Fries with Gravy

From the heart of the hon belt...


I Want a New Apron!

@ 03:28 PM (98 months, 20 days ago)

Since I can't tell you how many shirts I have had destroyed by splattering grease and whatnot, I have taken to wearing aprons while cooking.  Even in trackpants and a $6 Target t-shirt, I feel completely June Cleaver-ish while wearing an apron - I might as well be wearing heels and pearls...ta da! 

I could *win* this apron courtesy of a contest at Smockity Frocks which makes it all the more succulent...nevermind the darling strawberries and sweet red gingham. 

Go!  Buy aprons!! :)



Ravens Week: Purple Monday

@ 07:47 PM (99 months, 3 days ago)

If you don't have a love of the game, you're gonna think I'm a crazy woman - guaranteed.  My Ravens made the playoffs.  No big surprise there - we're a solid team with some bigtime players.  I remember the moment over the summer when I heard that Steve McNair was coming to Baltimore...*sigh*, it was then that I knew we'd very likely get to this place in the post-season.  Then, a mere month later...meeting him at the restaurant where I worked (for something like 3 days) felt like some kind of serendipitous occasion.  Barring serious injuries, I never doubted the Ravens' appearance in the playoffs this season.

Now that it's here, I am beyond excited.  What I *am* may not even be considered a positive emotion.  Yay - my football team is doing great but why am I so anxious?  So nervous?  So terrrrrified?  I spent the morning in the minivan, listening to talk radio.  Baltimore has Ravens fever and everyone has an opinion.  They've got in the bag!  Oh God, they're gonna lose their asses.  I can't handle hearing it all, but then I can't change the station over to plain ol' music because OHMYGOSH, someone could be talking about the Ravens and I'll miss crucial insight regarding this week's matchup.  And where would I be without knowing up to the minute facts about point spread and the health of Jonathan Ogden's toe??

Have I mentioned we play THE COLTS this weekend?  The headline on today's paper said something like "MOST IMPORTANT SPORTING EVENT TO EVVVERRRRR COME TO BALTIMORE".  If that's not enough to make you need Prozac, well...I just can't confirm what is.  I mean.  The COLTS.  Commercially celebrated Peyton Manning who has choked in the post season every year thus far when he's supposedly the greatest QB in the league.  The COLTS.  Same ones who left Baltimore back in '84 via a notorious Maytag truck.  "Like thieves in the night", we've heard told time and again.  They left us and took their records with them... our beloved Johnny U now appearing under Indianapolis's section in the NFL Hall of Fame. 

Baltimore caught a lot of heat for the way the Ravens franchise was obtained back in 1996.  Cleveland wasn't building the Browns a new stadium, their franchise was losing money and the longtime owner wanted out of the city as a result.  He moved to Baltimore, leaving the Browns' colors, history, records and saga in the city of Cleveland.  They were rewarded with a new team within 2 years.  Baltimore started from scratch, building the Ravens.  I've always felt like we were a team that induced a sneer among the NFL elite - it was particularly sweet when we won the SuperBowl in the 2000-'01 season with straight up defense, the way we had to be.  That year was destiny.  This year... to be determined. 

All I know is I'm in deep.  We just can't lose to those dastardly Colts.  Some days I wonder if I'll ever really be able to detach myself from this city and this feeling.  No matter how sick it all makes me.  :)



Happy New Year...a couple days late

@ 10:18 PM (99 months, 8 days ago)

Happy 2007, yo.  I rang it in with a bang...working and watching the Twilight Zone.  Watching the ball drop with poor ol' Dick Clark.  What I was really looking forward to were the gossip blogs the day after.  Britney passed out!  Jessica slobbered all over John Mayer!  Sadly, I love that stuff. 

Resolutions...bah.  All I want in 2007 is to be able to string my Christmas lights from a Palmetto tree.  :)

Happy Birthday, Duggie. 


12 Days of Christmas

@ 10:09 AM (99 months, 22 days ago)

Loving this YouTube video of the Indiana University singers. 


