Archive for the ‘Georgia’ Category

In preparation to write this year’s email, I have rewatched the last 90 seconds of the 2021 National Championship game about 100 times.  I was at the game, absolutely losing my mind, worried sick that I was once again watching the same terrible Alabama movie I’d already witnessed live repeatedly.  Sometimes, after you attend a big game live, you come home and want to watch it again on tv.  We watched the 2017 Rose Bowl repeatedly, from all the available ESPN angles, and it was glorious every time.  

I tried to rewatch the national champ game when I got back from Indy.  The game has often played in the background of parties and bars in Athens this year.  It stresses me out.  

Y’all, we won that game 33 to 18, and there is a version of that game that would have been enjoyable from start to finish.  The reality is that no one scored a touchdown until the end of the 3rd quarter, and no bulldawg faithful took a deep breath until the final minute.  There was not enough Coors light in Indianapolis or Athens, take my word for it.        

But good lord, that final 64 seconds.  Pure joy.  41 years, almost my entire life.  So many football games in so many places with so many people I love, culminating in this victorious celebration.  We screamed, we laughed, we cried, we simultaneously lost our minds across the country and the world.  All of our dogs lost their minds at our reactions. It makes me so happy to know I shared that with all of you.  So happy, that as I sit here thinking about it, I just want to…

TURN IT LOOSE!  (and skip in the endzone)

Dawgs, that’s enough looking backwards, today, this week, we need to focus on the present.  Those gators are still lurking in the swampy deep.  And that other orange team is coming to Athens soon.  There is work to be done.  Get out there and run some windsprints and clean the coolers.  Don’t forget your rain jacket this weekend, it might rain in Jacksonville on Saturday.  Let me know when you are going to be in Athens next, Ed the bulldog and I will be here, awaiting your return.  

With all the Bulldawg love – 

Charlsie Kate Paine and Ed the Bulldog

Libby Walsh McAleer, Mary Beth Hill Donovan, Charlsie Kate Paine

P.S. Watch this one too.

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These Twenty Dash years are speeding along rapidly, although I have to admit that I was happy to see 2013 exit the stage.  My ankle surgery in October and the government shutdown were rather disruptive forces, and then in mid November I developed what was inconclusively walking pneumonia or a vicious viral infection.  Either way, by the Friday after Thanksgiving I was in the bed.  Two and a half weeks of antibiotics, a steroid pack, and five sick days later, and it was almost Christmas.  Seriously, I didn’t drink alcohol or coffee for almost three weeks, in December, to give y’all an idea of how ill I truly was. Obviously, ankle surgery and a terrible hacking cold with a racking cough that last a month is not the worst thing that could happen, but it did make me appreciate all the things I take for granted.  Like walking, and breathing.  It made me a little more compassionate towards the subjective complaints of the claimants.  Additionally, in the instance of my ankle and my respiratory difficulties, I was required to see more than one doctor and be my own health advocate to fight for additional treatment options and testing.  Not because my doctors aren’t competent, but because many of them are overworked and jaded and under appreciated, and lacked the time or effort to waste on an otherwise seemingly healthy young person with no real health risk factors.    I’m not going to get into all the nuances involved in health care, suffice it to say, being sick or injured sucks, and if you don’t like the answers you are receiving, keep asking your questions, find additional opinions.

When I woke up from being sick and realized that it was almost Christmas, I had to play catch up on the festivities.  My friends and I threw an oyster roast/skeet shoot, which we’ve decided will be known as the First Annual Christmas Clays.

Here are my friends shooting skeet.


They were some of the best oysters I’ve ever had the pleasure of destroying.

We had a blue grass band, oysters, skeet, venison chili,ham, Frog Island Punch, koozies, and a lot of fun with all of the frogs.  The party was held at my friend Zan’s family’s property, and Zan and his father are sculptors, and the property is littered with artwork.


Shannon and me playing in the froggy scrap yard.


Me and my favorite frog.


