Thursday, July 3, 2008


I was so proud of myself. I thought I was really conquering this Pioneer Woman thing. I no longer give a second thought to the swarm of red wasps I have to pass through in order to enter my house in the summer. I smash scorpions with aplomb. I don't make a peep when passing the huge blob of daddy long-leg spiders that like to hang out on the back porch wall, just above my trash bin. In fact, I'm completely nonchalant about scooping the individual spiders out of the shower with a tissue and flushing them away. However, when I discovered this week that one of those throbbing masses of spiders was lurking on the backside of my commode, just waiting to creep out the moment my back was turned, so to speak, well, that was just way more than you could expect a Dallas girl to endure, wasn't it?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008


A friend of mine absolutely adores reading about psychology and watching shows like Oprah and Dr. Phil. Although I tease her about it, she really does come up with some jewels of wisdom occasionally. One time we were talking about our kids, and why they weren't better about keeping their rooms clean, or why they put off doing homework until the last minute, etc. She told me that she once saw some expert (maybe Dr. Phil, I'm not sure) tell a group of parents to take out a piece of paper and list 10 or 15 character qualities they felt were most vital. When they had finished, he told them to circle the first 5 they wrote down. He then said "You see that circle? That is your child, isn't it? I bet those qualities describe him to a tee. Why? Because that is what you value most, that is where you put all your time and effort, and that is where you went out of your way to teach by example. Sure, having kids who never make messes and never procrastinate would be nice, but look at your list. See how far down those qualities are? How much time and effort did you spend on those qualities, and how often were you lax about them yourself?" Well, there you have it. By choosing what to stress and what to let slide, we more or less "designed" our kids!

Just last week, this lesson was brought home to me in a big way. I was in a parking lot, and walked around to the passenger side of my car to load some packages. Much to my dismay, I discovered a huge, long gouge dug into the side of the door. Of course, there was no way of knowing exactly when or where it happened, as I don't often use the passenger door. And, since the perpetrator hadn't bothered to leave their name or seek me out, repairs would be coming out of my own pocket. I suddenly flashed back to an incident when my son first got his driver's license. He had been at a friends house late one evening, and someone had parked their car directly behind the driveway. When he was trying to back out, he accidentally bumped it. The damage was almost imperceptible, it was late, dark, and not a soul was around. What did he do? Got out and wrote out a note of apology, including name and phone number, and stuck it under the windshield wiper. When the car owner called the following day, his first words were "Man, you sure have an honest kid!"

Guess what was number one on my list of desirable characteristics?

Sunday, June 29, 2008


I can't believe it. I now have 13 blogs bookmarked at the top of my computer screen, and feel compelled to go visiting each and every morning. And the number continues to grow! Not only do I check them each for new postings, I also read the comments, occasionally leave one myself, then am forced to return later, to check and see if anyone responded to my comment. What has come over this dedicated luddite?

One blog in particular has me puzzled. It's called Orangette ( Whenever the author does get around to posting, which isn't often, instead of receiving one or two comments like the rest of us, she usually gets fifty or more! Too many to even bother reading, truthfully. And there's no point in leaving one of my own, for it would just get lost in the crowd. As I understand it, the reason she posts so infrequently is that she is too busy putting the final touches on her book. The one that came about as a result of her blog.

I wonder sometimes if she doesn't miss the days when she used to write just for the sheer joy of it, with no pressure or deadlines. Does she pine for the time when each and every comment left was a jewel to be savored, read, and reread? What was it that set her blog apart from the masses, causing it to soar in popularity and grab the attention of the publishing world? Was it the pastry recipes she learned in France? The artful photos of white on white table settings, conjuring up visions of European bistros and cafes? Or was it that one just became caught up in her story, and had to see how it turned out?

And so, I have decided to undertake a journey. I have traveled back to the beginning, and am working my way forward. I have gone back to the time, four years ago, when she had just returned from her life altering sojourn in France, decided to abandon plans for pursuing a PhD, and pursue instead her passions for food and writing....back to that very first day, when she sat down at her computer and typed the words "It's awfully quiet in here."