Friday, March 18, 2011

A Peabody Drive-by Post

This boy, y'all.

He's this perfect combination of I-really-want-to-sell-you-to-the-gypsies and I-oogie-woogie-squidgy-widgy-lovey-wuvvy-schmuvvy you.

Did we not all see this coming while I was pregnant with him?

He is STUPID-CUTE (I mean, he's not stupid. He's so cute that it's stupid. And it makes me stupid how cute he is), like OHMYHEART-cute, but also? Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrr....

Oh forget it. You know what I mean.


Oh. Let me clarify

Peabody, not Al.

(Although ...)

Anyway as I've mentioned, I'm a bit busy this week so I don't have time to write a proper post, but I thought I'd post a few recent pictures of this boy. So you can see what I'm dealin' with here.

I also HAFTA tell you about some of the ADORABLE things Peabody's been saying, now that he's decided that he really, rilly likes to talk. A LOT. (OHMYEARS!)

My top five favorite things that Peabody says right now:

Lik, Mama! Uh lahler totter! (Look, Mama, a water tower!)

Mama, et cooooooode ow dere! (Mama, it's cold out there!) (When he says this, he hugs himself really tight and shivers.)

I giggit! I giggit ninnonay um da yer-yidder-yader! (I'll get it! I'll get the lemonade from the refrigerator!)

Daddo mp jiiiiiiive uh pupple Cheet! NOOOOOOOW! (Peabody wants to drive the purple Jeep! Now!)

Daddeeee HOOOOOO! Daddee HOOOOO! (Daddy's home!) (I'm guessing you can imagine why I love hearing this one so much!)

And lik, Mama! Pitchers mp Dado!

An attack of the giggles last Sunday:

Ha-ha- HA HA HA!!

Oooooh me oh my, that's just soooo hilarious, Dad!

Hee hee heee... I can't (gasp) stop (gasp) laughin'!

And he was willing to pose briefly this morning when Mama interrupted his relaxing post-bus-run episode of Nynono Cheen (Dinosaur Train):


Wait, what? Oh. You want me to SAY cheese?

Well alright then. CHEEEEEEEESE.


Alrighty then. Since there's no actual cheese involved here, I think I'll get back to Nynono Cheen now. Will that be all, Mom? Kthxbai!

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Sweet Cheryl!

Hello My Dear Lovey Cheryl!

I got your email this morning and I'm kinda (okay completely!) freaking out that you aren't getting my replies. I promise you that have replied to each one of your lovely, perfect notes, but for some reason, my replies don't seem to be getting to you, so I'm taking out a headline on my favorite blog ...

Can you check your spam files and see if I'm going in there?

Love you!


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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

That's Not the Northern Lights! That's Mandible!

Name that book?

Oh my GRANNY was that fun or what?

Well it was for me, y'all! Thank you to so so so many of you who said Hi when it's the last thing you felt comfortable doing, or the last thing you had time for. You have brightened not one, not two but THREE days for me just by reading and leaving me a little piece of you. So thank you. My heart is all full-up now. I still have a few comments and emails to respond to, and I will get to them soon! If you are not hearing from me, it's either A) because I responded and my response went to your spam folder. I'm happy there because as we all know, I love Spam, but come get me, okay? or B) I didn't have a way to contact you because you're all anonymous and stuff.

I loved hearing from you. I did!

(You could do it again sometime now that you've seen how easy it is, right?)


So this week is recklessly busy for me. And by recklessly busy, I mean, probably as busy as your weeks ALWAYS are, but I'm a woman who needs a lot of margin, time-wise and brain-wise, to get it all done right and maintain at least a superficial air of calm; and margin? Oh heck no, ma'am, we don't got any margin this week. Fresh out and the truck ain't due again 'til next Tuesdee. So there will be mistakes and stuff forgotten and then there'll be me, beating myself up internally, which means, (oh yeah, THAT) possibly an emotional outburst or two.

Oh who'm I kiddin', there's already been one of those. Today, when Peabody didn't want his diaper changed and his pajamas taken off and clothes put on, so he screeched and whined and cried and then? When I got him halfway undressed, I took my hands off of him for JUST ONE SECOND. I mean JUST A SINGLE ITTYBITTY SECOND, he whipped his lightening-quick hands around and grabbed his FULLY-LOADED diaper, ripped it out from under his adorable teeny bun-buns and deposited it, face down, with a sickening thud, on the carpet.


