Where’ve I been!? All over the place!

Man! Am I tired! This is spring break week and also my first week back in the working world. My life in a nutshell has been crazy. I apologize for missing in action and there is so much I need to write about! I have about 200 unread emails and 100 TED speeches to read through, watch and see which ones I would like to share with you all.

Like I said though…I’m EXHAUSTED!

I have taken care of my own kids this week during the day. We wake up at 7, eat breakfast, and leave the house before 9 every day! I would like to say we spent the afternoons at home, but we have not.

Saturday we woke up earlier and came to story time at Barnes and Noble. The boys got to hear a story about Max and Ruby. They are delightful stories and the boys love them. Then the bookseller read a story about Crafty Chloe. I loved it! Making gifts and how fabulous it is to be crafty! Kids need to hear these things! Not every one is able to buy the latest and greatest gift and a gift made from the heart is even better!

Then they got to do worksheets about Crafty Chloe. It wasn’t JoAnne’s (the bookseller) idea of a fun Crafty for Crafty Chloe, but it’s what she had, and we all got souvenir crayons.

That afternoon my niece had her 9th birthday party. That made me feel old and sad and happy all at the same time. I held onto my boys hands as they tried to skate. I wanted to skate (I haven’t done that since 1989!), but I kept getting busy. Busy, busy, busy. I helped corral kids, wipe boogies, and help kids who weren’t real steady on their feet off the floor. We had a blast. Happy Birthday Kylee!

That evening we were in bed by 9. All of us. We watched Hugo and passed out. By the way, Hugo is an amazing movie. I now understand why a kid’s film garnered so much attention. Beautiful…simply beautiful.

Sunday we were up and running again! We began attending a new church that day. Wow. I am in love with this church. It is completely uncrazy and completely feels like home. I figured as long as I was going to continue living here I am going to adjust some of the events of the day to doing exactly what I would like instead of doing whatever I am told. I have no time for that.

Monday we got up and we turned on cartoons and were met with an IHOP commercial. Damn you IHOP! I ended up spending $40 on breakfast that the kids didn’t eat all for some SEEDS! Seeds!! I could have gone and purchased everything to make a garden with that much cash! But I made the boys happy. We ate The Lorax breakfasts, played at the book store (because it was pouring down rain), and then went to see The Lorax at the theater. Luckily we have a discount theater not far away and I got off with only paying $5 a person.

The Lorax is a story I had never heard, but it is one I am glad I am able to share with my kids. They need to hear about the destruction of the environment for personal gain and what a bad thing it is. We do not want to destroy everything in the name of progress. Do we? I don’t. I get to explain that to my kids in terms they can relate to now, thanks to that movie.

That night was my first night training back at my old restaurant. If you have been reading a while you have read about Noah’s Ark on Galveston Bay. Well, I’m working there again since I decided I needed to finish my degree. Journalism because I like this writing thing I do here and every one wants me to have a degree to give me money to do this thing that I do here. It’s okay though because I have fun here. It’s like working at a party that I can hostess every day. I love that. I love being surrounded by people, by music, by friends, and really these people are my family. They have carried me through the last 12 years when everyone else had turned their backs to the situation. I love them and I will never work at another restaurant…unless of course it is my restaurant. But I have no visions of opening a place of my own…ever.

Wow is that really only three days?!

Tuesday was insane. My best friend and me decided to take our four kids to the Houston Children’s Museum….ON SPRING BREAK! What a mistake! Oh my goodness! We had a blast, but missed the concept on so many of the exhibits and pretty much decided that we will have to do that again when there weren’t 10,000 other people there. Honestly it was crazy. Another night early to bed for Michael and I. Elijah got to spend the night with his friend.

Wednesday…story time again, some errands, and lunch with my BFF and our kids again. At least we were able to let them run wild in the play area at Chik-fil-a! Then last night that was my first night back on the floor at the restaurant. I remember years ago when I worked there before laughing at the people who “couldn’t hang.” It was so sad! An 8 hour shift and they were panting after 4.5 hours. I am now one of those people. I’m feeling a little pathetic with that knowledge now.

