Friday, February 27, 2009

Late Night theories...

"People are complex. They are not good or bad, black or white. I think labels are destructive. The choices we make, especially when we're young, don't decide who we are. They just add to the people we are becoming." --Sage Baker on Priveleged

It's the occasional little gems like this quote that form the reason I watch much of what I do on television. This particular quote sums up my theory on life in a few short, perfectly worded, sentences.

It came at the end of an episode in which I smiled in pride at the way they tackled the same sex marriage issue with two men planning their wedding and then frowned in disgust when they showed only the first moments of the ceremony just to skip to the reception, never showing the vows and thus glazing over an important part for many viewers...including myself.

It came at the end of an episode in which a girl must face the fact that her religous boyfriend isn't open to new experiences in life being rather content with the limited experiences he already has and therefore must make the hard decision to break off the relationship and thus making me tear up (they were such a cute couple!!!).

It came at the end of an episode that contained as many ups and downs as my own life in the span of an hour instead of 28 years. An episode that left me feeling inspired and alive.

You see, my belief in life is that people are complex. We are all made up of a menagerie of experiences and lessons learned. There is no black and white, good and bad. It's all gray area to me. Every circumstance must be judged on an individual basis based upon that person's experiences and their lives up to that point. What is good for one is not necessarily good for the next.

Everything that happens in one's life makes up the person they become. If I do a bad thing, that doesn't make me a bad person. It makes me human. My childhood was full of abuse, negative feelings, and a large dose of heartache along with the good memories. As a teen, I made mistake after mistake. As an adult, I have made bad decisions and put myself ahead of others when I shouldn't have. And yet, I can't bring myself to regret a moment of anything that has happened in my life. I regret causing pain to others. I regret how I reacted at times. But I do not regret the actual events that have taken place in my life. It has all shaped and formed and molded who I am right this minute.

"The choices we make, especially when we're young, don't decide who we are. They just add to the people we are becoming."

So give people the chances they deserve. Realize that life is in the journey. Allow everything you experience and every choice you make to mold you into the best person you can be.

Maybe we'll all have it master by the day we die. One can only hope.

((Yeah. This is the type of thing I think about in the late night hours when the kids are sleeping and the Hubby is off working on his snowmobile. It doesn't happen often that I get quite this deep in thought. Hope it was a nice change of pace.))

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Deserted Island here I come...

Scenario: Your ship has sunk. You have, of course, been stranded on a deserted island. You have salvaged a copy of the King James Version of the Bible and a copy of the complete works of Shakespeare. Nothing else. The very next day you find one of those Arabian Lamps in the sand. Of course, you rub it and, of course, a rather grumpy Genie appears. "Let’s get this straight - there is a recession going on. There are restrictions on the three wishes now. I don’t do water or air transport now so no boats, planes or magic carpets. As for electronics, forget it. There isn’t the infrastructure on this island. I can let you have one book and I mean one VOLUME, one essential item and one luxury item. Now hurry up and make your choices, I have to get to those five other islands you are going nominate."


This is the book I would choose (or something like it) because if I am going to be stranded on a deserted island, I am going to need some lessons on survival. I wouldn't make it two days on Survivor (mostly because I just don't look that good in one of those tiny headbands they wear as shirts!) before they kicked my sorry ass off the island. And since I already have the complete works of Shakespeare and the bible, I will have reading material to live on for a while.


How is that one item? Because it's my family and my family is one item. My hubby, my kids, and my best friend all rolled in to one wonderful--one essential to my happiness--thing.

A very large, very soft, very warm blanket. I have a tendency to get cold and there are so many fun things one can do with a blanket. So that is what I choose.

But wait. Oh shit. What about a knife to cut things with? What about matches to start a fire? What about a writing utensil so that I can keep a journal and write stories for the kids? What about something to keep them entertained? What about clothing? What about the fact that I will only eat a chicken, a pig or a cow and those aren't likely to be found on a deserted island? Oh holy crap, I hate this game. I quit. Take me home.

And I am supposed to tag some people but I don't wanna. This game didn't make me smile like I thought it would. Grr!!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lessons from the high school crowd...

I may need to check my birth certificate but I am pretty sure that I was born in September of 1980. Yeah. I am sure that was the year. And if that was, in fact, the year my mother labored for hours to bring me into this world, that would mean that today, as I sit here typing, I am 28 years old. Correct?

Yeah, that is what I thought.

