Thursday, January 31, 2013

I Wonder What I Collect?

**Apologies for the late post, all!

When I think of the word “collection,” the first thing that springs to mind is Jack Donaghy loading his cookie jars onto a semi while his slimy Private Investigator grins creepily.  (30 Rock?  Anyone?)  If that’s our definition of “collection,” then I have to say I collect Thomas the Tank Engine trains and Legos.  I sometimes feel as though my life has been taken over by tiny poky pieces of plastic that lie menacingly in wait on the floor, just waiting for a bare foot to maul.

But, as our fellow wonderers have noted, dust-collecting tchotchkes are NOT our rigid definition of “collection.”  The term is much more fluid, and could encompass a number of things in my life, including photos, recipes, and little boys.  (I have quite a gorgeous collection of little boys, let me tell you – hence the trains and Legos.)  There is one thing I definitely have a large number of, the thing that my husband would jettison as fast as possible if he were in charge (he is NOT).  And that thing, dear readers, is books.

My husband loves to read, don’t get me wrong.  But he’s a minimalist.  He loves to read books from the library and then give them back.  He hates stuff, no matter what form that stuff comes in, and when he married me, he also married about forty boxes of books.  I have the entire Nancy Drew collection, as well as all the Anne of Green Gables books, the Chronicles of Narnia, Little House, Harry Potter, Trixie Belden.  I have every novel I was assigned in middle school and high school lit classes, and many of my college textbooks as well.  I have teen, pre-teen, and early childhood novels, classic literature and trashy horror, some sci fi, some fantasy, lots of Robert Heinlein and Terry Pratchett.  At one time I counted and had over 500 books, and I regularly re-read at least half of those.  I’m a reader, and books are my companions in life – I’ve lugged these pages from California to Louisiana to Australia to England to North Carolina to Indiana to . . . everywhere.  They’re my constant, and I love knowing they’re in my house, ready for me to flip through whenever I care to.

When we first moved to Louisiana, we had limited space in the house.  Our two tall (cheap Wal Mart) bookshelves were double stacked, and books were piled in several other places as well.  So I bit my tongue and took a hard look, and pulled out all of my teen horror books that I’d collected during high school.  I put them in a box, remembering that one time I scared myself silly reading Richie Tankersley Cusick’s “The Lifeguard” in the dark of my bedroom, and had to come out and sit with my parents in the light for a while.  I remembered Christopher Pike’s “Remember Me,” and weeping when the teenaged main character (a ghost trying to solve her own murder) can’t talk to her loved ones because she has died.  I could still see in my mind’s eye the terrible final tableau described in “Trick or Treat,” and remember the dead girl in the locker from a Mike and Ally series of books (that turned out to only have a couple in the series – I guess they didn’t sell).  I sighed, recalling how feverishly I collected these books, two or three at a time over Christmas and birthdays.  When I saw a book-shaped package, I would lose my mind with excitement.

In September of 2009, I put them in a Goodwill box and dropped them off somewhere in New Orleans.  And I’m here to tell you that I regret it.  I shouldn’t have done that.  I still think about it with sorrow.  Maybe that makes me crazy, but these books were a constant in a life that was not at all seamless, and I miss knowing they are comfortably tucked in a bookshelf, ready for me to glance over and remember what being fifteen felt like.

So the rest of my collection is staying put.  We had a couple of enormous built-in bookshelves included in our house plan, and they are filled up with all of our books.  My husband has learned to stop grousing about them.

And my collection of little boys is learning to read them.

A collection in progress

Confession:  I don't collect anything.  I am too much of a de-clutter freak to actually accumulate enough items for them to be considered a collection.  I have a habit of throwing stuff out a lot.  And when I say "a lot," what I really mean is all the time.

One thing, however, that I think could be considered a collection is my newly purchased charm bracelet.  I have always liked the look of the Pandora charm bracelets, but never went out and bought one for myself.  I'm far too practical to splurge on myself like that.  I had casually mentioned my desire to own a charm bracelet to my husband for a few years, but he never picked up on the hints.  So, when I mentioned it to my mother-in-law and sister-in-law, they hatched a plan.

Before I reveal the plan, let me back up a bit. 

For Christmas this year, my in-laws decided to send the entire family on a Disney cruise.  They flew all 15 of us to Florida where we boarded the Disney Dream in Port Canaveral.  It was amazing!  We had an awesome time exploring Blue Lagoon Island near Nassau (and where my little family of 4 swam with dolphins!) and Castaway Cay and eating and drinking and dancing and doing everything else one does on a cruise.  Pure bliss for 5 days.  Ahhh....

Anyway, back to my newly created collection...

One of the gift shops on the ship sold Disney cruise ship charms.  The plan (unbeknownst to me) was this:  If my mother-in-law purchased the ship charm for me for my birthday then my (clueless) husband would be forced to buy me the actual bracelet to put it on.  Genius!

Thankfully, the plan worked.  I opened the charm during my birthday celebration dinner and that weekend, I received the bracelet that I wanted.

My charm collection is small right now.  In fact, I probably can't even consider it an actual collection since I only have one charm... but just you wait.  I know that my collection will continue to grow over the years as we add charms that hold a special memory for me.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

What's the Difference between a Collector and a Neurotic?

I once had a roommate who said, “If I didn’t know how OCD you are about cleaning the house, I’d think you were a hoarder.” That comment was prompted by a conversation that led me to reveal that yes, I have items in my closet from HIGH SCHOOL.

Until I saw this Wonder, I didn’t realize it, but I collect clothes, and I do it judiciously. I don’t keep everything I’ve ever worn, and I certainly don’t hang onto things just b/c I hope to fit into them again. I use clothes for mood and memory. Favorite things, one-of-a-kind things, things I put on without a second thought that then participated in a fateful event, things I got as gifts from really special people. The most especially special things even get a different-colored hanger than the standard white that fills my closet. And even if it’s a t-shirt, if it’s one of my pieces of keeper clothes, it’s hanging up. So it’s not just that I save them … I save them is a particular location.

