Thursday, July 31, 2008

These Are My People.

I can tell y'all about my love of southern collection of family china and sterling silver...even my cherished, cast iron Dutch oven that is over 125 years old and perfectly seasoned, handed down from my Memaw and proud Bertrand women before her. Grits, sweet tea, cotton fields, warm breezes that momentarily offer a reprieve from the blistering heat and humidity, bluegrass tunes, peach orchards, Brunswick stew, the Bulldogs, boiled peanuts, Warner Robins Air Force Base, and a pride in my home state that envelopes my core being, causing tears to well behind my eyes before I can chide myself for acting so silly.

Yes, y'all. I am southern. I am Georgian. I am thankful God planted my feet below the Mason-Dixon line. I'm proud to be American and I love every part of this country. Oh yes, I do. But as Ray Charles sang it best, "...still in peaceful dreams I see, the road leads back to you..." Georgia is always on my mind.

Thus, it is with great pleasure I introduce y'all to the town of Dublin, Georgia, less than an hour from my place of origin, Warner Robins. (Hey Middle Georgia--love y'all!)

No one ever said we Georgians aren't philanthropic. And we're "purty," too.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

And the winner is...

OK, y'all...time for my first ever Christmas in July giveaway. Applause, applause, applause. No, please stay seated. Clap, clap, clap. Why, thanks so much. "I love you, Lula!" Yes, I love you, too! Thank you, everyone. Thanks for playing...this was fun for me, how 'bout y'all?

Let's go to and let them choose. I'm far too lazy to be like Debbie and put all 102 names of comment-leavers into a football helmet. (But I do love you, Debbie--you're just so much better than me! I say this adoringly, of course.)

True Random Number Service
Random Integer Generator
Here are your random numbers:10
Timestamp: 2008-07-29 18:14:56 UTC

Okey-dokey then. Who is number 10? Let's check the comments, shall we?

Heather Blair of Mindless Junque!

Hooray! Yippee! Congratulations to you!

The crowd is going wild, Heather. And some of them are nodding approvingly, because they know you deserve to win, what with all the prizes you and Mrs. R have been giving out over on SITS.

I'll get your goodies off to you in a few days, my friend. And I know you already have a copy of Twilight (or two, or three), so I'm trusting you'll pay it forward and share our well-loved work of prose with someone less fortunate than us. Read: Those who haven't heeded our pleas and jumped on our Twilight bandwagon. (Vicki, I'm looking at you.) It's not charity--it's a gift--and it must be shared.

Thanks for playing, everybody, and thanks for sharing Christmas in July with me. Come back in a few days for my next's gooooooooood stuff, I promise. I would never let y'all down.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Definiton: Condition.

When in sunny Jamaica, one looks forward to lots of beach lounging, conch eating, and fruity drinks with expertly placed umbrellas swimming atop. And lots of sunshine, Caribbean waves, and indoor sports. (Yeah, I said it.)

But when the sky darkens and the clouds fill in Jamaica (or as the locals refer it it, "liquid sunshine") one can allow it to dampen spirits, as well as beach towels and flip-flops. Last October we spent a week in Montego Bay with our dear friends, Scott & Suzanne, and while there chose to ride out the frequent downpours with fun, games, and a particular book we always pack on trips.

Here's my Scott with Suzanne...riding out a storm on the porch of our suite:

They're both going to kill me for posting this picture, but that's not the point. (Also not the point, but it bears mentioning--Suzanne looks so much like Insane Mama that it freaks me out! In a good way, of course. Hard to tell in this picture, but one day I'll post a side-by-side comparasion.)

The point is that while Scott and Suzanne are sitting in the shelter, Scott and I (the other Scott, that is) are across from them, reading questions from the book If...(Questions for the Game of Life) by Evelyn McFarlane & James Saywell.

It's so fun, y'all! This little book is full of questions meant to be asked in any kind of setting or situation, but it's most fun when shared amongst friends. Such as:

*If you could realize a dream that you have had while asleep, what dream would you pick? (That's easy...the one I had the other night about Edward Cullen. Ahem.)

*If you had to select the most beautiful face in history, whose face would you pick? (Again, easy...Grace Kelly. Or my late Memaw. Or my husband.)

*If you could make a sequel to any movie you have ever seen, which one would it be? (Oh, please...The Goonies, hands down. They'd go on an adventure as adults, sans Sloth, may he rest in peace.)

We've spent hours playing the If game with some of our best friends, and the answers given are always funny and thought-provoking, and more times than not, the responses spark fascinating conversations perfect for passing rain-soaked hours in the Caribbean. Or in your own home, of course. Or while in the drive-through at Sonic. (Which we don't have in our little mountain town, but whatever.) Or while waiting on your hibachi chef to commence with the chopping and sizzling and entertaining already.

Because I think we should all be playing a page from the book of If, here's a question for y'all:

*If you could be on the cover of any magazine next month, which magazine would you want it to be, and what would the caption read?

My answer? It's a toss-up between People--"Finally Thin!" and Sci-Fi Magazine--"Southern Belle Revels In Her Geek Status!"

OK, and maybe Rolling Stone, with the caption being, "Southwest Virginian Wife & Mother Produces Oscar-Nominated, Chart-Topping Soundtrack." And then I'd love for Scott and I to be on the cover of Home Life: "God Did This!"

So I never play by the rules...I can't pick just one. And if Brad & Angelina can be on multiple publication covers every week, so can I. This is my blog and my dream, thankyouverymuch.

Play along with me, y'all. I won't even pretend that I'm not nosey in the least bit.

p.s. Christmas in July winner announced tomorrow, y'all. I can hardly stand it! Woo-wooooo!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Mad Musical Monday.

*The Christmas in July giveaway winner will be announced here later on in the week--be sure to check in to see who gets the goods, and for a preview of my next round of freebies!
Children are so truthful. I love their unconcealed honesty, especially when it reveals something that must be shared to the internets.

Last week while out by the pool, my niece Eliza heard Muse's hauntingly beautiful tune, "Blackout" floating from my iPod. The instant the music began, Eliza stood transfixed, completely unmoving. After a minute of her trance, she slowy began to tip-toe around the iPod dock, trying to clear the area without coming near the source of the music. Moments from breaking her spell with a jubilant, "Woooo, Lizee--we love us some Muse, huh?" she looked up at me with fear in her eyes and exclaimed,
"Lola...I scared of the song!"

I tried not to laugh, because it was indeed precious. She was scared of the song. Love her little adorable heart. Of course we did the iPod shuffle and got rid of the scary number. Maybe when she's a bit older I'll be able to reintroduce her to the wonder that is Muse. Until then, here's "Blackout," one of my favorites by a very swell band.

Reconfiguring the iPod jukebox was probably a wise move on my part. Immediately following Muse was Aqualung's "Strange and Beautiful," also moody and melancholy, and one of my favorites. I'm sure it would've scared Eliza, too, and we just can't have that now, can we? But y'all should listen to it, at is rather fabulous.

I am trying to be her most favorite aunt, of we'll save the morose tunes for later. Meanwhile, I worked myself back into her good graces with the silver Mary Janes and sparkly brown sneakers I found for her at Target. Of course I got the matching ones for my two girls, as well. Once Eliza saw her new shoes, scary songs were completely forgotten. Sometimes retail therapy is what it's all about.

