October 29, 2010

The First Anniversary Of The Worst Day Of My Life

October 29th exactly one year ago will live forever infamous in my mind as the period of 24 hours during which I was dangerously on the verge of a nervous breakdown, a panic attack, and an aneurysm all rolled into one.  I almost had a relapse when I started to see these come out this year:

Let me back up. 

I am a control freak.  I don't play all that well with other children.  I like things done my way (because, obviously, it is the best way).  And when I am placed into a situation where I must work closely with others and share in decision-making with them, I get a little antsy.  In fact, antsy might not be the best descriptor there.  But let's just leave it at that.

So anyway, last Fall, during my final semester before graduation, I was enrolled in a course called Small Group Communication.  Almost the entire premise of the course involved working within a group of the same 6 students to plan and implement a fundraising event. None of us had any idea just how much work and stress this would entail; me especially.  It ended up being one of the hardest things I've ever done, and that career in event planning I had considered?  No way, Jose.  That dream was shot right out of the water once I realized how much I despise working with... well... people. 

Kidding! Sort of.  But let's just say that myself and one or two of my group members seriously butt heads, and because I so desperately wanted needed an A in the class to maintain the perfect GPA I planned to graduate with, there was a lot of "we-will-do-this-my-way-because-I-always-get-A's-and-so-help-me-God-if-I-get-a-B-because-you're-an-idiot."

So, we worked extremely hard all semester (a few of us did, anyway - isn't that always the way it works in groups?  A few do the bulk of the work while the others coast?).  Anyway.  I'm not bitter.  We worked extremely hard to make our event come to being, and on October 29, 2009, it did.  Not without incident, but it did.

Here are a few pictures from the day:

You get the picture. 

It was a pumpkin carving thing, and it ended up being pretty successful.  All the pumpkins, snacks, and beverages were donated beforehand, and we made a considerable profit.  Naturally, I wrote most of our group's final paper describing the entire process, and after the final exam, I felt extremely confident that I would get my A and that the GPA-I-worked-so-hard-for would remain unharmed.  It was one or two of my other classes I was a little worried about - NOT this one.

I remember like it were yesterday when it came time for grades to be posted.  I had just gotten off work on a busy Friday night, and I plopped down in front of my computer anxiously.  I logged into my school account, saw that grades were up, and scanned the page. A!.... A!.... A!....

B in Small Group Communication??????!!!!! Hooooooowwwwwwwww???!!!!!

I cried huge, hot alligator tears for AT LEAST an hour that night and all throughout the weekend.  I screamed into my pillow.  I cursed that wretched class and all the wretched people in it, and I cursed myself for falling short of my goal after working so hard for so long.  Y'all I FREAKED OUT.

And I refused to go to my graduation primarily because of it.  Because I knew my diploma wouldn't read "Summa Cum Laude" like I had planned for it to.

And I knooow most students would be thrilled with graduating Magna, but that is not the point here.  In my mind (then anyway), I was a failure.  And I didn't forgive myself for a long time.

So what is my point here?  Not to brag about having a good GPA, I assure you.  My point is that sometimes we create such impossibly high standards for ourselves that we live our lives constantly feeling like we've failed.  Constantly feeling like we don't measure up. 

But my question for you is: MEASURE UP TO WHAT?  Who are we competing with???  It's natural and GOOD to want to succeed and to want to do the best you can.  But if you fall short of your goal and your whole identity comes crashing down around you, you have to ask yourself why your priorities allow no room for error and growth and HUMANITY. 

Perfection does not exist.  It is an unachievable goal.  But balance?  That is something worth fighting for.  And you know what they say... (cheesy and cliche as it may be, there is some truth to it...)

So THIS October 29th?  I'll be enjoying a wonderful "date night" with my husband... carving a pumpkin, roasting the seeds, enjoying a delightful dinner.  The past is the past, and we are not our failures.  We can learn from them, we can always improve and grow because of them, but every day we choose what to believe about ourselves.    

Believe that you're "among the stars," and have a beautiful weekend!!


October 27, 2010

List of Ten Tuesday! Except on Wednesday. PMS edition.

