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, December 31

Thorns, Roses, Rosebuds 2011 edition

My tweepie @jana0926 is once again doing her annual "Thorns, Roses, and Rosebuds" post and I am going to participate again. You can read her full story of where it comes from at jana's thinking place. She challenged her readers to do a similar post, so this is mine. One thorn, two roses and three rosebuds.

Thorn = a not-so-fun/bad/sad thing that happened
Rose = the highlight, a wonderful thing that happened this year
Rosebud = something you are looking forward to for next year

Thorn- My thorn. Well, I think for me it is the disappointment in myself for letting so many things slide. This blog, first and foremost. I just haven't put the time, thought and effort into it that I was previously investing. But there are other things in my life I've let slide too, for instance exercising and going to the gym, taking classes, writing my daily pages, and keeping up with my google reader and all the blogs of all my buddies that I love reading every week. 
( I am purposely avoiding the still-a-thorn financial situation because I am just sick of thinking about it)

Roses- My first rose for 2011 is the writing opportunity I have had this year. I've been writing feature stories on a regular basis for our hometown newspaper. I actually started late in 2010, but I am still going to count it as a rose for this year. I know it's goofy, and it's just a small town paper, and it's nothing big or life changing or bank account padding. But you know what? I freaking love it! And I get a check. For writing! Wow, I just can't tell you how that is such a dream come true for me.

My second rose for this year is...well...it's hard to say. It just hasn't been an over-the-top year for us in any way. I guess the second rose is that my husband and I have opened up a line of communication and are being much more open with each other than ever before. We've always been extremely close, and reaching a new level after 17+ years of marriage isn't easy, but this has added a new level to our relationship and I am so thankful for this.

Rosebuds- My first rosebud for 2012 is that maybe, possibly, hopefully... there might just be a light at the end of the financial tunnel. I hope. I also hope it's not just the train.

My second rosebud is that I am looking forward to meeting new people, seeing new things and going to new places this year. My writing for the newspaper has allowed me to meet people I never would have otherwise and I LOVE it. I am learning that everyone really does have a story, and I consider myself lucky to be the one to tell it.

My third rosebud is an opportunity I have to do more writing in what is a new medium for me. I remember the days when I never wanted anyone to read the pieces I wrote. Now? I love sharing my thoughts. And I love getting paid for it.

And I love all my friends, bloggy friends, tweepies, and readers. Heres a glass raised to kicking 2011 in the ass!!! And I hope your 2012 is full of blooms!

Sunday, December 25

More Christmas Confessions

Well, everyone who has been around Tinfoil Magnolia for a while knows my stance on the holiday season. In case you've forgotten, or don't know, or are new in these parts, here's a link to last year's Christmas Confessions as a refresher. Christmas and I have a complicated relationship. 
I was raised in a "Christian" household. My parents were both really non-religious until they found God and were baptized as adults when I was somewhere around 4 years old. I still remember that night the preacher came to our door and stayed for hours talking to them. I wondered if he'd ever leave because I was tired and wanted to go to bed.
After that, we were packed up each Sunday morning, Sunday evening and Wednesday evening without fail to attend the Church of Christ down the block from our house in Franklin, TN. I was sent to kindergarten there. As a kid, I had already been celebrating Christmas as a time to get presents, see Santa, put up a tree, and have big family dinners. The church my parents chose to attend really did nothing special to celebrate Christmas as a religious holiday. No plays or pageants, no manger scene on the front lawn, no special music (they don't believe in instrumental music anyway, all acapella), no Christmas Eve candlelight services. At most, it was recognized in the story of the "virgin birth" being told on Sunday morning.
Although I grew up to be a good Christian girl, studying my bible and attending regularly with my parents, caroling at the nursing homes and to shut ins during high school, and attending Christian college, there still remained in my mind a strange dichotomy about Christmas and the commercial, social holiday versus the religious aspect. 
Time spend in that Christian college pushed me away from religion, and over the years of my 20's, I separated myself from it totally.  I can't quite say I am atheist, mainly because I think it takes too much arrogance to believe 100% either way. I am definitely agnostic, questioning, learning, open, secular and skeptical. One thing I am not is a "Christian", nor do I embrace  the beliefs that go along with it.
So Christmas is a strange time for me. I think more people than will admit it celebrate it as a more commercial holiday. After all, it's really about the spirit of giving isn't it? It's about winter, and hot chocolate and spending time with family. It's about light and Santa and kids full of anticipation and excitement. 
It is also a time of pressure, stress, and going into debt for your kids to have the most and best. This is the part I have trouble connecting to the religious side of it. I just wouldn't think if you believe in celebrating Dec. 25 as the birth of a man who basically lived his life with no worldly posessions, one who went around with whores and lepers and doing good and preaching peace and basically being a hippie for 30-something years.... Oh, and lived in Jerusalem. Then how do pine trees, and gifts, and snow and a mythical figure like Santa Claus fit with this? I just don't know. But I am sure there are plenty of people who can justify it in their minds. I never could.
I was talking with someone at work the other day who knows I don't "do" religion. We talked about caroling to shut ins and nursing homes back in the day. He said, "wow, you were a good little Christian girl, weren't you?" I said, "yeah, what happened?" with a laugh, then added, "I actually still do a lot of volunteering and stuff in the community. You know, even though I am not religious. " To which he laughed and replied, "See? Hedging your bets aren't you? Just in case."
(I won't even go into how offensive this remark is to me) 
Not to sound too Pollyanna, or naive or whatever but I'm not. I'm not doing it for any reward, heavenly or otherwise. I do it, I volunteer, I give, I do, just because it's what we should do. And that's what I told him. "We are all here on this earth together and we are meant to help one another. If we don't, who will?" And I am not trying to be magnanimous or self-serving here. I really truly believe this in a real, humble, and valid way. I believe it with all my heart.
Merry Christmas, Y'all. 


