Monday, March 30, 2009

Ode to my Lonely Blog...or...My Life is a Gilded Pile of Poop, by A. Fabulous

I haven't written in a while due to the overwhelming, all encompassing, poop storms from which the husband and i have been seeking shelter. We are trying to move into a new home. It has been TERRIBLE. I really don't even want to talk about it. But here are the highlights of the weekend.

- My cat oscar broke his leg and is now in a kitty cast.

- My husband got the moving van stuck in the Alabama red clay mud pit in our new backyard- then it started sliding downhill slow-mo-style only to be stopped by the neighbor's new fence. No real tragedy though, only minor damages and a 95 dollar tow truck experience.

-Did I mention the buckets and buckets of rain that fell on Alabama the weekend we wanted to move?

-Our new house still has no refridgerator, hasn't been cleaned since the previous renters, and we found out 2 days ago that theres no hot water and no thermostat...although there is central heating and air, just no way to adjust it... all of this was supposed to have been fixed, replaced, remedied, whatever, before we moved in....

The craziest part is, this house is so nice! Its adorable on the inside. Got tons of charm, updated kitchen and bathroom, working fireplace, all the windows a girl could want, the yard is a wreck but I like to think that it has "potential".... I can't figure out where it all went wrong, but its definately wrong.

I'm exhausted. And I can't even enjoy the fact that we almost live in a house for the first time in 6 years, becuase theres so much crap to wade thru.... ugh. One of these days I'm gonna post something happy again. One of these days I'm gonna look back at all this and find it mildly amusing. But now I'm going to punch a clown in the face.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Best Day Ever- part deaux

What could possibly warrant a title like that- right? I mean especially since I've never told you about the best day ever- part one.... Well. I am prone to exaggeration, and I have had quite a few best days of my life, but there are just a handfull that really stick out....lets do a count down of the top 5 best days EVER:

5. The day Bye Bye Birdie opened at my Highschool- I played Kim McAfee- thought i was already on Brodaway!

4. NEw Years Eve 2000- Toomers Corner Auburn, AL- The Auburn Knights Orchestra was performing, Clarke was singing, I was surrounded by my best friends.

3. Flotilla 2008- Spent the day with my sisters, the husbands, and the boyfriend floating lazily down a creek-like-tide-pool-thing that ran almost a mile down the beach.

2. The birthday of Sally Beck-- the worlds most perfect niece.

1. YESTERDAY. Last night to be specific, was the best part of the Best Day of My Life. Thats the day I found out that my sister is PREGNANT AGAIN!!!!! I'm gonna be an Aunt Fabulous AGAIN!!! Can you believe it? I can't wait to get home and see my sister and yell and scream and jump around... maybe she will have a boy this time...oh who cares! Its gonna be another baby!! We are so lucky.

So get ready- many more pregnancy updates to follow as we start this next awesome chapter in our lifes. . .

And while we're at it, lets look at the world's most fabulous niece one more time.....

Friday, March 20, 2009

Just singing away

I was walking around B'ham last weekend when I heard this little birdie. I couldn't help but hear him. He was singing every song he knew at the top of his little birdie lungs. I could tell he was just as excited about spring as I was. It was a particularly glorious day in the South- one of those early spring days where the sun is warm, but the ground is still cool and the breeze feels like a sigh of relief.

I'm trying some new editing techniques with my pictures (if you can call retouching in Picasa editing.. I really need to be using photo shop for these, but am too sick of sitting in front of a computer by the time i get home from work...oh stop complaining, aunt Fab!) I am so inspired by this one photographer in particular- Mrs. French of the blog Bliss.

You can view and purchase her photography here and here.... What I love about her pics are the colors. They are faded and brilliant at the same time- How does she do that? She shoots mainly nature which I also really dig- and again, her COLORS are FABULOUS. I am seriously contemplating these three images for my personal collection:

1. life's a....

2. chosen

3. my favorite dahlia

4. pinwheel pinwheel

5. tied up

Yes, I know that was more than three. Once I got started choosign my favorites I just couldn't stop! Hey, my birthday is coming up.....

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Second Place is almost First Place

Clarke's short film won SECOND PLACE in the Sidewalk Scramble!!! I am so darn proud! He stayed awake editing this masterpiece for 24 hours straight. He did all the animation, all the voices, wrote the story, chose the music..... He is fabulous.

Please watch and enjoy the Fantastical Story of Brummie the B-hamster......

