December 28, 2009


SocialInterview is one of Facebook's applications. It asks you random questions about people on your friend list. Today, Emily, one of my very gifted former literature/writing students was asked, "Would Stephanie make a good perfume salesperson?"

She answered "DUH."

So I responded: Font size

"1. Being the best-smelling person you know, is not a viable reason for assuming I would be a good salesperson, because sales is definitely NOT my calling.
2. "DUH." You answered "DUH?" You're a writer! Write!"

Emily apologized, "I had a moment of weakness. Forgive me. What I meant to say was, "Yes, I'm sure she would be splendid as a perfume salesperson." But, since you deny my claim, I revoke it."

I then told her THAT answer is why she made an "A" in my class!

Emily then added that she also made an 'A' in my class, "because I'm your favorite. Don't forget I'm your favorite."

To which I responded . . . "DUH"

The final response from Emily simply stated, "You ma'am, win at life."

Just one of several bright spots in my day.

December 23, 2009

reasons I am too scroogey to put up a tree this year

1. The kids and I put up three Christmas trees each holiday season from 2000 until 2006. This year I decided to put up: None. Not one. My mother's house, on the other hand, is decked out like the Christmas edition of Southern Living. It's beautiful. It's amazing. Every nook and cranny (is that even how you spell "cranny"? and just exactly what IS a "cranny"?) is decorated with trees and garland (the real green stuff, not the cheesy tin-foil looking stuff) and ribbon and swirly twigs and oversized ornaments that spin and white lights and . . . well, so as to not throw the space/time continuum out of whack, it is important for universal harmony that I do absolutely nothing.

2. I don't have room this year. Seriously. The cool desk that is supposed to be in the living room is still in the den where the "tree spot" is because the living room, where the cool desk is supposed to be, is still "under construction" and I am stuck with a ginormous roll-top desk sitting in the middle of the room that hasn't yet found its way to Goodwill, plus there are no curtains in the living room, and because there are no curtains in the living room, this room gets really cold, and since the rolltop desk with the computer is right next to this cold, curtainless window, a space heater is plugged into the outlet where the tree would be plugged in, you know, were there room for it, which, of course, there is not. (inhaling)

3. The kids want to go to Nana's house to spend Christmas Eve/Day, so . . . what's the point in decorating if we aren't going to be HERE on Christmas to enjoy it? Of course, maybe the reason they want to go to Nana's is BECAUSE it is decorated. Oh, the vicious cycle.

4. Most of my loved ones are not Christmassing with me this year. How can you expect me to be in a festive mood when my favorite people are eslewhere? Besides, I doubt any of them put up Christmas trees. And they're the best people I know. So, clearly I'm in good company.

5. It seems that "Santa Baby" is the most overplayed Christmas song now. Good grief. That's enough to make anybody scroogey.

6. The utility room, where the Christmas tree and subsequent boxes of decorations are stored, is blocked by a plethora of surplus wedding pretties that I have procrastinated dealing with since last August. And by "last August" I mean "last year in August". I'm just sayin'.

7. My sweet little friend, Ashley offered to wrap herself in tinsel and lights and come stand in my living room. That seemed to be a fun and non-traditional solution to my treeless dilemma, however, she has not followed through with her offer. Ash, when you were, you know, squeezing seven pounds of newborn out of your body a few months ago, who was THERE FOR YOU? Not to give you a guilt trip or anything, I just think it would be great bonding time for us if you were here right now, looming over me as I type, tastefully decked out in twinkle lights. Of course, you'd have to share an extension cord with the space heater.

8. Not putting up a tree leaves me much more time for holiday baking.

Commence laughter now.

9. I'm walking around in a perpetual state of distraction this year wondering where I misplaced my time machine. Maybe Someday I'll find it. Anyway, Kacey texted this afternoon to ask me what time we're supposed to be at my grandmother's for Christmas Eve tomorrow night, and the only thing I could think to respond was "THAT'S TOMORROW NIGHT???" Seriously, didn't we celebrate Easter just a few weeks ago?

