Archive for the ‘Real Life’ Category

Another Kind of Winter Warmer

Saturday, December 28th, 2013

I’ve so loved reading all of the Winter Warmer recipes shared by everyone at AAR. I plan to try out a number of them over the next few months (first up, Melanie’s potato soup).  But I find I’m now in the need of a very different type of winter warmer.

A little over a week ago my apartment complex came through and installed a lot of energy saving devices in all of the apartments. As someone who tries to be energy efficient, I was very enthusiastic. I came home one evening to discover a new “low flow” shower head, new pipes (wrapped with some kind of insulated stuff) under the cabinets, energy-efficient light bulbs, and a programmable thermostat. Having only dealt with an old dial thermostat before, this programmable thermostat was a revelation. It came pre-programmed for optimal energy savings, set for cooler when people are assumed to be at work or sleeping.


a story about a dream, dying, and the power of Krispy Kreme

Friday, December 6th, 2013

6md4g.AuSt.156A month ago my youngest children, seniors in high school, came home raving about a school assembly they’d attended. “Mom, this guy was amazing,” my daughter said. “Cool,” I replied and then the talk moved on to our family’s upcoming Thanksgiving.

I should have paid more attention.

This past Monday, at their school, something extraordinary happened; the sort of thing that makes you believe in the wonder of  “living, loving, and trying” even as you accept the implacability of loss.

Here’s the story. It’s worth reading. Be prepared to cry.

Fill Your Heart With Thanksgiving

Wednesday, November 27th, 2013


The following poem captures beautifully the meaning of the coming holiday. The sentiment is such that it should be remembered all year long.


Trick or Treat

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

UnknownMy having an October birthday has meant many, many Halloween themed parties over the years.  Then my youngest daughter came into the world on October 30 and we had two in the family born close to that veil between the living world and the dead.  I was actually finishing costumes for my two oldest children when I went into labor.  When each of my children were old enough,  I made costumes and drove my kids to other neighborhoods or attended church events on Halloween.  Unfortunately, the neighborhood we lived in for nearly twenty years was not conducive to trick-or-treaters and in all of those years we had exactly three trick-or-treaters…TOTAL. (more…)


Tuesday, October 22nd, 2013


I wear crocs from the moment the last of the snow and ice clears in the spring until the first snow flies again in the fall. These comfy, open air shoes are easy to put on and take off, come in a variety of colors and can be worn with practically anything. That is what I love about them – they are just so darn convenient.

I started with one modest pair of taupe crops. They could be worn with most things and were perfect for “hasty” days when I just didn’t have the time to put an outfit together. That lasted three years. Visiting the crocs store this summer was my downfall. I got a pink pair. Then purple. Black. Now my “need” includes a pair of blue crocs. Since it has started to show signs of winter where I am I will hold off on that purchase till summer. Still, I look in my closet and cringe when I realize I have outfits that simply can’t be worn without those blue crocs :-)

Do you wear crocs or do you have another favorite style of easy wear shoe?

- Maggie AAR

Car Repair Woes

Friday, September 6th, 2013

I despise dealing with car repair, don’t you? I’m not completely ignorant about how they work, but I’m certainly not interested in fixing them myself, which means depending on a service technician. The problem there is finding one that you can trust. I’ve been burned so many times! (more…)

I Could Drive 55

Friday, August 30th, 2013

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This past week I passed the aftermath of a fatal accident on a highway. The next day when I looked up the accident report I learned that the victim was a thirteen year old boy. He was travelling with his dad and brother. According to the news “Troopers say (the father), was driving a Honda Civic when he came up behind the slower moving tractor-trailer. The(driver) started to change lane, but hit the back end of the rig, sending his car into a skid across the median.” The posted speed limit for the area is 70 miles per hour. It is believed he was going slightly in excess of that while passing.


Fall is Here and That Means FOOTBALL!

Monday, August 19th, 2013

ncaa-football-logoSummer is almost over and for many of us that means college football is about to begin. In the south, it is said there are three seasons:  football, recruiting and spring practice. Fans obsess over every player – who is hurt, who shows promise and who gained too much weight in the off-season. I am personally counting down the days until my football team kicks off in the Chick-Fil-A Kick-Off Classic in Atlanta, Georgia. On August 31, my alma mater, the Alabama Crimson Tide, will face off against the Virginia Tech Hokies (a hokie is a bird in case you did not know). Alabama has won the last two NCAA National Championships and three out of the last four awarded.  This year, my team will strive to win three consecutive national titles which would make them the only team in the modern era to do so. Unfortunately, there are a lot of teams standing in our way in this potentially historic season and my nails will be bitten to the nubs before it ends. However, I will be watching each week in hopes that Alabama can reach this great milestone. (more…)

Lose Ten Pounds in Three Days

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

dietBack in the 80s I had an overweight friend that wanted to join the Navy. To qualify for the placement he wanted he had to lose something like seventy pounds in a few months. To aid him, his mother, a nurse at the time, gave him this diet. My friend dieted three days a week, every week for a couple of months and easily lost the weight he needed. He gave the diet to me and I used it many times over the years, but eventually lost my copy. Internet searches yielded plenty of other diets, but none were the same unless I was willing to buy them, which I wasn’t. Then not too long ago I found my copy. Here it is for you, free… (more…)

New Again

Tuesday, August 6th, 2013

426083_3914863384259_1973449270_nAfter spending four hours last weekend at a car wash raising money for a non-profit, I came home to find my husband in the middle of a project on our screened in porch. Two years ago, he decided to turn that porch into a greenhouse so that he could grow vegetables from seed and have them ready to plant in the spring. He covered the entire space with plastic sheeting, got a space heater and planted tomatoes, peppers and squash in red solo cups. For two months, these tender plants flourished until one night he forgot to turn on the space heater. All of that work gone to waste was disheartening and he abandoned the greenhouse plan, but the plastic sheeting remained. The space became the favorite haven for our cats and many a morning we discovered the prey they had captured and killed during the night. My kids likened the space to Dexter’s killing room and the porch became a family joke. I would not even enter the area, but it was in full view from the breakfast table and hard to ignore.

382146_4680223157775_263381546_nWhen I got home this past weekend, my husband had gotten rid of the plastic sheeting, removed the old screens and was just finishing up sweeping the space. That left us with a perfectly blank template. I love to refinish furniture and have also refinished our hardwood floors in the house. Looking at all of that virgin, unstained wood, I shook off the fatigue of four hours of car washing and gathered up my trusty refinishing materials. By the time I came in for the night I had stained about one third of the upright portion of the porch a rich mahogany and the next day I stained the rest of the walls and applied polyurethane. I am now working on the floor. Once I finish, I will then have to paint the wicker and sew new covers for the pillows.

546593_4144744491143_505444374_nThere is something about taking an object or space that is old or dated and transforming it into something beautiful again. There is also something mentally relaxing about engaging in home improvement projects, even if they might be physically taxing.  When I am stripping furniture or painting a wall I have to keep a portion of my mind engaged on what I am doing so I don’t accidentally gouge the wood or paint the carpet.  The rest of my mind just seems to go into a Zen like state where worries and troubles disappear.  What types of projects do you do for mental enjoyment?

- Mary AAR