This is Jack, and Briscoe was a really great sport.

Christmas brought the arrival of a new family member at my parents house –

Christmas Day with besties from home.

Christmas Day with besties from home.


Polar Bear Plunge with some of the greatest friends ever!

Christmas was great, and I got to see a lot of old friends.  New Year’s Eve was Alicia and Bryan’s beautiful wedding.  And New Year’s Day, we all jumped in the ocean to celebrate 2014, and then we ate hoppin’ johns and collards, with mac and cheese, and the best wings in america, washed down with a game changer at Home Team.

Overall, the last two weeks of December more than made up for feeling like I was on restriction from the beginning of October until the middle of December.  And 2013 will always be the year that I really found a home in Charleston, with amazing friendships, a job I love, and an unrivaled picturesque natural setting.

As a side note, I do have to admit that I’m currently freezing to death at my house, whilst wearing an obscene amount of clothing and my uggs, wrapped in a blanket, with my arm warmers.  My power still works, but my house was not designed for the cold, and it’s all my little heater can do to keep up.  This is the coldest weather I’ve experienced since I moved to Charleston in Fall 2010.  The upside is that it’s suppose to be in the 70s this weekend. I’ve started running again, and yesterday I ran two miles, which is the furthest I’ve run since I stopped running in December 2012.  I’m looking forward to my first yoga class since September tonight, and can’t wait to be in the suffocating heat, after this freezing day.

Speaking of freezing, this weather has brought to my attention that I only have the bare minimum of cold weather gear.  I’m going skiing in February, and I think I need some new gear.  You know, like gloves with fingers.  None of my gloves have fingers.  Suggestions?

You kids try to stay warm out there, and if winter ever gets to be too much, come on down to Charleston some weekend, the cold weather never lasts for more than a couple of days.  I promise to take you to Home Team and to an oyster roast.  My new year’s resolutions are obviously to blog more, and to get back into fighting shape.  I’m going to get back on the mat, back on the tennis court, and take some things out on the pavement.

Cheers to 2014 being the best year yet!  Happy New Year!

The Big Bridge

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I know I’ve talked about the Monday after Masters being miserable, but today was equally as depressing.  Y’all, Libby’s wedding was last weekend, and I had so much fun, but now I’m depressed.  I’m sure that part of it is that the wedding is something Libby and I have been discussing for, oh, the last fifteen to twenty years, and there is something deflating to have it actually be over, but even besides that, it was insanely fun.  I like to believe that all my bridesmaid experience was utilized to the fullest extent, but regardless, I had the maximum amount of fun.  I’m looking at photos of the weekend and wishing I could have been at three places at one time the entire weekend because there is video evidence that I missed almost as much fun as I experienced!  Haha.   I’m also sad because an impressive amount of my favorite people in the world were all in the same place and now I freshly miss them.  Sigh.  If only we could take all our favorite people and make them all live in the same place.

Then I wouldn’t have anyone to visit in Colorado or New York or a few other choice locales, but maybe we could all travel to those places together on a regular basis?  This dream is becoming increasing unrealistic.  Maybe I’ll just stick to praying for cheap airfare, connecting flights that don’t get cancelled in the black holes that are also known as the ATL and CLT, and for staying up until 5 am on a Saturday night to not ruin my entire week.  A girl can dream, right?

On top of everything, my best friend will be virtually  unreachable for the next two weeks.  JUST when we had so much to talk about, she runs off to the other side of the world.  Even Briscoe is exhausted.  Yesterday, my parents house was littered with hungover people and animals.  Bella got in the trash Saturday night after the festivities and let’s just say on Sunday, the term, “sick as a dog,” sprang to mind.  But I’m pretty sure she would do it all over again.

I’d like to tell you more, but I’m so tired my hair hurts, and they say a picture is worth a thousand words, right?

It's a marvelous night for a moondance...

