Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"Leaving on a Jet Plane..."

Not me, but the solider. His leave ended yesterday when he boarded a flight to the great state of Texas and this morning he will be Korea bound.

South Korea of course, though the exact location is unknown at this moment. There are three potential places he could end up but he won't know till he arrives 17 hours from now. He will live and work there for at least the next year.

We are so proud of him and everything he has accomplished, but still sad that we won't see him for so long. I hate thinking of the holidays we'll miss being together and how he may change during his year away.

If you have a free minute today please say a little prayer for him. And us.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes: Mildred's Version

This crazy thing called blogging has allowed me to meet some of the most genuine, fascinating women ever including Denise. Initially we connected through our blogs but then I was blessed to be able to spend some time with her (and a few other bloggers) in the mountains of Tennessee in 2009.*

While I found out she liked fast cars there, little did I know she was on the fast track to being a world-famous** author. Thankfully she has allowed me to walk this journey with her by being a beta-reader. That means I'm reading an unfinished, in-progress manuscript as she writes it. Even her first book (the one she claims will never leave her hard drive) showed her talent for telling a story and making the characters real. She took that skill and made me fall in love with her next two characters - Emma and Will in her soon-to-be released novel Chosen, a fast paced paranormal thriller.

Then Denise channeled Rose's southern drawl and wrote Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes...

"It all started when I saw myself dead." For Rose Gardner, working at the DMV on a Friday afternoon is bad even before she sees a vision of herself dead. She's had plenty of visions, usually boring ones like someone’s toilet’s overflowed, but she’s never seen one of herself before. When her overbearing momma winds up murdered on her sofa instead, two things are certain: There isn't enough hydrogen peroxide in the state of Arkansas to get that stain out, and Rose is the prime suspect.

Rose realizes she's wasted twenty-four years of living and makes a list on the back of a Wal-Mart receipt: twenty-eight things she wants to accomplish before her vision comes true. She’s well on her way with the help of her next door neighbor Joe, who has no trouble teaching Rose the rules of drinking, but won’t help with number fifteen-- do more with a man. Joe’s new to town, but it doesn’t take a vision for Rose to realize he's got plenty secrets of his own.

Somebody thinks Rose has something they want and they'll do anything to get it. Her house is broken into, someone else she knows is murdered, and suddenly, dying a virgin in the Fenton County jail isn’t her biggest worry after all.

One of my favorite characters in Twenty-Eight and a Half Wishes is Mildred, Rose's nosy neighbor. Mildred is president of the Henryetta Garden Club, an active participant in the Neighbor Watch who has spent her entire life in Henryetta and never lets anything get by her despite being 82 years old.

I was curious to hear what she had to say about Rose, Joe and the odd things happening around town.

How did you get along with Rose's momma?
Agnes was a fine god-fearing Christian woman, God bless her soul. And although I hate to talk ill of the dead, she shoulda beat that devil out of her child of hers. I told her "Agnes, spare the rod, spoil the child" but obviously she didn't listen. And sometimes, when I'd show up without warning, I'd find a bit of dust on her baseboards. Uh,uh, uh.

Did you think Rose was possessed when she was younger?
Younger? That girl is still demon possessed. Knowing things she don't have a right to be knowing-- how do you explain that other than she's gotta demon dwelling in her? Then when I seen her carrying on with that Yankee-- more than once I might add-- there was no doubt in my mind. Fornicating right there on the front porch...uh, uh, uh.

What did you think of Joe, the new comer?
I know'd that boy was trouble the minute I laid eyes on him. A man his age, not married, moving into a house all alone. and a Yankee to boot. "That boy's trouble." I told my next door neighbor, Opal. And I was right. Why the police practically moved onto our street after he moved in.

As a member of the neighboorhood watch were you surprised about Agne's murder?Did you you fear for your own safety?
I take the safety of our neighborhood very seriously. It's my personal mission to make sure the neighborhood is safe. And to ensure that, I make it my business to know everything that's going on and make sure any sign of trouble is squashed flat as a bug the moment it starts. We live on a quiet street and I don't tolerate no nonsense.One time that ruffian who lives on the corner, the boy with the loud car, he and his friends were out late one night and I put a stop to that. So when I heard that Agnes, God rest her soul, was murdered in her own house, in her own bed--

I heard it was on her sofa...
Bed, sofa, what difference does it make? It was in the privacy of her own home. I didn't sleep a wink that night after the police left. And when I found out that Rose moved back into that house, I locked my doors and poured salt in front of my doorways to keep the devil's henchmen out. I also started carrying garlic in my pockets, just to be extra safe.