I’ve never given away (outside of willing) any of my ADPi shirts/pullovers/sweatshirts. I don’t wear many of them now, but I say hello to them every now and then when I’m rummaging around in my closet. I take a long-sleeved t-shirt from Fireman’s Ball to sleep in when I’m camping. I bum around the house in my blue scrubs from Semi-Formal. The Boy will even occasionally wear a navy t-shirt Wicked M sent me from one of the chapters she visited on her TCC adventures (it’s too big for me).

I still have all the formal/party dresses I’ve worn to prom my junior year of high school and since. Plus the sheath-dress-and-jacket combos my mom bought me when she thought I’d actually have a career for which I needed to look sharp (and like Ally McBeal) on a regular basis. The dresses I wore to my bridesmaids’ luncheon and rehearsal dinner are still with me, too. I have all the bridesmaid’s dresses I’ve worn.

Ask me what I wore on my birthday the last six years and I can pull out every shirt. I’ve gotten in the habit of either dressing up or being sparkly (don’t worry … I promise they’re sparkly due to subdued and tasteful sequins or just metallic thread)—and then I don’t wear that shirt/sweater/tank again for at least a year, and then only to Opening Nights or Valentine’s Day dates or other fun outings.

If an item of clothing is special to me, I just can’t bear to part with it. I’ve widened out of many a favorite pair of jeans, stopped liking the style of many a sweater, and become more sensitive to certain fabrics over the years. Goodwill is a common stop on my weekend errands. But there are a number of things mixed in with my current wardrobe that will go with me no matter what. They’re keepsakes now, really, not clothes. My closet’s not a shrine … things are organized by color rather than chronology, so old is mixed with new and special with mundane.

There’s no rhyme or reason to what becomes a nonnegotiable lifer in my closet. But if you came over and started pulling out things one by one, I could tell you why I kept that all these years. And as long as it doesn’t keep me from adding something new every once in a while (I don’t have a walk-in closet although it’s a dream that’s dear to my heart to have one someday), what’s the harm?

Monday, January 28, 2013

I Wonder What I Collect?

As a child I never collected anything.  I never collected stamps, coins, or vintage Barbie dolls.  Sure, I had a few Cabbage Patch Kids and more than my fair share of Barbies, but I never truly collected anything.

As I got older, I dreamt of collecting stamps on my passport, but money and time never seemed to allow that to happen.  I still dream of adding stamps to my passport.  I would love to collect beautiful pieces of silver or crystal, but my budget does not really allow for that.  I have always loved those cute little sugar spoons, but I do not really have anywhere to display them.  Superman and I have a pretty healthy collection of wine, but we do not show it off.  It mostly sits in boxes in our mudroom waiting for us to dig through them on a Friday or Saturday night.  We talk about where we got each bottle and the fun we had at each winery.  I treasure that little collection but it is not all mine.

I got to thinking about what I collect as an adult.  I have always loved Rudolph and I do collect ornaments, figurines, snow globes, etc. with his likeness on them.  I only display them during the Christmas season and I get made fun of quite a bit for my Rudolph "obsession" -- I would like to go on record and say it is not an obsession.  It is simply a love for a character that made me feel like I was not so alone in my being different.  Mostly now I just think he is cute.

Now I mostly collect Vera Bradley bags.  Stop laughing.  I know, I know.  Some people think they are ugly.  I just think they are so much fun.  I love being able to pick out a patterned bag to match or clash with my outfit or to pick up my mood on a rainy day.  I mean, how can you be down when you look over and see a fun pink pattern next to you?  It sounds ridiculous, but these bags just make me smile.  They are a small indulgence that I allow myself.  It really is one of the only things that I do all for myself these days.  My collection has grown over the last three or four years and I store them all in my closet so I can get to them easily.  I love seeing them every morning as I get dressed and I feel like I spread a little sunshine into the world when I carry them.

Friday, January 25, 2013

I Wonder When He'll Take Me

I've never been to New York.  Okay, I take that back.  Technically, I've been to NYC and spent the night, but only because my flight from Copenhagen, Denmark was delayed and we missed our connecting flight out of JFK.  To say, however, that I've really visited New York, well, that's a definite no.

Back in my high school years, I was a huge fan of Broadway.  I knew every show that was playing at the time and had memorized nearly every song.  I always dreamed of being on Broadway (I mean, really, who hasn't?) and being on stage every day.  But, instead of Broadway, I landed in the world of financial aid.  *sigh*  Somehow, my plans went awry.

Over the years, I lost track of the shows and what was going on in my never-attained dream world of costumes, characters, and lights.  I stopped singing in choirs after I graduated from college and that was pretty much it.

But then we moved to our new town and I joined the church choir.  The director of our choir is absolutely phenomenal.  He is the director of the show choir for a huge, ginormous high school in a neighboring town.  His partner (yes, my church accepts gays) is a tenor who sits behind me in choir.  He owns his own dance theatre in the same town and was in the ORIGINAL BROADWAY CASTS of "Meet Me in St. Louis" and "Starlight Express." 

Did you just read what I wrote? 

He Was A Member Of Original Broadway Casts!

Ho.Ly. Smokes.

And while he's obviously not on Broadway any longer, he is still heavily involved in the business.  His resume is a mile long and he is one of the most talented men I've ever met.  (And as a side note, he told me one time I had "a beautiful voice."  I seriously walked on clouds for days after that comment.  I even called my mom on the way home from practice and yelled, "OMG, HE SAID I HAVE A BEAUTIFUL VOICE!")

