You Can’t Make This Stuff Up…..But I Tried

Being the oldest of four siblings in the dark ages before internet access, I got to make up a lot of stuff. Stuff that may or may not have been true.  Stuff that the ones listening to me really couldn’t verify or denounce without going to Mama and Daddy.

Yeah, there were days that I was that sibling.

Summers get long and hot in Georgia, y’all.  Without AC you kind of have to make your own fun.

Mostly I would tell my sisters, especially Mess Cat, about celebrity relationships.  I don’t know why it mattered, but on those hot summer afternoons when we tried to do as little as possible since sitting still you would still sweat puddles, it was Something. To. Do.

It started with true stories.  About who was married to whom, like Gil Gerard (Buck Rogers) and Connie Sellecca.  Or who had been in what movie with whom way back when before they became famous.  Then the imagination would take off and I’d be making up all kinds of stories.  Inevitably, I’d cross a line–it always happened.  That line that would cause Mess Cat to glance at me sideways and cut her eyes just so, squinting, thinking.  I would hold my face still and just about hold my breath, hoping she wouldn’t see through my stories.

But she did.  Some days it took longer than others, but she always did.  Sometimes I’d continue to feign innocence for days, but eventually she found me out.

Oh the fun of the good ol’ days.

So it was that yesterday after the ball game (I watched that whole fourth quarter of the Seahawks/Panthers game–I’m a fourth quarter kind of girl, but that’s a story for another night), the TV was still on, and I was focused on what I had been working on.  I think I was crocheting another  stripe on my temperature blanket.  Whatever it was, my attention was not on what was on TV until I stood up to turn it off and leave the room.  It was then that I saw two men on the screen with the same last name.

My mouth dropped open.

It actually fell open.  I was frozen in place for a moment.  WORLDS COLLIDED.

Growing up we did watch CHIPS.  My favorite was not Erik Estrada’s “Ponch” character or Jon Baker, though they both were entertaining enough.  My favorite was Robert Pine’s character.  For whatever reason, I just really liked him best.  When I looked up at the screen yesterday, Robert Pine was pictured there. But it was the young man next to him that made my mouth drop.

Chris Pine.

What the what?

I have loved him since his Princess Diaries 2 days.  That’s one of my go to movies.  Yes.  If it’s on, I’m watching it.  As a matter of fact, it came on one of the channels the other day, and Aub said, “Mama, it’s like they know you.”  And we all sat here and watched it.  Again.

And so you might can understand how surprised I was when it all clicked and I realized that Robert Pine is Chris Pine’s father.

Of course he is.  I can see the resemblance now.


For a moment though, I looked around to see if my sister Mess Cat was anywhere around.  She would have loved the poetic justice in that moment, I’m sure.

It’s fascinating when life surprises me with new stories, new things I didn’t know, things I never even considered before.  Even when it’s trivial things like who’s related to whom in the acting world.

Tonight I’m thankful for all the happy and lazy memories that yesterday’s discovery brought back for me. We worked hard, played hard, and lazed around hard all those summers so many years ago.  And we laughed and loved hard.  That’s what brings me the greatest joy.

Love to all.

“Shells Are Not Manna From Heaven”

And speaking of television, I stumbled across a new show this season.  I say stumbled, but really it sort of jumped out and grabbed my attention.  I mean with Rob Lowe, Fred Savage, and William Devane, how could it do anything else?

It’s called “The Grinder.”  Rob Lowe’s (we also go way back) character is a TV star who plays an attorney on a show that has just ended.  He moves back home where his Dad and brother are both real-life lawyers.  It’s about family, about family dynamics, about feeling like you’re enough, and about a guy who thinks he’s got the law down because he played a lawyer on TV.  And it’s hilarious.

Maybe I’ve just been in the right mood when I was watching it, but the first two episodes have kept me in stitches.  It is either good or I’m just loving the throwback to all these stars from the waybackwhen.

One of my favorite lines (spoiler alert, y’all–sorry) occurred when the Grinder (on an episode of his TV show) replied to his partner who told him something was not possible, “But what if it was?”

Wow.  Any variation of this “yes, we can–think outside the box” attitude–Yes.


The past week or so on my walks I have come across these snails.  So please forgive my ignorance here, but I grew up mostly with slugs, which are very similar to snails except they have no shell.  Add to that my meeting a hermit crab or two in my childhood and learning that they have to go looking for their shells, perhaps you can  give me some grace in my confusion on this matter.

