Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Secrets Matter (a follow-up to the Seven Year Itch)

There is an understood rule among most couples, if you tell me something and tell me not to tell anyone, you must make it clear that it also includes my husband or I will most definitely tell him. When it comes to secrets, couples are considered one person. However, if keeping your secret will somehow lessen the trust that my husband has in me, then I can't do it. Before we were married, Chris and I were required to attend the Catholic Church's marriage encounter weekend. During that 48 hours, we discussed everything....budgets, kids, family, jobs, sex, you name it, it was discussed. However, at no time were we asked to talk about the past. Whether you realize it or not, the past matters. When you try to keep things about your past hidden, it can often eat away at you like a parasite inside your body. You constantly wonder if someone will find out and what they will think of you. Sometimes the secret involves someone else and then you feel like telling that secret will somehow cause turmoil between them and their significant other. A word to the wise....all secrets matter when it comes to a marriage. Things that happened a decade ago can turn your marriage upside down. Often times you have to deal with the reprecussions all alone and that is not what a marriage is about. Marriage means that another person has chosen to spend their life with you, good and bad, and that they are willing to share in both your happiness and pain. I had dealt with a secret on my own for over 12 years. I thought I was doing a wonderful job of internalizing everything. However, it finally boar a hole right into our relationship. Chris knew something was there, but he couldn't figure out what. It hurt him to think I didn't trust him and it hurt me to keep the secret. Luckily for us, everything was discussed and settled prior to him leaving the country this year. If not, the time we are spending apart could have been much different. Remember that no matter what has happened in your life, your partner is the person who should love you no matter what has happened. They should be the one you turn to when you need a shoulder. If they can't listen to you tell them about the one thing that you are either too embarrassed or too afraid to tell anyone and still put their arms around you and kiss away your tears, then as I said before, it isn't real love, so move along.

The Seven Year Itch

About 2 years ago, I was attending my 10 year college reunion (I know, I can't be that old, right?), some friends and I were trying to comfort another classmate who was deathly afraid that her marriage was in trouble. As I listened to her talk about what was wrong, I knew that all she needed to know is that it was normal. In case there are any of you out there reading this who have not been married for 7 years or more, you need to know too. The 7 year itch is real. Actually, throughout the table of married ladies, some with kids, some not; the concensus was that the years from about 7 to 9 are the roughest, almost painful years of your marriage. You fight constantly over the smallest things. Sometimes you think that there is no way you can wake up next to this person for the next 50. Most of the time you stop communicating unless it is about work or the kids. Usually at this point in your marriage you have at least one, but often more, kids. Trust me, do not have a child to save your marriage because all children do is complicate things more. You are so exhausted by the time they go to bed that you nearly pass out. If not, you are washing the pile of clothes that never goes away and wondering how little bodies can possibly increase your wash loads so much. When they are very little, they are constantly climbing on you, wanting to be held, sitting in your lap, etc and your body is often so sore that if another person, including your husband, so much as brushes up next to you, you want to break his arm. Sounds bad, right? Truth is, marriage is one of the hardest things you will ever do in your life. It is work; real work and if you aren't working at it, then it won't last. You can't expect for everything to work out like a fairytale. There is a reason the first year is called the honeymoon period. Everything is wonderful. Each person makes special effort to do everything they can to look perfect in front of the other. Pretending to be perfect is hard too and eventually, you just can't do it anymore, so the mask comes off. I remember my mother telling me that she used to set an alarm to wake up early and get dressed so my dad never saw her without makeup and hair done. She would make breakfast, keep the house spotless, make him lunch which she often delivered to him at work hot and then go home to make sure dinner was on the table. He never washed clothes, or anything around the house. It was 1973 and she was the perfect housewife. Thirty-six years and two kids later, she leaves him to-do lists on his day off, which often includes at least one load of clothes. He makes her breakfast on Sunday mornings and it is a good day for him if dinner is on the table when he gets home and lunch consists of a sandwich, which he fixes himself. They don't pretend to be anything they aren't. Yes, they annoy the hell out of each other, but they still work to make it last. Their advice to me has been that once the lust of newlywed bliss is over, you better like that person laying next to you. When the kids are gone, along with the lust, you have to be able to simply live. They live and love one another everyday. Sometimes it is the little things like a cup of coffee left on the bedside stand for my mom or when she makes his favorite dessert for dinner. I know they had a hard time once too. I said all this to say, if you are approaching that time in your marriage or if you are dead in the middle of it, don't give up. Anything worth saving is worth working for and if it isn't worth the work, maybe it wasn't real love.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How Old Do I Have To Be?

