Reformed Grits

She’s alive!!!!!!!!
March 31, 2008, 10:19 pm
Filed under: What's she up to now?

I survived!  I am all in one exhausted lump back home from an amazing experience on so many levels.  But let’s take a look back and see what God has done…

  • I was appropriately packed for the whole trip, including shoes and mucking boots for the swamp.  You heard me. 
  • I felt sufficiently rested the whole trip and even got some sleep while I was there.  Heck, by the last night it was all I could do to wake UP the next morning!
  • The first day, I wore my glasses but my dear friend, Pam, came to my rescue with the little sunglass-clippy things that go on your regular glasses.  I had attempted to buy some but my coke-bottom glasses are so thick that I could find any that would fit.  Hers did.  After the first day, I attempted my contacts with fear and trepidation and never had a moment’s trouble.  It made all the difference for me! 
  • Now this is weird.  I didn’t have a headache the whole time I was there, but Wednesday night we are sitting in our nightly devotional time when I thought to myself, "I can’t see!"  I realized I was actually having an ocular migraine.   This is something that I started having when I was pregnant with Bee when I began having toxemia symptoms.  I totally flipped out, with a full-blown freak-attack and ran to my room and called Mr. Grits and bawled my eyes out, asking him to pray.  See, a number of times I have had these they have preceded a full-blown "nuclear" migraine.  I was terrified that my head was about to explode.   God was faithful and merciful.  It never developed.  I popped some pills and put myself to bed.  I got up an hour or so later and just as in the past, I just felt as if I’d been run over by a train.  Same thing the next morning, just like I had run a marathon.  Darndest thing. 
  • I left and my house was still a wreck… but I came back to a clean house.  Did I mention my husband ROCKS?!?!  Clean laundry too.  Be jealous.  It’s ok. 
  • I somehow managed to make cupcakes for Sugie’s class and have them at school for her.  We celebrated her 5th birthday with our family and she was thrilled with her wee gifts from us– just a Webkinz and a waterbottle with her name on it.  Yeah, we are big gift-givers that way. 
  • The haircut didn’t happen but somehow the beach air was kind to my hair and just the fact that we all looked bedraggled made it ok. 
  • Sister did great.  She wound up staying home Wednesday too but came back Thursday and is almost completely caught up with her work.  She’s back to her chip-eating self.

As far at the trip…. what can I say?  It was amazing.   I learned so much– about our state capital, our state history,  marine biology, coastal oceanograpahy, plankton, salt marshes, and the creatures in our very own gulf.  Here are some picture highlights:
We got our picture made with long-time family friend and local senator (not including name to avoid searches).   Mr. Grits and I had him as our teacher in high school and we loved his "Liberty Club" that he sponsored!  Just after this picture, he asked Jojo to consider throwing his name in the hat to page for him next summer!  We’re praying about that.

(picture was here!) 

Ok, I know this is a communication’s flag on board the USS Alabama looking off towards Mobile, but it sure looks like a St. Andrew’s Cross to me!

Look!  I’m holding a baby squid!  Did you know they have a bone-like structure up their middle called a "quill" and that they actually have a beak?  Also, the colored dots are called chromatophores.  Betcha didn’t know that!  (or care!  haha!)

It was thrilling to have lots of DOLPHINS next to our boat!  They are very difficult to photograph, FYI…

The next day, it was coastal oceanography!  In groups of 4, they did 3 readings of waves measuring crests, troughs, length, and frequency over 1 minute– each at 5m increments.  Got that?  Neither did they.  They had to go back out THREE times in the 65 degree water.  I sat this one out.  Brr.  It was cold sitting on the beach in a blanket.  I felt sorry for the boys that had no body fat! 

FYI, if you are going to be mucking about in a salt marsh searching for crabs and snails and grass shrimp, it’s good to be stylin’ in your cool boots.  These weren’t mine, but most of the girls were cuties in their booties.  Heh heh heh. 

Extreme close-up of a shy guy.  Playing with the macro lens. 

And of course, here is an embarrassing picture for our logic school principal and one of our teachers.  They aren’t kissing a gopher.  It’s a rat.  Yup.  Actually a nutria.  The largest rat.  A rodent of unusual size. 

