Yesterday, as I was treading water for exercise, I was also listening to some classic rock. You know – to pass the time. At some point, a familiar song wobbled through the Los Angeles heat, across the pool’s water and into my memory stores. I started smiling.


Years and years ago, when we used to buy vinyl (that’s right), I would regularly save my money until I had enough to go to the record store. And I remember going to the Jamestown Mall in North County St. Louis, in full quest mode. I had heard an amazing song on a local college radio station, by a band out of Athens, GA. And I wanted that record for myself. I walked through the store, flipping through a few stacks of vinyl and seeing what was new. After a while, I was ready to make my purchase and go home. So I moseyed to the “R” section and quickly found what I was looking for: Murmur by REM. The funny thing was, there were about 3 dudes close behind me. Apparently, they had the same idea as I and wanted to buy that very album for themselves. But there was only one copy. And I got there first. Being teenage boys, and feeling safety in numbers, they weren’t shy about speaking loud enough to be heard. They said things like, “That girl got the only one!” And, “She won’t buy it. She’s just looking. Girls don’t know anything about music.” They were just over my shoulder, and I could sense them waiting for me to put the record back in its allotted slot. I thought about how those St. Louis dudes probably didn’t even know where Athens, GA was. Hell – they probably didn’t know where the state of Georgia was. I turned to face them, smiling, and walked to the register. They actually followed me to the front of the store, as if I might change my mind. I didn’t. I paid my money, took my record home, listened to it about a jillion times and fell in love with the songs that would never be heard on the radio, college or otherwise.


It occurred to me, in that long ago moment, that I could have said something snarky to those boys. I remember thinking I could have made some snide remark about their mothers waiting outside to drive them home, while twirling my car keys on my middle finger. But I didn’t. I didn’t need to. I had gotten what I’d come for. And in that moment, those boys couldn’t believe a girl had bested them, though she truly had. All the way around.

D-Squared T-Squared – Week 23



Hole-y doughnuts! That took long enough.


But here she is! Ain’t she a peach? Literally? I mean, she’s a painting of a peach. And she makes Mister giggle each time he looks at her.


Another example of outdoor art, “Georgia! Come for the Peaches, Stay for the Kudzu, Y’all!” is a companion piece to “Meet Me In St. Screwy, Louis!” They hang on the same patio and we’d like to do a few more. We’ve lived in a few other places, so we’ll see what we can come up with. This one is done on yard-sale-find wood and sealed to the max with a flat varnish formulated specifically for outdoor paintings. It’s a process, folks. That’s part of why it took us so danged long to finish it. That’s also why we’ll ruminate for some time over what to paint next, before starting another piece of outdoor art.


In the meantime, we’re super-keen on this little gal. And for those who don’t know, kudzu is an incredibly invasive plant that thrives in the American South. People talk about it growing fast enough to wrap around a cow’s legs while it grazes. I’m not saying that’s true, but I’m not saying it ain’t, either. Word.

It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year!



Vidalia onions are here! Vidalia onions are here!


Each year I anxiously await the arrival of Vidalia onions at our local Costco. (They are usually available at regular supermarkets, too, but they cost a pretty penny when purchased singly.) I start checking in late April, as the danged thangs are showing up earlier and earlier each year. They used to arrive in June, but here we are – the second week of May – and there they are. I win!


I love, love, love Vidalia onions. I put them in everything I can (though I don’t cook with them too much – that seems wasteful to me). For the most part, we eat them raw (salads, sandwiches), but I do make a particular Vidalia side dish. I’ll post it soon, so that you can enjoy it, too.


You may have noticed the above photo shows a 10-pound bag of Vidalias. We’ll go through 20 to 30 pounds before they disappear, so when I say I love Vidalias, I really mean it. If you are partial to sweet onions and have never tried Vidalias, maybe this is the year you do! And if you already know and love Vidalias, this all seems terribly redundant I’m sure.


One final note: it’s pronounced Veye-DALE-ya. I’ll even accept Vi-DALE-ya. But for those of you who’ve never once traveled through Georgia, let alone eaten a real Vidalia onion, yet insist on telling me “it’s pronounced Vi-DAHL-ya,” you can kindly put that erroneous pronunciation where the sun don’t shine, Hon.

