPhone 5 chargers."  Seriously?  It's a hotel.  Not an Apple store (which, by the way, is across the street at the mall.  Within walking distance).  She then went on to say that it is now 8:15 AM and the shuttle service was supposed to take her to the local office at 8 AM.  Which shuttle service?  Our van here at the hotel or an outside company?  She said it was the same company that dropped her off last night.  Okkkaaaaayyyy???  I offered to contact the shuttle service for her and find out where they were.  She did not know what the name of the shuttle company was, she did not know where she was going for her morning meeting and when I offered to call her contact at her local office, she did not even have a name.  When I asked her for her name, turns out she was a doctor of some type.  Seriously lady?  Who dresses you in the morning?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Lax Season is Upon Us !!!

Excited for lacrosse season to officially begin!  Tomorrow KJ has her first scrimmage as a Damascus Hornet.  It's supposed to rain but that's OK.  Between Cosmo coaching and the both girls, I've sat through hundreds of rainy games -- lax, soccer, softball and even half-time at football game.when T danced.

The lax team had a fundraiser the other night at one of the local restaurants we had never been to before.  Cosmo was out of town but I went and had a great sandwich and then took her to volleyball practice.  The poor thing is just exhausted this week but she's been a trooper.  She's had lax practice every day this week after school until 5 PM and she's had volleyball practice from 8 to 10 PM three nights this week.  The nights she's had volleyball we don't walk in the door until 10:30 PM or so but she's gotten up pretty good every morning this week.  She takes after me -- the girl needs her sleep and likes her naps!

T had a successful Spring Break despite not leaving Oxford.  At the last minute she decided to forgo a trip to the beach so she could work with the local Boys & Girls club.  She said she had a lot of fun and the kids were pretty great!  One day she had little kids (pre-schoolers), the next was a little older (maybe 1st or 2nd grade) and they made cards to be delivered to the local veterans.  A couple of the kids made cards for T instead and they were so sweet!  The last day the kids were a little older (10-12).  Yesterday she spent the day in Amory with her pageant director and this weekend she and Pony Boy are heading to his hometown and then to the beach for a few days.

Monday, March 9, 2015


Had a nice quick weekend get-away in Atlantic City for a v-ball tournament.  The last time I was in Atlantic City, I was pregnant with T-bone.  We were there for a security industry conference and I remember being bored out of my gourd because I couldn't really be in the casinos -- at that time they weren't smoke free and the secondhand smoke was horrendous!  Being pregnant I couldn't drink either so I remember we went to a female impersonator show at Bally's Park Place one night and I went to bed early while everyone else hit the casino.  We had a great room overlooking the ocean and the bathroom was spectacular.

This past weekend we stayed at the Sheraton which was incredibly convenient to the Convention Center.  We valet parked on Friday and didn't use the car again until the tournament was over on Sunday afternoon.  We literally just walked across the street at game time.  The Sheraton was a beautiful, art-deco hotel with Miss America memorabilia on display -- some previous winner's gowns, and crowns and they had an awesome display on the second floor from the "Show Us Your Shoes" Parades.  And of course, we were dorks and had our picture taken under the Bert Parks statue!

Margaret Gorman, 1922

Lee Meriwether, 1955

We had an easy drive Friday night and her Saturday wave was done by 1 PM.  We went to lunch with a couple of her teammates and their families and then KJ and I walked up and down the boardwalk while Cosmo hit the casino.  It was a beautiful, bright sun-shiny day and we even walked on the snow-covered beach for a bit.  We watched a group of high school boys and their wrestling coaches do a polar plunge in the ocean which was pretty funny.  The coach said they did it every year as a group right before states.  There's always something going on in AC ... NJ High School State Wrestling championships were going on and there was a HUGE dance competition at our hotel (think along the lines of Dance Moms -- big stage, massive lighting set-up, audio/visual, etc.).  Cosmo won about $100 playing slots and promptly spent his winnings on his girls at the Under Armour outlet!  Such a great dad!

Friday, March 6, 2015

The Hubster

There are days that my husband drives me absolutely insane.  And not in a good way.  And I'm sure he can say the same about me.  Then, there are other days were I feel so incredibly blessed and grateful to have him in my life.  He takes such good care of me and the girls that sometimes I don't even notice it.  I've always said it's the little things that matter and he's very, very good at the little things!

