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?

March 16, 2012

Eden's Meme...Picture This

Picture this...that's Eden's challenge to me.  I think she might be psychic because I was supposed to write this blog about a week ago, but life happened and the post didn't.

Picture this.  You're 12 years old and have never left the small town in which you live.  You don't know where the mall is located because your town doesn't have one and you've never been to the neighboring town where one is located.  You see the clothes the "other" kids have, but don't really know what all the logos mean because you've never been to those stores.  You do know that they have those logos and you do not. 

You used to live in the country where it was quiet, but you had to move into government housing where it's noisy all the time.  You had to move there because during the tornadoes of last spring, you got thrown out of your home when it was tossed about and the wall blew out.  You're still scared when it storms.  School isn't a priority because the future isn't too bright from where you sit.

I blogged recently about my Sisters' Prom idea and how I hoped it would be a success.  It was.  Girls I've known forever and some I'd just met showed up and danced the night away.  In the end, we took over 50 dresses to our local church for donation.  Girls who can't afford dresses can come to a "store" and choose a dress for $10.  I was lucky enough to see several young girls on their way out the door with some of the dresses my "sisters" had donated. I saw one girl waltzing out of the dressing room in a beautiful gray, floor length gown one of my friends had worn to our prom.  It took my breath away.
Girls like the one I mentioned above are who inspired me to organize this whole deal.  It won't necessarily break the cycle of poverty or addiction, but they are children and they deserve a moment to feel beautiful and important.  Life can be cruel and unfair.  I was lucky. I was born to great, loving parents and had a wonderful family to help raise me.  Not everyone has that.

So, here is my picture.  The girl pictured with me was my partner-in-crime and helped plan everything.  Next month a teenage girl will don these dresses to celebrate and enjoy the final year or two of high school.  I couldn't be happier to have played a small, anonymous part in that joy.  Smiles, people.  

March 13, 2012

Letting Go and Being Free

Once, a wise lady to whom I paid a lot of my money (read: my therapist) told me I should pray for a particular person in my life.  Now, this was strange for two reasons.  One, we'd never really discussed religion before, so I could have been an atheist or satan-worshipper.  Two, the only prayer I had for this person at that time was probably not the kind of things God likes to hear.  Things like flaming car crashes and broken bones.  I think God frowns on that and generally files those prayers under "UNANSWERED".

So, needless to say, I didn't pray.  I tried once and it felt unnatural and forced and creepy.

Life is a comical thing, though.  

A recent conversation flooded my brain and made me wonder if I was carrying around waayyyy too much animosity toward this person.  Why would I carry it this long?  Why did I think it would matter?  How do you let it go? You just let. it. go.  Quack, quack, water off my back.  That easy, it was gone.

I called this person later and told him I hoped he'd find happiness one day.  I told him I thought he deserved to be happy.  Strangely, after wishing so much ill upon him for so long, I meant what I'd said. I gave him my opinion and wished him well.  My heart is happy for the possibilities he has.

I'm not a hippie chick.  I don't flash peace signs and think we should all live on a big ol' commune.  I think shaving and bathing are really, really important.  (Yes, I'm aware peace signs are back in style and I'm using stereotypes.)  I didn't wake up to sunshine and doves singing.  Somehow, though, I'm lighter.
It has often been said that hating someone only poisons your own heart. I believe it.  Spending so much energy in a negative way doesn't allow you to enjoy the happiness right in front of you.  Let it go, people...just let. it. go.  Quack, quack!

March 9, 2012

Eden's Meme...Somebody Handed Me the Mic?!

(Clearing of throat) 

Okay, I'm at a birthday party and someone hands me the mic. What words spew out?

This sorta happened once at the birthday party where I fell madly in love with my husband, except he wasn't my husband at the time.  Obviously, because I'd (hopefully) already be in love with him, right?

The dj played a game where two guests faced off.  The dj would say a letter from the alphabet and each person had to say a band's name that started with that letter.  If both guests could name a band, they went to the next round.  First person who couldn't come up with a name lost the game.

I got picked.  Of course.  I stood in front of all these people, some of whom were my parents' friends, but more importantly the cutie I was a little hot for, and played my heart out because I am competitive and I didn't care if it was a stupid game, I came to WIN!

The letter I won on?  D.  Wait, you knew that I'd win, right?  The band?  Dead Kennedys.  The look of bewilderment on my opponent's face was photo-worthy.  I'm not sure if the dj even knew this was really a band, but he held my hand high in victory.

But, I digress.  Eden needs words today.  Here are mine...what I'd say if I got the mic.

"It may have been in pieces, but I gave you the best of me."  
~ Jim Morrison.

I loved, idolized, worshiped Jim Morrison as a kid.  One of my first albums was The Doors Strange Days (thanks, Daddy!)  I was in second grade, and I was bad-ass.  I read his biography years later and a poetry book of his.  I loaned that book to someone in high school and I never saw it again.  Asshole.

There are times when I can only give the best of me in small amounts.  Sometimes I have to tuck my tail under and go hide from the world for a bit.  Sometimes I've given all I've got to someone else who needed it more.  Sometimes I have to give my best to me.  Sometimes I'm just selfish and hoard it because I think you don't deserve it.  Sometimes I want to give you every ounce of my soul and smother you with the best of me.

When this world is over, I will have given you the best I have.  It might have been laced with the worst of me, but I hope there will be more good than bad.  I hope the best is enough to make you walk through this life with me so that the sum of my giving makes up for my periods of selfishness.  It may be in pieces, but you will get the best I've got to give.  Promise.

