Re-launched, but still slightly under construction. :-)

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Almost as Cool as the Weinermobile

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 By

And seen right here in Augusta.

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Peer Pressure Hits Kids Younger, Moms Say

Wednesday, September 30, 2009 By

AUGUSTA, GA - I knew that I'd have to teach my child to deal with peer pressure through humor and aplomb before the social gauntlet knocked her down. I just didn't think I'd have to do it today.

"Whatcha want for lunch tomorrow, Doodlebug?"


"Okay... How about some salad?" I said, knowing that would get a reaction from her.

"Salad?!" She laughed. "I don' want SALAD!"

"Hmmm. Then what shall we make?"

"Can I hab some ice cream?"

"(Laughing) No, honey, it would melt before lunch time. How about the ham and cheese that you picked out at the store?"

"No. How about peanutbutterjellywithhoney?"

"Oh, alright." I set about making the dreaded sandwich. "Do you want an apple with it?"


"How about some oranges?"


"How about a banilla bar?" That's what she calls a granola bar. We get the cherry-chocolate and the honey-almond Kashi bars, or something similar, and she's been eating them enthusiastically since she was old enough not to choke on them.


"Strawberry fruit roll-up?" Try the organic pressed-fruit rolls by Fruitabu. It's just fruit. No corn syrup or anything.


Something was wrong. I stopped and looked at her. These were favorite food items she was turning down. Was she still too sick to go to school?

"Why not, doodle?"

"I dunno."

"Emmie, what's wrong with the banilla bar and the fruit roll-up?"

"Ebbrybody goeend say 'eeewwww,'" she said, with a frown on her face. "All da kids."


"Dey say 'eeeeewwww,'" she said, swinging her legs and not meeting my eyes.

I couldn't believe it. She was telling me that the kids made fun of her! First, who are these vicious little preschool monsters, and how can I give them a time-out? And, second, have you SEEN the crap they feed the kids at public schools? After letting her eat school "lunch" for a couple of weeks, and having to grit my teeth while she told me that she ate pizza and French fries on several days, we started sending her Iunches with her. And now, I am That Mom, the one packing the weird, healthy lunches while the other kids' moms put Reese's Cups in their lunch boxes.

I remember that kid with the healthy lunches. I WAS that kid. Thermoses full of home made soup. Sandwiches with freshly sliced real country "hoop" cheese. Apples and oranges and bananas. My mom put all this effort into making filling yet nutritional lunches, sometimes with cute little "I love you" notes inside, and all I wanted was a little box of Nerds. The cute mini-sized Nerds.

"I see. Do you like them?"


"Do you want to eat them?"


"Then should I put it in your lunch?"


We compromise at letting her buy a chocolate milk to drink at school, and I'm relieved. I want to teach her better habits than I have - and, yes, I'm aware that leading by example is ideal. But, apparently, even 4-year-olds know that there are "right" and "wrong" accessories for school. Luckily (sort of), at least for now, they're mainly concerned about the ones in their lunch boxes.

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Monday, September 28, 2009

One of Those Parenting Situations Where You Just Don't Know What to Do

Monday, September 28, 2009 By

AUGUSTA, GA - Towards the end of the day today, Emmie got very agitated. I couldn't figure out what the heck was bothering her, and nothing that we did seemed to put her in her usual mind set.

When I put her to bed, it was an unusual battle. And shortly after I left the room I heard her crying.

"Uuhhhh... I miss my doggie!" She cried.

Oh, Scrabble. The little rat terrier that we loved so much we even made up a theme song for him.

Her tear-stained face gleamed in the dark, crumpled into a caricature of herself. Her shoulders heaved and she clutched the rag doll that had been a gift from my sister.

"Mama!" She heaved. "I miss my Scrabble I miss my doggie I want him to come baaaaack!"

I don't.

Scrabble was a good but disobedient dog, and we're all allergic to dogs, so before Scott came home from the hospital, I had to find a new family for him. We all feel better since he's been gone, with decreased sniffles, fewer sinus infections, and Emmie doesn't cough all night like she used to.

"Ohhhh, honey," I cooed, and wrapped my arms around her. "I miss Scrabble, too."

I also had to find a new family for our cloth couch and chair, and our curtains. I don't miss those. They were hideous.