But isn't garlic used to keep vampires away?
Vampires are the devil's own. You can't be too careful.

What led you to believe a motorcycle gang was involved?
Well what else could it have been? Henryetta's a nice, quiet town. The townsfolk don't go around committing murder!! It had to be a roving band of Hell's Angels.

Then how do you explain that the real murderer was Daniel Crocker, a man who lived outside of Henryetta city limits?
Well, if he lived outside of Henryetta, that don't make him a Henryetta townsfolk, now does it? Besides, I still ain't so sure that demon didn't rise up in Rose and whack her momma in the head. I bet the reason Rose did it was because she was jealous of her momma's pie making ability. Agnes won blue ribbons with those pies and I suspect Rose didn't like it. Agnes made the best apple pies in the state.

Describe Rose's and Joe's relationship as you saw it.
Uh, uh, uh. Vile, I tell you. I seen 'em. I seen 'em fornicating on her front porch that night, what with her momma still warm in her grave.

I heard it was just a kiss.
Just a kiss, you say? Just a kiss is a peck. That man attacked her in public and she sure wasn't putting up a fight. But what do you expect? A Yankee and a demon. Nothing good can come of that I tell you.

Were you relieved when the real culprits were arrested and Rose was proven innocent? Like I said, I'm still not 100% convinced that Rose didn't do it. I keep an eye on her house, just to be safe.

As for Rose's dog Muffy - neighbor hood mascot or nuisance? That dog, if you can call that hideous thing a dog, is the stinkingest creature I ever came across. That dog is gonna be nothing but trouble, you mark my words.

What potluck dish are you known for? My baked cheese grits. The secret is plenty of butter. There's no such thing as too much butter. I used to say that all the time then that woman on the food channel stole it.

So there you have it from the mind of Mildred. To read more about her opinions and Rose's adventure you can order the e-book or paperback from Barnes & Noble or Amazon.

*It's been way too long! We need a reunion already.

**Soon to be world-famous. I'm just foreseeing the future.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

"I am an American Soldier"

This time two weeks ago we had just landed in Oklahoma, where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain...

No, we didn't break into song but I was mighty happy to be there to see The Soldier graduate from boot camp. He has been gone since January with only weekly phone calls and a couple of letters from him to keep us up to date, we were looking forward to seeing him and his new "home".

Early Thursday morning we sat amongst other families anxiously awaiting our soldiers arrival and subsequent release. They were supposed to have a demonstration showing us what they learned during their time in boot camp but with Oklahoma weather being what it is, the frosty temperatures that morning prompted them to cancel that portion of Family Day. Luckily they were able to move inside so we could witness The Soldier's promotion.

After the short ceremony he was released to us until "twenty hundred" or 8 PM in civilian speak. And as I imagined the first thing he wanted to do was eat. His one request was "anything but chicken and rice".

The big event took place the next afternoon. Again we were surrounded by other families and as we made our way into the auditorium my heart swelled for every one of those soldiers. The program started with all 196 of them standing and saying The Soldier's Creed:

I am an American Soldier.

I am a Warrior and a member of a team. I serve the people of the United States and live the Army Values.

I will always place the mission first.

I will never accept defeat.

I will never quit.

I will never leave a fallen comrade.

I am disciplined, physically and mentally tough, trained and proficient in my warrior tasks and drills. I always maintain my arms, my equipment and myself.

I am an expert and I am a professional.

I stand ready to deploy, engage, and destroy the enemies of the United States of America in close combat.

I am a guardian of freedom and the American way of life.

I am an American Soldier.

Even now I get chills remembering how they stood so proudly and said those words.

The rest of the weekend was a blur of camouflage and food, but I'll never forget that moment...

I am the mother of an American Soldier. And damn proud of it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Southwestern Chicken Soup

Yesterday we woke up to snow on the ground. It only lasted long enough to have me craving comfort food. Something cooked low & slow in the crock pot. Something like this...

