If you can't say something nice, at least make it funny!

Thanks for visiting Tinfoil Magnolia, a blog about my life, times, marriage, friendships and all the strange things that happen to me and with me. I hope you find something here that will encourage you, inspire you or at the least entertain you. And if it doesn't today, check back tomorrow because, my life? honestly...

Saturday, May 29

Self Flagellation

Today I am struggling with beating myself up (or not beating myself up) over not working my schedule this week. It has been a crazy busy week with a lot to be done on the homefront. My first real test and I threw my commitments out the window. I didn't walk at all this week, although the weather and my sleep patterns haven't been cooperative. I didn't write every day, rather I spent time on housework. Granted, the house work needed to be done, but still, I feel like I should have been able to get both done.  I have not eaten well at all. And, most importantly, by even thinking these things I am breaking the commitment to not beat myself up mentally when I feel disappointed in myself.

I am working on being as understanding with myself as I am with others. I am pretty forgiving as a friend, barring some extreme circumstances, and I feel that I owe myself at a minimum the slack I would give someone else, right? But it is so hard not to hear that voice saying "what the hell have you been doing all day? You call that writing? Why isn't your bathroom clean? You ate half a bag of sour cream and onion potato chips? How could you not walk, what could be easier? Did you find a job yet?" Patience, Marsha, patience.

I need to figure out what the balance is in self discipline and living in the moment. Where the line is between forcing myself to keep a schedule and trying to adapt as life changes. Any suggestions?

Wednesday, May 26

My Soapbox for the Week

From time to time I am asked to defend myself on certain beliefs that I have. Not that surprising since I pretty much buck the conventions of what society considers to be normal on everything from my religious beliefs to the equality deserved by every citizen of this planet, regardless of race, sex, religion, orientation etc. However, the one thing I am asked to defend more often than any other is my decision not to have children. Less now that I am in my 40's but when we were in our 30's it was almost constant. Not just people asking why, but people actually trying to convince me that I "had" to have a child. Oh, I could write an entire dissertation on that one.

It is something on which I deliberated much, mainly because I just didn't like being around children. Ever. Even when I was 3 I wanted to hang around with the grown ups and talk with them. I baby sat in high school and during college I was a nanny. But I didn't know what to "do" with these kids–how to talk to them or how to entertain them. One time I turned on Pee-Wee's playhouse on a Saturday morning and the 5 year old girl wailed, terrified. The older the kids were the worse it was. So, I would load them into my convertible Fiat and go to Baskin Robbins for ice cream. They loved me. I was like a rock star. All the Belle Meade moms wanted me. I felt like a fraud.

I still figured I would have to have kids simply because that's what women did. It was "the thing to do", the societal norm where I came from, even in the late 80's when staying home and having kids was declining in popularity nationwide as more women entered the workforce. However, when I got out into the real world I started to realize that a lot of people had kids who had no business having kids. They weren't capable of loving them, educating them, or even feeding them sometimes. One summer during college, tired of my nanny jobs,  I got a summer job working for the Dept. of Human Services office in my Kentucky hometown. Looking back, this was probably one of the best experiences I could have had  in my young life. It was a real eye-opener and I came out of it realizing two things. Loving your kids and having trouble providing for them is one thing. Everyone needs help sometimes. That is something that can be overcome in time with persistence and hard work. But having kids, just for the sake of having them, just because you can, not knowing how to treat them, discipline them or care for them, not wanting them and letting them know it, now that is a horse of a different color.

The reason I am posting this now is because I was already thinking about the fact that I am childfree (thanks, SS for the great blog post) and what people's judgements are about that and about me as a result. Some people don't even understand it enough to make a judgement. And then yesterday in the grocery store, I saw something that just tore me apart inside. There was a mom with 4 kids, ranging in age from about 3 up to maybe 8. (I don't know...I'm not good with ages) Now, let me say that being childfree, I am the first to notice when kids are misbehaving. I am the first to glare when they are running and yelling and acting like they are in the Wild, Wild, West Show. And I hate when parents just ignore them and let them run wild through the grocery, Wal-Mart, or where ever. I'm kinda judgey that way. Don't even get me started on restaurant behavior. I am thinking of lobbying for a no-child section. I will breathe smoke, thanks. But I digress. These kids, let me be clear, they were not making ANY noise. They were being so good, I would never have know there were 4 kids in the next aisle over. But the mom? Oh, yeah, her I heard. Loud and clear.