What does that mean? Well, that means that in the eyes of the law, I am an adult. I can legally purchase alcohol, go to war, gamble, enter into a contracual agreement, etc. In the eyes of society, it means that I am old enough to know better but still young enough to engage in some frivilous fun on occasion. I can wear clothes that are cute or a little edgy because I am technically still in my 20's. Right?

So where in that 28 year old world does the High School Drama fit in?

The answer, my friends, is nowhere.

I have had my share of drama. I have, as recently as two years ago, lost a massive group of great friends to said drama. Drama I brought about, actually. And therein lies the point. My priorities have been put in order (finally) and the path that is set before me calls for one to behave like an adult.

And that is what I shall do.

I will not tolerate drama. I will not engage in drama. I will not be a part of drama. I have had my fill.

That is, of course, not to say that I won't occasionally gossip (as everyone loves a good piece of gossip). Nor does that mean that I won't get sucked in from time to time but as soon as I realize that I have been sucked into that never-a-good-ending vortex, I will bail. Me, myself and I can't handle YOUR drama.

I am trying to do the right thing, folks. I am trying to stay out of trouble and I am trying to walk the line that's straight and narrow. I don't want to fall off this I am doing all that is humanly possible to keep my balance. And because of that, I need to get this off my chest...

I get that this is a difficult situation. I get that I am friends with both of you. I get that you need to talk and you feel comfortable with me. I am okay with all of that.

All that I ask of you, is that you act like a fricking adult instead of a teenager needing attention and I would prefer it if you would keep my daughter out of your dramatic interpretation of life! She is fucking 6 years old and does not yet need to learn the lessons you are forcing me to teach her because believe you me, I am teaching her lessons from this.

She is being taught that it is not necessary to choose between two friends that subsequently hate each other. You can be friends with whoever you want to be friends with. You can invite anyone you want to your birthday parties because if they can't suck it up and get along out of love and respect for you, they can see themselves to the door.

She is being taught that just because your friends are doing something does not mean you have to go along with it. When a friend is bad mouthing someone, it is okay to say "I don't agree" and walk away. Friends like that aren't worth the time and hassle.

She is being taught that people deserve second chances in life...and sometimes third and fourth and fifth...because life is about the relationships we have and the memories we make and holding a grudge and hatred inside is not a healthy way to live.

She is learning that she can make her own choices and do her own thing regardless of others thoughts and feelings on the matter. And she is learning it because of yours and your daughters actions. So I suppose thanks are in order. I may not have wanted to teach her those lessons as part of her first grade curriculum but they are valuable all the same.

As for me? Go right ahead and continue to put me in the middle as you both know exactly where I stand. I will not do anything to alienate either of you because, like my precious little girl, I know that I don't have to choose. I am an adult. But please know that I do have my limits.

I won't tolerate random snarky text messages and voice mails--I will ignore they ever happened. I won't pretend not to know things that I do know. I will not engage in the bad mouthing, however, I will stand there and listen because you entertain me. I will form my own opinion on every matter at hand despite what yours happens to be. I don't take what you say to me and use it as a conversation starter to the other person. We all happen to be linked via the school's counselors and if I feel that something I have witnessed affects us all, I will be the first to tell you in the interest of looking out for your children who I adore.

And anytime you want to tell me how utterly adorable my daughter is and how absolutely fabulous her momma is...please feel free. Because we all know that the two of us are RockStars!!! :) As witnessed by this outfit we put together for school this morning...

Awww! An orange sleeveless floral dress over a pair of dark jeans and accompianed by short sleeved jacket for added warmth (since it was only about 40 degrees here today) and worn with her jack-o-lantern Halloween socks (the only clean ones!) and her usual brown Airwalk kicks. Eat your heart out Hannah Montana! Teensy is the Rock Star now!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

I got a new layout and all you get is...

Today you get bullets! Fun for you!

  • I was tired of my eyes screaming at me everytime I opened my blog so I changed the layout. It took me many hours to get it at all the way I wanted it and I still might not be happy.

  • Miss Insanity has come up with the perfect murder icicle. Yep. Genius, right? Except that now I told her secret so everyone will be looking at her as the suspect in the stabbing murder of someone's mom! It seems like she isn't the first to think this up though! Miss should read this book for ideas!
  • I tried my hand at from scratch layouts today and with her ideas came up with a new layout for Lady K. Hop over and check it out and let her know how much you love it!

  • I have a conference with both of my kids' counselors tonight. We are going to discuss their progress in the grieving department and see what else we can do. I'm nervous as heck about what they are going to say. I just don't want to cry.

