Archive for September, 2010

September 30, 2010

Cool Stuff…Cause, I love ya!

I love you AND I have very cool friends!

As a reward for coming by here, reading le blog, supporting le cause, we will host the occasional give-away. And we have some awesome sh-..er..STUFF to give you. (I mean, it’s not as cool as a mug and all, but not everything can be, so..oh well!)

Today’s giveaway comes to us courtesy of the beautiful, the talented Hannah, from PeggyAnn Design (@PeggyAnn_Design). And I’m hugely happy because, well, there was a little bit of drooling that happened when I first saw these on her blog.

They are beautiful picture frames with fabric rosettes.

Here’s a lovely one in brown and pink:

And my personal favorites all have these adorable green embellishments.

And because Hannah is fundamentally wonderful, she is letting the winner pick the color combination of their choosing. Umm…was that redundant? I think it was. Irregardless. You all know what I mean.

So how do you enter this contest, you ask?

You leave a comment and tell me the TACKIEST thing in your closet.

You heard me. I came clean about the purse, you all can share your embarrassments as well.

Contest open through Tuesday, October 5th at midnight PST and winner will be announced Wednesday morning. Oh, let’s say ten-ish (PST). Is that good for everyone?

And if someone could bring donuts I’d love you forever.

PS – Despite LOVING these frames and all the drool, I am not eligible to win. So clearly I REALLY need the donuts.

And now I really have to hit the publish button, because there has just been the sound of shattering glass from the kitchen, where three teenagers are doing dishes. *sigh*

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September 28, 2010

Pursey Galore has left the building.

Liz followed in the grand tradition of Poppy with the whole-media maven thing, and Project: Purse and Boots is going to be featured in one of the Memphis news outlets! Details and links to follow. And here is what my imagination decided happened to Liz and her adorable daughter (who’s only barely bigger than the purse!)

“Mama, I want to carry this purse,” said Kate, pulling a sequined, zebra-striped monstrosity out of the depths of her mother’s closet.

“It’s too big for you,” laughed Liz.

“But it’s sparkly!”

Yes, thought Liz wryly, it is that.

Her daughter’s eyes widened like a Disney cartoon character’s and Liz decided that giving in quickly would get them out of the house on time.

Liz, her daughter, and a purse roughly the size of Rhode Island and class factor of the Real Housewives of New Jersey strolled down Beale Street, talking about this and that, appreciating the color of street signs and the comfort of busy markets.

A particularly exuberant giggle made Liz look down at her daughter. “What so funny, girl?”

“That man over there!” replied Kate, pointing into one of the restaurants.

Liz peered through the window and saw only a few tired-looking men wolfing down thickly-stuffed sandwiches.

“Which man?” asked Liz, confused.

Kate stretched her head up again to look into the restaurant, then frowned. “He’s gone.”

Liz tugged gently on Kate’s hand to resume their stroll. Kate shifted the purse around her body and squinted as the sequins bounced light into her eyes. “What was funny about him?” asked Liz.

“He matched the purse!” Kate said happily.

“Matched the purse, how?”

“He was sparkly like the purse!”

Liz had visions of the cast of a burlesque show on their lunch break. Or maybe teenaged vampires.

“Okay…” she said, tentatively.

They walked further on, in no hurry to reach their lunch destination. They stopped at Silky O’Sullivans so the goats could appreciated the bespangled wonder that was Kate’s choice of handbag. A goat nibbled gingerly on one sequined corner then snorted and  stepped away to find tastier offerings.

As they walked away from the goats, Kate yanked on Liz’s arm. “There he is! There’s the funny man that matches the purse!”

Liz turned quickly to look where Kate was pointing, but she saw only a crowd of people and nary a glimmer of sparkle caught her eye.

“Honey, I don’t see him.”

“But he was right there!” Kate was clearly distressed that her mom had not shared the vision of the glittery man.

“I’m sorry, sweetheart, I just don’t see him.”

“But he smiled at me. He was nice!”

Liz shifted quickly from confused to alarmed.

“Kate, if you see the man again, I want you to tell me right away. Do you understand?”

Kate nodded, pulling the purse close to her and frowning at the ground.

