Tuesday, November 9, 2010

orange and gray and here between.

Listening To: Talk on Indolence by The Avett Brothers.
Heart this: "'[The girls who come in the library] adore the prettiness of fairies, the miniature-ness,' she says, 'but they are also nature lovers and lovers of adventure. They are in fact qutie interesting little girls -- the future wild women of America. I couldn't help thinking that these little girls who love fairies deserve something lively.'" - Laura Amy Schlitz, on why she wrote The Night Fairy (Candlewick 2010)

Greetings my lovely little party animals. I hope November has whirled into your neighborhood in all its bright-orange glory (the "bright orange" is probably not the case for readers on various different continents ... whatever your brand of November is though, I hope it is rocking ;). That leafy orange situation is one of my favorite aspects of a Tennessee November. Orange is a hard color to wear for those of us who have skin so pale that people often mistake us for the third, less hip White Stripe. Orange is definitely not for me. As Yoda would say, "Make me look like a creamsicle, it does." (I guess Yoda wouldn't say that, him being green and all ... but you get the idea.)

But November? November can rock some serious orange. And red and brown and stormy gray. November is the kind of month that starts out flashy-bright and ends with a sleepy winter sky. A definitive beginning. A sweet ending. That's so my thing. Also my thing(s)?
Thing 1.) Being reminded of all the reasons I have to be grateful (a starry, starry amount of them this year).
Thing 2.) Pecan Pie. Pecan Pie is my favorite pie ... a title that did not come without much sincere thought. Choosing between favorite pies is like trying to choose a favorite shoe (cowboy boots? Or grey Converse? Or hot pink flats? I heart them all.) (Ironically though, I would rather go barefoot than wear any of them. It's the mountain girl in me, I suppose.) There is a promise of Pecan Pie at the end of the month (because that's what I'm making for Thanksgiving this year). I also have a bag of Georgia pecans in the fridge so that I can ponder more delicious uses. Think outside the pie box, I will. Zing.
Thing 3.) Old houses. Particularly old houses surrounded by cotton fields out past the middle of nowhere. I snapped this on my way out of Georgia this weekend, but I wish I could have taken the picture at sunset. This old house always gets to me. There's a story here. I can feel it. :)

Thing 3.) My niece and nephew.
I spent the weekend down on my sister's farm which is further away than the furthest middle of nowhere you can possibly imagine. My phone does not work there. My voicemail goes flat. My Internet goes zap. When I wasn't looking over my shoulder for the creepy guineas (guineas are absurd little psycho "birds" that eat tics or something. They have a purpose in life, I'm told. But I mostly think are plotting to destroy me), I was chilling with my niece and nephew.

Fact: I know all aunts like to gush over nieces and nephews. I know me taking up a blogpost to gush about my niece and nephew might induce some eye-rolling, but trust when I say they are seriously awesome people. You would love them.

Erin, as you already know, is 13 and gorgeous and very funny
(scroll down and read the "thirteen" post to hear more about her particular brand of awesome). She's a blog reader too.
*waves excitedly!!* Hey cutie!

This weekend, our conversation topics drift from books to music to jeans - specifically which jeans I should try next time I buy a pair. (She even let me wear a pair of her jeans when we went to get pizza ... so I could get a feel for the fit. The girl should be a stylist.) We drove around the farm in a little turbo farm machine I call "Gussy" ... b/c I can't ever remember its name. Mega fun! We were mostly made of ice when we got back to the house but that made the hot cocoa taste even better. We made cinnamon rolls early on Sunday morning, while fog rolled over the lake, and we watched old Hanna-Barbara cartoons. (Papa Smurf was trying to make mustache wax.) (I find that strangely hilarious.) (We also watched a cartoon I don't ever remember seeing ... Penelope something? From what I gather, Penelope is constantly defending the world from old pervy villains. I approve.)