***We now return to our regularly scheduled programming!!***
Except kind of a day late.  Actually, almost two days late. Sorry.

List of Ten Tuesday may not exactly be occuring on Tuesday, per se, but didn't I say in my very first List of Ten Tuesday post that I reserve the right to write a list of ten on any day that I please?  Why yes, yes I did.  So now I will exercise that right.

Yesterday I was emotionally exhausted from the energy it sucked being mad at and writing a post about the anonymous commenter (whom I have since received an apology from).  But I have to say one thing before I get to my list: I have THEE sweetest, THEE coolest, and THEE funniest readers/blog friends in the entire universe.  No joke.  The amount of positive and encouraging feedback I received on my last post was ASTONISHING!!!  All throughout the day yesterday and today I have been absolutely in awe as some of the nicest, kindest, and sometimes most hilarious comments just POURED in.  And I really tried to reply to them all, but I sincerely apologize if I missed anyone - my Gmail account kind of confuses me and I may have skipped one or two of you unintentionally.  But PLEASE KNOW: your comments were a bright and sunny spot in my day. :)  I could never in a million years pick a favorite, so my last post will not have a "comment of the day" winner.  They were ALL THAT AWESOME.

But anyway, enough niceness.  I'm actually kind of grouchy.  Not because I have any reason to be, but simply because I am female, and women are cursed with wildly fluctuating hormones that, once per month, cause us to be rude to strangers, downright mean to people we love, and often even crueler to ourselves.  So, in honor of that lovely time of month we girls get to celebrate all the way up until menopause, I give you.... 

The PMS Edition.

Ten Side Effects of Being Female and/or People, Places, and Things That Actually Kind of Make Me Want To Stab Someone Approximately Once Per Month
(Gentlemen, don't sign off just yet.  This applies to you.  In a roundabout way.)

Shall we begin?

1. People at the Grocery Store (or any public place, for that matter).

Now, NORMALLY I looooove going grocery shopping. 
I kid you not. 
But whilst PMS ensues, I am bubbling over with animosity and irritation with my fellow shoppers.
The person slowly strolling through the crosswalk while I'm trying to park annoys me.
The person who left their cart in the middle of the aisle while they leisurely read the back of the cereal box annoys me.
Actually, anyone on the same aisle I am annoys me.  I prefer to have the aisle to myself.
The screaming children annoy me.
The people attempting to get me to try a sample annoy me.

You get the picture.

2. Facebook Statuses.
The things some people post on Facebook always amaze me, but while in the grips of PMS, I become enraged especially annoyed by them. 
A few of my favorites?
(Taken from my actual Facebook page. If any of these offenders read this, I do apologize.  It's that time of the month, and I cannot be held accountable for my actions)

The Cryptic Status
(i.e. no one knows what the hell it means):

The Passive Aggressive Status (also often cryptic)
(i.e. using Facebook to lash out instead of addressing issues constructively)

and The Completely Pointless Status
(most often utilized by those with complete lack of imagination)
Enough said.

3. Drivers on the Road.
If there were a recording device in my car during PMS, it would capture a lot this:
Not ladylike.
Not recommended.
I'm just being truthful, ya'll.  Let he with no sin cast the first stone. 
Sins committed during PMS are exempt.

4. Paula Deen.

Do I really need to elaborate?

5. The Tears.
(this is more just a PMS side effect, not a person, place, or thing that makes me want to stab someone) They just come.  For no reason. 

Tears because of a commercial on TV. 
Tears because of a song on the radio. 
Tears because of an adorable baby I saw on a blog.
There is no rhyme or reason to the tears. And they frighten my husband.

This is not me.

6. Customers at the restaurant I used to work at. 
This won't apply to everyone, but when I was a waitress (for almost 8 years during high school and college), PMS hit HARD while at work.  There is simply nothing like the service industry.  People can be so darn rude - you have no idea!  And when rude people and PMS mix?  There was a lot of rage. 

Did you see the movie Waiting?  Remember Naomi?  That was me a little bit.  Once a month anyway.