But I still love Muse and Aqualung...just so y'all know.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Can Ya Feel It? Can Ya Feel It? CAN YA FEEL IT? (Sing it, Jacksons.)

Tomorrow, July 25th, is one of my most favorite days of the year. And I'm so super-excited about tomorrow that I've decided to share my elation with all of you.

But you have to come back. TOMORROW, y'all. July 25th, that is.

I know. You're hating me now, right? I'm sorry. I promise to make it worth your while. OK, OK...I'll give you two hints:

Fabulous and free.

Two of my favorite words in the wide world.

Now, go find a big ol' bag of peanut M&Ms, tuck yourself in tight with a good book (may I suggest The Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer? Good...I just did!) and stop looking at the clock until it's the twenty-fifth day of July. Then come back here. Please.

Oh, I'm so excited I just wanna bite into something...where's the peanut M&Ms?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Famous Last Words.

The yearbook from my senior year of high school is next to Miss Pretty Pink, mocking me from behind her maroon cover. It's been 15 years since I walked the hallowed halls of Warner Robins High School as a student, and the pictures therein contain no lies. There's me and Vicki standing side by side in the FBLA group picture. Why are Kelly and I laying all over each other in the Art Club picture? Oh, look! Here I am in New York City, showing off the faux Gucci watch I scammed while being all touristy with my Humanities/AP English class, strolling the streets of the Big Apple. (Nerds...we were all nerds. I admit it.) Wow...good times...I remember so few of them, embarrassingly enough.

Somewhere the middle of this photographic reminder of my Demon years (and just so y'all know, it was our mascot--I'm not referring to myself in this manner, as we all know I am an angel) an individual on the annual staff thought it was be hilarious to poll several seniors with trite questions such as "What's your worst dating nightmare?" and "What's the one important thing you'd share with your fellow class members?" Um...lame. Yet when I was asked what I'd be doing 10 years from 1993, my reply, as quoted in the yearbook, is "I will be teaching English here at WRHS, happily married, and RICH!"

No, I didn't.

Yes, I did. It's all there, in black and white. Preserved for posterity, and my utter humiliation.

Of course I'm not an English teacher at my Alma mater, nor a rich one at that. I must have counted on marrying JFK Jr. or something. What lofty aspirations! This is my high school legacy? What a way to be immortalized.

Can you say naive?

So I'm not an English teacher. I'm not rich. And I'm not living in Warner Robins, Georgia. Instead I find myself raising 2 little girls, loving a man who's so much like me it both frightens and delights my soul, and revelling in my little country life. If someone were to ask me today, "Where will be you be 10 years from now?" I can answer with pretty clear certainty: I'll be here, God willing, raising my 2 girls and loving the other side of me...the better side of me.

If I had to dream beyond the scope of my imagination?
This is what I'd say:

"Ten years from now? Wow, it's gonna be so brilliant! I'll be raising my 2 teenaged girls, loving my man, finishing my world-wide book tour (still can't believe it's a best-seller!), preparing for the release of the sequel, and securing the casting and soundtrack rights to the major motion picture that will be made of the first book. I'll have my beach house in Hilton Head and it will always be ready for fabulous girls-only weekends, complete with drop-in visits from Stephenie Meyer and Paula Deen. I'll take all my gals with me to LA when I appear on "Ellen," and to NYC for both David Letterman and The Today Show. My family and I will regularly venture out on "just-because" vacations to Hawaii and the cast of Lost will reunite for a 2-hour televised special entitled "Back to the Island," moderated by one little Mrs. Lula!"

And now, dear bloggy pals, I pose the same question to you: What will you be doing 10 years from this very moment? I always say that I dream big. It's the only way to go, people. So get fancy with me...share your reverie, please.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

My Tombstone Will Most Likely Be As Incredulous As My Life.

June 17, 5:30 p.m.--in the closet of our master bedroom, as I'm getting dressed following an afternoon of swimming...
Scott is giving me that look. You know...the look. I shouldn't have to explain further.

Me: Honey, just ask me later tonight...we gotta get to your parents' and I've got those cheese grits in the oven and I can't get sidetracked right now. OK?

Scott: We are married.

Me: Um...ya think?

Scott: Yeah, but we've been married over 8 years now. And we've been together 10 years.

Me: Again...ya think? (And I'm wondering why he's staring at me with that look, but not making a single attempt to cross the closet to where I'm standing--rather, where I'm performing my balancing act, with one foot in my shorts, the other simultaneously slipping into flip-flops.)

Scott: But what I'm saying is that I've been with you longer than anyone in my entire life...except my parents and family and all.

Me: Are you completely high? What are you going on about? More importantly, are you high?

Scott: I just can't believe we've made it this far. Eight years, baby...that's a long time, you know?

Me: Staring, mouth gaping, not a sound being uttered. (I know, right? You can't believe it. Me...speechless!)

He then turns to leave and mumbles, as if it's a second thought, "Well, baby--I sure do love you...I'm gonna start the truck..."

And I'm standing there...nekkid from the waist up, asking myself, "Did that conversation just happen?"

Thank God I had the presence of mind to finish dressing. Because I was certain that Jesus was returning in that instant. Why else would this conversation have happened? Furthermore, I don't wanna be caught up in the clouds sans appropriate undergarments...I fully intend on taking my favorite brassiere with me to Glory. It has fuschia, orange, and yellow stars on it, y'all.

And I love him. He's my BFF & soulmate. Scott is very rarely wacky. Perhaps the closet brings out whatever semblance of wackiness he has hidden in his heart. Regardless, he's my man...and I love him...and will for another 100 years, minimum. I just thought y'all should know.

Maybe he plays a little too much Xbox Live with the fellas. I'm just sayin'. All that racin' and fightin' and tacklin' and shootin' might be messin' with his head. Then again, he might be correct in his assessment that I'm the reason for his rapidly-growing grey hairs. Yes, I am that much fun to live with. In my starry brassiere.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Mad Musical Monday.

No fodder...not a lot of running commentary...I'm keeping this one simple.

Here's some of the best music you are not listening to. OK, OK...I do realize people outside of my little mountain town listen to genres other than country and Southern Gospel. So by all means, comment away if you are familiar with any of my musical picks today. I'll be super impressed and we will be BFFs forever and ever.

Luna Halo is The Next Big Thing. And before Rolling Stone gets ahold of 'em, I wanna give y'all a chance to listen in. Seriously good stuff, folks. I dig 'em muchly. My girls and I rock out to Luna Halo on a regular basis. Y'all need to, as well.

Nick Drake. Sigh. He died almost 34 years ago, so You Tube only has small clips of his work. But he is so worthy. So. Worthy. I adore Nick Drake...his music is almost too beautiful to be of this world. Sigh...

Even though they've disabled their videos on YouTube so that I can't share with y'all (almost grounds for a break-up!), I'll still throw my love to Under the Influence of Giants. They are so glam, so fresh, so late 70's/early 80's...but for our millennium! "Mama's Room" is one of my faves...and if you wanna know what they're doing in "Mama's Room," here and watch/listen for yourself. I seriously heart these fellas.

There y'all have it. Easy-peasy this go 'round.

