Friday, July 31, 2009

Secret #18 - Dialect Doppleganger

language dictionariesImage by euze via Flickr

Ok. I admit it. This is a an embarrassing secret that makes Hubby just roll with laughter. I think he should be more understanding. But then you'd have to be a budding linguist to truly get it, I think. At least, that is what I tell myself when I find him giggling for no apparent reason over my situation.

You see, I have this brain that tends to mimic things without my really being aware that there is anything out of the ordinary happening. Didn't quite get that? Well let me lay it all out for you...

When I hear an accent for any length of time, I begin to acquire that accent as if it were my own. It ranges from a southern drawl, to Mexican accents, East Coast nasal, rounded o's and all manner of sounds that are not in my usual speaking dialect. I need only to hear it for more than an hour and I can repeat it as if I were a native.

This secret helped tremendously when we honeymooned in Jamaica. Hubby was in Italy while I made all the arrangements for the wedding. I was down to the honeymoon, which we all know is the groom's job to pick and plan. Not Hubby. His only requirement was that we leave the state and that the place we go has to speak English fluently. (He had spent 7 months in Italy and was quite tired of not being able to fully understand conversations around him.) Thinking I was being very smart, I chose Jamaica. It said right there in the brochure that the predominant language was English... Ahem.

When we stepped off the plane in Kingston and the wall of humidity hit us like a brick, Hubby was not distressed. When we walked off the tarmac into a very small little airport that looked a little frightening to my never-been-this-far-from-home brain, Hubby was not distressed (he was now a seasoned traveler). It was when the shuttle bus driver said hello and asked us where we were from that Hubby turned and looked at me, a muddled and bit aggravated look on his youthful face, and whispered, "I thought you said they spoke English!" "Honey, that was English," I smiled at the driver and explained that no, Hubby wasn't from Texas or Mexico (these were the two choices they always guessed from - go figure), and yes, he was hot in all black and high top cowboy boots. (That's my man!) After a day or so, and some very sweet bell hops in the resort, we figured out that the language (called "Patua" if I remember right - forgive me Christina... I do not know how to spell that!) was something I could listen to and get much of the meaning from. There were times in our trip that that came in handy, and times that I wish I couldn't understand... Like the time there was a rather unkind Rastafarian man that had some extremely colorful things to say. He didn't quit until the lady that was braiding my hair told him that I could understand everything he was saying... And until my husband started getting very upset at my rapidly reddening face.

This silly secret pops it's little head up when it is something as simple as a linguistic accent from the Southern US. And yes, I can nuance them all. I just have to be around it and I can sound like a belle from South Carolina, or a Texan, or even the very different accents found around the Virginia/Maryland areas. They are all different, you know. And I can sound like a native in a matter of hours.

But don't ask me to do it on command. That isn't how my silly linguistic brain works. I have to hear it. Then we are all doomed to listening to me wander around as if I belong there... And I don't do it to make other's uncomfortable. I don't know I am doing it, most of the time. Until Hubby tries to mimic me and I catch on between his giggles that he is being "subtle".
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Thursday, July 30, 2009

Secret #17 - Temper, Temper

OK... Another closet moment... Avert your eyes. Look cautiously away.

I can throw a temper tantrum with the best of them! This has connection to my Queen of Everything secret and my Grudgy Greta secret, but is just a bit different from both of those rather embarrassing secrets.

My Great Grandmother Schubarth was a red head from waaaay back and she also was cursed with a rather nasty temper. My Grandma told a story of how Great Gramma hated gossip. She would often find herself talking over the fence with one of the small town's gossips and get her panties all bunched up. One particular afternoon she was talking with a known gossip that often irritated her, but she wasn't one to ignore someone who said hello. The Gossip stepped over Gramma's boundaries and began speaking of someone Gramma happened to know and admire. Gramma stopped the conversation and told the Gossip she should take back her words because she didn't know what she was talking about and the person was a friend of Gramma's. The Gossip refused. Gramma insisted. Gossip, very unwisely, refused again. Gramma explained if Gossip didn't take back the slurs, she would be forced to defend her friend's honor by kicking Gossip's arse right there on the front lawn. Gossip, rather taken aback by such coarse language, said, "Now Alice! You wouldn't hit a woman with glasses on!" (Gossip thought this would deter my German Gramma... Gossip would be wrong!) Gramma conceded that she would indeed not hit a woman with glasses on. She then, very gently, removed the glasses from the Gossip's face, placed them on the fence rail they were talking over, opened the gate and proceeded to kick that poor woman's' hiney all over the yard! She tore out tufts of Gossip's hair and sent her screaming down the street without her glasses. They were still on the rail.

My great grandfather was the unfortunate soul who broke up the row and insisted that my Gramma apologize for losing her temper. He sent her down the street with the glasses to return them and say she was sorry. While she was gone, he gathered up the tufts of hair from Gossip and placed them in a little tobacco bag he kept in his shirt pocket. Whenever Gramma would start to get fired up, Grampa would shake that little tobacco bag at her and smile, "Temper, temper, Alice!" She was so humiliated at losing her composure it usually worked.

I'm not sure how I would react to that... I might make Hubby eat the little sack if provoked at the wrong time. I cannot say that I have that extreme of a butt-kicking kind of temper, although I have done a version of it in my past. I have been known to throw things, slam things, say irrevocably nasty things, regrettable things... I have backed into cars, broken things, thrown my shoes and done all sorts of yelling.

