Thursday, December 31, 2009

Once in a Blue Moon...

Tonight is New Year's Eve...Thank the Lord this year is almost over. It is a "Blue Moon." The only thing that really means is that we have a full moon twice in one month, but it still seemed pretty cool so I went out back and took a picture.
The old Dickens's novel comes to mind when I think of this past year. "It was the best of times and it was the worst of times."
It was the worst of times because we had such a stressful and unfortunate year. It was the best of times because I have family and friends that have helped us through .
Work was a mad house. In the server world we call it "Amateur Night." People that don't normally go out but come out and don't have a clue as to how to treat a server. My first tip was $1.35 on a $60.00 tab. Next was $4 on a fifty dollar tab....and so on and so on.
Of course I had some really nice tips and as it usually seems to do...I came out on the good end of the average.
I was just glad to be at home when midnight rang in the New Year. Tim is at work, I am home with my two youngest extra teen thrown in that I love (Massey's best friend) and my three pups.
This year is over. This year is done.
I have a new year to look forward to and will make the most of it.
I am almost fifty and have only had one really bad year...I think I am doing pretty good.
The fireworks are going off outside and I am warm and snug in my home with my kids and dogs and couldn't imagine wanting to be any where else.
"Once in a blue moon" you will have a bad year...and I had that.
As Forest Gump said "Shit happens" and as Scarlett said "There is always tomorrow."
I am just grateful to be alive to see them both through.
Happy New Year to each and every one of you and 'Thank You' for loving and getting me through to the other side.
2010...HERE I COME !!!
Til next time...COTTON

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Revisited

So now that everyone has recovered from the Flu bomb dropped on my house I finally down loaded pics and videos from my camera and decided to post them on my blog. The first picture is of Knox... the puppy my nephew and his girlfriend brought over on Christmas day. As you can tell he is worn out completely. He romped all over the house and as you can tell from the picture of my dogs peeking through their gate in the back yard...they were NOT too happy about it. The third picture is of Knox's proud parents...Casey and Eli holding that sweet little pup.
In the third picture the Flu bug begins to bite. Zach is on the sofa having been sick since early morning and making his way down stairs for a visit sitting by his brother and Dad. Massey is on the stairs... she is taking a turn for the worse and can't even manage to get down the steps. The next picture of her and my sister was taken earlier when she felt good and they were surfing the net on the computer before the "Bug" hit her.

The last is a video that I had to include. My downstairs door to the bath room was screwed up and my nephew tried to fix it. His fix didn't work so I just told him we would leave the door open. I forgot to tell everyone else. When my other nephew's girlfriend went downstairs to use the rest room she got locked in. No one even noticed she was gone and several minutes later we heard a knock. TJ yelled over his shoulder from the couch upstairs..."Come in" thinking it was someone at the kitchen door coming in the house from the garage. No one came in and the knocking continued. After a couple of minutes we figured out that Shanna was missing and went downstairs to investigate the knocking. Bless her heart she had been in the bath room for ten minutes trying to get out. TJ took the door knob off and still no luck. Her boyfriend (my nephew) went out to the breaker box and cut the power off so she was trapped in the dark (tee hee) that lasted about two seconds before she yelled "THAT'S NOT FUNNY."

Finally we had to take the door off the hinges so she could escape her prison.

I have to say ...things are rarely dull at my house and at least she came out laughing!

Zach put a new door knob on last night...but at least we got a good video and I got a blog out of it !!

Till Next time....COTTON

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Eighties...What Were We Thinking?

Yesterday while still in the recovery period from our bout with the stomach flu, Massey and I were laying in bed bundled up together watching VH1 "classic videos"from the eighties. Massey's first comment was "Ya'll had some BIG hair, my hair would have fit right in." She also commented that it wasn't just the girls...she asked me why every guy had a mullet and I told her they all worked really hard to achieve them, using blow dryers and plenty of hair spray. A video of "New Edition" came on and I told her the little guy with the red "members only " jacket was Bobby Brown, Whitney Houston's ex husband.

She actually Laughed at Huey Lewis and the News (how dare her) and wanted to know why John Cougar wore chaps when he wasn't on a horse or a motorcycle?

When a video of Poison came on she said the guys wore more make up than the girls. Thank goodness they didn't show a "Queen" video while we were watching.

She was very intrigued by the early Madonna and Cyndi Lauper videos and commented that they looked cool. I told her to remind me to rent "Desperately Seeking Susan" for her and she would be in Heaven. The blast from the past that even jolted MY memory bank was the video of the boys group from Kingston "Pass the deuchtie on the left hand side." Do you remember THAT one?

I dug up these pictures and just HAD to post them . The first ones are from girl's trips to Fort Walton back in the early eighties and parties that we had when I was working for Johnny's Pizza on Virginia Ave , when there were only two stores (compared to the 100 some odd stores they have now.)

We progress to right after I first met Tim and TJ was around three. Tim had a pretty impressive mullet so I decided to drag him into this with me. Why just embarrass myself when I can make fun of my husband too?

What really amazes me is that even after Zach was born...I was still clinging to that eighties look . The look on my father's face says it all. He probably said "Hand me a basket ball to hold so I won't have to stare in in embarrassment at what my daughter is wearing." I wish you could see the bottom of the picture...I had on orange combat boots.

The silky sequin dresses..the huge hair (at least I didn't dye mine platinum blonde) and how about that denim dress that I can actually remember paying a butt load of money for??


The eighties were a time that everyone was trying to out shock the other person, and if they did...they would be a trend setter. The eighties were the years of my wild rebellious youth. They are years I am grateful for...they are behind me now but at least I had them when I WAS twenty.

Kids sometimes try to grow up too quickly, get married and act like they are adults...only to try and re-live their youth twenty years later when it is too late and people are laughing behind their backs at their hideous toupee or sequin tank top barely covering their sagging breasts that have fed a family of five.

