This Southern Belle's Musings

"Darlin', don't ever take a Southern woman for granted!" [tm]

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Friday, August 27, 2004

I Can't Even Begin . . .  

The last seventy-seven (77) days have been so unbelievably bizarre that . . . as the old saying goes . . . "it has to be true; no one can make this sh*t up."      Well, I'm here to tell you, if I can just survive the next four days without killing myself, or someone else, and can make it back to my beloved Old South and get moved into my new Southern Plantation-style home, I will have tales to tell for weeks and months to come.

I'm hoping that my rants will be graciously compared to those of Dennis Miller, as I have many things to rant about . . .

I would like to be benevolent and say that I wouldn't wish the last seventy-seven days on my worst enemies but . . . *pffffft* . . . my benevolence will only extend so far (and, it isn't that far!).

current mood:    Continuing to count the days (hours) until the move!
(c)   2004    A Southern Belle's Life

Thursday, August 26, 2004

Hello, Scorpio! 

[Received this morning from]

Dear Susan, Here is your horoscope for Thursday, August 26:

There are no such thing as coincidences -- only well-orchestrated detours.      Keep that in mind when your plans change suddenly.      You're due to meet someone you'd never have bumped into if you'd been on schedule.

current mood:    Counting the days (hours) until the move!
current music:    Hall & Oates
(c)   2004    A Southern Belle's Life

Monday, August 23, 2004

Never Underestimate . . .  

It's funny how, sometimes, after you write something, you're surprised when you read it again some time later.      That's exactly what's been happening with transferring columns from another site to my newest blog, Never Underestimate A Southern Belle.      Re-living, not only the past, but the emotions of writing about it, all over again has a rather "tingling" effect on the psyche.

current mood:    Trying to survive the last days before the move!
current music:    The drone of the television downstairs - too muffled to make out.
(c)   2004    A Southern Belle's Life


[This actually occurred last Monday but, with situations as they are, this is my first chance to write about it.]

On a hot, sweltering Monday afternoon at 1:30 p.m., we purchased our tickets and walked into the theatre for the 1:40 matinee showing of Collateral.       The theatre was so frigid, you could have hung meat - brrrrrrrrrrrr!

As it turned out, we were the only two people in the entire theatre.       Our on private showing, so to speak.       I have to confess, I'm probably one of very few women that hasn't fallen spell to Tom Cruise's "whatever" it is that makes him such an "it" guy on the Hollywood scene.       I never found him all that attractive and, as for acting, I can take or leave most of his performances as self-promoting ego-fests.       As for Jamie Foxx, even though he is a relative newcomer, and has been in a few movies I've enjoyed, I've not really bought-in to his talent (yet), either.

That is, until seeing the two of them in Collateral.       Not only their individual performances, but their interaction, was enthralling.       I not going to use the tired, old cliche of "edge-of-your-seat" action but, . . . I will say it is a movie that will be added to my DVD collection once it is released.

I would recommend Collateral to anyone who appreciates a few twists and turns along the way!

current mood:    Totally frustrated & anxious over this move!
current music:    The terrible pounding inside my head!
(c)   2004    A Southern Belle's Life

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Friendship Week 

Wednesday Mind Hump - Week 32

We are smack in the middle of National Friendship Week which occurs annually during the third week of August.    What better way to warm up for the Mind Hump than by bragging on our friends -- after all, we are all about sharing the love.    Using the letters F-R-I-E-N-D list six qualities that your best friend possesses.

F-unny ;



E-nviable (yes, you know I mean the laptop!);

N-ear & dear to my heart; and


V.B., you know I love ya, sugar!!

This week let's have some fun with free association or "I say ___, you think ___."    Using the following words respond with your first thought.    You can respond with one word, a sentence, or just babble like crazy!    Ready?    Do the Humpty Hump!