At which point my entire psyche pecked a feee-yur-eeee-ous hole in my skull and leapt out of my head with a blood-curdling holler, and I launched into a verbal tirade that had Bean standing in Peabody's second-story bedroom doorway staring at me with her jaw all the way downstairs in the basement next to the hot-water heater. I hope she remembered to go get it before we all ran out the front door creatin' a frantic pink, blue and poopy blur-streak from our house down to the bus stop, because just imagine trying to explain why you're bringin' your kid's mandible in to the school office in a brown paper sack at 9:15 on a Wednesday morning?

"Well you see, I ...."

"What happened was ..."

"Do you see this poop on my shoe? It all started with this poop and then I ..."

"Oh forget it. Just take this bag to Bean FriedOkra in Mrs. Peppidge's room, okay? I found it in the basement. I have TOLD HER she needed to do a better job of keeping up with her things!"

Anyway yeah. Busy.

How's your week goin'?

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Ode to a Lurker Busy, Quiet, or New-to-the-Blog Person with Absolutely No Evil Intent at All.

I know you're reading! And I love it! But I miss hearing from you, and knowing who you are, exactly. Yes, YOU. I do mean YOU ... I want to hear from you! Gimme a shout? Tell me what you're thinking about lately in that lovely head of yours. Or ask me a question! Or link to a post you've written recently that you love and want to share.


Or just give the color of this terrifyingly green sweater I wore on Saturday a creative Crayola-esque name!

A post about nothing -
I wonder who's reading
Is it you, you, or YOU?

If you readz and no commentz
(Though that may sound presumptuous)
To meet you down there (↓)
Would simply be scrumptuous!

Write me a note!
C'mon, tell me you're list'nin'.
I'm stuck inside cleaning
Gotta get this place glist'nin.

Haven't cleaned for weeks
And I'll tell you, it shows
Can't even sit down
I'd get ick on my clothes!

And speaking of clothes
It's laundry day too.
Housecleanin' Lottery,
I think I've won you!

It's drudgery, people!
Wouldja gimme a 'scuse
To put down my duster
And rest my caboose?

Speak up today,
Then go back in your shell.
Or stay out. You might like it!
You never can tell.

-- FriedOkra, originally published October 2007, reproduced this time with slight modifications because I've grown to dislike the implications of the word "lurker."

Seriously. Say one little sumpm'. Go on, it feels good!

And leave me your blog or email address so I can say sumpm back.

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Saturday, March 12, 2011



A quilt my grandmothers made for me, held together with a million perfect stitches, the last of which they carefully sewed more than 30 years ago.

I was lucky enough to know both of them very well. Grandmama FriedOkra died when I was about 11, and Grandmama Clover just died less than two months ago. Both true Southern ladies who wore Southern easily and without pretense - they were Southern in a pervasive, encompassing way that blood-dyed me Southern before I could consider there was anything else to be.

I have memories from childhood of each of my parents' mothers dressed in pastel suits with flowered hats and white gloves, hoisting me to their laps in a sigh of Rive Gauche and Wrigley's Spearmint or Halston and baby powder, as we waited out hushed hours on the pews of their churches; of them driving my sister and my cousins and me in their own cars, which they drove in precisely their own ways, to pink-embroidery and linen and peony'd luncheons with their lady friends, where we would behave princess-perfectly and eat chocolate-dipped graham crackers and sip iced ginger-ale out of tiny cut-glass goblets; of these softening, big-smiled, lip-sticked women who doted on me from their lounge chairs, wearing sandals, in the quiet, humming afternoon shade of their back yards, as faint aromas of roses and frying cube steak filled the air around us all.

Of them tucking me tightly with forehead kisses into soft beds under cool, worn-smooth and line-dried cotton sheets and satin-trimmed blankets.

And of how I never slept better than within reach of the sound of their voices, and under their solid, trusted roofs.

I can hold this quilt in my hands now and trace the work they did, for love of me, with their aging fingers - folding muslin, waxing thread, clipping tiny squares of fabric from dresses (theirs and mine) and aprons and curtains, Grandfathers' ties, each pattern, each snip, tuck, fold a moment in their lives that overlapped and enveloped mine as the sturdy muslin overlaps and enfolds the pretty-colored blocks. Often I would play near them or stand mesmerized and watch as they worked, silently examining the golden rounds of wax, the tiny scissors and shiny thimbles, the piles of squares on chair-arms as they sat sewing, and listen to them talk.

In these panes of fabric my grandmothers linger, near enough to touch, and their careful stitch-after-stitches hold me tightly to their cherished memory.

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Thursday, March 10, 2011

Who You Givin' Your Leftovers, Baby?


It's quiet at home because both kids are at school, and I'm stripping beds and washing sheets and doing other mindless tasks, and all that's given my brain a chance to reflect on some of the deeper concepts that get introduced over the course of life and then filed away for "later," when I have time for them and Hey! Whaddaya know? I have time now!

