I’m a Very Bad Driver

I used to think I was a seasoned traveler and quite able to get around on my own. I had driven from Indiana to Memphis and back many times. I hopped in my car and drove the 1500+ miles from Utah to Indiana or Kentucky repeatedly. I bundled an infant and a toddler into a minivan and took off on the supposedly 7 hour trip from Michigan to Kentucky and back again. Hell, I even manage to make it to Virginia from Utah and Indiana.

The thing I keep forgetting is that all of those are pretty much straight shots. If I have to make many turns or I miss a single one of those turns I am a lost cause.

It all started back in my daughter’s gymnastics days once we had to travel. I once was an hour late to a team dinner because I made a wrong turn and couldn’t find a place to turn around. When we finally got ahold of the other parents at the pizza joint they were astounded I was so far off course. They patiently helped to navigate me back to the area and then I spent another 15-30 minutes trying to find a parking spot. We were in San Diego and it was Rock Star’s very first out of state meet and therefore her very first team dinner. I felt awful!

But hey! I’m a world seasoned traveler, right? That was just a silly mishap. Oh no! Then there was the time I ended up going to Phoenix by way of Las Vegas (from Salt Lake City, mind you) because my GPS signal was lost in St. George and I couldn’t find the highway I was supposed to take. That was the same trip where we got a flat tire shortly after crossing into Arizona. We waited for an hour at Wal-Mart to get it repaired and after an hour they still didn’t even have us in the shop. I was supposed to pick my mom up from the airport at 10 pm because she was flying in for the meet so I couldn’t dilly dally. I drove probably 300 miles on a little donut tire, definitely breaking the suggested 55 mph limit. The last exit I needed to take was closed so I had to keep driving on the freeway. My son made the mistake of asking me when we were going to get there and I clearly remember replying in a slightly hysterical voice, “I don’t know, Picasso; I’m beginning to think we are never going to get there!”

Driving home my mom wanted to stop at the Grand Canyon but I somehow missed it. I missed a huge gigantic hole in the ground! How can a person do that?

Then we had my latest fiasco when I couldn’t find the Air BnB and I was practically hyperventilating and swearing I would never stay anyplace that didn’t have a large neon sign that beckoned me.

I bring this up because today (yesterday?) we were en route to Cleveland for a cheer competition. All seemed to be going well (it is a straight shot so I had that going for me) until we tried to find our hotel. I assigned Rock Star the job of navigator. We inadvertently went to the Holiday Inn instead of the Holiday Inn Express. Both are on the same street. That was a 15 minute mistake. Then the GPS took us to the wrong place. We had to call to get directions and even then we messed it up. I drove up and down a street with potholes the size of the Grand Canyon at least twice. Those holes I could find. Each and every freaking time!

Thankfully we found the hotel. I ended up paying $26 for valet parking because I just could not deal with trying to find a garage and having to pay anyway after everything else I had endured.

Did I mention I thought she was competing on Sunday instead of Saturday? Because she told me she was competing on Sunday. So I found out around 3 pm that I’m going to have to make a good four hour drive after work.

Here’s the fun part though. It has been snowing for a good 12 hours where I live. The roads are horrible. We are being told to stay home unless we absolutely need to be out. Apparently, we needed to be out and cheering because we headed out around 7 pm, in the cold, wet snow. Thankfully the toll road wasn’t too bad. I was doing at least 45 mph, sometimes up to 60, and once we got closer to Ohio it dried up and I could go 70.

Anyway we’re here. Our hotel is actually an old bank that has been converted into a hotel. The rooms are gorgeous with hardwood floors and tall ceilings. The elevators are tiny but elegant. We’re going to check out the breakfast area tomorrow. Then checking out and heading over to the convention center to compete. After awards I believe the plan is to head on back home.

Let’s hope the trip back is a little smoother!

Phrases I Hate

There are a few phrases that I have grown to hate. Some of them merely make me squirm. Thankfully, it’s not a long list.