I feel fat and achy and know that as long as I am not partaking in the yummy goodness that comes out of that kitchen, my weight issues will disappear with a swiftness. Although so might the arches in my feet. I need some good arch supports and maybe some new feet. But I am glad to be back.

This morning I packed up Elijah and sent him to his grandmothers for a few days. Michael is home with the sitter and I have escaped for a few minutes to write and share and let you all know that I am still alive! Alive and happy and excited to get started on this life of mine. It’s finally mine again on my terms and I must add rather unapologetic terms.

Have a blessed day! Live, Laugh, Love, and Read often!

Flirting is a Lost Art

I think the inability of recent generations to wait until the right moment is a disservice to oursleves. Flirting really doesn’t exist anymore. Say you see someone. You decide you want to meet this particular someone. You walk over and just start chatting. There’s no build up, there’s no considering them. You aren’t even trying to catch their eye to see if they are interested. I think it’s generally an antiseptic approach with base information.

Getting asked on a date by someone my own age generally goes like this…

“Hi, I’m Ted.”

“Hi Ted. I’m Meg.”

“Want to get a drink?”

“Sure”

“Why not Sky Bar tonight at 9.”

“Okay.”

“Okay, see you then.”

That is not a fun conversation! That is not playful! That’s nerves. That’s irritation. That’s like instant messaging…just spoken. It lacks anything that makes a girl even want to try.

I want to be flirted with. I think most people want to be flirted with. Make each other know you are seriously interested in them, then strike up a conversation for a minute. Women want to be wooed. Get to know something about us and let us learn something about you.

I know this is going to sound like the utmost in cheese…but I must say share.

I remember being 15 sitting at Chelsea’s Pub at Lakeline Mall in Austin, and turning bright red when my friend’s mom tried to teach us how to flirt. As we waited for our salads and fried cheese sticks my sister and my friend started giggling. My friend’s mom asked us what was going on and I told her that the other two had spotted a cute guy a few tables away.

She took that as an opportunity to critic our skills.

We had none.

She was apparently an expert in flirting…an old school expert. She sat in the middle of that restaurant smiling, winking, and waving. Capturing a guy’s attention…not a real guy mind you. She already had a man’s attention. Her husband’s and he wasn’t there!

She looked at the three of us and said…you have to learn to flirt.

My tom boy attitude was to throw my head back and laugh…like flirting would work! Bahahaha!

My sister giggled.

Our friend burst out laughing and then screamed, “Mom NOOOOO!”

She just gave us a knowing smile. She said you need to catch their glance. See if they notice. Give them a little smile and go back to whatever it is you’re doing. Look up again and see if you get eye contact…and so on and so forth until one of you waves.

Gotta give a guy an invitation in her scenario. Most these days guys don’t care if you have given them an invitation or not. You can glare at them at they think you are pretending you’re a kid punching the person you like because you want their attention. Truthfully I don’t think that punching someone is a sign of endearment outside of elementary school.

Old school flirting. Huh? Maybe she was right.

This is just not how it is done anymore…should it be done this way?

YES. Oh my goodness yes.

(Yet another window into my little life.)

I had never done the old school flirt tactics I learned on that spring day 16 years ago until yesterday. By no means did I even remember what my friends mom told us until he was walking away and I was left with the giggles.

Now, I am laughing at myself…because really…ugh!

I caught a guy staring at me through the window at Starbucks. I wondered if my hair was standing on end, anything obvious that would make someone stand there and stare, smiling like a goofy school boy.

Um…not that I could tell and I wasn’t going to scuttle off to check. A girl likes a little attention sometimes.

So, I continued to write my post on buying local. You may have noticed that it is dramatically shorter than anything else that I have written lately and that is because of this guy.

Let’s call him McSteamy. Why McSteamy? He looks like the character from Grey’s Anatomy. He is freaking hot.

I was so distracted I couldn’t concentrate on what I was trying to write…and I don’t even know his name.

As I settled in and began my post I had all kinds of wonderful things I wanted to say about freshness and cost effectiveness and taxes, and then I felt eyes boring into the side of my skull. I look up and this lovely man just smiles. Big, broad, goofy smile like I know him and he knows me and all my secrets.

I turn red, look back at my computer screen and try to not giggle.

As I sighed, I thanked God he was standing outside.

