It Wasn’t About the Hoodie–Not Really

I grew up not a UGA fan.  One of my earliest memories involves a vinyl covered stool that my Aunt and Uncle had in their home when we were visiting.  It had a Yellow Jacket on it.  My Uncle graduated from Georgia Tech.  From then on, I understood us to be a Tech family.

Because in Georgia–those are pretty much your choices.  Georgia or Georgia Tech.  There are other colleges, but that’s the big state rivalry.

It didn’t make me popular.  Still doesn’t.  When I wear my GT hoodie out, there are times when another Tech fan speaks up, not too loud of course, excited to find “another” outsider.

Bulldawg fans are serious, y’all.  But so are we.  I was right.  We are a Tech family.  When I was at Wesleyan, we as a student body voted Georgia Tech to be our brother school.  (I think this was so we could cheer for a football team or invite them to our socials…..right now the exact reason eludes me.)  A few years later Sister graduated from Tech, marrying a boy she met there.  After that my Cousin and my brother both graduated from there.  (I’m not mentioning the two cousins who went to UGA–we still shake our heads over that.) Mess Cat married Leroy, who also came from a diehard Tech family.  Only they were a bit more serious–they had actually been to games.  Live.  In person.

Yes.  Go Tech!

So you can understand why I was a bit perplexed, befuddled, if you will, that our Princess announced at a very young age that she is a Bulldog fan.

Where on earth did she pick up such language?

When she was smaller, it was cute.  Oh look at the little one, she thinks she knows what she’s talking about.  Okay.  Whatever.  We patronizingly indulged her little game, knowing  full well it would. not. last.

Only it did.

A couple of years ago she found a UGA top that she liked at the GW Boutique.  I got it for her, struck with bewilderment and wondering who had switched my child at the hospital in Japan, and where on earth was my little Buzz-loving child?   She wore it often, and I would feign shock and displeasure when she did.  We both wound up laughing before the day was over.  She loved reminding us where her allegiance stood by calling out, “Go Dawgs!” quite a bit during football season.

She eventually outgrew that top.  She does not, thankfully, have a replacement.  So be it.  (She does have an Auburn top, and I believe I tried to sneak a GT one in on her to no avail.)

Today we dashed in at the GW Boutique on our Outs and Abouts. I was looking at blazers for my future law school student, when I came across a red hoodie.  I’m a lover of all things hoodie-fied, if you will recall, so I flipped it around, fingers crossed, hoping it would not be…..

but it was…..

Georgia.

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Now in this state, “Georgia” on a hoodie does not mean what you think it means.  Georgia on a hoodie–a red hoodie with black writing–means only one thing.  U. G. A.

Ughhhh.  Uhhh.

This was not the hoodie I was looking for.

Still, in the interest of full disclosure, and because it was a hoodie and most of hers are getting too short on her, I lifted it up and showed it to our Princess as she walked over to where I was.

She smiled.  Really big.

That touched my heart and almost made me feel bad about not being all gung ho about this hoodie.

“So do you want it?” I asked her.

She looked at it, smiled again, and shook her head.

Wait.  What?

“No.  I mean, it’s nice, but I don’t want it.”

“What?  Why?”

“Well, I can just think about how it will bother you if I wear it.”  She giggled and then looked a little serious.  “I know how you feel about it, and I don’t want to make you feel all that every time I wear it.”

I took her by the shoulders and looked her straight in her eyes with fierce love.  “Baby girl, NO MA’AM.  You are a Georgia fan.  I can’t explain why, but you are.  Must have been something in the water or something.  Either way, you are a Georgia fan.  That’s how you feel, you chose it.  Do not–DO NOT EVER–change what you love or how you believe or what you want in life because you are limiting yourself to others’ expectations and preferences.  YOU DO YOU.  YOU BE YOU.  As long as you’re not physically hurting anyone else or being intentionally unkind, you don’t change who you are one bit.  Be loving, be kind, but BE YOU.  Every bit of your beautiful self.”

*sigh*

Okay, so that’s what I should have said.  Only I didn’t.  It didn’t occur to me until we were almost home WITHOUT the hoodie that I had missed a teachable moment.

