Thursday, April 09, 2009

"Hot diggity dog ..."

Amy, thanks for the Happy Birthday wish!

One of my very favorite bloggers has stopped updating regularly, after years and years of almost daily posting. I'm disappointed, yes. But I totally understand. I don't know why, but this journal/blog has become something I just don't want to deal with.

To quote Plain Jane: "I'm NOT going to write some kind of big farewell message and close up shop. I'm going to let this thing sit until I feel like updating it. That's the way it is. I'm just changing the way I do things right now, that's all. I might return to regular updating at some point ..."

And if she can do it, so can I.

I'm on Facebook now. Although I'm not "blogging" there, I do post new pictures and videos occasionally.


On to the song of the day ... that damn Mickey Mouse Clubhouse "Hot Dog Song".
It stays in my brain for days on end. But it's OK, because that reminds me of this:

From last month, on a Saturday morning, after spending the night with Nana & Papa...

Today, after her bath ... she's perfecting her footwork ...

She misses her Papa ...

Until the next time ... be well!

Friday, March 13, 2009

"It's too late to apologize ..."

... but I feel really bad and will say that I'm sorry anyway.

My posts here lately have been for Jimmy, to keep him updated on Miss Squish. And Emilie, too. She misses the bug like crazy. They both wait patiently for new pictures and videos, and this week I have failed miserably.

I don't know whether it was because she didn't stop moving or because I can't take my OWN eyes off of here these days ... but for whatever reason, I didn't take a single picture yesterday.

Hopefully, the new ones posted over at her Daddy's blog will hold you through. I'm sorry.


I will give a recap of "Thursday With Nana" though.

When I picked her up from daycare, I asked her ladies if she was being taught to say "Yummy, yummy" at mealtimes. She had been quite vocal with the "EAT EAT" when she was hungry, and now all of a sudden that's gone. Now when she thinks it's past time for food, she heads over to the high chair, and says, "Yummy yummy!" The ladies all looked puzzled, and said that they had never used that term with the kids, and then one said, "That S(quish)! She's got a really good vocabulary!"

*Proud Nana.*

When we got here, we hung out in the front yard a little while. It was cool and windy, but not too bad. She walked all around and watched the leaves blow in the wind. A kid went down the street, bouncing a basketball ... and she told him loudly what it was called, "BALLLL!"

We came in, she went straight into the laundry room and got a pair of my clogs ... "Shoes!" and tried to wear them. They didn't work too well, but later she had some success with my faux-Danskos.

When she wants to sit in the breakfast room chairs, she says, "Sit!" ... and that means she wants to spin round and round ... "Wheee! Wheee!" When she wants to sit in the recliner, she says "Up", which is also what she says when she wants to be picked up. (Usually the only reason she wants to be picked up is to see whatever I'm working on in the kitchen.)

I bought some "First Crayons" and some blank paper at Walmart this week. First Crayons are bigger around and shaped like triangles, which is supposed to train their fingers to properly hold a pencil or crayon. Whatever. She colored a bit ... and then, while never losing eye contact, she slowly would put one in her mouth. She was watching me closely because she knew I was going to say, "No no!" She did the same trick with her hair clip. She pulls it from her hair, and watches me while it goes straight toward her mouth ... in slow motion. It's all I can do to keep from laughing.

Same thing at the dinner table. When her tummy was full, she drank a little milk and instead of placing the cup back onto the table, she holds it to the side of the high chair and drops it. I told her, "No darling girl, put your cup here on the table." A minute later, she had the cup in her hands again, drank ... and then looked at me, with the cup dangling over the side of the chair. She never lost eye contact. I gave her "the look", and told her to put her cup on the table. She went for the full dramatic pause ... and dropped it. And still never lost eye contact. I had to cover my mouth and bite my lips to hide the smile. And she knew. She smiled back. (Sorry kids.)

Let's see ... what else ...

She only read one book yesterday. Weird. We did play with the cars in the hallway ... she liked that a lot. As one rolled down the hall, she'd chase it and I'd start another one rolling towards her. At first that made her laugh ... but after we did it a few times, she'd make an unhappy noise and come running back to me, as if she was saying, "WAIT! I want to be here when they start rolling!"

We went onto the deck for a little while. She found some river rocks that I use in my potted plants, and lined them all up at one end of the deck ... and then moved theme to the other end, one by one. Repeat. Repeat.

