December 15, 2012

Because this is my space and I can.

This is my blog, my space.  This is mine, so I will empty my guts here.

In the middle of my last class, my husband texted me asking if I knew what was going on in Connecticut.  When I replied I had not, he filled me in.  And in that moment my heart broke.  But it is not as broken as the parents of those babies.  My will seal itself up, but their's will forever be cracked and smashed and black and empty in a way I can only hope I never have to understand.

It is sad that we lock our children in buildings everyday so they can safely learn. They should have open windows and freely move through the space with no fear.  It is deplorable that we even bother with trials of these people, and yet I respect our judicial process enough that I understand why we must.  We're falling apart.  I feel as humanity is slowly stretching itself at the seams punctuated with the abrupt tearing and slicing and shattering of us.  Yet, we continue accepting behaviors and trying to explain them away...

Leaving school today, a beautiful sunny day in December, I saw a window opened in a classroom.  All the students are gone for the day, so only the teacher remains.  My first thought was how accessible the room would be to someone wanting to hurt people inside the school.  That's screwed up on so many levels. My second thought was how nice I bet it was inside the classroom with the breeze and fresh air.  That should have been first.  Viewing an open window as an opportunity for crime is just bullshit.

This is not a God issue or a gun issue.  It is a people issue.  To turn it into anything else is ridiculous.  But it will be.  We love to take a tragedy and try to make sense of it by finding something to blame other than ourselves.  It is never us.  No, never. We make concessions for everyone for every reason.  Divorced parents, mental illness, bullying, bad music, bad video what point do we look at ourselves as a culture and point the finger back?  When does it become our responsibility to take care of each other?  I'm not a liberal by definition, but I do believe it takes a village to hold us together. 

It has been mentioned there is a possibility of mental illness playing a role in this tragedy.  That said, does that make it okay?  Someone posted on a news site this should be a wake-up call to how we are dealing with mental health in our country.  While we certainly don't do the best job, to use this as evidence for the failure of that system is not acceptable.  There are plenty of people with mental illness who function everyday without violence, and we don't know enough yet to make that call in this case.  Besides, I can accept (in some twisted way) mental illness for murdering your own mother, but there is no sense when you then leave and drive to a school and murder innocent babies.  There has to be a line, and I draw it there.

I have no point here, really.  I'm sad. I'm angry.  I'm scared.  I'm pissed.  I want to cuss and hit things and hug my babies and pray. Don't make this the Calvary Cry for your personal goals.  Don't tarnish the memory of these untarnished souls by making them a statistic for your political motivations.  Do look around you and see what we are evolving into:  a culture of instant gratification and "Imma get mine, by God!"  Do ask what you can do because we can all do something...even if it's just telling our own children 'no' sometimes.  

Beyond all of our religious and political differences, there is one basic human rule:  Don't harm others. Is that so hard?

December 8, 2012

Chapter, Song, and Verse...Or Whatever That Saying Is...

First, I would like to say "You're welcome!" to the gentleman who drove past me and smiled as I was performing my personal rock concert in my car.  I was alone, a strange thing for me, and an old mix started playing in the CD player.  I started off strong with Liz Phair...But if you're tired of looking at my face, I guess I already am...(Divorce Song. Go now and listen to it.  You'll thank me, too!)  After some Union Station and Beth Hart, I finished with Purple Rain.  There was air guitar.  I might have been louder than the speakers.  Well, probably.  However, there is no way to quietly sing this song.  For the love, he only wanted to see her laughing in the purple rain. Sheesh.

So, that's how I rolled today.  Just me and my thoughts...alone for several hours in the car. Yep, me and my thoughts. (taps foot softly)

Yeah, so my thoughts are like a gaggle of preschoolers after about 12 boxes of Oreos with 72 ounces of chocolate milk chasers.  Anxiety makes your brain a little, um, fast sometimes.  My Better Half refers to it as Conversational Turrets because my brain jumps from one place to the next with no reason.  I counter, however, that it makes perfect sense to me and that's all that really matters.  I can explain the 6 degrees of separation between our vacation destination and getting a spanking in Kindergarten for spraying milk on my teacher.  (Vacation was in Florida where I also went for vacation when I was in third grade with my aunt and uncle who lived in Atlanta and my best friends used to go with me to visit because they had been my best friends since we were two when our dads got to be friends and we'd even been in school together since Kindergarten but I started school with one sister and on parent's day we had milk but the teacher couldn't get there fast enough because she was talking to another parent and ignoring me so I stabbed the milk with my fork because we still had those then and the milk was frothy from me jostling it so it sprayed all over the teacher who happened to FINALLY make it over to me.  See?  Perfect sense.  Might be a step more or less than six, though.)

I got to spend some quality time with my daddy the other day.  We took J to Shriners for a check-up.  All is well.  New braces for his legs are being made currently, and I eventually caved and let him get the ugly-ass 'Blue Snake' pattern.  Kids becoming independent sometimes blows.  All of a sudden they think they have a sense of fashion...but they don't, which is why I am looking at Hurricane C in her hot chocolate shirt and spring green capri pants. I digress.

On the way home, my pops and I talked about random things...just a casual conversation, really.  There were things we talked about, though, that I didn't know about him.  Parts of his childhood.  Why he's claustrophobic.  My nana.  He's always been my daddy, the fixer of all things broken:  cars, toys, air conditioners, stereos, hearts...whatever needed fixing.  It sort of dawned on me in that "duh" kinda way that I knew him as how I saw him, but less so as how he was shaped and molded into that person.  The stories that we all have about growing up?  Yeah, our parents have them, too.  Believe it or not, they are real live people who did things before they had kids.  Who knew?

That day was long.  The appointment was almost 3 hours behind and we didn't get home until after bedtime.  It was not one I'd like to repeat....except.  There will be a time when my daddy will be like my nana....a whisper in my ear, a voice I still hear clearly in my mind.  But he won't be here...HERE with me to share the stories of how he grew up and why he is, to me, the most wonderful daddy ever to bless the Earth and possibly several other planets.  I wouldn't trade those long days for anything in the world.  They gave me memories.

It's the time of year when we all rush around with our brains on overdrive.  I swear I don't know how we make it all happen, but shortly there will be gifts around the tree, food on the table, and lights galore.  We will head to church on Christmas Eve to sing and light the candles.  It's my favorite part of the tradition we have.  Plus, Hurricane C informed me Baby Jesus (you have to pronounce it "BaaayBee Jaysus". She's twangy.) needed a big birthday party and she was concerned he wouldn't have enough people show up so we had to go.  Bless her.  

