Sunday, January 27, 2008

We're Going on a Bear Hunt!

I'm thinking it'd behoove me to find another one of these little guys:


Bean has developed QUITE an attachment to this bear, whom she has named Teddy. (I know, refreshingly orginal, isn't it?) He goes everywhere she goes, and I wouldn't have it any other way, I tell you, because the child is ETHEREALLY CUTE carting that bear around by one arm or leg, or my favorite, in a chokehold around his neck, plus, you see, I grew up with a major attachment to a plush baby seal named Nicholas (whom I still own, to this day, oh yes I do) so I can fully relate and empathize with Bean's attachment, to the point that I even foster it.

Lemme come clean with you here, people and tell you that Mama can't gaze on even the COVER of The Velveteen Rabbit without losing about 2 lbs. of water weight out her tear ducts and developing a lump in her throat that'd dwarf even an econo-size jar of Helman's®. Also, I (probably errantly, but it's no use trying to correct me because as I have mentioned to you before I suffer a tragically unteachable spirit) believe that forming such an attachment at a young age teaches a child's tiny little soul something about loyalty, and Mama is ALL about The Loyalty. To inanimate objects that don't ultimately find some way to get on my nerves, I mean. Oh, I'm KIDDING!

All this to say that Teddy will be traveling with us at the end of this week on planes, trains and automobiles down to the Carolina coast (sigh, is it just me or did angels just sing?) for a week-long visit with my family, and you know how traveling can be, particularly with a three-year old and all of her various accoutrements. What if Teddy finds himself (Oh, here comes that lump!) left behind in the stall of some airport water closet? Or wedged on an Airbus between seats 8E & F on his way to Shreveport? It could very possibly happen. And that, my friends, would constitute a family crisis from which certain members of the FriedOkra household may not recover atall quickly. Female members. Members whose happiness tend to barometrically impact the mood of the remaining (male) member, thus theoretically rendering us a clan of moping, dejected clowns for years to come.

And we can't have that. So my hope is to find us a Teddy II for the justincaseness of life.

I bought Teddy I the DAY of my 20-ish week sonogram with Bean, the one which revealed not only her room-lighting-up smile (no kidding!) but also the fact that she was a she. I drove immediately from the sonogram appointment to my local Marshall's and I bought every. single. pink item I could lay my pregnant hands on, and Teddy rode around that store with me in the seat of my shopping cart, his pricetag dangling from one ear, justa lookin' cute and bein' earnest and nodding his fuzzy-headed approval at all of my subsequent selections. I brought him home that night and he sat himself cheerfully on the bed in the guest bedroom until it was re-done into the nursery, and then presided over that precious room from his spot on a shelf over the changing table, leaning against a big bottle of Johnson's Baby Lotion, looking expectant and adorable, waiting for that Bean to arrive with just as much anticipation as I felt. (It appeared so, anyway.)

Yeah, you're right. I might be a little attached to this one, too.

So yes. Why am I telling you this?

Well, because I have scoured the internet and watched eBay and looked in all of my local stores, and there is no Teddy II to be found. He's a Baby Gund bear, and I think Gund changes their Baby line every year, because I've researched Gund through their own site and several on-line outlets to no avail. This particular bear, who is kindof a stringy plush fabric in large white and pink squares, with a pink nose and the numbers 43067 on his tag, appears to be out of production. BUT, when I first BOUGHT Teddy I, I saw them EVERYWHERE, which means there are plenty out there somewhere to this day. And I am wondering if y'all have seen one anywhere. On a bargain shelf at your local gift store? Goodwill? A garage sale?

If you happen to recognize this guy from somewhere, let me know. It just seems prudent to me to have a back-up Teddy, to save heartache and worry, is what I'm saying. And I'd be willing to pay a reasonable price for me some plush pink peace of mind.

I'm guessing you Mamas out there totally get where I'm comin' from, right?

Friday, January 25, 2008

Not That Anything I Write HERE is a Literary Masterpiece by Any Stretch of the Imagination, You Understand

Happy Friday, people!

