Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Resolutions (I Am SOOO Good At Keeping These)

I, Carolyn, will now make my resolutions for the year 2011. . .

I resolve -

to go to the doctor when I'm sick.

to be nice to Quincy and not call him a vile filthy mongrel anymore, even though he is.

to always remember to write thank you notes as well as to always respond promptly to party invitations.

to completely organize my entire house.  I will have a place for everything.  I will always remember to put things back exactly where they are.  To further that effort, I resolve

to get one of those little label maker thingies. (I've always secretly wanted one, but I really just look at it as a toy.)

to cut carbs completely out of my diet.

to go to the gym five days a week.

to pay attention to all the latest fashion trends and start buying stylish clothes.  I will stop wearing my Doc Martins because they are out of style.  I will also stop wearing birth control outfits.  You know what I'm talking about?  I have one on today.  But no more!

to purchase a lovely designer handbag. (grrrrrrrr)

to write a best selling book and have it published within the year.

to always prepare and serve my family a nutritious meal made with a loving and gentle heart.  And to stop serving them breakfast for dinner once a week because it's cheap and easy. 

to always share my chocolate, my ice cream, and any other treat I get with my son and stop hoarding all the good stuff.

to always admit to him when his MiMi and PaPa sent him that chocolate, or that cake, or that cookie and not pretend that they gave it to me.

to not get the stomach flu even though I have a four year old who will almost certainly bring it home with him from preschool.

to never second guess my husband and not try to tell him how to handle our son.

to get up every morning as soon as my son calls out and always let my husband sleep in instead of pretending I can't hear said son calling out.

to always let my husband have the pick of what we watch on TV.

to wear my tiara everywhere and only be addressed as Her Royal Highness, Princess Carolyn.  If you do not address me as such, I will not answer.  (Sigh.  I wish I could make that one be true.)

to remember not to look like an idiot when running races this year.  I will have long hair, pulled back in a chic pony tail, and I will smile serenely at any Brightroom photographer I pass this year.

to learn how to decorate my home so that it no longer looks like we live in a nursing home.

to dust the house at least twice this year.

to stop looking at the vacuum cleaner as though I think it must be some kind of home improvement tool and make my husband use it because I don't understand how it works.

to not have my son sit in front of the TV all day for a whole week so that mommy can work on the computer when I am really writing my book.  (oopsie.)

to keep up with the laundry in almost an OCD fashion instead of letting it pile up so high that we have to have a jammie day in the middle of the week. Because I now know it is embarrassing for my husband and son to show up at work and school that way.

That about covers it, I think.  By the way. . .do you know how hard it is to type when you are crossing your fingers and laughing your ass off at your resolutions?  ;o)  Happy New Year, everybody!

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

A Solution To Taking Down Christmas. Not In The Literal Sense. In The Decorating Sense.

Hey!  Before I start, I almost forgot to tell you all!  I got an email saying they received my contest entry.  For those of you who don't know (which is probably like - 1 or 2 random people who've never been here before), I wrote a book over the summer.  And there is a local contest for best unpublished novel.  So, of course, I entered it.  Why not, right?  If they want my complete manuscript, which I admit to myself may very well be unlikely, but that's OK because it's only my first attempt, I should hear by late February. 

Progress on my second book completely ground to a halt over the holidays.  But I'm really wanting to start back to work on it now.  I hope to carve out some time in the next couple of days to dedicate to it.  I also have an idea for a third book if I don't turn the second one into a series (which I always thought I would do).  It's quite different than either of my first two attempts.  We'll see if it continues to weave its way around my head. 

Oh and I owe you all an apology.  I looked back at my previous two posts, and I realized that I mentioned (I hate to even say it now) decongestants way too much.  It's the drug high.  Sorry!  I'm on "them" again today, but I promise that is the only time you will see "them" mentioned in this post.  I hope.  ;o)

Anyway, now that those little tidbits are out of the way, I'll get on with it. 

So as I thought, we are itching to take down all the Christmas decorations.  Joshua, of course, does not understand this.  He would like to leave them up.  All year round, naturally.  So I have spent an inordinate amount of time over the last two days in particular trying to make him understand that we can't leave them up. 

But then I had an idea. 

Why not leave them up all year round?  Think about the amount of time we'd save each year in putting up decorations and taking them down?  Wouldn't it be lovely?  And if we all agreed to do this, it wouldn't look weird.

For instance, I know some people who keep candles in their windows all year.  And they even turn them on every day.  Or they have them on a timer or something but you know, we don't have to turn them on.  (BTW, I totally wish I could afford a timer for all my candles so I'd never have to go around and turn them all on and off.  Or I wish I could afford to have an electrician come and wire all the outlets at our windows to a single switch so I could turn them all on and off with a single motion.  They have that in new homes.  If I remember right, they call it the Christmas Lights package.  Oops.  I digress. . .)   Once it's dark, no one would know we even had candles in our windows.  And you wouldn't have them on during the day, right?  Because that would be just silly.

And wreaths look nice on your door all the time.  They are welcoming to any home.  If you have wreaths or some other type of garlands on your windows, maybe you could buy some little hearts or something for Valentine's Day.  And some flags for 4th of July.  And pumpkins for Halloween and Thanksgiving.  And so OK, that's a little bit of decorating, but not nearly so bad as the whole process of putting up and taking down Christmas, right?

Now - we'd have a little bit of a problem with the tree situation.  Because they are kind of big.  And some of them are real trees.  The real trees would start to fall apart and be kind of a big mess.  So you real tree people have to figure out something.  Maybe you could varnish them or something.  But either way, we have a problem, because, let's face it, those suckers would be hard to dust.  I suppose we could throw sheets over them.  I'd even let Joshua decorate the sheets with stickers.  Same idea as the holiday wreaths.  Heart stickers for Valentine's Day.  Flag stickers for 4th of July, etc etc.  (Sidenote - when I worked at SunTrust, I used to drive by a house on Parham Road that kept their tree up all year round.  They didn't change out the lights or decorations.  It was just a Christmas tree all decorated and ready for the next year.  Seriously.  I admire them.)  Then after Thanksgiving next year, all we have to do is pull the sheet off and voila!  All decorated!  Isn't this a fab idea?

All those Christmas knick-knacks?  Well we can compromise here.  They can be a bit cluttering.  We could all pitch them.  Or we'd have to dress them up for the other holidays.  (New Sidenote - when I lived in Powhatan with my parents, I used to drive by another house that had those brick wall thingies on either side of their driveway and they had stone squirrels on them.  And they used to dress those squirrels according to the holidays.  Until the Gulf war.  Then they just wore little army uniforms with little helmets and machine guns and stuff.  Again, totally true.  But still, once again, interesting concept.  See where I get my inspiration for this idea from?)

What do you think?  Should I start a petition?  Or should we just all agree to do this and I will have to take you all at your word?  Don't forget, my loyal followers, I know where some of you live.  I enter your homes occasionally.  I'd know if you stuck to your word sooner or later. . .

Sigh.  I guess not.  It's so much more fun putting it all up than taking it down, isn't it?  Oh well.  Until next year!  Have a great day folks!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Don't Judge This Post. I Am On Drugs Right Now.

There is one small disadvantage to being a stay-at-home mom.

More times than not, you have someone with you. 

What I mean is, for instance, I am sick.  Like pretty nasty sick.  I have a head and chest cold like you would not believe.  I don't feel like doing much of anything.  Except sleep.  Or stare at the computer screen in a decongestant induced haze. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .oops.  Yes.  Like that.  Decongestant induced hazes can be kind of fun.

Except for when you have a four and a half year old and it's only three days after Christmas, and there's slushy snow outside and cold as you know what.  So that means you have to stay inside, and then he wants you to play firestation/aircraft carrier for hours on end. 

And don't get me wrong.  I know I signed up for this.  And I do really, really love it.  But there are times when you just want to be left alone.  Are you picking up what I am putting down?

But seriously, can I ask my husband, who works on commission, to stay home and play with our son all day so that I can sleep? Or stare at the computer screen in a decongestant induced haze? Not really. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .oops, I did it again.  Hey wait, isn't that a song?  BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!  Oh me, I crack myself up when I am on decongestants.  The sad thing is, I am probably the only one who found that amusing.  But I promise you something.  If you all go and take a couple of them,  you'll find this post very amusing.  Either that or you'll get to take a nice nap.  I think both of those options are nice.

