Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Waste Not, Want Not

I"ve been laying low lately...lots of work to do, which is a good thing because, like so many other folks these days, money has been tight for us. Being forced to live more frugally has been a good life lesson. Instead of spending money at the grocery store, I'm exploring my freezer, pantry and fridge. In doing so, I realize just how wasteful we've been. In cleaning and organizing the pantry I found four containers of mayonnaise, three of them opened. Jars and squeeze bottles, some full, some half empty.Same with mustard--we had three opened mustard containers.And three bottles of soy sauce (all low-sodium!). And I found lots of expired food. That really makes me want to kick myself in the butt! I HATE throwing away food!

Americans, overall, are really wasteful people. Since Madison began a recycling program a few years ago, I can't hardly throw paper of any kind away in the regular trash. I had to request a second recycle bin, because one never seems to be enough when they only pick up once a week. Boxes, junk mail, plastic bottles and jars--all go into my recycle bins. Because of that, we've gone from two garbage cans on the curb to one. That makes me feel like I'm doing a little something good for our environment.

As a freelance writer, I'm often on the telephone, interviewing people for stories I'm writing. I take notes on scraps of paper...all sizes and shapes. It makes for a crazy filing system, but for me, it works. And I don't ever have to buy note pads for home. I write up the sides of the paper, on the front and back and anywhere I can find a blank space. I know most people would look at that and wonder how I ever translate all that scribble into an article. I am amazed myself, most days.

Another area where I've noticed a good bit of waste is in the bathroom. I always love going into hotel bathrooms, mainly because they aren't cluttered with a lot of stuff. I get back home, and there are three different kinds of shampoo, a couple of conditioners, and six "flavors" of liquid soap cluttering up the shower. I'm determined to use what I have on hand until it is completely gone.

Honestly, I think we all have so much more than we think we's hidden away in cabinets, pantrys and other places in our homes, long forgotten and unused. And speaking of unused, I'm diligently cleaning out cabinets and closets and taking things I no longer use to Repeat Street in Ridgeland. They sell my stuff, I get a store credit, and Nicole goes shopping there, where she finds the most amazing things, like this red dress she wore when she gave a talk last week at a conference at Ole Miss:

You can't see it well because of the podium, but trust me, it was perfect, and she got it for FREE, because she used the credit from my discarded items. That's the ultimate in recycling if you ask me!

I get a daily message from a website called Sole Purpose Community, written by Beverlee Garb, an author, speaker and Life Purpose Coach. My message yesterday said: Susan, you've been cleaning out your past, looking at your present, and dreaming about your future. The Universe has noticed your efforts. You are not going crazy - you are truly being lifted to a reality in which you have never resided before. Keep up the good work - you will soon be rewarded.

I'm anxious to get my reward!! :-)

What do you have that you can/should use? What do you have that you can get rid of? Simplify your life and you can focus on other, more important things!

Blessings to all who read this!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Random Saturday Thoughts...

Saturday morning..I have nowhere to go, nothing to do, yet, I was up at the crack of dawn because Roxie wanted to go out. It's like having a baby all over again, but her main goal in life is catching either a bird or squirrel in the backyard. So it's in and out and in and out all morning.

Today, I can't say that I mind it all that much. I went to bed early last night. Sadly, I missed my 35th high school reunion last night at the Cherokee Lounge. I wasn't feeling 100%, and chose to stay in and rest. But thanks to Lyle Walker, I got to sit on facebook and watch as he posted picutres and video of the event. What I'm wondering is why he put photos of all those old people on there...and I'm wondering where all my high school friends were???  Actually, everyone looked great!
I think everyone looked great...the women were beautiful and the men all look so distinguished. Part II of the reunion is tonight. I'm going to try to make it. It's good to be around folks who have known you for so long. There's a history there that can't be found anywhere else. Go Lancers!

Things are quiet around here this weekend. Joey Joe has been studying all week for his final exam today in Anatomy and Physiology. He called a little while ago and told me he made a B in the class! He made a 100 on his muscle test on Monday. I think he's finally learned that hard work and dedication pay off in the classroom as well as on the football field. I'm so proud of him!

Nicole is in New Orleans this weekend, working as a production assistant on some television commercials. I'm sure she'll find some fun while she's there! Good for her...

All my chickens will come home to roost tomorrow, in time to celebrate my mother's birthday, and we're all looking forward to that. I'm going to treat the Louisiana gal with a meal of red beans and rice and bread pudding. We celebrated Father's Day with steaks last weekend, and now a birthday...I love having folks around my dining room table!

