Monday, March 29, 2010

One more look back, then onward...

It seems whenever there's a big project, big event, or anything we generally look forward to with great anticipation, there's also a bit of a letdown afterwards...the event has come and gone and for a moment in time, there's nothing to look forward to...

I guess the best thing at this point is to look back...remembering what those weeks and weeks of hard work led to. I'm impressed how people pulled together to create such a magical event to raise money for arts in the schools. And I'm thrilled that there were some talented photographers--Cindy Poole and Kip Caven--on hand to capture images of the evening. Enjoy them below:
Nicole and Kamal King of the Frascogna Law Firm
Reviewing artwork for the live art auction...
Larry and I with friend, Jef Judin
Live music by great friends of Nicole's...
Nicole greets the crowd
Auctioneer Kelly Hogue with Josh, who is telling about his artwork
Joe's girlfriend, Emily White, does her best Vana!
This is how artist Anthony DiFatta sees Nicole
My friend Carol bought this in the auction and gave it to by Talamieka and Charles Brice
Cynthia Newland, Dean of the Belhaven Dance Dept., introduces the dance portion of the evening...
Belhaven dancers...choreographed by Nicole...
Part of the entertainment was a video on HOPE. That's Nic's personal care assistant, Caitlin, on the screen
Nicole's triumphant dance
She danced....
And danced....
And danced, with great joy and passion.

CBS News sent a crew from New York to cover the event. Correspondent Betty Nguyen interviewed us, and the story will air on The Early Show one day soon...they'll let us know when, so stay tuned for the big announcement. Admittedly, I'm a TODAY Show girl,so I have to get used to watching CBS in the morning. I was so impressed with their wonderful crew, and the producer, Paige, as well as with Betty, so I believe that watching the Early Show will be an easy transition for me. Betty has been at CNN for a long time, and just moved over to CBS. This is her first big story for the network. 

So now it's time to move forward...jump back into therapy and workouts with a renewed commitment to gaining even more strength, balance and coordination to get ready for the next big step, whatever that may be. 

Blessings to all who read this!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Miraculous Dance


That's about all I can muster after last night.

I saw my beautiful daughter pull off the most amazing feat, and it thrilled me to my toes. Nineteen months after falling six stories off the roof of her apartment building in New York, Nicole was on the stage doing what she loves the most: Dancing her heart out! And it was amazing.

When she was in the hospital in NY, the walls of her ICU room were plastered with photos of Nicole dancing, courtesy of Josh. He took the most amazing photos of her in the months--weeks--before her accident. While she was lying in a hospital bed with a tube down her throat, the photos were reminders of who Nicole really is, and what she does. And in our minds, we all willed that for her again. We claimed it for her. I knew that someday, somehow, she'd dance again.

And last night she did.

To a full house.

And she got a standing ovation.


And she was surrounded by people she loved, and who have loved her and supported her so much throughout her journey. Mama and Papa Dale. Joe.Sarah. Carol. Brenda. Jef. Jacqui. Talamieka. Josh. Laura. Cynthia. And many of her therapists were there, including Charlotte, her first p.t. back at Select Specialty Hospital, who squealed with joy the first time Nicole moved her toes. I'm so grateful that she was there last night to see Nicole dance!

It was as big a "God is good" moment as you can find anywhere. And CBS News was there to cover it. And the story will be on the CBS Early Show--nationally--as soon as next week. I have a feeling very big things are about to happen in Nicole's life.

The CBS folks have been trailing Nicole for two days, and they spent the morning at our house yesterday. Correspondent Betty Nguyen even took some time to Wii dance with Nicole!
I've seen many dance recitals and performances through the years...but last night was different. It was a truly triumphant moment.

My heart is full this morning.

God is good!

Blessings to all who read this!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Crawdads and Bellydancing

Good morning, sweet followers! I didn't write much last week, because frankly, things around here were pretty uneventful.

Until Thursday.

Things started turning around! Maybe it was my new haircut. I was feeling kind of sassy...

Thanks, Leslie, at KC and Company, for adding a little life to my coif! I was supposed to have it done on Tuesday, but I jumped in to help out my neighbor, Phyllis, who owns View Gallery in the Township. She went to Memphis on an art run, so I worked in the gallery all day. Loved be surrounded by all that beautiful art!

