It first began when I dared my co-worker during the conference to run through the hotel lobby like she was the next contestant on the Price is Right. She laughed but refused. Chicken! I even offered her $20 to do it.
I love board games. I am a champion at Taboo. My husband hates this game and he knows I am very competitive at it. I also like Scattergories, Fact or Crap, and a variety of other useless things where you answer questions, give descriptions or make word associations.
But my random knowledge doesn't just stop at games.
Example - While channel surfing on the TV in our beach condo, I came across the movie "That Thing You Do!" Yes, not an Academy Award type of movie yet it still draws me in for some reason. I don't even mind that the same song is played over and over and over again about fifty times. I am weird like that though.
Anyhoo, as I'm watching this movie, my husband Kirk and my mother-in-law Debbie become immersed in a conversation with me, which didn't seem odd to me at the time. However, looking back now, maybe I do have some kind of talent for useless trivia.
The scene: We're watching the part of the movie where Guy Patterson is playing the drums and his pretty girlfriend is in the audience bored and not paying attention to him.
Kirk: "Who's that woman?"
Me: "Charlize Theron."
Kirk: "This must be one of her first films."
Me: "Yes, I believe it was."
Further on in the movie with head shots of The Wonders bass guitar player....
Kirk: "Who's that guy?"
Me: "Ethan Embry."
Kirk: "What movie did he play in?"
Me: "Well, you'd remember him in that teenager movie Can't Hardly Wait. He was the one pining over Jennifer Love Hewitt's character, Amanda."
Kirk: "How do you know that? How do you remember these things?"
Me: "I don't know. I just remember it. I don't remember what conversations took place last week but I remember movie lines, actors' names, etc."
Still later on in the movie with scenes of the lead singer's girlfriend, Faye.....
Debbie: "Who's that actress?
Me: "Liv Tyler."
Kirk: "Who's that?"
Me: "You know, Aerosmith's daughter. She played in that Armageddon movie as Bruce Willis' daughter.
A few seconds later....
Kirk or his mom, I can't remember which one said it,: "You should be on a game show about movies."
Debbie: "Yeah, if we play that 'Scene It' game again, I want you on my team."
Me thinking - Umm, okay. Sounds like a plan.
I also revealed to them any other minor role character in the film that I recognized along with what I had seen that person play in recently, like the character Phil who guest starred in our new favorite TV series Burn Notice as Michael Westen's mom's boyfriend. And Giovanni Ribisi's small role in this movie is nothing compared to all the other great parts he has done since then.
I'm not proud of my useless trivia, I'm really not. I'd much rather remember the first six months of my daughter Vivian's life instead of it being one big blur of cries, diapers and milk spills.
For some reason, I am good at remembering things related to many movies or songs. Not all things but a lot of them. Is there a game show for someone like me? It would have to be related to films or music, not really intelligent stuff like science, math and history.
In college, I made it through with good grades by remembering the note card that I handwrote and memorized. But it was more than just the notecard. In my head, I could visualize the order in which that notecard was, in relation to the ones before it and after it. As if my brain were flipping through the stack to find the answer during the test. It's quite strange. But it's true.
I'm happy to report that my husband will often play along with me and quote movie lines randomly. And one line will lead to another line and so forth.
Just last night, we had a conversation about giving things 100%. Then he suddenly says, "You go out there and give it 110%," a line from the movie Bedazzled with Brendan Fraser. Hahaha! We had a good laugh over that, imagining Fraser once again as the airhead basketball character he portrayed after making a wish to the devil that he wanted to be "big"! We love that movie - it's incredibly silly and fun. Then that led me immediately to thinking about the movie Old School where Will Ferrell's wife is taking a rather risque' course on sexual favors with a group of girlfriends. After a rather graphic display, the instructor played by Andy Dick in half-drag says, "Nice work Marissa, way to give it 110%." I could elaborate more but if you've seen the movie, I don't think I need to say anything further.
I can't really explain why random things pop into my head. My mind can always relate something back to a movie, a song or something I've seen, read or heard. It's a curse really, not a talent. Don't you think? If you can help me find a way to channel this useless skill of mine into something worthwhile, please let me know.
Wow, I go away for my work conference and come home to receive two awards and a surprise package in the mail. To what do I owe these honors? You people are spoiling me rotten. Rotten tomatoes. And I prefer fried and green.
Anyway, two wonderful, beautiful and intelligent women (who have never met me in real life) gave me my very first blog awards and on the same day too! So I want to thank them and I must mention them here and return my love for them:
Clueless Mom (Laurie) from Guessing All The Way says I always make her laugh and she loves my writing style. She bestowed me with a lovely blog award. Aww, shucks ma'am! You make me blush. You had me at hello, you don't look 30. :-)
Let's Have A Cocktail (JennyMac) calls me "fun meets humor meets the great girl next door." She bestowed me with the honest scrap award (I think). Oh Jenny, how I would love to be the girl next door to you. I'd bring over the cheese to go with that whine, I mean wine of yours. ;-) I want to taste those famous sangrias too!
