October 29, 2009

the presents of God

My birthday this year happened to fall during the 2009 Saddle Boy Competition, which though it took place in Murfreesboro this year instead of Fort Worth, was still not the place I would have chosen to spend my birthday had hubbyman not been competing.

But the cowboy WAS competing (and took home a 4th place ribbon in the "In Hand" division), so instead of sushi with Mike & Sara and my kids, I found myself eating bbq and reading a good book in the back of a horse arena. :o)

But even in the midst of Mustangs, Manure and Belt Buckles the size of Rhode Island, I was reminded how blessed I am in the friendship department. Aside from the innumerable obligatory Facebook birthday wishes and dozens of texts and phone calls from friends, family and youth group kiddos:
* The High School girls all left fun little ego-boosting sticky notes on my desk, utilizing the words "best, amazing, favorite, beautiful and fantasticle", and who am I to argue with those adjectives?! :o)
* Lindsay and Parker met me for lunch at Wolfgang's while Kevin was taking his ACT at Lipscomb. Pumpkin Ravioli. Yum.
* Mike & Sara called and sang to me, and you can't not smile when people sing to you. Unless it's strange people singing to you in front of other strange people, like at restaurants, which I hate, but Mike and Sara aren't strange people . . . well, they aren't STRANGERS, and I was quite entertained by the serenade.
* Many of my lovely friends bestowed sweet and very appropriate gifts upon me - everything from organic dark chocolate and cute clicky pens to books and earrings and homemade Cranberry-Walnut Bread (accompanied with a "God story" from Sara M. that made me cry and feel, oh, so special.)
* Boy Jr. gave me a nifty little iPod amplifier and other musical goodies.
* My parents took us out for AMAZING crab legs, (after the weekend) and are gifting me with curtains for the very large, very bare living room windows. (That is, once I find curtains that work with the Texas Longhorn wallcolor. . . like maybe Dallas Cowboy blue.)
* Daughter-face drove down from Indy so she wouldn't miss my birthday. She also brought a big bag filled with jewelry and some strange fabric things she called "PA JA MAS" (I've heard of them, just not quite sure I've figured out how to properly use them!)
* Preceeding the Cranberry-Walnut Bread, was this photo, which Philip brought with him when he also drove to Murfreesboro so he wouldn't miss my birthday! (Or maybe it was because he actually came to see the mustang competition!) Anyway, when he handed me this picture, my reaction was 3-fold:
1) "OOOOHHHH, pictures of the kids!"
2) "OH! They are holding birthday wishes for me!"
3) "Oh my goodness! They got all dressed up for the pictures!"

Let me tell ya, kids just don't get any cuter than these two. They just don't. Seriously.

The birthday is ongoing and will not be considered official until there is sushi. And there will be sushi.

Thanks to all of you for going out of your way to bless me and make my Birthday Week special. Having you as friends is the best present of all.

October 24, 2009


I hate water.

Well, not entirely. I love rain; long, hot baths; the ocean; and watching the dust rinse off the windshield from an interior view at the carwash.

But I hate to drink water, even though I know I need it. It makes me feel queasy. Oh, I make feeble attempts from time to time to increase my H2O intake, but never with any lasting results. Last year, my darling Sara even stuck a post-it on my lovely BPA-free pink Camelback water bottle reminding me to "refill 3x a day for best health". I tried. Sort of. At least I looked at the note every day and felt semi-guilty about NOT refilling. And guilt is good. I mean, KNOWING you are supposed to do something is ALMOST as good as actually doing it, right?

But you see, I'm never thirsty. Ever. Sometimes I do well to refill the water bottle once a week. No joke. If I do drink, it's usually something loaded with caffeine from Happy Hour at Sonic. At restaurants my glass is frequently untouched, and rarely refilled, regardless of the contents.

So, a few weeks back, I was having the Most Amazing Late-Night Chicken Nachos at Sunset Grill in Nashville with 5 of my Favorite People in the Entire World, when Mike starts nagging at me to drink some water. "But I'm not thirsty!" I protest. "In fact, I'm never thirsty!"

That's when God used a weird little moment to teach me a really big lesson.

Sara said, "You're never thirsty because you are dehydrated. You are always dehydrated."

I'm never thirsty because I'm chronically dehydrated. (This prompted quite a bit of research to verify that she was, in fact, completely correct. When you don't get enough water for a long enough time, your body stops triggering the thirst mechanism.) Instead, it lets dehydration take its toll and manifests itself in dozens of subtle ways like dry skin, backaches, swollen ankles, forgetfulness (because apparently my brain, and yours, is 75% water), lowered metabolism, liver toxicity, headaches . . . and EMOTIONAL INSTABILITY.

WHAT? Not drinking water has made me an emotional basket case.

Lightbulb on.

I am now refilling 3x a day for best health. And sanity.

Leave it to God to use this 18-month-long physical analogy to also teach me a spiritual lesson. But that's next blog.