*sigh* It could have been so beautiful too.  And then we would have gone arm in arm to the check out to buy the hoodie.  And instead of being (mock) frustrated every time she wore it, I would have seen it as my child expressing herself and comfortable doing so–even when she is the only one who feels the way she does.  I would have seen my child comfortable and okay with who she is and what she embraces.

Instead I was so wrapped up with how much she cared about my feelings that I totally blanked on what could have been a powerful lesson.

Man.  I really messed up.

I have put my request in with my people who are in that area that if they happen back by that GW Boutique and “iffen” that hoodie is still there, please get it for my baby.  I want to be able to tell her those things.  And hand her the hoodie and apologize.  It might not be a big deal for her now, but one day, I want her to remember it and be encouraged when life has her feeling on the outside because she believes differently than others do.

Because it’s bound to happen.  Eventually.

I’m reminded of the story of my cousin’s oldest child (who married a month ago–oh my, the time has flown) when he was very young.  He adored his grandmother, my aunt, and he was talking to her about a movie he loved.  I can’t remember which one it was, but he was so happy about it, and he asked her if didn’t she love it too.  She was honest about it and told him she really didn’t care for it much.  He was sad, and then she told him that it was okay.  That people who love each other can like different things and it still be okay.

I love that so much.  It has stuck with me for probably twenty years.  I want my children to take that story to heart.

It’s okay to like different things and still be okay with other people.

Better than okay.

May you have the courage to be you–today and everyday.

Love to all.

 

Teal is the New Orange

Last year I shared with y’all about the Teal Pumpkin Project, which can best be described on the FARE website:  “Launched as a national campaign by Food Allergy Research & Education (FARE) in 2014, the Teal Pumpkin Project™ raises awareness of food allergies and promotes inclusion of all trick-or-treaters throughout the Halloween season.”

Basically, pick up some non-food items to give out as treats on Halloween, put a teal pumpkin (or sign) to let folks know you have safe treats, and watch the smiles on the faces of children who so often are left out of special occasions.

My child with food allergies has the best attitude.  She knows that I will be sending something for her to eat at birthday parties instead of the party cake.  She gets that we can’t eat at certain places or have to skip certain activities because of risk of exposure.  She has become so proactive in self-carrying her epi-pens.  She smiles when I hand her a snack I brought even though she really, really wants that fresh-baked brownie with icing at the coffee shop.

Bless her.

And until last year, the only treats I let her have on Halloween were the ones that our sweet neighborfriend packaged up especially for her.  (They’ve been gone for two Halloweens.  We are so happy to have them back.)  Last year, another dear neighborfriend read about the Teal Pumpkin Project and put hers out and made magic happen.  The smile on my girl’s face after an evening of make-believe and visiting with friends and calling out “Trick or Treat”–priceless.  Spider rings really can bring sheer joy, y’all.

It’s funny that Halloween has become such a big deal for my children.  It wasn’t for us growing up.  We lived out in the country with no neighbors close by who really trick or treated.  I can only remember going a time or two with my friends.

But these children?  We’ve been talking about who we want to “be” for close to two months now.  I think we are all finally set and ready.  (fingers crossed)  However, our Princess was pretty sad because we really didn’t have anything decorating our yard for fall or Halloween, save our flag by the mailbox and the beautiful mum a sweet neighbor brought by “just because.”  It didn’t help matters when everyone else on our street put out something, and here we were–bare.  When her best bud’s family who have lived here just a few months went all out, my girl begged me to put something out.

Today we had some Out and Abouts, and I wanted to give Cooter one more shot at finding his “perfect” Halloween costume.  He’s found a couple he liked, but they just didn’t fit.  I decided to go by the GW “Bo0tique” (seriously, that’s what they call it–I’ve started something, y’all) where all of the Fall and Halloween things are.  They have marketed this so well that they even have a book of costume ideas you can put together using ordinary things found at your local GW.  AWESOME.  We especially loved the “selfie” one, complete with a phone, selfie stick, any outfit of choice, and an empty frame.  So fun.  (And selfies are Aub’s thing, so we think this should be her costume this year.)

While we were perusing the costumes, the decor along the wall caught my eye.  Y’all.  They had some adorable (and scary) terra cotta and other style jack o’lanterns among so much else.  Nothing was very much at all, it being the GW and all.  SCORE.  WIN.  I’m not into keeping up with the Jones’, but I do enjoy a good bargain and watching my young’uns get excited about decorating.

