Monday, September 28, 2009


There are some things in life that are so out beyond the pale...or just so bizarre...that we go WHAT? Using the word "WHAT?" seems to be like taking "really?" to the third power...or the tenth...depending upon the situation.

I know that sometimes when I have uttered WHAT? I've actually been incredulous...or I just didn't trust my hearing after teenage years blasting AC/DC and Foo Fighters finishing me off on the iPod of late. I would hear a snippet of something that sounded either too good to be true or too horrible to imagine. Like when you find out some unexpected news or get the results of a tryout or interview. But those are extremes of the whole WHAT? spectrum, and what I am really talking about is quite frankly...the bizarre.

This past week I had the pleasure of spending a little bit of time with my scrapbooking ladies group. I was trying to place pictures of my dog, Rebel, on a page in a manner that looked somewhat interesting and was failing miserably. So, my focus broke and shifted from the page to the words that were being spoken by other people in the room. Words like "Mercedes on blocks" all strung together like that. And I went WHAT?

Yes. It actually happened in the the thriving metropolis of Prattville, Alabama. My friend's Mercedes was on blocks (or more officially...jacks) in her yard. Her late model Mercedes. Did I mention that she lives on the main drag through town? Or that the local football team was on ESPN-U playing a team from up North somewhere that was a big hairy deal? Or that some big shot from Mercedes (the company...not the dealership) just happened to be in town and witnessed said vehicle? Oh...but yes. All true.

The Mercedes big whig reportedly stated, "we normally don't see our owners doing their own maintenance..." as he spotted the car. And the owner? Oh, she's totally mortified. But she was not budging on spending money she didn't have available, and was willing to wait to replace her tires. Her husband then got a deal and ordered some new rims or tires or something from eBay and was waiting for them to arrive. In the meantime...Mercedes on blocks (jacks).

And the Northerners who were in town from Connecticut or somewhere up there now have confirmation (and probably photographic evidence) that Jeff Foxworthy is totally not lying about those of us born and bred in the South. And as for me...I just found the whole thing totally Depends-worthy. I was listening to reports that Iran is testing missles, I hear that our President is headed to Copenhagen (where is that...Denmark?) to speak to the International Olympic Committee to get the Olympics for Chicago with Oprah Winfrey. Excuse me, but WHAT?

Just a few minutes ago, I got a text from my daughter. She is going to dinner with her ex-date to a big formal affair and her current date to said formal, her roommate, and her roommate's date. I got wind of this and went WHAT? After two weeks of intense drama that culminated in one party telling one of the two parties involved to quit being a "horse's ass" (sorry, but it happened)...everyone is going to break bread together. There is only one word for this and it is WHAT?

So...I'll just sit here baffled at the funny twists and turns that life takes and will try to simply remain calm in the process. My plans for tonight were to balance my checkbook. Hope I don't have a WHAT? moment there! Later!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Storms and Rainbows

Everyone loves a rainbow. We will stop in our tracks or try to capture one on film...sometimes amazed that it is either a full arc or a double rainbow. We know that rainbows mean something special, unusual, and beautiful.

Several groups have gravitated toward the rainbow for different reasons, including Jesse Jackson's Rainbow Coalition, gay rights activists, or the Walk to Emmaus crowd of the United Methodist Church. There's also the whole commercial thing with Rainbow Brite and those heinous toe socks we used to wear in the 80s, but I'll try not to dwell on that.

Rainbows often surprise us by how they appear randomly...but they never fail to awe me. Thinking back to how God planned them as a sign to Noah reminds me every time I see one that I need to think about the circumstances that prompted the rainbow in the first place.

There are times when storms come. We know this, and yet we are often surprised when they happen. Sometimes the storms are anticipated and predictable...and we have time to prepare ourselves for what may or may not be coming. We board up the windows of our heart, buy bread and water to wait it out, and we make plans in case the worst actually happens. And then other times...we have no notice, no experience, and no way to navigate the storm.

Oh, we may have our good sense, our faith, and our friends and family, but we are just completely stunned when we are standing on a rooftop of despair somewhere waiving our arms, or sleeping on a cot of depression no longer caring. We think of what we have lost...rather than what remains.

This past week, some of my Georgia brothers and sisters found themselves underwater...literally. What was left behind looked far more like mud...than a rainbow. Now that the storm waters are receding, and the reality of the storm has morphed into a review of the devastation, insurance claims, and rebuilding...those dealing with it are wondering how something as cleansing as water can be so incredibly destructive.

This week, there has been a lot of rain, and some additional water in the form of tears. Part of being of a certain age means that you are sometimes susceptible to a few internal storms. Some of which are of your own making...but others are the same triggers that you fall for every time like some big cosmic "pull my finger" joke...except that it isn't funny. Knowing that most people prefer that these moments are dealt with privately, I withdraw for self-preservation and wait for the storm to pass. Sometimes it is a quick shower, and then other sets in for days. Needless to say...I am now looking for a rainbow. Big time.

Right now, I am spending some quiet time. Some downtime including rest, reflection, and sadly...some remorse. And hopefully, very soon, I will wake up to a bright, sunny day and the clouds will lift. Because I also know that God has promised that he will bring a rainbow after every storm as a reminder. And for now...I am just watching the sky...and cleaning up a little mud. It will be fine...eventually.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Productivity Ain't For Sissies

This morning was a shocking reminder that it is possible...and even preferable to get out of bed before 6:00 a.m. if you want to A) arrive at work dressed, with makeup on, hair done, shoes and socks, and coffee in hand or B) lounge around and read the newspaper/Drudge Report/Fox News and be entertained on Twitter and Facebook. I happen to want to say yes to both. So, getting up at 5:00 a.m. actually allowed me to get to work at *gasp* 7:30. I know!

I had the first cup of coffee out of the pot one of the lenders made (the "good" one who makes the first pot every morning), and then went ahead and made a second pot so that I would not rip someone a new one at 8:27 a.m. when I came for my second cup and found a half inch in the pot...because I am prone to do that when under-caffeinated. It was pure bliss to not have to whine or mutter (loud enough for them to hear, of course) that some knuckle dragger was incapable of opening the little packet of Royal Cup into a filter and then pressing the button to make the water come in and make magic coffee. You it is made for them EVERY morning by...well...MAGIC! Must be since they don't lift a hairy knuckle...

Anyway, I shut my door, put on Pati the iPod, and listened to Foo Fighters all morning. Because I was in a foul mood I thought it better to just hide behind my door. Other than one person coming in and seeing the headphones and thinking that was why I had my door shut...I had total privacy with loud rock music and the occasional text message. My idea of a perfect day.

I just wasn't really up to having someone come in and give me a hard time about college girls and all of the fun they have because it drives me nuts. This is one of their favorite office games...let's just talk about outrageous stuff and watch Karen squirm! We're so clever! I cannot...repeat...CANNOT...wait until their daughters are my daughter's age. But for funny people at was just NOT the day. I might have taken office property and beaten one of them about the face with it.

I was extremely productive and was able to get out about three times the normal amount of work. This is a superhuman ability that comes in conjunction with a foul mood...and I know better than to waste it. I have cleaned my entire house in two hours when on one of these tears...and then I spend the next week screaming like a banshee for everyone who dares to leave an errant cup, shoe, or catalog in my version of House Beautiful. I can scrapbook a gazillion pages, catch up on my filing, clean out my pantry, and even vacuum out my car and not miss a beat. As long as my foul mood holds out...I am like Merry Maids, Martha Stewart and that model with an anger management problem...all rolled into one little bundle of productivity.

Productivity is certainly NOT for sissies. When I am in one of the rare, but appreciated (in retrospect...mind you) fits of productivity, I tend to do so much so quickly that people are wondering why I can't maintain that level all of the time. Well, because happy people find better things to do than grunt work. Grunt work is the kind of thing that you only do because you absolutely, positively have to do it or the Health Department is coming in or you have angst that needs to be tempered. I like being happy, so I do fight being cranky...but I do miss out on perfectly good productivity fits like the one I've enjoyed today.

