The Last Sausage Ball

(Photo by Mary Carton, Tuscumbia, Ala.)

You know how when you and your husband go to a party and you’re, like, “Oh, this food looks so good but I can’t eat it all so would you split a plate with me and we can share everything?” and your husband’s like, “Sure, sweetie. Whatever you want” although he’s remembering the time you said you didn’t like hot wings and then you ate the whole basket but a party is different because you want to taste a little of everything so you take the plate and fill it up with things you know you’ll like and things you’ll know he’ll like and then you’re working your way around the plate and you come to a sausage ball and you break it in half and eat your half and it’s really really good but because he’s busy eating the pork tenderloin slider he can’t eat his half of the sausage ball and it was so good that you really want him to have a whole one, you tell him, so you quickly eat the remaining half and then go back to the table only to find NO MORE SAUSAGE BALLS and then your husband realizes YOU HAVE EATEN THE LAST SAUSAGE BALL right in front of him? This is what that moment looks like.

My Friend Bob Writes His Book!

When my looooongtime friend (and Aug. 2 birthday sister) Melissa met and then married a wonderful man named Bob Thomas, we all approved. He was then and is now caring, intelligent, supportive, strong and funny.  He has a strong Christian faith and is absolutely and totally committed to his family. Through the years, we’ve all at one time or another had the same thought: “Gee, Bob, the things you’re saying are so wise and thoughtful. You really should write a book.” He must have read our minds because this year he finally did it. I’m telling you, you need multiple copies of this handy little self-published gem so you can give them to those men in your life who 1) need a friendly nudge, 2) need to be disabused of the notion that marriage is all about THEM or 3) need nothing at all except a “Thank you for being such a great guy.” Bob covers everything you need to know on the subject of marriage, from sex (“Clipping your toenails in bed is not good foreplay.”) to starting a family (“Never leave Wal-Mart without diapers. Don’t bother calling home to see if you need them — just buy diapers.”) to simply getting along  (“Women are required to use a set number of words in a day. If it is bedtime and your wife has not used up all her words for that day, just lie back and listen intently.”). It’s all gold, believe me.  And as funny as Bob is, he backs it up with authority … Biblical authority, that is. He connects everything he says with Scripture. But he does it the way that he lives his life: As a quiet but powerful testimony of faith and love. Plus, he shows great wisdom in recognizing (free and no-cost) editing talent.  But I get no financial gain whatsoever from sales — except if Melissa and Bob get more money, then we girls can go out to lunch more often — so it’s entirely OK for me to demand you buy many copies of this book. You will love it. Email thomasbo@realtracs.com. Tell him his editor sent you.

Art

Okay, here’s a puzzle to get your brain going this rainy Monday morning. A friend of mine and her husband recently went to a paint-it-yourself studio and had a wonderful time. My friend claims that neither she nor her husband are artistic but they had so much fun learning how to create these paintings. Here’s the puzzle: Can you guess which one my friend did and which one her husband did? She says that everybody who knows them can instantly identify the correct paintings, but I’m not so sure it’s immediately apparent who did which. Here are some clues: My friend is a pharmacist and businesswoman whose style can best be described as casual and relaxed. Does that help? Also, one of these paintings is titled “Plain Simple” and the other “Extreme Normal.” No prizes — just the satisfaction of knowing you’re intuitive and smart. Good job!

Marriage

When my husband John Pitts — who is a super writer and the best editor I know — and I recently celebrated our fifth wedding anniversary, I wrote about it in my weekly newspaper column and asked my husband to talk about the five things he’s learned in five years of marriage. He did, it got great response and I was tickled that I had tricked my husband into writing my column for me my husband so kindly wrote my column for me that week. However, most people noticed that he,in fact, had written it and so wondered why I was so lazy and where my five things were. So here they are: http://www.timesdaily.com/article/20090619/ARTICLES/906195000

But, seriously, the main thing I’ve learned in five years of marriage is something I couldn’t quite articulate in my column without seeming to be critical of my first husband, which I’ve vowed never to do in (newspaper) print. What is that lesson? It’s something I struggled with for years: Saying exactly what I mean and trusting that it’s going to be OK. In my first marriage, I picked up the bad habit of being passive-aggressive. You know, playing the “I’m-upset-but-I’m-not-going-to-tell-you-because-if-you-loved-me-enough-you’d-figure-it-out” game that only leads to disaster. That is not the basis for a healthy relationship, and to get over doing that means you have to rely on trust and faith and respect — which I have in overflowing abundance with my husband John Pitts. Who, by the way, is an awesome stepfather, too. Am I lucky or what?

