Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Wednesday, September 30, 2009


If you are looking for one of the best high impact aerobic exercises ever...then Zumba is your poison. I went to a free Zumba class, I had to leave after 45 minutes instead of finishing the hour so I could get to Band practice...let me tell BUTT muscles hurt! I had my rear end kicked and handed to me on a silver platter. First off....I don't dance. I have no rhythm. I am a klutz on a dance floor. I wish I could look like the people in Dancing with the Stars...but alas...I look more like someone having a seizure on the floor. It is so very sad. Zumba is some of the coolest dance steps...with some of the most pulsating music....all rolled into one. Our teacher, Tia, was awesome. She was number one...gorgeous, number two did not have an ounce of fat on her anywhere, and number three....she had legs to die for. I loved watching her....even though I never looked quite as cool as she did...I tried it all....I squatted, cha-cha'ed, slid, squatted some more, kicked, moved muscles I did not know I had...or if I did I had forgotten and all that was in the first ten minutes. I looked at the clock and groaned. It would be another thirty minutes before I would look at the clock again....I was trying my best just to keep up and squat, pick up the correct foot while raising the correct arm....and by then my face was blood red. I could not get the redness to go down before I got to the church. I looked like a lobster. A glass of Milo's unsweet tea later...and my face was not quite so red...but 3 hours and a cool shower later...I am still feeling the sting. Zumba rocks I will say that. I can't wait now for next Monday night and Belly Dancing exercise class....who hooo...that will be fun. I had to pass on the Salsa class tomorrow night...what was I thinking....I bowl in a league on Thursday night. I must have had a part-timers moment. Anyways...I am working this week and next on endurance....for me....cause I am run/walking a 5K on October 10th in Dothan. It is a cancer walk/run and I am excited. Kat, Brian, Mary and I are all going to enter. I get a T-shirt...BTW...I hate T-shirts. They do absolutely nothing for me....round neck shirts have never been my favs...since I have this little short neck. the remodeling of Karen continues. I hit the 50 pound mark this week. I am halfway to my goal. Happy Hump Day Everyone! Zumba on Dudes and Dudettes!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Look Out Zumba....Here Comes Karen!

Wooo Hooo....I am going to a Free Zumba class on Weds. evening, a Free Salsa class on Thursday and a Free Belly Dancing (which I still have a good bit of) next Monday. We have a new dance place in our little town...and it is NOT one of those places where you learn tap and ballet...this is a place where you learn different kinds of dancing...the lady who runs it is Tia and I am so excited about getting to do this. Kat, my daughter has been to a belly dancing and zumba class at the YMCA in Montgomery...big towns always have lots of cool stuff to do....little towns...not so much. Anyways...I know what Salsa and Belly Dancing are...and I believe that the local Spanish teacher SHOULD be able to do a little Salsa-ing...don't you? But Zumba was something out of left field for me...had no clue what it was. My friends who have already attended one of the free classes...say it will kick your butt as far as exercise goes. Cool! So I decided to do a little research on it because I need a little stress relief and butt kicking therapy. "Zumba® fuses hypnotic latin rhythms and easy to follow moves to create a dynamic fitness program that will blow you away. The goal is simple: They want you to want to work out, to love working out, to get hooked. Zumba® Fanatics achieve long term benefits while experiencing an absolute blast in one exhilarating hour of caloric-burning, body-energizing, awe-inspiring movements meant to engage and captivate for life! Sounds like my kind of fun. I will have to post about it after I survive it. Remember...I am a 55 year old, sadly out of shape, overweight (but working on it) female. If it doesn't kill might make me stronger. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Sweet Potatoes - YUCK!

I don't eat Sweet Potatoes. I didn't even eat them as a child. My mom would pull the labels off of the baby food jars and try to trick me with sweet potatoes...making me think they were carrots. I would spit them out instantly...I keep trying them but I just don't like the feel of sweet potatoes in my mouth. They are pithy. Anyways a few years ago a group of friends and I ate at the Piccadilly Cafeteria. Why you ask? I have no is just where we ended up. I hate cafeteria food almost as much as I hate sweet potatoes...but on the trail down the food line there was a dish labeled carrot souffle...that looked an awful lot like the sweet potatoe souffle I make at Thanksgiving and Christmas for my family. The server told me, "No ma'am...this really is carrots. The cook makes it because he does not like sweet potatoes." "Get out of here!" I thought to myself...someone else who does not like those nasty orange colored things....yooo hooo. I got a serving of the carrot souffle and dissected it at my seat. It was carrots and it was wonderful. It had the consistency of the other souffle I make...and that same brown sugar and nut topping. I thought I had died and gone to heaven. I actually went back and got another serving to go for later. I actually planned to go home and dissect it and recreate it for myself. I was pleasantly surprised when the cook came out and gave me the recipe....but of course...his recipe makes a 200 serving dish. I only need one for I cut it down and want to share with you my recipe for Carrot Souffle. If you like carrots and sweet potatoes, you will like is good. If you don't like carrots but like sweet probably won't like this....but try it once anyways. I now take this to my family Thanksgiving each year and no one knows the difference....except me.
This is what the Piccadilly Souffle recipe should have looked like, but instead of using confectioners sugar and dusting it he used the traditional sweet potato souffle brown sugar topping and to me that made all the difference.