They walked another block or two, nearing the restaurant where they’d be meeting friends for lunch, when Kate shouted excitedly, “There he is, Mama!”

Liz looked, seeing nothing but buildings and empty sidewalks.

“What? Kate, there’s no one there!”

“There, Mama, there! That’s his picture.”

Liz’s gaze shifted upwards, to a billboard that covered the majority of a dark red wall on the side of a building.

Liz stared.

He did, indeed, match the purse.

“That’s the man you saw, honey?” she asked.

Kate nodded happily.

“And he smiled at you?”

Kate nodded again. “And he danced a little.”

Liz smiled. “Did he, now?”

“Yes.”

“I see.”

Kate pulled the zebra-striped sequined bag to her chest and Liz scooped her up into her arms.

“I’m not in trouble, am I?”

“Nope. Not a bit. This is Memphis, what did I expect?”

“What, Mama?”

“Nothing, honey. Let’s go have lunch.”

Liz walked with her daughter in arms toward the restaurant. And Kate, face pressed against the blunted edges of the sequins, waved good-bye to the man who matched the purse.

Courtesy L_C_Vana on flickr (Liz' shot of this was fuzzy!)

September 26, 2010

Pursey Galore and The Riviera Fantasy

Nothing gets in the way of a good time like life. Poor Natalie watched plans for Las Vegas and Palm Beach for her anniversary both fall through. But never one to renege, Natalie gave Pursey Galore a grand tour of Casa Del Monstruo y Las Gemelas. And I imagine that something like this MIGHT have happened…

I can’t do another thing, I just can’t can’t can’t.

This was the thought in Natalie’s head.

Can’t.

While scooping up one one-year-old before she ate the dog food, and herding the second with her foot before a toy ended up stuffed in the dvd player, Natalie imagined a night of fancy dress and cocktails.

Can’t.

Not even when it was something she wanted.

Nope.

Hustling the child still on the floor with her toesshe listened for noise from the three year old playing outside. Hearing nothing more than a child making truck sounds, Natalie collected the mail.

There was a package addressed to her.

Funny, she hadn’t ordered anything recently.

She set the mail on a counter, poured goldfish crackers into a bowl, and started collecting toys in various shapes and colors of molded plastic.

The package sat forgotten under a Gymboree catalogue.

It wasn’t until the next afternoon, after wiping the last evidence of a food-flinging contest between three children from the range hood that the bubble-mailer caught her eye.

Tossing the sponge into the sink, she wiggled a finger under the flap and tore the paper.

Something sparkled at her from the darkness.

Natalie upended the mailer onto the countertop and out spilled the loudest handbag she’d ever seen in her life. Zebra-striped sequins.

It was the tackiest, most outrageously gaudy thing Natalie had ever experienced. It was nearly offensive.

It was perfect.

Natalie slipped the strap over her shoulder, then pulled a dusty martini glass from the tip-top shelf of the glass cabinet. After giving the glass a cursory rinse, she rummaged in the fridge. She discovered a can of apricot nectar hiding behind an unopened jar of tahini and poured a generous tablespoon into the martini glass. She reached over the fridge into the liquor supply and pulled out the peach schnapps and the vodka. She let a splash of the schnapps fall into the nectar, and then poured a healthy double shot of vodka over it all. She gave it a quick stir with her finger and sampled by licking the finger dry.

Not bad.

Pulling her sunglasses from the diaper bag, she swaggered out onto the back patio with her concoction and the glittery sequined bag. She sat down on the torn chaise lounge, stretched out her legs and sipped her drink. The purse sang happy sparkly notes to the sun.

A few minutes later her husband, holding one twin, poked his head out of the sliding glass door.

“Honey…what on earth are you doing?”

“Fantasizing.”

“Ummm…about what?”

“That I am sitting next to a pool on the Riviera, that a staff of impeccably dressed waiters is fetching me tropical cocktails with clockwork regularity, and that I am dressed in the finest resort-wear ever seen by rich people,” she answered, taking another sip of the orange-colored cocktail with her eyes closed.

“Ah,” said her husband. “I see.”

Natalie smiled up at the warm sky and took a deep breath. She swung her legs over the chaise lounge and started to get up. “Okay, that was nice. Back to reality.”