10. I couldn't come up with a #10 reason for being too scroogey to put up a tree this year, so I just called Kevin into the room and asked, "Why didn't we put up a tree this year? Go!" And he said it was because HE didn't want to, HE didn't want to crawl into the death trap we call a utility room to retrieve the boxes, HE didn't want to untangle tree lights, HE didn't want to fluff the tree branches, yada yada. So, apparently, the REAL reason I didn't put up a tree this year was not scroogey at all. I, unlike Scrooge, am giving my slave-boy a break.

God bless us, everyone.

Merry Christmas to all of you. May you spend the day with people you love.

December 21, 2009

unmet expectations

Okay, you people know I like to make you laugh. I like to find the humor in life, at least to the best of my ability, because there is not much sense in wallowing in the "what if" and "poor me" stuff. Today, however, I just want to remind you that, while I hope and pray you are all having a wonderful holiday season, Christmas is not always "Merry" to those around you.

To this day it remains the worst Christmas of my life. My sophomore year of college, my sister's junior year of high school. The H.S. band went to Pasadena to march in the Rose Bowl parade. Mom & Dad, being the amazing and supportive parents they are, chaperoned this 300+ person, 6 charter bus trip . . . this trip which began on Christmas morning and continued until after the New Year. Meaning they LEFT at 4 a.m. on CHRSTMAS MORNING. They were gone for 9 days. Leaving me home alone. All alone. And that's not the bad part. This took place after a devastating break-up with the guy I was going to marry. I was still struggling to get out of bed in the mornings. Still struggling to breathe. So, basically, I spent 200 hours sleeping, crying and hoping for more. I mark that week as the loneliest time in my life.

A few years later, we experienced a very sad, very awkward Christmas as well. It was after my sister died, and we tried to "change things up", start new traditions, do things a bit differently . . . but the hole remained. Not that any loss is not tragic, it's just especially evident in small families. We mostly stared and sighed and felt sorry for ourselves and wondered if we would ever feel like celebrating anything ever again.

Okay, so this is NOT the blog you wanted to read today. They were not times in my life I cherish either. I just want to say that there are a lot of unmet expectations in the lives of the people you encounter day to day. Be alert. Be sensitive. And may you all be blessed with a very Merry Christmas.


December 20, 2009

big head deflation

I have had 16,195 hits on my blog since I put the counter on it back in May.

Kacey says I have a 3/10 rating with Google, which, apparently is pretty good.

I've even been approached a few times lately about doing reviews and linking ads to my blog.

I'm starting to get a big head. (Which is good, actually, 'cause then the rest of me won't look so out of proportion.)

Then I realized I have 2 really, really really good friends who don't use Google Reader, (thanks Sara M. & Jessica) who apparently click on my blog a couple of dozen times a day just to see if I have posted anything. (2 friends x 24 times a day x 7 months = 10,000 hits).

Add to that the number of times I go back and read my own blog because I think I'm hysterical and we've pretty much covered the hits on the counter.

So . . . never mind.

December 18, 2009

my thoughts, your thoughts

Kacey said I have to blog today because she is tired of the "downer" blog. However, I have nothing in particular about which to blog, so you just get random thoughts.

At the recommendation of someone who said my humor reminds him of Alton Brown, I have started watching "Good Eats" at 1 a.m. on the Food Network. Love him. Last Wednesday night I learned popover-making. A useful skill that will serve me well when Kellogg's stops making Pop-Tarts. Which I'm sure will happen right after Satan ice-skates. Or I mow the lawn.

Speaking of good eats, one of the best things about the combination of ministry and Christmas is that people bring you goodies. Lots and lots of goodies. So far this week alone I have been blessed with a Christmas mocha mix, banana bread, homemade peach jam, puppy chow (the powdered-sugared cereal, not the dog food), a loaf of homemade bread, ginger snaps, and two, yes two bags of Lisa Young's Amazing Super Spicy Chex Mix That is The Best Snack Food on the Planet. Lisa always makes an extra bag just for me. I love her.