We all picked out something and talked about where we would put it on the porch or in the yard.  In the end, Cooter found something he liked for Halloween, and we were done.  We were all smiles.

This afternoon after some grammar and math and piano, we headed out to the yard to get to work.  We are still very much a work in progress, so please don’t judge.  Yet.  Here’s a sneak preview though.

This one has plugs in and has a bulb inside and actually works!  I might have to move it inside, as I'm having outlet issues.  But isn't he precious?

This one plugs in and has a bulb inside and actually works! I might have to move it inside, as I’m having outlet issues. But isn’t he precious?

A little scary, but once she is sitting on a bale of hay with a mum or oooooh, a cauldron would be awesome, wouldn't it?  I'm sure we've got something around here.....

A little scary, but once she is sitting on a bale of hay with a mum or oooooh, a cauldron would be awesome, wouldn’t it? I’m sure we’ve got something around here…..

So cute, Mr. Pumpkin with his top hat!  I'm thinking I will get battery tea lights to put inside at night.

So cute, Mr. Pumpkin with his top hat! I’m thinking I will get battery tea lights to put inside at night.

We are equal opportunity vine fruit carving folks.  ;)  Cooter really thought this one was clever.

We are equal opportunity cucurbit-carving folks, y’all. 😉 Cooter really thought this one was clever.

Since our Princess plans to be a witch, very appropriate.....

Since our Princess plans to be a witch, very appropriate…..

With this sweet with bubbling up good fun.....

With this sweet witch bubbling up good fun…..

Teal is the new orange.  Our teal and cream pumpkins reappear with a new sidekick or two.  We're all a little batty around here with all kinds of things coming out of our heads.  ;)

Teal is the new orange. Our teal and cream pumpkins reappear with a new sidekick or two. We’re all a little batty around here with all kinds of things coming out of our heads. 😉  (She came like that, flowers and all, isn’t she lover-ly?)

Tonight I’m thankful for all the joy of this day.  For littles who spend a great amount of time dreaming about and becoming someone else for an evening.  For my girl who takes all of the seasonal decorating so seriously and who got so excited about making it happen today.  For Cooter whose sense of humor found him howling laughing over a watermelon jack o’lantern.  For the GW where fun things can be found if only you look for them, and for the time and energy to do just that, I am grateful.

Most of all I’m thankful to live in a community where inclusion and keeping children safe is important.  The Teal Pumpkin Project just started last year, and I’ve seen articles and posts about it cross my path numerous times since the beginning of October.  If you are able to make it happen at your home this year, a huge thank you on behalf of Mamas of children with food allergies and other dietary issues everywhere.  If you can’t, that’s okay too.  Just being aware and compassionate is such a huge gift.

For more information and flyers and great stuff like that about the Teal Pumpkin Project, please click here.

Love and Happy Orange and Teal to all.

Rabbit Trails and Songs Around the Globe

This morning the littles and I read in our history book about the earthquake and subsequent tsunami that destroyed Lisbon, Portugal on November 1, 1755.  What with it being All Saints’ Day, many lives were lost while sitting in church on that tragic morning.  The ones who fled to the harbor were later lost at sea when the tsunami hit.

Devastation.  An amazing story.  The king and his family and court had gone to the country for the holiday at the request of one of the king’s daughters, and their lives were spared.  They came back and they rebuilt Lisbon, stronger than ever before–complete with earthquake safe buildings.  That they were able to study it and make that happen all those hundreds of years ago is absolutely mind-blowing.  And impressive.

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A young woman and her mother who teach the littles on Sunday evenings shared their globe with us for a few weeks.  When we saw one just like it at the GW Boutique for $6.06, we grabbed it.  It is a wonderful asset to our homeschool program and just really great for learning in general.

Our Princess went and found Lisbon, Portugal on our globe.  By setting the dial and tapping the two places on the globe, she learned how far it is from Georgia to Lisbon.  Then she moved the dial to music.  She danced to the tune that played when she tapped Portugal.

“My favorite’s from India.  Do you mind if I play that song?”  I shook my head no.  She smiled and hummed along to the Indian music.

As I went over to begin preparing lunch, she tapped on the US.  The tune of “Oh Susannah” began to play.

I’m sorry.  What?

Yes.

I sighed.  Really?