If you are having one of those "oh, shit!" moments where you have no idea what to get someone, consider giving them some time.  Lunch.  A walk in the park.  Just time to talk, tell stories, and share a part of your life with them. Let them share their life with you. Turn off the cell phones, iwhatevers, and give them attention.  Look into their eyes, listen carefully to their words.  You'd be amazed.  Promise.  You're welcome.

November 4, 2012

What You Leave Behind...Patterns of Letters, Words, and Deeds

This morning was one of those mornings where it was looking like a good day to stay at home...clean the crumbs from last nights pizza, drink some coffee with the pumpkin spice creamer (which should NOT be seasonal, btw), and work on some school stuff.  Then I realized the time had changed and I could really do some of these things and still make it to church.  So I bailed on the kids and husband and took my arse to church.

I have been a bit lax in church has been happening at a pretty quick pace.  I haven't been on here much despite starting two or three other posts.  I just haven't found time or heart to finish them.  We've been wrestling with some family stuff, and the whole family is just, well, busy. Hence, our pew has been lonely.

As it should happen, because it is me and this is how all things happen to me, our wonderful and amazing pastor decided today to recognize All Saints' Day.  To do this, we did a roll call of those who have passed away this year.  Honestly, I knew one of the seven.  I knew others' names, but couldn't pick them out of a line-up.  It was sobering.  It was sad.  It made me cry and snot come out of my nose and of course I had no tissue.  I wanted my return sermon to be full of rainbows and unicorns and uplifting messages to carry me aloft through the week.  

I looked over the names in the bulletin.  There they were in alphabetical order recorded in black ink on bone-colored paper for eternity as they were on funeral bulletins in the previous months.  It hit me that one day this is what would be left of name in black ink on a page.  People will see my name and they will have memories attached to it.  Did they know me?  Was my heart good?  Did I right my wrongs?  Is my legacy one my children will be proud of?  How will they feel when they see my name in black ink on bone-colored paper?

I remember the pressure I felt when picking my children's names.  It was a good, welcomed feeling, but I wanted to make sure they had good, strong names to carry them throughout their lives. My eldest was named after my great-aunt.  My grandfather helped raise her and always talked about her while I was growing up.  I have keepsakes of hers to pass along to my daughter one day.  My son was named based on #8 down in the crossword puzzle of that day's paper.  My father and I looked at it, looked at my newborn son, and we knew that was his name...and it suits him perfectly.  Our baby girl was named after months of debate and multiple variations.  Her name is as strong as her is a regal name, classic and timeless.  They are all the epitome of their names.  Strong, graceful, resilient.

What will we leave behind?  When your name is in black ink, what emotion will it bring to those who see it?  Our names are more than names...they are patterns of letters attached to our deeds, the remnants of a life lived how?  People will one day put my name in their family tree and genealogy research.  I hope they will see that name...and feel a sense of gladness it is there.  I hope I leave behind a name in black ink that is overwhelmingly full of goodness.

May your week be full of things that make your name full of goodness.

July 30, 2012

To Chick-Fil-A or Not...That Is NOT The Question!

My sleepy little town doesn't have a Chick-Fil-A. Closest we got was when McD's had their version with the Southern Breaded chicken sandwich, which was sort of like marrying the ugly brother...You got something, but it wasn't what you wanted.  Chick-Fil-A was a short trip up the road to the big city.  Ahhh, and how I loved those rare moments. Steamy buns, just-the-right-amount of greasiness, and pickle flavors.  (I don't like pickles, but I love the flavor. I always get them, but then take them off. I think it's a texture thing....or a weird thing.)  And waffle fries!  And the coolest ketchup packets evah!  And lemonade! And ice dream cones...oh, the soft serve.  Mercy.

It seems that as of late, the president of Chick-Fil-A, Dan Cathy, has started a little bit of a shit storm.  One more facebook status update about it might just put me over the line.  It would seem that he and his company have given quite a large sum of money to groups who are against gay and lesbian humans being able to get married.  I'm sure there is a more inflammatory way to say this, but my point is not to stir anyone's oats.  Amazon, on the other hand, along with companies like Google and Starbucks, have given money to the opposing team.  

Here's a little food for thought (pun intended 'cause I'm cheesy like that.)  In my world of facebook, I've had friends posting support both ways.  Some are screaming they'll never eat at Chick-Fil-A again.  Others are ready to commit to it 24-7-365 for a lifetime of chicken-y goodness and support.  Whatever.  No, really.  I could care less.  Wanna know why?   Opinions are like assholes...everybody has one (I've not tested that theory, though.)  That's why.

Before we go any further, I'm not telling you which side of the fence I'm sitting on.  (I'm sticking my tongue out right now.)  It's not important.  What is important is that we live in a country where anyone is supposed to have the right to speak his/her opinion and, if he/she chooses, to support that opinion financially.  Not everyone on our Earth is so lucky.  

So, my point?  If you disagree with what Chick-Fil-A supports, don't ever bite into one of their sandwiches again.  Ban those waffle fries and decree that lemonade.  It's okay.  If you believe as they do, then eat there every damn day of your life.  If your meal is $4.87, pay with a $20 and don't ask for change.  Leave it as a donation.  Either way, it's all good.  Have an opinion.  It's okay.

What eats me is people who are calling for the collapse of Chick-Fil-A.  This is a huge company (okay, it's not McD's, but there are still a lot of people employed there) and its financial ruin would make our already crappy economy even crappier for some people.  How acceptable would it be if there was a huge outcry for the collapse of a company because they supported the opposing position?  People would scream about hate and discrimination and bigotry and whatever else would grab a headline.  Then there would be the injustice and how-dare-you's.  Because Mr. Cathy's position is what it is, it seems okay to wish financial harm upon the company.  I'm not sure that's the road we want to travel.

If you want someone to listen to you and consider changing his/her mind, then you have to treat him/her like a human being.  You can't go all Jersey Shore and "Come at me, bro" and expect someone to listen to your words.  I like to think of it as civil discussion.  We talk...not scream.  We respect each other.  Maybe one of us plants a seed in the other's mind. Maybe we still give our money to our own causes and silently hate each other.  But.  But what if one conversation changes one mind.  We should treat each conversation and interaction with another human being as if it could change the world...cause it might. 

Wonder if McDonald's has improved that chicken sandwich any????  

