Monday, July 25, 2011

I Went Down Yonder on the Chattahoochee

Heading down the creek

So, I'm still a little confused by the fact that, despite living with the redneckery for two years, I chose to go to Georgia for vacation. On purpose. But I did. I'm also confused as to why I repeatedly choose outdoorsy, woodsy places for vacation when I'm clearly not an outdoor girl. But again, I did. I don't know why it didn't occur to me that the woods in Georgia in the middle of summer would be teeming with big, gnarly bugs that want to eat my face off. Also, the extreme humidity has left my hair looking like I walked straight out of a Def Leppard video.

We rented a gorgeous cabin up in the Blue Ridge/Smoky mountains. The cabin is in the woods with a creek running behind it.

We've been having a blissfully lazy week. Tubing in the creek, panning for gold and gems (this was originally a gold and ruby mining town) with colanders from the dollar store, sleeping late, watching cable (Oh HGTV, I've missed you), playing our nerd board games, roasting marshmallows, hiking to waterfalls, biking, hot-tubbing...just enjoying our vacation.

We've got a few more days to go, but I wanted to stop in, say hello, brag a little about being on vacation, and dump a bunch of pictures on you.

See you in a few days!

The whitest family ever. Avert your eyes or risk blindness.

Not so interested in tubing, but she'll stand there and splash for hours.

Burning Roasting hot dogs for dinner.

The screen porch, which I love.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Guest post: The Ten Year Nap

{In case you missed it, my husband is home from the armpit of Afghanistan for the next couple of weeks. While I'm relaxing in a lovely cabin in the Smoky mountains of Northern Georgia, a few friends have stepped in and provided some material for your reading pleasure.}

Today's guest post comes from Rena Lesue-Smithey. She's an author (check out her book HERE), a teacher, a journalist for her local paper, has had one of her blogs featured in Redbook, and based on the moves we all saw in Vegas, could easily pick up a few shifts working the pole.

Today, she's talking about the sacrifices of motherhood.

(Rena and her pole dancing gams.
And presumably one of her children.)

The Ten-Year Nap

I just finished reading The Ten-Year Nap by Meg Wolitzer. It’ll be taught in colleges one day. Eminent Authors 450 taught by Professor Trey Abernathy—who will no doubt be a balding man with a bouncey nod, and light in his eyes. Also, this imaginary professor wears Chuck Taylors with his tan suits. But the important detail is that the class will be taught by a man.

I’m in a ten-year nap. I gave up my life.

For them.

That’s what motherhood is. The truncating of a woman’s life for the nourishment of another, beginning at conception and filling and fulfilling the innate function of our breasts with milk of women’s sacrifice. Shouldn’t the book be called The Eighteen-Year Nap? The Eternal Nap? Will I ever “one day…just [wake] up, and there [will be] somewhere that [I] need to be”? as Meg so poignantly states in her last line of this book.

I both heartily agree with and reject the idea behind Wolitzer’s last line in the book. Am I to suppose that my early motherhood years are to be considered a “nap”, when in fact I do very little sleeping and a whole lot of dirty work that a sanitation engineer may wince at. Is the latter part the sentence insinuating that working a paying job or volunteer work or anything that isn’t stay-at-home-y is the awake part of my life? The real living? That staying home with my kids is the “dream” and all else is the part where I’m awake? I’m quick to ask if Meg is a mom.

She is…which then leads me back to tending to agree with the same statement that I’m so infuriated with.

“But now the world […] had taken [the mothers]. He knew that this could happen. One day you just woke up, and there was somewhere you needed to be.”

Is it wrong that I feel myself trying to wake up every day? I smack my cheeks with “good literature”, splash the water of “continuing education” in my face, and jostle myself “meaningful conversation” just to get out of this motherhood “sleep”. This ethereal place where I can have a 20 minute conversation about my kid’s pink eye and spend another 20 on my hands and knees scrubbing the carpet free of a marker ink…again.

“Are you being Superman?” I’ll ask my son, “Or Batman?” And meanwhile three more homes in the neighborhood are repossessed and the families left SOL.

“Did you just poop your pants again,” I’ll ask my son. And the next day, a student asks me if I was alive during WWII (I’m not even 30), then I have to scold a kid for derogatorily calling someone a “Jew”.

