Me, I want a hula-hoop!

Bebop: slang; to move, go, to proceed, (often followed by on down); Americanism: probably from the nonsense syllables typical of scat singing

I'll tell you one thing. Bebopin' on down from one place to another like the ping pong ball in a pin-ball machine has left me uttering nonsense syllables and puttering around the house in my bathrobe and stocking feet. Well, maybe not quite such a drastic picture, but we have been veritable road runners over the last week or so, from Durham to Hendersonville, Hendo to Charleston, Charleston to Sumter and back again, and in a handful of days, back up to the triangle. Stella sure is gettin' her exercise, and that's a lot more than I can say!

We arrived in Charleston from Hendersonville on Christmas Eve at around five o'clock, allowing time for hugs, hellos, hmm-ing and haw-ing, and then zipped to Saint Andrew's for a birthday party, celebrating a tiny, mewling, squidgy baby boy that changed the world and mankind's destiny as we know it. After church, we painstakingly worked on the last third of a jigsaw puzzle while simultaneously watching the all-time classic National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation. Christmas morning was spent leisurely opening gifts by the tree, listening to Christmas music and then a quick clean up to facilitate the preparations for the oh-so-delectable Christmas dinner. We all pitched in to get everything on the table--I won't tell you how many sticks of butter I put in the mashed potatoes--and sat down to a spread rivaling Good King Wenceslas' St. Stephen's Day feast. YUM. The rest of the afternoon was spent, firstly recovering from the aforementioned glut, and then reluctantly to enthusiastically singing Christmas carols around the table. We played games and finished the puzzle, save for one missing, gosh-darned piece.

Around 9-ish (because some of us run on more of a Brazilian concept of time), Jennigray (+ Arm Candy), Kelly, Lauren, and Meghan stopped by for a much needed, if short-lived, reunion. Stories of holiday travel woes, Grinch-like happenings, and home-visit hilarity were exchanged, garnering laughter, incredulity, and other colorful responses all around. It was good to squeeze the necks of my lovelies, even if I would have liked it to be a longer visit. Lauren even gave gifts all around, baggies and boxes filled with Christmas delights! Lauren is a Clemson grad now, leaving behind forever the hurry-scurry and sleepless nights of collegiate life. See ya later, 8am classes! Watch for that girl in the headlines--you'll be seeing her name, for sure.

Saturday, Andrew and I went up to Sumter, SC for Jordan and Michael's wedding. It was a pinky-out affair, complete with coat tails and floor length bridesmaids dresses--just lovely. Jordan was stunning, as always, and a perfect match to her handsome groom. We danced the night away with friends we hadn't seen in a coon's age, loving every minute of it. We met some new Alabama folks and kissed the cheeks of dear old friends. Andrew and I drove back to Charleston in the wee hours of the morning, reminiscing on our own wedding and the weddings of our friends. When all of these weddings taper off, we're all going to have to find some other excuse to get together. And if we're talking babies, I call "not it". I'm thinking beach house, Memorial Day weekend, everyone pitch in for food, drinks, sand, sun, and FUN! Yeah. Have your people call my people and we'll work it out.

So, we're back in the Chuck, leaning towards New Year's Eve and popping the cork on that bottle of bubbly. 2010 seems like it will be good to us. I'm resolving to resolve this year, not sure what about, though. There just always seems to be much room for amelioration--I could pick anything to improve upon, methinks. Either way, I stand resolute. So let it be written, so let it be done.

I'll let you know how it goes. In the meantime, soak up the last days of 2009 like a biscuit soppin' up red eye gravy. Mmm-mm. See y'all on the other side!


Happy Christmas!

Joy to the world the Lord is come!/Let earth receive her King!

Let ev'ry heart/prepare Him room

Repeat the sounding joy!

Repeat the sounding joy!

Repeat, repeat the sounding joy!


Simply having a wonderful Christmastime!

At the moment, I'm watching Bear Grylls beast the Alaskan tundra. Five minutes ago he was marooned on an island in Indonesia eating sea cucumbers and termites. What has this man not survived?? The show says right before each episode that he will be "assisted" if he is in "life-threatening circumstances" and that some situations are "presented" to him in order to show "us" how to survive them. So, I guess sucking my thumb and crying under the driftwood lean-to is not an option? Durn.