  • Teensy has sold 160 boxes of Girl Scout cookies. Her goal is 200. She hasn't sold to immediate family yet and we now have two definite cookie shops set up so I think she'll make her goal.
  • I have actually had things to do at work and multi-tasking has been fun this week. Wish it could be this way always.

  • I was home all day on tuesday with a deadly migraine headache which meant a four day week at work. I think all weeks should be four day-ers.

  • I wasn't able to attend a Lia Sophia jewelry party held by one of the other daycare moms so I browsed through the catalog and bought this beautiful piece of jewelry for way more than what I intended to spend!
  • I am not the only one in my immediate surroundings that has a touch of OCD! From restacking hamburgers if they are done wrong to counting steps, the people around me are just as wacky as I am!!! I now feel an abnormal way. :)
  • I signed up for a Community Education Class on Creative writing. And i am a little scared about that. I've never taken a writing class before and I don't know if I will be any good.

And that is about it for today. I know I haven't posted all week but my brain just isn't thinking in terms of creative blog posts. So deal.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Bolting thru the weekend...

Wanna know what I did for Valentine's Day?

I went out.

Yep. Surprising, ain't it?

Nah. Really, Dear Hubby and I took the kids to see a movie. The movie "Bolt" to be exact. At the cheap theater. Score! And you know what? It was amazing! Double Score!

It's a really adorable movie about a dog named Bolt (voiced by John Travolta--which is good because his voice is still good but who cares to look at him anymore? Ugh!) who is a the star of a hit tv show (think double-oh-seven type) and he has some wicked super powers (like a Super Bark!) but he doesn't know that he's on tv. He thinks that he has super powers in real life. He goes on a cross-country adventure in search of his "person", Penny (voiced by Miley Cyrus, again, great that she's animated because we are just tired of looking at her!) to save her from the evil "Green Eye Man" and the result is some funny stuff that is family friendly and an all around good time.
Do you see that cat? Her name is Mittens...and she's a little homely. The hamster in the ball? Yeah, he's Rhino...and he's funnier than shit! Love that little guy!

Check it out! we will be buying it on DVD as soon as it comes out because I just can't get enough! Even the stale popcorn and movie theater full of small talking children was worth the hassle for this movie!
((And that is all of a Valentine's Day recap as you are going to get because what happened after the movie was horrific and not at all worth writing about. Today, anyway. Maybe tomorrow. Maybe not. Let's just say that the movies this weekend were the best part and leave it at that!))

Saturday, February 14, 2009

That's what she said!

February 14th is a big deal.

To me.

But not for the reasons that you might think.

Saturday is the anniversary of an important day in my life. Something happened exactly 8 years ago that would change my life forever in ways that were unimaginable at the time. Ways that I could never have predicted. I am where I am now because of what went down on that fateful night.


It was 2001. I was dating this guy. A really sweet guy. We'll call him "Tiger".

Tiger decided that for Valentine's Day he was going to take me out to dinner. So we got in the car and headed to a nearby town where we dropped off my son at his aunt's house for a few hours so that the two of us could be alone and we went to eat dinner at Chili's.

I think that I ordered the Monterey Chicken (because that is what I always order!) that night. We were sitting at a booth in the front of the restaurant and it was a cold February night so I asked him if I could borrow his jacket. Being a gentlemen (and a scholar since we were in college at the time) he allowed me to wear his jacket after a bunch of fiddling around trying to get it over to me. The dinner was nice. The conversation was nice. The boy was perfect.

After we finished up with our yummy food, we went back to his car to take a drive before I had to pick up Bubba. He drove us up a road that gave us a wonderful view of the nighttime city lights. I kept expecting him to stop so that we could just look and be silent for a little while. But he kept driving.

Finally, as we descended back into town towards the sitter, he pulled the car into the parking lot of a homemade ice skating rink that was almost never used. He said, "Come on". I was a little nervous about going out on the ice and I am sure I made up some excuses as to why not to get out of the car (I always do!) but he insisted that he wanted to give me a gift and he wanted me out of the car to do so.

We walked to the middle of the ice and he stood in front of me and told me to close my eyes. Although I didn't see him bring anything from the car, I expected him to place a teddy bear (since they were my favorite) or a bouquet in my waiting hands.

When I opened my eyes, he had one khaki knee on the snow covered ice with a black velvet box resting in his hand. It only took me a milisecond to realize that I was being proposed to. It was the best Valentine's Day gift that I could ever have possibly recieved.