At least I was young and stupid when I WAS young and stupid.

Either way, it's still fun to look back at what I thought looked cool and you know what? In twenty years...these pictures will most probably be the "IN" fashion again. Thank God by then I will be sitting in my rascal covered with a crocheted quilt saying to my grand kids "I had that dress first! Now give me my Jitterbug I need to call your daddy about my subscription to "Oprah as a Senior."

Till next time... Continually Aging Cotton

PS remember to click on the photos so you can laugh at me in full size...that is the way I laugh at myself every day!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Gift That Keeps on Giving...Stomach Flu

The children asleep...all snug in their beds, til oodles of vomit rolled out of their head.

Christmas Eve started out good. Had a huge turkey thawing that a dear friend gave us, all my food ready for the big Christmas dinner and I climbed into bed for a nice winter nap. But what to my wandering eye did appear but Zach by my bed looking ghostly with fear.

He didn't quit make it to the toilet and woke me up to say he had "ralphed" in the bathroom floor. This was about 3:00 Christmas morning. We rolled up the bathroom rugs and cleaned up best we could that late at night and I sent him back to bed with a trash can by his side.

Christmas morning he didn't even want to get up to open his present but we forced him downstairs and made him as comfortable as we could on the couch while we opened gifts. He immediately went back to bed and stayed there til after three in the afternoon. Massey started feeling ill by 1:00 and stayed in her room most of the day. My family came over for the feast and Zach finally came down and ate a little around 4:00. I hated them being sick on Christmas but what are you going to do besides make them as comfortable as possible and tell them it will be okay ? Not much!

We had 12 people over for dinner and other than the "sick bay" I had going on upstairs we all had a great time. The last of the bunch left around 6 or 7. I cleaned up the kitchen and the living room and made myself a huge plate of all my favorites (love that broccoli and rice casserole) and settled in for hopefully another nice winter's nap.

About 2 in the morning I woke with a start. It felt like Rudolph was banging his hoofs on my heart. My stomach didn't feel so hot either so remembering Zach's short shot last night I headed to the downstairs bathroom just in case. Not one minute came my (formerly favorite now) broccoli casserole back up through the pipes. Once it comes out your nose it immediately moves down your "favorites" list. I didn't think it would ever stop and was just glad I was downstairs so as not to wake up anyone else . Thirty minutes later when I felt I had expelled all the internal organs in my weak little body I crawled across the hall to the laundry room and got a wash cloth out of a load of clean clothes and curled up on the tile floor by my porcelain microphone and slept in a fetal position til the dry heaves finally went away. I'd say this was around 5 AM.

When I got the courage to get off the tile floor (cold tile feels really good to the side of your face after hurling for what seems like a week) I dragged myself into my oldest son's room, he had gone to Acworth to spend the night after everyone left on Christmas.

Massey woke me up late... with my wash cloth still on my forehead mid morning to tell my that Daddy was upstairs locked in the bath room with his own set of problems.

Ole TJ was smart to run off to Acworth!! He hasn't been home since and is probably waiting for the "All Clear" from the CDC.

All of us have slept for hours on end...that seems to be the only thing that helps. We have a refrigerator full of great food that no one can keep down but have gone through a case of ginger ale and a case of toilet paper.

I slept til after 2 today and wouldn't have gotten up then but I had to be at work by 3. I called work and told them I would be thirty minutes late just to get an extra half hour of face time with my pillow. I didn't get off of work til 11:30 tonight and felt like I had been run through a wringer.

Hopefully it has run its course in our house and tomorrow we can start eating all the wonderful food we have left over from Christmas.

Bah hum "BUG."

Til next...a now even skinnier COTTON

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The True Meaning of Christmas

We had a Christmas party at Frances' house last night. If you read my blog you know how much this dear woman has come to mean to me and my family. She has overcome in less than a year what most people would consider a fatal blow. She had a botched catheter which sent her not only straight to open heart surgery but a nursing home for rehabilitation. That in it's self would have most probably sent me knocking on the pearly gates begging for admittance citing all my good deeds versus evil ones hoping the gates would swing open in pity.
This woman never once complained or acted like a grandma (she is of that age) but acted like it was simply a task she had to take on and conquer. She not only became the mascot of the nursing home but the mascot of our family.
She gave us an appreciation Christmas party last night to thank all of us for helping her through her adversities.
Her niece was there...a hoot that I have come to love as dearly as Frances. They both cooked a fabulous dinner for us. Pork roast, meatballs and pigs in the blanket. There were so many side dishes that my stomach hurt from the unusual full feeling it had!
She showed off a beautiful cape with leopard trim that her aide had given her for Christmas. A wonderful woman that comes several times a week to help her and treats her like family not an employer.
I was supposed to leave early and take Massey to practice but just couldn't. Being with family is the one thing I CAN afford this Christmas and not having much spare time in my current life just wanted to stay and enjoy the love and friendship that means so much to me . It was my first and only Christmas party and one of the best times I have had in months. Even Zach got into the spirit of things having his picture taken with Frances with both of them wearing their "Hoodies." Frances gave us all presents and presented each one with why she was grateful for that was truly a touching thing.
I think I may have gotten Massey into trouble with her guard coach...but for Pete's sake, I want to enjoy my Christmas too and making Frances happy makes me happy. If that is wrong, find me guilty!!
Got home and I fell into bed. I have been running a fever for two days and it makes you feel like crap. I went to bed by ten and slept til noon. I woke feeling a little better and went out to scope out if I could afford anything they had left to buy. I found a couple of things I may be able to get the kids if I make a butt load of money on Christmas Eve. I did get a ham pretty cheap at BJ's (they take a week to process a check...MY kind of store) and went into work to work a mad shift.
It is always crazy right before Christmas (a good thing) and when I walked through the door one of the servers told me to come out into a side room we have for parties. This friend of mine had gone out and bought us a turkey for Christmas, made a pan of dressing had two packs of dinner rolls and even cranberry sauce for my family.
Dang...I never knew I had so many tears in my ducts, but they just seem to be working overtime.
My family, my friends...where would I be without them?
I was worried that my ham may not be I can invite others that don't have anywhere to go.
I decided the other day that my mantra would be "Maybe life sucks...but doesn't that mean at least I am breathing?"
Now I know the true meaning of Christmas is real.
People love you if you love them.
The golden rule has come to mean so much more to me in the last year that it has in the 49 years I have been alive.
"Do unto others as you would have then do unto you."
I have plenty of food and plenty of love to throw around at my house on Christmas day...come on over if you need some.
Merry Christmas and Thank you...those sayings should go hand in hand.
A blessed...slightly sick but happy COTTON

Monday, December 21, 2009

Santa's Getting Close...