We painted our nails a dark purple OPI color called Lincoln Park After Dark, then we went to the movies, shared some Twizzlers, and watched Megamind (which we both thought was pretty darn boring). Then we made dinner for everybody else (which included a brown sugar cheesecake with a gingersnap crust ... which was a complete fiasco from start to finish but more on that some other time).

And then we worked out together ... which we figure totally negates all the sugary deliciousness we consumed over the weekend. (At least, like, 10 calories of it.) (But sometimes, you need a weekend full of junkfood and old cartoons ... know what I mean?)

For most of the weekend, my nephew, Andy, was camping with his dad. I only saw him one day ... but Andy knows how to fill up a day. I don't know that I've written much about Andy on here. He is difficult to write about. How does one write about such a force of nature? I would compare him to a very small tornado. In order to give you a glimpse into Andy's personality, I'll share this with you. This is currently posted on the door of Andy's room:

Erin, you'll remember, is Andy's sister. I enjoy watching the brother-sister dynamic between other sibling duos. The Rogue Accountant made many signs like this back in the day. Did I adhere to them? Absolutely not. Hopefully things will work out better for Andy. The thing I love about this declaration of privacy, is that he has made not one, but two symbols not so subtly reminding his sister that she is not allowed past the door. (You'll note two smaller signs in each corner insinuating "Mom" and "Dad" are also not allowed inside.) Just in case Erin doesn't understand the meaning of this particular sign, Andy also drew a picture of a stick-figure girl, taped that to his door, and drew a line through it.

But he didn't stop there.

Andy is a prudent young man. A pre-planner. Knowing his sister might assert her big-sisterness and barge into his room anyway, he further expanded his guard. Should Erin ever open the door she will find ...

A poster of an angry and terrifying T-REX. RAWWWWWR! Get out or I will chase you and stomp you and eat you!!!

Also ...

An army of angry stormtroopers who will pulverize you with lasers -
ping ping ping! ZAP!
And of course ...

Legions of evil Transformers, all skilled in the art of torture. You'll see here that they have already captured Buzz and Woody. If Buzz and Woody aren't safe ... you are not safe. *evil laugh*

And if that doesn't leave Erin shaking in her cute little flats ...

If that doesn't make her run away screaming ...

If she
still dares to step inside Andy's lair ....

She will face the unmentionable evils and terrible awesomeness of the ...

Uh ...


The Snugly Gorilla and Elephant on the bed.


Six year olds are pretty wonderful, yes?
I love that Andy is delightfully tough and tender-hearted. He's very literal and verrrrry strong-willed and demanding. He is also sweet and funny and super cute. And fun. Last year, I hid some little junky "treasures" around his house (fake money, suckers, the Rogue Accountant's wallet, the stuff you get from quarter machines that looks like snot) (it probably is snot, now that I consider this) and then made a pirate map with instructions for activities Andy had to do at each location in order to keep the treasure (make up a fearsome pirate song, make a pirate flag, etc). So, now, he issues my pirate hat pretty much the minute I walk in the door. Also, he likes to fight with light sabers (except the little twerp always gives me the one that doesn't light up). Or he wants to launch Nerf rockets .... which is strangely stress relieving (I almost broke his mother's lamp while participating in this weekend's launch ... which would not be stress relieving.)

(Just in case my sister happens to be reading this, I would like to take this opportunity to say that I am a responsible adult who would never, ever, launch Nerf rockets in the house. I was merely kidding about almost breaking the lamp.)

Andy likes loud, crazy, constant chaotic happenings. Once, while Andy and I were wearing a helmet (him) and a cowboy hat (me) and fighting with light sabers, I asked him what he wanted to be when he grew up. I assumed he would say "A Jedi-pirate-transformer-cowboy warrior." Or, "The CEO of Cheez-its." (Because nobody can put away a box of Cheez-its like that kid can.) Both noble pursuits.

But he didn't choose either one.

When I asked Andy what he wanted to be when he grew up, he said, without hesitating, "A dad."

