Finish the sentence

Stolen from Just A Girl, as filler until I finish this damn paper, so I can post about some super-exciting things.

1. My ex...haunts my dreams sometimes.
2. Maybe I should...stop living in the past so much.
3. I love....my sweet girl.
4. People would say that I'm...loyal to a fault.
5. I don't understand why...fire ants were created.
6. When I wake up in the morning.....I wish for 5 more minutes of sleep.
7. I lost my..... old man dog this month, and it still catches in my throat.
8. Life is full of....wrongs and hope.
9. My past is...a pain in my ass sometimes.
10. I get annoyed... when I feel like someone is ignoring me on purpose.
11. Parties are....wonderful!
12. I wish....I would focus more on my poetry and song writing.
13. Dogs…are my favorite furry companion.
14. Cats....are independent.
15. Tomorrow I....will figure out what to buy my husband for his birthday.
16. I have low tolerance....for people crunching their candy.
17. If I had a million dollars... there is so much that I would do.
18. I'm totally terrified... of being alone and lonely at the same time.
19. My spouse is.... giving and dedicated.
20. My life is...not what I thought it would be, but is full of such wonderful blessings and surprises.


This Lent

I call myself a 'guilty Catholic' and a 'recovering Catholic'. I was raised Catholic, and I have this overwhelming sense of guilt about the most asinine things. I know some of it is just my personality, but I would have to say that some of it has been ingrained in me. I mean, what 9 year old kid really has to repent her sins to the priest?? What sins?? Here's what I remember coming up with:

"I coveted my friend's phone in her room."
"I did not honor my mother when she told me to shut my piehole."
"I rolled my eyes at my father."

I mean, really?

Okay, that's not all that serious, but I have more valuable things that me and the Ole Pope disagree on. For one, the cardinal sins. Also? The use of birth control. Also? Abortion.

I am not knocking those of you who are faithfully Catholic; not by a long-shot. I respect you, and totally understand where you are coming from. I am also not knocking those of you who feel strongly about the things I mentioned above. I am simply saying that I no longer identify myself as a 'practicing Catholic'. Sure, I believe in the saints; I even pray to them for specific things. Sure, I adore Mother Teresa. Sure, I respect the Pope in all of his Popeness. But I just cannot say that I relate to all things Catholic anymore.

That being said, I still participate in Lent. Each year, I give up something until Easter. I don't eat meat on Fridays (I don't eat meat all that often anyway, so this isn't hard for me). When I was a kid, I followed my father's footsteps (the Catholic in my family), and gave up cake, candy, cookies, ice cream, etc. Basically, I gave up the bane of my very existence, and went into a cranky, non-sugar coma until Easter. But I did it.
As I got older, I started to give up less, simply because I felt I couldn't handle going without for so long. (rolling my eyes at the stupidness of that statement) I also started doing something positive during Lent: saving all my change to donate somewhere, saving my magazines to give to the local nursing home, spending more time with my little sister. You get my point. But, I do all this stuff on a regular basis; it wasn't really adding to my life, in my opinion.
Here I am, at age 31, trying to figure out what to give up. I could say cake, or pastries, or frozen yogurt, and I would be miserable. I could say raspberries and blueberries and I would be really miserable, but that would be counter-productive in my mind.
So, this year, I have decided to give up being lazy. Starting today, on Ash Wednesday, I am going to work out every blessed day until Easter. 30 Day Shred, walking 30 minutes, bike riding, running, something.
In doing this, I figure by the time Easter arrives, this working out thing will be a habit, and I can just continue it. Sure, I'll neglect my shows (OMG, Medium rocks my socks, and so does Friday Night Lights!), and further neglect my Google Reader (motherf-er, how do you guys write so damn much!?!), but I will be enhancing my life, and losing my muffin top. That way, when I get in a swimsuit this summer, none of you will puke up your lunch.


We could all use a little dose of hope

If you read my posts regularly, you will find that I am not only silly, sassy, and a total klutz, but I am also sensitive, nostalgic, and empathetic. I truly feel others' pain, and sometimes at the expense of my own feelings, my own self.

At the same time, I continue to find faith, hope, and love in all things, no matter how teeny tiny. I was emailed this clip, and it sat in my inbox for a few days before I got to it.