Thursday, December 8

The First Installment

Well, today is the first installment in a new feature here at Tinfoil Magnolia called "What to do? Wednesday". It's an advice column because I am just so full of good advice I am bursting at the seams. It is not, as my husband pointed out, advice on how to spend your Wednesday afternoon. And it is being posted on Thursday morning this week.

I spent the entire day Wednesday trying to get caught up on some design projects that I'm behind on. Seems like when I think something will take an hour it takes five so what do I know, right? I have solicited questions and actually had two unwitting victims. Anyway, let us move forward to the first installment of....
What to Do?
Dear Ms. Marsha,

My husband has retired and makes fun of me because I have to get up and go to work everyday. How do I subtly tell him to stop this behavior before I have to kill him? Also, how do I get lipstick out of a silk blouse? Thanks in advance for your advice.

Don't-wanna-be-a-killer Kaye
Murfreesboro, TN

Dear Kaye, 

First of all thank you for submitting your problem to What to Do? Wednesday! You are my first letter. This is an interesting problem and one which I've actually been hearing from a lot of women lately.

My first thought is that perhaps your husband is jealous that you are still working.I mean you leave the house every day to be a working, productive member of society. Working people today are sick to death of supporting those who don't work! Most especially those so-called "retired" people. I mean really, they think they can spend, what, 30 or 40 years working and then just lay around all the time living off the government? Seriously. It has to be embarrassing for him.

I say first line of defense is to point out how lazy he is, I mean there are "retired" people all over the country working the slowest checkout lines known to man at Wal-Mart. Make sure he knows that you feel him to be inferior for taking advantage of the working man. If that doesn't work, suggest he start a business. I know he's a psychiatrist or something like that right? Have him start seeing patients in your home. With any luck, maybe one of them will do your job for you!

As far as the lipstick in the silk blouse, try sticking a piece of scotch tape over it, rubbing it down and then pull off as much of the lipstick as possible. If it is a washable silk, then spot clean with a bar soap and was as directed. If it is dry clean only then I can't help you there. Go to the dry cleaners nearest you and bring the lipstick with you so they are aware of what is in it.

Which brings up an interesting question. Is this your silk blouse or his? Because if it's his, as Seinfeld says, laundry may not be your biggest problem!

Ms. Marsha

Dear Ms. Marsha, 

Our son has broken his retainers TWICE! What should we do after the beatings?

Ever ready Eddie
Brentwood, TN

First of all I know you and I know you like to joke. I am sure you're kidding about the beatings. Although one never knows about those Southern conservatives....hmmmmm..... Just kidding, Ed.

I don't have kids so giving advice to parents is a bit tougher for me but I tell you what I think about this situation. This kid should be more responsible! Next time he breaks it make him pay for the new one if it takes him until he's 21. I am sure he can get out and hustle to mow lawns next summer.

Failing that, really the best punishment is just to not replace it again. I mean, he's the one who is going to have to flirt with girls with those crooked teeth, not you! What do you care, you've handled your responsibility as a parent by just giving him the braces and trying to make him less offensive to the female species. Now it's up to him. 

Kisses to your beautiful wife! 
Ms. Marsha

Well, that's all we have on this edition but please, write in. Let me know. You can link to my email under about me, catch me on Twitter or on Facebook. Send in questions! I want to do this every week and really? Doesn't everyone need my advice!?

Thursday, December 1

10 Things I Hate

I have to admit, I am not your normal everyday American citizen. I have had a strange and interesting life full of strange and interesting people, places, and events. And it ain't over yet.

I have opinions that are my own, and I am not afraid to express them. I have beliefs that are my own, and I am not embarrassed to defend them. I like things that other people find weird (apparently) and things that are embraced by the masses do not always appeal to me.

I will admit sometimes this is just a stubborn "I don't wanna be like everyone else" attitude (like with the iPhone) but sometimes it's just that I really don't get or like said thing. For instance, last night I was talking with someone who REALLY loves the Beatles.

Now, I know. They are iconic. Hallowed ground. I get it. Legends, changed music, society, all that. I give them respect. But I? Don't care for the Beatles. There I said it. Call me un-American or whatever. I just don't like them, particularly the later stuff.

I will admit, I have immense respect for Paul McCartney as a singer/songwriter, and I love his later music. I have so much admiration for John Lennon who I feel died way too soon and could have changed the world. I can't even THINK the lyrics of "Imagine" without getting a lump in my throat.  I have respect for the drumming of Ringo Starr and I loved George Harrison's solo stuff in the 80's. But seriously. Yellow Submarine? Could there BE a worse song?

Not that anyone cares, but I feel in a confessing sort of mood today. Here's a list of 10 other things I hate that most people like:

1. Glee the tv show not the emotion which I am very much in favor of.
I just do NOT get it. I don't. I've watched it, I've tried to like it, I even wanted to like it because everyone was raving about it. I just don't. No matter how much I love Jane Lynch, the show is irredeemable to me.