So since I've been testing out my New and Improved Non-Defensive Approach to Handling Conflict, Duh!, Al and I have had some new and improved interesting conversations. The other day, he pointed out (as he has pointed out on many occasions and I have shot down in a firestorm of self-preservation, I might add) that his loving wife, (to whom he matters the very most in the world, I might also add), has a tendency to take the people who matter the most to her, (i. e. him) for granted, and to spend her precious resources (time, energy, creativity, joy, humor, you name it, whatever I have on any given day) on winning over other people... people who should actually matter LESS.

And he's right. I DO invest a great deal of myself in trying to convince other people to love and need me. Even though I have this man at home who adores me and treasures me and needs my attention. And I rationalize my actions and my expenditure of energy by explaining to myself, and to my beloved, that I NEED to have more than just him in my life. I'm way more extroverted than Al, and I function better when I have people to talk to, and people to laugh with, and people to share their ideas and positivity and with whom I can share my own thoughts and opinions and ideas. And Al? Is 60 miles away from me 12 hours a day 5 days a week. I get so darned lonely Monday through Friday! So I'm always seeking more relationships. (And by relationships, I mean FRIENDSHIPS. With other women-folk.)

Which is fine and a valid justification to a point. And there's also the fact that the times that Al is at home just happen to be with a few exceptions the only times I can GO OUT and meet the rest of the world, because he's there to watch the kids then. But it's truth time here, and when I stop and make myself really examine my own tendencies? What Al says is true, I often give more to These Others than I do to him. And what's worse, he's pointed out, is that I often STRUGGLE and STRUGGLE and STRUGGLE the most to win over people who seem unwinnable. Often, the people to whom I devote the most of me are the people who prove themselves to be the most likely to reject, exclude, ignore or even just plain hurt me. Or as Al has more bluntly put it on numerous occasions, "You like the Bad Boys, Megan. You always have."

(Bursts into song: I'm gonna make you love me-e-eeeee... Oh, yes I will ... YES I WILL.)

And that's kinda dumb when I've got this man RIGHT HERE who would gladly give me anything I wanted, just to see me happy. Instead of investing most of myself in him, I'm prone to giving Al my "leftovers" after I've been out trying to win over the rest of the world.

So there's something deep and ponderous for us to consider instead of fixating on all of my head-goo:

Do we treat the people who matter most to us as if they matter as much as they do? Or are we guilty of just giving them our leftovers?

I have some mental and emotional work to do on this one. How about you?

Y'all can subscribe to FriedOkra's feed here.

General Schmluck.

And so it's finally Mama's turn to be sick.

Just a bit sick - chesty heady stuff that will eventually dry up, but for now I feel like I have more goo in me than a bag of Oreo Double Stuffs melting in the back window of Mrs. Alexander's station wagon parked at Six Flags over Georgia in July of 1981.

(That is a lot of goo, just in case you can't make yourself go there with me.)

(My Mom just gagged.) (She hates snot.)

(And my sister can't concentrate on the rest of this post because she's thinking about a bag of Oreo Double Stuffs.) (Which is fine because I have absolutely nothing of value to say anyway.)

Anyway, goo isn't life threatening, just vurrah, vurrah inconvenient.

And plus? It doesn't feel good.

And it made me miss Bunco with the girls last night.

Stupid friggin' GOO.

(It's ra-aining, on pro-om niiiight... my head is a me-ess...)

And it's cold and grey and dreary here. Hey, it really IS raining on prom night!

And there's other stuff, but I can't tell you, I'll just use the code we established a long, long time ago and tell you that the kids and I have had a LOT of Spam this week. Do you remember what that's code for?

SPAM. All week long. Until tomorrow.

Yep. Nothing of value. Didn't I tell you?

Tell me something un-gooey and sunshiney about your week (that doesn't look or smell or taste anything like Spam!)

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Monday, March 7, 2011



Okay so technically it's a banana split. Work with me here, people.

Late yesterday afternoon, after holding Peabody for an hour and a half while he slept, Al made us all these gorgeous piled-high iced-cream treats which were every bit as delicious as they look and then some. I ended up licking my bowl clean because OHMYGRANNY, y'all: If there's anything in the world more perfectly coolish warm, strawberry-chocolate, creamy smooth and heaven-sent than banana split pot licker, I dare you to bring it to me next time you're in town.

Really, please do!

Anyway, the rest of our weekend trickled by on a laughing river of silliness, joy and peace, and I already miss being able to look up into or across at or over on Al's face whenever I feel like it.