Ugly, really. Closet stuff. "Temper, temper, Stacey!" These secrets are going to kill me...

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Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Secret #16 - Coffee, my addiction is severe...

Coffee within a coffeeImage by itselea via Flickr

I don't know if this qualifies as a secret... But it is something I don't advertise readily. (Hubby has outed me at times to unsuspecting house guests baffled by my early morning stumping to the kitchen without a word of hello...)

I have a serious addiction to coffee. I cannot get my morning productively started without a stiff cup of Joe. I don't make the tea-like brew I grew up with. I make "cowboy coffee" as my mom refers to it. I make coffee that rivals any coffee house in the near vicinity. Mostly, because I cannot just hop in the car and jet to the nearest Starbucks for a hot cup. That is a minimum of 30 minutes drive from our door.... And me driving without first having my coffee is definitely not recommended! Speaking to me in more than three word sentences before my first cup of coffee is also adamantly discouraged.

I guess the actual secret would be that, I have an addiction to kitchy little coffee shops that have excellent coffee inside and wonderfully eclectic decor. I don't get to run away from home very often, but when I do you can find me in a coffee shop. There is something enthralling about a good cup of coffee in a coffee shop with WI-FI and my computer nearby.

I love packing up my day and heading to a coffee shop to be productive in an unfamiliar environment. It is absolutely mysterious to me how I can move my entire day into a couple of totes and get so much more done on my list in a coffee shop than I can in my own office or card room. Maybe it is the fact that no one interrupts me unless it is to get me something. No one is there to ask where something is (even if it is something I don't use, somehow - Magically - I am supposed to know where to look for it). No one asks me what is for lunch... In fact, sometimes I am even asked if I want lunch... Go figure!
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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Secret #15 - Queen of Everything (Wherein she admits to being spoiled rotten!)

I just love Mary Englebreight's attitude and her lovely little Queen! In fact, I relate to being the Queen of Everything on every level possible.

Mr. Wonderful, a.k.a. Hubby, has always made sure that I am treated like a princess and is guilty of spoiling the living tar out of me on a regular basis. I don't mind. I love it, in fact. He is absolutely the best Hubby a girl could want. Tells me yes most often, but also isn't afraid to tell me no and stick to it when it counts. He is the best gift giver (from jewels to purses to dresses and other clothing items) and the most romantic dude around. For a cowboy and a man's man, I have to say he is just the best find ever! (Right up there with a Macy's sale!)

Because Hubby is so sweet, you would think that I might become overbearing and difficult to deal with... Not so! I just have to assert, every now and then, that I am no Princess. In fact, my station is much higher than that. I am the Queen of Everything! I am a benevolent Queen, most often. I can be seen doing good deeds for my children, our clients, close friends and of course family members. But sometimes, my Queenie-ness is not so sweet. I can be a bit spoiled... Ok - ALOT spoiled!

I have never denied being spoiled, though. I admit it and I try hard not to abuse it. I do know that my crown is looked upon with the most distain when Grudgy Greta has it on. She is a real pain and not at all good for Crown relations. We have to be careful when she is out and about... For the most part, my reign as the QoE is taken with a grain of salt and looked upon as a Windsor-ish model. I don't really have all the power (if I have any at all), but Hubby loves to dub me the Queen in charge and I am happy to oblige.
Now, someone hand me my sceptor and my coffee... I have things to do and people to see!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Secret #14 - I find Carrot Top hilarious!

Harvested carrotsImage via Wikipedia

We have a saying in the barn, us redheads. There are a few of us and we refer to those around who are blessed with natural red locks as "one of our people." Now, us three have much in common except one thing. I find another of "our people" deserving of loud guffaws and side splitting giggles.

I think Carrot Top, the prop comedian, absolutely hilarious! He makes me laugh every time I see him... Yes, every single lame, pretentious, just this side of the line joke or prop has me absolutely rolling! In fact, we saw his act in Vegas two years ago and I was so exhuberant in my laughter Hubby was humiliated when I was all but pointed out by CT himself. ("Funny? No? I guess that was just for the lady up there in the middle...")
Again, these are secrets, people. Probably things that most don't know about me and may not want to know! But here they are!

I do have to qualify my love for this particular comedian with the disclaimer that as of right now, he is extremely difficult to look at. I really enjoyed him pre-buff when he was a skinny dude with no plastic surgery and little to find controversial besides his off-beat sense of humor. I also have to admit, I don't care... I would watch him again, irregardless! That guy cracks me up!
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Sunday, July 26, 2009

Secret #13 - Selfish

ok... In light of some things in my life I have to say this one is fairly lame. But for the most part, I tend to be a selfish person. Sort of. In my mind. Because, as we know from being a People Pleaser, selfish doesn't fit very well in the mix.

So, let me explain.

I don't like to share. There it is, another part of my personality that should probably be kept in that closet along with my voluminous shoe collection. I do share. A lot. I don't like it. I tend to seethe about sharing. I can get ugly about sharing, depending on the item I am asked to share. I might as well be a two year old with her teddy bear. Yes, I am that pathetic!

I share Hubby quite a bit. With other women. Don't get all weird on me! I share him to his work, which involves the client, which is on average a 96% share of the female gender. Thus, I share him with women. This I try not to mind as much, as most of these women are absolute gems and some I truly call my friends. Do I like sharing his marvelous-ness? Not really. But I know it as a necessary step in our earning a living. And I do know he does not share his true heart with others... Only me. Besides, these lovely women do know Hubby well enough to know they don't want any more of him than they get. (He can be a bit of a grump...)