  1. Top of the list: making love. I absolutely, positively HATE that phrase. You know how the word moist grosses a lot of people out? That’s the exact same way I feel about making love. I literally shudder at the phrase. Yuck! I think it’s so artificial, pretentious and stupid. What does that even mean? It makes no sense. Rubbing genitals together somehow translates into making something? Love is somehow made? What is wrong with saying having sex or even fucking? Yes, I know. I’m just one big huge unromantic. I can’t help it. Seriously, I could be hot and heavy with an incredible looking guy who makes all the right parts hum in the right way and if he paused to ask me, “Do you want to make love?” I would have to stop everything right then and there. “No, thank you; you have just grossed me out. I’ll be on my way now. Good-bye!”
  2. Also not a fan of the phrase my/our marriage. Another thing that sounds pretentious. Our marriage is the most important thing to me! Disclaimer: I once said that very thing to Cousinfucker when we were in false reconciliation. My marriage is my priority. Our marriage this; my marriage that. Marriage is not a living, breathing thing. It’s not a person. It’s a relationship status. I get that occasionally a person will need a qualifier, i.e. Our marriage is not perfect, or my marriage isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be or what you see on Facebook isn’t a true representation of what our marriage is like. When used like that I understand the need for it. It’s when it’s elevated to this lofty symbol, a possession in fact, that I have a problem. When used that way it seems pretentious. As I said, I used the phrase myself. That’s probably why I hate it so much. For the record, I don’t mind: I love married life or marriage is great.
  3. My man/my woman/old man/old lady I hate all of those. My man sounds so juvenile and possessive. People are not possessions! Some people have argued that we say, “My child/daugher/son/husband/wife/mom/etc.” To me those speak of specific relationships. Fred is my husband, not Peter. That is my child; the other one is Bethany’s child. It’s about specifying. Rock Star made the cheer team. Oh, that’s nice. How do you know Rock Star? She’s my daughter. I use my niece to differentiate between someone else’s niece or to differentiate between my niece vs. her daughter vs. her best friend’s child. I’m Queen B’s aunt and Rock Star and Picasso’s mom. How do you know Matt? He’s my husband. Does any of that make sense? Again when you’re using a qualifier in those situations you are explaining the relationship, not staking a claim. I will admit that there are times people can use my husband/wife when a fucking name would do! I answered phones for someone who would always ask to speak to her husband. Because if she just asked for Bob people wouldn’t know he was her husband!!! In that situation she very much used my husband the way some others use my man, staking her claim. My man/woman doesn’t explain the relationship; it merely shows that you think someone belongs to you. Is your man your husband, your boyfriend, your fiancé, your live-in lover, some random guy you just started dating tonight? No one knows. We only know that he is your man! He’s mine! You can’t have him. Stay away! Hell, they may as well pee on the person and mark their territory. As for my old man/old lady personally I have just always found calling someone your old man/old lady to be a tad bit insulting and dismissive. Her? Yeah, don’t mind her; that’s just my old lady. It is not a kind description although I’m sure there are those people out there who say it with much love.
  4. Family time! Oh, Cousinfucker was big on this one. The whole time he was traveling and would be home on weekends only it was all about the family time. I got so sick of hearing that phrase. Normally, I’m sure it’s a very nice phrase. Unfortunately, it was used as a club to beat me into submission. He couldn’t be expected to mind our child while I got some work done or cleaned the house while he was home. Oh no! We needed to be spending family time together! Every fucking minute he was home we should be spending together. Unless he had something he needed to do, of course. Or a nap to take. I couldn’t read the damn paper because it took time away from him but he could nap. What can I say? It’s a trigger for me.
  5. Focus on the future! Another phrase that benefitted Mr. Shithead while beating me into submission. Let’s not talk about my affair with Harley; we should focus on the future. Let’s not talk about how hurt you are, or any of your insecurities. Let’s focus on the future. Don’t hold a grudge against my family or ask me to stick up for you. Focus on the future! Hey, here’s an idea! Instead of whining and crying about everything you’re so sad about and focusing on all the money you’re going to have to pay me why not focus on the future! Focus on the great life you’re going to have with Harley and focus on getting yourself a job and paying me some damn spousal and child support! There’s the future for you! Focus on it, you sonofabitch.
  6. Finally, any talk of happiness when it comes out of his mouth. Fortunately I don’t ever hear him talk so I don’t have to hear about his happiness or lack thereof. I’m still jaded from having him tell me upon discovery of his EA, “You know I haven’t been happy in years.” Oh well, that makes all the difference in the world! By all means, go ahead and plan a future with your cousin then. Yes, because the first step in divorce proceedings is not contacting a lawyer; it’s having an affair with an ugly jailbird skank. You wouldn’t want to do something crazy like get a divorce before you had Wife #2 lined up. I’m also fairly certain that knowing he told Jezebel how happy Harley made him does not bode well for any talk of happiness either. All that walking vagina had to do was tell him everything she was going to do to him and he was supposedly happy. I cooked for him, cleaned for him, did his laundry, put away his clothes, made his plate, bore his children, raised his children, moved all over the country for him, made his appointments, took care of all the shopping for the house, kids and pets, shuffled the pets to the vet’s, picked up his prescriptions and his dry cleaning, paid the bills and pretty much did everything shy of wiping his ass and cutting his meat for him but I didn’t make him happy. Yep, that’s a sore spot even though I know he is a bottomless crevice of need. Right along with that was his mention a year or so later of how “he never should have tried to be happy”. Excuse me? I’ve been dancing around here like an idiot trying to keep you happy and give you no excuse to cheat on me again, but you’re going to play the poor, pitiful victim? Of course he was! I’m sure all talk of happiness is not wasted on me; I’m equally sure that I never want to hear about Cousinfucker’s happiness level ever again!

Now that you know what phrases I hate, what are some of the phrases you out there in BloggerLand hate as well?

Getting To Know You

So the entry that listed 100 things I love made me think about some things that you might find interesting about me.  I don’t know how long this list is going to be; I don’t have a set number of interesting facts.  We’ll just see where this takes us.