How old do I have to be seems to be a consistent question in my household. Dalton has always asked how old he had to be to do various things. When he was 2 years old he wanted to climb a tree and Chris told him that he had to be five years old to climb a tree. He accepted that answer and the day he turned five, although we had not thought another thing of it, he asked to climb a tree. We live in a new housing development and all the trees are very small; but when he went to Knoxville for his first UT game last year, he climbed a tree. Most recently he wants to know when he can get his own dog, a fun dog. Apparently Maggie, who just turned 9, is a little too calm and old for him. To avoid making the same mistake of a deadline, we now tell him he can have a dog when he is old enough to take care of it. I remember anxiously awaiting each birthday marker for something special. Fifteen was when my parents said I could date; I think I had more people asking before I was able to than after. At sixteen we were allowed to get our driver's license; then again driving seemed much cooler before I became a mom and thus the taxi service. At eighteen I registered to vote; unfortunately, there had been a presidential election the year prior, so it wasn't nearly as exciting that first year. At 21 I was old enough to drink legally. I turned 21 on a Thursday night in college. My friends and I celebrated at Main Street Bar and Grill and it was Ladies Night with $1 drinks (there are many of you that remember that). We thought we were on top of the world then and we probably were. By 25 all we had to look forward to was a decrease in our insurance because somebody in the insurance world thought that by 25 we should be more responsible. Then there was 3o. I was really excited about turning 30. In the world of military wives, it meant I would no longer be seen as one of those "young and dumb wives". Finally I should be seen as an adult and not someone just playing house. I really wanted to celebrate, but that was the year Katrina hit and I found myself still living in my parents house, but this time with a 2 year old sharing my room. Not exactly the celebration I had anticipated. This weekend I turned 34. I am not depressed about the age. My mother trained us well...like wine and cheese, we get better with age. I truly believe that. The only thing that I miss from my youth is my body (which then I thought of as fat) and that conquering the world attitude that I still try to hang on to with all that I am. My birthday came and went. There is nothing monumental about being 34. No major event in my life is based on that age. The idea of a good time and celebration has been slightly altered by this point (although I was the oldest in attendance). My friends are early birds who want to have dinner and be in bed by the 10 o'clock news. I guess I would normally fall into this too, but not on my birthday. The one day in the entire year that I don't have to share with anyone. Growing up, my parents treated our birthdays like our own special holiday. I guess I got a little spoiled to the idea that anything else in the world could possibly happen on that day. Now, what milestones do I have left to look forward to? I know 40 is supposed to be big; however, that was always meant as a sexual peak for women usually based on the theory that menopause started at 50, so if I am presently going through early menopause, does that mean I missed out on my peak in my early 20s? Sixty-two...used to be the magic age of retirement, but in a world of economic downfall and a social security system that will surely go broke before I am ever close to retirement, how special can that be? The only thing I can really hope for is that I live to be 100 and then I will have plenty to celebrate. No woman in my family has lived that long, but I am sure my mother is determined to beat that record if only to torment me for another 46 years. I will be able to celebrate my 75th wedding anniversary; that is, if he lives long enough to be considered married at that time. Hopefully there will actually be people still alive who would even remember the younger me. Maybe I will still have that little spark in my eye at 100 that I did at 21. It wouldn't surprise me if Shannon was still having to make sure I "wore something with a crotch" (her words exactly) in case I did that extra shot of tequila and took to table dancing again. I guess only time will tell. Until then, I suppose I will have to just enjoy each year and what it has to offer, knowing that I am that much closer to being 100 and celebrating that I outlived all those who never liked me anyway. Mark your calendars...September 19, 2075...Sunshine's Centennial Bash

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Observations of a Lonely Woman

I have not had much time to post lately, so I thought I would take a little time before the desire for sleep sets in too strongly. It is not that I have not had plenty to say, but my life has been so hectic that blogging was not a top priority. When you spend most of your time alone, it gives you plenty of time to think. Most of my interaction is with small children, so their ability to discuss things is limited. I make daily observations about my life and the lives of those around me. Although my mother may doubt this fact, I was born with keen observation skills. I often see what others do not, a fact which greatly annoys my husband. I wouldn't say that I am judgemental, but more so that I force to the surface that which people would rather stay buried. It is an ability that I have perfected over the years. Now, as for the lives of those around me, I have quite a few opinions. There is so much I have observed in the last month or so. First of all, daily I pass this horrible little trailer park that is on my way to every place I usually go. Their doors are always wide open and these innocent little babies, still wearing cheap, ill-fitting diapers, with their dirty faces and rarely clothed are sitting on the steps. Not much difference in them and those impoverished faces you see on TV from 3rd world countries. My heart goes out to those children because they didn't ask for that life. While I see these kids, I also see the same people sitting out front under a shade tree, the trailers obviously having no air conditioning, and I wonder why it is that their priorities are so wrong. They sit under those trees smoking their cigarettes and drinking their beer, usually there is at least one dog, if not more, wandering about them. Who in their right mind finds that their habits take precedent over those needs of their children for food and clothing? Who thinks that if they can't afford to live and take care of their family that it is alright to then take in and feed a pet? I am sure these are welfare and food stamp recipients, but should they be? Are these not the people that should be working and that we need to stop supporting? Where is child services? Is this sort of neglect and home life really all that different from physical abuse? It tears at my heart and makes my blood boil all at the same time. Now, speaking of those who are on public assistance...if jobs are so hard to obtain and money is so difficult to come by, shouldn't those with jobs be happy to just be employed? Why is it then that whenever you are shopping anywhere, the employees make you feel like you asking a question has just inconvenienced their life immensely? Sorry to bother you, but the last time I checked, this was your job. If the sign in the dressing room says ask your associate for a different size, then please don't be pissed when I do. If the sign on the register says you get free food if you don't receive a receipt and a proper "thank you", then I am going to get my free food. You seem to forget that money is scarce for everyone. If it comes out of your check, I bet you won't forget it again. Now, I am not always a difficult person, but lately me stress has been running a little higher than normal. However, I am well on my way to being Superwoman if I can just get through this year. I have found that I can cook, clean, help with homework, do laundry, mow the lawn and shop for all the groceries and household supplies.....ALONE. However, this is not to say that I would not do a dance of sheer happiness if I found my husband would be coming home tomorrow. It is nice to know I can do it, but I have no interest in getting rid of a good man just because I don't "need" him. I have always said that you don't want to be the person I need in my life because I can learn to do whatever I need you for or you can be replaced by someone better. In my life, you need to be who I "want" in my life. Although the need for you may fad, the simple desire to have you there is longer lasting. Other interesting things that have happened: I discovered that even when the sleep timer is set on my children's TV at night. They have figured out that if they get up and turn the volume down, they can watch Family Guy, not suggested viewing for small children, and I would never be the wiser. Not so true and could be just one of the many reasons they no longer have a TV in their bedroom. Dalton announced to me in his booming voice in BooksaMillion that a book was about SEX. I will say that the picture on the front was definitely suggestive, but the book was about the Dixie Mafia. For the record, I was not on the self-help aisle, but instead where the new releases and best sellers are. Needless to say, we had a long chat on the way home and apparently, he learned a little too much on his late night Family Guy. Both of my children seperately can be almost a pleasure to be around. Each has a unique personality and can be very funny. However, the two of them together are like monsters. Unlike you "working" folks, I dread 5pm and the weekends. I know that with either of those times, it means that both of my children will be home together. They fight, hit, yell and scream...I know it is typical of boys, but I don't have the patience to wait and see who kills who. If brothers are supposed to act like this I may be raising two of the closest brothers I have ever known. Well that is all the observations and complaints for today. My coach is turning into a pumpkin, so I must say goodbye and head to dreamzone

