Sunday, December 30, 2012

Reagan's December

As the year draws to a close, I've nothing profound to say.  I'm exhausted from the recent holidays, the year's many disheartening political turns, a steadily growing belly, & contemplating the best way to brace for the fiscal cliff over which our inept leaders are about to plunge us.

Absent words, I end the year with a montage of Reagan, comprised mainly of pictures from her second birthday party & recent Christmas merriment.  Many thanks to Reagan's Aunt Jessica, who took most of these photos.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Winter Break

Well, December is marching on & bringing with it all that this month entails, which for me is a slew of birthdays.  Trey turned thirty-four last week, & Reagan & my dad turn two & XX today, both lucky thirteen babies.  Last year at this time, in addition to birthdays & the general holiday hustle, Jessica's wedding was approaching & Trey & I were preparing to move, so this year seems pretty relaxed in comparison.  All of my fall grades have been submitted, which may mean nothing to you, but brings me considerable joy.  I'm getting a much needed haircut today & preparing for a family gathering to celebrate Reagan's second birthday.  It will, of course, be a nautical themed party featuring all things Ariel.  Jessica & Heath are slated to arrive in the twin cities sometime tonight, which means, among other things, that soon Jessica & I will go see Breaking Dawn, Part II as she's been busy finishing law school & has yet to to see the final Twilight film.  Priorities, you know?

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Part of Your World

Perhaps no four words in the Bible carry as much weight as these four, found in John's gospel: ". . . the Word became flesh."  They're words much of the world will hear this month as Christmas approaches.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Defying Gravity

Things are happening fast.  Or, perhaps I am simply moving slowly, but I find myself with a photo logjam I must rectify.

A few Saturdays ago, our church had a Fall Festival at Kiroli Park.  Though it was past Halloween, the kids wore their costumes & enjoyed the merriment while I & many other adults checked our phones for updates on the Alabama/A&M score.  While Alabama's one loss may not keep them out of the title game, it's always fantastic to watch them lose, & it somewhat improved what had been an otherwise dismal week, for me personally & for all Americans who value hard work & personal responsibility.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

The Final Countdown

Last year around this time I purged myself of my need to defend Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series, laying it all out in a blog post.  To be clear, I find the content of her books praiseworthy, not the overly cheesy movies that omit significant portions of Meyer's original text.  Nonetheless, it is what she wrote that sells the movie tickets (well, her writing + Robert Pattinson).  I still stand by that defense, & I'm too tired & pregnant to say much more. If you doubt my lack of stamina, consider that at midnight tonight, as thousands of women stand in lines, hustle into theaters, & sit down to munch on popcorn as they wait, for the fifth & final time, for Edward Cullen to grace the screen, I will be tucked in bed asleep.  I am not planning to see the final Twilight film until Sunday evening, believe it or not, when I'll join a group of friends, one of whom is driving from Colorado.  Okay, she's coming home for Thanksgiving, but still, I'm delaying watching the movie until she's here.  That is friendship.

Monday, October 29, 2012


I'm warning you, you may want to slice yourself some cheese before reading any further, because this post is heavy on the whine.

I think it's unfortunate that most people assume labor refers to the hours during which a pregnant woman, having carried her child to term, attempts to coax her baby out of her body.  Let me tell you, I am laboring now.  I enjoy good health; I've never broken a bone or had a kidney stone (both experiences I've been told are more painful than childbirth), so I don't have much to look to for comparison, but I can say with certainty that this past week has been one of the most physically challenging weeks of my life.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Of Late

I need to make a confession.  Lately I've been preoccupied with an assortment of random things - politics, new furniture, the September book club selection, & college football, to be more precise.  I've received some complaints from Reagan's grandparents blog devotees about the dearth of photos of Reagan on the blog, which I admit is an understandable complaint considering the numerous photos of empty chairs & Paul Ryan that have been featured.  So, here's a rundown of how Reagan & I have spent the latter half of September.

