Cruel Summer: When life stops it also keeps going

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So much has happened since my last post about disappointment. I’m not ready to share the details, but if you know me at all, you know it’s been a difficult summer. Instead of writing about that right now, I’m sharing some ideas that I might eventually make sense of, too. Let me know if any of them sound interesting.

Handwritten essay drafts in various notebooks:

Stevie Nicks as the Fairy Godmother of Rock

The Evolution of Baby in Dirty Dancing

My favorite summer spot

Essay/story/joke ideas in Notes on my phone:

Dolly Parton and football

What NOT to say to someone who’s just lost a loved one

Play it where it lies

Always Duckie, Never Andie

Talking to girls about Rob Sheffield

We will be fine. Your friends will be fine. It will be OK. I promise. (Did I lie?) 11/8/16 10:52pm

Rites of passage: So many of my firsts were disappointing

Every boy she has a crush on is dying … crushed under the weight of her infatuation.

The best of the era in music. The worst of the era in racism. Alabama.

If women are so powerful that we can control men’s thoughts through such a mundane thing as our clothes, don’t you think we’d have given them better thoughts? Like … “Let’s pay women the same as men for the same job!” “Don’t rape!” “Let’s take half our corporate profits and feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, make sure a great education is free for all kids, and provide for our veterans!” “Love who you love!” “Women can make their own reproductive decisions!”

Goodnight.

Ghosts of Christmas Past

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While driving to my parents’ house this weekend, Riley and I talked about what Christmas was like when I was growing up. It was always happy, warm and fun for us kids.

This post is about my mom’s side. I’ll talk about my dad’s side in the next post.

I have a big extended family: My mom has seven siblings, and of the eight kids, seven have two or more kids. Plus Granma Teda’s three siblings and their kids. On Christmas Eve back in the day, we’d gather around 2 in the afternoon at Granma’s little concrete block, two-bedroom, kitchen, den, zero-bath house. If we had to relieve ourselves, we’d head through the kitchen to the back porch, lock the kitchen door, lock the storm door to the outside, then hover over one of the two 2-gallon chamber pots. Granma didn’t have a bathroom until the early ’80s, and that’s just how it was.

We drew names at Thanksgiving, so we had a month to find the perfect gift for our person. As we walked in at Granma’s on Christmas Eve, we’d deposit our presents under the tree My Favorite Thingsin the den. By the time we all showed up, the den was a sea of gifts, leaving just enough space around the perimeter to walk through the door or pick our way to the white leather couch.

Us kids would run around outside (cold or not) while the moms and aunts and grandmothers got the food ready. The men? Well, in between sneaking out to a truck for a nip or two of George Dickel, they watched football on TV.

Of course, we couldn’t open presents until after we’d eaten and the kitchen was cleaned up. Turkey and dressing, ham, deviled eggs, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, green beans, sweet potato casserole, yeast rolls, desserts, desserts, desserts.

Then … it was time! Granma would hold court next to the tree. She’d reach under, grab a gift and read: “To 4cc10-dsc02465Tiffi, From Steph” or “To Michael, From Vashon” or “To Lindy, From Tony” or “To Wesley, From Sherri.” Squeals of delight pealed through the house as we opened Barbies, albums (yes, vinyl), and Nerf guns or Lincoln Logs. The adults’ laughter mixed in with our mirth–there was always a gag gift like the “Golfer’s Ball Washer,” which consisted of a jock strap and a small brush.

After opening presents, we’d crank up Elvis on the record player and dance the night away, while the grown-up played Rook. We never noticed the men leave, but when we got home around 2 a.m. we always noticed that Santa had been there.

We’d play with our toys until we could barely hold our eyes open. Then Mom and Dad would tuck us in our warm beds and we’d fall asleep, content and happy.

Though Granma passed away in January, she lives on for me in the memories of these Christmases Past at her little concrete block house with no bathroom.