7. Husband Antics I
I adore my husband, and normally I overlook his occasional messiness, etc. However, during The Severely Hormonal Times, I become fixated on certain things he does, and allow them to eat away at me until I ultimately explode into a fit of righteous anger.  Over things like this:

Ridiculous, I know.  Yet irksome, nonetheless.

8. Husband Antics II
My husband is always soooo surprised when "that time of the month" roles around and I turn into the Wicked Witch from the West.  You would think by now he would have it figured out - maybe written it down on a calendar or as a reminder on his iPhone.  It could look something like this:

But no!  Instead? Shock!  Horror!  Offense!  "Whhhhhy are you so GROUCHY?"

For the same reason I was last month, dear.  And for the same reason I will be every month for the rest of our forseeable future.  Love you!

9.  Cheerful people.
Normally I am one of them.  But while PMSing?  They bother me.  A lot.

10.  Migraines, Break-outs, Bloating, Rapacious Hunger, Extreme Fatigue, and Exceedingly Sore Bossoms.

What are some things that drive YOU crazy during "that time of the month?"



There were a lot of fun comments in response to the question I posed, but Samantha's really made me chuckle. Check her out! :)


October 25, 2010

Dear Anonymous Commenter: thank you for reminding me just how ugly people can really be (I was getting far too many uplifting comments for a while there)

I knew it was only a matter of time before I received an ugly comment from an "anonymous" reader - most bloggers seem to get them now and again, so I fully expected to receive one sooner or later. Because when you put your life and thoughts out in public form on a blog, you run that risk.  You risk receiving ugly comments from acidic, malignant people who apparently have nothing better to do than read entire blogs from beginning to end and then write the author cruel and scathing comments (or in my case, several very nice and thoughtful comments, and then ONE very mean-spirited one after "anonymous" decided my blog is a crock of shit). I suppose the well seasoned bloggers have developed the ability to let the venom trickle right off, but because I'm new to all this, it actually really bothered me when I received said scathing comment earlier this evening. 

And I know I shouldn't even be granting this person the honor of a complete post dedicated entirely to her, but when someone says such mean and off-the-charts outrageous things about me, my husband, and my life, I feel an overpowering urge to defend myself.

First of all, I find it very telling that most people with bitter and vindictive things to say always comment under the veil of "anonymous."  The commenter who provides no name or email address with which you can reply and defend yourself.  It's no different than a bully attacking a weak, defenseless child.  It's cruel, it's uncalled for, and the only thing it might accomplish is the demonstration of just how desperately lacking the spirit of "anonymous" really is. Lacking in character, lacking in kindness, lacking in the ability to communicate functionally with and accept those who may be different than you in some ways. 

When I first saw this comment email in my inbox, I was shocked.  Then I was furious.  Now I'm just sad.  That there are really people like this out there in the world.  Below I've pasted the comment I received on my post "Down and Dirty, Texas Edition," if any of my readers are interested in looking at it.  Those of you who know me in real life will probably find it pretty humorous.  And just some background info, she's referring to the post I wrote about beauty and how modesty is beautiful and women shouldn't wear shorts so short you can actually see their butt cheeks.  In the post the comment below was left on, I DID include pictures in which I was wearing pretty short shorts. But those pictures were taken at a secluded ranch where I was staying with my husband and parents-in-law, and the pictures I posted were not provocative or revealing whatsoever.  In comparison to what many girls wear out and post on the Internet, these photos were rated double G.  But if any one disagrees with that, I apologize.  I never feel that I am being immodest, but I suppose older generations may have different standards. 

Anyway, check out the hatred!! (Click to enlarge) 

Click to enlarge

I just have a few brief responses in case this lovely woman decides to drop back by.

1.)  I really appreciated the NICE comments you left on some of my other posts (before you decided that my husband is my brother, that I'm desperate for attention and compliments, and that I live a lazy, sad life) - since I had no way of replying to your messages and I'd never received anonymous comments before, I was actually going to leave a message for you in my next post to thank you for taking the time to leave such nice comments.  Needless to say, I'm not feeling particularly fond of you anymore.

2) You're right, my husband and I DO look similar.  But he is definitely not my brother, and I am posting a few more pictures for you or anyone else who might be concocting similarly ridiculous stories in their minds.  Not that there is really any reasoning with someone as mean-spirited and cynical as you.