“Your son can really read,” I’ll say to a fellow mom, “He read ‘pizza’ on my microwave panel.” And meanwhile Egypt is single-handedly starting rebel wild-fires in snafu Middle-East.

And back to the other hand…

My daughter says, “Look , Mom. I read the word, ‘pot’. P-O-T. pot,” And in high schools across the nation, students are reading on a 5th grade level and experimenting with pot—some given to them by their parents. And other parents complain about their kids having too much homework. And everyone blames the teachers and the education system. And I wanna give President Obama a hug for telling parents to turn off the TV already and read a book for Lincoln’s sake.

Motherhood is the most important job of a society. More than soldiers who protect society. More than politicians who lead society. Because…

We raise society. We provide a moral and educational foundation that ought to be firm enough to withstand life’s alterations, tempests, and Time.

But it is a sacrifice. Perhaps allegorical to the sacrifice. After all, we lay down our lives for them. Take an eternal nap for our children. We won’t be waking up because there’s somewhere we need to be. We are already here.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Boots in my bedroom.

See those boots and bags cluttering up my bedroom floor? Their owner is going to be keeping me occupied for the next two weeks.
I've got a few fun guest posts lined up, and I'll be posting a little bit, but mostly I'll be off enjoying my husband .
See you in August!

Friday, July 15, 2011

That's what friends are for.

So, I was deleting a bunch of old texts on my phone--mostly from people looking for a good time with Lanisha--and realized that I have really insane conversations with my friends.

I've said it before and I'll say it again. Crazy attracts crazy.

So, for your weekend enjoyment, here's a sampling of texts I've received. Names have been removed to protect the not so innocent.

  • Nothing will keep me from assless chaps!!!!
  • Let's talk about the guy on the treadmill next to me whose ass cheeks are slapping together.
  • I'm having sex and sleeping the rest of the day. The end.
  • You seem a little dirty-whorish to me.
  • Wouldn't it be funny if God made all the whiteys black?!?! I bet there would be a lot of pissed off white folks.
  • I don't think it really matters what sex the goat is. I'm pretty sure it has to be a human to be considered gay. My brain hurts. I'm not sure I ever had to think about this before.
  • I'll just drink till I pass out. That'll work.
  • I let Ben watch a dead snake burn the other day. Hope you don't mind.
  • We're at South of the Border. I'm looking for the sex shop.
  • I'm thankful for Batman. He makes the world a safer place.
  • Now I can be like a real porn star! It's the best gift EVER!
  • I was going to send you an e-mail with the Portuguese word for penis in it, but it turns out it's just penis. I'm so disappointed.
  • What's Brandi's bat-signal? A giant penis?
  • You're representing the whole world in this matter. No pressure.
  • I love you. In a strictly non-gay way. O.K., maybe a little gay.
  • Did you poop in it?
  • We have menstruation! I repeat, we have menstruation!!!!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The difference a day makes.

So, if you happen to run into me today, be warned that I might punch you in the taco. I'm in a foul mood.

Will was supposed to leave Afghanistan for his 2 weeks of R&R tomorrow. He went today to make sure everything was set for his flight and was told, "Oops. We don't fly on Thursdays anymore. Forgot to tell you that last week when you came in to schedule everything. You should have flown out today instead. You'll have to try your luck a different day. Sorry that I'm such an idiot that I forgot to tell you that we don't actually have any flights on the day I told you you'd fly. Heehee."

O.K., so maybe I'm paraphrasing. But just a little.

I'd love to be able to give you another example--and oh, it's a good example--of the intelligence and good decision making of this person, but several years ago I agreed that Will's job was off limits on the blog. I'm probably walking a very fine line as it is.

Anyway, this means that he'll be delayed leaving Afghanistan by at least a day.

And really, a day isn't much, I know that. And there's no knowing how many days he'll be stuck in Kuwait waiting for a flight, or Germany, or wherever else he might have to stop before he finally gets to Atlanta and can catch a commercial flight home. So, this delay in leaving Afghanistan may not change when he would have gotten here anyway.

But talk about a morale killer. His and mine. That (hopefully only one) extra day feels like they told him he had to wait three weeks.