I don't like to share my computer. I have a gorgeous Dell laptop with a purple cover that I love. (Yes, I am a PC - No apologies here!) I have gone so far as to give my children my old laptop and purchase a new one so that I didn't have to share my computer! Pathetic - my own children... Really? Yes, sadly true. When Hubby is using my computer I have to leave the room or else I stand over him twitching and wringing my hands in worry. (Aside: Hubby is a terrible tax on the electronic things of the household. He doesn't have good Ju-Ju when it comes to computers, so my fears are somewhat realistic. The root, however, remains the same. I don't even like to share with him!)

Hubby is a share-er. He loves to share. Revels in it. (Hubby is often confusing to me, as well as God's magnificent sense of humor.) Imagine what this does to his un-share-er wife who finds he has lent out her cars, her saddle, her bridles, her horse (this didn't end well...) and all manner of things belonging to her. Hubby is absolutely baffled by my reactions. He simply cannot understand the selfish mind. He sees sharing as a practical solution to a problem he can solve for someone. I see it as, "Mine!" (Sad... I really should stop typing now...)

Selfishness is one of those traits that I believe we were endowed with genetically. I am puzzled as to why... But that doesn't seem to matter to a child with a new toy - or an old toy - or any toy! They simply are not pre-wired to share. It has to be taught, this sharing thing.

I am learning. I do share. I am getting better at it. Sort of. Does it count that I wish I had enough money to buy those who wish to share mine one of their own? Probably not.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Secret #12 - The Anti-Fitness Queen

Jane Fonda is not a hero to me (for myriad reasons including those ridiculous '80s fitness tapes), I don't pause even for a second at the piles of Pilate's equipment for sale around me (unless, of course, there is something purple in the pile), I think Madonna looks freakish not fit, and I laugh at joggers and bikers as I speed past in my sporty new Ford Edge. Despite my growing waist-line, I have never been a fan of exercise.

By "not a fan", I mean I loathe it. Desperately. Hate to sweat. Especially sweating due to exertion.

I have come to realize that this avoidance will have to cease once the diet is completed, and my "maintenance" phase is over. I am not looking forward to it. Sounds like work. Hard work. I can diet more readily than exercise. But it seems that if the input is to increase, the output is going to have to as well. (I hate being a grown up!)

Thank goodness for the Wii. I might be able to trick my anti-fitness brain into thinking it is a game. In fact, some of the exercises are actually kind of fun.

But not the lunges. Definitely not the lunges. I hate the lunges.

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Friday, July 24, 2009

Secret # 11 - Shoe Maven

There are a few things I have a penchant for. I love ice cream. I love shopping for a new dress for my birthday, even if I will only wear it the one time. I think computer games are awesome. And I love high heeled shoes!

No... These are not all of them...

I am not one of those people that buys all kinds of shoes. I love heels. High ones. Comfy-ish ones, wedges, pumps, stilettos, pointy toes, round toes, patent leather, suede, slides, sexy boots, excruciatingly painful ones... Yuuuuummmmmmy!

I wear heels with skirts, dresses and jeans. I wear them to casual affairs, dressy dinners and family gatherings. I love the way a pair of sassy heels makes my less than leggy frame look less chunky and more willowy... OK. Maybe that isn't possible or even believable, but it is the way they make me feel. (And that is all that really counts, right? RIGHT!)

I have a delicious pair of pumps that are my signature purple color and I actually found a purse that matches! The incredible part is not that I found a matching purse, of course, but that I found it separately! They are not made by the same manufacturer, even. And the marvelous-ness known as Hubby allowed me to purchase said purse despite the fact that I walked away from it once, feeling it was overpriced. (He is a gem!)

I don't get to wear heels as often as I would if I lived somewhere that the roads are actually paved, but I find every available opportunity to slip my treasures on and prance around.

Some love their Chucks - I agree, they are very cool... But there is nothing like a terrifyingly high pair of red patent leather pumps with a funky crepe sole!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Secret # 10 - I wear biggie glasses

About 10 years ago I made a decision regarding my eyesight that has made me a lens free zone. I had laser surgery to correct my very poor eyesight. I was 20/350 in one eye and 20/450 in the other. I couldn't see past the end of my own nose without glasses or contact lenses. So, of course, I wore corrective lenses, 24/7.

Problem was, I wore the wrong type due to my lack of funds. I often wore daily wear disposable lenses in my eyes for over 6 months at a time, rarely taking them out. Not safe, to say the least! Hubby, who loves me very much, told me either I got something done about my eye wear habits or get the laser surgery and be done with it. I chose the surgery, being very aware I was not going to break a very ingrained habit any time soon.

So after 10 years of perfect eye sight enjoyment (even better, as I was corrected in both eyes to 20/15), imagine my dismay when I realized that the reason I couldn't focus on my allergy medicine bottle had nothing to do with eye floaters!

I kid you not... I literally thought that I had something in my eyes!

I was standing in the local drug store, attempting to discern if the two allergy meds I wanted to purchase would have adverse interaction warnings. I could NOT read the stinkin' labels! It took a minute of looking down, looking up, stretching out my arm, and looking closer for me to harrumph over to that dreaded display of magnifying specs. I picked out a hideous pair of the things and perched them on the end of my nose and placed said bottles in the line of sight. Now I could read the label. CRAP! I took them off and tried again... Not eye floaters - old eyeball decrepit-ness!