Southerwestern Chicken Soup

4 cups chicken broth (homemade from the freezer)
1 12 oz pkg frozen corn
2 10 oz cans of Rotel
1 15 oz can pinto beans
2 cups green peppers, chopped
1 onion, chopped
1.5lb chicken sliced into thin strips
.5 tsp garlic pepper
2  tsp cumin
Salt & pepper to taste

Add all the ingredients except the garlic pepper & cumin in a 4 quart crock pot. Cook on high for 1 hour and then on low for 6-7 hours. Add garlic pepper and cumin during the last few minutes.

Note: This is an adapted version of a recipe I found in the newspaper.  The original version called for a 14.5oz can of diced tomatoes and a 4oz can of green chilies, but as you can see the recipe is extremely adaptable to whatever you have on hand. 

I served it with cheese quesadillas made with homemade tortillas. And though there wasn't one snow flake left on the ground by the time we ate, it was delicious & filling.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


*Mike & Molly might just be the funniest show that no one is watching. And by "no one" I mean me.

*I had a sleepover with my 2 year old niece two weekends ago and will have my one this weekend with my 2 year old granddaughter. I'm calling it GNI = Girls Night In.

The cutest niece. Ever.
*In my absence I've been cooking up a storm. Recipes coming soon. You have been warned.
*Gas prices are pissing me off. Ugh.

*I don't really give a hoot about the royal wedding. Or The Bachelor. But I will be watching Dancing with the Stars because Wendy Williams is part of the new cast. How YOU doin'?
*Crest 3D White Vivid just might be the best toothpaste. Ever.
*Insurance companies suck. I don't want to take a generic version of my meds. Thankyouverymuch.

*The soldier threw live grenades last week. And loved it.

*Despite my title Charlie Sheen is so not winning. Although I think the warlock in his brain may be.

*The big three-five will be here tomorrow...

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

FTD = Fail to Deliver

How's that saying go...No good deed goes unpunished? Ah yes, that is it.

Last week Groupon was offering what seemed like a great deal - $20 for $40 at Although I could care less about receiving flowers on Valentine's Day I thought it would be a nice gesture to send The Soldier's girlfriend an arrangement since he's away at boot camp.

I should have seen the writing on the wall last week when I tried to place the order but I didn't. I went through all the steps to have my order delivered yesterday only to find that you HAD to go through the Groupon link in order to use the code they provided. Once I did that all my information was lost AND even worse all the prices were a bit higher.

Um, what?!

Read the details...cannot combine promotions, etc. Okay so I can't get the sale price because of the Groupon. Kinda seems like I didn't need it to begin with but I continue with the order. I re-enter all my information. Hit submit and received a confirmation.

I didn't give it another thought until yesterday evening. I was expecting the gf to be gushing about what a wonderful surprise she received from The Soldier. When that didn't happen I sent her a text. What delivery? she says.

What delivery indeed. The short version is that they were never delivered. FTD failed to deliver. And calling them was a complete, utter nightmare. It's apparent that the call center is based somewhere other than the US. After having to repeat myself numerous times to their so-called customer service rep, all I got was "Sorry. We will deliver tomorrow."

Yes but tomorrow isn't Valentine's Day. Duh.

I was on the phone for over an hour last night & another 45 minutes today (mostly spent on hold) to find out nothing. Also evident from what I was told both times is that these reps read from a script. They have no desire to really help the customers they speak with.

Somewhere along the way I asked for the local florists number and finally got this issue resolved. Not only did the florist give me a refund but they still sent the arrangement to The Soldier's girlfriend. (She just texted to say she got them!)

It's disappointing that a large establishment like doesn't care enough about their customers to fulfill their end of a transaction and when a problem occurs, they do not care enough correct it.

On a brighter note when I called Groupon to express my frustrations my call was immediately answered by a nice man in Chicago. He didn't handle me like a number, but conversed with me like a customer. He may have said the same apologies as FTD but sometimes it's more about the delivery than the words.


Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Army Strong

The Soldier left 3 weeks ago. He was in processing the first few days so we were able to text & talk to him just about every day but now that basic is under way we don't hear from him for a week at a time. If his squad does well during the week then they are granted phone time on Sundays.

We were just settling down after dinner wondering if he would call this week when the phone rang. His voice was a little scratchy but he sounded good.* As you can imagine we were full of questions. Unfortunately the weather caused some havoc with their training schedule so they haven't done much. He actually said that it was more like girl scouts than the Army.