"Honey, do you remember why we had to find a new family for Scrabble?"

"Because he make Daddy siiiiiiiick," she sobbed.

"Yes. Mommy had to make a choice between Scrabble and Daddy, and I chose Daddy. Don't you think that was the best choice?"

"But my heart is brokeeeeeeen," she cried.

And now mine is, too.

I had to replace our mattresses and pillows, and cover them with hypoallergenic covers. I had to toss out some clothes, some random stuff around the house, and generally find ways to make things more streamlined and less dusty.

But Scrabble was the hardest decision to make. He was a rescue dog who loved Emmie like she was his sister. They had moments of true interaction, and understood each other when neither could speak.

"Honey, mama is very sorry that your heart hurts so much."

Suddenly she stopped, her eyebrows raised, her mouth open: "I know just the plan!"


"We'll go around to all da yards and all da houses and look and find Scrabble and dem he come home!"

"Sweetie... I am so sorry. But Scrabble has a new family who loves him. He's happy. And we can't take them away from each other."

It was - of course - not what she wanted to hear. Histrionics ensued. It was very hurtful. But these are her emotions, and even though it's been a year since we've seen the dog, she has a very clear memory of him.

I know that if we still had him, he'd sleep in Emmie's bed every night. And we would let her. But at the moment, it didn't look like anyone would be sleeping in her bed. And then I had an idea.

"Honey? Maybe would you like it if we found you a goldfish to love?"

She stopped crying. Instantaneously. It was incredible. Her eyes lit up. She smiled a real smile. Then she threw her arms around me.

"Yes!" She squealed. "A goldfish! My own goldfish?"

"Your own."

"An' it can hab a little bowl, and I can talk to it and we can be friends!"

Wait - what does she think that fish do? But she's off.

"An' it will be shiny and sparkly and it don't hab no fur to make Daddy sick!"

"Yes, that's right."

"Well, the BIG DADDY one hab a little fur."

"Um, no. Where would you like to keep your fish?"

"Right here!" She patted the dresser next to her bed. But I had a vision of her trying to snuggle the fish bowl when going to sleep.

"Um, why don't we find a place for the fish in the living room? Then the fish can be with us all the time, and not in here all alone."

"Okay!" She agreed.

"Alright. So, sometime this week, we'll go to the pet store and pick out a fish."

Her arms still wrapped around my neck, she gave me a big, wet, slobbery, boogery thank-you kiss and equally squishy hug. Then she settled down into her blankets and snuggled her doll. Calm. Happy. Serene. I kissed her cheek.

"Danks, mama. Goonight."

"Good night, sweetheart."

"Mama!" She called, as I neared the door.


"Can it be a pink goldfish?"

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Monday, September 28, 2009 By

Emmie has broken the oft-taped remote again. It requires me, in a surreal revisit to my childhood, to stand and change the channel until she sees what she wants.

I'm working on my monthly column for Metro Augusta Parent Magazine, and I only need a few more minutes to finish.

"Mama, will you change the station for me, please?"

"In a minute, sweetie, I'm writing."

"But I don' like dis one!"

"Dude, it's 'Star Wars.' You're genetically wired to enjoy this."

"Mama. I'm seerous. I don' wan' see dem bamming each udder all da time."

"Alright. Give me a minute. I'm on a roll."

She heaves a sigh. "Channels don't change to numbers by demselbes, you know."

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Sunday, September 27, 2009

Media Frenzy Over Swine Flu Runs Out of Relevent Interview Subjects

Sunday, September 27, 2009 By

AUGUSTA, GA - So, NBC Augusta came out to the house on Friday to interview me on the availability of children's Tamiflu... As though I have anything intelligent to say on the matter. Daughter sick. Medicine hard to find. Thank god for Hill Drug.

And while I was struggling to look and sound like a caring, intelligent mom (I know, I know; it's a stretch), I was also struggling not to throw up. I figured that I'd caught the demon flu from my child (who had been diagnosed not at her pediatrician's office, but at an prompt care facility down the street from them).

Maybe not. Now I can't hear out of my left ear and my throat is so sore I can barely swallow. So it could be an inner-ear infection gone wild.