Oh, and I love learning about new makes me and my iPod very happy. Do y'all have any "no one listens to these people but me" favorites? Share the love, please!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Flashback Friday!

"'Cause he sounds like a drag..."

Nothing says summer like Danny & Sandy. And nothing says summer like a guy bragging he'd done way more than staying out 'til 10:00.

Yeah, I think we've all been there.

Showing some Grease love today, y'all...oh, and here's a little bit of trivia to boot: last month was the 30th anniversary of the film. Yes, I aaid 30th.

When I was a little girl I wanted to be sweet, innocent, singing-about-hand-holding Sandy. As a teenager I strutted around in pure Rizzo fashion. (Without the "defective typewriter" scare!) Now that I'm quickly approaching my mid-30's it has become painfully obvious that I'm really just Blanche...Rydell High's blundering secretary. Yep.

Happy weekend, y'all!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

From Henceforth I Shall Be Known As...

...LOLA! Sing it, Barry.
A certain 20 month old has decided "Lola" suits my personality much better than the moniker bestowed upon me by her mother. I'm fine with it. I've never been one to argue with certain adorableness, particularly when coming from so charming a package. Besides, who can resist these blue eyes and their matching mouth?

Eliza, you can call me "Lola" 'til the end of time...just as long as I'm always your favorite aunt. And won't I be cute this Halloween with yellow feathers in my hair and a dress cut down to there?

Meanwhile, Eliza's new baby sister (happy 6 week birthday, Helen!) is utterly delicious...her head, especially. This is evidenced by the numerous kisses we deliver to her cheeks, averaging two per minute, give or a take a few puckers. The eldest of the Litton grandgirls is very fond of the perpetual smooching of her new cousin's forehead.

In other news, yet another "Princess Caroline" has been crowned. She was asked to give a few words to her subjects follwing her coronation ceremony, but Her Highness only had but a fleeting moment before retreating to the palace. Thus, she merely posed for photographs, waved to her people, and silently ate the microphone. Princesses are allowed to eat whatever they want. It's a virute of being royal.
It's their world. We're thankful these gals just let us live in it.

Let's all commence with the singing of "Copacabana," please. You know you want to. Barry Manilow is smokin' hot. I'm woman enough to admit it. After all, I am LOLA!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


Two quick things I've just gotta share with y'all...
Remember my June 15 post from a couple of weeks ago? Well, the day has arrived, Amazon has delivered, and I am mere minutes away from enjoying my very own boyfriend's latest DVD release. I am all kinds of excited and can hardly wait to behold his gorgeousness. And I hear the movie is pretty swell, too.
The Bank Job DVD Whoa...that's big. But he's a very big deal, so it's appropriate.
He could pretty much read the phone book on camera and I'd be watching in rapt attention. Jason, how I love thee.

Also, I just have to let each of you know that I fully believe y'all are the best bloggy peeps in the world. Y'all leave the best comments, send awesome e-mails, and have become bright spots in my world. I know that sounds all cheesy and Hallmark "When You Care Enough To Send The Very Best"-ish, but it's completely true. I wanna give each of you an enormous hug...and a bag of peanut M&Ms.

Here's where the world o' blogging gets really fun: while I was at the beach in late June, Mariah (known to most as "Insane Mama") and her family were gettin' their redneck family reunion on in the great state of Georgia. She mentioned a particular convenience store (or as we call 'em down south, "Quickie stores!") in one of her Twits (and why aren't y'all on our Twitter bandwagon--lots of us bloggy pals are Twitting, you know!) and I instantly knew her exact location in the mountians of my beloved home state. I twitted back with, "I SO KNOW WHERE YOU ARE! I've been there!" It is indeed a small world after all, of course.

A week later a package arrives in my mailbox, all the way from California...

I mean...come on...this ROCKED my world, y'all! I now have my very own Booger Hollow t-shirt, bought in Blairsville (where our best friends live--hey, Scott & Suzanne!), hauled on a plane to the west coast, then mailed from California. are so awesome! Thanks again for sending this my way--I wear it with pride. How can one not feel prideful whilst wearing "Booger Hollow" on their back? Hello, I'm Lula, I'm a redneck, and I'm living out loud!

I've said it before, I'll say it a million times takes so little to make me happy. And I'm thankful for all of it, most especially YOU!. Yes, you--reading this. Y'all are highlights...which my hair needs, but that's for another post...

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

It Ain't Ivory Snow.

My most favorite lip balm in the world is by Bonne's Dr. Pepper flavored and it's jumbo-sized. I love it. Very much. And I'm unable to find it in my little neck of the woods. There are scads and scads of the regular-sized know, those that come in a Chap-Stik tube? No, I want the mega one, please. Alas, it's not to be found.

Off I go to search the wonderful invention known as the World Wide Web. "Big ol' Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker," please. Again, scads and scads of the regular tubes come up in my search results, but not a big one in the bunch. What's a girl to do?

Now I'm rationing what little I have left of my token large tube of Dr. Pepper lip balmy goodness. When it's gone I'm certain the wailing that issues forth from my person will be heard worldwide. I'm not kidding, y'all.

Not long ago Carrie mentioned one of her favorite products from that fabulous era known as the 70's...that lathery luxury known as "Gee, Your Hair Smells Terrific!" shampoo. Make fun of the disco years if you must, but that decade contained some really innovative merchandise for its time. While searching for my coveted Dr. Pepper Lip Smacker (the BIG one!) I thought of yet another product I discovered and loved as a child in the late 70's/early 80's. Anyone remember Love's Baby Soft?

Off I go on another internet search, wanting to relive Christmas of 1982, when I was 8 years old and my precious Memaw gifted me with a full set of Love's Baby Soft products, including the cologne, body lotion and--swoon!--dusting powder! I liberally doused every inch of my then-little body with this "soft" scent until the bottles were emtpy...about 3 weeks later. Yeah, I smelled fabulous...and you could also predict my arrival at 50 paces.

The above ad is from the 70's...I'm not certain of the exact year, but HELLO! Are y'all sharing my incredulity? Utter unbelief? Oh, it is shades of Miley in Vanity Fair. And here we all thought Miss Cyrus was a scandalous hussy. Little did I know the way had been paved almost thirty years prior to Annie Leibovitz's talent behind the lens.

Yes, you lesiure suit-wearing, thick moustache-sporting, Pabst Blue Ribbon-drinking advertising execs, "innocence is sexier than you think." But a perfectly coiffed, pouting 10 year old child holding a fluffy teddy bear? With those come hither eyes? Are you kidding me?

Love's Baby Soft will never smell the same for me. Because now it will only represent pedophilia . Yeah, I said that. Pedophilia. Oh, it makes me wanna set something on fire. Darn debauchery.

Let's discuss this amongst ourselves, shall we? Not pedophilia, of course, but the number of things wrong with this ad. And if any of y'all can identify this Brooke Shields-wannabe, please do so...she certainly looks familiar but I just can't place her.

Oh yeesh...look at where my love for gargantuan-sized Dr. Pepper Lip Smackers has taken me. This is my world...I just live in it. And apparently I'll be living in it without a supersized version of the world's greatest lip balm.


Monday, July 14, 2008

Mad Musical Monday.