Mr. and Mrs. McAleer

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Y’all, I’m honestly embarrassed by how long it has been since my last post.  But I do have a few excuses.  I am also well aware that no one wants to hear excuses.  But, 2010 has been kind of crazy so far.  I left my old job, had a few panic attacks about what I was going to do next, and started a new job that I’m really happy with so far.  Somewhere in all of that, I went skiing, spent a week doing hard manual labor for the junior league attic sale (I know the best way to fill up a dumpster with trash), raked over ten huge paper bags full of leaves out of my yard, drank a few liquor drinks and washed a few sandwiches down with beer at the Masters, and celebrated Paige and Jack’s wedding!  I’ve made new friends and spent quality time with old friends, and I can say so far that this year is really shaping up. The flowers have been absolutely unbelievable this year.  I’ve never seen the azaleas show off so.  And guess what I saw today?  A HONEYSUCKLE!  My favorite jasmine of all times!  I got really excited.  Briscoe just kind of looked at me like, Lady, get a grip. You know what else has been amazing this year?  The pollen.  A week or two ago it was basically raining pollen.  There was a yellow cloudy haze hanging over the entire city.  Pollen accumulated inside my car in amazingly gross amounts.  Briscoe turned yellow.  You could literally sit and watch it fall like, like, um, I don’t want to say snow, because it doesn’t look like that, it’s more like dust falling, lighter than sand, but not like snow.  Maybe sort of like ash?  But lighter.  Someone said it looked like someone had dusted for finger prints all over Augusta.  I think that is the best analogy I’ve heard so far.  It falls, but it blows around.  I’ve never seen anything like it, and I’ve never seen it as bad it was this year.  And it turns EVERYTHING yellow.  It’s almost like a nightmare. ANYWAY, the yellow pollen is apparently not the pollen that makes you feel bad, because if it’s big enough to see, it’s too big to inhale, and the pollen you inhale is much too small to see.  The small pollen has been slowly killing me.  I’ve decided to coin this illness as the yellow lung.  No more complaints of allergies.  I’m dying of the yellow lung.  I like to think my voice sounds cooler with the deep raspy tone I’ve recently developed, but we all know I’m not rational about such things. I infinitely prefer the noise my window unit air conditioner makes to my noise machine when I sleep at night.  Like, a bazillion times over.  One day I’ll get my upstairs connected to the central air, but right now I’m sort of loving the window unit.  Is that bad?  Does recycling atone for my window unit sins? My new favorite television show is Mercy.  The people on this show are ridiculously good looking, total alcoholics, and complete trainwrecks.  But I have to say they all seem to have a super sense of humor.  I love a dark drama that also makes me cry laughing.  It happens rarely, if ever.  My other favorite show is Cougar Town.  I didn’t want to like it, but I really REALLY love it.  LOVE. I hope you all had a very pleasant Monday, and that Tuesday is an even better day.  The lamb and I are going to sleep tight.  Sweet dreams!

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The cicadas are in full force.  Mama told me last night that the cry of the cicada scares the roaches.  We’ve had a lot of rain recently.  And guess what?  A roach got into my room last night.  A FLYING roach.  Honestly, I’m not sure I can type the following words. 

He landed on my arm when I was trying to go to sleep.  A roach.  Landed on me.  While I was laying in my bed.  I might die.  I’m at least seven years older this morning than I was last night. 

This roach wasn’t doing so hot, which is probably why he fell on me.  He was obviously dying, and the whole flying thing was becoming difficult.  But that didn’t keep him from totally ruining my night and causing me sincere heart failure.  Obviously, once I was able to make sure it was dead (it hid from me for a while, but I found him and took him out with chemical warfare), and calm down, I had to sleep on the other side of the bed because I was so upset with what had happened on that side.  I tried to go to sleep with the lights on, because I couldn’t bear to turn them off.  Roaches don’t like light.  I read my book for a very long time and tried to find a happy place in my imagination. 