This morning, I was thinking of all the things I worry about in this life, all the things I miss, all the things I wish for. And then I happened to remember I had some emails to check, and I watched this video.

Take a look, and find a little hope today.

Get Back Up


My ridiculous birthday wish

Well, since I can't have my computer back, nor can I have world peace, or a stable economy, or a horse, or a full day devoted to enjoyable reading, or a bottomless bank account, or endless cupcakes that don't adhere directly to my ass, or a 2 acre lot with a couple 100 big, old-ass trees, or a 1969 Corvette, or my old man dog back, or enough $ to make a big difference in Camden, NJ, or a front row seat to the Northern Lights, or a surprise trip to Italy, or enough $ to set my mom and sister up for life, or a personal chef, or an endless supply of gift cards to some of my favorite places, or all my favorite CDs signed by the artists or all my favorite books signed by the authors, or a cure for cancer, HIV, lupus, & Alzheimer's, or....

You get the point, right? I could keep going, if you want. No? Oh, okayyyyyy.

What I want is for all my faraway friends to come visit me. You know who you are! Chris, Peggy, Nicole, Jodi, Misty, Alan, Holly, Dynamita, ChibiJeebs, Biddy........
And all of the people I read and love, but I guess I can't really consider them friends without sounding like a stalker: The Coconut Diaries, Sundry, Notthatyouasked, La Petite Chic, Sensibly Sassy, Shamelessly Sassy, My Vocabulary, Dad Gone Mad, The Bloggess, Princess Nebraska, Better Now, Moo, Girls Gone Child, Swistle, Fiona Picklebottom.....

I know I'm leaving people out. So if you read this, and am hurt that I didn't mention you in my stalking list, please feel free to leave me a comment with your name, address, and when you are available for said stalking.

So, I want all of you to come visit me, have several shots of tequila with me, a couple of Dirty Girl Scouts, several bottles of wine, and then dance like an idiot with me. Ignore the irrationality of this entire idea. Just GO WITH IT.

How's that sound for a fun weekend? I'll be waiting at the airport. And if you can't make it? Well, a 1969 Corvette should do.


We interrupt your normal programming...

Uh, so my computer crapped out. The hard drive is shot. Sooooo, all weekend long, I had no computer. Torture!! I couldn't check my email, do any of my assignments, email my professor, stay connected to people on Twitter, google random things (like the Wunderland murders, the health benefits to eating a grass snake (as seen on Man vs. Wild), and the mysterious symptoms my husband has been having. I also couldn't read anyone's blogs, so I am now even more behind, I fear. I am not checking my Google Reader count today. Ugh.

The pictures and documents could be recovered (Yipeeee!), but we aren't sure yet if the hard drive is going to remain stable enough to recover. Sigh. There was other IT mumbo jumbo in there, but I wasn't listening.

So, no posts until I get my computer back. Unless I get all my work and school crap done, and then I will be posting from work.

Until then.....


Heart Day

I think I've mentioned before that my husband is sweet, kind, and giving, in his own way. He isn't overtly romantic, but he does surprise me at times (like last year he got me a telescope for my birthday, and for our anniversary he got me one of those cool bike trailer thingys so my girl could ride behind me). Today I received 2 dozen red roses at work. And he ordered a cute little bear and Hershey Kisses for my girl. And here's what really got me: He ordered flowers for 'all the girls in (his) life'-his mom, grandmother, my mom, my sister, me, and my girl. How sweet is he? That just warms my heart, even if he is an ass sometimes. (LOL)

But, years ago, before my girl was around, we would do the same thing right around Valentine's Day: We would go do our taxes. I know, I know-so romantic. But while we waited our turn, we would go eat at Taco Cabana (because it happened to be in the same parking lot as the tax place). We would beat the rush and the mayhem at other restaurants. Again, I know-so romantic.

It was just me and him. I loved that. It was simple, but it was 'us'.

Now, we have a CPA do our taxes, since my husband owns his own business. We don't go to any special place. My husband views this holiday as a gimmick. He doesn't want to wait 4 hours for a table at a restaurant. He doesn't view this as romantic, or time well-spent. I can't ever find a card that quite conveys how I feel about him; I end up picking up some silly card, in the hopes that it will crack a smile. Now, we have my girl. We don't have date nights; we don't have romantic evenings. He is too busy at work. But he did take the time to order all those flowers, and get my girl something special.