I would LOVE to go see my primary care physician about this. I've had ENT issues since the day I was born, and it may be that I require more aggressive treatment. Tubes, perhaps. Or an ear-ectomy, since I am really frustrated with this whole recurring problem.

But my primary care physician can't see me for two weeks, just as Emmie's pediatrician couldn't see her for several days.

I'll be the first to admit that the debate over universal health care confuses me - that I'm horribly conflicted on the subject.

But boiling it down to the personal, why can't I see my doctor when I'm sick? It's a simple question, really.

I've heard doctors complain about those med kiosks in Wal-Mart and those prompt care places that have sprung up all over the nation. I've heard them say that they interrupt the completion of a full medical history. I've heard them say that they're run by under qualified nurse practitioners and physicians' assistants. I've heard them say that they're only good for people who aren't really sick enough to go to the hospital, but can't get in to see their primary care physicians.

Well... Exactly!

I know what a pain medical billing is. I know it's a labyrinthine system set up to refuse the one thing doctors and patients want done: pay for medical care. I know that a number of insurance companies effectively deny all claims the first time they are submitted, working the law of averages in the hopes that they can save a little money.

And I also know that doctors generally spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on their educations, and many come out of medical school already over their heads in debt. It's a severe deterrent for many intelligent, qualified students who could - and would - go to medical school, if the situation was different.

But when PCPs refuse their patients needed care, they have to know that we'll go elsewhere to get the care that we need. They must understand that under a system such as our current one, the marketplace will drive our options.

And so, when we're sick, and can't get in to see our PCP, we'll go elsewhere. Previously, our only choice was a hospital ER. Now the marketplace has spawned a great deal of gap-filling practitioners.

And while I would prefer to have my care handled by my PCP, I also can't spend two weeks fighting fever, nausea, pain, and exhaustion. If it's swine flu, it will likely run its course - but I don't want to pass it on, and Tamiflu will alleviate the symptoms much faster. If it's an ear infection, I could lose my hearing if I wait two weeks.

So I'm thankful that when Emmie got sick, and her pediatrician couldn't see her, an urgent care place could treat her. And I'll be going back there today, because they're open on Sundays! Woohoo!

In the meantime, I'm glad I have my Crackberry to keep me company in the bed.

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Saturday, September 26, 2009

Bathroom Humor

Saturday, September 26, 2009 By

AUGUSTA, GA - Scott's taking care of Emerson while I'm flailing around in the bed with frickin swine flu. At the moment, she's in the bath tub - and has been for a while.

"Hey, Emmie," he calls. "Five more minutes."

"Ten more minutes!" she calls back, and I hear her giggle.

"FIVE more minutes," he says.

"Ten!" she calls back again.


This goes on for the remainder of her bath time, and he pulls her out and wraps her in a towel, laying her on the bed. Wet. Thanks, baby. She's poking him and bopping his head and laughing her head off the whole time.

"I swear, you're asking for a spanking," he grins.

"No, we don't spank," I laugh.

"Yeah! We don't spank!" Emmie chimes in. "Jus' try it!"

I burst into laughter, which only encourages the behavior.

"Try it!" she guffaws, as Scott grins and towels her off.

"She's taunting you!" I giggle.

"We don' spank," she laughs again.

"We might start," he chuckles, wryly.

"NO! Dat's bad!" she shrieks with laughter.

There's no way that she thinks we'll start spanking. She doesn't misbehave a lot in the first place, and in the second place, we don't use that as a parenting technique. Not that I'm telling other people what to do with their kids, but that's not our choice.

We're all still laughing when she pops up with her legs flying.

"Try it!" she shriek-laughs, ready to defend herself.

"I think she could take you, honey," I snicker.

He enfolds her in a hug that she, laughingly, returns. It's a sweet moment, one of humor that showcases her security and her personality.

I won't forget it.

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Thursday, September 24, 2009

Those With Compromised Immune Systems Should Avoid Flu Victims, Experts Say

Thursday, September 24, 2009 By

AUGUSTA, GA - So Scott is moping around the house, managing to make spraying Lysol look like the most depressing activity on the planet.

"How are you feeling?" he asks me, for the 22nd time today, from the doorway.

"Sick. You?" I reply, cheerfully.