This particular spasm came on this morning making it is relatively new. I do not know yet if if is a 24 hour thing...or if it is one of those 72 hour mega-ones that make me feel like Wonder Woman with serious PMS. I am going to try to do some of those things around here that have been just too totally not fun for me to even think about dealing with in my normal frame of mind. I mean...why waste a perfectly good foul mood?

So, while I am hoping that I am easier to live with tomorrow...not that anyone at work knew I was in a mood...I'm going to enjoy the productivity tonight. Hey, if it persists, I may actually catch up on the gazillion scrapbooking pages I am behind, the dust from the floor that Big Dave is finally fixing, and get to boxing up the crapola in my bedroom. Hey, you never know! Later!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Feeling Left Out

Earlier today, I did not think that this would be my post tonight, but the day progressed in such a way that this is what is heavy on my heart tonight. There is a lot of tragedy in life...sickness, death, job loss, addictions, severed relationships and the like. A family I know is mourning the loss of a patriarch tonight. Another one has a family member in the hospital. That type of thing should be enough for us, shouldn't it? Enough pain. Enough misery. Enough said.

But it isn't, is it? We have to pile on each other with slights, unkind words, and making other people hurt by our actions...or by our inaction. Making them feel less special, less important, and less able to cope. Some days feel like life is too hard, too depressing and just too much. Or am I just the only one who feels that way? I seriously doubt it.

I realized several years ago that I have a few triggers. These are unique to me, and can send me into a slow (or sometimes rapid) downward spiral. I try to stay realistic when confronted with one of them...but I am often treading water in the frigid ocean of despair before I even know that I have fallen overboard without a life jacket. This is obviously NOT good.

The biggest trigger I have is feeling left out. I realize that all of us feel left out from time to time due to oversight, assumptions, or limits on invitations. That's certainly fair, and is to be expected. If one of these is the case, I normally do not mind. In fact, there have been times that I have been relieved that I was not invited due to expense associated with something, or the demands on my time.

When I get upset is when people that have no reason not to include me - meaning I am at the party but excluded from the circle, when people talk about the event to me even though they have failed to send me an invitation (or worse than that...ask me to help them with something in preparation for it as their "friend") or they invite me sometimes...but I know that it is only because the normal crowd that they run with is otherwise engaged.

Oh, and I sounds like I just need to find better friends. The funny part is...I don't think that they mean it the way that I take it. At all. I just cannot seem to keep from upsetting myself about it.

So, tonight, I am feeling a little left out. After a weekend of feeling included visiting with family and high school friends...I come home to...THIS.

Tonight a friend posted something on Facebook that she felt was burning in her heart and that she had to get out. She said that we are supposed to ask for forgiveness if we need to, and to forgive others who have wronged us. It is excellent advice...because in being angry and resentful...I have knowingly and unfortunately relinquished my joy to them. This is wrong on many levels.

The sting of rejection I am feeling was most likely unintentionally delivered. I have found that most people think about us far less than we think that they do. I am grateful for this sometimes. I also know that the fact that I notice something doesn't make it real to the average person. I could receive a doctorate in noticing things...but with every gift God gives us...there is always a dark side associated with it. That's how Satan keeps in business, unfortunately. Therefore, I consider the "dark side" of noticing details is that sometimes I notice things at a different intensity level than they were meant. It is during these times that I have to remember who is in control.

I'm going to try to think of the wonderful things that have happened to me recently where people have been kind and gracious. Those were obviously blessings meant for me. Perhaps what I have been left out of was not so much that I wasn't wanted...but that it would have been a colossal waste of my time or God removed me from their minds which provided me time to invest in people or projects of His choosing.

I think I like believing that God is so interested in me that He will even allow my feelings to be temporarily hurt to save me from activities or people that are unhealthy for me. That I can accept...and even appreciate.
It certainly beats expending mental energy on nursing grudges. And these days...I need my mental energy! Later!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Facebook Reunion

One of the most wonderful benefits to being on Facebook is the ability to catch up with people on a daily basis...or at least as often as they post. When you move away from your find that you only receive updates at five year increments during the phenomenon known as the High School Class Reunion.

I graduated in the R.E. Lee Institute Class of 1981 in Thomaston, Georgia. For those unfamiliar with the precise location of is in west central Georgia approximately an hour and fifteen minutes southwest of Atlanta, 50 miles from Macon, and 45 minutes from Columbus. It is half an hour from Callaway Gardens and from Griffin. Just a place on a map that has its most familiar identity as an old mill town.

It is the town in which I was born in at the Upson County Hospital (now the Upson Regional Medical Center) in March 1963 because my mother was living in New York City at the time, and she wanted to come home to have her baby. She repeated this trek six years later with my sister. It was the town that she brought us back to permanently in 1972, and where I lived until my high school graduation in 1981.

My husband and I married in the First United Methodist Church across the street from the hospital in July 1985. I attended class reunions in 1991 and 2001. However, with my grandmother's death in 2004, my trips became far less frequent since I had not kept up with people who were living in town except for someone I might occasionally run into while making a Piggie Park or Big Chic run. Thinking back, I believe that I have only been to Thomaston on two occasions over the past three years.

I'm providing you this backstory to show that I have a love for and history with the town, but I did not do so well in the friendship upkeep department. I kept up with two friends through these years...both sporadically...and on the level of random communication on birthdays, holidays, or after reunions. My life was in Alabama, and Thomaston was a place representing my past...something I was both proud of and mortified by depending on the particular memory in question.

A month or so ago, one of my girlfriends from high school suggested that we get together to catch up. Talking on a more frequent basis was showing us sides of each other that seemed fun but comforting at the same time. As our children were flying the nest or the prospect of this began to loom closer for some of us...we realized that we wanted to pick up the threads of our past and return to find out how things had worked out for our friends and classmates. And so a date was chosen, and an invitation sent on our medium of communication...Facebook.

Last night, we had a small reunion...28 years after our graduation. Nine were in attendance. Another five were called away by last minute complications. Another four wanted to come but had illnesses to tend or scheduling conflicts.

What struck me most was that we have all aged well. Now, some of them may argue this...but think about those words...we have all aged well. It is one thing to retain the waifish figures we had in high school, but yet another to have matured into beautiful, strong, capable women. And we have. We have become wives, mothers, caregivers, employees, and volunteers. We have found success in some area of life...or in several.

The biggest surprise to me was that I actually like everyone even more than I did all of those years ago. What I saw were the sweet faces of the girls I knew shining from the beautiful women that I reacquainted myself with last night. Women that are survivors in every sense of the word.

Our class was especially high performing but also especially reckless as well. Some outgrew their recklessness...and others grew up to embrace it. We realized that we have lost at least four members of our class...Rhonda Hammock, Julie Johnson, Donna McCarty and Kay Callahan...and this is sad. Others in our class are known to be dealing with the accumulation of poor decisions. Others received their diplomas and never looked back...failing to attend reunions or to keep in touch with anyone. Going through the annuals reminded us of who we were missing, and whose stories we knew...who married who...and what they grew up to do. It was all very interesting to try to reconcile the kids we knew with the men and women they grew up to be.

The evening was one of laughter, wild golf cart rides, sushi (or California rolls for the less gastronomically adventurous), Japanese cuisine...and as to be expected...closing the place down. We took pictures, hugged, and reconnected in a way that is generally impossible at a reunion because of the sheer number of people attending. We usually also have our husbands or dates to entertain then as well. Not last night!

I hope that the others feel the way that I did. One remarked to the waitress that she had known her friend for 40 years. Forty years! Is it possible? Apparently it is. This same friend cracked us up with her humor and honesty, and impressed me with her devotion to her children and her incredible wisdom. Other friends were working through life as single women and mothers and feeling the joy of independence at purchasing a home or of watching a child do the same. Others had an empty nest, but a heart full of love for others. Another was on the other end of the spectrum having married and started motherhood a little later on. She made me smile recanting stories from the past and her frustrations and joys in the present. Our hostess for the evening opened her beautiful home and managed the details so that all we had to do was show up and enjoy our time together. Another friend drove so that those of us who suffer from extreme directional impairment were able to actually find the destination.