Her husband crossed the patio and kissed her softly. “No, why don’t you hang out on the Riviera just a few more minutes.”

“Really?” She asked.

He nodded, “Sure. I’ll keep the peasants from troubling you for a little while longer.”

Natalie relaxed back against the chair and sipped again, letting her eyes close and her shoulders relax. “Thank you, honey. I love you.”

“Love you too, gorgeous.” He stepped back into the house.  “Happy anniversary.”

September 15, 2010

And the winner is….

I had to then go count down the comments…and the winner of the Mug o’ Martha Points is….GIGI from Kludgy Mom!

Gigi is going to be brining Pursey Galore to Bloggy BootCamp in Austin, Texas next month.

Probably the mug will not be going with her. She’s going to be lugging a big ol’ sequined bag around with her after, all.

Thank you to everyone who entered and promoted. The next giveaway is later this month. A gorgeous picture frame courtesy of Hannah over at Peggy Ann Design.

September 13, 2010

Pursey Galore and the Philadelphia Spy

The fictionalized versions of the Purse stories continue. Something about Megan’s shots suggested this scenario to me. And, if you know Megan, you so know that this could hapen. So while she all told us that she was at Bloggy Bootcamp with the SITSGirls, and claims to have photographic evidence to prove it, it’s possible that this is what really did happen, but if she told us about it, she’d have to kill us all.

She waited.

She looked like a person waiting to catch a flight.

This was what she was supposed to look like.

Just a young woman, a stunning beautiful young woman, yes, but just a young woman nonetheless, waiting to catch a flight.

That was what everyone was meant to think. But she had no interest in flights, no interest in the planes, no interest in arrivals or departures.

She had a hand off to make. That was all. Then she would be gone.

She sat, relaxed and still,  by all appearances reading her magazine, the picture of nonchalance. But her mind was anything but still or relaxed. Three people at the magazine stand, the man in the blue suit clearly in charge…Two young women who ran out of money before they ran out of vacation…undercover airport security doing a terrible job of being undercover…a bag unattended for four minutes before the family who realized they’d forgotten it hurried back to retrieve it… The perpetually observant part of her mind catalogued her surroundings unconcsciously. But the very conscious part of her mind was ticking minutes by.

Where was her contact?

At twenty minutes past mark, she stretched, slung her bags over her shoulder, and checked her watch. A casual observer would think her bored, at the airport far too early for her flight. She pouted slightly and looked around. The she meandered lightly to the first class lounge, clearly wanting to drown the travel tedium with a cocktail.

Inside she was anything but bored, she was irritated. This was bloody unprofessional.  She scanned the lounge without seeming to, decided that her contact hadn’t make it to the back-up drop site either and sat down at the bar to order a drink.

Her brain continued to count minutes. The arrangement was twenty minutes at each possible hand-off site. One more attempt after this one, and she would leave. Not just the airport, but the country. If contact wasn’t made, then something was very wrong. Something had been compromised and no place was safe. Despite years of training against panic, she let herself settle into “mildy concerned.”

At two minutes left before heading to the third and final potential drop site, a subtle movement to her left told her the seat next her had been occupied.

“Nice purse,” said the soft female voice.

“It would go with your shoes,” she replied.

“I might have to buy it from you.”

Refusing to let her irritation show, the first woman sipped her martini. “You had two minutes left before I moved.”

The slight shape moved in what might have been a shrug.

“Turns out finding shoes that might actually go with that bag is a lot harder than you’d think.”

To be fair, thought the woman sipping the drink, finding anything that might go with the bag had to be a stretch.

“Well, you made it. But I think you get to pay for my drink.”

“Fair enough,” replied the soft voice.

The beautiful woman took one last sip of the martini, and, leaving the sequined bag on the bar, turned without another word and left the lounge.

Despite her beauty, no one noticed.

The sequined, striped bag on the bar was all anyone ever really looked at.

September 10, 2010

Yes, we give stuff away here.

We give compliments.

We give you a reason to dress in a manner totally unfit for the owner of a swagger wagon.

We give meaning to the phrase “I won’t be caught dead in that…”

We give you a reason to go play.

And now we’re giving you something totally ridiculous.