So, back to my 'do...I went to see Leslie on Thursday afternoon, and she cut and highlighted my hair, which just gave me a whole new lease on life! The weather was wonderful that day, so I drove over to the Fondren Corner building, where Josh and Jef were having a rooftop crawfish boil birthday party. There's nothing like sitting on a rooftop on a warm spring day, sipping on a cold beer and eating fresh boiled crawfish.
I left before the party got really cranked up...karaoke and such...and headed over to the "Ridgeland Rendezvous" festivities at View Gallery. My new friend Cissy was there, and she and Phyllis invited me to go to Fairhope, Alabama the next day. I accepted.

We left early Friday morning and met up with my other new friend, Cathy, to drive to Fairhope. It was a gorgeous spring day...and we had alot of fun just talking and laughing all the way to the incredible house where we stayed:

The house belongs to Phyllis's friend, Becke, who was so generous to let us come stay for the weekend.
We would have been happy just hanging in the house all weekend, but there was so much to do! We walked the couple of blocks into town and spent the afternoon strolling through the big arts festival there. It was alot like the Canton Flea Market, only the downtown area in Fairhope is much larger. It is an awesome town, full of the best shops, restaurants, and beautiful flower beds on every street corner. I was surprised to see so many people from the Jackson area there.
There was lots and lots of art, crafts, food, and people-watching, and we all enjoyed soaking it in...more than anything, it was nice being out in the beautiful spring weather with good friends. We shopped and ate and laughed all weekend. Joe and Emily came through Fairhope on the way home from their spring break trip to Destin and ate lunch with us on Saturday. There was also entertainment everywhere, including belly dancing on Saturday afternoon. If having a big belly is a prerequisite to being a belly dancer in Fairhope, count me in!

After a brutal storm Saturday night, we woke up Sunday to blue skies and another beautiful day, only to hear it was SNOWING in Jackson.

  Say what??????????  

The Mal's St. Paddy's Day Parade was Saturday in Jackson, and it was beautiful for that, but the rain came in Saturday night, and it turned to snow on Sunday. Go figure. I didn't march in the parade this year like I usually do (I'm a QUEEN WRANGLER), but I don't regret it...having a nice, relaxing girl's weekend was an unexpected and welcomed treat! I feel rejuvenated and refreshed and ready to tackle the week ahead.

Nic's been busy preparing for "An Evening of HOPE" on March 27. Tickets are still available, but going fast, so get yours now and enjoy a magical evening!
Have a great week!

Blessings to all who read this!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Weekends = Happy

There's nothing like a relaxing weekend to get you pumped up for the week ahead. I am coming off the most wonderful relaxing weekend and I feel like Tony the Tiger....Ggggggggrrrrrreeeeeaaaaattttt!!!!!!!!!!!

Having wonderful weather doesn't hurt at all. Spring is definitely in the air and it has a positive effect on my mood for sure.

Friday I had leisurely lunch with a friend, then did my Friday afternoon volunteer gig at the Mississippi Museum of Art. We had 109 people come through Friday afternoon to see the Jim Henson exhibit, so it was steady and busy--just the way we like it.

Afterwards, I picked Nic up from the Belhaven costume shop where she was tying up loose ends on her big event: An Evening of HOPE. She had an evening planned with friends, so Larry and I had a quiet evening at home watching TV. Nice.

Saturday was a day filled with good intentions: reading the book we are going to discuss at book club on Monday, "The Lake of Dead Languages" by Carol Goodman. I was going to read an hour and clean house an hour, alternately, all day. Neither happened.

Joe came home to help around the house so he could earn some extra money for his spring break trip to Florida, although he has a severely sprained ankle, so that wasn't going to happen. Nicole had cabin fever from being in her room so much, so both of them ended up on the couch in the den. We ended up watching a ridiculous movie on TV, both of them laughing and happy. For two hours, I was in my own little heaven, surrounded by two happy children (so what if they are 21 and 27? They are still my babies and they were happy and content...).

We babysat Charles and Talamieka Brice's Jack Russell Terrier, Luli, on Saturday,which was fun, too. Luli is a ball of energy, and Roxie loved playing with her--to a point. Finally, it was "enough is enough," but Luli didn't get the memo. That kept us entertained pretty much all day!

I did better about following through with plans on Sunday. Nic's friends Crystal and Sunny came to pick up Nicole Sunday morning to go to church, and that left me with some quiet time to start the book. And it was a good one! I got totally sucked into it before I realized I had to get ready for a wedding shower for our sweet friend Tiffany. I went to the shower, waaaaay down in Florence, then met up with Nicole at the Museum where she was taking in the Henson exhibit one last time before it ended. My plan was to meet up with Larry at church for 5:30 mass, but that didn't work out so well...we didn't get out of the museum until almost 6pm.