Thank you lovely ladies! You truly made my day after an exhausting, wacky business trip to the beach.
But perhaps the best surprise came from Kimberly-Clark. Miss Clark sent me a package in the mail, a box of treats that I know every woman would be truly jealous over. Just see for yourself:
That's right - a box of maxi pads and panty liners (and even a coupon) just for me! How ever did she know I needed them? Did my recent bitchy-ness on the four hour drive home send signals to Miss Kimberly-Clark and she could only assume that Aunt Flo would be paying me a visit here soon?
I didn't realize that a period fairy existed? Or that she made house calls? How lovely! I'm truly honored to receive the ultra thin, the overnight and the liner version of your products.
Am I supposed to pass these along to others too? Send a box of tampons to your friends to show them you care!
As long as they are unopened and not used, right? The half-used ones go to the ex-boyfriend who dumped you or that annoying neighbor whose dog constantly pees and poops in your flower bed.
Cheers to you fine women and thank you for my honors!
(P.s. - I'm supposed to pass along these awards to other people, like ten or fifteen. But I hate being selective when there are so many other wonderful folks who need and deserve an award. If you have read this entire blog entry, then you deserve this honor. If you find me even a wee-bit funny or interesting, then you deserve this honor. I have a trophy with your name on it for putting up with me. Feel free to post your mailing address and I'll send you the trophy, plus your very own kit of feminine hygiene products too. Hey, what are friends for?!)
I'm home again, back from my conference. No vacation and no relaxation. Just work, work, work with a few cocktails mixed in. I didn't even put on my bathing suit or set foot near a pool. I did go on the sand but my shoes were on and I was only there for an employer event. See, I told you not to envy me.
Here are a few highlights from the past several days, what I like to call the good, the bad and the awkward. Shame on me, for using a knockoff version from a Clint Eastwood movie title. Ya'll know I don't like him. But it seemed appropriate to title this blog entry that in order to tell my tales.
First the good. So unlike me to start on a positive note but I feel like sharing the fluffy stuff first. So picture the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man and get cozy for just a minute or so.
People still inspire other people. We had two very good speakers at my work event. I was able to listen to one talk. Although he looked a little funny and was from Michigan, Tim Cusack (no relation to my favorite actor John Cusack) actually brought tears to my eyes as he was delivering his message. He shared advice that his five-year old daughter gave him almost a decade ago. The sweet words he spoke struck a chord in me. And with all the running around and crazy things I had to do for five days, I needed those uplifting words.
Adults can still have fun, be kids again and play in the sand. We organized a sand castle building contest for the attendees of the conference. At first I thought it was L.A.M.E. and so ready for the dang event to be finished. But it actually turned out kind of fun. I love watching competition and it was comical to see adults acting like children again - playing in the sand, running back and forth to the beach water and creating their masterpiece. I was even asked to be a judge. Let's just call me the Simon Cowell of the group though because I scored them low. However, the first and second place winners were deserving of their prizes. One team made a lighthouse replica and the other sculpted a sailboat on the beach. Nice job! I had fun watching and not getting my hands covered in sand. (My shoes on the other hand are a different story!)
Another good thing worth mentioning - some people are appreciative of the work you do. I received several compliments a day from attendees who said thank you for putting together a great program. My bosses told me I did a great job organizing the event. That pat on the back is certaintly better than a bitch-slap across the face, as I've gotten in other jobs I have done in the past.
The food - Oh my gosh, I can't believe I didn't mention this first! The food I ate was so fattening and delectable! I had fried shrimp, fried fish, hush puppies, spicy crawfish and shrimp penne pasta, sirloin steak, yummy eggs and grits and a whole bunch of other stuff. And the cocktails! I had three Hurricanes one night and a giant Margarita two nights later. And some red wine too. Of course that leads me into the bad stuff about the trip.
Too many cocktails lead to a massive headache! Not a good thing when you have to wake up at 5:00 a.m. and work for eleven hours. Thank goodness the aspirin kicked in though.
Lots of sleepless nights. I just don't sleep well when I'm not in my own bed. On my last night there, a gigantic thunderstorm and lightning affair began around 1:30 a.m. and lasted over an hour. Fun times! I felt like the Paparazzi wouldn't stop taking my photo from all the flashes of light against our beach condo window.
Worst of all - blisters! After the first day, I developed huge blisters on both of my feet. I wore flats too but I guess when you're on your feet for so many hours, nothing provides comfort for the toes, ankles and arches. I started to limp by the second day. I then took them off and walked around the lobby in my stockings. Then later on I wore someone else's shoes (more on that later though - that falls into the awkward category!)