Merry Christmas, hon!

@ 10:43 AM (99 months, 24 days ago)


Shopping, wrapping, working, having a sinus infection.  Not baking.  Definitely not blogging.  *sigh*

Merry Christmas to all!!  Fries With Gravy will be back as soon as possible. :)


What a Beautiful Gift Idea!

@ 09:44 AM (100 months, 9 days ago)

The blogger behind Life in a Shoe is holding a contest for other bloggers who write about her wonderful business venture You can order a framed original page from a Geneva Bible, and honestly, these are *gorgeous* and would make a beautiful gift for a faithful friend or family member.


The 1599 Geneva Bible was a veritable milestone in our spiritual heritage: it was the first study Bible; the first to assign chapter and verse numbers; the first to be printed in a portable and affordable edition.

It was the Bible of the Puritans; the Bible of Shakespeare; the Bible of the great Reformers; the Bible of the common man.

It has been over 400 years since this edition of the Geneva Bible was first printed.

Now you can own a piece of this history of God's Word.

Your original leaf from the the Geneva Bible will be painstakingly preserved in an acid-free environment to maintain its beauty and value for generations to come.


The website explains that the page you order comes from a "breaker book" so no Bibles are harmed in the process of gifting.  Go check it out!!


Mom Meme

@ 12:15 AM (100 months, 13 days ago)

1. How long have you been a Mom?
The oldest turned 8 in October

2. How many children call you Mommy/Mom/Mama?
Technically, 3.  My nephew calls me "Momma, Momma" and then gets a good look at me and corrects himself to, "Deena, Deena"

3. Girl? Boy? Both?
Boy, Girl, Girl

4. Did you know what you were having?
Yes, I'm impatient and curious and had to know how to decorate.  Classic Pooh for the boy (how I loved the idea of English Christopher Robin) and some pink and green Waverly coordinates for the girls.  

5. How old were you when you became a Mom?:

6. How long were you in labor?

After a seemingly sucky pregnancy with toxemia and a month of bedrest, I was (finally!) induced at 7am for Seth and he was born at 3:16pm.  It was easy and I pushed for exactly 15 minutes. Claire and Grace were born by c-section, 9 weeks early.  No labor, but more worry and pain than should ever be considered natural.  Awful pregnancies, easy births.

7. What’s your favorite thing about being a mom?

"Because I said so! bwahahahaha!"  I'm also pretty fond of making pigtails.

8. What’s your least favorite thing?
Company in the bathroom.  ahem.

9. Do you want more kids?
Nope.  I think one day when they are all teenaged and surly, I'll want to adopt one.  But then I might just want a Winnebago and some time to hold an actual conversation with my husband.  It depends.

10. Do you plan on having more soon?
That is so not in the plans. 

11. Does daddy change diapers?

Of course he did.  Otherwise, terrible, terrible things.

12. How many times have you been peed on?
At least a few. 

13. Barfed on?
Claire was on reflux meds from minute one.  Enough said.

14. Is your child named after anyone?
Claire's middle name is Kathryn after Doug's mom.  Grace's first name is Sarah after my mom.  Seth is lucky he has a name besides "Baby Boy"  because it was that much effort. 

15. How did you come up with their name(s)?
We were altogether disagreeable on names except for Claire's.  Seth was a compromise between Heath (his) and Alex (mine).  Seth sounded soft and cultured yet masculine and potentially quarterback-ish.  We both loved Claire.  Sarah Grace was an answer to a prayer - poor little dear weighed 2.5 lbs. when she was born... Sarah was my mother and she died right before I found I was pregnant.  Grace was simply God's gift. 

16. When your child gets in trouble, who is the bad guy?
I am the bad, bad guy.

17. And who is the good guy?
Daddy.  Pfft.

18. What is the longest you have been away from your children?
Went to Charleston, SC in 2005 for 3 days.  Went to Berkeley Springs, WV in 2006 for 3 days.  Hey...6 days total.  Not counting the NICU stay for the twins when they were born - that was 6 weeks.