He always makes sure our cars are in good shape, he always takes my car in for service or makes sure I have windshield wiper fluid, etc.  He always and I do mean ALWAYS takes KJ to/from volleyball practice so I don't have to sit there for 3 hours.  And he's been adjusting his schedule the last couple of weeks so he can get her home from lax practice.  He lets us sleep in on the weekends and either makes us breakfast or gets us bagels.  He gets KJ's lunch ready in the mornings because we are always in such a rush when we leave the house.  He drove me to the airport the other day in the snow because he was worried about me.  And yesterday, he waited at our interstate exit and followed me the rest of the way home on the back roads during our big snow storm.  It was very, very sweet.

He's a keeper!!!

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Gearing Up

Gearing up for another round of rough weather over the next couple of days.  Depending on where you live in the Metro DC area, you can get up to 10".  Of course, we fall right in that area.  It's all good.  The snow doesn't bother me one bit.  We're a snuggly family and love spending the day in our PJ's, relaxing, watching a good movie or reading a book.  KJ usually goes sledding with the neighborhood kids and we all pitch in and shovel the driveway.

Had such a great trip to Mississippi this past weekend!  Both my in/out flights were great and I had my luggage when I arrived!   My flight from BWI to MEM arrived more than 20 minutes early and was practically empty.  My "friend" Karen was working the Southwest counter in Memphis when I flew home Monday night and remembered me from this past summer.  Too funny!

Lots of new faces at this year's Miss Miss orientation, some familiar friendly faces, too!  It was nice seeing the girls and their parents again and we had a lot of fun at dinner Friday night.  This year's production should be great and the costumes looked super cute.

When I landed in Memphis Thursday night T, Pony Boy and I met Mel, Lou and the kids out for dinner.  What a hoot!  We laughed so much and got the kids really wound up.  That's what Aunt Valerie does best!  After we got to Oxford, T and I met Tana and Laney out for daiquiri's at Funky's and I spent the night in her dorm.  I was freezing cold but slept pretty good all things considered (meaning = considering I'm 45+ years old sleeping on a air mattress in a college dorm!).  Friday morning we had BBB and T got her nails done while I ran to Rebel Rags for a t-shirt for KJ.  We made it to Vicksburg in plenty of time for Friday night's meeting and Saturday she was at the YMCA for most of the day with her little ones learning their production numbers.  Thankfully T loves little kids.  There are almost 100 prince and princesses this year.

T's had a busy week and it's only Wednesday.  She had classes Monday morning, worked for a couple of hours, drove me to Memphis Monday afternoon, had Chapter meeting Monday night and on Tuesday she volunteered at the local iHop for National Pancake Day which benefit's one of Miss America's charities, the Children's Miracle Network.  The pic above is with a couple of other Ole Miss girls that will be competing with her in Vicksburg this summer.  France (left) is the current Miss University and Kristen (right) is Miss Southern Heartland.  Kendall, Carol and Ivey are Ole Miss girls who are local tittle holders as well.  After iHop, T attended a broadcast seminar/luncheon on behalf of one of her professors and from there she campaigned on campus for one of her sorority sisters who is running for something or other.  Next week is Spring Break and T did have plans to go to the beach but at the last minute the local Boys and Girls Club asked if she would speak to the kids each day so she decided that was more important.

KJ had lax try-outs this past weekend but we haven't heard if she's made JV or Varsity yet.  The weather is killing the season before it can even get under-way -- the fields are covered and they've had to do a lot of their practices and conditioning in the gym.  She was so excited to get her spirit wear the other day.  I made her try everything on and she said came out of her room and said, "I look like a big green bean!"  In a little nod to her daddy, she's wearing his old lax number, #17.  I'm so freaking proud!

She's still got volleyball going on.  This year's season seems to be going on a bit longer than last year's.  Her coaches sent out info about a Memorial Day weekend tournament.  Usually her season ends by April.

Monday, February 23, 2015

It's the Oscars!

I love a good red carpet as much as the next person but this year I was so disappointed in E!'s coverage.  I'm not really sure why Khloe Kardashian was a correspondent for the network -- she really had nothing important to say and was clearly out of her element.  Also, I don't know who or what made Kelley Osborne a fashion expert.  Guiliana Rancic for that matter.  The only one with street credit is the British chic with the unusual first name.  Unfortunately, she hold the microphone right in front of her face while she speaks.  Very distracting.