He just stands there peering through the window watching me try to type. And I do mean try…I kept writing a word here and there, but really this was impossible to do with someone I didn’t know staring at me. I gave up. I texted my friend Sim and she laughed at me. She knows I am more than a little self-conscious and while I am confident, I am still shaky on my looks.

Sim told me to give myself a little credit. So again I sigh, regroup and to type again.

Feeling eyes I look up, I smile this time…ever so subtly and go back to what I am doing.

Every time I look up from my “work” I see him just looking in watching me. This wildly handsome dude is checking me (in my gym clothes and tennis shoes) out. I had crazy hair…it was windy, but I really didn’t care (to that point.)

He came in and got another coffee. I looked the other way and continued to type. I opened Facebook and looked for a distraction…nothing. Facebook really isn’t as exciting as it was when I was working and there was nothing else to do. I think I can feel him staring at my back while he is getting his coffee and going back out to the crowd of men playing chess.

I didn’t look back. That would have been way too silly, even for me. He had a great voice though…deep and manly. I smile to myself and for the first time in nearly an hour I can get more written on my post.

In a not so subtle act of insanity…because what else could it be…he finally sits down to play chess with an old man. He sits so that when he’s not looking at his chess pieces he’s looking at me.

Ugh! What am I going to do!? I consider for a second packing up and going to my neighborhood Starbucks and trying again…but I couldn’t do that. I need a day like this every few hundred. A little confidence booster, you know?

He’s playing chess…concentrating on his move, talking the old man, drinking coffee and looking very nice and kind.

Yep, I’m the one staring now. He’s tall, over 6 foot and broad-shouldered. He looks strong and well-built. Looked so relaxed in a navy pull over, jeans, and loafers. (I’m a sucker for a guy NOT wearing athletic shoes.)
Strong jaw line with the “just enough” facial hair thing…like McSteamy, only dark…and his eyes are sort of piercing, brilliant blue.

After another few hours of the staring, smiling, googly eyes I finally got my post done. He finished his game of chess. He said bye to his friends and walked away. He looking over again just as I was looking up and waved…the silly finger wave. Gets in his truck and as slow as possible drives away staring at me.

I laughed…out loud. I got stares from everyone sitting near me.

I thought my lessons on flirting all those years ago.

Flirting is a lost art…but with men of a certain age…it’s alive and well.

Make someone smile

So, I started this dramatic post about three days ago about love, recovery, and how we are each recovering from something in life. Well, I am in a good mood and rather than rehash those feelings this morning I thought I would try to help you laugh…just a little.

Humor is after all the best medicine and today it is a little dreary out. (At least in my location.)

This morning at 3:05 AM I HAD to go pee. It was nature, I couldn’t help it, if I hadn’t gotten out of bed right then there would be a mess. So, I got out of my squeaky old bed as quietly as possible. (See above – I am not a little girl…so at 3 AM it can be difficult.)

I did my business and stepped lightly back to bed.

I lean ever so slightly over the crib to put Michael’s blanket back over him…what do my ears hear?

“Mommy!!!!”

“Ugh…Mikey it’s time for sleepies. Please try to rest.”

(I pray to the Lord above…God, I am tired. I worked on the little gifts for Elijah’s party until the weee hours in the morning. I MUST sleep. 7 AM is going to come all too soon. PLEEEEASE!)

“Mommy.”

“Mommy.”

“Mommy?” This time it’s Elijah.

Lord! Why?! He’s supposed to sleep!

“Elijah…why are you up?”

“Michael woke me up.”

“Hmmm…it’s 3 am. Please try to go back to sleep.”

We go on like this for another 45 minutes. Trying to conjole them back to a peaceful slumber…then just trying to get them to sleep…then just leaving them in the room…nope. They found me. They said they were hungry.

I was hungry too.

None of us had felt well at dinner time yesterday, so we didn’t eat much.

I look in the fridge. I look in the pantry. What I would really like is a bacon, egg, and cheese buscuit from Whataburger. It just sounded yummy and filling and like something I would love right then AND the boys agreed.

So, at 3:45 am this morning I was headed to Whataburger…for you country folks that might be a trek of gigantic proportions, but for us it is less than a mile from our front door. We could easily walk if we chose…we drove. It was afterall wet and rainy and there is a chill in the air.