Trey had to be in San Francisco last Monday morning for a deposition, so naturally he left town the  Thursday prior to do a little sight seeing.  Reagan & I enjoyed our girls weekend doing very, very little, changing our pajamas once a day to stay fresh as we roamed the house.

While digging in a closet, she discovered the chair I bathed her in when she was tiny.  It provided about an hour's worth of entertainment.

Anytime I spend lengthy amounts of time in the house, the blender inevitably makes an appearance.  We stuck to basics like strawberries & bananas.  Much like the vacuum, Reagan has an iffy relationship with the blender, so I made one large shake that we shared & quickly tucked the blender away in the cabinet.

We drank real coke:

Shared a vat of macaroni & cheese for dinner:

Watched TV in the "big bed:"

Once Reagan was snuggled in her own bed, I returned to mine to settle in with Agatha Christie's And Then There Were None.  Not what I'd usually pick up when in the house without Trey, but it's the book for September, so I forged ahead, feeling fairly secure with the alarm turned on & my revolver by my side.  Seriously.  

I was also comforted by this purchase I snagged at the Books-A-Million counter while waiting to pay for And Then There Were None.  The salted dark chocolate was gone before the first body hit the floor.

Tuesday afternoon, Trey returned bearing gifts . . . a pillow for Reagan:

Patriotic chocolate for me:

Chocolate Golden Gate Bridge, again, for me:

Stanford T-shirts for Reagan & I, just in time to celebrate their win over the perennially overrated USC Trojans:

I must backtrack for a moment & tell you that prior to his trip out West, Trey finally made the leap & jumped on the Apple bandwagon, one I've been riding high for years now.  He purchased an iPad under the pretense that he needed it for work.  He's been extremely happy with his purchase, & already I am hearing whispers of an iPhone 5 purchase.  While in California, he visited Apple's headquarters, which of course means Reagan & I added yet another awesome T-shirt to our Daddy's Depositions collection:



Last week wrapped up with the delivery of a piece of furniture I've legitimately needed for a good while now, my desk (where I am currently seated, happily blogging away).  Other pieces of furniture I do not legitimately need will, of course, follow.   

In an HGTV-worthy endeavor, I've transformed an unused, empty corner off the dining area into my home office, or as Trey calls it, tax deduction corner:

Below, my loves - Reagan, my MacBook, & my new desk.  I'll put a picture of Trey on the desk, & the whole thing will be complete . . . & maybe a Paul Ryan screensaver, for good measure.  

So, that's us lately.  The only other thing worth noting is that tree frogs of various sizes have taken to plastering themselves on our patio doors & windows at dark, which is endlessly fascinating to Reagan.

I snapped a pic of this one Friday night so that during the day, when the frogs aren't around, I can show Reagan the picture when she asks to see the frogs, because ask she does:

It's now officially fall.  This is our first fall in our house, & I am excited about it, & not because I got a new desk.  Many of the great writers had a slobbering love affair, to borrow a phrase from Bernie Goldberg, with spring.  I much prefer fall.  I may have to dig up some poetry, or prose, fawning over fall.        

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
~Albert Camus   


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Sunday, September 2, 2012

The Gifts of the Greeks

After many years have slipped by, 
the leaders of the Greeks, opposed by the Fates, 
and damaged by the war, build a horse of mountainous size . . . 

Then Lacoon rushes down eagerly 
from the heights of the Citadel 
to confront them all, a large crowd with him, 
and shouts from far off: 
'O unhappy citizens, what madness?  
Do you think the enemy's sailed away?  
Or do you think any Greek gift's free of treachery?  
Is that Ulysses' reputation?  
Either there are Greeks in hiding, 
concealed by the wood, 
or it's been built as a machine 
to use against our walls, 
or spy on our homes, 
or fall on the city from above, 
or it hides some other trick:  
Trojans, don't trust this horse.  
Whatever it is, I'm afraid of Greeks, 
even those bearing gifts.'"

