Monday, January 31, 2011

Day 3 "A Good Friend Is Cheaper Than Therapy"

Day 3: Post A Picture Of You & Your Friends....

After putting this together, I realized I don't have pictures with a lot of my friends. Will need to remedy this situation very quickly.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Day 2

Day 2: The Meaning Behind Your Blog Name

Pearls & Boots

I started my blog back in February of last year. And I have a total of 15 entries.... yikes! I have got to do better.

When I first started, I wanted a descriptive name that tells a little bit about me and my personality. I borrowed the idea of the name from my favorite character in the movie Shrek... Puss 'n Boots.

The older I get, the more I tend to shy away from anything trendy. That includes cars, and housing decor, all the way down to clothing choices, and baby names. As far as clothing is concerned, when I was growing up my mama always told me to invest in the staples of fine clothing. Clean lines, rich fabrics, timeless pieces. No polyester, no rayon, no blends (and for Lord's sakes, no spandex!). Yes, they will be more expensive initially, but they will last forever, and they will never go out of style. Meaning you won't have to replace your wardrobe every season. As far as accessories are concerned, what is more timeless and classic than a strand of pearls? I l.o.v.e pearls. love 'em. They are sophisticated without being fussy. They have a true understated elegance about them. And they go with absolutely everything. They even have the ability to dress up a t-shirt and jeans. To me, pearls are representative of the finer things in life... like good wine. Jason is the connoisseur in our family, I drink Riesling at supper, and he makes fun of me because "don't you know that's a dessert wine?", and people who know wine, know that you don't drink Riesling at supper. Good manners, is another thing, but don't get me wrong, just 'cause you wear pearls, don't mean that you're a lady. I've been out with friends at night, and have seen pretty girls with pearls, getting in fist fights with other pretty girls with pearls.

Pearls don't necessarily have to say "money," nor should they. What they should represent is the ideal aspects of women's characteristics, such as graciousness, kindness, confidence, and femininity.
Diamonds are another favorite of mine, but diamonds are flashy. I am not flashy. I think that's why I love pearls so much. If pearls were a person, they would be a Grace Kelley, an Audrey Hepburn, a Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. They don't scream "look at me," because they don't have to. Now, I am in no way comparing myself to these sophisticated, elegant women, but I'm saying that's what I love about pearls.

Then you have the boots side of my personality. I grew up on a farm. Where my brother and I mucked stalls and picked up rocks out of the field as punishment for smarting off or disobeying our parents. One particularly fun punishment of mine, was to re-paint the entire barn and all the outbuildings. There was no "Tom Sawyering" my way out of that one. My brother was too smart. It was torture. I'm not saying I didn't deserve it, but it was torture.
I also grew up around multiple half-nephews who are the same age as me, and we spent our weekends and evenings riding 4 wheelers, camping and getting as dirty and muddy as possible. We would play hide and seek after dark on those 4 wheelers, and if you were found you cranked yours up, and drove as fast as possible to the "safe zone" before you were tagged out. Dangerous I know. How did we not kill ourselves? Well, some of us almost did. One evening my nephew Brandon and I, "found" Justin and one of his buddies. They tore off in the dark without turning on their headlights. They managed to find the one stump in the whole field and slammed right into it going 90 to nothing. Bodies were flying everywhere, they were okay, but that was the end of hide and seek in the dark.
So the "boots" represent the side of me that loves the outdoors. I'm not a hunter, but I love to fish (catch & release). I love to camp (we just bought a used pop-up, I know, I know it's not really camping, but it is so much easier with the dogs!). I love to be outdoors with my husband, and our sweet mutts. I love to get muddy (but keep it out of my hair please). I love the rustic atmosphere of a hunting camp... and the general, everybody is your buddy attitude when you come across other like minded people who also enjoy the great outdoors. I love to ride horses... even though it's probably the sight of my handsome's behind in a pair of tight fitting wranglers that I love even more. Being outside, and enjoying being there, is just good, wholesome, and all-American fun.

It's the idea of melding these two totally different aspects together that gave me the name for my blog. The rustic, and the refined.

I love my pearls, and I love my boots. There you have it.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

30 Days of Me....Day 1

Over the past couple of months I've seen several of my blogging friends do a 30 Days of Me Challenge. Everyday you are given a topic, and for 30 days you write about that daily topic. Because I generally lose interest about a week after I start blogging, I think this will be a fun way to get in the routine of a daily update. My whole point in writing this blog, is yes, to update family and friends on what's going on in my life, but also as a journal, so years down the road, I can look back and remember what was going on in my life, and if our future kids are interested (I hope they will be), they can look back and see what their mama was like "before she was mama."

