I wrote about Ree Drummond, The Pioneer Woman, in my first post. Before recently, I was an occasional reader of her blog. I would read a few of her most recent posts and scan through some of her latest photographs every now and then, and that would be the extent of my relationship with Ree. But, here lately, within the last 2 weeks, Ree and I have really become the best of friends.
If you haven't met Ree, let me give you a little background. She grew up living, what I would call, a charmed life. She lived on the 7th fairway of a golf course with her country club parents. She dreamed of the big city, so she attend college in L.A. and fell in love with city life. After graduating, she planned to move to Chicago to attend law school. But during a short trip to her hometown in the time between California and Chicago, she met a real, live cowboy, Marlboro Man, as she calls him. Marlboro Man is a 4th generation cattle rancher--lives and works on the same land that his great-great grandfather lived and worked on. Two COMPLETELY OPPOSITE people met and fell in love--a cowboy with cow manure pumping through his veins and a city girl with Starbucks pumping through hers. I guess the rest is history. They married, have four children and live out in the boonies on a working cattle ranch.
I'm mesmerized by it all. If nothing else, you should visit her blog to see the pictures of their land. Really, really gorgeous. Something most of us can only dream about seeing one day. The icing on the cake is that Ree is a great photographer, so the pictures make you feel like you're there with her.
Anyway, all that aside, I've gone back to the beginning of Ree's blog, and I've been reading her "Black Heels to Tractor Wheels" saga of how it all started with her and Marlboro Man. I'm addicted, I tell you! It's truly laugh-out-loud funny. Kevin is forever asking me, "What are you reading?" "Are you talking to your boyfriend on that computer?" He doesn't understand--doesn't know my best friend, Ree. If he would just let me introduce him, then he would understand. But he wants no part of it. His loss.
It's destiny that Ree and I would become friends. I know that now. I came across something today that was very validating for me. Ree and her family got a new puppy, Charlie, a Basset Hound, for Christmas 2007. She introduced Charlie to her friends shortly after Christmas. If you look at the entire post, you'll fall in love with Charlie and want to immediately run out and adopt a Basset Hound! But it's what Ree says at the very end that bonds us together...
Ree says Charlie's paws "smell rather salty. Kinda like Fritos." We are sooo best friends! I say that about Bailey's feet all the time! And Kevin just chuckles at me like I'm CRAZY. It's true! Puppy feet smell like Fritos! It's science! The Pioneer Woman and I say so!
I overheard bits of a commercial this morning as I was straightening my hair, and the commercial recognized a local woman for her service within the community (I'm not sure who she is or what she does) in honor of Black History Month. I never remember that February is BHM. When I heard that phrase "Black History Month," I immediately thought of my 7th grade Social Studies teacher, Ms. Lula Mae Brown. Goodness, Ms. Lula Mae Brown was 100 years old back when I was a 7th grader at Woodruff Jr. High. She was short and wide. She always wore skirts, and you could hear her pantyhose rub together when she walked. Her skin was soot black. She wore glasses; although, I don't know why. They were always severely crooked on her face. One lens was below one eye and the other lens was above the eye.
She was known for being a little "off her rocker." Her eyes looked in two different directions at the same time, so you never knew if she was looking at you or at someone on the opposite side of the room. She was also known for throwing staplers when she got mad!
Her class was a joke! I'm not sure if I ever listened in her class. I sat at the back of the room--the next to last desk in the row. My friend and distant cousin, N. Sherbert, sat in front of me, and one of my best friends K. Simmons sat behind me. The three of us got away with murder, probably because Ms. Lula Mae Brown couldn't see us from the front of the room. We talked and giggled and cut-up all the time. Oh, I remember this girl (I probably shouldn't mention her name. You never know with things on the internet!) Anyway, I'll call the girl Tonya. Tonya sat beside K. Simmons, and Tonya was FOREVER asking us for a piece of gum! Everyday. Without fail. I was sick of it! So, myself, N. Sherbert and K. Simmons planned something dirty and mean. I had a tube of Strawberry Avon lotion in my bookbag that another friend had given me. I never used it because it was runny and it stank! So, I carefully unwrapped a piece of gum, being careful not to bend or crease the wrapper, and rubbed that old, runny, stinky Avon strawberry lotion all over that stick up gum and carefully re-wrapped it. And that's the piece I gave Tonya when she asked for gum that day. She did put it in her mouth, but immediately spit it out. My partners-in- crime and I laughed until we almost peed! You know, I'm sitting here thinking to myself that I should be ashamed. What a horrible thing to do! I'm better than that! But, even today, 16 or 17 years later, I'M LAUGHING OUT LOUD!!