The International Ballet Competition is winding down this weekend. It's been two full weeks of dance, dance, dance, and Nicole has been in heaven. She's managed to make it to several nights of performances and she's spent hours on end as a rehearsal hall monitor. It's a job she's taken very seriously, and she's enjoyed it so much. To be so up-close-and-personal with world-class dancers from around the globe has been so inspiring to her. Nicole's more motivated than ever to work hard to make her body do more.

My friend Carol, from Nashville, will be coming to town this week. She'll be vacationing at her Uncle Jimmy's house in Brandon. Jimmy has a fabulous swimming pool, so I'll be taking a couple of days off next week myself for some cool pool time. Carol came down this time last year, and I took Nic with me to Jimmy's. It was the first time she had gotten in a pool since her accident. The boyancy of the water made it possible for her to walk across the pool effortlessly, which was fun to watch. She was barely off her walker on dry land, but in the water, she could walk across the pool and back effortlessly. It was so much fun to watch!

So that's alot of is good and I'm happy to have a little "alone time" to get some things done. Here's wishing everyone a wonderful week ahead...

Blessings to all who read this!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Gotta Have That Funk!

We watched with much glee and enthusiasm as  "Philadanco" turned that mother out last night. Think Prince, Parliament Funkadelic, Earth, Wind and Fire mixed with Ravel's Bolero. Fast, energetic, kinetic, fast-moving and joyful dance. It was an "off" night for the International Ballet Competition, between Round I and Round II--a night for fun. And fun it was! (Thanks, Sue Lobrano...we love you!!!)

If you missed it (yes, you...the one sitting on the couch, whining that there's nothing to do in this town...), you missed a world-class dance company that had the entire audience on its feet, dancing right along with them. For only $10--just a dollar more than going to see a movie.

I went to a press conference yesterday morning where the semi-finalists who have advanced to Round II of  the USA IBC were announced. The cool part was that walking into the room, I heard so many different accents from a panel of jurors from 13 countries from around the world. It was so awesome to realize that Jackson is a place where an event of international importance happens. I wrote an article about it for

Nicole has been soaking in the IBC experience. She's been volunteering as a rehearsal hall monitor, which is perfect, as she has up-close-and-personal contact with dancers from all over the world. She gets to watch them rehearse, which serves as further motivation (as if she needs more) for her to work even harder. She also attended several of the Round I competition performances. How fortunate we are to live in a place where dance is so important. I like to think that her love of dance was born at Thalia Mara Hall. I used to take her to the IBC starting when she was in elementary school. She loved everything about it then, and she loves everything about it now. That gives me such a sense of satisfaction.

And let's not forget Joe, who I took to see The Will Rogers Follies and Stomp. Being six years younger than Nicole, and stuck at the dance studio all the time waiting to pick her up, he ended up in an all-male ballet class in the third grade. He danced in Madison's production of "The Nutcracker" as a Russian soldier.
He didn't mind doing it, mainly because he got to be with his big sister, and also because former Denver Broncos running back Sammy Winder was in the same production! He told the boys that ballet would help them be more coordinated for sports. Thanks, Sammy!

Now Nicole is sharing her love of dance with others. All this week she's been doing the choreography for the Rising Stars Theatre Camp in Ridgeland. Working with kids ages six to twelve isn't easy, but she's done a good job guiding them through several dance numbers that will be presented tonight in their production of "101 Dalmations."

It reminds me of when my dad used to take my sister and I to some of the most memorable events at the MS Coliseum when we were young. He was in the in the North Jackson Exchange Club, and if you've ever been to an event at the Coliseum, they've helped you park your car. They are the guys in the white jumpsuits and long flashlights. My dad would go park cars, and he'd drop us off to see the Royal Lippazaner stallions, the Harlem Globetrotters and the Ringling Bros.-Barnum & Bailey Circus. I always felt like I was watching something so much bigger than myself, amazed that just 20 minutes from home, I was being exposed to something so worldly. 

I appreciate my dad taking me to those events and others. They are events that stick in my mind. They are events that helped me realize at an early age that there was a big, big world out there.

As we approach this Father's Day weekend, may we all remember and honor our fathers, and the fathers of our children. To Papa Dale and my sweet Larry...we love you!

Blessings to all who read this!

Saturday, June 12, 2010

I am NOT the Bad Guy!

Aaaaaaacccccckkkkk! It never ends.

I am NOT the Bad Guy.

 I do NOT want to steal anyone's fun. What I am is the Voice of Reason. The Sane One. The One Who Thinks Things Through.