Did y'all have fun with last week's 80's musical shoutouts? I, for one, loved it! Some of you went into anaphylactic shock over my fabulous female flashbacks of 20 years ago, and for this I'm sorry. Didn't I promise y'all new musical selections each week? I did. Here goes...

This week I'm throwing tune love your way courtesy of my children, Libbey (6 1/2) and Caroline (2 1/2). Before you click out of Lulaville with thoughts of the Wiggles, Backyardigans and Hannah Montana running through your pretty little heads, let me assure you there's not a kiddie song in the bunch. I promise. This is Lula talkin' to you here...I'm raising 'em right, y'all. These kids of mine love Ray Charles, John Mayer, Coldplay, and anything Watermark ever released. And please don't even get Libbey started on her boyfriend, Keith Urban. Likewise, let's not mention Cyndi Lauper to Caroline or else I'll be forced to play "Girls Just Want To Have Fun" for the 17th time today.

The girls have their own playlist on my iPod (and--ahem!--cough, cough--Libbey has her own iPod. It's all minty green and sweet. It's spoilage of the highest level--thank you Papaw Sonny. Yes, you've been outed!) and I'll be the first to admit it's a rather enjoyable listening experience. I asked them to share with me their 3 favorite songs as of late, and their answers may surprise y'all.

We are definitely cut from the same cloth, my eldest child and I, in millions of ways. I am loving her penchant for all genres of music. When I asked her what song she'd like me to put on Lulaville, Libbey scanned the jukebox of her mind, wanting just the perfect choice. "The new one from Coldplay, mommy?" Yeah, we're loving "Viva La Vida" around here. "No, know...Amos Lee!"

We're big Amos Lee fans in this house and Libbey's favorite is "Sweet Pea." I so love this child...she is fun...she is unique...she has a great ear for music.

Without having to ask sweet Caroline, I knew what she'd select. But I asked because I love her. And I was right...she and I are tight like that.

"Here Comes the Sun" by the Beatles. The video is from one of the numbers performed in Cirque du Soleil's LOVE, at the Mirage Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Scott and I (along with my parents and brother) saw it last year and adored every wonderful minute. I pretty much love anything George Harrison ever wrote and performed. We are big BeatleManiaMopHeads...I'm glad the girls have caught on and are loving the Fab Four right along with us. Caroline is cultivating some awesome musical tastes. She's so hard rockin'...and I so love her.

The girls' final selection was a surprise...not because of the particular song, but because both girls suggested I include it, with Caroline repeating the title over and over again. And again. And yet again. OK, honey--I heard you the first 43 times! This is a way-backer for me, as it was popular exactly at this moment 10 years ago. Impressed with my memory? You should be. But it's also because Scott and I were courting 10 summers ago. The moment we'd hear the opening strains, we'd start making out. Literally.

Faith Hill's, "This Kiss." Thank you, Beth Nielsen Chapman, for co-writing this song and enabling two lovebirds in their quest to become better maker-outers.

We climbed into the MomVan Friday evening to drive into town and eat bad Mexican (the only kind we have around here), and both girls requested this on the iPod. I attempted my, "When Daddy and I were dating years ago" story, but Libbey promptly put an end to it, sighing, "We know, Mommy--you've told us this before--and you can't believe this song is 10 years old, right?" Is she 6 or 16? I'm just sayin'.

These girls of mine...oh, I just wanna hold 'em so tightly and keep 'em from growing, because we love their ages right. now. And I love traveling anywhere with them in tow, knowing it won't be hour after hour of "I wanna hear Dora Dance Party!" Yes, they do request the occasional Aly & AJ (that would be Libbey, of course), and Caroline rather enjoys Miley Cyrus. I can take these requests...because in between, I know a little Aqualung, FFH, Blondie, or Electric Light Orchestra will be blaring from the speakers. Eclectic we are!

Feel the music, y' the music, y'all...get your groove on, and get your week a-hoppin', courtesy of the Litton Girls.

*Just now Caroline said, "I wanna hear the 'Ping-Pong' song, Mommy...pease!" I. Kid. You. Not. The child wants to sing along to some Enrique. Tell me you don't think this is hysterical. 'Cause it so is! But oh, no...Lula will NOT be posting the video from said song, as none of us need to start our week with scantily clad skinny girls making out with Latin Crooner Junior. See how I take care of y'all? Oh, but yes.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

I love true stories.

I needed to see this today. I thought y'all needed to see it, too. And the best part is that it's true. Read about Christian here.

Now...go watch Narnia. The above clip made me think of Aslan.
Yes, I needed this today.

"Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed."--Revelation 5:5

Friday, July 11, 2008

Flashback Friday!

"Get my drink on, then get on the dance floor..."--50 Cent

Because this picture was taken 4 years ago I am safe in the knowledge that none of you will call Child Protective Services on me. Isn't she a cute little tispy person? Can't you just hear her saying, "One more round for everybody!"

It takes so little to make me happy, y'all.

Of course that's just a strawberry/banana smoothie. Do I even have to tell y'all that?

We took this photo in Nags Head, NC, in the summer of 2004 and I begged Scott to let this be our Christmas card photo that year. I mean, the child looks three sheets to the wind. And tell me this doesn't scream, "CHRISTMAS GREETINGS! HAPPIEST OF NEW YEARS!" In the end decency and decorum won out...that would be Scott's decency and 2.5 year old faux drunk child did not.

It still makes me laugh. Hence the reason Libbey is my Flashback Friday poster child!
Have a great weekend, y'all!

p.s. Thanks for all the wonderful, loving and heartfelt comments about my post on my friend Ramey. It really helped make these sad days a bit brighter. I mean that from the bottom of my heart. I love y'all!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008


*If you ever read anything I've written or will write, I pray this post is it.

Last week a little 7 year old boy named Judah had a dream of his mother walking with him, hand in hand, in Heaven. Mid-way through their walk the little boy realized he was no longer strolling with his mother. Instead, he was watching his mommy walk with God.

And let me tell you about this God walking with Judah's mommy. He is real. He is on time. He is good. He is mine.

Seven months ago Judah Reeves' mother, Ramey, was diagnosed with brain cancer. In March and May she had surgeries to remove the tumor attacking her right hemisphere. Ramey fought hard and had the most unbelievable faith that God would heal & restore her health. I've rarely seen such true & honest belief in our Lord. Ramey lived faith with every breath.

Today at 12:42 pm, eastern time, God healed Ramey Reeves. Instantly following her final breath Ramey was in His presence, healthy, healed, and whole. This, my friends, is what Love looks like. This is what true beauty encompasses. This is true Christianity. It's not religion. It's not's not's not exalting oneself. It's not haughty, arrogant, prideful or rude. It's not Baptist or Methodist or Catholic. It's not Democratic or Republican. It's Christ--His Name is all over Christianity. It is Love with a capital "L." It protects, hopes, trusts, and perseveres. And it never fails. Not for one second.

Early this morning I received a call from a close friend wanting me to know that Ramey was nearing the end of her time on earth. I stepped into the shower and had a good, long talk with God. I cried. I laughed. I prayed. I sang praises. And then I had a good, long listen to God. It goes both ways, folks.