So, we're at the Armstrong's for our last night tonight and consequently, it's "Christmas". At least for Andrew and me and for the gifts we have for the family. In a way it's almost like Hanukkah--we've had two nights of presents thus far, tonight will be the third! Hey, I'm a Christmas-lover so I have no problem spreading things out! I'm just tired of holiday jingles re-writing the words of traditional Christmas songs to advertise their spiral ham or how much money you can save at TJ Maxx. Get a new angle, puh-leaaaase.

Yesterday we visited Andrew's great Aunt Sarah and his great-grandparents, Millard and Mama Green. I gotta tell ya, I just love old people. And I don't mean that disrespectfully--I really love hearing stories about "the good ol' days" as Sarah called them and how snow cream was a "scandalous treat". I love hearing about how Millard was in "the war"--WWII, that is--as an airplane mechanic, stationed in Italy. I loved knowing that my own uncles were in those same historic wars--it makes me feel proud of my family history. I'm aware that it wasn't all that glamorous--someone once said "war is hell"--not sure if that was my dad or someone famous (or if I made it up) but anyway--my generation is a generation whose ardor lasts only as long as its battery. But if Millard, at 88 and a half (that's a quote), can still talk about "the war", then it must have been really something.

Anyway, the best way to spread Christmas cheer is singing loud for all to hear. I can just imagine the tinny din that is growing around my parents' house as we speak--er, read. I'm sad to leave the Winter Wonderland of the Blue Ridge Mountains, but excited for the reunion that awaits in Charleston. We've got a four-ish hour long drive ahead of us tomorrow after Christmas Eve brunch with Sherri and the gang ;). Too bad I can't just lay my finger aside of my nose and bee-bop down South.

And if you were wondering, which I'm sure you were, my hiney is A-okay.

Merry Christmas to all/and to all a good night!


How do you pronounce coccyx?

I would post pictures, but I'm currently using Brother Barrett's laptop and will not be able to hook up my camera to his computer.

Andrew and I eked into Hendersonville last night around 7pm with no problems with snow or ice until we actually got into town. Apparently, the interstate is the first thing to be salted and plowed, so it stands to reason that they were all clear, full speed ahead--but when we turned into his parents' neighborhood, we were greeted by multiple snowy cars all parked at the entrance because their owners lived at the top of the mountain and would probably not be able to make it up to their homes (or back down) without incident. I'll definitely post pictures later, but if you can imagine, most everything was covered in a foot of snow. It was the most snow I've seen since the winter after Hurricane Hugo--and I was three, so it's been a while. Andrew, Barrett and Collin and I went up to Granna and Grandaddy's house and sledded (sled? sleed?) down the hill in the dark. I had to beg, borrow, and steal some snow gear, but all's well that ends well. I was warm and dry, both objectives clearly met.

It wasn't until this morning's sledding party at the golf course with Summer and Derek and Friends that I began to rethink this whole sledding thing. Now. I'm not normally a wimp--although I will admit that it's been a while since I faced the downward slope of a mountain with the intention of barreling down it on a thin sheet of plastic, be it snowboard or sled--but in my old age and my increased knowledge of the fragility of my own internal structures, I've gotten a little more cautious of which daredevil sports I partake in and in what way. Today, my coccyx kissed the asphalt golf cart path that incidentally bisected our sledding trail. Translation: as I was careening down the mountain on my sled, I hit a few bumps and on the landing of the largest one, my hiney slammed into the road, full throttle. "Owwie" doesn't quite cover it. Bummer that it was my first go. Kind of put a damper on the rest of the "party" but I had a few more runs. One included a train in which Andrew rolled over my head when we caught an edge and in the aftermath--if it wasn't for my mad round-house skillz--I almost got creamed by Barrett and Collin. Can't stop a movin' train. Yeah, after the tail-bone grand slam we moved down to an area that was not t-boned by the road. Someone always gets hurt, even minorly, and today my number was up. Ah, well. Ibuprofen and a doughnut cushion should do it for a week or so.

The snow is beautiful. In places that kids or dogs or snowplows haven't touched yet it just looks like pearly, sparkling fondant, spread cleanly and evenly over everything in sight. On the rooftops, it's so perfect it almost looks fake! With twinkling white lights on trees and bushes covered in snow, and the moon giving the luster of mid-day to objects below. It's some pretty awesome luster, I tell ya. Winter Wonderland. Truer words were never spoken. (Probably an overstatement, but just roll with me.)