 

100 Things You Might Not Know About Me

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Updated April 29, 2016

Updated Nov. 15, 2007

Written June 2005

1. I’m a writer in a copy editor’s secretary’s job.
2. I have a widow’s peak.
3. I never thought I’d get married.
4. I did.
5. We celebrated 10 years June 17. (12 years in 2007) (He left after our 15th anniversary.)
6. I have a wonderful 3-year-old daughter(She’s now 6!) She’s 14!!
7. I married a smart jock. And divorced him.
8. I have had several nicknames–Amazon, Manute, Long Tall Sally, Bush …
9. I’m 5’9.
10. I have scarred knees–sports, car wreck.
11. I like my freckles.
12. I majored in Journalism. Univ. of North Alabama
13. I was voted Best School Spirit as senior in high school.
14. I introduced myself to my ex-husband.
15. I like it hot.
16. The weather, that is.
17. Fave meal: pinto beans, cornbread, fried taters, sweet tea.
18. I’m proud to be from the South.
19. I’m not proud of its past.
20. I thought I’d be a semi-famous writer living in NYC.
21. Well, at least I visited. Saw “Cats” and “Phantom of the Opera” on Broadway, a streaker on the sidewalk.
22. My hometown has fewer than 2000 people.
23. Richard Marx was my first concert.
24. Lynyrd Skynyrd and Allman Brothers was most recent. Update: Daughtry and Velcro Pygmies were my last. New Kids on the Block and One Direction were my last.
25. I wish I’d sneaked out to go to a Bon Jovi concert when I was 15.
26. I finally got to see them 15 years later.
27. I’ve won a few journalism awards.
28. I love ’80s music. And early ’90s.
29. And oldies.
30. And Harry Connick Jr.And classic country.
31. And some of today’s artists … Gavin DeGraw, Daughtry, The Killers.I’m mostly into older stuff now.
32. I wish I’d kept writing. (I’m writing again … and getting paid to do it.) I’m writing a piece of fiction inspired by college.
33. I’m a Body for Lifer. BFL I have a body.
34. I wish I could sing.
35. Or play guitar.
36. I love to dance.
37. And sing in my car.
38. Fave movies: “Grease,” “Dirty Dancing,” “The Outsiders.”
39. Disney movies: “Mulan,” “Pocahontas.”
40. I wanted to be a rock star…See # 34.
41. I have 2 crooked toes.
42. I win at Pictionary and Trival Pursuit.
43. I suck at Scrabble.
44. I love Bon Jovi.
45. And Elvis.
46. Fave books: “Traveling Mercies” (Anne Lamott), “I Don’t Know How She Does It” (Allison Pearson), “If You Want to Write (Brenda Ueland)
47. First book I read for pleasure: “Chad and the Elephant Engine” (gift from 2nd-grade teacher)
48. Longest book: “Gone with the Wind,” 1024 pages, Christmas break in sophomore year of high school
49. Most recent books: “Same Sweet Girls,” “gods in Alabama.” Faster Than Kudzu “2nd Chance” by James Patterson, “Writer Mama” by Christina Katz, “The Department of the Lost and Found” by Allison Winn Scotch. “Running A Love Story” by Jen A. Miller; “1776” by McCullough; “London” by Edward Rutherford. Currently reading “Big Magic” by Elizabeth Gilbert.
50. First car: 1987 Honda Accord stick shift. I miss this car!
51. First car I ever drove: orange 1964 Ford Falcon
52. Car wrecks: 2; Me Driving: 1; My fault: 0
53. I like to take pictures.photographs.
54. I was MVP of my high school volleyball team.
55. And valedictorian of the Class of 1990.
56. I regret not taking that scholarship to UA.
57. But I enjoyed playing softball in junior college. And meeting all the people I met.
58. Because it was 2 years’ of free education.
59. Brett Favre is my favorite athlete. My brother is my favorite athlete.
60. I’ve read the whole Bible.
61. I’ve never broken a bone–knock on wood.
62. I loved Dale Murphy of the Atlanta Braves when I was growing up.
63. I wish we lived at the beach.
64. My daughter is deaf.
65. But she can hear with her cochlear implants. She got her second in April 2007.
66. We go to auditory-verbal therapy once a week once a year.
67. We do at-home therapy every day.
68. Hearing her say “Mommy” and “Papa” and “love you” for the first time was overwhelming.
69. New words are coming every day. Much bigger, more mature words.
70. She’s fearless.
71. I love flip-flops.
72. I hate sticker grass…ouch!
73. I tried out for cheerleader in high school.
74. Didn’t make it.
75. Thank God!
76. My first beer was in college: Natural Light
77. My most recent was three weeks ago … Corona. (Still most recent.) a Michelob Ultra and an Angry Orchard last month. But I had a glass of Moscato last week.
78. I had a hangover after just two beers.
79. My daughter loves Dora. “Hamilton” the musical.
80. I like “Backyardigans.” “Turn.”
81. Ex likes “Recess.”
82. Worst movie: “Rocky V.”
83. I’m contemplating a tattoo. Still contemplating.
84. So is my mom. She got one this year.
85. My ex and my brother have two.
86. My dad got his while in the Army.
87. My mom is the kindest person I know.
88. And one of my best friends.
89. Juco English Comp teacher gave me confidence in my writing.
90. I’ve misplaced it, though. (Now, I’ve found it again.) And it’s growing.
91. Farthest North I’ve ever been: NYC
92. Farthest South: Captiva Island, Florida
93. Farthest East: NYC
94. Farthest West: Hutchinson, Kansas
95. I have shot a gun. Once. Scary.
96. I’m big on family gatherings.
97. I love Jack’s hamburgers & fries, chocolate ice cream, Hershey Special Dark bars, Milky Ways.
98. I’m just a small-town girl.
99. I like who I am now, but …
100. It’s never too late to be what I might have been.