The reason that night changed my life is because I said "Yes" and started immediately planning our September wedding. We were 20 years old with a shared 4 month old son and everything about it was perfect.

He told me later that he was extremely nervous that night. The ring was in his jacket pocket at the restaurant and he had to do some super quick shuffling to let me use his jacket. He also then had to quickly put it back from his pants pocket to his jacket while we were exiting the restaurant without my noticing. By the time we stopped at Wilson Park, he was quite nervous about how it was all going to turn out.

The funny thing is...I never saw it coming. I wanted to be married to him and I made no bones about letting him know but on that Valentine's Day, I never expected a thing.

Valentine's Day has always been my favorite holiday. The pink and red. The hearts. The chocolates and love messages. It's all my thing. I love romance and small gestures that show I am loved. "Tiger" knew that and although no Valentine's day could ever be topped by that one in the memorable moments category, he hasn't let me done since.

I just want to take a moment on this day to
say "Happy Anniversary, Baby". I may not remember the date of our first
kiss, I may not remember when exactly we met, but I do remember the day you
honored me with the opportunity to be your wife. It's been a ride but the
most wonderful one I have ever been on. Thanks for being my "Tiger"
through thick and thin, through happiness and sorrow, and for better and for
worse. I love you more now than the day you proposed and my love for you
will continue to grow.
--Always, Forever and Beyond...Your Princess.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Loving me is easy 'cuz I'm beautiful...

Snackie has declared this day as "Self-Love Day 2009" and I, for one, am excited at the prospect of thinking about myself again for once. :)

As you can tell from the previous posts, Valentine's Day is kind of a big deal in my world. But between the parties for the kids at school and at daycare that require both valentines and treats, the special "lovey's" for the kids, the picking out of the perfect card for Dear Hubby and sending some love to my special friends, I usually forget about the loving of myself. Me. The Queen of "Hearts and Flowers". I never do anything to love on me. So this year, Snackie has given me the idea and I will run far with it (beware of the heart shaped confetti sprinkling in my wake!).

These are her rules...
1.) Post a banner on your blog and declare February 14th as the day you not only love your one and only, but the day that you love yourself! (For those of you who need help, all you do is right-click over the image of your choice then click on “save as” and save it wherever you want.)
2.) Post one nice thing about yourself……then ask others to post one thing that they really like about you.
3.) Enjoy yourself!

Easy enough to follow, right?

So, the one thing that I am loving about me is that even in all of my anal obsessive-compulsiveness, I have bent when the wind blew hard and have not broken a single branch on this here tree. And that for me is huge.

In the past two years, I have been through every emotion known to man. From despair of losing a loved one to the immense joy of family togetherness. From fear of losing my marriage to feelings of complete acceptance. It's all been there. Happiness, sorrow, joy and anger. But somehow, I made it through. Me, the unwavering planner who hyperventilates at sudden changes. The woman that can break down into depression at a moments notice. I have fought off those assailants and kept myself out of the pits of despair.

How? By making a conscious decision to not allow the bad things to stop my life. By deciding that I would not only pull my ass up from the gutter but stand with my head held high and a look on my face challenging anyone to push me back down. I know that I have made mistakes. Big ones. I know that bad things have happened. Terrible things. But there are two ways for me to deal with it. I can either fail or I can flourish. I chose to flourish. I chose to continue to move forward with my life instead of staying stagnant in one place. And it was hard. And it hurt like hell at times. But I did it. I made it through to today by putting one foot in front of the other and feeling my way out of the darkness one step at a time.

And today, I stand sit before you and say type that I not only like myself, but I love myself. And if you don't, that is fine with me. If you don't like the choices I have made in my life, that is fine with me. If you don't agree with my stance on the issues, that is fine with me. If you don't like my actions or my words, that is fine with me, too. Because this is me. This is who I am. Everything that I have been through in life has brought to me to this place in time, this moment, and in this moment, I love the person that I am because of my faults and not despite them. I am living through this life and I am learning every step of the way and that...

...that is what I love about myself.

"Our greatest glory lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Go ahead...make my day!

It really is the little things that put a smile on my face.

I was walking into the grocery store this morning after a particularly trying conference with Bubba's teacher. I had exactly 10 minutes to get to work but I needed a pop...and a doughnut...way more than I needed to be on time for work.