Day 1: A recent picture of you and 15 interesting facts about yourself

I don't know how "interesting" these facts will be, but here goes....

1. I have a temper that only the closest people to me ever see. It's usually short lived, but can be explosive at times.

2. I would love love love to one day be able to photograph children & design a successful line of stationary as a full time job.

3. There are a handful of people who call me Annieboo (a childhood nickname), and I let them.

4. I have a very (very) close relationship with my mom. I tell her everything, and I always go to her for advice.

5. I would love to be the kind of person, that if I won a million dollars, I'd give it all away.

6. By reading just one PostSecret book I think you will find out everything you need to know about humanity.

7. I don't need to know I've done it, but before I die, I want to lead at least 1 person to the Lord.

8. I love descriptive words like sensational, embellishment, and panache.

9. My favorite character from any movie I've ever seen is Ouiser Boudreaux - I can quote every line.

10. I correct people's grammar in my head.

11. I want a bumblegum pink '50's vintage refrigerator.

12. We lost all of our horses and our sweet goat Pauline, in a horrible accident, and it just about destroyed me.

13. I don't want my future children to be seen as "weird", but I don't want to raise them as 99% of America is raising theirs.

14. I want to learn how to live off the land... start a fire from scratch, trap and field dress my food, identify and use plants for their medicinal purposes, etc...

15. I want an organic garden.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Train Travel? Yes Please!

For the most part, as Americans when we think of traveling, cars and planes are the first things that come to mind. Unless you live in a big metropolitan city, you don't walk, bike, or travel by train if you can possibly help it.

We are not a culture that typically uses trains for distance traveling, and therefore the few rail lines that are set up for overnight/distance travel, are somewhat limited on their destinations. We want bigger, faster, cheaper... Trains are only as big as the rails can support, they are getting faster, but most generally affordable still run 80-100 mph., and tickets definitely aren't as economical in price as you can commonly find through airline travel. So I can definitely see why so many Americans have never thought about taking a train to get to their destination, much less actually used one.

I've traveled by train three times in my life, and every minute was an experience.
All three have been overnight trips (and depending on where you are going, they usually are). The first was from Madrid to Barcelona, Spain. And the others were two separate summer trips from New Haven, Connecticut to Atlanta. I didn't have any romantic goodbyes (or hello's) on any of these, but that's okay because I still loved every second about it. Even waking up at 2 o' clock in the morning on the Spanish train to find gypsies rifling through our bags (those gypsies sure can pick the heck out of a lock!) And tripping over my feet, and hitting the floor on the second trip because we went around a particularly sharp curve while I was on my way to the dining car.

The Spanish train was quite a European experience for a young, impressionable girl from the rolling hills of North Georgia. After 10 pm. the dining car turned into a drinking car, and our chaperon, and one of my girl friends were back there as a handful of Spanish 20 somethings, quickly turned our quiet little dining car into a European party bar. Those Europeans sure know how to party. It was lots of fun. We'll just leave it at that.

If you choose to travel by train, you do so with the understanding that you are not going to get to your destination fast. Unless you are on a direct non-stop train, you will stop. A lot. From what I can remember, the New Haven to Atlanta trip we stopped 15 times. You get used to it though, and that's part of the fun. You get out and stretch your legs, and see who gets on and who gets off. People watching... it's my favorite.

The other part of train travel I love is the scenery. You are traveling at roughly 80 mph at cruising speed, so not all that much faster than a car. However, many of the routes take you through the most gorgeous a parts of the U.S. There was a particular area of Virginia we made a stop in, that was so beautiful, I swear I debated on just not getting back on the train. But my mom was missing me, and I was all out of clean undergarments.

Trail travel, is an old-fashioned way to travel, and I think that's what fascinates me about it.
It makes me want to pull out my vintage luggage, and hop on board the next train out of town. If you decide to travel by train, I suggest upgrading to a sleeping car. The coach seats are roomier and more comfortable than most plane seating, but the charm wears off pretty quickly when you have to sit semi-upright, and share elbow room with the chubby lady who brought along her bucket of KFC chicken, for 12+ hours. Learned that the hard way.

If you have traveled by train, would love to hear about your experience, and whether or not you loved it as much as I did! And if you plan to take a train in the future, let me know. Would love to join!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

History in a Hand-Me-Down

When you hear the word 'hand-me-down' you probably think of the poor kids wearing their elder brother or sister's worn out tennis shoes or patched jeans, and maybe a jacket that doesn't quite fit, but will have to do. I never wore hand-me-downs. My brother and I did, however, wear sweat suits (in every color) that were 3 sizes too big, in the hopes that by being thrifty, we could save a little money and we would have room to "grow into them." Apparently mom thought we were going to be husky size at some point because I have sweat shirts I got for Christmas in the third grade that could still fit two or three people in.