-Virgil's Aeneid, Book II

Friday, August 24, 2012

Paper Trail

A letter always seemed to me like immortality 
because it is the mind alone without corporeal friend.
-Emily Dickinson  

Since I last blogged, a great deal has happened.  Well, maybe not, but it felt like it because I was separated from my MacBook, & a hundred times a day I'd want to sit down & type something, & again I'd mourn.

A few hours after posting my previous blog, I handed my MacBook over to the kind people at Computer Solutions in Ruston, the only authorized Apple repair folks in the area.  I was pretty sure something called the inverter cable needed to be replaced (not totally unexpected after nearly four years of trouble-free use), & I was correct.  Computer Solutions overnighted my Mac to Apple & finally, this past Monday, after a week of separation, we were reunited.  One of the first things I saw when I gleefully began surfing the web was this article on the Drudge Report @ Apple's stock setting a record.  This is the first time I've needed anything fixed on my MacBook, & I must say, they went above & beyond.  It is beautiful.

During the long week of separation, I had Internet access on my phone, but I missed having a word processor at my fingertips more than I'd imagined I would.  When I post a blog, it's typically the efforts of a few days worth of dabbling, & I had nowhere to dabble all week & felt a little lost at times.  It did occur to me that I could use paper & pen, but I guess I've become too digitized as I never picked either up.

I rarely write anything longhand; even my grocery list is in my iPhone.  While coping with the frustrations of life without a word processor, I thought about my freshman year of college, during which Trey & I began dating.  Few students in my dorm owned a computer, & no one had a laptop.  I didn't have any email addresses (I now have three that I check on a daily basis), & I used the computers in the library on campus or my parents' large desktop computer at home (on the weekends) to type my papers.  It's unimaginable to me today.

That spring, Trey & I spoke on the phone often.  These were long distance calls since neither of us owned a cell phone that didn't come in a bag, so it wasn't possible for me to live in Arkansas & maintain a 318 area code.  With our parents breathing down our necks over long distance bills, we also - get this - wrote letters.  Real paper, real pens, real envelopes, real stamps, the whole bit.

Occasionally the mood will strike, but after a decade of typing college papers, emails, & texts, it's usually frustrating for me to write longhand.  Once it's in ink, all you can do is scratch through it, or wad up the paper & start again.  There's no delete option, no copying & pasting to shift a paragraph or a sentence here or there.  The anal retentive English teacher in me adores word processors because they allow for perfection; all traces of mistakes can be obliterated with the stroke of a key.  If you think of a better word or phrase, you can slip it in unnoticed, the rest of the document undisturbed.    

Every now & then, I reread some of the letters Trey & I wrote, & I guess one day I'll give them to Reagan.  They have character that cannot be achieved in an email, no matter how many emoticons you insert or how creative you are with font changes & italics.  In the same box that houses the letters Trey & I exchanged, I have a stack of letters my grandfather sent me when I was in college.  These letters were typed on the typewriter that sat atop his desk, the same typewriter he used to compose numerous letters to the editors of Monroe's paper, The News Star, & the Bastrop Daily Enterprise.  He died on a Wednesday, & I returned to my apartment that night & sat down at my laptop to begin composing his obituary.  As I clicked away, I thought of the many hours he spent in front of his typewriter.  Every smooth stroke of the keys was a reminder of the passage of time, the conveniences technology affords, & the immutability of the power of the written word to channel emotion, to shine a light on injustice, & to ignite agents of change.

In a fabulous twist of irony I think he would have appreciated, a few days after my grandfather's memorial service I sat at my laptop & composed a scathing letter to the editor of the Bastrop Daily Enterprise for failing to publish my grandfather's obituary despite my having meticulously followed their instructions for submission.  

Last Saturday, prior to my reunion with my MacBook, Reagan & I joined my mom & my Papaw & traveled to El Dorado, where Reagan was reunited with her cousin Will.