Walking with my head held high (something I do when I am trying to convince the world...and myself...that I am okay) and my hands fiddling with my van keys, I headed towards the entrance. A man (it feels weird to me to call people my age men and women--I just don't feel that grown up) was walking out of the the exit and straight towards me. He got a big smile on his face when he saw me and then and there I realized that I knew him although I couldn't place his name. I hate when that happens. This one seemed to be a blast from my past, but not an important enough one for me to readily remember.

"Well, that looks like trouble coming my way," he exclaimed, his smile getting even wider.

I smiled as a retort flew from my mouth. "As always."

I once again tried to place his face with a name in the file cabinet of my mind but the search came up empty.

"How's it going?" I asked in the way of polite passing conversation. My feet kept moving toward the entrance with the urgency of the need to feel that sweet nectar sliding down my throat and releasing the tension that had built up in my spine.

"Good," was his reply as we passed each other's shoulders.

"And I see you're looking as good, as always," he added to my back.

I was so stunned by the comment that I didn't even have the courtesy to thank him, let alone add a likewise comment. I just continued walking, a large smile forming on my face.

It was something so miniscule that I probably will forget it within a days time but for that moment, that instant, that man whom I should have known did exactly the thing that I had been needing. It turns out that I didn't need a pop...I needed a smile. And his confident boldness gave me just that. Something to smile about. A reason to hold my head high.

And now that I think about it, I should have looked back. I am sure that had I done just that, I would have found him admiring the view as he watched me go. But then again, if you remember, I am not much into cat calls and the neanderthal ways of men.

I still can't remember his name or even where I know him from but...

...thank you mysterious shopper. Thanks for the smile on my way to work.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

How long-winded does one need to be while procrastinating?

I found this MeMe on Princess's blog.  She called it "Get the Party Started".  I am going to call it ...


...and then I am not going to follow the rules at all.  Well, maybe a few a little.  Kinda.

Here are the rules:
1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. on shuffle.  (I used my cell phone that has approx. 10 of my CD's uploaded to the memory card and therefore, has a minimal amount of music and yet are all songs that I like to listen to.)
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.  (I did this except that if my music player repeated a previous song, I hit the next button again.)
4. Tag 10 friends.  (Um, no.  I am not tagging anyone.  Do it if you would like to and leave me a comment so that I can enjoy your answers.) 
5. Have Fun!


Let's get it on!

Love in the First Degree  --Am I to take this to mean that love has knocked me on my ass or that I am completely in love?  This title confuses me a little as an answer to this question.

Want To (Sugarland) --Yep, that is me...I want to do a lot of things right now!  Which reminds me...I should register for that community ed class today!

One More Girl (The Wreckers) --That sounds a bit kinky.  The only way I will like a guy/girl is if they bring another girl.  LOL  Probably not...well, maybe. 

Baby Mine (Alison Krauss) --Exactly.  My thoughts today are on my little boy who was in the nurses office again.  I have been worried about his behavior, his health and his mental state all day!

Good as Gone (Little Big Town) --My purpose in life is as good as gone?  WTF.  My life is not over.  Now living good until I'm gone, that I can handle. 

I Believe in Love (Don Williams) --I do.  I believe in love.  :)  That's a good motto...just like Love Will Keep Us Together (see last question).

Cigarettes (The Wreckers) --Is that because I used to go out on smoke breaks with them all the time even though I don't smoke?

I'll Fly Away (Alison Krauss)  --They are hoping!  No, really, I am sure they never thought I would be the one to stick close to home.

Islands in the Stream (Kenny Rogers & Dolly Parton) --I can't say that I think about them often but in some ways it makes sense.  The islands in the middle of the stream always seem so unreachable...especially since I won't wade out to them.  Is that a message to me?

WHAT IS 2+2?
Bones (Little Big Town) --Really?  2+2=Bones...Math=Death.  LOL  Maybe to you but surely not in my life!

My Wish (Rascal Flatts) --Yes.  Right on.  Wishes for my best friends have been on my mind lately...that one be happy and that the other be safe. 

What Hurts the Most (Rascal Flatts) --Keeping track of which thing hurt the most would bring me to my knees...but that is my life story for sure. 

That Don't Impress Me Much (Shania Twain) --A career doesn't really impress me all that much.  I really don't care what I am when I grow up. 

Where the Green Grass Grows (Tim McGraw) --That's my home.  That is where the green grass is.  That is the life.  That is my love. 

Would You Go With Me (Josh Turner) --Who wants to go alone?  I would sure be wanting someone to hold my hand through it.  Want to go with me?