To do list

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Home

Rearrange the living room so we have room to relax, walk and dance, and so we can IMG_8857decorate for the holidays, starting with Halloween.

Rearrange and declutter the bedroom because OMG there is nowhere else to put all this stuff! We’ve moved from an 1800-square-foot, three-bedroom, two-bath house to an 808-square-foot, 1-bedroom, 1-bath apartment. A 43-year-old and a 13-year-old sharing a one-bedroom apartment means continuous purging.

Find a solution to get rid of ants, once and for all. Every year the little pests show up in my truck, on the kitchen counter and in the bathroom. How do I get rid of them? Prevent them?

Health

Get in good enough shape to spend 2 days in a vehicle and 4 days walking around Disney World the week of Thanksgiving with two other moms and three teen girls without being ready to collapse at 8 p.m. Riley is an All-American and will be dancing in the Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Throw the weights around again. I’m stuck in a go-to-work-ad81a-gabreececome-home-worn-out-eat-dinner-and-sit-on-the-couch rut. I want to be healthy and strong. Inertia is the worst.

Work my way back up to running.

Get more sleep. Staying up until 11 p.m. and getting up at 6 a.m. is not working for me.

Eat better–fewer chips, more vegetables. Cut the Mountain Dew. Add back the water. Cook more, eat out less.

Hustle

Figure out how to bring in more money. I can write.53f7c537-7e98-40e4-b364-94a60e054cfb I can edit. I can design brochures, newsletters, fliers, resumes. I can edit essays. I can build a simple webpage.

Get back to writing–my writing. Not freelance disease-of-the-week pieces. $150 for 2000 words, 10-12 hours of research, interviews, writing and editing, and a side of depression wasn’t worth it.

Work on a way to use what I do and what I’ve learned in my day job to boost my earning power there and on the side.

Good things

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Updating the November column from my 2012 series Adventures in Single Parenting.

At times it’s been hard to be thankful over the past few years. That’s selfish and whiny, I know, but it’s also the truth. While I’m always grateful for the big things like family and friends, a job and shelter, there are a few little things that have brought me happiness and helped make big life changes easier.

Music. Whether I want to scream or cry, laugh or dance, music is the way to get myIMG_8760 emotions out when I can’t speak the words. For getting my girl power on, it’s “Run the World (Girls)” by Beyonce. When I just want to sit and cry, I play “Happy Ending” by Mika. And when I want to dance and laugh and feel good, I crank up “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift. Studies show that music affects mood, and it’s true. Listen to “My Ding-a-Ling” by Chuck Berry – I dare you not to laugh.

Books and movies and TV. Alone on Christmas Eve 2011 while my daughter was with her dad, I watched “Midnight in Paris” and dreamed of living in the days of Hemingway and Fitzgerald, sharing a glass of wine, wandering the City of Lights, and writing a book that would be loved by millions. IMG_0726Recently, I’ve resurrected my love of wrestling – yes, that “fake sport.” While the outcomes are predetermined, after having sat second row at a live show, I can say that the performances are in no way fake. Watching on TV is great way to escape reality for a couple of hours: I pretend Dean Ambrose is taking out MY frustrations on his opponents.

Red lipstick. I love red lipstick. Wearing it makes me feel pretty, even if I’m wearing a baseball cap, jeans, an old T-shirt, and my Buddy Holly glasses. I couldn’t tell you how many I have … glosses, mattes, balms, pencils, stains, even a compact. Two in my backpack, one in my purse, one in my truck, several in my makeup toolbox. Crimson Joy to match my Alabama sweatshirts, Dynamite to go with my Braves T-shirt, Chunky Cherry to complement a winter coat. I’m constantly searching for the perfect red. Until I find it, I’m happy to experiment with Romantic, Alarm, and Red Diva.

