Tuesday, September 30, 2008


because of a blogger...

every morning for the past eighteen months, i have done the same thing. i have opened my eyes and dragged myself to the bathroom mirror. i have regarded my reflection in the quiet darkness. i have brushed my teeth, and chosen outfits, and packed school lunches and peeked at the news. i have straightened my hair. or i have not. i have wrangled jack out of bed. i have driven to school. i have sat in the parking lot of the hotel and tried to guess what would be waiting for me on the other side of the front door.

every morning for the past eighteen months, i have also fought the urge to do "none of the above." this has been a tough time. and i might have felt like i was going it alone.


because of a blogger, well, because of blogging... i belong to a circle of mentors. i belong to a circle of teachers. i belong to a circle of listeners. i belong to a circle of creators. i belong to a circle of friends.

and so, every day for the past eighteen months i have also taken a photo, cooked a meal, written a card, crafted a present, and thought of a friend. i have asked for opinions, and shared my own. i have commented, and i have read your comments. oh, how i have read your comments!! i have found goodness in these past eighteen months.

i want to call you all by name, i want to link to all of your thoughts, your recipes, your crafts, your photos. but it is so much more than these *things,* much more than could possibly be bundled into a blog roll.

because of a blogger... i know i will continue to find goodness in every day.

it's spt day!!

today is the final spt installment of because of a blogger.... this month has certainly given me a lot to think about. so much so, that i'm not quite ready to post my own spt yet. so you'll have to check back later today.

in the meanwhile, use this time to get your own spt together. this week we're talking about how we've been motivated to spark our personal growth because of a blogger. shouldn't this be the week that you take a few moments for yourself, and really explore this challenge?? go ahead... i dare you!

i will post mr. linky later today, thereby giving you plenty of time to get your thoughts (and your photographs) together!!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

far from the tree

you may remember our first foray into team sports, when jack attended soccer camp at the beginning of the summer. i alluded to the fact that fall soccer was most definitely in our future.

the moment has arrived, and saturday was opening day of Fall Soccer 2008! i don't have the car magnet yet, but go ahead and call me *soccer mom.*

from the moment the kids got started with warm-ups, i was absolutely in awe of jack's talent on, and off, the field. this kid has an athlete's body - long and lean, built not only for speed, but for tricky footwork and maneuverability.

he loves
to get
psyched up
before the game.

he is often right in the middle of the team, someone to whom the other kids naturally gravitate, and he handles this with grace...

...even when he doesn't feel like being the center of attention.

he's a natural athlete, and i find myself questioning the "laws" of nature. he is fast, where i am slow. he is driven, where i find myself distracted. he has endurance, where i am winded.

he is humble. and i could not be more proud.

Thursday, September 25, 2008


like a hurricane, without the humidity.

i really wish i could have captured the rain as it fell behind me.
(hey, is anyone surprised that my hoodie is BLUE?!?)

Tuesday, September 23, 2008


because of a blogger...

before cable and the internet were household commodities, i was a cookbook cook. and then came food network. and then came martha stewart living online. and then came blogging.

i haven't opened a cookbook in years!!

who doesn't love a recipe that comes with a personal recommendation? and bloggers are quick to share their tride and true favorites.

last night, in preparation for spt, i tried natasha's enchiladas. (her blog is private, so i snatched a photo!)

here's my version. looks fantastic, doesn't it?!?

here is the original recipe, from Southern Living.

thank you, natasha, and all you other bloggers out there, who make it so easy for me to enjoy dinner time!! what are YOU cooking up this week?

Sunday, September 21, 2008

things that go bump

i've seen this idea in several places recently, and knew it would end up in my home. (i already had the frame, so this really was a no-brainer.)

i loved this idea, using newspaper instead of scrapbook paper.

i printed the letters on pages from this week's stock exchange report. that's pretty scary, isn't it?!?

Friday, September 19, 2008

grace notes

i am listening to Christmas music today.

shocking, i know, coming from the blogger who (at one time) refused to wear the color orange outside of the month of october; the blogger who (up until now) refused to listen to Christmas music before december first.

but i am not just listening to Christmas music for sheer recreation. i am *learning* it, with the intent to perform it.

you see, it's been a month since Seussical! closed, and i really need a reason to sing. as another great "Cat" once said, "if you want to sing out, sing out!"

so some friends and i are forming a group!

who wants to come over for some close-harmony, a cappella vocalizing on sunday afternoon?!?

we have chosen december 13th as our debut, mostly because there's this choral gig, and we know the organizer of the event. it will be a mix of holiday and traditional songs, sacred and secular. we have been talking about forming this group for a few years now, so i am thrilled that we will finally make it happen!

our assignment for our first meeting on sunday is to start brainstorming names for our group. and i got nothin'!