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Since I Have Been Home

For those of you who brave my blog now and again, I want to warn you that this one may get a little long winded. So grab something to drink, I prefer wine, and get comfortable. When last I wrote, I was ending such a wonderful vacation with my sister. Life was good and I was riding on a cloud. I should have known that my euphoric state would not last forever. First thing on Monday I returned to my normal week. The laundry had piled up and I was going about my daily chores. By the end of the day (for those on facebook you probably know this), I ended up in the emergency room with my six year old, who had decided to stick a broken Mardi Gras bead into his ear canal, for what reason, we still aren't sure. The ER did nothing but make the situation worse and give us a referral to the ENT. During this fiasco, he lied about his brother being the one to do it, so I proceeded to punish a very clueless almost 3 year old who pleaded his innocence until the very end. Come to find out he was right, but apparently not soon enough for him to seek revenge on me by taking a poo in his pants and proceeding to rub it all over his body and the wall. I bathed him while Dalton lay on my bed crying and swearing to never do anything like that again. Well, even the next day while we waited on his appointment with the ENT, he proceeded to assure me that he would never do that again. Now the tiny gold bead is in a specimen cup and sitting on my bar for all to see. To follow that up, I received the link to a YouTube video titled, Leland Alderman Acts A Fool. Unfortunately, it was in fact Leland, MS, and yes, she did act pretty foolish. Most of all I was embarrassed to think of the number of people who now had access to and would watch this dramatic display. Notice I said dramatic and not tramatic. What I saw was a bunch of ill-bred crooks trying to throw the attention away from them and the possible embezzlement of funds. What I saw was them using a public forum to further embarrass me about the city I used to love. I would love to know at what point I became so disgruntled with my little town. Can the town be fixed? Yes, I think it can. However, all the persons living in the past, have to open their eyes and see that things weren't good before and I don't think the new mayor could do any worse than his predecessors. Now the time is getting closer for Chris to leave on his remote. Less than two weeks to go and we have a daily checklist of things to do either as part of his outprocessing or of things I need him to do around the house before he leaves. Peyton's potty-training has taken two steps back and now I have had to remove him from the enrollment at Our Lady of Fatima for the fall. Luckily I have found another place that is willing to take what they call a "young three", which is nice terms for a kid who is just turning three and hasn't gotten with the program on potty-training. I worry that he may be rebelling in his own way about the upcoming departure of his dad and that this could be just the beginning. Last but not least, I found out that someone who has done a good job of pretending to be my friend is nothing but a phony. I am way too old to waste my time on shallow, insecure people. I don't need friends so bad that I have to keep around the ones who aren't worth my time. There were assumptions and statements made about me that I found so laughable that I wouldn't waste my time repeating them. If they were truly my friend, the one thing that they would know, and all my real girlfriends know this, as do many who are simply acquaintances; I am a loyal friend. I will help you through anything you need. I will gladly stand up with you and fight for something I believe in. I will wake up in the middle of the night and listen if you need to talk. I will take your problems on myself to work out a solution. However, the worst possible thing would be to cross me and end up on my bad side and in the path of my fire. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

A Day in Hollywood

I have spent the greatest part of the day exploring Hollywood....Hollywood, FL, that is. Luckily for me, my sister lives just a short walk from downtown. I have been walking in the morning, but not really strolling and exploring all that the downtown has to offer. Since it is Saturday, I decided to check out in daylight what I had only seen through beer goggles during the evenings. It is a cute old town with a main street justly named Hollywood Boulevard. It is lined with trees in the median, mostly palm, and there are benches to rest everywhere. There is a small park/playground that today was over-run with small children, just making me miss my own that much more. The people are all very friendly. I had coffee and fresh bread this morning, then did a little perusing through the shops. I had a psychic reading which was pretty spot on and gave me a sense of peace about the upcoming year that I have not had recently. Since the heat index is well into the 100s of degrees, I stopped for a gelato at a cafe and it was as good as what I found while in Italy. There were families out with their children, little old people holding hands, plenty of people not speaking English (once again reminding me of Europe) and a fair share of those with tattoos nearly from head to toe. It was really refreshing to see all these people living together, interacting without judging looks or snide comments. The one thing I can say about this little city that my sister has found for herself, everyone is welcome and there is little pretension. I think she may be very happy here and live out her dreams. After all, everyone who comes to Hollywood has a dream.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Lessons from Friends