But I'm a little off topic. Hand me downs. The hand-me-downs I inherited came in the form of my many names. Being from the south, generally when I introduce myself with my double name, people may pause at the Scarlett, but when I say "it's a family name" they nod in complete understanding and move along. Family names, in the south... it's what we do.

My first name, Audrey, comes from my paternal grandmother. I never met my father's parents. They died in the 60's, yet my dads heart is in his voice whenever he talks about my grandmother, so I know she was pretty special. It's her name that I carry at the beginning. From everything I've heard of her over the years, I know she was a salt of the earth kind of person (my favorite kind). She was honest, hardworking, and well thought of. She helped the family out by not only raising two sons, but by taking on several odd jobs. During the summer she dug worms to sell as bait, and sent my daddy around to all the fish camps in the area to sell for a little extra money. She helped run my granddaddy's motel, "Jug's Tourist Court", and she was also the post mistress of Emerson, Georgia. This was back when the trains still helped deliver mail from town to town. Dad still talks about the times when he was a kid and the train's conductor hadn't extended the mail hook all the way and it would knock the mail bag off the platform and strewed the contents up and down the rail tracks, and daddy and my uncle Fred would have to run up and down picking up the letters and whatnot, and meet the train in Cartersville to get them the mail.
She was a woman of many talents. From what dad says, she could cook a biscuit in her sleep, and she had the greenest thumb of anybody he ever met. No, I never met my grandmother Audrey, but I am honored to carry on her name.

Anne, with an "e", is my mother's middle name, her mother's first name, and the first name of my middle name...confused yet? I assume most people must spell it as Ann, because there have been countless times, where people will read off my name and say Annie. I don't get it, but there it is. Several years ago, when my mom was reapplying for her passport, she realized (for the first time), that there was a typo on her birth certificate and the "e" had been omitted. When she asked my grandmother about it, my dear ole granny (she would kill me if she heard me call her that, so it will be our little secret okay?) said that, yes she knew about it, and had always meant to have it fixed, but never did get around to mom nearly had an identity crisis. That, in a nutshell, tells you a little bit about my grandmother, and my mama.

Lastly I have Scarlett, a family name from my maternal grandfather's side of the family, and the name that most people hear and then feel the need to start quoting Gone With the Wind, which used to bug me to no end, but now I just sorta smile and nod. Or they mishear me, and call me Carla. Although all my names are family names Scarlett is the one that generally takes an explanation. I've finally gotten over the need to explain it every time somebody says "oh your mom must have loved Gone With the Wind." Well, I'm sure she does, but that's not where that name came from. Long story, long, circa 1799, Francis M. Scarlett, my 4X's Great-Grandfather lived in Middlesex, England, and was caught by his teacher drawing satirical cartoons of said teacher, he was punished, and this punishment apparently prompted young Francis to run away from home. He stowed away on a ship bound for America, but he had no sooner disembarked in the port of Savannah, than one of his father's business acquaintances recognized him and set him packing right back to his father. He jumped on the very next ship that he could, back to the coast of Georgia, where he settled in Brunswick, married a prominent local planter's daughter and created Oak Grove Plantation at Fancy Bluff. Francis and Ann (without the "e") Scarlett had 11 children that survived childhood. In my particular branch of the Scarlett family, the name ceased to exist as a surname when my 2x Great-Grandmother Annie Bell Scarlett (Francis Scarlett's granddaughter) married a Hilsman. "Minnie" as the family called her, had 12 bothers and sisters, so the the last name has survived in other branches of the family. In the past few generations, my branch started using it as a first and middle name. I have a great-aunt, a 1st cousin once removed, a second cousin, and an aunt who all carry on the name Scarlett. There is a family story about the name Scarlett being used in Margaret Mitchell's novel. Shortly after GWTW was published, a sister of Annie Bell wrote to Margaret Mitchell, praising the book, but asking why Ms. Mitchell felt the need to name "that hussy" Scarlett. M.M. wrote back, explaining that she meant no harm or disrespect in naming her headstrong, and narcissistic heroine after one of coastal Georgia's "most prominent families," and that she was aware of our family's history, but felt the name was the perfect fit for her character. I can't disagree, even if it means I will forever after introduce myself, and within a heartbeat hear, "but Miz Scarlett, I don't know nothin' bout birthin' no babies... I bet you hear that a lot don't you?" Well, yes actually, I do. But I wouldn't change it for the world.