She said, "Blanket" when she saw her blanket. No, it didn't sound like blanket ... but she was definitely calling it a word. She danced to some songs on PBS. She kissed her puppy. She ate supper. She took a bath, and then afterwards, climbed right back up the stairs and asked to "SIT!" in my chair in the bedroom. (We combed her hair there, while she watched in the mirror.)

The Simpsons were on in the background at one point, and Homer was singing the Batman theme, "Na na na na na na na na, Fishing" (instead of Batman) ... she looked at me and smiled, and started singing, "Nana, nana, nana" .... hehee.

After I took her home, her Mama showed her a cute pink baseball cap she had bought for her yesterday. Squish tried it on, and we thought it'd the same as the hair clips ... right off again. We were wrong ... she liked wearing her hat. Maybe they'll take a picture of her in it this weekend.

The funniest thing she said yesterday ... we were walking around the front yard, and she said (as she does every time), "Da Papa?" ... meaning "Where's that Papa?" I told her you were working far away again, and missing his Sarah really badly (as I do every time). At this point you're going to have to use your imagination because in a perfect little British accent she said, "Da PaPAA." Accent on the second Pa. And then she said it again. Good LORD. She's cute.

I know you're disappointed about the lack of a new picture ... but I had my hands full!


And now I'm off to pack for Wilmington! Hope everybody has a good weekend ...

Monday, March 02, 2009

"The more I see, the less I know ..."

A picture from Saturday with The Squish ...
... her cheeks are extra-rosy because she just woke up from her nap.
She spent the night on Friday night, and we had a really nice day on Saturday! Next to her in the chair is her newfound friend, "Puppy". Puppy was a gift for her first Valentine's Day in 2008, and has hung out in the crib here since then. Suddenly this weekend, Squish noticed Puppy. And kissed Puppy, a lot. She likes Puppy.

A dark video from Saturday, after her Daddy came to hang out with us ...

It looks like she is totally bothered by the story her Dad is reading to her ...

... but she wasn't.


It snowed last night. Adam and Brandy called this morning and said they had been without electricity all night and would like to come and hang out where it's heated. Lucky me, I had heat to offer. So I had a totally unexpected and enjoyable afternoon with them.

Squish and Snow ...

... she didn't bring gloves so we made do.

Hanging out (inside where it's warm) with Puppy ...

Wearing Mama's shoes ...


Their power is back on, and all is well. Snow melted off the driveway today, and it'll be Spring (70 degrees) on Saturday.

And that's all I got. I'd apologize for writing so little and blah, blah, blah ... but you already know that. Hope your week is a good one!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

"Do I want too much? ..."

And a Happy Friday to you.

Just so you'll know, I sent my phone number to our Charter friend, Eric a few minutes ago. I have little hope that he'll actually be able to lower our cable/Internet bill, and still allow me to watch "The Real Housewives (Hookers) Of Orange County" every week. But I'll let you know.


This week my "check engine" light came on. Don't you love when that happens? I'll be taking the old car in to the dealership on Monday for some new oxygen sensors, whatever that means. Oh yeah, it means $500.


I've had the sinus funk happening this week ... really felt quite lousy for most of the days since I was here last. But I lived to tell the tale, and every day I feel slightly better.


FINALLY got my ring back from the repair shop. I took my emerald ring in right after the holidays to have a stone replaced ... I looked down at my hand on Christmas and it looked like a child who had lost a tooth. One of the emeralds was gone. The repair guy said it might take 2 weeks, but instead it took over a month. But really I suspect it's been sitting in the store, and they just neglected to call me and tell me it was in. Whatever ... they cleaned it, too and MAN it looked pretty when I picked it up.


And that's about it for my week.
Today, Miss Squish was dancing when I peeked through the door at daycare. She's a really good dancer, too. She has music in her bones. Once here, she was sweet as sugar, and got reeeealy sleepy in the late afternoon. She sat in my lap and watched a Baby Einstein DVD, all cuddled up with her blanket. Cozy! She ate dinner, including some practice time with a spoon when she ate her applesauce. She took a bath, and sang "Itsy Bitsy Spider" a few times, complete with applause and a "Yay!" at the end.

The best part of today: When I asked her for a kiss during dinner, she leaned forward and actually gave me one! A first!

The first video from today will make her Papa smile. She's been working at this toy since we bought it months and months ago. And today she got two, all by herself!

(She actually got three in yesterday, just not on this video.)