(Grinning stupidly at the computer screen)

So anyway, I still remember a time when it was just me and Jamey.  And it would be an evening, or a weekend, and Jamey would decide spur of the moment to go mountain biking with one of his buddies.  Or he'd need to help them with a house project, because they had been at our house the entire previous weekend helping with a project.  Stuff like that.  Or even better, they'd have to go to some motorcycle race or camping or something.  And I'd have the house all to myself.  For a day, or even a weekend.  And it was just me and Harley (our first furry baby).  That was blissful.

Decongestant induced haze. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

Whoops.  And where was I?  Oh yes.  It was blissful.  The weekends especially, at least at first.  But I remember by the end of the first day, I'd start to get antsy.  I'd get lonely.  And by the end of the weekend, when Jamey would finally walk in the door, I'd practically pounce on him, because I was so happy he was back.  I feel that way too now when I go away for mommy weekends.  It's fun at first, but by the end of the weekend, I'm really ready to come back and be with my family.

Now I relish even an hour in the house by myself.  I don't wish my family to be gone forever, but I appreciate the alone times a lot more than I thought I would.  Is that awful?  I hope not.  I mean, doesn't everyone need a little time to themselves occasionally?  I hope you are all nodding yes at your computer screens.  Have I written about this before?  Well, too late now.  My brain is impaired and I can't think of anything else.

So what is the point of all this?  I'm not sure, because the decongestants are kind of getting in the way of clear thinking.  That and I keep having to interrupt my writing to go to the bathroom to blow my nose.  Or Joshua wants me to draw another picture.  Or play firestation.  Oh yes.  But the point is that now that I have a child of my own, the times that I am in my house alone are few and far between.  And most of the time I like it that way.  But not today.  However, I have come up with a solution.  And if any of you know me at all, you know exactly what it is. . .(Don't worry, this one is not a decongestant induced haze.)

It's a MiMi and PaPa day.  They are my own brand of Calgon.  (God bless you both.  We'll be there in just a little while.  I am going up to take a shower to rid myself of some of my decongestant induced haze right now.)

MiMi and PaPa, take me away!!!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

I Can't Say What This Post Is About Because I'm Scared to Type the Word Again.

First of all, I hope everyone had a spectacular Christmas.  I did.  I really enjoyed watching Jman open all his presents.  It was a very happy day in our house.  I got so many good shots of him opening his gifts (if I may say so myself!) I had a little bit of a cold on Christmas, but I felt good overall.  But yesterday and today, I have felt like poo.  My originally planned post just wasn't funny.  So I ditched it and decided to write something else instead because my brain is focused on it right now.  And since I am on a pretty hefty dose of decongestants, I'm surprised my brain is functioning at all. . .

I am starting into BFF withdrawals.  My BFF, Yvette, lives in Texas.  And of course, I live in Virginia.  We only get to see each other a couple of times a year.  Yvette was here in October.  I went to see her innnnnnnn July?  I think it was July.  It's early for withdrawals, but let's be clear here.  Two times a year is not really enough for BFF's, especially for girl BFF's.  And that means that in order to see each other, we have to. . .we have to. . .oh dear me.  I can't even say it.


Oh, it makes my stomach drop just looking at that word.  Have I ever told you I have an intense fear of flying?  Only made worse by what happened on 9/11?  I have never really been thrilled with flying.  I usually have a death grip on the handrests until the flight attendants come around with the drink cart.  You know.  Because it is my responsibility to hold the plane up by gripping the handrests.  I used to grip Jamey's hand, but that stopped actually after the very first flight we ever took together because I hurt his hand.  But at least I get both armrests now.  And don't forget, I need them.  To hold the plane up.

So then the flight attendants come around and I always order the same thing.  If it's an early morning flight, I get tomato juice.  If it's an afternoon or evening flight, I get ginger ale.  Some of you are probably wondering why I don't order a mixed drink.  Well, in the past, I have always maintained that, if something happened, I wanted to be in full control of my faculties.  Sitting here though, why wouldn't I want to be passed out if something happened?  I might have to ponder on that for a while.

I also have a flight "ritual" that I have to go through.  I always pull out the little card and look at all the information on it.  Over and over again.  I count the number of rows to the nearest exits in front of and in back of me.  Multiple times.  Kind of in an OCD kind of way.  Bordering on unhealthy.  And of course, I totally listen to the flight attendants  going over all the safety procedures.  And I get irritated by those around me who don't listen.  Don't they know they may impede my route to safety by not listening?  I'll crush their ipod listening a*% to get to safety.  Make no mistake about that one.  I listened.  I get to get out to safety.

Once I got on a flight and there were none of the little safety cards in either of the seats in my row.  A flight attendant just happened to be passing by and I flagged her down.  "Excuse me, I need a safety card."  She smiled and went and got me one.  Then she asked, "Are you going to the flight attendant school?"  I know the look on my face was one of pure horror.  Like I would want to do that every DAY?  If I'd have been drinking a drink, I'd have spewed it everywhere.  I looked back at her and said, "Are you crazy?  No, I need to review all the safety procedures so I know what to do in an emergency!"  She looked back at me and slowly nodded her head.  Then she said in a voice that let me know she thought I was the crazy one, and said, "So sorry.  My mistake.  There is a group of people going to flight attendant school on this flight.  Have a good flight."  She kind of backed away slowly, like I might pounce on her and tear her eyes out if she moved any faster.  But, she did leave me to look over all the safety procedures in peace.

Once I got on a flight and I remember being particularly nervous.  So nervous that I felt the need to peek into the cockpit.  And I've done that a lot, but this time, as I peeked in to check out the pilots to see if they looked competent (you know, cos I can tell at a glance, right?), I was shocked to see that they were just sitting there, and looking back at me and smiling.  Jamey, who was standing with me made some quip about my nerves to the pilots.  And the line wasn't moving and so I had to look at them and smile.  And then one of them said, "There's nothing to be nervous about.  Here, come closer and have a look."  And so I thought to myself, I could maybe make sure they haven't been drinking if I go in closer.  And I can see if there are any drugs or anything laying around.  And I went in the cockpit.  And they started explaining stuff, and Jamey then moved forward so I was by myself with these two when they thought they'd do something funny.  They turned some switch on and the plane said, "Dive, Dive, Dive."  And they knew they'd made a mistake, because I started grabbing hold of stuff while we were diving - even though we were sitting on the tarmac and the plane was still boarding.  I must have looked terrified. 

So they apologized and asked me my name, and I told them.  One of them said, "Don't worry, we'll get you home safely."  I thought to myself, you'd better.  But I thanked them for showing me the plane and I made my way to my seat.  I'm surprised they didn't give me a little set of wings.  I sat down, and after a bit we started taxiing out towards the runway.  Then the most embarrassing thing happened.  The pilot came on just before the safety procedures started and said something about welcoming us aboard and blah blah blah and then said, "And we'd like to extend a special welcome to our friend, Carolyn.  She's a little nervous and so we've promised her an extra smooth flight."  I could have died.  When we landed, the landing was bumpy.  And they actually apologized to me when I got to the front.  Again.   Totally embarrassed.

I told you my responsibility is to grip the armrests to hold the plane up till the drink cart comes around.  I figure if the drink cart is coming around, then everything must be OK.  So I grip the armrests until they get to me.  And I'm usually about mid-way back.  So by the time the flight attendants get to me, I can no longer feel my hands.  And I ask for my drink and let go of the armrests and then take the drink with both hands.  They are shaking uncontrollably as I try to get my drink to my mouth.  I end up sloshing half my drink out of the glass, and the flight attendants think I have some sort of muscle disease.  I think next time I fly, I'm gonna take one of Josh's water bottles with the straw and ask them to put my drink in that.  That way I won't have tomato juice or ginger ale all over my clothes. 

