Tuesday, December 14, 2010

You So Crazy

If you were to ask most people how they feel about any of their exes, I would put money on the answer being something to the tune of “He/She is crazy.”

I’ve said it a hundred times. I can describe pretty much every guy I’ve dated as “crazy.” They don’t usually start that way. There is something about the demise of a relationship that makes people crazy, or do crazy things.

This got me thinking: are we already screwed up? Or do they make us crazy…
I may be eccentric, but I am not crazy. Although I have done things that sure make me look it. Certain situations have made me do things that I am not proud of. I have polled many friends, and all are in agreeance that men make us crazy. We do so many things that are out of character for us, for instance:

Back in the day, I was known to sometimes sit by the phone, obsessing over whether it would ring. I have done drive-bys, just to see if they are home. And if they are home, I then wonder why they aren’t calling me back? I have been way too available, have dropped plans at the first chance to spend time with a guy, have Google-stalked the heck out of someone (then acted surprised when they told me things I already knew about them, but couldn’t admit that I knew). You name it, I have done it. Because I was young, over-eager, hopelessly romantic.

Whatever the reason, I was crazy. I’ll own up to it. It’s the merging of two ideas in your head: you are alone (read: lonely), and this person is pretty great. So clearly, this match-up could be awesome and lucrative for you. So you get excited (too excited), and you make a fool of yourself.

I may be a tad old-fashioned, but I feel like the guy should be the pursuer. Otherwise, how am I supposed to know if he’s actually into me? If I’m the one doing all the work, then he could just be going along with it because it’s so easy and convenient for him.

Thank God I’ve gotten past the crazy. I no longer obsess over situations, or people. If he doesn’t call or try to take me out, or if he acts uninterested or plays games, then he clearly does not understand how awesome I am (and the rest of you are just as awesome, fyi…). We are all lovely creations, and people who act aloof are not deserving of our time and efforts. My brain simply doesn’t have enough room for worrying about what to do when he doesn’t call. Life is way too short for that kind of ridiculousness.

So, as much as you might like that guy, or as perfect as he may seem, let him go if he isn’t pursuing you. You deserve better than that. Because, really, when you are old and your grandkids ask you, “How did you guys meet?” you certainly don’t want the answer to be, “Well, sweetheart, when I met your grandfather, he was lukewarm on me, but I stalked the hell out of him and chased him until he finally gave in and we have been married ever since.”

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Vampires SO Don't Suck

I have a confession to make. I am loving this vampire trend. I have read all of the Twilight and all of the True Blood books. Subsequently I have watched all the movies and shows. Many times. Over and over again. As in, I can recite them. This is nothing new: back in the day, I read the Anne Rice books, marveled at how Dracula came to be, watched Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and even auditioned for the Interview with a Vampire movie when I was 9.

I share this love with a small group of girlfriends, and inevitably when we get together the focus of the conversation leads to some kind of vampire talk. Whether it be discussing what hot vampire actor is now making out with another hot celebrity or just marveling at that new cover on Rolling Stone. Seriously, it’s a goosebumper. We are all highly-educated, badass, professional women … yet we get all giggly at the thought of vampires and their steamy hot fake lives (or non-lives, since they are dead… or… yeah).

This week we decided to pay $8.50 to go see that Vampire Sucks movie, simply because it involves our favorite thing: you guessed it… vampires. It was as predictable as any of those Wayans Brothers-type movies would be. But I found myself laughing out loud uncontrollably, and then looking around embarrassed until I remembered that, aside from the 5 of us, there were only 4 other people in there. We made a drinking game out of it (which is a tradition we hold every time a new Twilight Saga movie comes out), which included instructions such as “drink when Jasper looks constipated” (applicable to both the real movie and the parody). Somebody please get him a laxative.

It wasn’t an Oscar contender by any means, but it made me laugh. And it gave me an excuse to get together with my fellow vampire lovers and spend some quality time.

Now to get ready for Harry Potter coming out soon! It’s okay if you want to make fun of me, I’m not ashamed.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Fort Worth vs. Dallas

I may take some flak for this, but here goes nothing. I am a Fort Worth girl. I wasn’t raised in Funkytown, but I love it here. Sure, I would leave in a second for something like true love or a $100,000 pay raise. The point is, it would take something major to get me out of this Cowtown that I call home.

Top 10 Reasons I Like Fort Worth More Than Dallas:

Reason No. 1

The home prices are not so exorbitant that people my age can afford great homes with pools. We don’t have to break into apartment complexes or hang out at hotel pools for some rays and chlorine. We can if we want to, but it is just one of our many options.

Reason No. 2

Less traffic. I drive everywhere I need to go in under 10 minutes. That includes time on the freeway if need be. Try to beat that, Dallas North Tollway.

Reason No. 3

Our guys look good in boots and a cowboy hat. And no one thinks they are heading to a costume party.

Reason No. 4

Fort Worthians can hang out in our downtown at any time of day or night and have a blast. People travel great distances to spend time in our amazing Sundance Square. Dallas boasts of a has-been West End, which is home to tons of people wearing convention badges. Snoozefest…

Reason No. 5

JFK had much better luck in Fort Worth than in Dallas. We didn’t shoot J.R. either. Which leads me to…

Reason No. 6

We can’t claim fame to the “Dallas” mansion, South Fork Ranch. But neither can you, Dallas. Congratulations, Parker Texas. Guess “Parker” didn’t have the same ring to it.

Reason No. 7

Our zoo kicks your zoo’s butt. Fact.

Reason No. 8

I didn’t see SMU at the College World Series when I was there in June. TCU, however, was there in full force. Side Note: Good luck playing us in football this year, guys! You’re gonna need it.

Reason No. 9

Nobody worth knowing in Fort Worth wears Ed Hardy clothing. Or Affliction. Period. To expand on this, our men are good with their hands, and have never had a manicure. And they don’t have waxed chests.

Reason No. 10

Dallas is known for its “$30,000 Millionaires”. You know the type: that guy sitting at an ultra lounge with bottle service who is trying his hardest to appear that he clears between six and seven figures a year, but is actually swimming in debt due to his Ed Hardy and partying habits. (See: Reason No. 9). Sure, Fort Worth has a few of these guys. But I’m going to go on the record and say the ratio is 25:1. Check that fact. It’s true.

Basically, here’s the deal. In Fort Worth, we don’t have an identity crisis. We know where we are, which is not L.A. or New York. We are in Texas. Dallas has forgotten that it is located deep in the heart of Texas, and to quote my gal Krystal: “Unlike most cities across the country, Fort Worth has not forgotten where it comes from. Dallas has become mainstream and business focused, leaving much of the attraction of the city to become suit and tie and pencil skirt focused.”

I’ll take my prairie skirt and cowboy boots any day, thankyouverymuch.

Contributor: Keeley

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Flying the Coop

I have been recently thinking about when I flew out of the nest. You know, that necessary time when you must leave the nest, where you have always been warm and fed, for a life of independence.

I went to college at 17, and got my own place with a girlfriend during the first semester, but I was just mere blocks from my folks. So although I was “on my own”, I really wasn’t. When I graduated college at 21, I was so excited to get out of town, get my own apartment and turn into an adult. I was under the impression that this made you an adult overnight. And I was ready.

But I never counted on the bills piling up because maybe I didn’t budget so well. Or the nights where my house is creaking and I wished I could run to my mom down the hall. It has been years since my own “independence day”, and while I have all those kinks worked out and have gotten into a good groove of living on my own, I can’t help but wonder what my life would be like if I had stuck by my childhood aspiration, which was to live with my mom forever and we would take care of each other. I remember telling her that, and she said “Sounds like a good plan, sweetie.” Awww.

But obviously we need to grow up. Remember when we were kids and we had “growing pains” when we hit major growth spurts? I was the really skinny kid who would get a little chubby in the cheeks and then shoot up like a weed. But I remember those growing pains kind of hurt sometimes. It hurts to grow. Anyone who says it doesn't is lying. I've heard that it's possible to grow up - I've just never met anyone who's actually completely done it. Without parents to defy, we break the rules we make for ourselves. We throw tantrums when things don't go our way, we look for comfort where we can find it, and we hope against all logic, against all experience. We’re just big kids, really.

When I first lived alone, my single girlfriends were my salvation. We commiserated together, healed each others’ broken hearts, tried to make each other laugh. Think about it. If you are single, after graduation there isn't one occasion where people celebrate you. Hallmark doesn't make a "Congratulations, You Didn't Marry the Wrong Guy" card. And where's the flatware for spending your Friday nights alone? There isn’t a registry category for this, is there?

But you can’t get down. I have always looked for the positive angle. Although I do sometimes wonder if maybe, after a certain age, we have to start applying pessimism daily, like moisturizer. Otherwise, how do we bounce back when reality batters your belief system and love does not, as promised, conquer all? I guess all we can do is hope for the best, prepare for the worst and who knows… we just might be pleasantly surprised. Or not. That’s just the way it goes.

Although I still have those girlfriends and I love them with all my heart, I eventually did not need to cling to them for salvation any longer. This is probably healthier for our friendships anyway. I found the real salvation, and instead of leaning so heavily on my girls, I have been able to give my yoke to God when the going gets rough. Now when I hear that creak in my house in the middle of the night, I no longer wish my mom was down the hall so I don’t have to be alone. I know now that I am not ever alone. That’s a relief.

At the end of the day, I look around and appreciate my grown-upness. But in a city like Fort Worth, with its pace and its pressures, sometimes it's important to have a 13-year-old moment -- to remember a simpler time when the best thing in life was just hanging out, listening to music and having fun with your friends -- in your very own home. That you own.

Monday, July 19, 2010

“If you're tired, you take a nap-a. You don’t move to Napa.” –Carrie Bradshaw

Every once in a while, a girl has to indulge herself.