That's a tough person to be, because it puts one in a very unpopular place. Excuse me that I put a damper on your fun because I consider all the facts and know that what you're planning isn't the best idea.

The reality is that all I want is what's best for everyone. But that usually translates to being a stick in the mud. I can't help it if I tend to review all the facts when making a decision...I want to see the big picture.

Notice a little frustration? A bit of resentment? I hate having to be The Responsible One, but if I'm not, I feel like the world as we know it may just tilt off its axis and God knows what will happen...

Now that I've gotten THAT out of my system...on to more pleasant thoughts. Well, never mind, because I may get in trouble for writing about the nice lunch I had today....I'm not sure what is sacred territory any more.
But I can tell you that I learned how to map out my financial goes a little something like this:

So, how about that World Cup? Cool opening ceremonies in S. Africa, and the Americans tied the Brits today 1-1. I know...I'm not a huge sports fan, but I heard about it and thought I'd throw it out there. My friend Sharla posted a good reason to watch. She is so insightful...

I have an empty house tonight...I think I'm going to watch a movie, and pray that the Voice of Reason has seeped into the brains of those around me.

 I really do just want them to be happy and have fun. I'm glad for tonight, it's just me, Roxie and some scrambled eggs.


Blessings to all who read this!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Moments Captured

Our family is so blessed to be surrounded by friends who are also such talented people with some of the biggest hearts. Since Nicole's accident, that's been magnified in such a beautiful way.

Brenda, Jef, Josh...all chronicled Nic's journey in such a beautiful way...taking the most critical of times and showing them in heartbreaking, yet hopeful video and photographs. As her journey progressed, they were there, capturing the moments that encouraged us, letting us know that all would be OK. 

New friends have come along the way, including Talamieka and Charles. They were drawn to Nicole, fascinated by her story, then captured by her positive personality. And expressing themselves in a way they know best, through their art, they have provided us with many memorable images. They were responsible for the beautiful poster promoting "An Evening of HOPE."

Photography is a creative outlet for both the subject and the photographer when Nicole and Talamieka take off for a day of adventure, which they did on Saturday. I've just seen a preview of what they did, and it's pretty awesome. 

But Nicole's not the only model that Talamieka is drawn to. And luckily, we have a real supermodel in our midst. She knows how to work a camera, giving the lens looks that are compelling, natural and will absolutely melt your heart!

It's Roxie! And she loves a camera! And Talamieka captures her essence beautifully!

They did exterior shots in our backyard, then moved inside for some more creative art shots....

For some reason, this shot reminds me of something out of a 1960's Hollywood magazine...

And at the end of the day, it all goes back to looking out the window on the off-chance she may see a squirrel...

Maybe Talamieka's calm spirit would have a positive effect on my friend Jonni's dog, Cole. Cole is absolutely terrified of cameras. Pull one out and he'll run for cover under the bed and will stay there for hours. I saw it for myself when we went to the lake house a few weeks ago. Even cellphone cameras are off limits. Maybe if Cole saw how well Talamieka portrayed Roxie, he'd flash those baby blue eyes for her!

It's wonderful to capture the moments of our lives with a camera. And it's a blessing to have such talented friends who are willing to give us these wonderful gifts. The photos help us remember where we've been so we can appreciate how far we've come, and they help us better appreciate the people (and pets) who are in our lives. 

I'm going to close today with a thought that I grabbed off Ella Pogue's facebook profile page. I read it and thought that these are words we should all live by. Thanks Ella (and happy birthday!)...

Live with intention.
Walk to the EDGE.
Listen hard.
Practice wellness.
Play with abandon.
Choose with no regret.
Continue to learn.
Apprecitate your friends.
Do what you love.
Live as if this is all there is.

Blessings to all who read this!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Hot Days, Hot Water

At 10:15 last night, my fav weathergal, Barbie Bassett, announced that the heat index was 91. I went outside with Roxie and I believe she was right. It was HOT outside. It just makes me want to sit under a ceiling fan set at helicopter speed and sip on a glass of iced tea.

I don't do hot weather well. We went to dig daylilies last Sunday, and it wore me out for the rest of the day. Now I have to go to Leslie's and separate them, bring them home and plant them. I'm considering admiring them in Leslie's garden instead of my own...

For anyone who has to get out in this heat, I'm sorry for you. It's times like this that I'm especially thankful that I work out of my home. I can hang out in shorts and write. And thankfully, I've been writing alot lately. Assignments seem to be picking up, which is good, because we've had a run of unexpected, yet necessary expenses. Aging vehicles have needed repairs, things are wearing out in our 15-year-old home, and just this week, a crown needed repair and I got word that I need a root canal ($1000....out the window)...