Sitting down at Miss Pretty Pink a few minutes later I learned some precious, precious news. A fellow bloggy buddy announced her pregnancy today. Very happily I rejoiced with her. God knew her news was what I needed this morning. He's good like that.

A few hours later I learned of Ramey's ultimate healing. I was, in turns, both relived and sorrowed. My heart cried, "But Lord, what about Judah? He's just 7! What about John? His beloved soulmate is no longer with him here on earth." And my soul cried, "Thank You, God...she is free...she is with You. It's all Your children ever hope for."

Not long after the initial shock of losing Ramey, Mrs. R wrote to ask if I'd seen her most recent post. I hadn't...nor had I done my usual "blog rounds" as of yet. Immediately I clicked over to her site and enjoyed the first bright spot of my afternoon. Again, He's good like that.

Today has been full of tears...raw hope. This is not a typical Lula-ish post, I realize. No tampons, no fried green tomatoes, no vampire shout-outs. But this is me. Love me or leave me...this is me in all my nekkid glory, stripped bare, devoid of any outer shell. For today at least. And I'm thankful.

I'm thankful to serve a God who not only heals and calls His children Home, but also continues to wrap His loving arms around these children He keeps on earth for a little while longer. He has taken care of me today. He gives new life, in the form of rapidly-growing child in the womb of my fellow sister in Him. He allows me to laugh at a friend's 2 minutes of fame in the midst of a figural and literal storm. (Did I mention the monsoon we had this afternoon?) I can't stress how good He is. More than anything, I had to share this with y'all today. I hope you don't mind.

Judah, I do believe your mommy let go of God's hand long enough to do this:

This is what Heaven looks like. Her name is Ramey.

An Open Letter to EW, Part 2.

Part 1

Dear Entertainment Weekly,

I'm nearing the end of your Top 1000 New Classics issue, and frankly I'm fuming from the depths of my being. More or less I agreed with your top choices for movies and television. Your music picks left something to be desired, as far as I'm concerned, but I got over it, moved on and eagerly turned the pages to see which works of fiction and non-fiction have been selected for the top 100.

Number one is The Road by Cormac McCarthy. Um...boring. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire comes in second place. Maybe I'll get around to reading Rowling one day. Not today, though. Oh, I see Margaret Atwood's brilliant novel, The Handmaid's Tale, in the number 16 slot. OK, EW...that's a step in the right direction. I'm still reading through the list, looking for it.

Nope, it's not at number 30...that's Case Histories by Kate Atkinson. Never heard of that particular work. Let's leave the Top 50, shall we? There's Friday Night Lights by H.G. Blissinger, at number 74. Is that like the movie or the TV show? 'Cause I'm totally not familiar.

I'm starting to get a little worried here. I'll keep looking...

Well, I knew I'd find Dan Brown on here somewhere, barely making the list at number 96. I did enjoy the Da Vinci Code...a intriguing work of fiction. Fiction. EW, are you hearing me?

OK, I gotta look again, with a magnifiying glass this time, because I'm certain it's on here. I know it is. How could it not? I've read the titles of each selection in your top 100. WHERE. IS. IT?

Entertainment Weekly, my dear, this is grounds for a break-up. A reason for subscription dissolution. Worthy of a scathing letter to your editors, who are obviously idiots. Yeah, I said it...IDIOTS.

My incredulity is rising...I've reread your list five times now and it's not magically appearing. Have y'all seriously lost your minds?

How could a magazine as esteemed as EW leave off the New York Times Editor's Choice? A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year? The Best Book of the Decade...So Far, as rated by A novel which has, along with its second and third sequels, graced the New York Times Bestseller List for over 143 weeks?

EW, I know you know. You have to know. Why did you leave it off your list? I'm gettin' huffy here and it's not proper or polite for southern gals to sweat the small stuff. Yet here I am. Sweatin'. And this ain't small stuff. Not one bit.

Does your lack of favor stem from the issue that this particular book is, in fact, a novel geared toward "young adult" readers? Because I'm here to tell y'all, this 33 year old wife and mama may not be a "young adult." Yet I adore this work of fiction so deeply it frightens my husband. Many times he has reminded me, "'s just a book. It's not real." Well dagum, honey o' mine! I know this. Just let me live in it f0r a while, all happy and safe and warm and satisfied. Oh, and can you bring me some peanut M&Ms to aid my enjoyment? Thanks.

Back to you, EW. There are many things I can forgive: Greg IWillNotDivulgeHisLastName for promising me shroom tea would be harmless. My mother, for staying with me 4 weeks after Caroline was born, when 2 would have sufficied and our bond would've remained bruise-free. Schwans, for making some items available only for internet preorder, when I always forget and want said items the minute that yellow truck pounds up my road. *Nsync, for breaking up just when they started to get really good. These are the easy-peasies in life.

Your omission, though? Oh, EW! I am aghast.

I know for a fact I am not the only individual shocked, horrified and wounded by your lack of love. Own up to it. Be a man. Print the 63,856 letters your editors will receive, hounding and pleading for a retraction. Go on. Do it. I dare you.

Until then I must make clear your status on my black list. We've had a long-standing relationship, Entertainment Weekly, and I hate to see it dissolve like this. I implore you to redeem this magazine...get right with God...find solace in the truth. 'Til then, EW, we are not on the best of terms. Take a clue from TV Guide--this week's issue is all about the joys of good, solid, Sci-Fi programming. That's a magazine I can get behind.

Stephenie Meyer's brilliant work of prose that is beloved by bojillions (wink-wink!) would have been number one on my list. I expected it to at least crack the top 50 in yours. Leaving it off completely? Well, that's just bad entertainment news, y'all.


I never finished the rest of your Top 1000 New Classics edition. Why should I?

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

An Open Letter to EW.

Dear Entertainment Weekly,

Thanks for fulfilling your title, as you have certainly been entertaining reading. I've been a satisfied suscriber for quite some time now. Each week I look forward to finding a new issue in my mailbox, faithfully setting aside quality reading time for you and your sister publication, People. It was with great pleasure that I found, upon returning from my beach vacation, your "New Classics" edition, which featured 1000 of the best movies, TV shows, books, albums, and more of the last 25 years. Be still my beating heart! I could hardly wait to peruse your pages to see if my favorites matched yours. For starters, you had one Buffy Summers pictured on the far, so good! I dove right into the issue, beginning with your silver screen picks.

Number two on the list of the new classic movies was none other than my beloved Lord of the Rings Trilogy. Spot on, EW!
lord of the rings final
Other favorites of mine making the movie list included When Harry Met Sally, The Breakfast Club, The Sixth Sense, Pretty Woman and Clueless. But where, might I ask, was The Goonies? Steel Magnolias? I'm just sayin'.

Moving on to the top 100 new classics in the world of television, I found myself squealing out loud upon discovering your number eight pick: Lost, described within your pages as, "one of TV's most tantalizing, labyrinthine, frustrating, and imaginative dramas." Darn right it is!
Sawyer...swoon! He is altogether delicious. Just so you know.