  1. I am terrified of snakes.  Like, if I had to wrestle a mountain lion or a bear for my kids I would do it in a heartbeat.  If it’s a snake?  They are on their own!  I have told them this in no uncertain language.  “If there is a snake you two need to run because I am going to be outta there!”  My kids have even discussed this.  My daughter was telling her brother not to worry if they saw a snake because I would protect them.  He looks at her like she’s crazy and tells her, “Nu-uh.  Mom said if there was a snake we were on our own!”  I’m nodding my head and saying, “Listen to your brother!  Seriously, you two are on your own!”
  2. I was a Girl Scout leader before I ever had kids.  I volunteered for three years until I moved.  Ironically, Rock Star never joined the Girl Scouts, although both of my nieces did.
  3. I have an aversion to Band-aids.  It disturbs me to no end when people lose them in water.  It is one of the most disgusting things ever. I about lost it when Picasso lost one in our brand new swimming pool last year.  I have actually yelled at my kids before when they would leave them laying out. Throw them away and ideally bury them under something so I don’t even have to see them! I can wear them but they give me the heebie jeebies every time I see them on someone else.
  4. I have four tattoos.  Yep, I am a former Girl Scout leader and PTA President with tattoos.  I started off with one, which is fairly small.  I wasn’t sure how much it would hurt so I didn’t want anything real complicated in case I wussed out. I got the next three at the same time.  I wanted one that would incorporate my kids and me but ended up getting three separate ones.  As much as I like them I have them all placed where you can’t see them when I’m wearing clothes.
  5. Speaking of tattoos, I giggle when getting them.  I am extremely ticklish and so I end up laughing almost the entire time.
  6. I have laughed so hard I have puked before. In fact, I puked on CF once.
  7. I have written numerous books although I have never been published.  Most of them were horror stories, which is kinda funny considering I hate watching horror movies.
  8. I’ve lived in 6 different states.
  9. I dropped out of college my last semester and went back the following fall to finish my degree.
  10. I always wanted four kids but I have a balanced translocation which is basically where two of your chromosomes break apart and then join together. It results in a 50% chance of miscarriage every time I get pregnant.  Between CF’s reluctance to have more and the enormous amount of stress I felt every time I was pregnant I stopped at 2.
  11. I was a nude model in college my last semester.
  12. I am the oldest of three kids.  I’m also my mother’s favorite but she will tell you she loves all of her kids equally.  She doesn’t.  I’m the favorite.  Don’t get me wrong; she likes at least one of my brothers. But I’m the favorite.
  13. I hate smoking. I’ll still be your friend but I really really hate that habit. And I hate cigarette butts- in ashtrays, on beaches, in water, on the ground.  There are few things I find grosser than seeing those outside ashtrays filled with cigarette butts and water.
  14. My favorite part of Thanksgiving would be all the sides and the pumpkin pie.  I’m not a big fan of turkey and could forego the main course entirely.
  15. As I’ve gotten older my fear of heights has increased dramatically.  We stayed in a hotel in Vegas with a view of the city and rides on the top of the building.  I thought I was going to throw up.  I had to sit on the couches away from the huge windows.
  16. Similarly, I HATE those sky coasters at parks- the ones that slowly coast over the park.  I have been on them three times and that’s it for me.  I need to be medicated in order to do that!
  17. I am not a fan of New Year’s Eve.  I think it puts way too much pressure on people to have a great time and ring in the New Year.  I’ve always said it’s about people pretending to have a good time while in reality they are miserable and wishing they were home.  I almost never have plans for NYE and can easily sleep through it or simply watch TV.  I will say though that this past year I was at my mom’s.  My niece and one of her friends spent the night.  We watched the Rockin’ New Year’s Eve special and I actually liked the musical guests.  We cracked open a bottle of champagne at midnight and I texted all my friends in the Mountain Time Zone telling them I was from the future and that it was looking pretty bright.
  18. I have lived in three out of the four time zones in the United Staes (mainland, of course).
  19. I always have an exit strategy for all the rides at the amusement park.  I don’t generally have a problem with the roller coasters or the Samurai (I figure I’ll just be dead and it will be over quickly), but all the other rides I figure out a escape plan.  I do realize that the centrifugal force will probably not allow for my plans but it comforts me to think I can take action.  That’s probably why I don’t like those stupid sky coasters; there is no way to escape that sucker and it moves soooooo slowly you know death won’t be instantaneous.
  20. I can take or leave Valentine’s Day, too.  I don’t hate it but I didn’t have a problem with having no one to celebrate it with this past year either.  It’s just a day. Maybe if I had been married to someone who put in the time and effort to celebrate it I might feel differently.
  21. I keep thinking I would like to learn to crochet and knit.
  22. I also think about learning to play hockey.
  23. One of the things on my bucket list is to run a marathon.  I should probably start working on that.
  24. I think the Grand Canyon is overrated.  I suppose if you don’t mind heights then it would be a great place to visit.  I do mind heights and therefore didn’t enjoy a whole lot of my visit because I was terrified!  That sucker is not fenced in for the most part.
  25. I’ve been to Yellowstone National Park and I really enjoyed it. I loved the geysers and the hot springs.
  26. I’ve always been fascinated by serial killers and gave a speech my sophomore year about the difference between mass murderers and serial killers.
  27. I’ve been to both Disneyland and Disney World.
  28. I’ve also been to Sea World Orlando and Sea World San Diego.
  29. I’m pretty sure my favorite theme park is Universal Studios, although I’ve only been to the one out in California.
  30. I have no desire to get married again.
  31. I’ve dipped my toes into the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Gulf of Mexico.
  32. I have a goal of visiting all 50 states one of these days. I’m at right around 75%. Most of the states I haven’t visited and driven through are the New England states. If I could vacation for a week or two along the New England coast I think I could almost cross this one off my bucket list!
  33. I love chocolate, especially Godiva chocolate. I prefer dark chocolate.  I think my favorite, though, is chocolate cake with vanilla or cream cheese icing.  I’m not a fan of chocolate on chocolate for some reason.
  34. I love sushi and my favorite one right now is the Angel Roll with shrimp tempura and mango inside and spicy crab and a honey mayo on top.  It is the most delicious thing ever!
  35. I like visiting food trucks.
  36. Until we moved this last time I volunteered a lot.  According to that lovely poem there is a very special place for me in Heaven.