So Small (Carrie Underwood) --Because I haven't been pursuing it at all lately.

If You Wanna Touch Her (Shania Twain) --Biggest fear...Don't touch my kid!  Good answer to this one. 

Bring it On Home (Little Big Town) --What?  What am I bringing home?  Huh? Not understanding this one?  Hmm...must think on it some more. 

Flat on the Floor (Carrie Underwood) --Is this saying that I want to be drunk?  Well, maybe.  Or is it saying that I want to be horizontal...well, maybe to that too!  I could use some sleep right now!  Or sex.  That's good, too. 

This Kiss (Faith Hill)  --Kissing in regards to my friends?  Um, no.  Not so much.  Hugs are good.  Kisses?  Not really. 

It's A Great Day to Be Alive (Travis Tritt)  --Well, good, I guess.  I mean I hope he is happy to be alive. 

Love Will Keep Us Together (Captain and Tennille)  --Does that mean that I will get in trouble for having sex at my job?  Really?  Hey, Hubby, wanna come have lunch with me?  :)

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

What are they going to call you now?

Okay, so I pick up the phone and I hear, "Well, hello J. How's it going over there?"

It took me a full five seconds to realize the person was talking to me. What? Girl are you losing you mind? Yeah, I know. This is probably nothing to you since my sidebar says my name is J, but really it's not. At all. Well, kinda. It starts with a J.

Here's the thing. I have spent most of my life avoiding my real name. I try out different nicknames all the time and sometimes they stick, sometimes they don't. Very rarely am I called by my real name. It's not that I don't like my name. It's unique. Or at least I thought it was until I hit high school and realized that someone else in the school had my name and now on the big bad Blogoshpere there is, once again, a woman with my name. It's a little unnerving to go your whole life thinking that you are the only one of your kind and then realizing that others have your same moniker. Everywhere. There was a woman with my name in front of me in line for coffee at Borders a few weeks ago and they called "our" name to pick up the order and she was like "I didn't order a Chai Tea Latte!" and I was like, "Oh, that must be mine." and the ladies behind the counter were all like "OMG, you have the same name so we got confused!" and then the two of us spent the next five minutes talking about the spelling of "our" name and how there is no one like us.

Ramble much?

My point is that it was a bit odd and threw me for a loop when this man on the phone called me J. No one calls me that, ever. Yes, it's the name on my blog, it's the signature on my text messages, it's even what I occasionally sign my e-mails with. But it's not my nickname, really. Just me being too lazy to type the whole name out (and too obsessed with the symbol (...) for my own good, if you want the total honest answer!).

So, I got to thinking about nicknames and my complete and utter obsession with them. I almost never call someone by the name everyone else uses for them. I must be different. I must have my own nickname for that person because I am completely incapable of being just one of the crowd.

For instance...every little girl around me gets called "Chica" or "Sweetie". There are no exceptions. Names that are normally shortened for convenience sake become the long version when I say them. And names that are normally not shortened, get shortened. It's just how I roll.

I, myself, have had numerous nicknames in my lifetime. My young childhood years were spent with me being called "Sissy" by my little sister and "Nenny" by my nephew. My teenage years, I was "Jay" or "Nellie" unless I was being called "Honey", "Babe", or "Sweetheart" by one of countless boyfriends. I went by "Peperooga" and the shortened version "Peper" when I was a belly dancer. And that's just a few of them! Now, I prefer to just go by my name...and it's weird to hear any of those other names in reference to me.

Well, in my real life anyway! On here, I prefer J... so you can tell the difference between me and the other bloggers with my name!

So what do they call you?

Monday, February 9, 2009 we come!

So, we did it. 

We walked in and told them that we wanted to apply.  We paid our money.  They took some pictures, talked our ears off about their own vacations...and then we waited.

We (well, I) ran to the mailbox everyday hoping for that little package.  That one that gave me the permission to go on my trip. 

And now?

Now, we officially have the little blue booklets and the permission to head over seas!  Yippee!  passports

And the best part is that I will always have this little blue booklet and it's cute little stamps inside.  I have one more form of identification in case I need it.

Do you know what's even better than that?


Score for me!  Hubby looks like an escaped convict in his dark blue work uniform and his unshaven face but, I look good.  Isn't that what matters?


Next step in the journey to another under $1400 each!

Help a girl out!  If you find tickets to Germany for a good price, let me know!  We are willing to fly out of just about anywhere as long as we can do it for a good price!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Losing the security...

