Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Rebel - Guest Blogger

Dear People,

Every night for the past three years I have sat under this table and watched the Serving Wench that calls herself "Mama" type on the computer when she gets home from work.  I know what "work" is by the way.  When I was a puppy, I used to go to work with her - primarily because she couldn't stand to leave me unattended while I was being potty trained.  Of course, I ended up breaking her of this habit before she "broke" me - but it was a nice gesture.

Actually, it took her two years to "break" me...and every so often I leave her a gift just to let her know I care.  Somehow, those just don't seem to be fully appreciated.  All I hear is "Bad Dog! Bad Dog! Blah blah blah blah blah." 

Whatever.  What does one expect from a dog that they saw fit to name "Rebel"?  Exactly.  I rest my case.

The Serving Wench has a pretty normal schedule and she does a fairly decent job of making sure that Dixie and I are fed and watered and put out.  She retrieves me each morning from The Boy's room and doesn't even make me jump off the bed.  I've found that stretching and taking my time seems to just frustrate her...but I thought it was pretty genius if the truth be told.  She just cuts to the chase and picks me up. 

I like to think of it as my small way of thanking her daily for that ill-fated trip to the vet a few years ago when I came home minus a body part or two.

Every few days she just leaves me in here until I have to get up, jump off the bed, and go to her room to get her up.  Sometimes The Alpha (otherwise known as Big Dave) shuts the door and makes it necessary for me to sit outside the door and bark.  I'm pretty much the strong, silent type ordinarily, but The Alpha tells me that I bark like a "girl" whatever that is.  Somehow I'm guessing that this isn't good.

Usually this attempt to get her up is a double-edged sword - because all of that yelling reminds her that we probably need a bath. 

Baths suck. 

I mean - after the bath - fine.  During the bath - no.  Some stupid dogs are all about getting in the water - but not the Brown Dog.  I don't struggle anymore and I'll even stand still to be dried.  But nothing makes me happier than shaking all over the Serving Wench when she isn't expecting it.  It is my version of letting her know how little I appreciate this "clean" that she seems so happy about achieving.  Clean?  Does she not know that it has taken a full week of hard work to smell like I do?  It wouldn't be so bad if she didn't bathe me in some frou-frou vile green stuff that smells like fruit.  You'd think she'd know by now that fruit ain't covering THIS up.  Not by a long shot.

That whole frou-frou thing is pretty much because The Blonde thinks that I'm a little less manly than The Serving Wench.  The Blonde insists on dressing me up in various tee shirts that she buys because I look "cute." 

I hike my leg to this "cute."

The Serving Wench thinks I'm a redneck.  I am the Brown Dog.  Not red.  Brown.  Although this crimson team she is obsessed with is rumored to qualify me as a redneck by the Auburn school.  Sounds like a whole lot of bush marking to me. 

Not that I'm against bush marking.  I'm quite excellent at it, actually.

In spite of this, I have found that people continue coming into my yard uninvited.  They may have been invited by The Alpha or The Serving Wench (and when The Blonde lived here it was even worse) but obviously they didn't check it with me.  These delivery people who insist on dropping off items at my house without my approval need the occasional reminder that this is the Brown Dog's yard.  Yeah.

So the Serving Wench had to send some paper with proof of my shots on the machine in the office to the U.S. Postal Service.  Wonder if I'm on a poster..."Most Wanted."  Ha.  I am also rumored to be on the "Do Not Call" list of DSL, UPS, and most of the neighbors. 

But me?  Vicious?  I weigh twelve pounds.  Just don't turn your back on me.  Plus, remember...I bark like a "girl." 

I do know that my life is pretty good.  I sleep in the house (on the camo sheets with The Boy), eat decent and get morsels called "treats" pretty regularly.  Other than the fact that it is allegedly not good for dogs...I am a huge fan of American cheese.  I will even debase myself to do something called "tricks" in order to obtain this delicacy. 

Sure beats digging in the trash.  Dixie does that and to say that The Serving Wench is "not a fan" would be an understatement.

I've just had another bath tonight which was somehow unfair because it is not the late sleeping day, but apparently I was something called "stinky." 