I'm so bummed... I need biggie glasses.

Secret #9 - I am a Reality TV Junkie

Hell's Kitchen (U.S.Image via Wikipedia

This secrets thing could be the death of ever thinking I might be able to project myself as an intelligent human being... But, alas, these are too pathetic to not be true!

I am addicted to reality TV. Survivor, Hell's Kitchen, Big Brother, Chopping Block, America's Next Top Model, Nanny 911 - I can watch them all! About the only place I draw the line is that Wife Swap thing-a-ma-jigger... that I cannot seem to watch. There is just something about jacking with one's family that makes me too mad to watch the show. (I know, I can see you shaking your head - I didn't say it made sense!)

I have watched all seasons of Survivor and cannot seem to quit logging on to watch Big Bro on the Internet. I don't actually subscribe to the feed, not quite that desperate. But I cannot watch it live, as Hubby says it is trash (can't say I disagree). I am reduced to watching back episodes on the Internet. Probably best, as we really do strive to teach our kids that lying is bad and shallow attitude is not what makes a person likable. Hell's Kitchen I find incredibly funny and it is the closest thing to a foodie that I will ever be. Chopping Block makes me really happy I don't work in the food industry any more. America's Next Top Model is a guilty pleasure that is as close as I will ever come to a fashionista... Seeing a pattern here?

I am sure one of the main reasons we don't have cable or dish has much to do with the fact that I wouldn't get anything done - EVER! There is a lot of RTV out there that I don't get to watch. I save it up for hotel stays. (Read: Cake Boss and Next Food Network Star.)

Mostly, I think it has appeal because it is absolute escapism. I am finding that blogging is starting to take that place. I can watch inordinate amounts of TV or I can sit an get some of my 30 Days done... I am gradually picking the blogging more than the TV.... I might just grow up after all! (Shh, don't tell Hubby - He would be so disappointed!)
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Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Secret #8 - I was a teenage runaway...

for about a day and a half.

Stupid, really. As most teenage girls figure out, living in the house with two fairly grown women wasn't easy and was often sheer torture. (I am working very hard to keep my daughter grounded and the lines of communication open so that I don't have to live in the hell I put my own mother through.) I decided that since no one understood me in my own home, I would go live with my boyfriend and his family. Idiotic! How freakin' dysfunctional do you have to be to allow some one's kid into your home who is obviously not abused but spoiled beyond belief? I should have been paddled and sent to my room like the 5 year old I was impersonating.

I did smarten up quite a bit when I had spent a weekend at the above home. It was creepy and strange and I didn't want to be with my boyfriend 24/7. But Mom-chick didn't allow us to drive. And I had left my car to sneak out as you cannot run away in secret in a VW bug! Silly bug mufflers!

So we walked.

We walked 7 miles to my house. I thought at the time that I would just drop from exhaustion. Dork! Said boyfriend even piggy backed me for some of the time. Colossal Dork! You would have thought that the blisters on my feet would serve to remind me that I was ill prepared for real life and I should be more grateful for what my home provided.

You would be wrong. I was not that smart.

I arrived home to find my precious VW with a for sale sign on it. I was in absolute shock! How could they have done such a thing??? I was missing after all! And all they could do was think to sell my things??? What a spoiled brat I was. Narcissistic and rude. I stomped into the house, forgetting how shame filled I had been moments before and demanded to know what was going on.

Rear, restored 1967 VW Beetle in Sri Lanka

My parents, infinitely wise beyond my comprehension at the time, simply grounded my butt and told me unless I straightened up the car would indeed be sold. Funny, as mad as I was, I didn't think to leave again until much later.

I thank my mom and dad for their reactions to my fits of spoiled behaviour. It didn't really sink in how selfish I had been until much later in my life, and for that I am sorry. I realized later how much it must have terrified my mother to be sitting at home, not knowing (or worse yet, knowing exactly) where I was and not being able to do anything about it.

As a parent, the worst realization I have had has been to completely understand that my children have wills of their own now. They can and will make choices based on my teachings and based on their desires at the time. That is truly a terrifying prospect, one that stops my heart a little bit. I can only hope that my children were endowed with a better sense of courtesy than I was. I hope that they are inherently kinder than me and I hope that I can keep from going on a murderous rampage should the same situation arise for them. Or maybe a good rampage will be just what they need...

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Secret #7 - I am a Pathetic People Pleaser

You probably wouldn't know this on the surface of me. I am not all squishy and pantingly sweet and often I hide this secret with naughty words and a prickly demeanor. When I find someone that doesn't seem to "cotton" to me, I tend to slough it off - outwardly. Inwardly is a whole 'nuther ball game!

I fret and contemplate why it is that absolutely everyone isn't enthralled with the magic that is me... Did I do something offensive? Could I have changed that? If it is easy to change that, will I? I ramble around it in a completely obsessive manner until I make myself sick-ish.

I am working on that whole thing... Kind of a secret that may be an over-share. But there it is. I want you to like me! Now... Like me! (I'm cool in a very dorkish sort of way... really.... please?)

Monday, July 20, 2009

Secret #6 - I am a Dancin' Mo-Sheen!

I'm a Dancing machine, watch me get down! (And then help me back up, please!)