I have been on a few flights that the drink cart didn't come around.  Um.  Those were not fun flights.  The worst was on our way back from Chicago to Richmond.  Jamey and I had been up for a conference for Jamey's work.  O'Hare airport was closed after we landed in Chicago because of wind shear.  Jamey, who has flown lots, said afterwards he was worried about our landing.  You could feel the plane trying to stay straight.  I was so glad to land.  On the way back we had a pretty bumpy flight.  So bumpy that the drink cart didn't make it out.  And I was almost hysterical.  The guys sitting next to us kept looking at me as tears were streaming down my face.  They asked Jamey if I was gonna be ok.  Jamey shrugged and said, "I'm really not sure."  At least he was honest.  By the time the flight attendants could get up and do anything, the flight was almost over.  But the male flight attendant took one look at me with tears and snot all running down my face, and he went into the bathroom and pulled out all the tissues they had.  He brought them to me in one big wad and all I could do was squeak out "thank you" and put the whole gigantic wad of tissues up to mop up my face.

I know.  It's sad and pathetic.  But I've recently discovered Xanax

We called my doctor (who shall remain nameless) and he suggested first trying alcohol.  So we filled up two big containers of mimosas for my next flight.  However, by the time we took off, the alcohol buzz had worn off.  So strike that as an option.  We called back as I was due to go see Yvette in a few more weeks.  He agreed it was time to try the Xanax.  And it worked.  I still felt in control of my faculties, and I was much more relaxed.  Now I just freak out in the airport till it's time to take my pill.  So I text my BFF and my sister back and forth and talk about all the suspicious looking people in the airport.  And thank goodness that army guy is on my flight and I hope he is sitting next to me.  Maybe he will let me hold his hand.  But then again, I'd want him to have use of that hand if we had a terrorist on our flight.  So I'll just hold the armrest.  This goes on an on till I take my pill.  Then about fifteen minutes after taking it, I feel myself relax.  So much better!

In fact, this last flight, I took two.  Maybe was a bit much.  Because when I got back from the trip, I looked on my camera.  I had taken about a million "cloud" pictures.  I don't remember taking those pictures at all.  But really, the more I think about it, that's not so bad, right?  Here.  Want to see a couple?  Here you go:

I seriously should add every single picture I took.  You just wouldn't believe it.  But I won't bore you with them.  Because it's like making people look at slide collections.  On the projector and everything.

So I do like the Xanax option.  Just sayin'.  It makes my flight more tolerable.  I have enough for both flights, and then another couple that I can take if we have a delay somewhere.  I throw the remaining pills out when I get back.  But I probably should keep them.  I seriously might need to start taking one to make my plane reservations too.  That's not good, is it? 

I apologize that I couldn't produce my extra funny post.  My brain is just not working right with all this cold stuffed up into it.  Although, this decongestant I took a little while ago is a little bit like Xanax.  Not bad.  Good grief, I hope this post makes sense.  :o)    Someone please tell me to take this post down immediately if the drugs made it make no sense. . .  Have a great day!  Wheeeeeeeee!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas Post

OK, so this post is about God and Jesus.  It doesn't look like it at first, but it is.  So if you are not "into" religion and faith, check back after the holidays.  Because I can't write my last post before Christmas and not have it be about what I believe in with all my heart.  So I'll catch you on the flip side of Christmas, and not to worry, I have what I hope to be a very funny post planned.

It's been a busy week, and I'm still not ready for Christmas.  We've baked cookies, and even with all the baking we still have chocolate chip cookies to make and decorate the cutout cookies we made.  I haven't even touched much in the way of wrapping yet.  I still have one more gift to make.  We went to Jamey's mom's house on Tuesday to help decorate her place.  Then last night we went on a tacky light tour with Joshua.  He loved it.  Today, Jamey's office is hosting a Christmas lunch, and so we are going to eat lunch downtown.

My house is a wreck and I have mountains of laundry to do.  We are hosting Christmas Eve dinner tomorrow for my family.  So my parents, my sister and her family (and us of course) will all be here tomorrow night after church.  And you would think with all I have to do I'd be totally stressed. 

But I'm not!

I posted a week or two ago about how much work there is to do around getting ready for Christmas.  I always try to be organized and all, but it never works out and I end up feeling like I have a lot to do before the big day.  But something funny happens the closer it gets.  I start to get quiet.  I start to realize that it doesn't matter if I didn't bake all the cookies I had planned on baking. 

It doesn't matter if I didn't mail out any Christmas cards. (And I didn't.  So here.  Picture a card with a smiling picture of Jamey, Joshua, Quincy and me on the front in cute matchy matchy outfits.  Got it?  Good.  Now open it.  Read the words.  They say, "For God so loved the world, that He sent His only Son. . ."  Then it says, "May you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!"  And we've all signed it (except Quincy of course).  Didn't Joshua do a good job signing his name?  Cool.  Cards done.)

It doesn't matter that my house isn't perfect.  It does matter if I don't have the presents wrapped, but Jamey will help me tonight, so that will get done.  All that really matters is why we celebrate.  It's not to get loot.  It's not to see how many piece of ham we can put on a roll or how many cookies is too many cookies to eat in one serving.  It's not so we can take an ugly holiday sweater, make it uglier and then wear it to a party with a bunch of other ugly holiday sweaters.

As this week has passed, I have started to remember more and more why we celebrate.  And I reflect on it.  And it's wonderful.  I love this feeling.  It swells within me, and I wish I could capture it somehow and hand it out to everyone, and we could all remember this feeling and keep it close to our hearts all the time.  I feel it sometimes when it's not Christmas.  But I'm human, and I have faults, and that makes it hard to keep that feeling all the time.  So I relish it when it is with me almost on a constant level.  It's lovely.

I don't mean to be all preachy on here, but you know.  It's Christmas.  And so I have to say what I personally believe.  I know I've said it before, but it is worth repeating.  It's because of Jesus.  He was born so that we could all be saved. 

I hope you all have an extremely blessed and Merry Christmas.

Monday, December 20, 2010

It Really IS a Wonderful Life

We were at church last week and something came up about the movie, "It's a Wonderful Life".  And in discussing the movie, our preacher asked us if we'd all seen it.  Now, I myself had only watched it for the very first time a year ago.  I believe I watched it after a friend of mine, who I happen to call "Miss Margaret", mentioned it on Facebook.  And I thought, "Well if my friend, Miss Margaret, likes it, maybe I should watch it.  So I did.  And I sobbed at the end. 

Jamey had been out somewhere and if I remember correctly, he came in the door just as the credits were rolling.  He asked me why I was crying.  And still sobbing, I could hardly choke out, "It's a Wonderful Life. Wonderful movie.  (point to Jamey) Must. See. It." And Jamey rolled his eyes at me and said, "I will never watch that movie.  My eighth grade teacher forced us to watch it and I refused to." I assume he must have slept through the classes it took to show the whole thing.  Or drew or threw pencils into the ceiling tiles or made and shot spitballs or something.  Anyway. . .

His statement almost made me cry even more.  I mean, remember, the movie really put me over the edge.  I practically begged him to watch it with me.  But he refused.  So fast forward back to present day.  The preacher asks who hasn't seen it, and Jamey raises his hand.  And she looks at him and says in a horrified voice, "You haven't watched it?  Oh Jamey, you must see it.  All of you whose hands are raised must see this movie."  And of course Jamey looks over at me and I'm nodding my head so vigorously that it is probably in danger of popping off.  Jamey just rolls his eyes again.

And then at the end of the service, the most exciting thing ever happened.  My friend, Dawn, had come up and chatted with Teresa during the final song.  And after the closing prayer, Dawn hopped up on stage and said, "Next week, we will be viewing 'It's a Wonderful Life'.  We'll provide movie snacks and drinks."  And I look over at Jamey who is definitely not super happy.  And I just grin my biggest grin ever.  Because I know what's coming.

So Saturday rolls around and Jamey has been a big grump all day.  He hasn't slept well most of the week, we'd been up late the night before at a totally awesome ugly holiday sweater party, and I honestly thought he was going to bail on me.  But I reminded him that our preacher would be decidedly unhappy about his absence if he stayed home.  And he really likes and respects Teresa, and so he told me he knew he had to go. 

We get there and true to their word, they have chicken nuggets, mini corn dogs, nachos, movie candy, sodas etc etc.  I thought they'd have popcorn, but that was the one thing missing.  Oh well.  But we sit down and I can tell Jamey is still not happy and I start to wonder if he has a supply of pencils in his coat pockets, or some paper and a straw so that he can make spit balls.  But the lights dim a little bit and then we start to watch.  At first there's nothing from Jamey.  But then after a while, I hear him chuckle at a funny part.  And then, though I don't dare look over at him because I'm afraid I'll break the spell, I can tell.  The movie is spinning its magic around my husband. 