There are times when I wish for the simpler days. No juggling of multiple activities: cooking dinner, playing Barbies with my girl, reading for class, catching some sleep, trying to watch a few of my favorite shows, trying to catch some downtime with my husband when he's not working. Things get so complicated; time is so precious. It goes by so fast. I like that right now, my girl is just excited to give Valentines to her preschool friends. I don't want her teenage years to hit me in the face just yet, when she is aching for a valentine from 'that one guy' (or girl, I suppose). I want time to slow down a bit, so I can enjoy her smile as she opens all these little Scooby Doo & Sponge Bob cards from her friends. I want time to slow down so I can sit with my husband, both of us awake, alert, and attending to each other, and smelling these beautiful roses he ordered for me.

I know there are lots of men out there that would have a whole evening planned (or maybe a whole weekend since Monday is a holiday?)-roses, rose pedals, romantic candlelight dinner, hotel room, presents, jewelry (And of course sex, right? Because that is the one and only thinga man really expects on Valentine's Day, right??)? I don't want that. More than anything, I want to know that my husband loves me by his actions and his words, not by the things he buys.

He has worked extremely long hours the past 2 weeks, which is not really out of the ordinary, now that I think of it. Several nights, he didn't get home until 1 or 2am. He's had such little sleep that he woke up with a serious cold this week, which is about par for him. But, he remembered to order flowers for all of the women in his life, among deadlines, drawings, floor plans, phone calls, and projects.

Although we don't have the same Valentine's Day tradition, I am okay with that.


That's IT.

So, what was the breaking point for me in Springtown?

Was it the meth lab across the street? The tree that mysteriously caught fire? Was it the time lightning struck my neighbor's barn, sparking yet another fire, which burned about 5 acres of my property, while I wasn't home?

How about the time I woke up to gunshots, and saw a truck slowly creeping by the far end of my property, and the shadow of a man running towards my house? Or, was it finding out that the man had shot a deer on my property, right behind my house, from his truck on the road?

Was it all the tornado warnings, watches, and power outages? Was it the flooding? The take-over of the black widows and the snakes? The time I opened up a box in the garage to find a mama mouse's nest full of blind little babies? Was it finding out that my normal neighbor's dog had mysteriously disappeared? Was it all the time I spent out there alone, while my husband busted his ass building his own business?

It may have been all of those things. Or none of them. I cannot say that I regret any of those experiences, because they are part of me now; part of my history, and they have shaped me.

But I can say that one truly defining moment for me in Springtown, one short span of time that was drawn out in slow motion, really made me think, "Why the hell did I want to live in the country?"

One night my husband and I had just gone to bed when the usual event of headlights filled our bedroom. We heard the vehicle stop, and knew without looking that it had stopped in front of that damn cursed meth lab/trailer down the road. The brights flickered. Then, we heard the car's engine rev, and it started speeding down the road. As this was happening, we heard the undeniable sound of gunshots. And not from a deer rifle.

As the car sped past our house, we continued to hear gunshots. At some point, my husband jumped out of bed, and suggested that I 'get on the floor'. Seriously? Like I live in a rough neighborhood?

I jumped out of bed and hit the floor, my nose tickled by dust bunnies. My husband did not hit the floor, (because he's a man, where man=hard-headed, stubborn IDIOT), but looked out our window, and then grabbed his gun. (Yes, yes, we must be rednecks to live in the country, right? GUNS. My favorite thing in the house. Blech.)

Nothing came of it. We don't know who it was, we didn't find bullets or a crime scene or shell casings. We don't know who it was, or what exactly they were shooting at. But let me tell you, I was fired up. I had cows. I had a baby. I had two dogs (who slept through the whole damn scenario) and a crazy-ass husband. Who the hell did they think they were???

That, my dear reader(s), was my breaking point.


Behind on the 365 Days of Grace thing

As usual, life gets in the way. Sheesh. Okay, let's catch up since January 7th.