Marriage

Thank you all for the kind fifth-anniversary thoughts. You are so sweet! My husband John Pitts and I had a super weekend of  looking back at our oh-so-wonderful wedding (and all the friends and family who made it so) and looking ahead to what new adventures await — a nice mixture of nostalgia and optimism! We do make a good team. In fact, he helped me with my newspaper column this week.  You can read the whole thing at http://www.timesdaily.com/article/20090612/ARTICLES/906125000,  but the best part is the advice he gave — my husband’s five things he’s learned from five years of marriage:

1. Just like Einstein, you spend a lot of energy grappling with issues of time and space. In our busy lives, of course, we have to make time for each other while also giving each other the space to breathe. But I also have learned not to call home when it’s time for “Survivor” or “So You Think You Can Dance,” and not to complain too much when she takes up “my space” in the closet. Einstein would tell you, if he were here: it’s all relative.

2. In a restaurant with a television, always sit with your back to the TV. This has brought as much harmony to our relationship as anything I can think of. I’m easily distracted, anyway, so this assures much better eye contact. Besides, it’s fun to hear my wife try to describe the action from a baseball game that’s playing behind me (“There’s a guy with the ball, then there’s a guy running and sliding and everyone is jumping up and down.”)

3. Be careful with the smart-alecky remarks when your wife is chopping something in the kitchen with a big knife and you’re standing nearby. I’m just sayin’.

4. It’s good to learn how to navigate in your spouse’s world. Even though I don’t like coffee, for instance, when we visit the coffee shop they can still make me something that I like: Steamed milk. Yum!

5. And the Biggest Lesson of All: Even though I want to, my wife is not always looking for me to make everything all right. Sometimes she just wants to vent, to cry, to have real emotions in the presence of a person who loves her and respects her and understands. Of course, sometimes she does want me to make everything all right. How to tell the difference? I’m working on it. Check back in another five years.

Shoes

red-shoes-2I’m a woman who’s a freelance writer. I write a lot about shoes. My husband’s a man who’s a newspaper sports editor. He writes a lot about … sports. You wouldn’t think that those two worlds would collide, would you? But he pulled it off in his column today for his paper, the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, in Tupelo, Mississippi. And he even got me in there! (Thanks, sweetie.) Read it at http://www.djournal.com/pages/story.asp?ID=285705.

And speaking of shoes, these $300 Cole Haan red patent pumps caught my eye at zappos. com. “This posh peep-toe pump is a perfect marriage of comfort and style,” the description says. Yes, indeedy. Is that me all over or what? (With, I’ll admit, an emphasis on the “comfort” part. Gone are the days when I teetered around for 10 hours on 3-inch heels. Sigh.) Anyway, I think these are the perfect Valentine’s Day shoes, paired with a slinky black dress and some great jewelry. Don’t y’all?

Interior Decorating

furniture-jan-2009-004

After my husband and I got married five years ago at the ripe old ages of 46, he just sort of moved his toothbrush and sock drawer into the house where I’d lived for a decade as a single mom raising two daughters. As a couple, he and I never have created a household together from scratch and I’m constantly trying to figure out what his “style” is before we do that. We’re probably distinct opposites — on everything. For instance, he’s a newspaper sports editor who watches “CSI,” listens to Rush Limbaugh and says his favorite movie is “Roadhouse.” I’m a freelance writer who watches “Survivor,” listens to NPR and adores the original “Sabrina,” although we both like “Good Eats,” REM and “Raising Arizona.” Hmmm. You see my dilemma. I can’t figure out how all that translates to one unifying home decor.  But I keep trying. On a recent meander through a furniture store, I asked him which — if either — of these two candle fixtures he liked better. Naturally, it wasn’t the one I liked. However, there is hope because we both said the one we didn’t pick wasn’t all that bad. Maybe after five years of marriage, we’re becoming more alike than different. Crazy!!! But in a good way.