By the end of the movie, I am, of course, sobbing.  And Jamey and my friend, Barb are each holding one of my hands, so I just let the tears roll down my face.  I look over at Jamey and I say, "So?"  And he looks back at me, and he says, "That.  Was a fantastic movie.  I have a lump in my throat."  And I just beam at him.  I knew he would love it.  And although he had walked into church totally grouchy and irritated, now he takes my hand as we walk down the hall to get our little guy, and he looks at me again, and says, "I'm serious.  That was probably one of, if not the best, movies I've ever seen.  And just so you know, I'm totally not grouchy anymore."  And I knew he wouldn't be.  Because after watching a movie like that, you just can't be.

We talked about it all the way home.  We talked about it after we put Joshua to bed.  We both agreed we needed to own that movie.  Coming from two people who only own three movies intended for people over the age of six?  That's really saying something.  We both also agreed that maybe it was better to be adults when we finally watched it.  Because I don't know that I'd really appreciate its message as much if I were younger.  It wouldn't have packed such a powerful punch for me.

I would love to launch into a complete review of the movie right here. Seriously. It's just so good. But, I don't want to ruin it for anyone who hasn't seen it. So I'll say this much about it. The movie is truly, in my humble opinion, the best movie ever made. Period. See, here's the thing. It's a complete package. There's romance. There's drama. There's suspense. There's community. There's a real message. And the message is so overwhelming that it stays with you long after you watch it. Really. I'm not kidding.   If you've never watched it and have had reservations about it, I beg of you to change your mind.  If we could wrap up the message and sell it as an implant into our hearts and live the message every day, we'd be a totally cool planet.

Truly - It's a Wonderful Life!

Friday, December 17, 2010

My Heart Is Breaking

I don't know what I am going to write about this morning.  I am sad.  My neighbor, Jill, came over yesterday to inform me that their dog, Willa, was really not well.  Willa was the canine goodwill ambassador of our neighborhood.  When we first moved here, the first person I met was Jill.  The first dog I met was Willa.  She was a black lab, and truly one of the nicest, most loveliest dogs I've ever known.  I used to take care of Willa sometimes when the family was out of town.  In fact, I'd fight to get to take care of her.  I think lots of families did, because she was such a sweet easy dog to love.

Jill told me that I might want to go over there at some point yesterday to say goodbye.  She preferred I not bring my son, and I could understand that.  So last night, while Jamey was putting Joshua to bed, I went over and found Willa upstairs on her bed, and Jill was sitting with her.  She looked pitiful.  I loved on her and shed several tears.  Then I hugged Jill and practically ran from the house.  Jamey did the same as soon as he finished putting Joshua to bed.  And now she's gone. . .

I think later on, I might make some cookies or something to take over to Jill and her family.  I know it won't be all that helpful, or make things better.  But I just want them to know how much I feel for them.  How my heart aches for them.  It aches for me too.  I loved Willa like she was my own pup.  When I used to take care of her, I would often invite her to my house for a little while.  She would come over and I always kept a package of low fat pupperonis for her.  She would get one.  She'd walk around and sniff a little.  Sometimes she would stay for a little while, but more often than not, she would go to the door and want to go back to her house.  I'd walk her to the edge of our yard, check for traffic and then tell her to go ahead.  And I'd watch her walk back to her house to wait for her people.

In case you are wondering, she had a wonderful set of people.  No wonder she was so great.  Willa, have a safe journey.  Be a good girl, and play with our furry baby Harley till your people get there.  You'll have a great time.  I love you baby girl Willa, and I will miss you forever.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Snow - I Wish I Still Had My Rose Colored Glasses On About it.

Do you remember when you were a kid, how you'd hear the mention of the word snow, and you'd be running to the windows waiting to spy the first few flakes falling out of the sky?  And then when it got deep enough, you'd go outside and play in it for hours (at least it seemed that way to me!), and you'd come in and take off your sopping wet clothes, and you'd feel your bright red skin, and it was freezing cold to the touch.  And your mom would fix you hot cocoa and some yummy treat, and you'd be all excited about that and then before you knew it, you'd be searching out dry clothes again to repeat the playing you'd done earlier?

You'd also do snow dances in the hopes your school would close?  Do you remember being out of school for like a week or more at a time?  I remember the schools would be closed, but my mom, after a day or two, would take us over to the local mall, and we'd shop and eat lunch (at Cloverleaf Mall, and I think there was a Burger Chef there we'd eat at.), and then we'd go home and we thought it was so fun to be out of school and get to go do fun stuff.  It was like being on vacation!  Bliss.

Yeah.  I remember that. 

Funnily enough, my feelings on the white fluffy stuff has changed quite a bit.  I think it happened when I had to start being a responsible adult with a job.  And that job was in local county government.  And said local county government never closed for snow.  I had to try to drive in it for the first time.  And of course, you guessed it, I wrecked my car.  Good times.  That was the first time I started disliking the snow.

Then there was the time that Jamey was working and we'd already gotten a huge snowfall earlier in the week.  And round two was here.  And Jamey called to ask if he could stay at the apartment I shared with another girlfriend.  And so I said yes, because his apartment was a lot further away.  And I look out, and all the parking spots had been taken by residents.  The remaining spots had snow and ice piled up that had been plowed from the earlier storm.  So I decided to be a good girlfriend and go shovel a spot so Jamey would have a place to park. 

There was just one problem.  I didn't have a snow shovel.  Face it.  Two young college girls, living in an apartment.  We had clothes.  We had jewelery, shoes and handbags (cheap Target handbags).  And we had small kitchen appliances.  We didn't think about tools or shovels or anything else remotely manly.  So I look around for something to help me clear the snow.  The only thing I could find was a broom.  That's it.  But don't forget, I was trying to be a good girlfriend, so I gamely went out with my broom and started to try to clear some snow away.

And I wasn't making any progress.  Shocker, right?  There was so much ice built up on the underlying snow from the earlier storm, that it just wasn't budging.  So I finally figured out that I could unscrew the broom from it's handle.  I started pounding the broom handle into the icy snow and breaking it off.  Kind of chunking away at it, if you will.  And then I started making some headway.  But you can see this is headed for disaster, right?  And so I got some of it broken up, and I moved it with my (ungloved) hands.  Then I went back and started chunking at it again.  And then the broom handle got stuck!  I couldn't move it.  So I put both hands around the handle and got myself over top of it, and pulled.  Really hard.  And it came loose!  And the pole smacked me right in the face.  Right to the outside of my left eye.

Yep.  I'm lucky I didn't poke my eye out.  Cos that would have stung a little bit.  But don't you worry, because where I hit myself still hurt like heck.  So much that I dropped to my knees and picked up a big chunk of snow and immediately put it to my face where the pole had hit.  I sat there for a minute, nursing my wound, when I heard a man's voice call out to me.  He said, "Don't you have a snow shovel?"  I looked over and I said, "No."  And he said, "Well hang on a minute."  And I thought, Oh thank goodness, he's going to help me.  I walked over to his apartment door,  and he came back to the door.  I showed him where the pole had hit, and I said, "Do I have a black eye?"  And he said, "Not yet, but you're gonna."  And then he said, "Here you go. Just leave it on the front porch when you are done."  And he handed me a snow shovel.  Then he smiled and waved and shut the door.  I stood there in shock for a minute, and then I realized he really wasn't coming back to help me and be my hero. 

So I trudged back over and I had just started digging again when a car came up.  And the passenger door opened, and it was Jamey.  Who hitched a ride over with a friend of his so he could drive me the next day to work.  (And so they could do doughnuts in the snow.  I mean, I'm not stupid here.)  All my hard work and a black eye so I could provide an empty parking spot for no one to park in.  Yep.  Good times.