8. My husband's full-out laugh while watching a silly movie.

9. My mom's unsolicited 'I love you, baby.'

10. My brother's not-too-often hugs.

11. When my sister actually agrees with something I say, or is excited about an idea I suggest.

12. My daughter's snoring through the baby monitor.

13. My husband reaching out for me in his sleep, when I am wide awake.

14. Daisy's unabashed excitement when I walk towards her with a bone in my hand.

15. Watching amazing men ride bulls.

16. A mini fruit tart from La Madeline on a shitty day.

17. Seeing new-found friends the first day of a new semester.

18. Getting the giggles in class with a friend.

19. The blessing of a healthy child.

20. Walking outside early in the morning & listening to the birds.

21. The memory of seeing my cardiologist almost exactly 2 years after my surgery, as I'm leaving the same hospital with my newborn.

22. Coming home to an empty dishwasher.

23. When I get the chance to start a new book.

24. Seeing a pink sunset.

25. Looking in someone's eyes and seeing my own emotion reflected back.

26. Catching up with several long-time friends all in one weekend.

27. A pair of pants fitting just a teeny tiny bit better.

28. Fresh tacos from my favorite taco place.

29. Receiving a gift for no reason.

30. The sense of pride at hearing my girl be polite and outgoing and silly, all at once.

31. When a horse sniffs my face and nudges me.

February 1: Doing something painful and terribly hard, but knowing it was the right thing to do.

2: The ability to go to grad school.

3: A new friend.

4: Hearing a new song by a favorite artist.

5: Hearing a Duke Ellington song and then feeling the presence of my great-grandfather.

6: The smell of Listerine, Vicks, and Nozema, and the memories they provoke.

7: When a song lyric or poem comes together in my dreams, and I can actually write it all down when I wake up.

8: Remembering that today (February 8th) is my old man dog's birthday, and not crying.

9: Eating healthy alllll day and feeling wonderful while doing it.


The fire that sparked another fire

I've mentioned before that my neighbors in Springtown were nuts. If you didn't believe me in the last post, you will after this one.

I'm not even sure when I realized that they were never there anymore. The rundown trailer got more rundown, if that's possible. Days, possibly weeks, would go by with little or no movement over there. Sometimes late at night, I would wake up to yelling, and know that someone was over there.

Other times, they would make their presence known by parking in front of my closed gate and honking. It was usually during dinner time. I would walk out to my gate barefoot, with my dogs bark and growling around my legs, to see what my neighbors wanted. The lady would be braless, of course, and would immediately start asking me questions about my job. I have no idea why I ever let it slide that I worked at CPS, but she remembered it, and constantly started conversations with "I have this friend whose son......". It was a beatdown.

While she yapped away, her short and wide husband would hop out of the truck, and start interrupting her. He had sweat stains under his arms, and always smelled extremely ripe, to put it mildly.

One day, they came by after at least a month of no visits. They informed me that they were not living there anymore, but living on some other property about 20 minutes away. They informed me that they were letting 'a friend' live in the trailer, 'if I ever saw him.' I didn't think anything of it, other than to think that their friend must either never leave the trailer, or must never be home, because I hadn't seen him a single time.

[As a side note: My bedroom windows faced the side of my property, but when people drove down the county road, their headlights would shine in my room. So, during my long stints of insomnia, I would stare at the headlights slashing across my walls. ]

A few days after the Stinkies' visit, I had just drifted off to sleep when I woke up with a start. I didn't hear anything, but my room was lit up by someone's headlights. I got out of bed to peer out the window, only to see a truck blocking the driveway of the trailer house. I saw someone get out, cross in front of the truck, and walk up the driveway. I then heard some banging. While struggling to make out the person, I noticed what appeared to be a small fire. It wasn't uncommon to see people around here burning trash in big barrels, and that's what I thought it was.

"What the f...?"

My husband woke up to that comment, and asked me what our nutso neighbors were doing. I told him I didn't know, but it appeared that they were burning trash at 1am. In the couple of seconds it took me to look in my husband's direction and tell him this, there was this horrendous explosion. I looked back through the blinds to see someone running away from the trailer, back towards the truck. All of a sudden this small fire was a big fire.

