Thursday, January 29, 2009

MawMaw Lucy's Home At Last...

Dear friends,

I so thought I had sent out the emag earlier this week but a quick peek at my emails has proven that I'm obviously mistaken. I'm so sorry, but I won't be able to address each of your notes right now-- I really hate that, too, because so many of you have dropped by the porch's inbox just to let me know that you were worried about me. But, it is what it is as they say, and this is gonna have to be a mass explanation.

Many of you may know that Phil's mom has been fighting the long battle with Alzheimers. Tuesday morning, she won the war. She is home now. Bless the sweet name of the Lord. Family is coming in from all over. Please add your prayers to mine for their safety. I love you all.


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Open Letters to Emerson Ann and Grant Thomas

Dear Emerson,

I see I've got your attention. Good. I wanted to tell you how much Pops and I love you. It was so much fun to keep you Friday night while your parents went out to eat. Remember, our deal: We won't tell your parents that we never put you down if you won't. All that "let her fret a little and she'll go back to sleep on her own" business, well, that's for your mom and dad. Been there, done that. We're grands now and we get to break the rules. You and I may bend a few more before we're done. Cookies are very nutritious. Seriously.

Love and hugs,
Keggie and Pops

Dear Grant,

Pops and I still have your picture in a place of honor. We love you, already. Funny, isn't it? We've yet to see your face, breathe your baby smell, or admire your toes-- and yet we're totally wild about you. When we talk about you, and we do that a lot, we smile.

I know you're sort of young to be put in this position, but we have a favor to ask of you. Please have your daddy take a picture of your mama's belly and send it to us. You may have to do a few somersaults in there to make it happen but maybe they'll try to catch a pic of a wiggle or even the imprint of a tiny heel. We promise not to show it on the blog, or share it with the ATS porchers or anyone else. You can trust us. Really.

Love and hugs,
Pops and Keggie

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Pulpwood Festival/Girlfriend Weekend 2009


That feels better. I was wondering how in the world to blog about last weekend, but now that I'm resolved of any responsibility for the length and/or continuity of this post I'm all good.

Months ago yours truly was invited by THE Pulpwood Queen, Kathy L. Patrick, to be a guest author at her highly popular book festival: The Pulpwood Festival of Jefferson, TX. I accepted the invitation gladly. I thought, "I've been to book festivals before and I totally enjoyed them." What I didn't fully grasp is that said event is no ordinary book festival. This three day extravaganza is also known as Girlfriend Weekend and as my d-in-law put it after looking at my pics "seems to serve as an opportunity for middle aged women to act crazy." I wholeheartedly concur, although I would add to the record here that there were several males as well as some pre-middle aged women and post middle aged women who seemed to be as short of center as the rest of us.

Having been informed that the last night of the event would be the Big Hair Ball with the theme of "Black, White, and Read All Over", my bff and traveling buddy Rhonda Perry, (known affectionately as Red), partnered with me in renting some fine outfits from the Costume Shop in West Monroe, LA. Here we are in the hall of my home before the big trip, trying on our dresses. I am sans crown in this photo, but as you will soon see-- we aren't entirely done up-- YET. This is just us getting in the mood to par-tay like Scarlett and Melanie.

Upon my arrival, I joined a host of authors for a meet and greet with the media and honored queens. This weekend, you see, is all about celebrating the reader and I for one LOVE that. Book clubs come from everywhere in their tiaras to mix and mingle with each other and the writers.

After the media deal we all went to Kathy's Beauty Salon/Bookstore, a one-of-a-kind wonder to write on her wall. Yes, to write on her wall. Why do you ask? Here are a few authors and queens in their normal clothes. Please note how delightfully they contrast with some of the pics that follow.

Meet Jeannie Ralston of The Unlikely Lavender Queen

Kaya McLaren author of "Church of the Dog"-- you will hear/see more about Kaya. :)

What it is all about: Reader Queens!

Margaret Cezair-Thompson, author of The Pirate’s Daughter -- Pulpwood Queen Book of the Year!

Patricia Hickman of "Painted Dresses"

TADA!!!!!!!!! Meet Kathy L. Patrick, The Pulpwood Queen herself. This is Kat's "day tiara", not to be confused with her evening outfits. You can read ALL about Kat here:
Oh-- and check out Kat's blog while you're there for more pics.

Kat's able-bodied assistant Tywana is on the right in this pic with a queen whose crown came from Paris! I wanted to steal it but was too chicken 'cuz that's one of the big ten, you know.

You've heard of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour? Well, move over boys. Meet The Pink Collar Comedy Tour. We debuted on Friday night. I was honored to share the stage with Kathy Patrick, the Pulpwood Queen, Suzanne McLennan author of "Praise the Lord and Pass the Biscuits" and author and Nashville Free Radio Host, River Jordan. We had a blast tossing a subject out and milking it. Please note our matching pink hair extensions.