I mean, I grew up listening to that song, and I love it, but that’s the one song they could choose to depict American music?–something I think of as a true melting pot where the flavors still stay distinct and don’t completely blend.  There are all sorts of music written, played, and listened to in this country.

Before I could finish gathering my thoughts, she tapped it again.  Then the tune of “America the Beautiful” played.

Well.  Okay.  I can see that one.

And then tap.

“When the Saints Go Marching In” began playing.

Gotcha.  Okay, so I started thinking maybe it was going to play traditional songs from different parts of the country, when–

Tap.

You’re never going to believe this one.

“Amazing Grace.”  Now I was in the kitchen, and I can’t be quite certain, but I am pretty sure it was a bagpipes version.

Wow.

It got me to thinking.  This globe is very cool, and what a bargain, right?  They use it a lot and we talk about the facts they learn about the different countries from using it.  I am wondering a couple of things though.

As far as the music goes, are they as far off in other countries as they seem to be on this one?

What song would I say gives the best picture of this country I live in?

I don’t know.

I don’t know that one song can do all of that.  But those four right there–it’s sort of like when the food judges tell a contestant on Chopped, “I like all the ingredients individually, but they really don’t seem to go together on the plate.”

I like all those songs, but together?   A picture of what the US is?

Ahem.  No.

It’s something fun to think about though.  What about you?  What song feels like home to you?  What song reminds you of the country you grew up in?  I’d love to hear.

Tonight I’m giving thanks for all the rabbit trails our learning takes us on.  It might seem a little crazy sometimes, but it always leaves us wanting to learn more.

And I’ll call that a win.

Love to all.

 

Listening to Hear

So speaking of listening, I wanted to tell you about a young man who has made a great impression on me and mine.

Yesterday in the midst of our out and abouts, the littles and I found ourselves next door to the GW Boutique on the other side of town.  Lest you think I was shirking my duty in hunting down bargains, the spot next door (where they had the GW BOOtique last September and October) is now the Last Chance GW.  Only open on Tuesday-Thursday and filled with racks of well-organized clothes, every piece of clothing is 99 cents on Tuesdays and the price goes down from there.

Awesome.

I mean name brand jeans for 99 cents?  Shirts, shorts for littles who are going to wear them out anyway?

That’s something I can get excited about.

After we perused the racks (not as long as I would have liked–the littles were saddened that it was only clothes), we popped in next door at the Boutique.  We poked around for a few minutes and I found a couple of things for next winter.  (Yes, I know, this one isn’t over yet, but I’m trying to think positively.)  I said no to things we already have too much of, and we headed to the checkout.

A young man who has waited on me there at least once before was at the register.  I don’t know his name–no name tag, and I regret not asking.  He is so friendly, and you can tell he really loves his job.  Because of that, I love my experience there.  He listens and he comments and he’s just one of those people who lifts your spirits with his general outlook on the world.

As we talked about my purchases, he commented on my necklace–the one I wear every day.  How much he liked it.  I thanked him and smiled.  I’m about 95% sure he told me he liked it last time I was there and we talked.  He’s a noticer.

He might notice things a little more than most because he has a hearing impairment.  Or maybe that’s not why.  Still he pays close attention.  I’ve noticed that I need to make sure he can see my mouth when I’m speaking, and we carry on great conversations.  It’s because he pays close attention to more than just necklaces and purchase items; he pays attention to people.  He looks at you when he is speaking, and that is so HUGE in this day and age of carrying on conversations with heads bowed over keyboards and phones.  And he doesn’t just listen to reply–he listens to hear.

I really enjoy being around his kind spirit.  Yesterday as we were talking, he pointed to the flowerpot at the end of the checkout counter.  “Yeah.  Someone hurt my plant.”

All I could see were little twig like bits sticking up no more than an inch and a half above the soil.

“It was growing so good, but someone just broke it off.” Our eyes met.  “I don’t know who or why.”

Oh my heart.  “I am so sorry that someone would do that to you–to your plant.  I’m sorry.”

A shadow seemed to lift, and he smiled.  “Oh it will be okay.  I always kill plants–can’t make them grow.  But that one…..anyway, I will make a trip over to Wal-Mart and I’ll try it again.”  He paused and then gestured toward the end of the counter behind him.  “That one down there is doing really well.  It was donated.  So now it’s the Goodwill plant.”