My 2003 Ford Explorer. There are crayon stains on the ceiling above the back seat where a certain toddler played Picasso on 2-hour trips to speech therapy. The CD is home to a gremlin that will no longer allow CDs to enter, the cruise control no longer works, and I find a small bit of oil in my parking spot every day, but my Explorer still gets me where I want to go. Whether it’s to visit my brother and his family in South Carolina, to a boyband concert in Nashville, to hang out with my parents in my hometown, or pick up my girl from school and head to a movie, the old Explorer helps me change the scenery whenever I need it.

What’s that old saying? God is in the details. It’s true, and I’m grateful for the small things that make my life more fun, more interesting, and more satisfying. What little things keep you going?

The smell of puberty

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Ah, take a deep breath. Do you smell that? It’s the smell of puberty. And it makes parents of tweens everywhere ask three important questions before the kids head out the door each day.

“Did you put on deodorant?”
“Did you brush your teeth?”
“Are you wearing clean underwear?”

One day our kids are toddling around in footed pajamas smelling like baby powder, and the next they’re stomping around in week-old socks smelling like, well, week-old socks. A change has come … and many times they’re oblivious.

Here’s the rest of the article, pasted here since the magazine where it was originally printed took down all its previous links.

“I just had a battle with a certain 12-year-old girl,” Amy Vanwestervelt, mom to three, said. “She was ready to head out to school in the shirt she was wearing the day before (that she also decided to sleep in), hair not brushed, and hadn’t brushed her teeth. She was ticked off that I made her change, brush and pull her hair back and brush her teeth.”

Give them the lowdown
Getting kids to pay attention to hygiene is an ongoing battle. My daughter loves to look cute for school – she’ll put together a pretty outfit and take time to put her hair in an actual bun. But brushing her teeth? It’s like I’ve asked her to deep clean the toilet with a toothbrush! And she has braces, so not brushing can lead to double trouble.

Short of constantly checking behind their ears and standing at the sink with a timer, what can frustrated parents do to get our children to take care of their bodies?

Jennifer Sheehy-Knight, Ph.D, psychologist at Children’s of Alabama, said education is key. “One of the things I often recommend is to pick up a book about what’s happening with their bodies and start reading it with them when you start seeing the first signs of puberty, usually around the ages of 9 or 10. This introduction will help with later discussions and you can use it as a reference.”

A few clues it’s starting: oilier skin, a growth spurt, growth of body hair, breast development in girls, and a change in voice for boys. If you’ve noticed a couple of these, welcome to puberty!

Kids this age are already anxious about starting middle school, the new boy-girl dynamic, and changes they feel in their bodies, so the last thing parents want to do is make it worse by telling them they stink.

“Talk about the changes in terms of puberty and development and that as a result their sweat is changing,” Dr. Sheehy-Knight said. “Hormones change in each stage from childhood to teenage years to adulthood and everyone goes through it. Along with that development comes body odor – it’s a natural part of growing up. But that odor also signals that it’s time to get serious about how you take care of your body.”

Getting social
Additionally, puberty and its symptoms can also affect children socially. Who hasn’t been turned off by a friend’s bad breath or sweaty feet? Let’s face it, sometimes, even though we know it’s not nice, it’s hard to be around a person who stinks.

“Often kids cannot accurately smell their own odor,” Dr. Sheehy-Knight said, “It’s important to use good hygiene, even if you think you’re OK, in order to avoid negative comments. Kids this age have to be more thorough. They can’t just give it the ‘once-over.’ Emphasize that it can impact them socially and help them understand that people will shy away. This might help them strive toward better hygiene.”

To do: Loosen the reins
This age group requires us parents to balance their autonomy with our authority. Explain the expectations then let them try to fulfill them. “They’re no longer children, but they’re not yet mature, so you still have to watch and monitor,” Dr. Sheehy-Knight said. “As they’re making this transition, they are working toward more independence. However, they’ll also be forgetful, so a checklist might be a good idea.”

We all have to-do lists, at work, at home, on weekends. “You can help them create one for the morning routine and one for bedtime,” Dr. Sheehy-Knight said. “This will allow them to take more responsibility and develop good habits.”

A checklist can work in tandem with a rewards system. For instance, set a showering goal of four days a week and when they reach it, they get extra video game time. Just make sure the incentive is something that will motivate them. It can be as simple as giving them a choice.