I don't think there were any major surprises last night.  I was glad to see JK Simmons win for Whiplash and I think everyone knew Julianne Moore was a sure thing.  I, personally, cannot believe that Birdman won Best Picture (I fell asleep during the middle of it and at the end, Coach just look at me and said, "What the hell just happened?").  I read somewhere that American Sniper should have won but voters just couldn't get over that fake baby and truly expected more from Clint Eastwood.

Most played it safe on the red carpet last night.  I don't think there were any major "misses."  A few, "mehs" but nothing terrible.  Here's my thoughts:
Really Like Faith Hill's short do! 

Love the silhouette and color!  Her hair and make-up are perfect!  She's just one of those naturally beautiful women.  She'll age well -- like a Helen Mirren!  

Love Julianne Moore! 

IDK, IMHO, Reese just seems to wear the same thing over and over.  I'd like to see her get really sexy with her gown, her hair and her make-up.  

Margot Robbie is simply stunning!  

Patricia Arquette always looks sloppy and disheveled to me but last night she really rose to the occasion!  

I'm not usually a Jennifer Anniston fan but I think she was my favorite look of the night.  

I think GaGa just finished doing the dishes

That is a LOT of dress.  And a LOT of boobs.  
I loved the bottom of this gown, hated the top.  The beads on top were very large and looked cheap.  Almost like an arts and craft project.  

The color and cut are gorgeous but that collar is very distracting.  I would have liked to have seen her wear a big statement necklace with lots of emeralds and diamonds.  

Let's just say I never understood the universal appeal of this Ralph Lauren gown.  I thought it was ill-fitting and in need of a good steaming.  I thought it was horribly boring and looked like a prom gown.

Gwyenth Paltrow looked incredible last night!  I loved everything about this looks!  The gown, the color, the fit, the hair, the make-up and the minimal accessories.  Such a classic and understated look!  

February Breakdown

February Breakdown, not Meltdown.  Breakdown as in "lemme break it on down for ya'"

Here we are mid-February and this family is booked solid through mid-March.  This past weekend we had the big Capital Hill Classic volleyball tournament.  Coach and KJ were at the DC Convention Center Friday night for practice and we all headed down there on Saturday to start the tournament.  I only stayed in DC one night while Coach and KJ stayed two nights since she had games today, too.  Thank God for my awesome hotel discount.  We use it a LOT during volleyball season!  The Westin City Center was nice and super convenient to the Convention Center.    After we checked in Saturday, we had lunch at a cafe before we headed down to the tournament.  Saturday we got some snow (very, very light) and walked back to the hotel in the middle of the storm.  It was only 4 blocks but man was it cold!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Guess What Day It Is!!!

It's Hump Day Y'all!!!  I'm so off schedule, yesterday was only Tuesday and I thought tomorrow (today) was Thursday.  Long week.  Very long week.  Fortunately, we have no major plans this weekend (other than hitting the Hopkins season opener).  I'd like to clean-out my closet and re-organize a bit.  It's supposed to be in the low- to mid-50's today; hope the weather holds out for the weekend!  

Southern Living magazine just published a list of bloggers to follow in 2015 (see link below):  Some of them I had already been following (I love when that happens!  makes me feel like "ha!"  I knew something before you did!!!), some I'm looking forward to following, some I won't be following at all  (sorry folks, but the gardening blogs just don't do much for me.  I do not have a green thumb at all.  I can keep a houseplant alive but that's about it).  

Yesterday T-bone had head shots taken for Miss Amory 2015 with the ever talented Mr. Blake McCollum.  Blake did her Miss Metro Jackson head shots last year but this year the session was part of her Miss Amory prize package.  She's been a busy pageant girl the last couple of days . . . last week she and her director Bo finalized her evening gown, head shots yesterday and this weekend she'll be crowning the new Miss Metro Jackson!  Her new evening gown is spectacular and I was so, so sad that I couldn't be there to help her shop but I'll be in Oxford in a few weeks to spend some time with my girl!  

KJ is continuing to be spectacular  -- she's still playing club volleyball two nights a week with tournaments on the weekends and she's luv, luv, luving high school lacrosse practice the other 3 nights.  She's exhausted but loving it.  And, she made the honor roll again!  She's taking all honors classes and is officially a two-sport Varsity athlete.  I am SO proud of this girl!  