Moving on....

A few times each year, my choir director takes a group of his students to New York City for a whirlwind New York City field trip.  Well, he just took one such trip this past weekend.  Last week, when we were talking about his upcoming trip, I informed him that I'd never been to New York before.

"WHAT?!" he said in his full on, flamboyant gay man voice.  "You're *KIDDING* me!  Ohmygosh, we would have SO much fun in New York together.  Okay. You. Are. My. Project.  I am getting you to New York!" 

I told him that he has to keep his promises and if he didn't take me to New York before I died, I would be mad at him for the rest of my life.  He said he promised and I know he'll follow through.  But, I wonder when that time will be! 

We actually talked about it again last night at choir practice.  He was debriefing us on the adventure he just experienced with his students.  How they ate at some diner where all the servers are Broadway folks and they sing to you.  He told us that saw "Newsies" and 3 other shows that I haven't heard of (again, I've totally fallen off the Broadway bandwagon).  He told us about the lights in Times Square and how Times Square (and Cinderella's castle) are his favorite places in the entire world.  He told us that they got 1-on-1 time with the casts of one of the shows.  That one of the producers for the Disney Shows sat with his students and talked about the business.  How he actually tried on the Lumiere costume that was used on Broadway for "Beauty and the Beast." 

He went on and on and on and on...And I salivated and salivated and salivated and salivated.

Oh, my friends, how I DREAM of the day he'll take me!  He and his partner know the city like the backs of their hands.  They are so well connected to the people who DO Broadway.  The experience would be once in a lifetime.  And if I'm gonna go, I certainly want to go with people who know what's up.

Like I said, I know he'll take me.  I'll just keep pestering him and wishing and hoping and praying for that day to arrive!  And when I go, I'll send you a postcard.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Drifting Off . . .

I wonder what I cannot go to sleep without?

I am something of an insomniac, and a tremendously light sleeper.  I can barely sleep a night through with my husband in the bed, let alone anything else.  If a kid wakes me up (one often does), or the dog barks, or the house creaks, then I'm up up up, for hours, wishing I could sleep.  No stuffy or lovey or blanket or pillow or anything has ever been able to help much - in fact, they often hurt.  I'm a straight up Princess-and-the-Pea kinda girl, and although I totally hate it, there is little I've been able to do.  I have a hard time falling asleep, as well.  And thus comes my answer to this Wonder - although I have no comforting lovey or blanket or pillow, I rely on the t.v. or reading a book to send me on my way to snoozing.

My need to have the light or tv on leads to the everlasting exasperation of my husband, who in turn exasperates ME with his ability to fall asleep in literally seconds, as soon as his head hits the pillow.  He gets annoyed that I can't make it through a movie without falling asleep, and don't try to (lest I end up awake all night) - I get annoyed that once in bed he is immediately snoring while I blink at the ceiling, desperately wishing for the sandman to come and visit. 

This is why I have watched each 30 Rock episode probably at least 10 times.  Ditto for Parks and Rec.  Downton Abbey is getting up there.  Though I'd love to branch out, if I watch a new show that I have never seen, then I'll be alert, paying attention to it, and may not fall asleep until deep into the wee hours.  If I watch an old favorite, one I've seen a dozen times, then my mind can relax and sleep will eventually overtake me, sooner rather than later.

Oh, it's such a trial, my sleep issue.  My only solace is that I have not passed it on to my children.  Cubby cuddles Puppy at night - a little bulls-eyed dog's head on a blanket - and Jake loves on his disgusting, shabby, holy, limp and no-longer-stuffed-at-all Yellow Bear.  As long as the boys have these precious creatures, they can sleep anywhere, any time.  I wish I had something like that to help me along.  Til then, I'll spend my evenings with Liz Lemon, John Bates, and the indomitable Leslie Knope.  There are worse companions with whom to drift off to sleep.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

I Wonder What Gives the Sandman a Little Help at My House?

Oh, that delicious, peaceful feeling that slowly starts to wash over you just as you begin to drift off. Snuggling deeper under the covers, giving your pillow a little squeeze, and knowing your mind is finally relaxing and letting go of whatever happened during the day … the calendar page you were holding gets to slip from your fingers and float softly down and away. It’s just the slightest bit of intoxication—a hint of dizziness, a moment or two of not quite knowing where you are, a touch of flush, an inexplicable shadow of a grin.

I’ve been mulling over super jane’s Wonder all week; the truth is that I don’t have a nighttime talisman. I had a pink homemade blanket (the kind with little ties of tufted yarn dotting the top) I loved when I was little and a floral-print bear that I nestled under my chin from junior high through college. I couldn’t tell you where either of those items is. I like to take the pillow from my bed when we go camping but that’s just b/c I’m a comfort camper and not a real outdoorswoman. We just bought new pillows a couple of weeks ago, actually, and I tossed my old one aside without ceremony. I don’t think too much about my jammies before I jump into them. I can’t stand to sleep in socks … I only know so b/c on nights when I do wear socks to bed, they are somehow on the floor next to me by morning.

I have been known to go to bed without taking out my contacts (bad but rare), washing my face (worse and also rare), or brushing my teeth (terrible! And extremely rare). I don’t need to get that one last sip of water or watch the weather or check the lock on the front door or make sure the fan is running for some white noise. Clearly, my sleep schedule isn’t tied to a ritual, either.

Huh. It appears there's no rhyme or reason for how I get to the Land of Nod. I wonder why?

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

My Bear

I dread having to make this confession.  It is my deep dark secret.  So here it is.

I sleep with a bear at night.

