Saturday, December 17, 2011

it doesn't matter how old they are...

john and i had a late dinner party to go to last night. so katherine, hannah, and davis went out to dinner early so as to get back in time to trade off puppy duty. the three had only been gone for about 30 minutes when our local news reported a car crash involving three cars with possible fatalities in the area to which they were headed. the odds were it wasn't them, but i called katherine anyway...

it rang,
and rang,
and rang...
no answer
then voicemail.

i called again.

it rang,
and rang,
and rang...
no answer
then voicemail.

my body started to react.
i got a knot in my chest,
my face and ears started to burn,
i could hear my heart beating... loudly,
and my mind began to race.

i texted katherine.
no reply.

i quickly resorted to the police scanner application on my phone
and listened for further information.

the police called for more ambulances,
an officer indicated that the jaws-of-life was going to be needed to extricate victims from at least one of the vehicles involved.

the kids had been running late for dinner.
but i told them to take their time and be careful.
did i tell katherine i loved her?
yes, i did!
i always do.

"you need to call the coroner."
i heard the officer tell the dispatcher.!

still no reply from katherine.

i called one more time.

it rang,
and rang,
and rang...

i totally started to go into full panic mode!

and rang.

and then...

she answered!



katherine explained that her ringer was turned off and she didn't know i'd called.
she said they were safe at the restaurant and waiting for the waiter to bring them their food.

it wasn't them in the wreck,

i felt relief come over my body.

"have fun, enjoy your dinner, and y'all be very careful coming home, " i told her.
"ok, mom," she reassured me, "we will."
"i love you," i told her.
i always do!
i had the opportunity, the gift, of being able to say that to her again!
"i love you too. i'll see you guys later," she replied.


it was a gift that my child was uninvolved...
that she was safe!
hannah and davis were too!!!


however, it was not the same story for those who were involved in the wreck...


i learned later that there were three fatalities as a result of that crash.
there were others very seriously injured.


today, i ask for prayers for the victims and their families.

today, i ask that you slow down, pay attention, and always drive soberly!

today, i ask that you to remember to thank God for all your blessings.


love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Friday, December 16, 2011


many of my long-time readers
 know i grew up in my little, 
white cottage here on the lane. 
what you may not know is 
my next-door neighbor, jack, 
was my best friend...

in the summers...
i talked to him while he planted his garden.
he taught me how to shoot his bb-gun.
we watched sanford and son 
on the tv he had hooked up 
in his garage.
and, we talked politics
over mason ball jars filled 
with stella's iced, sweet tea.

in the winters...
i talked to him
 while he shaped his frasier fir 
and hooked up the outdoor lights (always red).
we watched the edge of night together 
every afternoon after school.
and, we talked politics
over potter cups filled 
with stella's delicious hot chocolate.


one can only imagine 
how brokenhearted i was 
when at 14 my parents divorced 
and sold our house on the lane.
i was brokenhearted to have to move
but even more so 
to have to leave my best buddy.


little did i know, though...
it would only prove 
to be a temporary separation...
 a month before i turned 22,
john presented me my childhood home
 as a 1st anniversary gift!
he purchased my cottage on the lane
for us to fill with our family.


i was thrilled...
to be living, once again, 
in my sweet house,
to be sharing it 
with the one i loved 
with all my heart and soul,
to be living next-door 
to my jack and stella again, and
to be sharing john with them 
and them with john,

one can only imagine 
how over the moon 
i would be 
to share our baby, katherine,
with jack and stella
the following year at Christmas!


jack taught baby katherine
 to "spit tobacco".
he would spit, 
and she would mockingly 
proceed to do the same
(no tobacco, of course)... 

katherine's first word was "dack" (jack).
baby katherine would stand 
at the back french doors
and would squeal 
as she watched jack pull 
into his driveway after work, 

"dack, dack!"


in the summers, 
with baby katherine 
first in my arms 
then later
at my side, 
we played with jack's kittens.
we watched katherine grow.
and, we talked politics.

in the winters...
jack shoveled snow off our deck
(to repay john for mulching his leaves in the fall).
we talked to jack while he trimmed the tree...
then later as he unboxed his new artificial one.
we watched the young and the restless.
and, we talked politics.


 in the late fall of 2004, 
jack became ill.
he told me the doctors were running tests.
in mid december jack had surgery.
right before Christmas that year,
he returned home.


i was very busy preparing for Christmas...
shopping, baking, decorating, wrapping gifts, and cleaning...
so busy i hadn't taken the time 
to go visit jack for a few weeks.

