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!"