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

you'll never believe

who i found over at peacanoot--- go ahead--- see for yerself!

Lets Play Charades

We were strolling in the park one day and stumbled across the perfect platform-stage-type-area.... now you know a bunch of performers cant resist a stage, so what did we do? The husband jumped up on the "Stage" and the rest of us (Carrie Sweet George, Sam George, and me- aunt fabulous) yelled out famous statues and monuments for him to re-enact.....impromptu improvisation... LOVE IT!

(Beloved symbol of Birmingham and the nation's iron and steel industry- and the world's largest cast iron sculpture!)

The Lincoln Memorial

Statue of Liberty

The Thinker

Washington Monument


Iwo Jima Memorial

yea for tuesday! yea for charades!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Fabulous Friday..... family style

This is the Robinson Clan-My entire extended family on my mama's side. Thats my Grandmother, Aunts, Uncles, First cousins, and spouses of first cousins... and the babies are all children of first cousins(is that second cousin?). I grew up with these people. At least once a year around labor day, we make it our business to get together at my grandmother's cabin and spend the weekend together- we eat, we drink, we tell stories, dress up in costumes and put on shows, and laugh so hard that all the women end up wetting their pants. I didn't always love this giant family though. When i was drowning in the sea of teen angst, I spent all of labor day weekend with headphones glued to my ears and a book 2 inches from my face. I was embarrassed by these freaks. All they did was talk about other people and lecture me about my life and my choices. They were too conservative, too southern, had too many children, were too religious. I was NOTHING like them. They didn't understand me- they had no idea what i was going through. I was CERTIAN I had been adopted. Oh, how things change. This family (and my Daddy's side too) have shaped me into a person I am not ashamed of- in fact, I like myself. I owe them all so much... I owe my aunts who wrote me so many letters brimming with love and hope when i was "in a bad place". I owe my uncles who, along with my daddy, cranked up the "beach music" and let me stand on their feet to dance. I owe my cousins who taught me how to steal smokes from yot-yot, how to put on one helluva talent show, and how to share. I owe my papa who started all this fabulous-ness and who ALWAYS had bubble gum for his grandchildren. I owe my grandmother whose faith is unshakable, whose love is unbreakable, and whose laughter is unstoppable!

Why all the nostalgia? I missed cousins weekend this year. 3 years ago the cousins decided we needed a weekend just for us- away from the "adults". And its an effort to continue this tradition of getting together year after year, even after all the "adults" are gone. And Its another excuse to eat drink dance sing dress up in costumes and wet our pants. I hate that i missed all the fun...but this crap economy wouldn't allow a weekend away.
So, here are my fabulous cousins (with The Grandmother), all on our best behavior cause we just got out of church.... don't let anyone fool you- these people are FREAKS! and I LOVE THEM!!!!

And now- a couple of pics of us "showin out"-- We are all singing a song mama wrote for The Grandmother's 90th birthday-- yes, that fabulous lady is now NINETY ONE-- can you believe it?

Don't you wish you were here?
Happy Friday everyone!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Note to self

I'm getting a little frustrated with my giving challenge. I want to give certain things to certain people but I am low on the funds right now so i can't really buy anything so I am only giving time.... If I were to hear those words come out of someone else's mouth, this is what i would say to that someone, "Giving your time to a person or a cause or whatever is one of the most important gifts of all. Anyone can buy things. Your time is valuable, and to give it away to another is a precious gift!" That's what I would say- so why don't i just listen to myself?? I guess I will.

This week i am devoting my afternoons to working on the design for my friend Jason's new restaurant in Athens, AL- The Limestone Tavern. He asked me to/is letting me design the facade and create the logo which i'll paint on the front window.... I am having SUCH a great time! I found a photo of the place online and i am playing around with it in photoshop- changing the color of the brick and all the trim to reflect the new design. Jason has no idea I am doing all this, so Sunday, when we drive to Athens to check it out in person, I am gonna "present" my design to him... I think hes gonna freak! In a good way! Heres what the place looks like now-

When I'm done its gonna look like a modern take on an old fashioned tavern-- think Irish Pub meets...... well, I don't yet know what the Irish pub meets. But, trust me, its gonna be fabulous.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Blossom Buddies