So there it is. A family history lesson taught by the handful of hand-me-down names that I received upon birth, have a heck of a time fitting on any form that requires me to write my name, and tells so much about me and my people that I just had to share.

Audrey Anne-Scarlett Marrow (née Irwin)

Monday, January 24, 2011

Melt Your Heart Monday...

I borrowed this idea from a fellow blogger.
After putting this together, my heart is now a puddle on the floor. Won't you join me?

I've heard that otters hold hands in rough weather so they don't get separated in the water. I like to think they do it simply because they like to.

this makes me miss my mama....

are you smiling yet?

you should be.....

i know this is staged. but good grief. i need a tissue.

hello, little bit

I'll take 2 of these please.

I can almost smell the milk breath on this little munchkin

I die. D-I-E

looking at this picture makes everything right with the world in my eyes.

I want to cuddle up with each and every one of these, as soon as possible.
yes, even this one.....

....and, this one.

Now I need to take the rest of the day off, just to recover!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Just A Little Note On What I Expect to Find When I Get Home...

Sutton, our 91 year old lab (in dog years of course), who for all intents & purposes is deaf, blind, & dumb, can in 5 minutes flat, sniff out 1/2 of a cheese puff that was placed on the back corner property line of 40 acres. That's basically what he did last night when I set out Sweet Pea's (our pig) food. His tummy can no longer handle people food, and I won't elaborate for the sake of decency and all, but he creates quite a mess when he has a tummy ache, and who get's to clean it up? Me. I'm already preparing myself. That is all.

but isn't he a sweet one?

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

No More Baseboards Ever!!

Is there a household chore that you hate more than the rest?
I do, it' a tie between ALL OF THEM.
But if I had to pick, just one, at this current moment in my life, it would be cleaning the baseboards.
It was this particular tortuous chore that I decided to embark upon over the MLK weekend. It so scarred me, that I am just now able to talk about it. I will not be posting before or after pictures, as the before pictures are too embarrassing, and as for the after, I can no longer crawl back down on the ground to take the pictures due to the fact that the muscles in my legs have seized up and no longer work properly. Plus, they are baseboards, and nobody cares about pictures of baseboards.
During all that squatting I did to clean them, I used muscles in my legs that I didn't know I had, and all (okay, 6) aerobics, step, and cycle classes I took, never even touched on.
I didn't wake up Monday morning with the intention of going to bed that night with the aches and pains generally afforded a ninety year old woman, but hey! it gave me something else to complain to J about, so I was all over it... just kidding.... sorta.
My plan was to do a simple mopping job in the kitchen, and then laze around in my pj's, eating everything I could get my hands on, namely pop tarts, left over Christmas candy, a slice of apple pie, and grilled cheese sandwich with tomato soup. However, as soon as I started, and the kitchen floor began looking rather spiffy, it made my baseboards look all that more dingy, dirty, and icky. We don't currently have children, but we do have three dogs that run-a-muck through the kitchen and foyer. I firmly believe that they have an unspoken pact to track through the house every piece of dirt, glob of mud, stick, leaf, and fluff out of doggie toys, that lands on the ground in south-east Bartow county. Plus Mr. Butler, as cute as his little self is, is still not housebroken, so you know what that means.
It means the baseboards were, well, dirty.
I sweep daily, spot mop daily, and all out mop once a week. I don't, however, do baseboards. At least, I didn't until Monday. And to tell you the truth, I don't know if I'll ever do them again. I think slapping on a new coat of paint every time they get a little dirty would be easier than scrubbing the tar out of them. I have calluses for gosh sakes.
No more baseboards ever!

P.S.- I want this sofa. I'll never get it (it's $6000), but I want it all the same.

What Country Is....

In the past decade or so, "what country is" has gone very mainstream. In college, every other frat boy I met, had mud tires on their trucks, and the sorority girls had John Deere trucker hat that they sported sideways with their tongues hanging out of their mouths, throwing "deuces" in every picture posted on facebook. But would they actually know what a cotton boll looked like if they were standing in a field of it? They know about Johnny Cash because they just love Joaquin Phoenix and Reece Witherspoon. They know bluegrass because George Clooney starred in Oh Brother Where Art Thou? When you turn on the radio and hear modern country music on soft rock and pop stations, you know "what country is" is not what country was. Mainstream country anyway.
When you peal away the trimmings that so many people put up to claim country or southern status, what do you have? A pile of John Deer hats, and little else.