As a collective group, we represent a cross-section of the Class of 1981. We were friends...or we were classmates. It did not matter last night. What mattered is that we came...and that we were in the place in our lives where it was not only possible...but it was nothing short of awesome.

I hope that there will be other mini-reunions like this so that we can get together more often and spend more time together. I like these women. I know their stories and what WAS is far less important as what IS. And what wonderful. We have the common bond of having the privilege of being raised in Thomaston, Georgia. We understand the same points of reference. We crave the same Piggie Park and Big Chic (and now...Peachtree Cafe). We have survived and thrived in the intervening years. We even have the benefit of merging the girls then with the women of today...and find that we still see the same girls we went to school with in spite of the new (or renewed) hair colors (except for one...lucky girl that she is) when we look at each other.

I told one of them last night how good she looked and she said..."No, I don't either!" But you know...just seeing her (and the others) was like seeing the girl she was and the woman she is as one and the same. And you know...that's a wonderful thing. Not everyone has that ability, you know! Just those of us who were blessed to have had that time together all of those years ago. Here's hoping that we have many, many wonderful times together ahead. Later!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Filling In the Gaps

It is my personal belief that we are all here to do several necessary things during our lifetime. Some people accomplish this relatively quickly while they are young, and other people spend their entire lives trying to figure it all out. It seems as though there are periods of great productivity followed by times where we wonder when the next assignment will come.

We build our careers, start our families, live our lives, and try to improve our lot. We find our gifts, talents, and passions somewhere along the way. If we are lucky, the process is relatively easy, we have support from others who believe in us, or are blessed with personal resolve. Somehow we figure out each decision...and through each peak and valley we learn, grow, mourn, or change into the people God intends for us to be.

It is extraordinary, isn't it?

One of the most important jobs we have, though, is to fill in the gaps for other people. What I mean is...there are skill sets that we have that allow us to earn a living. But, we have other gifts, talents, and abilities that we can share with other people to fill in the gaps. I have a decent handwriting...but I can't decorate. So, I'll do your wedding invitations...and you help me figure out how to dress my windows.

All of us are acquainted with many people because God designed it that way. In fact, this is in part what the concept of church is all about. Sometimes the people we have in our lives are our mission field...and other times, they are with us so that we can use the talents we have been blessed with to help them meet their purpose. Other people are sent to us to enrich our lives as well.

I'd heard the old adage that sometimes friends come for a reason...for a season...or for a lifetime. I happen to believe this. People that were in my life for a reason have often helped me unlock the answers to some of the big questions in my life, have set my feet on another path, or saw something in me that gave me information to get to the next step.

Other friends came into my life for a season...when I needed encouragement that was longer term, we shared a hobby, because we had children the same age, or because we worked together. Perhaps we were old schoolmates and by luck of birth and geography, we ended up knowing each other growing up.

And then there are friends that are friends for life. Those people that stay with us on a long term basis and are part of the fabric of who we are. My mother has a high school friend and a college friend that she still talks to and visits regularly. I love this.

But no matter which level of "friend" we are...we are called to fill in the gaps for other people. If we see a need, we are to try to find a way to fill it. If God impresses on our heart to send a card, a check, or a kind word...we should do that. We need to remember that our treasure is in heaven and that the best way to fill our coffers there is to be obedient here.

I find that the times that I have done something for someone else because God told me to step forward and I was trying to listen. Sometimes these might have been considered outrageous at face value. However, I found that often there was someone on the receiving end who had been praying for an answer, some encouragement, or something else that I had to offer. And while I might have blessed them...I found myself blessed in the process. Other times, there may not have been any indication that I heard the instructions correctly. But as long as I've remembered that it is not all about really doesn't matter either way.

On days when you feel overlooked, unloved, or even friendless...know that you may be missing the opportunity to fill in the gaps for someone else because you doubt your gifts, your motives, or how it will be received. And'll find that your efforts will indeed be overlooked, misinterpreted, or are received poorly. But in my experience...that has been the exception and not the rule.

Fill in the gaps. Love people and try to find those gifts that you have that you can use to bless others. We are all connected...and we can't take anything with us when we go. There's a whole lot out there that we can may just be why you are here. Later!

Thursday, September 17, 2009


Every so often there comes a time when you just wish you could pick up the pen of life and rewrite portions of your story. I mean, you see something so blatantly wrong, or so obviously in need of revision that you just cannot help thinking what a wonderful “super power” that being able to edit bad decisions, sad moments, and monumental failures would be. I mean, Wonder Woman would be incredibly jealous of me...instead of the other way around.

The only problem is…that if you change one tiny decision…the story of your life could change in ways that you cannot possibly imagine. If you studied harder in school…you might have ended up in a graduate program that would have kept you away from the place where you met your spouse. You might have ended up living somewhere else doing something completely different with your life and missed out on the blessings you were intended to have. But we don’t see it that way, do we? We see the missed opportunities, brass rings that came around once and vanished, the glory days, and the roads that we took because the one less traveled looked like the one on the way to the camp of “Friday the 13th” fame.

I know that I am attracted to stories where people think that their life is in the toilet and then they are given a “second chance” to see the impact of their life on the life of others, and an opportunity to begin showing appreciation for it. I love “It’s a Wonderful Life” because it shows Jimmy Stewart living the life that we all somehow think we live. We do our best, we make mistakes, we dream, and we have consequences for our actions…even if those actions were overall in the best interest of all involved – including ourselves. And we are somehow frustrated with how it all comes together.

Several years ago, my daughter started dating. And although there were a couple of boyfriends that came and went, she eventually started dating a boy who was a senior her sophomore year of high school. He was a great kid – athletic, easygoing, and just easy to have around. In fact, so much so that he accompanied us to Europe in 2006 in lieu of his senior trip. Had he not gone, I might have lost my mind with keeping Brian straightened out, and Jill happy. He lifted strollers up and down the steps of the Metro, and carried my aunt’s “Black Bag of Death” a thirty-five pound innocent looking wonder that contained shoes…obviously lined with lead…and never once got on my nerves in eleven days of travel. He was with us a lot. He went home when required to sleep and sometimes eat, to mow the lawn, and to shop for items he would need for college in the Fall.

And then the summer ended. And after a birthday gift of a trip to see “Collective Soul” in Atlanta, he left the next morning for college. And his mother – who had been patiently waiting for him to quit hanging out at our house and start living his life as a college boy – decided that enough was enough instead of giving them time to break up on their own. I knew it was coming…the breakup...but apparently she thought that we had overstepped our boundaries and wanted those ties cut right then.

In retrospect…knowing what I know now…we probably had overstepped our boundaries by not insisting that he spend more time at home than he did with us. Oh, we mentioned it, and questioned him on whether he had things he needed to do. But we took him at his word. That was our biggest mistake.

What ensued after this point is dramatic and traumatic…but that’s not really important. I just wish that I could go back now and fix what we did wrong. We learned a lesson…that no matter how much a kid loves being with your family…until there’s a ring, white dress and a ceremony…they aren’t yours…and you need to act accordingly. We thought we were…and we didn’t worry because we were always right there with them. Watching TV, vacationing, cooking meals and having a great time. I miss that. I miss having a young man around who is crazy about my daughter, and we are equally crazy about him.

While I am also glad that they have both moved on because the timing was certainly far too early…I just wish I had the closure that other families get when the kids just get to end a relationship on their own. Frankly, I need the closure of knowing that if I run into this woman in the grocery store…that I won’t require medication immediately thereafter. I don’t have that peace, and so I live with the knowledge that there is someone out there that thinks less of our family and because we were naive. While most people would think I’m silly…I just happen to care. Wish I could rewrite that as well.