  37. I don’t have favorites, like a favorite color, favorite song, favorite food… I like lots of different things.  I have an assortment of favorites.
  38. The word “gulch” makes me giggle when I say it. I’m giggling right now.
  39. I’m terrified of death.  I can’t think about what happens after you die because it totally freaks me out. Ever since my Mamaw died I have had to sleep with the TV on because I can’t let my mind wander at night; by tuning into the TV until I fall asleep I don’t have to think about anything.  I also don’t want to be buried or cremated.  I told my kids I needed to do that body tour because I always wanted to travel and it wouldn’t require burying or burning me. Now I’m thinking that maybe I’ll donate my body to the Body Farm in Knoxville, TN.
  40. CF named both of our kids (I did have veto power and honestly, I didn’t really care).  In a small twist of delicious irony, his middle name, which was given to our son as his middle name, is also the name of someone I loved deeply who died in high school.  So now, instead of thinking of Picasso’s middle name being the same as his dad’s I think of him sharing a name with my beloved. Yeah, I’m evil.  So what?
  41. I never intended to have 3 dogs.  Rock Star was begging for a friend’s dog that they were going to get rid of.  I told her if her dad said okay then we could take it.  Long story short:  He said okay, they ended up keeping the dog and she got pregnant; we then took the only male puppy.  He was supposed to say no!  Hey- that seems to be a recurrent theme for him. Couldn’t say no to the dog, couldn’t say no to the whore!
  42. My favorite flavor of ice cream is mint chocolate chip. Oh, look at that!  I do have a favorite!
  43. At one point we had over 40 guinea pigs.  It’s a long story.
  44. I eat very slowly and when I do try to eat fast I get a stomachache.
  45. My first job was working in the deli department making pizzas.  I think I was the most popular employee there because I would bake the pizzas to hand out samples to customers and all the guys that worked in different departments would come by to grab little sample pieces.
  46. I hate long lines, traffic, and waiting. I am a type B personality through and through until you put me behind the wheel of a car or make me wait.  Then I am a type A all the way.
  47. My brother and I were once racing home in our cars.  Yes, I know, that was dangerous; we were young and stupid.  When it became apparent he was going to win and get to the driveway first I cut through the yard and pulled in ahead of him.  I won!
  48. I’ve been skydiving.  CF wouldn’t go with me to cheer me on or support me, of course.  I still went.
  49. My first concert was Damn Yankees/Bad Company.  My second was Skid Row/Guns-n-Roses.  I loved them back in my teens and early 20s.  The last two concerts I saw were The Wiggles (twice!) and Hannah Montana.  Bit of a change there.
  50. I hate sweet potatoes.  I’m not fond of onions but I’m better at eating those.  I still don’t like raw ones but I can eat them if they are sautéed or finely diced (and cooked- no “dice” on raw ones).
  51. I’m a happy, loving drunk when I drink too much.
  52. I never got hangovers until around age 23.  As I’ve gotten older they’ve gotten worse. It hasn’t taken much of a learning curve for me.  I rarely overindulge anymore.
  53. My go to drink when I’m out (which is never anymore) is a vodka cranberry.
  54. I liked the movie Twilight a lot more than an adult should have.  Rock Star wanted to see it so I took her and I ended up really liking it.  I also liked Eclipse and the second part of Breaking Dawn.
  55. I always loved taking my kids to the movies and enjoyed pretty much all the movies we saw.  Fern Gully, out long before I ever had children, remains a favorite of mine.
  56. It took us four years to have Rock Star. When she was a baby I worked from home and would play the Disney Sing-Alongs for her to keep her occupied.  Whenever “The Circle of Life” from the Lion King would come on I would lift her above my head.  She was my Simba and I was showing her off for the world.
  57. I have been known to cry at commercials, especially the one where Peter comes home for Christmas and is making coffee for the family.
  58. I can’t stand snakes but I think lizards are cute, especially those little bearded dragons.
  59. I cannot bear to watch those ASPCA ads on television.  They break my heart.  I just want to take all of those poor, abused, and abandoned animals in and love them.
  60. I have to have something in front of me to drink whenever I’m eating.  It’s almost an obsession.  The irony is that I actually drink very little while I’m eating.  I tend to take small sips and drink most of my beverage at the end of the meal.  Weird, I know.
  61. Along those lines I typically cannot drink alcohol with a meal.  Some people love beer and pizza, or wine and pasta.  I can’t do that. It simply does not quench my thirst.  Alcohol, apparently for me, is a whole other food group!  The only time I can eat and drink alcohol at the same time is when I’m having a frozen margarita with Mexican food.
  62. I have been to every state west of the Mississippi except for Minnesota, North Dakota, Louisiana and Oregon. Some of them I may have only driven through but I’ve been there.
  63. Instead of keeping a baby book for my kids I instead had a cute baby calendar and marked all their firsts and milestones on it.  At the end of the first year I then turned around and created a large book for them, filled with pictures, stories, people who loved them, their birth story, and that year of firsts. Rock Star’s is laminated and in a 3-ring binder.  Poor Picasso has his story written out but no pictures and no actual book.  It’s still on the computer.
  64. Speaking of cousins… while I have a lot of cousins I only have 3 first cousins.  Both my mom and dad were one of two children.  My dad’s sister never had any children and my mom’s brother had two plus a stepchild. I think my dad has 5 first cousins. His mom was an only child and his dad was one of three.  The plethora of cousins actually comes from my mother’s side. Her mom was the oldest of 9 and her dad was one of six. That’s where they all come from and I don’t sleep with any of them.
  65. I have a really bad habit of chewing my straws after I’m finished with my drink (which could take hours since I drink so slowly).
  66. I have lived in college towns most of my life.
  67. I can drive a stick shift.
  68. This probably should have gone on my List of 100 Things I Love but I’ll put it here.  I love playing Phase 10.
  69. I also really love playing double deck bid euchre.  I haven’t played in years because so few people know how to play regular euchre, much less bid euchre, but I love it.
  70. I will play Bunko with you in a heartbeat.
  71. I don’t have to take charge but I will if no one else will step up.
  72. I was a Teacher Appreciation goddess.  When I saw my two teacher friends earlier this summer they both commented on it and how much they missed me.  “No one does it like you, Sam!”  That made me feel great.
  73. Aside from running Teacher Appreciation I actually like working on the administrative side of PTA better than working in the schools and carrying out activities. Make a note of that, people.  There will be a quiz.