July 26, 2012

Get Out The Map...Love In An Uncommon Place

In the summer of 1989, I sat in a cramped little room with a high ceiling and long narrow windows.  It was white with a faux (cause that sounds better than fake...which is what it was) cherry table and lots and lots and lots of law books.  Every morning my aunt and I drove to work into the big city of  Hot 'Lanta (um, you know, Atlanta?) and she bought me a lemon poppy seed muffin and a Coke.  It was a very big girl thing to do, especially since I was still trying to master this teenager thing.  My job was to update the law books while drinking copious amounts of Diet Coke and singing along to the little radio/cassette player the boss had let me borrow. I don't think my pay included all the Diet Coke I was drinking from the office fridge, but it's too late to worry now.

My cassette of choice that summer was the Indigo Girls. (Stop for a moment and digest the fact that I just referred to a cassette player.  Some kids don't even know what those are. Wait till I break out my mix tapes.)  I sang it and breathed it and lived it....or so I thought.  Really, I was just another girl working my way through the Hell we call adolescence. I mean, c'mon, I couldn't stop by the bar at 3 am to seek solace in a bottle or possible a friend. That was at least seven years away.

On a perfect summer night many moons ago, I got to see them live.  It was akin to magic.  It was on the lawn at Biltmore and I was with my bestest friend, who also happens to know all the words. We had a great dinner and then sang our happy little souls out late into the night.  We came home happy.  

Tonight, many years beyond the first time, I got to see them play live again.  It was magical, but even more so than the first time.  

The Bijou is small...sort of like what it would be if I invited Amy and Emily over for a spot of tea and then they just happened to break out some music to say thank you for me being such a lovely and gracious hostess all the while I'm sitting on the couch.  They were amazing, but what I saw in the audience took my breath away and brought tears down my cheeks.  For real.  

There were two women in the section next to us.  They were about five or six rows down on the end seats.  Judging by their solid white hair and affinity for the Alfred Dunner collection, I'd go out on a limb and place them in their 60s.  They were cute as buttons.

As the song "Get Out The Map" begins, I notice these women for the first time.  Not because of anything you might think.  One of the women was looking intently at the other.  The other woman was bobbing her head and singing along.  What one might miss were her hands.  Her hands were animated butterflies dancing around in front of the first woman's face.  They bobbed and weaved...They swayed side to side and bounced off her face and chest.  She was telling the story of the song to her partner who could hear nothing.

People who are deaf can feel the vibrations of music.  I think it would be like sitting behind a low-rider truck with several 12" speakers and about 10,000 watts of amplifiers at a red light.  I don't know what freaking song is playing, but HOLY CRAP! DO YOU FEEL THAT BASS?!!  The lady who could not hear could feel all the sensations of the music, but could also 'hear' the words because someone loves her enough to sit beside her for 3 whole hours and sign every.single.word to her.  That?  That's love. 

I don't have a witty ending for this...just happy knowing some people do love each other to the moon and back.   

July 12, 2012

Don't Mess This Up, Okay?!!!

If you live your life right, people will smile when you're gone.  Not because they're glad you aren't here anymore, but because they have a bus load of memories to share...war stories of good times.

I went to a memorial service tonight. It wasn't a funeral by any means, really.  No sad hymns.  Not much tissue although I cried and snotted all over my sweater.  There was bluegrass music and smiles and laughter.  It was what a gathering to honor someone's life should be.

When I try to bring these things up with Better Half, he informs me I'm morbid and he just doesn't want to talk about it.  I have enough time to hit the high points, but then he moves on to something else.  So, I'm gonna let you know what ya'll need to do...just so no one screws it up. (This is assuming I don't live to be the last of my friends and family...if that happens, I'm gonna be pissed. I don't wanna be first, but I don't wanna be last, either.  I'll be happy with somewhere in the middle, thank you.)

First, should Jeffers Mortuary still be going strong, I'd like to go there.  Richard had the place spruced up and it looks nice.  The building is all old and full of character, but not musty and yucky.   Cremation wouldn't be bad, but I'm not sure what would be done with my ashes.  If they can be spread into the ocean, that would be great...Might be a law against that, though.  I'll think on that...If not, I want a pretty silver casket.  Brown just isn't my color.

Ya'll are going to sing "Amazing Grace" because that song makes me think of my nana and always makes me cry happy tears.  Then everybody needs to share a little.  You don't have to talk about me.  Talk to each other.  Tell each other how good it is to see each other and how you all wish it was under better circumstances.  Do me a favor, see each other more often under better circumstances.  Don't lose touch, okay?

When everybody has had enough time, sing me "Brokedown Palace."  Make sure you print copies of the lyrics so everybody participates.  Ya'll gotta sing me out, okay?  As you're leaving, "Shady Grove" would be nice, too.

When ya get done singing and chatting, go somewhere and have a drink.  Here's the drill:  Everybody orders a shot.  Get juice if you don't drink.  I don't really care.  Get one empty shot glass for me.  When the shots are done, flip my shot glass upside down.  That's how we toasted my grandpa.  Don't send flowers or anything.  Give money to Shriners or something near to your heart.  

So, that's all.  Just have a good time.  It doesn't matter if we're all our 70s or something.  Bring your ass in on your walker or whatever and celebrate.  Hug somebody you haven't seen in a while.  Tell an embarrassing story about me.  Talk about how crabby I was.  It's all good.  Just don't be sad...never sad.  Eat some Wanda's Stripper Dip and have a good time.  That's how I want to go out, okay?  

P.S.  You don't have to wait until I'm dead to start visiting with each other.  Matter of fact, this weekend you should call someone you haven't talked to in a while and catch up.  We both know you have 10 minutes you waste doing some other mindless crap.  Go make it count.  Much love to you peeps.  RIP, Phat Papaw.  I'm better for having known you.

July 4, 2012

Marty McFly, Tribal Armbands, and Disappointment

I need to be able to travel in Marty McFly.  Apparently my mother, as smart as she is, is confused about growing up.  She seems to remember a childhood where she never misbehaved or stressed her parents.  She seems to believe she was the perfect child and never went against her parents' wishes.  I, however, counter that this is a load of horseshit and her memory is skewed.

All I need is a DeLorean and a Flux Capicitor to prove it.

Remember the 90s?  Nirvana? Flannel? Barbed wire tattoos encircling the (not so much) muscular bicep? Tramp stamps? Ankles wrapped in tribal bands?  You know where this is going, right? 

The heart of our debate revolves around tattoos.  Essentially, she doesn't get it and I do.  I've tried to explain it.  I've tried to convey to her what I think.  I get that she doesn't like them.  How do I know this?  "Pardon me, I don't get it," was a recent text message. (I'd put a screenshot, but my phone ran away from home and hasn't come back yet.)  I think she's pretty clear.

So, I'm going to try to explain it here...cause we totally rock on family communication!