Despite the bestowal of all things yummy, I am in the least Christmassy-mood I have been in for years. Don't get me wrong, I'm not scroogy or bah-humbuggy . . . I'm my usual "chipper" self. I'm just not really feeling the whole "holiday music" calling. Haven't done any baking. Not been to a concert or a Christmas play. Haven't put up a tree. (Get over it. My baby is almost 17, he will not be scarred for life.) And the only things I really want are not things that can be bought, so . . .

Does it make me a terrible person that I really want to see the Meryl Streep movie where she has an affair with her ex . . . ?

Kacey did, however, find a fun accent chair for the living room. It's polka-dotty. I love it.

Janice asked for the official living room final color. I ended up combining a bit of all the gallons and pints I had accumulated of Cavern Clay, Cinnamon Clove, LaFonda Copper, and Roasted Squash. Add to those names the obvious Longhorn Rust I whined about for several weeks and Kacey's Pumpkin Spice Latte. I toyed with naming the color something unifying like "LaFonda's Cinnamon Squash Longhorn Latte in a Clay Cup" but that seems a bit wordy and more than just a little confusing. I thought about giving it something symbolic like "West Texas Sunset", but I'm not a big fan of the state in general, much less the west half, so that idea got tossed. I like the presidential idea of referring to the living room simply as "The Tangerine Room". Maybe I should have a "paint naming" contest? Maybe I should just call it "Bob"? Your thoughts?

December 11, 2009

who, me?

I'm complicated, and not so much. I love people, I hate being in groups of new people. I have the best friends in the world, almost all of them in their 20's and 30's. They teach me to look at life through very different lenses. I am not at all artistic, but I am creative. I'm right-handed, but very middle-brained. I'm great with words, but stink at puzzles. I'm a control freak, I talk too much, and I have to be careful not to interrupt. I like to strike up conversations with people I don't know while waiting in line. I like being challenged. I like to read books I don't think I will agree with. I almost never get angry. I never yell - okay, once in 1998. I love mothering. I have the BEST relationship with my kids, and though they are practically grown, I don't feel that my job as a mom is finished. I love hanging out with teenagers. I love that they text and facebook and talk to me about important things and stupid things. I really wish I'd had more children. My heart breaks for kids who aren't loved. I have great parents and I'm a very even balance of both of them. I married my polar opposite. I love my job and the team I am blessed to be part of. I love our weird and broken church. I hate dealing with money. If I never had to pay a bill or balance an account or plan a budget, it would be alrighty, okie dokie with me. I don't like to spend money on myself. Okay, on clothes maybe. I like to give money away. It seems like the right thing to do with money I get paid from a job I love so much I would do it for free anyway. I don't care about vehicles even a little bit. I bite my cuticles when I'm nervous or bored. I love all weather except HOT. I actually enjoy cooking, it's the planning ahead part I dislke. I have no patience for people who play the "poor pitiful me" role over stupid things. I panic, I'm talking cold sweats and dying a little inside, everytime I get put on the spot . . . I need time to prepare. I like to drive. I love to learn new music. I love to crank up the stereo as high as I can stand it and sing at the top of my lungs when no one else is around. I love to quiz Kevin on music trivia. I love when he quizzes me right back or sticks his headphones on my ears and says, "Hey, I think you'll like this". I've wanted an iPod for 3 years but still don't have one. I love to communicate in most every way - except by phone. I'm a notorious multi-tasker. I love to plan and organize, but I'm not always good at the follow-through. I'm punctual. I'm not a collector of things, but I highly value friendships and memories. I procrastinate jobs that can't be done in one sitting. I can't make a decision to save my life for fear that it will be the wrong one and I will have to live with it - for a long time. I love movies. I hate watching movies by myself. Wearing glasses makes me feel claustrophobic, but I am progressively needing them more and more. The thought that in 9 months I could (potentially) be a grandmother is completely terrifying. I'd rather pay for something I don't want or didn't get than deal with customer service. I overtip bad waiters/ waitresses because I figure they must be having a lousy day and need the encouragement. I neglect taking care of myself because I just haven't thought it was that important. I hate to cry. I cry at everything. Except when I was on progesterone which made me not feel emotion at all. Ever. About anything. Decided crying wasn't nearly so bad as not feeling. I'm always the last person to leave, as I don't want to be left out of anything. I HATE surprises. I'm not nearly as good a person on the inside as I want to be. I'm grateful for the friends in my life who make that "inner me" want to be more authentic. I love color. I love the smell of hazelnut coffee. I love sushi. I like basketball. I hate going to bed with a dirty kitchen. I enjoy folding laundry. I dislike yardwork of all kind. I like baths, not showers - including baby and wedding showers. I like history and literature - especially children's books. Childbirth, when done right, is fascinating and empowering. I love to write. I hate not knowing what to write about. When I have to shop, I prefer to do it online. I want to pinch the heads off of disrespectful kids and the parents who allow them to be disrespectful. I hate judgmental attitudes. Although in saying that, it kind of makes me judgmental. I'm a klutz and a bit of a nerd. I used to avoid issues, not so much now. I'm a night owl who also happens to wake up early. I intentionally try every day to make somebody's life a little better. I'm very affectionate. I'm funny. I use sarcasm like salt. I'm trying to use it more like, say, paprika: occasionally, and only when appropriate. I'm also quick to compliment. I am not happy with myself at all, but I do like myself. I like to think I'm a realistic optimist. Or maybe an optimistic realist. I used to believe everything was black and white. Now, I see everything in shades of gray. Which, for someone who likes color, is very disorienting. I used to think life was about getting through it successfully by doing as few bad things as possible. How ridiculously STUPID is that? Now I understand life is my opportunity to love those around me, not because I have to, but because I want to. Because God loves me and I love Him right back. Because He knows every detail, every thought, every flaw, every single fall - accidental and intentional. He sees me for who I am and, though it doesn't make a bit of sense to me, He is crazy in love with me and thinks I'm something special. I believe that with all my heart, even when I don't always act like it. That's who I am.