We turned out onto the neighborhood street and then down the back road to the main street. I spied headlights behind us…WHO ON EARTH IS OUT AT 3:45 AM?! What are they thinking!? Surely they should be in bed! Then I remembered…I was out. Heading to Whataburger at 3:45 am. :/

The boys were singing along to the radio and I was jammin to some soothing guitar rifts as we arrived at our destination and the headlights behind us zoomed off. Apparently the local PD was making sure we weren’t out doing something naughty at 3:45 AM.

(Just so you know friends the streets are safe at 3:45 am)

Maybe not 3:45 pm, but I think that’s another story.

So, we ordered our meals and each got some ice cold milk. I paid and we drove off. Ready and hungry for our BEC buscuits. Yummmmm….I could eat one now as I type this.

We arrive back home, no police tail this time.

I unload the boys and myself and grab our bag of goodies and we head inside. As we sit down at the table I dig out the meals for each of us and we nibble our hashbrown fingers.

As I unwrap each sandwich, what do I spy? Sausage. 😦 It was unfortunate. I removed my sausage and ate just the egg and cheese. I’m not a fan of the processed meats. I can see that the bacon is normal.

Anyway…we eat what we can and then they are willing to sleep. Finally at 4:30 AM.

No more Mommy’s, no more noise…I sit down on the couch, curled up a throw blanket and laid my head down…for just a minute…I woke to the sitter letting herself in at 7:30 this morning.

Morning routine was nearly complete by 8:10 when I tried to give Elijah some cough medicine/mucinex. My little drama boy who normally takes THIS kind of medicine without a problem was literally kicking and screaming. Apparently trying to help him with his cough and phlem was a massive attempt at murder.

I am sure that is what the neighbors thought.

Eventually he swallowed enough after the THIRD teaspoon was flung across the living room. One teaspoon in, that was all that needed to happen. No dice. Grr…

10 minutes later, wearing a different shirt Kathy was walking out the front door with the boys. Took Elijah to school while I planned my day. Which really consisted of me sitting scrolling through my new phone.

Yep, I’ve been a bit of a slacker this week.

I did finally leave the house and went to Home Depot. More Saving, More Doing…right?

Well, I made people smile this morning.

As I walked around the store in my ballet flats and capri’s looking at the big construction stuff, loading up my cart with the necessities I need to complete my move.

HERE is part of the list of items I purchased and why I made the cashier laugh…

2 rolls of Packing Tape

8 Medium Boxes

2 pack of Deadbolt/Door Knobs for self installation

The lady at the check out counter looked at what I was buying and asked, “Moving out?”

It wasn’t until I was half way across the parking lot that I understood why she laughed when I smiled and said “Yep!”

Have a great day!

Home…

I think I may be longing for a little nostalgia again.

This rock girl has been listening to country music for the last two days, and it’s caught up with me.

I can’t get that feeling of wanting to curl up in front of a fire with a cup of hot chocolate out of my head. Longing to feel the comfort of the familiar. Longing to put on comfy jeans and a warm sweater. Perch myself at the top of Lookout Point and stare out over the hill country, feel the cold breeze against my cheek and breathe deep the scents of home.

 There is a peace about my hometown (which is actually a grouping of several towns). There is a nostalgia there unlike any other. Just walk through the Courthouse square or sit by the little river in Burnet’s city park its quiet voice echos through time.

Last Friday I went to the Walk of Lights in Marble Falls and strolled along the lake. The brilliant lights dazzled me as a kid, to see all the different scenes and then to sit on Santa’s lap and tell him what I wanted for Christmas made me the happiest girl around. Remembering the years we did that as children, my heart swelled on Friday watching my child’s eyes light up as he mischievously took off running toward the brilliant lights. I would have run too…but I had a stroller to push over a rock path and grass.

My five year old got to see something that I loved so much as a child and we shared hot chocolate with our friends and family that had joined us on our walk. He got to tell Santa what he wanted for Christmas….I wish I had been able to hear…and then all the kids got on Santa’s lap for a photo. It was lovely! Michael and Aaralynn screaming as Elijah smiled for the photographer and Shelby grudgingly stood in the shot with her little sister. One of those moments that will last a lifetime.

