Sunday, April 29, 2007

They walk among us

I mentioned a particular super power I have to some friends of mine yesterday, and it got me thinking. Aren't we all Super Heroes, really? Don't we all have some special Super Power to call on in a time of need?

I believe this to be a Truth in life. So, in keeping with that spirit, here is a list of my friends and family (in no particular order), along with their respective Super Powers:

1. Katie, a.k.a., "Badger Girl" : The ability to sustain a line of nagging until she wears down her opponent and ultimately gets what she wants. This is a particularly potent Super Power and we hope she only ever uses it for good.

2. My Mom, a.k.a., "The Worrier" : Her ability to see the worst possible outcome in any given situation has made irrational fear a thing to be reckoned with. She can weave a first class conspiracy theory out of the ingredients on a cereal box. The current administration is planning to secretly imbed her at the next Democratic National Convention to undermine the enemy.

3. Tina, a.k.a., "Git-R-Done Woman" : Once this "little engine that could" has decided on a course of action, batten down the hatches and get the #%!! out of her way. A flash of single minded determination, she gets the job done in record time. Warning: This Super Power does come with a double-edged sword. When activated, it is extraordinarily hard to turn off and often leads to excessive irritability and burn-out for our lovely Super Heroine.

4. Kevin, a.k.a., "Mr. Feel Good" : No pessimism is safe with this guy around. Had a bad day? Doubting yourself? Depression knocking at your door? All are vanquished with the flick of an e-mail from this relentlessly upbeat gent. Known to spread goodwill on a colossal scale, every day is sunshine and lollipops (to coin a phrase - thank you Tiffany) and there's always a bright side to look on when he's around.

5. Dalton, a.k.a., "The Human Computer" : A never-ending source of diverse facts, figures, and obscure information, if our Super Hero doesn't have the answer, he soon will. His mind clicks at an incalculable rate of speed, often overrunning the average population, and many of his ideas are ahead of their time. On the flip side, in true "computer-like" fashion, expressing emotions doesn't come easily for our Hero, with the possible exception of anger stemming from frustration. Certain types of visual stimulation are his kryptonite.

6. Cameron, a.k.a., "Eagle-Eye Gregory" : Nothing escapes the attention of this "wunderkind." His little eyes and ears are constantly scanning the surrounding landscape for sights and sounds the rest of us take for granted. A voratious observer, he can watch a code put into an alarm system one time and repeat it back to you. The operation of heavy equipment is no challenge to this Super Tyke, if he's seen it done before. Warning: Don't say or do anything around him you don't want repeated, and don't leave your keys in the ignition.

7. Nicole, a.k.a., "The Unoffendable" : Need someone to whom you can confess your darkest thoughts or deeds without criticism or judgment? Want a friend who has no expectations? Call her tomorrow or a year from now, this Super Hero never fails to answer the phone with an understanding heart and a sympathetic ear. A real rarity in this world, she also has the secondary Super Power of being able to keep a secret, guaranteed.

8. Jamie, a.k.a., "Lois Lane" : This reporter-extraordinaire knows no bounds when it comes to tracking down breaking news. Willing to "take one for the team," she doesn't hesitate to do whatever it takes to get that quote, those facts, or to hit deadline seconds before the clock runs out. Whether it be flashing a little cleavage (although there's nothing little about her cleavage), or chasing shady characters, our girl always gets her man... er, story.

9. Paul, a.k.a., "Grouchy" : Able to chase people off with a single grumble, this overgrown teddy bear's bark is worse than his bite. With the uncanny ability to get other people to do things for him before they realize they've been sucked into his tractor beam, this is another formidable power we hope is only ever used for good.

10. Me, a.k.a., "Wonder Woman" : I have many Super Powers. Traffic Magnet, Wrong Line Chooser, Procrastinator, and Trouble-Maker being chief among them. I've chosen the name "Wonder Woman" as a blanket title, encompassing all of my magnificent traits succinctly under one phrase, ie., "I wonder how she ever gets anything done," and "I wonder how she ever survived this long," etc.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Have big fat mouth, will travel

Well, it turns out this is the year for me to hit the road. Not only am I going on the previously mentioned trip to Idaho, (which is going to end with a swing through San Diego to see Zach for a couple days), but now I'm going to the Texas Hurricane Conference in Galveston for three days, May 8th through the 10th. Woo-hoo!

After I left the radio station back in January, I was recruited by our county emergency management coordinator to be the public information officer for the county emergency management task force. The irony is thick.

So I get to go to this conference to learn what to say and when to say it to the media in the event of a hurricane-type situation. (Gee, I can think of a few choice words right now.)