So my girlfriends and I embarked on a “journey” (yeah I said it, Bliss) to Texas Wine Country, Fredericksburg, for a weekend of wineries, laughter and friendship. You know, friendships have to be invested in. You can’t expect to wake up one day when you are old and find a huge lump of money in your savings account for retirement. It’s the same thing with friendships. So we had an “investment weekend.”

You know I don’t use names on here, so here you go: The girls refer to me as Sammy, then you have Awesome Blossom, Rashelle, Hymie, and rounding out the crew is Rollin with the Homies.

We left after work on Friday and headed south. Rollin with the Homies owns a large momma-mobile, so we all piled in (with my dog Bama as well). We decided to take the scenic route vs. I-35 and I am so glad we did. We saw some amazing sunset views and got to stop in Lampasas.

Lemme tell you. Lampasas is an interesting place. And what is up with their Dairy Queen? Listen up, Lampasas Dairy Queen: When you are dealing with 5 girls and a dog with extreme 8pm ice cream cravings, throw us a bone here and make your parking lot easier to navigate. Awesome Blossom had to do some serious stunt driving to get us in and out of that place. When you leave the drive-thru, you are literally driving into a drop off that makes you feel like you are falling off the face of the Earth. We barely made it out of there alive. And we blame Joe Jackson for this (father of Michael). (Sorry, you’ll see a lot of Joe Jackson in this blog… inside joke. You had to be there.)

Ice cream cravings satiated, we made it into Fredericksburg by 11pm. The directions indicated that the cabin was the “last house on the left”, to which Rashelle exclaimed, “Great. We are going to die.” That’s the spirit, Rashelle! Turns out the cabin was not scary or horror-movie-ish in the least. Bullet dodged. We stayed at the adorable and comfortable Potbelly Stove Cottage (shameless plug: http://www.fbglodging.com/lodging/potbel.htm - seriously, go there.) My friend’s folks own the place and I’m serious... They did an amazing job with it. We piled in this cozy cottage, with 2 girls in the bed, 2 girls on the floor and me on the love seat because of my amazing cat-like curling up skills.

The next morning, we woke up and started pumping coffee into our veins. We looked outside noticed that deer were meandering all around our cabin! Too cool. So Hymie announced that she was going to go outside and be a deer whisperer. She claims that a deer (that she named Moesha) came within 3 feet of her, but we saw the deer running for “deer life” (get it?) after she went out there. I’m not sure which story to believe at this point.

Right before leaving for the day, Rashelle confided in us that the two best things in life that have ever happened to her are low rise jeans and hair straighteners. I feel a lot closer to Rashelle now, since she opened up to us about this.

So we decided to kill time and hit downtown Fredericksburg for a bit to check the place out. What a neat place! With the exception of the store that has tons of outdoor iron décor (which was seriously high quality and amazingly low-priced), we couldn’t afford much of what we saw. But we sure saw some gorgeous stuff. I have a bunch of decorating ideas now, ideas that I fully plan on crafting myself at home and implementing into my décor. I took a million pictures of lamps and bed frames. Yeah, I’m cool like that.

We headed back to the cabin just in time to meet our limo driver, Bobby McGee (as we referred to him). He was a class act for sure, totally professional. The limo was amazing (for the record, this was my first ride in a limo, in all of my 27 ½ years. Now I wanna do it again, many times over, on a daily basis even). Armed with mimosas, wheat thins and hip-shaking music, we proclaimed loudly, “On to the wineries, Jeeves!”

Warning: the details, such as order of wineries and pretty much everything else from this point forward, are really fuzzy. So I’m going to do my best and not concern myself with order or any other details. Here’s my best recollection of our winery tour:

First winery, Rancho Ponte. This was a nice place with a cool, punk rock server named Tuesday. Unfortunately, the wine was sub-par. Well, actually, it was bad. I’ll be honest. We blame Joe Jackson for this. We decided to slip on out of there and head to lunch. The Peach Tree Tea Room was adorable and quaint, just like it sounds. I felt very girly in there. We had some delicious food and headed out for more winery action!

Second winery was Becker. Amazing. They also have a lavender farm out there, and you know I’m a sucker for native Texas herbs. The place smelled so good. I felt so calm I could have laid down on the wine tasting bar and taken a siesta for twelve hours or so. But I managed to stay on task and we tried the wines. We all like Becker wine anyway, so this place was a shoe-in.

Third winery was Grape Creek. There was a country western guy singing outside and the wine was decent. That’s kind of all I remember. So there you go.

Fourth winery was Woodrose. Loved it. Very much. This was my favorite place, and I think that had more to do with the atmosphere than the wine. The wine was good, no doubt, but this was the only place where we had a table on a patio and the wine was brought to us. Everywhere else, we stood up and tasted the wines from a bar-like apparatus. The patio was shaded and we listened to a guy playing guitar and singing. It was hot outside, and we didn’t even notice because it was so fun there. Awesome Blossom ran into some old sorority sisters. Random. At least they weren’t Hymie’s sorority sisters. Rashelle and I would have never let her live that down.

Then we headed to the snootiest winery of the trip, Pedernales Cellars. Again, Joe Jackson’s fault. At least the view was spectacular and the wine was decent.

Last but not least, we stopped in Torre di Pietra. This place had potential, but unfortunately the kid that was serving us was a total jerk and was making fun of us the whole time. I felt like we had traveled to Dallas or San Antonio all of a sudden and were attending a bachelorette party at Dick’s Last Resort. You know how the waiters are mean to you there? Well, we got a taste of that at this place. Rollin with the Homies named him “Jacob” (not his real name), which I took a little offense to. Because that name is sacred and she knows it. But no matter, we downed our wine samples and hit the dance floor! This place had a live Beatles cover band, and we got down. Rollin with the Homies can do the tootsie roll like you’ve never seen. And Rashelle has more soul than all of us combined. We danced our socks off for one song, and then Bobby McGee joined us on the dance floor! He told us it was time to go, but once that dance machine started dancing, you couldn’t get him to stop! He said to us, “One more song!!!” which was fine with us. We reluctantly left the dance floor after that and headed back to our romantic cottage.

We laughed so hard in the limo on the way home, partly because we were very tipsy from 6 wineries and partly because we are just such great friends that we know how to hit each other’s funny bones. We ordered two of the most expensive pizzas we’ve ever had and sat on the patio of the big house next door until the wee hours of the morning. We had our iPod going, Rashelle and Rollin with the Homies taught the rest of us the “Kid and Play” dance. Where was I when this was popular? I do not remember doing this at Jacksonville High School Elite Night in the 8th grade…

We laughed. And we laughed. And there was nothing like it in the whole wide world.

This blog post stars the following cast:

Hymie (The Trip Planner and Itinerary Queen):

Awesome Blossom (The Engineer):

Rollin with the Homies (the Hot Momma):

Rashelle (the Rump Shaker):

And Yours Truly.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

OMAHA… Somewhere in Middle America.

Last week I had the pleasure of hanging out in the Mecca of College Baseball, Omaha during the College World Series. And at the last run of Rosenblatt Stadium, to boot. My man’s brother plays for South Carolina, so we donned our garnet and black and headed north.

My man and I got to his folks’ house ‘round midnight on Thursday, and tried to sleep a few hours in preparation for the 3am departure time coupled with 10 hour road trip. I fell asleep and it literally felt like I woke up 5 minutes later, but it had been a full 3 hours. I haven’t felt like that since college, where we would wisely fall asleep at 5am, only to wake up in time for our 8am test. We were very smart back then, obviously. But I digress… While I was getting dressed and talking myself out of laying back down for about 12 hours, my man’s dad (“MMDad”) was loading the car and, in his sleep-deprived state, managed to set the alarm off. Luckily I was already awake and aware of my surroundings, because otherwise I would have come out with swinging some kung fu kicks and probably would have managed to hurt myself and knock a few things off the walls in the process. He quipped “I guess you’re awake now,” to which I replied, “Well, my family uses alarm clocks, but if that’s the way you do it around here, I’m on board.” MMDad: 0, Me: 1.

I think my favorite thing about this situation is that I met My Man’s Mom (“MMMom”) for the first time, and although unconventional, it worked! Instead of the usual “Hi, nice to meet you at this fine restaurant where we will get to know each other over some fine dinner and a fine glass of wine. P.S. I really like your son.” Instead, it was “Hi, nice to meet you at 3am, yes if I had my druthers, I would have makeup on and maybe brushed teeth, let’s get to know each other while we ride in a car together for the next 10 hours, and while we’re at it, let’s spend the next 72 hours together! P.S. I really like your son.”

You know what? I wouldn’t have had it any other way, though. We had an adventure! And we have some great memories. And those folks are truly awesome people. Their son didn’t fall far from the tree, either.

The car ride was good, I slept a lot. MMDad and I were chatting about my job, and I was telling him that I just started recently and am so thrilled to be here. He was asking about the interview process and I told him that it was down to me and one other guy, to which he quipped, “So you won it on good looks?” To which I replied, “No, I’m pretty sure I won it on the swimsuit and talent portion.” MMDad: 0, Me: 2.

Omaha seems like any other town, but Omaha during the College World Series is a crazy place. I felt like we were at Spring Break in West Palm Beach, or maybe at the Texas State Fair, if everyone who attended the entire time came on the same day. We got there in time to watch the South Carolina batting practice, and my man suggested that we go to the outfield to try to catch one of his brother’s homerun balls. So we sat amongst the sweaty, but super cute pre-teen boys, who had their catcalls down pat. They were working the outfielders, trying hard to score a ball. His brother hit a bunch of homeruns (he’s just good like that), but one came real close to us and bounced off the bleachers and right back into the right field guy’s glove. He spotted us and threw it right to us. So of course we had to have his brother sign it. And of course it was super awesome.