I've had a rough couple of days. Working for a large corporation just isn't my cup of tea...I'll leave it at that.
I am glued to the radio station waiting for that magic song to play twice in a row. I have my sister listening now too. We have a network going...between me my three kids and my sister and her husband we are bound to have some advantage. I will admit that some of the songs are beginning to wear on my nerves but it is a small price to pay for a chance at five grand. The one that kills me is Elvis Presley singing "I'll Be Home For Christmas." The way he pronounces "MISS- ILL -TOW" instead of just singing "Mistletoe" drives me nuts. Listen next time you hear him singing it and you'll see what I mean.
Massey is all on board...I could tie her to an elf for a year and she still would love Christmas and all the music and trimmings.
She is so upbeat about everything she makes Richard Simmons seemed depressed. It's great to have a kid like her. She wears me out but is my best friend and keeps me going when I want to throw in the towel. We made cookies and cheese straws last night and had a wonderful time together. My cheese straws didn't turn out as good as I had hoped for...obviously there is a difference between ground red pepper and Cayenne Pepper. I bought some Cayenne pepper tonight at the store and will try it one more time. Massey is at practice and Zach is upstairs wearing his thumbs out on a game controller. TJ is on his way home from work and Tim is on his way to work.
Our tree looks beautiful and makes me feel better everytime I look at it. I finally finished my Christmas cards and will drop them off on my way to work in the morning. As Christmas rushes towards us at amazing speed, I have gotten into it more than I would have thought I would.
Things are still so tight you could strum a tune on them but we are finally making some headway and I have faith that next year will be a MUCH better year...if only I can make it ten more days and win that stinkin money from the radio station !!
Til Next time...COTTON BELL ROCK
PS Be sure to click on the pic of's a good one!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Tree Decorated..."CHECK"

All happy on the home front. Massey and I just finished decorating the tree
with Zach on the couch watching "Elf." At least we were all in the same mode. Sometimes (all the time with me) it is hard to bring a seventeen year old into what you are doing and make them feel like being a part of it.
Massey was a willing participant for the photos and Zach made me have to use a curse word to get him off the couch and in front of the wonder he looks so happy.
But what matters to me is that " I " am happy. My husband is working, once again my friends have come through and it is looking like the greatest Christmas I could ever hope for.
Everything that I learned about Christmas as a child has come back to me as a fifty year old woman.
We are happy and secure...we are together and taken care of by God , our family and our friends .
Though you can't tell it from Zach's face...we are happy. The look on Massey's face says it all.
Yeah, I'm a dummy for being a pup lover...but look how happy THEY look. They know a good deal when they smell one.
What goes around comes around.
The earth has finally finished it's rotation and I feel like the luckiest person in the world.
I am at home decorating the tree, my husband just left for work and thanks to the goodness shown to me by too many to mention in one post...we are enjoying Christmas.
I may weigh 95 pounds but feel like a big fat woman... with so much gratitude in my heart for friends and family. The year is almost over and a new one is on the horizon.
Going to work tomorrow and just know that it will be another blessing ...the peeps have finally come out to celebrate and I will be there to hopefully make their visit a good one.

P.S. Be sure to click on the photos...Priceless!!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

Things are looking up !! I went into work today at 2:00 for a party of 100 people and plowed right on through the dinner shift. I made almost $300.00 and couldn't be happier...I thought.

Massey sent me a text around 4:00 asking where the Christmas tree stand was. I wondered what was up with that but text back and told her where it was in the garage. This is the first time in 49 years I haven't had a tree but have decorated the downstairs with all the candles and wreaths that I had.

Last night when I left work I walked out with one of the cooks, a dear friend of mine that is hands down one of the finest men I have ever met. He made the remark that he hadn't bought a tree yet and I told him I was right there with him. I jokingly said I couldn't afford the presents so I certainly couldn't afford a tree. I told him we needed to wait til about the 23rd and go to the Farmer's market together and tell them we wanted two trees and cut us a deal. Then we could leave the tree up til the middle of January to get the max out of it. He agreed and when I left we said we'd get together on it later . He is married with two precious daughters, one just starting school and the other is a fat little bundle of joy not even a year old yet. His wife is just as good a person as him and they have been to our house many times.

When things at work slowed for a minute I called home to ask Massey why she needed the tree stand. She said Dean (the cook from work) had just come over and brought us a Christmas tree. Tears welled up in my eyes and I had to stop and fan my face with a menu so they didn't stream down my cheeks.

How awesome was it of this guy to bring us a tree.. to make our Christmas complete and thrill my daughter to death?

I didn't get off til after ten tonight and when I was driving home, the only Christmas song that I HAVEN'T heard while waiting to win my money on the radio came on for the first time. "O Christmas Tree."

How ironic is that?

How special is it to have friends like I do that give unselfishly and make me realize how truly lucky I am? On top of that, when I pulled in front of the house and saw a tree lit up through the window the tears couldn't be stopped.

Oh it wasn't a pine tree... it was a Frasier fir, my absolute favorite. They are so fragrant and the only kind of tree I ever buy. Massey had it all decorated. She hadn't put a drop of water in the stand but was so busy just getting it all ready she forgot. I watered this most beautiful tree I have ever had and was in awe just to see a tree sitting in my living room.