This week, I’ve found that we have somewhat of a mini-situation along the same vein. Not the same family – but with another one. And after the experience from before…I honestly do not want my sweet girl anywhere near the center of that volcano. It isn’t right that she was almost thrown in once three years ago, and we certainly don’t need a repeat of that situation again. And while it is nowhere near the same intensity level... once you have been taught a lesson, you tend to be more on guard than may be warranted and tend to shy away from anything that remotely resembles maternal craziness.

So, in my infinite wisdom, this week, I just wish I could pick up the pen of life, and either rewrite having this person in her life, or have it end differently than time and experience have led me to expect that it will. I just wish I had faith that this is possible…but I know in my heart of hearts that it isn’t.

People raise their children the way that makes sense to them, and I am in no position to judge anyone’s motives short of suspected child abuse or the like. This is certainly a far cry from that. Crippling? Perhaps. But that is not for me to judge. Frankly, I don't have all of the facts...any more than the mother of the young man three years ago chose to hear or understand.

I know that it sounds like I may be overreacting, and it is possible that I am. But I don’t think so. While some families have the knack for welcoming kids who aren’t theirs into the fold of the family…others refuse to open the gate. I cannot say that this is a good thing or a bad thing because there are things that I just do not know. There may be excellent reasons behind the decision to keep people out, and I am in no way judging that decision. Perhaps the son is a serial monogamist and the parents know that the focus must remain on the studies or he has to come home. Maybe there was a bad experience somewhere along the way that they are trying to get over. Or perhaps they just do not have the desire to get to know anyone until the proper time (ie after graduation).

I can relate somewhat as I am just now ready to let other people’s children into my life again after having my parenting ability, motives, and intelligence questioned so painfully three years ago. The people that my girl has dated over the past three years would definitely attest to this as the pendulum swung in the other direction so far that although I tried to like them…I found it impossible. And it was truly and honestly not their fault.

So, would I like to go back and do things differently? Would I like the ability to change outcomes? Well, in the short run…yes, I would. But as I’ve looked back at my motives and behavior…I just see someone who was doing the best she could with the information she had at the time. Would I like for my daughter to have wanted to date the particular young man from three years ago all of these years? Truthfully?…no.

I think that she needs a Type A go-getter with a romantic streak who adores her and is a good Christian man with the desire and ability to stick it out with her. Someone that she can support and loves without question or hesitation, and who will appreciate her honesty, resourcefulness and sweetness as well as her beauty. I also trust that this will occur in God’s time…and not in hers…or mine.

Unfortunately, knowing that better things are down the road does not help my daughter this week. A week in where she is feeling a little bit rejected and confused. And a week that made me pick up my Bible and flip to the book of Job to find someone who was feeling more miserable than I was. Now that I have done this, I am hoping that I can find what lesson it is that God keeps trying to teach our family through the rejection of other people who probably do not know that we are taking it this way.

Because between us…I honestly do not understand. And perhaps I am not meant to understand. But having that editing pen would certainly be super nice right now. I suppose, though, that I’m in touch with the one who is holding the pen…and he’s assured me that all will be well. And so I wait…and hope. Later!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


For the past few days I have been in one of those weird moods that sometimes come along like an unwelcome guest. You know what I have your day planned and then the phone rings and someone wants to take "just an hour" which turns into a marathon all day affair. Your plans get shifted, and you end up reworking it all...but it is very much like putting a replacement part on a works but it isn't the original.

My mood started rather innocently. I was sitting in my office minding my own business...working on something that I'm sure was extremely important when I heard the sounds of people enjoying lunch. Now, this wouldn't ordinarily bother me, except that where I work, I never go to lunch with anyone unless the boss is in town, and then we all go. So, the sounds of obvious mirth that did not include me was not exactly a welcome sound.

This was followed by a telephone call from a friend who was telling me about plans made with other friends (who were not us). People that I would only spend time with if there was only one lifeboat, the Titantic was sinking, and there was no Plan B. It turned out not to matter anyway, because my daughter made it clear to us that she did not want us anywhere near Tuscaloosa, AL this past weekend because she didn't have time to entertain us with the big date party Friday night and being a date to the football game on Saturday.

I went home, logged on to Facebook and was basically corrected for my political beliefs, warped sense of humor, and musical taste all in the same night. Mostly done in a playful manner and in a way where frankly - under normal circumstances - I wouldn't even care. But you know...I started wondering if I had a giant cosmic "kick me" sign somewhere on my person. And so I...a reasonably mature wife, mother of two, and professional...did what when confronted with the results of all of the rejection I'd experienced that day that had morphed into the mother of all bad moods? Well, I pouted.

Pouting. So unattractive when one is 6 years old, and even more so when one is 46 years old. However, some days just put you there before you even know you're on your way. And then you get over it.

I have found that in my personal experience, the only way to crawl out of a bad mood is to put my eyes somewhere else. I can't keep them on myself. Like race car drivers say...if you start to spin out...move your eyes to the road and keep them off of the wall. Your car will then go toward the track...because that's where you are looking.

So, I have to put my eyes on other people...helping them. On my work...which needs and deserves my attention. And most importantly...on God.

For the record, it is mighty difficult to pout in the presence of God. He looks at my heart and I feel like I'm being asked to explain myself. So I don't get invited? Maybe it isn't is something that has nothing to do with me at all. Perhaps people aren't criticizing who I am...just what I happen to think. That's fair, isn't it? I mean, I do that myself from time to time.

Well, over the past week or so I have thought a lot about how I sometimes let people affect my moods. And what I've come to realize is that hands down...most people affect me favorably. Therefore, I just totally need to get over myself.

I'm going to help myself out a little bit by getting some rest tonight. I've really struggled with juggling all of the things I want to do and all that I feel that I have to do. And pouting is exhausting. Trust me on this.

So, I'm going to spend a little time looking up and far less looking inward and outward tonight. I don't want my joy stolen, and I want to be a source of joy to others. You just can't do that when you are wound-licking, pouting, or checking out the greener grass across the way.

This afternoon, a friend e-mailed me to ask me what was going on in my life. Since I have pretty much discontinued the use of e-mail at work so that I can do what I am there for...namely...WORK...I decided to send one back anyway. And I outlined the funny things that are currently defining my life right now. I hope I made her laugh. Some days, I want to make people think...but on days like today, I'd much prefer that they laugh.

So, what is going on in my life right now? Well, let's see...

I went clothes shopping yesterday and finally got fitted for a bra. I have never done this in my life, and my friends have been amazed that I have somehow survived this long without ever having it done. I finally just got tired of buying bras that don't fit from the clearance rack at Ross For Less and removing the underwire. What do you mean the underwire is necessary? To me, it is like sticking a coathanger in there for the purpose of making me miserable. Needless to say, I now have two properly fitting bras. Yay for me. I'll check that one off of the bucket list.

I also brought home my third black dress in the exact same style because I keep ripping them on various things as I misjudge how far it is between me and whatever I rip it on. I also picked up more tee shirts in red, pink, and white, a dress that looks promising, and a purple and orange number in a material that looks like what I believe would resemble a bad acid trip. I liked it only on the grounds that it looks so different than anything I'd ever wear that I just had to bring it home to try it on.

Nothing breaks a bad mood like retail therapy. The only pouting I did was upon realizing that my coupon expired the day before I shopped. That's fine. I'll just wait them out a week or so before they send me another...and then return everything I just bought and THEN use my coupon. It certainly won't be the first time...nor the last.

My daughter called today to make a hair appointment for next week. She will drive to Montgomery, have her hair highlighted, and drive back to Tuscaloosa that night...because they have a swap with the KAs that night...and heaven knows we can't miss THAT. She wants to look pretty for the big soiree of the semester...Carnation Ball. She has already invited the very polite and precious young man who visited us over Labor Day Weekend...and so I'm sure that looking her best might include an ulterior motive. I'm also having my hair done this week just by accident of the calendar. So, I'll look very blonde and like I've encountered a light socket due to scissors shock when or if you happen to see me this weekend. Have mercy.