We headed to the hotel and rested a minute before heading back to Rosenblatt for the Opening Ceremonies, which were amazing. I felt like we were watching our own personal version of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies. We had a military band, parachuting military guys, Barry Bonds, Will Clark and tons of baseball greats. But the best thing? The fireworks. Holy moly. I have never seen fireworks as gigantic and beautiful and breathtaking as the fireworks at this place. Here’s a picture from thestate.com:

They were larger than life. We predicted we would hear “Proud To Be An American” and “Put Me In Coach” and we were correct on both counts. I will never forget how beautiful those fireworks were.

Slept like a rock and it was time to wake up for a day of baseball. TCU was playing at 1pm and we were able to watch it due to the hook-up prowess of the man himself, Hymie. He got two random tickets for us and we tried the first seats (but they didn’t work too well) and then we tried the second seats and they were just fine. We had a great view of the game, we didn’t have to pay anything and we got to sit next to an adorable baseball loving little girl named Jessica. And TCU won! Good times.

After the game, we headed to a steakhouse called Gorat’s and had some pretty good food. The best part was sitting with my man’s brother (“MMBro”) and another teammate and his folks. Our waitress is a real life sumo wrestler, a burly white lady with a bun on top of her head. Crazy. Everybody is so nice and funny and so much fun to be around. And MMDad picked up our check. That was so generous of him.

After dinner, my man and I went to the Old Market area for some one-on-one Man/Dana time. We walked around, saw some crazy people, and settled in at a brewery (the name escapes me at the moment). It was so relaxing and nice to cozy up in that booth outside and watch the people, drink some good beer and talk about how much fun we were having. We walked back to the car and stood on a bridge for a while watching this borderline amazing waterfall thing that shot really high up in the air. I’ve never seen anything like it. It was like a wall of water, and the wind would catch it and send it leaning like the Tower of Pisa. And it had lights in the water! Omaha, you keep impressing me.

Slept like a rock again and got up with some baseball anticipation. South Carolina was playing at 1pm, and we looked out the window to see…. RAIN. Now, let me go off on a short tangent for a minute. I love rain. I love rain so much that I would be the happiest girl in this town if it rained every day. That’s my favorite thing about northern Florida – the fact that it rains every day at 3:00pm. I dance in the rain at my house, in the grocery store parking lot, wherever. Love. It. You picking up what I’m putting down?

However, I’m not in love with certain rain drops that jeopardize our ability to see MMBro play some College World Series ball. Bottom line, we hoped for a break in the clouds all day but it didn’t happen. So we headed back on our jet plane, with no South Carolina game-watching under our belt. But on the positive side, we got to hang out with MMBro and his teammates. We got to see a game. We got to spend time with MMDad and MMMom. I’m putting this weekend in the win column, for sure.

And… as it turns out, unless you have been hiding under a rock, you know that South Carolina WON the College World Series!!! WOO HOO!!! Go Gamecocks!! (and that is the only and last time you’ll ever hear me say that… please forgive me, fellow Bama fans).

Till next time.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

"Maybe it's a tumor" -the kid from Kindergarten Cop

A dear friend of mine recently received some news that nobody wants to hear. She found out that she has a tumor in her left breast.

Before this occurred, her life was extremely close to perfect. I’m telling you, this girl is blessed. She has a fantastic job that pays well and makes her happy. She has fabulous friends and family who love her unconditionally. And then there is this amazing guy who makes her heart race and her knees weak. So this reality check isn’t ideal, but it's life. Life can be messy. And scary. And inconvenient.

Here’s the story: She went to the doctor because of sharp pain in her right breast and he ordered a sonogram. She wasn’t worried, just ready to figure out what was happening. The right side turned out to be just fine (what a relief), but the left side revealed a tumor that is in the very back and isn’t detectable by self-exam. She said that the sight of that black circle on the sonogram screen felt like taking a bullet. With the needle biopsy right around the corner, she is mentally preparing herself for a little pain and hopefully some good news.

How does that work? You go to bed one night, wake up the next morning, and poof – you have a tumor? Don’t you think you’d feel something growing inside your body the way a woman feels a baby growing or the way I felt my stomach growing when I ate cheese quesadillas at lunch?

I think we all want to feel “normal” and there’s nothing like a tumor or something similar to make you feel anything but. But what is “normal?” I guess it is the halfway point between what you want and what you can get. And she is trying to feel normal, and is trying to keep her mind off of it. But I know it’s got to be bothering the heck out of her.

But it isn’t like the movies. She didn’t crawl into bed and wallow in self-pity until some cheery person waltzes in, opens the curtains to bring in some sunshine, and orders her to get up and stop crying. When real people fall down in life, they get right back up and keep walking. So that’s what she did and will continue to do until this is all over.

She is full of hope, which can be hard to maintain sometimes. Is hope a drug we need to go off of? Or is it keeping us alive? There is no harm in believing. And her strong faith in God is going to carry her through this, no doubt.

So I told her ‘that which does not kill you makes you stronger’. I read that in my favorite magazine, Convenient Theories for You Monthly. And I'm sure it's true.

When Charles Dickens wrote "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times," I believe he must have been dealing with something like my friend’s situation. Wonderful life with a curveball thrown in. But nothing she can’t handle.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Nine Is Enough

I am writing this remotely while traveling through East Texas. Bama and I are in a black Dodge Ram with my folks and their dog Buddy, en route to home from a busy and crazy family reunion in DeRidder, Louisiana. My dad is the youngest of 9 kids, who each have big families of their own, so you can imagine why I felt like I was in the middle of the Duggar Family TV Show (that wacky family with 19 kids).

It is easiest to go by numbers in this family when writing about them, with 1 being the oldest kid and 9 being the youngest. We got there on Friday afternoon and chilled out, in preparation of the insanity that was to come on Saturday morning. Aunt No. 5 and I swapped funny stories and she told me a doozy about my sweet Aunt No. 3. Once upon a time in the mid-70s, No. 3 went to visit No. 5 where she was living the hot single life. No. 3 had never tried alcohol before, so No. 5 (who preferred shooting straight whiskey) recommended screwdrivers, that seemed harmless enough. Four or five screwdrivers later, No. 3 was telling everyone she could get her hands on that she was drinking "pliars." She even yelled at the drive-thru guy at McDonald's, telling him all about her "pliars". Knowing sweet little No. 3, this is just too good.

I walked into the kitchen to visit with my Grandma and a girl walked into the house, kissed my Grandma hello and gave me a hug and said it was good to see me. I have never seen this girl in my life, so I told my Grandma that I had no idea who that was, and she said, "Well, neither do I!" Oh, brother. See what I mean? Haha...

Then my favorite uncle (No. 4) got there, along with his entourage. You would have to see this strapping man, who works with his hands and has a glass eye, to fully appreciate the entourage which consists of two of the fluffiest, frou-frouest Shih Tzus you have ever seen and his girlfriend of over 13 years. It is always good to see Uncle No. 4 because he is so kind and so funny.

Then it got to be time to take a quick nap, so my mom and I took my 4 year old cousin to our RV for some rest and had to play a game with her to get her to rest. This extremely clever game, created by yours truly, the BBE (Best Babysitter Ever), consists of a contest where we see who can keep their eyes closed the longest. Well this worked for a little while, and by a little while I mean 15 minutes. Everyone stayed up late, swapping stories about our family and discussing the ins and outs of Gary Coleman's death, but yours truly took my tired bootie to bed super early. I had to do everything necessary to prepare for Insanity Day.

I awoke Saturday morning with the same anticipation one would have on the first day of school and dressed in my hot weather best. 13 years in this family has taught me that there are many cameras around and these photos always get framed. So I busted out the liquid eyeliner and some lipstick, while simultaneously attempting to not look like a streetwalker.

Before I knew it, there were over 65 people inside and outside my grandparents' home. What freaked me out the most was that I was looking at kids who aren't kids anymore. I have rarely had the moment when I see kids who were 5 years old the last time I saw them and are now in high school. Talk about freaking me out.... sheesh.

I did "girly things" with my niece, who, as it turns out, is a fantastic makeup artist. I put beautiful makeup on my beautiful girl. I put some gorgeous silver eye shadow on her and some "cat eye" eyeliner. After getting my fair share of blue eye shadow applied to my eyelids, we settled in and played games on my iPhone. I love that girl, and I love my nephew, who is hilarious! And so intelligent. Those are some good kids. I'm so proud.

I ate some of the best, worst-for-you food that I have eaten in a long time. If you know me personally, you may know that I am a semi-vegetarian, who strives for full vegetarianism every day, but only succeeds approximately 6 out of the 7 days of the week. I ate boudin sausage, which was amazing. I ate plates of potato salad, which were amazing. I ate four, count them: FOUR, desserts! Wow... So I'm still trying to come out of my food coma. I ate a caprese salad for dinner, so I'm somewhat back on track.

What a fantastic time. I am so appreciative to my grandparents who made this such a great weekend, especially my Pawpaw. He's so wonderful. What a great family I lucked into.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Best Kept Secret

A wise woman once said that the secret to a happy marriage lies within the 4 F's:


You need to have Fun. I list this first because this is the easiest thing to spot right away. I have been on fun dates and I have been on dates where I wanted to find a rock to climb under just because that seemed like it might be more fun. I picture myself growing old with someone I have fun with because I personally cannot go a day without a big belly laugh. Usually I end up cracking myself up throughout the day but I sure love it when somebody can make me smile and laugh.