I know he has to be very careful due to his bout with TTP last year (a bout in which he kicked TTP's ass, I'd like to remind y'all), but he doesn't have to walk around as though Death is tailing him like B.O., poking him repeatedly in the ass with his sickle, you know?

"How are you feeling?" he asks me five minutes later.

"The same as I felt five minutes ago," I tell him. "What's bothering you, honey?"

"I'm wearing a mask," he said.

"I see that."

"In my own house."

"Well, technically, it's someone else's house. We just rent it," I remind him, winking an eye at Death as I borrow his sickle for a moment.

"Ugh! You know what I mean. I don't like it."

"Well... Can't be helped," I shrug.

"I'm just doing what the doctor said," he shrugs. He looks at the floor, conveying in that one expression a convincing portrayal of an innocent man sent to the gallows. Draaaamaaaaa! Poke him again, Death!

"Is hovering something else he told you to do?"

"I'm worried about you!"

"You're going to worry yourself sick," I say.

"I feel fine!"

"Psh! It won't be instantaneous. It will be the totality that wears you down," I roll my eyes. "Now calm down."

"Yeah!" Emmie pipes up beside me.

"I'll be fine. I'll just do what the doctor says."

"Like hover?"


He'll be back.

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Swine Flu Hit Augusta! News at 11!

Thursday, September 24, 2009 By

This is the sick face of swine flu victim number who-knows-what.

Yes, this is the house that H1N1 built. Scott's sleeping in Emmie's room while she and I suffer through the virus together. We're confined to quarters, and he's walking around the house disinfecting and scaring people with his blue face mask. It's all very 28 Days Later, and the whole house smells of Lysol and Purell.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Kanye West Inspires Imitators on The Internets

See more like this here.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Making Up Stories is More Fun Than Reading Them

Sunday, September 20, 2009 By

AUGUSTA, GA - Emmie and I will often lay in bed in the dark and make with stories for each other.

A new favorite story is called "How Emerson Got Her Bootie Back."

Emerson was walking through the woods, munching on honeysuckles and fiddleheads, and drinking wild strawberry juice, when she saw some branches that looked like fun.

Emerson climbed up the tree and swung branch to branch like a monkey. But one branch was old and crumbly, and then cracked off. And Emerson fall down fall down on her bootie.

She began to cry, and her fairie godmother heard her.

"What's wrong, Emmie?"

"I hurt my bootie!" Emmie cried.

So her fairie godmother gave a brand new solid gold bootie.

"I love it," Emmie told her fairie godmother. Her bootie was gold, and sparkling, and looked like jewelry.

Emmie walked and slowly realized that she had to go potty. So she went to the bathroom, and tried to sit on the potty, but her bootie was so heavy and so slick, that she fell off.

She scootched over, and she tried to go potty, but she didn't make a poo poo. Because the bootie wouldn't let her.

She walked some more, looking for her fairie godmother to fix her bootie, and she thought she saw her in a tree. But when she looked up, her bootie was so heavy, that she fell down.

And she began to cry again.

Her fairie godmother heard her, and came to help.

"What's wrong now, Emmie," she asked.

"My bootie's gold, but it's not working. It can't make me a poo poo. My bootie didn't let me!"

"I don't know what a poo poo is," her fairie godmother said.

"A poo poo means you gotta go potty. The food goes down to the tummy, and it goes to your lergit, and then it goes to your body that makes the poo poo in the toilet. Then you feel better."

"Oh!" said the fairie godmother. "I didn't know! Fairies don't go to the potty. We're magic. Well, what kind of bootie do you like?"

"I want my old bootie back, but I want it to have decorations and flowers."

"So it shall be," said the fairie godmother, and waved her hands in a beautiful swirly pattern.

Blllirrring! Emmie's bootie was back to normal, plus it had beautiful flowers painted all over it.

"Thanks, fairie godmother!" She said, and headed to the bathroom.

The End.

Give a Little Love... You Get it Back, I Promise

AUGUSTA, GA - Emmie and I spent the weekend bopping between Art 45 at the Metro Spirit offices and the Arts in the Heart festival grounds. It was so hot that I ripped off my clothes and took cold showers each day when I got home. It was so humid that my still-damp-from-the-shower hair never quite dried.