Better stinky than fruity.  Sadly, I am on the fruity side right now. 

I'm off to demand cheese now since I have done what was asked of me and introduced myself to you.  I don't know that I'll do this again, but you never know.  Thanks for reading---The Brown Dog

Monday, September 26, 2011

On Tradeoffs, Sacrifices and Gifts

One of the biggest lessons that I've learned in life is that everything is a tradeoff, a sacrifice, or a gift.  We spend the majority of our time in the tradeoff realm, we're acutely aware when we are in sacrifice mode, and most of the time we are either blissfully unaware or awed by the gifts we are given every day.  Where we get messed up is when we start taking any of it for granted, or stubbornly refuse to understand how the whole tradeoff thing works. 

When I was little, I remember entering Sing Food Store after pedaling my bike what must have been a mile or two from my house.  There were sidewalks most of the way, and there were only a few places where traffic was a concern.  I'm sure that there were crazy people out there back in the day, but it was still possible for a kid to actually make that trek and have a reasonable expectation of getting back home. 

At Sing's, they had penny candy and the best coke Icees on the planet.  I realize that to a lot of people, a coke Icee is a coke Icee, but from Sing's, it just tasted better.  Still does.  (I know that my mother will not pass by there without stopping to get one...and some lottery tickets...but that's another discussion entirely.)  This was back when you could get a full sized 3 Musketeers candy bar, a bag of Funyuns, some Super Bubble bubble gum (the nasty green apple was a personal favorite), some Now & Laters (which should have just been named "NOW" which is when I insisted on eating them), and an Icee for under a dollar. 

In fact, I remember when when the candy bar went up from a fifteen to twenty cents.  And no, I didn't have to walk to school uphill both ways in the snow and I don't yell at kids to get off my lawn...yet.

I never really thought about what a blessing this freedom was.  I know that for my mother, it meant that she didn't have to entertain me or be annoyed by constant pleas for attention of some kind.  She just assumed I'd be alright.  I'd leave the house for hours and arrive home for dinner having played "war" (I was always relegated to the nurse role...and we nurses didn't actually do anything but sit in the treehouse), roller bat, football, or maybe I'd been riding someone's go-cart or mini bike with them.  A couple of times, I'd end up somewhere playing Barbies, but that usually ended with someone's mother being mortified that the room that she'd just demanded be cleaned on a Saturday morning was trashed beyond she'd make us put it all away and join her in the kitchen for some Oreos and a glass of milk.

Good times. 

It was just time to be a kid.  I remember time stretching out forever, and when Halloween, Christmas, and Easter were eagerly awaited. 

Sadly, that really doesn't exist anymore. 

The crazy people, overwhelming schedules, lack of knowledge of who are neighbors are, and technology have pretty much taken care of all of that.  In place of it we have stressed out families, fear, obesity, and anxiety to replace it.  Not exactly the tradeoff we'd planned for, is it?

I think there are a lot of things that I've traded off that in return I've received a raw deal.  It was the little decisions primarily.  The "oh, it will be fine...I'll make that up..." things.  The letting something go so that I could rest or entertain myself.  The eating something that was homemade and scrumptuous when it was clear that I'm on the brink of poor health.  The not forcing myself to be disciplined years ago so I could be less concerned about today.  I'm obviously not a very good horse trader.

But that's okay.  While I was busy out making other happened.  (Thanks, John Lennon for that bit of inspiration.)

The other day while I was standing in my closet, I had an epiphany of what the sum total of bad choices can be.  Granted, I've made a lot of good choices, but in a couple areas of my life, I've been as out of control as some of these sad little "starlets" that insist on creating drama because apparently the life of celebrity is so dang difficult to bear. (My advice?  Sweethearts...get thyself out of the spotlight if you have to take 27 pills to endure one day of your life.  There are at least a thousand girls waiting in the wings...some of whom will actually be able to handle Carrie Underwood, Emma Stone, and Taylor Swift...just to name a few.) 