Yessiree, Bob! I can cut a rug! My children are mortified often... Hubby has also been the victim of my "moves" on more than one occasion. I really do love to dance. I had classical ballet lessons as a youngster, creative dance as a pre-teen, and I went steady with a guy I tho

Thai Breakdancers at MTV Street Festival, ThailandImage via Wikipedia

ught was just the best break-dancer ever! (OK - It was the 80's... Give me a break!) I was just never brave enough to roll around on the floor, spinning my hair right out of its roots. I was a Breaker Girl failure (sniff).

I never really stopped dancing. It was the ruse I used to begin dating Hubby. Although, I have to admit, my performance was less than stellar. (Read: Too much beer, not enough sense!) Since then, Hubby has strict rules about what "moves" I am allowed to perform and then there are other restrictions depending on my "intake". I don't mind. I knew right then, he was a keeper!

My birthday is now the biggest event of my dancing repertoire, as my athsma doesn't do well in bars these days. (Read: getting old really bites!) I get to don a pretty dress, wear wonderfully beautiful and excruciatingly painful shoes and dance the night away without care. Hubby often stands watchfully by the dancefloor as I bounce about with my best girlfriends. He will take me out on the slow songs and spin me wildly if it sounds like a jitterbug/swing beat, but he is not one to rock out with me no matter how much I plead.

I did take him out on the floor once during a particularly silly song. He stood there. Didn't move. Not one muscle. No matter what I did. He stood stock still, turning red all over! I haven't done that since. But it was fun! (And he smiles about it.)

I hope I am dancing until I cannot stand up any more! And even then, I will "Chair Dance!"

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Sunday, July 19, 2009

Secret #5 - Sista Sheriff

This is not a pleasant secret to reveal. It is another part of my personality, like Grudgy Greta, that I am well aware of but not terribly fond of.
Sheriff's Badge
I am that annoying person at game parties that knows the rules. I not only know them, but I am often aware that I become the rule enforcer once the game is started. Yup. I am that chick. Unbending, pulling out the book when a rule infraction has been committed, and the one that makes "house rules" very difficult to incorporate.

I am also very comfortable in my life when I know that there are rules to follow. I become very panicky when life throws you that loop that says, "Go with the flow." I don't "flow" well. I flop. Like a fish. Out of water. Gasping. I neeeeed rules. I need to know that there is an order to follow and a way to do it "right." I drive my friends nuts with this. Hubby has been a victim of it too. They roll their eyes and gently take me by the hand....

I find rules comforting. Don't wear white after Labor Day. Forks on the left, knives and spoons on the right. Don't chew with your mouth open. Write your thank you notes within two weeks. Don't attend a get together without at least bringing a bottle of wine. I like knowing what is expected of me. Soothes my insecurities a little. Mostly.

About the only place I struggle with the rules, is driving. Recently, after a blazing trip across Kansas getting home, I traveled at least 10 mph over the speed limit. Never saw one cop. Not one. Nada. Got home safe and sound and right on time, considering I had to stop for potty breaks and snack time. The next day, traveling into town for my ill-timed hair appointment, I was stopped on a local road and received a citation for traveling 5 mph over the speed limit.... AAAARGH! I have a long history of speeding tickets, and Hubby was not impressed when I called to confess my digression. I once had my very own insurance policy because I was such a naughty driver... I must be more careful!

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Saturday, July 18, 2009

Opening my hands

There are times God is talking to me. Through a bull horn. Over a microphone. And I still have my fingers in my ears, screaming "lalalalalalalalalalaala!" as loud as I can. Doesn't work. I still hear Him.

"Open your hands."

It is simple really. I am clutching - clutching my life, my work, my routine, my everything. I am hanging on for dear life and I know it isn't healthy. I also know I am being asked to let go.

"Open your hands."

I can intellectualize my situation and say that I know God cannot give me more if my fist is tightly closed. I know that God didn't bring me to this place because I earned it, I deserve it, or I am smart enough to keep it. God gave it because it was in His pleasure and He alone wanted me here.

"Open your hands."

What if He asks me to give up something painful? What if I have to give up my home? Or my children? Or my husband? What if something tragic happens?

"Open your hands."

Like a child with a toy that needs fixed, I desperately don't want to give it up to the patiently waiting grown up with the scary looking screw driver. I want it to be better by magic. I want it to fix itself.

"Open your hands."

The terror that grips me in the uncertainty that is my life out here in the real world is palpable. I cannot stop the hamster wheel to breathe... Until I am exhausted. I am exhausted. My hands are relaxing. Not because I have chosen obedience. My hands are opening because I cannot squeeze them shut anymore.

I cannot write that open hands have been blessed just yet. I can only say that I am trying to keep them open. I recover strength and know that I can shut them again at any moment. Sometimes I look down and realize I have shut them again, without conscious effort. Muscle memory. I am working to train another muscle. My faith muscle.

"Open your hands."

Secret #4 - I was a Hooter's girl

Hooters RestaurantImage by juliebee via Flickr

I know.... Some things just shouldn't be said out loud. But it is true. I was a Hooter's Girl. I didn't make the calendar, I wasn't a particularly good waitress, I am not enhanced- ahem. And, yes, I can still hula-hoop and pour beer without spilling a drop.

It was my second job and did make me feel a bit like I had a secret identity. My mother was appalled. She should have been. I should have been. But, alas, the pressures of youth and living in an apartment away from home forced my hand to give it a shot. I did fairly well there. Made an average of $200/night. I was not, however, a "good earner" as Hooter's Girls go.

I did ask for a larger shirt. Denied.