I wholeheartedly agree with Lost's presence in your Top 10. I also agree with Sex and the City being number five, The Cosby Show at number seven, and Friends at number nine. But here's where I broke out my happy dance:
Spike and Buffy
Buffy The Vampire Slayer, as the number ten choice!!! Yeah, y'all so got this one right. And your tribute? "Few would have guessed that such a toothless, one-joke movie would inspire such a brilliant, layered series. By turns scary, romantic, funny, and heart-breaking, Buffy proves that a show about teens need not alienate older viewers." Yes, are most definitely correct. Let's not forget Spike is my most favorite vampire ever. (Those trim, hard-bodied, pale, Goth-rockers get me Every. Time.)

Shout-outs were also given to a few of my other all-time favorite series: Star Trek: The Next Generation (we nerds are onto something good!) ranked number 24, CSI came in at number 35, and the fabulous hour that was Moonlighting found itself at 54. Also, my newfound love, Battlestar Galactica (go 'head Sci-Fi nerds...get your glory on!) was given placement at number 59 and my all-time favorite comedy, Designing Women, barely made the list at 95. (This is a travesty to me, but I won't dwell on it.) Thanks, EW, for reconfirming my stellar tastes in television. To say I feel validated is putting it mildly.  (But where was Doctor Who?  No mention of it at all?  Lame, EW.  Is it because Who isn't a "New Classic," given that it's been around since the 60's?  That better be the explanation.)

Now we turn to the world of music, and it's no surprise that I didn't agree with over half of your top 100 picks. Contemporary Christian artists were completely ignored (no shocker there--one day the world will discover the genius of Watermark, dc Talk, Rita Springer, and Chris Rice), as were albums by more of my personal faves, Alison Krauss and Union Station, the Indigo Girls, Harry Connick, Jr., Lenny Kravitz, and Garbage. I dig me some Prince, but no way should Purple Rain be the number 1 new classic. Come on, EW..."Darling Nicky?" Are you kidding me?

Happily I found albums by U2 listed more than once (Achtung Baby at number 3, Joshua Tree at 63--don't even get me started), and my man Paul Simon's Graceland was rated number 8! Props to y'all for recognizing De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising (number 22), Life's Rich Pageant by R.E.M. at number 32, and Coldplay's melodic "A Rush of Blood to the Head," at 49. And then there's The Cure's Disintegration being revealed in the number 14 position. Yes, yes, yes--this album guided me through the murky waters of adolescence...I still carry its torch.

Why, oh why was Jeff Buckley's magnificant Grace far down the ladder on the number 82 rung? So, by Peter Gabriel only impressed y'all enough to reach number 88? Oh, but no! I must protest! This is me. Protesting. Yep.

My initial happiness, fueled by your choices in movies and television, began to wane upon going through the list of musical acts. Honestly, though, I wasn't terribly surprised, as media darlings such as Notorius B.I.G. (may he rest in peace), Beyonce, Mariah Carey, and Beck all had high-ranking albums. I expect this from you industry types who continually heap praise on whomever y'all think we listeners need to be digging at any particular time. Everyone's a critic and I'm no exception. It's just that I think I'm right and you're wrong. I say this lovingly, EW...I'm not ready to break up. Yet.

I continued reading, turning to the section featuring the 100 books deemed New Classics. And there I stopped cold...dead in my tracks...unable to read, much less take a deep breath. Fire burned behind my eyes and I know my heart stopped just a moment. I'm not exaggerating y'all. ('Cause really--I never exaggerate. Never.) Entertainment Weekly, you've got some serious explaining to do...
My ire continues tomorrow...come back for the rest of my open letter to Entertainment Weekly. It gets a bit ugly, as a word of warning. A southern belle's wrath? Yeah, it's real.

*Heather and Kelly, have you made it this far? Sorry--this happens to be a long one, girls!

Monday, July 7, 2008

Mad Musical Monday.

(Just a quick note to let y'all know that as of today my blog address has been changed to simply Please update your rolls and readers, if necessary. As always, thanks for stopping by.)

Hello my name is Leigh Anne and I love, love, love music. It is my enormous part of my life...and one of my greatest passions.

With that, I bid you welcome. Welcome to a new feature in Lulaville--Mad Musical Monday. Those who know me in "real life," can attest that I am a tune junkie...I love to listen to it, read about it, sing along to it and even play musical trivia. Pop, rock, country, classical, New Wave, disco, contemporary Christian, oldies, Big Band, jazz, hip-hop, "Mellow Gold," R&B, "hair bands," Bluegrass, hymns, soundtracks to films and Broadway name it, I dig it.

I often hear, "You sure listen to a variety of stuff!" Yes, I do. I'm thankful to my father for instilling an appreciation of all forms of music within me. Because of him I adore Mozart, Tommy James & the Shondells, Billy Joel, Ray Charles and Alison Krauss. He also introduced me to Vince Guaraldi (the "Peanuts" guy--it ain't Christmas 'round here 'til someone breaks out the Charlie Brown soundtrack!), Chuck Berry, Emmylou Harris, The Police, Pablo Cruise and REO Speedwagon. My dad rocks...literally...don't even get me started on his mad guitar skills. And I'll save the story about how his band opened for Jerry Lee Lewis, and the time he had an in-depth conversation with Elvis for another post.

Because music is such a part of who I am, and who God has made me, I decided it would be fun (for me, at least--I hope it's fun for y'all, too!) to post videos and/or recommendations each week. Let's broaden our musical horizons, shall we?

Just as I love to share my favorite artists with others, I also love to hear about stuff I'm unfamiliar please feel free to tell me who you're digging. This is a win-win situation, y'all.

Please join me each Monday and let's start our week off groovin'. Here goes...
Lately I've been listening to many of my favorite artists from the 80's. While I love "classics" such as Madonna, Cyndi Lauper, Duran Duran, Wham!, and Michael Jackson, I'm also a big fan of those groups whose musical stylings scream "1985!" In particular I've been listening to artists who had either one-hit wonders or a string of a few top 40 charters before fading into oblivion. This is seriously good stuff, people. Anyone remember:

Nu Shooz and "I Can't Wait." Nu Shooz had another hit with "Point of No Return," and both of these songs instantly transport me to the mid-80's, when I was on the cusp of teenagehood and life was simple, yet confusing. Somewhere in here there's a Judy Blume novel waiting to be written...

There's Star Trek trivia lurking within the realms of this next group:

"Heart and Soul," performed by T'Pau. Royalty was still actively followed with an unbridled passion in 1987 and as a newly-minted teenager I just knew T'Pau's lead singer was the long-lost sibling of Fergie, or the Duchess of York, as is her rightful title. That quality alone endeared me to them, but the song? To this day I find it still fabulous. I'm a sucker for harmonizing syntheziers. Any takers on the trivia mentioned above? Heather, I fully expect you to get this one.

I close with a dance favorite from Rumble Junior High, circa 1987 (go Imps!):

Pretty Poison and their one hit wonder, "Catch Me I'm Falling." Cheesy Jon Cryer movie aside, this is a great song. It takes me back to the days of Bonnie Bell Lip Smackers, cheerleading, using an entire can of Aqua Net every other week, and making out in the movie theater with whomever I was "going with" at the time. Where were we going? Wherever our mothers drove us, of course. (And I'm sorry, but this video's dancers are totally stirring the grits--classic mid-80's dance moves, y'all!)
For those of you shaking your heads, thinking, "80's drivel...Lula's done lost her mind..." I promise a different genre every week. So you gotta check back each Monday and join my groove train. You dig?