I think back to the Good Mood Blogger contest and how I wish I had won. That would have been $5000 a month. My writing skills were there, but Bridget from California had it all over me on "social networking skills." I had 10,000 votes to her 17,000. I've learned alot since then--I've actually been to workshops and conferences on blogging and social networking skills. It's times like this, when we're in a bit of hot water, that I wish I had known then what I know now!

But, like so many others, I trudge on...working hard to get ahead. And I'm fine with that. As a matter of fact, today I'm doing a Scentsy party at Methodist Rehab. I'm taking my 80+ scents up to the sixth floor physical therapy office at lunch time where I'll be taking orders. It will be fun to see all our favorite pt's and ot's. I have such a special place in my heart for them, because they truly taught Nicole how to walk again. And to dress herself. And to do so many other little things that we daily take for granted.

Speaking of Nicole, she continues to improve every day. She walks on her own with more confidence, and it's amazing to see her go up and down our front steps with no assistance at all. She works so hard in physical therapy and with her trainer, Eclecius, and working with her Bioness devices which help to restore her hand function.

The next step for Nicole is INDEPENDENCE. She needs to be on her own or she'll go crazy. That means she needs to be financially independent as well as physically independent. She's working towards both. She's getting more and more speaking gigs and she's been hired to do choreography for a summer theatre camp in a couple of weeks. Baby steps, but encouraging.

Son Joseph is watching all the progress his sister is inspires him in school, as he works towards his degree in physical therapy. This summer, he's taking Human Anatomy and Physiology I and II. His girlfriend, Emily, is in his class (she's in nursing), so they are studying together.

Because of their drive, I don't feel so bad about working hard to stay afloat. I know I'm blessed to have two beautiful children who have overcome adversity to excel. I'm happy that I can use my talents to supplement our household income.  And just as we know this hot weather will eventually pass, Larry and I know we can weather anything together--from tragic accidents, financial downturns, and anything else life throws at us.

Blessings to all who read this!


Saturday, June 5, 2010

Slow Down and Rock the Baby

When last I wrote, I shared photos of our sweet friend Courtney, who was about 12 months pregnant (I know. But I'm sure she felt that way!) Well I'm happy to say that precious Liam made an early appearance this week, almost a month early. This is just a wonderful event all around!

So, I guess Courtney going into labor was a good reason for her mom, Leslie, to miss out on a fun Wednesday evening. "Oma" missed out on a chance to rub shoulders with a talented Mississippi author, Neil White. Neil was once the owner/publisher of COAST magazine. Seems he got into a bit of financial trouble, got into check kiting, and ended up being sentenced to Federal prison in Carville, Louisiana. In addition to being a Federal prison, Carville is also the last remaining leper colony in the United States. Thrust into a world of characters he couldn't have made up on his own, Neil realized he was given an incredible story to tell. And he did, in his book "In the Sanctuary of Outcasts: A Memoir." 

Neil now lives in Oxford, but was in Jackson doing a book signing/reading at Lemuria. I met up with some book club buddies and new friend Susan Cushman (author of Pen and Palette, one of my favorite blogs!). After the signing, Neil and his wife, Debbie, joined us at Bravo! for a lively dinner. What a treat!

(Cherry Prather, Tippy Garner, Susan Cushman, and some old, fat redheaded woman with handsome Neil White!) If you haven't read Neil's book, go get it today and start reading! Our book club gave it a resounding thumbs up!

Random subject change: Last Sunday I was invited to the nicest event at the home of Ed and Marty Douglas, who not only have the fun Coffee News you read in restaurants, but are just generally nice and welcoming people. I was one of several people who went to see the beautiful daylilies in the yard across the street. Over five acres of them. We poked around in the daylily beds for almost two hours, then went back over to Marty and Ed's to eat.

Leslie and I are going back early tomorrow morning to dig some for our own yards. On the way back, we're going by Baptist to peek at baby Liam! 

Have you stopped to smell the roses--or daylilies--lately? Trust me, it's worth taking the time out of your busy life to simply slooooow down and enjoy the treasures God plops in our life. Courtney and Jason are about to find out that while the world is spinning all around them, nothing can be as important as holding, rocking, cooing over and loving their sweet newborn. Liam will force them to slow down and focus on what life is really all about. A good reminder to us all...

Blessings to all who read this!