There is something that I need to put out there.  It's kind of hard to explain and it may be a bit vague so please forgive me. 

My mom, Little Sis and I moved to the town I now live in the summer before my Junior year of High School started.  We came here trying to escape something.  Violence, I guess you could call it.  Well, just all around yuckiness.  Bad people, bad things, bad memories.  We were running not from a bad life but towards a better one.  One in which we could all find what we had been craving, and missing, in our lives. 

And we found it.  We found peace.  A life that was undisturbed by bad things and bad people.  I, specifically, found a place that felt safe and warm and inviting for the first time ever.  I found people that were nice and comforting and kept me safe at a time when I needed it the most.  I found a life that offered me a view of the fairy tale ending that I had always read about.  Even through the tough times, this was my home.  The only place that I ever felt as if I was really at home. 

This is my home.  This town gives me a sense of pride and wonderment.  The people feel like my family, even if they are strangers.  The surrounding area is filled with more beauty than I could experience in a whole lifetime of exploration.  This is my home.  This is my safe and secure locale that I will always gravitate back to.  This is the place that I belong. 

At least it was.  Until two days ago. 

That is when I lost a lot of that security, that safety.  Bad things had finally found me, caught up with me, touched me in this place.  In my home.  It's hard to explain.  It's hard to put into words the feeling that swept through me.  But I'll try.  I have to try.  It hurts. 

You see, I saw something.  Emptiness to be exact.  The epitome of "a perfect home" devoid of everything.  No longer filled with objects lovingly placed and replaced again and again.  No longer overflowing with familial warmth and comforting sounds.  A home without the homey feeling.  Gone.  Done.  Vacant.  Empty.  The place, the house, that I considered to be "home" was hollow and just plain wrong. 

Dad has moved on with his life.  That just feels wrong.  He now lives somewhere else.  That just feels wrong.  Brother-in-law and Wife are about to move in to the family homestead.  That just feels wrong.  Life has gone on without her...and that just feels wrong.  Most wrong, in fact.

I no longer feel that I am safe in my bubble here and I no longer feel the obligation to hang around as much as I did before.  Sure I still have my mom here, but my mom is still my mom no matter where I live.  I felt at home here in this town because I had found safety, security, comfort...and family. 

And now...

...and now, it's all be torn to pieces and lays around my feet in heaps and piles of debris.  An argument here, a painful memory there.  The litter left behind by a terrible tragedy that leaves me wondering if I will ever feel at home again. 

What will it take this time? 

What will it take for me to find a home again?  The safety, security, and comfort that I have so craved throughout my life has once again been yanked away by a thief in the night.  So what will it take this time?

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Merry Christmas...Are You Dead Yet?

I have a confession to make.

It's kind of a big one.

One that I am worried will skew your view of me forever.

I am a great gift giver (that is not my confession. "Wait for it..." Oh, wow! I never remember lines to movies and the like! I can't believe I remembered that one! Sweet! Wish I could remember which movie it came from! Oops...wander much?). Back on track. This last Christmas I was rather slack in the ideas section of my gift giving. Most likely due to the fact that Christmas didn't feel like Christmas without the home and family bit and therefore I was lacking any of the usual excitement and wonder behind the season to catapult my gift giving abilities to the super-stardom level. In fact, I just kinda stayed on the ground with the normal folk that never know what to buy.

Until one day, I was walking through the local Sam's Club and saw the absolute perfect present for my best friend, Lady K. You see, she is a food lover. And I don't mean that in just a normal "she likes to eat" kind of way. I mean that she has been known to have food orgasms (even multiple in one sitting) when she's eating something especially tasty. Food is her weakness. But she is a picky eater, too. Nothing American is going to fly at her table. the regular fare of pizza and hamburgers does not tempt her palate in the slightest. She prefers foreign delicacies on her plate.

Like Baklava.

And that, my friends is what I found in Sam's Club that day. The gift-giving heavens opened and smiled upon me as I realized that packaging was horrendous but the price was spot on, and therefore I could put my own little spin on the repackaging of it and make it my own masterpiece. Yay! I had done it yet again!

So that is what I did. I put the Baklava into a cute little tin and gave it to my bestest friend with all the love I could muster. It was beautiful. She loved it. *sigh* She coveted it. *sigh* She shared it with all who entered her house that she deemed worthy of a taste of the best gift ever. *double sigh*

So, why do I tell you this story now? Over a month after I gave such a wonderful gift?

This week, I got a letter in the mailbox that stated the following...