A woman who shares her baby powder secret is never gonna steer you wrong. Right?

Sunday, July 6, 2008

I was drunk the day my Maw got out of prison.

"I say leave me alone, I'm singing all night long, it's a family tradition..."--Hank Williams, Jr.

It's a rare Litton Family get together that a little Hank Williams, Jr. isn't played. And Rocky Top. Darn Tennessee football fans. Ugh, don't even get me started...GO DAWGS!

"It was all that I could do to keep from cryin'..."--David Allan Coe
Yeah, we wear out "You Never Even Call Me By My Name." Because we are rednecks. Classy rednecks for sure, but red just the same. (This posts's title is from this song--for those of you wondering. My "Maw" has never been drunk, nor in prison.)

Look 'em up on iTunes, y'all...Hank and Mr. Coe are the poet laureates of the South. Yep.

The thing I love about marrying into an enormous family is that we have the best time when we all get together. Scott has a fabulous family...I adore all his aunts, uncles, cousins, grandmothers and especially the Outlaw Inlaws, which is what We Who Married Into This Family are known as. We are a fun bunch, if I do say so myself. And I just did!

Every Independence Day weekend Scott's cousin, Stephanie (they are just 2 months apart in age--she is younger---you can thank me for that later, Steph!) and her husband, Pat, have a big cookout for their families and friends. We eat a lot, drink a lot, swim a lot, gossip a lot, laugh a lot, and talk a bunch of bull. We look forward to this every year--it's like Christmas in summertime. But without that sickening, full feeling after the big meal. Or a nap. Or football. Or the gifts.

I took about 50 pictures at the Potter Pool Party, but I'll spare y'all that drama and share just a few. See how I take care of my wonderful readers? Why yes, you are welcome.

Here's me holding our newly-turned 1 year old cousin, Logan Ashley Lloyd (who just flew into town with Kim, her mommy)! Oh, who am I kidding? Of course this is not me. This is Scott's cousin, Courtney. Knew I couldn't fool y'all! 'Cause my boobs are bigger than Court's. Ahem. (No one in the Litton family better mutter, "That ain't all that's bigger." Not one of you!)

Dear, sweet, handsome, camera-shy Cameron. We could barely get him to pose, let alone smile for the lens. He didn't try to make it into any pictures all day. Boy, am I glad I was able to capture this one. Yeeeeaaaaaah. Cameron, bless his heart, is the lone male great grandchild. Can you tell he's devastated by this?

Here's my sweet Caroline, with her cousins, Logan, and Molly, who just turned 3. Living in the lap of floating luxury suits them, no?

Scott and his cousin, Matthew, who is always a hit with the kids. His nephew and nieces adore him, and the other cousins literally beg Matt to play with them anytime he's around. (Libbey did more than beg this afternoon--she pleaded. Love her heart.) Matthew is a big kid himself. And he's cute. And single. That's all I'm gonna say about that.

Here's Pat, our host for the day. (Or "Patrick," as he forced me to call him in Lulaville. Patrick, does that make you sound more dignified, do you think? Who knew that's all it took?) Everyone needs a Patrick in their family. In fact, I love him so much I've decided to do an entire Pat-centric post in the very near future. Because y'all haven't lived 'til you've learned more about cousin Pat. It's all good. But he won't be wearing UT shirts in that post--this is the one and only time the Volunteers get any reference of any kind in Lulaville. (Except, of course, if we beat them this fall--and then I'll go berserk with Bulldog love. And I say if because we here in SEC country know the Dawgs' track record against UT. Let's not discuss it anymore, please.)

Let's get a conversation going, y'all. Share your weekend fun with the rest of us. Big family get-together, such as ours? Romantic weekend for two? (Mrs. R, you still win!) Trip to the beach? Fireworks in a grand locale? Party for over 50 people? (Cough-cough...Heather...cough-cough.) How did y'all celebrate your freedom this weekend? Thanks for sharing ours with me and my fabulous family.


These were taken July 3rd...I couldn't resist:

Seriously the best face paiting job I've ever seen. Thanks, Carla!

I'm quite certain this is what pure joy looks like.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Flashback Friday!

No More Kings!

A Schoolhouse Rock history lesson--my type of learning!

On this fourth of July, I want to sincerely thank my late grandfather, L. Levoid Raley (WWII), my late uncle, Everett Raley (Korean Conflict), and my father, Sonny Roth (Vietnam) for serving our country. Please pause today and think of a veteran who has made freedom a blessing for all Americans. If you're able, thank this individual...I know he or she does not hear it nearly enough.

Of all the rights guaranteed to U.S. citizens I am most thankful for being able to publically praise my God and attend services at my local church whenever the doors are open. If I want to stand on the street corner and sing, "Here I am to worship, here I am to bow down, here I am to say that You're my God..." I can do so without fear of harm coming to me or my family. It is not something I take lightly. I cherish this freedom. I'm grateful to have such liberty.

We are blessed.

Happy Independence Day, Y'all!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Delicious Slices of Heaven.

There are some bites so perfectly pleasurable I just want to tuck into a warm bed with a plateful and nosh the night away. I want to indulge without making a mess in my QVC Northern Nights 400 threadcount sateens, acquring heartburn, or adding excess flab. I do believe fresh, hot, glazed Krispy Kremes will be available for daily consumption in Heaven and that new body I'm promised (thanks, Lord!) won't gain an ounce! A DREAM COME TRUE!

Right up there with the delectable glazed beauties would be fried green tomatoes, or as I lovingly refer to them, delicious slices of Heaven on earth. I would be remiss in my Georgian Belle Claim to Glory if I didn't share the wonder that is this southern specialty. We dwellers below the Mason-Dixon line are famous for taking a perfectly healthy vegetable (or fruit--whichever you deem a tomato, and I won't object either way) and dunking it into hot oil, destroying any chance of retaining any semblence of nutrients. But boy--does it make for a delicious party in your mouth. Someone start singing praises now. (That would have to be YOU, Melissa Lee.)

Because I love y'all so much I just have to share this recipe with you. Again, when have I ever steered you wrong? It's not all tampons and baby powder, folks!

Oh, I should preface this by stating I have no recipe...I have no precise amounts or such as that...just follow along, look at the pictures, and we'll all be as gleeful as Dick and Jane. It's super easy, I promise!


Lula's Fried Green 'Maters ('cause that's what true southerners call 'em.)

3 or 4 Fresh Green Tomatoes, washed and dried
Some flour (I don't know--maybe 3/4 cup)
Some cornmeal (again--I don't measure--so go with 3/4 cup)
Vegetable oil for fying

To begin, get your heaviest & largest skillet and pour in about a half inch of oil. Begin heating the oil on medium to medium high heat. And kiss those green orbs. Seriously. They are about to make you a very happy individual.

Slice tomatoes about 1/4 inch thick. Some folks say 1/2 inch, but I prefer mine to be a little thinner. That's just me, though--you do whatever makes you happy. Then, and this is key, place slices on paper towels (Mrs. R--you think I'm gonna use my good Vivas for this? Oh no--leftover beach cheapies, baby!) and sprinkle them with a little salt. This allows the tomatoes to drain a bit, so they're not soggy and mushy for the frying.