Vacations are meant to be a time of relaxation and often times, a time to find out a little something more about yourself. Mine has been alot of both. I have loved the sightseeing and beach time here in Miami, but I have loved the down time reading a book or having a drink with friends, just as much, if not more. I have had plenty of time to concentrate on myself and what I want or need out of life. First and foremost, I have learned that although I have grown and become a mother and wife, that basically I have not changed in over 12 years. Apparently my basic charm and wit have not left me, although at least 50lbs have probably been added to the body I once had. At least now I know that the circumstances of life and the harshness of the world have yet to have me become a small shell of my former self. Seeing old friends can be both good and bad occurances. Basic old friends can be so refreshing to catch up with. Often times they have changed and sometimes you don't click, but seeing them is great all the same. Now, what happens if you meet up with on old friend who you were intimate with a long time ago. I can tell you. You get over the awkwardness and suddenly discover the fabulous connection you had as friends first and foremost. Then you enjoy hanging out with someone who knew you long before you were a wife and mother. You can relax and be yourself because this person knows your flaws and chooses to be your friend in spite of them. You can even take away the knowledge that maybe you didn't screw up every relationship from your past and sometimes things are just so much better as friends. You can gain so much clarity when you take a trip down memory lane and can now laugh at your youth. All of a sudden, the person you have become doesn't seem nearly as bad as the person you once were. I value every relationship that I have endured in my life, both good and bad. I have learned so much from each encounter. I have no regrets. Everything happened for a reason and it often takes growing old and growing up to truly see those reasons. Oh, the benefits of hindsight.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

The Kids in America

A few nights ago I started a much different blog, but I didn't get to finish it and tonight as I sit here, I am not interested in finishing my previous rant. After a full month of summer break from school and now, a summer holiday weekend is just finishing up, I figured that I have seen a vast span of people come through the Biloxi area. I have given more than my share of directions to restaurants, casinos and Wal-Mart. I have met and observed people from all over the country, both young and old, and it saddens me to think of what the future holds for society in general. When I was growing up, we would never dream of talking back or worse, cursing any person that we felt was even the slightest bit our elder. We were talk to respect all people and, even when disagreeing, to be mindful of what you said and how you said it. Lately all I have seen are people spouting obscenities to any and everyone. Case in point, I was sitting outside our neighborhood Starbucks enjoying some coffee and the cooler weather that moved through. Our Starbucks closes its cafe at 8:30pm and the drive through remains open until 9pm. This doesn't make most people want to jump for joy, but life goes on. A truck, 2009 Toyota Tundra Super Crew, pulled up and about five teenagers jump out. I am not talking about college students who could be in their 20s, I mean "I just got my driver's license" teenagers. One of the ladies on the patio told them what she had told everyone about the hours. They then proceeded to beat on the door and curse at the woman closing up inside. One of the statements was B^@!ch you need to open up this door and serve me some coffee. I didn't want coffee an hour ago! Now, not only were they foul and disrespectful, where does this new generation get off thinking that they have a right to have anything they want anytime they want it? It made me really think about what mistakes we are making while raising our kids. Our parents never did things by the book, but when we got older and we got educated, we found that it was time to tell them all the things they had done wrong and exactly how our generation, mostly without kids at the time, would do things. This may be one case to prove Mommy and Daddy know best. How is it that our generation has more successful people who are well-educated, take care of ourselves and up until this new economic downturn have been doing okay, but the people who punished us and taught us values didn't know anything. I look back on psychology class from college. I still remember my astonishment when the professor announced that parenting by fear would result in failure. I can honestly say that my parents probably used every technique that you weren't supposed to use and, yes, I did fear them for most of my life. I feared them enough to make good grades and do all that I was told to do in school. I feared them enough to not dare get arrested because then I would have to call them. I feared them enough to not dare speak to adults the way kids do today for fear that I would suddenly feel them pop me in the mouth. I feared them enough to not have sex early or with random people because you never wanted to have the "I'm pregnant" conversation as an unwed teen. No, the rules in our house were not up for negotiation. You did what you were told when you were told or suffer the consequences. I was locked out with my belonging sitting outside on at least two occasions and I was 21 then, but I didn't break curfew again. We learned how to cook and clean; Mom joked that she had kids for free housekeeping. However, now that I have my own house and family and I have been inside other's homes that did not have my training, I thank the Lord that she taught me well. We had to work, not during the school year, but every summer. We got no more than a day or two off between school and work and usually worked until the Friday before school started back. She used to take my check and give me an allowance out of it, but the day she gave me the money she had saved for me to start a checking account, I was thankful that she forced me to be thrifty. We learned the value of a dollar and how to budget our funds. Our college allowance was given on the first of every month and we got no more until the next month. She made us responsible for purchasing all toiletries and other needs for school. It worked. To this day, I have never had to pay a late payment on a bill or bounce a check. We had to earn a car. Earning was not monetary because even if we had the money, we would not have been allowed to purchase it. I received my first car in April of my Freshman year in college. I had proven via my grades and reports that I could be as responsible in college as they expected, so I was rewarded with a 1987 Honda Civic. This was 1995 and I didn't buy another until it was falling apart. I thank God everyday that my parents were strict. I look at those kids I grew up with that had everything and their parents were so "cool". Those kids took very different paths from me and I can say that although people measure success in different ways, I don't see many of those people measuring up to my concept of success. Isn't everyone's goal to raise their children to be productive human beings? If not, it should be. My sister and I have not been dependents of our parents for 10 years. We don't ask for loans or call complaining about not being able to pay our bills. We weren't boomerangs which all parents fear. Okay, I guess I was for a couple of months, but Hurricane Katrina was an extenuating circumstance. Like my mama always says "the only measure of success for parenting is your children" and from the looks of her two girls she thinks she did okay. No drug or alcohol problems; no unplanned pregnancies; jobs; families; independence; and most importantly, a strong sense of ourselves and our beliefs. I want everyone to sit back and look around at the younger generations around us. They have a definite sense of entitlement. They want everything handed to them on a silver platter. Instead of standing up for their beliefs, they take a stance over whatever the newest trend going is. Many that are graduating from college are unemployed; not because the jobs aren't there, but because they feel they are worth so much more than is being offered. Maybe it was because my parents are baby boomers, born to parents who survived the Great Depression, but my parents would tell me to suck it up and draw a check of some sort. I am not sure where this country is headed, but God help us all if things don't get better before this new generation is old enough to actually be in charge of something. I got a little long winded, so in the words of Forrest Gump...."that's all I have to say about that!"

