Thursday, August 25, 2011

Zesty Morsels and Succulent Veggies (a blog about words that will make you cringe)

You don't hate the word "moist". You like the attention of pretending you hate the word "moist". -  Alec Sulkin (a random guy that I don't know that someone else I don't know retweeted on Twitter)

Actually, Alec, you are wrong.  I really don't like the word.  However, I will admit that it is low on the list of words I dislike.  My best recollection is that the list started in college.  Inspired by an ex-boyfriend's excessive use of the word "gig" (in reference to music), the list was started.  Soon after, the word "flick" was added to the list.  Over the years, the list has grown and has taken on a life of its own.  There are so many words that I can't bear to hear, read, or write.  I die a little inside when I come across them.  So, for your enjoyment, here is a short sample of my list, divided into neat little categories. 

1. Menu items.  Rooty Tooty Fresh and Fruity.  Moons over My Hammy.  Just can't do it.  Jake ordered the Pork Belly at a restaurant the other night.  It was delicious.  But it sounds horrible.  No Pork Belly for me, thanks.  

2. Celebrity Couple Renaming.  Bennifer, Brangelina, TomKat.  I cringed while typing those.  Ridiculous.  

3. Dumb Band Names. I admit that I have kind of refused to listen to Mumford and Sons and the Christian band Gungor because of of the names.  I know it's a little crazy, but when someone asks what I have been listening to lately, I don't want either of those names to have to come out of my mouth.  I just can't do it.

4. Words that pertain to grossness. Pus.  Pimple.  Festering.  Goiter.  Abscess.  Soggy.  Fungus.  Lump. Secretion.  Bunion.  Go ahead.  You can throw up now.

5. Words that just sound funny.  Panties. Goulash.  Seeing the word panties next to the word goulash.  Morsel.  Teats.  Dumpling/ dumplin'.  Smear.  Bosom.  Warble.  Sassafras.  Hubby.  Zesty.  Succulent.  Veggie.  Supple.  Patootie.  Creamy.  Scrumptious.

6. Words that aren't words. Irregardless. Boughten (the internet tells me that this is a word, but I refuse to believe it).  Supposively.  Supposibly. Could of.  Should of.  Would of.  Try have, friends.  Could have.  Anywho.

7. Words that make me want to punch you in the throat if you use them. Chillax. Badonkadonk. Peeps. Tweeps.  Don't go there.  Sammies (for sandwiches). Yummo (we can thank Rachael Ray for this one).  Besties.  Preggers, preggo, etc. (Almost all of these words could actually be combined with the previous list, but I did want to make the distinction)

Jake and I have taken to using ugly words on purpose.  It's a game we play... see who can come up with the most annoying nickname for the other one.  Husby is my go-to name for him.  Wifey-pants seems to be his favorite for me.  And though they are horrible, they make us laugh.  When we leave each other, Jake's customary parting words are "Smooches", to which I reply "Huggles".  And then we both gag.  And laugh.

So there you have it.  These are a few of my least favorite things.  So feel free to offer up your own.  I would love to hear about it.  

And don't worry, I do have plenty of favorites, words I love... abysmal, appropriate, celebratory, centrifugal, shenanigan.   But I will save those for another day, a whole nother blog.  (Add that one to list #6)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Please Remember Me

My memory is failing. At the age of 34, I can be introduced to someone and fifteen seconds later my mind begins to scan the conversation to see if I can bring the name back up. Searching... searching... searching.  And the Apple rainbow wheel turns.  Elizabeth?  Amanda?  Katie?  Nope.  I have no idea. Where did I put my ipod?  When was that appointment?  How old am I (this was a real thought when typing the second sentence of this blog)?  Memorizing scripture has proven to be equally frustrating.  Two verses.  That's my goal for this week.  And honestly, right this second I can only tell you the reference for one of the verses and a few phrases of both.  And it's Thursday.  I started on Monday.  So, what has happened to my brain's ability to retain information?