The humidity! I'm from South Louisiana but I've been away from that humidity and high moisture for almost four years. Geez! Does anyone have a good hair day on the beach? I mean seriously, my hair became so frizzy that even my eyebrows began to curl up! I had to pull out a tiny brush and tame those wild hairs! Cur-azy! Why even bother with hairspray? Not even Aqua Net can save you along the shorelines of Alabama!
Disgusting and sad, some adults think the refreshments at a conference are like a free-for-all, help yourself buffet line. That's right, I had the pleasure of witnessing a grown man and grown woman (over the age of 50, mind you) stuff bags of chips and cans of soft drinks into their bags, purses or portfolios. One gentleman placed eight bags of popcorn into his tote bag! EIGHT! Was there a shortage of Orville Redenbacher at the local grocery?? And the lady stuffing peanuts into her bra and Diet Coke into her pockets. I didn't get a real close look at her. Could it have been Sally Struthers bringing it to her "Feed the Children" cause? I hope so. I find it shameful that adults act like that and then even have the audacity to look our staff members straight in the eye without flinching when they "steal" the items.
And now we have come to the awkward events that have occurred on the trip.
You learn from your mistakes. Our organization advertised a "Family Picnic" event in the conference brochure. So naturally, some folks brought their family members to the big eating affair. Needless to say, they were not happy when our staff members had to tell them to purchase an additional adult or kid's ticket because the picnic only included the one attendee. I'll admit that it was poor planning and not enough foresight on our part. If it were up to me, I would've let everyone come through the buffet line. But I couldn't make that decision. So when the big boss turned away Lady W with her x, y and z kids, they went away angry and hungry. Not a good situation to be in.
Let's just call her Key Lime Pie Lady. Miss Key Lime Pie evidentally ate too much of this delicious dessert at one of our meal functions. She proceeded to tell everyone around her how it didn't agree with her stomach. Then later on, she told me and my co-worker as she ran/limped past us, holding her tummy on her way to the restroom. "Oh child, that key lime pie did not agree with me!" Thanks for sharing that with us lady. I'm so happy to have that image of you pooping out green slush as I continue seeing you for another four days and you try to shake my hand. Thank you very much!
And finally, perhaps the most unusual and funny thing that happened during the trip. Remember how I mentioned that my feet were hurting from all those nasty blisters? I was ready to amputate myself - that is how badly they hurt! Luckily as I was telling the boss lady about my problem, we exchanged the following conversation:
Boss lady: "Hey, do you want to borrow my thongs?"
Me: "Borrow your what?"
Boss lady: "My thongs. I have an extra pair you can borrow."
Me thinking - why the HELL would I want to borrow YOUR thongs?
Me thinking - I don't even own my own pair of thongs. I'm more of a Granny panties kind of gal or I just go commando.
Me giving boss lady a strange look.
Me finally after two minutes: "Um, no, that's okay....."
Boss lady finally gets a clue as to what I'm thinking.
Boss lady says: "Oh, I'm talking about my flip flops. You know, my sandals. I have an extra pair for your feet, if you want to wear them."
Me thinking - umm, no I didn't know. Why else would I be looking at you in this manner?
Me gaining composure.
Me: "Oh, okay, well sure then."
Boss lady: "We called flip flops 'thongs' when I was growing up."
Me thinking - I never want to have this thought and image come into my head again. Just give me your damn shoes and walk away with the shred of dignity I have left.
And there you have it, those are the highlights of my trip. Pretty uneventful. Now my daughter is sick with an upper respiratory cold. The cat puked all over the carpet, you know - to welcome us home! And I have piles of laundry to do. So basically, it's back to reality for me.
I've missed writing on here and reading other stories from my friends. I've fallen out of my writing groove. Hopefully I can find it again. Anyway, I'm off to put on my "thongs," dehumidify my hair and stuff some Cheetos into my bra just for fun.
Do any of you still see those "Out To Lunch" signs? Perhaps posted on obscure store windows and almost non-existent mom and pop shops? I remember feeling so annoyed to come across one of those signs in my youth, since they give no indication of the return time. Now that I'm almost 31, I wish I could carry around one of those signs with me and hang it on my forehead.
Anyway, I'll be "out to lunch" for a week. I'm heading to the beach for my work conference. Don't be too jealous of me though. I'm working a four-day event as the organizer/planner.
So while others are greasing themselves with sunblock and receiving sand wedgies, I'll be receiving complaints about the meeting room temperature being too cold or too hot. Some dude won't like the food I carefully ordered and agonized over. That balding pervert will call me "honey," "sweetie" and a dozen other pet names. I won't be able to find any hotel staff members when I need them. The audio system will be shaky and hard to hear. And I won't eat and will hardly sleep because I'll be wondering if I missed an item on my checklist that I spent four hours creating so my boss can take most of the credit.