I heard a constant stream of things like "Stop that, you are acting like an idiot, stupid, you are just stupid, stop acting stupid." *smack* "You want another one, Im gonna give you another smack upside your head, you just keep acting stupid." I just stood still in my tracks until they came around the aisle into the one where I was. The mom was leading the pack of 4 of the most adorable cotton topped children I have ever seen. But bedraggled is the word that immediately popped into my head upon seeing them. They reminded me of the kids in all those WPA depression photographs, just looking like they have given up on life at their tender age. They quietly followed her in a line like little ducklings after the mama duck and I still never saw what any of them were doing to offend her but she continued in her overly loud voice. "Cut that out, act right!" *jerking little one by arm* "What the hell is wrong with you, stop it, stay here with me, don't walk ahead. And you, stop dancing around like an idiot. You look like a moron." (the one daughter had twirled in a circle, from what I could see out of the corner of my eye) "Ya'll are acting like a bunch of idiots, what the hell is wrong with you. I will beat your ass if you don't act right. I mean it I will f*cking beat your ass, you hear me. Goddammit, I can not go anywhere, you want me to beat your ass? I will beat you f*cking ass you hear me?" Yes, she said the F word. Not in front of her children but to them.

It continued throughout my 20 minute shopping excursion. I did my best to stay away from her because I could feel it bubbling up in my chest. I know it isn't reasonable to say something to someone like that, but I knew if I didn't stay away I would. And the other thing? The mother barely stood 5 feet tall and was skinnny as a rail, but I was scared of her. She probably could have beat the crap out of me. She grabbed the littlest one by the arm and I heard the whack on his diaper 3 or 4 times. "There you go! I beat your ass and I will do it again you idiot, what is wrong with you?" Then she walked past me and said "All these people lookin' at me like I am crazy, ya'll are crazy, shit. You act crazy and then people look at me like I am crazy. Bust some ass, that's what I will do."

It kept on and on throughout the store. I was sickened. I just wanted to take those kids and give them hugs. Tell them that life doesn't have to be this way. Call for help. Take them home and clean them up and show them what life is like when someone actually loves and cares for you. It just breaks my heart that some children have to grow up like that. It breaks my heart to think that the mom most likely grew up like that, and someday so will their children. As I rolled my cart out to my car I saw her pull out of the parking lot, the children bouncing up and down in the back, not one of them in a car seat. I thought briefly of pulling out after them, following them, doing...something. I had no idea what so I just got into my car and sat in the sweltering heat for a moment, letting the anger swell up in my chest.

I have always been this way. One lesson my mother never tried to teach me was "you can't save everyone". I learned that on my own. I grew up with parents who tried to help kids and families who they thought needed it, adopted stray dogs, picked up hitchhikers. I always fought for the underdog. The weird kid in school, the abused kid or wife, the dog that got kicked. I never said I didn't have mothering instincts. I never said I don't think kids can be adorable. I am just saying I don't think I have what it takes to live with them every day. I am saying that the ability to have and raise kids isn't just a right. It is an enormous responsibility, one which should be a conscious choice.

Now, I am not saying that the reason I don't want kids is that I think I would be mean or abusive or anything like that. I personally like having a life without kids because we are not tied down and can live life as we please. Some say that is selfish. I am just saying that it is more selfish when people have kids if they don't want them, can't handle them, or just plain don't like them. We as a society should stop pushing that version of "normal" onto people without regard for whether they want it or not. The conscious choice to have or not have children should be one that everyone regardless of social, racial, and economic background should have the education and opportunity to make. *stepping off soapbox*

Tuesday, May 25

I don't "do" book reviews, but...

If anyone has ever wondered how I felt when we moved from Nashville up to Pennsylvania (and I am sure you just sit around thinking about it constantly) check out the book, Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter by Lisa Patton. (For you Nashville folks, no, it isn't the Channel 2 weather woman.) I had the pleasure of meeting Lisa at the SoKy Book Festival back in April and she is a spunky redhead who raised two sons as a single mother and began writing this, her first novel, in her 40's.

The story is of a woman, Lee Lee, who leads an idyllic life in Memphis along with her husband, two young daughters and her little dog, Princess Grace Kelly. Oh, and her three lifelong best friends, we must not forget the friends. She is an authentic modern day Southern Belle, and when her husband decides that he wants to "follow his bliss" she is not happy about the thought of moving to Vermont to run an inn. However, in the way that only Southern women can do, she acquiesces and off they go to one of our Northern most states. The story is about her adjustment to this strange life and all the trials and tests of will that she must go through during her life there. Not the least of which is the death of her beloved dog, Princess Grace Kelly.

Throughout the entire book I was able to completely identify with Lee Lee on everything about leaving the South and landing in the north. One exception is that I didn't have an inn to run and I didn't have 2 children to get up for every day. But everything rang true to me from the dealing with unusual customs and less than friendly neighbors to the colloquial language she had to deal with and the northern accent that is so grating to Southern ears.