And now I don't work anymore. (At the moment.  And I mean I don't work outside of the home anymore.  Cos I definitely still work.)  And the snow is still a real pain.  It's messy.  It's cold.  It closes school for days on end.  My child gets ants in his pants to do something, but he's not at the age yet where he wants to stay out even though he's turned into a human icicle.  No.  He's at the age where you get him bundled up in the 3 pairs of pants, two shirts, a sweatshirt, a coat, a hat, gloves, mittens, four pairs of socks, taped his snow boots to his pants so they don't get snow in them (and also so they stay on his feet because they are probably a size and a half too big), and then he says he has to go to the bathroom.  Or he's changed his mind and doesn't want to go in the snow because it's too cold.

And now my poor kid isn't going to get to do his school play because they cancelled school last night.  You know.  Because it was supposed to snow today.  And OK, yes, it has just started snowing.  I know that it will stick fast, because it has been very cold the last several days.  But still.  They've closed school before because it was "supposed" to snow and it never did.  I think these guys often jump the gun.  But whatever.

So now he misses his school play, the class Christmas party (because you know they'll be closed tomorrow too), and the worst part?  He has two stuffed sheep babies at his school who were taking part in the Christmas Play.  And because school will be closed today and tomorrow?  Well that means those two stuffed babies will be there all the way through break.  Oh yes.  If he remembers, I'm toast.  I pray he doesn't remember.  All this stress because of snow.

It's different for adults.  It's falling now, and I enjoy watching it come down.  For about five minutes.  But after that, I'd like it to go away.  Seriously.  I'll end my post like this.  So thanks snow.  Thanks for showing up and being pretty and a real pain in the behind.  Now go away.

(Sorry.  What a scrooge!  But still!)  Have fun and be safe out there!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Fourteen Years Ago I Married a Lovely Man

It's Jamey's and my fourteenth wedding anniversary today. 

I can't believe it.  It doesn't seem like fourteen years ago.  It seems like yesterday

We have certainly had our share of hard times.  But in these fourteen years, I have learned a lot about love.  I have learned a lot about what marriage really is.  So here you go. . .

Having a wedding is not having a marriage.  The wedding is one day.  A point in time.  Unfortunately lots of brides get so focused on the wedding itself, that they forget that they will be making a commitment to another person.  I remember telling myself over and over that at the end of the day on December 14th, no matter what else happened, the important thing was to have Jamey, me, the preacher, and God there, and that we needed to say our vows and mean them.  That was what I needed to focus on.  Not whether or not I had the right dress, or the right flowers, or the biggest band, or the biggest ring.  My cake designer thought the most important thing was our cake.  She was a little obsessed.  But that's a story for another time.

I have also come to recognize that marriage is hard work.  I always thought that being married would be easy.  But it's harder than staying single in many ways.  Then why get married at all?  Because as far as I'm concerned, the rewards of being married, and doing the sometimes really hard work to stay married, those rewards far outweigh the rewards of being single.  I have a person who's been with me for a long time.  He knows me better than anyone else.  He supports me like no other.  He cares about taking care of me and cherishing me.  And that, for me, is a prize worth holding on to.  Funny enough, it didn't happen overnight.  The way he does all those things for me.  And cherishes me.  But you know what? sometimes it still doesn't happen.  The supporting and the caring and the cherishing.  But those things are things I think you learn how to do the longer you are married.  And we are just coming into our own with it.  And it's starting to get really sweet.

Mostly though, I've learned that marriage is a choice.  I've said it on here before.  I choose to be married to Jamey every day.  I try to consciously make that choice every day.  That way, when we go through a rough patch (and believe me, there have been some), I continue to know that I am choosing to be married to my husband.  I want to be with him through thick and thin.

Are we great at being married?  Maybe, maybe not.  All I know is we are both determined to stay together.  And so we work really hard at it.  Is it because we have a son together that we are so determined to make it?  Honestly?  I don't think so.  I think it goes back to the commitment we made to each other fourteen years ago.  I took it seriously.  Jamey did too.  I'd commit to it all over again.  That's how strongly I feel about it. 

Lest you think I'm preaching or bragging, I'm not.  At all.  We aren't perfect.  We have both made some doozie mistakes.  I bet you are wondering what those are.  But if you think I'm gonna tell you, you're crazy.  That's the husband/wife confidentiality agreement.  ;o)  But we absolutely know we aren't perfect in our relationship.  That's why it's such hard work!  And that's why when we get it right, it's awesome!

This relationship I choose to be in is not one that I would ever want to say, "Well if it doesn't work out, we can always get divorced."  That's just not for me.  I'm not saying I'd never get divorced.  I don't like to tempt fate that way.  However, I can tell you that I will work my hind end off to keep that from happening.  Counseling, workshops, whatever it takes.  I choose this life, because it is worth it.

I love you honey.  Happy Anniversary!

Monday, December 13, 2010

I Should NOT Participate in Group Exercise Requiring Coordination. And an Update on My Dad.

First off - update on my dad.  Good news!!!!  He went for his follow-up appointment, and the doctor told him the cancer was in the very, very early stages.  This means no other treatment other than getting a small procedure done every three months for a couple of years.  So very good news.  Thank you so much for all your prayers and positive thoughts.  They meant a lot to me and my family!

OK.  Now.  The reason I am posting so late is simple.  I haven't been able to walk or move most parts of my body since yesterday morning.  Why you ask?  Well it's simple.  Two of my "friends" convinced me to do a class together at our gym.  Notice I put "friends" in these lovely quotation marks.  Because they surely cannot be my friends when they knew what I was about to endure.  They both know I am old.  I am forty-one years old.  They both know that's practically ancient, particularly compared to their cute 34 and 35 year old selves.

Would you like to know what the name of the class is?  I mean, the name itself should have clued me in to what was in store for me.  Are you ready?  OK.  Here it is.  Body Combat.  Hello?  What was I thinking?!?!?  I should never take a class in it that has the word "combat" in it.  That implies, like, major movement.  Like kicking.  And punching.  And growling.  OK, maybe most people weren't growling.  And come to think of it, I wasn't either.  It was more like a low moaning.  As though I were in my final death throes.  But I digress.

So I get there, and my first friend, Sherie arrives.  She and I are similar in body shape.  Now I personally think Sherie's got a cute figure, especially considering she works full-time and has two kids.  But she looks at me and says that since we don't have supermodel bodies, we have to be in the back.  She didn't exactly say it like that, but seriously, that's exactly what happened.  Because then our second friend, Brenna, who is super thin and muscular and all, she comes in.  And instead of getting in the back with us, she stands in front of us.  And I look around and all the super thin cute girls are in front. Except for one grandma.  I'll get to her in a minute.

And then the instructor, Nicole.  She, of course, is super thin and cute and she's got her hands all wrapped up.  Like she's gonna box.  And she asks if anyone is new to the class.  I have to raise my hand.  And she looks at me, and all I can think is, "she's gonna kick my a&%".  Why in the world did I think to raise my hand?  Really?  Did I just do that?

The class starts.  It's like aerobics and boxing, no no.  It's like kick-boxing.  So you have to be coordinated.  And follow a routine.  And I don't get it.  And all I can do is laugh.  And when I laugh, I snort.  Very loudly.  It's quite embarrassing.  Have I ever told you that?  Oops.  I digress again.  So yes, I'm laughing and snorting, and Sherie looks over at me and she is laughing.  At me.  And then after a few minutes, Nicole says something about getting started.  I look over at Sherie and I say, "I'm sorry.  We're gonna get started?  Was that just a warm-up?"  This of course, sends Sherie into hysterics.  I should have gotten sympathy.  Nope.  No sympathy from Sherie.  And Brenna is up front being all into the workout, and doesn't even notice the snorting and hysterical laughing behind her.  No wonder she is so thin.

So then we really get going in the workout.  I'm trying to keep up, but honestly, just as I think I might get what Nicole is talking about, she says, "Now I'm gonna change it up."  And she looks at me every time.  And I smile.  All like, "Oh, yep.  OK, change it up, girlfriend."  When inside I'm thinking, "I have no idea what she's talking about.  Change it up?  I didn't even get the first part!"  But yep.  She changes it up.  I start to look at myself in the mirror hoping that I will "get it."  Instead, all I see is an incredibly uncoordinated, soft in the middle, old lady with a really bad outfit on and a hairdo that could scare small children. 

Then Nicole adds in some "duck and weave" move.  And I watch myself as I do it, and I think, "Dear me.  I'm going to give someone a black eye doing that."  It's just sad.  I look over at Grandma, and I realize that she might even have better form than me.  Oh dear, how pathetic.  Then I feel a bit redeemed when we go to do running man and some other exercise, and then she does look a bit more freakish than me.