That's all for now. I'll keep you posted. 10-4 good buddy.


'Snow joke

With a zillion things to do today, I didn't realize that an amazing thing could happen. A veritable miracle. A miracle I tell you!! S.N.O.W. snow!! Here's my two photos. I couldn't get good ones because I was so excited I was shaking and forgot how to work my camera (not that I knew how to anyway, which probably compounded the problem), but here they are: this first one I like to call " Snow on the rocks". Those large-ish glinty white blobs are, in fact, snow flakes. It was actually snowing quite hard at this point, but the camera only picked up those two or three big flakes. It's a horrific photograph, but you get the picture. ;)

This next one I like to call "'Snow joke, it's snow!" and it is a result of standing on the porch in the cross-wind (a term I recently made up) and getting snow in your face and sticking to your purple sweater. Those white things? You guessed it: tiny, perfect, unique snowflakes. I wonder if there's Whos in there somewhere trying to elect a Cheermeister.

Now I realize that for some of you reading this, this is a silly, silly post. Some of you may spend half the winter stuck in snow drifts, or shoveling the driveway, or waiting for the roads to be cleared. But I, definitely, do not. I come from a place where school was canceled if there was so much as a flurry. So, naturally, my reaction to this wintry miracle was, well, elation! Joy! Delight!

Yes. This is not snow. But this is just as much of a miracle. This, this is chicken pot pie. Pioneer Woman's chicken pot pie. With amazing buttery, flaky crust. This recipe is out of the glorious The Pioneer Woman Cooks cookbook that my dear friend Jennigray gave me for my birthday. I had some trepidation when I set out to make this crust, but boy, oh boy, did persistence pay off!! My dear, sweet husband said this is the best chicken pot pie I've ever had. Wheeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee!!!! And I'll admit. It was good. Really good. The cookbook is also a great gift for someone interested in cooking--the recipes are very straightforward and simple--anyone can do it, promise!! Barnes & Noble, Amazon--check, ch-check, check, check, ch-check it out.

Also, Andrew and I were "apartment hunting" last night and we saw a John Deere tractor in someone's front yard decorated with lights, wreaths, garland, bows, etc. Yes. Yes, I saw that.

And, we're also not moving. We re-signed our lease to stay in this glorious apartment for another nine months. It's going to work out better financially and legistically, so we're totally good with it. Annnnd it means we don't have to pack up--yet! Woohoo!

So, now I'm going to make some hot chocolate, pop in Love Actually and wrap some Christmas presents. And fold laundry. But the laundry is cancelled out by the hot chocolate and Love Actually so it's all good.


Ramble on! And now's the time, the time is now, to sing my song!

I went Christmas shopping {again} at the mall this afternoon. And I will tell you what I saw. I was just bustling along with the other shoppers when my eyes spotted a long, gathered, ruched, sequined, corseted pearly white dress. On a person. On a bride. Outside of Maggiano's Italian Family Style restaurant. She was there with her tiara and her bridesmaids and groomsmen, and of course her handsome groom. This was no photo shoot or gimmick. This was the real deal. I stood and watched the groom fumble with the garter and fling it into the air in the direction of his groomsmen. I watched them load gifts and accouterments into the back of their Chevy Blazer in the crowded parking lot. Now. I don't know the circumstances of said wedding, but I do know this. A mall? There were no venues open besides the mall? The MALL??? Your backyard was booked?? Ok...ok. To each bride her own.

Thing number two that I saw. Ah, crud. I can't remember it. It must not have been that shocking if I've plumb forgot. OH! I remember. {Thanks, brain! Youuu smartypants.} I've been seeing a lot of armored cars lately--you know the kind that pick up the cash, {or gold bars... just kidding. But that would be cool}, from restaurants or stores? Firstly, it always, always makes me think of FBI or CIA or Scotland Yard movies where there's some sort of nail-biter chase scene with an armored vehicle, usually involving some crashing and pyrotechnics. And Keanu Reeves. For some reason, I think that kind of movie is his specialty. For some strange reason. Anyway, all of this armored car business makes me think. During Christmas/Hanukkah/Kwanzaa/anyotherholidaythatyoubuygiftsfor pretty much everyone in America goes shopping. Everyone gets at least one thing. (Not eeeevvvverrryyyyoneeee, I knooow.) But even the less fortunate most times get people that can afford presents buying things for them. So, basically we're pumping money into the economy during this time of year, right?? Shouldn't that help?? Right?? I know. My understanding of Economics is quite elementary. I just thought...that...maybe...I mean....well...shucks.