This weekend I will be spending time with family and with the girls I graduated from high school with in 1981. Nothing like seeing people you haven't seen in somewhere between 8 and 28 years ago and hoping that they recognize you. I'm considering wearing my nametag from work. I'll be the one who looks like I doubled in size with the uncontrollable hair. Because that's about as accurate a description as I can give right now.

Anyway, I'm going to make every attempt to have a wonderful night and rest of the week. No more pouting. I'm looking up...and looking forward to a wonderful weekend ahead. Hope that resolve stays with me! Later!

Sunday, September 13, 2009


Earlier this morning while reading about the anti-anything-I-believe-in-and-always-jerkish Bill Maher, I got so angry...I saw red. Funny expression, don't you think? I mean, we see red as the color of fire, heat, and temper. A power color of the highest magnitude as evidenced by the number of red ties we see on politicians, broadcasters, and CEOs. The color that is on the top of the stoplight atop ambulances and on stop signs. It draws your attention, and cues you in to something important or noteworthy.

Red is the color of my favorite flavor - cherry - and is my mother's favorite color. Red suits her...a beautiful blue-eyed blonde with dimples and that All-American look. Women have enjoyed red lipstick and nail polish for generations. It is always in vogue.

Red is a holiday color...ala Valentine's Day, the 4th of July, Thanksgiving and Christmas. It just speaks of celebrations and fun and excitement.

Red is both a common color...and an uncommon one at the same time. Red is primary and shocking...the color of blood as we see it, the color of trees changing in the Fall, of flowers, and of ladybugs. Blue, green, brown, white, and gray are found in nature...but red is almost an accent color in this regard. It stands out and captures us with its sudden appearance in a sunset, on a hummingbird, or of a cardinal in the grayness of winter.

Red. It is almost always unusual...and distinctive. Red hair, a red dress at a funeral, a poinsettia grouping on the steps of the church at Christmas, or the red stripes against the white on the American flag.

In decorating, (like I know anything about that except this) red is usually an accent color except in a dining room or possibly a bedroom in a bordello. It certainly isn't restful. Red is frequently used in restaurant decor because it is supposed to stimulate the appetite. It is bright, cheery, exciting, sophisticated, welcoming, and familiar in the proper time and place.

Red features prominently in childhood stories like "Little Red Riding Hood" and "Clifford, the Big Red Dog." Dr. Seuss books that used an extraordinary amount in the illustrations. Children love red, and it is one of the first colors that they can pick out. I still remember both of mine saying "wed" for "red" as little people.

In college, I was in the class of Pirates at Wesleyan, and those red jerseys then changed to my red Phi Mu jersey once I arrived at Troy. Our Phi Mu colors were pink (official) and red (reality) because most of the makers of the jerseys only made the most basic colors in 1983. When I see a ladybug - real or designed - it still makes me smile as I think of our cutesy little ladybugs painted on picture frames, coolers, and bulletin boards. My niece, Tara, looks precious adorned with ladybug clothes...and my Jill...who was obviously destined to be a Phi Mu...adored the color combination of pink and red as a little girl.

Pink and red...she has them both now...Phi Mu pink supporting the Crimson Tide of the University of Alabama. In a totally "Jill" way that was laced with mock blondeness...she explained her reason she chose Alabama over Auburn (although she was accepted to both) was "I look so much better in crimson than in orange." Well...I suppose she does.

Red represents states that agree with my philosophy of government moreso according to the political pundits who refer to "red states" and "blue states." And while neither party has an official right to the color red, it is at those political rallies, and conventions that we often see red balloons and confetti falling along with the blue and white.

The color red is certainly associated as the color of love and roses and romance. I remember red construction paper hearts with white paper doilies on top and red heart cinnamon candies that would wake up my mouth. Big Red gum in high school, and songs like "Little Red Corvette" by the artist formerly known as Prince (who might be back to being Prince...I haven't checked lately) blaring on the radio. I remember the red wax lips we would buy from Sing's Food Store at Halloween and how we would mix the coke and cherry Icees together to come up with a unique brown and red beverage that I still adore.

Red is the color that represents Coca-Cola, McDonald's, Pizza Hut, and KFC. It is red Twizzlers in movie theaters after the red and white striped box of popcorn is grown tired of or down to the kernels. Red is the color of ketchup, tomatoes, apples, and strawberries. It is the color of sweet watermelon on a summer day...along with red bandanas and mosquito bites.

Red goes by so many aliases...crimson, scarlet, maroon, cranberry, ruby, or cardinal. It is vibrant and alive and breathtaking. It is an attention getter...a bonified show stopper. Want to turn a girl's head? Red roses. Want to send a message? Red high heels.

Other colors have their places and attributes...but red represents the surprise, romance, and fire of life. And for those who are attracted to it as a favorite color...I find that those people have a wonderful, irrisistable love of life that is unique and special. Just like my Mom...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Keep Forever Sacred

Back in 1983, when I was a little Phi, I had to learn the creed of Phi Mu for initiation. Well, we were also supposed to write it on our hearts and minds as well, and actually live it...but whatever. But other than one awkward line "to be to others what we would they would be to us..." I have tried to read over it from time to time since I really do think that it encompasses the kind of woman I want to be.

Over the past week, though, I have had one of the other lines stuck in my head which is "to keep forever sacred the memory of those that we have loved and lost."

Today's date is September 12th. I watched the reenactment of the timeline from September 11th that was on Fox News last night. I remembered that there was a day in 2001 that I went to work and watched with my then co-workers the plane hit the second tower, and then the Pentagon, and then the field in Pennsylvania. I remember seeing people holding hands and flinging themselves out of windows so that their loved ones would at least have closure at knowing they were one of the ones who didn't make it out alive instead of being forced to wonder. I watched the footage of people who had conversations with loved ones on the airplanes moments before the planes went down.

It was eight years ago. And even though I didn't know anyone personally who was among those that were lost...they were Americans...and therefore, my brothers and sisters by default.

This week, I have also read comments on Facebook of a friend who lost a friend unexpectedly this past week. I am paraphrasing...but he cautioned us to remember to let people who are special to us know. Life has unexpected turns...and we never know when the last of the sands through the hourglass will fall. We are to use the opportunity we have - now - to tell people how much they mean to us and to never take them for granted.

He's right, by the way...we get so accustomed to people being there that we hardly notice if days, weeks, or years go by without checking in with them. We get angry over petty things, and we don't want to deal with the sometimes unpleasant things about people that often overshadow the we don't call. We are so consumed with football games, and school, work, and church activities that we just push people to the back burner. And then one day...we get the news that they are gone.

Today, outside my window, my gardenia bush is blooming. It is not supposed to be. It blooms each May like a normal gardenia...and I enjoy the fragrant white blooms immensely at that time. But in 2002, after my grandmother died, my gardenia bushes also started blooming a second time in August (and this year...into September)...the month of her birth. I look at them and think of her and the important and wonderful impact she had on my life. My mother, aunt, and I find pennies from time to time in strange places..."pennies from heaven" we like to think.

There are many people who have shaped us into who we are. Some of them taught us a skill or hobby, coached us, led us, or taught our Sunday school classes when we were little. Others taught us to be better people, and some loved us during periods of time when we were completely and undeniably unlovable. Others believed the best in us when the evidence indicated that the reverse was more likely true, some held our hands through a difficult time, and still others just became part of the fabric of our lives...and were just there.

Anyone that you have ever met was put in your life for a reason. You may think that you have chosen your friends, but the truth is...they are a gift from God. Any commonality you had is because God placed it there to enhance your life and to bring you closer to meeting His purpose for you. We often don't realize that...and we spend years being annoyed by people or not understanding their motives. And if we ever feel may seem nearly impossible to figure out a way to forgive.

So, as you go through the hours, days and weeks to come, be aware of how precious and how sacred the relationships that you have right now truly are. Even if you are in the midst of a bad time in your life, and don't feel especially appreciative...just look for one shining example. Trust me, you'll run out of fingers and toes mighty quickly while counting your blessings.