One of these areas has been with what I eat.  It is my thorn in the flesh.  I have a few other splinters, but this is a real and tangible issue for me.  I know what to do, and I often do it...but not often enough.  Many, but not all, of the regrets I have in this life revolve around what this one issue. 

I've traded off being able to wear most items of clothing, feeling free to see people (because I worry about their reaction when they see me), exercise (because I worry about hurting my knees), and just feeling good about myself.

I've traded this all for the freedom to eat what I want when I want. 

I told you I wasn't a good horse trader.

The only antidote to this is discipline.  But who likes that?  Answer: People who are disciplined.

Discipline is freedom and often involves sacrifice.  For some of us, it is hard to sacrifice for ourselves...because we keep thinking that someday we will.  Oh, we'll sacrifice for our kids...and we are awed by those who sacrifice for us every day (such as our brave armed services personnel, police, firefighters, and their families).  But sacrifice to us is something that seems scary and amazing and unworthy of us on most days.  We know all about the ultimate sacrifice and we are grateful for the lives we'll be born into once our mission is done here on earth. 

There are martyrs, and there are quiet heroes in this life, and we usually bump up on one or another somewhere along the line.  Most of us admired Mother Teresa's selfless life and all of the good and dignity she brought wherever she was. 

Most of us aren't even close to Mother Teresa on every best day we have in our entire lives all strung together compared to one of her worst.  But that doesn't stop us from trying.

And then there are the gifts. 

Those brilliant, wonderful, awe-inspiring times that we feel like the universe has parted just to say hello to us.  The rainbow that we see out of our car window as we are driving home from another exhausting day.  The kindness someone does for us that we certainly don't feel that we deserve and know we'll never be able to repay.  The note that arrives in the mail, the hug when we are feeling defeated, or the prayer for us that is lifted when we are unaware. 

The joy that we feel from doing something that God has given us to do that makes us happy to give and makes others happy to receive.  The uniqueness that He has crafted into every one of us that may take time to tap into but which makes us feel His pleasure.  The times we know that we are in the right place at the right time...or that someone else certainly is.  The love that we have in our hearts that we give to others that only multiplies as it goes along.  The light that starts as a small beacon...but is intended to light the whole world.

I don't know if you are making decisions now that you wish you could reverse, feel that you are in the middle of the coliseum and they've just released the lions, or are living your dream.  Perhaps you're doing all of these simultaneously.  Just remember that if you are reading this...and you are have a purpose. 

Sometimes I forget that when I am in the middle of a pity party because I have fewer choices than I'd like or that the prayers I lift appear to be sitting stale on the walls of heaven.  When minutes seem like days and the days seem gray and drab.  Maybe it is at these times that I need to sacrifice my wants to meet someone else's needs, or I need to use the gifts I've been blessed with to make someone else's day.  Maybe making better choices would become a discipline...and the freedom would follow more effortlessly.

In the meantime...I'm going to give it a whirl.  You never know where it might lead.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Southern Women Floral Bouquet & Dixie Carter Lovefest

Last night I was entertaining myself by watching Dixie Carter as Julia Sugarbaker in "Designing Women."  I don't know about you, but Julia represents everything that I know and love about most Southern women.  And honestly...there is a lot to love.  (And for the record, that was NOT a "shout out" to my big girl sisters either.  That was a statement of fact.)

Most Southern women I know fall into one of several categories...and sometimes they overlap depending on the situation.  And if there is anyone who can find herself in the middle of a "situation" is the Southern girl.

Since many girls are named after flowers here in the South...with names like Lily, Rose, Pansy, Violet, Iris, Daisy, and Ivy, I'm going to use these floral names to describe some of my Southern sisters.  I'm even going to throw Magnolia in...although I can't say that I've ever met anyone by that name. 

You may find that you are an entire bouquet.  I know I am.  (And yes, I do realize that I'm leaving out Heather, Jasmine and Fern...but just work with me here.)

The first Southern woman type is the "Lily"...which has so many different types and faces that I couldn't even begin to describe the entire spectrum.  I think of these Southern women as the first ones we tend to identify with...our mothers and grandmothers.  They may be beautiful and vibrant and demand a lot of attention...or they may be sweet and subdued.  But they are strong and glorious and bloom where they are planted. 