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Why Women Are Important to MUW

Regardless of what happens with the renaming of my alma mater, Mississippi University for WOMEN, one thing won't change and that is how important the women who have attended the school and those who are currently attending are to the history of the school. They can take the word out of the name, even change the mission if that is their goal, but it will never change the fact that it was the women I encountered during my time there that made it so special. I was always so much more comfortable with the guys. My best friend was a guy. I was a fan of football and baseball. Although I wore makeup and carried a purse, it was more a part of my southern upbringing than being a girly girl. Nine times out of ten, you would find me in jeans and t-shirts. Just making the choice to attend a school where the women outnumbered the men, scared the hell out of me. I wondered how I would ever make even one friend, much less the amount that I have taken with me throughout life. When I look back at college, there are memories that stick out and still make me smile. I can't tell you what I learned about life and myself while sitting with friends on the balcony of 5th floor Jones Hall. Sometimes I think I learned more about human behavior than I ever did in psychology. The women that were willing to help you plan the hypothetical murder of a guy that wronged you. The nights spent talking about random things, often including a debate, but always ending with someone learning something new. It was these times that are really set in my memories of college. I had wonderful professors, both male and female, but what I learned in my women's focus classes was so much more. For the first time in all my years of school, the role of women in history, art, literature, was not just a paragraph amongst all the other information. I had always been proud to be a woman, but for once, I think I was finally being given the information to make me understand what I should be proud of. Don't all little girls need a place that can make them feel like that? Yes, there may be options out there, but most of those are way above the price range many can afford. I suppose the message there is only those with the funds should be allowed to embrace their "Herstory". Of course, I don't agree. I feel so fortunate that the W and its women were there for me and with any luck, she will still stand strong.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

TV and Bon-Bons

Daytime TV is created to entertain women and small children. Let's face it. If you are home during the day and you don't like soap operas, talk shows, decorating shows or cartoons, there isn't much to watch on regular cable. I will admit; I do watch a soap opera. I did not start this practice the day I became a stay at home mom, but it is more convenient now. I have been watching Days of our Lives since I was in the womb. I took a short break while we were stationed in Germany and I kept up with it via online updates. No, the storylines aren't spectacular and they are often times outlandish, but that is what I look for in mindless television. Talk shows are not as addictive. If I am home I watch, but my Tivo doesn't have a season pass to them. The View can be good and bad. Some days the commentary is pretty good, but I feel Barbara Walters makes them too self-conscious and Joy Behar usually says something that makes me want to strangle her at least once an episode. I used to watch Oprah, but I kind of gave up on that. One, I have no desire to watch her weight fluctuate like it does. She needs to stop the fad dieting that most of America does and just eat smart and exercise. I don't think her research team does a good job and in the end, she is the one who comes out looking foolish. First there was the guy who wrote the book supposedly about his life experience and come to find out it was all made up. Now there is the notice that following Dr. Oz's advice could actually kill you. Sometimes, because it comes on after Days, I have caught a few episodes of The Doctors. It seems pretty balanced and they aren't afraid to disagree. Yesterday I Tivo'd it when they said they were talking about Peri-Menopause. Apparently, per the OB/GYN, you can't be diagnosed until after age 40 and to that I laugh, which the Endocrinologist almost did, because I was diagnosed a few months ago. Once upon a time, I would have thought I would have begun having children at this age and now it doesn't seem like I really have any child bearing left in me. Some Drs say there is nothing to do. Some say hormones, but often birth control (doesn't work BTW) can help with some of the effects; now this endocrinologist was talking about a progesterone cream. Apparently you don't need the same amount at every part of the month. I just want to say that I have every symptom the woman on TV had and my doctor said he had little doubt that I was indeed peri-menopausal. I didn't know until I watched the show that my recent insomnia is another symptom. So, if any of you are having night sweats, hot flashes, unexplained irritability, extreme anxiety, insomnia, weight gain around mid-section and too many other symptoms to list, you may be peri-menopausal. Yes, it can happen before 40. By 40, I could been pretty much done when others are just starting. Don't let anyone tell you that you are crazy. Don't feel like you can't talk to someone about it. Somebody out there will believe you and sometimes just being believed makes it all seem better, even as you are wiping the sweat from your brow.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Wayward American Values

In a time of excess, I give thanks for all that I don't have. I don't have a house that I owe more on than it's value. I don't drive fancy cars with $600 car payments. My children are not spoiled by expensive clothes or toys. I know that I am not in over my head with life in general and damn, it feels good. I overheard a young man at Starbucks the other night talking to some gentlemen about being $75,000 in debt. How is he ever to get ahead when he works at Starbucks and is only 25. What happens when he has a wife and kids to support? What happens when the economy gets so bad that he loses that part-time coffee job and can't find even the smallest of employment? I hope that no one expects me to pay for his mistake. They talk about increasing the interest you pay on credit cards to begin the day you charge with no grace period, in order to penalize the small group of us who actually pay our bills. Is that fair? Just because you aren't making alot of money off of us and the ones you can make money off of are not paying their bills, we are punished for being responsible. Well, I call bullshit on this! I am all for helping out the truly needy. The working poor who need to feed their kids. Not the poor who avoid work and have a big, flatscreen TV, but no food to eat. I am so fed up with trying to be the responsible person that my parents raised me to be and each day hear about some program designed to help people who got in that mess by living too large. If I thought someone was going to bail me out, sure, I would go out and charge up a storm; buy a million-dollar home; drive that luxury car. However, I was brought up by people who came from a generation where nothing was given to you. You worked for every dime you made. They didn't believe in credit and didn't buy anything they couldn't pay cash for. Buying on time was a hard concept to get. We were raised to have pride in being able to take care of yourself. I have asked my parents for money so few times, all were during high school and college, that if I called and asked right now, my father would probably sell a kidney to get me the money. That is how much trouble I would have to be in to ask for a handout. If everyone gets a free pass right now, what does that say to the kids we are raising? I don't want my boys to think that they are worth a certain amount just for existing. They have to prove their worth like every person before them. They have to understand that even when you don't have the money for all the things you want, as long as your needs are covered you are in a good place. Nice cars, fancy homes, designer clothes, fancy restaurants, computers, cell phones, satellite, electronics, toys, vacations....these are all luxuries. You are not entitled to these things simply for living in America, but we definitely allow you the opportunity to earn them and don't screw that up.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Being Responsible