"This letter is to inform you that we have learned today that, RAIN CREEK BAKING CORPORATION in cooperation with the FDA has initiated a Recall of its BAKLAVA ASSORTMENT due to potential contamination of Salmonella.

Our records reflect that you purchased the BAKLAVA ASSORTMENT with a UPC 0003810520213. We request that you review your inventory records and segregate and return the item to your local Sam's Club for a full refund. If you have sold or shipped any of this product, we request that you contact your customers and notify them of the recall. "

Merry Christmas, Lady K. I tried to kill you.

What did you say you wanted for your birthday?

Oh and do you think you could return what you haven't already scarfed down in a moment of weakness pawned off on someone else eaten so I can get my money back? What's that? No. Wait just a minute. I am NOT a greedy little...oh, well, yeah. I guess I kinda am. Forget I asked.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Now I know how the other half lives!

Last weekend, I got the immense privilege of staying somewhere that I never would have gotten the chance to stay. You see, my older sister decided that since she won't be traveling to Italy in the next 3 years to see Little Sis, that we would make our Vegas stay one of celebration...and by that she meant that she would pay for us to spend the night in the lap of luxury!

Holy cow and YAY for us!

When we checked in to the
Bellagio Hotel in Vegas, Big Sis went to the front desk and Little Sis, Mom and I (along with the 5 little kids and our assorted luggage) trooped toward the elevators to await her arrival with the room key.
Now let me tell you. The Bellagio is a big deal. From the moment you drive up to the hotel, the immense beauty is overwhelming.
And the people...well they are high class. And rather suspect of the Hillbilly's standing to the side of the casino, in front of the high-class, expensive gift shop store front. The ones with the mismatched luggage and Wal-Mart bags scattered on the floor around them. The ones with the three small children sprawled on homemade fleece blankets, whining about "how much longer we have to sit here" and the one small child with her oily snack covered fingers leaving prints all over the glass window. The ones who are well aware of the fact that they look like Hillbilly's and are therefore cranky and thinking thoughts of pulling out their shotguns and laying into all of those hoity-toity lookers on.

Needless to say, check in took a lot longer than we expected due to a credit card mishap (the company flagged her card because she had been shopping in South Dakota and several locations in California and then tried to put an enormous charge on it in Las Vegas for a hotel room!). By the time Big Sis came walking through the casino with the room keys, us Hillbilly's were ready to blow.

However, the room itself cured all ills (and all maniacal thoughts roaming through our heads). Why you ask? Because it wasn't just a hotel room (or two adjoining ones like we had originally reserved). It was a Suite! A Penthouse Suite to be exact! Yep! Holy cow and YAY for us!

The room was laid out like this... ...only the Bedroom on the top had two queen beds instead of just one king.

Seriously! That is where we stayed! Let me tell you some stats of our hotel room on that most glorious of nights...

~It had 5 bathrooms that included 2 steam showers, 2 jet tubs, 4 huge closets with robes in each, a baday toilet and free champagne looking bottles of shampoo, conditioner, mouthwash, shave gel, bath gel, and lotion as well as a razor and toothbrush/toothpaste!
~The bathroom also featured a scale called "The Thinner" that told you your weight if you were about 40 pounds lighter!
~There were 7 flat screen televisions (including one in each of the bathrooms!) and the biggest/main one had a DVD player hooked up to it.

~There was a mini-bar.
~A dining room table that seat 6 people very comfortably.
~A living room with a couch big enough to sleep all 5 small children!
~Amazing pieces of artwork. ~Views that were absolutely to die for (although weren't of the Dancing Fountains like we were originally led to believe!)

(Yeah, I know the picture is only of the Caesar's Palace across the street but it was still a great view!)

~And this? This is the bed I slept in. By myself. A wonderful, queen sized cloud of softness that cured me of any insomnia that I could possibly have possessed the moment I laid my head down on it's pillow of ecstasy.

(And no. That bear does not belong to one of the kids. It belongs to me. His name is Ripley. And just FYI, I took this picture with my sister asleep in the other bed and my nephew slumbering in a real crib at about 2 in the morning. That's just how I roll, sometimes.)

I'm telling you people, the place was amazing and well worth whatever price Big Sis paid for it. I enjoyed myself immensely. :) There was a lot more to the hotel that My mom and I explored and took pictures of but that is just going to have to wait for another post (if I ever get to it!) because there was just too much beauty for one blog post. You can go check it all out
over here.

I am now thinking about using
this as the location to go get married again. Any reason to go back!