And now you know a little bit more about me aside from my sad tale of woe with a cheating husband. Hopefully you are thinking, “Wow, that Sam sure sounds like a fascinating person!”

My 100 Things

I haven’t been blogging long, a mere six months, but I have some fairly faithful commenters and I like to think of them as friends.  One of those friends is Caroline, from Totally Caroline.  A few weeks ago she posted a list of 100 things that she loved.  Many of her readers created their own lists thanks to her inspiration.  So, in no particular order I give you my own list of 100 things that I love. Caroline, this list took many days of thought to compile!

  1. My kids
  2. My dogs
  3. Vodka
  4. The beach
  5. Fruity frozen margaritas
  6. My Freedom song list
  7. Hockey- I can’t skate and I am clueless when it comes to most of the rules (I think I understand offsides) but I love this game.  I don’t watch it on TV but I would go to the rink and watch any time I was asked.
  8. My friends
  9. The smell of lilacs- I’m only sorry that their blooming period seems to be so short.
  10. My family- my mom and my brother and sister-in-law have been so supportive throughout all of this and I love being an aunt.
  11. Traveling- I think this one is more in my mind than anything. I have traveled quite a bit through the US, and by travel I mean driving and visiting various sites on our travels.  I’ve only been out of the US three times- twice to Canada and once to Puerto Rico and two of the American Virgin Islands.  Of course, I’m not really sure those even count since they are US territories.  Yet I love the idea of traveling and would love to visit Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Greece, and Italy to name a few.
  12. Laughing- I love a man with a great sense of humor.  I like to laugh.  I love watching comedians.
  13. Chips and salsa
  14. Lemurs- they are so cute.  Sometimes I wish I were a zookeeper just so I could work with the lemurs.
  15. Wine- hmmmm…. you’d think I was an alcoholic by this list.  The reality is I rarely drink anymore.  I have nothing against it.  In fact I frequently have said I really should drink more.  But I don’t.  I’ll admit this as well:  I like sweet wine!  Oh, I know, it’s the in thing to go on and on about red wines; it’s so much more adult than Moscato or fruit infused wine.  You know what?  I don’t care.  I love Moscato and there is a vineyard close to where we’re moving that makes an amazing cherry wine.  Every now and then I’ll come across a great red wine but it never fails that I don’t get the name of it and then I’m off searching for another two years.
  16. I love the smell in the air after it rains in the Blue Ridge mountains.  It brings up memories of my childhood and the summers I would spend with my Mamaw. It is  a distinct aroma and it makes me happy each and every time I get to experience it.
  17. The Stephanie Plum series of books by Janet Evanovich
  18. Alexander Skaarsgard- and by love I mean lust.  He is a beautiful, beautiful man.
  19. Fondue
  20. The movie The Princess Bride- I do not think that word means what you think it means.
  21. Driving in a car, blasting music and singing songs by One Direction with my daughter- it could be any song really but I always like it when it’s a song that I wouldn’t necessarily be into if not for her.
  22. Having interesting conversations with my kids
  23. Homecoming videos of soldiers returning from deployment
  24. Rocking babies to sleep
  25. Crab legs
  26. My DVR- I know I criticize CF for all of his TV watching but hear me out.  First, I don’t neglect my kids in favor of watching TV.  Secondly, I can go days without watching anything.  I love my DVR for exactly that reason.  I hate commercials and rarely watch anything in real time.  I’ll pause a show for 20 minutes just so I can fast forward through the commercials.  That’s why I love my DVR.  I can watch when I want and don’t have to sit through ads.
  27. Bubble baths
  28. Spinach, mushroom and bacon omelets with Swiss cheese
  29. Gymnastics- Those girls are amazing!  The things they can get their bodies to do. They are typically tiny little girls but they are so strong and incredibly tough.
  30. Corny jokes
  31. Acting- I was voted Best Actress my senior year of high school.  I loved doing theater and I have thought about trying to return to it now that my kids are older.
  32. Christmas
  33. Sweet tea- I don’t like it too sweet and usually have it cut half and half in restaurants, but I make some pretty perfect sweet tea at home and I could drink a gallon a day.
  34. Soups on a chilly day
  35. A good fire whether it’s in the fireplace or a fire pit
  36. Making memories with my friends and family
  37. My crockpots
  38. Cooking
  39. Pandas- they look adorable, too.  I love the videos on Facebook where they’re getting into everything and driving their poor caretaker crazy.
  40. Writing- I’ve written short stories since I was in 4th or 5th grade.
  41. Rainy days, especially if I don’t have to be out in it
  42. Shark movies- I do not like horror movies at.all but I can watch shark movies all day long.
  43. Having everyone in my family together- I love the chaos, the mess, the camaraderie, the noise.  I find it blissful.
  44. Going to the movies by myself- I don’t have to consult anyone on what movie to see; no one tries to take my popcorn.  I don’t like going to dinner by myself and I’m not sure I would like to vacation by myself but I do love going to the movies all alone. To be clear, I enjoy going with others as well, but for me there’s something special about going into that darkened theater all by myself.