Carrot Souffle

2 pounds carrots, chopped finely or if you are lazy...get 32 ounces of canned carrots and drain them well
1/2 cup melted butter
1 cup white sugar (can substitute Splenda)
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs, beaten
Toppings:1 teaspoon confectioners' sugar for dusting -original topping1 cup dark brown sugar - sweet potato souffle style topping1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup melted butter
1 cup chopped pecans

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add carrots and cook until tender, about 15 minutes. Drain and mash. To the carrots add melted butter, white sugar, flour, baking powder, vanilla extract and eggs. Mix well and transfer to a 2 quart casserole dish. For Toppings:Prepare the topping in a small bowl by whisking together the brown sugar, flour, butter and pecans(sweet potato style). Sprinkle mixture over potato mixture and bake for 35-40 minutes depending on your oven.
If you use the confectioners sugar method dust the souffle with confectioners sugar when you remove it from the oven.
With the Thanksgiving Holidays coming up I thought you might enjoy a new/old recipe to try out! Have a Wonderful Monday!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Conch for a Day

This is one of my favorite places, Mallory Square in Key West, FL. I have kidded with my friends over the years that this place is to be my final resting place. Actually my exact words were...when I die I want all my friends to gather at Sunset at Mallory Square, I want Richard Forehand and Rexton Lee (two former students) to play the Kansas song Dust in the Wind as my ashes are scattered to the four winds. Sounds romantic huh? Actually there truly is no pretty place on earth than the sunsets at Mallory Square and when I do would not be a bad way to go. The center of Key West's historic waterfront, Mallory Square stages the famous Key West sunset
celebration and that is what I want my passing to be a big celebration. I think the Irish are on to something with their famous wakes. The Historic Mallory Square and the city of Key West both had their beginning along this deep harbor waterfront -the wrecking schooners, the frigates and warships of the US Navy, the Cuban cigar makers tobacco warehouses, ship's chandlers and government offices combined to make Key West a bustling seaport out on the frontier of a young America. Today, Mallory
Square is a Key West must see. You will find exciting attractions(street jugglers, entertainers, Hemingway's House,, the unparalleled shopping of Duval Street, the Key West historic sculpture garden and of course, every evening, the famous sunset celebration. If you ever decide to plan a trip of a need to go to Key West and spend at least one evening at Mallory Square taking in the most breathtaking sunsets ever. It is truly one of the places you want to see before dying...oh and while you are a piece of Key Lime Pie ( I am enclosing my own personal recipe) and sample some conch fritters...they are a local must! Bon Appetit!
Karen's Famous Key Lime Pie Recipe
When you take a bite of this pie, you'll understand why key lime pie is such an awesome experience. It is well-loved in my household that is for sure!

Servings: Makes one (9-inch) pie
Serving Size: not available
Nutrition: See Below
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 0

3 eggs, separated
1 (14-ounce) can EAGLE BRAND® Sweetened Condensed Milk (NOT evaporated milk)
1/2 cup key limes lime juice...regular lime juice does not make a key lime pie
1 (9-inch) unbaked pie crust (you can use a grahm cracker crust if you prefer.
1/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/3 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 325°F. In medium bowl, beat egg yolks on low speed; gradually beat in EAGLE BRAND® and lime juice until smooth. Stir in food coloring (optional). Pour mixture into pie crust. Bake 30 minutes. Remove from oven. Increase oven temperature to 350°F. In large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar on high speed until soft peaks form. Gradually beat in sugar on medium speed, 1 tablespoon at a time; beat 4 minutes longer or until sugar is dissolved and stiff glossy peaks form.
Immediately spread meringue over hot pie, carefully sealing to edge of crust to prevent meringue from shrinking. Bake 15 minutes. Cool 1 hour. Chill at least 3 hours. Store leftovers covered in refrigerator. Notes: Tip: For a lighter filling, fold 1 stiffly beaten egg white into filling mixture. Proceed as directed. If you are watching your weight...this pie may not be for you. There is nothing low fat about it. My suggestion is to take an extra pass around the block after you eat a piece...because this pie is NOT something you want to pass up.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Carla and Her Amazing Story

Yesterday I told you about my two oldest friends, Carol and Susan. What I didn't tell you was that when Carol and I were 15 Mrs. Geiger had another child, Carla. There was already sister Cathy who was three years younger than we were...but along came Carla. She ruled the roost as a small child. We would give her anything she wanted, do anything she wanted...she was precious. This child could eat some more cookies. She loved them. My mother and father both adored her. Heck, all the neighbors did. All of the once children of El Prado had gone on to become adults...and then there was Carla. When she was four I moved away. I kept up with Carla through her sister, Carol and actually saw her from time to time over the next 15 years and one day I turned around and she was graduating from the University of Florida. Where had the years gone? She looked just like she did when I left Florida and moved to Alabama...just an older version and still had a wonderfully fun personality. You can't be around her but just for a few minutes and she will have you in stitches...and what a life she has led. To quote her own desciption she was a professional band geek – she spent four years in the high school band, five years of band at the University of Florida (where she switched majors to Music Education so that she could officially be a “professional” band nerd), six years as a clarinet/saxophone instrumentalist with the U.S. Navy, five years teaching band at St. Augustine H.S. & Pedro Menendez H.S., two years as a graduate assistant with the Gator Band at UF (earning a master’s degree in band geek a/k/a instrumental conducting), two years as a graduate assistant with the Husky Marching Band at the University of Washington (where she actually completed the coursework for a PhD in music ed but she is not quite ABD), and two years as the Associate Director of Bands/Director of Athletic Bands at Florida International University in Miami. This past year she hit a big milestone....she turned 40. Where did the years go? When did I hit 55? All of a little four year old now forty and still going strong. In January of 2009 she was forty, overweight, and so...she did what most of us do...(no she did not sit down and eat a package of oreos)...she actually lost her job...the music program at FIU was eliminated due to budget cuts. How can you have a football program without a band? Answer me that please? I mean...there are those of us who actually go to the games...and watch them for the halftime shows. I know I do and I know there are others like me in this world. I was NOT a band geek, but I am married to one (Frank played for the Big Green Indians of Choctawhatchee High School in Fort Walton Beach, FL and Kat and Brian were both part of the Pride of Alexander City with the Benjamin Russell High School Marching Band (said with pride...Kat was the drum major her senior year)...Back to Carla though...she has become a runner, having started in January with her first race. She is training for a sprint triathlon and a half marathon, and that’s just the beginning. She is very much looking forward to officially earning the title of “endurance athlete”, and She is once again loving life in our hometown of West Palm Beach. She has entered several 55 I could not just become a runner...I would have to become a walker first...then maybe a power walker...then maybe a jogger....then possibly a I would not kill myself. I am so very proud of this girl. She has done wonderful things in her 40 years...and the best that at age 4...she was my best friends little age 40 I consider her a dear friend. Keep running Carla...I am cheering for you! You Go Girl!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Old Friends - One is Silver and the Other Gold

