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21 posts from August 2008

Saturday, August 30, 2008

HIGH SCHOOL!

Weddingtonlogo   

Well, Sarah's post to her blog "The Pink Life"  was so funny and teenagerish that I just had to share it with all of you.  And by all means, if you feel so inclined to comment, please pop over to her blog and do so as that would definitely make my little girl's day, and nothing makes me happier than to see her smile - braces gleaming and all. *****************************

HIGH SCHOOL!
By Sarah Vaughn (Age 14, and going into 9th grade and a new lease on life among high schoolers)
The Pink Life

Continue Reading in School Days ...
   





Thursday, August 28, 2008

School Books, Homeschooling, and High School Trepidation

This week I got down to the business of homeschooling my children and making a lot of difficult decisions.  Decisions on school books, structure, high school curriculum, panic, and naps (I have to fit in naps if I am going to maintain my sanity). 

This year is different, though, because my baby girl, Sarah, is 14 and going into 9th grade, and that realization alone is when I started to feel the sweat on my brow and heart palpitations kick in.  But before I buckled down to make one of the biggest and most difficult decisions of my daughter's academic life, I felt a need to get the easier decisions out of the way.


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And so, I got down to business.  Or rather, I got down on the floor with the school books.  Too many school books I'll have you know.  WAY too many school books.  I have a small library goin' on here. 

There is a pile for Math and a pile for Language Arts and a pile for Science and a pile for whatever.  My problem is that every time I go to Growing Scholars  I buy out the store with what I think to be better books for teaching my children.   Before I know it, my children are working out of 7 different books for every subject and their brains are bursting, and their hands are hurting, and their eyes are popping for having to work out of so many books.   What's a mother to do?  Cry?  I have opted to throw all the books up in the air and the one that lands on top wins.  Whadaya think?  Sound like a good idea?  This is relaxed homeschooling at its best.

We went through all these books.  Some of them were passed down from Matthew to Glen and some from Sarah to Matthew, and others were completely finished and others were never used and never will be.  Which led me to another reason to squirm - all the money spent on school books that will never be used is nothing short of a small fortune.

Soon after sorting through this tragic pile of academic cataclysm, I felt that we were well on our way to a good program in all the core subjects for our 6th grader and our 3rd grader.


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After resolving this source of mental conflict, I had to face the music - what about Sarah?  Should I continue to homeschool her through high school or enroll her in the public school?  Why on earth did I wait till the last frickin' minute to make this decision?!!!  There has to be an answer!!!!  Somebody please help me!!!  My head is hurting here!  I hate this about myself.  I'm so stinkin' difficult - and the worst procrastinator on the East Coast.

So for the last 2 nights I have been up until 4 in the morning searching for answers, clues, solutions, curriculum, and please don't let it cost us 8000 dollars.  I found very expensive solutions, and a few answers, but no "solution."

I discovered what North Carolina requires for graduation from high school and what records they need me to keep in order for Sarah to graduate and go on to college.  I had an overwhelming dread flush over me that maybe I wasn't keeping the best of records all these years.   I felt a sense of personal failure that maybe I had let Sarah down and had not prepared her for her high school years.  Then I found her PASS test and realized that she was in the 98th percentile across the board in all her subjects and studied Biology and Logic and Algebra last year as an 8th grader.  Suddenly I was feeling a little better.  She really has been a great daughter and student - but have I been a good teacher?

And so, this began my struggle for the right answers for her.  Big Bear and I took her to the local high school and met with a guidance counselor to discuss enrolling her in the public high school.  Our school, fortunately, is one of the best in the state of North Carolina.  It is a very good school.  I was worried, though.  As we began to talk to the counselor and learn about their programs, clubs, courses of study, and more, I saw Sarah's face light up and I knew then that this just might be the right choice for her during her high school years.  Maybe she needed to experience high school like I did and like her father did.  And, maybe, just maybe, it would prepare her for college better than I could. 


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Today we made a decision  - albeit temporary - to start Sarah on this journey into high school at the public school and with a light load.  I was very happy to discover that the school can tailor her course load to suit her academic needs.  And, being that this is the first year that she has ever been thrown into the deep end of scholarly pools, the fact that they were willing to lighten her load for the first semester to help her get acclimated to her surroundings, teachers, and new study requirements - was nothing short of an act of benevolence.