This has not always been a problem.  When I was in kindergarten, I memorized Psalm 1.  Psalm 121 was first grade.  I also memorized Romans 6.  At my kindergarten graduation, my class and I stood in my navy blue uniform dress and white knee highs and recited a three stanza poem called "Mr. Nobody".  And the scripture, poems, and songs that I memorized when I was young have stuck with me (maybe a good reason for parents to monitor what their children listen to... but that's a whole other blog).  I can sing every word of New Zealand's national anthem, despite the fact that I probably haven't had to sing it since I was 13.  I can sing all of the presidents of the United States to the tune of "Ten Little Indians" (up to Reagan, anyway, who was President when I learned the song).  I can sing the fifty states.  I can quote all of the books of the Bible (you'd be hard pressed to find me an kid that was raised independent Baptist that can't).  I can recite Sonnet 60 by William Shakespeare, thanks to a group of mean upper classmen that laughed at me while I was having to recite it in front of the class in the 9th grade.  Social trauma like that can make things stick in your mind.  I can also sing all of the words to every theme song for four of the five American military branches because I overheard my sister's class practicing them when she was in fifth grade.  Yeah, I haven't always been so forgetful.

So what on earth is the problem?  Surely there is a scientific explanation for this.  But I think I have figured it out.  And here it is.  Last night, Jake and I were on our way back home from an evening spent at a church in Plano.  I was tired of listening to the music on my ipod and so I fired up my Slacker radio app.  And rather than setting it to my preferred "Indie chill" station, I opted for 90's country.  And in this, I found my answer. Hal Ketchum, Jo Dee Messina, Bryan White, Collin Raye, George Straight, Mark Chesnutt.  Songs I hadn't heard in over a decade.  And I knew every word.  I remembered every bridge, every vocal run, every repeated chorus, every tag.  No wonder I can't remember where I left my keys or what on earth I did with that Cheesecake Factory gift card I got in the mail.  There is a reason I keep forgetting to mail the last of the thank you cards from my wedding that took place over three months ago.    My brain is full of lyrics.  Beer drinking, Amarillo traveling, California/Carolina decision making, small town Saturday night loving, lying, cheating, cold dead beating, two timing double dealing, mean mistreating lyrics.  After the fourth or fifth song, I started to laugh at the ridiculousness of my brain's ability to hold onto such things.  They aren't even things I want to remember, but I do.  Jake seemed embarrassed impressed by my magical 90's country memory (any man of mine better be proud of me).  I can't remember anything I learned in Algebra, and I can't recall names of actors in movies I have seen a million times.  I am the world's worst Trivial Pursuit partner.  I can't name the three Cartwright sons from Bonanza.  I don't remember what year the Berlin Wall went up, and I don't remember anything about the Pythagorean theorem.  But I can sing you some Patty Loveless.  Word for word.     

So, as far as my memory loss goes, I'm Alright.  I feel lucky to have figured it all out.  And as far as the 90's country goes, I swear that am amazed that even still, decades later,  I like it, I love it.  So to all of my friends (in low places), I am sorry that I often forget your birthdays and the names of your children.  Whenever you come around, and I can't recall just how I know you or what your name is, I'll think of something.  But just know that it matters to me.  

P.S.  What's cluttering your brain?

Monday, August 15, 2011

Greasy Pizza and Flying Money... how losing your temper makes you look like a lunatic

I must tell you that tomorrow I start a new round of Weight Watchers.  For like the twenty third time.  And so today, I went all out.  Two bowls of Honey Nut Cheerios for breakfast.  A little thrift store shopping with my nephew Cameron.  Then we had a late lunch.  Nizza Pizza is a weird little pizza joint in Arlington that makes up for what it lacks in cleanliness and class by serving deliciously greasy New York style pizza.  And for $3.95, I can have two enormous slices of pizza and a drink for lunch, as long as I make it in before 4 p.m.  I sponged off most of the pizza grease with a napkin, and I happily ate my pizza, knowing that come the stroke of midnight, my pizza eating days are over.  As Cameron and I were eating, we noticed a woman come in and order.  She paid for her food and went to sit by the window, carefully lifting the bamboo blinds as she sat.  Nizza Pizza has windows all around two and a half sides of the building, and in this miserable triple digit heat, I feel certain that their reasons for keeping all of the blinds down were good ones.  The young cashier looked annoyed, and a few minutes later, he walked over to the woman and pulled the blinds back down to their closed position.