Y'all sure have made me feel good (emotionally) with all your checking in and wondering how I'm doing and askin' after my well-being. There is truly nothing more soothing to the ailing female soul than a concerned friend with a listening ear. Oh, and Kraft Macaroni & Cheese®. (She said very sheepishly.)

I'm still blogging my way through this first trimester at my pregnancy blog. Of course everyone who reads here is welcome there, but I'ma warn you right now that it hasn't been a picnic so far and that you should steel yourself if you decide to wander over and check it out, because it's a pregnancy diary and it gets a bit, um, raw at times. My main goal at Found A Peanut is simply to capture thoughts, milestones and day-to-day ramblings, including the un-rosy stuff, because I want it to be honest and authentic, while I carry this Peanut, so I (and both of my kids) can read it again one day and know what it was like when Mom was pregnant. I wish my own Mom had kept such a log so that I'd have had it to compare our pregnant selves and get answers to some of the questions I had while I was carrying Bean and that I have now. I don't spend much time editing or even organizing what I write - it's stream-of-consciousness all the way. And occasionally I update the Belly Gallery with a new picture of my same old un-pregnant looking but plenty-flubbery little torso. I'm due to update that today and I think I may be starting to get a little bump finally! Might just be the mac and cheese though.

If the idea of a (raw, disorganized) pregnancy diary makes you want to run screaming into the night (I can't say that I would blame you if it did!), here's some basic info to keep you up to date.

1 - Today I'm exactly 12 weeks pregnant.

2 - I got to see the Peanut in a sonogram at 9 weeks, 4 days. There was a moment during the appointment that my wonderful doctor reckoned aloud I might be carrying twins, but she quickly (upon seeing me go white and begin clutching at my chest) sonogrammed me up good and found she was mistaken. This Peanut is full of surprises, so far! He/she looked healthy and normal and downright cute, if I do say so myself.

3 - I'll go back to see Dr. Make-Your-Heart-Stop-for-a-Minute next week, right before the family leaves for a vacation on the Southern coast with Nana and my sister and her family.

4 - I'm feeling a little better? Some days? Still extremely tired out, but the nausea has been taking a day off here and there. Those are great days! I live for those days. There's more to the nausea than just nausea, and in ways, the "more" is the worst part, but I won't go into details about that here.

5 - I do have a few interesting cravings already. I'm craving cherry-flavored anything, but especially cherry pie. I had some cherry Jello® last night and reacted to it exactly like Meg Ryan at the diner in When Harry Met Sally. It was so. incredibly. fantastically. delicious! Al just sat there and stared at me until I was all done. Then he calmly handed me the rest of HIS cherry Jello®. I also love anything that contains fake powdered cheese. The oranger the better. And canned baked beans.

And hmm... that's about all I can think of. What else do y'all want to know?

Monday, January 21, 2008

Just a Little Light, Oh Lord!

Hatred paralyzes life; love releases it. Hatred confuses life; love harmonizes it. Hatred darkens life; love illuminates it. -- Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

Shed a Little Light
by James Taylor

Let us turn our thoughts today
To Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women
Living on the Earth
Ties of hope and love
Sister and brotherhood

That we are bound together
In our desire to see the world become
A place in which our children
Can grow free and strong
We are bound together
By the task that stands before us
And the road that lies ahead
We are bound and we are bound

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

Shed a little light, oh Lord
So that we can see
Just a little light, oh Lord
Wanna stand it on up
Stand it on up, oh Lord
Wanna walk it on down
Shed a little light, oh Lord

Can't get no light from the dollar bill
Don't give me no light from a TV screen
When I open my eyes
I wanna drink my fill
From the well on the hill

(Do you know what I mean?)
Shed a little light, oh Lord
So that we can see
Just a little light, oh Lord
Wanna stand it on up
Stand it on up, oh Lord
Wanna walk it on down
Shed a little light, oh Lord

There is a feeling like the clenching of a fist
There is a hunger in the center of the chest
There is a passage through the darkness and the mist
And though the body sleeps the heart will never rest

Oh, Let us turn our thoughts today
To Martin Luther King
And recognize that there are ties between us
All men and women
Living on the Earth
Ties of hope and love
Sister and brotherhood.

