Happy Birthday, Riley!

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Riley turned 10 on Monday! I cannot believe I have a 10-year-old. 🙂

She celebrated with a sleepover (the five girls were loud and fun), a Justin Bieber cake, pizza, and ice cream. Her dad and I got her an iPod touch, and she is thrilled. She has already downloaded Angry Birds and Ninja Fruit. And she and I are having a blast with FaceTime. It’s a cool feature from Apple, and I look forward to using it more. She thinks it’s hilarious to FaceTime me when she’s in the kitchen and I’m in the living room.

I love that she is technologically savvy but not too savvy. We keep a close eye on what she sees and hears online and what she plays. She doesn’t know any passwords to buy or download anything. And it’ll be that way for a long time.

When Riley was born, she made my life infinitely better, and my love for her is one that can never be measured.

 

 

When is it OK to move on?

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What I've been doing

Has it been long enough? It’s been more than a year that I’ve been on my own … which isn’t long at all seeing that I was married for 15 years.

Is it OK to admit that I miss not a specific person but companionship? Having someone to hang out on the couch with, to watch cruddy preseason football with? Or should I pretend that being lonely is just fine?

Is there a timeline for getting back out into the world? Do I want to try it again? Not marriage. Heck, no. Just someone to watch football with, go to a movie, get coffee, catch a concert, have a beer, hang out. Maybe more, maybe less.

I do get lonesome sometimes when Riley isn’t here. The house is so quiet without her energy and joy that I just turn on the Braves while I read or write or unpack all the boxes I packed when I thought I might move.

Of course, I enjoy many aspects of my alone time. If I want to go out with friends, I go. The bathroom counter space and walk-in closet are all mine. I can stay up all night reading. My razors are lasting quite a long time. Obviously, there are some benefits.

Still, though, as the great Bruce said, we all need that human touch. Even me.

Tornadoes wipe out part of my community

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I found this receipt from Hackleburg, 115 miles away, on our sidewalk the day after the storm.

After 5 days without power, I’m finally charging my computer and blogging about what has happened in my community and the state. And I’m asking for your help.

Tornadoes ripped across Alabama on Wednesday, from Tuscaloosa to Huntsville. While Tuscaloosa is getting most of the attention, it’s not the only place affected.

Several small towns were obliterated. Towns where I played softball, towns that I drove through on my way to Brewer State Junior College, towns whose schools I covered during my time as a sportswriter.

Communities gone. Thousands of people are left with nothing.

Part of the damage in the Lawrence County community of Mount Hope. Photo by Matt McKean/Decatur Daily

Mount Hope.
Hackleburg.
Phil Campbell.
Carter’s Gin.
Harvest.

All these places need help. So fire up your phone and text REDCROSS to 90999 to donate $10 to tornado relief here in my beloved Alabama. Or visit Red Cross to give online.

You can also donate blood; it’s a lifesaver that’s always needed.

If you live near any of these places, see what they need … bottled water, clothing, diapers, feminine products, food, tarps … and donate some goods.

Or you can sign up online to volunteer in the cleanup.

The sky just after the storm went through Wednesday night.

My neighbors and I have been sharing food, shelter, hot water (some have gas water heaters and generators), and companionship. Having wonderful neighbors has been a blessing, especially when you’ve got a bored 9-year-old who doesn’t know what it’s like to live without electricity for more than an hour or two.

We still don’t have power at my house, but there is power at work, so I’ll go back tomorrow. Two days without pay is two days too many. Riley will be with my parents until we get power back and school starts back. Ryan is without power and needs to work when he can, too.

Grilled SpaghettiOs for lunch

I am so grateful that my family and my home made it through these devastating storms this week. And I’ll be doing what I can to help my neighbors and community heal and rebuild in the coming weeks and months.

I hope you’ll help, too.

Summer Breeze

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Summertime and the living is easy … mostly. Riley’s at day camp every day while Ryan and I work (this week she’s in Town Creek with my parents), we’ve been spending lost of time with friends, and we’ve spend lots of time at the softball field since she made all-stars. (We played two tournaments and didn’t do so hot, but the experience was so good for Riley’s confidence and her desire to win. But that’s another post.)

Anyway, these are the songs we’ve been listening to this summer–some old, some new. Riley enjoys most of them, but don’t worry, I keep the dirty words to myself. And I’m not including her HSM songs, because, really, when they’re playing year-round they don’t make the Summer Playlist.

Pardon Me–Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights

Baby, Baby–Justin Bieber

All I Do Is Win–DJ Khaled, et al

Baby Jane–Rod Stewart

Keep It Loose, Keep It Tight–Amos Lee

Not Afraid–Eminem

She’s a Bad Mama Jama–Carl Carlton

I Want A Love I Can See–The Temptations

Carryout–Timbaland, Justin Timberlake

The Ballad of Jayne–L.A. Guns

Your Love is My Drug–Ke$ha

Love Uncompromised–Jason Castro

That’s the way I like it

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Here’s a fun music survey from Music Savvy Mom. Post your answers on your blog and link back to me and MSM. 🙂

What is your favorite band/artist? (Specify “right now” or “all time”)
Elvis. See below for why.