Faith/Fellowship is so important. If you don't believe the same things, then you are just asking for trouble. I once made the difficult decision to stop seeing a very nice guy because he refused to go to church with me. I am aware that I may have been jumping the gun a little bit, but I am not marrying a man who doesn't go to church. If he isn't going now, that is not something I can change. Nor do I want to. I just don't have the time or patience to try to change someone. I have always said that we are who we are. People don't change. Besides, I am not going to be getting the kids up for church in the morning and telling them how important church is, only to get this in reply, "Then why doesn't Daddy have to go?" No thanks.

You have to put the other person First. I have had enough of seeing people put their jobs, their hobbies, whatever else, in front of their significant other. You are spending your life with this person, so I think they deserve to take the top spot in your list of priorities. I'm going to take this one step further, however, and say that both people need to collectively put God first and then the other person directly underneath God. See, here's how I picture the organizational chart playing out:
Yeah I said it, the kids go on the 3rd rung. The way I look at it is this: Those kids are going to be out of the house one day and I don't want to be sitting across the kitchen table from someone who I don't know the first thing about, because the kids have been the priority for all those years. I have seen way too many marriages collapse after the kids leave. I'm no expert, but I have a suspicion that it has something to do with putting kids and everything else before your spouse.

Finally, you have to be Friends. I look forward to the day where I get to hang out with my best friend every single day. This person needs to be your go-to person for everything good, bad, indifferent, ugly, whatever, that you want to talk about. That is going to be pretty awesome.

It's a simple formula, really, and it works.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Fathers, Be Good To Your Daughters

The oh-so-poetic John Mayer once told the fathers of the world to be good to their daughters. This is because, according to Mr. Mayer, the daughters will love like they do. I have found this to be true for both of my cases. You see, I have two fathers. One abandoned us when I was very young and the other came in and rescued us, in a sense.

Sometimes I am slow to love others. That is one thing I learned from my first father. I have found myself at times to be guarded and gun shy, as if I’m going to be hurt beyond recognition. I guess I just remember what it was like the first time I had my heart broken by a man. Twenty years later, it’s still not all the way back together. Nothing has ever been as bad as that first heartbreak, and I hope it stays that way. That heartbreak, however, hardened me a bit. So now in my adult years, I have the ability to always handle heartache with stride. I’m proud of myself when I am able to hold back tears and not fall apart at the worst times. Because whatever the current situation is, I have been through worse. He taught me that.

My second father loves his family more than anything, and I adopted those ideals immediately. I can see him in myself in so many ways, even though he wasn’t in our lives until I was a teenager. When I finally do open up my heart to someone, I find myself loving them the way he and my mom love each other. I’m proud of myself when I can be so unconditionally loving and caring. He and my mom taught me that.

The song resonates with me, “Oh you see that skin? It’s the same she’s been standing in since the day she saw him walking away. Now she’s left, cleaning up the mess he made.” I always feel something in my chest when I hear that line, because it feels like he is describing me. Some people say that a daughter’s relationship with her father is the model for all of her subsequent relationships with men. If you were given a less than perfect model, does that mean a life of less than perfect men? Sometimes it does. But the opposite is true for me. The actions of my first father made me incredibly picky because I refuse to end up with someone who will hurt me and our kids and leave us in his dust, picking up the pieces.

Every girl needs to be picky until she finds that man who is solid. Bonnie Raitt said it best: “I ain’t looking for the kind of man who can’t stand a little shaky ground. He’ll bring me fire and tenderness, and have the guts to stick around.”

I have been thinking about fathers today because it is my second father’s birthday. He has been a saint for our family and I hope he knows how loved he is.

Oh, and one more thing before you go. I can’t forget to mention that other father, the most important one of all. He is the true definition of unconditional love and kindness and I am thankful to Him every single day for getting me through the pain of my early years to make me strong, teaching me valuable lessons to make me wise, and for bringing that saint of a stepfather to us to help us see what a real man is made of. I am so thankful.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

He Has a Need. A Need for a Needy Girl.

My best friend, Fitz, and I were talking the other day (the one who recently lost that pesky 205 pounds by kicking her deadbeat boyfriend to the curb). She and I get our good talking in when I’m walking Bama and she is winding down from a day of school teaching. It’s funny, how does it happen that two such smart women talk about boys more than anything? It's like seventh grade with bank accounts.

We came to a conclusion during our most recent conversation. Seems like a large majority of men out there are looking for something that she and I can’t be. And that’s a needy girl. You know the type, and it turns out that they almost always have a doting boyfriend, ready to meet every single need (no matter how trivial or massive).

So that’s what is attractive now? Being completely clingy and needy? Her ex has moved on to a girl who needs him to provide as much care as a person provides a 13-month-old, or a pet. Years ago, my ex moved on to a girl who needed a place to live and someone to pay for everything her unemployment didn’t cover.

When did emotional and financial independence make its way onto the “turn-off list”? Apparently, owning your own home and making your own cash money is a bit intimidating, not to mention emotional independence. Now don’t get me wrong, I have some issues. I can be a mindfield at times. But I can put my big girl panties on and handle myself. Pushing those issues off on a guy and making them his problem is not the answer. Not that I don’t love it when my guy can listen to me and even offer a word of advice, but I don’t need him in order to make it through stuff. That’s the point.

I will never be that girl who practically needs to be placed in a straight jacket when faced with a breakup. If a guy doesn’t want to date me anymore, then he needs to move it on down the road and leave me alone. I will never grovel and cry for someone to stay simply because I feel like I need him so badly. That’s just unhealthy. See also: get back together because I think I won't survive otherwise.

Speaking of needs, this is all I actually need. (1) God; and (2) Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, all-consuming love. It all boils down to those two things. Because that’s the thing about needs. Once you have them met, everything else falls into place.

And then there are the small needs. Sometimes you need counterspace in his bathroom to store your emergency beauty items so you can go from sitting on the couch to a nice restaurant on the drop of a hat. And how about a spot in his fridge for your soy milk? While we’re making more space, why not give us a little more than a small corner of his heart? It’s high time these guys give as much of their hearts to us as we give them.

More than anything, us amazing women should be looking for a man who doesn’t need us to survive and doesn’t want us to need him in that unhealthy way.

Once you find this, then you will realize that you can’t live without each other. In the healthy way.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

These Guys are Morons.

I have two best friends. And each of them has endured a breakup over the last two weeks. What gives?

I just got home from performing one very important duty bestowed upon me as a best friend: listening. This amazing girl was involved in a breakup sabotage this evening. Sometimes I can see how both parties contributed to The Breakup, but in this case, he’s an idiot making a huge mistake. What makes people short-sighted? So much so that they cannot see the person in front of them, who is a hell of a catch and most likely the best thing they could ever hope to spend their time with? Gosh, it makes me so mad.

My other best friend finally ended eight years of dating the wrong guy. She has been celebrating her “205 pound weight loss”. I’m thrilled she is finally on board with the idea that he isn’t for her. I have full confidence that he will be great for someone else. Just not my best friend. Ever. Again.

We’re dealing with two totally different situations. One girl is celebrating and one is saying “WTF?!” But the emotions change after a few days, and once you get to a place where you feel like yourself again, you are subjected to the possibility of seeing that person and the heartache raring its ugly head again.

You know, seeing someone for the first time after you break up is the worst. You never know how to act. And then there's the vomit. But maybe that’s just me. It’s horribly awkward and never easy. The only thing that makes it bearable is if (a) YEARS have passed, and (b) you are on the arm of a much more amazing person. But that isn’t usually the way it works out for me.

The last time this happened, I was sporting third-day hair, was in workout clothes (not my cute ones) and was in Albertson’s with my coupon clipboard. Oh and did I mention the zits on my chin that were about the size of Peru? Talk about sexy. And I talk fast when I’m nervous, so after sputtering out approximately 400 words in 30 seconds, I tucked tail and ran away with my cart, only to knock into a display of seedless watermelons. I turned around and he was watching me, completely amused. He and I stood there and laughed for a good 10 minutes. And now we’re cool. I guess that’s what it takes sometimes.

After all, some relationships fall apart. God does that on purpose. He isn't going to keep you in a relationship with someone who isn't the right one for you. Eventually, He will intervene and take care of business. I know... that doesn't make it much easier when it actually ends. The best we can do is breath and reboot. I find it helpful to pour a glass of wine, put on Cat Steven’s “Wild World”, and sing it loud.

Now that I've lost everything to you
You say you wanna start something new
And it's breakin' my heart you're leavin'
Baby, I'm grievin'
But if you wanna leave, take good care
Hope you have a lot of nice things to wear
But then a lot of nice things turn bad out there

Oh, baby, baby, it's a wild world
It's hard to get by just upon a smile
Oh, baby, baby, it's a wild world
and I'll always remember you like a child, girl

You know I've seen a lot of what the world can do
And it's breakin' my heart in two
Because I never wanna see you sad, girl
Don't be a bad girl
But if you wanna leave, take good care
Hope you make a lot of nice friends out there
But just remember there's a lot of bad and beware

Oh, baby, baby, it's a wild world
It's hard to get by just upon a smile
Oh, baby, baby, it's a wild world
and I'll always remember you like a child.

Friday, April 30, 2010

The History of Love

I recently finished The History of Love by Nicole Krauss. The story revolves around an elderly man who was once in love, and then he lost her. But he never got over her. The thought of someone loving another person for their entire life, from childhood until death, is amazing. Is it probable? Possible?

This got me thinking. Maybe we're asking a lot, to be unbelievably happy. Maybe gratitude has nothing to do with joy. Maybe being grateful means recognizing what you have for what it is, appreciating small victories. Admiring the struggle it takes simply to be human. Maybe we're thankful for the familiar things we know. And maybe we're thankful for the things we'll hopefully never know. At the end of the day, the fact that we have the courage to still be standing is reason enough to celebrate.