Honestly, I almost had to put the book down a quarter of the way through because I felt as though I was reliving my first few months in the north, feeling so aggravated and angry. When her husband mentioned moving, I screamed in my head "NO don't do it!!! When we first moved I felt so alone and so different everywhere I went. I was the kooky Southern girl and no one could relate to me beyond making fun of my "hick" accent (yes someone called it that). I met 2 or 3 people (literally, 2 or 3) who were friends to me like I would have had "back home" but for the most part, those people up there? I just didn't get them, didn't get how grouchy and negative and short they were and how they didn't just let loose and have fun. I didn't get how cashiers and waitresses wouldn't talk to you. I didn't get how people looked at you like you were crazy if you spoke to them waiting in line at the grocery store. I didn't get how they related to each other with such negativity, and I just plain didn't like most of them. Most of all, I didn't get how whenever I did something different they always said "that must be a Southern thing". Yeah, politeness and friendliness. Those were invented in the south and were kept here, obviously.

I made myself push on through the book and was rewarded with a beautiful scene in which her friends help her out of the biggest jam ever. From there on out the book was total happiness, a story about the enormous difference friends can make in anyone's life. I didn't have anyone to rescue me, but that is mainly due to the fact that I didn't tell anyone how bad things had gotten for me until I was better. I rescued myself by getting out of a job I had taken with a horrible woman, getting myself into counseling, going back to school to get a degree I had wanted for at least 5 years. Finally I began to make friends, enjoy life, and I obtained a great job in my new field. I pulled myself out of the situation in true Steel Magnolia fashion, as only a Southern girl could do. And when I did? I stopped worrying about those people. And then we moved back home to KY for my husband's job. Yes, the universe has a sense of humor.

Reading this book was difficult for me, but I think Lisa did a beautiful job of making you feel as though the early chapters are in black and white (or a dull Northern gray). Once you hit that mid-point, though, I felt like everything turned into technicolor. Sort of like that scene in the Wizard of Oz. I enjoyed this book for all the descriptives and the true voice Lisa gives to LeeLee and all the characters. Even the fact that I was aggravated and angry is a testament to her writing such a vivid account that it rang true with my experience. Thanks, Lisa for such a great book! I enjoyed the read.

Oh, and on a side note, my beloved cat Spaz died while we lived in Pennsylvania after living to the ripe old age of 18. I was completely distraught about what to do with him and when hubby wondered out loud where we could bury him I wailed "I am NOT burying him in f-ing Pennsylvania. NONE of us are going to be buried in f-ing Pennsylvania, do you hear me?! Help me figure out what to do with him!!!" And that is how we ended up driving home to Kentucky, 5 months later, with a frozen cat in a styrofoam cooler in the back of my SUV to be buried in mid-March at my mom and dad's house. Honestly.

Thursday, May 20

Retro Thursday

No time for posting today, please enjoy this vintage video and song from the Dead Milkmen. They still rock.

The Dead Milkmen - Punk Rock Girl

Wednesday, May 19

C'mon Down

Money is tight for us right now and I, of course, use laughter to deal with the stress. I was telling Hubs that I saw the most brilliant idea for a business in a nearby college town. The "Wash & Tan"–a laundromat with tanning beds. Now, I am not a tanning bed person at. all. I am perfectly happy with my bonny Irish skin, but I know how girls do like to get their tan on. To me this business is one of the most brilliant combos I ever have seen. Think about it, college girls (and guys) can tan and launder at the same time? "Beyond original," I thought "they must do quite a business!" While I was revelling in this idea, days later, hubby burst my bubble by telling me there is already such a business in our hometown. This one, however, has upped the ante a bit by adding a car wash with the original laundromat/tanning bed combo. Even more brilliant!

I, of course, felt challenged to think of a better combo. Every time we drive through town we talk about some of the funny combination businesses that you see in small towns. Like the pawn shop/chicken shack or the check cashing/pawn shop/church that we pass by every day. The best, and most concerning are the fireworks/gas station combos. Who on earth thought this one up? And how is it legal? Oh, and there's also the Subway/gas station/church combo although I am not sure if they are all together or merely share a building. But I digress.

We came up with what I think is a brilliant idea for our small, religious, pageant queen raisin' Southern town. A church/tanning bed combo, which would be billed as follows:

The Greater Church of God's Goodness Repent 'N Tan

Pastor Skip on duty 24-7 to hear your sins and offer you
5-15 minutes in the bed of your choice– #1-5 or the all new, super-hot #666 (El Diablo)

60 minute packages available for confession, tanning, or the deluxe combo package at 10% off. 

We sell Bibles, Rosary beads in wood or faux crystal (for our Catholic neighbors) as well as a full line of Hawaiian Tropic Tanning products.