I got a tattoo when I was 18.  It is a most lovely design with lots of color.  It hurt.  But, I have no regrets about it and I still love seeing it. There was no deep meaning behind it, but I still remember standing in a little hippie store and picking the design out.  Sort of takes me back to that time in life, ya know.

There are two are below my ankle bone.  One is a gecko and the other is the Proctor & Gamble symbol.  I know, I know. Why?  At this particular time in my life, I loved that little gecko for no explainable reason. The other one was a nod to my sarcasm.  People have claimed for years that the symbol represented the company's ties to satanism...but it's not. Duh. Face value is not always the true value,eh?

My ribcage has a quite lovely young fairy girl with a long green dress and golden wings.  I chose her because I had been told by my (then) doctor that I probably wouldn't/couldn't have children. Obviously she was wrong, but I had no idea at that time how this would play out. She was my girl, the one I thought I'd never have. I am grateful to have two beautiful and amazing daughters now, but I'm still in love with my fairy girl.

My back started as an ode to my firstborn.  It is a mother and child with her name below.  There is abstract water below and flames surrounding.  She is an  Aquarius, if you're into that sort of thing, and this is known as the water bearer.  Get it? Water bearer...water.  I'm a Leo, so...tada!  Fire for the fire sign.  I added my son's name in Hebrew.  His name is interpreted as held by the heel...ironic considering his nerve damage affects this area of his body.  Sometimes we know what we don't know we know...know what I mean?

Today I added Baby Girl's name.  It is a perfectly sweet daisy with a hurricane symbol at its center.  It is the culmination of who she is.  Pure and sweet, some days...Daisies are also known as 'thunderflowers' because they bloom in the summer when thunderstorms are common.  She is this, too.  Thunderous and loud and demanding.  The hurricane is a nod to her nickname.  We have called her the hurricane since she was about 18 months old.  She sort of has that way about her.  You certainly know when she has been around.

Each one of these is a permanent memory of a particular place and time.  I remember the idealism I had with my first one, thinking anything was possible in my life.  My parents saw the gecko at my dear, wonderful, and amazing aunt's funeral.  They saw the P&G symbol nine months later when we buried my sweet Papaw.  My fairy was all the hurt and disappointment I felt thinking motherhood would elude me.  My back is what keeps me going...these souls, unjaded and limitless, trusted to me and captured in images of how I see them.

I know my parents, who are phenomenal, don't 'get' it.  My brother, who also has a few tattoos, and I have had this discussion.  We both feel like we've let them down in some way.  Yet, both of us have nothing that doesn't carry a an important memory or meaning for us.  It's not the decision I'm sure they would've wanted us to make, but it is by far not the worse thing that could've happened to either of us.  We're good kids...we're raising good kids...neither of us have a rap sheet (Bratsy, I'm assuming you've disclosed anything to the contrary, right?)...They did a good job.  Nobody failed parenting.  It's all good.

P.S. I'm guessing Papaw wasn't good with you drag racing your car, Mom!  :)

July 2, 2012

She Went To The Chapel...And Got Hitched! (No, Not Me)

So, there was this girl I met a long time barhopping, waiting-tables-to-get-by, no-retirement-fund long time ago.  It's kind of funny because we really didn't like each other too much as teenagers, but I realize now we sometimes dislike the people we are most like.  After a short time, I realized she was the grape jelly to my peanut butter.

She's good stuff, too.  No matter what I needed, she would take care of it.  She still would.  

There was a time, though, when things changed with us.  My life was in one place, but her's was in another. One wasn't better than the other, just different.  At a Christmas party, she got upset over something unrelated to me, but I spazzed and left.  It would be over a year before we spoke again.

One night, as I listened to a new CD, I thought how much she would like it.  Then I thought how much I missed sharing those things with her.  On a whim, I sent a short olive branch.  I must add that apologies are not my strength.  Truthfully, I suck at them.  I hoped the words conveyed half of what my heart was feeling.  I guess they did because she called and we talked until almost 3 in the morning.  We picked up right where we left off.

Sometimes we don't talk for a few days...every now and again, we'll go for a week or so.  There are no hurt feelings or jealousies; we just catch up and move on.  I love this about us.

After years and years of being just fine and dandy on her own, she met a boy (well, re-met the boy....he's a redo.)  There was a good, old-fashioned whirlwind romance and a ring.  Last week, I sat in a breathtaking garden and watched as they promised all the world to each other.  He is a good man, and I know he appreciates the gift of her.  I sometimes think he understood before I did.

This post is not witty or funny or sarcastic or intriguing.  It's just me letting her know how much I adore her.  She's funny and amazing.  She's honest and strong. He is lucky to have am I.  Love you Jilly.

June 13, 2012

People In Glass Houses...Oh, Nevermind...

I sometimes open my mouth and words jump out unexpectedly.  My brain is screaming, "NO! SHUT DOWN THE WORMHOLE!" but it is often too late.  They escape into the Universe usually committing me to yet another thing...because I need one more thing.

The last verbal explosion got me on a committee to discuss/act upon diversity issues with our school system.  Really, I don't know why this is such a biggie for me, but it is. I'd spent my life thinking race didn't matter, but I've since learned race does matter.  I just didn't realize it because I hadn't spent any time being any other race...which I can't do because, well, think about it. Duh. As Lady Gaga says, "I was born this way."  

Anywho, I digress.  It's been a thrilling and sometimes disheartening process.  It's opened my eyes to how we view other human beings...the daily thoughts we are not even aware we are having.  I got my own little experience with this over the last couple of weeks.

Because it's summer and because my parents don't pay my bills anymore, I went a little crazy with the hair color.  It started out an acceptable dark brown with some red/violet highlights.  Somehow, though, it just wasn't enough.  I needed something else that screamed "SCHOOL'S OUT!" like Alice Cooper's theme song.  And that is how I ended up with fuchsia hair.
Let me tell you, nothing gets people's attention in a small, Southern town like some pink hair!  What has been more interesting to me is seeing how differently people act toward me now that my hair is more of a beacon for alien aircraft.

I have gotten a lot of, "Oh, I love your hair!"  There has been some, "Oh, your hair is pink!" with less pea-green envy and more holy shit! in their voices.  Then there are the ignorers, those who just act like of course I would have pink hair.  I'm not sure if that says they expect it from me or they totally disapprove and are ignoring it so it will go away.  Hmmm.....

In some weird, parallel Universe, I have somehow altered the soul of who I am by doing this.  I am no longer a responsible mother of three, a wife deeply in love and dedicated to her husband, a pretty good daughter, a school junkie with as many college degrees as I have children, and a never-late-bill-payer.  I am my hair...and some interpret that as flaky, irresponsible, less educated, unemployed, and irrational.  I think being irrational might be interesting.