I have to keep this in perspective sometimes. I have been known to throw a hissy fit when something didn’t go my way. But what I need to do is pump the brakes, look at what I have, and be thankful for it. Even if it didn’t come in the package that I envisioned.

This man had the courage to live. He had the courage to wake up every morning, not necessarily thankful that he was alive, but ready to face another day. But not the courage to go after what his heart desired..

One time I decided to go after what I wanted in a big way. I had a guy friend who I was kind of sweet on, so I decided to make a grand, romantic gesture and tell said guy friend that I liked him and wanted to date him. I should have thought better about the timing, I shouldn’t have been in Finn MacCool’s when I said it (although I’ll usually say that anytime is a good time to be in Finn’s), and I should have been prepared for whatever the answer may be. He just looked at me and said “I’m sorry. I don’t feel that way about you, and I’m dating someone new.”

Suddenly, I felt like I was wearing patchouli in a room full of Chanel No. 5.

How did I miss the boat this drastically?

So I did what every respectable girl would do. Ticked off and embarrassed, I grabbed my bag and sulked out (and left the tab for him to pick up). Then I got to the car and I turned my music up real loud and took off for home. And I promptly decided that he was crazy, I’m a catch, and he will be so sorry. Of course, he isn’t crazy and he wasn’t sorry. He was honest. But the part about me being a catch? That part is true. (fyi.)

But I digress. The old man from the book knew what he wanted, but he didn’t have the balls to go after it. He wanted his childhood sweetheart. He wanted a relationship with his son. But he stayed on the outskirts of their lives, hiding behind bushes, hoping to catch glimpses of them walking by. Poor guy.

I may have lost some dignity that night in Finn MacCool’s, but at least I went after what I wanted.

Now I know what it must be like for guys, who traditionally have to make the first move. A word of advice, boys. Do it. Just tell her how you feel. She may say no, you may feel so embarrassed that you barely make it to the door before the tears brim up in your eyelids… or she may say “I thought you’d never ask.”

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Ex Factor

You know that great guy who just isn't right for you, but when you find out later that he is getting married and appears to be insanely happy, you are happy for him? He’s no longer the dreaded ex at that point. He’s a super nice guy that you dated once upon a time. Keep in mind, “ex” and “super nice” are not normally words I use in the same sentence. But they do exist, in some parallel universe.

Take High School Boyfriend Guy. I dated him when I was a junior and he was a senior, and we ate sno cones every single day. We had a great time, he left for college, and that was the end of it. Except for a lunch many years later, we completely lost touch. He was, however, such a nice guy that when I found out he was marrying what was rumored to be a sweet girl, I was happy for him.

And then you have In The Closet Gay Guy, who left me for a dude. He and the dude were best friends, and I always thought something was strange about the way they chased each other around the house with a twisted up dish towel, trying to pop the other one in the legs or other various body parts. Well where there is smoke… I found out years later that he married a woman and they are doing well! It’s like the mystery of the sphinx, when you think about it.

It can go either way, really. You can be happy for them or you can pity the girl (or guy…) who ends up with your ex.

Tonight I started thinking about rebounds. I am going to be one of these girls one day. I will either be one-half of a couple who everyone is happy for because he is such a great guy, or I’ll be one-half of a couple who is an inside joke to tons of people. I will either get lots of “So great to meet you! You’re such a lucky girl!", or I’ll get sneers at parties and tons of pity. But is it possible that guys aren’t great in everyone’s eyes? Maybe it was a messy breakup and his image will forever be tainted, even if she is the one who screwed it up. We can’t know for sure. Or maybe he really is a douchebag.

Maybe some folks aren't meant to be tamed. Maybe they need to run free until they find someone just as wild to run with. And that would create animosity with the people who aren’t wild enough to run with them.

Guess it just goes to show you… one woman's Titanic is another woman's Love Boat.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Maybe I like to read a little before bed...

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books here. How do my reading habits stack up?

1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen X
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien X
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte X
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling X
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee X
6 The Bible X
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte X
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell X
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens X

Total: 9

11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott X
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller X
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare X
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien X
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger X
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger X
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot

Total: 6

21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell X
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald X
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck X
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll X
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame X

Total: 5

31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis X
34 Emma-Jane Austen
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis X
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini X
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres X
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden X
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne X

Total: 6

41 Animal Farm - George Orwell X
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown X
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez X
44 A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery X
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding X
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan X

Total: 6

51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel X
52 Dune - Frank Herbert
53 Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen X
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens X
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley X
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez X

Total: 5

61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck X
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold X
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas X
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac X
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding X
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville X

Total: 6

71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens X
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker X
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett X
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson
75 Ulysses - James Joyce
76 The Inferno – Dante X
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome
78 Germinal - Emile Zola
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray
80 Possession - AS Byatt

Total: 4

81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens X
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker X
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White X
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom X
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle X
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

Total: 5

91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery X
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare X
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl X
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo X

Total: 4

Final Total: 56. Not too shabby. I will be adding an "x" to Shadow of the Wind since it is this month's book club book.

Yeah, so I've read the classics. My favorites though? Romance novels full of debauchery. Or teenage vampire books. I'll take either, really. Then you have the Bible, which I'm learning to enjoy reading. It's got some pretty good stuff in there. No teenage vampires, but plenty of other things that might pique your interest.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Step Away From The Bottle...

Public Health “Institue”

Today’s mail brought me an invitation to participate in a local study of alcoholics at the Public Health “Institue”. So many things jumped out at me the second I opened the envelope.

First of all, are you calling me an alcoholic? Because I have a thing or two to say to you, letter in the mail. Yes I love my vodka tonic more than I love any other beverage and most foods. But I have complete control over my alcohol intake. And I know I have a propensity toward alcoholism (yes, Mom, I do know this), so I’m extra careful. Don’t tell me I have an alcohol problem, letter in the mail! Oh no, they di-n’t.

Secondly, who in their right mind would participate in a study conducted by a group who cannot spell “Institute” correctly? The sheer thought of it gives me a Whoopi Goldberg big-eyed, wrinkled forehead look.

After shredding the letter, I got to thinking about alcohol and dating. Since we (you and me) are so fabulous, we definitely don’t need to drink a lot so we’re more fun to be around. But sometimes we do need to drink a lot to make the other person more fun to be around.

I have a rule where I don’t drink too much during the week. But sometimes I find myself on one of those weeknight outings where one drink isn’t cutting it. So we all make sacrifices. And if that means 3 vodka tonics to get through the conversation, so be it.

Then there was Tight Jeans Guy who wasn’t a drinker but said that he was fine with me drinking. So of course I did. I can’t resist a good drink when the bartender is staring me in the face, tempting me with Grey Goose. I had one drink on our first date. And then one drink on our second date. And he didn’t go out with me again because I “drank too much.” Okay. Let’s be honest here. What he really needed was a girl who doesn’t drink either.

My brother says he doesn’t trust anyone who doesn’t drink. I agree with that sentiment, to a degree. Although I will take it one step further and add that I don’t trust people who don't believe in God or men who wear pink pants. And yes, I know someone who wears pink pants. He calls them “salmon” but believe me, they are pink. Therefore I don’t trust him completely.

I have no desire to dictate whether someone should or should not drink. However, since Tight Jeans Guy, I have never dated a non-drinker, because I feel like I will always be judged. I don’t plan on putting down the bottle anytime soon, and I would hate for it to be a dealbreaker. The older I get, the more I am interested in a minimal number of drinks and calling it a night. Seriously, if I get dumped again for drinking too much, I am looking up the Public Health “Institue” and giving them a call. There might be money and blog material involved, and you know those are two things I can’t pass up.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

30 Bucks... Not Well Spent

It’s been a while since my 7-day trial on Yahoo Personals ended (see the post about it here). Behold one of my favorite messages:

<>I just paid 30 bucks to talk to you! <> lol Seriously, my account with this site cancellled the other day but Ive been able to just look at profiles since. Your profile caught my eye and thought that I might give it one more try. <> <> <> <>I think you and I may have alot in common and I was hoping I could have an opportunity to get to know you. I know, I know your wondering what we might have in common.....well slow down give me time to type. Lets seeee....hmmm... well were both Christians, I have a job and so do you, we both live in Fort Worth, were both ok with our money, ummm... you write funny blogs, I like to read funny blogs. I have a magnolia tree in my front yard but to be honest I cant stand it becuase it didnt bloom and all it does is shed its leaves. I love my job (I work as a purchasing agent for steel) but it stressfull at times and enjoy the peeps I work with as well.<> <> <> <>If you havent noticed yet Im a bit of a goofball, I like to have fun in whatever I do. I have some great friends and we hang out often having bbqs or road trips to the river or where ever suites our fancy. I think I spelled suites wrong, oh well hope you're not a grammer nut if so I apologize for that last statment as well. ha! Anywho if you think I might fit the bill of someone youd like to get to know then I'd like to hear back from ya. Have a great day Dana!! Im out!! <> <> <> <>Dueces!!<><>

Yes, this is a real message from a real Yahoo Personals guy. Let’s break it down.

Is he trying to make me feel obligated to talk to him because he just paid 30 bucks? All this did for me was make me feel obligated to read the message. Nothing more than that so far.

So he’s telling me to slow down so he can have time to type. Okay, no problem, considering I’m not standing over him like Mrs. Vaughn in Stephenville High School typing class, watching his every move. How about he stops pretending I am responding to him in real time? That’s a little creepy.

Christian. Okay, check.

Has a job. Okay, check.

Lives in Fort Worth. Okay, check.

Okay on money. Okay, that’s nice. But where did he get that I am okay on my money? I don’t have a thing about money in my profile… assuming things. And you know that only makes an ass out of him and him.