But maybe I'll have something funny to share with you when I return home. Perhaps I'll witness an annoying attendee receive a painful sunburn. Or maybe that snobby lady who was rude to me the day before will be bitten by a crab or jellyfish. Better yet, maybe I'll find some valuable buried in the sand that Mrs. Daddy Warbucks won't even miss since she has four other rings on her fingers. Then I can tell everyone to shove that agenda where the sun doesn't shine and spend the rest of my time sipping fruity drinks. (I can dream, can't I?)
In my absence, if you're foaming at the mouth for some great things to read, please check out a few of my new obsessions in the blog world. These gals are way more interesting than I am.
I don't really know these women but they seem smart, articulate and funny. I'll miss reading them for the next several days. So you read them and tell me what I'm missing out on:
I'm discoverning many great writers out here in bloggy land. The above list of women write (or illustrate) almost daily. There are other great storytellers out there too but these particular authors have been inspiring me lately. And some of them nearly make me pee in my undies from laughing so hard at their stories. Check them out along with everyone I have listed on my right sidebar.
Have a wonderful week! And if you happen to hear a news story come out of the Alabama/Florida beach shorelines about some crazy woman dressed incognito that caused panic by yelling "SHARK!" to a group of people on the beach...... well, let's keep that little secret just between us, mmm-kay!
I've been challenging myself lately to notice what is happening around me -- the people, the surroundings and conversations. I'm trying to take better inventory of my thoughts and my life. After all, I don't want to live in a bubble. I want to be more grateful of the little details.
Having gratitude comes in handy, especially when you're having a rough day (or week). Today, after working a ten-hour day, instead of focusing on everything that went wrong (my usual glass half-empty attitude), I said to myself, "Write down two unexpected things that made today a good day. Just two tiny little occurrences that made Mandy happy."
Of course I'm grateful for my family and my health -- to be breathing and living through another day. Those are obvious and don't need to be stated. Two other things quickly came to my mind. And I wrote them down here.
I share with you my very brief happy list along with a quick thank you to Simone over at Chocolate Covered Daydreams who was the partial inspiration of this post. She enjoys making lists like I do and her weekly "Things I've Learned" posts are inspiring me to take notice of my life in a new way. Thanks!
Today's Little Happy Observations:
1. I witnessed first-hand that chilvary and manners are not dead among young people.
2. I heard three great, random songs on the radio today that were just the lift I needed.
That's the list. Simple enough, right? Should I explain further? I guess I can elaborate more.
1. Knights in shining armor still exist today. They just inhibit different forms. Surpringly, it was two teenagers who were my prince charmings. Two boys, around 17 - 18 perhaps, were kind enough to open up the door for me as I was leaving Taco Bell. (Yes, you heard me right. Chalupas were calling my name. They helped ease my pain.) Anyway, both guys had their hands full with two drinks each and to-go bags. Yet they saw me coming and used manners that are often forgotten these days. I thanked them both and told them to have a nice day.
Silly as it may sound, it made me smile. It restored my confidence in today's youth. Not that I ever really lost it, but you typically only hear about the bad things kids do. There are many great people under the age of 21 out there and we should acknowledge them. Adults frequently underestimate the great contributions that young people offer to society.
2. When I take the time to listen to music, I'm a better, more joyful person. I absoultely love it when I catch a random song on the radio and the song lyrics uplift me or compliment my mood. That happened three times today.
After a stressful morning, I jumped into my car during my lunch break and heard Dobie Gray. Oh sweet Dobie Gray sang some soul to me.
"Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul I wanna get lost in your rock n roll And drift away...."
It was as if he knew that I needed to drift away into his tune and forget about the PowerPoint I was revising (for the fourth time). And just when I thought I was in heaven with Dobie, Styx came on. Oh, how I love Styx!
"Come sail away, come sail away Come sail away with me"
It really doesn't matter what Styx song I hear. Any Styx tune will transform me into that girl who acts like a complete fool inside her car, using hand gestures and mouthing the words to the song. This great band spoke to me. They knew that I needed a mental getaway and invited me to sail off with them. I happily accepted (yet still kept my eyes on the road).
Then on my way home after those agonizing ten hours, I heard Wilson Phillips. Some of you may find them extra grilled and cheezy. But I felt empowered after belting out their words. They helped me end my evening right.
"Don't you know things can change Things'll go your way If you hold on for one more day, If you hold on Can you hold on Hold on baby Won't you tell me now Hold on for one more day 'Cause It's gonna go your way"
Sing it ladies! You are so right. I'm going to hold on for one more day because things may not be ideal right now, but eventually they will go my way. Oh yes indeed. They will. Thanks for that reminder.