(Why am I talking in the plural? There is only me sitting here. But I figure you’re all with me in spirit. Or I’m developing multiple personalities. Which I suppose could happen. Just don’t tell my imaginary friends, k?)

Because the message we’re sharing is so important, because people who donate money to the project would like to know that people notice their contribution, and because, well, it’s darned fun, Project: Purse and Boots will be hosting giveaways.

Now I know you’re all getting exciting, imagining new Amana Radar-Ranges and lifetime supplies of Rice-a-Roni.

But if I did that you’d just get all jaded and spoiled. You’d wouldn’t be able to face yourself in the mirror.

I’m not going to do that to you. I love you all too much.

So the first giveaway is….a coffee cup!

And before any body disses this coffee cup, let’s be clear: this is the very same coffee cup that sparked MugBrawl 2010. That episode of domestic diva drama extraordinaire.

It’s an In Pursuit of Martha Points Mug.

On the front it says, “I Made a Cup of Coffee! +10 Points”

On the back it says, “I left the cup in the laundry room…for a week. -12 Points”

Why this silly little thing engendered such coveting I will never know. I suspect because I have friends who have an awesome sense of humor.

So, how does one enter the drawing for the Mug?

Despite the temptation to start a scavenger hunt that results in a group of bloggers fighting over a sherpa at the top of Mt. Everest, I think this will be how to enter:

Leave a comment telling me where you would take Pursey Galore, that marvelously trashy zebra-striped handbag, if time and money were no object.

Winner will be selected at random on Wednesday, September 15th @ 10 am PST.

Brawling and trash talking are strongly encouraged, although each entrant will only be counted once.

September 9, 2010

Grandma Billie

Ginny, over at Raising Little Heislers, shared this amazing story about a woman who needed to be a grandma, and lucky Ginny got the job of granddaughter. This amazing woman’s beautiful life was ultimately taken by stroke, but this is an incredibly told story shares the beauty of who she was before she left this earth. Please read.

Billie Marie Coker, Grandma Billie, was one amazing woman.  She was groundbreaking, courageous, full of life, and the most amazing cook on the planet.  She used every moment as a teaching moment, and she loved me unconditionally even when she hated the choices I made.  She taught me how to serve my husband and submit as a wife without sacrificing myself in the process.

During WWII, she worked as a quality control inspector for Boeing.  She was making sure the planes our uniformed men were flying over Europe were built correctly.  Grandma Billie was always so humble when she spoke about her service to our nation, but I could tell how proud she was to be a supervisor at such a young age in a time where a woman’s place was in the home.  I learned about service and patriotism from her.

When her husband returned from WWII, he was very abusive to her.  She spoke to me once about how she knew he was shell-shocked, but there was no help for our veterans during those years.  She left him after he beat her and divorced him during a time when women did not get divorced.  She held my hand through two divorces, reminding me that God had someone better for me.  I learned not to be a doormat from her.

When she went to live with her parents after her divorce in the 1940’s, she had lost her job at Boeing when our fighting men came home from war.  She didn’t sit home and feel sorry for herself though.  She went to college and learned a trade, and was the first woman in her family to get higher than a middle school education.  I learned the value of an education from her.

When she was a young divorcée, she took a chance and went on a date with a young man recently home from war, Robert H. Coker.  She married him in 1946, and they were married for over 58 years.  I learned about second chances from her. I remember sitting in her kitchen watching her cook for hours on end.  I never saw her use a recipe although she had them all written down. She poured love into every meal and always made enough to feed an army.  She would say that she never knew who was going to stop by and need a warm meal.  She would fix PaPa’s plate, and wait until everyone else had a plate full of food before she would even sit down.  Grandma Billie’s house was the place to be at dinner time. Her table would be overflowing with food, and love.  I learned to serve my family in her kitchen.

She prayed and read her Bible every day!  She taught Sunday School and Girls in Action, rocked babies in the nursery and sang in the choir.  She didn’t miss a service unless she was out of town visiting her family and then she was in church with them.  She served the Lord with such a passion that you couldn’t be around her without experiencing the love of God.  I learned to serve my Savior from her.