And finally, one last extreme close up.  I thought it was purdy…. On the beach of Dauphin Island, outside the Estuarium.


March 25, 2008, 12:54 am
Filed under: Life

I’m leaving this morning.    I’m preposting this so I’m just assuming we get off just fine and dandy.  I won’t be back until Saturday night and I hear I’ll be exhausted.  I hope to have grand tales of adventure upon my return! 
Miss me!

Queen of denial
March 24, 2008, 7:51 pm
Filed under: What's she up to now?

I’m leaving for the coast with Jojo in 12 hours.  I have not packed.  I have not slept in 3 days.  I still have an eye infection or whatever it is.  I have my first headache in a couple of weeks.  My house is a wreck.  My middle girl, my 5th child, turns 5 tomorrow and I will miss the majority of the day with her.  I need a haircut desperately.  How do I do this?  How do I prepare to leave tomorrow?  How do I pack my son, much less myself?  How do I leave my oldest girl who had her tonsils out just 6 days ago and is still taking lortab every 4 hours?  What was I thinking?  How do I remember everything?  How do I pack it all?  What temperature do I prepare for?  The 70’s sunshine possibility or the cold ocean breeze that may chill me to the bone… and I HATE being cold? 
So I sit with my laptop and type up a blog so I can gripe and complain… and so I can come back next week and tell you how God worked it all out. 

Ok, I need you to PRAY!
March 22, 2008, 9:34 am
Filed under: Life

Next week, I am going with Jojo to a marine science center for 5 days at the coast with his 7th grade class.  I have been looking forward to this for… a long time.  Not only am I going to get to spend some one on one time with my favorite 12 year old, but I get to study science which I LOVE (surprised?  Don’t be!) and I will also not have to do dishes, wash clothes or wipe another person’s behind for FIVE DAYS.  (Do you see the happy tear in the corner of my eye?)
Here’s where the trouble comes in…

If you have been here long enough you know I am a magnet for weird illnesses.  Well, a few years ago, I thought I had developed an allergy in my right eye.  Then I thought it got infected.  So I went to the eye doctor.  They thought it was something like that too.  We did steroids and antibiotics for like a month.  No contacts the whole time.  Did I mention that I am BLIND without my contacts and the only glasses I have are UGLY?  As in bought just from the cheap section because I never wear them but from the bathroom to the bed?  Months later, came back.  This booger has been re-occuring since them.  Finally, another eye doctor looked at it and said it wasn’t an infection– but that my eyes were becoming intolerant to contacts.  As soon as I pop them out I’m fine.  I evidently have like a scaling build-up in my eyelid.  (There’s a pretty picture!)  He gave me a thinner contact and said that was just to buy me time.  I went on my happy way, just happy I could see again without discomfort and green eye goo. 

Until last night. 

I took out my contacts and the ouch stayed.  Now I have a doctor’s appointment in a bit, but all I could lie in bed and fret over in the night is my trip to the coast with my sweet son next week and how it will be screwed up and I won’t be able to see well in my glasses.   They just don’t do the job.  I mean I’m seriously blind, and financially LASIK is not an option at this time. 

So pray for my healing please.  I’ve taken enough of your time with my whining now. 

Enjoy your Resurrection Day weekend.  🙂  More on that later.      

It’s all gone pear-shaped…
March 21, 2008, 11:05 pm
Filed under: What's she up to now?

This is what our dear Wilma said when things didn’t go right. 

I can be such an idiot sometimes, all for laziness I suppose.  I had fabric to make the little girls dresses for Resurrection day.  It’s just casual bright, springy cotton with kind of funky blues, greens, and oranges.  GOOD fabric I got on clearance a while back at one of my fav shops.   When using a casual fabric you must use a casual pattern, right?  No fussy smocked bishop for the fun print fabric–it’d be silly. 
But all my patterns are for either smocked dresses or were for things I totally didn’t want, or required more fabric than I had, or I didn’t have patterns for both size girls.  So I, in my brilliant confidence, thought, "How hard can it be?  I’ll come up with my own pattern and save myself a trip across town to the shop!" 