Music is so uplifting and altering over my mood. It can change my outlook for the day. I'm so glad I heard the songs I did and took their messages for what they meant to me. Songs are my sermons. Right now they are the only church I feel truly comfortable in.
There you have it. My two things. They're insignificant yet vital to me. I honestly do feel better now. Maybe I'll do this more often. I encourage you to make a list, even if only in your head, of what you are thankful for from time to time. Little observations might lead to big moments of joy.
I mean no disrespect to this film icon. I have never met the guy. He may be a lovely person in real life. But I just don't dig his movies or his way of acting. Never have. Never will.
My husband calls me un-American for feeling this way. He thinks Mr. Eastwood is the man. Most guys do. He's cool, a badass and always wins the girl, the gun and the academy award in the end.
Still, he does nothing for me. When he squints his eyes or whispers instead of enunciating, I'm like.... Why is he doing that? Is he having a semi-stroke? I just don't see the appeal.
Of course, I don't much like John Wayne either. Shall I list my address at the end of this post where you can send me hate mail? I know, I know. But he too is so blah, blah, blah to me. However, I do like the movies where he acts alongside Maureen O'Hara. She's one red firecracker and I adore her. Mr. Wayne.... not so much!
Mr. Eastwood's age is not the problem either. I love seasoned actors like Al Pacino, Dustin Hoffman, Robert De Niro and Gene Hackman. I have seen many of their films. I have no complaints against their body language and flare with words.
But Clint, oh Clint. Maybe you should have just stayed in politics - you shook things up as Mayor of Carmel. Or perhaps you could have created a petting zoo for children with Clyde, the orangutan as the co-owner.
I wish you the best in life, I really do. I'd love for you to retire though so folks like Johnny Depp, Philip Seymour Hoffman and other gifted actors could gain some much-deserved spotlight. And then I wouldn't owe my husband one of your "manly" movies in exchange for a "chick" flick. Could you please consider an early departure from the studios, for me? Go ahead, make my day.
Apparently, I don't know how to dress myself. That's pretty sad considering my age.
My friends are helping me out though. They want me to be more hip and fashionable. This past week, two of my pals sent me special gifts to help me accessorize. Now I'm just waiting for Stacy and Clinton to arrive on my doorstep so I can be the next guest on the What Not To Wear show.
How do you have a sense of style when you wear semi-professional clothes to work five days a week? Then while you're home, you grab those t-shirts and boxers (a.k.a. the frumpy stuff)?
I'll admit it. I even own granny panties. What?? They're so dang comfy!
I don't enjoy shopping for clothes. I walk into places with no earthly idea of what I want. I just go to the clearance racks and search for something that I think would not make me look ridiculous. Or I grab whatever is closest so I can get in and out of the stores quickly. Is there a class that I can take in Fashion 101?
Even my husband has been giving me tips on what to wear lately. Although his suggestions are more in the form of a Victoria's Secret catalog.
Looking back at my high school photos, I see that I didn't have a sense of style back then either. I often wore overall shorts and Bugs bunny socks that went up to my knees. Yes, I wore that to school like I was making a statement! (A statement that must've said, "Pity me. I cannot dress myself properly.")
Probably the most stylish I have been in my life was while I was pregnant. I wore polka-dot maternity dresses and hip jeans with designs on them. I didn't mind shopping for pregnancy clothes. I found it an excuse to be daring, if only for those nine months.
Oh well. At least my friends have great style and they're sharing their flare with me. Here I am goofing off in their gifts to me - a funky hat (Move over J-Lo!), a floral hair clip and a cool necklace.
(Laughing at how serious I'm trying to be here....I'm so goofy....)
Closeups of my friends' fashion sense - the cool items they sent to me:
Thanks ladies~! You've given me some great items and allowed me to have some fun, not to mention remind myself why I'm no runway model!
If you like the hat, please check out my friend Amanda's boutique. She makes these cool designs for moms and their tots. Amanda is quite a talented lady and she customizes everything, so you will have a one-of-a-kind item.
Time for me to show off my goods at the event of the season -- a trip to the grocery store! I will be looking so fine as I shop for milk, bread and diapers.
Am I thinking of that Patrick Swayze song? I really like that tune -- it's very poetic and well written but no, I'm not talking about those lyrics.
While I was watching Vivian interact in nature Friday evening, a thought entered my mind: She's like the wind.
My daughter can often be a refreshing breeze that blows against your neck, cooling you off on a hot summer day. And how the wind can blow your hair in the wrong direction but make you laugh as you brush it back into place? Well, she's like that too. She sends me off-balance and I find myself trying to gain composure again.
