This weekend my parent-in-laws celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary. My husband has three brothers and together with their wives we hosted a party in the cafeteria of their high school alma mater, Christian Brothers High School in Memphis, Tennessee.
My inlaws thought it was perfect.
Even Pasta (as his 11 grandchildren affectionately call him) who was resistant (read complained loudly) all through out the planning stages was singing our praises when the last guest left.
Pasta had one request. The Memphis Bop DJ, Eddie Richardson must be there. Pasta and MeMaw love to dance and Mr. Richardson knew the music they liked to hear.
DJ Eddie was there and he was great! If you are hosting a party in Memphis I would highly recommend.
But the 50s music was a little overshadowed when Fleetwood Mac took the stage. My husband’s cousin, Billy Burnette, was in the band from 1987-1995 and he graced us with 3 songs written by his father Dorsey Burnette.
I got the whole thing on video and just had to share. Check-it out on youtube.
Foot Note 1: Billy Burnette is touring with his latest album in Europe. He has gone back to his dad’s rock-a-billy routes Click here to find him on iTunes.
Foot Note 2: A reporter, Hank Zevallos, confirmed stories that we heard from my husband’s Aunt Alberta for years. Aunt Berta, now 81, has always entertained us with wild stories of Uncle Dorsey Burnette’s Rock’N'Roll Trio and their influence on Elvis Presely. This author goes as far to ask the question if Elvis actually stole music and ideas from The Burnette Brothers. Curious? Check-out the facts that he has uncovered: http://www.biwa.ne.jp/~presley/elnews-JohnnyBurnette.htm
Last Labor Day, as my 3 children were starting school, I made a commitment here on this blog to try new ways to meet friends in Miami. So I did.
I did not have luck meeting potential besties during my first 8 months in the Magic City so I was ready to take action. And you know what? My efforts have paid off.
Last semester, I met some wonderful people and started to build some great new relationships. I also drove 3 children to and from 2 different schools, 2 ballet classes, tennis lessons, weekly tutors, and Sunday school PLUS helped them complete their mountains of homework, fed them, bathed them AND got them to bed at a decent hour.
One day my husband asked me why, without fail, I was always in a bad mood (code for screaming like a lunatic) on Friday mornings. In between barking orders at the kids I said, “you mean I act like this every Friday?” “Yep,” he said, “every Friday.”
“WELL…” I started to give him an earful, but took a deep breath and admitted, “this is just hard. I really struggle to get them all out the door, dressed appropriately, with all of their required or desired “stuff” on time, everyday. ” And being the clear-headed “fixer” that I fell in love with, my husband said, “OK, well I will just have to help you more. And so he did. Admittedly, his version of getting the kids out the door looks different than mine, but it is fine. It works. With a little change we figured out a way to make our mornings a little more enjoyable for everyone in the house.
Once the mornings were looking better I wondered what could be done to fix the afternoons.
It felt impossible. Everything seemed great when my sweet smiling children ran to the car when school was over for the day, but then it was sort-of a whirl wind of multiplication tables, dance uniforms, snacks, screams and dirty dishes and before I knew it it was 30 minutes after my idea of a 6-year-old’s ideal bed time and my 3 disgruntled, dirty children were all standing in the bathroom making their case about why their baths could wait until another day.
After much analysis and red wine I came to the conclusion that my problem was…… (DRUM ROLLL please) TIME. I just did not have enough time to get everything I needed or wanted to get done in the day, so I was cutting out sleep, which was making it harder for me to get things done the next day, so I would cut out more sleep, which caused me to be real grouchy the next day, which probably caused my children to get less done because my yelling just wasn’t the positive reinforcement that my precious little angels needed, which made me yell more…it was a vicious circle.
Doesn’t everybody need more time? Doesn’t everybody have this problem? Lao Tzu, an ancient Chinese philosopher, said “time is a created thing. To say ‘I don’t have time,” is like saying “I don’t want to.”
Could that be true? I really wanted to cook our family a homemade dinner but last fall, I usually couldn’t find the time to do so. I really wanted to sit on the floor and laugh with my 4-year-old (she laughs a lot), but sadly I couldn’t find the time to do so. And truthfully, after I helped each child have the perfect day I wanted to tuck them in bed, throw on my favorite heels and red lipstick and look FABULOUS (HA- usually I need total reconstruction by the end of the day, but this is a wish, remember), give a babysitter the keys and go to one of the Miami Hotspots on my must see to-do list with my husband and/or a new friend, and then bounce out of bed the next morning and do it all over again, but that is just a joke!