There is a quote by an unknown author that describes the way I feel about life. It says "If you follow the plan you made for yourself when you were twenty, then you'd become the image of success that someone much younger, less experienced and more naive would settle for." I believe this wholeheartedly. The person I wanted to become, what I wanted to do with my life is so different now than it was then. I have grown so much. I now have a much different picture of what success is and it has little to do with the mighty dollar. I know that what I am good at and what I enjoy doing is so far from what pleased me as a young girl and how unhappy I would have been if I had followed my original plan. If all that has changed, then why is it not possible that my entire being has changed? Why should I be held responsible for something I said or did to hurt or offend you when I was younger? I will completely take responsibility for all my poor actions and decisions, but I refuse to be persecuted any longer for the mishaps of my youth. If I have grown as a person, shouldn't other people have grown too? Holding grudges and bitterness in your heart does nothing more than make you miserable and age you more quickly. I find it hard to stomach that there are still those out there that would not speak to me simply because I did not play with them as a child. Isn't that insane? Or the old boyfriend who has obviously moved on with his life, maybe has a wife, possibly a couple of kids and you are still so angry because I broke up with him over 10 years ago. I admit I didn't do it gently, but doesn't it appear that he would have moved on? As I am moving further into my 30s, I realize I am just too old to hold a grudge. If I was bitchy to you or broke your heart or whatever your beef may be, if it still bothers you and you think about it more often than you should, please feel free to talk to me about. Chances are I may apologize. I am really not a bad person. Please take the time to open your heart and your mind to forgiveness as well.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Talk to me, please!

So, as many people know, I like to escape to our neighborhood Starbucks sometimes at night. I like the peacefulness; time to gather my thoughts; sometimes write or read. Usually someone chats with you for a second and moves on. Tonight was not one of those nights. There is a really sweet, way to happy, hyped up on coffee boy that works in there. He loves to talk and tonight he apparently loved talking to me. I kept waiting for my husband to call or text me; not even my neighbor sent one text that could have saved me. I had no way out of listening to him ramble on. At first I thought he may be trying to pick me up. He asked if I was married and if I had kids. I answered yes to both, so he asked if he could ask my opinion on something. The more I listened to his story, the more my heart went out to this young man. A condensed version of his story is that almost two years ago, his girlfriend got pregnant. They didn't get married, but had been living together. He was there for the birth of his son and did everything, including working two jobs to take care of her and the baby. About 7 months ago, while he was at work, she ran off with his child. He soon found out it was to meet someone she had started a relationship with online. He thinks she is in Slidell, LA, but he doesn't know for sure. In the 7 months, she has accepted only one phone call from him during which he offered to send her money for child support, but she would not give him the address where she is staying. He offered to Western Union it, but she said no to that. Her friends say that she is going to have him charged a deadbeat dad, but that does not appear to be the case. He just wanted to know if he had any rights. We talked for awhile. Although I am not an attorney, I made some suggestions of places he could turn for help. I assured him that he did certainly have parental rights and if she filed for back child support, she would surely have to grant those and she probably did not want to. The entire situation was so sad. There are so many women out there raising children on their own because the father's don't want to take responsibility and here sat a young man who was ready and he was being denied. He seemed at wits end and was at the point of tears. I guess he just needed someone to listen to him and therapy would be out of his price range. Usually I would have been quick to pick up my things and make a swift exit using some excuse or another, but tonight I felt like I needed to stay. What if talking things out with me, a perfect stranger, kept this kid from making a drastic mistake? I think we are all like him sometimes. We just need someone listen to us without passing judgement. We need someone who has no personal ties to a situation to look at it from the outside and help us make sense of a gigantic mess. Only in the South could you find that random stranger willing to listen to your problems having a coffee at your neighborhood Starbucks. This is in no way an invitation for you to come pour your heart out to me when all I really want is to drink my coffee and enjoy the silence that is not my house.

Monday, June 8, 2009


So, this is the third night in a row that I have been up passed midnight. Not sure why this is happening because I haven't been napping. In fact, I have been incredibly busy during the days. Friday we had a full day in Destin. We went to the beach and the pool, went out to dinner and took the boys minature golfing. Golf was interesting with a two year old. Apparently he has aspirations of being the John McEnroe of golf. He got very angry when missing shots and liked to scream and either slam his club into the ground or throw it into the bushes. Let's say that keeping up with him on the course alone made for a long night. When we returned to the condo, we decided to change the boys into PJs and pack up to head back. We left in the middle of the night, the kids were asleep before we hit I-10 and we got home around 2am. Saturday was filled with loads and loads of laundry, cleaning my empty refrigerator and then heading to the grocery store to refill it. After two hours at the commissary, at least an hour at Wal-Mart and then another stop at Winn Dixie to pick up the things the commissary didn't have. I had plans to relax today, but instead I balanced my checkbook and recorded our Destin expenses, then I sorted my coupons. The highlight of my day was putting away clothes and cleaning out all the old ones from my closet. I know, not exactly something to jump up and down about. I did get to spend the night catching up on some Tivo, but that addiction is fodder for another day.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Just Another Day in Paradise

