Friday, December 30, 2011

first impression fail

do you give any thought to first impressions? i hardly ever do. i've been told that i come across as "short and snappy" and then latter had it clarified that she wasn't referring to my lack of height, but my big mouth. and i've been told in more recent years that i seem really conservative, but that turns out to be a pretty big surprise after you dig a little deeper and hear some of the stories of my life.

but there's one story of first impressions that stands out to me. it pains me to remember it.

when chris and i first got married, we lived in a little duplex in a little college town in east armpit tennessee. he was in school during the day and at work every evening, so i didn't see very much of him. i was lonely and bored because i couldn't find a full time job, i had no friends and we didn't have internet.

some guys moved in next door and they were just a little bit younger than us. it seemed like we would probably get along and we all smoked outside together a couple times over the weekend when they were moving in.

a few days later, chris was at work and i'd rented a movie that only had a one night rental time, so i would need to watch it without him. i didn't feel like spending yet another night alone on the couch, so i went and banged on the door of the new neighbors. i had the movie in hand and said i was wondering if they might like to watch it.  the guy, daniel, said yes and tried to take it out of my hand and close the door, but i held on and said that i was asking if they'd like to watch it with me.

this seemed to be surprising to them, but not necessarily unpleasant, so it was decided that we'd watch it in their place since smoking in the house was allowed over there and was outlawed in my house.

it was a little bit awkward since we really didn't know each other, plus i was a married woman approaching two single guys to hang out while my big husband was at work. but we all settled in to watch the movie and i was feeling pretty good about maybe making some new friends.

the problem started about halfway through the movie when there was suddenly a pretty raunchy scene. there was definitely some boobage and some awkward noises which caused my face to flash hot and red. i was afraid to look away. afraid to look at either of the guys. i felt sick to my stomach, but frozen to my seat.

no one spoke through the rest of the movie. when it was finished, daniel said, "i think we all need a cigarette after that."

thankfully we were all able to laugh about it later and i assured them that i normally don't take soft porn to strange guys' houses and ask to watch it with them.

i'm pretty sure that was one of the worst first impressions i ever made.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

spirit week at the office

we were just watching a show where there was an office scene. in the background was a woman holding a teapot and wearing a belly shirt. chris shook his head and said, "she's the one who ruined casual friday for everyone."

that sent my brain off onto a rabbit trail where i was thinking about myself working in an office. it's been a very long time since such a thing was true, but if it were, i'd like casual friday. in fact, i'd love it if each day had a theme.

wouldn't it be fun if every week was like spirit week in school? mondays would become monster monday. we'd wear things of a monstery nature or maybe just a giant eyeball and a green suit and go for a mike wazowski look.

i'm thinking we go for hootchie tuesday which will allow the women to indulge their urge to dress like a skank on a day other than just halloween. or for those who are more conservative, maybe just some subtle fishnets and hooker pumps. for the mens, maybe they could unbutton their shirts a bit and splash on too much cologne, like they're headed for a club.

wednesday definitely needs to have a wig theme. it doesn't matter if it's something long and platinum that looks like it came straight from dolly parton's dressing room or if you want to go to with a rainbow affro. this would be a great opportunity for men with male pattern balding to test drive that toupee that they bought but haven't yet had the balls to wear in public.

we'll have throw-back thursday which leaves plenty of room for interpretation. anything retro will do. maybe this is the chance to raid your dad's closet and repeat some of the outfits you tried out in highschool. or maybe you've got some leg warmers you're just itching to wear. guys, if you still fit that miami vice pastel jacket with the rolled up sleeves, i suggest you break it out and take it for a spin. i'm sure the ladies will love it.

casual friday sounds mighty boring after that lively line up, doesn't it? so i think we should change it to furry friday. there are a lot of people out there with the urge to wear fur and this will be exactly the chance they've been looking for. be subtle with just a tail and ears or go whole hog with that mascot suit you've been storing in your attic since college.

it just about makes me wish i could go back to work again. i've got a great little wig i've been dying to wear again.

Monday, December 26, 2011

a year without swearing

i've mentioned before that i have an affinity for swearing. i enjoy some strong and offensive language when it's used in the right context. it makes me laugh when other people do it, particularly when it catches me by surprise, if they're of the generally starched variety of human.

i never swore out loud until i was 20, but when i turned 20, i decided to try out anything and everything i'd ever wanted to do with no regard for the wishes of my family or church buddies. i suddenly sprouted a blatant disregard for all things proper and appropriate and it was like the flood gates of my potty mouth sprung open and the filth poured out.

it wasn't long before i realized that i had become terribly annoying and had to tone it down so that i could stand to be around myself. i learned that the colorful words should be primarily used as "passion" words rather than standard fare for chatting.

the whole reason i've even mentioned this is because i've decided to remove the potty-mouthery from my vocabulary for the year of 2012, including my finger vocabulary. i've felt the push from God to clean it up this year. i've got to be honest here - i'm not very happy about it. i like cussing. and the thought of going a whole year without it makes me feel a ridiculous sense of loss, bordering on mourning.