While I was running errands the other day, I also saw some people selling bonsai trees on the side of the road and a lady with a bottle of Ranch dressing in her coat pocket at the Post Office. Some of you already knew that ;) but for those of you that didn't, I saw it. With m'own eyes. Plain as the nose on my face. Interesting business venture, I must say, but I didn't see anyone else selling those crazy trees, so maybe he's found his niche. As for the ranch...maybe it was a key chain. Like a lucky rabbit's foot. A lucky bottle of Ranch.

So, hopscotch, here's the timeline for the next days:

Saturday the 19th: MG&A Christmas (yeah, we're going to have ourselves a Merry little newlywed Christmas and start some traditions of our own!) in the morning, Bragg Street Love Feast Block Party 12-2p, drive to Hendersonville directly following

Thursday the 24th {Christmas Eve!}: head to Charleston after festivities with the Armstrongs/McIntyres

Saturday the 26th: drive up to Sumter, SC for Kinder/Chestnut rehearsal and rehearsal dinner

Sunday the 27th: celebrate with Mr. & Mrs. Michael Chestnut! Drive back to Charleston after sending off the bride and groom

And, basically, that's as far as we've gotten. I'll keep you posted for any changes. Or any other odd sightings. Or anything I feel like talking about.


Regular can of 'baccy you say? No, says I.

Lawsie mercy! Well. Currently, I'm house/apartment hunting on Craig's list and simultaneously watching Jennifer Hudson's I'll Be Home for Christmas on ABC. And last night I watched Oprah's Christmas at the White House. I just love Christmas specials. They're special.

So, I'm going to level with you. Got my battery-powered laser beaming level right here and I'm pointing it at your forehead. For those of you wondering--or not wondering--I did not get the ED position at Duke that I interviewed for a few weeks ago. "Bummer" is an understatement. Frustrating? Check. Heart-wrenching? Check. Embarrassing? Check. Baffling? Check. The emotions roiling inside me don't really have names. They have descriptions. Twisting, tumbling, suffocating, squeezing. Yes. That's it. So, I'll soldier on. Applying, applying, applying. Emailing, emailing, emailing. Calling, calling, calling. Praying, praying, praying. It can be exhausting. But I'll trust. I'll trust that He knows best. That maybe I would have hated it. That maybe it just wouldn't have been a good fit. That maybe their scrubs would have made my butt look big. Raise an eyebrow if you like. Scoff if you dare. But I know He knows better than I do. So, I'm okay. Don't feel sorry for me--don't shed one single, dreadful tear. Just keep praying. To God be the glory all the more when I get that exciting phone call.

On a lighter and less life-altering note, Brother Barrett came to visit us this past weekend and boy, did we have fun! We went to Graham and Joanna's first holiday potluck get-together--I made fudge with Craisins and pecans in it and meaty meatballs I found on foodnetwork.com (and subsequently changed the recipe to suit my sophisticated taste buds. Also known as, I added barbecue sauce and brown sugar. and heavy cream. Ummmmm, good. Good, is the word I'm looking for.) We played this hilarious game called Lady in the Garden/Telephone Pictionary. No idea where "Lady in the Garden" came from, but in Telephone Pictionary, you get in a circle and everyone has a pen and paper. First you write something down--anything random--that's the point. Then you pass it to the person beside you and they have to draw it. They then pass their little Picasso to the person next to them and that person has to write what they drew--so by the time your cards get back to you, it's a hilarious flip book of miscommunicated and misinterpreted drawings and scrawlings. And it. is. side-splitting. I highly recommend it at your next soiree.