The "Lily" girls know which fork to use, how to make proper chicken salad, and they know when something is "tacky" but they are often far too ladylike to admit it.  They are the girls the mothers want their sons to marry and the ladies that show up when there is a death in the family to accept the food and leave the kitchen spotless.  They teach Sunday school and make sure that children who might not have the best home situation are well attended to within the walls of their homes.  They love deeply and are loved in return. 

The second is the "Rose"...which reminds me of those sweet ladies at church who were always asking after me and whose eyes lit up when I entered a room.  I was lucky enough to have a few roses in the garden of my childhood and at least one former teacher who always told my grandmother how smart I was years after she taught me.  To hear that she thought I was smart when I was not only making dumb choices but was doubting my ability to impress anyone in any positive way...her words meant more than she probably knew.  Or maybe she did.  I sent her a letter thanking her for that before she died a few years ago. 

I know that a lot of you remember Betty White's character "Rose" from "The Golden Girls" and how she always seemed to be telling some absolutely wild story that made the others think she was a bit of a ditz...but I always loved her sweetness and simplicity.  Sweetness and simplicity are highly underrated, you know. 

The third type of Southern woman is the "Pansy"...those hilarious and colorful women that have absolutely no problem being exactly who they are.  They wear hats to church, drive an old car with the convertible down, and have never been accused of not knowing how to have a good time.  They are the ones who don't mind standing out...because they honestly don't have any choice.  It is just who they are...for better or worse. 

"Pansys" are the kind of women who will get on up there and sing karaoke or can teach the Electric Slide to a bunch of novices.  It isn't that they don't care what people is that they honestly aren't aware that anybody thinks anything of them other than that they are fabulous and amazing...which, of course, they are.  They may even be the homecoming queens and dazzling beauties that every small town in the South knows how to produce.  They are often debutantes, cheerleaders, or the local Peach Queen.  They are perfectly at home with a crown on their head sitting on the back of a convertible waving to the crowd.  Shoot, they are perfectly at home anywhere.

The fourth brand of Southern woman is the "Violet."  She may be quiet and demure, but she knows how to stand her ground.  She'll bloom beautifully if you leave her where she's happy, and requires little maintenance other than the sun of your love and the the occasional compliment to thrive.  Sometimes she may seem to be a little shy...but occasionally she will show you a ferocity that is extraordinary.   These are the ones that you dare not underestimate but often don't learn this until you do.  Just keep in mind that there is only a one letter difference between "violet" and "violent"...and if you mess with her family or her friends...she will make the transition faster than butter melts on a hot biscuit.

The fifth type is the Iris.  The "Iris" (named after the Greek word for "rainbow" apparently since they appear in every color) is the solid type that "has your back" with a heart of gold and a spine of steel.  These are the ones who know how to fix everything and how to make do with nothing.  Most of the Southern women I know have a strong streak of Iris in them...they know how to get it done and certainly aren't hothouse flowers.  Hothouse flowers don't do particularly well in the South when it is hotter than...well, you just fill in the blank.

The sixth type of Southern girl is the Daisy.  She's to the point and may even be little bit country, but she brings with her a strong feeling of home and comfortable and hospitable.  She is the one who can turn a boy's head and loves nothing more than being barefoot on her front porch or sitting in the sunshine. As pretty as a picture and can take care of herself.  Think "Daisy Duke" and you're there. 

The final type is the "Ivy."  The "Ivy" seems to be all proper and as perfect as she can be one moment...and a real bother the next.  I think of those women who are what is otherwise termed "high maintenance" and "difficult."  They are a pain to live with...much like poison ivy.  If you are unfortunate enough to have to deal with one of them...and in the South...all of us do...then bless your heart, honey.  Think of the person you can't please, who talks incessantly about other people and who lives to make your life miserable...and you've got yourself an "Ivy."

Oh, there are some other types that I'm leaving out I feel sure, but maybe you can see yourself in one or the other.  I know I do.