Then we are still working out and I wonder what time it is.  So at the very next "break" (lasting about 5 seconds), I glance at the clock.  And we've still got almost 25 minutes of class left!  My smile is still plastered on my face, and Brenna glances back occasionally now.  I'm sure it's because she's seen my face in the mirror and is worried I might have a stroke.  Or maybe she thought I already had a stroke after seeing some of my kick-boxing moves.  But anyway, we finally take a "real break" while we go and get floor mats.  I don't have any idea why we are getting floor mats, but I'm game to go and get one.  Some lucky chick beat us there and she's handing them out.  If I had known that was going to happen, I would have gotten there first.  Even if I'd have had to push her out of the way.  You know why?  I could have hidden back there for the rest of the class.

But no, Sherie did not tell me there was a little hiding place back there.  I bet she knew about it too.  So I get my mat and we walk back over and Sherie keeps giving me looks like "I told you this would kick your behind."  And I'm still smiling, because frankly, I think my face is paralyzed from my "duck and weave" move.  Nicole tells us to get on the floor and I'm hoping it's cool down time.  Wrong.  It's. . .get ready. . .ABS AND ARMS TIME!  WHAT?!?!?!?

Oh yes.  Planks.  Push ups.  Side Planks.  All of the things I detest.  And Sherie and I watch Brenna and she's doing push ups.  And she's on her tiptoes.  And her planks are perfect.  No wonder she's got a flat tummy and muscular arms.  And the reason I could watch her do those push ups?  It's because I've pretty much given up and am lying on my mat.  Waiting for Nicole to come over and shoot me, because, it is Body Combat.  And you should put the people who can't keep up out of their misery.

The class finally ends.  I think I might die.  And cute Nicole comes up to me and says, "So how did you like it?"  My frozen smiley face says, "Oh, it was great.  Definitely going to do it again."  WHAT did I just say? 

So now I have to do this class again.  But my arms hurt.  My back hurts.  My feet hurt.  My right hip hurts.  My smile is still not off my face.  Everything hurts.  I am a good typist, but I started this post this morning, and my fingers were so sore that I had to peck it out, and take multiple breaks in order to finish it.  I think I need to see a doctor about that.  But I said I would do it again.  So I will.  Even though I should absolutely not participate in any group activity that requires any kind of coordination.  Dear lord help everyone in that class.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Sometimes I Think I'm Still In College

Today for lunch, I had Ramen Noodles.  You heard me.  You know.  The noodle soup that comes in plastic and you heat up water, throw the noodles in to cook, and while you wait you dump the flavor packet in the bottom of a bowl.  When the noodles are done (in a mere three minutes), you pour them, along with the water they cooked in, into your bowl.  Stir and voila!  You have a completely unhealthy meal.  For only eighteen cents.

I bet most of my friends who happen to be at least around my age are cringing and thinking, "Seriously, does she still eat that crap?"  Well, yes.  Yes I do.  They are cheap.  They are easy.  And while I don't eat them all the time, I definitely go through phases where I have Ramen Noodles for lunch every single day.  I will say that I had about my twentieth packet of them today.  I am a little tired of them.  But still.  Overall?  LIKE it.

And so, I started thinking about how I still act the same as I did when I was in school.  I was a bit of a Rush groupie in high school and college. (Again, I bet some of my friends are like - you were a Rush groupie?  Who knew?)  And although the artist has changed to Andrew Peterson, I am still a groupie.  But I hope a slightly more mature groupie.  But based on my behavior when AP and crew came to town last week?  Not really all that mature. 

But in college, I was, in fact, a Rush groupie.  Followed them as they hit tour dates as far north as Baltimore, and as far south as Greeneville, SC.  I got to know their bus driver, had one of the roadies ask for my phone number and he called from time to time and we chatted about what the band was up to.  It was fun.  I met Alex and Geddy, but never Neil.  He's such a hermit.  Anyway. . . so that was something else that I never let go from college days.  It's just the band that's changed.

Oh yes.  And I still wear the same clothes I wore in college.  The ones that still fit.  I would say the ones that aren't worn out.  But let's be honest.  I graduated college almost fourteen years ago.  That should tell you what my wardrobe looks like.  In fact, it also tells me that I am so very overdue to go get some new clothes.   And it also tells me that I am fashion challenged.  Why don't you, my friends, tell me these things?  I had no idea that Doc Martin's were out of style.  Crap!

I am also still with the same guy that I met while I was in college.  He's usually pretty cool.  Except for the past two nights.  He's been stressed.  So I'll give him a pass on that.  But really overall, he's really awesome and I'm a lucky gal.  We are coming up on being married for FOURTEEN YEARS!  I can't believe it.  The only thing that has changed about him is he doesn't have a super curly mullet anymore.  (Yep.  But please believe me when I say that on him, it worked.  Even in the early nineties.)

I still hang out with college friends now.  This part is a wee little different, because where we hang out is different, and we have additions to our crowd.  For instance, instead of hanging out at Piccola's downtown, we hang out at the Christmas parade downtown, where we watch Rudolph get stabbed in the head and deflate before children's eyes everywhere.  And that includes our own children's eyes.  Not pretty.  But essentially, it's the same crowd.

The funniest part is, after the Christmas parade, we all went over to a McDonald's to each lunch together.  (Bleh.  But seriously, how can I like Ramen noodles and not like McDonald's?  What's wrong with me?)  We put the kids at one table, and the rest of us (except for our friend Tara who got stuck with all the kids, God Bless Her) sat at another table.  And suddenly, and I don't remember who it was, said something about how we all still looked exactly the same.  And I looked around at all those familiar faces and whoever said it was right!  We all looked the same.  So I was transported back in time to remember us all when we were young, unmarried, and having fun.  Even through all the kids chattering at the next table over, I went back there.  And it was fun to reminisce.  And I realized that we are still doing the same thing that we did in college.  Except now we are having fun hanging out with our husbands, wives, and kids.  The party is still there, it's just bigger.  And with a lot less alcohol.  But it's still as much fun!

Have a great day! 

Thursday, December 9, 2010

What I Should be Thinking About During This Season. And Always.

At this time of year, even with all the stress there is during this season, particularly for me as a mom, I am constantly reminding myself of why we celebrate. 

You all know that I consider myself a Christian.  So for those of you who aren't, please indulge me in letting me write and share this post.

I love God.  I am so very grateful and thankful that He loved me so much that He actually sent His very own son, His only son, to earth to save me.  Me.  Having a son myself, that is just unfathomable to me.  It is something I struggle with understanding all the time.  But I also don't doubt for a moment that His love is so very great, that He did that for me.  And for all of us.  Can you imagine sacrificing your own child for others?  I cannot.

I listen to the story of Jesus' birth in many different formats these days.  Through written word.  Through music.  Through talking about it with my little boy.  And it is exciting and humbling to me each time I glean a new bit of information.  A new possibility of what it would have been like for Joseph and Mary as they drew near to Bethlehem and the birth of their son.  I used to think it was all angels and beautiful and lovely.  But as I've grown older, I realize how hard it was for them.  The journey for a very pregnant woman riding on the back of a donkey could not have been easy or pleasant.  The stable would not have been comfortable or clean.  It would have been cold at night.  And she, Mary, would have been young.  It must have been terrifying for her.  Especially knowing who she was carrying.

For Joseph too.  He could not have been very old either.  And here he is with a woman he has not truly known yet, and he is taking her to Bethlehem as his wife.  Where she will give birth to a child who is not his.  And yet he does it anyway, because God asked him to.  He has to help her himself during the birth because there probably isn't anyone else to help.  I wonder how frightened he was, and I wonder if it was written on his face while he watched his wife struggle to push a new life out of her own body.

But then that baby is born.  And they know who He is.  Did they know how horribly He would be treated at the end of His life?  Did they know that He would be beaten, that He would have a "crown" of thorns jammed onto His head?  Did they know He would have to carry His own cross through the streets and up to Golgotha?  And that He would be nailed to it and later be pierced to save them?  To save all of us

And the shepherds.  What did they think as they lay in the fields, minding their sheep (and their own business for that matter), when all of a sudden they see an Angel of God.  Were they scared at first?  And then when they heard the multitude of those angels singing together, were they awed?  Or were they comforted?  I can only imagine they were both.  I can only think that there truly has been no other sound heard on earth that was as powerful and awesome and sweet as what they heard that night.  Angels singing?  Heaven on earth.  It just must be.