So we prayed over sushi at Nagoya...thankful for a great weekend and grateful for the many blessings in our lives.

Today starts another busy day...which I started much too late because I forgot to reset the alarm clock next to my bed...seems I slept in this morning! No worries...I've got a good feeling about this week.

What are you going to do to make this week a productive one?

Blessings to all who read this!

Friday, March 12, 2010



Not that it's been a bad week, or a particularly long week. But there's something about Friday that's just fun.

Day three of sunshine and blue skies doesn't hurt, either. It's true that we all need some rain in our lives to appreciate the sun. And we've had more than our share of cold rainy days, so everyone has seemed especially upbeat over the past couple of days.

Of course, that's a metaphor for life as well. "Rain" is often the difficulties and challenges we face, but we all know that rain is necessary to make the flowers grow, right? I think those challenges are the things that make us stronger, and they put things into perspective. They give us a better idea of what's important, and what's not. And they make us more appreciative of the little things that add grace to our lives.

There's not alot on tap for this weekend, which is good. I'm hoping to get some dirt under my nails doing yardwork. Time to tidy up the yard after this brutal winter. Joe is going to help me the best he can--he did some damage to the ligaments in his foot last week playing football. But he's motivated--he and Em are heading to Florida for spring break on Monday, so he wants to earn a little spending money.

I'd love to have a spring break myself, but that's simply not in the cards this year. We were hoping to go to Barcelona in April to meet up with Larry's brothers and sisters, but that will have to wait...finances won't allow a European vacation for four right now.

So, I'll be conscious of the fact that next week is "spring break" week, and I'll make an effort to go outside and get a little vitamin D every day. If this beautiful weather holds out, I can step outside on my patio in between writing assignments, and if I am out and about, I'll try to eat lunch or dinner on restaurant patios instead of being cooped up inside.

Go make the most of this day! What are you going to do now that warmer weather is here?

Blessings to all who read this!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Nothing But Blue Skies...

It's the second day in a row where we've had rough weather at night into the early hours only to turn to sunshine and blue skies. I'm not complaining. Yesterday was nothing short of glorious. Rain all morning, then a preview of spring all afternoon and evening. Larry, Nicole and I all ate dinner OUTSIDE last night at Newk's. Daffodils are peeking their yellow heads out all over town and I've seen the red breasts of robins here and there. Dare I say, the coldest winter in my memory is history?

It's been a busy few days. My office project is DONE! I worked sunup to sundown and beyond Saturday putting things back, and creating a place for everything and now everything is in it's place. It's a wonderful feeling to be organized. I feel that I'll be able to work so much more efficiently. So, this is my "Command Central," where I write:
 It's still full of stuff, but only stuff I really use--including things which inspire me. And it really is a more controlled chaos. I've got books and supplies for my Southern Living at HOME business:
And a place for gift-wrapping and craft supplies, including a worktable:
Sunday, we went to Hattiesburg to see Megan Poole in the mainstage production of "Ragtime" with our friend, Beth Taylor. It was a wonderful show, and so good to see Megan in her premier show at USM.

I had another dose of theatre Tuesday night when I met up with some book club and networking group friends to attend a murder mystery dinner at Rosinni's restaurant. It was presented by Mississippi Murder Mysteries, and they do a fun job of incorporating murder and mayhem into a delicious dining experience. I'm proud to say, our table figured out "who done it," (it was Sam!). 

Yesterday was one of those full and fulfilling days that make me so happy. It started with a meeting at the new Beagle Bagel Cafe in Madison--just five minutes from my house, which is so nice. Then to the Beth Israel Congregation for the annual Sisterhood Bazaar. I met my mom and dad there and we got our fill of delicious Jewish food, served up by my friend Lisa Palmer! Brisket, stuffed cabbage, carrots, noodle kugel and blintzes with sour cream and strawberry preserves. The place was packed...we saw so many friends, and even made some new ones.