When I woke up this morning, I was still rather upset about the situation, but was ready to move on with my life.  As I was putting on my mascara, I noticed something funny about my eye.  My eye ball, under my top left eye lid, is blood red.  I had my second heart attack in 12 hours, ran downstairs to show natalie, and called Mama.  Natalie supported my assumption that I was probably dying, and Kate told me that I probably popped a blood vessel and would live. 

I called the eye doctor, and they told me that I did pop a blood vessel, and that I could come in to have someone look at it if it would make me feel better, but that there was nothing they could do about it.  They also told me that it would get worse before it got better, and would probably look much worse tomorrow.  The good thing is that it will go away on it’s own in TEN TO TWELVE DAYS.  Are you serious? 

Right now you can’t see it unless I move my eye a specific way and point it out to you, my eye lid is covering it up completely.  But I am convinced I can feel it moving down my eye ball.  And every time I do look at it, I’m horrified that it looks ten times worse than I thought it did.  If I wake up in the morning and look like one of the ghouls from Thriller on my hi def television, I’m not leaving the house. 

In other news, today is my one year anniversary with my law firm.  Hooray.  Sarah says it feels like I’ve been here a lot longer than that.  I can’t believe it’s been a whole year.  It is amazing how fast a year can go by!  I guess I just have a really awesome job. 

Speaking of awesome jobs, one of my girl friend’s coworker is out of town, so she has been doing some of his work.  To do his job involves using his computer.  In order to access his computer, she has to use his password.  His password, for EVERYTHING on his computer, is Boobies.  He thinks this is hilarious, to the point he could barely get it out of his mouth because of his giggle fit.  He’s married and has children and is entirely too old to get the giggles when he tells people his computer password.  I’m not saying the word boobies isn’t funny, because, it can be.  But when you work in corporate america, and you go out of town for vacation, and you know your female coworker is going to be using your password all week, change it from boobies.  Better yet, keep that kind of password on your home computer.  I can’t even repeat some of the other off color remarks made by her other coworkers, mostly having to do with whether their desk can withstand their assistant’s weight.  Thank god for corporate sexual harassment training!

In addition to the roach, and the eye ball problem, the humidity when I left my house this morning was 97%, which is impressive. 

I am sorry for the negative tone and high gross out factor of this post.  I am slowly recovering from my traumatic experiences.  Now I just need to stop looking in the mirror.  It is making me kind of ill.

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Confederate Memorial Day

I’ve finally run myself into the ground.  Four weddings and the masters in five weeks and I’m cashed.  I have a terrible cold, have no voice, and I’m totally exhausted.  Luckily – today is Confederate Memorial Day and I didn’t have to go to work.  I slept for five hours yesterday when I got back from the ATL, went to sleep at 11:30 last night, woke up at 9:30 for an hour, and then slept from 10:30 till 3 this afternoon.  I feel like I missed a terrifically beautiful day, but I just really needed some rest.

Now I’m sitting outside with my mom and Robin chatting.  Briscoe keeps trying to drink the salt water out of the pool and Mama keeps trying to tell me that it is going to make her sick.  But I can’t yell at her because I don’t have a voice.  The weather is perfect. 

Sigh.  I’m going to sleep early tonight. I have an eye doctor appointment and dentist appointment tomorrow – not to mention work.  Hmmm. 

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This weekend we went to Catie’s farm in the Burke county.  It was a fabulous weekend of sunshine, freezing temperatures, happy dogs, good friends, loud guns, big trucks, cold beer, bourbon, grits, card games, old friends, new friends, McKinny’s pond, Coleman’s lake, 17 year olds drinking beer at the bar, Mennonite baked goods,  sleeping bags, gloves, skeet, turkey shots, and large spot lights that plug into cigarette lighters.  Oh, and Joe Diffy and Tracy Lawrence. 

In other words, it was awesome.  Briscoe got to run around and play with the big dogs.  There were two bird dogs and two labs that ran her into the ground.  I swear when she woke up this morning she moved around like she was very sore and stiff.  Which was hilarious.  She probably should have stretched after playing so hard. 