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Sarah will be taking Algebra 1, World History, PE, and Art.  You can't get much lighter than that, folks.  That is for the first semester.  She will be starting on Tuesday.  However, the teachers have emailed me the course work that she has missed this first week of school and suddenly Sarah is feeling daunted and inept and the personal floodgate of her bungling mind has been opened.

Tears are flowing.  Eyes are red and puffy.  "I feel stupid" is every other sentence she speaks.  Suddenly I feel the same thing - that maybe I have failed her somehow overtakes every cell in my body. 

We will get through this and we will get through this together.  First we have to re-learn inequalities and quadratic and linear equations, intercepts and parametric forms.  But not before I have a good cry. 

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Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Saying Goodbye to Nell - Painting of a Dearly Loved Border Collie

Nell8 by you.

Yes, I am preparing to say goodbye to Nell - the painting, as she is now about as dry as she is going to get prior to putting on a coat of varnish and then shipping to Ree - The Pioneer Woman - who lost her precious dog over a month ago. 

Nell4 by you.

Still no sign of Nell, and the world is saddened by her loss as we have all come to know and love Nell.  She was playful.  She loved her soccer ball.  She helped Ree out of some difficult situations on the Ranch - like the time Ree drove her farm vehicle thru a pond and Nell stood on the other side cheering her on. 

Nell2 by you.

I know first hand the kind of love that a human shares with a pet, and I also know the special bond that is shared with a dog.  For that reason, I felt an overwhelming sense of compassion for Ree and her children and her family for their loss.  And so, I did this painting of Nell.  It is the first painting I have ever done of a dog and yet, for some reason, it has taken on a life of its own. 

This painting has become more than just a painting for me as I have come to know the Border Collie behind the eyes that I so carefully tried to exact in the painting.  I worked carefully on every detail, every shadow, every value, every hair, and every flicker of light in her eyes based on the photograph I used for a reference.

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And so, this afternoon, my son, Matthew, sat on our bench outside and held the painting of Nell so that I could take pictures.  He looks disturbed behind the painting.  I think he has become attached to Nell too.  He has watched me, daily, fuss over the painting and has walked into my studio on a number of occasions and said "Mom, I'll bet Ree likes your painting a lot.  Nell looks so real."


Nell8 by you.

So I send her on to you, Ree, with love from your friend in North Carolina.  I hope this painting is all that you hoped it would be and more.  I hope it brings you peace of mind in knowing that Nell will always be a part of your family and never forgotten. 

It has been a joy for me to work on this for you.  My gift to you and your precious family.

Blessings, 

Susan

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Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Adolf and Hannah Sittin' in a Tree...K-i-s-s-i-n-g?

AdolfandHannah641.jpg by you.

When Adolf and Hannah met for the first time, Adolf was a bit confused


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He wasn't sure if he should bite her, eat her....


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Play with her....


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Lick  her....


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Smell her...


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Be amused by her...


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Sniff her...


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or be bored with her


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Hannah was amused by my foot, however, and gave me a lick.  "That tickles!  Stooooop it you little stinker! hee hee"


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Adolf was a really good boy.  He just laid by and let her amuse him

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And he wasn't really interested in reacting to all this hee haw.  He just wanted to touch her


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And then let her know, of course, that this is his territory and she had boundaries


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Of course, after a while, Adolf started to feel a bit insecure.  I mean, she did have a heck of a lot more energy than he has


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Adolf: "See how much bigger I am than you, Hannah?  I own this house.  Ignore Mom's foot, but please pay attention to me.  Hannah?  Hannah?"

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Adolf started to give in to her.  He wanted to get her attention now.


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Adolf was getting tired just watching her, though.  She wouldn't hold still for 5 seconds.


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And so he continued to watch her scramble, and toss and turn


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Finally, Adolf gave up, and Hannah felt sad.  She had tried so hard to amuse Adolf, but he didn't pay a lot of attention to her.   He felt like she wasn't paying any attention to him either.


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Nope, she wasn't going to let no man hurt her feelings, so she held her chin up high and ignored him right back.


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And she didn't move.  She was going to hold her ground and ignore Adolf.  Men.  They never give you the attention you need.


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Yep, she was getting good at holding still.  She was not going to entertain him at all anymore.  She was one tough cookie.


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Well, maybe Adolf likes her a little bit.  And maybe Hannah will sniff her way over to him.


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Maybe she'll just move in a little closer without him noticing


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There, that's better.  It's love.  Yep, they love each other.

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They even kiss and share secrets now.