Tuesday, September 16, 2008


because of a blogger...

i have always thought of myself as a creative person. however, that creativity has been supercharged by the wealth of goodness in the blogosphere. not a day goes by that i don't stumble upon, drool over or otherwise permanently bookmark an idea from another blog. what in the world did we ever do without the collective creativity of the universe right at our very fingertips?!?

here is just a sample of the wonderful ideas i've been able to reproduce on my own. these ornaments were ridiculously easy to make, and look fantastic on a tree, tied to a giftbox, or even resting on the tabletop in a tumbled collection. thank you to jill for providing the inspiration and easy-to-follow directions!!

and now that i've been thinking about these little blocks again, how much do i want to go back and try amy's whimsical project??

(just how many blue shirts can a girl wear? i've been thinking about this ever since i changed my banner collage last week...)

Friday, September 12, 2008

makeover. takeover.

i've got to shake it up around here. change the color scheme. dust away the cobwebs.

i've been experimenting with some different widgets, gadgets and readers. you may see some new things. you may miss some old things. someday i will have a webmaster, and my little piece of the blogsphere will be custom-made for me. but in the meantime, please pardon the dust!

here's a topic of discussion for you: we are currently looking for a college football team to be *our* team. i went to a Division III college and matty went here, so needless to say, we don't have team that we necessarily identify with.

i'm partial to Georgia (two of my sisters graduated from UGA), and the only major college football game i've ever attended was in the awesome Sanford Stadium.

however, we live in NC, and in my quest to identify with this great state (and to encourage my seven year old to attend a *state school*), we're wondering if we shouldn't consider UNC or NC State.

who are you rooting for this weekend? how do you feel about me "taking over" another college's football team?

Thursday, September 11, 2008

what NOT to wear

i wore my favorite autumn dress yesterday. who cares if it's 90 degrees outside? it is AFTER labor day, and i WILL celebrate fall.

and i carried my purse. my summer purse. to work. to my Rotary meeting. to the store.

and it was bad. very, very bad.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


over at the nesting place, they're having a little get together. a cozy little gathering where you can feel free to talk about your problems.

say, your problems with objectionable pretend plants...

i wasn't going to go to the party (even though i've sort of been standing outside on the lawn looking in at the party all day long.) i honestly didn't think i belonged.

there are no objectionable pretend plants in MY house.

but, as is usually the way with denial, it reared it's ugly head when i sat down to blog this evening. for, there, up on the shelf above where i sit this very minute, is this:

oh, i know, it doesn't look like much. it is, after all, tucked away in a laundry basket in my computer closet. but, the thing is... it's my wedding ivy.

horrible plastic-y ivy (i got it wholesale!) that i used to decorate my wedding back in 2000. and the reason it is in the laundry basket is because i've had it out for the past several months - with the intent to use it!!

i hope there's room for one more at the nester's house, 'cause i'm on my way in!

get the goods

the adorable michelle allen is having a giveaway of some of her adorable stuff!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008


because of a blogger...

i love to swap soup!! i first heard about the National Soup Swap at not martha (one of my favorite places to go for cool links.) as soon as i read about the swap, i knew i HAD to do it!!

you can read about my first swap here. and we swapped again this year. i even got to write something for the *official* National Soup Swap blog.

have you ever had a soup swap?? have you ever read about an entertaining idea in the blogosphere and thought, "why didn't i think of that?!?"

Monday, September 08, 2008

colorful psychosis

i was called away from my desk for a moment, and when i came back in, i was so pleased by this on my desk. i know this color combo is pretty hot right now, but i don't think i've really seen it in action. i was startled, actually, at how pretty it was.

of course, then i started wondering... does anyone else eat their candy by color?!?! please tell me i'm not the only one! i guess i didn't really notice until i saw the evidence on my desk.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

a day in the life - tropical storm hanna edition - the end

6:07 pm
home. showered and fed and rested, with a few hours of watching college football from the sofa under my belt.

ran into the "hurricane researchers" in the elevator. they are a nice group of young men, affiliated with a university, i believe. one of them made a comment about how they only ever get to spend about two hours in any of their hotel rooms (because they basically *chase* storms this time of year.) they travel light! one duffel a piece, and nary a beer can left in their wake!!

