Wednesday, September 28, 2011

after dinner dumplings

i've been wearing bras for 27 years now and i've got to be honest - i'm really sick of them. they were super exciting 27 years ago when i started out with the white, stretchy variety. then during my teenage years, they were something that was fun to shop for because of the cute patterns and styling options. in my early twenties, i still could wear the semi-cute ones, but since my guava growth continued into my late twenties, i was soon fighting a losing battle against the bras. i went from having thingamaJIGS to thingamaJUGS. if i got the kind that looked good to my guy then either a strap would be slipping or i'd be sliding out the front every time i bent forward. and once you slide out, either you're stuck with that tacky muffin top ta-ta or you have to reach in there and jiggle them back into the proper position.

sports bras are no good for me for a couple reasons. 1 - it's hard to find one that stretches far enough to accommodate them without overspillage or intense back-fat squeezing problems. and 2 - they give major uniboob which looks odd in my shirt and causes excessive sweating. it's like the coconut canal flowing through there.

the bra options aren't great once your boobs grow to the size of mine. you can walk through a bra store, admiring all the pretty options, but none of them are available in my size. the ones that come in my size? they're mostly what you'd picture your grandma wearing if you ever pictured your grandma in a brassiere. or once in a while i can find a cute one, but when i try it on, it doesn't fit right. too tight or too stabby. too low or too pinchy. so back i go to the standard blah choice where the most exciting option is a color. oh yes please, i'll take that ugly cotton one in blue, tan, white, black, gray and one with little periwinkle flowers all over.

for the past few years, i've spent most of the time that i'm home in the free swinging zinger zone. people might show up to my house to visit, but if i didn't have advance notice, i wasn't going to be wrangling myself into a flopper-stopper before i could answer the door. since we've moved in with my in-laws, i've felt rather weird about that. i've come to the conclusion that while i can't maintain my braless state all day every day when i'm living here, i can only be expected to keep the sweater meat tamped down for so many hours per day. therefore, i've implemented the "after-dinner-boobs" standard for myself.

that means i have to wear a bra all day even if i never walk out the door until dinner is over. then i'm permitted to shuck it off like the irksome irritant that it is. from that time forward, i can release them like free range chickens to wander where they will until morning.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


i spent some time with my sister this weekend, hanging out, shopping, having lunch. she's getting married next year so we talked a little about wedding plans. one of the things that makes me love sarah even more than i already did is that she's not a wedding person. she's one of the few females i know who joins me in not wanting to have all the fluff and frills and fanciness of a wedding. we've always kind of thought that one day sarah would come back from a vacation married. no muss, no fuss. just boom - hitched.

but as it turns out, there will probably be a wedding. and that's cool. we'll muddle our way (we, meaning, she and her fiance and perhaps my mom and i if sarah wants some old female help) through the plans & surely end up with something really beautiful & memorable. but the part that almost everyone can enjoy, bride or groom, regardless of what kind of wedding they have, is the honeymoon.

i'm not talking about the bow-chicka-wow-wow of the bedroom hours (which better be enjoyable or =( sadface for you!) but the part after all the wedding shenanigans are finished. no more stress or pressure of getting things ready & making sure it all comes together perfectly. no people calling or asking questions or discussing their stresses with you. it's just the couple getting to calm the heck down, forget all the other stuff, just relax and rest and have fun. alone.

when chris & i got married 13 years ago, i wanted to do something outside of our scope of experience for our honeymoon, so i booked us into a bed and breakfast. we only had 3 days to spend honeymooning, and we didn't have a lot of money, but we wanted it to be memorable and that seemed like a good way to change things up.

when we arrived at the B&B a few hours after our wedding, we didn't really know what to expect. we walked into the gorgeous victorian house & i felt like we must be in the wrong place. it seemed as though we'd just walked into someone living room. there were a few people sitting around watching tv & another couple ladies sitting around the dining room table chatting and laughing. when we opened the door, they all turned to look at us. we stammered something about needing to check in for a couple days & a couple emerged from the group and introduced themselves as the owners.

we got through "check-in" and went going back out to the car to carry in all our luggage, along with the still-wrapped wedding gifts we'd received. since we were moving immediately following the honeymoon, we'd had to bring all the gifts with us. a couple of the men offered to help us carry our things in and up to our room. i thought that was odd, but friendly, so i walked back into the house with my arms most empty except for my gorgeous rose bouquet and a couple small gift boxes.