I am home from work...Tim is at work and things are finally looking up. Not only that...


Til next time, an overwhelmed and extremly grateful COTTON

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Yeah, I'm Dopey

So last night I was cooking dinner when I heard the song.."Jingle bell Rock." If they play it twice in a row and you are the 98th caller you win $5000.00. I told Massey to cut the stove off and handed Zach the house phone. Massey had her cell phone and I had mine...she also had her dad's cell phone and we all started dialing.

We were in the middle of a thunderstorm and the cells weren't picking up a signal. I went out of the garage and screamed for someone to bring me an umbrella....I can walk around the yard and street until I find a signal.

It was raining like crazy but that is my calling..."CRAZY."

I stood in the rain for over ten minutes waiting for the DJ to answer the phone and tell me I had won.

I told my daughter after that ole geezer won the money that it is God's plan for us to win the $10,000 they would be giving away NEXT week.

When I told the story at work today my manager said he could just imagine me out in the pouring rain with an umbrella and a cell phone crooked on my shoulder.

I don't HAVE to imagine..I was THERE.

I went to the school tonight to pick Massey up from practice and told her to jump in the car quick...they were playing "Rockin around the Christmas Tree" when she reminded me that I had the wrong song. I told her "Rockin..Jingle..." it's all the same to me.

I have to keep a clear head...NOT "Rockin" but "Jingle."

This is my best shot at us having a Christmas and I am glued to the station. I am sick of Christmas music but at least I have the songs right now in my head.

NOT "Rockin" but "Jingle Bell"

You mark my one will give it a better try than me!


Okay, what was it, Jingle bell Rock or Rockin around the Christmas tree ?


DANG, I AM getting old...

Til next time, Confused Cotton

Monday, December 14, 2009

Tis the Season...

Even though it isn't a Christmas picture this is one of my all time favorites of my favorite (only) daughter. This was when she was too young to want anything but love and an occasional tootsie pop.

I've been back and forth from the high school three times today...squeezing in a full days work between and cooking dinner. She is back up there now handing out the programs for the bands' Christmas concert. I'm sending TJ to pick her up...let him earn that free dinner!

The band director had sent me an email saying that they still needed items for the family they were sponsoring for Christmas. I was too embarrassed to say I was broke so I took some of the money I made last night and bought the little boy two shirts his sister two pair of shoes and the DVD "UP" for the both of them. When I saw the sizes the band director had sent for the clothes and shoes I knew that they were small children...the ages that still believe in Santa.

I am lucky. My kids are old enough to know and understand this Christmas , these young kids are just excited that in a little over a week they will wake up and have presents from Santa. To think that in some small way we helped them is a good feeling for me. In the grand scheme of was the right thing to do (no one tell my husband.)

After my last trip to the school I stopped to pump my five dollars in gas (I think short term.)

There was a very elderly man (at the least late eighties) in the gas station asking some young boys how to get somewhere. The place he was asking about sounded like it was in Peachtree City. We live in Newnan. The young boys tried to help him (he looked like he needed help just to get back to his car.) Finally the man asked if he was in Peachtree City and the two boys told him he was in Coweta County...Peachtree City is in Fayette County. He was so lost I felt like putting him in my car with its five dollars worth of gas and driving him to his destination in the neighboring county.

The boys tried at least three times to tell the older gentleman how to get to Fayette County...I don't think he heard them or understood. I thought about how lost he must feel driving so far from home. I went back outside to get in my car and a group of people (there is always a group of people smoking) outside of the station were watching the old codger struggle back to his van. I felt better knowing that he was driving a big "Cushion" vehicle until I noticed his license plate..Fayette County.

For Pete's sake he had left his OWN county and ended up in ours looking for a place that he had obviously overshot by at least 15 miles. I commented to the "smoking guns" staring in his direction: "Next stop Carroll County."

I hope that he made it safely .

I wish every one well. What goes around comes around and I am hoping upon hope that the Earth has shrunken with all the global warming my turn is close at hand.
Not complaining... I am feeling pretty good. Things are tight... so tight I feel like I had a face lift without the results. But as long as I keep on giving and will come back to me.
My family is incredibly happy this holiday season...we are together and have bonded like never before. It's the little things in life that make the big picture easier to see.
Merry Christmas... and it truly is one for us. Hope yours is as blessed .
There is nothing like being made aware of how lucky you are and how much you have taken for granted for so long .
Keep your faith, keep your values and everything wil be okay!
HO HO HO !!!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The upload is blurry...but of course the program is thirty one years old. It's hard to believe that thirty one years have passed since I graduated from high school.

Tonight we had our Christmas reunion. An all year reunion that we have been having a couple of times a year (we like to party.)

There were people there that graduated in the 50's and people that graduated in the 80's. That's the great thing about my high school. As the years have passed we get together more and more often....we may have gone to Russell and may not be the smartest but we are the most dedicated to keeping in touch and I have made many new friends at these get togethers.

We had people from the fifties out on the dance floor doing dances that I don't even remember but they were pretty darn good at . I thought they may break into a "Jitterbug" at any given moment or at least whip out THEIR jitterbug to call a classmate that wasn't there yet to see if their Rascal had had broken down or were looking for the handicap entrance. I will say that the women from the fifties class certainly haven't forgotten about sequins or leather and dress to the nines at these reunions.

Some of the ones from the sixties were in denim or tank tops and the ones from my era were dressed normal (that's because I am one of them and want to feel good about myself.)

My high school was very eclectic. We had preppies, sluts, brainy kids...misfits, snobs and jocks. We had pot heads and ones who gathered around smoking Marlboro's. Years ago we would never have mingled or intertwined our lives but as our ultimate demise comes screaming closer and closer we have bonded and all come together to realize that we are ALL getting older.