Surprisingly, the boys slept in this morning which is my idea of a good vacation. It was much appreciated since last night Chris and I had a date night. We had a wonderful dinner at Louisianna Lagniappe with Michelle, Adam, Michael and Ashley. The food was beyond fabulous and if you are ever in Destin, I strongly encourage you to have a meal there. I had stuffed shrimp that were huge and for dessert, banana foster ice cream cake (sinful and I wish I had a few more pieces today). We stopped for a few drinks at the Hog's Breath Saloon which had cold beer and a horrible band. Then we all went our separate ways to spend quality time with our significant others. The morning was quite overcast and when the sun went behind the clouds, it was actually a little chilly. We stayed at the beach or pool all morning and finally convinced the boys to come up for lunch at 2 o'clock. Peyton crashed after eating. Unbeknown to Peyton, Chris took Dalton to drive the race cars at the Big Kahuna tracks. It was AWESOME according to Dalton. Now we are anticipating what we will have for dinner and taking the boys for some miniature golf tonight. After which we are leaning toward packing up and heading home tonight. We only have a 3 hour drive and it would be nice to have a couple of days at home before Chris returns to work. I doubt I will be writing anything again from Destin. The trip has been beautiful. Lots of time at the beach, pool, dinners out, and shopping. But honestly, there is no place like home.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

One Hell of a Long Day

Today is our fifth day in Destin and it rained most of the day. I took the kids to the beach this morning for maybe an hour before the initial rain started. The water was choppy, so entering the water was a no go. They didn't mind because they had the sand. We would have tried the pool since a little rain with no lightening is not a show stopper, but it was so windy and there had been no sun, so the water would have been freezing. I had the luxury of spending the entire day in the condo with two cranky kids while Chris was getting soaked attempting to get a much looked forward to golf game in. The rest of the family hit the outlet mall, but I refused to even attempt shopping with two small kids. I do not consider that a pleasure at all. I figure I will attack the mall tomorrow. I figured that nothing good could come of this day. We decided to take the kids out for dinner. About 10 minutes before we left, Peyton said he had to potty and we never ignore him since potty-training is our main focus with him these days. Low and behold, he decided to make his first attempt at poo-pooing and he did it. We have been waiting for months for him to poop in the potty and he did it with no coersion tonight. We were so proud; you would have thought he had won a gold medal. Of course we had to let him get a big prize after dinner. While at dinner, the boys were pretty good, we thought. Peyton was a little cranky at first and like most two year olds, he had to play with everything on the table. When we were leaving, four ladies at the next table commented on what a pleasure it had been to watch us have dinner with small children who did not run around and annoy all the surrounding tables. If you are not a parent, you can not understand the joy that is felt with such a statement. My boys are 100% boy. They are rambuctious and loud, not intentionally disrespectful, but they can sometimes be handfull. Suddenly, for the first time, I thought, they really aren't that bad. Life is good. Maybe it ended up being not such a bad day afterall.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Family Vacations

There is one thing that an extended family vacation always manages to remind you and that is there is a reason you don't still live at home. Anytime you have too many people involved in making a decision about anything, it always ends in a stalemate. You can't please anyone and those that don't get their way seem to be the ones who like to throw tantrums (and I don't mean the kids). It also amazes me how many filthy people there are in a family. This isn't the people who don't take showers, these are the ones who look perfectly normal. They drive nice cars, wear nice clothes and have good jobs. Graduate level degrees hang on their walls, yet they can't seem to throw empty cans in the garbage. They refuse to hand wash a couple of pots when the dishwasher is full. It appears they forget how to function without the prescence of their housekeeper and that is where my place is solidified in our family. I am the the built in housekeeper. It is a natural tendency that I have. Not really a flaw at all, so it isn't something I am interested in changing. I pick up and straighten things around me. I wash things that are dirty. I generally make sure things are taken care of and they probably know that will happen. In short, my vacation is never that. I am the only one who takes my full-time job with me. The only one who gets a break from nothing. Even on vacation, I am a wife, mother and apparently, domestic engineer. Thank God I don't live with these people regularly or I would probably have to find a job outside the home.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


So, not much and so much is going on in the Burgess Family. Dalton finishes up kindergarten this week. He is growing up so fast and it amazes me what he learns every day. Peyton is starting PK3 next year, if we can get him potty-trained. He is trying, bless his heart, but he is a boy and I am asking alot of him to stop playing just to potty! I joined a gym last week and have met with my trainer twice. He is a persistent man who assumes I can do more than I probably can or should. He seems to think that his plan overrides the instructions of my doctor. Unfortunately for him, I actually listen to my doctor. So far it has been a battle of the wills and I am sure it is no surprise to anyone who is winning that battle. Strangely enough, I am actually enjoying my gym time. While I am there, it is just me and the TV or Ipod and I feel very relaxed and cleansed when I leave. It may be just what the doctor ordered for the difficult year ahead. Chris will be leaving for Honduras in a little over two months. We almost have everything in order, but until he gets the printed orders, some things are on hold. We have to get powers of attorney for everything! I think I am more stressed over what I have to do to prepare to PCS to Okinawa than I am over the million things I will have to do in the year that he is gone. I know he is excited and a little upset over being away from the kids, but I also think there is always a sense of relief when you know that everything is being taken care of and you get to spend time alone and not having to take care of anyone but yourself. The military community has a phrase "married, but single" and every few years, they like to give you the opportunity to experience it. It is just alot harder when I am looking at "married, but single parent". That is about all I have for now. I am sure that in the months to come, I will have much more to post.