On Saturday, Andrew and Barrett and I went Christmas shopping at the gargantuan Southpoint Mall--one of my absolute faaavorite things! The mall was teeming with people, all on the hunt for the perfect purchase for that special someone. Moms, Dads, teenagers, kids, babies--strollers, slings, carriers galore! The cuteness was unbearable! And of course, Santa and Santa's Helpers were there taking photographs with the all-but-obliging children. (How much you wanna bet 90% of those little girls had sagging tights?? I'm sure it was a major contributing factor to the orneriness.) So, back to shopping. I love buying presents for people. I try to find things that I would debate keeping for myself, that way I know when I give it to someone they will just melt from the love they feel and the pleasure of getting such a gift! If you want it, they will want it, trust me. It's a tried and true holiday fact. I helped Barrett find something for his "special friend" and I just know that her eyes will shine and her tummy will tingle when she opens her gift! I also helped Andrew and Barrett buy jeans--yet another weird favorite thing of mine. Noah used to take me with him sometimes for a second opinion on those few and far between boy shopping trips. I think that's where my love of helping people find clothes they love was born. And then I worked at the Gap where my love of helping people find clothes was reduced to the number of Gap cards I could hustle in a five hour shift. Kill me. I'm also loving that many of your Christmas gifts are gracing the skirt around the trunk of my tree right this very instant. Makes me feel like y'all are just sittin' right here! But anyway, we had fun. Good times all around. We ate at the Barbecue Joint, a restaurant quickly becoming an Armstrong favorite. We've only been twice, but it is tasty on the tongue! We went to church on Sunday and took the exam for the leadership class Andrew and I have just completed (provided that we pass the exam, of course). You mean, God gives exams?!? Why, yes, he does. Shucks.

Christmas is coming. Eleven more days. Don't be surprised if someone rings your doorbell later and there's eleven Lords a-leaping on your stoop. Your first thought will probably be, "What are all of these royals doing sashaying across my lawn?" And then, you'll know. Christmas is coming.


After official review, the call on the field stands

I know I just posted, like, 10 seconds ago, but I just can't help it. I've got to tell you this.

Andrew and I went to see Disney's A Christmas Carol with Jim Carrey last night at the IMAX 3D and it was so. amazing. jaw-dropping. out of this world. scary. Yeah, you weren't expecting that last adjective, were you? Well, folks, it's true. Andrew and I really loved the movie, but I would think twice before bringing any little ones to see it. The commercials are all holly and jolly, but if you remember, Ebenezer Scrooge is visited by a dead guy, a freaky flame, a ginormous Dionysus-type person, and--the kicker--the Grim Reaper. Not really the movie you want your kiddo to see right before bed time. Especially when it's in 3D and skeleton hands are coming at you. Nope. Not the flick I'd show my kids. But, for the occasionally-Disney-entertained movie-goer, it's a great pick. And Jim Carrey is delightful--he plays Scrooge and all three spirits, so it's fun to see how he becomes each personality. And don't be a Scrooge--it's worth the extra cost to see it in 3D. ;)

Doorbells and sleigh bells and schnitzel with noodles

In the interest of the holiday season, {barring Sunday school answers like Jesus, the Bible, my family, my friends--you know I love those things already}, and although the aforementioned song is not quite a Yuletide yodel, it does turn up this time of year. These are a few of my favorite things:

1} Fresh cut flowers in lovely vases all over the house...soothing. Ah.

2} Jeans. Jeans, jeans, jeans!

3} Frye cowboy boots

4} Ralph Lauren Romance

5} Cast-iron cookware: Lodge & Le Creuset deliciousness!

6} Prettily wrapped Christmas presents

7} Sleeping in. I don't care if I went to bed at 7:30--I will still sleep in if I have nothing to do that day. Bonus favorite thing: sleeping in when it's raining. Cha-ching!

8} That feeling after the house is cleaned, the laundry's folded and put away, the dinner menu is firmed up, Oprah's on and you've got the latest InStyle or Martha Stewart Living in your hot little hands.

9} Fitting into your "skinny" jeans. Amen, and amen.

10} L'oreal Carbon Black Voluminous mascara--in waterproof, too. Don't leave home without it.

11} Jiffy Corn Muffins. They are so. darn. good. And each box is 99 cents. You can't beat that, man.