  45. Popcorn- I like both the air popped popcorn I pop at home, covered in butter, and movie theater popcorn.  I’ve been known to frequent a movie theater based upon the quality of their popcorn.  Back out west there was a theater chain that offered a refillable mug.  You purchased it for something like $12 and then could fill it up every time you watched a movie for $1.  They even offered a movie card where you could gain rewards- free tickets, small popcorn, drinks, candy, etc.  They had terrible popcorn though.  I started going to the other theater chain because they had excellent popcorn even though they didn’t offer rewards and their refills were $3.
  46. Skinny dipping- I haven’t done it in years but I love it.  Maybe I’ll get my pool cleaned out and go a few times before I move.
  47. San Diego- we’ve gone multiple times for gymnastics meets.  I might not like it if I had to live there but it’s one of my favorite places to visit.
  48. History- the historical kind, not mine.
  49. Memphis- one of my all time favorite cities.  I’ve seen many of the tourist sites: Graceland (like 6 times- long story), Mud Island (one of my favorites), Beale Street, the Memphis zoo, Pink Palace, Hunt-Phelan Home (this one was shut down over 15 yeas ago), St. Jude’s Hospital, wineries, the Peabody Hotel and the famous Peabody ducks.
  50. Candy crush
  51. Phase 10
  52. Diet Coke- I know it’s bad for me but it’s so good!  I remember spending a few weeks one summer in NYC when they were debuting it.
  53. Buffy the Vampire Slayer- one of my favorite TV shows!
  54. Polar bears
  55. Fall- I love everything associated with it: Halloween, cooler weather, soup, apple picking, caramel apples, cider, sweatshirts, a new school year, football games, tailgating
  56. Pinterest
  57. Trying new recipes
  58. Hammocks
  59. The movie Thelma & Louise
  60. Caramel vodka mixed with apple cider
  61. Great pizza
  62. Wings- I like the regular hot wings you usually order at restaurants but I’m addicted to the Asian Zing blend at Buffalo Wild Wings.
  63. Pickles- I like regular dill pickles and I love fried dill pickles dipped in Ranch dressing
  64. The movie The Sure Thing
  65. Gazing up into a star filled sky and pondering the universe
  66. Chocolate covered strawberries
  67. I love that every morning when she comes upstairs my daughter cries, “Mama!” and comes and gives me a big hug.
  68. My cell phone
  69. Hot chocolate with tons of marshmallows
  70. Fancy gourmet caramel apples- my favorite is a caramel apple that is then dipped in chocolate.
  71. The fact that my son, at age 14, will still kiss and hug me even in front of his friends
  72. Earl Grey tea
  73. Cheesecake
  74. I love it when my daughter’s friends hang out at the house even when she’s not home because they like being around me.
  75. Creamer in my coffee
  76. Falling asleep watching TV even when I tell myself I’m only resting my eyes
  77. Cute shoes
  78. The Cheesecake Factory and their Chicken Madeira
  79. Baby clothes, especially baby shoes.  There is just something so sweet and adorable about all those miniature bathing suits, sandals, boots, etc.
  80. My Keurig- I know that coffee snobs think they’re horrible, both for the environment and for the quality of coffee they produce, but I love the ease of mine.  Plus, I don’t drink a lot of coffee so it doesn’t make sense to make an entire pot.
  81. Sudoku
  82. Cleaning out ears- I know it’s weird and disgusting but I can’t help it.  I cannot resist a waxy ear; I have to clean it out.  My poor dogs don’t escape my prying Q-tips either.
  83. Similarly I love peeling people after a sunburn.  Let’s just go ahead and put these two in the category of weird and disgusting compulsions I have.  I’m fine with that.  I own it.
  84. Pineapple- I love it fresh and I love it grilled.
  85. The feeling you get when you have a clean house (I don’t know this feeling much anymore since having children 16 years ago)
  86. Dennis Miller- I have always loved his humor and once got to see a taping of his late night show.
  87. Running- I don’t do it anymore but I liked it when I was doing it.  I started off with the Couch to 5K program and always marveled at how the first week I could barely run the required 60 or 90 seconds and by the 10th week I was running 3 miles.  One day I’d like to run a marathon, especially because CF always told me it would be too hard for me.
  88. Chai tea
  89. Real butter
  90. Butterflies in your stomach when you meet someone incredible
  91. Cruises
  92. The smell of suntan lotion
  93. ID TV
  94. The Scrambler at amusement parks
  95. Hanging out at the water park all day underneath an umbrella, reading a book
  96. Looking at old pictures of my kids and of my younger years
  97. A great pair of sunglasses- I feel like I have a large head so it’s difficult to find sunglasses that I can wear that remain comfortable for long periods of time.  I find the best deals at Forever 21 and Charming Charlie’s.  They have comfortable sunglasses at great prices.
  98. My church- I’m really going to miss it when we leave.
  99. High school football games- I’m going to miss that when we move, too.  Rock Star’s first year we attended one game.  Last year I went to almost all the home games to watch her cheer, and even went to one away game with her because her boyfriend played.  This coming year I’m sure I would have been there for every home game because Rock Star would have been cheering and Picasso would have been playing in the marching band.
  100. My grandmother’s beef and noodles over mashed potatoes plus her green beans and strawberry shortcake- my favorite meal.

I’m On Fire

Like literally, I am on fire!  I’m down in Florida right now, hanging out one last time at my mom’s place with the family.  I went to the beach the other day with my nieces and apparently I am not very good at applying sunscreen.  I have what looks like a freaking mask around my face where I am burned up near my hairline.  I have a big red blotch on my neck and my shoulders and back are burned as well.  You would think I would be better at this by now.  Aside from being burned alive things are going well and we are having a good time.