The other night Cosmo & I saw "Whiplash" with the incredibly talented JK Simmons.  
Cosmo wasn't sure what to expect and I knew only a little bit about the movie.  It was great and JK Simmons was phenomenal.  He's a very underrated actor (who didn't love him as Juno's dad??  And what about those Farmers Insurance commercials??)  I love awards season and always keep a list of movies, particularly independent movies, that sound interesting.  I do the same with books, too.  If I see a book review in a magazine or someone mentions a book, I write it down.  

Speaking of books, here's some info regarding the soon-to-be-published book by Harper Lee:  Still not sure how I feel about this.  Listen, I love a great book just as much as the next person but do feel that some things should just be left alone (that 3D Jaws movie always comes to mind!).  "To Kill a Mockingbird" is beloved and I just don't want the second book to be panned and torn to shreds by critics.  

Monday, February 2, 2015

Super Duper

Super Bowls are usually overrated, horribly boring games.  I have to say, last night's game was much, much better than I had anticipated.  Yes, we still hate Tom Brady in our house.  That's never going to change but honestly, the Pats played smart and deserved the win.  I can NOT believe the Seahawks didn't just hand it off and run it in.  What in the Hell was Pete Carroll thinking???

I honestly did not watch one single commercial so I can't comment on any of those but I did think Katy Perry's half-time show was great!  I'm not a big Katy Perry fan (I don't think she's that great of a singer.  Entertainer, yes.  Singer, not so much) but I was pleasantly surprised and think she'd be great to see in concert (I remember a couple of years ago T saw her at the Schaeffer Eye Center Crawfish Boil in B'ham and said she was fun).  I loved her costumes and thought the first one was a little Hunger Games-ish but when she came in on that Tiger??  Wow!  And that gown she wore as she floated over the stadium???  Amaze-balls!  Looked straight out of Miss America!  I was most looking forward to Lenny Kravitz and was terribly disappointed in his playing time.  IMHO, Lenny Kravitz is a rock God and could have handled the half-time show on his own.  The biggest, best surprise to me was Missy Elliott.  She looked great, sounded great and totally stole the show.   While Perry did a great job when she was on stage solor, she looked like an awkward white sorority girl trying to keep up with Elliott during their shared stage time. And I hated the whole hair flinging thing with Kravitz.

KJ said her favorite half-time show wasn't Katy Perry or Beyonce but Madonna from 2012:

Meanwhile, Coach said this particularly year (1991???) was his own personal favorite:

Monday, January 26, 2015

Snowmaggedon 2015?

Woke up this morning to a light snow fall.  And I do mean light.  We are to get some accumulation but nothing compared to our northern friends.  KJ had school as usual, no delay or anything.  Which is good.  They haven't had to use a snow day yet!

This weekend was #LaxCon in Baltimore.  Cosmo attended this year as a "civvie" and not in an official capacity.  Which is just fine with me.  He was able to catch some of Coach Danowski's presentation which is always a highlight and he met up with some college friends.  So funny how once lax gets under your skin, you're a laxer for life.  All of Cosmo's college buddies, high school buddies, still play or coach in some capacity.

KJ had a v-ball tourney on Saturday.  I did not go because I had a hair appointment.  I know that sounds so incredibly lame but I had an appointment last week but had to cancel to drive to NY for the funeral.  So I rescheduled for Saturday not realizing she had a tournament.  I've been in MD since September 2013 and have not had my hair highlighted since leaving B'ham.  I was in desperate need of a cut, too.  I was starting to look Amish or like one of this Morman sister wives.  Ick.

Saturday night we watched the Interview on Netflix.  It was better than I thought . . . typical Franco/Rogen set-up -- lots of F-bombs, completely over the top, but I still chuckled.  After Bagel Boy took care of us on Sunday morning I caught up on Black Sails which premiered season 2 Saturday night.  I like the series a lot and this season looks like they'll be filling in some blanks with flashbacks.  Plus, they had a quick little preview of what to expect when Outlander returns in April. Squee!!!