And when I dropped my faulty light saber to squeal and say, "Awww!" ... he whacked my arm with his mega-light saber so hard I almost said a word that is not blog appropriate. Then he screamed, "I win! The Universe is mine!"

Andy is an accomplished Jedi. He knows how to get my guard down.

That answer was crazy sweet though, dontcha think?

Andy and Erin remind me that the world is packed full of wonder. I'm jealous over their imaginations; I hope they stay a little bit wild and unruly when it comes to all the dreaming and hoping. I can't wait to see the people they become. I'm crazy proud of the people they already are. They have a way of making the middle of nowhere the most magical place in the world.

Final note: My most favorite Andy quote of all time occurred when he saw his mother's high school prom dress. My sister's prom occurred in the late 80's ... a magical decade for fashion. My sister happens to be a bombshell so she looked gorgeous even though her prom dress was straight up 80's sparkly. Her dress was dark green, shiny fabric, with gold sequins swirling in some kind of pattern around the bodice. Andy looked at the dress, then looked at his mom with complete awe shining in his eyes, and said, "Mom ... you had a green lightening suit?!?!"

I'm laughing again just thinking about it. Kills me everytime :)
Hope you have a happy week my bloggy friends :) Let me know how your November is shaping up so far! (And let me know if you have a fab recipe for Pecan Something Swanktastic I can make. The Pecans ... they are a'calling.)


  1. Wow, your niece and nephew sound way too much fun. :)

    My November's pretty good so far...just busy trying to balance everything- classes, Etsy shop, NaNoWriMo, rereading "Deathly Hallows" (please come, November 19! :), etc.


  2. My mom makes a caramel pecan pie that is absolutly amazing.
    Andy sounds very cute.
    My november is going good I guess, I've been sick for most of it, but I'm starting to feel better.

  3. Sounds like you are a fabulous aunt. :) The green lightning suit comment cracked me up...kids are hilarious, love it!

    I really want to make Pioneer Woman's pecan pie...and her green bean casserole...and her cranberry relish...oh gosh I think I gained weight typing that sentence. :P

    LOVE the pic of the leaves at the top of your post...too cute!

  4. Hello! Just dropping by to say I really enjoy reading your blog. I'm a Malaysian studying in India and it makes my day to read what you write, even if it is through the small screen of my phone using mobile internet. keep up the good work, and God bless!:)

    ps. i guess we can never underestimate our influence to bless others no matter where we are!

  5. Hi Natalie,
    I am a former Brio reader/ a now Susie reader. I took a look at your blog after seeing it in the magazine... and I love it! I always look forward to your new posts, and they make me smile everytime. I love to write, and you inspire me. Thank you so much for sharing!

  6. You and my dad would get along great. He LOVES pecan pie, tarts, cookies, ice cream, the works. The pecans from Georgia are the best. I tried some when we stopped at the orchard this past summer.

    Your nephew sounds hysterical; he reminds me of the kids I work with everyday. They all have their cute, funny, sweet moments that make your heart melt. Kids are such fun people to be around. :) I think it's awesome you do so much with your niece and nephew. It's so sweet!

    November has been all sorts of fantastic. Football for us ended this year (see my blog) which was sad, but I cannot get over the weather and the colors here in OK. I love going outside these days. Other high notes are HP7 (!!!!!!!!!!!),Leigh Anne Tuohy from the Blind Side (football movie about Michael Oher. My favorite movie ever!) is coming to Oklahoma this friday and I get to meet her, Thanksgiving, Early Christmas shopping, and boots!!!! :)November is a fantabulous month. I love it so much!

    Have a great week/weekend!

  7. Hmm, I love November colors too. I especially love this month because, where I live, it rains all month which makes me soo happy :)

    Loved reading about your niece and nephew! They sound like too much fun.

    Hope you're having a terrific thursday!

    Btw, I read a chapter of Paperdoll last night and it pretty much changed my life. in a good way.

  8. I forgot to add this to my last comment, but I LOVE that picture of the house in the middle of a field. And I think you're right, it definitely has a story behind it! :)

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