01.    protection    one (my security company)

02.    twist    & shout;

03.    furry    critters;

04.    buck    wheat;

05.    purple    haze;

06.    wave    of guilt;

07.    flash    of recognition;

08.    pokey    & gumby;

09.    neon    moon (old hang-out);

10.    elastic    waistband;

11.    chips    & cheese dip (goat cheese); and

12.    float    (s) your boat (as in "whatever")!

current mood:    Doin' the (Wed.) humpty-hump
current music:    Bessie Smith
(c)    2004    A Southern Belle's Life

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Life Photographer Dies 

A great photographer has passed.     For those interested, here is but one of a brief gallery of Mydans' work.     A search on the 'web will bring you many more.

Famed Life Magazine Photographer Dies

NEW YORK (AP) - Carl Mydans, who photographed 20th century events from the Great Depression to wars and politics and was a charter member of the Life magazine staff that pioneered magazine photojournalism, has died.     He was 97.

Mydans died Monday night of heart failure at his home in Larchmont, according to his son, Seth.

Mydans traveled the world with his cameras, witnessing and recording landmarks of history - the gaunt faces of 1930s dust-bowl farmers, Gen. Douglas MacArthur wading ashore on his return to the Philippines in 1944, Frenchwomen having their heads shaved as punishment for "collaboration" with the Nazis, and the Japanese surrender aboard the battleship USS Missouri a year later.

Among his more memorable photos was one showing homebound rail commuters on Nov. 22, 1963, reading newspapers with the headline "President Shot Dead."

His wife, Shelley Smith Mydans, was also a journalist, and they often teamed up.     During World War II, they were imprisoned by the Japanese for nearly two years.

His habit of carrying a camera enabled him to combine words and pictures; in later years as a photographer he was known for keeping detailed diaries, and he had a parallel career as an author of books.

Among these works was a 1959 book about photojournalism titled "More Than Meets the Eye," in which Mydans captured "the gut level sense of the small moment symbolizing a larger conflict," said Marianne Fulton, former curator of the George Eastman House collection in Rochester, N.Y.

Mydans first attracted attention in the mid-1930s for his work as a photographer for the federal Farm Security Administration.     His stark black-and-white portraits of Arkansas farm families dramatized the plight of rural people victimized by the Depression.

When Life magazine came into existence in 1936 as a bold new experiment in pictorial journalism, Mydans was the fifth photographer hired, joining icons Alfred Eisenstaedt, Margaret Bourke-White, Thomas McAvoy and Peter Stackpole on the staff that would set new standards for news and feature photography.

Mydans' first assignment was a photographic essay on the hardscrabble life in tiny Freer, Texas.

He met his wife in 1938. In 1941, they were assigned to cover the war in China and were in Manila, Philippines, when Pearl Harbor drew the United States into war with Japan.     Captured and imprisoned, Mydans later said he refused a Japanese offer of freedom if he would take photos for them.

Later moved to a prison in China, the couple were repatriated in a 1943 prisoner of war exchange.     Mydans returned to the war, this time in Europe where he covered Allied invasions in Italy and France.

At war's end he was back in China with forces that liberated Shanghai's notorious Lung Hwa prison.

Based in Tokyo, Mydans covered the postwar U.S. occupation, and the Korean War, and in subsequent years continued to roam the United States and the globe for Life.

Born May 18, 1907, Mydans grew up in Medford, Mass., and joined The Boston Globe as a reporter while still a student at Boston University.     In addition to his son, a New York Times reporter, Mydans is survived by a daughter, Misty Mydans.    His wife died two years ago.

As a photographer myself, I have been influenced by artists like Carl and Shelley Smith Mydans.     They captured pure, raw human drama in a time when the human element was a gripping view of the country in a different time.

current mood:    Admiration for creative genius
current music:    Silence
(c)   2004    A Southern Belle's Life

Sunday, August 15, 2004


What a long, strange summer it has been.     Late April/early May was a glorious trip to the west coast for some much-needed R&R.     Afterwards, the decision was made to make a long-distance (interstate) move, my s.o. left the security of the same company he has worked for (in some incarnation) for sixteen years to buy a new business venture of his own, we are selling our 1898 Victorian farmette/acreage and, basically, turning our lives upside-down in the process.