As I referenced above, this is the last time we’ll be down here.  My mom is selling her place and will be renting instead when she comes down in the winter.  She and my brother were both wanting me and my kids to come down and vacation as a family one last time.  Both offered to help fund the trip.  At first I wasn’t in any kind of mood for a vacation.  I had been way too depressed and I wasn’t sure how the kids would feel about it either. But we relented and ended up surprising my mom.  She was so happy she burst into tears.

I am loving all this togetherness.  We’ve been eating at home and my sister-in-law and mom have been doing a lot of cooking.  My turn comes on Friday.  I believe I’m going to be making fettucine Alfredo and then sautéing up some shrimp, chicken and mushrooms and steaming some broccoli.  I’ll let everyone put whatever they want on it instead of mixing it all together.

It’s amazing sometimes how well nine people live together in a 2 bedroom/1.5 bathroom townhouse.  I hopped in the shower yesterday and added my shampoo and conditioner to the row already in existence.  At the time I thought, “I love this.  I love how chaotic it is.  I love that it’s kinda messy and not perfect.  We’re all creating a little corner for our stuff (and with three young ladies that’s a lot of stuff!) and things are going well.”  My daughter is the youngest of the three at 16.  Her cousins are 19 and 21 but they all get along fabulously.  I think they’d drag her out to the clubs if they could.  The three of them will frequently go off together, whether it’s down to the beach or out shopping.  The two boys hang out together but aren’t opposed to playing on their phones and ignoring one another either.

I’m trying to enjoy this time because when I go back home I’m going back to reality.  I need to close accounts down, start packing, start pricing things for my two yard sales, and just getting ready to leave.  It’s a strange feeling.

My mom asked me if it was going to be hard to leave this house because on one hand we only lived here for two years.  On the other hand I thought this was going to be the house I lived in forever.  I think it will be a little difficult.  I love my house.  I wasn’t wild about it at first but I think that’s to be expected when you’ve had your eye on another house for months and it turns out to be a dud and then you’ve got to pick something else in two to three days.  I love my big, spacious bedroom and my enclosed porch and my porch swing.  I love my granite countertops that I so badly wanted and of course, my pool.  Even though I didn’t use them much I will miss my jetted tub and my hot tub.  Mainly I think I will miss having my own house.  I’m equally sure it’s going to be hard for my kids going back to sharing a bathroom, especially one that is much smaller than the one that either of them has had to themselves. Oh well, it’s just bricks and drywall.

That’s my update.  I’m having fun and enjoying family time at the beach.  Now I’m off to rub more aloe on my burning skin.

The Bissextus, Meeting My Soul Mate, and Other Random Stuff

Anybody have any big plans to celebrate the bissextus? Yeah, me neither.  What is a bissextus, you ask?  Why, it is the extra day added to the Julian calendar every fourth year.  I’m so glad you asked.  I am a vocabulary geek.  I LOVE new words.  Some of my favorites are from a 12th grade vocabulary list and they all begin with “O”:  obstreperous, ostentatious, obsequious.  I wish I could find a way to work them into my every day conversations a little easier.  My best friend and I have a little game we haven’t played in years where we begin taking turns listing words that begin with “V”.  Last person to say a word is the winner.  Not geeky enough for you?  I have the dictionary.com app on my phone so I get a nice little word of the day.  Some I save and others I say, “Oh, that’s nice,” and I immediately forget the word completely.  Here’s another one for you:  poikilothermic.  As in:  Cousinfucker is a poikilothermic snake and I hope the karma bus visits him soon!  I learned that one when I accompanied said best friend to a biology lecture.  The poikilothermic part, not the karma bus.

As I referenced above I believe I met the love of my life/soul mate on Saturday.  OK, so I didn’t really meet him and I know nothing about him.  He’s probably married even.  My kids and I were out to dinner celebrating my birthday.  Our chef was telling us that the guy at the table next to us had eight kids.  I didn’t think anything about it at first but eventually I happened to look over there.  Here was a guy at a Japanese steakhouse with SIX kids- all by himself.  I don’t know what happened to the other two if he did indeed have eight, but there were six with him that night.  I counted.  At least three times!  The oldest didn’t look to be much more than 8 or 9, and he also had a baby with him- maybe around a year old.  I’m looking at this scene and thinking, “OMG!  I love this man!  If I were still capable and not so old I would have his babies!”  Cousinfucker couldn’t handle TWO- AT HOME.  If I had told him he had to take our two out to dinner his head would have exploded.  I remember throwing up and having diarrhea and he was going out to the drugstore to get me some medicine.  He actually asked me if I wanted him to take our two with him.  And when I looked at him like he was dumber than a potato and said, “Yes!” he whined, “I was just asking!”

Anyway, I say that stranger is my soul mate but is he really?  I briefly thought about stopping at his table and commending him on taking six kids out by himself but I didn’t.  Shortly thereafter I was telling my mom that men are always applauded for that kind of thing.  Had I seen a woman there with six kids on her own I probably would have thought, “Wow- that’s really brave!”  But I’m not sure I would have lauded her as a hero or thought about becoming a lesbian because I had met my “soul mate”.  A man volunteers at school and it’s headline news.  I make SpongeBob cupcakes complete with homemade frosting, chocolate candy figurines and an entire underwater beach scene and it’s just something moms do.  Let me tell you, those cupcakes were work!  I had to make the separate royal frosting so the seaweed would be stiff and stay upright in the cupcakes. I think I gave up on the royal icing flowers and just piped in a flower.  The candy figurines had multiple colors so I had to do one color, spread it in the mold, chill it, and then work on the second color, finish all the different colors, and then fill the mold.  It took me HOURS to do this because the mold only held 5 figures and I had to do that probably 5 or 6 times to account for all the kids!  Did any man say, “Oh, my gosh, that woman is my soul mate!  I want someone who spends hours hand designing cupcakes for my children!”  No!  A man takes his six kids out to eat and I’m suddenly willing to marry him.  Do you think he would be impressed if I had taken six kids out for dinner?  Probably not.