Oh, and Happy Birthday to Me. I'm writing this from the Hyatt Place's computer/business center before I head down to Cool Springs to have lunch with my neice, nephew and DAUGHTER-FACE who surprised me by driving down to celebrate with me! (Poor Kevie-poo is taking his A.C.T. this morning. You can say a prayer for him!)

October 19, 2009

. . . and it was still hot.

One of my favorite things in all of life is children's literature. Especially great children's literature. Maurice Sendak's "Where the Wild Things Are" earned the number one spot on my picture book list back when Kacey was a toddler. Having read it to both my children every single night of their young lives, even now, some 10 years past any regular reading of it, I can still quote each page.

"The night Max wore his wolf suit,
and made mischief of one kind, and then another,
his mother called him 'Wild Thing!'
And Max said, "I'll eat you up!'"

I have been anticipating the movie for quite some time now, and it did not disappoint. Wild Things was not at all what I expected, and it is most definitely not a children's movie. It is deep and dark, heavy with troubled relationships and characters who portray each and every one of us at some point in our lives: angry, neglected, negative, hurt, quiet, needy. But it is also thought-provoking and hopeful and emotional.

This movie didn't play down to its audience, didn't feel the need to explain itself or make excuses. It portrayed, through the eyes of a hurting and confused Max, a way to deal with the reality in his life by running away into fantasy.

"That very night in Max's room
a forest grew, and grew, and grew
until his ceiling hung with vines
and the walls became the world all around.
And an ocean tumbled by with a private boat for Max.
And he sailed off through night and day
and in and out of weeks
and almost over a year
to where the wild things are."

I loved the imagery of home in this movie . . . the igloo, the fort in his bedroom, the "sleeping pile", the Wild Things fortress. Places of comfort and happiness that came crashing in with a word, an action, a threat. Places of security that, in a mere moments, became places of suffocation.

'And Max, the king of all wild things,
was lonely and wanted to be where someone
loved him best of all.'

And while the movie took great liberties with the story, taking it from whimsical to near melancholy, it stayed wonderfully true to the illustrations and the eccentric feel of Sendak's story. When the "wild rumpus starts", the sounds the movie creatures made were some of the sounds I made up myself when they
"roared their terrible roars and
gnashed their terrible teeth and
rolled their terrible eyes and
showed their terrible claws."

Max's theatrical journey left me in tears, and I completely loved everything about it.

"And he sailed back over a year
and in and out of weeks
and through a day
and into the night of his very own room,
where he found his supper waiting for him
. . . and it was still hot."

October 18, 2009

dental anguish

brief wave of panic
Experienced a brief wave of panic this afternoon as I was brushing my teeth with my Sonicare toothbrush and the battery died midway through the process. So I'm standing at the bathroom sink thinking to myself, "Great. Now what am I gonna do???"

Once it dawned on me that I could still rinse and spit manually, the brief wave of panic subsided.

I am so not kidding.

I guess even crooks care about hygiene
While I'm on the subject of toothbrushes, I keep a small makeup bag in the top drawer of my office file cabinet. Nothing special, just a small black bag with one each of all the basics: toothbrush & paste, foundation, blush, powder, mascara, deoderant, hairspray, and, uh, other assorted female stuff. This morning I went to my now-always-unlocked office (you know, since the punks kicked in my door and broke it) to retrieve one of those assorted female items from my makeup bag.
They stole my makeup bag.

I am so not kidding.

I guess after eating all of Mike's cookies, they felt the need to brush the crumbs out of their guilty teeth.


October 16, 2009

yeah, a big baby

I am used to having a husband who works midnights. We've had this schedule for so many years, I don't even think twice about staying alone in an empty house. It's just never been a big deal for me. Then again, I've never been given a reason to feel insecure about it.

Yesterday I was laughing off the church break-in a bit. My computer was not taken and neither was Kevin's laptop (which, he points out "has a floppy drive, Mom. Not even thugs want it.").
This morning when I came in to work, I knew I would be alone. I couldn't bring myself to come in the door I use normally, because it enters to a dark hallway, so I pulled up under the canopy and came in the front doors, flipping on lights as I went through, you know, 'cause if there are any thugs in the building I want them to get a good view of me falling on my face as I attempt to run away.

About 4 feet from my office door I heard a man sneeze. Seriously. Sounded like it came from my office. So I'm now totally freaked out.

I went right back outside and sat in my car. The cowboy was at work, so I was out of luck there. I debated about calling the Sheriff's dept. to see if they would come do a "walk through", but I really didn't want to look like a baby. So I tried calling Ian, 'cause
1) he lives close by,
2) I don't care if he thinks I'm a baby, and
3) I figured he would bring some macho GI Joe grenade launcher and check things out . . but he didn't answer his phone.
So, instead, I texted Mike, thinking at least he would be empathetic, he would give me some sense of "it'll be okay." He responded with "Hmmm". I think he believed me to be a drama queen. So I drove around the building to see whose car might be there, so I could ascertain the identity of the sneezer. There were no other cars but mine. Now I'm feeling a bit paranoid and second-guessing what I heard. Or thought I heard. Did I REALLY hear a man sneeze? Yes I did. I definitely heard a man sneeze.