19. Bedtime routine?
teeth brushing, a book, prayers all the way around & turning on the music.  Daddy sings a crazy amount of songs that I just can't deal with because MY GOSH, I'm done, aren't I??

20. Are your toes painted?
But, of course.

21. Last movie you saw in the theatre?
Um.  Um.  Curious George?  Nacho Libre?  WAIT!  Devil Wears Prada?

22. Last time you had a date?
A couple weeks ago we snuck out to Chinese food by ourselves.

23. One thing you will not give up just because you’re a mom?

Painting my toenails?  Sex?  Beer? 

24. One thing you did give up now that you’re a mom?

25. Best mom perk?
Track pants?

26. Snack you sneak bites from your child?
Yeah...all of them. 

27. When the kid is napping, you are?
As if they napped in the past 3 years.

28. Where is your child now?

29. Favorite place to buy maternity clothes?
Target.  And Motherhood.

30. If I could do it over, I’d do this differently:
Milk pregnancy and it's aftermath for all that it's worth, claiming pain and ineptitude at every turn.   SERIOUSLY.

31. What is the craziest thing you have said/done/taught since becoming a mom?
It varies by the day.  I'm pretty crazy.  Santa has a hidden camera in the ceiling fan.  Be good. 


The Lovely Bones

@ 08:07 PM (100 months, 24 days ago)

I was just going to write up a standard little book review - gushing about how very much I loved The Lovely Bones.  I'd oddly never heard of the book, which was a surprise bestseller for over a year in 2002.  Well I say oddly, but truth is that in 2002 I had two one-year olds, so it's probably no real oddity that I never read the newspaper nor had any concept that people were still out in the world walking about and eating in restaurants, and reading?  The luxuriating bastards.  Upon begging some friends for book recommendations recently, I stumbled into Alice Sebold's first novel. 

From Wikipedia:

The Lovely Bones (2002), by Alice Sebold, is a novel told in the first person by Susie Salmon, a 14-year-old girl who is raped, murdered, and dismembered in the first chapter. Over the next few years, from a personalized heaven that takes the form of a high school she never lived to attend and its suburban surroundings, she watches her family and friends deal with their grief, while her killer escapes justice and goes on to kill again. She tries to reach a sense of closure herself, with the help of others she becomes acquainted with in heaven. Susie can, when she looks down on Earth, see the lives and thoughts of the people she knew, even those of her murderer. She is largely unable to directly interact with them. However, sometimes, members of her family on Earth can see her very briefly.

I didn't know how well I'd be able to palate the story of a teenage girl being dismembered, but the book is really engaging and at times, even sweet.  Susie's perception of Heaven doesn't make mention of God, but the Wikipedia article makes an interesting point to say:

Interestingly, readers who took a Christian perspective faulted Susie's heaven for being utterly devoid of any apparent religious aspect ("It's a very God-free heaven, with no suggestion that anyone has been judged, or found wanting," Hensher groused); while others from a secular background found the very idea of heaven inherently religious.

I don't necessarily jump into novels with my "Christian perspective" in full review mode, so I wasn't bothered by the afterworld that Susie described.  Fiction is fiction - it was an interesting perspective that wasn't at all devoid of spirituality.  I was moved by Susie's devotion to her family and by how her parents reacted so separately to their daughter's untimely death. 

When I Google'd the book, I discovered that Peter Jackson has announced production for a movie adaptation!  Making the case for reading more - now I have a movie to really look forward to.  That doesn't happen all that often anymore. 


Since I last posted

@ 03:04 PM (101 months, 5 days ago)

my oldest child turned eight, I became addicted to Friday Night Lights, I watched the Country Music Awards no less than four times and OHMYGOODGRAVY, Britney Spears filed for divorce.  It's been a good ten days. 