Thursday, January 22, 2015

American Sniper

SPOILER and DISCLAIMER:  Wednesday Cosmo and I saw American Sniper.  I am one of the most patriotic people on the planet.  These are my feelings on the FILM, not a reflection on the heroic men and women who serve in the armed forces.  The following is not a political commentary in any way, shape or form.

I'm still not sure how I feel about the movie so I'll break it down into small bites:

Direction:  I think Clint Eastwood is brilliant and did an amazing job capturing the essence of the daily struggles of the US Marines and Navy Seals in the Middle East.  As you're watching the movie, you can't help but wonder how you would react given the same circumstances.  I thought the best, most compelling scenes were when Chris Kyle was on the rooftops having to decide to shoot or not to shoot.  It really came down to "Them or Us."  Again, how would I respond if I were in his shoes?  Could I shoot that small boy about to pick up the rocker launcher?  I thought the worst scenes involved his wife and his life States-side.

Screenplay:  Personally, the writing sucked.  I did not read Chris Kyle's book so I don't know how closely the screenplay followed the book.  I found the dialogue to be a little hokey and simplified and left a lot of unanswered questions:  How come he never wore his uniform when he was home (i.e., his wedding, at a comrade's funeral?).  Could he really blatantly disobey orders, jump off the roof and decide to join the ground forces?  What happened to his brother?  In the middle of combat Kyle picked up the phone and called his wife?  If that was my husband, I'd be yelling "put down the damn phone you fool!!!"  Why was Kyle honorably discharged . . . in the movie, his CO clearly said, "hold fire, stand your ground."  I felt as if Kyle was, at times, more concerned with personal demons (going after the Syrian sniper and the Butcher) than the overall mission at hand.  I also would have liked to have seen a little bit more about his PTSD and how he tried to assimilate to civilian life and his relationship with kids.  And what about claims that he shot at Hurricane Katrina looters?  What about that whole thing with Jessie Ventura?

Acting:  Regardless of my attitude towards the script, I found Bradley Cooper's portrayal to be outstanding.  He truly transformed himself.  His performance was credible and believable -- Chris Kyle he was just a kid from Texas who dreamed of being a cowboy.  And Bradley Cooper honored him brilliantly.  However, I hated the interaction between Kyle nd his wife.  Again, it felt forced and dumbed-down (and I hated the way she said, "baby" in every scene).

And last but not least, I need to address the elephant in the room -- that fake baby!!!  Geez Clint!  Get a real baby in there!

Turn Down for What???

OMG I'm dying.  Seriously.  I think my eyeballs have melted right out of my head.  My skin feels like parchment paper and my tongue is swollen to 10 times it's normal size.  The ladies in my office have the heat cranked to almost 80 and they all have the little space heaters under their desks turned on.  I keep my house thermostat set at 67 during the winter.  I feel like I'm working in the Amazon . . . the heat and humidity are killing me and I have a splitting headache every day I come in.  I've been drinking at least three or four 8 oz. glasses of water a day but it's not helping.  It's like Africa hot in here.  I may have to come into work naked tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Sweet Child O' Mine

My poor, sweet, innocent KJ has had a very rough couple of days.  Cosmo's mother, KJ's grandmother, passed away early Friday morning after a long struggle.  She fought as hard as she could and I really think she was just waiting for all of her kids to be together.  Cosmo, his sister and his two brothers had all made it to NY in time to be with her and I believe she knew they were there.

Cosmo has been handling it well but KJ has had some breakdowns.  She is definitely my more sensitive child and this was her first grandparent to pass away and this was also her first funeral . . . she was was worried about her dad and she just didn't know what to expect or what was expected of her.  She had a LOT of questions about the viewing, the funeral, the cemetery, etc.

Earlier in the week, in an ironic twist, KJ's sweet friend Kim had invited her to a bingo fundraiser on Friday.  My mother-in-law LOVED bingo and regularly played at local churches and even played when she was in the hospital.  Not knowing that her Grandmother had just passed away, Kim texted KJ in the AM to see if they were still on for that evening.  Of course, KJ broke down over this but I encouraged her to go and try to have some fun.  I told her Grandma JoJo's luck may be with her!  Sure enough, she texted me that she had won 4 times!  Sweet, sweet KJ saved one of her winning bingo cards and put it in the casket with my mother-in-law.