"Keep forever sacred the memory of those we have loved and lost..." may just be words written years and years ago and passed down from generation to generation in my sorority, on to me and now to my daughter. But I choose to believe that the words were written because during the process of the creed's construction...someone had just felt the sting of loss...and included those words as a reminder for us.

It is our responsibility as Americans, as family, as friends, and as beings drawing breath to remember. And to those who have only just recently lost someone...I wish you peace and happiness in the memories of someone dear that you may not see again for a long time. I know that it will take some time to grieve, and to feel again like laughing when reflecting on the joy they brought to your life. I hope that you will soon be able to keep sacred the influence of that person on your life...and you will honor that memory by passing the goodness on to someone else. I have complete faith that you will.

Be kind to each other. Tolerate, ask for forgiveness, and just let it go if you can. Honor the memory of those who made you the man or woman that you are today. Hug a friend. Write a letter. Express your appreciation. And in so will be blessed. Later!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Six Letter Words

One of the limitations of the written word versus the spoken one is that we are not always sure if a comment is made tongue in cheek, or taken seriously without benefit of knowledge of the person, a smiley face, or the old standard LOL! at the end. So, last night, after putting something on my feed that I thought was funny, I found out that other people were offended.

You know what? I'm offended sometimes, too. I have a belief system that guides me, and I do the best that I can to interpret what I'm taught. I'm not perfect, nor have I ever professed to be. But I know what I'm not, and I am most assuredly not the six letter word that was put on my feed - racist.

I don't particularly like President Barack Hussein Obama. I don't like his politics, who he surrounds himself with, his lack of experience, and his insistence on making major changes that bring us a bigger government. But the fact that the man had a black father is irrelevant to me. Now, if I had whipped out another six letter word...the mother of all racial epithets...the "n" word...then what I was labeled with might have held water.

Labels...we assign them to people...and once received...the people often leave them on there like we do the tag on a new pillow. It is almost as if we cannot shed the label, so we just leave it we can't remove it by penalty of law or something.

Words are powerful things. They have the ability to make us laugh, or cry, or think. They give us ways to group, classify or organize. But they also give us a mental picture, don't they? And those of us who are big fans of words...and who like to write...have a responsibility to use that gift to build others up and not tear them down. That's my take on it, anyway.

Six letter words...I came up with negative words like stupid, trashy, psycho, critic, whiner and boring. Anyone want those labels? I certainly don't. But we toss those words out either in jest or in anger...and we cut people to the core with them. I wouldn't throw a knife at someone for fear of nicking them in the process. I just wish that people were at least half that rational about the words that they use.

I then thought of some positive six letter words that I do identify with such as mother, writer, mentor, banker, helper, and friend. These are more in line with who I believe myself to be.

Oh, I'll admit to times of using my words inappropriately. I've thrown out things that I wish I could take back...and sometimes I'll actually erase something I post because I am sensitive to the fact that sometimes it is either none of my business, something beyond my ability to understand, or will come across as a slight when nothing could be further from the truth.

Now some of you may think that I am being a little too sensitive about this. And perhaps I am. But none of us likes to have anyone think of us in a way that is clearly NOT representative of who they know us to be. You can love people without loving what they do. And we can all see things totally differently but find enough in common to remain friends. Or at least that is what I have always believed was possible.

So, I'll focus on the six letter words that I know myself to be, and will use another one (ignore) for anyone who doesn't think enough of me to give me the benefit of the doubt. I'll try to be loving anyway, celebrate successes, and value them as individuals. Because is just too short for anything less.


Monday, September 7, 2009


Tonight we said goodbye to our daughter and a houseguest as they have to travel back to Tuscaloosa to get ready for class tomorrow morning. And while I am sad that they are gone...I also realized something while conversing with a friend online. What impressed me most about this houseguest was...his good manners.

From the time our children are babies, we teach them to say "please" and "thank you." And while I am living in the South, and I know most about the way we do things here, I believe that showing general courtesy in interacting with people is universal. We later teach them to speak to adults, how to shake someone's hand, to notice when someone needs assistance (and how to offer it), and how to construct a proper thank you note. We teach them to show respect for adults by saying "yes ma'am" or "no sir" and to open doors for ladies.

What we don't often teach them - in our kid-centered society - is to put other people first. They believe that the universe revolves around them, and as a result, they don't think of anyone else's comfort but their own.

In years past, everyone taught manners to children from Sunday School teachers to relatives to teachers. Neighbors knew the child, and would offer correction if it was warranted. Now, parents take the side of the "feelings" of the child and become angry if anyone dares to try to offer any criticism of the behavior of their little prince or princess.

But you know...chivalry is not dead, and I am always glad to be reminded of that.

Today, we went to Target, and the houseguest made sure that I had the front seat (Jill was driving), opened the car door for me, carried the items we purchased, opened the door to the store, and never acted like he was uncomfortable in any way. I liked this. And frankly, he may not do this at home...but the fact that he knows how to act...would very likely make his Mama very proud.

I know that everyone is interested in allowing children to take lessons in sports related activities, fine arts, or be members of social groups such as youth groups at church or scouting. However, some of the most valuable time is invested in teaching our children how to act in social situations. And how much time is invested to this end with our busy schedules? Very little, I'm afraid.

The funny thing is...most of the kids do not realize the importance as perceived by adults. And in not teaching them...we put them at a horrible disadvantage. The vicious cycle: They don't know that they are supposed to carry packages for women, so they don't offer. Because they don't offer, we view them as not being trained to do so at home. We then assume that either the parents didn't know to teach them (showing a lack of class) or the child didn't pick it up (showing rudeness or self-centeredness). We then view them as not knowing any better...which tends to make us think less of them as a result. These lessons on manners should be taught at home...along with the importance of making a good impression.

Frankly, I have a favorable impression of our houseguest because he showed good manners and respect for a female friend's mother. He didn't have to. He did it because it was the right thing to do. And I appreciate that more than I can say.

So, those of you raising little boys at home...remind them that one day they will want to impress a girl's Mama, and that she will be watching him. The Mama will see that if he knows how to show respect for a mother, he will definitely show it to a wife.

I hope that it isn't too late for me to give Brian a few pointers...Later!

Labor Day

Today is Monday...and it is Labor Day. The day where the working people in America are honored and the "unofficial" end to summer. It is Easter's bookend with regard to white shoe wearing, linen sporting, and bathing suit drama because if we wait until Memorial is just too late. We can put our pedicures on a back burner because we won't be wearing sandals to work for awhile. If we haven't already...we can start putting our school spirit flags on our cars on gameday or every day. Because, in my opinion, official or not...Fall begins the day after Labor Day.

Labor Day...a day when we are not supposed to work and celebrate the fact that we have jobs that are on hold today. The banks are closed, the government is pretty much on hiatus, and people are either swimming for the last time this season, barbecuing, or just doing absolutely positively nothing. And with an unemployment rate of approximately 10%, I suppose that being grateful for what we are doing should go without saying.

Personally, because it occurs so rarely in my life...I happen to like the option of doing nothing productive. So, to celebrate Labor Day, I am raising a mug of specialty coffee because I got up at 9 a.m. and Big Dave had already had his fill...and drained the whole pot. Mr. I Drink-My-Coffee-Black-Because-It-Is-Too-Much-Trouble-To-Put-Stuff-In-It detests frou-frou coffee. So, I am enjoying a piping hot mug of something that not only smells good brewing, but tastes absolutely delightful. It has been paired beautifully with a small cinnamon yeast roll that I have on hand because we have a guest.

The sounds in my house are quiet except for my daughter's phone that keeps going off every fifteen minutes in a vain attempt to get her up. Yeah, good luck with THAT. I am also listening to Big Dave unload the dishwasher, which just screams "sexy" to me.

Because we've had guests, my house is clean, my pantry and refrigerator are stocked to overflowing, and I already have tonight's meal(poppyseed chicken) waiting to be cooked at the proper time.

So, today, I am sitting here with the ability to write a love note to the world...just happy that I am free to sit here and do nothing but just that. Well, this happiness may just be a sugar rush...but whatever.