I am a fortunate person. I have some great friends. Some have been friends for a short period....others have been friends for over 50 years. Chuck and Sue fall into the later least Sue does. Chuckles comes along by default. Susan and I met I think the first day I moved into the neighborhood on El Prado. She lived just around the corner and we had so much in common it was eerie. We still do....and the funny thing is that we can be apart from each other for months at a time and when we get together it is as if no time passed at all. When my parents disappeared I called Sue...she is my daughter Kat's godmother(not the fairy kind)...and I needed one of my fiercest praying friends. I wanted some prayer results that first I called and left her a message. On Thursday, they were on their way down. I can't tell you what having them here did for me. During their entire visit I did not have to think...they did it for me. I just had to function and that was about all I could do. What an amazing friend Susan is. I can't imagine life without her...or Chuck in it. I am blessed with amazing friends like them.
Most people are lucky to have one special friend in their life. I have several....but only two old ones that I am still in contact with. I know for a fact that I met Carol on my very first day in the neighborhood and to quote Mr. Rodgers...when I met WAS truly a beautiful day in my neighborhood. I did not want to move to El Prado...of course I was only 5 years what did I know. Carol was the cutest thing I had ever seen. She was so tiny. My little two and a half year old brother was taller than she was at age 5. She was the first person I ever knew with a birthday on or near Christmas...and I always felt a bit sad for her because people would only give her one gift...for both. I have always made a habit of giving her one for each(wrapped in birthday and Christmas paper too)...this is a practice I continue to this day. If you look at her picture she does not look any different than she did when we were younger....lots younger...Carol was with me when my brother died. She has heard me wail and moan over some boy, she has done things we really shouldn't have done with me, started kindergarten with me at Vedado Park, walked to school with me the first time we were allowed to, ridden bikes with me, spent the night with me, was a Brownie with me, we were inseperable. She called my dad Derf...he called her lorac....(their names backwards)...she was so effervescent. The only thing we didn't do...was share smarts. For Carol learning happened...for me it was an uphill climb everyday. I have begged her more than once to hold her report card until after some event I wanted to I would not be grounded. She has always been a thoughtful friend. We shared a major love of music and she has compiled a whole series of CD's for me with music through the ages. Not only do I love this gift, but my daughter Kat loves it too. She borrows them from time to time for some project she is doing. I love the fact that although we are mother and daughter and we weren't born in the same era...sometimes I feel as if we were. Carol, on my 40th birthday made me a scrapbook of things I had forgotten. I was telling someone the other day about how different I am now than I used to be. 40 years ago...I would never have spoken in front of people. There was a trash can at the door to the sanctuary for me to vomit in before a solo...and somewhere between here and there...I have forgotten that person...and become who I am today. It is nice from time to time to revisit who we once gives us a new respect for who we now are. Carol's husband Jeff went to school with us. He is the handsome blonde guy in the family photo. He definitely has not aged a bit. Jeff and I bowled together when we were in college and we also rode to classes together. Jeff had a bright red camaro. It was fun riding with him. He had a great sense of humor and was crazy about Carol. I think I was perchance a wee bit jealous of that fact at age 18. I moved to Alabama at 19, met and married my first husband and the rest was history....and you know I understand a lot about is important...because history (even your own) is what connects you to the past...and allows the future to be. Carol lives in South Carolina now. Her husband has retired. Talk about six degrees of separation....they live in Summerville, SC....where my sweet Frank hailed from. Who knows we might eventually settle there ourselves when I retire....ahhh retirement....that is another topic for another day! Friends are wonderful to have. I am lucky to have the ones I have...Old friends are the best. They knew you when...and still manage to love you. Thank You my two oldest and dearest friends. You are both very special to me. I can't imagine my life without either of you in it...

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Stop #1 on My Lighthouse Travels