Things I brought home with me from the Burke:

1.  A pair of chocolate brown carhart overalls that I bought at the hardware store in Waynesboro. I’m really excited about them. 

2.  The most dirty and tired dog you have ever seen.  She could barely stand up for me to give her a bath when we finally got home yesterday.  She kept getting briars caught in her fur when she would try to follow the big dogs down to the creek.  She likes the water. 

3.  A lot of bruises.  One on my shoulder from shooting guns, a large on on my leg from where Gunner jumped on me (he weighs a lot more than he looks), one from where Will thought it was great idea to tackle me on greeting (inside the house, we both fell to the ground hard, and I don’t think he was even drunk yet), and numerous other bruises from being clumsy and accident prone.  I’m falling apart.  Essentially, they are pleasant reminders of what a great weekend I had. 

4.  A koozie with two big holes in it and lots of little holes.  Apparently, shooting beer cans with a shotgun is really fun sport for boys.  Especially if the beer can has a koozie on it.  And the koozie belongs to me.  I think it adds character to the koozie.  it is now an important possession.  Oh, and I also picked up a Swainsboro racetrack koozie at coleman’s lake.  I hope whoever set that beer down didn’t want the koozie anymore.  I think I’ll wash it before I use it. 

5.  A renewed appreciation of how beautiful the world is and how amazing God is for giving us such spectacular things like the sun and the stars and the tall tall pine trees and the mockingbirds, and the bright cheerful rye grass, and dappled bird dogs and spanish moss and gnarled oak trees and spring lakes, and lifetime friends who love me.  I am blessed beyond belief in all aspects of my life.  I know that life has hard times, so I think it is so very important to live up the happy moments and enjoy the enjoyment. 

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Erk Russell died yesterday morning.  Here is what my father had to say in an email yesterday about the legend:

My old football
coach, Erk Russell, died today in Statesboro and will be greatly missed.
As the defensive coordinator and special teams coach for Georgia in the 60’s, he groomed me with a
lot of special attention for my initial playing duty at Georgia, which
was to be a suicide spear on the special teams.  He always had lots of
funny nicknames and called the kick-off team the “KKK” –
Krazy Kickoff Koverers.  Several times I lucky enough to be awarded Erk’s
“KKK Award” for the game week, which in those days entitled you to
a gift certificate at Dick Ferguson’s Mens Store downtown (and which
would certainly violate NCAA rules today).    

Erk was a man’s
man who loved to smoke a cigar and drink beer.   He was a classical
larger-than-life guy who nobody ever thought would die.  Tough as hell, he
used to butt his head with our helmets when we first ran on the field at
Sanford Stadium before a game, and he would end up at kick-off with blood
streaming down his face, standing on the sidelines and glaring across the field
at the enemy.  He was a master joke-teller and although he liked to laugh,
he would only occasionally laugh at his own jokes.   Quick-witted and
sharp, he was never a bully and was truly loved by his players.  Many, many
Erk memories will remain with our teammates for the rest of their lives, as he
made a lasting impression on anyone who knew him.  For example, in our
training room in the Coliseum was a steam bath that was popular with all the
players and coaches.  After practices Coach Russell used to regularly strut
across the training room butt naked into the steam bath, with a cigar and holding
only a towel and razor.  He would then enjoy the steam bath, while shaving
his bald head and talking to players with his cigar hanging out of his mouth.  What
a man!  <!–


Coach Erk\nRussell was a master when it came to teamwork. He told us lots of great\njokes and football stories, but always emphasized the teamwork theme. Coach\nRussell liked to emphasize the “team” over the “individual”\nconcept. The team relies on everyone\’s working together; that\’s what\nleads to national championships. You not only have to have good players,\nyou have to have players that "play good" together. Coach Russell\nsaid that he could not overemphasize the value of working together, nor the\nvalue of having a sense of humor and being lucky. He often said that he\nwould rather be lucky than good. He believed that luck plays a\nrole, but that the harder you work, the luckier you were.