2. Fight Club the movie not an actual fight club which I am neutral on.
My blogger buddy Lance (over at MyBlogCanBeatUpYourBlog) will get me for this one. I don't get it. At all. I don't get it to the infinite boundaries of not getting things. I never saw it when it first came out, but husband and I watched it recently and I was just stunned at the fact that every man I've met worships this movie about randomly pummeling your friends. I couldn't help thinking the entire way through that it was the single most homo-erotic movie I've watched (and far less redeeming Brokeback Mountain, which I think is one of the most heartbreaking love stories ever). But that's just me.

3. NASCAR 'nuff said, you know what I'm talkin' bout
I can't even really write comments here. EVERYONE I know seems to love watching cars go round and round and round. It's a lifestyle here in the south and I promise you the most unexpected people are NASCAR fans, so I will just say. Again. I don't get it. And leave it at that. I do need a job at some point in the future, and I fear anti-NASCAR remarks showing up in a google search will kill my chances far quicker than any nude photo ever would.

4. Gone With the Wind yeah, you heard me!
This one will get my southerner card revoked. Quick. But I think that movie is a total snooze. Despite that, as a master procrastinator and lazy southern women who wants to be pampered, Scarlett is my hero! I wish I could be that clueless and impractical.

5. 16 and 17  18  what? 19 and Counting? seriously???
I could go on for days about the disgust I have for this family/show/husband. I see nothing admirable or attractive about these people and how they have  he has chosen to litter the world with their offspring, but it's probably best just to say. Again. I don't get it. Same with Kate plus 8 but for very different reasons.

6. Pretty much every old movie, like, ever. Black and white, color, it doesn't matter.
I will admit I am a product of my generation. Old movies move way too slow for me. I always tried to like them because when I was younger I tended to date guys who were into things like that. But it wasn't until I saw the movie Crash that I realized why. They are just too slow for me. I don't like them and it's....ok.

7. Brad Pitt the actor/heartthrob, not the activist
I feel somehow less womanly admitting this. I do not find Brad Pitt attractive in any sort of sexual way. He does wonderful work with his money, so good on him. I think he's pretty, and that's fine. And I've been told (mostly by People magazine) he's sexy, but I don't see it. And honestly? I don't think he's that great of an actor. . Angelina, however, goes on my list of girl crushes. She's amazing.

8. Line "Dancing" ...seriously...
White people. This is not dancing. Stop it. Immediately.

9. Twilight "tread lightly, Marsha. you WILL be attacked by Team Edward."
Ok. I really have to think through my hatred of all things Twilight just to realize whether I really dislike it or if I am merely reacting to the over the top-ed-ness of the fandom. The first I knew/heard about it was by watching a report on Stephenie Meyer on CBS Sunday Morning. I was amazed and completely impressed that she had picked up and written and gotten published her first novel. And had such overwhelming success, it's pretty amazing. And to hear her talking about the books, I was impressed and intrigued by her changes and the fresh take on the vampire world.

But then, I read the first book. Well, attempted to read it. It was very imaginative but I just didn't like it. I am no literary genius, and I hate reading books that are too wordy and complicated, but I just didn't like her writing. At all. And then, I was dragged to see the second installment in the movie theatre and oh, wow. What horrible acting, Bella. You need to eat something, Edward and oh, by the way, you are far too pretty. What boring dialogue. I couldn't stand it and I couldn't sit through another one. This however stands as a testament of my love for the 2 girlfriends who I went with to see it.

10. Ventriloquists
Seriously, this is just creepy beyond any explanation. I don't understand the fascination that led an America's Got Talent ventriloquist to win his own show in Las Vegas. Don't get me wrong. Out of all the ventriloquists out there? Terry Fator is far and away the most highly impressive one I've ever seen. But seriously, folks! It's a grown man with his hand up a puppet's ass pretending he's not just talking to some imaginary friend. It's not right.

So that's it. I could go on but let me just get in all the trouble I can get into with these first 10. I really do feel much better getting it off my chest. How about you? Anything the whole world loves that you hate?

Friday, November 25

Black Friday

I love all of my crazy, midnight shopping, bargain hunting, deal finding, black Friday crowd fighting friends. Really I do. But I will never, ever be on enough of a budget to make me do that. Ever. But then, I don't have kids. So if I don't have money for Christmas, I just don't. The end. 

I've never ever experienced Black Friday. Not at Wal-Mart, not at the mall, not anything. On the Friday after Thanksgiving I am normally enjoying leftovers from our turkey dinner or working. The closest I had ever gotten to Black Friday in the past was getting up early the day after Christmas to hit Target for the sales. That's MY favorite shopping day of the year. Clearance. 

So having said all of this, last night my intention was to experience some of the "goodness" that was black Friday. First hand. Up close and personal. Because I really believe you can't judge someone until you've lived their experience. So there's a little girly shop down the road a bit that I really like. They were having a "football widow" open house on Thanksgiving night from 7-10. OK, I thought, I can do that. That's not crazy. 