Or she can be fierce like a hurricane or storm (and believe me, I know all about that, having gone through several of them!!) She blows me away sometimes. Her fury or her giggles can often knock the wind out of me.
She is a force of nature to be reckoned with! So strong or so gentle. Playful or frightful. Whatever she feels like being.
Last night while we were outside playing together, I had one of those "I love being a mom" moments. One of those minutes where you catch yourself looking at your child and a tear comes to your eye because you realize, "I really do love you. I will do anything for you."
I know, it's quite sickening. I give you permission to skip the rest or vomit a little in your mouth if you so choose. But those who know me well, you know that I don't feel this way very often. I struggle a lot with being a mom. In fact, I don't think I even liked Vivian until she was around 11 months old.
So these precious moments are not daily or even weekly for me. I'm sure by the end of today (or in five minutes), I'll want to pull my hair out over her. But for now, I want to write about how honored I felt being her mom last night.
After a long, stressful week, she and I ended our night by running around outside in our backyard. We played basketball, threw a tennis ball down the driveway, talked to birds resting on the telephone wires and blew bubbles. Vivian twirled around and I chased the dog.
Then we found a spot in the grass, sat down and just stared at the sky. The sun was beginning to set. Our street was completely quiet. Usually there is some activity - cars passing by or kids running and playing. But nothing. Totally quiet.
Vivian sat on my lap, something that doesn't happen too often these days, not for more than three seconds. But she sat on my lap for ten minutes. I ran my fingers through her hair and hugged her.
I thought to myself, "I really do love this kid. I can't believe I created this awesome being sitting next to me. She really is touching a new depth in me that I didn't know existed." And I shed a tiny tear. (You can puke now). I really did. It came like a revelation to me. I really am happy to be a mom, to be her mom.
I often wonder if I'm too selfish to have a child or if I am a good mom. I'm not really a romantic, sentimental person. But I do have my moments from time to time. Last night was one of them, I guess. When we sat quietly on the lawn, I realized that I was right where I was meant to be.
She turned to look back at me and a breeze blew against our faces. Once again, the wind was blowing me away, chiseling away at my once hardened heart.
And as the precious moment continued and I felt so content, Vivian bent over to put a piece of grass in her mouth. Then as I said, "no honey, don't eat that. Save that for the animals," she started groaning and fussing at me. She stood up from my lap and gave me one of her trademark dirty looks. Our moment had ended.
Oh well, such is life! Maybe when I sit in the grass and feel that cool breeze against my neck again, I'll be reminded of what we shared. And how she has forever changed me for the better.
What an insane week! I haven't slept much and I've been putting in longer hours at the "real" job. I'm in the process of switching Vivian to a new day care center, among other things. Generally speaking, I feel as if a bus has run over my body.
Thankfully though, my daughter (even though she can be a royal pain in the butt) makes me smile and reminds me that I must enjoy life more. Despite what is happening around you, just dig in!
So I'm posting this here to remind myself (and anyone else who may need a lift) to take matters into your own hands when the time comes.
Here she is, the portait of summertime, enjoying her watermelon.
First she started off using a fork.
But then that fork took too long, so she switched to using her hands.
Finally, even hands weren't quick enough. So she picked up the bowl and decided to just dig right in. (Yes, the DIVA! The girl who doesn't like to get dirty!!!)
(I love it when you can spontaneously catch these rare, funny moments on film!)
Thanks Viv! I love you and I get your message loud and clear!
So my daughter Vivian, who is three months shy of being two years old, has been exploring her land down under a lot recently - you know, the vagina.
No big deal. I mean all kids are curious, right?
When she starts poking at it and squeezing it, I say in my Donna Reed voice - "Well sweetie, I see you found your vagina there." (I've tried to say it in a Fargo accent, but I just can't master that dialect.) What else should I say? I mean, it's not like I can reason with her. I can't talk with her yet about the birds and the bees and the joys of being a woman (cramping, bloating and bleeding).
For now, I just brush it off, laugh or pretend I'm giving a female anatomy lesson. I'm not sure what else I can do.
The only time I get annoyed over her wandering fingers is when her exploration occurs while I'm changing her poopy diaper. She apparently finds it funny to get poop on her hands, on her socks, in my hair or just on me in general. She suddenly becomes Lewis and Clark while I'm smearing Boudreaux's Butt Paste on her bunghole.
And that diaper cream - the smell of it - seems to stay on my hands for hours and hours, no matter how much I try to wash it away. I can't get rid of the stuff.
So to my darling Vivian Rose, I don't mind if you want to check out your goods. We all come from the land down under, after all. It's natural for you to want to investigate the surroundings. Heck, explore the desert and the amazon river too while you're at it.
