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.