March 4, 2012

Know What My Favorite Crossword Clue Is? A Hodgepodge.

Now, want to know the answer?  Olio.  I always thought I was intelligent because I knew that word. In truth, I only remembered it because it was so close to Oreo, which happens to be the best cookie the Cookie Goddess ever invented ~ even better than Girl Scout cookies.

This post is an olio of stuff...that's what I'm getting at.

1.  I wonder what Mike Holmes would do if he came to a house that was perfect and up to code?

2.  My now favorite lyric is "I don't have a choice, but I still choose you" by The Civil Wars ("Poison and Wine")

3. My other now favorite lyric is "She's absinthe on my lips/The splinter in my fingertips" by The Civil Wars ("Birds of a Feather")

4.  Every time I pass a police officer and I'm speeding, I automatically grab the ever-present water bottle in my console like that's going to make the extra 15 miles an hour go away.

5.  I made the best damn alfredo sauce ever today.  Here's the recipe.  Quarter 2 red peppers, brush with olive oil, and roast in a 425 degree oven until charred.  Chop or puree in a food processor after cooling.  Next, melt 1/2 stick unsalted butter in a pan, then add 2 cups heavy cream and simmer 5 minutes.  Add 1/2 teaspoon (or more if you want to kill Edward and his vampire buddies) and the peppers.  Last, add 1 1/2 cups shredded parmesan cheese and stir.  Pour over pasta or just eat with a spoon.  Either way works.

This isn't mine, but it looked similar!
My plates aren't that damn fancy...


6.  I think I might have found the fountain of youth. Nivea Cellulite-Smoothing Gel-Cream.  No, really, I've used it twice and I think I've knocked about 5 years off my thighs. Fo' shizzle.  I'm not getting paid for this, but I'm totally available, Nivea.  'Cause this stuff ROCKS!

7.  My prom is next Saturday, and I'm getting my first spray tan.  My goal is to NOT look like the Lorax. We'll see how this works out...

8.  I think I'm obsessed with The Civil Wars. (See #2 and #3)
Aren't they just cute?  Love them!
9.  My oldest is going to middle school next year, and I'm really, really sad.

10.  My Better Half is cool.  We totally had a date night last night:  A college basketball game and dinner.  I love that he doesn't think I'm a geek because I love (no, like, LOVE) sports, but I don't get any of the calls. Most of the time, my ADD kicks in when something important happens.  Like an obvious foul even I would get, but I'm distracted by the bright lights and announcers.  I'm probably the worst sport date ever, but he doesn't complain. Bless his heart.

So, that's that.  The randomness that is me.  Hope everyone's week is full of sunshine and unicorns and butterflies and general happiness!

March 2, 2012

Eden's Meme...It's A Sign (If You Know What To Look For)

I have been cold before.  Playing in the snow when the wetness has seeped through too-thin gloves from too many hours outside; Sitting around the campfire after the warm fall sun has set and the chill has set in; Lying on a table, tubes running hither and yon,waiting to see my babies' faces for the first time.

Twice I have been cold in a way that aches.  It is a cold that you feel in the marrow of your bones.  A cold that makes your body curl into a fetal position so that you might find some warmth you didn't know was there.  It is a cold that makes your soul feel like it will shatter into a million pieces.

Round One
The first time was the night my dear aunt (of Wanda's Stripper Dip fame) passed away.  I had not gone on vacation with my parents to visit her, which was divine intervention.  After hanging out with friends, in the wee hours of the night I went to bed.  As I pulled the sheets to my chin, I felt ice running through my veins.  My teeth began chattering uncontrollably to the point I thought they would break.  I struggled to get warm, but there was none to be had.  Eventually I drifted off to sleep, but tossed and turned the rest of the night.

Shortly after I woke the next morning, I heard the garage door open.  My parents weren't due home until the next day, so I was more than surprised to see the car in the driveway.  My mother came in very ill, and my brother followed, silently, behind her.  My father came in with arms outstretched walking toward me.  As he wrapped them around me, he said, "Aunt Wanda is gone."  The rest is a blur, but I do remember my dear neighbor, who passed away a few years ago, taking me out on the porch for a cigarette and a beer.  Apparently he thought that's what his underage neighbor needed, and he was right.  A marlboro red and a busch beer...I'll never forget him or those.

I realized later that day that she passed about the same time my cold chill happened.  I prefer to believe it was her passing by me on her way to greater places.  I know she would not leave this world without saying goodbye in some form or fashion.

Round Two
Remember that scene in Coal Miner's Daughter where Sissy Spacek tells the audience she is overwhelmed and life's been happen' too fast, then she looks out into the audience for Doo, her husband, to come get her off the stage?  I know what that feels like.  One night, when life was moving way too fast, I climbed into my bed, jacked the electric blanket to 10, and wished for some shred of warmth. I found none.  I realized it was time to slow down.  I wasn't a kid anymore, and I needed to take care of things in my life. I cleaned house, so to speak, starting the next day.  

My grandfathers and my aunt had all passed by this point, so I'm not sure which one was looking out for me.  I know I was burning my candle at both ends, and I would've soon crashed.  It doesn't matter which one it was, really; They all roost upon my shoulders at different points.

Some people walk this earth with a guardian angel they've never known, but I know mine.  They walked me through life up to different points, holding my hand while still pushing me into independence.  Sometimes I sense them there, so I say hello.  If it creeps me out, I ask them to leave.  Sometimes I need to be alone without them, but they're always in the wings...looking, waiting, ready to swoop in and nest on my shoulders so I am never truly alone...and will never be for the rest of eternity.