earlier in the day chris got ticked about something and let fly a lovely string of expletives.  i felt like a dieter being teased by an inconsiderate loved one, packing brownies and potato chips into his mouth right in front of my hungry, drooling face.

i don't know how this will turn out. it may be simply a year long filth hiatus or it may become a habit that i will eventually see as an improvement to my life. in the meantime, i wish there was a patch i could wear to take the edge off. i think i'm twitching.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

big cat quilt week

whenever it's getting close to time for a big holiday or the end of the school year, kids tend to get twitchy and have a hard time concentrating on school work. it's almost a losing battle to try to do anything that will require serious brain activity, so i decided that this week, our last school year of 2011, we would spend the week learning about big cats. national geographic has a channel that's all animal shows all the time and this week their theme is big cats, so that was my inspiration. i knew brooke would love it and it was the perfect way to spring board us into a short unit study about a topic that won't be difficult to keep her engaged in. we cleared the shelf in the library for all their big cat books, we've been watching lots of educational shows and we've been making christmas presents for our people.

this was also a good way for me to have enough time sitting still when i wasn't exhausted or straining my eyes for hours in the evenings to work on some of the projects that i've got going for gifts. the big one that i just finished yesterday is a quilt i made for my niece's american girl doll. since i can't spend much money this year, i've been finding things i could give that were free or almost free and this was the perfect thing.

i dug through my baskets of fabric for scraps and pieces that color coordinated and then cut enough squares to make a little blanket just big enough for the doll. i took some pictures of the process from start to finish.

this thing is made out of an old pair of jeans, a skirt, a dress, old pajamas, remnant bin scraps from hobby lobby, bits from my mom's sewing basket, 2 receiving blankets and a piece of fabric that i rescued from the trash in a house i used to clean.

as you can see, i did some ironing to flatten seams, but i couldn't be bothered to get out a real iron, so i just used my curling iron. this is the perfect tool for ironing other little things like collars and the front line along the buttons on a button down shirt too.

i'm very happy with the end result. i did every stitch by hand, most of them sewn while sitting on my floor in front of the tv or while curled in a corner of the couch.

i kind of wish brooke liked stuff like this so that i could give it to her in order to see it more often, but she really just doesn't give a crap. she looks at dolls the way most little girls look at giant rubber spiders. she admired the quilt but reminded me not to get any funny ideas about giving to her because she didn't want it.

hopefully it will be well received by another little girl who loves all things girlie and pretty. now i just need to get it wrapped before one of my cats claims it and decides to curl up for a long winter's nap.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

the fiasco of '87

i posted this right after thanksgiving last year, but i think i had all of 30 followers then, so i thought i'd repost since it's the story of my most memorable childhood christmas.

all through our growing up years, my brother and i almost always knew where our parents stashed our christmas presents. they'd told us the real deal on santa when we were only 4 and 5, so it only went to reason that if there was no santa, then the gifts must be stashed somewhere nearby. it wasn't long before our parents wised up to our snooping and put a padlock on the basement cupboard where the goodies were being stored. that shut us down for a few years... until we moved into a new house that didn't come equipped with such a conveniently lockable storage space.

it didn't take us long to start up our snooping ways afresh when we moved and realized that the hiding options were limited. we figured that the most secure location in the house was probably our parents' bedroom, so we took a divide and conquer approach and it wasn't long before we hit pay dirt. we found stuff in the dresser drawers and a bonus batch of loot in the bottom of their closet.

we kept up the digging and sneaking each time my parents were expected to be out of the house for at least half an hour. it seemed like that left us enough of a buffer to check for any newly acquired goodies and still get out without being caught. we'd keep each other informed if we found gifts clearly intended for the other so that there would be no surprises come christmas morning. if we only had limited time, we'd hit the closet first because that's where mom kept the good stuff. the dresser was mostly the piddly stocking stuff like gum, cheapie toys and maybe some bags of rubber bands (we loved to shoot each other with them).

by this time we were probably 11 and 12 and we'd done the sneaky spying for at least 2 years, undiscovered. our parents had laid down the law at some point and made it perfectly clear that if they ever found out we'd been peeking at our presents, those very presents would be returned to the store and we would not get them.

we thought we were master spies. we thought we'd never get caught. we thought wrong.

i clearly remember being deep into the pile on mom's side of the closet, admiring the cute new clothes i'd be getting in just a few days. chris was digging through his own future belongings...when we heard a noise. we both froze for a moment before starting to frantically stuff things back into the spaces where we'd found them. we usually tried to be precise about putting them away, but this time it was more about speed so we wouldn't get caught with our heads tangled in mom's dresses and our fingers in the proverbial cookie jar.