Ah...I hear stirring. Must have been the smell of the coffee and cinnamon yeast rolls...ya think? Later!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

A Brood of Hens

I have had THE most fun this past week watching my high school girlfriends plan a dinner with the purpose of giving us a chance to catch up in person. In said planning - which has resembled the execution expertise required to manage military troups and enough monkey wrenches to make me just laugh to myself - I confirmed why getting together is so hard. It is akin to herding cats. You get three in the basket, the fourth is just out of reach, and while you are celebrating the capture of the missing realize that the other three are back out roaming about.

It is probably at this point that most people go..."ya about we just wait for the next reunion?" But NO...if the Class of 1981 is anything...and it is many is definitely alarmingly persistent. So, as there have been approximately 73 direct messages sent back and forth...I am pleased to note that we are almost through planning. Which is a good we are dining in two weeks. Yay for us!

In considering the fact that we were planning a "hen party"...I went to the source of all knowledge outside of the Holy Bible (and that would be Wikipedia) and found that a group of hens is called a brood. Not a gaggle...that's geese. A brood.

I started thinking what the e-mails would look like if we sent these at ten year intervals...and here's just a sampling of what issues we might have (or actually did) have.

Age 10: Well, my Mom says that I can only invite 10 people, so because Ashley thinks she's hot snot...she isn't invited. OH, be sure that you bring your records because we'll be learning how to do the robot. Oh Mom says that I have to invite Ashley because she already mentioned it to her Mom, so somebody is going to have to have their feelings hurt. Maybe I won't invite Bambi because she always goes to sleep anyway, or Candi because she always calls her Dad to pick her up. OH, we are going to eat sloppy joes. SO much fun!!

Age 20: Um, yeah, I kind of invited my boyfriend and his five friends so I need to even things up a little bit. Yeah, I'd invite Dani but she is SUCH a flirt. And for the last time...NO, we can't build a beer pyramid. That's too tacky.

Age 30: OH, I would love to go to lunch but I have to bring the kids. Yeah, Edgar is out hunting AGAIN, and my parents are on a cruise. I don't care where we eat as long as it is kid-friendly. OH, and we can't not invite Frannie because she is SO suffering from the baby blues and she has not been able to lose a pound of that weight she gained. What was she eating during that pregnancy, anyway? Lard? No, we have to go early because the kids will be cranky and they always act out when there's an audience.

Age 40: I would absolutely adore the chance to get together...but I have a cheerleading competition for Grace, a baseball tournament that I'm missing for Harrison, and Isaac has a fever so I can't leave him with my sister Jennifer. She and her husband Kevin are having problems anyway...something about his secretary Lorna, and Belize, and whatever. Would it be possible for us to postpone that until next weekend? OH, wait, that won't work either...

Age 46: Just set a photos below the shoulders or I am NOT coming. Yeah, the whole sitting on the floor thing sounds great except that I don't think it would be attractive for me to roll around there like Shamu waiting for everyone to quit laughing as I try to get up. Karaoke? Um, NO. I don't care where we eat, and nobody is bigger than I am so I do NOT want to hear it. Thirty pounds? Amateur.

Age 50: Karaoke? Sure, why not! I love AC/DC! No, Mary can't come...she got botox last week and can't move her face. No, really. She looks like she's going "What the ?" and doesn't have to say a word. Tragic. No, Nancy is still planning Miss Odell's 80th birthday party and Prissy's wedding. She is in a state. Hasn't eaten since last Tuesday. Oh, we can't go THERE. No, Quinn has IBS, and Rachel refuses to consume anything containing carbohydrates. Well, anything except wine.

Age 60: The 15th? Well, I don't know. I have the grandchildren that weekend. I just don't think that one of our dinners is exactly the place for them. I mean, last time, Sara and Terri were talking about Viagra and I've been married 37 years and those two made me blush. And NO, I am not singing "Shook Me All Night Long" with the band. I've never lived it down and that was AGES ago.

Age 70: Sure. Have time. Where? When?

Age 80: I can't eat out without it just either going straight through me or all down the front of me. Can't we just sit somewhere and talk? I would so love that. I've been to too many funerals lately.

Age 90: Eh?

Yeah, I can see our brood...the spirited, sassy, strong class of 1981 in all our glory then...with the added bonus of maturity. We may be packing a few extra pounds...but we either tolerate them because we are finally comfortable in our own skin, it seems a reasonable tradeoff as a side effect of medication because at least we FEEL so much better...or our metabolisms retired long before we thought they would.

I look forward to seeing the sweet faces of the brood...of the laughs we'll share, the of the memories we'll make. Whether we were close or not then really doesn't matter now. What really matters is that we survived. I don't know about you...but I'm very happy to look around and see that I am not alone in this boat.

So, as we discuss golf carts, restaurant choices, karaoke (um, NO thank you unless you want to hear Foo Fighters...just sayin') and how we'll actually get there, I am really looking forward to hanging out with my brood. Later!

Thursday, September 3, 2009


For those of you who are unaware (as if), my daughter is a sophomore in college. She is currently not dating anyone, and this semester has been a wonderful conglomeration of learning new names, faces, and fraternity associations. Thankfully, Facebook can clue me in to the basics...unless he fails to put his profile picture up, and instead has his beer pong board that he's invested his summer working on in its place. Egad. Frankly, that alone tells me an awful lot. I'll give him creativity...and an "A" for effort...but I'm glad to know that this particular individual is just a "friend." Whew.

OH, it has been like an online version of the dating game...and about as hysterical. We've had houseguests, visitors, and occasionally someone will start to get interested. Then she has to remind this one or that one of the fact that she is not ready to date anyone right now and it gets awkward. I feel that she has had a lot of fun, and is making good friends in the process. But as I've seen the various people she is meeting...some in person...and some in photos...I've just struggled to figure out what it is that just isn't right about him.

It certainly isn't good looks...most of them are very handsome. It isn't a great personality...she's told me the most hilarious know...the ones that qualify as "entertaining the Mom". But when I've watched her interact with them, or try to picture her with some of them, it is just...wrong.

Tonight, she sent me a few photos because I wasn't well yesterday. And you know what? Something clicked. Tonight I realized that the litmus test for all of them should be...can I picture him in camo? If not...then he just needs to move along. Because sooner or later...he will be doing just that.

Why camo? I mean, her Daddy, Big Dave, is not a hunter. She did not grow up knowing how to shoot a gun, how to dress a deer, or how to call a turkey. These are skill sets that quite frankly none of the men in the family possess. Oh, there are a few that like to get out there and hang out in the hunting camp and all that...but there is no other reason that I can conceive of as to why she is so attracted to camo, except...

That I believe her future husband is a hunter. Gasp! My mother will be mortified...but I'm sure...not entirely shocked.

Her boyfriends have all - without exception - worn camo at some point into this house. Lately, some of the ones I've seen are not camo-worthy. I mean...they are great guys...all-American types. But I haven't seen a camo-worthy one in the bunch...until tonight. And why, you ask? Because in photo #3...her "favorite"...the latest "friend" is wearing camo.

The funny thing is...he may only last two weeks...but I think she's honing in on something that is a "must" for her...but I seem to have downplayed. Her "type" obviously includes someone with the ability to wear army green, brown, and khaki well. Anyone who is not interested in that...or looks kind of weird doing so...need not apply.

I think that the attraction with camo is not just the colors, either. I think that it is the love of the outdoors, the down-to-earth nature, and the rough and tumble nature of it that she just loves. Oh, I've seen females pull camo off as well...and for those that it brings out the female in them just as obviously.

So, when I pulled up a couple of pictures she sent me today, and I saw camo, I just had to smile. Although we are way too early in the grand scheme of things...I just feel like I have a piece of the puzzle that will help me recognize my future son-in-law one day. And as we both have fun (her reality...and me from afar) with the new people she meets...I hope that she starts checking that "camo-worthy" box FAR more frequently. Yeah, I think in her case it's THAT important. Later!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


I voluntarily woke up without benefit of alarm, assistance or screeching at 5:00 a.m. this morning. And this would have been a good thing except for the excrutiating pain on my right side. Because there was a good reason for some discomfort, I originally thought that it was just something that would subside. Alas, no...quite the opposite.