I wondered, when I saw the first snail with its shell on the sidewalk, where on earth he or she had found said shell to inhabit.  We are NOWHERE near any kind of beach at all, so I spent a few minutes standing there thinking about this as Miss Sophie sniffed every blade of grass around.  Then I gently pushed the snail off into the grass so he or she wouldn’t die from the heat of the pavement.

It was tonight when I saw another one–my third, I think, in less than two weeks’ time–that I wondered if I wasn’t mistaken.  Could it be that snails don’t go househopping but somehow they come “with” their shells?  Surely not, but well…..

I was in the living room and Aub was switching out a load of clothes in the laundry room.  We had been talking about something we’d seen on TV or her clothes or something, when I thought about that snail.  I hollered so she would hear me.

“Hey, don’t snails have to find their own shells?  Or do they somehow make them?”

“What on earth?  Did you really just ask me that very random question?  What did you say?”

I asked again.  “Are snails able to make their own shells?”

“Well, yeah,” she said, laughing a little harder AT ME than I think the situation called for.  “It’s not like shells are manna from Heaven.”

And that is when I lost it.  Y’all.  For the love.  This girl cracks me up sometimes.

As I was trying to gather my composure, she walked through the kitchen singing, “It’s raining shells…..Hallelujah…..It’s raining shells…..”

Stop.  It.  Composure lost. Again.

So I’ve spent the evening reading up on snails, slugs, hermit crabs, and shells.  I am a learned person about all of these critters and things now.  Which is good.  And tomorrow in our little schoolroom, my littles will be too.  Because yes, snails do grow their own shells.

Because, as Aub says,  God is not raining down shells for all the little snails to find and move into.  And again she repeated, laughing, if it were possible, even harder, “Shells are not manna from Heaven, Mama.”

And that’s when I said to her the words–with the attitude–that are quickly becoming my new mantra, “But what if they were?”

Tonight I’m thankful for the gift of laughter and all the ways we find it–television shows, funny questions, silly conversations, shared stories…..and I’m thankful for the ones I get to share the laughter with. Before it was all over tonight all of us were dancing around, singing, “It’s raining shells…..”

I’m also thankful for the naysayers in the world.  They are the ones who say it can’t be done or it’s not possible or call out the dreamers on what they see as attainable.  With their shaking heads and furrowed brows, they are inspiring the ones who see the way, the ones who think outside of the box to go bigger, to work harder, and never to give up.

Most of all I’m grateful to have learned something new, as embarrassing as it is that I didn’t know this.  I now realize that the snails and their shells weren’t the puzzling miracles that I thought them to be, but you know what?  Those little slimy critters being able to grow their own no-kidding whirled mobile homes for themselves is a miracle too–a different sort of one, but a miracle nonetheless.  This world is amazing, isn’t it?

May life bring you laughter, teach you something you didn’t know, and show you a miracle or two along the way today.  And everyday.

Love to all.

Truth from The Middle

It’s a show I haven’t really sat down and gotten to know very well.  I’ve only caught it in passing, usually when I was focused on something else.  Sometimes I do that.  Have a show playing in the background.  I can be comfortable with silence sometimes, but then others not so much.  Which is what happened one evening.  “The Middle” was playing.

I hope to find it streaming somewhere because I’d like to watch it from the beginning I think.  I like Patricia Heaton, who plays the Mom, Frankie.  Of the Heck family.  You gotta love it.  And she tends to narrate from what I’ve seen so far, which is an interesting and not at all off-putting way of presenting their stories.  One night that I was actually paying attention to the show, at the end, Frankie shared this bit of wisdom:



It struck a chord with me that evening, so I wrote it down.  And tonight I can say, unequivocably, this is the truth.

I find myself, when I did the internal emotional check like I do, that I’m okay.  Maybe even more than okay.

And as I did this check, I heard the littles in the background, giggling over something together.  Getting along.  Happy with their place in life at this moment.  My big girl came in and cheerfully said good night, smelling fresh and shower clean.  The windows have been open all day, fresh air is filling our lungs and good things are filling our hearts.  And my sick one is on the mend, with (oh please don’t let me put this out there and have it mess things up) no signs of anyone else catching the bug.  Good evening, happy children=happy Mama.

I think Frankie’s right–if any one of mine were less than happy, as has been the case on more evenings than I care to count, I wouldn’t be very happy myself.

Tonight I’m thankful for the sounds of simple joy and happiness in my home.  I’m thankful for shows that make the effort to share wise thoughts every now and again.  And most of all, I’m thankful for the peace in our home as the night settles in, the birds quiet down and frogs tune up their instruments.  Quite the symphony, and it makes me smile.

Love to all.