Ah, I love that song.

Y'all have a great day!

Saturday, January 19, 2008

It's Not a Mullet if You Can Still Tuck It Behind Your Ears!

I just got my hair all chopped off!


I have the best, most talented, funniest and nuttiest (in a good way) hairstylist in on the planet, and the best part? She's also my neighbor and friend.

Thanks Maha!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Deep Freeze in the Deep South

My sweet Southland got a nice little blanket of snow last night. Aaaaaaw!

You'd think to me, the transplanted Mid-westerner out here on the prairie, where snow's as common as rain, only with a two-day clean up, two inches of snow falling on my native land'd be duller than dishwater. But it's not. Actually, even with a thick shower of the white stuff swirling down right outside my window this very minute, the little light dusting of snow I picture in my parents' back yard makes me more homesick than peach cobbler with homemade ice cream ever could.

Down South, snow's not just another element. It's an all-out E-VENT.

Allow me to illustrate: By the time the ground was covered well last night, I'd gotten an excited! email! from Nana down in South Carolina. TWO INCHES ALREADY! My nephew Daniel blogged about his adventures sledding (FAST!) in his backyard in Virginia yesterday, my pal Katie in north Georgia wrote about her own magical night before the sun came up this morning, and my childhood best friend Marie, who lives with her family on the border of SC and Georgia, was on top of the story by lunchtime today, talking about getting her kids out in it to scrape together snowballs off the grass before it all melted. When the South gets snow, Southerners lose their minds take notice. Grocery store shelves are EMPTIED at even the most slim-chance of predictions, and schools and businesses close up tight in Georgia upon the sighting of the first flake in Eastern Tennessee.

And POOF! everyone South of the Mason Dixon is a kid again. A giddy, whoopin', hollerin', cafeteria-tray-sleddin', plastic-bag-on-their-feet-wearin', snowball-wieldin' kid.

Y'all, lest you think that I've become jaded up here in Alaska Illinois, allow me to confess right here that even now, two years into this prairie life, I am still no exception. I could sit for hours watching snow fall, and every single time it does, I get that same happy, Christmas-morning feeling inside and I'm secretly desperate to run out into it screaming and laughing like I'm twelve again.

It's just that up HERE, I do not have Nana, who will whip you up a cup of hot cocoa before the first flake hits the ground (WITH marshmallows, thankyouverymuch). I don't have Marie, who even as a self-conscious adolescent never even batted a pretty green eye at the notion of hopping around on my driveway in fuzzy, striped socks and my sister's discarded Candies™ slip-ons as we did our traditional Southern kid snowdance, and then jumping up and down squealing when the sky ptooey'd down a stray flurry as if in mocking answer to our humble pleas. I also don't have forty-leven people in the grocery-store line in front of me buying up all the milk and bread on the shelves like they might not be able to get out of their houses again 'til Spring thaw.

No, up here, snow's just something to shovel, blow, plow and scrape. Nobody seems to notice it much at all. Business is transacted as normal, even when you can't see your hand in front of your face for the blizzard, and last year there were snowdrifts piled up past the windows of the elementary school for most of February, but those darn kids were all in there, day after day, the buses running right on time past my house, with me inside shaking my head, muttering, "Mmmmmmmmmmmaaaaaaaan, what a buncha killjoys."

Have fun in the snow, Southland! Frolick and play the eskimo way and throw an extra snowball for me, wouldja?

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Because, No, I'm Still Not Desperate Enough to Clean Anything

(Hee hee hee. Anonymous, I don't know who you are but you just made my day!)

Have ya written your thank you notes from Christmas yet?