My best, oldest friend in the whole world, who is the only person I have known since childhood besides my sisters was with us, and suggested we go to eat. I said sure, let’s go to McDonald’s the kids can play while we eat. (I really despise McDonald’s overly processed food and ageless burgers, but the kids need to play!) So, it was off to Burnet we drove. As we wound our way through the dark hills along highway 281 I couldn’t help but feel completely at home.

As we neared town I couldn’t allow my friend or myself to eat that terrible McD’s food, so I called her and made her turn around and meet me at a local place called the Maxican. If you are ever in the TX hill country you should stop, it’s wonderful!

As it happens in small towns, you run into people when you visit the busiest restaurant in town.

I have barely spent any time back home since high school, but I still knew the owner of the restaurant, several of the patrons, and the hostess (who happens to be a friend of mine’s grandmother and in some way is related to the owner but I can’t remember). You don’t get that in a city. You don’t get the sense of community. You don’t get the feeling of belonging.

It’s like that scene in “Sweet Home Alabama” when Reese Whiterspoon’s character says, “My life in New York works, Jake. But then I come down here… and this fits too.” Insert Houston for New York and that’s how I feel.

Anyway, I long for the nostalgia of home today. I long to feel like I belong, like I am home, like I did on Friday as I met friends I hadn’t seen in years.

Home…

What dreams may come?

Life is funny. No one really knows what they are doing. You can’t practice and you don’t get real do overs. You can’t rewind time and take back words or hurts.

All we can try to do is do the best with what we’ve got and hope it’s enough.

I am prompted today by the quote of the day from Real Simple magazine.

“Living is more a question of what one spends than what one makes.” -Marcel Duchamp

It is also prompted by my post from yesterday, my friend who died. He was very materialistic, he was a workaholic until he was an alcoholic, and the spent more time on the things in life that didn’t matter, instead of the ones that did.

Is that how I want to be remembered? No.

Certainly not! And after all we want to be remembered for the love we have shown, rather than the lies we have shared.

This is what I want by the time my end comes. I want my children to miss me. I want them to know that I beyond the sadness that I am with God and will never struggle again.

I want them to know that they should have a party, not a funeral.

I don’t want some solemn event that has nothing to do with who I am as a person. I think shots of Jack Daniels should be consumed. I think that it should contain lots of people having a great time. I will sit over in the corner like I always do just smiling. Then as far as a place to spread my ashes, toss me into the wind over Enchanted Rock and let me be.

I know it’s morbid to think about, but at some point we have to.

I hope that I have enough friends who want to be there and support my family. I hope that I am a good enough person to deserve their friendship.

HOWEVER

I have lots of dreams that need to be fulfilled in the next 70 years – yep I am planning on making it to 101. There is so much to see and do that I am sure I won’t accomplish it all, but I damn well am sure going to try.

We must dream. We must seek our future.

Living each moment as though it is your last.

We can easily become bitter and angry, holding on to the things and people who have injured us.

What’s the freaking point!?

That’s what I don’t understand!

Why allow something so small in terms of life consume you in terms of living?

Addiction, abuse, anger, and so much more take our minds and control them, and we lose sight of the things we need. We need to get over those things. We need to find a path to enlighten our joy.

To heighten our awareness of ourselves.

We need to let go and move on.

We need to talk to each other and we need to listen.

Listening is so important to finding that path to fulfillment.

Have down time. At lunch today the whole department was chatting and the dean told us that he read an article that people no longer have down time.

How can you think and create if you are always plugged in?! Unplug! Unwind.

Relax!

If we are going to create this magnificent future for ourselves we need a place to create the vision and we need to be free of ourselves long enough to see it through.

Love, blessings, and magic birthday hugs from me!

Perspective

Talk about putting things in perspective. I have been lamenting life, love and material things; while a friend of mine, one of my oldest, most consistent was dying. I wish he would have called me and told me he had been placed in the hospital.