I love lighthouses and throughout my life have visited many of them. I have always wanted to spend a summer being a volunteer lighthouse keeper...but does not ever seem to happen. Yaquina Head (Yakina Head) lighthouse is one of the first I ever visited on the west coast of the United States and I loved it. I have actually been there twice. Once with some friends when I was in college at Whitman in Walla Walla, and once with my daughter and Amanda and her family. Both times I loved this place. It is my dream lighthouse. Oregon's Tallest Lighthouse is Yaquina Head. This lighthouse is one of the most-visited on the west coast with over 400,000 visitors each year. when it was being built it took approximately one year, and over 370,000 bricks from San Francisco, to construct Yaquina Head, also known as Cape Foulweather Lighthouse. There was trouble with the lighthouse from the very beginning. Construction work began in the fall of 1871 but was often delayed due to the horrendous Oregon winter. Boats bringing materials often had difficulty landing in a cove on the south side of the head. Two boats were overturned and lost all their cargo. The lighting of the first Fresnel lens was delayed for almost two years due to parts being lost in transit. The light has since been active since Head Keeper Fayette Crosby walked up the 114 steps, to light the wicks on the evening of August 20th, 1873. During early times the oil burning white light was visible from sunset to sunrise. The light was automated in 1966. The original 1873 lens is still in place, but now it is illuminated by an electric 1,000 watt globe that generates over 130,000 candlepower. This lighthouse has a signature ….that is the light shines two seconds on, two seconds off, two seconds on, then 14 seconds off. The lighthouse has been renovated and has a new "old look." The purpose of the renovation project was to restore its 1873 appearance. More restoration work is planned. This particular lighthouse was used as the setting for the "Moesko Island Lighthouse" in the 2002 film The Ring. It also appeared in Dead Man's Curve (1998), Hysterical (1983) and Nancy Drew: Pirates Cove (1977). If you like lighthouses as much as I do I would encourage you to check this one out. She really is a beauty standing up so straight and tall against the Oregan skyline. But...don't just take my word for it....go check her out yourself. I promise you won't be disappointed....and BTW...while you are there head south and check out the sea lion caves and Heceta Head lighthouse. Another beauty...especially at sunset.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Would the Real Me Please Stand Up

I was raised in a house by a mom with a mega A personality. I am a B. I hate conflict and will do anything to avoid it...(a carryover from childhood). I grew up with a miniscule amount of self-esteem. I never felt I was good enough, just could not measure up, was a failure, was not important, had nothing to say that anyone would want to hear. One day...when I was pregnant with Kathryn our preacher at the time, Rev. Mike Jones, told our Sunday School class that we were all going to teach a Sunday School lesson. "Not Me!" I thought silently to myself. I am not speaking in front of anyone! You are looking at the girl who used to throw up in a garbage can before singing a solo in CHURCH CHOIR! Well, as luck would have it I drew number 1 and was to teach the first lesson. I grumbled all week and honestly only gave it about 50% effort. I had not desire to teach Sunday School. I taught that next Sunday and then Brother Mike critiqued my lesson, pointed out its flaws, and told me to try again the next Sunday. Well...he made me so mad...I went home and thought, "I'll show HIM what a lesson looks like!" I worked all week on my lesson and gave it about 150% this time. On Sunday I delivered a great lesson, and during the week learned that I was selling myself short....I was supposed to be a Sunday School teacher...I have taught ever this process, I found out that I was supposed to TEACH period. The next week I applied for a student it...and two weeks later started college to be a teacher. God certainly has a way of working things out. I was still terrified to speak in public...but my first instructor, Mrs. Barbara Campbell, made me feel so at ease...and then before I knew it...I was teaching....and loving it. I had a last found something I was good at, could succeed at, was meant to do...and no one else could make me feel less because of it! What a boost to my ego and self-esteem. I still had a lot of hurdles to overcome...and overcome them I have. I still have moments of self-doubt...but you know...I AM SOMEBODY! I have learned over the past ten years that I AM WORTHY of respect, I AM SPECIAL, I AM LOVEABLE, and I AM GOOD AT WHAT I DO! People listen to me...and God opened that door when I entered AUM. People who did not know me then...cannot believe me when I tell them how whipped I was...but I know what I used to be...I am living proof of the old me dying and the new me coming to life. Sometimes I can't imagine that I was once shy and introverted. Introverted? Me? Get Out of Here....but there once was a time I was...I was the queen of introverts....and sometimes...when I am feeling kind of vulnerable...the Introvert gets a hold of me and only then do I remember...that that was once me. I thank God daily for sending me Frank, who allows me to shine; for giving me Still Magnolias, who allow me to sing my heart out; for giving me the Arbor Praise Band, who allow me to sing my praises to A God who knew I could really be all I could be. My God truly is the Wind Beneath My Wings...and I love this feeling of soaring!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Life Goes.....and it Sucks!

Just when I thought I had it all under control again....the rug was pulled out from under me. We had to take my dad off of Hospice care when we put him in assisted living...because that is assisted living rules. They cannot be part of Hospice upon entry...and after 30 days they can be placed on Hospice. So...we had to cancel Hospice....and pick up Home Health. What a pain. It is all the same building...just different parts....but all new paper work...what a headache. the Cancer called to tell me my dad had an appointment to discuss his P.E.T. scan and C.A.T. scan from last about lousy timing...if Peggy (the manager at the Meadows) could not take them....I was going to have to take yet another day off to deal with this. Sigh! I am glad I have a real understanding boss. An hour later the Cancer Center called back...after I had stewed about this new development for an hour...and told me we did not have to come. That depressed me tremendously....because it means there is nothing more they can do. They just wanted to make sure we went back to Hospice at the end of the 30 day period. My mind is racing....will we make 30 days? Are any of us guaranteed 30 days?....are we guaranteed one day? Sigh...I had a butt kicking reality dad is dying and there is nothing I can do about it. We are all born to die....I know this in my head....but my head and heart are not on speaking terms at the moment. My heart is hanging on for that last little glimmer of hope. My head is taking this all very clinically....we are born, we pay taxes, we die...the end. Somewhere in between head and a wonderful path that I have walked with a very special man for 55 years. It is a path I have loved every step of. For those of you who are out there...hug those you love really good today, and be so grateful you have them with matter for how long. If I have learned nothing from this experience I know now that life is what it is. It is not always good yet how you handle it makes you who you are. I went to see my parents at the Meadows today....just like I always do. My dad seemed out of sorts. He held my hand like a person who is drowning and needs to hang on to something. He kept looking me in the he was trying to tell me something. I kept searching his face...looking for a clue. When I got ready to leave....I kissed him...twice today...and told him I would see him tomorrow....his response today was, "maybe." It took my breath away from me. I barely made it to the door befor I came unglued. I realized today...that he needs me to tell him it is ok for him to go. I cried all the way to the house. I don't want him to suffer...but I don't want to live without him either. One of my wants is not going to happen...and the bigger person would let him I am practicing with you guys here goes...."Daddy, I love you with all my heart...and it is ok to leave us when you get ready. I promise to take care of mama." Whew..that was hard...not as hard as telling him face to face is going to please keep me in your prayers and thoughts that I can let him go without him knowing it is killing me inside. I love this man...I wish my own daughter had had a father like him. I am fortunate. God sent me Frank...who is the closest thing I have ever known to my father. NIght all and God Bless!