Thirty years ago four years of difference in age was huge. Today it is simply a blip on the radar of life.

I am truly lucky to have gone to a school that still has that bond of all being WILDCATS (our mascot) and continues to remain Wildcats.

What an appropriate mascot.

A varied but committed bunch of people that grew up in the greatest community you could ever imagine.

It felt good to get out and have a night to myself and see old friends and make a few new ones.

Several people came up to me and said they liked my blogs. People that I had never even met. That was a really good thing for me to own Christmas present from the people I grew up with.

A fun night...just what I needed.

Friday, December 11, 2009


What a day! It's almost eleven PM and I just got home from work . I went in at 10:30 to work lunch, got off at 4:00...went to the bank and grocery store and headed back for the dinner shift. It started out well enough, we were busy and I am always grateful for that. I got several really good tips and a couple of crappy ones but all seemed to be averaging out in my favor.

My last table was a party of seven. If it had been a party of eight I could have added 18% gratuity. I pushed all the specials and they ordered really well so I had high hopes for my last table making my night. They ran me like crazy (I don't mind that) and even ordered dessert. They had cocktails and stayed a little longer than I wanted them to... my feet were killing me and being my eighth shift this week I was ready to go. The tab was $170.00 and I felt pretty good about it. I packed all their left overs up for them and bagged it . Took the tab and said a prayer.

They left me a $12.oo tip. I guess that last prayer didn't make it upstairs in time. I understand that waiting tables is a crap shoot but I didn't expect to crap out like that! They probably had an extra person out in the car and told her "Baby girl, you can't come inside with us or they'll add a giant tip to the bill. Just keep the heater on in the car and listen to Christmas carols on the radio ... we will pack up all our left overs and you can eat on the way home."

For Pete's's Christmas time for me TOO ! At the very least give me a ten percent tip. To be honest I was just glad they left and I got to go home. I was hoping for a $30.00 tip and instead had to be grateful for the lousy almost 8% they left me. I memorized all their faces and will know next time they walk in to pay off the hostess not to seat them in my section.

I am home now, warm and surrounded by my pep squad (my pups.)

Have to be back at work by 9:00 in the morning for a meeting and then I have my glorious one day off (ya gotta LOVE a day off.)

Baby it's COLD outside and reminds me of how glad I am I live in the deep south. I'd never make it up north.

Do you know how cold it would have been for "Baby Girl" in that car if they lived in Michigan?

Til next time...COTTON

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Surrounded By Love

Home from work...DANG it's cold outside. Massey just got home from practice and Tim just left for work. Zach is in his room and TJ is upstairs watching TV. Just me and my pups sitting around the computer. These crazy dogs follow me from room to room and if I sit at my computer for three hours so will they. They are 300 pounds of pure love and give me comfort whenever I need it. As my husband says "They LOVE their Mama."

I am thinking about baking some more cookies and starting my Christmas cards. Last year my sister gave me four packs of cards made by the kids at her church that didn't sell at a bazaar and I put them up in a drawer. I can barely afford the stamps so having the cards came in real handy...not to mention that they are precious cards. To me anything made by a child is precious.

My favorite Christmas decorations are the ones my kids made when they were young. Let's start when Zach was in kindergarten (the first time.)

He brought home a note he had written to Santa on the computer in his classroom. The teacher let the kids write them alone with no corrections and it remains one of my favorite things he ever wrote. You can click on the photo of it above to see it enlarged but it reads:
Dear Santa,
I wot a sake and a cat and a dog and a vochr and 99 pokmoncos and a ho bch ov sochrs. Pis brig me thes tois.
love Zach
Now let me decipher his code for you.
"Dear Santa, I want a snake and a cat and a dog and a Vulture and 99 Pokemon cards and a whole bunch of soldiers. Please bring me these toys. Love, Zach"
The next year (his second try at kindergarten) the kids wrote what they would give to the world. This is when Zach started to turn into the boy he is today...a thinker that always surprises me, sometimes disappoints me but always makes me proud. His letter read:
"My Gift to the World
If I could give the world any present this is what I would give. I would give money to the poor. I would give homes to the poor. I would give clothing to the poor. I would give caring to the Talaban. That is what I would give the world. Zach Cotton"
Granted he spelled Taliban wrong but it struck me that this young man had it right... we don't care enough about the poor and if only the Taliban knew the true sense of the word "Caring" instead of focusing on "attacking" it would be a better world.
I have ornaments and banners and pictures framed with Popsicle sticks. These are some of my most prized possessions.
Christmas is coming and the goose ain't gettin' fat but I feel content. I have three kids that love me three dogs that adore me , a wonderful husband and a family that supports me like a steel beam.
Massey and I are going to the Farmer's Market in Forest Park on Saturday... it may be a Charlie Brown tree but we are bringing one home. That will be our gift to the family
Hope every one has a great Christmas and looks around them to see what love truly looks like. I know that I am surronded by it and it is a warm and comforting feeling.
Til next time...COTTON

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Feliz Navidad

Well my four dozen chocolate chip cookies and pan of brownies didn't make it 24 hours in my house. I went to work at ten this morning and got off around nine tonight. The only thing left were crumbs and an empty platter.
The kids enjoyed them and I enjoyed making them happy. A friend emailed me the recipe for cheese straws so I guess I'll see how long THEY will last when I make them tomorrow! I may have to help with the rapid disposal of those (one of my favorites.)
It was almost 70 degrees outside today...complete turn around from yesterday and tomorrow is supposed to be in the mid twenties. Only in the South!!