"What's that you say, River?" Notice we three listening intently, trying to hear a word we might can use to segue into a story of our own. More often that not we didn't bother. Segues are so over-rated.

Nice, nice man-- this Mr. Robert Leleux , author of "Memories of a Beautiful Boy." Robert: thank you for the instant friendship.

An act I will never, ever, forget: Kathy and her buddies lighting up the stage as Special ABBA Entertainment: Splinter Helaina Patrick, Pulpwood Queens, Wendy Looney, Karen Penner, Tiajuana Neel, and Kathy Patrick.

In a desperate and yet highly successful bid for equal billing, the Timber Men of Jefferson, TX rock the house: Bill Smith, Andy Looney, Jay Patrick, Richard Penner, and Greg Ashley! MAMA MIA!

Several of my new author friends pretending to be normal:
Leslie Lehr of Wife Goes On
Kaya McLaren of Church of the Dog
Patricia Hickman of Painted Dresses

More new author friends. On the left is Margaret Cezair-Thompson author of "The Pirate's Daughter" and on the right, Karen Herrington, author of "Janeology"

Note to new author friends: I'm missing representation of some of you among my pics for various reasons: You had your eyes closed, the pics came out fuzzy, you were dancing (or having a seizure-- one can never be sure) or something and I didn't want to be sued. If anyone has any to add to this collection, send. THANKS!

Me and River still posing. We're with Deeanne Gist, author of "Deep in the Heart of Trouble."

Queens do the Black, White and Read All Over up right!

Red and I stepping out! I felt duty bound to show you that I'm stepping in my rhinestone houseshoes just 'cuz they're comfy and they matched.

Egyptian Queens no less!

Top Hat Queens...

The lady in the big hat is Heidi, Kat's bff, posing with another lovely queen. Heidi can sing like Patsy Cline. I know this because she blew our socks off on karaoke night. Someone else you know may have participated in that, but I'm not telling.

The Pulpwood Queen in ONE of her many outfits/looks. I love Kathy Patrick World!

Even as a writer, words fail me here. This is the one and only Kaya! Dear Kaya won the Big Hair Ball Costume contest in this delightful outfit. I wish I had done it justice but alas, I'll have to try and describe it. Kaya is in a full body unitard that she has covered with the words from her novel and topped with this slightly see-through silver go-go dress. This prompted River to say, "Shellie, did you see Kaya? She's come to the ball nekkid."

"No, she hasn't River. She has clothes on."

"No, she doesn't, Shellie. Kaya's at the ball nekkid. Is she the coolest kid on campus, or what?"

A few more happy queens...

Red with attitude.

Go Queens!

Kaya AND Red with attitude.

Posing with some fun queen friends!

The girls from the Katy, TX bookclub won the club costume award with matching dresses that all sported "the end" on, well, their ends.

Posing with beautiful young queens. Far right, daughter of Kathy Patrick and her friend, far left. I think the slightly more mature women should be credited for being willing to pose and post this pic.

Queen Latifah just had to show up, natch.

I'm sure there is more but I'm tired and I need coffee. I told you it was long, remember? Later gators and gatorettes.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Alzheimers is Horrible

Sweet friends, I intended to blog about this past weekend tonight but now, I don't know...For the last four hours I've been at my mother-in-law's bedside. Tonight may be her last. On the other hand, we've been at this point many times in the last few years. She may outlive me. Only God knows. To blog about the weekend feels wrong at this moment. My heart is sore. I will leave it for another time, okay? Thanks.


Friday, January 16, 2009

Checking in from the book festival/Pulpwood Festival/Girlfriend Weekend in Jefferson, TX.

I'm with a bunch of brave new voices this weekend. That's what folks call 'em in the literary world. I don't know if I'm a brave new voice or not. I am brave and I do have a voice.

More later...


Sent from my BlackBerry® wireless handheld

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Girlfriend Weekend in Jefferson, TX

Hey y'all,

I'm sitting on a big comfy bed in a wonderful little B&B in Jefferson, TX feeling blessed times two. I've already taken some pics but since time is a-wasting and I've got to be at an author/media reception at 5:30, (Yikes--- yep-- I'm sporting the roller derby look even as I type. Look back several posts for that one.) Anyways, and I meant for that "s" to be there, I promised y'all TUESDAY to tell you about this event but Tuesday blurred into Thursday and well, here's the scoop.

You can see the Delta Street Inn here: It is lovely and my host and hostess are flat out charming. I think I'm in love with Jefferson, TX and I haven't been in town but a couple of hours. Some of that would be in part to a story I just read in the town paper about a dog named Bingo who used to live here, but I digress... again.