In a couple of weeks, my hair will be a more responsible shade of espresso. (Like how I make that all cool sounding?  It's dark brown...don't get excited.)  My career isn't dancing on a stage while millions of people buy my crappy attempt at vocals and my parents didn't inherit millions of billions of dollars, so I have to put the pink hair away for a couple of months. I totally love my job/career, so I'm okay with that.  It's all good.

What about those things people can't put away or take off or dye or alter? What eyes do we see those people through?  As I've stated before, my sweet boy will never have the Forrest Gump moment of running free from bulky metal braces to find solid legs to carry him.  What do others see when they notice his braces?   No, what do they see?  They see can't do, pitiful, so sad, less than....they don't see my oh-so-intelligent son who can kick the world's ass.

When you see the worker on the side of the you see illegal immigrant?  When you see the black woman in the grocery store, do you assume food stamps?  When you see the Indian student on campus, do you assume doctor or engineer?  When someone is not like you, what do you see? We are all more than what the eyes see.  What do you see?

Because I am more, soooo much more, than pink hair...and if you don't see past it, then you can't see me.

June 9, 2012

Eden's Meme: Who Am I?

I have missed Eden's call, aka Fresh Horses Brigade. In reality, she is politely inviting others to join her on a meme.  In my mind, however, it's a challenge to see how far I can push myself.  Eden charges one of those medieval jousters galloping while taunting mercilessly, "Come at me, bro!" She's ballsy like that, while I am more whispering, "Please go away," while hiding behind a steel door. 

Once upon a time, I used to look into the mirror and ask, "Who am I?  Who the hell is that person I see?  Do I see what others see?"  Probably typical adolescent angst...or maybe I have been weird for longer than I thought.  I still look in the mirror and wonder who that person is.  Here is what I this moment.

I have been a girlfriend and the other girl.  I have been a best friend and a worst enemy.  I have been the punk rocker and the normal girl.  

Now I am a mother and a wife. I was a wife to someone else before, but I am doing a better job with this least I like to think so.

My children are the absolute soul of my life, but I need my space from them and they from me.  We have to breathe other air sometimes so we don't suffocate each other.

I have several best friends.  I have my best friends who have been around since we were in diapers; I have my best friend who knows all my skeletons and where they hang; I have my best friend who shares my love of antiques and auctions.  They each and every one mean the world to me.

I hate flying because, well, just because.

I have issues with control.  Like, big ones...I have to have it because I am the only one qualified to be in control (except when I'm not.)

I used to love driving by myself for hours at a time, but my anxiety keeps me close to home now.

I can love deeply and without abandon, but when I am done...I am done.  I have never stopped loving anyone without reason.

I firmly believe I have angels looking over me.  I've made too many damn mistakes without serious repercussions to not have.  

I am obsessive about health issues.  At any given time I can convince myself I have cancer or other malady.  Remember that show Medical Mysteries from several years back?  That is my nightmare.  That, too, is all about control.

I constantly doubt myself.  I question every word that comes out of my mouth. 

I love the word dammit.  So much so that a close friend from grade school addressed all my birthday cards to "Dammit" for most of our lifetimes.

I buy mostly black, white, and gray clothing.  I try to buy colorful things with prints, but it feels like I'm wearing someone else's stuff.

I know I am complex sometimes, but mostly I am simple.  I don't understand why people makes things more difficult than they are.  In fairness, they probably don't understand why I react the way I do.

I love the ocean.  My daddy grew up near the ocean, and he loved to take us every summer to visit there.  He is a different person he fits that puzzle better than he does here in the mountains.  My soul is more settled there. Maybe that's my puzzle, too.

I can't pick a favorite color because I love them all.  I don't get white walls and beige carpet.  Right now my house is full of watery blues and pale grays and calming greens, but that is subject to change when I feel necessary.  My house is both a home and palette.

I don't have one favorite song.  I don't have one particular genre of music I prefer.  Like the colors, I love them all.  I'm just as likely to listen something classical or country as I am rap or metal.  My youngest knows how to air drum and head bang, but she can also break it down JLo style.  Diversity is important.

I know my words can be sharp, hurty things, so I sometimes say nothing at all.  Silence doesn't mean I agree with you.  

I love live music.  Period.  Even if it's shitty.

I have fuchsia hair right now, but it'll be a more acceptable color before school starts...only because it has to be.  People judge you differently when your hair is screaming at them.

I have moved more times than I can count.  I have moved 11 times in 20 years.  Despite this, most of the moves have been within a 5 mile radius.  I can pack a moving truck like nobody's business.  

This is not a definitive picture of who I am...I know that.  I didn't tell you about the time my Papaw let me break about 75 bricks brand spankin' new bricks in half even though they were to be used for a new sidewalk because I just wanted to.  I didn't tell you about the night I saw a funnel cloud above our car while riding through the midnight countryside.  I didn't tell you about the time my best friend hit me over the head with a metal truck because she didn't want me on her swing set.  There are many contributors to who I am, some I'm not even aware of and never will be.  

I might be someone totally different by the time the sun sets today...Life is funny that way.

Who are you?

June 6, 2012

Mr. Clean Exploded All Over My House...And I Love It!!!!

Mr. Clean threw up all over my house last week.  And it was the best thing ever!

For some years I have griped/moaned/whined/bitched about wanting someone to help clean the house.  I came to realize the other humans that inhabit this house with me were not the answer to this because they are the ones making the damn mess.  I know this because my house was immaculate before I got married and/or gave birth.  Finally, I broke down and, as Nike says, just did it.  And when I did?  I felt like the most bourgie girl on the block...or cul-de-sac, anyway.  I mean,'s summer and I'm out of school.  My appointment book is filled with "Crap I Don't Have To Do But Totally Want To."  Things like taking a friend to get her first tattoo and getting my hair did.  I totally have time to clean the crapper.

But.  When school cranks back up, that ends.  Then I'm running on nada.  I don't notice the toilets are dirty because I barely have time to park my rump on one.  Life becomes wake-eat-school-soccer-homework-grade papers-baths-bed and repeat.  That is when I will need someone to save my sanity with a little clean bath action.  So, I took preventive measures and found someone early. See, this is sincerely me planning for the future.

As usual, I had a beautiful epiphany out of this experience.  There are always things to be learned, even if it's not to wear those pink boy shorts panties with jeans anymore because they ride up something fierce.  What I learned is the other humans are much more diligent about their duties when I'm paying someone to clean this joint.  Better Half looked at me after the lady had left and said, "I really hate to take a shower.  It just...glistens."  And it did.  He even wiped the sink every day since she came. That is just short of miraculous.