What is your least favorite band/artist?  (Specify “right now” or “all time”)
Rascal Flatts

What genre of music do you LOVE? (Gotta pick just one)
Rock ‘n’ roll

What genre of music do you HATE? (Gotta pick just one)
Electronica, or whatever you call it.

What is a song that you love?
You’ll Never Walk Alone (Elvis)

What is a song that you find incredibly annoying?
Anything by Rascal Flatts, except Fast Cars & Freedom

What is your favorite “embarrassing guilty pleasure song”?
I don’t feel guilty about any of the music I like, even New Kids on the Block.

If you were in/involved with a hugely popular band … what “position” would you most want to fill & why?
Biographer … I’m a writer, and I’d like to travel and see what road life is really like.

What “position” would you NOT like to attempt & why?
Publicist … I don’t lie very well.

If you could meet one musician who has passed away, who would it be and why?
Elvis, because he took the best of rock and the best of soul and melded them into a whole new experience.


We are the champions

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Riley’s team beat its nemesis of the last two years to win the tournament championship 8-4. Riley had two RBIs and scored once. Below, is the game in pictures, starting with me and my friend Melissa (our third baseman Kam’s mom) just before Ryan threw the first pitch.

Yeah, we know. We’re hot.

Riley is ready for some action.

Riley gets a hit …

That ended up as a “triple …”

And she scores!

“Would someone please hit it to me? I’m getting bored.”

Senators win! Yay!

Momma showing off her team spirit!

Gerald (Kam’s dad) and my daddy taking in the celebration

Riley and one of her best friends, Kam

Ryan and Riley & Gerald and Kam

Riley & Ryan, who pitched an awesome game

Random thoughts

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My fantastic friend This Belle Rocks awarded me with Gorgeous Blogger and Versatile Blogger awards. Sweet!

So in the spirit of following the rules, here are 7 random things about me:

1. I have a widow’s peak, so no blunt bangs for me.

2. Summer is my favorite season. I love hot weather.

3. When I was little I wanted to be a gymnast or a dancer.

4. I’m psyched that Riley loves both those things.

5. I have two crooked toes on my left foot.

6. I experience deja vu and a sort of ESP thing a lot. But I keep it quiet.

7. I’m addicted to Mountain Dew.

Tag! You’re it:

Val at Cochlear Kids

Nanette at Say it, don’t spray it

Mari at Mari’s Virtual Notebook

Football is for Girls

Meg at Exile on Main Street

I haven’t been around much lately because I’ve been busy with work, end-of-school activities, softball and dance recitals. I hope to get back to blogging more regularly. OK, that’s it. Gotta run!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

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Riley has to finish these three before getting the next one.

I took Riley to see Diary of a Wimpy Kid a couple of weeks ago. It was a snap decision. We got home from my parents’ house on Friday evening at 4:30, saw the trailer about 5 and were showered and at the Rave by 6. She loved it! I enjoyed it, too, but the main character, Greg Heffley, was not my favorite. Rowley was.

Now, Riley has the books, but I haven’t read them, so I had no idea what the story was. Greg was not a nice friend, and having a pain-in-the-butt for an older brother was no excuse. Although, Rodrick was kind of cute. Rodrick is always getting Greg in trouble, and Mom never gives Greg the benefit of the doubt. Dad? He’s just clueless, while little brother Manny is adorable.

What I loved about Rowley (aside from his red hair) is that he’s just himself. He dresses how he likes, he plays, and he’s a good friend. Angie was a cool character, and I would’ve liked to have seen her in the movie more. She could be a great role model for girls.

Patty was hilarious. We’ve all known a super obnoxious kid like her, right? The girl who always has to be first, always in the spotlight and always makes sure everyone knows how great she is. Ugh!

Fregley (who is from Alabama) was disgustingly funny. But ewww! Gross! And Chirag … what a cute kid! The “cheese touch” cracked me up not only for its absurdity, but also for the way Chirag told the story. Classic middle school.

It’s worth the trip to the theater, and it led to a discussion on how to be a good friend. Like Rowley. Even if your friend is a little different. Like Rowley.

The movie made me want to read the books. And I will. As soon as I have time.

Jason Castro goes hip-hop

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Thanks to Castrocopia for this little gem: a hip-hop class set to Jason Castro’s “Let’s Just Fall in Love Again.”

A friend and I are going to see Jason in a couple of weeks in Birmingham at Workplay. This will be the first time I’ve seen him since the “American Idol” tour stop in D.C., which was a blast. I’m looking forward to hanging out with friends and hearing Jason’s new songs.

New Moon for $1

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From the latest issue of Details

I went to see New Moon tonight with a friend – it was my third viewing and her first. Each time I’ve seen the movie I’ve noticed something or heard something different, so it’s worth the cost.

Tonight, however, we paid only $1 to see it.

I had no idea there was a dollar theater here. You can see a movie, have popcorn and a coke for 3 bucks. Seriously, that’s cheap entertainment.

We got the best seats in the house – middle of the back row.

We were also happy to just get out of the house since a holiday then snow and icy weather have canceled school the last two days.

Now we can’t wait until Eclipse this summer. We won’t have to wait long to see the trailer at least – it will be shown before Robert’s latest release Remember Me.