I wish he would have let someone know…

In 2000, my mother remarried and since I was living with her at the time and scared to death to live on my own I moved with her. One day while out looking for a job I stumbled into a little bar named Noah’s Ark. It had a rough exterior and an eclectic interior; and as soon as I walked through the door I felt like I had come home. I applied for a waitress job and interviewed that afternoon, and by that evening I started my first shift. At that time, unbeknownst to me, Noah’s had a reputation. It was where the party animals played and I was fresh meat.

Really fresh meat, I hadn’t even turned 21.

Noah's Ark, Bacliff, TX - Best Crew and Best View

I met some awesome people here. I would love to tell you all their stories and our stories together, but I won’t. Just know that I learned some of the greatest lessons of life through these folks and I am indebted to them forever.

One thing I will share with you is that I learned to let go of tragedy, mistakes, and hardship. We all have our struggles, but if we can get together, have a little fun, and work together to resolve it – ANYTHING is fixable. Anything except death, and we have had our share of heart ache in losing those we love.

Scottie, Chelly, and now John. I know there are others, but these three have been some of my greatest friends and allies over the last decade, or so.

I watched Scottie make enough brisket and gumbo to actually be able to make a little of the good stuff myself. Chelly was the best bartender around, always gave me the hook up at the end of a shift, and always there when I needed to talk someone. She helped me work out a lot of information overflow for years.

Big John

John. John was special. Not short bus special, but being the kindest, most caring human being special. He was interested in making sure I was okay. If I needed anything if he could help he did. He has fixed countless crappy cars. Hauled my drunk self to my house (yes, I had an alcoholic husband, but that didn’t mean I was princess perfect.) He warned me against my marriage. He warned me before I was even married. He has been a rock to lean on in through thick and thin. I disappeared for a year and a half, and he was still there for me when I came back. I put the word out that I needed some coax to connect my TV to the wall for cable, and who do you think called me and said here you go.  John.

I went to his house and we got to talk a while, I told him thank you for always being there and I told him I loved him. He laughed we hugged and I went home. We have seen each other a few times since then and talked on the phone…just reminders of an old soul who cares deeply for his friends. He is the friend we should all strive to be.

There are few souls in the world that are as caring.

Today I find myself deeply saddened. I want to run to my bar and cry with my friends. I want to hide in my apartment and weep alone. I want to drive to John’s house and just hug his daughter.

These are the moments in life that we figure out our perspective. These are the moments of life that we learn not to regret telling others how we feel. These are the moments of life that make the rest of life worth embracing.

Life for today. Hope for tomorrow. Make each minute count. Tell the people you love how you feel today, because you never know when that day will be their last.

The How and Why of the Forbidden Button

I think how you handle people who want nothing more than to see you squashed like a bee has a lot to say about who you are. For example, do you lash out at everyone or do you accept it with a deep sigh and move on?

Inevitably there will be people in your life that just don’t like you. There is no rhyme or reason other than your existence pisses them off.

I wish I could answer why for you, but that is between them and God.

I just don’t know.

I am going to admit this not before God and everybody…there are sometimes things about people who I just don’t like, don’t understand, and although I want to put out the effort to be nice and agreeable I just don’t care.

It’s like the  Pythagorean theorem you had to memorize in high school geometry, but don’t remotely remember now. You just don’t really care!

So, I guess sometimes that makes me the hater. Oh well.

Sometimes you got to stand on your own two feet and say, “I don’t like you very much and you’re not a very nice person.”

Now back to the subject of handling your own haters…people who just don’t care. I think there are several ways to handle them.

You walk away.

You smile and nod and when you can you escape.

You find a way to admit to yourself and to them that you want to click the “un-friend” or God forbid the “un-like” buttons on Facebook and IT’S OKAY!

You don’t reply to the extreme email.

You don’t immediately call them back when the phone rings. Or – Gasp! – You hit the ignore button on your phone!

I am not saying this to be mean. I am not saying this to be pointed or tacky.

People just need to learn when to leave and when to cleave. You need to let go of people you just don’t like anymore. You need to learn that no matter how tight a family may try to be most of the time, in many families, those relationships are not what they appear to be.

As for Facebook…look at your friends list. Who do you just really not care to hear from ever again? Click the un-friend/un-like button…come on! It’s Liberating!!!

Love and prayers to you all! Happy Thursday – cause tomorrow’s FRIDAY!!!