I do not remember when I got him, my Bear.  All I know is that I do not remember a time without him. He has been there for me to cry to, to snuggle and to offer me stability when the world felt like it was crashing in around me.  He is an original Care Bear, Friend Bear, and he is no longer the lovely peach color he was when he came to me.  His fur is matted and mostly white now.  His little wisp of hair that used to be fluffy is now a messy clump.  His tail is falling off due to my rubbing it as a child.  (I may still rub that tail in moments of desperate need of calm)

Bear has had knee surgery with me.  He had his wisdom teeth pulled with me.  We had our ribs removed together.  I have no doubt that he would have come to the hospital with me to deliver Superboy if I had had any chance to pack a bag before that child made his surprise entrance to the world.

The only time I have not slept with Bear at my side is immediately after Superboy's arrival.  I had a terrible nightmare that Bear was Superboy and that I smothered him by rolling over on him while sleeping.  It was horrifying and Bear was relegated to my nightstand until I felt comfortable enough to try sleeping with him again.  He sat patiently as a sentry until I was ready to come back to him.

Superman asked me long ago if I would share Bear with Superboy.  I have to admit that I hesitated before I answered in the affirmative.  I think it would thrill me if Superboy wanted to snuggle Bear but I know I would miss him every night.

Bear is my safe place.  He is the friend I have had forever.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

I wonder if I'll ever sleep without it.

Even though I'm 35 years and 5 days old, I still sleep with my quilt every night.  Obviously, I can sleep without it if necessary - like on business trips, vacations at hotels, etc.  But, if I'm in my own bed at home, I can't sleep without my quilt.

It's tattered now with frayed threads and torn fabric, but it's still one of my prized possessions.  It was created with a lot of love and given to me on a night I'll never forget.

My dad wasn't an experienced hunter back in November 1988.  I can't remember exactly when he started hunting, but up until that fateful night, he had not actually shot and killed a deer.  I don't remember if he called my mom after he shot it (which now seems unlikely considering we didn't have cell phones back then) or if he told her when he returned home from his adventure.  I just remember receiving the news that my dad had indeed shot and killed his first buck. 

To say I was devastated would be an understatement. 

I burst into tears.

I was so upset by the fact that my dad had shot a beautiful buck that I couldn't get myself calmed down.  I knew that we were going to eat the venison, so it's not like the buck was killed for no reason.  I just couldn't get the idea of a strong, swift, beautiful buck being shot by my own dad.  It was too much to take at the age of 10.

And there I was.  In my room, crying into my pillow, when my mom and older sister entered.  In my mom's arms was a colorful quilt with blue gingham backing.  I knew in an instant that it was for me.

Over the years, I had watched my mom cut triangle after triangle of fabric - hundreds upon hundreds of them!  I had watched her work long into the night, stitching the triangles at her sewing machine.  I had watched her loop and tie yarn at the triangles' intersections.  I had watched all of this over the years as she created quilts for all 4 of my cousins and my sister.  I had begged her for a quilt of my own.  "One day," she would always reply.

Little did I know, she had been staying up late - long past my bedtime - cutting, sewing, and looping a quilt just for me.  Her plan was to gift it to me during the approaching Christmas season.  But, knowing that I was in need of a pick-me-up, my mom chose that particular night to deliver my special quilt.

I looked at the quilt in awe.  Nearly every triangle of fabric held meaning for me; leftover fabric from Easter dresses my mom had sewn for me over the years; my sister's Scarlet O'Hare dress that my mom created for her many Halloween's ago.  Each square I touched held a special memory.

And now, 24 years later, I still sleep with it.  It's worn and soft and cool and warm all at the same time.  There are two particlar holes on the quilt that I slide my feet into while I sleep.  It's the perfect comfort that greets me each and every night I climb into my bed.  It's just what the doctor ordered after a long, hard, exhausting day of Life.

My mom has since made my neices and daughters quilts of their very own.  I'm not sure they realize it right now, but I hope they grow to learn and understand just how much love and sacrifice has gone into their quilts.  And I hope that they too are sleeping with their special gifts 24+ years from now, just like me.

So what about you?  Is there something you can't sleep without either?  An old stuffed animal?  A specific nightshirt?  A blanket or pillow?  What is it that comforts and beckons you to drift sweetly off to sleep?

Friday, January 18, 2013

I Wonder How Long it Will Take Me To Eat This Entire Sleeve of Thin Mints?

There was a time in life when I used to believe that I could eat 4 Thin Mint Girl Scout cookies, and then twist the remainder of the sleeve up, clip it with a clothespin (my chip-clip of choice), and put it back in the freezer.  At the venerable age of 34, however, I’ve learned a lot about myself, and learned to be really comfortable with who I am.  And who I am is a woman who can, and will, eat the entire sleeve of Thin Mints in one sitting.  Thank you, thanks there’s no need for applause, I know it’s impressive.

For years and years I used to rip the cardboard strip on the new Thin Mint box, tear open clear plastic wrap of the initial sleeve (replaced this year with foil, by the way), select four slim chocolate cookies, and lay them on the counter.  Then, in order to maintain the delusion of self control, I would twist up the end of the sleeve to preserve the freshness of the cookies I had not selected - even though I knew, deep down in a soul as dark as the chocolate glaze of the cookies I loved, that they would not be in that freezer long enough to lose their fresh minty crunch.  I’d carefully return the sealed-up sleeve to the box and put the whole lot in the freezer, then close the door.  I would take my glass of milk and my cookies and sit on the couch, and try to eat them slowly, savoring every morsel (as I’ve been taught by all of the lady’s magazines that have been explaining to me for years that I’m too fat, but with their guidance I can slim down in time for summer/after Christmas/post-baby/whenever, all I have to do is eat more slowly/eat pomegranate/eat acai/eat less/eat what I want with this amazing new pill/do this twenty minute exercise every morning/never diet again.)