And I Sat Down and Started Writing.....

Ok, I have big news. I am working on a book. I am so excited about it. I have actually sent a sample to a couple of publishers and they seemed interested. Can you believe it. Have I Got a Story for You....might actually be in print in the next year. I have about 20 chapters down and with the new episode with the ancients have enough material now for a series. On Monday night I was the guest speaker at the Business and Professional Womens monthly meeting. I talked about storytelling and writing, and gave them a small smattering of my quick wit (LOL) and writing styles. It was so much fun just sitting there doing something I love....telling stories. My Uncle Cecil would be so proud of me. I even shared some poetry with them and then finished up with a sample of the 48 hours from hell chapter. All of them wanted to preorder their books last night. My friends Kathy and Carolyn have been after me for a couple of years just to compile my Sunday School lessons into a book for them. I had thought about self-publishing several and just spiral binding them....but for this project...I want it to be done right. Keep your fingers crossed...I doubt I will ever be a New York Times BestSelling Author...with a book tour going...but I do truly believe that I Have Got a Story for You....and you might actually get a little treasure from something I write. I have discovered that there are a lot of people out the same boat I am in...with aging parents, or having lost a sibling, or dealing with a terminal cancer patient, who need to hear that there is someone out there who understands and cares. That Would Be ME! I am on fire now...and can't wait to be signing autographs at the local library someday. How cool would that be? So...since you guys are my will be my story test audience. I will be watching for you keep them coming! Love You All....Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 21, 2009

I'm Back!

Well, it has been two weeks since I took my parents to The Meadows on Hillabee. I have made a conscious effort to visit them every day...sometimes I will sit and watch television with them for an hour or so, other days I plan my visits so I can leave when they go to dinner and I am only there for 30 minutes. The point is I visit and make sure to hug them and tell them I love them each day. My mom is still wanting to come home but those comments are fewer and farther between. My dad has no clue where he is. He is content to eat, sleep, and watch tv. I did not realize until yesterday how much this whole episode in my life has taken out of me....I was sitting in church and Brother Bill was talking about the "Word that Never Comes Back...Now." I sat there and got a little misty eyed when I thought of my now. My now consists of meeting my parents needs, my husbands needs, my spiritual needs and I am drowning. On my way to Waverly church - to sing and hear my sweet Frank preach...I heard the song Cry Out to Jesus by Third Day. I love to hear Mac Powell sing. He really does not have a great voice...but it is a powerful sounds as if he is really dealing with the pain he sings of. I sat in the back seat of Carolyn and Phil's car, listened to the song and had a small come apart. Frank preached on Freedom and I felt as if God was pointing his finger at me going....You! I realized that I have not been nurturing myself these last couple of weeks. I have been so busy taking care of everyone else I was missing myself. So, today is Monday....a new start to a new week....and I am putting myself back on track. I have wants, needs, desires, and feelings too...and they count!. I will be back reading posts and commenting this watch out blogging world....the new and improved Karen is BACK! Happy Monday!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Memories Can Be Amazing

Most of you have no clue who Tennessee Ernie Ford is....but I do. He was one of my dad's favorite singers and therefore I loved him too. I remember hearing his voice come drifting across the radio my dad loved to listen to on the weekend and one of the songs I loved the most was called "Sixteen Tons." I think it was one of the earliest songs I learned to play on the guitar. This is a song about the life of a coal miner. I thought the lyrics were great. There was a verse that said, "If you see me coming better step aside. A lot of men didn't and a lot of men died. One fist is iron and the other one steel, if the right one don't get you then the left one will." My dad and I would croon out this song and when we would get to that verse he would grin, wink, and ball up his fists and hold them up. You would have to know my dad to grasp the brevity of this. My dad never even spanked me as a child...the odds of him hitting someone, anyone with his fists is hysterical. I remember one time when I was in dad came home from work, my mom told him how horrible I had been and that he needed to spank me. He took me into their bedroom, pulled his huge electricians belt off (which terrified me), and slapped the bed with it about four times. I was so scared that I cried out the first time, "No daddy!" My mom was probably listening at the door to make sure I would get my just rewards...gloating I am sure...well...the beating was done....I was none the worse for wear....everyone was dad didn't have to spank me, my mom thought I was punished thoroughly, and I missed the bullet to live and play another day. I always thought my dad looked like Tennessee Ernie Ford...and they do have some similar features....but looking back at him today...I was surprised at how much they DON'T look alike...funny what we think and remember as kids. I thought I would introduce you to the smooth stylings of Tennessee Ernie Ford. Enjoy and Happy Hump Day!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Singing for Two Sitting Presidents