12} Cooking. And the foodnetwork.com and tastykitchen.com. They help me make it through flour tornadoes, burned fingers, lumpy gravy, and all the rest. That, and my Mama. ;)

13} Good handwriting. I appreciate good kindergarten penmanship work ethic.

14} The rings on my left hand. Because I think they are quite pretty and, especially, because of what they mean.

15} A hot shower after a really good work out. Painfully blissful. [Is that even possible?? Ah, just go with it.]

16} Soft, cuddly, timeless, chic Cashmere sweaters. Especially white or grey ones. Ah.

17} Learning new words. I'm a dictionary.com junkie. The bookmark in my latest novel is a piece of paper with all the words I need to look up scribbled on it. Nerd. True story.

18} Nail polish. And one step beyond that, manicures. I just love having someone else expertly sculpt my nails and then carefully and precisely paint them a beautiful OPI Hearts & Tarts, Vodka and Caviar, or Lincoln Park After Dark. Or the old summer standby, Cajun Shrimp. Heavenly.

19} Pashminas. For their versatility and staying power.

20} Starbucks non-fat peppermint mocha. Christmas in a cup! YUM!

21} Chocolate. Always fills you up and never lets you down.

22} Whiskers on kittens

23} Martha

24} The Armstrong tartan we got on our honeymoon. It's flippin' sweet.

25} Partridges in pear trees. What a crazy phenomenon.

That's a cross-section of my heart. Hope you enjoyed it. And I hope the song is stuck in your head for the rest of the day....hehe!

Brown paper packages tied up with striiiings/these are a few of my favorite things!



Yestereve, as the sun faded to from pomegranate to peach over Lake Marion, Stella and I threw out our proverbial elbows and barrelled up 95 North from Charleston back to Durham. I spent one night in my old twin bed to help Mama decorate for Christmas--minus the tree, reserved for Jessica and Kawika, (Mele Kalikimaka is the thing to say/on a bright Hawaiian Christmas day!). Mama and I got the two main things squared away: the front of the house and the mantel, so the mini-weekend was a success. For those on the Smith family side of things, the above photo is a tasty preview of the glorious splendor that awaits you down South in just a few short weeks. Get excited. And don't forget your plaid onesie pajamas.

I also got to briefly hug the neck of my beloved Kelly Byrd and wile away the hours, burn the midnight oil, shoot the breeze with my lovely towheaded friend--fitting since she has now pitched her tent and hung her plaque on Sullivan's Island. Ah, to life--l'chaim! [Tevye to God]: I know, I know. We are Your chosen people. But, once in a while, can't You choose someone else?

This past week, Andrew and I had the pleasure of pseudo-hosting Chris and Jennigray as they were en route from Florida to the North country--New York, we thought, but back to New England--New Jersey for a wee bit--back to the blustering, blistering cold of winter, bypassing fall entirely. Interesting that the place they were supposed to go was called "New" and the place they went instead is still called "New". Something going on there, methinks. Sometimes you have to squint your eyes and listen carefully beyond the rumble of the U-haul for God's voice and direction. And bring your woolies--as Beckie would say--it's going to be a cold one. I commend them on their flexibility and steadily pleasant attitudes. Where most people would dissolve into tears and frustration--they just laugh and shrug and go with the flow. Nicely done, Hewitts, nicely done.

In a totally different subject category, I have a bone to pick with the fashion industry about this trend I have a love/hate relationship with. There are many things women sacrifice in order to look their most fashionably best: expanding their lungs fully in order to take a complete breath, any semblance of balance, the ability to cry without looking like the Joker, being able to lift their arms beyond shoulder height without bisecting the garment in question, freezing to death/sweating to death...the list could go on forever. This one small clothing item I have had to deal with quite a bit recently is the aptly named: Tights. They are the chameleon of clothing: they could be an accessory, an undergarment, in some unfortunate cases pants (you know who I'm talking about), but whatever category they fall into in your closet, they are everywhere lately. Including on my body. I thought that somewhere around third grade my days of wearing crotch-sagging, ankle-pooling, behind the knee-running, opaque tights were over. It seems that the universe is chuckling at me, because tights are one of the biggest must-have trends this winter--and I will admit, they are very practical and cute in many, many ways. The patterns, the colors--short skirts and high boots--YUM. I really do love it. But I just have this thingggg about wearing something actually named for how it feels to wear it: tiiiiiiiiiiiiiight.ss.ssss. With an "s", meaning plurally tight. Twice as tight. Two tights, not just one. Got it? And no matter who you are, or how stylish you are, if you lifted up your dress in church, you know your tights would be under your armpits, because that's just how they are. It's roll control, it's breathability, it's sag prevention. Whatever your flavor, your tights are always soaring above your umbilicus. Don't get me wrong, I like them. I wear them--in all colors of the earth-toned rainbow. But I don't feel bad--not one iota of shame, regret, sorrow, or penitence-- when I sprint for my closet after church to peel them off, take a breather, and put on my jeans.