The birthday party went off without a hitch, even with a daring venture into Mexican cooking.  And how about my ingenuity at incorporating Thank You notes into handwriting practice?  Am I homeschooler extraordinaire or *what*?  Yeah, I'm not...but sometimes I keed. 

Friday Night Lights is such a fabulous new show that if you're not watching, my friend Sherry will hunt you down and make you turn it on because it just better not get canceled, dammit. 

Britney, I am so proud of you, sugar.  That fool (FedEx, lol) has embarrassed you enough. 

I can't get enough Josh Turner.  I thought Faith Hill was just kidding in her self-absorbed, pretentious way of course, but kidding all the same.  Maybe she wasn't.  Either way, she's kinda dumb.  But I just can't get enough Josh Turner.  *le sigh*


Shut Up and Sing - Dixie Chicks Ad Yanked by NBC

@ 10:56 AM (101 months, 15 days ago)

If you thought that the media isn't government influenced (dare I say controlled?), think again.  Here's the 30 second spot that NBC refuses to air on the grounds that it's disparaging to the Presidency - the advertisement for the Dixie Chicks new movie (Rated R), made in response to the backlash they received for anti-Bush comments post 9/11. 

I'm not ready to make nice either.


Remember Pat Tillman - Support Our Troops!

@ 10:41 AM (101 months, 19 days ago)

When you vote in the coming Midterm Election, remember the soldiers & be informed about the reality of the wars we wage.

A letter from Pat's Brother:

It is Pat’s birthday on November 6, and elections are the day after. It gets me thinking about a conversation I had with Pat before we joined the military. He spoke about the risks with signing the papers. How once we committed, we were at the mercy of the American leadership and the American people. How we could be thrown in a direction not of our volition. How fighting as a soldier would leave us without a voice… until we got out.

Much has happened since we handed over our voice:

Somehow we were sent to invade a nation because it was a direct threat to the American people, or to the world, or harbored terrorists, or was involved in the September 11 attacks, or received weapons-grade uranium from Niger, or had mobile weapons labs, or WMD, or had a need to be liberated, or we needed to establish a democracy, or stop an insurgency, or stop a civil war we created that can’t be called a civil war even though it is. Something like that.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow our elected leaders were subverting international law and humanity by setting up secret prisons around the world, secretly kidnapping people, secretly holding them indefinitely, secretly not charging them with anything, secretly torturing them. Somehow that overt policy of torture became the fault of a few “bad apples” in the military.

Somehow back at home, support for the soldiers meant having a five-year-old kindergartener scribble a picture with crayons and send it overseas, or slapping stickers on cars, or lobbying Congress for an extra pad in a helmet. It’s interesting that a soldier on his third or fourth tour should care about a drawing from a five-year-old; or a faded sticker on a car as his friends die around him; or an extra pad in a helmet, as if it will protect him when an IED throws his vehicle 50 feet into the air as his body comes apart and his skin melts to the seat.

Somehow the more soldiers that die, the more legitimate the illegal invasion becomes.

Somehow American leadership, whose only credit is lying to its people and illegally invading a nation, has been allowed to steal the courage, virtue and honor of its soldiers on the ground.

Somehow those afraid to fight an illegal invasion decades ago are allowed to send soldiers to die for an illegal invasion they started.
Somehow faking character, virtue and strength is tolerated.
Somehow profiting from tragedy and horror is tolerated.
Somehow the death of tens, if not hundreds, of thousands of people is tolerated.
Somehow subversion of the Bill of Rights and The Constitution is tolerated.
Somehow suspension of Habeas Corpus is supposed to keep this country safe.
Somehow torture is tolerated.
Somehow lying is tolerated.
Somehow reason is being discarded for faith, dogma, and nonsense.
Somehow American leadership managed to create a more dangerous world.
Somehow a narrative is more important than reality.

Somehow America has become a country that projects everything that it is not and condemns everything that it is.

Somehow the most reasonable, trusted and respected country in the world has become one of the most irrational, belligerent, feared, and distrusted countries in the world.