And if you are living with someone (or know someone having the be medicated to survive someone) who is an Ivy...I hope you know that eventually she will run up on the final type of Southern woman...the magnolia.

Julia Sugarbaker was a magnolia.  You've all heard about "Steel Magnolias" and probably shed a tear or two at that movie (which was originally written as a play by Robert Harling about his sister, Susan Harling Robinson - a Phi Mu - which explains the blush (pink) and bashful (pink) wedding colors.)  And it is true.  When life truly "sucks" and you need someone who is going to tell you the truth and stand up for want a magnolia.  At least you know where you stand.  And in this day and age...there's a lot to be said for that.

Yes, my goal in life is to be Julia Sugarbaker when I grow up.  Here's Dixie Carter in her famous speech about her little sister Suzanne to the then reigning Miss Georgia World.  Tell it, sister.

Here's a few more that I just love.  Enjoy.  :)
And this one...
And how about this...
And finally...

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Certainly Unofficial and Probably Lame Guide to Southern Expressions

Tonight I was watching Bill O'Reilly and his word of the day was "conniption."  I laughed.  In all honesty, I've learned a few words like "jackanapes" (which means an impudent or conceited fellow) but tonight's was one I know quite well. 


Oh, please.

If you were raised in the South, you know what a conniption is.  It is usually called a "conniption fit" and it is something you know about from birth.  It is a little difficult to define, but when you are in the midst of it you dang sure know it.  As a didn't want your Mama to pitch one.

There's another phrase "dang sure."  That "dang" is there for emphasis.  It is also used in "dang straight," "dang right" and "dang, girl!" 

We Southerners have a language that is all our own, and occasionally someone will compile a list of things that make us uniquely Southern.  I've actually composed a list myself.  But much like you don't notice something until your attention is drawn to it, I've spent the better part of today noticing how much of what I say would have to be decoded if someone from another part of the country was to engage me in casual conversation.

My word...sometimes I am dang close to being a redneck.

Earlier today I was talking to a coworker about how difficult it was raising children these days.  Except that she mentioned that we aren't raising children....we're "rearing" them.  Perhaps we raise crops and rear children, but I honestly couldn't care less.

As opposed to how a lot of people say it..."I could care less..."  Both are equally acceptable here in the South.  We know what you mean...and we aren't tacky enough to correct you.

Tacky?  No, not sticky.  "Tacky" is just a polite way of saying that someone is tipping the scales in the direction of being "white trash."  Being tacky means that you do something that is socially unacceptable and aren't even aware of it...or you couldn't care less.  "White trash" is just something that you can't help...and you try to overcome.  Or you just wait to be interviewed by major news outlets during any major local disaster.  I swear those people don't know how to find normal people down here. 

Let's see if an example will help.  Using paper plates at a formal tacky.  Wearing red to a tacky (except for Christmas weddings, of course).  Having unpolished/ungroomed toenails in a white sandal after Labor tacky. Going to the grocery store shirtless or barefooted...qualifies you as white trash.  Especially if you are wearing your shorts with "Diva" splashed across the rear end two sizes too small with your tube top.

Of course, of late, a lot of people have embraced tacky.  They call it "personal expression" and let if fly.  Where it once might have been thought tacky to have so many lights in your Christmas display that your house can be seen from space, it is now perfectly acceptable to have a donation box in your front yard to pay the electric bill.  Yes, people actually wait for thirty minutes to see the lights syncronized to whatever Christmas song is playing.  (And yes, I hop out of the car and put money in the donation box.)

But there are some things that are just not done...unless you want to be "discussed."

Being "discussed" means that you have either done something "tacky" or you just don't know any better...bless your heart.

There's a lot of heart blessing in the South.  It is generally followed by a statement regarding someone's lineage, looks, behavior, or current marital situation.  I've actually heard folks rip someone a new one followed by "bless her heart" - as if those three words are a magical salve to heal us of all wrongdoing in discussing someone behind her back in the first place.

Folks.  See?

Folks means your people, parents, or some random group of people.  I guess you just have to figure that one out for yourself.  I most commonly use it to refer to my people.