As Forest would say, "And that's all I have to say about that".


Hey, look over there! Some celestial beings are serenading that baby!

So, obviously, the previous post is my Christmas decorations. I'll have you know that I am seriously illiterate when it comes to uploading photographs on this blog. Some day, I'll be good at it. Just you wait, 'Enry 'Iggins, just you wait.

So, some little bits and pieces, snippets and side notes. The angel on top of our tree was made by the one and only Joe Smith, my tinkering, toy-making father. Santy Claus? I think so. It's modeled after an ol' fashioned weather vane. Love it!

Two things I love to use when decorating for Christmas: white lights and the extra limbs from the bottom of the tree. You can never go wrong with white Christmas lights. And they really make the Christmas aesthetic shiiiine through, (ya like that pun?). This year we got our tree from Rob and Ann, and we actually had enough limbs once we trimmed the bottom of the tree to use them to decorate. In previous years we've just picked up piles from the tree lot--they're going to get rid of 'em anyway and we just paid for a tree so why not? They are very versatile and can be used for mantels, flower arrangements, the creche, or--like I did--above the cabinets just to add a little Christmas height. Heh, heh. (Or should I say, "Ho, ho ho!")

Last weekend in Hendersonville we went to this great little shop called Honeysuckle Hollow and we found a few vintage Christmas cards, amongst the piles of odds and ends. I clothes pinned them to one of the PB ribbons from one of our wedding gifts. We obviously don't have a mantel, so we had to improvise with the stockings.

Let's talk flora and fauna. House plants are also an interesting way to add a little outside to the inside of your home, as well as adding a texture and color to a room that may be a little bit unexpected. Bonus, they also clean the air! Thank youuu, photosynthesis. The first and most obvious plants I used were poinsettias. Named for Joel Roberts Poinsett, the first US minister to Mexico, (he brought them back with him--who knew they were tropical plants?! CooOooooOol.), red poinsettias add that classic Christmas color to a grouping of plants. You'll notice I also used a little Norfolk Island Pine for a little something extra--it's a pine tree so it mirrors the Christmas tree look.

If everyone in America had red cars, we'd be a red car-nation. Carnations have gotten a bad wrap over the years for being old fashioned and cheap. And they are, let's be serious. But "old fashioned" can also be termed "retro" or "vintage" and cheap...well, these days cheap is good. Cheap is greeeaaat. Honestly, when I think of carnations I think of a 1950s prom with a powder blue suit and a white carnation for a boutonniere. But, if you can get over that image and get enough carnations--like a lot, at least a dozen, two dozen is better--they can add volume and texture to a table arrangement--and they're a little bit different. I'm not saying bring me carnations on my birthday or anniversary, I'm just sayin' quit hatin' on 'em! If you want to hate on something, hate on Baby's Breath. That stuff is whack. Plus, it's called Baby's Breath. Blech. I also stuck a few sweet grass roses in that bouquet for a little more fullness to the bunch.

Now, hold on to your hats, folks: I used sticks. I picked up sticks from outside while I was on a walk one day and used them just like a bunch of flowers. But they're deader. And greyer. And stick-ier. Buuuuut, I really like them. They're different. They add height and they don't die, cuz they're already dead! Hooray!

Sigh. I just love Christmas. My inspirations are always from the classic or traditional, nature, hearth and home, comfort, and of course, the birth of our Saviour. I'm not saying I'll never deviate, but if it ain't broke, don't fix it. I also love to do some things the same every year and some things differently every year. From mall displays to magazines, blogs to bookstores, inspiration is everywhere. Use whatever moves you!

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices/for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn!

Hark! The herald angels sing glory to the newborn King!