December 08, 2009

uber tuesday

Family Night.

The son is sprawled out on MY bed, watching tv and getting Cheese-Nips crumbs on the sheets.

The husband is sprawled out on the den couch, watching 30 second snip-its of every channel between 2 and 423, because he suffers from remote-control A.D.D.

I reorganized 4 kitchen cabinets, folded laundry, read 5 chapters in my latest book, and am now hoping for somebody interesting to show up on my Facebook chat box.

I'm sorry the rest of you are not experiencing the same uber-excitement that is Tuesday Night.

Then again, maybe you are.

December 05, 2009

in the market

After completing a 3 hour road trip where an antifreeze leak not only kept us smoking a good deal of the time (I should clarify: the car was smoking, Kevin and I were not), but also left us driving in 31 degree weather with no heat, I am reminded that I am in the market for a vehicle.

Now, when I say I am 'in the market' for something, this merely means I am beginning to think about a purchase. I tend to think and plan and shop for an item for so long that by the time I decide to pull the trigger, I've lived with it long enough mentally that I'm tired of it and want something different. I've been 'in the market' for new living room chairs since this time last year and still have yet to purchase any appropriate seating for said room.

That being said, I am in the market for a perfect vehicle.

It should:

*Have seating for 8. Or better yet, 10.
*Have a relatively short wheel-base so it's easy to park.
*Have cup holders wide enough and deep enough to adequately contain a Sonic Route 44 whatever-I'm-in-the-mood-for-that-day Happy Hour drink.
*Have voice activated heat/air and stereo controls. You know, Distracted Driving is Deadly Driving.
*Get 30+ miles to the gallon.
*Be self-cleaning, like my oven. Although, in all fairness, I actually USE my vehicle, so that gives the oven an unfair advantage.
*Have a nifty little compartment specifically for my diva sunglasses.
*Have a center console large enough for my purse so Kevin doesn't inadvertantly buckle my purse straps into his seatbelt, leaving me frustratedly fumbling trying to find a lipgloss while driving.
*Be a pretty color. Not like "SWEET, there goes Stephanie!" pretty color, but more like "That vehicle is nicely understated and is unobtrusive in the driveway and doesn't at all clash with the shutters."

There. Like I told Sara earlier this week, "I am not that picky".

To which she replied, "MmmmHmmm."