Monday, March 30, 2015

#1,929 Back in the Saddle.

It's been weeks since I took a really long, wonderful walk and yesterday and today I got back on track and walked about 3 miles both days. It feels so good to move around after working late, and I'm trying really hard to make this a priority again when we're working so much it's hard to feel like doing anything but take a hot bath and go to bed when we finally roll in. We caught the neighborhood just as the sun was sinking tonight on our walk with Jim, Mal and Lucy to Josh and Em's house at Homewood. There really is a lot of magic in the in-between seasons—spring and fall. I hope it's warming up where you are, too.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

#1,928 Palm + Mammaw + Easterish Sunday.

The church calendar says today is Palm Sunday, but our calendar said "Mammaw's birthday + Easter" since we can't all be together next week. I made spaghetti and meatballs, focaccia bread, salad with the garlic lemon dressing, and red velvet cake with cream cheese icing. Y'all aint ready for the cuteness Walker and Lucy threw down on their very first Easter egg hunt.

 (Mallorie's head got squished in the panoramic sweep—cut her some slack.)

Mammaw's face watching her great grandchildren on their very first Easter egg hunt was seriously priceless:

WALKER!!! Ahhhhhh!!!

Fascinated by my daddy's hands:

The shadows were weird all over us, and a few of us weren't ready for the picture, but it's better than nothing, right? Thanks to Rene who happened to be jogging by right when we needed a photographer!

Waiting... Waiting.... Waiting for Ben to take a picture with me...

I like it that our house is the Easter house for our family.

Let's do it again in a week?

Saturday, March 28, 2015

#1,927 Party Prepping.

Mammaw's birthday party will be at our house tomorrow after church, so I spent the whole day getting everything ready. There was a grocery run trip and red velvet cake baking and cream cheese icing making and meatballs and sauce from scratch, besides cleaning house. And for all the gorgeous sunshine, it sure was chilly out there today. It was snowing in north Mississippi this morning!

And then for supper, we were craving something colorful and crunchy, so we each ate about a gallon of salad. It was wonderful.

Tomorrow should be a fun one!

Friday, March 27, 2015

#1,926 Secret Operation Day 2.

It was a gorgeous (if chilly) day, filled with more adventures around town.
(I need a cherry blossom tree!)

And when it was all over with, we were pinching ourselves with our old friend Bill and his business partner, Luke--two of the most unbelievably talented architects in the state who own Lake and Land Design Studio (

And then we went to Nowell Abbey for a cookout with the Razzles and Tews.

I hope wherever you are, you got to feel a little of the sunshine today, too. 

Thursday, March 26, 2015

#1,925 Secret Operation Day 1.

Today was so so so much fun.

We went all over town with some old friends + our new friend (the dinner guest) making some really exciting plans for a really exciting thing that's going to start happening before too long.

And MAN I WANT TO TELL YOU ABOUT IT. But I can't yet. And this thing is literally all we did today.

Agggggghhhh! It had to do with this and this. And this, kind of. And mostly all posts labeled this.

Here! Enjoy this picture of 5th Avenue and Chevy:
It's hard to write a daily blog sometimes.

Hang in there, dear reader.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

#1,924 Dinner Guest.

We spent the day fluffing up the house for our special guest this evening. I'm SO exhausted. Let's have a picture story tonight.

Breakfast to power through the day. The really healthy kind with no protein, just sugar and carbs (and butter!)

A quick visit to see Mammaw (who is doing better here than she ever was at home! I'M SO THANKFUL! She had just gotten her weekly manicure and polish and we were walking to the dining room for lunch. Love her.).

Cooking dinner... Pollo manchego! That Good Rice. Is. SO FINE.

And after a long, lovely dinner on the porch we took our special guest for a walking tour of the neighborhood and told him all about every home and every person. It's a hobby of ours.

I wish so badly I could tell you more, but I just can't yet. And the next two days of blogging might be pretty vague too, but hang in there. Like I've said... It's going to get really good in a few months.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

#1,923 Professional Help.

So you know the sweet flowerbeds in front of our house that Ben and I made last spring? In the fall they were looking really good.

Then winter happened and killed EVERYTHING. Well, except the rosemary. It even killed my lantana. Yes—I know how to kill lantana, I've now done it 3 times. So what I've got now are 4 enormous rosemary plants and a bunch of mulch. I've exhausted my planting abilities and knowledge at this point so we've called in the big guns—THE Hunter McLeod at Four Seasons. He looked at everything a couple weeks ago and came by today to show us the drawings and plans. He's got celeb status as the best landscape professional in town.

I can't wait to see what he does with it all. There are going to be new boxwoods around the house, salvia, drift roses, and a bunch of other cool stuff I've never heard of in the front beds.

We were SO overwhelmed at work and home today that I had to call in for more professional help—the mama kind. She spent the day scouring the city in search of 4 specific size shipping boxes for some framed prints we were sending out while I was at the house prepping and cleaning for our dinner guest tomorrow.

Chevy and Baker got professional help today, too. It was time for their quarterly bath and fluff at the vet and since they were such good boys they got to take a long truck ride with McDonald's nuggets and burgers for a nightcap.


Monday, March 23, 2015

#1,922 Chivalry.