I mentioned Ms. Lula Mae Brown had a reputation for throwing staplers. I don't remember ever witnessing it, but she would beat that heavy, black stapler on her wooden desk, and the sound seamed to echo forever. She caught me with gum one day. I ALWAYS chewed gum at school. I was a pro at hiding it, or so I thought. That's why it's so suprising that, of all people, Ms. Lula Mae Brown--the 100-year old woman whose eyes looked in two different directions--was the one to call me out! I don't remember what preceded her catching me. All I remember is that she beat that stapler on her desk. One eye was on me, the other eye on the ceiling, and she yelled, "Ssssssomebody'sssss got guuummmmm, Ssssherbert!" I was embarrassed--I didn't like getting in trouble at school--but I wanted to laugh at the same time. I will remember that forever.
I'll get back to Black History Month. Ms. Lula Mae Brown was the "coordinator" of Black History Month. Every February during my 3 years at Woodruff Junior High School, Ms. Lula Mae would get on the loud speaker during the morning announcements and share facts about important black Americans that left their mark in history, and she would end her speech with, "Whhhooo em I?" Every year, she made her speech about Harriet Tubman. She would say, "I wuz bun a slave in Murland in da 1800's. I helped utha slaves escape thu da Undaground Railroad. Whhhoo em I?" We laughed! And laughed! And laughed every time!! I loved the month of February for those 3 years all because of Ms. Lula Mae Brown. Ms. Lula Mae Brown, you ARE Black History Month to me!!
I love a clean house, but my house is far from it right now. The furniture is covered in a layer of dust, there are tumbleweeds of dog hair blowing across the hardwood floors and the toilet in the guest bathroom is growing that dreaded black ring. Uuuuugggghhhhh. Worst part is I just vacuumed on Sunday. I vacuumed EVERY ROOM--Olivia's room, the guest room/office, mine and Kev's room. Even the rugs at the front and back doors. I cleaned the wood floors in the living room, dining room and foyer, and I cleaned the tile floor in the kitchen. So how can there already be tumbleweeds of dog hair flying around??? Curse Bailey's hyper-shedding--it will be the death of me. My never-ending battle. A battle I'll never win. I can't wait for spring. When my pink hyacinth peak through the mulch, I'm taking Bailey straight to Pet Smart for a buzz cut! I can't stand the hair anymore!!!!!!!! As for the dust...yet another battle I'll never win. I love the house when its freshly dusted. The slight hint of a lemony Pledge scent in the air. Aaahhh! I think I'll move into a wine cellar. That's really the only place where dust is permissible. You want to see a layer of dust on those old bottles of wine. It makes a statement of fine aging. It's dignified. So why is it not that way when the dust is on my coffee table?
Oh, and the toilet. Well, what can I say? I've ignored it until it simply can't be ignored anymore. It spews filth at me every time I lift the lid. I've even avoided that bathroom for the last few days because I'd rather not deal with it. I'd rather not be up to my elbows in a filthy toilet slushing Clorox under the rim. But, I guess it must be done, and the sooner the better. If I would just suck it up and tackle the throne, I'd have a great sense of accomplishment--another one of those things that I just love!
I made this cheesecake on Saturday as a special Valentine treat for Kevin. Kevin loves cheesecake, and not the Jello-No-Bake Cheesecake. He likes the real deal. I've never made a cheesecake for him before; although, I've thought about it many times. Anyone that knows me knows that I'm not the world's best baker. I think it's because I'm not in love with my kitchen. If I had endless counter space, under cabinet lighting, dual ovens, a restaurant-grade gas cooktop and a fancy KitchenAid stand mixer I could be the best cook in the world! Instead, I make do with my few square feet of counters, my dim overhead lighting, my flat-top stove with single oven (I really shouldn't complain about my stove--it's fairly new, and it's convection!) and my hand-held mixer. No wonder I can't bake. No wonder my baking attempts end in the stove incessantly beeping with an unknown error code flashing on the display. And this fiasco was all over brownies from a box! This is why I've never attempted making a real cheesecake for Kevin...until now! I must have felt very confident when I decided to do this. I carefully followed the recipe. Two and a half pounds of cream cheese and 7 eggs later....voila!...A darn good cheesecake! The recipe is a New York-Style Cheesecake with Choice of Toppings from Emeril. It's absolutely out of this world! If the batter didn't have 7 raw eggs in it, I would have sucked it through a straw! You should make it TODAY! Don't wait for a special occasion--you'll only be depriving yourself! I would send you a piece if I could! Hope you enjoy!