we weren't fast enough. in less time than we'd have dreamed possible, mom had made it up the stairs and into her bedroom and caught us in the act of spying. there was no way to deny it. the evidence was plain as day for all of us to see. and i've got to give my mom credit for thinking on her feet because she separated us right away and gave us paper and pens and told us to write down everything we'd found. since we'd made sure to keep each other informed about every scrap we came across, we couldn't plead ignorance about anything, even if we hadn't laid eyes on it ourselves. and since we were separated and didn't know what the other would write, we had to put it all down there, on paper, to damn ourselves or risk even further punishment for trying to lie by omission. HO-LY CRAP!

she compared our lists and consulted with dad; all the while we tried to hide away where we wouldn't be seen and might possibly be forgotten about altogether rather than face the dire consequences that we knew were coming our way. i don't remember any yelling, just that eery silence that should never exist in a happy home with 4 lively kids. silence...

it seemed like it would never end. we whispered together about whether or not they'd actually go through with their threats. they were usually pretty solid about sticking to what they'd said, but in this case, surely they wouldn't take away our whole christmas! surely they loved us enough to have pity on our souls. if there was any love in the world, they would have to change their minds and let us have all those beautiful presents in their sullied stash.

a couple days later, it was christmas eve. it was a saturday. dad didn't have to go to work that day, so it was decided that it was time for the presents to all be returned. my dad and brother drove around town and took back all the gifts that we'd thought we would be getting. i stayed home and helped mom cook and bake the festive food. i wasn't mad at my parents because in my heart, i knew that i'd broken the rules. i knew that i wasn't exempt from the rules and that there were repercussions for my actions. i was sad, but i'd learned a valuable lesson that i knew would stick with me for my whole life. if mom and dad said it, i could be darn sure they meant business, even in the things that hurt them too.

the next day, the space under the tree was pretty sparse. mostly just gifts for my little sisters and the ones that chris and i were giving to the family. we didn't wake up at 3am ready to pounce on our stockings. we got some sleep for a change and we woke up calm rather than hyper. we actually remembered the true meaning of christmas for once because we weren't distracted by all the presents we hoped for or got.

as it turned out, we got a few little stocking things each. they must have been hidden somewhere else where we hadn't discovered them yet. i got the fake nails that i'd been dreaming of. i'd always had crappy nails and wanted to have long, luxurious nails to tap constantly on any hard surface, but my parents had never thought i was old enough for them. this was my lucky fingernail year. and i also got the jean jacket from the gap that i'd been coveting for so many months. it was one of the things that i'd been so excited to find in the closet and was heart sick knowing it was going back to the gap to be owned by some other girl who'd be cooler than me.

i was shocked and amazed to find this most precious item wrapped up under the tree because i was sure it went back to the mall with everything else. my brother also got his most desired item. my parents told us that even though we'd broken the rules and we didn't deserve to receive these gifts, they were having mercy on us. like Jesus had mercy on the world by dying on the cross for all of us who didn't deserve his love and forgiveness.

that's a lesson that i'll never forget.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

goals - i have some

goals are one of those things to which i don't give much thought, most of the time. unfortunately, i'm not one of those driven people who feels that internal need for success and accomplishment. i don't have big mental or written lists spelling out clearly what i hope to do before i die. or in the next ten years. or tomorrow. i can understand the logic and benefits, but i can rarely drum up much enthusiasm for an honest effort.

my goals, if i think about them are things like,

1. don't eat cheese for every single meal.

2. try to remember not to wear the pants that squeeze the muffin top the worst unless i'm wearing a loose fitting shirt.

3. become financially secure enough to be able to go to the grocery store and buy all the things on the list in the same day.

4. become financially secure enough to be able to purchase both christmas presents and much needed shoes for the girl's growing feet without having to figure out which is more important.

enough about finances. it makes my brain hurt to think about it.

5. reach 200 blog followers before 2012.

6. learn how to flap my arms and fly when i jump off the stairs.
oh wait, that's one of brooke's goals. please disregard.

6. cause people to leak. any form of leakage is acceptable. tears, drool, spewed beverages, puke, piddle. i figure if there's some type of leakage, then i must have had an imact and impact is always a good thing.

7. never ever be bland. vanilla is the enemy. spice is my friend.

8. never shave my head again.

i can't think of any more. eight goals isn't so bad, i guess.

are you a goalie? what are your goals?

Sunday, December 4, 2011


after my cranky anti-decorating post of last week, i thought i'd change things up a little bit and post a video that brooke and i made a few days ago. we were making paper snowflakes for the girl's room because even if i don't love decorations so much myself, my brookie does and i do love a good, easy craft. we posted pictures of our finished snowflakes on facebook, leading to a bunch of comments from people saying they don't know how to do them and a picture from my cousin showing the shrapnelly disaster that was her first attempt at the flakes o' snow.

that motivated me to make a little tutorial of how to fold and cut the paper to create a thing of wonder. okay, that's totally an exaggeration, but it does show how to easily make these things if you're so inclined. and it was pointed out by a bloggy friend of mine from across the country, daniele from creatinglearningflying that it was interesting to hear our voices. i always like to hear how my blog friends sound when they post a vlog or other video, so here we are.

now go make some pretty snowflakes. or don't. mazel.