Likes to read funny blogs. Okay, check. (as if I would just hand my blog address out to any Tom, Dick and Harry… again, assuming here)

Has a magnolia tree but hates it. Okay, that’s… interesting. I guess.

He enjoys the “peeps” he works with. Okay, so he knows ebonics…

He’s a goofball who likes hanging out with his friends. Okay, goofball is okay. But I have a feeling that we are creeping into Jon Gosselin immaturity territory.

He hopes I’m not a grammar nut. Well. The fact that his note to me contains 7 misspelled words and he doesn’t know how to use an apostrophe is enough to make this self-proclaimed grammar nazi very unhappy.

Did he really just say "Anywho" ?

He ends notes with “Deuces”. I can already tell that Bama wouldn't like this guy.

And what’s with all the <> stuff? I guess he’s artistic? Who knows.

So I know I’m ripping this guy apart, but seriously. If this is all you have for a first impression because it’s online and not face to face, then you need to send something a little more intelligent than this.

Sorry, buddy, you wasted your 30 bucks. Hopefully this note worked on somebody else.

Enough, this is not dating. I want moonlight and flowers and candy and people trying to kiss me. Nobody is trying to kiss me! Nobody is even looking my direction. Do you have any idea how much effort it takes to do all this? I’m shaved and plucked and I iron my clothes! No more of this until one of you men figures how to put on a date! I want heat, I want romance, damn it! I want to feel like a lady!

And I don’t want to be told I’m too hot or too sexy to be a serious girlfriend. That’s a load of crap. (Yes, I was told that recently)

Thank God that 7-day Yahoo Personals trial is over. Now I can resume my normal dating life that consists of tons of first dates, a tiny bit of second dates and sometimes, every once in a blue moon, a meaningful relationship.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Soul Mate vs. Sole Mate

I was honored to be invited to eat Easter supper with a very sweet couple and their family. I enjoyed every second of it, from the meal to the impromptu basketball. Everyone is so nice and down to Earth. And funny… you have no idea! I had never before met their other two “kids” (I use that term loosely because we are far from being kids) and I just adore them. What a great bunch of folks.

Every time I am with this couple, I can see very clearly that they are soul mates. You can see it when they look at each other. Same with my mom and stepdad (who is more of a dad than my dad, so we’ll call him my “dad”). Obviously they are meant to be together.

So that evening, after I got home, I sat on my patio and got to thinking about soul mates. Two small words, one huge concept.

So is there always such a thing? Or are some people just lucky enough to find this elusive soul mate? Is there really just one person out there who holds the key to your heart, your dream house, your dream life? No man defines who you are. This I cannot emphasize enough. But can that one man define everything else about your life, including your happiness?

I don’t know the answer. I guess I just have to have faith. At the end of the day faith is a funny thing. It turns up when you don't really expect it. It's like one day you realize that the fairy tale may be slightly different than you dreamed. The castle, well, it may not be a castle. It may be my 1,090 square foot “cottage” that needs to be repainted. The two perfect children and a perfect white picket fence… well, I do have two perfect pets and a wooden picket fence that is not painted white but it’s perfect just the way it is.

I looked around and realized that I am right where I need to be. I have everything I could possibly need. Of course it’s easy to want more. But when it comes down to it, if that soul mate ever shows up (if such a thing even exists), it would just be icing on the cake that is my life.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Keelsapalooza XXIX

I just got in today from an amazing weekend of celebrating two beautiful girls’ 29th birthdays at Horseshoe Bay. The lake, not the casino. Can I just say that the KGarza and KBliss know how to throw a party? We had swag bags full of goodies, such as a custom-made tank top (with the official Keelsapalooza XXIX logo), cups with our names on them, shot glasses, leis… amazing.

After nearly falling asleep approximately four times on the way down early Saturday morning (I had a jazz gig on Friday night), Bama and I arrived at the lake in all our sleep-deprived, somebody-pour-us-a-mimosa glory. We ate some food and then jumped into our swimsuits. Sidenote: April is a bit early for busting out the swim suit and the flippy floppies (in my case, due to the softness of my abs), but everyone seemed to be in good spirits about the whole situation.

KBliss and I did the customary ritual of lathering on as much sunscreen as possible and then laying out (see, Dr. Stacy? I was listening when you talked about sun damage!). It was a balmy 75-80 degrees (perfect for sitting on the deck, not so perfect for getting on a boat with T-Pain… so we sat and soaked up sun). We drank homemade pina coladas and talked and drank bellinis and laughed and drank beer. A few of us went down to the water and floated on multi-person rafts. The water felt amazing when you dipped your foot into it.

LiWi and I decided to try our luck at the jet ski. We were enjoying a leisurely stroll around the lake (and managed to stay within the one rule, which was don’t go past the lighthouse… got it). I had a thought come to me and blurted out, “What would we do if this thing died out here?” To which LiWi replied, “Umm… Dana we aren’t going to die out here.” After clarifying that I meant the jet ski dying, we decided that we have no idea what we would do. In fact LiWi took it one step further and said “I’m not swimming.” Word. Me neither. Right around that time, the thing starts beeping at us and the warning light is flashing. Seriously, Poseidon?? You’re gonna do this to us right now? What did we do to piss you and your water off? Needless to say, my novice skills managed to speed us back to the house and we were simply running low on gas. KGarza informed me that it was much like the light that comes on when you are running low on gas. Okay, not so scary. But I may have peed my pants a little bit when that light flashed and we were really far away from the house.

I came in and Bama and I fell asleep on the couch for a little bit. That jet ski excitement pretty much took it out of me. KBliss went upstairs to take a shower and came down in a towel a few minutes later, asking for some help turning off the shower… then KGarza tried to turn it off and the faucet exploded. Luckily the plumber showed up and fixed it. But not without our resident engineer peering over his shoulder the entire time (thanks for keeping him honest KBliss).

Minutes without water: 45
Plumber named “Tanker” $201.00
Having running water in a house where 12 girls are staying: Priceless.

I feel that I need to clarify a previous statement that I made about Tanker. He was a “6” on a scale of plumbers in Horseshoe Bay, Texas. He was a “3” compared to the rest of the male population. The “6” rating was on a curve.

Crisis averted. Time for fajitas. Being a semi-vegetarian, my fajita consisted of refried beans and guacamole, but it was delicious. Then we ate a homemade red velvet cake that was beautiful and oh-so scrumptious. Thank you Tiff!

After cutting the cake, we heard fireworks outside and were in a prime spot to watch one of the most amazing fireworks shows any of us had ever seen! What are the chances? We claimed it as our own show specifically for Keelsapalooza and no one has disputed that yet. Absolutely amazing.

My tired butt called it a night after 3 rounds of Scatergories (good job, KGarza, the reigning champion) and I was out by 11:30.

Early morning, good breakfast by KBliss and 3 and half hours home.

Great weekend.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Bridges of Tarrant County

Today I got to thinking the past and the proverbial “one that got away.”

I know several people who still think about the “one that got away” and it makes me hope I’m not in that position years from now. I don’t have a “one that got away” in the technical sense. It’s more the “one that could have been so amazing.”

We met in an airport terminal during a ridiculously long layover. We clicked, and then we went out for drinks after returning home from our respective trips. We were having one of those great first dates that you can only have when it’s not an actual date. And then I flaked out and decided to give my wayward boyfriend another shot. I promptly deleted Airport Guy’s phone number and gave my relationship 100%. I didn't think I would ever see him again, and that made me a little sad. He sure was cute. And he made me laugh.

A year later, I had been single for a while (wayward boyfriend didn’t last after all) and I couldn’t get Airport Guy out of my head. There was just something about him that was so comfortable. I remembered his phone number in my head (I’m weird like that) and dialed him. He met me that day and so began a really great summer. We never endured the DTR (Define the Relationship discussion) but I was okay with that. I just enjoyed being with him. We were good together. We watched a lot of Jeopardy and hit Mellow Mushroom on Tuesday nights to dominate their trivia game. But the summer ended and he disappeared without a word. I am not a person who gets mad, but I was disappointed. I really liked him and I think he liked me too. I held out hope for a while that he would come back but realized that he must have needed to be alone. I still think about him often and wonder how he’s doing. And sometimes I’ll text a “hello” to him. I don’t think he knows how much of an impression he made on me.

Maybe one day I’ll meet someone who makes me not want to call Airport Guy during weak moments. Or maybe this is going to be like the 'Bridges of Tarrant County', a very brief affair I'll write about in sappy letters to my grandchildren. Either way, it sure was a great summer and I smile when I think about it.

Friday, April 2, 2010

To Take It Personally or Not To Take It Personally? That Is The Question.

So many things happen in life that we could very easily take personally. But if we are mature emotionally, we know not to do this. It only hurts us - when almost all of the time, it doesn’t have anything to do with us.

Say my boss is not in the best mood. Take it personally?
Nope. I have those days too.

Maybe friends or family have to rush off the phone because they are in the middle of something and can’t chat. Take it personally?
Nah. I do that too sometimes.

Relationships. Take those situations personally?
Well, that’s a little more difficult.

I have been on the giving and the receiving end of ending relationships (and not just romantic ones), many times over the last 13 years. None of them are the ideal position. When you are the one giving, it’s awkward and painful and you feel like you are really hurting someone, when that truly isn’t your intention. And the receiving end is awful as well. You feel like you aren’t good enough for that person (which is crazy, because let’s face it – we’re amazing, right??), or maybe that they are just not giving it a fair chance.

Then again, sometimes it is a relief. Sometimes it works out for the better. Some folks just aren’t meant to be. And that’s easy to live with when you are sure that you have the right answer. So much of that just goes back to trusting God.