"We accept all competitors coupons"

Visa/MasterCard always accepted, but of course cash is preferred–just drop it  in the collection plates by the door.

Well, OK, maybe not. I suppose it wouldn't be that good for me seeing as I am unaffiliated, religiously speaking and I don't tan either. But, it is still better than my idea for a "dance" club catering to men with a fetish for the big girls with a pie shop next door. Hmmm...or is it?

Monday, May 17

Retro Monday

Tired and no time for posting so please enjoy this retro song "Canonball" by the Breeders. It is one of my faves.

The Breeders - CannonBall

Sunday, May 16

In a Flash of Light

One day last week I decided to walk my normal route, only in reverse. The things I noticed today were different, views different, even which dogs barked at me were different. For the first time -ever- I truly get the fact that a change in scenery really can refresh or reset your mind's eye and allow you to see things in a new way. Even just a new perspective on the same scenery can do the same. My walk seemed to fly by more quickly than usual, and I saw homes I had never noticed before. 

I feel like the last month has been about changing scenery for me. It all started in mid-April. I had been debating for months inside my head as to whether or not I wanted to attend the Southern Kentucky Book Festival, even going so far as to email a writer I know to ask if he had attended it. (He never answered me but that is another subject) I was leaning toward no, but at the very last moment my plans changed, and there I was with my husband enjoying the heck out of hearing these authors read their work and talking to them about the process, frustrations, etc. of writing. It was such an immense (and unexpected) joy for me to be there with others who enjoy reading and writing as much as I do, or more most likely. I realize it sounds ridiculous, but meeting these people in person, chatting with them, hearing about their struggles and insecurities, it really made them seem real. They are real. Real people, like me. Just like me, with one major exception. They, at one point, found the courage to put themselves out there. Raw, naked, bare for the world to see. That is something I have not been able to do. Until now. 

Now, my attitude changes. Now, I know that with determination, persistence, and some hard work I really CAN do anything I want to do and I CAN make a living at it. They did. So can I. I already went back to school at 38 to obtain a graphic design degree and I did it. I love designing, and I impressed myself at being able to have a new career mid-way through my life. What stops me from expanding myself even more?

By the end of that weekend I realized that I am tired of settling for a life that isn't the one I want. I have a wonderful, supportive husband, why can't I also have a career that makes me happy? Why can't I also be a writer? An author. A real, live author? Why can't I call myself a writer? Why can't I put myself out there, just a little bit, take a chance, take some risk to get my reward– The chance at success in something I have always wanted to do, but had forgotten. Yep. My life changed, right then. On April 17, 2010. I will remember the date. I am taking my life back.

  • Back from my mom and dad's expectations
  • Back from everyone who ever laughed at me or ridiculed me.
  • Back from that Bitch inside my head who fills me with self–doubt.
  • Back from society's “acceptable” standards.
  • Back from the mental compartments I feel that I have to “fit in”.
  • Back from my accounting teacher who said I needed a career I could actually get paid in, and that wasn't English or the arts.
  • Back from my college advisor who could have cared less if I wanted to change my major from accounting to English and really,     really needed, ya'know, advising.
The only people I listen to now are...well, me! and...
  • My steadfast, reassuring, always encouraging husband. 
  • My friends who have always encouraged me to write (Kimberly, Laurie, Lori, Debbie)
  • My college instructors who always gave me A's on research papers.
  • My Toastmaster group, who were so encouraging and loved my stories, convincing me that I am a natual storyteller.
  • And Lisa Patton (the author of Whistlin' Dixie in a Nor'easter, not the Nashville weather woman) who told me: “Honey, if I can do it, anyone can do it, and that includes you!” She will never. ever. know what that phrase meant to me. Because even though I heard it a bazillion times, and she probably said it to a bazillion people before me, I knew. That day. That moment. That sunny Saturday afternoon that she, of course, was absolutely right.
April 17, 2010 is my moment. So, this is how I am changing my view, in broad strokes. The particulars will of course remain private to me, but this is fair enough to share.
1. Get a job, any job, so I can quit worrying and obsessing over bills being paid on time.
2. Get my house organized and clean so it can be a refuge, an oasis for me.
3. Take a 30 minute walk every. single. day. to keep my mind fresh and clear.
4. Be truly kind to myself in though, word and deed. (How bad is it that I have never thought to make this a goal?)
5. Eat only what is powerful energy food.
6. Schedule 3 hours per day for writing and designing/creating. Minimum.
7. Appreciate everything I have everyday in every way possible.

So this, my dear friends, is the closest I have ever come to having a long-term goal, a life plan, whatever you want to call it. I just call it vision. Vision of what I really want out of life. I truly have not ever had that before. And although it took me 42 years to get here, I like it. I like the view.