Somehow being politically informed, diligent, and skeptical has been replaced by apathy through active ignorance.

Somehow the same incompetent, narcissistic, virtueless, vacuous, malicious criminals are still in charge of this country.

Somehow this is tolerated.
Somehow nobody is accountable for this.

In a democracy, the policy of the leaders is the policy of the people. So don’t be shocked when our grandkids bury much of this generation as traitors to the nation, to the world and to humanity. Most likely, they will come to know that “somehow” was nurtured by fear, insecurity and indifference, leaving the country vulnerable to unchecked, unchallenged parasites.

Luckily this country is still a democracy. People still have a voice. People still can take action. It can start after Pat’s birthday.

Brother and Friend of Pat Tillman,

Kevin Tillman


The Great Costume Compromise

@ 11:00 AM (101 months, 21 days ago)

Yeah, we do Halloween.  It's one of those things as a Christian parent, you have to make a decision about and in our infinite undecidedness, we kinda figured that we'd just go ahead and run with it because Halloween is SO MUCH FUN.  I have a lot of Christian friends who vary on the issue - some don't allow any celebration, some do the "Harvest Fest" at church, some allow it, but despair any gory costuming.  I really do have reasons beyond it being SO MUCH FUN - I have a sincere fear that one day my kids will look back on thier childhood and think that if they were deprived of trick or treat and Satan Claus, surely we were lunatic-fringe Jesus Freaks and the real answer is in worshipping owl statues in the California woods.  Quiet over there, Dugg.  I respect the parents who make it work and whose children comprehend that they are not like all the other heathens out there begging candy from one door to the next.  I'm just not that gal and would probably spend Halloween night moping about and they'd have me way figured out.  The howling and gnashing of teeth would be mine, because I've mentioned it's SO MUCH FUN, right?

For a few years, the "no gore" costume trick was okay.  The boy was pretty enthralled with Super Heroes and the girls were little and had no say in being twin ladybugs, cowgirls and flowers.  Last year, they got all cocky and went with differing Disney Princesses, woe to me.  The Princess options came up again in early talks but was quickly shut down by the boy, who at almost eight, has taken charge of the Halloween command.  YOU HAVE TO BE SCARY.  No amount of, "Really, you can be anything!  Sleeping Beauty, even.  In her thirty dollar gown, *gulp*"  was having any effect on the word of the boy - see, he is big brother and apparently the man when it comes to decisions such as these. 

Cue the Skeleton Bride.  When she saw the terrible, terrible costume in it's black and white netted, gauzy glory, her little eyes lit up like heathen beacons.  "MOM.  This is it.  I'm a Keleton Bride."   

"Did you see the fairies?  The Southern Belles?"

"KELETON BRIDE.  Mom, look at her makeup!  And her black roses!  I am the Keleton Bride."

And so there was no compromise really.  I was run over, roughshod.  The other twin chose a Bat Fairy that's kinda cute and not directly threatening to the souls of the other kids at the Presbyterian Pre-School.  I don't think.   

We're gonna have SO MUCH FUN.


Maeve Binchy - Nights of Rain and Stars

@ 01:41 PM (101 months, 22 days ago)

I just finished reading Nights of Rain and Stars by one of my favorite authors, Maeve Binchy.  Instead of the usual Irish setting, the story that drew the characters together in Nights was in the Greek village of Aghia Anna.  Four characters are running from circumstances in their lives within the US, Germany, England and Ireland.  They become friends in the face of a tragedy within Aghia Anna and bond with the eccentric Irishwoman Vonni, who has made the village her home and with the tragic Andreas, owner of a favored taverna.  It's an intricate tale of bonds between parents and adult children and of lovers and what they mean to one another, charmingly told as usual by Binchy.  I adore the way she writes a story but didn't feel that this was one of her very best novels.  If you're curious to immerse yourself in a Binchy story, I'd suggest Quentin's or Tara Road for starters.  Taking the Ireland out of her books is losing a huge part of the charm, in this reader's humble opinion. 