Sunday, May 17, 2009


This has been a busy weekend. On Thursday night, I headed home to Leland at 5pm. The purpose of my trip was to attend the high school graduation of my cousin whose mother was a very special person and an important part of my life for a long time, but was taken from this Earth way too early when my cousin was not yet 12 years old. Being there for her was important to me to honor the memory of a woman who never missed an important day in my life. The trip was well worth it just to see the look on Lara's face, but in reality, the trip home was hell! Usually the trip is 4 1/2 to 5 hours and I think this trip took 6 or more hours. Getting to Jackson was a pain because apparrently everyone was headed somewhere. It was a Thursday night and the traffic was unplanned. Then when I arrived in Jackson, I-20W had roadwork and we basically had to travel one lane the entire way until my 49N turn off. Then once on 49 I was rerouted due to an accident and I also had to wait for cows to cross the highway. According to my great-uncle Joe, the rising water in the Delta has driven the cows to higher ground and the highway is built on that higher land. He said unlike a deer, if you hit them, you also had to buy the cow. My return trip on Saturday went quickly and I was home in the 4 1/2 hour time frame. However, I came home to change clothes and head to dinner with my hubby and friends. A restaurant that usually had wonderful food now had "cheaper" ingredients and I am not sure it was worth running home. However, the company was worth it. Although they went home early, hubby and I continued our night and probably drank a few too many drinks. Lucky for me, it was he who had to run the 5K this morning and not me! We had lunch and Fatima Internatnional Festival and I got to have my once a year dose of lumpia....YAY! If you have never had it, try it when you get a chance. The boys got to ride 2 rides at the festival and then the sky opened up and dropped buckets of water on our head. Unfortunately, that was the end of our day and now I am going to sit on the couch and catch up on my Tivo...if you don't have DVR, get it soon! It is truly the best "gadget" I have ever gotten.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009


Frustration is a daily part of my life. Mainly because disorganization frustrates me. I manage to maintain a level of organization over things that I have control of, but it is when other people are in control and screw up that I get this overwhelming desire to wring someone's neck. It happens all the time. The PTO asks me to volunteer; I show up and inevitably there is some woman in charge who has yet to figure out what we are supposed to do or have all the pieces of something that needs to be put together. The person who doesn't have her life together, but feels she can take on essentially the life of the entire school and have it in any kind of order. Then there are the birthday parties that are scheduled for say 3pm and when you arrive they are still decorating, the food isn't done and they have no clue to the order of events. Sometimes they just cancel the party and don't notify anyone; instead just leave town. Those are the kinds of things I expect. However, when it comes to family things, simple things like a family photo, I don't expect to have frustration and anxiety. My husband's entire family lives in Memphis. We vacation in Destin, FL and this year the entire group of 12 will be there. This is not a normal event since we move about every 4 years or so. My sister-in-law thought this would be a great time to have a family portrait done. You know the one, everyone on the beach. This idea came about at Christmas time or even before. She apparently was put in charge of the details; I am not positive since I wasn't there, but that is what I have been told. Well Saturday night, nothing had been done. No one even had a clue what they were to be wearing. There were plenty of excuses like the new baby (who turns 1 on Monday), or the fact she is moving (just happened in the last two months) and the storm that knocked out her internet (storm was a week or so ago). Planner that I am, I took on the task of organizing this event. I spent all day Monday on the phone with photographers, their assistants or receptionists to find that NO ONE was available on such short notice (our trip is the first week of June). Luckily, I finally got a call back from one person to say that there was a cancellation. Thank God! I informed everyone of the appointment time, attire, and even sent them links to the photographer's website with sample pictures and pricing information. I did this in the first 24 hours that I started the project and I have a very active 2 year old and a 6 year old who is involved in sports. Why can't the rest of the world just get on board with the plan? You are stressed because you are unorganized! You don't need medication, you need a plan and a time management seminar. You need to realize that you are doing nothing for your stress and thus, you are also increasing my anxiety and frustration. When you take on a project, see it through to the end. I bet unreliable people are the same ones whose parents let them quit an activity midstream. I guess they were never taught to finish what they started. I was taught that; unfortunately, I never realized I would end up having to finish what others start too.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Mysteries of Parenthood

Everyone loves to tell you that parenthood is an adventure. Each day can be the same old thing and then there is that one day that you wonder why you had kids. However, in the next breath, your child will say something funny or possibly profound and you have to laugh and remind yourself it is moments like that that made you have children. It never ceases to amaze me that I have to remind Dalton, who is 6, that he has to put on his glasses, or pick up his toys, or make his bed, etc....I think you get the picture. Everyday the same words come out of my mouth. So often, in fact, that I wish I could just record it and push play when the moment presented itself. However, the child has the memory of an elephant when it comes to the most unusual conversations. This serves as a constant reminder to watch each and everything I say to him. About a year or so ago he asked why he had two great-grandmas, but no great-grandpas. I told him that his daddy's grandpa died when his daddy was a little boy about his age and that my grandpa died when Dalton was only a few months old. We talked a little about death and where people go when they die. A bit of a tough talk to have with a then 4, maybe 5 year old, but I answered his questions and moved on. However, last night during dinner Dalton looked at me with his big brown eyes and said, "Mama, I am sorry your grandpa died." Where did that come from? I said, "Thank you, but that was a long time ago." He said so sweetly, "but I bet you still miss him and it makes you sad, so I am sorry." Kind of made it hard to remind him he could have no dessert until he finished his dinner. I love my children. Even when they are difficult and my neighbors probably think my head will explode from the yelling, I still love them. I love the things they say, the way they say it and the fact that they are the kind of kids who feel sorry for me when I am sad. Guess I am not that bad of a mama afterall. At least that is what I will tell myself today.