a blessing happened, 
it began to snow.
it snowed...
and snowed...
and snowed...
(for 30 hours it snowed.)
until we were completely snowed in 
on the lane.
the normal festivities of Christmas 
were just not going to happen.
all the tri-state roads, highways, 
airports, etc...
were closed!
no one would be coming, 
and no one would be going.


i didn't have to be busy anymore:)


so, i donned my jeans, turtleneck, 
sporto boots, and coat.
i slicked my hair back into a pony-tail,
waded through the thigh-high snow, 
which separated our houses,
and made my way over 
to check on my buddy.
to my delight,
i was greeted at the door 
by jack's and stella's daughter, jeda;
she was snowed in as well.


i LOVE jeda!
(she was my choir teacher 
all through elementary and middle school.
then, when i became an adult, 
she grew to be my dear friend.)

that night while katherine and john sat 
in our den watching a Christmas story together,
i sat with jack, stella, and jeda 
reminiscing about old times, 
and enjoying all the Christmas confections 
jeda had brought her mother and daddy. 

~the blessing~

it wasn't until after jack had fallen asleep 
and stella had nodded off as well 
that i realized just how great the blessing.

jeda confided in me that jack had cancer...


to this day,
 i believe with all my heart 
that that evening i enjoyed 
with three of my dearest, life-long friends 
was nothing short of a gift from God.


jack died the following summer.


i miss summers
winters of old on the lane.

i miss jack....

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

Monday, December 5, 2011

mosses monday XLV...

"i am so thankful that i had this chance meeting.
i am thankful for all things that remind me of mosses..."

as you know from my last post,
i see mosses occasionally;)

i see him in the antiquated fella who is still very much alive...

in the man who is more gentle,
in the man who moves a little more slowly... a little more deliberately,
in the man who is more generous,
and in the man who has more gumption
than his body should allow,

i see him in the man who is



several years ago dawn called and invited me to go see a movie and have lunch with her.
"what do you want to see?" i asked.
"let's go see the holiday," she continued, "the one with jude law."
what girl is not up for two hours of jude law!!?!?

"sounds good to me; it's a date!"


that friday afternoon we arrived at the theater.
she bought buttered popcorn and a diet:
i bought jr. mints and a diet...
we made our way to our seats just in time for the movie to begin.

we patiently awaited for jude law to grace the screen...
to see his perfectly sculptured body,
to hear the heavy, british accent in his voice,
to look into his paul newman'esque eyes.

the movie began.

jude law was scrumptious...



it was this man who stole the movie and my heart.

(meet arthur abbott played by eli wallach)

from the moment i laid eyes on him,
he was mosses!

arthur was kind,
and brilliant,
and humble
and endearing
and cute,
and funny,

not only was he mosses...

kate winslet,
who played opposite wallach,
was me!

(meet iris simpkins played by kate winslet)


while on holiday in los angeles,
iris met mr. abbott.
she was so taken by him,
instead of doing normal, touristy things,
she chose to spend her time with arthur,
who stole her heart...

not in a romantic way,
you see,
but in a very soulful kind of way.

iris took to heart his every word.
arthur was a wise man;
he had lived a very long life.
he knew the ways of the world.
he explained to iris that she was important
that she should be the star of her own life.

in turn, iris helped arthur to realize no matter his age...
he was still important.

iris shared dinner with mr. abbott.

iris helped arthur reacquire his strength.

their relationship was mutually beneficial.
he helped her to find her inner strength and independence.
she helped him find the man he had forgotten he was.


my relationship with mosses was much the same...
it was a relationship of building each other up.
when i was with him, i was my best person.
when he was with me, i think he was his best person.

i think we were in love...

i know i was:)

not in a romantic way,
you see,
but in a very soulful kind of way:)

in the end, iris found romantic love in a funny guy she met while on holiday...

arthur found relevance.

and jude law...

yeah, he was the icing
on the proverbial cake;P

love and God's blessings,
dani xxx

ps you will find earlier entries in ascending order on my side bar entitled,
"our love story":)

Friday, December 2, 2011

the girl who cried, "tenderloin"...

for two years john, katherine, jacob, and i watched masterchef. i dvr'ed it; we never missed a single episode. secretly, i wanted to be on the show; i thought i could win... REALLY! i have no fear when it comes to cooking. i learned long ago what makes what taste good AND how to turn cooking failures into winning dishes.