I drove back around under the canopy and stared into the building, trying to decide exactly how I could hook up my computer and work from the car, when somebody knocked on my passenger window.

This is when I experienced a rather large myocardial infarction, complete with the bright light and the sound of St. Peter's voice.

Turns out it was the church's next door neighbor coming to borrow tables. He happened to be walking outside my office (and, apparently, sneezing) at precisely the moment I was arriving. Lousy timing. Funny. But lousy.

So, I have decided to pray myself through this ridiculous feeling of insecurity and get to work.
Right after I blog, of course.

October 15, 2009

they shattered my security

Some time back I blogged about Kevin & Mike shattering my happiness.

But this is different. This was . . . a violation of security.

As we were finishing up a late night meeting last night around 10, I settled myself at my desk to stay a few minutes longer than the guys so I could send out some emails. Before he and Terrell left, Mike said, "Just so you know, the [church down the road] was broken into a couple of nights ago." Well, that prompted me to NOT want to stay alone in the building after dark, so I went ahead and left when the guys did.

I had a dream then that Sandy asked me to drive her home from church because her husband was going to stay at the building and secure all the doors and "stakeout" the building in case of prowlers.

This morning early, Terrell called to say our church had been broken into. They kicked in our office doors, rummaged through our things, stole cameras and computers and cash, and generally made a mess out of things.

We spent the morning talking to deputies, trying to remember what went where, calling insurance agents and banks and security companies and carpenters and ISPs. Not to mention cleaning up doggie doo from a stray that had wandered in and "done his job" in several locations after the doors were left open. After the Sheriff's Dept. dusted my office for fingerprints, (I discovered, unfortunately, that "dusting" my office does NOT leave it cleaner than they found it!) I spent the rest of the morning cleaning up my office - to include antibacterially de-crookifying my water bottle and Brita water filter in a Monk-like fashion, 'cause I don't know who these guys were, but you better believe I don't want any of their nasty germs to go along with their nasty behavior. And, I know they weren't likely to drink out of my water bottle, but, hey, they ate cookies in Mike's office, so who's to say?

Anyway, the place where I generally feel incredibly safe, even when alone, now feels, well . . . strange.

I don't think insurance can replace that.

October 12, 2009

longhorns and lattes

Paint Stalking
Okay, so I've been stalking the idea of painting my living room for two years now, but I never could decide on a color. Finally, back in the spring, I kept running into this not-quite-persimmon, but lovely shade of orange. But not. So hard to describe. Finally bought the paint (officially called "Cinnamon Clove"), and my niece painted the room when she was here a couple of weeks ago. She did a GREAT job painting, HOWEVER, it then became the proverbial picking-the-petals-off-the-daisy for me - "she loves it, she loves it not, she loves it" . . . Yeah, she really loves it NOT. Kacey texted to ask if it was the color of her yummy pumpkin spice latte. No, no it's not. It's the color of the Texas Longhorns, and it is not working in what I hope will soon be a very contemporary multi-functional dining space.

SOOOO, I went to Sherwin-Williams, picked a new color, Cavern Clay, which was VASTLY different than the Longhorns Rust color, paired it with my Bamboo Shoot & Blackberry accent colors. Loved it, bought a gallon of it, came home and painted a square on the wall, and let it dry.

Turns out, Cavern Clay is also the same color as the Texas Longhorns. Back to square one. Or paint three. Whatever.

A Bit Sad, but the Right Decision (part 1)
Listed my rolltop desk and antique upright piano for sale this morning. A bit sad, but the right decision.

A Bit Sad, but the Right Decision (part 2)
I am NOT a shoe person. I buy one comfy pair of black loafers and wear them every day for 8 months. The heels on last year's black shoes collapsed, so when I tried them on this winter, they forced me to walk like a peg-legged pirate. And since there is frost on the ground and I have still been wearing sandals, I had no choice but to break down and go shoe shopping. I finally found a pair in the mall. Loved them, bought them, came home and wore them. Turns out, they really hurt my feet. So, I plan to spend some time this afternoon re-shoe shopping. A bit sad, but the right decision.

A Bit Sad, but the Right Decision (part 3)
I also plan to spend some time this afternoon phone shopping. I need a new one. My lovely little red Nokia flip phone that I have blogged about on numerous occasions is nearly impossible to read in daylight. A seriously scratched up screen. When Christina texted to ask how many "desserts we were needing" and I read "buzzards we were feeling", I knew it was time. I want an iPhone. I really want an iPhone. I have decided NOT to get an iPhone. A bit sad, but the right decision.

That's my update. Have a GREAT Monday!