Grandma Billie wanted a house full of children and a pile of Grandchildren, but she only gave birth to one son.  She suffered from Postpartum Depression and always thought God never gave her more children because she was a failure as a mother.  Her son never married, so she thought she was going to never get to have grandchildren.  God filled that void, when my family moved in next door to her in 1986.  She cooked for us, took care of us when my mom needed her too, and quickly became Grandma Billie to a house full of children that needed unconditional love.  She became a much needed mother figure to my mother, and helped her to leave a very abusive marriage to my father.  She gladly took on the role of Grandma like a pro.  She was at every ball game, recital, band and choir concert, wedding, and childbirth.  She was the first person to lay eyes on my daughter, who is named after her.  I learned from Grandma Billie that the family that God gives you can be far more valuable that the family you are born into.

I think of her daily, and the lessons she taught me.  While she got to see me be a mother there were so many things she didn’t get to see me do.  She didn’t get to see me be part of a loving and healthy marriage.  She didn’t get to see me get my degree.  She didn’t get to see me fight for freedoms and against injustices.  She didn’t get to see me serve my Lord both at home and on a mission field, and she didn’t get to see me adopt a family of brothers and sisters in Christ.  She would be proud of me, because I have done all those things knowing she was looking down on me from above.  You see, in May of 2003, she went shopping for a gift for my baby shower and picked out the cutest “church clothes” for my son Robert.  It was the last thing she went shopping to purchase.  A week later she had a major hemorrhagic stroke that robbed her of the ability to control her body.  She spent weeks in the hospital, had physical therapy and was moved to an assisted living facility.  She was doing better andthough she would remain in a wheelchair the rest of her life in late 2003 she was able to return home.  Easter 2004, I cooked in her kitchen for the first time without her help, she told me she was proud of me in her broken speech.  In October of 2004, her son passed away and a few weeks later she had another stroke and was moved back into assisted living.  Thanksgiving 2004, she got to come home and have dinner with her Grandchildren and numerous Great Grandchildren.  I cooked dinner for all of us, and she told me she was proud of me.  As I stopped by her room at the facility the Sunday after Thanksgiving, I knew it was the last time I would see her alive.  I took that moment to tell her that I had gone back to college and was making straight A’s.  She pulled fro all the strength she had to tell me she was proud of me.  I’m not sure if she ever spoke again.  December 30, 2004 she left this world for a better place. She passed away in the arms of her husband of almost 60 years (my PaPa), and her “adopted” daughter (my momma).

She was taken from this world too soon, but she left and indelible mark!  Above her chair was a plaque I bought for her when I graduated High School.  It said, “Some come into our lives and quickly go, but others stay for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts and we are never the same!”  She left her footprints all over my life, and for that I am eternally grateful!

Ginny

September 8, 2010

Pursey Galore And the Deep Fly Ball

Sharyn brought Pursey Galore to her first sporting event, an Oakland A’s v. Los Angeles Angels weekend event over Labor Day. Although I do not believe this represents the actual sequence of events, I think we can all agree that it COULD have happened.

“You’re not bringing that with you, are you?”

Sharyn looked at her spangly zebra striped bag. “Of course I am,” she replied.

Her husband squirmed just a little. “To a baseball game??” he implored.

Sharyn nodded and threw some glitter lip-gloss into the bag. Not because she had any intention of wearing glitter lip-gloss, but because it fit.

Her husband sighed, resigned. Maybe no one would notice. On the space shuttle.

Once at the game, Sharyn worried slightly that the sun glinting off the sequins might actually blind an infielder at an inopportune moment, but decided that coping with outrageously loud accessories in the grandstand was one of the ways professional ball players justified their salaries.

She settled in for a hot dog.

And a beer.

And garlic fries.

Because nothing is better that a hot dog, a beer, and garlic fries at a baseball game.

As the sun shifted slowly overhead, Sharyn reached into her purse and pulled out a cap and tugged it snugly onto her head.

The game was a nail biter.

Ahead. Then behind. Then tied with a runner stranded at third. Sharyn had screamed herself hoarse.

She reached into the purse and pulled out a roll of lifesavers to suck on.

When her husband inadvertently scraped his thumb on the railing in front of him while making gestures clearly designed to give the pitcher essential advice, Sharyn pulled a band-aid out the bag and rendered a quick doctoring. Her husband looked at the purse. “Is there anything you don’t have in there?”