So I told my best-friend-since-8th-grade-Amy that I was planning to go and she said she'd like to go along too. She was meeting her daughters later for a trip to Wal-Mart and a nearby mall at midnight and asked if I would want to join them. I thought, "Maybe I will! Old Navy is giving cameras away and I do need a camera. I think I can stay up until midnight. Why not?" Wal-Mart madness started at 10pm and I thought I really could make it for some of that. Maybe even go to Old Navy. Or Best Buy, be out until the wee hours of the morning. It all sounds fun in theory, doesn't it? Kinda like sneaking out of your dorm room to see the midnight showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show with a group of your friends and then having to sleep in the airport because the dorms are locked until 6 a.m. Not that I've done that. 

So we met up at 6 and drove to the open house. Now, this shop is in an old house that has been made into a store. It has separate rooms and not the best "flow". You have to enter and exit some of the rooms through the same door. Every time I've been there in the past there have been less than 5 people in the store. 

We got there and stood out in the cold in line for about 20 minutes. They were giving freebies to the first 50 people who showed up and we figured we'd hopefully get something. When they finally opened the doors, everyone started pouring in and the house filled up quickly. Most of the ladies started making a bee line for the items they were most interested in. We collected our free gifts and tried to push through the crowd to find items we wanted that were on special that night. 

Inside the door was a huge display filled with items for $5 on special for that night. This immediately clogged up the entryway. I fought my way through, wishing I hadn't brought in my purse, as it was impeding my "pushing through crowd" progress. I couldn't get close enough to the display to see if there was anything I wanted so I let the crowd push me back into the other room. I couldn't even get out of the way. I was being pushed and pulled and everything else you could imagine.

I tried getting from one room to the next and couldn't because someone's husband was standing in the hallway blocking traffic. I stood behind him for what seemed like 5 minutes before I realized, Good Grief! He isn't waiting on the crowd to part, he's just standing there!!!!!!! 

"Argh! No unnecessary people need to be in here right now! It's crowded enough with people who are shopping. GET OUUUUTTTTT OF MY WAAAAAYYYYYYYY!!!!!" I said inside my head

Out loud was just a small "excuse me" as I pushed past him. I ended up in a small hallway where a tiny bathroom had been set up for displaying mongrammed towels and the like. I stepped in there to quell my arising panic. My friend saw me and came in too. 

"omg this is crazy!" we said to one another. Then she looked behind me and exclaimed "Is that MONOGRAMMED toilet paper!"

I noticed she already had her arms full of stuff. I just walked out.

Back to the front room where everyone was pushing and shoving to get to the $5 monogrammed lotion. OK no M's or H's so. Moving right along. By now the lines for the checkout were stretching across the front room. I want to get in there to see the purses but it seems all but hopeless. 

At first I think I see my friend, she's made it to the $5 table. She waves me over and as she is digging through the baskets, thrusts a nightlight into my hands with an H on it. 

"AWESOME!!!" I say, as if I have been looking for this all of my life. 

As we stand digging through monogrammed mirrors, brushes, nightlights and hand painted christmas glasses, my friend says out loud "What the hell is going on? WHY did everyone bring their husbands and kids??? They are just taking up space that those of us with credit cards need to shop!!! They should leave the husbands and kids at HOME!!!"

The girl standing next to me giggled, and I said to my friend "OMG that is why we're friends, I was thinking the same thing. They are just standing there blocking the shelves."

I picked up a couple gift items, which weren't on sale at all by the way, and just tried to make my way into the other room where all the kitchen stuff and candles were. It seemed to take forever. I didn't see my friend, the lines were getting longer, and I just couldn't think straight enough to know what to grab. 

I hear someone in the crowd say "Oh, LOOK! A monogrammed flask!" and when I look, there is a bin full of silver flasks positioned directly over a sign that says "We have great gifts for all the teachers on your list!" 

I had to smile at that and if I could have reached my phone I would have snapped a picture. But I couldn't, I couldn't even raise my arm. So I decided to call it a day and get in the long, long lines that had formed erraticly across the front room. 

Then I get a text. "I am in line, bring me your stuff and I will pay, not too far from the front." I look across the room and my friend is in the line on the other side of the room. Not even 20 feet away, but blocked from me getting to her by dozens of people.

I look at her and shrug, then text "I don't think I can get there, I'll wait." She and I text back and forth while we're waiting in line. 

Moments later when we've checked out and struggled our way back through the store to the front porch, she picks me up outside the store. When we look at the clock she says "Oh, my gosh. It is only 7:35 we were only in there for 35 minutes!"

I laugh and say "Well, that answers one question....how long does it take for me 
to work up to a full blown panic attack?"

It really did seem that we were there for hours. I decided right then and there that was the LAST time I'd ever participate in anything remotely related to black friday. When we got back to Wal-Mart Amy dropped me at my car, took  my front row parking spot, and went in to stand in line for a great deal on a television. Then went to the mall and got home at 2am. 

I? Went home, put on pj's and ate dinner. 

You guys are so brave. And so crazy. Honestly.

Thursday, November 24

The Giving of Thanks

So today, in my country, it is the designated day for giving thanks. A day to be spent with family and turkey and dressing and pies. The third Thursday of November.

Many of my friends have been engaging in "Thirty Days of Thanksgiving" on Facebook, each day posting something for which they are thankful. It has been incredibly interesting to read each day the items posted by everyone. I think it is important for everyone to realize that there are so many things to be grateful for in all of our lives, even when things aren't going 100% to our liking.