Within ten seconds of wiping my lips from the last bit of the last cookie, I’d find an excuse to wander toward the freezer.  Hmmmm, maybe I should do those couple of dishes? And ya know, while I’m so close to the fridge, I may as well check and see if I need to buy Eggo waffles/if we have enough ice/if the ice cream froze over/whether I defrosted that Tupperware container of leftover chili that I wanted to reheat tonight for dinner.  Oh lookie here – I see a box of Thin Mints.  I suppose it is that same box I just put in here, but since I’m looking at it, maybe I’ll just have one more.  One or two.  Well, you know a serving size is four cookies, so I’ll just have another serving, to keep it even.  So four.  Just four.  Maybe five, that’s a satisfying amount to hold in my hand.  Or maybe I’ll just take the whole sleeve out to the couch , that way I won’t get chocolate melting on anything.

A few “Nom Nom Crunch Nom Gobble Devour Nom” sounds later, the sleeve would be gone, and I’d be looking around, furtively wiping minty chocolate smears from my face and  various appendages, and checking to see if anyone had noticed that all of those cookies were in the belly of one person and that person was me, a girl who apparently would NOT be slimming down in time for swimsuit season/after Thanksgiving/before going to the high school reunion.

Ironically, these days I’m probably fifteen pounds heavier than I was then, but I own my eating choices in a way that I never could when I was fifteen pounds lighter and ten years younger.  Hi, my name is G Love, and I eat a sleeve of Thin Mints in one sitting.  And unlike the twenty-something version of me that shamefully wrapped up freezer cookies while wilting under the non-existent judgmental gaze of the non-existent people who were not judging me for the indulgence because THEY DON’T EXIST, I own my choices - good, bad, and chocolatey.

Therefore, wonder no longer.  The amount of time it takes for G Love to eat a sleeve of Thin Mint cookies, all sixty-five inches, size twelve, one-hundred-fifty-five-pounds of her, is . . . less than the time it takes to write a blog post, apparently. 

Nom Nom.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Do I have to pick ONE?

Bad habits? I’ve got a few. Worst habit? What exactly constitutes “worst”? Most annoying to loved ones? Most unique? Most likely to result in bodily harm to myself or said loved ones? Most disgusting? Longest-held?

I don’t drink enough water. I hold grudges. I flop my foot (or feet) around in time to the music on my computer no matter who’s in my office without realizing I’m doing it. I’m always touching my face. I procrastinate. I sing along in stores when I like the song. I share about 90% of all the other bad habits of my fellow Wonder Women, especially G Love’s #3, super jane’s #1, and Wicked M’s #2. I wimp out on going to the gym. I correct people when they say “two-thousand-and-thirteen” instead of “twenty-thirteen.”

But my worst habit, I think, is that I’m an eye-roller. I mean, a constant one. Liz Lemon ain’t got nothin’ on me [see: “30 Rock,” Episode 707 … or pretty much any other “30 Rock” episode]. I’ve already rolled my eyes at myself twice in the typing of this post so far: once when I thought of the grudges I’m currently holding and noted how ridiculous they are, and then once while trying to remember a quote from a magazine I recently read about how “contempt” or “feeling judged” was a top indicator that a couple would get divorced or something and the magazine actually printed “Stop with the eye-rolling if you want to stay married” or something. Clearly I’m hard on myself about my memory these days. I also know that I can do both (roll my eyes at The Boy and stay married to him), so … whatever, magazine. You don’t know. [Insert eye roll #3 in as many paragraphs.]

I know rolling my eyes makes me look like (and yes, become) a hoity-toity b---- who’s never pleased by anyone or anything. I also know that most of the time I barely feel any truly negative emotions when I do it. It’s not an actual expression of anything other than a nanosecond of exasperation/disagreement/judgment/incredulity/condescension.

And like any bad habit, I have multiple defenses for it so I don’t have to work on breaking it!

  1. At least I’ve graduated from sticking out my tongue. The two reflexes represent pretty much the same thing.
  2. Nobody spends as much time looking at other people as he thinks he does, so half the time nobody even notices I did it.
  3. I don’t get called out on it. Trust me, if everyone I knew said, whenever it happened, “Don’t you roll your eyes at me, woman!” I might do it less often.
  4. In polite society (work, especially), a flick of the eyes heavenward isn’t really rude and it definitely isn’t an interruption. How do people know I’m not just praying for patience?
  5. My dad is King of the Eye-Rollers. Hoo, boy! He can take those peepers and spend minutes searching the inside of his skull … and even sometimes get a little jaw twitch going for good measure. It’s a sight to behold and I’m just a princess in his court. I’ll never turn it into the work of art he has.
If you, fearless reader, have been on the receiving end of one of my eye rolls, please forgive me. If it’s not followed by a lecture, I didn’t mean anything by it and maybe it didn’t even have anything to do with you anyway.

If I’m brave enough to try to give up rolling my eyes for Lent, I’ll be sure to let you know how it goes. I doubt it will go very well. I just racked up eye roll #4.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Bad Habits? Who Me?

I have been thinking and thinking about this topic since Monday and for the life of me cannot think of any bad habits I have!  HA HA HA HA HA.  Okay, seriously.  I have so many that I could never list them all.  Here are just a few in no particular order:

1)  CARBS.  Who can resist carbs?  They are so tasty and delicious and I love them all.

2)  Cursing.  I love a properly placed curse word and few things feel better when you are mad than dropping an F bomb.  I make my mother so proud.  I have really been working on this because, well, it would not be good for Superboy to be going around dropping F bombs.  So, while I love cursing, I need to curb it ASAP.

3)  Pinterest.  How has no other Wonder Woman mentioned Pinterest?  I love whiling time away looking at pins and I especially love the Humor pins.  Pinterest is always a great way to get a good idea for my house or to laugh out loud at a pin of a cat doing/saying something funny.  