But next time, please do it on your daddy's watch. It's his turn to raise an eyebrow, roll his eyes and smell butt paste on his fingers all day long.
I thought I'd participate in the blog hop one more time before I become consumed with my "real" job and travel out of town. After all, I discovered some great new sites on last week's hop extravaganza.
This week's challenge - tell three things about yourself that nobody (or almost no one) knows. Awhile back I wrote a post, 25 random things about me, so I will just steal and elaborate more from that list. Here are three interesting things about me:
1. I performed syncronized swimming for four years as a young girl - in Houma, Louisiana. My swim team was named the "Houma Dolphinettes." We even had a dolphin mascott, matching jackets, earrings and more. We were the Jem and the Holograms of the pool world. I could hold my breath for over a minute underwater and stay afloat by doing eggbeater motions with my legs. We swam to music of TV show theme songs like the Twilight Zone and the A-Team. The experience was a lot of fun and we traveled to compete against teams in Texas and D.C.
2. I lived in the suburbs of New Orleans from 2001 until the end of 2005 and didn't leave for Hurricane Katrina. My husband and I lived at his employer's building in Slidell, Louisiana for five days. For four days, we were unable to speak to our families to know if they were safe and vice versa. We witnessed a lot of devastation and saw people come into our military facility who had been rescued from their home roofs, washed away, etc. Those experiences changed my life but I don't talk about it much since many, many people had it WAY WORSE than what we had. Oh, I could tell you some stories, but a made-for-TV Lifetime movie would probably portray it better, LOL!
3. I really enjoy writing poetry and I even contacted Hallmark years ago for an application to be a greeting card writer. Often I'll write serious, meaningful things. But mostly I write the random, quirky stuff that comes suddenly to my head. Most of my poems are silly and written in less than fifteen minutes, like this one I wrote yesterday:
Pimple At Thirty?
Monday I gained a pimple A big one on the side of my mouth Instead of making usual eye contact The stares slowly drifted south.
Why must I have blemishes? I thought I moved past this stage. I don't wish to relive middle school. At my thirty years of age.
My body is quite a strange place Veins on legs, gray hairs on head Boobs are sagging, arms are flapping Wrinkles are appearing, enough said!
But I will fight back against this enemy Who seems quite comfy on my unwaxed lip I'm about to pop him with mighty force. He better pack his bags for the trip!
While I was peeling a peach for Vivian on Saturday, I sliced my pinky finger.
You'd think I would have learned not to use my fancy gadgets but Nooo! (Maybe my friend Jessica Davis was sending me my payback for writing about her run-in with my apple slicer). Bottom line though is that I was too lazy to peel the fruit by hand and I pulled out my cute little peeler thingamabob. Then oops!
There goes my skin. There goes the blood spilling out. There goes my body dropping to the floor about to faint. (just kidding)
Vivian had no compassion for me during this ordeal. She just wanted her peach and proceeded to tell me so by grunting and stomping her feet. So being the supermom (cough) that I am, I just wrapped a tissue around it and continued to slice the peach for her. A little blood in the fruit never hurt anyone, right?
When Kirk came inside from cutting our lawn, he doctored me up. That rubbing alcohol he dabbed on me with a Q-tip stung like a mother-*****, let me tell you. For the past two days, I have had the pleasure of sporting the oh-so-stylish band-aid on my finger to prove that I'm a loser.
But hey, at least I didn't have my house toilet-papered like our next-door neighbor did. Laughing.... Yes, check out this beauty that we woke up to find.
I know I shouldn't laugh but.... It's not something you see every day - streams of T.P. hanging from the trees, mailbox, swingset and the entire exterior of a person's home.
These culprits took it a step further than just toilet paper too. They brought along some snacks.
Perhaps the intoxicated teens had the munchies in route to the scene of the crime because I found over a dozen Oreo cookies smeared on the neighbor's driveway.
It's a shame to waste such a delectable treat. They looked double-stuffed too.
The T.P. bandits also made a little trail of plastic forks in the grass. Savages I tell you!
I should feel sorry for our neighbors but it really made me laugh. And I needed that laugh.
Moral of the story - (Jerry Springer ending moment): Whether you're peeling a peach, slicing your finger, or rolling someone's house with T.P., do it with full force and spirit! Just roll with it.
I seriously hope I catch those teenagers in the act next time. I would love to jump in the car with them, complete with my own kit of brownie mix, eggs, ketchup and tampons. Let the fun begin!
************************************************* I should probably add that we did try to contact our neighbors to tell them what happened since they were out of town. So I wasn't just exploiting them for a laugh, I did the neighborly thing. I can be a grown up sometimes.
Last night, Kirk and I watched the second half of the movie "Field of Dreams." We happened to be channel surfing and came across it on one of those commercial-filled stations (TNT, TBS, etc.) I love this movie. I cry nearly every time I see it.