3) Based on my calculations, you are somewhere in the 60's age bracket (in one comment you said you've been married 43 blissful years, so I assume you were at least 20 when you were married, give or take).  I was thrilled that someone your age (initially) found my blog enjoyable, though yours certainly isn't my target age bracket.  It IS likely that someone your age might have a different opinion of modesty than someone my age, just due to the generational difference and changes that have take place in society over the past decades.  I understand if you feel that even MY clothing is more revealing than it should be, but that gives you no right to belittle and insult me as you have. 

4)  Ok, seriously?  I may not have begun a career yet (haven't even been out of college a year), but that doesn't mean I don't do any work or will never work.  Right now I am taking care of our home and, YES, I do have the absolute luxury of not HAVING to work a wage-producing job at this time.  For almost 8 years, all throughout high school and college, I worked as a waitress at a family restaurant and supported myself fully while completing a bachelor's degree with a 3.9 GPA.  Then I met my husband, and I am taking advantage of the opportunity to explore my passions without worrying about just keeping my head above water as I did for many years.  Blogging has been an amazing outlet for me, and I enjoy reaching out to others and also being reached.  Do I purposely solicit compliments from people?  Of course not.  Do people sometimes compliment me in their comments?  Of course they do.  The blogosphere consists primarily of people who desire to build each other up, not tear each other down.  I'm sorry all you were able to glean from others' comments was the absurd assumption that my "ego needs a reality check." 

5)  What does my using words like "shitty" have to do with anything?  I DO curse occasionally, but only for humorous effect or to place extra emphasis.  You and many others may not agree with me, but I feel that language and words are completely arbitrary and it is the spirit of how the words are spoken that truly matters.   If you can't see that, it may be time to re-evaluate your prioroties and the manner in which you cast judgements upon others.

and finally, 6)  every picture I have posted and claimed was my husband is, indeed, the very same man that I am married to, and you are SO SO SO off base for suggesting anything different.  Below are a few more pictures of me holding hands with, canoodling with, and marrying the handsome man who is DEFINITELY NOT my brother.   I shouldn't even feel the need to post these, but what you said hurt my feelings - which I suppose was what you intended.

And ya'll, never again in the future will I respond this way to a Mr. or Mrs. Anonymous.  They truly don't deserve the time or energy it took to write this post.  I just have a strong intolerance for cruelty and bullying, and I am not inclined to "lay down and take it." 

Hope some of you at least got some amusement out of this.  Because at the end of the day, it is all rather laughable. :)


October 22, 2010

Rest assured that, even during the Apocalypse, blogging will always be my #1 priority.

I know that I have plenty of dreams most nights, but it is SO rare that I remember them, and if I do, they seldom make enough sense to actually make mention of.  Most of my dreams are just a mess of scrambled names, faces, and feelings that leave me scratching my head and wondering what ON EARTH goes on in that subconscious mind of mine. 

But in the wee hours of last night, I had a dream from which I was jolted awake and instantly remembered every bizarre detail of. As I lay awake beside my snoozing husband, I reflected on the absurdity of my dream, wondering what it suggested about me, and concluding that

It was SO blog-worthy.  

So I quickly got out of bed before the memories escaped me, grabbed my journal, and went to the bathroom where I furiously scribbled out all the details I could remember. And it went something like this:

The Dream

It was clearly the end of the world.  I was at home with Matthew preparing to evacuate because the ground behind our house had risen up and blocked the back door and windows, and it was quite possible that, if we didn't leave soon, our house would be eaten by the Earth and we would be stuck inside.  So I'm rushing around trying to decide what to pack, Matthew is growling at me to hurry up (not much of a departure from reality), and I remember being very concerned that Gracie and Cooper needed to potty but couldn't because they didn't have a backyard anymore.

First soak in the adorableness of that picture, and then turn your attention back to my dream.

Done? Ok, so since Matthew was rushing me, I had to settle on packing only four things (to be revealed in a moment).  And then we were off. 