Me, alerting the media. When I've pissed off most of the media outlets in the county.

Oh well, three days in Galveston sounds like fun anyway.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

To make a long story long

I'm much better now; feeling pretty great actually, except for tired muscles from all the exercise.

One of my best friend's daughers is getting married in May and I've begun to make plans to go. They live in a beautiful small town in northern Idaho and I'm really looking forward to it.

In true girlfriend fashion, we're going to parlay it into a scenic trip, driving to Glacier National Park in Wyoming and then up into Canada to some kind of hotsprings thing they have, then back to Idaho. It should definitely be a Lucy/Ethel type event.

DeDe and I met the summer I was 16. She turned 18 on June 6th that year and I've never forgotten her birthday since. You never know when you're going to meet a forever friend. But when you do, things stick with you.

Before school was out that summer, I was in drama class with this guy named Todd. He was a grade ahead of me and kind of an odd bird, but very charming. Not someone I would normally be attracted to - but hey - charming goes a long way. Somehow, by the end of the year he sat in the desk in front of me and flirted a lot. We both ended up with leading roles in the school play.

My sister was married and had her own apartment, so I talked her into letting us have the cast party there. Not a lot of people showed up, but Todd was one of the few. And he was the only guy. We ended up drinking and probably smoking a little pot and finally decided everyone should stay for the night. Including Todd.

All the girls thought he was so cute, but nobody would make a move on him. So I did. It was easy for me because sure, he was cute, but I didn't have a crush on him, so there was nothing to lose. I didn't know then that guys don't turn girls down.

Well, this isn't an X-rated story. We didn't have sex, but we did end up making out all night, which is every teenage girl's dream. And he was a FANTASTIC kisser, which always rates high in my book.

So, Todd and I became a couple.

I practically lived at my sister's apartment that summer. My days consisted of sunning by the pool several hours a day, drinking, eating, and talking on the phone with Todd. I heard a lot about his friends, DeDe - or Pickle, as they called her then - and his best friend Bryan. One day when Todd was over, there was a knock at the door. I opened it up to find everything I had ever liked in a guy (at that point) standing in front of me. Tall, lanky, and blonde with sleepy brown eyes and utterly kissable lips. I was so stunned I just stood there. Todd came to the door and introduced me to his buddy, Bryan. Holy crap, I was infatuated with Todd's best friend.

Well, that made things more interesting. I was still with Todd, but I really wanted to be with Bryan. I just had to figure out how to switch. They came over a few times together and I could tell Bryan was interested, but what to do? I was really into making bets with people at the time (only when I knew I would win), so I bet Todd over the phone $20 that I could get Bryan to come over without him telling Todd about it. Cocky, huh? Todd, of course, took the bet because Bryan was his very good friend and would never do that to him.


So I called Bryan and asked him to come over. And he did. I told him what I'd done and we called Todd together. They both took it very well and Bryan took me to lunch. I called Todd, afterwards, and told him I wanted to start going out with Bryan. He was okay. We weren't in love and we both knew it. But I still made him pay me my $20. A bet's a bet.

Anyway. Bryan and I started seeing each other, and having sex (he was my second, but first regular), and I fell in love. Head over heels. It was everything I ever wanted. Beautiful.

Until I started hearing more and more about DeDe, like thunder rolling in the distance.

They all lived in the same apartment complex together. DeDe had a crush on Todd and they began dating. I met her at the mall when Bryan and I were there one day, and then saw her again a few times at Todd's house. She was nice and friendly and very confident, which I was not. I was attractive, but didn't know it. I felt inferior and clumsy.

Anyway, we went to play pool together one night, DeDe, Todd, Bryan and I. DeDe and I talked while they played and really bonded. I liked her very much. And Bryan was all over her all night. It was obvious. And humiliating. I was crushed, but everyone told me I was overreacting. So I pretended everything was fine.

A few days later the four of us and Todd's sister were going out and we were in a car accident, rear-ended. It was pretty serious. Bryan and Todd were fluttering all over DeDe and Todd's sister, and I was 16 and didn't know what to do. And I was alone. I was embarrassed because obviously my boyfriend was into someone else, and everyone else knew what to do, and I didn't. I called my dad from the emergency room and told him I was fine and they were going to make sure I got checked out, but it wasn't true. Everyone was seen by a doctor but me. It was like I was invisible. And I was really hurt, which I discovered the next morning when I couldn't turn my head because of the whiplash.

Wow, how did this turn into the painful confession of my first love? I guess I'll try to condense this a little.