Actually I prefer James Earl Jones. I could sit and listen to his voice all day long. The speech he gives toward the end to Kevin Costner's character gives me goosebumps,
"Ray, people will come Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. Of course, we won't mind if you look around, you'll say. It's only $20 per person. They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds of us of all that once was good and it could be again. Oh... people will come Ray. People will most definitely come. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America is ruled by it like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game, is a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good, and that could be again. Oh, people will come, Ray. People will most definitely come. " (said by character Terence Mann, played by James Earl Jones)
It may sound silly, but I find words like these so uplifting. I'll be sitting on the edge of my seat just hanging onto every syllable. Now, I'm not saying that baseball could make me feel this way. I go to games more for the nachos, peanuts, hotdogs and beer. But I love the idea of people coming together for a glimpse of their dreams. I want to believe that rookies like Archie Graham in the film really get that last wish that they wondered about their entire life.
Who writes these kinds of wonderful lines? I'd love to meet the person who wrote such great things. Just like I'd love to meet the writers of films like "Mr. Holland's Opus" and "Scent of A Woman," - two other movies that always make me bawl like a newborn baby, but in a good way.
Often a movie is like a sermon for me. I don't attend church at this point in my life. But I long to feel uplifted and inspired. Sometimes films can temporarily fill that void within me. This movie is taking me to a deeper place in my mind today.
I've been wondering all morning long.... if I could choose my "team" of people to inhibit a field, who would I choose? .... If I could bring back people in my past, who would I want to spend moments with again?
The first people that came to my mind was my two grandfathers who passed away. I'd love to hug them both again and just have a simple conversation with each othem, for it is the simple things in life that they both seemed to enjoy.
I also thought of a girl I went to school with who passed away while I was in college. Our friendship drifted and I really wish now that I would have told her that she was a good friend to me. I wish I would have stayed in touch with her after high school through her last days.
Great actors, teachers and musicians would be invited to my field of dreams too. I'd love to sit in the bleachers to speak to Audrey Hepburn or have a conversation using sign language with Helen Keller or listen to Bono and U2 sing the lyrics to their classics like "One." There are many others I would love to converse with as these are just some that came to my mind.
I honestly don't know if I believe heaven exists or what powers are out there. I have many, many questions (and no answers yet) when it comes to those things. But I can't help but feel warm and fuzzy when the Field of Dreams character Ray says to his father, "Maybe this is heaven," after he looks at his wife and daughter swinging together on the porch. If there is the possibility of it being like Iowa's baseball field and I could be surrounded by all the people I love and admire.... Well maybe that is a "heaven" I can work toward visiting.
Our family had a wonderful and exhausting Fourth of July weekend! I took so many photos that it's taken me awhile to download them all (and upload them here) to share with everyone.
It was such a great weekend, in fact, that the past several days have been kind of a letdown. I've been rather sad since I know it will be months before I see my parents and have moments like that again. We don't see our families much and Vivian doesn't see her grandparents very often. The visits are just a few times a year so we cherish them!
When family comes to visit us, we do more in 2-3 days than we do in four months' time! Hahaha! My parents arrived on July 2 and stayed through July 5. Below are the photo highlights and a recap of the awesome time we had with them.
On their first night, we didn't do much except talk, laugh and drink. Kirk and my dad had quite a few glasses of Crown Royal. We tried to get my mom drunk - it's a goal of mine. I think she had one and a half amaretto sour cocktails but she is a slow sipper, so nothing happened. Bummer!
But here is proof that we tried to intoxicate her:
It is such a joy watching Viv interact with my parents and vice versa. Watching their faces light up truly made me tear up and made me homesick and wish that we lived closer to them.
Fun moments that were captured on film during the visit (awwww!):
I Love My Dad!
Friday morning, after everyone slept in from too much liquid indulgence (well, except me that is), we decided to head to the local Wildlife Museum.
Here are some highlights from our wildlife (although stuffed and dead) adventure:
Hello Mr. Moose!
Our Family at the Wildlife Museum
After the museum, we went to the toy store and then had lunch. Later on, mom and I did some shopping. It was a busy, busy day.
On the 4th, my dad fried speckled trout and crawfish for us. He is a master chef!
The guys did the cooking while the women stayed inside making the side dish (white beans with sausage). We also watched the Coney Island hotdog eating competition on Sportscenter, LOL!
But we all reaped the benefits of the ooooh, so tasty meal! Yummy! (A heart attack on a plate!!!)
Later on, we all needed a nap but Vivian kept us up with her endless amounts of energy!
And even later after that, Kirk put on a fireworks show for us!
Looks like our very own mini mushroom cloud!
Vivian loved it! She even clapped when she saw the sparks, fire and smoke.