About 5:30 today, I looked at Emmie's beet red face. She had spent at least an hour jumping in the inflatables, another hour making crafts in the childrens area, and then an hour making clay pots and jumping in and out of mud puddles with other children. I knew from the set of her eyes that it was time to go. I also knew that she would fight me on it.

"Emmie? You ready to get a drink?" I said. She nodded enthusiastically. I steered her toward the hot dog tent, where her eyes grew intent at the sight of the giant pile of aluminum foil cylinders.

"Mama?" She looked up at me.
"Yes," I said, before she even asked, and handed her a dollar.

She dotted her hot dog with too much ketchup, we grabbed a bottle of water, loaded up all our crap and headed towards 8th Street.

"Wait!" she gasped at the entrance tables, and set her load down.

Briefly, she rested her cheek on the cool, plastic table top, then raised her head and took an enormous bite of her hot dog. She closed her eyes and chewed, then took another bite, sighed, and washed it down with about half the bottle of water.

I watched her, worried that maybe I had pushed her too far in the heat and excitement of the weekend. She'd yet to melt down, and had only disobeyed one order all weekend. That had garnered her a brief time-out just a half hour ago. Was it time for her manners to crack under the strain? Or, worse, since I could see some heat rash forming on the pale, delicate underskin of her arms, was she nearing heat exhaustion?

She finished gulping her water, set everything back down, leaned over, and gave me a hug.

"Danks, mama, for getting me dis little hot dog. It was jus' what I needed!"

We tossed our trash, hobbled back to the car without incident, and I beamed with pride as she chattered good-naturedly the whole way.

The Role of Children is to Provide Love and Embarrassment

Sunday, September 20, 2009 By

AUGUSTA, GA - Emmie and I are play-wrestling on the bed and I get to laughing so hard, for so long, that I start to choke on my own laughter. It triggers something in my allergies and suddenly I'm gasping for breath and enjoying a lovely dose of post-nasal drip.

Emmie springs into action.

"You needa dahtor," she cries, and runs to get Scott in the living room.

"Dad! Mama gots llergeries and can't breeve! I gotta call da dahtor!"

Scott come into the bedroom while I try to keep from starting to laugh again. Llergeries! Oh, crap, I couldn't make this stuff up if I tried!

"Are you okay?" He asks, amusement mixing with vague concern.

"I'm alright," I gasp, clearing my throat repeatedly. What are my llergeries producing, for crying out loud... spackle?

"She NOT awright! She NEED da dahtor!"

"Emmie!" I sit up. "I'm okay. I don't need a doctor, see?"

She's holding the phone and eyeing me with concern and disbelief.

"No. I goeend ta call da dahtor. You gots llergeries. You need ta go to da HOSPITAL."

I gently pry the phone from her hands and place it back on the charger.

"You are so sweet, Emmie, and such a good girl. Thank you for helping mommy. But who are you going to call?"

"I goeend call da dahtor."

"Really?" I try to keep my voice from dripping with skepticism. "And what's his number?"

"911," she replies, with a knowing toss of her head.


Well, that could have been embarrassing to explain.

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Friday, September 18, 2009

Medical Researchers All Over the World Smack Their Foreheads in Dismay: Why Didn't WE Think of That?


"You nebber go in da street," Emmie told me last night.
"No. And why is that?" I asked.
"Because da cars might hit you."
"And what happens then?"
"You get smash," Emmie said.
"And then what?"
"You get dead," she whispered. She pronounces it "dad."
"That's right."
"Mama...." she whispered, eyes intent on mine: "When I build da machine dat make you wate up, den nobody will get dead."

I look forward to that.

Families Can Avoid Morning Rush by Keeping to a Set Schedule

AUGUSTA, GA. - An early bathroom run, and I pop into the kitchen for a sip of water.
"Hey, (mumble mumble mumble)," my husband says, from the bedroom.
I go see what he wants.
"What, honey?"
"There's... just... lights everywhere," he moans.
"Psh! One light. And it was on for two seconds," I say, burrowing back under the comforter.
"I'm just trying to sleep in."
"Well, it's 4:50," I say, knowing he has to start making beat calls and doing traffic runs, soon.
"I know. But I'm not getting up until I have to."
"When's that?" I ask.
"I'm not waking up for 10 more minutes."