Friday, May 14

5,840 Days

5,840 days, 16 years since I decided that I would spend the remainder of my life with my hubs.

To have and to hold.

For Better : The vacations in Jamaica, San Francisco, Colorado, NYC, DC, and so many other places. All the Friday date nights, concerts, fireworks, my graduation.  Best of all, the day we got the call about moving home to KY.

Or Worse: Hubs almost dying in a plane crash in 2000, the deaths of all his grandparents, and most of all his father, living and dealing with my depression, the early years when we spent so much time away from each other, and the move to PA.

For Richer: Though never "rich" there have been easy times when we had a very comfortable savings account, all our bills paid, owned a home and had our vehicles paid for. Those were the days.

Or Poorer: When we first married, times were really tough and the budget was tight. Somehow we always got through it OK. When we needed money for something, it always came from somewhere-one of us would get a raise or a bonus or something. In fact, it's kinda like that now thanks to this crappy economy and selling 2 homes within the last 18 months. Oh, yeah, and me being in school for 2 years and not working. But I know we'll make it just fine.

In Sickness: See worse, above, 18 month recovery from plane crash, miscellaneous surgeries, my 2 years suffering with depression and being a total shrew, migraines, ankle pains, and general old age.

and In Health: From reading the above this is apparently the other maybe... 10 days out of the year.

To Love: I loved him since I was 12. It just took him until we were 25 to figure it out.

and to Cherish: (assuming the definition of care and affection) We only touch each other out of love, never anger, and we do not hesitate to show affection around others. But not in that weird, creepy, annoying throw-up-in-my-mouth-a-little way, of course.

Forsaking All Others: So far, so good. We have ultimate trust in one another.

Until Death Parts Us: We've defied this once, but we'll see. If he's made it through this far, I've got him hooked for good.

And then, there's tonight while watching Survivor. Me: I didn't remember her getting kicked off last week. Why did I think it was Rupert? Hubs: Crack? 

Thanks, Honey, I love you too! That death parting thing? Yeah, it just got one step closer.

Happy Anniversary, Pookie! Here's to another 16 years sleeping with the same man!

Thursday, May 13

Why a 35 year old is NOT a 42 year old

I just want to talk about being 40-something as compared to, I don't know, 30-something. I am increasingly saying whatever the heck I want, anytime, anywhere. I just had someone say to me recently that their 35 year old wife "is basically the same" as a 40 year old wife, and I wholeheartedly disagree. Maybe I just have a jump start on 60 or maybe it is just a leftover from my 2 year battle with depression, I don't know. Whatever the case, I am just just really convinced that I am going to end up being "that" little old lady. You know the one.

This thought first occurred to me when I was still living in Pennsylvania. I was out working in the yard one afternoon, pulling weeds and such, and had just thrown on a pair of shoes with what I had been wearing to school that day. (Yes school, I went back to school at 38, I so rocked it) So, my outfit consisted of the following: A gray t-shirt that said "Rock-n-Roll Royalty" a black windbreaker (which said H.A.R.D on the back hee hee), a knee length denim skirt and OH, yes the boots I pulled on as I walked out of the garage. A pair of green and pink plaid Wellies (rain boots for my southern friends) that came almost up to my knees. I threw on an old hat, sort of a black version of Gilligan's, to keep my hair from blowing around.  When I came in I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and thought "Good Lord! How many of my neighbors drove by and saw me this way?!"  I immediately knew that in the grand scheme of things, once I got into the nursing home, (or most likely before) I would be exactly like the Ouiser character from Steel Magnolias. It isn't a goal, just something I suspect will happen whether I want it to or not.

For example, several weeks ago we attended the SoKy Book Festival. I had a really good time and the last thing we did was chat with 2 hilarious female writers (holla! Stephanie and Lauretta!) so I was in a really good mood. We stopped at a nearby Japanese restaurant for sushi and when I ordered a glass of wine the waiter asked me to see my ID. Now, let me preface this by saying that this is a college town and I know they most likely ID almost everyone without an AARP card. I never for one minute thought that he thought I was anywhere close to 21, but the request still made me smile. As I reached for my wallet, the waiter burst out laughing "OH, NO, I am just kidding...hahahaha....I don't need to see it." Wha-ah? Really?! My husband and I just laughed but as he walked away I looked at hubby, laughed and said, "It is a good thing I had a really good day today. That was kind of rude! On a normal day, I would have gone....OFF...on him." We laughed and made the usual "good thing I am on my meds" comments.