By the end of that summer, I broke up with Bryan, (he pleaded the whole time he was not interested in DeDe), Todd and I remained friends, and DeDe tried to keep in touch, though when she came to my house and showed me the romantic card Bryan had enclosed in the flowers he sent her, I couldn't take the pain. But that's what I get, right?

Anyway, I got back with the guy my parents wanted me to, and when we became engaged I invited Todd to the wedding. He brought DeDe, who was now married to Bryan and pregnant. My heart was crushed. I was still in love with Bryan. But I liked DeDe too, and I couldn't hold it against her. I just thought I would never see them again after that.

Well, as fate would have it, I got pregnant right away. The first night of Lamaze class, guess who we ran into on the parking lot? DeDe and Bryan. And they were in the same class. DeDe and I became very close and our babies were born a month and a half apart. Our friendship overcame the pain I felt every time I saw Bryan.

Now for the ultimate irony. DeDe divorced Bryan when the babies were still small. Turns out he was a pathological liar. She married Todd and we had our second babies one day apart in the same hospital. We went through a lot of ups and downs and she was responsible for me getting together with the second love of my life, Todd's little brother, Michael.

Which is another story for another day.

Suffice it to say, DeDe's daughter is getting married. And we're going on a roadtrip!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Getting cleaned out

Well, probably the reason for my negative Monday is I was getting sick. I have had a horrible stomach virus since Monday night. I'm feeling better now, but hungover from the experience.

Why is it that every time I start exercising, eating right, taking vitamins, etc., I get sick?

I guess it's kind of like cleaning a closet - you have to get all the junk out before you can get rid of it.

Monday, April 16, 2007

They're probably morning people, too

Monday morning. My favorite.

You know, I thought it would be different after I quit working, but Monday still reeks of the party's over, here's the check, time to clean up.

Of course, for some people Monday is the start of a brand new week. A fresh opportunity for adventure and productivity. The chance to meet challenges, lay foundations, overcome obstacles, make a difference.


I'm going back to bed.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Top 10 Questions I Ponder

1. How do women get their hair to stay up with a pencil?

2. Why would anyone like the taste of burnt marshmallows?

3. How did Anna Nicole Smith become the center of our national focus?

4. Why does pizza come in a square box?

5. Why do dogs turn three times in a circle before they lay down?

6. Why do I inevitably pick the slowest moving line, regardless of how many people are standing in it?

7. If 40 is the new 30, does that mean women just used to look old faster?

8. Why do you have to get a license to drive, carry a handgun, or get married, but anybody can have a baby?

9. Why is it that on days I don't have to get up early, my eyes pop wide open at 7 am?

10. Why do I only ever run into people I know in public when I'm not wearing make-up and I haven't washed my hair in three days?

Friday, April 13, 2007

Read it if you dare

I just read something that got me thinking. It said, "Love flows best when it flows freely." So true.

Anyway, I had another kooky dream last night. Are you ready?

I dreamed I was driving a semi-truck with no trailer through heavy traffic on a freeway. It was a bright sunny day and I was enjoying myself. I went under an overpass and got into the right hand lane next to a grassy esplanade with a very pronounced curb.

I was traveling between a lot of other trucks, and the traffic began to bottleneck. A huge 18-wheeler carrying heavy equipment suddenly came up behind me and started to run up on the back of my trailer. I had no where to go other than to run off the freeway onto this beautiful esplanade under another section of overpass.

This began a chain reaction of trucks, cars and 18-wheelers wrecking and running off the road. Everyone jumped out of their vehicles and began trying to sort out the mess. I was furious. This guy running up on my @$$ had caused it all, but some people were trying to blame me. I dropped my cell phone on the grass next to the curb, but I was too angry to get it.

I marched over to the guy, who was now standing next to a huge, locker-like container he'd been hauling that had busted open because of the wreck. He was surrounded by angry people, cops, troopers, etc. And he was holding his arms out saying none of it mattered because he was carrying plutonium. "Anybody want some?" he yelled, "Have it!" It looked like cocaine in huge plastic bags.

Everyone started to scatter, and I wondered if it could blow up or if he had a nuclear bomb. I started to run.

My cell phone was on the ground about a hundred feet away. People were stampeding and I prayed I could get to it before someone crushed the thing underfoot. I reached the phone and scooped it off the ground, still at a dead run. I knew something bad was going to happen, and it did.

As I reached the open highway, I looked back over my shoulder and saw, rising above the overpass, the front edge of a colossal fire ball that blotted out the sky behind it.