I asked for bigger shorts. Denied.

I quit when I was ridiculed by the manager for wearing more clothes on the Halloween dress up shift. Ah, the return of self esteem!

It is a rare fact that Hubby uses to raise eyebrows when I am being particularly difficult to deal with. Snaps me right back into line and causes him to grin evilly. (Hubby has his darker side too...)
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Friday, July 17, 2009

A moment in time...

While working at my mother's today, the dog that I least get along with began that shrill barking that has endeared her to my heart. "Hush! Jasmine!" She continued and then began running around the dining room where I had set up camp doing this kind of whiny howl thing. "Alright! What do you need?" Jazz ran to her window in the sitting parlor (Mom and Dad have a beautiful Victorian period home). I peered out...
This is what I saw...
Don't mind me... Just eatin' some leaves...
What is that clicking sound?
And then he was gone. As softly as he came (braving the shrill barking, that is), he left. God gives us moments in time to marvel at his amazing creation every day. It is up to us to get out of our chairs to investigate what it might be.
As Christina says... Bliss.

Secret #3 - Grudgy Greta

Yup. That's me, Grudgy Greta. I can hold one with the best of them! I can remember a slight from way back. I can often call it back to memory resulting in the most unpleasant, heart pounding, voice cracking, shrill speaking retelling of said grudge, as if it happened yesterday, or this morning, or last hour...

I don't have a grudge book, per se. I do have a catalogue in my head that lists the grudges that wander about my brain, and most often only come out to Hubby. He shakes his head and tsk-tsks me, but he knows I have donned the Grudgy Greta persona and he simply leaves me to stew in my own juices. Sometimes, Hubby in his infinite wisdom tells me "Don't be that way..." To which I often reply, "What?" Such an intelligent answer! I do know when I am doing the GG thing... I just don't care. I don't even know, honestly, if I want to care.

I remember comments about my lack of housekeeping (duh! There is so much more to life than a mopped floor...), sit downs where I was blatantly told I was lacking in the marriage material category, once being told to "take your meds!", laughter at pictures which obviously show my lack of photogenic abilty- I remember them all. I can recall said grudges snappily to mind in the middle of an argument. I don't always bring them up in the argument, but I can recall them for the needed verve to eventually win the fight outright! Sometimes I throw them out there (sorry, Hubby) and the fight comes to a screeching halt - erch! You can see me then, hand on hip, eyebrows crunched... Ugh! Such an attractive look - NOT!

Most of all, I can't stand being lied to. In the land of grudges, these are the hardest to let go. I have confronted liars in my past that are so caught up in their own web they cannot even admit what lie is actually a lie! Those type of people I tend to cut out of my life pretty quickly. I just can't let those grudges go... Call me dogmatic or unforgiving. I have heard it all! It all fits, and I still cannot seem to help myself....

The upside of being Grudgy Greta is that I am fiercely loyal. I do love those friends I have and I would go to bat for them in any situation. I would stand in fire to vouch for a friend... I call that part of my personality Trudy True-Blue. She is a much nicer person to have around. I like her a lot. Especially when she contacts a best friend who is crying in the toilet bowl she is scrubbing because her "so unclean" house is about to be set upon by family and friends. She is the gal that says, "What can I do?" She is the one who takes you out of that toilet and reminds you that she has seen that house in disarray before. She is the one who brings to light the true bonds of friendship by saying, "I am coming to see you - Not your home!"

I like Trudy.

I live with Greta.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Secret #2 - My Name is Stacey and I am a Techno Junkie

NEW YORK - JULY 11:  The new Apple iPhone 3G i...Image by Getty Images via Daylife

That's right. It is possible to not own a Mac and still be a techno-junkie in a bad, bad way! And no, I don't have an IPhone either... Yet! (read: Stubborn loyalty to cell service provider has prevented IPhone purchase.)

I do have a Black Berry and I love it. I have a Dell Laptop (with purple flower-dy top) and I love that. I have one of those ridiculously small blue tooth earpieces... No, I don't use it very often, as the car we have (revealed in Secret #1) has SYNC - another techy "ooooh-aaaaaah".

I am in love with gadgetry (is that a word?). I like kitchen gadgets, office gadgets, hair gadgets and computer gadgets. If it has a promotional guru that harangues you for a sale, I probably have secretly drooled over it! Thus the heart and soul of this secret....

I watch info-mercials. That is right! The Shark, the Roomba, the Nu-Wave Oven, the PedEgg... I have watched them all. I have even stood in front of the displays at the local Bed, Bath, and Beyond Store, ping-ponging back and forth whether I really can sell the idea to Hubby. Most often, I walk away, almost always with a plan to return. (We also know, from Secret #1, if I really wanted it, I would just buy it!)

I love the idea of things that will save me time and money. I love the idea that there is something out there that my grandmother would just shake her head at my owning. She was often my gauge for what was truly a silly purchase. That, of course, didn't mean I didn't purchase it. It just meant I was a little more careful what I divulged to the general public! (I have a set of those ridiculous Miracle Blade Knives I cringe about... THAT was Hubby's idea!)

My name is Stacey, and I am a techno-junkie...
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Secret #1 - Instant Gratification

As Spudballoo has started a trend, I am not one to be left out! (Even though I am only a lurker in the back ground!) I have made my 30 Secrets in 30 Days list and am now committing to start down that road... Beware!