So the last two and a half months have been . . . if nothing else . . . different!     My writing and photography have suffered somewhat during this time while I've been doing my own soul-searching to determine what paths I want to continue, what new paths I want to pursue, and what paths just haven't been working.     But, I've needed this time to step back, re-examine the motives behind some of my works, establish new business plans for the future, as well as to begin packing up a house and studio for a long-distance move.     In addition, I've had to adjust to new daily input from many different sources.     But, I've also found time to catch up on reading and movies that I kept telling myself that I haven't had time for in the last year or more.

I'm not even sure I can remember all of the movies I've watched during the last two months -- some new, some watched again after seeing them sometime before.     It is as if my creative-well is being replenished through a different avenue by feeding my inner artist with films.     I'm not only seeing the film for the story-line, but seeing past the story-line for the creative hands of the writers, directors, producers and actors as well.

I'm going to attempt to list the movies I've seen during the last two months; yet, I know I'm sure to forget several in the process:

  •    Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind;
  •    Kill Bill, Vol. 1;
  •    Kill Bill, Vol. 2;
  •    Once Upon A Time In Mexico;
  •    Miracle;
  •    Shade;
  •    Wild Things 2;
  •    Femme Fatale;
  •    Renaissance Man;
  •    The Rock;
  •    Catch Me If You Can;
  •    Abandon;
  •    The Life Of David Gale;
  •    Scary Movie 3;
  •    Club Dread;
  •    Sunset;
  •    The Whole Ten Yards;
  •    Starsky & Hutch;
  •    The Human Stain;
  •    Frida;
  •    Big Fish;
  •    Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets;
  •    Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone;
  •    Pulp Fiction;
  •    Reservoir Dogs;
  •    Nobody's Fool;
  •    Slingblade;
  •    Ocean's Eleven;
  •    Auto Focus;
  •    Charlie's Angels - Full Throttle;
  •    XXX; and
  •    S.W.A.T.

I know I'm missing more -- I just can't remember right now what they are.     Escapism isn't a bad thing -- it is often a necessary remedy to allow your mind the freedom to step away from life, if only for two hours or so, and step into another life not your own.

This sabbatical has been good for my inner child, and good for my artist as well.     But, once the move occurs (scheduled for August 31st), I am looking forward to being back to work in full creative force!

current mood:    Hungry - heading out for Italian
current music:    Men at Work
(c)   2004    A Southern Belle's Life

Saturday, August 14, 2004

Village People 

Having just watched (a PVR recording from several weeks ago of) one of the greatest shreks in documentary television in quite some time, (The Buried Secret of M. Night Shyamalan) I'll admit I'm fascinated by the talent, and mystery, that surrounds M. Night Shyamalan.     And, this hoax of a mockumentary only heightens my respect for his ability to pull an audience in with questions like "what is real?" and "what isn't?"     What a way to publicize his latest movie, eh?!?

MSN.COM   By Kevin Lally, Film Journal International

Director M. Night Shyamalan is back to frighten us again with the mysterious thriller 'The Village'

Who could have predicted five years ago that the unwieldy name of M. Night Shyamalan would soon be on the lips of millions of moviegoers across the globe?     But that was before the $661 million worldwide gross of "The Sixth Sense" (1999) and the $402 million posted by "Signs" (2002).

This 33-year-old master of the spooky movie is now readying his fourth film in a row for Touchstone Pictures, "The Village," starring Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, William Hurt, Sigourney Weaver and newcomer Bryce Dallas Howard, daughter of director Ron Howard.

Set in the 19th century, it's Shyamalan's first period project, but with the same palpable mood of mystery his fans have grown to expect.