Truth be told, I had some normal cramps, and I DID take a yoga class last night (I can hear you laughing) after I walked for 21 minutes (but who's counting) on the treadmill last night with Dave (Grohl of Foo Fighters on the iPod). But last night seemed quite normal, and dinner was a vegetable plate with honeydew melon for food funkiness was immediately dismissed.

So, Big Dave was sitting in his office reading "The Drudge Report" or something equally fascinating, and I sat in the room with him starting to feel worse by the second. After ten minutes of trying to locate the heating pad (we never did find it), I spoke the words that Big Dave has never heard from my lips in 24 years of marriage..."I want to go to the emergency room."

So, off we went...with Big Dave unintentionally hitting every single pothole between our house and the hospital. Note to self: Have Big Dave check the shocks on his truck.

Once we arrived, I was one of two patients waiting to be seen. There were three or so in rooms already. Someone later told me that I picked a good day for this as they had been slammed with the H1N1 virus recently.

David got me registered and I sat in a room feeling like someone had rewired my right side. I looked up and saw my nurse - in pink - and knew that everything was going to be okay. She asked my weight...I didn't lie...and by the grace of God, Big Dave was outside parking the truck at the time. So yay for me for being honest...but I will go ahead and admit that the Probate Office people will NOT get total honesty when I go in this week or next to renew my license. It expired Sunday.

In a few minutes, I was given a combination of a pain medication, an anti-nausea medication and morphine. Their first impression was that it was a kidney stone. After doing an x-ray and some scan in a thing that looked like a doughnut, they took blood, started an IV, and left me there for about two hours. The technician looked like she could have been in the Miss Universe pageant, and I asked her if she was like a former Miss Venezuela or something. She laughed. In fact, every single nurse I encountered all day looked like a beauty queen. The guys...not so much. I, in contrast, noticed to my horror, that some leftover makeup had made its way me a discernable racoon thing going on along with the unkempt hair that is my trademark in the early morning hours. Truth be told, though, after brief reflection (and cleaning out the mascara tracks) was that I truly did not care at this point.

I was later told that I had to have some horrific test involving words like "dye" and "enema" to make sure that my appendix was okay. Miss Universe (bless her heart) had to help me through that one, and on my fifteenth apology, she said, "hey, no worries, it is all part of the job." I am SO glad that there are people who are called to work in the medical field, because if I had been where she was response would have been..."Waiter! Check, please."

After another two hour nap which was briefly interrupted by the sound of Big Dave mumbling..."I wonder what's going on"...the doctor blew in. As I sat up, I realized that A) The meds were wearing off and B) I had the mother of all caffeine headaches. I heard part of what she said, and it was something about...gallstones blah blah blah...cysts blah blah's your Loratab prescription and something for nausea. See Dr. Somebody about the gallstones and call your OB/GYN about those cysts.


So, I've just gotten rid of the headache (thanks, Advil and a diet coke from the dollar menu at McDonald's) and I'm going to bed for awhile now. It will be an exercise in futility as I cannot sleep during the day.

My sweet Mama wanted to drive over here to take care of me and my precious daughter wanted to drive down from Tuscaloosa to see me. I feel loved. But unless I start feeling worse than I do right now...I plan to go to work tomorrow.

Anyway, that's my story of the ER. Not too sexy...but it didn't end in an admission or least not yet...which totally works for me. Later!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009


A week or so ago, I wrote about my affinity for the color pink. I love pink! What's not to love, though? It is cheery, and feminine, and makes people smile when they see it. It looks wonderful on women from newborn to the nursing home and everyone in between. It is always in fashion and just has a personality all its own.

And then there is blue. Blue...the color of the sky and water. The color that is probably the most often cited as the "favorite" - and the one that seems to branch out and blend beautifully since it is a primary color. It is strongly represented in the Crayola 64, and it truly runs the gamut from dark to light, bright to pale, and a whole lot in between.

Blue can be close to purple...or close to red. It can blend nicely with green, or look appropriate opposite orange. It is one of the three colors on the grand ol' flag, and is the same in French as in English, although they spell it weird. You just have to love it, right?

Well, blue has some not so nice connotations associated with it including the description of depression ("feeling blue"), snobbishness ("blue bloods") or a sign of distress ("turning blue"). There are some positive ones to offset these including "blue chips" to represent the best stocks, "blue skies" to represent something happy, "once in a blue moon" to describe something extremely rare, or "blue ribbon" to signify that something is the best. Granted, Pabst tried to shanghai that one...but whatever.

For me, the color blue reminds me of my mother's mother. She loved the color blue, and had blue eyes, and a blue bedroom that always smelled like powder to me. She adored blue hydrangeas, and grew them in her backyard. Everytime we'd go outside she would remind me that someone who worked for her, sweet Ethel, called them "high geraniums". We'd laugh, and I rarely say the word without thinking of that.

As a child, I was born with blue eyes, and most of the people in my family are blue-eyed. I look at the beautiful eyes of my children, who can trace them back to my mother and her mother before her. When I held my nephew, Alex, for the first time, what struck me (other than the fact that he was a beautiful baby) was that he also inherited the blue eyes of our family.

When I went to school, I remember the Blue Horse notebooks, and remembered that if you saved your Blue Horse points, you could mail them and redeem them for something. I never did this, but I always wanted to. I remember watching Disney movies with bluebirds circling around, and Cinderella's dress was none other

Later on, I lived in blue jeans, felt the ice cold water of Perk's Pool during the summer months, and drove my baby blue 1973 Mercury Comet during my teen years. Every car I owned from 1979 when I turned 16 until 1999...was blue. In fact, the recap tires that were on the Comet matched just perfectly, and I had no idea that I was driving on a wing and a prayer...especially as I drove up and down "Roller Coaster Hill" somewhere in the outskirts of Thomaston, GA. I sang "Blue Bayou" in Lee High Singers and still detest the song...although I've come to love the memories and no longer gag when I hear it.

And as I've written before...seeing a blue gumball in a machine in Macon, GA at age 20...let me know that a tide was turning in my life. To this day, if you give me my choice of gumball...I will always choose blue...unless I am about to see people and I'm worried that my teeth will be blue, but whatever.

Later, blue turned into the color of the suit of my first job a bank. An industry that has taught me - among other things - that it is good to have customers sign their loan paperwork in blue so that you can determine which documents are originals.

As a young bride, I tried (unsuccessfully) to make biscuits and turned on the "Smurfs" every Saturday morning. Why I was so enamored with this cartoon is totally beyond me. Although I am (thankfully) over that phase now - and still can't make biscuits - I still can hear that annoying "la la la la la la la la laaaaaa" song in my head. And just for the record, Brainy Smurf totally got on my nerves...but not as much as Smurfette.

Later, I looked into the eyes of my two babies - both blue eyed - and one that I completely immersed in blue...and loved every minute of it. He was a foreigner to my mother...who was a mother of girls...but his dimples won her over in the hospital. Plus the fact that he looks a lot like her hasn't hurt that connection a bit.

Several years later, we enrolled them in a school with the colors of navy and red. Since 1996, we have had blue tee shirts, uniforms, shorts, banners, and every imaginable spirit booster for the high school in this house. When Jill cheered, she had blue on her uniforms, and when Brian played middle school football, I watched him wear the team colors. A friend helped me survive cheerleading tryouts at the Blue Burrito restaurant. And when Jill was in 10th grade, a lovely young man with very blue eyes was a part of our family for a time.

I look at the color blue as a calming influence. It seems to me to be the color of safety and assurance. The color of familiarity and peace. I think of blue as the color that best represents family and continuity.

And on those days that I am feeling blue, I could easily let the gray take over. But, I can just as easily see the celebrations on the 4th of July, the football team at my children's school continuing their winning tradition, or open a fresh jar of blueberry jelly in my mind...and turn the gray to bright, brilliant blue.