I think my laughter woke him up, anyway.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Philadelphia Phillies Meet Their Match in Four-Year-Old Fan

AUGUSTA, GA. - Emmie knocked my boss's Phillies bobbleheads off his desk the other day and broke them. I was SO PROUD that I was able to seamlessly Super Glue them back together!

Until I brought them back today.

"You messed 'em all up," Bryan said.

"Nuh-uh! They look great!" I argued.

He laughed: "You glued a bat onto the pitcher's hand!"

"How do  you know it's the pitcher?" I asked, peering closely. "There's no ball in his hand. It's just white space."

"Typically, when you're wearing a fielding glove, you're not also carrying a bat."

(Obviously, Bryan has never played cut-throat whiffle ball in the McGowens' yard.)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Avett Brothers to Play Westobou Festival in Augusta, Ga

"What did you think of the headline?" A.C. asks.

"What headline?" I ask, on the way to the ladies' room.

"I'm not going to tell you!" A.C. chides me, motioning towards the creative director's desk.

"Now I gotta walk all the way over - oh, yeah, I like that. 'Headline.' That's a great idea," I hold up a copy of the proof sheet with two of the four members of The Avett Brothers on the cover. It's the first draft, with the specs still printed on it. "And this subhead! 'Subhead should be 20 point blah blah blah...' Yeah. I think that will really draw people in."

"Shut up!" she laughs.

"So what's the headline?"

"The Other Avett Brothers."

"Oh," I say, nothing getting it (until I just now typed this. Oops. I think it should have been "The Avett Brothers From Another Mother." Har!). "The actual brothers wouldn't talk to you?"

"No; I talked to them last time," she glared.

A.W. laughed: "Stacey would have interviewed all four and written 600 stories about it by now!"

A.C. grinned: "And e-mailed the entire office about it."

And posted it on my blog. And Facebook. And Twitter...

Monday, September 14, 2009

Deep Thoughts, by Emerson Hudson: Grammar by Yoda

Monday, September 14, 2009 By

"Mom? Are you a great artiss?"
"You not? You mate scribble scrabbles?"
"Pretty much."
"I don' mate scribble scrabbles. My teacher say I'm a great artiss. My nesst picture is goin' be meatball."
"Meatball is my favorite color!"
"Meatball isn't a color, doodlebug."
"Yeah-huh! Iss brown! Meatball is brown, an' brown is meatball!"

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Sunday, September 13, 2009

Deep Thoughts, by Emerson Hudson: Paint With All the Colors of the Wind

Sunday, September 13, 2009 By

"I got a purple tongue! ... Das awesome!"

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

Things I Never Thought I'd Say to My Child

AUGUSTA, GA. - I don't know how my mother made it to my 18th birthday, that year when parents are supposed to be able to "let go," like magic, and break the cycle of worry that plagues us. I'm not sure that I'm going to be able to make it to Emmie's 8TH birthday!

"Emmie! Please don't cut Granny's arm off. Put down the jigsaw right now."

"Emmie! That's enough with the maniacal laughter, okay? You are freaking everyone out."

"No, you are NOT a zombie, and you are NOT going to eat my brains. Now you are going to give mommy nightmares if you don't cut it out."

"Yeah-huh, girls can TOO be pirates and fight with swords!"

"No, nothing is wrong with granddad. Carolina just scored a touch-down... It's when the football crosses that line right there... I don't know why... They're yelling because they like Georgia better... No, you CANNOT say that word!"

"No, we are not going to buy a bulldog. Say 'dog' not 'dawg.' Dog. Dog. Do - oh, forget it. I'm raising you in Georgia."

"No, we're not going to buy a big red chicken... Don't call it that... Just don't say that word... Because it's crude... I... Uh... Crude is a word that's like rude but also dirty. Dad, I don't CARE if it's the name of the mascot!"

"Emmie. The football players can't hear you. Don't yell at the television... I... Okay, you're right. I did. Yell all you want."

"No, Emmie, don't put the corn dog stick up your nose, for crying out loud!"

"Yes. I AM glad you didn't say banana again."