so, in august when (as a friend of the show) i received an invite to apply, i jumped at the opportunity and expressed my desire to be a part of masterchef 3. several weeks later i received another email from them asking that i choose two cities from a list of many that i might be able to travel to for a casting call. there were three (nashville, atlanta, and chicago) from the list that were in a 6 hour radius of henderson.

about a month later masterchef sent me the list of cities and dates. one of my choices, chicago, was on the list: chicago, illinois, dec. 3, 2011, le cordon bleu culinary institute @10 am. the only other information i received at the time was that i was to bring a dish (ready to be plated), a head-shot, and my contract. i chose the chicago venue and shared with family and friends that i would be attending. i was super-excited!!!... at first. then i started thinking about the dish situation.

how was i going to prepare a dish to take to this casting call 6+ hours away from my home?

on masterchef's facebook page, i asked if anyone knew what constituted a dish but received no reply. after attempting to get a hotel room at one of the area residence inns with no avail, i decided to take a dessert to plate. i knew exactly what i was going to prepare...
my pink suede cake!

however, as soon as i decided to plate the cake , i started second guessing myself. i had this funky feeling that i was going to be in line with all these people bearing beautifully plated, succulent, savory main dishes, and i was going to be like, "hi, i'm dani from kentucky. here's my (day-old, well-travelled) cake." after expressing my dilemma to john (who thought the whole venture was "screwy" because of my lack of information), we agreed that i would just wait for masterchef to come to a town closer to home preferably nashville.


on tuesday of this week, a dear friend called and totally harassed me when i told her i was choosing not to go;)
"if you don't go, i'm going to be so mad at you! you could totally win! i'm going to come get you on friday after work and take you myself! yadda, yadda, yadda..."
ha! she was killing me.


that very night my brother called. "well, are you going to go this weekend?" he asked.
"i don't know." i continued, "i don't think so."
"i don't think it would be a good idea," he said. "you cannot be away from home that long." he laughed.
"i think i could do it, it's only for a couple of weeks between february and march."
"oh, i thought it was like american idol where you're there for the show's entirety.. like 13 or 14 weeks."
"oh, nah, it's all pre-taped before it airs." (i was sure i'd read that it was a 2 week commitment.)
"that's still a LONG time for you to be away from home, sister!" he laughed.
i laughed, too; but he was right, nonetheless.


on wednesday morning, roy called.
roy, from masterchef!
he called to inquire as to whether or not i would be attending the chicago casting call on saturday
and to ask if i had any questions giving me a link to a faq site.

after going to the site, i had answers to most of my questions and all of john's questions. i called him and shared the information i gathered. "what do you think?" i asked him.
"it's up to you, but i still think you should wait until it comes to nashville," he replied.
"i think i should just go ahead and do it; i may not have this chance again."

i returned roy's call and confirmed i would be there.
i made hotel reservations.
i took a head-shot and sent it to walgreens for prints.
i made a grocery list:
pork tenderloin
green onion
feta cheese


i told everyone i was going to go to the call and asked for prayers that my pork tenderloin would be edible (after standing outside the institute for up to 4 hours in chicago's winter weather conditions). everyone was so supportive and sweet... promising to pray for my tenderloin:)


i uploaded the 11 page contract from the link roy sent me.
i read through the questions.
when i arrived at the question asking if i would be able to make a 7 week commitment between february and march, i started sweating.
i took a picture of the screen and texted it to my aforementioned dear friend and cheerleader.
i received a quick reply, "you are going to have so much fun!!!"

being away from home for a week once or twice a year is fun,
but after 7 days, i'm totally ready to be back at home.
as my brother pointed out, 2 weeks was pushing it (but, i knew i could do it if need be).
being away from home for 7 weeks did not sound a bit FUN to me:(

i emailed the contract to john to read. he did and brought a copy of it home to me yesterday afternoon. "did you see that the time commitment is 7 weeks?" i asked him.
"yep, i thought you said it was only 2 weeks?'
"i thought it was! assuming i would even make it that far, i don't want to be away from home that long, john."
"yeah, that's what i thought when i read it; you'd be homesick after about a week," he responded.
"i'm not going to do it, ok?"
he laughed, "it's up to you."

in the end, it is up to me. i would love to win the $250,000; don't get me wrong. but honestly, i cannot put a price on missing 2 months of my family's life. economically speaking, one of these days i my not have a choice but to travel away from home to monetarily support my family. but, right now, i'm just not that hungry (i am so blessed!). i hope that a person who is that hungry wins the competition.

as for me and my house, we are going to eat a wonderful, HOT, FRESH pork tenderloin at home together on the lane this weekend:)

love and GOD's blessings,
dani xxx