“A couple of things I do is buy a bazillion kinds of deodorant,” Heather Smith Davis said. “The girls can use any kind they want as long as they use it. And showers are on our chore list. Feed dogs, water dogs, sweep kitchen and hallway, take shower. They don’t get allowance if they don’t take a shower. And we have a gazillion soaps in there. Use whatever kind you want as long as it’s used.”

Orthodontist Britt Reagin, DMD, MS, said getting kids to take ownership is crucial to good hygiene, especially when they have braces. “We educate the child with an instructional video on how to take care of their teeth and what will happen if they don’t,” said Reagin, who completed his residency at UAB and now practices in South Carolina. Then he has them sign a contract, making them responsible for their teeth. “Most kids have never signed a contract, so it is a big deal to them. We also have in-office contests for kids who maintain regular hygiene visits with their dentist, and we grade hygiene at each visit. Much like homework, ultimately, it is home life and parents that determine good hygiene.”

Of course, parents still need to check that the kids taking care of business. Are they walking out the door with stained jeans or unbrushed hair? Are there more than two pairs of underwear in the laundry basket? Is the toothpaste tube still full? We can use our powers of observation to find out, no nagging required.

Light at the end of the tunnel
While we might think this battle over body will never end, hope abounds. Many parents report that one day their kids started showering daily or brushing their teeth without being told to, or, miracle of miracles, doing their own laundry! Eventually, they get the importance of good hygiene, as these moms can attest.

“My daughter is 12, and this summer she started showering without prompting and downright being made to,” Heather Hurlock said. “She now showers daily on her own. It has helped tremendously with the maintenance of her hair, and she even likes her hair being ‘cute’ again.”

Apryl Chapman Thomas said, “I battled with my daughter last year, but since she started sixth grade, she’s changed. She wants to blow dry and fix her hair. She loves lotions and spray from Bath and Body Works. I think her changes are not only because of her age and being in middle school, but also because she sees her friends doing the same, too.”

“It all comes down to education and understanding the possible consequences,” Dr. Sheehy-Knight said. “If you’re not cleaning your face regularly, you’ll get pimples. If you don’t brush your teeth, you’ll get cavities. Once they start keeping up with good hygiene, it will become one less thing they have to worry about when it comes to finding their fit socially.”

And parents can change the out-the-door conversation.

“Great job on that last report card!”

“Nice outfit!”

“I love you!”

JBJ is always there

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You say you’ve cried a thousand riversJBJ2008
And now you’re swimming for the shore

I was thinking about this video on the way to work this morning as I sang along to I’ll Be There For You. I taped it from MTV and watched it over and over and over … when it comes to Bon Jovi videos, this one is tops for me. Probably because Jon looks so fine in the brown leather pants, the shirt unbuttoned to his navel, and that hair, oh, that glorious hair, and because I wanted someone to feel that way about me:

I’ll be the water when you get thirsty, baby
When you get drunk I’ll be the wine

Those are some of my favorite song lyrics. Even as a teetotaling 17-year-old, I loved the imagery. Someone loving you so much that he gets a high just from being with you? Back then I understood “getting drunk” as acting silly, giddy, and having fun while nursing a wine cooler. (As an adult, I’d learn more than I’d ever want to know about what it really meant. I’ll expand on that in a later post.) “Getting drunk” was something college kids and grown-ups did, not something high school me did. I just loved the metaphor. And still do.

Twenty-four years later, I could still watch the video on repeat, only now I can see Jon and his leather pants in high-def on my 42-inch flat screen. YouTube through a Blu-Ray player is an awesome invention. <clicks play>

Keep me hanging on

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I got some great suggestions from friends regarding last week’s post on the rules of dating in an online world and my conundrum: to ask or not to ask?

* DISCLAIMER: No one knows the guy’s identity. I haven’t even told my closest friends his name. And I don’t plan to. *

I swear, I have the smartest pals. See for yourself:

  • There’s no rule that says you can’t call the guy. Besides, what do you have to lose?
  • CALL the guy!!! There are no rules anymore – everyone is figuring it out as they go. Might he say, ‘no, I’m busy, have a girlfriend,’ whatever, you need to shrug and go on, all the while thinking, ‘your loss, buddy, not mine.’
  • Don’t be weird about it. Don’t be coy. You’re grown-ups. Just say why you called. Be totally honest with yourself, too. Maintain your self-identity.
  • I think rules are a bother and we have to follow our own intuition. The standing rule I’ve found is, “screw it all, and do what you think is right.” If that doesn’t work out, then it wasn’t supposed to work out. No sense in acting like every relationship is the be-all and end-all at this point.