Tonight while Ben was playing in his church league basketball game, I went to Walmart to get groceries for the dinner I'm cooking Wednesday night. On the way there I started to smell something hot—which means "DANGER!" when your car is 44 years old. As I pulled into the parking spot, I felt my little engine make a little shimmy shake and I could smell burning rubber. I knew that probably wasn't good, so I checked under the hood and didn't see any flames shooting out of it, so I shut the lid and went inside to buy my groceries. I texted Ben about it and he was pulling up next to me as I was walking up.

In less than 5 minutes he diagnosed and fixed the problem—a loose fan belt.


Also, we don't have any car notes which makes the occasional loose fan belt and electrical problem totally worth it, if you ask me.

Sunday, March 22, 2015

#1,921 Stanley.

A couple years ago Ben and I took a spontaneous trip down to New Orleans for his birthday, and we had brunch at Stanley on Jackson Square. It was so delicious—I've been craving it ever since, so this morning(ish), I convinced the group to walk down to Quarter and endure the 1.5 hour wait so I could try it again.

And it was worth every minute we had to wait.

Aaaaaaand Gwyneth Paltrow was eating a few tables away then she and her boyfriend got up to leave, all but bumping into Jim trying to get past him, but I was the ONLY person at our table who saw her. And I was whispering furiously because she was still in earshot: "THAT'S GWYNETH PALTROW! GWYNETH PALTROOOOW!!!!!!!" but none of these goobers understood what I was saying until she was standing outside the window.

I will tell people everyday for the rest of my life that I am close, warm, personal friends with crazy ole Gwyneth Paltrow.

But seriously, I thought she didn't eat anything but raw, wet almonds. What the heck was she doing up in Stanley? #baconfat #cheese

Saturday, March 21, 2015

#1,920 Team Gleason.

Have I ever told you that mine and Jim's grandfather passed away from ALS? Mammaw's husband? He did. It happened in 2001. It was confusing and devastating how fast it took hold of him. Regardless of how much it changed him by the end of his life, he'll only ever be the sturdy, stalwart patriarch of our family in my mind's eye.

He was only sick for a few months before we lost him. It was so hard, y'all. And those ice bucket challenges in 2014 were SO annoying but it was comforting and inspiring for our family to see the numbers from fundraising for ALS research that happened as a result of it.

So. Jim has been a HUGE New Orleans Saints fan his entire life, and he especially loved Steve Gleason, the underdog of the team in the mid-2000s who made one of the most important plays in the history of the Saints. I won't pretend to know anything about Saints football (I don't), but I know this was a big deal when it happened in 2006, when they played their first home game back in the Superdome after Hurricane Katrina:

He retired in 2008 (I think?), and a few years later, was walking across his yard and just inexplicably lost his muscle control and fell down. He was diagnosed soon after with ALS and was told he needed to prepare to lose more control each day, to prepare for dying, more or less. But instead, rather than give up, he decided he would get busy living. This is a remarkable man:

And so, Team Gleason was born, an organization made up of a group of Steve's friends and family who are raising funds for ALS research and have funded the Gleason House, a world-class residential hospital for ALS patients. Jim has been a major donor and part of the team in recent years. Tonight Jim co-hosted a birthday party for Steve/fundraiser for Team Gleason at this incredible mansion in an old New Orleans neighborhood and hundreds of Steve's teammates, friends, family, and ALS patients and research donors came together for the most awesome night under the stars. Of course, we couldn't miss that.

Microsoft created some amazing technology just for Steve—a computer that can read his eye movements so he is able to look at letters on a keyboard and text words, then the computer speaks his voice which he recorded a few years before he lost his speech. He gave a speech at the party that was so moving. I can't stress to you what an honor it was to be part of this.

Our framily. I couldn't make it through life without these people.

Josh met some famous football players.

And about a hundred people asked Ben for photos and autographs, thinking he was a player for the Saints. It was fun being his date, even if other women were trying to get his attention all night. He flirts with people, ALL people, of course, and that's the personality that won me over in college, so I totally get it, ladies. He's charming. But I'm glad he's wearing my wedding band!

He used to always introduce me to people immediately, but I'm a little shy in these kinds of social situations where he really owns a room. I like it that way, and I like to let him shine and do the talking. Nowadays, he spares me the small talk with strangers by keeping his arm around me while I just listen and smile. Which is just perfect. Could you guess that about me? I'm my father's daughter, I reckon.

The party finally died down by midnight and our group hit the door, bound for the French Quarter and Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, a little tavern on Bourbon Street that's supposedly the oldest bar in the United States. There's virtually no electricty in the building built in the 1700s, just candlelight, a piano, and a jukebox with all the best songs.

I found my boyfriend in there, too! You know about me and Gandolfini, right? GOSH I loved him.

And around 2 am, the rain started flooding outside but I didn't mind—I was dancing to Beast of Burden with my handsome "football star" husband by candlelight with the cool breezes off the river blowing through all the open doors.

Soon we were all starving for beignets and we ended our rainy New Orleans night (morning?) the only suitable way.

I would be so grateful if you would consider donating to Team Gleason. It's amazing what they're doing to give ALS patients quality of life and encouragement while they keep searching for a cure. 

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