I haven't been participating in it because I already list for myself things I am grateful for each and every day in my gratitude journal. Four years ago I picked up the book, Simple Abundance. I came to this book more than 10 years after its publication date. I can honestly say that when the book first came out, although it was wildly popular, I wasn't in a place in my life to read it.

But when I found it second hand and picked it up, I had been through so much in the in between years, I thought I was finally ready to read it. I wasn't. It took me two more years to make the commitment to read it and really think about it and take action. One of the things you are asked to do in the book is to keep a gratitude jounal, and make an entry of 5 things you are grateful for each and every day. That's right, I said every day.

At first it was hard, and I couldn't come up with new stuff. In the beginning it was big, broad stuff like "family" "husband" "the trees" "the good weather" I mean seriously, 5 things every day? After a while, several months, I learned to go through my day looking for things to be thankful for that evening when I wrote in my journal. I began looking for and recognizing small moments, small things that really changed my day or the way I viewed myself. Eventually I began to expect these moments. And I wasn't disappointed.

During the time she was writing the book, Sarah Ban Breathnach speaks of hard times going on in our country, how the markets aren't doing well and how to deal with being OK with what you have. The first time I was reading through the book (I began it in Jan. 2010, 15 years after it was published) I couldn't remember things being bad in the country, or the country going through such a crisis in the early 1990's. I also thought how interesting it was that such things were still relevant to us today in this economy.

So the point of all this chatter is this. It finally dawned on me, 3/4 through my 2nd reading of this book. For the past 2 years, husband and I have been going through the worst financial time in our 18 years together. Or maybe it just seems that way. He's been laid off, I can't find a job, we moved, our home lost value and we lost our equity, we are in more debt than we've ever been. I spend so much time being sorry for myself over the way life used to be, and how we could afford anything we wanted and how those days are over.

But the realization I had in the shower this morning? Is that this is the FIRST time in 18 years together that we've been through something like this. Yes, it sucks, and yes, it feels like it will never end. But there have been some pretty big financial crises and hard times in our country over the past 20 years. And this is the FIRST time we've really felt it.

So that is what I am thankful for today. That and pecan pie. And pumpkin pie.

Happy Thanksgiving, Ya'll!

Monday, November 7

The Times They Are a'Changin'!

This weekend was the ending of daylight saving time (DST). I am not a fan of it. Not at all. I understand the origins, and that it was used to extend daylight hours for farmers and make full use of the sun during the growing season. I just don't think it makes any sense. 

To me, the result of DST the way it is is that we have these enormously long summer days in which it's daylight until like 9pm or so. Then when they take it away, it's dark by 4:30 all winter. Wouldn't we want more sunshine in the winter? It already gets dark earlier in the winter as it is, but that extra hour just pushes it up to a ridiculously short day! I really don't get it. If I could ever vote to get rid of daylight savings time I totally would. 

It seems to cause confusion for people, and it has always served as an excuse for people to show up late, whether the time is going forward or back. But for me, it hit new levels this weekend. I was in another time zone when the time "fell back". At no point during the day on Sunday did I ever know what time it really was. I spent the day in a fog. "Is this our time or their time? Did this change automatically or do I need to change it? What time should we be there? Oh, just call me when it's time, good grief." What. a. nightmare.

When I got home, I thought it would all be over, but no. Some of the clocks had been changed and some not. Maybe by Tuesday I will have it cemented in my brain, but for now my body is totally confused. I went to bed at 8:30 last night, tried to read my way through a few more pages of a Tom Wolfe novel (has anyone ever used so many words? So many unnecessary details like ever?) fell asleep within 20 minutes and woke up at 3:30 am wide awake. Now, 8:30 would be 9:30, which is my normal heading for the bed time, but why I was up at 3:30 am is beyond me except for the fact that I would have gotten 7 hours of much needed sleep in my own bed, and my body isn't used to much more than that. 

It sort of reminds me of when I was growing up. My dad is a fanatic about being on time. He would go around on Saturday night and change the time on all the clocks right after dinner. So. confusing. Don't do this to your kids! All of our tv shows were off, the news came on at the wrong time, we got sent to bed and had no idea why since it wasn't really our bedtime. 

The result is that my younger brother would milk it for weeks. If it was 9pm and mom told him to go to bed he would say "but it's REALLY only 8 o'clock, REAL time, so I don't have to!" This would go on forever and then in the spring would change to "But it's REALLY only 6 am so I don't have to get up now!" Finally, his 9 year old older sister would get sick of it and say "See that clock? Whatever time that says IS the real time. The old time doesn't exist anymore, drop it, doofus!"

Aaaah. Siblings. Maybe I will call today and ask my brother what time it is, just for old time's sake.

Friday, October 28

Cancer, You Bitch

So of course I missed the deadline for posting in this week's 100 Word Challenge. Mainly because I chose to write about something extremely close and personal to me and I have fussed and fawned and worried about the words, each one chosen with meaning. When it came right down to it, I just couldn't post it at the time. But here it is in a very raw form.

Thinking of her I see her as she's always been; calm, serene, beautifully confident and quiet. She flashes that Mona Lisa smile, leaving you to wonder. She is a woman who was born to be a mother. She is a teacher and student, a storyteller and listener.