Yesterday was a good day and today is going to be good too. Story number two is that I have sung for two sitting presidents. I attended Belvedere Elementary School in West Palm Beach, FL. We had a music teacher named Miss Murphy and we would put on these cute little programs throughout the year. The year I was in second grade we put on a Veteran's Day program and President John F. Kennedy and his family sat in the audience and watched us sing. I thought that was pretty cool because I thought he was the handsomest man I had ever seen....except for my dad. I was very sad and will always remember the year he was shot. It is one of those moments you will never forget. As a child I remembered how loving he seemed with his little girl and son. The Kennedy family has had to endure a number of very tragic moments throughout the years. I used to love to ride by the Kennedy compound in Palm Beach just for a glimpse of never happened. The only glimpses I ever got were in magazines, on the television, and in the newspapers. Many years later, when I was in high school at Forest Hill, I sang with the First United Methodist youth choir called New Dawn. It was an awesome experience to sing with New Dawn. It was in the choir that I learned I had a pretty decent voice and began using it in public. Before that I sang for family and friends only. Anyways, there was a huge concert at the Leaky Teepee (the Civic Center) that combined all of the local church youth choirs and sitting in the audience was President Richard M. Nixon. I actually had a solo for this performance and could see him and all his entourage sitting on the front row while I sang. I was so nervous that I am surprised he did not hear my knees knocking in the microphones. Years after this Mr. Nixon fell from grace and it saddened me that such a powerful political figure could do all the terrible things the news said he did. After I heard Chuck Colson speak about the Watergate Trial and the various roles people had at a conference later in my life I was saddened again because I was so naive about government officials and their abuse of power. But, no matter who he was...I sang for him while he was the President of the United States and it was a memorable experience. Have a Terrific Tuesday...I am planning to!

Monday, September 14, 2009

I Kissed Burt Reynolds

When I was 13 years old the greatest thing that could ever happen to anyone on the face of the earth happened to me. I kissed Burt Reynolds....for real...right on the mouth! My best friends mom worked at the Royal Poinciana Playhouse in Palm Beach and she got some tickets for a benefit they were hosting. Burt Reynolds was to be the Master of Ceremonies and Mrs. Geiger knew I was a big Burt she asked me to go with her daughter and her. The beginning was kind of boring. It was just a bunch of people begging and pleading for money....kind of like the Jerry Lewis telethon every Memorial Day. But then Burt sweetened the pot when he said the next person in the audience to make a donation would get a kiss from him. Mrs. Geiger asked her daughter if she wanted to go and she said no. I was holding my breath...hoping she would ask me...and she did. I jumped at the offer and when the time came to walk the donation up I was all over it. all know know that absolutely nothing ever goes like it is supposed to for me....well I was trying to be a big I wore garters to hold up my fishnet stockings....and on the stage....on national television....while Burt Reynolds kissed stockings decided that now is the best time to roll down to her ankles and that is just exactly what they did. I could have died! Talk about a major mortification....this would have been it. I will never forget the moment....for good or for bad...yep, I kissed Burt Reynolds(one of the sexiest men on earth)...and embarrassed myself for eternity, on national television, all in one lucky can a girl get! Happy Monday!

Saturday, September 12, 2009

What A Week!

I have not been here much this week as you all know. I have gone back to work and am visiting my parents each evening after work to help them adjust. The adjustment period is going to take a while for my mom. My dad seems fine with it. They have had a good many visitors but each time I go my mom brings up the fact they are just going to be there for a day and she has been trying to get Dr. Powers on the phone to get him to let them go home (here to my house) where SHE can and will take care of my dad. My uncle Trollis went to see them on Thursday and she told him to go get her car taken care of...when I left I called him immediately to make sure he did not follow her directive...she cannot drive again. My dad ran a fever this week and seems weak...although my mom says he is improving daily...all I see is a man in bed by 4...sound asleep. She tells me of all his activity during the day but the director says he has little activity during the day. I am afraid for them both. I have slept soundly for the last few days knowing that they are safe and cared for. My head knows they are in a good heart is not getting the message. Last night about 8:30 my mom called and wanted me to come to the Meadows first thing this morning...8:00. I don't know what she wants...but I am sure it has to do with leaving. Sigh! I saw a lawyer this week. My mom won't willingly give me a power of attorney...because it is her business, not mine. So I am going to have to sue them for conservatorship and take control without their permission. This way of doing things involves them having to go to the Probate Judge...with a lawyer and having the judge decide if they need to have a guardian to handle their affairs. I am afraid if I don't do this they won't pay their bills and the rent at the Meadows. I also had to work on getting a DD214(record of military service)for my dad so that the VA will pay part of his rent. That has been hard too. I had to get my dad to sign the papers and his handwriting has gone down a lot. He writes like a child now. It is so sad to see him fail so each day. I hate being put in this predicament. If only they had had foresight enough to take care of all of this before their healths began declining it would have been so much easier. I told my daughter that I will not allow this to happen to her. I plan to take care of my daughter and Frank's daughter so they neither of them have to experience this when I begin to age....begin...who am I kidding. I have aged 100 years in the last week. It was good getting back to school. I loved having something to do to occupy my mind. I understand my mom's restlessness because I am just like her. I don't sit still well...never have....even as a child. I have always needed something to do....even if it was reading a book. My mom does not read any more. I think that is sad. Both of them used to read a lot. Our house was always filled with books and the library was my favorite place to go. I have learned a great deal from this experience....some stuff I really did not ever want to know. I know what the term BOLO (be on the lookout) means, I know what a Silver Alert is, I know about conservertorship is and why it is actually better than a power of attorney in this case, I have sat in a lawyers office and discussed family secrets, I have hired my first lawyer, I know I have lots of friends, and I know I am loved. For my readers who have walked this path I am currently understand what is happening, why it is so painful, and that I will get through it. For my readers who have yet to experience is not fun, you feel as if you are in a living nightmare, and it will pass (they say). For those readers who may never have to go through this...count your blessings and pray for those of us who have been there, are there, and will be there. My God is a good God and He will keep me sane throughout this mess. He will help me survive what is to come. I know this in my head. My heart is having a hard time with this too. Happy Saturday to you all! Thank you for the comments of support. You will never know how special you all are to me. I AM a STILL MAGNOLIA and I will make it!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