But it made me think how, when I had my wisdom teeth out recently, I asked the doctor why I was still in so much pain (turned out to be dry socket). He was obviously tired of dealing with me and my questions and said "You are in pain because I just pulled 4 TEETH OUT OF YOUR JAW!!" and I literally said, "NO SHIT, Sherlock, I mean...why am I STILL in pain." Now, let me just say that I never would have said that to a doctor in my 30's and though I am sure the pain had something to do with it, I still can't believe I came out with that so quickly.

Then, not a month after that incident I stopped in at a small town paint/wallpaper/flooring store that sells Benjamin Moore paint, my personal favorite. The guy behind the counter was friendly enough and asked how he could help. I said we were thinking of installing cork floors in our kitchen. Now, we've run into a lot of resistance in SoKy with the cork flooring. They are a bit behind the national trending toward "green" alternatives, so I have to admit I may have been a bit defensive. So, he said "Never sold any. I mean, I have samples and I can order it but I have NEVER sold it to anyone." So, I went toward the back to look at paint chips. When he came back there to ask if I was doing OK I said "Well, I am looking for a gray, that is kind of beige, but grey at the same time. You know? The kind everyone is painting with now?" Him: "Well, good luck with that." Me (thinking WTF????!!!!!!!! and with my best southern drawl) "Well, you're just ALL KINDS of help today, aren't you???" He sort of looked at me and I laughed to take the pressure off, but it's out there. I said it. Without even thinking twice.

So, I say to you, this is the #1 reason that a 35 year old is not a 42 year old. REALLY not. You just come out with things, that filter, either disappears or makes you not care anymore. Like on Tuesday when I was standing in line at Wendy's and some woman who is obviously too lazy or too good to wait in line like the rest of us said "Do they only have ONE cashier taking orders? That's what I thought." She turned to leave but I said "Yeah, well, there's only ONE cash register to take orders on so...." It just popped out. I swear.....it's gonna get me in trouble some day! My life...honestly!

(Oh, as for the other differences in 35 and 40-somethings, you'll have to ask my husband about those!)

Wednesday, May 12

Here's My Token Wine Review

Just thinking about throwing out an almost full bottle of Malbec that I just didn't like. I bought it a few months ago on recommendation from someone who "really likes Argentinian Malbec" and its "earthy flavor". Now, I love red wine, in fact I don't drink much white at all anymore, but this wine? I just do not like it. Maybe I just bought the wrong bottle, I am always willing to admit that when I don't know what I am going for I purchase wine according to how the label appeals to me. I know, less than scientific, but I am a graphic designer after all, I never claimed to be a wine expert. If I can't drink it I should at least have a cool label to look at. And it is a good thing, too, because I have been staring at this label for a while now. Now that I have it home I realize it isn't so much the label design I liked (although it is a cool simple design) it was the fact that they used a really rich, textured paper for the label. I love that.

But the more I look at it the more it mocks me and the only thing I can think of is that "maybe I will cook something and I can use it for a sauce or marinade because I hate to just throw out any kind of food and even though this isn't an EXPENSIVE bottle, I still hate to see it go to waste, surely it wasn't that bad and I should try it again....OH NO it really was that bad, it has to go." And then, I don't throw it out and it sits there on the counter, corked, mocking, and pretentious wearing that stupid silly buttercream frosting colored label with the texture that sucked me into the purchase. Every day I see it and once again, I hate that Malbec. Hate it.

Monday, May 10

Mixed Feelings and Mixed Drinks

I have been remiss in holding to my original intention of posting a mom-inspired something or other in honor of Mother's Day, which was yesterday. I have truly mixed emotions about the holiday, not being a mom myself, it really means very little to me. But I know it is important to recognize and love my mom for everything she has given me, done for me, and everything else. I make an attempt to do this all through the year but I realize that not everyone does, so I guess it is only natural to "force" people to observe mom's day as Hallmark sees fit. (See where my angst comes from).

Anyway, since hubs and I have moved back to our hometown, I get to see my mom as much as I want, or as much as she wants depending on how much I resist on any given day. I feel very fortunate now that she's in her mid-70's that I am this close. I know I express frustration with her occasionally, and all the stories are true though as with any good storyteller maybe dramatized a bit for comic effect. Despite all that, I really do love my mom. She and I are nothing alike...nothing. But when things go wrong, or things go right, she is the first one I think of. 

My mom would have had 10 kids if she could have. She grew up in a very large family in rural Kentucky. As 2nd oldest, she was responsible to help take care of the younger kids. (I think 6 in all?) When she married my dad they wanted kids right away, but it didn't happen. And it kept not happening. Finally, she thought she was pregnant only to discover that she had a grapefruit sized tumor, the removal of which would prevent her from ever having kids. Though she doesn't talk about it much, I am sure this must have broken her heart. After another long wait, approvals, lists, visits, etc. I was adopted at birth in Louisville KY when my mom was 32 and my dad 39. Three years later they adopted my brother at 6 months old.