Friday, September 11, 2009

Deep Thoughts, by Emerson Hudson: Appreciation is Key

Friday, September 11, 2009 By

"Emmie, you were so sweet to be so quiet while Mommy was on the phone."

"Don' thanks me, Mama. Thanks YOU!"


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Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Garrison Keillor Will Return Shortly to 'A Prairie Home Companion.' And Now for These Messages...

Me (reading from news feed): "Did you hear that Garrison Keillor had a stroke?"
Scott: "Oh, gosh, no... he must be pretty old, though."
Me: "He's not that old."
Scott: "He's pretty old - mid-70s, at least, right?"
Me: "67"
Scott: "He's not that old."
Me (reading from accompanying story): "'He is up and moving around, speaking sensibly, working at a laptop, and it's expected he'll be released on Friday,' the story says."
Scott: "Speaking sensibly? He hasn't done that in years."
Me: "Nice one, Scott. 'The stroke was an improvement.'"

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Emmie Tells a Story About the Zoo

AUGUSTA, GA. - "I love you because you're my best friend. I love Granny very much. But Nona I love you too. You can bofe come to my birfday party all the time.

Dees my favorite theends from da zoo:
My horsies. Elephants. Milk da cow. Uh, see the goats. Playing wif you on the da playground. Climbing. Merry-go-round. Being wif you. Feeding da animals. Seeing da deers (we didn't see any deer). I liked feeding da goat. And I like being wif you, because you're my bes frien. Aaand... dat's it. Dee end. I'm all done. Wait! Did we see da zebras?"

Me: "No, we didn't see any zebras yesterday."

Emmie: "Uh-oh. Next time we gonna see da zebras! Dey goeend to miss me!"

Just a quick note: You notice that she said, three times, that being "wif" me was one of her favorite things. I think that's a lesson for me... maybe for all moms. We could have been picking up trash on the side of the road, and she'd have been happy to be with me. I'm happy to take that realization to heart, and to implement it.

Yes, I'm Taunting Them. No, I'm Not Proud of it...

Level 1
8:12 AM

AUGUSTA, GA. - I have a person who is flagging my blog repeatedly as being offensive. I have not named them in my blog, but we have an ongoing dispute outside of the blogging arena. I believe that this person is just trying to cause trouble. So how do I combat this behavior?

Google Employee
8:18 PM

No worries. All flagged blogs are reviewed by hand, so she can flag as much as she wants, and as long as the content doesn't violate our policies your blog will be just fine.


Monday, September 07, 2009

Deep Thoughts, by Emerson Hudson

Monday, September 07, 2009 By

"I tired, mama," Emmie sighed, and sat down on the curb. We'd made it all day at Riverbanks Zoo without incident. Now I could see that she was on the verge of a rare melt-down, just as we were walking to the car.

"Look, doodle, I can see the car," I pointed, although I was really just guessing at this distance. "We're almost there."

She craned her head to look, and then fixed me with a flat stare.

"Mama!" she barked. "Don't try to trick me. I not stupid."

Well, okay, then!

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Growth Spurt

Monday, September 07, 2009 By

Emmie's wearing a romper that my mom bought her about two months ago, and as we tromp into the convenience store for junk, I see her pulling at it.

"What up, doodle?"
"Iss goeend up my butt," she laughed.

This girl is growing so fast, it's like CGI. One minute she's crying because the bathroom is dark, and the next, she's flipping on the light herself.

But her legs are growing the fastest. She's got these long, gazelle legs. It's like watching a newborn baby donkey - or a spider.

"Hey, Emmie, how do you feel about getting taller?" I ask.

"Good," she says, through a mouthful of "spicy nemannems." (Sour Skittles)

You wanna know how my wallet feels? Not good. Because a 4T is too small, but a 5T hardly exists, and a 6 swallows her whole.

"Some people are big, smaller, and smaller. Some people are still not growing up. But I gonna be tall like you, mama!" she says, brightly.

And at this rate, she'll get there sometime in November!

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Sunday, September 06, 2009

How Much Navel Gazing is Healthy, Helpful?

AUGUSTA, GA - Does anyone ever wonder how well you know yourself? I've been thinking about that lately. Seems that two or three people believe things about me that are patently false.