The Meadows of Hillabee

Dr. Powers gave me three choices when my parents were ready to be dismissed from the hospital on Sunday night. I could bring them home and hire sitters(not his choice). I could send my dad to a nursing home and take my mom home( not my mom's choice), or I could put them in assisted living where they could be together. So I left the hospital to do some research, went to the Meadows on Hillabee and checked out the place. To be honest I was not 100% sure what exactly assisted living was. I thought it was some kind of glorified nursing home and I was wrong. Ms. Peggy Easterwood met me as soon as I had entered the place and began to explain it to me. So far she has been a lifesaver. Having been through much the same experience herself she is very comforting and loving with the the residents. I had to come to grips with reality that my parents are now classed as older adults who find it difficult to maintain a home, hence why they have lived with me for the past 4.5 years, and who can no longer live safely alone, I can't take another 48 hour period of hell where I cannot locate I had to find an alternative and I think I did. Assisted living offers a blend of personalized services in a supervised and secure environment that embraces privacy, independence and choice. Residents have their own room furnished with their personal belongings in addition to homey living rooms, dining room and porches for activities and socialization. The Meadows on Hillabee assisted living offers the support services seniors need to maintain their independent lifestyle(sin car) and dignity. I moved them in yesterday...and to be honest they have lived with me so long...I actually experienced empty nest syndrome last night for the first time since Kat went away to college. My mom does not want to be there. She continues to say that she will be coming home tomorrow. She all but refused to give me a check for the month's rent...and was so fiesty....but only with me...with everyone else...she was so sweet. Typical mom! I finally got a check out of her, paid the lady, turned in the paper work, and ran! I had to get out of there. I have now been off for a week and needed to feel normal for a few minutes. I went to Wal-mart and picked up a few groceries and met Frank at the house. We road back out to the Meadows to visit for a bit before they had supper. I know this will take time for them to adjust. So when you say your prayers tonight...pray that they will and that I will survive their adjusting! Happy Wednesday! I am going back to work today!!!! Woooo Hooooo!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Dreamland BBQ - Tuscaloosa, AL

When I was going to the University of Alabama and working on my Spanish certification I was introduced to a piece of culinary delight - Dreamland BBQ. My friend Greg came and got us one night and told us he was taking us to dinner and it was a surprise. Well, in Tuscaloosa...anything would have been a surprise. We rode out into the country and stopped at this little run down looking building that said Dreamland BBQ. I told way Hoser...I am not eating anywhere that looks like this...but he coerced me into the restaurant and my nose was bombarded with the sweet smell of searing meat cooking...and I was hooked. Now, to paint this picture a little better...I had on a white pants suit. White mind you!...We sat down...and the waiter came up with a pad and wanted to know what we wanted...there was no was just a piece of paper....with a few choices on it. I ordered a half slab of ribs....then asked for beans and cole slaw as my sides...he laughed out loud and told me..."You gets ribs and light bread. You wants chips they at the bawrr." I had not clue what light bread was. Remember I grew up in South Florida...we ate Sunbeam bread, rye, wheat, pumpernickel....I had never had light bread in my life. There was a big pit behind us...and there was a large lady in a dress sitting in a rocker with one of those Jamaican fans...fanning the meat. Shortly our meal was delivered. Slabs of ribs and a stack of Sunbeam bread were placed on the table with 4 sweet teas and 1 unsweet tea. The waiter returned with some kind of styrofoam cups....that was the dippin' sauce for "da ribs." My olfactory was on overload...and I could not wait to get one of those ribs in my mouth. I dipped it neatly into the sauce...and ate....after that first bite it was Katie Bar the Door. I devoured the ribs. We ask for three more cups of the sauce and ate all the bread...dipping it in the sauce. I think we ate a whole loaf of light bread that night. Then we talked our waiter into more cups...which we took back to our apartment...and ate for lunch the next day...with bread! Dreamland became a weekly venture. I ate there once a week for two years while I was attending Alabama. Imagine how excited I was when I found a Dreamland BBQ in Birmingham...we ate there...and I was sorely disappointed. The sauce was still just as good...but they have sides...and to be honest...the sides take away from the ribs. Sooooo...if you love BBQ...then you must eat at Dreamland...but wait til you are in Tuscaloosa...and find the original one. It is out on Jug Factory the boonies...but you will never regret making that me....they are truly to die for!

In Mandy's Words

My daughter Kat has a friend named Mandy....actually...she has two and is very lucky that they are part of her life. They both came to my house while we were looking for my parents...and they don't even know them. Anyways Kat has told me numerous times that Mandy B. is very much like me. She says she can imagine that when I was 30 this would have been the way I was...and she is right. Mandy writes poetry...and beautifully. When they were here she told me she would share it with me and I was so touched by this one I had to share the link with you. It was written back in July...who would have ever known how much it would touch my heart in September. I think that is what is so awesome about a good poet, what they write about comes from their souls...yet it touches the souls of all who read. Cool thought huh? I hope you all have a blessed day. My parents are with me for a couple of days while the Meadows, assisted living, prepares for their arrival on Tuesday. Pray I survive my mom....she is very beligerent about why were we searching for her...they knew where they were...they were only gone a few hours...why did I overreact so....and on and on. I honestly cannot wait for tomorrow. She told her doctor yesterday...that I was with them on the road....that my dad got out and slept in the ditch...and I laid down on top of him to keep him warm. My aunt could not believe this new addition to the story...we will probably never know the real version. Selective amnesia is a nice thing...anytime something you experience is too painful to just close of the curtains and shut it out. Tuesday will get here eventually and Sigh...I will miss yet another day at work. I am beginning to forget what I do for a living. Will there ever be a sense of normalcy in my life again? Click here to go to Mandy's poem "He Speaks in Poetry." he speaks in poetry - The Burbs's MySpace Blog | Southern Strangers
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Friday, September 4, 2009