The secret of Shyamalan's success is tied to the secrets of his movies (most notably, the stunning surprise ending of "The Sixth Sense"), so no one's telling what's hidden in the woods surrounding the new film's isolated village that has its residents so unnerved.     Audiences craving stylish suspense will learn the answer beginning July 30.

What do you think of M. Night Shyamalan as a director?     Better yet, what do you think of him as a marketing promoter?     I think he is very good at both!

current mood:    Amused by creative genius
current music:    More Rainfall
(c)   2004    A Southern Belle's Life

Forever Friends . . . 

The Daily Dirt for Saturday, August 14, 2004:

1.    How many close friends would you say you have?
A.   Really close, know-(most of)-my-secrets close, I would have to say five.

2.    How long have you been friends with these people?
A.   One for all my life, one for twenty-five years, two for fourteen years, and one for one year.

3.    Do you have a best friend?    Tell us about your best friend.
A.   My five close friends are my five best friends (two women & three men).

4.    What do you usually do when you hang out with your friends?
A.   Sometimes we just hang out - talking, or watching movies, or going to dinner, or playing cards, or whatever feels right at the time.

5.    What kind of friend are you?
A.   Loyal, caring, giving, loving.

current mood:    Frazzled & Frantic
current music:    Rainfall
(c)   2004    A Southern Belle's Life

Friday, August 13, 2004

Which Is Better? 

The Daily Dirt for Friday, August 13, 2004:

1.    Music or TV ?
A.   Music, as it can be used as background noise for a variety of activities, the center of entertainment, a way of relaxing, and many other forms of enjoyment.

2.    Hosting others or being hosted?
A.   Hosting others, if I am well prepared.

3.    DVDs or VHS?
A.   DVDs, definitely.

4.    Burning CDs or Buying CDs?
A.   Buying CDs, usually but, sometimes, I like to burn special compilations that have meaning just to me (or me and someone special).

5.    Board games or Computer games?
A.   Board games, definitely - they offer a sense of interaction between people that computer games just can't measure up to (imo).

current mood:    Anxious
current music:   Anticipating the soundtrack of Frida (watching the DVD as soon as I get off of the computer)
(c)   2004    A Southern Belle's Life

Thursday, August 12, 2004

More Murphy 

In my recent Keeping Up blog post, I referenced my upcoming North Texas eNews Slice of Life Commentary column entitled "That Darned Murphy!"    It has now been published, and can be viewed in the columnists' section under my by-line: A Slice Of Life.

Murphy is really becoming a royal pain-in-the-pa-toot!!

current mood:    Agitated
current music:    Distant thunder as the storm approaches
(c)   2004    A Southern Belle's Life


The Thursday Threesome:

From's Word of the Day for August 12, 2004:

Flaneur \flah-NUR\, noun:

Onesome: One who strolls: How do you primarily get from place to place?    Do you walk locally and only drive for distances?    Ride your bike around campus or the neighborhood?    Or hop in the car to run errands?

A.   I hate to admit I'm so environmentally-incorrect, but I do use my car too much for errands and such.    But, in the area I live, in relation to the grocer and other businesses, I'm probably about 5-8 miles (one-way) from the business district, down a long, curvy, heavily-traveled country road - not too conducive for bike-riding.

Twosome:about aimlessly: When you have time, do you like to do things outdoors like hike or take long walks?    Do you wander rather aimlessly or do you have a destination in mind and the sooner you get there the better?

A.   Yes, I love the outdoors.    I love taking nature-walks, hiking, and spending time near any body of water.    I usually prefer a leisurely wandering . . . exploring nature at a slower pace.

Threesome:a lounger; a loafer: Or do you prefer to spend your spare time relaxing, lounging on the couch with a good book or a TV program?    Or, since the football season is upon us again, do you plop down in the recliner and cheer on your favorite team?