will have the landscapers address the wasted wax myrtles next week (total of four down, not two as originally though.) i HATE the loss of mature trees in any storm. it changes everything!

it looks like the east coast will be spared Ike, and i'm hopeful that we ALL are spared Ike. if you ever have to evacuate to a hotel, don't forget to pack your stuffed animals, bring plenty of snacks, and take a moment to salute the staff! you might even ask them if they have any queso dip to share...

do you roger that?!?

a day in the life - tropical storm hanna edition - part nine

2:05 am
sleeping through the night, only waking up once or twice when i hear heavy wind and rain (hotel rooms, while notoriously thin-walled, are pretty sound proof when it comes to outside noise. especially when the A/C unit is running. jack insists that he wants to go downstairs and "see the storm." i tell him i will wake him if there was anything to see. (wink, wink...)

cheeky monkey sets the alarm for 2 am, the expected time of landfall.

HE does not stir when the alarm goes off.

I jump out of my skin.

6:00 am
take a peek outside. our window faces east, which gets the early part of the storm. not much happening now. think about going down and checking with the night auditor about how it's going. think about checking if they need help setting up the breakfast buffet. (have delayed staff arrival until noon, when winds and rain should be long gone.)

fall back asleep while thinking about it.

7:00 am
time to assess the situation. dress in the semi-dark and head downstairs. take the back door, checking out the pool first. we drained it off yesterday in preparation of heavy rain. now it is a half-full pool. half-full of pine needles!! will take some work to get it back up and running this weekend. (make mental note to prepare adequate signage. in my experience, guests will NOT understand this afternoon why the pool isn't open. it will be sunny! and hot! and they will not be able to swim!! it's called bacteria, people. the invisible killer.) (okay, that might be a little extreme.)

walk the parking lot, check that our brand new palm tree is still standing. there's a truck in the parking lot labeled "hurricane research." wonder if that's a legitimate organization. it looks a little generic. sort of like it might be the truck of some people who's idea of "hurricane research" involves frozen drinks from New Orleans.

parking lot is on the west side of the building, where the wind is heaviest after the "eye" passes. it's still kicking at a pretty good clip. pick up a few palm fronds and decide it's a wasted of time to clean up anymore while the wind is still blowing. walk to the back door to re-enter building and notice that part of the pool fence is listing at a remarkable angle. hmmm. didn't notice that before. need coffee.

7:46 am
coffee in hand, survey pool fence with assistant manager scott (assistant TO the manager). he volunteers to stand there and hold it in place until we can get it fixed. ah, we all still have our sense of humors intact!

executive housekeeper points out that we lost two mature trees on the east side, just outside of the breakfast area. bummer. (good thing we took those bird feeders down!) fortunately, they have fallen parallel to the building, and did not come crashing through the beautiful floor to ceiling windows!

time to begin the water damage survey, which is a very technical process. it involves going into every. single. room. of the hotel and feeling the carpet in front of the A/C unit. i mean getting down and feeling it with your hand. wonder if i can sub-contract that work? (i'm kidding, of course!) (well, sort of...)

Friday, September 05, 2008

a day in the life - tropical storm hanna edition - part eight

11:29 pm

"landfall" is expected within a few hours. why does "landfall" only count for the center of the storm? what about the hours and hours of wind and rain that sometimes come beforehand?? if jim cantore ever shows up at my hotel, i will ask him that.

The Weather Channel has moved Mike Siedell to a different beach. a windier beach. makes for better television, i guess.

things are calm and quiet here. the pool is full of frogs (but, thankfully, no alligators tonight!) we are watching the history channel and this is really no different than how we would've spent friday night at home. except that, at home, i would have been folding laundry and getting out my fall decorations.

i'm going to bed. i expect when i wake up, we will be feeling more "storm-like" effects. but the coffee will be hot. see you then!

a day in the life - tropical storm hanna edition - part seven

8:57 pm
i'm having a lot of random thoughts. is it possible to be delirious from spending too much time at the hotel?

we've been up in the room watching food network's bbq and chili challenge. matty and i decided that we should contact christopher guest , and suggest that his next mockumentary should follow the characters who travel the chili cook-off circuit. if you know what i'm talking about, then you will most likely think this is a very funny idea...

the wind/rain has definitely started, and at times the rain hitting our window is making it difficult for me to hear jim cantore. which means it is makin it difficult for me to make fun of jim cantore.

all morning, while jim cantore was broadcasting from the Outer Banks, i kept thinking about how i can't wait to go see "Nights in Rodanthe."