But how do you not take it personally when you are on the receiving end? Isn’t it a highly personal idea that someone does not want to be with you? But taking it personally doesn’t do anyone any good. Sometimes I feel so clueless. Do you think it could really be as simple as “my father walked out, therefore I'll always be messed up about men”? Some girls’ fathers came home every night at seven on the dot and they have no clue about men either.

That’s the thing about getting your feelings hurt. You just have to ride it out, hope it goes away on its own, hope the wound that caused it heals. There are no solutions, no easy answers, you just breathe deep and wait for it to subside. Most of the time it can be managed but sometimes it gets you where you least expect it. Hits way below the belt and doesn't let up. You just have to fight through, because the truth is you can't outrun it and life always makes more.

Sorry, just don’t have the funny in me today. Feeling reflective instead.

Have a wonderful Easter. Remember the reason for this weekend and say a prayer of thanks for Jesus Christ and his sacrifice for us. Sure makes my problems seems small, when I think about what he went through for us.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Male Celebrities That I Want To Slap Upside The Head: (Top Five)

1. Jesse James. Isn't it enough that he is named after an outlaw (who he is actually related to)? This motorcycle czar has screwed up big time. I can see why an idiot like Jesse would dig a chick like Michelle "Bombed-Out" McGee - if her conversation gets boring, he can catch up on his reading by simply perusing her tattoos, including the one stamped on her forehead that reads "Pray For Us Sinners." And another thing... Sandra Bullock is not a victim of the "Oscar Curse" that apparently plagued Halle Berry and Sean Penn, among others (apparently, once you win, your marriage goes in the dumps). I think she's more a victim of the "I Married a Dumbass Who Cheated On Me With A Very Low-Class Woman And I Will Never Sleep With Him Again Because I'm 100% Sure He Now Has The Clap Curse."

2. Jon Gosselin. Jon topped my list until Jesse James came out with his antics last week. This Ed Hardy-wearing, super-reproductive guy just needs to go away. And by away, I mean into space. Or maybe the middle of the Sahara desert. I know Kate was a lot to deal with, but you would be too if you popped out 18 children and had to constantly pull your husband away from his Ed Hardy Ebay Habit. And really, stealing $175,000 from the woman raising your children is worse than skipping out on a few months of child support. You know things are bad when the designer of the douchiest clothing line in America drops you and hires Lindsay Lohan instead. True story, look it up.

3. Tiger Woods. No one in their right mind would cheat on their wife. Tiger took it one step further, however, and cheated on his beautiful Swedish swimsuit model (and mother of his two children) with over 10 girls, none of which are of Elin's caliber. I have said so much about this over the last few months, I simply don't have anything more in me. Suffice to say, I would very much like to slap him upside the head. At least Elin is wearing a "chastity belt made of iron" (her words), because let's face it. He just might have something she doesn't want for Christmas. And I'm not talking about a gaudy piece of jewelry.

4. Spencer Pratt. He's going off the deep end. Now that he is public with his love for crystals, he wants to learn how to meditate. I'm on board with this. Maybe he will focus on his career post-Hills. Or maybe he will focus on how to deal with his wife's new weird body. Or maybe he'll finally make the important decision he was struggling with last season - to vasectomy or not to vasectomy? Can we petition this? Take it to Congress? Please don't let these two procreate.

5. Chris Brown. Let's face it. Anyone who beats up on a girl deserves more than a slap upside the head. But he took it one step further recently, by attending Jean Paul Gaultier's show, which featured models covered in fake blood and bruises. He was cheesing it up in a picture next to the designer, who was also sporting this look. If I were a celebrity rapper who beat up my girlfriend and was trying to clean up my image, I would not be all smiles next to a designer covered in fake blood and bruises. He needs to consult with Charlie Sheen on this one. He's an expert on beating up the ladies in his life and coming out smelling like roses on the other side.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Ron Burgundy of the Dating World

I’m at that point where I feel like enough time has passed since The Breakup that I can start dating again. You have to allow enough time to pass that you aren’t unfair to the next guy. Especially when The Breakup was a painful one. So, here we go.

After two failed setups (one completely flaked out and the other felt “no spark”, which I will agree with), I noticed that I am at a standstill. And standstill means two things: (1) I am not going out and enjoying the dating world, and (2) I have no material for this blog!

So. I need material.

So. I joined Yahoo Personals.

I don’t know how this works, so I try to paint a picture of who I am by copying and pasting my oh-so-clever facebook “About Me” section. I have to answer every question under the sun, from my drinking habits (I clicked “weekly”… is that bad?) to my religion to my desire to have kids, to whether I live alone or with roommates. I could feel sweat under my arms. I suddenly remembered the feeling in high school when your parents ask you a question that you don’t really want to answer, like “what happened to the car?”

And now it’s picture time. Geez… really? I have a ton of great pictures where I look real good, but they are old and 4 hair colors ago. I settled on one from last September where I am actually wearing lipstick.

I selected the box that said “Notify me of updates every three days”. 30 minutes pass. I can’t stand it. I logged in, hoping that maybe some people have taken a likin’ to me and found that 87 men had viewed my profile and I had 17 new messages. Whaaaat?

Some guys are cute, some are scary and this one guy sent me this:

“Oh, and one more thing: I want to say something. I'm going to put it out there; if you like it, you can take it, if you don't, send it right back. I want to be on you. And if you find the humor in that, we'll get a long just fine.”

My eyes got big, I closed the World Wide Web Internet and backed away from the computer. Seriously?? That’s your opening line??

Later that day I was conversing with We Go Way Back Guy (who is very cute and datable, ladies...) about this and he let me in on a little secret. This is a line from Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. Really? I have seen the cinematic greatness. Don’t remember the line. Am still creeped out.

More stories to come as I weed through this enormous stack of messages from potential suitors.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Over My Dead Iris

It's almost Spring. How do I know this? Not because the temperatures are warmer (we had snow this morning), but because my irises are about to bloom. I have some of the most beautiful heirloom irises in my front yard. A few years ago, I painstakingly extracted them from my sweet neighbor's yard (with permission of course) and planted them. I care for them all year in order to see their beautiful blooms for about 3-4 weeks. That's all I get, but it's worth it.

Speaking of irises, I'll never forget a guy I met last year. While I was pumping gas into my Sexy Dude (that's my car's name), I was watching the storm clouds roll in at an alarming speed. A guy about my age was pumping gas at the pump next to me (we'll call him "Texaco Guy"). Texaco Guy turned to me and asked if I knew where the storm was coming in from. I had just been at home on my lunch break and was watching the news, so I told him that it was headed our way from Stephenville. He then replied, "Oh! I know Stephenville! I used to go to school out there."


So I told him that I, too, went to school in Stephenville, so we talked about the town for another 4 gallons of gas. He and I were each getting in our cars, and I said "Well, it's starting to sprinkle, so you better get wherever you are headed!" He told me that he only lived a block away so no big deal.


I thought he was a nice enough guy, so I offered up that I, too, live about a block away, and we marveled at the small world we live in. He waved and drove off and I went on my merry way. Not interested in the guy, but he seemed nice.

Fast forward two weeks. I get home at around 9pm on a Friday night (yes, my life is that exciting) and find a note and flowers on my doorstep. WOW!! What a nice gesture! I wasn't dating anyone at the time, so this was a big surprise. I read the note and it was from Texaco Guy and he was asking me out on a date. Hmmm... interesting. The flowers were just laying there in a pile, which was odd, but they were beautiful. Yellow irises! My favorite! There is no way he could have known that, but the coincidence was nice. There was also a single red tulip in there. Strange. But whatever.

Wait, how does he know what house I live in? I was vague at the gas station, right?!

I promptly set my alarm, shut the window shades (just in case he's lurking somewhere) and decided to put my new beautiful flowers in a vase. They are so pretty, and I could not figure out where he found irises. Those are not usually found in flower shops because they die pretty much the same day you cut them. Hmmm...

I admired my flowers for a minute, and remembered that I needed to get my mail out of the mailbox. Once I was out there, something caught my eye. What is different in my front yard? Something... looks... strange... Wait. Where are my beautiful irises? They are all in full bloom right now and I don't see a single bloom.

Then it hit me. Texaco Guy cut all MY irises down and gave them to me! WHAT IN THE WORLD??? I wait ALL YEAR for my irises to bloom and he cut them all down?? And who on my block is missing one red tulip? What the heck?!

If only I knew what house he lived in, I would have gone and dug up all his shrubs and left them on his front doorstep, with a note that said "Thanks, but I'm busy."

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ball of Lent

There are so many things I could give up for Lent. 40 days and 40 nights of missing something in your life. Something you get too much of.

How do you know when how much is too much? Too much too soon. Too much information. Too much fun. Too much love. Too much to ask... And when is it all just too much to bear?

I could give up dating, for instance. You know, the game of getting to know someone… finding out if they are your type… hoping they are being honest with you when they tell you things that you really want to hear. It’s awkward at times and completely exhausting! But the thing is... there are some things people don't admit because they just don't like the way it sounds. Like, “I’m lonely”. I admit it. I am. The loneliness is palpable. But I'm not desperate. There is a difference. Therefore I will not give up.

I could give up reading my girlie books and read something more sustaining (like the Bible). But I love my easy books. Give me a vampire novel and a cozy chair and you have one completely content girl. When I first moved to Fort Worth and I was totally broke, sometimes I would buy a book instead of dinner. I felt it fed me more. So I’m not giving it up.

I gave up alcohol last year. That was a fun one. I felt healthier, although I found myself turning into a recluse because I couldn’t bear to go to social events where everyone was enjoying a drink and I was sipping on water. The jealousy was radiating from me. Not that I need alcohol, but it sure does make for a more fun evening, given the choice to partake or not. This year, I am not giving it up.

I had to think of something I love, something important to me and my daily life. So I am giving up excess sugar. This is a sacrifice for me. I am like a little kid. I love sugar, in my coffee, in dark chocolate, just spooned into my mouth. Whatever. I love it.