the ladies stared at what i was carrying and one asked me why i had such lovely flowers. i told her that we'd just gotten married a few hours earlier that day and it was like someone set the room ablaze with firecrackers of excitement. they all crowded around us, oo-ing & ah-ing over my flowers and asking a myriad of questions. we were completely overwhelmed by the invasion of personal space on what we'd thought was going to be a time when we could finally relax and be just the two of us.

but these people were persistent and jubilant on our behalf and it was hard to resist the pull of excitement coming from them. there were about 6 other couples there, all in their 40's in town for some annual seminar and thrilled to have some young newbies to play with. they broke out a bottle of champagne, poured glasses for everyone and piled all our gifts onto the dining room table & told us to open them, then and there.

chris and i kept looking at each other, not sure what to do, but we decided to just go with the flow. one lady took pictures as we opened everything. another got out a pad & paper and wrote down what each gift was and who gave it to us. they cheered over the great gifts and scoffed at the stupid ones. there was much laughing and squawking and hollering as we tore open every gift.

when we were done, a toast was made to the newlyweds before they helped us carry everything up to our room. many little jokes were made about keeping the noise down and not banging the headboard into the wall all night. back slapping and winks abounded while we half smiled and blushed, knowing all these people our parents age were thinking about us getting busy on our wedding night.

then the lady of the house informed us that breakfast would be served at 7am and they would see us then. we laughed. she didn't. she bristled. she said that she was well known for the fantastic breakfasts she serves and all of her guest were expected to attend and to be prompt about it. we aren't really morning people and the idea of having to get up the morning after our wedding and making ourselves presentable before 7 was not a pleasant thought.

however, the next morning, we arrived promptly at the breakfast table at 7am and we were not disappointed. the food was amazing and clearly a work of art, which at least made the early trip downstairs worth it.

our honeymoon didn't turn out to be what we'd expected, but it makes for a fun story and a great memory now when we look back.

i'd love to hear your favorite honeymoon story. write it in the comments or post it on your own blog.

and sarah, i can't wait to hear your honeymoon story after this whole stupid wedding business is finished. i love you!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

bible study gas x2

several years ago we moved to chattanooga because we felt like God was leading us there to start a post modern church. it seemed a bit odd since there are already so many churches in that town, but we clearly believed that we were following God's leading by going there. very shortly after we arrived, we found a few other people who shared our vision & they were already meeting at some one's house on a regular basis for a bible study & some worship time.

we were finally able to work out the details for us to be able to attend one of the meetings (we needed child care because brooke was only 1 at the time & it wasn't convenient for her to be there) where we met the group, mostly for the first time. it was pretty exciting for us to be meeting these people since we really felt like this was the beginning of a big new life change for us & these people were likely to be a part of it. we wanted to make a good impression so that they'd want us to be a part of their group.

we arrived at this big, fancy house & found about 10 or so people there already hanging out & eating. there was a big spread of food & they were kind enough to have some veggie dishes since they knew i was a vegetarian. i was touched that they'd do that since most of the time when i go to a dinner like that i end up eating chips & dip as my meal because it's the only thing without meat. i happily piled 2 spicy black bean burgers onto my plate & proceeded to chow down.

after the meal, the lights were turned down & we all sat in chairs in a circle in their fancy living room. we had some nice music & a short bible study about foot washing. then someone busted out a big bowl & some soap & water & we were instructed that we'd each be washing the feet of the person to the right of us. chris & i were not sitting next to each other. i was between 2 other men, both close to my dad's age & virtual strangers to me. i started to feel really nervous. this was WAY outside my comfort zone! the only feet i'd ever washed besides my own were my sweet little baby's feet & i imagined they were a far cry from the feet of the man beside me!

now, to increase my discomfort, my stomach started churning, a little at first & then more & more until i could audibly hear it rumbling. i swear, i felt like it was echoing off the dimly lit walls & surely everyone could tell it was coming from me. the washing started a couple people away from me & went in the opposite direction, so i had a little bit of free time while everyone sat quietly & respectfully & waited their turn to have clean feet. i whispered to someone next to me for directions to the bathroom & was pointed to a door directly behind us. i went in there & realized that there was no way in the world i could release the massive build up of gas that was smashing around in my guts without everyone in the next room hearing me. i nearly cried! i couldn't figure out how to fart silently (as i'd learned once before when i tried to plug it with my finger & only managed to fart a very loud, high pitched whistle. but that's another story) and i dared not to even drop my pants out of fear of the coming explosion. so i waited a moment, did the obligatory hand washing & walked back to my chair, doing my own personal rendition of "dead woman walking."