Tonight was crazy at work (thank goodness) people are finally coming out for Christmas parties and thankfully a lot of them are choosing our restaurant. If my bad hip, carpal tunnel and corns on my pinkie toes don't get any worse I think it will be a good run at work the next couple of weeks. The renovations are in their final days and the store looks great and that is a big boost for business.
Tim has gotten another part time job...doesn't pay much but will be a definite help. I cannot say enough about the resilience and amazing faith that my husband has shown over these last few months. As if living with me wasn't enough of a challenge he has remained steadfast in his belief in himself and has been a great stay at home dad to our kids. He has them spoiled rotten with his taking them to school every morning when he gets home from work and cooks for them when I am at work .
It has been a crazy year for us but thankfully it is almost over and we are all looking ahead to the new year being a great one for our family.
I am including a short video of our "Short" dog Charlie. He is short in stature and even shorter in the brain department. I got the vacuum cleaner out the other night and before it was even plugged in he went into battle know, "Shoot and run like hell." He is the biggest sissy around a Hoover that I ever met. He acts all big and bad but push the appliance toward him and he runs for the hills....or for the steps in his case. I just thought it was so funny I would share it with you.
Til next time... Algodon (Feliz Navidad) ...that's a shout out to mi amiga, Deb Stearns !
The other pictures are of Rosie the reindeer and the kids when it snowed one Christmas.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Christmas Cookin' at The Cotton's

Worked off around five and headed out in the most dismal weather you can imagine. Cold and rainy. Seems to be the norm around here as of late. It will take my back yard til Spring to completely dry out. It was just drizzling so I stopped to pump five dollars worth of gas (my husband says the gas station attendants laugh at me when I do ) but it will get me home and back to work tomorrow and back home again where I have a gas can half full in case I finally misjudge.
I stopped at Publix to pick up some groceries for dinner since the radio said more rain was coming. I came out to a deluge...I think I may have even seen some cats and dogs dropping down. I parked my cart by the building , ran to my car and pulled up next to the store to load my groceries. I called the house from a couple of blocks away to tell Zach to open the garage door for me. He said he was snug in his bed upstairs. I told him I would "Snug" him if he didn't open the garage door that HE broke the opener for. It must have all come back to him because when I pulled in the drive the garage door was open.
Had a wonderful dinner, fixing a new recipe that I found in a magazine. Shrimp with Orzo pasta, fresh baby spinach... roasted grape tomatoes and feta cheese with fresh dill. YUM YUM...
Massey had practice til 9:30 so after dinner I baked chocolate chip cookies and brownies. The kitchen smelled wonderful with all the goodies baking. Three pups laying around my work space, Christmas carols on the radio (trying to win that $5000.00 from B 98.5) and I felt pretty content.
Zach wanted to go to Blockbuster and since I had forgotten paper towels at the store I took him . He seemed to take forever so I sent him a text "I am leaving." He sent me a text back "I am deleting your blogs." I got a chuckle out of that one! We swung by the store for paper towels and came back home to the delicious aroma of Christmas baking.
He's still stewing about being in a video on my blog but I think secretly he likes it. Massey came in from practice and had some dinner and cookies. My oldest son came through for us today with some rent money and I feel pretty good about life.
If ain't perfect, but you know what? It's good.
I have customers at work that come in almost daily and are like family to me (shout out to Miss Donna and Miss Sally) they know all about my three kids and ask about them on a regular basis. My daughter knows both of these women and has eaten or sat with them many times in the restaurant. My whole family knows about both of them from either meeting them or hearing me talk about them. It's nice to have extended family. To me that only means extended love and all of us can use that.
I am going to take my camera to work and take some pictures of my favorite customers...just to put faces with the words I write. I could do about ten blogs about the people I have met and come to love while working in my store.
It may sound crazy... and that is normal coming from me but I am almost looking forward to Christmas. I realize what I don't have but also see what I DO have. A great family..crazy kids to keep me laughing... a husband that loves me (he must be crazy too) and friends that have helped me every step of the way.
The cookies and brownies smell sweet and delicious but the thought that I am loved is the sweetest thing I can think of .
Merry Christmas...mine truly is "A Wonderful Life."
PS. I only put this pic of me and Tim on the blog because I looked so young in it (a little Christmas present to myself)
Til next time...Christmas Cotton

Monday, December 7, 2009

Two Concerts in One Night

Tonight was Massey's Christmas concert with the ECHS women's chorus. They were quite impressive. Massey is on the bottom right with her cute new bob hair cut. There is a house right around the corner from the high school that is really getting into the spirit of Christmas. On their house in huge letters they have spray painted "Merry Chistmas." I know that spray paint cans don't have spell check but at least pay attention if you are going to actually spray paint a message across the front of your house... remember that there is an "R" right after the "H" in Christmas. I am going to have to take a picture of it and post it for you to's pretty funny. Anyway, back to the concert. Massey looked beautiful but I am certainly biased. Their small group has a lovely sound and appeal. After the concert we went by McDonalds for the dollar menu specials and took some home to Zach who had declined our offer to go to the concert. While I was downstairs uploading Massey's video he was upstairs playing Rock Band. I snuck up the stairs and captured him playing in the living room. It was dark but since I was sneaking I couldn't turn on any lights. It was kinda boring until he played that last impressed with his virtual talent he turned and whooped only to see his nosey mom with a cam corder pointed at him. Needless to say I was cracking up as he was telling me it was a federal crime to video tape him without his consent. I told him it was a crime he was a 17 year old with the aptitude of being the next Bill Gates but refused to use his potential to his advantage . Bill Gates... heck, I'd settle for a Maury Povich. He chased me around the house for a good five minutes before giving up. I ran in the bathroom with my cam corder and hid til he gave up. When he saw the title for my post "Two Concerts.." he tried to act mad but he knows I only poke fun at the people I love...obviously I love him a LOT. Enjoy my two concerts...I have over and over again!!

Merry 'CHISTMAS'....Cotton

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Rebound Shift

Went into work today with that same ole chip on my shoulder "I hate my job now" only to be beaten to death with one of the busiest shifts I have worked in a while. I was so busy that I almost forgot to be paranoid. Of course I was still paranoid...I kept thinking all the managers were huddled together to talk about me and my performance (they probably were) but once I pulled it all together I walked out the door with over $220. In one shift I managed to make over my goal and think I did pretty well as far as my service goes. I work again in the morning and if no one calls and complains about tonight I will feel satisfied.