So while waiting for my daughter to finish dance class, I screwed up my courage and decided to give it a shot. However, I chickened out of spoken words, and instead went the written route. And like the post title says, I was left hanging. I got no response, but that itself is an answer, and that’s fine. He has his reasons, whatever they may be, and I respect that. Of course, I had to break it down for my buds, and again, they had me feeling good.

  • You didn’t lose … you needed to know. The main thing is you tried, and you haven’t quit.
  • Don’t get too invested in a single at-bat. It’s embarrassing to strike out, but even the best usually do. Remember: In high school, Elvis was cut from the Glee Club. Know and accept yourself. Others may or may not be right about you.
  • Well, so this one didn’t work out – and let’s face it – he could have been polite and just said he was busy. … Don’t let it stop you from trying again!!

So, while I’ll likely be a smidge embarrassed whenever I see him again, I’m glad I took a chance, swallowed my nerves, and went for it. How will I know if I never try? Sitting in front of this screen, at this keyboard, typing ain’t gonna get me kissed again. That’s going to take getting out there, being open to possibilities, and giving myself permission to let go, even if it’s just a little.

After thanking one of my Twitter pals for listening, he offered one final piece of advice:

Go get ’em, tiger! (But not Tiger, as in Tiger Woods. i.e., don’t get ALL of them. At once, anyway.)

To which I replied:

Rawr!

 

Here’s my number …

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I asked that question on Facebook last month and, according to my connections, the answer was yes, dating, especially among teens, is done mostly via social media.

But what about grown-ups? How is it done? One FB commenter said the rules are different when you’re back out there again. I want to know how. What are the rules?

Do men call women to ask them out? Can women call men?

Is dating even a thing anymore? Or is it just “hooking up” for most people? I’m a grown-up and I would like to hang out with a grown-up of the opposite sex. <insert Nelson’s Love and Affection here>

I spent my whole hour’s drive home from work tonight debating whether to call a guy I’ve known for years but haven’t talked to in a while. (Background: We went out a couple of times in college. We’re both single now.) Here’s how it sounded in my head. <pretend Call Me by Blondie was playing in the background>

Optimistic Me: He messaged me his number and said to call him sometime. (Grabs phone.)

Pessimistic Me: Yeah, well, then I gave him my number, too, and wouldn’t he have called me by now if he was interested? (Puts phone down.)

OM: Maybe he’s unsure. Or busy. Or shy. Or intimidated.

PM: Yeah, riiiiight. If I didn’t want him to call, why would I have given him my number?

OM: But … he did give me his number first …

See what I’m dealing with here? It’s a vicious cycle, and I’m fully aware that I’m an over-analyzing goofball. I talk myself out of a lot of things because I’m afraid I’ll become the punchline to someone else’s joke.

I mean, what if I call and someone else answers his phone for him? And I start blathering on. Yes, this has happened. Eighth grade. I called a boy I had a crush on to wish him happy birthday. The phone was answered, I started singing the stupid song, and when I was finished, his dad said, “He’s not here right now.” The guy told everyone at school about it. Sigh.

It’s ridiculous, I know! I’m smart, I’m funny, I’m kind, I’m attractive, I’m a good driver and a helluva kisser. I make people feel things by typing a few words. I know sports. I know movies. I read books. I’ve got soul and rhythm. And boobs and hips and a booty. I can check my own oil, buy my own tires, and make a delicious lasagna. I’m Every Woman here>

What is my problem? The worst he can do is say no. Then tell all his friends and laugh. On Facebook. Cynical? Me? Nah.

So what are the rules of the dating game today? Am I missing something? How does it work? Should I or shouldn’t I?

<insert Welcome to the Jungle here>

 

 

‘Tis the season for lights, lights, lights

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Riley, my mom and dad, and I drove out to the local Christmas light display tonight. It’s become an annual tradition since Riley was about 3 or 4, when we had to keep her from crawling out the car window to get a better look at Baby Jesus and Santa.

The Wrights go all out. Rudolph shares yard space with Spongebob and Frosty. Helicopters and semi-trucks have the transportation angle covered. Outlined kiddies jump rope and “wheeee” down slides. Candy canes and trees line the driveway and paths.

It’s not a professional job, but that’s what I love about it. The display is this family’s way of sharing the joy of the season with anyone who wants to drive out to rural Colbert County.

If you visit, be kind and drop a couple of bucks in the donation box so they can keep the lights on for another year.