I ran faster, trying to stay ahead of it. I thought maybe the guy's plutonium had exploded, or maybe he'd had a nuke, but something told me we were being attacked. I looked up again and I saw a huge 50 foot tall, shirtless man with nubs of horns coming from his head behind the overpass, causing the fireball. I knew no one else could see him. It was a symbol. It was Armegeddon.

I was in Houston, and my only thought was to try to get back to my family in Cleveland. Maybe they hadn't been affected. I began to run north on the freeway with a crowd of other people. Somehow I knew we were being herded in a direction for some nefarious purpose, so I cut off the main road and back under another overpass toward a wooded area.

I caught bits and pieces of conversation as we ran. There had been several explosions. The city was most affected. Some of the outlying areas were still intact. It gave me hope that my family would still be alive.

There was a little dark-haired girl, about three or four years old, running with two older women. I grabbed her hand to help her keep up, and they followed me, along with a few other stragglers. We ran up an incline to get back with the crowd, but the little girl went in another direction. I knew I should follow her. The right way to go was not with the masses.

We came upon a village of sorts and kept running staright through it. Along the way, I found a beautiful Bible with a protective cover. I shoved it in my purse and kept going. The little girl had been leading us, and so far she'd been right on the money. We'd avoided the fate of the majority of people who'd been on the main freeway. They were all dead.

At the end of the village, we ran into another group of survivors. It was time to divide and go our separate ways. I had developed a love for the little girl I believed God sent to show us how to get away. It was so hard to part with her. I hugged her and told one of the women I would miss her. The woman looked at me puzzled and said she wasn't her daughter, she didn't know who she was. The little girl beamed up at me, and I knew I could keep her. She didn't have anyone else.

We set off for Cleveland again, following the grassy, wooded edge of the freeway so we wouldn't be seen by the invaders. Close to the north edge of Houston, just around a curve in the road, there was a roadblock set up to keep people from getting out. We detoured around and ran into a side road with emergency workers who were helping survivors sneak around the roadblock. A few of the guys knew me and said my house had been destroyed, but as far as they knew my family was still alive.

They were going to help us when, around the bend, we heard a roar and people screaming. One of the workers told us to try to stay on the outer edge when it hit. I didn't know what he was talking about so I grabbed the little girl and ran to see what was happening. It was a huge wall of water barreling down the road, headed straight for us.

I ran as fast as I could to try to get ahead of it on the other side, but I knew it was going to get me. I felt helpless as the lead edge caught me and knocked me off my feet. It was pushing me toward an open parking lot with a few cars, and I was washed free of the main wave. I ended up washing up onto the pavement of the lot.

And then I woke up.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Let me eat cake

Weight Witches didn't work for me. I've gone back to assaulting cakes for the time being.

I'm going to try circuit training and see if that helps perk me up. (Although there are parts of my body that laugh heartily at the word "perk".)

The cruel irony of getting older is the physique is not what it used to be, but the maturity level to enjoy it is in full swing.

I think that's why men go for younger women - they're not onto them yet. Most young women are so image-conscious they focus completely on pleasing the man, the performance, what does he think of me? Older women know that men - for the most part - are just looking for a warm body that says yes. We've had the years of being used, and it's boring. A smart, mature woman will say or do what she needs to enjoy the ride. And a lot of men are intimidated by that.

Thank heavens for the ones that aren't!

I guess the happy medium is coming to terms with the fact that exercise won't give me back the body I used to have, but it WILL give me the stamina to do what I like.

And leeway to eat more cake.

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Savannah's Story

My youngest child had a birthday yesterday; she turned 7 on April 7th, 2007. Her Aunt Tina made a wonderful cake for her and we had a party at her favorite restaurant, McDonald's, surrounded by her favorite people. I can't believe it's been nearly eight years since I found out she was coming, ready or not.

My entire life has pretty much gone in a linear direction. I never really made much of a conscious choice in the direction it went, but I knew where it was going. Like a river current just dragging me along. My gut feeling about things has always been right on the money.

Until Savannah.

My two older sons are from my first marriage. I was divorced for five years and after I became a Christian, remarried my ex-husband. Then came Katie and Joseph. Okay, I was done. Four kids spaced apart like that wasn't so bad. I was even ready to have a hysterectomy because of problems stemming from so many big babies.

My friend DeDe came down for a visit from Idaho one summer. We had a great visit and joked about what good friends we were; we still had our "cycles" together, even after living so far apart for so many years. And I realized I was a day late. No big deal. Just one day.

I bought a home pregnancy test on the way to my mom's house as a fluke; I even considered returning it, because there was slim to no chance of a pregnancy - believe me. And I didn't "feel" like I was.