I don't know what he said, or if he said anything.  I don't know if he asked politely or just rudely changed them back.  But what I am a witness to is the woman's reaction.  She stood up, slammed her hands down on the table, and demanded a refund for her meal.  She said was leaving and she would never be back.  The cashier led her back to the register, and he went to hand her the money.  She refused to take it from his hand and insisted that he place it down on the counter.  He placed it on the counter, and then she proceeded to pick up the coins and throw them at him.  Oh yes.  She was a grown woman, and she threw coins at another person.  A kid, basically.  Then she started in.

Give me the name of your manager.  Silence
I will find out who your manager is.  Silence
Who is your manager?  Silence

Then, addressing other employees (who pretended to not speak English)

What's the name of your manager? More silence and mumbled Spanish

The cashier asks the woman to leave

And back to the cashier.  (The following is a basic summary.  Many of these things were repeated.)

I will find out and you will be fired. You threw that money at me. (And then she remembers that he clearly didn't.)  It's my word against yours.  You threw it at me.  All you had to do was hand it to me nicely.  You wanna call the cops?  Go ahead.  I will wait while you call the cops.  I will tell them what you did to me.  Go ahead.  Pick up the phone and call.  I am trespassing right now.  Just call them.

And then she waited.

This woman was not leaving.  She was uncontrollably angry and for what?  Because a 20-year-old kid wanted the blinds closed and she wanted them open?  When I left, this woman was standing at the counter, still insisting that the police be called, while the clueless kid kept repeating "Have a nice day, ma'am", as if this farewell would cause her to believe that she actually was leaving.

As we walked out, I looked at my nine-year-old nephew Cameron and we kind of laughed to ourselves at the outrageous behavior we had just seen.  But what is less funny is that about ten minutes before the woman came in, I had a little talk with Cameron about a few of my ridiculous outbursts from years before.

I remember one particular day several years back when I was still mothering my sister's children, I put them all down for a nap.  Nap time on the weekends was my salvation.  I worked full-time, and I had four kids.  I was almost always exhausted.  And during this particular time, I was parenting alone.  Cameron was the first child out of bed in the mornings and he rarely took a decent nap.  During nap time, he defaulted to whining or playing, both of which kept his brothers from taking a nap.  And on this particular day, I had had enough.  I have always believed that if you want to spank a child, that is certainly the time that you shouldn't.  And I wanted to spank him.  I wanted him to know that I was mad.  And I did.  I remember losing control of my own voice to the point that I didn't even recognize the sound of it.  I have no idea what I screamed as I spanked him, but it wasn't nice.  When I put him back into the bed (not carefully or lovingly, mind you), I walked out of the room and I broke down.  I had scared him.  I had scared his brothers.  And I felt terrible.  Not like the twinge of guilt that you feel that you quickly forget.  The kind that sticks around.  The kind that makes you feel like you are a terrible parent.  The kind that won't let you forget the fear in a child's face.

Recently our church has dedicated our Sunday nights to watching a video series on Anger.  And even though I am not a parent now, and my patience isn't tested like it has been in the past, I saw myself in so much of what has been taught.  The preacher talked about the damage that anger does in families.  The fear and rebellion it can cause in children.  It convicted me about the times that I had been angry with my husband or my sister and had taken it out on my nephews because they were the only ones around.  Or the time that the oldest was twirling a plastic bag (containing an open ketchup container) around his head like a lasso, slinging ketchup all around the inside of our minivan.  I was so angry.  It was a typical kid thing to do, and I responded with intense anger.  Anger causes us to say things we would never dream of saying.  We do things we would never think of doing without it.  Sometimes we know what we are doing and saying is wrong, and even sometimes ridiculous, and we just can't seem to stop ourselves.  And then comes the regret.  Oh my, the regret.