For my first confession, I lay out a light secret:

I very rarely wait, save or shop for things. I decide I want something... And I go buy that something! From phones, to shoes, to clothes, to cars (the car pictured is the model I recently convinced Hubby we could afford) - I do not wait to buy the item of choice. This comes from the simple fact that I deal with our finances and I know what we can afford at any given time. 2007-2008 Ford Edge photographed in USA.

It also stems largely from the fact that I am an extremely impatient person, on the whole. Thus, the fact that I am struggling with the diet issue. I want it all to be now! I want to be skinny fast, cook deliciously fast, bake fast (disastrous results ensue), and get there fast (tickets and high insurance premiums have curtailed this one).

I lamented waiting two and a half years to move into our home. That was torture for my instant-gratification-soul! But the sweetness of the reward taught me that sometimes - just sometimes - waiting is so wonderfully rewarded. Sometimes, waiting for that something I want so badly comes at God's own pace and it is sweet indeed!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A List...

When I desperately need to get organized, I make a list. It is my way of getting my brain off of that scary gerbil wheel of lunacy and start ticking things off... It keeps me sane. So today, I am making a list of a different kind -
  • Note to self: Starting a diet with Hubby was not a great idea. Devise ways to feed him yummy pudding in his sleep without choking him. (I do still love him after all... I just can't stand that he beats me at everything!)

  • Note to self: Using your pent up frustrations to clean out a fridge you are selling (hopefully) might actually cause someone to think you have this ability in you on a regular basis...

  • Note to self: The day the gal comes to clean the house is always the day you want to clean it before she sees how you REALLY live....

  • Note to self: Coffee with 2TBS milk and Stevia for sweetner is a poor excuse for caffeine intake.

  • Note to self: The best friends are the ones who laugh at you, not with you!

  • Note to self: Driving to the barn with a phone call from France hanging in the balance is probably better done with clothes on, rather than in ones robe and slip-ons (Sorry all!)

  • Note to self: When making a list for organizing the day, do not start blogging.

Monday, July 13, 2009

I am so freakin EXCITED!

I may actually see tomatoes this year!!!!! I cannot tell you what this does for my mood this morning! So that I can prove it was well on it's way to success, in case we get hail that destroys them...

The plants themselves didn't ever get huge, but when I returned last Tuesday from our trip there were blooms. Now there is fruit! Yay! I am, alas, the only one in the house excited about it as I am also the only one who really loves tomatoes! I have visions of fresh salsa, tomatoes on a plate with salt and pepper, fresh mozzarella, tomato and basil Bruschetta, and my fav... Eating them like apples! mmmmmmmmmmmmmm! We shall see - I can hope!

Sunday, July 12, 2009


mushroom, red cabbage, stringbeans, fried pota...Image by docman via Flickr

I don't do well when I don't eat. I can't stand it in fact. Most times I get all wobbly and sick at my stomach and then I gorge myself on stuff I shouldn't to feel better faster. I do believe I am borderline Hypoglycemic. This lovely part of my personality has developed into quite the gut! Yes, I have moved past "poochy" to back fat and cows lowing!

Thus the brilliant idea to diet. With Hubby. For support, you know. Spectacular. Really. His ability to ignore the hunger pangs is at once reassuring and maddening. I am not sickly, which makes me even madder. I am just....

I am freaking starving! I want a candy bar and a martini and a steak and mashed potatos and a salad with ranch dressing!!!!!!

I have settled for plain yogurt sweetened with Stevia and vanilla. It helps and it is low-cal. But I am gradually heading into the land of cranky.

I have, however, lost 3 pounds. So I will keep going. For now.

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Thursday, July 9, 2009


There are just certain things in my life that I have come to accept.

  • I accept that I suffer from clinical depression at times and that I have chosen to live life without SSRI drugs. I don't think that choice is for everyone, but it is mine to make and I choose not to take the drugs. Makes for some interesting days, but it is the path I choose to walk.
  • I accept that I have a terrible time forgiving those who have hurt me, whether real or imagined. I hold awful grudges and I am ugly about it. Can't seem to let go sometimes. God is keeping at me, though... Don't think He will let me carry that too far for very long!
  • I accept that I am a messy person. While I love the clean home feel, it just isn't conducive to how I live my life. Life is messy and I don't like to clean it up! Unfortunately, I have passed this phenomenal philosophy on to my children. THAT isn't always a good thing
  • I accept that I live a life that will probably always contain some work. Living with livestock is what we choose to do and that is a lot of work. I understand that 65 may come and go and I will still be working to pay the bills. Just hope God allows that to happen for us, instead of the other options.
  • I accept that we get one vacation a year, if that, and I am eternally grateful for the time away. I know we may have to put it on a credit card or eat light while we go, but I am so happy Hubby has decided that it is a priority.
  • I accept that I am getting older, but I refuse to "act my age!" What the heck is that anyway??? What does 40 act like? Certainly not like my gramma used to act at 40 - Her life might as well have been over. That isn't how it is today... 40 is the new 30, haven't you heard?

Living in symbiosis with my acceptance that this world isn't my true home gives me perspective... On paper. In reality, I struggle - HUGE! I want things to be just (but not justice for me...). I want things to be tidy (if I don't have to tidy it...). So I live like the Spanish Moss on the Live Oak, trying to hang on but not kill my host. Basking in the places where the sun dwells and understanding those shadowy places have their purpose too.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

The Simple Things, Part Deux...