She practiced her piano playing ...

And then told me some stuff during bath-time ...

And finally, around Christmas she found my Daddy's old pitchpipe that he used to use when he was singing in a Barbershop Quartet. When I was little, I used to want to play with that thing in a BAD way. He would always say no ... "It's NOT a toy!" Well, unless we let Miss Squish play with it now, there's not much use for it. Somehow, I think my Dad approves.

Last month she couldn't seem to figure out how to make the sound happen. I showed her over and over, and she'd just smile and hold it to her mouth. Then she'd give it back to me again. That all changed today. She'd hold it in her mouth and start to sing and hum ... and every time she got enough breath through the pitchpipe to make it sound, she was SO proud of herself. I bet her Grandpa Stark is proud too ...

Relaxin' with Nana ...

Saturday, February 07, 2009

"No complaints ..."

From the comments:

Hello Dawn,

My name is Eric Ketzer. I am a Communications Manager with Charter, and I would be happy to look at your account to see what the issue is. If you could e-mail me your account information to, I will get it fixed.

Thanks, Eric

Wow. Eric, you are really on top of things, I'll have to give you that. (And by the way, I Googled you back, since you were asking for my "account information" and all.)

But it turns out that there's really no issue here. The nice cable guy came in, took one look at things, and pronounced it his "easiest call of the day". Seems my dear husband, in the pursuit of a simpler life, had removed all the channels we weren't receiving (or didn't want to receive) from our channel lineup, using the handy "check the box" deal on the Moxie.

I didn't even know that option existed, so when HBO was turned on at Charter's end, and didn't show up at my end ... well, the problem HAD to be Charter, right? Oh well, live and learn.

But if you're REALLY concerned about my issues with Charter, Eric, here they are:

The cost is out of control. And in our area, you're our only choice in cable providers. I can't get our monthly bill for cable and Internet service under $100 no matter how I try with your "customer service" people. And for folks who really don't watch that much TV, that's highway robbery.

Can you fix that for me, Eric? (Seriously though, thanks for offering.)


Now. Let's see if by mentioning my gripes with OTHER companies if I can get such an immediate and helpful response ...

Verizon SUCKS! The new little phone we got to replace our land line (Buhbye Charter phone!) has a battery life of approximately 45 minutes. No really. I charged it on Thursday around noon, talked on it about an hour total, and on Friday evening, it still looked to be at least half-charged, maybe more. Friday night, I got home around midnight, laid down in bed, and heard the "low battery" beep. By the time I picked it up and looked at it, it was flat lining. Dead. That can't be right, can it? I'm taking it back to Verizon on Monday. UNLESS some helpful Verizon guy wants to fix it from here. Verizon doesn't really suck, but that little battery really does.

Phillips Magnavox SUCKS! The 31-inch television in my bedroom has the MOST annoying, high-pitched hum.

Toyota SUCKS! Not really ... my car is just very, very old.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

"Give me a sign ..."

Eh, I'm getting sick. Drippy nose, sinus headache, achy muscles. *yay*

It's been almost 2 weeks since I was here, guess what you missed? NOT MUCH!

Jimmy came home last weekend, and we kept Squish here on Friday night. Nothin' but sweetness, that one. We ate dinner with her Mom and Dad on Saturday night. January ended, February began. Jimmy watched the Super Bowl, I didn't.
Some pictures from last Saturday ...

He was back in Puerto Rico on Monday night, and this week has flown on by. I spent a lot of it on the phone with Charter Communications. Those bastards. In order for me to get our bill DOWN, I had to ADD services. Only in Charterville. So now we have HBO and Cinemax.

Only we don't. So the next day I had to call again to tell them there's no HBO.

"Ma'am, put your television on channel 701."

"I did that already, it won't go to 701, it goes to 345."

"Well, 701 is HBO, ma'am."


I will wait tomorrow morning for a cable guy to come and look at my TV to decide why there's no HBO. I don't even WANT HBO.

Yeah, Charter ... hate.


Here's the Squishy Thursday update for Jimmy ... can't believe that on Saturday, she'll be 15 months old.
First things first: "Eat, eat, eat!"

Monday, January 26, 2009

"I don't care where I go when I'm with you ..."

Back home, and back to routine ...

My weekend in Wilmington was so nice. The drive ended up being not as dreary and long as I remembered from six months ago. In fact, since I didn't make any stops, I was there in about 4-and-a-half hours. Not bad.