I remember apologizing to the kids back then when I would lose my temper.  I tried to make a habit of going back to them and admitting my fault and asking for forgiveness, not just because it was the right thing for me to do, but also so they could see the example.  But today Cameron is nine, and I am concerned that he might remember the outbursts and not so much the apologies.  And so today, as we sat at lunch, I told him that I was sorry for those times.  And like a nine year old, he shrugged and kept on talking about Nerf guns and Wii games.  I took it as a sign that I have been forgiven.

I have a lot of work to do.  My round of practice parenting (which most people don't get) revealed a level of anger that I didn't know I had.  I will eventually have babies of my own, and my prayer is have perfected James 1:19 by the time they enter the world.  And since practice makes perfect, I will practice.  I will practice with my husband.  And my siblings.  And the rowdy kids I teach every Sunday.  And the people who never, ever yield at the off ramp at 360 and Mayfield Road, even though there are signs telling them that they have to.  Yes, I need the practice.  My goodness how I need it.  Quick to listen.  Slow to speak.  Slow to anger.

So tomorrow begins a new day.  Another chance to make right choices.  Another chance to practice patience.  Another chance to count points and eat right.  I am thankful for tomorrows.  And forgiveness.  And for nephews.  And for pizza.  I won't be having any, but you can.  In fact, feel free to.  Enjoy it for me.  And for goodness' sake, if you visit Nizza Pizza in Arlington, would you please leave the blinds alone?  

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Dear Jake... an open letter to my husband

Dear Jake,

Six months and one day ago (two days if you count this as Sunday already, but I haven't slept yet so it's still Saturday to me) I got into my car and drove to Dallas to Opening Bell Coffee.  I was going to meet Amanda Workman and listen to one of my Open Mic friends play music.  It was a great night.  I met you and Leslie and had an awkward encounter with an ex-boyfriend that I had no idea would be there.

Tonight was eerily similar.  I got in my car and drove to Dallas to Opening Bell Coffee.  I was going to meet Amanda Workman and listen to another one of my Open Mic friends play music.  I met up with Leslie and had another awkward encounter with the same ex-boyfriend that I had no idea would be there.  There were slight differences in the two evenings.  Tonight, I didn't order coffee... you know I can't stomach it.  The musicians were different (Garrett Owen was fantastic and I am sorry you missed it).  The ex-boyfriend didn't speak to me at all this time (We played a delightfully strange game of "let's pretend you don't exist").  And the main difference is that you weren't there.  And I missed you.

Six months ago, I had no idea that we would be together, let alone married.  In fact, if someone had told me then that I would be married now, I would have never believed it.  But here we are, husband and wife (of course, that's a figurative "here" since you are currently in Georgia and I am in Texas).  I couldn't be happier.  Life with you is a million times better than life without you, and I am glad that I don't have to go back.

As I drove home tonight, I thought about all of the good things that you have brought into my life.  The fun experiences we have had, the wonderful people I now call friends, the family I have gained (that we should work to see more often).  My (our) apartment has never been so tidy.  My laundry has never been so caught up.  I love that my Saturdays start with homemade buttermilk biscuits because I now have someone to cook for.  You are a calm voice of reason, and we all know that I need that.  You are encouraging and reassuring and stable.  You attentively listen to my millions of stories that you will probably hear again.  You claim to have zero baby experience, and yet this past Thursday I saw you pick up an inconsolable child and get her to sleep in less than 3 minutes (This might have been the cutest thing I have ever seen you do).  You are a fabulous dancer, and I am thoroughly entertained by you, especially when you dance with strangers in public behind their backs.  One of these days you will be caught, and that will be even more entertaining.  I have a million things to look forward to with you (including trips to Chicago, Nashville, and New Zealand), and I am excited to see where God leads us (hopefully soon He will lead us to go to the same church!).  It has been a lovely six months, and I have no regrets (except for maybe purchasing that stupid Apple TV that rarely works and getting rid of the Wii and possibly the outdoor wedding reception that was a million degrees).  But yeah, mostly no regrets.