Speaking of Hair Dye - Happy Halloween, hon

@ 11:11 PM (101 months, 22 days ago)

A positively (or negatively? hahahaha) hysterical song/video from the archives of my misspent youth. I play it annually at Halloween and crack up at the me who actually went to a Type O Negative concert.  They don't mean to be campy, which is the very best part.  The fellow concertgoers were the scariest group of humans (using that term very loosely) I've ever spent two hours bumping into.  Most had...fangs.

Best lines of the song:

"Oh baby, Lily Munster ain't got nothin' on you"

"Yeah, you wanna go out cuz it's raining and blowing.  You can't go out cuz your roots are showin' - dye 'em black."

And who can resist the charm of a songwriter who senses that you really CAN'T go out cuz your roots are showing?

When Hair Dye 101 is No Longer an Elective

@ 02:23 PM (101 months, 23 days ago)

We're selling our house.  Well...we have our house up for sale.  There's really no active *selling* going on at all.  If you know anyone who is in the market for a poorly designed split foyer (you can only see half the backyard from the kitchen window! And you can only see that if you're standing on tip-toes...just, ugh), circa 1973...with yellow aluminum siding, even...well, gimme a call.  I mentioned that we're in a seriously inflated real estate market, right? 

Well, anyway - I have a point here.  The point is that having your house on the market just SUCKS.  There is no eloquent way to describe the process.  You de-clutter.  And you clean.  Then you clean some more because it can't be too clean.  You employ your husband to shampoo carpets after the kids are in bed and can't traipse across them.  You spend Friday afternoon frantically scrubbing the bathroom to a sparkling shine only to come home from work exhausted at midnight to discover that someone has apparently bathed a litter of piglets in the tub.  The conversation went something like this:

"My GOD.  What was in the tub?"


"Husband! Come and look at this tub that was formerly white.  And sparkling!  Tell me what has been in it. Swamp Thing, perhaps?"

"Uh, I gave the twins a bath." 

"Had they been playing in the coal mines?"



"I guess I forgot to wipe it out.  Sorry." 

"I guess I forgotten that we were raising young swine."

Who really knows what these children get into.  They disappear from vision (and it's easy to do, given the kitchen window situation) and reappear moments later covered in grime and filth.  They are the type of children who leave a wake of toys in their path, no matter how often I have head-spinning incidents explaining that someone could walk through the door at any moment and declare their want and financial qualification for our home, save the 4 beanie babies (in dresses) on the stairs, the Barbie on the toilet seat (?) and the heap of Pokemon cards on the kitchen counter.   You can argue that all children do these things...leave wayward pillows and blankets and markers and paper, livers and appendixes (appendi?) all about the house - it's simply the nature of children, you suggest.  Ha!  But these other children do not have a mother who really wants to get out of Maryland, do they?  Who really just has a yearn to sit in a chair at the kitchen table and gaze upon her children (out the window! that she can see them from!) stringing their beanie babies from the palmetto tree in the very lush, very Southern back yard.  My children must comply with the rules of house selling... They do not include:

*Dirty rings in the tub.  Stay clean, young ones.

* Not flushing the toilet. 'Nuff said.

* Beanie Babies or the like.  Anywhere other than the bins in your rooms.

* Putting your HANDS ON THE WALLS.  PLEEEEASE stop putting your hands on the walls. 

* Drawing pictures, asking for tape and making murals. 

So much more I can probably think of.  I just find myself walking room to room on this Saturday when we have signs posted all about the town - HOUSE FOR SALE!  OPEN HOUSE!  COME SEE HOW DIRTY THREE KIDS CAN MAKE A PLACE THEIR MOTHER HAS SPENT ALL WEEK TRYING TO SCRUB! - having minor breakdowns each time I stumble upon another little volcano. 

And the next line is:

"Can Maddie come in the house to play in my room?  We promise we won't make a big mess!"


I feel another gray hair making its' wiry way to fruition.