I will go on to say, however, that it was fantastic to see a father who was capable and involved.  It once again shows that Cousinfucker was full of shit and was a lazy, selfish, entitled sonofabitch who cheated his kids out of way too many experiences.

Speaking of piece of shit fathers, have any of you seen Kelly Clarkson’s performance on American Idol?  I saw her song was #1 on iTunes and I started to listen to it.  It didn’t do much for me.  Then, it kept popping up on my Facebook feed:  Watch Kelly Clarkson’s moving performance.  See what had everyone in tears.  So I watched it.  And I cried.  I’m a sympathetic cryer to begin with but this was just heartbreaking.  I’m really listening to the words this time around because I want to know what has everyone so choked up. Keith Urban has tears in his eyes.  Kelly has to stop at least three times towards the end of the song because she’s getting choked up.  In case anyone hasn’t heard it it’s a song about a father who abandons his child and now that child has a child of her own.  The last verse is:

Piece by piece I fell far from the tree

I would never leave her like you left me

She will never have to wonder her worth

Because unlike you I’m gonna put her first

She told Ryan Seacrest that she wrote it for her own daughter.  I’m sure it resonates for many children.  I’ve watched it twice and each time I think of my own kids who have been left behind by their father.  Then I think of Harley and how “happy” she is and I wonder how it is that anyone can find happiness at the expense of children.  Finally, though, I think of myself and the fact that I’m not going to leave them.  I do know their worth and I will always put them first.  All is not hopeless.  I think that kids can learn how to be an awesome parent simply by refusing to repeat the mistakes of their own mother or father.  My brother is a shining example of that.

Our dad was not around much.  I wouldn’t go so far as to say he abandoned us but we certainly weren’t a priority.  My brother on the other hand is an excellent dad.  He loves his kids.  He likes spending time with them.  He is interested in their lives.  He’s a lot more understanding and patient than any of us thought he could be when he was a young hothead.  My son has said he wishes he had a dad like his uncle.  To my brother’s credit he did say he is willing to step up for my two, knowing they don’t have an active father in their lives.  My hope is that my son emulates my brother and not his father.

Other random stuff that has been happening in my life- more bad dreams/night time experiences.  I’m sleeping better if you count sleep interrupted by rude dogs who demand to go out at odd times of the night as good sleep.  I’m still, however, having bad dreams.  Actually, I’ve had one bad dream and two bad/eerie experiences.  Two nights ago I fell asleep on the couch.  I don’t know why I don’t just go upstairs when I’m getting sleepy.  Instead I “rest my eyes” and it inevitably ends up with me waking sometime in the middle of the night. So, the other night I fell asleep on the couch early- like 9:00.  I woke up because one of my dogs wanted to go out.  Looked at the clock and found out it was only 11:00.  Great!  So I let the dog in, I go upstairs, get ready for bed, and go back to sleep.  Sometime after I fall asleep I hear a door creaking open.  For a minute I forgot I was in my bed and thought I was still on the couch so I begin to freak out because I think someone is coming into the house through the door in the living room that leads outside.  Fortunately, it took only a few seconds for me to remember that I was indeed in my room, upstairs, and I realized it was my son peeking in to see if he could sneak into bed with me.  Unfortunately for him the dogs were spread over the bed and there was no way he could comfortably sleep with me so he went on back downstairs.  That was bad/eerie experience #1.

Last night I had a horrible dream.  OK, it was one part horrible and one part awesome.  Anyway, in the dream two men broke into my house, raped me and slit my throat.  Not pleasant.  I told you it was a horrible dream.  The awesome part comes from the fact that this violent death led me to have a Highlander moment.  For those of you who have never seen the movie the protagonist discovers he is immortal when he is killed on the battle field.  I, too, became immortal.  That was awesome, especially because the two rapists/killers decided to come back a second time and I ended up killing them.  Now, why they would come back is beyond me.  On some level I’m thinking if they’re going to try to kill me again they obviously know I can’t be killed.  Duh!  Regardless, that was the awful dream.  Then on top of that I had once again fallen asleep on the couch and a dog wanted to go out.  I let her out, she comes back in, goes to the laundry room where their food and water is, and then she begins to BARK!  WTF?  I had no idea what she was barking at.  I thought possibly a cat had slipped upstairs but she probably wouldn’t have just barked at it; she would have tried to chase it and there was no chasing.  Only barking.  I did briefly think maybe someone had broken into the house but I didn’t hear anything else, plus I had another dog soundly sleeping despite his sister’s noisy antics.  He’s pretty protective of me so I didn’t think a human was in the house.  That’s when my mind raced to SNAKE!  I’m terrified of snakes.  I don’t live in the country; I’m in a subdivision, in fact.  But the two landscapers from the past summer told me they saw a snake in one of the trees and I have been terrified ever since.  I faced my fears, however, and have done two loads of laundry so far this morning.  Unless the snake is hiding behind the washing machine or dryer then there was nothing there and my dog is simply crazy.

And that is all I have for you on this glorious bissextus!  Enjoy and go do good things!