I am sure that it was enormously disappointing to her to have to go through so much trouble for something she wanted so badly. But she never treated us (or thought of us) as anything but her own flesh and blood. I sometimes wonder about my family's medical history and she recites hers and her family's without thinking that I am not related to them. To me, growing up adopted was not a big deal, but it also wasn't something you told everyone about. My mom is dark, having a bit of Cherokee Indian blood in her, with dark hair and eyes. I have red hair, light skin and freckles. Fortunately, though, my dad is of Irish descent so everyone assumed I take after him. I think it made it easier for them never to have to answer questions.

As an adult looking back though, I continually ponder the questions of nature and nurture. Although I was raised by these people, I couldn't be any more different from them. From my occupation to my activities and beliefs to my personality. The more I find myself the more I leave pieces of them behind. Most people do this in their 20's however it has taken me until now to understand that. I know my mom loves me and she is proud of me, however I also know that my life hasn't turned out how she would have planned and I am sure that is hard for her. Although I have a good career and a wonderful husband and have lived a stable life she still only sees that I don't follow her religion, I don't have the occupation she would like, and I didn't produce any grandchildren for her. I wish I had a mom who would go out shopping and to the movies, and have a glass of wine with dinner. She wishes she had a daughter who had 3 kids, didn't drink, and taught Sunday school. We each had different role models for what motherhood should be. She had Donna Reed, I had Roseanne. But we still try to understand each other, though it is hard some days. We spend time together and now that I am so close, I go home when it gets too overwhelming. And then she pulls up in the driveway and honks for me at 6:30am.  

So this is why I have mixed feelings about celebrating Mother's Day. But one thing is for sure....I love you, Mom. Now, where did I leave my drink?

 You have been a wonderful mother to me and my brother and I will love you forever for it.

Friday, May 7

My Amy, Mon Amie

Today is my friend Amy's birthday. Amy is the one friend who comes the closest to having known me and been friends with me all my life. My family moved around. A lot. By the time I hit FS Middle in 1981 I had been in 4 different school systems. That doesn't even consider the 3 states I lived in prior to starting school. And this time we moved in January. Right in the middle of the school year and right before 8th grade graduation. Up until then, the moves hadn't really been that difficult. I was always sad to leave friends behind, but I usually adjusted pretty well. This time, however, I was really not happy and I don't remember but I am sure I let my dad have it like only a 13 year old can. So, I guess he was trying to make it up to me when he came home one night just prior to us moving and told me about a lady he met while out on his sales route. She had a daughter my age and he was very sure we'd be friends if I would only make sure I meet her once I get to the new school.

So, it happened somehow that we ended up in the same homeroom, despite the fact that I was a "P" in a roomful of "A-J"'s. I did introduce myself within my first couple of days and we did hit it off. I was so distraught at missing my old school's very "formal" commencement from 8th grade to high school that dad promised to take me out for a fancy dinner after our school year ended. He, of course, invited Amy and that was the beginning of a friendship that I had no idea would last close to 30 years, and hopefully will for 30 more! I have been through a lot with my Amy. A. Lot. And while most of our friendship has been spent with us being miles apart, we always have managed to pick up where we left off whenever we see each other, which to me is the sign of a true friendship.

With our recent move back to our hometown I am fortunate to be able to see Amy more frequently. It is always surprising to me seeing her as a business woman, a community leader, and a mother and Mimi. She is such an inspiring woman and I am so happy her friends here adopted me too. But I still think of her as that 13 year old girl who was my friend when no one else wanted to talk to me. Happy Birthday, Mon Amie! I hope you've had a wonderful day.

Amy and I on the first of many of our family vacations together. She was always like a 3rd child in the Peyton family! This picture is, to me, the true essence of the both of us. Amy all ladylike and me not giving a crap sprawled out everywhere. And sunburned. And who is that random guy? Is it Chachi from Happy Days?

Thursday, May 6

Cinco del Drinko

My Franklin Besties and our guys! :) I am so happy to have such hilarious friends.

No, Virginia, there is no such thing as a free lunch!

Somewhere I lost a day this week. I am not really sure where or how it happened. Due to the flooding in the area, hubby had the day off on Monday, and I think that set my whole week behind in my head. So, I woke up today thinking it was Wednesday. Which is not all that surprising, I guess, since I am pretty sure I was still drunk from last night. 

Cinco de Mayo was heartily celebrated in this Southern town last night. Yep, that's right. While my friends sipped on giant mugs of American beer, I myself ordered not one but two fishbowl margaritas, and decided to eat only chips in a (probably unsuccessful) attempt to offset the calories. Now what better way to celebrate? 