I HAVE to keep this job for now. It is less than three weeks to Christmas and I would be an idiot to quit at this point in the game. I pray that if I can make it through the holidays I will be okay. Once the New Year hits....... I am really going to make some changes.

Focusing on my writing and focusing on working in a positive environment.

Yesterday was a blast. I got to the parade late (SEC tourney traffic) and missed Massey's band marching by, but recorded it at home and was so proud to see how much face time she got from the camera man. It was colder than the Antarctic and I had to pay ten bucks to park my car but to be there for my girl I would do it all again.

Tonight at work my faith was renewed . I AM A GOOD WAITRESS and my shift proved it.

I am working every day til Christmas and for the first time I am working Christmas Eve night. It's not like I have to put out "Santa Claus" and my teens have been wonderful and understanding. It's one year out of our lives that may not be 'candy' but will still be sweet.

If business keeps up the brisk pace I can get the bills paid and give each of my children a nice gift and some underwear and socks thrown in.

Thanks to all for the love and support.

Ya know, I am almost excited about just having a Christmas that is about the reason and not the hype of the season.

I am baking brownies tomorrow and chocolate chip cookies are close behind. Geez, I wish I knew how to make those cheese straws my mom used to make. Anybody know how? They had a peppery taste.... a little hot. Let me know if you have the recipe.

Christmas is coming and once again I am reminded why.

Christ was born ...lived his life and died so that we could live.

I am alive and grateful to be baking cookies and brownies.

Let me know about that cheese straw recipe...ANYBODY???

Til next time..Cotton

Friday, December 4, 2009

So Excited...

Tomorrow my girl is marching in the Christmas parade in downtown Atlanta and I am so excited. I am more excited about the forecast for sleet and snow (NOT.)

She has been at school all day and after she stayed to help paint the tarp for their winter guard program (here we go again.) I took her some dinner to the school around five and was so relieved that she wanted to go home and spend the night with "Tiffi" another guard girl. That means HER parents will take Massey to the school at 8 and I can wait to leave for the parade which starts at 10.

Granted that only gives me an extra thirty minutes in bed.. but I 'll Take it!

When I went to the school tonight to take her dinner I mentioned the forecast and asked if she minded if I stayed home and watched it on TV. Her face said it all. I have my cam corder charging and have gas in my car to go and brave the elements. If she can march down Peachtree Street in that slinky outfit I can surely be there in my winter coat hat and gloves filming her as the prettiest girl in the East Coweta Band marches by.

My husband just left for work and I said that Massey really wanted me there tomorrow. He said "Why don't you take Marta?" Yeah he can be a smart ass.

No dis on Marta, I just don't travel it enough to even know where to get off or when to scream for help. (see previous post.)

I talked to Tim and he told me exactly where to get off the interstate and I can park in a garage see the parade, film Massey and hopefully be safely back home by 2:00.

The last time I went to see the parade was when Massey was six years old , I took her and my next door husband's daughter.

Here we are eight years later and my girl is MARCHING IN THE PARADE.
It has been a tough year, but for my girl it has been a good year and to me that is all that matters. Look for me on the sidelines as the parade goes by. I will be the one holding a sign saying "Will work for Warmth."
Love my girl, love my entire family and I am really blessed..I really mean that. I am lucky...just going through a rough spot and tired of thinking of that. I am focusing now on how truly lucky I am and how many people love me. My new mantra is "Pay It Forward."
Merry Christmas to all of my friends and fanily...without you I wouldn't even be here to post. on these pictures!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Guess I Need "Apps For Dummies"

I didn't mean for these pics to be so out of whack...but they are a few of my faves from Christmas' past. You can click on them and see them larger...Dang, GOOD TIMES...they WILL return!

Just got home from work, passing Tim as he heads out the door TO work. This reminds me of when we first got married and I worked all nights and he worked the early morning bakery route.

It was painfully slow at work although any shift at work seems painful to me these days.

Ran into a friend from FB in the restaurant. She was my brother's age so I really didn't know her in school. When you are younger 5 or 6 years difference in age means a lot. She was with her mother (still sharp as a tack) and since it was slow I had time to chat with them about growing up in East Point. We knew a ton of the same people and it was fun reminiscing about old times.

Came home and checked out Facebook to see about a zillion requests and invitations from various people. I don't normally look at them but since it said "over 100 other requests" I took a look. I really have no idea what any of them mean or whether I should respond. I see a lot of pillows beings thrown, hearts being sent, hugs given and the latest rage seems to be "someone sent you a Christmas may not be able to open it til Christmas morning."

There's an idea! If only I knew what the presents were, maybe I could get up REALLY early on Christmas morning and unwrap them, decide which of my kids they would suit the wrap them and put tags on all of them and scream upstairs "SANTA CAME, SANTA CAME...come look what he brought you!!"

Luckily my kids are old enough now to realize that this will be a slim to anorexic Christmas and still they seem okay with that.

You know, Massey really likes those little white powdered doughnuts and Zach would be happy with two huge boxes of Lucky Charms (they're magically delicious.) I think my oldest son would be happy finding out Christmas morning that we are still letting him live here and eat up all our food and we will continue to feed his dog as well.

I get nervous when I click on an app and it says "by clicking on this application you give full access to your profile and information, etc..." It's not like I work for the FBI or have anything that anyone would want, but I worry about viruses and the last thing I need is a computer crash.

My friends on Facebook have been so supportive and nice to me that I feel bad not accepting their various gifts. HEY! I could use a hug, a kiss..a heart given, or even a Christmas present but I have no idea what it means, other than people are sending well wishes my way. Call me stupid (you'd be right) but I am just not that into all the apps, mafia wars and farmville stuff. Just connecting with friends is enough for this old girl. Knowing my luck I would click on an app and it would be one of our creditors. This close to Christmas I just can't take that chance.