I think the Asian wise guy might have had one too many Sake bombs when he was throwing around his opinion on time… but he did get me thinking….
Was there something I was doing during the day that I didn’t want to be doing? And when that question felt a little selfish I wondered, was there something that we (the family) was spending time on each day that nobody wanted to do? Was there something we could cut out of our schedule that could give us more time to do the things that we really wanted to do?
My husband and I spent “time” over our December holiday vacation to try and find an answer to that question. We pondered, we observed, we discussed and we finally concluded that a possible real solution was to withdraw my youngest child from preschool.
The little lady was not loving preschool (so she didn’t want to go), the 5 mile drive two and from twice a day, in ridiculous Miami traffic was costing us at least an hour in the car, and the only time she was at home, I had to
put her in front of the TV find a stimulating activity for her to do in another room so she didn’t distract her brother and sister from completing their homework- so I felt like I wasn’t getting to spend anytime with her… and if you knew her you would want to spend time with her too… I’m telling you this kids is funny.
When I ran the pros and cons list by one of my wise new friends (new friend made on this blog’s friendship challenge) she said, “pulling her out of preschool sounds like a great idea, but you need to be real here. If you pull her out you are doing it for you. Granted she might not like the kindergarten work sheets that they have decided to do to teach letters and numbers but she is FINE. And she is learning. And when they do get to play she loves her friends. You would be pulling her out of that school so you could spend more time with her and not drive across town. But that is OK. I just don’t want you to make the decision on false pretenses.”
And she was right. Anna Kate was fine… but our family life really wasn’t. I wanted a happier place for all 5 of us and after much thought we decided to give it a try. We didn’t send her back to school this month. It has only been one week but so far it has been AWESOME!
I’ve actually been surprised how much more relaxed I have been. I knew that driving in traffic was stressful but had forgotten how stress can really drain your energy supply. Its been nice because this week, when my big kids got home from school, I already had dinner prepared, and I felt more relaxed so helping them complete their homework didn’t seem as hard. Does that make sense?
And during the day… Anna Kate and I had fun. I’m not sure if it is because she is brilliant, or she is just a normal 3rd child (probably a combination of both) but she already knows more at 4.5 than her brother and sister knew when they started kindergarten (which is probably to their credit… make sure I explain this in case they read this article one day… BECAUSE THEY TAUGHT HER STUFF) so I don’t feel too much pressure to “teach” her new academic things… but I did that too!
The new changes in our schedule makes me feel good and when I feel good I don’t yell and when I don’t yell my whole family feels good and when my whole family feels good, I am happy.
What about you? Are you happy? Do you find there isn’t enough time in the day to accomplish all the things that you want to accomplish?
This blog is about Miami and my journey getting to know my new city, but in case you haven’t noticed I haven’t made the time to write on this blog in about a month AND IT IS NOT BECAUSE I DIDN’T WANT TO MR. CHINESE MAN. I was just having a real hard time finding the time to do all of the things that I love, including writing right here. We’ve made changes in our family schedule and I think that is going to help all of us spend our time doing things that make us more happy than the things we were doing before.
I wanted to share our time changes with you just in case you needed a little inspiration to make a few changes in your life.Read More
When I told my husband about the “friendship challenge” I wanted to start on my blog he said, “sounds good. You should call it Why Are People in Miami So F?#@&ing Rude?”
“Well that is catchy,” I agreed, “but if the point is to figure out the best way to make friends, I probably shouldn’t start by calling all the potentials names.”
“But they know they are rude.” He argued. I have to admit he has a point. Wait, hold that thought.
Let me fill in a few gaps in my story. The truth is Vince loves Miami. He loves the warm weather and the beach. He has recently started playing golf with our 8-year old and looks forward to the fact that the two can share this sport year round. He loves the great school that we have enrolled our children (Riviera Day School) and has so much enjoyed watching them flourish academically. He loves the
tropical jungle neighborhood that we’ve moved into and the fact that we can walk to a wonderful church (Plymouth Congregational) a great bar restaurant (Green Street) and Biscayne Bay. He even loves his 25 minute drive to work, because the back way along Bay Shore drive is so beautiful. I haven’t even mentioned the job for which we relocated. The job is going very well.