Things just feel better in some ways when we pay for them.  Don't get me wrong, I love me a good score of freebies.  Sometimes it feels good to get that extra something for nothing.  Most of the time, though, we care more about things we have to throw down some moola to get. We just value those things more.

So, the lesson learned is the house stays cleaner when we pay for someone to do it because is costs real, live money.  It's not just waiting on Mom to complain about it until we break down and do it to shut her the hell up.  The bigger lesson?  Maybe we all, like, the entire country, need to start thinking about how free can damage our values.  

Sometimes the hand with the freebie is the hand that holds you down.

May 26, 2012

THAT Moment...Reclaimed Youth

I always giggle at my parents when they tell me they are going to see some music group from their generation.  The other evening I drove past a venue here in our wee town and Blood, Sweat and Tears was playing. I could only think of how drastically things have changed since their heyday...Less sparkles and more AARP. (Note that I totally dig on them, but my soul is old that way.)

Love the people who highjacked our pic!
Yesterday I joined their ranks.  I became that person who ventured out to see a band from my youth.  And it rocked.   Age ain't got nothin' on us.

I was so, so young and naive when I bought their first studio album.  Back then, there were brick-and-mortar record stores; none of this online business.  The guy working the counter asked me to describe their music, and I couldn't manage to put them into a box.  I still can't put them into a box.

Once there was a boy I loved in a strange and weird way.  He was gone way too soon for my liking.  I remember riding around listening to Jane's Addiction with him and talking about all those oh-so-important things we talk about when we are young and unjaded, but think the world is out to get us.  Those moments are tucked away, wrapped in the years that have passed and softened by time. Sometimes I still dig them up, picking away at the scabs left, and wish for one more conversation.  

Last night was an amazing show.  It was partly because I felt young and alive again, but it was also the fact that Jane's is a show.  The lights were fantastic, although the strobes kill me a little now.  There were corseted ladies dangling from the ceiling with hoop skirts at least 20 feet long; a stuffed bear on his hindlegs was on stage; a barber was set up in the lobby along with a tattoo artist.  They have a knack for combining the misfits into a spectacular moment in time.

Oh, Perry, you have no idea....much love.

When it was over, I came home and knew for that split second where I fit.  I had the fleeting thought early in the evening that I shouldn't be there; I should be home with my children being a respectable mom and wife.  I mean, real moms...good moms...didn't traipse off into the night to go chase down their youth, right? Then I realized part of being a good mom is sharing music with my kids.  The first albums I owned were Cream, the Doors, and Jimi Hendrix.  Imagine if my daddy had tried to hide his music from me...a very sad state of affairs, indeed.

The only moment I missed was them not playing my ultimate song, I Would For You. I wanted to sing it with all the breath in my body and all the unspoken words in my soul.  I wanted the heavens and those in it to know that I would've for you.  If you wondered ...what I would...I would do anything if I could...You know I would.

May 24, 2012

My Karma Needs A Shot Of Happy

I must have done something really, really seriously bad in a previous life.  I'm not sure which one, but I must've made quite the impression...and it wasn't the one I needed to make.

You know those women who post those oh-so-perfect pics of their children?   The ones shot by a professional photographer?  Or the ones of the kids "just being kids" and yet they're all so damn cute you feel like a sugar rod was crammed down your throat?  They blog on homemade foods and monogrammed sheets and spiritual journeys.  They find joy in every freaking moment of their day. Today I was the opposite of that.  Opposite doesn't even do it justice...I was the antithesis of that.

My morning actually started last night.  I noticed a slight red streak on my finger which began throbbing shortly thereafter.  The pain passed but there was still some redness.  Fast-forward to this morning.

I woke up to the announcement from my Better Half that he was, indeed, ill and would not be going to work.  Matter of fact, he was sick enough that he might go to the doctor.  Well, not if I don't beat him there.  The finger?  Still a wee swollen and red, but sore and definitely tingly.  So, let's get this party started.

Just to break it down, here's what followed.

Dropped Baby Girl, aka Hurricane, off at daycare.  She cried and hid behind my leg till I pried her away.  Went to doc and got said finger inspected.  Apparently it's being treated as a major infection.  How major?  Stomach-wrenching Augmentin for 10 days.  The upside is my insides should be fairly clean in a short period of time.  Came home and got the Bigs for our trip to the dentist.  Teeth cleaned and no cavities...SCORE! 

We made a pit stop at the mall for lunch and some shorts.  Things go well other than a short span of tears when I apparently went to the shops in the wrong order.  I didn't know there was a pre-planned order, but I guess so.  From here, it was off to get my wig did.

So, the wig...I love, love, love the girl who does my hair.  She is phenomenal in so many ways.  I know that more than ever because we spent lots of quality time together today.  My hair is now the perfect shade of brown/black with purple highlights...but the first time it was copper...and the second time it was copper-red. While both were okay (alright, the first one sucked beyond suckiness), it wasn't my vision.  Now it is...minus the discussion about how my hair is thinning in the front and we don't know why.  I'm a medical mystery, dude.

After Round One, Round Two, and Round Three of Hair, I stopped by the grocery store to grab some milk and yogurt (to replace all the shit being killed by my super dose of Augmentin).  Did I mention I have low blood pressure?  All this sitting to attain my perfect hair color did a number on me and I just about kissed the floor of the grocery store in the dairy aisle.  I was also partially deaf except for the whooshing sound of the blood pounding through my brain and my heart thought it was 1992 and we were raving with glowsticks.  

After I could hear and my heart took a moment to relax, we headed home where we found Better Half did indeed go to the doctor.   Conclusion:  Bronchitis.  Suhwheett!  Now we can be on antibiotics together!  The couple that diarrheas together, stays together!

Next up, Baby Girl runs through the field to the neighbor's without shoes while I chase her.  Shoes aren't so important except for sticker plants and, oh, ticks.  She makes it safely only to get kicked in the face by the neighbor.  Nice.

We decided ice cream would make things better at least for the moment.  In a loving, family moment, one kid calls the other fat and tears ensue.  We head home where the one kid goes to bed for the night and the others commence to running amok.  The oldest is then telling me how bored she is and the baby girl is busy screaming, "NO!!" at me for basically anything I say.  I'm tellin' ya, this is the life.

It is now late.  Better Half has a temperature, but the kids are all asleep.  I'm not sure where one is sleeping, but I know he is inside somewhere.  Tomorrow I will wake and start again.  I will make a call to the doctor to see if my thyroid is misbehaving, then I'm heading out with some girlfriends to do some much-needed relaxation and a concert.