It's been a long six months, with another long six months to go. The light at the end in the middle of the tunnel was finally in sight, and now it feels like someone rolled a boulder in front of the opening.

(So, speaking Will's R&R, I'll be otherwise occupied for the next couple of weeks. Anyone want to do a guest post? It doesn't even have to be new material. Maybe you have a post on your own blog that you particularly like and want to share. E-mail me at the address on the above right. Put guest post in the subject so I know it's not spam and/or hate mail. Although I haven't gotten any hate mail lately. I miss it.)

Monday, July 11, 2011

Imelda Marcos was a first grader once, too.

Amelia begged and begged me to buy her these for the first day of school.

Her most convincing argument?
"I think these are made out of Barney."

Friday, July 8, 2011

Musical Notes

  • That song "If I Die Young" concerns me. I can just see it being the catalyst for a spate of 14 year old emo-girl suicides. And they'll all leave notes telling their loved ones to bury them in satin.
  • It drives me insane when I'm flipping through radio stations trying to find something I like and I stop on a good song only to realize it's just Jack FM's station break where they play clips of a bunch of songs.
  • Like my inexplicable love for all bad end-of-the-world disaster movies, I also love all duets. I can't think of one I don't like at least a little. Even country ones. Scratch that. Especially country ones. I know. I can't explain it either.
  • "Pretty Young Thing" takes on a creepy quality after learning of Michael Jackson's alleged fondness for pretty young things.
  • Thank you, Katy Perry, for forcing me to explain to my 5 and 6 year old what menage a trois means. I told them it means three people living in a house together (which is the literal translation, so I didn't even lie). Amelia piped up with, "Oh, so before Liam and I were born, you and daddy and Ben were a menage a trois!"

Monday, July 4, 2011


Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket's red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
Oh, say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

So, happy 4th of July, internets.

Normally, I like this holiday--the barbecues and fireworks and parades. I especially liked it in Germany. There's something about a whole community of Americans coming together to celebrate our nation's independence while in another country as part of the post WWII occupation.

This year...I don't love it so much. This year, I'm exhausted, and it's all The 4th of July's fault.

I guess I'm just old. I don't know. But the fireworks the neighbors have been setting off until well past midnight are killing me. Last night I found myself laying in bed on the verge of tears from pure exhaustion saying, "Please just stop. Please just stop. Please just stop."

But the night before last was far worse.

They kept going off until around 12:30 am. They finally stopped and I drifted off to sleep. Around 2:15 I was jolted awake by several more rounds. A few minutes later I heard a woman screaming for help out in the street.

I went downstairs and debated going outside. On one hand, I didn't want to ignore her if she needed help. On the other hand, I didn't want to get caught in the crossfire of a shoot out, or catch the attention of a zombie axe murderer. You never know why someone might be screaming for help. So, I looked out the window to assess the situation. Several other [far braver and selfless than I] neighbors were already running toward her. So I headed out to the porch to find out what was going on.

Her husband just returned from Afghanistan a couple of months ago. He's infantry and had been involved in numerous firefights and had also been in a vehicle hit by an IED. Understandably, he suffered from PTSD.

He was fine during all the fireworks being set off up through midnight because he was awake and expecting them. But, like most everyone else on the street, he was sound asleep at 2 am when the second round started.

His wife said he jolted out of bed, took cover under the bed and started screaming. He was screaming for help. Screaming that he needed a medic. Screaming that they'd taken hits.

She couldn't calm him down, and she worried he'd eventually go for their gun to defend himself. And that's how she ended up in the street screaming for help. The police arrived within a few minutes, and a few of the other soldiers from our street went in with them. They knew they'd probably be better equipped to talk him down than anyone else.

I went back in and went to bed, so I'm not sure what happened after that. But it made me think about all the other soldiers here who have just returned home from places where the sounds of shots and booms were not equated with a holiday celebration. And then I reminded myself that I should be thankful that late night fireworks are only a nuisance for me, and not something that could trigger abject fear and horror.

So, tonight while you're watching fireworks, I hope you remember, too.

Oh! thus be it ever, when freemen shall stand
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation.
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust."
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!