BOLO - Be On the Look Out....Silver Alert

What a week I have had. I have to admit...when I tell you this will never believe it. On Tuesday I began to experience every child with aging parents worst nightmare. At 9:00 on Tuesday night I had to call the police to let them know that my parents were missing...and had not been seen since 1:00 when they left their friend Gay off at her house. At first it felt ridiculous...but as time began to pass...I became more frantic. At 11:00 the Alex City Police Dept called to let me know they had been found at their house...and contact had been made....but it was a false alarm. I came home from the drive to Kellyton...empty feeling. I slept an hour on Tuesday night...only to wake up early....staring at the big empty place where they usually park. I went to school early to leave lesson plans...I just knew that they would be found...Kat called me while I was at school and let me know she was on her way....once she got here we left Frank manning the phones and we began scouring the no avail. They were nowhere to be found. Weds. afternoon....after several futile attempts to locate them...I called the Dept. of Public Safety and they issued a Media Blitz. One of Kat's friends called Kim Hendrix at WSFA Channel 12 and gave her the story....we sent a picture....and the story aired at 5:30...and again at 10:00. People came and went all day, bringing food, calling, praying, hugging, it was such an emotional day...and there was no news. Weds. night fell and I began realizing that this was probably not going to have a happy ending...but I refused to give up. I got an Alabama map and began to create quadrant maps for the search parties that were going out on Thursday. We came up with 7 maps. The searchers came, got a map, food and water...and began their searches. Kat's friends from Montgomery came and we paired some of them with locals and gave the ones who were not paired with a local detailed search area maps...and they all began. By one had seen anything...and I was feeling so very phone rang and Mrs. Leola Lashley told me her son had just been called to go and get their van....the police called and said they had been found! I cannot describe the feelings that rushed through me. Where had they been? For two days they were stuck in a muddy ditch with a blown tire...down a pig trail road that leads to Fox Creek - part of the Tallapoosa River. This is a place where kids go to drink, sell drugs and park....They could have been killed...and in all of our searching....we would never have found them....none of us would have gone down this road. So, we all jumped in Shareefa's car and headed to the hospital. People began pouring into the hospital parking lot...they had been found. They were dehydrated, starving, but ok...and they were a muddy mess. WAKA Channel 8 showed up with a camera and a reporter....and I was so tired. I looked rough on camera. I am now I must close my eyes and rest...Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have this happen to you? I hope was not fun. I am still feeling strange. They are still in the hospital tonight...they are not going to come home with me...they are being sent to assisted that is another battle for another day....and I am so tired I can hardly hold my eyes open. God is so Good...all the time...isn't he?

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Modge Podge Mania With Xazmin's Style

Ok...I have had a couple of really crappy days...and I am tired of being down...I have a cold and don't feel the greatest...but by Jimmies I am going to be cheerful today if it kills me...and it may just do that. But then....Our of the Blue...I found a cheerful thing. It was a new project my friend Xazmin shared that gave me a new lease of life. I don't know about any of you guys...but several years ago I discovered Modge Podge and went wild. Everything I had was Modge Podged. I loved the easy craft for someone who was not so crafty. My friend Xazmin over at This is the Year has done an awesome project and I want to tell you about it....actually I am going to let her tell you in her own words. I was so excited about it I asked her if I could post it on my blog and she said YES!!!! I know once you see it and see how easy it is you will want to do it too. If you want to know more click on the link I provided at the beginning of the post and go see what all she has done. She is awfully talented...and this is her blog item for yesterday. "Well, summer is winding down. Are you sad? Or are you excited like me? I love summer, but now is about the time I'm ready for the season to change. I LOVE fall, I love the smell, and the colors, and the cooler temperatures. Most of all I love the anticipation of the upcoming Holiday Season. I'm itchin' to start decorating for 'bout you? I'm especially excited to "Halloween-ify" my home! So for this month's Mod Podge Project, I decided to do a Halloween version of the Mod Podge blocks you may have seen in our very first edition of Mod Podge Mania.I found this adorable Halloween paper at Michaels, and I'm so pleased with how they turned out!

I love how the little skeletons seem to be peeking out between the letters!

All I did was spray paint some 2x4 scraps, then Mod Podge my paper on. Using Mod Podge on the wood to adhere the paper, then another couple of coats over the top.
When the Mod Podge dried, I distressed the edges on the sander. I also took a tip from my way more talented than me friend Tanielle, and rubbed some brown paint on the roughed up edges. I spray painted and slightly distressed the wooden letters, then glued them on! Finish off with a couple of coats of clear acrylic spray and tie on some coordinating tulle. This is such a simple, fool-proof project and they turn out so cute every time! Now let's see what you've got! Please remember to link back to my blog in your post so that everyone will know where to come see everyone's projects! You may link up an old post or a new one. But if you link up an old one, it would be helpful if you just put a little blurb as a new entry on your blog linking back to your older post so your regular readers will know where to come check out more ideas! Does that make sense? I can't wait to see what you've all come up with this month!"
I, Karen again, hope you will go to your local craft store after seeing this cool project and pick up some paint brushes and modge podge and go to town. I have also used cute little napkins...and modge podged them on glass plate backs and baskets and loved the result. Happy Crafting.