After lunch, I drove over to the MS Museum of Art for a volunteer enrichment session on the upcoming Herb and Dorothy Vogel exhibit. The Vogels are a very unassuming couple in New York...Herb has retired from a long career in the Post Office, Dorothy has retired from her job as a librarian. Together over the course of their marriage, the couple has amassed the most important collection of modern art in the world. They are avid art collectors, to the point that their apartment looked like the hoarder shows on TV. They donated the bulk of their collection to the National Gallery, but there were so many pieces--almost 5000--that they had to divide it up. They are giving 50 pieces each to all 50 states, and the Mississippi Museum of Art will be the recipient of 50 pieces for its permanent collection. The exhibit opens on April 10. Which reminds me, if you haven't seen the Jim Henson Exhibit, time is running ends March 14.

I spent yesterday afternoon on the Fondren Trolley, with other writers and photographers for PORTICO Jackson. We toured downtown Jackson with Captain Ron giving us interesting facts that I have to admit I had not heard before (I didn't know that Bailey School was a WPA project...). It was a wonderful way to spend a sunny spring afternoon, visiting with each other and learning more about the city. It was a great way to prepare for the special publication PORTICO will be turning out in June. 

Yesterday was a snapshot of why I love living here. It's "big city" enough so that there's always something fun and interesting to do, yet it's small enough for me to see people I know just about everywhere I go. That's a wonderful feeling. 

It's a day of deadlines--so I'm going to get writing now on some paying gigs. Thanks for popping in to read about our life...I challenge you to go out and make the most of this beautiful day!

Friday, March 5, 2010

It's Not Easy Being Green

"Take me away again to Margaritaville..." or anywhere else for that matter. The winter blues have me wanting to head to sunnier climes. Will this winter ever end?!

Emotions have been pretty raw around here many things have changed in so many ways and the events that we used to look forward to with great anticipation are now a source of sadness. Which is why I'm trying to figure out a budget-friendly getaway March 19-21. The best course of action is just to get out of town! Anyone have a condo in a tropical locale? Or any locale that's not here? We need to get as far away as possible from anything green.

It may not a tropical locale, but Nicole and I are heading to Hattiesburg on Sunday to see our sweet Megan Poole perform in the USM production of "Ragtime." Megan was the great assistant Nicole had over the summer. She's a talented young woman, and we look forward to seeing her on stage.

Last night I met up with Nic at Fondren after One Blue Wall gallery. We were there for Charles Brices' photography show, "Tour of Duty," featuring photos from his 10 1/2 months in Afghanistan. The work was moving and poignant, and we were so proud for Charles. His sweet wife, Talameika, looked stunning in her butterfly dress, and it was great meeting her mom, Thelma.

After a delicious dinner of grilled talapia at Aladdin, we went over to the old Duling school for an impromptu concert by Wooden Finger. It was my first time to hear Allison Jenkins sing. She has a strong, haunting voice that was simply beautiful. The acoustics in the old school were fabulous--no microphones needed for the intimate setting. There were lots of familiar faces there...yet they weren't all as friendly as they once were. That, of course, caused some heartache. Yet another reason to get the hell out of Dodge for a few days soon.

Time to get up and moving...I'm still working on my ever-growing office organization project and I'm volunteering at the MS Museum of Art this that Jim Henson's Fantastic World. They're presenting an interactive showing of The Labrynth tonight, and Jim Henson's daughter will be there. That should be interesting!

As you go about your day today, please remember that the things you say and do have an impact on others. Don't do anything that will hurt another. Instead, behave in a way that will lift others up. Just be nice. Remember, it's not easy being green.
Blessings to all who read this!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Live in the Now

Sometimes it's nice to just be still. I don't get to do it very often, but when I do, it's rejuvenating in more ways than one. I'm actually reading a book a friend in NY suggested called The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle. In the book, the author addresses the things that get in the way of our happiness, including too much thinking about the past (the "what ifs, etc.) and the future instead of just fully living in the now and finding happiness in doing so. When there are so many things pulling at you day in and day out, it's difficult to think about and being grateful for what's happening right now. I'm working on that...

It's nice, also, to just stop and read something that just fills your soul and makes you happy. One of our book club selections for last month was by a Mississippi poet named Patricia Neely Dorsey. She wrote a book called Reflections of a Mississippi Magnolia. Even those in our group who don't typically care for poetry loved this book. The poems are short, to-the-point and spot-on. We went around the table and everyone read their favorite poem, with titles like "Mississippi Man," "Local Color," "Shelling Peas," and "Little Miss Perfect," it was easy to find one to love. The highlight of our meeting was the call-in by Patricia, who talked about the book and shared her stories of growing up Southern. She truly loves her heritage, her home and her life, and she does a beautiful job of sharing it with others through her poetry. We wanted Patricia to really know who we are, so we took this photo for her:

Our selection this month is Carol Goodman's The Lake of Dead Languages. We got advance copies from the publishing company, Ballantine Books, at our Girlfriend Weekend in Jefferson, Texas in January. I've written about the weekend once, but words still can't fully describe how wonderful that weekend really was! It was a time for us to just relax and let our hair down (or pile it up...)...