The new cozy room lived up to its name and it feels like a family-member in itself somehow, calling to us in different rooms until we wander into its arms and sink into its soft, warm glow like a Mama-lap. We read books and watched movies there, and played half a card game and scattered marbles and danced and played horsey and I even got a foot rub from Bean. It lasted about nine seconds, but I'll take what I can get.

I'm filled with joy by these together days, and take not a moment of them for granted anymore. Life's shown me, not-so-gently of late, that times of simplicity and shoulders-unburdened and this happy, careless uneventfulness - which could be mistaken by some (but not me!) for boredom - can and do vanish, and so a family this blessed to just Be, Now, should cherish and savour them for the delicious treat that they are.

And so I do.


I love to post inspirational quotes on Facebook - those of you who have friended me there know this. I found this one yesterday and thought I'd share it with all of you. Perfect thought for a Monday, don't you think?

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I hope you had a wonderful weekend, and that Monday treats you with as much civility as a rogue day like Monday can muster.

Y'all can subscribe to FriedOkra's feed here.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Those Lunchroom Tables are LONG, People.

Bean was invited to a birthday party, but it's being held at the kid's house and it's three hours long and I have never met this child's parents and I know one day (when she's 30) I'll have to just give in and let her go to these things, but for now she's only six and I don't feel comfortable (and neither does Al) leaving my little girl at the home of some (perfectly normal, lovely, I'm sure, but really? You can never BE all the way sure, right?) people I've never even lain eyes on. Does that make me crazy?

And then Bean came home yesterday and announced gleefully that the birthday boy in question SAYS HE HAS A SNAKE AT HOME AS LONG AS THE LUNCHROOM TABLE, MAMA AND WE GET TO HOLD IT AT THE PARTY!


And y'all? Call me a stick-in-the-mud if you have to, but that sorta clinched it for me. Because I had kicked around the idea of staying at the party with Bean, but A) THREE HOURS? and B) WITH A SNAKE? I told Al about it when he got home last night hoping he'd say, Oh, no. A snake, honey? Well, you just stay home, sweetheart, and I'll go to the party with Bean. But he didn't. Instead he said something that rhymes with SHUT-THE-BELL!? and then Oh she'll be MISSING this party, sister. The snake's a deal breaker.

And there you have it -- our daughter's social life, permanently sssssssstunted by her parents' shared ophidiophobia. Sad, isn't it?

Hey, get us invited to a party with eight-week-old golden retriever puppies? Or cute little sea otters? Or fuzzy bunnies? And we'll both gladly go and stay the whole time. The good news is, we're not afraid of animated gnomes or shamelessly punny farcical adaptations of legendary Shakespearean tragedies set to classic Elton John soundtracks, so I'm guessing there's a strategically-planned Family Movie Date on the FriedOkras' agenda right about party time.

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Thursday, March 3, 2011

Go Say YES.

What did you say NO recently to that a part of you really thought might be great, (your heart said HEY NEAT LET'S DO THAT!) but decided against saying Yes because of your fear of failure, or fear of awkwardness, or fear of rejection, or fear of the unknown (your head said ARE YOU CRAZY? or maybe just NAAAAAH.)

What was it?


Hey! Guess what? Your heart might be right. Let her talk a little longer. Disengage your brain and let your heart, your soul, the part of you who's still allowed to dream, imagine and wonder, speak to you. She's there for a reason, that little voice who's urging you to go try something new, something out of your comfort zone, something exciting that will open you to new possibilities, new friendships, new inspiration, new everything.


Learn to shut down the negativity that tells you You couldn't make it. You can't get there. You shouldn't do such a thing. (That one you may want to give a share of your earspace if there are legal or moral implications involved in what your heart wants to do). You'd never be able to pull that off ... They'd laugh at you... You wouldn't fit in... What if they don't like me ...


Learn, by this new experience you're going to say Yes to, that trying and succeeding will delight you, fill you with an amazing sense of accomplishment and pride, and give you more confidence to try the next thing. Or that trying and failing will make you stronger, not weaker. (But really? There's no such thing as failure. There's only new experience that teaches, if you're willing to learn and not give up.)


Grow yourself through stretching and trying and busting through all of your fear and doubt and negativity. Grow yourself by proving your internal nay-sayers wrong. Grow yourself by learning that YOU are bigger, tougher, braver, smarter, stronger, than you've ever believed. Grow by exposing yourself to other people who will believe in you, too. Grow yourself because you ARE capable and worthy.

Go do it.

Go say YES.

This one time. I promise you will never regret it. And you will say YES again because of it. There'll be a whole happy YES chain reaction.

I promise!

Y'all can subscribe to FriedOkra's feed here.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

I'm a Lover Not a Fighter

Let's talk about conflict, shall we?