I usually have some positive spin/twist to put on the chaos that is my life, but tonight?  I got nothin.  Nada, nihil, zip.  Don't get me wrong, I'm grateful for all that I have..but sometimes I need a break from all that I have so I can appreciate it.  Tomorrow=Mommy Time!

May 15, 2012

Why I Hate People and You Should, Too
I realized something today. Actually, it was more reminded of something.  When I had to choose vanilla or chocolate ice cream, I picked vanilla. I am vanilla.  I am boring.  It's okay; I'm embracing it.  I will never be the one to go sky-diving. You can hardly get me in an elevator.  I will never travel to remote parts of the Earth because I don't even like to leave my own small town. I live vicariously through all the other insane people in my's all good.

Stirring people up is not a strength of mine.  I don't pick verbal fights with other people because I don't know that I would win.  Granted, my tongue is a touch acerbic at times; however, as we get older, I realize being a smart-ass doesn't always win the argument.  Some people actually use KNOWLEDGE to prove their point.  Who woulda thunk it?

So, I'm vanilla and I don't like agitating the why do I hate people?

I'm so, so over the polarizing of humanity.
I hate Democrats for assuming all Republicans are heartless, batshit crazy religious nuts who want to deprive every human of any personal freedom.  I'm tired of them yelling about how it's treasonous to disapprove of the President.  I'm beyond over trying to scare the barely-18 voting set into being a democrat for all the wrong reasons.

I hate Republicans for assuming all Democrats all freaky liberals who want to spend everyone else's money on their pet causes.  I'm tired of them questioning the birth certificate of the President.  I'm beyond over them trying to scare voters with religion and "what is our world coming to?" propaganda.  

It's not that simple.  There are principles on both sides that make sense.  I don't want anyone imposing their morals on my life, so why should I do that to someone else?  At the same time, basic economic principles dictate your output can't be larger than your input. Not rocket science, right?

At this point I can't even have rational conversations with people relating to government.  Used to, people would argue every four years, then go back to playing nice until the next election. Not so anymore.  I don't even dare go near anything political because it's fraught with peril.  Therein lies the danger.

If we can't have open discourse with people whose views vary from our own, we will never learn anything.  Sometimes you have to open your mind, no matter how set it is, and think about what the other side has to say.  You may walk away and still think they're whacked out.  But...You might find some merit in what they are saying.  You might find something that jives more than what you currently believe.  It might be different than what you were raised to believe, but that's okay.  If we didn't try to learn and grow, the Earth would still be flat and at the center of the Universe.
Don't get me wrong: I'm not running through a field of daisies with my peace flag dripping of patchouli.  I understand there are times when you can't just hug and sing kumbaya.  You can't not work or contribute to society and then whine about taking care of our brothers and sisters.  Our society requires everyone to contribute if we want it to thrive, but there has to be a happy medium.  There has to be a way to care about each other without all this bickering.  There just has to be.  

Maybe I don't hate people.  Maybe I hate the monsters we become when someone disagrees with us.  Alas, you probably shouldn't hate people, either. 

April 30, 2012

The Moment It Happened...Adulthood

There comes a time when you realize there has been a slight shift in the Universe.  It is subtle, but you know it has happened.  You reach a point and it just happens...silently, without obvious intent.

Over at the Suburban Jungle, Jenny from the Blog posted a list of sorts about turning 40.  Sadly (or not, I'm not sure, yet) it is about time for me to start observing lists of these sorts...or at least obsessing about 40.  I realized after reading through her list that I was pretty good with the things I needed to do before turning 40, which kinda sucks because I'm not really ready for that milestone.  I'm good with 37...I was better with 34, but no one asked me.

It dawned on me recently I had reached a critical point in my life.  I had several rolls of tape.  I had scotch tape, duct tape, packaging tape, and magic tape.  Whatever the cause, I got ya.  I look for things to tape just because I can.!
Growing up, my mom had a hall closet that was full of thread for cross-stitching and there was always scissors and rolls of tape there.  When I needed either of these, I knew exactly where to go.  It was always stocked, no matter how much I had pilfered the previous trip.  

When I moved out on my own, I was fairly proud that I had the essentials.  I owned a couple of pots and pans my parents had passed down (or I stole on a visit home.)  I got towels and silverware from Target.  My grandparents bought me a vacuum cleaner which my roommate and I ruined shortly thereafter. I was doing pretty well for a 19 year-old idiot.  But...I didn't ever have friggin' tape.

The other day, though, I needed scissors and tape for something, and I went to "my" drawer in the kitchen. I pulled out the needed items.  That's when it hit me:  I have come to the age where I have those "things" I never thought of needing before.  I have tape.  I have a drawer to keep it in.  I have dental floss.  I have travel-size shampoo bottles.  All things point to me being an adult against my better wishes.

So, when did you know?  Are you there yet?  What was it that made you realize, "Holy crap, Batman, I'm a real adult?!"

April 23, 2012

Life's Little Suitcase

I rarely bring my profession into this's supposed to be my escape from that stuff. Yet, here I am, getting ready to puke up all this...stuff.

One day, when my kids in class were begging for extra credit, I asked them why they were suddenly so worried about their grades.  Our relationship was such that I could banter back and forth with them and these questions were answered truthfully.  One child spoke up.  "I have to get an A or my parents get mad."  Wow.

I thought for a second...not because I was judging his parents, but because I was reflecting on my own parenting.  How would my own children answer that question?

I went on to ask what was more important to them, the students.  They all responded the letter grade.  When I pushed further, they all responded they would rather NOT be challenged, but would prefer easy materials that guaranteed an A for their grade.  Year after year, students have echoed that sentiment to me.  That saddens me...

This week children in our state are taking their standardized tests.  It's a high-stakes game for everyone involved.  The students have added pressures this year because the scores count as part of their final grades.  The teachers will have the students' scores counted in as part of their evaluations.  The schools are judged based upon these scores.  Scores are published in newspapers and on websites.  For better or worse, it is a judging of everyone involved.

As parents and teachers, we are quick to say how the children are more than a single test. Yet, if it is our school system that is found to have failing scores, then we decide there must be a cleaning of the house.  People are obviously not doing their jobs, our students are failing, and so on.  We do not want our school systems to have failing scores, but we also do not want the pressure placed on our students to do well.  We are contradicting ourselves and our children are smart enough to know it.