Outside our front door, the world was a desolate wasteland; chaos reined and police sirens were blaring everywhere in the distance.  The ground beneath us had been burned and turned to solid rock, and the stench of broiled Earth was so sickening we had to breathe into our shirts.  We made our way through the city (suddenly we seemed to be in New York) and to a dark parking lot where a truck was waiting.  Somehow, my sister was already in the truck with Gracie and Cooper.  I climbed into the vehicle, and was suddenly overcome with sadness and fear because I realized I forgot to bring my glasses and a pair of fresh contacts.  It dawned on me that I was really going to die, and it was official since I didn't even have my glasses. 

But what DID I have?  What four items did I pack to take with me when the world was ending?

I took...

1. My laptop
2. My laptop charger/cord
3. My digital camera
4. My digital camera charger/cord.

All the things I need for blogging. Naturally.

And then I woke up.  And tried really hard not to bust out laughing at myself right then and there.  Because actually?  This wouldn't be at all unlike me.  My camera and my computer are, like, numero uno on my list of things I simply cannot live without.   You'd think it might be, oh, say UNDERWEAR or SOAP or maybe even FOOD AND WATER, but no.  

That is not how I roll.

Isn't technology fabulous?  

 If you had only thirty seconds to decide what to bring with you out of a home you know you'd never return to, what would you grab???

:)  J


(From last post)

Smiling is Good for Your Teeth

I got a lot of sweet comments on my last post, but this one made me laugh.  To answer your question girl, there is no wrong way to eat a cupcake.  Most of the time, though, I prefer  to put it on a plate, scrape off some of the icing (sometimes there's a little much), and eat it with a fork.  Other times, like while on the go, there is simply no substitute for embracing the mess your face will be and just taking a big fat chomp out of that bad boy. Hope this helps, and thanks for commenting!!! :)

October 21, 2010

Just another day on the farm... until these two showed up.

Yesterday morning my mom and I went to Boggy Creek Farm here in Austin, and I must say, it was a FABULOUS time!  Picture this (we're on our way there): we drive through downtown Austin. Cool! We reach the outskirts of downtown, and enter the East Side.  Not the best neighborhood.  Tattoo parlors and piercing shops abound, alongside run down little shantys strung with perpetual Christmas lights . Ok, no problem!  A few miles more to go. 

Alright, one mile.  Half a mile. One quarter of a mile. We haven't left the 'hood yet.  

WHERE THE HECK IS THIS PLACE?!?!   In some bum's backyard?!

And then suddenly, it appeared. A fabulous little urban organic oasis where you would very least expect it!  Just tucked away in the foliage and flowers and bustling with some of Austin's most discerning buyers of produce, organic meats, and other specialty items!  Who'd of thought??

I came home with a bag of just-picked baby arugulagreen beans straight from the stalk (or wherever they come from), a pint of the most amazing cherry tomatoes I've ever EVER tasted (I told my husband they taste like pure sunshine and clean soil, and he looked at me funny - I wonder why?),  a tin of amazing Provencal-Texan seasoning made with lavender and all manner of other dried herbs, and a little over a pound of organic ground beef

Oh, and about a million super fun pictures.  Enjoy! :)

This tiny little house was an Austin landmark!

The happiest chickens on Earth must live at this very farm. 
Everywhere they were roaming free and RUNNING about!  It was the funniest thing!

This is the front of the Austin landmark house, and all these gloves were clipped up to the roof.  Strange, huh?

How stunning are all these veggies???

My jar of seasoning.
I sprinkled a roasted chicken with it last night, and the flavor was INCREDIBLE!

And finally, after our amazing adventures at the farm, we stopped in at a little cupcake place called Delish; the name says it all.

I chose...

Make it a great Thursday!!! 


P.S. - 24 hours after each of my new entries and starting today, I will be updating each post with a COMMENT OF THE DAY!!!  I'll take a screen shot of my favorite comment and post the pic along with a  link to the blogger who left said comment.  It's just a way to say thank you for extra thoughtful comments, and increase traffic to some of my readers' blogs!  Yay for COMMENT OF THE DAY!!!

Comment of the Day will be included at the bottom of my next post - I thought this would be better since those who've already read the post that received the winning comment might not revisit it to see who won. :)
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