The plan was to sneak and take it without my mom knowing, because I thought she would totally flip out. Joseph was little, and the first thing he did when we got to her house was to grab the test out of the bag and toddle it into the kitchen to hand it to my mom. Nice. I grabbed it before she did, hoping she hadn't noticed what it was.

I went into the bathroom and followed the directions, chiding myself for being so ridiculous and wasting money on the stupid thing. After about 30 seconds, I looked at the little test window and saw the second line start to appear. Holy crap.

I blinked and sat down on the rug and blinked again. There was no mistake. The second pink line was getting darker every time I looked.

Five. I was going to have five kids. Me. The one who never wanted any when I was growing up. And I hadn't even seen it coming. No clue. I felt dizzy and disoriented and like my life was spinning out of control.

Somehow I stood up and walked to the kitchen, dazed, scared, dreading what my mother would say. Dreading what everyone would say, really. Who had five kids anymore? Isn't that the heighth of irresponsibility? My husband had never been thrilled any time I told him I was pregnant, much less with number five. Joseph was still breastfeeding. And a second pink line was staring me right in the face - there was no turning back.

Mom was standing at the kitchen sink with her back to me. I debated bypassing her and going straight to a corner to suck my thumb in the fetal position. But suddenly she turned around and beamed the most beautiful, excited smile at me and said, "Well, am I going to be a grandma again?"

I couldn't even say anything. Great big tears welled up in my eyes (they still do, when I think about this) and I nodded my head. Then my mom grabbed me up in a great big hug and said, "We're going to have another little ruffle-butt!" (That's southern-speak for "baby girl" because of those little panties they wear over their diapers with the ruffles on them.)

And that was when I breathed for the first time after I saw that second line. The world wasn't going to end. I was going to have another baby, and it didn't matter what anybody else thought.

Savannah was born on a beautiful spring day at 12:20 pm. No fuss, no muss; induced two weeks early because I had gestational diabetes. Long and skinny with coal black hair and a bad temper, she cried for the first three days of her life. I'm convinced it was because she was mad at having to come out before she was ready.

Her black hair quickly turned blonde and she looks like me when I was her age. She still has a temper, but she's learning how to deal with it - although not as quickly as I would like. She's a curious mix of opinionated, shy, independent, painfully self-conscious, and arrogant.

My heart breaks for her because we are a lot alike and I can see what she is going to have to go through growing up. But I'm also very proud of the qualities she has that I never did.

I hope she strikes a better balance.

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Top Ten Opening Lines I've Never Used in a New Post

1. I took a recent trip to Insanityland. It was an interesting place to visit, but I wouldn't want to live there. And there weren't any souvenir refrigerator magnets.

2. Why are idiots and politicians allowed to breathe?

3. Why are teenagers allowed to breathe?

4. In the grand scheme of things, life is like a bowl of gumbo. You never know what you're going to spoon up, but every bite tastes a little different. Just enjoy the parts you like, spit out what you don't, and watch out for the slimy bits of okra.

5. Fiery Habeneiro Doritos and long, chocolate covered, cream-filled pastries are the devil.

6. I don't think I should have pissed off the trash man today.

7. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. (Wait - that was somebody else's.)

8. There is a place where only the very bravest would dare venture. It teems with strange creatures - seen and unseen, foreign smells, and chaos. There are hidden treasures to be unearthed, adventures to be had, mountains of rubble to be excavated. It is my children's bedroom, and I am not brave at all.

9. A funny thing happened on the way to the gynecologist...

10. How did they ever come up with that statistic on how many times men and women think about sex a day? I was obviously not consulted.

Monday, April 02, 2007

But I'm really good at playing Risk

There is a quality some people have that I want to hone for myself. It's called taking action.

(All of you who know me may stop nodding your heads now.)

I envy the person who can think up an idea and immediately act upon it. They conceive something and the next day it's done. What is up with that? The thought of it is as foreign to me as a rainbow is to someone who's never been able to see.

Caution has always been my strength and my downfall. I have to think things through, backwards, forwards, inside and out. Ideas must be researched, figured from every angle, all obstacles foreseen and rooted out.

Which means while everyone else has passed the finish line, gotten their awards, and are enjoying dinner and drinks with friends afterwards, I'm still standing at the start gate working out my strategy.

A good friend of mine is one of those "take action" people. If we're discussing something and the subject of 16th century tapestries comes up, he's on the computer and before you can say "Google" he's got all the information one could ever have, want, or need on the subject. I made a simple suggestion one day about an idea for a book or a seminar series I thought he would be good at, and by the next day he had the first two chapters fleshed out and the rest in the works.

I am determined to become more like that. As soon as I finish thinking... and reading... and filing my toenails.