But, if one of his people is hurt or sad he comes up fighting (not literally, of course… well maybe once, but the puppet really did have it coming. He was getting pretty frisky. Long story). Don’t dare say a negative word about one of his three brothers. Not even #2 who is a little bit grumpy (I learned the hard way that “grumpy” is acceptable, don’t bother asking me what is not… I CAN NOT TALK ABOUT IT).
I am not sure at what point during our 15 year relationship that I crossed into the protective family inner circle, but it is a nice place to be. I do not however, want to sit in the safety of our family force field without really trying to like this new city my husband enjoys. That would not make anybody happy.
It’s strange because I’ve met a lot of nice Miami natives, that do not think Miami is as great as Vince does. Remember when Vince said that Miamians know they are rude?” Well, the truth is they do. At least, most will tell you that they are rude.
I’ve spoken with several other new-comers who report multiple experiences like ours. Upon introduction a Miamian might say, “I’m sorry you moved here,” or “this place isn’t very nice,” or even “I’ve lived here for 10 years and still don’t feel settled.”
I called the grocery clerk out on her own politeness: “but you seem real nice,” I pleaded in confusion. She leaned across the Cheerios and whispered, “that is because I’m from here.”
Hmmmm, so we new comers are the problem? I see…well not really.
I’d like to meet the Grand Coconut, please. Maybe we can, pull back the curtain and see what is really going on (Wizard of Oz reference, stay with me).
I wonder, is this “Melting Pot” of cultures really melting together? Maybe the Magic City’s international community is more like oil and vinegar rather than peanut butter and jelly? Or maybe the Internationals are just fine but it is the Americans that are causing Miami’s cultures to clash. Is it possible the charm of the South did not rub off on the North Easterners as they migrated down to MIA?
Or maybe everybody is getting along just fine but there just happens to be more people in a bad mood here than in other cities? Do Miamians have more to be mad about? It is definitely beautiful, but what if the beach just isn’t enough to soothe these busy souls?
Owning a car in Miami is not easy, but you almost have to have one. As many New Yorkers have reminded me that this is not a walking city and there is not a good public transportation option. The hours between 10:30 a.m and 1:45 p.m. (when the public high schools are dismissed) are the only hours in day light when the cars are not bumper to bumper on the road and the parking spots, that are few and far between, are never free.
From what I understand many feel the politicians are not honest. I just heard a national news story that multiple unrelated off-duty police officers in Florida have been caught driving their patrol cars at crazy speeds. Do you think there is a chance that Miamians aren’t happy because they do not trust those in place to protect and serve this tropical paradise?
A Florida native, whose mother was born in a Latino country but lives here now, told me that her mother does not like Miami because too many Latinos speak Spanish. ”Excuse me?” I asked, “did you say she doesn’t like it when other Latinos speak Spanish?”
The speaker explained that her mother finds it rude and disrespectful when people do not speak the language of the country in which they live. I wonder, are the multiple languages spoken in this great city offensive to some residents’ ears?
outsiders newcomers could understand the underlying problem of the collective, maybe it would make us more sympathetic to the individual, or at least not bothered when someone honks the horn because we didn’t run the yellow light when they thought we should (if you have never been to this city you would not believe how many horns are honked each day. It would even make Betty White tackle your ass on the football field- do you remember the commercial?).
Over the next 8 months, as I work to find the best way to make friends in Miami, I would also like to launch a little investigation. I would like to talk to a few experts, read scientific studies and infiltrate a variety of cultural groups (just call me Magnum in Miami). I hope a better understanding of our city will make it easier to meet friends AND will help my husband enjoy his new home. I guess the old saying is true, if Mama ain’t happy…Read More
This week my friend Texas and I took our little cowboys with us on our weekly exploration of Miami (weekly exploration described here).
We took in a little Cuban culture and visited Azucar Ice Cream Company on the “main street” (8th Street) in Little Havana, less than 10 minutes from my house.
Azucar is an artisanal ice cream and sorbet boutique. Normally I would not indulge an ice cream parlor by repeating their marketing material’s fluffy words, but the creator of Azucar went to Penn State’s Ice Cream University and has her abuela’s (grandmother’s) passion for creating tropical ice cream flavors “tattooed on her soul”, y’all. These Latino sabores are for real!