I had some long-distance drama on my first night there, after hearing from Sister Kay that our Mom was having a medical emergency, vomiting and feeling faint. I was on and off the phone with both sisters until after 2 AM, when they were all headed home from the ER. Mother had a UTI and was low on potassium. And now all is well, except in Mother's words, she feels "weak as a dishrag."

On Saturday, we got out the door to a grand opening of a Verizon store there in Wilmington, where we snacked on chicken nuggets, registered for a free Wii, and picked out new cell phones. I seriously can't believe I put up with that damn Chocolate phone for two years. What a pain in the ass. Anyway, I love my new phone, so far. I copied Adam and Brandy and got the LG enV. More than I really need, I suppose, since I didn't opt for the Internet, and I don't text message enough to even pay for the text package ... but it feels good in my hand, and I like having a real live keyboard for those seven texts a month that I DO send out.

We went to lunch at a place called Fat Tony's. (I think.) It smelled like really old cigarette smoke (in a way that was NOT unpleasant to me) and the food was REALLY tasty.

Here's a good picture of my host and hostess before we ate ...

The remainder of Saturday was: hanging out, looking at the houses up and down Wrightsville Beach (it was raining and cold, so no beach combing), and a little shopping. Jud had to go into work for a bit, and Emilie napped ... and then the torture began. For Christmas, Emilie gave Jud Rock Band (edited to add: Emilie tells me it's not Rock Band, it's Guitar Hero World Tour) for his XBox, and on Saturday night they FORCED me to play it with them. With Jud on the drums, Em on guitar, and me on vocals ... try to imagine the caterwauling the neighbors heard. Oy. I can only imagine how bad I sounded, but I guess the wine I was drinking dulled my hearing a bit. Because I KEPT singing. It was lots of fun, and lots of embarrassing.

On Sunday the rain was gone, so they decided to take me to Bald Head Island for a few hours. We bundled up and before I knew it, we were on a ferry boat. I never knew this place existed until Em told me about it last year. From the website:

"Amid Bald Head Island's 12,000 acres, you'll find 10,000 untouched acres of beach, marsh and maritime forest preserves. The intimate neighborhoods dotting the landscape rise gently and seamlessly, as if Nature herself had a hand in their development. Bald Head Island is a two-mile journey across the Cape Fear River from Southport, North Carolina. Appropriately, you can reach the island only by boat – a transition that prepares you for a place strikingly different from the one you left behind.

When you board the passenger ferry for the 20-minute ride to Bald Head Island, you leave your car behind — along with the stress of everyday life. Transportation on the island is limited to golf carts, bikes, skates and well-worn walking accurate reflection of the slower, more relaxed island attitude."

SO. Now I know where I'll build my house after I win the lottery. I LOVED THIS PLACE!

Here's "Old Baldy", the lighthouse on the island ...

I don't think I've EVER been on a beach alone ... not one other person in sight. I know, I know, it's January. (And it was so crazy cold out there!) But the cold and wind could not distract from the incredible beauty of this sight ...

This is before we got as cold as we were gonna get. I know this because the sun is still shining in the picture. After awhile, the clouds got thicker and we we shivering ...

I drove home last night ... again with the no-stops, 4-and-a-half hour trip ... and send my "Thanks for the memories" to Em and Jud. I won't wait another six months before I visit again.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

"I couldn't live without your love ..."

I've had a slight cold. Not enough to make things horrible, just enough to make me feel as if I'm underwater with weights attached. You know the feeling. Eh.

We had Miss Squish overnight last Friday, which was a real treat for Jimmy especially, considering he was home from Puerto Rico and all. Not to minimize the treat it was for ME.


This week has been a quiet one. (See above: underwater.) I'm trying to get myself organized to get outta town in the morning ... headed to Wilmington NC to visit Em and Jud for the weekend. Should be nice to get out of here for a minute.


Did you watch the Inauguration? I cried. I think I may even have a crush on Barack Obama. Heh.


Here's a few pitiful pictures and some dark and feedbacky videos from "Thursday Afternoon With Nana", just to keep Jimmy from exploding. She was sooo sleepy, and had a really runny nose ... but we had fun anyway. (Yes, that's ANOTHER bruise on the same spot on her forehead.)