The Goodwill plant was lovely and a vibrant green.  “Wow.  That is awesome.”

“Yeah, when they first brought  it in, it wasn’t doing so good, but look at it.  They took it outside for a bit today too.  I think it liked it.”

I nodded.  “I’m sure it did.  Obviously Goodwill has been good for that plant.”

And it hit me as I was walking out, explaining to my girl why we had to make sure our friend could see our lips moving when we spoke to him, that a little (or a lot) of goodwill is pretty much good for all living things, isn’t it?

Tonight I’m thankful for the kind folks whose paths cross with mine and for how they lift my spirits.  I’m thankful for this young man who is kind and a noticer, for those are the folks who make each person they meet feel important and special.  And I’m thankful for his love of the things that grow, and the lesson he taught me in those few moments about listening, really listening.

May we all learn to listen to hear and to notice the little things.  And the big ones.  And all those in between.

Love to all.

Road Tripping Down Memory Lane with My Crew and Marie

Today the crew and I made an impromptu visit to the GW Boutique.  We popped in with the idea of doing “shelf checks” as the Fella calls them.  Two years ago I think it was, we made an in-house rule that gifts for all of the family living in this house had to be either homemade or purchased from a thrift store of some sort.  It has been the most fun, as we have had to get creative and really think outside of the box.

I can still remember Mama sitting on the couch right where I am sitting now, watching as we all (including her) unwrapped our GW gifts.  She looked over everything and said with awe in her voice, “You did so good.  This is amazing.”

What?  I outshopped the “on sale with a coupon” Queen?

So thankful for the memories of the joy and laughter of that last Christmas with Mama.

And yeah, I’m proud that she was impressed.

Today was a flurry of this one and that one (even the nearly grown one) coming up and handing me things to “hide” in the cart so the person whom it was for wouldn’t see it.  They don’t know it, but I’ve been shopping right in front of them like that for years.

At one point Cooter walked over to me and pointed to the cart I’d parked a few feet away.  “Okay, so don’t look under the cart.  I put your present under there.”

Ummmm, okay?  And who’s checking out with all of this stuff anyway?

A quick glance told me it was sizable and I knew what it was–I remembered seeing it on the shelf.  It was the Snoopy Sno-Cone Maker.

Oh my.

I explained to him that his sister or Daddy would have to bring him back if he really wanted to surprise me.  I also told him our blender would make ice for sno-cones I was pretty sure, so he amiably put the box back on the shelf.

They were all so excited it was precious.

The fact that they were excited about giving was not lost on me, and I am very thankful.

At one point during our shopping Cooter and our Princess came running up to Aub and me, “Look!  Look who we found!”

He's a little bit rock and roll.....

He’s a little bit rock and roll…..

I nodded.  “Wow, that’s cool.  Donny Osmond!”

They looked at me as though they’d never been so disappointed in me in their lives.

“Mama, NO!  It’s Elvis.”

Ummm, I don’t think so.

I explained to them who it was and how I knew this.  Many moons ago, I had a Marie Osmond doll, whose dress was a perfect match to this Donny’s outfit.

My great Aunt Hattie used to send Christmas and birthday packages that rivaled Santa’s pack.  She was just as good-hearted as she was generous and she loved us like we were her own.  Over the years she started sending my two sisters, Mess Cat and Sister, who were seventeen months apart in age, different Barbie dolls.  I was a little old for them I guess, and so the first year she sent them a Barbie, I got Marie.

She was loved.

Both of them–Aunt Hattie and Marie.

I told my crew the story as we walked through the store.  They nodded, and I asked them to go put Donny back.

A few minutes later, they came running up (yes I’ve told them not to run indoors, but this time I forgave them–it warranted running).

“Mama mamamamamamamamamamama!!!!!”

I turned to them to see what all the excitement was about.

They said, nearly in unison, “Lookit what we found!”

And there she was.

A little bit country.....bless her.

A little bit country…..bless her.  I reckon that’s why she’s barefooted.  

They were so excited.  Princess had found her, shown her to Cooter, and they both agreed I needed to bring her home.  And Donny too.

And for 88 cents apiece, that’s exactly where they came.

The littles were beaming and so tickled, and that was the best treasure of all.

But finding Marie–that was a close second.