I hate conflict. I know people (Al) who don't mind conflict at all. In fact, they (Al) kinda enjoy it.

(Honestly I think Al likes to fight with me because he still somehow believes in make-up sex, even though IT'S NEVER HAPPENED, EVER, AROUND HERE.)

(Where do men get these weird ideas, anyway?)

I don't know either. But me? I'd rather chew on a frayed electrical cord than enter into a disagreement with Al or anyone else.

I'm a lover not a fighter.

Neverzeeless, zee conflict? Eet comes. I'm a wife, Mom, close friend, daughter, sister, client, customer, and I fill a million other roles in this life, and I deal with people, sometimes a LOT of people, every day. And when there are people involved, there's bound to be conflict.

But I'm so-o-o-o-o bad at it. Sometimes I get flustered and my heart pounds and I spit out six-line paragraphs of passionate incoherence, and sometimes I clam up or shut down (Ooooo! Adult pouting. Very mature. Very attractive.) But more times than not, I cope with conflict by getting defensive. Know anyone like that? Oh I bet you do!

I'll give you a real life example from a few days ago. Al and I were sitting around after we'd put the kids to bed and I said, "I invited Kelly and Shane over for dinner tomorrow night. Is that okay with you?"

And it wasn't all-the-way okay. Al likes Kelly and Shane. What he doesn't like is that I frequently make plans for both of us without checking with him FIRST.

"Why do you ask me if it's okay, honey? You've already invited them. It's fine if they come eat with us tomorrow night, but it would be nice if you'd ask me BEFORE you make plans."

"Well I only do that because when I do ask you first, you say, Okay whatever you want to do is fine with me. So why do I need to ask you first? You're going to leave it up to me anyway."

"I know I almost always say yes. I'm okay with 99% of the things you want to do, but when you ask me AFTER the plans are made, it feels like a slap in the face."

"Why is that a slap in the face? I don't get it. You always say I'm the social coordinator for our family, so I'm coordinating us socially."

And on and on. It spirals from there and we both end up frustrated and angry, and what did that whole discussion accomplish? Kelly and Shane still came for dinner, and Al was charming and sweet, and we all had a great time, but Al had still been slapped in the face and didn't feel heard and I thought he was being unreasonable and picky and another marital conflict remained unresolved, which, as you probably already know, paves the way for yet another marital conflict in the near future. Nothing changed except we had one more pointless argument on our record. Neither one of us had anything good to show for it individually, and our relationship had taken a blow rather than growing stronger.

Okay? But actually, I lied. That's not how it all went down this time.

Because I've been thinking about conflict lately, and wondering how to manage conflict better myself, and I'd decided prior to this argument ever happened that next time Al and I had a marital "discussion," I was going to do my best to deal with it in a more healthy way. My goal?


So actually, when Al said, "Why do you ask me if it's okay, honey? You've already invited them. It's fine if they come eat with us tomorrow night, but it would be nice if you'd ask me BEFORE you make plans," I said, "Yes, I do do that a lot, don't I?"

"Yes, you do. And it's a slap in the face to me when you do that."

"I'm sorry. I don't mean for it to be a slap in the face but I can understand how it would be. I am going to do my best to ask you from now on before I make plans for us."


"So you forgive me?"

"Yes, of course."

Boom! Done.

And you know what? I LOVE that Al walked away from that conversation feeling heard (important, valued, respected). I LOVE that I walked away having learned something I can do to make him happier. I know I've been slapping him in the face, and now I can change my own behavior and stop doing it!

Instead of defending myself, I made myself listen, without interrupting and defending myself, to Al's perspective. I learned how my actions affected my husband (completely disregarding how I thought they should or shouldn't affect him, because WHO CARES? He's him and I'm me!) And now I can grow personally and change that aspect of myself and therefore enhance/strengthen our relationship.

Since then, I've been thinking about how this particular conflict played out and imagining how valuable this new conflict-coping skill I'm learning will improve ALL of my relationships. How listening and learning how my actions affect other people will lead to my own growth. And I've come to this conclusion:

Being defensive about my own faults and mistakes is a lot like exhaling when my body needs to inhale. Admitting I'm wrong -- admitting that I'm not perfect -- feeds and nourishes me in amazing ways by opening me up to growth and forgiveness.

What about you? How are you with conflict? Are you exhaling when you need to inhale?

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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

They Also Cleaned Up the Kitchen, Did Two Loads of Laundry and Put Themselves to Bed After Carefully Flossing One Another's Teeth


Last night I asked the kids, "What do y'all want for dinner?"


So... what's going on in your Imaginary World?

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