The truth is, we can't have it both ways.  We can't preach that test scores are not important and then rail on if the system performs poorly.  After all, we were the ones telling the students it didn't matter.  How confused would we be if we were told the same thing?  Imagine if your boss came in and told you not to worry about upcoming evaluations, then gave you extra work if you didn't do well?  Quite the contradiction, eh?

If we want our children to understand the true value of learning, we can't shelter them from learning things that may conflict with our own beliefs.  Teaching them the value of learning for the sake of learning means not rewarding A's with a trip to the mall.  Education means asking, "What did you learn?" instead of "What grade did you make?"  Our children's grades need to stop being our status symbols.

Before any one of us ~ parent, teacher, administrator, etc. ~ can criticize, praise, or attempt to overhaul a system that is, indeed, broken, we must look at what we are willing to sacrifice.  Are you, yes, YOU, willing to sacrifice that bumper sticker "My kid is an honor roll student" for a child with an open mind full of knowledge?  Can we, as a country, be okay with not beating other countries in some stupid (yes, yes, I called them stupid.) testing competition?  Think carefully before you's a harder question than you might think.

When I was in high school, I was blissfully ignorant of GPA's and how my class choices would influence my future.  I remember walking into my high school guidance office with brass balls and dropping my AP English class because I wanted to be with my friends.  I've never regretted that decision.  I spent time with people I loved, made some great memories, and had one of the best teachers ever to walk the planet.  I didn't know enough to worry about the grades, and it was a blessing.

I remember taking these same standardized tests as a child.  I remember my parents asking about my grades and being pleased with the good ones and not-so-pleased with the not-so-good ones.  I know that neither of these things will change.  There will always be tests and there will always be grades.  Humans are ingrained with a desire to classify and categorize things, including our children.  However, I have to think, BELIEVE, at some point we will begin to understand how important it is to be able to explore the world around us, to find out where our natural interests will lead us, and to let those curiosities help us make a life AND a living.

During a discussion in class, we were discussing what they were interested in doing as adults.  Several named professions that pay well.  Out of curiosity, I asked them if they would do something different if money wasn't an issue.  Almost all of them said yes.  Their choices went from those high paying professions, such as doctors and engineers, to the likes of artists, teachers, and chefs.  Our children are sacrificing their dreams for the sake of paychecks, and we feed into that with our ever-increasing pressures of testing and grades.

My soapbox is wobbly, and I think it's secretly telling me to shut up.  It's okay...I'm winded.  

April 18, 2012

When What You See Is Not What You See...

This is a rock.  Well, concrete with small pebbles embedded into it, actually.  It looks like nothing, but it is something.  Oh, baby, is it something.

My dear co-worker brought this to me to share with my students.  I know they don't quite get it this young, but I hope they one day look back and realize the weight this rock carries.

It is not is about the size of a fist.  Ironic.  I wonder how many people wanted to punch this small rock when it was part of a larger rock...Breaking it down into bits of dust.

It is a piece of the Berlin Wall.  Yep, that wall.  A wall built overnight to separate humans from other humans.  A wall that divided.  A wall that was more than a wall.  

I'd like to think we've moved past walls in so many ways, but I'm learning we have not.  I'm learning that we still carry our histories deep in our souls despite our mouths speaking happy and politically-correct thoughts.  I'm learning I am naive.  I'm learning that are still some really big assholes out there.

When do we become aware of differences and start judging based upon those?  Why do we do it?  Is it simply human nature to have to feel superior to someone else?  

This quote popped up on my facebook today:  "You have enemies? Good.  That means you stood up for something, sometime in your life."  Compliments of Winston Churchill, thank you.  I think I may not have enough enemies.  I  haven't stood up often enough in my life. Sometimes my ears hear hateful mouth is full of thoughts that won't come out...and my heart aches because of what others, thoughtless and careless with their words, have put onto my universe. Those thoughts need to find their voice.  And, if I make an enemy, so be it.  I stood up for something, sometime.   

March 28, 2012

Houston, We MIGHT Have A Problem...

The Little Yellow Ball
I am a bit of a contradiction:  I am not competitive at something I know I suck at, but if I have an inkling I might be good at it, then it's on like Donkey Kong.  I found this out when I realized I was pounding a gym floor over 13 years-old kids having a sack race.  I was in it to WIN!  Except I wasn't participating...just cheering on my classroom.  Waayyyy to involved.

Forty is peeking its ugly head around a corner, hissing through its fangs at me.  It's about 28 months away, which might as well be tomorrow.  In retaliation (fear?), I'm fighting back.  I've taken up running and I'm still working on tennis.  I've even been to the gym regularly enough that they don't look at me with hatred anymore.  (Conversation I know goes on in the desk staff's head:  "Stupid New Year Resolution girl making us wash more freaking towels when her fat ass doesn't even sweat. Can't wait till February when the lards all quit and go back to the Blue Bell ice cream!")

A little history on my physical/exercise background:  There is none.  Nada. Nihil.  I avoided physical activity at all costs in favor of cold Coca-Colas and Camel Lights.  I took Power Walking in college to meet my PE requirements...and self-defense so I could whip your arse with a broomstick when you made fun of me for being lazy and fat.  Technically that's self-OFFENSE, but who cares.

The running is going ok...meaning I haven't died yet.  I suck at the whole in-through-the-nose, out-through-the-mouth thing, but I'm thinking about doing it one day.  When my chest quits heaving from doing it wrong, maybe I'll learn to do it the right way?  Tennis is much more promising.  I do own two outfits now, which automatically makes me look more versed in the world of the yellow felt ball.  Last night I learned that new balls smell differently than used balls.  (I know how that sounds, and it took me a minute to stop thinking like a high school boy when the very knowledgeable lady was explaining this to me.)

Last week I hit two shots that looked alright.  They stayed in and no one hit them back to me.  I figured it was a fluke.  But, no!  Last night I hit a couple that felt good.  They sounded good.  I understood what it felt like to actually play tennis, not stand there and wait for a miracle to happen. There was one shot that skimmed over the net and went just left of my opponent, out of her reach.  She even complimented me on it.  Granted we lost miserably, but we have improved!  At one point the ball was in play for more than 30 seconds!!

I feel my competitive nature creeping up, though.  Several people have described what it's like to hit those shots, but I thought they were delusional.  Now, I'm not so sure.  I want to be better...not that I didn't before, but now I want to go out there to kick ass and take names.  

My hope is that I can get better (or best...whatever) and still enjoy it.  Until now, it's been all comedy and error with a group of girls who tolerate my shenanigans on their beloved courts.  I will say partner and I have improved IMMENSELY since we started this, and people should fear us:  We have matching racquets AND skirts.  How ya like us now?