I am sure she has faults, we all do don't we? But she far surpasses any attempt I've ever made at being a good human being. Now, she wages war with her own body. War from which I know she will return victorious. Stronger than ever. She will fight with a strength and calmness that ever eludes me.

Recently I found out that a friend, not one I am extremely close to (just because of circumstance and geography) but nevertheless one who will always hold a very, very special place in my heart, is facing some health issues. She's in her early 40's, like me, and has two beautiful young girls, unlike me. She and her husband have been together basically since college. A couple weeks ago I was shocked and saddened to hear the news that she had cancer.

I still remember the first time I met her, and I remember thinking that she was everything I aspired to be. Calm, rational, a skilled writer, a talented artist, accepting of everyone, patient and understanding. We had always been "friends of friends" you know how that is? How your friends that you are close to have other circles of friends. You see them all the time at group things, but don't really contact them except through the mutual friends. Anyway, this had been our relationship. One day, I just called her up and asked if she'd go to dinner and talk with me one night.

So we did and ended up laughing, enjoying, and really getting to know each other. She laughed when she told me that she thought I could be her long lost sister. We had so many of the same hang-ups, insecurities, loves, passions and interests. However, I left the table that night thinking how I could only aspire to be who she was. To me, she was so.... Kimberly. Zen. Serene. Loving. Accepting.

When I think of that damned cancer inside her, it makes me furious; hot, wet tears come rolling down my face. Damned. Cancer. Why do you pick on someone who brings so much love and light into the world? Why can't you go chew up and spit out someone who is dead inside, someone who is dark inside, someone who has nothing to give to anyone.

So I dedicate a song today (stealing my friend Lance's schtick). If it were Kimberly's she might pick something soothing and calm. But that's not me. I heard this on the radio last night and decided it was perfect. Campy. Angry. Angsty. And the guys look like we all looked when we met in the mid-90's.

Yes, I dedicate my song to Cancer. I hate you. I hate everything about you. I wish you would vanish forever and stop hurting the people we love. Please enjoy Ugly Kid Joe hating everything about Cancer. And blow up dolls.
We love you, Kimmy!

Friday, August 19

Day 3. Shameless eating.

Day 3. Eat. Whatever you feel like eating.

Hmmm. Well, I would DO this if it weren't already a way of life for me.

I have ridiculous eating habits. Right now I am sitting here next to a pile of candy wrappers. Yes, my breakfast today was assorted caramels, chocolate kisses, and tootsie rolls. I ate them from a bowl in my lap while watching last night's big brother and muttering to myself about how effing annoying Brendan and Rachel are. Not to mention fake.

Some days I get up craving cheesy pasta. So I make it. For breakfast. Some days I have nothing but coffee and water all day until dinner time. Some days I eat fast food. Other days I eat things like chips and dip all day. I can go a week without consuming a vegetable. I will eat yogurt then follow it with a cookie or piece of cake.

I am seriously eff'd up when it comes to food. I am not sure exactly when it spun out of control, I wasn't always this way. I mean, I've always had the binge tendencies. Even when I was a kid. But up until about 10 years ago, I was able to keep it under control. I did used to eat like a normal person. I did used to think about a balanced diet, healthful foods, and calorie and fat content. But I always had the thought in the back of my head that I just couldn't see myself living that way forever. Having to think and plan and worry about everything that went in my mouth. Measuring and weighing and starving myself to stay not only healthy but at a healthy weight of around 125 (or so I thought).

Now I will be the first to admit. I don't obsess with the number on the scale. I remember clearly weighing 125 and still constantly thinking that my thighs were too fat or my stomach a bit flabby. Looking back at pictures I was almost skin and bones, I don't even recognize myself. Because of that I learned that it's all in your head. It's what you believe yourself to be.

I just lost a lot of weight. I spent the summer of 2010 in hard core deprivation mode. I had crept into the obese realm and didn't want to stay there anymore so I dove in feet first. I do not regret doing it, or losing the 70+ pounds that I lost. I still would like to be a couple sizes smaller than I am now, but to be honest? I am more comfortable with my body now than I have been in a long time.

But that doesn't change the fact that I still don't care enough to monitor my food. I have food issues, this I know. Food addictions, problems relating to the consumption of food and the euphoria I feel when eating. The filling up of that "something" inside. My 16 weeks of weight loss proves to me that I do have the capacity to eat what I should, leave what I shouldn't and get to a healthy weight. But being able to do something and actually doing it every day is something else entirely, isn't it?

Why do I have the issues I have? Your guess is as good as mine. It could be that everything else in my life is out of control now and the only thing I can control is my food. It could be that I am sinking back to depression and using it as a mood elevator. It could be that I just have an addictive personality and I just turn to food rather than drugs, gambling, or alcohol to get that high.

Whatever the case, I don't need the challenge to allow me to eat what I want any and every day. I am doing a fine job of that on my own, thank you.

Tuesday, August 16

Day 2: Look a fool

I do things every day that make me look a fool. But here is some pictorial evidence of such:

I blame my mom.

OK, I did this one to myself.
Didn't want to be outdone by 'Retha!

This one was birthday humiliation.
Thanks, friends who shall remain nameless. 
At the holiday card photo shoot.
What is with that look?
There seems to be a common theme of hats in most of these. I wear a lot of hats. (Literally and figuratively.) Anyway, not quite sure how else to look a fool. Most of what I do that makes me look like a fool defies explanation. I do stupid stuff every day that doesn't get captured, thank goodness.