9:14 pm
my mother just called from the beach house where she is spending the night with my grandparents (aside: my grandparents are both over 95 years old, and live in Port Charlotte, FL. several years ago, after their home was damaged by Charley, the family decided that it was a good idea for grabbie and pop-pop to spend hurricane season up here. they rent a beach house in september and october.) anyway, my mother called to ask me if the power had gone out over here, since they couldn't see Southport anymore. the rain bands were heavy enough to obscure their view across the water (a distance of about 3 miles.)

9:24 pm
boredom has set in.

a day in the life - tropical storm hanna edition - part six

thirty minutes ago:

think the surfers will be excited about those waves?? (teehee)


it finally started raining. by the time i got outside to take a picture, it had stopped.

7:27 pm
jack has crumbled. going to get him settled up in the "suite" (ha ha) in p'jayzees. do you believe walmart was entirely OUT of microwave popcorn?!? well, except for "garden herb and olive oil"?? oh, the humanity...

a day in the life - tropical storm hanna edition - part five

4:55 pm
wake up from a semi-nap. click the tv back on for updates. more of the same.
jack has taken over my laptop and played "poptropica" for the past forty minutes or so. matty is sound asleep. decide to go downstairs and see what's what.

5:20 pm
jack and i have started melting some queso dip in the crockpot (well...we have to eat something while we're here!!) my management team will spend the night here tonight, so we've decided on a mexican theme for dinner. during ophelia, it was "make your own deli sandwiches." during charley, it was pizza.

5:45 pm
surf a few blogs. get really excited to get a shout out at tip junkie. decide, since it's so quiet around here, to spend some time uploading the new hotel photos to the people that will update the website. each photo is taking approximately 9 minutes to upload. it's feeling very hot and stuffy in my office.

6:18 pm
jack and i have reached our breaking point with each other. try to get matty and jack to go out for a while (because it is still here. and hot. no breezes. no rain.) it really is hard to imagine a storm moving through within the next seven hours or so. decide that I probably need to go out for awhile...

a day in the life - tropical storm hanna edition - part four

2:58 pm
we have retired to our rooms for lunch and potential napping. i justify this as conserving my energy.

ts hanna has revved herself up to 70 mph winds. for you novices out there, a minimal hurricane (category 1) has winds of 74 mph. the difference between a tropical storm and a hurricane is all in those few miles per hour. i know it's a necessary distinction (for all sorts of forecasting and insurance reasons, probably.)

those few miles per hour, though, can truly lead to a false sense of security. most people around here haven't witnessed a major storm since 1999's Floyd, and unfortunately, have become a little too laid back about tropical storms. the prevailing attitude is that a *simple* tropical storm/*weak* hurricane isn't' something to be concerned about. there's more of a party attitude: wooHOO i don't have to work today! let's have a hurricane party!! man-on-the-street, who is inevitably interviewed by The Weather Channel, proudly states that HIS crew doesn't budge for anything less than a "3"!

during the approach of a storm, most residents are urged to move "inland," for fear of heavy winds and, most importantly, storm surge. my hotel is approximately 5 miles from the beach, although you still have to cross the intracoastal waterway to get here from the ocean. 5 miles, with a major waterway in between, does not really make for a good definition of "inland." we've spent a good portion of our week fielding phone calls from all of the party people who would rather ride out the storm in the hotel than in their homes.

i honestly don't believe they want to stay here to get away from the storm. it probably has more to do with the fact that if they stay here, somebody else will clean up all the beer cans...

i do everything in my power to dissuade those people from coming here.

3:12 pm
i've probably bored you to tears with technical storm info. and? i'm getting really tempted to buy the Pro Caulk kit they are advertising incessantly on The Weather Channel. have you seen this thing? i mean, who wouldn't want to re caulk all of their bathrooms with this thing?!?

3:21 pm
forgot to mention: slightly overcast. winds are calm. extremely HUMID!

a day in the life - tropical storm hanna edition - part three

12:45 pm
ho-hum. jack has settled down with his "highlights: top secret" kit that his granne just dropped off. i have settled down to updating my hurricane manual (no time like the present, right??)

matty is finally off-island, and i've just sent him to pick up a few board games from the house and sandwich stuff for our room. rooms, i should say. i *splurged* on the adjoining this time around. it's been about three years since we had to hole up in the hotel for a storm. back then, our little family of three was content in one room. now, our little family of three includes a playstation (warrants it's own TV for sure), AND the aforementioned family of stuffed animals.

12:50 pm
jack is upstairs with the walkie talkie, giving me a play by play of the housekeeping staff. it's hysterical!! maybe i should offer him a part time job as a security guard. he ends every sentence with, "do you roger that?"