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Although he does want to put her head in his mouth at times to tease her


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She doesn't care.  Adolf's her boyfriend, her man, her hunk-a-burnin-love

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Monday, August 25, 2008

Marvelous Meatloaf

BethsMeatloaf3.jpg by you.

And yes, there is such a thing.  Especially if Beth is cookin' it. Singing the praises of a good meatloaf to a vegetarian would pretty much be a waste of time. But for those of us who enjoy this comfort food, you'll enjoy it even more the next day as a sandwich (with ketchup please), read on… 

Continue Reading in What's Cookin ...

Sunday, August 24, 2008

A Conversation with Kellie Pickler

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Yes, I've had a short and sweet conversation with Kellie.  It was a random thing.  You see, I went to Kellie's myspace page and watched one of her videos for a new song and noticed her profile picture looked a little strange.  Kellie had her hand up by her face and it looked like she was picking her nose.  So - a conversation ensued.

From: M. Susan Vaughn
Date: Jul 19, 2008 11:00 PM


Hi Kellie, I just went on your myspace page and saw your video of the filming of your new video - lots of fun.   But that is not why I am writing. You really should change your picture - the one with the hand at your nose.   It looks like you are either picking your nose or pinching a pimple. You should never put hands near your beautiful face!

Stay Sweet, Susan

From: Kellie Pickler
Date: Jul 21, 2008 3:14 PM


HA HA! THANKS FOR YOUR MESSAGE SUSAN!! I LIKE MY PICTURE!  HAVE A GREAT SUMMER!!

XOXO PICKLER :)


From: M. Susan Vaughn
Date: Jul 21, 2008 3:29 PM


Thank you for your reply, Kellie.  I still think you should change your picture.   I don't know if you knew Walter or Jeneece S.   from Albemarle,  but they are like family to me.   Walter used to be principal of Albemarle High School and Jeneece was a counselor there for many years.   They are older and retired now.   Good people.   I live an hour from there in Weddington with my family of 6 and we are so proud of you, and have been following you since the beginning.  Keep up the great work - and change that picture!

Stay Sweet, Susan

From: Kellie Pickler
Date: Jul 23, 2008 8:42 PM

I'M SORRY YOU HATE MY PICTURES SO BADLY......I CAN'T PLEASE EVERYONE...HA HA....I LIKE THE PICTURE.

I DON'T BELIEVE I KNOW THE PEOPLE YOU MENTIONED IN YOUR MESSAGE. I NEVER WENT TO ALBEMARLE HIGH SCHOOL.....I GRADUATED FROM NORTH STANLY HIGH SCHOOL INSTEAD.

XOXO PICKLER

From: M. Susan Vaughn
Date: Jul 28, 2008 5:34 PM

Kellie, I didn't say I hated your picture!  You goof!  I love your pictures!  It's just the picture of you with your hand at your nose - It distracts from your face.  You are beautiful - don't hide your lovely face! 

By the way, I will be adding a link to your iTunes connection on my site.  Hope you have a great summer - looks like you are going to be very busy. 

Stay Sweet,  Susan

**********************************


Well, Kellie has been having a very busy summer.  I don't know how she does it.  She is so adorable - I want to adopt her.  I am so proud of her I just want to hug her like I would my own grown daughters, and tell her she is awesome - but I think I just did that. 

So happens, Kellie changed her picture (at least for her message posts)  - and this one is a lot better, don't you think?

She still puts her hands up by her face, but at least they're not on her nose.  LOL


KelliePickler2.jpg


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Saturday, August 23, 2008

Creative Moms Cafe


View my page on Creative Moms Cafe

I cannot explain how or why I do all these crazy things.  I think I have an over-abundance of creative energy and I need more than one outlet, so I paint, sew, quilt, design websites, design blog headers, write, teach, play on my computer, play the piano, mow my lawn (when I have grass).  Lordy Mercy! This is exhausting!

But boy is this fun. hee hee.  So what have I done now?  Geez, I've started a new website called "Creative Moms Cafe" for all you creative and wonderful Moms out there who create beautiful things and have - well - an over-abundance of creative energy and time on your hands to share your thingummies with me.  I want to hear all about it. I want to see your pictures. I want you to share your recipes.  I want you to blog and share and give me your website information so I can buy your great stuff!  Or, at the very least, find someone with a little more money who will definitely buy your stuff.  Hey, this is a great marketing tool!

It took me about 6 hours to pull it all together. What is really nutty-crazy is that 7 hours ago I had no idea I'd be building another website, much less be excited about it.  Wait till Big Bear gets wind of this, he'll have a cow - or maybe another John Deere. Moo moo.