While the tomatoes are draining (5-10 minutes), combine the flour and cornmeal in a shallow dish or bowl. Add salt and pepper to taste and mix well. Once the tomatoes are ready, dredge each slice in the flour and cornmeal mixture, coating both sides well.

After coating all the slices in their fluffy robe of off-white, fry a "test" tomato to make sure the oil is ready--not too hot, not too cool. Once you're certain the oil is doing its job (and you'll know right off, of course!) add in as many slices as your pan will hold, without overcrowding. Brown on both sides, or brown each side twice if you like 'em very crispy. I'll eat 'em any way, shape or form, if you wanna know the truth of the matter!

Once they've gone from pasty to golden brown (much like a teenager preparing for Spring Break), drain the slices on paper towels and allow to cool just a bit before serving. Ahhhhhhhhh...delicious slices of Heaven on earth. Oh, but yes they are. ENJOY!Adorable child not included--she's already promised to Mrs. R's son.

After making these today I pretty much stood at my kitchen island and ate every single one. (I totally offered to share, too--but Kim and Libbey weren't interested. SUCKERS--more for me!) I don't mind owning up to my fried 'mater gluttony. There's zero shame in my love of these delicious slices of Heaven. If I'm serving them with a meal they are a fabulous appetizer alongside cheese grits, and perfect with a green salad, instead of boring ol' bread. But that's when I'm gettin' my Paula on. (You know Paula--my close, personal friend.) Usually we just stand at the island, devouring until we're sick with fullness. Sick, but happy.

Again, someone needs to start singing praise. Melissa, step up to the plate (bring the Julio's, please) and give God the glory. Great things He hath done. Amen.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The Force Wasn't With Her.

There's so many things to discuss here, plus I wanna know what y'all think. Let's get started, shall we?

1. Who spells their name "Jodee?" (Please forgive me if there's a Jodee reading Lulaville. I'm sorry you've lived a life such as mine, knowing those personalized mugs, magnets, and keychains in tacky tourist shops will never have your name on them, spelled correctly. )

2. Here's a big Club La Vela shout-out for all you Panama City Beach-goers. And no, I will not tell you how many times I danced there. As a teenager. On Spring Break. Pretending to be 21. The end.

3. I'm truly wondering whether Jodee actually worked at Hooters. 'Cause hers are unimpressive. Again, Jodee...if you're reading this...forgive me, but you could've at least worn a Miracle Bra for your A/P News debut. I'm just sayin'. And sayin' it in a loving way, I assure you.

4. I'll admit "Toyota" and "Toy Yoda" sound rather similar. But Jodee...did you not use context clues to determine the difference? Did your super-nerdy, Sci-Fi loving boss gleefully announce the prize? (I heart nerds...especially nerds at Hooters. Wait, I've never been to Hooters. I digress...) Or is your manager a hurly-burly, good ol' boy type, and you simply misheard? "Y'all sell them beers right and you'll be gettin' a Toy-Yoda!" These two scenarios would explain a lot.

5. Speaking of nerds (I heart nerds), millions of 'em read this article today and asked, "Yeah? So? What's the big deal?"

OK...that's enough from me. I wanna know what y'all think about this. Please commence with the discussion. We'll be forming a support group for Jodee very soon. Based on the expression upon her face she surely needs some support. (And a Miracle Bra.)

Love her heart.

She thought she was getting a Toyota.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

It's in the Bag.

Here's one of my beach bags. Yes, I said one...and before someone asks, yes, they are all monogrammed. Don't y'all know me well enough by now? I have a big bag full of towels and a smaller bag to hold pertinents such as books, sunscreen, sunglasses, and one very special item. As promised yesterday I'll share my #1 beach bag necessity with y'all.

This very special thing is pictured above . Do y'all see it? It's not the suncreen, but let's give another shoutout to Coppertone, my summer love. And while SPF is indeed the most important thing you can put on your person while in the sun, there is one other item I deem even more useful than sunblock.

Keep looking. It's in plain sight, just like Carrie's money jar. (Funniest post ever--go read after you've finished my not-nearly-the-funniest-post ever.)

It's not a drink koozie, however those things are pretty swell and useful when hiding illegal Land Shark on the beach. (Which I didn't do...hello, my kids were with me! No gettin' lushy in the sand when the girls are around.)

OK, OK...since there's not much else in the bag, I'll go ahead and out my favorite product:

What? You don't read Good Housekeeping? Real Simple? InStyle? Thank God y'all have me to set you straight on these things. I know this is what y'all are saying. Nod your heads in unison.

As much as I adore the ocean and sand, I abhor the feeling of millions of granules sticking to my body, especially in places that are normally minty fresh. All that twitching & itching drives me insane. Don't even get me started on trying to keep sand off the thumb of a particularly precious two and a half year old who is still rather fond of placing said appendage in her mouth. Baby powder to the rescue!

Here's how it works:
I have no idea.

Here's what I do know:

Shake a handful onto dry hands (that are still sandy, of course) and rub them together....instant smoothness, y'all. The sand is GONE! Pour some down your chest...on your legs...wherever you're feeling uncomfortable and whenever a shower isn't close at hand.

Yeah, baby powder. I buy the Target brand. Johnson & Johnson's, while the classic standard, is far too expensive to be used frivolously on the shore.

I wish y'all could see the stares garnered when I break out my trusty powder and fling clouds of it around my general area. Last week a family I didn't know stared at me before finally asking, "What does that do?" I replied, "I dunno--but it works--no foolin'!"

They were my kind of people, because instantly the mother and her two teenaged daughters were reaching for the container, putting it on their hands and calves, exclaiming, "This does work!" and "We are so going to Walmart this afternoon to get our own!"

Oh, I know, people...Lula comes through every time. No thanks are necessary. I'm sure our shared contempt for beach discomfort is the bond that brings us closer together. And if all it takes is one simple product for an easy solution...well you're certain I'm gonna make it known to each of you.

It's just the kind of person I am. Most of the time. And if you are fortunate enough to have been aware of baby powder's beach brilliance, why the heck aren't you sharing it with the world?

See? This is why y'all have me. Sometimes I'm as helpful as Heloise, only without that flowing mane of white. And a column in Good Housekeeping. Whatever...


Several of you have inquired about my beach reads from last week. Here goes:

The Luxe and Rumors, by Anna Godbersen, both classified as "Young Adult" novels. They were great reads--lots of heaving chests, beguiling glances, backstabbing & conniving, and fervent, stolen kisses. Just my style! These are part of a series, with the newest one, Envy, arriving in September.

Sail by James Patterson. A quick read, but entertaining as always. James and I are thisclose.

Lost Souls, by Lisa Jackson. Vampyre (her spelling) stuff. Remember, I'm a closet-Goth.

Marked, by PC Cast and Kristin Cast. The first in a series by this mother/daughter writing team, about a Vampyre (again, the authors' spelling) finishing school called "The House of Night." 'Nuff said.

There ya go--my summer beach reads. Now I'm moving on to the pile on my bedroom floor, 'cause I gotta get caught up before Breaking Dawn comes out in 33 days. 33 days!!! Woo-hoo!