As our wonderful Christina can attest to... The simple things in life bring the most enjoyment and the purest sense of self for me. I have contemplated what that is, having since been away from home for the past two weeks. Here is my list of simple things this week that are making me one satisfied lady:

  • My own bed, equipped with one lovely man who cares deeply for me, no matter how much weight I gained eating Louisiana food and drinking daquiris in the heat.

  • Being American in a time so full of freedom and acceptance with the realization that life is about loving what we have instead of constantly striving for the next big milestone.

  • Hot coffee with cream and sugar - I might just vaporize into thin air without my morning cup!

  • The health of my children.

  • The smell of cut grass

  • Flowers in bloom in pots or beds or in the wild. They are God's dress clothes and they are splendid!

  • My Bible and journal. Both may be frayed around the edges, but that just means I am not... Well, mostly... Ok - I'm frayed! But I am working on it! :)

  • Animal fur... Wait! Let me explain! I love the way I can sit in the floor and love on the dogs and cats and the bunnies and bury my face in their fur and have them love me back unconditionally. They don't care where I went or why I went there, they only care that I am back... That is delish!

  • My general sense of safety. I am so fortunate to have that sense of where I am going, what I am doing and that I can do it without bombs flying about or threat of gunfire or kidnapping. So many other places don't have that.

  • Honest to goodness friends. I am blessed with a few that I know would be there for me, no matter what time or what the problem is. I don't have handfuls, but I have a few and I count them one of my simple things!

Thank you again, Christina, for this wonderful oportunity to reflect and put a little thankfulness back into my crazy day!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Home again, home again, jiggity jig!

As I have mentioned before, there is nothing like driving up ones own driveway after being gone on a wonderfully fulfilling trip! I am so blessed to have been afforded the time to visit with my family, both in-laws and blood relatives. I am still mulling over the sweetness of that time together (and formulating some "favorite simple things" for Christina's roster tomorrow...) as I sip a glass of wine and wait for Hubby to return home from the vets... Again.

Bekki's cottage style home, 3 blocks from Lake Pontchartrain
I miss my sister and her sense of humor. I don't miss the humidity and the high temps... Definitely a Colorado gal! But I love my sister's house and the incredible stuff we were able to see. I love the way she is always so organized and also so very laid back. Anything goes and nothing at a terribly fast pace... She has adapted well to southern life. I admire that!

I also miss my sister-in-law! She and I were fast friends and partners in crime! The best going-out-girlfriend EVER! She can always keep a secret and she is absolutely a treasured friend! I am also stoked (if that isn't too lame a term to use any more...) that she will be here sometime on Thursday! I might be able to sneak in a night out with her loveliness! Yay!

The kids under a Live Oak at the Lake shore

The kids loved the entire experience, although two days travel home were a trial for all! UGH! I wish that I could have somehow found the stamina to do it all in one day, but a 20 hour trip just isn't in my repertoire! Maybe earlier on in my youth... But then again, maybe not. I was always one to sleep in!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Happy Fourth of July!

The day was another wonderful trip with Bryan and Bek. This time to the ball park to watch the Zephyrs play ball at the local baseball park across the bridge in Metairie, LA. We had "ball park food" (read: nachos, hot dogs, slushies aka "snow balls", and pretzels) and lots to drink (water, not alcohol...) and afterward they set off fireworks and hosted a band for all to enjoy.

It was wonderful and hot and sweaty and yet I am still in awe of how lucky we are and how fortunate my children are to have been born in our great country. We take it so for granted all the time and rarely stop to realize how truly lucky we are to be able to be here and have every advantage all but handed to us on a silver platter. It made me very thankful and aware of all my advantages.

I hope your holiday was as spectacular as ours was... Wherever you happen to be!

Looks like palm trees to me...

The Insectarium or I May Never Sleep Again!

This little treat was quite interesting, but I have to admit, I left itching all over!!!!! Quite the sensory overload looking at all the creepy crawly things and watching the kids peer into all the amazing exhibits.
A few grimaces were shared by all...

Deadly stuff and not so deadly stuff... Creepy, crawly all the same!

Cockroaches the size of your palm!

We did have a splendid time getting around the building and there was always another room full of stuff to see. Girl and I agreed that the Butterflies made up for it all with their incredible iridescent colors that looked airbrushed on .

It was absolutely amazing how the colors seemed so unreal! As if somehow someone had hand painted all these bugs for a display... It was beyond anything your imagination could capture. Then there was the room full of live butterflies. I had one light on my shoulder that had a lady practically squealing as she took pictures. At least I hope that was what she was squealing about (shudder)!

Original Jewel-Tones

Both Girl and Boy enjoyed themselves, and while I was creeped out completely and may never truly sleep a deep sleep again, I was impressed with what we learned. We watched short movie in one of those interactive theatres that sprayed stuff in your face and poked your seat - quite annoying! I hate things that make me scream right out loud in public... Could have done without the stink bug smell too. Blech! There were videos and displays on almost every type of bug from Cockroaches to mosquitoes to termites and love bugs... I, frankly, didn't know there even was such a thing, outside of a Volkswagen!

The underground display... Riding an earthworm!
Ah yes, culture comes in many shapes and sizes... I am just thankful that most of these were fairly exotic and I don't have to deal with them on a daily basis!

I can't stand spiders and Tarantulas are no exception! (biiiiig shudder!)

This dude cracked me up... "It's mine... ALLLLLL Mine!" (He's got a banana between his front legs with his proboscis stuck right in the middle of it...)

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