Anywho, I want you to pop over and join.   Start a group for Moms who make jewelry, or Moms who quilt, or Moms who take great pictures, or Moms who love to cook, or - or Moms who have no control over their creative energy and create websites just for the hell of it.

Heck, if you are creating it, I want to hear about it dag-nammit!

You get the picture, right?

 
Find more photos like this on Creative Moms Cafe


Thursday, August 21, 2008

How to Screw Up your Computer in 48 Minutes or Less

I am not typing on my wonderful MacBook Pro right now.  Why?  Because I have totally trashed it.  Unintentionally, of course, because I love my MacBook.  I mean, I really love my MacBook. - tears flowing, mouth turned down, sobbing, banging on table.  "How could I be so - so - so - dang confident that I knew what I was doing?!!!!!  Waaaaaa!!!!!

And so I write this letter to my MacBook Pro, which may never sit on my lap again, and I type this letter on her sister - the Mac Desktop - sob sob

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My wonderful MacBook.  You've been such a good friend to me.  All I wanted to do was clean out all those dang gray hairs that I'm shedding that were stuck under your keys, and the raisin toast crumbs that were crunching every time I typed on your dependable keyboard.


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I even laid out the typepad keys in neat order so that I wouldn't forget where they went.  I was trying to be so very careful with you....

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Oh, the crap lying beneath your keys - I'm so sorry I'm shedding.  It's hormones you know, and of course, my love of raisin toast in the morning, and the evening, and the mid-night snack with you sitting warmly in my lap making my thighs sweat.  I just couldn't bear to hear the crunch of toast crumbs anymore.


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And so I prepared you for delicate surgery.

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And I even blew off all the crumbs before I performed hair and dust-bunny-removal surgery.


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So, with hands shaking, (note the blurry picture), I removed your delicate keys, careful not to screw up anything underneath. 


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And with magnifying glass in my right hand, and some clippers (couldn't find the tweezers) in my left hand, I carefully removed my gray hair and numerous dust particles and raisin toast crumbs from your exposed keypad.

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And then, after almost 48 minutes of delicate surgery, I pieced you back together again.  But not before Big Bear saturated you with some solution for computers nearly giving me a heart attack.

And I blew your exposed keypad with that spray stuff that freezes your hand off.

And I prayed that my MacBook would be good as new with no more crunchy things and gray hairs looming beneath its keys.

But...


but....

I screwed you up.  You've gone to Apple heaven I suppose, because although you come on, you don't type for me anymore. 

Waaaaaaaa!!!!  sob sob sniffle sniffle  Waaaaaaaaa!!!!  sniff sniff blubber blubber banging my head on the table un un snif sniffle waaaaa, un un, snif blubber blowing nose, mouth turned under, grief stricken

So, I guess I have to take you to the Genius bar after all, because although Mensa calls me a genius, I see that I am not, after all, a techno genius, and I am .... am ....

SO DISGUSTED WITH MYSELF!!!!!

And besides, it was Albert Einstein who once said that "intellectuals solve problems, but geniuses prevent them"  which simply means that if I had been a genius, after all, I would have prevented this debacle by putting that blue rubbery keyboard thingy over my keypad to prevent this need for MacBook surgery.  I should hope that Mensa doesn't get wind of this or they'll kick me out on my hiney as a farce - or is that a fart?  Yep, I am an old fart.  huh?

Crap, these dang computers.



Apple Store
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Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Visual Thesaurus - More than Just Another Word

When I find something useful, I like to share it.  When I find something useful and educational, I have to share it and talk about it.  In this case, I am talking about Visual Thesaurus

I am always seeking to find ways to improve my children's ability to write, understand, and improve their language skills, and when I found this, I knew it would be a great resource - not just for my kids, but for me too.

Let me introduce you to Visual Thesaurus...

 

VTAbout by you.

2 Versions - Desktop and Online.  I signed up for the Online Edition and for 4 licenses for me and my 3 little chillins ...

Continue Reading in School Days ...


Tuesday, August 19, 2008

United States History for our Children

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U.S. History.  I never really liked it that much in high school, but now, as I homeschool my children, I enjoy it immensely, and so do my children.  It amazes me to hear my 3 children converse about History, Woman's Suffrage, the Vietnam War, WWII, our Presidents, and political issues.  They listen to CNN and ...