Then they find the baby.  And they are looking at the face of God Himself.  Did they know?  Did they really know?  He couldn't have looked just like any other baby.  Could He?  And though the wisemen actually came much later, did they realize it too?  I suppose they must have.  For they brought the gifts that Jesus would need.  But He wouldn't need them till later.  Do you suppose Mary tucked those things away and much later brought them with her to have ready for use after her Son was removed from the cross?  I don't know.  My heart aches for her as another mother.  But even she couldn't grieve a fraction as much as God Himself must have grieved. 

So as Christmas draws closer for me, I will think more and more about this story.  And try to piece together what it was like.  I will look at the trees, the decorations, the gifts, listen to the music and think about how they mean nothing without the gesture behind it.  The gesture that God made for all of us.  For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.  He gave Jesus to us.

It is the true meaning of Christmas to me.


Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Trying to Get Rid of My Holiday Stress. Oh! And an Update on My Contest Entry.

So before I start my post, I must tell you that I did something very brave today.  I printed out my 50 page entry for the unpublished novel contest.  It is sitting right in front of me, and I am looking at it as I type my post.  I am taking it to mail it out right before I pick Joshua up from school. 

It was both scary and exciting printing out those pages.  Scary, because now that they are printed out, and I have made my check out, I kind of feel like I can't go back.  But also really exciting, because I wrote a whole book!  I still can't believe that.  And it actually was pretty cool to look at my words printed out on paper rather than looking at them on a computer screen.  Fifty pages is a lot of pages!  I was surprised how heavy it felt in my hands.  So anyway, wish me luck on the contest!  And you'll still love me, even if I don't become a finalist, right? 

I started writing a post about how much stress I'm feeling about the upcoming holidays.  There is so much to do.  We've decorated, but that's about it.  And Joshua only has about a week and a half left of preschool till he's out for break.  You know.  If you're picking up what I'm putting down, here. . .

And so I started to write about all that.  But why would I do that?  It will only stress me more.  So instead, I'm going to do what any other normal person would do right now.  I'm totally going to bury my head in the sand and pretend that I've got everything under control.  (Please tell me that is what you are doing too.  Don't tell me that you've had all your Christmas shopping done since the day after Christmas last year.  Because that will just make me irritated with you and add more stress to my brain.  And then my poor brain will explode, and you'll have to come visit me in the hospital and bring me a huge present for doing that to me.  OK?)

In the spirit of burying my head in the sand, I'm going to think about all the things I really enjoy about the Christmas season that I don't have to do.  That I can just be part of and enjoy.  I'm thinking. 

Hang on.  I'm still thinking. . .

There must be something.


I seriously can't think of any part of Christmas that I am not involved with on some level.  I generally buy and wrap most all of the presents.  I usually take Joshua to see Santa.  Jamey does sometimes come with me for that.  But I am always part of that.  I have to make all the meal preparations.  And I usually do most of the decorating.  Isn't there anything?  OK.  Never mind. 

No wonder my last nerve is shot by Christmas Day.  But you know what?  I still love it.  Stress and all.  Because I loooooooooove watching my kid open up all his presents from Santa.  I love watching the wrapping paper fly all around the room.  (Last year, I couldn't find Jamey after we'd cleaned up all the wrapping paper, and I seriously wondered if I'd put him out in our recycling bin.  Lucky for all of us, he'd just gone upstairs for a few minutes.)  You all know that when it comes down to it, I love all the baking, and the cooking, and the fun of Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

I love watching his innocence about the magic of Santa Claus.  I love hearing him sing Happy Birthday to Jesus and eating the birthday cake we make for Him.  I love the lights, the music, the feelings that come with it. 

So I'll take the stress thank you very much.  It's all worth it in the end. 

Happy day to you all! 

Monday, December 6, 2010

A Hard Post - For My Dad

Before I start my post for today, just so you know, I am a little down.  My dad, who was diagnosed with bladder cancer two years ago, found out last week that it has come back.  He went in for surgery this morning.  So for those of you who pray, please do that for him and my mom.  For those of you who don't, please just send them very positive thoughts/vibes.

So forgive me if my post isn't the best today.

When I first sat down, I thought I would still try to do a funny, witty post to get my mind off everything.  But with what is going on this morning, I just can't.  So instead, I will take a trip down memory lane with my daddy.  I don't want you all thinking that I am being all morbid or anything, or thinking the worst.  But when your dad is on your mind,  and with what is happening to him, you want to think of fun memories.

My dad was not the typical dad while we were growing up.  While I always felt like most dads worked, and then came home and did their own thing, leaving the mom to do most if not all of the child-rearing, Daddy really seemed to enjoy spending time with my sister, Ellen, and me.  He would go with us to the Science Museum, the Virginia Museum, the Circus, and any other thing he thought we might enjoy.  He seemed genuinely interested in us, and in what we were doing.

He was a great teacher.  He would spend any amount of time with us whenever we would ask him how something worked or how to do something.

A couple of my favorite memories of things I used to do with my dad are:

Goin' to the Drugstore!

I don't know why, but I remember lots of trips to the drugstore with my dad.  And we'd go in and look at alllll the different toys in the store.  When I was little I used to come home with a doctor kit.  We must've had 500 of those suckers.  When I got a little bit older, I would come home with Matchbox cars.  I know that might sound odd for a girl, but I loved them.  Daddy and I would go through all of them and find ones that were more unique.  Instead of the doors opening, we would find one that the trunk opened.  Or it was a horse trailer with horses inside.  Or it was a fire truck with a ladder that would raise up and there was a little fireman in the bucket.  And we would come home with them and Daddy would open them and he'd always inspect the "suspension".  He'd show me how the wheels would either have a lot of give or just a little.  And I don't know why but that conversation always pleased me to no ends.  I still have my whole collection and they look almost as new as they were the day I got the.  Very different from Jamey's toy cars.  Just sayin'.

Daddy's Music

My dad is a musician.   He played accordion (yes, you heard me) when he was growing up.  He even had his own little local TV/radio show!  And so we grew up listening to polka music.  And I know a bunch of you are groaning.  But we loved it.  I still do.  I'm not saying I go around playing it all the time, but if I hear it, it doesn't make me want to run screaming from the room.  Instead I stop and listen.

When we were growing up, Daddy would wait until we went to bed and then sometimes he'd play his music.  And Ellen or I would eventually yell down the stairs, "Play it louder; we can't hear it!"  And so he would turn it up.  I bet he loved it when we asked him to turn up his polka music. 

Several years ago, Jamey, me, my mom and my dad did several polka numbers for a little mini music festival they had at church.  And we even sang "Roll out the Barrel"!  At CHURCH!  Can you believe that?  And I honestly think we were the hit of the whole thing.  Everybody really seemed to love it.  That was a total blast, and it still makes me laugh to think of that.  My dad ate up the attention.  And I loved that part the best.


My dad used to come up with projects for us to do together.  The best one was when we built little stools in his backyard workshop.  It was so much fun.  Years later, I painted that stool.  And then I was totally stupid and I somehow got rid of it.  I will regret that forever.  My sister still has hers.  I'm glad one of us does.    But we'd do all kinds of things like that together.

Daddy and Me Going on Dates

This went on for as long as I can remember.  Daddy would have to go somewhere, usually the hardware store.  And I would go with him.  I loved to go with him.  I am sure that's why I still like to go there today.  I get all excited if Jamey has to go to Lowe's.  Anyway, Daddy and I would go run whatever errands he would need to go take care of, and then, probably more often than not, he would take me to lunch.  Usually something easy like McDonald's.  And we'd eat (I'd get a cheeseburger meal, and Daddy would get a fish sandwich) and then he'd always let me get a sundae.  I think I like these memories best, because it was very special time to me to be able to spend one on one time with my Dad.  I was a lucky girl.