KJ and I drove up to NY Saturday and made excellent time . . . lots of sunshine and 95 was blissfully clear!  Of course, the minute KJ saw Cosmo she broke down and cried and cried off and on Saturday night at my sister-in-law's house.  Sunday we woke to horrible, horrible weather . . . freezing rain, ice, fog.  Road conditions were horrendous and there was a 20-car pile-up on the Palisades.  The Outerbridge was closed and the Thruway and Parkway were awful.  Viewings were from 2 to 4 and 7 to 9 PM.  I let her stay at my sister-in-law's house for the evening viewing and she helped baby-sit her much younger cousins.  It was a long day for everyone and Cosmo appreciated his good buddies B, Gunther and Drivas for making it to the viewing.  One of his friends from the Philly office somehow made it up (in a Porsche no less) and that meant so much to Cosmo.

Monday was bitter cold at the cemetery and again, my sweet KJ had a rough time.  The cemetery is always the hardest for me.  It's very final.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Flurries (or perhaps a McFlurry) ???

Had some flurries this morning.  No accumulation but it was pretty and it worked out perfect for KJ.  She had didn't get home from volleyball until close to 11 PM last night and with two finals today, she really appreciated that two-hour delay!  

Monday, January 12, 2015

And the Chick has Left the Nest

So quiet in our house this past weekend.  T flew back to Oxford on Saturday.  She is certainly racking up the Southwest frequent flyer miles!  Pony Boy met her at the airport and they had ribs at Rendevouz.  She's got CA training this week and classes start next week.  Ole Miss has a crazy long winter break.  She said she had a really good time while she was home and got to do a lot . . . New York City, DC a couple of times, drag queen brunch, etc.

KJ's got finals this week.  She is doing so incredibly well this year.  Freshman year has been great!  I'm very, very proud of her.  She's worked hard and has taken her classes and school work very seriously and has stayed on top of her grades.  She had her English exam this morning and texted me me she's "very confident" in her exam and her final grade in that class.  She's got a volleyball tournament this weekend and lax is starting up soon.  That should be interesting.  She's going to be exhausted but in a good way.

Got all my Christmas stuff packed and put away this weekend.  This year took a little longer than usual but I re-packed some things, threw some things away, etc.  And Cosmo put all of my Valentine's Day stuff in the front of my decorating room so that I can access it easily next month.

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

The First Snowfall by James Russell Lowell 

THE snow had begun in the gloaming, 
 And busily all the night 
 Had been heaping field and highway 
 With a silence deep and white. 

 Every pine and fir and hemlock 
 Wore ermine too dear for an earl, 
 And the poorest twig on the elm-tree 
 Was ridged inch deep with pearl. 

 From sheds new-roofed with Carrara 
 Came Chanticleer's muffled crow, 
 The stiff rails were softened to swan's-down, 
 And still fluttered down the snow. 

 I stood and watched by the window 
 The noiseless work of the sky, 
 And the sudden flurries of snow-birds, 
 Like brown leaves whirling by. 

 I thought of a mound in sweet Auburn 
 Where a little headstone stood; 
 How the flakes were folding it gently, 
 As did robins the babes in the wood. 

 Up spoke our own little Mabel, 
 Saying, 'Father, who makes it snow?' 
 And I told of the good All-father 
 Who cares for us here below. 

 Again I looked at the snowfall, 
 And thought of the leaden sky 
 That arched o'er our first great sorrow, 
 When that mound was heaped so high. 

 I remembered the gradual patience 
 That fell from that cloud like snow, 
 Flake by flake, healing and hiding 
 The scar of our deep-plunged woe. 

 And again to the child I whispered, '
The snow that husheth all, 
 Darling, the merciful Father Alone can make it fall! ' 

 Then, with eyes that saw not, I kissed her; 
 And she, kissing back, could not know 
 That my kiss was given to her sister, 
 Folded close under deepening snow.

Yesterday was our first official snow of the 2015 Season! We ended up getting a bit more accumulation than originally anticipated and the roads were a disaster. KJ had a 2 hour delay and then, moments before the bus was to arrive, they cancelled school all together. T-bone was happy to have seen some snow while she was home and the girls shoveled the driveway so Cosmo wouldn't have to do it when he came home. KJ, however, was a bit miffed. She had received a Keurig Mini as a Christmas gift but it was recalled so we returned it to Macy's last week. She was so mad becasue she really wanted to make hot chocolate with her Keurig!

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