Continue Reading in School Days ...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Orbs Around Us and a Healthy Dose of Fresh Air

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If there is one thing I know about myself, it is that I am skeptical and I ask questions - and lots of 'em.  Alison has always been deeply spiritual, but for some reason, we have always had this connection that seems almost soulful. 

So, when my daughter took these pictures of us sitting on the sofa in our family room the other night I thought nothing of it.  As a matter of fact I was a bit irritated because I thought my lens was dirty on my camera.  But then I asked myself - "Well, then why aren't all the other pictures showing the same specks of dirt?" 


AlisonandSusan.jpg by you.

When I showed the pictures to Alison this was our conversation:

Alison: "Look Susan!  We're surrounded by Orbs"  

I looked at her strangely

Me: "Huh?  What the hell is an Orb?" 

Alison: "You don't know what an Orb is?"

Me: "No, never heard of it."

Alison: "They're spirits, energy around us.  Like Angels looking over us."

Me: "Okay, you're scaring me now.  You mean we're surrounded by spirits?"

Alison: "Yes, and the pictures prove it.  Look at the pictures of us on the sofa.  See the Orbs?  They're all around us.  We have spirits watching over us." 

Me: "Are you sure that's not just a dirty lens?"

Alison:  "Well if it is wouldn't it be on the other pictures?"

Me: "I would think so." 

Alison:  "You see Susan, we have a lot of positive energy and angels around us.  Look at the pictures."

Well, I'd surely like to believe that we have angels looking over us.  I know that there is a lot of positive energy and a lot of love between me and my friend, Alison.  Hopefully we will have another 34 years of memories that are good and happy.


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We've shared a lot over the years and this week has gone by way too fast.  She leaves tomorrow for New Mexico and I will miss her, and so will my children.


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We are all anxious for her to find a place to call home - nearby - so that we can visit all the time and spend every holiday together. 


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She is a part of my life.  We grew up together.  We double-dated.  We cried together as teenagers, and we have cried together as adults.  Sisters.  Spiritual Sisters.  She was there when I gave birth to my 2 oldest daughters.  She never gave up on me, and I surely never gave up on her.

I sure feel blessed to have the wonderful friends that I have in my life, and Alison has reminded me daily how precious friendship is and how vulnerable and dear we are to each other. 

My children have adopted Alison as their Aunt.

Today, we went and looked at some lots in a very nice community surrounded by trees and farmland.  It was gorgeous.  Alison fell in love with it and is interested in having a house built on one of the available lots.  Keeping her options open. 


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While we were driving through the countryside, I noticed this beautiful home on the left with ponds and a white fence and horses.  It was picture perfect and I told Keith (poor Keith) to pull over. 


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Doesn't this look magnificent and serene?  North Carolina countryside - God's Country.

Keith:  "Oh my God.  Susan, are you going to go run down another homeowner?" 

Me:  "You're dang right.  I want that house.  I want those horses.  I want that John Deere Tractor." 

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In front of me was this beautiful house on a picturesque setting.  I took lots of pictures and Keith drove me and Alison up the driveway.  I hopped out and a man was in the back working.


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Me: "Hello.  I'm Susan and I love your home.  If you had it up for sale I'd snap it up in a second. You wanna sell it?" 

He replied:  "Well, my wife and I are thinkin' about it actually.  We might want to downsize.  Let me show you around." 

By that time, Alison and Keith were walking over and I introduced them to this nice gentleman. 


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He is a local builder - imagine that - and he gave each of us his card.  He told Alison about some property he owns nearby where he could build her a house.  You think some angels were guiding us around town?  Notice no orbs in these pictures.


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So this nice gentleman showed us around and took us back to his horse stables where he introduced us to a beautiful horse that was due to have a colt any day. 


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Then we met some of his other horses.  They were beautiful, and friendly, and there was a filly that was feisty. 

Keith: "Susan, I never know where we're going to end up when we go out." 


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Alison:  "That's funny.  The whole time we were growing up people thought she was the conservative, quiet one and I was the wild one, what they didn't know is that she is the wild one and I am the conservative, quiet one."  (Remember - I rode a harley for years.  No tattoos, though.)  Darn

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Keith: "That is funny." 

Me: "No comment." 

We got the grand exterior tour and it was spectacular.  The smell of fresh cut grass, horse manure....


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Keith:  "You smell that?"

Me:  "Yeah"

Keith:  "You know what that smell is?"

Me: "Horse crap and hay?"