4)  Twisting my hair.  This is a terrible habit that I genuinely have an issue with.  I keep my hair short to help curb this habit as it makes me look like a crazy person (and also because I look cute with short hair!) to be twisting my hair maniacally.  I have done this since I was a kid, so I really do not know where it comes from.  Luckily, this compulsion can be managed by chopping my hair off.

5)  I have a quick temper.  Sigh.  I hate this about myself but it is reality.  I have a quick temper and I have to work on this daily so that I do not find myself yelling or losing my mind over something that has set me off.  I am not proud of this particular trait of mine, but I do manage it somewhat well.  Hey, I am trying.

6)  Trashy television.  I know the en vogue thing to do these days is to cut off cable and to only watch PBS, but I need The Real Housewives (of whatever city!) to make me feel better.  I love nothing more than decompressing in the evenings with some trashy television.  It makes me laugh, it helps lower my stress level and it makes me feel so much better about myself.  Nope, Wicked M's house will never be cable free.  Ever.

7)  Junk Food.  This sort of goes with carbs, but I thought it deserved a category of its own.  I have a serious love affair with junk food.  Chances are, the worse it is for me, the more I will love it.  I do not gorge myself or eat entire bags of chips at a time, but I do love a few Cheetos in the evening.  I also love Pringles, popcorn, nachos, etc.  I really could go on and on here.  I have really gotten better about snacking in the evenings in an attempt to help maintain my weight (my post-baby body is...questionable at best) but sometimes a girl just needs some junk food in her life.

So, yes, I do have some bad habits.  We all do.  At least mine are not illegal and/or dangerous.  So, I promise not to harp on your about yours if you do not harp on me about mine.

I Wonder if You Realize How Special Today Is?

... it's the personal New Year of our beloved Super Jane. Happy, happy birthday, sista! You're fabulous and we adore you!

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Bad Girl

I have a list of bad habits that runs a mile long.  Here are a select few that rank amongst the worst:

...losing my temper
...eating too many sweets
...saying the word "pissed" (maybe this has something to do with the first entry on this list)

Other habits I posses, however, aren't necessarily bad, but are definitely habits.  Perhaps the one that I think probably annoys people (although I've never had anyone confirm this with me) is that I bite on the inside of my mouth.

I'll find myself twisting my mouth during meetings, or church, or while watching tv, or while doing just about anything and biting the inside of my cheek and lips.  I'm actually embarrassed to admit that I chew on the inside of my mouth for a good majority of the day.

Even as I type this, I'm chewing on the inside of my cheek.  See?  Isn't it annoying? 

Sometimes I'll chew gum which keeps me occupied.  But, more times than not, my mouth is left to its own devices and I find myself tugging on my lips and cheeks.

This habit actually freaks me out a bit.  A former coworker used to bite the inside of her cheeks as well.  She said her dentist told her it could cause mouth ulcers.  I've never really confirmed this with my dentist (or even googled it for that matter), but since my dentist has never said anything to me, I've kept up with the habit in a big, bad way.

I really do need to stop.  If not for my oral health then for my own self-consciousness.  I worry that my coworkers talk about me behind my back.  "Oh my gosh!  Can you believe Super Jane?  Isn't that soooo annoying?"  I mean, really.  We all talk about coworkers like that; we talk about their quirks and how irritating they are.  I'm just worried that I'm the topic of conversation behind closed doors.

Maybe this topic is good for me to explore.  Seeing it all written out like this makes me think that this time I can kick the habit for good.

And now I'm off to google "mouth ulcers."

Monday, January 14, 2013

I Wonder What My Worst Habit Is?

For many of you sad, sad human beings who live in the northern 99% of the country, January and February are almost certainly dreary, chill, and depressing months through which you must slog before March comes in like a lion and (we hope) goes out like a lamb, bringing with it the promise of spring.


I, however – and yes I’m lording this over ya’ll, cruelly – live in a place where Jan and Feb are two of the best months of the year.  The end of Christmas heralds the beginning of Mardi Gras in both my old town and my new one, and the G Love family are happily preparing for a 6 week season of parades, crappy plastic favors, king cake, formal balls, and too much lite beer.

I bring this up only to highlight what comes next – Lent.  Although I have never been Catholic, I was borne of a Catholic mother, and my siblings and I have almost always recognized Lent as a period of time for giving up bad habits.  It is particularly appropriate now that I live down south - I overindulge during Mardi Gras, and then it all stops short when 11:59 pm Fat Tuesday clicks over to 12:00 am Ash Wednesday morn.  Mounted police clear the French Quarter streets of drunks and hookers (they all stumble right back out immediately after this symbolic end to the revels), and I, along with many of the huge population of Gulf Coast Catholics, begin a season of self-denial to make up for the preceding weeks.

It’s a good time, then, to examine what my worst habit is, as it’s come time for me to pick what I’m going to give up for the forty days between Fat Tuesday and Easter Sunday.  I have a number of foibles from which to choose – not brushing my teeth every single night (I know!  I admit it!), my midday beer on Saturdays and Sundays, eating whatever sweet treats are trucked into my office even if I’m not hungry.  The problem with many of my bad habits, though, are they represent an overindulgence of a necessity.  I eat too much, yes, but I can’t give up eating.  I am online too often, definitely, but I cannot give up being online, and moderate online usage (such as updating this here blog!) is such a good way for me to connect with beloved friends.  Lent self-denial has always worked best for me when I absolutely give something up totally, and not when I decide to “cut back” – but most of my worst habits need cutting back, not cutting out.