Coach Russell\’s\ntraining rules were simple and uncomplicated: work hard on the field and keep\nup good communications off the field. For a team to perform well, every\nmember has to work hard and rely on every other member of the team. He\nalso respected that fact that the help and support of others not on the team is\nvery important to success.


Still sounds\nlike a good template for the success of any endeavor, particularly business. \nGod Bless Erk\nand his family.


Trav Paine




Coach Erk
Russell was a master when it came to teamwork.  He told us lots of great
jokes and football stories, but always emphasized the teamwork theme.  Coach
Russell liked to emphasize the “team” over the “individual”
concept.  The team relies on everyone’s working together; that’s what
leads to national championships.  You not only have to have good players,
you have to have players that "play good" together.  Coach Russell
said that he could not overemphasize the value of working together, nor the
value of having a sense of humor and being lucky.  He often said that he
would rather be lucky than good.   He believed that luck plays a
role, but that the harder you work, the luckier you were.

Coach Russell’s
training rules were simple and uncomplicated: work hard on the field and keep
up good communications off the field.  For a team to perform well, every
member has to work hard and rely on every other member of the team.  He
also respected that fact that the help and support of others not on the team is
very important to success.

Still sounds
like a good template for the success of any endeavor, particularly business.
God Bless Erk
and his family.

Daddy also sent me a bunch of great Erk quotes – here are my favorites:

wouldn’t allow them to put names on the back of our jerseys. We had to sell

recruiting budget at Georgia
Southern was $200 our first year. I had just left Georgia, whose recruiting budget
was a quarter of a million dollars. And as I drove down the Woodpecker Trail,
trying to touch base with people in Claxton and Alma and Jesup and Ludowici,
sometimes I wondered, "What have you done?"

brotherhood of football … is the strongest brotherhood known to man as far as
I’m concerned.

South, to me, is fried chicken and catfish caviar — that’s grits — and
good-looking women.

We had a
group of about eight boys in the Navy, all from the South — South
Carolina, Georgia, Tennessee, Mississippi. In the
barracks we took the corner, drew a line, said, "No Yankees" across
this. We didn’t really mean it, but they thought we did.

You know
what a consultant is, don’t you? A consultant is a guy that knows 100 different
sex positions but doesn’t know a woman.

My dad
always had a job that he really didn’t relish getting up and going to every
day. He said, "Boy" — that’s all he ever called me — he said,
"Boy, you do something that you enjoy doing."

I was
taught better at home than to be disrespectful to anybody.

The Bulldawg nation and the football world at large mourns the loss of this amazing coach and man.  Here is the AJC articleA lot of people in the blog world have their own memories and thoughtsThoughts, and more thoughts on ole Erk.  It breaks my heart.

Update:  My family went to the funeral in Statesboro last Sunday.  It was amazing.  I’ve never seen so many grown men in tears in my life.  The attendance was impressive.  Tons of his old players, Mark Richt, Damien Evans, Vince Dooley, Sonny Perdue, Billy Payne, the list went on and on.  It was a true testament to an amazing person. 

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It rained here this afternoon.  The temperature dropped.  Of course it was still hot. 

When I went outside a while after the rain stopped, my glasses fogged up. 


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Today is Confederate Memorial Day.  Obviously, not a national holiday.  It is a Georgia State holiday.  The Georgia Capital is closed today.  Here is a history of the holiday – and I like this poem a lot. 

Welcome to the 21st century everyone. 

Did I ever tell y’all about the figurine liquor bottles that my dad owns?  One of them is Robert E. Lee on his horse, and if you take the General’s hat off – there is a cork attached to the hat and you can pour bourbon out of Lee’s head.  (I can’t find an example of the Robert E. Lee version – but here is a similar liquor bottle figurine – and here is a figurine of Lee, I’m not sure if this one is full of bourbon or not).   

My mom tries to keep the liquor bottle figurines hidden if possible.  I’m sure she is just trying to keep them safe. 

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