Insert screeching Psycho music here…

It’s been a total nightmare.  I will NEVAH EVAH do this again.  EVER.  Did I mention NEVER???   I have run in to so many bloomin’ obstacles it’s not even funny.   And tonight?  I finally get Bee’s dress together and put it on her to try to see where to place the hem? 
Yeah, it doesn’t fit over her noggin. 

I told someone on the phone today– can’t remember who– I just want the dresses to survive the day.  They look as if they will fall apart in the washer the first time I wash them. 

Have I mentioned I have been sewing consistently and regularly since I was 12 years old?  As in, all the time, made my clothes for school, shorts and shirts for summer, dresses for church, made all my prom dresses, sewed on the bridesmaid dresses for my wedding (helped; but didn’t make them), made clothes for my babies, curtains, bedspreads, dust ruffles– you name it.  But to come up with a stinkin’ little girls frock that fits over the head of a one year old has totally buffaloed me.   

I never want to hear from the lips of anyone again that "Kim can sew."  Kim can’t sew jack.   Kim evidently can only follow the directions of a pattern.  Anyone can do that, so if that means I can sew than so can Katie, Penny, and anyone else that is capable of following directions.

Not making any promises about anything any of my children will be wearing for Resurrection day.  Likely some pear-shaped outfits. 

Cast Iron Skillets
March 20, 2008, 1:07 pm
Filed under: Life

Seriously, I can NOT believe the people who have come up with emails to me that don’t have skillets.  Here’s what I wrote to one friend:

do YOU not have one???

I hardly use my regular pots and pans. I
have 2 sizes of skillets (a small like for a couple of eggs and a relatively
large one too) and a dutch oven that is AMAZING for roasts. You can brown your roast on the stovetop,
pour in your liquids, put on the lid, pop it in the oven to cook. 

to boot,  a GIANT skillet all seasoned up
and sprinkled with cornmeal you can use as a deep dish pizza pan which is out
of this world. 

to even BEGIN to mention REAL CORNBREAD.  You know it’s cooked in a HOT skillet.

how do you brown meat? 

you KNOW that cooking in an iron skillet adds iron to your diet? 

When you get an iron skillet, it’s important to wash it with HOT water, then rub it down with vegetable oil and heat it up in the oven for a bit.  (Instructions are actually ON the pan when you buy it.) 

People, go out and buy a skillet.  They are inexpensive.   You will love them.   They will help make you a better southern woman person.

Works For Me Wednesday
March 19, 2008, 4:08 pm
Filed under: Works For Me Wednesday

Ok, I know my child had surgery just a few short hours ago but I’ve been meaning to post this great WFMW tip for.ever and keep forgetting.   Anyhow, she’s already running around you know asking for stuff so she’s fine. 

Ok.  If you have NOT noticed, I am a girl from the South.  We will not debate the connotation of the word "girl" or the fact that I am 35.  I was born in the South.  I have always lived in the South.  And Lord, help me, if I don’t die in the South.  It’s all I know and love, and it’s just who I am for Pete’s sake so leave me alone about it, ok?
Everyone who is a TRUE daughter of the South has at least one cast iron skillet.   You can deny it, but if you don’t have one I’d question your allegiance in matters of the War of Northern Aggression.   Many of us have our Granny’s skillets or our Mom’s skillets.  I just have one I got at Bed Bath and Beyond, because my beloved husband, who is a Yankee, proved to me that a cast iron skillet can be destroyed by putting it in an oven on 500 degrees for a few hours.  Still not sure how or why that happened, but why Yankees do anything I don’t know. 
BACK to what I was saying.  My Granny always told me that you don’t use soap on a cast iron skillet which grossed me out, but I never did it for fear of what may happen.  However I never quite knew how to get it REALLY clean.  Until I met Mr. Alton Brown.  No, not in real life.  On tv.  And he shared with me something that revolutionized my sweet Southern life.  He rinsed out his skillet, and dumped a few tablespoons of table salt in there, and scrubbed it with a paper towel.  He threw the paper towel away, and rinsed that baby clean; dried it, and then replaced the seasoning with a brush of oil on a paper towel (or something like that.)   Well, the part I remember anyhow was the salt.   
And that Works For Me. 
It’s changed my life.  And how much salt I buy on a regular basis.