I think that statement will come back to haunt him soon enough.**

The Soldier seems to be adjusting to Army life quite well. He uses words like "chow" and "MREs" (Meals Ready to Eat) and does his own laundry. Already he seems so grown up. And Army Strong.

*I sent him a box of cough drops yesterday. :)

**They are supposed to train for the gas chamber this week.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Where do I go from here?

For this journey I won't need any luggage, a laptop messenger bag, or a passport.

When I started this blog the teen was in high school and like many of you, my life revolved around my kids activities. Our social life was completely intertwined with whatever he was participating in as indicated by my blog posts. I wouldn't change any part of that but it now leaves me at a crossroads.

The teen became the soldier this month. He is several states away starting a new life and our life, my life, no longer revolves around him.* That leaves me with more free time in real life and less blog fodder for this world.

I don't want to abandon my blog (I'm sure it seems I have some weeks) but I just don't feel like the name, Not Your Average Soccer Mom, describes me or my life that well. I'm still a Mom but not a full time one anymore. As he grows I feel like I should, and my blog along with it. I've thought about playing around with the Army Mom thing but to be honest I don't want my identity to revolve around "Mom" anymore.

So I'm looking for some inspiration. Some ideas. Some...something to put me in the right direction.

*Life may not revolve around him but we do anxiously await his phone calls. It's hard to be so far away & not talk to him every day.

Friday, January 28, 2011


I'm not sure if it's the approaching 35th birthday but I'm feeling quite melancholy today. It could be the clouds making my mood as gray as the sky. Maybe it could just be the winter blues.

Perhaps it's remembering a tragedy far too great for my nine year old mind to comprehend.

Makes me think no matter what I'm going through it cannot be that bad. Bless the Challenger crew, their families and everyone that was affected that fateful day in 1986.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Have a Craptastic Day!

Yesterday I woke with high hopes even tweeting "Happy hump day!". I was cheerful as I kissed S goodbye and as I sang along with the radio. Positive thoughts equal positive results right?!


Upon setting foot in the office my day went to crap. It was a steady flow of problems from start to finish. After one fire was put out another exploded and landed in my lap. Eventually everything was resolved (sorta) but my positive thoughts & good mood had already gone away.

Reflecting back I now realize I set myself up for failure. Thinking it would be a GREAT day. That meant anything less than GREAT would be a sad disappointment. Twisting around in my head I've come up with a solution using reverse psychology.

This new thinking will solve my dilemma. My expectations will be so low even the slightest good thing will be an improvement. An "okay" day will turn into an exceptional day.

"Have a CRAPTASTIC day!" I say to one & all!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Only 4 days...

Until he starts a new journey.

Until we're "empty nesters".

Until another bedroom is empty.

Until dinner time is quieter.

Until his car sits still.

Until I cry.

Until the teen becomes a soldier.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Dyson and gone to heaven

There are few appliances that wow me. (Which in itself could be weird - that appliances wow me at all and/or that I'm so darn picky I only like such a small selection.) You may remember my love post written to Keurig last year. That little machine has revolutionised coffee in our household & I'm still every bit in love today as I was when I wrote that post 13 months ago.

Then there is my KitchenAid mixer. While I haven't professed my love in writing before now, I can assure you that it holds a special place in my heart, stomach and kitchen. Cakes, cookies, bread, pie oh my! This mixer has never failed me.

Onto my latest appliance crush - my brand new shiny yellow and gray Dyson DC14. Man this thing really SUCKS! (No really. It's a vacuum so it's supposed to.) Like most people I was hesitant to believe the hype. Especially when factored with the price, but a frugalista like me waited for just the right sale before making my move.

It was worth every one of those 29,900 pennies.

I was amazed (and slightly repulsed) by all the dust it picked up. Considering we vacuum once a week and I vacuumed with our old (crap ass) machine before using my Dyson one would think it wouldn't have much work to do. But that machine worked it's brush rotating magic on my floors like no other.

I promptly added it to my "cannot live" without list. What's on yours?

**These products mentioned in my post were bought by me. No one has paid me to pimp any of them out but machines of this magnitude deserve to be recognized. Of course if any one of these companies would like to send me some free stuff for my obvious loyalty, I wouldn't turn it down. Hint, hint...