I’ve pondered giving up facebook – but again, as it’s my primary form of communication with a number of real-life, far-distant friends who I dearly love, I feel that to give it up totally would be mostly good and moderately bad.  I’ve pondered giving up meat, but that would almost be too easy, since we rarely eat it anyway – and besides, I think a little bit of meat is good for me.  Alcohol is a definite contender, as is television . . .  I already gave up the news, because it was causing me too much distress.  I can’t stop checking my phone frequently, as my firm pays for this phone for the purpose of keeping me on top of emails even through weekend and vacation times.  Hmmmmmm . . .

So I wonder what my worst habit is?  What, of all of these things I’ve listed, is the habit that most denigrates my daily life, harms my relationships with family and friends, hurts my body, hurts my soul?  I’m afraid, dear readers, that I’ll have to leave you hanging with this one.  I still can’t decide.  Luckily, I have four weeks plus two days of parades, food, friends, and fun before I have to figure it out.

Friday, January 11, 2013

I Wonder Why I’m Afraid of __________________?

For the first Free-for-All Friday of our renewed, refreshed, reinvigorated blog, I’m … cheating and diving into our archives. Hee-hee! I went back and found the very first Wonder on which I had bailed.

I enjoy reading message T-shirts, and one stopped me in my tracks a few weeks ago. It read something to the effect of “If you’ve got haters” [front] “you’re doing something right” [back].

That sentiment makes my blood run cold. I cannot handle thinking someone—anyone—is mad at me or doesn’t like me or is thinking/saying disparaging things about me. I’m terrified of being disliked. It’s a problem.

Now, I’ve lived through my share of Mean Girls and am sure I’ve been one a time or two. But even as a seemingly well-adjusted adult, I have a huge fear of doing or saying something that will result in someone’s thinking less of me. My pathological need to be liked knows no bounds: even if I strongly dislike someone … I mean, really don’t care for a person … I still need that person to think I’m nice and good and cool and want to talk to me and be friendly to me. I just don't have to do those things back.

The near-ulcers and wrinkles and gray hair I’ve given myself over this issue are numerous and ongoing. Even when I’m counseled by steadfast friends (whose love and esteem I should spend more time cultivating and be much more grateful for and never fear losing [which makes them all the more precious]) to let people go—when I’m reminded that people who don’t care about me or acknowledge that my feelings are valid or treat me with respect or reject my bonhomie don’t actually deserve my time/energy—I expend inordinate amounts of emotion and reason trying to figure out a way to gain the approval of said haters.

Is it a middle-child thing? Is it a female thing? Is it an I-was-never-actually-popular-in-high-school thing? These aren’t rhetorical questions, y’all. I could use some help.

Just don’t hate me for asking!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Is This Thing Still On?

So, we have taken a bit of a break here, but now we are back in business!  I have to admit that I have been desperate for a creative outlet and I am so glad that my fellow Wonder Women agreed to come back to this blog.  It has been YEARS since I wrote anything for Wonder Women, so I had to take a walk down memory lane to see what has changed in my life.  It would seem that almost everything is different.

In 2009, Superman and I took the most amazing anniversary trip to California wine country.  That weeklong trip will go down in history as one of the best trips of my life.  During that trip, we plotted out a great number of changes in our lives.

In 2010 we lost Wondercat after he went bonkers and started attacking us.  That was not so fun.  Later in the year we adopted two kittens who were meant to mend our broken hearts and instead they both left us too early -- one due to an illness and the other to an accident.  2010 was one of the worst years of my life in many ways and I was very happy to see the calendar turn to 2011.

In 2010 we set in motion the mechanics to make a move back to our homeland.  This took months and months of work and stress on both our parts.  We did manage to pull off what can only be described as the biggest surprise in our family's history when we announced we were not moving overseas, but only a few miles away.  The look on my mother's face was worth all the stress.

In early 2011, we moved back to the midwest, started building a house and began to get settled in.  However, a wrench was thrown in our nice and easy settling in plans when we discovered we were expecting Superbaby!  Superbaby made me nauseous for most of 2011 and arrived six weeks early to make the point that life would never again be predictable or uneventful.  This baby has blown my heart wide open and makes me laugh every single day.

During 2011, I also became a stay at home mama and I love my new job.  It is fun, trying, rewarding all at the same time.

So, to say that things have changed for me and that I have a new perspective on life is an understatement.  However, I have embraced all of the change and welcome the chance to share some of myself and my life with you.

Thanks for sticking with us while we took a break and made some huge changes in our lives.  We are the same women -- we have just matured (a little!) and have some new life experience.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

My life since March 2009

Wow!  March 2009?  A lot of life has been lived since then!  So, to save you the pain and agony of reading about my life - month by month - for the past (nearly) 4 years, I'll give you the highlights.

1) My babies are no longer babies.  WOO HOO!!  I'm not a huge baby fan, so I'm so super happy that my girls are now officially in the kid stage.  Little Mama is 10 (grade 4) and Baby Angel is 7 (grade 2).  I'm loving this age and phase in my girls' lives.  It is awesome!  We're busy with homework, basketball practice, Girl Scouts, and the like.  Life is full and good and at a perfect blend of busyness and relaxation! 

2)  I graduated with my MBA in May 2011.  I didn't go to grad school with huge expectations of quitting my job or getting a fatty raise (although that would have been nice).  I went to grad school to prove to myself that I could do it.  And I did.  And I had an amazing time along the way and met some awesome people as well.  I'm so happy that I did it, but I'm equally as happy to be done! 