While my husband scrambled out of bed, I ran down the hallway to get a look at this truck as it drove by my house. I crept out onto the front porch in the dark, vaguely aware that I was wearing very little. When I finally saw the truck speeding by my property, I got a little frightened. What the hell was this guy doing? What if he sees me??

He slowed down in front of my gate for a split second, and then took off. I looked over at the trailer, which was now burning pretty good. I grabbed my cell phone and called 911. I informed the guy that someone had been sitting in front of the driveway, and I gave him a description of the truck.

Just as I was going to hang up, the truck drove back by. I fell to the ground by my porch, and crawled to my door. I told the dispatcher that the truck was back. When I hung up, the truck was again parked in front of the trailer's driveway, and I could hear sirens creeping closer.

My husband came outside just in time to see the trailer blow the fuck up. And I mean blow up. The flames shot much higher than my pecan trees. In the dark I could hear the running hooves of the horses and donkeys, as they made their way to the farthest point from the trailer.

The air was filled with more than smoke. The smell was awful; strong, sour, and chemical. Bits of ash began to fall on us. We went back inside because our eyes were watering and our throats burning.

Looking back through our windows, I watched the truck take off just as the first volunteer fire truck crested the hill. Within a few minutes there were 2 more fire trucks. The fire hydrant was along our property line, so my husband got his flashlight and helped the firemen re-fill their trucks. I called my nutso neighbor at 2am, to tell her that her trailer was on fire. She screamed in my ear, "It's on fire?????" I assured her that the animals were fine (I had already gone to the edge of their property to check on them) and that the fire department was there.

My child slept through the whole situation. The fire was out a couple of hours later. It was burning much too hot for the firemen to get close to it. It spread to the pasture. The smell was unbearable the entire time.

The next afternoon, the trailer was a mess of cinders and ash. It was still smoking 12 hours later. The property looked like a bomb had hit. And essentially, it sorta was a bomb, if you consider a meth lab a bomb.

Yes, a damn meth lab. You read that right. The county fire marshal came out to discuss what I had seen and heard. He mentioned just how hot the fire was burning, stating that it was a chemical fire, but also seemed pretty suspicious at this point. Indeed.

A few days later, my nutso neighbors pulled up into my driveway to 'talk'. They were very obviously seeking out information.

The next afternoon, my neighbor with the dog that liked to hump Daisy called my cell phone while I was nowhere near home. She is a person with lots of energy, and in her excitement, I could hardly understand her. Once I got her to slow down, I realized she was telling me that one of my pecan trees was on fire. Incidentally, it was a pecan tree directly across from the trailer's driveway. Also? The tree was more than a little dead. I mean d.e.a.d. It was right along the fence line. It had a couple of branches, no leaves, no bark, no pecans, no nada. The woodpeckers used it to practice their abilities, and there were a few holes in it that may have contained other animal nests. I loved this tree. It was gorgeous to me, and that's why my husband didn't cut it down. And now? It was on fire?

I got home quickly, in time to give the same damn firemen from the other night some bottled water. The tree was annihilated. They had to pull it down and cut it up. The pasture around the tree was burnt. The firemen found it highly unlikely that the tree just caught fire on it's own. And considering how old it was, it definitely needed some sort of accelerant to burn the hell out of it.

I have no pictures left of this gorgeous tree. I'm so upset! It was so pretty to me. The only picture I have is this close-up:

Do you think these two fires were related? I do. Do you think I was a little uncomfortable with being in that house alone (since my husband worked all the time)? Uh, yeah. Yet another situation that convinced me it was time to move out of Springtown!


The replacement Christmas present: 1 of ??

Since my husband decided he wanted to put our house on the market, I sorta complained that the Christmas present of a beautiful backyard was not such a great present if I don't end up getting to enjoy it! I do love my backyard and all the gardening I may or may not get to do in it, but my husband bought me this to make up for it:

Isn't it GORGEOUS!? My favorite color! And omg, the pillows!:

13 comfy pillows, not including the 4 we sleep on!

He has such good taste!

And under that beauty of a comforter is our new mattress. Aaaahhhhhhh. It is wonderful!

So now my excuse for not posting daily is that I have fallen into this bed and don't.want.to.get.out.

(Sorry for another boring post)