Marie spent a lot of time, ummmmm…..unclothed, shall we say, over the years.  I loved to make clothes for Mess Cat’s Barbies.  Once I crocheted a whole set of dresses for bridesmaids, flower girls, and the bride of course.  And poor Marie? She was the model for them all.  I can’t follow a pattern to save my life, but I can crochet and try on and make adjustments and keep going.

See, Marie, she’s built just like Barbie.

Go figure.

And bless her, she never once complained.  After a while I stopped getting her redressed and just tucked her under my bed between fittings so as not to offend the delicate sensitivities of my way younger brother.

Oh the memories.

I’m not sure at what point Marie disappeared from my life.  It wasn’t as traumatic as the time Raggedy Ann left, so I really don’t know.

But I am glad she’s back.

And Marie is retired.  She won’t ever have to work as a dress model again.

Always the model, never the bride…..

Tonight I am thankful for the joy of giving I saw in my children today.  I am thankful for the fun treasures we found, and that I hope show up wrapped by Christmas morning.  Right now they each have their own gifts for others hidden away in their rooms.  If they are anything like their Mama, we’re in trouble.  Ah well, there’s always next Christmas.

Most of all I’m thankful for the excitement my littles found in bringing a memory to life for me today.  And I remember and miss my Aunt Hattie.  She was a dear soul whom you don’t find often in this life.  She’d have given us her purse she always toted around if we had asked her.  Bless her, I want to just like her when I grow up.

May you all come across a treasure that brings you a smile and a memory that warms your heart.

Love to all.

 

 

To Monogram or Not To Monogram

I grew up wearing hand-me-downs.  I loved it when my cousins and others shared their clothes with me.  I couldn’t wait to go through the bags and see what I’d be wearing for the next few months.  It was like Christmas about twice a year–so much fun.

Maybe that’s why I love shopping at the GW Boutique so much.  Great clothes can be found, and it’s the next best thing to getting my cousin’s hand-me-downs.

I’ve had my mind pondering on something for a while, but yesterday all those thoughts came to a head, insisting on being written.

The littles and I were at the GW looking for an “Indiana Jones” style jacket for Cooter.  Yes, they’ve had their costumes for over a month.  Yes, we had a great time shopping for them and all was set.  And yes, he changed his mind.  As did his sister.  *sigh*  Remind me next year not to take them costume shopping until one week out–at the earliest.

I could have told him no, but he’s been so cute reading “Raiders of the Lost Ark,” and asking me what big words mean.  I thought I’d give it one shot, and if we didn’t find a jacket, then it was back to Game Plan A.

I love the GW, have I mentioned that before?

There, in the little boys’ section, hanging in the middle of the rack was a little boy’s leather Gap jacket.  The size looked small but the jacket didn’t.  I tried it on him.  Perfect!  And for less than $5, my boy has a new winter jacket and a costume accessory to boot.  He doesn’t even mind that it has someone else’s name written inside.  It’s a cool name, and Cooter says it’s his secret agent undercover name.  Win, win, win.

I wandered around just a little bit, and I saw a monogrammed coat.  It was really cute–apple green with hot pink monogramming.  LOVE.  Our Princess looked at it for a few minutes and asked, “What are those letters, Mama?”

And you know what?

With the scrolling font, it took me a minute to figure it out myself.

And I got to wondering–how often do I actually read the letters of a monogram on someone’s jacket/purse/boots/glasses/necklace etc?  I don’t know that I consciously do sit and read the letters that often.

Which brings me to my next thought.

To monogram or not to monogram?

I mean, if my cousins had been into all that (or I suppose, if my aunt had), I would have been dressed very differently all those years growing up.  I am thankful they didn’t monogram things.

My oldest is into monogramming.  And I’m okay with that.  She’s the size she’s going to be, so she will likely keep these things until they wear out.  If and when she marries, she can even wear them then, whether she changes her last name or not.  Those three letters are hers forever.

I haven’t really had anything monogrammed for our Princess.  She’s very nearly ten, and she’s still very much growing.  All indications are that she will be tall like the Fella, so she outgrows things faster than GW can put new stuff out on the racks it seems.  It would feel very wasteful to me to put her initials on any clothing items at this point.  Then I’d be stuck with all of these things with three letters that only a very select few could appreciate.  (Can you imagine what planets would have to align for one’s taste, size, color preferences, and initials to be the same as my girl’s?)   I have, in recent years, had a couple of bags embroidered with her name or initials.  One bag we even had “Queen Elsa” embroidered on.  She uses it when we go off–she knows it’s hers, but no one around us knows her name.  It’s a safety thing.  I’m kind of obsessed.