So, on Tuesday I had the immense pleasure of spending the afternoon with my 3 3/4 year old nephew. He is the smartest little thing and just keeps me in stitches. I swear I could write an entire page on how funny he can be, so how could you not be in a good mood after that. We roamed around at my mom and dads house, and after his mom picked him up I drove back out there to visit with my mom. 

She had her other cataract surgery this week and I am happy to report that the squinting/covering pirate-method is no longer necessary. Whew! However she is constantly wearing those giant, dark old-people sunglasses, even in the house. She was pleased to report to me that she had 22 vision (me: mom, I think you mean 20/20. her: well, whatever the good one is) and was feeling really good about getting them done. So, anyway, knowing that I was already a day behind for the week (you may ask: how can you be a day behind when you don't have employment, but more about scheduling at another time) I told her while I was there that I would probably be busy at home on Wednesday trying to get some things done that didn't get done on Monday. I just like to let her know these things in advance, and I was also trying a feeble attempt at exercising LG's advice about boundaries. The Mom doesn't know about those. at. all.
Sure enough, on Wednesday morning around 9:30 my phone rings and it is Mom. When I answer she immediately says "are you busy???" Well, my mom isn't the sort that you can say "yes, I am writing" or "I am working on a design" or "researching" to, so I said, "well, not at the moment, what's up?" thinking something might be wrong.

Mom: "oh, well I thought you said yesterday that you were going to be busy today so I told your dad I better call to find out if you were busy today so we didn't call and bother you." Wha-aaah? I wish I had an explanation, I am still trying to figure this one out, 36 hours later. Anyway, I say "Mom, I am trying to get stuff done around this house, and I was out all day yesterday so I am busy, just here at home."

Then, 10:30 another call. Mom: "I wanted to ask you if you want to go to a mother daughter luncheon this Saturday. Your aunt invited us." me: "yes, sure I will go with you if you'd like." 

Mom: "oh, good I will pick you up at 9am on Saturday" me: "are you OK to drive?"
Mom: "yes, the doctor said I am but if you're scared of me then you drive and I will give you gas money." me: "no, just asking" then, after thoughtful consideration, 
me: "is this a church thing?" Mom: "well, your cousin is hosting it, but it is AT the church." 
me: "Aaaaah.....OK, I have to go now, I am in the middle of painting, I will see you Saturday." d'oh! (this is a problem for me. when will I learn: church+my mom=stress for me. always. ask. first.)

So then, around 11:30 (yes) the phone rings again. It is my brother "mom and dad wanted me to call to see if you want to go to lunch with us." My life? Honestly, I can't make this stuff up.

I love my mom and my dad, really I do. They can be quite a handful but I am thankful for everything they have done for me/given me/etc. I am grateful to still have them with me and I am glad to be closer to them now, when they are in their 70's and 80's.  But I didn't go to lunch.

Tuesday, May 4

Headphones, Please!?

Posting late due to catch up from having my day hijacked yesterday. Hubs got the adult version of a "snow day" when the plant where he works had to close due to flooding. GAAAAAHHHH! I love him, really I do, but I have been waiting all weekend for my writing window to open on Monday morning, and good grief! He was so wound up and excited at an unexpected day off. 
So I say, "I am just gonna write for a couple hours, to keep my routine. Can we keep the TV off? OK?" 
Him "yeah, I will just sit here and work on the computer" 

Then it was flood coverage on TV, YouTube videos, laughing, Todd Snider(who I love, but still), Bob Dylan (who I can not stand), talking to me, giving me updates. Arrrgh! 

I finally had to say, "Just until 11, please, could you put on headphones?" I felt like a total creep.

As for the current condition of my fair city of Nashville, I am saddened and completely overwhelmed with emotion. I love that city SO much. I love it BAD! (as Stephanie would say) I consider it my adopted hometown after living there for almost 20 years. Do NOT mess with Nashville, flood waters, you will lose. I am alternating between feeling afraid for my friends who live there, sorry for the victims and families who have been displaced, thankful for myself that we aren't having to deal with it (how's that for honesty), disheartened and angry at the lack of national awareness from the media, and just amazed at the volunteer spirit and resilience that exists among the people who live there. 

So, that's it! Today I am just playing catch-up and trying to get my life back on schedule. Seems like my daily to-do list that gets longer and more detailed the more I cross off...how does that happen? If I could just get my parents to quit stopping by unannounced. Sunday, we were sitting in our PJ's watching flood coverage and the pouring rain outside. All of a sudden we hear honking in the driveway. The 'rents are stopping by to take us to lunch. Unexpectedly. Without calling. In the pouring rain. My life, honestly...