3)  Like G Love, we also sold our home!  In September 2011, we moved to the small town where my husband, Jas, grew up.  We adore our neighborhood.  We adore our home.  We've only lived there for a little over a year, but I still continue to feel blessed.  Our girls are being raised in a wholesome, supportive community.  We couldn't ask for more!  Yes, we have certainly found our home.
4)  And while I may not have diapers to change anymore, I did have another baby.  Huh?  Say what?  Yes, you read right.  On June 23, 2012, I gave birth to my surrobabe!  A sorority sister of mine from college (not a Wonder Woman, although she is fabulous too) went through a very difficult time getting (and remaining) pregnant.  After much prayer, consideration, legal documents, doctor's appointments, medications, injections, etc, we became pregnant with their son.  (bwt - Their son is in NO WAY, SHAPE, or FORM mine.  He has his daddy's sperm and his mama's egg.  I was only his incubator for 38 weeks).  It was an amazing experience and I feel truly honored to have carried him and brought him to life.  He was meant to be with his mama and daddy and I helped make that happen.  My heart is full!

I'm sure much more has happened, but these are the 4 things that stand out most in my mind.  Life goes by far too quickly!  I'm glad we are breathing life back into this blog and I'm glad you are joining us on the journey!

I Wonder What I’ve Been Up To Since March 2009?

This was posted by Wicked M on behalf of G Love due to technical difficulties.

As I type this, I hear four thumping preschooler feet pounding around upstairs, I believe in the course of playing Pirates in their pirate-themed bedroom.  If you have any recollection of my life four years ago, then you will already have twigged that I have added one set of feet during our interlude.  I’ll call my oldest Jake (formerly known as Frog, but he ain’t at all froglike these days – long and lean and nearly FIVE).  And his little brother, who arrived mid-year in 2010 and is already closing in on THREE himself, shall be known as Cubby.  (For those of you – all of you - not in the know, Jake and Cubby are characters from Jake and the Neverland Pirates, which my boys are totally into.  This week.  Next week I’ll probably have to change their pseudonyms again.)

In addition to adding another squawking child to my life, I’ve also since added a degree – a JD.  MSO Rin, humble as she is, insists that she has accomplished little since 2009.  I would characterize it instead as saying that MSO Rin found her career and her home early on and stuck with it.  I, however, have spent some time flitting about, struggling (as so many of our generation do!) to land in the right spot.  I believe this is it, as I love my new job as a lawyer, and although I will always miss Carolina (which I still think of as home), we are enjoying our new home on the Gulf Coast.  Our break squarely bracketed my law school experience, for which, dear readers, you should count yourselves lucky.

I also, as of last week, added a niece.  In beautiful symmetry, I now have two sons and two nieces.  We will one day break up those beautiful numbers by introducing a third to our brood - but not yet!

There was one major subtraction – a recent one.  Nothing bad – Schmitty Cat is still alive and well, she’s just transferred her headquarters to my sister’s home in Carolina.  Schmitty and Schmupp never did really get along, and once my sister took her for the summer (while we were briefly and chaotically homeless), she just . . . kind of . . . stayed there.  She’s much happier without the Schmupperdog to terrorize (herd) her.  And I’m much happier not having to referee their fur-flying fights.

During the Wondering break, the G Love fam also spent a great deal of time living in New Orleans, dear readers, which will almost certainly come up now and again.  (We no longer live there – meaning that since we last spoke, I have packed all of our earthly goods into cardboard boxes and changed my voter registration TWICE.  We have already made plans to die in this house, so I’m hoping I never pack a moving van again.)  Mardi Gras beads, beignets, and carjackings are all phenomena with which I am familiar, and you will no doubt see references to the Crescent City sprinkled throughout my posts here.  We only just recently left.

So, to put it more chronologically – in March 2009, you last heard from me.  In July of that year, we put our house on the market, and it sold in a week.  We moved into an apartment in uptown New Orleans, and in August I began law school.  The school year went well, and in the summer after that first year I had Cubby.  Seven weeks later I went back to law school for my second year, and in a flash Year Two and Year Three of law school flew by.  I graduated in May of 2012, packed us out of an apartment and into a POD a week later, we spent the summer living with our parents while I studied for the bar, I took (and passed the bar), moved into our new house three days before a hurricane blew by, started a new job a couple of days after that . . . and here we are.

So good to see you again.

Monday, January 7, 2013

I Wonder What I've Been Up To?

Happy New it’s-been-a-few-Years, fearless readers!

At the behest of Wicked M, we are back and about to wonder all over your 2013.
Since I’m the laziest … a self-superlative, mind you—these fine sisters of mine never said a peep when I was the first to abandon my post(ing duties) those many moons ago … I volunteered to take the première Weekly Wonder in the brand-spankin’-new year and even still-pretty-new decade.

And you’re just beside yourself with excitement, aren’t you? What in the world could I have been doing since I last regularly posted? What grand adventures have I been having and which life goals have I been achieving and what exactly have I been doing with my time in the roughly FOUR years it’s been since I was Wondering on a regular basis?
Wonder no more! You quit that! That’s our job!

I have, in the seemingly interminable break I took from this wonderful post …
… not done much. Well, I mean, the Boy and I painted our home office back in November 2010. That was pretty great. And we (along w/my siblings and siblings-in-law and dad) actually surprised my mom in December. That’s extremely hard to do.

You think I’m kidding. You think I’m being modest.
Well, you just wait until you see what my girlies here have been up to. You won’t believe it. They’re incredible. I actually wonder why they let me stick around.

I’m not fishing for compliments—you’ll know when that’s happening b/c I’ll just say, “Hey! Tell me I’m awesome! How much do you love me?” It’s more noodling than fishing the way I do it.
I’m just honestly, humbly, unfailingly, incredibly proud of my fellow Wonder Women and I’m as eager as you are to hear them wonder about how far they’ve come, how much they’ve done and created and earned, how rich their lives are, how in awe they are of one another, how amazing they’ve been.

You’ll see. I’m just happy they keep me around. That’s really all I’ve been doing all these years, fearless readers.
I’ve been being happy. And I hope you have, too.