Keith: "No - that's the smell of money." 

Me: "I'd say so!  And this guys got far more than I do!"

Then I took in a big breather.  Mmmmmm - fresh air.

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And then I did what Ree does without even thinking about it - I took a picture of feet while I was trying to get a picture of this doggy.  Mercy, I hope he doesn't pee on my pretty sandles and mess up my 30 dollar pedicure while I stand here in horse manure.  - Oh, and hay.


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And I fell in love with this house.  Every inch of it.  I want it.  Can I have it?  Please Big Bear?  Pretty Please with a Cherry on Top and Whipped Cream?


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Isn't it glorious with its Crepe Myrtle trees and white picket fence?

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And swing.  I love swings attached to big oak trees. 


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So, Mr. Builder - can I buy your house?  And your farm?  And your horses?  And your Crepe Myrtles?


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And your horse manure?  And your hay?  And your ponds?  Oh hell, what's your price?

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As I fainted, like Scarlett in Gone with the Wind, I remembered Clark Gable - "Frankly My Dear, I Don't Give A Damn"

And then reality kicked in and I remembered that I, too, have a beautiful home filled with love and security, and happy children and dog's barking, and friends who visit and sleep soundly...

And I pray that Alison get her tush back here soon.

And then I'm happy again - to go home.



 


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Sunday, August 17, 2008

A Place to Call Home

Alison and I went out looking for homes yesterday.  It is a buyer's market and a perfect time for Alison to find a place to call home.  It will be a lot of work packing, planning, and moving across the country from New Mexico to North Carolina, but her future looks bright and being close to "family" as we really are "family" and not just friends, is more important to anything else.

We are both thrilled at what the 50s holds for each of us and we are prepared to go thru this period of our lives together.  So, yesterday I had my real estate friend - Keith Hall - drive us around looking at homes.  He had done some research the day before and had put together about a dozen houses for us to look at. 

So here are a few that Alison considered...


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Cute - good energy.  Alison liked it.

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Pretty and cozy

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Nice neighborhood


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Keith is a really great guy.  He'll be upfront with you and will find you the home of your dreams.  If Keith can't find you the right home, nobody can.  If you are ever in the Charlotte area and need the perfect realtor who will listen and will find you the right home for you and your family - call Keith Hall at Metro Remax Realty at 704.543.6680.  Tell him Susan sent ya.  He had no clue I was taking his picture from the backseat.  Poor guy.  And I'm posting it all over the internet too.

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Next - Not.  Bad energy.  Negative feelings.  We're female like that.  We know these things.

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Next.  Kinda, sorta, maybe, maybe not.  Neutral.  No wows goin' on.


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Take it.  Leave it.  Forget it.


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Nice landscaping.  Good energy.


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A place to call home?


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A backyard sanctuary.


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A nice shed for that souped up riding lawnmower she can ride around on in her bikini.


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A sanctuary where Alison can listen to the birds and relax in the hammock and read or nap.  A place to listen to the Cicadas in the late summer.


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So is that the one Alison?  We'll know soon.  In the meantime, she is planning.  She is flying back to New Mexico on Tuesday and beginning the transition - packing and finding a mover, finding a management company to rent her house in New Mexico.

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And until she finds that perfect cozy place to call home, her home is here.  With us.  Next to me on the couch with our feet propped up, laughing and carrying on like a bunch of crazy teenager girls having a sleepover and up till all hours of the night.





American Blinds - as seen on HGTV!
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Friday, August 15, 2008

Blonde and Blue

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Yes, Blonde and Blue and Blue and Blonde.  That's Alison and me.  Two peas in a pod and yet, you'd think we were completely opposite. 


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Alison is exotic and ethereal.


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I'm conservative and motherly.


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Alison is free and fun-loving.


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I'm just fun - and a little bit over-the-top crazy.

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On the other hand, Alison is funny as hell.

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And serious, but only when necessary.

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Alison and I have been friends since we were crazy teenagers, all of 15 years old, chasing 4500 handsome midshipmen at the Naval Academy.

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And that's a long, dang, lifetime, of friendship.

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We both love Jimmy Hendrix and Led Zepplin.  We both remember Soul Train and American Bandstand.

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We both danced our hineys off in the late 70s at every disco we could find.  Yep, we were 16 and dancing Queens. (Note: I am trying to drive my car while she clicks away with her camera phone. - Crazy?  Damn right!)

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Alison - my friend of 34 years, is just as much fun as she was all those years ago. 