“I didn’t bring a surgical kit, so don’t cut yourself any worse than this.”

“How about gum?” He asked.

“Duh,” she answered, withdrawing a pack of Juicy Fruit.

The game moved into the 9th inning. Score still tied. This was it. Three outs and they would go home disappointed.

The first batter hit a pop fly into right field. Once chance gone.

The second batter took two balls before hitting a ground ball straight to the Golden Glove shortstop. Two chances gone.

The third batter watched two perfect pitches whiz by, then waited out three balls in a row. Full count. The crowd was on its feet.

Sharyn and her husband stood with the rest of the crowd, the sound made Sharyn’s feet vibrate.

The wind-up, then the pitch, then CRACK! The priceless sound of a bat making solid contact.

Sharyn lost the ball for a split-second in the sun, then caught it again to see it arcing straight for her.

And the one thing she hadn’t brought with her was a glove.

People were leaning in, hands outstretched, hoping to get their hands on the ball that would give them the winning home run.

Sharyn stood on her seat, open the zebra-striped bag wide and held it over her head. There was a soft whump and the bag tugged in her hands.

She pulled the purse down and looked inside. There, safely nestled between a spare pair of socks and the glitter lip-gloss was a regulation, major-league baseball.

And it was hers.

She looked up at her husband smugly, ignoring his open-mouthed, incredulous stare. “Now aren’t you glad I brought it with me?”

The people around them were cheering and patting her on the back and slapping her arm playfully.

“Hey lady,” said someone in the crowd around her, “I’ll give you fifty bucks for that purse. You can even keep the ball.”

September 2, 2010

Just a Headache

This story is from Aimee, who tells us the story of her dad who dismissed his symptoms even when those around him started to worry. One of the ASA’s most powerful missions is education about the signs of stroke. Because new treatments mean that early identification can make the difference between devastation and recovery for some people. Thank you, Aimee, for sharing this. It is a wake-up call for all of us.

It’s just a headache. That is what my dad kept telling my mom all weekend. She knew that he had sinus headaches before, after all, he had allergies, but she also suspected that something more was happening. However, he kept telling her he was fine, it was just a headache, and he refused to go to the doctor. Two days later when I arrived at their house, he could barely walk and function on his own, though he kept insisting that nothing was wrong and he just had a headache. That headache was a stroke, the first of four to come.
We weren’t shocked to hear the news, as it seemed like the only explanation for his symptoms. We were shocked when we heard other things, kidney failure, heart failure, and the possibility of major surgery. Gratefully, those things corrected themselves as they finally got treatment for his high blood pressure, but that was quiet a week, including a stay in the intensive care unit of the hospital.
Adjusting to life with new diet restrictions and new medications wasn’t going to be easy. Everything that tasted good was on the forbidden list now for my dad, and my mom had to learn to make things taste good without much salt. With each stroke more problems came about, more medication and more special care.
Somehow, even with all the waiting, my dad recovered well, and he came away with very little damage. Each stroke to follow has affected his ability to do certain things, he has very little strength, and he has balance problems, but we count our blessings because we know that it could have been much worse. We know many people lose their entire left side after a stroke, so the fact that he isn’t paralyzed in any way is amazing.
Of course, as anyone can tell you, caring for a loved one after a stroke can be challenging. There are all kinds of feelings that they are dealing with, depression being the biggest. There might even be personality changes (my dad is certainly not the same as before), and there are certainly going to be physical challenges as well. He can no longer drive, and it’s hard for him to do a lot of the things he used to enjoy.
Because he had both types of stroke, he has to watch his blood pressure but he also has to take medication to prevent clots. They might not have been able to catch the clotting issue early, but everyone should make sure to check their blood pressure. It’s so easy, and can prevent a world of problems.
After watching him go through all of it, my family all feels an urgency to be healthy. Strokes can steal so much from you, it’s worth doing whatever you can to be in the best shape possible. I know that my dad was able to pull through as well as he did after the first stroke because he had been working out and was fairly healthy. It may or may not prevent a stroke, but being healthy can help you over come one.
Know the signs, remember that it really does make a difference to get treatment as early as possible. If you suspect a stroke, never believe that it’s “just a headache”.