I'm supposed to be writing mine righthisveryminute (I've been supposin' to be writin' 'em for about 2 weeks now, who's kiddin' who?) but you know what? All my lack of motivation to blog evaporated RIGHT QUICK when I headed for the stationery bin.

And heeya I is, y'all!

Ah, procrastination - amazing how much I get done when there's one thing I really DO NOT WANNA DO parked smack-dab at the top of the Well-and-Truly-Way-Past-Due List. Back in college, my dorm room, en suite bathroom and halfway down Ramsay 200 hall used to miraculously become sparkling clean a couple days before my exams started. And every pencil within a 5 mile radius would be sharpened to a perfect infinite point. Mama didn't like to study. Mama doesn't like to work on anyone else's schedule, is the real problem.

(Mama has Issues With Authority.)

And so, instead of writing those pesky thank you notes, here I sit, writing a post about not writing my thank you notes. The ultimate rebellion. But let's see, if I were to write them, how about, say, something like this?

(Insert Imagination Sequence music here.)

Dear _________________,

I hope the New Year's off to a great start for you and your family. Here at FriedOkra Manor, we're still stuck back in 2007 because a pesky stomach bug Thanksgiving weekend followed by 5 weeks (and counting) of glorious retching and gagging put us significantly behind in our celebration schedule. While I imagine you are anxiously anticipating the coming long weekend in celebration of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, we're just now gearing up to bake cookies for Santa. We hope to get Christmas wrapped up by Valentine's Day though, because we're thinking of celebrating our own MLK Day on Easter, so we'll have time for Easter by Mother's Day and Mother's Day on Father's Day and Father's Day on July 4th. Rightly or wrongly, we have chosen to postpone Memorial Day until next year for fear our Labor Day will run into next Thanksgiving and we'll have to serve potato salad and baked beans with our turkey, which, as you know, would be just plain wrong.

My point being that I realize my thank you notes from Christmas (by YOUR calendar) are tardy. I'd scheduled to write them right after we celebrate Independence Day in August, but we recently found out that the baby is due August 8th, so that will likely slow things down a bit. Looks like the FriedOkra family thank you notes from Christmas 2007 will be mailed sometime in early 2009, as long as we can remember what you gave us. And we are in our 40s, after all.

But we do intend to get back on the standard schedule for the 2009 holidays starting with President's Day, as we're going to take a week off in early February to go back and celebrate the preceding 2009 holidays (since we'll be wrapping up Christmas 2008 in January of 2009) and celebrate Memorial Day from 2008.

And that's why I'm writing! To tell you that you and your family are all invited to our Memorial Day 2008 Backyard Barbecue and End of Summer Pool Party on Saturday, February 7, 2009 at 4:00 pm right here at FriedOkra Manor, on the patio. Bring your own lawn ch-ch-ch-chairs and towels, food and b-b-b-beverages will be provided for the whole f-f-f-family.

See ya'll there!

Warmest regards,

The FriedOkras

Do y'all think that'd get me off the hook?

Sigh. Okay, well then I guess I'd better get to sharpening all these pencils.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Left Behind

Besides my sweet husband, there's another boy who captured my heart the first time I met him and has held it in his hand ever since. That boy is my adorable, charming, brilliant, perfect-in-his-aunt's-eyes nephew, Daniel, who's supposed to be on his way to visit us here on the prairie right at this very minute, but who instead has been stricken with a stoooopid virus and has made the mature and thoughtful but very uncool-to-him-or-me decision to sit this trip out with his little brothers and Dad while my sister and two wonderful, beautiful, smart and talented nieces fly up to Chicago. They should be here for dinner tonight, which is a huge pot of Nana's spaghetti sauce (I mean, sauce I cooked by Nana's recipe), pasta, salad and garlic toast.

(See how I wrote that without gagging even once? Will power, people. Will power and a LOT of nervous swallowing.)

Mama is a proud Mama indeed, but Mama cut her proudness teeth on her nieces and nephews.