You have two more days in Georgia, and I pray they are encouraging and positive for you.  I love the way that God answered our prayers and provided a way for you to go.  Please don't forget my Sonny's BBQ sauce.  Please get the sweet stuff, not the Sizzlin' sweet stuff, just the regular (the bigger the jar, the better).  And if you get to eat there, order the Big Deal with a pulled pork sandwich and a tea, half sweet and half unsweetened (remember that I don't know much, but I know music and food).  Their sweet tea is like drinking sugar syrup, so if you decide to go against my suggestion and you go into a diabetic coma, just don't say I didn't warn you.  If you aren't able to bring the BBQ sauce then don't come home I will understand.  I will just order it online and it will cost us a million dollars for shipping.

You are the coolest.  I am glad we are married.  Come home soon.  Go Team Turner.

Your Wife  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Ode to Google*

*that is not actually an Ode at all... I learned that using Google

I remember being in high school, working on a school project about my prospective career. My mom drove me to the huge Central Library in downtown Corpus Christi, and there I sat for hours. I searched the reference section for all pieces of information related to Teaching English as a Second Language (TESOL), commonly referred to as ESL in this day and age. I might have even looked through the microfiche. I had it in my head that I was going to get my degree, and then spend the rest of my days traveling the world teaching English (and I still may). But that research took forever. These days, if I want to get information about anything, I don't go to the library. I don't lug a stack of encyclopedias to the kitchen table and read up on the topic of interest. If I want information, I google.

What on earth did we do before google? I guess we asked our parents. Or we looked it up in the dictionary. Or maybe we just didn't know things. What's the zip code in downtown Chicago? What are the lyrics to Patty Griffin's song Be Careful? What's an Isetta? Who assassinated Bobby Kennedy? What is camu camu? Is there an Argentine restaurant in Dallas? There are actual things that I know the answer to because I googled them in the past 72 hours. But I am thrilled and amazed at the things that I can know because I can search them on the internet and have an answer within seconds.

Last weekend I went to dinner with some girlfriends, and I have no idea how the subject of baby names came up... oh wait, yes I do, but that's another conversation, another blog. But we were talking about horrible things that people name their children. The child that is named Absidee (spelled Abcde) and the famous twins Lemonjello and Orangejello. Everyone knows someone that knows someone who actually knew these twins. But in the midst of this conversation, I remembered that a judge in New Zealand actually made a child a ward of the court because her parents named her something idiotic. Like with most stories, I could not remember the details. And so, I googled it. Within seconds, I had the story of poor little New Zealander Tulula Does The Hula From Hawaii (her real, actual name) who was placed in the guardianship of the court until she was renamed. Apparently, she had sense enough to know that it was a ridiculous name, even though her parents clearly didn't. I also learned that the names Violence, Midnight Chardonnay, and Number 16 Bus Shelter had made the cut, while Fish and Chips, Yeah Detroit, Twisty Poi, and Sex Fruit were turned down. Oh the things we can learn from google.

Through this blog, I have learned that people google funny things. In the "Stats" section, it tells me how many people are visiting my blog, where they were directed from, and things they may have googled to arrive at my blog. And it's kind of hilarious. Someone googled "white pantyhose" and found my blog. Also, "boyfriend makes big decisions without me". (If you are the one who googled that, please email me privately, and I will help you out with that one) The other day, I discovered that someone googled "i am hairy and fat. how can i make myself beautiful". I would like to know this person, and I would like to know this person and help her through this particular problem. (Again, feel free to email me privately about that issue... I can offer up some advice)

So this is my shout out to Google (the search engine and the verb, even though Google doesn't want us to use it as a verb).  Thank you for making us smarter.  And maybe lazier.  Thank you for giving us a world of information at our fingertips, and for not making me search through pages of irrelevant information before getting to what I actually need.  Thank you for being available on my iphone so I can have instant access to the definition of camu camu (which happens to be a small riverside tree from the Amazon rainforest in Peru and Brazil).  I love you, Google.  Really, I do.  And for those of you too young to know what microfiche is, feel free to Google it.



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