My people means my family.  And Lord knows, in the South, who your people are is vital information.  Most of us are related to each other by blood, marriage, or because someone was your mother's best friend in high school.  My Aunt June falls into that third category.  I've called her Aunt June my entire life.  I'm 48.  Everyone else is "Miss" or "Mr." something or another.

We call our fathers "Daddy" if we had a good relationship even if we are 75.  Sometimes we switch over to their grandpa name once we have children.  Our mothers are called anything from Mama to Sugar. 

Sugar, by the way, is a kiss.  Or what is what makes the spoon stand up in our sweet tea.

Don't even get me started on the grandparents.  There are a lot of MeeMaws and PeePaws here in the South...along with the more modern Gigi and Mimi (what my kids call my mother and Big Dave's, respectively).  Trust me when I tell you that there are a lot of Big Mamas, Little Mamas, Nanas, Grannys and Honeys down here.  Not as many Grandmother Smiths.  The funniest I've ever heard were "Moo" and "Poo." 

I do not believe I'll be replicating that one. 

We'll probably be KK and Big Dave someday.  That's a stretch, yes? 

My Aunt Pitta (my mother's sister) goes by Piya...a name chosen by my sister Linda's kids...who couldn't say "Pitta."  It stuck. 

So did "Pitta" by the way.  It is short for Patricia. 

Nicknames are something that we Southerners do well.  I had friends growing up named Big Mac and Pancake, and my friend had uncles named Junior and Red.  A lot of boys are called "Bubba" and a lot of girls are called "Sister."  I was, too, actually, until I was twelve.

I don't know if people in other parts of the country find us a little interesting or just dumb.  I do know that they love to hear us talk.  Actually, just then I should have used the word "speak" but whatever.  See?

We call every soft drink a "Coke" instead of something stupid like "pop" and we have no problem surviving heat, difficulties or acts of God.  The reason - I believe, anyway - is because we still pretty much collectively acknowledge that there is a God...and God is God and we are not.  And we survive on the roadsides and dark times in life because good ol' boys and rednecks have whatever they need to survive or help you out in their pickup trucks...right next to their deer rifle.

This is the most disturbing trend I've seen, of course...this godlessness that seems to be so evident in this country these days.  In the South, we are more open about our faith.  You can laugh about us clinging to our guns and our religion down here...I'll take that as a compliment.

And even if we have educational systems that need some serious help and we were slower with getting right with regard to race relations and prenatal care, we're good people.  Never mind that we have an apparent inability to master Pronouns 101 and our ranking as the fattest states in America is always assured.  So what if the the rest of the country thinks we marry our cousins?  Yes, we fry everything, give our children double names, and allow them to go barefoot to church, school and for formal pictures.  We pass down furniture, china, silver, and recipes.  We have deviled egg plates, and know that bringing something "store bought" to the covered dish supper (or "dinner on the grounds") at the church is just "tacky." 

But we are a good people.  A strong people.  A blessed people. 

And if you don't know what "blessed" is...come on down.  You'll figure that one out soon enough.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

On Impatience

Today I had the unfortunate experience of having a truck pull out in front of me because he was too busy/self-important/rude to wait the eight seconds it would have taken for him to wait until I passed.  Of course, that brought out my inner Towanda...and before I knew it, I was pulling up beside this person to just glare at him so he'd know just how big of a horse's behind I deemed him to be.

Then it hit me.  His impatience brought out my impatience...and no matter how you slice it...two wrongs don't make a right.  Except, of course, that I was right, yes?

You'd think that I'd be a patient person.  After all, I was two weeks late being born.  Oh, maybe that was my mother's lesson in patience.  I still contend that she should have known that something was up when I arrived on the Ides of March.  Bless her heart.

In truth, I had to wait six years for a sibling.  She and I lived in alternate universes until about ten years ago because I was in college when she was in junior high, she was in college when I was having kids, and she was off traveling the world when I was so busy I ended up losing a decade battling exhaustion.  It took forty years for us to get in the same realm...and now we are on different continents.  (I ended up getting three more siblings when I turned thirteen, eighteen and twenty.  Yes, I got a call when I was a junior in college on my way to take an algebra test to let me know that my little brother had arrived.  I'm so serious.)