So we’re one day down, 39 to go. Check back with me later when my coffee is sugarless and I am passing on the cake in the breakroom. I might be ready to hang it up. But I won’t. This is important.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The Tricky World of Men

When men make big, bold gestures, they are considered romantic and chivalrous. When women make big, bold gestures, they are considered desperate and psycho. Explain this to me, please.

I'm all for romanticism. I actually live for that kind of stuff. However, why can't women be the ones to do it without looking crazy or clingy or pushy? Oh the mysteries of dating life... I guess if we don't want to appear crazy, then we just have to wait around like the good old days and hope that he calls... and today’s “Guy Code” dictates that 3 days must pass before they call us. Seriously?

It's not that we ladies can't pick up the phone and call or text someone - it's that we might look crazy if we do it! I can't help but wonder "Am I bothering them?!" So do they wonder the same thing when they are thinking about us and wanting to send us a little text??

It’s a risk. Not the kind of risk where you'll find yourself in some guy's basement being ordered to put the lotion on the skin or you'll get the hose again. But it’s a risk to our pride, and to our hearts. We don’t want to look bad and we don’t want to potentially lose a great guy because he thought we were pushy by contacting him first. On the flipside, if a guy is going to run screaming from something like that –do we even want him?

Sometimes I wish I had the deluded self confidence that causes people like Ross Perot to run for President; or people like Lady Gaga to run around in a banana suit. I wouldn't care what they thought. If I wanted to call or text someone, I'd just DO it. Confidence is sexy, and I have tons of confidence (except when it comes to this one issue).

In the words of the brilliant Carrie Bradshaw: "Men are like the New York Times Crossword puzzle: tricky, complicated and you are never really sure you got the right answer." Amen, sister.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Tell Me Lies, Tell Me Sweet Little Lies

A great poet once said “Tell me lies, tell me sweet little lies.” Okay, so maybe that was Stevie Nicks. But she is a poet to me.

I have been thinking lately about those sweet little lies we tell, the ones that are intended to make the other person feel better. Or to make ourselves look or feel better. Or to just generally help a certain situation. And yet. How dangerous.

A retrospective of a past sweet little lie I told:

Once, when I was in college, the kind men of our brother fraternity, Phi Mu Alpha, kidnapped my roommate Dawn and I in an effort to coerce our pledges to find us (and in turn, maybe bond or something). We were hidden away all night in a town 45 minutes from our college at Houston and Elaine’s house. Once the pledges found us after an elaborate scavenger hunt, it was in the wee hours of the morning. Needless to say, I was at my 8am class without a wink of sleep, and by 3pm I was sitting at my desk at work and barely keeping it together. I was alone in the entire office and at some point I must have fallen asleep because I woke up with my forehead on my keyboard and my boss saying my name (in a very offensive tone, I might add). I kept my head down and immediately said “… in thy precious name, Amen.” I looked up innocently, “Yes? I was just saying a quick prayer. What can I do for you?” She bought it! And I kept my job.

This is an example of a sweet little lie that was relatively harmless. I went home that day, prayed for forgiveness and explained to God in such an authoritative tone that I couldn’t lose my job. Somebody had to pay the rent. I slept better that night.

And I have had a funny story to tell for years and years.

Then there are those big lies. The ones that hurt people or hurt myself. I have been lied to, so many times. Usually by men, sometimes by girlfriends. And it always hurts. But I don’t let it hurt the trust I have in people from the beginning. Everyone gets a clean slate at first.

Somebody once asked me to try to remember the biggest lie I have ever told. Unfortunately, I had been dishonest so many times that I couldn’t pinpoint the biggest one. I have lied to get a job (and then worked extra hard to prove myself, and once I caught up to where I needed to be, I didn’t remember that I shouldn’t have gotten the job to begin with). I have lied to save face. I have lied to make people feel better. I have lied to make myself feel better.

Thankfully this behavior is not recent. I have made a concerted effort over the past few years to be honest, sometimes brutally, with myself and the people in my life. It helps to have a person holding you accountable, and that person is God. It’s not easy. Sometimes it hurts. Sometimes I hurt someone else. Sometimes I embarrass myself. But I sure sleep better at night.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Cabin Fever

I am sitting on my turquoise-colored couch, snowed in. Sometimes I just don’t know what to do with myself.

I have my rituals before work - such as my cold cup of coffee. I have a habit of drinking the same cup of cold coffee all morning, and that drives most people nuts. If I’m out for breakfast, the waitress never quite knows how to react when she approaches me for a warm up and I immediately cover up my coffee cup and decline. I don’t mind it a bit.

So here I am with my cold cup of coffee (which was hot at some point today), my menagerie of animals are snuggled next to me and my computer is fired up. Even though I have no world wide web internet service (that’s what I like to call it-sounds more impressive), which means that I am writing this and putting it on my thumb drive/usb thing and will upload it later, when I am in front of the world wide web internet. That’s my choice by the way, the “no internet thing”. I have found profound peace in not having it at my fingertips. Which means I do not have one of those thinking phones either. And that’s fine with me.

Peaceful morning. And yet. I just don’t know what to do with myself.

I could clean, since I’m pretty much obsessed with having things clean. But that’s the problem with being obsessed with having things clean – they are already clean. So that’s out.

I could cook, since I love love love to cook. But I need groceries. And I’m snowed in. So that’s out.

I could go to work, but the morning off is probably a good thing considering I have a tendency to work myself to death, what with a bunch of side jobs and an apprenticeship. Plus I’m snowed in. So that’s out.

I guess I’ll just sit here and relax. What a novel idea. Hmm…is it normal that I have no idea how to do that for long periods of time?? I better go look for a good book. I’ve got plenty of those.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Son of a Beach

I spend about as much time on the phone today as I did when I was a teenager. I think I’m addicted to the damn thing. That’s probably just a side effect of living alone. I can only talk to my pets so much before their lack of response starts to give me a slight complex. But I digress…

Last night I was talking to my mom on the phone while she was driving home from “Toastmasters”. I’m still unclear as to exactly what Toastmasters is. I am leaning toward a cult that sometimes wears strange hats, and when you go, you are forced to give impromptu, highly personal speeches. She insists it is a nice group of people who enjoy public speaking and gain confidence and friends. Hmm. You say pleasant crowd of folks, I say spooky cult. Tomato/Tomahto…

She pitched a speech idea to me. It involves the land we have in Arkansas, ticks and the word “foreplay” is in the punch line. I see the humor. Arkansas is redneck, ticks are great, especially when they give you Lyme disease, and who doesn’t love a good foreplay joke? However, I just wasn’t feeling it. Not because it is a story about my parents, intermingled with the word “foreplay” (there isn’t actually any foreplay in this story. I may not know what Toastmasters is, but I’m 99% certain it’s not that kind of establishment), but because it just gave me the willies.

We decided to nix that story.

So we started recounting our trip to Honduras in 2005. When our boat docked, my dad and sister took off for some diving and my mom and I found ourselves in paradise. We had signed up for an excursion that included a tour of the island Roatan and a day on a private beach. We promptly board a 1978 bus that looks like it is headed for a prison and proceed to drive through the most poverty-stricken area I have ever seen with my own blue eyes. I can’t describe what it was like. But it’s certainly something I’ll never forget.

We then got to our first destination, an Iguana Farm. Sounds harmless. Those are like the Geico Gecko, right? WRONG. Those are bigger than Bama (who is my 14.7 pound Shih Tzu (yes she has lost .3 pounds since the diet began, thank you very much)) and their eyes are bulging out of their heads. Their fingernails are longer than the ones on the gloves that come with witch Halloween costumes and they are running around at our feet. Oh, and I forgot to mention that there are thousands of them. My mom grabs me and tells me to stay close, but I immediately went into a trance and started walking through the iguanas. I figured out later that I was transfixed on a monkey that was on display. The poor emaciated thing was pitiful, but it was enough to get me to walk through thousands of iguanas. While walking through the sea of green lizards, I was handed a huge leaf. I thanked the kind woman for her gift, and then she informed me that I was to feed the lizards. So I hold the leaf out as far away from my body as possible and one quick little fellow eats it in about 2 seconds. Before I knew it, the little sharp teeth were up by my fingers! I immediately did a full body shiver and ran screaming from the scene.

I spot my mom at the same time all of the iguanas spot her. She is wearing a long swimsuit cover-up that is moomoo-esque and has a print of huge green leaves on it, so in their minds, she is covered in their dinner. She starts getting surrounded by iguanas and I can see the panic creep across her face. Somehow she sidestepped and did a little dance and got away from the monsters. I made my way over to her and we clung to each other for safety. Meanwhile, everyone else seems to be having a fine time. Weirdos.

Out of nowhere, my mom starts screaming and running across the dirt parking lot in pursuit of a bright red bus, the only bright red bus in the place. She starts beating on the windows and screaming for them to stop. The driver stopped and then had to tell her we weren’t on his bus, that all of his passengers were accounted for. She comes back over, looking frazzled, and I point out our bus to her (which I have not let out of my sight) and make sure that she sees that it is not bright red and that it is still here. I assure her that we were not going to be left. Over my dead body. She and I needed a Xanax.

Finally, it was time to leave the hell that is the Roatan Island Iguana Farm, and head to the private beach. This place was magnificent. Beautiful sand, warm water, setting sun… a nice beach dweller cooking lobster tails. Paradise.

Once we and our full bellies got settled in our chairs, the woman lounging in the chair next to us says (unsolicited) “You know, it was a beautiful day just like today when that horrific tsunami hit and killed all those people.”

Thanks, lady. Now we’re afraid for our lives again. Just when Roatan was starting to redeem itself.