It's difficult enough to be accused of actions that I did not perpetrate. It's quite another to have my moral foundations questioned on top of it. And it's even more difficult when some of the people who believe these things are individuals who I like and respect.

I think, in any rational person who strives to make good decisions and do good works, that these situations dredge up at least a modicum of self-doubt. I've spent a lot of time arguing with myself, and trying to reason back through my past decisions and behaviors.

And I have to recognize that I can be impetuous. I wonder if that gives me enough time to think through things - not just my desired outcome, but also my own motivations.


I have a dual quandary.

On the one hand, I think I'm right to categorically deny that I am a bad person, who does bad things to people. And I think when people are rude, threatening, or spread public slander that it's okay to fight back in a reasonable manner - through a measured response.

On the other hand, if there is a bad situation, and it is partially or wholly my fault, I need to take responsibility for it.

But it's harder for me to take responsibility for accidentally causing someone pain when that person is responsible for deliberately causing a number of people a great deal of pain, both before my accidental offense and after.

I have apologized for any inadvertent distress. Yet that has only made things worse. So what to do?

I have no problem with "living with the consequences" of my actions - whether I have been accidental or deliberate in my actions.

But I won't apologize for things in which I have no responsibility. And, when the consequences of taking responsibility for a mere moment of poor judgment are compounded by (and here's the rub, because I'm about to levy the same accusations at a person that they have lobbed at me) the desire of a person to seek an unequal punishment due to their own evil intent, it certainly makes it more difficult for me to advocate honesty and responsibility.

I liken it to a doctor afraid to sympathize with a patient for a death in the family, because he or she fears a malpractice lawsuit. Not that I'm as important or as educated as a physician. But I hope the analogy works.

So what to do when a person who is misdirecting his or her anger aims it at me? How hard do I push back? How often do I turn the other cheek?

On top of that, how much of my own motivations can I analyze? And should I analyze them based on intent, or outcome? How possible is it that people in general - or me in particular - can believe that we/I have one set of intentions, and actually have another unrecognized set of motivations?

And, with recognition that no one is universally adored, how much of the opinions of people who simply do not like me can I take to heart? Especially when their opinions of me are so different than what I think know about myself?

For now, I will continue to strive to be a good person, to make good decisions, and to do good works. I will do my best not to make retaliatory decisions. But I will not apologize for things I didn't do. And I will not allow someone to attempt to harm me or my family - or my ability to care for my family - to get away with those attempts without taking reasonable, legal, action in return.

But in the meantime, I hope I can set aside my simmering anger - and I do feel a lot of it - and use the situation as an education. If anyone has a lesson plan for me, I'm certainly open to it.

Love y'all!

Sent via BlackBerry from T-Mobile

Thursday, September 03, 2009

From the Garden City Rescue Mission

Thursday, September 03, 2009 By , No comments

From the staff of the Garden City Rescue Mission:

"God has been blessing the mission with special financial donations above our regular monthly support that have been allowing us to continue paying our bills. Thank you to those that contribute financially. Without you we would not be able to reach the homeless of the CSRA. We are truly grateful. 

Though God, through you, has been providing the money we need to continue, our food and item donations are down tremendously. We have been serving 65+ individuals twice a day and have found that are warehouse is almost completely depleted and in desperate need of restocking. The list of items we really need are as follows:
  • Paper towels
  • Styrofoam plates
  • Styrofoam cups
  • Plasticware
  • Milk
  • Pancake mix
  • Cereal
  • Rice
  • Grits
  • Syrup
  • Coffee
  • Creamer
  • Sugar
  • Breakfast meats
  • Cooking Oil
  • Canned Goods
  • Jar baby food (especially fruits)
  • All size pull ups
  • Size 4 and 5 Diapers
  • Laundry detergent
  • Bleach
  • All cleaning supplies
We are aware that this list is extensive but with everyone’s help a difference can definitely be made. You are the reason we are able to reach out to those who feel hopeless. We can not thank you enough for the impact you have made in the past and for what you will do in the future. Again we are extremely appreciative. As always donations can be brought to 828 Fenwick St. Augusta, GA 30901 and are tax deductible. If you have any questions you may contact us at 706-724-6960.
Garden City Rescue Mission Staff.