There's nothing like a group of women going on a road trip to bring out the wackiness in all of us!

Or maybe it's just reaching back into our childhood...playing dress-up, laughing uninhibitedly, and just having


And speaking of reaching back into childhood, everyone needs to get on over to the Mississippi Museum of Art by March 14 to see the Jim Henson exhibit. I've seen it a couple of times and Nicole's been through it at least four times. She's had a deep affection for puppets since she was ten years old and in the cast of the PBS series Funnybones. She worked with some awesome puppeteers, including Emmy award winners Peter Zapletal, Michael Earl and the late Nikki Tilroe.
So imagine how happy she was to meet up with the gang from the PBS show Between the Lions at the Museum.

Nicole actually worked with many of the puppeteers on another show called Lomax: the Hound of Music. Some of them are based in New York, so they came to visit Nicole in the neuro-ICU at New York Presbyterian hospital after her accident. They've been very special friends for us all.

Between the Lions was honored last week by the Mississippi Legislature, and our sweet friend, Emmy-award-winning Keri Grayson Horn, was recognized. She's an amazing talent, and a true case of the fruit don't fall far from the tree (she's Walt Grayson's daughter!).

My advice to you today is to relax, enjoy and be grateful for this moment, and if you get a chance, let the kid in you come out every once in a while!

Blessings to all who read this!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

In Like a Lion...

I can confidently say I'm not alone in wanting this winter to end. Enough of the cold weather already! I long for spring weather!

I did wake up to blue skies and sunshine today...and when I got up to let Roxie out, I heard a symphony of birds. That's a good sign for sure. As we head toward the weekend, weather reports say we'll have highs in the low 60's and sunshine for the weekend. I can already think of so many projects I'd love to do in my yard...

At least I'll have the energy to do it. The detox diet last week helped me in so many ways. One is increased energy. I'm still doing it, in a more modified way (I added dairy and fish). Still trying to stay away from caffeine and sugar, and surprisingly, it's not as hard as I thought it would be.

Of course, I blew it big time Saturday night when we went to the 25th Anniversary celebration at Hal & Mal's. We almost didn't go in, as there were no parking places for blocks. But Larry got lucky on the second trip around the block...someone was pulling out right in front of Hal & Mal's! A sign we should go in. Being old, we had decided we would only stay a little while. That was at 8:30. We didn't leave until after 1am! It was like a big reunion--25 bands and hundreds of people we haven't seen in forever. We heard our friend Lisa Palmer perform with the Knight Bruce band...Knight, Rafael Seemes, Rufus Mapp...wonderful...

We have lots of fun memories of times spent at the restaurant...
like the time I was at an afternoon Jubilee! JAM committee meeting there and realized I didn't know where Nicole was (she was five at the time). Panicked, I started looking for her and found her sitting up at the bar, sipping on a Shirley Temple that she bought with her smile...
Friend Jared, dressed for the occasion!
Malcolm (Mal) White with a mask of his brother, Hal.
Jazz diva Lisa Palmer with opera diva Lester Senter.

Good times.

This weekend I'll be doing something a bit more tame..Friday night I'll be at the MS Museum of Art to see an interactive viewing of The Labrynth, which is part of the incredible Jim Henson exhibit. Then Saturday, I'll be
heading to the Ag Museum to see the wood carving show. My dad has become a talented wood carver and it's one of his favorite things to do all year. He's won ribbons for his work at the show in the past. It's awesome to see the incredible work of wood carvers from all over the south.

But today, I'll be working hard on my office project. It's coming along--slowly--but I'm excited that it's going to be an organized, functional and creatively inspirational place. Good things take time!

Just have to take a quick moment to say I'm proud of Nicole. Her speaking career is coming along...she spoke at a sports banquet at Jackson Prep a Monday night, and will speak at a sorority conference soon. And she got a contract yesterday to speak at a conference at Ole Miss in June. Her career goal is to be a professional motivational speaker, and she's well on her way. She certainly has alot to share about perseverance, attitude, and hope...

Speaking of sure to order your tickets for "An Evening of HOPE" on March 27...they're going fast!

Blessings to all who read this!