This is the official Girlfriend Weekend 2009, put on by none other than The Pulpwood Queen, Kathy Patrick, We're fixin' to have some serious fun. I can't wait to post pics of Red and I, (my BFF) in the costumes we're wearing Saturday night for the Big Hair Ball. They may as well go ahead and engrave our names on those trophies for best dressed 'cuz we ain't leaving without 'em and it'd be a shame if we had to steal 'em. I mean, that would not bode well for my Sunday morning speaking engagement at The First Methodist Church here, now would it, hmm? Are you listening judges?

But-- before all that-- before the Big Hair Ball and before the Sunday morning service where you just know I'll get to do my very favorite thing-- talk about my sweet Lord Jesus, yours truly here is going to get to do a spoof of the Blue Collar Comedy Tour, (the one with Foxworthy, and the Get 'Er Done guy.) Kathy Patrick, River Jordan, Suzanne McClaren, and myself will comprise the Pink Collar Tour for the Friday evening entertainment. Don't tell anyone, but we haven't even practiced. We're just gonna sit out there like the men do, all glammed up in rhinestones and pink, and wing it! I can't wait.

More later-- I've got to get the roller derby down and scoot.

Tons of love to y'all--


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Look at me go!

That previous post was me figuring out how to blog on the go from my phone. Be afraid. Be very afraid.

Is this working

Or am I talking to myself?

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Country Goes to Town

Hey Y'all,

This weekend Phil and I enjoyed a very relaxing weekend with our good friends, Rhonda and Lamar.

We took a short trip to Greenwood, MS to stay at The Alluvian.

The famous Viking Cooking School sits across the street. It was cool. My daughter would've been in orbit over this place. Note to self: must take Jessica.

We didn't take a class, (had to be signed up earlier) but we enjoyed browsing the retail store and buying a few new cooking gadgets. Among a few other small items, I got some awesome stainless silver coffee cups/saucers like the ones back in our room at the Alluvian so my man and I can experience a little luxury back here at home. The man himself-

Afterwards we went back to the hotel to dress for our reservations at historic Giardina’s, one of the Mississippi Delta's finest restaurants. Roller Derby pic straight ahead.

Okay, confession time. You should've seen our Country Gone to Town faces when our party of four was finally called and we were escorted to our own stall. I don't know what we were expecting and I know it was really a private dining room, but seriously, check out this picture. Does it not look like a riding stable? Our stall was on the far left. :)

(Sorry Giardina's. I was raised on Bull Run Road, you know?) The heavy green panels are the "doors" to the private rooms. Funny thing is, time flew by in our little room. Before we knew it two hours of "dining" had passed and we were ready to roll to our rooms.

Saturday afternoon we went to see "Seven Pounds", the new Will Smith movie. Let me sum it up for you. CRY YOUR EYES OUT SAD STUFF. Red doesn't get to choose movies for the four of us ever again. Sorry Red.

I can't tell you how long it's been since I have totally and completely relaxed-- no working, texting, emails, nothing. It's under-rated. That's all I'm saying.


P.S. Wait-- I lied. I did do a tiny bit of texting when Phillip and Carey e'd a pic of my grinning grandchild. I must post Emerson Ann here. Is she fine, or what?

Thursday, January 1, 2009

New Year's Eve

By way of confession, I was wrong. After six years of foot draggin' about blogging, and countless excuses, I admit it-- I was sorely mistaken. I thought in addition to all my other deadline duties, blogging would just be too much, but apparently I have even more words in me, (poor Husband, that can't be easy.) I just love chatting with y'all about the living that happens between All Things Southern's weekly issues.

I mean, when else would I tell y'all about blowing up a Christmas tree at the New Year's Eve party? (More on that later!) My friends, Andy and Laurie Brister host this event at their hunting camp. This is my kind of party-- there are no sequins here, folks! We're talking camo and sweats. Meet the happy host --

and hostess--

I really must share a Laurie story. Some people (not me, of course) may have given this self-described girly girl a hard time for noting on the invitation, "Bring your favorite party food. We'll have duck gumbo and non-venison chili." I mean, who invites folks to a hunting camp with a non-venison disclaimer, but a true girly-girl?" (Love you, Laurie!)

Here are some pics of the crowd. What are they lined up to watch? Well, I'm getting to that.

But back to our question. Why are we all standing outside in the cold weather? Why for "The 2nd Annual Redneck New Year's/Christmas Tree Disposal Celebration", of course! This is the cutting edge way of disposing of those trees, don't you know? Doesn't everyone do that on New Year's? (You can watch video of that first celebration here:

And here's this year's victim going up in flames.

The good news is that no one was injured, but the tree. HAPPY NEW YEAR'S FRIENDS!