I was married five years before I could convince Big Dave that having children was a really good idea.  Okay, he's still not totally convinced, but he loves the two we have better than life itself.  He reminds me from time to time that I need to be patient and let them grow up.  That one day I won't come home to find a Bagel Bites wrapper flung carelessly on the kitchen counter, and I'll be missing the kid that does that about every other day in real time when he's off doing something fabulous with his life.

I made it through kindergarten, elementary school, junior high, high school, college, graduate school, and twenty-six years of banking AND marriage.  I've raised two children, prayed two children through a collective twenty-five years of private school tuition, and wore braces for nearly three years.  I've potty-trained two dogs (one of which stages a mutiny from time to time), created something like thirty scrapbooks, and I write sometimes knowing that nobody but a few faithful friends (and my folks) are going to actually take the time to read what I put out in cyberspace.

But I still go into "redneck" mode when someone stomps on one of my hot buttons.  I still haven't been able to get past that itch of impatience when someone does something totally boneheaded.  My compassion is gnat-sized and I am about as gracious as an invading army. 

Yet, in spite of my natural inclinations, in God's great mercy, he has decided to keep me in the classroom until He gets me where He wants me to be.  I'm like that kid who has to repeat the class every year while I watch kids stare at me and wonder what my problem is. 

My problem is glaringly obvious.  I'm just impatient.

I have no patience with He gave me a mother and a daughter who detest making decisions.  That means that I have to get over myself and wait for them to make up their minds in their own time.  This means that I have to call sixty-three times to get plans set in stone and I have to keep the decision making to something that allows them to make a choice before I go stark raving mad.  When Jill was in high school, that meant that I went to the stores and bought prom dresses that were attractive, not ridiculously expensive and didn't look like something Beyonce would wear in her latest video.  That meant that there would be about eight dresses in the entire city of Montgomery that would do.  I bought them all.  It took an hour for her to decide between the eight.  It was worth the two hours that I spent combing the possibilities to save the three days of sheer awfulness (and expense) that taking her with me would have wrought.  It was a Jerry Springer episode in the making...I tell you.

I get upset when the rules He has me living in a time of life where if you follow "x" to get "y" may no longer be true.  I may not actually end up with the pension, 401-k, or Social Security that I had pretty much thought I would...and may be living in a van down by the river.  Which is fine.  Less housework.

I also get annoyed when people are in love with their problem and have to take it out and verbally caress it ad nauseum.  Likewise with people who have a huge ego, a strong sense of self-importance, or just think that they are better than everyone else. 

Sometimes being impatient has cost me dearly.  I have spoiled surprises, tried peoples' patience, and frustrated people with my negativity.  Sometimes they get over it and move on...and sometimes they just move on.

Wouldn't life be easier if we would all just realize that we don't have the right to break in line uninvited, assume that our needs take precedence, and know as much as we think we do?  If we could just calm down and be a little bit rational? 

But we don't.

I learned a long time ago not to pray to be more patient.  I found that when I did...I only got more situations to light up my genetically disposed short fuse (I blame it on my Irish ancestry because it's convenient.)  I just learned to work around those situations that either make me turn into a "raving banshee" or a "hormonal psycho."  Those aren't my descriptions, by the way.


Anyway, through all of the years of trying to be more patient, I've learned that my only real choice is to listen more and say less.  To assume that if I am delayed in getting something done or somewhere when I want to be...that it is probably all for the best.  That people who have trouble making decisions are only trying to make the best possible choice for all parties involved.  And that none of it is really designed to get on my last nerve. 

I just have a perception problem.  And sometimes...perception is reality.

So, tomorrow, I am going to try to keep my mouth shut and not get upset when I am sitting in traffic because some bonehead  idiot individual has been pulled over for heaven knows what at 7:30 in the midst of horrendous traffic...and everyone just has to stare as they drive by.  That really happened this morning, by the way.

I'm also going to try to just be a little less Me and a lot more Him.  Here's hoping.