Dirty Laundry



Our washing machine is on the fritz. It will be repaired – eventually – but for now we’ve got a big pile of dirty laundry. And it’s growing.


My great grandmother, Granny Vera, had an old-school washing machine. During most of the year, she’d operate it out on the back porch, where it resided. (On the coldest winter days, she’d roll it into the kitchen for that day’s laundry.) I seem to recall an extension cord dangling from the overhead, bare-bulbed light socket in the kitchen, snaked out to the porch for power. She’d run a garden hose from the nearest spigot over to the basin to fill it. There was no lid, so the machine’s back-and-forth would slosh water all over the rotting boards of the porch. The attached wringer was a hand-cranked model. Granny would have to maneuver the laundry from the tub up into the wringer rods, all while cranking that bad boy by hand.


I still remember the day my great grandfather – Big Papa – brought a brand new washing machine home for Granny Vera. She was so excited, she did a little dance. It was basically the same model as the old one, only the wringer was automatic as well. All Granny Vera had to do then was feed the laundry through. No more cranking. You wouldn’t have thought something so simple could be so important, but I swear, y’all – the woman shed grateful tears.


Looking back on those old days and remembering how hard Granny worked, I realize I can deal with my current pile of dirty laundry. No complaints here.

So Long Smokey, So Long Bandit



On Friday, Hal Needham – director of “Smokey and the Bandit” – passed away. He was 82.


I quote “Smokey and the Bandit” more often than I can tally. It is one of my faves and probably always will be. I even have a childhood memory of the movie: while riding around in the back seat of the car with my family, we spotted the big rig driven by Jerry Reed in the movie. It was parked outside a gas station in the middle of Nowhere, Georgia. I’ve never forgotten that sighting, or the exterior of that old filling station, with its peeling white paint and scrubby trees.


While Mr. Needham surely contributed far more to the world than “Smokey and the Bandit,” it is that contribution I shall always remember.


So long Smokey. So long Bandit. So long Hal. Rest in peace.

Family Wedding – Rehearsal



Big goings-on here lately. A family wedding took place last weekend and it was some to-do, I tell ya. As it was in an actual church, there was some concern on my part over whether or not I would burst into flames. Thankfully, that didn’t happen. Anyhoo…



My cousin Shady was making an honest woman of his beloved, Susie. Friends and relatives convened – from all seven directions – in Pasadena.



There was a huge Georgia contingency, as well as a major showing from Northern California. Once that lot was mixed together, there was no stopping the party! Seriously, it was a lovely group of people and I like to think a good time was had by all.


My young cousin Ian was an usher. Shady gave all his groomsmen bobble-heads in their likenesses. Ian’s was my favorite…



After the rehearsal feast, Shady’s parents, uncle and family friend serenaded his bride with a touching rendition of “Brown Eyes.” This is a song they’ve sung since college, where the boys used to sing to the girls from beneath their balconies. I love the idea of that tradition. And I love that it was shared at Shady’s & Susie’s rehearsal.



When all was said and done, it felt like the rehearsal and dinner went quite well. It felt like everyone was prepared for the big day. It felt like love.


Can’t ask for more than that.


Tomorrow: the Wedding!

Honeysuckle Memories



I was out on a bike ride, contemplating life, when I was hit in the face by a familiar smell on the wind: honeysuckle! It snuck up on me fast and left me in a near-aroma-coma.


When I was a kid in Georgia, I’d go walking and playing just about any old place I wanted in the summer. (It was a different time.) And it seemed like I always came across honeysuckle. It grows like a weed really, and it just sort of pops up randomly. In the woods. Along the side of the road. And, I have to make clear, some people do actually plant it.


Anyhoo, I would pull the blossoms from the vine and suck the sweet nectar. I guess I only ever picked about 10 or so flowers at the most. The amount of nectar in each flower is negligible. But it’s tasty, just the same. After a few minutes, I usually moved on to whatever great adventure my kid-day held. That’s the thing about being a kid: there’s always something more to do. To discover. To see. In the end, you sort of take the small things for granted. Small things, like honeysuckle.


Back to my present-day bike ride… I somehow convinced myself I did not need to lie face-down in the honeysuckle patch along the bike path. Instead, I tucked away my memories and rode on home.


Okay. I did pull a couple of blossoms…