Will also owns a Coupe, & while it is not pink, Reagan made herself at home:

Reagan & Will, who will never know life without a word processor, with their great-grandfather, who has never used one:

Enjoying the sunroom in Will's new home:

Saturday was a napless day for Reagan, so she was not in the mood to cooperate while I attempted to take a picture of her in her new footed PJs:

Reagan, I encourage you to record your thoughts in some way as you age.  Keep a journal, blog, write letters to the people you love, & save the letters they write you.  I promise you won't regret the paper trail.           


Monday, July 30, 2012

Pink Coupe Oblivion

Did you hear that?

Last week, millions of Twihards gasp in unison as news broke that Bella cheated on Edward Kristen Stewart cheated on Robert Pattinson with Jacob Rupert Sanders, a married man who directed her in her recent film, Snow White and the Huntsman, in which Stewart portrayed Snow White.  I know, I know, the irony is almost too much.  It's been referred to as the Twipocalypse, & as one clever individual noted on Twitter, As Syria descends into civil war, CNN asks 'Should Robert Pattinson forgive Kristen Stewart?'  

If you're wondering, & I know some of you are because it's been asked of me, no, I won't be removing my countdown (look to your right) to the final Twilight film.  While Summit Entertainment is probably poised to throttle Miss Stewart, I'm certain the movie will be released as planned & I'll be there in my Team Edward shirt (because, after all, he's not the one kissing someone else - in fiction or reality), popcorn & chocolate in hand, to watch the final scenes of this saga unfold.   I'll likely also pay a bit of attention to what is shaping up to be perhaps the most awkward film promotion in history.

Thursday, June 28, 2012


Since political matters are the hot topic today, I'll stick with a more mundane one: the weather.

Weather is important.  Humans are vexed by weather, because we cannot control it.  We know a lot about how & why things happen, but we can't prevent them, or initiate them.  In any fictional setting that features humans playing God (The Truman Show, The Hunger Games), be assured, the god-figure(s) will meddle with the weather.  If you've seen it, you may recall Christof's line in The Truman Show, "Cue the sun."

God knows the significance of weather.  I think, aside from the flood, my favorite Biblical use of weather is when the Lord darkened the sky & shook the earth as Christ died.  Wouldn't every parent who lost a child do the same if they had the power?  God doesn't have to write His name in the sky to make Himself known; He created the sky, & He created the light by which we can see it, and He can snuff out that light at any moment.  He speaks, & the sun obeys, & the earth moves.  The Bible is, among other things, a wonderful piece of literature, & can be analyzed as such.  God appreciates symbolism, & it wouldn't have seemed appropriate that the sun remain high & bright in the sky given that the man who was present when the sun was spoken into existence was in the throes of death.

You know the significance of weather if you've participated in or are a fan of any sport played outdoors, or if you've ever planned an event to be held outdoors & then obsessively checked weather forecasts.  About ten years ago, I stood on the back porch at Squire Creek for the first time, looked out over the courtyard, & told my mother I'd be married there.  In 2009, I was (Trey also participated).  I'd always insisted my wedding & reception would be held indoors, because, while I am resourceful, I can't control the weather & I wanted to be able to control every aspect of such an important event (or relinquish control to capable people I trusted).

October of 2009 began as the rainiest Louisiana October I can remember, though unless you were planning an outdoor wedding in the middle of the month, or are a weatherman, you likely didn't take note then, & certainly can't recall now.  We were blessed with a beautiful day.  This was pretty much how I imagined it back in 2002:

If I were to write a short story about various significant moments in my life, I'd certainly include the weather (& then what I was wearing).  I know the weather is important, because I remember it, can still feel it in some cases.  It was an unseasonably cold May Saturday in Louisiana the day I graduated from college.  It rained the night my grandfather died.  It was hot the day I took my bridal portraits.  I'm not a fainter, but came as close as I ever have standing outside in the sun in my heavy dress, attempting to follow the photographer's instructions while sweat ran in sheets down my face.  It was chilly, variably cloudy, & not at all humid the October day Trey & I married.