Rocking in the big chair, trying to stay awake:
Concentrating and learning:
And finally, a video from last Saturday morning. It's far too long, and I had intended to learn to edit, and cut it halfway through. But I didn't. So anyway, here's a good example of what it's like to have a conversation with The Squish.
She was finishing up breakfast ... she loves to put her feet up on the tray of the highchair as she gets full. (The girl knows how to relax.) Jimmy and I were amused (you can tell because we laugh) at the end when she started mugging for Papa ...

Friday, January 09, 2009

"And I laugh at myself while the tears roll down ..."

From Thursday afternoon, for Papa ...

My first attempt at taking a video with my camera, and posting one online, as well ... it took forever to load using Blogger, so I may play around with YouTube later when I have time. The video isn't that great, and while she was fascinated with the book when she found it, you can see from her reaction that it just wasn't that good a read.

Today includes bill-payng, a trip to Publix for baby-eats, since she will be spending the night here tomorrow night (yay!), and hopefully a trip to the consignment store to make a drop-off. I am SO looking forward to tonight ... a Girls Night Out (or In?) at Kathy's ... it's been long while since I've seen everybody. I may have to volunteer to be the designated driver, should we decide to take the show on the road though ... wine hasn't been my friend lately. Bah!

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

"It's all love and good times ..."

It's been so long I don't even know where to begin. Besides that, there's only a couple people out there that even still check in here. So, heyyy you two!

As you well know, my Decembers are usually chock-full of activity, what with the decorating, cooking, and visitors. This past one was no different. Only it might have been a little bit busier. So this blog ... which was already being treated like the redheaded stepchild around here by me ... well, it just fell by the wayside. Lowest priority and all that.

December is quite over.

Happy 2009! I would like to say I'll make a concerted effort to get some regularity back to my posting here. I say that because I know my daughter, all the way off in Wilmington, would like to see an occasional update from home. And now Jimmy is off in Puerto Rico, and he has made it perfectly clear that the ONLY thing he'll miss here in Greenville is our Miss Squish. But still, I bet he'll check here every once in a while for a new photo. So I have a little motivation.

Motivation, I've got. Stuff to write about, not so much. But let's give a December recap a whirl.
The holidays were a whirlwind, as always. But they seemed to include a little bit less stress than in years past. Don't know why. But I did enjoy the majority of December. Yay! (I'm sure my sister-in-law would say "Ahem!" at this point, since my one contact with her was an emergency phone call in tears, needing emotional support to make it through the next hour. Thanks, Patti. xo)

I drove to GA mid-month to get my Mom, for her annual visit ... and spent the night with Laura, Melody, and Baby Etta. Oh Lord, that girl is sweetness!

Back to Greenville, we shuttled Jimmy to the airport for a week in Puerto Rico. We finished shopping, wrapping, and ... uh, I can't remember what else we did that week. On the 18th, Jimmy came home, and that night we got a special visitor. Squish arrived for a special visit while her Mom and Dad took off for Las Vegas. (Their trip is detailed over at Fat Cats Rock, along with better Christmas pictures ... my camera sucks all of a sudden!)

I have to say that Squish's visit WAS my Christmas present. The kids could totally have saved the money they spent on my KitchenAid hand mixer. Because that time in December, when she was here for 4 days, was WONDERFUL! We played, we napped, we made a trip to the mall for new shoes ... and we kissed a lot.

She loved to put Papa's reading glasses on and look cute:

Then she discovered the joy that is wearing Papa's hat:

We played some Peek-A-Boo:

A few hours after her Mom and Dad returned and whisked her back home again, my 2nd round of Christmas visitors arrived ... Sister Kay and Beth on Monday night, Emilie and Allie on Tuesday night, and Josh on Christmas Eve:

It wasn't Christmas for me until THIS came walking in on Christmas night:

Aunt Emilie loves this girl so much ... enough to put up with the Nose-Lovin'. And that stuff HURTS:

Squish came back on the Saturday after Christmas to help say goodbye to all our visitors from Georgia ... and to lay some love on Maggie The Cat. Maggie barely tolerates it, but sometimes I wonder if THIS is the reason Squish likes to come to our house:

Another Spend-The-Night party at Nana and Papa's on New Year's Eve, and thank God. SOMEBODY had to provide the entertainment on New Year's Day during Clemson's terrible performance at the Gator Bowl:

Finally, a smile from Saturday night (1/3/09):

(Now I can say that my MAIN motivation for updating here more often will be so that I never have to include a month's worth of pictures again. Could Blogger make it MORE frustrating to add pictures? I think not.)