I recently had a shirt monogrammed, as it was free with the shirt, and I thought, okay, why not?  I hope that I will either wear it to shreds or one of my girls will want it out of sentimentality.  Seriously, I struggled long and hard before I had those initials put on there.  I mean, no one else can really use it now, can they?

So that made me wonder how old is too old to be putting your initials on things?  I mean, can I really get the wear out of it before I leave it here for someone else to deal with?

We just can’t know that, I guess, can we?

So this apple green coat.  I did a crazy thing.

I bought it.

Here’s why.

First, it was cute, it was cheap, and the money goes to help folks.

Win, win, win.

But then there is the matter of those three letters.

NONE of which are mine.

So here’s what I hope to do.

I want to get up enough nerve to wear it.

Out.

In public.

And see if anyone notices, comments, or even glances sidewise at the monogram on the coat.

It’s my own little experiment to see if folks do, in fact, read monograms.  Or if they even care that the monogram is not my own.

The coat is washed and cleaned and dry and waiting for a cold enough day for me to don it and see what ensues.

IMG_5183

This could get entertaining, and goodness knows there isn’t enough of that in this world.  At least not quality entertainment.

And, if anyone notices, I can always take a cue from Cooter and say it’s my undercover secret agent name’s…..monogram.  (The monogram is S.H.P.  Suggestions for code names welcome.)

This is just too much fun.

But seriously, please take the surveys below and let me know your thoughts on monogramming.  I’m really curious to see where y’all stand.

Wishes for quality entertainment and love to all.

 

A GW Boutique Tale of Transformation and Appreciation

It had been a while since I’d been to the GW Boutique before my visit last Monday.  A long while.  As in, if I sat down and thought about it, I’d probably find myself in the middle of withdrawals.  I’m not making light of withdrawals, y’all.  It is a serious need I have.  To find great bargains and bring them home or give them to folks I love.  It makes me happy.

So last Monday, I looked around and found a dress that I really, really liked.  The Fella looked at it and asked, “Isn’t it too short?”

Well, without trying it on, ummm, well…..yes, it probably is.  But you know what?  I brought it home anyway.  And I tried it on and wouldn’t you know it, it was too short. I spent the morning of our Alumnae weekend festivities back in April in a dress that hit my knees when I was standing, but when I sat down, well…..I was raised to know better.  Now that I’m a girl of a “certain age” I just don’t think I can pull it off.  (Actually, I should pull it off…..that would solve the whole problem.)  I was so relieved to change into my shorts and shirt for the afternoon events.  I came home and told my Fella not to let me walk out of the house EVER AGAIN with a dress that short.  (It was okay ten years ago, but no more.)  And he didn’t let me down.

I was sad though.  The dress felt good and I loved the way the top was made.  After thinking on it for a bit, I decided to take the leap.  It was from the GW Boutique after all.  If I messed it up, I wouldn’t be out too much.  But if I succeeded…..well, a girl can dream.  Even one of a certain age.

A call to my Aunt, who is a talented seamstress, and a trip to get the right needle, and I was set.  With a pounding headache, I cut, I pinned, I wound a bobbin, and I was set.  Five minutes later, the hem was done.

From a dress hanging at the GW Boutique to my new favorite summer top.

From a dress hanging at the GW Boutique to my new favorite summer top.

And, oh y’all. My new favorite summer top. Seriously.  I’m ready to raid my closet and attack the rest of the dresses from my twenties and thirties…..well the ones that have survived the cut so far.  I love the transformation here.

Another great find that day sent me on a trip down memory lane.   This cute little number right here–

Miss Sophie photobombing the picture of my cute little bag.  I didn't retake it, so you can see just how little it is.

Miss Sophie photobombing the picture of my cute little bag. I didn’t retake it, so you can see just how little it is.

It is a fun shade of green, one of my favorites.  And it is tiny.  My friends, for those of you whom I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting up with in “real life,” I must confess–I am not a “tiny toter.”