True Friends - Never forgotten, Always Loved, As close as family (sometimes closer), and there when we need them.  True Friendship.  A blessing, a life of experiences shared with someone you care about, thru marriages and relationships, children and heartache, love and loss.  True Friendship is something I cherish greatly in my life. 

Having friends means being a friend - even when it means tough love.

Being a friend means hugs, laughter, tears, fights, compassion, understanding, tolerance, patience, distance, closeness, and energy.

Energy - that positive force that keeps you together as friends no matter how many miles are between you.

Friends - Cherish them.  Love them.  Call them.  Care for them.  Be a part of their lives.

And the blessings will be endless and bountiful.

For a lifetime.

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Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Friends are Forever

Ali3.bmp Yesterday my friend of 34 years, Alison, (We've been friends since we were both 15, so that would make us - uh - hmmmm - uh - 49), flew to North Carolina from New Mexico to visit little ol' me.  We hadn't seen each other in 16 years (She sang at Bob's and my wedding) as our lives got busy after that and she moved to Florida and then New Mexico with her then Airline Pilot husband.  We always manage, though, to catch up with each other and it is always as if the years never passed. 

Suddenly, we're 16 again and driving to the Naval Academy in Annapolis to find ourselves some sweetie-pie in a white uniform and dancing till the sun comes up.  Or going to California Inn in Laurel, Maryland (what a smoke-infested dump), or hanging out at the beach in Ocean City.  Or, or, or.....

We never grew up.  Well, kinda.  I mean, today we got up at 9am, went to breakfast, and both of us came back home and went to bed for a nap - a long nap.  Talk about a couple of old fuddie-duddies.  (Oh, excuse me, we're not "old")  We slept for 5 hours.  Zonked. 

Now, if I had my stinkin' camera charger I would have had my Big Bear take a picture of this crazy duo.   Imagine this - Alison is 5'8", thin, made up to the hilt, with pajama bottoms and this huge exotic scarf wrapped around her in the sexiest of ways with this long, flowing, blonde hair and standing next to her is me - 5'5", short, gray hair in my mother's long t-shirt that reads: "Hold me, Hug me, Squeeze me, Pretend that I'm your Remote Control."   Not a pretty sight.

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Now, imagine this - we stumble out of my mother's room (where we were nappin' and giggling like a couple of schoolgirls), and our hair is all messed up, and we both sit on the sofa, feet up, laptop desks and laptops in action - typing, typing, typing.  Sarah looks at both of us and says "You two are pathetic."  - ya think?

So here we sit - she is sitting to my left looking at hot guys on Match.com and I'm sitting here typing this post.  I'll have to take pictures.  Or better yet, I'l post some pictures of Alison that she sent me.  She's available.  She's lookin'.  She's talking to my ex-husband on the phone right now.  (that is the truth).  Now this is what you call a real hook-up.


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Okay, this is ridiculous - she is emailing all these honey-pies on Match.com.  Lordy Mercy - all these hot guys after Alison.  Me - the friend - the fuddy-duddy of them all. 

She did say she had to hook me up - but not with a man - with Oprah.  Can you guess what for?  How'd you guess.  Yes, a makeover.  Or better yet, just give me a comfortable bed, a fat down comforter, and a place to plop my head - I'm happy.




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Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Staying Focused can be Tough for an 8 Year Old

GlenPiano

My Sweet Glen.  I still can't believe he is my grandson.  He is growing up so fast - as they all are, of course.  Glen is an amazing child.  He is different, but he is very, very smart.

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Saturday, August 09, 2008

The Easiest and Best Fresh Blueberry Pie

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Beth sent me this delicious recipe for Blueberry pie with some very nice pictures too.  Yummy.  You should know that before Beth was the cook, her mother was the cook, and this is the recipe her mother used to bake this delicious blueberry pie when Beth was growing up.  No wonder Beth is such a great cook!

So, are you enjoying the Olympics?  They’re awesome don’t you think?  Go Michael Phelps!  Go Dara Torres!  And while you are cheering for your favorite Olympian, this Blueberry pie can be chilling so you ...

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Friday, August 08, 2008

Is This a Chinese Channel?

Chinese

I swear, if I don't document everything my children say that make me laugh and smile, I'll forget it.  And I don't want to forget their innocence.  We are sitting in our family room and enjoying the Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony.  The ceremony is incredible.  Absolutely breathtaking.  Just wrapping my brain around the creative force that went into the making of this ceremony makes me dizzy. My children are dumbfounded.  They are gazing at the television with wide eyes and amazement.  The precision, discipline, energy - is mindboggling.