12:51 pm
i feel like i've been here for 8 hours. it hasn't even been four... not raining. no breezes. yet.

a day in the life - tropical storm hanna edition - part two

11:20 am
latest update from NOAA shows storm making a landfall a little south and west of us, which puts us in the "right front quadrant." typically the hairiest part of the storm. hopefully, though, we still won't see hurricane strength winds.
watching a hurricane come is tedious. it makes me sleepy.

jack and i have been testing the walkie talkies. for an hour. at least he feels free to roam the hotel without me attached to his side.

i want to go to my room and take a nap. it will be a long night (landfall is expected around 2 am tomorrow.) however, this is a "typical workday" now that all of our major preparations are done. hmmmm, how can i get motivated?

jack is still "testing" his walkie talkie. i just turned mine off...

a day in the life - tropical storm hanna edition - part one

from time to time, i've been asked to share my experiences as the general manager of a hotel. so, i'm thinking, now that i'm *stuck* here for the next 24 hours or so, this could be a good time to try it out!!

fyi, TS Hanna is posing no specific threat to life and limb here. if this was a major storm, i would probably be in my car heading inland. i am not in harms way as type these words. i repeat, i am safe and sound. well, okay, i'm safe. the sound part has yet to be proven...

6:10 am
alarm goes off and i promptly turn it off. school has been cancelled for the day (some of the schools are used as emergency shelters). they're also concerned about the buses running this afternoon in heavy rains and/or wind. so they made the decision last night to go ahead and cancel schools. but, where was i? oh, that's right, sleeping in.

7:18 am
time to get up and prepare for moving over to the hotel. our house is about 9 miles inland from the hotel, so no real threat of damage here. for this storm, at least. we spent wednesday and thursday evenings "battening down the hatches." are windchimes considered "hatches?"
first cup of coffee while i spend twenty minutes watching The Weather Channel. nothing new. really glad jim cantore is up in the Outer Banks. have a feeling he and his crew would be a little high maintenance.

7:45 am
wash up dishes, start packing overnight bag. wake jack, who's overly excited to spend the night at the hotel(!) take trash to the curb, start dishwasher, note big raindrops beginning to fall on the driveway. ugh - it is HUMID!

8:10 am
start thinking i really should be getting to the hotel, as it tends to be a little crazy during storms. "voluntary evacuations" have been issued for all of the beach communities. a "voluntary evacuation" is the local governments way of covering their rearends. hardly anyone will evacuate. unless they think that camping out at the Hampton Inn is an evacuation.

8:40 am
load up four(!) overnight bags. no use convincing jack that he does not need every. single.stuffed animal from his bedroom. they're coming along, too. head into town. there is a light rain that makes it necessary to run windshield wipers. oh, wait, now we don't need them. it will be like this all morning.
mat calls from bald head island. he will cross back to mainland on the noon ferry. debating whether or not to stay at the hotel or stay at the house. i say the house is fine. i will NOT be fine if i have the hotel AND jack to manage alone for the next 24 hours!

9:00 am
second cup of coffee. hampton inn style/robust. jack raids the complimentary breakfast buffet. i touch base with my front desk team, maintenance, housekeeping. all preparations are just about done - the pool is closed, the flags are down, sandbags ready, walkie talkies charged. the sun is shining. decide to eat a bagel before moving our *luggage* upstairs.

9:45 am
unload the car and make our way onto the elevator. by the time we reach our room on the second floor, rain and wind are pelting the window on the east side of the hotel. jack and i give each other a high five that we unloaded the car just in time. we make our way downstairs. ten minutes later, the sun is shining.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

hanna schmanna

have you ever wondered where southport, nc is?
see the hurricane watch?
we're right in the middle.

we're hopeful that hanna will stay true to her tropical storm identity, and leave the winds for another day. we sure could use the rain, though.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

follow me where i go...

did you notice the totally cool new blogger gadget on my sidebar???

it was so easy to add, you know, even lelly could do it!

so, come on? what are you waiting for? follow along...

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


because of a blogger...

i have many examples of how blogging has beautified my home (is that grammatically possible?!?) here is a quickie until this evening, when i can take time to do this post justice. the first day back to work after a four-day-weekend does not make for ideal blog posting!!

i never, ever, would have though of making seasonal pillowcases! ever!! but with inspiration from kristi and cristin, my family can now say they have slept on festive pillowcases! (i still don't have that embroidery machine, but a girl can dream!)