Saturday, August 13

Day 1. I have no TV shame.

I have been a television addict from the beginning. I have no problem admitting it. As much as I love to read, and I do LOVE to read, I also love me some TV. When I was a kid, I would read the TV guide cover to cover, complete the crossword, and memorize the schedules for every night of the week. This isn't as big a feat as it may seem to some when you consider that we had like 5 channels back in my prehistoric, pre-cable childhood.

I lived for the nights when there was a "block" of shows so I didn't have to get up to change the channel. Back then, kids didn't have their own television. In fact, there was only one in the house. In our house anyway. So the entire family had to watch the same thing. If I had a channel change in my preferred lineup there was always a chance that my mom or dad would veto it and I would end up missing "Welcome Back, Kotter" or "The Bionic Woman". And oh, lord, the summertime when nothing was on but baseball for what seemed like weeks on end. That could account for my disdain for the sport as an adult.

I am pretty open with what I watch or don't watch on TV. I have friends who are appalled at the amount of TV I watch, and friends who probably watch more than I do. I watch all sorts of reality TV like Big Brother, Survivor and the Amazing Race. But I also reject other shows like The Bachelor/ette, The Biggest Loser, Real Housewives and Dancing with the Stars. I am all over some American Pickers, Antiques Roadshow, Storage Wars and my newest obsession, Auction Kings.  I HATE stuff like Jon & Kate, Sister Wives and all of those baby and pregnancy related shows. Ugh. Probably my biggest current guilty pleasure is Mob Wives. It's like the best. Ever.

But with today's confession I want to go back in time to 1998 to the only show I have ever watched and hidden the fact that I watched it. My husband and I had been married about 4 years and were in our first home. We bought a new TV for the living room and put our old one in hubby's office upstairs along with his computer. Now I have to admit, I was late to the party, and I didn't ever get on the computer at home back then. (I know some of you will find this hard to believe) So the office was all his. It wasn't unusual for him to go up there to either watch the History channel in peace or play games on the computer.

I got used to having the living room television to myself and started watching a particular show. For some reason hubby was always upstairs watching something else on Wednesdays at the same time, and I didn't want him to know that I was watching this show. It was sort of cheesy, campy, and probably I was way too old to be interested in it. I was embarrassed to admit to him or to anyone that I tuned into "Charmed" every single week and watched the three sisters named Prue, Piper and Phoebe fight demons using terrible special effects and embarrassing sound effects. I was totally addicted and I have to admit, I am getting embarrassed to even admit it now, years later.

Look at Shannen.
She's so deliciously bitchy!
Now, I have to admit that I only ever started watching this show because of Shannen Doherty. I fully admit to having a girl crush on her that goes all the way back to the movie "Heathers" in the late '80's. Of course I was a HUGE Beverly Hills 90210 fan like everyone else my age in the early 90's. But since Brenda left her twin Brandon, boyfriend Dylan, and bff Kelly for London, I just didn't get enough of the bad girl Shannen. Yes, she's the original hot mess. Impossible, temperamental, and a little bit crazy. But aren't we all?

So back to Charmed. One night I was watching it, after several months of hiding from hubby. He happened to walk through on his way upstairs and caught the opening sequence, much to my embarrassment. He smiled at me and I was expecting a smart ass remark. 

"Have you been watching Charmed all this time?" he asked.
"I.. um...well....sometimes, maybe, yeah." I stammered.
He started laughing and said, "That's what I've been going upstairs to watch every Wednesday night. I didn't think you'd like it!"

Turns out he had a thing for Alyssa Milano ever since she was Sam on "Who's the Boss". Ever since that day, we practice full disclosure with our little TV indiscretions. Just because you never know. 

My life, honestly....

Friday, August 12

If Garth Can Be Shameless, Surely I Can Too

Because of @TlanceB I have gotten dragged into this meme. Maybe it's because of Lance. Or maybe it's because I could never stand for the other kids to be cooler than me. Or uncooler than me. Or perhaps it's just that I hate being left out of anything.

When I was in my first year of college, I lived in a freshman dorm where the rooms were arranged in “suites” of 4 rooms and a large bathroom with several sinks and showers. Each room housed a pair of girls and the suite had a living room for us all to use. It was a pretty nice setup and I have to admit that although I thought my roommate was completely weird, I loved all of my other suitemates. Except eventually that girl from Texas got to us all. Then we hated her. But for the most part we all had fun and got along really well, doing everything together.

The first thing you have to know about me is that I very nearly failed most of my classes that first semester. I have never been very disciplined about homework, mainly because I was never really taught proper study skills. I made good grades, a's and b's with very little effort in high school. So I thought I could continue that into my college experience. Boy was I wrong.

However, I loved the social nature of our setup and loved spending the evenings after dinner hanging out with the girls in my suite. We'd talk about anything and everything. At first it would be the 6 of us, then one by one we'd drift off to bed or to study. I WOULD not go to bed until everyone else did. I couldn't do it. It got to the point where it was a joke. My friend Mary C. would get into bed and say “turn out the light for me, would you?” Yep. I was THAT person.