The Cafe Con Leche (coffee and Oreo) was to die for and the Elvis(peanut butter and banana) looked fabulous too. My little niños did not venture too far from chocolate and vanilla and honestly, I think both flavors could have received a gold medal for best in their class they were both just perfect (oh the fruity sorbet looked wonderful, but even so I always go for the chocolate, it’s just who I am).
So fellow Miamians if you haven’t been to Little Havana since last July (when they opened), run! Azucar is the ice cream bomb.
And to all the others, when you find yourself in this corner of paradise, Azucar is the sp0t where you can get a little taste of Heaven!
Find all of the information that you need on Azucar here on their website.Read More
My landlord really rubbed me the wrong way on Sunday morning and it is still bothering me. I need to vent.
I called her because we were unsure if we needed to install the custom fit hurricane shutters on our Miami home. Our lease specified that we were responsible for putting the shutters “up” and I had made it clear that I wanted her to make the call as to when that would happen. I did not want to be held responsible for making the decision if the shutters were necessary or not.
The conversation went something like this:
Landlord: “I’ve been watching the weather and I don’t think it is necessary to cover the windows today.”
Me: (always feeling the need to over explain myself) “Great. You know my parents lived through Hurricane Katrina in Gulfport, Mississippi and naively, I considered myself a hurricane expert. I realized, as we prepared for Issac here in Miami, how ridiculous that is- I actually know absolutely nothing and appreciate your insight.” (It never hurts to kiss-up to the land lord right? Never know when you might need something?)
Landlord: Well, with Katrina, it really wasn’t the hurricane that was the problem, but the after math. After the hurricane rolled through we all breathed a sigh of relief that a bullet had been dodged. Then the levees broke and that is when all the problems started.
Me: That might be true in New Orleans but there was quite a bit of damage on the Mississippi Gulf Coast
Quite a bit of damage? Kallaher (that’s me), is that all you’ve got? Are you kidding me? I can’t tell you how many awesome come backs I’ve had in my mirror. Sometimes would have, should have, could have is the story of my life.
Anyway…after Katrina savaged the Gulf Coast my beloved Gulfport, Mississippi will never look the same I don’t have to look at the statistics to tell you that 75% of the homes were completely destroyed. I don’t have to look because I can use my mom’s bridge club as a gauge. 9 of the 12 women in her card group had homes that were leveled to the ground. I mean leveled, nothing left but a concrete slab and side-walk.
We had friends that put on life jackets and were holding onto the gutters on their roof as the storm passed through town. The lucky ones were able to crawl into their attics and pray as all of their material belongings were sloshed around in their homes below.
The gorgeous Southern homes that lined Highway 90 on the beach, including Jefferson Davis’s home in Biloxi, were leveled to the ground. But even crazier than that, homes in our old neighborhood, Bayou Oaks, about 2 miles south of Interstate 10, 3 miles north of the beach were razed. Katrina had no mercy.
After Issac passed through my new home town, I breathed a quick sigh of relief that his bite was not as big as his bark. I woke up yesterday morning and turned on the TV hoping the weather man would have news that Issac would not gain more muscle as he approached the Gulf Coast.
The forecast gave me nothing. because there was no information on Mississippi. Every time I turned on the news the weather man was reporting on New Orleans, Mobile, Apalachicola and Tampa.
Do you know how many people live in Apalachicola? Well, I do because I looked it up! 2, 248 as of July, 2011 according to google.
And do you know how many live on the Mississippi Gulf Coast? Almost 200,000! Google says there were almost 70,000 people in the city of Gulfport in 2011 and these numbers I am quoting you do not even include people outside of the city limits. And by the way, I am only a tiny bit biased. Yes, my parents moved to Gulfport when I was 14 and I had the best highschool experience any American girl could hope for, BUT I also have family in Apalachicola. Dear Aunt Beverly lives in this tiny fishing village and has a flight booked to visit us this Friday. We talked to her and she is fine… but does this tiny town really need the national news spotlight?
Apparently, I’m not the only one who was a little annoyed by the lack of information on the “landmass between Louisiana and Alabama.” Last night my Facebook page blew up with complaints from my Gulfport High School and Ole Miss friends that the media was not covering the area as they should. Some natives waved a few white flags. They told their friends that they were growing tired of the complaints and the “landmass” references… but I wasn’t. I did not blame them for their anger and frankly I waned more information. I needed to know what was going on Mississippi!