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Thursday, August 07, 2008

How to Strip Wallpaper Without Losing Your Mind

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I was tempted to call this post  "How to Strip," but then I thought better of it.  I don't know why, since my humor borders on the ridiculous at times, but since I prefer stripping wallpaper to stripping off my clothes (for obvious reasons),  I didn't want my Big Bear to get any rip roaring ideas when ...

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Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Your Stomach May Never Be the Same

I know mine won't.  Especially since I just wolfed down 2 hamburgers with some leftover fries from Americana Restaurant.  Love those leftover fries.  So, after sitting in my newly painted family room that I cleaned up last night (it's the only room in the house that is vacuumed, dusted, and organized), I popped upstairs to my boy's bedroom where I could sit in my favorite chair with my dogs while the painters were working busily on my kitchen,  and read my email and check to see what Presidents, Ambassadors, Senators, and Celebrities are stopping by to read my crap on Raisin Toast. 

Well, I will start with this email I got from Dover Publications.  I love Dover publications.  But then I got to wondering.  Who thought this would be fun for our kids?


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I kid you not.  I wonder if they have them in their skivvies under their suits?  I mean, how else are you going to change their clothes?  I hope they come with some fancy swim trunks too.  Click here if you want to get these for your little darlings.  They are 7.99 each.  They even come with the wives!  Here is the Dover description:

The race for the White House is heating up and Dover has the perfect novelty items to help you commemorate one of the most electric election years in American history! These collectible paper doll sets feature realistically rendered paper dolls of Senator John McCain and Senator Barack Obama, their wives, plus casual and formal outfits they wore during the campaign. Each paper doll set includes a brief biography, descriptive notes, and a bonus "Election Night Scorecard."

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Then I clicked on over to my homepage to see who was visiting and I noticed that I had quite a few visitors from "asidreflucks.com" and I had to take a double-take.  For goodness sakes, I thought that was a dirty word there for a minute - then I saw the "l."   Wooo, for a minute there I thought someone had put a link to Raisin Toast on a "funny" site, and I'm not talking the hahaha ones either.  So, I clicked it on and said a little prayer and I was taken to "My Stomach May Never Be the Same."   That was a relief - my stomach was feeling much better thank you very much.

And then I noticed that it was a blog from Leah in Texas ("Hello Leah in Texas!") and she had a little blip....


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So, I thought since she shared, I would do the same.  Especially since it was a nice compliment.

Then I got an email from Beth (you know, my friend aka singing chef in Florida)...

"Just kidding you about your hair. (I'm all gray, folks, if you don't already know that and Beth has been after me for years to color my hair) I know you like it just the way it is, and honestly, it was beginning to become a big expensive mess for me until Evan (that's Beth's son) started studying it.  Now, he's like so amazing at putting colors together.  It's the artist in him i think!  When he decides to fly the coop again ( ahem.....) I don't know what the hell I'll do. I have soooo much gray hair, you wanna talk about depressed?? holy shit!" 

I can relate Beth - more than you know.  LOL.  I love my friends.  They are so honest.

I know this is an unusually short post for me, but I'm tired.  I think I'll go catch some zzzz's while these guys finish painting for the day. 

Love ya all!

Susan

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Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Nothing Like a Week of Good Grub and Good Friends

Nothing

We’ve had an awful lot going on here since Thursday of last week and we have eaten out every day since.  That’s more than we eat out in almost a year, but we have enjoyed the week, especially knowing that our house is getting painted and that I didn’t choose the colors – but instead, had a young decorator from Sherwin-Williams come to our home to help me choose the colors.  “Becca” from the Sherwin-Williams in Matthews chose all the colors for our home based on what we like which is the Mount Vernon, George Washington Historical color palette.  I just didn’t know how to put it all together.  She was wonderful and this doesn’t look like our house anymore.  It is so incredibly beautiful!

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Saturday, August 02, 2008

Homeowner Happenings

FrontofHouse by you.

Thank goodness!  My home is finally being painted!  I thought this day would never arrive.  For 16 years and 3 homes, we have lived in a perpetual state of remodeling, reconstruction, repainting, re-landscaping - but never in a finished, comfortable home.  Maybe now we can start to sit back and enjoy our home and our surroundings - and so can the neighbors.  There is hope for us after all.  Yes, we live in a ...

 

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