There are other memories too of course.  But these were the ones that sort of were rattling around in my brain this morning.  I haven't done them, or my Dad and how great he is, justice.  But I know you will forgive me because my head and heart are not all here right now.  Part of it is with my Dad (who for some reason over the past several years, I have started calling Pops.  I don't know why, but I love calling him Pops as much as I love calling him Daddy.) 

I'm not even going back to proof this.  Daddy is done with his surgery.  The doctor said he was doing well.  I have no other news though.  So please keep him in your thoughts.  I will let you all know how he is doing when I get more information.  Lest you think I've sat here crying the whole time I was writing this, I wasn't.  I am worried, but thinking about these special times with my dad was just lovely for me.

But I do apologize if this post is a little down or not very well written today.  But again, I know you all understand.  Blessings to you all.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I Am Not Stalking Andrew Peterson. I Just Really Like His Music.

I am standing in front of you shamefaced.  But only slightly.

If you remember, a week or two ago, I did a whole post on Andrew Peterson and the Behold The Lamb Of God tour.  And how I was just a little bit excited to see them, right?  So, OK.  I did it again.  I totally stalked AP and the entire BTLOG group.

But I couldn't help it.  It wasn't my fault.  So see, I did volunteer to give out t-shirts tonight, right?  But then Mickie, the lady in charge of coordinating all the volunteers made the fatal mistake of sending out an email the other night that said something about maybe needing some additional help unloading all of the group's equipment.  And she included me in that email.  And so what was I supposed to do?  AP certainly could not live without me there, helping, right?

So this morning, I am dropping Joshua off at preschool.  And I see their bus in front of the church.  And I get all giddy ex. . .I mean, JOSHUA gets all giddy excited.  Because there's a bus.  And I tell him that, that bus holds the man who sings Tractor Tractor.  And Joshua was unimpressed.  So I roll down the window and say, "Do you want to wave to the bus?  Wave to Mr. Peterson, Joshua."  And he does.  (Can you believe how completely and easily I used my very own child to try and get noticed by AP and his crew?  How sad is that?)

And so I practically push Joshua out of the car so that I can park and go help.  And I run over to where Mickie is.  And I'm all excited.  I think she immediately regretted her decision to send me that email when she saw how overexcited I was.  Oopsie.  Then I find out that AP didn't even see me and my adorable son waving hysterically out the window of our car in the car line, because although he was on the bus, he was busy.  Sleeping. 

So since Mickie knows she can't turn away volunteer help, no matter how unhelpful they may be, she takes me inside.  And we walk into the room where all the food is for the group and BEN SHIVE is sitting there.  He's an incredible musician.  And I try to act all casual, and then he looks at me and smiles and I swear I could have DIED.  And I can't speak.  I am sure Mickie was incredibly thankful for my momentary shyness.

So I hang out all morning unpacking t-shirts (and almost getting bitten by a black widow spider - YIKES!) and doing other tasks and then I finally see ANDREW PETERSON.  I couldn't believe it!  And I said HI!  And I got to SHAKE HIS HAND!  I seriously went into fan shock.  And later we WALKED BESIDE EACH OTHER.  He was getting ready to do a radio station phone interview and I hear him say something like "Hi is this Bob?"  And so I wittily say, "Oh say Hi to Bob for me."  And he even laughed and I was thrilled.

But could I leave it alone?  No, no.  No, I could not.  Because you know I shamelessly used my child again.  After Joshua got out of preschool, I practically dragged him over to where I knew the BTLOG group was hanging out and I point out AP to Joshua.  And I say, "Do you want to meet him?"  Thank goodness Joshua is only four and has no idea I'm using him.  He is also at the age where it is totally easy to get him to agree to do something.  So he says, "Yes."  We walk over and I say, "Say hi to Mr. Peterson."  And Joshua says, "Hi Mr. Peterson."  And then he clams up.  And I'm sweating.  And AP says, "Hi, What's your name?"  And I almost answer, "Carolyn", but then I realize he's talking to Joshua so I smartly shut my mouth.  And Joshua tells him his name.  And AP says Joshua has a cool coat.  And then I get smart again and think that I don't want AP to take out a restraining order on me before the concert tonight, because I really want to go.  So I tell Joshua to tell all the nice men "Merry Christmas" and he does and everyone says, "Merry Christmas" back to me, I mean to Joshua.  And we leave.

So I feel a little bad about using Joshua like that.  Don't. Judge. Me.  This group only comes around every other year.  I can be a bit of a groupie when they are around and shouldn't have to feel but so bad, right?  Sigh.  I wonder if he realizes I am using my son?  Probably.  I hope he doesn't hate me for it.  Surely he remembers what it is like to be starstruck, right?  No?  Crap.  I guess I can let go of the fantasy that as of today, I have been added to his Christmas card list.

Here's hoping I get in the door tonight. . .

Update:  12/06/10 - here is a picture of me and my stalkee.  Jason Gray is on the left.  Poor Andrew Peterson is on the right.  He looks totally uncomfortable.  I don't blame him. . .

Thursday, December 2, 2010


Look out people, Carolyn is a very grumpy girl today. . .

One of my favorite bloggers, The Creative Junkie, posted a very funny blog yesterday.  It was about how she is so indecisive when it comes to making decisions on buying clothes and things for herself.  I laughed till I snorted coffee out of my nose.  And although it hurt like hell, I was also a little bit thankful, because it was minty and helped clear my sinuses out.  But I digress. . .

Anyway, one of the things she bought during that whole Black Friday thing (which I avoid at all costs, but now I feel guilty because I didn't do my part to contribute to getting our economy back on track) was a designer bag.  Like an adult bag.  And I'm so jealous I could spit.

I have always wanted a designer handbag.  A GROWNUP purse.  I have never once owned one.  All my bags come from (oh gosh this is so embarrassing), Target.  Or Kohls.  Or some other pathetic store that wouldn't know a designer handbag if it came up and poked it in the eye.  Oh wait.  Stores don't have eyes.  Well the buyer for those stores wouldn't know if a designer bag came up and poked him in the eye.  And notice I am saying that the buyer for Target is a guy.  It must be.  Why, you ask?  Because if the buyer were a girl THEN TARGET WOULD SELL DESIGNER HANDBAGS.  Can you tell I'm bitter?

It's sad when I go purse shopping.  I only go once every ten years or something.  And I only go when my previous purse either breaks, or when I finally notice that it is filthy and looks absolutely horrid.  So I trudge over to Target.  Don't even get me near the nice malls, because all I'll do is hold my broken or dirty purse in both hands and drool all over the beautiful Coach, Guess, and Kate Spade bags.  Then security will ask me to leave.  So like I say, I hike my ass over to Target and I start looking at all the bags.  And because I only ever buy one purse at a time, I immediately cancel out any of the at least semi-cute colorful bags.  Because I need either a black or a brown bag.  So that it goes with everything.  And so that it hides dirt well. 

I look through and try to find one that is genuine leather.  I am usually unsuccessful in this because, don't forget, I'm in Target.  And if I do luck out and find a leather bag, it's more than the twelve dollars I am willing to shell out for it.  It'll be like fifteen dollars.  Whoa.  Slow down there, Nellie.  Don't want to break the bank or anything.

I finally find a bag (it's usually black), and guess what?  It looks amazingly similar to the broken or dirty black bag in my hands.  Sigh.  Go to the register feeling depressed.  Take black bag home.  Switch contents over.  Repeat in ten years.

So, I admit it.  I totally want a really super nice designer handbag.  And not the smallest one in the store because that's all I can't afford.  (Yes, I said can't afford.  Because even the micro-purse would probably go on the credit card.  And that's just a big no-no in this house.)  I want a nice decent sized bag.  Something like this:  My Dream Handbag.  Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiigh.

Did you see how much it was?  Holy cow!  OK, maybe I'll take the black one.  It's almost $200 less.  And it would go with everything.  But still.  I totally want one.  And honestly.  It wouldn't have to be a Coach bag.  I'd be happy with almost any grown up, real purse.  With faux nothing on it.  As long as it looked like it was in style and could have been bought somewhere other than Target or Kohls.  Just sayin'.

So to my Creative Junkie friend, I hope you enjoy your lovely bag.  Think of me from time to time when you go to open it.  I'm off now to go into my living room and have a full-on temper tantrum.  Then I have to clean the house.  Good times.

Happy day folks!