Being southern or country has a lot of negative connotations to it. Our speech is one thing the rest of the country constantly makes fun of us about. Let them. Our speech is a languid, and relaxed as our summer nights. And I love that.

How many of us want to actually trade in the comforts of air conditioning in the summer for a box fan in the window to "suck in the swamp air" that the south in known for? Not many of us. I for one, love central heating & air, but I also love to go out and wet a line in the creek. I love to throw a saddle on the back of a pony, and head off down the trail. No, I don't like to be sweaty, and play connect the dots from where I was relentlessly attacked by bat sized mosquitoes and knats, but I love to be out in the country. The cool, clear water flowing over your feet as you wade through the creek. The thrill that runs over you when you feel the tug on the line when you're fishing. The red Georgia clay that means you're in the heart of the south. Watching the dragonflies light on flowers growing wild in the meadows. Feeling your stomach drop out from under you as you fly through the air on a rope swing over the lake, and that moment of simultaneous terror and pure joy as you hang suspended in the air before letting go. Waiving at the old man driving down the back road on his tractor because he still has fields that need plowing and sowing. It's rocking chair front porches, and family stories that are passed down with recipes. It's the total excitement, and thrill that overwhelms every man, woman, and child when the county virtually shuts down due to a once-in-every 20 years snow storm (and then the inevitable, "ho hum" that was fun for a day attitude that quickly moves in). It's the sun going down over the little town where you were born and raised, that still has a main street that gets clogged when the trains roll through. That's country. That's southern. That's everything.
My heart and souls belongs in the country, not necessarily Emerson, Georgia 4-E-V-E-R, but somewhere I can hear the katydids, watch the lightning bugs dance over the tall grass in the fields, and lay out under the inky black sky and actually see the stars. There's a particular dialogue in the movie I Heart Huckabees, that sums up quite nicely how I feel about the country.

Albert Markovski: I'm talking about not covering every square inch with houses and strip malls until you can't remember what happens when you stand in a meadow at dusk.
Bret: What happens in the meadow at dusk?
Albert Markovski: Everything!
Mrs. Hooten: Nothing!
Albert Markovski: Everything.
Mrs. Hooten Nothing!
Albert Markovski: Everything!
Mrs. Hooten Nothing!
Albert Markovski: It's beautiful.
Tommy Corn: It's beautiful.

No, it's not just about John Deere hats, and pickup trucks. It's about feeling the earth, the land, in your soul. It's about being able to stand in a meadow at dusk, and seeing everything.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

A House to Call Home

Jason and I live in the house I grew up in. My parents moved to the beach house in St. Simons (lucky them), and took their dogs and little else. Therefore, the home my husband and I live in, looks exactly the same as it did on the day I graduated high school. Which honestly, I don't mind, I mean, it's home. But it does semi-bother Jason... and because it bothers him, it bothers me, mainly because I hear about it. Oh the joys of marriage! haha. In all reality he has been EXTREMELY patient with the fact that for a year and a half, our bedroom still has stuff on the walls from when I was in middle school.... That being said, it is time to REVAMP THE FARMHOUSE!! Thank God most of what my parents chose to put in the house when they built it 22 years ago, were choices based on timeless, traditional lines. Meaning we won't have to do any large scale renovation. We will be working mainly with things like paint, lighting, and eventually flooring. At some point in the future we would love to add a room onto the back of the house, with a tin roof to be used as a den.

The refreshing will be done in stages, and therefore I've decided to blog the process.

The kitchen is first and foremost, mainly because it's the one room that is getting on my nerves the most. Probably because I almost have a seizure every time I walk in due to the fact that the color on the walls is similar to the surface of the sun. It is that yellow. And it has got. to. go.

I will upload BEFORE pictures of the kitchen this evening. But below are pictures that I am using for inspirations. There are elements of each that I love. That I am hoping to incorporate into "OUR" kitchen. Hope J likes it! ;-)

love the understated charm of this kitchen. clean, but lived in.

L.O.V.E this kitchen... I just don't know if I can talk myself into painting our cherry cabinets.
But I'm seriously thinking about it.

this one really nothing like the first two, other than it's not your cookie cutter kitchen. AND i love it.... how to choose which direction we want to go in?!? By the way, I can pretty much guarantee that J will say it's too busy, with too much stuff... which it is, and it does, but i love it.

love the retro look, and i can pretty much see jason rolling his eyes on this one.
would probably never do this, but love the feel of it.

love the open shelving, and the painted pine board walls.

I think I can conclude that I love the open, light filled kitchens. It's a good thing we have big windows, and a set of french doors in our kitchen.
Pictures up soon!!