A.   If the weather is too hot or inclement for outdoor activities, I like curling up with a good book, or watching a good movie.    Even if the rains come, I like sitting on the porch, listening to the rain, reading - or writing - or just daydreaming.    As for football season, I'm not too into watching games on the tele, although I will watch my favorite college team when they're televised.    Having had season tickets when we lived close enough to attend, I much prefer the bleachers to the recliner.

current mood:    Frustrated
current music:    Distant Thunder
(c)   2004    A Southern Belle's Life

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

The Rock 

From the Wednesday Mind Hump - Week 31 meme:

August 11th is Alcatraz Day which commemorates the arrival of the first prisoners in 1934 to be incarcerated on Alcatraz aka The Rock.

Let's warm-up . . . using the letters . . . T-H-E-R-O-C-K list seven material things (try to think of something other than your computer for "C") that would make you miserable if they were taken away from you.

Telephones, more specifically, my cell phone;

Harley-Davidson motorcycle:

Enough $$$ to live confortably:

Refrigeration (love that convenience!);

O*P*I nail polish (Vampire State Building and Chick Flick Cherry);

Clinique products - make-up and skin care; and

King-size bed with lots of fluffy pillows.

Warmed up?    Okay ... let's break free and hump like we just don't care!
This week a getting to know you hump with a crazy twist.    Ready?

01.    If you could read ANY person's blog (living or dead), whose blog would you love to immerse yourself in?

A.  Vincent van Gogh, my favorite artist, and a very misunderstood soul.

02.    Mattel decides to make a Barbie-like (or Ken-like) doll of you -- what would be the most important accessory or accessories they would absolutely have to package you with in order to portray your lifestyle?

A.  A leather-bound Franklin Planner, several blank composition books, a 35mm camera, loads of B&W and color film, lots of pens and pencils, a cell phone, and a micro-digital recorder.

03.    It's been said "The eyes are the windows of the soul."    If your eyes were truly a window into your soul and your character traits were represented by objects, what things would people see when they gazed through your windows and what would those things represent?

A.  A Victorian parlor, filled to the brim with all sorts of wonderful treasures and comfortable, well-worn, furnishings - these would all represent my comfortable, easy-going nature, my love of life, my sincerity, my strong friendship and loyalty, and my acceptance of things (people) no matter what they might look like.

04.    We've all said it, we've all done it ... said OOPS that is.    What was your most memorable OOPS?

A.  A few people know of most "infamous" oops.    Suffice it to say, it involved four police cars, a truck filled with public works employees, lots of flashing lights and blaring sirens, and a standing ovation.

05.    Cave drawings -- the blog of the caveman.    If we drew pictures on our walls what sort of scrawling might we see on your walls?    Want more fun?    Actually draw, scan and post your "cave drawing".

A.  My scrawlings would depict my perceptions of how I view my life and business, and would look like this:

current mood:    Doin' the (Wed.) humpty-hump
current music:    The pounding inside of my head!
(c)   2004    A Southern Belle's Life


Here goes my Daily Dirt for Wednesday:

1.    What is your favorite color?
A.    Green.

2. If you could make the world without color, would you?
A.    No, NEVER.

3. What [are] 3 colors related [with] you?
A.    Brown, Red, Gold.

4. What [are] 3 colors [don't] relate [with] you?
A.    Orange, Lime, Turquoise.

5. Are you colorful or dull?
A.    I'm a rainbow, baby!

(c)   2004    A Southern Belle's Life

Tuesday, August 10, 2004


Here goes my Daily Dirt for Tuesday:

1.    When traveling, do you prefer long drives or by plane?
A.    Usually by plane for long trips.

2. Where was your first out-of-country trip?
A.    The Southern Caribbean.

3. Who do you usually travel with?
A.    My s.o.

4. What's your favorite destination?
A.    Some place warm & tropical.

5. Do you usually travel for fun or work?
A.    Fun, fun, fun!

(c)   2004    A Southern Belle's Life

Underappreciated Actors 

Here goes my Ten on Tuesday meme for this week:

Ten Underappreciated Actors/Actresses

1.    Sam Rockwell;
2.    Steve Buscemi;
3.    Michael Madsen;
4.    Edward Norton;
5.    Angelina Jolie;
6.    Billy Zane;
7.    Bill Paxton;
8.    Tony Shaloub;
9.    Billy Bob Thorton; and
10.  Joe Pantoliano.

current mood:    Don't Ask!
current music:    Deafening Silence!
(c)   2004    A Southern Belle's Life

Falling Apart 

I'm neither in a position, or the proper frame of mind, to discuss specifics at this point in time.      Suffice it to say, e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g (and, I do mean everything!) is falling apart around me.      I now can truly say that I understand the phrase "teetering-on-the-brink-of-insanity" in a more profound (and first-person) way.

(c)    2004    A Southern Belle's Life

Monday, August 09, 2004

What's It All About? 

From Monday Madness:

1.    What's "it" all about, anyway?

If I knew, I'd be a ba-zillionaire!    But, I'd like to think it's about the journey, not the destination!

2.    What radical political ideas do you have, if any?

I do not discuss politics on-line (or off, for that matter).

3.    Do you believe that you 'fit' the profile of your astrological star sign?

To a "T."    May I introduce you to "a typical, text-book SCORPIO!"

4.    Will blogging survive 2005 or is it a fad?

I don't know if it will survive "en-mass," but I have always written (and journaled) - always have, always will.

5.    Do you Ebay?    If so, what and how often?    Is it a full-time job, part-time hobby, or just to clear the junk from your house?

Sometimes.    There's no rhyme or reason to my eBay'ing habits.    If I'm looking for something, or have something to sell, then I'll pop over to eBay.

6.    True or False: When I vote, I am all for one party?

Once again, I do not discuss politics on-line (or off, for that matter).

7.    Meat or veggie sauce on your spaghetti?

It depends on my mood - and, how much meat I've consumed in the days prior.    Sometimes a good mushroom, garlic, tomato, basil, and onion sauce is all pasta needs.

8.    Would you ever be on a TV Reality Show?

Never, ever, ever!

9.    What is one thing (or place) that you would like to do (or see) that you have not yet done (or seen)?

Visit the Serengeti Plains of Africa.

10.    Do you answer memes honestly?


current mood:    Trying to shake this funk!
current music:    The hum of the a/c
(c)   2004    A Southern Belle's Life

Sunday, August 08, 2004

Keeping Up 

I'm not doing well with that task -- the task of "keeping-up.    I can't even begin to describe the recent (and on-going) events that have been occurring.    I can only refer you to my upcoming column in the North Texas eNews which will be entitled "That Darned Murphy!" which will run later this week (or early next).    It can be located in the columnists' section under my by-line: A Slice of Life Commentary.

And, if you're looking for more of my humor and "commentaries" on life, you can check out my latest writing venture, Never Underestimate A Southern Belle.    I would be most-appreciative of your comments and feedback there.

Wish me L-U-C-K as the next few weeks will be even M-O-R-E hectic as we prepare for a move that will take us across several states, many, many hours, and loads of anticipated headaches!    The scheduled closing dates are 08/30 and 08/31, with tons of coordinating in between!    I'm exhausted already!!

current mood:    Trying to "keep-up" with life
current music:    Birds singing in the trees outside
(c)   2004    A Southern Belle's Life

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Susan Reno-Gilliland, known as "Miss Kitty," an Irish lass, a true Southern Belle; a writer, photographer, animal-lover, dreamer, stargazer, totally tangled (or is that entangled?) in relationships, slightly obsessive iNFp with stories to tell!    . . . (fascinated by forensics, human behavior, pushing all the right buttons of men I find interesting, and seeking utterly-sweet revenge without any repercussions.)     I am a Friday's Child.    Friday's Child is loving & giving.
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