Looking at these pictures makes me want to scream...."Who said you could be a big girl!?!" This morning she was just a baby girl, and, somehow, before lunch time, she turned into this big girl. How did that happen?? Holy guacamole! I don't see a baby at all. I feel like I've been struck by lightning.
Despite my meltdown, walking is a huge accomplishment for Olivia. Doesn't she look proud of herself! I'm proud of her. But my heart still aches. Is that what being a parent is all about? Having your heart soar and ache at the same time?? That's a quality your heart acquires with your first child, I guess. Talk about a double-edged sword!
Olivia seemed to really love her first snow! It was so nice waking up on Saturday morning to a winter wonderland. Snow makes things peaceful and clean. We didn't have it for long. There was hardly any trace of it by Sunday other than the balled lumps in in our neighbors' yards from forgotten snowmen. Oh how I love snow days. And this one was so special because Kevin and I got to share it with "Little Girl."
So, my first blog post. Ready!?!........Happy Valentine's Day!
I haven't started a blog before now because I've always been skeptical of the countless "bloggers" out there. I mean, do you really have anything THAT important to share with the rest of us? Anything useful? Anything brilliant to impart?? Anything that the rest of us really care about???
Let me ask those questions of myself...no, No, nO and NO! So, despite my skepticism, I've decided to join the "blogger" masses so that I may share what's important to me. My hope is that you'll find something that you too find important, something perhaps useful, hopefully something that's slightly brilliant and that you will care about.
I visited "The Pioneer Woman's" blog yesterday. If you don't know Ree Drummond--aka The Pioneer Woman--she's someone you must get to know. In short, she's a woman after my own heart--city girl turned country woman, and she does it all! Anyway, in honor of Valentine's Day, she started a running list of all the things she loves. Since reading her list, I've been keeping a mental list of my own--a list of all the things I love. I think it's a good exercise. You should try it. You'll surely learn something about yourself. Perhaps something you didn't know or something you forgot that you once knew. I'll share a few "loves" from my personal list.
My Olivia! Kevin's blue eyes Clean sheets Wendy's Frosties "The Holiday" Meg Ryan The way Olivia smells after her bath The HBO series "Band of Brothers" My family Tulips Clean teeth The Biltmore House Hilton Head Island Clemson Football Clemson in the fall Yankee Candle candles Snow days Wood burning stoves Home improvement of any kind A clean car--inside and out Putting my cold feet on Kevin! My sister My morning coffee with hazelnut creamer Peanut butter and banana sandwiches with a cold glass of milk...YUMMM Crock-pot macaroni BBQ ribs My granny's biscuits My granny's cornbread dressing Hair bows in Olivia's hair The smell of baby powder A clean house Snuggling Bailey A bargain "Dirty Dancing" Cookies-and-Cream ice cream "Southern Living" A shopping day with my mom Christmas traditions Bed time Anything Kevin cooks Ooey, gooey chocolate chip cookies Pulling my hair back Manicured nails Kevin's big family A sense of accomplishment A neat and tidy yard The smell of freshly cut grass Looking at houses that are for sale Fridays Olivia's eyelashes A good laugh The fact that my parents are now grandparents (of 3!) Spring mornings Sunday mornings--we can hear church bells outside our house Watching Kevin with Olivia when they're not looking Kevin in his Clemson hat A comfy t-shirt A nap on a rainy day Christmas decorations Old school Dave Matthews The Fray Low humidity--it's good for the hair! Mascara An open sunroof on a sunny day Night-night kisses for Olivia Matthew McConaughey
Knowing the answers to questions on Jeopardy Date nights with my hubby Medicated chapstick Reusable shopping bags Genuinely nice strangers
Hey! I'm Leigh. I'm a southern girl through and through. My hubby, Kevin, and I live in upstate SC. We have an eight year old daughter, Olivia, and our son, Davis, is four. They are featured here A LOT! So is our dog, Bailey (or "B" as we often call him.)
Sincerely, Leigh is a place to share...well...life. I hope you find something interesting, funny or just plain crazy here. All in all, this is a place to recap and share all the moments that make a lifetime.