In some novels, weather is so significant it could be analyzed as a separate character.  I like a nice description of the current weather when I'm reading; weather plays heavily into my mood, so I want to know how it might be affecting the characters whose lives I typically immerse myself in when I read.
At present, it's summer, & all the great writers had something to say about summer.

Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.  
-Henry James

One must maintain a little bit of summer, even in the middle of winter.  
-Henry David Thoreau

And so with the sunshine and the great bursts of leaves growing on the trees, just as things grow fast in movies, I had that familiar conviction that life was beginning over again with the summer.
-F. Scott Fitzgerald

I presume these men never spent a summer in Louisiana.  Great bursts of leaves may grow fast in movies, Mr. Fitzgerald, but in Louisiana they dry up & wither & die in the relentless heat.  Life doesn't begin over again during a Louisiana summer; life grinds to a halt while all living things attempt to wait out the oppressive weather.

I always seem to forget how hot it is here in the summer.  Every April, there is a moment when I'm excited about painting my toenails, wearing sandals, & doing other summery things.  That moment never lasts long.  I don't like the heat.  At. All.  I think John Steinbeck had the better idea . . . What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness.  There are Colorado residents who've spent winter after winter digging out from under snow they'd love to be buried  in right now.

While we wait for cooler temps, or even a cloud to provide enough cover for a nice walk, Reagan & I remain indoors most of the time.  We've been to the park a few times.  These below are courtesy of my sister, who took them on an unseasonably cool day in May:

We hang out at Newk's:

Make the occasional Sonic run:

Try on hats in the Cracker Barrel:

Roam around Target . . .

. . . and discover Archer Farms latest creations:

Drive daddy's truck:

Attend story time at the public library:

Visit Papaw:

Peek out the window at the patio furniture it's too hot to enjoy:

Trey & I recently saw Rock of Ages in the theater (a great place to get away from the heat, but one where Reagan is not yet welcome).  If you enjoy musicals, and/or think Alec Baldwin is hilarious, and/or enjoy boy band humor, you should go see Rock of Ages.  During the previews, I was given yet another reason to long for winter . . . a trailer for The Great Gatbsy, starring Leonardo DiCaprio as Gatsby, Toby Maguire as Nick Carraway, & Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan.  Um, yes, please.  

I've never given my readers an assignment, but I challenge you to read The Great Gatsby before this film is released, which I believe will be around Christmas.  If you've read it, reread it, & then watch the 1974 film starring Robert Redford as Gatsby, Sam Waterston (aka Jack McCoy of Law & Order fame) as Nick Carraway, & Mia Farrow as Daisy.

I don't know how anyone who attended high school in America escaped without reading this novel, but it's one every American needs to read.  It should be required reading in both literature and American history classes.  I read it in high school, but it wasn't until I reread it in my American Novel class in college that I realized how grossly I'd underestimated Fitzgerald's work.  

Weather, of course, plays an important role in The Great Gatsby.  The novel opens as summer begins, and Fitzgerald correlates the rising heat with Gatsby's hope of a future with Daisy, his long lost love.  It's raining the first time Gatsby is reunited with Daisy, but as the awkwardness between them dissipates, so too does the rain.  Gatsby confronts Tom, Daisy's husband, on what the reader is told is the hottest day of the year.  You get the drift.

If things go as planned, The Great Gatsby will be the December book club selection.  I'll sweeten the pot: if you read the book, you can be an honorary member of the book club & come see the film with us & listen to me prattle on about symbolism.      

At its heart, Gatsby is a novel about the disillusionment that inevitably creeps in when people are motivated by material gain and relentlessly pursue pleasure, ignoring signs of disaster looming ahead.  What an excellent time to bring the novel to the big screen again.