slowly, timed dragged past. i think these people must have been enjoying the process because they certainly took their time about it! inside my head i was screaming, "come on folks, this isn't the time for a full on pedicure & massage, let's move it along!" but outwardly i sat silently with everyone else & prayed that they couldn't hear my painfully gut wrenching gurgles.

finally, the man next to me kneeled down & started washing my feet. in the best of circumstances i wouldn't have liked this. the symbolism of it went completely over my head and all i could think about was how desperately i didn't want to blow a blast of gas at this strange man as he rubbed between my toes. don't think about the tickle! don't think about the awkwardness! focus solely on anal clenching!

ok, i got through my washing, but i still had to manage to wash the dude on the other side of me! so in a rush, i got down on the floor & plunked his feet into the bowl. i wanted to go at turbo speed, but i quickly realized that being in a squatting position, putting pressure onto my stomach & leaning forward required a whole new level of sphincter control. oh my gosh! i felt sure that a noxious cloud of greenish-black smoke & foul stench was going to torpedo out of my backside at any second if i didn't hurry up & get this job done! it had to have been the least thorough washing to have ever occurred. i didn't care. let them think i wasn't a thorough bather or had a phobia of feet. whatever they wanted to think, so long as they didn't know that more than anything in the world i wanted to fart out the 96 million pounds of pressure that had built up in my guts.

when the washing was finished, i attempted to say my goodbyes as quickly as i possibly could without being totally rude. i still wanted these people to like me. i used the "baby at home w/ a sitter" excuse & ran for the door w/ chris right behind me. i did the clench & waddle out the door at the fastest speed i could manage till i got to the car. chris pulled away from the curb & we both started rolling down our windows simultaneously. we looked at each other & started laughing hysterically as we farted ourselves silly in the car, because all the while i was suffering in there, i didn't realize that he was suffering from the same affliction! he'd had the bean burgers too!

ever since then, we've dubbed that feeling "bible study gas" & we both know it's time to clear the room or roll down the windows when one of us catches a case of it.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

living the island life

last week i went on vacation with my family to a little island a few hours from here called kiawah. it's close to charleston, sc. chris couldn't go cuz he was busy being a good employee, but i had a blast with my family. my 3 siblings were there along with all three of brooke's cousins on my side of the family. with all of our schedules being super busy and us living in different states, it's rare that we get to all hang out for more than just a few hours at christmas some years. my parents rented a huge, gorgeous house for the week, including a nice in-ground pool out back & a yard that dropped into a lagoon.

i felt like we were spending a week inside the lifestyles of the rich & the famous, only we were driving a 12 passenger van rather than a rolls royce.

one of the most exciting parts of the trip was all the alligators that live on the island. and there aren't any fences, just open spaces with marshes, swamps, lagoons and ponds where the gators are free to roam about as they wish. there aren't any restaurants or shops on the island, and you can't get in without overnight accommodations, so if you're there, it's probably mainly to go to the beach or lay around in your big ritzy house. the main mode of transportation is bike, so we rode our bikes everywhere, including into the ocean on the beach.

on our first morning i stopped to take this picture and moments after that, i resumed my little ride along the path that went right between 2 lagoons. as i was passing through, i saw a line of bubbles approaching the shore only a few feet away from me. brooke was ahead & my mom was behind me when suddenly there was a huge growling roar coming from the water right where i'd just seen the bubbles. the roar came three times as we zoomed along the path & raced for home & since there was no place for machinery or other large things that could have made the noise, we could only conclude that it was a gator growing at us for getting too close to its space. it was pretty intense.

we saw several swimming through waterways and under bridges we were standing on & i was able to get a couple decent pictures. thankfully we didn't have any bad encounters with the gators, even riding through alligator alley beside our house every day.

we also had some pretty fun encounters with crabs. there were lots of different types of crabs to watch & play with, the biggest being a horseshoe crab. my brother was the crab harasser & he kept chasing & catching lives ones so we could get good looks at them. the kids spent about an hour with one horseshoe crab giving it sand massages, singing it songs & rolling it over to watch how it's stomach muscles flapped around when it moved.

the beach was huge and clean and mostly empty. there were tons of things to see and collect and examine. the waves weren't too rough and no one got too hurt. all in all, it was about a perfect vacation.

it was a little bit sad to come home and get back to real life after a wonderful week soaking up sun, laughing with kids, riding bikes down interestingly murky paths, and eating wonderful food. but at least i can look back at my pictures and remember it all with a smile.