My eldest niece and nephew, at nearly 12 and 10 respectively, have recently started their own blogs. I know! I cannot TELL y'all how thrilled I was to read their first posts and get to comment on them. Two more happy bloggers in the family, and a special way (hopefully they'll blog more regularly than I have recently!) to keep up with what's goin' on in those two brilliant minds. Oh, it does make an Aunt well up with happy tears. My lil babies, all grown up and bloggin'!


Daniel blogged the following sad paragraph today. Y'all get your tissues because this one will jerk up those heartstrings and tie them in a knot, for sure.

Unfortunately yesterday our flight to San Antonio was completely sold, so we couldn't go. But then today, I woke up with the same cold Dad, Little O, and and my baby brother had. My mom planned on going to Chicago, the second place we were supposed to go to see my Aunt, Uncle, and my cousin. I couldn't go, so I'm stuck here with Dad, Little O, and my baby brother. Mom said that she would take the camera with her so I could see what they did there. Fortunately for me, I am going to see my Aunt, Uncle, and my cousin in February when we rent a Suburban and go down to the beach.

You rest up and get well, Baby Daniel (who's not a baby anymore, sniffle). When we get to the beach, I'm going to hug you until you almost can't breathe anymore! Oh yes sir, I am!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

It's Not So Much That I Bit Off More Than I Could Chew, It's Just That I Didn't Know I'd Be Pregnant When the Time Came for All the Chewing

Happy 2008, y'all.

I guess I've taken a bit of a bloggy break, without granting you the common courtesy of any kind of warning or notification. Not that I imagine it's had a gigantic impact on your lives or anything, just that many other more courteous bloggin' sisters took bloggy breaks only AFTER providing fair warning.

See, the thing is, I thought I could do it all. I always do!

I had a list of to-dos down to my ankles for this holiday season and I was determined I could get them all done to my own impossible-to-attain satisfaction, and all with a great deal of holiday joy and festivity in my heart. Thing is, I knew I'd be forty, because that's a non-negotiable, I just didn't know I'd be forty and pregnant.

For the past couple of weeks, in juggling my huge list, my family, and the seriously shockingly unfun side-effects of my nemesis (apparently), HcG, I haven't felt much like FriedOkra, to be honest. I've felt like ... um ... Fried, er ... Brussel sprouts? Fried Lima Beans? Fried Porcupine Fritters? Something not nearly as crispy, tasty and fantastically unique as fried okra, anyway. And not fried as in breaded in a delicious Southern batter and cooked to golden perfection in a vat of hot, sizzlin' fat, and then sprinkled with salt and pepper, either. Fried as in stuck-my-finger-in-a-light-socket-while-my-hair-was-wet-and-I-was-wearing-aluminum-foil-slippers fried. ZAP, SIZZLE, STINK.

I so want to no, I NEED TO delight you with funny stories and witty insights (and wouldn't that be nice to find here for a change, ha ha ha?) but I'm afraid I'm fresh out of the ability to see the humor or bright side in things at the moment. I am certain that'll pass. (It will, won't it? Please tell me it will.) And I'll be back to my old self in no time. Maybe in a few weeks, maybe in a few months, but certainly soon.

I miss y'all. Heap big.

If you're a somewhat new reader who hasn't pillaged the archives for some historical FriedOkra fun, check out a few of my favorite posts from 2007.

Skin - A funny thing happened at church that made me stop and look at what it really is to be an interracial family.

The Real Reason She Never Landed Jethro - Just another of the skillion quick, hilarious things Al has said to make me snort something out my nose.

But This Does NOT Mean I Won't Someday Host My Own Talkshow - A wise Southern woman knows that BIGGER doesn't always mean BETTER.

Public Pool Enemies #1 and um... #2 - Probably nothing much funnier or grosser than this will ever happen in my lifetime again. I certainly hope not.

Another Tale of H2Woe - Whoops, I may have spoken too soon.

My Congenital Inelegance - You see, I haven't always been the picture of Southern grace and elegance! (Snort.)

Talk to y'all again soon!