If anyone has watched Anita Renfroe’s Purse-onality performance, you know the different kinds of folks–from those who are tiny toters to those whose cars serve as their purses.  Ahem.  *looks away* And I, alas, am not a tiny toter.  Remember Justin Case?  He requires that I carry a massive bag with smaller bags inside full of all sorts of things.  Justin Case we need them.  Unfortunately, Anxiety Girl concurs.  She also thinks I need to carry everything but the kitchen sink with me whenever I leave the house.

I so aspire to be a tiny toter, y’all.

It’s nothing new.  Many years ago, maybe fourteen or fifteen, Aub was taking dance as was her friend, whose Mama was my dear Joyful friend.  We were supposed to meet them there on Saturday morning. But they never arrived.  I was on my way home when I got a call that they had been in an accident and were at the hospital.  Before I could get there, another friend called me and said she’d seen the vehicle being towed through town.  Totaled.  A mess.  My heart was pounding.

When Aub and I got to the hospital, I saw her girls.  They were both okay, thank goodness.  I was told my friend was back in the ER room, and that I should go back to see her.  I left Aub with the family in the waiting room and went back.  I walked in that room, and what I saw filled me with gratitude.  My friend was sitting up on the bed/table.  She looked okay.  She was very sore, and I can’t remember what other injuries she had, but she was okay overall.  So thankful.  It could have been so much worse.

I went over to hug her.  I asked her how she was feeling.  She was in pain and told me so, and then she looked at the tiny toter I was carrying very unsuccessfully with things hanging all out of it and over the sides, and said, “I’m really hurting but I’ll be okay.” She paused and pointed.  “And YOU need a bigger bag.”

Y’all.

That’s the kind of friendship I have always loved.  The one where she loves you so much she calls you out on your junk and you love and respect her enough that you say, “I know, right?  I’ll try to do better.”

Which is pretty much what I said.

I think that’s the last time I really tried to be a tiny toter as an everyday thing.  I graduated on to diaper bags, twice more, and wound up embracing it as my style.  I carry the convenience store around in my bag–baby wipes, pain reliever, homeopathic remedies, bandaids, gum, fruit snacks, crayons, paper, keys, matchbox car or two, extraneous Legos, Polly Pocket clothes, extra clothes, tissues, gloves, a book or two ALWAYS, and all kinds of electronic chargers.  I’m ready y’all.  Until I’m not.  And then I reassess and sometimes get a bigger bag. To carry.  More.  Stuff.

But I love that little green bag.  I carried it for some business we had to handle last week.  I tucked in just what I really needed for those few hours.  (I was on this little venture without my littles, so that made a difference too.)  I have to tell you I felt rather chic carrying my tiny toter, dropping my keys and phone inside and being able to see them–right there–anytime I glanced over.  Sometimes during the meeting I just glanced over.  Hello over there, keys and phone, I see you in there.  I like seeing you. Aren’t y’all just too precious, right there waiting so patiently for me in this cute little bag? 

*sigh*  I wish I were a tiny toter all the time.

But it’s not to be.  As Mama said, to everything there is a season. And right now is not the season for me to tote tiny bags.  Everyday, anyway.

But I’m going to hang on to this little cutie.  I think from time to time I will find it appropriate to carry.  And one day, it might just become an everyday bag for me.

In the meantime, I am thankful for my new summer top and for the ways that we can find beauty and usefulness in transformation.  I appreciate my Aunt who empowered and encouraged me to go for it.  The courage to transform anything, including ourselves, takes bravery and encouragement from those we love.

I’m also thankful for the great friends who have joined me on this Journey–who, like my Joyful friend, see my “stuff,” call me out on it, and never stop loving me through it all.  That’s a treasure beyond compare right there.

And finally, I give thanks for an ordinary extraordinary trip to the GW Boutique.  One that had me transforming and appreciating where I am all at the same time.  See, one day I know I’ll be back to the tiny toter.  The last one I carried with any success I put away on September 19, 1995, the day my first baby was born.  And one day, I know, when I’m carrying this little green bag or another cutie like it, I will look back wistfully and wish I had a reason to carry my big ol’ convenience store bag again.

Or maybe I won’t.  Who knows?  Life’s an adventure, and I’m thankful I’m not just standing in line waiting to get on.  No matter what bag you carry, it’s all about where you are, where you’ve been, where you’re headed, and most importantly, who’s along for the ride.

Love to all.