So I haven't been 'round the bloggy-sphere much lately, I have to admit. My reader is crammed full of catchup reading and I have even been neglecting the blogs that make me laugh hystericallly. I am ashamed. And I hate that I am missing out on my cyber friends lives. I don't know why I haven't been around. Part of me feels like my depression may be coming back. Another part of me thinks it maybe never left. And another part of me says that I need a swift kick in the ass and to just get out and get over it. (maybe that voice is just my mom)

So when I read the other day on Lance's blog that he was doing this 30 day meme I was excited. As I read over the list I realized that these topics were things I would enjoy and could be up for writing about every day. So the list is as follows:

30 Days of Shamelessness
  1. declare your love for an uncool TV show.
  2. look a fool.
  3. eat. Whatever you feel like eating.
  4. waste time.
  5. declare your love for an uncool movie.
  6. act “girly” or “manly” in a way you’d normally avoid.
  7. share your efforts at something you don’t think you do well.
  8. sweat.
  9. expose something messy or dirty you’d usually hide.
  10. declare your love for an uncool band.
  11. dress to show some skin.
  12. share about a health struggle.
  13. speak up about something crap that was done to you.
  14. hold yourself accountable — not guilty — for something crappy you did to someone else.
  15. dress, walk, and act like you know you’re all that.
  16. spend money on a non-necessity or share a financial struggle.
  17. discuss the reality of your work situation.
  18. brag.
  19. share details about a bodily function or fluid.
  20. talk about sex
  21. express a strong feeling.
  22. set a boundary.
  23. air one of your secrets.
  24. share a struggle you have yet to “just get over.”
  25. ask for help.
  26. make a mistake.
  27. express a dissenting opinion.
  28. discuss a failure.
  29. look a fool.
  30. name 3 more ways you can live shamelessly and commit to doing them…
Join in if you like.  Let me know in the comments if you think you might so I can follow along. I think this will be a good way for me to get back into writing and reading all my favorite blogs. I will cover all 30 days, though they may not be 30 days in a row. I shall do my best. Honestly....

Thursday, July 28

Here's to Hope!

Last night Nashville television viewers said goodbye to long time local sports anchor Hope Hines. Hope was a staple, having been on the air at Nashville's CBS affiliate since the early 1970's. I don't mind saying, that's about as long as I can remember.

For whatever reason, during all my years in Nashville I was a "News Channel 5" girl. If I turned on the evening news it was for then national anchor Dan Rather, and if I turned on local news it was to see Chris Clark, Amy Marsalis, Ron Howes, and Hope Hines. I am not sure what fixed this preference, although my parents still watch all their news on Channel 5 so it must have started there.

One thing I found interesting during our move to Pennsylvania is how attached we become to our local anchors and other news people. In the beginning it was disconcerting enough to have to watch news in an area I knew nothing about. I didn't get the traffic reports, I didn't know the townships or the local officials. Harrisburg was a much smaller market than Nashville and their newsrooms (and the on-air broadcasters) seemed like amateur hour in comparison to those in Nashville. Add to that being in a different time zone and having the evening news come on at 11 rather than 10....well, I felt like my life was in an uproar.

When you think about it, we allow these people into our homes every day. They bring us the information we need to plan, to live, and to be informed about what is going on in our community. Although now I am about an hour from Nashville, I still watch the Nashville news every morning and evening. There's something so comforting about being back and being able to watch those familiar faces again. Even though Chris Clark (legendary local news anchor since the 60's) retired while we were gone, they did me the favor of hiring a younger look-a-like version, just to keep us all comfortable.

I remember years ago hubby and I were in the Carribean, winding up the vacation from hell. (that's an entire post on its own) We moved into a nice hotel for the final 2 days of our vacation after sleeping 3 nights in an outdoor cabin on a mountainside with nothing but a concrete floor, a roof, and screened walls around it. When we arrived at our luxurious room and both took long, hot showers and each collapsed on our own clean fluffy bed. We were so delighted to turn on the TV and find who else but Chris Clark doing the Nashville news via satellite. There was something about that which provided comfort and allowed us to relax and enjoy our final two days. I can't explain it.

So here's to Hope Hines and all the other local news people. You let us all in. Let us all feel as though we somehow know you. Thank you for coming into our homes everyday and keeping us informed. And sometimes making us laugh. Watching the tribute show last night it seemed apparent that Hope was every bit as congenial in real life as he is on the screen. Always joking, willing to be humble and laugh at himself, and friendly with everyone around him.

What am I gonna do this football season? No Coach Fisher. No Hope Hines. It's not gonna be right. Mike Keith, you better not retire anytime soon. There's only so much change a girl can deal with.

We're gonna miss ya', Hope! And JB, too!

Thursday, July 14

Split Apart

Today's post is my entry into this week's 100 Word Challenge, hosted by Velvet Verbosity. The 100 Word Challenge is an exercise in which we write exactly 100 words in response to the weekly prompt word. Click the link to read the other entries–good stuff over there!

This week's prompt was “split”.

Doesn't she know her words cause me pain? Real, true, stabbing icy pain in the pit of my stomach. If she did, would she cast them so carelessly? Purposely? I feel my heart deflate as my eyes fill with hot, stinging tears. Suddenly, the realization hits me and I feel like I've been split apart by talons in my soft underbelly. 

What I want to say I cannot. Instead, I simply say quietly, “I feel so sorry for you. I really do." 

She is missing out on the real person I am by always regretting the perfect person I'm not.