Christmas will be fine, I am sure of it. Years down the road we will all laugh and talk about "Do you remember that ONE Christmas when we got powdered doughnuts , Lucky Charms and you let TJ keep living in your Old Lady's room?"

I am going to HAVE to get over the hate that I feel for my job, suck it up and work my butt off from now til Christmas. Get the bills paid and somehow go and get at least one nice small present for each of my three kids. And you know what? Knowing my kids like I do, they will be grateful for what they should . We are making the best of a bad situation and still have a home, heat and food . Granted there has been lots of tomato soup and grill cheese sandwiches...but this too shall pass!

Everything will be okay. I have plenty of decorations in the attic and can go back in the woods and chop a tree down. What matters is that we are together and love each other.

Dang! I can hardly wait for the Christmas we all sit around and laugh about this one.

Til next time... a truly grateful Cotton

Guess I Need

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Rain, Rain Go AWAY!

It rained today like a monsoon. All day long. It started last night around 11 and didn't stop til after 1:00 this afternoon.

Not a good thing when you have three dogs. I often wonder why having three dogs 'IS' a good thing. I took them out last night right as it started to sprinkle and let them all do "Their Thing" hoping that they could make it until the rain stopped.

My husband worked all night so the hounds slept with me. The male boxer HAS to be right next to me in the bed, the female boxer prefers downstairs sleeping at the foot of the stairs where she doesn't have to climb stairs but can thwart any enemy advances, and the bulldog sleeps under my bed like it is his cave with white chop stick back legs sticking out and crossed like he is "in his crib" and loving it.

They made it through the morning without going out ... it was raining so hard the Morton Salt girl would have been at risk in her slicker.

Around one the rain had ALMOST stopped so I let the three idiots out the back door.

It would be okay if they would meekly tip toe to the edge of the porch and cop a squat. But they all three barrel out of the house like the running of the bulls in Spain and slip, slide and fling up mud as they race each other to the back of our property for no apparent reason other than to cover their underside in mud. They follow each other around peeing where the first one did and once they have made their rounds come back to sit by the kitchen door looking like Pig Pen on a bad day.

I then have to get beach towels and bring them in one at a time. I start with their paws and move up their legs to their filthy bellies and end up with the slobber hanging off their jowls and finally release them back into my house. three kids aren't THIS much work (at least not physically.) I decided not to feed the dogs today so they wouldn't have a turtle head a pokin' (Austin Powers movie quote ) and it won't kill them to go one day without food. I have done it many times and I'm still here.

I got my oldest son to go pick up a bale of wheat straw last night right before the monsoon hit and put it all around the back porch to keep the mud down a bit. It did help, what doesn't help is three idiot four legged dogs that have to run like crazy out in the yard and then expect me to be happy to see them wanting to gain entry to the house again.

It seems to be feast or famine here in my neck of the woods. Either it doesn't rain for three months or it rains for three days straight.

Not good when you have pups! They have been wiped down for the last time tonight and all three are snoozing in different parts of the house. It's so weird, when my husband is home they don't mind spreading out throughout the house. When he is gone they are all on top of me like secret service agents.

Tomorrow is forecast to be just cloudy ...maybe I will let them eat again.

They had better be glad they don't get report cards, I would fail them all on rainy day etiquette.

Til next time...Cotton

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Best Keep My Day Job

The top picture was taken by my brother on his phone Thanksgiving at my sister's house. The video was shot in my kitchen night before last while cooking. Thank goodness Massey didn't spot me singing until the song was almost over because I was belting it out pretty good . You don't hear my favorite songs on the radio much. American Pie is one of my favorites and the other is Creep by Radiohead. You should see me on Rock band singing "Creep" those guys NEED me in their band if only for this one song! "Creep" is the ring tone on my phone... unlike my husband's ring tone. You know the one, sounds like a phone ringing from the sixties. When his phone rings we say "Your Gran ma's phone's ringing." Of course by this point in life he tends to just ignore our sarcastic comments.

I have been busy typing up a few of my favorite blogs and have decided to start submitting them to anyone that will accept the envelope. After posting that on Facebook, I had 22 notifications of support and encouragement from friends. That was a pretty awesome feeling.

Yeah, life sucks right now...but at least I am alive and loved, two pretty good things to have in my corner at this crossroad in my life.

Work has me a nervous wreck...I am being watched constantly by the managers and have lost all faith in myself as a server (the one thing I thought I WAS good at.) It's hard to shake off bad vibes and on top of that knowing that I absolutely HAVE to keep my job right now doesn't help.

I have veins that seem ready to cause an embolism at any moment...gray hairs growing faster than a Chia pet and a job that I now hate going in to.

On the flip side I have a family that loves me and a network of friends that keep me going and make it all worth it.

I decided to answer the phone call from Chase last night...usually I don't. I talked to the guy til I was blue in the face and he probably quit his job when he got off the phone with me. He told me at one point early on that he wanted to help me and I told him that getting rid of our interest rate would help quite a bit. I explained our situation and told him that I was paying my mortgage, utilities and car insurance before his company even crossed my mind. I told him why should I send a minimum payment to them when 98% of it went to interest. I told him I felt like I was spinning my wheels and just flinging mud up. I also told him we haven't even used the card in over a year but with our situation had simply gotten behind.

After using my PHD in BS for half an hour I got the interest rate knocked to 2% for a year. I got really lucky with this guy, he was actually pretty nice and ended up helping me out quite a bit (even though they make BUTT LOADS of money off people like us) and it felt good to explode on someone who couldn't fire me or even see me.

Now if I can just find someone who thinks my writing is worth publishing maybe I can move my life in the direction I want it to go.

HEY! Maybe I can do a blog for Chase or Citi Card...I know, how about a Wells Fargo blog ?

Til next time...Cotton