Please check out this beautiful craft- and just in time for spring! We NEED to do this, EVERYONE. I want y'all to get excited, get your friends together, and at the first sign of spring, start collecting little flower petals and other botanical-type-trimmings. Actually, you could make these little people out of just about anything... I am imagining some really scary ones made out of twisty twigs and crunchy fall leaves.. and maybe a berry or two... Posibilities are limitless!!!
Anyhoo, I really just wanted to give y'all something nice to look at and to highlight the talented artist who created these beautiful little flower people. Her name is Elsa Mora, and she is amazingly gifted. She draws, she creates papercut sculptures, she works with porcelain, she makes toys, jewelry, clothing, and doll houses.... oh, and she walks for autism. Please go visit her blog and her etsy shop.... enjoy!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Busy Signal/No More Ms. Braggy Pants

This weekend was BUSY. My hubs and I participated in the Sidewalk Scramble! You get 48 hours to create a 5 min film. There are also some "rules of inspiration" that each team must follow. We could choose between comedy or tragedy (I think it was tragedy, I can't really remember- we chose comedy, obviously) Then we had to draw the sub-genres from a hat to determine in which catagory our film would fall- I drew Horror. (gasp!) We traded with someone else for Sci-Fi/Fantasy. (sigh of relief) Finally, we rolled a pair of dice to determine the number of characters- we got 5- and we had to include the dice somewhere in the film. This weekend was uber-fun. I spent all morning on saturday running around town snapping pictures that clarke could use in his animation -oh yea, Clarke animated the whole thing by himself, AND did all the voices, AND chose all the music, AND did the editing- Clarke didn't sleep all weekend. He finished the final cut yesterday evening at 7:45- the film was due at 8:00p. So we jumped in the car and i sped us to the drop off point- We made it!!! In the car on the way home, I expected Clarke to fall asleep immediately, he was a little punchy, but all he could talk about was how much fun he had! FUN? i mean, I had a good time taking pictures and driving all over B'ham, but if i had to stay up for 48 hrs and make a movie all by myself, I would not call it a good time. My hubs is amazing- he loves what he does! Now will someone please pay him to do what he loves? thank you.

But what is the film about, you ask? You will have to wait and see. The judging is on Wednesday- so Thursday I will post the film right here!

And what did i give away this weekend? Well, I am having an issue with the 29-gifts challenge. I'm starting to feel like a braggy-pants, always talking about the nice things i'm doing for others. SO. I'm not gonna talk about it anymore, I'm just gonna give and have it be my own personal challenge. What really got to me was the "community" at I kept posting my "gives" on my little blog at that site, and people were saying the nicest things to me. Things like, "great job, Helen" and "what a nice give!" and " keep up the good work"- and i know it was supposed to make me feel good, (those people are super nice.) but it made me feel...not good. I don't really know how to describe it. I guess i want to say, "don't compliment me for doing something that i should be doing anyway". I don't need to hear, "you are doing such a great job at being nice to other people!" I should be nice to people everyday of my life, whether its a challenge I'm participating in or not. I am doing this 29 day give, but i want it to turn in to a life time of giving. I want to give everyday. And I don't want/need to be encouraged and complimented. So thank you so much all you sweet people who said such wonderful things to me- your encouragement was welcome and appreciated. But no more. By keeping quiet about my gives, I can give more freely, more openly, and more honestly. So look out world- I'm gonna make my mark, anonomously, one gift at a time.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Ice cream falling from the sky

One winter day I was stuck in bed with a mega flu. It was the winter of 2000, i think, and I was living with my husband (then my boyfriend- i know, its scandalous, but thats another blog for another time) It was a very sad winter day for a number of reasons, but foremost was the fact that it was snowing and I was sick!! Now, we went to Auburn University in Auburn, AL, and it don't snow down here in the ole dirty south too much. And when it does snow, its completely GONE by mid afternoon so you have to get all your snow-type activities taken care of before noon just to be safe. So, I woke up on that winter day feeling like a poop sandwich with a hangover, looked out my window, beheld the glorious freshly fallen snow, and said, "shit". My husband (then boyfriend/scandalous roomate) looked out the window and said, "ice cream!"...... huh? Thats right. My husband makes ice cream out of snow. Clarke swears that hes made this stuff his whole life, but whenever we talk to other people about it they look at us like we have 3 heads. "You scoop snow out of the yard, add milk, and eat it? and its actually good?" And to that I answer a resounding, "HECK YES".
So, to everyone who has never experienced the joy of snow ice cream, I give to you my Clarke's special recipe:

1. Harvest freshly fallen snow in a BIG mixing bowl. Clarke says the best place to get fresh snow is from the tops of cars- although don't take the part thats actually touching the car, just scoop off the top layer. Don't take it off the ground cause you don't know what bird or dog or bear poop might be under that snow...
2. drop a capfull of vanilla extract in the bowl and stir
3. start mixing in a can of sweetened condensed milk - you probably won't use the whole can, but use more than you think you should (i didn't say this was healthy, I just said it was delicious)
4. alternate a few drizzles of condensed milk with a splash of regular milk and stir it around- every so often take a little taste. Some people also like to add a few tablespoons of white sugar, but i think the condensed milk is sweet enough. You may need/want to add another drop of vanilla depending on how much snow you are working with. There is no hard and fast rule to how much of anything you need to add- you are going for the taste and consistency of vanilla ice cream, but its totally up to you how sweet you want this stuff. You know its ready when you can't stop the tasting.......

So, on that very glorious, and very sad winter day in Auburn, AL, my husband (then partner in sinful cohabitation) leapt out of bed and into the snow, and spent the rest of the afternoon delighting in his ice creamy joy. While i lay in the bed and moaned.

Day Three: Chick-Fil-A

My friend Hannah and I went out for our weekly girls club lunch (minus Amanda who is in NYC- miss you!!!) and today I gave/bought Hannah some delicious chicken nuggets.... And I think she is gonna take the challenge as well!
I realize that most people give of themselves, their time, and their resources every single day. Its what makes the world go round! But acknowledging the giving, getting outside of my head and consciously thinking, "what am i going to give today?" (even if its just a few delicious nuggets) does a number of things:
1. I have started to react to people differently-- instead of saying, "hey get outta my way, other person!" I'm starting to say, "i wonder if there is anything i can give you?"
2. I have experienced a huge creative surge. I'm actually starting all those craft projects that have been brewing in my head so I'll have more to give.
3. and this may be just because spring is in the air, but I am feeling strangely optimistic....

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Day Two: The Bell Center

Today I give of my time... I am pursuing a masters in special education and part of my degree requirement is to log a certain number of hours in the classroom. I start in two weeks working at a fabulous place called The Bell Center. Its a completely privately funded organization that offers early intervention classes to children with special needs from newborns to 3 yrs of age. Today I toured the facility and signed up for the volunteer program. I start in 2 weeks!! Anyone in the Birmingham, AL area interested in donating time or anyone anywhere interested in donating money should check this place out- Its amazing!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Day one: Ada Bunny

so- I stumbled across this fabulous thing: "The 29 Day Giving Challenge" What started as a little idea sprouting from the mind of a woman with a serious case of the blues, has grown into a MAJOR force for good. Essentially, you give one gift every day for 29 days. But I have the feeling that it turns into much much more......
Visit the web site if you so desire- check it out for yerself- and start giving! I am gonna do a mini-post everyday with a pic or a story about my gift just to keep me on track. This is gonna be so fun.


Day One: "Ada Bunny" This little cutie was made by me for my girlfriend Amanda's new niece, Madelyn Ada Jacobs.

3pm: The Melt

The world went from winter to spring in just a few hours.... It was amazing.... and soggy.

(you were so right, honey, this did make a cool picture. i promise to let you hold the camera more often...)

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

9am: The Snow

I woke up at 8:45 and peeped out my window to see the snow tipping down! Immediately flipped to the weather channel to gague how long I could sleep in and still not miss the prime snow time. Mr. Weather Man told me i had until 10:45..... "Get up Clarke!!!!" Below is a pictoral journey through my first Alabama Snow Day.

Anyone remember that art installation in Central Park, NYC called "The Gates"..... We have our own version at the Red Mountain Villas!

This was taken in the back yard of my NEW HOUSE!

These are the steps leading up to my NEW HOUSE! and no, that blurry-ness is not an effect- I had just taken a substantial spill (slippery boots) and broke my fall with my camera.... That blurry-ness is snow tightly packed into the lense area... whoops!

The last time I ever saw my Grandaddy Varner he was in the hospital, sick from cancer. He was wearing a bright red union suit. We all told him he looked so handsome and cheery- just like a cardinal. Now whenever I see a cardinal, I feel like its my Grandaddy, stopping by to say "I love you" and to make sure I'm doing ok.
this photo was retouched by my awesome hubby-- I love photoshop-- and my awesome hubby.