I think someone got the memo, or maybe saw the swell of complaints. I do not know what the weather man Jim Cantore did during hurricane Katrina but I know it was not good because people do not like him. Mr. Cantore I think you need to give it up and go report on the rains in Seattle or something because you are not welcome.
This morning, when I turned on the news I was happy to see a Good Morning America reporter standing on the Mississippi beach. Robin Roberts probably had a lot to do with it. She is from the neighboring town of Gulfport that was once so architecturally beautiful, pre-Katrina, Pass Christian, Mississippi. But the Mississippi Gulf Coast coverage was not limited to GMA. Consistently today on the Weather Channel I received reports from my old home town.
My parents had to leave Gulfport after Katrina left her mark. My dad’s office was destroyed and the company’s investors would not support a rebuild on the beach. My mom says she sometimes feels guilty because so many of their friends lost so much in that storm and she felt almost blessed. The company relocated to Dallas and they moved to the city where we lived the following March, the day their second grandchild was born.
So tonight, I go to bad happy that I have updated information on the weather channel but worried about the Mississippi Gulf Coast. Thank you for letting me say my peace. And if you wouldn’t mind, please include the Mississippi Gulf Coast, along with New Orleans in your prayers tonight. Tomorrow August 29th marks the 7 year anniversary of the date that Hurricane Katrina ravaged our Gulf Coast and no one wants a repeat.
See the unbelievable Mississippi Gulf Coast before and after Katrina pictures on the linked website below:
Last week I wrote a bit about the Back to School Party we had at our house but I didn’t give you many of the deets (How do you feel about that word?).
Today I thought I would share a few of my favorite party tricks because I was real pleased with how the whole night turned-out. As I looked over the pictures I realized most of these ideas were stolen from two of the best hostesses that I know in Dallas- JM and the Other Meredith. If there is a team party, teacher appreciation, birthday celebration or even if there is no particular good reason at all, friends of these ladies ALWAYS look to them to host a gathering. I can not think of one time that either of them has not only agreed but been up for a party and opened up their beautiful homes.
Let me give you the skinny!
Both of my friends’ parties always have a theme and are kept as simple as possible. For my back to school party I used apples, books, globes and glasses to establish my theme and pre-prepared almost all of the food so no one was stuck in the kitchen. We used these baskets with liners, like I have seen the Other do many times (but not always of course, some occasions demand china!). The baskets are cute, cheap (the liners were from Amazon Prime and the baskets were already on hand), easy to eat from while standing or sitting AND make for an easy clean-up. LOVE THEM!
The menu was in honor of my husband’s heritage- doesn’t that sound fancy? In other words, he’s from Memphis and we had barbecue- pork, not beef, that’s a Memphis thing! We tried a new pulled pork recipe done in the oven and it turned out great. Check it out (if the link is not working please scroll down to previous post below)
We served the adults, wine beer a signature drink which you will always find at the Other’s house. Not the same drink, a signature for each party that is a surprise at every event..
What is that you see written on the wall? It is chalk from a chalkboard pen! Have you ever heard of it? I had not until JM told me about them and I LOVE them. I bought a pack of 3 at Michael’s over a year ago for about $12 and they work great. I wrote directions so that guests could make their own drink and then labeled the containers of the ingredients (OK the mint was obvious, but the simple syrup might not have been)! I also used this pen to explain that the bright red punch was ‘kid friendly” but I should have written on that pitcher: liquid apple/cherry sugar… i thought it turned out gross, and the floated apples did not look so appetizing, but of course, the kids loved it and the candy-striped paper straws were also a big hit.
JM’s decor is always superb. She is a high-end make-up artist by trade but everything she touches, not just the faces of Dallas high society, should be called art because she is SO talented. Centerpieces scare me but I remembered the advice JM had given me (1) if you think it is too big, it isn’t and (2) it is almost impossible to mess-up a monocolor scheme. These photographs aren’t great because my dining room has no furnishings (the tables are portable and were just moved there for party) and the serving bowls are empty. Please ignore the naked walls and check out the tables.
And finally, like the Other I love to find favors that the kids are excited to take home and can be used to take great party pictures during the party. The globe beach balls and “nerd” glasses did just the trick. I ordered both from the Oriental Trading Company.
How about you? Do you have any go to party tricks that help make your events a success?Read More